ENVIRONMENT, GEOGRAPHY AND AGRICULTURE
1. INDIA JOINS HIGH AMBITION COALITION FOR NATURE AND PEOPLE
THE CONTEXT: India officially joined the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, a group of more than 70 countries encouraging the adoption of the global goal to protect at least 30 per cent of the world’s land and ocean by 2030.
- India is the first of the BRICS bloc of major emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to join the HAC.
- India’s announcement comes in the lead up to a high-level biodiversity meeting in China from October 11 to 15
2. GOVERNMENT APPROVES AIR INDIA DISINVESTMENT
THE CONTEXT: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) – empowered Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM) approved the highest price bid of M/s Talace Pvt Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of M/s Tata Sons Pvt. Ltd for sale of 100% equity shareholding of Government of India in Air India along with equity shareholding of Air India in AIXL and AISATS.
3. RBI KEEPS KEY INTEREST RATES UNCHANGED
THE CONTEXT: The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept the key interest rates unchanged and reduced the inflation target for the year 2021-22.
- Interest rates in the banking system are expected to remain steady as the Repo Rate remains unchanged at four per cent, the Reverse Repo rate at 3.35 per cent and the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 4.25 per cent.
- The MPC also decided to continue with the accommodative stance as long as necessary to revive and sustain growth on a durable basis and continue to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the economy.
- The RBI has slashed the inflation forecast for 2021-22 to 5.3 per cent from the 5.7 per cent estimated earlier.
- Going forward, the inflation trajectory is set to edge down during Q3 of 2021-22, and several evolving factors provide comfort on the food price front. Its momentum is expected to remain muted in the near term, it said.
- The RBI has retained the projection for real GDP growth at 9.5 per cent in 2021- 22 consisting of 7.9 per cent in Q2 of the current year.
4. GLOBAL MINIMUM CORPORATE TAX RATE
THE CONTEXT: OECD says deal reached on the global minimum corporate tax rate.
- A global deal to ensure big companies pay a minimum tax rate of 15% and make it harder for them to avoid taxation has been agreed after Ireland, Estonia and Hungary agreed to sign up to the elusive landmark accord.
- The agreement aims to end a four-decade-long “race to the bottom” by governments that have sought to attract investment and jobs by taxing multinational companies only lightly and allowing them to shop around for low tax rates.
- Negotiations have been going on for four years, moving online during the pandemic, with support for a deal from U.S. President Joe Biden and the costs of COVID-19 giving additional impetus in recent months.
- Out of the 140 countries involved, 136 supported the deal with developing countries Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sri Lanka abstaining for now.
- The OECD said that the deal would cover 90% of the global economy.
- The OECD said that the minimum rate would see countries collect around $150 billion in new revenues annually while taxing rights on more than $125 billion of profit would be shifted to countries where big multinationals earn their income.
- The deal aims to prevent big groups from booking profits in low-tax countries like Ireland regardless of where their clients are, an issue that has become ever more pressing with the rise of tech giants that easily do business across borders.
- The OECD said that the deal would next go to the Group of 20 economic powers to formally endorse at a finance ministers’ meeting in Washington and then on to a G20 leaders summit at the end of the month in Rome for final approval.
- However, there remains some question about the U.S. position which depends in part on tough domestic tax reform negotiations going on in Congress.
- Countries that back the deal are supposed to bring it onto their law books next year so that it can take effect from 2023, which many officials close to the talks describe as extremely tight.
THE CONTEXT: Shipping Minister launched ‘MyPortApp’ for digital monitoring of port operations
- The App includes all port details digitally and monitors operations virtually. Targeted towards Port Users for availing various Port services, the App is aimed to promote transparency and easy access of port-related information.
- The app also has various information like Vessel Berthing, Rake & Indent, Rake Receipt, Container Status, Tariff, Bills, Port Holidays, etc. and can be accessed anywhere 24×7 and reach out directly to the port.
6. INDIA, CHINA PATROLS FACE OFF IN TAWANG
THE CONTEXT: Some Chinese soldiers of a large patrol team were detained for few hours by the Indian Army after such teams of the sides were engaged in a minor face-off and clashed near Yangtse in Tawang Sector of Arunachal Pradesh.
- Face-offs occurred due to different areas of perception due to the demarcated boundary and as both sides undertook patrolling activities up to their line of perception.
- Defence sources said that whenever patrols of both sides physically met, the situation was managed according to established protocols and mechanisms agreed upon by both sides.
- Peace and tranquillity in these areas of differing perceptions had been possible due to adherence to the existing agreements and protocols between the two countries.
7. BHASHAN CHAR ISLAND
THE CONTEXT: Bangladesh wants to send more than 80,000 Rohingya refugees to a remote island in the Bay of Bengal after sealing an agreement for the United Nations to provide help.
- Some 19,000 of Muslim refugees have already relocated to Bhashan Char Island.
- On top of the inhospitable weather, the island is 60 kilometres from the mainland and some Rohingya groups say people were forced to go there.
ABOUT BHASHAN CHAR ISLAND
- Bhashan Char, also known as Char Piya, is an island in Hatiya Upazila, Bangladesh.
- It is located in the Bay of Bengal, about 6 kilometres from Sandwip Island and 60 km from the mainland.
- The island was formed by Himalayan silt in 2006. It spans 40 square kilometres.
8. NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
THE CONTEXT: The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.
- Ms Ressa and Mr Muratov are receiving the Peace Prize for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia. At the same time, they are representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions.
- Maria Ressa uses freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country, the Philippines.
- Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov has for decades defended freedom of speech in Russia under increasingly challenging conditions.
PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
Q1. Bhashan Char island, sometimes seen in the news, is part of which of the following countries?
ANSWER FOR OCTOBER 08, 2021 PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
- Exercise Indradhanush – Air forces
- Exercise Ajeya Warrior – Army
- Exercise Konkan – Navy