Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 08 March 2018
Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 08 March 2018
Aadhaar not compulsory for NEET
In a huge relief to thousands of students, a Constitution Bench of the
Supreme Court stayed a CBSE notification.
Notification made it mandatory for aspirants to produce their Aadhaar or
its enrolment proof mandatory in order to register or appear for the
National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2018.
The five-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which is hearing
a batch of petitions challenging Aadhaar scheme, questioned the Centre about
the issuance of such notifications by government authorities.
The Supreme Court had already made it clear in a series of interim
orders that Aadhaar would continue to be voluntary till a final decision is
taken by the court about its constitutional validity.
The petitioners, who approached the court against the CBSE notification,
said the government had been issuing several such notifications, which in
fact, amounted to contempt of the Supreme Court’s orders.
Panic buttons in Delhi buses
On the eve of International Women’s Day, in a move to bolster the
security of women passengers, the Delhi government has announced a pilot
project under which state-run buses would be installed with Panic Alarm
Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said on the occasion that panic alarms
would be the third line of defence to ensure women’s safety.
“Our government has deployed bus marshals in all Delhi Transport
Corporation (DTC) buses and installed CCTV cameras in 200 buses on a pilot
basis. By March 2019, the three initiatives will be scaled up to cover all
DTC and cluster buses,” Mr. Gahlot said.
The pilot for the Panic Alarm System, according to the Delhi government,
has been launched in five cluster buses of the Rajghat-2 depot, plying on
The project is being implemented in collaboration with a Bangalore-based
NGO, Project Durga, which works on women’s safety and gender equity in
The drivers and conductors covered under the project have been trained
in operating and responding to the panic alarm system according to a set
On hearing the alarm, the driver would stop the bus. Meanwhile, the
conductor will identify the location of the button being pressed and
If the situation isn’t minor and cannot be addressed on the spot, the
conductor will immediately call the Depot Manager, who will contact a PCR
“The panic alarm system will also be integrated with the bus’ GPS
location so that the Depot Manager and the Central Command Centre of cluster
bus operations gets an immediate alert,” the official added.
Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal said it was
necessary to create deterrents for crimes against women.
Gastroenteritis breakout in Guntur
Three more persons died following the unprecedented outbreak of
suspected gastroenteritis in several areas in Old Guntur.
The death toll since Monday reached five as the Guntur Municipal
Corporation struggled to contain the spread of the epidemic.
Doctors said the symptoms of cholera were evident as the watery stools
were pale brown.
All those who died so far had been admitted with complaints of diarrhoea,
muscle cramps and symptoms of severe dehydration.
The deceased had been identified as Sk. Ghouse of Lalapet, Koti Reddy of
Ziauddin Nagar, K. Padmavathy from Chebrolu and KandeGopi of RajagariThota.
Unprecedented scenes were witnessed at the superspeciality block at the
Government General Hospital as more than 100 men and women were being
treated at the waiting hall, which had been converted into a make shift
Duty doctors and nurses were seen struggling to cope with the enormous
influx of patients and in some cases, women patients were seen sharing the
After being treated in the casualty ward, the patients were being sent
to the cardiology wards while some were shifted to the psychiatric ward.
District Collector and Special Officer, GMC, Kona Sasidhar, convened an
emergency meeting and instructed that water supply should be stopped from
the BR Stadium water reservoir to Anandapet and Vinodbhava Nagar.
He also asked the GMC to ensure supply of water through tankers.
Municipal Commissioner C. Anuradha was present.
A team of 300 nurses was visiting houses of the 10 wards in Anandapet.
District Medical and Health Officer Yasmin said the nurses were briefing
people about the need to drink boiled water and keep the surroundings clean.
Vandalism of statues in various parts of India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi came down heavily on incidents of vandalism
of statues of leaders in various parts of the country and took up the matter
with Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
The Home Ministry issued two strongly worded advisories to State
governments to prevent such incidents from occurring.
In an official statement Prime Minister Modi was said to have strongly
condemned such incidents of vandalism and assured stern action would be
taken against those found guilty.
Following the BJP’s victory in the Assembly polls in Tripura, a statue
of late Soviet leader V.I. Lenin in Belonia town in the State had been
Following this, a statue of Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mookerjee
was defaced in West Bengal.
What added fuel to the fire was a Facebook post (now deleted and denied)
from the account of BJP’s national secretary H. Raja that statues of
Dravidian ideologue Periyar in Tamil Nadu be defaced too.
The government and the BJP strongly condemned the incidents at the
highest level as the issue appeared to be gaining traction across the
A statue of Periyar in Vellore in Tamil Nadu was found vandalised,
following which the BJP’s office in Coimbatore was attacked with a petrol
bomb early on Wednesday morning.
No casualties were reported in the attack but the issue had acquired
proportions that were alarming for both the government and the BJP.
The Home Ministry said on Wednesday that district magistrates and
superintendents of police would be held “personally responsible” if statues
of political leaders and icons were vandalised in their jurisdictions.
Mr. Rajnath Singh appealed to political parties to ensure that those
found desecrating statues are dealt with strictly.
District officials have been told that they must ensure that the police
keep strict vigil on anti-social elements, social media and rumour-mongers
and take strong action against anyone indulging in any kind of violence or
inciting violence, the spokesperson said.
The official said no State government has sought additional paramilitary
Party president Amit Shah spoke to State units in Tripura and Tamil Nadu
to counsel peace and seek action against those who were party to any
Uncertainity in Aadhaar can’t go on: Justice Chandrachud
Justice D.Y. Chandrachud became an unexpected voice from within the
Supreme Court to highlight the prevailing uncertainty and dangers,
especially in the banking and financial sectors, of waiting till the “last
minute” to extend the March 31 deadline for Aadhaar linkage.
One of the five judges on the Constitution Bench hearing the challenge
to the Aadhaar scheme, Justice Chandrachud agreed with the apprehensions
raised by petitioners on whether the March 31 deadline would be extended or
The Bench, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, had so far remained
non-committal on the extension, saying there was still time. On December 15,
the Supreme Court had extended the deadline till March 31 to link Aadhaar
with bank accounts, mobile phones and several other essential services,
welfare schemes and benefits.
Justice Chandrachud’s observations and the repeated urging of the
petitioners’ lawyers, including senior advocates K.V. Vishwanathan, Arvind
P. Datar and ShyamDiwan, to extend the March 31 deadline saw the Chief
Justice react positively in favour of an extension.
“Extension of deadline… that we will do. Let them [arguments by
petitioners’ lawyers in the Aadhaar case] finish. We will pass the order,”
Chief Justice Misra orally observed.
Justice A.K. Sikri indicated from the Bench that it may pass an order to
extend the deadline on the next day of hearing, March 13.
Sensor Operated Automated Traffic Barriers
The Assam government informed the National Green Tribunal that the State
government had sanctioned a sum of Rs. 11 crore.
It is for the installation of sensor-operated automated traffic barriers
to check the death of animals in road accidents close to the Kaziranga
Upon the State government submitting that the tenders will be issued
within a month after the Assembly’s approval, the Bench headed by judicial
member Jawad Rahim said, “We direct that the undertaking given by the Assam
government be complied with and the tenders issued within four weeks.”
The directions came while the tribunal was hearing a plea filed by
wildlife activist RohitChoudhary, who opposed the widening of NH-37 which
passes along the national park.
Earlier, the green panel had rejected the Assam government’s proposal of
deploying manpower instead of installing the sensor-operated automated
traffic barriers to curb the deaths.
The tribunal said that except budgetary constraints, there was no reason
for the government to deploy manpower instead of sensors.
The green panel had also said that any vehicle that surpassed the 40 km
speed limit would be liable to pay an environmental compensation of Rs.
5,000 apart from the fine under the Motor Vehicles Act.
No special status, only package: Jaitley
The States enjoying ‘special status’ only have to pay 10% of this
Mr. Jaitley said the TDP’s contention that the division left Andhra
Pradesh at a disadvantage is fair.
He, however, claimed that the problem is how to transfer this fund to
The Andhra Pradesh government, he said, initially wanted this assistance
to be routed as loans through external agencies like the World Bank and the
Asian Development Bank.
Under this, the Union government would have paid 90% of the loans.
“This January they modified the request. Instead of externally aided
projects, they asked us to provide funds through NABARD loan,” Mr. Jaitley
“It is almost as if the Union government is waiting to pay the funds but
is waiting for a bank account number,” he added.
As the U.S. and China look to protect their national security needs and
economic interests, the fight between the two financial superpowers is
increasingly focused on a single area: technology.
The clash erupted in public after the U.S. government, citing national
security concerns, called for a full investigation into a hostile bid to buy
the American chip stalwart Qualcomm.
This is a review that is often a death knell for a corporate deal.
The proposed acquisition by the Singapore-based Broadcom would have been
the largest deal in technology history.
But a government panel said the takeover could weaken Qualcomm and give
its Chinese rivals an advantage.
“China would likely compete robustly to fill any void left by Qualcomm
as a result of this hostile takeover,” a U.S. Treasury official wrote in a
letter calling for a review of the deal.
The fight over technology is redefining the rules of engagement in an
era when national security and economic power are closely intertwined.
Ambitions under Xi
China, under President Xi Jinping, has launched an ambitious plan to
dominate mobile technology, supercomputers, artificial intelligence and
other cutting-edge industries.
Beijing wants to build its own technology champions and is encouraging
companies to acquire the engineering, expertise and intellectual property
from big rivals in the United States and elsewhere.
The aggressive push has set off alarms in Washington.
The secretive panel that is reviewing the Qualcomm deal, the Committee
on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, has taken on a central
role in the resistance to Chinese investment.
The panel, which is led by the Treasury Department and made up of
representatives from multiple agencies, has the authority to block foreign
acquisitions of U.S. companies for national security reasons; it has
effectively killed several acquisitions linked to Chinese buyers over the
Broadcom said it was cooperating with CFIUS, saying it was “making the
combined company a global leader in critical 5G and other technologies”.
Qualcomm, in an earlier statement, said the review was a “very serious
In most cases, the panel weighs in after a deal is announced. With
Qualcomm, CFIUS is taking a proactive role and investigating before an
acquisition agreement has even been signed.
CFIUS has stymied several deals in the past year.
MoneyGram, the money transfer company, and Ant Financial, the Chinese
electronics payment company, called off their merger in January, citing
regulatory concerns of CFIUS.
If the deal had gone through, Ant Financial would have had access to
reams of financial data, which could have created security problems.
Last year, the White House blocked a Chinese-backed investor from buying
Lattice Semiconductor, which is a supplier to the U.S. government.
China Venture Capital Fund Corp., which was part of the investment
group, is owned by state-backed entities.
Technology companies are stuck in the middle of the fight between the
United States and China.
While there are concerns about Chinese encroachment, the industry also
recognises that such deals are the price for entry to the world’s
Ease in Spectrum Cap
The Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved
relaxing the cap on spectrum holding by telcos, a move that is expected to
aid mergers and acquisitions in the sector.
The Cabinet has also given telcos the option to extend the time period
for payment of spectrum bought in auction to 16 years from the present 10
This is likely to help with the cash flow in the short to medium term,
while adding Rs. 74,446 crore till 2034-35 to the government’s kitty due to
no reduction in interest rates.
The relief measures, based on the recommendations by the Inter
Ministerial Group on stressed assets in the telecom sector, will facilitate
investments, consolidation and enhance ease of doing business, said an
The cap on overall spectrum that can be held by an operator in a circle
has been raised to 35% from the current 25%.
In line with earlier recommendations of TRAI, the current cap of 50% on
intra-band spectrum holding has also been removed.
Instead, there will be a cap of 50% on the combined spectrum holding in
the sub-1 GHz bands (700 MHz, 800 MHz and 900 MHz bands).
There will be no cap on individual or combined spectrum holding in the
above 1 GHz band.
The government is hopeful that this move would encourage participation
in future spectrum auctions.
Rajan Mathews, director general, COAI said, “The new spectrum caps will
facilitate consolidation in the industry – Reliance Jio-Reliance
Communications and Idea-Vodafone.”
However, the debt payment extension will have only minimal benefit
unless the interest rate is also reduced, Mr. Mathews said.
He added that the systemic issues of the industry such as excessive
taxes and levies of 30% or more remained unaddressed.
U.S. New Tax code to hit Indian Domestic Industries
The proposal by the Trump administration to levy a steep tariff on steel
imports will encourage steel-surplus nations to divert their exports to
“vibrant consumption centres like India and distort domestic markets
considerably,” according to the Indian Steel Association (ISA).
The association said that U.S. move to club India, a steel non-mature
country, with other steel surplus nations “is not appropriate.”
In a statement, ISA, the representative body of Indian steel makers,
said, “the proposal by the U.S. to include India among several others is not
desirable as a policy measure.”
The U.S. proposal would dent the growth prospects of a developing nation
like India, whose production and consumption were inward looking, the
D. Bhaskar Chatterjee, secretary general of ISA, said that a nuanced
distinction was imperative prior to imposition of across-the-board tariffs
on the basis of a country’s steel production motives.
The proposal, if implemented, would result in major shifts in existing
global trade flows of steel and steel products, ISA said.
“Though India is the third largest producer of steel and produces 12% of
the world’s non-Chinese production of steel, it has only a 2.7% share in the
U.S. imports,” it said.
ISA also pointed out that there were a total of 16 trade remedies in
place in the U.S. against Indian steel companies.
This included 10 anti-dumping and six countervailing duties. “All these
had made it nearly impossible to export to the U.S.,” the association said.