Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 18-12-2020


Useful compilation of Civil Services oriented - Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 18-12-2020


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  1. Farmers protests – Consider putting new farm laws on hold, SC tells government – The SC asked the Centre to consider deferring the implementation of the contentious farm laws as a step towards resumption of dialogue with agri unions. Attorney general K. K. Venugopal’s said he would discuss this with the Centre. Solicitor general Tushar Mehta then said deferment was out of question. The bench told the SG not to put a spoke when the AG already said he would talk to the Centre. The Supreme Court also said that farmers have a constitutional right to continue with their “absolutely perfect” protest as long as their dissent against the controversial agricultural laws did not slip into violence. The court, however, said the purpose of the farmers would not be served if they continued to sit without engaging in talks.
  2. Covid-19 – Drop in cases continues as India gets closer to one crore mark – The downslide in Covid-19 cases across the states continued even as India inched closer to the mark of one crore total cases on Thursday (December 17) with 26,691 fresh infections taking the country’s caseload to 99,77,775. Fresh infections were lower by nearly 2,000 from Wednesday’s (December 16) tally of 28,465 and by nearly 3,000 cases compared to last Thursday. The decline was seen in fatalities, too, as 334 deaths were reported on Thursday compared to 357 the previous day. Casualties this week have remained below 400 on all days so far, in contrast to last week when it had crossed the 400-mark on four days. India’s cumulative toll reached 1,44,781 on Thursday (December 17). The slide in active cases continued for the 20th consecutive day and the tally now stands at 3,13,127.
  3. Polity & Governance – Centre in talks with industry for draft national broadcast policy – The ministry of information and broadcasting is in the process of coming up with a draft national broadcast policy and consultations on the animation, visual effects, gaming and comic (AVGC) policy will also be held soon. Officials also sought the industry’s support in getting infrastructure status to the broadcasting industry, and help from industry bodies like CII in conducting “good periodic surveys and research” on media consumption patterns.
  4. Polity & Governance – Airbag for passenger seat in front likely to be mandatory for all cars – The government will soon make it mandatory for all cars, including the economy models, to have air bag for the passenger side on the front seat. Air bag for the driver’s side is mandatory in all cars since July 1, 2019. The apex technical committee on vehicle standards has given the go-ahead to this proposal and the government has issued a draft notification to amend automotive industry standard (AIS) dealing with safety features. The current regulation mandating single air bag is inadequate since it leaves the co-passenger in the front seat vulnerable to serious injury, or even death, in case of a road crash. Features such as speed alert, reverse parking sensors and seat-belt reminder, which were low-cost inclusions, have been standard features in vehicles, but the crucial safety gear for passengers on the front seat - air bag - has not been made mandatory so far.
  5. Polity and Governance – State governments worry as Centre plans to trim schemes in upcoming Budget – As fiscal constraints and the need to allocate funds for Covid vaccination are pushing the Union government to rationalise and even discontinue some of the centrally sponsored as well as central sector schemes in the Budget-making process, Opposition states have raised concern over such a move. Currently, centrally sponsored schemes (CSS), at an allocation of Rs 3.4 tn, make up for about nine per cent of the Union Budget. In fact, the share of CSS allocation in total expenditure has come down from 10.4 per cent in 2016-17 to 9.1 per cent in 2021-22. In the case of central sector schemes, the share in total expenditure outlay has come down from 25.4 per cent in 2016-17 to 22.3 per cent in 2020-21. Earlier, there were nearly over 60 centrally sponsored schemes, but many of them were phased out after the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission were implemented.
  6. Science & Technology – Isro successfully launches satellite CMS-01 into orbit – Indian Space Research Organisation has marked the second successful mission of the year with its reliable workhorse PSLV-C50 placing the country’s 42nd communication satellite CMS-01precisely into its intended orbit. Isro’s next mission PSLV-C51 will unlock India’s potential in the space sector and initiate a new era of space reforms as it will launch three satellites built by private entities. Around 20 minutes and 12 seconds after the lift-off at 3.41pm, PSLV-C50 successfully placed CMS-01 into a sub-geosynchronous orbit.
  7. World – Top U.S. General meets Taliban negotiators in Doha – The top U.S. general held unannounced talks with Taliban peace negotiators in Doha to urge a reduction in violence across Afghanistan, even as senior American officials in Kabul warned that stepped-up Taliban attacks endanger the militant group’s nascent peace negotiations with the Afghan government. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met for about two hours with Taliban negotiators in Doha, Qatar, and flew to Kabul to discuss the peace process with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Gen. Milley’s meetings came amid a new drawdown of U.S. troops, although under the current U.S. policy, a complete pullout hinges on the Taliban reducing attacks nationwide.
  8. Covid-19 Updates – WHO to probe virus origins in China – A team of international investigators led by the World Health Organization (WHO) is likely to go to China in early January to study the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak, which first began in Wuhan, in southwestern Hubei province, late last year. How much access the team will have, and whether the visit comes too late, has become a point of contention. China has resisted calls for an independent international inquiry into the origins but has said it would be open to a WHO-led investigation even as the organisation has come under fire, particularly from the U.S., over its handling of the outbreak in the initial stages. A team of 12-15 experts will likely go to Wuhan to examine evidence.
  9. Economy – Sensex surges 224 points to finish at record peak; Nifty tops 13,700-mark – Rallying for the fifth consecutive session, equity benchmark Sensex jumped 224 points on Thursday to end at its fresh peak, tracking gains in index majors HDFC twins, TCS and Reliance Industries amid persistent foreign fund inflows and positive global cues. After touching its lifetime intra-day high of 46,992.57, the 30-share BSE index settled 223.88 points or 0.48 per cent higher at 46,890.34. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty rose 58 points or 0.42 per cent to a new closing high of 13,740.70. It hit a lifetime peak of 13,773.25 during the day. HDFC was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rising around 3 per cent, followed by Bajaj Finance, HDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank, PowerGrid, UltraTech Cement, TCS, Tech Mahindra and L&T.
  10. Economy – Fewer companies raised money via IPOs in 2020 – The number of companies that raised money through initial public offerings fell by half this year. However, the cumulative value of the announced offerings was nearly double that of 2019. High liquidity and robust interest from investors helped companies raise nearly Rs. 25,000 crore through initial share-sales this year so far and 2021 is expected to be equally strong for the IPO market. Adding to the depth of the IPO market, companies from diverse sectors like pharma, telecommunication, IT and financial services have made their way to the IPO space during the period under review. According to an analysis of data available with the stock exchanges, 12 initial public offerings (IPOs) in 2020 upto Nov. raised around Rs 25,000 crore, significantly higher than Rs 12,362 crore mopped up through sixteen initial share-sales in the entire 2019. Prior to that, 24 companies had floated their IPOs in 2018 that raised Rs 30,959 crore. In 2020, upto November close to Rs. 25,000 crore has already been raised through IPOs.

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    • 1. CONSTITUTION AND LAW (Prelims, GS Paper 2, Essay paper)
1.1 Triple talaq law doesn’t prohibit pre-arrest bail

  • In a significant decision, the SC has ruled that the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, declaring triple talaq mode of divorce among Muslims illegal, did not take away a person’s right to seek anticipatory bail from a competent court.
  • A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee gave this ruling in a case where a man was booked under Section 4 of the Act after his estranged wife accused him of giving triple talaq and marrying a second time.
  • She also accused the husband and his mother of harassing her for dowry and lodged a complaint under Section 498A of IPC.
  • The man said he and his first wife had been estranged for the last three years and all efforts for an amicable solution had not borne fruit.
  • He said six months earlier, she had complained to the Masjid Committee but had not complained of any matrimonial ill treatment.
  • It was only after he contracted a second marriage, which was permitted under Muslim personal law, that the first wife made the complaint under the triple talaq abolition law as well as Section 498A of IPC.
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    • 2. ECONOMY (Prelims, GS Paper 3, Essay paper
2.1 List of trusted sources for telecom gear on the way

Highlights –
  • India will list "trusted and not trusted sources" of telecom vendors and devices based on national security.
  • India has banned over 200 Chinese mobile apps and restricted certain investments from that country but earlier in December included Chinese telecom equipment company Huawei in working groups for the rollout of 5G networks in the country.
  • The UK has banned its telecom providers from installing Huawei equipment in the country over national security concerns.
  • The cabinet has also approved the next round of spectrum auction in March 2021.
  • The department of telecommunications (DoT) plans to sell 2,251 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum. It will sell spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 900MHz, 1,800MHz, 2,100MHz, 2,300MHz, 2,500MHz bands.

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

3.1 Not Available Today  

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

4.1 Abduction of more than 330 Nigerian students

Highlights – 
  • Terror group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the abduction of over 330 Nigerian students.
  • Boko Haram operates in the western and central African region.
  • The group is known to oppose western civilisation model of education and seeks the introduction of sharia law in Nigeria.
  • The Boko Haram insurgency began in 2009 when the terrorists staged an armed rebellion against the Nigerian government.
4.2 News Round-up – International Affairs
  • Reversing the decision of the outgoing Trump administration, a federal court has ordered full reinstatement of an Obama-era programme that protects undocumented immigrants brought to the US as minors from deportation, a ruling will help a large number of Indian migrants. The Trump administration tried ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Former President Barack Obama instituted DACA by executive order in 2012 to help some of the more than 10 million people estimated to be living in America without documentation. DACA protected an estimated 7,00.000 people known as Dreamers, offering protection at renewable two-year periods, including authorization to work. It applied to people who were brought into the United States illegally as children and then grew up there.
  • The departing Trump administration has ended five cultural-exchange programmes with China that it says were being used for Chinese propaganda and had no benefit to the United States. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the exchange programmes he ended were fully paid for and operated by the Chinese government as soft power propaganda tools.
  • Interpol has issued a global alert to law enforcement agencies of its 194 member countries, asking them to prepare for the targeting of COVID-19 vaccines, both physically and online, by organised crime networks. “Stating that vaccines were the prime target of organised crime, Interpol Secretary-General Jurgen Stock said: “As governments are preparing to roll out vaccines, criminal organisations are planning to infiltrate or disrupt supply chains.”
  • India on December 3, 2020 voted along with the majority at a United Nations convention to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from the list of most dangerous substances. The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND)’s decision is regulated across various countries. This came after the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended making research into cannabis’ medical use easier.
  • Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on December 3, 2020 rejected a Bill approved by Parliament that would have suspended UN inspections and boosted uranium enrichment, saying it was “harmful” to diplomatic efforts aimed at restoring the 2015 nuclear deal and easing U.S. sanctions.
  • Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare was observed by UN on November 30, 2020. This commemoration provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the victims of chemical warfare, as well as to reaffirm the commitment of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to the elimination of the threat of chemical weapons.
  • The first International Day of Banks was celebrated on December 4, 2020. In December 2019, the UN General Assembly designated 4 December as the International Day of Banks in recognition of the significant potential of multilateral development banks and other international development banks in financing sustainable development.
  • UNESCO observed the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3, 2020 and organised a week-long programme from 25 November to 3 December under the theme: “Building back better: towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world by, for and with persons with disabilities”.
  • International Day for the Abolition of Slavery was observed on December 2, 2020. Modern slavery includes forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, and human trafficking.
  • Valery Giscard d’Estaing, the president of France from 1974 to 1981 who became a champion of European integration, died on December 2, 2020 at the age of 94.
  • U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on November 30, 2020 named former Federal Reserve chairperson Janet Yellen as his choice for Treasury Secretary. If confirmed, she will be the first woman to lead the Treasury Department in its 231-year history.
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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 Doha to host 2030 Asian Games 
Highlights –
  • Doha has beaten Riyadh to clinch the hosting rights for the 2030 Asian Games at the general assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia in Muscat.
  • Riyadh would host the 2034 edition of the Games.
  • Bitter neighbours Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are locked in a long-running political dispute, had bid for the hosting rights to the second-biggest multi-sport event after the Olympics.
  • Qatar, a natural gas rich Gulf state with a population of just over 2.6 million, has used its financial clout to land some of the sporting world's biggest events, including the 2022 soccer World Cup.
  • Doha hosted the 2006 Games but Saudi Arabia has never organised an OCA multi-sport event.
  • Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have maintained a diplomatic, trade and travel embargo on Qatar since mid-2017, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.
  • Qatar denies the charges and says the embargo aims to undermine its sovereignty.
6.2 News Round-up - Defence

  • The 7th India-Suriname Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) was held virtually on December 2, 2020. The JCM was co-chaired by Minister of State for External Affairs, V. Muraleedharan and Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation of Suriname, Albert R. Ramdin.
  • The Indian Navy (IN) undertook a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with Russian Federation Navy (RuFN) in the Eastern Indian Ocean Region (IOR) on December 4-5, 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 Government of India sign $400 million project to safeguard India’s poor from Covid-19
Highlights – 
  • Government of India and World Bank have signed 400 million dollar project to protect India’s poor and vulnerable from the impact of COVID-19. It is the second operation in a programmatic series of two.
  • The first operation of 750 million dollar was approved in May 2020.
  • The $400 million credit has been extended by World Bank's concessionary lending arm International Development Association (IDA).
  • The programme will boost the capability of state and central governments to provide coordinated and adequate social protection to the poor and vulnerable from the shocks triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The programme will help further expand and deepen the coverage of India's social protection systems by helping these vulnerable groups in urban and peri-urban areas across the country.
  • The programme was prepared in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) and Kreditanstalt Fur Wiederaufbau (KfW).
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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 India ranks 131 on UN Human Development Index 2020

 Highlights –  
  • India dropped two spots to 131 out of 189 nations on the Human Development Index (HDI) 2020.
  • The country ranked 129 (out of 189) countries on the 2019 HDI.
  • India's HDI value for 2019 stood at 0.645 which put it in the medium human development category.
  • Norway topped the index, followed by Ireland, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Iceland.
  • Pakistan (154), Nepal (142), Bangladesh (133), India (131), and Bhutan (129) stand among countries with medium human development.
Important details –
  • The HDI is the measure of a country's health, education, and standard of living and ascertains a nations' average achievement in three basic scales of human development - education, life expectancy, and per capita income.
  • Life expectancy of Indians at birth in 2019 was 69.7 years, while Bangladesh had a life expectancy of 72.6 years and Pakistan 67.3 years.
  • India's gross national income per capita fell to $6,681 in 2019 from $6,829 in 2018 on purchasing power parity (PPP) basis.
  • Purchasing power parity or PPP is a measurement of prices in different countries that uses the prices of specific goods to compare the absolute purchasing power of the countries' currencies.
  • As per the report, evidence from Colombia to India shows that financial security and ownership of land improve women's security and reduce the risk of gender-based violence, clearly indicating that owning land can empower women.
  • Indigenous children in Cambodia, India, and Thailand show more malnutrition-related issues such as stunting and wasting.
  • Under the Paris Agreement, India pledged to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP from the 2005 level by 33-35 per cent by 2030 and to obtain 40 per cent of electric power capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
  • Solar capacity in India increased from 2.6 gigawatts in March 2014 to 30 gigawatts in July 2019, achieving its target of 20 gigawatts four years ahead of schedule.
  • In 2019, India ranked fifth for installed solar capacity.
10.2 Daily dose of  FIVE Facts -
  • Lewis Hamilton won the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix in Manama in Nov 2020.
  • Former footballer Diego Maradona passed away on November 25, 2020 at the age of 60. He scored 34 goals in 91 international matches for Argentina.
  • Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce & Industry addressed the Asia Health 2020 summit of CII on Nov 2020.
  • The World Health Organisation announced in Nov 2020 that it will set up a Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in India.
  • Baltic countries comprise of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
10.3 Today's best editorials to read
  • We offer you 7 excellent editorials from across 10 newspapers we have scanned. 

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    • SECTION 3 - MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions)

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Nationalism,26,Racism,1,Rainfall,1,Rainfall and Monsoon,5,RBI,73,Reformers,3,Regional conflicts,1,Regional Conflicts,79,Regional Economy,16,Regional leaders,43,Regional leaders.UPSC Mains GS II,1,Regional Politics,149,Regional Politics – Regional leaders,1,Regionalism and nationalism,1,Regulator bodies,1,Regulatory bodies,63,Religion,44,Religion – Hinduism,1,Renewable energy,4,Reports,102,Reports and Rankings,119,Reservations and affirmative,1,Reservations and affirmative action,42,Revolutionaries,1,Rights and duties,12,Roads and Railways,5,Russia,3,schemes,1,Science and Techmology,1,Science and Technlogy,1,Science and Technology,819,Science and Tehcnology,1,Sciene and Technology,1,Scientists and thinkers,1,Separatism and insurgencies,2,September 2020,26,September 2021,444,SociaI Issues,1,Social Issue,2,Social issues,1308,Social media,3,South Asia,10,Space technology,70,Startups and entrepreneurship,1,Statistics,7,Study material,280,Super powers,7,Super-powers,24,TAP 2020-21 Sessions,3,Taxation,39,Taxation and revenues,23,Technology and environmental issues in India,16,Telecom,3,Terroris,1,Terrorism,103,Terrorist organisations and leaders,1,Terrorist acts,10,Terrorist acts and leaders,1,Terrorist organisations and leaders,14,Terrorist organizations and leaders,1,The Hindu editorials analysis,58,Tournaments,1,Tournaments and competitions,5,Trade barriers,3,Trade blocs,2,Treaties and Alliances,1,Treaties and Protocols,43,Trivia and Miscalleneous,1,Trivia and miscellaneous,43,UK,1,UN,114,Union budget,20,United Nations,6,UPSC Mains GS I,584,UPSC Mains GS II,3969,UPSC Mains GS III,3071,UPSC Mains GS IV,191,US,63,USA,3,Warfare,20,World and Indian Geography,24,World Economy,404,World figures,39,World Geography,23,World History,21,World Poilitics,1,World Politics,612,World Politics.UPSC Mains GS II,1,WTO,1,WTO and regional pacts,4,अंतर्राष्ट्रीय संस्थाएं,10,गणित सिद्धान्त पुस्तिका,13,तार्किक कौशल,10,निर्णय क्षमता,2,नैतिकता और मौलिकता,24,प्रौद्योगिकी पर्यावरण मुद्दे,15,बोधगम्यता के मूल तत्व,2,भारत का प्राचीन एवं 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,91,यूपीएससी मुख्य परीक्षा जीएस,117,यूरोपीय,6,विश्व इतिहास की मुख्य घटनाएं,16,विश्व एवं भारतीय भूगोल,24,स्टडी मटेरियल,266,स्वतंत्रता-पश्चात् भारत,15,
PT's IAS Academy: Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 18-12-2020
Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 18-12-2020
Useful compilation of Civil Services oriented - Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 18-12-2020
PT's IAS Academy
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