Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 19th September 2020

Daily Current Affairs for Government Exams:

Today Current Affairs: 19th September 2020 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

 

Contents:

  1. The Indus Water Treaty (IWT) between India and Pakistan marks its 60th anniversary on 19th September 2020.:
  2. CAROTAR, 2020:
  3. BLUE FLAG BEACHES:
  4. Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020.:
  5. Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.:
  6. Other important current affairs:

 

 

1.The Indus Water Treaty (IWT) between India and Pakistan marks its 60th anniversary on 19th September 2020.:

The Indus system comprises the main Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. The basin is mainly shared by India and Pakistan with a small share for China and Afghanistan.

  • With the partition of India in 1947, the waters of Indus rivers system were also divided.
  • The sharing formula, devised after prolonged negotiations, sliced the Indus system into two halves.
  • The three ‘western rivers’ (Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab) went to Pakistan and the three ‘eastern rivers’ (Sutlej, Ravi, and Beas) were portioned to India.
  • India is allowed to use 20% water of the western rivers for irrigation, power generation and transport purposes.
  • IWT granted 3.6 million acre-feet (MAF) of “permissible storage capacity” to India on the western rivers but due to poor water development projects, 2-3 MAF of water easily flows into Pakistan.
  • It seemed equitable but India conceded 80.52% of the aggregate water flows in the Indus system to Pakistan and also gave Rs. 83 crore in pounds sterling to Pakistan to help build replacement canals from the western rivers.
  • India conceded its upper riparian position on the western rivers for the complete rights on the eastern rivers.
  • It was important to get the waters of the ‘eastern rivers’ for the Indira Gandhi Canal in Rajasthan (starts from the Harike Barrage, a few kilometers below the confluence of the Satluj and Beas rivers) and the Bhakra Dam (on the Sutlej River in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh) without which both Punjab and Rajasthan would be left dry, severely hampering India’s food production.

 

2.CAROTAR, 2020:

The Customs (Administration of Rules of Origin under Trade Agreements) Rules, 2020 (CAROTAR, 2020), will come into force from 21st September 2020. It was notified on 21st August 2020.

  • The importers and other stakeholders were given a 30-day period to familiarise themselves with new provisions.
  • Importers will have to ensure that imported goods meet the prescribed ‘rules of origin’ provisions for availing concessional rate of customs duty under Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).
  • Importers have to prove that imported products have undergone value addition of at least 35% in the countries of origin.
  • Earlier, merely a country of origin certificate, issued by a notified agency in the country of export was sufficient to avail the benefits of FTAs.
  • This was exploited in many cases, i.e. the FTA partner countries have been claiming to have produced the goods in question without having the necessary technological capacity for the required value addition.

 

3.BLUE FLAG BEACHES:

Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) announced that for the first time eight beaches of India are recommended for the coveted International eco-label, the Blue flag certification.

  • The recommendations are done by an independent National Jury composed of eminent environmentalists & scientists.
  • The eight beaches are Shivrajpur in Gujarat, Ghoghla in Daman & Diu, Kasarkod and Padubidri beach in Karnataka, Kappad in Kerala, Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh, Golden beach of Odisha and Radhanagar beach in Andaman and Nicobar.

Blue Flag’ certification:

  • The ‘Blue Flag’ is a certification that can be obtained by a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator, and serves as an eco-label.
  • The certification is known as an indication of high environmental and quality standards.
  • Blue Flag beaches are considered the cleanest beaches of the world.
  • The certification is awarded by the Denmark-based non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) with 33 stringent criteria under four major heads for the beaches:
  • (i) Environmental Education and Information
  • (ii) Bathing Water Quality
  • (iii) Environment Management and Conservation and
  • (iv) Safety and Services.
  • The Blue Flag Programme started in France in 1985 and in areas outside of Europe since 2001.

 

4.Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020.:

Lok Sabha passed the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020.

  • The new legislation will create an ecosystem where the farmers and traders will enjoy the freedom of choice of sale and purchase of agri-produce.
  • It will also promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under State Agricultural Produce Marketing legislations.
  • The Bill also proposes an electronic trading in transaction platform for ensuring a seamless trade electronically. The farmers will not be charged any cess or levy for sale of their products under this Act.
  • Further, there will be a separate dispute resolution mechanism for the farmers.
  • The Bill basically aims at creating additional trading opportunities outside the APMC market yards to help farmers get remunerative prices due to additional competition. This will supplement the existing MSP procurement system which is providing stable income to farmers.
  • It will certainly pave the way for creating One India, One Agriculture Market, and will lay the foundation for ensuring golden harvests for our hard-working farmers.

 

5. Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.:

Lok Sabha passed the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.

  • The new legislation will empower farmers for engaging with processors, wholesalers, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers, exporters, etc., on a level playing field without any fear of exploitation.
  • It will transfer the risk of market unpredictability from the farmer to the sponsor and also enable the farmer to access modern technology and better inputs.
  • It will reduce the cost of marketing and improve the income of farmers.
  • This legislation will act as a catalyst to attract private sector investment for building supply chains for the supply of Indian farm produce to national and global markets and in agricultural infrastructure.
  • Farmers will get access to technology and advice for high-value agriculture and get a ready market for such products.
  • Farmers will engage in direct marketing thereby eliminating intermediaries resulting in full realization of price.
  • Farmers have been provided with adequate protection.
  • Sale, lease, or mortgage of farmers’ land is totally prohibited and farmers’ land is also protected against any recovery.
  • An effective dispute resolution mechanism has been provided with clear timelines for redressal.

 

Other important current affairs:

1.Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Manoj launched the Jammu and Kashmir Integrated Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (JK-IGRAMS), in a bid to create an interface with the public and focus on governance issues in the Union Territory.

  • The system is being launched on a pilot basis in three districts — Jammu, Srinagar, and Reasi — and will gradually be rolled out in the remaining districts by October 2.
  • It will replace the current portal that was launched in 2018.
  • JK-IGRAMS will make the existing mechanism more robust and efficient.
  • There will be a minute by a minute status update of the grievances on the portal.
  • Action will follow if any delay or callousness is found while addressing people’s grievances.
  • District Collectors and Deputy Commissioners will be the primary nodes for receiving, disposing, and monitoring grievances.
  • It will be available round the clock with applicant OTP authentication, acknowledgment to the applicant at each stage, feedback by the complainant, and grievance submission through the call center by making a phone call between 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on all days except Sunday.

2.The International Coastal Clean-Up Day is being celebrated on September 19, 2020, around the world.

  • International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day takes place on the third Saturday in September every year and is one of the largest one-day volunteer events in the world.
  • International Coastal Cleanup Day got its start in 1986 when Linda Maraniss met Kathy O’Hara while working for Ocean Conservancy.
  • O’Hara had just completed a report called Plastics in the Ocean: More Than a Litter Problem.
  • The two of them reached out to other ocean-lovers and organized a Cleanup for Ocean Conservancy.
  • The first Cleanup consisted of 2,800 volunteers. Since that time, the Cleanup has grown into an international event in more than 100 countries.

3.The Delhi High Court has directed both private and government schools in Delhi to provide gadgets and Internet packages free of cost to poor students for attending online classes.

  • If a school decides to opt for online mode as a medium of instruction, it will have to ensure that students belonging to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and Disadvantaged Group (DG) category also have access and are able to avail of the same.
  • Private unaided schools will be entitled to claim reimbursement of reasonable cost for procurement of the gadget and Internet package from the government under Section 12(2) of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
  • Intra-class discrimination, especially between the 75% fee-paying students and the 25% EWS/DG students, upsets the level playing field and creates a digital divide in the classroom which is violative of the RTE Act, 2009, and Articles 14, 20, and 21 of the Constitution.
  • According to the RTE Act, private unaided institutions and special category schools shall provide free and compulsory education to at least 25% of children belonging to DG/EWS category admitted to class I or pre-primary classes. They will also be reimbursed by the government for this.
  • Article 14 of the Constitution of India provides for equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
  • Article 20 of the Constitution of India provides that no person shall be convicted of any offense except for violation of the law in force at the time of the offense.
  • Article 21 provides for the protection of life and personal liberty. It states that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.

4.Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, MSME, has announced new guidelines to support artisans in Beekeeping Activity.

  • The government will provide assistance to Bee boxes and Tool kits. Under this scheme, Bee boxes, with Bee colonies, will also be distributed to Migrant workers in Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyaan districts.
  • A five-day beekeeping training will also be provided to the beneficiaries through various Training Centres or State Beekeeping Extension Centres or Master Trainers as per the prescribed syllabus.
  • This is being done in order to create sustainable employment and to provide supplementary income for the beekeepers or farmers, to create awareness about Honey and other Hive Products, etc.
  • To begin with, the Scheme proposes to cover, during 2020-21, a total of 2,050 Beekeepers, Entrepreneurs, Farmers, Unemployed Youth, Adivasis will get benefitted from these projects or program.
  • An additional amount of 50 crore rupees has also been kept for developing Beekeeping honey clusters under the ‘SFURTI’ scheme of the Ministry.

6.According to data shared in the Parliament, the number of arsenic-affected habitations in India has increased by 145% in the last five years (2015-20).

  • India had 1,800 arsenic-affected habitations in 2015.
  • This increased to 4,421 habitations as of September 2020.
  • Habitations are the group of households at a community level in a village.
  • These are the smallest level of settlements that can have between 10-100 households.
  • Most of the arsenic-affected habitations lie in the Ganga and Brahmaputra alluvial plains. i.e in Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh (UP).
  • Assam had the highest share of such habitations (1,853), followed by West Bengal (1,383).
  • Jharkhand, which did not have any such habitation in 2015, has two now (2020).
  • However, Karnataka which had nine habitations in 2015, had none in 2020.

7.Vaishwik Bharatiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) Summit will be inaugurated on 2nd October 2020 – the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

  • It will be followed by online month-long deliberation sessions among researchers.
  • It is a global summit of Overseas and Resident Indian scientists and academicians.
  • Key areas of discussion will include quantum technologies, artificial intelligence and machine learning, communications technologies, computational and data sciences and aerospace technologies among others.
  • Objective:
    • To bring out the comprehensive roadmap to leverage the expertise and knowledge of global Indian researchers for solving emerging challenges.
    • To reflect in-depth on the collaboration and cooperation instruments with academia and scientists in India.
    • To create an ecosystem of Knowledge and Innovation in the country through global outreach.
  • The Summit is a joint effort of various Science & Technology (S&T) and Academic organizations, including Department of S&T, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

8.Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, MSME, has announced new guidelines to support artisans in Pottery Activity.

  • For Pottery Activity, Government will provide assistance of a pottery wheel, Clay Blunger, Granulator, etc.
  • It will also provide Wheel Pottery Training for traditional pottery artisans and Press Pottery training for pottery as well as non-pottery artisans in Self- Help Groups.
  • There is also a provision to provide a Jigger-Jolly training program for pottery as well as a non-pottery artisan in Self-Help Groups.
  • A total of 6,075 Traditional and other non-traditional pottery artisans, Rural Un-employed youth, Migrant Labourers will get benefitted from this Scheme.
  • As Financial support for the year 2020-21, an amount of 19.50 crore rupees will be expended to support 6,075 artisans with a Centre of Excellence, with MGIRI, Wardha, CGCRI, Khurja, VNIT, Nagpur, and suitable IIT or NID or NIFT, etc, for product development, skill program, etc.
  • An additional amount of 50 crore rupees has been provisioned for setting up of clusters in Terracotta, Red clay pottery, with new innovative value-added products to build pottery to crockery or tile making capabilities, under the ‘SFURTI’ scheme of the Ministry.

9.Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, MSME, has announced new guidelines to support artisans in Beekeeping Activity.

  • The government will provide assistance to Bee boxes and Tool kits. Under this scheme, Bee boxes, with Bee colonies, will also be distributed to Migrant workers in Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyaan districts.
  • A five-day beekeeping training will also be provided to the beneficiaries through various Training Centres or State Beekeeping Extension Centres or Master Trainers as per the prescribed syllabus.
  • This is being done in order to create sustainable employment and to provide supplementary income for the beekeepers or farmers, to create awareness about Honey and other Hive Products, etc.
  • To begin with, the Scheme proposes to cover, during 2020-21, a total of 2,050 Beekeepers, Entrepreneurs, Farmers, Unemployed Youth, Adivasis will get benefitted from these projects or program.
  • An additional amount of 50 crore rupees has also been kept for developing Beekeeping honey clusters under the ‘SFURTI’ scheme of the Ministry.

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