Current Affairs summary 8 Sept

Oracle IAS, the best coaching institute for UPSC/IAS/PCS preparation in Dehradun (Uttarakhand), brings to you daily current Affairs summary.

1. Website to host every central law

• Soon, when a mammoth exercise undertaken by the Centre is over, there will be one official website that will host every central law and its subsidiary Acts as well as rules and procedures. Plus, the website will be mobile-viewing friendly. The website, India Code, is up, but the job of collecting all laws and putting them up is on. The cabinet secretariat is monitoring the exercise.

• A 2016 writ petition in the Delhi High Court seeking online access to Indian laws. The high court has been regularly monitoring progress on its directions given in 2017 via status reports.

• The court, as it were, has laid down the law on this –

• All Central Acts and subordinate legislations passed by the Centre, including rules, regulations, notifications and circulars, should be made available on this portal

• The data uploaded on the portal should be available in machine readable PDF format

• Navigation on this portal should be such that the complete law-making chain, right from the parent act to the subordinate legislations, is clearly visible

• The portal should allow uploading of state government Acts, rules, regulations and subordinate legislations as well

• The portal must be mobile viewing-friendly and

• All ministries, departments must have a nodal officer for this exercise

• Once complete, citizens will finally not have to hunt for various private sector print or web resources to read the laws that govern them.

• Private publishers have printed copies of the tax law, and online too, the relevant site is managed by a private entity. Same is the case with laws under the ambit of other ministries. And since these are the laws of the land, most private efforts carry the disclaimer that the official version should be checked as well.


2. PMO to review draft agriculture export policy

• The PMO will soon consider the draft agriculture export policy, which aims to double India’s farm exports to more than $60 billion by 2022.

• The commerce department is finalizing a cabinet note on the policy that calls for a stable and predictable farm exports regime with limited state interference, reform of the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act and streamlining of mandi fees along with liberalization of land leasing norms including contract farming.

• The department of commerce had issued a draft policy in March this year.

• India’s share in global exports of agriculture products rose from 1% a few years ago to 2.2% in 2016. It is currently ranked ninth among exporters globally.

• The cabinet note is likely to detail the subsidies required to implement the policy that aims to make India one of the top 10 exporters of agricultural products by boosting high-value and value-added agricultural exports, focusing on perishables and promoting novel, indigenous, organic, ethnic traditional and non-traditional categories.

• It also seeks to provide an institutional mechanism for tackling market access barriers and deal with sanitary and phytosanitary issues.

• The policy intends to provide an assurance that processed agricultural and organic products will not be brought under the ambit of curbs such as minimum export prices, export duties or export bans, even if curbs are imposed on primary nor non-organic agricultural products.

• Significantly, it also talks about initiating consultations among the relevant stakeholders to identify commodities essential from food security perspective and barring these, the effort would be to ensure that other products would not be brought under export restriction.


3. Taiwan seeks collaboration with India in outer space

• Taiwan’s space agency NSPO has sought collaboration with the ISRO, especially in the areas of the outer space and tracking extreme weather events.

• On the sidelines of Bengaluru Space Expo 2018, a meeting was also held between the officials of the NSPO and the Indian Space Research Organisation in which the Taiwanese side pitched for greater cooperation.

• Taiwan is also looking to collaborate with India in the area of outer space, alluding to India’s first inter-planetary mission – Mars Orbiter Mission – and Chandrayaan-1.

• India also has plans to further explore Mars and undertake exploration programme for Venus.

• Taiwan was a part of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-02 mission, a particle physics detector on the International Space Station, with a purpose to search outer space for antimatter and dark matter as part of an investigation into the origin of the universe.

• The Taiwanese side were looking for a collaboration in launch services. The ISRO is known for providing cheaper launch options.

• Taiwan has had active cooperation with the US in the area of space and is now looking at diversifying its ties with other space agencies.


4. High-street banks say no to co-op banks’ plea for 1-day deposit products

• The plea of non-scheduled urban co-operative banks (NSUCBs) that high-street banks should reduce the maturity period of term deposits to one day has been rejected by the latter.

• NSUCBs had made this plea as they are prohibited from deploying daily surplus liquidity, if any, in the call money market. So, they end up parking surplus resources either in the current account with a commercial bank, or as term deposits for a longer period (with minimum seven-day maturity period) with scheduled UCBs.

• With an eye on better liquidity management as well as returns, NSUCBs wanted a one-day (bulk) deposit products. These banks currently don’t earn anything on the money parked in the current account with commercial banks. At the request of cooperative banks, the Reserve Bank of India suggested that commercial banks examine the feasibility of bringing down the period of term deposit to one day. But banks are not in favour of it, said a senior public sector bank official, who was part of the deliberation in the regard.

• As of June-end 2018, 1,550 UCBs were operating in the country, according to the RBI’s annual report for 2017-18. Of this, about 54 are scheduled UCBs (these banks can participate in the call money market) and the remaining are non-scheduled UCBs. The call money market is for uncollateralized lending and borrowing of funds. According to the central bank, this market is predominantly overnight, and is open for participation only to scheduled commercial banks and primary dealers.

• If commercial banks start taking one-day term deposits, then non-scheduled urban co-operative banks will not keep anything in the current account.

• This will have cost implications for banks. While current account is interest-free, interest will have to be paid on one-day term deposit.

• As of March-end 2017, the total assets of UCBs amounted to Rs 5,39,900 crore, of which 54 SUCBs accounted for 47.1 percent, and the balance 52.9 percent by NSUCBs.


5. Nepal not to join BIMSTEC military drill in India: Report

• The Nepal Army has withdrawn from the first BIMSTEC military exercise to be held in India following a political row in the country over the participation in the event.

• PM K P Oli asked the national defence force not to participate in the drill, compelling the Nepal Army’s leadership to rollback its earlier decision to take part in the first ever military exercise of the regional grouping initiated by India.

• The decision was taken just a day before the Army squad was set to travel to Pune, where the drill will commence on Monday.

• The government’s decision came after strong criticism from different quarters, including influential leaders from ruling Nepal Communist Party.

• The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional grouping comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.

• The armies form all seven-member states had agreed to send a 30-member squad for the six-day exercise. The event was dragged into controversy as no diplomatic or political level agreement was made before deciding to take part in the exercise.

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Hemant Bhatt

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