Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - September 04, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

RBI’s Monetary Policy

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


Context

Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced a host of steps, including term repo operations totalling Rs. 1 lakh crore in mid-September to ease pressure on the liquidity and maintain congenial financial conditions with a view to ensuring sustainable recovery of economic growth.

Background

  • The Central Bank stated that it stands ready to conduct market operations as required through a variety of instruments so as to ensure orderly market functioning. 
  • It mentioned that that recently market sentiment has been impacted by concerns relating to the inflation outlook and the fiscal situation amidst global developments that have firmed up yields abroad.

About the Announcements

  • As part of the measures to ‘foster orderly market conditions’, the RBI will conduct term repo operations for an aggregate amount of Rs 1,00,000 crore at floating rates (at the prevailing repo rate) in the middle of September to assuage pressures on the market on account of advance tax outflows.
  • In order to reduce the cost of funds, banks that had availed of funds under long-term repo operations (LTROs) may exercise an option of reversing these transactions before maturity.
  • RBI will conduct additional special open market operations involving the simultaneous purchase and sale of government securities for an aggregate amount of Rs 20,000 crore in two tranches of Rs 10,000 crore each.
  • The auctions would be conducted on September 10, 2020, and September 17, 2020.

Source: AIR News.

Coal India to invest over Rs 1.22 lakh cr on 500 projects by 2023-24

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.


Context

  • Coal India Ltd (CIL) will invest over 1.22 lakh crore rupees on development of nearly 500 projects related to coal evacuation, infrastructure, project development, exploration and clean coal technologies in the country.
  • The investments aim at making India self-reliant in terms of coal and achieve the production target of 1 billion tonnes by 2023-2024.
Background
  • Addressing a stakeholder’s meet organized by CIL, Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi said involvement of all concerned stakeholders in company’s affairs will reduce and uncover the project risks.
  • He informed that the national miner, CIL, will be investing around 14 thousand 200 crore rupees over the next 3 to 4 years, in two phases for its 49 First Mile Connectivity projects.

About the Highlights

  • First Mile Connectivity is the transportation of coal from pitheads to dispatch points.
  • Computer-aided loading technology of coal is being developed to replace the existing methodology of transportation via road.
  • Coal India has also identified 15 greenfield projects which will be operated under the Mine Developer and Operator (MDO) model.
  • Overall nearly 34 thousand 600 crore rupees will be invested through this route.
  • In the meeting, Coal India also announced an array of measures for relaxations and exemptions for greater participation of its stakeholders.
  • The experience criteria has been brought down from 65 per cent to 50 per cent for mining tenders, while work experience criteria are relaxed by 50 per cent in turnkey contracts.

Source: AIR News.

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Health assistant Robot Rakshak

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


Context

  • In the series Atmanirbhar Bharat , AIR brings you a special story on Robot Rakshak.
  • In the fight against the spread of Covid 19 pandemic, the Railways has designed a health assistant Robot Rakshak which can remotely communicate between doctor and patient.

About the Robot

  • The medical aid robot is able to measure health parameters such as temperature, pulse, oxygen percentage.
  • It can also provide medicines, food to the patients and make a two-way video communication between the doctor and the patient.
  • It can move in all directions at all levels with a range of remote operations up to 150 meters.
  • With a full charge battery, the Rakshak robot can work continuously for 6 hours and can carry up to 10 kg of weight in its tray.
  • It is based on Wi-Fi and therefore does not require any mobile data.
  • It also operates with an Android mobile application. 

Source: AIR News.

Australia-India-Japan Ministers’ meeting on Supply Chains Resilience

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests.


Context

India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Shri Piyush Goyal, Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator Mr Simon Birmingham, and Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Mr Kajiyama Hiroshi held a ministerial videoconference.

Background

  • The Ministers reaffirmed their determination to take a lead in delivering a free, fair, inclusive, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment and in keeping their markets open.
  • In light of the COVID-19 crisis and the recent global-scale changes in the economic and technological landscape, the Ministers underscored the necessity and potential to enhance the resiliency of supply chains in the Indo-Pacific region.

About the Highlights

  • Recognizing the pressing need for regional cooperation on supply chain resilience in the Indo- Pacific, the Ministers shared their intention to work toward the launch of a new initiative to achieve the objective through cooperation.
  • The diversification of supply chain is critical for managing the risks associated with supply of inputs including disciplining price volatility. 
  • The initiative also dwells on improving the competitiveness of sectors.
  • During 2019, the cumulative GDP was $ 9.3 trillion while cumulative merchandise goods and services trade were $ 2.7 trillion and $0.9 trillion respectively.

Source: PIB.

Govt. gives nod to 27 integrated cold chain development projects under PM Kisan SAMPADA Yojana

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.


Context

  • Government gave its nod to 27 projects under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana for development of integrated cold chains and value addition infrastructure in the country.
  • The new integrated cold chain projects will generate direct and indirect employment for over 16,000 people and benefit nearly 2,57,000 farmers.
Background

Union Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal said, saving the perishable produce, by provisioning adequate infrastructure, will help in augmenting farmers’ incomes and will also act towards making India self-reliant in the fruits and vegetables sector.

About the Highlights

  • She added that the projects will help in streamlining the agricultural supply chain and generate direct and indirect employment opportunities in rural areas.
  • These 27 new projects will leverage a total investment of Rs 743 crore for the creation of modern, innovative infrastructure and effective cold chain facilities for the food processing sector across various states including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. 
  • 85 Cold Chain Projects have also been considered for financial assistance under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana.

Source: PIB.

IIT Bombay students develop AIR Scanner, an Indian alternative to Camscanner

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


Context

  • Giving a push to the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ call by the Prime Minister, IIT Bombay has launched an alternative to Camscanner, a Chinese app mainly used for scanning documents that was banned by the Government of India.
  • The new app launched by IIT Bombay students is called as AIR SCANNER and is available free of cost.

About the Highlights

  • IIT Bombay has developed an indigenous alternative to Chinese document-scanning app, following the Centre's decision to ban 59 mobile apps.
  • AIR Scanner was launched on Independence Day, 15th August 2020.

Source: AIR News.

Indian Power Market Goes Green

Focus: GS3.                                 

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


Context

  • As a first step towards Greening the Indian short term power Market launched pan-India Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM) in electricity through video conference in New Delhi, the 1st September 2020.
  • The introduction of GTAM platform would lessen the burden on RE-rich States and incentivize them to develop RE capacity beyond their own RPO.

Background

  • GTAM platform will lead to increase in number of participants in renewable energy sector.
  • It will benefit buyers of RE through competitive prices and transparent and flexible procurement.
  • It will also benefit RE sellers by providing access to pan- India market.

About the Highlights

  • The Government of India’s target of 175 GW RE Capacity by 2022 is driving accelerated renewable penetration pan-India.
  • Green Term Ahead Market contracts will allow additional avenues to the RE generators for sale of renewable energy; enable Obligated entities to procure renewable power at competitive prices to meet their Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO); and provide a platform to environmentally conscious open access consumers and utilities to buy green power.
  • Transactions through GTAM will be bilateral in nature with clear identification of corresponding buyers and sellers, there will not be any difficulty in accounting for RPO.
  • Ø  GTAM contracts will be segregated into Solar RPO & Non-Solar RPO as RPO targets are also segregated.
  • Further, within the two segments GTAM contracts will have Green Intraday, Day Ahead Contingency, Daily and Weekly Contracts.

Source: The Hindu.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. Consider the following statements wrt US-India Strategic Partnership Forum:
  1. The US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) is a non-profit organization that works for the partnership between India and the U.S.
  2. The Theme of the 5 day Summit that began on the 31st of August is “US-India Navigating New Challenges”.
  3. The theme covers various subjects such as India’s potential in becoming a Global Manufacturing Hub, Opportunities in India’s Gas Market, Ease of Doing Business to attract FDI in India, Common Opportunities & Challenges in Tech Space, Indo-Pacific Economic issues etc.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

      A. 1 and 2 only
      B. 2 and 3 only
      C. 1 and 3 only
      D. AOTA

Solution: D

  1. Crete Island is in:

      A. Pacific Ocean
      B. Mediterranean Sea
      C. Indian Ocean
      D. South China Sea

Solution: B

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