Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 20th June 2020

Daily Current Affairs for Government Exams:

Today Current Affairs: 20th June 2020 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Contents:

  1. PM SVANidhi:
  2. Financial Action Task Force.:
  3. World Refugee Day
  4. “SATYABHAMA (Science and Technology Yojana for Atmanirbhar Bharat in Mining Advancement)”
  5. Annular Solar Eclipse:
  6. Other important current affairs:

 

1.PM SVANidhi:

A MoU has been signed between Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) to engage SIDBI as the Implementation Agency for PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) – a Special Micro-Credit Facility for Street Vendors.

  • As per the MoU terms, SIDBI will implement the PM SVANidhi Scheme under the guidance of MoHUA. It will also manage the credit guarantee to the lending institutions through Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE).
  • It will leverage the network of lending Institutions like Scheduled Commercials Banks (SCBs), Non-Bank Finance Companies (NBFCs), Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs), Co-operative Banks, Small Finance Banks (SFBs), Regional Rural Banks (RRBs), etc. for the Scheme implementation.
  • SIDBI shall also provide a Project Management Unit (PMU) for the period of PM SVANidhi i.e. up to March 2022.
  • PM SVANidhi was launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs on June 01, 2020, for providing affordable Working Capital loans to street vendors to resume their livelihoods that have been adversely affected due to Covid-19 lockdown.
  • This scheme targets to benefit over 50 lakh Street Vendors.
  • Under the Scheme, the vendors can avail a working capital loan of up to Rs. 10,000, which is repayable in monthly installments in the tenure of one year.
  • On the timely of the loan, an interest subsidy @ 7% per annum will be credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer on a quarterly basis.

 

2. Financial Action Task Force.:

Recently, India has attended the virtual 32nd special Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG) plenary meeting, under the aegis of the Financial Action Task Force.

  • Officials of National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement agencies submitted details on terror-funding.
    The FATF’s virtual plenary meet is scheduled to be held on 24th June 2020.

Financial Action Task Force

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 during the G7 Summit in Paris.
  • The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
  • Its Secretariat is located at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) headquarters in Paris.
  • Member Countries: it consists of thirty-seven member jurisdictions.
  • India is one of the members. The FATF which is actively monitoring the impact of the pandemic on measures to combat illicit financing, released a paper on “COVID-19-related Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risks and Policy Responses”.
  • It observed an increase in the Covid-19 related crimes, including fraud, cyber-crime, misdirection or exploitation of government funds or international financial assistance.
  • Ahead of the crucial meet on 24th June, India plans to share more evidence with the key FATF members on the narco-terror cases linked to Pakistan-based syndicates, through which funds are allegedly being supplied to the terrorists operating in Jammu and Kashmir.

 

3.World Refugee Day:

World Refugee Day is being observed on the 20th of June with the theme “Every Action Counts.”

  • This day is observed on the 20th of June every year.
  • The objective of the day: To celebrate the stories and contributions of refugees.
  • Nodal agency: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
  • As per United Nations data, 20 people in every 1 minute are forced to flee from their home in order to escape terror, war and conflicts. By the end of 2019, there is a total estimate of 79.5 million people who were displaced forcibly in the world.
  • Despite all the plight, the courage and resilience that are shown by refugees across the globe are being celebrated today in order to further strengthen them and make them realize that not only they will survive, but also thrive towards achieving their rights and dreams.
  • For this, the governments across the globe are made to realize their duties on this date to protect and support the refugees.
  • Apart from conflicts and terror, today the world also has many refugees who were forced to leave their homes due to natural disasters such as Tsunami, Earthquake, Floods, etc.

Status related to Refugees:

  • As per 2019 United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), 68% of the refugees in the world are from countries Syria (6.6 million refugees), Venezuela (3.7 million refugees), Afghanistan (2.7 million), South Sudan (2.2 million) and Myanmar (1.1 million).
  • Of the total 79.5 million refugees across the globe as in 2019, 26 million are under the age of 18.

The 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol

  • The 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol help protect Refugees. They are the only global legal instruments explicitly covering the most important aspects of a refugee’s life.
  • The cornerstone of the 1951 Convention is the principle of non-refoulment. According to this principle, a refugee should not be returned to a country where he or she faces serious threats to his or her life or freedom.
  • This protection may not be claimed by refugees who are reasonably regarded as a danger to the security of the country, or having been convicted of a particularly serious crime, are considered a danger to the community.

 

4. “SATYABHAMA (Science and Technology Yojana for Atmanirbhar Bharat in Mining Advancement)”

The Ministry of Mines has launched a portal “SATYABHAMA (Science and Technology Yojana for Atmanirbhar Bharat in Mining Advancement)” with an aim to promote research and development in the mining and minerals sector.

  • The Portal has been launched to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the Science and Technology Programme Scheme.
  • Under the Science and Technology Programme Scheme, the Ministry of Mines promotes research in applied geosciences, mineral exploration, mining, and allied areas, mineral processing, optimum utilization, and conservation of the mineral resources of the country.
  • The Ministry of Mines provides funds to Academic institutions, universities, national institutes and R&D institutions recognized with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (under the Ministry of Science & Technology) for implementing R&D projects.
  • This portal will allow online submission of project proposals along with monitoring of the same and utilization of funds.
  • The portal has been designed, developed, and implemented by the National Informatics Centre (NIC).
  • The portal is also integrated with the NGO Darpan Portal of NITI Aayog.
  • NGO-DARPAN is a platform that provides space for an interface between Non-Government organizations (NGOs)/Voluntary Organizations (VOs) in the country and key Government Ministries/Departments/Government Bodies.
  • It is an e-governance application offered by NITI Aayog to electronically maintain data and transparency regarding NGOs/VOs in the country.

 

5.Annular Solar Eclipse:

India will witness an annular solar eclipse on 21st June 2020.

  • A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth.
  • When this happens, the moon blocks the light of the sun from reaching the earth. The shadow of the moon is then cast on the earth.
  • There are three types of solar eclipses:
  • Partial solar eclipse: When the sun, moon, and earth are not exactly lined up.
  • Total solar eclipse: When the sun, moon, and earth must be in a direct line.
  • Annular solar eclipse: It is a particular type of total solar eclipse. It occurs when the sun, moon, and earth are not only in a straight line but also in the same plane.
  • The moon also must be farther away from the earth, which will allow it to not cover the disc of the sun completely, resulting in a narrow band of light around the dark color of the moon causing the ring of fire to be visible.
  • Therefore, It is also called the ring of fire eclipse.
  • The distance between the earth and the moon at the moment of the eclipse can dictate the type of eclipse that will take place.
  • The distance between the earth and the moon is always changing due to the egg-shaped elliptical orbit of the moon.

 

Other important current affairs:

1. Recently, China has announced a tariff exemption for 97% of exports from Bangladesh.

  • Bangladesh had written to China to exempt its export items from tariffs in the background of the economic hardship triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • China considered Bangladesh’s request and has granted the tariff exemption to Bangladesh on account of its Least Developed Countries (LDCs) status.
  • The Chinese move has been described as a major success in the China-Bangladesh relationship.
  • Benefits to Bangladesh: The move will help Bangladesh to remove the economic impact of the pandemic and also emerge as a possible beneficiary alongside Vietnam and Chile of the U.S.-China trade war.

2. Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the auction process of 41 coal blocks for commercial mining. A two-stage e-auction is being adopted for the allocation of mines. The decision was part of the announcements made by the Centre under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

  • This auction process marks the beginning of the opening of the Indian coal sector for commercial mining. It will enable the country to achieve self-sufficiency in meeting its energy needs and boost industrial development.
  • He stressed the irony that India, with the world’s fourth-largest coal reserve and is the second-largest producer, is also the second-largest coal importer.
  • Benefits
    • The government has taken a decision to spend 50,000 crore rupees on creating an infrastructure for coal extraction and transportation, which will also create employment opportunities.
    • This will create employment generation for more than 2.8 Lakhs people.
    • It will generate approximately 33,000 crore rupees of capital investment in the country over the next 5 to 7 years. These mines will contribute 20,000 crore rupees revenues annually to the state governments.

3. The US Supreme Court dealt President Donald Trump a major setback on his hardline immigration policies, blocking his bid to end a program that protects from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants – often called “Dreamers” – who entered the US illegally as children.

  • DACA is an American immigration policy established by the Obama administration through executive action in 2012.
  • It allows some individuals who entered the country illegally as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.
  • The DACA program has helped around 8,00,000 beneficiaries, a group that is commonly referred to as the ‘Dreamers’.

4. Recently, the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) has observed that the recent series of tremors in the National Capital Region-Delhi (Delhi-NCR) are not unusual and are indicative of strain energy build up in the region.

  • WIHG is an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology.
  • An earthquake cannot be predicted and the tremors cannot be described as warnings for a big event but the possibility of a stronger and life-threatening earthquake cannot be ruled out.
  • The vulnerability of a region can be understood from past seismicity, calculation of strain budget, mapping of active faults, etc.
  • Sometimes, a vulnerable zone remains quiet, experiences small magnitude earthquakes that do not indicate any bigger earthquake or receive a sudden jolt by a big earthquake without any call.
  • The Delhi-NCR has been identified as the second highest seismic hazard zone (Zone IV) but the recent events in Delhi-NCR cannot be defined as the foreshocks.
  • Foreshocks: All small tremors before a major earthquake in a particular region are categorized as foreshocks.
    Scientifically all these tremors in the Delhi-NCR can be demarcated as the foreshocks only after a big earthquake takes place immediately.

5. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s has decided to observe the first-ever International Horseshoe Crab Day on 20th June 2020.

  • The celebration of the day aims to generate greater awareness for these ancient creatures and help in their conservation.
  • Horseshoe Crab:
    • It is a marine chelicerate arthropod living in shallow coastal waters on soft sandy or muddy bottom and spawns (release or deposit eggs) mostly on intertidal beaches at summer spring high tides.
    • Subphylum Chelicerata is a division within the Phylum Arthropoda containing animals such as spiders, scorpions, harvestmen, mites, and ticks. Like all arthropods, they have a segmented body and segmented limbs and a thick chitinous cuticle called an exoskeleton.
    • Other than the marine horseshoe crabs, the Chelicerata are found primarily in terrestrial environments worldwide.
    • It is regarded as a marine ‘living fossil’.

6. The government of India has decided to establish 1000 Khelo India Centers (KIC) at the district level across the country.

  • These centers will either be run by a past champion or have them as coaches. The move is to tap into the expertise of past sporting champions for grassroots-level training of athletes and also to ensure a sustained source of income for them in the sports ecosystem.
  • Training will be imparted at the Khelo India Centres in 14 Identified Sports for Excellence in Olympics (ISEO) including archery, athletics, boxing, badminton, cycling, fencing, hockey, judo, rowing, shooting, swimming, table tennis, weightlifting, wrestling. Football and traditional sports have also been included.

7. In 2011, on the Seymour Island of Antarctica, a group of scientists from South American Nation Chile discovered a fossil 200 meters away from the spot where the fossil of a 10-meter long Mosasaur (an ancient reptile) was unearthed.

  • The fossil, since then was kept at a museum in Chile and was named ‘The Thing’ as for over the next 7 years scientists kept on trying to resolve the football-sized mysterious fossil.
  • Finally, on 17th June 2020, a study was published in the Journal Nature, according to which the fossil named “The Thing’ was the second-largest egg in terms of size (29 by 20 centimeters) that has been discovered to date. It is the second largest to the Madagascan Elephant Bird (extinct) egg and also the largest soft-shelled egg on record.
  • Scientists however in their study were not able to identify the animal that laid the egg. The animal that had laid the egg could be up to 17 meters tall and at least 7 meters long.
  • There have been opinions from scientists that the fossil egg might belong to a Mosasaur, in this case then this could be the only Mosasaur fossil egg to have been discovered to date.

8. Kharif Crops are grown in hot and humid rain fed areas. During the first 18 days of the month of June, the country has received a surplus rainfall of about 26mm. As compared to last year, rainfall was 82.4 mm in between 1st to 18th June, while this year, the country has registered 108.3mm of rainfall during the period.

  • Sowing Area of Kharif Crops as on 20th June 2020
    • Rice, Jute, and Mesta are the only important crops whose area has reduced as compared to the previous year.
    • Rice had coverage of 10.28 lakh hectares during last year while it has reduced to 10.05 lakh hectares this year.
    • Jute and Mesta had combined 6.08 lakh hectare last year, this has reduced to 5.78 lakh hectare this year.
  • Pulses, Course Cereals, Oilseeds, Sugarcane, and Cotton have registered significant growth in the sowing area as compared to last year.
    • Pulses: 2019-2.22 lakh hectare, 2020- 4.58 lakh hectare
    • Coarse Cereals: 2019-7.83 lakh hectare, 2020-19.16 lakh hectare
    • Oilseeds: 2019-1.63 lakh hectare, 2020-14.36 lakh hectare
    • Sugarcane: 2019- 48.01 lakh hectare, 2020-48.63 lakh hectare
    • Cotton: 2019- 18.18 lakh hectare, 2020-28.77 lakh hectare

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