Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) heaviest and most-advanced high throughput communication satellite GSAT-11 was successfully launched from the Spaceport in French Guiana.
· The 5,854-kg GSAT-11 will provide high data rate connectivity to users of Indian mainland and islands through 32 user beams in Ku-band and 8 hub beams in Ka-band.
· GSAT-11 will boost the broadband connectivity to rural and inaccessible Gram Panchayats in the country coming under the Bharat Net Project, which is part of Digital India Programme.
Key words: GSAT 11, Broadband, ISRO
An Agreement between India and Peru on Co-operation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters was signed.
· The Agreement provides a legal framework for sharing of information and intelligence between the Customs authorities of the two countries and will help in the proper application of Customs laws, prevention and investigation of Customs offences.
· The Agreement will also help in the availability of relevant information for the prevention and investigation of Customs offences.
· The Agreement is expected to facilitate trade and ensure efficient clearance of goods traded between the two countries
Key words: India-Peru, Customs Cooperation
The Ministry of Women and Child Development is formulating guidelines for children's hostels, prescribing the minimum standards of care that should be provided to children.
The guidelines shall be applicable to School Hostels and other Child Care Institutions which are not registered under Juvenile Justice Act 2015
The Supreme Court in “Exploitation of Children in Orphanages in the State of Tamil Nadu” Vs. Union of India” case has directed that the definition of the expression ‘child in need of care and protection’ under Section 2 (14) of the JJ Act, 2015 should not be interpreted as an exhaustive definition.
The definition is illustrative and the benefits envisaged for the children in need of care and protection should be extended to all such children requiring State care and protection.
Further, the Union and the State Governments have been directed to enforce minimum standards of care required for such children living in any facility either created by the Government system or by civil society organisations.
In view of the directions of the Ministry is drafting the guidelines which will be applicable to any institution not falling under the categories mentioned in the JJ Act.
Key words: Child Protection, Children Hostels, Supreme Court
Why in News
The Supreme Court put in place a witness protection regime in the country, noting that one of the main reasons for witnesses turning hostile was that they were not given security by the State.
The court said the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 would come into effect immediately across all States.
Under it, witness protection may be as simple as providing a police escort to the witness up to the courtroom or, in more complex cases involving an organised criminal group, taking extraordinary measures such as offering temporary residence in a safe house, giving a new identity, and relocation to an undisclosed place.
The court said the scheme, which aimed to enable a witness to depose fearlessly and truthfully, would be the law of the land till Parliament enacted suitable legislation.
Key words: Witness Protection, Justice Delivery
Why in News
According to researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Global Carbon Project Global carbon emissions are set to hit an all-time high of 37.1 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2018.
· India, the third-highest contributor, is projected to see emissions rise by 6.3% from 2017.
· The 2.7% projected global rise in 2018 has been driven by appreciable growth in coal use and sustained growth in oil and gas use.
· CO2 emissions have now risen for a second year, after three years of little to no growth from 2014 to 2016. The rise in 2017 was 1.6%.
The 10 biggest emitters in 2018 are China, U.S., India, Russia, Japan, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Canada.
· The EU as a region of countries ranks third.
· China’s emissions accounted for 27% of the global total, having grown an estimated 4.7% in 2018 and reaching a new all-time high.
· The U.S. account for 15% of the global total, and have grown 2.5% in 2018 after several years of decline.
Limiting global warming to the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of keeping the global temperature increase this century to well below 2°C, would need carbon dioxide emissions to decline by 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by about 2050.
Key words: Carbon emissions, Climate Change,
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) Exposure to air pollution causes 7 million deaths worldwide every year and costs an estimated $5.11 trillion in welfare losses globally.
The same human activities that are destabilising the Earth’s climate also contribute directly to poor health, said the report.
Key words: Air Pollution, WHO, COP 24
RBI’s Monitory Policy review
Why in News?
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has left the key interest rate or the repo rate unchanged at 6.5% during the fifth bimonthly monetary policy review.
· It maintained the ‘calibrated tightening’ stance though it reduced the inflation projection sharply.
· Consumer price index-based inflation is projected at 2.7-3.2% for the second half of the current financial year and 3.8-4.2% in the first half of the next financial year.
· In the previous policy review held in October, inflation was projected at 3.9-4.5% for the second half of FY19 and 4.8% in the first quarter of FY20.
· The sharp fall in inflation comes on the back of 30% decline in crude oil prices in November compared with October.
Retains GDP growth rate
· The RBI decided to retain GDP growth rate for 2018-19 at 7.4% and estimated growth at 7.5% for the first half of the next financial year.
· In a move to boost credit flows, the central bank has decided to reduce the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) requirement for banks to 18% of net demand and time liabilities from 19.5% over the next six quarters, by 25 bps each in every quarter.
· The first reduction of 25 basis points will take effect in the quarter starting in January 2019.
Keywords – RBI’s monitory poicy, key interest rates, gdp growth rate.
External benchmarks make an entry
Why in News?
In a bid to bring in more transparency to loan pricing mechanism, particularly for small borrowers, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to link the floating interest rate on retail loans and loans extended to micro and small businesses to external benchmarks.
At present, these loans are linked with marginal cost of funds based lending rate, which is an internal benchmark of a bank.
The RBI said the lending rate on such loans should be linked to one of the four benchmarks —
1) Reserve Bank of India policy repo rate,
2) Government of India 91-day treasury bill yield,
3) Government of India 182-day treasury bill yield or
4) Any other benchmark market interest rate produced by the Financial Benchmarks India Private Ltd.
Banks have to implement the new scheme by April 1,2019.
· The move is expected to end the practice of lowering interest to only new customers to attract more business while the existing customers continue to pay higher rate.
· The spread over the benchmark rate is to be decided wholly at banks’ discretion at the inception of the loan.
· But it should remain unchanged through the life of the loan, unless the borrower’s credit assessment undergoes a substantial change and as agreed upon in the loan contract.
· Banks are, however, free to offer such external benchmark linked loans to other types of borrowers as well.
· The linking of floating rates to external benchmarks will lead to reduction in credit costs in the long run for retail and MSME sector.
Keywords – floating rates,loans to MSME, external benchmarks.
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