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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-20th May 2023

RBI Announces Withdrawal of ₹2000 Banknotes from Circulation

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has made a significant decision to withdraw the ₹2000 denomination banknotes from circulation. Although these banknotes will no longer be issued, they will retain their status as legal tender. The move comes as the objective of introducing the ₹2000 banknotes has been fulfilled, and other denominations now adequately meet the currency requirements of the economy.

Reasons for Withdrawal

The introduction of ₹2000 banknotes in November 2016 was a response to the withdrawal of legal tender status for ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes. This measure aimed to fulfill the urgent currency requirements at the time. However, the printing of ₹2000 banknotes was halted in 2018-19 as their purpose had been served. Furthermore, the RBI noted that the usage of ₹2000 banknotes for transactions was not common.

Declining Circulation

Approximately 89% of the ₹2000 banknotes were issued before March 2017 and have now reached their estimated life-span of 4-5 years. Consequently, the total value of ₹2000 banknotes in circulation has decreased from ₹6.73 lakh crore at its peak on March 31, 2018, to ₹3.62 lakh crore, constituting only 10.8% of the total notes in circulation as of March 31, 2023. The reduction in circulation and limited usage further prompted the decision to withdraw the ₹2000 banknotes.

Clean Note Policy

The withdrawal of ₹2000 banknotes aligns with the RBI’s “Clean Note Policy.” This policy aims to maintain the quality of currency in circulation and promote efficiency in the banking system. The RBI had previously undertaken a similar withdrawal of notes from circulation in 2013-2014.

Procedures for the Public

To facilitate the withdrawal process, the RBI has provided guidelines for the public. Individuals can deposit ₹2000 banknotes into their bank accounts or exchange them for banknotes of other denominations at any bank branch. Deposits can be made in the usual manner, without any restrictions, subject to existing instructions and statutory provisions.

Exchange Process

In order to ensure operational convenience and minimize disruption to regular banking activities, individuals can exchange their ₹2000 banknotes for banknotes of other denominations. This exchange can be done up to a limit of ₹20,000/- at a time at any bank, starting from May 23, 2023. The RBI’s 19 regional offices and other banks will be involved in this exchange process.

Timeline and Legal Tender Status

While the RBI has initiated the withdrawal process, it emphasizes that the ₹2000 banknotes will remain legal tender. Individuals have until September 30, 2023, to exchange or deposit their ₹2000 banknotes in their bank accounts. After this date, banks may stop accepting ₹2000 banknotes for exchange, although they can still be deposited into bank accounts.

India Supplied Arms Worth ₹422 Crore to Myanmar Junta, UN Report Reveals

A recent report by the United Nations (UN) has unveiled that Indian government-owned companies and private firms in the country supplied arms, dual-use items, and raw materials worth ₹422 crore (approximately $51 million) to the military junta in Myanmar. The report, titled “The Billion Dollar Death Trade: International Arms Networks that Enable Human Rights Violations in Myanmar,” highlights the involvement of UN member states in facilitating this trade, which directly contributes to human rights violations in Myanmar.

This article delves into the key findings of the report and explores the implications for India

  1. Arms Trade with Myanmar Junta: The report reveals that following the military junta’s takeover of Myanmar in February 2021, the junta and country-sanctioned arms dealers imported arms, equipment, and material worth $1 billion (about ₹8,256 crore) from various countries, including Russia, China, Singapore, Thailand, and India. India’s contribution amounted to ₹422 crore, supplied by 22 unique Indian suppliers. These suppliers include state-owned entities such as Bharat Dynamics, Bharat Electronics, and Yantra India, as well as private companies like Sandeep Metalcraft and Larsen & Toubro.

  2. Violation of International Law: The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, raises concerns about the implications of India’s continued supply of materials to Myanmar. The report suggests that the supplied items, used in surveillance, artillery, and missiles, could potentially violate customary international law and international humanitarian law. It warns that India’s provision of arms to the Myanmar military, although relatively limited, could be associated with the commission of international crimes.

  3. India’s Defense: Indian authorities responded to the UN rapporteur, stating that the arms supplied to Myanmar were part of commitments made to the civilian government before the coup. They argued that the exports were carried out in consideration of India’s own domestic security concerns. Indian representatives emphasized that they prioritize the interests of the people of Myanmar in their decision-making process.

  4. Complicity and International Condemnation: The report criticizes UN member states for enabling this “Billion Dollar Death Trade” through complicity, lax enforcement of existing bans, and easily circumvented sanctions. Myanmar’s military coup has led to severe repercussions, including the killing of at least 3,500 civilians, the detention of over 22,000 political prisoners, and the forced displacement of more than 1.5 million citizens. The international community, including India, has condemned the military crackdown on protests and human rights violations.

  5. Myanmar’s Major Arms Suppliers: Among the countries supplying arms to the junta, Russia has the highest import value at over $406 million (about ₹3,352 crore), followed by China at $267 million (around ₹2,204 crore), and Singapore at $254 million (over ₹2,096 crore). The UN report sheds light on the extensive global network facilitating the arms trade with Myanmar, thereby exacerbating the human rights crisis in the country.

About Myanmar, Key points

Capital: Naypyidaw

Currency: Burmese Kyat (MMK)

Location: Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is located in Southeast Asia. It shares borders with Bangladesh, India, China, Laos, and Thailand. It has a coastline along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.

Current Situation: Myanmar has been facing a complex and challenging situation in recent years. In February 2021, the military staged a coup and overthrew the democratically elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party. The coup has led to widespread protests and civil disobedience movements across the country.

Ruskin Bond wrote a new book titled ‘The Golden Years’

Indian author Ruskin Bond wrote a book titled “The Golden Years: The Many Joys of Living a Good Long Life”. The Golden Years book is published by HarperCollins India and released on 19 May 2023, Bond’s 89th birthday. “The Golden Years” focuses on Bond’s experiences during the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Essence of the book:

  • The Golden Years: The Many Joys of Living a Good Long Life is a book by Ruskin Bond, published in 2023. The book is a collection of essays and reflections on aging, written by Bond in his late 80s. In the book, Bond shares his thoughts on the joys and challenges of old age, as well as his advice on how to make the most of the golden years.

  • Bond writes about the importance of staying active, both physically and mentally. He also emphasizes the importance of maintaining a positive attitude and a sense of humor. He writes about the importance of family and friends, and the joy of spending time with loved ones. He also writes about the beauty of nature, and the importance of connecting with the natural world.

  • The Golden Years is a wise and heartwarming book about the joys of aging. It is a book that will inspire readers to embrace the golden years and make the most of their lives.

Defence Production in India Surpasses ₹1 Lakh Crore Mark on the Back of Crucial Reforms

India has achieved a significant milestone in its defence sector as the value of defence production in the country crossed ₹1 lakh crore for the first time. This achievement is a result of key reforms implemented to boost growth in the sector and reduce reliance on military imports. The value of defence production has nearly doubled over the past five years, reflecting India’s efforts to strengthen its position as a weapons and systems exporter.

Steady Growth and Reforms

The value of defence production reached ₹1,06,800 crore in the financial year 2022-23, compared to ₹95,000 crore in FY 2021-22 and ₹54,951 crore five years ago. This remarkable growth can be attributed to consistent efforts by the defence ministry and the implementation of various reforms. The government has taken steps such as banning the import of certain weapons and systems, creating a separate budget for local procurement, increasing foreign direct investment, and improving ease of doing business.

RBI Approves Rs 87,416 Crore Surplus Transfer to Government for FY23, Triple the Previous Year’s Amount

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved the transfer of Rs 87,416 crore surplus to the government for the financial year 2022-23. This amount is nearly three times higher than the previous year’s transfer of Rs 30,307 crore. The surge in surplus is attributed to increased income from the sale of foreign exchange reserves. Despite facing challenges such as rising yields on US treasuries, the RBI’s surplus transfer is expected to provide a significant boost to the government’s revenue.

Higher Surplus Transfer Driven by Foreign Exchange Sales:

RBI Approves Rs 87,416 Crore Surplus Transfer to Government for FY23, Triple the Previous Year’s Amount

Economists have pointed out that the major driver behind the bumper surplus transfer is the gains from record gross foreign exchange sales in the fiscal year 2022-23. The RBI’s sales of foreign exchange reserves, estimated to be around $206 million until February 2023, significantly contributed to the increased surplus. However, the profits were partially offset by higher provisioning on mark-to-market losses on foreign securities. Additionally, the higher contingency buffer of 6 percent, compared to 5.5 percent in the past, also impacted the profit margin.

Offsetting Revenue Losses and Budget Expectations:

The surplus transfer of Rs 87,416 crore from the RBI to the central government is expected to bring in additional revenue of around 0.2 percent of GDP. This infusion of funds could help partially offset possible revenue losses due to lower tax revenues and divestment. The surplus amount aligns with the expectations set by the Union Budget, which estimated a surplus of Rs 48,000 crore from the central bank, public sector banks, and financial institutions for the current year.

Impact of Global and Domestic Economic Situation:

During its meeting, the RBI’s board reviewed the global and domestic economic situation, including the influence of current geopolitical developments. The central bank acknowledged the associated challenges and deliberated on its performance during the accounting year 2022-23. The approval of the Annual Report and accounts of the RBI for this period reflects the board’s confidence in the bank’s operations. Furthermore, the decision to maintain the contingency risk buffer at 6 percent demonstrates the RBI’s commitment to prudential financial management.

Paytm Launches Paytm SBI Card on RuPay Network with NPCI

Paytm’s parent company, One97 Communications Ltd, has announced a new partnership with SBI Card and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to launch the Paytm SBI Card on the RuPay network.

This card will provide discounts on transactions made through the Paytm mobile app using the card, with cardholders receiving 3% cashback on booking movie and travel tickets on the Paytm app, 2% cashback on all other purchases on the Paytm app, and 1% cashback on spends made elsewhere.

Paytm Launches Paytm SBI Card on RuPay Network with NPCI: Key Points

  • Earlier this year, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) made it possible for users to link RuPay credit cards to the United Payments Interface (UPI), and NPIC subsequently enabled aggregators such as Paytm, Google Pay, BharatPe, and PayU to facilitate merchant transactions through RuPay credit cards on UPI in India.

  • Since NPCI’s launch of credit card services on UPI, we are constantly working towards providing unique, value-based RuPay credit cards.

  • RuPay progressively establishes itself as a modern, contemporary, and youthful brand by offering customized value propositions backed by cutting-edge technology.

  • The platinum and classic variants of this card will both provide 2% cashback on all Paytm ecosystem spends and 1% cashback on other purchases, excluding wallet reloads and fuel expenditures.

  • Platinum cardholders will also receive a 1% fuel surcharge waiver and Rs 1,00,000 cyber fraud insurance coverage.

Vaghsheer, Indian Navy’s Final Kalvari Class Submarine, Begins Sea Trials

The Indian Navy’s sixth and final Kalvari class submarine, Vaghsheer, has begun its sea trials. Vaghsheer is scheduled for delivery to the Indian Navy in early 2024 after completion of these trial. The submarine was launched on 20th April 2022 from the Kanhoji Angre Wet Basin of Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL). The Ministry of Defence said MDL has delivered’ three submarines of the Project – 75 in 24 months and the commencement of sea trials of the sixth submarine is a significant milestone.

The commencement of sea trials for Vaghsheer, the sixth and final Kalvari class submarine built under Project-75, signifies a significant stride towards Aatma Nirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India). These rigorous trials will rigorously evaluate the submarine’s propulsion systems, weapons, and sensors, enhancing the Indian Navy’s combat capabilities. The commissioning of Vaghsheer comes at a crucial time, as China expands its presence in the Indian Ocean region, highlighting the strategic importance of bolstering India’s naval strength.

Here is a list of the names of previous the Kalvari class submarines:

  • INS Kalvari

  • INS Khanderi

  • INS Karanj

  • INS Vela

  • INS Chakra

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