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Evening News Digest 24 July 2018

India, Rwanda sign eight agreements


  • India and Rwanda signed eight agreements following delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Kigali.
  • The two countries signed agreements in the fields of Defence, Trade, Agriculture, Leather and allied products and Dairy.
  • India also extended two Lines of Credit of 100 million US dollars each - one for development of industrial parks and Kigali Special Economic Zone, and the other for three agricultural projects in Rwanda.

 Why this meeting is historic?


  • Mr Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Rwanda when he landed in Kigali on the first leg of his three-nation tour to Africa.
  • Prime Minister will visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial which is the final resting place of more than 2.50,000 victims of Genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda.
  • Why cows are Donated ?
  • Mr Modi will also visit the Rweru Model Village where Mr Modi will donate 200 cows under the Girinka programme, a scheme initiated by President Kagame in response to the high rate of child malnutrition and as a means of accelerating poverty reduction, and integrate livestock and crop farming.


Banks, FIs sign an agreement to speed up resolution of bad loans


  • Twenty-four banks led by the State Bank of India signed the inter-creditor agreement that aims to fast-track the resolution of bad loans.
  • In a stock exchange filing, SBI said that its board has approved the signing of the inter-creditor pact.
  • Seventeen public sector banks, five private sector banks and two other financial institutions have signed the agreement.
  • The agreement is part of Project Sashakt, a five-pronged strategy to resolve bad loans, proposed by a committee led by Punjab National Bank non-executive chairman Sunil Mehta.

Recommendations of Committee :

  • The new framework authorizes the lead bank to implement a resolution plan in a time-bound manner.
  • The Mehta committee has also proposed the setting up of a national asset management company, which will raise multiple sector-specific investment funds to invest in stressed assets. 
  • The signing of the inter-creditor agreement is the first step in the implementation of Project Sashakt.
  • According to the agreement, lenders with exposure to stressed accounts will appoint a lead bank as its agent to formulate a resolution plan.
  • The role of the lead lender varies from determining the proportion of sustainable debt to finalising the resolution plan.
  • The terms of the resolution plan has to be approved by 66% of the lenders, and will then be final and binding on all other lenders.
  • The new framework is applicable to accounts with exposures of over ₹2,000 crore where lenders must implement the resolution plan within 180 days
  • Under the inter-creditor agreement, lenders will look at resolving accounts with exposure between ₹50 crore and ₹2,000 crore.


SC seeks response from Centre on polygamy & Nikah-halala among Muslims :


  • The Supreme Court has sought a response from the Centre on a fresh plea challenging practices of polygamy and nikah halala among Muslims.
  • The fresh plea sought a direction from the apex court to declare polygamy and nikah halala illegal and unconstitutional for being violative of several Articles of the Constitution.
  • The petition also sought a declaration that extra-judicial talaq, nikah halala, and polygamy are offences under various sections of Indian Penal Code.
  • The apex court had in August last year banned the age-old practice of instant triple talaq.

What is Nikah-Halala :


  • Nikah Halala deals with the process in which a Muslim woman, in order to remarry her former husband, has to marry a different person and get divorced from him.



1st Meeting of India-Bangladesh Joint Committee on Border Haats


  • The first meeting of the India-Bangladesh Joint Committee on Border Haats was held on 22-23 July 2018 in Agartala, Tripura.
  • In the meeting both sides noted the positive impact of Border Haats on the livelihoods of the people living in areas adjoining the Haats.
  • The Joint Committee visited the Border Haat at Kamlasagar (Sipahijala District, Tripura) – Tarapur (Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh) on 22 July 2018, appreciated its vibrant functioning and noted the need for improvement of infrastructure.
  • What is Border Haat :
  • India-Bangladesh Border Haat is a border trade market between Bangladesh and India.
  • The trade at border haats is permitted to be carried out in Indian Rupees/Bangladesh Taka and on a barter basis, and data of such trade is maintained by the Haat Management Committee of the respective border haat.


High level committee under Union Home Secretary constituted to check mob lynching


  • Two high-level committees have been constituted by the Central government to suggest ways and legal framework to effectively deal with incidents of mob violence and lynching.
  • One of the committees is being headed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the other by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba.
  • The move came a week after the Supreme Court asked the Central government to enact a law to deal with incidents of lynching and take action on mob violence.
  • The government respects the recent directions of the Supreme Court on the issue of mob violence and has issued an advisory to State governments urging them to take effective measures to prevent incidents of mob violence and lynching, and take stringent action as per the law.
  • The Secretaries of the justice, legal affairs, legislative, and social justice and empowerment departments are members of the committee.
  • ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ are State subjects as per the Constitutional scheme and State governments are responsible for controlling crime, maintaining law and order, and protecting the life and property of the citizens
  • What is Mob Lynching :
  • Lynching is a premeditated extrajudicial killing by a group. It is most often used to characterize informal public executions by a mob in order to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate a group.


Draft framework of National Policy for Domestic Workers launched


  • To bring Workers into the social security net and to notify minimum wages and work timings a draft of National Policy for Domestic Workers is created.
  • Domestic worker unions and NGOs, who have been demanding a Central legislation, providing for inter-state registrations of domestic workers, with centrally-set norms for wages, working hours and social security benefits, expressed disappointment at the proposed draft.
  • Recommendations:
  • Boards of registration could be set up at state, district, or even Resident Welfare Association (RWA) level.
  • These boards would administer social security benefits for workers, including Provident Fund contribution by employers and medical insurance.
  • The draft policy make recommendations on working hours, leave entitlements and minimum wages, but would leave it to states to notify them in accordance with their existing legislations.
  • The draft policy envisages that states would set up mechanisms to register and regulate placement agencies for domestic workers, with no provision for Central regulation.




Pakistan gets its first woman chief justice of high court


  • Pakistan has got its first-ever woman Chief Justice of a high court. Justice Tahira Safdar was named as the Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.
  • Justice Safdar had made history in 1982 when she became the first woman civil judge in Balochistan.
  • She is currently a member of the three-judge special court conducting the trial of former President Pervez Musharraf for committing treason by proclaiming a state of emergency in November, 2007.


North Korea begins dismantling rocket launch site


  • North Korea appears to have begun dismantling part of a key rocket launch site in the country's north-west.
  • Satellite images of the Sohae station seen by US-based monitoring group 38 North suggest Pyongyang is complying with a promise made to the US in June.
  • US President Donald Trump said North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un had vowed to destroy an engine test site, but did not specify which one.
  • Pyongyang has maintained that Sohae is a satellite launch site.


G20 Finance Ministers Meet conclude in Buenos Aires


  • Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the statement at the conclusion of the Group of 20 (G20) Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • Trade protectionism was the main topic discussed by finance ministers and central bank governors at the Group of 20 (G20) ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires.
  • The representatives voiced their rejection to the recently introduced U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, as well as other protectionist measures.
  • The G20 meetings typically concluded with a joint statement, known as a communique which reflects shared values and goals.
  • The ministers also dwelt on the need to bring cryptocurrencies under sharper regulation.
  • With the presence of 57 delegations from countries and institutions, this is the first of five such meetings to be held before Argentina hosts the G20 summit from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1.
  • The second meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors will be held in Washington on April 20 before returning to the Argentinean capital on July 21.


Amendments to prohibition law passed in Bihar Assembly


  • The Bihar Assembly has passed a bill to amend some of the stringent provisions of the prohibition law in order to prevent its misuse and make the quantum of punishment proportionate to the nature of offence.
  • Changes in the excise law enacted in 2016 are being brought after the state received complaints of widespread misuse of the provisions by police and excise officials.

Changes are :

  • Now, first-time offenders will have to pay a fine of 50,000 rupees, failing which, they will have to undergo a prison term of three months.
  • Earlier, under the prohibition law the quantum of sentence was for five-year prison term, in addition to a one lakh rupees fine, for those consuming liquor or caught in an inebriated state.
  • Also, the first offence under the Bihar liquor law was non-bailable which has now been made bailable.
  • Those violating the law for the second time and more will be liable to 10 years of imprisonment and fine of five lakh rupees.


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