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  • 9 PM Current Affairs Brief – June 25th, 2018

    Summary of all the news articles of the day from different newspapers bearing relevance to Civil Services Preparatio

    Mains Test Series


    Download the compilation of all summaries of all the news articles here


    GS 2

    A new vulnerability

    Article:

    1. Shaikh Mujibur Rehman, editor of ‘Rise of Saffron  Power’, expressed his views on how cow vigilante groups emerge as non-state actors in India to unleash violence.

    Important Analysis:

    2. According to author, post 2014, cow vigilante groups have emerged most prominent group in terms of spreading violence.

    3. Recent incidences of such violence are:

    a) Dadri lyncing in 2015

    b) Una flogging in 2016

    c) Jharkhand’s Godda district

    4. The author alleged that these groups mostly target Muslim community and citizens than rescuing cows.

    5. Author called these groups as “Muslim Vigilante groups’.

    6. Cow protection movements have a long history in India. Even Gandhiji supported these movements.

    7. Author also raised Dalit issue by saying that Dalit also eat beef.

    8. As a result Dalits came in massive protects.

    9. Dalit raised massive protest after Dadri and Una flogging  incidence.

    10. Because of Dalit protest Gujarat Chief Minister’s Anandiben patel resigned.

    11. In the past anti-cow slaughter laws were also passed in various states.

    12. The author also said that “The difference between the Hindu right and Hindu conservatives is their position on vigilante violence, which a majority of Hindu conservatives do not approve of”.

    13. Author critisied B. R, Ambedkar by saying that he could not make a  “geographically contiguous areas” for Dalits as was favoured by Mohammad Ali Jinnha for muslims.

    14. Recent affected areas of vigitalism

    What is mob lynching?

    • Mob Lynching means killing of someone by a mob for an alleged offence without following any principles of jurisprudence or due process of law.
    • A lynching is a majority way of telling a minority population that the law cannot protect it.
    • Lynching served the broad social purpose of maintaining superiority in economic, social, cultural and political sphere.

     

    Smoke and mirrors

    Article:

    1. Mohammed Ayoob , professor, Michigan State University,  discussed the reasons of humanitarian  intervention by major power.

    Important Analysis:

    2. With the end of cold war, its restraining influences spawned many ethnic and state breaking conflicts.

    3. The feelings of hubris generated in the U.S. by the demise of the Soviet Union amplified its interventions proclivities.

    4. These factors led to “humanitarian interventions”, especially in Balkans and West Asia.

    5. Bosnia and Kosovo achieve humanitarian ends by preventing ethnic cleansing on a national scale.

    6. While in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, situation is worse.

    7. Such interventions helped create new international norms, whereby international community’s had the right to intervene in countries where government suppressed its people.

    8. The term “Responsibility to Protect (R2P), became the linchpin of the humanitarian intervention argument.

    Note: The term R2P, derived from a 2001 report by a high- powered commission at the behest of the UN Secretary General.

    9. R2P ,humanitarian intervention, have ended up subverting the international order rather than strengthening it, for two reasons:

    a) Such interventions undertaken with the objective of regime change but without rebuilding of state institutions. This led to state failure and internal conflict.

    b) Humanitarian interventions are undertaken largely at the behest of the P-3(UK, US, France), who wield veto power in the UNSC and have the wherewithal to mount such interventions.

    10. Most humanitarian interventions have been undertaken when they suit the interest of the U. S, and its allies.

    11. Demand for intervention in humanitarian crises, such as in Gaza, face the threat of veto in the UNSC.

    12. Most humanitarian interventions are extensions of the Western powers foreign policies rather than genuine attempts at protecting the security of affected populations.

    GS 3

    Proposed water aerodrome in Chilika Lake likely to face green hurdle

    News:

    1. The Airports Authority of India has proposed to set up a water aerodrome in Chilka Lake for starting amphibious aircraft operations in Odisha.
    Chilika Lake:

    • Chilika lake is a brackish water lagoon, spread  over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam district of Odisha at the mouth of Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal.
    • Largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest coastal lagoon in the world after  The New Caledonian barrier reef in New Caledonia.
    • It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian Sub-Continent.
    • The Lake is home to a number of threatened species of plants and animals.

    Important facts:

    2. The pre-feasibility study has already been completed for the same.

    3. From the last six months, Chilka lake turns into a temporary habitat for lakh of migratory and residential birds

    4. The Chilka Development Authority, the apex regulatory authority for Chika lake, will submit its opinion about the project.

    5. However, the project will face green hurdles because of the following reasons:

    a) If an aircraft flies at low height, there is every chance of the birds getting hit.

    b) The bird population will be in danger.

    c) The safety of passengers of amphibious aircraft will also be jeopardize.

    d) Noise pollution generated by close to 10,000 boats has already taken a toll on the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins in the lake.

    e) Around 155 endangered Irrawaddy dolphins were spotted in Chilka, which is the single largest habitat of this species in the world.

    6. The Odisha government has decided to regulate boat operation in the lake following the death of six passengers in recent boat tragedy.

    7. This incidence has made life jacket mandatory for tourists and GPS on the boats.

    Sketchy deal

    News:

    1. The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) recently agreed to increase its daily output to address the problem of rising crude oil prices.
    OPEC:

    • OPEC is an intergovernmental organization of 15 nations as of June 2018, founded in 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela).
    • Headquarter since 1965 in Vienna, Austria.
    • As of 2018, the 15 countries accounted for an estimated 44% of global oil production and 81.5 percent of the world’s oil reserves.

     

    Important facts:

    2. Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister announced that the cartel’s output would be increased by about a million barrels a day beginning this July.

    3. However, there is no official numbers regarding the planned increase in production.

    4. In the absence of any clear intent on the part of OPEC to guide prices lower, the price of the benchmark WTI crude increased by 5% after announcement.

    5. OPEC members had in late 2016, agreed to a historic deal to cut output by 1.2 million barrels a day in order to end a supply glut and raise the price of oil.

    6. Since then, the cartel has managed to overshoot its production cut target following unexpected outrages in countries such as Venezuela and Libya, contributing to the steep rise in oil prices.

    7. The lack of any clear commitment from OPEC to raise production suggests that the threat of a supply shock still looms over the global economy.

     

    For nutrition security

    News:

    1. India is lacking in its commitment to tackle undernourishment.

    Important facts:

    2. The UN’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report 2017, highlighted the ways to achieve nutritional policy reform.

    3. The global agencies found that food security and better nutrition may be at risk.

    4. The NITI Aayog found that families below the poverty line consumed more cereals and less milk compared to the affluent.

    5. Major highlights of the report:

    a) Reduction in the reduction in the rate of undernourishment since the year 2000 despite large population facing hunger and poor nutrition.

    b) The estimate of 815 million people enduring chronic food deprivation in 2016, compared to 775 million in 2014, is depressing.

    c) The deprivation is even greater among people who live in regions affected by conflict and the extreme effects of climate change.

    d) Under-nutrition rates continue to drop, although one in four children is still affected by stunting.

    6. Reasons:

    • Impact of downturn
    • Many violent conflicts
    • Fall in community export revenues
    • Failure of agriculture due to floods and drought.

    7. All the above mentioned factors represent a setback to all countries trying the meet Sustainable Development Goal on ending hunger and achieving improved nutrition.

    8. India’s efforts at improving access to food and good nutrition are led by the National Food Security Act.

    9. Despite having special nutritional schemes for women and children, 14.5% of the population suffers from undernourishment, going by the UN’s assessment for 2014-16.

    10. According to health ministry’s data , at the national level, 53% of women are anaemic.

    11. Challenges:

    1. Institutions like The State Food Commissions have not made a big difference.
    2. Distributing nutrition food as a public health measure is still not a political imperative.

     

    Govt. testing ‘big data’ system to aid banks assess credit risks

    News:

    1. The ministry of Electronics and Information technology is testing the credit rating model which will help banks assess credit risks

    Important Facts:

    2. The Ministry of Electronics and IT sponsored project include Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Bangalore-based IT firm Processware System and two cooperative banks as partners

    3. A statistical and machine learning algorithmic model has been developed to predict the probability of default

    4. A model has been developed to predict different types of frauds in banking sector based on RBI guidelines

    5. Data from various banks have been used for validating the models

    6. Further, web-enabled software has been developed.

    7. Benefits:

    • Help tackle the issue of rising non-performing assets (NPA)
    • It will enable banks to quantify risks associated with retail loans- for example, gold loans, personal loans and vehicle loans.
    • The web-enabled software will assist the banks to adopt the models for credit rating, non-performing assets and fraud

    AIIB to invest $200 mn in infra fund

    News:

    1. The board of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank(AIIB) has approved $ 100 million investment in the National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF).
    AIIB:

    • AIIB has 86 countries as its members.
    • AIIB is a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia Pacific region.
    • The bank currently has 86 member states from around the world.
    • The bank started operation after the agreement entered into force on 25 December 2015.
    • Major economies that are not member include Japan, Mexico, Nifgeria , that  United States.

     

    Important facts:

    2. AIIB is expected to approve $100million more in later stage in addition to $100million for NIIF.

    3. India is hosting annual meeting of AIIB for the first time, which would be addressed by PM Narendra Modi.

    4. India is the second largest shareholder in AIIB after China and is also the largest recipient of funds from the multilateral agency.

    5. Nearly 25% of the total funds committed by AIIB have been committed for projects in India, both in the government sector and the private sector.

    6. The Economic Affairs Secretary S.C. Garg said that there will be leverage of 10-12 times in the original investment , which can result in up to $ 2.4 billion flowing into infrastructure projects.

    7. The Beijing-headquartered agency, which started operations in January 2016, has approved $4.4 billion investments so far, including $1.2 billion in India, making the country the largest beneficiary so far.

    8. The government had sent a proposal to the AIIB seeking $475 million for the Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III which had already been approved in-principle.

     

    The two facets of NPA management

    Article:

    1. Santsoh Kumar Das and Divya Sharma of Institute for Studies in Industrial Development discusses various measures for an effective NPA management

    Important Analysis:

    2. The steady rise of non-performing assets (NPAs) and wilful defaults highlights the concerns over effectiveness of NPA management in India

    3. Until recently, the measures taken by government and Reserve Bank of India have primarily focussed on managing existing NPAs. However, there needs to be equal focus on preventive measures

    4. Measures to be taken for effective NPA management:

    • The government and RBI should play a greater role for ensuring effective NPA management

    Preventive measures:

    • Creation of a framework to ensure transparency in the operation and management of Scheduled Commercial banks (SCBs), primarily public sector banks

    The framework should be based on four parameters:

    • Project appraisal: It is of utmost necessity to create a robust credit appraisal mechanism
    • Monitoring: Technical capabilities should be enhanced to facilitate project monitoring
    • Accounting: Emphasis on ensuring transparency and efficiency in the accounting system
    • Auditing: Audit system of the banks should be strengthened

    Bad Bank

    • A public funded asset management company- bad bank should be created to deal with stressed assets of public sector banks
    • A resolution mechanism should be formulated in order to facilitate recovery. This would reduce the burden on banks or the government
    • Best practice: The Swedish Model of Bad Bank
    • Swedish Bad Bank ‘Securum’ operated for 15 years. It was fully government-owned
    • The bad bank in Sweden bought the stressed assets from the affected banks. This was then sold it at a higher price during an economic expansion when asset prices increased. This facilitated maximum recovery on the bad loans
    • Similarly, a fully government-owned bad bank can be created in India. Managerial staff can be outsourced to ensure better operational and managerial efficiency. The bad bank should remain accountable to the government.
    • Given the financial constraints, the government can partly finance the proposed ‘bad bank’ by issuing equity shares. The government should hold the majority of the shares.

    Key monetary tools at the RBI’s disposal

    News:

    1. Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) raised its repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.25%

    Important facts:

    2. Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR):

    • The percentage of a bank’s total deposit that need to be kept as cash with the RBI
    • A high percentage means banks have less to lend or invest
    • A low percentage of CRR means more money to lend or invest
    • RBI uses CRR to absorb excess liquidity or to release funds needed for economic growth.
    • At present, the CRR is 4%. This means, if a bank’s deposits increase by Rs.100, 4%, the banks will have to keep Rs. 4 with the RBI. The bank can use only ₹96 for investments and lending purposes.

    3. Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR):

    • The percentage of banks’ total deposits that they are needed to invest in government approved securities. Banks can earn return on these investments.
    • At present, the SLR is 19.5%. This implies, if a deposit of Rs.100 is made in a bank, then the bank will have to invest Rs. 19.5 in government securities

    4. Repo rate:

    • It is the rate at which RBI lends money to commercial banks against securities in case commercial banks fall short of funds.
    • Higher the repo rate, the higher the cost of short-term money to the banks and vice versa.
    • When the repo rate is lowered, banks can charge lower interest rates on the loans taken by borrowers.

    5. Reverse Repo rate:

    • The reverse repo rate is the rate of interest offered by RBI, when banks deposit their surplus funds with the RBI for short periods.
    • At present, the reverse repo rate is 6%.
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