Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 16 June 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 16 June 2020


Centre asks states to engage with private sectors to improve healthcare

  • The Centre has asked States to engage with the private sector for augmenting healthcare infrastructure, and provisioning of critical care at reasonable rates.
  • This direction, issued on Monday, according to the Health Ministry, comes following several reports indicating an emerging shortage of healthcare infrastructure, including hospitals with ICU beds, ventilators, oxygen supported beds, etc., for the management of COVID-19 patients. “There have also been reports of overcharging by healthcare providers for COVID-19 treatment,” the Ministry said.
  • “In order to ensure that patients receive prompt, good quality care at reasonable rates, it has been suggested to States to have consultations with the local private healthcare providers and arrive at reasonable rates, while factoring in cost elements for personal safety equipments for healthcare providers,” a release noted.
  • The Ministry has suggested that the rates, once fixed, must be widely publicised so that both the patients and service providers are fully aware and capacities are used optimally.

Activists claim dilution of labour laws will spike child labour

  • The relaxation of labour laws across 11 States combined with closure of schools and reverse migration to rural areas due to the nationwide lockdown will force lakhs of children into child labour, while those already employed will be forced to work longer hours for meagre wages and under hazardous conditions, warn activists and labour law experts.
  • The changes made to labour laws by various State governments can be broadly divided into two categories — allowing longer working hours and suspending labour rights resulting in lax enforcement  explains Rahul Sapkal, Assistant Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
  • India contributes to nearly 15% of the global child and adolescent labourers. There are over 10 million working children in the age group of 5 to 14 years and 22.87 million adolescents.
  • “Even in the absence of these relaxations, children were extremely vulnerable as witnesses of food and livelihood insecurity resulting in them falling out of the safety net,” says CRY’s PreetiMahara. “It is possible that adolescents may willingly drop out of school to help their families improve their financial resources.”
  • Her organisation is working with partners in 19 States to collaborate with local administration to maintain a headcount of children who are returning to rural areas so that they can be linked with social protection schemes.
  • Ms.Mahara says in the days to come it is...............



Finance ministry to ensure effective roll out of ECLGS

  • Finance Minister NirmalaSitharaman chaired a meeting through Video Conference with officials of Major Private Banks and Non Banking Financial Companies today to ensure effective roll out of Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme.
  • She stressed on the need to extend uninterrupted liquidity to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in this difficult time.
  • Last week, Ms.Sitharaman held a meeting with heads of Public Sector Banks and took stock of the total sanctions being made under the emergency credit facility extended by the government.
  • Under the AtmaNirbhar Bharat package , Government announced 3 lakh crore of collateral free loan support to the MSMEs and other stressed companies. As last reported , over 30 thousand crore loan has already been sanctioned under this scheme.
  • Secretary Department of Financial Services Debasish Panda was also present in the meeting.

Petroleum ministry launches Indian Gas Exchange ( IGX)

  • Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister DharmendraPradhan, today, launched the Indian Gas Exchange (IGX), which is the first nationwide online delivery-based gas trading platform.
  • IGX has been incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary of the IEX, which is India’s energy market platform.
  • The trading platform will enable market participants to trade in standardised gas contracts. IGX is fully automated with web-based interface and it provides seamless trading experience to the customers.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Mr.Pradhan said that the launch of the new electronic trading platform for natural gas has opened a new chapter in the energy history of India and will help the nation move towards free market pricing of natural gas.He said that with this landmark, India has joined the club of progressive economies.
  • Petroleum Minister said , the new electronic trading platform for natural gas is an indicator of centre's progressive.........................................


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India joins Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence

  • India joined the league of leading economies including USA, UK, EU, Australia, Canada, France and others to launch the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), yesterday.
  • In collaboration with partners and international organizations, GPAI will bring together leading experts from industry, civil society, governments, and academia to collaborate to promote responsible evolution of Artificial Intelligence. It will also evolve methodologies to show how Artificial Intelligence can be leveraged to better respond to the present global crisis around COVID-19.
  • By joining GPAI as a founding member, India will actively participate in the global development of Artificial Intelligence, leveraging its experience around use of digital technologies for inclusive growth.
  • GPAI is a first initiative of its type for evolving better understanding of the challenges and opportunities around Artificial Intelligence using the experience and diversity of participating countries.

IAEA to discuss Iran’s nuclear programme

  • The UN nuclear watchdog’s governing body began meeting on Monday as a row brews over Iran’s refusal to allow access to two sites where nuclear activity may have occurred in the past. The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expressed “serious concern” in a report earlier this month that Iran has been blocking inspections at the sites.
  • The Board of Governors, one of the agency’s policy-making bodies, is expected to discuss the report during its meeting. If they pass a resolution critical of Iran, it would be the first of its kind since 2012.
  • Even though the two sites are not thought to be key to Iran’s current activities, the agency says it needs to know if past activities going back almost two decades have been properly declared and all materials accounted for.
  • In a statement to the Board of Governors opening this week’s meeting, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi called on Iran “to cooperate immediately and fully with the Agency, including by providing prompt access to the locations specified by us”.
  • The latest row over access comes as a landmark deal between Iran and world powers in 2015 continues to unravel.


Study finds Saturn’s largest moon drifting 100 times faster 

  • As per a new study, Titan is surprisingly drifting away from Saturn, a hundred times faster than what we originally thought.
  • Long ago, Saturn’s largest moon called Titan is born fairly close to its mother planet. However, a new study shows that over the course of 4.5 billion years, the moon has actually slowly but steadily migrated out. 
  • Now, the same research reveals it is now orbiting some 746,000 miles away from the planet and continuing to expand away further at a pace that is a hundred times faster than what we originally thought of.
  • Usually, the moons of a planet exert a small gravitational pull that tug at it while they follow their orbits. This gravitational interaction is actually the reason behind the rising and falling of our tides here on our planet. However, this also gradually pushes our Moon away from Earth, at a distance of about 1.5 inches every year.
  • As Per the study, the same thing happens between Titan and Saturn. However, study stated that the friction inside Saturn is weaker than ours, which makes Titan move away from its planet at around 4.3 inches every year.
  • To make this study, two teams utilized two techniques. One used astrometry, which sees astronomers measure the position and movements of stars to measure Titan’s position. The other team used radiometry, which uses electromagnetic radiation to calculate the spacecraft Cassini’s velocity as it zoomed by Titan.


Daniel Berger wins first PGA tour post pandemic

  • Daniel Berger emerged from a tightly-bunched leaderboard to win the PGA Tour’s first tournament back after a three-month COVID-19 break with a playoff victory at the Charles Schwab Challenge here on Sunday.
  • Berger, who needed a birdie on the final hole of his regulation round to make the playoff, sealed the win on the first extra hole with a rock-solid par moments before fellow American Collin Morikawa watched his putt from in close cruelly..................


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