70 Days WAR Plan

Day#58 Current Affairs Flash Cards [70 Days WAR Plan]

Non-performing Asset (NPA); Short Service Commission (SSC); Composite Water Management Index; Generalized System of Preferences (GSP); Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction; Asia's first Blue Flag certified beaches; International Centre for Humanitarian Forensics (ICHF); Higher Education Finance Agency (HEFA); “Women wizard tech rule (W2RT) programme; Countervailing Duty;
By IT's Core Team
May 18, 2019




In context of economics, what is Countervailing Duty?

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Countervailing Duty:

  • Countervailing duties (CVDs) are also known as anti-subsidy duties.
  • They are trade import duties imposed under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules to neutralize the negative effects of subsidies.
  • If left unchecked, such subsidized imports can have a severe effect on domestic industry, forcing factory closures and causing huge job losses.
  • The WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures disciplines the use of subsidies, and it regulates the actions that countries can take to counter the effects of subsidies.
  • Thus, a country can seek the withdrawal of the subsidy or the removal of its adverse effects.
  • It can launch its own investigation and ultimately charge extra duty (“countervailing duty”) on subsidized imports that are found to be hurting domestic producers.
  • But such additional duties must be in accordance with the GATT Article VI and the GATT Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures.
  • The WTO’s “Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures,” which is contained in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994.
  • The WTO only permits countervailing duties to be charged after the importing nation has conducted an in-depth investigation into the subsidized exports.


  • They are meant to offset subsidies made to producers of the goods in the exporting country.
  • It provides the level playing field between domestic producers of a product and foreign producers of the same product who can afford to sell it at a lower price because of the subsidy they receive from their government.




What is “women wizard tech rule (W2RT) programme” that was launched by NASSCOM?

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About women wizard tech rule programme:

  • The women wizard tech rule (w2rt) programme was launched by National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM).
  • This program is exclusively for women technologists.
  • It is the joint initiative by NASSCOM Sector Skills Council (SSC) and the Data Security Council of India (DSCI).
  • It seeks to increase the number of women in senior levels in IT industry, capable of taking up leadership roles and enable their retention in their chosen domains.
  • The program is designed to support women who are moving up the career ladder, while also paving the way for potential leaders of the future.
  • It will give women an edge in the development and growth of their careers from the field of professionals in core technologies from the IT-ITES, BPM, product and R&D sectors.


  • NASSCOM, is a not-for-profit industry trade association of Indian Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry, established in 1988.
  • It is the apex body of IT BPO industry in India, that has made a phenomenal contribution to India’s GDP, exports, employment, infrastructure and global visibility.
  • It is registered under the Indian Societies Act, 1860.
  • Its aim is to constantly support the IT BPO industry in India,
  • It is a global trade body with over 2000 members, of which over 250 are companies from China, EU, Japan, the U.S. and the UK.
  • Its member companies are in the business of software development, software services, software products, IT-enabled/BPO services and E-commerce.
  • NASSCOM launched second edition of its report titled “Women and IT Scorecard – India” in early 2018.
  • The report forecasted that half of firms will have over 20% women in the C-suite level.
  • It predicted that the women percentage at the senior level is set to increase to nearly 60%.
  • According to the report, HR policies such as conveyance, flexi-work, work-from-home, parental leave, anti-harassment, healthcare, have led to the positive trend.




What is Higher Education Finance Agency (HEFA)?

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About Higher Education Finance Agency (HEFA):

  • Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) is a joint venture of MHRD Government of India and Canara Bank for financing creation of capital assets in higher education institutions in India.
  • It aims for developing India’s top ranked institutions like IIT’s, IIIT’s, NIT’s, IISC’s into Globally top-ranking institutions through financial capital expenditure.
  • It finances the building of educational infrastructure, particularly R&D infrastructure and thereby enabling the institutions to reach top rankings globally.
  • It works to provide timely finance at low interest rates for capital assets creation in India’s higher education institutions and supplement it with grants by channelizing CSR funds from the corporate and donations from others.
  • HEFA would incentivise better internal resource generation and at the same time allow substantial investments through market borrowings that can be repaid over a longer period.
  • All the Centrally Funded Higher Educational Institutions would be eligible for joining as members of the HEFA.
  • For joining as members, the Institution should agree to escrow a specific amount from their internal accruals to HEFA for a period of 10 years. This secured future flows would be securitised by the HEFA for mobilising the funds from the market.
  • Each member institution would be eligible for a credit limit as decided by HEFA based on the amount agreed to be escrowed from the internal accruals.

Why in news?

  • In order to give a big push for building up robust higher educational institutions, the Cabinet has approved creation of the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) with Government equity of Rs. 1,000 Cr.
  • The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will get largest chunk of loans on offer under Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE), new funding model scheme for all centrally run institutes.
  • It will be financed via restructured Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA).




The world’s first International Centre for Humanitarian Forensics (ICHF) is launched in Gujarat. What are the countries collaborated in this institution?

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  • India, Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives

Enrich Your Learning:

  • It is a joint venture of the Regional delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in India, Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives and also Gujarat Forensic Science University.

World’s first International Centre for Humanitarian Forensics


  • ICHF is the first definitive effort at institutionalizing humanitarian forensic action within an existing university system launched on 20 June 2018.
  • It is envisioned to be the one-stop centre of excellence in Asia for global high quality and sustainable capacity building, research and innovative projects that will underpin operational responses for humanitarian forensic purposes in relevant contexts.
  • The joint project represents what humanitarian work will look like in future.
  • It will combine local and international expertise to build capacities before tragedies hit people.
  • The Gujarat Forensic Sciences University will run different courses both postgraduate and postgraduate diploma courses in Humanitarian Forensics.
  • The Centre will conduct various academic and professional programmes, training, research and provide technical expertise to support operations in the field of humanitarian forensics.
  • It is envisioned to be the one-stop centre of excellence in Asia for global high quality and sustainable capacity building, research and innovative projects.




What is Non-performing Asset? and discuss its criterion?

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About Non-performing Asset (NPA):

  • A nonperforming asset (NPA) refers to a classification for loans or advances that are in default or are in arrears on scheduled payments of principal or interest.
  • It is the loan or advance is classified as NPA whose principal or interest payment remained overdue for the period of 90 days.
  • They are typically listed on the balance sheets of banks.
  • A loan can also be categorized as nonperforming if all interest payments are made but the principal amount is not repaid at maturity.


Banks are required to classify nonperforming assets in one of three categories according to how long the asset has been non-performing:

  • Sub-standard assets: Assets which has remained NPA for a period less than or equal to 12 months.
  • Doubtful assets: An asset would be classified as doubtful if it has remained in the sub-standard category for a period of 12 months.
  • Loss assets: As per RBI, “Loss asset is considered uncollectible and of such little value that its continuance as a bankable asset is not warranted, although there may be some salvage or recovery value.”

Types of Nonperforming Assets

Although the most common nonperforming assets are term loans, there are six other ways loans and advances are NPAs:

  • Overdraft and cash credit (OD/CC) accounts left out-of-order for more than 90 days
  • Agricultural advances whose interest or principal installment payments remain overdue for two crop/harvest seasons for short duration crops or overdue one crop season for long duration crops
  • Bill overdue for more than 90 days for bills purchased and discounted
  • Expected payment is overdue for more than 90 days in respect of other accounts
  • Non-submission of stock statements for 3 consecutive quarters in case of a cash-credit facility
  • No activity in the cash credit, overdraft, EPC, or PCFC account for more than 91 days




Asia’s first Blue Flag certified beaches are going to be from coastal areas of Maharashtra and Odisha, Total how many Indian beaches will have covered?

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  • 13

Enrich Your Learning:

Blue flag certification:

  • Total of 13 Indian beaches will now have environment-friendly resources and will live up to international standards as they are now going to be awarded with the Blue Flag certification.
  • In June 2018, Asia’s first Blue Flag certified beaches are going to be from coastal areas of Maharashtra and Odhisha
  • The Blue Flag is a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education(FEE) that a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator meets its stringent standards.


In context to India:

  • Chandrabhaga beach of Odisha’s Konark coast was the first to complete the tag certification process.
  • Maharashtra’s Chiwla and Bhogave beaches are made a part of this initiative.
  • One beach from Puducherry, Goa, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands each has been chosen as Blue Flag beach.


  • The Blue Flag programme was first started in Paris and its main objective was to make all the beaches environment-friendly.
  • In the span of two years, all the beaches of Europe were Blue Flag certified.
  • The programme spread in South Africa in 2001 while Asia remained untouched by the concept until December 2017 when a pilot project was launched to develop Indian beaches.
  • The Blue Flag beaches to attract more tourists and create a hospitable and clean environment for all the visitors.

Development of these beaches

  • The Indian beaches are being developed by the Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM), an environment ministry’s body working for the management of coastal areas, according to the Blue Flag certification standards.




What is Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction? And what are the concerns for India?

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  • The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is also known as Hague Abduction Convention.
  • It is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) that provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one-member country to another.
  • The Convention was concluded 25 October 1980 and entered into force between the signatories on 1 December 1983.
  • The Convention was drafted to ensure the prompt return of children who have been abducted from their country of habitual residence or wrongfully retained in a contracting state not their country of habitual residence.
  • It aims to protect children from the harmful effects of international abduction by a parent, and to organize or secure the effective rights of access to a child.
  • The primary intention of the Convention is to preserve whatever status quo child custody arrangement existed immediately before an alleged wrongful removal or retention thereby deterring a parent from crossing international boundaries in search of a more sympathetic court.
  • The Convention applies only to children under the age of 16.
  • As of May 2018, 98 states are party to the convention that protects children under 16 from “wrongful removal or retention” by a parent.
  • In 2017, Tunisia and Jamaica acceded to the convention.

India and Hague Abduction Convention:

  • Indian law does not automatically recognise foreign judgments.
  • if India is signing the Hague Convention, it will be compelled to recognise a foreign judgment regardless of the justness of the decision on custody under Indian law.
  • In a decision made by the Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister and agreed to by the Ministry of External Affairs in 2017, the government of India decided not to ratify the Hague Convention on Child Abduction.
  • In line with the recommendations of Punjab and Haryana High Court to the Law Commission of India and the WCD Ministry, the women and child development ministry in June 2016 issued a draft of the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Bill, 2016, which reflected the provisions of the Hague Convention and would have paved the way for India’s accession to it.
  • The draft bill had reportedly specified that a decision under the Hague Convention to return a child would not be final, and courts would have the power to deny custody if the person caring for the child was putting the child at grave risk of physical or psychological harm or was not actually exercising the custody rights.
  • The bill also recommended a jail term of one year for any parent or family member found guilty of wrongfully retaining or removing a child from the custody of the other parent.




What is Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)? and how it is beneficial to India?

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About Generalized System of Preferences (GSP):

  • Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is a preferential tariff system under which developed nations extend reduced MFN tariffs (Most Favoured Nation) or duty-free entry of certain goods into their markets, to the developing nations.
  • The objective of GSP was to give development support to poor countries by promoting exports from them into the developed countries.
  • The developed countries, or the countries that extend this trade preference are called donor countries, and the benefit-receiving countries are called beneficiary countries.
  • The GSP is an exemption from the MFN principle under which the WTO members are obliged to treat all other WTO members equally as their ‘most favoured’ trading partner-nation.
  • It also helps new exporters find a new market and established exporters to improve margins in a donor country.
  • The US has a strong GSP regime for developing countries since its launch in 1976, by the Trade Act of 1974. In the past, thousands of products were imported from nearly 120 designated beneficiary countries and territories.

Who are the beneficiaries under GSP?

  • The beneficiaries of GSP are around 120 developing countries.
  • As of 2017, India and Brazil were the major beneficiaries in terms of export volume realized under GSP. Imports from China and some developing countries are ineligible for GSP benefits.
  • The beneficiaries and products covered under the scheme are revised annually.
  • At present, 29 developing countries including the EU extend GSP to India.

Benefits to India:

  • Indian exporters benefit indirectly – through the benefit that accrues to the importer by way of reduced tariff or duty free entry of eligible Indian products
  • Reduction or removal of import duty on an Indian product makes it more competitive to the importer – other things (e.g. quality) being equal.
  • This tariff preference helps new exporters to penetrate a market and established exporters to increase their market share and to improve upon the profit margins, in the donor country.

Which are the product groups covered under GSP?

  • The products covered under GSP are mainly agricultural products including animal husbandry, meat and fisheries and handicraft products. These products are generally the specialized products of the developing countries.

What is the difference between GSP and the usual trade arrangement under WTO?

  • Under the normal trade laws, the WTO members must give equal preferences to trade partners. There should not be any discrimination between countries. This trade rule under the WTO is called the Most Favored Nation (MFN) clause. The MFN instructs non-discrimination that any favorable treatment to a particular country.
  • At the same time, the WTO allows members to give special and differential treatment to from developing countries (like zero tariff imports). This is an exemption for MFN. The MSP given by developed countries including the US is an exception to MFN.




In the recent released Composite Water Management Index, which state scores poorly in water management

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  • Maharashtra scores poorly in water management


  • The Composite Water Management Index, has flagged worrying trends reflecting not only poor planning at the ground level but also policy omissions resulting in low irrigation potential, poor restoration of water bodies

Enrich Your Learning:


Composite Water Management Index:


  • The National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has developed the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) to enable effective water management in Indian states in the face of extreme water stress.

Scope of the report

  • Overall/ comparative analysis across states
  • Thematic analysis for each of the nine themes
  • Indicator-level analysis
  • Select case studies on best practices for water management across states

The Index and this associated report are expected to:

  • establish a clear baseline and benchmark for state-level performance on key water indicators;
  • uncover and explain how states have progressed on water issues over time, including identifying high-performers and under-performers, and,
  • identify areas for deeper engagement and investment on the part of the states. Eventually,

Why in news?

  • The Composite Water Management Index released
  • NITI Aayog plans to develop the index into a composite, national-level data management platform for all water resources in India. 




What is Short Service Commission (SSC)? And how is it different from Permanent Commission (PC)?

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About Short Service Commission (SSC):

  • The Indian Army has an alternative career for all those of you who aspire to serve it for a few years. It is called Short Service Commission.
  • It gives you the option of joining the Indian Army and serving it as a Commissioned Officer for 5 years.
  • Once your tenure is over, you are allowed to opt for a Permanent Commission.
  • Alternatively, you can also choose for a 5-year extension (total 10 years) and can choose to resign from your post any time during this period.
  • Officers who have not been selected for Permanent Commission are given the option of extending the service up to 4 years.
  • This means that the total tenure can be up to 14 years in the services through SSC.
  • Women Officers in Indian Armed Forces are only granted Short Service Commission and they can serve only for 14 years, after which they have to leave the Forces.
  • At the completion of 10 years period an officer is given three options:
    1. either elect for a Permanent Commission or
    2. opt out, or
    3. have the option of 4 years extension.
  • A Short Service Commission empowers you with analytical thinking, planning skills, administrative and organizational abilities.
  • Substantive Promotion:
    1. To the rank of Captain – on completion of 2 years reckonable commissioned service.
    2. To the rank of Major – on completion of 6 years reckonable commissioned service.
    3. To the rank of Lieutenant Colonel – on completion of 13 years reckonable commissioned service.
  • The training for SSC officers is held at Chennai.
  • It conducts the recruitments for men and women through technical, non-technical, NCC, and Judge Advocate General (JAG) for law graduates.

Permanent Commission:

  • A Permanent Commission means a career in the Army till you retire. For Permanent Commission, you have to join National Defence Academy, Pune or Indian Military Academy, Dehradunor Officers Training Academy, Gaya.

Difference between SSC and PC:

  • Duration of Service, which a person can serve in Indian Armed Forces.
  • A person can convert from a short service commission to a permanent commission, however the vice versa is not possible.
  • Tenure of SSC Officers is Limited, one can maximum reach up to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in Indian Army, Commander in Indian Navy, and Wing Commander in Indian Air Force, whereas a PC Officer can reach up to General in Indian Army, Admiral in Indian Navy and Air Chief Marshal in Indian Air Force.
  • PC Officers have to compulsorily serve for 20 years, while SS officers have to serve a mandatory 10 years after which they have the option of continuing for 4 years, if the army decides that they are fit for permanent commission.
  • Training and commissioning of SS officers is the sole responsibility of OTA Chennai. Permanent officers can come through NDA-IMA, directly through IMA, ACC-IMA, CTW-IMA and the recently raised OTA, Gaya.
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