for the first time will host the 14th session of the Conference of Parties
(COP-14) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
(UNCCD) in September 2019.
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole
legally binding international agreement linking environment and
development to sustainable land management. It was established in 1994. It
has 197 parties.
seeks to work towards maintaining and restoring land and soil productivity
and mitigating the effects of drought.
COP is the supreme decision-making body of a Convention. All States that
are Parties to the Convention are represented at the COP, at which they
review the implementation of the Convention.
is reeling under severe problem of land degradation. A 2016 report by the
Indian Space Research Organisation found that about 29% of India’s land
(in 2011-13) was degraded.
the Environment Ministry has launched a flagship project on enhancing
capacity on forest landscape restoration (FLR) and Bonn Challenge in
India. There will be a pilot phase of 3.5 years implemented in the States
of Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland and Karnataka.
of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has partnered with The
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for the project.
aims to develop and adapt best practices and monitoring protocols for the
Indian states and build capacity within the five pilot states on FLR and
in 2015, the Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million
hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by
2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.
has joined the Bonn Challenge and pledged to bring into restoration 13
million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020, and additional 8
million hectares by 2030.
Aayog has proposed that only electric vehicles should be sold after 2030.
It has moved a cabinet note proposing that the road transport and highways
ministry should prepare a framework to phase out the sale of diesel and
petrol vehicles by 2030.
ministry has also been asked to pilot an e-highways programme. In electric
highways, overhead electric cable is laid to allow trucks to operate as
electric vehicles when on the electrified road and as regular hybrid
vehicles at other times.
NITI Aayog has proposed radio cab services, such as Ola and Uber, should
go completely electric by 2030.
NITI Aayog had suggested that only electric-powered three-wheelers and
two-wheelers with engine capacity of up to 150 cc should be sold from
to the Niti Aayog, as transport remains the most demanding sector for oil,
about 100% electric vehicle sale by 2030 may reduce India’s import
dependence by a substantial margin.
the Union Cabinet approved the proposal for implementation of ‘Faster
Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India Phase II (FAME
India Phase II)’. The scheme will be implemented over the period of three
years with effect from 1st April 2019.
main objectives of the scheme are a) encourage faster adoption of Electric
and hybrid vehicle by way of offering upfront Incentive on purchase of
Electric vehicles and b) establish necessary charging Infrastructure for
FAME II is an expanded version of FAME I, launched in 2015 which aimed to
support hybrid/electric vehicles market development and Manufacturing
ecosystem. FAME scheme is under Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public
FAME scheme is part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan
(NEMMP). It aims to achieve national fuel security by promoting hybrid and
electric vehicles in the country.
to ‘The World Population Prospects 2019’ published by the Population
Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, India is
projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country by 2027.
is expected to add nearly 273 million people between 2019 and 2050 and
will remain the most populated country through the end of the current
with 1.43 billion people in 2019, and India, with 1.37 billion, are the
two most populous countries of the world, comprising 19% and 18%,
respectively, of the global total in 2019.
report further states that the world’s population is expected to increase
by two billion people in the next 30 years, from 7.7 billion currently to
9.7 billion in 2050.
of the projected increase in the global population up to 2050 will be
concentrated in just nine countries.
is expected to remain the world’s most populous country with nearly 1.5
billion inhabitants, followed by China (1.1 billion), Nigeria (733
million), the United States (434 million), and Pakistan (403 million).
report has further said that in 2019, around 40% of the world’s population
lives in intermediate-fertility countries, where women have on average
between 2.1 and four births over a lifetime. Examples: India, Indonesia,
Pakistan, Mexico, the Philippines and Egypt
report has confirmed that the world’s population is growing older due to
increasing life expectancy and falling fertility levels. It has projected
that by 2050, one in six people in the world will be over age 65 (16%), up
from one in 11 in 2019 (9%)
Ministry of Home Affairs has launched an exercise to rank India’s best
police stations based on various parameters. The exercise seeks to promote
competition for better governance at the grassroots level
Home Ministry has suggested at least seven dimensions for assessment which
include crime prevention, proactive measures adopted, Crime and Criminal
Tracking Network Systems and other technology, citizen perception and
evaluation will be a two-stage process- a) Objective short-listing of
police stations based on crime data available with National Crime Record
Bureau (NCRB) and b) Detailed evaluation based on valuation across seven
2017, MHA had conducted a similar exercise and released “Ranking of Police
Stations for the Year 2017”. RS Puram police station, Coimbatore was designated
as the best police station in India.
criteria for ranking were a) people’s feedback, b) quality of
investigation, c) Response time (crime control), d) hygiene at police
station, e) behaviour and attitude of cops, f) community policing, g) record
keeping, h) surveillance on criminals.
are 15, 579 sanctioned police stations in India with 10, 052 located in
rural areas and 4998 located in urban areas. Further, there are 529
railway police stations.
2014, Indian Prime Minister announced the concept of SMART Police
(S-Sensitive and Strict; M-Modern with mobility; A- Alert and Accountable;
R- Reliable and Responsive; T- Trained and Techno-savvy)
Ministry of Food Processing Industries has announced that the World Food
India 2019 will be held from 1-4th November 2019 in New Delhi.
event seeks to position India as Food Processing Destination of the World.
The tagline of the event will be “Forging Partnerships for Growth”.
event will consist of several top level seminars, investment opportunities,
exhibitions, high level CEO roundtables, country sessions, B2B and B2G
World Food India is a biennial event which aims to promote India’s food
processing sector at global level. The first event was conducted in 2017.
to the Ministry, Indian Food Processing Industry has grown at 11% growth
rate, which is twice the pace of Global Industry. The sector has recorded
significant growth rate across all major sub-segments of the sectors both
in terms of value and volume.
exports remain low, with India’s share in global exports of processed food
being only 2%.
India also has a high share of harvest and post-harvest losses from major
agricultural produces on account of poor storage, transportation and
has decided to launch a crypt currency called Libra. The currency is
designed not to be a speculative asset, like Bitcoin, but a form of
digital money backed by a reserve of assets.
has also formed the non-profit Libra Association with 27 other partners to
oversee Libra and its development. The partnership includes venture
capital firms, non-profit organizations, crypto firms, and massive
corporate financial, telecommunications, and technology service providers.
2018, Venezuela launched Petro, becoming the first country to officially
launch its own crypto currency. The petro is intended to supplement
Venezuela’s bolivar fuerte (VEF) currency and help overcome US sanctions.
Petros are “pre-mined”, meaning the government produces and controls it.
Marshall Islands has also decided to launch “Sovereign” (SOV), a
cryptocurrency which can be used as a legal tender.
currency, is a digital currency. It uses strong cryptography to secure
financial transactions, control the creation of additional units, and
verify the transfer of assets. E.g. Bitcoins, ethereum etc.
Minister is likely to meet chief executives of Indian banks to chalk out a
strategy for the banking sector for the next five years.
meeting assumes significance as the country’s GDP growth slowed to 5.8% in
the January-March 2019 quarter dragging down the full-year growth to a
5-year low of 6.8%.
the NBFC sector has also slowed down due to which credit flow to
productive sectors of the economy has been impacted.
the finance ministry has also held discussions with banks on the on going
crisis in non-banking financial sectors as NBFCs are facing liquidity
crunch following the debt default by IL&FS.
is an infrastructure finance company registered with the Reserve Bank of
India as a ‘Systemically Important Non-Deposit Accepting Core Investment
Company’. IL&FS has run out of money and therefore was unable to
service its repayment obligations which led to a series of defaults on
loans, debentures and commercial papers.
the government had recently seen the merger of Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank
with Bank of Baroda and also the merger of associate banks of State Bank
Digital Communications Commission has given its approval for imposing
penalty on Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea for denial of interconnection
to Reliance Jio when the latter had entered the market.
the commission has asked the Telecom Regulatory authority of India (TRAI)
to review the penalty amount of ₹3,050 crore given the financial stress in the
2016,Reliance Jio had complained to TRAI that due to inadequate
interconnection points its subscribers were unable to make calls to other
held that Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea had violated licence norms by
denying adequate interconnection points to Reliance Jio.
had stated that the act of these operators was against public interest and
in violation of their licence agreement.
is a statutory body set up by the Government of India under section 3 of
the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997.
is the regulator of the telecommunications sector in India. It consists of
a Chairperson and not more than two full-time members and not more than
two part-time members.
Digital Communications Commission was earlier known as Telecom Commission.
It was set up by the Government of India through a Resolution in 1989 to
deal with various aspects of Telecommunications.
interdisciplinary team of researchers at the Technical University of
Munich (TUM) has revealed that Bitcoin system has a carbon footprint of
between 22 and 22.9 megatonnes per year. This is comparable to the
footprint of cities such as Hamburg, Vienna or Las Vegas.
mining is very energy-intensive and the process has increased rapidly in
recent years. The annual electricity consumption by Bitcoin, as of
November 2018, is about 46 TWh.
researchers have recommended that crypto currency mining should be regulated
in regions where power generation is especially carbon-intensive. Also, to
improve the ecological balance, more mining farms can be linked to
additional renewable generating capacity.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor has said that the RBI is giving a
fresh look at the regulatory and supervisory framework of the Non-banking
Financial Companies (NBFCs).
RBI Governor said that the Reserve Bank will continue to monitor the activity
and performance of NBFC sector with a focus on major entities and their
inter-linkages with other sectors.
RBI has recently released the draft guidelines for a robust liquidity
framework for the NBFCs.
framework was issued as NBFCs have come under severe liquidity pressure
ever since the IL&FS crisis erupted compelling them to stop deposit
renewals and resort to high cost borrowings. There are concerns that NBFCs
may run out of money which will lead to defaults.
the RBI has also asked NBFCs with asset size of more than Rs 5,000 crore
to appoint a Chief Risk Officer (CRO) with clearly specified roles and
responsibilities amid growing worries over a crisis in the NBFC sector.
RBI has also created a specialised supervisory and regulatory cadre within
the RBI in order to strengthen the supervision and regulation of
commercial banks, urban cooperative banks and non-banking financial
Reserve Bank of India(RBI) governor has highlighted the importance of the
central bank’s role in maintaining financial stability.
stability can be defined as a condition in which the financial system is
not unstable. It can also mean a condition in which the three components
of the financial system which are financial institutions, financial
markets and financial infrastructure are stable.
Governor has referred to the RBI Act according to which the primary
objective of monetary policy is to maintain price stability while keeping
in mind the objective of growth.
after the global financial crisis in 2008, it has been recognized that
price stability may not be sufficient for financial stability. Hence,
financial stability has emerged as another key consideration for monetary
comments came amid a non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) sector crisis
which accounts for a fifth of the credit market.
RBI Governor also said that RBI is taking a fresh look at NBFC regulation
and supervision. It is also monitoring the activities of large NBFCs with
a view to ensure financial stability.
he said that the endeavour of RBI is to ensure price stability under the
flexible inflation targeting regime and simultaneously focus on growth
when inflation is under control.
2019, RBI had reduced the Repo rate by 75 bps to 5.75% to boost economic
growth which had fallen to 5.8% in the January-March 2019 quarter dragging
down the full year growth to a five-year low of 6.8%.
Central Government has ruled out including petroleum products within the
ambit of GST immediately by turning down repeated demands from the
aviation sector and oil companies.
petroleum ministry has also asked for the inclusion as the benefit of GST
is not helping oil companies as they cannot claim an input tax credit. The
credit can only be claimed if the entire chain from inputs to the final
product pays GST.
the Central government is of the view that the inclusion of petroleum
products will not be supported by the states in GST Council as states
wants to retain flexibility in taxing a few items.
duty on real estate, excise on alcohol and petroleum products are among
the handful of items on which states still have control after the
introduction of GST.
the Government is also not keen on moving to GST for products such as
aviation turbine fuel (ATF) or jet fuel. The government argues that the
taxes on ATF which airlines say is among the highest in the world is
already passed on to consumers.
tax credit is the tax that a business pays on a purchase and that it can
use to reduce its tax liability when it makes a sale. In other words,
businesses can reduce their tax liability by claiming credit to the extent
of GST paid on purchases.
(Goods and Services Tax) is an indirect tax that has replaced many Central
and State taxes like excise duty, VAT and service tax. It is a single
comprehensive tax levied on all goods and services produced in India as
well as those imported from other countries.
Intersessional meeting of the Kimberley Process (KP) has started in
the meeting, India has committed to play an active role to curb the circulation
of ‘conflict diamonds’ or ‘blood diamonds’ in the international market by
further strengthening the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).
has said that the 4Cs (Cut, Clarity, Colour & Carat) of diamonds may
soon be expanded to 5Cs with the fifth being Conflict-Free.
in the 5Ps of diamond marketing (Precious, Popular, Prestige, Priceless)
will also be expanded with the fifth would represent Peace Diamond.
Kimberley Process (KP) is an international certification scheme that came
into force in 2003.It regulates trade in rough diamonds. It aims to
prevent the flow of conflict diamonds.
diamonds also known as blood diamonds are rough diamonds used by rebel
movements or their allies to finance armed conflicts aimed at undermining
Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) outlines the rules that
govern the trade in rough diamonds.
KP is not an international organisation as it has no permanent offices or
permanent staff. It relies on the contributions under the principle of
burden sharing of participants supported by industry and civil society
Gujarat Congress has decided to move the Supreme Court against the
Election Commission (EC) decision to conduct separate by polls for two
Rajya Sabha seats in the state.
petitioner has sought a direction to the Election Commission for holding
the election for the two seats simultaneously.
EC has termed the vacancies as casual vacancies. The petitioner said the
term is a complete and direct violation of the provisions of the
Representation of the People Act as such vacancies fall under the category
of statutory vacancies under Section 69 of the RP Act.
petitioner argued that both the Constitution and Representation of the
People Act 1951 says that if regular vacancies are existing at the time
when the election is held, it should be held together so that the system
of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote can be
applied to those elections.
the EC has cited two Delhi High Court rulings of 1994 and 2009 which had
supported the system of holding separate by-polls in the same state under
provisions of the Representation of the People Act.
69 in The Representation of the People Act, 1951 talks about the vacation
of seats by persons already members of one House on election to other
House of Parliament.
69 (1) says that If a person who is already a member of the Lok Sabha is
chosen a member of the Rajya Sabha, his seat in the Lok Sabha shall on the
date on which he is so chosen become vacant.
section 69 (2) says that If a person who is already a member of the Rajya
Sabha is chosen a member of the Lok Sabha, his seat in the Rajya Sabha
shall on the date on which he is so chosen become vacant.
country will celebrate this year the 20th anniversary of victory in Kargil
war with the theme ‘Remember, Rejoice and Renew’.
objective of these celebrations is to evoke feelings of nationalism and
patriotism through nationwide campaigns especially amongst youth and to
pay homage to the valiant soldiers.
had launched Operation Vijay in 1999 to clear the Kargil sector of
infiltration by Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants on the Indian
side of the Line of Control.
war took place between May and July of 1999 in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kargil
district. It began with the infiltration of both Pakistani troops and
terrorists into Indian territory.
infiltrators positioned themselves in key locations that gave them a
strategic advantage during the start of the conflict.
Safed Sagar which was launched by the Indian Air Force’s was a major part
of the Kargil war. It used air power at the height of 32,000 feet for the
Kargil War will always be remembered for its strategic and tactical
surprises, the self-imposed national strategy of restraint in keeping the
war limited to Kargil – Siachen Sectors and swiftly executed tri-services
military strategy and plans.
National Geographic Society has announced the successful installation of
the world’s highest operating weather stations on Mount Everest.
successful installation aims to break new ground in our monitoring and
understanding of climate change as the stations will help continuously
monitor the upper reaches of the atmosphere which is critical to tracking
and predicting weather patterns around the globe.
weather station will record data on temperature, relative humidity,
barometric pressure, wind speed, and wind direction.
the new weather stations will also give scientists direct observations to
understand jet stream and will also help understand how climate change is
affecting the Himalayas.
the data from the weather stations will also help communities respond to
climate risks that threaten the lives and livelihoods of the more than one
billion people in the region.
analysis from this stations will also reveal how monsoon patterns will
change in India. Indian scientists have indicated that monsoon is weakening
over the years but this data may give more clues to what time of the year
moisture comes in compared to earlier.
Everest known in Nepal as Sagarmatha and in Tibetan as Chomolungma is
Earth’s highest mountain above sea level. It is located in the Mahalangur
Himal sub-range of the Himalayas. The international border between Nepal
and China (Tibet Autonomous Region) runs across its summit point.
the Ugratara Temple in Assam had organised a special darshan of 34
hatchlings of the rare black soft shell turtle as these hatchlings will be
reintroduced into the wild.
black soft shell turtle (Nilssonia nigricans) is a species of freshwater
turtle found in India (Assam) and Bangladesh.
black soft shell turtle figures in the International Union for
Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List as “extinct in the wild” since
turtles are called “soft shell” because their shell is light and flexible.
This allows them to move more easily in open water, or in muddy lake
bottoms. Having a soft shell also allows them to move much faster on land
than most turtles.
major threats to the black soft shell turtle are (a) consumption of turtle
meat and eggs (b) silt mining (c) encroachment of wetlands and (d) changes
in flooding patterns.
16th Asia media summit has started in Cambodia. The summit has deliberated
on many issues pertaining to the media and broadcasting industry.
summit was held under the topic Media Digitization Focusing on Developing
Markets. The summit called for regulation-making to fight against fake
news and cyber-crimes.
summit was organized by the Cambodian Ministry of Information in
collaboration with the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development
information ministerial meeting held on the sidelines of the summit has
agreed to launch Angkor Fake News Initiative. It a year-long research
project to find out appropriate measures to counter fake news.
Media Summit is the annual conference organized by Asia-Pacific Institute
for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) in collaboration with its partners and
Media Summit provides a unique opportunity for broadcasters in the region
to share their thoughts on Broadcasting and Information and is supported
by all regional and International Broadcasting Unions and Associations.
Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) was established
in 1977 under the auspices of UNESCO. It is hosted by the Government of
Malaysia and the secretariat is located in Kuala Lumpur.
has announced it will breach the limit on its stockpile of enriched
uranium that was set under a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
uranium is produced by feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into centrifuges
to separate out the most fissile isotope, U-235.
the nuclear deal, Iran is only permitted to produce low-enriched uranium
which has a 3-4% concentration of U-235 and can be used to produce fuel
for nuclear power plants. While the weapon grade uranium is 90% enriched
has complained that European powers have failed to abide by their
commitments to mitigate the effects on Iran economy of the sanctions that
US President reinstated after abandoning the nuclear deal last year.
US had stepped up pressure on Iran by ending exemptions from secondary
sanctions for countries still buying Iranian oil. The move was intended to
deny the Iranian government its principal source of revenue.
the Europeans have set up a mechanism that would allow goods to be
bartered between Iranian and foreign companies without direct financial
transactions. But the mechanism known as Instex is not yet operational.
developments come at a time of high tension in the Middle East, with the
US accusing Iran of being behind attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of
Oman. Iran has denied any involvement.
Nuclear deal which is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
(JCPOA) was announced in 2015.
deal was signed between Iran and the P5+1 group (US,UK, France, Russia,
China and Germany).It restricts Iran’s nuclear programme in return for
lifting most economic sanctions against it.