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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - January 2020

Jan 2020

Jan 25, 2021

Centre Gives Green Light to Underwater Study to Determine Ram Setu Origins

  • The government has approved an underwater research project to ascertain the origins of the Ram Setu — a 48-km-long chain of shoals between India and Sri Lanka.
  • Talking about the aim of the exploration, Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Prahlad Singh Patel, said, "The world should get to know about the Ram Setu through evidence based on scientific research."
  • Ram Setu, also known as Adam's Bridge or Nala Setu, holds religious significance because of the Ramayana.
  • The government has approved an underwater research project to ascertain the origins of the Ram Setu — a 48-km-long chain of shoals between India and Sri Lanka.
  • Talking about the aim of the exploration, Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Prahlad Singh Patel, said, "The world should get to know about the Ram Setu through evidence based on scientific research."
  • Ram Setu, also known as Adam's Bridge or Nala Setu, holds religious significance because of the Ramayana.

Jan 24, 2021

Abbas Siddiqui Floats New Political Party in Bengal

  • A young and popular Muslim cleric in West Bengal, Abbas Siddiqui, has floated a new political outfit — the Indian Secular Front -- in the poll-bound state.
  • Siddiqui, who has emerged as one of the most vocal critics of the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, recently held a meeting with Asaduddin Owaisi, leader of All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM).
  • As per Siddiqui, the party has been formed so that everybody can enjoy social justice and constitutional democracy can be protected.

India Willing to Support Colombia in its Journey Towards Peace, Progress

  • Commending the remarkable progress in the process of peacebuilding in Colombia, India said that it is willing to support Bogota in its journey towards peace, progress, and prosperity.
  • Speaking at United Nations Security Council's (UNSC) meeting on Colombia, TS Tirumurti, Indian Ambassador to the United Nations, said democracy in Colombia is deepening through increased political participation and applauded the efforts of the people and the Government of Colombia in realising the achievements of the last four years.
  • A peace deal was signed between the previous Colombian government of Juan Manuel Santos and the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in November 2016. The deal was meant to put an end to a bloody 50-year armed conflict that killed over 260,000 and displaced millions in Colombia.

Jan 23, 2021

Telangana: 10% Quota for Economically Weaker Sections in Jobs and Education

  • The Telangana government announced 10 per cent reservation for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in government jobs and educational institutions. 
  • As of now, 50 per cent reservation for the weaker sections is in force in the state. With an additional 10 per cent quota for the EWS, the total percentage of reservation will rise to 60.

Jayant Khobragade India's Next Envoy to ASEAN Secretariat

  • India named Jayant Khobragade as its next ambassador to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) secretariat in Jakarta, months after Pakistan declined to accept his posting as the deputy chief of mission in Islamabad.
  • Khobragade, an officer of the 1995 batch of the Indian Foreign Service, is currently serving as a joint secretary in the external affairs ministry. He is expected to take up his assignment shortly.
  • India first posted a dedicated ambassador to ASEAN in 2014 following the elevation of ties between the two sides to a strategic partnership and in view of growing cooperation in areas ranging from security to trade.

Maharashtra Renames Gorewada International Zoo after Bal Thackeray

  • The Maharashtra government has renamed Gorewada International Zoo in Nagpur as 'Balasaheb Thackeray Gorewada International Zoological Park. The zoological park will come up on nearly 2,000 hectares of forest land.
  • Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will inaugurate the Indian safari at the zoo on January 26. Three special 40-seat capacity vehicles and an online ticket booking facility will be made available to the people as soon after the Indian safari is inaugurated.

Shahnawaz Hussain and Mukesh Sahni Elected Unopposed to Bihar Legislative Council

  • JP leader Shahnawaz Hussain and Bihar minister Mukesh Sahni were elected unopposed to the Bihar legislative council.
  • Shahnawaz Hussain has been elected on the seat vacated by former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, the term of which expires in 2024.
  • Mukesh Sahni, the founding president of NDA partner Vikassheel Insaan Party, has been elected from the seat vacated by former minister and BJP leader Binod Narayan Jha, who is now a member of the assembly.
  • Both Hussain and Sahni were handed over their certificates by Patna Divisional Commissioner Sanjay Agarwal, who had been designated as the returning officer for by-elections to the two seats.
  • Both Hussain and Sahni have made their debut in the state legislature.

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.
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