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Newspaper Bits 02-03-2018

compilation of Prelims and Mains related Current Affairs from various Newspapers and PIB .

Assets of fugitive economic offenders will be seized

  • Union Cabinet  approved the introduction of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill in the background of fleeing defaulters from the country. This bill will act as deterrent to such defaulters .
  • There will be a list of scheduled offences along with the Bill.
  • If the person commits an offence on the list, and a competent court has issued an arrest warrant, and the person leaves the country to avoid this, the court can deem him a fugitive economic offender.
The Cabinet also approved the creation of a National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA
  • it will be an independent regulator for the auditing profession, in line with one of the key changes that has been made in the Companies Act, 2013

Hike in bank Lending rates

  • State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest lender, and ICICI Bank, the largest private sector bank, increasing lending rates by up to 20 basis points (bps) .
  • Both these banks along with HDFC are  domestic systemically important banks (D-SIBS) , economy is largely depended on them hence they are seen as  ‘Too Big To Fail (TBTF)’ banks.
  • The marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) refers to the minimum interest rate of a bank below which it cannot lend, except in some cases allowed by the RBI. It is an internal benchmark or reference rate for the bank. MCLR actually describes the method by which the minimum interest rate for loans is determined by a bank – on the basis of marginal cost or the additional or incremental cost of arranging one more rupee to the prospective borrower. Source Arthapedia 

NBA calls for plan to manage import of exotic fish

  • National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) has urged the government to come up with quarantine facilities at major seaports and airports. As there is huge increase in import of ornamental fishes which pose threat to India’s native fish populations ,  the government of India has only approved the import of 92 species of ornamental fish .
  • Huge market for Invasive Alien Species (IAS) is turning out to be major threat to India’s aquatic biodiversity.
  • In a research paper titled ‘Occurrence of ornamental fishes: A looming danger for inland fish diversity of India’ it states that several studies have disclosed the occurrence of exotic ornamental fish in many inland aquatic systems, including biodiversity-sensitive areas such as the Western Ghats.
  • Suckermouth catfish, an ornamental species known as a ‘tank cleaner’ of aquariums, which has spread to almost all freshwater ecosystems and outnumbers other native fish by feeding on their larvae and competing with them for food resources.
  • “Under the Centre for Biodiversity and Policy and Law (CEBPOL), the NBA is trying to bring out a national list of IAS
  • Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have come up with some tentative lists for animal and plant IAS
National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)
  • The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) was established by the Central Government in 2003 to implement India’s Biological Diversity Act (2002).
  • An Autonomous and Statutory Body of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India
  • The NBA is a Statutory Body and it performs facilitative, regulatory and advisory functions for the Government of India on issues of conservation, sustainable use of biological resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of biological resources.
  • The NBA with its headquarters in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Centre for Biodiversity Policy and Law (CEBPOL)
  • Government of India in collaboration with the Norwegian Government has established a “Centre for Biodiversity Policy and Law (CEBPOL)” in the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), Chennai, to develop professional expertise in biodiversity policies and laws and develop capacity building.


  • China appears unrivalled in Asia at present given its military might and economic power. The only opposition to China today comes from India.
  • It is China that is now beginning to set the rules in accordance with its interests and values.
  • The Belt and Road Initiative is only one manifestation of its growing ambitions.
  • All signs point to China seeking avenues for global dominance, exploiting the weaknesses and inequalities that currently plague the international system.
  • China is turning the South China Sea into its ‘military outpost’. It is setting up several military installations despite opposition from other claimants to rights over the South China Sea.
  • it has consciously set about damaging India’s relations with neighbours, including most recently Nepal and the Maldives.
  • other neighbours have also suffered due to China’s machinations, mainly through the provision of economic incentives, promises of infrastructure development, and certain ‘unseen benefits
  • China-Pakistan Economic Corridor for instance, has both an economic and a strategic imperative.

Reducing the carbon footprint

  • To tackle climte chnge effectively and join other ntions in fight on carbon India needs to undertake a comprehensive approach,  by establishing an emissions trading scheme (ETS).
  • An ETS is a market-based mechanism where a cap is set on the amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases that can be emitted by covered entities. The emitters can either reduce their emissions to adhere to the cap or buy additional allowances from other entities to compensate for their deficiency.
  • For example :
    • One allowance gives the right to the holder to emit one tonne of carbon.
    • Imagine that ‘X’ emits 120 tonnes of carbon per annum. The ETS sets a cap of 100 tonnes of carbon per annum (equivalent to 100 allowances) on it. ‘X’ would have the option to either reduce its emissions to 100 tonnes of carbon or buy 20 allowances to cover the difference.
  • Highly carbon-intensive industries (such as the coal sector) would have to be included under the ETS to maintain its effectiveness.
  • In respect to other industries State governments must be empowered to decide up on the list based on various parameters.
  • The big emitters must be required to adhere to their compliance plans, and sanctions must be imposed in case of any non-compliance.

War and peace

  • Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s offer of talks with the Taliban is the most comprehensive peace proposal to have come from Kabul since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
  • Afghan government has come up with a seven-point plan of engagement with the Taliban and invited the group for talks without preconditions.
  • Mr. Ghani promised to recognise the Taliban as a political party, called for confidence-building measures and asked them to recognise the Kabul regime and the constitution.
  • The Taliban was told to open an office in Kabul; passports and freedom of travel were offered to those involved in negotiations.
Earlier Efforts 
  • In July 2015, Taliban and Afghan government representatives held talks in Pakistan.
  • Later the talks collapsed and Taliban  has stepped up its violent campaign
  • After more than 16 years of war, the Afghan government is helplessly watching the Taliban spread its influence across rural areas.

Buoyant again

  • Both GDP and GVA growth estimates for 2017-18 have been revised upwards from the first-cut projections made in early January — GDP growth to 6.6% from 6.5% earlier as a result of GVA expansion being lifted to 6.4% from January’s 6.1%.
  • A study of the full-year projections reveals the pressure points.
    • farm sector, where growth is set to slow to 3% from 6.3% in the previous fiscal
    •  manufacturing where the pace is expected to ease to 5.1% from 7.9% in the revised estimate for 2016-17.
    • Te latest Index of Industrial Production numbers that show manufacturing in April-December still significantly lagging behind the previous nine-month period

India, Jordan firm up security cooperation

  • India and Jordan on Thursday signed a framework agreement in defence cooperation paving the way for a joint strategy to counter common threats.
  • cooperation in some of the recognised areas like training; defence industry; counter-terrorism; military studies; cyber security; military medical services, peace-keeping, etc

‘Situation sensitive along China border’

  • at Line of Actual Control (LAC), the situation is sensitive and incidents of patrolling, transgression and stand-offs have a potential for escalation.

Russia’s new nuclear weapons “that can’t be intercepted”

  • technological breakthrough that could dramatically increase Russia’s military capability, boost the Kremlin’s global position and open a new round in the global arms race.
  • Mr. Putin said the weapons include a nuclear-powered cruise missile, a nuclear-powered underwater drone and new hypersonic missile that have no equivalent elsewhere in the world.
  • high-speed underwater drone also has an “intercontinental” range and is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that could target both aircraft carriers and coastal facilities.
  • Avangard is an intercontinental hypersonic missile that would fly to targets at a speed 20 times the speed of sound and strike “like a meteorite, like a fireball.”
Value Addition 
  • Mach 1 is equal to the speed of sound
  • Mach 2 is twice the speed of sound so on.
  • The supersonic cruise missiles travel at the speed of mach 1 to mach 5.
  • The hypersonic cruise missiles travel at the speed higher than mach 5.

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