Daily Current Affairs : 4th September 2020

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Quadrilateral Security Dialogue
  2. Relief for borrowers in moratorium case
  3. 1267 UN Sanctions Committee
  4. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
  5. Issues raised by Special Rapporteurs of United Nations on EIA notification
  6. Facts for Prelims

1 . Quadrilateral Security Dialogue

Context : India wants the Quad to become a system to “ensure Freedom of Navigation (FoN) and Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPS)” in the Indian Ocean and around as per Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat.

About Quadrilateral Security Dialogue

  • The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD, also known as the Quad) is an informal strategic forum between the United States, Japan, Australia and India.

Formation of Quad

  • The forum was initiated as a dialogue in 2007 by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan. Quad was initiated to uphold strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific region and as a response to the growing Chinese clout. However, its origins go back to the time of the December 2004 Tsunami, when India undertook rescue and relief efforts for itself and the other affected neighbouring countries, and was joined by the US, Australia and Japan.
  • Malabar Naval Exercise started in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between India and the US, was expanded to occur annually, also taking in Japan as a permanent member in 2015. The year 2007 was a significant one, with the Malabar exercise seeing the participation of not just Japan, but also Australia and Singapore. The move irked China and the country promptly lodged its protest. Since then, Australia has been conspicuous by its absence in the exercise.
  • It was only after ten years – in 2017 – that the Quad was brought back into existence, on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Manila with the ‘India-Australia-Japan-US’ dialogue. Significantly, this coming together took place in the wake of India’s standoff with China in Doklam.


  • Main objectives of Quad is to enhance connectivity, sustainable development, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and maritime and cyber security, with a view to promoting peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected Indo-Pacific region

Cooperation within Quad

  • Main emphasis of quad is on connectivity they are making a coordinated effort to provide financing and sustainable alternatives to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which has led many nations to take loans and accept infrastructure bids from Beijing.
  • Each of of the Quad countries is coordinating their responses on infrastructure projects in their spheres of influence, including India and Australian efforts in the Pacific islands, India-U.S. coordination in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region, and India-Japan joint efforts to develop projects in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  • The military aspect of the Quad has also grown: India has strengthened its naval ties with each of the other Quad countries, and there have been more interactions, formal and informal at the official, political and military levels.

Importance of Quad for India

  • The Quad is a partnership of the like-minded nations. It will act as a threat to China’s hegemonic regional aspirations, amplifying offensive military capabilities and aggregate power, as well as its geographical contiguity to India, Japan, and Australia should typically elicit strong balancing behavior.
  • Quad gives New Delhi a powerful platform to advance its interests in East Asia, coordinate strategies with powerful friends and add more strength to its Act East initiative.
  • All four countries have common interests in maintaining a stable balance of power in the region, freedom of the seas, an open rules-based economic order, to counter debt-trap diplomacy and to limit the use of coercion by a state to assert territorial claims.

2 . Relief for borrowers in moratorium case

Context: The Supreme Court has directed banks that loan accounts which were not declared NPA till August 31, 2020, shall not be declared NPA till further orders.


  • Supreme court is hearing a batch of pleas which have raised the issue of interest being charged on installments which were deferred under moratorium period due to COVID-19 pandemic.

About the order

  • Supreme Court directed that accounts, which were not declared as non-performing assets till August 31 this year, shall not be declared NPA till further orders
  • The order was passed amid apprehensions raised by individual borrowers and representatives of various commercial sectors on whether their loans would be declared NPAs on September 1, the day after the expiry of the moratorium.
  • The court will further examine the question whether compound interest (interest on interest) should be charged on loans deferred during the moratorium period.
  • The Bench is also examining the powers of the Centre and the National Disaster Management Authority to provide relief to borrowers, reeling under the financial effects of the pandemic.

Borrowers stand on the issue

  • Borrowers are seeking a full waiver of interest chargeable during the moratorium.

Government’s stand on the issue

  • According to the government, instead of a loan waiver, steps were being taken to revive the various sectors as the idea of the moratorium was to help those in distress and not meant as an opportunity for those already defaulting in their loan payments.

What Is a Non-Performing Asset (NPA)?

  • A nonperforming asset (NPA) refers to a classification for loans or advances that are in default or in arrears.
  • A loan is in arrears when principal or interest payments are late or missed.
  • A loan is in default when the lender considers the loan agreement to be broken and the debtor is unable to meet his obligations.
  • NPAs can be classified as a substandard asset, doubtful asset, or loss asset, depending on the length of time overdue and probability of repayment.

Types of Non-Performing Assets (NPA)

Although the most common nonperforming assets are term loans, there are other forms of nonperforming assets as well.

  • Overdraft and cash credit (OD/CC) accounts left out-of-order for more than 90 days
  • Agricultural advances whose interest or principal installment payments remain overdue for two crop/harvest seasons for short duration crops or overdue one crop season for long duration crops
  • Expected payment on any other type of account is overdue for more than 90 days


  • Sub-standard Assets : A sub­standard asset would be one, which has remained NPA for a period less than or equal to 12 months. In such cases, the current net worth of the borrower/ guarantor or the current market value of the security charged is not enough to ensure recovery of the dues to the banks in full.
  • Doubtful Assets: An asset would be classified as doubtful if it has remained in the sub­standard category for a period of 12 months. A loan classified as doubtful has all the weaknesses inherent in assets that were classified as sub­standard, with the added characteristic that the weaknesses make collection or liquidation in full, – on the basis of currently known facts, conditions and values – highly questionable and improbable.
  • Loss Assets : A loss asset is one where loss has been identified by the bank or internal or external auditors or the RBI inspection but the amount has not been written off wholly. In other words, such an asset is considered uncollectible and of such little value that its continuance as a bankable asset is not warranted although there may be some salvage or recovery value.

3 . 1267 UN Sanctions Committee

Context : five permanent and non-permanent members of the UN Security Council — the US, UK, France, Germany, and Belgium — blocked an attempt by Pakistan to list two Indians under a UN Security Council regime targeting international terrorism.

How did the matter come up before the UNSC’s 1267 sanctions sub-committee?

  • Pakistan has been trying for a year now to get four Indians, who had been working in Afghanistan, sanctioned under the UN’s 1267 regime.
  • It moved separate proposals against them between September and November 2019, an extraordinarily bad year for India-Pakistan relations over three main issues: the Pulwama terrorist attack, the Balakot airstrikes and their aftermath; the designation, at long last, of Jaish-e-Muhammad leader Masood Azhar; and India’s decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status, and split the erstwhile state into two Union Territories
  • This was the third time this year that Pakistan’s efforts have been thwarted.
  • On June 24, the US objected to a proposal by Pakistan to list one of the four Indians under 1267. The Pakistan Foreign Office then said it was “disappointed”, and hoped its request for listing the other three Indians would be given “due consideration” in an “objective and transparent manner”. And on July 16, there was a second block on a Pakistani proposal to list another one of the Indians.

But why did Pakistan want to get these Indians sanctioned by the UN?

  • The 1267 Committee was first set up in 1999, and strengthened by a series of resolutions in the months and years after the September 11, 2001 attacks. It is now known as the Da’esh and Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee.
  • Islamabad has for years accused India of fomenting terrorism inside Pakistan through Afghanistan, an allegation India rejects. Pakistan attempted to drive home its point to the international community after it captured, in March 2016, the retired Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav and, a year later, sentenced him to death on charges of “espionage and terrorism”. India, however, won a legal and diplomatic victory at the International Court of Justice in July 2019.
  • The 1267 list of terrorists is a global list, with a UNSC stamp. It is full of Pakistani nationals and residents, and Pakistan would like to get a few Indians on it as well

Who are the four Indians that Pakistan had targeted?

  • Duggivalasa was working for an IT consulting company in Kabul. He left Afghanistan in November 2019, just before Pakistan filed its proposal for listing him.Pakistan has alleged Duggivalasa’s involvement in the July 2018 bomb attack on an election rally in Mastung in Balochistan, in which 148 people were killed
  • Appaji Angara is a software engineer who, too, was working in Kabul. He returned to India in October 2019, a month before Pakistan put up a proposal for his designation. Pakistan has accused Angara of being involved in the 2014 Army Public School massacre in Peshawar, in which 150 students were killed.
  • Venumadhav Dongara’s attempted designation was blocked by the US in June. He is an engineer who was working in Afghanistan for KEC International Limited, a Mumbai-based infrastructure company of the RPG Group.
  • Ajoy Mistry is the fourth Indian on Pakistan’s wishlist. He worked as a cook at a US Army base in Afghanistan from 2012 onwards, after stints in Iraq and the UAE.

What is the process by which people are listed under UNSC 1267?

  • Any member state can submit a proposal for listing an individual, group, or entity. The 1267 Committee, which comprises all permanent and non-permanent members of the UNSC, meets as required with a notice of four working days. Decisions on listing and de-listing are adopted by consensus. Any proposal for listing must meet set criteria.
  • The proposal must include acts or activities indicating the proposed individual/group/entity had participated “in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities” linked to “ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaida or any cell, affiliate, splinter group or derivative thereof”.
  • Under the Committee’s guidelines, the “detailed statement of case in support of the proposed listing” should provide “as much detail as possible on the basis(es) or justification for the listing”, including specific findings and supporting evidence.
  • The proposal is sent to all the members, and if no member objects within five working days, the proposal is adopted. An “objection” means curtains for the proposal.
  • Any member of the Committee may also put a “technical hold” on the proposal, and ask for more information from the proposing member state. During this time, other members may also place their own holds.
  • The matter remains on the “pending” list of the Committee until such time as the member state that has placed the hold decides to turn its decision into an “objection”, or until all those who have placed holds remove them within a timeframe laid down by the Committee.
  • Pending issues must be resolved in six months, but the member state that has placed the hold may ask for an additional three months. At the end of this period, if an objection is not placed, the matter is considered approved.
  • There was a technical hold on Venumadhav Dongara’s proposed listing last year, which the US objected to this year, effectively blocking the proposal. There were holds on the proposal about Ajoy Mistry as well, which was blocked in July due to objections by the US, UK, France, Germany, and Belgium. These same countries had placed a technical hold on the proposed listing of Duggivasala and Appaji as well, and blocked it 

4 . Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

Context: The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has released data on various RTI responses indicating wide variance in earnings.

About CSIR

  • The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) is a contemporary R&D organization having a pan-India presence, CSIR has a dynamic network of 38 national laboratories, 39 outreach Centres, 3 Innovation Complexes and 5 units.
  • CSIR covers a wide spectrum of science and technology – from radio and space physics, oceanography, geophysics, chemicals, drugs, genomics, biotechnology and nanotechnology to mining, aeronautics, instrumentation, environmental engineering and information technology.
  • It provides significant technological intervention in many areas with regard to societal efforts which include environment, health, drinking water, food, housing, energy, farm and non-farm sectors. Further, CSIR’s role in S&T human resource development is noteworthy.
  • CSIR is granted 90% of US patents granted to any Indian publicly funded R&D organization. On an average CSIR file about 200 Indian patents and 250 foreign patents per year.
  • About 13.86% of CSIR patents are licensed – a number which is above the global average. Amongst its peers in publicly funded research organizations in the world, CSIR is a leader in terms of filing and securing patents worldwide.
  • CSIR is ranked at 84th among 4851 institutions worldwide and is the only Indian organization among the top 100 global institutions, according to the Scimago Institutions Ranking World Report 2014. CSIR holds the 17th rank in Asia and leads the country at the first position.

Sources of CSIR’s revenue

  • The CSIR earns revenue from technology transfer and also from providing consultancy services.

Details of revenue earned

  • According to the data, some labs of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) which is India’s premier laboratory research network, have earned no money from technology transfer since at least 2015.
  • Of the 38 labs of the CSIR, 11 responded with information to queries on the number of technologies developed, numbers licensed and the money earned from technology transfer since 2015.
  • No royalty: Five of the labs that responded said that they had received no royalty from technologies commercialised 2015-2020. These were the CSIR-IMTECH (Institute of Microbial Technology), Chandigarh; CSIR-AMPRI (Advanced Materials and Processes Research Institute), Bhopal; CSIR-IIP (Indian Institute of Petroleum), Dehradun; CSIR-Fourth Paradigm, Bengaluru; CSIR-CBRI (Central Building Research Institute), Roorkee.
  • Significant revenue: Other labs that reported significant revenue are the CSIR-IICT (Indian Institute of Chemical Technology), Hyderabad, CSIR-CEERI, Pilani (Central Electronics and Engineering Research Institute) and the CSIR-CFTRI (Central Food Technological Research Institute)

Facts for Prelims

  • CSIR Programme on bioactives : The CSIR Programme on Bioactives is a mammoth network programme being coordinated by the R&D Planning Division (RDPD), CSIR. It engages 20 CSIR laboratories, 13 universities and three well-known organizations in the traditional system of medicine. It involves screening of Ayurvedic formulations, plants, fungi, microbes and insects against 14 disease areas including cancer, tuberculosis, filaria, malaria, ulcer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer diseases, to identify new lead molecules.
  • Drug from Sea : As a leading S&T organization of a nation rich in marine bounty, CSIR is also investigating our oceans. An all India coordinated project ‘Drugs from the Sea’ funded by Department of Ocean Development, Government of India, and coordinated by the Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, is being conducted in collaboration with 10 participating laboratories for exploiting marine flora and fauna for development of drugs as well as herbal remedies
  • Biosuite : Eighteen research institutes and three industries were brought together to develop the comprehensive, portable and versatile software package christened ‘BioSuite’. Led by TCS, the team has developed the software, which will serve as a multipurpose tool for carrying out diverse bioanalysis ranging from gene analysis to comparative genomics, pathway modeling to homology modeling and molecular visualization & manipulation to drug designing.
  • Saras : Saras is a 14-seater twin-engined turboprop aircraft fully pressurized for passenger comfort. It has a maximum speed of over 600 km/h and a maximum range of 1200 km. Its state-of-the-art avionics, electrical, environmental control and other systems make it a contemporary aircraft of the 21st century.
  • Second Battle of Haldighati : The “second battle of Haldighati,” is what the media dubbed a pioneering case in a “rule-based” war in the context of what India felt was a wrongly granted US patent on the use of turmeric for wound healing. he rule is that the applicant has a right to patent innovations only after demonstrating the novelty, non-obviousness and usefulness of an article. The use of turmeric for wound healing is not novel because it is a part of India’s prior knowledge as recorded in ancient Sanskrit and Pali texts and formal papers in journals such as The Indian Journal of Medical Research, etc. CSIR followed the recognized legal procedures and proved to the US Patent Office that such use of turmeric in wound healing was clearly the consequence of prior knowledge. The US Patent Office scrapped the patent. India won that particular battle.

5 . Issues raised by Special Rapporteurs of United Nations on Environment Impact Assessment

Context: A group of Special Rapporteurs to the United Nations has written to the Centre and have expressed their concern over the proposed Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification 2020 and sought the government’s response on how the provisions of the notification were consonant with India’s “obligations under international law”.

Concerns raised by Special Rapporteurs

  • The experts have asserted that there are clauses in the EIA notification 2020 that exempted several large industries and projects from public consultation as part of the environmental impact assessment process.
  • The experts have stated that such clauses and exemptions were unwarranted and will obstruct people’s rights to a safe, clean and healthy environment.

India’s stand

  • Environment Ministry Secretary has stated that nothing in the proposed EIA, 2020 violates the UN Declaration of Human Rights and that the rapporteurs’ concerns were “misplaced”.
  • As the proposed EIA was still a draft and issued for public consultation and that there were several imperfections in the existing EIA that were to be amended in the new notification.
  • With regard to post facto clearances the air has been cleared, that the violation of not taking prior approval would be “punished as per law” and projects that were already running would be considered only on merit.

What are U.N. Special Rapporteurs?

  • Special Rapporteurs (“SRs”) are independent experts appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council.
  • They have the mandate to monitor, advise and publicly report on human rights situations in specific countries (country mandates) and on human rights violations worldwide (thematic mandates).
  • The thematic mandates cover a wide range of issues relating to civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights, including the human rights of migrants, violence against women, the rights of internally displaced persons, freedom of religion and arbitrary detention, among many others.

What do Special Rapporteurs do?

  • The functions of Special Rapporteurs include responding to individual complaints, conducting studies, providing advice on technical cooperation and undertaking country visits to assess specific human rights situations.
  • Most Special Rapporteurs also receive information on specific allegations of human rights violations and send urgent appeals or letters of allegation to governments asking for clarification and concrete measures to end rights violations.

6 . Facts for Prelims

Study links rice intake to diabetes

  • Recently a paper was published in the recent edition of the peer-reviewed journal Diabetes Care and in it, the relationship between consumption of white rice and diabetes was highlighted.
  • It is the largest study on white rice intake and incident diabetes ever done.
  • It is also one of the first to be done across different countries.
  • The study confirms that white rice intake is one of the contributors to the diabetes epidemic in South Asia which has the  highest consumption of white rice at 630 grams a day
  • Reduced physical activity: The study has also acknowledged the role of reduced physical activity and increase in obesity as a contributing factor.
  • Excess rice intake: It is known that excess rice consumption leads to postprandial glucose spikes that, in turn, lead to compensatory hyperinsulinemia [excess secretion of insulin] to maintain euglycemia [normal blood sugar levels]. Over time, the b-cells become exhausted, leading to b-cell failure and diabetes,
  • China reduced rice consumption: In China, the rice intake is 200 g a day which has reduced in recent times and now has no significant association with diabetes. It is possible that the type of rice is different in China (sticky rice) which is consumed with vegetables, pulses or meat that blunts the GL (Glycemic Load) of the rice.
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