14 October 2020
A) India’s economy to contract by 10.3%, says IMF.
The Indian economy is expected to grow at -10.3 %, which means it witness a contraction in 2020, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said. It projected global growth at -4.4%, a contraction in output by 4.4% for this year. The projections were a part of its World Economic Outlook October 2020 report titled, A Long and Difficult Ascent. The 2020 projection for India is a downgrade of -5.8 percentage points from the IMF’s June projection for the country. India is expected to rebound in 2021 with 8.8% growth – an upgrade of 2.8 percentage points relative to the June update. Revisions to the forecast are particularly large for India, where GDP contracted much more severely than expected in the second quarter. For the world as a whole, the 2020 growth projection has been revised upwards by 0.8 percentage points relative to June, a result of a less dire second quarter and signs of a stronger recovery in the third quarter, partly offset by downgrades in certain developing countries and emerging economies (except China).
B) Shocked by Governor’s language, says Sharad Pawar in letter to PM.
On 13 October, the NCP chief Sharad Pawar has wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi complaining about the intemperate language which was used by the Governor of Maharashtra, Mr. B S Koshyari in his letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on the subject of reopening places of religious worship in the state. In his letter, he agree the Hon. Governor can have his independent views and opinions on the issue. He also appreciate the prerogative of the Governor to convey his views to the Chief Minister. However, he is shocked and surprised to see the letter of the Governor released to the media and the kind of language used in the letter. After sending letter to PM Modi, he also tweeted that unfortunately Hon. Governor’s letter to the Chief Minister invokes the connotation as if written to the leader of a political party. His letter stated that in the very Preamble of our Constitution the word Secular is added that equates and shields all religions and hence the Chair of the Chief Minister must uphold such tenets of the Constitution. He is sure that he too would have noticed the intemperate language that has been used and also the kind of language used in the letter which does not behave well for a person who holds a constitutional position.
C) NGOs seeking foreign donations must open FCRA account at SBI’s New Delhi branch by March 31.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked all NGOs seeking foreign donations to open a designated FCRA account at the State Bank of India’s New Delhi branch by March 31, 2021. The MHA order reiterated that NGOs registered under FCRA shall not receive any foreign donations in any other bank account from April 1, 2021. In September, the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2020 was amended by Parliament and a new provision makes it mandatory for all non-government organizations and associations to receive foreign funds in a designated bank account at SBI’s New Delhi branch. An order specifying the process of opening the FCRA bank account was issued by the MHA on 13 October. As of now, there are 22,434 such NGOs and associations active under the FCRA. The order said that an NGO will have to report the amount and source of foreign remittance received to the authorities. The order said that the Centre has notified the New Delhi Main Branch (NDMB) of SBI, 11 Sansad Marg, New Delhi-110001 for the purposes of opening the FCRA account to receive foreign contribution. MHA said to open the account, the applicant need not visit the NDMB in Delhi and may approach the nearest SBI branch or their SBI branch of choice. It said all persons/associations/NGOs who are already registered under FCRA will get sufficient time to transition to the new system and can open accounts at NDMB till March 31, 2021. However, all fresh applicants for certificate of registration or prior permission under the FCRA, 2010, shall have to first open the FCRA account in the NDMB to receive any foreign contribution.
D) Aadhaar not mandatory for registration of birth, death.
The provision of Aadhaar is not mandatory for the registration of births and deaths, the Registrar General of India (RGI) has clarified in a recent reply to an RTI request. Where Aadhaar is provided voluntarily, it must not be printed on any document or stored in any database of births and deaths in full form, according to an RGI circular cited in the RTI response. Visakhapatnam-based advocate M.V.S. Anil Kumar Rajagiri had filed an RTI request asking whether Aadhaar was mandatory for the registration of death or not. In its reply last week, posted on Twitter by LiveLaw, the RGI referred to an April 2019 circular to clarify that the requirement of Aadhaar number is not mandatory for the registration of birth and death.
E) Covid Watch: Numbers and Developments.
The number of reported coronavirus cases from India stood at 72,32,224 with the death toll at 1,10,620. 2 indigenous vaccine candidates are at the final stage of phase-II of the clinical trial, Niti Aayog member V.K. Paul said, adding that the results should be out soon. The third vaccine candidate (Oxford) involving Serum Institute is undergoing the third-phase clinical trial. Results are expected in November end or so. Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for coronavirus, the Portuguese football federation announced on 13 October. He has no symptoms and is in isolation, the federation added. The Juventus forward, who has been voted the world’s top player 5 times, played in Portugal’s goalless Nations League draw against France but will sit out his national side’s clash with Sweden.
A) China blames India’s infrastructure development for LAC tensions.
A day after marathon talks between the Corps Commanders, held at Chushul in eastern Ladakh, failed to yield an agreement on disengagement, China said the root cause for the recent tensions was the infrastructure development of India and military deployments along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Indian officials have previously rejected such claims, pointing to the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) build-up of troops, multiple transgressions, and attempt since May to unilaterally redraw the LAC. China’s claim underlines the difficulty that the seven rounds of military talks have faced in taking forward the stalled disengagement process and achieving a return to status quo ante that India has demanded. Following the sixth round on September 21, both sides in a joint statement had agreed to stop sending more troops to the frontline. The build-up of troops, however, remains, and Indian officials believe the Chinese side may be preparing for the long-haul and the harsh winter to come. The joint press release on 13 October shed no clarity on any possible timetable for disengagement. It said both sides had held a sincere, in-depth and constructive exchange of views on disengagement along the Line of Actual Control in the Western Sector of India-China border areas. Significantly, the release did not mention a return to status quo prior to May’s transgressions by China, a prospect that appears unlikely in light of the PLA’s entrenching of its positions in areas such as the north bank of Pangong Lake.
B) U.S. poses ‘huge security risk’ to Asia, wants to build ‘Indo-Pacific NATO, says Wang Yi.
On 13 October, the United States poses a huge security risk to Asia by pushing to boost engagement with the region. The Foreign Minister of China, Mr. Wang Yi said this during a tour of Southeast Asia, where Beijing and Washington are locked in a battle for influence. Wang Yi, speaking in Malaysia, said that the real aim of U.S is to build an Indo-Pacific NATO in a strategy that, according to him, harkened back to the Cold War. Washington is trying to stir up confrontation among different groups and blocs, and stir up geopolitical competition while maintaining the predominance and hegemony system of the U.S. Wang said at a joint news conference with his Malaysian counterpart, Hishammuddin Hussein. In this sense, this strategy itself is a huge security risk. He also urged Southeast Asian nations, which are aiming to draw up a code of conduct with China for the South China Sea, to remove external disruption in the disputed waters. The aggressive moves of China to assert its territorial claims in the South China Sea, through which a third of global shipping passes, have drawn rebuke from the United States and become a flashpoint in a region where several Southeast Asian nations, including Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei have rival claims.