DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY + 7th FEBRUARY 2020

Daily Current Affairs: 7th February 2020: The Hindu+PIB

The following compilation has been made keeping in mind the need of the UPSC IAS exam. Each and every topic which has been included in this compilation is taken from very authentic and relevant source including The HinduThe Indian ExpressBusiness Standard, Press Information Bureau, etc.

As per the evolving pattern of the UPSC IAS prelims and mains exam each and every topic has been handpicked keeping in mind the syllabus of the exam.

Table of Contents

    FIT INDIA MOVEMENT

    Context: In the case of Fit India Movement, the Government is playing the role of a catalyst so that Fit India become a people’s movement.

    FIT INDIA MOVEMENT; INDIATHINKERS

    WHAT IS FIT INDIA MOVEMENT? Fit India is basically a people centric movement launched by PM Modi in August 2019 which is to be run on a voluntary basis with participation of as many citizens as possible.  OBJECTIVE: To create awareness amongst all the citizens of India about fitness and its importance in daily life through sports, yogasan, walking, cycling, dancing or any other physical activity. WHAT IS GOVERNMENT’S ROLE IN PROMOTION OF FIT INDIA MOVEMENT?  Generally, traditional rural and indigenous games exist in informal setup and do not have adequate leaders for their represent. Government’s emphasis on promotion of rural and indigenous games has encouraged leadership and formalization of the same. These are few of the initiatives that have been taken by the Government to promote the traditional rural and indigenous games in the country:

    • Mallakhamb, Kalaripayattu, Gatka and Thang-Ta are being supported under the vertical of ‘Promotion of Rural and Indigenous/Tribal Games’ under the Khelo India Scheme.
    • Total amount of Rs.10.85 crore have been sanctioned for the year 2019-20 for infrastructure development, equipment support, appointment of coaches, training of coaches and scholarships.
    • Out of 335 Medal Winners of Indigenous Games, 247 recommended athletes by the 04 NSFs are receiving scholarships amounting to Rs.10,000/- per month per athlete.
    • Kho-Kho and Kabaddi disciplines were included in Khelo India Youth Games 2020 held at Guwahati. Kabaddi discipline has been included in the first edition of Khelo India University Games being held in Bhubaneshwar from February 22nd to 1st March, 2020.

    Also Read: ULTIMATE GUIDE TO WRITE AN EFFECTIVE ESSAY IN UPSC IAS MAINS

    RBI MONETARY POLICY

    Context: The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to keep the interest rates unchanged in the wake of a rise in inflation.

    RBI MONETARY POLICY; INDIATHINKERS

    What are the Monetary Policies of RBI? In India, the monetary policy is a policy formulated by the central bank of India i.e., RBI (Reserve Bank of India) and relates to the monetary matters of the country. The policy involves various measures taken to regulate the supply of money, availability, and cost of credit in the economy. The Monetary Policy also oversees distribution of credit among users as well as the borrowing and lending rates of interest. In a developing country like India, the monetary policy plays a significant role in the promotion of economic growth. What are the Instruments of Monetary Policy of RBI? There are a number of instruments involved in the Monetary Policy of RBI. Some of these includes variations in bank rates, other interest rates, selective credit controls, supply of currency, variations in reserve requirements and open market operations. Some of the major instruments includes: 1. Open Market Operations It involves buying or selling of government securities like government bond from or to the public and banks. This mechanism influences the reserve position of the banks, yield on government securities and cost of bank credit.  The RBI sells government securities to control the flow of credit and buys government securities to increase credit flow. Open market operation makes bank rate policy effective and maintains stability in government securities market. 2. Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) It is a certain percentage of bank deposits which the banks are required to keep with RBI in the form of reserves or balances.  The higher the CRR with the RBI, the lower will be the liquidity in the system, and vice versa.  RBI is empowered to vary the CRR between 15% and 3%. As per the suggestion by the Narasimham Committee report, the CRR was reduced from 15% in 1990 to 5 percent in 2002 As of 31 December 2019, the CRR is 4.00 percent. 3. Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) Each and every financial institution (FI) has to maintain a certain amount of liquid assets with themselves at any point of time of their total time and demand liabilities. These assets have to be kept in non-cash form such as G-secs precious metals, approved securities like bonds etc The ratio of the liquid assets to time and demand liabilities is termed as the Statutory liquidity ratio There was a reduction of SLR from 38.5% to 25% because of the suggestion by Narsimham Committee.  As on 31-December -2019, the SLR stands at 18.25%.  4. Bank Rate Policy[6] The bank rate, or otherwise known as the discount rate, is the rate of interest which is charged by the RBI for providing funds or loans to the banking system which involves commercial and co-operative banks, Industrial Development Bank of India, IFC, EXIM Bank, and other approved financial institutions.  The funds are provided either through lending directly or discounting or buying money market instruments like commercial bills and treasury bills It is to be noted that an increase in bank rate increases the cost of borrowing by commercial banks which results in the reduction in credit volume to the banks and hence the supply of money declines. An increase in the bank rate is the symbol of tightening of RBI monetary policy.  As of 31 December 2019, the bank rate is 5.40%. 5. Credit Ceiling In this kind of operation, RBI issues prior information or direction that loans to the commercial banks will be given up to a certain limit. In this case, commercial bank will be tight in advancing loans to the public. They will allocate loans to limited sectors. A few examples of credit ceiling are agriculture sector advances and priority sector lending. 6. Credit Authorisation Scheme This Scheme was introduced in November, 1965 when P C Bhattacharya was the chairman of RBI. Under this instrument of credit regulation, RBI, as per the guideline, authorise the banks to advance loans to desired sectors. 7. Moral Suasion Moral Suasion is basically just as a request by the RBI to the commercial banks to take certain actions and measures in certain trends of the economy. RBI may request commercial banks not to give loans for unproductive purposes which do not add to economic growth but increase inflation. 8. Repo Rate and Reverse Repo Rate Repo rate is the rate at which RBI lends to its clients generally against government securities Any reduction in repo rate helps the commercial banks to get money at a cheaper rate and increase in repo rate discourages the commercial banks to get money as the rate increases and becomes expensive.  Reverse repo rate is the rate at which RBI borrows money from the commercial banks.  An increase in the repo rate will increase the cost of borrowing and lending of the banks which will discourage the public to borrow money and will encourage them to deposit.  As the rates are high the availability of credit and demand decreases resulting to decrease in inflation. This increase in repo rate and reverse repo rate is a symbol of tightening of the policy As of 31 December, 2019 Repo rate is 5.15% and Reverse Repo rate is 4.90%. As of 2 January 2020, the key indicators are: 

    • Inflation: 2.86%
    • MSF(Marginal Standing Facility) Rate: 5.40%
    • CRR: 4.0%
    • SLR: 18.50%
    • Bank rate: 5.40%
    • Reverse Repo Rate: 4.90%
    • Repo Rate: 5.15%
    • GDP growth rate: 6.1%

    What are the objectives of MPC of RBI? To ensure Price Stability: It implies promotion of economic development with considerable emphasis on price stability. The centre of focus is to facilitate the environment which is highly favourable to the architecture that enables the developmental projects to run swiftly while also maintaining reasonable price stability. To ensure Controlled Expansion Of Bank Credit: Controlled expansion of bank credit and money supply with special attention to seasonal requirement for credit without affecting the output is one of the important functions of RBI. To Promote Fixed Investment: In this case the aim is to increase the productivity of investment by restraining non-essential fixed investment. To restrict Inventories and stocks: To avoid the sickness of the unit due to excess of stocks, the central monetary authority carries out this essential function of restricting the inventories. The main objective of this policy is to avoid over-stocking and idle money in the organisation. Promotion of Efficiency: These policies tries to increase the efficiency in the financial system and tries to incorporate structural changes such as deregulating interest rates, easing operational constraints in the credit delivery system, introducing new money market instruments, etc. To reduce the Rigidity: RBI tries to bring about flexibilities in operations which provide a considerable autonomy. It encourages more competitive environment and diversification. It maintains its control over financial system whenever and wherever necessary to maintain the discipline and prudence in operations of the financial system.

    MOTION OF THANKS

    Context: Recentlythe joint sitting of the Parliament has been addressed by President of India and debate on Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address was held in Lok Sabha.

    MOTION OF THANKS; INDIATHINKERS

    What is Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address? Article 87 in the Indian Constitution provides for the special address by the President of India. This article provides that at the commencement of the first session after each general election to the House of the People and at the commencement of the first session of each year, the President shall address both Houses of Parliament assembled together and inform Parliament of the causes of its summons. Such an Address is called ‘special address’, and it is also an annual feature. It is to be kept in mind that no other business is transacted till the President has addressed both Houses of Parliament assembled together. This Address has to be to both Houses of Parliament assembled together. If Lok Sabha is not in existence and has been dissolved at the time of commencement of the first session of the year, and Rajya Sabha has to meet, then  Rajya Sabha can have its session without the President’s Address. In 1977, during the dissolution of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha had its session on 28 February 1977 without the President’s Address.)  What is President’s Address? It is the statement of policy of the Government and, as such, is drafted by the Government. The Address basically contains a review of various activities and achievements of the Government during the previous year and sets out the policies, projects and programmes which Government of the day wishes to pursue with regard to the important national and international issues. Further, the Address also indicates items of legislative business which are proposed to be brought during the sessions to be held in that year. What is Discussion on the Address by Motion of Thanks? The address of the president, which corresponds to the ‘speech from the Throne in Britain’, is discussed in both the Houses of Parliament on a motion called the ‘Motion of Thanks’. It is available to the members of Parliament in ordre to raise discussions and debates to examine and criticise the government and administration for its lapses and failures. Generally, 3 days are allotted for the discussion on the Motion of Thanks. If any of the amendments are put forward and accepted then the Motion of Thanks is adopted in the amended form. Here, Amendments may refer to matters that are contained in the Address as well as to matters which, in the opinion of the member, the Address has failed to mention.However, at the end of the discussion, the motion is put to vote. What is the significance of Motion of Thanks? Firstly, the Motion of Thanks must be passed in the House. Otherwise, it amounts to the defeat of the government. It is one of the ways through which the Lok Sabha can also express a lack of confidence in the government. The other ways for this are:

    • Rejection of a money bill.
    • Passing a censure motion or an adjournment motion.
    • The defeat of the government on a vital issue.
    • Passing a cut motion.

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    AGRI EXPORT POLICY (AEP)

    Context: The 2nd National Workshop on the implementation of the Agri Export Policy (AEP) and cluster development was recently inaugurated by Commerce Secretary, Anup Wadhawan in New Delhi. 

    AGRI EXPORT POLICY; INDIATHINKERS

    The Workshop was organized by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). APEDA organized the 2nd workshop with all States/ UTs in order to assess the progress made by them for the implementation of the AEP and development of agri clusters in districts. Twenty-seven States and one UT attended the workshop. ABOUT AGRICULTURE EXPORT POLICY The Agriculture Export Policy is framed with a focus on agriculture export oriented production, export promotion, better farmer realization and synchronization within policies and programmes of Government of India.  VISION: To harness the export potential of Indian agriculture, through suitable policy instruments, to make India global power in agriculture and raise farmers income. OBJECTIVES: Following are the key objectives of this policy:

    • Double agricultural exports from present ~US$ 30+ Billion to ~US$ 60+ Billion by 2022 and reach US$ 100 Billion in the next few years thereafter, with a stable trade policy regime.
    • Diversify the export basket, destinations and boost high value and value-added agricultural exports including a focus on perishables.
    • Promote novel, indigenous, organic, ethnic, traditional and non-traditional Agri products exports.
    • Provide an institutional mechanism to pursue market access, tackling barriers and deal with sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues.
    • Enable farmers to get the benefit of export opportunities in the overseas market.

    WHAT IS THE NEED OF SUCH AN EXPORT POLICY?

    • The policy can help address challenges to exporting agricultural products from India like low farm productivity, poor infrastructure, global price volatility to market access.
    • India’s share in global exports of agriculture products was merely 2.2 % in 2016.
    • Given that the majority of India’s exports are low value, semi-processed and marketed in bulk,India has remained at the lower end of the global agriculture export value chain.  The share of India’s high value and value-added agriculture produce in its agri-export basket is less than 15% compared to 25% in the US and 49% in China.
    • Due to lack of uniformity in quality, standardization and its inability to curtail losses across the value chain, India is unable to export its vast horticultural produce.  
    • The vision of doubling farmers income by 2022 will require a series of interventions to improve production and productivity along with economizing the cost of production. This would also require India to augment its exports to the global market. Hence, it is necessary to have an agriculture export policy in place.

    ABOUT APEDA Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) is an apex body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, responsible for the export promotion of agricultural products. It was created under APEDA Act, 1985, to promote exports of agricultural and processed food products.  Processed Food Export Promotion Council (PFEPC) is its predecessor and it has its headquarters in New Delhi Pawan Kumar Borthakur is the present Chairman of APEDA.

    LUCKNOW DECLARATION

    Context: The first India-Africa Defence Ministers’ Conclave held in Lucknow on February 06, coinciding with DefExpo-2020, adopted the Lucknow Declaration.

    Lucknow Declaration; indiathinkers

    WHAT ARE THE KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF LUCKNOW DECLARATION?

    • Provision for Peace and Security: All the signatories committed to continue their collaboration in the fields of peace and security including conflict prevention, resolution, management and peacebuilding with an additional aim to enhance the role of women in peacekeeping. The support also comes in the form of this year’s theme of African Union “Silence the Guns; Creating Conducive Conditions for African Development” .
    • Provision regarding Maritime Security: To exchange expertise and trainers, strengthening regional and continental early warning capacities and mechanisms.
    • Provision on Terrorism: Terrorism is a major threat in the region and thus aims to take resolute action in rooting out terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, eliminating financing channels and halting cross-border movement of terrorists. It also urges the international community to envisage the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
    • Regarding the importance of Indo-Pacific: To encourage enhanced cooperation between India and Africa on the evolving concept of Indo-Pacific.
    • Provision for SAGAR vision of India: The declaration also welcomes the African Unions’ vision for peace and security in Africa that coincides with India’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region).SAGAR is an articulation of India’s vision for the Indian Ocean. It has elements such as:
      • Enhancement of capacities to safeguard land and maritime territories & interests; 
      • Deepening economic and security cooperation in the littoral; 
      • Action to deal with natural disasters and maritime threats like piracy, terrorism.
    • Provision for Compliance at UNSC: The Declaration also focuses on strengthening the UN Counter-Terrorism mechanisms and to ensure strict compliance with the the UN Security Council sanctions regime on terrorism.

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    GENDER PARITY INDEX(GPI)

    Context: As per the Minister of Human Resources and Development has said that various steps have been taken to bring gender parity in School Education; GPI increased from 0.92 in 2014-15 to 1.0 in 2018-19 for Higher Education.

    GENDER PARITY INDEX (GPI)

    KEY DETAILS ABOUT THE INDEX The Gender Parity Index (GPI) is a socioeconomic index usually designed to measure the relative access to education of males and females.  This index is released by UNESCO In its simplest form, it is calculated as the quotient of the number of females by the number of males enrolled in a given stage of education (primary, secondary, etc.).  If GPI = 1, then there is an equality between males and females If GPI < 1 Then it is an indication that gender parity favors males. If GPI > 1 than one indicates gender parity that favors females It is to be kept in mind that the closer  a GPI is to one, the closer a country is to achieving equality of access between males and females. It is used by international organizations, particularly in measuring the progress of developing countries.  UNESCO describes attempts to eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education and emphasizes the plight of girls in unequal access in third world countries. However, the GPI ignores the gender disparity that benefits first-world women in tertiary education.   The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2016 allows users to look at and compare country GPI data, calculate your own country’s gender parity, and explore global patterns.

    NATIONAL MEANS-CUM-MERIT SCHOLARSHIP SCHEME(NMMSS)

    Context:  Rajya Sabha has been informed by the Union Minister for Human Resource Development regarding National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme (NMMSS).

    National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme (NMMSS)

    ABOUT THE SCHEME It is a Central Sector Scheme which is implemented since 2008Objective: The major objective of the Scheme is to award scholarships to meritorious students of economically weaker sections to arrest their drop out at class VIII and encourage them to continue the study at secondary stage. Key Features: Under the Scheme 1,00,000 fresh scholarships of Rs.12000/- per annum per student are awarded to selected students of class IX every year and their continuation/renewal in classes X to XII for study in a State Government, Government-aided and Local body schools. BACKGROUND The scheme is a part of the National Scholarship Portal (NSP) since 2015-16. The NSP has been developed by Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) in order to streamline and fast track the release of Scholarships across Ministries / Departments with efficiency, transparency and reliability. The Scheme was evaluated by the National Institute of Planning and Administration (NIEPA). As per the evaluation study report, the scheme helped poor families in sending their meritorious children for secondary and senior secondary education and has therefore recommended for increasing the scholarship amount from Rs. 500/- to Rs. 1000/- per month for class IX and class X students and Rs. 1500/- per month for Class XI and XII students to make the scheme more attractive and effective. Accordingly, with the approval of Expenditure Finance Committee the rate of scholarship has been enhanced from Rs. 6000/- to Rs. 12000/- per annum with effect from 1st April, 2017

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    SECOND NATIONAL JUDICIAL PAY COMMISSION

    Context: The Second National Judicial Pay Commission has submitted its final Report covering the subject of Pay, Pension and Allowances, in the Registry of the Supreme Court.

    SECOND NATIONAL JUDICIAL PAY COMMISSION

    The Commission has been constituted pursuant to the Order of the Supreme Court in All India Judges Association case. Supreme Court will have to issue directions regarding the implementation of recommendations after hearing the stakeholders.  CHAIRMAN: Justice P.V. Reddi, former Judge of the Supreme Court. MEMBER:  Shri Justice R. Basant, former Judge of Kerala High Court. MEMBER SECRETARY: Shri Vinay Kumar Gupta, District Judge of Delhi Higher Judicial Service. WHAT ARE THE RECOMMENDATIONS PROPOSED? Following are the key Recommendations submitted by the Commission.    1. RECOMMENDATION ON PAY

    • Junior Civil Judge/First Class Magistrate whose starting pay is Rs.27,700/- will now get Rs.77,840/-.
    • The next higher post of Senior Civil Judge starts with the pay of Rs.1,11,000/-
    • District Judge starts with a pay of Rs.1,44,840/-. The highest pay which a District Judge (STS) will get is Rs. 2,24,100/-.
    • The percentage of Selection Grade and Super Time Scale District Judges proposed to be increased by 10% and 5% respectively.
    • The revised pay and pension to be effective from January 1, 2016.
    • Arrears to be paid during the Calendar year 2020 after adjusting the interim relief.

    2. RECOMMENDATION ON PENSION 

    • Pension at 50% of last drawn pay, worked out on the basis of proposed revised pay scales is recommended with effect form January 1, 2016.
    • The family pension will be 30% of the last drawn pay.
    • Additional quantum of pension to commence on completing the age of 75 years (instead of 80 years) and percentages at various stages thereafter are increased.
    • The existing ceiling of retirement gratuity and death gratuity to be increased by 25% when the DA reaches 50%.
    • Nodal officers to be nominated by the District Judges to assist the pensioners/family pensioners.
    • Recommendation has been made to discontinue the New Pension Scheme (NPS) which is being applied to those entering service during or after 2004. The old pension system, which is more beneficial to be revived

    3. RECOMMENDATION ON ALLOWANCES  As per the press note, the existing allowances have been suitably increased and certain new features have been added. However, the City Compensatory Allowance (CCA) is proposed to be discontinued. Other recommendations made include:

    • Improvement in the medical facilities and simplification of the reimbursement procedure
    • Medical facilities to be granted to pensioners and family pensioners also
    • Certain new allowances viz. children education allowance, home orderly allowance, transport allowance in lieu of pool car facility, have been proposed
    • House Rent Allowance (HRA) proposed to be increased uniformly in all states
    • Steps to ensure proper maintenance of official quarters recommended.

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