Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 21 August 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 21 August 2020


NITI Aayogfastracks development of poverty index to rank states

  • The NitiAayog has fasttracked the development of India's own poverty index to rank states on measures they have adopted to pull people out of poverty.
  • The exercise, in line with the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), is aimed at compelling states to take aggressive poverty reductions measures.
  • Top officials of all stakeholder ministries as well as from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) attended the meeting, where discussions were held on targets, reform action and progress by states, a government official told
  • The International Labour Organisation said recently that about 400 million people working in the informal economy in India were at risk of falling deeper into poverty due to the Covid-19 induced economic crisis, which it said was having "catastrophic consequences".
  • In 2014, a committee led by former RBI governor C Rangarajan had pegged the total number of India’s poor at 363 million, or 29.6% of the population. The Suresh Tendulkar committee had in 2009 estimated it at 269.8 million (21.9% of the population).
  • These poverty estimates were, however, based on a poverty line defined by both the committees after taking into consideration certain fixed parameters. Currently, India does not officially have a poverty line and there is no fresh estimate of the total number of poor people.

Indore wins cleanest city award in SwachhSurvekshan 2020

  • Indore of Madhya Pradesh has become the cleanest city in the country for the fourth consecutive time, leaving behind 4,242 cities of the country.
  • Bhopal has been selected as Best Self Sustainable Capital with inclusion in the top-10.AIR correspondent reports, Madhya Pradesh has ranked third in the category of states with more than 100 urban bodies performing best in the survey. 
  • Madhya Pradesh received a total of 10 awards in various categories.14 municipal corporations of Madhya Pradesh have been included in the list of top-100 cities of the country. 



MPC decides to maintain status quo on interest rates

  • RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das had emphasised that although there was headroom for further monetary policy action, the ‘arsenal’ has to be kept dry and used judiciously for promoting growth, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the MPC minutes released on Thursday.
  • All the six members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) had opted for status quo and left interest rates unchanged.
  • The Governor noted that low capacity utilisation amid subdued domestic and external demand was likely to delay revival of investment.Generalised inflationary pressures, in a situation where growth is expected to contract sharply, is a matter of serious concern, he added.
  • Deputy Governor and MPC member Michael DebabrataPatra said that even when the economy improved, the expectation was for a slow, hesitant recovery, with the situation likely to worsen before it gets better.
  • Upticks that easing of lockdowns yielded were likely to be ephemeral and vulnerable to flattening out due to lack of underlying vigour, he said.

MSME ministry signs MoU with ministry of shipping for skill development in maritime sector

  • A Memorandum of Understanding, MoU was signed between Ministry of Skill Development and Ministry of Shipping today for skill development in port and maritime sector.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Skill Development Minister Dr.MahendraNathPandey said, maritime transport is a critical segment that propels the economic development of the country.
  • He congratulated the Ministry of Shipping for undertaking endeavour to create a job-ready workforce by skilling them and build their competencies up to the global standards.
  • Mr Pandey said, the vision of making India the Skill Capital of the World will continue to prosper if we work together.
  • Shipping Minister MansukhMandaviya said that this partnership will provide vast employment opportunities and better prospects to the youth of coastal areas.


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India urges international community to isolate Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism

  • India has said that the international community should isolate Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism.
  • India yesterday exercised its Right of Reply to the statement by Pakistan at the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament. In its reply, India said that Pakistan's Prime Minister had admitted to nearly 40 thousand militants on its soil.
  • India said Pakistan's aggressions against Jammu and Kashmir in 1965, 1971, 1999, attack on Mumbai and Parliament, Uri, and Pulwama show Pakistan's State-sponsored policy of terrorism as evident in the inaction against likes of Hafiz Saeed, MasoodAzhar and EhsanullahEhsan.
  • India stated that Jammu and Kashmir has been and will remain an integral part of India. It called upon Pakistan to end cross-border terrorism.
  • LokSabha Speaker Om Birla led an Indian Parliamentary Delegation to the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament. The two-day long virtual event was organized jointly by Geneva headquartered Inter Parliamentary Union and the Parliament of Austria with the assistance of the United Nations.

Srilanka ready to draft new constitution

  • Sri Lanka will draft a new Constitution, jettisoning the 19th Amendmentpassed in 2015 that imposed curbs on presidential powers and strengthened Parliament, President GotabayaRajapaksa has said.
  • The Sri Lanka PodujanaPeramuna (SLPP, or People’s Front), along with its allies, secured an impressive two-thirds majority in the recent general election, making possible swift passage of new legislation. The ruling party’s poll campaign sought such a majority from the electorate, promising to abolish the 19th Amendment.
  • Outlining his plans further, President Rajapaksa told Parliament that it was “essential to make changes to the current electoral system” while drafting a new Constitution, retaining elements of the proportional representation system currently followed. 
  • On the government’s task of reviving the country’s economy, he called for “out-of-the-box thinking” to overcome local and global challenges.



ISRO claims Chandrayaan-2 completed 1 year around the moon

  • India's second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 completed one year in orbit around the moon on Thursday and all instruments are currently performing well and there is adequate onboard fuel to keep it operational for about seven more years, space agency ISRO said. Chandrayaan-2 was launched on July 22, 2019 and inserted into the lunar orbit on August 20, exactly one year ago.
  • "Though the soft-landing attempt (of the lander carrying the rover) was not successful, the orbiter, which was equipped with eight scientific instruments, was successfully placed in the lunar orbit. The orbiter completed more than 4,400 orbits around the Moon and all the instruments are currently performing well," the Indian Space Research Organisation said.
  • However, the lander Vikram hard-landed in September last year. The scientific payloads, including high resolution camera, onboard the oribter for mapping the lunar surface and study the exosphere (outer atmosphere) of the Moon. 
  • Chandrayaan-2 was launched to further expand the knowledge about the moon through a detailed study of its topography, mineralogy, surface chemical composition, thermo- physical characteristics and atmosphere, leading to a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the moon.



SumitNagal loses to Wawrinka in Prague challenge

  • India's SumitNagal lost to world number 17 and three-time Grand Slam winner StanislasWawrinka from Switzerland in the quarterfinal of the Prague Challenger tennis tournament today.
  • Nagal made an emphatic start, winning the first set 6-2 in 36 minutes. In the second set, however, Wawrinka fought back to claim the set 6-0. The Swiss continued to assert his domination, winning the match 2-6, 6-0, 6-1.


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