Daily Current affairs 24 April 2019UPSC - Daily Current Affair
Relevant articles from PIB:
- Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: IEPF- composition, objectives and functions.
Context: The Investor Education and Protection Fund (IEPF) Authority has been able to force The Peerless General Finance and Investment Company Ltd to transfer deposits worth about Rs 1,514 crore to the IEPF.
This depositor’s money was pending with The Peerless General Finance and Investment Company Limited for the last 15 years. This amount was taken by the company by issuing about 1.49 Cr Deposit Certificates and include more than 1 Cr individual investors.
About IEPF Authority:
- set up under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India as a statutory body under Companies Act 2013.
- It aims to administer the Investor Education and Protection Fund with the objective of promoting Investor’s Education, Awareness and Protection.
- The Authority takes various initiatives to fulfil its objectives through Investor Awareness Programmes and various other mediums like Print, Electronic, Social Media, and Community Radio etc.
- Composition: Secretary Ministry of Corporate Affairs is the Chairperson of the Authority. Joint Secretary Ministry of Corporate Affairs is the Chief Executive Officer of the Authority.
Relevant articles from various News Papers:
- Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Arab league- composition, objectives and functions.
Why in News? The Arab League this week pledged US$100 million per month to Palestinian authorities in bid to alleviate political and financial pressures from Israel.
What’s the issue?
In February 2019, Israel decided to freeze funds transferred to the Palestinian Authority. Israel had accused Palestine of transferring the money provided by Israel to terrorists who were detained in Israel as well as to their families and to released prisoners.
But Palestine sees the transfer as a kind of welfare system for families who have lost a breadwinner. Israel which collects taxes on behalf of the Palestine Authority says that the terror salaries are encouraging further violence.
What is Arab League?
It is a regional organization of Arab countries in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Arabia.
- Formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Kingdom of Egypt, Kingdom of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Currently, the League has 22 members, but Syria’s participation has been suspended since November 2011, as a consequence of government repression during the Syrian Civil War.
- Main goal is to “draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries“.
Sources: the hindu.
- Issues related to health.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: candida auris infection- causes, symptoms, spread and treatment.
Context: ICMR releases guidelines for candida auris infection and treatment.
What is Candida auris?
- Candida auris (C. auris) is an emerging multidrug-resistant yeast. Public health authorities in several countries have reported that C. auris has caused severe illness in hospitalized patients.
- Infections caused by C. auris often do not respond to commonly used antifungal drugs, making them difficult to treat. Also, C. auris can persist on surfaces in healthcare environments and spread between patients in healthcare facilities.
- Patients who have a long stay in an intensive care unit, have serious medical conditions, and who have previously received antibiotics or antifungal medications, appear to be at highest risk of infection.
- auris can be spread in healthcare settings through contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment, or from physical contact with a person who is infected or colonized.
How can the spread of C. auris be prevented?
- Meticulous attention to infection prevention and control, including good hand hygiene (either hand washing with soap and water or hand sanitizing with an alcohol-based hand rub), is critical for everyone including healthcare personnel and healthcare facility visitors.
- It is important that healthcare personnel strictly follow infection prevention and control measures, such as the proper use of gowns and gloves. When visiting a healthcare facility, visitors must follow facility directions to prevent the spread of infection.
- Finally, appropriate and effective environmental cleaning and disinfection by the healthcare facility is a key part of infection prevention and control.
Is C. auris treatable?
Most C. auris infections are treatable with antifungal drugs. However, some C. auris infections have been resistant to all three main classes of antifungal medications, making them more difficult to treat.
- Awareness in space.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: The mission- objectives, significance and working.
Context: Following a series of tests conducted in space over the past five months, the ESA-JAXA BepiColombo mission has successfully completed its near-Earth commissioning phase and is now ready for the operations that will take place during the cruise and, eventually, for its scientific investigations at Mercury.
BepiColombo is a joint mission between ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), executed under ESA leadership.
The mission comprises two spacecraft: the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO). The MPO will study the surface and internal composition of the planet, and the MMO will study Mercury’s magnetosphere, that is, the region of space around the planet that is influenced by its magnetic field.
Need: The scientific interest in going to Mercury lies in the valuable information that such a mission can provide to enhance our understanding of the planet itself as well as the formation of our Solar System; information which cannot be obtained with observations made from Earth.
Challenges: Europe’s space scientists have identified the mission as one of the most challenging long-term planetary projects, because Mercury’s proximity to the Sun makes it difficult for a spacecraft to reach the planet and to survive in the harsh environment found there.
Significance: Mercury is a poorly explored planet. So far, only two spacecraft have visited the planet: NASA’s Mariner 10, which flew past three times in 1974–5 and returned the first close-up images of the planet, and NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft, which performed three flybys (two in 2008 and one in 2009) before entering orbit around the planet in March 2011. The information obtained when BepiColombo arrives will throw light not only on the composition and history of Mercury, but also on the history and formation of the inner planets in general, including Earth.
Facts for Prelims:
Iran, Pakistan Agree To Set Up Joint Border ‘Reaction Force’:
Context: Iran and Pakistan have agreed to set up a joint border “reaction force” to counter terrorism.
Background: The announcement comes following tensions between the two countries who have in recent months accused each other of not doing enough to stamp out militants allegedly sheltering across the border.
Indonesia releases special stamp on Ramayana theme:
Context: Indonesia has released a special commemorative stamp on the theme of Ramayana to mark the 70th anniversary of establishment of its diplomatic ties with India. A specially signed version of the stamp will be on display at the Philately Museum in Jakarta.
Summaries of important Editorials:
US sanctions on Iran:
Context: The U.S. has decided that it will not renew exemptions from its sanctions for importing oil from Iran. The US will not issue any additional Significant Reduction Exceptions [SREs] to existing importers of Iranian oil. US has continued to apply maximum pressure on the Iranian regime until its leaders change their destructive behaviour, respect the rights of the Iranian people, and return to the negotiating table.
Impact on countries:
India, China and U.S. allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey will be the most impacted by the non-renewal of waivers. The other three currently exempted countries — Italy, Greece and Taiwan — have already reduced their imports to zero.
- High Costs on oil imports.
- The threat to oil shipments –Iran has threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, a key channel for global oil shipments, which would further lead to inflationary trends, not just for oil but other commodities too.
- Any direct backlash from Iran for its decision will also jeopardise India’s other interests in the country, including its considerable investment in the Chabahar port, which India is building as an alternative route for trade to Central Asia.
- Current account deficit: Higher crude oil prices will widen the trade deficit and current account deficit, given that the value of imports goes up with crude oil, and that the quantity imported tends to be sticky in general.
- Rupee: The currency could be impacted if the trade and current account deficits were to widen. An increase in the import bill will tend to put pressure on the rupee. The coefficient of correlation between the absolute value of exchange rate and Brent between April 1, 2019 and April 22, 2019 was high at 0.62, the data show.
- Inflation: There could be significant impact on inflation, given how crude oil prices move and the extent to which the government allows the pass-through to the consumer. Analysts do not expect a full pass-through until the elections are over. The crude oil price could be an important consideration when the Monetary Policy Committee meets for its bi-monthly meeting in June.
- Fiscal impact: There could be a two pronged impact on government finances — both on the revenue side and on the expenditure side. On the revenue side, higher oil prices mean more revenue for the states as tax is ad valorem; for the Centre, though, it may not materially impact the fiscal math as the duty rates are fixed.
What happens if India continues to import oil from Iran?
The U.S. has made it clear that Indian companies that continue to import oil from Iran would face severe secondary sanctions, including being taken out of the SWIFT international banking system and a freeze on dollar transactions and U.S. assets.
India had received six-month reprieve, from November 2018 to May 2019, from the U.S. in the form of sanctions waivers to import Iranian oil. India had also received the exemption to continue developing the Chabahar port.
What would this mean?
Caving under pressure- India’s position is not very convincing. India has now decided to cave in to U.S. pressure on the issue less than a year after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that India would recognise only UN sanctions, not “unilateral” ones.
Way ahead for India:
- Alternative Energy Sources – The government’s focus is now on finding alternative sources of energy, and minimising the impact on the Indian market.
About India’s Oil Import:
- India is the world’s third-largest consumer of oil.
- With 85 per cent of its crude oil and 34 per cent of its natural gas requirements is being fulfilled by imports.
- In 2016, India imported 215 million tonnes of crude oil and at 13 per cent, Iran stood third among India’s biggest oil suppliers, after Saudi Arabia and Iraq at 18 per cent each.