• Current Affairs, 23rd January 2020

    • January 27, 2020
    • Posted By : upliftlife
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    1. India opens its first Mahatma Gandhi convention centre in Niger



    • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou jointly inaugurated the first convention centre established in Africa by India to honour the memory of Mahatma Gandhi.


    • The External Affairs Ministry said in a statement that the establishment of the Mahatma Gandhi International Convention Centre (MGICC) is a landmark for India-Niger friendship, as also a symbol of India’s firm commitment towards Africa.
    • It is the first centre to be established in Africa by India to honour the memory of Mahatma Gandhi whose 150th Birth Anniversary was observed last year.


    • The convention centre has been designed as a spacious, modern and eco-friendly facility, including a 2,000 capacity Plenary Hall, to witness high-level and wide-ranging participation from African Union member states and other high-level conventions.
    • Jaishankar, the first Indian Foreign Minister to visit the West African country, arrived in Niamey on Monday on the first leg of his three-day two-nation trip to Niger and Tunisia. The tour is his first outreach to the African continent after becoming Foreign Minister last year.
    • Jaishankar met Prime Minister Brigi Rafini during which the two leaders discussed bilateral ties. He also met his counterpart of Niger, Kalla Ankourao and held discussions on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues.


    • The bilateral relations have expanded significantly in recent years. India has provided Lines of Credit to Niger for projects in transport, electrification, solar energy and potable drinking water.


    1. SC refuses to stay operation of CAA; asks centre to file reply within 4 weeks


    • Supreme Court has refused to stay the operation of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde said today that it cannot grant any stay on CAA without hearing Centre.
    • The apex court asked the Centre to file its reply within 4 weeks on petitions challenging the CAA. The apex court also said that it will constitute a larger constitution bench to hear the matter.
    • Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General KK Venugopal said that the government has been given copies of around 60 petitions out of the 143 and it needs time to respond to pleas which have not been served on it. Some of the petitioners urged the apex court to put on hold operation of CAA and postpone exercise of National Population Register (NPR) for time being.
    • The CAA seeks to grant citizenship to migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi communities who came to the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014.
    • President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on December 12, turning it into an Act.


    1. President Kovind confers Rashtriya Bal Puraskar awards to children


    • President Ram Nath Kovind presented the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar, 2020 at Rashtrapati Bhavan.


    • The Bal Puraskar is given by government every year to recognize exceptional achievements of children in various fields.


    • These fields are innovation, scholastic achievements, social service, arts and culture, sports and bravery.


    • Twenty-two children who were selected for National Bravery Awards also received the awards from the President.


    1. Cabinet takes Key decisions


    • Cabinet has approved the extension of tenure of the Commission constituted under Article 340 of the Constitution, to examine the issue of sub-categorization within Other Backward Classes in the Central List.
    • Briefing media in New Delhi today, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, the tenure has been extended by six months till 31st July this year.
    • Cabinet has also granted approval to addition of Term of Reference to the existing ToR of the Commission which include  studying various Entries in the Central List of OBCs and recommending correction of any repetitions, ambiguities, inconsistencies and errors of spelling or tranion.
    • Mr Javadekar said, Daman will be the capital of newly carved out Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. Cabinet also approved amendments, extension, repeal in Acts dealing with Goods and Services Tax, Value Added Tax and Excise Duty in view of merger of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
    • Government also gave its nod to Revised Cost Estimates for establishment of permanent campuses of new National Institutes of Technology, NITs, at a total cost of Rs.4371.90 crore  for the period till 2021 – 2022.
    • NITs were established in the year 2009 and started functioning from academic year 2010-2011 in their temporary campus with very limited space and infrastructure. These NITs will be fully functional from their permanent campuses by 31st March, 2022.
    • Cabinet also approved Model MoU with foreign countries for unilateral and bilateral recognition of Certificates of Competency of seafarers.



    1. 16 States and UTs along with 6 central ministries to participate in Republic Day parade-2020


    • Sixteen States and Union Territories and Six Central Ministries will participate in the Republic Day Parade this year at Rajpath in New Delhi.
    • Start up India, Jal Jeevan Mission and financial inclusion are some of the themes of the tableaux of Ministries and Departments.
    • The Tableau of Gujarat is on the theme Rani ki Vav – Jal Mandir which is a unique piece of ancient Indian architectural style, construction work and craftsmanship.
    • Punjab’s Tableau is dedicated to the ideology based on the human principles preached by Guru Nanak Dev Ji and the theme is 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Odisha will showcase the famous Rukuna Rath Yatra of Lord Lingaraja, worshiped as both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.
    • Meghalaya’s Tableau  will showcase the Double Decker Living Root Bridge which is a main tourist attraction of the state. Chattisgarh will showcase the artistic beauty of the state.
    • Jammu and Kashmir Tableau will showcase the Union Territories’s Back to Village programme which was launched last year with the aim to empower villages and Panchayats.


    1. Cabinet gives approval to EC to enter into MoU with Election Commissions of Tunisia and Papua New Guinea

    • The Cabinet gave approval to Election Commission of India to enter into MoU with the Independent High Authority for Elections of Tunisia and the Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission for elections for cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration.
    • The Cabinet also gave its nod for the four agreements between India and Brazil in the field of oil and natural gas, Geology and Mineral Resources, mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and cooperation in the field of early childhood care.


    1. Japan Ambassador calls on Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh, discusses about Japanese investment in North-East


    • A delegation led by Japan Ambassador, Satoshi Suzuki called on Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh in New Delhi today.
    • During the meeting, various issues related to mutual collaboration and cooperation between the two countries were discussed.
    • There is huge Japanese investment in infrastructure projects in the North Eastern region of the country. The upgradation of Aizwal- Tuipang Section of NH 54 with a length of 372 km is being done with Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA assistance at a cost of over Rs.6100 crore.
    • This road would provide seamless connectivity to Sittwe port in Mayanmar as part of Government’s Act East Policy.
    • In the area of forest management, there is Japanese collaboration with the states of Tripura, Sikkim and Nagaland and soon there will be collaboration with the state of Meghalaya in this field.
    • Among other issues, mutual collaboration in the areas of bamboo, disaster management, road infrastructure and Guwahati Sewerage project, was also discussed.
    • Dr Jitendra Singh said that India shares traditional relations with Japan. He said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, new areas of mutual collaboration are being added to it.


    1. PM chairs the 32nd PRAGATI interaction and reviews progress of several projects

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today chaired the 32nd PRAGATI interaction and discussed progress of several projects.
    • Out of these, nine were delayed projects worth over Rs.24000 crore spread over nine states including Odisha, Telangana, Maharashtra, Bihar, Karnataka Kerala and Uttar Pradesh.
    • The delayed projects are related to  Railways, Road Transport and Highways and  Petroleum and Natural Gas.
    • During the meeting, Mr. Modi also reviewed the  progress under insurance schemes of  Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana .
    • The Prime Minister also reviewed the progress under Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems project- a comprehensive and integrated system for effective policing through e-Governance.
    • Our correspondent reports that this was the first PRAGATI meeting of the year 2020. It marked Prime Minister’s thirty-second interaction through PRAGATI – the ICT based multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation, involving Central and State governments.
    • In the previous interactions, the Prime Minister had reviewed a total of 269 projects with a total investment of  12.30 lakh crore rupees. The Prime Minister has also reviewed the resolution of grievance redressal related to 47 government programmes and schemes across 17 diverse sectors.


    1. Thermal Screening of passengers arriving from China, Hong Kong at 7 airports across India


    • Thermal Screening of passengers arriving from China including Hong Kong has expanded to seven airports in view of threat of Novel Corona Virus Disease in Wuhan, China.


    • These airports are Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin. Civil Aviation Ministry has directed for all logistics support and arrangements to be made immediately with regard to screening of passengers arriving in India from China including Hong Kong.
    • The Ministry has called for immediate implementation of the action plan and strict adherence by identified airports and all concerned airlines. In order to facilitate early isolation, in-flight announcements to be made by the airlines requesting passengers with history of fever and cough and history of travel to Wuhan City in last 14 days.


    • All passengers and crew who are healthy should be allowed to continue their onward journey. If the ill passenger or crew member is confirmed as a probable case of Wuhan Corona Virus, public health authorities should be notified about the contacts using the Passenger Locator Form.



    1. Procurement of defence equipment worth over Rs 5,000 cr approved to promote indigenisation


    • Defence Acquisition Council, DAC has approved procurement of equipment worth over five thousand 100 crore rupees from indigenous sources to promote indigenization.
    • They include sophisticated Electronic Warfare Systems for the Army designed by Defence Research and Development Organization, DRDO and manufactured locally by the Indian industry. These systems will be used in deserts and plains and will provide comprehensive Electronic Support and Counter Measure capabilities to the field formations in both communication and other aspects of Electronic Warfare.
    • The DAC headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday met to consider a number of new and ongoing proposals for procuring critically needed platforms and equipment for the Armed Forces.
    • The council also approved prototype testing of trawl assemblies designed by DRDO for T-72 and T-90 tanks providing an important indigenous de-mining capability to the Army. The DAC also accorded approval for inclusion of Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) in Defence Procurement Procedure.
    • This will provide avenues in capital procurement for the Armed Forces to startups and innovators working for iDEX and provide huge fillip to their budding efforts.
    • In another significant step, the DAC also approved shortlisting of Indian Strategic Partners (SP) and the potential Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) that will collaborate with SPs to construct six conventional submarines in India.
    • This programme is being progressed under the Strategic Partnership Model, promulgated in 2017 to give a major boost to Make in India in Defence Sector.





    1. Taiwan urges International bodies to include it for getting aids to face corona virus epidemic
    • Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen today urged international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) not to exclude Taiwan for political reasons from getting aids.
    • Her appeal came a day after the island confirmed its first case of a new deadly corona virus from China. She said, Political considerations should not surpass protection for the people.
    • The president said, Taiwan is on the frontline of global infectious disease prevention.
    • Tsai Ing-wen told reporters in Taipei that Taiwan’s 23 million inhabitants face the same health risks and threats as the rest of the world.
    • The self-ruled island has found itself blocked from major world bodies under pressure from Beijing. China views Taiwan as its territory and has vowed to one day seize it by force if necessary.
    • Tsai won a landslide second term in elections earlier this month but is loathed by Beijing because she and her party refuse to acknowledge the idea that Taiwan is part of one China.
    • Taiwan has been blocked from a growing number of international organisations  including major aviation and medical bodies  since Tsai was first elected in 2016.
    • Tsai’s government has also accused the WHO of succumbing to political pressure from Beijing.


    1. PM Sheikh Hasina launches e-passport facility in Bangladesh


    • Bangladesh today launched the e-passport facility for its citizens. Inaugurating the facility of e-passport in Dhaka on Wednesday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that e-passport is a gift to the nation in the Mujib centenary year.
    • She said that it will brighten the image of the country in the digital world. Speaking about the steps taken to facilitate passport and visa services for the people Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh has setup 69 passports offices in 64 districts, 33 immigration check-posts and passports and visa wings at 75 missions abroad.
    • The e-passports will have an embedded chip in them which will contain the bio-metric data of the passport holder, photograph and other information contained in the passport. It will also include digital security features in it.
    • Bangladesh has faced the problem of counterfeit passports in the past. Introduction of the e-passport will help control the fake passports in the country. Government hopes that the e-passports will increase the acceptability of the Bangladeshi passports across the world and it will also ease immigration process globally.
    • Bangladesh is the first country in South Asia and 119th country in the wold to provide e-passport facility. According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), over 490 million e-Passports are in circulation in the world.


    1. US Senate rejects Democratic bid for documents in Trump impeachment trial

    • The US Senate has rejected repeated Democratic attempts to secure new evidence in President Donald Trump’s impeachment as his trial began. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell meanwhile backed off on a plan to fast-track the hearings after coming under pressure from fellow Republicans.
    • Democrats said this would have been no less than a cover-up. Mr Trump is charged with abuse of power and obstructing the congressional inquiry. He denies wrongdoing.
    • Senators have taken oaths to act as impartial jurors, hearing arguments for six hours a day, six days a week in a trial presided over by the US Chief Justice, John Roberts.
    • The impeachment trial began yesterday and comes nearly a week after the House of Representatives,  voted to send articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate.
    • It is only the third time in US history that a president is facing an impeachment trial and it is unclear how long it will last.





    1. Saina Nehwal out of Thailand Masters,suffers a shock defeat in first round


    • In badminton, India’s campaign at the Thailand Masters badminton tournament ended in Bangkok today with the defeat of ace shuttler Saina Nehwal.
    • The fifth seeded Saina lost to unseeded Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt of Denmark 13-21 ,21-17, 15-21 in a hard fought 47-minute contest.
    • This was Saina’s  second consecutive opening round defeat. Saina had also lost in the opening round of the Indonesia Masters last week after entering the quarterfinals in the Malaysia Masters last month.
    • In the men’s singles, the trio of Kidambi Srikanth, Sameer Verma and H S Prannoy, too, faltered in the first round.


    1. Maharashtra finishes top on the medal tally of 3rd Khelo India youth games

    • Maharashtra finished top on the medal tally of 3rd Khelo India youth games in Guwahati. Last year champion state retained it’s position with 78 gold, 77 silver and 100 bronze.
    • Haryana got the second spot with 68 gold, 60 silver and 72 bronze. Delhi was on third position with 39 gold, 36 silver and 47 bronze.
    • Karnataka was on 4th, Uttar Pradesh 5th and Tamil Nadu on 6th place. Host Assam occupied 7th place with 20 gold.
    • Meanwhile, the games will conclude with a Gala closing ceremony this evening.

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