Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 14 January 2018
Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 14 January 2018
Supreme Court Bar Association’s executive committee passed a resolution
The Supreme Court Bar Association’s executive committee passed a
resolution asking the four sitting judges of the highest court, Justices J.
Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph, who aired their
differences with CJI, to sort out the rift among themselves.
A Full Bench of the Supreme Court, all current 25 judges of the court,
should sit and resolve the issues, the resolution said.
The association also said public interest litigation (PIL) petitions
should be heard by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) or the Benches led by
the four senior-most judges.
A visit by PM’s Principal Secretary to the residence of CJI Misra set
off a political storm with the Congress questioning it, especially since the
Centre had declared that it wanted to distance itself from the whole affair.
“Both Mr. Misra and the CJI had been neighbours earlier, possibly when
they both resided on Tughlak Road, and the Principal Secretary went to visit
the CJI after the latter moved to his new residence. In any case, he was
unable to meet him,” a senior official told.
Regular meeting between India and Pakistan NSA’s
Indian and Pakistani National Security Advisors AjitDoval and Gen. (Retd)
Naseer Janjua have been meeting and speaking on the telephone more regularly
than they have officially confirmed. They held at least three meetings in
Bangkok, and one in Russia.
According to the sources, the NSA’s have been meeting in Bangkok, as it
is a convenient hub for flights from both countries, and speaking
“regularly” over the phone.
They also held talks on the sidelines of an international security
summit in the Russian town of Zavidovo in the Tver region during May 25-26,
Engagements for contacts this year are still being worked out, but
upcoming Davos World Economic Forum on January 22-23, which PM Modi and his
Pakistani counterpart are scheduled to attend, could be the next venue for
the NSA or other foreign office officials to meet.
The talks in Russia were particularly significant as they came days
after India moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the case of
Kulbhushan Jadhav, the former Indian Navy commander arrested and sentenced
to death by Pakistan, who has been denied consular access.
The last known meeting between the NSAs took place on December 26, 2017
a day after Mr. Jadhav was allowed to meet his wife and mother in Islamabad.
India accused Pakistan of violating its commitments on access to Mr.
Jadhav and of humiliating his family by making them change clothes and
remove their jewellery.
India’s subsequent decision to cancel grant of visas to Sufi pilgrims
from Pakistan to attend the urs at the Nizamuddin shrine was seen as a
response to Pakistan’s actions on the Jadhav case.
PIL challenging Aadhaar scheme to be heard by five judges bench
A series of public interest cases, led by a batch of 27 petitions
challenging the Aadhaar scheme, will be heard back-to-back by a fivejudge
Constitution Bench from January 17.
A notice issued by the Supreme Court gave the line-up of cases to be
heard by the Constitution Bench, starting with the Aadhaar cases, then a
petition by Kerala resident Joseph Shine challenging the commodification of
women by the penal law of adultery in the Indian Penal Code, followed by the
restriction on the entry of women to the famed Sabarimala temple.
Though the notice does not mention the composition of the judges on the
Bench, the Aadhaar petitions were previously heard by a five-judge Bench led
by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
After the Sabarimala case, the next matter listed before the
Constitution Bench is the much-awaited challenge to the constitutionality of
Section 377 IPC which criminalises homosexuality.
This would be followed by a petition filed by Goolrokh M. Gupta
challenging the Parsi community’s practice of refusing a woman's right to
retain her religious identity if she chooses to marry outside her faith.
Another important matter listed for hearing before the Constitution
Bench is whether reasons for disqualification of Members of Parliament can
be beyond those stated in Article 102 (a) to (d) of the Constitution.
Iran said that it won’t accept any changes to its 2015 nuclear deal
Iran said that it won’t accept any changes to its 2015 nuclear deal with
world powers after U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to pull out of the
accord in a few months if European allies did not fix its “terrible flaws”.
In a statement carried by the state-run IRNA news agency, the Foreign
Ministry said Iran “will not accept any change in the deal, neither now nor
in future”, adding that it will “not take any action beyond its
It also said Iran would not allow the deal to be linked to other issues,
after Mr. Trump suggested that the sanctions relief under the deal be tied
to Iran limiting its long-range ballistic missile programme.
The Iranian statement said the targeting of one of the officials,
judiciary chief Sadegh Amoli Larijani, “crossed all behavioural red lines of
the international community”.
It said the sanctions are against international law and go against U.S.
commitments, saying they would bring a “strong reaction” from Iran.
The 2015 nuclear accord, reached after months of painstaking
negotiations with the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia,
lifted international sanctions in exchange for Iran limiting its nuclear
Govt analyzing FDI inflows to introduce specific provisions in the new
The Centre is analysing foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to
introduce specific provisions in the new industrial policy and the FDI
Policy for ensuring such funds result in enhanced technology transfer, local
value-addition and innovation.
The discussion paper on a future-ready industrial policy had already
recommended a review of the current FDI regime.
Govt is also looking at global practices, including regulations in
countries such as Israel and China regarding transfer of technology,
domestic value addition and promotion of innovation. The inputs will be fed
into the concerned policies.
The analysis is being done with the help of ‘Invest India’ — the
government’s investment promotion and facilitation agency.
According to the August 2017 discussion paper by the Department of
Industrial Policy and Promotion, while the FDI policy had largely aimed at
attracting investment, “benefits of retaining investments and accessing
technology have not been harnessed to the extent possible.”
It said the “FDI policy requires a review to ensure that it facilitates
greater technology transfer, leverages strategic linkages and innovation.”
In the current FDI policy, the explicit condition specifying that “value
addition facilities are set up within India along with transfer of
technology” is limited to ‘mining and mineral separation of titanium bearing
minerals and ores’ where 100% FDI is allowed through the government-approval
There have been concerns regarding an overweening emphasis on the
quantum of FDI and not as much focus on the quality of the funds.
A recent study initiated by the Institute for Studies in Industrial
Development found that “it was acquisitions which provided the sustenance
for the rise in (FDI) flows during 2016-17,” raising doubts about capacity
India received record FDI inflows of $60.1 billion during 2016-17.
Referring to (the Centre’s) ‘Make In India’ sectoral achievement reports,
the study said they were “lacking close scrutiny of the reported (FDI)
inflows or the nature of foreign investments” — including whether the
inflows were for greenfield projects, mergers and acquisitions or for other
Budget presentation to be a big task this year
With about three weeks to go before the Union Budget 2018-19, there are
hopes and apprehensions about what is in store for the economy and industry.
The Budget will be presented at a time when economic growth has
moderated. As per the Advance Estimates, GDP growth is estimated to slow to
6.5% in 2017-18 from 7.1% in the previous year.
The secular decline in gross fixed capital formation from a high of 34%
of GDP in 2011-12 to 26% in 2017-18 is another matter of concern. Hence,
driving up the economy by stimulating investment and growth assumes special
However, maintaining fiscal prudence is also important. With global
rating agencies attaching high premium to the fiscal numbers, a conservative
fiscal deficit metric helps attract foreign investment.
Besides, with rising global oil and commodity prices fuelling
inflationary expectations, a healthy fiscal balance becomes necessary. But,
in the first eight months of FY18, the fiscal deficit has touched 112% of
the full-year target, raising concerns about whether the government can meet
the goal of 3.2% of GDP this fiscal.
With tax revenues yet to stabilise following the implementation of GST,
it is important to consider other options to augment revenue. The success of
the disinvestment programme this year is an example.
The latest figures show that the government has garnered Rs. 52,378
croreas against the target of Rs. 72,500 crore for the year. It is crucial
that the government takes steps to meet the target through strategic sale of
It could also contemplate privatising dormant or idle assets of major
PSUs. This would not only result in efficient use of resources but also
generate revenue for the government.
Further, the government should undertake a census of land and other
assets locked up in central and state PSUs that have turned economically
unviable and cannot be revived. The same should be monetised or used for
affordable housing and other infrastructure projects in urban areas.
Given the macro-economic compulsions, some slippage of the fiscal target
is understandable. A flexible fiscal policy would help address dynamic
business situations that may need greater public expenditure to spur demand
But, the government must ensure that the overrun is kept to a minimum
and fiscal prudence is not compromised.
Rural economy remain the foundation for India’s overall growth story
Despite falling contribution to GDP, agriculture and the rural economy
remain the foundation for India’s overall growth story. With two of three
citizens living in villages, their incomes and consumption patterns are
critical to increase demand for industry.
As per the advance estimates of growth in gross value added for 2017-18,
farm output will expand 2.1% compared with 4.9% the previous year. Budget
2018-19 can be expected to have a strong focus on rural India.
India is already the largest producer of milk and the second-largest of
grains, fruits and vegetables and fish. However, productivity of crops is
often below the global average and much of the farm produce is wasted in the
absence of a robust cold chain and warehousing facilities.
The government has introduced a seven-point strategy for doubling farmer
incomes by 2023 and the upcoming budget is likely to action these.
For industry, policy priorities relate to building rural infrastructure,
addressing pricing of major agricultural crops, amending farm policies and
inducing greater corporate participation and linkages with industry.
While minimum support prices are provided for 23 crops, the main
procurement takes place for wheat, rice and cotton. Farmers, who suffer from
myriad risks, must get remunerative prices which can be done through
strengthening and expanding e-NAM (electronic markets) in all States.
A single levy of APMC fees across the country can encourage investments.
Farmers should be permitted to sell their produce directly to food
processing firms, aggregators and retailers.
A mechanism to involve the private sector in procurement, storage and
distribution of food grains at MSP rates may be considered for the Public
Distribution System,which can result in huge savings for the Centre.
Under infrastructure, irrigation is a key gap, covering less than half
of net sown area. The Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Program received a
major thrust in the last Budget. This should be continued to ensure that
AIBP projects are completed at the earliest.
Further, drip irrigation and micro irrigation too need focus. A chain of
post-harvest infrastructure of cold storage and warehouses can effectively
link agri-produce with markets and with food processing facilities.
Currently, less than 10% of produce is processed.
Investment rates should be improved in India
Given the continuing decline in the investment rate in India, there are
hopes that the Budget would reignite the animal spirits required to revive
the investment momentum.
The corporate sector is looking for a reduction in the corporate tax
rate, as promised by the Finance Minister a few years ago but implemented
only for smaller firms in last year’s Budget.
Given the worldwide trend of reduction in corporate tax rates, India may
now have to move in that direction too.
With the applicability of minimum alternate tax (MAT) and dividend
distribution tax, the overall tax burden on the Indian corporate sector is
one of the highest in the world and a reduction would go a long way in
creating a more investment-friendly environment.
Second, it is critical to step up public investment, which acts as an
enabler for the private sector — not only in roads, railways and waterways
but also in housing and agri-infrastructure. Private sector investment
should be brought in to sectors and projects where the players are likely to
They should be encouraged to invest in projects only after securing key
sovereign clearances. This would likely reduce the capital which gets locked
up in projects stalled awaiting clearance.
Implementing Kelkar Committee recommendations for stimulating the PPP
model in upcoming projects and freeing up capital locked in arbitration
swiftly by ensuring contractual sanctity and effective dispute resolution
mechanism would help improve the investment climate.
Another crucial aspect hampering private investment is land
availability. Several projects face hurdles and delays due to
non-availability of land for initiating planned investment.