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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB: 27 NOVEMBER 2019

INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB: 27 NOVEMBER 2019

Table of contents:

GS Paper 2:

  1. Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY).
  2. Automotive Mission Plan.
  3. Transgender Rights Bill.
  4. New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty).

GS Paper 3:

  1. Currency swap arrangement.
  2. Isro PSLV-C47 launched.

Facts for prelims:

  1. Guru Ghasidas National Park.
  2. Etawah Lion Safari.
  3. National Milk Day 2019.

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  2. Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY)

What to study?

For Prelims: PMMY- key features.

For Mains: Significance of the scheme and concerns raised over loans disbursed under the scheme, how can these loans be prevented from turning into NPAs.

Context: RBI Deputy Governor MK Jain has expressed concerns over growing non- performing assets (NPAs) in Mudra category.

Why the concern?

  • Non-performing assets ratio or bad loans as a percentage of MUDRA loans were at 2.68% in 2018-19, up 16 basis points from 2.52% in the previous year. These loan NPAs were at 2.89% in 2016-17.
  • Of the 182.60 million MUDRA loans sanctioned, 3.63 million accounts defaulted as on 31 March.

Need of the hour:

  1. Banks need to focus on repayment capacity at the appraisal stage and monitor the loans through the lifecycle much more closely.
  2. The application of technology in finance has its own share of risks and challenges for regulators and supervisors. Early recognition of these risks and initiating action to mitigate the related regulatory and supervisory challenges is key to harnessing the full potential of these developments.
  3. Microfinance institutions must broaden their client outreach to reduce the concentration risk in their own interest and to serve a wider clientele base. From a financial inclusion perspective they should also critically review their operations so other regions don’t remain underserved.

About the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) scheme:

The PMMY Scheme was launched in April, 2015. The scheme’s objective is to refinance collateral-free loans given by the lenders to small borrowers.

  • The scheme, which has a corpus of Rs 20,000 crore, can lend between Rs 50,000 and Rs 10 lakh to small entrepreneurs.
  • Banks and MFIs can draw refinance under the MUDRA Scheme after becoming member-lending institutions of MUDRA.
  • Mudra Loans are available for non-agricultural activities upto Rs. 10 lakh and activities allied to agriculture such as Dairy, Poultry, Bee Keeping etc, are also covered.
  • Mudra’s unique features include a Mudra Card which permits access to Working Capital through ATMs and Card Machines.

There are three types of loans under PMMY:

  1. Shishu (up to Rs.50,000).
  2. Kishore (from Rs.50,001 to Rs.5 lakh).
  3. Tarun (from Rs.500,001 to Rs.10,00,000).

 

Objectives of the scheme:

Fund the unfunded: Those who have a business plan to generate income from a non-farm activity like manufacturing, processing, trading or service sector but don’t have enough capital to invest can take loans up to Rs 10 lakh.

Micro finance institutions (MFI) monitoring and regulation: With the help of MUDRA bank, the network of microfinance institutions will be monitored. New registration will also be done.

Promote financial inclusion: With the aim to reach Last mile credit delivery to micro businesses taking help of technology solutions, it further adds to the vision of financial inclusion.

Reduce jobless economic growth: Providing micro enterprises with credit facility will help generate employment sources and an overall increase in GDP.

Integration of Informal economy into Formal sector: It will help India also grow its tax base as incomes from the informal sector are non-taxed.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

 

Topics Covered:

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Automotive Mission Plan

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of AMP 2006 and 2016.

For Mains: Challenges before the automotive sector and reforms necessary.

Context: The Automotive Mission Plan (AMP) 2006-16 has been successful in its endeavour to lay down the roadmap for development of the industry.

Key achievements:

  1. India has attracted significant quantum of investments from global and local original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as well as component manufacturers, exceeding the target of Rs. 1,57,500 crore.
  2. The Automotive industry has achieved the target of incremental employment creation of 25 million jobs over the period.
  3. India has now emerged from just an automobile producing hub to designing and development hub as well.

AMP 2026:

AMP 2026 is the collective vision of the government of India and the automotive industry on where the various segments of the automotive industry and auto component industry need to be by 2026 in terms of size and contribution to the overall Indian economy.

The objective of the Automotive Mission Plan 2026 includes:

  1. To propel the Indian Automotive industry to become the engine of the “Make in India” programme.
  2. To make the Indian Automotive Industry a significant contributor to the “Skill India” programme.
  3. Promote safe, efficient and comfortable mobility for every person in the country, with an eye on environmental protection and affordability through both public and personal transport options.
  4. To seek increase of net exports of the Indian Automotive industry several fold.
  5. Promote comprehensive and stable policy dispensation for all regulations impacting the industry.

Targets:

The AMP 2026 is aimed at bringing the Indian Automotive Industry among the top three of the world in engineering, manufacture and exports of vehicles & components; growing in value to over 12% of India GDP and generating an additional 65 million jobs.

Sources: pib.

 

 

Topics Covered:

Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

 

Transgender Rights Bill

What to study?

For Prelims: Definitions included and key features of the bill.

For Mains: Significance of the bill, criticisms and the need for a comprehensive review.

Context: The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 has been passed by Parliament, with the Rajya Sabha passing it after a motion to refer it to a select committee was defeated.

Impact:

The Bill will benefit a large number of transgender persons, mitigate the stigma, discrimination and abuse against this marginalized section and bring them into the mainstream of society. This will lead to inclusiveness and will make the transgender persons productive members of the society.

 

Need for legislation:

  • Transgender community is among one of the most marginalized communities in the country because they don’t fit into the stereotypical categories of gender of ‘men’ or ‘women’.
  • Consequently, they face problems ranging from social exclusion to discrimination, lack of education facilities, unemployment, lack of medical facilities and so on.

 

New definition:

According to the new definition, a transgender person is somebody “whose gender does not match the gender assigned to that person at birth and includes trans-men or trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons having socio-cultural identities such as kinnar, hijras, aravani, and jogta”.

 

Highlights of the Bill:

  1. Aims to stop discrimination against a transgender person in various sectors such as education, employment, and healthcare. It also directs the central and state governments to provide welfare schemes for them.
  2. The Bill states that a person will be recognised as transgender on the basis of a certificate of identity issued through the district screening committee. This certificate will be a proof of identity as transgender and confer rights under this Bill.
  3. Going by the bill, a person would have the right to choose to be identified as a man, woman or transgender, irrespective of sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy.
  4. It also requires transgender persons to go through a district magistrate and “district screening committee” to get certified as a transperson.
  5. The committee would comprise a medical officer, a psychologist or psychiatrist, a district welfare officer, a government official, and a transgender person.

 

Criticisms:

  1. The Bill is silent on granting reservations to transgender persons.
  2. The bill has prescribed punishments for organised begging. However, the Bill doesn’t provide anything to better to condition in those areas.
  3. It does not mention any punishments for rape or sexual assault of transgender persons as according to Sections 375 and 376 of the Indian Penal Code, rape is only when a man forcefully enters a woman.

 

Need of the hour:

The Bill must recognise that gender identity must go beyond biological; gender identity is an individual’s deep and personal experience. It need not correspond to the sex assigned at birth. It includes the personal sense of the body and other expressions such as one’s own personal inducing proceeds.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

 

 

Topics Covered:
1. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty)

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Key features, significance, targets and the need for the treaty, overview of INF treaty.

Context: Russia has observed that there was no longer enough time left for Moscow and Washington to negotiate a full-fledged replacement for the New START nuclear arms control treaty before it expires in February 2021. 

Background:

The New START accord is the last major nuclear arms control treaty between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers and limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads they can deploy.

The fate of the accord has been in the spotlight since Washington in August pulled out of another landmark strategic arms accord, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), citing violations by Russia that Moscow denies.

About New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty):

  • It is a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation with the formal name of Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.
  • Signed on 8 April 2010 in Prague, and, after ratification entered into force on 5 February 2011.
  • Replaced the Treaty of Moscow (SORT), which was to expire in December 2012.

Its name is a follow-up to the START I treaty, which expired in December 2009, the proposed START II treaty, which never entered into force, and the START III treaty, for which negotiations were never concluded.

 

Under terms of the treaty:

  1. Number of strategic nuclear missile launchers will be reduced by half.
  2. A new inspection and verification regime will be established, replacing the SORT mechanism.
  3. The number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads is limited to 1,550.
  4. Number of deployed and non-deployed inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers, submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments to 800 will be limited.

 

Timeline to meet these Targets:

These obligations must be met within seven years from the date the treaty enters into force. The treaty will last ten years, with an option to renew it for up to five years upon agreement of both parties.

Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty:

INF Treaty, formally Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, is a 1987 arms control agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union.

  • Under the INF Treaty, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. agreed to eliminate within three years all ground-launched-missiles of 500-5,500 km range and not to develop, produce or deploy these in future.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

 

 

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered:

Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

Currency swap arrangement

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Meaning, significance and implications of Currency swap.

Context: With an objective to strengthen financial stability and economic cooperation, the Reserve Bank of India has revised the framework on currency swap arrangement for SAARC countries till 2022. 

As per the new framework:

  1. RBI will continue to offer swap arrangement within the overall corpus of $2 billion.
  2. RBI would enter into bilateral swap agreements with SAARC central banks, who want to avail swap facility.
  3. The drawals can be made in US dollar, euro or Indian rupee.
  4. The currency swap facility will be available to all SAARC member countries, subject to their signing the bilateral swap agreements.

What is this Currency Swap Arrangement (CSA)?

This is an arrangement, between two friendly countries, which have regular, substantial or increasing trade, to basically involve in trading in their own local currencies, where both pay for import and export trade, at the pre-determined rates of exchange, without bringing in third country currency like the US Dollar.

In such arrangements no third country currency is involved, thereby eliminating the need to worry about exchange variations.

Significance of the agreement:

  1. The currency swap agreement is an important measure in improving the confidence in the Indian market and it would not only enable the agreed amount of capital being available to India, but it will also bring down the cost of capital for Indian entities while accessing the foreign capital market.
  2. The swap arrangement should aid in bringing greater stability to foreign exchange and capital markets in India. With this arrangement in place, prospects of India would further improve in tapping foreign capital for country’s developmental needs. This facility will enable the agreed amount of foreign capital being available to India for use as and when the need arises.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

 

Topics Covered:

Awareness in space.

Isro PSLV-C47 launched

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Overview of the PSLV- C47 launch, about Cartosat series, different orbits and difference between GSLV and PSLV.

Context: India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C47 has launched Cartosat-3 and 13 commercial nanosatellites into Sun Synchronous orbit from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.

Key facts:

  1. This is the first commercial order to put into orbit 13 American nanosatellites for NewSpace India, which was formed only in March 2019.
  2. PSLV-C47 is the 21st flight of PSLV in ‘XL’ configuration (with 6 solid strap-on motors).
  3. This will be the 74th launch vehicle mission from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota.

What is Cartosat-3?

It is a third-generation agile advanced earth observation satellite with high-resolution imaging capability.

Developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (Isro), it will replace the IRS series.

It will be placed in an orbit of 509 km at an inclination of 97.5 degree.

Till date, eight Cartosats have been launched by ISRO.

Significance:

Cartosat-3 has a panchromatic resolution of 0.25 metres making it the imaging satellite with highest resolution and Mx of 1 metre with a high-quality resolution, which is a major improvement from the previous payloads in the Cartosat series.

Applications:

Cartosat-3 could be potentially used for weather mapping and cartography. It aims to address the increased demands for large scale urban planning, rural resource and infrastructure development, coastal land use and land cover.

What is PSLV?

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle is an indigenously-developed expendable launch system of the ISRO.

It comes in the category of medium-lift launchers with a reach up to various orbits, including the Geo Synchronous Transfer Orbit, Lower Earth Orbit, and Polar Sun Synchronous Orbit.

All the operations of PSLV are controlled from the Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota.

Difference between PSLV and GSLV:

India has two operational launchers- Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

  1. PSLV was developed to launch low-Earth Orbit satellites into polar and sun synchronous orbits. It has since proved its versatility by launching geosynchronous, lunar and interplanetary spacecraft successfully.
  2. On the other hand, GSLV was developed to launch the heavier INSAT class of geosynchronous satellites into orbit. In its third and final stage, GSLV uses the indigenously developed cryogenic upper stage.

Different orbits:

There are three main types of Earth orbits- high Earth orbit, medium Earth orbit and low Earth orbit. Which orbit a particular satellite is placed in depends on its function.

  1. When satellites are about 36,000 km from the Earth’s surface, they enter what is called the high Earth orbit. Here, it orbits in sync with the Earth’s rotation, crating the impression that the satellite is stationary over a single longitude. Such a satellite is said to be geosynchronous.
  2. Just as the geosynchronous satellites have a sweet spot over the equator that allows them to stay over one spot on Earth, polar-orbiting satellites have a sweet spot that allows them to stay in one time. This orbit is a Sun-synchronous orbit, which means that whenever and wherever the satellite crosses the equator, the local solar time on the ground is always the same.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

 

Facts for prelims:

Guru Ghasidas National Park:

This will be Chattisgarh’s 4th tiger reserve.

Current 3 tiger reserves: Achanakmar, Udanti- Sitanadi and Indravati tiger reserves.

National Parks and Sanctuaries of Chhattisgarh

Etawah Lion Safari:

  • Located in Uttar Pradesh.
  • There are 18 lions in the premises.
  • The park is officially categorised in Multiple Safari Park, Asiatic Lion Breeding Centre & Visitor Facilitation Centre.

National Milk Day 2019:

National Milk Day 2019 is observed on November 26 in India.

Established by the Food and Agricultural Organisation in 2014, the day is celebrated on this date to honour Dr Verghese Kurien-who is considered to be father of India’s White Revolution.

The White Revolution, also known as Operation Flood, was launched in 1970. It is considered to be world’s biggest dairy development programme which transformed India from a milk deficient nation to the one of the largest producers of milk in the world.