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CURRENT AFFAIRSTHE HINDU : AUGUST 2019

Daily Current Affairs : 20th August 2019 : The Hindu News Analysis


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NICOTINE is now a CLASS A poison in Karnataka

State Government has amended the Karnataka Poisons (Possession and Sale) Rules 2015 To strengthen enforcement of the ban on production and sale of electronic cigarettes. 

The amendment made now classify Nicotine as Class A poison.


The ban which invokes sections of Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Food Safety Act has also ordered the suspension of all kinds of promotion of e-cigarettes, including online promotion.

What are Class A poisons?
These are those categories of poisons which are highly toxic chemicals, which even in very small quantities as gas or vapour in the air are dangerous to life (such as cyanogen, hydrocyanic acid, nitrogen peroxide, and phosgene).

What are e-Cigarettes and why are they banned now?
Electronic cigarettes or e-Cigarettes  are small battery-operated devices that vapourise liquid nicotine to provide the same experience as smoking tobacco.

The ban was enforced after a study by the State Health Department and experts exposed that e-cigarettes encourage the younger generation to use conventional cigarettes.

While use of 2mg of nicotine is permitted only in chewable chocolates to help with de-addiction, e-cigarette manufacturers misuse this clause for their sale.

Nicotine is used as a direct substance in e-cigarettes and the content ranges up to 36 mg/mL. Although regular cigarettes too have nicotine, it is in the range of 1.2 to 1.4 mg/mL

What is the situation in Karnatka?
Although the Karnataka government had prohibited the sale and production of e-cigarettes late in June 2016, illegal sale and smuggling of nicotine cartridges and e-cigarettes are on peak in the State. They are often marketed as a way to cut down or cut out cigarette smoking altogether, and sold as aids to quit smoking.


Group of Seven : G7

Modi's Agenda on G7 visit is likely to be focusing at ENERGY.  Narendra Modi will attend the outreach session of G7 meet at Biarittz, France where India is a special invitee.

The visit to Biarittz is a part of the multi-nation tour that PM Modi will be undertaking from August 23. He will be visiting the UAE, Bahrain and France. 


About G7

  • The Group of Seven (G7) is a comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United StatesThe European Union is also represented at the G7 summit.
  • Global Net Worth (along with the IMF-described advanced economies in the world) : 58%  share ($317 trillion)
  • Global GDP share based on nominal value : more than 46%
  • Global GDP share based on purchasing power parity :  more than 32%
  • The 44th G7 Summit was held in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada. in June 2018. The next Summit is planned to be held in Biarritz, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France from 24-26 August 2019.


Biosimilars

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories claimed that it had launched in India Versavo (bevacizumab), a biosimilar of Roche’s Avastin is indicated for the treatment of several types of cancers.



Dr. Reddy’s now has 6 biosimilar products commercialised in India and various emerging markets and an active development pipeline of several biosimilar products in the oncology and immunology background.

What are Biosimilars?
A biosimilar/follow-on biologic/subsequent entry biologic is a biologic medical product that is almost an exact copy of an original product which is manufactured by some other company.

These are officially approved versions of original "innovator" products and can be manufactured when the original product's patent expires.

It means that the biological product is highly similar to the reference product without even minor differences in clinically-inactive components; and there are no clinically meaningful differences between the biological product and the reference product in terms of the safety, purity, and potency of the product

It is to be noted that the reference to the innovator original product is an integral component of the approval.


INDIA-MALDIVES RELATIONS

India and Maldives signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on "Training and Capacity Building Programme for Maldivian Civil Servants

A consensus was reached between both the countries on the dates and participation levels for the first 10 training programmes from September, 2019 to December, 2020.

Key points :

  • The first 3 training programs under the MoU would be held in 2019 
    • September 16-28, 2019 for 60 officers of the middle management level.
    • November 18-30, 2019 for 60 officers of the middle management level.
    • December 2-14, 2019 for 30 officers of top management level. 
  • National Center for Good Governance would collaborate with the Civil Services Commission of Maldives to convene a Conference on Good Governance & Innovations in Governance on the sidelines of the training program for top management level civil servants, to depict the best governance practices between the two countries.
  • A training calender reflecting the dates and program time-table was also released.
  • An academic committee to be set up between the 2 institutions for increased cooperation in  carrying out the training programs. The committee would cover the areas related to subject matter, faculty and timelines of the trainings.


Debenture Redemption Reserve(DRR)

A debenture redemption reserve (DRR) is a provision stating that any Indian corporation that issues debentures must create a debenture redemption service in order to protect investors from the possibility of a company defaulting.


This provision was tacked onto the Indian Companies Act of 1956, in an amendment introduced in the year 2000.

What has happened recently?
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has amended the Companies (Share Capital & Debentures) Rules by removing Debenture Redemption Reserve requirement for Listed Companies, NCFCs and HFCs in  pursuance of the Budget announcements for 2019-20 by Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister and the Government’s objectives of providing greater Ease of Doing Business to companies in the country, as part of its 100 Days Action Plan.

What are the Objectives of such a change?
  • Removing the requirement for creation of a DRR of 25% of the value of outstanding debentures in respect of listed companies, NBFCs registered with RBI and for Housing Finance Companies registered with National Housing Bank (NHB) both for public issue as well as private placements;
  • Reduction in DRR for unlisted companies from the present level of 25% to 10% of the outstanding debentures.
The rules, while retaining DRR requirement for Unlisted Companies, provide for reduction from a DRR of 25% to a DRR of 10% for such companies, so as to safeguard interests of investors.


4th Advance Estimates of production of major crops for 2018-19

The estimates has been released by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare. As per 4th Advance Estimates, the estimated production of major crops during 2018-19 is as under:
  • Rice  –  116.42  million tonnes. (record)
  • Wheat – 102.19 million tonnes (record)
  • Nutri / Coarse Cereals – 42.95 million tonnes.
  • Maize  –  27.23 million tonnes.
  • Pulses  –  23.40 million tonnes.
  • Gram – 10.13 million tonnes.
  • Tur  –  3.59 million tonnes.
  • Oilseeds  –  32.26 million tonnes.
  • Soyabean  –  13.79 million tonnes
  • Rapeseed and Mustard  –  9.34 million tonnes
  • Groundnut  –  6.69 million tonnes
  • Cotton  –  28.71 million bales (of 170 kg each)
  • Sugarcane – 400.16 million tonnes (record)
Also it is worth noting that the total Foodgrain production in the country is estimated at 284.95 million tonnes which is higher by 19.20 million tonnes than the previous five years’ (2013-14 to 2017-18) average production of foodgrain.

BONDS YIELD CURVE

With the talk of recession gets louder globally, Bond Yield Curve have featured in news reports both globally and within India in recent months.


What is it?
A yield curve is a graphical representation of yields for bonds (with an equal credit rating) over different time horizons. It most accurately reflects what investors think about current and future economic growth.

What is a bond?
A bond is an instrument to borrow money. It could be issued by a country's government or by a company to raise funds.

Since government bonds (referred to as G-secs in India, Treasury in the US, and Gilts in the UK) come with the sovereign's guarantee, they are considered one of the safest investments. As a result, they also give the lowest returns on investment.

How does a bond yield curve predicts the investor's behaviour ?
  • If bond investors expect the economy to grow normally, they they would expect to be rewarded more (i.e., get more yield) when they lend for a longer period. This gives rise to a normal - upward sloping - yield curve.
  • The steepness of the curve is determined by how fast an economy is expected to grow. When the economy is expected to grow only marginally, the yield curve is "flat".
  • Yield inversion happens when the yield on a longer tenure bond becomes less than the yield for a shorter tenure bond. A yield inversion typically pretends a recession. An inverted yield curve shows that investors expect the future growth to fall sharply.


GREENPEACE INDIA report on SULPHUR DIOXIDE Emissions

Greenpeace India has prepared a new report based on the data from the NASA which indicates that India is the largest emitter of Sulphur Dioxide in the world.

Key points of the report :
  • India is the largest emitter of Sulphur Dioxide in the world, with more than 15% of all the anthropogenic sulphur dioxide hotspots detected by the NASA OMI satellite.
  • It is because majority of coal-based power plants in India lack flue-gas desulphurisation (FGD) technology to reduce air pollution.
    • Union Ministry of Environment introduced, for the first time, sulfur dioxide emission limits for the coal-fired power plants in December 2015. But the deadline for the installation of flue-gas desulphurisation (FGD) in power plants has been extended from 2017 to 2022.
  • The Singrauli, Neyveli, Talcher, Jharsuguda, Korba, Kutch, Chennai, Ramagundam, Chandrapur and Koradi thermal power plants or clusters are the major emission hotspots in India.
  • Globally, the largest sulphur dioxide emission hotspots have been found in Russia, South Africa, Iran, Saudi Arabia, India, Mexico, UAE, Turkey and Serbia.
  • Of the world's major emitters, China and the US have been able to reduce the emissions rapidly by switching to clean energy sources and enforcement for sulphur dioxide control.


QUICK FEEDS

  • The Status of Breastfeeding in India.


  • The Union Home Ministry has fixed the retirement age of all Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel at 60 years “irrespective of rank”.
    • However, in the other four forces Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Sashastra Seema Bal — those from the ranks of constable to commandant retire at 57, but those above them retired at 60.
  • State-owned NTPC is planning to set up 5,000 megawatt (MW) ultra mega solar park (UMSP) in Kutch, Gujarat, which may involve an investment exceeding Rs. 20,000 crores.
    • NTPC has added 2,180 MW of new capacity in 2018-19 and plans to add 5,290 MW in the current fiscal year.
  • Union Home Minister laid the foundation stone of Karbi Bhawan and Dimasa Bhawan at Dwarka.

    • The people of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao will be benefitted from the two Bhawan
    • The youths who come to Delhi for different purpose like study, job, etc will be able to stay in these Bhawans until they get a proper place to stay in.
    • The project will cost Rs. 130 crores.
  • In continuation of the Indian Navy’s overseas deployment to Africa, Europe and Russia, Indian Naval Ship Tarkash made a port call at Cadiz, Spain.
    • INS Tarkash had participated in bilateral exercise KONKAN-19 with Royal Navy ship HMS Defender prior entering Cadiz harbour.
    • INS Tarkash is a state of the art warship of the Indian Navy equipped with a versatile range of weapons and sensors capable of addressing threats in all the three dimensions
      • The ship is part of the Indian Navy’s Western Fleet and is under the operational Command of Flag Officer Commanding–in–Chief, Western Naval Command, based at Mumbai.




MUST READ 
19th August 2019 Current Affairs
18th August 2019 Current Affairs 
THE BANNING OF UNREGULATED DEPOSITS SCHEME BILL, 2019
THE CODE ON WAGES, 2019


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