12th April 2021 | UPSC Current Affairs

12th April Current Affairs MCQs 

Daily Current Affairs MCQsHistory MCQPolity MCQ Video Series


 

Pradhanmantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)

Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives

Context: Skill India Conducted First-of-its-kind Regional Workshop to Accelerate Implementation of PMKVY 3.0 in North Eastern Region.

About PMKVY:

  • PMKVY has been launched in 2015 by the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE).
  • It has been implemented by National Skill Development Corporation.
  • The objective of this Skill Certification Scheme is to enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.
  • Individuals with prior learning experience or skills will also be assessed and certified under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).
  • Under this Scheme, Training and Assessment fees are completely paid by the Government.
  • Skill training would be done based on the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) and industry-led standards.
  • The third phase of PMKVY was launched on January 15, 2021, in 600 districts across all states of India.


India-Netherlands

Relevance: International Relations

Context: India has held a virtual summit with the Netherlands.

 

More on News:

  • India and the Netherlands share cordial and friendly relations underpinned by shared values of democracy, rule of law and freedom.
  • The Netherlands is home to the largest Indian diaspora in continental Europe.
  • Both countries have wide-ranging cooperation including in areas of water management, agriculture and food processing, healthcare, smart cities and urban mobility, science & technology, renewable energy and space.
  • The two countries also share a robust economic partnership with the Netherlands being the third-largest investor in India.

About the Netherlands:

  • The Netherlands is a nation in Western Europe, bordered by the North Sea in the west and north.
  • The country shares a land boundary with Belgium and Germany.
  • The country also shares maritime borders with Franceand the United Kingdom.


Pradhan Mantri Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) Scheme

Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives

Context: Convergence between Ministry of Food Processing Industries and Ministry of Rural Development for the PMFME scheme.

More on News:

  • MoFPI and Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM) of the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) agreed to work together on the implementation of PM-FME to support Self Help Group (SHG) entrepreneurs in food processing.
  • Of all the components of the scheme, both Ministries decided to work closely on the component of providing seed capital support to SHG members.
  • This involves working capital and the purchase of small tools with the maximum permissible amount of support as 40,000/- per SHG member based on their existing business turnover and requirement.
  • The concerned teams of both the Ministries at the National level worked together in formalizing the operational framework for the scheme, the Guidelines, joint advisories, training and awareness campaigns etc. to facilitate the implementation of this component.
  • The State Rural Livelihood Missions in the States/UTs and the State Nodal Agencies appointed by MoFPI are executing the programme in close coordination.
  • This involves the identification of targeted eligible beneficiaries, capturing their aspirations & growth plans in the form of applications, digitize, review, recommend and approve them.

About PM FME:

  • It is a flagship initiative of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries.
  • PMFME is a centrally sponsored scheme that aims to enhance the competitiveness of existing individual micro-enterprises in the unorganized segment of the food processing industry.
  • It aims to promote formalization of the sector and provide support to Farmer Producer Organizations, Self Help Groups, and Producers Cooperatives along their entire value chain.
  • The scheme is to be implemented for five years from 2020-21 to 2024-25 with an outlay of Rs 10,000 crores.
  • The scheme envisions directly assist the 2,00,000 micro food processing units for providing financial, technical, and business support for the up-gradation of existing micro food processing enterprises.


India-Seychelles 

Relevance: International Relations

Context: India has held a virtual summit with Seychelles.

More on News:

  • Seychelles is central to India’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).
  • India has contributed to the development of Seychelles in its security capabilities and in meeting its infrastructural and developmental needs.

About Seychelles:

  • It is an archipelago located east of the African coast.
  • It is located in the Indian Ocean.


Red Sea

Relevance: International Relations

Context: Iran ship attacked in the Red Sea.

About the Red Sea:

  • The Red Sea is the world’s northernmost tropical sea and is also one of the most heavily travelled waterways.
  • The Red Sea is a semi-enclosed, inlet (or extension) of the Indian Ocean between the continents of Africa from Asia.
  • It is connected to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean to the south through the Gulf of Aden and the narrow strait of Bab el Mandeb.
  • The northern portion of the Red Sea is bifurcated by the Sinai Peninsula into the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf of Suez, where it is connected to the Mediterranean Sea via the famous Suez Canal.
  • The Red Sea is bordered by Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti.

Nano Sniffer

Relevance:  Science and Technology

Context: Union Education Ministry has launched NanoSniffer, the world’s first Microsensor based Explosive Trace Detector (ETD).

About Nano Sniffer

  • It has been developed by NanoSniff Technologies, an IIT Bombay incubated startup.
  • NanoSniffer is a 100% Made in India product in terms of research, development & manufacturing. The core technology of NanoSniffer is protected by patents in the U.S. & Europe.
  • This affordable device will reduce our dependency on imported explosive trace detector devices.
  • It will also encourage other institutions, startups and medium-scale industries to research & develop products indigenously. It’s a perfect example of the lab market product.
  • ETD – NanoSniffer can detect explosives in less than 10 secondsand it also identifies and categorizes explosives into different classes.
  • It detects all classes of military, conventional and homemade explosives.
  • It gives visible & audible alerts with sunlight-readable colour display
  • This device provides trace detection of Nano-gram quantity of explosives & delivers result in seconds.
  • It can accurately detect a wide range of military, commercial and homemade explosives threats.


Students’ and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement through Quality Education (SARTHAQ)

Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives

Context: Union Education Ministry has launched an indicative and suggestive implementation plan for school education called SARTHAQ.

About SARTHAQ:

  • SARTHAQ was launched in pursuance of the goals of New Education Policy 2020 and to assist States/UTs in this task.
  • It will pave the way for children to meet the diverse national and global challenges of the present and the future.
  • It helps them to imbibe 21st-century skills along with India’s tradition, culture and value system as envisioned in National Education Policy (NEP), 2020.
  • It would benefit all stakeholders including 25 crore students, 15 lakh schools, 94 lakh teachers.
  • This implementation plan delineates the roadmap and way forward for implementation of NEP, 2020 for the next 10 years, which is very important for its smooth and effective implementation
  • The major focus of SARTHAQ is to define activities in such a manner that delineate goals, outcomes and time frame i.e., it links the recommendation of NEP with 297 tasks along with responsible agencies, timelines and 304 outputs of these tasks.


Inflation target at 4%

Relevance: Economy

Context: At the end of the financial year 2020-21, the Finance Ministry announced that the inflation target for the five years between April 2021 and March 2026 will remain unchanged at 4%.

More about the News

  • Consumer Price Index

    ·        It measures price changes from the perspective of a retail buyer.

    ·        It measures changes over time in the level of retail prices of selected goods and services on which consumers of a defined group spend their incomes.

    ·        Four types of CPI are as follows:

    1.      CPI for Industrial Workers (IW).

    2.      CPI for Agricultural Labourer (AL).

    3.      CPI for Rural Labourer (RL).

    4.      CPI(Rural/Urban/Combined).

    ·        Of these, the first three are compiled by the Labour Bureau in the Ministry of Labour and Employment. Fourth is compiled by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

    ·        The base Year for CPI is 2012.

  • India had switched to an inflation target-based monetary policy framework in 2015, with the 4% target kicking in from 2016-17.
  • The Centre has decided to retain the inflation target of 4%, with a tolerance band of +/- 2 percentage points for the Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India for the coming five years.
  • Moody’s Analytics recently pointed out that volatile food prices and rising oil prices had already driven India’s consumer price index (CPI)-based inflation past the 6% tolerance threshold several times in 2020 and that core inflation trends were rising again.

Monetary policy committee

  • The Monetary Policy Committee is a statutory and institutionalized framework under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, for maintaining price stability, while keeping in mind the objective of growth.
  • An RBI-appointed committee led by the then deputy governor Urjit Patel in 2014 recommended the establishment of the Monetary Policy Committee.
  • The Governor of RBI is ex-officio Chairman of the committee.
  • The committee comprises six members (including the Chairman) – three officials of the RBI and three external members nominated by the Government of India.
  • Decisions are taken by the majority with the Governor having the casting vote in case of a tie.
  • The MPC determines the policy interest rate (repo rate) required to achieve the inflation target (4%).
  • Consumer Price Index
    • It measures price changes from the perspective of a retail buyer.
    • It measures changes over time in the level of retail prices of selected goods and services on which consumers of a defined group spend their incomes.
    • Four types of CPI are as follows:
    1. CPI for Industrial Workers (IW).
    2. CPI for Agricultural Labourer (AL).
    3. CPI for Rural Labourer (RL).
    4. CPI(Rural/Urban/Combined).
    • Of these, the first three are compiled by the Labour Bureau in the Ministry of Labour and Employment. Fourth is compiled by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
    • The base Year for CPI is 2012.


The World in 2030: Public Survey Report

Relevance: Reports and index

Context: The World in 2030: Public Survey Report was recently published by UNESCO.

UNESCO

·        UNESCO is United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

·        It was established in 1945. The headquarters of UNESCO is located in Paris, France.

·        Some of the major initiatives of UNESCO are as follows: World Heritage List: UNESCO is responsible for providing the tag, “World Heritage Site” to a place.

·        Man, and the Biosphere Programme: The programme aims to establish biosphere reserves. India has 18 biosphere reserves. Of these 12 have been recognised by the Man and the Biosphere Programme.

The report was published by the organization based on the survey held between May 2020 and September 2020.More about the News

  • According to the report, Climate Change, Violence and Conflict, Loss of Biodiversity and discrimination and inequality, water and housing, lack of food are the four biggest challenges to peaceful societies of 2030.
  • According to the participants, education is the only crucial solution to many difficulties to be faced in 2030. However, the North Americans (US, Canada) believe in science and not in education.
  • Challenges: The top challenges to be faced in 2030 according to the report are as follows:
    1. Violence and Conflict
    2. Discrimination and Inequality
    3. Disinformation and Freedom of Expression
    4. Climate Change and Loss of Biodiversity Lack of food, water, and housing
    5. Health and Disease Lack of Decent work and opportunities
    6. Political Participation and Democratic Principles
    7. Artificial Intelligence and New Technologies
    8. Traditions and Culture at risk

UNESCO

  • UNESCO is United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
  • It was established in 1945. The headquarters of UNESCO is located in Paris, France.
  • Some of the major initiatives of UNESCO are as follows: World Heritage List: UNESCO is responsible for providing the tag, “World Heritage Site” to a place.
  • Man, and the Biosphere Programme: The programme aims to establish biosphere reserves. India has 18 biosphere reserves. Of these 12 have been recognised by the Man and the Biosphere Programme.

India leads in Digital Payments

Relevance: Economy

Context: According to the UK-based payments system company ACI report, India has the highest number of real-time online transactions in 2020.

More about the News

  • India’s digital payments market led by Paytm, PhonePe, Pine Labs, Razorpay, BharatPe, and others has surged during the pandemic even as incentives such as cash backs, rewards, and offers have helped businesses to attract more customers.
  • The UPI (Unified Payment Interface) transaction increased by 7% in March 2021 as compared to February 2021.
  • India was ahead of China, the US, South Korea, the UK, Thailand in several online transactions.
  • According to the Reserve Bank of India, India is now clocking around 100 million digital transactions in a day. Much of these transactions are powered by UPI.

UPI (unified payment interface) Transactions

  • Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is a system that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application (of any participating bank), merging several banking features, seamless fund routing & merchant payments into one hood.
  • UPI is currently the biggest among the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)operated systems including National Automated Clearing House (NACH), Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), Aadhaar enabled Payment System (AePS), Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), RuPay, etc.
  • UPI is an advanced version of Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) – round-the-clock funds transfer service to make cashless payments faster, easier and smoother.
  • It also caters to the “Peer to Peer” collect request which can be scheduled and paid as per requirement and convenience.

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)

  • NPCI, an umbrella organization for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India, is an initiative of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.
  • It is a “Not for Profit” Company under the provisions of Section 25 of Companies Act 1956 (now Section 8 of Companies Act 2013), to provide infrastructure to the entire Banking system in India for physical as well as electronic payment and settlement systems.


 The Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA)

Relevance: Economy

Context: The Finance Ministry on Wednesday said NRIs and foreign nationals stuck in India due to the COVID-19 pandemic and facing double taxation can submit the details to the income tax department.

More about DTAA

  • A Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) is a treaty signed between two countries, which incentivizes and promotes the exchange of goods, services, and investment of capital between the two countries by eliminating international double taxation.
  • It is not a regulation to impose or determine tax rates but a comprehensive treaty between two sovereign states enumerating the detailed procedure and manner of taxation, with well-defined written terms and conditions to be strictly adhered to.
  • Objective: Its key objective is that taxpayers in these countries can avoid being taxed twice for the same income.
  • India has a vast network of DTAAs with other countries under Section 90 of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Currently, India has established 94 comprehensive DTAAs and eight limited DTAAs. While comprehensive agreements address all sources of income, the scope of limited agreements is, as indicated, limited to specific sources.
  • A DTAA between India and other countries is drafted on a reciprocal basis and covers only residents of India and the residents of the negotiating country.
  • Any person or company that is not resident, either in India or in the other country that has agreed with India, cannot claim benefits under the signed DTAA.
  • Misuse of DTAA
    • India has signed DTAA with the tax havens such as Mauritius, Singapore, Cayman Islands, etc. These DTAAs have been misused by Multi-National Companies to reduce their tax liability in India.
    • For example, If the company (Shell Company) is registered in a tax haven and carries out the operations through its subsidiary based in India.
    • Under the provisions of DTAA, the company would be liable to pay tax only in the tax haven country, even for the profits which it makes in India. This causes significant revenue loss for India.


Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS)

Relevance: Economy

Context: The concept of equalisation levy in India emerged as a result of the deliberations of the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project, which crystallised in the BEPS Project report.

More about BEPS

  • Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) refers to tax avoidance strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations.
  • This undermines the fairness and integrity of tax systems because businesses that operate across borders can use BEPS to gain a competitive advantage over enterprises that operate at a domestic level.
  • The BEPS project is a joint initiative between G20 countries and the OECD works towards the development of a coherent global taxation system that addresses BEPS concerns.
  • The BEPS project would:
    • Increase tax revenues which were earlier lost due to BEPS.
    • BEPS is of major significance for developing countries due to their heavy reliance on corporate income tax, particularly from multinational enterprises.
    • Give a level playing field for both and domestic and global companies by allowing them to conduct businesses under similar circumstances.
    • Tax savings from BEPS give multinational companies an edge over domestic companies, which may lack the wherewithal to employ such strategies. prevent double taxation.
  • In Union Budget 2016 an ‘equalization levy’ of 6 per cent on payments exceeding over Rs 1 lakh to online ad services from non-resident entities was introduced. Prominent companies affected would be new economy multinationals with Indian subsidiaries, like Facebook and Google.
  • The digital tax introduced in April 2020, applies only to non-resident companies with annual revenues over ₹2 crores and covers online sales of goods and services to Indians.
  • In a bid to provide a level-playing field, the government has decided not to levy a 2% digital service tax if goods and services are sold through the Indian arm of foreign e-commerce players.
  • The amendment to Finance Bill 2021 clarifies that offshore e-commerce platforms don’t have to pay a 2% equalisation levy if they have a permanent establishment or they pay any income tax here.


G-sec Acquisition Programme (G-SAP 1.0)

Relevance: Economy

Context: The Reserve Bank of India recently announced a Government Security Acquisition Programme, GSAP 1.0. Under the programme, the central bank will purchase government bonds worth Rs 1 trillion (or one lakh crores of rupees).

More about G-SAP 1.0

  • Government Securities

    They are debt instruments that are issued by GoI to borrow money. There are two types namely short-term instruments that mature in 91 days and long-term instruments that mature anywhere between five years and forty years

  • The RBI periodically purchase Government bonds from the market through Open Market Operations (OMOs).
  • The G-SAP is in a way an OMO but there is an upfront commitment by the central bank to the markets that it will purchase bonds worth a specific amount.

Government Securities

They are debt instruments that are issued by GoI to borrow money. There are two types namely short-term instruments that mature in 91 days and long-term instruments that mature anywhere between five years and forty years

  • The idea is to give comfort to the bond markets. In other words, G-SAP is an OMO with a ‘distinct character’.
  • The programme will help to reduce the spread between the repo rate and the ten-year government bond yield.
  • G-SAP will run alongside RBI’s regular operations, including Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF), open market operations (OMOs) and Operation Twist.

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