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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 16 September 2020

Contents

  1. U.S. welcomes India’s role in Afghan talks
  2. Exports drop in August, 6th month in row
  3. Aircraft (Amendment) Bill cleared in Rajya Sabha
  4. Kashmir has grassroots democracy
  5. FDI of $1 bn flowed from China to over 1,600 firms

U.S. WELCOMES INDIA’S ROLE IN AFGHAN TALKS

Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

Three days after India took the plunge on engaging with the Taliban at the first Intra-Afghan Negotiations, U.S. Special Envoy on Afghanistan met with Indian External Affairs Minister, National Security Adviser and Foreign Secretary during a brief four-hour visit to Delhi.

Details

  • U.S. Special Envoy on Afghanistan appreciated India’s participation in the Intra-Afghan Negotiations (IAN) held in Doha.
  • The two sides discussed future steps and possible cooperation between India and the U.S. in furthering the Afghan peace process.
  • During the talks, both sides stressed on the need for regional support for the Afghan peace process, that could see the Taliban being brought into the political mainstream in Kabul, and on the importance of ending transnational terrorism from Afghan soil.
  • The United States and India share the view that the peace process must continue until there is agreement on a political roadmap and a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire.

-Source: The Hindu


EXPORTS DROP IN AUGUST, 6TH MONTH IN ROW

Focus: GS-III Indian Economy

Why in news?

The country’s exports contracted for the sixth consecutive month in August, dragged down by a decline in shipments of petroleum, leather, engineering goods, and gems & jewellery, while imports tumbled by 26% during the month.

Details

  • Data for September indicated a turn around with exports registering a double-digit increase during the first half of the month.
  • Between September 1 and 14, exports rose 12% to $13 billion, while imports were almost 22% lower at a shade under $13.5billion, according to data from ports and SEZs.
  • Commerce and industry minister said that oil imports were a little lower in the second week of September and called for pushing textiles and gems & jewellery exports.
  • Data released by the commerce department earlier showed exports in August were $22.7 billion, compared to nearly $26 billion a year ago, which was a decline of 12.7%.
  • Oil imports declined by about 42% to $6.4 billion during August, the data showed.

-Source: Times of India


AIRCRAFT (AMENDMENT) BILL CLEARED IN RAJYA SABHA

Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

A Bill that gives three aviation regulators statutory powers and enhances the fine for violations from ₹10 lakh to ₹1 crore in a bid to improve aircraft safety, was passed by Parliament.

Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020

  • The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on March 17, was passed by the Upper House by voice vote.
  • The Bill gives statutory powers to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau.
  • Civil Aviation Minister said the changes were necessary in view of the growth of the sector.
  • The Bill empowers the aviation watchdog DGCA to levy penalties of upto ₹1 crore on airlines, airports and other aviation entities.
  • The amendments to the Bill also address several regulatory shortcomings that were highlighted by aviation watchdogs of the United Nations and the U.S., i.e., the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Federal Aviation Authority, during their audits on safety and security in the Indian aviation ecosystem.
  • The changes include recognising regulatory bodies such as the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau- which were set up through various government notifications but didn’t have a defined role under the parent Act, as well as air navigation services.

-Source: The Hindu

KASHMIR HAS GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY

Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

Speaking at the 45th regular session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Permanent Representative made an indirect reference to Pakistan’s involvement in fomenting terrorism in Kashmir and said despite such challenges, grassroots-level democracy has flourished in the volatile region.

Highlights

  • Indian Representative argued that the decision to end the special status of the region under Article 370 has brought grassroots democracy to the citizens and safeguarded human rights.
  • Earlier High Commissioner for Human Rights was one of the earliest to point out the difficulties created by the communication lockdown that was imposed just before Kashmir’s special status was ended.
  • The human rights session is crucial as it indicates the agenda before the U.N. General Assembly which will convene later in 2020.
  • The High Commissioner welcomed some of the initiatives of the government of India at the political front but insisted for greater political liberty in the volatile region.
  • The High Commissioner also referred to the hostilities between India and Pakistan and urged for peace between the two South Asian neighbours in the context of the tension over Jammu and Kashmir.

-Source: The Hindu


FDI OF $1 BN FLOWED FROM CHINA TO OVER 1,600 FIRMS

Focus: GS-III Indian Economy

Why in news?

  • More than 1,600 Indian companies have received foreign direct investments (FDI) worth $1 billion from China during the April 2016 to March 2020 period, according to government data.
  • The data was provided in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha to a question on whether it was a fact that large-scale investments had been made by Chinese agencies in Indian companies, especially start-ups.

Details

  • Over 1,600 companies received $1.02 billion in FDI equity inflows from China for the April 2016 to March 2020 period, the data show.
  • These companies were in 46 sectors, and out of them, the automobile industry, printing of books, electronics, services and electrical equipment received more than $100 million in FDI each during the period.

Recently in news:

India mandated government approval for foreign direct investment (FDI) from countries with which it shares land borders. The curbs aimed to shield Indian companies from predatory investments, particularly those from China.

Click Here to read more about Mandating Approval for FDI from China

-Source: The Hindu

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