Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 14 February 2020


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 14 February 2020


::NATIONAL::

SC directs political parties to publish criminal details of candidates

  • The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered political parties to publish the entire criminal history of their candidates for the Assembly and LokSabha elections along with the reasons that goaded them to field suspected criminals over decent people.

  • The information should be published in a local and a national newspaper as well as the parties’ social media handles. It should mandatorily be published either within 48 hours of the selection of candidates or less than two weeks before the first date for filing of nominations, whichever is earlier.

  • The published information on the criminal antecedents of a candidate should be detailed and include the nature of the offences, charges framed against him, the court concerned and the case number.

  • A political party should explain to the public through its published material how the “qualifications or achievements or merit” of a candidate, charged with a crime, impressed it enough to cast aside the smear of his criminal background.

  • A party would have to give reasons to the voter that it was not the candidate’s “mere winnability at the polls” which guided its decision to give him the ticket.

  • The four-page judgment was based on a contempt petition filed by advocate AshwiniUpadhyay about the general disregard shown by political parties to a 2018 Constitution Bench judgment (Public Interest Foundation v. Union of India) to publish the criminal details of candidates in their respective websites and print as well as electronic media for public awareness.

Archaeological department set to restore Konark sun temple

  • A plan to restore and preserve the nearly 800-year-old Konark Sun temple in Odisha would be drawn up soon, after a two-day conference of experts at the end of the month, Union Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel said.

  • The 13th century temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, had been filled with sand and sealed by the British authorities in 1903 to stabilise the structure, an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) official said.

  • A scientific study was carried out by the Roorkee-based Central Building Research Institute from 2013 till 2018 to ascertain the temple’s structural stability as well as the status of the filled-in sand, the official said.

  • The official said the study found that the sand filled in more than 100 years ago had settled, leading to a gap of about 17 feet.

  • The ASI was in the process of removing the scaffolding erected around the temple for the study, the official said, adding that it would be taken down by the end of the month.

  • Among the potential choices before the government would be to fill in more sand or to remove all the sand and put in place alternate support for the structure, sources in the Ministry of Culture said.

::ECONOMY::

Fifteenth FC to setup panel to address fiscal policy issues

  • The Fifteenth Finance Commission will soon set up a panel to address issues related to fiscal policy for both the Centre and the States, and present a road map for the same, Commission’s Chairman N.K. Singh said.

  • The panel will be headed by Mr. Singh and have representation from the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the Reserve Bank of India, the Ministry of Finance, the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) panel and some of the States.

  • Mr. Singh added the Commission had also constituted a group on defence and internal security, whose mandate will be ‘to examine whether a separate mechanism for funding of defence and internal security ought to be set up, and if so, how such a mechanism could be operationalised.’

  • On the fiscal committee, the Chairman said, “I proposed to constitute a broad-based committee which will address some of the issues on fiscal policy, particularly in relation to the debt and the deficit of the States as well as the Central government,there is a need to have a fiscal road map that covers the Centre and the State government.”

  • He said the principal terms of reference (ToR) of the fiscal committee will enhance the ability of the Finance Commission to address its ToR relating to giving a consolidated fiscal debt road map for the general government.

  • On Thursday, the Advisory Council to the 15th Finance Commission held its sixth meeting, at which many suggestions were given concerning the GST, he said, adding that generally, it was felt the room for improvement in GST was significant.

SEBI develops new system to track client security movement

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has developed an in-house system to track the movement of client securities that are collected as collateral by brokers.

  • There had been instances of brokerages using client securities to raise funds for themselves. The most high-profile case was that of Karvy Stock Broking, which has been barred from getting new clients on board.

  • “In the recent past years, it has been observed that some brokers have misused clients’ securities received as collateral to meet their own settlement obligation or obligations of other clients. Some brokers have also misused clients’ securities by pledging them with banks and NBFCs to raise funds for their own use,” SEBI said.

  • SEBI has already taken a slew of measures to minimise such misuse, including an early warning mechanism to detect diversion of clients’ funds and securities; restricting the broker from pledging clients’ securities even with the consent of the client; transferring securities to the client account or Client Unpaid Securities Account (CUSA) within 24 hours of payout; and mapping of Unique Client Code with the demat account of the client to detect diversion of payout of securities.

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::INTRENATIONAL::

PM to hold talks with Portugese president today

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi will hold delegation-level talks with President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in New Delhi today. The visiting dignitary will meet President Ram NathKovind at RashtrapatiBhavan who will host a banquet in his honour.

  • Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu will also call on the Portuguese President. The visiting dignitary will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at RashtrapatiBhavan this morning. He will also visit Mahatma Gandhi's samadhiRajghat.

  • Mr de Sousa arrived in New Delhi yesterday on a four-day visit to India. Minister for Shipping MansukhMandaviya received him at the airport. The President of Portugal is accompanied by Minister of State and Foreign Affairs Professor Augusto Santos Silva, Secretary of State for Internationalization Professor EuricoBrilhante Dias and Secretary of State for National Defense Jorge SeguroSanches. This is President Marcelo’s first visit to India. The last visit by a President of Portugal to India was in 2007.

  • During his visit, Portuguese President will also travel to Maharashtra and Goa. India’s relations with Portugal are marked by warmth and friendship and have assumed dynamism in recent years. Recent high-level political exchanges include the visit of Prime Minister Antonio Costa to India in December last year and Prime Minister NarendraModi to Portugal in June 2017.

  • The two countries have active and growing cooperation in the field of economy and business, science, culture and education.They share considerable convergences on international issues.

  • The visit will provide an opportunity for the two sides to review progress in various sectors of bilateral relations and pursue new avenues of cooperation and exchange view on international issues of common interest.

Vietnam holds bilateral level talks with India

  • Vice President Venakaih Naidu held bilateral delegation-level talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Dang Thai Ngoc Thinh in New Delhi today. The Vietnamese Vice President arrived in New Delhi last night on a three-day state visit to India. The direct flight between India and Vietnam will be announced this evening.

  • During the visit, Ms. Dang Thai Ngoc Thinh will also call on President Ram NathKovind at RashtrapatiBhavan. The Vietnamese Vice-President is scheduled to visit Bodh Gaya tomorrow.

  • AIR correspondent reports that Vietnam is India's close strategic partner in ASEAN and plays an important role in the country's Act East policy.

  • The relations are marked by mutual trust and understanding as well as strong cooperation in regional and international fora. The visit of Vietnamese Vice-President will strengthen the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership established in 2016 between the two countries.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

MSME launche “apiery on wheels” to boost National Honey Mission

  • On February 13, 2020, the Ministry of MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) launched “Apiary on Wheels”. It is a unique concept framed by KVIC (Khadi and Village Industries Commission). The main aim of “Apiary on Wheels” is to make migration easy.

  • Apiary on wheels is an approach to make beekeeping simpler. It is a platform to carry 20 Bee Boxes. The vehicle has 2 large wheels on either sides and 4 separate compartments to place the boxes. It also has a solar panel that automatically powers a fan when the temperature inside the boxes reaches 35 degree Celsius.

  • Also, it is designed in such a way that it can easily be connected with tractors or trolleys. As a beginning, they are to be placed in mustard farms.

  • It addresses the challenges faced by the beekeepers. Bee keeping involves laborious and mental challenges such a placing the bee boxes in strategic positions,migrating the bee boxes and fulfil the nourishment needs of the bees. The Apiary on Wheels addresses all the above issues.

  • The Apiary on Wheels addresses all the above issues. The concept was launched as a part of National Honey Mission launched in 2017.

  • The mission since its launch has been training beekeepers, educating unemployed youths, distributing bee boxes. Under the mission, KVIC provides training and awareness to bee farmers.

::SPORTS::

Indian hockey captain named IHF player of the year

  • The Indian men's hockey team captain Manpreet Singh was today named Player of the Year for 2019 by the International Hockey Federation.

  • Manpreet, a midfielder, became the first Indian to win the accolade since the awards were introduced in 1999.He beat competition from Belgium's Arthur van Dorren and Lucas Villa of Argentina, who came second and third.

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