• Current Affairs , 12 December 2019

    • December 12, 2019
    • Posted By : upliftlife
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    1. Chinnaswami Subramania Bharathi Remembered
    2. Citizenship Amendment Bill not against Muslims: HM Amit Shah
    3. International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill in LS
    4. ISRO launches its earth observation satellite RISAT-2BR1
    5. The Recycling of Ships Bill 2019
    6. UDAN scheme: Update
    7. Massive campaign against single-use plastic
    8. Cabinet approves Agreement on Social Security between India and Brazil
    9. Pact between India and Japan in Steel Sector
    • Rohingya genocide claim factually misleading: Aung San Suu Kyi
    1. Hafiz Saeed indicted on terror financing charges
    2. United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)
    3. Radicalisation rising, Terrorist incident declining: Bangladesh Police study
    4. At least 250 journalists jailed around the world
    5. Tokyo Olympics-2020 can provide platform for India’s best performance






    1. Chinnaswami Subramania Bharathi



    • Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has remembered Subramania Bharathi on his birth anniversary.
    • “Remembering the great Subramania Bharathi on his Jayanti. Respectfuly known as ‘Mahakavi Bharathiar’, he is a symbol of patriotism, social reform, poetic genius and indomitable sprit of freedom and fearlessness. His thoughts and works continue to motivate us all.
    • Subramania Bharathi believed in justice and equality above everything else. He once said, “If even one single man suffers from starvation, we will destroy the entire world.” This sums up his vision towards alleviating human suffering and furthering empowerment”, the PM said.
    • Also known as Bharathiyar(11 December 1882 – 11 September 1921), was a Tamil writer, poet, journalist, Indian independence activist , a social reformer and a polyglot. Popularly known as “Mahakavi Bharathi”, he was a pioneer of modern Tamil poetry and is considered one of the greatest Tamil literary figures of all time. His numerous works included fiery songs kindling patriotism during the Indian Independence movement.
    • Born in Ettayapuramof Tirunelveli district (present day Thoothukudi) in 1882, Bharathi had his early education in Tirunelveli and Varanasi and worked as a journalist with many newspapers, including The Hindu, Bala Bharata, Vijaya, Chakravarthini, the Swadesamitran and India. In 1908, an arrest warrant was issued against Bharati by the government of British India for his revolutionary writings, forcing him to flee to Pondicherry (union Territory), where he lived until 1918.
    • Bharathi’s influence on Tamil literature is phenomenal. Although it is said that he was proficient in around 14 languages his favorite language was Tamil. He was prolific in his output. He covered political, social and spiritual themes. The songs and poems composed by Bharati are very often used in Tamil cinemaand have become staples in the literary and musical repertoire of Tamil artistes throughout the world. He paved the way for modern blank verse.


    • Citizenship Amendment Bill not against Muslims: HM Amit Shah

    • Union Home Minister Amit Shah today asserted that Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 is not against the Muslims and they will continue to enjoy the rights given to them as citizens of the country.
    • Moving the bill in the Rajya Sabha for consideration and passing, Mr. Shah said that misconception has been created that this legislation is against a particular community which is not true.
    • The bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants of six communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship.
    • The communities are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians.
    • Allaying the fear of the people from North-Eastern states, the Home Minister said, the bill will not affect their interest and the NDA Government is committed to preserving their cultural, social and linguistic identities.
    • Shah said, the legislation will give bring new light in the lives of the people who were facing religious persecution in the neighbouring countries namely Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
    • He said, such people who are living in India for decades will be given all kinds of rights and facilities. Mr. Shah also said, the BJP had mentioned in its manifesto that the party will do justice to the religiously persecuted people living in India and the legislation has been brought to end their sufferings.
    • Meanwhile, Congress, Left, TMC, SP, DMK, BSP, RJD, NCP and TRS opposed the bill terming it unconstitutional.
    • Initiating the discussion, Mr Anand Sharma of Congress alleged that the bill is an attack on the soul of the Constitution. He said, the Constitution has the provisions for citizenship, but the religion was never the criteria for this. He also urged for not to pass the bill in hurry and refer it to the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha for a thorough examination.
    • Another party leader P. Chidambaram accused the government of arbitrary inclusion and exclusion of communities saying that it is illogical. He said, the legislation will be struck down in the court.
    • Chidambaram also pointed out what he called flaws in the bill. Congress MP Kapil Sibal said, the bill has far-reaching consequences which cannot be imagined.
    • Opposing the Bill, Mr Derek O’Brien of TMC termed it as unconstitutional. He alleged that the government has brought this bill to cover up its mistakes done through NRC in Assam.
    • He also alleged that BJP has failed to fulfil several promises. Mr. O’Brien urged parties like JD(U) and BJD to rethink about their support to the bill. Mr Javed Ali Khan of Samajwadi Party also accused the government of working to marginalize the Muslims in India.
    • He alleged that the bill is an attack on the secular fabric of the country. Mr Satish Chandra Mishra of BSP said, this bill is against the Preamble of the Constitution as Muslims have been excluded.


    On the other hand, supporting the bill, BJP Working President J P Nadda said, the bill has a historic necessity as the neighbouring country like Pakistan has failed to protect the interests of minorities. Allaying the fears of North-East states, he said, their identity will be protected. Mr R C P Singh of JD(U) accused the opposition of creating fear among the Muslims in the name of this legislation.


    • International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill in LS



    • The International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill has been presented in the Lok Sabha.
    • The bill seeks to establish a unified authority to develop and regulate the financial services market in the International Financial Services Centres or IFSC’s in India.
    • Currently, multiple agencies are entrusted with regulating the market like the RBI, SEBI and Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority, PFRDA.
    • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her opening remarks, said, all these years, the international finance transactions were being made through financial hubs abroad.
    • She said, since the inception of the Gujarat International Finance Tech-City GIFT at Gandhi Nagar, considerable volume of transactions is being made through the facility in India itself.
    • She said, the BSE and the NSE have established their facilities there with a daily transaction of about four billion US dollars, besides thirteen international banking firms making transactions worth 24 billion dollars.
    • She pointed out that there are also a host of other firms involved in IT and ITES and insurance sectors who deal with international financial transactions in the GIFT centre.
    • Initiating the discussion, Mr Karti Chidambaram of Congress said, the bill is all about a single entity, which he said, lacks an enabling environment for such financial hubs. He said, there is no visibility of policy on international financial service centres.
    • Mr P P Choudhary of the BJP welcomed the bill as a game-changer. He said, it will contribute to enhancing the ease of doing business, boost the economy and serve as a catalyst for job generation. He observed that the growing inter-dependency of the global economy required such a unified authority to regulate international financial services sector in the country.
    • Mr D M Kathir Anand of DMK said, in his maiden speech, rather than putting all eggs in a single basket, let the International Financial Services Centres be broad-based in cities like Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai as well.
    • Mr Saugata Roy of AITC said, the GIFT centre at Gandhi Nagar is already embroiled in controversies with its major stakeholder ILFS on the verge of collapsing and asked the Finance Minister to remove what he termed the clouds surrounding the project.


    • ISRO launches its earth observation satellite RISAT-2BR1





    • Indian Space Research Organization’s trusted workhorse the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle achieved a landmark today with its 50th mission lifting off successfully from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
    • PSLV C-48  took off into a clear sunlit sky at 1525 hrs and launched earth observation satellite RISAT-2BR1 into it’s planned orbit 16 minutes 23.3 seconds later.
    • The first customer satellite separated at 17 minutes 23.3 seconds and the last customer satellite at 21 minutes 16.9 seconds to complete the mission.
    • ISRO Chairman Dr. N. Sivan said, the 50th PSLV mission had successfully injected RISAT-2BR1 and nine customer satellites precisely into a 576 kilometres orbit.
    • Another landmark was that the mission was the 75th launch from the spaceport of India- the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
    • Pointing out that the PSLV was a versatile rocket with five variants, Dr Sivan said, it had lifted payloads ranging in weight from 850 kilograms to 1.9 tonnes.
    • He paid tribute to the exemplary leaders responsible for creating what he called a wonderful vehicle.
      He also released a bookmarking PSLV’s achievements in its 26-year history.
    • The 628-kilogram RISAT-2BR1 is the second radar imaging satellite in the RISAT-2B series and along with the CARTOSAT-3 is part of a group of satellites that will boost India’s earth imaging capabilities from space.
    • The satellite will help in agriculture, mining, forestry and coastal management, soil monitoring, disaster management support and round the clock border surveillance.
    • The RISAT satellites are equipped with a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) that can take pictures of the earth during day and night and also under cloudy conditions.
    • RISAT-2BR1 has a powerful resolution allowing two objects separated by 35-centimetre distance to be distinctly identified and will cover a swathe of 5 to 10 kilometres.
    • PSLV-C48 also carried nine customer satellites including one each from Israel, Italy and Japan and six from the USA as co-passengers. The international customer satellites were launched under a pact with NewSpace India Limited, ISRO’s commercial arm.
    • The first satellite in the RISAT-2B series was launched earlier this year to replace the ageing RISAT-2.
    • The RISAT-2BR1 will be followed by two more satellites of the same series next year to complete a quartet of satellites with advanced earth imaging abilities.


    1. The Recycling of Ships Bill 2019


    • The parliament has passed the “The Recycling of Ships Bill 2019’’ inorder to ensure environmentally safe and sound recycling of Ships in India. Under the bill, the govt. will provide regulations of recycling of ships by setting international standards.
    • The already existing Shipbreaking Code (revised),2013 and the provisions of the Hong Kong Convention, 2009 will be dovetailed (joined together) in this Bill.
    • The bill is expected to bring reaching effects in Indian Ship Recycling industry. It would ensure environment friendly recycling process of ships and adequate safety of the workers in the shipyard. The bill is mainly focused with the workers’ safety concerns.
    • India’s share in global ship recycling industry:India has a share of over 30% of the global market in the ship recycling industry.
    • The bill prohibits the use or installation of hazardous materials in the ship irrespective of whether the ship will be recycled or not.
    • Existing ships will be given 5-year compliance to remove the hazardous material.
    • New Ships will be prohibited to use the hazardous material with immediate effect from the date of legislation comes to force.
    • Warships and other non-commercial ships will not be given restriction on usage of the hazardous material.
    • Ships to be recycled in India will need to obtain a ‘Ready for Recycling Certificate’ in accordance with the Hong Kong Convention. In this regard, a large number of recycling plots, especially at Alang,Gujarat, have obtained Statement of Compliance (SOC) with the Hong Kong Convention.


    • The bill would increase the number of global ships entering into Indian Shipyards for recycling and would also boost employment and business opportunities.
    • The brand value of Ships Recycling Yards located at Alang in Gujarat, Mumbai Port(Maharashtra), Kolkata Port (West Bengal) & Azhikkal in Kerala will be increased.
    • 10% of the country’s secondary steel needs, will be met in an eco-friendly manner.
    • The HKC is aimed at ensuring that ships, when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives, do not pose any unnecessary risks to human health, safety and the environment.


    1. UDAN scheme: Update




    • The central government has agreed to include three airportsone each at Jeypore in Koraput, Rourkela in Sundergarh & Utkela in Kalahandi district of Odisha under the regional connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik).
    • Ministry of Civil Aviation(MCA), Government of India (GoI) has launched the 4thphase of regional connectivity scheme UDAN (4.0)to connect small and medium cities to the air network.
    • It is noteworthy that Vir Surendra Sai (VSS)Airport of Jharsuguda was included in the UDAN-3 scheme.This year(2019), the airport started flying between the 6 cities of the country. The Center has approved Rs 160 crore for the development of these airports at Jharsuguda, Jeypore, Utkela and Rourkela.
    • It was launched on 27 April 2017 by the Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi-led government with the goal of making air travel accessible to the common people of the country.
    • Ministry of Civil Aviation(MCA), Government of India (GoI) has launched the 4th phase of regional connectivity scheme UDAN (4.0)to connect small and medium cities to the air network.
      This phase will focus areas like NER(North East Region), Hilly States, Jammu and Kashmir( J&K), Ladakh and Islands.
    • There has been an increase in the VGFs (Viability Gap Funding) available to airline companies. The funding that was provided for Category 2 and 3 aircrafts (> 20 seats) has now been enhanced to all flights in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, J&K, North Eastern states and the islands.
    • In the  Previous phases of UDAN a total of 106 Airports & 31 Heliports have been constructed.
    • The government has set a target of starting air services from more than 100 new airports on one thousand new routes in the next 5 years, with a focus on starting air services in inaccessible and remote areas. Time has been given till December 11,2019 for potential bidders and to ask their queries.


    1. Massive campaign against single-use plastic


    • The Minister of Defence (MoD) ShriRajnath Singh, flagged off the ‘Swachhta Day’ event, organised by the Delhi Cantt in New Delhi.  The aim of the day was to create awareness to people, collect plastic waste and make the surrounding plastic free with participation from 50 lakh people.
    • The cleanliness drive was part of the activities of Swachhta Pakhwada. The slogan for the event was ‘Plastic Se Raksha – Swachhata Hi Suraksha’.
    • All the 3 service of the indian armed forces which are Indian Navy, Air Force and Army along with other defence establishments indulged in huge plugging programme in more than 400 locations throughout the country
    • A total of 3000 people participated in Swachhta related activities.
    • During the event, several community awareness programmes such as debates, quizzes, painting competitions among students etc. were conducted.
    • The Swachhta anthem was played in all the events across the country.
    • There was also a competition amongst the units. The winner was based on number of participants in plogging and the amount of plastic collected.


    1. Cabinet approves Agreement on Social Security between India and Brazil


    • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for signing the Agreement on Social Security between the Republic of India and the Federative Republic of Brazil.
    • India has been entering into bilateral Social Security Agreements (SSAs) with other countries in order to protect the interests of Indian professionals / skilled workers working abroad for short durations and enhance the competitiveness of Indian companies.

    SSAs broadly provide the following three benefits:

    • Avoiding making of double social security contributions by the workers (detachment);
    • Easy remittance of benefits (Exportability);
    • Aggregating the contribution periods (in two countries) to prevent loss of benefits (Totalization). The agreement will also provide for disability insurance benefits to the Indian nationals working abroad. As on date, India has signed SSAs with 18 countries.
    • The idea to ink pacts on social security programmes with BRICS nations was discussed at the meetings of the BRICS Labour& Employment Ministers held on 9 June 2016 in Geneva and on 27-28 September 2016 in New Delhi, respectively. The possibility of concluding social security agreements between BRICS countries also finds mention in the Goa Declaration of the 8th BRICS Leaders’ Summit. Taking forward the spirit of the Goa Declaration, India and Brazil held the negotiations on SSA from 13-16 March 2017 in Brasilia. At the end of the negotiations, both sides initialled the finalized text of the Agreement on Social Security.
    • The signed agreement will be hosted on the Ministry’s website and the website of Employee’s Provident Fund Organisation for the information of the stakeholders so that they can secure certificates of coverage to avoid making double social security contributions.
    • At present, about 1,000 Brazilians are living in India, while about 4,700 Indians are living in Brazil. All posted/detached workers and self-employed persons will benefit from this proposal without any discrimination.  Thus, it would promote equity and inclusiveness. Export of Social Security benefits of Indian workers after their relocation from Brazil is an innovative arrangement to ensure that there is no loss of social security benefits and also adds to the competitiveness of Indian companies by reducing their overall costs.
    • The SSA will cover the territories of the Republic of India and the Federative Republic of Brazil.





    1. Pact between India and Japan in Steel Sector


    • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between Government of India and Government of Japan to constitute the ‘India-Japan Steel Dialogue’ to strengthen cooperation in steel sector.
    • The ‘India-Japan Steel Dialogue’ envisages enhancement of mutual understanding to secure sustainable growth in the steel sector.
    • The Dialogue aims to examine all aspects of cooperation in steel sector including promotion of investment in high grade steel making and finding new avenues of steel usage in India.
    • The MoC will help in capacity building for high grade steel manufacturing in India.




    1. Rohingya genocide claim factually misleading: Aung San Suu Kyi


    • Myanmar’s state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday defended the Myanmar government against the allegations of the genocide of Rohingyas at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the Hague.
    • She called the allegations as an incomplete and misleading factual picture of the situation in Rakhine state. She said that Myanmar’s security forces responded to the attacks by the insurgent group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) in October 2016 leading to the death of nine police officers and hundreds of civilians. This armed conflict led to the exodus of Muslims from Rakhine into Bangladesh.
    • In her 25-minute long defence Aung San Suu Kyi said that Myanmar will not tolerate any human rights violation and the government is working to fix the domestic accountability.
    • She conceded that in some cases the armed forces may have used disproportionate force violating international humanitarian law and civilians suffered in the conflict. However, she said that Myanmar’s own judicial system was investigating any possible crimes and reach its own conclusion.
    • The ICJ is hearing the case filed by Gambia on behalf of the OIC accusing Myanmar of genocide and calling for provisional measures against Myanmar to protect further persecution of the Rohingyas.
    • The hearing started on Tuesday with Gambia presenting its case. It will conclude on Thursday when both the countries will get a chance to present their points in the second round of hearing.
    1. Hafiz Saeed indicted on terror financing charges


    • In Pakistan, Mastermind of Mumbai terror attack and Chief of the banned Jammat-ud-Dawah (JuD), Hafiz Saeed was indicted today on terror financing charges by an Anti-Terrorism Court in Lahore.
    • The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) indicted Saeed and three of his top aides Hafiz Abdul Salam bin Muhammad, Muhammad Ashraf and Zafar Iqbal on terror financing charges.
    • ATC Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta directed the prosecution to produce the witnesses. and adjourned the hearing till tomorrow.
    • A Pakistani official told that Saeed and others are involved in terror financing case and the Counter-Terrorism Department of Punjab Police has presented evidence for it.
    • Saeed’s indictment comes amidst growing international pressure on Pakistan to rein-in terror groups operating from its soil and bring to justice terror group leaders like Saeed.
    • In October, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) warned Pakistan that it will be blacklisted if it does not control terror funding.



    1. United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)


    • The representatives from the United States, Mexico and Canada yesterday inked a revamped version of their regional trade pact after months of negotiations.
    • The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will now go to the countries’ legislatures for final approval.
    • The accord is meant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a deal in place since 1994.
    • US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the modified agreement was definitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration.


    1. Radicalisation rising, Terrorist incident declining: Bangladesh Police study



    • Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal says his country is a role model in combating militancy. He said Dhaka has achieved success in its efforts to curb the menace. He was speaking at the two-day conference on preventing and countering violent extremism, in Dhaka yesterday.
    • The conference was organised by the Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime, CTTC, unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police in collaboration with the US Embassy and the United Nations.
    • The conference discussed a study conducted by the CCTC. The study revealed that radicalisation in Bangladesh is increasing though terrorist incidents have declined. The study concludes that social media is a major channel for radicalization. It found that the number of terrorist activities in Bangladesh declined by 90 per cent since 2016. However, it noted that the membership of an online web portal which promotes radicalization and extremism has gone up from 550 members in 2016 to more than 3000.
    • Speaking at the conference Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mohammad Shafiqul Islam said religious leaders have to play a key role in eradicating extremism. Speakers at the conference highlighted the need to engage seminaries and students in sports and cultural activities to check alienation among them. Deputy Commissioner of the CTTC, Saiful Islam said that 82 per cent of terrorists used social media and 56 per cent of terror suspects were university graduates.


    1. At least 250 journalists jailed around the world


    • The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists has said that at least 250 journalists are jailed around the world, with the largest number held in China.
    • The press freedom watchdog said many of those imprisoned face anti-state charges or are accused of producing false news. It also cited Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Eritrea, Vietnam and Iran for jailing journalists.
    • In its report, it said they have counted at least 48 journalists jailed in China, one more than in 2018, to control the media. That put China ahead of Turkey, which has 47 imprisoned journalists — and the largest number over the previous three years.
    • It said the Turkish government has shut down more than 100 news outlets and lodged terror-related charges against many of their staff, putting many reporters out of work and intimidating others.








    1. Tokyo Olympics-2020 can provide platform for India’s best performance

    • Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said that Tokyo Olympics-2020 can provide a platform for India’s best performance.
    • Speaking at the Ninth Global Sports Summit – TURF  in New Delhi, Mr Rijiju said that Tokyo 2020 is the immediate target for the government.
    • He, however, added that there are certain limitations with regard to existing talent.
    • Mr Rijiju stressed the need to ensure that there is an entire infrastructure from training to social support in place. He stated that the upcoming Paris Olympics in 2024 and the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028 will provide a good opportunity to significantly improve India’s performance.


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