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Decoding the News of Use – Art of Reading Newspaper
June 15, 2020
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15 June Current Affairs

Forex Reserves of India are rising

In News:

The Forex Reserves of India are increasing and are to hit 500 billion USD soon. In May 2020, the Indian Forex Reserves touched an all time high of 493 billion USD.

What is Foreign Exchange Reserve?

The Foreign Exchange Reserves are the reserve assets that are held by the central bank in foreign currencies. It is used to back the liabilities faced by a currency due to the influence of monetary policy.

Why are the Forex Reserves rising?

The Forex Reserves of India are increasing mainly due to fall in crude oil prices. Also, the rise is because of the increase in investment in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPI).

Significance:

The Forex Reserves are held by the GoI to maintain liquidity in the country. It also helps to absorb shocks where access to borrowing is curtailed. The Forex Reserves are an important component of Balance of Payment and also an essential element to analyze the external position of the economy.

Components of Foreign Reserves of India:

The Foreign Exchange Reserve of India comprises of the following:

SDR (Special Drawing Rights) in International Monetary Fund. The SDR is the reserve Currency with IMF

Gold:

RTP: RTP is Reserve Tranche Position in International Monetary Fund. It is the reserve capital with International Monetary Fund.

Asiatic Lion population increased

In News:

PM Modi on Twitter announced about the increase in population of Asiatic Lions.

Details:

The Asiatic Lion population has increased by 29%. It was 523 in 2015 and has increased to 674 in 2020. India has recorded 36% increase in distribution area of lions. It was 22,000 square kilo metres in 2015. In 2020, the spread increased to 30,000 square kilo metres. The Asiatic Lions are currently in the protected areas of agro-pastoral landscape of Saurashtra, Gujarat.

How did the population increase?

The Asiatic Lion population increased steadily due to the following reasons:

  • Community Participation
  • Emphasis on Technology
  • Proper Habitat Management
  • Wildlife Healthcare
  • Steps that minimize human-lion conflicts.

Asiatic Lions:

The Asiatic Lion is listed under Endangered in IUCN red list. This is mainly because of their small population size and area of occupancy.

The Asiatic Lions are found in western and middle Asia. In India there were found in the region between the Indus river in the west, till Bengal in the east and till Narmada river in the south. Today they are restricted to Gir Forest National Park.

In India, the Asiatic Lions are listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Coral Triangle Initiative

In News:

The Initiative is a multilateral partnership of six countries namely Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste. The Coral Triangle Initiative is also called the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF). It is a multilateral partnership of six countries that are working to sustain marine and coastal resources and address issued such as food security.

Details:

The Coral Triangle Day is not only celebrated in these six countries. It is also celebrated in several other countries that are influenced by this region. It is an open source event that brings together organizations, individuals and establishments.

Coral Triangle:

The Coral Triangle is the world epicentre of marine diversity that is spread across the above six countries. The region is important as it consists of 76% of coral species, 37% of coral reef fish and 53% of world coral reef. It is one of the three mega complexes on the Earth.

Mega Complexes of the Earth:

Along with the Coral Triangle, the other two Mega Complexes of the earth includes Amazon rain forest and Congo Basin.

Operation Desert Chase

In News:

The Rajasthan Police recently arrested two civil defence employees in Jaipur based on Military Intelligence inputs. They were arrested upon the input that they were passing sensitive information to Pakistan spy agency ISI (Inter Service Intelligence). The information was passed under Operation Desert Chase.

Operation Desert Chase:

The Operation is an anti-espionage operation that was started by the Military Intelligence in 2019. The men were arrested under Official Secrets Act, 1923.

Official Secrets Act:

The act condemns actions that involve helping an enemy state against India. The Home Ministry in 2017 has submitted a report on amending the act. The report intends to make the act more transparent and in line with RTI act (Right to Information Act, 2005).

The other countries that use Official Secrets Act includes Hong Kong, UK, Myanmar, Singapore and Malaysia. The act was in practice in New Zealand and Canada.

ISI:

According to the Indian Government, the Inter-Service Intelligence of Pakistan involves planning and carrying out terrorist attacks against people of India. It was created after the Indo-Pakistani war of 1947. The ISI was given the duty to make Jammu and Kashmir a part of Pakistan. Also, Operation Tupac was started

Operation Tupac:

The Operation Tupac is a military intelligence run by ISI of Pakistan. The operation has three parts namely:

  • Disintegrate India
  • Exploit porous borders with Nepal and Bangladesh and set up bases
  • Tu utilize spy networks to act as instrument of sabotage

Panchvati Yojana launched

In News:

The Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur recently launched the Panchvati Yojana for senior citizens in the rural areas of the state. Around 100 parks are to be developed in the state under the scheme. The scheme aims to help the senior citizens spend their leisure time in these gardens and parks.

Key Features:

The following are to be achieved by the State Government of Himachal Pradesh under the scheme

  • The Gardens and parks are to be developed along with Swachh Bharat Mission, MGNREGA. At least 1 bigha of land is to be used to achieve this. Bigha is a traditional unit used to measure land.
  • The state government is to grow medicinal and ayurvedic plants in the land allocated. Also, recreational equipment and walking tracks are to be provided.
  • The park is to have 500 to 1000 metres of concrete trek. The Women SHGs are to be allowed to sell their products in the park.

Measures under the scheme:

The scheme is to be implemented with the help of local labourers that will receive wages under MGNREGA. The GoI has been boosting MGNREGA scheme by allocating huge funds. This is done to help migrant workers with employment.

SAUNI Scheme: Third Phase launched

In News:

The third phase of Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation (SAUNI) scheme was launched by the Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. The scheme is to fill 115 dams with Narmada water by August 15, 2020 and March, 2021.

Key Features:

The first phase of SAUNI scheme was launched in 2016 by PM Modi at Aji-3 dam. The second phase of the scheme includes 541 km of pipeline works to fill 57 reservoirs by August 2020. The third phase includes 42 dam reservoirs that are to be filled through 457 km of pipelines and is estimated to be completed by March 2021.

Sauni Yojana:

The Sauni Yojana was launched to divert the excess over flowing flood waters of Narmada that were allocated to Saurashtra region. It is basically a linking project under which the waters are to be filled in irrigation dams that already has a good canal network.

Narmada River:

The river is also called Rewa. It is also known as the “Life Line of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh”. It begins its journey from the Amarkantak Plateau located near Anuppur district of Madhya Pradesh. Narmada flows between Vindhya and Satpura ranges.

Enhanced Import Duty on Bamboo Sticks

In News:

The Government of India had recently announced that the import duty on bamboo sticks is to be increased from 10% to 25%. This is to have great impact on Agarbatti industry creating at least 1 lakh new jobs according to KVIC (Khadi and Village Industries Commission).

Background:

The decision of enhancing the import duty was taken by the Ministry of Finance to discourage heavy import and help local industries grow. This has great importance as the import of bamboo sticks from Vietnam and China caused huge employment losses in India.

Steps taken:

In 2019, the Ministry of Commerce placed import of raw Agarbatti under “Restricted” category. This restriction revived 100s of Agarbatti units in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. The restriction also resulted in the increase of import of bamboo sticks from Rs 210 crores in 2018-19 to Rs 370 crores in 2019-20.

Bamboo:

India produces 14.6 million tonnes of bamboo every year. Around 70,000 farmers are engaged in bamboo plantation. Thus, enhancing import duty will help to boost bamboo production and also help industries that are dependent on bamboo. The KVIC will also launch bamboo plantation drive to make India self-sufficient and meet growing demands of bamboo in 3 to 4 years.

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