Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 12 October 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 12 October 2020


Citizen’s committee to probe into Delhi riots

•    A citizens’ committee, including former Supreme Court and High Court judges, has been constituted to inquire into the February communal riots in Delhi.

•    The committee will inquire into the role of the State machinery in restoring order and the part played by certain sections of the media to fan the flames through fake news before and after the violence that broke out following protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

•    It was formed on the invitation of the Constitutional Conduct Group, comprising distinguished former civil servants who want an impartial probe into the events which led to the communal riots in the national capital.

•    “Considering the horrific nature of the riots in north-east Delhi in February 2020, the scale of violence, the loss of lives and the resulting communal divide between communities, we felt that an expert body should carry out a thorough examination of what transpired before, during and after the riots. This has become even more necessary as the investigation by the Delhi Police has evoked extensive critical commentary in recent times,” a statement from the Group on Sunday said.

•    The work of the committee would create a “contemporary record of acts of omission and commission around the riots, and their aftermath.” All persons who engage with the committee would be accorded dignity and respect.

ISRO to open up facilities for private sector

  • Minister of State in PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh today said that Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO is all set to open its facilities for the private sector.
  • Referring to some of the path-breaking historic reforms in the Department of Space under the leadership of Prime Minister NarendraModi, Dr Singh said, possibly for the first time in the history of Independent India, future projects for planetary exploration and outer space travel will be open for the private sector.  
  • He said, this is also a part of the Modi government's AtmaNirbhar roadmap towards self-reliant India, which envisages the initiative to boost private sector participation in Space activities.
  • The Minister said that Indian private sector will be a co-traveller in India's Space Sector journey.He said, private companies will be provided a level playing field in satellite launches and space based activities.
  • Dr Jitendra Singh said, the new reforms will seek to shift the Space related activities in the country from Supply Based Model to a Demand Based Model.  
  • He said, with the creation of Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre, IN-SPACe, there will be a mechanism in place and the private sector will be allowed to use ISRO’s facilities and other relevant assets to improve their capacities.



RBI moves towards NGTA for managing Forex and gold reserves

  • In a bid to improve its functioning, the Reserve Bank has decided to move to the Next Generation Treasury Application (NGTA) for managing the country's foreign exchange and gold reserves.
  • The NGTA, according to the RBI, would be a web-based application providing scalability, maneuverability and flexibility to introduce new products and securities, besides supporting multi-currency transactions and settlements.
  • Besides other things, the propose NGTA should automatically fetch all the relevant details of a security/contract from a trading platform. It should support all internationally accepted conventions pertaining to day count, interest computation, holiday logic, shut period-dividend, ex-dividend, cash flows, and odd coupon.
  • India's foreign exchange reserves rose by USD 3.618 billion to reach a life-time high of USD 545.638 billion in the week ended October 2, 2020.The gold reserves were up by USD 486 million in the reporting week to USD 36.486 billion.

Rail ministry goes for automatic loading through railways

  • Railway Minister PiyushGoyal met the Automobile Industry leaders to give a boost to Automobile loading through Railways. During the meeting representatives of the Automobile Industry lauded the initiative and committed to work in partnership with Indian Railways to facilitate transportation of automobiles.
  • The Ministry of Railways, in a statement, said that Indian Railways is attaining new heights in transportation of automobiles. It said, the total loading of automobiles through Railway was only 429 rakes in 2013-14, which has increased to 1,595 rakes in 2019-20.
  • It said, Railways is aiming to achieve a modal share of 20 per cent by the end of 2021-22 and a modal share of 30 per cent by 2023-24.  
  • During the meeting, the participants were informed about the steps taken by Railways to promote loading of automobiles, which has led to this quantum jump and were asked to bring more loading to Rail. 


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U.S turns to Dhaka for Indo-Pacific strategy

  • Bangladesh is expected to be the focus of the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific strategy when Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun arrives in Dhaka for a visit from October 14 to 16.
  • The visit by the senior American official is the first such attempt by the U.S. administration to engage Dhaka directly ever since Beijing undertook several proactive measures to help the South Asian country deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • “The Deputy Secretary’s engagement in Bangladesh will focus on advancing our common vision of a free, open, inclusive, peaceful, and secure Indo-Pacific region with shared prosperity for all, U.S.-Bangladesh cooperation on COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, and sustainable economic development,” the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka said in a statement announcing Mr.Biegun’s visit.
  • The visit of the senior American official is the clearest sign so far of Trump administration’s desire to draw Bangladesh closer as a key Indo-Pacific partner. Bangladesh has not hosted a senior U.S. diplomat of this stature since the visit of Secretary of State John Kerry in August 2016 during the last phase of the Obama administration. 

China calls for new west Asian forum after backing Iran deal

  • China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has called for a new forum to defuse tensions in the West Asia after a meeting with his Iranian counterpart where he reiterated Beijing’s support for Tehran.
  • Mr. Wang and JavadZarif also reaffirmed their commitment to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, an implicit rebuke of the U.S. for abandoning the accord during their Saturday meeting in China’s southwesternTengchong city.
  • Iran has been locked in an acrimonious relationship with Saudi Arabia, the other major West Asian power, over the war in Yemen, Iranian influence in Iraq and Saudi support for Washington’s sanctions on Tehran.
  • The forum would “enhance mutual understanding through dialogue and explore political and diplomatic solutions to security issues in the West Asia”, the statement added.
  • Mr. Wang added that support for the Iranian nuclear deal, negotiated by the Obama administration but ultimately abandoned by Donald Trump, would be a precondition of entry to the forum.
  • Mr.Zarif said on Twitter his “fruitful talks” with Mr. Wang amounted to a rejection of “U.S. unilateralism” and had also focused on strategic ties and collaboration on the development of a coronavirus vaccine.


Eight Indian beaches gets International blueflag certification

  • Environment Minister PrakashJavadekar today said that all eight beaches recommended by the Government has got the coveted International Blueflag  Certification.
  • In a tweet, Mr Javadekar said, its a proud moment for India.He said, it is an outstanding feat, as no Blueflag nation has ever been awarded for 8 beaches in a single attempt.

  • The beaches which got International Blueflag Certification are Shivrajpur beach in Dwarka Gujarat, Ghoghla beach in Diu, Kasarkod and Padubidri in Karnataka, Kappad in Kerala, Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh, Golden Beach in Odisha and Radhanagar beach in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

  • The iconic Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised voluntary awards for beaches, marinas.In order to qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety and accessibility criteria is met and maintained.

  • A world-renowned award trusted by millions around the globe, the Blue Flag programme is operated under the auspices of the Foundation for Environmental Education, FEE and is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark.


Rafael Nadal wins 13th  French open title

  • In Tennis, Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 to win his 13th French Open and equal Roger Federer's all-time record of 20 Grand Slam titles last night. For world number one Djokovic, the defeat ended his hopes of an 18th Slam and of becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four majors twice.
  • World number two Nadal claimed his 100th match win at Roland Garros against just two defeats since his 2005 debut. The spaniard, the oldest champion in Paris since Andres Gimeno in 1972, claimed the title without dropping a set.


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