Terror Funding Meet
Paper 3 – Security
Why You Should Know?
India will host the Third No Money for Terror (NMFT) Conference on November 18-19, 2022.
In detail –
- Delegates from 75 countries and international bodies are expected to attend the event, which will take up ways to combat global terrorist financing.
What is the Third No Money for Terror conference?
- The NMFT started in 2018 as an initiative of the French government which had, in 1989, laid the foundation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF),
- This is the international body at the forefront of combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
- Just like the FATF, which earlier focused only on money laundering but expanded to include terrorist financing after the 9/11 attacks, the continuing activities of the Islamic State and Al Qaeda, despite territorial defeats in Syria-Iraq and Afghanistan respectively, necessitated the NMFT conference.
The 2018 conference
- France had invited delegations from some 70 countries and the leaders of almost 20 agencies.
- The conference agreed on “fully criminalising terrorism financing.
- even in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act”, and “enhancing the traceability and transparency of financial flows” by developing frameworks to tackle the risks associated with the use of cash, informal remittance systems (including hawalas), prepaid cards, anonymous means of payments, and by promoting digital transactions.
- It also raised a red flag on new financial instruments being misused and made a commitment to “implement the FATF standards as they apply to crypto-assets”, urging the FATF “to advance global implementation”.
- Importantly, the conference discussed “traceability and transparency of non-profit organisations (NPOs) and charitable funds”, calling for urgent and effective “implementation of FATF standards relating to non-profit organisations” without disrupting civil society activities.
- It also reiterated the importance of effectively implementing UN sanctions, cooperation on intelligence sharing, and capacity building of countries that did not fully adhere to FATF standards.
The 2019 conference
- The 2019 conference was hosted by Australia with participation from 65 delegations, including 23 Ministers and representatives from 15 international bodies.
- The conference identified “kidnapping for ransom” and “emerging technologies” such as digital and cryptocurrencies, stored value cards, online payment systems and crowdfunding platforms as new channels through which terrorism may be financed.
- It recognised “the critical role played by the private sector to detect and prevent misuse of financial systems by terrorists” and flagged the need for monitoring of NPOs.
- India has largely articulated its “zero tolerance approach” towards terrorism in these conferences and tried to attract the attention to the cross-border terrorism from Pakistan.
- In the 2019 conference, India called for a “united global effort against all those who support terror or help generate finances for terror”.
- India pointed out how terror groups are active on social media and that undermines any ban the United Nations (UN) might place.
- It called on nations to expedite the finalisation of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism under the UN and asked for FATF Standards to be effectively enforced.
- Given its experience of China blocking its push for sanctions against Pakistan-based terror groups and terrorists, it called for UN listings and FATF to not be politicised.
- It also asked the international community to initiate discussion on ‘Countering Financing of Radicalisation (CFR)’, which would prevent radicalisation, an essential prerequisite of terrorism.
- The nitty gritty of ground-level implementation has not yet found attention. Now that India is leading the conference, it could push its concerns.
- The need of the hour is to form working groups on various new threats. There are many countries which want to actively engage in combating terror financing threats but may lack the capabilities to do so.
- We ourselves do not have great wherewithal to combat terror financing through cryptocurrencies. This conference could work on building such capabilities in various nations.
Agenda for 2022 terror conference
- India was supposed to host the conference in 2020, but it was postponed due to the pandemic.
- The agenda for the NMFT 2022 includes use of virtual assets and crowdfunding platforms by terrorist entities, their use of the dark web, the links between terror financing and legitimate economic activities, and payment intermediaries.
- It is largely a build-up on concerns raised during the Interpol Conference and UN General Assembly’s Counter Terrorism Committee Conference held in Delhi recently.
- India will discuss the misuse of non-profit organisations and non-financial businesses and professions in terror financing, as well as such financing through the Money Transfer Service Scheme and hawala networks.
- India will also focus on “the challenges faced by investigation agencies while probing terror financing crimes, the sharing of information among financial intelligence units, and recent trends in combating terror financing/money laundering risks”.
Sources – IE
Patan Patola scarf
Paper 1 – Art & Culture
Why You Should Know?
At the G20 summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted traditional artworks from Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh to world leaders.
In detail –
- PM Modi presented –
- US President Joe Biden with Kangra miniature paintings
- UK PM Rishi Sunak with ‘Mata Ni Pachedi’, a handmade Gujarat textile offered in temples
- ‘Pithora’, a tribal folk art from Chhota Udaipur, to Australian leader Anthony Albanese
- Agate bowls from Kutch to the leaders of France, Germany and Singapore
- A ‘Patan Patola’ scarf to his Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni.
What is Patan Patola
- The ancient art of double ikat or Patola woven in pure silk dates back to the 11th century.
- The Patola fabrics bear an equal intensity of colours and design on both sides.
- This peculiar quality has its origins in an intricate and difficult technique of dyeing or knot dyeing, known as ‘bandhani’, on the warp and weft separately before weaving.
- One of the major practitioners of the dwindling art form is the Salvi family from North Gujarat.
- Patola is woven on primitive hand-operated harness looms made out of rosewood and bamboo strips.
- The loom lies on a slant. The other commonly worn Patola is the Rajkot Patola, woven on a flat loom.
- The last surviving family into Patola weaving is the Salvi family in Patan.
- From the oldest 70-year-old Rohit to the youngest 37-year-old Savan, the entire nine member-family of five men and four women is engaged with this art form.
- The Salvi family shared that before World War II, Indonesia was the major buyer of Patolas.
- Legend has it that King Kumarpal of the Solanki dynasty invited some 700 families of Patola weavers from Jalna (Maharashtra) to settle in Patan in North Gujarat, and the Salvis are among them.
- The family has also been honoured with several national awards.
The weaving process
- The process involves warp and weft silk threads that are tied with cotton thread on portions marked with the proposed design.
- This tied portion then remains unexposed to colours while dyeing, which is followed by tying, untying, redyeing and dyeing in different shades.
- Single and primary colours are applied one after another as mixed shades develop by overlapping. This makes the design stand out.
- The process is labour-intensive, time-consuming, and requires a high order of skill and dexterity.
- It takes three to four months to prepare a tie-died design on warp and weft threads for one saree of six yards.
- Two Salvis (weavers) working together weave just around 8 to 9 inch a day. It takes 40 to 50 days to weave a saree, when 4-5 persons are working on it, depending upon the intricacy of the design.
- Traditionally, only pure silk and natural and chemical dyes were used, but since the last century, they have been replaced by fast-to-bleach and easy-to-dye chemical colours.
- However, in the past 20 years, experiments are being done to redevelop the old, indigenous process.
- The product designs are based on traditional motifs called “bhat”, which include “narikunj”, “paan”, “phulwadi”, “rasbhat”, flowers, animals birds, human figures, etc.
- The Salvi family said that in 1342 AD, the traveller Ibn Batuta had carried patolas as gifts to many kings. They were amply used in the 17th and 18th centuries as precious gift items.
- While possessing and wearing a Patola is considered a matter of pride, the fabric has largely remained inaccessible to common people because of its high price.
- The base price of a Patola saree in the Patan weave starts from Rs 1.5 lakh up and can go up to Rs 6 lakh.
- A typical 46-inch dupatta or scarf sells in the range of Rs 80,000, depending on the intricacy of the design.
- The Rajkot Patola saree starts at Rs 70,000 and goes up to Rs 1.25 lakh.
- The main difference here is that while the Rajkot Patola uses chemical dyes, Patan uses vegetable dyes.
- A Rajkot Patola weighs over 600 grams, while a Patola from Patan would weigh under 500 grams.
- Another difference is that the motifs in Patan Patolas are sharp, while the Rajkot ones are hazy.
‘Carbon Border Tax’
Paper 3 –Environment
Why You Should Know?
In ongoing COP-27 India, China, Brazil, South Africa opposed the ‘carbon border tax’
In detail –
- A consortium of countries that includes India has jointly stated that carbon border taxes, that could result in market distortion and aggravate the trust deficit amongst parties, must be avoided.
What is carbon border taxes?
- The European Union has proposed a policy — called the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism to tax products such as cement and steel, that are extremely carbon intensive, with effect from 2026.
- BASIC is a group of four developing countries (India, Brazil, South Africa, India and China). These countries are mainly dependent on coal for energy. Destruction of fossil fuels is also considered a major reason for climate change.
- In such a situation, it has been marked by the European countries to reduce its use as well. However, the countries of BASIC are against it. It is called a unilateral decision from the BASIC countries.
What is Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism ?
- Carbon border adjustments, also referred to as “carbon border adjustment mechanisms” (CBAM), are an emerging set of trade policy tools that aim to prevent carbon-intensive economic activity from moving out of jurisdictions with relatively stringent climate policies and into those with relatively less stringent policies.
- Border adjustments have the potential to increase the environmental effectiveness of climate policies, by averting shifts in economic activity that could lead to higher total greenhouse emissions — a phenomenon known as “carbon leakage.”
- They are also seen as a way of protecting industrial competitiveness by reducing the incentive for businesses to move production abroad.
- Border adjustments would typically apply fees on imported goods based on the greenhouse gas emissions generated during their production.
- Border adjustments can also include rebates or exemptions from domestic policies for producers that export their goods,
- Border adjustments face questions about their compatibility with World Trade Organization rules that aim to protect against discriminatory practices as well as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
- The European Union (EU) is pursuing a CBAM that would make the region the first in the world to enact such a policy and would be aligned with the carbon price the bloc applies through its emissions trading system (ETS).
When would it be implemented?
- Under the proposal, the CBAM would be introduced in a transitional period from 2023 to 2025.
- During this period, a reporting system would apply to importers of covered goods to facilitate a smooth rollout of the program, gather data, and to facilitate dialogue with non-EU countries.
- Starting in 2026, the CBAM would become fully operational, and importers would start paying a financial adjustment.
Source – TH
MoU between IFSCA and RBI
Paper 3 –Economy
Why You Should Know?
The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for collaboration in the field of regulation and supervision of regulated entities in their respective jurisdictions.
In detail –
- The MoU facilitates technical cooperation and exchange of information.
- The IFSCA, being a unified regulator responsible for development and regulation of financial products, financial services and financial institutions in the International Financial Services Centre(s) (IFSC) established in India,
- It is, inter-alia, entrusted with the responsibility of regulation and supervision of authorized banks and non-banking financial institutions operating in such IFSCs.
- The RBI is the central bank and monetary authority of India carrying on, inter-alia, the regulation and supervision of banks and non-banking financial institutions as well as undertaking other functions and exercising powers in accordance with various statutes.
- The MoU opens up avenues for cooperation between the two regulators, thereby strengthening the safety, stability and soundness of respective financial ecosystems and nurturing environments conducive to optimal business development and economic growth.
- The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) has been established on April 27, 2020 under the International Financial Services Centres Authority Act, 2019.
- It is headquartered at GIFT City, Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
Role of IFSCA
- The IFSCA is a unified authority for the development and regulation of financial products, financial services and financial institutions in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in India.
- At present, the GIFT IFSC is the maiden international financial services centre in India.
- Prior to the establishment of IFSCA, the domestic financial regulators, namely, RBI, SEBI, PFRDA and IRDAI regulated the business in IFSC.
- As the dynamic nature of business in the IFSCs requires a high degree of inter-regulatory coordination within the financial sector, the IFSCA has been established as a unified regulator with a holistic vision in order to promote ease of doing business in IFSC and provide world class regulatory environment.
- The main objective of the IFSCA is to develop a strong global connect and focus on the needs of the Indian economy as well as to serve as an international financial platform for the entire region and the global economy as a whole.
Sources – Livemint
Digital Shakti 4.0
Paper 2 – Education
Why You Should Know?
Ministry of Women and Child Developmentlaunched Digital Shakti 4.0 focussing on making women digitally skilled and aware
In detail –
- The National Commission for Women (NCW) launched the fourth phase of Digital Shakti Campaign, a pan-India project on digitally empowering and skilling women and girls in the cyberspace.
- In line with its commitment to create safe spaces for women and girls online, Digital Shakti 4.0 is focused on making women digitally skilled and aware to stand up against any illegal/inappropriate activity online.
- NCW launched it in collaboration with CyberPeace Foundation and Meta.
- This new phase will prove to be a milestone in ensuring safe cyber spaces for women.
- Digital Shakti has been accelerating the digital participation of women and girls by training them to use technology to their advantage and to keep themselves safe online.
- The project will continue to contribute towards the larger goal of fighting cyber violence against women and girls and make internet a safer space for them.”
- The launch was followed by an interactive panel discussion on “Safe Spaces Online Combatting Cyber-enabled Human Trafficking & Combatting Other forms of Online Violence” in order to provide keen opinions from experts from the Industry, Government, and Academia to address the issue of online women safety from all tangents and provide whole approach to ensure better women safety online.
- Digital Shakti started in June 2018 to help women across the nation to raise the awareness level on the digital front, to build resilience, and fight cyber-crime in the most effective ways.
- Through this project, over 3 Lakh women across India have been made aware of cyber safety tips and tricks, reporting & redressal mechanisms, data privacy and usage of technology for their benefits.
- The third phase of the program was started in March 2021 with the Launch at Leh by NCW Chairperson in the presence of Lieutenant Governor Shri Radha Krishna Mathur & Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, MP, Ladakh.
- In the third phase, a Resource Center was also developed under the project to provide information on all the avenues of reporting in case a woman faces any cyber crime.
Sources – AIR
International Tourism Mart
Paper 3 – Tourism
Why You Should Know?
Ministry of Tourism, Government of India is organizing the 10th International Tourism Mart (ITM) for the North East Region from 17th to 19thNovember 2022 in Aizawl, Mizoram.
In detail –
- Objective of ITM 2022 is to highlight tourism potential of the Northeast region in domestic and international markets.
- The International Tourism Marts are organized in the North-Eastern States on rotation basis.
- The 10th edition of the International Tourism Mart, jointly organized by the Ministry of Tourism and the state tourism department.
- Mizoram is hosting this Mart for the first time. The earlier editions of this mart have been held in Guwahati, Tawang, Shillong, Gangtok, Agartala, Imphal and Kohima.
- The event will focus on “Priorities of G20 for Tourism Track”, since India will assume the forthcoming G20 Presidency for a year starting from 1st December 2022.
- The Mart will bring together the tourism business fraternity and entrepreneurs from the eight North Eastern States.
- The event has been planned and scheduled to facilitate interaction between buyers, sellers, media, Government agencies and other stakeholders to create a buzz.
- The mart will include presentations by eight North Eastern States on their tourism potential, cultural evenings, sightseeing visits to local attractions in and around Aizawl.
- It will also include B2B meeting where buyers from different regions of the country will engage in one-on-one meetings with sellers from the North-East Region.
- Also, an exhibition including display of beautiful handicrafts and handlooms will also be organized to show case the tourism products of respective participating States.
- The International Tourism Marts are organised annually across the Northeastern States on a rotation basis.
- While the earlier editions were held in Guwahati (Assam), Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh), Shillong (Meghalaya), Gangtok (Sikkim), Agartala (Tripura), Imphal (Manipur) and Kohima (Nagaland), Mizoram is gearing up to host the mart for the first time.
- Tucked away in the Northeastern part of India is the hilly state of Mizoram. With ample natural beauty and a deep-rooted sense of culture and tradition, Mizoram is another Northeastern gem that has great tourism potential.
- Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram where the mart is being organised, is situated at about 1132 metres above sea level and is a beautiful and bustling 112-year-old city set on ridges of steep hills.
- Once a remote village used as a British army fort, Aizawl has grown into a picturesque city.
Sources – HT
Linke Hofmann Busch ( LHB) coaches
Paper 3 –Science & Tech
Why Should You Know?
Indian Railways to allot only LHB Coaches under the Bharat Gaurav Trains Scheme
In details –
- To give concerted thrust to efforts for promotion of rail based tourism through provision of better quality coaches and viable tour packages, the Bharat Gaurav Trains Scheme has been reviewed.
Salient Features of Revised Policy
- Henceforth, only Linke Hofmann Busch ( LHB) coaches will be allotted under the Bharat Gaurav Trains scheme.
- In the interest of promotion of rail tourism and viability of the product, Ministry of Railways has decided not to levy the overhead components in the Fixed and Variable Haulage Charges for operation of Bharat Gaurav Trains under the scheme.
- This would entail approximately 33% concession by IR for promotion of rail tourism under Bharat Gaurav Trains Scheme.
- The existing service providers, who have already been allotted ICF rakes under the framework of Bharat Gaurav Trains Policy would be given option to switch over to LHB rakes for the remaining period of agreement on the revised charges.
- However, if they opt to continue with already allotted rakes, benefit of revised charges would be available with prospective effect.
What is LHB coaches?
- Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches are the passenger coaches of Indian Railways that were developed by Linke-Hofmann-Busch of Germany and mostly produced by Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala, India.
- The coaches are designed for an operating speed up to 160 km/h and could go up to 200 km/h. However, they have been tested up to 180 km/h.
- Their length of 23.54 m and a width of 3.24 m means a higher passenger capacity, compared to conventional rakes.
- They are considered to be anti-telescopic, which means they do not get turned over or flip in case of a collision (chiefly head-on).
- These coaches are made of stainless steel and the interiors are made of aluminium which make them lighter as compared to conventional rakes.
- Each coach also has an “advanced pneumatic disc brake system” for efficient braking at higher speeds, “modular interiors” that integrate lighting into ceiling and luggage racks with wider windows.
- The improved suspension system of LHB coaches ensures more riding comfort for the passengers compared to conventional rakes.
- The air conditioning system of the LHB coaches is of higher capacity compared to the older rakes and is controlled by a microprocessor which is said to give passengers better comfort than the older coaches during summer and winter seasons.
- They are relatively quieter as each coach produces a maximum noise level of 60 decibels while conventional coaches can produce 100 decibels.
About Bharat Gaurav Trains
- Indian Railways launched the operation of the theme-based Bharat Gaurav train in the month of November 2021.
- The objective of this theme is to showcase India’s rich cultural heritage and magnificent historical places to the people of India and the world, through Bharat Gaurav Trains.
- This scheme also aims to leverage the core strengths of the professionals of the tourism sector to run theme-based trains to tap the vast tourism potential of India.
Sources – PIB
Paper 3 – Security
Why You Should Know?
The 26th edition of the multinational maritime exercise MALABAR 22 culminated in the seas off Japan on 15 November 2022.
In detail –
- This edition also marked the 30th anniversary of the exercise and was hosted by the JMSDF.
- The Indian Navy was represented by Eastern Fleet ships Shivalik and Kamorta led by Rear Admiral Sanjay Bhalla, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet.
- The sea phase of MALABAR 22 was conducted over a period of five days near Yokosuka and witnessed live weapon firings, surface, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare drills and tactical procedures.
- Another highlight of the sea phase was the conduct of War at Sea exercise which enabled all four navies to consolidate interoperability and hone their tactical skills.
- The high-tempo exercise saw the participation of eleven surface ships including a nuclear powered aircraft carrier with its integral air elements, alongwith four long-range maritime patrol aircraft, integral helicopters and two submarines.
- The exercise also involved exchange of ‘Sea Riders’ between various participating ships.
- Apart from operational drills and exercises, the bilateral logistics support agreements between the participating countries were validated during this edition of exercise Malabar.
- The exercise helped enhance understanding of each others operational methodologies and ability to co-operate to tackle myriad maritime challenges.
- Malabar series of exercises began in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between the navies of India and US and gained further prominence with joining of the navies of Australia and Japan.
- INS Shivalik (F47) is the lead ship of her class of stealth multi-role frigates built for the Indian Navy.
- The Shivalik-class frigates were conceived as part of the Indian Navy’s Project 17, which set down the requirements for a class of stealthy frigates to be designed and built in India.
- It is the first stealth warship built by India.
- Itwas built at the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) located in Mumbai.
- Construction of the vessel began in 2001 and was completed by 2009.
- It underwent sea trials from thereon before being commissioned on 29 April 2010.
- Shivalik features improved stealth and land attacking features over the preceding Talwar-class frigates.
- It is also the first Indian navy ship to use the CODOG (COmbined Diesel Or Gas) propulsion system.
- INS Kamorta is the first of four anti-submarine Kamorta-class stealth corvettes which has been built for the Indian Navy.
- It is a significant step towards India’s pursuit for self-reliance in indigenous warship building, bringing closer home Indian Navy’s quest to be a true Blue-Water Navy with ships and submarines designed and built within the country.
- It was designed and manufactured by GRSElaunched on 19 April 2010, as part of Project 28, approved in 2003.
- It was named after Kamorta island in Andaman and Nicobar, India.
- It was built by high-grade steel (DMR249A) developed by state-owned Steel Authority of India from its Bhilai Steel Plant.
- It is the first indigenous anti-submarine corvette as well as the first indigenous stealth corvette built by India.
Source – PIB
Paper 2 – Environment
Why Should You Know?
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi visits Mangrove forests on the sidelines of G-20 Summit in Bali.
In detail –
- Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi along with other G-20 Leaders visited and planted Mangroves at the ‘Taman Hutan Raya Ngurah Rai’ Mangrove forests on the sidelines of G-20 Summit in Bali today.
- Mangroves play an important role in global conservation efforts. India has joined the Mangrove Alliance for Climate (MAC), a joint initiative of Indonesia and UAE under the Indonesian G-20 Presidency.
- More than 50 mangrove species can be found spread over 5000 sq km in India. India is placing emphasis on the protection and restoration of mangroves, which are rich sites of biodiversity and serve as effective carbon sinks.
What are mangrove forests?
- A mangrove is a shrub or a small tree that grows along the coastlines and has roots in salty sediments, often underwater. They also grow in swamps.
- Mangrove forests can survive extreme weather conditions and require low oxygen levels to survive.
- The mangroves cannot survive freezing temperatures and thus are found mainly in tropical and subtropical latitudes.
- Sundarbans in West Bengal in India is the largest mangrove forest in the world.
- UNESCO celebrates July 26 as the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem to raise awareness about mangrove ecosystems and to promote their conservation
How are the Mangroves beneficial?
- Mangrove forests can store ten times more carbon per hectare than terrestrial forests. Also, they can store carbon up to 400 per cent faster than land-based tropical rainforests.
- when the mangroves are cut, the carbon stored in these plants gets released into the air. So, preserving them to keep the carbon emissions levels low is necessary.
- Once the plants die, they take the stored carbon into the soil. This is called “Blue Carbon”.
- Moreover, Mangrove forests act as natural barriers against rising tides and storms. Each year, they prevent property damages of over $65 billion.
- They also provide breeding grounds for marine biodiversity and 80% of global fish populations depend on healthy mangrove ecosystems.
About Mangrove Alliance for Climate (MAC)
- Spearheaded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in partnership with Indonesia, MAC was launched at the COP27 Summit in Egypt to scale up and accelerate the conservation and restoration of the mangrove forests.
- UAE, Indonesia, Australia, Japan, Spain and Sri Lanka are the other MAC supporters.
- The alliance will raise awareness about the role of mangroves as a “nature-based solution to climate change”.
- The MAC seeks to scale up, accelerate conservation, restoration and growing plantation efforts of mangrove ecosystems for the benefit of communities globally, and recognize the importance of these ecosystems for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Sources – TH