• Current Affairs,5th February 2020

    • February 5, 2020
    • Posted By : upliftlife
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    1. One crore 28 lakh beneficiaries received 5,280 crore rupees via DBT



    • Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Zubin Irani today said that one crore 28 lakh beneficiaries received 5,280 crore rupees in their bank accounts through Direct Benefit Transfer. She said, efficiency in the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, PMMVY has now touched the 90 per cent mark in comparison to 38 per cent in 2018.
    • Speaking at the function in New Delhi after giving away the PMMVY awards to states, union territories and districts for best performance, she appealed to achieve hundred per cent target in this year. She said, it is to be ensured that no women and children are left out from the benefit of the scheme.
    • She urged the participants to initiate Jan Andolan in the districts to awaken the people about the risks faced by young girls who are entering into motherhood. She informed that POSHAN Maah will be observed in the next month to inform the importance of nutritious food, ill effects of anemia, the importance of sanitation and vaccination of mother and child.
    • In the category of best performance among States and Union Territories having a population of more than one crore, the first position was awarded to Madhya Pradesh followed by Andhra Pradesh and Haryana. Among States and Union Territories having a population of less than one crore, Dadra and Nagar Haveli got the first award.
    • The Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana is a maternity benefit programme implemented in all the districts of the country since 2017. Under this scheme, the cash incentive of five thousand rupees is being provided directly to the bank and post office account of pregnant women and lactating mothers for the first living child of the family.


    1. Prime Minister to preside over the inaugural ceremony of the DefExpo 2020, at Lucknow



    • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi shall preside over the Inaugural Ceremony of the DefExpo 2020 at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, on the 5thFebruary 2020.
    • This is the 11thEdition of the Biennial Mega Defence Exhibition DefExpo. With over 1000 national and international Companies vying to present their wares at the expo, this is the largest DefExpo so far in India.
    • The theme of the Expo is ‘India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub’. The aim is to bring the leading technologies in the defence sector under one roof and provide a myriad of opportunities for the government, private manufactures and startups. The event will cover the entire spectrum of the country’s aerospace, defence and security interests.
    • The sub theme of the exhibition is ‘Digital Transformation of Defence’ which aligns with the concept of the future battlefield through application of newer technologies will also be focused upon.
    • After the invocation ceremony, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi would be visiting the India and UP Pavilions.
    • The ‘India Pavilion’ will exclusively showcase the strong partnership between the public and private sector, including Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)/Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and innovation eco-system, which is the key to the way forward.
    • The Uttar Pradesh Pavilion shall be displaying industrial prowess and huge potential of the State for the investors in the identified Defence Corridor in the state. The UP government is also organising several cultural programmes showcasing rich cultural heritage of the northern state. A unique experience for the visitors is planned at the Tent City, which is being especially erected at the venue.
    • After the visit to the two Pavilions, the Prime Minister shall be presiding over Full Live Demonstration by the Land Systems, Flying Display by Aero Platforms and Operation Demonstration by Naval Systems.
    • The DefExpo 2020 is expected to see participation from over 70 countries and will be in line with the biggest of the international defence exhibitions.
    • A substantial number of Memoranda of Undertaking (MoUs) are expected to be inked during the Expo, resulting in forging of new business collaborations.



    1. No-fly list



    • Four airlines in India — IndiGo, SpiceJet, Air India and GoAir — have banned stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra from taking their flights after he allegedly heckled television news anchor Arnab Goswami on an IndiGo flight.
    • Rules in this regard have been issued by the government in 2017.
    • They aim at preventing disruptive behaviour by air travellers and lay down guidelines for a no-fly list.
    • As per the rules, a complaint of unruly behaviour needs to be filed by the pilot-in-command,and this is to be probed by an internal committee to be set up by the airline.
    • During the period of pendency of the inquiry, the rules empower the concerned airline to impose a ban on the passenger.
    • The committee is to decide the matter within 30 days, and also specify the ban duration.
    • The rules define three categories of unruly behaviour:
    • Level 1refers to behaviour that is verbally unruly, and calls for debarment up to three months.
    • Level 2indicates physical unruliness and can lead to the passenger being debarred from flying for up to six months.
    • Level 3indicates life-threatening behaviour for which the debarment would be for a minimum of two years.


    1. FM says Govt not to repeat previous regime’s mistakes of splurging to end slowdown


    • Finance Nirmala Sitharaman has said the government will not repeat the mistakes of the previous UPA regime of splurging to end the slowdown.
    • Speaking at a function organised by FICCI, she said money being received from widening fiscal deficit is not being splurged, quite contrary to what had happened in the UPA regime.
    • Ms Sitharaman said, the government is putting money for public asset creation and connectivity to particular districts, which do not have basic infrastructure.
    • For instance, the money to be received from the health cess will go for creating the health infrastructure in aspirational districts, which do not have hospitals as such, she said.
    • Ms Sitharaman said, money garnered from the divestment will be used in the creation of infrastructure development which would have a multiplier effect in generating new and more jobs for youngsters. She also said that the government’s proposal to introduce taxpayers charter is a method to establish a strong bond of trust between the taxpayer and the government.


    1. SC directs states to issue notification for establishing ‘Gram Nyayalayas’ within four weeks



    • The Supreme Court has directed the states, which are yet come out with notifications for establishing Gram Nyayalayas, to do so within four weeks. The apex court also asked the high courts to expedite the process of consultation with state governments on this issue.
    • A bench headed by Justice N V Ramana also took into account the fact that several states have issued notifications for establishing Gram Nyayalayas but all of them were not functioning except in Kerala, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
    • The bench noted that states like Gujarat, Haryana, Telangana, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha have not yet filed their affidavits on this issue despite the apex court’s last year direction.
    • The apex court had in September last year agreed to hear a plea seeking a direction to the Centre and all states for taking steps to set up Gram Nyayalayas under the supervision and monitoring of the top court.
    • An Act passed by Parliament in 2008 provided for setting up of Gram Nyayalayas at the grassroots level for providing access to justice to citizens at the doorstep.


    1. Coal stocks at power plants increase by 77% to 34.25 MT

    • Coal stocks at power plants peaked to 34.25 million tonnes on January 26, equivalent to 19 days’ consumption, and up by 77% as against 19.36 million tonnes, equivalent to 12 days’ consumption at the same time last year.
    • “Thrust has been also given to augment coal supplies to non-power sector by holding regular auction for coal linkages where the consumers have been given the flexibility to choose nearest mine, quality (grade, size) etc. To facilitate easy availability of coal to all the sectors, Coal Companies are also offering increased coal under spot and exclusive e-auction.” Union Coal Minister Shri Pralhad Joshi said in a reply in the Rajya Sabha.
    • The Minister informed that various steps have been taken to ensure the easy and adequate availability of coal to every coal dependent industries/Power Sector. The power houses in close vicinity of the coalfields were offered coal for enhanced lifting of coal through captive mode (like Belt Piped Conveyor (BPC), Merry-go-Round (MGR) etc.) and roadmodes.For augmentation of supplies, the power houses were advised to move coal through Goods Sheds by Road-cum-Rail (RCR)mode.Efforts were made to enhance supplies through captive modes of transport like MGR, Belts, Ropeways etc.Supplies of coal to power houses through all modes wereprioritized.Rationalization of Linkages were ensured to reduce transportationcost.
    • The Coal and Mines Minister further added that the recentlypromulgated ‘Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020′ has brought amendment in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act) and the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 [CMSP Act] to allow wider participation and competition in auctions. The companies which do not possess any prior coal mining experience in India can now participate in auction of coal blocks. Any company selected through auction/allotment can carry on coal mining operation for own consumption, sale or for any other purposes, as may be specified by the Central Government.
    • The Minister also informed that Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has granted Environmental Clearances to 13 coal projects during calendar year 2019. About 4 to 6 billion tonnes of proved coal resources are added in a year and the proved coal resources in the country are about 155.6 billion tonnes as on April 1, 2019.



    1. CCI approves proposed combination between Yum Restaurants and Devyani International Limited

    • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approves the proposed combination between Yum Restaurants (India) Private Limited (YRIPL) and Devyani International Limited (DIL) involving acquisition of certain  equity shareholding and sale of certain KFC restaurants.
    • YRIPL is a private limited company incorporated in India and is a part of Yum! Brands Inc,-a USA based entity. It is stated that in India YRIPL runs restaurants under three Brands i.e. KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.
    • DIL is a public company incorporated in India. It is stated to be present in QSR segment in India and is one of the franchisees of YRIPL. Further, as a franchisee, it runs, maintains and operates KFC and Pizza Hut/Pizza Hut Delivery restaurants in certain territories of India.
    • The CCI approved the proposed combination under Section 31(1) of the Act.


    1. APEDA-CFTRI Sign MoU for Liason Office in Guwahati

    • A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by CSIR-CFTRI with APEDA to set up a Liaison Office in Guwahati, Assam today to provide technical support to the food industries in the North East region. It will benefit the farmers, producers and entrepreneurs.   APEDA has undertaken many promotional activities recently to bring the North East states of India on to the export map. In 2019 five international buyer seller meets were organised by APEDA in Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to showcase the potential of agriculture/ horticulture and processed food products including organic produce to open the export window from the North Eastern States.
    • Capacity building is another such area where APEDA is keenly focusing to hand-hold the new exporters from the North East region. Recently, APEDA organised an exposure visitto Maharashtra, considered as one of the major export hubs, to acquaint the exporters and state officials from Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland on export oriented farming, pack house and modern food processing units.
    • APEDA has also organised specific outreach programmes and training on export process for the stakeholders from the North East region. North East region has tremendous potential in converting large areas into organic certification for which training on the requirements of the National Programme on Organic Production (NPOP) have been imparted to the North East states to create awareness on the vast potential of organic agriculture and exports.
    • Central Food Technological Research Institute, CSIR−CFTRI, Mysuru, (a constituent laboratory of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi) is a pioneering Institute working in the area of Food Science and Technology and Human Resource Development started during 1950. Over the years, it has brought out many innovative products and processes into the market in tune with the state-of-the-art R&D practices of the Institute and the changing lifestyle of the consumers. Some of these efforts include development of infant foods products, instant ready-mixes, parboiling of paddy, cultivation of spirulina, health and wellness food products. Societal interventions have been the hallmark of CSIR-CFTRI and large number of farmers have been empowered on affordable and sustainable methods for value addition to agri-commodities contributing to the rural economy. It has been in the forefront for generating quality human resource for the development of food industry.
    • North Eastern Region has immense opportunities for food processing and other agri-business that can contribute to the economic upliftmentof the region andcreate facilities for startups. It is expected that the liaison office of CSIR-CFTRI will strengthen the food processing sector in the North East and will have multiplying effect on the export of traditional and processed food products from the region.


    1. Strategy for Export of Defence Products Under ‘Make In India’ Programme

    Various strategies have been firmed up and reforms introduced to enhance Defence exports.  These measures are listed below:

    1. 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.
    2. 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 simplified and placed on the website of the DDP.
    1. 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 authorization issued is also digitally signed.
    2. The Government has notified the Open General Export License (OGEL)- a onetime export license , which permits the industry to export specified items to specified destinations, enumerated in the OGEL, without seeking export authorization during the validity of the OGEL.
    3. 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. Targets have been set for the Defence Public Sector Undertakings and OFB for export of Defence products.




    1. Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO (INCCU)

    • Initially Setup in 1949, it is a governmental body functioning under the Department of Secondary and Higher Education in the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
    • The objective of the Commission is to advise the Government in matters relating to the UNESCO.
    • The Constitution of the UNESCO mandates each member to form a national commission to function as agencies of liaison between the national government and UNESCO.
    • The Minister for Human Resource Development is the President of the Commission.
    • The Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Higher Education is the Secretary-General of the Commission.
    • To promote understanding of the objects and purposes of UNESCO among the people of the Republic of India.
    • To serve as a liaison agency between the Government of India and the institutions concerned with the working for the advancement of education, science and culture.
    1. UN’s new rules for ships in the Arctic region


    • The International Maritime Organization (IMO)has issued new rules aiming to reduce sulphur emissions, due to which ships are opting for newer blends of fuels.
    • But, recently environmental activists called for a ban on the use of new low sulphur marine fuel in the Arctic region, citing a research which shows that blends of very low-sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO) contribute to highly polluting black carbon emissions in the environment.
    • The IMO has banned ships from using fuels with a sulphur content above 0.5 per cent, compared with 3.5 per cent previously.
    • The new limits are monitored and enforced by national authorities of countries that are members of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)Annex VI.
    • Under the new policy, only ships fitted with sulphur-cleaning devices, known as scrubbers, are allowed to continue burning high-sulphur fuel.
    • Alternatively, they can opt for cleaner fuels, such as marine gasoil (MGO) and very low-sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO).
    • There are complaints against VLSFO as well, as testing companies have claimed that high sediment formation due to the fuel’s use could damage vessel engines.
    • Implications:
    • The new regulations, called IMO 2020, have been regarded as the biggest shake up for the oil and shipping industries in decades. It affects more than 50,000 merchant ships worldwide.
    • Concerns associated with Sulphur usage:
    • Sulphur oxides (SOx), which are formed after combustion in engines, are known to cause respiratory symptoms and lung disease, while also leading to acid rain.
    • About International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL):
    • The Convention was adopted on 2 November 1973 at IMO.
    • It includes regulations aimed at preventing and minimizing pollution from ships – both accidental pollution and that from routine operations.
    • All ships flagged under countries that are signatories to MARPOL are subject to its requirements, regardless of where they sail and member nations are responsible for vessels registered on their national ship registry.
    1. World Sustainable Development Summit




    • It is the annual flagship event of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
    • It is the sole Summit on global issues taking place in the developing world.
    • It provides a platform for global leaders and practitioners to discuss and deliberate over climatic issues of universal importance.
    • It strives to provide long-term solutions for the benefit of the global community by assembling the world’s most enlightened leaders and thinkers on a single platform.
    • It is continuing the legacy of Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS)which was initiated in 2001 with the aim of making ‘sustainable development’ a globally shared goal.
    • The Energy and Resources Institute – TERI:
    • It is a leading think tank dedicated to conducting research for sustainable development of India and the Global South.
    • TERI was established in 1974 as an information centre on energy issues. However, over the following decades, it made a mark as a research institute, whose policy and technology solutions transformed people’s lives and the environment.


    1. European Union top diplomat holds talks in Tehran to de-escalate tensions


    • In Iran, top European Union diplomat Josep Borrell today held talks in Tehran on a mission aimed at lowering tensions over the country’s nuclear programme. Borrell’s two-day visit opened with a meeting with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, ahead of talks with President Hassan Rouhani and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.
    • The 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and a group of world powers has been crumbling since US President Donald Trump withdrew from it in 2018. Washington has since stepped up sanctions and a campaign of maximum pressure against Iran.
    • Tehran has gradually stepped back from its own commitments under the deal, while military tensions with the US brought the two countries to the brink of full-blown confrontation last month. The office of the EU’s Foreign Affairs said, Borrell’s mission aims to de-escalate tensions and seek opportunities for political solutions to the current crisis.
    • Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi told that Tehran hoped Borrell’s visit would help the European Union understand Iran’s situation and prompt the bloc to show goodwill by taking serious measures.


    1. China’s central bank lowers interest rates to boost economic activities



    • China’s central bank has lowered the interest rates on reverse repurchase agreements today to boost economic activities. The cut came as Chinese financial markets reopened after an extended Lunar New Year holiday. The People’s Bank of China has also injected a total of 173 billion US dollars into money markets through reverse bond repurchase agreements.
    • Chinese Army stationed in central China’s Hubei Province has begun distributing daily necessities to the residents of Wuhan. Chinese authorities have said that they will further increase the supply of daily necessities including fresh vegetables, meat, grain and oil to central Hubei Province.
    • Meanwhile, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has said in a statement that the highly pathogenic bird flu outbreak occurred in a farm in the Shuangqing district in Hunan province which has killed more than half of the chickens in the farm. Local authorities have culled 17,828 poultry after the outbreak. No human cases of the Hunan H5N1 virus have been reported. Hunan province lies on the southern border of Hubei province, the epicentre of the rapidly spreading coronavirus. Tens of millions of people are still quarantined throughout the Hunan Province in an effort to combat the virus.
    • According to the World Health Organization, the H5N1 avian flu has killed 455 people worldwide since 2003. The WHO says, that the virus does not infect humans easily and spread from person to person appears to be unusual. Last month, China also detected the highly pathogenic H5N6 strain of avian flu in swans in its western Xinjiang region.




    1. Indian boxers bag six gold at Golden Girl Championship in Sweden

    • In Boxing, India’s junior youth dominated the ring at the Golden Girl Championship in Boras, Sweden, claiming 14 medals, including six golds, the overall championship trophy and the ‘Best Boxer’ award. While the junior women’s team clinched five golds, three silvers and one bronze medal, the youth team secured a single gold and four bronze medals. The Boxing Federation of India in a press release said, the event concluded yesterday.
    • Haryana’s Prachi Dhankar (50 kilogram), playing in the junior category, won the ‘Best Boxer’ award.
    • Besides Prachi, Ethoibi Chanu Wangjam (54 kilogram), Lashu Yadav (66 kilogram) and Mahi Raghav (80 kilogram) also won gold medals.
    • The three silver medals in the junior category were won by Janhavi Churi (46 kilogram) Rudy Lalhmingmuani (66 kilogram) and Tanishka Patil (80 kilogram) while Diya Negi brought home a bronze in the 60 kilogram slot.







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