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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Prelims booster(Micro notes), current affairs with static portions - 6 December,2019

Parliamentary standing committees
  • Persistent absenteeism from meetings of department-related standing committees should cost MPs their spot on these parliamentary panels was a strong view that emerged during a meeting of chairpersons of the committees with Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu recently.
  • Committees are an instrument of Parliament for its own effective functioning. 
  • Most committees are ‘standing’ as their existence is uninterrupted and usually reconstituted on an annual basis.
  • Some are ‘select’ committees formed for a specific purpose, for instance, to deliberate on a particular bill.
  • Some important committee:- 
  1. Public Accounts Committee:-15 members elected by the Lok Sabha and 7 members of the Rajya Sabha;Minister is not eligible;the Committee is to ascertain whether the money granted by Parliament has been spent by Government “within the scope of the Demand”,
  2. Estimates Committee:-30 members who are elected by the Lok Sabha ;Minister is not eligible for election; main function of the Committee on Estimates is to report what improvements in organisation, efficiency, or administrative reform, consistent with the policy underlying the estimates may be effected.
  3. Committee on Public Undertakings:-15 members elected by the Lok Sabha and 7 members of Rajya Sabha; Minister is not eligible;function-to examine the reports and accounts of Public Undertakings,CAG etc
Fugitive Economic Offender
  •  A special court has declared diamond businessman Nirav Modi, the key accused in the $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, a fugitive economic offender, on a plea of the Enforcement Directorate.
  • Nirav Modi is the second businessman, after liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, to be declared a fugitive economic offender under provisions of the Fugitive Economic Offenders (FEO) Act.
  • A person can be named an offender under the law if there is an arrest warrant against him or her for involvement in economic offences involving at least Rs. 100 crore or more and has fled from India to escape legal action.
National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF)
  • Canada’s largest pension fund Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) has agreed to invest about $600 million in National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) through the NIIF Master Fund.
  • NIIF has been set up as a fund of funds and is registered with Securities and Exchange Board of India (“SEBI”) as a Category II Alternate Investment Fund (“AIF”) under the SEBI (Alternative Investments Funds) Regulations, 2012 (“AIF Regulations”).
  • NIIF shall have various sector specific or investor specific close ended Schemes (“Sub-funds”). Each Sub-fund may issue various classes of units. Sub-funds may be bilateral or multilateral.
  • The aim of the Fund is to pool commitments from sophisticated long term investors such as Multilateral Institutions, Sovereign Wealth Funds, Pension Funds, Insurance Funds, Endowments and other long term funds based outside India and government supported institutions within and outside India as permitted under the AIF Regulations to subsequently utilize the same in making investments into the infrastructure sector.
Hera mission
  • The European Space Agency (ESA) has approved the budget of Hera, the European component of the mission to slam a spacecraft into an asteroid.
  • Hera is the European contribution to an international double-spacecraft collaboration.
  • Hera is named after the Greek goddess of marriage.
  • Due to launch in 2024, Hera would travel to a binary asteroid system – the Didymos pair of near-Earth asteroids.
RBI keeps interest rate unchanged
RBI keeps interest rate unchanged
  • The Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) announced that it would not cut the repo rate (presently at 5.15%) in its last monetary policy review for the current calendar year
  • Repo rate is the rate at which India’s central bank loans money to the banking system. 
  • It is also the rate to which all new loans in the economy are benchmarked. 
  • A cut in the repo rate would have signalled a further reduction in the interest rate new borrowers.

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