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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 8 August 2020

Contents

  1. Kavkaz 2020 exercise
  2. No free grains for 40% of PMGKAY beneficiaries
  3. RBI: Panel for stressed loans resolution norms
  4. TRAFFIC on Leopard poaching in India

KAVKAZ 2020 EXERCISE

Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

India will take part in the Russian Kavkaz 2020 strategic command-post exercise.

Details

  • The invitees for the Kavkaz 2020 exercise also include China and Pakistan apart from other member-states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
  • A small tri-service contingent will take part in the exercise.
  • All three Services had deferred all exercises both internally and with other countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About Kavkaz 2020

  • The Kavkaz 2020 is also referred to as Caucasus-2020.
  • The exercise is aimed at assessing the ability of the armed forces to ensure military security in Russia’s southwest, where serious terrorist threats persist and preparing for the strategic command-staff drills.
  • The main training grounds that will be involved are located in the Southern Military District.
  • The invitation for participation has been extended to at least 18 countries including China, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey apart from other Central Asian Republics part of the SCO.

-Source: The Hindu


NO FREE GRAINS FOR 40% OF PMGKAY BENEFICIARIES

Focus: GS-II Social Justice

Why in news?

Almost four out of ten people dependent on free food from the Centre did not receive their July allocation under PMGKAY scheme.

Details

  • Food Minister blamed States for their failure to distribute the free grains and pulses.
  • As many as 11 States and Union Territories did not carry out any distribution at all under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY).
  • In the first phase PMGKAY -1 about 95% of the 81 crore beneficiaries received their grain allocation.
  • However, in the first month of PMGKAY-2, the percentage of beneficiaries who received grains dropped to just 61%, according to an official statement.
  • Only 6% of the free pulses (chana) has been distributed.
  • The lag is partly because some States follow staggered a bi- or tri-monthly distribution cycle.
  • The laggard States include Punjab, West Bengal and Uttarakhand.
  • In the flood-hit States of Assam and Bihar, the PMGKAY coverage for July was only 21% and 52%, respectively.

Click Here to read more about the PMGKAY-2 and 1

-Source: The Hindu


RBI: PANEL FOR STRESSED LOANS RESOLUTION NORMS

Focus: GS-III Indian Economy

Why in news?

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) constituted the proposed expert committee to make recommendations on norms for the resolution of COVID-19 related stressed loans.

Committee for recommendations on resolution of stressed loans

  • The committee will submit its recommendations on the financial parameters to the RBI, which in turn, will notify the same along with modifications, if any, in 30 days.
  • The Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) will function as the secretariat to the committee and the committee will be fully empowered to consult or invite any person it deems fit.

Recently in news: SC regarding the waiver of interest rates accru

  • Petitions were filed before the SC regarding the waiver of interest rates accrues during the 6-month period offered by RBI due to COVID 19.
  • RBI said it does not consider it prudent or appropriate to forcefully waive interest, which would risk the financial viability of the banks, which the RBI said are already reeling under the pressure of Bad loans.
  • The Supreme Court bench even observed that a moratorium without an interest waiver is detrimental to the borrower. However, such a waiver on the interest accrued would have some major unpleasant outcomes.

Negative Impacts of a waiver

  • It weakens the credit culture, even who are capable would be discouraged
  • Another unfavourable outcome is that waivers would hurt the already battered balance sheet of banks, even as it would further stymie the ability of lenders to give attractive returns to depositors.’
  • An increasing pile of bad assets and waivers typically limit a bank’s ability to pass on interest rate reductions faster.

-Source: The Hindu


TRAFFIC ON LEOPARD POACHING IN INDIA

Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology

Why in news?

A recent study by TRAFFIC India on the seizure and mortality of ‘common leopards’ (Panthera pardus fusca) revealed that around 80% of leopard deaths between 2015-2019 in India were linked to illegal wildlife trade and activities related to poaching.

Details

  • The paper titled ‘‘SPOTTED’ also said that the highest numbers of poaching incidents were reported from the States of Uttarakhand and Maharashtra.
  • The last formal census on India’s leopards was conducted in 2014, which estimated the population between 12,000 and 14,000.
  • The results of a recent census of leopard sightings are likely to be released soon by the Wildlife Institute of India.
  • Among all the derivatives found in illegal wildlife trade, skin remained the most in-demand product.
  • Derivatives like claws, teeth and bones were also traded.
  • It is also believed that bones of the leopard are possibly traded as tiger bones as they have a larger international demand for traditional medicines.
  • Another concern raised in the paper is the incidence of live animal trade involving leopard cubs in seizures in Chennai and in Maharashtra.

Rising Concerns

  • Threatened by increasing habitat destruction and human-wildlife conflict around the country arising out of shrinking habitats and illegal trade, experts suggest that more emphasis should be given to the conservation of leopards.
  • The conservation status of common leopards was elevated from ‘Near Threatened’ in 2008 to ‘Vulnerable’ in 2015 by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

TRAFFIC

  • TRAFFIC, the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network, is the leading non-governmental organisation working globally on the trade of wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity and sustainable development.
  • It was founded in 1976 as a strategic alliance of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • The organisation’s aim is to ‘ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature’.

TRAFFIC and CITES

  • A TRAFFIC priority is to promote international co-operation to address wildlife trade issues, with particular emphasis on CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and CBD, the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • TRAFFIC provides information and assistance to help the decision-making processes at CITES, supporting efforts to ensure that international wildlife trade is at sustainable levels and does not pose a threat to the conservation of species.

-Source: The Hindu

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