News (Text)


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January 2, 2019 @ 11:30 am
2019-01-02T11:30:00+05:30
2019-01-02T11:45:00+05:30

NEWS

2 JANUARY 2019


Daily Current Affairs based on ‘The Hindu’ newspaper compiled by Ms. Bilquees Khatri with topics & papers as per syllabus of UPSC Civil Services (Mains) Examination


Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II: SOCIAL – UNREST

Modi rules out ordinance on Ram temple for now

2.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-ASIA

India, Pak. move towards release of civilian prisoners

3.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – POLLUTION

Parliamentary committee irked by States’ insensitivity to Western Ghats

4.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – BIODIVERSITY

Cinereous vulture seen in Jharkhand

5.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – POLLUTION

Ganga water quality has improved, govt. tells RS

6.

GS II: SOCIAL – EDUCATION

NHRC seeks report on student suicides in Navodaya Vidyalayas

7.

GS II: SOCIAL -UNREST

Bhima-Koregaon stays peaceful

8.

GS III: ECONOMY – GST

GST collections down for second month in a row

9.

GS III: ECONOMY – GST

Govt. notifies new GST return forms

10.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

Reserve Bank relaxes debt recast norms for MSMEs

GS II: SOCIAL – UNREST

Modi rules out ordinance on Ram temple for now

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi made it clear that any decision on bringing an ordinance on the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya could be considered only after the judicial process got over.
  • The Sangh Parivar organisations are unhappy over the delay in resolving the matter and there are demands for an ordinance, similar to the one issued on triple talaq, to facilitate construction.
  • The demand has been made even by the BJP’s ally, Shiv Sena.
  • The matter will be heard by the Supreme Court on January 4.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-ASIA

India, Pak. move towards release of civilian prisoners

  • In a peace overture, India has asked Islamabad to take back dozens of Pakistani nationals who have completed jail terms.
  • The Indian request came in the context of the exchange of the lists of prisoners in both countries on the first day of the new year 2019.
  • “India has also asked Pakistan to expedite response in the cases of 80 Pakistan prisoners who have completed their sentences and await repatriation for want of nationality confirmation by Pakistan,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement after India handed over a list of 249 civilian Pakistani prisoners and 98 fishermen in its custody.
  • Pakistan shared lists of 54 civilian prisoners and 483 fishermen in its jails, who it claims are Indian.
  • Of the total number of Indian prisoners, Delhi has asked Islamabad to release 17 civilian prisoners and 369 fishermen whose nationality has been confirmed.
  • The exchange of lists comes despite continued military tension, which has, however, not dampened humanitarian moves by both sides.
  • In December 2018, Pakistan sent back Indian prisoner Hamid Nehal Ansari who had completed both regular and irregular prison terms.
  • India subsequently released Pakistani Imran Warsi, who was awaiting repatriation after serving a jail term.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – POLLUTION

Parliamentary committee irked by States’ insensitivity to Western Ghats

  • Over 56,000 kilometres of ecologically sensitive areas (ESA) in the Western Ghats could not be earmarked as ‘no-go’ zones due to State governments’ ‘insensitivity’, Committee on Government Assurances in the Rajya Sabha has said.
  • The panel keeps track of assurances given by ministers on the floor of the Upper House.
  • The panel has urged the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to constitute a committee to address the issues and grievances of local people.
  • The recent monsoon floods in Kerala and parts of Karnataka should serve as alarm bells for the administrations in the States of Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, which have failed to mark ESA in the Western Ghats, it said.
  • The panel had examined issues regarding the categorisation of the Western Ghats as ESA as per the recommendations of two committees – Madhav Gadgil Committee and Kasturirangan Committee.
  • The report said, “The committee has observed that despite three draft notifications issued over four years for earmarking ESA, the six States could not be brought on board for action.
  • Resultantly, over 56,000 square km of ESA could not be earmarked as ‘no-go’ zones for polluting activities and deforestation, and large-scale deforestation, mining, and construction are continuing unabated, hurting the ecology of the Western Ghats.”
  • “Insensitivity towards ecology of the Western Ghats is making the six States vulnerable to floods and landslides,” the report said.
  • “The committee is of the view that implementation of the recommendations of the Kasturirangan report is only possible with active support of local population. It also requires consultation with the State government at micro level to achieve the objectives of saving the Western Ghats,” the report said.
  • The panel examined 62 assurances during its deliberations with various State governments and other organisations, and had visited Pune, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru, before preparing its report.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – BIODIVERSITY

Cinereous vulture seen in Jharkhand

  • It is usually during the winter that a distinctly dark large bird – the Cinereous vulture, with a blacked-tipped pink beak – migrates from the mountainous regions of Europe and Asia to warmer places, including India.
  • While earlier records of this migratory bird have revealed that it comes to northern parts of India up to Rajasthan, bird watchers and researchers were baffled to find it in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand.
  • The Cinereous vulture isclassified as Near Threatened under the IUCN Red List.
  • Five species of vultures, including the Himalayan Griffon, White-rumped vulture and the Long-billed vulture, were spotted in Hazaribagh recently.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – POLLUTION

Ganga water quality has improved, govt. tells RS

  • The water quality of the Ganga in 2018 has “improved over last year”, according to a written statement in the Rajya Sabha.
  • The statement said “dissolved oxygen” levels had improved at 39 locations, and “biological oxygen demand” (BOD) levels and faecal coliform had decreased at 42 and 47 locations respectively.
  • These three parameters are a proxy for both the presence of aquatic life as well as microbes that may be harmful to these biota, and are conventionally used to assess the quality of the river.
  • The government said 5,100 crore, of the Rs. 20,000 crore allotted to clean the Ganga, had been spent under the Namami Gange Programme from 2014-15 to 2018-19.
  • More than half the funds had been directed towards making new sewage treatment plants (STP) and effluent treatment plants (ETP), as well as making sub-par plants work better.
  • However, independent experts have said the cleaning efforts were half-hearted and there was little effort to ensure that the river’s voluminous flow in the upper stretches of Uttarakhand is maintained downstream.

GS II: SOCIAL – EDUCATION

NHRC seeks report on student suicides in Navodaya Vidyalayas

  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) served notice on the Ministry for Human Resource Development on the reported suicides of 49 students of the residential Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) over five years.
  • Taking suo motu cognisance of a media report that 49 students had committed suicide on JNV campuses from 2013 to 2017, the NHRC asked the Secretary of the Ministry for a report in six weeks.
  • It asked whether trained counsellors were available for students, whether there was dedicated staff to ensure students were not left alone and whether there was emergency assistance, including a hotline.
  • According to the report, half of the 49 students belonged to Dalit or tribal communities, and the majority were boys.
  • “Reportedly all, except seven, were suicides by hanging, and the bodies were found either by classmates or the school staff. The JNVs are reported to be the Central government’s pace-setting schools for talented children from rural India,” the NHRC said.

GS II: SOCIAL -UNREST

Bhima-Koregaon stays peaceful

  • The 201st anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle passed off without any incident as lakhs of Ambedkarites from across Maharashtra and India congregated near the commemorative Bhima-Koregaon ‘Ranstambh’ (victory pillar) under heavy security cover.
  • The Pune Rural Police and the district administration pulled out all the stops to ensure that the event passed off without any incident.
  • Officials estimated 8 to 10 lakh visitors this year — perhaps the largest since the Bhima-Koregaon Ranstambh Seva Sangh, which organises the ceremony, was formed in 2005 to keep alive the memory of this episode.
  • Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh chief Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, said the ‘Elgaar Parishad’ of December 31, 2018, was an attempt to bridge the rift between various communities.
  • “Instead, the investigation conducted by the Pune city police turned the objective of the Elgaar conclave upside down. The State government targeted the men and women like retired judges B.G. Kolse-Patil, P.B. Sawant and Harshali Potdar, who were behind organising the conference, weaving an absurd narrative of ‘urban naxalism’,” he said.

GS III: ECONOMY – GST

GST collections down for second month in a row

  • The government’s collections from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) declined for the second month in a row to Rs. 94,726 crore in December 2018, official data released showed.
  • Collections declined from the Rs. 97,637 crore in November, which was itself lower than the Rs. 1,00,710 crore collected in October 2018 (where it exceeded Rs. 1 lakh crore).
  • “The total gross GST revenue collected in the month of December 2018 is Rs. 94,726 crore of which CGST is Rs. 16,442 crore, SGST is Rs. 22,459 crore, IGST is Rs. 47,936 crore… and cess is Rs. 7,888 crore,” the government said in a statement.
  • “The total number of GSTR 3B Returns filed for the month of November up to December 31, 2018 is 72.44 lakh.”
  • The GST Council had in its 31st meeting in December 2018 cut rates on 17 items and six types of services, leaving just one common use item — cement — in the 28% tax bracket. The new rates took effect from January 1, 2019.

GS III: ECONOMY – GST

Govt. notifies new GST return forms

  • The government has notified new annual GST return forms, which are required to be filed by businesses registered under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime by June 30, 2019.
  • In the annual return forms, businesses have to provide consolidated details of sales, purchases and input tax credit (ITC) benefits accrued to them during the financial year of 2017-18.
  • The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) on December 31, 2018, notified form GSTR-9, GSTR-9A and GSTR-9C.
  • Separately, the government waived late fees for non-filers of summary and final sales returns for the July 2017-September 2018 period.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

Reserve Bank relaxes debt recast norms for MSMEs

  • Following a demand from the government for a debt recast package for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has relaxed the provisioning norms for lenders for restructuring loans of up to Rs. 25 crore.
  • According to the guidelines released, the RBI has allowed one-time restructuring of existing loans to MSMEs that are in default but ‘standard’ as on January 1, 2019.
  • Banks have to make only 5% provisioning for restructuring the loans as compared to 15-20% earlier.
  • Each bank or non-bank should formulate a policy for this scheme with the board’s approval.
  • The restructuring has to be implemented by March 31, 2020, the RBI said.
  • The government has been asking for such a package for a long time for the MSME sector which was severely hit due to demonetisation exercise and implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

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