Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 22 August 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 22 August 2020


EC issues guidelines for conducting elections during COVID pandemic

  • Election Commission has issued detailed guidelines related to key activities for conducting upcoming General Elections and bye-elections in various States and Union Territories during the period of COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • The guidelines laid down strict compliance norms to be followed by Candidates and officials conducting the Elections. Those found violating the instructions on COVID-19 measures even during the campaign process will be liable to be proceeded against, as per the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. 
  • Election Commission in its guidelines has also stated that the training of election officials should be organized in a decentralized manner at large halls. It has also stressed on online modules of training as far as possible.
  • All necessary forms including the Nomination form will be available online on the website of CEO and DEO for the intending candidates. Candidates can even deposit the security money through online mode at the designated platform. During the filing of nomination papers only two persons and vehicles are allowed to accompany a candidate.
  • Social distancing shall be maintained as per the COVID-19 guidelines of the State Government and Ministry of Home Affairs. The guidelines also say that a maximum of only 1 thousand voters should be allowed in a polling station at a given point in time instead of the current norm of one thousand five hundred voters.

Supreme court issues notice to Nagaland Lokayukta over government’s plea

  • The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice on a plea filed by the State of Nagaland for a direction to its Lokayukta to cease exercising his powers and functions and transfer all his work to the Upa-Lokayukta.
  • A statement issued by Nagaland Advocate General K.N. Balagopal, who appeared for the State, alleged that the writ petition sought the removal of the Lokayukta for “acts of impropriety.”
  • The petition by the State asked the court to use its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to preserve the institutional integrity of the Lokayukta and ensure that a “fit, proper and competent person” occupies the office of the Lokayukta.



RBI chief flags disconnect between stock market and real economy

  • Sounding a note of caution, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das on Friday said there is a disconnect between the stock market and the real economy and a correction will be witnessed, though its timing is hard to predict.
  • The Governor said excess liquidity in the global system appears to be fuelling stock market exuberance.
  • “There is so much liquidity in the system, in the global economy, that’s why the stock market is very buoyant and it is definitely disconnected with the real economy. It will certainly witness correction in the future. But when the correction will take place, it is hard to predict,” Mr. Das said in an interview to a private news channel.
  • The RBI is regularly monitoring the market behaviour and its impact on financial sector stability and will take necessary steps as and when needed, he added.
  • “We are regularly monitoring all market behaviour. RBI is vigilant about the impact of correction on the financial sector and how to deal with it,” he said.
  • Talking about the economic outlook, Mr. Das said the RBI has projected that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be in the negative territory this fiscal.

NITI Aayog and AIM to promote disruptive potential of Indian entreprenuers

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog and Business Sweden on behalf of India Sweden Healthcare Innovation Centre are collaborating to promote the disruptive potential of Indian entrepreneurs.
  • This will boost the vibrant start-up ecosystem across the country. A virtual Statement of Intent was signed between AIM and India-Sweden Healthcare Innovation Centre in New Delhi today.
  • Under AIM, various programmes or initiatives are being run such as Atal New India Challenge, Atal Incubation Centre, Atal Community Innovation Centers, Atal Tinkering Lab and Atal Research and Innovation for Small Enterprises.


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MEA to organise 6th roundtable of AINTT

  • The Ministry of External Affairs in partnership with the Foreign Ministry of Thailand has organized the 6th Round Table of ASEAN-India Network of Think Tanks (AINTT) which culminated today. 
  • The theme of the two day Round Table which was conducted through video conferencing was 'ASEAN-India: Strengthening Partnership in the Post COVID Era'.
  • It was jointly inaugurated by External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Thailand Mr. Don Pramudwinai yesterday. ASEAN Secretary General Mr. Lim Jock Hoi also addressed the inaugural session.
  • More than 400 people from academia, industry, government and diplomatic community attended the Round Table.
  • The ASEAN-India Round Table comprising think tanks, policy makers, scholars, media and business representatives was established at the 7th ASEAN-India Summit in Thailand in 2009 to provide policy inputs to Governments on future direction of cooperation.

India- Maldives to flag off direct shipping from next month

  • A direct shipping service between India and Maldives would be flagged off next month. The service, agreed upon during the visit of Prime Minister NarendraModi to Maldives last year shall be connecting Cochin and Tuticorin with Maldives capital Male.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding was signed last year to establish a direct passenger-cum-cargo ferry service between the two neighbours for providing an alternate, direct and less expensive means for transport for passengers and goods.
  • The service will have a container-cum-break bulk vessel which can carry about 200 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit)  and 3,000 Metric Tonnes of bulk cargo and will have a round voyage of 10 days.
  • The service will be performed by the Shipping Corporation of India Limited and is expected to give momentum to bilateral trade and economic relations and further strengthen the dynamic people-to-people contact between the two countries.



West Bengal forest officials use sniffer dogs to contain poaching

  • Forest officials in West Bengal have arrested a person in Jalpaiguri district for killing a bison (Indian Gaur). The incident occurred in the Gorumara National Park, where the carcass of a bison was found in the forest on Wednesday evening.
  • On Thursday morning, a sniffer dog called Orlando took the forest officials to a house in Tilabari of Matiailli block, a few kilometres away from the site of the carcass of the animal. Raw and cooked meat was recovered from the house of SomraMunda. Munda was arrested and produced before a court in the district.
  • Janmejay Pal, Additional Divisional Forest Officer, Gorumara Wildlife Division, said that the accused had killed the wild animal for meat. A horn of the bison was also recovered from the house. The forest official said that sniffer dog Orlando had been deputed only a few months ago. This was the first case for the Belgian Malinois dog.

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Sports ministry approves recommendations for prestigious awards

  • The Sports Ministry on Friday accepted an unprecedented five recommendations for the country’s highest sporting honour (KhelRatna), but decided against bestowing the Arjuna Award on former Rajiv Gandhi KhelRatna winners Sakshi Malik and MirabaiChanu, pruning the list to 27.
  • The Dronacharya Awards will be given to 13 individuals, including eight in the lifetime category, while 15 athletes will receive the Dhyan Chand Awards. Six institutions have been recommended for the RashtriyaKhelProtsahanPuruskar. 
  • Punjab University has been chosen for the MaulanaAbulKalam Azad Trophy. In a first, the awards will be held virtually on August 29, the National Sports Day, instead of the RashtrapatiBhavan this year due to COVID-19.


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