Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 16-05-2020


Useful compilation of Civil Services oriented - Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 16-05-2020


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  1. COVID-19 Updates/Indian Economy - New law for contract farmingMaking long-pending agricultural marketing reforms the centrepiece of the third tranche of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan economic stimulus package, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced plans to enact a central law to permit barrier-free inter-State trade of farm commodities and ensure a legal framework to facilitate contract farming. The third tranche also included plans to invest Rs. 1.5 lakh crore to build farm-gate infrastructure and support logistics needs for fishworkers, livestock farmers, vegetable growers, beekeepers and related activities, although this includes some previously budgeted money and extensions of existing schemes.
  2. COVID-19 Updates - Lockdown likely to be extended till May 30 in New Delhi The lockdown is likely to be extended till May 30 with considerable relaxations in the green and orange zones. An announcement to this effect is likely to be made. An official said lockdown 4.0 would be more about implementing its “spirit” than imposing restrictions. The current third phase of the lockdown, which was imposed first on March 24 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, ends on May 17. Metro rail services in cities would continue to remain suspended as most routes fall in the containment zones, which would continue to be under “curfew-like” conditions.
  3. COVID-19 Updates - India surpasses China’s COVID-19 tallyIndia’s COVID-19 case tally shot past China, with a total of 85,761 cases, including 53,219 active ones, according to data from the State Health Departments. The death toll nationwide stood at 2,674. The country has registered over 3,600 cases and over 100 deaths on average everyday since May 8. According to the health ministry, India registered 3,967 more COVID-19 cases and 100 deaths on Friday, taking the total number of cases to 81,970 and the nationwide toll to 2,649.
  4. Society/COVID-19 Updates - Azan ban in three U.P. districts overturnedThe Allahabad High Court allowed azan in three districts of Uttar Pradesh — Ghazipur, Hathras and Farrukhabad — where it had been stopped by the district administration citing the Home Ministry’s lockdown rules. Azan can be recited by a muezzin from minarets of the mosques by human voice without using any amplifying device and such recitation cannot be hindered with under the pretext of violation of the guidelines issued by the state, to contain the pandemic — COVID-19.
  5. Indian Economy/Geography - Monsoon will arrive on June 5The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast a delay in the arrival of the monsoon over Kerala while Skymet, a private forecaster, expects it to arrive earlier. The difference in the arrival dates by both agencies is as much a week. The normal date of onset for the State is June 1. In a statement on Friday, the IMD set a date of June 5 whereas Skymet, on its website, has forecast May 28.
  6. Asia Politics - Israeli govt. formation delayedPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival-turned-partner, Benny Gantz, postponed the swearing-in of their controversial new government as the Israeli leader rushed to quell infighting within his Likud party. In a joint announcement, the two men said they would hold a swearing-in ceremony to give Mr. Netanyahu more time to hand out coveted Cabinet appointments to members of his party. After three deadlocked and divisive elections, and a year and a half of political paralysis, Israel had hoped to swear in the new government.
  7. Indian Economy - CBDT notifies reduction in TDS/TCSFollowing Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement of a reduction in the rate of tax deducted at source (TDS) and tax collected at source (TCS) for non-salaried payments, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) notified revised rates that will be applicable from May 14, 2020 to March 31, 2021. Clarifying on why the TDS rate had not been reduced for the salaried class, Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey said TDS was deducted from salary after considering various eligible deductions such as 80C of the salaried person. This, he said, had been done to ensure that the salaried individual did not have to bear the burden of paying higher taxes at year end.
  8. Indian Economy – Rs. 1 lakh crore farm infra fund to be financed by NABARD: FMWith supply chain disruptions during COVID-19 revealing critical gaps in agricultural infrastructure and logistics systems, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced plans for a Rs. 1 lakh crore farm infrastructure fund as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan stimulus package. The third tranche of the stimulus package also included plans to strengthen infrastructure in food processing, fisheries, animal husbandry, horticulture, herbal cultivation and beekeeping with a total funding of Rs. 50,000 crore, including funds allocated earlier in the budget.
  9. Defence – Coast Guard ship count hits 150A ship and two interceptor boats (IB) were commissioned into the Coast Guard in Goa via videoconference from the national capital by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. This marks a landmark for the force: it now has 150 ships and boats and 62 aircraft. Ship ICGS Sachet is the first in a series of five offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) being built by the Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL). The IBs, C-450 and C-451, are designed & built by the Larsen & Toubro Shipyard, Hazira. The 30-metre long boats are capable of achieving speeds in excess of 45 knots and designed for high-speed interception, close patrol and low intensity operations. The 105-metre long ICGS Sachet displaces approximately 2,350 tons and is propelled by two 9,100 KW diesel engines designed to attain a maximum speed of 26 knots, with an endurance of 6,000 nautical miles.
  10. World Economy/US-China Relations/COVID-19 Updates – U.S. could cut ties with China over pandemic, warns Trump – U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to cut ties with China over its role in the spread of the coronavirus, as the global death toll from the disease topped 3,00,000. The Trump administration also said on Friday that it would restrict the ability of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, which it considers a national security risk, to develop semiconductors abroad with U.S. technology.
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    • 1. CONSTITUTION AND LAW (Prelims, GS Paper 2, Essay paper)
1.1 Supreme Court dismissed application seeking urgent directions to all DMs across India to identify walking labourers
  • The Supreme Court dismissed an Application seeking urgent directions to all DMs across India to identify walking labourers and to ensure that they reach their native places, free of cost and in a dignified manner.
  • The Interim Application (IA) was filed in the wake of the death of 16 migrant labourers in Aurangabad.
  • A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao, S. K. Kaul and B. R. Gavai observed that it was not possible for the Court to monitor the situation, and said that it is up to the State Governments to take appropriate actions in that regard.
  • Not inclined to entertain the matter, Justice S K Kaul, another judge in the bench, observed.
  • The IA, filed by Petitioner-in-Person Alakh Alok Srivastava, stated that the urgent interference of the Apex Court was needed in light of the heart-wrenching incident which had taken place at Gadhejalgaon village in Aurangabad District (Maharashtra) on 8th May at 5.30AM wherein at least 16 migrant workers who were walking on foot from Maharasthra to Madhya Pradesh had been killed by a train.
  • Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, submitted to the Bench that the government had already started providing transport from one State to another. He further submitted that if people got angry and started on foot instead of waiting for the transport to be provided, nothing could be done. The government could only request that people should not walk.
  • In light of these submissions, the Bench dismissed the Interim Application.
  • Various media reports were referred to in the IA and it was submitted to the Court that there were many other similar incidents wherein poor migrant labourers had died due to hunger or road accidents in their bid to return to their native places by walking on foot. 
  • "How can we stop them from walking? It is impossible for this Court to monitor who is walking and who is not walking?" ~ Justice L Nageswara Rao
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          • 2. ECONOMY (Prelims, GS Paper 3, Essay paper
        2.1 Economic Package on Agriculture

        • Economic stimulus focusing on agriculture and allied activities announced.
        • Operation Greens to be extended from TOP (Tomatoes, Onion and Potatoes) to All FRUITS and VEGETABLES.
        • An 800-hectare corridor of medicinal plants will be developed along the banks of Ganga.
        • Rs 4000 crore outlay has been made to promote herbal cultivation with a target of covering 10 lakh hectares in 2 years.  
        • Essential Commodities Act will be amended to enable better price realisation for farmers. 
        • Agriculture foodstuffs, including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potato, will be deregulated.
        • Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund worth Rs. 15,000 crores will be set up.
        • Rs 1 lakh crore agri infrastructure fund will be set up for funding creation of infrastructure such as cold chains, post-harvest management infrastructure.
        • 10,000 crore Fund for Micro Food Enterprises (MFEs) Marketing assistance will be set up for agri products.
        • Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana will be launched for development of marine and inland fisheries. 
        • Rs. 13,343 crore National Animal Disease Control Programme to be launched for 100% vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population in India.
        • For beekeepers, a Rs 500-crore scheme was announced for infrastructure development and post-harvest facilities.
        • Scheme launched for interest subvention @ 2% per annum to dairy cooperatives for 2020-21.

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            • 3. ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY (Prelims, GS Paper 3, Essay paper)

          3.1 Monsoon likely delayed, to hit Kerala on June 5: IMD

          • The southwest monsoon is likely to hit Kerala on June 5, four days after its normal onset date, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
          • The IMD did not cite any reason for the delay in its press release on May 15.
          • The southwest monsoon season brings around 70 per cent of the total rainfall through the year.  
          • This is the fourth time in the last six years that monsoon has been delayed in India.
          • In 2019, Kerala received its first rain of the season on June 8.
          • The normal dates of onset are revised based on data during 1961-2019 and normal dates of withdrawal are revised based on data during 1971-2019.
          • The earlier dates were based on rainfall records of 1901-1940.
          • While monsoon onset date remains unchanged in Kerala, it was delayed by three to seven days in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar and parts of Uttar Pradesh.
          • Over extreme northwest India, monsoon arrival date was advanced to July 8 from July 15 but there were appreciable changes in the monsoon withdrawal dates.
          • Monsoon will now withdraw from northwest India 14 days later.
          • Yet, the final withdrawal date will remain unchanged, on October 15.
          • The major trigger for the revision of monsoon dates were the changes in monsoon behaviour observed by the IMD in the past many years, especially due to global warming. For instance, the sluggish movement of monsoon winds over central India after the initial onset over southern India has been observed for quite some time now. On the other hand, not many changes were observed for the western coast.
          • To establish any long term trend, the IMD looks at a 30-year period or more. A period of 60 years from the current time, therefore, has been chosen.
          • IMD also predicted that rains will begin early in the Andaman and Nicobar islands owing to the formation and progression of cyclone Amphan in the Bay of Bengal.

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            • 4. FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Prelims, GS Paper 2, Essay paper)

          4.1 WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo to step down on August 31, one-year before the completion of his 8-year term

          • The World Trade Organisation (WTO) chief Roberto Azevedo resigned unexpectedly, amidst the coronavirus pandemic that has affected the world economy, and trade at an unprecedented level.
          • The 62-year-old Brazilian career diplomat's second four-year term was not scheduled to end until September 2021.
          • Azevedo said that bringing forward his departure would allow members to select his successor in the coming months, without diverting political energy and attention from preparations for the Twelfth Ministerial Conference, which is set to be held in 2021.
          • Moreover, he said that WTO should start the year 2021 with a focus on the real challenges: ensuring that the multilateral trading system responds to new economic realities, above all the post-Covid recovery.
          • The 25-year-old trade body has never had to fill a vacancy for the director-general post before that term expired, and under WTO rules, a selection process for a successor is to begin as soon as possible.
          • Mr. Azevedo’s WTO often found itself in the firing line of the Trump administration, which accused the trade body of a bias against the United States and of letting China get away with what it called unfair trade practices.
          • U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer thanked Mr. Azevedo for his exemplary service.
          • Despite the many shortcomings of the WTO, Roberto has led the institution with grace and a steady hand, Lighthizer said in a statement. He will be difficult to replace.
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                    • 5. GOVERNMENT SCHEMES (Prelims, GS Paper 2, GS Paper 3)
                  5.1 Not Available Today
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                          • 6. MISCELLANEOUS (Prelims, Various GS Papers)
                        6.1 Weekly Roundup – Sports
                        • China wins inaugural FIDE Chess.com Online Nations Cup - China won the inaugural $180,000 FIDE Chess.com Online Nations Cup on May 9, 2020. China was declared the winner on the basis of its topping the points table in the round-robin stage. China won $48,000, USA $36,000 and others received $24,000 each. Standings (after 10 rounds): 1. China (17 match-points), 2-3. USA and Europe (13 each), 4. Russia (8), 5. India (5), 6. Rest of World (RoW) (4).
                        • Magnus Carlsen wins Magnus Carlsen Invitational online chess tournament - Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen won the Magnus Carlsen Invitational online chess tournament on May 3, 2020 and clinched the $70,000 first prize after beating GM Hikaru Nakamura in the final. With a $250,000 prize fund, eight of the strongest grandmasters in the world played in the Invitational.
                        • Pandanda Kuttappa, co-founder of Kodava Hockey Festival in Coorg, dies - Pandanda Kuttappa, a legendary figure in the region of Coorg, Karnataka and the co-founder of the famous Kodava Hockey Festival, died at the age of 85 on May 7, 2020.
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                            • 7. POLITY (Prelims, GS Paper 2)
                          7.1 Not Available Today

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                                  • 8. SOCIAL ISSUES (Prelims, GS Paper 1, GS Paper 2)

                                8.1 International Day of Families celebrated on May 15.
                                • Celebrated every year on May 15, this day was founded by the United Nations in 1994 as an effort to raise awareness on the importance of families, people, society and cultures around the world.
                                • This year the world also celebrates the 25th anniversary of the World Summit for Social Development, Copenhagen Declaration and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, comes at a crucial time when the world is faced with the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected greatly on the family.  
                                • This pandemic has shifted focus from economic development towards the social development of national.
                                • This pandemic reminds the world of the importance of social well-being and the need for our social policies to have positive impacts on the lives of our most vulnerable population groups and families.
                                • It is the families that are bearing the consequences of the pandemic, caring for the most vulnerable, caring for out of school children and at the same time finding ways and means to work and provide for the family.
                                • Under this difficult period in history it is the families that need to provide for the support, understanding and care but the foreseeable socio-economic effects of COVID-19 further pose the danger of poverty for the most vulnerable.
                                • The role of the family was recognised as the key to development in the World Summit for Social Development, and after 25 years the message is more significant.
                                • Theme: ‘Families in Development: Copenhagen and Beijing + 25’
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                                      • 9. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (Prelims, GS Paper 3)
                                    9.1 Scientists from IIT (Indian School of Mines) Dhanbad and CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (Kolkata) have developed the Z-scan method to monitor the origin as well as the progression of Parkinson's disease in human beings

                                    • Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder. It damages nerve cells in the brain dropping the levels of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that sends behavioural signals. The disease causes a variety of "motor" symptoms like rigidity, delayed movement, poor balance, and tremors. Medication can help control the symptoms but the disease can't be cured. It affects the age group from 6 to 60 years. Globally about 10 mn people have been affected by this disease. An aggregation of a protein called Alpha-synuclein (ASyn) plays a crucial role in the development of disease.
                                    • Protein aggregation is a phenomenon in which destabilized proteins accumulate and clump together leading to many diseases.
                                    • Alpha-synuclein is a protein found in the human brain, while smaller amounts are found in the heart, muscle and other tissues. In the brain, alpha-synuclein is found mainly at the tips of neurons in specialized structures called presynaptic terminals. Presynaptic terminals release chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters. The release of neurotransmitters relays signals between neurons and is critical for normal brain function.
                                    • Use of Z-scan Method - The Z-scan method is expected to help in monitoring both the early as well as late stages of the aggregation of ASyn and death of neuronal cells. Until now, globally studies could not establish any strong relation between ASyn aggregations and subsequent death of neuronal cells.
                                    • CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology – It was established in 1935 as the first non official centre in India for biomedical research and was included within the aegis of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in 1956. It is located in Kolkata (West Bengal). It is engaged in research on diseases of national importance and biological problems of global interest and also helps to maintain momentum in life science research.

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                                                • 10. FACTS, CHARTS, RANKINGS and EDITORIALS (Prelims + GS Mains)
                                              10.1 Not Available Today
                                                    10.2 Daily dose of  FIVE Facts -
                                                    • TCS recently said it has launched a free online self-certification course -- Corona Warriors -- to prepare frontline health workers in dealing with COVID-19 patients.
                                                    • Bureaucrat Leena Nandan has been appointed as Consumer Affairs Secretary.
                                                    • Samuel Hahnemann is considered the founder and Homeopathy system of medicine.
                                                    • Renu Swarup is the head of government’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).
                                                    • Tashi Malik and Nungshi Malik are well-known for Mountaineering.
                                                    10.3 Today's best editorials to read
                                                    • We offer you 7 excellent editorials from across 10 newspapers we have scanned. 
                                                    CLICK HERE TO OPEN AND READ!

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                                                      • SECTION 3 - MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions)

                                                    Solve the online quiz given, right now. Check scores, and relative performance!



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                                                    PT's IAS Academy: Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 16-05-2020
                                                    Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 16-05-2020
                                                    Useful compilation of Civil Services oriented - Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 16-05-2020
                                                    PT's IAS Academy
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