Security Current Affairs

China pledges $60 billion of financial assistance to Africa

China has pledged $60 billion of financial assistance to Africa bolster industry, counter hunger, and enhance security in the continent. It was announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in his inaugural address at third Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Beijing.

FOCAC is an official forum between China and all states in Africa (except Eswatini). It was started as Ministerial Conference in 2000 in Beijing and since then it is held triennially in China and Africa alternatively.

2018 FOCAC Highlights

Focal areas: Eight focal areas of funding were mentioned that would premise emergence of China-Africa community with shared future in the new era. Energy, transport, telecommunications and tapping cross-border water resources will be China’s priority in this next phase of Africa’s infrastructural forays.

Economic and trade cooperation: China’s will also help to set up additional economic and trade cooperation zones to promote industrialisation in Africa. It will also encourage local currency settlements, instead of hard currency usage to settle transactions. It will also support Africa to achieve general food security by 2030.

Security: China also flagged its intent to bolster security in the continent. It will set up peace and security fund in partnership with Africa. It will also support countries in Sahel region and others bordering piracy-ridden Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Guinea apart from providing military aid to African Union.

50 China-Africa security assistance programmes will be launched under flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).  China has already established naval base in Djibouti on the edge of the strategic Gulf of Aden, which links the Red Sea and Arabian Sea

Environment Protection: China-Africa Green Envoys Programme will be launched to strengthen Africa’s capacity for environmental management, pollution prevention and control, as well as green development. China-Africa environmental cooperation centre will also be set up where research on environmental issues will be conducted.

Financing Mechanism: For financing, China will nudge African countries to tap new multilateral lenders such as Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), New Development Bank (NDB) of emerging economies as well as Silk Road Fund marshalled by China.

Out of $60 billion offered, China will disburse $15 billion as aid, interest-free loans and concessional loans, $20 billion as credit line, channel $10 billion into special fund for China-Africa development and $5 billion special fund will be set up only for African imports.

Month: Categories: International Current Affairs 2018

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Home Ministry notifies new SoPS for refilling of ATMs

Union Home Ministry has issued new Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) for cash refilling of automated teller machines (ATMs) after certain time period. It comes in view of rising incidents of attacks on cash vans, cash vaults, ATM frauds and other internal frauds leading to increased sense of insecurity. It will come into effect from 8 February 2019. There are over 8,000 privately owned cash vans operating across country, operated by non-bank private agencies, and they handle over Rs. 15,000 crore daily on behalf of banks.

Features of new SoPs

It sets deadline of replenishing cash in ATMs before 9pm in cities and 6pm in rural areas. In case of Naxal-hit districts notified by central government, e deadline will be 4pm. It makes mandatory on private agencies handling these operations to collect money from banks in first half of the day and transport them in armoured vehicles.

The agencies should provide private security for cash transportation with requisite number of trained staff. Every cash van must have one driver, two armed security guards, two ATM officers or custodians. One armed guard must sit in front along with driver and another in rear portion of van during transit. The cash van should not carry cash of more than Rs. 5 crore per trip. Each of cash boxes shall be secured to floor with separate chains and locks that can be opened only by using separate keys kept with different custodians.

During loading or unloading of cash, nature’s call, tea or lunch break, at least one armed security guard should remain present with cash van at all times. The eligible ex-serviceman must be preferably appointed for providing security for cash transportation.

No private security agency should appoint anyone for cash transportation with verification of person including police, Aadhaar and residence verifications, previous employer check, credit history check and fidelity insurance. Every cash transportation operation should be carried out only in secured cash vans fitted with GPS tracking device.

The cash van shall be provided with small CCTV system with at least five days recording facility and three cameras installed in front, rear and inside of cabin. The cash van shall be equipped with hooter, fire extinguishers and emergency lights to ensure quick reaction in case of attack. It should also be equipped with security alarm with GSM based auto-dialer along with motorised siren.

Private security agency should carry out cash handling, including counting, sorting, and bundling activities shall in secured premises in accordance with specific guidelines. These premises should be designed to include two physically independent areas, one for general office purpose and other for secured cash processing and handling activities. It should also accommodate space for cash deposit, collection, sorting, counting and delivery and dispatch on secured cash vans.

Month: Categories: India Current Affairs 2018

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