7th October 2019 Daily Current Affairs:
Defence Minister visits France:
- Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be performing a Shastra Puja in France after receiving India’s first Rafale fighter jet.
- The jet would be the first of the 36 fighter jets that were agreed upon in the Rafale deal signed between India and France.
- Rajnath Singh will be receiving the Rafale jet in Bordeaux, the French port city on October 8, 2019.
- The Union Minister will first perform the Shastra Puja and then take a sortie in the aircraft, to understand the workings of all its features.
- The Union Defence Minister left India on October 7 for a three-day visit to France.
- The primary objective of the Defence Minister’s trip is to receive the first of the 36 Rafale fighter jets.
- The Rafale handover ceremony is expected to take place at Merignac of Bordeaux, a facility of Dassault Aviation, located at about 590 km away from Paris. Rajnath Singh will be participating in the ceremony along with the French Minister of Armed Forces, Florence Parly.
- Though Rajnath Singh will be receiving the first of the 36 Rafale jets on October 8, the first batch comprising four Rafale jets will arrive in India only by May 2020.
- Following the handing over ceremony, Singh would be conducting the annual defence dialogue with the French Minister of Armed Forces during which, both sides will discuss ways to further deepen India and France’s security and defence ties.
State level budget:
Recently, RBI released its annual study of state-level budgets.
- Except during 2016-17, state governments have regularly met their fiscal deficit target of 3% of GDP. This should allay a lot of apprehensions about state-level finances, especially in the wake of extensive farm loan waivers that many states announced as well as the extra burden that was put on state budgets after the UDAY scheme for the power sector was introduced in 2014-15.
- However, most states ended up meeting the fiscal deficit target not by increasing their revenues but by reducing their expenditure and increasingly borrowing from the market.
- There has been a reduction in the overall size of the state budget in 2017-19. This retarding fiscal impulse has coincided with a cyclical downswing in domestic economic activity and may have inadvertently deepened it.
- Also worrisome is that while states have met their fiscal deficits, the overall level of debt-to-GDP (Chart 4) has reached the 25% of GDP prudential mark. A slightly stringent criterion as prescribed by the FRBM Review Committee and in line with the revised FRBM implied debt target of 20 per cent will put most of the states above the threshold.
- States have found it difficult to raise revenues: States revenue prospects are confronted with low tax buoyancies, shrinking revenue autonomy under the GST framework and unpredictability associated with transfers of IGST and grants.
- Unrealistic revenue forecasts in budget estimates thereby leave no option for states than expenditure compression in even the most productive and employment-generating heads.
FSSAI launches ‘Trans-Fat Free’ logo.
- This marked an important milestone in the movement against Trans-Fats and also provided a momentum to accelerate the ‘Eat Right India’ movement of FSSAI.
- Trans fatty acids (TFAs) or Trans fats are the most harmful type of fats which can have much more adverse effects on our body than any other dietary constituent.
- These fats are largely produced artificially but a small amount also occurs naturally. Thus in our diet, these may be present as Artificial TFAs and/ or Natural TFAs.
- Artificial TFAs are formed when hydrogen is made to react with the oil to produce fats resembling pure ghee/butter.
- In our diet the major sources of artificial TFAs are the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (PHVO)/vanaspati/ margarine while the natural TFAs are present in meats and dairy products, though in small amounts.