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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - January 2020

Jan 2020

Jan 12, 2021

Preeti Pant Panel to Study Adverse Findings of NFHS-5

  • The Health and Family Welfare Ministry has set up a technical expert group to examine the adverse findings from the National Family Health Survey-5 and recommend programmatic and policy interventions to improve indicators pertaining to malnutrition, stunting, anaemia, and C-section.
  • The committee is chaired by Joint Secretary Preeti Pant and includes experts from medicine and nutrition. There are also State programme officers from Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
  • The technical expert group is to meet regularly and share its recommendations as soon as possible.

SC Advises Nagaland Lokayukta to Resign

  • Nagaland Lokayukta Uma Nath Singh, the state's anti-corruption ombudsman, was advised by the Supreme Court to step down from his position given the spate of controversies the former High Court Chief Justice has been embroiled in.
  • The state government has sought removal of the Lokayukta, alleging various acts of impropriety and unjustified personal demands by him. Its petition contended that the Lokayukta has continued to work online from Delhi even though the chief secretary did not approve of this.

Jan 11, 2021

Labour Ministry Likely to Give Shape to National Employment Policy by December

  • The Ministry of Labour and Employment is likely to give a shape to the National Employment Policy (NEP) by December this year following the implementation of four labour codes and completion of four major surveys.
  • The NEP will draw a broad road map for improving job opportunities in the country, mainly by various initiatives like skill development, bringing investment in employment intensive segments and other policy interventions.
  • Last year, Parliament passed three labour codes on Industrial Relations, Social Security and Occupational Health Safety & Working Conditions (OSH).
  • The Code on Wages was approved by Parliament last year and its rules have been firmed up. But the implementation of the rules for Code on Wages was held back because the government wanted to implement all four labour codes in one go. These four codes are likely to be implemented from April 1 this year.

Jan 10, 2021

Election Commission Announces Dates for Legislative Council by-polls

  • The Election Commission of India announced the dates for by-polls to three seats of the legislative councils in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. The election body also issued notification for biennial polls for 12 seats of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council.
  • According to the election commission, these elections will be held on January 28 between 9 am to 4 pm and the counting of votes will take place on the same day at 5 pm. The last date for filing nominations for the polls is January 18.

SC Issues Notices On Plea Against Merger Of 6 BSP MLAs With Cong

  • The Supreme Court issued notice to Rajasthan assembly Speaker, assembly secretary and the six Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs who merged with the Congress in September 2019, over two separate petitions.
  • The bench of Justices S Abdul Nazeer and KM Joseph was hearing two petitions filed by BSP, and BJP MLA Madan Dilawar against the August 24 last year order passed by the state high court.
  • The high court had dismissed BSP's petition against the September 18, 2019 order passed by the Assembly Speaker approving the merger.
  • Senior advocate Satish Chandra Mishra, appearing for BSP, said that the merger of the six MLAs with Congress cannot be recognised as past rulings of the SC have clearly held that for this to be true, there should be a split in the party at the national level. "Only then, one-third of party members can merge with any political party," Mishra said.

Jan 09, 2021

GoI Constitutes High-level Group for South Asia Energy Security

  • The Central Government has set up a high-level group to build a South Asia-focused energy security architecture. The high-level group, named the South Asia Group for Energy (SAGE), will be headed by former Union Power Secretary Ram Vinay Shahi. SAGE has been set up under the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)-run think tank Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS).
  • The objective is to achieve a balanced and optimal development of energy infrastructure through mutual understanding and cooperation, by promoting, initiating and facilitating effective policy dialogue and capacity building on a bilateral, sub-regional and regional basis for energy and related issues, among South Asian countries.

World's Largest Floating Solar Project To Start In Mp By 2023: State Govt

  • The world's largest floating 600 MW solar energy project to be constructed at Omkareshwar dam on Narmada river in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh will begin power generation by year 2022-23. The estimated investment in this project stands at Rs 3,000 crore.
  • The International Finance Corporation, World Bank and Power Grid have granted in-principle consent for providing aid for the said project development.
  • The primary feasibility study of the project has been completed in collaboration with the World Bank. The project is likely to begin power generation by year 2022-23, the minister said.

Panel to Look Into Ladakh Issues

  • A committee would be constituted under Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy to find an appropriate solution to the issues related to language, culture and conservation of land in the Union Territory of Ladakh, the Home Ministry said in a statement.
  • A 10-member delegation of Ladakh met Home Minister Amit Shah.
  • The committee, led by Mr. Reddy, would comprise members of the delegation that met the Home Minister, elected members from Ladakh, members of the LAHDC and ex-officio members representing the Government of India and the Ladakh administration.

Government Bans 59 Apps Including China-Based TikTok, WeChat

  • The Government of India on Monday banned 59 applications, most of them popular Chinese applications such as TikTok, Shareit, Mi Video Call, Club Factory and Cam Scanner, citing threat to national security and sovereignty.
  • The ban comes amid continuing tensions on the border between India and China and covers a variety of applications from e-commerce to gaming, social media, browsers, instant messaging and file sharing.
  • The Ministry said it was invoking its power under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.

Jan 08, 2021

A Michael Jackson Concert in India That's Now Tax-free

  • In 1996, Michael Jackson played to a packed audience in Mumbai in what was to be his only performance in India.
  • Some 35,000 fans attended the show in a sports arena on the first day of November. Jackson's 17-song concert in Mumbai (then called Bombay) was part of his 83-show History World Tour from September 1996 to October 1997.
  • At the time, Maharashtra, the state where Mumbai is located, was governed by the right wing Shiv Sena party. It had waived entertainment tax on the show on the grounds that it was meant for a "philanthropic and charitable" purpose.
  • But the show soon became embroiled in a prolonged legal battle involving the government, the concert organiser and a feisty consumer protection group. At stake were issues like whether the show was eligible for a tax waiver and even how Jackson's music could be defined.
  • Jackson had "for reasons known to only a few, waived his performance fee", India Today magazine reported in November 1996.
  • The pop superstar had promised to donate profits from the concert — which eventually ran to more than $1m — to a Shiv Sena-run youth employment project, wrote author Suketu Mehta in his award-winning book, Maximum City.

PM Flags Off World's 1st Double-Stack Container Train

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the world's first double-stack long-haul container train from New Ateli in Haryana to New Kishanganj in Rajasthan.
  • He also launched the 306-km Rewari-Madar section of the Western dedicated freight corridor (DFC).
  • Modi said that since the launch of the New Bhaupur-New Khurja section of the DFC, the average speed of freight trains has tripled in that section.
  • One train carries 360 10-feet container equivalent units (TEU), which is equivalent to 270 high capacity trailer trucks, a rail ministry statement said.
  • The corridor is expected to boost farming and allied businesses in Haryana and Rajasthan and impart new energy into cities like Mahendragarh, Jaipur, Ajmer and Sikar.

ITBP Orders Over Rs 8 Crore Worth Of Khadi Mats From KVIC For CAPFs

  • The Indo-Tibetan Border Police placed an order worth over Rs 8 crore with the Khadi and Village Industries Commission for procurement of 'khadi durries' or mats for various central paramilitary forces.
  • A memorandum of understanding procuring 1,71,520 mats was signed between the two organisations as part of a Union government directive to only use and sell 'swadeshi' or indigenously made goods in these forces functioning under the command of the Union Home Ministry. 
  • The central armed police forces (CAPFs) like the BSF, CRPF, ITBP, SSB and CISF, render a variety of duties in the internal security domain of the country.
  • The ITBP, a mountain-warfare trained force deployed to guard the 3,488-km long Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, is the nodal agency for purchase of certain goods for the paramilitary forces.
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