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14 Jan Current Affairs

eBkry portal

In News:

Union Finance Ministry has recently launched the eBkry e-auction portal.

Objective: To enable online auction by banks of attached assets transparently and cleanly for the improved realization of value.

Key features:

It is framework for promoting online auction of assets attached by the banks.

It is equipped with the property search features and contains navigational links to all PSBs e-auction sites.

The framework aims to provide single-window access to information on properties.

Commemorative stamps released on 150th celebrations of Kolkata Port Trust

In News:

On January 12, 2020, PM Modi attended the 150th celebrations of Kolkata Port Trust.

During the celebration, the prime minister launched commemorative stamps of the port trust.

Highlights:

During the celebrations, the PM also launched Rs 600 crore worth port development activities.

It includes upgrade of a ship repair facility upgraded railway infrastructure for the port and also river front development schemes. The river front development schemes cruise-based tourism, water parks, sea museums, aquariums. The GoI currently runs 150 cruise ships in the country.

The number is to be increased to 1000 and West Bengal is to play an active role in it.

At the event, Rs 501 crores were provided to as final instalment to retired employees to meet the deficit of pension.

The PM also inaugurated Pritilata Chhatra Avas and Kaushal Vikas Kendra for 200 tribal girls in the Sunderbans region.

The Kaushal Vikas Kendra are skill development centres for the youth of the country. They are established under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana.

Shyama Prasad Mukherjee:

During the event the Kolkata port trust was renamed as Shyama Prasad Mukherjee port. He was the founder of Bharatiya Jana Sangh.

He laid the stone for the development of Chittaranjan Locomotive Factory, Damodar Valley Corporation and Hindustan Aircraft Factory.

The Bharatiya Jana Sangh was the predecessor to Bharatiya Janata Party. Mukherjee strongly opposed Article 370.

LCA Tejas

In News:

On January 11, 2020, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Tejas successfully landed on INS Vikramaditya.

Details:

With this achievement, the LCA becomes the first aircraft to make an arrested landing on a naval ship.

Highlights:

The DRDO (Defence Research Development Organisation) made LCA became the first indogenously made aircraft to land on an aircraft carrier.

This makes India enter a select group of nations in the world to develop aircrafts that are capable of landing and taking off from an aircraft carrier deck, that is barely 200 metres wide.

The elite countries that hold this capability includes US, China, UK, Russia and France.

The regular LCA demands 1 km of run way to make its landing. However, recently developed naval variant is capable to make its landing in a far less landing space, 100 metres and take off space of 200 metres.

Indian Military Aircrafts:

Today, the Indian Air Force is operating Mirage-2000, HAL Tejas LCA, MIG 21, Sukhoi-30 MKI, MiG-27, SPECAT Jaguar and Rafale.

The Tejas LCA was developed by HAL in the 1980s by borrowing technologies from Russia, France and Russia. The plan was to replace the ageing Soviet Union sourced MiG-21.

The step is important for India to encounter Chinese increased presence in the Indian Ocean Region. This will also help India achieve its Defence target of Rs 35,000 crore by 2024.

Raisina Dialogue to be held New Delhi

In News:

The Raisina Dialogue is to be held between January 14, 2020 and January 16, 2020.

Details:

It is a multilateral conference that is held in New Delhi annually since 2016. The dialogue is organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and

Observer Research Foundation.

Highlights:

This year, in 2020, number of foreign ministers are to attend the dialogue. It includes ministers from Russia, Iran, Maldives, Morocco, Australia, Bhutan, Denmark, Czech Republic, Uzbekistan and Estonia.

Theme: 21@20: Navigating the Alpha Century

About the Dialogue:

Since its inception, it is considered as India’s flagship conference on geo-economics and geopolitics.

It aims at exploring opportunities of Asian integration. In 2016, the dialogue focused on Asia’s physical, human, economic and digital connectivity under the theme, “Asia : Regional and global connectivity”.

In the consecutive year, the conference aimed at linking Asia with the rest of the world. In 2017, the conference was held on the theme, “The New Normal: Multilateralism and Multipolarity”.

In 2018, the third dialogue was conducted under the theme, “Managing disruptive Transitions: Ideas, Institutions and Idioms”.

In 2019, the fourth conference was held under the theme, “New Geometrics, Fluid Partnerships, Uncertain Outcomes”.

It focused on an reorder of the political, economic and strategic solutions that aims at developing Asia.

Name of the conference:

The conference is named after, “Raisina Hills”, which is the seat of Government of India and Rashtrapati bhavan.

The dialogue was designed on the line of Shangri-La dialogue.

India attends Hormuz Peace Initiative

In News:

India recently attended the Hormuz Peace Initiative that was held in Tehran.

Details:

The initiative aimed at stabilizing one of world’s busiest shipping lanes, the Strait of Hormuz amidst US-Iran tensions.

It was attended by leading trade partners of Iran namely China, Oman, India and Afghanistan.

Highlights:

The countries that attended the initiative reviewed the “Hormuz Peace Endeavor” (HOPE) that was proposed by Tehran.

It was proposed by Iran at the UN General Assembly that was held in September 2019.

The meet was held to discuss tensions escalating in the Persian Gulf due to US-Iran tensions.

Strait of Hormuz:

Strait of Hormuz is the world’s most crucial choking points. Around two-thirds of India’s oil imports and half of LNG imports come through the strait.

Everyday around 18 million barrels of world oil pass through the strait. This accounts to one-third oi trade in the world. Also, one-third of world LNG pass through the strait. The Strait connects Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

It is also important to maintain peace and security in the region. This is because the ship traffic in the strait is high.

Traffic Separation System:

The Traffic Separation system is followed at Strait of Hormuz. It was ruled by International Maritime Organization.

The system is used to regulate traffic at the strait. It is used almost at all major straits in the world.

It includes Strait of Gibraltar, Strait of Malacca, etc. The system aims at preventing collisions between the ships at sea.

The rules of the system say that if a ship has to cross a traffic-lane, it should cross at right angle. The right angle is between the lane direction and keel direction.

GoI to launch Purvodaya to accelerate Eastern India Development

In News:

On January 10, 2020, the Ministry of Steel announced that it will launch “Purvodaya”, a world class steel hub.

Details:

The hub aims at an accelerated development programme of eastern states. The Ministry will be joined by CII (Confederation of India Industries) in the implementation of “Purvodaya”.

Highlights:

The initiative aims at developing the eastern states through an integrated steel hub.

The steel hub will create 2.5 million jobs in the region. It will create world-class logistics and infrastructure.

This will also help in achieving India’s steel policy target of 300 MT by 2030.

The Steel Hub:

The Steel Hub will develop steel clusters in the region. It will transfer the utilities and logistics infrastructure into socio-economic landscape.

So far, 12 major steel zone has been identified under the initiative in the region.

Why Eastern States?

The 5 Eastern states namely West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Northern Andhra Pradesh are extremely rich in coking coal, bauxite and dolomite reserves. The region also has major ports such as Haldia, Paradip, Kolkata and Vizag.

Therefore, setting up a steel hub in the region will help India achieve its 5 trillion-dollar economy target fast.

The region also has potential to add 75% of country’s incremental steel capacity.

Top Risks 2020

In News:

Eurasia Group has released its report titled “Top Risks 2020”.

The Eurasia Group is one of US’ most influential risk assessment companies.

Key findings:

Observations made on India:

India is one of the world’s top geopolitical risks for 2020. It is the 5th highest geopolitical risk.

PM Narendra Modi has spent much of his second term promoting controversial social policies at the expense of an economic agenda.

The impacts will be felt in 2020, with intensified communal and sectarian instability, as well as foreign policy and economic setbacks.

Modi has less room to manoeuvre on structural reforms, just as the economy is starting to sputter, with quarterly growth falling to a six-year low of 4.5% and forward-looking indicators looking softer still.

A weakened economy will in turn feed further economic nationalism and protectionism, weighing on India’s troubled course in 2020.

Global scenario:

US and its broken domestic politics is the “top” global geopolitical risk of this year.

There were risks of a US election that many will view as illegitimate, uncertainty in its aftermath, and a foreign policy environment made less stable by the resulting vacuum. Besides, a broken impeachment mechanism, questions of electoral illegitimacy, and a series of court challenges will make this the most volatile year of politics the US has experienced in generations.

The top risks include the technological “decoupling” between the US and China and the challenges that it poses to the world besides the enduring US-China tensions.

This will lead to “more explicit clash over security, influence and values.”

Countries and governments will push back more and more against multinational corporations, with tougher nationalism-based regulatory frameworks.

The EU may increasingly push back against the unilateralism displayed by the US and China.

Climate change will challenge companies and countries equally, creating conflicts between controlling emissions and bottomlines.

The Shia world may rise creating greater regional instability.

Turkey may be unravelling, which could be dangerous to others in the region. Latin American volatility and instability would be another source of risk.

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