Daily Current Affairs and GK | 9 October 2020

2020-10-09

 

1. ‘Natural gas marketing reforms’ approved by Cabinet

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister approved the ‘Natural Gas Marketing Reforms’.
  • The policy's objective is to provide transparency in Natural Gas sales by a standardised e-bidding process for discovering the price of the Natural Gas sold in the market by gas producers.
  • It will bring uniformity across the contract bidding process and provide ease of doing business.
  • It has also permitted Affiliate companies to participate in the bidding process, which will result in increased competition
  • It will provide marketing freedom to the Field Development Plans (FDPs) of those blocks whose Production Sharing Contracts already provided them pricing freedom.
  • The government has implemented some major reforms in the upstream sector and brought a paradigm shift by focusing on production maximization.
  • The reforms in the Gas sector has brought an investment of more than Rs. 70,000 crore on the East Coast.
  • It will foster the Ease of doing business in the natural gas sector. This will help in moving towards a gas-based economy.
  • These reforms in the gas sector will encourage the economic activities of the following areas:
    • Increased transparency in the ecosystem of policies related to production, infrastructure, and marketing of natural gas.
    • Investments in the domestic production of natural gas will increase, and it will reduce dependency on imports.
    • The gas-based economy will receive a boost.
    • It will create employment opportunities in the gas-consuming sectors, including MSMEs
    • Gas Distribution and related industries will receive more investment.
  • Natural gas:
    • It is colourless.
    • It is highly flammable gaseous hydrocarbon.
    • It consists primarily of methane and ethane.
    • The largest component of natural gas is methane.
    • It is formed deep beneath the earth's surface.

 

2. API Integration of PM SVANidhi & SBI portal to ease the processing of loan applications

  • Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has launched the Application Programming Interface (API) for the integration of the PM SVANidhi Portal and the State Bank of India (SBI) portal to ease the loan applications processing.
  • A seamless flow of data between the PM SVANidhi Portal and SBI's eMudra Portal will be facilitated.
  • It will accelerate the loan sanctioning and disbursement process.
  • Its aim is to provide benefits to street vendors seeking capital under the PM SVANidhi scheme.
  • Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs is likely to have similar integration with other banks.
  • PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi – PM SVANidhi Scheme:
    • The scheme was launched on 1 June 2020 to help street vendors affected by COVID-19.
    • It is a central sector scheme fully funded by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
    • It provides a working capital loan of Rs. 10,000 to street vendors without any collateral.
    • On the loan's timely or early repayment within a year, the vendors are eligible to get an interest subsidy of 7% per annum through Direct Benefit Transfer quarterly.
    • This scheme targets to benefit 50 Lakh street vendors.

 

3. Union Minister of Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan passed away.

  • Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and President of Lok Janshakti Party, Ram Vilas Paswan, passed away at the age of 74.
  • He was suffering from critical illness with multiple organ complications.
  • He was elected eight times as a Lok Sabha member.
  • In 2000, he formed the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP).
  • He had previously served as the Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers and Minister of Steel.

 

4. World Post Day: 9 October

  • World Post Day is celebrated annually on 9 October to mark the anniversary of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) formation in 1874.
  • In 1969, Universal Postal Congress in Tokyo declared 9 October as World Post Day.
  • The day aims to create awareness regarding the role of Post in our everyday lives.
  • Three strategic pillars of UPU are- Innovation, Integration and Inclusion.
  • Universal Postal Union:
    • It the second oldest international organization worldwide.
    • It is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players.
    • Its parent organization is the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
    • Headquarters: Swiss capital Berne
    • Member Countries: 192

5. DBT-BIRAC Clean Tech Demo Park inaugurated at Barapullah drain site, New Delhi.

  • Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the DBT-BIRAC Clean Tech Demo Park at the Barapullah drain site, near Sarai Kale Khan in New Delhi.
  • Innovative Waste-to-Value technologies will be shown through this park with support from the Department of Biotechnology and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).
  • Clean Energy International Incubation Centre (CEIIC) will manage this Clean Tech Demo park.
  • CEIIC is a public-private partnership incubator that was jointly established by DBT, BIRAC and Tata Power.
  • Projects that have been successful at the Barapullah site:
    • DBT-DESMI project in collaboration with Denmark for cleaning of floating debris from Barapullah nallah
    • LOTUS-HR project in collaboration with Netherlands

6. Mukesh Ambani tops the 2020 Forbes India Rich List for 13th consecutive time.

  • Mukesh Ambani has topped the 2020 Forbes India Rich List for the 13th consecutive time.
  • Gautam Adani and Shiv Nadar are ranked at 2nd and 3rd place in 2020 Forbes India Rich List.
  • Fifty Indians on the list of India’s top 100 richest in 2020 have gained despite the Covid-19 pandemic and crisis.
  • The collective net worth of India’s top 100 richest increased by 14% to $517.5 billion from 2019.
  • Mukesh Ambani added $37.3 billion to his net worth and his net worth increased to $ 88.7 billion. He collected over $ 20 billion from investors for Jio Platforms.
  • Chairman of Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), Cyrus Poonawalla is the person who has entered into the top 10 Indian richest people in 2020 Forbes India Rich List. He is the 6th richest Indian on the list.
  • Total nine Indians have entered the new list. Some of the new entrants in the list are Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Nithin and Nikhil Kamath, Vinod Saraf, Arun Bharat Ram and  Chandrakant and Rajendra Gogri.
  • In percentage terms, Biocon's chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw was the highest wealth gainer.
  • R.G. Chandramogan is ranked at 100th place in the 2020 Forbes India Rich List.

7. M. Rajeshwar Rao appointed as Deputy Governor of RBI.

  • RBI’s senior-most Executive Director, M. Rajeshwar Rao, has been appointed as new Deputy Governor of RBI by the central government.
  • He has replaced N.S. Vishwanathan, who resigned in March due to health issues.
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Rajeshwar Rao as the Deputy Governors of RBI.
  • He was currently looking Internal Debt Management Department, International Department and Financial Markets Operation Department of RBI.
  • He has experience of working in various aspects of the central bank’s functioning.
  • The other three deputy governors are B P Kanungo, M K Jain and Michael Debabrata Patra.
  • According to the RBI Act, 1934, the central bank needs to have four deputy governors — two from within the ranks, one commercial banker and another an economist to head the monetary policy department.
  • RBI:
    • It was established on April 1, 1935, under the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.
    • The Preamble of the RBI describes its basic functions to regulate the issue of banknotes, keep reserves to secure monetary stability in India, and generally to operate the currency and credit system in the best interests of the country.
    • The RBI Central Board consists of 21 members, including the Governor and four deputy governors.
    • Shaktikanta Das is the current RBI governor. 

8. Guwahati  High Court Verdict: Foreigners can’t be kept in jails that serve as detention centres.

  • The Guwahati  High Court ruled that people declared as foreigners cannot be kept in jails that serve as detention centres.
  • It deprives them of their basic human rights and dignity.
  • The court had issued a notice to the Assam government to submit a report on the steps taken to set up detention centres outside jail premises.
  • The High Court ruled that jails being used as detention centres conflicted with the model manual for such centres.
  • According to the Supreme Court order, detainees should be kept in an “appropriate place with restricted movements” pending their deportation or repatriation and provided basic facilities of electricity, water, hygiene, etc.
  • Supreme Court also ruled that detention centres should be set up outside the jail premises.
  • In Assam, People declared foreigners or “illegal migrants” are kept across detention centres within six jails where they share space with other various criminals.
  • Who are foreigners or “illegal migrants” in Assam?
    • According to the Assam Accord, any foreigner who came to India after December 24, 1971, would be considered an illegal migrant, and would be liable to be deported.
    • According to the data released by NRC in Assam about 19 lakh of Assam’s residents are not citizens of India.

9. Public places cannot be occupied indefinitely, says Supreme Court.

  • Supreme Court, hearing a batch of petitions in connection with the Shaheen Bagh sit-in protest, ruled that public places and roads cannot be occupied indefinitely by protesters.
  • SC states that the administration must remove such road blockades and protests must be carried out in the designated area.
  • It observed that the right to protest has to be balanced with the right of the people to use a public road.
  • The right to protest peacefully is enshrined in the Indian Constitution—
    • Article 19(1)(a) guarantees the freedom of speech and expression
    • Article 19(1)(b) assures citizens the right to assemble peaceably and without arms.

10. India’s GDP expected to contract by 9.6% this fiscal year: World Bank.

  • According to the World Bank report, India’s GDP is expected to contract by 9.6% in 2020-21.
  • World Bank has slashed its growth forecast for India’s economy this year to contraction by 9.6% from 3.2% contraction.
  • The main reason for this contraction is the impact of the national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the income shock experienced by households and small urban service firms.
  • World Bank states that India’s growth will rebound to 5.4% in 2021-22 due to base effect and complete Unlock by 2022.
  • This slowdown will adversely affect the manufacturing, exporting industries, and the construction sector.
  • Due to the impact of COVID-19 South Asia region will face its worst-ever recession.
  • South Asian regional growth is estimated to contract by 7.7% in 2020, but it will rebound to 4.5 percent in 2021.
  • The main reason for this recession is the fall in private consumption, the South Asian economy region’s backbone.
  • The earlier recessions were due to the falling investment and exports.
  •  World Bank:
    • The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and grants to governments in poor countries to pursue capital projects.
    • It is headquartered in Washington DC, United States.
    • It was founded in 1944.
    • President: David Malpass

11. According to a report, India is still world’s highest Sulphur dioxide producer.

  • According to the report of Greenpeace India and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), India’s Sulphur dioxide emission recorded the sharpest decline of approximately 6% in 2019 compared to 2018 level.
  • India is still the world’s largest emitter of anthropogenic sulphur dioxide despite the drop in emissions.
  • In 2019, India emitted about 21% of global anthropogenic SO2, which is nearly double that of a second-ranked global emitter Russia.
  • The major SO2 emission hotspots in India are Thermap power plants at:
    • Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh
    • Neyveli and Chennai in Tamil Nadu
    • Talcher and Jharsuguda in Odisha
    • Korba in Chhattisgarh
    • Kutch in Gujarat
    • Ramagundam in Telangana
    • Chandrapur and Koradi in Maharashtra
  • India thermal power plants are lacking in flue-gas desulfurization (FGD) technology, which is necessary to scrub emissions clean off sulphur.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has extended the deadline until 2022 to install FGD units, which will help reduce the SO2 emission from coal power plants.
  • The data on sulphur emissions were based on a satellite-based device, NASA Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI).
  • Sulphur Dioxide (SO2):
    • SO2 emissions are a significant contributor to air pollution.
    • The main source of SO2 in the atmosphere is the burning of fossil fuels in power plants and other industrial facilities.

 

 

 

 

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