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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 25 June 2020

InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically.

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Commission to Examine Sub Categorization of other Backward Classes.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Credit Guarantee Scheme for Sub-ordinate Debt (CGSSD).

2. Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana.

3. Annual TB Report 2020 released.

4. Pakistan to remain on FATF grey list.

5. Trump suspends H-1B visas till year-end.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF).

2. Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Skills Build Reignite.

2. Ashadhi Bij, the Kutchi New Year.

3. Kushinagar airport declared as international airport.

4. Shwe oil & gas project in Myanmar.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics covered: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

Commission to Examine Sub Categorization of other Backward Classes

Context:

Cabinet approves Extension of term of the commission constituted under Article 340 of the constitution to examine the issue of Sub-categorization within other Backward Classes in the Central List.

What is Article 340?

Article 340 of the Indian Constitution lays down conditions for the appointment of a Commission to investigate the conditions of the backward classes. The President may by order appoint a Commission consisting of such persons as he thinks fit to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes within the territory of India.

Constitutional basis:

Article 14 of the Constitution guarantees equality before the law. That means un-equals cannot be treated equally. Measures are required to be taken for the upliftment of un-equals to bring them on par with the advanced classes.

Article 16 (4) provides that the State can make any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens who, in the opinion of the state, are not adequately represented in the services under the State.

Sub- categorisation:

National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) proposed the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) back in 2015.

In October 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind, in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 340 of the Constitution, appointed a commission to examine the issue of sub-categorisation of OBCs, chaired by retired Justice G. Rohini, to ensure social justice in an efficient manner by prioritising the Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs).

Need for sub- categorization:

Sub categorization of the OBCs will ensure that the more backward among the OBC communities can also access the benefits of reservation for educational institutions and government jobs.

At present, there is no sub-categorisation and 27% reservation is a monolithic entity.

Analysis:

This decision speaks to the long years of failure in effectively preventing large sections of the creamy layer from taking advantage of the quota system to the detriment of the poorer sections among their own caste groups.

In effect, the Union government is now seeking to ensure a more equitable distribution of reservation benefits by further differentiating caste groups coming under backward classes on the basis of their levels of social and economic backwardness.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of Articles 340, 14, 15 and 16.
  2. Head of the commission to examine the issue of sub-categorisation of OBCs.
  3. President‘s power under Article 340.
  4. Mandal Commission.
  5. Powers to include or exclude communities from the central list of OBCs.
  6. States powers to categorise OBCs.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for sub- categorisation of OBCs.

Sources: pib.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Credit Guarantee Scheme for Sub-ordinate Debt (CGSSD) launched

Context:

The scheme was announced by the Finance Minister as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

It is also called as “Distressed Assets Fund–Sub-ordinate Debt for MSMEs”.

Overview:

  • It is a scheme for the distressed MSME sector.
  • The scheme seeks to extend support to the promoter(s) of the operational MSMEs which are stressed and have become NPAs as on 30th April, 2020.
  • As per the Scheme, guarantee cover worth Rs. 20,000 crores will be provided to the promoters who can take debt from the banks to further invest in their stressed MSMEs as equity.
  • The scheme will be operationalised through Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for MSEs (CGTMSE).

Implementation:

  1. Promoter(s) of the MSMEs will be given credit equal to 15% of their stake (equity plus debt) or Rs. 75 lakh whichever is lower.
  2. Promoter(s) in turn will infuse this amount in the MSME unit as equity and thereby enhance the liquidity and maintain the debt-equity ratio.
  3. 90% guarantee coverage for this sub-debt will be given under the Scheme and 10% would come from the concerned promoters.
  4. There will be a moratorium of 7 years on payment of principal whereas the maximum tenor for repayment will be 10 years.

Significance:

The scheme would provide much-required support to around 2 lakh MSMEs and will help in reviving the economic activity in and through this sector. It will also help in protecting the livelihoods and jobs of millions of people who depend on them.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Beneficiaries under the scheme.
  2. About Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for MSEs (CGTMSE).
  3. Categorisation of MSMEs.
  4. MSME share in India’s GDP.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of this scheme.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana

Context:

Cabinet has approved 2% Interest Subvention approved on prompt repayment of Shishu Loans under Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana for a period of 12 months.

  • The estimated cost of the Scheme would be approximately Rs. 1,542 crore which would be provided by the Government of India.
  • This Scheme is for implementation of one of the measures relating to MSMEs, announced under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

Eligibility:

The scheme will be extended to loans which meet the following criteria – outstanding as on 31stMarch, 2020; and not in Non-Performing Asset (NPA) category, as per Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines, on 31st March 2020 and during the period of operation of the Scheme.

The interest subvention would be payable for the months in which the accounts are not in NPA category including for the months that the account becomes a performing asset again, after turning NPA.

Implementation strategy:

The Scheme will be implemented through the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and will be in operation for 12 months.

Significance:

  • The Scheme has been formulated as a specific response to an unprecedented situation and aims to alleviate financial stress for borrowers at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ by reducing their cost of credit.
  • It will incentivize people who will make regular repayments of loans.

mudra_loan

About the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) scheme:

Launched in April, 2015. The scheme’s objective is to refinance collateral-free loans given by the lenders to small borrowers.

  • Banks and MFIs can draw refinance under the MUDRA Scheme after becoming member-lending institutions of MUDRA.
  • Mudra Loans are available for non-agricultural activities upto Rs. 10 lakh and activities allied to agriculture such as Dairy, Poultry, Bee Keeping etc, are also covered.
  • Mudra’s unique features include a Mudra Card which permits access to Working Capital through ATMs and Card Machines.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Coverage of MUDRA scheme.
  2. Types of loans.
  3. About SIDBI.
  4. Features and Benefits under the scheme.
  5. New schemes launder under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of PMUY.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Annual TB Report 2020 released

Context:

The Annual TB Report is prepared and published by the Central TB Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GOI.

Highlights:

  1. 20.04 lakh notified TB patients in 2019 in India, which is a 14% increase from 2018.
  2. Reduction in the number of missing cases to 2.9 lakh cases as against more than 10 lakhs in 2017.
  3. Private sector notifications increased by 35% with 6.78 lakh TB patients notified.
  4. Proportion of children diagnosed with TB increased to 8% in 2019 compared to 6% in 2018.
  5. Provision of HIV testing for all notified TB patients increased from 67% in 2018 to 81% in 2019.
  6. Expansion of treatment services has resulted in a 12% improvement in the treatment success rate of notified patients. For 2019, it is 81% compared to 69% in 2018.

Nikshay system:

The country is achieving near-complete on-line notification of TB patients through the NIKSHAY system.

  • Nikshay is an information management system that acts like a one-stop solution for managing patients’ information and monitor program activity and performance all over the country.
  • It is developed and maintained by the Central TB Division (CTD), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with the National Informatics Centre (NIC), and the World Health Organization Country office for India.

National Tuberculosis Elimination Program (NTEP):

It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme being implemented under the aegis of the National Health Mission with resource sharing between the State Governments and the Central Government.

The goal of the program is to achieve a TB-free India with zero deaths, disease and poverty due to tuberculosis.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. SDG on TB reduction.
  2. What is NTEP and the goal under it?
  3. About Central TB Division.
  4. Annual TB report is released by?
  5. What is TB? How is it caused?

Mains Link:

“India’s TB report must be seen in light of the country’s slide in Hunger Index”, critically analyse the statement in the light of recently released Annual India Tuberculosis (TB) report.

pulmonary

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

Pakistan to remain on FATF grey list

Context:

Pakistan is likely to remain on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for failing to comply with the global terrorist financing watchdog’s deadline to prosecute and penalise terrorist financing in the country.

What’s the issue?

At an FATF meeting in February, Islamabad had been told that ‘all deadlines’ had expired and if they didn’t prosecute and penalise terrorist financing by June, the watchdog would take action.

At the Paris plenary too, the FATF had expressed serious concerns over Pakistan’s failure to complete its 27-point action plan in line with the agreed timelines – which ended in September 2019.

Implications:

  • With Pakistan’s continuation in the ‘Grey List’, it will be difficult for the country to get financial aid from the IMF, the World Bank, the ADB and the European Union.
  • This will further enhance problems for the nation which is in a precarious economic situation.
  • Also, there is every possibility that the global body may put the country in the ‘Black List’.

About FATF:

It is an inter- governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7.

Its Secretariat is located at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) headquarters in Paris.

Member Countries: There are 39 member of FATF, representing most financial centres around the world. This includes 2 regional organisations- GCC and EC. The FATF Plenary is the decision making body of the FATF. It meets three times per year.

What is blacklist and grey list?

Black List: Countries known as Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) are put in the blacklist. These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities. The FATF revises the blacklist regularly, adding or deleting entries.

Grey List: Countries that are considered safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put in the FATF grey list. This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. G7 vs G8 vs G20.
  2. Black vs Grey list.
  3. Are FATF’s decisions binding on member countries?
  4. Who heads the FATF?
  5. Where is its secretariat?

Mains Link:

What is the mandate and objectives of Financial Action Task Force? Discuss its importance for India – Pakistan relations.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

Trump suspends H-1B visas till year-end

Context:

USA has decided to extend the 60-day ban on immigrant and non-immigrant worker visas till the end of 2020.

The ban is effective immediately so the processing of all new H-1B, H-2B, J and L visa categories stands suspended.

  • H-1B, H-2B, J and L visa holders, and their spouses or children already present in the US shall not be impacted by the new worker visa ban.

What are H-1B, H-2B, L and other work visas?

In order to fill a vacuum of highly-skilled low-cost employees in IT and other related domains, the US administration issues a certain number of visas each year which allows companies from outside the US to send employees to work on client sites.

  1. H-1B: Person is Specialty Occupation: To work in a specialty occupation. Requires a higher education degree of its equivalent.
  2. L1 visas allows companies to transfer highly skilled workers to US for a period of up to seven years.
  3. H-2B visas allow food and agricultural workers to seek employment in the US.
  4. J-1 Visas: It is for students on work-study summer programmes.

Why this order was issued?

To protect American jobs during the ongoing pandemic. The entry of additional workers through the H-1B, H-2B, J, and L non-immigrant visa programmes presents a significant threat to employment opportunities for domestic workers by undercutting their jobs.

How does it impact Indian IT companies?

Indian IT companies are amongst the biggest beneficiaries of the US H-1B visa regime, and have since the 1990s cornered a lion’s share of the total number of visas issued each year.

  • Indians had applied for as many as 1.84 lakh or 67 per cent of the total H-1B work visas for the current financial year ending March 2021.

The executive order has also made sweeping changes to the H-1B work visa norms, which will no longer be decided by the currently prevalent lottery system.

  • The new norms will now favour highly-skilled workers who are paid the highest wages by their respective companies.
  • This could result in a significant impact on margins and worker wages of Indian IT companies which send thousands of low-cost employees to work on client sites in the US.

Criticisms and concerns:

This order has been criticised by the tech industry as well as politicians on both sides of the aisle as damaging to the U.S. economy.

  • Critics say, this order has the potential to do permanent damage to the USA’s reputation of attracting the best and the brightest.
  • The ban on issuing visas will harm employers, families, universities, hospitals, communities and delay America’s economic recovery.
  • Without highly skilled immigrants, the industry will slow down and the economy will worsen affecting the timeline for a treatment and cure of Covid-19 as well.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Economics of animal rearing.

Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) launched

Context:

Approved by Cabinet in pursuance of recently announced Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan stimulus package.

 Overview:

  • Size of the fund is 15000 crore.
  • This Fund will incentivise infrastructure investments in dairy, meat processing and animal feed plants.

Eligibility, funding and implementation:

  • Who is eligible? Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), MSMEs, Section 8 Companies, Private Companies and individual entrepreneur with only 10% margin money contribution by them.
  • Rest of the Funds: The balance 90% would be the loan component to be made available to them by scheduled banks.
  • GOI will provide 3% interest subvention to eligible beneficiaries.
  • There will be 2 years moratorium period for repayment of the loan with 6 years repayment period thereafter.

Credit Guarantee Fund:

  • A Credit Guarantee Fund of Rs. 750 crore will also be set up.
  • It is to be managed by NABARDwhich would provide credit guarantee to the projects which are covered under the MSME defined ceilings.
  • Guarantee Coverage would be up to 25% of the Credit facility of the borrower.

Significance:

  • This ensures the availability of capital to meet upfront investment required for these projects.
  • It also helps enhance overall returns/pay back for investors.
  • Such investments in processing and value addition infrastructure by eligible beneficiaries would also promote exports by adding to farmers’ incomes.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who will manage the Credit Guarantee Fund?
  2. Interest subvention under the scheme.
  3. Who is eligible?
  4. Funding
  5. About the Dairy Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF).
  6. NABARD- composition and important functions.

Mains Link:

Discuss the features and significance of AHIDF.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre

Overview:

  • Created to provide private players to use Indian space infrastructure.
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will remain the basic body that decides what missions are to be undertaken but this new body will help fill the gaps.
  • With this, Private companies will be provided level playing field in satellites, launches and space-based services.
  • Future projects for planetary exploration, outer space travel will be open for the private sector.

Significance and expected outcomes:

India is among a handful of countries with advanced capabilities in the space sector.

  • With these reforms, the sector will receive new energy and dynamism, to help the country leapfrog to the next stages of space activities.
  • This will not only result in an accelerated growth of this sector but will enable Indian Industry to be an important player in global space economy.
  • With this, there is an opportunity for large-scale employment in the technology sector and India becoming a Global technology powerhouse.
  • Allow ISRO to focus more on research and development activities, new technologies, exploration missions and human spaceflight programme.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. ISRO- establishment and how is ISRO director appointed?
  2. About New Space India Limited (NSIL).
  3. What is Demo 2 mission?

Mains Link:

Write a note historic reforms initiated in the Space sector by the Government of India.

Sources: pib.

 


Facts for Prelims


Skills Build Reignite:

MSDE-IBM partnership unveils Free Digital Learning Platform “Skills Build Reignite” to reach more job seekers & provide new resources to business owners in India.

  • The free digital learning platform provides job seekers and entrepreneurs, with access to free online coursework and mentoring support designed to help them reinvent their careers and businesses.
  • Job seekers, individual business owners, entrepreneurs and any individual with learning aspirations can access content on topics including Artificial intelligence, Cloud, Data analytics and security to reskill and upskill themselves, at no cost.
  • There is also personalized coaching for entrepreneurs, seeking advice to help establish or restart their small businesses as they begin to focus on recovery to emerge out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ashadhi Bij, the Kutchi New Year:

  • Ashadhi Bij/Beej is the 2nd day of Shukla paksha of Ashadha month of the Hindu calendar (June – July).
  • The Kutchi people of Gujarat celebrate their Kutchi New Year on this day.
  • This day is associated with the beginning of rains in Kutch, Gujarat.

Kushinagar airport declared as international airport:

It is in Uttar Pradesh.

  • Kushinagar is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site, where Gautam Buddha attained Mahaparinirvan
  • Kushinagar is dotted with several  other Buddhist sites in the nearby surroundings like Sravasti (238 km), Kapilvastu (190 km) and Lumbini (195 km).

kushinagar

Shwe oil & gas project in Myanmar:

CCEA has approved additional investment of US$ 121.27 million by ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) towards further development of Shwe oil & gas project in Myanmar.

  • ONGC Videsh (OVL) has been associated with exploration and development of Shwe gas project in Myanmar since 2002.

Significance:

The participation of Indian PSUs in oil & gas exploration and development projects in neighbouring countries is aligned with India’s Act East Policy, and also part of India’s strategy to develop Energy Bridges with its neighbours in addition to further strengthening India’s energy security needs.

burma

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Global Education Monitoring Report.
  2. Article on Lal- Bal- Pal.
  3. Decarbonising Transport Project.

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