Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 29 July 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 29 July 2020


Centre hails successful implementation of PradhanMantriGareebKalyan Ann Yojana

  • About 81 crore beneficiaries covered under National Food Security Act (NFSA) and Antyodaya Ann Yojana (AAY) are being provided 5 Kgs of Rice or wheat free of cost under the PradhanMantriGareebKalyan Ann Yojana scheme.
  • The total allocation for the second phase of PMGKAY from July to November 2020 is over 200 Lakh Metric Tonnes  of food grains. The scheme was rolled out on 8th of this month and till this Monday, over 33 Lakh Metric Tonnes of food grains have already been handed over to state governments across the country.
  • The current allocation in just around 20 days is about 83 per cent of the total allocation for the month of July.
  • After successful implementation of PMGKAY scheme from April to June 2020, the Government of India extended this scheme for another 5 months from July to November 2020.
  • Extensive and detailed logistical planning has already been done by Food Corporation of India (FCI) to ensure that food grain stocks reach every part of the country as per the allocation over these 5 months.

Government notification on FDI in defence sector to be out soon

  • The government is going to come out with a decision on 74% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in defence and a notification is likely in the next few days, according to V.L. KanthaRao, Additional Secretary, Department of Defence Production.
  • Separately, the Defence Ministry said the second draft of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2020, now renamed as the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020, was put out in public domain on Tuesday for comments from stakeholders and public.
  • On the target to indigenise spares and sub-assemblies of imported military hardware, Mr.Rao said, “We will try and do at least 900 items this year and we have a target of 5,000 items in five years.” He was speaking at the Lockheed Martin - Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers suppliers conference.
  • In May, the government announced a series of measures to promote domestic defence manufacturing. These include a negative import list, separate budgetary allocation for domestic procurements, indigenisation of spares and components and raising the FDI cap through automatic route from 49% to 74%.



Centre unable to pay State’s GST dues claims finance secretary

  • Finance Secretary Ajay BhushanPandey told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, headed by BJP MP JayantSinha, at a meeting on Tuesday that the government is in no position to pay the GST share of States as per the current revenue sharing formula, sources said.
  • According to at least two members who attended the meeting, Mr.Pandey’s comments were in response to a question on the revenue shortfall due to the pandemic.
  • The members then questioned him on how the government could renege on the commitment to the States. At this, “he [Mr.Pandey] pointed out that the GST Act has provisions to rework the formula for paying compensation to the State governments if the revenue collection drops below a certain threshold,” one of the members said on condition of anonymity.
  • The Finance Ministry on Monday said the Centre had released the final instalment of ₹13,806 crore of GST compensation for the financial year 2019-20.
  • The GST Council was scheduled to meet in July to try and work out the formula to rework the compensation to the States. However, the meeting has not been convened so far. 
  • The opposition members meanwhile were up in arms, as the committee which was meeting for the first time since the nationwide lockdown instead of discussing the State of Indian economy, took up the topic “Financing the innovation ecosystem and India’s growth companies”.

CII finds economic recovery amongst the rural sectors

  • There are early signs of a V-shaped recovery in the economy in the immediate aftermath of the lockdown, driven mostly by agriculture and rural lending, as well as positive trends in FMCG, pharma and even construction, says the Confederation of Indian Industries.
  • However, the uncertainty of mini lockdowns and unnecessarily wide containment zones continue to affect business operations, the industry group said.
  • Its dashboard of positive indicators include GST collections, railway freight traffic, petrol consumption, peak power demand and electronic toll collections, as well as expectations of a bumper harvest in the wake of a normal monsoon.
  • Terming the agriculture sector a “beacon of hope”, CII noted that rural lending by non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) is at about 80% of the usual levels. Stressed sectors include aviation, hotels and commercial vehicles, which show no signs of recovery yet. However, the information technology and health sectors are likely to hold steady even if they do not show much growth.


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EU restricts exports to Hongkong post China’s passage of new security law

  • The European Union will restrict exports to Hong Kong of equipment that could be used for surveillance and repression after Beijing imposed a controversial new security law, diplomatic sources said on Tuesday.
  • The bloc has expressed deep concerned over the new law, which critics say will severely curb Hong Kong’s longstanding autonomy and relative freedom.
  • But the EU has struggled to agree a united response to China, with member states deeply divided over whether to stand up to Beijing, a hugely important trading partner or to try to cooperate with it.
  • France and Germany proposed the restriction on so-called “dual use” technology at a meeting of Foreign Ministers earlier this month and it will be formally signed off on Tuesday.
  • Along with the export restriction, the EU will also bring in measures to support the population of the former British colony by making it easier for them to travel to Europe through the granting of visas, scholarships and academic exchanges, diplomats said.

Iran launches military drill at Strait of Hormuz

  • Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard fired a missile from a helicopter targeting a replica aircraft carrier in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, state television reported on Tuesday, an exercise aimed at “threatening” the U.S. amid tensions between Tehran and Washington.
  • The drill, in a waterway through which 20% of all traded oil passes, underlines the lingering threat of military conflict between Iran and the U.S. after last summer saw a series of incidents targeting oil tankers in the region. In January, a U.S. drone strike killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad and Tehran responded by firing ballistic missiles targeting American forces in Iraq.
  • Iranian commandos fast-roped down from a helicopter onto the replica in the footage aired on Tuesday from the exercise called “Great Prophet 14.”
  • Iranian troops also fired anti-aircraft batteries at a drone target in the exercise from a location that state television described as being near the port city of Bandar Abbas.Troops also fired missiles from trucks on land and fast boats at sea.
  • The Guard will use “long-range ballistic missiles with the ability to hit far-reaching aggressor floating targets” during the drill, said Abbas Nilforoushan, the Guard’s deputy commander for operations, according to Guard website


WWF claims 3billion animals affected by Australian bushfires

  • Nearly 3 billion koalas, kangaroos and other native Australian animals were killed or displaced by bushfires in 2019 and 2020, a study by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said on Tuesday, triple the group’s earlier estimates.
  • Some 143 million mammals, 2.46 billion reptiles, 180 million birds and 51 million frogs were impacted by the country’s worst bushfires in decades, the WWF said.
  • When the fires were still blazing, the WWF estimated the number of affected animals at 1.25 billion. The fires destroyed more than 11 million hectares (37 million acres) across the Australian southeast, equal to about half the area of the United Kingdom.
  • “This ranks as one of the worst wildlife disasters in modern history,” said WWF-Australia Chief Executive Officer Dermot O’Gorman in a statement.
  • The project leader Lily Van Eeden, from the University of Sydney, said the research was the first continent-wide analysis of animals impacted by the bushfires, and “other nations can build upon this research to improve understanding of bushfire impacts everywhere”.
  • The total number included animals which were displaced because of destroyed habitats and now faced lack of food and shelter.


England wins test series against West Indies

  • Stuart Broad grabbed his 500th Test wicket to set England on its way to a resounding 269-run win over West Indies in the third and final Test at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
  • Broad joined an elite club, finishing with match figures of 10 for 67, as the West Indies was bowled out for 129 in 37.1 overs. England regained the Wisden Trophy after bouncing back to win the three Test series 2-1.
  • West Indies was always up against it after being set an improbable 399 to win and losing the first two wickets of its second innings to Broad on Sunday.


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