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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - December 2020

Dec 2020

May 16, 2021

Chhattisgarh Launches New Portal to Vaccinate Those Without Mobile, Internet

  • Chhattisgarh has launched CG Teeka web portal to enable the disadvantaged section of its population to register for Covid-19 vaccination programme through help desks, to be set up at hundreds of locations across the state.
  • The state government said this initiative will help in "systematic" vaccination of residents in the 18-44 years age group by ensuring the state's poor residents, lacking smart phone or internet facilities, are not left out from the Covid vaccination drive. The government is setting up help desks at the level of panchayats, urban bodies, and municipal corporations among other centres to help them register.

May 15, 2021

Punjab Gets its 23rd District

  • Fulfilling a pre-poll promise of the Congress party, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh declared Malerkotla as the 23rd district of the state on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.
  • Amarinder was addressing the people of the state virtually on the occasion of Eid. Getting Malerkotla declared as an independent district was a long pending demand of the Muslim community and the residents of the town. The town has a predominant Muslim population.
  • The government had promised that Malerkotla will be declared a district soon in 2017. The then Cabinet minister Navjot Sidhu and Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and Razia Sultana had addressed the Eid function in 2017 in Malerkotla and stated that Malerkotla will soon be a district.

Delhi Govt. to Bear Cost of Education and Upbringing of Children Orphaned by Pandemic

  • Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the Delhi government will extend financial help to families which have lost their earning members to the coronavirus and also bear the cost of education and upbringing of children orphaned by the pandemic.
  • He said in the past 24 hours, Delhi has recorded around 8,500 cases as against over 28,000 cases on April 20 and that the positivity rate has come down to 12 per cent as against 36 per cent on April 22.
  • But the fight against the coronavirus has not ended and there is no room for leniency, the Chief Minister said in an online briefing.

Centre Moves SC, Wants BC Reservation Order Reviewed

  • The Centre has moved the Supreme Court seeking review of the May 5 majority verdict which took away the power of state governments to declare socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC) for grant of quota in jobs and admissions.
  • The Centre has maintained that the 102nd Constitution amendment did not take away the power of the state governments to identify and declare SEBC and the two provisions that were inserted did not violate the federal structure.
  • A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan had unanimously set aside Maharashtra law granting quota to Marathas and refused to refer to the 1992 Mandal verdict putting a cap of 50 per cent on reservation to a larger bench.

May 14, 2021

First BRICS Employment Working Group Meeting amongst BRICS Countries

  • The representatives of BRICS nations have expressed willingness to have a multilateral social security framework in order to safeguard workers' rights.
  • The Social Security Agreement will help the international workers to port their benefit to their home countries thereby preventing loss of their hard earned money. Further they are exempted from contributing (towards social security schemes) both in home as well as host countries.
  • The multilateral social security framework would help international workers to avoid double contributions in a cluster of such nations.
  • The views were expressed by member nations' representatives at the first BRICS Employment Working Group (EWG) meeting held at New Delhi in a virtual format.
  • India Labour Secretary Apurva Chandra, chaired the meeting.
  • India has assumed the BRICS Presidency this year.
  • The prime agenda for the discussions were Promoting Social Security Agreements amongst BRICS nations, formalization of labour markets, participation of women in the labour force and Gig and Platform workers' role in the labour market.

EC Forms Core Panel to Identify Shortcomings after State Polls

  • The Election Commission of India set up a core committee headed by secretary general Umesh Sinha to identify the learnings and shortcomings from the poll experience of Bihar, Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry, where polls were held amid the Covid-19 pandemic, in a bid to push for electoral reforms.
  • DECs of the ECI and CEOs of recent poll gone States, and few select Special Observers and Observers will be members of the Committee. While finalising its recommendations, the Committee will also take inputs from State Nodal Officers of different divisions like Police, Expenditure, Health authorities as well as from some DEOs, SPs & ROs identified by CEOs, Polling officials, BLOs about the issues and challenges faced at the grass root levels.

EC Defers Legislative Council Polls in 9 Seats in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana

  • The Election Commission deferred legislative council polls in nine seats in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana due to the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The term of three members of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council and six members of the Telangana Legislative Council, elected by members of their respective legislative assemblies (MLAs), are expiring on May 31 and June 3, respectively.
  • As per electoral law, the seats of retiring members are to be filled before their six-year term ends by holding biennial polls.

Pinarayi Vijayan to Take Oath as Kerala CM

  • Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will finally take oath of office on May 20, when Governor Arif Mohammed Khan will read out the oath, but what's yet to emerge is the composition of the cabinet.
  • When asked about this, Vijayan said that talks are going on as the meeting of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) is fixed for next week and after that, the decision will be made.
  • The swearing in has been fixed to be held outdoors at the Central Stadium, a stone's throw from the seat of power of the State Secretariat and with Covid protocols in force, the maximum number of people who will be allowed to grace the occasion is 750.

May 13, 2021

Stalin Appoints New Officers to Key Administrative Positions

  • M K Stalin has appointed officers with a good track record to key administrative positions after he took oath as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. Anti-corruption activists and political analysts are of the opinion that, both new DMK loyalists and experienced officers from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) regime have been retained to ensure a good set of hands are at the helm during a pandemic.

May 12, 2021

Congress Sets up 5-member Group to Evaluate Polls Debacle

  • The Congress set up a five-member group headed by former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan to evaluate the party's performance in the just-concluded assembly polls.
  • It comes a day after party chief Sonia Gandhi proposed at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) the formation of a group to assess the party's losses in Kerala, Assam, West Bengal and Puducherry.
  • The Congress president has constituted a group to evaluate the results of the recently concluded assembly elections, with immediate effect. Ashok Chavan will be the chairman and other members of the group are Salman Khurshid, Manish Tewari, Vincent H Pala and Jothi Mani.
  • The group will submit its report within two weeks.

India-UK Extradition Relationship

  • A new India-UK Migration and Mobility Partnership (MMP) will cover the whole spectrum of immigration issues, including streamlining extradition processes as well as a new "bespoke" offer for greater mobility of young students and professionals in both countries, Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel has said.
  • In reference to high-profile Indian extradition cases, including that of former Kingfisher Airlines chief Vijay Mallya and fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, the senior Indian-origin Cabinet minister admitted there have been "frustrations" in the past. But she asserted that since her tenure at the UK Home Office the extradition coordination between the two countries has "fundamentally changed and improved".
  • Patel said that even during her most recent meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, when the two ministers signed the new MMP last week, she had reassured him that the UK government is committed to working within legal frameworks to ensure serious offenders are put through the formal process to face justice in India.

PM Narendra Modi to not visit UK for G7 summit

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not physically attend the G7 summit in June this year due to the prevailing COVID situation.
  • Modi was slated to attend the summit which will be held in Cornwall on the invitation of the UK's Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
  • It will be the 47th edition of the summit. The G7 members include the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the USA and the EU.

Padmakumar Nair New CEO of National Asset Reconstruction Company

  • Padmakumar M Nair has been appointed as the CEO of the proposed National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd. Presently Padmakumar is the Chief General Manager of Stressed Assets Resolution Group at SBI.
  • National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd. is a proposed bad bank for taking over stressed assets of lenders and was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the budget for 2021-22 to consolidate and take over existing stressed assets of lenders and undertake their resolution.
  • Bad bank refers to a financial institution that takes over the bad assets of lenders and undertakes resolution.
  • National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL) will pay up to 15 per cent of the agreed value for the loans in cash and the remaining 85 per cent would be government-guaranteed security receipts.
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