Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 13 September 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 13 September 2020


PM CARES funs receives exemption from FCRA norms

  • The PM CARES Fund has received exemption from all provisions of the law meant to regulate foreign donations, although it does not seem to meet the precondition of being a body established and owned by the government whose accounts are audited by the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG).
  • Responding to a recent query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act asking for details and documents on the exemption, the Home Ministry said it had to “seek the consent” of PM CARES before giving out the information, as it would be considered a “third party” under the RTI Act. It also invoked the clause that allows information to be denied if it is held as part of a fiduciary relationship.
  • According to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) section on the PM CARES website, the fund “has received exemption from operation of all provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010” or FCRA.
  • The PM CARES Fund is a public charitable trust registered under the Registration Act, 1908. It was not set up through a Central or State Act. It has argued that it is not a public authority under RTI; all bodies established by the government are public authorities under that Act. The Fund is audited by an independent auditor, not by the CAG.
  • The MHA also referenced Section 8(1)(e), which allows denial of information “available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information”.

Environment ministry denies exemption to mining ministry in terms of SC mandated fees

  • The Ministry of Mines has requested an expert advisory committee of the Environment Ministry to exempt it from the Supreme Court-mandated fees that prospectors pay when they dig exploratory boreholes in forests, records of a meeting show.
  • The Net Present Value (NPV), as it is called, is a monetary approximation of the value that is lost when a piece of forest land has been razed.This is on the basis of the services and ecological value and there are prescribed formulae for calculating this amount which depends on the location and nature of the forest and the type of industrial enterprise that will replace a particular parcel of forest. The SC mandates this must be paid by those who use forest land for non-forestry purposes.



RBI asks microfinance institutions to build capital buffers

  • As COVID-19 is likely to pose financial risks for microfinance institutions (MFIs), there is a need to build capital buffers and manage cash positions for microlenders to protect their balance sheets from any disruptions, according to an article published in RBI’s monthly bulletin.
  • The article, by Snimardeep Singh of Department of Supervision, Reserve Bank of India, said though COVID-19 presents significant financial risks for the microfinance sector, it also presents an opportunity to build long-term resilience.
  • “Going forward, building capital buffers and managing liquidity would be crucial for MFIs in fortifying their balance sheets against COVID-19 led disruptions,” it said.The article termed COVID-19 as the biggest tail risk event in a long time.
  • Owing to disruptions in supply chain and business operations, loss of livelihoods and consequent drop in household incomes is highly likely, it said. 
  • “Non-banking financial company microfinance institutions, which extend collateral-free loans to low-income groups, are particularly exposed to credit risks in this scenario.” The article said repayment rates had dropped significantly, posing liquidity risks to MFIs.

Centre asks farmers to use fertilisers based on soil health cards

  • Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers D.V. SadanandaGowda has asked farmers to reduce excessive use of Urea, which he pointed out, is spoiling the soil health. He was speaking at a webinar on Self-Reliant India and Sustainable Agriculture organized by IFFCO for the farmers of Karnataka today. He called upon farmers to use fertilizers based on soil health cards.
  • Saying that efforts are on to reduce dependency on import of Urea, he informed that by 2023 India will be self-reliant in the production of fertilizers. The Union Minister also added that under Atmanirbhar Bharat programme new fertilizer manufacturing units are being started at an investment of 40,000 crore rupees. 
  • Saying that the government is encouraging the production of organic and nano fertilizers, he informed that nano fertilizers distributed freely to 12,000 farmers and agriculture universities across the country have given positive feedback.


JOIN Full Online Course for UPSC PRE Exam

UPSC IAS Exam Complete Study Materials


Karachi witnesses anti-shia protests on second day

  • Tens of thousands of anti-Shia protesters, including demonstrators linked to Sunni extremists, rallied in Pakistan’s Karachi on Saturday, in the second day of protests that have sparked fears of sectarian violence.
  • The rallies follow a raft of blasphemy accusations against Shia leaders in Sunni-majority Pakistan after a broadcast of an Ashura procession last month showed clerics and participants allegedly making disparaging remarks about historic Islamic figures.
  • Ashura commemorates the killing of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Hussein at the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD — the defining moment of the religion’s schism and the birth of Shia Islam.
  • A security official said Saturday’s crowd was estimated to exceed 30,000 people. There were no immediate reports of violence.
  • The rally was organised by the Sunni organisation JamaatAhleSunnat and the hardline Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, which has organised violent protests over alleged blasphemy in the past.

Intra-Afghan negotiations held in Doha

  • External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar participated in the inaugural session of the Intra-Afghan negotiations held in Doha on Saturday via video teleconference. The Minister's participation was in response to an invitation extended to him by the Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammad bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani.
  • In his address, Dr.Jaishankar referred to the millennia-old relationship between India and Afghanistan, which he said had withstood the test of time. He highlighted India’s role as a major development partner of Afghanistan with over 400 projects completed in all the 34 provinces of Afghanistan.
  • The Minister conveyed that India’s policy on Afghanistan had been consistent. India believes any peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled, has to respect the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan and preserve the progress made in the establishment of a democratic Islamic Republic in Afghanistan. 



Researchers develop low cost device for deep vein thrombosis

  • A blood clot in one of the deep-running veins in our body can have serious consequences, even sometimes leading to pulmonary embolism. For the relief of those who are prone to deep vein thrombosis, such as patients needing to stay in bed for longer than 24 hours, hospitals use the external pneumatic compression device also known informally as the deep vein thrombosis pump. 
  • The device is usually imported for a huge sum. Now, researchers have indigenously developed this device at a much lower cost than the imported ones.
  • Blood circulation from the lower parts of the body back to the heart is maintained by the pressure exerted on the deeper veins by the muscles. If this process is interrupted, clots can form in the deep veins, which can travel upwards and reach the heart or lungs and cause serious problems.
  • Mr Krishnan, who is the principal investigator of the work, explains: “Once you compress a section of the veins, the blood from there flows up to the next section where it is held from flowing back by the valves. The pressed section now has to relax and blood should refill it. An appropriate relaxation time has to be given. All this is built into the device.” Along with that some residual pressure is built in to improve blood circulation.



Lewis Hamilton wins 95th pole

  • Lewis Hamilton claimed a record-increasing 95th pole position on Saturday when he outpaced Mercedes teammate ValtteriBottas to seize the prime grid position in qualifying for Sunday’s inaugural Tuscan Grand Prix.
  • It was the series leader and six-time champion’s seventh pole in eight races this year as Mercedes continued its dominant run to nine poles out of nine this season with an eighth consecutive front row lockout. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third.


Click Here For All Current Affairs

Click Here for MCQ's Archive

This is a Part of Online Coaching Programme for UPSC Exam

DOWNLOAD UPSC Monthly Current Affairs PDF

Study Notes for UPSC IAS Exam