Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 29 December 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 29 December 2019


Armed forces chief asserts utmost respect to human rights laws

  • Army Chief General BipinRawat has said that Indian Armed Forces have utmost respect for human rights laws and they not only ensured the protection of human rights of the people of the country, but also of its adversaries.

  • Gen Rawat said, Indian armed forces are highly disciplined and extremely secular and driving ethos for them are “Insaniyat” (humanity) and “Sharafat” (decency).

  • He was addressing the interns and senior officers of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on the topic of "Preserving Human Rights in Times of War and Prisoners of War" in New Delhi.

  • Noting that counter-terrorism and anti-insurgency operations has become very challenging and difficult, the Army chief said the armed forces took care to identify and target only terrorists and insurgents without causing any collateral damage to innocent people.

  • Gen Rawat said, a court of inquiry, with all records being maintained, is held after every operation, in line with provisions of human rights laws.

  • He said, another new initiative taken in October this year was to begin recruiting women jawans in the Corps of Military Police, who would be deployed for crowd control and frisking of women protestors in militancy-hit areas like Kashmir and the northeast.

Centre plans to organise "ShehriSamridhiUtsav 2020"

  • DeendayalAntyodayaYojana - National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) under Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs will be organising a consultative meeting at New Delhi on December 30, 2019 ; with all States and UTs to set out the framework for ShehriSamrddhiUtsav (SSU) 2020.

  • The workshop will also take up the issue of skill development of urban beneficiaries in plumbing sector apart from detailed deliberations on the implementation of the Street Vendors’ Act.

  • It is also planned to distribute Systematic Progressive Analytical Real Time Ranking (SPARK) 2018-19 awards to the winning States for their excellent performances in implementation of DAY-NULM during the FY 2018-19.

  • In addition to providing access to wider customer base to locally made products of SHGs, the initiative will also be useful in capacity building of the women entrepreneurs in the skills of branding, digital marketing and financial management.

  • The SSU 2019 succeeded in extending the outreach of the Mission to the most vulnerable sections of the urban population, showcasing its initiatives and facilitating access of Self-Help Group (SHG) members to the other government schemes by covering over 15.60 lakh members from urban SHGs.


RBI claims financial system stable despite slow economic growth

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released the 20th issue of the Financial Stability Report. It says that the global economy confronted a number of uncertainties that leads to significant deceleration in growth.

  • As regards the domestic economy, aggregate demand slackened in the second quarter of this year further extending the growth deceleration.

  • In its Report, Reserve Bank of India has stated that India’s financial system remains stable notwithstanding weakening domestic growth. The report, released yesterday also says that the resilience of the banking sector has improved following recapitalization of Public Sector Banks by the Government.

  • The Report reflects the collective assessment of the Sub-Committee of the Financial Stability and Development Council on risks to financial stability, as also the resilience of the financial system.

  • The Report also discusses issues relating to the development and regulation of the financial sector.

MDR charges not applicable for transactions over Rupay, UPI platforms

  • Finance Minister NirmalaSitharaman has said that no Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) will be applicable on transactions through homegrownRuPay and UPI platforms beginning 1st of January next year.

  • Ms Sitharaman announced this in New Delhi after meeting Chiefs of Public Sector Banks (PSBs), Chief executive of Indian Banks’ Association and representatives of leading private sector banks to discuss banking issues.

  • Department of Revenue (DoR) will soon notify RuPay and UPI as the prescribed mode of payment for digital transactions without any MDR. She said, now all companies with a turnover of 50 crore rupees or more will be mandated to provide the facility of payment through RuPay Debit card and UPI QR code to their customers. All banks will also start a campaign to popularise RuPay Debit card and UPI.

  • MDR is the cost paid by a merchant to a bank for accepting payment from their customers via digital means. The merchant discount rate is expressed in percentage of the transaction amount.

  • Besides, the Finance Minister also launched a common e-auction platform to sell attached assets of defaulters for improved realisation of value.

  • The platform is equipped with property search features and navigational links to all PSB e-auction sites. It provides a single-window access to information on properties for e-auction as well as facility for comparison of similar properties and also contains photographs and videos of uploaded properties.

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Saudi Arabia to host OIC meeting on Kashmir

  • In a move that could impact ties with India, Saudi Arabia has agreed to hold a special foreign ministers’ meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) devoted to Kashmir after it persuaded Pakistan to back out of an Islamic summit hosted by Malaysia last week.

  • The gesture by the kingdom was reportedly conveyed to the Pakistani government during Saudi foreign minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud’s visit to Islamabad this week.

  • Saudi Arabia and the UAE are pillars of India’s renewed foreign policy push in the Islamic world which has helped contain the diplomatic fallout of decisions such as ending J&K’s special status.

  • Pakistan has felt the Islamic world, particularly OIC, did not support it enough after India’s August 5 decision. India has already begun working on a diplomatic pushback.

  • It is no coincidence that foreign minister S Jaishankar spent two days in Tehran meeting his counterpart JavadZarif on his way back from the 2+2 meeting in the US.

UAE announces development aid to Jordan

  • The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) announced today that it is providing 300 million US dollars as development aid to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

  • In a statement the UAE government said that "the UAE leadership's decision reaffirms the commitment to standing alongside the brotherly leadership and people of Jordan, reflecting the nation's foreign policy that carries the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and continues under the leadership of President Sheikh Khalifa."

  • This latest development aid provision, the Fund statement added, highlights the "strong relations between the UAE and Jordan, that are based on brotherhood, mutual interest and respect."

  • Thousands of refugees have been pouring into Jordan to escape Syria’s civil war. Syria shares the northern border with Jordan.

  • According to an UN estimate the Hashemite kingdom hosts about 630,000 Syrian refugees while Jordan claims that the number is over 1.4 million.


Delhi government approves new policy on pollution

  • On December 24, 2019, CM of Delhi ArvindKejriwal introduced a new policy to make Delhi the capital of Electric vehicles. Under the policy, the government has planned to provide subsidies to electric vehicles.

  • The goal of the policy is to ensure that 25% of new vehicles registered are electric by 2024. Along with electric vehicles, the government also has planned to construct 250 charging stations. It also includes 20% of the parking enabled for electric vehicles.

  • The policy has been drafted after feedback from UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) experts, International Transport Council. The draft of the policy was already made public in November 2018.

  • The policy is important as the vehicles have been major cause of pollution emitting 80% of carbon monoxide, 40% of PM 2.5 and 80% of nitrogen oxides.

  • Electric Vehicles are constantly being promoted all over the world as they do not emit pollution. Also, the central government has reduced GST rates for electric vehicles.

  • These vehicles will help India achieve the target of reducing green house gas emissions by 33% by 2030 as compared to 2005 levels.


India beats South Africa in first youth ODI

  • India under-19 team beat South Africa by nine wickets in the first Youth ODI at the Buffalo Park in East London. Batting first, South Africa Under-19 team made 187 in 48.3 overs. In reply, India dished out a solid batting display to scoring 190 for 1 in 42.3 overs last night.

  • With this win India have taken 1-0 lead in the 3-match series. For India U-19 team, openers DivyaanshSaxena (86 not out) and N TilakVarma (59) shared a 127-run stand to take the game away from South Africa. Ravi Bishnoi scalped three wickets, while KartikTyagi, ShubhangHegde and AtharvaAnkolekar picked up two wickets each.

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