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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 13 October 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 2:

1. Asian Development Bank (ADB).

2. Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

3. What is the ”Enhanced Follow-up” list?

4. Iran Nuclear deal.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. GST Compensation.

2. 2020 Nobel Prize in Economics.

3. What is line of credit?

4. Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog.

5. India Energy Modeling Forum.

6. “The Human Cost of Disasters 2000-2019” Report.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Gausatva Kavach.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

Asian Development Bank (ADB):


Context:

ADB, India sign $270 million loan to improve urban services in 64 Madhya Pradesh small cities.

About ADB:

It is a regional development bank.

  • established on 19 December 1966.
  • headquartered — Manila, Philippines.
  • official United Nations Observer.

 Who can be its members?

The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, formerly the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East or ECAFE) and non-regional developed countries.

  • ADB now has 68 members, 49 from within Asia.

Voting rights:

It is modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions.

  • As of 31 December 2019, ADB’s five largest shareholders are Japan and the United States (each with 15.6% of total shares), the People’s Republic of China (6.4%), India (6.3%), and Australia (5.8%).

Roles and functions:

Dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.

  • This is carried out through investments – in the form of loans, grants and information sharing – in infrastructure, health care services, financial and public administration systems, helping nations prepare for the impact of climate change or better manage their natural resources, as well as other areas.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About ADB.
  2. Funding and loans.
  3. Members.
  4. Voting.
  5. ADB vs NDB vs AIIB.

Sources: PIB.

 

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

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):


Context:

7th Justice Ministers’ Meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States to be hosted by Union Law Minister Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad on 16th October, 2020.

About the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):

It is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation.

  • It’s creation was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
  • It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Charter was signed during the St.Petersburg SCO Heads of State meeting in June 2002, and entered into force on 19 September 2003.
  • The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.

The SCO’s main goals are:

  • Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states.
  • Promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture.
  • Making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region.
  • Moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.

Currently:

  • SCO comprises eight member states, namely the Republic of India, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
  • SCO counts four observer states, namely the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Belarus, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Mongolia.
  • SCO has six dialogue partners, namely the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Republic of Turkey, and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

north_pacific_ocean

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Shanghai Five?
  2. When was SCO charter signed and when it entered into force?
  3. SCO founding members.
  4. When did India join the group?
  5. Observers and dialogue partners of SCO.
  6. Permanent bodies under SCO.
  7. Official languages of SCO.

Mains Link:

Discuss the objectives and significance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

What is the ”Enhanced Follow-up” list?


Context:

Noting that Pakistan’s measures against money laundering and terror financing “is not yet sufficient to justify a re-rating”, the Asia Pacific Group of FATF has retained the country on its ‘Enhanced Follow-up’ list.

  • This was the first Follow-Up Report on Mutual Evaluation of Pakistan released by the Asia-Pacific Group (APG).

Why Pakistan was retained in this list?

Pakistan’s progress on the 40 FATF recommendations on the effectiveness of anti-money laundering and combating financing terror (AML/CFT) system largely remained unchanged — non-compliant on four counts, partially compliant on 25 counts and largely compliant on nine recommendations.

What is a Mutual Evaluation Report?

The APG Mutual Evaluations is a peer-review system to determine whether countries meet the compliance standards for money laundering and terror financing.

After a country submits a Mutual Evaluation report, APG members can decide to place a member either through regular or enhanced follow-up.

  1. A regular follow-up means just biennial reports.
  2. A country put under enhanced follow-up has to send four reports of compliance the following year.

Background:

FATF had placed Pakistan on its grey list in June 2018 and asked Islamabad to implement a plan of action to curb money laundering and terror financing by the end of 2019 but the deadline was extended later on due to COVID-19 pandemic.

About APG:

The Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) is a FATF style regional inter-governmental (international) body, the members of which are committed to implement international standards against money laundering (AML), the financing of terrorism (CTF) and financing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

  • APG was founded in 1997 in Bangkok, Thailand, and currently consists of 41 member jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific region and a number of observer jurisdictions and international/regional observer organisations.
  • Jurisdictions that join the APG, either as members or as observers, commit to the Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

fata-style

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Black vs Grey list.
  2. Are FATF’s decisions binding on member countries?
  3. Who heads the FATF?
  4. Where is its secretariat?
  5. What is a Mutual Evaluation Report?
  6. What is the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering?

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.

What was the iran nuclear deal?


Context:

China backs Iran nuclear deal, calls for new West Asia forum.

  • The forum would “enhance mutual understanding through dialogue and explore political and diplomatic solutions to security issues in the West Asia”.

Background:

Iran has been locked in an acrimonious relationship with Saudi Arabia, the other major West Asian power, over the war in Yemen, Iranian influence in Iraq and Saudi support for Washington’s sanctions on Tehran.

What was the Nuclear deal all about?

Iran agreed to rein in its nuclear programme in a 2015 deal struck with the US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany.

  • Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) Tehran agreed to significantly cut its stores of centrifuges, enriched uranium and heavy-water, all key components for nuclear weapons.
  • The JCPOA established the Joint Commission, with the negotiating parties all represented, to monitor implementation of the agreement.

iran_nuclear_1

Why has US pulled out of the deal?

Trump and opponents to the deal say it is flawed because it gives Iran access to billions of dollars but does not address Iran’s support for groups the U.S. considers terrorists, like Hamas and Hezbollah. They note it also doesn’t curb Iran’s development of ballistic missiles and that the deal phases out by 2030. They say Iran has lied about its nuclear program in the past.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is JCPOA? Signatories.
  2. Iran and its neighbours.
  3. What is IAEA? Relation with the UN.
  4. Members of IAEA.
  5. Programs of IAEA.
  6. Board of Governors- composition, voting and functions.
  7. What is Uranium Enrichment?

Mains Link:

Write a note on JCPOA.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

GST Compensation:


Context:

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council has failed again to reach an agreement on the contentious issue of borrowings to meet shortfalls in cess collections used to recompense the States for revenue losses from the indirect tax implementation.

  • This was the third meeting in a row that discussed compensation shortfall without a decision.

What’s the main point of contention between the Centre and states now?

  • The Centre says it is ready to help the States who have decided to borrow to bridge the cess shortfall.
  • But, few states have been demanding that the Centre must borrow instead of its push for the States to do so.

Why should the Centre pay states for GST loss?

The GST Compensation Act, 2017 guaranteed States that they would be compensated for any loss of revenue in the first five years of GST implementation, until 2022, using a cess levied on sin and luxury goods.

However, the economic slowdown has pushed both GST and cess collections down over the last year, resulting in a 40% gap last year between the compensation paid and cess collected.

  • States are likely to face a GST revenue gap of ₹3 lakh crore this year, as the economy may contract due to COVID-19, which Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman termed an unforeseen “act of God”.

What is compensation cess?

The modalities of the compensation cess were specified by the GST (Compensation to States) Act, 2017.

This Act assumed that the GST revenue of each State would grow at 14% every year, from the amount collected in 2015-16, through all taxes subsumed by the GST.

  • A State that had collected tax less than this amount in any year would be compensated for the shortfall. The amount would be paid every two months based on provisional accounts, and adjusted every year after the State’s accounts were audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

This scheme is valid for five years, i.e., till June 2022.

Compensation cess fund:

A compensation cess fund was created from which States would be paid for any shortfall. An additional cess would be imposed on certain items and this cess would be used to pay compensation.

  • The items are pan masala, cigarettes and tobacco products, aerated water, caffeinated beverages, coal and certain passenger motor vehicles.

The GST Act states that the cess collected and “such other amounts as may be recommended by the [GST] Council” would be credited to the fund.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is GST?
  2. What are SGST and IGST?
  3. Related Constitutional provisions.
  4. Goods outside the purview of GST.
  5. What is a Cess?
  6. What is a surcharge?
  7. What is compensation cess fund?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Nobel Prize in Economics:


Context:

The 2020 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences has been awarded to Paul R. Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson “for improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats.”

Their contributions:

  1. Robert Wilson showed why rational bidders tend to place bids below their own best estimate of the common value: they are worried about the winner’s curse – that is, about paying too much and losing out.
  2. Laureate Paul Milgrom formulated a more general theory of auctions that not only allows common values, but also private values that vary from bidder to bidder.

nonle_2020

What you need to know about the ‘Auction theory’?

The outcome of an auction (or procurement) depends on three factors:

  1. Auction’s rules, or format.
  2. Highest bid.
  3. Uncertainty.

Using auction theory, it is possible to explain how these three factors govern the bidders’ strategic behaviour and thus the auction’s outcome.

  • The theory can also show how to design an auction to create as much value as possible.

Nobel Prize in Economics:

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel has been awarded 51 times to 84 Laureates between 1969 and 2019.

  • The Nobel prize consists of a gold medal, a diploma and a cheque for 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million, 950,000 euros).

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

What is line of credit?


Context:

Delhi, Male ink $400-mn pact for connectivity.

  • The line of credit (LoC) will fund the Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP).

What is Line of Credit (LOC)?

The Line of Credit is not a grant but a ‘soft loan’ provided on concessional interest rates to developing countries, which has to be repaid by the borrowing government.

  • The LOCs also helps to promote exports of Indian goods and services, as 75% of the value of the contract must be sourced from India.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog:


Context:

Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog begins nationwide campaign to celebrate “Kamdhenu Deepawali Abhiyan” – Promoting extensive use of cow-dung/ Panchgavya products this Diwali Festival.

  • RKA aims reaching 11 crore families to ignite 33 crore Diyas made of cow-dung during this year’s Deepawali festival.

Significance of the campaign:

  • Apart from generating business opportunities for thousands of cow-based entrepreneurs/farmers, the use of cow-dung products will lead to a cleaner and healthier environment.
  • By providing an environmentally friendly alternative to Chinese made Diyas, the campaign will boost the ‘Make in India’ vision also.

About the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog:

Constituted in 2019, the Aayog is a high powered permanent apex advisory body with the mandate to help the Central Government to develop appropriate programmes for conservation, sustainable development and genetic upgradation of indigenous breeds of cows.

It comes under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

  • Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog will function as an integral part of Rashtriya Gokul Mission.

Functions:

  • Review existing laws, policies as well as suggest measures for optimum economic utilization of cow wealth for enhanced production and productivity, leading to higher farm income and better quality of life for the dairy farmers.
  • Advise and guide the Central Government and State Governments on policy matters concerning conservation, protection, development and welfare of cows and their progeny.
  • Promote schemes to encourage the use of organic manure and recommend suitable measures including incentive schemes for use of dung or urine of cow in organic manure by farmers to minimize the use of chemical fertilizers.
  • Make provisions for solutions to the problems related to abandoned cows in the country by providing technical inputs to Gaushalas, Gosadans and pinjarapoles.
  • Develop pastures or grazing lands and to associate with institutions or other bodies whether private or public, for the purpose of developing pastures and Gauchars.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics: Infrastructure- Energy.

India Energy Modeling Forum:


Context:

NITI Aayog Announces Governing Structure of India Energy Modelling Forum.

The governing structure of IEMF will consist of:

  1. An inter-ministerial:

The committee will be convened by NITI Aayog and headed by its CEO, and comprise senior officials from the ministries of petroleum and natural gas; power; new and renewable energy; coal; environment, forest and climate change; and department of science and technology.

  • This committee will review the studies/modelling activities and provide directions and new areas of research.
  1. A steering committee:

This committee will shortlist policy issues to be taken up for study and might form various taskforces depending on the specific studies/modelling exercises to be carried out.

About the India Energy Modeling Forum:

Jointly launched by NITI Aayog and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the US–India Strategic Energy Partnership.

Composition: The forum would include knowledge partners, data agencies and concerned government ministries.

The Forum aims to:

  1. Provide a platform to examine important energy and environmental related issues;
  2. Inform decision-making process to the Indian government;
  3. Improve cooperation between modelling teams, government, and knowledge partners, funders;
  4. Facilitate exchange of ideas, ensure production of high-quality studies;
  5. Identify knowledge gaps at different levels and across different areas;
  6. Build capacity of Indian institutions.

What is Energy Modelling?

Energy modeling or energy system modeling is the process of building computer models of energy systems in order to analyze them.

  • Such models often employ scenario analysis to investigate different assumptions about the technical and economic conditions at play.
  • Outputs may include the system feasibility, greenhouse gas emissions, cumulative financial costs, natural resource use, and energy efficiency of the system under investigation.

What are Energy Modelling Forums (EMF)?

The Energy Modelling Forum (EMF) in USA was established in 1976 at Stanford University to connect leading modelling experts and decision makers from government, industry, universities, and other research organizations.

  • The forum provides an unbiased platform to discuss the contemporary issues revolving around energy and environment.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. NITI Aayog- composition and key functions.
  2. Role of EMF.
  3. What is Sustainable growth pillar?
  4. What is energy modelling?

Mains Link:

Discuss the objectives and significance of Indian Energy Modelling Forum.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Disaster management.

“The Human Cost of Disasters 2000-2019” Report:


Context:

Released recently by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Key findings:

  • Climate change is largely to blame for a near doubling of natural disasters in the past 20 years.
  • 7,348 major disaster events had occurred between 2000 and 2019, affecting 4.2 billion people and costing the global economy some $2.97 trillion.

About UNISDR:

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), created in December 1999, is the successor to the secretariat of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction.

  • It was established to ensure the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

Functions:

UNISDR supports the implementation, follow-up and review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction adopted by the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction on 18 March 2015 in Sendai, Japan.

UNISDR’s vision is anchored on the four priorities for action set out in the Sendai Framework:

  1. Understanding disaster risk.
  2. Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk.
  3. Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience.
  4. Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

About Sendai Framework:

The “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” was adopted during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan in March, 2015.

  • It is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven targets and four priorities for action.
  • It was endorsed by the UN General Assembly following the 2015 Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR).

The Framework is the successor instrument to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters.

reduce

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About UNISDR.
  2. What is Sendai framework?
  3. About WCDRR.
  4. What is Hyogo Framework for Action?

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


Gausatva Kavach:

  • It is a ”chip” made of cow dung.
  • Manufactured by Rajkot-based Shrijee Gaushala.
  • It is claimed that this clip reduces radiation from mobile handsets.

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