Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 21-05-2020

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Useful compilation of Civil Services oriented - Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 21-05-2020

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    • SECTION 1 - TEN NEWS HEADLINES
  1. Natural Disasters – Amphan batters West Bengal, Odisha – Three persons were killed as super cyclonic storm Amphan made landfall near Sagar Islands in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, while a baby died in Bhadrak district of Odisha and a woman drowned in Kendrapara. Thousands of kutcha houses in the coastal parts of West Bengal were damaged. Embankments were breached in the low-level areas because of the massive storm surge. Preliminary reports said one person each died in Minakha and Basirhat of North 24 Parganas district and a third in Howrah.
  2. COVID-19 Updates – Domestic flights to resume on May 25 – Domestic flights across the country will resume on May 25 after a two-month ban. The government will also cap airfares for different routes. The Ministry of Civil Aviation will meet officials of airlines to finalise modalities. Domestic flights have been grounded since March 25 after the government banned air travel to check the spread of COVID-19. A decision on international flights is likely to take time.
  3. Environment and Ecology – Locusts cross Thar desert to invade 16 districts in Rajasthan – The invasion of locusts had started from the India-Pakistan border on April 11 and they have now crossed the Thar desert and affected 16 of the 33 districts in Rajasthan, taking advantage of favourable wind conditions with the onset of summer. Locust swarms have travelled far in search of food because of lack of vegetation in the agricultural fields after the rabi crop harvest. State Agriculture Minister Lal Chand Kataria described the locust attack as the biggest threat in the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown, while giving instructions for controlling the spread of insects with the cooperation of farmers and through effective surveys.
  4. COVID-19 Updates - U.K. trial to test efficacy of five drugs – With a range of approved drugs now being tested on COVID-19 patients, there is no clarity on which one will turn out to be more effective in treatment compared with the standard hospital care that all patients receive. A recovery trial aims to study the effectiveness of four different drugs and anti-inflammatory drug tocilizumab for those with worsening clinical symptoms. The recovery trial, coordinated by the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford, will randomise patients to receive either standard of care or one of the four approved drugs. The drugs being tested are HIV drugs Lopinavir (400 mg)-Ritonavir (100 mg), anti-inflammatory corticosteroid (dexamethasone), anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and antibiotic azithromycin (500 mg).
  5. Indian Economy – Cabinet approves ₹3 lakh crore funding for MSMEs  – The Union Cabinet approved additional funding of up to Rs. 3 lakh crore to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) that was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman last week as part of the Rs. 20 lakh crore economic package. Under the scheme, 100% guarantee coverage will be provided by National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Limited (NCGTC) to eligible MSMEs and interested borrowers of the MUDRA scheme, in the form of a Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL) facility, the government said.
  6. Middle East - Israel’s annexation plan has derailed Oslo accord - Abbas – Raising the stakes over Israel’s drive to annex land the Palestinians have long claimed, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority angrily declared it free of its commitments under the Oslo peace process, including security understandings that have protected Israelis and preserved the authority’s political hold over the occupied West Bank. For a change, several senior Palestinian officials insisted, Mr. Abbas was not making a mere threat.
  7. Middle East - Israel and Iran take their battle online – Israel was behind a cyberattack on May 9 that disrupted operations at a major port in Iran, according to high-ranking intelligence officials and experts in West Asia who are kept informed of covert Israeli actions in the region. The attack on the computer systems at the Shahid Rajaee port in the strategically important Strait of Hormuz was limited in scope, creating traffic jams of delivery trucks and some delays in shipments but causing no substantial or lasting damage.
  8. Indian Economy – Cabinet okays NBFC liquidity plan – The Union Cabinet approved a Rs. 30,000-crore special liquidity scheme for non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and housing finance companies aimed at improving the cash position of these entities. A special purpose vehicle (SPV) would be set up by a public sector bank to manage a Stressed Asset Fund (SAF) whose special securities would be guaranteed by the Government of India and purchased by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) only. The proceeds of sale of such securities would be used by the SPV to acquire short-term debt of NBFCs/HFCs. The scheme will be administered by the Department of Financial Services, which will issue the detailed guidelines.
  9. International Relations – Military, diplomatic talks on with China to end stand-off – India is trying to resolve the ongoing troop confrontation with China in some stretches along the unresolved border in eastern Ladakh as well as Sikkim, which has become the most serious since the major Doklam face-off in 2017, through both military and diplomatic channels. Sources on Wednesday said “flag meetings” and “military hotline talks” are being held at multiple-levels with the field commanders of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to de-escalate the heightened tensions and rival troop build-ups along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  10. Sri Lankan Army war crimes issue – Ayushman Bharat scales 1-crore treatments mark – Over one crore treatments worth Rs 13,412crore were provided under Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme since its launch in September 2018, even as hospitalisation was heavily impacted during April and May due to the lockdown amid the pandemic. The landmark saw PM Modi tweeting his interaction with Pooja Thapa from Meghalaya, who was beneficiary no. 1 crore. He also thanked medical personnel and hospitals which have been a part of the staterun insurance scheme that supports the poor. The scheme – which has a significant acceptance in the private sector – has made strides in providing testing and treatment to Covid patients.
Important Exam Notifications
S. No.
Institution
Exam or Post Name
Vacancies or Seats
Qualification
Last Date to Apply
Link for Details
1
AIIMS, Bhopal
Blood Transfusion Officer, Dy Med. Super.
15
Degree, PG
- -
2
Western Railway
CMP-GDMO, CMP Specialist, Hemodialysis
177
Matric, Diploma, MBBS, PG Deg
May 24, 2020
3
I. Gandhi Krishi Vishwa Vidya.
Laboratory Technician, Asst, Observer Extension Officer
36
12th Class, Degree
June 30, 2020
4
RDD, Jharkhand
Block Coordinator, Accountant cum Computer Operator
10
Diploma, Degree
June 5, 2020
5
East Coast Railway  
Nursing Superintendent
561
Matriculation, Diploma, Degree
May 22, 2020
6
Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hosp
Sr Resident
48
PG
May 26 and 27, 2020
7
VMMC & Safdarjung Hosp
Senior Resident
178
MD/ DNB
May 26, 2020
 

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    • SECTION 2 - DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS
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    • 1. CONSTITUTION AND LAW (Prelims, GS Paper 2, Essay paper)
1.1 PIL in the SC seeking a ban on usage of the software application "Zoom" by Indian public until formulation of an appropriate legislation

  • The petition primarily rests on the lack of internet safety of the app and states that application is not safe and does not have end-to-end encryption and is violating the information technology act 2000 and Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009.
  • The plea contends that Zoom software application poses a threat to privacy of the individuals using it and also breaches cyber security and avers that the CEO of ZoomVideo Communications has already "apologised publicly and accepted the app to be faulty in terms of providing a secure environment digitally which is against the norms of cyber security".
  • The petitioner Harsh Chugh has filed the instant plea, stating that being a homemaker and remote worker (takes tuition classes through Zoom), he is concerned about cases of hacking and cyber breaches, which are being incessantly reported.
  • The petitioner has averred that "the Zoom App practices data hoarding and cyber hoarding", issues of unauthorised access such as "zoombombing" where a stranger to the meeting joins the Zoom meeting and causes disorder by saying offensive things/ pornographic images have also come to light.
  • Issues of Zoom's false advertising of "end to end encryption" & its incessant capitalisation on the ongoing pandemic have been emphasised by the petitioner and also highlights the Cyber Coordination Committee's public advisory regarding the safety concerns surrounding the software/app.
  • In this backdrop, the plea further states the need for a legislation to be put in place in order to effectuate a standard regulation to safeguard the rights of citizens as has been brought to light by various leaders across the world. Keeping this averment in mind, the plea lays down the discourse pertaining to the "patterns of security failures and privacy infringements" across the world.
  • The petition has been drawn by Advocates Divye Chugh & Nimish Chib & has been filed by Advocate Wajeeh Shafiq.
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          • 2. ECONOMY (Prelims, GS Paper 3, Essay paper
        2.1 Government approves methodology for auction of coal blocks for commercial mining on revenue sharing basis

        • The government approved a methodology for the auction of coal blocks for commercial mining on revenue sharing basis and increasing the tenure of coking coal linkage.
        • The move would end the monopoly of state-run Coal India in commercial production of the dry fuel.
        • With the development, the coal mining sector has been completely opened for the private sector with no-end use restrictions for participating in coal mine auctions.
        • There would be free trade of coal as producer can use, sell or export coal without restriction.
        • Coal mines will be put for auction on the basis of revenue share instead of the regime of fixed rupee/tonne.
        • This methodology provides that bid parameter will be revenue share.
        •  The bidders would be required to bid for a percentage share of revenue payable to the Government.
        • The floor price shall be 4 per cent of the revenue share.
        • Bids would be accepted in multiples of 0.5 per cent of the revenue share till the percentage of revenue share is up to 10 per cent and thereafter bids would be accepted in multiples of 0.25 per cent of the revenue share.
        • The revenue sharing model is based on recommendations of an expert committee headed by former Central Vigilance Commissioner Pratyush Sinha that was formed after fourth and fifth rounds of auctions received a tepid response.
        • There shall be no restriction on the sale and/or utilisation of coal from the coal mine.
        • The methodology is oriented to make maximum coal available in the market at the earliest and it also enables adequate competition which will allow discovery of market prices for the blocks and faster development of coal blocks.
        • The successful bidder shall be required to make monthly payments which shall be determined as product of "percentage of revenue share (final bid), quantity of coal on which the statutory royalty is payable during the month and notional price or actual price whichever is higher.
        • The upfront amount shall be payable in four equal instalments.
        • The upfront amount will be 0.25 per cent of the of value of geological reserve for mines up to 200 million tonnes of GR with upper ceiling of Rs 100 crore and 0.25 per cent of value of geological reserve for mines with GR greater that 200 million tonnes with upper ceiling of Rs 500 crore.
        • The CCEA also approved commercial exploitation of the coal-bed methane (CBM) present in the mining lease area.
        • This methodology provides incentives to the successful bidder by way of offering rebates in revenue share in events of early production of coal rom the block and the total quantity of dry-fuel consumed or sold or both for gasification or liquefaction on an yearly basis from the coal mine.
        • As the entire revenue from the auction/allotment of coal mines would accrue to the coal bearing States, this methodology will incentivise them with increased revenues which can be utilised for the growth and development of backward areas and their inhabitants including tribals.
        • States in eastern part of the country will be especially benefited.
        • The tenure of coking coal linkage in the non-regulated sector linkage auction has been increased up to 30 years.
        • Higher investment will create direct and indirect employment in coal bearing areas especially in mining sector and will have an impact on economic development of these regions.

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

            3.1 Reduction in worldwide Carbon emissions


            • The International Energy Agency (IEA) released Global Energy Review: 2020 with details on the effects of the pandemic on global energy demand and carbon emissions.
            • In India, the nationwide lockdown led to minimal air pollution and improved the air quality.
            • Carbon emissions were 5% lower than during the same time in 2019.
            • Decline was noticed in coal emissions (8%), oil emissions (4.5%) and natural gas emissions (2.3%) as well.
            • Emissions declined the most in regions which were impacted the highest by the disease.
            • For example, there was an 8% decline in emissions in China and Europe, and a 9% decline in the USA.
            • Countries in full lockdown are seeing an average decline of 25% in energy demand per week, while in those with a partial lockdown, the fall in energy demand is about 18% per week.
            • Global energy demands have lowered due to the lockdowns and restricted road and air travel.
            • In the first quarter of 2020, most carbon-intensive fuels saw the biggest fall in demand.
            • It led to the decline in carbon emissions which was more than the fall in global energy demand.
            • Commercial demand for energy has fallen as people are confined to their homes. However, domestic electricity demand has increased.
            • This temporary decline in carbon emissions will not slow down climate change as it is a cumulative problem and a drop from one single year will basically make no difference at all.
            • A 5% drop is equivalent to 0.001 degree Celsius less warming.
            • Center for International Climate and Environmental Research - It is Norway’s foremost institute for interdisciplinary climate research. It has played an active role in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), since 1992. CICERO has a national role in promoting knowledge about climate change and is internationally recognised as a driving force for innovative climate communication.
            • International Energy Agency - It is an autonomous organisation which works to ensure reliable, affordable, and clean energy. It was established in 1974, in the wake of the oil crisis of 1973 after the OPEC cartel had shocked the world with a steep increase in oil prices. It is headquartered in Paris, France. It releases the World Energy Outlook report, annually. India became its associate member in 2017.
            • The reduced emissions are not something to celebrate as it is expected that emissions will soar once economies restart. The only way to sustain the reduced emissions is governments taking conscious decisions to change the sources of energy like moving towards renewable energy sources.

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

            4.1 India-Nepal Border Issue

            • Nepal launched new map including Lipulekh, Kalapani, Limpiyadhura (belonging to India) as its territory.
            • Kalapani is claimed by India as part of Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district while Nepal claims it as part of its Dharchula district.
            • The Lipulekh pass is a far western point near Kalapani.
            • In October 2019, India had issued a new political map incorporating Kalapani and Lipulekh on its side of the border.
            • India and Nepal seem headed for a diplomat showdown.
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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 - Corporates

                          • Four companies deleted from MSCI India Index; five added - Four companies have been removed from the MSCI India Index, while there have been five additions. Ashok Leyland, Tata Power Company, Shriram Transport Finance Company and Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services have been deleted from the MSCI India Index. The five additions to the MSCI India Index are Biocon, Indraprastha Gas Limited, Jubilant Foodworks, Tata Consumer Products and Torrent Pharmaceuticals. The changes in constituents for the MSCI Global Standard Indexes will take place as of the close of May 29, 2020. MSCI Global Standard Index is widely used by global fund houses for benchmarking global equities portfolios.
                          • TVS Group, IIT-Madras develop respiratory assist device ‘Sundaram Ventago’ - An automated respiratory assist device named ‘Sundaram Ventago’ that will be useful in remote and rural areas where ventilator facilities are not available has been developed jointly by TVS Group, Sundaram Medical Foundation and IIT-Madras.
                          • General Atlantic picks up 1.34% stake in Jio Platforms for Rs 6,598 crore - Reliance Industries (RIL) on May 17, 2020 announced selling 1.34 per cent stake in its digital services subsidiary, Jio Platforms, to private equity (PE) firm General Atlantic for Rs 6,598.38 crore to accelerate consumer business and cut debt.
                          • Microsoft introduces Back2Business solution boxes for SMBs in India - Microsoft has announced the launch of Back2Business solution boxes for helping Indian small and medium businesses (SMBs) "maintain business continuity and embark on their cloud adoption journeys". Curated for specific scenarios in different organisation sizes, they bring together offerings across 'Azure' and 'Modern Workplace', the company said in a statement.
                          • Spotify inks licensing deal with Saregama for India market - Music streaming service Spotify on May 11, 2020 said it has signed a licensing partnership with Saregama for the India market. The partnership will enable Spotify users in India to access Saregama's entire catalogue that spans across film, Carnatic, Hindustani classical and devotional music in over 25 languages.
                          • TCS iON launches remote internships product to connect students with industry mentors - TCS iON, a unit of IT services major Tata Consultancy Services, launched 'Remote Internships', a digital internship product to connect students directly with corporates and industry mentors. The product will provide a structured learning environment to execute the internship projects remotely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
                          • WTO DG Roberto Azevedo to step down one-year before the end of his term - WTO (World Trade Organization) Director General Roberto Azevedo on May 15, 2020 said that he will step down on August 31. The former Brazilian diplomat will leave his post a year before his 8-year term expires.
                          • Rajesh Goel appointed Director General of NAREDCO - Realtors body National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) has appointed Rajesh Goel as director general (DG) of the association. NAREDCO and CREDAI are the two major associations of real estate developers across the country.
                          • Hinduja and Reuben brothers share 2nd spot in UK’s 'The Sunday Times Rich List 2020' - Two sets of Indian-origin siblings dominate the annual tally of Britain's wealthiest as the Hinduja and Reuben brothers share the second spot with a fortune of 16 billion pounds each, while British inventor-entrepreneur James Dyson tops 'The Sunday Times Rich List 2020' with 16.2 billion pounds. Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja, who run the Hinduja Group of companies, lost 6 billion pounds to slip from the top slot in last year's list. Mumbai-born David and Simon Reuben lost 2.66 billion pounds over the past year, but their second position in the tally remains unchanged from 2019.

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                                • 7. POLITY (Prelims, GS Paper 2)
                              7.1 J&K Domicile Rules Notified
                              • J&K administration notified the J&K grant of domicile certificate procedure rules 2020 
                              • A fast-track process set in motion to issue the certificates within a stipulated time of 15 days.
                              • The new process will allow West Pakistan refugees, sanitation workers and children of women who married non-locals to apply for jobs in J&K.
                              • Central govt. officials who have served in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir for a total period of ten years, are eligible for the certificate.
                              • Children who can produce Class 10 or Class 12 certificate from any J&K school will also be eligible for domicile certificates.

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

                                    8.1 World Health Assembly (WHA)


                                    • World Health Assembly (WHA) being held virtually in Geneva on May 18-19.
                                    • China’s President Xi Jinping announces USD 2 billion fund to help countries fight COVID-19.
                                    • WHA is the decision-making body of the Geneva-based World Health Organisation.  
                                    • India backed a European Union resolution seeking a probe into the response of WHO during the worldwide coronavirus crisis.
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                                          • 9. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (Prelims, GS Paper 3)
                                        9.1 Not Available Today

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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 -
                                                        • Noted Kannada poet K. S. Nissar Ahmed died on May 3, 2020 at the age of 84.
                                                        • CSIR’s National Aerospace Laboratories has developed ‘Personal Protective Coverall Suit’ for healthcare workers combating COVID-19.
                                                        • The Supreme Court recently allowed the sale of BS IV compliant vehicles for 10 days after the on-going countrywide lockdown is over the coronavirus pandemic is lifted.
                                                        • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced Perseverance as the official name of its Mars 2020 rover.
                                                        • In agriculture the term FPO stands for Farmer Produce Organisations.
                                                        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 - 21-05-2020
                                                        Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 21-05-2020
                                                        Useful compilation of Civil Services oriented - Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 21-05-2020
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