Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 10 January 2020


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 10 January 2020


::NATIONAL::

Centre to set up over 1000 fast track court for POCSO and rape cases

  • Over 1000 Fast Track Special Courts will be set up across the country for speedy disposal of cases relating to rape and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

  • Out of these, 389 courts have been proposed to be set up exclusively for POCSO Act related cases in districts where the pendency of such cases is more than 100. The Law Ministry has said, these courts will be set-up as a part of the National Mission for Safety of Women.

  • It said, the scheme was circulated to the concerned State Governments and Union Territory Administrations in September last year.

  • The Ministry said, 24 States and Union Territories have joined this scheme for setting up 792 Fast Track Special Courts. These include 354 exclusive courts for trial of POCSO offences. The Ministry said, 216 POCSO courts are already functional in 12 States.

  • Incidents of rape and gang rape of minor girls below twelve years and similar heinous crimes against women have shaken the country. These offences require effective deterrence through time- bound trial. For this purpose, the Centre has enacted the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018.

VP emphasises simultaneous elections from parliament to panchayats

  • Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has emphasised the need to evolve simultaneous system to hold elections from Parliament to down Panchayat level and raise awareness among people to help reduce money power in politics.

  • He was speaking after addressing a two-day conference "Money power in Politics" held at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad this morning.

  • Expressing concerns over increasing money power in elections, the Vice President said holding simultaneous elections at all levels, will help reduce the influence of money power. Stressing the need for constructive and practical suggestions from different stakeholders, the vice president opined that electoral reforms should be speeded up.

  • He said Indian electoral system helped the Indian democracy flourish into the world’s biggest democracy during the last seven decades. Referring to the free schemes that the political parties assure before elections, Mr Naidu said efforts should be made to enhance awareness among people for taking accountability of the parties and candidates into consideration.

  • The Vice President has further said the state- sponsoring of elections is not practical in the present day conditions. He however stressed the need to speed up electoral reforms.

  • About hundred speakers from different walks of life including Election Commission are taking part in the two day conference.

::ECONOMY::

RBI amends KYC norms for banks, permits video identification

  • The RBI has amended the KYC norms allowing banks and other lending institutions regulated by it to use Video based Customer Identification Process (V-CIP), a move which will help them onboard customers remotely.

  • The V-CIP, which will be consent-based, will make it easier for banks and other regulated entities to adhere to the RBI's Know Your Customer (KYC) norms by leveraging the digital technology.

  • The Reserve Bank said it decided to permit video based Customer Identification Process (V-CIP) as a consent based alternate method of establishing the customer's identity, for customer onboarding with a view to leveraging the digital channels for Customer Identification Process (CIP) by regulated entities (REs).

  • The RBI further said that the regulated entities will have to ensure that the video recording is stored in a safe and secure manner and bears the date and time stamp.

  • Last year, the government had notified amendment to the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005. As per the circular, the reporting entity should capture a clear image of PAN card to be displayed by the customer during the process.

  • It further said that the official of the reporting entity should ensure that the photograph and the identification details in Aadhaar/PAN should match with the details provided by the customer.

  • It also said that live location of the customer (Geotagging) shall be captured to ensure that customer is physically present in India.

Centre gives green nodes to distilleries planning to produce more ethanol

  • The environment ministry has decided to waive green clearance requirements for distilleries planning to produce up to 50% more ethanol than their nameplate capacity without increasing pollution.

  • The decision will enable sugar mills to divert more raw material towards producing ethanol this season, helping them fight sugar supply glut and provide more ethanol for blending with petrol without having to wait for green clearances, which could have taken six months to a year and, in many cases, forced units to miss the opportunity of additional ethanol output this sugar year.

  • The country’s sugar industry is facing a glut this season, prompting the government to enhance sugar export subsidy and permit mills to use sugar, sugarcane juice and B-heavy molasses to produce ethanol, which oil marketing companies can buy. Mills could earlier use only C-molasses, which contain comparatively less sugar.

  • With the use of sugarcane juice and B-heavy molasses, the distilleries are able to produce more ethanol with the same quantum of raw material. But a production that’s higher than the nameplate capacity created a new challenge for mills – the need for a new green clearance.

  • For capacity expansion, distilleries must obtain environment clearances, which involve public hearing and environment impact assessment and can take up to a year. By waiving off such requirements, the government is aiming to make it easier for industry without hurting the environment.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

British Parliament agrees to approve terms of brexit

  • Britain's Parliament will finally approve the terms of Brexit today, clearing the divided country's exit from the European Union on 31st of January. The House of Commons will rush through a final day of hearings and ratify Prime Minister Boris Johnson's divorce deal with Brussels.

  • For much of the time since the 2016 Brexit Referendum, lawmakers have been deadlocked over how, when and even if Britain should leave its closest trading partners after nearly 50 years.

  • MPs gave their initial blessing to the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill before Christmas and the government set aside just three days this week for detailed scrutiny of the complex text.

  • The Brexit Bill must be passed by the unelected House of Lords and the European Parliament, but this is expected before 31st of January.

  • The Brexit deal covers separation issues such as EU citizens' rights and Britain's financial settlement and sets out an 11-month transition period in which to agree a wider partnership.

Libya welcomes ceasefire calls by Russia & Turkey

  • Libya's United Nations-supported Government has welcomed Russian and Turkish calls for a ceasefire in the country's ongoing civil war.

  • The Tripoli-based Government led by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj released a statement late yesterday expressing its full support of any serious calls for the resumption of the political process and the elimination of the specter of war. The calls for a stop to the fighting came amid a flurry of diplomatic activity by European powers yesterday.

  • Turkish President RecepTayepErdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin released a joint statement after a meeting in Istanbul calling for a January 12th ceasefire to the battles between forces loyal to Sarraj's Government and the eastern-based Libyan National Army, LNA.

  • In their joint statement, the Russian and Turkish Presidents did not mention the conditions of their suggested ceasefire. Libyan National Army forces have yet to officially respond to the Russian-Turkish ceasefire calls.

  • Libya is currently governed by duelling authorities in the east and in the west. The east-based government, backed by LNA forces, is supported by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as France and Russia. The western, Tripoli-based government receives aid from Turkey, Qatar and Italy.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Environment ministry releases new wetland conservation rules

  • Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified the new Wetland Conservation Rules which prohibit setting up or expansion of industries and disposal of construction and demolition waste within the wetlands.

  • A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, and it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem. The Ministry has said that each state and Union Territory will have to set up an authority that will define strategies for conservation and wise use of wetlands within their jurisdiction.

  • The Authority will prepare a list of all wetlands of the State or UT within three months from the date of publication of these rules. It will develop a comprehensive list of activities to be regulated and permitted within the notified wetlands and their zone of influence.

  • It will also recommend mechanisms for maintenance of ecological character through promotional activities for land within the boundary of notified wetlands.

  • The Ministry has also created a web portal for sharing information regarding the implementation of Wetlands Rules where the central government, state governments are required to upload all relevant information and documents pertaining to wetlands in their jurisdiction.

::SPORTS::

LakshyaSen fails to qualify in Malaysian master’s cup

  • In Badminton, Indian shuttlers got off to a poor start at Malaysia Masters at Kuala Lumpur today. LakshyaSen failed to qualify for the main draw. Lakshya's compatriot ShubhankarDey also failed to make the men's singles main draw.

  • The biggest upset of the day for India was the ouster of the world number 12 men's doubles duo of SatwiksairajRankireddy and ChiragShetty.

  • The women's doubles pair of PoojaDandu and SanjanaSantosh also failed to make the main draw.The Indian women singles shuttlers P V Sindhu and SaniaNehwal will also open their campaigns tomorrow.

  • In the mixed doubles, the Indian pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy will open their campaign tomorrow as well.

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