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20th June Current Affairs


  1. US Keen to Restore GSP Benefits for India
  2. U.S. marks end of slavery on Juneteenth
  3. FATF: Indian officials attend virtual EAG plenary meet
  4. Individual contributions to NDRF
  5. Russia to defuse India-China tension, China woos Bangladesh


Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

India and the US are working on a limited trade deal that may restore the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) benefits but will exclude Washington’s move to probe India’s Google tax.


  • US is in the process of restoring the benefits of low or zero duty to certain Indian exports under GSP if U.S. can get an adequate counterbalancing proposal from India.
  • U.S. and India indicated earlier in 2020 that an initial deal could include GSP restoration and market access for each other’s agricultural products with a long-term view of a broader trade agreement or a free trade agreement (FTA).
  • The US terminated India’s designation as a beneficiary developing country eligible for GSP privileges in 2019.
  • The GSP Privileges for India were removed after U.S. decided that India had not assured “equitable and reasonable access to its markets.”

Google tax

  • U.S. probing India’s equalisation levy or the so-called Google tax on companies such as Google, Facebook and Netflix.
  • U.S. said it will probe the Digital Services Taxes (DST) imposed by 10 countries including India under Section 301 of its 1974 Trade Act, which could lead to punitive action.

Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) by U.S.

  • The Generalized System of Preferences, or GSP, is a preferential tariff system which provides tariff reduction on various products, to designated beneficiary countries.
  • GSP was instituted by the UNCTAD in 1971, to benefit emerging and developing countries.
  • In the GSP arrangement, certain imports from beneficiary countries are allowed concessions such as zero tariffs.
  • The motive behind granting GSPs is to help developing countries and particularly least developed countries (LDCs) to promote productive capacity development and to encourage trade and investment.
  • India and Brazil were the prime beneficiaries of the USA’s GSP regime.
  • Most of the products covered under the GSP are agricultural products including fisheries, meat, animal husbandry and handicrafts. Generally, these are also the speciality products of the developing countries.


  • Under the Normal Trade Arrangement (under WTO), countries must give equal preferences to trade partners, called the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clause.
  • As per the MFN, no country should be favoured or discriminated against in trade.
  • At the same time, the WTO allows an exemption for the MFN, like the GSP awarded for developing and least developed countries.

-Source: Economic Times


Focus: GS-I History

Why in news?

The United States marked the end of slavery by celebrating Juneteenth (on 19th June).


  • Juneteenth also known as Freedom Day, is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States.
  • Originating in Texas, it is now celebrated annually on the 19th of June throughout the United States, with varying official recognition.
  • President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had officially outlawed slavery in Texas and the other states in rebellion against the Union (U.S. Civil War).
  • Although Juneteenth is commonly thought of as celebrating the end of slavery in the United States, it was still legal and practiced in two Union border states.

Click Here to read more about the American Civil War

-Source: The Hindu


Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

Indian officials, including representatives from enforcement agencies attended the virtual 32nd special Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG) plenary meeting, under the aegis of the Financial Action Task Force.


India plans to share more evidence with the key FATF members on the narco-terror cases linked to Pakistan-based syndicates, through which funds are allegedly being supplied to the terrorists operating in Jammu and Kashmir.

Recently in News

Pakistan, which continues to remain on the “grey list” of FATF, had earlier been given the deadline till the June plenary to ensure compliance with the 27-point action plan against terror funding networks and money laundering syndicates, or face “black listing”.

Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Money Laundering

  • The Financial Action Task Force (on Money Laundering) (FATF), also known by its French name, Groupe d’action financière (GAFI), is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989.
  • FATF was founded on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering.
  • The objectives of FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
  • FATF is a “policy-making body” that works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.
  • FATF monitors progress in implementing its Recommendations through “peer reviews” (“mutual evaluations”) of member countries.
  • The FATF also works in close co-operation with a number of international and regional bodies involved in combating money laundering and terrorism financing.

-Source: The Hindu


Focus: GS-III Disaster Management, Indian Economy

Why in news?

The Finance Ministry has given approval to a proposal to allow individuals and institutions to contribute directly to the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF).


Finance Ministry says receipts in the form of grants/donations made by any person for the purpose of disaster management may be taken as receipts of GoI under a new minor head.

Recently in news

  • This is a significant development at a time when many have expressed concerns about donations sent to the PM CARES Fund or the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, as both claim they are not public authorities subject to questions under the Right to Information Act.
  • Supreme Court sought a response from the Centre to a plea that contributions made to the PM CARES Fund to fight coronavirus (COVID-19) should be transferred entirely to the NDRF.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)

  • The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is an Indian specialised force constituted “for the purpose of specialist response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster” under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
  • The “Apex Body for Disaster Management” in India is the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and NDRF is under NDMA.
  • The heads of NDRF – The NDRF Director Generals – are IPS officers on deputation from Indian police organisations.
  • When ‘calamities of severe nature’ occur, the Central Government is responsible for providing aid and assistance to the affected state, including deploying, at the State’s request, of Armed Forces, Central Paramilitary Forces, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), and such communication, air and other assets, as are available and needed.
  • NDRF has proved its efficacy with its commendable performance during various disasters including the drowning cases, building collapses, landslides, devastating floods and Cyclones.

-Source: The Hindu


Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

  • Russia has launched a behind-the-scenes effort to defuse military tensions between India and China, ahead of hosting a trilateral RIC video conference, which includes the Indian External Affairs Minister and Chinese Foreign Minister.
  • Beijing seems to be aggressively wooing Bangladesh with a host of sops.

Details of Russia’s moves

  • Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister discussed regional security, including developments on the LAC between India and China.
  • Moscow has “high stakes” at a global level, in the early resolution of tensions between the two Himalayan neighbours.
  • Good relations between India and China are central to the rise of Eurasia and the emergence of a multipolar world order, which is not dominated by a single pole.
  • The persistence of tensions between India and China will not only have a huge negative impact on the SCO but also on the rise of the emerging economies under the Brazil Russia India China South Africa (BRICS) grouping.
  • The Russian side has also spotlighted the importance of the RIC group, amid speculation that meeting of the three foreign ministers was being postponed on account of the ongoing border friction between India and China.

Bangladesh and China

  • Dhaka had asked for the waiver from China for being a “less developed country”.
  • China is offering to waive off most of the tariffs on items that Bangladesh trades with China.
  • The development, which could lead to Bejing and Dhaka coming closer, can add to the discomfort of India, as Bangladesh is viewed as a strong ally of India.
  • Indo-Bangla ties though had taken a setback last year over India’s National Register Citizens and the Citizenship Amendment Bill, both of which generated some unpleasantness in Dhaka.

-Source: The Hindu, Times of India

May 2024