Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 14 October 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 14 October 2020


Centre asks supreme court to strike balance between freedom of speech and contempt of court

  • Attorney General K KVenugopal yesterday told the Supreme Court that there is an urgent need to strike a balance between freedom of speech and contempt of court as the media is foraying into forbidden territory.  
  • He added that a bail petition is filed in a court of law and TV channels go to town with private WhatsApp conversation messages of the accused. This is prejudicial to the rights of the accused and is very dangerous for the administration of justice.
  • Addressing the court on larger issues, the Attorney General told a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari that abuse of the right to freedom of speech had taken serious proportions today.
  • Mr.Venugopal said that electronic media and print media are commenting on cases which are pending and are seeking to influence the court, and in big cases when bail applications are about to come up for hearing, TV reports are aired which are very damaging for the accused who has filed the bail application.

Operation green provides 50% subsidy on transportation of crops including storage

  • Union Minister NitinGadkari today thanked the Ministry of Food Processing and Ministry of Railways for directly providing subsidised rate of 50 per cent in freight for transportation of perishable surplus agriculture produce like Oranges and Vegetables by Railway.
  • Operation Green is being implemented as part of AtmanirbharAbhiyan under the ageis of Union Ministry of Food Processing. Under this scheme, 50 per cent subsidy is given to the farmers for transporting the surplus produce of agricultural commodities like oranges and  vegetables to the markets by rail.
  • 50 per cent subsidy is also given for cold chain storage of agricultural commodities.  However, in order to get this subsidy, farmers have to attach self-certified documents online on  ‘Sampada’ portal of the Ministry of Food Processing.
  • Taking notice of this problem, Mr Gadkari held a meeting with Somesh Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager of Central Railway in Nagpur a few days ago regarding transport of oranges from Nagpur division.
  • He suggested that the  subsidy for the transport should be given to the farmers at the time of registration itself for rail transport. Mr Gadkari's suggestion was taken up by the Ministry of Railways and the Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries and a 50 per cent concession has been accepted in the railway transport of eligible agricultural produce.
  • This step will enable farmers to register for railway transport at subsidized rates for agricultural produce. Mr.Gadkari, in a tweet, thanked both the ministries for their cooperation regarding subsidised railway freight rates. He said due to this step, more farmers could avail this facility; it would provide better ticket fares to the railways and increase its profits.



Centre allows open market borrowing for 20 states

  • The Department of Expenditure in the Ministry of Finance yesterday granted permission to 20 States to raise an additional amount of 68 thousand 8 hundred 25 crore rupees through open market borrowings.
  • The Ministry of Finance said, additional borrowing permission has been granted at 0.50 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product, GSDP to those States who have opted for Option- 1 out of the two options suggested by the Ministry to meet the shortfall arising out of GST implementation.
  • In the meeting of GST Council held on 27th August this year, these two options were put forward and were subsequently communicated to the States on 29th August.  Twenty States have given their preferences for Option-1.  
  • The facilities available to the States who choose Option-1 include a special borrowing window, coordinated by the Ministry of Finance to borrow the amount of shortfall in revenue through issue of debt. 
  • The total shortfall in the revenue of the States on this account has been estimated at around 1.1 lakh crore rupees. Permission to borrow the final installment of 0.5 per cent of GSDP out of the 2 per cent additional borrowings permitted by the Government of India in view of the COVID pandemic, waiving the reforms condition.
  • The Department of Expenditure, on 17th May this year, had provided an additional borrowing limit of upto 2 per cent of GSDP to the States. The final installment of 0.5 per cent out of this 2 per cent limit was linked to carrying out at least three out of four reforms stipulated by the Government of India.

Academic institutions to set up supercomputer infrastructure in the country

  • Several premier academic institutions across the country will soon partner with indigenous assembling and manufacturing facilities to establish supercomputing infrastructure in the country at an affordable cost.
  • Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, C-DAC signed a total of 13 Memoranda of Understanding with the premier academic and R&D institutions for establishing Supercomputing Infrastructure under National Supercomputing Mission.
  • In a virtual ceremony yesterday, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Sanjay Dhotre said that these MoUs will help the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. He expressed his satisfaction over the progress made in the National Supercomputing Mission.
  • Secretary of Department of Science and Technology Prof. Ashutosh Sharma said that major changes took place under the National Supercomputing Mission in the last five years where the emphasis was given on design and fabrication of hardware and software of the supercomputers.


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Germany accuses turkey of escalating tensions between Greece & Cyprus

  • Germany's foreign Minister criticized Turkey for unilateral steps in the eastern Mediterranean that are undercutting efforts to de-escalate tensions with Greece and Cyprus over sea boundaries and drilling rights.
  • Heiko Maas said Yesterday said any attempt by a Turkish survey ship to begin prospecting for hydrocarbons in disputed waters around the Greek island of Kastellorizo would strike a serious blow to efforts at easing tensions and improving ties between the European Union and Turkey.
  • Ankara's redeployment of the Oruc Reis survey vessel for new energy exploration around Kastellorizo has reignited tensions over sea boundaries between Greek islands, Cyprus and Turkey's southern coast.
  • Turkey rebuffed international criticism of its research ship's redeployment, insisting that the Oruc Reis is operating in Turkish waters.  
  • Omer Celik, spokesman for Turkish President RecepTayyipErdogan's ruling party, accused Greece of stirring up tensions and of trying to avoid negotiations by engaging in actions like military drills during Turkey's national day celebrations.

FATF's Asia Pacific Group keeps Pakistan on ‘enhanced follow-up list

  • Pakistan is unlikely to exit the Financial Action Task Force (FATF’s) greylist next week, when the plenary session of the Paris-based global terror-financing watchdog is held, after its latest evaluation saw it clear 21 of 27 action points, with six key areas outstanding where Pakistan has yet to show progress.
  • According to sources, there is still no consensus amongst the 39-member FATF, which includes the U.S., U.K., China and Russia, to blacklist Pakistan, despite its failure to meet its original deadline in September 2019, which would mean the group would maintain the status quo and continue Pakistan on the greylist until February 2021. 
  • On Tuesday, the International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) of the FATF held a meeting to discuss the final recommendation to the plenary session on October 21-23.
  • Earlier, Pakistan had requested for its ratings pertaining to targeted financial sanctions on terrorism and terrorist financing to be revised.The APG stated that the insufficient progress made by the country fails to justify a re-rating.
  • The APG said, Pakistan will remain in the enhanced follow-up list and will have to continue to report back to the APG on progress to strengthen its implementation of comprehensive Anti-money Laundering and Terrorist Financing measures.


Atal Innovation Mission to promote innovation across schools

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, has signed a Statement of Intent with CGI India in order to promote innovation across the schools.
  • Atal Innovation Mission, AIM has collaborated with CGI India which is one among the largest IT and business consulting services firms, for creating a successful and innovative workforce from the Atal Tinkering Lab, ATL schools.
  • As part of the Statement of Intent, CGI has agreed to adopt 100 schools with ATLs across Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai to promote and train students. CGI volunteers will coach and mentor students at the ATLs to enhance technical literacy and provide immersive learning experiences to the students through hands-on experience using STEM tools.
  • CGI will also conduct training workshops for teachers at select schools on topics such as design thinking, computational thinking, robotics and coding.
  • Mission Director Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog R Ramanan said that the collaboration between AIM and CGI is crucial for ATLs and that it would prove of utmost benefit to both ATL students and teachers.
  • AIM is the flagship programme of the Government that promotes a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across country. Its ATLs are accessed by over 2.5 million school kids in India. ATL is a dedicated innovation workspace set-up at schools where students get access to do-it-yourself (DIY) kits and learn to tinker and create innovative solutions using the latest technologies.


IgaSwiatek  becomes new French open champion

  • In Tennis, Polish teenager IgaSwiatek has become the new French Open Champion. She beat the American Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin in the Women Singles final by 6-4, 6-1. 
  • The 19-year-old Swiatek will earn $1,900,000 for the incredible achievement and moves to 17th position in the world ranking. 
  • Earlier, Sofia Kenin left the court due to injury and could not play her natural game after returning on the court.


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