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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - April 2020

Apr 2020

Jul 26, 2021

TMC Nominates Ex-Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar for RS by-Election

  • The Trinamool Congress nominated former bureaucrat Jawhar Sircar as its candidate for the upcoming Rajya Sabha by-election in the state.
  • The Election Commission had on July 16 said that bypoll to the Rajya Sabha seat from West Bengal vacated by Dinesh Trivedi earlier this year will be held on August 9.
  • Sircar spent nearly 42 years in public service and was also the former CEO of Prasar Bharati.
  • The bypoll to the Rajya Sabha seat from the state will be held if the opposition BJP fields its candidate for the same, otherwise, the TMC candidate will be declared elected unopposed.

FinMin Joint Secretary Rashmi R. Das Appointed to UN Tax Committee

  • The joint secretary of the Finance Ministry, Rasmi Ranjan Das has been appointed to the UN tax committee as a member for the term period 2021 to 2025. Das is among the tax experts from around the world who has been appointed as a member of the UN tax committee. She is Joint Secretary – (FT&TR-I), Central Board of Direct Taxes, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.
  • Formally known as the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters, this committee helps the countries' efforts to advance stronger and forward-looking tax policies which are adapted to suit the realities of a digitalised economy, globalised trade and investment and the ever-worsening environmental degradation.
  • It assists countries in their efforts to prevent double or multiple taxations as well as non-taxation, broaden their tax base, strengthen their tax administrations, and curb international tax evasion and avoidance.

FS Shringla Meets British Counterpart

  • Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has met his British counterpart Lord Tariq Ahmad and held a comprehensive review of the UK-India cooperation in multilateral fora and on global issues and the implementation of Roadmap 2030, a 10-year plan that was unveiled in May for bilateral partnership on the road to a free trade agreement (FTA).
  • He held meetings with his counterpart Ahmad, Minister of South Asia in the Foreign Office, and Philip Barton, the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
  • The Roadmap 2030 was adopted at a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson to elevate bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership and guide cooperation over the next decade in the key areas of trade and economy, defence and security and climate change, among others.

NITI Aayog and IEA Launch Renewables Integration in India Report

  • A report named Renewables Integration in India 2021 was jointly launched by NITI Aayog and IEA. This report is based on the outcome of workshops held in three states along with the Governments of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat to understand the energy transition challenges which is faced by these renewable-rich states.
  • This report uses IEA modelling results to portray the effects of various flexibility options on the power system.
  • India's power system can efficiently integrate renewables (175 GW by the year 2022 and 450 GW by the year 2030) as highlighted by the report, but it would require proper planning, regulatory policy and institutional support, identification of resources, energy storage and advance technology initiatives.
  • The states of India need to employ a wide range options such as more flexible operation of coal based power plants, demand response, grid improvements and storage so that they can transition to cleaner electricity systems.

Pramod Sawant to be BJP's Chief Minister Face for 2022 Goa Polls

  • Ahead of 2022 Assembly Elections in Goa, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National President Jagat Prakash Nadda said that the party is going forward with Pramod Sawant as its chief ministerial face and added there is no need to think about any other name.
  • BJP national president was on a two-day visit to Goa which commenced on Saturday, ahead of the 2022 Assembly Elections in the state.

Jul 25, 2021

Union Cabinet Approves First Central University in Ladakh

  • The Centre approved the establishment of a central university and an integrated multi-purpose infrastructure development corporation for Ladakh, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi said will ensure all-round development of the newly-created UT and provide a range of opportunities to the dynamic youth there.
  • The decisions to set up the central university at a cost of Rs. 750 crore and the corporation with a fund of Rs. 25 crore for Ladakh were taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister.

Manduadih Railway Station Renamed as Banaras

  • The Manduadih railway station has been finally renamed as Banaras railway station by the North eastern railways (NER). The NER replaced the old signboard with the new one which read 'Banaras' after the Railway Board gave its nod for the new name.
  • The newly painted signboards were put up with Banaras written in Hindi, Sanskrit, English, and Urdu.
  • The process to change the station's name started in 2019 when former railway minister and the present governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Singh, put forth the request. In the same year, the Uttar Pradesh government accepted the proposal and forwarded it to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The Banaras Railway Station, formerly known as Manduadih Railway Station, is one of the most advanced and facility-loaded railway stations.

Jul 24, 2021

Aviation Ministry Forms Three Advisory Groups

  • In a bid to improve the aviation services and to deal with the challenges the sector faces, the Ministry of Civil Aviation formed three advisory groups.
  • The groups comprise Airlines, Airport Operators and MRO, Cargo Carriers, FTOs and Ground Handling companies.
  • According to the ministry, the newly constituted groups will meet regularly to deliberate upon issues and resolve challenges facing each sector.

Jul 23, 2021

Historic Urban Landscape Project Launched for Gwalior, Orchha

  • In the state of Madhya Pradesh, the cities of Orchha and Gwalior have been selected by UNESCO under its 'Historic Urban Landscape Project.' This project was started in the year 2011.
  • UNESCO's Historic Urban Landscape project for the cities of Orchha and Gwalior was launched through video conferencing by Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
  • Six cities of South Asia, including Indian cities of Varanasi and Ajmer are already involved in this project. Gwalior and Orchha have been included as the 7th and 8th cities of South Asia.
  • UNESCO will prepare the management and development of these cities.
  • This project will help in boosting the tourism of the state of Madhya Pradesh. Along with this additional employment opportunities will be created.
  • These cities will be jointly developed by UNESCO, the Government of India and the state of Madhya Pradesh by putting primary focus on their cultural and historical improvement.
  • By implementing this project of UNESCO, full care of the history, culture, traditions, nature as well as heritage of the cities will be sustainably developed.
  • This project of UNESCO was started in the year 2011 with the primary aim of well-planned and all inclusive development of the fast-growing historical cities around the world, while keeping in mind to preserve the heritage and the culture.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi Appointed Deputy Leader of House in Rajya Sabha

  • The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced the appointment of Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi as the deputy leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha. Naqvi took over from Piyush Goyal who was elevated as the leader of the house in the Upper House.
  • A former minister of state for parliamentary affairs minister, Naqvi is well versed in Parliamentary affairs. He is also known for his cordial relations across party lines. At parliamentary affairs ministry, he had a good working relation with various political parties. He knows how to engage with the opposition, especially when there are tricky issues before the house.
  • Both Goyal and Naqvi have their job cut out for them. They will have to handle the opposition in the Upper House and ensure that the house proceedings are conducted smoothly to allow the passage of bills.

Abdulla Shahid Visits India in His First Foreign Visit as UNGA President

  • The President-elect of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Abdulla Shahid was in India for his first foreign visit in that capacity. He won the elections of UNGA President in June.
  • Shahid, who is the Foreign Minister of Maldives, held talks with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla also hosted the Minister.
  • Minister Shahid was accompanied by Member of Parliament Hussain Shaheem, and Joint Secretary Mariyam Midhfa Naeem from the Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

BJP Appoints Prem Shukla, Shazia Ilmi as National Spokespersons

  • The BJP appointed Prem Shukla and Shazia Ilmi as its national spokespersons.
  • Both the BJP members have been visible in the media in defending and promoting the party's stand on a variety of issues.
  • The party currently has 25 national spokespersons, including its media department head and chief spokesperson Anil Baluni.

Jul 22, 2021

Gagandeep Singh Wasu is NIA's Special Public Prosecutor for Punjab, Haryana

  • The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued a gazette notification appointing senior advocate Gagandeep Singh Wasu as the special public prosecutor for representing cases on behalf of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) before special courts for Punjab (Mohali) and Haryana (Panchkula) for three years with effect from July 20.
  • It said he would also represent the NIA in cases before the special court and High Court established by law in the territory of the Union Territory (UT) of Chandigarh. According to the order, Wasu will now handle all terrorism-related cases, which are being investigated by the NIA in Punjab and Haryana.

Perumkulam is Kerala's First 'Book Village'

  • Perumkulam, in Thiruvananthapuram District, has been bestowed with the title Kerala's first 'Book Village'. This claim to fame results from years of concerted efforts aimed at encouraging the habit of reading. Perumkulam is a small village in Kulakkada near Kottarakkara in Kollam district. Bapuji Smaraka Grandhasala', a library in the village is at the forefront in this effort of making it the first book village of the State.

NMGC Approves New Projects for Rejuvenation of 6 Rivers in Uttarakhand

  • The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) in its 36th Executive Committee has approved new projects for the rejuvenation of six rivers in Uttarakhand. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), there are a total of nine polluted stretches in Uttarakhand and six of them are in the Udham Singh Nagar district on various tributaries or small rivers such as Bhela, Dhela, Kichha, Nandor, Pilankha and Kosi.
  • The projects shall cover the six polluted river stretches in the Kumaon region. Out of the rest three polluted stretches, the project of Ganga at Jagjeetpur, Haridwar has already been commissioned and on the remaining two, Namami Gange projects are already under execution. It also approved Sewerage (I&D) scheme (Dhela River) Phase-1 of District Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand under Namami Gange Programme at a sanctioned cost of Rs. 199.36 crore.
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