Daily Current Affairs : 23rd February

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
  2. DNS for India
  3. MUDRA Yojana
  4. Repurpose Cooking Oil (RUCO)
  5. Hayabusa 2 & Baresheet

1 . Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

Context : Condemning the Pulwama February 14 attack, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), issued a stern statement to Pakistan to comply with an action plan on terror financing or face further action, according to a decision taken at its plenary session in Paris on Friday.

About FATF

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions.
  • The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. 
  • The FATF is therefore a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.
  • The FATF has developed a series of Recommendations that are recognised as the international standard for combating of money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
  • They form the basis for a co-ordinated response to these threats to the integrity of the financial system and help ensure a level playing field. 
  • The FATF’s decision making body, the FATF Plenary, meets three times per year.  
  • The FATF currently comprises 36 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organisations ( GCC, European Commission) representing most major financial centres in all parts of the globe.
  • India is a member of FATF while Pakistan is not a member

What is the FATF black list?

  • The FATF black list is shorthand for “Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories” (NCCTs).
  • It has been issued since 2000 and lists countries that have been openly hostile and non-cooperative in the fight against money laundering and terror funding.
  • Although the list did initially include offshore financial centres, the set of recommendations were soon amended to make tax havens compliant with all of the FATF’s criteria.
  • As of now, the FATF black list comprises Iran and North Korea.

How is the FATF grey list different from the black list?

  • The grey list includes countries that are deemed to be lax in combating terror financing and money laundering. Pakistan was on this list previously between 2012 and 2015.
  • But inaction over terror attacks on Indian targets by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and  Jaish-e-Mohammed has prompted Pakistan’s return to the grey list.
  • While the black list represents countries which are hostile to external regulation of its economy, the grey list includes countries which continue to shield certain banned groups from greater institutional scrutiny and regulation.
  • The countries which are presently on the grey list are Syria, Sri Lanka,Tunisia, Serbia, Yemen, Ethiopia and Iraq.

What are the restrictions placed on listed nations?

  • In addition to the negative picture painted of a country’s national institutions, laxity in dealing with groups banned by multilateral organisations reflects the government’s covert engagement with such entities. The most adverse impact will be on the economy, especially for countries reliant on foreign aid and development loans.
  • Apart from loans solicited from international lenders like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the Asian Development Bank (ADB), figuring on the FATF’s “Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories” list could see the migration of foreign capital and privately-owned foreign companies from those countries.
  • Loans for infrastructure development could also be jeopardized if lenders are not confident of the security of their investments, and also a potential misappropriation of sanctioned funds for terrorism-related activities. Foreign banks with footprints spanning the globe, such as Citibank or Standard Chartered, could pull out, affecting the financial services sector in the country.

2 . Public Domain Name Server for India

Context : The government will soon roll out a public Domain Name Server, or DNS, for India aimed at providing a faster and more secure browsing experience for Internet users in the country, while ensuring that citizens’ data is stored locally.

What is Domain Name Server

  • The Domain Name Systems (DNS) is the phonebook of the Internet. Humans access information online through domain names
  • Web browsers interact through Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.
  • DNS translates domain names to IP addresses so browsers can load Internet resources.
  • Each device connected to the Internet has a unique IP address which other machines use to find the device.
  • DNS servers eliminate the need for humans to memorize IP addresses such as (in IPv4), or more complex newer alphanumeric IP addresses


  • The main aim of bringing own public DNS is to ensure availability, particularly for smaller Interest Service Providers (ISPs) who don’t have credible DNS.
  • The government’s system would prevent users from visiting malicious websites.
  • Indian users’ data would be stored within the country.

3 . MUDRA Yojana

Context : The Labour Bureau has completed its survey on employment generated by the MUDRA loan scheme, giving the Centre a potential data tool to combat other reports showing a dismal scenario on jobs.

About MUDRA Yojana

  • The Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana was introduced in April 2015 as an effort to extend affordable credit to micro and small enterprises.
  • Loans up to Rs. 10 lakh are extended to these non-corporate, non-farm enterprises by the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) through last-mile financial institutions.
  • So far, 15.56 crore loans worth a total of Rs. 7.23 lakh crore have been disbursed.

4 . Repurpose Cooking Oil Initiative (RUCO)

Context : Dehradun-based Indian Institute of Petroleum has successfully finished a pilot test to convert used cooking oil into bio-aviation turbine fuel (Bio-ATF), which can be blended with conventional ATF and used as aircraft fuel.

About RUCO Initiative

  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched the Repurpose Cooking Oil (RUCO) initiative to collect and convert used cooking oil into bio-fuel.
  • As many as 64 companies in 101 locations across the country have been identified for the purpose by FSSAI.
  • The food safety body says that by 2020, it should be possible to recover about 220 crore litres of used cooking oil for conversion into bio-fuel.
  • Reducing the re-use of cooking oil in the food industry will have positive public health outcomes and its conversion into Bio-ATF will help the aviation sector reduce its carbon footprint

5 . Hayabusa 2

About Hayabusa 2

  • Hayabusa 2 was launched in December 2014 by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), to explore Ryugu, a primitive C-type (carbonaceous) asteroid.
  • Ryugu is scarcely a kilometer across but is believed to contain an immense scientific treasure: pristine material left over from the primordial solar system of 4.6 billion years ago, an epoch preceding the coalescence of the sun’s retinue of planets.
  • To study this science-rich rock, Hayabusa 2 has already created global maps from its orbital perch and also sent three small rovers down to the surface in late 2018. A fourth rover will be deployed later this year. B
  • The mission’s foremost goal has always been to directly gather samples from the surface, using similar equipment first deployed on a predecessor mission, Hayabusa 1.
  • The only previous asteroid sample-return mission, Hayabusa 1, returned dust grains from the S-type (or stony) asteroid Itokawa in June 2010, a less-pristine object thought to have formed considerably later than Ryugu in the solar system’s history.

6 . Beresheet

About Beresheet Lander

  • SpaceIL is an Israeli organization, established in 2011, that was competing in the Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP) to land a spacecraft on the Moon.
  • SpaceIL successfully launched its Beresheet lander on 22 February 2019
  • The Beresheet mission includes plans to measure the Moon’s local magnetic field to help understand how it formed, and also carries a digital “time capsule”.
  • Beresheet would be the first Israeli spacecraft to travel beyond Earth orbit and the first private lander on the Moon.
  • Israel would also become the fourth country, after the Soviet Union, United States, and China, to land a spacecraft on the Moon

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