Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 22 May 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 22 May 2020

::NATIONAL::

CIC starts hearing RTI pleas from J & K territory

  • CIC, the final appellate authority for Right to Information (RTI) Act, started hearing cases from union territory of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday. This was the first time since the reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir on October 31 that RTI cases were heard at CIC.
  • Though the administration has still not transferred pending RTI applications, CIC opened registration of complaints and appeals from the state and registered 100-odd cases. Terming the hearings as “out of turn” before the pending cases are heard, CIC has helped the applicants in getting the information sought.
  • Of the 10 cases listed, information commission D P Sinha issued showcause notices in three cases taking a grim view of the way the administration had handled the cases. In a case an applicant, Showkat Ali Bhatt, had sought information on details of works undertaken from MPLAD funds of Congress MP Ghulam Nabi Azad in Changa panchayat between 2015 and 2019.
  • The appellant said he had not received any information since August 2019 when he had filed the application. However, the public information officer (PIO) claimed the information had been provided. Bhatt had contended that he stayed close to the post office and there was no way he could have missed receiving the information.
  • Sinha pulled up PIO and issued a showcause notice asking why proceedings should not be initiated against him. He even decided to provide file inspection to the appellant so that all relevant documents could be seen. In another case, an appellant had sought information on tiling work in the vicinity of Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC).

Centre claims over crore treatments provided under Ayushman bharat,PMJAY

  • Ayushman Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, the flagship health assurance scheme of the Government of India today marked one crore treatments.
  • To mark the milestone, Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, inaugurated the first edition of Arogya Dhara, a series of webinars created as an open platform for discussion on topical issues of public health in New Delhi today. .........................................................

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::ECONOMY::

Government to amend GFR to facilitate procurement of domestic firm

  • Government has notified amendments to General Financial Rules (GFR) to ensure that goods and services valued less than 200 crore rupees are being procured from domestic firms.
  • In a tweet, the Office of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Center has notified the amendments to the GFR 2017 to ensure that henceforth global tenders will be disallowed in government procurement up to 200 crore rupees, as announced in the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Package. It is a big boost to domestic suppliers especially MSMEs.
  • Last week, the Minister had announced an economic support package for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which includes disallowing global tender for government procurement up to 200 crore rupees.

PET recycling units seek import permission

  • PET bottle recycling units have sought permission from the Centre to import washed PET bottle flakes.
  • B.P. Sultania, former president of the All India ...........................................

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::INTERNATIONAL::

India asks Iran and Pakistan to coordinate locust control operations

  • India has proposed coordinated response to Desert Locust control to Iran and Pakistan.
  • India has suggested to Pakistan that both countries coordinate locust control operation along the border and that India can facilitate supply of pesticide Malathion to Pakistan.Iran has responded positively to India’s offer. Pakistan is yet to respond.
  • India has also offered to supply pesticide to Iran to carry out Desert Locust control operations in its Sistan-Balochistan and South Khorasan provinces. These efforts will contribute to mitigate the effect of the Desert Locust not only in these countries, but also for India, sources said.
  • As per the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reports, in Iran, hopper bands of the Locust are maturing along the southwestern coastal plains, and another generation of breeding is underway in the southeast where hatching is taking place on the coast and in the interior of Sistan-Baluchistan.
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reports indicate that the Desert Locust population is expected to move from spring breeding of Balochistan to summer breeding along India-Pakistan border.
  • In India, more adult groups and small swarms have arrived from Pakistan in the past weeks and moved east into Rajasthan, reaching Jodhpur.

MEA claims India fully familiar with alignment of LAC in border areas

  • External Affairs Ministry today said that any suggestion that Indian troops had undertaken activity across the LAC in the Western Sector or the Sikkim sector is not accurate.
  • In a virtual briefing, Ministry spokesperson Anurag .....................................

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::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Researchers use Trojan peptides to fight alzheimer’s disease

  • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati (IIT-G) have, after a five-year study, arrived at methods for preventing the accumulation of neurotoxic molecules in the brain, which leads to memory loss.
  • One is the use of “trojan peptides” that does what the Trojan horse did for the ancient Greeks in their victory over Troy.
  • The other is the application of a low-voltage electric field toward preventing amyloid plaques from aggregating to cause memory loss.The cause of Alzheimer’s is the accumulation of amyloid-beta peptides in the brain.
  • “The trojan peptide is roughly like the peptide in the body. But while it goes along with the other peptides, its function is contrary to aggregation. Through intravenous injection of the trojan peptide, we can retard the degeneration of nerve cells by 17-35%, translating into a 10-year delay in the onset of the disease,” Dr. Ramakrishnan said.
  • The next step for the researchers is to work with these techniques on mice induced with Alzheimer’s at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research in Guwahati.
  • The development of a cure for the disease is important for India, which is third behind China and the U.S. in the number of Alzheimer’s patients, they said.

::SPORTS::

India plans to tour South Africa for T20 matches in August

  • Talk that India could mark its return to international cricket with a short white-ball series in South Africa in August has been doing the rounds for more than a month now. On Thursday, Cricket South Africa (CSA) admitted it was discussing a three-T20I series with the BCCI.
  • The series is being planned to make up for the cancelled ODI series between the two teams in India in March, after a washed out first ODI.
  • A BCCI executive confirmed that the Board hopes to get the government nod. With guidelines for resumption of sports training having been released, the BCCI’s medical team, in consultation with the support staff, has started planning for a simulation camp starting early June.

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