Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 19 August 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 19 August 2020


Supreme court endorses PM-CARES fund as a public charitable trust

  • The Supreme Court on Tuesday endorsed the PM CARES Fund as a “public charitable trust” to which donors contribute voluntarily.
  • There is “no occasion” for the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to audit a public charitable trust independent of budgetary support or government money.
  • NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation, represented by advocate PrashantBhushan, had argued that the PM-CARES Fund was not subject to CAG audit. It was not under “public scrutiny”. Contributions to it were “100% tax-free”.
  • The court dismissed the idea that the PM CARES was constituted to “circumvent” the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) — the statutory fund already in existence under the Disaster Management Act of 2005 to receive contributions to finance the fight against a calamity.
  • The Bench refused to direct the transfer of funds from the PM CARES Fund to the NDRF. It said they were two separate entities.
  • Justice Bhushan also found no reason to interfere with the “minimum standards of relief” the government should provide in relief camps during the pandemic.
  • “There being already guidelines for minimum standards in place even before COVID-19, the said guidelines for minimum standards holds good even for those who are affected by COVID-19,” the court said.

CSE study finds several coal blocks cleared for mining including no go areas since 2015

  • Since 2015, of the 49 blocks cleared for coal mining, nine were in ‘No-Go’ areas, or regions that were once classified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change as containing very dense forests and hence closed to coal mining.
  • In 2020, of the 41 blocks put up for auction, 21 feature in the original No-Go list, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said at a webinar on Tuesday.
  • On June 18, Prime Minister NarendraModi launched the auction of 41 coal blocks through video-conference. A two stage e-auction is being adopted for the allocation of mines. The decision was part of the announcements made by the Centre under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.



NRLM helped to create 66 lakh SHG’s in the country

  • Government today said that DeendayalAntyodayaYojana, National Rural Livelihoods Mission has facilitated the creation of 66 lakh Self Help Groups in the country covering over seven crore rural women. 
  • Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said this while addressing the State Rural Livelihoods Missions across the country through video conferencing.
  • He said, the emphasis should be given to promote livelihoods through a convergence approach to enhance their incomes. He said, DeendayalAntyodayaYojana has been supporting women led and managed enterprises in farm and non-farm sectors. The mission has supported 169 Producers Enterprises that have supported over two lakh 78 thousand women farmers.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Food Processing Industries Minister HarsimratKaurBadal said that food processing will play an important role in increasing the income of farmers. 
  • She highlighted the importance of processing and value addition of food products to enhance income and reduce the wastage of primary agriculture and horticulture produce.

Export of agri commodities witnesses 23% increase in last quarter

  • Exports of agricultural commodities during March to June this year has increased by 23.24 percent compared to corresponding period in 2019. Agriculture Ministry said even during pandemic lockdown, India took care not to disturb the world food supply chain and continued to export.
  • The exports of Agri commodities during March to June were  25552.7Crore rupees against an export of  20734.8 Crores during the same period in 2019.
  • The agricultural exports as a percentage of India’s agricultural GDP has increased from 9.4 percent in 2017-18 to 9.9 percent in 2018-19. While the agricultural imports as a percentage of India’s agricultural GDP has declined from 5.7 percent to 4.9 percent indicating exportable surplus and decreased dependence on import of agricultural products in India.


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Libya signs military accord with Qatar and turkey

  • Qatar and Turkey have signed an accord to send military advisers and instructors for the armed forces of Libya’s Government of National Accord, the UN-recognised GNA said.
  • “We have reached an agreement with Turkish Defence Minister HulusiAkar and Qatar’s (minister) Khaled bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah on tripartite cooperation to build a military institute for training,” said the GNA’s deputy defence minister, Salah al-Namrouch. 
  • Both Sheikh Khaled, Qatar’s Minister of State for Defence, and Akar were in Tripoli on Monday for meetings with the GNA’s military and for talks on three-way military cooperation.
  • Under the accord between the three countries, Turkey and Qatar will send military advisers and provide training at their military academies for Libyan cadets, Namrouch said.
  • Also visiting Tripoli on Monday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned that Libya faces a “deceptive calm” since fighting stalled in June around the coastal city of Sirte.Libya has been in chaos since a Western-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Mali president resigns amid military coup

  • Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has announced his resignation amid a military coup. He announced his resignation last night on state television hours after mutinous soldiers fired shots into the air outside his home before detaining him. 
  • The dramatic development comes after more than two months of regular demonstrations calling for him to step down three years before his final term was due to end.
  • Speaking on national broadcaster ORTM, a distressed Keita said his resignation is effective immediately. A banner across the bottom of the television screen referred to him as the outgoing president.



Railways introduce drone based surveillance for boosting security

  • Indian Railways have introduced Drone based surveillance system for Railway security. Railway Ministry said, Railway Protection Force, RPF has planned extensive use of drones for the purpose of Railway security. 
  • Nine drones have been procured by RPF so far at a cost of around 32 lakh at South Eastern Railway, Central Railway, Modern Coaching Factory, Raebareli  and South Western Railway.
  • The Ministry said, Mumbai Division of Central Railway has recently procured two Ninja UAVs for better security and surveillance in Railway areas like station premises, Railway track sections, yards and workshops. A team of four staff members of RPF Mumbai has been trained for drone flying, surveillance and maintenance.



Dream 11 bags title sponsorship for IPL 2020

  • Fantasy sports platform Dream11 has bagged the title sponsorship rights for the Indian Premier League’s 2020 edition with a bid of ₹222 crore.
  • The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was forced last week to invite bids for IPL’s title sponsorship rights following Vivo India’s withdrawal barely six weeks before the start of the tournament, to be played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from September 19 to November 10.
  • A combination of the Chinese firm seeking a reduction in the sponsorship amount because of the pandemic-caused economic crisis and the public sentiment in India following the border tension with China had led to Vivo’s exit. Dream11, which has been a partner of BCCI and IPL for a couple of years now, also has a minority investment from a Chinese firm — Tencent Holdings.


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