October 2019

Daily Current Affairs (12-10-19)

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE 2019

Related Topics: Awards & Honours, International Relations

News

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has won the Nobel Peace Prize 2019 for his efforts to resolve the long-running conflict with neighbouring foe Eritrea.

Why Abiy Ahmed was chosen for the Nobel?

  • He received the award for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.
  • According to international observers, up to three million Ethiopians may be internally displaced.
  • That is in addition to the million or so refugees and asylum seekers from neighbouring countries.
  • On July 9, 2018, following a historic meeting in Eritrea’s capital Asmara, Abiy and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki formally ended a 20-year-old stalemate between the countries in the wake of the 1998-2000 border conflict.
  • He is Africa’s youngest leader and has instilled certain optimism in a region of Africa marred by violence.
  • The prize is also meant to recognise all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions.

About Ethiopia

  • Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country and has East Africa’s largest economy.
  • Eritrea broke from its federation with Ethiopia in April 1993.
  • Eritrea became an independent country located strategically at the mouth of the Red Sea on the Horn of Africa, bordering crucial shipping lanes.
  • Ethiopia is landlocked, and through the years of the war with Eritrea, it has been dependent heavily on Djibouti for access to the sea.
  • Ethiopia lies completely within the tropical latitudes and its capital is Addis Ababa (“New Flower”).
[Source: The Hindu]

 

INDIA REJECTED RCEP E-COMMERCE CHAPTER

Related Topics: Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), ASEAN

News

India declined to agree to the e-commerce chapter of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.

Why India is opposing the e-commerce chapter of RCEP?

  • The e-commerce chapter contains clauses that, if India had agreed to them, would have prevented it from implementing data localisation rules on companies doing business in India.
  • While the e-commerce chapter has some clauses that affect data localisation, India has been trying to water these down.
  • Clouding the issue further is that the annexe on financial services, already agreed upon by all the RCEP countries, which says that the domestic laws of a country regarding keeping financial data within a country supersede the RCEP agreement.
  • The section on transfers of information and processing of information says that “a party shall not take measures that prevent transfers of information, including transfers of data by electronic or other means, necessary for the conduct of the ordinary business of a financial service supplier.”
  • However, the same section also says that nothing in paragraph 2 [the paragraph containing the previous clause] prevents a regulator of a party for regulatory or prudential reasons from requiring a financial service supplier to comply with domestic regulation in relation to data management and storage and system maintenance, as well as to retain within its territory copies of records.
  • This basically means that India cannot be prevented from asking financial companies to maintain a copy of their data within India, but it is unclear still whether India can mandate that such data must only reside within the country

About RCEP

  • Regional Comprehensive Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between sixteen countries namely 10 countries of ASEAN (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) and their six FTA partners namely Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand.
  • It is expected to provide market access for India’s goods and services exports and encourage greater investments and technology into India.
[Source: The Hindu, PIB]

 

COMMITTEE TO AUGMENT GST COLLECTIONS AND IMPROVE ADMINISTRATION

Related Topics: Indian Economy, Goods & Services Tax (GST)

News

  • With a monthly collection of Goods & Services Tax (GST) dipping to a 19-month low, the GST Council Secretariat has announced setting up of a committee to augment collections and improve administration.
  • This development took place ten days after the collection for September 2019 was found to dip to ₹91,916 crore, the lowest after February 2018.
  • The Government has set a target of collecting over ₹1 lakh crore every month during the current fiscal.

Composition

  • The new committee will have 12 membersfive from the States and five from the Centre beside Joint Secretary of GST Council and Executive Vice President of GST Network (GSTN).
  • Officers from the Centre will include Joint Secretary (Revenue), Principal Commissioner (GST PW), Joint Secretary (Tax Research Unit), Additional Director General (ARM) and Additional Director General (Systems).
  • SGST (State Goods & Services Tax) Commissioner from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Punjab will represent the States.
  • As per the order issued by GST Council Secretariat, any other State could also join the committee on a voluntary basis.

Terms of Reference

  • The terms of reference of the panel include making suggestions about systemic changes in goods and services tax (GST) including checks and balances to prevent misuse and measures to improve voluntary compliance.
  • It has been tasked to give inputs on measures for the expansion of the tax base.
  • Policy measures and relevant changes needed in the law, improved compliance monitoring and anti-evasion measures using better data analytics and better administrative coordination also form part of its terms of reference.

[Source: The Hindu, Business Standard]

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

SARAS AAJEEVIKA MELA

The Ministry of Rural Development is organising SARAS Aajeevika Mela at India Gate Lawns from 10th October to 23rd October, 2019. Over 200 stalls have been set-up at the Mela venue, where nearly 500 rural SHG craftswomen from different States and UTs will show-case varied range of products like handicrafts, handlooms, natural food products and a food court with regional cuisines at India Gate Lawns. SARAS Aajeevika Mela is an initiative by the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), Government of India, with an objective to bring the rural women Self Help Groups (SHGs) formed with support of DAY-NRLM, under one platform to show-case their skills, sell their products and help them build linkages with bulk buyers. Through participation in SARAS Aajeevika Mela, these rural SHG women get vital national level exposure to understand the demand and taste of urban customers. The Mela is organised by the marketing arm of the Ministry, Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART).

DHARMA GUARDIAN – 2019

Joint Military Exercise DHARMA GUARDIAN-2019 between India and Japan will be conducted at counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School, Vairengte from 19 Oct 2019 to 02 Nov 2019. Indian Army and Japanese Ground Self Defence Forces (JGSDF) comprising 25 soldiers each will participate in the exercise with an aim to share experience gained during various Counter Terrorism Operations in respective Countries. It is an annual training event which is being conducted in India since 2018. Exercise DHARMA GUARDIAN with Japan is crucial and significant in terms of security challenges faced by both the nations in the backdrop of global terrorism. The scope of this exercise covers platoon level joint training on counter terrorism operations in jungle and urban scenario. The joint military exercise will enhance the level of defence co-operation between Indian Army and Japanese Ground Self Defence Forces (JGSDF) which in turn will further foster the bilateral relations between the two nations.

SURAKSHIT MATRITVA AASHWASAN (SUMAN)

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan has launched Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan (SUMAN) initiative in New Delhi. The initiative aims at assuring dignified, respectful and quality health care at no cost and zero tolerance for denial of services for every woman and newborn visiting the public health facility in order to end all preventable maternal and newborn deaths. It also provides a positive birth experience to both mother and infant. Under the scheme, pregnant women, mothers up to 6 months after delivery, and all sick newborns will be able to avail free healthcare benefits. These include at least four ante natal check-ups that also include one checkup during the 1st trimester, at least one checkup under Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan, Iron Folic Acid supplementation, Tetanus diptheria injection and other components of comprehensive ANC package and six home-based newborn care visits. The scheme will largely help in bringing down maternal and infant mortality rates in the country. Under the scheme there will be zero expense access to identification and management of complications during and after the pregnancy. The government will also provide free transport from home to health institutions.

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