Global Peace Index(GPI) 2019 has been released.India has been ranked at
141 among 163 countries.The ranking of India in 2018 was the 136th.
GPI is a report produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP)
and developed in consultation with an international panel of peace experts
from peace institutes and think tanks with data collected and collated by
the Economist Intelligence Unit.
GPI measures ongoing domestic and international conflict, safety and
security in society, and the degree of militarisation in 163 countries and
territories by taking into account 23 indicators.
index ranked Iceland as the most peaceful country in the world,a position
it has held since 2008.Other countries at the top of the Global Peace
Index(GPI) are New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, and Denmark.
has been ranked as the least peaceful country in the world replacing Syria
which is now the second least peaceful.
report has also said that India along with the Philippines, Japan,
Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Pakistan are the nine
countries with the highest risk of multiple climate hazards.
report also says that the US, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and India are
the top five countries with the largest total military expenditure.
External Affairs Minister has flagged off the first batch of pilgrims for
this year’s Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.
Manasarovar Yatra(KMY) is known for its religious value and cultural
significance.Being significant to Hindus as the abode of Lord Shiva,it
holds religious importance also for the Jains and the Buddhists.
Yatra is organized by the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) with the
support of the state governments of Uttarakhand, Delhi, and Sikkim and the
cooperation of Indo Tibetan Border Police(ITBP).MEA does not provide any
subsidy or financial assistance to Yatris.
organizes this Yatra during June to September each year through two
different routes (a)Lipulekh Pass (Uttarakhand) and (b)Nathu La Pass
(Sikkim).Nathula pass is a new route while Lipulekh has been in use for
Yatra is open to eligible Indian citizens holding valid Indian passports
who wish to proceed to Kailash-Mansarovar for religious purposes.
Financial Action Task Force(FATF) will hold its Plenary and Working Group
meeting from 16th June,2019.
plenary could take up a proposal to downgrade Pakistan to the blacklist on
terrorist financing from its current greylisted status.
has been under the FATF’s scanner since June,2018 when it was put on the
greylist for terror financing and money laundering risks after an
assessment of its financial system and law enforcement mechanism.
gave a political commitment to work with the FATF and Asia Pacific Group
(APG) to strengthen its anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the
financing of terrorism (CFT) regime.
on this commitment,Pakistan and the FATF had agreed on the monitoring of
27 indicators under a 10-point action plan with deadlines.
implementation of the action plan and its physical verification by the APG
will move Pakistan out of the greylist but failure by Pakistan will result
in its blacklisting by September 2019.
had informed Pakistan that its compliance on 18 of the 27 indicators were
unsatisfactory and asked it to do more to demonstrate strict action
against eight terrorist groups.
is a voting member of the FATF and APG and co-chair of the Joint Group
where it is represented by the Director General of India’s Financial
Intelligence Unit (FIU).Pakistan had asked for India’s removal from the
group citing bias and motivated action but that demand has been rejected.
is a global task force which was formed in 1989 by different countries to
combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other illegal activities
related to international financial system.
maintains two different lists of countries:those that have deficiencies in
their AML/CTF regimes but they commit to an action plan to address these
loopholes and those that do not end up doing enough. The former is
commonly known as grey list and latter as blacklist.
a country is blacklisted, FATF calls on other countries to apply enhanced
due diligence and counter measures, increasing the cost of doing business
with the country and in some cases severing it altogether.
of now there are only two countries in the blacklist which are Iran and
North Korea and seven on the grey list which includes counties such as
Pakistan,Sri Lanka,Syria and Yemen.
Union Cabinet has approved the ratification of the Multilateral Convention
to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and
Profit Shifting (MLI).
Multilateral Convention is an outcome of the OECD and G20 Project to
tackle Base Erosion and Profit Shifting(BEPS Project).
BEPS Project objective is to tackle base erosion and profit shifting
through tax planning strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax
rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations where there
is little or no economic activity resulting in little or no overall corporate
tax being paid.
BEPS Project identified 15 actions to address base erosion and profit
shifting (BEPS) in a comprehensive manner.
Convention enables countries to implement the tax treaty related changes
to achieve anti-abuse BEPS outcomes through the multilateral route without
the need to bilaterally re-negotiate each such agreement which is
burdensome and time consuming.
Convention will modify India’s treaties in order to curb revenue loss
through treaty abuse and base erosion and profit shifting strategies by
ensuring that profits are taxed where substantive economic activities
generating the profits are carried out and where value is created.
US is not a signatory of this Multilateral Convention as it believes that
it has a robust tax treaty network that prevents treaty abuse.
Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has prescribed guidelines to
strengthen the disclosures made by credit rating agencies to enhance the
has asked credit rating agencies(CRAs) to start disclosing a probability
of default(PD) benchmark for the companies rated by them.
of default(PD) is a financial term describing the likelihood of a default
over a particular time horizon.It provides an estimate of the likelihood
that a borrower will be unable to meet its debt obligations.
has also directed CRAs to disclose sensitive factors that could
potentially impact the rating of the instruments which include financials
and sector specific information.
directive comes in the backdrop of ILFS crisis where rating agencies had
given AAA rating to IL&FS at a time when the firm was in dire
a result,investors and lenders didn’t get financial status of the company
at the right time which eventually led to defaults on repayments by
step is likely to aid investors and lenders to get an idea about the
probability of default by a company, enabling them to take the right
decision before the situation turns grim.
credit rating agency (CRA) is a company that rates debtors on the basis of
their ability to pay back their interests and loan amount on time and the
probability of them defaulting.
rating agencies in India came into existence in late 1980s.Some of the
credit rating agencies registered under SEBI are:(a)CRISIL (b)ICRA (c)CARE
and (d)Fitch India.
Minister will chair the fifth meeting of the Governing Council of the NITI
issues that will be discussed during the meeting are (a)rainwater
harvesting (b)drought situation (c)aspirational districts programme
(d)transforming agriculture and (e)security issues with a focus on the
Left Wing Extremism-affected districts.
Governing Council of NITI Aayog comprises the Prime Minister, Chief
Ministers of all the States and Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories
and other special invitees.
is the premier body tasked with evolving a shared vision of national
development priorities,sectors and strategies with the active involvement
NITI Aayog was formed through cabinet resolution in 2015.It had replaced
planning commission.It is the premier policy think tank of the Government
of India providing both directional and policy inputs.
NITI Aayog has been mandated with fostering cooperative federalism through
structured support initiatives and mechanisms with the States on a
continuous basis recognizing that strong States make a strong nation.
seeks to design and assist the implementation of strategic,long-term
policy frameworks and programme initiatives and also monitor their
progress and efficacy.
Delhi High Court has held that a court is not entitled to examine the
issue of paternity in a Habeas Corpus writ petition.
judgment came on a petition by a couple seeking issuance of a writ of
Habeas Corpus for the production of a minor child who was in the custody
of an NGO.
court dismissed the petition and said that it was outside the scope of
habeas corpus jurisdiction.The court granted parents the liberty to file
appropriate legal proceedings to seek declaration as parents and custody
of the minor.
32 empowers the Supreme Court and Article 226 empowers the High Courts to
issue writs to a person or authority including the government.
writs which can be issued are (a)habeas corpus (b)mandamus (c)prohibition
(d)quo warranto and (e)certiorari.
Writ is a formal written order issued by the Court in the name of the
sovereign power.Any warrant,orders,directions,and so on,issued by the
Supreme Court or the High Court are called writs.
corpus is a writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a
judge or into court especially to secure the person’s release unless
lawful grounds are shown for their detention.
Prime Minister has met with Chinese President on the sidelines of the
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit.
two leaders have agreed to expedite the dialogue on the India-China
boundary issue for securing a fair solution.
two leaders also discussed the status of the bilateral relationship since
the Wuhan summit which came in the backdrop of tension following the Doklam
President also highlighted the need for regional cooperation and
connectivity and singled out the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM)
economic corridor as an example for expanding the India-China ties.
PM also acknowledged China’s contribution to the listing of Pakistan-based
terror mastermind Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the United Nations
China border dispute is rooted in the status of the McMahon Line, which
defines the border between India and Tibet.There has not been remarkable
progress in resolving the border dispute between the two sides due to the
importance of Aksai Chin to China and Arunachal Pradesh to India.
corridor aims to connect China’s eastern city of Kunming with India’s Kolkata
through Dhaka in Bangladesh and Mandalay in Myanmar. It envisages
formation of a thriving economic belt focusing on cross-border
transport,energy and telecommunication networks.
has not opposed the BCIM corridor but it has concerns about China
expanding its influence in its eastern neighbouring countries.It also
fears the project would open its northeastern region to China.
US secretary of state has said that the US could discuss its decision to
withdraw duty-free benefits to Indian exporters under the generalized
system of preferences (GSP) scheme.
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.
US has terminated India’s designation as a beneficiary under GSP
highlighting concerns over India not allowing equitable and reasonable
access to its markets.
US and India is also expected to discuss India’s data localisation rules
which had forced foreign companies to store their data locally.
US will also discuss with India the 5G network technology issue where US
has been insisting countries to block access to the Chinese telecom giant
Huawei to their next generation(5G) telecommunication networking markets.
Amidst growing tensions between USA and Iran, the Strait of Hormuz has been repeatedly been in news. Recently, two tankers were damaged south of the Strait of Hormuz. In May 2019, four vessels were attacked off the UAE coast near Fujairah, just outside the Strait of Hormuz.
The Strait of Hormuz lies between Oman and Iran. It links the Persian Gulf north of it with the Gulf of Oman to the south and the Arabian Sea beyond.
On the north coast lies Iran, and on the south coast the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman.
It is 21 miles (33 km) wide at its narrowest point, with the shipping lane just two miles (three km) wide in either direction.
It is considered as world’s most important oil artery. Almost a fifth of the world’s oil passes through the Strait. According to data from analytics firm Vortexa some 17.2 million barrels per day (bpd) pass through it.
OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UAE, Kuwait and Iraq export most of their crude via the Hormuz Strait. Qatar, the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, sends almost all of its LNG through the Strait.
The US Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, is tasked with protecting commercial shipping in the area.
tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman.The ship were carrying oil and
other transporting a cargo of chemicals near the strategically important
Strait of Hormuz.
US has blamed Iran for the attacks on the tankers.However,Iran has
dismissed the claims and said that Iran has no connection with the
officials had threatened to interrupt the flow of oil through the Strait
of Hormuz after the US administration had ended the waivers that allow
countries to import Iranian oil.
tension has risen in the region since the U.S had pulled out of a deal
between Iran and global powers that aimed to curb Iran’s nuclear
Gulf of Oman lies at one end of the strategic Strait of Hormuz.The Strait
of Hormuz is a vital shipping route linking Middle East oil producers to
markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond.It has been at the heart
of regional tensions for decades.
waterway separates Iran and Oman linking the Gulf to the Gulf of Oman and
the Arabian Sea.The Strait is 21 miles (33 km) wide at its narrowest
point, but the shipping lane is just two miles (three km) wide in either
fifth of global oil consumption passes through the Strait from Middle East
crude producers to major markets.It is also the route used for nearly all
the liquefied natural gas (LNG) produced by the world’s biggest LNG
Minister has held pre-budget discussions with the representatives from
India’s financial sector.
representatives sought for a dedicated liquidity window for non-bank
finance companies(NBFC) that can be used as a source of emergency funding.
bankers has asked the government to infuse capital in regional rural
banks,rationalise the securities transaction tax and make corporate tax
other demands made by industry representatives included an enhanced role
of Financial Sector Development Council(FSDC) in the NBFC sector,setting-up
of Debt Exchange Traded Fund and domestic capability building in audit
& credit Rating.
NBFC is a company registered under the Companies Act, 1956.It engages in
the business of (a)loans and advances (b)acquisition of shares /stocks/
bonds/ debentures/securities issued by Government or local authority or
other marketable securities of a like nature leasing and
(c)hire-purchase,insurance business,chit business.
Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) was set up by the
Government as the apex level forum in December 2010.
objective of FSDC is to strengthen and institutionalize the mechanism for
maintaining financial stability, enhancing inter-regulatory coordination
and promoting financial sector development.
Chairman of the Council is the Finance Minister and its members include
the heads of all Financial Sector Regulators (RBI, SEBI, PFRDA &
IRDA), Finance Secretary,Department of Economic Affairs (DEA),Secretary,
Department of Financial Services (DFS) and Chief Economic Adviser.
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has announced that
Chandrayaan-2, India’s second Moon mission, will be launched on July 15,
2019. Its lander and rover would touch down on the moon’s surface on
is India’s second mission to the moon. It is a totally indigenous mission.
will comprise of an Orbiter, Lander named ‘Vikram’ (after scientist Vikram
Sarabhai) and Rover named ‘Pragyan’. The orbiter will circle the moon and
provide information about its surface, while the lander will make a soft landing
on the surface and send out the rover. The rover will be used mostly for
in situ experiments.
will launch aboard a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III,
(GSLV -MK III) rocket. The GSLV-MkIII is a three-stage heavy lift launch
vehicle that has been designed to carry four-tonne class satellites into
Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
first mission to moon Chandrayaan 1 was launched in October 2008 and
operated till August 2009. Unlike Chandrayaan 2, Chandrayaan 1 was
designed to just orbit the Moon and make observations with instruments on
Chandrayaan-1 mission sent one of its instruments, called Moon Impact
Probe, or MIP to crash-land on the Moon’s surface. Data sent by MIP on its
way to the Moon had shown evidence of presence of water. However, ISRO
could not publish these finding due to anomalies in calibration.
confirmation for water on water on moon came through studies on data
produced by another instrument on board the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, the
M3 or Moon Mineralogy Mapper. M3 was put on Chandrayaan 1 by NASA.
Indian Navy has decided to induct the indigenously developed heavyweight
torpedo “Varunastra” into its arsenal. This will put India in a group of
only eight countries that have the capability to manufacture heavyweight
is self-propelled underwater missile, launched from a submarine, surface
vessel, or airplane and designed for exploding upon contact with the
has been developed by the Naval Science and Technology Laboratory (NTSL),
Visakhapatnam. NTSL is a premiere laboratory of Defence Research and
Development Organisation (DRDO).
can be launched from ships and submarines. It can also be launched from
ashore. It is equipped with one of the most advanced automatic and
remote-controlled guidance systems. The weapon system uses its own
intelligence in tracing the target.
is seven to eight metres long, weighs 1,500 kg and has a diameter of 533
mm. When fired it can travel at 40 knots, or 74 kmph. The operational
range is 40 km and it can carry a warhead weighing 250 kg.
have discovered six different ‘colour morphs’ (cinnamon, golden, grey,
melanistic, ocelot and tightly rosette) of the Asiatic golden cat in
Arunachal Pradesh. This may be the world’s greatest number of
different-colored wild cat species ever reported in one area.
study was carried out by scientists from Zoological Society of London, and
University College London. It has been published in Ecological Society of
America’s journal Ecology.
morphs are occurrence of two or more discrete colour forms of the animal
within a population, due to a genetic mutation. For example- Black Panther
is a colour morph of the common leopard.
colour morphs are not classified as different sub-species as they may live
in the same area and even inter-breed.
Golden cat is a medium-sized wild cat. It is found in Nepal, Bhutan,
north-east India, Myanmar, China, and South East Asia (Thailand, Sumatra
and Indonesia). It is listed as ‘Near Threatened’ on the IUCN Red List of
government of India has announced reduction in the rate of contribution
under the Employees’ State Insurance (Act) from 6.5% to 4%.
employers’ contribution has been reduced from 4.75% to 3.25% and
employees’ contribution has been reduced from 1.75% to 0.75%.
move is aimed at formalising India’s informal workforce and expanding
social security coverage. Further, reduction in the share of contribution
of employers will reduce the financial liability of the establishments
leading to improved viability of these establishments.
is also expected that reduction in rate of ESI contribution will lead to
improved compliance of law.
Employees’ State Insurance Act 1948 (the ESI Act) provides for medical,
cash, maternity, disability and dependent benefits to the Insured Persons
under the Act. The ESI Act is administered by Employees’ State Insurance
Corporation (ESIC), Ministry of Labour and Employment.
provided under the ESI Act are funded by the contributions made by the
employers and the employees. The Government of India through Ministry of
Labour and Employment decides the rate of contribution under the ESI Act.
ESI Act, 1948, applies to organisations with 10 or more employees, drawing
a salary of up to Rs. 21,000/ month (Rs 25000/ month in case of persons
with disabilities). The threshold for coverage of establishments is 20
employees in Maharashtra and Chandigarh.
Punjab State Health Minister has said that the state government will
launch its flagship universal health insurance scheme ‘Sarbat Sehat Bima
Yojana’ from July. It is a first of its kind in the state.
scheme will provide an annual health cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family.
Around 43.18 lakh families in Punjab will be covered under the scheme.
of 43.18 lakh families, there are 14.86 lakh Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya
Yojana (PMJAY) families. The cost of the premium for families covered
under PMJAY would be borne by the Union Government and the State
Government in 60:40 ratio. For the rest of beneficiaries all the
cost would be borne by the State Government
could avail the cashless secondary care and tertiary treatment in
empanelled public and private hospitals of Punjab and Chandigarh.
Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) is a centrally sponsored
scheme which seeks to provide coverage of up to ₹5
lakh (per family per year) for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.
Space Research Organization (ISRO) has said that India is planning to have
its own space station. The modalities for it will be worked out after
Gaganyaan Mission- India’s first Human Space Flight Programme which is
scheduled to be launched by 2022.
space station is a habitable artificial satellite. It is capable of
hosting crew members for an extended period of time, and provides
facilities for experiments and support vehicles to dock.
has said that India’s space station would be small with weight of the
space station likely to be 20 tonnes. It will have a provision for people
to live for 15-20 days. It will be used for studies including microgravity
has been working on ‘space docking experiment’ (Spadex). It seeks to
demonstrate autonomous docking. It involves transfer of material between
the 2 satellites, in order to demonstrate the potential for refuelling
capability between spacecraft. The Department of Space had allocated 10
crore for Spadex.
there is only one fully functional space station in the Earth’s lower
orbit, the International Space Station. The ISS is a partnership between
European Union (European Space Agency), the United States (NASA), Japan
(JAXA), Canada (CSA) and Russia (Roscosmos).
China has also announced that its Tiangong or “Heavenly Palace”, a space
station, will go into orbit in 2022.