Current Affairs 10 October 2019
- October 11, 2019
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Ganga Aamantran’ Abhiyan
- The Union minister of Jal Shakthi Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawatlaunched ‘Ganga Aamantran’ abhiyan, a month long open-water rafting and kayaking expedition in New Delhi. The expedition which begins from October 10- November 11 2019, will cover an area of 25,000kms from Devprayag in Uttarakhand to Ganga Sagar in West Bengal.
- It is the first of its kind effort by National Mission for Clean Ganga(NMCG) to raft across the entire stretch of the river.It is also the longest ever social campaign undertaken through an adventure sporting activity in spreading the message of river rejuvenation and water conservation on a massive scale.
- States included: The expedition will encompass 5 Ganga basin states. They are Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.
- The expedition will be led by Wing Commander Paramvir Singh from Indian Air Force,the only person to have swum the entire length of Ganga from Devprayag to Gangasagar in 2015. He also holds 13 World, 3 Asian and 7 National Records.
Ministry of Tourism organises first of its kind Adventure Trekking Training course in Ladakh
- Following the vision of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi of development of tourism in Ladakh and under the leadership of Union Minister of State for Tourism & Culture (Independent Charge) ShriPrahlad Singh Patel, the Indian Institute of Skiing & Mountaineering (IISM) Gulmarg, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in association with Indian Institute of Travel & Tourism Management (IITTM) an autonomous body under the Ministry of Tourismhas organised an Adventure Tourism Training Courses in Trekking.
- The first of its kind in the region, this 10 days training course trains local youth in various aspects of mountain trekking and also gives them hands on experience. Over 30 local youth enrolled in the first batch which started on 24thSeptember 2019. Approximately 90 local youth will be trained in three batches.
- The training programmes will be completed by 12thOctober 2019. The trekking programmestartswith a briefing and the participants cover places like Spithuk, Then, Zinchen, Rumbak, Stok la Base, Stock within 10 days and will return toLeh.This training program is aimed at developing the basic skills of Trekking in the youth who can later use these skills for becoming guides or entrepreneurs in future.
Eliminate social evils like casteism and corruption that impede the progress of the nation: Vice President
- The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today called for eliminating social evils like casteism, fundamentalism, corruption and discrimination that impede the progress of the society and the nation.
- Addressing the gathering at the Ramleela Dussehra Celebration organized by Sri Dharmic Leela Committee in New Delhi today, he urged people to develop a positive mindset and promote the values of kindness, joy, tolerance, love, compassion, peace, empathy and respect, especially among children from an early age.
- Extending his greetings and good wishes to the people of our country on the auspicious occasion of Dussehra, Shri Naidu said that Dussehra is believed to be the day when Lord Rama defeated the demon king Ravanaand also the day Goddess Durga rid the world of the demon Mahishasura. “Irrespective of which epic one chooses to believe in, it is clear that Dussehra symbolized the victory of good over evil, of righteousness and virtue over sinfulness. It is a celebration of the universal law that truth alone triumphs in the end”, he added.
- The Vice President said that Dussehra was the celebration of eternal human values and morals. “It is the celebration of the victory of dharma over adharma”, he added.
- Extolling the virtues of Lord Rama’s kingdom which was believed to have been an ideal state, Shri Naidu said that Mahatma Gandhi, whose 150thbirth anniversary is being celebrated this year around the world, also dreamt that India should aim for the ‘Ram Rajya’. Underscoring that ‘Ram Rajya’ envisages a society based on virtue, morality and justice as the core ideals, the Vice President said that to Gandhi Ji, Ram Rajyawas a nation thatensured equal rights to both prince and pauper.
- Terming Ramayana as a heritage of the entire humanity, Shri Naidu called for dedicated efforts to preserve, propagate and deepen our understanding of this immortal epic that has deeply permeated Indian consciousness. “People across the country own Rama. They closely associate and identify with Rama katha”, he added.
- The Vice President reminded one and all of the core values of Ramayana. He said that the epic of Ramayana reminds us of our duty towards the world, society and family and defines the relationship of human beings with each other and with mother earth, nature, birds and animals. He opined that Ramayana’s message gains new relevance in the current global context of formidable challenges to world peace and prosperity.
- He urged one and all to draw lessons from Rama’s life and perfect the art of living together and tread the path of peace and inclusive growth.
- Emphasizing that festivals reflect the composite culture and rich heritage of our country, Shri Naidu said that they spread happiness and foster unity and close relationship of human beings with nature.
The Public Finance Management System (PFMS) portal
- Under pressure from the Centre, the Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Department has directed all government procurement agencies to link the bank accounts of farmers with the Public Finance Management System (PFMS) portal before the procurement of paddy begins. This has angered the arhatiyas(commission agents), a large number of whom want the government to roll back its decision.
- It is an end-to- end solutionfor processing payments, tracking, monitoring, accounting, reconciliation and reporting.
- Administered by the Department of Expenditure.
- It is implemented by the Controller General of Accounts.
- It provides scheme managers a unified platform for tracking releases and monitoring their last mile utilisation. It provides platform for efficient management of funds through tracking of funds and real time reporting of expenditure and receipts through treasury and bank interface.
- The line ministries/departments utilise this platform to monitor the utilisation of funds provided to the implementing agencies and state governments.
- PFMS is also used for DBT payments under MGNREGA and other notified schemes of the Government of India.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan launched eco-friendly crackers
- The Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhanlaunched eco-friendly green firecrackers, manufactured in India and are also made available in markets for sellers and consumers. These green crackers were developed by the Indian Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to combat air pollution.
- A green logo as well as a Quick Response (QR) coding system has been developed inorder to differentiate the green crackers from other conventional crackers.
- Testing facility: Emissions testing facilities for the new firecrackers have been set up at CSIR-NEERI (CSIR- National Environmental Engineering Research Institute). The Approved National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration (NABL) facilities for the firecrackers is also available at CSIR NEERI website.Raw Materials Compositional Analysis (RACE) is launched in Sivakasi (known as “Little Japan”), Tamilnadu, for testing raw materials and chemicals of the manufacturers.
- Among 8 labs that participated to develop reduced emission/green fireworks, CSIR-NEERI developed improvements in the formulations based on Barium Nitratechemical to meet the norms of green crackers. Assessing Barium levels in conventional crackers and green crackers, are done by CSIR-NEERI along with Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC) apart from defining green crackers.
- Members present:The Director General(DG) of CSIR, DrShekhar C Mande; Director of NEERI, DrRakesh Kumar and other officials were amongst those present at the Press Conference.
Centre forms inter-ministerial panel headed by Ajay Bhushan Pandey to check money laundering
- The government formed a 19-member Inter-Ministerial Co-ordination Committee (IMCC) chaired by the revenue secretary Mr Ajay Bhushan Pandeyto check money laundering activities. It is set up as per the powers conferred under Section 72A of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
- To facilitate policy and operational coordination among the law enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies and various regulators in matters relating to countering of terror financing and money laundering.
- It has 5 secretaries from the departments of Financial Services, Economic Affairs, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs and chiefs from various regulatory authorities and probe agencies.
- The Terms of Reference (ToR) of the panel include ensuring operational cooperation among the government, law enforcement agencies, the Financial Intelligence Unit-India (FIU-IND) and the regulators or supervisors; work on development and implementing policies on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism; work towards policy cooperation and coordination across all relevant or competent authorities.
- The Financial Action Task Force(FATF) Cell in the Department of Revenue will be the secretariat of the IMCC.
India gets first details of accounts of Indian citizens in Swiss banks
- In the matter of getting information about black money from foreign land, India has got the first details of accounts of Indian citizensin Swiss banks under the new regular system of automatic exchange of information (AEOI). However, the exchange of information is done with the condition of confidentiality.
- The Federal Tax Administration (FTA) of Switzerland has exchanged details of financial accounts under 75 global standards of AEOI to 75 countries. India is also included in them.
- Under the AEOI framework, the information was given about the accounts which are currently active. Apart from this, the details of those accounts which have been closed in 2018 also made available.
- Financial accounts information would be exchanged with India again in September 2020.
- In total, the FTA has shared information (resident’s country, name, address and financial institution with tax identification number, balance in the account and capital income) of 31 lakh financial accounts to partner countries. At the same time, Switzerland has received information about 24 lakh accounts.
- In Switzerland, AEOI was first implemented on January 1, 2017 on legal grounds. Under this arrangement, for the first time information exchange was done with 36 countries in September 2018. The Global Forum of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reviews the implementation of AEIO.
China snubs Pakistan; calls Kashmir a bilateral issue between New Delhi & Islamabad
- In what is being seen as a snub to the visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, China has significantly modified its position on the Kashmir issue by omitting its recent references to the UN charter and Security Council resolutions to the matter.
- Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said yesterday that New Delhi and Islamabad should take the bilateral route to resolve all issues. He said, China calls on India and Pakistan to engage in dialogue and consultation on all issues, including the Kashmir issue, and consolidate mutual trust. This is in line with interest of both countries and common aspiration of the world, he said.
- The statement is a departure from the position that Beijing took when Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had visited China after abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A on August 5.
- China indicated that it is ready to go back to its pre-August 5 position when it had held that the Kashmir issue should be resolved bilaterally between India and Pakistan. The omission of references to the UN charter and Security Council resolutions particularly assume significance at a time when Imran Khan and Pakistan army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa are in Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders. By changing its position, China seems to be in agreement with the Indian stand that there should be no third-party mediation on the Kashmir issue.
- Explaining Beijing’s changed position, observers said supporting Pakistan’s position on Kashmir might make it difficult for Mr Xi to make his India visit successful. Also, by changing its position, China is trying to soften Pakistan’s rhetoric on the Kashmir issue.
4th e-Conomy SEA report for 2019
- The 4thEdition of the report titled “e-Conomy SEA report 2019:Powering Southeast Asia’s $100 billion Internet economy” was jointly released by Google, Singapore investment company Temasek and American consultancy Bain & Company. As per the report, Indonesia and Vietnam led the SE (SouthEast) Asia’s $100bn internet economy becoming the fastest-growing digital economies in the region. Until 2018, this report was jointly published by Google and Temasek.
- Southeast Asia’s internet economy is on course to reach US$100bn in 2019, a 39% increase from $72bn in 2018.
- It is expected to triple in size to $300bn by 2025.
- Indonesia’s internet economy is the largest in the region, estimated at $40 billion in 2019, is expected to reach $133 billion mark by 2025. Vietnam’s internet economy is forecast to reach $12 billion in 2019 and up to $43 billion in 2025.
- The average annual internet growth rate of Indonesia and Vietnam exceeded 40% since 2015 while the other 4 economies grew between 20%- 30% annually. Digital Payments are expected to cross $1 trillion by 2025 and digital lending is on track to build a $110 billion loan book by 2025.
South Asia region Al Qaeda chief Asim Umar killed in Afghanistan
- The leader of Al-Qaeda’s South Asian branch was killed in a US -Afghan joint raid in southern Afghanistan in September. Asim Umar, who led al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) since its inception in 2014, was killed during a raid on September 23 on a Taliban compound in the Musa Qala district of Helmand Province.
- Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) said Umar was a Pakistani citizen, though some reports claim he was born in India.
- He was killed along with six other AQIS members, most of them Pakistani, the NDS tweeted, adding that Umar had been embedded with the Taliban. The raid was part of a lengthy overnight operation between September 22 and 23 for which the US provided air support
India announces TAP for 5 African Countries on World Cotton Day
- Union Minister of Textiles, Smriti Zubin Irani, said that India remains committed to building on its longstanding development partnership with Africa, especially in the field of cotton.
- For this, Textiles Minister said that India will be announcing the launch of the second phase of the Cotton Technical Assistance Programme (TAP) for Africa at the Partners Conference in Geneva.
- In the five year long second phase, the programme will be scaled up in size and coverage and will be introduced in five additional countries, namely Mali, Ghana, Togo, Zambia and Tanzania.
- The Cotton TAP programme will now cover 11 African countries including the C4 (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali). India implemented a Technical Assistance Programme (TAP) for cotton in 6 African countries, namely – Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda from 2012 to 2018.
- Smriti Zubin Irani further said that India is also engaging meaningfully in providing assistance to strengthen both the agriculture and textile part of the cotton value chain in Africa through training and capacity-building of farmers, scientists, government officials and industry representatives and through the creation of cotton-related infrastructure.
- As one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of cotton, India supports the World Cotton Day as an opportunity to recognise the significance of cotton as a global commodity, and, more importantly, as a source of livelihood for millions of small and marginal farmers in developing countries said Smriti Zubin Irani, at the opening session of World Cotton Day in Geneva .
- Smriti Zubin Irani said that it is fitting that Mahatma Gandhi has been chosen as the icon for the World Cotton Day and to mark the celebration of the first World Cotton Day, India will gift a replica of Mahatma Gandhi’s Charkha to the WTO. She also informed that a live demonstration of the Charkha has been arranged a by Pitta Ramulu, National Award winning weaver from India.
- The Textiles Minister also informed that cotton farming and the domestic cotton textile industry continue to be important pillars of India’s economy. As a country of 8 million small and marginal cotton farmers, India is sensitive to the challenges faced by the cotton sector in developing countries and India has been a proponent for the elimination of asymmetries and imbalances in the WTO agreements that lead to a distortion of global cotton markets, the Minister added.
- Smriti Zubin Irani expressed hope that the World Cotton Day will help showcase innovative initiatives in the cotton eco-system and channel more development assistance for cotton.
Information Fusion Centre (IFC) for the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)
- The Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR)set up last year has started functioning as an information sharing hub of maritime data and “cuing incident responses” to maritime security situations through a collaborative approach.
- The centre is actively interacting with the maritime community and has already built linkages with 18 countries and 15 multinational/maritime security centres.
- The IFC-IOR was established with the vision of strengthening maritime security in the region and beyond,by building a common coherent maritime situation picture and acting as a maritime information hub for the region.
- The IFC has been established at the Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram,which is the single point centre linking all the coastal radar chains to generate a seamless real-time picture of the nearly 7,500-km coastline.
- Through this Centre, information on “white shipping”, or commercial shipping, will be exchanged with countries in the region to improve maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean.
- The IOR has a diverse set of littorals and island nations, each with their unique needs, aspirations, interest and values. It is necessary to counter the Rise in maritime piracy in the region.
- IFR-IRO would ensure that the entire region is benefited by mutual collaboration and exchange of information and understanding the concerns and threats which are prevalent in the region.
- It enjoys a privileged location at the crossroads of global trade, connecting the major engines of the international economy in the Northern Atlantic and Asia-Pacific. This is particularly important in an era in which global shipping has burgeoned.
- Indian Ocean is also rich in natural resources. 40% of the world’s offshore oil production takes place in the Indian Ocean basin.
- Fishing in the Indian Ocean now accounts for almost 15% of the world’s total.
- Mineral resources are equally important, with nodules containing nickel, cobalt, and iron, and massive sulphide deposits of manganese, copper, iron, zinc, silver, and gold present in sizeable quantities on the sea bed.
- Indian Ocean coastal sediments are also important sources of titanium, zirconium, tin, zinc, and copper. Additionally, various rare earth elements are present, even if their extraction is not always commercially feasible.
India and France Defense Relations
- Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh emphasised on the focus to equip Indian Air Force and enhance its capabilities, saying that the new Rafale Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) will make India stronger and will give a boost to its air dominance exponentially to ensure peace and security in the region. In his address at the Rafale handing over Ceremony in Merignac, France, he said it was a historic and landmark day for the Indian Armed Forces.
- Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh says the strong cooperation between India and France will continue to grow and contribute to global peace, prosperity and environmental sustainability. He also stressed the importance of the ceremony saying it signifies the depth of strategic partnership between India and France.
- Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh also said he was glad in knowing that a large number of India Air Force officers and airmen are being trained in France for flying, maintenance support and logistics for handling Rafale fighter aircraft and hoped the training in French facilities will help the crew in acquiring knowledge and professional expertise required for performing their task in India.
- Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh pointed out that the Rafale Project Monitoring Team (PMT) from India has been positioned in France since August 2017 to ensure smooth implementation of the project. Shri Rajnath Singh said he was happy that the delivery of Rafale aircraft is on schedule and will add to the strength of Indian Air force.
- Raksha Mantri performed the ‘Shastra Puja’ on Rafale on the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami.
- The Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale aircraft procurement was signed between the Government of India and Government of France on 23 September, 2016.
- Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan today participated in the ceremony for commissioning the infrastructure facilities constructed to support the proposed oil refinery project in Mongolia. Prime Minister of Mongolia, H.E. Mr. Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh, six Cabinet Ministers & Governor of Dornogovi Province, Mr. T. Enkhtuvsh in also participated in the ceremony.
- The Minister said on the occasion “This important event will pave the way to open a new chapter in our bilateral trade and investment relations. Shared Buddhist heritage and common belief in ideals of democracy sustain both our countries’ cordial relations and engagement.The construction of the 1.5 MMT Oil Refinery Project with Indian assistance is a shining example of our friendship.
- Happy to share that on Mongolian request,India has announced an additional US $ 236 million Line of Credit from India to Mongolia beyond the committed US$ 1 billion.I am glad that the EngineersIndia Ltd, Public Sector Undertaking of the Ministry of Petroleum and natural gas is providing project management consultancy services for this prestigious refinery project in Mongolia.
- On completion of the project, it will meet about three-fourth of Mongolian requirement of oil.India would be happy to partner with Mongolia to develop its infrastructure as per the priorities decided by the people & Govt. of Mongolia.India remains committed to working with the Govt. & people of Mongolia to further strengthen our Strategic Partnership for mutual prosperity.”
- Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, accompanied by an official and business delegation, is on a 3-day visit to Mongolia, as a follow up of the State visit the President of Mongolia to India in September 2019.
Mary Kom advances to quarterfinals of World Women’s C’ships
- In Boxing, six-time Champion M.C. Mary Kom today advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Women’s Championships in 51 kilogram category at Ulan-Ude, Russia.
- The 36-year-old triumphed 5-0 against Thailand’s Jutamas Jitpong.
- However, in the 75-kilogram category, there was disappointment for India when former silver-medallist Saweety Boora lost her pre-quarterfinal bout in a split decision despite a valiant fight. Boora was up against second-seeded Welshwoman Lauren Price.