Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 20 September 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 20 September 2019


Centre plans to bring in code for social security

  • The Centre has proposed a new draft Code on Social Security that amalgamates eight laws covering Employees’ Provident Fund, maternity benefits and compensation among others that makes way for establishing funds for PF and pension as well as covering workers of the gig economy in social security schemes.

  • It proposes PF, pension and insurance funds that would be administered by a central board. Employees would also be able to opt for the National Pension Scheme if they want.

  • The draft code proposes schemes related to life and disability cover, health and maternity benefits and old-age protection for “gig workers and platform workers” as well as the unorganised sector.

  • As a part of its labour reform agenda, the government had proposed to combine 44 labour laws into four codes. After coming out with two codes on wages, occupational safety, health and working conditions it has not drafted the third.

  • The code also says no employer can knowingly employ a woman six weeks after a delivery, miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy. The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, which is among the laws being subsumed by the code, had placed the six-week restriction for women after delivery or miscarriage, not mentioning medical termination.

Study finds India unlikely to meet POSHAN scheme targe

  • India is unlikely to meet targets set under the ambitious PoshanAbhiyaan or National Nutrition Mission (NNM) for reduction in prevalence of stunting, underweight, low birth weight and anaemia in women and children by 2022 if there is no progress achieved in improving the rate of decline observed between 1990 and 2017, according to a new study.

  • The study points out that India will miss its target for stunting levels of 25% by 9.6%; underweight target of 22.7% by 4.8%; desired low birth level of 11.4% by 8.9%; anaemia level among women of 39.4% by 13.8%; and anaemia level among children of 44.7% by 11.7%, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study 1990-2017, released on Wednesday.

  • “Our findings suggest that the malnutrition indicator targets set by NNM for 2022 are aspirational, and the rate of improvement needed to achieve these targets is much higher than the rate observed in this study, which might be difficult to reach in a short period. This slow pace of improvement needs to be accelerated, so that future prevalence of the malnutrition indicators is better than our projections based on trends so far.”

  • “Additional efforts over the last two years in the PoshanAbhiyan as well as the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan are likely to have hastened improvement,” said Professor LalitDandona, PHFI.

  • While the base for NNM targets is NFHS-4 data, the study considers prevalence levels determined in 2017 as the base level, which are comparable with the former.

  • The study used all accessible data sources from India, including national household surveys, a variety of dietary and nutrition surveys, and other epidemiological studies, to arrive at its findings.


Finance ministry to hold review meeting with PSB’s

  • Finance Minister NirmalaSitharaman will hold a review meeting with public sector banks today.

  • Introduction of repo-rate linked products to step up affordable credit, doorstep banking facility, monitoring of loans to MSMEs, small traders, SHGs and micro finance Institutions borrowers and collaboration of banks with non-banking financial companies, NBFCs for co-origination of loans are some of the agenda expected to come up for discussion during the meeting.

  • The Centre is expected to review the announcement made by the Finance Minister last month to mandate release of security documents within 15 days of loan closure.

  • The Ministry is expected to take stock of pooled assets of NBFCs or housing finance companies purchased by PSBs, following a one-time credit guarantee of up to Rs 1 trillion announced in the Budget 2019-20.

Moodys claim liquidity crunch in realty sector might affect banks

  • Credit rating agency Moody’s has said that the increasing liquidity stress among real estate developers would indirectly hit Indian banks and is thus credit negative for the domestic lenders.

  • On September 12, real estate-focussed non-banking financial company (NBFC) Altico Capital India Ltd., defaulted on a scheduled interest payment on a loan because of insufficient liquidity.

  • Moody’s said Altico Capital’s default came after Dewan Housing Finance Ltd. defaulted on its loan obligations in July because of insufficient liquidity, raising questions about its solvency.

  • Indian banks also have indirect exposure to the real estate sector through their lending to NBFCs and HFCs, which also lend to real estate developers.

  • Based on data from the Reserve Bank of India, the overall exposure of NBFCs and HFCs to the real estate sector was only about 6.0% of their total assets as of March 31, 2019.

  • However, some NBFCs and HFCs are more exposed than others, making them vulnerable to a slowdown in the sector.

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Israeli elections face tied results

  • Israel's ruling Likud party and its main rival Blue and White party are tied at 32 seats each, putting the country's longest serving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a shaky ground with his right-wing bloc falling five short of a majority in the 120-member Parliament.

  • According to the Times of Israel, Netanyahu's Likud and centrist challenger Benny Gantz's Blue and White stood at 32 seats each after counting of 90 per cent of ballots were completed. The elections were held yesterday.

  • The secular YisraelBeitenu party won nine seats, making its leader Avigdor Lieberman the king-maker in the elections, as predicted earlier in the exit polls.Netanyahu called the snap election after failing to form a governing coalition with a viable majority after April's vote.

Mongolian President to arrive in delhi to expand cooperation

  • President of Mongolia KhaltmaagiinBattulga is arriving in New Delhi today afternoon on a five day State visit. He will be accompanied by a high-level official and business delegation.

  • Mr Battulga will be accorded ceremonial reception at the forecourt of RashtrapatiBhavan tomorrow. The visiting dignitary will meet President Ram NathKovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister NarendraModi.

  • Both sides will hold in-depth discussions on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues and will also review ongoing cooperation in fields of infrastructure, energy, disaster management, defence, security, culture and capacity building. A Banquet will be hosted by President Kovind in honour of the visiting President. Mr Battulga will also participate in an India-Mongolia Business Forum in New Delhi.

  • During his stay, the Mongolian President will visit Agra, Bodh Gaya and Bengaluru. Mr Battulga's visit to India will be the first State visit by a Mongolian President in last 10 years.


NASA captures images of Vikram Lander

  • As the deadline to re-establish communication with Chandrayaan 2’s Vikram lander nears, NASA’s moon orbiter has captured images of the lunar region where the Indian mission made an unsuccessful attempt to soft-land, a senior official with the U.S. space agency confirmed on September 19.

  • NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft has snapped a series of images during its flyby on September 17 of Vikram’s attempted landing sight near the moon’s uncharted south pole.

  • According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the lander Vikram and rover Pragyan were supposed to be functional only for 14 days from the day of their touchdown.

  • At the start of the mission, ISRO said the mission life of the lander and the rover will be one lunar day which is equal to 14 Earth days, whereas that of the orbiter will be one Earth year.

  • In the early hours of September 7, ISRO’s plan to soft-land Chandrayaan 2’s Vikram module on the lunar surface did not go as per script. The lander lost communication with ground stations during its final descent. ISRO officials said that the orbiter of Chandrayaan 2 remained healthy and safe.

  • A NASA spokesperson had earlier said that the space agency will share any before and after flyover imagery of the area around the targeted Chandrayaan 2 landing site to support analysis by ISRO.


Hima das backs out from world championships due to injury

  • Indian sprinter Hima Das has been ruled out of the World Championships 2019 due to a back injury, Athletics Federation of India (AFI) said today. AFI selection committee on September 9 had named Das for the tournament to be held in Doha from September 27 to October 6.

  • The ace sprinter clinched five gold medals recently. She won the fifth medal at the NoveMesto Athletics Meet on July 20. She clocked a timing of 52.09 seconds to complete the 400m race, registering her season-best timing. Hima also won gold in 200m in Tabor Athletic Meet.

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