9 PM Current Affairs Brief – November 20th, 2019

Explained:What is deposit insurance?

News:Recently,the failure of the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative(PMC) Bank has reignited the debate on the low level of insurance against the deposits held by customers in Indian banks.

Facts:

What is the insurance cover provided currently?

  • Currently,in case of a bank collapse,a depositor can claim an amount up to a maximum of ₹ 1 lakh per account as the insurance cover(even if the deposit in their account is greater than ₹1 lakh).
  • This amount is termed ‘deposit insurance’- the insurance cover against the deposits of an individual in banks.
  • The insurance cover is provided by the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation(DICGC).
  • DICGC had last revised the deposit insurance cover to ₹ 1 lakh in 1993, raising it from ₹ 30,000 since 1980.But the protection cover of deposits in Indian banks through insurance is still among the lowest in the world.

About DICGC:

  • Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) is a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India(RBI).
  • It was established in 1978 as a statutory body under Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act,1961.
  • The act provides for the establishment of a Corporation for the purpose of insurance of deposits and guaranteeing of credit facilities and for other matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • The Deputy Governor of RBI acts as its Chairman of DICGC.It is headquartered in Mumbai.

Which banks are insured by DICGC:

  • DICGC provides insurance covers for all commercial banks, local area banks, regional rural banks and co-operative banks and branches of foreign banks in India.
  • However,the Primary cooperative societies, Non-banking financial companies(NBFCs) and mutual funds are not insured by the DICGC.

Types of Deposits Covered:DICGC insures all bank deposits such as savings, fixed, current, recurring, etc except the following types of deposits.

  • Deposits of foreign Governments;
  • Deposits of Central/State Governments;
  • Inter-bank deposits
  • Deposits of the State Land Development Banks with the State co-operative banks;
  • Any amount due on account of and deposit received outside India
  • Any amount which has been specifically exempted by the corporation with the previous approval of the RBI.

India ranks 59 on IMD World Talent Ranking Report

News:The IMD World Talent Ranking- 2019 has been released.

Facts:

About IMD World Talent Ranking:

  • The World Talent Ranking is released by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) based in Switzerland.
  • The ranking is based on the performance in three main categories namely investment and development, appeal and readiness.
  • The three categories assess how countries perform in a wide range of areas.These include education, apprenticeships, workplace training, language skills, cost of living, quality of life, remuneration and tax rates.

Key takeaways from the ranking:

  • Switzerland retained its title as the world’s top talent hub and topped the ranking followed by Denmark and Sweden.
  • The countries at the top of the rankings share strong levels of investment in education and a high quality of life.
  • India has slipped 6 places from 53rd in 2018 to 59th rank this year on a global annual list of 63 countries.
  • India also lagged behind BRICS countries with China ranked 42nd on the list, Russia (47th) and South Africa(50th).However,Brazil was ranked at 61st place behind India.
  • India witnessed one of the sharpest declines among the Asian economies due to (a)low quality of life (b)negative impact of brain drain, and (c)low priority of its economy on attracting and retaining talents.

Inauguration of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme(KPCS) 2019

News:The Plenary meeting of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is being hosted by India in New Delhi.

Facts:

About the Plenary meeting:

  • The meeting will be hosted by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • The Plenary meeting is held annually to discuss the latest developments in the implementation of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme ,wider diamond governance and the ongoing reform agenda of the Kimberley Process.
  • During the meeting three special forums are to be held which includes (a)adapting to changes in the diamond industry (b)financial inclusion and women empowerment in the diamond industry and (c)origin and identification of diamonds.

About Kimberley Process:

  • The Kimberley Process is an international certification scheme that regulates trade in rough diamonds.
  • It aims to prevent the flow of conflict diamonds while helping to protect legitimate trade in rough diamonds.
  • The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme(KPCS) outlines the rules that govern the trade in rough diamonds.India is one of the founding members of the KPCS.
  • The 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 observers.

Significance of KPCS:

  • Currently,India is exporting 24 billion USD. In the coming years it is expected that the target will reach 1 trillion USD.
  • There are more than 1 million people employed in the diamond industry in India.

Additional information:

About Conflict Diamonds:

  • Conflict diamonds, also known as blood diamonds are rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance armed conflicts aimed at undermining legitimate governments.

Explained: Why Morgan Stanley sees India’s growth recovering next year

News:Morgan Stanley has released the Global Macro Outlook report.

Facts:

What does the report say?

  • The report has stated that the global economy is likely to recover starting with the first quarter of 2020.
  • The trade tensions and monetary policy are easing concurrently for the first time in seven quarters, lifting global growth.
  • However,they have said that the main thrust of the recovery will come from the emerging markets instead of the US.

Report on India’s growth:

  • The report has said that India’s growth rate has been falling since 2017-18.This trend of deceleration has intensified in the recent past as reflected in the GDP growth rates.
  • However,the report expects India’s GDP to grow at 6.5% in the financial year 2020-21 and 6.9% in the financial year 2021-22 as against just 5% in the current financial year (2019-20).

Why India’s growth will recover?

The report has projected India’s growth will recover based on various reasons which are:

  • The monetary easing steps taken by the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) will start to take effect as the monetary transmission picks up and borrowers get loans at cheaper rate.
  • The sharp cut in corporate tax rates will allow the private firms to increase their capital expenditure over the next 12-18 months.

What more India needs to do?

  • Government should streamline personal taxes in line with the corporate tax cuts in the coming Union Budget to be announced in February 2020.
  • Streamlining spending on infrastructure investment.The report believes that if the government spends on infrastructure projects such as roads,it would be a positive trigger to the private firms who will join as being in business would be more viable.
  • The report also expects that the government and other regulatory authorities to take steps to improve the flow of resources to the commercial sector.
  • Further,the report has said it is also crucial that the Indian government improves its public finances through large-scale strategic divestment.

Explained: What ‘leaked’ documents say about China’s Uighur detention camps

News:According to leaked Chinese government documents,there was a clampdown on Uighurs and other Muslims in the country’s western Xinjiang region.

Facts:

Who are the Uighurs?

  • The Uighurs are mostly Muslims and number about 11 million in western China’s Xinjiang region.
  • They see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations, and their language is similar to Turkish.
  • But in recent decades,there has been a mass migration of Han Chinese (China’s ethnic majority) to Xinjiang and the Uighurs feel their culture and livelihoods are under threat.

Where is Xinjiang?

  • Xinjiang is located in the far west of China and is the country’s biggest region.It is bordered by several countries including India, Afghanistan and Mongolia.
  • Like Tibet, it’s an autonomous region, meaning it has a degree of self-governance away from Beijing.But in practice,both face major restrictions by the Central government.
  • Xinjiang has long had a rebellious and autonomous streak with the indigenous ethnic Uighurs clashing with the authorities.

What’s happening to people in Xinjiang?

  • According to the United Nations experts and activists,at least 1 million Uighurs and members of other largely Muslim minority groups have been detained in camps in Xinjiang in a crackdown.
  • However,the China denies the allegations that there are internment camps.It says people in Xinjiang are receiving vocational training.

Network for intel agencies to share info will go live next year

News:Minister of State for Home Affairs has informed the Lok Sabha that National Intelligence Grid(NATGRID) project will be operational by December 31,2020.

Facts:

About National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID):

  • NATGRID project was initially started in 2009.It is an online database for collating scattered pieces of information and putting them together on one platform.
  • The project is a counter terrorism measure that will enable multiple security and intelligence agencies to access a database related to immigration entry and exit, banking and telephone details among others from a common platform.
  • The combined data from NATGRID will be made available to 10 Central Intelligence Agencies on a secured platform.

Importance of NATGRID:

  • The necessity for the NATGRID came after Mumbai terror attack in 2009 that exposed the deficiency that security agencies have no mechanism to look for vital information in real-time.
  • Hence,NATGRID will tackle the problem of coordination mechanism regarding data transfer from one agency to another agency.

Criticism of NATGRID:

  • NATGRID faces opposition on charges of possible violations of privacy and leakage of confidential personal information.
  • It’s efficacy in preventing terror has also been questioned given that no state agency or police force has access to its database thus reducing chances of immediate, effective action.

NIA to host counter-terrorism exercise for Quad countries

News:The National Investigation Agency is hosting the first counter-terrorism exercise for the Quad countries named ‘CT-TTX’(counter-terrorism table-top exercise) in New Delhi.

Facts:

About the exercise:

  • The exercise is aimed at enabling the Quad countries to understand much better the response systems to terror incidents that exist in other member countries.
  • The exercise is also aimed to improve the inter-agency cooperation between different counter-terrorism mechanisms and other agencies of Quad countries.

Additional information:

About the Quad group:

  • Quadrilateral Security Dialogue(QSD) is the strategic dialogue between four countries viz. India, United States, Japan and Australia.
  • It was originally initiated in 2007 but later disbanded with withdrawal of Australia.It has later revived in 2017.
  • The Quad is viewed as a group of four democracies with a shared objective to ensure and support a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
  • The foundation of Quad is also based on collective effort and shared commitment on counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, maritime security cooperation, development finance and cybersecurity.

About NIA:

  • National Investigation Agency(NIA) is a statutory body under the National Investigation Agency(NIA) Act, 2008. It came into existence with the enactment of the Act after the Mumbai terror attacks.
  • National Investigation Agency(NIA) is a central agency established by the Indian Government to combat terror in India.It acts as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency.
  • The agency is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states.

Skills study: Over next 5 years, just 1 in 5 entrants to labour force a woman

News:According to a study conducted by the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC),just one out of five persons in the 15-30 years age bracket entering the labour force is expected to be a female in the five years ending 2023.

Facts:

About the study:

  • The NSDC has projected trends in the country’s labour market potential during 2019-23 based on (a)Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) for 2017-18 (b)Crude Death Rates(CDR) at gender and region (rural/urban) level and (c)Employment-Unemployment Survey(EUS),2011-12 (68th round).

Key takeaways from the study:

  • The study has said that around 7 crore additional individuals in the working-age(15-59 years) are expected to enter the labour force by 2023 of which 84.3% or 5.9 crore will be in the age group 15-30 years.
  • However,only one out of five persons(15-30 years age) entering the labour force is expected to be a female by 2023.
  • The study has shown that female labour force participation rate has declined.Further,compared with other Asian peers,India is far behind in the participation of women.
  • The study has also said that female candidates in the age group of 15-19 years may not be actively in the labour force instead choosing to opt for higher education.
  • The study has also found that 52% of the male entrants and 42.6% of the female entrants in the 15-30 age bracket are projected to be in the age group of 15-20 years.

Study on state-wise data:

  • Only six states namely Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are expected to account for 50% (about 3 crore) of the new youth entrants (15-30 years) during 2019-23.
  • Nearly 30% of the youth entrants (15-30 years) are expected to be from three states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh in each of the years during 2019-23.
  • Among female youth(15-30 years),the highest numbers of new entrants (28.5 lakh) are expected in the years 2021 and 2023 each while among male youth,the highest number of new entrants (1 crore) is expected in 2023.

Additional information:

About NSDC:

  • National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is a not-for-profit public limited company incorporated in 2008 under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956
  • The Government of India through Ministry of Skills Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) holds 49% of the share capital of NSDC while the private sector has the balance 51% of the share capital.
  • The overall objective of NSDC is to create training capacity in the country, fund vocational training initiatives and create a market ecosystem for skill development.

About Crude Death rates:

  • The Crude Death Rate(CDR) indicates the number of deaths occurring during the year per 1,000 population estimated at mid-year.

About Periodic labour force survey:

  • The Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) is an initiative aimed at generating estimates of various labour force indicators.
  • The National Sample Survey Office(NSSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation conducts the survey.
  • The survey seeks to generate quarterly reports on Labour Force Indicators such as Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR),Worker Population Ratio (WPR) and Unemployment Rate (UR) in urban areas and an annual report for rural India.
  • The periodic labour force survey had replaced the Annual Employment Unemployment Survey in 2017 on the recommendations of the Task Force on Employment chaired by Dr. Arvind Panagariya,then Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog.

Indian Steel Association to organise  ISA – Steel Conclave 2019

News:The Indian Steel Association supported by the Ministry of Steel, is organising the second Edition of ISA – Steel Conclave in New Delhi.

Facts:

About the conclave:

  • The conclave is a premier platform for the entire Steel Ecosystem and the related sectors to gain valuable insights in the Stell industry.
  • The conclave would cover pertinent issues and deliberations on Indian and Global Perspectives of the Steel Industry.
  • A report on the Status of Indian Steel Industry will also be released during the conclave.

Additional information:

Steel Industry Overview

  • India is the world’s 2nd largest producer of crude steel(106 MT) in calendar year 2018.
  • It is the largest producer of Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) or Sponge Iron(30.36MT) in the world.
  • India is the 3rd largest consumer of finished steel in 2018 [96MT] in the world.
  • The steel sector contributes around 2% of the country’s GDP and employs around 25 lakhs persons in steel/allied sectors.
  • India is the 4th largest Iron ore producer in the world.
  • India is the second largest coal producer and importer after China.
  • The National Steel Policy – 2017 envisages creation of 300 MT of steel capacity in the country by 2030-31, as against existing capacity of 138 MT.

Pakistan successfully test-fires nuclear-capable missile

News:Pakistan has conducted the test launch of Shaheen-1 surface-to-surface ballistic missile.

Facts:

About Shaheen-1:

  • Shaheen-1 is a is a land based supersonic short-range ballistic missile (SRBM).
  • It has been jointly designed and developed by joint venture of Pakistan’s National Engineering and Scientific Commission(NESCOM) and National Defence Complex(NDC).
  • The missile is capable of delivering all types of warheads (conventional as well as nuclear).
  • It has a strike range of 650 KMs bringing a number of Indian cities under its range.It is propelled by a two-stage solid-fuel rocket motor.

Additional information:

About Ballistic missile:

  • Ballistic missile follows a ballistic trajectory to deliver one or more warheads to a predetermined target.
  • These weapons are guided during relatively brief periods of flight and most of their trajectory is unpowered, being governed by gravity and air resistance if in the atmosphere.

SC gives govt time to reconsider move on permanent commission to women in Army

News:The Supreme Court has said that a centre should consider granting permanent commission to women officers in the armed forces under the Short Service Commission(SSC) before March 2019.

Facts:

What is Permanent commission?

  • A Permanent Commission means a career in the armed forces till you retire. Permanent Commission Officers continue to serve till the age of superannuation.
  • For a Permanent commission in the army you have to join the National Defence Academy or the Indian Military Academy.

What is the Supreme Court’s order?

  • The Army had announced permanent commission to women officers who join the forces under Short Service Commission(SSC) after March,2019.
  • The Supreme Court has now asked the Centre to retook at granting permanent commission to women officers with retrospective effect and expand the ambit of the benefit to those serving under SSC before March 2019.

Additional Information:

About SSC:

  • Short Service Commission(SSC) gives the option of joining the Indian Army and serving it as a Commissioned Officer for 5 years.
  • Once the tenure is over,the officers are allowed to opt for a Permanent Commission.

Electoral bonds: Law Ministry, CEC objected to 1% vote share requirement

News:According to an RTI reply,Law Ministry had objected to the stipulation that political parties must have a 1% vote share in the Lok Sabha or State Assembly elections in order to be eligible for the Electoral bonds scheme.

Facts:

What were the objections regarding Electoral Bonds?

Law ministry:

  • Law ministry had objected to the proposal that political parties must have a 1% vote share in the Lok Sabha or State Assembly elections in order to be eligible for the Electoral Bonds scheme.
  • They have recommended the imposition of a 6% vote share requirement (similar to the requirement for recognised State and national parties) or the removal of the vote share requirement entirely.
  • Further,according to the Election Commission of India,there are eight recognised national political parties,52 recognised State parties and around 2,487 unrecognised parties registered with the commission.
  • A 6% vote share is one condition for recognised parties.However,it is not clear how many of the unrecognised parties have a 1% vote share.

Reserve Bank of India:

  • The RBI Governor had also voiced concerns about the government’s move to allow bodies other than the RBI to issue the electoral bonds.He had also said that the bonds be issued only in digital form.
  • However,the government rejected the RBI’s suggestion that the bonds be only digital,saying that this would erode a major purpose of the bonds which is to provide anonymity to the donor.

Additional information:

About Electoral Bond Scheme:

  • Electoral bonds allows donors to pay political parties using banks as an intermediary.
  • The bond would be a bearer instrument in the nature of a Promissory Note and an interest free banking instrument.It can be bought for any value in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh or Rs 1 crore.

Eligibility:

  • As per provisions of the Scheme, electoral bonds may be purchased by a citizen of India or entities incorporated or established in India.
  • A person being an individual can buy electoral bonds either singly or jointly with other individuals.
  • Only the registered political parties which have secured not less than 1% of the votes polled in the last Lok Sabha elections or the State Legislative Assembly are eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds.

Issuance of bonds:

  • The bonds are issued by Scheduled Commercial banks authorized by the Central Government to intending donors but only against cheque and digital payments (it cannot be purchased by paying cash).
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