Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 15 May 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 15 May 2020

::NATIONAL::

NHRC issues notice to states over plight of migrants

  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday issued notices to the Maharashtra government over the “inappropriate approach” adopted for the release of prisoners to avoid the SARS-CoV-2 infection and the incident of a pregnant migrant giving birth on the road.
  • In the second case, it also issued notice to the Madhya Pradesh government as the woman was walking from Maharashtra to Satna, her home town, when she was forced to give birth on the road.
  • Taking cognisance of a complaint by its prison monitor Maja Daruwala, the NHRC noted that “allegedly, the policy adopted by the Maharashtra government to decongest jails has arisen due to the misinterpretation of directions given by the Supreme Court in the matter”.
  • “The Commission has observed that it is aware of the fact that in many jails, the prisoners as well as the staff members have fallen prey to COVID-19 owing to overcrowding, lack of manpower and medical facilities,” an NHRC statement said.
  • In the second case, the NHRC took suo motu cognisance of media reports on Tuesday about a pregnant woman developing labour pain while walking with her husband from Nashik in Maharashtra to Satna.She gave birth on the road, resting for two hours and continuing to walk the remaining 150 km.
  • “The Commission has observed that this incident amounts to sheer negligence of the state authorities, resulting in violation of human rights of the victim woman,” another statement from the NHRC said.The NHRC asked the Chief Secretaries of both States for a report in four weeks.

Centre considering work from home for government staff

  • Post lockdown, the Union government will continue staggered and variable work hours for its employees with the Personnel Ministry floating a draft consultation paper on best work-from-home practices.
  • The Department of Personnel and Training may provide the option of work from home to eligible officers and other employees for 15 days a year as a matter of policy, the paper said.The department asked the Ministries ........................................

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::ECONOMY::

WPI inflation declines to 3.6% in April

  • Union Government today released truncated data for April wholesale price-based inflation saying there was limited transaction of products in the market due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
  • As per the data released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry, Wholesale Price Index (WPI) deflation in primary articles was 0.79 per cent in April, as against an inflation of 3.72 per cent in March.
  • The fuel and power basket saw a deflation of 10.12 per cent in April, against 1.76 per cent deflation in the previous month.The rate of inflation based on WPI Food Index decreased from 5.49 per cent in March, 2020 to 3.60 per cent in April, 2020.
  • An official statement said, all commodities WPI could not be computed for April-2020 due to non-availability of manufactured product group index. It added, the price indices of primary articles have been computed based on mandi prices of agricultural items, ex-mine prices of minerals, prices of crude petroleum and natural gas.
  • With regard to inflation in manufactured products, the Ministry said in view of the lockdown, the price collection of manufactured products through personal visits of price collectors was suspended with effect from 19 th of March.

Centre’s financial backup to ease discoms of liquidity pressures

  • The Centre’s decision to provide ₹90,000 crore liquidity injection for the funds-starved electricity distribution companies (Discoms) is likely to ease the liquidity pressure in the Indian power sector and likely to benefit the consumers with continuity of uninterrupted power supply.
  • The loan will be provided against the .......................................................

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::INTERNATIONAL::

India reminds China of Gilgit Baltistan territorial rights

  • The recent incidents of face-off between the troops of India and China are neither correlated nor have any connection with other global or local activities, Army chief Gen. Manoj Naravane said on Thursday.
  • The statement was supplemented by official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava who reminded China about India’s claims over Gilgit-Baltistan where China has teamed up with Pakistan to build the Diamer-Bhasha dam.
  • Mr. Srivastava said both sides understand the importance of maintaining peace. “India and China attach importance to tranquillity and it is essential for the overall development of bilateral ties.”
  • He reminded China about India’s claims over the territory of Gilgit-Baltistan under Pakistan’s control. “Our position is clear. The entire territory of Jammu and Kashmir is part of India.”
  • The assertion is important as it was made a day after Power China, one of the biggest Chinese power companies, received a contract to build the Diamer-Bhasha dam which once completed will allow Pakistan to use the waters of the Indus for irrigation. Islamabad claims that the dam will help reduce downstream flood by the Indus.

India urges G20 countries to ensure supply of essential medicines and treatments

  • India has called upon the G-20 nations to ensure access to essential medicines, treatments and vaccines at affordable prices.
  • Speaking at the 2nd G-20 Virtual Trade and Investment.............................................

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::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Fly ash barges causing threat to Sunderban ecology

  • The Fisheries organization and environmental experts flag serious threats to the ecology of Indian Sundarbans as the fly ash filled barges are sinking and capsizing in Hooghly river.
  • In April 2020, two fly ash filled barges sank within a range of 30 kilometres of Hooghly river. Around 100 Bangladeshi barges each weighing 600 tonnes to 800 tonnes traverse through Indian waters.
  • They carry fly ash from Indian thermal power station to Bangladesh where the fly ashes are used in manufacturing cement.
  • The vessels that sunk in the river are threatening the local fishes and other aquatic biodiversity. This in turn is affecting lives of 1000s of fishermen.
  • Most of the barges that are carrying the fly ashes are old and are ill maintained. They often cause accidents.
  • The Fly Ash is a by product of coal combustion. Fly ash has several useful applications. It includes concrete production, embankments, fly-ash pellets, road subbase construction, cement clinker production, brick production, etc.

::SPORTS::

ICC to decide on WT20 championships by this month end

  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) Board is set to discuss the possibility of resumption of international sport and the prospects of staging the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.
  • With international sport, including cricket, coming to a standstill due to the pandemic, the ICC Board — the highest decision-making authority of cricket’s governing body — on March 27 had discussed contingency planning in case the marquee event in Australia cannot go ahead as per schedule in October-November.
  • It will be interesting to see if major cricket boards, especially the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), push for utilising the T20 World Cup window to make up for lost time in the bilateral series calendar.

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