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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - January 2020

Jan 2020

Jan 01, 2021

Republic Day Paraded Likely to be Shorter

  • The Republic Day celebrations at Rajpath next month are likely to witness a number of changes including smaller marching contingents, shorter distance for the parade and fewer spectators compared to the previous years in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Every year, India displays its military might, rich cultural diversity and socio-economic progress during the Republic Day celebrations at the Rajpath, the city's centrepiece boulevard.
  • As per reports, around 25,000 spectators will be allowed to witness the celebrations as against a normal crowd of around 100,000 people and that children below 15 years of age will not be allowed entry.
  • Similarly, the size of the marching contingents is likely to be brought down from around 144 in each contingent to around 96.
  • The parade is likely to be of shorter distance. It will start from Vijay Chowk and end at the National Stadium instead of the Red Fort.

TMC MPs Seek Removal of Bengal Governor

  • Trimoonal Congress MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray submitted a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind demanding the immediate removal of West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar.
  • The other signatories demanding the removal of West Bengal Governor are: Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, MPs Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Derek O'Brien, Kalyan Banerjee, and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar.
  • The letter said that Dhankar had been inducing divisive politics, because ruling parties at the center and the state are political opponents.

Dec 31, 2020

Odisha 7th State to Complete Ease of Doing Business Reforms

  • Odisha has become the 7th state in India to successfully undertake the 'Ease of Doing Business' reform stipulated by the Ministry of Finance. The state is now eligible to mobilise additional financial resources of Rs. 1,429 crores through Open Market Borrowings.
  • The Department of Expenditure gave permission for the same on December 30, 2020. Odisha has now joined the six other states namely, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana, who have completed this reform. 

Karnataka Rejects Kasturirangan Panel Report on Western Ghats

  • Karnataka has decided to reject the K Kasturirangan committee report on protecting Western Ghats and will convey the same to the Union government.
  • "The report is unscientific and there are plenty of ambiguities which makes it difficult to implement. The report is opposed everywhere right from the gram panchayat level to an assembly segment," Revenue Minister R Ashoka said, adding that if the government goes ahead and implements the report, it will create uncertainties for people in the Western Ghat villages.
  • The cabinet sub-committee formed to study the K. Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats chaired by Forest Minister Anand Singh held its last meeting and decided to outrightly reject the recommendations. The state will now communicate its stand to the Centre as the National Green Tribunal has set December 31 deadline to implement the report.
  • The report has identified more than 1,500 villages in Karnataka as ecologically sensitive areas (ESAs), and if the government were to implement the Kasturirangan panel recommendations, it would prohibit developmental activities in those villages. 

Dec 30, 2020

Gujarat MP Vasava Resigns from BJP, to Quit LS Too

  • Gujarat BJP MP and former Union Minister Mansukh Vasava quit the party and said he would also resign from Lok Sabha in the Budget session of Parliament.
  • In his resignation letter, Vasava did not specify any reason for quitting the party. But as per reports, the six- time MP, who is vocal on tribal issues, had been critical of BJP's policies after he was dropped as Union Minister in 2016.

Harsh Vardhan Opens New IMD Centre in Ladakh

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) will now provide specialised weather forecasts for traffic movement on highways, agriculture, and defence personnel from its Ladakh centre. Located at 3,500 metres above sea level in Leh, it will be the highest Meteorological Centre (MC) in India.
  • The centre was virtually inaugurated by Minister for Earth Sciences (MoES) Harsh Vardhan. After Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh, the Leh centre is the second MC located in the Himalayas.
  • The UT is a geo-strategic location from the security point of view.
  • Even though there are only two districts, Kargil and Leh, the Union Territory has varying micro-climatic zones ranging from plains, cold desert, hills and extreme dry places. "All these micro-climatic regions require specific and localised weather monitoring and information. 

New Phase of Electoral Bonds in January

    • With Assam and West Bengal Assembly elections coming up, the government announced a 10-day window from January 1 for the 15th phase of sale and encashment of electoral bonds.
    • The bonds will be valid for 15 days from the date of issue and no payment shall be made if political parties deposit them after the validity period.
    • Only the State Bank of India is authorised to issue and redeem the electoral bonds through 29 branches. The previous window was opened for 10 days from October 19 during which electoral bonds worth Rs. 282.29 crore were sold, half of them in Mumbai though the polls were held in Bihar and Hyderabad municipal corporation.

Dec 29, 2020

PM Modi to Inaugurate EDFC

  • The 'New Bhaupur-New Khurja' section of Indian Railways' Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor will be inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi tomorrow. Besides, the Prime Minister will also inaugurate the operation control centre of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor at Prayagraj.
  • The 351 kilometres long stretch of New Bhaupur-New Khurja is located in the state of UP and has been built at a cost of Rs 5,750 crore. The EDFC section of New Bhaupur-New Khurja will benefit local industries like the aluminium industry in Pukhrayan region of Kanpur Dehat, glassware industry of Firozabad, asafoetida production of Hathras, textile production and block printing of Etawah, dairy sector of Auraiya, pottery products of Khurja, as well as locks and hardware of Aligarh district.
  • The new EDFC section will also decongest the existing mainline between Kanpur-Delhi and will also enable the national transporter to run faster train services. The Prayagraj's Operation Control Centre will act as the command centre for the entire Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor's route length. 

Election Commission to Push for Absentee Vote, Digi-ID, New Service Rules

  • Four items on the Election Commission's agenda, which could go a long way in increasing the voter base and facilitate higher turnout during polls, will likely come up before the government in January.
  • Linkage of the Aadhaar number with voter ID, allowing voter registration as soon as a person turns 18 years, ensuring gender-neutral voting rights to service voters and launching of the digital voter ID for new voters have been on the to-do list of the EC for some time now.
  • While the first three require amendments to the Representation of People's Act, 1951, the fourth one — a digilocker-enabled version of the voter ID — is set to be launched on January 25 at a National Voter's Day event. All new voter cards issued from next month will be downloadable, like the e-Aadhar.
  • It is also expected that all or some of the required amendments to the RP Act may be brought in through the Budget session of Parliament.

PM Modi Launches National Common Mobility Card, Flags off India's First Driverless Train

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) services on the Airport Express Line and said that the launch of this service will further India's development.
  • The Prime Minister said that the time has come for a unified technological interface to be used across services in order bring all-round development in the country. Speaking at the launch of the NCMC services on the Airport Express Line, PM Modi said that the launch of this service is one such interface.
  • The NCMC will be very useful for passengers as the card will allow passengers carrying a RuPay debit card to swipe these for Metro travel. According to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), those carrying NCMC will now be able to travel on the Airport Express line without any trouble. This facility will become available on the entire Delhi Metro network by 2022.

Dec 28, 2020

Himachal CM Unveils statue of Vajpayee in Shimla

  • Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur unveiled an 18-feet tall statue of late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the historic Ridge Maidan in the state capital.
  • The statue has been built at a cost of Rs. 1.08 crore. The Ridge Maidan also houses statues of Mahatma Gandhi and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

RLP Convener Beniwal Announces Split from NDA

  • Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) convener and Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal announced a split from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the Centre's new farm laws.
  • Beniwal had announced a march to Delhi in support of farmers' organisations holding a protest against the contentious laws.
  • Beniwal claimed that his coronavirus test was fudged to keep him out of the Lok Sabha when the three farm laws were passed. 

Alliance with Shiv Sena Limited to Maharashtra

  • Senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan said that the Shiv Sena was not part of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the tie-up between the two parties is limited to Maharashtra, a day after Sena MP Sanjay Raut called for expansion of the Congress-led bloc.
  • Shavan said that Shiv Sena is yet to become a part of the UPA. Our alliance with the Sena in Maharashtra is based on a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) and limited to Maharashtra.

BJP to Organise Webinars on 'One Nation, One Election'

  • The BJP will organise nearly 25 webinars over the next few days on the issue of 'one nation, one election', as it seeks to build popular support for what has been a strong plank of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • These webinars will be attended by senior leaders, members of academia and legal fraternity, 
  • Since coming to power in 2014, Modi has often advocated holding all elections together, from Lok Sabha to state Assemblies and local bodies, arguing that this will orient various elected bodies fully towards development as the current cycle of frequent polls across the country hampers work.
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