Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 14 MARCH 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 14 MARCH 2019


Supreme court gives clarity on DGP appointment

  •  The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the post of Director General of Police (DGP) of a State was reserved for the best. It was meant neither for the political establishment’s favourite officers, who were on the verge of retirement, nor only for those with a minimum residual tenure of two years before superannuation, the court clarified.
  •  Dispelling confusion regarding an order issued on July 3, 2018, a Bench led by Chief Justice of India RanjanGogoi said senior police officers with a residual tenure of six months before normal retirement could be considered for the post of DGP.
  •  The order came on a plea by former Uttar Pradesh DGP Prakash Singh, who contended that the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) was only considering police officers with a minimum two years’ residual tenure for appointment as DGP. This had led to many competent officers being overlooked.
  •  “We, therefore, clarify the order of this court dated July 3, 2018 to mean that recommendation for appointment to the post of Director General of Police by the Union Public Service Commission and preparation of panel should be purely on the basis of merit from officers who have a minimum residual tenure of six months,” the Bench, which also comprised Justices L. NageswaraRao and SanjivKhanna, ruled.
  •  On July 3, 12 years after introducing drastic reforms to free the police from political influence, the Supreme Court had barred State governments from appointing DGPs without first consulting the UPSC.

Global environment outlook stresses on Paris climate deal accomplishment

  •  India could save at least $3 trillion (Rs. 210 trillion approx.) in healthcare costs if it implemented policy initiatives consistent with ensuring that the globe didn’t heat up beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius by the turn of the century, says the sixth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO), prepared by the United Nations Environment Programme.
  •  “Damage to the planet is so dire that people’s health will be increasingly threatened unless urgent action is taken.Unless environmental protections were drastically scaled up, cities and regions in Asia, the Middle East and Africa could see millions of premature deaths by mid-century,” a press statement accompanying the report noted.
  •  India’s stated commitment is to lower emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35% compared to 2005 levels by 2030; increase total cumulative electricity generation from fossil free energy sources to 40% by 2030, and create additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons through additional forest and tree cover.
  •  India is on track to achieve two of these goals of emissions intensity and electricity generation according to independent climate-watch site Climate Tracker
  •  However these actions are only enough and provided other countries too live up to their commitments to limit temperature rise to 2 degrees.
  •  For India to leapfrog onto a 1.5-degree pathway it would have to “abandon plans to build new coal-fired power plants,” said Climate Tracker’s most updated analysis as of Dec 2018.


RBI to conduct Forex swap agreements to inject liquidity

  •  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to inject rupee liquidity into the system through long-term foreign exchange buy/sell swap a first-of-its-kind instrument used for liquidity management.
  •  The RBI would conduct dollar-rupee buy/sell swap auction of $5 billion for a three-year tenor on March 26. “In order to meet the durable liquidity needs of the system, the Reserve Bank has decided to augment its liquidity management toolkit and inject rupee liquidity for longer duration through long-term foreign exchange buy/sell swap,” the central bank said in a statement on Wednesday.
  •  “The U.S. dollar amount mobilised through this auction would also reflect in RBI’s foreign exchange reserves for the tenor of the swap while also reflecting in RBI’s forward liabilities,” it added.
  •  According to bankers, the move is seen to lower the dependence on open market operations which have been a significant amount of the overall borrowing. “Higher OMOs can distort the rates curve,” said a banker. The move would boost RBI’s foreign exchange reserves which were at $401.7 billion for the week ended March 1.
  •  Market participants would be required to place their bids in terms of the premium that they were willing to pay to the RBI for the tenor of the swap. RBI said the auction cut-off would be based on the premium and the auction would be a multiple-price based auction.
  •  RBI also has raised the trade credit limit under the automatic route to $150 million for oil/gas refining and marketing, airline and shipping firms. For others, the limit is set at $50 million or equivalent per import transaction.

SEBI provides timeline and framework for counter offer process

  •  Markets regulator SEBI on Wednesday came out with the framework and timeline for the counter offer process.
  •  The counter offer is made in case the price discovered through reverse book building (RBB) is not acceptable to the promoter or the acquirer.
  •  The book value per share of the company shall be disclosed in the public announcement for counter offer, the regulator said in a circular. Additionally, the letter of offer shall contain details of the counter offer, activity schedule, among other details in a prescribed format.
  •  SEBI said the promoters or acquirers making public announcement of the offer through stock exchange mechanism shall do so within two days from the date of closure of RBB bidding process.
  •  The publication of counter offer will have to be made in the same newspapers where the original RBB was published, within four days from the closure of the RBB bidding process, it added.
  •  The opening of counter offer bidding process shall not be done later than seven days from the date of public announcement, while its closing shall be done within five working days of its opening.

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India- Pakistan to discuss Kartarpur subject today

  •  India will urge Pakistan to not utilise the holy Kartarpur shrine for propaganda about the Khalistan issue, sources said here on Wednesday.
  •  The issue is part of the security concerns that is being considered by the Indian side as paramount for the bilateral talks that will be held in Attari tomorrow.
  •  The talks that will focus on the essential features of the draft agreement on the religious corridor project has already created a controversy after Pakistan alleged that India did not grant visas for Pakistani journalists for the meeting.
  •  Pakistan’s foreign office spokesman took to social media to argue that Pakistan had granted visas to more than 30 Indian journalists who covered the Kartarpur ground-breaking ceremony in Pakistan last year.
  •  The project will include a vast facility for the pilgrims on the Indian side which will be ready to host at least 5,000 pilgrims on any given day. It was learnt that India will also prepare for “surge” in pilgrims flow during special, festive seasons. Accordingly facilities will be created for at least 10,000 more pilgrims on the facilities on the Indian side.
  •  India has acquired 50 acres of land for the facility for the pilgrims to be built in Khanda style which represents oneness of the humanity. The infrastructure would be built in two phases and the first phase will spread over 15 acres of land. The Passenger Terminal Building will be the main structure around which the rest of the land will be developed.
  •  The talks will also include discussion over mismatch between the alignment of Indian and Pakistan designs. The facility that India will build on the Indian side of the project will include 54 immigration counters for processing the paper works necessary for the visit to the gurdwara which is one of the holiest shrines associated with Sikh religion.

U.S urges countries to further pressurise Iran

  •  The U.S. has not ended the exemption to sanctions for purchases of Iranian oil, received by India and seven other countries last November when sanctions came into effect, following the U.S’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the “Iran Deal”.
  •  This was conveyed in an email to The Hindu by a State Department spokesperson. The exemptions were initially meant to last six months and therefore due to expire in March.
  •  “Our policy goal remains to get all countries to stop purchasing Iranian crude as quickly as possible. The U.S. granted significant reduction exemptions (SRE) to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey in November 2018,” the statement said.
  •  “Each of those jurisdictions had already demonstrated significant reductions of the purchase of Iranian crude over the past six months, and indeed two of those eight already completely ended imports of Iranian crude and will not resume as long as the sanctions regime remains in place. We continue working with the remaining SRE recipients to end imports of Iranian crude.”
  •  It is expected that the exemptions are part of the discussions Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale is having in Washington. Mr.Gokhale met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday as well as members of Congress. He also met Undersecretary David Hale on Tuesday
  •  Mr.Gokhale and Mr. Hale reviewed the progress made since the 2+2 Ministerial that was held in New Delhi last September, reaffirmed their cooperation towards achieving their joint goals in the Indo-Pacific region, discussed cross-border terrorism, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela and Afghanistan, according to official statements.


UN report claims environment damage a major reason for premature deaths

  •  A quarter of all premature deaths and diseases worldwide are due to manmade pollution and environmental damage, the United Nations said on Wednesday in a landmark report on the planet’s parlous state.
  •  Deadly emissions, chemicals polluting drinking water, and the accelerating destruction of ecosystems crucial to the livelihoods of billions of people are driving a worldwide epidemic that hampers the global economy, it warned.
  •  As greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise amid a preponderance of droughts, floods and superstorms made worse by climbing sea levels, there is a growing political consensus that climate change poses a future risk to billions.
  •  Lacking access to clean drinking supplies, 1.4 million people die each year from preventable diseases such as diarrhoea and parasites linked to pathogen-riddled water and poor sanitation.
  •  Chemicals pumped into the seas cause “potentially multi-generational” adverse health effects, and land degradation through mega-farming and deforestation occurs in areas of earth home to 3.2 billion people.
  •  Food waste for instance, which accounts for 9% of global greenhouse gas emissions, could be slashed. The world currently throws away a third of all food produced. In richer nations, 56% goes to waste.
  •  It also called for a rapid drawdown in greenhouse gas emissions and pesticide use to improve air and water quality.


Australia clinches series against India

  •  Australia Wednesday defeated India by 35 runs in the final ODI at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi to clinch the five-match series 3-2.
  •  Chasing a victory target of 273 runs, the hosts were all out for 237 runs in the stipulated 50 overs. India vice-captain Rohit Sharma completed 8000 runs in ODI Cricket. He made 56 runs.
  •  Earlier, electing to bat after winning the toss, Australia made 272 runs in the stipulated 50 overs losing nine wickets. UsmanKhawaja top-scored 100.

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