News: June 25, 2020

Sub: Economics
Topic: Banking, Finance and Tax System Finance and Banking - India
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 1/11

Reserve Bank of India (RBI)

Established under Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, RBI controls monetary and other banking policies of the government.

RBI has four subsidiaries, earlier National Housing Bank(NHB) was also a subsidiary of RBI

  1. Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation of India(DICGC)
  2. Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited(BRBNMPL)
  3. Reserve Bank Information Technology Private Limited (ReBIT)
  4. Indian Financial Technology and Allied Services (IFTAS)

Initiatives in focus

Payments Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF)

  • To encourage acquirers to deploy Points of Sale (PoS) infrastructure - both physical and digital modes - in tier-3 to tier-6 centres and north eastern states.
  • RBI will make an initial contribution of ₹250 crore to the PIDF, covering half of the fund, while the remaining contribution will be from card-issuing banks and card networks operating in the country
  • PIDF will be governed through an Advisory Council and managed and administered by RBI.
  • RBI will also contribute to yearly shortfalls, if necessary.

RBI loan moratorium scheme

  • As per the RBI circular, banks and other financial institutions are permitted to provide a moratorium of three months for all term loan installments which are due for payment between 1 March and 31 May.
    • It has been extended till August
    • Banks can restructure loans from large corporates, MSMEs, and individuals to help stem the rising stress on incomes and balance sheets. Individual borrower's loan can be extended by 2 years by year end.
  • Term loans will include all kinds of retail loans such as vehicle loan, home loan, and personal loan, agricultural term loans as well as crop loans. It will also include credit card dues
  • The RBI has asked all banks, financial institutions including housing finance companies, non-banking finance companies, small finance banks, regional rural banks, small finance banks, local area banks to provide moratorium.
  • Interest will continue to be charged during the moratorium

Others

  • All urban and multi-State cooperative banks to come under the direct supervision of the RBI
    • Currently cooperative banks are regulated by their respective states under Registrar of Cooperative Societies
  • RBI has asked all banks / NBFCs to disclose names of all digital lending platforms on their websites. Also immediately, after sanction but before execution of the loan agreement, the sanction letter shall be issued to the borrower on the letter head of the bank/ NBFC concerned

Terminology

  • MFIs - MFI are small lending institutions that give tiny loans to low-income borrowers typically at an interest rate of 22-25 percent. They mainly source money from banks.
  • Moratorium  - A moratorium period is a time during the loan term when the borrower is not required to make any repayment.

Tools

RBI uses many tools to regulate credit and monetary policy in country.

  • Repo Rate -The rate of interest at which RBI lends money to banks, RBI buys government bonds and agrees to sell them back to banks at a fixed rate.
    • Repo Linked Lending Rate (RLLR) = Repo Rate + Margin charged by the bank.
    • Repo Rate is used for controlling inflation, and Reverse Repo Rate is used for controlling money supply. 
  • Reverse Repo Rate: The interest rate at which RBI borrows funds from banks for the short term, often for one day. Reverse Repo Rate is always lower than Repo Rate. An increase in Reverse Repo Rate provides incentive to banks to park their surplus funds in RBI and buy government bonds in return. thus decrease liquidity in market.
  • Open Market Operations (OMO): Open Market Operations is the sale and purchase of government securities and treasury bills by RBI to regulate money supply in economy
  • Long Term Repo Operations (LTRO): Under LTRO, RBI provides longer term (one to three year) loans to banks at the prevailing Repo Rate. As banks get long-term funds at lower rates, their cost of funds falls. In turn, they reduce interest rates for borrowers.
    • Targeted LTRO / TLRTO: Under Targeted LRTO funds are to be deployed in investment grade bonds, commercial paper (CPs) and non-convertible debentures (NCDs) of Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs)
  • Operation Twist
    • Operation twist involves the simultaneous purchase and sale of government securities to bring down long-term interest rates, and push up short-term rates. Business investment and housing demand are primarily determined by longer-term interest rates, so this is done to reduce long term interest rates,
    • RBI will sell short term bonds and use the funds to buy long term bonds. This raises their demand and hence prices., and this inflated price reduces the yield (interest) of the borrower, thus lowering the interest on long term bonds.
      • Bond yields and prices are inversely correlated.

Fund lending

  • Base Rate
    • Base Rate is the minimum interest rate of a bank below which it cannot lend, except in some cases allowed by the RBI.
    • It varied from bank to bank.
    • Base rate calculation is based on cost of funds, margin or profit, operating expenses and cost of maintaining cash reserve ratio
  • MCLR (Marginal Cost of funds based Lending Rate) - From financial year 2016-17 banks in country shifted from base rate to MCLR to compute their lending rate, as banks were reluctant to change their base rates to reflect Repo Rate.
    • MCLR refers to the minimum interest rate of a bank below which it cannot lend
    • MCLR is a tenor linked internal benchmark. The actual lending rates are determined by adding the components of spread to the MCLR. Banks will review and publish their MCLR of different maturities, every month, on a pre-announced date. 
      • Tenor means the amount of time left for the repayment of a loan
    • MCLR is based on marginal cost of funds, tenor premium, operating expenses and cost of maintaining cash reserve ratio.
      • Marginal cost of funds = (92% x Marginal cost of borrowings) + (8% x Return on net worth) 
      • Marginal cost of borrowing refers to - average rates at which deposits of a similar maturity were raised in the specified period preceding the date of review, weighed by their outstanding balance in the bank’s books. It is based on  interest rate which banks pay to depositors.
    •  MCLR is largely determined by marginal cost of funds and especially by deposit rates and Repo Rates
    • Banks were still lethargic to lower their rates, and usually offered home loans linked to six month or one-year MCLR, So RBI, in October 2019 announced that all new floating rate personal or retail loans (housing, auto etc.) shall be linked to an external benchmark. 
  • External benchmark rate (EBR): Lending rate based on an external benchmark.
    • Banks are free to choose from any of the external benchmark mentioned below:
      • RBI's Repo Rate
      • Government of India 3-Months Treasury Bill yield published by the Financial Benchmark India Private Ltd (FBIL)
      • Government of India 6-Months Treasury Bill yield published by the FBIL
      • Any other benchmark market interest rate published by the FBIL
    • Interest rate applicable on home loans = external benchmark + bank's spread (margin) + risk premium

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • A supreme court bench asked RBI, whether the moratorium would eventually lead to payment of interest on interest deferred for six months. Solicitor-General said that moratorium is a deferment and not a waiver, and waiving the interest completely will not be easy for banks and MFIs as they have to pay interest to their depositors.
    • In wake of PMC scam, and to bring more transparency, all urban and multi-State cooperative banks under the direct supervision of the RBI. CPI(M) is opposing the move
    • RBI comes heavily on banks/NBFCs as it found violations of fair practices (high interest, low transparency) by digital platforms that were acting as agency of theses lenders.
  • July, 20
    • RBI says it deployed several tools to maintain abundant liquidity in market.
  • Aug, 20
    • RBI allows loan restructuring but has not extended the moratorium in its third review of the monetary policy since the COVID-19 pandemic

Sub: Science And Technology
Topic: Physics And Chemistry
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 2/11

COVID Control

Drugs

  • Dexamethasone
    • Is an anti-inflammatory drug, and has gained traction for its success against corona virus
    • UK's 'RECOVERY Trial' study showed success with low doses of Dexamethasone to target lung inflammation
    • As per Clinical Management Protocol, it can be used as an alternative to methylprednisolone for managing moderate to severe cases.
    • Dexamethasone is part of the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM)
  • Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)
    • Anti-malarial drug, which was seen as part of preventive treatment against COVID
      • WHO in June said HCQ shows very limited success in reducing mortality rate of COVID patients. Following this, India lifted all bans on its export.
    • Cleared by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for treatment of COVID-19 patients under emergency use
  • Methylprednisolone - anti-inflammatory drug used in COVID-19 treatment
  • Favipiravir
    • Sold under brand FabiFflu, is an anti-viral drug for COVID-19 patients from age group 18-75 with mild to moderate symptoms
    • Originally developed to treat influenza
  • Itolizumab 
    • From biocon, approved by ICMR for patients with moderate to severe acute respiratory distress
    • Normally used to cure skin ailment psoriasis
  • Remdesivir
    • Antiviral drug, cleared by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for treatment of COVID-19 patients under emergency use for patients in moderate stage requiring oxygen support
    • As part of the agreements, the drugmakers will receive technology transfer of the manufacturing process for Remdesivir, and get to set their own prices for the generic product they produce.
    • The licenses are royalty-free until the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the end of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern regarding COVID-19 or until an alternative is approved to treat or prevent COVID-19, whichever is earlier.
  • Tocilizumab
    • Antiviral drug, cleared by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for treatment of COVID-19 patients with moderate disease with progressively increasing oxygen requirements and in mechanically ventilated patients not improving despite use of steroids
    • Thwarts pro-inflammatory cytokines released by immune system
  • Covaxin
    • Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation(CDSCO) has permitted phase-I and II of human clinical trials of ‘Covaxin’, the country’s first vaccine candidate for COVID-19, developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR-National Institute of Virology
    • It is an inactivated vaccine, wherein a dead virus is injected into the body to generate an antibody response
  • Sputnik V
    • The vaccine is based on an adenoviral vector which normally causes respiratory viral infections. Vectors are vehicles, which can induce a genetic material from another virus into a cell.
    • The gene from adenovirus, which causes the infection is removed, while a gene with the code of a protein from another virus spike is inserted. This inserted element is safe for the body but still helps the immune system to react and produce antibodies, which protect us from the infection.
    • Sputnik V uses two vaccines using two different vectors, the second vaccination takes place in 21 days for long lasting immunity

Initiatives

  • Clinical Management Protocol for COVID-19
    • By Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
    • Symptoms - fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, sore throat and diarrhoea. They have also complained of loss of smell (anosmia) or loss of taste (ageusia)
    • Risk factors - For ages more than 60 years, and in those with underlying non-communicable disease like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac arrest, etc.
    • Treatment
      • Mild COVID-19 cases - may be given symptomatic treatment such as antipyretic (Paracetamol) for fever and pain.
      • Moderate COVID019 cases - patients will be isolated in Dedicated Covid Health Centre (DCHC) or District hospital or Medical College hospitals.
      • Severe - Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) may be considered for any of those having high risk features for severe disease
  • Policy Responses to COVID19: Policy tracker by International Monetary Fund, summarizes the key economic responses, governments are taking to limit the human and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Index (CESI)
    • By Columbia University and World Bank, the index standardises the economic responses taken by governments, thus allowing use to study cross-country differences in policies
    • The two main components of index are: fiscal stimulus package (as a percentage of GDP) and the interest rate cut by the monetary policy authority 

Terminology

  • Pre-symptomatic spread - Pre-symptomatic spread is the transmission of the virus by people who don't look or feel sick, but will eventually get symptoms later. 
  • Asymptomatic spread  - Asymptomatic spread is the transmission of the virus by people who do not have symptoms and will never get symptoms from their infection.
  • Spike protein / S protein - A protein that protrudes from the surface of SARS-CoV-2 virus that attaches it to human enzyme ACE2 receptor, after which the virus enters the cell and makes multiple copies of itself.

Tests

  • Enzyme-Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay antibody test (ELISA)
    • developed by National Institute of Virology in Pune along with Zydus Cadila. 
    • The blood sample is placed inside the small wells of an ELISA plate. These plates are coated with the antigen or the inactivated form of the virus. If the blood contains antibodies, it binds to the antigen and a substrate solution is added to the well. The reaction usually produces a colour change, thus detecting antibodies.
    • In India, the ELISA test for Covid-19 is only approved for serosurveys - which estimate the proportion of the population exposed to infection, and for surveys in high-risk areas and segments like containment zones
  • Rapid Antigen Detection Test (RADT)
    • Approved by ICMR. RADT checks for antigen production from a nasal swab.
      • An antigen means any toxin in the body which produces an immune response.
    • It takes about 30 minutes to give result. However rapid test has been found to have a higher chance of false negatives.
  • Real Time Reverse Transcription–Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR)
    • Real time RT–PCR is one of the most precise (and expensive) laboratory methods for detecting the COVID-19 virus.
    • Cleared by ICMR, it takes about 1 day to get result
    • Once the swab is taken, RT–PCR checks for virus's RNA
    • RT–PCR cannot be used for detecting past infections, only for active infections.
  • TrueNat
    • Commonly used for tuberculosis and HIV 
    • Cleared by ICMR, it works on same principle of RT-PCR. It involves taking nasal or oral swabs
    • The TrueNat machine is small and portable, mostly running on batteries, and provides result within 60 minutes.

A positive result from ELISA or rapid antibody test may not mean the person needs isolation or is infectious; it may simply mean the person was exposed to the virus and has developed antibodies. These two tests, being cheaper than RT-PCR, are employed in large-scale population surveys

Treatment

  • Convalescent plasma therapy
    • Convalescent plasma therapy is a passive immunisation process. It is simply the transfusion of plasma containing antibodies from immune survivors of infectious diseases to the affected individuals
    • As per protocol by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare , Convalescent plasma therapy may be considered for patients with moderate illness with no improvement in condition despite the use of steroids.

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • SARS-COVID 2, COVID-19
    • Drug approvals
  • July, 20
    • Russian vaccine clears first phase clinical trial.
    • ICMR cautions itolizumab, tocilizumab over claims of significantly reducing mortality rates
    • A new research shows spike protein changing its shape to hairpin form after attaching to ACE2 receptors
  • Aug, 20
    • Russia registers first COVID-19 vaccine

 

News: 3/11

Global Legal Bodies And Initatives

International Criminal Court (ICC)

  • Headquartered in Hague, ICC was established in 2002 under the treaty of Rome Statute.
    • India has neither signed nor ratified Rome Statute
  • ICC prosecutes those who are responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity and is the court of last resort which intervenes only if a national authority could not prosecute the ones responsible for the crimes stated above.

Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

  • FATF Is an inter-governmental body that works to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
  • It was established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7. It meets 3 times a year. FATF is different from OECD, however FATF Secretariat is housed administratively at OECD 
  • FATF Black List / OECD blacklist - is a list of countries that the FATF considers non-cooperative in the global effort to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The list is released as part of FATF's annual report. Currently North Korea and Iran are on list
  • FATF Grey List - Countries on the FATF grey list represent a much higher risk of money laundering and terrorism financing but have formally committed to working with the FATF

Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG)

  • EAG is is a regional body and an associate member of the FATF since 2010
  • EAG  is a FATF-style regional body (FSRB) for countries of the Eurasian region that have not been part of existing FSRBs, to play an important role in combating the threat of terrorism and increasing the transparency and security of financial systems of the region. The EAG objective is to incorporate these countries into the global system on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT).
  • The EAG comprises of nine countries: India, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Belarus.

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • USA sanctions on ICC
    • Pakistan to stay in FATF Grey List

Sub: Society
Topic: Human Development Health
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 4/11

Health Bodies

India

Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation(CDSCO) 

  • CDSCO is the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) of India, governed by Drugs & Cosmetics Act,1940
  • CDSCO is headed by Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) , and functions under Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
  • Under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, CDSCO is responsible for approval of Drugs, Conduct of Clinical Trials, laying down the standards for Drugs, control over the quality of imported Drugs in the country and coordination of the activities of State Drug Control Organizations
    • Drug approval is done in consultation with CDSCO's Subject Expert Committee (SEC). SEC consists of 8 experts approved by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
    • Medical deviced regulation is done DCGI; and registration and import is done by CDSCO's Medical Device & Diagnostics Division
    • Clinical trials
      • The first phase, usually conducted on a small group of individuals, tries to find what dosage of the vaccine is safe for use, whether it is effective in building their immunity to the virus and whether there are any side effects.
      • The second phase is conducted on a larger group comprising hundreds of persons fitting the description of those for whom the vaccine is intended using characteristics like age and sex. 
      • The third phase is conducted on thousands of patients.
      • After approval, the firm has to monitor the use of vaccine
  • To regulate imported drugs as authority, the CDSCO works with the Drugs Technical Advisory Board and the Drugs Consultative Committee, while the Central Drugs Laboratory undertakes testing of such drugs.
  • CDSCO along with state regulators is jointly responsible for grant of licenses of certain specialized categories of critical Drugs such as blood and blood products, I. V. Fluids, Vaccine and Sera.
  • CDSCO also regulates notified medical devices as per Medical Devices (Amendment) Rules, 2020. 

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

  • ICMR is the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research
  • ICMR is funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
  • ICMR institutes in focus
    • National Institute of Medical Statistics (NIMS), New Delhi
      • NIMS provides technical expertise on research methodology, programme evaluation, mathematical modelling, data analysis, etc
      • India’s only institute to coordinate and standardize the collection of medical and health statistics in the country
      • Clinical Trials Registry (CTRI) - a free and online public record system for registration of clinical trials being conducted in India

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) 

  • NPPA was constituted by a resolution in 1997 as an attached office of the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers
  • Has the power to regulate its own procedures for performing functions entrusted to it.
  • NPPA acts as an independent Regulator for pricing of drugs (under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order) and ensures availability and accessibility of medicines at affordable prices.
  • Collect and maintain data on production, exports and imports, market share of individual companies, profitability of companies etc. for bulk drugs and formulations

World

World Health Organization (WHO)

  • WHO is is a specialized agency of the United Nations, established in 1948, with headquarters in Geneva
  • World Health Assembly (WHA) is the decision-making body of WHO.
  • WHA is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the 34 member Executive Board. India was elected to chair this board in 2020
  • In Focus
    • WHO acknowledges of emerging evidence of airborne spread of novel corona virus. Currently WHO's guidance on COVID-19 spread is limited to droplet transmission
      • Droplet transmission: It occurs when a person is within 1 metre of the infector, who coughs or sneezes. Such droplets are 5µm-10µm and so fall under gravity
      • Airborne transmission: It refers to transmission through aerosols (small droplets <5µm) which can linger in air for longer periods and so transmit over distances greater than 1 metre.
    • US officially notified WHO of its intention to withdraw membership. It previously halted WHO's funding

[In news]

  • June, 20
    • CDSCO - Drug approvals
    • Glenmark's Favipiravir trial data by CTRI
    • Illegal disinfectant seize
  • July, 20
    • NAPA requested to ensure availability of critical medical equipment
    • WHO on Tuesday said there is evidence emerging of the airborne spread of the coronavirus, after over 230 scientists across the world urged the global body to update its guidance.

Sub: International Relations
Topic: Internal Security Prevention and Security
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 5/11

Central Police Organization

Central Police Organization refers to police forces under the aegis of Ministry of Home Affairs - Intelligence Bureau (IB); Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI); Bureau of Police Research & Development. (BPRD); National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB); National Investigation Agency (NIA); Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad; North Eastern Police Academy, Shillong; National Institute of Criminology & Forensic Science. (NICFS); and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

  • CBI is the premier investigating police agency in India
  • It functions under Department of Personnel, Ministry of Personnel, Pension & Public Grievances,
  • CBI is not a statutory body, and derives its powers from DSPE Act, 1946
  • History
    • CBI was formed through a Home Ministry resolution dated 1963,
    • Its history can be traced back to 1941 in Special Police Establishment (SPE).
    • Later Delhi Special Police Establishment Act,1946 (DSPE) transferred SPE to Home Department, and finally it acquired its name of CBI in 1963, based on Santhanam Committee recommendations.
  • Composition
    • Based on Lokayukta Act, 2013, CBI is to be headed by a director, based on recommendation from a three member committee of Prime Minister, Leader of opposition (or largest party), and CJI or supreme court judge.
    • Central Government shall appoint officers of the rank of SP and above in the CBI, on the recommendation of a committee consisting of the Central Vigilance Commissioner as Chairperson, the Vigilance Commissioners, the Secretary of the Home Ministry and the Secretary of the Department of Personnel.
    • CBI director's tenure can not be less than 2 years.
  • Investigation
    • CBI is required to obtain the prior approval of the Central Government before conducting any inquiry or investigation into an offence committed by officers of the rank of joint secretary and above in the Central Government and its authorities
    • CBI acts as the 'National Central Bureau' of Interpol in India, since 1966. All matters relating to the NCB are, however, dealt by the Ministry of Home Affairs,
    • Special Police Establishment (SPE) - A division of CBI, enjoys concurrent power of investigation under DSPE, 1946 along with state police forces. SPE takes cases which substantially concern Central or State Government affairs. SPE can also take up cases against employees of public undertakings or statutory bodies established and financed by the Central Government.

National Investigation Agency (NIA)

National Investigation Agency (NIA) was formed in the aftermath of Mumbai terror attacks

  • National Investigation Agency Act, 2008
    • NIA Act provides for setting up an agency at the central level with powers to probe terrorism and other crimes having national ramifications.
    • NIA is headed by a Director-General, appointed by central government, who has the same power as Director General of Police
    • The Act does not curtail powers of State Government to investigate and prosecute.
    • The Act makes the National Investigation Agency the only truly federal agency in the country, more powerful than the CBI
  • National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019
    • NIA can also investigate offences related to human trafficking, counterfeit currency, cyber-terrorism, offences under Explosive Substances Act, 1908 and manufacture or sales of the prohibited arms
    • Central and State governments can, on consulting High Court, designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.
  • Investigation
    • An investigation can be initiated based on report filed by State government to Central government, on any scheduled offence (as defined in Clause 2).
      • The NIA can only investigate cases which are listed in the Act’s schedule, which largely deal with the security and integrity of the country.
    • Central Government can transfer back case from NIA to state government.
    • Central Government can also suo-moto direct the agency to investigate, if it is of opinion a scheduled offence has been committed.
      • [In news] State Government oppose this
    • Central Government can constitute Special Courts to take cognizance of any scheduled offence with highest priority on day-to-day basis
    • Till NIA takes up the case, it shall be the duty of officer-in-charge of police station to continue investigation

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)

  • NCRB was set up in 1986 to function as a repository of information on crime and criminals to assist the investigators in linking crime to the perpetrators
  • It was set up based on the recommendation of the Task force and National Police Commission by merging the Directorate of Coordination and Police Computer (DCPC), Statistical Branch of BPR&D, Inter State Criminals Data Branch of CBI and Central Finger Print Bureau of CBI.
  • Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) - CCTNS was created in 2009 by Ministry of Home Affairs, and approved by Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), with following objectives:
    • Creating State and Central level databases on crime and criminals. All State police are mandated to file FIRs in the CCTNS
    • Enable easy sharing of real-time information/ intelligence across police stations, districts and States.
    • Improved investigation and crime prevention.
    • Improved service delivery to the public/ stakeholders through Citizen Portals.

[In News]

  • July, 20
    • U.S. authorities have informed India about the provisional arrest of Tahawwur Rana, one of the key players in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, as he is "proposed to be extradited" in a case registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA)
    • Gruesome violence by State in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu
    • Kerala gold smuggling case
    • National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to access the centralised online database on FIRs and stolen vehicles.
  • Aug, 20
    • Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on Wednesday issued a notification allowing the transfer of Sushant Singh Rajput death case to the CBI

Sub: Science And Technology
Topic: Space
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 6/11

Private Entities In Space

SpaceX

  • Dragon 
    • First mission in 2010
    • SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft took two NASA astronauts in June, 20, and successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) 
    • The Dragon spacecraft is equipped with 16 Draco thrusters used to orient the spacecraft during the mission, including apogee/perigee maneuvers, orbit adjustment and attitude control. 

Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe)

The Central government has decided to open up Indian space sector by setting up Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) which will provide a level playing field for private companies to use Indian space infrastructure. 

  • IN-SPACe will act as a national nodal agency to promote private endeavours in space sector and for this ISRO will share its technical expertise as well as facilities.
  • It is an autonomous nodal agency which is being established under Department of Space as a separate vertical for permitting and regulating the activities of private industry in space sector.
  • ISRO to focus on research and development (R&D) of new technologies, exploration missions and human spaceflight programme

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft took two NASA astronauts in June, 20
  • Aug, 20
    • SpaceX with NASA crew is back home

Sub: Science And Technology
Topic: Space
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 7/11

ISRO

ISRO is the space agency of India under Department of Space

NewSpace India Limited (NSIL)

  • Set up in 2019 under Companies Act, 2013 under the administrative control of Department of Space (DOS)
  • NSIL is the commercial arm of ISRO with the primary responsibility of enabling Indian industries to take up high technology space related activities, and for promotion of commercial exploitation of the products and services emanating from the Indian space programme.
  • Its main functions include:
    • Production of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) through industry
    • Building of Satellites (both Communication and Earth Observation) as per user requirements
    • To provide transponder capacity in C, Ku, Ka and S band on INSAT / GSAT fleet of satellite to Indian users for various SATCOM based broadcasting and telecom services like DTH, TV, DSNG, VSAT, etc. NSIL is also mandated to provide Remote Sensing Services and Mission Support Services to the global users. 
    • Transfer of technology developed by ISRO centres/ units and constituent institutions of Dept. of Space

[In News]

  • Creation of IN-SPACe

Sub: International Relations
Topic: International institutions, Agencies and Fora
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 8/11

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

UNESCO seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture.

Global Education Monitoring Report 

  • The report aims to monitor progress towards the education targets in SDG 4 (Sustainable Development Goal) "to ensure inclusive, equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all".
  • Report’s core recommendation is to widen understanding of inclusive education, to include all learners, no matter their identity, background or ability
  • COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed and deepened these inequalities and the fragility of our societies.
  • In India and the Republic of Korea, corporal punishment in schools is much higher than might be predicted.
  • In India, the share of teachers from scheduled castes, which constitute 16% of the country’s population, increased from 9% to 13% between 2005 and 2013.

Sub: International Relations
Topic: International institutions, Agencies and Fora
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 9/11

Bretton Woods Twins

In 1944, after second world war, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank were set up, together called Bretton Woods Twins

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

  • Set in 1945 with the main functions as exchange rate regulation, purchasing short-term foreign currency liabilities of the member nations, allotting special drawing rights (SDRs) to the member nations, and to act as the bailor to the member economies in the situation of any BoP crisis.
  • The Board of Governors of the IMF consists of one Governor and one Alternate Governor from each member country. For India, Finance Minister is the Ex-officio Governor, and RBI Governor is the Alternate Governor on the Board.

IMF publications

  • World Economic Outlook
    • India GDP to contract 4.5%, and world GDP to contract to 4.9%
  • Global Financial Stability Report
  • Fiscal Monitor Report
  • Global Policy Agenda

World Bank 

World Bank is a provider of financial and technical assistance to individual countries around the globe. Currently, the World Bank has two stated goals that it aims to achieve by 2030.

  • The first is to end extreme poverty by decreasing the number of people living on less than $1.90 a day to below 3% of the world population.
  • The second is to increase overall prosperity by increasing income growth in the bottom 40% of every country in the world. 

World Bank and India

  • Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program (STARS) project : $500 million to improve the quality and governance of school education in six Indian states - Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Rajasthan.
  • Prior to STARS, World Bank has provided assistance of more than 3 billion towards "Education for All"

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • STARS

Sub: Politics
Topic: Constitution
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 10/11

Cabinet Committees In Focus

Cabinet Committees 

  • They are not mentioned in the Constitution. However, the Rules of Business provide for their establishment.
  • They are set up by the Prime Minister according to requirements of situation. They are of two types - standing and ad hoc
  • They usually include only Cabinet Ministers. However, the non-cabinet Ministers are not debarred from their membership
  • In case the Prime Minister is a member of a committee, he invariably presides over it

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs

  • Headed by Prime Minister, CCEA directs and coordinates the governmental activities in the economic sphere.
  • Functions
    • Approves MSP pricing based on recommendations from Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP) 
    • Reviews progress of activities related to rural development including those concerning small and marginal farmers
    • Deal with industrial licensing cases involving proposals from the Ministries for the establishment of Joint Sector Undertakings
    • To consider issues relating to disinvestment
  • Recent Initiatives
    • CCEA approved the new definition of MSMEs increasing the investment limit to ₹50 crore and turnover to ₹250 crore for medium enterprises. Likewise, for micro enterprises, the investment limit will be ₹1 crore and turnover ₹5 crore; while for small enterprises, the investment limit will be ₹10 crore and the turnover ₹50 crore.

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • CCEA approves additional investment to ONGC for development of Shwe oil and gas project in Myanmar

Sub: Politics
Topic: Judiciary
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 11/11

Detention And Prevention

Acts

Arms Act, 1959

  • Is an Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to arms and ammunition
  • Arms Act (Amendment), 2019 - The amendment reduces number of licensed firearm to 1, bans firearm manufacturing without license, 10 years to life imprisonment for taking firearm from a police personal, upto 2 years imprisonment for using firearms in celebratory gunfire

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967

  • UAPA enables the government to impose ‘reasonable restrictions’ on the fundamental right to association (Article 19). The executive could declare any organization as unlawful and designate and criminalize what it deemed as ‘unlawful activities’, under Section 3.
  • The 2004 amendment defined terrorism act as a crime and granted powers to the central government to declare organizations as “terrorist” and impose a ban against them
  • Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019
    • Bill additionally empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists 
    • if the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the Director General of NIA would be required for seizing properties that may be connected with terrorism
      • Under the Act, an investigating officer is required to obtain the prior approval of the Director General of Police for seizing properties
    • The Bill empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.
      •  Under the Act, investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • Delhi riots
    • UAPA : Elgaar Parishad case / Bhima-Koregaon case, Sharjeel Imam case

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