Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 28 December 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 28 December 2019


Home ministry relaxes travel rules for OCI card holders

  • Overseas Citizenship of India cardholders, in certain age groups, can travel to India even if they have not re-registered it after the issuance of their new passports, as the Home Ministry has relaxed travel conditions till June 30, 2020.

  • An Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholder is required to re-register each time a new passport is issued till 20 years of age and once after 50 years of age, the ministry spokesperson said.

  • In order to facilitate OCI cardholders, the requirement has been relaxed till June 30, 2020, according to the union home ministry instructions dated December 17, 2019, but they will have to carry old and new passports, she said.

  • The ministry has been informed that immigration authorities and airlines in some countries are not allowing OCI cardholders to travel to India because either the cardholder did not re-registered after attaining 50 years of age or did not get it re-issued on passport renewal (for the age group of below 20 years), the December 17 order said.

  • The ministry asked the External Affairs Ministry to advice the Indian Missions abroad to temporarily relax the conditions in the wake of problems faced by the cardholders, it said.

PM Awasyojana sanctions more than 1 crore households

  • Government today said that more than one crore houses have been sanctioned under PradhanMantriAwasYojana (Urban).

  • Briefing media in New Delhi, Housing and Urban Affairs Minister HardeepPuri informed that one crore houses have already been sanctioned out of a validated demand of 1.12 crore houses in urban areas.

  • He said a total of 57 lakh houses are in various stages of construction of which, nearly 30 Lakh houses have been completed. PMAY (U) is one of the largest affordable housing programmes in the world.

  • Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, DurgaShanker Mishra informed that the Mission has covered a range of social groups. This comprises of around 5.8 lakh senior citizens, 2 lakh construction workers, 1.5 lakh domestic workers, and 1.5 lakh artisans.

  • He said empowerment of women is an inbuilt design of the scheme where the ownership of the house is in the name of female head of household or in the joint name.

  • AIR correspondent reports, the implementation of PradhanMantriAwasYojana (Urban) has induced a remarkable investment in housing sector especially in the affordable housing segment.

  • The houses sanctioned so far under the Mission involve an investment of about 5.70 lakh crore rupees with central assistance of 1.6 lakh crore rupees.

  • The Central government is contributing one lakh to 2.67 lakh rupees for each house under different verticals of the scheme. As on date, nearly 60,000 crore rupees of central assistance has already been released.


RBI asks cooperative banks to report more exposures

  • The Reserve Bank on Friday directed large cooperative banks to report all exposures of Rs 5 crore and more to the Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC), a move aimed at early recognition of financial distress.

  • The Reserve Bank has created a CRILC of commercial banks, all India financial institutions and certain non-banking financial companies with multiple objectives, which, among others, include strengthening offsite supervision and early recognition of financial distress.

  • Earlier in its bi-monthly monetary policy review this month, the RBI had announced that to bring UCBs with assets of Rs 500 crore and above under the CRILC reporting framework.

  • Aggregate exposure will include all fund-based and non-fund based exposure (like partial credit enhancement) including investment exposure on the borrower.

  • To start with, UCBs will be required to submit CRILC report on quarterly basis with effect from December 31, 2019.

Reduction in oil imports duty to affect farmers and industry alike claims industry association

  • The Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) has said that reduction of crude palm oil import duties will seriously hurt the oil seed farmers and not benefit the Industry.

  • It also said that the national mission of edible oil which is targeting oilseed production in the country to about 50 million tonnes in next three to five years will also be jeopardized with this move.

  • We suggest duty differential between Crude palm oil (CPO) and refined palmolein be raised to 15% (or minimum 10% as at present ) without in any way reducing duties, said Chaturvedi.

  • "This will be in line with our Prime Ministers vision of Make in India without compromising the interests of our oilseed farmer. Needless to say currently oil seeds are selling above minimum support price which augurs well for the future of oilseed production as the right price signals are going to farmers.”

  • Chaturvedi also said that the palm refining industry will suffer if the duty differential between CPO and refined palmolein is reduced to 7.5% from existing 10% in line with ASEAN agreement which is likely to kick in-from 1st January 2020. "We demand the same should be kept at 15% or minimum 10% ( as at present)," he said.

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EU & Britain plans to extend Brexit negotiations beyond 2020

  • European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said the European Union and Britain should consider extending the negotiations on Brexit beyond 2020.

  • In an interview to French business newspaper 'Les Echosa' European Commission von der Leyen expressed concern over limited time for implementation of the proposed deal. Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on January 31. If it does, it will be the first time a country leaves the world's biggest trading bloc.

  • Negotiations between the remaining members and the British government on future trade, fisheries, education and transport relations can only begin after that date and must conclude by the end of 2020.

  • Von der Leyen said that both sides should seriously consider whether the negotiations are feasible in such a short time, and agree on an extension to the transition period.

  • But British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted he would not agree to any delays.

  • Under Article 50 of the European Union's Lisbon Treaty rule book, which governs how countries leave the bloc, any new extension to the departure process must be agreed by 30 June 2020.

Japan to send warships for protection of vessels in middle east

  • Japan's government has announced that it will send a warship and patrol planes to protect Japanese ships in the Middle East as the situation in the region remains volatile.

  • The cabinet office said the rare overseas deployment, which will be limited to intelligence-gathering, is meant to ensure the security of Japanese merchant ships and help maintain peace and stability in the region. The decision follows a series of attacks on oil tankers in the region, one of which was Japanese-operated.

  • The announcement follows a meeting last week in Tokyo between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whose country the United States has blamed for attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman in June.


New China-Brazil Earth Resource Satellite launched

  • The China-Brazil Earth Resource Satellite-4A (CBERS-4A), a new satellite jointly developed by China and Brazil as part of a bilateral programme, was recently sent into space, thus further pushes forward the aerospace cooperation between two countries. It was launched on a Long March-4B carrier fromTaiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi Province of China.

  • The same rocket also put into orbits another 8 satellites, including a wide-range multispectral remote-sensing microsatellite donated to Ethiopia (which is also Ethiopia’s first satellite).

  • CBERS-4A is equipped with 3 optical payloads:- a wide-range panchromatic multispectral camera developed by China, and a wide-field imager and a multispectral camera developed by Brazil.

  • It will obtain global optical remote-sensing data and will also support Brazilian government’s to monitor Amazonrainforest and changes in country’s environment.

  • It will also be used in fields such as earth resource monitoring, agriculture, environmental protection, meteorology, surveying and mapping, and serveBrazil and more developing countries. It can also provide services for African, Latin American and Asian countries.

  • The satellite was jointly developed by China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and National Institute for Space Research (NISR) of Brazil, while thecarrier rocket was developed by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology.


Russia challenges WADA sanction over doping violations

  • Russia has formally contested its ban from major sporting events over doping violations. The head of its RUSADA anti-doping agency director general YuryGanus told reporters in Moscow yesterday that in accordance with established procedure, Russia sent a package of documents to WADA.

  • The package contains a notice about disagreement with WADA sanctions. WADA this month banned Russia for four years from major global events, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, over manipulated doping data.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the sanctions politically motivated, indicating a lengthy legal battle loomed. He argued that the majority of Russian athletes were clean and should not be deprived of the right to compete under the Russian flag due to the actions of some individuals.

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