Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 20 May 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 20 May 2020

::NATIONAL::

SC declines to interfere in NGT order on AP gas leak

  • The Supreme Court did not interfere on Tuesday with an order passed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which ordered LG Polymers to pay Rs. 50 crore as interim compensation for the gas leak at its Visakhapatnam plant and set up a five-member fact-finding committee to inquire into the incident leading to the death of several innocents.
  • The company also questioned how the NGT could take suo motu cognisance of the gas leak and form a fact-finding committee led by former High Court judge, Justice B. Seshasayana Reddy, when the High Court, a constitutional court, was already seized of the matter.
  • Mr. Rohatgi said the company did not intend to create any deliberate roadblocks and had already deposited Rs. 50 crore with the district magistrate as ordered by the tribunal.
  • The NGT, on May 8, had appointed a committee to “specifically report on the sequence of events, causes of failure and persons and authorities responsible, extent of damage to life, human and non-human, public health and environment — including water, soil and air, steps to be taken for compensation of victims and restitution of the damaged property and environment and the cost involved”.
  • The NGT had also on May 8 issued formal notices to the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board, the Central Pollution Control Board and the Union Environment Ministry, seeking their responses.

MoHUA declares five star garbage free cities

  • Centre has declared Ambikapur, Rajkot, Surat, Mysore, Indore and Navi Mumbai as five-star garbage free cities. Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry today announced the results of star rating of garbage free cities. Six cities have been rated 5 Star, 65 Cities rated 3 star and 70 cities rated 1 Star.
  • Housing and Urban Affairs Minister, Hardeep ................................................

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::ECONOMY::

Government decides to revise criteria for medium based units

  • Days after changing the definition of MSMEs, the government has decided to further revise the criteria for medium-sized units by enhancing the investment and turnover limits to up to Rs. 50 crore and Rs. 200 crore respectively, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday.
  • Unveiling the contours of the Rs. 20-lakh-crore stimulus package, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had last last week announced a change in the definition of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
  • As per the revised definition, any firm with an investment of up to Rs. 1 crore and turnover under Rs. 5 crore will be classified as ‘micro.’
  • A company with an investment of up to Rs. 10 crore and a turnover of up to Rs. 50 crore will be classified as ‘small’ and a firm with an investment of up to Rs. 20 crore and a turnover under Rs. 100 crore will be classified as ‘medium.’
  • The previous criteria for classifying enterprises in the ‘medium’ category was an investment of up to Rs. 10 crore and a turnover of up to Rs. 50 crore.
  • Mr. Gadkari said the government planned to raise MSMEs’ contribution to India’s exports to 60% from the 48% at present and also boost the sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP from 29% currently to 50%.
  • Interacting with representatives from an exporters’ body, he urged them to take advantage of the ‘blessing in disguise’ posed by the global ‘hatred against China’ through cost reduction and encouraging import substitution.

CRISIL warns stimulus package not to trigger consumption

  • The Rs. 20 lakh crore financial package announced by the aims at the ‘right corners’ but is not a consumption trigger, according to ratings agency Crisil.
  • Considering the earlier announced measures worth .....................................

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::INTERNATIONAL::

Over 2000 Indian evacuated from Srilanka

  • Two months after being stranded in Sri Lanka, 2,400-odd Indians finally have some ray of hope as the first repatriation flight from the island nation will fly to Mumbai on May 29.
  • This delayed announcement has, however, only added to the confusion for Indians from various States who have been allowed to travel on this flight. The Air India flight on May 29 will fly from Colombo to Mumbai and then onward to Bhubaneswar and Kolkata, benefiting those from Maharashtra, Goa, Odisha and West Bengal.
  • Among Indians wanting to return immediately are not just those who were on short holidays to the island nation, and have now spent two months with an unplanned budget, but also those who are employed there.
  • Noida-resident Vineeta Singh is among those desperate to leave. An IT professional, Ms. Singh had gone to the island nation to spend time with her husband, a merchant navy officer.
  • “It has been over two months now. My husband's ship sailed long ago and is en route to Russia. He is having sleepless nights and is sometimes unable to contact me due to a bad Internet connection. My father-in-law has been constantly trying to draw the government’s attention in India [to our plight],” she said.

India and U.S plan to collaborate on vaccine trials

  • India and the U.S. plan to work together on vaccine research and testing for COVID-19, U.S. health officials said here on Tuesday, listing a number of other ways in which the two countries are working together.
  • The VAP, or the Indo-U.S. Vaccine ....................................

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::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Scientists claim higher temperatures in ocean leads to super cyclones

  • Higher than normal temperatures in the Bay of Bengal (BoB) may be whetting ‘super cyclones’ and the lockdown, indirectly, may have played a role, meteorologists and atmospheric science experts told The Hindu.
  • Super cyclone Amphan that is barrelling towards West Bengal is the strongest storm to have formed in the BoB since the Super Cyclone of 1999 that ravaged Paradip in Odisha, said Director-General, India Meteorological Department M. Mohapatra.
  • Cyclones gain their energy from the heat and moisture generated from warm ocean surfaces. This year, the BoB has posted record summer temperatures a fall-out, as researchers have warned, of global warming from fossil fuel emissions that has been heating up oceans.
  • While tropical cyclones in these seas are a typical feature of the summer months and play a role in aiding the arrival of the monsoon, Dr. Koll said warming around India is not longer restricted to just the BoB but also the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. This makes storm prediction less reliable as well as disrupting monsoon patterns.
  • Every year, increased particulate pollution from the Indo-Gangetic plains is transported towards the BoB and this also influences the formation of clouds over the ocean, said V. Vinoj, Assistant Professor, School of Earth, Ocean and Climate Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bhubaneswar.

::SPORTS::

Six players test positive on premiere league camps

  • Six positive cases for coronavirus have been detected at three Premier League clubs after players and staff were tested ahead of a return to training, England's top flight said Tuesday.
  • “The Premier League can today confirm that, on Sunday 17 May and Monday 18 May, 748 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19,” the league said in a statement.

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