Note: The following Current affairs has been selected from AIR, PIB, PRS, BBC, The Hindu, IDSA (Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses), Live mint, Indian Express, Quora.com, Hindustan Times, Telegraph, The Times , WTO, New Indian express , The Guardian and is highly recommended for UPSC Prelims and Mains Examination
News Analysis: 21-12-2018
General Studies-III : Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Centre seeks ₹41,000 crore more to recapitalise banks
The government on Thursday moved a proposal in Parliament for an additional ₹41,000 crore to recapitalise public sector banks, over and above the already budgeted ₹65,000 crore, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told a press conference.
If approved by the House, this would take the total recapitalisation package for the current financial year to ₹1,06,000 crore, of which the government plans to utilise ₹83,000 crore over the remaining portion of the year.
The government also said the recognition of loans that are non-performing assets (NPAs) was nearly complete and the recovery process was progressing strongly, with ₹60,726 crore recovered in the first half of this financial year.
The government had announced a ₹2.11 lakh crore capitalisation plan in October 2017, of which ₹1.35 lakh was to be raised through recapitalisation bonds and the remaining was to be raised by the banks either through the market or the sale of non-core assets.
So far, the banks have raised ₹24,400 crore and have received all approvals to raise more from the market.
The enhanced provision the government has asked for is aimed at four broad categories. The first is to help banks meet the regulatory capital norms. The second is aimed at helping banks currently under the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework to come out of it by improving their capital to risk-weighted asset ratios (CRAR) to 9%, their capital conservation buffers to 1.875% and reduce their net NPAs to 6%.
The third category of banks to receive capital would be the non-PCA banks that are in danger of crossing the threshold into the PCA framework. The fourth would be to provide regulatory and growth capital to banks that are undergoing mergers, such as Vijaya Bank, Dena Bank, and the Bank of Baroda, which are to be merged into a single entity.
Source: The Hindu
General Studies-II : Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram in Identified Minority Concentration Areas
The Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram(PMJVK) earlier known as Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) is an area development programme implemented in identified Minority Concentration Areas (MCAs) of the country for the remaining period of 14th Finance Commission.
The MCAs are relatively backward areas having substantial population of minority communities. These areas are identified as per Census, 2011 data related to backwardness indicators and population of all notified minority communities as a whole residing in the area.
The objective of the scheme is to bring the identified MCAs at par with the national average by providing infrastructure related to education, skill, health etcin locations having the highest population of minority communities and make the assets available to the entire population living in the catchment area.
General Studies-II : India and its neighborhood- relations.
Long road home
India and Pakistan should adopt a more humane approach to each other’s prisoners
The return to India of Hamid Nihal Ansari, an engineer from Mumbai who spent six years in a Pakistani prison, is cause for cheer on the otherwise bleak landscape of India-Pakistan relations.
The plight of the young man, who had crossed over into Pakistan from Afghanistan in 2012 on a mission to save a woman he had befriended online and been arrested for espionage, had caught public attention in both countries.
Subsequent investigations proved his innocence on all charges other than entering Pakistan illegally, but even so, the authorities there put him through a trial in a military court.
In December 2015, the court sentenced him to three years in prison. All through his ordeal, Mr. Ansari’s parents kept alive the struggle to bring him back, without letting the emotional and financial costs deter them.
To its credit, the Ministry of External Affairs applied sustained diplomatic pressure on Islamabad, first to demand information on Mr. Ansari’s whereabouts and then for a fair trial and consular access, which was never granted.
The Government of Pakistan must also be commended for expediting Mr. Ansari’s release after he completed his sentence on December 15, although it had received another month from a Peshawar court to finish the formalities.
Above all, credit goes to citizens’ groups in both countries that helped the family, particularly lawyers and human rights activists in Pakistan who worked pro bono to ensure Mr. Ansari’s release.
Given the downturn in bilateral relations, further complicated by the international case India is pursuing against Pakistan over the conviction of Kulbhushan Jadhav, and instances of prisoners like Sarabjit Singh dying in Pakistani jails, it is nothing short of a miracle that Mr. Ansari has returned home safe and sound.
New Delhi would do well to acknowledge the Imran Khan government’s gesture in releasing him.
Both India and Pakistan must dedicate themselves to freeing hundreds of other prisoners who remain in each other’s jails, many of whom have completed their sentences but await long processes of identification and repatriation.
According to government figures, Pakistan holds 471 Indian prisoners while India holds 357 Pakistani prisoners, a large number of them fishermen who inadvertently trespassed into each other’s waters.
The two countries must also revive the biannual meetings of the Joint Judicial Committee on Prisoners as agreed to a decade ago; the committee has not met since 2013.
Its last recommendations, that women and children as well as prisoners with mental health issues be sent back to their countries on humanitarian grounds, are yet to be implemented.
There is little to be gained by holding these prisoners hostage to bitter bilateral ties and prolonging the misery of their impoverished families. There needs to be a more humane approach.
Source: The Hindu
General Studies-II : India and its neighborhood- relations.
China’s Pak. investments take a military turn
When U.S. President Donald Trump started the new year by suspending billions of dollars of security aid to Pakistan, one theory was that it would scare the Pakistani military into cooperating better with its U.S. allies.
The reality was that Pakistan already had a replacement sponsor lined up.
Just two weeks later, the Pakistani Air Force and Chinese officials were putting the final touches on a secret proposal to expand Pakistan’s building of Chinese military jets, weaponry and other hardware.
The confidential plan, reviewed by The New York Times, would also deepen the cooperation between China and Pakistan in space, a frontier the Pentagon recently said Beijing was trying to militarise after decades of playing catch-up.
All those military projects were designated as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a chain of infrastructure development programmes stretching across some 70 countries, built and financed by Beijing.
Chinese officials have repeatedly said the Belt and Road is purely an economic project with peaceful intent. But with its plan for Pakistan, China is for the first time explicitly tying a Belt and Road proposal to its military ambitions.
Since the beginning of the BRI in 2013, Pakistan has been the programme’s flagship site, with some $62 billion in projects planned in the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In the process, China has lent more and more money to Pakistan at a time of economic desperation there, binding the two countries ever closer.
For the most part, Pakistan has eagerly turned more toward China as the chill with the U.S. has deepened. Some Pakistani officials are growing concerned about losing sovereignty to their deep-pocketed Asian ally, but the host of ways the two countries are now bound together may leave Pakistan with little choice but to go along.
Even before the revelation of the new Chinese-Pakistani military cooperation, some of China’s biggest projects in Pakistan had clear strategic implications.
A Chinese-built seaport and special economic zone in the Pakistani town of Gwadar is rooted in trade, giving China a quicker route to get goods to the Arabian Sea. But it also gives Beijing a strategic card to play against India and the U.S. if tensions worsen to the point of naval blockades as the two powers increasingly confront each other at sea.
A less scrutinised component of BRI is the central role Pakistan plays in China’s Beidou satellite navigation system.
Pakistan is the only other country that has been granted access to the system’s military service, allowing more precise guidance for missiles, ships and aircraft.
Linking the port to western China would be a new 2,000-mile network of highways and rails through the Balochistan province, a resource-rich region plagued by militancy.
The public vision for the project was that it would allow Chinese goods to bypass much longer and more expensive shipping routes through the Indian Ocean and avoid the territorial waters of several U.S. allies in Asia.
Military analysts predict that China could use Gwadar to expand the naval footprint of its attack submarines, after agreeing in 2015 to sell eight submarines to Pakistan in a deal worth up to $6 billion.
China could use the equipment it sells to the South Asian country to refuel its own submarines, extending its Navy’s global reach.
According to the undisclosed proposal drawn up by the Pakistani Air Force and Chinese officials at the start of the year, an SEZ under the CPEC would be created in Pakistan to produce a new generation of fighter jets. For the first time, navigation systems, radar systems and onboard weapons would be built jointly by the countries at factories in Pakistan.
The proposal, confirmed by officials at the Ministry of Planning and Development, would expand China and Pakistan’s current cooperation on the JF-17 fighter jet, which is assembled at Pakistan’s military-run Kamra Aeronautical Complex in Punjab province. The Chinese-designed jets have given Pakistan an alternative to the U.S.-built F-16 fighters
Source: The Hindu
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