Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 20 July 2022

Bank Exam Current Affairs

Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 20 July 2022


No assurance given to protesting farmers on MSP law, says Tomar

  • The Union government did not give any assurance to protesting farmers on bringing a law to guarantee minimum support prices, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said in Parliament in a written.
  • Thousands of farmers, under the banner of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) staged massive protests last year against a set of agricultural laws, which were called off after the government agreed to rescind the legislation and assured them in writing that it would look into the issue of how to ensure MSPs for a variety of farm produce by constituting a committee.
  • An MSP is a federally determined floor price for farm produce set at 50% over cost of cultivation.
  • In his reply, the farm minister stated: “No Sir. The government had assured the formation of a committee to make MSP more effective and transparent, to promote natural farming and to change crop patterns keeping in mind the changing needs of the country.”
  • The government on Monday notified a committee to give suggestions on ways to “make MSPs more effective and transparent”, besides deliberating on crop diversification, organic farming promotion and marketing reforms.
  • In December last year, the government wrote to the protesting SKM, announcing a committee on main issues raised by farmers during their widespread protests. One of the points in a letter signed by former agriculture secretary, Sanjay Agarwal, dealt with the issue of MSP. The agitating farmers demanded a law guaranteeing floor prices for all major farm produce.
  • The December 2021 letter said: “On MSP, the Prime Minister and the agriculture minister had announced the formation of a committee. In this committee, the central government, state governments and farmers’ representatives and agricultural scientists will be nominated.”
  • The SKM has rejected the Centre’s invitation to join the panel on MSP. It held a meeting on Tuesday and said in a statement that the committee is being “headed by a former agriculture secretary who had drafted the anti-farmers laws and had backed them till the end”. The government has “filled the committee with loyalists and also has a representative of the Rashtriya Swamyamsevak Sangh and left space for just three nominees from the SKM”, added Darshan Pal, a leader of the farmers’ platform.

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US House passes bill to protect same-sex marriage

  • The US House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that would provide federal protection for same-sex marriage amid fears that the Supreme Court could roll back recognition of such unions.
  • The Respect for Marriage Act was approved in the Democratic-controlled chamber by a vote of 267 to 157, but its prospects are uncertain in the Senate.
  • Forty-seven Republican lawmakers joined Democrats in voting for the bill, which was met with scattered applause on the House floor when it passed.
  • Democrats have 50 seats in the 100-member Senate and 10 Republican votes would be needed to bring the measure to the floor.
  • The Respect for Marriage Act would force US states to recognize a valid marriage performed in another state, providing protection for not only same-sex unions but also interracial marriages.
  • The bill repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that defined a marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
  • "The bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act will enshrine and protect marriage equality and make sure legal, same-sex and interracial marriages are recognized," said Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.
  • The Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling enshrining nationwide abortion rights, on June 24, sparking forecasts that conservative justices could revisit other landmark decisions.
  • Same-sex marriage remains a high-value target for some Republicans and the religious right in the United States, although 71 percent of Americans in a Gallup poll in May said they support such relationships.
  • Clarence Thomas, one of the most conservative justices on the court, in his concurring opinion overturning abortion rights, ignited fears that other progressive gains could also be in danger.
  • Thomas argued that the court should also examine its rulings on contraception and same-sex marriage.
  • Thomas -- whose wife Ginni Thomas has pushed false claims that Donald Trump won the last election -- was the only judge making such arguments out of the nine who sit on America's highest court.


No GST on food items when sold loose, clarifies FM Nirmala Sitharaman

  • Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the mass consumption items such as pulses, wheat, rice, flour, and curd will not attract the 5 per cent goods and services tax (GST) when sold loose, and not pre-packed or pre-labelled. The clarification came amid protests and widespread criticism by Oppo¬sition Members of Parliament over foisting GST on daily-use essentials and subsequent price rise.
  • The all-powerful GST Council, chaired by the Union minister, had last month decided to impose GST on some mass consumption items to simplify the rate structure, which came into effect on Monday.
  • n a series of tweets, Sitharaman said this decision was much needed to plug tax leaks. It was considered at various levels by officers, group of ministers (GoM), and finally recommended by the GST Council.
  • Later, this was amended to tax only such items which were sold under a registered brand or brand on which enforceable right was not foregone by the supplier,” said Sitharaman.
  • “However, soon the rampant misuse of this provision was observed by reputed manufacturers and brand owners and gradually the GST revenue from these items fell significantly,” she pointed out.
  • The minister further highlighted that such a practice was resented by suppliers and industry associations that were paying taxes on branded goods and asked the government to impose GST uniformly on all packaged commodities to stop further misuse.
  • “This rampant evasion in tax was also observed by states,” she observed.
  • “It is in this context that the GST Council at its 47th meeting took the decision. With effect from July 18, only the modalities of imposition of GST on these goods was changed, with no change to the coverage of GST, barring two/three items,” she clarified.
  • “For example, items like pulses, cereals like rice, wheat, and flour, etc, earlier attracted GST at 5 per cent when branded and packed in unit containers. From July 18, these items attract GST when ‘pre-packaged’ and ‘labelled’,” she cleared up.

CII-Exim Bank conclave: Goyal calls for deepening trade ties with Africa

  • Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday called for expansion and diversification of India-Africa economic relations and inclusion of emerging areas, such as solar energy, start-ups, and digital infrastructure for partnership.
  • Goyal identified four major focus areas for the India-Africa partnership: solar power, military exchanges in the context of the security of the Indian Ocean, physical and digital infrastructure, health care, pharma and vaccines, and start-up ecosystem.
  • The trade between India and African countries has been balanced with exports of trade and services of about $40 billion and imports of $49 billion, Goyal said at the inauguration of 17th CII-Exim Bank conclave here.
  • He said both the countries were blessed with significant amounts of sunlight and solar power could be one area of engagement between Africa and India. “I also believe our military exchanges in the Indian Ocean, defence trade, manufacturing in the defence sector can also lead to greater engagement between Africa and India," he said.
  • India Exim Bank’s study titled “Building a Resilient Africa: Enhanced Role of India” was also during the conclave.
  • According to the study, there is a huge trade complementarity between India and Africa. India’s total trade with Africa stood at $82.5 billion in 2021, recording the highest level witnessed by both regions.
  • Harsha Bangari, managing director of India Exim Banks, said bridging gaps in trade finance could unlock the latent export potential of India and Africa and could increase the share in global export participation of both regions.
  • Bangari said India needs to be dynamic in its engagements in Africa and address the changing needs of the Continent, while emphasising the huge opportunity African Continental Free Trade Area agreement presents for India.

::Science and tech::

Aurora shows after solar storm hits Earth amid fear of global outages

  • Space enthusiasts were able to capture the shots of stunnig aurora after a solar storm struck Earth today amid fear of global outages impacting radio and GPS. Aurora is a natural light seen predominantly in high-latitude regions. Space weather researcher Dr. Tamitha Skov recently predicted that a big solar storm was likely to strike the Earth with possibility of strong aurora shows.
  • “Direct Hit! A snake-like filament launched as a big #solarstorm while in the Earth-strike zone. NASA predicts impact early July 19. Strong #aurora shows possible with this one, deep into mid-latitudes. Amateur #radio & #GPS users expect signal disruptions on Earth's nightside," the space weather physicist tweeted.
  • She said that minor solar storm is possible on July 20 at places with high latitudes, with 50% possibility of a major storm. In mid latitudes, active aurora is possible with 10% possibility of a major storm.
  • Skov later said that the solar storm is although waning now, “we do have more storming on the way.”
  • “It wont take much to bump us back to storm levels over the next few days,” she added.
  • said that solar wind entered Earth's magnetosphere after a crack opened in the planet's magnetic field on July 19, registering a minor G1-class geomagnetic storm.
  • Several social media users shared the pictures of aurora shows captured by them during the solar storm. Retweeting one of the images, Skov wrote, “#Aurora bright enough to be visible on a flight over the city lights in the Pacific Northwest USA, captured on an iPhone during the early part of this #solarstorm. I would think this view might be blinding through night vision goggles.”


Asia Cup 'likely' to be shifted from Lanka to UAE: SLC's Mohan de Silva

  • The Asia Cup is "likely" to be moved out of Sri Lanka in the wake of political unrest in the island nation, SLC secretary Mohan de Silva said on Sunday, adding that the tournament could be played in the UAE.
  • Sri Lanka, which has been battling an economic crisis, has witnessed widespread protests against the government for weeks.
  • "The Asia Cup is very likely that it will be held in the UAE," Sri Lanka Cricket secretary de Silva told PTI when asked about a possible change in the venue of the T20 tournament.
  • A qualifier will also take place before the main event with Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait and UAE battling out for the one qualification spot.
  • With Australia tour of Sri Lanka going off smoothly and Pakistan currently playing Test cricket in Sri Lanka, there were hopes that the SLC might be able to host the continental event.

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