Current Affairs 30th March, 2019

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1. ‘Kartarpur talks only if Pak. concedes demands’

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The next round of discussions on the Kartarpur corridor will be held only if Pakistan responds to India’s earlier demands that the number of visitors not be capped and no fee be imposed on pilgrims, a senior government official said.

The shrine

  • The gurdwara in Kartarpur stands on the bank of the Ravi, about 120 km northeast of Lahore.

  • It was here that Guru Nanak assembled a Sikh community and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539.

  • The shrine is visible from the Indian side, as Pakistani authorities generally trim the elephant grass that would otherwise obstruct the view.

  • Indian Sikhs gather in large numbers for darshan from the Indian side, and binoculars are installed at Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak.



About the corridor

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  • The Kartarpur Sahib corridor was first proposed in 1999 when Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee took a bus ride to Lahore.

  • The Kartarpur corridor will be implemented as an integrated development project with Government of India funding.

  • The corridor will connect the holy shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib in Gurdaspur district of Punjab in India with Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in Pakistan.

  • The length of the corridor is about 4 km (2 km on either side of the international border). The corridor will commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

  • Pilgrimages between India and Pakistan are governed by the 1974 Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines, which includes a list of shrines in Pakistan and India open for visitors from the other country, and for which visas are required.

  • The Kartarpur Corridor, which will provide visa-free access to the shrine when it becomes ready on both sides, may need a separate treaty.


  • 2. GI Certification for five varieties of Indian coffee

    The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India has recently awarded Geographical Indication (GI) to five varieties of Indian coffee

    Details about the varieties

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    • Coorg Arabica coffee is grown specifically in the region of Kodagu district in Karnataka.

    • Wayanaad Robusta coffee is grown specifically in the region of Wayanad district which is situated on the eastern portion of Kerala.

    • Chikmagalur Arabica coffee is grown specifically in the region of Chikmagalur district and it is situated in the Deccan plateau, belongs to the Malnad region of Karnataka.

    • Araku Valley Arabica coffee can be described as coffee from the hilly tracks of Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha region at an elevation of 900-1100 Mt MSL. The coffee produce of Araku, by the tribals, follows an organic approach in which they emphasis on management practices involving substantial use of organic manures, green manuring and organic pest management practices.

    • Bababudangiris Arabica coffee is grown specifically in the birthplace of coffee in India and the region is situated in the central portion of Chikmagalur district. Selectively hand-picked and processed by natural fermentation, the cup exhibits full body, acidity, mild flavour and striking aroma with a note of chocolate. This coffee is also called high grown coffee which slowly ripens in the mild climate and thereby the bean acquires a special taste and aroma.



    Coffee cultivation in India

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  • In India, coffee is cultivated in about 4.54 lakh hectares by 3.66 lakh coffee farmers of which 98% are small farmers. Coffee cultivation is mainly done in the Southern States of India:

    • Karnataka – 54%

    • Kerala – 19%

    • Tamil Nadu – 8%

  • Coffee is also grown in non-traditional areas like Andhra Pradesh and Odisha (17.2%) and North East States (1.8%).

  • India is the only country in the world where the entire coffee cultivation is grown under shade, hand-picked and sun dried.

  • India produces some of the best coffee in the world, grown by tribal farmers in the Western and Eastern Ghats, which are the two major bio-diversity hotspots in the world.

  • Indian coffees highly valued in the world market and sold as premium coffee in Europe.



  • 3. PM’s speech didn’t violate code: EC

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    The Election Commission said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation on the successful demonstration of the anti-satellite missile capability did not violate the model code of conduct.

    Model Code of Conduct (MCC)

    • These are the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for conduct of political parties and candidates during elections mainly with respect to speeches, polling day, polling booths, election manifestos, processions and general conduct.

    When it comes into force?

    • The Model Code of Conduct comes into force immediately on announcement of the election schedule by the commission.

    • The Code remains in force till the end of the electoral process.

    Status

    • The need for such code is in the interest of free and fair elections. However, the code does not have any specific statutory basis. It has only a persuasive effect.

    • It contains what is known as “rules of electoral morality”. But this lack of statutory backing does not prevent the Commission from enforcing it.


    Evolution

    • The Commission issued the code for the first time in 1971 (5th Election) and revised it from time to time.

    • This set of norms has been evolved with the consensus of political parties who have consented to abide by the principles embodied in the said code and also binds them to respect and observe it in its letter and spirit.

    The main points of the code

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  • Government bodies are not to participate in any new recruitment process during the electoral process.

  • The contesting candidates and their campaigners must respect the home life of their rivals and should not disturb them by holding road shows or demonstrations in front of their houses. The code tells the candidates to keep it.

  • The election campaign rallies and road shows must not hinder the road traffic.

  • Candidates are asked to refrain from distributing liquor to voters.


  • 4. IOB hopes to come out of Reserve Bank’s PCA

    Public sector Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) is hopeful of a good performance this financial year and come out of the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework of the Reserve Bank of India, said a top official.

    Prompt Corrective Action (PCA)

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  • PCA norms allow the regulator to place certain restrictions such as halting branch expansion and stopping dividend payment.

  • It can even cap a bank’s lending limit to one entity or sector. Other corrective action that can be imposed on banks include special audit, restructuring operations and activation of recovery plan.

  • Banks’ promoters can be asked to bring in new management, too. The RBI can also supersede the bank’s board, under PCA.

  • Invocation of PCA

    • The PCA is invoked when certain risk thresholds are breached. There are three risk thresholds which are based on certain levels of asset quality, profitability, capital and the like.

    • The third such threshold, which is maximum tolerance limit, sets net NPA at over 12% and negative return on assets for four consecutive years.

    Restrictions on Banks

    • There are two type of restrictions, mandatory and discretionary.

    • Restrictions on dividend, branch expansion, directors' compensation, are mandatory while discretionary restrictions could include curbs on lending and deposit.



    5. ECI collaborates with Indian Railways for Voter Awareness Campaign

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    As part of Voter Awareness campaign for LokSabha Election 2019, Election Commission of India and Indian Railways have come together to utilize four long distance Trains to carry voter awareness and motivational messages.

    In details

    The Trains display important contact details for the citizens including the Voter Helpline number and the National Voters Services Portal besides motivational messages urging them to Vote.

    As the trains travel across the country, citizens will be encouraged to click a photograph with the train and upload it on social media, for further spreading the message.