Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 23 August 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 23 August 2020


India rejects Jammu & Kashmir reference in China-Pakistan joint statement

  • India on Saturday categorically rejected the reference made to Jammu and Kashmir in a joint statement issued by Pakistan and China after talks between foreign ministers of the two countries. 
  • Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs AnuragSrivastava said the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is an "integral and inalienable" part of India and that it expects the parties concerned not to interfere in the country's internal matters.
  • In their second annual strategic dialogue on Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Pakistani counterpart Shah MahmoodQureshi discussed the Kashmir issue and progress on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor among a host of other issues.
  • In his reaction, Srivastava reiterated India's consistent position on the so-called "China Pakistan Economic Corridor"."India has repeatedly conveyed its concerns to both China and Pakistan on the projects in so-called China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which are in the territory of India that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan," he said.
  • "The Chinese side reiterated that the Kashmir issue is a dispute left over from history between India and Pakistan, which is an objective fact, and that the dispute should be resolved peacefully and properly through the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. China opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation," it said.

States and UT’s could avail CET conducted by NRA claims centre

  • States and Union Territories can avail the Common Eligibility Test (CET) to be conducted by National Recruitment Agency (NRA) for job selection.
  • Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh has said that the CET score can be shared with the Recruiting Agencies in the State and Union Territory Administrations as well as Public Sector Undertakings and also later on with the Private Sector.
  • This, he said, will actually help the recruiting agencies including the State and Union Territory Administrations to save the cost and time spent on recruitment, while at the same time also be convenient and cost-effective for the young job aspirants.
  • The Minister said, an arrangement in the form of Memorandum of Understanding could be put in place for using the CET score by these agencies and these organizations.



Moody’s report slowdown to affect PSB’s asset quality

  • A sharp slowdown in India’s economic growth exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak will hurt public sector banks’ (PSBs) asset quality, and result in sharp increases in credit costs, hurting profitability, according to Moody’s Investors Service.
  • This will lead to a depletion of the already weak capital buffers of the PSBs, it wrote in a report.
  • “We estimate the PSBs will need ₹1.9-₹2.1 trillion ($25-$28 billion) in external capital over the next two years to restore their loss- absorbing buffers. The most likely source of capital to plug the capital shortfalls will be government support, despite the completion of a large recapitalisation by the government several months ago,” it said. 
  • The banks’ asset quality will deteriorate, led by retail and small business loans. “We expect the Indian economy will contract sharply in fiscal year ending March 2021 before returning to growth, though modestly, in the next fiscal,” it said.
  • As a result, formation of new non-performing loans (NPLs) will accelerate substantially, driven by retail and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) segments.
  • Although the one-time loan restructuring allowed by the RBI will prevent a sudden rise in NPLs, NPLs and credit costs will increase in the next two years, hurting PSBs’ already weak profitability and depleting their capitalisation, it said.
  • If PSBs, which dominate the banking system, fail to function properly in the absence of state capital support, India will face a deepening credit crunch, hampering economic recovery, Moody’s added.

Consumer affairs ministry urges consumers to complaint on faulty packaged products

  • Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has said that the details of manufacturer, date of expiry, MRP and other details of the product should be given on packages of all the products. 
  • He urged consumers to file complaints, if they found any information missing on the package of any product. Mr Paswan said this will create deterrence in the minds of the manufacturers who indulge in unfair practices or pushing sub-standard products into the market.


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IAEA to seek more access to Iranian nuclear sites

  • The head of the U.N.'s atomic watchdog agency will head to Tehran next week to press Iranian authorities for access to sites where the country is thought to have stored or used undeclared nuclear material, the organization said Saturday.
  • It will be the first visit to Iran of International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi since he took office last December, and comes amid intense international pressure on the country over its nuclear program.
  • The focus will be on access to sites thought to be from the early 2000s, before Iran signed the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Iran maintains the IAEA inspectors have no legal basis to inspect the sites.
  • Last week, the U.S. ratcheted up the pressure, officially informing the United Nations it was demanding the restoration of all U.N. sanctions on Iran, arguing that Iran is in non-compliance and invoking a provision of the nuclear deal to "snap back" even more sanctions.
  • Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, who often disagree, all declared the U.S. action illegal, arguing it is impossible to withdraw from a deal and then use the resolution that endorsed it to re-impose sanctions.

Myanmar to sign ceasefire implementation accord with armed groups

  • The government of Myanmar and ten armed ethnic groups signed a framework agreement  for the implementation of the National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) at Nay Pyi Taw on Friday at the end of the 4th session of the Union Peace Conference - 21st Century Panglong. 
  • The agreement also includes the framework for implementation of various processes beyond 2020, and basic principles to establish a democratic federal union.
  • State Counsellor Aung San SuuKyi said that the accord opens a door to solving misunderstanding regarding the NCA and difficulties faced in its implementation. The spokesperson of the President Office termed the agreement as a great success as it contains a step by step peace process for implementation beyond 2020 in working for peace, democratic reform, federalism and national reconciliation.



Turkey discovers large natural gas reserves around Black sea coast

  • On August 21, 2020, the Turkish President RecepTayyipErdogan announced the discovery of large natural gas reserves in the Black Sea coast. According to the announcement made by the President, 320 billion cubic metres of natural gas has been discovered.
  • Turkey is to start using the discovered natural gas by 2023. Though the discovery made is significant to Turkey, it is smaller as compared to the discoveries made in the eastern Mediterranean.
  • The discovery has come up in the middle of tensions between NATO allies Greece and Turkey are running high in disputed waters in eastern Mediterranean.
  • Turkey is highly dependent on Russia, Iran and Iraq for its energy resources. In 2019, the Turkish energy imports from these countries were 41 billion USD. Thus, the discovery of oil exploration will help to reduce its imports.
  • Currently, the major conflict between the countries is over gas. Recently, Turkey was drilling in the Turkish-occupied regions of Cyprus. The occupation of Turkey is not recognised by international community. 



ICC congratulates MS Dhoni for his contribution to cricket

  • International Cricket Council (ICC) have congratulated former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for a wonderful international career that saw him lead his team to victory in all three major ICC tournaments for men. ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said, MS Dhoni is one of the all-time greats of the game.
  • The ICC chief said, he has inspired a whole generation and will be sorely missed and on behalf of the ICC, he congratulates him for an outstanding cricket career and wished him all the best for the future.
  • Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on Saturday.The 39-year-old is the only captain to have won all ICC trophies -- T20 World Cup in 2007, ODI World Cup in 2011 and the Champions Trophy in 2013.


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