Daily Current Affairs for Government Exams:
Today Current Affairs: 27th June 2020 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
- U.N.-75 declaration delayed
- 36th ASEAN Summit:
- Environment Impact Assessment :
- Nasha Mukt Bharat: Annual Action Plan (2020-21)
- Other important current affairs
1.U.N.-75 declaration delayed:
- Commemorative declaration marking the 75th anniversary of the signing of the U.N. Charter has been delayed.
- Member states could not reach an agreement on phraseology. They have objected to the use of the phrase “shared vision of a common future”.
- Because, the phrase, “community with a shared future for mankind” is closely associated with the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) and especially Chinese President Xi Jinping as an articulation of the country’s vision for the world.
- The Five Eyes: the U.S., the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada — along with India, have objected.
- The current impasse comes at a time when China’s relationships with a number of democracies, including India, Australia, and the U.S., are strained.
- With this objection, the ‘silence’ process (a procedure by which a resolution passes if no formal objections are raised within a stipulated time) has been broken.
- However, China, on behalf of itself and Russia, Syria and Pakistan raised objections to the silence being broken.
- The objecting countries wanted the resolution to read, “We will work together with partners to strengthen coordination and global governance for the common good of present and future generations and to realize our shared vision for a better future as envisaged in the preamble of the UN Charter.”
75th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter:
- The Charter was signed in San Francisco on June 26, 1945, and came into force on October 24, 1945.
- It is the foundational treaty of the United Nations.
- Objectives: Conceived above all as a means to save future generations from the scourge of war, the Charter calls for the organization to maintain international peace and security; promote social progress and better standards of life; strengthen international law; and promote human rights.
- As a charter, it is a constituent treaty, and all members are bound by its articles. Article 103 of the Charter states that obligations to the United Nations prevail over all other treaty obligations.
2.36th ASEAN Summit:
Recently, the 36th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit was held via video conference to focus on the Covid-19 pandemic response, post-pandemic recovery, and further cooperation with partner countries.
- The theme for the Summit was “Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN”.
- The Summit was chaired by Vietnam which is also holding the chairmanship of ASEAN currently.
ASEAN Covid-19 Response Fund:
- The summit has decided to establish the ASEAN Covid-19 response fund with a reserve for medical supplies to meet urgent needs during epidemics.
- A special ASEAN meeting convened in April to tackle the pandemic had failed to agree on an emergency fund.
It has also decided to build the ASEAN standard procedures of epidemic response in case of health emergencies.
- The Summit has stated that the ASEAN region’s economy is expected to contract for the first time in 22 years.
- It has also focussed on the crippling cost of the coronavirus, which has ravaged the economies of tourism and export-reliant countries such as Thailand and Vietnam.
South China Sea Issue:
- The Summit noted concerns over land reclamations and recent developments in the South China Sea.
China claims most of the resource-rich South China Sea but is also contested by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Taiwan.
- Vietnam had also accused China of sinking its trawler.
- This incident had prompted the USA to warn that China is trying to exploit the pandemic situations of other states to expand its unlawful claims.
- The USA is not a claimant to any territories in the South China Sea but has sent its navy to patrol the area in support of freedom of navigation, while China had slammed this move as interference in regional affairs by an outside power.
- Both Vietnam and the Philippines lodged protests with China after it unilaterally declared the creation of new administrative districts on islands.
- Also, in April China has officially named 80 islands and other geographical features in the disputed waters to which Vietnam and the Philippines also have competing claims.
- The Summit has also called on parties to refrain from escalating tensions and abide by responsibilities under international laws.
3. Environment Impact Assessment :
Student unions from several universities and colleges from across India have petitioned Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar to put the draft of the proposed Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2020 on hold.
- Environment Impact Assessment in India is statutorily backed by the Environment Protection Act, 1986 which contains various provisions on EIA methodology and process.
- The draft notification is issued under the powers vested in the central government under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to take all such measures for “protecting and improving the quality of the environment.
- The key points of dispute with the proposed draft are that:
- It shortens the period of public consultation hearings to a maximum of 40 days.
- It reduces from 30 to 20 days the time provided for the public to submit their responses during a public hearing for any application seeking environmental clearance.
- It also allows the declaration of some areas as “economically sensitive areas” without a public hearing or environmental clearance, and several “red” and “orange”-classified toxic industries could now operate as close as 0-5 km from a Protected Area in “callous disregard” for forests.
- The increased validity of the environment clearances for mining projects (50 years versus 30 years currently) and river valley projects (15 years versus 10 years currently) raises the risk of irreversible environmental, social, and health consequences on account of the project remaining unnoticed for long.
- EIA is an important process for evaluating the likely environmental impact of a proposed project.
- It is a process whereby people’s views are taken into consideration for granting final approval to any developmental project or activity.
- It is basically, a decision-making tool to decide whether the project should be approved or not.
- The EIA process involves:
- Screening: This stage decides which projects need a full or partial assessment study.
- Scoping: This stage decides which impacts are necessary to be assessed. This is done based on legal requirements, international conventions, expert knowledge, and public engagement. This stage also finds out alternate solutions.
- Assessment & evaluation of impacts and development of alternatives: this stage predicts and identifies the environmental impacts of the proposed project and also elaborates on the alternatives.
- EIA Report: in this reporting stage, an environmental management plan (EMP) and also a non-technical summary of the project’s impact is prepared for the general public. This report is also called the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
- Decision making: the decision on whether the project is to be given approval or not and if it is to be given, under what conditions.
- Monitoring, compliance, enforcement, and environmental auditing: monitoring whether the predicted impacts and the mitigation efforts happen as per the EMP.
4.Nasha Mukt Bharat: Annual Action Plan (2020-21):
Nasha Mukt Bharat: Annual Action Plan (2020-21) for 272 Most Affected Districts was e-launched by Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment on the occasion of “International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking”.
- The Nasha Mukt Bharat Annual Action Plan for 2020-21 would focus on 272 most affected districts and launch a three-pronged attack combining efforts of Narcotics Bureau, Outreach/Awareness by Social Justice and Treatment through the Health Dept.
- The Action Plan has the following components: Awareness generation programs; Focus on Higher Educational institutions, University Campuses, and Schools; Community outreach and identification of dependent population; Focus on Treatment facilities in Hospital settings; and Capacity Building Programmes for Service Provider.
- The Ministry has also prepared a National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction for the period 2018-2025 which aims at the reduction of adverse consequences of drug abuse through a multi-pronged strategy involving education, de-addiction, and rehabilitation of affected individuals and their families.
Other important current affairs:
1. The Indian Navy said on Friday it has inducted an advanced anti-torpedo decoy system called ‘Maareech’ that is capable of being fired from all frontline ships.
- ‘Maareech’ has been designed and developed indigenously by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and it is capable of detecting, locating, and neutralizing incoming torpedo.
- Bharat Electronics Limited, a defense PSU, would undertake the production of this decoy system.
- The prototype of this system installed onboard a nominated naval platform had successfully completed all user evaluation trials.
- Anti-Submarine Warfare capability of the Indian Navy received a major boost with its induction.
2. The international Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) Day is being observed on 27 June under the theme “COVID-19: The Great Lockdown and its impact on Small Business.”
- The UN General Assembly in its 74th Plenary held on the 6th April 2017 declared 27th June as Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day.
- The objective of the day is to recognize the importance of MSMEs in achieving sustainable development goals and in promoting innovation, creativity, and sustainable work for all.
- SDG targets 8.3 and 9.3 calls for enhancing the access of SMEs to financial services.
- In addition, SMEs are an important element in the implementation of SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure).
3. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has relaxed the preferential allotment pricing norms for companies while tightening the insider trading regulations as part of its attempts to minimize instances of unpublished, price-sensitive information getting leaked
- It also amended the settlement proceeding norms to enable faster disposal of cases while tweaking the Takeover Regulations as well.
- Companies with frequently traded shares can take into account the average of the weekly high and low over the past 12 weeks or two weeks, whichever is higher, and price the preferential allotment above that mark.
- While the existing pricing mechanism will continue, the relaxed pricing option will be available for all preferential allotments made between July 1 and December 31, 2020.
- SEBI also amended the SEBI (Prohibition of Insider Trading) Regulations making it mandatory for companies to maintain a structured, digital database containing the nature of unpublished price-sensitive information (UPSI) and the names of persons who have shared the information.
- This assumes significance as the SEBI has been probing various matters wherein UPSI was shared by company officials with outsiders through applications like WhatsApp.
4. India is said to be going through the ‘guns, germs and steel’ crisis.
- (The name is borrowed from the title of Jared Diamond’s classic book on the evolution of societies and nations, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies).
- Chinese “guns” on the borders.
- Coronavirus “germs” in our bodies.
- “Steel” makers and other businesses on the verge of bankruptcy.
- This is the gravest confluence of the military, health, and economic crises threatening our nation in more than a generation.
- Each of these would qualify as an independent, large crisis by itself, warranting a specific resolution.
- The Chinese military threat calls for immediate and strategic action by our defense and foreign affairs establishments.
- The COVID-19 health epidemic is here to stay and needs constant monitoring by the Health Ministry and local administration.
- The economic collapse is an enormous challenge that needs to be overcome with prudent policy.
5.The Law Ministry has reduced the age limit for senior citizens who opt for the postal ballot in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
- Now, the voters aged above 65 years or a Covid-19 suspect can opt for postal ballot.
- Earlier, in 2019, the Law Ministry had amended the Conduct of Election Rules to allow persons with disabilities and those who are 80 years of age or above to opt for a postal ballot during Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
- Voters of Bihar will be the first to benefit from the amended rules since Bihar will be the first state to have assembly polls after the coronavirus outbreak in India.