Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 28th May 2020

Daily Current Affairs for Government Exams:

Today Current Affairs:28th May 2020 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Contents:

  1. Veer Savarkar
  2. India and China have activated the “working mechanism”:
  3. US President has offered to mediate between India and China over the Indo-China border standoff.:
  4. International Day of UN Peacekeepers 2020
  5. Charru Mussel
  6. Other important current affairs

1.Veer Savarkar:

The invitation extended by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for the inauguration of the Yelahanka flyover sparked off a political controversy with the initial intimation indicating that it would be named after Hindutva ideologue V.D. Savarkar.

Veer Savarkar:

  • Born on May 28, 1883, in Bhagur, a city in Maharashtra’s Nashik.
  • In his teenage, Savarkar formed a youth organization. Known as Mitra Mela, this organization was put into place to bring in national and revolutionary ideas.
  • He was against foreign goods and propagated the idea of Swadeshi. In 1905, he burnt all the foreign goods in a bonfire on Dussehra.
  • He championed atheism and rationality and also disapproved of orthodox Hindu belief. In fact, he even dismissed cow worship as superstitious.
  • He also Worked on the abolishment of untouchability in Ratnagiri. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar also compared his work to Lord Buddha.
  • Vinayak Savarkar was a president of Hindu Mahasabha from 1937 to 1943.
  • When congress ministries offered resignation on 22nd Oct 1939, Hindu Mahasabha under his leadership cooperated with Muslim league to form government in provinces like Sindh, Bengal, and NWFP.
  • In Pune, Savarkar founded the “Abhinav Bharat Society”.
  • He was also involved in the Swadeshi movement and later joined Tilak’s Swaraj Party.
  • His instigating patriotic speeches and activities incensed the British Government. As a result, the British Government withdrew his B.A. degree.
  • He founded the Free India Society. The Society celebrated important dates on the Indian calendar including festivals, freedom movement landmarks, and was dedicated to furthering discussion about Indian freedom.
  • He believed and advocated the use of arms to free India from the British and created a network of Indians in England, equipped with weapons.
  • In his book, The History of the War of Indian Independence, Savarkar wrote about the guerilla warfare tricks used in 1857 Sepoy Mutiny.
  • He founded the two-nation theory in his book ‘Hindutva’ calling Hindus and Muslims two separate nations.
  • In 1937, Hindu Mahasabha passed it as a resolution.
  • In 2002, Port Blair airport at Andaman and Nicobar’s Island was renamed after Veer Savarkar International Airport.

 

2. India and China have activated the “working mechanism”:

India and China have activated the “working mechanism” at the diplomatic level alongside the military-to-military conversation taking place at the field level to “dis-engage” and “de-escalate” the situation.

  • India’s assessment is that the Chinese are involved in what is known in military parlance as “holding the line”. While there is no agreed Line of Actual Control (LAC), both Chinese and Indian troops patrol up to their “claim lines” and then return.
  • In the current situation, it appears that the Chinese have crossed their perception of LAC and are now camping at the spot in a bid to “hold the line”.
  • This “holding the line” tactic is backed by a large number of Chinese troops much more than ordinary patrols, which usually has 25-30 soldiers. This appears to give the impression that the Chinese are keen to dig their heels in.

“Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC)”

  • The “Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC)” was established in January 2012 after border talks between then-National Security Adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon and his Chinese counterpart Dai Bingguo.
  • It is headed by joint secretary-level officials from both sides.
  • They are entrusted to help the special representative for boundary talks, a position currently held by NSA Ajit Doval.
  • These officials have had 14 meetings since 2012, the last one in July 2019, and meet more frequently than the special representatives.

 

3. US President has offered to mediate between India and China over the Indo-China border standoff.:

Recently, the USA President has offered to mediate between India and China over the Indo-China border standoff.

  • The offer has come in the backdrop of the ongoing standoff between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • Currently, India and China face standoff at least four points along the LAC, including Pangong Tso lake, Demchok, and Galwan Valley in Ladakh and Naku La in Sikkim.
  • The tensions between two countries escalated along the LAC after China ordered the military to scale up battle preparedness and asked it to resolutely defend the country’s sovereignty.
  • Subsequently, India has also increased its presence on the boundary with China in North Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, along with Ladakh.
  • So far, at least six rounds of talks have been held between Indian and Chinese military commanders in Ladakh on the ground but have failed to achieve a breakthrough.

Offer by USA:

  • The USA President has informed both India and China that the United States is willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their raging border dispute.
  • It is the first time that the USA made such an offer to India and China, referring to the LAC situation as a “raging border dispute”.
  • In the past, the USA had offered to mediate between India and Pakistan over Kashmir but it was rejected by India. India had cleared its position stating that the issue can only be discussed bilaterally.
  • The offer comes amid ongoing issues between the USA and China over the origin of Covid-19 and trade tensions between the two countries.
  • Recently, the USA’s National Security Adviser also said that the U.S. could impose sanctions on both Beijing and Hong Kong if China were to go ahead and impose a national security law on Hong Kong.

China’s Stand:

  • China has cleared that both countries would resolve the standoff bilaterally. It has also stated that the situation at the border with India is “overall stable and controllable”.
  • It has also stated that India and China have good border-related mechanisms and communication channels and any issue can be resolved through dialogue and consultation.

India’s Stand:

  • India has not given any official response to the USA’s offer for mediation between India and China.
  • But, in past India has rejected all offers for third party mediation.
  • India has been carrying out high-level meetings to open diplomatic channels to resolve the issue peacefully.

 

4.International Day of UN Peacekeepers 2020:

International Day of UN Peacekeepers 2020 will be observed on May 29.

  • The theme for this year’s Day is “Women in Peacekeeping: A Key to Peace” to help mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security.
  • The first UN peacekeeping mission was established on 29th May 1948, when the Security Council authorized the deployment of a small number of UN military observers to the Middle East.
  • United Nations Peacekeeping is a joint effort between the Department of Peace Operations and the Department of Operational Support.
  • Every peacekeeping mission is authorized by the Security Council.
  • The financial resources of UN Peacekeeping operations are the collective responsibility of UN Member States.
  • According to the UN Charter, every Member State is legally obligated to pay their respective share for peacekeeping.
  • UN peacekeepers (often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets) can include soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel. Peacekeeping forces are contributed by member states on a voluntary basis.
  • The civilian staff of peace operations is international civil servants, recruited and deployed by the UN Secretariat.
  • United Nations Peacekeeping helps countries torn by conflict create conditions for lasting peace.

 

5.Charru Mussel:

An invasive species named Charru mussel (Mytella strigata), native to the South and Central American coasts, is spreading quickly in the backwaters of Kerala.

  • The Charru mussel may have reached the Indian shores attached to ship hulls or as larval forms in ballast water discharges.
  • Ballast is the seawater that ships carry to improve stability.
  • Cyclone Ockhi which struck the region (South India, Sri Lanka, Maldives) in 2017, may have sped up their invasion.
  • The surveys conducted in Kerala has found presence of Charru mussel in many estuaries/backwaters of Kerala, which include Kadinamkulam, Paravur, Edava-Nadayara, Ashtamudi, Kayamkulam, Vembanad, Chettuva and Ponnani etc.
  • The proliferation of Charu mussel poses a serious threat to the endemic species diversity of brackish water habitats of Kerala coast.
  • This invasive species is forcing out other mussel and clam species in the backwaters and threatening the livelihoods of fishermen engaged in molluscan fisheries.
  • In Ashtamudi lake, the short-necked clam fisheries have obtained an eco-label from the Marine Stewardship Council and about 3,000 people are dependent on fisheries here.
  • “Ecolabelling” is a voluntary method of environmental performance certification and labelling that is practised around the world.

Invasive Species

  • An invasive species is an organism that is not indigenous, or native, to a particular area and causes harm.
  • They are capable of causing extinctions of native plants and animals, reducing biodiversity, competing with native organisms for limited resources, and altering habitats.
  • They can be introduced to an area by ship ballast water, accidental release, and most often, by people.

Mussel

  • Mussel is a common name for numerous bivalve mollusks belonging to the marine family Mytilidae and to the freshwater family Unionidae.

 

Other important current affairs:

1.US President Donald Trump’s administration has launched a program called Operation Warp Speed.

  • Operation Warp Speed is a public-private partnership, initiated by the Federal Government of the United States, to facilitate and accelerate the development of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.
  • It is an interagency program that includes components of the Department of Health, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health, and private firms.

2. Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has modified the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, allowing rightful claimants of forest rights to appeal against decisions of the district level committee (DLC).

  • The Governor has modified Section 6 of the Act, in its application to Scheduled Area of the State of Maharashtra, in the exercise of the powers conferred on him by Schedule V of the Constitution.
  • The notification is important to provide justice to tribals whose ‘individual or community forest right’ has been rejected by the DLC, constituted under the Forest Rights Act (FRA).
  • The notification applies to areas covered in the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act in the State and allows appeal provision against the DLC’s decision.
  • The notification states that divisional level committees under the chairmanship of divisional commissioners have been constituted to hear the appeals against the DLC’s decisions. In the case of an order passed by the DLC before the commencement of the notification, the appeal needs to be made within six months
  • However, if an order has been passed after the commencement of the notification, the application has to be made within 90 days.

3. Indian Olympic Association has constituted an 11-member committee, led by Athletics Federation of India president Adille Sumariwala, to monitor annual grant and affiliation fee of its members for the 2020-2021 cycle.

  • Indian Olympic Association is the governing body for the Olympic Movement and the Commonwealth Games in India.
  • It is an affiliated member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), and Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).
  • Recognized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

4. The European Union (EU)’s executive unveiled a €750 billion plan to prop up economies hammered by the coronavirus crisis.

  • The recovery fund package comes in addition to the EU’s long-term budget for 2021-27, which the Commission proposed should be set at €1.100 trillion ($1.21 trillion).
  • Under the proposal, the European Commission would borrow the funds from the market and then disburse two-thirds in grants and the rest in loans to cushion the unprecedented slump expected this year due to the coronavirus lockdown.
  • This additional funding will be channeled through EU programs and repaid over a long period of time throughout future EU budgets – not before 2028 and not after 2058.
  • In addition, in order to make funds available as soon as possible to respond to the most pressing needs, the Commission proposes to amend the current multiannual financial framework 2014-2020 to make an additional 11.5 billion euros in funding available already in 2020.

5. Less than two months after detecting its first infection, Montenegro is the first country in Europe to declare itself coronavirus-free.

  • Montenegro is a country of South and Southeast Europe on the coast of the Balkans.
  • It borders Bosnia-Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast, Kosovo to the east, Albania to the southeast, the Adriatic Sea to the southwest, and Croatia to the west.
  • Its capital is Podgorica.
  • Montenegro is a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. It is also in the process of joining the European Union.
  • The largest lake in Montenegro and the Balkans is Lake Scutari.

6. In a first of its kind initiative in the country, the Karnataka government will soon launch a State Health Register project to maintain the health database of all its citizens.

  • The Karnataka State Health Register will be a robust and standardized health repository of all the citizens.
  • This will not only help the government to provide better health care but will also help efficient resource allocation, management, and better implementation of various citizen-centric schemes in the state.
  • This project will be implemented first in Chikkaballapur district on an experimental basis.

7. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to allow banks to assign zero risk weight for loans that will be extended to the Micro, Medium and Small Enterprises (MSMEs) under the Rs.20 lakh crore economic package announced by the Union government.

  • As a part of the package, an Rs.3 lakh crore loan for the MSME sector was announced.
  • However, such loans would attract a risk weight of a minimum 20% since these loans did not come with direct government guarantee.
  • The claims will not be settled unconditionally. The government will ask questions and see the loan appraisal process once a claim is made when the borrower defaults.
  • And, if the claim is not settled, banks have to make provision in line with the age of default.
  • This facility is similar to the loans that are guaranteed by the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE).
  • The government has made available a corpus of Rs. 41,600 crore for the Rs. 3 lakh crore scheme. The government is factoring in less than 15% non-performing assets, as of now.
  • After banks highlighted the issue of risk weight associated with the loan with the government, the government has asked the RBI to waive the requirement of assigning a risk weight to the loans.

8.World Dugong Day is celebrated on 28th May, every year.:Dugong (Dugong dugon) also called ‘Sea Cow’ is one of the four surviving species in the Order Sirenia and it is the only existing species of herbivorous mammal that lives exclusively in the sea including in India.

  • They are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and are protected in India under Schedule I of the Wild (Life) Protection Act, 1972.
  • According to a 2013 survey report of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), there were only about 200 dugongs in the Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat.
  • Dugongs are an important part of the marine ecosystem and their depletion will have effects all the way up the food chain. Proper conservation is the only way to save dugongs from extinction.
  • Dugongs graze on seagrass and the loss of seagrass beds due to ocean floor trawling is one of the most important factors behind decreasing dugong populations in many parts of the world.

9. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attended the Special Board of Governors meeting of the New Development Bank (NDB) through video conferencing in New Delhi. The meeting also witnessed the election of Mr. Marcos Troyjo from Brazil as the new President of the Developmental Bank.

  • The New Development Bank (NDB), formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, is a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).
  • The bank is headquartered in Shanghai, China. The first regional office of the NDB is in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • During the sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza (2014), the leaders signed the Agreement establishing the New Development Bank (NDB). The Bank formally came into existence as a legal entity in 2015.
  • The initial authorized capital of the bank is $100 billion divided into 1 million shares having a par value of $100,000 each.

10. Sports Authority of India (SAI) has deposited 30,000 rupees each as out of pocket allowance in accounts of 2,749 Khelo Indian athletes.

  • The Sports Authority of India (SAI) is the apex national sports body of India for the development of sport in India.
  • Established in: 1984.
  • Headquarters: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Delhi).Parent agency: Department of Sports, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

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