Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 21 March 2020


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 21 March 2020


::NATIONAL::

Lok Sabha passes bill to confer national importance status to IIT’s

  • The LokSabha on Friday passed a Bill to confer the status of Institution of National Importance (INI) on five more Indian Institutes of Information Technology.
  • The Bill proposes to bring the five institutions — located in Surat, Bhopal, Bhagalpur, Agartala and Raichur — under the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Public-Private Partnership) Act, 2017, similar to the other 15 IIITs established under the scheme through public-private partnership. 
  • These five IIITs, along with the 15 others, will be able to use the nomenclature of Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) or Master of Technology (M.Tech) or Ph.D degrees. The status will also help the institutes attract students required to develop a strong research base in information technology.
  • Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhiriyal said such institutes had recorded 100% placement. They followed the government’s reservation policy, he said.
  • These institutes followed the reservation policy announced by the government, he said, clearing the doubts raised by some MPs.
  • Ram KripalYadav of the BJP underscored the need for opening more such institutes in Bihar. Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress supported the Bill and urged the government to look into the curriculum of these IIITs to put them on a par with the IITs.

SC upholds courts power to order passport surrender in contempt cases

  • The Supreme Court has held that courts are empowered to order parties in a contempt case to surrender their passport in order to ensure their presence in the proceedings.
  • The court clarified that contemnors would only be depositing their passport with the court.The court was hearing a contempt case in connection with a civil suit on partition of a disputed property in Delhi. A Single Judge of the Delhi High Court had ordered one of the parties in the dispute to surrender his passport. 
  • However, a Division Bench of the court set aside the Single Judge order on August 1, 2018. It held that there was no need to “detain” the passport and ordered its return.

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::ECONOMY::

RBI plans to inject liquidity in the market to maintain financial stability

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will inject liquidity of Rs 30,000 crore through open market operations next week to maintain financial stability in the system in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The Central Bank stated that it will conduct the operation in two tranches of Rs 15,000 crore each in March. It said that the auctions would be conducted on March 24 and March 30. 
  • It also said that with the COVID-19 related dislocations, stress in certain financial market segments is still severe and financial conditions remain tight. 
  • It added that its endeavour is to ensure that all markets segments function normally with adequate liquidity and turnover. The central bank had already infused Rs 10,000 crore through open market operations yesterday.
  • Meanwhile the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has put in motion a contingency plan in the wake of the spread of COVID-19 to ensure that the financial markets continue to function smoothly.

Centre claims no shortage of essential commodities in the market amid COVID-19

  • Parliamentary Affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said there is no shortage of essential commodities and food items in the markets. Responding to the concerns raised by leader of opposition AdhirRanjanChowdhury in the LokSabha, the minister asked members to refrain from spreading panic in the wake of Corona Virus.
  • The minister said that the Prime Minister in his address to the nation last evening urged the people to take protective measures including announcement of a Financial task force to take care of concerns arising out of COVID-19. 

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::INTERNATIONAL::

US to hold G7 summit via video conferencing

  • US President Donald Trump has scrapped this year's in-person G7 summit set to be held in the US from June 10th to 12th due to the COVID 19 outbreak. The White House said in a statement that he will instead hold the event through video-conference.
  • White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said that the summit was cancelled in order for each country to focus all of its resources on responding to the health and economic challenges of COVID-19. Mr. Deere added that in order to continue close coordination, the President will convene the G7 leaders via video teleconference.
  • The US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom are members of the G7. The leaders of the seven countries held a video conference earlier this week to discuss the COVID 19 pandemic.
  • In a joint statement, after the video-conference, leaders of G7 acknowledged that infection was a human tragedy and a global health crisis, posing major risks for the world economy.
  • They added that they were committed to doing whatever is necessary to ensure a strong global response through closer cooperation and enhanced coordination of our efforts. 
  • Over 9800 people, including 218 people from the US, have died due to the pandemic globally. More than 14,200 confirmed infected cases have been reported in the US.

Nepal contributes Rs100million to SAARC fund set by India to combat COVID

  • Nepal has committed 100 million rupees to SAARC fund set by the Prime Minister NarendraModi to fight Corona virus. Addressing the nation in Kathmandu this evening, Nepal’s Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli said during SAARC leaders video conference on Corona virus he had committed to contribute amount for the fund announced by Indian Prime Minister to fight the Coronavirus pandemic. 
  • In his first speech after the renal transplant, Nepali Prime Minister Oli urged the citizens to make necessary changes in their daily activities incorporating precautionary measures to fight against the new pandemic that started from China.

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::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

IMD predicts El Nino to be neutral this year

  • On March 19, 2020, the Indian Meteorological Department announced that the El Nino Weather Phenomenon is to remain neutral this year between May and July.
  • This will bring in normal rains to India during South West Monsoon. The Indian Monsoon is greatly affected by the El Nino and La Nina Weather Phenomenon.The neutral event of the weather phenomenon is addressed as ENSO Oscillation.
  • The ENSO phenomenon strengthens the trade winds that give good rains to India during Monsoon. It is the trade winds that get deflected due to Coriolis force and blow as south west monsoon. The heating up of Himalayas during summer creates a low pressure in the region. This low pressure attracts the moisthigh-pressure winds in the equator. They are moist due to the ENSO phenomenon.Therefore, India receives good rainfall when ENSO is neutral.

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::SPORTS::

Indian football legend PK Banerjee passes away

  • Legendary Indian footballer P K Banerjee died today in Kolkata after battling prolonged illness.
  • He was 83. The 1962 Asian Games gold-medallist was conferred with  Arjun award and Padmshree. Born on 23rd June 1936 in Moynaguri on the outskirts of Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, Banerjee's family relocated to his uncle's place in Jamshedpur before partition. 
  • He scored 65 international goals in 84 appearances for the national team. Besides winning the gold medal at the Jakarta Asian Games in 1992, Banerjee led India in the 1960 Rome Olympics, where he scored the equalizer against a formidable French team in a 1-1 draw. 

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