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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - August 2020

Aug 2020

Sep 06, 2021

Ex-gratia Amount in Journalist Welfare Scheme to be Reviewed

  • The government has set up a 12-member committee to review the existing guidelines of the Journalist Welfare Scheme (JWS). The committee, headed by Prasar Bharti Board member Ashok Kumar Tandon, is expected to give its report in two months.
  • The committee will examine the need for revision of the quantum of ex-gratia payment in death as well as other cases under the JWS. It will also look into the aspect of differentiation and parity between accredited and non-accredited journalists for availing benefits under the scheme.
  • The committee has also been asked to look into the revision and broad-basing the definition of 'working journalist' for the purpose of the scheme, keeping in view the Occupational, Safety, Health and Working Condition Code-2020 as well as Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
  • This decision is considered significant in the light of the several changes that have taken place in the media eco-space, including the loss of a large number of journalists due to Covid-19.

Centre Signs a Tripartite 'Karbi Peace Accord'

  • The government signed a tripartite Karbi Peace Accord in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Assam Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma and the representatives of Karbi outfits in Delhi.
  • The Karbis are a major ethnic group of Assam, dotted by several factions and splinters. The history of the Karbi group is marked by killings, ethnic violence, abductions and taxation since the late 1980s.
  • Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the signing of the Karbi Anglong Agreement marked an historic day for Assam. Under the new pact, the people belonging to the hill tribe are entitled to reservation under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

Manipur CM Launches e-ILP Platform to Regulate Entry and Exit

  • Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh virtually launched the e-ILP platform for effective regulation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system in the state.
  • Singh said the e-ILP platform will play a vital role in regulating the entry, exit and tracking of visitors who are overstaying beyond the permitted duration.
  • The e-ILP tracking system had been developed to mend the loopholes in the procedures adopted to issue the permit and its tracking system. The system would help in checking whether a person, who had entered the state with a permit, had left or was still staying even after the expiration of the permitted duration.
  • The authorities, on many instances, had found visitors staying beyond their permit duration without any renewal. The new system will enable mobile tracking of defaulters and help taking necessary action, he added.
  • He also informed that an Inner Line Permit Monitoring Cell with DIG (Intelligence) as its chairman had been set up to ensure proper reading of entry and exit and to track over stay.

Rajasthan: Congress Bags 231 Panchayat Samiti Seats, BJP 185

  • The ruling Congress in Rajasthan has won 231 panchayat samiti seats and the opposition BJP 185 out of a total of 1,564 in six districts where polling was held in three phases.
  • The Congress has also won one seat of Zila Parishad in Jodhpur.
  • Independents won in 111 seats.

Sep 05, 2021

Goa Becomes First State in Country to Give Free Water to People

  • Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced that the state is the first state in the country to supply water free of cost to its citizens.
  • Sawant launched the 'Save Water to Get Free Water' scheme under which households in the state will not be charged for consumption up to 16,000 litres.
  • From September 16,000 litres of water will be given free of cost. Those living in flats or complexes will be able to utilise the scheme.
  • He also announced that small businesses and restaurants will be transferred from the industrial to commercial segment for water billing, due to which, they also will be able to avail the benefit of this scheme.

Sep 04, 2021

Jaishankar, Slovenian President Discuss Indo-Pacific, Afghanistan Crisis

  • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met Slovenian President Borut Pahor and discussed key challenges facing India and the European Union (EU).
  • Slovenia holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union.
  • Jaishankar is in the central European nation as part of his four-day visit to Slovenia, Croatia and Denmark to boost bilateral ties and strengthen India's cooperation with the EU.
  • Jaishankar also met with Slovenian counterpart Anze Logar during which the two leaders exchanged views on Afghanistan and the Indo-Pacific.

Tunnel Reaching Red Fort Discovered at Delhi Legislative Assembly

  • A tunnel-like structure was discovered at the Delhi Legislative Assembly.
  • Delhi Legislative Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel said that the tunnel connects the legislative assembly to Red Fort and was used by the Britishers to avoid reprisal while moving freedom fighters.

Sep 03, 2021

Dr. Balasubramanian Venkatraman is New Director of IGCAR

  • Dr. Balasubramanian Venkatraman, a veteran scientist with a research career spanning 37 years has taken over as Director of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu. A pioneer in the field of nuclear research, the spinoffs of his scientific work has been used in diverse domains such as space, defence, medicine, art, archaeology among others.
  • IGCAR was established in the year 1971, under the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India. The centre is engaged in broad based multidisciplinary programme of scientific research and advanced engineering directed towards the development of Fast Breeder Reactor technology.

Ladakh Adopts State Animal and Bird

  • Ladakh adopted two endangered species, snow leopard and black-necked crane, as state animal and state bird, two years after it was carved out as a separate Union Territory (UT) from the erstwhile state of J&K.
  • As per an order issued by the Lieutenant Administration (LG) of Ladakh, the snow leopard (Panther unica) and black-necked crane (Grus nicricollis) shall be the state animal and state bird respectively of the UT of Ladakh from the date of issue of the notification.
  • Black-necked crane, only found in Ladakh region, was the State bird of J&K before August 5, 2019.
  • Black-necked crane and snow leopard are two endangered species and the pride of Ladakh.

Assam to Drop 'Rajiv Gandhi' from National Park's Name

  • The Assam cabinet decided to remove the name of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi from the Orang National Park.
  • During an interaction between Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and prominent members of the Adivasi and tea-tribe community, they had demanded removal of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's name from the Orang National Park.
  • Since the name Orang is associated with the sentiments of the Adivasi and tea-tribe community, the cabinet has decided to rename the Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park as Orang National Park.
  • Located on the North Bank of Brahmaputra River in the Darrang and Sonitpur districts of Assam, Orang National Park spread over 78.80 sq km is the oldest forest reserve in the state. It was named a wildlife sanctuary in 1985 and declared a national park in 1999.
  • In August 2005, the Congress government headed by Tarun Gogoi had decided to rename Orang National Park after the late Prime Minister despite resistance from local groups.

Sep 02, 2021

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit Gets Additional Charge of Punjab, Chandigarh

  • Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has been given the additional charge of Punjab and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Earlier, V P Singh Badnore was the Governor of Punjab and the Administrator of Chandigarh. The President has also appointed Purohit as the Administrator of Chandigarh, in addition to his duties as the Governor of Punjab. Traditionally, Punjab Governor has functioned as the Administrator of Chandigarh.

LS Speaker Inaugurates Parliamentary Outreach Programme

  • Lok Sabha speaker, Om Birla, inaugurated a parliamentary outreach programme to empower Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Programme was inaugurated at Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre in Srinagar.
  • Now, arrangements will be by Lok Sabha secretariat to conduct capacity-building programmes for representatives of PRIs in the UT.
  • Empowered panchayats under the programme will help in making democracy stronger and increase confidence of people.
  • Parliamentary Outreach Programme for Empowerment of PRIs is a unique initiative of Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla. This is a first of its kind Programme that seeks to strengthen the institution of governance and planning at the grass-root level.

PM Narendra Modi Releases Commemorative Rs. 125 Coin

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a special commemorative coin of Rs. 125 to mark the 125th birth anniversary of the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, through a video conference. Union Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy was also present on the occasion. Swami Prabhupada founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) commonly known as the 'Hare Krishna movement'.
  • Swami Prabhupada or Srila Prabhupada, was born in Kolkata. Abhay Charan De was the name of his birth. He initially ran a pharmacy business before leaving India in 1959 to make people aware about the teaching of Krishna. He went to New York in 1965 and set up the first ISKCON centre, which now has temples and cultural centres across the globe.

Govt. Appoints J. B. Mohapatra as Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes

  • Senior bureaucrat J. B. Mohapatra was appointed the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
  • Mohapatra, a 1985-batch Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax) officer, is currently the member in the board that frames the policy for the Income Tax department.
  • He has been holding the additional charge of CBDT chairman since May 31, after the extended tenure of incumbent P. C. Mody had ended.

Ramacharyulu is Rajya Sabha Secretary General

  • Rajya Sabha chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu appointed Dr. Parasaram Pattabhi Kesava Ramacharyulu as the new secretary general of the Upper House of Parliament.
  • Ramacharyulu has been working as secretary in the Rajya Sabha Secretariat since 2018 and succeeded Desh Dipak Verma, who demitted office after serving for four years.
  • As per the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, Ramacharyulu is the first ever Upper House employee to have risen to the secretary general's post. Nine employees have become the secretary general of Lok Sabha so far.
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