Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 22nd January 2020

Daily Current Affairs for Government Exams:

Today Current Affairs: 22nd January 2020 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc.

 

Contents:

  1. National Startup Advisory Council
  2. Disqualification petitions under the tenth schedule
  3. World Employment and Social Outlook
  4. Statehood Day of Manipur, Meghalaya, and Tripura
  5. PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation)
  6. 14th Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards.
  7. Wollemi Pine grove:
  8. Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT):
  9. The Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Equal Development of All Regions Bill, 2020.
  10. Review of state and Central government water departments by the ministry of Jal Shakti
  11. Carbon Disclosure Project
  12. Other important current affairs

 

1. National Startup Advisory Council :

The Central Government has notified the structure of the National Startup Advisory Council to advise the Government on measures needed to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and startups in the country.

  • The National Startup Advisory Council will be chaired by Minister for Commerce & Industry.
  • Joint Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade will be the Convener of the Council.
  • The nominees of the concerned Ministries/Departments/Organisations, not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India, will be ex-officio members of the Council.
  • The Council will consist of the non-official members, to be nominated by Central Government for a period of two years, from various categories like founders of successful startups and persons capable of representing interests of investors into startups.

 

2. Disqualification petitions under the tenth schedule:

The Supreme Court has recently held that disqualification petitions under the tenth schedule should be adjudicated by a mechanism outside Parliament or Legislative Assemblies.

  • The Court has suggested a permanent tribunal headed by a retired Supreme Court judge or a former High Court Chief Justice as a new mechanism. This would require an amendment to the Constitution.
  • Currently, the disqualification of members of a House/Assembly is referred to as the Speaker of the House/Assembly.
  • However, for the present, the court said the Speakers should decide Tenth Schedule disqualifications within a “reasonable period”. What is ‘reasonable’ would depend on the facts of each case.
  • The Court held that unless there are “exceptional circumstances”, disqualification petitions under the Tenth Schedule should be decided by Speakers within three months.

 

3. World Employment and Social Outlook:

Recently, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has released the World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2020 (WESO) report.

  • The annual WESO Trends report analyses key labor market issues, including unemployment, labor underutilization, working poverty, income inequality, labor income share and factors that exclude people from decent work.

Key Points:

  • Global Unemployment:
    • The number of people unemployed around the world stands at some 188 million.
    • Some 267 million young people aged 15-24 are not in employment, education or training, and many more endure substandard working conditions.
  • Working Poverty:
    • Working poverty is defined as earning less than USD 3.20 per day in purchasing power parity terms.
    • It affects more than 630 million workers or one in five of the global working population.
  • Unpaid Work:
    • 165 million people do not have enough paid work, and 120 million have either given up actively searching for work or otherwise lack access to the labor market.
    • Almost half a billion people are working fewer paid hours than they would like or lack adequate access to paid work.
  • Future Status of Global Unemployment:
    • It is projected to increase by around 2.5 million in 2020. Though, global unemployment has been roughly stable for the last nine years.
    • Moderate or extreme working poverty is expected to increase in 2020-21 in developing countries, increasing the obstacles to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 1 on eradicating poverty everywhere by 2030.

 

4. Statehood Day of Manipur, Meghalaya, and Tripura:

On the Statehood Day of Manipur, Meghalaya, and Tripura (21st January), Prime Minister and other leaders praised the traditions and culture of the three northeast states.

  • On 21st January 1972, all three states became full-fledged states under the North Eastern Region (Reorganisation) Act, 1971.

 

5. PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation) :

Prime Minister will chair the 32nd interaction through PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation) on 22nd January 2020.

  • It is held once every month on Fourth Wednesday at 3.30 PM and known as PRAGATI Day.

PRAGATI:

  • It is a platform that enables the Prime Minister to discuss the issues with the concerned Central and State officials with full information and the latest visuals of the ground-level situation.
  • It was launched in 2015 and has been designed by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) team with the help of National Informatics Center (NIC)

National Informatics Center (NIC).

  • It is a three-tier system (PMO, Union Government Secretaries, and Chief Secretaries of the States).
  • The three objectives of PRAGATI are:
    • Grievance Redressal
    • Program Implementation
    • Project Monitoring
  • The PRAGATI platform uniquely bundles three latest technologies: Digital data management, video-conferencing, and geospatial technology.
  • It promotes cooperative federalism as it brings on one platform the Secretaries of Government of India and the Chief Secretaries of the States.

 

6. 14th Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards:

The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, presented the 14th Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards.

  • The Awards honor journalists from print, broadcast and digital media recognizing their strength of character and integrity while covering news in adverse circumstances.
  • Named after Ramnath Goenka, the awards have been held annually since 2006.

Ramnath Goenka:

  • Ramnath Goenka (1904–1991) was an Indian newspaper publisher. He launched The Indian Express Newspaper in 1932.
  • During the Emergency Period of India, he was one of the few independent businessman journalists that stood up to the government opposing Indira Gandhi.
  • He became the Lok Sabha Member in 1971 under the banner of Bhartiya Jan Sangha.

 

7. Wollemi Pine grove:

The prehistoric Wollemi Pine grove, which exists in a secret location within the Wollemi National Park northwest of Sydney, has been saved from Australian bushfires in a covert firefighting mission.

  • The Wollemi Pine is one of the world’s oldest and rarest plants dating back to the time of the dinosaurs. The oldest fossil of the Wollemi tree has been dated to 90-200 million years ago.
  • Conservation Status: With less than 200 left, the Wollemi pine is classified as critically endangered (CR) on the IUCN’s Red List. prior to 1994, it was thought to be extinct.

 

8. Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT):

India, a partner in the construction of Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), has requested that the project be moved out of the proposed site at Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano in Hawaii, USA.

  • The proposed site is considered sacred to indigenous Hawaiians, and already has too many observatories in the region.

Alternate Site:

  • The proposed alternate site to locate the telescope is the Observatorio del Roque de Los Muchachos (ORM) on La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain.
  • Reasons for Choosing Mauna Kea Initially: Mauna Kea in Hawaii is considered a superior site for telescope establishment because it offers the best imaging possibilities, stable weather.
  • Additionally, it also has the necessary infrastructure to manage telescopes as it already hosts several telescopes.
  • The Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) will enable scientists to study fainter objects in the universe, which gives information about the early stages of evolution of the universe.
  • It will also allow us to see deeper into space and observe cosmic objects with unprecedented sensitivity. The Thirty Metre Telescope is a joint venture (JV) involving the following countries namely, the USA, Japan, China, India, and Canada.

 

9. The Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Equal Development of All Regions Bill, 2020:

  • The Andhra Pradesh Assembly has passed The Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Equal Development of All Regions Bill, 2020.
  • This law paves the way for three capitals for the state.
  • The three capitals: Amaravati– legislative capital, Visakhapatnam– executive capital,Kurnool– judicial capital.

Need for three capitals:

  • The government says it is against building one mega capital while neglecting other parts of the state.
  • Three capitals ensure equal development of different regions of the state.
  • Decentralization has been the central theme in recommendations of all major committees that were set up to suggest a suitable location for the capital of Andhra Pradesh.
  • These include Justice BN Srikrishna Committee, K Sivaramakrishnan Committee, G N Rao Committee, etc.

 

10. Review of state and Central government water departments by the ministry of Jal Shakti :

Report on the review of state and Central government water departments by the ministry of Jal Shakti has been released.

  • The ranking has been done under the National Hydrology Project that aims to improve drought and flood management, creating a state-specific database on availability, plugging leakages in canals and dams and meteorological forecast on water resources information system.
  • The ranking is part of the mid-term review of the Central and the state government departments dealing with water to achieve the target to provide piped drinking water connection to every household in the next five years.
  • Another aim of the ranking is to have a water resources information system (WRIS) for all states to create a real-time integrated National Water Information Center (NWIC).

Performance of various states:

  • Gujarat has been ranked the best for parameters on efficiency targets.
  • Delhi is among the worst-performing states.
  • In the previous year’s ranking, Telangana had got the top slot and this year’s topper, Gujarat, was ranked seventh last time.
  • Among the states that significantly improved its ranking was Tamil Nadu, which stood at 13th position as compared to 33 in 2018.

Performance of government departments:

  • The departments have been ranked on parameters for procurement, finance, real-time data acquisition system, data digitization, analytical work, training and updating MIS.
  • The agencies have been given a score out of 100, and those scoring between 48 and 100 are called satisfactory; the ones scoring between 40 and 48 are moderately satisfactory; a score between 34 and 40 falls under moderately unsatisfactory category and score below 34 is in the unsatisfactory category.
  • Among the seven Central departments reviewed, the Survey of India has got the top billing followed by the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) and Central Water Commission.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board, the country’s pollution watchdog, has got the lowest rank.

 

11. The CDP India annual report has been released by CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) India.

The report examines the carbon reduction activities of companies.

  • Top 4: the United States of America secured the top spot followed by Japan, United Kindom, and France.
  • The boards of 98% of the firms directly monitor climate change risks with top management integrating these concerns in performance evaluation.
  • 2/3rd of the 59 firms that were surveyed use climate analysis tools to formulate their business strategies.
  • Improvement in disclosure rate has primarily been driven by investors who are actively pushing companies to reveal climate risks and take steps to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Among the key focus areas of Indian firms is renewable energy. According to the report, 23 companies reported renewable energy targets in 2019, a 44% rise over 2018. Of these, Infosys, Dalmia Cement and Tata Motors have reported 100% RE consumption.

Overall performance of India:

  • India is now among the top five countries globally when it comes to adopting science-based target initiatives (SBT) with as many as 38 Indian companies in 2019 committing to going beyond policy requirements to plan urgent climate action, a significant rise from 25 firms in 2018.
  • In 2019, up to 57 of the 59 responding companies stated that they have a process for risks assessment; 51 declared that their process of identifying, assessing and managing climate-related risks is integrated into the multi-disciplinary, company-wide risk identification, assessment, and management process which is considered a best practice.

About CDP:

  • The CDP is a global disclosure system that enables companies, cities, states, and regions to measure and manage their environmental impacts.
  • It collects and collates self-reported environmental data in the world.
  • It is aimed at measuring the carbon reduction activities undertaken by different companies and firms operating in various countries across the globe.

 

Other important current affairs:

1. Recently, the Prime Minister of India along with Prime Minister of Nepal jointly inaugurated the second Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Jogbani (Bihar)-Biratnagar (Nepal).

  • Jogbani-Biratnagar is equipped with modern facilities and is an important trade point between the two countries.
  • It was built with Indian assistance to facilitate trade and people’s movement across the India-Nepal border.
  • This inline with India’s Neighbourhood First Policy. Improving cross connectivity projects of Road, Rail and Transmission lines in Nepal, is an important aspect of it.

2. Recently, the Indian Navy has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Geological Survey of India (GSI) for ‘Sharing of seabed sediments data, products and expertise for Naval Application in Meteorology and Oceanography’.

  • GSI’s Marine and Coastal Survey Division has mapped most of India’s Exclusive Economic Zone and has a vast repository of offshore data.
  • GSI collected this data using state-of-the-art oceanic research vessels Samudra Manthan, Samudra Kaustubh, Samudra Shaudhikama, and Samudra Ratnakar.
  • This data will be used by the Indian Navy’s rapidly growing blue water fleet for reliable and accurate oceanographic modeling to support maritime operations in the Indian Ocean region.

3. Recently, the high-level roundtable of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) was held at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland.

  • Its theme was, “Access for all: Leveraging Innovations, Investments, and Partnerships for Health”.
  • It laid emphasis on accessibility of health to all with innovative technologies and solutions and also on bridging economic inequalities.
  • Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS:It is leading the global effort to end Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) as a public health threat by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. It was started in 1996.

4. The Union Finance Ministry held its traditional Halwa ceremony in its headquarters at North Block.

  • The function was presided over by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
  • The ceremony marks the commencement of the printing process of the Central government’s budget.
  • After Halwa is served, the officials and support staff, who are directly associated with the Budget making and printing process, are required to stay in the Budget Press (situated inside North Block) and remain cut off from their families until the presentation of the Union Budget in the Lok Sabha.
  • The “lock-in” which follows the ‘halwa ceremony’ is observed to maintain the secrecy of the Budget preparation process.

6. The Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) operating under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is to showcase tableau on Start-Up India at the Republic Day Parade to be held at Rajpath, New Delhi.

  • Theme: Reach for the sky
  • This is the first time Start-Up India is participating in the Parade.

7. Women Power:

  • In the 2020 republic day parade, Tania Shergil becomes the first woman officer to lead all-men contingent. The Contingent was commissioned in March 2017 from Officer Training Academy, Chennai.
  • First Women CRPF Bikers: All women biker contingent of the Central Reserve Police Force will make their debut showcasing daredevil stunts at the Republic Day parade. The team consists of 65 women CRPF personnel and will display their acrobatic skills on Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycles.

8. Markets regulator SEBI has put in place a framework for the rights issue of units by listed REIT and InvITs.

  • The issuer will have to disclose objects of the issue, related-party transactions, valuation, financial details, review of credit rating and grievance redressal mechanism in the placement document.
    Sebi has allowed listed REIT and InvIT to make a rights issue of units.
  • This is subject to several conditions including these investment vehicles obtaining in-principle approval of the stock exchanges for a listing of units proposed to be issued etc.

9. Union Minister S Jaishankar & Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou jointly inaugurated the first convention center in Africa by India to honor the memory of Mahatma Gandhi.

  • The Mahatma Gandhi International Convention Centre is a landmark for India-Niger friendship and a symbol of India’s firm commitment towards Africa.

10. Veteran Congress leader Shamsher Singh Surjewala (87-years) passed away due to illness.

  • Shamsher Surjewala (father of Randeep Surjewala) remained a five-time MLA and one-time Rajya Sabha MP.
  • He was the president of the Haryana Krishak Samaj & Haryana Congress and fought for farmers’ rights.

11. The Iranian film ‘Castle of Dreams’ has won the Best Film Award in the Asian Competition section of the 18th Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF).

12. J P Nadda (BJP Working President) has been elected as the National President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

  • Radha Mohan Singh (Party’s election in-charge of the organization) gave him the certificate of his election on the occasion.
  • Mr. Nadda (from Himachal Pradesh) was appointed as the party’s working president in July last year.

13. The Department of Telecom (DoT) has approved the raising of foreign direct investment in Bharti Airtel to 100% from 49% (earlier).

  • The company also has the approval of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that allowed foreign investors to hold up to 74% stake in the company.
  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) is an investment in the form of a controlling ownership in a business in one country by an entity based in another country.

14. UP Government has launched Mukhyamantri Krishak Durghatna Kalyan Yojana, provide financial assistance (five lakh rupees) to the family of farmers who die or become handicapped while working in fields.

  • The government has also decided to implement Mukhyamantri Paryatan Samvardhan Yojana to boost tourism in the state.
  • The scheme will cover farmers and their family members in the age group of 18-70 years.

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