Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 July 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 July 2020


SC refuses plea for uniform and common curriculum

  • The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea for a uniform and common curriculum for school students in the age group of six to 14 across the country rather than have diverse ones such as the CBSE, the ICSE and State Boards. The court said it was a “matter of policy” and the judiciary could not “command” the government.
  • Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, leading a three-judge Bench, declined the petition by advocate AshwiniUpadhyay to set up a National Education Council/Commission and follow a “one nation, one-board” system and merge the ICSE with the CBSE.
  • Mr.Upadhyay also urged a standard textbook with chapters on fundamental rights and duties, directive principles and the golden goals set out in the Preamble, and make its study compulsory throughout the territory of India.
  • On this, Justice Chandrachud asked the advocate to spare a thought for the plight of the schoolchildren, who were already burdened by their books and heavy bags.
  • “Presently, each education board has its own syllabus and curriculum and entrance examinations are based on CBSE, so prevailing system doesn’t provide equal opportunity to all students,” the petition said.
  • “Uniform education system having common syllabus and common curriculum would achieve the code of a common culture, removal of disparity and depletion of discriminatory values in human relations. It would enhance virtues and improve the quality of life, elevate the thoughts, which advance constitutional philosophy of equal society,” the petition said.

Election commission seeks views on election campaign during pandemic

  • The Election Commission of India has sought the views of the political parties regarding election and public meeting in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic. 
  • ECI has requested all the political parties to submit their views and suggestions by the end of this month. Election Commission of India in its letter said, bypolls in some states and the Bihar assembly elections are due this year.
  • It said, several guidelines have been issued by the Centre and state governments under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 in the current situation of COVID-19 prescribing safety measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.



Report finds fiscal deficit to be twice the budget target 

  • The Centre's fiscal deficit is expected to touch 7.6 per cent in 2020-21, more than double the Budget Estimate, as the country spends extra to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while facing a shortfall in revenues, a report said on Friday. 
  • At a combined level, the fiscal deficit of the Centre and states together will come at 12.1 per cent, with the states contributing 4.5 per cent, India Ratings and Research said in the report.
  • The agency said India's gross domestic product (GDP) will contract by 5.3 per cent, while states like Assam, Goa, Gujarat and Sikkim are expected to witness a double-digit contraction, it said.
  • With the growth and revenues going down, the obvious impact will be on the fiscal deficit, which is considered an important macroeconomic health indicator.
  • The growth slowdown will have a significant impact on the asset quality of the financial sector, and both banks and non-banks would require more capital to continue lending, it said.
  • Reverse migration out of cities and industrial towns to their hometowns will delay the manufacturing sector's recovery and may also translate into elevated wages, it the rating agency said.

Centre assures adequate and timely supply of fertilisers to all states despite pandemic

  • The Centre has assured timely and adequate supply of fertilizers to all the states as per the requirement projected before the beginning of a sowing season.
  • For Maharashtra, the requirement projected for the entire Kharif season is 15 lakh Metric Tonnes. The suppliers have been advised to ensure the supplies strictly as per the agreed supply plan and the same is being closely monitored by the Department of Fertilizers on daily basis.
  • The requirement of Urea from 1st April to 16th July was 8.83 lakh MT. Against this, 11.96 lakh MT has been made available including the opening stock of 4.02 lakh MT. During this period, the DBT sales of Urea have been 9.57 lakh MT. In spite of unprecedented higher sales this season the Urea availability has remained comfortable. 


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UN designates Pak Taliban leader as global terrorist

  • The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terror group’s leader Noor WaliMehsud has been designated as a global terrorist by the UN for participating in the financing, planning and perpetrating acts on behalf of and in support of entities associated with al-Qaeda.
  • The UN Security Council’s 1267 ISIL and Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee added Mehsud, 42, to the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaeda Sanctions List on Thursday, subjecting the Pakistani national to an assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.
  • The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) said in a tweet that it welcomes the addition of Mehsud by the UN to the sanctions list.
  • The TTP is responsible for many deadly terrorist attacks in Pakistan. The U.S. domestically designated Noor Wali as a terrorist in September 2019, it said in the tweet.
  • Blacklisting by the Security Council entails that all states are required to freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities.

India expresses concern over conflict in Armenia-Azerbaijan border

  • India has expressed concern over the recent reports of exchange of fire on Armenia-Azerbaijan border saying that the situation threatens regional peace and security.
  • India has urged both the sides to maintain restraint and take all possible steps to maintain peace at the border.
  • In response to media queries regarding the situation, External Affairs Ministry Spokesman AnuragSrivastava said, India believes that any lasting resolution of the conflict can only be achieved peacefully through diplomatic negotiations. 



India builds autonomous electric ferries for Norway

  • The Cochin Shipyard has signed contract with ASKO Maritime AS of Norway to build two autonomous electric ferries.
  • The project is to be partially funded by the Norwegian Government. The project aims to provide emission free transport of goods. It aims at emission free transport across Oslofjord inlet in Norway.
  • The vessels are 67 metres long and are delivered as full-electric transport ferry. They are powered by 1846 kWh batteries.
  • The value of the ships areRs 125 crores each. It is designed by the Naval Dynamics Norway. The ships were designed using Kongsberg Maritime Systems.
  • The Cochin Ship Yard is already building 23 hybrid electric boats for Kochi water metro. It is India’s largest ship builder.
  • The Kochi Water Metro envisages 15 routes connecting 10 islands. The plan is to ply 38 jetties. Around 1 lakh islanders are to benefit from the project.The project will introduce environmental friendly boats.


BCCI imposes fine on Deccan chargers

  • Deccan Chronicle Holding Ltd. — the owner of the now defunct Deccan Chargers — has been awarded a compensation of ₹4814.67 crore plus 10% interest from 2012, by a Bombay High Court-appointed arbitration tribunal, on Friday.
  • According to a statement released by the law firm Dhir and Dhir Associates, ‘the tribunal found illegal the termination of the Deccan Chargers IPL team by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).’
  • The statement added: “The dispute arose in the fifth IPL season, when the BCCI issued a show-cause notice for termination.”It remains to be seen whether the BCCI will challenge the verdict.


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