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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - January 2020

Jan 2020

Jan 22, 2021

MoU Signed between India and Uzbekistan for Solar Energy Cooperation

  • The Union Cabinet approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between India and Uzbekistan for cooperation in solar energy.
  • As per reports, the main area of work is to identify research, demonstration and pilot projects between the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and the International Solar Energy Institute (ISEI), Uzbekistan in mutually identified areas including solar photovoltaic and storage technologies.
  • Based on mutual agreement, both parties would work for implementation and deployment of a pilot project in International Solar Alliance (ISA) member countries.

Karnataka is the Most Innovative State, Says NITI Aayog

  • Karnataka retained its leadership position in the major States category in the second edition of India Innovation Index released by NITI Aayog.
  • It was followed by Maharashtra, which moved past Tamil Nadu to occupy the second place.
  • Other States in the top 10 are Telangana, Kerala, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. Barring Maharashtra, all other States in the top five are in the south.
  • Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar scored the lowest on the index, which put them at the bottom in the "major States" category.

Jan 21, 2021

TMC's Senior Leader Arindam Bhattacharya, Aditya Birla Group VP Join BJP

  • In another blow to Trinamool Congress (TMC), senior leader Arindam Bhattacharya joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), months ahead of the West Bengal assembly elections. Arindam Bhattacharya joined the saffron party in the presence of senior BJP leaders at its headquarters in New Delhi.
  • Bhattacharya who was elected as a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) on Congress ticket had later joined TMC.
  • On the other hand, the Aditya Birla Group VP Ranjan Banerjee has also joined BJP in Kolkata.  

Shahnawaz Hussain Likely to be Included in Bihar's Next Cabinet Expansion

  • The Nitish Kumar-led government in Bihar is ready for its cabinet expansion and has made a list of its nominees, the BJP too has finalised its names and its leaders will hand over the names to CM Nitish Kumar.
  • The BJP has reportedly given the names of 10 MLAs and MLCs. Some names doing the rounds are Shahnawaz Hussain, Nitish Mishra, Sanjay Sarawgi, Pramod Kumar, Krishna Kumar Rishi, Sanjay Singh, Samrat Chaudhary, Ram Pravesh Rai.

Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha to have 5-hour sessions with Question Hour, Zero Hour

  • With the budget session of Parliament set to start on January 29, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said that both Houses will have five-hour sessions each with Question Hour and Zero Hour. Rajya Sabha will sit from 9 am to 2 pm, and Lok Sabha from 4 pm to 9 pm.
  • On January 29, President Ram Nath Kovind will address a joint session of Parliament in the Central Hall, for which MPs will be seated also in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha chambers. Lok Sabha will sit 30 minutes after the presidential address for the tabling of the presidential address and Economic Survey. Rajya Sabha will sit later for the same.
  • The Union Budget will be presented at 11 am on February 1 in Lok Sabha.
  • The budget session will break for a recess on February 15 to meet again on March 8. The budget session is scheduled to conclude on April 8.

Jan 20, 2021

Assam Congress to Join Hands with AIUDF, AGM, 3 Left Parties for Assembly Polls

  • Ending months of speculation, Congress announced that the party would have a pre-poll alliance with the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) for the coming assembly polls in Assam.
  • Newly-formed Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM) of journalist-turned-politician and Rajya Sabha MP Ajit Kumar Bhuyan and three Left parties, CPI, CPI-M and CPI-ML, will also be part of this pre-poll tie up.
  • Leaders of the six parties announced formation of this alliance at a press meet in Guwahati in presence of Congress observers for Assam polls, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and senior party leader Mukul Wasnik.
  • Assembly polls in Assam are due in April-May and tenure of the present 126-member House expires on May 31.

India Innovation Index, 2020

  • The NITI Aayog is to launch the second edition of India Innovation Index. The Index ranks states of the country based on how they support innovation. The first edition of India Innovation Index was launched in 2019.
  • The India Innovation Index was developed on the lines of Global Innovation Index. It attempts to create an extensive framework for the continuous evaluation of the innovation environment of the states and union territories in India.
  • The index is calculated as the average of scores of two dimensions namely enablers and performance. The enablers provide the innovative capacities of the states and the performers give the benefits derived by the nation from the state's innovation. The enablers are human capital, investment, business environment, knowledge workers and safety and legal environment. The performance parameters are knowledge diffusion and knowledge output.

Kiren Rijiju Gets Additional Charge of Ministry of AYUSH

  • The Minister of State for Youth Affairs & Sports (Independent Charge) and Minister of State, Minority Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, got additional charge of the Ministry of AYUSH till the treatment of the Union Minister Shripad Y Naik, who met an accident on January 11.

Jan 19, 2021

Narendra Modi Named Somnath Temple Trust Chairman

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi was appointed the new chairman of the trust which manages the world-famous Somnath Temple at Prabhas Patan town in Gujarat's Gir-Somnath district, becoming the second PM to hold the post. PM Modi, one of the trustees of the Shree Somnath Trust, was elected to the top post unanimously.
  • After former PM Morarji Desai, Narendra Modi is the second Prime Minister who has been appointed the chairman of the temple trust. As per trust records, PM Modi has become the eighth chairman of the trust.
  • The post of the Somnath Trust's chairman fell vacant after the death of the incumbent, former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, in October 2020. Patel had served as the chairman for 16 years (2004-2020).

At UNSC, India Welcomes Abraham Accords and Lauds Role of Arab League

  • At the United Nations Security Council, India has welcomed the concluded Abraham accords that saw several countries in West Asia establishing ties with Israel.  Calling the signing of 'Abraham accords' a 'positive development', India's envoy to the United Nations TS Tirumurti said, "We welcome these agreements regarding normalization of relations between Israel and other countries, which, we believe will contribute to peace and stability in West Asia."
  • The accords signed in 2020 saw UAE, Bahrain establishing ties with Israel. The development comes after more than 2 decades, since the last time any Arab country recognized Israel, which was -- Jordan in 1994 and Egypt in 1979.

Jan 18, 2021

Dogri, Kashmiri Used for First Time in Rajya Sabha

  • The Rajya Sabha has seen a phenomenal rise in the use of regional languages over recent years with Sanskrit emerging the fifth most-spoken scheduled language in the House after Hindi, Telugu, Urdu and Tamil.
  • An analysis by the Rajya Sabha of the languages members used in proceedings from 2018 to 2020 shows while Dogri, Kashmiri, Konkani and Santhali were used for the first time since the Upper House came into existence in 1952, Assamese, Bodo, Gujarati, Maithili, Manipuri and Nepali were used after a long gap.

Shiv Sena takes Major Decision on West Bengal Assembly Election

  • Ahead of the upcoming West Bengal Assembly election, the Shiv Sena announced a major decision on the state assembly election. 
  • Raut asserted that after discussion with Maharashtra Chief Minister and party supremo Uddhav Thackeray, the party has decided to contest the West Bengal Assembly Election.
  • He, however, didn't specify the number of seats the Sena will contest in West Bengal. Elections to the 294-member assembly are due in April-May in 2021. The Shiv Sena is in power in Maharashtra along with the NCP and Congress under the aegis of Maha Vikas Aghadi.
  • This comes on the heels of the Left Front and the Congress asserting that they will jointly fight the BJP and the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. They said that their seat-sharing arrangement for the upcoming state assembly elections will be finalised by the end of January.
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