Current Affairs for NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (December 12, 2018)
1. Shaktikanta Das appointed RBI Governor
A day after the sudden resignation of Governor Urjit Patel, the Modi administration on Tuesday appointed former bureaucrat Shaktikanta Das as the 25th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) at a time when the government and the central bank are apparently locked in a tussle over several important issues.
“The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Shri Shaktikanta Das, IAS Retd., former Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, as Governor, Reserve Bank of India, for a period of three years,” read the notification issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on Tuesday.
A veteran bureaucrat who served as Secretary Revenue and subsequently Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Das is currently a member of the Fifteenth Finance Commission and represents India at the G-20 in the role of a sherpa. He is a 1980 batch IAS officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre.
2. TRS retains power with landslide win
Riding on a slew of welfare schemes, mega irrigation projects and the charismatic leadership of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi retained power by securing a landslide victory in the election to the Assembly held on December 7.
The Congress-led rainbow alliance, called Praja Kutami (People’s Front) that includes the TDP, the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) and the CPI, came a cropper. While the TRS won in 88 of the 119 constituencies, the Congress secured 19 seats and the TDP emerged victorious in just two constituencies. The TJS and the CPI drew a blank.
3. MNF is back in power in Mizoram
The Mizo National Front (MNF) wrested power from the Congress after 10 years, registering its best-ever performance.
The MNF won 26 of Mizoram’s 40 Assembly seats after the results were declared on Tuesday.
The Congress won five seats to lose the party’s last outpost in the northeastern region comprising eight States. The BJP rules six of the other States on its own or in alliance with regional parties. “The people have given their preference, and I honour that,” Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, 80, said after submitting his resignation to Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan an hour before Zoramthanga staked his claim.
4. SC directs Centre to declare 10 km area around national parks as eco-sensitive
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Union Environment Ministry to declare 10 km area around 21 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the country as ‘eco-sensitive zones’.
A Bench led by Justice Madan B. Lokur took the initiative after its amicus curiae informed the court that the State governments have taken no effort to protect the area around these sanctuaries and parks.
The court recorded that the issue has been pending for the past 12 years.
The parks and sanctuaries are the Pobitora sanctuary in Assam; Hemis and Kishtewar national parks, Changthang, Hokersar, Trikuta sanctuaries in Jammu and Kashmir; Jogimatti, Thimlapura and Yadahalli Chinkara sanctuaries in Karnataka; Deolgaon Rehekuri and Thane Creek Flamingo sanctuaries and the Malvan marine sanctuary in Maharashtra; Siroi National Park and Khongjaingamba Ching sanctuary in Manipur; Baghmara Pitcher Plant sanctuary in Meghalaya; Fakim and Puliebadze and Rangapahar sanctuaries in Nagaland; Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar bird sanctuary and Pilibhit sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh and the Jorepokhri sanctuary in West Bengal.
The court ordered the Centre to make the declaration “at the earliest”. Any plea for modification by the States concerned should be made to the Environment Ministry in two weeks.
5. Rules amended for father’s name in PAN
The Centre has amended rules for applicants seeking a PAN card, where if a person has been raised by a single mother, he or she need not provide the father’s name, as per a gazette notification issued by the Finance Ministry with effect from December 5.
6. Manipur honour for boxer Mary Kom
Manipur honoured boxing champion Mary Kom with the title ‘Meethoileima’ at a function in the Khuman Lampak Stadium here on Tuesday. Chief Minister N. Biren Singh also gave her a cheque for ₹10 lakh.
7. Okun’s law
This refers to an empirical relationship between an economy’s growth rate and its unemployment rate. Okun’s law states that when an economy grows at an annual rate of over 3%, its unemployment rate will fall at a rate that is equal to half the number of percentage points by which the growth rate exceeds 3%. For instance, if an economy grows by 5%, its unemployment rate will drop by 1%. By the same logic, the unemployment rate will rise proportionately if an economy’s growth rate falls below the threshold of 3%. It is named after American economist Arthur Melvin Okun. The law has been criticised for its strict mathematical view of complex economies.
8. No more Brexit negotiations: Merkel
German leader Angela Merkel ruled out further negotiations on Brexit on Tuesday but said efforts were being made to give the U.K. reassurances after Prime Minister Theresa May abruptly pulled a vote at home because she faced defeat.
With less than four months left until the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU on March 29, Ms. May’s Brexit deal is floundering, opening up prospects that run the gamut from a disorderly no-deal divorce to calling Brexit off.
9. Khashoggi among journalists honoured by Time
Time magazine on Tuesday named a group of journalists, including Jamal Khashoggi and a pair of journalists imprisoned by Myanmar, as its “Person of the Year”, in a cover story headlined “The Guardians and the War on Truth.”
The honour went to a series of journalists including Reuters journalists Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, who the government of Myanmar convicted on September 3 under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act. Also honoured was Saudi journalist Khashoggi, who was killed two months ago at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The magazine also honoured Maria Ressa, the founder of the Philippine news site Rappler that has been a frequent critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, and the staff of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, where a gunman shot and killed five people in June. Time said it chose to honour journalism at time when the practice critical to democracy is under threat both from governments and technological advances. Its annual distinction is intended to recognise the person, group, thing or idea that had the greatest influence on world events that year. “For taking great risks in pursuit of greater truths, for the imperfect but essential quest for facts that are central to civil discourse, for speaking up and for speaking out, the Guardians Jamal Khashoggi, the Capital Gazette, Maria Ressa, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are Time’s Person of the Year 2018,” Time editor-in-chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal said in a statement.
10. French govt. defends financial relief package
French President Emmanuel Macron’s government on Tuesday defended a financial relief package to quell the “yellow vest” revolt over taxes and living standards, hoping to end protests which have spiralled into violence in and other cities.
Over 21 million people watched a visibly contrite Mr. Macron declare a “state of economic and social emergency” in a televised address on Monday, promising billions of euros in aid for the lowest earners.
The new measures, including a €100 jump in the minimum wage next year, are expected to cost up to €11 billion ($12.5 billion) — and are likely to put France on a collision course with Brussels.
The government had already scrapped fuel tax increases set for January — a core demand of the yellow vests — which will cost a further €4.5 billion.
11. Iran confirms testing ballistic missile
Iran confirmed on Tuesday that it had carried out a recent test of a medium-range ballistic missile after Western powers sharply criticised a December 1 launch. “We are continuing our missile tests and this recent one was a significant test,” the Fars news agency reported.
12. Surjit Bhalla resigns from EAC-PM
Eminent economist and columnist Surjit Bhalla on Tuesday said he had resigned as part-time member of Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) on December 1. “I resigned as part-time member of PMEAC on December 1,” Mr. Bhalla said in a tweet.
A Prime Minister’s Office spokesman said that Mr. Bhalla’s resignation has been accepted by the Prime Minister.
“In his request, he had stated that he would be joining some other organisation,” the spokesman said.
The six-member council consists of eminent economists including Bibek Debroy (Chairman), Ratan P. Watal (member secretary), Rathin Roy (part-time member), Ashima Goyal (part-time member) as also Shamika Ravi (part-time member).
13. RBI slaps ₹1 crore fine on Indian Bank
The RBI said it had imposed a fine of ₹1 crore on Indian Bank for violating cybersecurity norms. The RBI has imposed, by an order dated November 30, 2018, a penalty of ₹1 crore on the lender for contravention of Circular on Cyber Security Framework in banks, the RBI said in a release. The contravention is with regard to RBI’s directions on Frauds- Classification and Reporting by Commercial Banks.
14. Ad-hoc committee to select women’s coach
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday announced the ad-hoc committee to conduct the interviews of the eligible candidates for selecting the head coach of the senior women’s team.
The panel consists of Kapil Dev, Aunshuman Gaekwad and Shanta Rangaswamy.
The interviews will be conducted on Dec. 20 at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai.
15. Seto swims to 200m butterfly World mark
Japan’s Daiya Seto smashed Chad le Clos’s short-course record in the men’s 200m butterfly as he grabbed gold at the World Championships to stun the South African on Tuesday. Seto’s 1min, 48.24s bettered Le Clos’ 1:48.56 set in Singapore in 2013.
16. Water traces found on asteroid Bennu
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has discovered ingredients for water on a nearby skyscraper-sized asteroid, a rocky acorn-shaped object that may hold clues to the origins of life on the earth, scientists said on Monday.
OSIRIS-REx, which flew last week within a scant 19 km of the asteroid Bennu some 2.25 million km from the earth, found traces of hydrogen and oxygen molecules — part of the recipe for water and thus the potential for life — embedded in the asteroid’s rocky surface.
The probe, on a mission to return samples from the asteroid to earth for study, was launched in 2016. Bennu orbits the Sun at roughly the same distance as the earth.
OSIRIS-REx will pass later this month just 1.9 km from Bennu. The spacecraft will later fly back to the earth, jettisoning a capsule bearing the asteroid specimen in September 2023.
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
18. Things to Remember:
RBI Governor – Shaktikanta Das
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh
Chief Minister Manipur – N. Biren Singh
French President Emmanuel Macron
19. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – A persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.
Example – ‘I’ve never been one to hold a grudge’
Synonyms – grievance