• Current Affair, 4th March 2020




    1. India’s single-minded campaign against terrorism has brought issue into sharp focus in key world forums, says S Jaishankar


    • External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar today said India’s single-minded campaign against terrorism has brought the issue into sharp focus in key world forums, including the G20. He said the last few years have demonstrated a growing Indian capacity to contribute to the global discourse and make a difference to international outcomes. He was speaking at the inaugural session of Centre for Policy Research Dialogues 2020 in Delhi.
    • On Afghanistan, the Minister pointed out that this is not the Afghanistan of 2000-2001 and many things have happened since then. He said India’s message to the US and West has been that it is in global interest that the achievements of the last 18 years are secured, protected and not jeopardized.
    • Mr Jaishankar said global economic rebalancing has now started to translate into its political manisfestation. He said a nation like India will now have to manoeuvre against binary and unilateral dominance of other powers. The Minister called for much more complex and nuanced strategy to deal with this. He added that navigating the economic world will be no less complex than the political one. He said nations will try to optimise outcomes as they pursue their national objectives. The Minister said there will be an additional challenge for India in the more digitized world to create new partnerships and foster greater mobility to service a knowledge-based economy.



    1. SC to hear plea challenging Omar Abdullah’s Detention on 5th March


    • The Supreme Court today said it would hear on 5th March, a plea filed by Sara Abdullah Pilot challenging the detention of her brother and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah under the Public Safety Act.
    • Pilot has approached the top court challenging her brother’s detention under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, saying the order was manifestly illegal and there was no question of him being a threat to the maintenance of public order.
    • On behalf of the Jammu and Kashmir administration, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta filed the response on Pilot’s plea before a bench of justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee.
    • Attorney General K K Venugopal referred to an earlier apex court verdict and said that in a matter of detention, the petitioner should first approach the high court.



    1. Arunachal Pradesh Assembly goes paperless



    • The Budget session of the 7th Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly began.
    • The Arunachal Pradesh Assembly went paperless on with the implementation of e-Vidhan, a project under the Digital India programme.
    • With the implementation of the e-Vidhan project, MLAs can access every information regarding the Assembly, see the list of business and read questions and other documents pertaining to House proceedings through their laptops and tablet computers.
    • The initiative will make all the proceedings in the house paperless.


    1. Historic city square in Jammu renamed as ‘Bharat Mata Chowk’



    • The historic City Chowk, the commercial hub in old Jammu, was renamed as ‘Bharat Mata Chowk’.
    • The renaming of the chowk drew mixed reactions from the people with most of them welcoming the decision but urged the JMC to focus more on development and cleanliness rather than changing names.
    • Every year people are hoisting the tricolour on Republic and Independence days in this chowk.
    • The starting point of the circular road near Panjtirthi in the city was named by the JMC as ‘Atal Chowk’ in the memory of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.


    1. Major Racket of Fake Invoicing of Rs.7896 Crore Busted Involving Network of 23 Shell Companies

    • The officers of Anti Evasion wing of Central Tax, Delhi West Commissionerate have busted a major racket of fake invoicing of Rs.7896 crore involving fraudulent Input Tax Credit (ITC) of Rs.1709 crore, using a network of 23 shell companies, which procured and generated invoices without actual supply of goods and availed as well as passed on ITC. Two persons have been arrested on 29.02.2020, in this matter.
    • The accused persons were evading tax by creating several dummy firms for the purpose of passing on ITC by generation of fake invoices. They also used banking transactions to make ITC appear genuine. These firms issued the fake invoices to buyers, who availed fraudulent input tax credit without actually receiving any goods and defrauded the exchequer by way of availing ineligible ITC towards GST liability. They were caught in their hideout with several mobile phones, computers and incriminating documents.
    • The accused have committed offences under Section 132(1)(b) and Section 132(1)(c) of CGST Act, 2017 which are cognizable and non-bailable offences as per the provisions of Section 132 (5) and punishable under Clause (i) of Sub section (1) of Section 132 of the CGST Act, 2017. Accordingly, the accused were arrested on 29.02.2020 under Section 69(1) of the CGST Act, 2017 and remanded to fourteen days judicial custody by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House Court.


    1. More than 81% account holders are Women under Stand Up India Scheme



    • Ministry of Finance, in the past six years has launched various schemes which have special provisions for empowerment of women. These schemes have financially empowered women to lead a better life and chase their dreams of being an entrepreneur.
    • As we are celebrating International Women’s Day on 8thMarch 2020, we take a look at various schemes initiated by the Ministry of Finance which have benefitted the women in India.
    • Stand-Up India Scheme –Stand Up India Scheme was launched on 5 April 2016 to promote entrepreneurship at grass root level for economic empowerment and job creation. This scheme seeks to leverage the institutional credit structure to reach out to the underserved sector of people such as Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Women Entrepreneurs so as to enable them to participate in the economic growth of nation.
    • The objective of this scheme is to facilitate bank loans between Rs.10 lakh and Rs.1 crore to at least one Scheduled Caste (SC) or Scheduled Tribe (ST) borrower and at least one woman borrower per bank branch of SCBs for setting up a Greenfield enterprise.
    • As on 17.02.2020, more than 81% account holders under Stand Up India Scheme are women. 73,155 accounts have been opened for women. Rs. 16712.72 crore has been sanctioned for women account holders and Rs. 9106.13 crore has been disbursed for women account holders.
    • Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) – PMMY was launched on April 8, 2015 for providing loans up to 10 lakh to the non-corporate, non-farm small/micro enterprises. These loans are classified as MUDRA loans under PMMY. These loans are given by Commercial Banks, RRBs, Small Finance Banks, MFIs and NBFCs.
    • Under the aegis of PMMY, MUDRA has created three products namely ‘Shishu’, ‘Kishore’ and ‘Tarun’to signify the stage of growth / development and funding needs of the beneficiary micro unit / entrepreneur and also provide a reference point for the next phase of graduation / growth.
    • The Vision of MUDRA scheme is “To be an integrated financial and support services provider par excellence benchmarked with global best practices and standards for the bottom of the pyramid universe for their comprehensive economic and social development”
    • As on 31.01.2020, more than 22.53 crore loans have been sanctioned since launch of the scheme.Out of this, more than 15.75 crore loans extended to women , thereby 70% of the total loan borrowers are Women.
    • Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY)– PMJDY was launched on 28th August, 2014. The scheme as extended and revised with effect from 14.08.2018 envisages universal access to banking facilities with at least one basic banking account for every adult, financial literacy, access to credit, insurance and pension
    • As on 19.02.2020, 20.33 crore beneficiaries out of 38.13 crore beneficiaries are womenwhich amounts to 53 % .
    • Atal Pension Yojana (APY) –APY was launched on 9th May, 2015. It envisages a universal social security system for all Indians, specially the poor and the under-privilege by offering guaranteed minimum monthly pension of Rs. 1000 -Rs. 5000 at the age of 60 years.
    • The scheme is open for subscription through Banks and Post Offices on on-going basis. As on 22.02.2020, more than 93 lakh subscribers (43%) out of a total of around 2.15 crore subscribers under APY are women.
    • Old age income security is being increasingly prioritised by women as their enrolment under APY has shown a steady increase from 37% (December 2016) to 43% (February 2020). Despite low labour force participation rates and high gender wage gap, women are in the forefront of saving for old age income security as their participation is higher than men in the States /UTs of Sikkim (73%), Tamil Nadu (56%), Kerala (56%), Andhra Pradesh (55%), Puducherry (54%), Meghalaya (54%), Jharkhand (54%), Bihar (52%).
    • Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY)– PMJJBY was launched on 9th May 2015. The objective of this scheme is to create a social security system for the poor and underprivileged in the age group of 18-50 years by providing a renewable life insurance cover of Rs.2 lakhs with just a premium of Rs.330.
    • Under PMJJBY, 40.70% enrollments are of women members and 58.21% of claim beneficiaries are women. (As on 31.01.2020)
    • 1,91,96,805females have enrolled out of a total of 4,71,71,568 95,508 claims have been paid to female beneficiaries out of a total of 1,69,216 claims paid. (As on 31.01.2020)
    • Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) – PMSBY was launched on 9thMay 2015. The objective of this scheme is to provide a very affordable insurance scheme for the poor and underprivileged people in the age group of 18 to 70 years with a bank account at a premium of Rs.12 per annum; risk coverage of Rs.2 lakhs for accidental death and full disability and Rs.1 lakh for partial disability.
    • Under PMSBY, 41.50% enrollments are of women members and 61.29% of claim beneficiaries are women. (As on 31.01.2020)
    • 6,27,76,282females have enrolled out of a total of 15,12,54,678 23,894 claims have been paid to female beneficiaries out of a total of 38,988 claims paid. (As on 31.01.2020)


    1. Vice President takes up Andhra Pradesh farmers’ issues with Union Ministers


    • The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today had a discussion with Shri Ramvilas Paswan, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare on the problems faced by paddy farmers in Andhra Pradesh.
    • Senior officials from the Food and Public Distribution Department and Food Corporation of India (FCI) also met and briefed the Vice President about the overall procurement scenario in the State.
    • Shri Naidu also asked them to look into reports regarding delayed payments, lack of timely procurement from paddy farmers and non-implementation of the FCI procurement norms which were leading to distress sale by farmers.
    • The officials assured that expeditious action would be taken to liaise with the State Government to address the farmers’ and millers’ problems and also to reimburse the dues to the state government as soon as possible.
    • The Vice President also spoke to the Union Finance Minister, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman and requested her to look into the issue of sanction of funds to the State Government.


    1. Scheme for Scholarship and Fellowship


    • The Ministry of Culture implements a Scheme namely, ‘Scheme of Scholarship and Fellowship for Promotion of Art and Culture’, which consists of three components viz (i) ‘Award of Scholarships to Young Artists in Different Cultural Fields’, (ii) ‘Award of Senior/Junior Fellowships to Outstanding Persons in the Fields of Culture’ and (iii) ‘Tagore National Fellowship for Cultural Research. The details in respect of aforesaid three components are at Annexure I.

    The detail of the total number of Artists selected during the last three years, year-wise and State-wise is at Annexure II, III & IV.

    Annexure I

    Details of three components of the Scheme of Scholarship and Fellowship for Promotion of Art and Culture

    1. Component IAward of Scholarships to Young Artistes in Different Cultural Fields:

    Under this scheme component,up to 400 scholarships (in a Batch Year) are awarded to persons of outstanding promise in the age group of 18-25 years. An amount of Rs. 5,000/- p.m. is given for 2 years for advanced training within India.

    1. Component II:Award of Senior/Junior Fellowships to Outstanding Persons in The Fields of Culture:

    Under this scheme component,up to 400 Senior/Junior Fellowships (in a Batch Year) are awarded to outstanding persons in the age group above 40 years (Sr.) and 25 to 40 years (Jr.) respectively. An amount of 20,000/-p.m. and Rs. 10,000/- p.m. is given to Senior/Junior Fellows respectively for 2 years for cultural research.

    1. Component III:Tagore National Fellowship for Cultural Research:

    Under this scheme component,up to 25 Scholarships and 15 Fellowships (in a Batch Year) are awarded to outstanding personsin order to invigorate and revitalise the various institutions under the Ministry of Culture (MoC) and other identified cultural institutions in the country, by encouraging scholars/ academicians to affiliate themselves with these institutions to work on projects of mutual interest. An honorarium of Rs. 80,000/- p.m. plus contingencies and Rs. 50,000/-p.m.plus contingencies is given to Fellows and Scholars respectively for 2 years.



    Year-wise and State wise break –up of The Total Number of Scholarships awarded under the Scheme Component of Scholarships to Young Artistes in Different Cultural Fields (SYA) during last 03 years

    Sl No State/UT 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
    1. Andaman & Nicobar
    2. Andhra Pradesh 07 02 06
    3. Arunachal Pradesh 02 04
    4. Assam 14 12 19
    5. Bihar 11 10 14
    6. Chandigarh 01 01
    7. Chhattisgarh 08 08 14
    8. Delhi 16 14 21
    9. Goa 01 01 01
    10. Gujarat 04 09 08
    11. Haryana 06 07 06
    12. Himachal Pradesh 01 01 01
    13. Jammu and Kashmir 02 02 06
    14. Jharkhand 07 01 05
    15. Karnataka 26 25 24
    16. Kerala 18 20 23
    17. Madhya Pradesh 37 28 35
    18. Maharashtra 33 26 42
    19. Manipur 03 09 09
    20. Meghalaya
    21. Mizoram 01
    22. Nagaland
    23. Odisha 20 22 22
    24. Puducherry 02
    25. Punjab 02 06 04
    26. Rajasthan 03 04 08
    27. Sikkim 01
    28. Tamil Nadu 03 10 08
    29. Telangana 01 05 02
    30. Tripura 01 01
    31. Uttar Pradesh 38 43 38
    32. Uttarakhand 01 07 01
    33. West Bengal 46 40 60
    Total Awardees 312 315 384


    Under this scheme, young artistes of outstanding promise in the age group of 18-25 years are assisted financially an amount ofRs. 5,000/- p.m. for 2 years.

    Annexure III


    Year-wise and State wise break –up of The Total Number of fellowships awarded under the Scheme of Award of Sr./Jr. Fellowship to Outstanding Persons in the Fields of Culture during Last Three Years


    Sr. No. STATE/UTs No. of Fellowship Awarded
    2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
    1 ANDHRA PRADESH 02 04 06
    2 ARUNACHAL PRADESH 01 01 —–
    3 ASSAM 13 18 23
    4 BIHAR 08 12 13
    5 CHHATTISGARH 07 09 06
    6 CHANDIGARH —– —– 01
    7 DELHI 30 44 50
    8 GUJARAT 06 04 09
    9 GOA 01 02 01
    10 HARYANA 07 07 11
    11 HIMACHAL PRADESH —– —– 01
    12 JAMMU & KASHMIR 01 07 03
    13 JHARKHAND 04 09 09
    14 KARNATAKA 16 15 26
    15 KERELA 15 23 21
    16 MADHYA PRADESH 24 23 24
    17 MAHARASHTRA 29 34 33
    18 MANIPUR 13 14 19
    19 MEGHALAYA —– —– 01
    20 NAGALAND —– —– 01
    21 ODISHA 33 35 41
    22 PUNJAB 04 02 04
    23 PUDUCHERRY —– 03 02
    24 RAJASTHAN 11 12 09
    25 TAMILNADU 03 06 05
    26 TELENGANA 09 05 07
    27 TRIPURA 01 04 02
    28 UTTAR PRADESH 39 30 42
    29 UTTARAKHAND 05 05 04
    30 WEST BENGAL 29 40 23
    TOTAL: 311 368 397


    Under this scheme,Senior/Junior Fellows of age above 40 years and in the age of 25-40 years respectivelyare assisted financially an amount ofRs. 20,000/- p.m. and Rs. 10,000/- respectively for 2 years.


    Annexure IV


    Year-wise and State wise break –up of The Total Number of fellowships/scholarships awarded under Tagore National Fellowship for Cultural Research Statement during last 03 years


    Sl No State/UT No. of Fellows/Scholars No. of Fellows/Scholars No. of Fellows/Scholars
    2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
    1. Delhi 20
    2. Maharashtra 04
    3. Madhya Pradesh 01
    4. Nagaland 01
    5. Punjab 01
    6. Tamil Nadu 03
    7. Telangana 04
    9. Uttar Pradesh 02
    9. West Bengal 07
    Total 43*


    Under this scheme, the selected Fellows/Scholars are released honorarium ofRs. 80,000/- and of Rs. 50,000/- per month respectively for period of 02 years.


    1. Disinvestment of CPSEs


    • During the current financial year, through the ETF mode, Further Fund Offer (FFO) -5 and FFO-6 of CPSE-ETF yielded Rs 10,000.39 crore and Rs 16,500 crore in July 2019 and January 2020 respectively. FFO-2 of Bharat-22 ETF fetched Rs 4,368 crore in October 2019. In aggregate, ETFs have yielded Rs. 30,868.39 crore in 2019-20. This was stated by Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs.

    Giving more details, Shri Thakur stated that the policy of disinvestment of minority stake without transfer of management control is being followed through various SEBI-approved methods such as Initial Public Offer (IPO), Offer for Sale (OFS), Buyback of shares and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) offers. Disinvestment is an ongoing process. Timing of disinvestment transaction depends on the prevailing market condition and the investors’ interest.

    Shri Thakur further said that at present, Bharat 22 ETF consists of equity of 15 CPSEs, 3 PSU banks and 3 private companies. The net shares of Govt. in CPSEs included in the Bharat-22 ETF are given below:


    Serial No. CPSEs Net share of Govt. of India
    1. Bharat Electronics Ltd 51.13%
    2. Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd 52.98%
    3. Coal India Ltd 66.14%
    4. Engineers India Ltd 51.50%
    5. Gail India Ltd 51.76%
    6. Indian Oil Corp Ltd 51.50%
    7. National Aluminium Co Ltd 51.50%
    8. NBCC (India) Ltd 61.75%
    9. NHPC Ltd 70.95%
    10. NLC India Ltd 79.20%
    11. NTPC Ltd 51.02%
    12. Oil & Natural Gas Corp Ltd 60.41%
    13. Power Finance Corp Ltd 55.99%
    14. Power Grid Corp of India Ltd 51.34%
    15. SJVN Ltd 59.92


    1. Shri Nityanand Rai presides over the 8th Foundation Day of Land Ports Authority of India


    • Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Nityanand Rai, presided over as Chief Guest at the 8thFoundation Day of the Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI), celebrated in New Delhi.
    • In his address, the Minister complimented the LPAI for the excellent work done in building border infrastructure for facilitation of cross border trade and travel on India’s land borders. He also praised the LPAI for building the Passenger Terminal Building at Dera Baba Nanak, Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, an achievement the whole nation is proud of.
    • Discussions on various aspects of Land Ports – the game changers for travel and regional connectivity, challenges in cargo operations at Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) and their infrastructure requirement added value to the occasion.
    • Other dignitaries present on the occasion included Secretary, Border Management, Shri N.N. Sinha, Second Secretary from Embassy of Nepal, along with senior officers from Government of India and academics and professionals from ADB, IIFT, CUTS International, RIS and ICRIER.







    1. India beats Poland And Russia to $40 million defence deal with Armenia



    • In a major win, India has managed to bag a $40 Million defence export deal.
    • Under the $40 Million contract, India is required to supply four Swathi weapons-locating radars.
    • The radars provide fast, automatic, and accurate location of enemy weapons like mortars, shells, and rockets in its 50-km range.
    • It can also simultaneously handle multiple projectiles fired from different weapons at different locations.
    • Russian and Polish firms were also in the race to bad the mega-deal.
    • The deal is for supplying four Swathi weapon locating radars developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) to Armenia in Europe.



    1. Novel Corona virus death toll in China climbs to 2,943



    • The Novel Corona virus death toll in China climbed to 2,943 with 31 more deaths while 125 new confirmed cases were reported, the lowest since the virus outbreak in the country, Chinese health officials said today even as the total number of deaths crossing 3,000 globally and infections surging past 89,000.
    • According to the World Health Organization, there are 89,527 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,056 deaths reported globally in 67 countries. In terms of confirmed cases in China, officials said Monday’s numbers were the lowest since the country began to report about the Corona virus epidemic, showing signs of stabilizing, especially in the Chinese mainland.
    • WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted  that understanding the epidemic is the first step to defeating it. We have never before seen a respiratory pathogen that is capable of community transmission. He said, the infection spreads from person to person mainly through the droplets produced when an infected person speaks, coughs or sneezes. WHO has been advising countries to take actions on the first case, first cluster, first evidence of community transmission.
    • Meanwhile, six people died of the deadly virus in the United States and South Korea reported 29 COVID-19 deaths. In Japan, 12 people died of the disease. Italy reported a jump in the death toll to 52, with more than 2,036 people infected with the virus. In Iran, the virus has claimed 66 lives, while confirmed cases climbed to more than 1,500. Three people have died of the disease in France, while the confirmed cases increased to 191.


    1. Head of Bangladesh Bouddha Kristi Prachar Sangha Sanghanayaka Suddhananda Mahathero passes away




    • The head of the Bangladesh Bouddha Kristi Prachar Sangha Sanghanayaka Suddhananda Mahathero passed away in Dhaka today. He was 88. He was suffering from old age related complications. In December last year he was admitted to the Institute of Liver and Biliary Science (ILBS) in Delhi for medical treatment.
    • He was a revered figure among the Buddhists of Bangladesh. He is known for running many social service activities particularly the orphanage at Dharmarajika Buddhist Monastery which takes care of more than 350 children. Government of Bangladesh awarded the Ekushey Award to him in 2012.
    • According to 2011 census, Buddhism is the third largest religion of Bangladesh constituting 0.6 percent of the population. Most of the Buddhists live in Chittagong division of Bangladesh.



    1. China assumes presidency of UN Security Council for March 2020


    • China has taken over as president of the UN Security Council for the month of March 2020, pledging to promote solidarity and cooperation in this capacity. In a note to the press today,  China’s permanent representative to the UN,Zhang Jun said his country attaches great importance to the work during its presidency and will act responsibly and constructively.
    • China will make an effort to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with all parties to ensure that the council fulfills its responsibility and plays a constructive role in maintaining international peace and security, Zhang said.
    • The Security Council was established by the UN Charter. Its primary responsibility is to work to maintain international peace and security. The council has 15 members: the five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members elected for two-year terms. The council’s presidency is a capacity that rotates every month among its 15 members.







    1. Azlan Shah Cup Hockey Tournament postponed from April to September due to Coronavirus

    • The prestigious Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament has been postponed from April to September this year in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak across the world. In a statement, the organisers said, the tournament which was scheduled to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia from April 11 to 18, will now be held from September 24 to October 3.
    • India, a regular at the event, was not supposed to participate this year. The Azlan Shah Cup is an annual men’s international invitational field hockey tournament. The participating teams in this edition’s tournament were Australia, Canada, Japan, hosts Malaysia, Pakistan and South Korea.




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