Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - December 22, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)
Yogasana formally recognised as a competitive sport in India
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
- The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports along with the Ayush Ministry formally recognized Yogasana as a competitive sport in India.
- The sports discipline of Yogasana is likely to have 51 medals in 4 events and 7 categories.
- The proposed events for both men and women include Traditional Yogasana, Artistic Yogasana (Single), Artistic Yogasana (Pair), Rhythmic Yogasana (Pair), Free Flow/Group Yogasana, Individual All Round – Championship and Team Championship.
- The AYUSH minister traced the origins of Yogasana competitions to the Indian Yoga tradition, where such competitions have been held for centuries.
- Yogasana is an integral and important component of Yoga, which is psycho-physical in nature and popular across the globe for its efficacy in fitness and general wellness.
- A pilot Yogasana Competition named as “National Individual Yogasana Sports Championship (Virtual Mode) to be held in early 2021.
- Competitions that will arise out of the recognition of Yogasana as a sport will enhance interest in Yoga among people around the globe.
- Government of India is planning to include Yogasana as a Sport discipline in National Games, Khelo India and international sports events.
Defence Ministry approves acquisition of weapon systems worth ₹28,000 cr
Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.
- The Defence Acquisition Council, headed by the Defence Minister, approved proposals for acquisition of weapons worth ₹28,000 crore required by the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force.
- Of these acquisitions, equipment worth ₹27,000 crore will be sourced from India industry in an attempt to boost the Make in India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiatives by the government.
- The meeting was the first for DAC under the new regime of Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020.
- Additionally, the steps taken at the meeting are the first set of Acceptance of Necessity (AoNs) with majority of them being accorded to the category of Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured (IDDM).
- The proposals that have been approved today include Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) Systems for the Indian Air Force designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
- Next Generation Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Indian Navy and Modular Bridges for the Indian Army are the other acquisition proposals approved by the Defence Ministry's body.
- Five cases valued at ₹25000 Crore are approved under indigenous design development and manufacture category.
- Particularly note worthy are the Defence Research and Development Organisation designed and developed Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems (AEW&CS) for the Air Force and modular bridges for the Army.
- The DAC has previously delegated powers to make emergency purchases worth up to ₹300 crores to the three services “to meet their emergent operational requirements."
- The devolution of financial powers to the three services comes against the backdrop of ongoing military tensions with China.
India contributes USD 1 million to WADA for scientific research for Clean Sport globally
Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
- India has pledged a sum of USD 1 million to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) towards the global agency’s scientific research budget to ensure an atmosphere of Clean Sport globally, which will allow WADA to develop innovative anti-doping testing and detection methods.
- The money will also be used to further strengthen WADA’s independent Investigations and Intelligence Department.
- India’s contribution of USD 1 million is the highest among contributions made by other world governments, including China, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
- The total contribution of all member nations will be matched by an equal sum by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to create a corpus of USD 10 million.
- This contribution is over and above the annual contribution made to WADA’s core budget by India.
- The World Anti-Doping Agency is a foundation initiated by the International Olympic Committee to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against drugs in sports.
- The agency's key activities include monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code, whose provisions are enforced by the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport.
- The Headquarters is in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
- It was established in 1999.
Toll barriers will cease to exist in next 2 years
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- Road Transport and Highways Minister has said that the Government has finalised GPS-based technology toll collection to ensure seamless movement of vehicles across the country.
- He said, this will ensure India becomes 'toll booth free' in the next two years.
- Addressing the ASSOCHAM Foundation Week Programme in New Delhi, he explained that the toll amount will be deducted directly from the bank account based on the movement of vehicles.
- He said, while now all commercial vehicles are coming with vehicle tracking systems, the Government will come up with some plan to install GPS technology in old vehicles.
- The Minister expressed hope that the toll collections may reach Rs 34 thousand crore by the coming March.
- Mr Gadkari informed, by using GPS technology for toll collection, the toll income in next five years will be Rs 1 lakh 34 thousand crore.
- The Minister said that industrial development is key to employment generation and poverty eradication in India.
- He said, however at present, industry in India is centralised in urban areas as such decentralisation of industry is imperative to boost growth rate.
- He also impressed upon the need to promote public-private investment in infrastructure development.
- He assured Government’s support in projects that are not economically viable.
Source: AIR News.
US Puts India on Currency Manipulation Watch list
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.
- Recently, the United States included India in its monitoring list of countries with potentially “questionable foreign exchange policies” and “currency manipulation”.
- Prior to this, India was added to the list in 2018 and was removed in 2019.
- Other countries in the latest list comprise China, Japan, Korea, Germany, Italy, Singapore, Malaysia.
- India’s bilateral goods trade surplus with the US has crossed the $20 billion mark, according to the latest report.
- Bilateral goods trade surplus totalled $22 billion in the first four quarters through June 2020.
About Currency manipulator
- This is a label given by the US government to countries it feels are engaging in “unfair currency practices” by deliberately devaluing their currency against the dollar.
- This means that the labeled country is in the question for artificially lowering the value of its currency to gain an unfair advantage over others.
- The devaluation of currency by a country reduces the cost of exports from that country and also shows a reduction in trade deficits as a result.
Source: Indian Express.
With winter session cancelled, a look at how and when Parliament is convened
Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
In response to a letter from the Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury seeking a short session of Parliament to discuss the new farm laws, Parliamentary Affairs Minister has said that some opposition parties “have expressed concerns about the ongoing pandemic and opined of doing away with winter session”.
- The power to convene a session of Parliament rests with the government. The decision is taken by the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, which currently comprises nine ministers, including those for Defence, Home, Finance, and Law.
- The decision of the Committee is formalised by the President, in whose name MPs are summoned to meet for a session.
- India does not have a fixed parliamentary calendar.
- By convention, Parliament meets for three sessions in a year.
- The longest, the Budget Session, starts towards the end of January, and concludes by the end of April or first week of May.
- The session has a recess so that Parliamentary Committees can discuss the budgetary proposals.
- The second session is the three-week Monsoon Session, which usually begins in July and finishes in August.
- The parliamentary year ends with a three week-long Winter Session, which is held from November to December.
- A general scheme of sittings was recommended in 1955 by the General Purpose Committee of Lok Sabha.
- It was accepted by the government of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, but was not implemented.
Source: Indian Express.
PM Modi holds virtual summit with Sheikh Hasina
Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Bangladesh continues to be one of the significant pillars of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.
- Speaking at a virtual summit with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Modi said that his government concentrated on keeping strong relations with Bangladesh since his government came into power.
- “Bangladesh is a significant pillar of our ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy. To strengthen relations with Bangladesh has been a priority for me since the first day,” said PM Modi.
- “The cooperation between India and Bangladesh has been good notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic,” he added.
- The summit is being held a day after India celebrated its 50th anniversary of the nation’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 India-Pakistan War, also known as Bangladesh Liberation War.
- The two leaders also inaugurated the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link between India and Bangladesh which has been inoperative for almost 55 years.
- Modi and Hasina jointly inaugurated a digital exhibition on Mujibur Rahman and Mahatma Gandhi in an effort to celebrate the life and legacies of the iconic leaders.
Source: Hindustan Times.
Test your Knowledge
- Consider the following statements wrt CMS-01:
- CMS-01 is envisaged to provide services in the extended-C Band of the frequency spectrum.
- It will cover the Indian mainland, the Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands.
- It was India's 142nd communication satellite with a mission life of over seven years.
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
A. 1 and 2 only
B. 2 and 3 only
C. 1 and 3 only
- It was India's 42nd communication satellite with a mission life of over seven years.
- Consider the following statements and identify the missile:
- It is an all-weather electronic surveillance system.
- It is successfully designed and developed by Instruments Research & Development Establishment (IRDE), Dehradun.
- The system facilitates monitoring and surveillance by automatically detecting the intrusions in harsh high-altitude sub-zero temperature areas with remote operation capability.
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
A. ASTRA Mk-I