October 2019

Daily Current Affairs (19-10-19)

FATF RETAINED PAKISTAN ON THE “GREY LIST”

Related Topics: Money Laundering, Terror Financing, International Organisations

News

  • Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has retained Pakistan on the “grey list” and gave a stern warning that it will be blacklisted if it does not fulfil the global standards criteria on combating terrorist financing by February 2020.
  • The terror financing watchdog discussed Pakistan’s actions for countering terror financing and anti-money laundering at the International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) plenary in Paris.

Why Pakistan was retained on “Grey List”?

  • FATF noted that Pakistan addressed only five out of the 27 tasks given to it in controlling funding to terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen, responsible for a series of attacks in India.
  • It also expressed serious concerns with the overall lack of progress by Pakistan to address its terror financing risks, including remaining deficiencies in demonstrating a sufficient understanding of Pakistan’s transnational terror financing risks.
  • Pakistan’s allies Turkey and Malaysia, tacitly backed by current FATF chair China, provided three necessary votes needed by Pakistan to avoid blacklisting.

Economic Challenges faced by Pakistan

  • According to IMF, Pakistan is facing a number of economic challenges with its economy expected to grow at 3.3 % in 2019 and 2.6% in 2020.
  • Inflation is set to touch 7.3% in 2019, up from 3.9% in 2018, and rise to 13% in 2020.
  • Fiscal deficit was projected at 7.1% of GDP in 2020, the highest in the last seven years.

Impact on Pakistan

  • Though the move doesn’t amount to international sanctions, countries will be wary of investing in Pakistan knowing that it is not a jurisdiction seen as compliant with FATF rules.
  • Companies planning to invest in Pakistan will now find it difficult to raise money or will have to pay higher rates of interest while borrowing to invest.
  • FATF’s decision of retaining Pakistan in the grey list shows the unanimity of views within the grouping on Pakistan and its role in financing terrorists.
  • By making its warning to Pakistan public, FATF has given notice to global financial institutions that they need to ready their systems for the eventuality in February 2020.
  • Pakistan’s presence in the grey list makes it difficult for the country to get financial aid from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the European Union, adversely impacting its economy.

Background

  • Pakistan was placed on the FATF’s grey list in February 2012, and had been removed from the grey list in February 2015 after it passed a National Action Plan (NAP) to deal with terrorism after the Peshawar School massacre in December 2014.
  • It was placed under severe restrictions in the years 2008-2012.
  • Pakistan was placed on the grey list by the FATF in June, 2018 and was given a plan of action to complete by October 2019, or face the risk of being placed on the black list with Iran and North Korea.
  • In August 2019, Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), a regional affiliate of FATF, had expressed concern over Pakistan’s performance owing to technical flaws.
  • It had placed Pakistan in the enhanced expedited follow-up list (blacklist) for its failure to meet standards.

[Source: The Hindu, Livemint]

 

ADMISSION OF GIRL STUDENTS IN SAINIK SCHOOLS

Related Topics: Gender Equality, Defence Sector

Why in News?

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved a proposal for the admission of girls in Sainik schools across the country for academic session 2021-22, in a phased manner.

News in Detail

  • The decision was taken following the success of a pilot project initiated by the Defence Ministry for admission of girl children in Sainik School Chhingchhip in Mizoram two years ago.
  • The Minister has directed the authorities to ensure availability of necessary infrastructure and sufficient women staff in Sainik schools for smooth implementation of the directive.
  • The decision is in line with the objective of the government towards greater inclusiveness, gender equality, enabling greater participation of women in Armed Forces and strengthening the motto of ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’, propagated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • As per government data, the Army has 3.80% of its workforce as women; the Air Force has 13.09% and the Navy only 6%.

[Source: PIB]

 

NATIONAL MILK SAFETY AND QUALITY SURVEY 2018

Related Topics: Survey & Reports, FSSAI

News

In the backdrop of the perception that milk in India is largely adulterated, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) carried out a survey on safety and quality of liquid milk in the country, referred to as ‘National Milk Safety and Quality Survey 2018’.

About the Survey

  • This is the first-of-its kind comprehensive survey conducted by FSSAI.
  • The survey was conducted from May 2018 to October 2018 covering all states and UTs.
  • FSSAI believes that the outcome of the survey will help dispel misinformation and myths regarding safety of liquid milk in the country.
  • The survey findings will be used to identify regions in various states where liquid milk quality and safety issues are more prevalent and require stepping-up in surveillance and enforcement efforts.

Findings of the Survey

  • Out of the total 6,432 samples of liquid milk which were tested, 456 samples (7.1 per cent) were found to be unsafe due to contaminants such as Aflatoxin-M1, antibiotics or pesticides.
  • Of these 456 samples, only 12 samples were found have been “deliberately adulterated” through use of adulterants such as urea, hydrogen peroxide, detergent or urea.
  • Processed milk, including that of major brands, failed to meet the prescribed quality norm in 37.7% of the total samples tested, and in the safety parameters too, 10.4% of the processed milk samples were non-compliant.

  • In case of raw milk, non-compliance was at an even higher rate of 47% of the total samples of 3,825.
  • For the first time, a quantitative analysis of all samples that failed on account of adulterants and contaminants has been done.
  • This analysis has shown that level of adulterants and contaminants in failed samples is not high, and unlikely to pose serious threat to human health.
  • Overall, above 93% of the samples that is 5976 out of 6,432 samples were found to be absolutely safe for human consumption.
  • About 41% samples fall short of one or another quality parameter or standard and were found to be non-compliant, but were found to be safe for consumption.
  • The non-compliance is on account of low fat or low SNF (solids not fat), two key quality parameters both in raw and processed milk.

Way Forward

  • The survey results indicate clearly that milk being sold in India is largely safe for consumption.
  • While the survey results effectively counter wrong perception of large scale milk adulteration in India, but noncompliance on quality parameters, particularly in processed milk is a matter of concern.
  • Safety concerns due to contaminants should be addressed by monitoring the quality of cattle feed that appears to be a potential source of contamination of milk.
  • A standardized ‘Scheme of Testing and Inspection (STI)’ of milk by dairy processors at different stages of the value chain developed by FSSAI is a right step in this direction to ensure safety and quality of liquid milk in the country.

[Source: The Hindu, fssai.gov.in]

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

DEFENCE OF ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDS EXERCISE (DANX-19)

Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) has conducted the second edition of Defence of Andaman & Nicobar Islands 2019 (DANX-19), a large scale joint services exercise from 14 Oct to 18 Oct 19.  Spanning over a period of five days, components of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard carried out mobilisation and field manoeuvres to validate defensive plans of Headquarters ANC towards pursuance of the Command’s responsibility, namely ensuring territorial integrity of the A&N Islands. In addition to internal forces from ANC, accretional forces from Mainland comprising ships and aircraft, Special Forces from the newly formed Armed Forces Special Operations Division (AFSOD), also participated in this edition.

M-OncoEd APP

Director of Health Services, Kerala has formally released M-OncoEd app, an oncology education app on mobile technology platform for the education of medical professionals. It has been approved by the Directorate of Health Services, Kerala for imparting oncology education to primary- care physicians in State Health Service, so that they are better equipped to do cancer screening, early detection and appropriate referrals at the community-level. The app has well-curated modules which focus on three common cancers, which are easily preventable and amenable to early detection, oral, breast and cervical cancers. M-OncoEd is a joint project of Snehita Women’s Health Foundation, a city-based NGO and RTI International, U.S., with various stakeholders, including the Regional Cancer Centre and the State Health Service as collaborators. The project is supported by grant from National Institutes of Health, U.S.

COOKING OIL-TO-BIODIESEL PROJECT

Restaurant aggregator and food delivery service Zomato and biodiesel manufacturer BioD Energy have inked a partnership to collect used cooking oil from restaurants around the country so that it can be converted into biodiesel, which will then be sold to oil marketing companies that will blend it with regular diesel. Through the partnership, Zomato and BioD are aiming to collect 1,000 tonnes of used cooking oil per month and converting this into biodiesel. The government recently announced a scheme wherein the State-run oil marketing companies would offtake the entire biodiesel production from companies using used cooking oil as raw materials. The National Policy on Biofuels 2018, released by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, has set a target of 5% for biodiesel blending in diesel by 2030.

FIRST ‘GREEN RAILWAY STATION’ IN THIRUVANANTHAPURAM DIVISION

The Kavalkinaru station, which will be opened on November 1, 2019 between Panangudi and Aralvaimozhi railway stations in Nagercoil-Tirunelveli sector will be the first ‘Green Railway Station’ in Thiruvananthapuram division. ‘Green Railway Stations’ are an evolving concept, for railway stations need to be sustainable and self-sufficient to address environmental issues. The station will be completely solar powered with the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) supply functioning only as a ‘backup source’ in case of failure of solar power plant. All the LED lightings provided on the platform, ticket counter and station entrance are connected to the solar power plant. To limit power wastage the lighting system is designed to function based on motion sensor technology.

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