Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Preparation: 23 October 2017

PMLA: Banks to now match original IDs with photocopies

The Government has made it mandatory for banks and financial institutions to check the original identification documents of individuals dealing in cash above the prescribed threshold, to weed out the use of forged or fake copies. The Department of Revenue in the Finance Ministry has issued a gazette notification making an amendment to the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules.

The new rule now requires the reporting entity to compare the copy of officially valid (identification) document so produced by the client with the original and recording the same on the copy.

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) forms the core of the legal framework put in place by India to combat money laundering and generation of black money. The PMLA and its rules impose obligation on reporting entities like banks, financial institutions and intermediaries to verify identity of clients, maintain records and furnish information to Financial Intelligence Unit of India (FIU-IND).


Nirmala Sitharaman to attend Southeast Asian defence ministers’ meeting in Philippines

In her first foreign visit as defence minister, Nirmala Sitharaman will travel to the Philippines on 23 October 2017 to attend a Southeast Asian defence ministers’ meeting which is likely to review the regional security architecture including China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea. During her three-day visit, the defence minister is likely to hold bilateral talks with her counterparts from a number of countries.

The ADMM (ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting)-Plus meeting on October 23 and 24 is expected to deliberate extensively on the situation in Afghanistan and Syria besides China’s growing military presence in the disputed South China Sea.

The ADMM-Plus is a platform for ASEAN and its eight dialogue partners to strengthen security and defence cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region. The two-day meeting will discuss ways to enhance defence and security cooperation among the member nations to effectively counter various transnational security challenges facing the region.

China claims sovereignty over all of South China Sea, a huge source of hydrocarbons. However, a number of ASEAN member countries including Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei have counter claims. India has been supporting freedom of navigation and access to resources in the South China Sea in accordance with principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The ADMM-plus is also likely to discuss enhancing maritime cooperation among the member countries.

The inaugural ADMM-Plus was convened in Hanoi in 2010. The defence ministers then had agreed on five areas of practical cooperation to pursue under the new mechanism, including maritime security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping operations.


Sawfish more threatened than tigers, say scientists

The sawfish, included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 enacted to save them from exploitation, have been sighted off the Indian coast less than 10 times in over a decade and they appear to be more threatened than tigers and elephants, say marine scientists as the world observed the first Sawfish Day.

A statement issued by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute said that the sawfish may be the most endangered fish species in India.

There are only five species of the sawfish ever identified — dwarf sawfish, knifetooth sawfish, smalltooth sawfish, largetooth sawfish and green sawfish. Sawfish are elasmobranchs, meaning their skeleton is made of cartilage. They are closely related to sharks and have shark-shaped bodies and, hence, are also called flat sharks.


Bi-Annual Naval Commanders’ Conference to be held at New Delhi

A four day Naval Commanders’ Conference is scheduled at New Delhi from 24-27 Oct 17. The Conference serves as a platform for institutionalised interaction between the Naval Commanders and senior government officials, as also, with the Chiefs of Indian Army and Indian Air Force.

The Hon’ble RM will address and interact with the Commanders’ during the bi-annual conference. The Chief of the Naval Staff, with the Commanders’-in-Chief, will review major Operational, Materiel, Human Resource, Training and Administrative activities undertaken in the last six months and deliberate the way-ahead on important activities and initiatives. An interaction is also planned with Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog to provide the Commanders’ a perspective on broader national interests.

The Navy’s combat readiness would be reviewed with focus on operational effectiveness of combat platforms, logistics and development of shore support infrastructure for sustaining distant operations. Efforts towards ‘indigenisation and standardisation’ so as to make the Navy self-reliant and modernise its warfare capability by means of unmanned systems would also be examined. Aspects complementary to combat effectiveness, such as Training, Human Resource Management, Fleet Maintenance and pan-Navy measures for enhancing safety will be reviewed. With reference to safety, IN Safety Organisation including rescue support during submarine accidents in the IOR will be discussed. The Commanders’ will also review the security of establishments in the backdrop of terrorist threats and the prevailing security scenario.

The Commanders will also discuss plans for ‘enhancing and sustaining IN’s operational footprint in the IOR’ in keeping with the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region’ (SAGAR). In this regard, initiatives to further maritime cooperation with other navies in the IOR as also the IN’s ability to proactively respond to maritime security challenges, including natural calamities, in the IOR will be reviewed.