Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 26 April 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 26 April 2020


RajyaSabha spends most of its functional time in deliberating issues of public importance

  • The Upper House spends 24% of its time in deliberating and passing laws, an analysis by the RajyaSabha Secretariat has revealed. Most of its functional time is spent on deliberating issues of public importance.
  • RajyaSabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu had directed the Secretariat to carry out this analysis to blunt the Opposition criticism that the Council of the States spends far too much time in government business (legislating) instead of debating the issues raised by them.
  • The analysis revealed that 40.20% of time is spent in deliberating issues of national importance followed by 32.22% in asking questions and holding the government accountable.
  • The time spent on the Government Bills ranged from 10.87% of the time in 2015 to 40.09% in 2002. It has touched a record high of 45.90% during the historic 250th session last year. A record 15 Bills were passed with the House spending 49.08 hours of the session time of 107.05 hours.
  • Deliberative functions like debating electoral reforms or recent discussion on law and order in parts of Delhi take up the largest chunk of time. The oversight function — which is to hold the government accountable by way of asking questions, calling attention motions and so on takes about 32.22% of time with portion of time reserved for the daily question hour.


Govt.allows insurance and security agencies to use Aadhar authentication services

  • Government has allowed 29 insurance and 9 securities entities to use Aadhaar Authentication Services under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. 
  • Department of Revenue has given permission to them to undertake Aadhaar Authentication services of UIDAI subject to their complying with standard security and privacy measures as per Aadhaar Act and to the satisfaction of their respective regulatory authorities. 
  • Finance Secretary Dr. Ajay BhushanPandey said the decision will help these entities to perform in real time, do e-KYC and will also reduce their cost of transaction.
  • He said, this will also be beneficial to the customers or the investors, especially the small and retail investors, as they need not submit physical papers or documents for KYC.
  • Revenue Department however said that it is a voluntary measure and use of Aadhaar authentication service is voluntary. It said, if some investor gives PAN, then they  need not go for Aadhaar authentication.


Government might consider quick nod for chinese investments 

  • The Centre plans to fast track the review of some investment proposals from neighbouring countries such as China following concerns new screening rules could hit plans of companies and investors, three sources told Reuters on Saturday.
  • To avoid opportunistic takeovers during the coronavirus outbreak, India said this past week that all foreign direct investment from countries sharing a land border would require prior government clearance, meaning they can’t go through a so-called automatic route.
  • A senior Indian government source who is involved in policymaking told Reuters that New Delhi will try to approve any investment proposal in a non-sensitive sector within 15 days when the stake being bought is not significant.
  • While the fast track mechanism would be open to all India’s neighbours with a land border, China would be the main beneficiary. It has major existing and planned investments in India, which the Brookings research group estimated at $26 billion.
  • The new screening rules are designed to prevent fire sales of corporate assets during the COVID-19 outbreak but government sources have said they will also apply to greenfield investments, as well as investments from Hong Kong.

Indian chemical exports becomes top exporting sector for first time

  • India's chemical exports rose by 7 per cent to 2.68 lakh crore rupees during April-January period of the last fiscal, and became the top exporting sector in the country for the first time.
  • Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers DV SadanandaGowda congratulated the chemicals and petrochemicals industry on becoming the top exporting sector of the country for the first time.
  • Mr Gowda informed that during April 2019-January 2020, the export of chemicals grew by 7.43 per cent over the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. Total export of chemicals during this period reached 2.68 lakh crore rupees. This constitutes 14.35 per cent of the total exports.


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India handsover medical equipments to Bangladesh from  SAARC  COVID emergency fund

  • High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das today handed over emergency medical supplies consisting of 1 lakh Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) tablets and 50 thousand sterile surgical gloves to Bangladesh. 
  • Announcing this in a press release issued on Sunday, the High Commission of India said that the second tranche of assistance came from the Covid 19 emergency fund which was created at the initiative of Prime Minister NarendraModi during his 15 March video conferencing with the leaders of the SAARC countries.
  • Following up on the video conference of Prime Minister NarendraModi held on March 15 with SAARC leaders, two separate video conferences were held between health experts and trade representatives of SAARC nations to discuss trade facilitation and exchange of best practices on 26 March and 08 April.
  • Taking forward India’s commitment to a collaborative approach to fight Covid-19 in the SAARC region, another training module in the form of webinars conducted by AIIMS Raipur for health professionals of SAARC Nations was held between 17-21 April. 
  • It discussed Covid 19 management strategies, capacity building and knowledge sharing on best practices. A similar programme is scheduled to be held from 27 April to 6 May under the government of India's ITEC initiative.

WHO cautions against concept of immunity passports

  • The World Health Organization is cautioning against the idea of immunity passports. It says there is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected against a second infection.
  • The concept of immunity passports or risk-free certificates has been floated as a way of allowing people protected against reinfection to return to work.
  • WHO argues that people who assume they are immune to reinfection may ignore public health advice, and such certificates could raise the risks of continued virus transmission.


Merger of blackholes with unequal mass detected by LIGO

  • For the first time since it started functioning, the gravitational wave observatories at LIGO scientific collaboration have detected a merger of two unequal-mass black holes.
  • The event, dubbed GW190412, was detected nearly a year ago, and this is almost five years after the first ever detection of gravitational wave signals by these powerful detectors.
  • Subsequent analysis of the signal coming from the violent merger showed that it involved two black holes of unequal masses coalescing, one of which was some 30 times the mass of the Sun and the other which had a mass nearly 8 times the solar mass.
  • The detected signal’s waveform has special extra features in it when it corresponds to the merger of two unequal-sized black holes as compared with a merger of equal-sized black holes. 
  • These features make it possible to infer many more things about the characters in this celestial drama, namely, a more accurate determination of the distance from the event, the spin or angular momentum of the more massive black hole and the orientation of the whole event with respect to viewers on Earth.
  • While the mass of the black hole bends the space-time close to it, the spin or angular momentum of this inscrutable object drags the nearby space-time, causing it to swirl around, along with it. Hence both these properties are important to estimate.
  • A second Indian team consisting of researchers from ICTS-TIFR, Bengaluru, verified the consistency of the signal with the prediction of General Relativity.


Former Pakistan cricket captain Sana Mir retires

  • Former Pakistan women’s team captain Sana Mir on Saturday announced her retirement from international cricket, bringing down the curtains on a 15-year career. 
  • Sana, 34, played 226 internationals, including 137 as skipper from 2009 to 2017. The off-spinner is the country’s leading ODI wicket-taker (151 scalps in 120 matches). She also made 1,630 runs in one-dayers. Sana played 106 T20Is, a rare achievement.


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