Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 24 JANUARY 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 24 JANUARY 2019


::NATIONAL::

New Supreme court guidelines to notch up urgent cases automatically

  •  The Supreme Court is drafting new guidelines that would help ensure that urgent cases automatically come up before a Bench for hearing within four days of their being filed, obviating the need for lawyers to appear before the Chief Justice of India to orally mention their cases for urgent listing.
  •  Chief Justice of India RanjanGogoi on Wednesday informed the crowded courtroom that new norms had been settled by which urgent cases would automatically come up before a Bench for hearing.
  •  The CJI added that if such cases did not come up for hearing, the lawyers concerned could make a mention before the Registrar to have their cases listed.
  •  Oral mentioning is a convention by which lawyers circumvent the long-winded filing procedures and make a direct appeal to the CJI, who is the court’s administrative head and master of the roster, for early hearing.
  •  The CJI takes a call on the spot, whether the case deserves to be heard out-of-turn. This would mean pushing other cases off the list. The CJI has often complained about how cases that were orally represented by a lawyer during mentioning, did not turn out to be as urgent.
  •  Justice Gogoi has repeatedly advised the Bar to be circumspect about orally mentioning cases, and to be careful that only absolutely urgent cases are brought before him.
  •  He reminded lawyers that the court cannot be seen to be wasting time when hundreds of death penalty cases are waiting for years to be heard.
  •  The usual sight of lawyers crowding the courtroom of the Chief Justice of India in the mornings to orally mention their cases for urgent listing may soon become passe.

Centre set to strengthen autonomous councils in the north east

  •  The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a constitutional amendment to increase the financial and executive powers of the 10 autonomous councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of the northeast.
  •  The amendment would impact a population of about 1 croretribals living in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, according to the Centre.
  •  The Finance Commission would be mandated to recommend devolution of financial resources to the councils, the government said in an official statement.
  •  Till now, the autonomous councils have depended on grants from Central Ministries and the State governments for specific projects.
  •  As per the proposed amendment, at least one third of the seats would be reserved for women in the village and municipal councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.
  •  The proposed amendments provide for elected village municipal councils, ensuring democracy at the grass-roots level. The State Election Commissions would hold elections to the autonomous councils, village and municipal councils in the areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.

::ECONOMY::

Centre to set up new GSTAT bench in New Delhi

  •  The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the creation of a National Bench of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT), which would serve as the forum of second appeals to do with the applicability of GST, and will also be the first common forum of dispute resolution between the Centre and the States.
  •  The National Bench of the Appellate Tribunal, to be situated in New Delhi, will be presided over by its president. It will consist of a technical member from the Centre and a representative of the States.
  •  Chapter XVIII of the CGST Act provides for an appeal and review mechanism for dispute resolution under the GST regime. Section 109 of this chapter empowers the Centre to constitute, on the recommendation of the GST Council, an appellate tribunal for hearing appeals against the orders passed by the Appellate Authority.
  •  The government, it is learnt, was initially planning an appellate tribunal in each State. However, the idea was discarded in favour of one at the national level following the experience with the various state-level advance ruling authorities, which often gave conflicting judgments.
  •  Being a common forum, GST Appellate Tribunal will ensure that there is uniformity in redressal of disputes arising under GST, and therefore, in implementation of GST across the country.

Inter state trading through E-NAM portal begins

  •  The e-NAM platform has reached an inflection point by initiation of inter-state trade in January 2019. The start of online inter-state trade through the e-NAM portal this month is a landmark achievement in e-NAM history and its strengthening in future will definitely add a new chapter to Agricultural marketing in the Indian context.
  •  The e-NAM platform is a pan-India electronic trading (e-trading) portal to network the existing physical regulated wholesale market (known as APMC market) through a virtual platform to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
  •  Initially, trade on e-NAM started inside the individual e-NAM mandi, with involvement of farmers and traders of that mandi. After persuasive efforts by the Government of India, inter-mandi trade on e-NAM platform started within the State. Now inter-mandi trade within e-NAM States is happening in 10 States.
  •  Inter-State trade can take place in all 124 commodities promoted on e-NAM platform which covers all major cereals, coarse cereals, pulses, oilseeds, spices, flowers, minor forest produce etc. Now more States are planning to start inter-State trade on e-NAM platform.
  •  To increase the network on online mandis, e-NAM project will be expanded to other regulated markets. The Government plans to integrate another 415 mandis by March 2020 with the e-NAM portal.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

India – Kuwait sign cooperation agreement on recruitment of domestic workers

  •  The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi has approved the signing Memorandum of Understanding between India and Kuwait for cooperation on the Recruitment of Domestic Workers.
  •  The MOU provides a structured framework for cooperation on domestic workers related matters and provides strengthened safeguards for Indian domestic workers including female workers deployed in Kuwait.
  •  The MOU is initially valid for a period of five years and incorporates provision for automatic renewal.
  •  Under this MOU, a Joint Committee will be set up to follow up the implementation of this MOU.The MOU will promote bilateral cooperation in domestic workers related matters between the two countries.
  •  Around 3,00,000 Indian domestic workers deployed in Kuwait. This includes around 90,000 female domestic workers.

India –Africa field training exercise to be held in Pune

  •  The final planning conference to work out the modalities for Indian Africa Field Training Exercise (IAFTX)-2019 is being conducted at Pune on 23-24 January 2019.
  •  Delegates from Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique, Uganda, Niger & Zambia attended the conference.
  •  Indian Africa Field Training Exercise (IAFTX)-2019 is scheduled to be conducted at Aundh Military Station and College of Military Engineering, Pune from 18 March to 27 March 2019.
  •  The joint training exercise is being conducted with more than a dozen African countries & India. It aims at synergysing humanitarian mine action and joint peace operations. The initial planning conference for the exercise was held in December 2018.
  •  The IAFTX-2019 is a positive step towards growing political and military ties with the member nations of African continent and will boost the already strong strategic cooperation between the countries.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

ISRO set to launch C-44 satellite today

  •  The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch a students' satellite Kalamsat and an imaging satellite Microsat-R from the SatishDhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota today.
  •  The national space agency's workhorse rocket, PSLV C44, carrying the satellites, is scheduled for liftoff at 11:27 pm. The countdown for the launch began at 7:37 last evening and is progressing smoothly.
  •  Kalamsat is a payload developed by students and Chennai based Space Kidz India for the first time. Talking to AIR News, Mission Director of Kalamsat, Dr SrimathyKesan said: ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan said, the Microsat-R satellite is meant for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) purposes.
  •  "ISRO will be using the aluminium tank for the first time in the fourth stage of the launch of PSLV C 44. This is to reduce the weight and increase the mass in the four-stage engine expendable rocket with alternating solid and liquid fuel.
  •  About 14 minutes into the flight the rocket would eject Microsat R at an altitude of about 277 km. This would begin to function at an altitude of 450 km in an hour and 40 minutes. The Kalam sat is a 10 cm cube nanosatellite weighing about 1.2 kg and has a life span of about two months.

::SPORTS::

CWG gold medallist Sanjithachanu’s provisional ban lifted by IWF

  •  The International Weightlifting Federation(IWF) has revoked the provisional suspension on weightlifter KhumukchamSanjitaChanu for a failed dope test. IWF's legal counsel Eva Nyirfa said this in an e-mail sent to the national federation and Sanjita.
  •  He also informed that the IWF Hearing Panel will render its decision on the athlete's case in due course. This will be a major reprieve for the two-time Commonwealth Games gold-medallist who has claimed innocence.
  •  The 25-year-old Sanjita, who had won a gold in the women's 53kg category at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, had tested positive for anabolic steroid testosterone.

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