70 Days WAR Plan

Day#65 Current Affairs Flash Cards [70 Days WAR Plan]

Pinaka rocket; Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana; Forum for India-Pacific Island Cooperation (FIPIC); ‘Laos’ borders; Fortified foods; Hamas; 'Gaj Yatra' campaign; Raipassa Biodiversity Management Committee; International Monetary Fund (IMF); Letter of undertaking (LOU);
By IT's Core Team
May 25, 2019




In context of banking system in India, what do you mean by Letter of undertaking (LOU)? And what are its advantages?

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About Letter of undertaking (LOU):

  • Letter of Undertaking (LoU) is an undertaking provided by one bank to another bank, in favor of or on behalf of a customer.
  • In the banking system, Letter of Undertaking (LOU) is a provision of bank guarantee, under which a bank allows its customer to raise money from another Indian bank’s foreign branch in the form of a short-term credit.
  • LOU is a document issued by a bank to a person or a firm.
  • This LOU is generally used for international transactions and is issued keeping in mind the credit history of the party concerned.
  • The party can then avail Buyer’s Credit against this LOU from a foreign bank.
  • These transactions are not retail in nature and are mostly used by businesses for import of goods.
  • To be able to raise the LOU, the customer is supposed to pay margin money to the bank issuing the LOU and accordingly, he is granted a credit limit.
  • The RBI has specifically advised the banks to issue LoUs to only those who have existing credit relationships with a bank.
  • Non-compliance of RBI regulations in this regard is likely to vitiate credit discipline, RBI will consider penalizing non-compliant banks.

Advantages of LoU:

  • The overseas bank lending to the borrower based on the LoU earns interest on the amount, the bank issuing the LoU gets a fee and the borrower gets a credit facility at a place where she may not have banking relationships.
  • Moreover, interest rates in India are higher compared to international benchmark rates.
  • So the effective outgo on interest for the borrower is also beneficial.
  • If the collateral is in the form of a fixed deposit, there is further gain on the interest earned, while the bank also gets some funds to use.

Other facts:

  • It is also a formal text that sums up the terms and understanding of a contract which mostly has been negotiated up to this point only in spoken form.
  • The Letter of Understanding may also introduce key contractual elements, like payment terms.
  • It reviews the terms of an agreement for a service, a project or a deal and is often written as a step before a more detailed contract is issued.




What are the responsibilities of International Monetary Fund (IMF)?

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About International Monetary Fund (IMF):

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 189 countries.
  • It was created in 1945.
  • India Joined on December 27, 1945.
  • The IMF is governed by and accountable to the 189 countries that make up its near-global membership.

Responsibilities of IMF:

  • The IMF’s primary purpose is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system—the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables countries (and their citizens) to transact with each other.
  • It aims to:
    • foster global monetary cooperation,
    • secure financial stability,
    • facilitate international trade,
    • promote exchange stability,
    • promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and
    • reduce poverty around the world.
  • The Fund’s mandate was updated in 2012 to include all macroeconomic and financial sector issues that bear on global stability.
  • The IMF’s primary methods for achieving these goals are monitoring, capacity building, and lending.

IMF and voting powers:

  • Voting power in the IMF is based on a quota system.
  • Each member has a number of basic votes that equals to 5.502% of the total votes, plus one additional vote for each Special Drawing Right (SDR) of 100,000 of a member country’s quota.
  • The Special Drawing Right is the unit of account of the IMF and represents a claim to currency.
  • It is based on a basket of key international currencies.
  • The basic votes generate a slight bias in favour of small countries, but the additional votes determined by SDR outweigh this bias.
  • Changes in the voting shares require approval by a supermajority of 85% of voting power.
  • Gold remains an important asset in the reserve holdings of several countries, and the IMF is still one of the world’s largest official holders of gold.




What is the significance of Pinaka rocket?

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About Pinaka Rocket:

  • Pinaka is a multi-barrel rocket launcher (MBRL) produced in India and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Army.
  • It is jointly developed by two Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL):
    1. Pune based Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE), and
    2. Hyderabad based Research Centre Imarat (RCI).
  • It is a long-range artillery system that has the maximum range of 40 km for Mark-I and 75 km for Mark-II.
  • It was designed to replace the BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher systems of the Indian Army.
  • The system is mounted on a Tatra truck for mobility.
  • It was used in Kargil War.
  • It can fire 12 Rockets loaded with explosives within 44 seconds and destroy target area of 4 sq km at a time.
  • It is capable to incorporate several types of warheads makes it deadly for enemy as it can even destroy solid structures and bunkers.
  • As of 2014, about 5,000 missiles are being produced every year while an advanced variant is under development with enhanced range and accuracy.
  • An upgraded version of Pinaka rocket, with enhanced range and guidance system, was successfully test-fired from Chandipur in Odisha in May 2018.
  • Enhancing the range and accuracy of Pinaka its range that was 40 km earlier, is more than 70 km now.
  • It will convert the unguided systems into weapons of high precision and accuracy.




Why the Raipassa Biodiversity Management Committee was in news?

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About Raipassa Biodiversity Management Committee:

  • Raipassa Biodiversity Management Committee was awarded the India Biodiversity Awards 2018, for “Replicable mechanisms for Access and Benefit Sharing”.
  • Raipassa is the second smallest and most remote village in the Dhalai district of Tripura.
  • The community depends on the cultivation, collection and sale of broom grass for its livelihood.
  • The villagers collect about 50 tonnes of broom grass per season, to sell it in the market.
  • They realised the economic and ecological significance of the bio-resource and formed the Raipassa Biodiversity Management Committee.
  • The committee signed an agreement with commercial users, according to which, 5 percent of the total proceeds from the sale is transferred to the Joint Forest Management Committee, responsible for collecting the resource.
  • The committee and the Local Biodiversity Fund share 2 percent of the proceeds, while 1 percent is transferred to the state biodiversity fund.
  • The committee ensures that bio-resources of the area are traded in a manner that is both commercially and environmentally viable.




‘Gaj Yatra’ campaign was sometimes in news. What is it?

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About Gaj Yatra:

  • Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, started the ‘Gaj Yatra’ campaign on August 12, 2017.
  • Its aim is to run nationwide campaign for the protection of elephants on the occasion of World Elephant Day.
  • This campaign will be run in 12 states of elephant plurality.
  • To increase awareness on elephant corridors, ‘Gaj Yatras’ i.e., parading life-size elephant models crafted by local artisans on road shows are planned through corridors across 12 States where elephants range.
  • It is an attempt to end the chapter of man-animal conflict.
  • There is a need to broad-base the movement for conservation of elephants and to involve people from all walks of life in the conservation of elephants and other wildlife.
  • The campaign will be led by the Wildlife Trust of India.

World Elephant Day:

  • World Elephant Day is celebrated all over the world on August 12.
  • World Elephant Day was conceived in 2011 by Canadian filmmakers Ms. Patricia Sims and Mr. Michael Clark of Canazwest Pictures and the Secretary- General of the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation of Thailand, Sivaporn Dardarananda.
  • Its main objective is protection of elephants and provide information about the number of wild elephants, their well-being and management.
  • It is celebrated to focus the attention of various stakeholders in supporting various conservation policies to help protect elephants, including improving enforcement policies to prevent illegal poaching and trade in ivory, conserving elephant habitats, providing better treatment for captive elephants and reintroducing captive elephants into sanctuaries.




Which country is Hamas related to? And what do you know about it?

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About Hamas:

  • Hamas is a Palestinian Islamist political organization and militant group that has waged war on Israel.
  • It is a Palestinian Sunni-Islamist fundamentalist organization found since 1987.
  • It has waged a war most notably through suicide bombings and rocket attacks.
  • It seeks to replace Israel with a Palestinian state.
  • It also governs Gaza Strip independently of the Palestinian Authority.
  • It has fought several wars with Israel.
  • It is regarded, either in whole or in part, as a terrorist organization by several countries and international organizations, most notably by Israel, the United States and the European Union.




What are Fortified foods? And what are the benefits of food fortification?

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What are fortified foods?

  • Fortified foods are the foods to which extra nutrients have been added.
  • For example, cereal may be fortified with iron, the glass of milk with lunch likely has vitamin D added to it, and a bowl of pasta could be fortified with folic acid.
  • Fortification is the addition of key vitamins and minerals, such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamins A & D, to staple foods such as rice, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content.

What is Food fortification?

  • Fortification is the addition of key vitamins and minerals such as Iron, Iodine, Zinc, Vitamins A & D to staple foods such as rice, wheat, oil, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content.
  • These nutrients may or may not have been originally present in the food before processing or may have been lost during processing.
  • Food fortification or enrichment is the process of adding micronutrients (essential trace elements and vitamins) to food.
  • Fortification requires neither changes in existing food patterns, habits nor individual compliance.
  • It is socio-culturally acceptable and does not alter the characteristics of the food.

Benefits of Food fortification:

  • Food fortification is a proven and effective strategy to meet the nutritional needs of a large number of people across various sections of the society, including the poor and underprivileged as well as the vulnerable, such as pregnant women and young children.
  • It can be introduced quickly and can produce nutritional benefits for populations in a short period of time.
  • Fortifying foods with nutrients has helped to eradicate many nutrition-related conditions.
  • It is safe and cost effective, especially if advantage is taken of the existing technology and delivery platforms.
  • Food fortification reinforces and supports existing nutrition improvement programmes and is part of a broader, integrated approach to prevent micronutrient deficiencies, thereby complementing other approaches to improve health and nutrition.
  • Fortified foods (with +F symbol) is a simple and inexpensive way to address micronutrient deficiencies without any radical change in behaviour or eating patterns.

Regulations on Food fortification in India:

  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has formulated a comprehensive regulation on fortification of foods namely ‘Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2016’.
  • These regulations set the standards for food fortification and encourage the production, manufacture, distribution, sale and consumption of fortified foods.
  • The regulations also provide for specific role of FSSAI in promotion for food fortification and to make fortification mandatory. This sets the premise for the national summit on fortification of food.




‘Laos’ borders with which countries?

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Location of Laos

Location of Laos:

  • Laos is a landlocked country in the heart of the Indochinese peninsula of Mainland Southeast Asia.
  • It is bordered by:
    • Vietnam to the North and East
    • Thailand to the west and southwest
    • Myanmar (Burma) and China to the northwest, and
    • Cambodia to the southeast.
  • It lies mostly between latitudes 14° and 23°N (a small area is south of 14°), and longitudes 100° and 108°E.
  • It is the only Southeast Asian country without direct access to the sea.




What is the significance of the Forum for India-Pacific Island Cooperation (FIPIC)?

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About Forum for India-Pacific Island Cooperation (FIPIC)

  • Forum for India-Pacific Islands cooperation (FIPIC) is a multinational grouping developed in 2014 for cooperation between India and 14 Pacific Islands nations.
  • These nations include Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
  • The 1st summit was held in Suva, Fiji in November 2014 where the annual summit was conceptualised.
  • India hosted the 2nd summit in Jaipur in on 21 August 2015.


  • Provide necessary information and facilitation to businessmen on both sides regarding prospects of Trade and Investment
  • Facilitate meetings between the concerned businessmen from both sides
  • Exchange of business delegations between India and Pacific Islands Countries (PICs)
  • Online & Offline Match Making Services
  • Organising Events/ Trade Fairs


  • The FIPIC initiative marks a serious effort to expand India’s engagement in the Pacific region.
  • India’s focus has largely been on the Indian Ocean where it has sought to play a major role and protect its strategic and commercial interests.
  • Though these countries are relatively small in land area and distant from India, many have large exclusive economic zones (EEZs), and offer promising possibilities for fruitful cooperation.
  • The forum focuses on various potential areas between India and these nations like:
    • agriculture, fisheries, food processing, solar energy, e-networks for coordination in tele-education, tele-medicine, space cooperation and climate change.
  • The Indo-Pacific concept is also seen as an attempt to address the expansion of China and rearrange existing geopolitical configurations.
  • Replacing ‘Asia’ with ‘Indo’ prioritises the role of India as a contrasting and competing power to China.




Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana aims to provide skills that give employability to women. Right OR Wrong?

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Right Statement:

  • Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana is a Pan India scholarship program for school children, to increase the reach of Philately (the collection and study of Postage stamps).

About Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana:

  • Scholarship for Promotion of Aptitude & Research in Stamps as a Hobby (SPARSH) is the scheme launched by Minister of Communications, on 3rd November 2017.
  • It is proposed to award annual scholarships to children of Standard VI to IX having good academic record and also pursuing Philately as a hobby through a competitive selection process in all postal circles.
  • It is proposed to award 920 scholarships to students pursuing Philately as a hobby.
  • Every Postal Circle will select a maximum of 40 scholarships representing 10 students each from Standard VI, VII, VIII & IX. The amount of Scholarship will be Rs. 6000/- per annum @ Rs. 500/- per month.
  • To avail this scholarship, a child must be a student of a recognized school within India and the concerned school should have a Philately Club and the candidate should be a member of the Club.
  • In case the school Philately Club hasn’t been established a student having his own Philately Deposit Account will also be considered.
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