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08th August Current Affairs

YSR Cheyutha Scheme

In News:

The YSR Cheyutha Scheme is to be launched in Andhra Pradesh on August 12, 2020. It aims to empower women from minority castes.

Details:

The scheme will provide financial benefit of Rs 75,000 to those women who come under the age of 45 to 60 years. It aims at pension beneficiaries. The amount of Rs 75,000 is to be distributed in four equal installments of Rs 18,750 each per year. The amounts are to be transferred to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.

The State Government has allocated Rs 4,500 crores to implement the scheme. The AP Government will also launch the YSR Asara Scheme along with YSR Cheyutha Scheme

YSR Asara Scheme:

The scheme is to benefit 90 lakh women of self help group. Under the scheme, Rs 6,700 crores is to be distributed in one year.

Background:

The State Government of Andhra Pradesh recently decided to extend financial assistance of YSR Cheyutha to those availing social security pensions under the YSR Pension Kanuka. This will benefit more than 8.21 lakh women from SC, ST, BC and minority communities.

Along with the decision, the other following decisions were also made by the state government

  • The Cabinet along with the extension of YSR Cheyutha scheme also approved to form the State Sand Corporation. Also, the formation of AP Rayalseema Drought Mitigation Project Development Corporation was approved.
  • The sand corporation is to monitor and address the issues related to sand mining, transportation and sale.
  • The AP Rayalseema Drought Mitigation Project Development Corporation is to be set up at an estimated budget of Rs 40,000 crores.
  • The project will address the drought condition in the Rayalseema region taking up irrigation projects.
  • The State Government decided to bring in Fish Feed Quality Control Act. The act is first of its kind. The act will help monitor and check quality of aquaculture feed.
  • An ordinance is to be issued to this effect
  • Around 40 feed analysis labs are to be established in the state.
  • This is being launched to safeguard aquaculture as 60% of expenditure is spent on feed alone.
  • The cabinet had approved to invest Rs 5 crores on cattle grazing training centres that have been proposed in the districts of Anantapur and Kurnool.

 

RBI Monetary Policy: Bank keeps repo rate unchanged

In News:

The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of Reserve Bank of India held its meeting in New Delhi. The committee was headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das.

Details:

During the meet, the following key decisions were taken

  • The repo rate was kept the same at 4%
  • The reverse repo rate was kept at 3.35%
  • The members decided to provide Rs 10,000 crore additional liquidity facility to National Housing Bank (NHB), National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
  • In order to mitigate COVID-19 impact on households, loans against gold have been enhanced to 90% of the value as against the current 75%.
  • The lenders will be allowed to restructure loans of individual borrowers, corporate to ease COVID-19 impact.
  • The stressed MSME borrowers are now eligible to restructure the debt if their accounts were classified standard.

The RBI Governor announced the following about the current economic condition of the country

  • The economic growth of India is to contract in the first half of fiscal beginning.
  • The MPC of RBI has cut repo rate by 115 basis points in the last two meetings. In total, the policy rate has been reduced by 250 bps in February 2019.
  • In June, the retail inflation was 6.09%. This includes food items such as meat, cereals, fish and pulses.

Monetary Policy Committee:

The Monetary Policy Committee is constituted by the Government of India. It is tasked with framing policy by fixing bank rate, repo rate, reverse repo rate, cash reserve ratio. The committee is instituted by GoI under Section 45ZB of RBI act, 1934.

Composition:

There are six members in the committee. Of these, three are nominated by the Governor. The Governor is the chairman of the committee. The deputy Governor is also a member.

Members:

The members of the committee are appointed for a period of four years. They are not eligible for reappointment. They are selected by a Search-cum-Selection committee.

Ammonium Nitrate: The Beirut Explosion

In News:

A catastrophic blast occurred recently at the Lebanon capital, Beirut. The blast was driven by tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate that killed more than 135 people. Also, it injured more than 1000s.

Ammonium Nitrate:

Ammonium Nitrate is a white, crystalline chemical that is soluble in water. It is the main ingredient used to manufacture commercial explosives

India:

In India, the use of Ammonium Nitrate is defined by the Ammonium Nitrate Rules, 2012 under the Explosives Act, 1884. According to the rules, it is a compound that has more than 45% of ammonium nitrate by weight. This includes suspensions, emulsions, gels or melts excluding fertilizers, slurry explosives and non-explosive emulsion matrix.

The rules also make the storage of large quantities of ammonium nitrate illegal. In order to manufacture Ammonium Nitrate in India, industrial license is required under Industrial Development and Regulation Act, 1951.

United Nations Classification of Dangerous Goods:

Under the UN classification of dangerous goods, ammonium nitrate is classified as an oxidiser. However, it can be used as an explosive when mixed with other contaminants.

As an Explosive:

The Improvised Explosive Devices used by terrorists in the world contain Ammonium Nitrate Fuel Oil (ANFO). Ammonium Nitrate when used as with RDX or TNT can create catastrophic effects. In majority of terror attacks in India in places such as Varanasi, Pulwama, Pune, Malegaon, Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad, ammonium nitrate is used with the initiator RDX.

Ammonium Nitrate: Major Fire Hazard:

The explosion of ammonium nitrate can happen in two ways. One, when the stored chemical comes in contact and the other is due to fire that starts due to extensive oxidation process. The Beirut explosion is due to oxidation at large scale.

Previous Incidents:

In 1921, around 4,500 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate exploded in Oppau, Germany that killed 500 people. In 1947, around 2,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate detonated at Galveston Bay, Texas killing 581 people. In 2015, an explosion due to Ammonium nitrate killed 173 people in Tianjin port, China.

Japan marks 75 years of atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

In News:

Japan marks the 75th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bomb attack on the city of Hiroshima.

Details:

In 1945, the United States warplane Enola Gay dropped an atom bomb named “Little Boy” in the city of Hiroshima killing 140,000 people. Three days later, on August 9, the United States dropped another atom bomb “Fat Man” in Nagasaki that killed more than 40,000 people.

The survivors of the bomb are known as “Hibakushas”. The Hibakushas experienced long-term effects and elevated risks of thyroid cancer and leukemia.

Why the atom bomb?

The relations between Japan and the USA worsened after the end of World War II in 1945. This was mainly because, the Japanese forces decided to capture oil rich areas of the East Indies. Thus, US President Harry Truman authorised to drop the bomb to make Japan surrender in the war, which it did.

Why Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

The USA chose the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki targeting military production of the country. The main aim was to destroy ability of Japan to fight wars. Hiroshima was one of the army headquarters of Japan. Also, it was the largest military supply depot for troops and supplies.

Nagasaki, on the other hand was one of the largest seaports in southern Japan. It was of great wartime importance for its wide-ranging industrial activity in military equipment, production of ordnance, ships and other war materials.

Quebec Agreement:

The Agreement was signed in 1943 by the US and UK to pool their resources to develop nuclear weapons. The countries under the agreement also agreed that neither of the countries would use the nuclear weapons against each other.

First Nuclear Weapon Testing:

Before dropping the bomb in the cities of Japan, the US did test its nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapons were tested at the Trinity site on July 16, 1945. The testing was a part of the Manhattan Project

Manhattan Project:

The project was a Research and Development programme conducted by USA, UK and Canada. It was led by USA. The project aimed to develop first nuclear weapons to be used in world war II.