Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 19 July 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 19 July 2020


Government brings in modalities for NDRF contribution

  • The Centre has applied an unused provision in the Disaster Management Act, 2005 to allow any person or institution to contribute to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for the purpose of disaster management.
  • The Ministry said that contributions can be made online or through physical instruments drawn in favour of “PAO (Secretariat), MHA” at New Delhi.
  • The Ministry had invoked the Disaster Management Act, 2005 for the first time in March this year in the wake of COVID-19. The pandemic was notified as a “disaster,” paving the way for the States to utilise the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for treatment of patients and other logistics such as quarantine centres, setting up laboratories among other things.
  • The other notified disasters are cyclone, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, tsunami, hailstorm, landslide, avalanche, cloudburst, pest attack, frost and cold waves.
  • As per Section 46 of the DM Act, the “NDRF supplements the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) in case of a disaster of severe nature, provided adequate funds are not available in the SDRF”.
  • The States have to submit utilisation certificates, pending which no future allocation is made.

Centre issues notice to Twitter aftermath global hack

  • India’s cybersecurity nodal agency CERT-In has issued a notice to Twitter asking the micro-blogging platform for full details of the recent global hack targeting high-profile users, as it sought complete information on the number of Indian users affected as well as the impact on data.
  • A source said that CERT-In has asked Twitter for information on the number of users from India who have visited the malicious tweets and links, and whether the affected users have been informed by the platform about unauthorised access to their Twitter accounts.
  • The government has also demanded information of the vulnerability exploited by the attackers and the modus operandi of the attack. It also sought details of the remedial actions taken by Twitter to mitigate the impact of the hacking incident. Twitter was not immediately available for comments.



Tax experts demand clarity in terms of equalisation levy on digital services

  • The Finance Ministry’s move to impose an equalisation levy of 2% on e-commerce supplies and services from April 1 has led to a lot of ambiguity and needs clarity, according to tax experts.
  • The first instalment of payment became due on July 7. Earlier, the government had imposed a 6% equalisation levy on online advertisement services by non-resident entities. Later, the scope was expanded to online sale of goods and provision of services from April 1.
  • “Digital offerings of non-residents such as online books/online games/online gaming services (under specified circumstances) seem to come under the purview of the expanded equalisation levy. This is also in line with digital tax enactments by some other economies,” said Vishal Malhotra, tax leader for technology, media and entertainment and telecom, EY India.
  • However, he pointed out the way the provisions were worded, one could also interpret the same to bring sale of physical goods as also services enjoyed offline within the purview of the equalisation levy.
  • The intent cannot aim to bring billions of dollars of cross-border commodity purchase transactions within the ambit of the equalisation levy merely on account of placement of the order online, he said.

UNDP report claims around 27cr people out of poverty in India in last decade

  • Union Information and Broadcasting Minister PrakashJavadekar shared the details of a United Nations Development Programe (UNDP) report which states that more than 27 crore people in the country have come out of poverty in the last 10 years.
  • Mr.Javadekar termed the achievement as a big positive development. India recorded the world's largest reduction in multidimensional poverty between 2005-06 and 2015-16, according to the latest UN report. 
  • According to the data, released by the UNDP and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative 65 out of 75 countries studied, reported significant decline in their multidimensional poverty levels.


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India summons Pak high commissioner on death of civilians

  • India summoned the Charge d’Affaires of the Pakistan High Commission and lodged a strong protest on the death of three innocent civilians, including a child in an unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistani forces. 
  • The incident had occured Friday night in Krishna Ghati Sector in Jammu and Kashmir. The deceased persons belonged to a single family.
  • India has condemned, in the strongest terms, the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians by Pakistan forces. The External Affairs Ministry said this year alone, 21 Indians have been killed and 94 injured in over 2711 unprovoked ceasefire violations by Pakistani forces.
  • India also protested Pakistan’s continued support to cross border terrorist infiltration into India, including supporting cover fire provided by Pakistani forces.
  • The External Affairs Ministry said Pakistan was called upon to adhere to the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding for maintaining peace and tranquility along the Line of Control and the International Boundary.

India moots entry of Australia to Malabar exercise

  • A key meeting of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Friday discussed the issue of inviting Australia for the trilateral Malabar naval exercise with Japan and the United States. However, a final decision has not been taken yet, two defence sources said.
  • The final decision has been delayed in view of the ongoing standoff with China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), it is learnt.
  • The final decision is likely before the exercise, which could take place towards the end of this year.The naval exercise has been delayed this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The exercise has also grown in scope and complexity over the years further boosted by India signing three of the four foundational agreements with the U.S. and increasing defence procurements from the U.S., increasing interoperability. Japan and the U.S. have been pressing India for Australia’s inclusion in Malabar.



ICMR to evaluate effectiveness of BCG vaccine in preventing morbidity and mortality

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will conduct a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the BCG vaccine in preventing morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19 in elderly individuals. The study will be conducted on people aged between 60 to 95 years of age living in COVID-19 hotspots in the country.
  • This study will be carried out in six states - Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi.The ICMR's National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis (NIRT) in Chennai is heading the study.



IPL 2020 likely to be held in UAE

  • Anticipating the postponement of the T20 World Cup, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has prepared a back-up plan to stage the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year.
  • The fate of the IPL’s 13th edition, which was deferred following the COVID-19 outbreak, has been linked to the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be played in Australia from October 18 to November 15.
  • The October-November period is the only available window to fit the IPL into this year.The ICC Board is set to meet on Monday and, besides finalising the election procedure for the chairman’s post, is expected to announce the postponement of the T20 World Cup.


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