Current Affairs September 17


  • A Russia-led security bloc planned to hold large military drills in Tajikistan next month, amid what it described as a deteriorating situation in neighbouring Afghanistan.
  • Moscow has moved to cement its position as a key player in the region after the United States’ hasty retreat from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s takeover of the country

About CSTO

  • The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) was initially established on May 15, 1992, through the Collective Security Treaty or Tashkent Pact or Tashkent Treaty. 
  • The latest version of the CSTO was founded on October 7, 2002, after some of the member states (Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Uzbekistan) pulled themselves out from the military alliance. CSTO is headquartered in Moscow, Russia. 
  • The CSTO aims to strengthen the national and collective security of its members through military-political cooperation, coordinating foreign policy and establishing cooperation mechanisms. 

Member states of CSTO

1- Armenia

2- Belarus

3- Kazakhstan

4- Kyrgyzstan

5- Russia

6- Tajikistan



  • Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. (AUKUS) have announced they’re forming a new security alliance that will help equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. 
  • The alliance will see a reshaping of relations in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond
  • In the Pacific, the U.S. and others have been concerned about China’s actions in the South China Sea and its antipathy toward Japan, Taiwan and Australia
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new alliance would allow the three nations to sharpen their focus on an increasingly complicated part of the world.
  • Under the arrangement, Australia will build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines using U.S. expertise, while dumping a contract with France for diesel-electric submarines. 
  • Experts say the nuclear submarines will allow Australia to conduct longer patrols and give the alliance a stronger military presence in the region.
  • Left out of the new alliance is Australia’s neighbour New Zealand. 
  • It has a long-standing nuclear-free policy that includes a ban on nuclear powered ships entering its ports. 
  • That stance has sometimes been a sticking point in otherwise close relations with the U.S.

China on India’s Missile project

  • China on Thursday cited a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution issued after the 1998 nuclear tests to question India’s missile programme amid reports of an upcoming test for the Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile.
  • The 5,000-km-range nuclear capable missile would bring many cities in China within range.
  • While citing the resolution regarding India’s missile programme, China has, in contrast, been aiding the development of Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programmes for decades, from providing enriched uranium and even technology for nuclear-capable missile
  • “an optical system is a critical component in missile testing” and also helps record “high-resolution images of a missile’s departure.


Building a Resilient  economy

  • Amidst the hopes of a V-shaped recovery of the Indian economy, the National Statistical Office (NSO) had recently estimated that India’s economic growth has surged to 20.1% in the April-June quarter, despite a devastating second wave of COVID-19.
  • Supporting these estimates, in its recently launched Trade and Development Report 2021, UNCTAD has estimated global growth to hit 5.3% in 2021 and growth in India to hit 7.2%.
  • Given the inherent fragilities, India’s growth in 2021 as a whole is estimated at 7.2%, which is one of the fastest compared to most countries in the analysis, but is still not sufficient to regain the pre-COVID-19 income level. 
  • However, going forward, the economy is likely to experience a deceleration of growth to 6.7% growth in 2022.
  • Building resilient growth also requires a global strategy that mitigates the threat of global warming whilst simultaneously addressing the inequities and fragilities of a financialized world.
  • Given the existing constraints on developing countries, new sources of finance are required, including a significant scaling up of support from the international community in line with its commitment to common but differentiated responsibilities.
  • At the national level, efforts are required to build resilience, which can only be delivered through public investment. 
  • COVID-19 has reinforced the idea that resilience is a public good and responsibility of the state. 
  • It has to be delivered through a robust public sector with the resources to make the necessary investments, provide the complementary services and coordinate the multiple activities that building resilience involves.
  • The report also warns against cutting wages to boost competitiveness. 
  • Wages are a critical source of demand and their growth can stimulate productivity and underpin a strong social contract. 
  • Minimum wages and related labour legislation are needed for appropriate protection against abusive practices.
  • It is important to build a healthy, diversified economy. 
  • For this, a strong industrial policy focusing on building digital capacities is needed.


E shram Portal

  • The Ministry of Labour and Employment (MOLE) launched the E-Shram, the web portal for creating a National Database of Unorganized Workers (NDUW), which will be seeded with Aadhaar. 
  • It seeks to register an estimated 398-400 million unorganised workers and to issue an E-Shram card
  • Workers stand to gain by registration in the medium to long run.
  • One of the vital concerns of e-portals is data security, including its potential abuse especially when it is a mega-sized database. 
  • The central government would have to share data with State governments whose data security capacities vary.
  • By excluding workers covered by EPF and ESI, lakhs of contract and fixed-term contract workers will be excluded
  • Under the Social Security Code (SSC), hazardous establishments employing even a single worker will have to be covered under the ESI, which means these workers also will be excluded.
  • Many are circular migrant workers and they quickly, even unpredictably, move from one trade to another. 
  • Many others perform formal and informal work as some during non-office hours may belong to the gig economy, for example as an Uber taxi or a Swiggy employee.
  • In many States, the social dialogue with the stakeholders especially is rather weak or non-existent. 
  • The success of the project depends on the involvement of a variety of stakeholders apart from trade unions, massive and innovative dissemination exercises involving multiple media outlets of various languages, the holding of camps on demand by the stakeholders etc
  • There is also the concern of corruption as middle-service agencies such as Internet providers might charge exorbitant charges to register and print the EShram cards.

Step to clean up bad loans 

  • Paving the way for a major clean-up of bad loans in the banking system, the Cabinet cleared a ₹30,600 crore guarantee programme for securities to be issued by the newly incorporated ‘bad bank’ for taking over and resolving non performing assets (NPAs) amounting to ₹ 2 lakh crore. 
  • NARCL(National Asset Reconstruction Company Limited (NARCL) has been incorporated under the Companies Act and has applied to the Reserve Bank of India for license as an Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC). NARCL has been set up by banks to aggregate and consolidate stressed assets for their subsequent resolution. PSBs will maintain 51% ownership in NARCL.


India Debt Resolution Company Ltd

  • IDRCL is a service company/operational entity which will manage the asset and engage market professionals and turnaround experts. Public Sector Banks (PSBs) and Public FIs will hold a maximum of 49% stake and the rest will be with private sector lenders.
  • Why is NACL-IDR CL type structure needed when there are 28 existing ARCs?
  • Existing ARCs have been helpful in resolution of stressed assets especially for smaller value loans. 
  • Various available resolution mechanisms, including IBC have proved to be useful. However, considering the large stock of legacy NPAs, additional options/alternatives are needed and the NARC-IRDKL structure announced in the Union Budget is this initiative
  • Resolution mechanisms of this nature, which deal with a backlog of NPAs typically require a backstop from the government. This imparts credibility and provides for contingency buffers.
  • Hence, government guarantee of up to ₹30,600 crore will back SRs issued by NARCL. The guarantee will be valid for 5 years. The condition precedent for invocation of guarantee would be resolution or liquidation. The guarantee shall cover the shortfall between the face value of the SR and the actual realisation
  • The NARCL will first purchase bad loans from banks. It will pay 15% of the agreed price in cash and the remaining 85% will be in the form of “Security Receipts”.
  • When the assets are sold , with the help of IDRCL, , the commercial banks will be paid back the rest.
  • Under the mechanism, the NARCL will acquire assets by making an offer to the lead bank. Private sector asset reconstruction firms (ARCs) may also be allowed to outbid the NARCL. 
  • Separately, public and private lenders would combine forces to set up an India Debt Resolution Company (IDRC) that would manage these assets and try to raise their value for final resolution.
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), strengthening of Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest (SARFAESI Act) and Debt Recovery Tribunals, as well as setting up of dedicated Stressed Asset Management Verticals (SAMVs) in banks for large-value NPA accounts have brought sharper focus on recovery. 
  • In spite of these efforts, substantial amount of NPAs continue on balance sheets of banks primarily because the stock of bad loans as revealed by the Asset Quality Review is not only large but fragmented across various lenders. High levels of provisioning by banks against legacy NPAs has presented a unique opportunity for faster resolution.