Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 24 August 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 24 August 2020


Centre asks states to include disabled persons under NFS act

  • The Centre has written to State Governments and UTs to include all eligible disabled persons under the National Food Security Act, NFSA 2013. 
  • The Department of Food and Public Distribution has advised all States and UTs to ensure that all disabled persons, who are eligible as per identification criteria of beneficiaries under NFSA, are covered under the National Food Security Act and they get their entitled quota of food grains under NFSA and PradhanMantriGaribKalyan Anna Yojana as per provisions of the Act.
  • Those not covered should be covered with fresh ration cards to be issued as per the eligibility criteria. The Department reiterated that disability is one of the criteria for inclusion of beneficiaries under Antyodaya Anna Yojana households as disabled persons are a vulnerable section of the society.  
  • The letter further advised that it is imperative that they are also covered by States and UTs under the priority households as per the criteria of identification evolved by them.
  • The AtmaNirbhar Bharat Package of the Government of India is for the persons, who are not covered either under NFSA or any States Scheme PDS Cards. The disabled persons without ration cards are also eligible for getting benefits under AtmaNirbhar Bharat package. 
  • Since this scheme would lapse on 31st of this month, and there is still one week left for this, the Department requested all States and UTs, that they may identify such disabled persons who do not have ration cards and provide them benefits under AtmaNirbhar Bharat Package. 

VP asks political parties to enhance women reservation in Parliament and legislative assemblies

  • Vice President, M Venkaiah Naidu today called for a national movement for women’s empowerment. Mr Naidu urged all  to ensure that no girl child is left out of school.
  • While observing that the flagship scheme BetiBachao, BetiPadhao has undoubtedly created a positive impact, Mr Naidu said that much more needs to be done to change the societal mindset.
  • In a Facebook Post titled “End Discrimination, Empower Women”, Mr Naidu pointed out that with women constituting about 50 percent of India’s population, progress cannot be achieved unless they are given equal opportunities in all spheres, including the political arena.
  • He urged all political parties to arrive at a consensus at the earliest on the long-pending proposal to provide adequate reservation to women in parliament and state legislatures at the earliest. 
  • Mr Naidu also emphasized the need for giving equal property rights to women for their economic emancipation.
  • The Vice President recently released a report- Status of Sex Ratio at Birth in India which mentioned that there has not been any change in the sex ratio at birth in India from 2001-2017--the number of girl children born is much less than what is the general or natural norm.
  • It was brought out by the Indian Association of Parliamentarians for Population and Development (IAPPD).



Centre activates GST authentication for GST registrations

  • Government has activated Aadhaar authentication for new goods and services tax (GST) registration to enhance ease of doing business. For those opting for Aadhaar authentication, new GST registration will be issued within three working days and will not need to wait for physical verification.
  • However, those not opting for Aadhaar authentication will be granted it only after physical verification of the place of business or documentary verification which may take up to 21 working days or more.
  • Government said Aadhaar authentication for new registration will substantially enhance ease of doing businesses for genuine businesses. It said, the move will facilitate genuine and honest taxpayers while at the same time keeping the fake and fraudulent entities away from GST.
  • The facility of quick approval of GST registration through Aadhaar authentication can be availed by all Indian citizens.
  • Businesses registered under GST can opt for Aadhaar authentication, in absence of which registration would be granted only after physical verification of the place of business. 
  • In a notification, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, CBIC said when an applicant for GST registration opts for authentication of Aadhaarnumber, he will undertake the authentication while submitting an application with effect from 21st of this month. 

Government brings in norms for enforcement of rules of origin

  • The government has come out with norms for the enforcement of 'rules of origin' provisions for allowing preferential rate of customs duties on products imported under free trade agreements.
  • The new norms have been framed with a view to checking inbound shipments of low quality products and dumping of goods by a third country routed through an FTA partner country.
  • The ''rules of origin'' provision prescribes for the minimal processing that should happen in the FTA country so that the final manufactured product may be called originating goods in that country.
  • Under this provision, a country that has inked an FTA with India cannot dump goods from some third country in the Indian market by just putting a label on it. It has to undertake a prescribed value addition in that product to export to India. Rules of origin norms help contain dumping of goods.


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US issues major disaster declaration for Californian wildfires

  • Weary firefighters in California raced on Saturday to slow the spread of wildfires that burned nearly one million acres statewide in a week and destroyed hundreds of homes ahead an expected weather change that could bring more lightning strikes like the ones that sparked many of the blazes.
  • Responding to the emergency, President Donald Trump issued a major disaster declaration to provide federal assistance.
  • Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement that the declaration will also help people in counties affected by the fires with crisis counseling, housing and other social services.
  • Two clusters of wildfires in the San Francisco Bay Area grew to become the second- and third-largest wildfires in recent state history by size.
  • Light winds and cooler and more humid nighttime weather helped fire crews make progress on those fires and a third group of fires south of San Francisco ahead of the forecast of warm, dry weather, erratic wind gusts and lightning, state fire officials said.
  • Since thousands of lightning strikes began on Aug. 15, the state reported 585 wildfires that have burned nearly a million acres, or 4,046 square kilometers, according to reports.
  • Many were small and remote. The bulk of damage was from three fire “complexes” that were ravaging forest and rural areas in and around the San Francisco Bay Area.

Saudi Arabia suspends $10bn Chinese oil refinery project

  • Saudi Arabia’s state oil company Aramco has suspended a deal to build a 10 billion dollar refining and petrochemicals complex in China. Aramco decided to stop investing in the facility in China’s Northeastern province of Liaoning due to uncertain market outlook.
  • The oil-price crash and Corona’s impact on energy demand have changed the calculations for energy companies’ projects around the world. 
  • Aramco plans deep cuts to its capital spending as it tries to maintain a 75 billion dollar dividend amid low crude prices and rising debt. The kingdom -- Aramco’s main recipient of those dividends -- is suffering a major squeeze on its public finances.



NHAI launches mobile app for monitoring plantations along highways

  • On August 21, 2020, the National Highway Authority of India launched the mobile application called “Harit Path”. The application has started creating user IDs for experts. So far 7,800 plants have been geo-tagged using the application.
  • The application developed will monitor growth, location, species details and will maintain targets, achievements made by individual plantation projects. The application has been launched on Big Data Analytics platform -Data Lake.
  • Apart from launching mobile application, the NHAI has taken up nation-wide plantation drive called “Harit Bharat Sankalp”. This has been launched to promote environment protection and sustainability.
  • Around 25 lakh plantations were planted in 25 days along the stretch of National Highway. With this, the total number of plantations done during the year has gone to 35.22 lakh.



Sophia Popov wins Women’s British open 2020

  • World number 304 Sophia Popov became the first female golfer from Germany to capture a major title after winning the Women's British Open by two strokes at Royal Troon in Scotland.
  • Popov, who went into the final round with a three-shot lead, bounced back from bogeying the first hole by making five birdies in her 3-under 68. Thailand's Jasmine Suwannapura was the runner-up after shooting 67. It completed one of the most unlikely wins in the tournament's history.


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