Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 14th July 2020

Daily Current Affairs for Government Exams:

Today Current Affairs: 14th July 2020 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Contents:

  1. Chabahar Port:
  2. Afghanistan–Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement :
  3. UN’s High-Level Political Forum:
  4. Green Railways
  5. Other important current affairs.

 

1. Chabahar Port:

Four years after India and Iran signed an agreement to construct a rail line from Chabahar port to Zahedan, along the border with Afghanistan, the Iranian government has decided to proceed with the construction on its own, citing delays from the Indian side in funding and starting the project.

  • Last week, Iranian Transport and Urban Development Minister inaugurated the track-laying process for the 628 km Chabahar-Zahedan line, which will be extended to Zaranj across the border in Afghanistan.
  • The entire project would be completed by March 2022, and that Iranian Railways will proceed without India’s assistance, using approximately $400 million from the Iranian National Development Fund.
  • The development comes as China finalizes a massive 25-year, $400 billion strategic partnership deal with Iran.
  • The railway project, which was being discussed between the Iranian Railways and the state-owned Indian Railways Construction Ltd (IRCON), was meant to be part of India’s commitment to the trilateral agreement between India, Iran, and Afghanistan to build an alternate trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
  • In May 2016, IRCON had signed an MoU with the Iranian Rail Ministry for the same.

 

2.Afghanistan–Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement :

Pakistan will allow Afghanistan to send goods to India using the Wagah border from July 15. The decision is part of Islamabad’s commitment under the Pakistan-Afghanistan Transit Trade Agreement.

  • However, Islamabad is silent about allowing the same facility to India for exports to Afghanistan.

About APTTA:

  • Afghanistan–Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (also known as APTTA) is a bilateral trade agreement signed in 2010 by Pakistan and Afghanistan that calls for greater facilitation in the movement of goods amongst the two countries.
  • Pakistan has lately closed its borders with Afghanistan multiple times, where it has used blockades for arm-twisting political circles in Afghanistan.
  • This usually causes priced to spiral in Afghan markets as costlier or smuggled imports are what satiates demand.

 

3.UN’s High-Level Political Forum:

NITI Aayog presents India’s second Voluntary National Review at the UN’s High-Level Political Forum.

  • The India VNR 2020 report is titled “Decade of Action: Taking SDGs from Global to Local”.
    Background:
  • NITI Aayog has the mandate of overseeing the adoption and monitoring of SDGs at the national and sub-national levels.
  • The report is a comprehensive account of the adoption and implementation of the 2030 Agenda in India.
  • Apart from presenting a review of progress on the 17 SDGs, the report discusses the policy and enabling environment, India’s approach to localizing SDGs and strengthening means of implementation.

About the United Nations HLPF:

  • The establishment of the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) was mandated in 2012 by the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), “The Future We Want”.
  • The HLPF meets annually in July for eight days under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.
  • It replaced the Commission on Sustainable Development, which had met annually since 1993.
  • The HLPF is the main United Nations platform on sustainable development.
  • It has a central role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the global level.

Voluntary National Review (VNR):

  • VNR is a process through which countries assess and present progress made in achieving the global goals and the pledge to leave no one behind.
  • The purpose is to present a snapshot of where the country stands in SDG implementation, with a view to helping accelerate progress through experience sharing, peer-learning, identifying gaps and good practices, and mobilizing partnerships.

 

4.Green Railways:

Ministry of Railways, with a goal of transforming Indian Railways into Green Railways (Net Zero Carbon Emission) by 2030 has taken a number of major initiatives towards combating climate change.

  • Railway Electrification: Indian Railways has completed electrification of more than 40,000 Route km (RKM) (63% of BG routes) in which 18,605 km electrification work has been done during 2014-20.
  • Green certification for installations/stations: Indian Railways has also acquired Green Certification from CIII to 7 Production Units (PUs), 39 Workshops, 6 Diesel sheds, and 1 Stores depot.
  • 14 Railway Stations and 21 other buildings/ campuses have also been Green certified.
  • Fitting bio-toilets in coaches: A total of 69,000 coaches have been fitted with more than 2,44,000 bio-toilets in Indian Railways.
  • Rooftop Solar panels: Indian Railways is working to harness the potential of 500 Mega Watt (MW) energy through rooftop Solar panels (Developer model).
  • To date, 100 Mega Watt (MW) of solar plants have been commissioned on roof-tops of various buildings including 900 stations.
  • A total of 505 pairs of trains have been converted to Head On Generation(HOG), unleashing approx 70 million liter diesel/ Rs 450 crore per annum potential of saving.

 

Other important current affairs:

1. Mizoram experienced at least eight moderate earthquakes between June 21 and July 9. The tremors ranged from 4.2 to 5.5 on the Richter scale

  • The epicenter of most of these quakes was beneath the Champhai district bordering Myanmar.
  • A recent study has indicated that Mizoram is caught between two subterranean faults– Churachandpur Mao Fault and Mat Fault.
  • Churachandpur Mao Fault runs north-south into Myanmar along the border of Champhai.
  • Mat Fault runs northwest-southeast across Mizoram, beneath the river Mat near Serchhip.
  • There are several shallower transverse or minor faults in between these two major faults that are deeper.
  • A fault is a thin zone of crushed rock separating blocks of the earth’s crust.
  • When an earthquake occurs on one of these faults, the rock on one side of the fault slips with respect to the other.

2. The National Statistical Office (NSO) released the retail inflation data, which rose to 6.09% in the month of June, 2020.

  • Retail inflation is measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
  • The retail inflation growth was mainly due to a rise in pulses and products prices that saw a 16.68% on-year rise in June.
  • Apart from pulses and products segment, the meat and fish segment saw a rise of 16.22%, while that of oils and fats rose 12.27% and spices prices gained 11.74%.
  • The retail inflation has grown beyond the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) upper margin of 6%.
  • The Central government has mandated the RBI to keep inflation within the range of 4±2%.
  • This inflation range (4% within a band of +/- 2%) was recommended by the committee headed by Urjit Patel in 2014.
  • The NSO also released the Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) data which measures the inflation in the food basket.
  • The CFPI stood at 7.87% in the month of June. The CFPI for May was revised to 9.20%.
  • The reduction in CFPI is because of ease in supply related issues post lockdown.

3. The Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh has released a book titled “Tangams: An Ethnolinguistic Study Of The Critically Endangered Group of Arunachal Pradesh”.

  • The book has valuable data on endangered oral narratives like ritual songs, lamentation songs, lullabies, and festival songs in Tangam language spoken by the Tangam community, which has reportedly 253 speakers left
  • Tangam People:
    • It is a little-known community within the larger Adi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh which resides in the hamlet of Kugging in Upper Siang district’s Paindem circle.
    • For long, the only account of the Tangams could be found in a book, “Tangams” (1975) where the community’s population was pegged at 2,000 spread across 25 villages.
    • Tangam is an oral language that belongs to the Tani group, under the greater Tibeto-Burman language family.
    • It has been marked ‘critically endangered’ by the UNESCO World Atlas of Endangered Languages (2009).

4. India and China are scheduled to hold the fourth round of Corps Commanders talks at ChushulIt is a village in the Leh district of Ladakh, India.

  • It is located in the Durbuk tehsil, in the area known as “Chushul valley”.
  • It is close to Rezang Laand Panggong Lake at a height of 4,360 metres.
  • Chushul is one of the five officially agreed Border Personnel Meeting pointsbetween the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army of China for regular consultations and interactions between the two armies to improve relations.
  • This place is famous for the Indian Army who fought to the ‘last man, last round’ at Rezang La (Chushul) on November 18, 1962. Without this crucial victory, the territory might have been captured by China.

5. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor has warned that the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic would lead to higher Non-performing Assets and capital erosion of banks.

  • Just in a span of a decade, the Indian economy has been hit by the global financial crisis of 2008-09 and the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
  • The current crisis may leave a longer impact on the Indian economy, which is predicted to contract in the Financial Year (FY) 2020-21 for the first time in the past four decades.

6.The Navy is expected to get the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL)-built twin-engine carrier aircraft being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) by 2032. It will replace the MiG-29Ks in service which are scheduled to start going out by 2034.

  • The Navy currently operates Russian-origin carrier INS Vikramaditya and expects to have the first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-I) Vikrant operational by 2022. With a second carrier to come in, the Navy is already evaluating a global tender for 57 carrier-based twin-engine fighter aircraft.
  • Last January, the naval Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) successfully completed arrested landing and take-off on board Vikramaditya and has since undertaken several trials.
  • Based on the experience of the carrier landing, the DRDO has offered to develop a twin-engine deck-based fighter for the Navy. With the successful deck-landing, they decided to drop the naval LCA Mk2 and move on to the twin-engine jet.
  • The new jet being developed by DRDO should be ready by 2026.

7. A new comprehensive analysis of Dilophosaurus fossils has helped in creating a more complete description of Dilophosaurus.

  • Dilophosaurus is a genus of theropod dinosaurs that lived in what is now North America during the Early Jurassic, about 193 million years ago. The first fossils were discovered in Arizona in the 1940s.
  • The real Dilophosaurus had no neck frills, was a monster at a length of 20 ft, and did not spit venom.
  • In the 1993 film Jurassic Parkas well as the novel it is based on, one of the dinosaurs depicted is the Dilophosaurus.

8.Natanz:

  • A series of unexplained explosions at several different places in Iran since June 26 has raised concerns for the stability of the volatile region. The most serious of these mysterious incidents probably through a cyber-attack was at Natanz, where Iran’s main nuclear facility is located.
  • Natanz is a city and capital of Natanz County, Isfahan Province, Iran.
  • The Karkas mountain chain (Kuh-e Karkas), at an elevation of 3,899 meters, rises above the town.
  • Natanz nuclear facility in Iran’s central facility for uranium enrichment with over 19,000 gas centrifuges currently operational.

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