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Current Affairs - 08 September 2018


KCR can’t decide poll dates: CEC
  • Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) O.P. Rawat termed caretaker Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s remarks about the schedule of fresh polls preposterous. 
  • He said an EC team would visit the State on September 11 to assess the poll preparedness before deciding the timing.
  • “The Commission strongly condemns the way the Chief Minister of Telangana announced the supposed schedule. It is uncalled for,” said Mr. Rawat.
  • On Thursday, Mr. Rao had said: “The election notification is expected in the first week of October, polls in November and results in December.” The Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee had objected to the remarks, terming it “match-fixing.”
  • Following a government notification on the dissolution of the House, the EC had sought a report from the State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO).
Supreme Court refuses to stay amendments to SC/ST Act
  • The Supreme Court refused to stay the recent amendments to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
  • The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018, restored the legislative intent of the original Act, which barred anticipatory bail to a person accused of insulting or hurting a Dalit. 
  • The amendments were meant to nullify the effect of the March 20 judgment of the court that removed the bar on accused persons seeking anticipatory bail. The ruling led to widespread protests and loss of lives.
  • Admitting the petitions challenging the amendments, a Bench led by Justice A.K. Sikri directed the government to reply to the allegations that the amendments were meant to appease the Dalits ahead of the 2019 general election.
Infiltration falling, says Dhaka
  • The chief of Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) said here  that there was no large-scale infiltration from Bangladesh to India and in the past six months, only 100 infiltrators were intercepted along the border.
  • On a visit here for biannual talks with the Border Security Force (BSF), Major-General Shafeenul Islam, Director-General of the BGB, denied the presence of any Indian insurgent groups (IIGs) in Bangladesh.
  • “There is no large-scale infiltration from Bangladesh. As you know the development curve in Bangladesh ... we are having a GDP of 7.1 and the people enjoy a very good life now in Bangladesh. So, there is hardly any migration in an organised way or large-scale manner,” he said at a joint press conference with the BSF.
  • He said Bangladeshis mostly crossed over to India because of the cultural ties they shared with people across the border.
  • “But they come back after visiting their friends and family. We have found out that this is mostly the case,” he said.
  • Mr. Sharma said the BSF had apprehended 1,522 illegal Bangladeshi migrants so far this year. Of these, 166 were inadvertent crossers while some were victims of human trafficking, he said.
  • Both the chiefs said cattle smuggling had gone down.
  • Major-General Shafeenul Islam said the number of killings of Bangladeshi people at the hands of the BSF along the 4,096-km shared border had come down as a number of them were involved in cattle smuggling.
  • Mr. Sharma expressed concern about the smuggling of fake notes.
China plays down 2+2 dialogue
  • India’s inaugural 2+2 ministerial dialogue with the United States  has “symbolic” significance, but is unlikely to yield a structural change in regional security, says a posting on a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) website.
  • The Chinese Foreign Ministry in its regular media briefing described the 2+2 dialogue as an exercise of “normal bilateral relations between the two sides.”
  • “We also hope that in this process they will do more to regional peace and regional stability,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying observed.
  • The online article spotlights United States’ “wariness and distrust with India” by insisting that the two countries “should sign a Communications Compatibility and Security agreement (COMCASA) first and military communications security measures can be transferred only when equipment such as attack drones are sold.”

CAD widens on higher trade deficit

  • The current account deficit (CAD) in the first quarter of 2018-19 increased by $0.8 billion. However, as a proportion of GDP, it declined marginally to 2.4% as compared with 2.5% in the first quarter of 2017-18 as per data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • “The widening of the CAD on a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis was primarily on account of a higher trade deficit at $45.7 billion as compared with $41.9 billion a year ago,” the central bank said in a statement.
  • As per RBI data, net services receipts increased 2.1% on a year-on-year basis mainly on the back of a rise in net earnings from software and financial services.
  • Private transfer receipts, mainly representing remittances by Indians employed overseas, amounted to $18.8 billion, increasing by 16.9% from their level a year ago, it said.
Govt. shortlists 11 CPSEs for buyback
  • The Finance Ministry has shortlisted about a dozen companies, including Coal India, NTPC, Nalco and NMDC, for a possible buyback of shares in the ongoing financial year.
  • The other companies which are in the list include NLC, BHEL, NHPC, NBCC, SJVN, KIOCL and Hindustan Aeronautics, officials said.
  • Earlier this week, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) discussed the buyback option with these companies, following which the list has been drafted.
  • These CPSEs have been asked to buy back the shares following the capital restructuring guidelines set out by DIPAM on May 27, 2016.
  • As per the guidelines, CPSEs having net worth of at least ₹2,000 crore and cash and bank balance of above ₹1,000 crore have to mandatorily go in for share buyback.
  • It had also asked every CPSE to analyse in the first board meeting after the closure of a financial year the cash and bank balance, expansion plans, borrowing plans, net worth and market value of shares and explore the option for buying back the shares.
RBI tweaks norms for note change
  • The RBI tweaked norms for exchange of mutilated notes following the introduction of ₹2,000, ₹200 and other lower denomination currencies.
  • Public can exchange mutilated or defective notes at RBI offices and designated bank branches across the country for either full or half value, depending upon the condition of the currency.
  • Making amendments to the Reserve Bank of India (Note Refund) Rules, 2009, the central bank said this has been done to enable the public to exchange mutilated notes in Mahatma Gandhi (New) series, which are smaller compared to the earlier series.

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