9 PM Current Affairs Brief – July 10, 2019

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India has stricter regulatory norms: Basel

  1. According to the findings of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS),Reserve Bank of India’s(RBI) norms on large exposures(LEX) for banks are compliant with the Basel requirements.
  2. The assessment was conducted by the Regulatory Consistency Assessment Programme(RCAP).
  3. The assessment focused on the completeness and consistency of the domestic regulations in force by RBI on commercial banks in India.
  4. The report has said that while Basel large exposures framework limits the sum of all exposures of a bank to a single counterparty to 25% of Tier 1 capital,Indian regulations establish the large exposure limit at 20%.
  5. Further,Indian banks exposures to global systemically important banks are subject to stricter limits which is in line with the letter and spirit of the Basel Guidelines.
  6. Basel Committee on Banking Supervision(BCBS) is the primary global standard setter for the prudential regulation of banks.It has 45 members comprising central banks and bank supervisors from 28 jurisdictions.
  7. Basel III is an internationally agreed set of measures developed by the BCBS in response to the financial crisis of 2007-09.The measures aim to strengthen the regulation, supervision and risk management of banks.
  8. RCAP was established by the Basel Committee in 2011.RCAP assessments aim to ensure that each member jurisdiction adopts the Basel Framework in a manner consistent with the Framework’s letter and spirit.

NHAI Signs MoU with NIIF for funding highway projects

  1. The National Highways Authority of India(NHAI) has signed an MoU with National Investment and Infrastructure Fund(NIIF) for funding highway projects.
  2. This agreement is expected to provide innovative financial models including for the Bharatmala Pariyojana.
  3. Bharatmala Pariyojana is an umbrella program for the highways sector that focuses on optimizing efficiency of freight and passenger movement across India.
  4. The objective of the program is optimal resource allocation for a holistic highway development and improvement initiative.
  5. NIIF was set up in 2015 as an investment vehicle for funding commercially viable greenfield, brownfield and stalled projects in the infrastructure sector.
  6. NIIF invests in areas such as energy, transportation, housing, water, waste management and other infrastructure-related sectors in India.
  7. NHAI is an autonomous agency of the Government of India.It was set up in 1988 and is responsible for the management of a network of over 50,000 km of National Highways out of 1,15,000 km in India.It is a nodal agency of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Skill development ministry launches Kaushal Yuva Samwaad

  1. The Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship has launched “Kaushal Yuva Samwad”.
  2. Kaushal Yuva Samwaad aims to create a dialogue between the youth and the Ministry.
  3. The program is intended to identify and rectify the gaps so that all skill development programs are aligned to the current demands and help in creating a skilled workforce for the future.
  4. The program is being organized across all Skill India training centres, namely, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK), Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs),Jan Shikshan Sansthans among others.
  5. Further,this program is launched to celebrate the World Youth Skills Day (WYSD) on July 15th every year.
  6. This UN designated day seeks to generate greater awareness of and discussion on the importance of technical, vocational education, and training and development of marketable skills relevant to both local and global economies.
  7. The National Skill Development Mission was launched in 2015.Nearly One Crore youth are being presently imparted skills training annually under various programs of the Government through Skill Development Mission.

Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme: Uttarakhand among best performing states

  1. Uttarakhand has been adjudged as one of the country’s five best performing states under ‘Beti Bachao,Beti Padhao’ scheme.
  2. The state will be felicitated along with the other selected states in recognition of its consistent performance in respect of sex ratio at birth(SRB).
  3. Consistent performance in respect of SRB indicates that the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme is gaining ground in the state.
  4. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao(BBBP) scheme was launched in January, 2015.The scheme is aimed at promoting gender equality and the significance of educating girls.
  5. The scheme is targeted at improving the Child Sex Ratio through multi sectoral interventions including prevention of gender biased sex selection and promoting girls’ education and her holistic empowerment.
  6. The scheme is a tri-ministerial effort of Ministries of (a)Women and Child Development (b)Health & Family Welfare and (c)Human Resource Development.

SC to study Centre’s query on ‘refugee’ status for illegal immigrants

  1. The Supreme Court has agreed to examine on the question of whether the illegal immigrants can even be considered for refugee status.
  2. This hearing came on a petition of Rohingyas who had moved the Supreme Court against the Centre’s proposed plan to deport Rohingyas to the land of their origin which is Myanmar.
  3. Rohingya is an ethnic group largely comprising Muslims who predominantly live in the Western Myanmar province of Rakhine.They speak a dialect of Bengali as opposed to the commonly spoken Burmese language in Myanmar.
  4. They have not been granted full citizenship by Myanmar.They are classified as resident foreigners or associate citizens.
  5. Lakhs of Rohingyas have been displaced with majority of them seeking refuge in Bangladesh and India.In India,there are nearly 40,000 Rohingya refugees.
  6. Further,India does not have a specific law regarding refugees.India has also not been a signatory of the 1951 UN Convention or the 1967 Protocol – both relating to the Status of Refugees and included in the UNHCR statute.
  7. According to the UNHCR,a refugee is a person living in another country following persecution in his own on the grounds of “race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

Banks reported 44,016 frauds in last 11 years

  1. According to the data provided by the Finance Ministry,banks have reported 44,016 frauds in the last 11 years since 2008-09.The frauds being considered in the list are those involving ₹1 lakh or more.
  2. The ministry said that the government had issued a ‘framework for the timely detection,reporting,investigation relating to large value banks frauds’.
  3. The framework mandates that all bank accounts exceeding ₹50 crore, if classified as Non-performing assets(NPAs) be examined by banks from the angle of a possible fraud.
  4. NPA is a loan or advance for which the principal or interest payment remained overdue for a period of 90 days.
  5. Further,Public sector banks have also been advised to obtain a certified copy of the passport of the promoters/directors and other authorised signatories of companies availing loan facilities of more than ₹50 crore.
  6. Besides,the government has also enacted Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.The act seeks to confiscate properties and assets of economic offenders that evade prosecution by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts.
  7. Economic offences with a value of more than Rs 100 crores which are listed in the schedule of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act come under the purview of this law.

U.S., Taliban talks end after rival Afghans agree on ‘roadmap for peace’

  1. Recently,the Taliban and Afghan delegates including government officials has agreed on a roadmap for peace that could end the 18-year war in Afghanistan.
  2. The roadmap hopes to reach an agreement that would see US troops pull out in return for a commitment that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for terrorism.
  3. This non-binding agreement comes as the US and Taliban continue to negotiate on a US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
  4. Taliban and the US are currently focusing on four key issues that are going to decide any future agreement and the issues are (a) counterterrorism (b)troop withdrawal (c)intra-Afghan dialogue and (d)ceasefire.
  5. Further,Indian Government have maintained that peace process in Afghanistan should be Afghan led and Afghan owned and India will not engage with the Taliban directly and would rather pursue bilateral ties through investing in development projects.
  6. The Taliban has ruled large parts of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, before being ousted in a US-led invasion.After years of insurgency, it now controls half of the country mostly in rural areas.

Indian tariffs not acceptable

  1. The US President has said that India’s tariff regime is no longer acceptable.
  2. India had imposed long pending retaliatory tariffs on 29 US products after US had withdrawn Generalized system of preferences (GSP) for Indian exporters.
  3. GSP is a preferential tariff system extended by developed countries to developing countries.It is a preferential arrangement in the sense that it allows concessional low/zero tariff imports from developing countries.
  4. Further,the US and India has issues that needs to be resolved such as (a)India’s Data localisation rules which forced foreign companies to store their data locally (b)Price controls on medical devices(Cardiac stents) (c)Tariff on ICT products (d)Lack of greater market access for the US dairy industry and (e)India’s e-commerce policy.

Explained: Western fears about fire accident aboard a Russian submarine

  1. Recently,Russian Sailors died in fire on Nuclear Submarine named Losharik within the Russian territorial waters.
  2. Russian officials have said that the submarine was measuring sea depth within Russian territorial waters.
  3. However,security analysts have said that Russia is using the submarines to stake its claim on the Arctic Sea which is a region rich in oil and gas reserves.
  4. Losharik is a highly advanced Nuclear powered submarine of Russia.It is a deep-diving special missions ship operated by the Russian Navy.
  5. The submarine is capable of withstanding high pressures at great depths enabling it to survey the ocean floor.
  6. The interior hull of submarine is built using titanium spheres which makes the vessel dive up to 6000 metres.A regular submarine can go to the depth of only 600 metres.
  7. The submarine is generally carried under the hull of a larger submarine and is capable of releasing a smaller submarine itself.
  8. submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater.A submarine is the quietest military platform and extremely tough to detect.Their main cover is their ability to move stealthily under water and keep an eye on enemy movement of vessels.

Parliament adopts resolution levying 200% duty on Pakistani goods

  1. Parliament has adopted a statutory resolution for levying 200% duty on all goods originating in or exported from Pakistan.
  2. Statutory Resolution is a resolution in pursuance of a provision in the Constitution or an Act of Parliament.
  3. Besides,the resolution related to increasing basic custom duty on lentils, boric acid and diagnostic and laboratory reagents has also been passed.
  4. Basic custom duty is the duty imposed on the value of the goods at a specific rate.This duty is regulated by the Customs Tariff Act of 1975.The Central Government has the right to exempt any goods from the tax.

U.S. Congress to vote on bill to remove country-cap on Green Card

  1. The US House of Representatives will vote on legislation called Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act also known as HR 1044.The bill seeks to lift the country-cap on issuing green cards.
  2. The lifting of per-country cap on Green Card would mainly benefit professionals on H-1B visas from countries such as India for whom the wait for Green Card is more than a decade.
  3. Some of the recent studies have said the waiting period for Indian IT professionals on H-1B visas is more than 70 years.
  4. Further,experts have said that this bill will increase the per-country cap on family-based immigrant visas from 7% of the total number of such visas available that year to 15%.
  5. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
  6. Dependents of H-1B visa holders get H-4 visas.Green Card is an identification card which gives one the status of a permanent resident along with legal rights to work in the USA.

CPCB pulls up 52 firms over handling of waste

  1. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has criticised 52 firms for flouting Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) under the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 (amended in 2018).
  2. Under EPR, responsibility of collection of used plastics and multilayered plastics is entrusted upon producers, importers and brand owners.
  3. The companies are mandated to provide a timeline or a plan to collect the plastic waste that results from their business activities. However the firms have not yet registered at the online portal and disclosed their disposal plans.
  4. The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 offer directives to urban local bodies and Gram Panchayats on segregation, collection, transportation, processing and disposal of plastic waste in their areas of jurisdiction. The rules also mandate producers, importers, waste generators and retailers to manage such waste.
  5. According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) estimates in 2015, Indian cities generate about 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste per day and about 70% of the plastic produced in the country ends up as waste.

Full rehearsal for Chandrayaan conducted

  1. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has conducted test run for Chnadrayaan-2 mission. Chandrayaan-2, India’s second Moon mission, will be launched on July 15, 2019
  2. Chandrayaan 2 will comprise of an Orbiter, Lander named ‘Vikram’ and Rover named ‘Pragyan’. The orbiter will circle the moon and provide information about its surface
  3. The lander will make a soft landing near the lunar South Pole – Aitken basin -and send out the rover. The rover will be used mostly for in situ experiments. Only Russia, USA and China have soft landed on moon so far.
  4. Chandrayaan-2 will launch aboard a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III, (GSLV -MK III) rocket.
  5. Chandrayaan-2 is a follow-up mission from the Chandrayaan-1 mission- India’s first lunar mission. It was launched in October 2008 and operated till August 2009. The mission included a lunar orbiter and an impactor.

Italy’s Prosecco hills added to UNESCO World Heritage list

  1. UNESCO has declared the Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  2. The hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene is located north-east of Venice in Italy. It is home to the world-famous sparkling wine Prosecco.
  3. Prosecco Hills became the 10th site in the world to be registered under the category of “cultural landscape” in recognition of their unique interaction between man and the environment.
  4. A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area which is selected by the UNESCO as having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance and is legally protected by international treaties. The sites are judged important to the collective interests of humanity.
  5. UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture.

France to impose green tax on plane tickets from 2020

  1. France has decided to impose a tax of up to €18 on plane tickets for all flights from airports in France.  The move will take effect from 2020.
  2. The new measure is expected to bring in some 182 million euros a year which will be used to fund less-polluting transportation projects.
  3. Sweden had introduced a similar tax in 2018. An added charge of up to €40 was imposed on every ticket in an attempt to lessen the impact of air travel on the climate.
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