GS Paper II- International Relations.

US, Japan To Advance Security, Defence Ties With India, South Korea And Australia.

Background

  • The US and Japan have agreed to advance their multilateral security and defence cooperation with India, South Korea and Australia in view of North Korea’s dangerous provocative behaviour, leaders of the countries have said.
  • The threat posed by North Korea was discussed by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono, Defence Secretary James Mattis and his Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera.
  • The four officials have strongly encouraged China to take decisive measures to urge North Korea to change its course of action.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Mr Tillerson told reporters at a joint news conference with Mr Kono, Mr Mattis and Mr Onodera that they will cooperate to advance trilateral and multilateral security and defence cooperation with other partners in the region, notably the Republic of Korea, Australia, India and other southeast Asian countries.
  • The four leaders addressed the conference after their two plus two meeting at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department, during which the threat posed by North Korea consumed much of their time.
  • North Korea’s recent intercontinental ballistic missile and other missile launches have created lot of tensions among the US and its allies in East Asia.
  • According to Mr. Tillerson, US has agreed to bolster their alliance capabilities to deter and respond to North Korea’s unacceptable behaviour and other challenges to regional security.
  • Mr Tillerson said the North Koreans should understand the consequences should they make a bad choice. In a joint statement, the four officials strongly encouraged China to take decisive measures to urge North Korea to change its course of action.
  • According to the joint statement, they highlighted the ongoing alliance efforts to advance trilateral and multilateral security and defence cooperation with other partners in the region, notably the Republic of Korea, Australia, India and Southeast Asian countries.
  • They underscored the importance of cooperating to promote a rules-based international order, taking note of the US’ continued commitment to maintain a strong presence in the region and Japan’s initiatives demonstrated by its “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy”.
  • Mr Kono said the two countries agreed to ramp up effective pressure. According to him, South Korea, Australia, India and Southeast Asian countries will increase their cooperation in security and defence more than ever.

Sources- NDTV.

GS Paper III- Economic Development.

RBI To Shortly Issue New Rs 50 Currency Note.

Background

  • The Reserve Bank of India will shortly issue Rs 50 denomination banknotes in the Mahatma Gandhi (new) series, which will bear the signature of central bank governor Urjit Patel.
  • The new denomination banknote has motif of Hampi with Chariot on the reverse, depicting the country’s cultural heritage. The base colour of the note is Fluorescent Blue.
  • However, all the banknotes in the denomination of Rs 50 issued by the central bank in the earlier series will continue to be legal tender. The dimension of the banknote will be 66 mm x 135 mm.

Key Points Of The Development-

  • Among others, the new notes will have designs and geometric patterns aligning with the overall colour schemes, both at the obverse and reverse.
  • On the obverse/front side, the note will have portrait of Mahatma Gandhi at the centre, denominational value in Devanagari script, micro letters RBI, India — both in English and Devanagari — as well as the numeral “50”.
  • The Ashoka pillar emblem will be on the right side of the obverse and an electrotype watermark and the number panel with numerals in ascending order on the top left side and bottom right side.
  • In December, 2016, the central bank had said that the Reserve Bank will shortly issue Rs 50 denomination banknotes in the Mahatma Gandhi Series-2005, without inset letter in both the number panels, bearing signature of Dr Urjit R Patel, Governor, Reserve Bank of India, and the year of printing ‘2016’ printed on the reverse of the banknote.
  • The bank said that the design and security features of the new notes will be similar to the old tender, which will continue in circulation.
  • RBI has stopped printing Rs2,000 notes and has stepped up production of notes of other denominations, including new Rs200 notes.
  • About 3.7 billion Rs2,000 notes, amounting to Rs7.4 trillion have been printed, the report said. That more than compensates for the 6.3 billion Rs1,000 notes that were withdrawn in early November 2016.
  • RBI issued new Rs2,000 and Rs500 currency notes after the 8 November announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in which Rs500 and Rs1,000 banknotes were stripped of their legal tender status.

Sources- The Indian Express, Livemint.

GS Paper IV- Ethics.

Government Doubles Child Care Allowance For Women With Disabilities.

Background

  • The Centre has doubled to Rs 3,000 per month the child care allowance for women with disabilities.
  • At present, the allowance of Rs 1,500 per month is given to differently-abled female employees for taking care of their newborn child.
  • It shall be payable for a maximum of two eldest surviving children.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The decision to hike the allowance is based on the recommendations of seventh central pay commission. The central government has accepted most of the recommendations of the pay panel.
  • The Commission recognises the huge responsibility that these women shoulder while raising their children. Therefore, instead of the factor of 1.5 that were mostly used for semi-DA indexed allowances, it is recommended that this allowance be raised by a factor of 2 to Rs 3,000 per month.
  • The above limit would be automatically raised by 25 per cent every time the Dearness Allowance on the revised pay structure goes up by 50 per cent.
  • The DoPT has abolished desk allowance granted to Desk Officers in the Central Secretariat Service (CSS) and other headquarters services at a rate of Rs 900 per month.
  • The pay commission had also recommended abolishing this allowance as it is virtually non-existent since 2010.
  • The DoPT has also issued orders for the reimbursement of children education allowance, which will be Rs 2,250 per month.
  • The amount fixed for reimbursement of hostel subsidy will be Rs 6,750 per month.
  • In case both the spouses are government servants, only one of them can avail reimbursement under children education allowance, the order said.

Sources- The Economic Times.