Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - October 22, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Anti-Tank Guided Missiles

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Context

The indigenously developed laser-guided version of the Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) was successfully test fired by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on two separate occasions recently and will undergo more validation tests in coming days before it is ready for the user trials.

Background

  • The development of ammunition that can pierce the armours of tanks and the material that can withstand such ammo has been an ongoing race since World War I.
  • But it wasn’t until the next World War that armies across the world began to use the ATGMs, missile systems that can strike and neutralise armoured vehicles such as tanks.
  • While Indian Army mainly uses various imported anti-tank guided missiles, the DRDO has been working on ATGMs that can be launched from different platforms as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.

Highlights

  • The indigenously developed low weight, fire and forget Man Portable Anti Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) was successfully in September last year.
  • In February 2018, ATGM Nag was successfully tested in desert conditions.
  • All these systems, which are mainly used by infantry units of the Army, are in their various stages of development.
  • In the meantime, the government said in December 2019 that it has procured Anti-Tank Spike Missiles from Israel along with the allied systems to meet operational requirements of the Indian Army.

Source: Indian Express.

First-ever SCO Startup Forum to be launched on 27th October, boost for ‘Startup India’

Focus: GS3.

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

Context

  • The first-ever SCO Startup Forum will be launched on 27th October 2020 ahead of the SCO trade ministers meeting on 28th October.
  • The forum will lay the foundation for multilateral cooperation and engagement among the SCO Member States to develop and hone their startup ecosystems, collectively.

Background

  • Innovation and Startups will be the key focus area of SCO Heads of Government meeting on 30th November 2020 to be hosted by India.
  • The Forum shall identify areas of cooperation by launching multiple entrepreneurial activities like startup showcases through a dedicated virtual platform, mobilizing capital for startups, sharing of best practices, procuring social innovations, multilateral incubator programs and knowledge exchange workshops etc.

Highlights

  • It will aid to understand the cultural and economic features of the startup ecosystem in the SCO Member States.
  • In the run up to the launch of SCO Startup Forum, a virtual SCO preparatory Seminar and a workshop were also organized by India.Around 40 Indian Missions roped in to further augment Startup India efforts.
  • India is currently the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world with over 35,000 startups, close to 25% of which are core technology startups operating in areas of AI, Robotics, Cloud Computing, IoT, Digital Health, Financial & Education Technology.
  • The ‘Startup India’ has launched 10 bilateral bridges since its inception and has helped many technology-based startups to expand their businesses to global markets.
  • Government has roped in around 40 Indian missions to further augment the efforts undertaken by the ‘Startup India’ program by exploiting the opportunities across the geographies.
  • As part of planned SCO ministerial meetings in the run up to SCO Heads of Government meeting, Ministers of Law and Justice of SCO member states have met where they acknowledged the need for cooperation in alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
  • In the view of the coronavirus pandemic, they emphasized the high relevance of mutual exchange of legal information on counteraction to the spread of the pandemic. 

Source: AIR News.

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Australia to join Malabar-2020 Naval Exercise with India, US & Japan

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.


Context

India has invited Australia to participate in its trilateral naval exercise “Malabar-2020” which is scheduled to be held in November 2020, in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. 

About the exercise

  • In 2020, the exercise will be held in a ‘non-contact – at sea’ format.
  • It aims to increase cooperation and enhance safety and security in the maritime security domain.
  • The Malabar series of naval exercises began in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between the Indian Navy-US Navy. 
  • Later, Japan joined the Naval exercise in 2015. 
  • It must be remembered that US-India-Japan and Australia are already the part of the “Quad” alliance.
  • The participants of Exercise Malabar 2020 are engaging to enhance safety and security in the maritime domain.
  • They collectively support free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and remain committed to a rules based international order.

Source: PIB.

IFSCA introduces Framework for Regulatory Sandboxto tap into innovative FinTech solutions

Focus: GS3.

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


Context

The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA), with an objective to develop a world class FinTech hub at the IFSC located at GIFT City in Gandhinagar (Gujarat, India), endeavours to encourage the promotion of financial technologies (‘FinTech’) initiatives in financial products and financial services across the spectrum of banking, insurance, securities and fund management.

Background

  • As a step towards attaining this vision, IFSCA has introduced a framework for “Regulatory Sandbox”.
  • Under this Sandbox framework, entities operating in the capital market, banking, insurance and financial services space shall be granted certain facilities and flexibilities to experiment with innovative FinTech solutions in a live environment with a limited set of real customers for a limited time frame.
  • These features shall be fortified with necessary safeguards for investor protection and risk mitigation.
  • The Regulatory Sandbox shall operate within the IFSC located at GIFT City.

Highlights

  • All entities (regulated as well as unregulated) operating in the capital market, banking, insurance and pension sectors as well as individuals and startups from India and FATF compliant jurisdictions, shall be eligible for participation in the Regulatory Sandbox.
  • Entities desirous of participating in the sandbox to showcase their innovative FinTech solutions, concepts and business models shall apply to IFSCA.
  • IFSCA shall assess the applications and extend suitable regulatory relaxations to commence limited purpose testing in the Sandbox.
  • The details on the eligibility criteria, the application and approval process and other operational aspects of the Sandbox have been provided in the circular.
  • As an additional steps towards creating an innovation-centric ecosystem in the IFSC, IFSCA has proposed the creation of an “Innovation Sandbox”, which will be a testing environment where FinTech firms can test their solutions in isolation from the live market, based on market related data made available by the Market Infrastructure Institutions (MIIs) operating in the IFSC.
  • The Innovation Sandbox will be managed and facilitated by the MIIs operating within the IFSC.

Source: PIB.

Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman holds 4th review meeting on CAPEX of CPSEs

Focus: GS3.

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


Context

  • Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman held Video Conference with Secretaries of the Ministries of Petroleum & Natural Gas and M/o Coal, along with the CMDs of 14 CPSEs belonging to these Ministries, to review the capital expenditure (CAPEX) in this financial year.
  • This was 4th in the ongoing series of meetings that the Finance Minister is having with various stakeholders to accelerate the economic growth in the background of COVID–19 pandemic.

Background

  • In FY 2019-20, against the CAPEX target of Rs. 1,11,672 crore for these 14 CPSEs, the achievement was Rs. 1,16,323 crore i.e. 104%.
  • FY 2019-20, H1 achievement was Rs. 43,097 crore (39%) and achievement of FY 2020-21, H1 is Rs. 37,423 crore (32%). CAPEX target for 2020-21 is Rs. 1,15,934 crore.
  • CAPEX by CPSEs is a critical driver of economic growth and need to be scaled up for the FYs 2020-21 & 2021-22. 

Highlights

  • The Finance Minister asked the concerned Secretaries to closely monitor the performance of CPSEs in order to ensure the capital expenditure to the tune of 75% of the capital outlay by the end of Q3 of FY 2020-21 and make appropriate plan for it.
  • Sitharaman expounded that more co-ordinated efforts are required at the levels of Secretary of concerned Ministries and CMDs of CPSEs to achieve CAPEX targets.
  • While mentioning the significant role of CPSEs in giving a push to the growth of the Indian economy, the Finance Minister encouraged the CPSEs to perform better to achieve their targets and to ensure that the capital outlay for FY 2020-21 is spent properly and within time.
  • Sitharaman said that better performance of CPSEs can help the economy in a big way to recover from the impact of COVID-19.
  • The CPSEs CAPEX review is carried out jointly by Department of Economic Affairs and Department of Public Enterprises.

Source: PIB.

India's first multi-modal logistics park to come up in Assam

Focus: GS3.

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


Context

  • Union Minister Nitin Gadkari will lay the foundation stone for India's first multi-modal logistics park in Assam.
  • The multi-modal logistics park will be constructed at an estimated cost of ₹694 crore, an official statement said.

Background

"Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari will virtually lay the foundation stone for the first-ever multi-modal logistic park in Assam tomorrow," the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said in the statement.

About the park

  • The multi-modal logistic park will be developed under the ambitious Bharatmala Pariyojna.
  • The ₹693.97 crore park will provide direct connectivity through air, road, rail and waterways to the people.

Source: AIR News.

5th General Council meeting of Indian Academy of Highway Engineers held

Focus: GS3.                                

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


Context

  • 5th General Council meeting of Indian Academy of Highway Engineers (IAHE) was held through video conferencing under the chairmanship of Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari.
  • The meeting was attended by MoS-RT&H Gen (Retd) Dr V K Singh, Secretary-RT&H, DG (RD) & SS and members of the Governing Council.

Background

  • Created in 1983, IAHE has been providing training at entry level/refresher courses/ training on specialised areas of highway, bridge & tunnel engineering/ orientation programmes/management development programmes/strategic training programmes etc. to highway engineers and professionals working in Central Government, State Governments, PSUs, Local Bodies, Contractors, Consultants etc.
  • The need was however felt to considerably expand and improve the activities of IAHE to better contribute to highway development programmes.

Highlights

  • Accordingly, Ministry constituted a committee under the chairmanship Shri Y. S. Malik, former Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) to give recommendations to transform IAHE into a world-class premier institute in the highway sector.
  • The council deliberated the recommendations of the Committee to enhance the scope of the IAHE to three distinct functions, namely (i) Training, (ii) Applied Research and Development in the Highways and Public Transport Sector, and (iii) Road Safety and Regulation and decided to take further necessary action to transform IAHE into a world-class premier institute in the highway sector.

Source: PIB.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about District Development Councils:
  • The District Development Councils (DDCs) are set to become a new unit of governance in Jammu and Kashmir. 
  • This structure will include a DDC and a District Planning Committee (DPC).
  • Their key feature, however, is that the DDCs will have elected representatives from each district.

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. Ayushman Sahakar scheme is under the ministry of:

    A. Social Justice
    B. Agriculture
    C. PMO
    D. NITI Aayog

Solution: B

 

 

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