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♦ Chabahar port: India, Afghanistan, Iran agree on routes for trade and transit corridors
- A crucial trilateral meeting of officials from India, Afghanistan and Iran on the strategically-important Chabahar port was held on Monday during which they agreed on the routes for trade and transit corridors between the three countries.
- The first meeting of the follow-up committee for implementation of the trilateral Chabahar agreement between India, Afghanistan and Iran at the level of Joint Secretary or Director General was held in the Iranian port city of Chabahar, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
- On the occasion, India Ports Global Limited company opened its office and took over operations at the Shaheed Behesti port at Chabahar.
- Positive and constructive discussions were held between the three sides on full operationalisation of the Trilateral Transit Agreement for international transit and transport through the Chabahar Port. They agreed on the routes for the trade and transit corridors between the three countries, the MEA said.
- It was agreed to finalise at the earliest, the protocol to harmonise transit, roads, customs, and consular matters.
♦ PM releases ₹100 commemorative coin in memory of Vajpayee
- On the eve of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s 94th birth anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday released a ₹100 commemorative coin in memory of the former Prime Minister.
- Mr. Vajpayee’s long-time associate and BJP veteran L.K. Advani, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP president Amit Shah were present at the event in New Delhi.
- Vajpayee died at the AIIMS in New Delhi in August at the age of 93 after prolonged illness.
- Addressing the gathering, Mr. Modi said he would go to Mr. Vajpayee’s memorial on Tuesday to reiterate his commitment to the ideology and path shown by the statesman.
- “Atal Ji wanted democracy to be supreme. He built the Jana Sangh. But, when the time came to rescue our democracy, he and others went to the Janata Party. Likewise, when the choice was between remaining in power or compromising on ideology, he left the Janata Party and formed the BJP,” the Prime Minister said.
♦ PM Modi announces new award for National Unity
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the institution of a national unity award on the lines of the Padma awards, an official statement said on Sunday. The annual award would be given to any Indian who has contributed to national unity in any manner, the statement said, adding that the Prime Minister drew inspiration from Sardar Patel’s contribution towards the unification of the country. The announcement was made at the annual conference of DGPs and IGs of police.
♦ Odisha govt announces Rs 10,000 crore scheme for development of farmers
- Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Friday announced a Rs 10,000-crore scheme for the overall development of farmers in the state. The state cabinet has approved the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme, worth over Rs 10,000 crore, for the development of farmers in the state, the chief minister said. “The KALIA is historic and it will further accelerate agricultural prosperity in the state and reduce poverty,” Patnaik told reporters after the Cabinet meeting chaired by him approved the scheme.
- Though the scheme did not have provision of farm loan waiver, the chief minister said: “all the small and marginal farmers of the state (over 30 lakh) will be covered under the scheme. Patnaik said that “an amount of Rs 10,000 per family at the rate of Rs 5,000 each for Kharif and Rabi seasons shall be provided as financial assistance for taking up cultivation.” The chief minister termed the opposition Congress’s poll promise of farm loan waiver in Odisha as “ridiculous”, Patnaik said farm loan waiver may help a section of the farmers, but this scheme will cover 92 per cent of cultivators of the state.
- “There are about 32 lakh cultivators in the state. Out of this about 20 lakh have availed crop loan. The remaining 12 lakh have not availed crop loans. “Further the entire gamut of share croppers and landless labourers will not be covered under a loan waiver scheme,” Patnaik said. The chief minister said “This component is not linked to the extent of land owned. It will greatly benefit share croppers and actual cultivators most of whom own very small extent of land. This assistance is for five crop seasons spanning three years from 2018-19 to 2021-22, so as to ensure comprehensive coverage.”
♦ Belgium to end the year as No.1 in FIFA global rankings
- Belgium will end the year as No. 1 ahead of world champions France in the global rankings released by FIFA yesterday.
- Belgium, beaten by France in the World Cup semi-finals, edge Didier Deschamps’ team by one ranking point. Belgium have 1,727 points by FIFA’s calculations to 1,726 for France. Brazil are third on 1,676. India’s Rank 97th.
♦ Kerala, Himachal, Tamil Nadu lead performers in Niti Aayog’s Sustainable Development Goals index
- Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have emerged as top performing states in Niti Aayog’s SDG India index 2018, which evaluates progress in social, economic and environmental terms, according to a report released on Friday. Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are the worst performing states in the government think tank’s first of its kind India Index for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
- The Aayog has developed the SDG India Index which is a comprehensive index to measure progress of states/UTs, through a single measurable index and the First Baseline Report for 2018 was prepared with the support of United Nations in India.
- The index took into account 13 out of 17 goals specified by United Nation’s as SDGs and left out four goals because of lack of data at the state level.
- Kerala tops UN’s SDG India Index. The State was ranked as a “Front Runner” with a score of 69 in the Baseline Report 2018, which highlighted the progress made by States & Union territories by presenting a comprehensive picture across economic, social & environmental dimensions. pic.twitter.com/q3xOqzdn0G
- Under the index, states will be monitored on real time basis across 62 of 306 national indicators outlined by the United Nations. The United Nations-sponsored SDG has 17 goals, 169 targets and 306 national indicators.
- “Kerala’s top rank is attributed to its superior performance in providing good health, reducing hunger, achieving gender equality and providing quality education.
♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)♣
- THREADBARE (ADJECTIVE): banal (घिसा हुआ)
Synonyms: corny, stale
Antonyms: agree, concur
Example: She came across some threadbare situations.
- DIFFIDENT (ADJECTIVE): bashful (शर्मीला)
Synonyms: demure, meek
Antonyms: confident, brave
Example: She has become a diffident person.
- PLASTER SAINT (NOUN): charlatan
Synonyms: imposter, trickster
Antonyms: adept, virtuoso
Example: He turned out to be a plaster saint.
- JAPE (NOUN): trick (मज़ाक)
Synonyms: bluff, deceive
Antonyms: be honest, be upright
Example: Massacre was a jape used by the informer.
- SWINDLE (VERB): deceive (छलना)
Synonyms: swindle, dupe
Antonyms: help, protect
Example: Don’t try to swindle into your family.
- BELLICOSE (ADJECTIVE): belligerent (लड़ाका)
Synonyms: contentious, inhospitable
Antonyms: friendly, pleasant
Example : Her bellicose nature has made her a cipher.
- BURLESQUE (ADJECTIVE): farcical (कारटूनवाला)
Synonyms: ironical, satirical
Antonyms: realistic, genuine
Example: The day had arrived with more bumps and grinds than a burlesque matron.
- ENSHROUD (VERB): cover (
Synonyms: conceal, mask
Antonyms: disclose, reveal
Example: Rain and snow are copious, and dense fogs enshroud the coast in summer.
Capital idea? on banks recapitalisation plan
With just months to go for the general election, the government looks all set to open the credit taps of the economy. The Centre has sought Parliament’s approval to infuse an additional ₹41,000 crore into public sector banks that are starved of precious capital to remain afloat. Along with another ₹42,000 crore that is already budgeted for infusion, this tranche will take the total planned funds infusion into banks this year to ₹83,000 crore. More important, the infusion will help banks boost lending and stimulate economic activity going into an election year. In fact, the latest fund infusion is aimed, among other things, to help a number of public sector banks to climb out of the Reserve Bank of India’s Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework. As many as 11 public sector banks have been stopped from lending freely by the RBI under the PCA framework due to their poor financial health. It is important that the additional capital is not wasted on banks that have not shown any improvement but rather used to support the weak ones that are on the recovery path. The government has said that PCA banks which have
shown better performance in terms of reduction in NPAs and improvement in return of assets will be given priority. The proof will come when the allocations to individual banks are announced.
There have been reports that four banks under the PCA — Allahabad Bank, Bank of India, Corporation Bank and Bank of Maharashtra — will soon be out of the restrictive framework. This is following a review by the Board for Financial Supervision of the RBI, which went over the financials of all the banks under the framework. While Corporation Bank and Bank of Maharashtra have shown a semblance of improvement in their asset quality and registered a profit in the September quarter, the other two are not over the hump yet. The government is obviously keen to free up the banks from restrictions on lending. But it flies counter to the RBI’s basic objective in keeping these banks under the PCA framework, which is to nurse them back to good health. In its eagerness to achieve its political objectives, the government should not end up pushing good money after bad by apportioning extra capital to these weak banks instead of supporting the ones that are on the recovery path. There are enough headaches for banks to handle in the form of the waiver of agriculture loans and the rising share of loans to small businesses, which are risky. While the idea of infusing more money into banks is not bad per se, given that they are grappling with inadequate capital, a lot depends on how and to which banks this money is distributed. This is where the government has to exercise prudence and caution.
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