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September 6, 2019
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05 September Current Affairs

  1. N. Manoharan Task Force

In News:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released the “Report of the Task Force on the Development of Secondary Market for Corporate Loans” for comments.

About: 

The RBI had constituted a Task Force on Development of Secondary Market for Corporate Loans under the Chairmanship of Shri T. N. Manoharan, Chairman, Canara Bank, in May, 2019.

Key recommendations of the Task Force are as follows:

  • setting up of a Self-Regulatory Body of participants which will finalise detailed modalities for the secondary market for corporate loans including standardisation of documentation;
  • setting up a Central Loan Contract Registry;
  • setting up an online loan sales platform to conduct auctions/sale process of the secondary market loans;
  • amending the extant regulations applicable to, inter-alia, securitization and assignment of loans, asset reconstruction, Foreign Portfolio Investment and External Commercial Borrowings; and
  • amendments in regulations issued by SEBI, IRDA and PFRDA to enable participation of non-banking entities such as mutual funds, insurance companies and pension funds.

Tigers At High Altitude

In News:

Union Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar, released a report on Status of Tiger Habitats in high altitude ecosystems.

About: 

This study, led by the Global Tiger Forum (GTF), with range country governments of Bhutan, India and Nepal, along with WWF and country specific collaborators, has been supported by the Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme (ITHPC) of the IUCN and dFw.

The study reveals that even ecology at high altitude is compatible for the tiger growth.

It calls for developing a master plan for Tigers at High altitude, with gainful portfolio for local communities and ensuring centrality of tiger conservation in development.

The study provides the rationale for stepping up high altitude conservation of the tiger, while identifying possible viable habitats, corridor linkages, anthropogenic pressures, and induced landscape level changes for evolving an in-situ conservation roadmap.

Global Tiger Forum (GTF)? 

GTF is the only inter- governmental international body established with members from willing countries to embark on a global campaign to protect the remaining 5 sub-species of Tigers distributed over 13 Tiger Range countries of the world.

History: The GTF was formed in 1993. In 1997, the GTF became an independent organization.

Administration: The GTF has a General Assembly meeting every 3 years and Standing committee meetings at least once a year. A Chairperson, usually a Minister from one of the Tiger Range countries heads GTF for a fixed tenure of 3 Years.

Secretariat: New Delhi.

Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs)

In News:

A study looking at the “CVD risk factors in middle-aged adults in 21 countries” has been published by the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiologic (PURE) in The Lancet and presented at the European Society of Cardiology 2019.

Key findings: 

Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) remains the leading cause of mortality among middle aged adults globally. 55 million deaths occurred in the world in 2017, of which approximately 17.7 million were due to CVD.

But this is no longer the case in high-income countries, where cancer is now responsible for twice as many deaths as CVD. In high-income countries, people have started living longer, so deaths due to CVD have reduced, and more are now dying due to cancers.

Household air pollution is a greater risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in India than diabetes, tobacco use, low physical activity and poor diet.

At least 65% of homes in India use biomass fuel for cooking and heating. In urban areas, the use of mosquito coils, dhoop sticks and agarbattis contribute to high household air pollution.

Hypertension is the largest risk factor for CVD in low-income countries (which include India), followed by high non-HDL cholesterol and household air pollution.

Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment (AIDA)

In News:

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) teams are meeting in Rome next week to discuss progress on the Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment, a joint research mission to study the viability of diverting an asteroid by crashing a spacecraft into its surface.

About:

The project aims to deflect the orbit of one of the two Didymos asteroids between Earth and Mars, with an observer craft gauging the effect of the impact more effectively than ground-based observers could manage.

Project Components:

NASA will provide the collider, the Double Asteroid Impact Test (DART). It should launch in summer 2021 and will smack into the smaller of the two Didymos asteroids at about 14,764MPH.

An Italian cubesat, LICIACube, will study the moment of impact.

After that, the ESA will launch a Hera probe in October 2024 to study the target asteroid, including the impact crater, mass and a radar probe (the first ever for an asteroid). Hera will take roughly two years to arrive.

Background:

Among all the causes that will eventually cause the extinction of life on Earth, an asteroid hit is widely acknowledged as one of the likeliest.

Over the years, scientists have suggested different ways to ward off such a hit, such as blowing up the asteroid before it reaches Earth, or deflecting it off its Earth-bound course by hitting it with a spacecraft.

Now, scientists have embarked on a plan to test their expertise with the second of these two methods.

Japan-India Annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue

In News:

Defence Minister of India, Rajnath Singh, paid a visit to Japan for the annual Defence Ministerial Meeting between the 2 countries.

Key highlights of the meeting:

The Ministers affirmed their intention to hold the first Foreign and Defence Ministerial Dialogue (2+2) ahead of the Japan-India Annual Summit this year.

The Ministers welcomed that negotiations on the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) have shown progress since the negotiations commenced in October last year.

The Ministers welcomed that high-level exchanges between the Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) and the Department of Defence Production (DDP) have been actively held to cooperate in Defence Equipment and Technology.

Bilateral exercises:

There is regular interactions at all levels of their two defence authorities including that bilateral exercises have been conducted between all components last year.

Dharma Guardian was held in the autumn of 2018 between the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) and the Indian Army.

Japan-India Maritime Exercise (JIMEX) was held in 2018. The Japan-India-U.S. trilateral maritime exercise “MALABAR 2019” will be held from late September to early October this year.

SHINYUU MAITRI 18, the first bilateral exercise between Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) and the Indian Air Force was held in December 2018.

AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopter

In News:

The Indian Air Force (IAF) formally inducted the AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopter into its inventory at Air Force Station Pathankot.

About: 

Timeline: IAF has signed a contract with ‘The Boeing Company’ and US Government for 22 Apache Attack Helicopters. The first eight helicopters have been delivered on schedule and the last batch of helicopters is to be delivered by March 2020.

Deployment: Apache attack helicopters are being purchased to replace the Mi-35 fleet and will be deployed in the Western regions of India.

Features: The helicopter is capable of delivering variety of weapons which include fire and forget anti-tank guided missiles, air to ground Hellfire missiles, 70 mm Hydra rockets and air to air Stinger missiles. These helicopters are day/night, all weather capable and have high agility and survivability against battle damage.

Yudh Abhyas 2019

In News:

A joint military training, Exercise Yudh Abhyas – 2019 will be conducted at Joint Base Lewis Mc Chord, Washington, USA from 05-18 September 2019.

About: 

Exercise Yudh Abhyas is one of the largest joint running military training and defence corporation endeavors between India and USA.

This will be the 15th edition of the joint exercise hosted alternately between the two countries.

Yudh Abhyas will provide an opportunity to the armed forces of both countries to train in an integrated manner at Battalion level with joint planning at Brigade level.

Global Fund For AIDS, TB And Malaria (GFTAM)

In News:

India has announced a contribution of 22 million US Dollars to the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFTAM) for the 6th replenishment cycle (2020-22).

About:

The Global Fund is an international organization designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics.

Created in: 2002

Working: It mobilizes and invests more than US$4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts in more than 100 countries.

Location: Geneva, Switzerland.

Status: It was formed as an independent, non-profit foundation under Swiss law and hosted by the World Health Organization (who). In 2009, the organization became an administratively autonomous organization, terminating its administrative services agreement with the WHO.

India and Global Fund: India shares a sustained partnership with the Global Fund since 2002 both as recipient and as a donor. As a donor, India has contributed US$ 46.5 million so far till 2019 including US$ 20 million for the 5th Replenishment.

Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme

In News:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved Mechanism revision of ethanol price for supply to Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) for procurement of ethanol from different raw materials under the EBP Programme w.e.f. December 2019 for one year period.

The CCEA has given its approval for the following:

OMCs are advised to continue according priority of ethanol from 1) sugarcane juice/sugar/sugar syrup, 2) B heavy molasses 3) C heavy molasses and 4) Damaged Food grains/other sources, in that order.

The price of ethanol from C heavy molasses route be increased to Rs.43.75 per litre; The price of ethanol from B heavy molasses route be increased to Rs.54.27 per litre; and the price of ethanol from sugarcane juice/sugar/sugar syrup route be fixed at Rs.59.48 per litre.

Additionally, GST and transportation charges will also be payable.

Government has been implementing Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme wherein OMCs sell petrol blended with ethanol up to 10%.

This programme has been extended to whole of India except Union Territories of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands with effect from 01st April, 2019.

Capital Infusion In IDBI

In News:

The Union Cabinet has approved the Infusion of Rs 4,557 crore by Government in IDBI Bank. It will enable it to return to profitability and normal lending.

About: 

IDBI Bank needs a one time infusion of capital to complete the exercise of dealing with its legacy book. It has already substantially cleaned up, reducing net NPA to 8% in June 2019.

LIC is at 51% and is not allowed to go higher by the insurance regulator.

Background: Following Cabinet’s approval in August 2018, LIC acquired 51% stake in IDBI Bank. Government continues to be a promoter and holds 46.46% stake. The financial parameters of IDBI Bank have improved considerably during the last one year.

Asiatic Society of Mumbai

In News:

Asiatic Society of Mumbai has elected the first woman president in the 215 years of its existence.

Prof Vispi Balaporia will now head the institution.

About Asiatic Society, Mumbai:

It is a learned society whose activities include conducting historical research, awarding historians, and running an institute of post-graduate studies.

Its library, home to over 1 lakh books, consists of rare manuscripts contributed to it by the East India Company, as well as generous donations.

The Society offers Junior Fellowships for research and recommends scholars for the Tagore National Fellowship of the Ministry of Culture.

The Governor of Maharashtra is the Society’s Chief Patron.

It’s evolution:

It began journey in 1804 as the Literary Society of Bombay.

Founded by Sir James Mackintosh, a Scottish colonial administrator who had a keen interest in Oriental studies.

In 1826, it became the Mumbai arm of the London-based Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland and came to be called the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (BBRAS).

In 1954, the institution was severed from its London parent and became the Asiatic Society of Bombay. In 2002, it acquired its present name.

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