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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - June 2020

Jun 2020

Jul 29, 2021

BJP Seeks Shashi Tharoor's Removal as House Panel Head

  • The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) moved a privilege motion seeking Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor's removal as the head of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology. It came hours before the committee was scheduled to meet to discuss the alleged Pegasus snooping.
  • The snooping row erupted before the beginning of Parliament's ongoing monsoon session after an international investigative consortium reported that many Indian ministers, politicians, activists, businessmen, and journalists were potentially targeted by the Israeli company NSO Group's phone hacking software Pegasus. A forensic analysis of 10 of the targets proved they had been hacked or that there had been attempts to do so.

Puri India's First City to Provide Quality Drinking Tap Water

  • Puri has become the first city in India where people can avail high-quality drinking water directly from the tap on a 24-hour basis. It has enabled the people of Puri to collect quality drinking water directly from the tap. Henceforth, people need not have to store or filter drinking water.
  • The project would benefit 2.5 lakh citizens of Puri and 2 crore tourists who visit the tourist place every year. They need not have to move around with water bottles. Puri would no more be burdened with 400 metric tonnes of plastic waste. Water fountains have been developed at 400 locations in Puri.

Jul 28, 2021

Smriti Irani Launches 24/7 Helpline of NCW for Women Affected by Violence

  • Smriti Irani, the Union Minister for Women and Child Development (WCD) launched the National Commission for Women's (NCW) 24/7 helpline number 7827170170. The helpline has been launched with primary aim of providing online support 24/7 to women who are affected by violence. They will be linked with the appropriate authorities like hospitals, doctors, police, psychological services, District Legal Service Authority etc.
  • This helpline has been launched with the aim of further improving the security and safety of all women across the country.
  • The Minister congratulated the NCW for this brilliant initiative and said that this helpline will give a strong message to the country's women that the commission and the government will always stand by them.
  • The entire team of the National Commission for Women was also lauded by the minister for their efforts towards helping the women of the country during the pandemic.
  • The primary objective of this newly launched Helpline is to provide 24-hour counselling and complaints services to all those women of the nation who are affected by violence.

Basavaraj Bommai Takes Oath as 23rd Chief Minister of Karnataka

  • Lingayat leader Basavaraj Somappa Bommai took oath as the new Chief Minister of Karnataka. In the ceremony at the Glass House of the Karnataka Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru, Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot administered the oath of office and secrecy.
  • Ever since speculations regarding Yediyurappa's started gaining ground, Bommai was always among the top contenders to replace him. Born on January 28, 1960, Bommai hails from the Sadara Lingayat community. He is a two-time MLC and three-time MLA from Shiggaon in Haveri district in North Karnataka. In the past, he has held the portfolio of water resources in the Yediyurappa cabinet.

Rajnath on 3-day Visit to Tajikistan

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has left for Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on a three-day visit to participate in a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers.
  • A bilateral meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe is not planned, but has not been ruled out. Earlier this month, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar was in Dushanbe for the SCO Foreign Ministers' meeting.
  • With the deadlock persisting along the LAC, the Rajnath-Wei meet could be a possibility. Besides India, the SCO comprises Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Rakesh Asthana is New Delhi Police Chief

  • Rakesh Asthana, the former senior official of the Central Bureau of Investigation, was appointed as the Commissioner of the Delhi Police.
  • A 1984-batch IPS officer from Gujarat cadre, Asthana was appointed as Delhi police chief, three days before he was to superannuate. He also had a controversial stint in the CBI, was removed in 2018 and was made chief of the Border Security. In 2017, then CBI chief Alok Verma had opposed the appointment of Asthana as a Special Director.

Peddi Reddy Resigns from BJP

  • In another shock to the Telangana unit of BJP, former Minister E. Peddi Reddy has resigned from the party ahead of the Huzurabad by-poll.
  • After tendering his resignation, Reddy said that he will join the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) Party.
  • Notably, Reddy is the second senior BJP leader to quit the party within a span of few days. Earlier, another former Minister and senior leader Motukupalli Narsimhulu had resigned from the party.
  • Both leaders, before quitting had openly expressed their resentment against the entry of former TRS leader Eetela Rajender into BJP.

Jul 27, 2021

Nasir Kamal is Director General of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS)

  • Nasir Kamal, a 1986 batch IPS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, was appointed as the Director General of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) in the Ministry of Civil Aviation till his superannuation on July 31, 2022. BCAS is a wing of the Civil Aviation Ministry looking after civil aviation security. His appointment was cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister.

AAP Will Not Forge Alliance with Any Party for Punjab Polls

  • The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will not forge an electoral alliance with any political party for the 2022 Punjab assembly polls, party's senior leader Raghav Chadha said.
  • Chadha, who is AAP's Punjab co-incharge, said his party will contest all the 117 assembly seats on its own.
  • Punjab assembly polls are due early next year.

B. S. Yediyurappa Resigns as CM

  • Ending months of speculation over his exit, B. S. Yediyurappa stepped down as the Chief Minister of Karnataka, coinciding with his government completing two years in office, even as suspense continues on his successor.
  • The 78 year-old BJP veteran, who submitted his resignation to Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot at the Raj Bhavan, said that he quit voluntarily and will continue to remain active in state politics.

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.
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