21 November Current Affairs
November 21, 2019
23 November Current Affairs
November 23, 2019
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22 November Current Affairs

Surplus Distribution Policy Of The Reserve Bank Of India (RBI)

In News:

Union Finance Minister informed Lok Sabha that transfer of surplus reserves from the RBI to the government in future would depend on net income and other financial parameters of the RBI besides the recommendations of the expert committee on excess capital.


The surplus distribution policy of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is determined in accordance with Section 47 of the RBI Act, 1934.

Section 47 says that “after making provision for bad and doubtful debts, depreciation in assets, contributions to staff and superannuation funds and for all other matters for which provision is to be made by or under this Act or which are usually provided for by bankers, the balance of the profits shall be paid to the central government”.

The quantum of surplus transfer to the government in the coming years would depend on RBI’s net income, ‘required realised equity’ as a % of RBI’s balance sheet and ‘available realised equity’ as a % of RBI’s balance sheet in the coming years, and shall be governed by the legal provisions of the RBI Act, 1934 read with the recommendations of the committee as accepted by RBI.

Granting Permanent Commission To Women Officers

In News:

The Supreme Court said the armed forces should consider granting permanent commission to women officers who joined forces under the Short Service Commission (SSC) before March 2019.


The Army had notified permanent commission to women officers, who join the forces under SSC, after March 2019.

The Supreme Court has now asked the Centre to grant permanent commission to women officers with retrospective effect, i.e. to those serving under SSC before March 2019.

In the absence of implementation of policy in retrospective effect, women officers working for several years in the armed forces are unlikely to reap the benefits.

The government had already rolled out a policy in February 2019 granting permanent commission in ten branches of Army – Judge Advocate General, Army Education Corps, Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Army Air Defence, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordinance Corps and Intelligence.

National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC)

In News:

According to an internal study conducted by the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC), just one out of five persons — in the 15-30 years age bracket — entering the labour force is expected to be a female in the five years ending 2023.


National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) is a public-private-partnership working under the aegis of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship. Key findings of an internal study conducted by the NSDC are:

7 crore additional individuals in the working-age (15-59 years) are expected to enter the labour force by 2023, of which 84.3 % or 5.9 crore will be in the age group 15-30 years.

Only six states — Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka — are expected to account for 50 % (about 3 crore) of the new youth entrants (15-30 years) during 2019-23.

Just one out of five persons — in the 15-30 years age bracket — entering the labour force is expected to be a female in the five years ending 2023.

Many female candidates in the age group of 15-19 years may not be actively in the labour force, instead choosing to opt for higher education, and so, with the changing education pattern, female labour force participation rate should be watched closely for the 20-34 years age group.

Israeli settlements in the West Bank

In News:

The United States announced that it no longer thinks Israeli settlements in the West Bank violate international law. The new US view is different from that of most countries’ on this issue.


The West Bank is the name given to the territory that was captured by Jordan after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Israel snatched it back during the Six Day War of 1967, and has occupied it ever since.

The West Bank is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan to the east and by the Green Line separating it and Israel on the south, west and north. The West Bank also contains a significant section of the western Dead Sea shore.

Israeli settlements in West Bank:

Israel has built formal and informal settlements in the West Bank over the last 20-25 years. Over 4 lakh Israeli settlers now live here, along with some 26 lakh Palestinians.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the UN Security Council (UNSC), and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) have said that the West Bank settlements are violative of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Under the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), an occupying power “shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”.

Under the Rome Statute that set up the International Criminal Court in 1998, such transfers constitute war crimes, as does the “extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly”.

Under the Oslo Accords of the 1990s, both Israel and the Palestinians agreed that the status of settlements would be decided by negotiations. But the negotiations process has been all but dead for several years now.

Most of the world’s nations look at it as occupied territory.

Bubonic Plague

In News:

China reported a third case of bubonic plague after two other plague cases were revealed last week, but the disease remains rare despite its fearsome reputation and authorities say the cases appear unrelated.


Cause: Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, a zoonotic bacteria, usually found in small mammals and their fleas.

Transmission: It is transmitted between animals through fleas. Humans can be infected through:

  • the bite of infected vector fleas
  • unprotected contact with infectious bodily fluids or contaminated materials
  • the inhalation of respiratory droplets/small particles from a patient with pneumonic plague.

Two main forms of plague infection, depending on the route of infection are:

Bubonic plague is caused by the bite of an infected flea. Plague bacillus, Y. pestis, enters at the bite and travels to the nearest lymph node where it replicates itself. The lymph node then becomes inflamed, tense and painful, and is called a ‘bubo’. Human to human transmission of bubonic plague is rare.

Pneumonic plague, or lung-based plague, is the most virulent form of plague. Any person with pneumonic plague may transmit the disease via droplets to other humans.

Where is plague found? As an animal disease, plague is found in all continents, except Oceania. Since the 1990s, most human cases have occurred in Africa. The three most endemic countries are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, and Peru.

Treatment: Nowadays, plague is easily treated with antibiotics and the use of standard precautions to prevent acquiring infection.


Historically, plague was responsible for widespread pandemics with high mortality. It was known as the “Black Death” during the fourteenth century, causing more than 50 million deaths in Europe.

Between 2010 and 2015 there were 3,248 cases worldwide, leading to 584 deaths – a fatality rate of 18%, according to the World Health Organization.

Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2019 Awards

In News:

The Union Minister of Jal Shakti conferred the Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2019 awards to top ranked states, union territories, and districts in the various categories on the occasion of World Toilet Day. Tamil Nadu has been ranked first among the states.


The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS) had commissioned “Swachh Survekshan Grameen-2019” (SSG 2019) through an independent survey agency to develop ranking of all districts of India on the basis of sanitation parameters.

This ranking was done based on parameters including surveys of public places like schools, Anganwadis, PHCs, Haat/ Bazaars, Panchayat and citizen’s perception of Swachhata and their recommendations for improvement of the program and data from the SBM-G IMIS.

The top ranked States and Districts which received awards are:

Top 3 States – 1) Tamil Nadu, 2) Haryana, 3) Gujarat

Top 3 Districts – 1) Peddapalli, Telangana, 2) Faridabad, Haryana, 3) Rewari, Haryana

State with maximum citizen participation – 1) Uttar Pradesh

Following are the key findings of the SSG 2019 survey:

  • 5% of people surveyed were aware of SSG 2019;
  • 3% of respondents credited SBM-G for the substantial improvement in cleanliness level;
  • 83% of respondents reported sufficient arrangements in their village to manage liquid waste and
  • 1% citizens reported sufficient arrangements in their village to manage solid waste.

National Register of Citizens (NRC)

In News:

Union home minister Amit Shah has said that India shall soon introduce a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC).


Details of how such an exercise will be carried out are not yet known.

In the case of Assam, there was a cut-off date — March 25, 1971 — after which all foreigners as per the Assam Accord were to be “detected, deleted and expelled in accordance with law”.

Presumably, the Centre will come out with a cut-off for the nationwide NRC, but it will be an arbitrary one.

Why this is worrisome?

Assam’s example: This is an exercise fraught with risks, as the example of Assam shows. The process in the state has been mired in inaccuracies, with low but worrying odds of legal citizens being declared illegal residents in their own country.

Need of the hour:

Any such exercise demands a robust process that minimizes data infirmities.

This would mean a complete rehaul of the methods used in Assam.

Also, those who don’t make it to the list should get adequate legal recourse.

What is NRC?

The NRC is the list of Indian citizens and was prepared in 1951, following the census of 1951.

The process of NRC update was taken up in Assam as per a Supreme Court order in 2013.

In order to wean out cases of illegal migration from Bangladesh and other adjoining areas, NRC updation was carried out under The Citizenship Act, 1955, and according to rules framed in the Assam Accord.

Labour Code on Industrial Relations 2019

In News:

The Union cabinet has approved the Labour Code on Industrial Relations 2019.


The code will combine Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Trade Unions Act, 1926, and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.

Key features of the bill:

It seeks to allow companies to hire workers on fixed-term contract of any duration.

The code has retained the threshold on the worker count at 100 for prior government approval before retrenchment, but it has a provision for changing ‘such number of employees’ through notification.

It also provides setting up of a two-member tribunal (in place of one member) wherein important cases will be adjudicated jointly and the rest by a single member, resulting speedier disposal of cases.

It has vested powers with the government officers for adjudication of disputes involving penalty as fines.


While this means workers can be hired seasonally for six months or a year it also means that all workers will be treated at par with regular workers for benefits.


The industrial relations code is the third out of four labour codes that have got approval from the cabinet. The Labour Code on Wages has already been approved by Parliament in August while the Labour Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions has been referred to the standing committee of labour.