19 October Current Affairs
October 19, 2018
22 October Current Affairs
October 22, 2018
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20 October Current Affairs

Azad Hind Government

In News:

Seventy years after Subhash Chandra Bose assumed the leadership of the ‘Azad Hind Government’, PM Narendra Modi will hoist the national flag and unveil a plaque to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the erstwhile government on October 21 at the Red Fort.

About Azad Hind Government:

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had announced the establishment of the provisional government of Azad Hind in occupied Singapore in 1943.

Known as Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind, it was supported by the Axis powers of Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, the Italian Social Republic, and their allies.

The revered freedom fighter had launched a struggle to free India from British rule under the banner of the provisional government-in exile during the latter part of the Second World War.

Objectives:

Bose was convinced that armed struggle was the only way to achieve independence for India. He had been a leader of the radical wing of the Indian National Congress in the late 1920s and 1930s, rising to become Congress president in 1938 and 1939 but was ousted following differences with Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress leadership.

Under his provisional government, the Indians living abroad had been united. The Indian National Army drew ex- prisoners and thousands of civilian volunteers from the Indian expatriate population in Malaya (present-day Malaysia) and Burma (now Myanmar).

The formation:

On October 21, 1943, in his address announcing the setting up of the provisional government, he said India’s Army of Liberation was drawn up in military formation on the battlefield of Singapore which was once the bulwark of the British Empire.

Under the provisional government, Bose was the head of the state, the prime minister and the minister for war and foreign affairs. Captain Lakshmi headed the women’s organisation while S A Ayer headed the publicity and propaganda wing.

Revolutionary leader Rash Behari Bose was designated as the supreme advisor. The provisional government was also formed in the Japanese-occupied Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The islands were reoccupied by the British in 1945.

Bose’s death was seen as the end to the Azad Hind movement. The Second World War, also ended in 1945 with the defeat of the Axis powers.

Source: PIB

NCW Launches E-mail ID For Sexual Harassment At Workplace Cases

In News:

The National Commission for Women (NCW) has come out with a dedicated e-mail address to report instances of sexual harassment at workplace after several such complaints were made to the body by women under the #Metoo movement on social media.

Details:

The Commission urges women who have come forward on social media and other platforms about their alleged harassers to send their formal written complaints to metoo@gmail.com.

The NCW will take forward complaints of sexual harassment at workplace received on the mail so that appropriate action may be taken, as per law.

What you need to know about NCW?

The National Commission for Women was set up as statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990.

The primary mandate of the National Commission for Women and State Commissions for Women Commission is to safeguard and protect the interests of women. It has wide responsibility covering almost all aspects of women development.

The commission regularly publishes a monthly newsletter, Rashtra Mahila in both Hindi and English.

Source: The Hindu

India need two time zones?

In News:

Scientists at the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research’s National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL), which maintains Indian Standard Time, have published a research article describing the necessity of two time zones, with the new one an hour ahead of the existing time zone.

Background:

Over the years, various citizens and political leaders have debated whether India should have two separate time zones. The demand is based on the huge difference in daylight times between the country’s longitudinal extremes, and the costs associated with following the same time zone.

Opposition to the idea is based on impracticability — particularly the risk of railway accidents, given the need to reset times at every crossing from one time zone into another.

Need for two time zones:

India extends from 68°7’E to 97°25’E, with the spread of 29° representing almost two hours from the geographic perspective.

Legislators, activists, industrialists and ordinary citizens from the Northeast have often complained about the effect of IST on their lives, and pursued the issue of having a separate time zone with the Central government, without much success.

In the Northeast, the sun rises as early as four in the morning and in winter it sets by four in the evening. By the time government offices or educational institutions open, many daylight hours are already lost. In winter this problem gets even more accentuated and the ecological costs are a disaster with much more electricity having to be consumed.

The proposal:

The research paper proposes to call the two time zones IST-I (UTC + 5.30 h) and IST-II (UTC + 6.30 h). The proposed line of demarcation is at 89°52’E, the narrow border between Assam and West Bengal.

States west of the line would continue to follow IST (to be called IST-I). States east of the line — Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Andaman & Nicobar Islands —would follow IST-II.

Concerns:

India has a huge population; if the country were divided into two time zones, there would be chaos at the border between the two zones. It would mean resetting clocks with each crossing of the time zone. There is scope for more dangerous kinds of confusion. Railway signals are not fully automated and many routes have single tracks. Trains may meet with major accidents owing to human errors. Just one such accident would wipe out any benefits resulting from different time zones in the country.

Partitioning the already divided country further into time zones may also have undesirable political consequences. Moreover, our research shows that the energy saving from creating two time zones is not particularly large.

While there is merit in the argument, the potentially adverse consequences of introducing a new time zone within the country are many. Not forgetting the fact that a country like Russia has as many as nine time zones across contiguous territory, having to cope with the zones and to be forced to reset the watch each time you need to cross a domestic line could be complicated.

With a time difference of one hour in the mornings and in the evenings, there would be nearly 25% less overlap between office timings in the two zones. This could be important for banks, offices, industries and multinational companies which need to be constantly interconnected. This will be further detrimental to productivity and to the interests of the eastern region.

There is already a sense of alienation between the relatively prosperous and industrialised western zone and the less developed eastern zone. The people in the Northeast sense a distance from the mainland and a separateness in clock time may accentuate it.

Having a separate time zone for the eastern region will provide no energy or other benefits to the rest of the country. Moreover, India will continue to be in off-set time zones, five and a half hours in the west and six and a half in the eastern region ahead of.

Source: Indian Express

ADMM-Plus

In News:

The 12th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) and 5th ADMM-Plus were held recently Singapore.

Details:

The conferences were attended by defence ministers from India, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and US. This was second time Singapore has chaired ADMM since its establishment in 2006 and first time to chair ADMM-Plus since its establishment in 2010.

Background:

ADMM and ADMM-Plus serves as key Ministerial-level platforms in regional security architecture for promoting strategic dialogue and practical cooperation between ASEAN and its partners.

About ASEAN:

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the Founding Fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

At present there are 10 members namely, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

The motto of ASEAN is “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.

ADMM-Plus:

ADMM-Plus is platform for ASEAN and its eight dialogue partners to strengthen security and defence co-operation for peace, stability, and development in the region. Its objective is to promote mutual trust and confidence between defence establishments through greater dialogue and transparency.

The inaugural ADMM-Plus was convened in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2010. The defence ministers then had agreed on five areas of practical cooperation, including maritime security, counter-terrorism, peacekeeping operations and humanitarian assistance.

Source: The Hindu

Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

In News:

After an on-site assessment of the steps taken by Pakistan to curb terror financing and money laundering, a visiting Financial Action Task Force (FATF) team has finalised a report with 40 recommendations for de-listing Islamabad from its grey list from September next year.

Details:

The 40 recommendations are segregated in 11 outcomes performance benchmarks. Pakistan is compliant in more than 50% of the recommendations.

Background:

Pakistan was placed on the grey list by the FATF in June for failing to curb anti-terror financing. It has been scrambling in recent months to avoid being added to a list of countries deemed non-compliant with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations by the Paris-based FATF, a measure that officials here fear could further hurt its economy.

About FATF:

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7.  It is a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas. The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.

Objectives:

The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

Functions:

The FATF monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally.  In collaboration with other international stakeholders, the FATF works to identify national-level vulnerabilities with the aim of protecting the international financial system from misuse.

Source: The Hindu

RBI objects to payments regulator outside its control

In News:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has opposed the Centre’s proposal to set up an independent Payment Regulatory Board (PRB) which will oversee all payment systems in the country stating that the proposed body “must remain with the Reserve Bank” and headed by the RBI Governor.

Details:

Coming out strongly against the Inter-Ministerial Committee’s proposal to take PRB out of the RBI’s purview, the RBI said there has been no evidence of any inefficiency in payment systems of India.

Background:

The seven-member government panel was headed by Subhash Chandra Garg. The panel proposed in August that a payments regulator should be established independent of the RBI, with a chairperson appointed by the government in consultation with the RBI. The proposal overruled the central bank’s recommendation that its governor should be head of the payments regulator.

Why the RBI is opposing this move?

The RBI cited the report of the Ratan Watal Committee on digital payments as recommending the establishment of the PRB within the overall structure of the RBI, arguing therefore that there is no need for any deviation.

Also, as per RBI, there has been no evidence of any inefficiency in payment systems of India. The digital payments have made good and steady progress. India is gaining international recognition as a leader in payment systems. Given this, there need not be any change in a well-functioning system.

The RBI has argued that the payment system is bank-dominated in India. “Regulation of the banking systems and payment system by the same regulator provides synergy and inspires public confidence in the payment instruments. Regulation of the payment system by the central bank is the dominant international model for stability consideration. Thus, having the regulation and supervision over Payment and Settlement systems with the central bank will ensure holistic benefits,” it said.

Way ahead:

The RBI said it is not totally against a new Payment and Settlement System Bill but stressed that changes should not lead to existing foundations being shaken in a well-functioning structure.

Source: The Hindu

India’s first Bitcoin ATM kiosk set up in Bengaluru

In News:

Amidst uncertainty over the validity of cryptocurrencies and the Central government directions preventing banks from trading the same, Unocoin Technologies Private Ltd has set up India’s first ATM kiosk to trade in cryptocurrencies in Bengaluru.

Details:

The first-of-its-kind automated teller machine will have both a trading and exchange platform, and will allow verified customers to use the device. It is expected to become operational soon.

This kiosk is accessible to registered customers of Unocoin. The customers will be able to buy or sell up to 10 Bitcoins — one of the high value cryptocurrencies per day. However, all the transactions will have to be conducted in Indian rupees which will then be changed into the currency of choice of the consumer.

The kiosk will allow customers to trade in Bitcoin and Ethereum, while providing an exchange platform for 24 other cryptocurrencies in circulation.

Customers risking the use of Bitcoins will have to register by using their mobile number and entering a password. A verification process is initiated during which details such as PAN number, phone number, address, bank details, and others have to be furnished. It uses an elaborate procedure for both deposits and withdrawals, with the withdrawals requiring a prior request and 12-digit OTP.

What is bitcoin?

Bitcoin is one of many cryptocurrencies that have gained popularity across the world.

A cryptocurrency is a basically a digital asset that has been created to function as a medium of exchange, like cash.

It uses cryptography to ensure the security of transactions — authentication and prevention of duplicate transactions — and to control the creation of new units of currency.

This is different from cash in that cryptocurrencies have no physical form. These blur the boundaries between fiat and non-fiat currencies. They are simply numbers on a screen and there is no central bank that issues new currency. However, bitcoin has emerged as the popular face of cryptocurrencies.

Fiat and Non-fiat currency:

A fiat currency is any currency that has no intrinsic physical value, but whose value is established by government decree. For example, most national currencies around the world, including the Rupee and the Dollar, are fiat currencies as their values are dictated by the government.

Non-fiat currencies such as the Gold Standard have more or less been effectively phased out, as they require adequate physical stockpiles to maintain their value.

However, the new breed of digital cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin blurs the boundaries between fiat and non-fiat – they don’t have any physical value as such, but are also not government-controlled. This has created uncertainties about their role in the modern financial system.

Source: The Hindu

Carnot Prize

In News:

Minister of Railways and Coal will receive the University of Pennsylvania’s top prize in energy policy for his leadership in reforming India’s power sector through various initiatives.

Carnot Prize:

The Carnot Prize is intended to honour those leading revolutions in energy policy to further progress and prosperity.

The ministry is being recognised for directing a fast-track effort to electrify 18,000 villages in remote parts of India, helping bridge the country’s vast energy divide.

The Carnot Prize is named in memory of French scientist Sadi Carnot, who in 1824 published Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire, which is recognised as the first statement of what, is now known as the second law of thermodynamics.

Carnot recognised that the power of the steam engine would produce a great revolution in human development.

Source: PIB

Channar Revolt

  • Kerala Chief Minister has recently recalled an iconic civil rights protest – Channar revolt.
  • It was happened in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore in the early 19th century.
  • It is also referred to as Marumarakkal Samaram – Protest to cover the upper body.
  • It began when women from the Channar caste who had converted to Christianity sought to cover the breasts, a right only Hindu upper caste women were allowed to exercise.
  • The diwan of Travancore state, Colonel Munro, issued an order favouring the demand.
  • The upper castes (Nairs) refused to allow the order to be followed and attacked (Nadar Christian) women who sought to wear an upper garment.
  • In the face of resistance from the upper castes, the order was even amended to say that Nadar Christian women could wear a jacket (blouse) that was different from the dress worn by Nair women.
  • The revolt exposed the caste fault-line that ran deep in the kingdom of Travancore.

Prakriti Programme

  • The programme is launched by the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS), and Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS).
  • It aims to promote awareness about forests and environment among the students of NVS and KVS.
  • Its objective is to provide a platform to school children to learn practical skills for judicious use of resources and to mobilise a cadre of youths to conserve forests and the environment.
  • It focusses upon stimulating interest and maintaining a balanced environment and acquiring skills that reflect care and protection towards forests, environment and society.
  • ICFRE is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • The objective of Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti is to provide modern quality education to talented children, predominantly from the rural areas, without regard to their family’s socio-economic condition.

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