Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 24-07-2020


Useful compilation of Civil Services oriented - Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 24-07-2020


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  1. COVID-19 – Covid deaths cross 30k with record spike of 750 on Thurs Deaths from the Covid-19 pandemic in the country crossed 30,000 and India’s toll rose to the sixth highest in the world on Thursday (July 23), even as fresh cases surged to another new high, crossing 48,000 for the first time. At 750, fatalities on Thursday were also the highest recorded in a single day so far. India’s Covid-19 death toll has risen by more than 5,000 in the last seven days, having crossed the 25,000 mark exactly a week ago. By contrast, it had taken 10 days for the count to hit 25,000 from the 20,000 mark, and 11 days to rise from 15,000 to 20,000.
  2. Economy – After FDI, Chinese cos now face curbs in getting govt contractsIn a significant escalation of tension with China, the Centre has changed rules to enable curbs on bidders from countries that share a land border with India “on the grounds of defence and national security”. Though the order does not name any country—as in the the April 17 order that blocked FDI through the automatic route from the same set of neighbours—it is clearly aimed at scrutinising and imposing curbs on Chinese investments and partnerships in Indian projects. The new rules seek to block supply of stationery, turbines and telecom equipment as well as award of road and power contracts to companies that have a link with China.
  3. Defence – Finally, order out on PC for women in ArmyThe defence ministry has finally issued the formal order to grant permanent commission (PC) to women officers in eight more branches of the Army, in accordance with the SC directive in February, which will “empower them to shoulder larger roles” in the 13-lakh strong force. The “government sanction letter” specifies that women short-service commission (SSC) officers will be granted PC — if found eligible by a selection board — in Army Air Defence (AAD), Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), Army Service Corps (ASC), Army Ordnance Corps (AOC), and Intelligence Corps. They are already eligible for PC in the Judge and Advocate General (JAG) and Army Educational Corps (AEC) branches.  Women number just over 1,600 in the 43,000-strong officer cadre in the Army. The military brass for long opposed PC and command roles for women due to “operational, practical and cultural problems” but had to relent after the court directive to end gender bias in the force.
  4. Arts & Culture – Pakistan opens 200-year-old gurdwara after seven decades An over 200-yearold historical gurdwara at Quetta in Pakistan’s Balochistan province was handed over to the Sikh community on Thursday (July 23) by the provincial government. After Partition, the gurdwara building was converted into a government girls’ school, which was still running, but now the students would be shifted to other schools. This has come five months after the Balochistan government returned a 200-year-old temple to the Hindu community and has raised hopes of the remaining gurdwaras in the province being handed over to the Sikh community.
  5. COVID-19 – Israeli scientists to work with Indians on 30-sec Covid testsIndia and Israel will work together to develop a set of new generation Covid-19 tests that aim to bring the entire testing process down to a few seconds, be widely available, and ultimately help open economies. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, these breakthrough technologies will be tested in India, and if successful, be manufactured in India and marketed jointly by India and Israel to the world. A flight will be dispatched from Israel in the coming week which will include Israeli military R&D scientists and tech specialists who will work with an Indian team under the Prime Minister’s principal scientific adviser K Vijayaraghavan at AIIMS for about two weeks.
  6. Science & Technology – China launches first Mars mission – China has successfully launched its first Mars probe, aiming to complete orbiting, landing and roving in a single mission, taking an ambitious step towards planetary exploration of the solar system. A Long March-5 rocket, China’s largest and most powerful launch vehicle, carrying the spacecraft with a mass of about five tonnes, soared into the sky from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of southern China’s island province of Hainan. China aims to catch up with India, the US, Russia and the European Union to reach the red planet. The Chinese Mars probe named Tianwen 1 or Quest for Heavenly Truth 1, will fulfil three scientific objectives: orbiting the red planet for comprehensive observation, landing on Martian soil and sending a rover to roam the landing site.
  7. Economy – India, Thailand top sources for tiger ‘cake, wine’: UNTiger wine goes for $1,000 a pop. Tiger cake, sold like chocolate bars, fetches the same. The illegal trade in tiger parts has moved on from just medicinal pitches to luxury items. And India is one of the two biggest suppliers. Between 2007 and 2018, two-thirds of all wildlife seizures globally were of tiger bones. Thailand and India are the main source countries for these seizures. The ones in Thailand came from farmed animals illegal tiger farms breed them in captivity — while those in India were from the wild. Of the 155 cases in which the nationality of tiger traffickers could be determined, 18% were Indian, only behind Chinese (29%).
  8. COVID-19 – US tops 4 million coronavirus cases Confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States reached more than 4 million on Thursday (July 23). Deaths in the US now number 143,000. COVID-19 has rapidly spread across the globe. Worldwide, there are now 15.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 625,000 deaths. Brazil has the second-highest number of cases, at 2.2 million, followed by India at 1.2 million, Russia at 793,000, South Africa at 394,000 and Mexico at 370,000.
  9. COVID-19 – Independence Day event scaled down The Independence Day celebrations at Red Fort will be limited to the PM’s speech, a 21-gun salute, unfurling of the national flag, the national anthem and release of tri-colour balloons “keeping in view the limitations and precautionary steps” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry suggest inviting COVID-19 warriors such as doctors, health workers, sanitation workers as a recognition of their noble service.
  10. Education – NITs, centrally-funded institutes to drop Class 12 marks criteria: HRDUnion HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has said the Central Seat Allocation Board has decided to drop the Class 12 marks criteria for admission to undergraduate courses in National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and all other centrally funded technical institutions this year due to the ongoing battle against coronavirus pandemic. Pokhriyal said apart from qualifying JEE Main, the eligibility is to secure a minimum of 75 per cent marks in Class 12 Boards exams or rank among the top 20 percentile in their qualifying examinations. JEE Main 2020 qualified candidates will now only need to obtain a passing certificate in class XII examination irrespective of the marks obtained. Due to the partial cancellation of class XII exams by several Boards, Joint Admission Board (JAB) has decided to relax the eligibility criterion for JEE (Advanced), 2020 qualified candidates, this time.
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    • 1. CONSTITUTION AND LAW (Prelims, GS Paper 2, Essay paper)
1.1 Not Available Today
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                • 2. ECONOMY (Prelims, GS Paper 3, Essay paper
              2.1 CBDT, CBIC sign pact to share data regularly

              • Key points –
              1. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) have signed a memorandum of understanding for data exchange between the two organisations.
              • Highlights - 
              1. The MoU will facilitate the sharing of data and information between CBDT and CBIC on an automatic and regular basis.
              2. In addition, both organisations will also exchange any information available in their respective databases which may have utility for other organisations.
              3. The MoU supersedes the one signed in 2015.
              4. Significant developments have taken place since then including the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST), incorporation of GST Network and change in the nomenclature of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) to the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs.
              5. A Data Exchange Steering Group has also been constituted which will meet periodically to review the data exchange status and take steps to further improve the effectiveness of data sharing mechanism.
              2.2 Other important news
              1. IRDAI allows Corona Kavach policy to be sold as group health insurance.
              2. Sumit Deb appointed CMD of NMDC (National Mineral Development Corporation). 
              3. Govt. extends work-from-home exemption for IT & ITeS industry till December 31, 2020
              4. NPCI launches UPI AutoPay feature for recurring payments
              5. Union MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari launches mentoring platform www.restartindia.in conceptualised by Muthoot Fincorp and INKtalks
              6. Shamalbhai Patel unanimously elected new chairman of Amu brand owner GCMMF (Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation)
              7. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal participates in the 10th BRICS Trade Ministers virtual meeting.

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

                                          3.1 UK PM launches Jet Zero Council to cut airline emissions
                                          • Key point –
                                          1. Boris Johnson marked his one year in office as the UK Prime Minister with a new Jet Zero Council to tackle aviation emissions as part of a wider 350-million pound plan to step up efforts to tackle climate change.
                                          • Highlights –
                                          1. The multimillion-pound investment package will drive forward progress on the UK's target to reach net-zero by 2050, by helping businesses to decarbonize across the heavy industry, construction, space, and transport sectors and to secure the UK's place at the forefront of green innovation.
                                          2. The Jet Zero Council will bring together the government, environment sector, and aviation and aerospace industry experts to work towards an ambition of the first-ever zero-emission long-haul passenger plane.
                                          3. Over the past decade, the UK has cut carbon emissions by more than any similarly developed country.
                                          4. In 2019, UK emissions were 42 percent lower than in 1990, while the economy over the same period grew by 72 percent.
                                          5. The projects set to receive funding under the plan will work on developing new technologies that could help companies switch to more energy-efficient means of production, use data more effectively to tackle the impacts of climate change and help support the creation of new green jobs by driving innovation and growth in UK industries.
                                          6. The UK now has a huge opportunity to cement its place at the vanguard of green innovation, setting an example worldwide while growing the economy and creating new jobs.

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

                                                4.1 Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan to hold more talks on Renaissance dam

                                                • Key points –
                                                1. Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan have agreed to resume talks to break a deadlock on the Grand Renaissance Dam reservoir on the Blue Nile.
                                                2. Egypt and Sudan view the dam as a threat to vital water supplies, while Ethiopia considers it essential for its electrification and development.
                                                3. Ethiopia, which says it needs the dam to generate electricity for its people, has already achieved the first year of filling its dam due to the rainfall season in the area.
                                                • Important details - 
                                                1. Sudan and Egypt both fear the $4 billion hydroelectric dam could lead to water shortages in their own countries.
                                                2. The project has raised concerns in Egypt that already limited Nile waters will be further restricted.
                                                3. The Blue Nile is a tributary of the Nile from which Egypt gets 90% of its fresh water.
                                                4. Ethiopia says the colossal dam offers a critical opportunity to pull millions of its nearly 110 million citizens out of poverty and become a major power exporter.
                                                5. Downstream Egypt, which depends on the Nile to supply its farmers and booming population of 100 million with fresh water, asserts that the dam poses an existential threat.
                                                  4.2 Other  important news
                                                  • Indian diplomat Gaurav Ahluwalia meets Kulbhushan Jadhav
                                                  • Britain suspends its extradition arrangements with Hong Kong  
                                                  • India, Maldives sign agreement for establishment of ‘Emergency Medical Services’ in Male
                                                  • First trial containership from Kolkata named ‘MV Shejyoti’ arrives in Bangladesh’s Chattogram port 
                                                  • U.S. adds 11 Chinese companies to economic blacklist over treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang province. 
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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

                                                                                    • Reliance Jio and Google to jointly develop affordable 4G, 5G smartphones - Reliance Jio has entered into a commercial pact with Google to jointly develop entry-level affordable 4G and possibly 5G smartphones in the future with an aim to make India ‘2G-mukt’ or free of 2G technology. Under the partnership, Google will provide optimisations to its Android operating system and the Play Store for smartphones that Jio will launch in the market, the two firms said on July 15, 2020.
                                                                                    • Google to pick 7.7% stake in Reliance Industries’ Jio Platforms - Google has agreed to invest ₹33,737 crore to buy a 7.7% stake in Jio Platforms of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL). With this deal, Mukesh Ambani’s RIL has sold 32.84% stake in Jio Platforms Ltd - the unit that houses India’s largest telecom firm Jio Infocomm and apps.
                                                                                    • Google announces launch of $10 billion India Digitization Fund - Internet giant Google on July 13, 2020 launched the Google for India Digitization Fund with a commitment to invest ₹75,000 crore (approximately $10 billion) over the next 5-7 years towards digitizing the Indian economy. The fund will be deployed to accelerate Google’s efforts through a mix of equity investments, partnerships, operations, infrastructure, and ecosystem investments, Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google and Alphabet said.
                                                                                    • Amazon India launches skill development programme - Amazon India on July 14, 2020 said it has launched a skilling programme under the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) across its warehouses in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The initiative has been launched with a pilot program for 1,000 apprentices, and will be scaled further.
                                                                                    • GoAir launches ‘quarantine packages’ for passengers - Budget carrier GoAir on July 16, 2020 announced the introduction of various ‘quarantine packages’ offering a range of hotels to passengers at a starting price of Rs 1,400 per person per night for the quarantine period. The packages, the first of its kind by an airline in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic, can be availed through GoAir’s holiday package website, the Wadia group-promoted airline said.
                                                                                    • Shiv Nadar retires, daughter Roshni becomes HCL Technologies chairperson - Roshni Nadar Malhotra (38) was appointed the chairperson of HCL Technologies, the IT services company said on July 17, 2020. She replaces her father Shiv Nadar, who would continue as managing director and hold the designation of Chief Strategy Officer. Roshni runs the company’s philanthropic arm and she is also the founder and trustee of The Habitats Trust, a foundation working towards protecting habitats and their indigenous species.

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                                                                                                  • 7. POLITY (Prelims, GS Paper 2)
                                                                                                7.1 Kakrapar atomic plant achieves critically, PM calls it trailblazer for future achievements

                                                                                                • Kakrapar Atomic Power Plant -
                                                                                                1. KAPP-3 is India’s first 700 MWe unit, and the biggest indigenously developed variant of the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR).
                                                                                                2. More of this kind is set to follow – KAPP-4 is in the works already – in the future.
                                                                                                3. The 700 MW power plant in Gujarat achieved criticality, meaning it reached the normal operating condition of a reactor. It indicates that the plant is now set to generate power.
                                                                                                • Why is this achievement significant:
                                                                                                1. This indigenously designed 700 MWe KAPP-3 reactor is a shining example of Make in India.
                                                                                                2. PM Modi said this development was a “trailblazer” for similar achievements in the future within the prism of self-reliance.
                                                                                                • PHWRs –
                                                                                                1. The PHWR is a type of nuclear reactor that uses heavy water, or deuterium oxide, as coolant and moderator. The reactor is fuelled by natural uranium.
                                                                                                2. PHWRs were developed in Canada, which drew experience from working with wartime allied countries in the 1940s.
                                                                                                3. It was known as CANDU. In 1956, Canada supplied a 40 MW CANDU reactor to India and the United States supplied the heavy water for it.
                                                                                                4. India’s first PHWRs were built in Rajasthan with the help of the Canadians, who had supplied all the main equipment. Rajasthan Atomic Power Station’s 220 MW reactor RAPS-1 was the first.
                                                                                                5. More of the Indian hand in equipment was found in building RAPS-2. After Pokhran-1 in 1974, the Canadians withdrew support and India had to take matters in its own hands, which it did.
                                                                                                6. Ever since, India has invested in the design and development of these reactors, thanks to the work of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Nuclear Power Corporation with the help of industry partners.
                                                                                                7. They have been able to move up capacity from 100 MW, 200 MW, 220 MW, and 540 MW before reaching 700 MW.
                                                                                                8. India’s KAPP-3 unit is of the Mark V-type category in the progress of its PHWR design.

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

                                                                                                                      8.1 HRD Ministry conducts first Indian Scholastic Assessment (Ind-SAT) Test 2020 under its Study in India programme; close to 5000 foreign students appeared.
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                                                                                                                                        • 9. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (Prelims, GS Paper 3)
                                                                                                                                      9.1 Australia’s Monash University develops new blood test to coronavirus in 20 minutes

                                                                                                                                      •  Key points - 
                                                                                                                                      1. Researchers at the Monash University in Melbourne have developed a new blood test that they say can detect positive coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in just about 20 minutes and identify if someone has contracted the novel virus, a finding that could assist the world to mitigate the coronavirus spread through robust contact-tracing.
                                                                                                                                      2. While the current swab/PCR tests are used to identify people who are currently positive with COVID-19, the agglutination assay can determine whether someone had been recently infected once the infection is resolved — and could potentially be used to detect antibodies raised in response to vaccination to aid clinical trials.
                                                                                                                                      • What does the study say – 
                                                                                                                                      1. Researchers at the university developed the simple agglutination assay, an analysis to determine the presence and amount of a substance in blood to detect the presence of antibodies raised in response to the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
                                                                                                                                      2. As part of the research, the team of researchers were able to identify recent COVID-19 cases using 25 microlitres of plasma from blood samples.
                                                                                                                                      3. Positive COVID-19 cases caused an agglutination or a clustering of red blood cells, which was easily identifiable to the naked eye.
                                                                                                                                      4. The study findings could help high-risk countries with population screening, case identification, contact-tracing, confirming vaccine efficacy during clinical trials and vaccine distribution.
                                                                                                                                      5. A patent for the innovation has been filed and the researchers are seeking commercial and government support to scale up production.

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                                                                                                                                                              • 10. FACTS, CHARTS, RANKINGS and EDITORIALS (Prelims + GS Mains)
                                                                                                                                                            10.1 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report by UN
                                                                                                                                                            • Key points -  
                                                                                                                                                            1. Hunger and malnutrition is increasing around the world. 
                                                                                                                                                            2. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (2) of ‘Zero Hunger’ by 2030 will be very difficult.
                                                                                                                                                            3. Report is produced jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
                                                                                                                                                            4. The study estimates that almost 690 million people went hungry in 2019 – up by 10 million from 2018, and by nearly 60 million in five years (2014-2019).
                                                                                                                                                            5. There has been no change in the hunger trend since 2000, After steadily diminishing for decades, chronic hunger slowly began to rise in 2014 and continues to do so.
                                                                                                                                                            6. Asia remains home to the greatest number of hunger (381 million). Africa is second (250 million), followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (combined 48 million).
                                                                                                                                                            7. The rate of undernourishment (hunger) in Africa is double compared to Asia and it is expected that by 2030, Africa will be home to more than half of the world’s chronically hungry.
                                                                                                                                                            8. The Covid-19 pandemic could also push over 130 million more people into chronic hunger by the end of 2020.
                                                                                                                                                            9. Nearly a third of children under five (191 million) were stunted (too short) or wasted (too thin). Another 38 million under-fives were overweight.
                                                                                                                                                            • Causes -  
                                                                                                                                                            1. High costs and low affordability.
                                                                                                                                                            2. 3 billion people or more cannot afford a healthy diet.
                                                                                                                                                            3. In sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia, this is the case for 57% of the population.
                                                                                                                                                            4. A healthy diet costs far more than US $ 1.90/day, which is the international poverty threshold.
                                                                                                                                                            5. It puts the price of even the least expensive healthy diet at five times the price of filling stomachs with starch only.
                                                                                                                                                            • Possible solutions - 
                                                                                                                                                            1. A global switch to healthy diets.
                                                                                                                                                            2. Transformation of food systems.
                                                                                                                                                            3. Govts to mainstream nutrition in their approaches to agriculture.
                                                                                                                                                            4. Govts to cut cost-escalating factors in the production, storage, transport. distribution and marketing of food.
                                                                                                                                                            5. Support local small-scale producers to grow and sell more nutritious foods and secure their access to markets.
                                                                                                                                                            6. Prioritize children’s nutrition as the category in greatest need.
                                                                                                                                                            7. Behaviour change through education and communication.
                                                                                                                                                            • The road ahead - 
                                                                                                                                                            1. This study is a wake up call for the government in particular and society in general. Innovative strategies such as shifting towards Smart Food (high in nutritious) is the need of the hour.
                                                                                                                                                            10.2 Daily dose of  FIVE Facts -
                                                                                                                                                            • According to the latest World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), world’s largest seizure of heroin at 25 tonnes in 2018 was reported from Iran.
                                                                                                                                                            • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has reconstituted a committee to look into the welfare of freedom fighters which will be chaired by G. Kishan Reddy.
                                                                                                                                                            • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in May 2020 said the central government has launched a scheme for 100% solarisation of the Konark temple.
                                                                                                                                                            • Chairman of the Textbook Development Committee for Social Science of the NCERT from 2005, Mr. Hari Shankar Vasudevan passed away at the age of 68 in Kolkata in May 2020.
                                                                                                                                                            • PAHAL is Partnerships for Affordable Healthcare Access and Longevity.
                                                                                                                                                            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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मध्यकालीन इतिहास,47,भारत का स्वतंत्रता संघर्ष,19,भारत में कला वास्तुकला एवं साहित्य,11,भारत में शासन,18,भारतीय कृषि एवं संबंधित मुद्दें,10,भारतीय संविधान,14,महत्वपूर्ण हस्तियां,6,यूपीएससी मुख्य परीक्षा,90,यूपीएससी मुख्य परीक्षा जीएस,117,यूरोपीय,6,विश्व इतिहास की मुख्य घटनाएं,16,विश्व एवं भारतीय भूगोल,24,स्टडी मटेरियल,265,स्वतंत्रता-पश्चात् भारत,14,
                                                                                                                                                            PT's IAS Academy: Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 24-07-2020
                                                                                                                                                            Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 24-07-2020
                                                                                                                                                            Useful compilation of Civil Services oriented - Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 24-07-2020
                                                                                                                                                            PT's IAS Academy
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