Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 June 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 June 2020


PM urges states to get ready for Unlock 2.0

  • Hinting at opening up of more economic activities and further normalisation, Prime Minister NarendraModi urged the States and Union Territories to plan the second phase of Nationwide Unlock. 
  • Debunking all rumours related to re-imposition of Nationwide Lockdown, he said, the nation needs to focus on phase 2 of Unlock and ways to minimize possibilities of any harm to the people.
  • Prime Minister Modi while interacting with the State and Union Territories Chief Ministers on the second day of his virtual meeting yesterday, discussed the roadmap to further embolden nation's fight against Coronavirus. 
  • He reiterated that the timely decisions by the government helped contain the global pandemic of COVID-19 in the country to a large extent.
  • Mr.Modi highlighted the increase in domestic manufacturing capabilities of PPEs, masks, availability of diagnostic kits in adequate quantity, supply of ventilators made in India using PM CARES fund, availability of testing labs, lakhs of COVID special beds, thousands of isolation and quarantine centres, and adequate human resource through training.
  • He stressed on the need to give constant emphasis on health infrastructure, information systems, emotional support and public participation.
  • Mr.Modi exhorted States and UTs to work upon developing infrastructure to extend the facility of telemedicine to make health solutions accessible to larger numbers of people. He also called upon a greater concerted effort of all organisations including NGOs and private players to help India return on the track of normalisation.

Supreme court seeks response from centre regarding PM CARES fund management

  • The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a response from the government to a plea that contributions made to the PM CARES Fund to fight COVID-19 should be transferred entirely to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).
  • A Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan asked the government to respond to a petition by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation that future contributions and grants by individuals and institutions for the COVID-19 battle should be credited to the NDRF and not the PM CARES Fund. The NDRF should be used in the fight against the virus.
  • It also asked the court to direct the government to frame a National Plan to deal with pandemic.
  • “The latest National Plan uploaded on the website of the National Disaster Management Authority is of the year 2019. It does not comprehensively deal with the situation arising out of the current pandemic and has no measures like lockdown, containment zones, social distancing, etc,” the petition, represented by senior advocate Dushyant Dave and advocate PrashantBhushan, said.
  • The plea said the part of the current National Plan which dealt with ‘Biological.................................



Finance commission holds meeting for provision of drinking water and sanitation services

  • Chairman of 15th Finance Commission, N. K. Singh and Members today had a meeting with Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on grant for provisions of drinking water and sanitation services.
  • The Terms of Reference of the Commission mandates it to recommend the measures needed to augment the Consolidated Fund of a State to supplement the resources of the Panchayats and Municipalities on the basis of recommendations made by the Finance Commission of the State.
  • The Finance Commission needed to understand whether the current experience of the submission of its report 2020-21 and its recommendations on grants for local bodies, was adequate enough to continue this type of grants for 2021-22 to 2025-26. 
  • The Ministry made a number of suggestions to the Commission on grants to Panchayati Raj Institutions for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services,  and drinking water security. 
  • The Ministry said that it would require an amount of approximately  82 thousand crore rupees as a part of ‘Sectoral allocations for infrastructural development’ to achieve drinking water security.

Finance ministry asks banks to cut non-core expenditure

  • The Finance Ministry has asked public sector banks (PSBs) to cut non-core expenditure by at least 20% this year so that they can ensure productive use of their financial resources for core business activities.
  • These banks have also been asked to effect cost-cutting measures by deferring avoidable expenditure like purchase of vehicles for staff, spending on decorative items, refurbishment of guest houses, among others.
  • Recently, Punjab National Bank ran into a controversy when it took delivery of three luxury Audi cars, to be used by the managing director and two senior executive directors. The three cars cost the bank ₹1.34 crore.
  • The communication from the ministry said that publicity costs should be curtailed by making effective use of social media and press releases, and by pooling resources with other PSBs for common publicity campaigns.
  • It also directed bank boards’ executive committees to review the composition of existing vehicles on hire, “while taking into account functional imperatives and profitability and the cost to income ratio of bank’s operations.”
  • The public sector lenders have also been asked to defer perquisites..............


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India elected as non-permanent member to the UNSC

  • India was elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for a two-year term after winning 184 votes in the 193-member General Assembly. Along with India, Ireland, Mexico and Norway also won the Security Council elections held last night.
  • India was a candidate for a non-permanent seat from the Asia-Pacific category for the 2021-22 term. Its victory was certain as it was the sole candidate vying for the lone seat from the grouping. New Delhi's candidature was unanimously endorsed by the 55-member Asia-Pacific grouping in June last year.
  • India's Permanent Representative to the UN, T S Tirumurti said, India received overwhelming support in its election to the UN Security Council and it will continue to provide leadership and a new orientation for a reformed multilateral system. 
  • He said, India's election to the Security Council is a testament to Prime Minister NarendraModi's vision and his inspiring global leadership, particularly in the time of COVID-19. 
  • Mr Tirumurti said, India will become a member of the Security Council at a critical juncture and we are confident that in the COVID, and the post COVID world, India will continue to provide leadership and a new orientation for a reformed multilateral system.
  • Prime Minister NarendraModi has thanked the global community and member countries of the United Nations for their overwhelming support for India's membership in the UN Security Council. In a tweet , he affirmed that India will work with all member countries to promote global peace, security, resilience and equity.     

India to send tri-service contingent to Russia for military parade

  • India will send a 75-member Tri-Service contingent to participate in the military parade in Moscow on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Second World War. The parade will honour the heroism and sacrifices made by the Russian and other friendly people.
  • Defence Minister of Russia had invited an Indian contingent to take part in the Victory Day Parade scheduled to be held on 24th of this month. The participation will be a mark of tribute and solidarity with the people of Russia at a time when they remember their heroes of the Great Patriotic War.
  • Prime Minister NarendraModi had written to Russian President Vladimir Putin a congratulatory message on the occasion of the Victory Day on 9th May. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had also sent a congratulatory message to his counterpart Sergei Shoigu on the occasion.


Assam redefines urban jungle concept

  • Assam’s principal city and the largest in the northeast, Guwahati ,shares around  326 other species of fauna recorded so far. Very few of them are caged in the Assam State zoo that occupies 30 hectares of the 620-hectare Hengerabari Reserve Forest referred to as the city’s lungs.
  • The 328-sq km city and its outskirts have 18 hills, eight reserve forests, two wildlife sanctuaries and a Ramsar site (DeeporBeel) besides the Brahmaputra flowing past its northern edge. This stretch of the river has a few Ganges river dolphin, which has the status of ‘city animal’.
  • “There have been reports of animals exploring human habitations during the COVID-19 lockdown. This has never been the case with Guwahati where people have co-existed with arguably the widest range of fauna despite human-animal conflicts such as the lynching of a leopard a few day ago,” Mr.Purkayastha told.
  • “Six of Guwahati’s resident snakes are venomous, three of them [krait] strictly nocturnal while the monocled cobra is around wetlands. Thus, the snakes we see in the city are most likely to be non-venomous, providing services such as rodent population control,” he said.
  • Wildlife specialists are worried that Guwahati has been following the global trend, which projects the urban area on earth to triple before 2030.


Sports ministry to establish Khelo India State Centres of Excellence

  • The Sports Ministry is all set to establish Khelo India State Centres of Excellence under the Khelo India Scheme. One such centre will be identified in each State and Union Territory with an aim to create a robust sporting ecosystem in the entire country.
  • Youth Affairs and Sports Minister KirenRijiju said, these centres are being established to strengthen India’s pursuit for excellence in Olympics. He said, the effort is to scale up the best sporting facilities available in each state into academies of world-class standard. 
  • Mr.Rijiju said, the sporting facilities have been identified after in-depth analysis by................


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