Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 24 June 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 24 June 2020

:: NATIONAL ::

India asks Pakistan to reduce staff at mission

  • Protesting “espionage” and “terrorism-related” activities by officials of the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi as well as the “ill treatment” of Indian High Commission officials in Islamabad, the government has decided to reduce the staff strength at both missions by half.
  • The government’s decision, which will bring down Indian staff strength in Pakistan to 55, follows the return of two Indian staffers from Pakistan on Monday, who had been subjected to torture by Pakistan security agencies earlier this month, the MEA said. 
  • The last time this kind of reduction of diplomats was seen was in 2001, after the attack on Parliament. Pakistan has denied all allegations and responded by asking India to reduce its staff in Islamabad.
  • “The behaviour of Pakistan and its officials is not in conformity with the Vienna Convention and bilateral agreements on the treatment of diplomatic and consular officials. On the contrary, it is an intrinsic element of a larger policy of supporting cross-border violence and terrorism,” the MEA said in its statement.
     

Government considering inclusion of CBG under priority sector lending

  • Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said that the Government is in the process of including Compressed Bio-Gas, CBG under Priority Sector Lending. 
  • Mr Pradhan said, it will provide ease in the financing of CBG Plants. He said, Central Financial Assistance or Subsidy for setting up CBG plants has been extended to 2020-21 to promote new projects.
  • Mr Pradhan said that CBG projects are viable and have an attractive rate of return for new entrepreneurs. He said a new package for MSME shall also assist to fund CBG Plants across India and Government is also exploring global funds to fund CBG projects.
  • The 'SATAT' (Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation) scheme on CBG was launched on 1st October 2018 which envisages targeting production of 15 MMT of CBG from 5000 plants by 2023. The Government of India has taken various enabling steps to ensure the success of the SATAT scheme.
  • Oil Marketing Companies have offered long term pricing on CBG ........

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:: ECONOMY ::

SEBI brings in easier funding norms for stressed companies

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has relaxed the norms for preferential allotment for companies that have stressed assets, thereby making it easier for such entities to raise funds.
  • Further, the watchdog has exempted allottees in such issuances from having to make an open offer even if the quantum of acquisition triggers an open offer or there is a change in control in terms of Takeover Regulations.
  • A company would be eligible to be called stressed if it has defaulted on its payment obligations for more than 90 days or if the credit rating agencies have downgraded its securities to ‘D’.
  • An entity, which has an inter-creditor agreement in terms of Reserve Bank of India (Prudential Framework for Resolution of Stressed Assets) Directions 2019, will also be identified as stressed.
  • SEBI also included certain checks to ensure the relaxations are not misused. The preferential issue cannot be made to entities that are part of the promoter group or those that have been identified as undischarged insolvent, wilful defaulter or fugitive economic offender.
  • The resolution for such a preferential allotment and the exemption from an open offer will have to be passed by the majority of minority shareholders and the proposed end-use of proceeds of such preferential issue will have to be disclosed.

Russia-India-China- RIC trilateral Foreign Minister's meeting held

  • India has said that respecting the international law, recognizing  legitimate interests of partners, supporting multilateralism and promoting common good are the only ways of building a durable world order.
  • In his opening remarks at the Russia-India-China- RIC trilateral  Foreign Minister's Video Conference  today, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said that this  Special Meeting reiterates our belief in the time-tested principles of international relations.

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:: INTERNATIONAL ::

India pledges $ 10 million contribution to UNRWA

  • India has announced contributing 10 million US dollar to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) over the coming two years.
  • Addressing an Extraordinary Virtual Ministerial Pledging Conference for UNRWA, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said yesterday that capacity enhancement through training and building durable institutions is a major plank of our developmental assistance to Palestine.
  • He said, India provides 250 annual scholarships to Palestinian youth and officials, apart from regular customised training programmes, and our current project grant is around 72 million dollar.
  • He said, as a steadfast supporter of the Palestinian cause, India deeply appreciates the generous support and untiring work of host countries, donors and UNRWA to ensure millions of our Palestinian brothers and sisters displaced from their homeland lead a life of dignity.
  • He said, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the globe, stretching governments’ resources to address healthcare and socio-economic needs of their own people, and constraining capacities to assist others.
  • He said, but victory over this unprecedented crisis demands collective and concerted action. He said, therefore, despite a surge in domestic demand for medical supplies amidst rising Covid cases, India  is assisting countries in need of critical, lifesaving drugs. He said, India is  sending a medical shipment to Palestine next week.

India- Russia enhance strategic relationships

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said that India and Russia share relationships based on special and privileged Strategic Partnership. He said Russia has assured that the ongoing military contracts between the two countries will be maintained, and in a number of cases, will be taken forward in a shorter time. 

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:: SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY ::

India’s first and largest virtual healthcare & hygiene expo launched

  • Union State Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya today inaugurated one of India's   largest and first Virtual Healthcare and Hygiene EXPO 2020.
  • Speaking on the occasion, he said that an ecosystem is being built for a self-reliant India, which will help in ramping up domestic production in Pharmaceutical, Health and Hygiene Sector.
  • Health, Hygiene and Sanitation, Medical textiles and Devices, AYUSH and Wellness sectors have assumed greater significance in the nation's fight against the COVID 19 pandemic.
  • Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya highlighted various initiatives announced for boosting the health and hygiene sector in the country by Prime Minister Narendra Modi since last 6 years.
  • He underlined schemes such as providing toilets for every household, Ayushman Bharat , to cover 10 crore family for healthcare, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Suvidha Sanitary Napkin under which a sanitary napkin is provided for just 1 rupees each.

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:: SPORTS ::

FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament moved out of India

  • The FIBA 3x3 Olympic qualifying tournament, which was scheduled to be held in Bengaluru, will now take place in Graz (Austria) in May next year, FIBA announced on Tuesday.
  • The decision meant that India lost its host spot, putting paid to its hopes of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics. The spots occupied by the Indian teams were taken by Austria.

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