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Important Current Affairs 2nd June

NATIONAL:

India removes restriction on air space usage.

• Indian Air Force (IAF) removed all temporary restrictions on all air routes in the Indian airspace.

• The IAF made the announcement on Twitter.

• The IAF imposed restrictions following air strikes on a terror camp at Balakot in Pakistan on 27th February.

• India imposed restrictions which did not allow any aircraft flying over Pakistan airspace to use entry or exit points into India.

• Since February 27, flights on these sectors were taking longer routes leading to an increase in flying time by up to three hours.

About Indian Air Force (IAF)

Founded: 8 October 1932

Headquarters  : New Delhi

Commander-in-Chief : President Ram Nath Kovind

NITI Aayog suggested a National Project Management Policy Framework.

• A task force on project management, headed by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, has suggested the development of a National Project Management Policy Framework for the effective execution of public sector and public-private partnership infrastructure projects.

• It has also recommended the setting up of a nodal body for the certification of chartered project management professionals to create world-class infrastructure. The project management, with a view to delivering on time and within budget, is a learnable capability that can be institutionalised as demonstrated by the experiences of the U.S., the U.K., the UAE, and China.

NITI Aayog

Formed: 1 January 2015

Preceding: Planning Commission

Headquarters: Delhi

Chairman: Narendra Modi

Vice Chairman: Rajiv Kumar

CEO: Amitabh Kant

• NITI Aayog is a policy think tank of the Government of India.

• It is established with the aim to achieve Sustainable Development Goals and to enhance cooperative federalism by fostering the involvement of State Governments of India in the economic policy-making process using a bottom-up approach.

INTERNATIONAL:

Astronomers discovered the Forbidden Planet, NGTS- 4b in the Neptunian Desert.

• An international collaboration of astronomers with the University of Warwick, I-JK, have discovered an exoplanet, Next-Generation Transit Survey(NGTS)- 4b, the Forbidden Planet, in the Neptunian Desert.

• It is smaller than Neptune but 3 times the size of the Earth.

• The Research was led by Dr. Richard West including Professor Peter Wheatley, Dr. Daniel Bayliss and Dr. James McCormac from the Astronomy and Astrophysics Group at the University of Warwick.

• This information was published in the Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society(MNRAS).

• The Forbidden Planet with a mass of 20 Earth masses, radius 20% smaller than Neptune and temperature of 1000 degree Celsius, orbits around the star in only 1.3 days and its atmosphere as gases.

• NGTS, situated at the European Southern Observatory Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert, Chile.

AGREEMENTS AND MOU’s:

The US formally terminated Indias eligibility for a duty free import scheme.

• The United States on formally terminated India’s eligibility for a duty-free import scheme for developing countries on 31 May. It cited that India has not given assurances it will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets to US companies as required under relevant American trade laws. The US President Donald Trump has said the country would end its preferential trade treatment for India on June 5.

India-The biggest beneficary:

• Notably, India is the biggest beneficiary of the US' Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). It sold an estimated $6.3 billion worth of goods to the United States under this program in 2018.

Background:

• President Trump had conveyed is an intention to terminate India’s eligibility for the programme, Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), to the US Congress on March 4. And the formal termination became due on May 4, after the mandatory 60-day notice period.

• But the administration held off on the proclamation as India was in the middle of elections at the time and there was pressure from US lawmakers, from both parties, to delay the termination to allow more time for negotiations. There was an expectation that India could avert the termination.

• But the Trump administration had concluded much before, according to people close to the developments, that India would not be able to deliver no matter how much additional time it was given.

What is Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)?

• The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is a U.S. trade program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for up to 4,800 products from 129 designated beneficiary countries and territories. GSP was instituted on January 1, 1976, by the Trade Act of 1974

• The GSP program has effective dates which are specified in relevant legislation, thereby requiring periodical reauthorization in order to remain in effect GSP expired on July 31, 2013, and was most recently reauthorized on June 29, 2015 (effective July 29, 2015) for a period of two and a half years.  The relevant legislation permits retroactive extension of GSP benefits. Recently the USA has excluded India from the list of beneficiaries of this program.

Govt extends PM-KISAN scheme, announces Rs 6,000 cash handout scheme to all farmers.

• In the first Cabinet meeting, Modi led new government decided to extend PM- KISAN scheme to all 14.5 crore farmers in the country costing Rs 87,000 crore a year and also announced over Rs 10,000 crore pension scheme for 5 crore farmers, thereby fulfilling the BJP's poll promise.

• The Rs 75,000-crore Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Siddhi (PMKSS - PM Kisan) was announced in the interim Budget under which the government decided to provide Rs 6,000 per year (in three equal instalments) to an estimated 12.5 crore small and marginal farmers holding land up to 2 hectares.

• Now, the revised scheme envisages to cover around 2 crore more farmers increasing the coverage of the PM- KISAN to around 14.5 crore beneficiaries.

• Farmer pension scheme:

• Cabinet also approved the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Pension Yojana under which small and marginal farmers will get a minimum fixed pension of Rs 3,000 per month on attaining the age of 60 years.

• The scheme will cost the exchequer a total of ₹10,000 crore per annum.

• New Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers welfare - Narendra Singh Tomar

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Forex reserve rises by 1.99 billion to 419.99 billion.

• India's foreign exchange reserves increased by 1.994 billion to 419.992 billion US Dollar in the week ended 24th May 2019.

• RBI released that foreign currency assets rose by 1.991 billion to 392.188 billion US Dollar.

In the previous week, the reserves had declined by 2.05 billion to end at 417.99 billion US Dollar. 

• Gold reserves remained stable at 23.021 billion US Dollar. India's special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund went by 0.8 million to 1.445 billion US Dollar, while the country's reserve position also increased by 2 million to 3.336 billion US Dollar.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Yoga Instructor, Namrata Menon appointed as brand ambassador to promote yoga in Goa.

• State Health Department of Goa announced the appointment of Panaji-based, Namrata Menon, Yoga Instructor, and fitness expert, as brand ambassador to promote yoga in Goa.

• She is appointed to promote the ancient system of physical and mental practices to raise awareness about the benefits of yoga so that people follow it on a daily basis.

• She is practicing yoga for 17 years.

• The main objective of this initiative is to increase awareness about the benefits of yoga and encourage people to inculcate a healthy lifestyle.

• The Panaji-based expert has been practicing yoga since the last 17 years and has been instrumental in inspiring many people to take up the ancient practice that involves a range of postures (asanas).

Anita Bhatia appointed as Deputy Executive Director in UN Women.

• Indian-origin Anita Bhatia, a veteran in strategic partnerships, resource mobilization, and management, has been appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) for Resource Management, Sustainability, and Partnerships. The agency focussed on women empowerment and gender equality.

• The key appointment comes less than a week after Guterres appointed decorated Indian Army officer Lieutenant General Shailesh Tinaikar as his new Force Commander of the UN Mission in South Sudan.

Anita Bhatia:

• Bhatia holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Calcutta University, a Master of Arts in Political Science from Yale University and a Juris Doctor in Law from Georgetown University.

Bhatia served for several years as Director of Global Partnerships for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group's private sector arm.

• Bhatia has led diverse teams, including as Global Head of Knowledge Management, Head of Business Process Improvement and Head of Change Management. In addition to Latin America, she has worked in Africa, Europe, Central Asia and South and East Asia.

AWARDS:

Former Indian President of India Pratibha Patil conferred the Orden Mexicana del Aguila Azteca award.

• Former Indian President Pratibha Patil has been conferred the "Orden Mexicana del Aguila Azteca" (Order of the Aztec Eagle), the highest civilian award of Mexico given to foreigners, on 1 June 2019.

• The Ambassador of Mexico to India, Melba Pria, conferred the award on Patil, who created history as this country's first woman President (2007-2012), at a special ceremony held in the MCCIA Bhavan, Pune.

Recognized for:

• Mexico's highest distinction for foreigners is in recognition of their outstanding services to the Mexican nation or humanity, significant contributions to strengthening the bilateral relations between Mexico and other countries.

Other India Awardees:

• Ms. Patil, 85, becomes only the second Indian head of state to get the award. Earlier, the late President S. Radhakrishna had been conferred this honour.

• Other Indian recipients in various categories include Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, renowned artist Satish Gujral, industrialist Raghupati Singhania, Consul-General of Mexico in Mumbai Rajju Shroff and others.

Order of the Aztec Eagle Award:

• The royal eagle is Mexico's national animal, sacred to the ancient Aztecs and it is present on the National Emblem of the Mexican flag. It is an essential symbol that links their Aztec past with the modern nation.

• It is of gold and turquoise and is given to express the respect and admiration of the Mexican people.

• The award was created by a decree in 1993 by the then President of Mexico, Abelardo L. Rodriguez, it is awarded to prominent heads of state or government, ambassadors after they have served in Mexico, important personalities who have made a major contribution in various fields, service to the country or its people.

• The award comes in five degrees namely Collar, Sash of Special Category, Sash, Plaque, Venera and Insignia.

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