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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 18 February 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. 100th anniversary of Saka Nanakana Sahib
  2. RBI lays down guidelines for NBFCs, HFCs
  3. Foreign Envoys visit J&K amid cheers, protests

100TH ANNIVERSARY OF SAKA NANAKANA SAHIB

Context:

The Union Home Ministry denied permission to Sikh pilgrims intending to visit gurdwaras in Pakistan to observe the 100th anniversary of Saka Nanakana Sahib.

Relevance:

GS-I: Art and Culture, Prelims

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Nankana massacre or Saka Nankana
  2. Important Gurudwaras in Sikhism
  3. Recently in news: Kartarpur Corridor

Nankana massacre or Saka Nankana

  • The Nankana massacre (or Saka Nankana) took place in Nankana Sahib gurdwara on 20 February 1921, at that time a part of the British India but today in modern-day Pakistan.
  • The massacre took place during the Gurdwara Reform Movement/ Akali Movement in which a peaceful batch of reformist Sikhs were subjected to a murderous assault in the holy Gurdwara at Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak Sahib Ji.
  • The massacre was carried out by Mahant Narain Das (‘mahant’ refers to the Udasi priests who were in control of the Gurudwaras after the Sikhs were driven out by Mughal oppression) after he was asked by a congregation of the Sikhs to mend his ways against using the Gurudwara premises for unholy and obscene purposes.

Nankana Sahib

  • Nankana Sahib is a city in the Punjab province of Pakistan, named after the first Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak.
  • Guru Nanak was born in the city and first began preaching here, and hence, Nankana Sahib is the most important religious site for the Sikh religion.

Important Gurudwaras in Sikhism

  1. Panj Takht: There are five Takhts and these Takhts are five gurudwaras which have a very special significance for the Sikh community.
    1. Akal Takhat Sahib: It is a part of the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar. Its foundation was laid by Guru Hargobind Ji, the sixth Sikh Guru.
    2. Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib: It is situated at Anandpur Sahib, Punjab. It is the birthplace of the Khalsa, which was founded by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.
    3. Takht Sri Damdama Sahib: It is situated in the village of Talwandi Sabo near Bathinda. Guru Gobind Singh stayed here for about a year and compiled the final edition of Guru Granth Sahib, also known as the Damdama Sahib Bir in 1705.
    4. Takht Sri Patna Sahib: It is situated in Patna city which is also the capital of Bihar state. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was born here in 1666 and he spent his early childhood here before moving to Anandpur Sahib.
    5. Takht Sri Hazur Sahib: in Nanded, Maharashtra.
  2. Nankana Sahib (Pakistan): Birth place of Guru Nanak Dev.
  3. Gurudwara Darbar Sahib (Kartarpur, Pakistan): Guru Nanak Dev spent the last 18 years of his life.

Recently in news: Kartarpur Corridor

  • The Kartarpur Corridor is a visa-free border crossing and secure corridor, connecting the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan to the border with India.
  • The crossing allows devotees from India to visit the gurdwara in Kartarpur, almost 5 Kms from the India–Pakistan border without a visa, creating a link which allows pilgrims holding Indian passports to easily visit both the Kartarpur shrine and Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak on the Indian side of the border.
  • The Kartarpur Corridor was first proposed in early 1999 and the corridor was built to commemorate 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev, founder of Sikhism on 12th November 2019.

-Source: Indian Express


RBI LAYS DOWN GUIDELINES FOR NBFCS, HFCS

Context:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) laid down the eligibility criteria for non-bank financiers and mortgage lenders to utilize a special liquidity scheme that was approved by the Union cabinet.

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Back to the Basics: Terms Used
  2. What are Housing Finance Companies (HFCs)?
  3. Highlights of the RBI’s directives to Housing Finance Companies (HFCs)

Back to the Basics: Terms Used

  1. Liquidity: It is the ability of a firm, company, or even an individual to pay its debts without suffering catastrophic losses.
  2. Liquidity risk: It stems from the lack of marketability of an investment that can’t be bought or sold quickly enough to prevent or minimize a loss. It is typically reflected in unusually wide bid-ask spreads or large price movements.
  3. Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR): It refers to the proportion of highly liquid assets held by financial institutions, to ensure their ongoing ability to meet short-term obligations.
  4. Loan-To-Value (LTV) Ratio: It is a financial term used by lenders to express the ratio of a loan to the value of an asset purchased.
  5. Liquidity Buffer: It refers to the stock of liquid assets that a banking organization manages to enable it to meet expected and unexpected cash flows and collateral needs without adversely affecting the banking organization’s daily operations.
  6. Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR): It is the ratio of a bank’s capital in relation to its risk weighted assets and current liabilities. It is also known as Capital-to-Risk Weighted Asset Ratio (CRAR). It is decided by central banks to prevent commercial banks from taking excess leverage and becoming insolvent in the process.

What are Housing Finance Companies (HFCs)?

  • HFCs are specialized Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC). Recently, the RBI came up with the new definition of HFCs.
  • To qualify as HFCs, a NBFC must have 50% assets as housing loans and 75% of which should be for individual homebuyers.
  • The RBI took over the powers to regulate HFCs from the National Housing Bank (NHB) in 2019.

Highlights of the RBI’s directives to Housing Finance Companies (HFCs)

  • All non-deposit taking HFCs with asset size of Rs.100 crore and above and all deposit taking HFCs (irrespective of asset size) shall pursue liquidity risk management.
  • It should cover adherence to gap limits, making use of liquidity risk monitoring tools and adoption of stock approach to liquidity risk.
  • HFCs shall maintain a liquidity buffer in terms of LCR, which will promote their resilience to potential liquidity disruptions by ensuring that they have sufficient High-Quality Liquid Asset (HQLA) to survive any acute liquidity stress scenario lasting for 30 days.
  • HFCs lending against the collateral of listed shares shall maintain a LTV ratio of 50%.
  • The central bank also prevented HFC to accept or renew public deposits unless it has obtained a minimum investment grade rating for fixed deposits from any one of the approved credit rating agencies, at least once a year.
  • Every housing finance company shall maintain a minimum CAR on an ongoing basis.

-Source: Livemint


FOREIGN ENVOYS VISIT J&K AMID CHEERS, PROTESTS

Context:

The J&K government showcased “deepening democracy” to visiting 24 foreign diplomats, who arrived on a two-day tour of the Union Territory (UT) amid a spontaneous shutdown in Srinagar and alleged detention of recently elected National Conference (NC) district council members in Budgam.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations, Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Foreign Envoys visiting Kashmir
  2. Highlights of what the Envoys were shown/told recently
  3. The Need for revoking article 370

About the Foreign Envoys visiting Kashmir

  • The foreign envoy visiting India consists a team of diplomats from different continents visiting India seeking a feedback on the ground situation post the revocation of the State’s special status, Pakistan’s attempts at interference and immediate demands of the people.
  • This comes after Central government revoked Article 370 and divided the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two new Union Territories (UTs): Jammu & Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Highlights of what the Envoys were shown/told recently

  • This is the fourth time in the past 18 months that the envoys are coming to J&K.
  • During this visit, the main focus of the envoys, who are coming to J&K for the fourth time in the past 18 months, was to hear from the elected representatives of the urban local bodies, block development councils and DDC heads in Srinagar.
  • The envoys, including from member states of the European Union (EU), Brazil, Malaysia, were briefed about the role of the Pakistani Army in helping terrorist infiltrate into India, infiltration patterns and use of drones by Pakistan to airdrop weapons meant for terrorists.
  • Use of tunnels for pushing terrorists into India, especially in the Samba sector of Jammu and Kashmir, was highlighted by the Army, which also gave a detailed presentation about the weapons, bearing markings of the Pakistani Army, seized from various militants.
  • The Army also gave a detailed briefing on how internet-warfare was used by Pakistani establishments to brainwash youngsters through social media platforms.
  • There has been a marked decrease in law-and-order problems and incidents of pelting of stones have seen a sharp decline, the Army officials told the visiting envoys, and also shared their experience during the recent District Development Council (DDC) elections, which were conducted successfully.

The Need for revoking article 370

  • Article 370 was added in the Indian constitution to provide autonomy to J&K.
  • However, it failed to address the well-being of Kashmiris who have now endured two generations of insurgency and violence.
  • It contributed to the gap between Kashmir and the rest of the nation.
  • The situation emerging in the western neighbourhood and the possible re-ascendance of the Taliban in Afghanistan call for greater attention and care.
  • More so, the emerging geopolitical dynamics in Afghanistan and the resultant United States-Pakistan rapprochement could have potentially led to more heat on the Kashmir situation in the months ahead.

-Source: The Hindu

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