Gist of The Hindu: March 2020

Gist of The Hindu: March 2020

President addresses both houses of parliament ahead of budget session

  • President Ram NathKovind said abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A related to Jammu and Kashmir, has paved way for equal development of the regions and people in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have got rights on par with the rest of the country. He was addressing the joint sitting of both the houses of Parliament at Central Hall today.
  • The President hailed the Citizenship Amendment Act as historic and said it has fulfilled the wishes of Father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi. Mr.Kovind said, the mutual debate and discussion on any issue strengthen democracy, while violence during protests weaken it.
  • Mr Kovind highlighted several work done by the government at the ground level in the last five years which has helped India's ranking on several International ranking indices. Lauding the contributions of farmers, the President said that bringing about a change in their lives is the priority of the government.
  • Talking about the health initiatives, Mr.Kovind said, the impact of the Ayushman Bharat Scheme on the health sector of the country is visible. On women safety, the President said that the more than 600 One Stop Centres have been set up in the country and a national database has been created to identify the perpetrators of crimes against women.
  • He asserted that the government is working with full strength and determination to free the country from the scourge of terrorism. He said the security situation in the North East has also improved significantly due to the concerted efforts of the government.

Economy survey emphasizes on wealth creation at grass root level

  • Economic Survey 2019-20 has emphasised on entrepreneurship and Wealth Creation at the Grassroots. It has suggested that industrial sector performance is a key to achieve the target of a five trillion dollar economy.
  • The Economic Survey 2019-20, tabled by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament today, also suggested sectoral initiatives for industrial revival. The survey has projected economic growth at 6 to 6.5 percent in the next fiscal. It called for more reforms to make it easier to do business in the country.
  • The survey said for India to achieve a five trillion US dollar economy depends on promoting pro-business policies, strengthening the invisible hand of the market and ease of doing business.
  • The Economic Survey gave a detailed analysis of the trends in India’s infrastructure sector which is necessary for growth. Power shortages, inadequate transport and poor connectivity affect overall growth performance.
  • To achieve a GDP of five trillion dollars by 2024 - 25, India needs to spend about 100 lakh crore rupees on infrastructure. According to the survey, there is a significant jump of around 2.62 crore new jobs with 1.21 crore in rural areas and 1.39 crore in urban areas. Over 69 lakh candidates have been trained under PradhanMantriKaushalVikasYojana till November last year.
  • The Economic Survey underscores various programmes and legislative measures that are in place to encourage female participation in the economy. Talking exclusively to AIR News Chief Economic nAdvisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian said that India has certainly made substantial progress in improving ease of doing business.

Centre bans export of all kinds of respiratory masks

  • India on Friday banned exports of all kinds of personal protection equipment, including clothing and masks used to protect people from air borne particles.
  • The move assumes significance as there could be a spurt in demand for such products due to the outbreak of deadly coronavirus that has claimed more than 200 lives in China while the number of confirmed cases reached near 10,000.
  • Air India's 423-seater jumbo B747 plane took off from the Delhi airport on Friday to evacuate Indian nationals from Wuhan as China deals with the novel coronavirus outbreak.
  • The government has reached out to over 600 Indians living in China's Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, to ascertain their willingness to be brought back to India.
  • In a separate notification, the DGFT has also banned imports of stock lot papers.These are kind of discarded, improper sized and unused papers.The move aims at cutting down imports of non-essential items into the country.

WHO declares corona outbreak as global emergency

  • The World Health Organization declared a global emergency over the new coronavirus, as China reported Friday the death toll had climbed to 213 with nearly 10,000 infections.
  • The UN health agency based in Geneva had initially downplayed the threat posed by the disease, but revised its risk assessment after crisis talks.
  • Many countries have already urged their citizens not to visit China, while some have banned entry for travellers from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus first surfaced.
  • More than 6,000 tourists were temporarily put under lockdown aboard a cruise ship at an Italian port after two Chinese passengers were isolated over fears they could be carrying the virus. They later tested negative for the illness.
  • Beijing has taken extreme steps to stop the spread of the virus, including effectively quarantining more than 50 million people in Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province.
  • The virus is similar to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) pathogen. That outbreak also began in China and eventually killed nearly 800 people worldwide in 2002-03.

UN affirms commitment to resolve Palestine-Israel conflict

  • UN chief Antonio Guterres said the global body remains committed to supporting Palestinians and Israelis to resolve the conflict on the basis of UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements, a day after US President Donald Trump unveiled his Middle East peace plan aimed at settling the longstanding dispute between the two sides.
  • Standing along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House on Tuesday, Trump proposed a two-state solution and said no Israelis or Palestinians would be uprooted from their homes.
  • Describing it as "historic" and a "giant step" towards peace, he said that under his vision, Jerusalem "will remain Israel's undivided, very important capital." He proposed Palestinian capital in Eastern Jerusalem and that US will set up its embassy there.
  • Asserting that his peace plan will more than double the size of Palestinian territory, Trump said that Palestinian people "deserve a far better life" than being trapped in a cycle of terrorism and violence."
  • No Palestinian official was present at the launch. The ambassadors from three Arab nations -- Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain -- were at the White House.
  • Netanyahu hailed Trump's plan as "historic day" for Israel. He compared Trump's Plan with the day to May 14, 1948, when the then President Harry Truman became the first world leader to recognise the State of Israel.

Google to promote news literacy amongst Indians, prepares AI model to study whales

  • On January 31, 2020, Google announced a million USD grant to promote news literacy among Indians. Also, the organization has launched a new application called Tangi.
  • The Google News Initiative has announced a 1 million USD grant to improve news literacy of Indians.
  • The grant is to be used to build a strong network against fake news producers in the country. Around 300 workshops, boot camps and sessions are to be organized to train journalists, academicians and fast-checkers on the authentication of the published content on the internet. The training is to be provided in 7 Indian languages.
  • The Tangi Application of Google focuses on Do It Yourself videos. The name of the application has been inspired from Teach and Give.
  • Google has used an AI model that listens to Killer Whales, identifies the origin of sound and displays its location. The model has been installed in Canada.
  • According to the Centre for Whale Research, only 73 Southern Resident Orcas (a subspecies of Killer Whales) are left in the world.

Supreme court issues notice to centre regarding dilution of RTI law

  • The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the government on a petition alleging that it had diluted the law to give itself absolute, discretionary powers over the tenure, salaries and working conditions of information commissioners, a fact which it claimed would compromise its independence and integrity.
  • The RTI Act came into being in 2005 and had been working well. But the government has in recent days made several changes through the RTI (Amendment) Act, 2019, which activists allege would compromise the working of the institution.
  • These include a rule that reduces the tenure of information commissioners to 3 years from 5 and makes it subject to the will of the government. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has challenged this amendment through a petition.
  • It infringes fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14 (equality), 19(1)(a) (freedom of speech and expression) and 21 (right to life) of the Constitution. The petition also alleged that these amendments were based on extraneous considerations and had been drawn up without due application of mind contrary to earlier court rulings on the issue.
  • The Act, Ramesh claimed, had provided for a non-partisan process of appointing information commissioners and had protected their tenures and service conditions from being changed adversely to protect their independence. But the recent amendments had undone all these built in safeguards, he alleged.


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Courtesy: The Hindu