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UNSC designates Masood Azhar as global terrorist

Paper : General Studies 2, General Studies 3


Why in news?

  • Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar was listed as a designated terrorist by the UNSC 1267 Committee.
  • P-3 or Permanent 3 members – UK, US and France had co-sponsored a listing request at the Committee on February 27 after the Pulwama attack.
  • China had put a hold on the request but was pressurised by the other UNSC members.


What will it entail?

  • It vindicates India’s stand regarding the seriousness of the threat the JeM poses as a terrorist organization.
  • It will mean travel ban, asset embargo and an asset freeze on Azhar.
  • India can now pressurize Pakistan diplomatically for harbouring a global terrorist.


What is the UNSC 1267 Committee?

  • It was formed by the passing of the UNSC resolution 1267 from which it takes its name in 1999
  • It was initially formed to sanction and embargo individuals, associates and operatives of Al-Qaeda and later ISIL


Record GST revenue collections in April

Paper : General Studies 3


Why in news?

  • Revenue collections from the Goods and Services Tax hit a record Rs 1.13 lakh crore in April 2019 seeing a 10.05% growth over the previous year.
  • This has primarily been due to the increase in tax base


What is Goods and Services Tax?

  • GST is an Indirect Tax which has replaced many Indirect Taxes including sales tax, central excise tax, CENVAT, service tax etc.
  • The Goods and Service Tax Act was passed in the Parliament on 29th March 2017.
  • The Act came into effect on 1st July 2017.
  • Goods & Services Tax is a comprehensive, multi-stage, destination-based tax that is levied on every value addition.
  • Under the GST regime, the tax is levied at every point of sale. In the case of intra-state sales, Central GST and State GST are charged. Inter-state sales are chargeable to Integrated GST.


What are the advantages of GST?

  • Removes cascading of taxes
  • Higher threshold for registration
  • Composition scheme for small businesses
  • Online easier filing for GST
  • Increased efficiency in logistics
  • Formalization of the unorganized sector.
  • Cooperative federalism is strengthened


Chandrayaan 2 gets a new launch window in July

Paper : General Studies 3


Why in news?

Chandrayaan-2 is set to be launched any time between July 5 and July 16 this year. The moon landing is likely to be around September 6 close to the lunar south pole.


What is Chandrayaan – 2?

  • It is India’s second mission to the moon after the successful Chandrayaan 1 in 2008
  • It comprises of three modules – an orbiter, a lander named Vikram and a rover named Pragyan.
  • It will be launched on board a GSLV MkIII rocket.
  • The GSLV MkIII is a three stage heavy lift launch vehicle that has been designed to carry four tonne class satellites into Geosynchronous transfer orbits (GTO)
  • Chandrayaan 2 weighs nearly 3,290 kg.
  • It will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water ice.


15 Jawans killed in an IED blast in Gadchiroli

Paper : General Studies 3


Why in news?

  • Maoists killed 15 jawans and a civilian in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra.
  • The Gadchiroli team had failed to enforce standard operating procedures (SOP).
  • An area domination team was not sent ahead to recce the road and the  Quick response team also did not wait for an anti-landmine vehicle to arrive.
  • It is the deadliest strike carried out by Maoists since 2017.


What is an IED?

  • An improvised explosive device (IED) is a bomb constructed and deployed in ways other than in conventional military action.
  • It may be constructed of conventional military explosives, such as an artillery shell, attached to a detonating mechanism. IEDs are commonly used as roadside bombs


Varuna 19.1 joint naval exercise begins

Paper : Prelims Specific, General Studies 3


Why in news?

Varuna 19.1, a joint naval exercise between India and France began off the coast of Goa.

It is aimed at developing interoperability between the two navies and mutual cooperation.


Religious Freedom on the decline in India :  US panel

Paper : General Studies 1, General Studies 2


Why in news?

  • US Commission on International Religious Freedom has said that there is an overall deterioration of religious freedom conditions in 2018 in India.
  • India continues to remain a Tier 2 country since 2009.
  • The report also says that the condition of minorities have deteriorated over the past decade adding that a multifaceted campaign by Hindu nationalist groups like the RSS, Sangh Parivar and Vishva Hindu Parishad to alienate non-Hindus or lower-caste Hindus is a significant contributor to the rise of religious violence and persecution.


What is a Tier 2 country?

  • Tier 2 countries are those in which violations engaged in or tolerated by the government during 2018 are serious and characterised by at least one of the elements of the systematic, ongoing and egregious CPC (Country of Particular Concern) standard.


Iraq remains top oil supplier to India

Paper : General Studies 3


Why in news?

  • Iraq has, for the second year in a row, become India’s top crude oil supplier, meeting more than a fifth of the country’s oil needs in 2018-19.
  • Saudi Arabia is the second topmost crude oil supplier .
  • Due to western sanctions, oil imports from Iran are set to reduce.