Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 09 July 2019
India condemns UNHCR report on Kashmir
The UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) on Monday said
India and Pakistan had failed to improve the situation in Kashmir and not
taken any concrete steps to address the numerous concerns raised in its
The update made wide ranging recommendations to the governments
of India and Pakistan, and urged the Human Rights Council (HRC) to explore
possibilities of setting up an international commission of inquiry into the
allegations of human rights abuse in Kashmir.
India said the report had extended legitimacy to cross-border
terrorism emanating from Pakistan. “It is a matter of deep concern that this
update seems to accord a legitimacy to terrorism that is in complete variance
with UN Security Council positions,” said External Affairs Ministry spokesperson
Raveesh Kumar. He described the report as part of the continued “motivated
narrative” against Indian sovereignty and integrity.
Mr. Kumar said the update referred to terror outfits such as
Jaish-e-Mohammed as “armed groups”, and reminded that the UN Security Council
had blamed the group for the February 14, 2019 Pulwama terror attack that led to
a deterioration in India-Pakistan ties.
India also said the update had distorted its policy on the
Kashmir issue and failed to recognise that the Indian state ensured justice
through a strong judiciary and a national human rights mechanism.
Mr. Kumar pointed out that the new report reflected a
“prejudiced mindset” which chose to ignore the “comprehensive socio-economic
development efforts undertaken by the government in the face of terrorist
NGT asks states to update on steps taken to curb stubble
National Green Tribunal, NGT has asked states of Punjab,
Haryana and Uttar Pradesh as to how they intend to tackle the problem of
crop burning, a major contributor to air pollution in Delhi, this year.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice AK Goel asked the
three states to file progress reports indicating the strategies and proposed
action plan to tackle the problem.
The direction by the tribunal came following news reports on
deaths caused in the national capital due to air pollution, and crop burning
being one of the reasons for the poor air quality.
The bench said the issue for consideration before it was the
remedial action needed to tackle air pollution caused by crop burning.
It said that according to news reports, 25-30 per cent of the
air pollution in the national capital region was caused due to crop burning in
Punjab, Haryana, UP and Delhi.
The tribunal referred to the news reports while hearing a plea
by Ganga Lalwani seeking direction to provide machinery to poor and marginal
farmers to avoid crop residue burning.
SEBI gets more powers to act against information tampering
The Finance Bill, 2019 has given the Securities and Exchange
Board of India (SEBI) new powers to act against entities that tamper or
destroy electronic databases or fail to furnish information when sought by
the capital markets regulator, SEBI, who can now also impose penalties of up
to Rs. 1 crore on brokers for certain violations.
These new powers assume significance as the regulator is in the
midst of probing the leak of sensitive data through WhatsApp and also recently
passed fresh orders on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) co-location matter,
which had been challenged at the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT).
As per the Finance Bill, a new section 15HAA has been inserted
in the SEBI Act that says if a person tampers with information to obstruct or
influence an investigation, destroys regulatory data or tries to access data in
an unauthorised manner then the entity could be penalised up to Rs. 10 crore or
three times the unlawful gains, whichever is higher.
Incidentally, the WhatsApp leak case or even the NSE co-location
matter deal with the data being leaked through electronic means and unauthorised
access to exchange data, which forms the base in most regulatory probes.
The Centre has also explicitly allowed the regulator to impose a
fine of up to Rs. 1 crore on brokers if they fail to issue a contract note to
clients in the format as laid down by the exchanges. Earlier, only the lower
limit of Rs. 1 lakh was prescribed.
RBI finalises on road map strategy to improve regulation and
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) board, which met in New
Delhi, finalised a three- year roadmap to improve regulation and
supervision, among other functions of the central bank.
This medium term strategy — named Utkarsh2022 is in line with
the global central banks’ plan to strengthen the regulatory and supervisory
mechanism, sources aware of the board meeting told.
An internal committee was formed, which was anchored by outgoing
Deputy Governor Viral Acharya, to identify issues that needed to be addressed
over the next three years.
While around a dozen areas were identified by the committee,
some board members felt that areas could be filtered and lesser number of areas
can be identified for implementation in the next three years.
In a statement after the board meeting, the RBI said the board
finalised the three -year medium-term strategy document of the Reserve Bank,
‘which covered, inter-alia, its mission and vision statement.’
The board also approved the RBI’s budget for the July 2019—June
2020 period. Other matters discussed by the board included issues relating to
currency management and payment systems, the statement added.
IMF claims Pakistan facing severe economic challenges due to
International Monetary Fund has said, Pakistan is facing
significant economic challenges due to a weak and unbalanced growth adding
that it needs an ambitious and bold set of reforms.
Cash-strapped Pakistan had approached the Washington-based
International Monetary Fund (IMF) in August last year for a bailout package
after the Imran Khan government took over. Currently, it has a currency reserve
of less than 8 billion US Dollars, enough to cover only 1.7 months of imports.
The global lender last week formally approved the 6 billion US
Dollar loan to Pakistan, the 13th since the late 1980s.In an accompanying
report, the IMF said that Pakistan's economy is at a critical juncture.
Pakistan has so far received billions in financial aid packages
from friendly countries like China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE during the current
U.S slaps further duties on steel from China and Mexico
United States has announced fresh duties on some Mexican and
Chinese steel goods, saying those countries helped their manufacturers with
The decision comes two months after President Donald Trump
agreed to lift tariffs on steel and aluminium from Mexico and Canada after the
three nations agreed on a revised North American free trade pact.
The action was in response to a grievance lodged in February by
US steel producers. In its preliminary findings, US Commerce Department found
Mexican and Chinese exporters of fabricated structural steel benefitted from
subsidies ranging from 30 percent to 177 percent.
In a statement, Commerce Department said, US customs agents will
begin collecting import duties based on the subsidy rates, but the funds could
be returned if officials later reverse the finding.
Citing purported threats to US national security, Trump last
year announced global tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium
but in May agreed to lift them for Mexican and Canada.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
EPCA requests supreme court to intervene for the inadequate
public transport in Delhi region
To reduce air pollution in Delhi, the Environment Pollution
(Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) requested the Supreme Court to
intervene in the “grossly inadequate” public transport infrastructure of the
In a ‘special report’ submitted to the SC on July 1, the EPCA
urged it to intervene for the approval of Phase IV of Delhi Metro, which is
stuck between the Central and Delhi governments. It also requested the SC to ask
the government to speed up the process to purchase more buses.
“Cities like Beijing have 107 buses per lakh people while Delhi
has 17 buses per lakh people,” the report stated. The proposal for phase IV of
Delhi Metro was submitted in 2014 and work was to begin by 2016 and “further
delay will cost the city enormously”, the report said.
The EPCA said there are four issues between the governments —
taxes, sharing of land cost, bearing operational cost and repayment of JICA
Two of these are “notional”, the report stated, adding that the
Centre says operational cost should be borne by the Delhi government while the
latter demands a 50:50 share. The DMRC stated that the costs involved in the
project costs would increase with delay.
Delhi Dialogue and Development Commission vice-chairperson
Jasmine Shah said, “We are in the process of procurement of 4,000 buses and
1,000-1,500 buses will hit the roads by December 2019 and the rest in 2020.”
India’s Parupallikashyap wins silver at Canadian open
In Badminton, former Commonwealth Games champion
ParupalliKashyap's impressive run at the Canada Open Super 100 tournament
came to an end after he lost a three-game thriller to China's Li Shi Feng in
the men's singles summit clash in Calgary.
Sixth-seed Kashyap, who has produced some gritty performances
this week, fell short against Feng, going down 22-20 14-21 17-21 in the finals
that clocked an hour and 16 minutes.
Kashyap had reached the semifinals of the India Open early this
year and the final finish at Canada Open is his best performance of the season.
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