• Current Affairs, 3rd February 2020

    NATIONAL NEWS

     

    1. Union Budget 2020 focuses on economic empowerment of every citizen

     

    • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi termed the Union Budget 2020 as a one based on vision and action oriented.
    • In his remarks after the Union Budget was tabled in the Lok Sabha, the Prime Minister said, “The new reforms announced in the Budget not only give a boost to the economy but also aim at the economic empowerment of every citizen in the country.”
    • “This budget also works towards further strengthening the economy in the new decade”, he said.
    • Focus on Employment Generation:
    • Prime Minister said the Budget 2020 focuses on major employment generating sectors viz Agriculture, Infrastructure, Textiles and Technology.
    • “The 16 Action Points will help in doubling the farmers income along with increasing the employment generation in the Rural Sector”, he said.
    • “The Union Budget adopts an integrated approach for the Agriculture sector, where the focus apart from Traditional means of cultivation is also on increasing the value addition in horticulture, fisheries and animal husbandry and this in turn would increase employment”, he said.
    • “The efforts in blue economy would bring about more employment to the youth in fish processing and marketing”.
    • Textile Sector
    • Prime Minister said there was a decision on the new machines in the technical textiles.
    • He said Budget also announced the reforms in the raw material duty structure so as to increase the production of man-made fibre in India. Prime Minister said, there was a demand for this reform for the last 3 decades.
    • Health Sector
    • Prime Minister said, “The Ayushman Bharat programme has expanded the health sector in the country. This has expanded the scope for more human resources, whether of doctors, nurses or attendants, along with the need for manufacturing of medical devices in the country. And the Government has taken several decisions in this direction”
    • Technology Sector
    • Prime Minister said that the Government has taken several special measures to improve the employment generation in the Technology sector. “We have taken several policy initiatives with regard to Smart Cities, Electronic Manufacturing, Data Centre Parks, Bio-Technology and Quantum Technology. With this India would become an integral part of the global value chain”
    • “Budget focuses skill development of the youth through new and innovative initiatives like apprenticeship in Degree Courses, Internship in Local Bodies and online degree courses”, he said.
    • Saying that MSME and Export sectors are a source of employment generation, he said, the budget focuses on increasing exports along with financing of small scale industries.
    • Infrastructure
    • A modern India needs modern infrastructure and the sector is a great employment generator, he said.
    • “Over 100 Lakh Crore rupees is being invested in over 6500 projects and this would create a massive employment generation potential. The national logistics policy would also aid in trade, industry and employment”, he said.
    • “The announcement to develop 100 new airports would give a boost to tourism in the country and along with a huge potential for employment generation” he said.
    • Investment
    • Prime Minister said the budget has taken several historic steps to boost investment which is a major driver for employment.
    • “Several steps have been taken to strengthen the bond market and long term financing of Infrastructure projects. Similarly with the abolition of Dividend Distribution Tax, companies would be having over Rs 25000 Crores for further investment.”
    • “Also to attract FDI many tax concessions were announced”, he said.
    • “Similarly tax benefits were provided to start ups and the real estate sector too”, he said.
    • Focus on Trust in Taxation
    • Prime Minister said that the Government is creating an atmosphere where there would be no disputes but trust in the Income Taxation.
    • “Even small mistakes were considered criminal in the Company Law, now we have taken a major decision to de-criminalise such acts”
    • “We are launching the Taxpayer Charter, which would list out the rights of the tax payers”.
    • In the same direction to increase the trust, the Prime Minister said the Budget announced that now it is not mandatory to audit those MSME’s who turn over is up to Rs 5 Crores.
    • “Earlier this limit was up to Rs 1 Crore, but now it has been increased to Rs 5 Crores”, he said.
    • Unified Exam for Government Jobs
    • “As of now the youth in the country have to take different exams for different government jobs. Bringing about a systemic change in this, the National Recruitment Agency will now hold one online common exam for recruitment to various jobs either for banks, railways or any other government job”, he said.
    • Minimum Government Maximum Governance
    • Prime Minister said the steps such as Faceless Appeal, Simplified Direct Tax, Efforts to step up disinvestment of PSUs, Unified Procurement System, Auto Enrolment are all aimed at Minimum Government & Maximum Governance.
    • Ease of Doing & Ease of Living
    • Further Prime Minister said the Budget announced the linking of Anganwadis, Schools, Wellness Centres and Police Stations in over One Lakh Gram Panchayats through Broadband Internet.
    • He said this would help in “Ease of Doing & Ease of Living”.
    • “This would connect several remote villages also through broadband”, he said.
    • He summed up the Union Budget 2020 as one that strengthens Income and Investment, Demand & Consumption; one that would bring innew inspiration into the Financial System & Credit Flow.

     

     

    1. Rajya Sabha MP Sasikala Pushpa Ramaswamy joins BJP

     

    • Rajya Sabha MP Sasikala Pushpa Ramaswamy from Tamil Nadu joined the BJP. She has joined the party in the presence of party National General Secretary P Muralidhar Rao at party headquarters in New Delhi.
    1. President stresses the need to engage younger generation in endeavors of building a better world

     

    • President Ram Nath Kovind today stressed the need to take the younger generation onboard and engage them in the endeavors of building a better world. The President said, simple living and being better human beings will reduce the burden on the environment.
    • He addressed a gathering of meditators after unveiling the plaque commemorating the inauguration of the world’s biggest Meditation Centre, ‘Kanha Shanti Vanam’ of the Sri Ramchandra Mission, coinciding with its 75th year of existence. The president said Indian traditions teach Vasudhaika Kutumbakam whereas the masters of such missions teach universal happiness.
    • Telangana State Governor Dr Tamilisai Sounderarajan and Himachal Pradesh Governor Bandaru Dattatreya also among who were present. The President was on a two-day visit to Hyderabad.

     

    1. Government unveils 16 point programme to raise farmers’ income

    • Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar has hailed the Government’s Budget 2020-21, saying our government led by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given priority to the common man besides farmers and the rural population. He said the first budget of the new decade paves the way for laying a network of Infrastructure leading to overall development and help achieve the target of $5 trillion economy by 2024-25. A 16 point plan has been unveiled reiterating the promise to double farmers’ income by the year 2022. The budget has provisioned Rs. 1.60 lakh crore for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare and Rs. 1.23 lakh crore towards Rural Development Ministry.
    • Shri Tomar specially thanked the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman for making adequate provision for the Ministries of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj. Shri Tomar said our government has already been giving special attention to villages, the poor and peasants and by allocating more funds for this purpose and more schemes, it has been proven that the Modi Government is committed to the goal of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas”. Budget provisions offer a glimpse of “Ek Bharat, Ek Shresht Bharat”. The budget is a relief to all sections of society, including the Women and Middle Class. Government has paid equal attention to vital sectors such as Health, Education, Skill Development and safe Drinking Water.
    • Presenting the first budget of the third decade of the 21st century, Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman today rolled out several reforms to reach out to the remote regions, the objective of which is to energize Indian economy in the short term, medium and long terms. The Unin Budget has been drafted with the prime objective of “Ease of Livelihood”.
    • Shri Tomar said the Central Government is implementing several schemes in the interest of crores of farmers and more funds have been allocated in the Financial Year 2020-21. A total sum of Rs. 2.83 lakh crore will be spent on Agriculture and allied sectors, Irrigation and Rural Development, reinforcing the Modi Government’s pro-farmer priority. Farmers have gained a lot out of the ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN). The Union Government will transform our food producers to energy producers by further promoting the setting up of solar power plants besides solar powered pump sets in arid lands. For this purpose the government will help 20 lakh farmers set up solar pumps. Another 15 lakh farmers will be provided with grid connection pumps. Solar energy will be promoted. Those farmers who have vacant farmlands or arid lands will be able to set up solar energy generation units and sell off the generated power.
    • State governments will be encouraged to adopt the model laws drafted by the Central Government towards reforms in Agriculture sector. The government is also focused on improving irrigation facilities. Budget has laid emphasis on the ease of farmers’ livelihood; special attention has been paid on how farmers’ produce reaches the markets soon. The Railways will ply Kisan Trains for transportation of milk, meat and fish. This will boost agriculture in the Northeast and tribal areas.
    • The government has introduced a new scheme for creating clusters in Horticulture sector and promoting a product each in all districts. Provision has been made to mlre than double the milk production capacity by 2025. The scope of NABARD’s refinance scheme will be expanded. Budget has provisioned Rs. 15 lakh crore for Agriculture Credit. More allocation has been made for Interest Subsidy so that no farmer faces any difficulty.

     

     

    1. 34th Surajkund International Crafts Mela

     

    • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the 34thSurajkund International Crafts Mela in Surajkund, Haryana .
    • the President said that occasions such as Surajkund Mela provides ordinary craftsmen and artisans real recognition and value for their skills. It also provides them an excellent opportunity to display and sell their products directly to customers. The Surajkund Mela has saved India’s various remarkable craft traditions from extinction. For many craftsmen, artisans and weavers, this fair is major source of their annual income.
    • The President said that we should be proud of the items made by craftsmen of our country. He reiterated mantra of ‘Buy local for a better tomorrow’. He urged everyone to transform the philosophy of ‘Buy local for a better tomorrow’ into a movement. He said that by using locally manufactured products, we would be able to help the small entrepreneurs in our area to a great extent.

     

     

    1. National Logistics Policy will be Released Soon

     

    • A National Logistics Policy will be released soon and it will clarify the roles of the Union Government, State Governments and key regulators said Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman. She was presenting the Union Budget 2020-21 in Parliament today. The policy will create a single window e-logistics market and focus on generation of employment, skills and make MSMEs competitive.
    • India’s logistics sector is highly defragmented and the aim is to reduce the logistics cost from the present 14% of GDP to less than 10% by 2022. India’s logistics sector is very complex with more than 20 government agencies, 40 PGAs, 37 export promotion councils, 500 certifications, 10000 commodities, 160 billion market size. It also involves 12 million employment base, 200 shipping agencies, 36 logistics services, 129 ICDs, 168 CFSs, 50 IT ecosystems and banks & insurance agencies. Further, 81 authorities and 500 certificates are required for EXIM.
    • The Indian logistics sector provides livelihood to more than 22 million people and improving the sector will facilitate 10 % decrease in indirect logistics cost leading to the growth of 5 to 8% in exports. Further, it is estimated that the worth of Indian logistics market will be around USD 215 billion in next two years compared to about USD 160 billion at present.
    • The National Logistics Policy formulated by the Commerce and Industry Ministry will improve India’s trade competitiveness, create more jobs, improve India’s performance in global rankings and pave the way for India to become a logistics hub.

    The following announcements in Finance Minister’s Budget Speech will make the National Logistics Policy more robust:

    • Introduction of GST has brought in efficiency in logistics and transportation sector.  It has reduced turnaround time of trucks by over 20%.
    • Geo-tagging of all warehousing.
    • Warehousing shall be promoted to comply with WDRA norms.
    • VGF shall be provided for setting up of warehousing at the block / taluk levels on PPP mode.  Food Corporation of India, Central Warehousing Corporation shall also offer their land for this purpose.
    • Village Storage Scheme through Women Self-help groups shall provide backward linkages for seeds thereby reducing logistics costs. Financial assistance under MUDRA loans and NABARD shall be provided for this purpose.
    • Cold chains for fish and perishables shall be promoted.
    • Refrigerated vans shall be attached to passenger trains to promote movement of perishables quickly.
    • Krishi trains shall also be run on PPP mode.
    • Krishi Udan scheme shall be promoted / launched whereby horticulture and perishable commodities shall be transported through the air-route that will especially benefit the North-East region and tribal area.  It will definitely help movement of perishables and foodstuff to produce-areas to consumption-areas.
    • Cluster approach shall be adopted for promoting horticulture.  One Product One District shall be encouraged.
    • National Organic e-Market will be developed for organic products.
    • Financing of negotiable warehousing receipts would be encouraged and also its integration with e-NAM.
    • National Logistics Policy will be released soon.  Inter-alia, it will clarify the roles of the Union Government, State Governments and key regulators.  It will create a single window e-Logistics Market place and focus on generation of employment, skills and making MSMEs competitive.
    • 100 lakh crore National Infrastructure pipeline has been launched which includes over 6500 infrastructure projects.  National infrastructure pipeline has projects worth Rs.19.6 lakh crore for roads, Rs.13.69 lakh crore for railways, Rs.1.43 lakh crore for airports and Rs.1.01 lakh crore for ports.
    • Accelerated development of highways will be undertaken.  2500 kms. of access controlled highways, 9000 kms. of economic corridors, 2000 kms. of coastal and land-port roads and 2000 kms. of strategic highways.
    • Delhi – Mumbai and Chennai – Bengaluru express highways to be made operational by 2023.
    • 12 lots of highway building consisting of over 6000 kms. shall be offered for monetisation by 2024.
    • Governance structure for corporatisation of one major port shall be introduced.
    • Inland Waterways especially Jal Vikas Marg (NW1) will be made operational.
    • Inland Waterways from Dhubri to Sadia in Assam shall be promoted by 2022.
    • Inland Waterways shall be promoted under the Programme called Arth-Ganga i.e., promoting economic activities along with banks of the river.
    • 100 more airports shall be established under the UDAN scheme.
    • 1200 airplanes shall be added from the present 600.
    • 1.7 lakh crore have been allocated for the transportation sector in 2020-21.

     

    1. FM Announces Setting up of Investment Clearance Cell to Provide “End-To-End” Facilitation and Support to Youth

    • The Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman, has said that entrepreneurship has always been the strength of India and our young men and women have been contributing to India’s growth with their entrepreneurial skills. She was presenting the Union Budget 2020-21, in Parliament, today. We recognise the knowledge, skills and risktaking capabilities of our youth and they are no longer job seekers but they are job creators, she added.
    • The Finance Minister proposed setting up of an Investment Clearance Cell that will provide “end to end” facilitation and support to create more opportunities to youth and remove roadblocks. She also proposed to develop five new smart cities in collaboration with States in PPP mode and such sites would be chosen that offer the best choices in terms of aforementioned principles.
    • In order to incentivise the investment by the Sovereign Wealth Fund of foreign governments in the priority sectors, Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to grant 100% tax exemption to their interest, dividend and capital gains income in respect of investment made in infrastructure and other notified sectors before 31stMarch, 2024 and with a minimum lock-in period of 3 years.Tomake available foreign funds at a lower cost, she also proposed to extend the period of concessional withholding rate of 5% under section 194LC for interest payment to non-residents in respect of moneys borrowed and bonds issued up to 30thJune, 2023. The Finance Minister proposed to extend the period up to 30thJune, 2023 for lower rate of withholding of 5% under section 194LD for interest payment to Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) and Qualified Foreign Investors (QFIs) in respect of bonds issued by Indian companies and government securities.
    • The Finance Minister proposed to further consolidate the gains in order to make India more attractive Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), destination. She said the Government will examine suggestions of further opening up of FDI in aviation, media and insurance sectors in consultation with all stakeholders. 100 % FDI will be permitted for insurance intermediaries and local sourcing norms will be eased for FDI in single brand retail sector.
    • Growing inflows of FDI rebounding of portfolio flows from net outflow to net inflow and receipt of robust remittances, all showing up in higher accretion of foreign exchange reserves, which as on end December, 2019 stood at USD 457.5 billion. Net FDI inflows have continued to be buoyant in 2019-20 (April – November) attracting USD 24.4 billion as against USD 21.2 billion, which is a reflection of a global sentiment that increasingly believes in India’s growth story and reform measure being undertaken by the Government.
    • Nirmala Sitharamansaid that India needs to manufacture networked products that will make it apart of global value chains. This in turn gets more investment and generates more employment for youth. She further said that electronics manufacturing industry is very competitive and the potential in job creation is immense. She further said that India needs to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in the electronics value chain. She proposed a scheme to encourage manufacture of mobile phones, electronic equipment and semi-conductor packaging.
    • In order to support footwear and furniture manufacturing which come under the MSME sector the Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman announced that customs duty is being raised on items like footwear (from 25% to 35% on footwear and from 15% to 20% on parts of footwear) and furniture (from 20% to 25%). Shesaid that special attention has been given to put measured restraint on import of those items which are being produced by our MSMEs with better quality. She stressed that labour intensive sectors in MSME are critical for employment generation. Cheap and low quality imports are an impediment to their growth, the Finance Minister said.
    • To achieve the twin objectives of giving impetus to the domestic medical equipment industry and also to generate resource for health services, the Finance Minister proposed to impose a nominal health cess (at the rate of 5%), by way of a duty of customs, on the imports of medical equipment keeping in view that these goods are now being significantly made in India. The proceeds from this cess shall be used for creating infrastructure for health services in the aspirational districts, SmtSitharaman said.
    • She referred the Prime Minister’s call from Red Fort about quality and standards when he spoke of “Zero Defect-Zero Effect” manufacturing. All Ministries, during the course of this year, would be issuing quality standard orders, she added.It is the vision of the Prime Minister that each District should develop as an export hub.
    • Efforts of the Centre and State governments are being synergised and institutional mechanisms are being created.

     

    1. DRDO at DefExpo 2020

     

    • A wide range of strategic and tactical weapon systems, defence equipment and technologies developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will be on display at the DefExpo 2020 to be held in Lucknow from February 05-09, 2020. DRDO will be highlighting products from its eight technology clusters, Aeronautical Systems, Armament & Combat Engineering (ACE), Electronics and Communication Systems (ECS), Life Sciences (LS), Micro Electronic Devices and Computational Systems (MED & CoS), Missile & Strategic Systems (MSS), Naval Systems & Materials (NS & M) and System Analysis and Modelling (SAM). Technology clusters, each headed by a Director General are entrusted with design and development of systems, products and core defence technologies.
    • DRDO will be a major participant at 11thedition of the biennial defence exhibition DefExpo 2020. DRDO will be highlighting more than 500 indigenously developed products with active participation from major laboratories belonging to different technology clusters.
    • Aeronautical Systems (Aero) cluster is engaged in the development of Fighter Aircrafts, UAVs, Gas Turbine Engine Technologies, Airborne Surveillance Systems, Parachutes and Lighter-than-Air Systems. Notable achievements of the cluster include India’s first light weight, multi-role, combat aircraft Tejas which has been inducted into 45thSquadron of Indian Air Force. Model of the Naval version of LCA which successfully landed onboard INS Vikramaditya at sea using arrested hook will be on display. Achievements of the cluster include the Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C), Unmanned Aerial Aircraft (Rustom-II), Advanced Pilotless Target Aircraft (Lakshya-II), Heavy Drop System (HDS) and Long Range Sub-Sonic Cruise Missile (Nirbhay). Key exhibits from the cluster will include LCA Mk-II on the tarmac while indoor exhibits include models of LCA Mk-I, LCA Navy, AEW&C, Aerostat and Kaveri Engine among others. Nirbhay and Rustom-II models will be on display in the India Pavilion.
    • Armament and Combat Engineering (ACE) cluster focuses on armaments, explosives, land based combat vehicles and military engineering equipment. In the area of armaments, the cluster has been at the forefront of achieving high degree of self-reliance in ammunition, missiles, gun propellants, high explosives for warheads, electro explosive devices, high energy materials. In the area of combat engineering, the cluster is engaged in the development of weapon systems and platforms like Arjun Main Battle Tank, Bridging Systems, and Launchers for missiles including wheeled and tracked vehicles. Notable achievements from this cluster include Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), Pinaka Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher, Guided Pinaka, Precision Guided Munitions, Sarvatra bridging system, and Anti-Thermal, Anti-Laser Smoke Grenades. Highlights from the ACE cluster include live demonstration of the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), Arjun MBT Mk IA, Wheeled Armoured Platform (WhAP), Counter Mine Flail, and deployment of Advanced Composite Modular Bridging System (ACMBS). Outdoor exhibits include Arjun MBT Mk I, Autonomous Unmanned Ground Vehicle (AUGV), WhAP, ATAGS and the UXOR robot. Indoor exhibits from the cluster include ROV Daksh, CSROV-Mini, SROV-Scout, NBC RV MK-I, AERV, CBRN Mini UGV, AAD, MPDS, BMCS, ATGM, EDK, Pinaka Mk-I and Mk-II Rocket Systems.
    • Electronics and Communication Systems (ECS) cluster designs and develops electronic, electro-optical and laser based products and systems in areas of Radars, Electro-optics, Laser Sources and Communication Systems. ECS cluster has been at the front of development of Electronic Warfare Systems, Integrated Signal Intelligence System (Divya Drishti), Compact communication electronic warfare suite, Medium Power Radar and Low Level Transportable Radar for Air Force, Weapon Locating Radar, Battle Field Surveillance Radar, 3D Low Level lightweight Radar, Software Defined Radio (SDR), Integrated Multifunction Sight, Small Arms Advanced Holographic Sight, Eye Safe Lasers, Night Vision Devices, Border Surveillance System, Laser Ordnance Disposal Systems, Laser Dazzlers, Optical Target locators and Explosive detectors.
    • Major exhibits from the ECS cluster at the India pavilion include QRSAM Radar, Atulya Fire Control Radar, SDR System and Naval Communication Intelligence System (Nayan). Various hand-held products such as Thermal Imagers, Ground Penetrating Radar and Optical Target Locater will be on display. Outdoor exhibits will include 4D active phased array multifunction radar (Ashwini). Other displays include Laser Fence, Laser Dazzler and various Surveillance Systems among others. Indoor exhibits include models of Data Link System for Rustom II, Laser ordinance disposal system (LORDS), Hand held explosive identifier (Preemptor) and other technologies.
    • Life Sciences (LS) cluster supports Indian Armed Forces in the area developing systems for optimising the psychological, physiological and nutritional well-being of solders with life support systems, protective equipment against Chemical, Biological, Radiation and Nuclear (CBRN) and other operational hazards. Life Support systems have been developed for extreme conditions of cold to high altitude to deep sea submarine escape suits. High altitude agriculture and livestock rearing technologies are other achievements of the cluster. Outdoor exhibits from LS cluster will showcase products such as Biodigester, Biotoilet, Iron Removal Unit, Motor Bike Ambulance, Mobile Whole Body Counter whereas the indoor exhibits will include survival equipment, detection and diagnostic equipment and products necessary for operating in the most hazardous environments.
    • Micro Electronic Devices and Computational Systems (MED & CoS) cluster focuses on micro-electronic and computational technologies for mission critical products on the battle field. The cluster develops technologies and products relating to Microwave Tubes, Solid State Electronics, Micro Electronic Devices, as well as systems and technologies in the area of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Command and Control Systems, Battlefield Networking, Information and Communication Security, Secure/Trusted Computing Platforms, High Performance Computing, Cryptology, Information and Cyber Security. Exhibits at India Pavilion will include robotic products (KRIDA, Robot Sentry). Indoor exhibits include RF Devices, E-Nasika, Mini UGV, Secure Mobile Handset among other.
    • Missile cluster is responsible for the design and development of state-of-the-art Missiles and Strategic Systems required for the deterrence and defence of the nation. India’s first ASAT missile used in Mission Shakti to demonstrate anti-satellite precision strike capability will be on display at the DefExpo. The cluster has developed a wide range of strategic and tactical missile systems. Apart from the strategic systems (Agni and Prithvi missiles), the cluster has developed tactical weapon systems such as the Brahmos family of supersonic cruise missiles, , the Akash family of surface to air missiles, LRSAM/MRSAM family of surface to air missiles, Astra beyond visual range air to air missile and the Nag/Helina family of anti-tank guided missiles. The displays include A-SAT, Astra and SAAW in the India pavilion. Outdoor missile display will include LRSAM and Brahmos Mobile Autonomous Launcher. The indoor exhibits will include models of Nag, Helina, Astra, LRSAM, QRSAM, NGARM, Akash, Prithvi, and multiple products and technologies such as RLG based INS-GPS, System on Chip, Brahmos OBC & MIU among other highlights.
    • Naval Systems & Materials (NS&M) cluster has designed and developed underwater weapons, mines, decoys, fire control systems, and sensors systems for sea and sub-sea application in the Naval arena. Technologies such as Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) for naval platforms, high performance speciality alloys have been developed. The cluster has been spearing ahead in self-reliance in the area of Sonars (USHUS-2, HUMSA NG/UG, ABHAY) and Torpedoes (TAL, Varunastra, ALWT) and has delivered major Ship and Submarine systems to the Indian Navy. The NSM cluster will exhibit Heavy Weight Torpedo (Varunastra) in the outdoor area. Indoor displays will include Torpedoes (TAL, ALWT), Decoy systems (ATDS-X, Maareech), various sonar systems (ALTAS-X, Hull Mounted, Dunking) and various products related to NBC and Radiation detection with focus on naval application.
    • System Analysis & Modelling (SAM) cluster is enabling DRDO and the Services in tactical and operational analysis of current and future technologies as well as weapon systems and platforms. Simulation and War gaming systems have been designed and developed in the cluster. SAM provides technology directions and develops policies for IPR, Software Quality, Reliability and Safety. At India Pavilion, the cluster will be exhibiting War Gaming, while indoor exhibits will include working models of Integrated Fire Suppression System (IFDSS), Mobile Ramp (MMR) and the Army Air Defence Deployment Simulator System (A2D2S2).

     

     

    1. FM Announces NIRVIK Scheme for Exporters in Union Budget 2020-21

     

     

     

     

    • The Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, announced the NIRVIK scheme in the Union Budget 2020-21 in Parliament.
    • It will provide high insurance cover for exporters and reduce premium for small exporters. To achieve higher export credit disbursement, a new scheme NIRVIK is being launched which provides for high insurance cover, reduction in premium for small exporters and simplified procedures for claim, settlement, said the Finance Minister while presenting Budget 2020-21.
    • She further added that the Scheme is being prepared by the Commerce and Industry Ministry. Under the Scheme, also called the Export Credit Insurance Scheme (ECIS), the insurance guarantee could cover up to 90% of the principal and interest.
    • Commerce and Industry Ministry has also proposed to subsidise the premium under the Scheme that has to be paid by exporters of certain key sectors. In September last year Commerce and Industry Minister, Piyush Goyal had announced that the gems, jewellery and diamond (GJD) sector borrowers with limit of more than Rs. 80 crore will have a higher premium rate under the NIRVIK Scheme as compared to non-GJD sector borrowers of this category due to the higher loss ratio.
    • The Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) cover will also provide additional comfort to banks as the credit rating of the borrower is enhanced to AA rated account.Enhanced cover will ensure that Foreign and Rupee export credit interest rates will be below 4%and 8% respectively for exporters. Under ECIS, insurance cover percentage has also been enhanced to 90% from the present average of 60% for the both principal and interest.
    • The Export Credit Corporation currently provides credit guarantee of up to 60 percent loss.
    • The development assumes significance as exporters have raised concerns over availability of credit.
    • India’s exports contracted for a fifth month in a row by 1.8 percent in December 2019 to USD 27.36 billion and imports declined 8.9 percent to USD 357.39 billion, leaving a trade deficit of USD 118.10 billion.

     

    1. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India indexin 2019

     

    • As per the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India, India’s youngest state Telanganahas emergered as Number 1 state in the ‘Decent work and economic growth’ category with the score of 82 on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India index in 2019. However, in overall Telangana ranked 3rd after Kerala & Himachal Pradesh.
    • Telangana was followed by states of Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Karnataka together with a score of 72.
    • This ranking is according to UNDP & NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog statistics, which was released on December 31, 2019.
    • There are a total of 17 SDG listed & telangana has witnessed a dramatic improvement in many of them in just one year (8 out of 17 SDGs). Telangana also moved from the ‘Performer’ category (50 – 64 points) to ‘Front Runner’ category (65 – 99 points).
    • In terms of Decent work and Economic Growth,Telangana has improved 82 % in the year 2019 while it has improved 75 % in the year 2018.
    • In the field of Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure Telangana has improved to 61 % from 16 %.
    • In sustainable cities and communities, it improved to 62 % from 44 %. it also made a huge leap in improvement are Clean Water and Sanitation, moving up from 55 per % to 84 %. In affordable and clean energy, it posted 93 % performance against 63 % earlier.
      Also in Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, it has moved from 66 to 77 in one year. Only the target for No poverty still remains the same with 52 % on both the years. But there is a decrement in literacy and Health sectors.

     

    1. India send relief supplies to cyclone-hit Madagascar using its naval ship INS Airavat

    • India has sent relief supplies to cyclone-hit Madagascar using its naval ship INS Airavat. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in a tweet that India was an early responder to the natural disaster that hit the island nation.
    • Madagascar has been hit by a cyclone and there has been heavy flooding and landslides since last month, causing loss of lives and displacement of a number of people.
    • Indian Navy launched operation Vanilla to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief at Madagascar.

     

    1. Australian Minister resigns over funding scandal

     

     

    • In Australia, the agriculture minister has been forced to resign over a funding scandal. She was found to have steered public money to sports clubs. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Bridget McKenzie has resigned for failing to reveal she was a member of one of the shooting clubs that received taxpayer’s cash.
    • Morrison, who is already facing heavy criticism for his handling of Australia’s months-long bushfire crisis, insisted he had dealt with the week-long grants scandal in a stable manner.

     

    1. Indian, Maldives sign five MoUs for establishing Addu Tourism zone

     

     

    • Indian and Maldives today signed five MoUs for establishing the Addu Tourism zone in five islands of Addu atoll at a cost of 2.49 million dollars.
    • The MOUs were signed between the High Commissioner of India Sunjay Sudhir, Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid and Addu City Council.
    • A 6th MoU to set up a bottled water plant in Hoarafushi was also signed today. All six projects are grant projects falling under India’s High Impact Community Development Scheme (HICDP). These projects are driven by the needs of communities on the islands.

     

     

    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

     

    1. INS Airavat Providing Humantarian Assistance and Disaster Relief at Antsiranana, Madagascar

      

    • Whilst mission deployed in the Southern Indian Ocean, Indian Naval Ship Airavat was diverted on 26 January 2020 to render assistance to the citizens of Madagascar who have been affected by the devastation caused by Cyclone Diane. Airavat is undertaking this Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) mission as part of ‘Operation Vanilla’ launched by the Indian Navy, which is the first international respondent to this evolving humanitarian crisis in Madagascar.
    • As part of ‘Op Vanilla’ and on behalf of the Government of India, Shri Abhay Kumar, Ambassador of India to Madagascar and Commander Sunil Sankar, Commanding Officer Airavat handed over  urgently needed relief material comprising disaster relief stores, tents, blankets, clothing, food and medicines on 01 February 2020 to local government authorities in the presence of Hon’ble Prime Minister of Republic of Madagascar, His Excellency Christian Lois Ntsay. The Medical Team from the ship will also hold a medical camp at Antsiranana from 01 to 02 February 2020 in coordination with local authorities.
    • This timely assistance provided by the Government of India in the aftermath of Cyclone Diane and the professionalism displayed by the Indian Navy has been greatly appreciated by the local authorities and will help foster India’s relationship with Madagascar.

     

     

    1. Exercise SAMPRITI-IX

     

     

    • As part of ongoing defence cooperation between India and Bangladesh,9th edition of the joint Indo-Bangladesh military exercise named SAMPRITI-IX will be conducted at Umroi, Meghalaya from February 03-16, 2020. Both nations will work together in a counter terrorism environment under the United Nations (UN) charter.
    • A Command Post Exercise (CPX) and a Field Training Exercise (FTX) will be conducted during SAMPRITI-IX.
    • The training will be concluded with a final validation exercise where both the army’s troops will perform counter terrorist operation in a controlled and simulated environment.

     

     

    SPORTS NEWS

     

     

    1. India beat New zealand by 7 runs, clean sweep series 5-0

     

    • In cricket, India beat New Zealand by 7 runs in the fifth and final T-20 International at Mount Maunganui today and completed a historic series whitewash.
    • Electing to bat, India posted 163 for three. Rohit Sharma scored 60 off 41 balls before walking off the field due to some discomfort in his calf.
    • This was Rohit Sharma’s 21st T-20  half-century and he surpassed Virat Kohli’s record of half-centuries in T-20 Internationals. K L Rahul posted a 33 ball 45.
    • The visitors then restricted the hosts to 156 for nine with Jasprit Bumrah claiming three wickets for 12 runs. India will next play a three-match One-Day International series against New Zealand with the first match slated at Hamilton on Wednesday.

     

     

     

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