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Daily Current Affairs : 30-Dec-2019

Major Topics Covered :

  1. ISRO IS PLANNING TO LAUNCH SATELLITE ADITYA TO STUDY SUN

  2. 'WORLD ECONOMIC LEAGUE TABLE 2020'

  3. RATING SHOPPING

  4. POSHAN ABHIYAAN

  5. BANDHAVGARH TIGER RESERVE

  6. DADA SAHEB PHALKE AWARD

  7. EBक्रय

  8. PREAMBLE

  9. ACCESSION DAY (JAMMU AND KASHMIR)- DECEMBER 27

  10. DRAKE PASSAGE



ISRO IS PLANNING TO LAUNCH SATELLITE ADITYA TO STUDY SUN

Science & Tech


Why in news?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that ISRO is planning to launch a satellite called Aditya to study the sun. In his 'Mann ki Baat' programme of AIR, Mr Modi said, India is quite advanced in the field of astronomy and ISRO has taken path-breaking initiatives in this field.


Highlights:

  • The Prime Minister said that India has many powerful telescopes around the country including a giant meter-wave telescope near Pune and other powerful telescopes located in Kodaikkaanal, Udagamandala, Guru Shikhar and Hanle Ladakh.

  • The probe named Aditya-L1 will be sent by PSLV-XL from Sriharikota to observe the solar corona, the outer layers of the Sun.

  • Its main payload is Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC) which will study the diagnostic parameters of solar corona and dynamics and origin of Coronal Mass Ejections (3 visible and 1 Infra-Red channels).

  • It will be inserted in a halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system, which is 1.5 million km from the Earth.

  • Significance of Mission:

  • A Satellite placed in the halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system has the major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any eclipses.

  • Only NASA and ESA have successfully placed satellites at the L1 point as of date.

  • This will be the first Indian space mission to study the Sun.

  • It will be India’s third big extra-terrestrial outing after Moon and Mars.

Lagrange Points:


A Lagrange point is a location in space where the combined gravitational forces of two large bodies, such as Earth and the sun or Earth and the moon, equal the centrifugal force felt by a much smaller third body.


The interaction of the forces creates a point of equilibrium where a spacecraft may be "parked" to make observations. These points are named after Joseph-Louis Lagrange, an 18th-century mathematician.


Structure of Lagrange points in sun-earth system:


There are five such points, labeled L1 to L5, all in the orbital plane of the two large bodies. The first three are on the line connecting the two large bodies; the last two, L4 and L5, each form an equilateral triangle with the two large bodies.


The two latter points are stable, which implies that objects can orbit around them in a rotating coordinate system tied to the two large bodies.



Source: AIR



'WORLD ECONOMIC LEAGUE TABLE 2020'

Part of GS- 3 Economy


Why in news?

India will overtake Germany to become fourth-largest economy in the world by the year 2026. According to a report by the UK-based Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), India is all set to overtake Japan to become the third-largest economy by 2034.


Highlights:

  • The report titled 'World Economic League Table 2020' said that India is also set to become a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2026, 2 years later than the government's target of 2024.

  • The World Economic League Table is an annual calculation by CEBR jointly published by CEBR and Global Construction Perspectives.

  • The base data for 2019 is taken from the IMF World Economic Outlook.

  • India has decisively overtaken both France and the UK to become the world's fifth-largest economy in 2019.

  • The report said that Japan, Germany and India will battle for third position over the next 15 years.



Source: AIR



RATING SHOPPING

Part of GS- 3 Economy


Why in news?

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has criticised Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs) for allowing low-rated companies to do "rating shopping".


Highlights:

  • According to RBI, Rating shopping refers to how, a company or a debt paper manages to get same or better rating from another agency within three months of it getting a poor rating.

  • Rating agencies have been largely blamed for their lax policies and oversight for the 2008 global financial crisis.

  • A fortnight before IL&FS went belly up in September 2018, rating agencies India Ratings, Icra and Care had given its debt papers AAA/AA+ ratings.

  • In the 25th edition of the Financial Stability Report, RBI has warned of 'rating shopping' by companies for long-term bank loans based on indicative ratings given by CRAs which are not available to the banks or investors.



Source : Economic Times



POSHAN ABHIYAAN

Part of GS-Health


Why in news?

According to an analysis of the data shared in Parliament, The State governments/UTs have utilised a mere 30% of the funds released under the Poshan Abhiyaan, or the National Nutrition Mission, since it was launched in 2017.


Highlights:

  • Barring Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar, none of the governments used even half of the sum granted in the past three years.

  • The five best performers in terms of fund utilisation were Mizoram (65.12%), Lakshadweep (61.08%), Bihar (55.17%), Himachal Pradesh (53.29%) and Meghalaya (48.37%).

  • The worst five performers were Punjab (0.45%), Karnataka (0.74%), Kerala (8.75%), Jharkhand (13.94%) and Assam (23.01%).

  • Poshan Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission):

  • The Poshan Abhiyaan, the Centre’s flagship programme, is aimed at improving nutritional outcomes among pregnant women, lactating mothers and children by reducing the level of stunting, underweight, anaemia and low birth weight by 2022.

  • It is meant to benefit more than 10 crore people.

  • It was launched in 2018 with a total budget of ₹9,046.17 crore for three years.

  • 50% of which is through budgetary support, which is further divided into 60:40 between the Centre and the States, 90:10 for the north-eastern region and the Himalayan States and 100% for the Union Territories without legislature.

  • The remaining 50% is from the World Bank or other multilateral development banks.

  • As a result, the Centre’s total share will be ₹2,849.54 crore.



Source : The Hindu



BANDHAVGARH TIGER RESERVE

Part of GS- 3 Environment


Why in news?

Madhya Pradesh has got its first elephant colony in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.


Highlights:

  • Bandhavgarh National Park is located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh.

  • Bandhavgarh was declared a national park in 1968 and then became Tiger Reserve in 1993.

  • The ‘Tiger State’ of Madhya Pradesh, which in the 2019 census recorded the most number of estimated tigers at 526, thus securing the title.

  • The park derives its name from the most prominent hillock of the area, which was said to be given by Hindu Lord Rama to his brother Lakshmana to keep a watch on Lanka.

  • Hence the name Bandhavgarh (Sanskrit: Brother's Fort).



Source : The Hindu



DADA SAHEB PHALKE AWARD

Part of GS- Awards and Recognitions


Why in news?

The President of India presented Dada Saheb Phalke Award to Amitabh Bachchan.


Highlights:

  • Dadasaheb Phalke award, India's highest award in cinema, is presented annually by the Directorate of Film Festivals (an organisation set up by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting).

  • The award prize consists of a golden lotus, a cash prize of ₹10 lakh and a shawl.

  • Dadasaheb Phalke (1870–1944), was an Indian film-maker who directed India's first full-length feature film, Raja Harishchandra (1913).

  • He is regarded as "the father of Indian cinema."

  • The award is given to people for their "outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian cinema".

  • It was first presented in 1969.

  • The first recipient of the award was actress Devika Rani, “the first lady of Indian cinema.”



Source : PIB


EBक्रय

Part of GS- 3Economy


Why in news?

Union Finance Minister launched eBक्रय for online auction of assets attached by banks.


Highlights:

  • Public Sector Banks (PSBs) have attached assets worth over Rs. 2.3 lakh crore over the last three financial years.

  • To enable online auction by banks of attached assets transparently for improved realisation of value, eBक्रय, a common e-auction platform has been launched by the Finance Minister.

  • The platform is equipped with property search features and navigational links to all PSB e-auction sites, provides single-window access to information on properties up for e-auction as well as facility for comparison of similar properties.


Steps for enhancing digital transactions

In order to strengthen the digital payment eco-system and move towards less-cash economy, Hon’ble FM in her budget speech of 2019-20 had, inter alia, announced that business establishments with annual turnover of more than Rs. 50 crore shall offer low cost digital modes of payment ( such as BHIM UPI, UPI QR Code, Aadhaar Pay, Debit Cards, NEFT, RTGS etc.) to their customers, and no charge or Merchant discount rates (MDR) shall be imposed on customers as well as merchants.


To facilitate implementation of this announcement, it was decided as under:

  • Department of Revenue (DoR) will notify RuPay and UPI as the prescribed mode of payment for undertaking digital transactions without any MDR.

  • Accordingly, all companies with a turnover of Rs. 50 crore or more shall be mandated by DoR 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.


2. Banks restored to health for lending


Extensive reforms carried out by the Government have restored banks to health, with the gross NPAs of PSBs declining from Rs. 8.96 lakh crore in March 2018 to Rs. 7.27 lakh crore in September 2019, their provision coverage ratio rising to their highest level in seven years, and banks returning to profitability, with as many as 13 banks reporting profits in H1FY20.


With the Essar resolution decision, banks have recovered Rs. 38,896 crore, in addition to Rs. 4.53 lakh crore recovered in the last 4½ years.


PSBs have attached assets worth over Rs. 2.3 lakh crore over the last three financial years and to enable online auction by banks of attached assets transparently and cleanly for improved realisation of value, eBक्रय, a common e-auction platform was launched today by the Finance Minister.


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


3. Robust banks to lend without undue apprehensions


Bankers were assured that prudent commercial decision-making would be protected.

To allay any apprehensions in this regard and to take feedback, Director, CBI also attended the meeting. It was decided that—


(a) CBI would develop a mechanism as recently introduced for income tax notices, so that CBI notices carry a registration number to avoid any scope for unauthorised communication and consequent harassment.


(b) While pursuing criminal action against those responsible, the agency shall be sensitive to the distinction between genuine commercial failures and culpability. It was also noted that there is need for preserving the value of the business enterprise by treating it on a separate footing from culpability of individuals, if any.


(c) PSBs may report instances of fraud through e-filing of FIRs on a designated email address of CBI so as to avoid scope of any arbitrage due to information asymmetry.


(d) CBI would create a dedicated phone number on which any person could give information regarding any undue harassment by the investigative machinery.

Banks were also advised to ensure rigor and adherence to objective standards in selection of forensic auditors and devising objective SOPs for carrying out of forensic audit. To this end, the Indian Banks’ Association was requested to—


(a) strengthen the forensic auditor empanelment process;


(b) put in place robust arrangements for assessing adherence to standards by forensic auditors; and


(c) tie up with CBI for training forensic auditors.


4. Credit outreach by bank


PSBs have sanctioned over 11.68 lakh Repo-linked loans to retail borrowers for home/vehicle/education/personal loans and to micro and small enterprises, amounting to Rs. 1.32 lakh crore post Finance Minister’s announcements on 23.8.2019 on measures to boost the economy.


All PSBs have introduced checkbox-based OTS and have sanctioned settlements under OTS in over 5.26 lakh accounts amounting to Rs. 16,716 crore, post Finance Minister’s announcements on 23.8.2019.


In order to address the working capital needs of MSMEs on account of stress arising from delayed payments, PSBs are offering up to 25% enhancement in working capital limits for standard MSME accounts as a Standby Line of Credit and have launched a MSME Outreach Initiative for restructuring of stressed standard assets as needed on priority and in a timely manner, besides providing new term loans, payment solutions for delayed receivables, bill discounting and trade finance.


5. Support to NBFCs and HFCs by PSBs


On 11.12.2019, the Cabinet has approved the recently launched Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme (PCGS) that would now cover NBFCs/HFCs which may have slipped into SMA-0 (up to 30 days overdue) category during the one-year period prior to 1.8.2018, and asset pools rated BBB+ or higher.


Under PCGS, Government has already approved issuance of guarantee for buy-outs of NBFC asset pools worth Rs. 4,294 crore from 10 NBFCs/HFCs covering a wide spectrum of entities.


Post IL&FS default, aided significantly by Government support, assets of NBFCs have grown by 12.83% from Rs 28.31 lakh crore to Rs 31.94 lakh crore, and assets of the 211 larger NBFCs with 81% of market share have grown at an even higher rate of 19.69%. Bank exposure to NBFCs has grown at a much higher rate of 17.46% as compared to market financing.



Source : PIB


DRAKE PASSAGE

Part of GS-1 Geography

Why in news?

In a first, six rowers from four countries on December 25 crossed the Drake Passage, in just under two weeks after pushing off from the southern tip of South America.


Highlights:

  • The project was dubbed “The Impossible Row.”

  • The Drake Passage is located between Cape Horn at the tip of South America and the Antarctic Peninsula.

  • The passage is named after Sir Francis Drake, who was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe.

  • It is also the narrowest stretch in the Southern Ocean and spans approximately 800 km between the southern tip of South America and the northern tip of the West Antarctic Peninsula.

  • It is considered one of the roughest waterways in the world because here, layers of cold seawater from the south and warm seawater from the north collide to form powerful eddies.

  • The six men rowed for 12 days, 1 hour and 45 minutes, making it the first completely human-powered crossing of the passage, which was confirmed by the Guinness World Records (GWR).

  • As per the GWR, the row represents, among other firsts, the first row on the Southern Ocean, the first row across the Drake Passage and the first row to the Antarctic continent.

Source : Indian Express

PREAMBLE

Part of GS- 2 Polity and Constitution


Why in news?

IN THE nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, many have held up the Constitution of India, saying the Act goes against it. Many of the programmes have been marked by a reading of the Preamble, which is reflective of the essence of the Constitution of India.


Highlights:

  • The original Preamble, adopted by the Constituent Assembly in 1949, declared India a “Sovereign Democratic Republic”.

  • By the 42nd Amendment of 1976, enacted during the Emergency, the words “Socialist” and “Secular” were inserted; the Preamble now reads “Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic”.

  • Resolution and discussion

  • The Preamble is based on the Objective Resolution moved by Jawaharlal Nehru in the Constituent Assembly on December 13, 1946.

  • The Resolution was adopted on January 22, 1947.

  • Constituent Assembly President Rajendra Prasad told members:

  • “The time has now arrived when you should give your solemn votes on this Resolution. Remembering the solemnity of the occasion and the greatness of the pledge and the promise which this Resolution contains, I hope every Member will stand up in his place when giving his vote in favour of it.”

  • The Resolution was adopted, all members standing.

  • On October 17, 1949, the Constituent Assembly took up the Preamble for discussion.



Source: Indian Express



ACCESSION DAY (JAMMU AND KASHMIR)- DECEMBER 27

Part of GS- 1 History


Why in news?


From 2020, people in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a public holiday on October 26 for the first time. The day, which will be observed as Accession Day, marks the signing of the Instrument of Accession by the last Dogra ruler of J&K, Maharaja Hari Singh, with the then Governor-General of India, Lord Mountbatten.


Highlights:


Like the UT of Ladakh, J&K has also dropped Martyr’s Day — which the erstwhile state observed on July 13 to mark the deaths of the 22 people who lost their lives when the Maharaja’s forces opened fire on them — and December 5, which marks the birth anniversary of Sheikh Abdullah, former prime minister and chief minister of J&K.

With this, from the new year, the new UT of Jammu and Kashmir will have 27 public holidays instead of the earlier 28, according to a list of public holidays issued by UT’s General Administration Department on Friday.


What happened on October 26?


As per the Indian Independence Act, 1947, British India was divided into India and Pakistan and the roughly 580 princely states that had signed subsidiary alliances with the British had their sovereignty restored to them. In essence, these princely states were given the option to remain independent or to join the Dominion of India or Pakistan.


According to Section 6(a) of the Act, before joining India or Pakistan, these states had to sign an Instrument of Accession, in which they would specify the terms on which they were becoming part of the new dominions.


This is what the Maharaja signed on October 26, 1947 — essentially, a treaty between the state of Jammu and Kashmir and India.

Mountbatten accepted it on October 27, 1947.



Source: Indian Express


DRAKE PASSAGE

Part of GS-1 Geography


Why in news?

In a first, six rowers from four countries on December 25 crossed the Drake Passage, in just under two weeks after pushing off from the southern tip of South America.


Highlights:

  • The project was dubbed “The Impossible Row.”

  • The Drake Passage is located between Cape Horn at the tip of South America and the Antarctic Peninsula.

  • The passage is named after Sir Francis Drake, who was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe.

  • It is also the narrowest stretch in the Southern Ocean and spans approximately 800 km between the southern tip of South America and the northern tip of the West Antarctic Peninsula.

  • It is considered one of the roughest waterways in the world because here, layers of cold seawater from the south and warm seawater from the north collide to form powerful eddies.

  • The six men rowed for 12 days, 1 hour and 45 minutes, making it the first completely human-powered crossing of the passage, which was confirmed by the Guinness World Records (GWR).

  • As per the GWR, the row represents, among other firsts, the first row on the Southern Ocean, the first row across the Drake Passage and the first row to the Antarctic continent.



Source : Indian Express


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