Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - October 15, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Bangladesh cabinet approves capital punishment for rape

Focus: GS1.

Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.


Context

  • Bangladesh Cabinet approved a draft law to include death penalty as the highest punishment for rape.
  • The decision to amend the Prevention of Women and Children Repression Act-2000 was announced after the Cabinet meeting Chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka. 

Background

  • Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Anisul Haq told the media that the ordinance will be issued after getting approval of the President as Parliament is not in session.
  • Currently, the highest punishment for rape is life imprisonment.

Highlights

  • Bangladesh has been witnessing widespread protests over the last several days against the gang rape of a woman in Noakhali which came to light on 4th of October.
  • Students, civil society groups and other organizations have been protesting in Dhaka and many other cities of Bangladesh to demand justice for the woman raped in Noakhali and other places in the country over the last few months. 

Source: AIR News.

FATF's regional group keeps Pak on 'Enhanced Follow-up' for meagre progress against terror financing

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

Context

  • Noting that Pakistan's measures against money laundering and terror financing "is not yet sufficient to justify a re-rating", a regional affiliate of the Financial Action Task Force retained the country on its 'Enhanced Follow-up' list, according to a media report.
  • The development came only a few weeks ahead of the meeting of the FATF -- the Paris-based global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog -- to decide on Pakistan's grey list status. 

Background

The first Follow-Up Report on Mutual Evaluation of Pakistan released by the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) underlined that the country's progress on the 40 FATF recommendations on the effectiveness of anti-money laundering and combating financing terror (AML/CFT) system largely remained unchanged -- non-compliant on four counts, partially compliant on 25 counts and largely compliant on nine recommendations.

Highlights

  • Pakistan has improved its full compliance on only two of the 40 FATF recommendations, the APG report noted.
  • Pakistan will remain in enhanced (expedited) follow up, and will continue to report back to the APG on progress to strengthen its implementation of AML/CFT measures.
  • The APG Mutual Evaluations is a peer-review system to determine whether countries meet the compliance standards for money laundering and terror financing.
  • After a country submits a Mutual Evaluation report, APG members can decide to place a member either through regular or enhanced follow-up. While a regular follow-up means just biennial reports, a country put under enhanced follow-up has to send four reports of compliance the following year.
  • The APG report noted that though the country has taken measures on recommendations pertaining to money laundering and terror financing, the progress “is not yet sufficient to justify a re-rating”.
  • Pakistan had requested for re-ratings on three areas declared partially compliant by the APG in October last year. The request was accepted on one count and rejected on two due to "insufficient" progress to the satisfaction of international experts.

Source: The Hindu.

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NIT Tiruchirappalli signs MoU with C-DAC Pune for installing state of art super computer

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


Context

National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune for installing a state of the art super computer in the process of becoming part of the National Super Computing Mission of the Government of India.

Highlights

  • A total of 10 Centrally Funded Institutions have been inducted into NSM including IISc, Bangalore and seven IITs in addition to NIT, Trichy.
  • The objective of the NSM is to empower technology institutions with high-performance computing capabilities that can be used for solving socially relevant, computationally intensive problems.
  • The super Computing facility worth 17 crore rupees will be made available to neighbouring educational institutions, as mandated and in line with NEP-2020.

Source: AIR News.

Exercise Suraksha Kavach- Joint Anti Terrorist Exercise By Army and Police

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.


Context

  • Agnibaaz Division organized a joint exercise for both Indian Army and Maharashtra Police at Lullanagar Pune recently.
  • The aim of the exercise was to harmonize the drills and procedures of both Army and Police for activating anti-terrorist Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) to counter any terrorist actions in Pune.

Background

  • The exercise involved participation of Quick Reaction Teams, Dog Squads and Bomb Disposal Teams of Army as well as Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and Quick Reaction Team of Maharashtra Police. 
  • A simulated exercise scenario was built up regarding the presence of terrorist in family accommodations at Lullanagar, based on which Quick Reaction Teams of Army initially established the outer cordon.

About the exercise

  • Traffic control on the nearby roads was jointly carried out by Maharashtra traffic police and Corps of Military Police Army.
  • Joint action was thereafter carried out by Army’s Counter Terrorism Task Force (CTTF) and Quick Reaction Team of Maharashtra Police to neutralize terrorists, it involved room intervention drill, search of room for any unidentified items/explosives by Dog squads and their neutralization/ diffusion by Bomb Disposal Units.
  • An equipment display was also organized, showcasing important equipment required for the conduct of this exercise.
  • The exercise was carried out taking all safety norms of COVID-19 into consideration and strength of participating troops was scaled down accordingly.
  • The exercise provided an opportunity for both Army and Police to cooperate, coordinate, coopt and streamline their drills and procedures.
  • Overall, it was a great learning experience for both.

Source: AIR News.

Ayush ministry launches raw drug repository for medicinal plant cultivation

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Context

  • Ayush (Ayurveda Yoga and Naturopathy Unani Sidda Homoeopathy) minister Shripad Yesso Naik has inaugurated the Regional Raw Drug Repository (RRDR) for Ayush systems of medicine at the National Institute of Siddha in Tamil Nadu.
  • According to ministry officials, the repository will play an important role in medicinal plant cultivation.

Background

  • As a step in this direction, the ministry of Ayush, through the National Medicinal Plants Board, initiated the establishment of the National Raw Drug Repository and Regional Raw Drug repositories.
  • NMPB has identified National Institute of Siddha as the lead Institute with the Regional Research Institute of Unani Medicine, Chennai, and the Siddha Central Research Institute, Chennai, as collaborating institutes.

Highlights

  • This RRDR would play a role in collection, documentation, and authentication of raw drugs collected from the agro-climatic region, that is, the Southern Plateau Region, according to a statement from the Ayush ministry.
  • Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and systems of medicine are accessible to a large segment of our population, including those living in remote and interior areas.
  • Medicinal plants form the major resource base of our indigenous health care traditions.
  • Their relevance has grown substantially in the current pandemic scenario, thanks to their disease preventive effects.
  • The country has more than 9,000 manufacturing units for Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homeopathy medicine.
  • However, the quality of medicines produced by these units critically depends upon the manufacturing process followed as well as the quality of raw material.
  • The government has made it mandatory for all manufacturing units to adhere to the Good Manufacturing Practices as notified under Schedule T of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940.
  • However, since over 90% of the formulations under these systems of medicine are plant-based, it is critical to ensure the sustained availability of quality raw material.

Source: Hindustan Times.

Nirbadh initiatives

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Context

  • EPFO has recently launched a WhatsApp-based helpline-cum-grievance redressal mechanism under its Nirbadh initiatives to ensure seamless and uninterrupted service delivery to subscribers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The new grievance redressal mechanism, using Whatsapp, has gained immense popularity amongst EPFO's stakeholders, said a Ministry of Labour and Employment statement.

Background

  • So far, EPFO has redressed more than 1,64,040 grievances and queries through WhatsApp.
  • This has led to declining in the registration of grievances/queries on social media like Facebook /Twitter by 30% and on EPFiGMS (EPFO’s online grievance resolution portal) by 16% since the launch of WhatsApp helpline numbers.

Highlights

  • This facility has been given in addition to the various other means of grievance redressal forums of EPFO which include web-based EPFiGMS portal, CPGRAMS, social media pages, Facebook and Twitter, and a dedicated 24x7 call centre. 
  • With WhatsApp emerging as a huge platform for communication in India, the EPFO initiative will allow the PF subscribers to interact directly with regional offices at a personalized level adhering to the one-to-one guidance principle.
  • The new facility will ensure prompt and secure services to subscribers from the comfort of their homes. 
  • WhatsApp helpline is now functional in all the 138 regional offices of EPFO.
  • Any stakeholders can simply file a grievance or seek guidance on any queries relating to services provided by EPFO, by putting a WhatsApp message on the helpline number of the concerned regional office where the PF account is maintained. 
  • Dedicated WhatsApp Helpline numbers of all regional offices are available on the homepage of EPFO’s official website.
  • The helpline aims to make the subscribers self-reliant by taking digital initiatives of EPFO to the last mile, thereby reducing dependence on intermediaries. 
  • To ensure the expeditious resolution of the grievance and reply to the queries raised on WhatsApp, each regional office has been equipped with a dedicated team of experts. 
  • The move is expected to drastically reduce the need for the subscribers to physically visit EPFO’s offices, thereby, facilitating social distancing in EPFO’s workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Source: PIB.

From baby walker to capsicum, how Election Commission decides on party symbols

Focus: GS2.                                

Topic: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.


Context

  • While the upcoming Bihar assembly electionsis being pitted as a contest between the lotus (BJP) and arrow (JD-U) on one side and the hand (Congress) and hurricane lantern (RJD) on the other, voters can also expect to see a myriad of other symbols like chapatti roller, dolli, bangles, capsicum on the ballots as they go out to vote on October 28, November 3 and November 7.
  • With nearly 60 different parties throwing their hats in the election ring in Bihar, the symbols help the several unrecognised parties and independent candidates differentiate themselves from one another and help voters identify the party of their choice.

Background

  • The Bharatiya Aam Awam Party, a registered unrecognised political party contesting in all the 243 seats, has been allotted “capsicum” as its symbol.
  • Similarly, the symbol of “pestle and mortar” has been allotted to another unrecognised Hindu Samaj Party, while Aam Adhikar Morcha and Rashtriya Jan Vikas Party will fight on “chapati roller” and “baby walker” symbols, respectively.
  • Shiv Sena, which was disallowed by the Election Commission last year from using its “bow and arrow”for the Lok Sabha polls in Bihar citing its similarity with the symbol of JD(U), has been allotted the “trumpet” symbol.
  • Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party Loktantrik has been issued the “scissors” symbol this time.
  • In the 2015 polls, it had contested on a “hockey stick and ball” symbol.

Highlights

  • In a vast and diverse country like India, where several nondescript and small political parties try out their luck in state elections, symbols are crucial campaigning tools to connect with the voters.
  • Symbols have become a crucial part of the electoral process ever since India held its first national polls in 1951-52.
  • Since nearly 85 per cent of the electorate were illiterate at that point, visual symbols were allotted to parties and candidates to help them identify the party of their choice.
  • As per the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) (Amendment) Order, 2017, party symbols are either “reserved” or “free”.
  • While eight national parties and 64 state parties across the country have “reserved” symbols, the Election Commission also has a pool of nearly 200 “free” symbols that are allotted to the thousands of unrecognised regional parties that pop up before elections.
  • According to EC, there are 2,538 unrecognised parties in India.
  • For example, if a party recognised in a particular state contests in elections in another state, it can “reserve” the symbol being used by it, provided the symbol is not being used or bears resemblance to that of any other party.

Source: Indian Express.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about new auction formats:
  • Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson were chosen for the Nobel Prize in Economics for improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats.
  • The new auction formats are a beautiful example of how basic research can subsequently generate inventions that benefit society. 
  • The unusual feature of this example is that the same people developed the theory and the practical applications.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

    A. 1 and 2 only
    B. 2 and 3 only
    C. 1 and 3 only
    D. AOTA

Solution: D

  1. Operation Green is being implemented as part of Atmanirbhar Abhiyan under the ageis of :
  2. Ministry of Agriculture
  3. Ministry of Home Affairs
  4. Union Ministry of Food Processing
  5. PMO

Solution: C

 

 

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