• Current Affairs,11th February 2020

    • February 13, 2020
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    1. “Hunar Haat” proved to be a “Mega Mission” of economic empowerment of needy master artisans and craftsmen



    • TheUnion Minister for Minority Affairs, Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said that “Hunar Haat”, being organised across the country by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, have proved to be a “Mega Mission” of economic empowerment of needy master artisans and craftsmen. He was addressing the gathering after inaugurating “Hunar Haat” along with Governor of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Lalji Tandon, at Indore, Madhya Pradesh .
    • Shri Naqvi said that “Hunar Haat” has become a “Mega Mission” of indigenous Craft, Cuisine & Culture and economic empowerment of master artisans, craftsmen. The success of “Hunar Haat” can be gauged from the fact that about 3 lakh needy master artisans, craftsmen & culinary experts have been provided employment and employment opportunities through “Hunar Haat” in the last about 3 years. These beneficiaries include a large number of women artisans.
    • Shri Naqvi said that in the next 5 years, about 100 “Hunar Haat” will be organised across the country which will result into employment opportunities to lakhs of artisans and craftsmen and people associated with them.
    • Shri Naqvi further said that the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi-led Government is not only providing employment opportunities to master artisans and craftsmen, it is also preserving and promoting India’s indigenous traditional legacy of master artisans and craftsmen which was on the verge of extinction.
    • Shri Naqvi said that central Government has sanctioned 100 “Hunar Hubs” in different parts of the country. Training is being provided to master artisans, craftsmen and traditional culinary experts according to modern needs in these “Hunar Hubs” and they are also being provided national-international markets.
    • Shri Naqvi also said that “Hunar Haat”, being organised at prominent places across the country, have proved to be financially beneficial for the needy artisans and craftsmen as each “Hunar Haat” generates business worth crores of rupees for indigenous handmade exquisite products of artisans and craftsmen. These artisans are receiving orders for their products not only from domestic markets but also from international markets. “Hunar Haat” have become “Employment and Empowerment Exchange” for master artisans and craftsmen.
    • Shri Naqvi said that the “Hunar Haat”, being organised at Indore, is the 19th“Hunar Haat” of the Minority Affairs Ministry. So far, “Hunar Haat” have been organized at various places in the country such as Delhi, Mumbai, Allahabad, Lucknow, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad & Puducherry. The next “Hunar Haat” will be organized at India Gate Lawns, Rajpath, New Delhi (from 13th to 23rd Feb, 2020); Ranchi from 29th February to 8th March and in Chandigarh from 13th to 22nd March, 2020.
    • Shri Naqvi said that in the coming days, “Hunar Haat” will be organized in Gurugram, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Dehradun, Patna, Bhopal, Nagpur, Raipur, Puducherry, Amritsar, Jammu, Shimla, Goa, Kochi, Guwahati, Bhubneshwar, Ajmer and other places.
    • Earlier, addressing the gathering, the Governor of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Lalji Tandon said that India is a country of diversity with every region having different art, culture, language, costumes. This “Unity in Diversity” is the identity of India. Every corner of the country has its own legacy of arts/crafts.
    • Shri Lalji Tandon congratulated Shri Naqvi for providing employment opportunities to artisans through “Hunar Haat” on a large scale. The Governor said that the Ministry of Minority Affairs, under the leadership of Shri Naqvi, is strengthening Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi Ji’s “Dream Project” to provide opportunity and market to the country’s rich heritage of arts/crafts.
    • The Governor said that the Ministry of Minority Affairs is doing a historic task of preserving and promoting the magnificent heritage of the skilled people of every corner of the country and providing them national and international market.
    • In “Hunar Haat” at Indore which is organised from 08th to 16th February, 2020, 125 stalls have been set up and more than 250 master artisans, craftsmen and culinary experts from across the country are participating. These artisans include a large number of women artisans. They have brought with them indigenous exquisite handmade products. “Bawarchikhana” will provide taste of traditional delicacies of several states. Cultural programmes, being organized on daily basis, will also be a major attraction of the “Hunar Haat” in Indore.



    1. Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat Campaign 


    • Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat Campaign organised by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry began today across the country. It will continue till the 28th of this month.
    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had mooted the idea of a cultural connect between different regions during the Rashtriya Ekta Divas held in 2015.
    • The broad objectives of Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat include celebrating the Unity in Diversity of our nation and promoting the spirit of national integration through engagement between all states and union territories.
    • Under the campaign, various programmes are being conducted in Kerala. The Nehru Yuva Kendra, Kerala zone is organizing  Himachal Pradesh-Kerala, interstate youth exchange programmes in Kozhikode district.


    1. Opposition parties stage walkout from Lok Sabha over reservation in promotions issue

    • Opposition members including Congress and DMK today staged a walkout in Lok Sabha post lunch after expressing dissatisfaction on the statement by Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Thawar Chand Gehlot on the issue of the Supreme Court’s observation on Reservation in promotions.
    • Mr Gehlot said, the matter arose due to a decision taken by Uttarkhand government in 2012. He said, Congress government in the state at that time did not present the case in a proper way.
    • He also said that the Central Government was not made a party to the case. The Minister said, Central government is committed towards welfare of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes. He also said the government will take the issue at appropriate level.
    • Immediately Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury wanted to discuss the issue. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla refused for any discussion saying that no discussion takes place after a Statement by minister. Mr Birla said that the general discussion on the Budget will resume but Opposition members staged a walkout.


    1. There has been decreasing trend in dropout rate over last 5 years: Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank




    • Union Minister for Human Resource Development Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank informed the Lok Sabha today that there has been decreasing trend in dropout rate over the last five years.
    • He said in a written reply to a question posed by Ms Geetha Viswanath Vanga further said that this has been achieved by taking a number of corrective measures to minimize the dropout which include appointment of Adviser to monitor the academic progress of students and peer-assisted learning.
    • The dropout rate in IIT’s has come down from 2.25 per cent in 2015-16 to 0.68 per cent in 2019-20. Also in IIM, the dropout level has come down from 1.04 per cent in 2015-16 to 1.46 per cent in 2019-20


    1. Sabarimala case: SC holds it can refer questions of law to larger bench



    • The Supreme Court today held that its five-judge bench can refer questions of law to a larger bench while exercising its limited power under review jurisdiction in the Sabarimala case. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde framed seven questions to be heard by a nine-judge Constitutional bench on issues relating to freedom of religion under the Constitution and faith.
    • The court proposes to hear on a day-to-day basis from 17th of February questions framed on scope of religious freedom in various religions. The seven questions framed by the bench include those on scope and ambit of religious freedom and interplay between religious freedom and freedom of beliefs of religious denominations.


    1. PM condoles demise of P Parameswaran


    • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi hascondoled the demise of  P Parameswaran, a veteran social worker.
    • “Shri P Parameswaran was a proud and dedicated son of Bharat Mata. His was a life devoted to India’s cultural awakening, spiritual regeneration and serving the poorest of the poor. Parameswaran Ji’s thoughts were prolific and his writings were outstanding. He was indomitable.
    • An institution builder, Parameswaran Ji nurtured eminent institutions such as the BharatheeyaVicharaKendram, Vivekananda Kendra and others. I am fortunate to have interacted with him many times. He was a towering intellectual. Anguished by his demise, the Prime Minister said.
    • An institution builder, Parameswaran Ji nurtured eminent institutions such as the Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram, Vivekananda Kendra and others. I am fortunate to have interacted with him many times. He was a towering intellectual. Anguished by his demise. Om Shanti.



    1. Government aims to make India a surplus country in terms of pulses production


    • Inaugurating the UN World Pulses Day celebrations in New Delhi today, Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar said that initiatives of the Government in increasing pulses production in the countryyielded positive results and Government is committed to provide remunerative prices to farmers for the produce. Government’s aim is to make India a surplus country in terms of pulses production. The Minister added that Government’s primary focus given to the sector is seen from the budgetary allocations made for the Agriculture and Rural Development sectors which is about Rs. 3 lakh crore. While the Agriculture sector budget was Rs.27 thousand crore couple of years ago, the Government has allocated overRs. 1.5 lakh crore in FY 2020-21, he added.
    • Shri Tomar said after having achieved surplus foodgrains production, the country has turned self-sufficient in Pulses cultivation since 2016-17 with the combined efforts of all stakeholders following the directions of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. In the crop year 2018-19 India produced 22 million tonnes of Pulses and for the next year a target of 26.30 million tonnes is projected.
    • The Minister said that in order to ensure proper value for the produce, Government has raised the MSP by one-and-a-half times based on recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee. eNAMhas been strengthened with a view of One Nation One Market which has provided farmers access to better and wider market area ensuring a fair price. Already 585 Mandis have joined the eNAM portal and another 400 Mandis will be added soon. To strengthen the logistics associated with the Agriculture sector, a new Kisan Rail has been announced in this budget which will benefit both the Agriculture and Horticulture sectors.To promote exports of fruits from the North-East, the KisanUdanYojana has been announced in the budget, he added.
    • Congratulating NAFED for taking a lead in organizing the World Pulses Day event, Shri Tomar said the Government has procured 63 lakh tonnes of Pulses in the last five years, benefitting lakhs of farmers.
    • Addressing the eventDr. Ramesh Chand, Member NITIAayog said the biggest role in increasing pulses production is to be played by country’s R&D, as technology is the major driving force in increased production than the price factor. Citing cerealization of Indian diet post-Green Revolutionfor several nutritional issues in the country today,Dr. Chand said that inorder to address these concerns we need to look into the past of pulses cultivation and consumption patterns.
    • The United Nations General Assembly has designated February 10 of each year since 2019 as “UN World Pulses Day”. The event was organized this year by NAFED in collaboration with Global Pulse Confederation (GPC). The Tripura Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Shri. ManojKanti Deb, Global Pulses Confederation Chairperson Ms. Cindy Brown, NAFED Chairman Dr. Bijender Singh and representatives from various countries and officials of Central and State Governments and people associated with pulses production and sales were present in large numbers during the event.


    1. Performance of IEPF Authority


    • The Investor Education and Protection Fund (IEPF) is to be inter alia utilised for distribution of disgorged amount among eligible and identifiable applicants who have suffered losses due to wrong actions by any person, in accordance with the orders made by the Court which had ordered disgorgement. Till 05.02.2020, no such order for distribution of any amount has been received. This was stated by Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs, in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.
    • During the last three years no funds have been allocated from IEPF Authority to Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and hence no complaints regarding misappropriation of funds by NGOs have been received in the last three years.  The IEPF is inter-alia utilised for settlement of claims filed by Claimants and promotion of investor education, awareness and promotion.
    • Shri Thakur also stated that the IEPF Authority has a toll free helpline to provide the status of refund applications to the Claimants. The number also provides a mechanism for the companies to provide resolution with reference to the various forms relating to the IEPF filed by them. An Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) has also put in place which gives information about the status of the claim filed by the Claimant.  Giving more details about the helpline, he said that during the period from September, 2019 to January. 2020, 16,736 calls were answered through the helpline.
    • The IEPF Authority organizesInvestor Awareness Programmes (IAPs), for creating awareness amongst the Investors as a part of its mandate. During the last 3 years, 35,686 such programmes have been organised in rural and urban areas of the country. Apart from this, awareness creating messages are disseminated from time to time through print and electronic media.


    1. Export of Defence Product manufactured in the Country

    • Various reforms/steps have been taken to enhance Defence exports. These reforms have provided a big boost to defence exports in the recent times. The authorization for defence exports in the country have grown seven folds in the last two years from Rs.1521.91 crore in 2016-17 to Rs.10745.77 crore in 2018-19. Based on the value of Authorization/Licence issued by DDP to Private companies and actual export by DPSUs/OFB the export value during the last three years is as under:-

    2017-18 2018-19 2019-20
    Total Export (in Crores) 1521.91 4682.36 10745.77 5883.24*

    *As on 31.12.2019

    Measures taken by the Government to promote Defence exports:

    • Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies (SCOMET) Category 6 titled “Munitions List” that was hitherto “Reserved” has been populated and Military Stores list notified vide Notification No.115(RE-2013)/2009-2014 dated 13thMarch, 2015 stands rescinded.
    • The Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) vide Public Notice No.4/2015-20 dated 24thApril, 2017, notified Department of Defence Production (DDP) as the Licensing Authority for export items in Category 6 of SCOMET.  The export of items specified in Category 6 (Munitions List) except those covered under Notes 2 & 3 of Commodity Identification Note (CIN) of the SCOMET is now governed by the Standard Operating Procedure issued by the Department of Defence Production (DDP), Ministry of Defence.
    • Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the export of munitions list items has been modified and placed on the website of the DDP.
    • A completely end-to-end online portal for receiving and processing authorisation permission has been developed. The applications submitted on this portal are digitally signed and the authorisation issued is also digitally signed.
    • In repeat orders of same product to the same entity, consultation process has been done away with and permission is issued immediately.  For the repeat order of same product to different entity, the consultation earlier done with all stakeholders is now limited only with MEA.
    • In Intra-Company business (which is especially relevant for outsourcing of work by defence related parent company abroad to its subsidiary in India), the earlier requirement of getting End User Certificate (EUC) from the Government of importing country has been done away with and ‘Buying’ Company is authorized to issue the EUC.
    • The legitimate export of the parts and components of small arms and body armour for civil use are now being permitted after prior consultation with MEA.
    • For export of items for exhibition purposes, the requirement of consultation with stakeholders has been done way with (except for select countries).
    • Powers have been delegated to DRDO, DGOF and CMD’s of DPSUs for exploring export opportunities and participation in global tenders.
    • New End User Certificate Format for Parts & Components has been provided in SOP.
    • Validity of Export Authorization has been increased for 02 years to date of completion of order/component whichever is later.
    • A new provision for re-exporting parts and components for undertaking repair or rework to provide replacement for a component under warranty obligation is inserted in the SOP as a sub-classification of repeat orders.
    • MHA vide Notification dated 1.11.2018 has delegated its powers to this Department to issue export license under Arms Rules 2016 in Form X-A, for parts & components of small arms.  With this the Department of Defence Production becomes the single point of contact for exporter for export of parts and components of Small Arms & Ammunitions.
    • The Government has notified the Open General Export License (OGEL)- a one-time export license, which permits the industry to export specified items to specified destinations, enumerated in the OGEL, without seeking export authorisation during the validity of the OGEL.
    • Scheme for Promotion of Defence Exports has been notified to provide an opportunity to the prospective exporters an option to get their product certified by the Government and provides access to the testing infrastructure of Ministry of Defence for initial validation of the product and its subsequent field trials.  The certificate can be produced by the prospective exporter for marketing their products suitably in the global market.
    • A separate Cell has been formed in the Department of Defence Production to co-ordinate and follow up on export related action including enquiries received from various countries and facilitate private sector and public sector companies for export promotion.
    • A Scheme to provide financial support to Defence Attaches for taking up actions for promoting exports of Indian made defence products both of public and private sector in the countries to which they are attached has been notified.



    1. Impact of FDI in Defence


    • In May, 2001, the Defence Industry sector, which was hitherto reserved for the public sector, was opened upto 100% for Indian private sector participation, with Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) upto 26% both subject to licensing.
    • Further, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce & Industry vide Press Note No. 5 (2016 Series), has allowed FDI under automatic route upto 49% and above 49% through government route wherever it is likely to result in access to modern technology or for other reasons to be recorded.
    • Further, FDI in defence industry sector is subject to industrial license under Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951 and manufacturing of small arms and ammunition under the Arms Act, 1959.
    • As per the data furnished by 37 companies operating in Defence and Aerospace sector, so far, FDI inflows of over Rs. 1561 Crores have been reported in defence and aerospace sector after 2014 in automatic route.




    1. Powerful storm batters parts of north-west Europe

    • A powerful storm is battering parts of north-west Europe with heavy rainfall and strong winds of up to 150 kilometers per hour. Storm Ciara – known as Sabine in Germany and Switzerland and Elsa in Norway – has caused hundreds of flights to be grounded and rail services canceled in Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK.
    • Access to exposed areas such as parks and coastlines has been restricted and motorists have been warned to take care as the weather continues to cause severe travel disruption. Today, large parts of northern France were placed on an orange weather – the second-highest warning – with thousands of homes in Brittany left without power.


    1. South Korean film ‘Parasite’ makes history by winning Best Film Oscar

    • Director Bong Joon Ho makes history by becoming the first Asian and South Korean filmmaker to bag the best director Oscar for his sensational class satire “Parasite”. Hollywood star Joaquin Phoenix finally ended his dry run at the Oscars as he picked up the best actor trophy for his performance in  “Joker”.
    • The 92nd Academy Awards ceremony was held at Dolby Theatre in Los Angles, United States yesterday. Renee Zellweger won the best actress for her poignant portrayal of yesteryear actor-singer Judy Garland in Rupert Goold’s “Judy”. Superstar Brad Pitt has won his maiden acting Oscar for his performance as stuntman Cliff Booth in Quentin Tarantino’s Hollywood memory capsule “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Laura Dern won the best-supporting actress Oscar for “Marriage Story”.
    • “Toy Story 4” became the 10th Pixar Animation Studios project to take home the best-animated feature trophy at the Academy Awards. Meanwhile, calling out the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences over the lack of diversity among the nominees, actor-comic Leslie Jones has revealed she skipped voting on most of the Oscar categories as there were “no black people” in them.


    • The 92nd Academy Awardsceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honored the best films of 2019 and took place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.[1] After more than a decade of holding the Academy Award ceremonies towards the end of February, the 92nd Academy Awards took place earlier in the month, on February 9, 2020.[1][2] During the ceremony, AMPAS presented Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 24 categories. The ceremony was televised in the United States by ABC, produced by Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain; it was directed by Glenn Weiss.[3] Citing the success of the format at the 91st presentation in 2019, ABC announced that the ceremony would again be conducted without a host.


    1. Israeli forces attack Hamas positions in southern Gaza Strip


    • Israeli forces attacked Hamas positions from the air early today after militants in the Palestinian enclave last night fired a projectile at the Jewish state. A statement from the Israeli Army said, aircraft and fighter jets targeted a number of Hamas terror targets in the southern Gaza Strip.
    • It said, training compound and military infrastructures were included in the attack. There were no reports of casualties or damage from Gaza. Palestinian attacks have increased since 28th of January when US President Donald Trump released his vision for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a plan firmly rejected by the Palestinian leadership in both the West Bank and Gaza.
    • Under the Trump Plan, Israel would get a number of its long-held goals, including full control of disputed Jerusalem and a green light to annex all settlements and other parts of the West Bank. In exchange, the Palestinians would be offered a state in the remaining parts of the West Bank and Gaza.




    1. 10th Hockey Senior Women National C’ship

    • Haryana thrashed Sports Authority of India (SAI) 6-0 to win the 10th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship 2020 (A Division) title at Kollam.
    • Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy beat Hockey Maharashtra 2-1 in the third-fourth place play-off match.


    1. Under-19 World Cup

    • Bangladesh beat India by three wickets to win maiden ICC U-19 World Cup cricket title by Duckworth-Lewis method last night in South Africa. In a low-scoring final, Bangladesh first restricted India to a meagre 177 in 47.2 overs and then did well enough to score a revised target of 170 in 42.1 overs.
    • For India, Yashaswi Jaiswal scored 88 runs off 121 balls. Bangladeshi skipper Akbar Ali was declared the Player of the Match for his captaincy and match-winning unbeaten 43.



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