The 5th National Handloom Day has been
celebrated on August 7,2019 across the country.
The Union Government had declared the 7th
of August as the National Handloom Day in July 2015.
The objective of the day is to generate
awareness about the importance of the handloom industry to the socio
economic development of the country.
The day also seeks to honour the handloom
weavers in the country and also highlight India’s handloom industry.
Further, August 7 was chosen as the
National Handloom Day to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement.
The swadeshi movement was launched on this
day in 1905 in Calcutta Town Hall to protest against the partition of
Bengal by the British Government. The movement had aimed at reviving
domestic products and production processes.
India has contributed USD 5 million to the
United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian
Refugees.India has also called for ensuring sustained fiscal support for
the organisation’s work.
India has increased its annual financial
assistance to the UNRWA by four fold from USD 1.25 million to USD 5
million when Indian Prime Minister visited Palestine in 2018.
UNRWA is a relief and human development
agency that was established in 8 December 1949.
UNRWA has been providing health,
education, relief and social services, as well as emergency humanitarian
assistance across its five fields of operation in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria,
West Bank and the Gaza Strip since 1950.
The Agency currently serves 5.4 million
Palestinian refugees which is 20% of the world’s refugees.
Further,UNRWA is the only UN agency
dedicated to helping refugees from a specific region or conflict and is
separate from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR).
Bangladesh has signed a nuclear fuel
supply agreement with Russia for Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant project.
The deal was signed between the Bangladesh
Atomic Energy Commission and Russian Nuclear Fuel Supply Company(TVEL).
Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant is an
under-construction 2.4 GWe nuclear power plant in Bangladesh.It will be
the Bangladesh first nuclear power plant and the first of two units are
expected to go into operation in 2023.
According to the inter-governmental
agreement signed with Russia in November 2011,Bangladesh is required to
procure nuclear fuel from the Russian company for the entire lifespan of
the power plant.
In 2018,India,Bangladesh and Russia had
signed tripartite memorandum of understanding(MoU) for cooperation in
construction of Rooppur nuclear power plant.
Russia will build nuclear power
plant.Since,India is not a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group(NSG),it
will not participate directly in the construction of atomic power
reactors.But,Indian companies will be involved in construction and
installation works of non critical category.
The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) monetary
policy committee (MPC) has lowered its repo rate by 35 basis points to
5.4%.Repo stands for ‘Repurchasing Option’.It refers to the rate at which
commercial banks borrow money from the RBI.
RBI has also kept the door open for
lowering rates further by retaining an accommodative policy stance.
The RBI also revised its Gross Domestic
Product(GDP) growth forecast for 2018-19 down to 6.9% from 7%.It has also
flagged worries over weakening growth prospects due to sluggish
consumption and low investment activity.
The central bank has also noted that
global economic activity has slowed down since the previous monetary
policy meeting owing to trade tensions among leading economies.
The committee has also projected the CPI
inflation at 3.1% for the second quarter of the financial year
2019-20(FY20).CPI measures changes in the price level of a market basket
of consumer goods and services purchased by households.
RBI has adopted CPI as the key measure for
determining inflation situation of Indian economy on the recommendation of
Urjit Patel Committee.
The Monetary Policy Committee(MPC) is a
committee of the Reserve Bank of India.It is headed by its Governor which
is entrusted with the task of fixing the benchmark policy interest rate
(repo rate) to contain inflation within the specified target level
The Monetary Policy Committee of the RBI
has decided to cut the repo rate by 35 basis points to 5.4%.
The monetary policy is important as any
economic activity which is measured by GDP happens by (a) private
individuals and households spend money on consumption (b)the government
spends on its agenda (c)private sector investment and (d)net exports.
However,any spending decision taken by any
of these entities need to know the cost of money which is answered by
Monetary policy is the process by which
the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) manages money supply in the economy.The
objectives of monetary policy include ensuring inflation targeting and
price stability, full employment and stable economic growth.
The monetary policy instruments used by
RBI are Repo and Reverse repo.Repo rate is the rate at which the RBI lends
money to commercial banks.On the other hand,Reverse repo rate is the rate
at which the RBI borrows money from commercial banks within the country.
Further,Investments also depends on the
real interest rate.The real interest rate is the difference between the
repo rate and retail inflation.
However,real interest rates in India have
been rising and that is one of the reasons why investments are not
happening.But the RBI’s move would reduce the real interest rate and
hopefully attracts more investment.
The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has
announced that the National Electronic Funds Transfer(NEFT) systems would
be available on a 24×7 basis from December 2019.
At present,the NEFT payment system
operated by the Reserve Bank of India is available to customers from 8am
to 7pm on all working days with the exception of second and fourth
Saturdays of the month.
In order to harness the full potential of
Biller Categories for Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS),RBI has decided to
permit all categories of billers (except prepaid recharges) who provide
for recurring bill payments to participate in BBPS on a voluntary
The BBPS is an interoperable platform for
repetitive bill payments.It currently covers five segments that are
direct-to-home, electricity, gas, telecom and water bills.
NEFT is a payment system which facilitates one-to-one funds
transfer from one financial institution to another.
Using NEFT,individuals,firms and
corporates can electronically transfer funds from any bank branch to any
individual,firm or corporate having an account with any other bank branch
in the country participating in the system.Under NEFT the settlement takes
place in batches rather than individually.The batches are settled in
hourly time slots.
The NEFT platform is primarily aimed for
small value transactions.At one transaction the maximum value should be Rs
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has
announced several measures to enhance credit flow to the cash-starved
non-banking financial companies (NBFC) sector.
The RBI has raised any bank’s exposure
limit to a single NBFC from the existing 15% to 20% of tier-1 capital.This
will ease liquidity pressure in the NBFCs.
RBI has also allowed bank lending to
registered non-banking financial companies(NBFC) for on-lending to
(a)agriculture up to Rs 10 lakh (b)micro and small enterprises up to Rs 20
lakh and (c)housing up to Rs 20 lakh per borrower to be classified as
priority sector lending.
This decision was taken to increase the
credit flow to sectors which contribute significantly to economic growth
in terms of exports and employment and recognising the role played by
NBFCs in providing credit to these sectors.
NBFC has seen their source of funds dry up
after a series of defaults by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial
Services(ILFS) that has triggered a liquidity crisis.
The Reserve Bank has already indicated
that it would review the regulatory framework for the financial sector.The
government has also announced temporary support to NBFCs and housing
finance firms through public sector banks (PSBs).
Indian Government has signed the United
Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements(UNISA).
The United Nations General Assembly
adopted the United Nations Convention on International Settlement
Agreements Resulting from Mediation in 2018.
The UN has authorized that the Convention
will be open for signature in Singapore and will be known as the
“Singapore Convention on Mediation”.
The Convention provides a uniform and
efficient framework for the enforcement of international settlement agreements
resulting from mediation and for allowing parties to invoke such
The Convention defines two additional
grounds upon which a court may, on its own motion refuse to grant
relief.Those grounds relate to the fact that a dispute would not be capable
of settlement by mediation or would be contrary to public policy.
The signing of the Convention will boost
the confidence of the investors and shall provide a positive signal to
foreign investors about India’s commitment to adhere to international practice
on Alternative Dispute Resolution(ADR).
However,experts have called this as a base
convention that will have to be translated into an effective law in
India.The law supporting the convention should cover all government
contracts with investors for mediation both in India and in a third
country choice of disputing parties.
India has taken steps such as establishing
the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre(NDIAC) as a statutory body
to encourage international commercial arbitration in India and to evolve a
comprehensive ecosystem of arbitration.
Pakistan has decided to downgrade it
diplomatic ties with India and suspend bilateral trade.
This decision comes after Indian
Parliament adopted a resolution scrapping special status to J&K under
Article 370 and passed a bill bifurcating the state into two Union
territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Pakistan has also decided to approach the
United Nations, including the UN Security Council over India’s move on
Pakistan has also closed a corridor in its
airspace which will result in an additional up to 12 minutes of flying
time for overseas flights.The flights will have to be diverted to other
routes due to the closure.
However,experts have said that Pakistan’s
decision to suspend bilateral trade ties with India would hit the
neighbouring country more as they import essential items like onions,
tomatoes and chemicals.
Earlier,India had revoked the Most
Favoured Nation(MFN) status to Pakistan in the aftermath of the terror
attacks in Pulwama.
Most Favoured Nation is a treatment
accorded to a trade partner to ensure non-discriminatory trade between two
countries vis-a-vis other trade partners.
Trinamool Congress(TMC) and Communist
Party of India(CPI) have urged the Election Commission to allow them to
retain the national party status till the Lok Sabha elections in 2024.
This came in the backdrop of EC serving
show cause notices to TMC, CPI and Nationalist Congress Party(NCP) seeking
explanation on why their national party status should not be withdrawn.
A party is recognised as a national party
if any of the following conditions is fulfilled (a)If it secures 6% of
valid votes polled in any four or more states at a general election to the
Lok Sabha or to the legislative assembly and in addition if it wins four
seats in the Lok Sabha from any state or states or (b)If it wins 2% of
seats in the Lok Sabha at a general election and these candidates are
elected from three states or (c)If it is recognised as a state party in
National party status allows a political
party to retain a single and permanent election symbol across all
states.It also qualifies them to be given free campaign slots on national
broadcasters during elections besides the right to a party office in New
Home ministry officials has said that the
Instrument of Accession signed with 562 princely states during the time of
Independence was similar to the one signed with J&K.
This statement was made to provide a legal
basis for the amendment to Article 370 taking away the special status of
Jammu & Kashmir.
They said that the accession agreement was
never an impediment for the merger of other States with
India.Further,Article 370 could also be removed as it was not part of the
J&K acceded to the Dominion of India
after the Instrument of Accession was signed by Maharaja Hari Singh,the
ruler of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, on 26 October,1947.
The accession agreement was to accede in
respect of only the following subjects namely Defence, Foreign Affairs,
Communications and ancillary that included matters related to courts and
Article 370 of the Indian Constitution had
provided that only Articles 1 and 370 itself would apply to J&K.The
application of other Articles was to be determined by the President in
consultation with the government of the state.
The Rajya Sabha has passed the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill,2019.The Lok Sabha has already passed the bill.
The bill seeks to increase the number of Supreme Court judges in the country’s apex court from the present 30 to 33.
This bill was introduced after Chief Justice of India had written to Prime Minister to increase the number of judges in the top court.
CJI had written that due to paucity of judges,the required number of Constitution Benches to decide important cases involving questions of law were not being formed.
The strength of the Supreme Court is fixed by law made by the Parliament as per Article 124(1) of the Constitution of India.Therefore, the strength can be increased by way of parliamentary legislation.
The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act,1956 originally provided for a maximum of 11 judges.The act was last amended in 2009 to increase the judges strength from 25 to 30 excluding the CJI.
Environment Ministry has put forward draft Environmental and Social
Management Framework (ESMF). It is a part of World Bank funded project
called Enhancing Coastal and Ocean Resource Efficiency Program (ENCORE).
ENCORE aims to
strengthen integrated coastal zone management in all coastal States and
Union Territories of India. It seeks to strengthen coastal resource
efficiency and resilience, for adopting and implementing integrated
coastal management approaches.
The draft ESMF
lays out guidelines out for coastal States to adopt when they approve and
regulate projects in coastal zones. It also outlines how environmental and
social aspects should be integrated into the planning, design,
implementation of projects.
The MoEFCC had
launched an Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project by establishing a
Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM).
Zone Management is a strategy for an integrated approach to planning and
management for environmentally sustainable development in coastal areas.
states, Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal have prepared Integrated Coastal
Zone Management Plans with support from the World Bank.
scientists, tectonic activity began on Earth 3.3 billion years ago. It was
previously assumed that tectonic activity began about 2.7 billion years
ago on Earth.
came from scientists after they studied a microscopic bead of cooled magma
which was protected by it olivine crystal.
crystal was found in a komatiite rock, named after the Komati River in
were formed when extraordinarily hot plumes of magma rose from the mantle
to Earth’s surface during the Archaean period (2.5 billion to 4 billion
found that the microscopic bead of cooled magma contained a number of
signatures of subducted oceanic crust. They concluded the magma originated
in the melted remains of an ancient ocean seafloor indicating that plate
tectonics started nearly 3.3 billion years ago.
The theory of
plate tectonics proposes that the earth’s lithosphere is divided into seven
major and some minor plates which are floating over the asthenosphere. All
tectonic activities occur along the margins of these plates e.g. seismic
events, vulcanicity, mountain building, faulting etc.
High Court has held that the films, serials and other multimedia contents
transmitted through online platforms like Youtube, Netflix cannot be
regulated under Cinematograph Act, 1952.
observed that going by the concept of internet and its operation, the act
of exhibition of films, serials and other content perhaps amounts to
transfer of files based on requests by users. Therefore, it does not come
under the purview of Cinematograph Act.
came in the backdrop of a petition which alleged that children were being
affected due to unregulated content transmitted through online platforms.
The petition sought a mechanism to regulate content from online platforms.
similar petition was filed in Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court which
sought framing of guidelines by the government to regulate the functioning
of online media streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Act, 1952 deals with provisions for the certification of cinematograph
films for exhibition and for regulating exhibitions by means of
have discovered fossils of an extinct parrot species in near St. Bathans
in southern New Zealand. The area has been a rich source of fossils from
the Miocene period which extends from about five million to 23 million
researchers it is the heaviest known parrot to have ever lived. It lived
19 million years ago. The parrot has been named Heracles inexpectatus
The birds were
flightless. They were up to 1 m tall and weighed up to 7kgs.
belongs to a group of ancient parrots native to New Zealand, which
includes the kakapo.
Kakapo is a
critically endangered flightless bird which still exists in New Zealand.
It is the heaviest parrot alive today
Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019 has not been
passed in the Raj Sabha due to lack of broad consensus on the bill.
The bill seeks
to amend the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Act, 1951. The Act
provides for the erection of a National Memorial in memory of those killed
or wounded in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre (13th April,
1919). It also creates a trust for managing the memorial.
trust comprises the Prime Minister, the Congress president, Culture
Minister, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Punjab Governor, and
Punjab CM as its members.
Amendment Bill seeks to remove the Congress president from the trustees
list. The bill has said that when there is no Leader of Opposition in Lok
Sabha, then the leader of the single largest opposition party will be the
The 1951 Act
provides that the three trustees nominated by the central government will
be trustees for a period of five years and will be eligible for
bill has provided that the central government can terminate the term of a
nominated trustee before the expiry of the period of his term without
assigning any reason.
Court on 2nd August had struck down Section 497 of the
Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) that dealt with adultery, holding it
“unconstitutional”. RPC is the criminal code applicable to Jammu and
2018, the Supreme Court had struck down Section 497 of the Indian Penal
Code, which criminalized adultery.
Section 497 of
the IPC punished a married man for having sex with wife of another man.
However, sexual intercourse is was exempted from punishment if it was done
with the “consent or connivance” of other woman’s husband. It criminalised
only the man and not the woman involved.
difference between section 497 of IPC and Sec 497 of RPC is that RPC
states that the wife shall be punishable as an abettor.
was declared unconstitutional down by SC on the grounds that it violated
Article 14, Article 15 and Article 21 of the constitution.
Article 14 (Equality before Law) as it punished only men for adultery. It
violated Article 15 (Right against discrimination) as it discriminated on the
ground of sex -treats wife as husband’s property. It violated Article 21
(Right to Life) as it violated one’s right to privacy.
rideshare and mission management provider Spaceflight has signed a deal
with New Space India Ltd (NSIL) for payload slot on the first commercial
launch of Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).
The SSLV has
been developed by ISRO. Its first flight is expected to take place from
the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in late 2019.
are capable of putting a payload of 500 kg to mid-inclination Low Earth
Orbit (LEO). It can also put a payload of 300 kg to Sun Synchronous Orbit
NSIL is a
recently established commercial subsidiary of the ISRO. It is under the
administrative control of Department of Space (DOS).
The NSIL has
been set up to meet the increasing demands of Indian space programmes and
to commercially exploit the emerging global space market.
functions of NSIL are: a) Manufacture of Small Satellite Launch Vehicle
(SSLV) in collaboration with Private Sector, b) production of Polar
Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) through Indian Industry, c) production and
marketing of Space based products and services, including launch and
application, d) Transfer of technology developed by ISRO Centres and
constituent units of DOS and e) Marketing spin-off technologies and
products/services, both in India and abroad.
NSIL is the
second commercial entity of the Department of Space (DoS) after Antrix
Corporation Limited which was set up in 1992. Antrix was established to
market the products and services of the ISRO.
Ethnologue, there are 7,111 living languages (languages that are still
being used and spoken by people) worldwide. Chinese, Spanish, English,
Hindi and Arabic are the most widely spoken languages worldwide when only
first-languages are considered.
Africa account for the highest number of indigenous languages (over 70% of
Guinea has the highest number of ‘living’ indigenous languages in the
world (840). India has been ranked 4th (453).
also put forward a ‘Greenberg’s diversity index’. It is the probability
that any two people of the country selected at random would have different
ranges from 0 to 1, where 0 indicates no diversity (everyone has the same
mother tongue) and 1 indicates total diversity (no two people will have
the same mother tongue). India has a diversity value of 0.9
UNESCO’s ‘Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger’, 228 languages have
become extinct since 1950. About 10% of the languages are classified
‘vulnerable’. 10% are ‘critically endangered’.
In India, 5
languages have become extinct since 1950. 42 languages are critically
has announced 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
It aims to
promote indigenous languages in five key areas: a) Increasing
understanding, reconciliation and international cooperation, b) Creation
of favourable conditions for knowledge-sharing and dissemination of good
practices, c) Integration of indigenous languages into standard setting,
d) Empowerment through capacity building and e) Growth and development
through elaboration of new knowledge.
an annual publication that provides statistics and other information on
the living languages of the world. It is published by US-based SIL
government has passed the Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019.
Pradesh government has also introduced a Bill that seeks to curb cow
vigilantism and mob lynching.
Commission in Uttar Pradesh has drafted the UP Combating of Mob Lynching
Bill, 2019, and submitted it to Chief Minister.
developments follow 2018 Supreme Court verdict in the case of Tehseen S.
Poonawalla vs. Union of India where SC had recommended the central
government should enact a legislation to create a separate offence for
Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019 makes mob lynching a cognisable,
non-bailable and non-compoundable offence.
lynching as an act of violence, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob
on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language,
dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation and
for life imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh to convicts in cases
of mob lynching involving the victim’s death.
provides for appointment of a nodal officer of the rank of
Inspector-General of Police to prevent lynching and establishment of
relief camps in safe zones for the victims.
Pradesh bill seeks to amend the Madhya Pradesh Govansh Vadh Pratishedh
Act, 2004. It proposes a minimum jail term of six months that may be
extended to one year for cow vigilantism and lynching. The minimum fine is
Rs 5,000 and the maximum Rs 50,000.
It also seeks
to insert a provision which will specify who issues the transit permit of
cow progeny, which will be pasted prominently on the vehicle.