Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 May 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 May 2020

::NATIONAL::

Centre extends lockdown till May end,allows states to demarcate zones

  • Fourth phase of nationwide lockdown begins today. Union Home Ministry had yesterday extended the nationwide lockdown for fourteen more days, till 31st of this month.
  • The lockdown since 24th March has helped considerably in containing the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The fourth phase of lockdown will however witness substantial relaxations than its previous versions.
  • Centre has allowed States and Union Territories to demarcate Red, Orange and Green Zones. In the current phase of lockdown, States and Union Territories will be able to delineate districts, sub-divisions or even municipalities into the three different zones based on parameters set by Union Health ministry. This measure would help the States in extending the relaxations in larger parts.
  • The containment zones will be located within the Red and Orange zones with a small part of the area also demarcated as buffer zone.
  • With directions of extra caution for the buffer zones, Government has directed that no activities, except for medical and essential supplies to be allowed in the containment zones. Home Ministry has put out a list of activities which will remain prohibited throughout the country till the next 14 days.
  • Other than the nationwide prohibited activities, State and Union Territories will decide on all other activities to be allowed in the three demarcated zones. They will also decide on resuming the Intra-State bus and other vehicular services.
  • As far as Inter-state movement of buses and vehicles is concerned, consent of both the concerned states will be necessary. Apart from these fresh relaxations which will allow majority of the shops to be opened, government has also allowed opening of sports complexes and stadiums.

Undertrials released after intervention from legal services institutes

  • Legal services institutions have intervened to release 42,529 undertrial prisoners as well as 16,391 convicts on parole to de-congest prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic, a report from the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) said.
  • The NALSA, a statutory body to provide free legal services to the weaker sections, said 243 undertrial prisoners had been granted bail and 9,558 persons in remand had been given legal representation across the country. The report..........................................

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::ECONOMY::

Centre allows states to hike borrowing limits in 5th tranche of stimulus package

  • The Centre has agreed to demands from States to hike their borrowing limits from 3% to 5% of their GDP in light of the COVID-19 crisis, but on the condition that they implement specific reforms.
  • The fifth and final tranche of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan stimulus package, announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday, also included an additional ₹40,000 crore allocation for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), and a new policy welcoming private companies into every sector of industry, while limiting public sector enterprises to strategic sectors only.
  • Corporate enterprises were also offered some relief via changes to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and the Companies Act.
  • The total package amounts to almost ₹21 lakh crore by the Centre’s accounting, but is heavy on credit-related measures, including ₹8 lakh crore worth of liquidity enhancing measures by the RBI.
  • State governments have been given more fiscal room in the current crisis with the hiking of their borrowing limits from 3% to 5% of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), which is particularly important as GSDPs are likely to contract, further shrinking possible borrowing at a time when States are at the frontline of containment and relief operations.

Study finds reverse flow of remittances in the economy

  • An early pickup in economic activity and rise in reverse remittances from rural to urban have led to revival in domestic remittances in May after a near total collapse in March and April.
  • India’s dominant players such as Fino Payments Bank, Spice Digital, Eko Financial Services and PayPoint are reporting a 35-50% recovery in business in the first two weeks of May against 90% fall in March and April. More importantly, it is a reversal in trend.
  • With economic activities in urban India coming to a grinding ..........................................

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::INTERNATIONAL::

Pakistan issues order to conduct polls in Gilgit Baltistan

  • Pakistan President Arif Alvi has promulgated an order to form a caretaker government as well as to conduct elections in Gilgit-Baltistan province, a move strongly opposed by India.
  • The presidential promulgation came days after the Pakistan Supreme Court on April 30 allowed the federal government to amend a 2018 administrative order to conduct general elections in the region.
  • The Gilgit-Baltistan Order of 2018 provided for administrative changes, including authorising the Prime Minister of Pakistan to legislate on an array of subjects.
  • India has conveyed its strong protest to Islamabad for its efforts to bring “material change” to territories under its “illegal and forcible” occupation after the apex court allowed holding of elections in Gilgit-Baltistan.
  • Earlier this month, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in Delhi said a demarche was issued to a senior Pakistani diplomat lodging a strong protest over the court ruling and clearly conveying that the entire union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the areas of Gilgit and Baltistan, are an integral part of India.

Unity government takes charge in Israel

  • Israel’s Parliament swore in its new unity government on Sunday led by Prime Minister Netanyahu and his former rival Benny Gantz, ending the longest political crisis in the nation’s history.
  • Lawmakers in the 120-person parliament, the ,.......................................................

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::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Scientists from New Zealand discovers super earth

  • The scientists from New Zealand have discovered the “Super Earth”. It potentially holds the conditions to sustain human life.
  • The super earth is one of the handful of planets discovered that are of the same size and orbiting distance as that of the earth. The host star of the planet is 10% the mass of the sun.
  • The planet is larger than the earth and hence the name “Super Earth”. The planet could be cold according to the scientists as the star is much smaller than the sun.
  • Due to this reason, water may not exist in its liquid state, but might occur as ice. As the planet is heavier in mass, it might take 617 days to revolve around its star. The super earth, according to the scientist might possess “Goldilocks Zone” in the future.
  • Goldilocks Zone is the space around a star where temperature aptly sustains water in liquid state.The space also supports life.
  • The planet is 111 light years away from the earth and hence not very possible for humans to reach the planet.

::SPORTS::

Govt. allows reopening of stadiums without spectators

  • The latest guidelines on the extension of lockdown from the central government have finally opened up the spectre of training for athletes across the country, with caveats. “Sports complexes and stadia will be permitted to open only for sports activities.
  • This would allow athletes — stuck in various Sports Authority of India centres across the country — to resume their practice.
  • While this would allow non-contact sports to start training almost immediately, those with full or partial contact would be looking for further clarity.
  • Taking into the account the restrictions on air travel and movement of people till May 31, the BCCI has announced that it will wait before organising a skill-based training camp for its contracted players. It added that it will work in sync with the State Associations to chalk out a programme for skill-based training at a local level.

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