• Current Affairs, 10 December 2019

     

     

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    1. PM-AASHA Scheme
    2. Finance commission headed by N K Singh submits its 1st report for the FY 2020-21 to President Ram Nath Kovind
    3. 4th India water impact summit
    4. Canada’s CPPIB commits to invest up to $600 million in National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) of India
    5. Girish Chandra Chaturvedi appointed as chairman of National Stock Exchange
    6. Para Military Forces now to use Khadi in Uniforms
    7. MOU signed Between NSIC & ARAMCO Asia for development in Oil & Gas Sectors
    8. 11 Airports in Jammu & Kashmir and 2 in Ladakh for Bidding in UDAN 4.0
    9. Allocation of 5 Coal Mines Approved
    • 7th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting
    1. 3rd Edition of National Public Procurement Conclave
    2. Bangladesh National Film Awards 2017 & 2018 presented in Dhaka
    3. Worldwide arms sales rise by nearly 5% in 2018
    4. Saudi Arabia abolishes rules requiring restaurants to provide separate entrances, seating areas for women
    5. Caroline Wozniacki, Former World No.1 Tennis Player announced her retirement

     

    NATIONAL NEWS

     

     

    1. PM-AASHA Scheme

     

    • Only 3% target of pulses and seeds achieved under the Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA) scheme according to the data released by the Agriculture Ministry in the Lok Sabha on 3rd December 2019.
    • The production of pulses has been only 1.08 lakh tons so far but the target of the PM-AASHA scheme is to produce 37.59 lakh metric tons of crops. The crops started arriving from October and will last till February.
    • The aim of the PM-AASHA scheme is to safeguard the income of farmers by increasing the MSP (Minimum Support Price) of the Kharif crops with the principle of 1.5 times the cost of production. The scheme includes three main sections the Price Support Scheme (PSS), the Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS)and the Pilot of Private Procurement and Stocklist Scheme (PPPS)
    • For oil seeds the scheme will be implemented underPrivate Procurement Stocklist Scheme (PPSS) in the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) of the pilot districts. The scheme also involves the participation of private sectors and the selected APMC(s) will cover one or more type of oilseeds for which the MSP has been notified. Since the notified commodity involves physical procurement the PSS and PDPS will also be involved as substitutes

     

    1. Finance commission headed by N K Singh submits its 1streport for the FY 2020-21 to President Ram Nath Kovind

     

    • The 15thFinance Commission headed by economist & former Indian Administrative Service officer (IAS) Shri .Nand Kishore (NK) Singh and its members S/Shri Ajay Narayan Jha, Ashok Lahiri, Ramesh Chand, Anoop Singh and Secretary Shri Arvind Mehta has submitted its report for the financial year (FY) 2020-21 to President Ram Nath Kovind.
    • The Commission sets the formula for sharing of tax and other resources between the Center and the States.
    • President of India constituted the 15thFinance Commission on 27 November 2017 under Article 280 of the Constitution.
    • On 27 November,2019, the government had issued a notification to give the first report for the financial year 2020-21 by 30 November 2019

     

    1. 4thIndia water impact summit

     

     

    • The Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawathas addressed the 4th India Water Impact Summit 2019 with the theme “Valuing Water | Transforming Ganga” held with the focus on integrated water resources management in urban and rural areas at the Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi from 5-7 December 2019.
    • On this occasion, Shekhawat also released the report on River Restoration and Conservation – A Concise Manual and Guide, and Documents on “cGanga Hubs”.
    • The summit was  organized by Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India (GoI) and the Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (cGanga) led by IIT Kanpur.
    • The summit hosted the 2ndWater Finance Forum that aims to gathers the global financial institutions and investors on investing in the rejuvenation of the largest environmental programme.
    • As per Shekhawat recently, a massive 34-day journey river rafting expedition covered around 2,500 km length called ‘Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan’ was launched from Devprayag on 10th October, 2019 till Ganga Sagar in West Bengal.
    • India holds only about 4% of global freshwater compared to around 18% of its population and an equivalent percentage of livestock population & Urban population in India growing at a rapid pace as by 2030, urban India is likely to have about 600 million people.
    • The summit focused to achieve the government’s goal to provide water to every household in the next 5 years & to create new methods and innovative ideas for the significant policy and behavioral shift in managing water resources.
    • Shri Rajiv RanjanMishra, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Prof.Vinod Tare, founding head c-Ganga were also present during the event.

     

    1. Canada’s CPPIB commits to invest up to $600 million in National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) of India

     

     

     

    • CPP Investment Board, officially the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB)has agreed to invest up to $600 million in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) of India through the NIIF Master Fund.
    • CPPIB’s commitment includes a $150 million in the NIIF Master Fund and co-investment rights of upto $450 million in future opportunities to invest alongside the NIIF Master Fund.
    • Other investors such as Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Australia’s largest superannuation fund- AustralianSuper, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Temasek, Axis Bank HDFC (Housing Development Finance Corporation )Group, ICICI(Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India) Bank and Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance, central Government have also committed to invest in NIIF Master Fund.
    • With this investment, NIIF Master Fund has become one of the largest infrastructure funds in India & has $2.1 billion in commitments which invests in sectors such as energy, transport and urban infrastructure.
    • The co-investment rights of  NIIF Master Fund investors in this agreement has been pegged at $3 billion .This will help to increase the investments in India’s large infrastructure requirements to a new scale.
    • In April 2019, NIIF partnered with ROADIS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the PSP (Public Sector Pension) Investments launched a platform that will invest $2 billion in road projects in India .
    • It was India’s first sovereign wealth fund established in February 2015, with the objective of promoting investment in the infrastructure sector in India.This will also boost the economic development of the country. It manages over $4 billion of capital commitments across three funds.

     

     

     

    1. Girish Chandra Chaturvedi appointed as chairman of National Stock Exchange

     

    • India’s leading stock exchange the National Stock Exchange(NSE) has appointed public interest Director Girish Chandra Chaturvedi as its newchairman. The appointment was done after market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) approval. Chaturvedi replaced Ashok Chawla, who resigned as a chairman in January 2019.
    • Shri Chaturvedi who is a retired IAS Indian Administrative Service) officer has previously served as Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoP&NG).
    • He also serves as a non-executive chairman of the ICICI (Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India) Bank.

     

    1. Para Military Forces now to use Khadi in Uniforms

     

    • The Khadi and Village Industries products will get a major boost  as Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah has recently instructed the Director Generals(DG’s) of all para-military forces to use Khadi Fabric in their uniforms and Village Industries products such as pickles, papad, honey, soaps and detergents, shampoos, phenol, tea, mustard oil etc. in their canteens.
    • The move comes after several meetings were held between the authorities of KVIC and the para-military forces. Sources said that the meetings had been going on since last two weeks now and have reached the stage of finalization, after several samples were shared by KVIC for approval.
    • The Chairman, KVIC informed that the samples of cotton and woollen uniforms, blankets and camouflage uniform etc. provided by the para-military forces have been developed by KVIC and have been submitted to few forces for final approval. It is noteworthy that the sample developed for camouflage fabric was not only liked by one of the para-military forces but was also found quite superior from the existing material used by the forces.
    • Enthused with the recent instructions given by the Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah to the DG’s of all para-military forces, for using Khadi fabric in their uniforms, KVIC Chairman, Vinai Kumar Saxena said, “This move will not only double the Khadi and Village Industries turnover which is nearly Rs. 75,000 Crores currently, but also create millions of additional man hours for the Khadi artisans who will weave millions of meters of Khadi fabric for our para-military forces”.

     

    1. MOU signed Between NSIC & ARAMCO Asia for development in Oil & Gas Sectors

    • An MoU has been signed recently between NSIC and Aramco Asia for the development of MSME Ecosystem in India in Oil & Gas Sector. This MoU will pave a way for accredited Indian MSMEs to carve out a space as vendors in the Global space.
    • From NSIC side Sh. P. Udayakumar, Director (P&M) and from Aramco side Mr. Mohammed Al Mughirah, President ,Aramco Asia inked the MoU. The dignitaries H.E. Dr. Said Bin Mohammed Al Sati, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Abdullah Melfi, Strategic Sourcing Head, Aramco, and more than 200 units from India witnessed the event.
    • NSIC is the flagship Mini Ratna PSU under Ministry of MSME in the business of facilitating MSMEs in India and  Aramco  is world’s largest Oil & Gas Company from Govt. of Saudi Arabia having reported revenue of USD 355 Billion Dollar (2018) and estimated market va.ue of 1.5 Trillion Dollars.

     

    1. 11 Airports in Jammu & Kashmir and 2 in Ladakh for Bidding in UDAN 4.0

     

    • The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) announced the commencement of the bidding process under UDAN 4.0 on 3rd December 2019 with a focus on the NER, Hilly States, J&K, Ladakh, and Islands. Under UDAN 4.0, MoCAhas put on offer bids for 11 unserved airports in the Jammu and Kashmir and 2 underserved airports in Ladakh region. The objective is to establish strong air connectivity and to boost the tourism sector. Under the UDAN 4.0 scheme MoCA is also providing additional VGF of around 25% extra to the airlines.

    Airports available for bidding under UDAN 4.0 in J&K and Ladakh are below:

    • Airports available for bidding in Ladakh – Kargil and Thoise
    • Airports available for bidding in Jammu & Kashmir– Akhnur, Chamb, Chushal, Fukche, Gurex, Jhangar, Miran Sahib, Panzgam, Poonch, Rajouri&Udhampur

     

    Other incentives to the airlines:

    • Excise Duty at the rate of 2% only shall be levied on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF), drawn by Selected Airline Operators at RCS Airport(s) for RCS Flights, for three (3) years from the date of notification. Upon transition to GST, rates will be applicable as determined under GST and exemptions/ concessions shall be given as permissible so that such a reduced level of taxation could ideally be continued.
    • Selected Airline Operators will have the freedom to enter into code-sharing arrangements with domestic as well as international airlines pursuant to applicable regulations and prevailing air service agreements. For the avoidance of doubt, the concessions and VGF under the Scheme shall be available only to the Selected Airline Operator for the RCS Route and shall continue as finalized according to the mechanism outlined under the Scheme.
    • Reduction of VAT to 1% or less on ATF at RCS Concession Airports located within the State for a period of ten (10) years from the date of notification. Upon transition to GST, rates will be applicable as determined under GST and exemptions/ concessions shall be given as permissible so that such a reduced level of taxation could ideally be continued.
    • Coordinating with oil marketing companies for the provision of fueling infrastructure on a best effort basis.
    • Provision of minimum land, if required, free of cost and free from all encumbrances for development of RCS Concession Airports and also provide multi-modal hinterland connectivity (road, rail, metro, waterways, etc.) as required.
    • Provision of security and fire services free of cost at RCS Concession Airports through appropriately trained personnel and appropriate equipment as per applicable standards and guidelines by relevant agencies.
    • Provision of, directly or through appropriate means, electricity, water and other utility services at substantially concessional rates at RCS Concession Airports.
    • Revision of (Viability Gap Funding) VGF cap – The provision of VGF for Category 2 / 3 aircraft (more than 20 seater) has been enhanced for operation of RCS flights in Priority Area(s) (Union Territories [UT] of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir; the States of Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, North Eastern State; UT of Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar). The VGF cap applicable for various stage lengths for operation through category 1 / 1 A aircraft (below 20 seater) has also been revised to further incentivize the operation of small aircraft under the Scheme.
    • VGF will be provided for RCS Flights for a period of three (3) years from the date of commencement of RCS Flight operations on any RCS Route under a Selected Airline Operator
    • State Governments, at their discretion, may consider extending any additional support (such as marketing support) for promotion of RCS Flights.

     

    Concessions offered by the airport / Water Aerodrome / Helipad operators are as follows:

     

    • Airport / Water Aerodrome / Helipad operators (whether under the ownership of the AAI, State Governments, private entities or the Ministry of Defence, Government of India) shall not levy Landing Charges and Parking Charges or any other charge subsuming a charge for such aspects in future on RCS Flights including ASF / UDF charges among others.
    • Selected Airline Operators shall be allowed to undertake ground handling for their RCS Flights at all airports / Water Aerodromes / Helipad.
    • AAI shall not levy any Terminal Navigation Landing Charges (TNLC) on RCS Flights.
    • Route Navigation and Facilitation Charges (RNFC) will be levied by AAI on a discounted basis @ 42.50% of Normal Rates on RCS Flights. Normal Rates refer to applicable rates specified by the AAI on its website from time to time without any discounts or concessions

     

    1. Allocation of 5 Coal Mines Approved

     

    • The Ministry of Coal, after a long gap of 4 years, has approved the allocation of five Coal Mines. This was the result of the electronic auction conducted by Ministry of Coal in first week of November 2019. The Ministry had initiated the auction processes for 27 coal mines for Non-Regulated sectors previously.
    • The details of the five Coal Mines allocated are:
    S.

    No

    Name of Coal MineStateExtractable Reserves (Mt)GradePRC

    (Mtpa)

    Successful Bidder
    1BikramMadhya Pradesh9.44G-80.36Birla Corporation Limited
    2BrahampuriMadhya Pradesh12.343G-60.36Birla Corporation Limited
    3BhaskarparaChhattisgarh24.06G-71.00Prakash Industries Limited
    4Jagannathpur BWest Bengal50.02G-100.80Powerplus Traders Private Limited
    5JamkhaniOdisha114.98G-112.60Vedanta Limited

     

    • The significant feature of the allocations is that for the first time, the successful bidders shall have the flexibility to sell 25% coal produced in the open market. This will boost the coal production in the country and reduce the dependence of industries on imported coal. It is also envisaged that this step will generate huge revenue for State Governments where the mines are located in the form of Upfront Amount, Royalties and other applicable taxes.

     

    S.

    No

    Name of Coal MineStatePRC

    (Mtpa)

    Final Price (Rs./tonne)Revenue for 30 years*

    (Rs Crore)

    1BikramMadhya Pradesh0.36154166.32
    2BrahampuriMadhya Pradesh0.36156168.48
    3BhaskarparaChhattisgarh1.0011003,300.00
    4Jagannathpur BWest Bengal0.80185444.00
    5JamkhaniOdisha2.60167413,057.20
    • *excluding royalties, levies, and applicable taxes

     

     

     

     

    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

     

     

    1. 7th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting

     

     

    • The 7thedition of the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting was held in Vienna, Austria. The meeting was held under the Co-Chairmanship of OPEC’s President, Manuel Salvador Quevedo Fernandez, People’s Minister of Petroleum of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation.
    • During the meeting, the oil producing countries decided to cut oil production by 500,000 barrels per day with effect from January 1, 2020.  This has been done to stem the pressure on prices from abundant reserves and weak global economic growth.
    • The oil producers from various countries discussed to work on a new agreement for oil production as the existing deal will expire at the end of March 2020.
    • The reduction in oil production by 5lakhs would bring production 1.7 million barrels per day below October 2018 level.  It will lead to an overall production cut to 2.1 million barrels per day.

     

     

     

    1. 3rd Edition of National Public Procurement Conclave

    • Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Railways, Piyush Goyal along with Minister of State of Commerce and Industry, Som Parkash, inaugurated the 3rdedition of National Public Procurement Conclave in New Delhi today. The two-day conclave has been organized by Government e-Marketplace (GeM) in association with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
    • GeM epitomizes the speed, skill and scale which is essential in an e-marketplace platform said Piyush Goyal in his inaugural address. He further said that GeM rests on the three pillars of openness, fairness and inclusiveness and is a symbol of a truly transparent e-marketplace.
    • Commerce and Industry Minister hoped that during this conclave a road map for the future of GeM will be put in place that will unify all government procurement, across all Ministries and Departments, of not only Government of India but State Governments and local bodies. He also hoped that during the two-day deliberations an actionable agenda will emerge that will facilitate work contracts in the form of tenders to be made available on the GeM portal in future. Further, he urged that, in order to take the GeM portal to the next level, it may be examined how to facilitate purchase from the GeM platform by contractors and sub-contractors of public sector undertakings, Ministries and Departments.
    • Commerce and Industry Minister hoped that the target of 5 lakh crore business through the GeM platform is achieved earlier than five years and in the future GeM will also be open for the citizens of India to procure their necessities so that the common man may benefit from lower cost of products and services that are available on GeM. However, Commerce and Industry Minister cautioned that quality of products and services must never be compromised and stringent mechanism be put in place for validation of complaints against poor quality of products and services that may be available on the platform.
    • Piyush Goyal welcomed all suggestions, from thousands of registered organizations for the two-day conclave, to make improvements in the GeM platform particularly in the process of accessing, onboarding and navigating through the platform, so that it leads to more transparency and availability of better quality of products and services. This will enable MSMEs, women entrepreneurs and the smallest of enterprises in the remotest corner of India to onboard products and services on GeM and it will also create a level playing field that promotes fair business practices and genuine competition among buyers.

     

    • Sixty-two stalls ranging from IT, electronic items, road safety equipment, security, furniture items, sports goods, health care, telecom, GIS solutions, home appliances and freight services have been put up for the participants and visitors to see during the two-day event.
    • Talleen Kumar, CEO GeM and other senior officials of GeM and Department of Commerce were present on this occasion.
    • GeM awards were also given away during the inaugural session. Awards were given to Central Ministries, States and PSUs in categories of super buyer, rising buyer and most compliant buyer (payments). Sellers were also awarded under super seller, seller with most orders, super seller (MSME), seller with most orders (MSME) and most promising startup categories.

     

    1. Bangladesh National Film Awards 2017 & 2018 presented in Dhaka

     

     

    • The National Film Awards of Bangladesh for the years 2017 and 2018 were given away by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday in Dhaka.
    • Four outstanding personalities of cinema in Bangladesh ATM Shamsuzzaman, Prabir Mitra, Alamgir and Sujata were presented the Lifetime Achievement Award for their contribution to the film industry.
    • Badrul Anam Saud was given the award for best director for the year 2017 for the film Gohin Baluchor. The best director award for 2018 was conferred on  Mustafizur Rahman Manik for his film Jannat.
    • In the lead role category for males, Shakib Khan and Arifin Shuvo jointly won the award for best actor for the year 2017 for their roles in Shotta and Dhaka Attack, respectively. In the female lead role category, Nusrat Imrose Tisha got the best actor award for her role in Haldaa.
    • The best actor award for the year 2018 was given jointly to Ferdous and Symon Sadiq for their roles in Putro and Jannat respectively. Jaya Ahsan won best actor award for female for her role in Debi.
    • Speaking as Chief Guest on the occasion, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina praised the artistes for their talent. She expressed the hope that the film makers will produce films which reflect the various aspects of real life from which people can derive inspiration.

     

    1. Worldwide arms sales rise by nearly 5% in 2018

     

    • Worldwide arms sales rose by nearly five per cent in 2018. According to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the market is dominated by the United States.
    • The turnover of the 100 biggest arms manufacturers came to 420 billion dollars. US manufacturers alone accounted for 59 per cent of the market, or a turnover of 246 billion dollars, up 7.2 per cent on the previous year.
    • Russia was second in the rankings for arms production, with 8.6 per cent of the market, just ahead of the United Kingdom on 8.4 per cent and France on 5.5 per cent. The study did not include China, for lack of sufficient data, but SIPRI estimated that there were between three and seven Chinese businesses in the top 100 arms manufacturers.
    • The world’s largest arms maker remains the US firm Lockheed Martin, as it has been since 2009. Its turnover last year was 47.3 billion dollars. Its sales alone account for 11 per cent of the world market.

     

    1. Saudi Arabia abolishes rules requiring restaurants to provide separate entrances, seating areas for women

     

    • In yet another sign of relaxing of social rules and following a more liberal approach, Saudi Arabia has abolished rules requiring restaurants to provide separate entrances and seating areas for women and families and for male patrons dining alone. Saudi Arabia’s Municipal and Rural Affairs Ministry today announced the decision which was published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The Ministry said it is removing a requirement by restaurants to have an entrance for single men and another for families” and that restaurants no longer need to specify private spaces.
    • Many upscale hotels and restaurants however, had been practicing this for a while, but a formal announcement from the government will see an end to the era where religious police enforced strict gender separation in public places.
    • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his vision 2030 hopes to reduce the Kingdom’s dependence on oil and diversify the economy.
    • One of the major goal is to modernize the country and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation and tourism to attract foreign investments. As part of this modernization and vision, restrictions on women to drive have been lifted Many entertainment progs and concerts are being organized in the Kingdom where women are also permitted to attend the events.

     

     

     

     

    SPORTS NEWS

     

     

    1. Caroline Wozniacki, Former World No.1 Tennis Player announced her retirement

     

    • Caroline Wozniacki (29), former World No.1 tennis player announced her retirement from tennis after next month’s Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year 2019 andWTA (Women’s Tennis Association) event in Auckland. Caroline Wozniacki was born in Odense, Denmark.
    • Caroline turned a professional tennis player in the age of 15 in the year 2005, she was in the top of the WTA rankings for 71 weeks, after which she became the world’s best player in October 2010, she has won 30 WTA titles including the 2017 Tour Finals in Singapore and finished 11 straight seasons in the world top 20, she is currently in 37th place after her poor form in 2019.

     

     

     

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