Thursday, 19 July 2018

19th July 2018 | Daily current affairs for APSC

An opposition-sponsored no- confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government, moved for the first time since the BJP-led dispensation came to power four years ago, would be taken up for debate in the Lok Sabha on Friday, 20th July 2018. 

  • On the first day of the Monsoon Session, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan admitted the notices for the motion moved by several opposition parties and asked TDP’s Kesineni Srinivas to move his motion. 
  • Later, she announced that “the House will take up the debate (on the motion) on Friday, July 20th. The discussion will be held for the full day, followed by voting on it.” She also said there will be no Question Hour on that day and the House would have no other business, barring the discussion on the no-confidence motion. 
  • Earlier, the Speaker had announced that she would announce the date for the debate in 2-3 days. During the Zero Hour, she named all members from TDP, Congress and NCP, among others, who had moved similar no- confidence motion notices. 
  • “More than 50 members are supporting the motion, so the leave is granted (to bring in no-confidence motion),” Mahajan said while accepting the notice. 
  • The Opposition parties have brought the motion against the government on several issues like special status to Andhra Pradesh, cow vigilantism, lynchings, atrocities against women and dalits and alleged dilution of the SC/ST Act.

The 19 State Civil, Police and allied services officers summoned for handwriting test today were arrested by the Dibrugarh police.

  • Those arrested include 13 Assam Civil Service (ACS) and three Assam Police Service (APS) officers besides a District Transport Officer and two tax officers.
  • With this the number of arrested persons in the cash-for-job scam in the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) has shot up to 65, including 54 APS, ACS and allied service officials.
  • The ACS officers arrested today are Utpal Bhuyan, Barnali Das, Susovan Das, Dhruvojyoti Chakraborty, Manzoor Ilahi Laskar, Moon Mazoomdar, Mustafa Ahmed Borbhuyan, Md Saibur Rahman Borbhuyan, Monika Teronpi, Ganesh Chandra Das, Srabanti Sen Gupta, Deepsikha Phukan and Leena Krishna Kakati. The arrested APS officials are Gulshan Daolagapu, Pallavi Sharma and Bhargav Phukan. Further, Rituraj Neog, Superintendent of Taxes and Nipon Kumar Pathak, Inspector of Tax, too were arrested alongside Suranjita Hazarika, the Guwahati-based District Transport Officer
  • Police further said that two other accused – Debarata Dey and Sanjan Phukan – have agreed to become approvers in the case.

Scientists have defined a new geological time scale called the ‘Meghalayan Age’ – a period which began 4,200 years ago and experienced an abrupt mega-drought and cooling around the globe.

  • Sediments collected by an international team of researchers including those from a stalagmite from a cave in Meghalaya helped define the smallest climatic event in Earth’s history.
  • Agricultural-based societies that developed in several regions after the end of the last Ice Age were impacted severely by the 200-year climatic event that resulted in the collapse of civilisations and human migrations in Egypt, Greece, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and the Yangtze River Valley.
  • Evidence of the 4,200-year climatic event has been found on all seven continents. The Late Holocene Meghalayan Age was ratified as the most recent unit of the Geologic Time Scale after many years of research.
  • Two other ages: the Middle Holocene Northgrippian Age and the Early Holocene Greenlandian Age with beginnings defined at climatic events that happened about 8,300 years and 11,700 years ago respectively were also approved.
  • The three ages comprise the Holocene Epoch, which represents the time since the end of the last Ice Age.
  • The Meghalayan Age is unique among the many intervals of the Geologic Time Scale in that its beginning coincides with a global cultural event produced by a global climatic event, said Stanley Finney, a professor at Long Beach State University in the US and Secretary General of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) in France.
  • The International Commission on Stratigraphy, which is responsible for standardising the Geologic Time Scale, approved the definition of the beginning of the youngest unit of the Geologic Time Scale based on the timing of this event. The Commission then forwarded these proposals to its parent body, the IUGS, for consideration, and the executive committee of IUGS voted unanimously to ratify them.
  • Units of the Geologic Time Scale are based on sedimentary strata that have accumulated over time and contain within them sediment types, fossils and chemical isotopes that record the passage of time as well as the physical and biological events that produced them.
  • The three new ages of the Holocene Epoch are represented by a wealth of sediment that accumulated worldwide on the sea floor, on lake bottoms, as glacial ice, and as calcite layers in stalactites and stalagmites. 

Focus Article : No Central funds for flood management till 2020

  • The Union government has told the state governments that it would not extend any financial support to their flood management programme (FMP) schemes till 2020, that is the deadline fixed by it for clearing its outstanding liabilities against the FMP schemes executed by the states in the Eleventh Plan period. 
  • The Centre was to clear an amount of Rs 700 crore to Assam against its FMP schemes under the Eleventh and Twelfth Plans till the middle of this year. It cleared an amount of Rs 245 crore against this outstanding liability only recently.
  • Assam Water Resources Department (WRD) Secretary RP Das told that the Union government had told the states in the last meeting held at the New Delhi headquarters of the Central Water Commission (CWC) on June 21 that the issue of the arrear funds against the Eleventh Plan FMP schemes, which have been completed by now, would not be discussed.
  • According to the WRD Secretary, the Union government told the states that the June 21 meeting should discuss only the ongoing FMP schemes of the Twelfth Plan period so that these schemes could be completed. No new FMP scheme should be taken up by the states until the outstanding liabilities against the Eleventh Plan period schemes are cleared within the next two years’ time, the Union government said.
  • Das also informed that a team comprising experts from the CWC, Brahmaputra Board and the State WRD visited the sites of the ongoing Twelfth Plan period FMP schemes. At the third meeting of the series scheduled to be held tomorrow at the CWC’s New Delhi headquarters, the Union government may agree to release the arrear amounts only against the ongoing schemes, which would be taken up for completion. Some of the ongoing schemes may not be considered for completion.
  • The first meeting to discuss the issue of funding the FMP schemes among the representatives of the states and the Union government was held on May 21 this year at the New Delhi office of the Union Ministry of Water Resources. The second meeting between the states and the Union government on the issue was held at the New Delhi headquarters of the CWC on June 21.
  • At the first meeting of the series, Assam WRD Principal Secretary Hemanta Narzary requested the Secretary of the Union Ministry of Water Resources to include new FMP schemes for consideration. But it failed to evoke any positive response from the Union government, Das said.


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