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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st November 2019

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  • November 21, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st November 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Economy

In News

  • The bill provides for unified authority for regulating all financial services in international financial services centres (IFSCs) in the country.
  • IFSC is a jurisdiction that provides financial services to resident and non-resident Indians in foreign currencies.
  • Currently, the banking, capital markets and insurance sectors in IFSC are regulated by multiple regulators, i.e. RBI, SEBI and IRDAI.
  • The dynamic nature of business in the IFSCs necessitates a high degree of inter-regulatory coordination.  It also requires clarifications and frequent amendments in the existing regulations governing financial activities in IFSCs.
  • The development of financial services and products in IFSCs would require focussed and dedicated regulatory interventions. Hence, a need for a unified financial regulator for IFSCs in India to provide world class regulatory environment to financial market participants.
  • Further, this would also be essential from an ease of doing business perspective. The unified authority would also provide the much needed impetus to further development of IFSC in India in-sync with the global best practices.
  • The Lok Sabha Secretariat has conveyed that this is a Finance Bill under Article 117(1) of the Constitution and that it should be introduced in Lok Sabha accordingly with the recommendation of the President under Article 117(1) and 274(1) of the Constitution

Do You Know?

  • London, New York and Singapore can be counted as global financial centres. Many emerging IFSCs around the world, such as Shanghai and Dubai, are aspiring to play a global role in the years to come
  • An expert panel headed by former World Bank economist Percy Mistry submitted a report on making Mumbai an international financial centre in 2007. 
  • However, the global financial crisis that unfolded in 2008 made countries including India cautious about rapidly opening up their financial sectors.
  • GIFT (Gujarat International Finance Tech-City), located in Gandhinagar is India’s first International Financial Services Centre.

Govt. to sell off its stake in BPCL, 4 others PSUs

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Economy

In News

  • The cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) has cleared one of the government’s largest asset-sale exercises involving five companies.
  • Government will sell its entire 53.29% stake in BPCLto a strategic buyer, ceding management control.A strategic investor will get access to BPCL’s refining capacity of 37 million tonnes per annum and around 15,000 retail outlets in the world’s third largest oil consuming nation
  • The proposed sale will, however, exclude the strategic Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) in Assam, which will be later sold to another state-run firm, given India’s need to secure fuel supplies for security forces in the north-east.
  • The government will also sell its entire 63.75% stake in the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) and will cede management control. 
  • Similarly, it will sell its 30.8% stake in the Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) and hand over management control. 
  • The government will sell its entire 74.23% stake in THDCIL and its 100% stake in the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation(Neepco) to NTPC Ltd. and also cede control.
  • The resources unlocked by the strategic disinvestment of these CPSEs would be used to finance the social sector/developmental programmes of the Government benefiting the public.
  • The government has set a disinvestment target of ₹1.05 lakh crore for FY-2019-20. However, it has managed to collect only ₹17,364.26 crore until November 18, 2019.

U.S. Senate passes Hong Kong rights Bill

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II – International Relations

In News

  • The U.S. Senate unanimously adopted legislation supporting “human rights and democracy” in Hong Kong and threatening to revoke its special economic status.
  • The Senate’s Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act would require the U.S. President to annually review the favourable trade status that Washington grants to Hong Kong.
  • It also mandates sanctions against Hong Kong and Chinese officials who commit human rights abuses including “extra-judicial rendition”.
  • The lawmakers also approved a measure that would ban the sale of tear gas, rubber bullets and other equipment that have been used by security forces to suppress protests for nearly six months.
  • China lodged a “strong protest” and demand that the U.S. prevent the Bill from becoming law.
  • The pro-democracy movement was ignited in June when millions took to streets in opposition to a now-abandoned attempt to allow extraditions from Hong Kong to the mainland.
  • The protests and resulting crackdowns have turned parts of Hong Kong into violent battlegrounds for weeks.

ICJ

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-III- International Affairs

In News

  • Myanmar’s civilian leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi will head up a delegation to the UN’s top court to defend a case accusing the mainly Buddhist country – Myanmar-  of genocide against Rohingya Muslims
  • West African nation Gambia is due to open its case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in December,2019 on behalf of the 57 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
  • The complaint accuses Myanmar of breaching the 1948 UN Genocide Convention through its brutal military campaign in 2017, which targeted the Rohingya in Rakhine state.

About ICJ

  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). 
  • Origin: It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946. 
  • HQ: The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands). Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York (United States of America). 

Reserve Bank supersedes DHFL board

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains III – Economy

In News

  • RBI has decided to supersede the board of troubled mortgage financier Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd. (DHFL) and said bankruptcy proceedings would be initiated against the company.
  • RBI said the action was taken due to governance concerns and default by the entity in meeting payment obligations.
  • This is the first instance of RBI superseding the board of a non-banking financial company.
  • DHFL could be the first financial services company to face insolvency proceedings at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) after the government issued a notification specifying the categories of financial service providers that can be taken up for resolution under the generic framework of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. 
  • Till now, financial services firms were kept out of bankruptcy proceedings.
  • DHFL, facing a cash crunch since last year after banks choked lending, has overall debt of ₹80,000 crore. Banks have exposure of ₹40,000 crore to the company.
  • While efforts were made by banks for resolution, the process hit a roadblock as markets regulator SEBI did not allow mutual funds having exposure to DHFL to be a part of the resolution plan

ISRO uses satellite data to gauge N. Korea’s 2017 nuclear test impact

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains III – Economy

In News

  • Scientists at ISRO have used a novel mathematical technique and analysed satellite images to estimate the strength of North Korea’s underground nuclear test of September 2017
  • In the normal course, the detection and estimation of nuclear device explosions is based on the reading of earthquake monitoring sensors. 
  • However, North Korea’s relative isolation has meant that there were no accessible seismic stations near the test site at Mount Mantap, to accurately gauge the intensity of the explosion
  • Those tests are considered the most powerful thermonuclear devices to have been exploded by the country.
  • The explosive yield estimated (245-271 kt) is about 17 times that of the Hiroshima explosion according to ISRO analysis.
  • Such information is also important for determining the type of bomb, and consequently, the degree of know-how the detonating country possesses.
  • For the analysis, researchers used images of the location after the explosion, sourced from the ALOS-2, a Japanese satellite, and Sentinel 1B, a European radar imaging satellite
  • These estimates, of a yield of 250 kiloton, are in line with an assessment on June, 2019 by U.S. scientists.Their approach, however, relied on studying the signature of sound waves from an explosion when it travels through rock at the test site, and how it affected sensors around the world.

(MAINS FOCUS)


SECURITY

TOPIC: General Studies 3:

  • Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

Context:

  • Consequent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement from the Red Fort, the proposed structure for the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) has been deliberated upon.
  • We should soon be seeing the first CDS take charge. 
  • The proposed charter of the CDS, his powers and status, etc, has been debated intensely.

Background:

  • Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) is a proposed position for the combined chief of the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy. 
  • The idea of creation of such a post goes back to as early Lord Mountbatten. General K. V. Krishna Rao advanced creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff in June 1982
  • Suggested in 1999 following the Kargil War through from Kargil Review Committee.
  • The official call was made public by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day speech on 15 August 2019 at Red Fort, New Delhi.

Need for CDS:

  • It is necessary to have a professional body of the highest standing to facilitate ‘jointmanship’ and render single-point military advice to the government on matters of national security

Importance:

  • Chief of Defence Staff is a critical position in today’s era of hybrid warfare, and will help increase jointmanship, tri-service effectiveness and overall combat capabilities of India.
  • It is speculated that whereas the Defense Secretary will be the main “defence” advisor, the CDS will assume the role of being the main “military” advisory, acting as the single-point military adviser to the government and Prime Minister.
  • Reconcile possible differences in service-specific opinions to enable the government to arrive at considered military decisions.
  •  India is the only large democracy which does not have a single point military advisor (all P5 countries having one)
  • Fostering inter-services jointness in terms of budgeting, equipment purchases, training, joint doctrines and planning of military operations-an imperative of modern warfare

Concerns:

  • The Chief of Defence Staff should not become another interposed level between the Raksha Mantri and the service chiefs, whose access to the minister should remain as prevalent.
  • There were also fears that such a post would be too powerful.

Conclusion:

  • The CDS cannot be a panacea for all problems faced by the defence establishment. However, an effective implementation of the blueprint of the plan by the panel will help Indian defence system to undergo much needed and long-waited reform.

Connecting the dots:

  • The recent decision to appoint a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) satisfies a long-standing demand of the strategic community in India. Critically analyze.

CITIZENSHIP

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

National Register of Citizens

Context:

  • The process to make a National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be carried out across India, as announced by the Home Minister, Mr.Amit Shah.
  • Whenever it is done, the exercise will be repeated in Assam as well.
  • All Indian citizens will be included irrespective of their religion.”
  • Home Minister also said that NRC and Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB)is different from NRC.

National Register of Citizens

  • It is the register containing names of Indian Citizens. 
  • It was prepared first in 1951 after the conduct of the Census of 1951.
  • It is used to identify who is a bona fide Indian citizen and those who fail to enlist in the register will be deemed illegal migrants.

Benefits of NRC:

  • Detection of illegal immigrants, inclusion will be a shield against harassment and a ticket to enjoying all the constitutional rights and safeguards and the benefits of government schemes.
  • To safeguard the indigenous population and civilization.
  • Illegal activities like terrorism, human trafficking, drug trafficking can be checked.
  • To safeguard Voting rights and properties such as land and house.

Controversies related to the National Register of Citizens (NRC):

  • Laborious process: Adding a person to NRC is complex procedure because of presenting many documents and layers of verification.
  • Document verification: “Family tree verification” has become difficult process for left out children.
  • Rejection of certificate: More than 40 lakh people are rejected for panchayat residency certificates.
  • Citizenship related: Failed to ensure legal clarity over the manner in which the claims of citizenship could be decided.
  • Role of Supreme Court: lack of monitoring process, inability to comprehend political and policy actions in case of loss of citizenship.
  • Huge population: Given the size of India’s population, implementation of the NRC will be a mammoth task and demands a detailed analysis.

Citizen Amendment Bill (CAB):

  • It envisages the grant of Indian citizenship to all refugees from minority communities in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • The CAB allegedly discriminates against Muslims, and is loaded against the right to equality and equal protection before the law as enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution
  • The CAB proposes to differentiate among immigrants on the basis of religion.
  • It proposes to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 by relaxing the eligibility rules for immigrants belonging to six minority (non-Muslim) religions, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, in getting Indian citizenship.

NRC in Assam again:

  • Along with the promised combination of the NRC and CAB, the Home Minister announced that the NRC process would “naturally” be conducted in Assam again with the rest of the country. 
  • However, the Assam proposal will be in defiance of the Supreme Court, which directed the entire NRC registration specific to Assam. 
  • There is still no clarity on what the end results mean for the 19 lakh plus people who find themselves outside the NRC, stateless and at risk of “deportation” to Bangladesh, which refuses to acknowledge and accept them. 
  • The recent NRC exercise, overseen by the Supreme Court, involved the active participation of the Central and State governments. 
  • For the government to repeat the exercise merely because the numbers thrown up are politically inconvenient for the central government makes no sense at all. 

CAB controversy in Northeast:

  • Influential socio-political groups and several political parties in the Northeast are against the CAB and are holding continuous protest demonstrations against it. 
  • Their argument is that CAB runs contrary to the NRC.
  • In Assam, if the NRC Bill is passed, the immediate implication will be that the Hindus excluded from the NRC would be eligible for citizenship via certain criteria,The Muslims would be treated as foreigners. 
  • Such a situation would render the current NRC meaningless.

Why is central government unhappy with the current NRC in Assam?

  • According to the central government, the current NRC could not be accepted by the state government because it has included people who should not have been included.
  • On the contrary excluded ‘genuine’ Indian citizens.

Connecting the dots:

  • A nationwide extension of NRC is bizarre, and a repeat of it in Assam illogical. Analyse

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note: 

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1) Consider the following statements about International Court of Justice (ICJ)

  1. It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946.
  2. The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands)

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.2) Consider the following statementsabout National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT)

  1. It is a statutory body established under section 408 of the Companies Act, 2013.
  2. The NCLT shall have powers and jurisdiction of the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR), the Appellate Authority for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (AAIFR), Company Law Board, High Courts relating to compromises, arrangements, mergers, amalgamations and reconstruction of companies etc.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.3) Consider the following statements

  1. The U.S. Senate unanimously adopted legislation supporting “human rights and democracy” in Hong Kong and threatening to revoke its special economic status
  2. The pro-democracy movement was ignited in June 2019 when millions took to streets in opposition to a now-abandoned attempt to pass a law which criminalises dissent media opinions against Chinese Communist Party.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.4) Consider the following statements about International Financial Services Centre (IFSC)

  1. IFSC is a jurisdiction that provides financial services to only resident Indians in foreign currencies.
  2. GIFT (Gujarat International Finance Tech-City), located in Gandhinagar is India’s first International Financial Services Centre.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.5) Consider the following statements 

  1. Recently, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has cleared one of the government’s largest asset-sale exercises involving five Public Sector Enterprises. 
  2. The resources unlocked by the strategic disinvestment of these CPSEs would be used to exclusively to fund ISRO’s Human Flight Programme.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

ANSWERS FOR 20 Nov 2019 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 B
3 A
4 A

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