Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 07 MAY 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 07 MAY 2019


::NATIONAL::

SC in house committee gives clean chit to CJI

  • The Justice S.A. Bobde in-house committee has found “no substance” in the sexual harassment allegations levelled by a former Supreme Court staff member against Chief Justice of India RanjanGogoi.
  • A statement issued by the Supreme Court on Monday evening said the committee’s report would be kept confidential. As part of the in-house procedure, the report would not be placed in the public domain, it added.
  • It said copies of the report were given to Chief Justice Gogoi and the “next senior judge competent to receive the report”, that is Justice Arun Mishra who is the fourth senior most judge.
  • Official sources in the Supreme Court said the report would go no further than Justice Mishra and Chief Justice Gogoi. There would be no Full Court meeting on the “informal” proceedings.
  • The Supreme Court on Monday quoted its reported decision of 2003 in Indira Jaising versus Supreme Court of India , which had held that an in-house inquiry report was “discreet” and “not for the purpose of disclosure to any other person”.
  • The complainant said she had no information about others whom the committee examined as witnesses or whether the call records of the CJI or the Supreme Court Secretary General was even called for.

PM to provide 1000cr as assistance to cyclone hit Odisha

  • Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi has said that Central Govt will provide manpower, machine, material and money for restoration work in cyclone FANI affected areas in Odisha.
  • Visiting the cyclone-affected areas today in Odisha, Prime Minister said that 1000 crore rupees financial assistance will be given to Odisha. Before the cyclone, 381 crore rupees assistance in advance was declared by the Prime Minister.
  • After an areal survey of the cyclone-affected areas today Prime Minister said that whatever will be required for restoration and rehabilitation work, Center will not hesitate to provide it as assistance.
  • He also said that a team of officials of Prime Minister's Office will camp in Bhubaneswar for the supervision of the reconstruction work. Prime Minister praised the fishermen of the community of Odisha for their high level of awareness about cyclone so that the casualty was minimised.
  • Eastern Command of Indian Navy is now providing relief materials at cyclone-affected areas of Puri and Khurda districts. Three helicopters and three vessels are deployed for relief work. The doctors of Navy are providing medical assistance to the injured in camp hospitals.

::ECONOMY::

CRISIL claims external debt of DISCOMS to be worrying at the end of fiscal

  • Aggregate external debt of State-owned electricity distribution companies (discoms) is set to increase to pre-UjwalDiscom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) levels of Rs. 2.6 lakh crore by the end of this fiscal, according to Crisil’s analysis of discoms in 15 States, which account for 85% of the aggregate losses.
  • With most States having limited fiscal headroom, continuous financial support to their discoms may be difficult. So discoms have to become commercially viable through prudent tariff hikes and a material reduction in aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses, said the Crisil statement.
  • As per the MoUs States had signed under UDAY in fiscal 2016, their discoms were to initiate structural reforms by reducing AT&C losses by 900 basis points (bps) to about 15% in fiscal 2019, and also implement regular tariff hikes of 5-6% per annum.
  • In lieu, State governments took over three-fourths of discom debt, thus reducing the interest cost burden. While discoms enjoyed the benefit of debt reduction, structural reforms have been slow to come by.
  • “Further improvement in operations may face challenges because the focus on new rural connections without adequate tariff hikes can increase losses,” said SubodhRai, senior director, Crisil Ratings.

Mastercard plans huge investment in India in future

  • Mastercard on Monday announced a $1 billion investment in India over the next five years aimed at converting India into a vital node in the company’s infrastructure, and also to continue business expansion.
  • “There is a very large presence that Mastercard has built, and now, after having seen the last five years, we are very bullish on the overall Indian economy and what the future looks like, and clearly very excited about the digital payments ecosystem and payments ecosystem in general,” Ari Sarker, co-president, Asia Pacific at Mastercard told.
  • Mastercard has previously invested $1 billion in India over the last five years, Mr.Sarker explained, which have resulted in several acquisitions, increased employment in the India offices, and improvements in technology development capabilities.
  • “If you look at 2014, our presence in India was only 30-odd people, which was largely focussed on banks in India for our sales and distribution effort,” Mr.Sarker said.
  • The about $300 million portion of the investment will make India a node for the delivery of payment processing capabilities. “In essence, all of our processing capabilities [such as] authorisation, clearing, settlement, tokenisation, fraud and safety services, all of that will be locally delivered,” he said. “It will take us two years to build up.”

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::INTERNATIONAL::

India Pakistan to attend SCO council meeting in September

  • External Affairs Minister SushmaSwaraj and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah MehmoodQureshi will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Foreign Ministers in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, later this month, for the first time since a proposed meeting between them in New York last September was cancelled.
  • Officials in New Delhi and Islamabad confirmed that both Foreign Ministers were “scheduled to attend”, but said there was no proposal for them to meet separately. The SCO summit meet in June will also come just ahead of a plenary session of the Financial Action Task Force in Orlando, U.S., from June 16 to 21, which will deliberate on Pakistan’s grey-listing status on terror financing.
  • Fuelling speculation, a Pakistani newspaper reported on Monday that the Pakistan government has “informally conveyed to India through China and Russia that the opportunity” of the SCO summit “could be utilised for a bilateral meeting between them”.
  • In the wake of the UN Security Council designation of MasoodAzhar, New Delhi is watching closely to see what action Pakistan takes against the JeM chief.
  • The action will also decide whether Pakistan, which is facing a full financial scrutiny by the FATF, could be put on an even more restrictive “blacklist” at the Orlando meeting, which Finance Minister ArunJaitley called for on Friday.

India to cooperate with its partners on Afghanistan

  • ZalmayKhalilzad, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan, held talks with External Affairs Minister SushmaSwaraj on Monday. The crucial interaction came days after the diplomat held talks with a Taliban delegation in the Qatari capital Doha.
  • “Both discussed the role of all regional stakeholders in bringing peace and development in Afghanistan. India will work with key partners in days ahead,” spokesperson of MEA Raveesh Kumar said in a social media message.
  • Mr.Khalilzad also met Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale. The discussion came in the backdrop of the telephonic conversation between Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani when both sides discussed ways of peace building to help the market and connectivity scenario in the Af-Pak region.
  • The visit of Mr.Khalilzad is significant as it aims at establishing a broader regional discussion.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

UN report claims around 1 million species under threat of extinction

  •  Relentless pursuit of economic growth, twinned with the impact of climate change, has put an ”unprecedented” one million species at risk of extinction, scientists said on Monday in a landmark report on the damage done by modern civilisation to the natural world.
  •  Only a wide-ranging transformation of the global economic and financial system could pull ecosystems that are vital to the future of human communities worldwide back from the brink of collapse, concluded the report, which was endorsed by 130 countries, including the U.S., Russia and China.
  •  The authors identified industrial farming and fishing as major drivers with the current rate of species extinction tens to hundreds of times higher than the average over the last 10 millionyears.
  •  “The report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” Mr. Watson said in a statement. “By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganisation across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”
  •  The report’s blunt language echoed the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said in October that profound economic and social changes would be needed to curb greenhouse gases quickly enough to avert the most devastating consequences of a warming world.

::SPORTS::

Indian boxers gives a good show at FeliksStamm international boxing

  •  Indian boxers finished with a rich haul of six medals, including two gold at the 36th FeliksStamm International Boxing Tournament in Warsaw, Poland on Sunday.
  •  GauravSolanki and Manish Kaushik bagged one gold each. Indian boxers also clinched a silver and three bronze.
  •  The 22-year-old Solanki out-punched England's William Cawley 5-0 in 52 kilogram on his way to the coveted yellow metal.
  •  The six-day competition saw boxers from all over the world participating in 10 categories in the men's section and in five categories in the women's section as they gear up for the World Championships later in the year.

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