Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 30 January 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 30 January 2020


Nation pays homage to Mahatma on his death anniversary

  • Nation pays homage to the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi on his 72nd death anniversary today. It was on this day in 1948, Mahatma Gandhi fell to the bullet of his assassin. The day is also observed as Martyrs Day.

  • A Sarva Dharma PrarthanaSabha has been organised at his Samadhi - Rajghat in the national capital. All India Radio Delhi will broadcast live commentary on the Sarva Dharma PrarthanaSabha and Bhakti Sangeet from Rajghat. It can be heard on Rajdhani channel from 9:40 AM.

  • Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has paid tributes to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary today. In a series of tweets, Mr Naidu said, Mahatma Gandhi’s life and message of peace and non-violence are relevant for all times and find resonance in every part of the world. He said, through the philosophy of Ahimsa, Satyagraha and Non-Cooperation, Gandhi Ji galvanised masses and spearheaded the national movement.

  • Vice President said, building a New India that will be free from hunger, poverty, all types of discrimination, corruption and inculcates the spirit of service among the younger generation are few ways to pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi.

  • In Madhya Pradesh, ‘Gandhi Stambh’ erected at colleges and ‘Gandhi Chair’ established at universities will be dedicated symbolically on the death anniversary of the Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi today.

  • The ‘Gandhi Chair’ is being set up under the political science department of the universities.While, the Gandhi pillars in colleges are setting up with an objective to help the young generation connect with the Mahatma.

Cabinet approves MTP amendment bill,raising upper limit for termination of pregnancy

  • Union Cabinet has approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The bill will amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. It will be introduced in the budget session of the Parliament.

  • Briefing media in New Delhi today, Union Minister PrakashJavadekar said, for Medical termination of pregnancy, permission will be needed, from two doctors and one of them must be a government doctor. The limit of termination of pregnancy has been increased from 20 weeks to 24 weeks.

  • The Bill proposes for requirement for opinion of one provider for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation and introducing the requirement of opinion of two providers for termination of pregnancy of 20-24 weeks of gestation.

  • The Bill is for expanding access of women to safe and legal abortion services on therapeutic, eugenic, humanitarian or social grounds. The proposed amendment is a step towards safety and well-being of the women and many women will be benefitted by this.

  • Recently several petitions were received by the Courts seeking permission for aborting pregnancies at a gestational age beyond the present permissible limit on grounds of foetal abnormalities or pregnancies due to sexual violence faced by women.

  • The proposed increase in gestational age will ensure dignity, autonomy, confidentiality and justice for women who need to terminate pregnancy.


Government collects huge sum via tax dispute settlement scheme

  • The government has surpassed its target under a scheme launched last year for settling pending disputes over service tax and central excise by collecting over Rs 38,000 crore in taxes, said people aware of the matter.

  • They said the finance ministry received around 189,000 applications under the SabkaVishwas (Legacy Dispute Resolution Scheme) 2019, which kicked off in September and concluded on January 15.

  • Finance minister NirmalaSitharaman had unveiled the scheme in the budget for 2019-20, with an aim to assist taxpayers in clearing the baggage of disputes under legacy taxes (service tax and central excise), which are subsumed in the goods and services tax (GST).

  • Four types of disputes could be settled under the scheme, the official said. First, litigation cases,where the matter was pending under litigation either at first adjudication level or at some appellate level. Second, arrears cases, where the matter had attained finality but the dues to government had yet to be recovered.

  • Third, investigation or audit cases, where the amount was quantified but a show-cause notice had yet to be issued. Besides, there were declaration cases, where a fresh case of non-payment or short payment was to be declared subject to certain conditions.

Government set to sell onions at low costs to avoid rotting

  • The Centre may soon offload imported onions at a highly subsidised rate of Rs 22-23/kg, down around 60 per cent from the current offered rate, as it apprehends rotting of the perishable kitchen item at ports, sources said on Thursday.

  • The central government is currently offering imported onions to state governments at an average landed cost of Rs 58/kg for further distribution in the retail market. It is also bearing the transportation cost.

  • According to sources, a large quantity of imported onion is still lying at ports, especially in Maharashtra, as many states did not show interest to lift the commodity at high rates at a time when retail prices started cooling down on arrival of fresh crop.

  • Many states withdrew their orders for lifting the imported onions as they could not retail it further owing to difference in taste compared with homegrown ones, the sources said.

  • The government was forced to import onion in a bid to contain prices, which have cooled down now to Rs 60/kg from the peak of Rs 160/kg in last few months.

  • In its first estimate, the government has pegged the country's overall onion production to rise by seven per cent to 24.45 million tonnes in the current 2019-20 crop year, which may bring relief to consumers from high prices seen in the last few months.

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India reaffirms stand on Israeli-Palestine conflict

  • India today reaffirmed its call for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and asked both sides to resolve all issues through direct negotiations.

  • In response to a query, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India has been consistently supportive of the Palestinian cause and has called for a two-state solution to the issue.

  • India's reiteration of its views on the issue came a day after US President Donald Trump unveiled his Middle East peace plan.

  • India urged the parties to engage with each other, including on the recent proposals put forward by the United States and find an acceptable two-state solution for peaceful coexistence.

  • Mr Kumar said, India will continue to follow developments in the region and engage with the parties concerned.

European parliament withdraws from anti-CAA resolution

  • The European Parliament has decided not to conduct a vote today on a resolution against India's new citizenship law. Government sources called the deferment of the voting on the Citizenship Amendment Act a diplomatic victory.

  • They said that friends of India prevailed over the friends of Pakistan in the European Parliament. India reached out to almost all countries of the powerful bloc, trying to persuade them against going ahead with the resolution against the CAA.

  • Sources said the European lawmakers agreed to delay the voting to get a direct perspective about the CAA from External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar who is scheduled to visit Brussels to prepare the ground for Prime Minister NarendraModi's visit in mid-March.

  • LokSabha Speaker Om Birla had written to European Parliament President David Maria Sassoli over the resolutions moved against the CAA. In his letter, Mr Birla said it is inappropriate for one legislature to pass judgement on another and the practice can be misused by vested interests.

  • LokSabha Speaker also asserted that as Members of the Inter- Parliamentary Union, sovereign processes of fellow legislatures should be respected.

  • Mr Birla said, the act provides for easier citizenship to those who have been subjected to religious persecution in our immediate neighbourhood and it is not aimed at taking away citizenship from anybody. He added that the legislation was passed after due deliberation by both houses of the Indian Parliament.


More than 10 new Ramsar wetlands categorised in India

  • On January 28, 2020, the Union Ministry declared that Ramsar Convention had added 10 more sites from India. Today, there are 37 Ramsar sites in the country.

  • Among the 10 sites, Maharashtra (NadurMadhameshwar) gets its first Ramsar site. The other wetlands sites include one in Uttar Pradesh and 3 in Punjab(Beas Conservation Reserve, Keshoupur-Miani and Nangal).

  • In the past 6 months, the ministry of Environment prepared four pronged strategies for restoration of wetlands. It includes wetland health cards, preparing a baseline data, preparing targeted Integrated Management and enlisting wetland mitras.

  • It is important to conserve wetlands for water, food, groundwater recharge, fibre, water purification, erosion control, flood moderation and climate regulation.

  • Wetlands are the major source of fresh water. They help to soak rain water and recharge ground water.Conserving Wet Lands will also help in achieving Nal Se Jal scheme. The scheme aims to provide water connection to every house hold by 2024.


Neeraj Chopra qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

  • Star Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with a throw of 87.86 metres at the Athletics Central North East meeting in South Africa.

  • The 22-year-old Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold medallist breached the Olympic qualification mark of 85 metres in his fourth attempt at Potchefstroom last night.

  • Neeraj had missed the IAAF World Championships, the Diamond League and the Asian Championships due to an elbow injury. His last major international competition was the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games where he won gold with a national record of 88.06 metres.

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