Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – 01 December 2020

In Today’s News:

  1. SCO meeting.
  2. Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.

1. SCO meeting

News Summary

Hon’ble Vice President Shri. Venkaiah Naidu chaired the SCO Heads of Government meeting comprising India, Pakistan, Russia, and four Central Asian states. He specified that Cross-Border terrorism is the biggest challenge for countries of SCO and also stated that India was concerned about state-sponsored terrorism.

Prelims GS – International Relations

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation:
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organization.
  • Its creation was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
  • It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Charter was signed during the St.Petersburg SCO Heads of State meeting in June 2002 and entered into force on 19 September 2003.
  • This is the fundamental statutory document that outlines the organization’s goals and principles, as well as its structure and core activities.
  • The historical meeting of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation was held on 8-9 June 2017 in Astana. The status of a full member of the Organization was granted to the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in the 2017 meeting.
  • The organization has two permanent bodies —
    • the SCO Secretariat based in Beijing and
    • the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent.
  • The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO. It meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organization.
  • The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.
Current Members of SCO:(Eight Members)
  • The Republic of India,
  • The Republic of Kazakhstan,
  • The People’s Republic of China,
  • The Kyrgyz Republic,
  • The Islamic Republic of Pakistan,
  • The Russian Federation,
  • The Republic of Tajikistan, and
  • The Republic of Uzbekistan
Four observer states in SCO:
  • The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,
  • The Republic of Belarus,
  • The Islamic Republic of Iran and
  • The Republic of Mongolia
Six dialogue partners of SCO:
  • The Republic of Azerbaijan,
  • The Republic of Armenia,
  • The Kingdom of Cambodia,
  • The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal,
  • The Republic of Turkey, and
  • The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

Mini Insights

Mains GS2 – International Relations

SCO Organisational Structure and Goals:
SCO Secretariat:
  • The SCO Secretariat, based in Beijing, is the main permanent executive body of the SCO.
  • The SCO Secretariat coordinates the activity of the SCO and provides informational, analytical, legal, organizational, and technical support.
  • The Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is the permanent body of the SCO RATS based in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.
  • The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure operates in accordance with the SCO Charter, the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism, and Extremism, the Agreement among the SCO member states on the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, as well as documents and decisions adopted in the SCO framework.
The goals of SCO are:
  • Strengthening mutual confidence and good-neighborly relations among the member countries;
  • Promoting effective cooperation in politics, trade and economy, science and technology, culture as well as education, energy, transportation, tourism, environmental protection, and other fields;
  • Making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security, and stability in the region;
  • moving towards the establishment of a new, democratic, just, and rational political and economic international order.
  • Proceeding from the Spirit of Shanghai the SCO pursues its internal policy based on the principles of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equal rights, consultations, respect for the diversity of cultures and aspiration towards common development, its external policy is conducted in accordance with the principles of non-alignment, non-targeting anyone, and openness.

Click here to visit the official website of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

2. Agriculture Infrastructure Fund

News Summary

Agriculture Infrastructure Fund(AIF) is an important link in agricultural reforms.

(Note: In the current wake of news related to Agricultural reforms, this fund assumes greater significance.)

Prelims GS – Agriculture

Agriculture Infrastructure Fund:
  • Hon’ble Finance Minister announced on 15.05.2020 a Rs 1 lakh crore Agri Infrastructure Fund for farm-gate infrastructure for farmers.
  • Accordingly, the Central Sector Scheme of Financing Facility under Agriculture Infrastructure Fund was approved by Cabinet on 08.07.2020.
  • The scheme shall provide a medium – long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management Infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and financial support.
  • The duration of the Scheme shall be from FY2020 to FY2029 (10 years).
  • Under the scheme, Rs. 1 Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans to Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS), Marketing Cooperative Societies, Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), Self Help Group (SHG), Farmers, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Agri-entrepreneurs, Startups, and Central/State agency or Local Body sponsored Public-Private Partnership Project.
  • All loans under this financing facility will have an interest subvention of 3% per annum up to a limit of Rs. 2 crores.
  • This subvention will be available for a maximum period of 7 years.
  • Further, credit guarantee coverage will be available for eligible borrowers from this financing facility under the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) scheme for a loan up to Rs. 2 crores.
  • The moratorium for repayment under this financing facility may vary subject to a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 2 years.

Click here to know the official Press release of the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.



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