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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - August 2020

Aug 2020

Sep 14, 2021

Chandigarh Gets First Pollen Calendar

  • The Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and Panjab University have come up with India's first city-based pollen calendar for Chandigarh.
  • The calendar is titled on the seasonal periodicities of airborne pollen species was published in the Atmospheric Environment journal.

PM Modi to Lay Foundation of University Named After Jat king in Aligarh

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of a university named after Jat king Mahendra Pratap Singh in Uttar Pradesh's Aligarh, according to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
  • PM Modi will address a gathering and then visit the exhibition models of the Aligarh node of the Uttar Pradesh defence industrial corridor and Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh State University. This will be the first of the many visits of PM Modi ahead of the 2022 assembly election in Uttar Pradesh.
  • According to the PMO, the university is being established by the Uttar Pradesh government in memory and honour of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh, who was a freedom fighter, educationist and social reformer. The university is being set up in a total area of over 92 acres at Lodha and Musepur Kareem Jarouli villages of Aligarh's Kol tehsil. It will provide affiliation to 395 colleges of the Aligarh division.

SC to Pass Interim Orders in Pegasus Case

  • The Supreme Court decided to pass interim orders after the government refused to respond, through a "detailed" affidavit, to allegations that it used Israeli-based Pegasus software to spy on citizens.
  • The government said such an affidavit in the top court would be too public and compromise national security.
  • The petitioners demanded that either the Cabinet Secretary file an affidavit or the court itself form a committee, led by a sitting judge, to probe the snooping controversy.
  • A Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli said there cannot be any "beating around the bush" on the issue.

Sep 13, 2021

Bhupendra Patel Elected as New Chief Minister of Gujarat

  • Bhupendra Patel was elected as the new Chief Minister of Gujarat. Patel is MLA from Ghatlodia seat. Patel was unanimously elected BJP legislature party leader. His name was proposed by CM Vijay Rupani, whose resignation from the post surprised many.
  • Patel won the 2017 Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections from Ghatlodia constituency, defeating Congress candidate Shashikant Patel.

Lieutenant General Gurmit Singh is New Governor of Uttarakhand

  • Lieutenant General Gurmit Singh, who retired as the Deputy Chief of Army, was appointed the Governor of Uttarakhand, a post which fell vacant after Baby Rani Maurya tendered her resignation.
  • A highly-decorated officer, Lt Gen Singh superannuated from the Army in February 2016 after nearly four decades of service, during which he held prestigious appointments of Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Adjutant General and Corps Commander of Strategic XV Corps that overlooks the Line of Control in Kashmir.
  • Besides this fresh appointment, the President also ordered shuffling of governors of some states which includes shifting Banwarilal Purohit from Tamil Nadu to Punjab. He was earlier holding additional charge of Punjab.
  • IPS officer RN Ravi was shifted from Nagaland to Tamil Nadu as its new Governor. Jagdish Mukhi, at present Governor of Assam, was appointed to discharge the functions of the Governor of Nagaland in addition to his charge till a fresh appointment is made.

India and Australia Hold Inaugural 2+2 Talks

  • India and Australia held the inaugural foreign and defence ministerial dialogue to boost overall strategic ties in the backdrop of an unsettling phase of geopolitical flux in the region.
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajath Singh held the 'two-plus-two' talks here with their Australian counterparts Marise Payne and Peter Dutton.
  • The talks took place at a time the global focus is on the situation in Afghanistan after its takeover by the Taliban last month, and it is understood that the issue figured in these deliberations.
  • The two sides held extensive talks on all key issues of strategic interests including the situation in the Indo-Pacific in the face of China's growing muscle-flexing in the region.
  • The dialogue between the Foreign and Defence Ministers was instituted as part of an overall goal to expand strategic cooperation between the two countries.

DMK Submits Demand to Vice-President Seeking Statehood for Puducherry

  • The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam submitted a memorandum to Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu about granting Statehood to Puducherry.
  • In his representation, Opposition leader and DMK convenor R. Siva said that the demand for Statehood was the democratic right of the people of Puducherry.
  • During the time when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister, a committee headed by former Union Minister Sushma Swaraj had looked into the issue of Statehood for Puducherry.

Vijay Rupani Quits as Gujarat CM

  • In a surprising political development, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani submitted his resignation to Governor Acharya Devvrat. Rupani, who made the announcement but did not reveal what prompted Vijay Rupani to step down.
  • The unexpected move comes ahead of Assembly elections in PM Modi's home state early next year.
  • Vijay Rupani took the state's Chief Ministerial position on August 7, 2016, and is representing Rajkot West in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly.
  • Rupani is the fourth BJP Chief Minister to step down in recent months. In July, B. S. Yediyurappa resigned as CM of Karnataka and Uttarakhand witnessed two CMs' exit, where Tirath Singh Rawat quit barely 4 months after replacing Trivendra Rawat.

Shiv Sena to Contest UP Elections

  • The Shiv Sena has announced that it will field candidates for all 403 seats in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, scheduled to be held next year.
  • The party has not yet allied with any political party yet but has signalled the possibility of an alliance.
  • UP Shiv Sena chief is Thakur Anil Singh.
  • As per reports, the Shiv Sena is open to an alliance with the Congress since the latter is already its ally in Maharashtra.

Sep 12, 2021

Government Constitutes Task Force, Expert Committee on Coal-based Hydrogen Production

  • The Centre has constituted a task force and expert committee to prepare a road map for coal-based hydrogen production. This is aimed at contributing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's agenda of a hydrogen-based economy in a clean manner.
  • Ministry of Coal has constituted 2 Committees, one to oversee the program and another of experts to give guidance to the Ministry.
  • The task force has been constituted under the chairmanship of Coal Additional Secretary Vinod Kumar Tiwari. Its broad terms of reference include monitoring of activities towards achieving coal-based hydrogen production and usage and coordination with Coal Gasification Mission and NITI Aayog.

Centre Appoints G.S. Pannu as Officiating ITAT President

  • The Central Government has appointed G.S. Pannu as President of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal. G. S. Pannu is presently a Vice-President, ITAT, New Delhi and will be Officiating President of ITAT with effect from September 6, 2021, till the appointment of regular President.
  • Mr. Pannu was born on 01 Aug 1962 at Hoshiarpur (Punjab), he is a C.A and joined Government Service 14 September 2000. Presently posted as Vice-President at ITAT, New Delhi. Before joining ITAT, practised as a Chartered Accountant at New Delhi from 1986-2000.

Sep 11, 2021

Baijal Approves Ravi Dahiya's Appointment as Assistant Director in Education Deparment

  • Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal approved the appointment of Olympic silver medallist Ravi Dahiya as assistant director in education department of the Delhi government.
  • Dahiya, a native of Nahri village in Haryana, is only the second Indian wrestler to win a silver medal at the Olympic Games.

Election Commission Declares Bypolls to 7 Rajya Sabha Seats in 6 States

  • The Election Commission (EC) announced dates for bypolls to seven Rajya Sabha seats that have fallen vacant due to various reasons like resignations, death and end of tenure of members.
  • According to a notification issued by the EC, there are two such seats in Tamil Nadu and one each in West Bengal, Assam, Maharashtra, Puducherry and Madhya Pradesh.
  • The Madhya Pradesh Rajya Sabha (RS) seat got vacant after BJP leader and former Union cabinet minister Thaawarchand Gehlot was elevated as the Karnataka Governor in July.
  • The polls to all these seven seats will take place on October 4.

Sep 10, 2021

SC Recommends 10 Judges for Karnataka HC, Two for Kerala

  • The Supreme Court Collegium has approved the proposal for appointment of 10 additional judges of the Karnataka High Court and two additional judges of the Kerala High Court as permanent judges.
  • The collegium also approved the proposal for appointment of following additional judges of the Karnataka High Court as permanent judges: Justice Shivashankar Amarannavar, Justice M. Ganeshaiah Uma, Justice Vedavyasachar Srishananda, Justice Hanchate Sanjeevkumar, Justice Padmaraj Nemachandra Desai, Justice P. Krishna Bhat, Justice Maralur Indrakumar Arun, Justice Engalaguppe Seetharamaiah Indiresh, Justice Ravi Venkappa Hosmani and Justice Savanur Vishwajith Shetty.

Cabinet Approves Pact between Russia and India for Cooperation in Field of Geosciences

  • The Cabinet approved the signing of a pact between Russia and India for cooperation in the field of geosciences. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The main objective of this MoU is to extend mutual cooperation for technological collaboration on exploration for deep-seated and/or concealed mineral deposits, analysis and interpretation of the aero-geophysical data and joint development of the Indian Geoscience Data repository with the Russian state-of-the-art information technology.

Centre Signs Ceasefire Agreement with Nagaland's NSCN Niki Group

  • The central government entered into a Ceasefire Agreement with National Socialist Council of Nagaland (K) Niki Group for a period of one year.
  • More than 200 cadres of this group along with 83 weapons joined the peace process.
  • The government has already signed a "framework agreement" with NSCN (IM) and ceasefire agreements with other Naga groups namely, NSCN (NK), NSCN (R) and NSCN (K) - Khango.
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