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Daily Current Events by Civils360 December 27, 2017

GS1

Flood Management: Read Here

  • China will maintain communication with India on efforts to manage the massive lakes formed by landslips on the Brahmaputra in Tibet following an earthquake last month. The formation of these lakes had triggered fears of a sudden flooding on the Indian side.
  • A 6.4-magnitude earthquake occurred in Tibet and this caused the formation of three huge artificial lakes in the Brahmaputra whose size and the volume of water impounded are yet to be ascertained. There is a massive accumulation of water in the upstream parts of the river which has caused concerns that if the lakes merge or overflow, millions of people downstream along the banks of both the Siang (in Arunachal Pradesh) and the Brahmaputra would be affected.
  • Earlier, China had denied reports that the water in the Siang river had turned highly polluted because of attempts to build a massive tunnel to divert the water to the arid Xinjiang region.

GS2

Education: Read Here

  • 17 states have responded positively to the Centre’s appeal to end the practice of inflating Class XII Board marks in the garb of moderation. The inflation of results has led to unrealistic cut-off marks for admission to several top universities in the country including Delhi University in the past.
  • Moderation policy refers to a practice in which students get extra marks in subjects regarded unusually difficult or if there have been differences in the sets of question papers. Even though moderation is meant to level the playing field and create equity between students, it is not always the case.
  • The problem occurs when some school boards are allegedly misusing it to inflate Class XII results to give their students a competitive edge in admission to higher education institutions. Centre also informed that the practice of giving grace marks can continue provided the policy is publicly declared and that weight to extra-curricular activities should be the same across all boards.

North Korea: Read Here

  • The United States announced sanctions on two North Korean officials behind their country’s ballistic missile program on Tuesday, while Russia reiterated an offer to mediate to ease tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.
  • The new US steps are the latest in a campaign aimed at forcing North Korea to abandon a weapons program aimed at developing nuclear-tipped missiles capable of hitting the United States. However, North Korea has defied years of multilateral and bilateral sanctions.
  • The latest United Nations sanctions announced last Friday was because of North Korea’s  test of an ICBM that Pyongyang said to put all the US mainland within range of its nuclear weapons. The standoff between the United States and North Korea has raised fears of a new conflict on the Korean peninsula, which has remained in a technical state of war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.The USA stresses on all the neighbouring countries to imposes sanctions on North Korea while Russia focusses on a negotiation between the two countries to resolve the conflict.

GS3

GST: Read Here

  • Official data released on Tuesday shows that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection in November fell further to Rs. 80,808 crore from Rs. 83,346 crore in October. A total of 99.01 lakh taxpayers have been registered under the GST till December 25, of which 16.60 lakh are composition dealers who are required to file returns every quarter. [A total of] 53.06 lakh returns have been filed for November till December 25.
  • Out of the Rs. 80,808 crore collected in November, Rs. 13,089 crore is under the Central GST (CGST), Rs. 18,650 crore under the State GST (SGST), Rs. 41,270 crore under the Integrated GST (IGST) and Rs. 7,798 crore from the compensation cess.

  • Earlier, the government collected as much as Rs. 92,283 crore in July, Rs. 90,669 crore in August, and Rs. 92,150 crore in September. The fall in the collection is along expected lines, due in part to a large number of rate reductions that came into effect on November 15. However, some people point out to more systemic problems in the GST implementation, highlighting that the GST Council had deferred the filing of the GSTR-2 and GSTR-3 forms.

WTO: Read Here

  • India’s opposition to a proposed agreement to end fisheries subsidies at the World Trade Organization could primarily be due to the potential adverse political fallout in India’s coastal states. They constitute a significant electorate in coastal belt states in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.
  • The 164 member countries of the multilateral trade body could only finalize a work programme on fisheries subsidies to finalize a deal by 2019 as India opposed any interim deal to restrict illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. India did not agree to an interim agreement as many interests of the developing countries were not protected nor were defined. Developing countries such as India want to protect subsidies for low-income, resource-poor fishermen for whom it is a matter of livelihood
  • In the absence of an agreement, WTO members decided to continue to engage constructively in the fisheries subsidies negotiations with a view to adopting an agreement on comprehensive and effective disciplines by the ministerial conference in 2019.