Current Affairs 24th August 2019

Current Affairs 24th August 2019 covers some important current affairs like Composite Water Management Index Report 2019, Measures taken to boost economic growth & FATF Ally APG blacklisted Pakistan

Daily Current Affairs 24th August 2019 covers some important current affairs based on the examination point of view. All Current Affairs are mentioned below:-
  • India France plans satellite surveillance for ships
  • 13 States, UTs improve water management practices
  • MAKS 2019 - BrahMos & HAL to participate in an airshow in Russia
  • Terror funding watchdog FATF Asia-Pacific Group ‘blacklists’ Pakistan
  • Measures are taken to boost economic growth

India France plans satellite surveillance for ships:-

India and France have formalized the development and launch of what is probably a unique constellation of around 10 low-earth-orbit satellites that will continuously provide maritime surveillance and security. They will cover a wide belt around the globe and specifically focus on the Indian Ocean region where France, with its Reunion Islands, has a strategic interest.

When in place, the satellite-based Automatic Identification System or AIS will detect, identify and track a range of vessels moving in the ocean region and guard against aggression, terrorism, piracy, smuggling, source of oil slicks and also be useful for rescues.

About Automatic Identification System (AIS):- Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automated tracking system that displays other vessels in the vicinity. It is a broadcast transponder system which operates in the VHF mobile maritime band.

Present Situation:-

At present, ship operators do fix a non-space-based AIS on their vessels but they can turn it off when they do not want to be detected and identified. Most ships are mandated to have a transponder that gives their details and also to detect ships around them. By making out the kind of ship, its location, speed, and course with AIS, a country’s maritime force can make out potential threats.

13 States, UTs improve water management practices:-

Thirteen of the 27 States and Union Territories have improved their water management practices from last year, an analysis by the NITI Aayog has revealed.



About Composite Water Management Index Report:-
  • Gujarat, though it dropped a point, topped the rankings for the second year in a row with a score of 75 out of a maximum possible 100.
  • Six States did worse than last year — with Delhi, which was evaluated for the first time this year garnering the lowest score — and three maintained their position from last year, according to the Composite Water Management Index.
  • Sixteen out of the 27 States and UTs assessed last year scored less than 50% of the total achievable score and remained in the ‘low-performing’ category.  
  • The 16 low-performing States collectively account for 48% of the population, 40% of agricultural produce, and 35% of economic output for India.
  • The average improvement among the low-performing States stood at 3.1 points, lower than the 5.2-point average improvement observed across States in the last three years. Haryana, Goa, and Uttarakhand made remarkable gains from last year, the report noted.
About Composite Water Management Index:-
  • The ‘index’ aims at capturing how well States have done on groundwater and surface water restoration, implementing major and medium irrigation projects, watershed development, participatory irrigation management, on-farm water use, rural and urban water supply, and policy and governance.
  • These indicators were broken down into 28 objective indicators that include determining whether the State had policies and infrastructure in place to conserve groundwater or its performance in providing piped water to villages.

Conclusion:- The results of this year’s exercise reveal an overall improvement in State performance, but severe disparities remain between states, and across themes, which must be bridged. Last year, the NITI Aayog report painted an ominous picture. Nearly 600 million Indians faced high to extreme water stress and about 2,00,000 people died every year due to inadequate access to safe water. It warned of unsustainable groundwater extraction and loss to India's GDP if steps weren’t taken.

MAKS 2019 - BrahMos & HAL to participate in an airshow in Russia:-

BrahMos Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd will represent India in the international aviation and space show, MAKS 2019, to be hosted at Zhukovsky near Moscow between August 27 to September 1 in Russia, where defense and aerospace majors from across the globe will participate.

About MAKS 2019:-

  • The key attraction to the show will be Russia’s fifth-generation stealth fighter Sukhoi Su-57E, which will be unveiled. The Su-57E is a fifth-generation multi-role aircraft system designed to accomplish a wide range of missions against air, ground and surface targets. It can be used in any weather, day or night, and in a severe jamming environment.
  • Light military Russian transport aircraft IL-113VE, the export version of IL-113V (intended for the transportation and airdropping of cargo) will also be the centerpieces of one of the biggest air shows and exposition.
  • Also, Russian Helicopters will demonstrate medium multi-purpose helicopter Ka-62, combat helicopter Mi28NM and first serial Mi-38 with a high comfort cabin.
  • Apart from many Russian and Indian companies, 182 foreign firms from the USA, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, France are participating in the event, according to the website of the event.

About MAKS:-

  • MAKS is an International Aviation and Space Show is an international air show. 
  • The objective of the MAKS air show is to demonstrate leading technologies and to open up the Russian aerospace industry to the international market. 
  • A large portion of the show is dedicated to holding scientific conferences and symposia, under the auspices of Russia's Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute.
  • MAKS is an important event for the Russian aviation industry and the Commonwealth of Independent States. 
  • Although it started mainly as an entertainment event, the show soon became a marketplace where Russian aerospace companies could negotiate export contracts and Russian air carriers could make foreign contacts.

Terror funding watchdog FATF Asia-Pacific Group ‘blacklists’ Pakistan:-

Pakistan was placed in the “enhanced expedited follow-up list” by the Financial Action Task Force’s Asia Pacific Group (APG) for its failure to act credibly against terror financing and money laundering. Pakistan was found to be non-compliant on 32 parameters out of 40. On 11 effectiveness parameters, Pakistan was found to be “low” on 10.

The APG, one of nine regional affiliates of the FATF, met in Canberra from August 18 to 23 to discuss a five-year review of the Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) for Pakistan, and decided to place it among countries requiring “enhanced, expedited follow-up”.

The APG process is one of three review processes that Pakistan faces in the next few months. On September 5, the APG will meet again, to take forward the main 15-month process of Pakistan’s FATF evaluation, which will present its recommendations for the FATF plenary session in Paris from October 18 to 23. At present, Pakistan is on the “greylist” of the FATF, a common group for countries that are termed “high risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions”.

The Paris plenary will decide whether to remove Pakistan from the greylist, continue the listing, or downgrade it to a blacklist of non-cooperative countries. The APG decision would make it difficult for Pakistan to extricate itself from the greylist.

In the APG, the lowest level of action is called a “regular follow-up”. The next level is the “enhanced follow-up” but the highest level watchlist is called the “enhanced expedited follow-up” which is the level Pakistan is on.

About Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG):-
  • The Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (also known as the APG) is the FATF style regional body for the Asia-Pacific region. 
  • It is an inter-governmental (international) organization founded in 1997 in Bangkok, Thailand. 
  • The APG consists of 41 member jurisdictions and a number of observer jurisdictions and international/regional observer organizations.
  • The APG has two Co-Chairs: one permanent and one two-year term rotating Co-Chair
  • The APG secretariat is located in Sydney, Australia.

Measures are taken to boost economic growth:-

FPI:-

  • Rollback of enhanced surcharge on foreign portfolio investors levied in the Budget, to encourage investment in the capital market.
  • Angel tax provisions to be withdrawn for startups and their investors.
  • A dedicated cell under a member of CBDT will be set up for addressing the problems of startups.

CSR norms, capital infusion:-

  • Violations of CSR norms under the companies law will be treated only as civil liability and not as a criminal offense. The corporate affairs ministry would review the sections concerned under the Companies Act.
  • Capital infusion of ₹70,000 crore into public sector banks, a move aimed at boosting lending and improving liquidity situation. The move is expected to generate additional lending and liquidity in the financial system to the tune of ₹5 lakh crore.
  • From October 1, all notices, summons, and orders of the Income Tax Department would be issued through a centralized computer system and would also have a computer-generated Unique Document Identification Number.
  • All pending all GST refunds of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will be paid within 30 days. Also, in future, all GST refunds of MSMEs will be paid within 60 days from the date of application.

Loans, repo rate:-

  • Loans for home, vehicles and consumer goods to become cheaper and widely available through banking and non-banking finance companies.
  • Banks will launch repo rate and external benchmark-linked loan products that will lead to reduced easy monthly installments for housing, vehicle and other retail loans.
  • Banks will pass on RBI rate cut benefits to borrowers through MCLR reduction.
  • Working capital loans for the industry to become cheaper.
  • Public sector banks (PSBs) will ensure the mandated return of loan documents within 15 days of loan closure.
  • Additional liquidity support of ₹20,000 crore will be provided to housing finance companies (HFCs) by the National Housing Bank (NHB), thereby increasing the total support to ₹30,000 crore.
  • The government announced a partial credit scheme for purchase of pooled assets of non-banking finance companies and HFCs up to Rs 1 lakh crore to be monitored at the highest level in each bank.
  • Prepayment notices issued to NBFCs will be monitored by banks.
  • NBFCs will be permitted to use the Aadhaar authenticated bank ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) to avoid repeated processes.
  • Changes to be made in PMLA rules and Aadhaar regulations to ease the lending process.

Auto sector:-

  • BS-IV vehicles purchased up to March 2020 will remain operational for the entire period of registration, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.
  • Both electric vehicles (EVs) and Internal Combustion Vehicles (ICV) will continue to be registered.
  • Centre to lift the ban on the purchase of new vehicles for replacing all old vehicles by government departments.
  • Additional 15 percent depreciation on vehicles acquired from now till March 2020.
  • Focus will be on setting up of infrastructure for the development of ancillaries/components, including batteries for exports.
  • Additional 15% depreciation to be allowed, on all vehicles acquired from now till March 2020, taking the total to 30 %.
  • Revision of one-time registration fees has been deferred until June 2020.

Infrastructure:-

  • Proposal to establish an organization to provide credit enhancement for infrastructure and housing projects with an aim to enhance fund flows towards such projects.


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