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28th June Current Affairs

Pakistan to remain on FATF grey list

In News:

FATF has refused to take Pakistan out of the ‘Grey List’ yet again because it had failed to take appropriate action against UN-designated terrorists such as 26/11 accused Hafiz Saeed and JeM chief Masood Azhar.

Background:

Pakistan was put on the grey list by the Paris-based FATF in June 2018, and the country has been struggling to come out of it.

It has now completed 26 of the 27 action items given to it in 2018.

About FATF:

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7.

It is a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas.

The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.

Roles and functions:

Initially it was established to examine and develop measures to combat money laundering.

In October 2001, the FATF expanded its mandate to incorporate efforts to combat terrorist financing, in addition to money laundering.

In April 2012, it added efforts to counter the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Composition:

The FATF currently comprises 37 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organisations, representing most major financial centres in all parts of the globe. It also has observers and associate members.

What is a blacklist and grey list?

Black List: Countries known as Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) are put in the blacklist. These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities. The FATF revises the blacklist regularly, adding or deleting entries.

Grey List: Countries that are considered safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put in the FATF grey list. This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.

Considered in the grey list may face:

  • Economic sanctions from IMF, World Bank, ADB.
  • Problem in getting loans from IMF, World Bank, ADB and other countries.
  • Reduction in international trade.
  • International boycott.

Gujarat International Maritime Arbitration Centre (GIMAC)

In News:

The Gujarat Maritime University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Financial Services Centres Authority in GIFT City to promote the Gujarat International Maritime Arbitration Centre (GIMAC).

Details:

The GIMAC will be part of a maritime cluster that is being set up by the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) in GIFT City at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

Functions of GIMAC:

This will be the first centre of its kind in the country that will manage arbitration and mediation proceedings with disputes related to the maritime and shipping sector.

Why is the GIMAC being set up?

The idea is to create a world-class arbitration centre focused on maritime and shipping disputes that can help resolve commercial and financial conflicts between entities having operations in India.

There are over 35 arbitration centres in India but none of them exclusively deals with the maritime sector.

The arbitration involving Indian players is now heard at the Singapore Arbitration Centre.

What is GIFT City?

The Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) is a business district near Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India.

It is India’s first operational Greenfield smart city and international financial services centre, which the Government of Gujarat promoted as a Greenfield project.

The city is located on the banks of the Sabarmati River.

What are International Financial Services Centres (IFSC)?

An IFSC caters to customers outside the jurisdiction of the domestic economy.

Such centres deal with flows of finance, financial products and services across borders.

London, New York and Singapore can be counted as global financial centres.

Services an IFSC can provide:

  • Fund-raising services for individuals, corporations and governments.
  • Asset management and global portfolio diversification undertaken by pension funds, insurance companies and mutual funds.
  • Wealth management.
  • Global tax management and cross-border tax liability optimization, which provides a business opportunity for financial intermediaries, accountants and law firms.
  • Global and regional corporate treasury management operations that involve fund-raising, liquidity investment and management and asset-liability matching.
  • Risk management operations such as insurance and reinsurance.
  • Merger and acquisition activities among trans-national corporations.

Sant Kabir Das Jayanti

In News:

Kabirdas Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Sant Kabir Das is observed on Jyeshtha Purnima tithi. This year it was on June 24th.

About Kabir:

Sant Kabir Das was a very renowned saint, poet and social reformer of India who lived during the 15th century. His esteemed works and poems describe the greatness and oneness of the Supreme Being.

He was a proponent of the Bhakti Movement.

He did not believe in any religious discrimination and readily accepted all the religions.

A religious community known as ‘Kabir Panth’ was founded by him and the members of this forum are referred to as ‘Kabir Panthis’.

Swami Ramananda influence: Kabir Das’ ideologies were greatly influenced by Vaishnava saint Swami Ramananda who accepted Kabir as his disciple.

His famous literary works:

  • Bijak, Sakhi Granth, Kabir Granthawali and Anurag Sagar.
  • His verses are found in Sikhism’s scripture Guru Granth Sahib.
  • The major part of his work was collected by the fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjan Dev.

The hallmark of Sant Kabirdas’ work consists of his two line couplets, popularly known as ‘Kabir Ke Dohe’.

ED transfers assets worth 8,441.50 cr. to banks

In News:

The Enforcement Directorate has transferred assets worth ₹8,441.50 crore to public sector banks that suffered losses to the tune of ₹22,585.83 crore due to frauds committed allegedly by Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.

What’s the issue?

ED had taken up a money laundering probe which helped unearth a complex web of domestic and international transactions and stashing of assets abroad by the accused persons and their associates.

They had used dummy entities controlled by them for rotation and siphoning of the funds provided by the banks.

But, All three accused had fled overseas.

Prosecution complaints were filed against all the three accused after completion of the investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Present status of extradition:

The extradition of Mr. Mallya has been ordered by the Westminster Magistrates Court and confirmed by the U.K. High Court. The matter is pending with the U.K.’s Home Department for quite some time now.

The Westminster Magistrates Court had also ordered the extradition of Mr. Modi to India.

Mr. Choksi was recently found in Dominica.

About Enforcement Directorate:

The origin of this Directorate goes back to 1st May, 1956, when an ‘Enforcement Unit’ was formed, in the Department of Economic Affairs, for handling Exchange Control Laws violations under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 (FERA ’47).

In the year 1957, this Unit was renamed as ‘Enforcement Directorate’.

Presently, it is part of the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.

The Organization is mandated with the task of enforcing the provisions of two special fiscal laws – Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) and Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).

Composition:

Besides directly recruiting personnel, the Directorate also draws officers from different Investigating Agencies, viz., Customs & Central Excise, Income Tax, Police, etc. on deputation.

Other functions:

  • Processing cases of fugitive/s from India under Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.
  • Sponsor cases of preventive detention under Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974(COFEPOSA) in regard to contraventions of FEMA.

Special courts:

For the trial of an offence punishable under section 4 of PMLA, the Central Government (in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court), designates one or more Sessions Court as Special Court(s). The court is also called “PMLA Court”.

Any appeal against any order passed by PMLA court can directly be filed in the High Court for that jurisdiction.