Daily Current Affairs for 26th October 2020

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Light a lamp for soldiers, go Vocal for local: PM Modi


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to light a “diya” (lamp) while they celebrate festivals, to honour security forces guarding its borders.

The Prime Minister also asked people to keep the “vocal for local” resolve in their mind and give priority to local products while shopping for festivals.

Key details

  • The world is taking note of India’s products, like rising popularity of Khadi.
  • Modi urged people to remain mindful of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and to buy Indian products.
  • Today when we are going vocal for local, the world is also becoming a fan of our products. Many of our local products have the potential to become global.
  • Today Khadi is regarded as an eco-friendly fabric. It is not only becoming a fashion statement, but is also being manufactured across the world.
  • PM gave the example of Oaxaca in Mexico, where khadi is woven in several villages. Today the khadi of this place has gained popularity by the name Oaxaca khadi.
  • One has to understood the important roles that safai karmchari, domestic helps, local vegetable seller, the milkman and security guards play in our lives.

Vocal for Local

  • Recovering from the shock of Covid 19 the Union Government has announced various economic stimulus packages.
  • During the third Economic Stimulus the government launched one such programme where Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi addressed the nation on 13 may 2020, he launched a 10,000 crore scheme promoting ‘Vocal for local Global outreach’ will be launched to help 2 lakh Micro Food Enterprises (MFEs) who need technical upgradation to attain FSSAI food standards.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants all 1.3 billion Indians to be “vocal for local” — meaning, to not just use domestically made products but also to promote them.
  • If Indians don’t buy foreign-made goods, the economy will see a jump. The strategy — although it’s too nebulous yet to call it that — has a geopolitical element.
  • A military standoff with China is under way. It’s very expensive to fight even a limited war there. With India’s economy flattened by Covid, New Delhi may be looking for ways to restore the status quo and send Beijing a signal.
  • While ‘Vocal for Local’ has become the most trending phrase, experts feel that it is nothing but an extension of the ‘Swadeshi Movement’ idea conceived by some great freedom fighters of the country, including the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi.

Atmanirbhar Bharat

  • During Covid, India has demonstrated how it rises up to challenges and uncovers opportunities therein, as manifested in the re-purposing of various automobile sector industries to collaborate in the making of life-saving ventilators.
  • The clarion call given by the Hon’ble PM to use these trying times to become Atmanirbhar (self-reliant) has been very well received to enable the resurgence of the Indian economy.
  • Unlock 1 Guidelines have been issued to enable resumption of economic activities while maintaining abundant caution thus allowing graded easing of restrictions.
  • The Five pillars of Atmanirbhar Bharat focus on:
  1. Economy
  2. Infrastructure
  • System
  1. Vibrant Demography and
  2. Demand
  • The Five phases of Atmanirbhar Bharat are:

Phase-I: Businesses including MSMEs

Phase-II: Poor, including migrants and farmers

Phase-III: Agriculture

Phase-IV: New Horizons of Growth

Phase-V: Government Reforms and Enablers

Want to end LAC tensions, but won’t cede an inch: Rajnath 


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news?

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said that India wants an end to the border tension with China and aims to establish peace but reiterated that Indian soldiers will never allow even an inch of land to be taken by anyone.

Key details

  • After performing ‘Shastra Puja’ — customary worship of weapons — at the Sukna-based headquarters of the Indian Army’s 33 Corps, also known as Trishakti Corps, in Darjeeling district of West Bengal on the occasion of Dussehra, the Union minister said, At the moment there is tension on the India-China border, but India wants that it should end, peace should be established.
  • Rajnath, who is on a two-day visit to West Bengal and Sikkim, also reviewed the operational preparedness of the Trishakti Corps, which is responsible for the Line of Actual Control with China in the Sikkim sector.
  • The minister also inaugurated a 19.85-km alternate alignment of the National Highway-310 in Sikkim through video conference.
  • Most of the border roads of Sikkim are being upgraded by the BRO to double-lane. Out of this, 65 km of road construction work is in progress in East Sikkim, and 55 km of road construction is under the action plan. The construction of 225 km double-lane road to ‘Mangan-Chungthang-Yumesamdong’ and ‘Chuganthang-Lachen-Jima-Muguthang-Nakula’ is planned under the Bharatmala project in North Sikkim. These works are planned in nine packages with an estimated cost of Rs 5,710 crore,” the Defence Minister said.

India- China Dispute

  • After months of worsening tensions on their contested Himalayan border, India and China surprised many by announcing that troops are to quickly disengage.
  • The root cause lies in an ill-defined, 3,440km (2,100-mile)-long border that both countries dispute.
  • Rivers, lakes and snowcaps along the frontier mean the line can shift, bringing soldiers face to face at many points, sometimes leading to confrontation.
  • In August, India accused China of provoking military tensions at the border twice within a week. Both charges were denied by China, which said the stand-off was “entirely” India’s fault.
  • In early September, China accused India of firing shots at its troops. India accused China of firing into the air.

The role of the Indian Air Force in Eastern Ladakh

  • With a resolution to the standoff on the LAC still elusive, the Indian Army is preparing for extended deployment of troops in the region through the winter months.
  • One part of the logistics for the Army requires land transportation, which would have been planned for before winter sets in and the passes close.
  • The IAF will be doing very urgent missions, for which it is well prepared with a very good transport fleet consisting of C-17 Globemasters, Il-76s, and many An-32s.
  • If it comes to the crunch, the C-130 Super Hercules can also be used for logistics support, although these are meant for special operations.

Topographical challenges of flying into Leh

  • The biggest challenge is the altitude of the two airfields of Leh and Thoise.
  • The landing grounds at high altitude have their own challenges, which result in reduction of load-bearing capacity of the planes/choppers.

What effect does extreme cold have on weight-carrying aircraft?

  • The lower the temperature, the better the payload because the higher air density increases the lift-carrying capability of flying machines. So the loads that can be carried during winter are higher than during summer.
  • This is a big advantage. For instance, an Il-76, which in summer can carry hardly any load from Leh, can fly out around 20 tonnes in the winter. It is the same with helicopters, whose load-carrying ability to extremely high helipads at altitudes of 17,000 to 20,000 feet increases substantially in winter. And it reduces drastically in summer.

Border Roads Organisation (BRO)

  • The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) (Indian army corps of engineers) develops and maintains road networks in India’s border areas and friendly neighboring countries.
  • BRO maintains operations in twenty-one states, one UT (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), and neighboring countries such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. The BRO operates and maintains over 32,885 kilometers of roads and about 12,200 meters of permanent bridges in the country.
  • The BRO operates in 18 Projects namely: Arunank, Beacon, Brahmank, Chetak, Deepak, Dantak, Himank, Hirak, Pushpak, Sampark, Setuk, Sewak, Shivalik, Swastik, Udayak, Vartak, Vijayak and sela tunnel.
  • BRO is instrumental in significantly upgrading and building new India-China Border Roads.
  • BRO is entrusted for construction of Roads, Bridges, Tunnels, Causeways, Helipads and Airfields.
  • The BRO is also in charge of maintenance of its road networks.
  • In many places landslides, avalanches and snow block the routes and have to be cleared as quickly as possible. BRO also employs more than two lakh Casual paid labours in the task

To maximise liquidity for MSMEs, govt may extend credit scheme deadline


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news?

The government plans to extend the deadline for Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for MSMEs beyond October 31 in case the targeted loan sanction amount of Rs 3 lakh crore is not achieved.

Key details

  • Banks have sanctioned 62.52 per cent of the targeted Rs 3 lakh crore under the ECLGS for stressed MSMEs, while disbursements were at 45.38 per cent of the total amount, up from 47.7 per cent sanctions and 32.9 per cent disbursements recorded as on August 12.
  • Sources said the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Ltd (NCGTC), which is implementing this scheme, is running an aggressive campaign this month to enable increased funding to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
  • The NCGTC has increased its outreach substantially this month. The idea is put the entire Rs 3 lakh crore to use so that liquidity can reach the maximum number of enterprises. Loan sanctions have picked up after individuals were allowed to take benefit.
  • But even if we reach Rs 2.90 lakh crore of sanctions, then also there is a ground for extension of scheme.

Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS)

  • In view of the economic distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Finance Ministry unveiled a Rs. 20 Lakh Crore comprehensive package, known as the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS).
  • This package is in aid of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector, addressing working capital needs, operational liabilities and restart business impacted due the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The working capital term loan (WCTL) comes with a tenure of 48 months, with a principal moratorium for the first 12 months.

Key Highlights of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme:

Eligibility of applicants

  • Borrowers with up to Rs. 25 Crore outstanding as on Feb 29, 2020 and up to Rs. 100 Crore annual turnover for FY 2020 are eligible for this scheme.
  • Business Enterprises, MSMEs constituted as Proprietorship, Partnership, registered company, trusts and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) shall also be eligible.

Loan sanctioning

20% of the total outstanding credit of borrowers can be sanctioned as a loan under the Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL), for those who having a loan as on Feb 29, 2020.

National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Ltd (NCGTC)

  • A common trustee company in the name and style of National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Ltd [NCGTC] was set up by the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India to, inter alia, act as a common trustee company to manage and operate various credit guarantee trust funds subsequent to the Central Budget announcements to set up various credit guarantee funds.
  • NCGTC was incorporated under the Indian Companies Act, 1956 on March 28, 2014 with a paid-up capital of ₹10 crore.
  • National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Ltd (NCGTC) is a private limited company incorporated under the Companies Act 1956, established to act as a common trustee company for multiple credit guarantee funds.
  • Credit guarantee programmes are designed to share the lending risk of the lenders and in turn, facilitate access to finance for the prospective borrowers.

How key policy actions led to rise in income levels during a pandemic-hit global economy


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news?

The pandemic and the subsequent lockdown may have had a devastating impact on people’s livelihoods and incomes globally, but there has also been a paradoxical rise in household wealth in India, according to the findings in Credit Suisse Group AG’s 2020 Global Wealth Report.

Key details

  • India and China are reported to have seen gains in household wealth in the first half of the year, up 4.4 per cent and 1.6 per cent, respectively.
  • Globally, household wealth has held up in these six months even as South America suffered badly on this metric due to local currency devaluations, with individual wealth taking a hit across geographies during this period.

Global trends that run counter to the generally established norms.

  • A major distortion is that stocks and bonds have moved in tandem during much of the last six months, which does not typically happen.
  • Then there is a twist in the otherwise synchronised choreography involving copper and gold prices. Almost always, when one rises, the other tends to fall.
  • So, generally in an economic downturn, while gold typically surges as investors flock to a safe haven investment, copper prices slide as manufacturing and construction slows down. But the Covid-19 pandemic has triggered a surge in both gold and copper that are moving up in tandem.
  • Household wealth in India is dominated by property and other real assets, although financial assets have grown over time, now forming 22 per cent of gross assets.
  • In 2019, non-financial assets rose by 12.5 per cent compared to 8.6 per cent growth in financial assets.
  • A caveat is that the latest findings are based on provisional household balance sheets for the quarter issued by few countries.
  • On the concerted movement of copper and gold prices, as against the general trend of one rising and the other falling, there are two overlapping triggers.

Global Health Report

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on regions all around the globe and affected people’s lives in countless ways. How it has impacted wealth and the distribution of wealth is the subject of special Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2020.
  • India’s wealth increased fourfold between 2000 and 2019, reaching $12.6 trillion in 2019.
  • India ranks fifth globally in terms of the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals.
  • According to the report 78% of India’s adult population has wealth below $10,000 while 1.8% of India’s population has more than $100,000. At the other extreme,1,790 adults have wealth over $100 million.

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