Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 24 APRIL 2019
Sexual harassment case against CJI to be heard by judges panel
- A three-member committee of Supreme Court judges led by Justice S.A.
Bobde, the number two judge in the apex court, was formed on Tuesday to look
into allegations of sexual harassment raised by a former employee against
Chief Justice of India RanjanGogoi.
- The other two members of the committee are Justice N.V. Ramana and
Justice Indira Banerjee. Justice Ramana is the number three judge in the
- Justice Bobde has taken a central role in dealing with the crisis, which
erupted on April 20 when some websites published the woman’s allegations
against the CJI.
- Earlier in the day, he constituted a Special Bench of Justices Arun
Mishra, RohintonNariman and Deepak Gupta to deal with, on the judicial side,
the suomotu petition titled ‘In a matter of great public importance touching
upon the independence of the judiciary.’
- The morning saw senior judges hold an intense closed-door discussion
till noon before beginning their usual court work. The discussion was
centred on how to tackle the "wildfire" of accusations directed at the
court, a highly placed source in the Supreme Court said.
- Meanwhile A Special Bench of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Arun
Mishra, on Tuesday issued notice to an advocate who filed a plea in the
court claiming he was offered up to Rs. 1.5 crore by a man who identified
himself as “Ajay” to frame a “false case of sexual harassment” against Chief
Justice of India RanjanGogoi.
RTE application declines this year heavily
- With the State governments amending the Right of Children to Free and
Compulsory Education (RTE) rules, which prioritises government over private
schools from the coming academic year, the Department of Public Instruction
has received only 17,310 applications so far.
- This is a 92.7% drop from the 2018-19 academic year, which saw 2.38 lakh
applications for seats under the RTE reservation quota.At the same time, the
number of seats under RTE quota has also reduced drastically.
- Parents say they have not applied this year as private schools have been
kept out of the ambit of the quota. Most neighbourhoods have government or
aided schools in their vicinity. According to the recent amendment, a child
can be admitted to a private school under the quota only if there are no
government or aided schools in the locality.
- This year, there are 17,784 RTE quota seats in aided and unaided
schools, which is a reduction of 88% from last year’s 1.52 lakh seats, of
which 68,202 were for LKG alone.
- Another disadvantage, according to parents many from lower-socio
economic backgrounds is the lack of access to pre-primary education should
they enrol their children in government schools, which do not offer this
facility unlike their private counterparts.
- Department officials said admissions were being done in accordance with
the latest amendment. After seeing the poor response, it has extended the
last date of filing applications to April 25.
RBI’s second Forex swap ends with huge responses
- The second dollar-rupee buy/sell auction also saw healthy demand with
the Reserve Bank of India getting 255 bids worth $18.65 billion compared
with the notified amount of $5 billion.
- Dealers said high cut-off premium indicated banks mostly stayed away but
companies and NBFCs saw it as a good opportunity to lower hedging costs
compared with the secondary market.
- RBI said liquidity injected in the first leg was Rs. 34,874 crore. The
move would help shore up the country’s foreign exchange reserves which are
now close to $415 billion.
- “Companies that raise funds via the external commercial borrowing route
find this route cost effective due to lower hedging cost as compared to the
secondary market,” said a dealer
- RBI had added this new toolkit for liquidity management to ease
liquidity to reduce its dependence on open market operations. On March 26,
RBI had bought $5 billion through a similar swap auction.
- “Based on a review of evolving liquidity conditions and assessment of
the durable liquidity needs going forward, RBI has decided to conduct
purchase of Government securities under open market operations for an
aggregate amount of Rs. 250 billion in May 2019 through two auctions of Rs.
125 billion each,” the RBI said in a statement.
- The first auction of Rs. 12,500 crore would be conducted on May 2.
According to dealers, liquidity deficit in the market is more than Rs. 1
lakh crore. While the market was not expecting an OMO announcement soon
after the swap auction, the move is likely to lift spirits in the bond
Shipping seeks government help to restore ROF proposal
- Over two dozen Indian shipping companies have submitted a memorandum to
the Prime Minister NarendraModi, seeking his immediate intervention to scrap
a recent notification and a circular which, according to them, would force
them to shut down, resulting in heavy job losses.
- They said the Indian flag shipping industry was heading for a crisis
arising out of Notification No. 2 of ‘Make in India’ dated February 13,
2019, issued by the Ministry of Shipping, and Circular No. 2 of 2019 issued
by the Director General of Shipping, Mumbai.
- The circular equates a foreign ship taken on hire, with a ship actually
owned under the Indian flag by an Indian company. Besides it gives priority
in government contracts to those ships, just because they were once built in
- Indian flag vessels have been enjoying the Right of First Refusal (ROF)
which enables them to match the lowest rates quoted by a foreign vessel and
take that business. This has aided growth of the Indian fleet since it helps
to ensure that no Indian asset remains idle. Indian ship owners said this
right has been taken away by the government and given to foreign shipping
- “While we applaud the intent of the notification in respect of
incentivising ship building in India, we are concerned that the notification
and the circular issued by the government are detrimental to the survival of
the Indian shipping industry,” the memorandum said.
- Indian ship owners said the notification and circular indicate that the
Ministry and the DG Shipping favour those who temporarily hire foreign flag
assets and remit money out of India, rather than those investing in the
Indian economy with a $15- 50 million asset.
India might send NIA officials to investigate Srilankan serial blasts
- The government may send a team of the National Investigation Agency to
Sri Lanka in the aftermath of bomb blasts that claimed more than 300 lives.
- An NIA official on Tuesday said a decision on the issue was yet to be
taken. Some government officials are also likely to visit Sri Lanka to meet
- Given that earlier this month India had shared intelligence inputs on
possible terror strikes at different locations, including the Indian High
Commission building there, a government source said the agencies would be
extending all possible cooperation to the Sri Lankan authorities on
unearthing the conspiracy. Security arrangements at the High Commission are
also being reviewed.
- “We keep working in close coordination with the investigating agencies
in other countries on various issues, particularly terror-related cases. In
November 2014, after the Burdwan blast, a four-member team of the NIA had
visited Bangladesh to share information on the suspects,” said a retired IPS
Indonesia releases stamp on Ramayana theme
- Indonesia has released a special commemorative stamp on the theme of
Ramayana to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of its diplomatic
ties with India.
- In a statement, the Embassy of India in Jakarta yesterday said the
stamp, designed by renowned Indonesian sculptor PadmashriBapakNyomanNuarta,
featured a scene from Ramayana in which Jatayu valiantly fought to save Sita.
- A specially signed version of the stamp will be on display at the
Philately Museum in Jakarta, it said. India's Ambassador Pradeep Kumar Rawat
and Indonesia's Vice Foreign Minister Abdurrahman Mohammad Fachir attended
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Scientists use EU satellite to spot marine litter
- In an experiment to detect marine litter using satellites, a team of
Greek University students deposited wall-sized PVC frames on the surface of
- The team gathered some 2,000 plastic bottles and lashed them to the
frames. Other targets were crafted with plastic bags, as these are even
harder to spot in the water and usually constitute the deadliest threat to
Aegean marine life such as dolphins, turtles and seals.
- “We knew that the European satellite system passes at regular intervals
with a spatial resolution of 10 metres,” said project supervisor
KonstantinosTopuzelis, an assistant professor at the University of the
- In theory, then, the satellites should be able to detect the floating
rafts of plastic the team pushed out to sea.
- The results of the experiment “Satellite Testing and Drone Mapping for
Marine Plastics on the Aegean Sea” — will be presented at a European Space
Agency symposium in Milan in May.
- “The advantage is that we are using existing tools,” which brings down
costs and makes it easier to scale up, said DimitrisPapageorgiou, among the
60 students working on the project.
India’s BajrangPunia wins gold in Asian Wrestling Championships
- India clinched one gold, one silver and bronze at the Asian
Wrestling Championship in China's Xian on Tuesday.
- World number one BajrangPunia logged 10 points in a row in the
gold medal bout to reclaim his Asian Championship crown. He defeated
Kazakhstan'sSayatbekOkassov 12-7 in a nail-biting 65kg men's freestyle
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