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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - September 2020

Sep 2020

Aug 04, 2021

Governors Can Pardon Prisoners, Including Death Row Ones

  • The Supreme Court held that the Governor of a state can pardon prisoners, including death row ones, even before they have served a minimum 14 years of prison sentence.
  • In fact, the Governor's power to pardon overrides a provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure — Section 433A —which mandates that a prisoner's sentence can be remitted only after 14 years of jail, a Bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and A.S. Bopanna observed in a judgment.
  • "Section 433-A of the Code cannot and does not in any way affect the constitutional power conferred on the President/Governor to grant pardon under Articles 72 or 161 of the Constitution. If the prisoner has not undergone 14 years or more of actual imprisonment, the Governor has a power to grant pardon.
  • In fact, the court noted that the sovereign power of a Governor to pardon a prisoner under Article 161 is actually exercised by the State government and not the Governor on his own.
  • The scope of the pardoning power of the President under Article 72 is wider than the pardoning power of the Governor under Article 161.

Kejriwal Launches 'Delhi@2047'

  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched 'Delhi@2047', an initiative that seeks partnership with corporate houses and philanthropic bodies to help realise Delhi government's long-term goals across sectors.
  • While launching the vision card for Delhi for the next 25 years, Kejriwal said the initiative is to prepare a roadmap for the development of the city in all sectors, including health and education.
  • He asserted that the Aam Aadmi Party government has presented a small portion of vision for Delhi till 2047 during the last annual budget, setting a target to increase Delhi's per capita income at par with Singapore by 2047.

Aug 03, 2021

PM Modi's Adviser Sinha Resigns

  • A senior bureaucrat in the Prime Minister's Office, Amarjeet Sinha, has resigned from his post.
  • A retired IAS officer, Sinha was an advisor in the PMO and handled projects related to the social sector.
  • A Bihar-cadre IAS officer of 1983 batch, Sinha had superannuated as the rural development secretary in 2019 and was then appointed to the PMO.
  • He is the second top officer to quit the PMO in recent months after former cabinet secretary P. K. Sinha, who worked there as principal advisor, resigned in March 2021.

Jawhar Sircar Elected Unopposed to RS

  • The Trinamool Congress candidate for Rajya Sabha by-election, Jawhar Sircar, was declared elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha from West Bengal.
  • After the scheduled period for withdrawal of candidature was over and there was no other nomination from the Opposition BJP and the ISF, Mr. Sircar was declared elected unopposed and was handed over the certificate in the State Assembly. The BJP had last week announced that it would not field any candidate for the bypoll to the Upper House of Parliament, paving the way for Mr. Sircar, a former CEO of Prasar Bharati, to be elected without contest from the State.

UP's Firozabad District Name Change

  • As per reports, the newly elected Firozabad Zila Panchayat has passed a proposal to rename the district Chandra Nagar. Firozabad is famous for its glassware, particularly bangles. The proposal was passed at the first meeting of the district's panchayat board and it will be sent to the government for approval.
  • Yadav, who moved the proposal, said that the district was earlier known as Chandrawad, but was later renamed Firozabad in the 15th century by Emperor Akbar. It is necessary to change the name to Chandra Nagar.
  • The official website of the Firozabad district administration mentions, "The ancient name of this town was Chandwar Nagar.

Aug 02, 2021

Assam, Nagaland Sign Pact to De-escalate Tense Situation

  • The Chief Secretaries of Assam and Nagaland signed an agreement to de-escalate tense situation prevailing at two locations in the Dessoi valley forest/Tsurangkong valley by simultaneously withdrawing security forces within the next 24-hours.
  • The agreement was signed following a meeting at Dimapur between Assam Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua and his Nagaland counterpart J Alam in the presence of Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton and Assam Education Minister Ranoj Pegu.
  • Both sides agreed that in order to maintain peace and tranquility in the areas around Ao Senden village and Vikuto village as they are known in Nagaland and called as Jankhona Nala / Nagajankha and Compartment No. 12 respectively in Assam, urgent and effective steps are required for defusing the standoff between the security forces of Nagaland and Assam.

India Takes over as President of UN Security Council

  • India took over the Presidency of the UN Security Council on August 1 and is set to host signature events in three major areas of maritime security, peacekeeping and counterterrorism during the month.
  • India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T. S. Tirumurti said that it is a singular honour for us to be presiding over the Security Council the same month when we are celebrating our 75th Independence Day.
  • India's two-year tenure as a non-permanent member of the Security Council began on January 1, 2021. The August presidency will be India's first Presidency during its 2021-22 tenure as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. India will again preside over the Council in December next year (2022).

Babul Supriyo Quits Politics, to Resign as BJP MP

  • Former Union Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Babul Supriyo announced that he has decided to quit politics and resign as an MP as well. He hinted the decision was partly due to him losing the ministerial berth and also differences with the state BJP leadership.
  • Supriyo, who had held several portfolios as a minister of state in the Narendra Modi government since 2014, was among the several ministers who were dropped from the Union Cabinet in July as part of a major rejig in the Union cabinet. . He unsuccessfully contested assembly polls against Trinamool Congress Aroop Biswas in the last assembly elections.

Deepak Das Takes Charge as Controller General of Accounts

  • Civil Accounts Service officer Deepak Das took charge as the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) under the Department of Expenditure.
  • A 1986-batch Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS) officer, Das has held important positions at different levels in ministries such as science & technology, environment and forest, and Departments for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.
  • He also held important positions in departments of heavy industries, commerce, agriculture, road transport, highways and home affairs, as well as the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs.
  • Prior to assuming charge of CGA, he was the principal chief controller of accounts in the Central Board of Direct Taxes, where he was pivotal to several important technology-driven initiatives relating to direct taxes collection, reporting and receipt accounting.

Aug 01, 2021

India, US Renew Global Development Partnership Deal

  • India and the US renewed for another five years a global development partnership agreement that provides for jointly offering assistance to their partner countries in areas of connectivity, trade and investments, healthcare and agriculture.
  • Both sides signed the second amendment to the Statement of Guiding Principles (SGP) on Triangular Cooperation for Global Development.
  • The SGP agreement was signed in November 2014 and the fresh amendment extended the pact's validity up to 2026.

Jul 31, 2021

Eleven Cities Get Cycling Pioneers Award

  • The central government has awarded the title 'India's Cycling Pioneers' and a grant of Rs. 1 crore to 11 cities. The award was conferred based on a selection process by national and international transport experts.
  • The cities include Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Kohima, Nagpur, New Town Kolkata, Pimpri Chinchwad, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara, and Warangal.
  • The India Cycles4Change Challenge saw 107 cities from across the country test, learn, and scale up different cycling-friendly initiatives, in order to kick-start India's cycling revolution.
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