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Current Affairs SEPTEMBER 2020 Set 01

Diksha Sharma 15 MINUTES

NATIONAL NEWS

1. Assam govt relaunches SVAYEM scheme to provide self-employment to around 2 lakh youths of state

• In Assam, the State Government re-launched a scheme to provide self-employment to around two lakh youths of the state. Known as Swami Vivekananda Assam Youth Empowerment (SVAYEM), it would provide 50 thousand rupees each as seed money to selected youths to start business ventures.
• Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the Assam Government is launching the redesigned SVAYEM with a budget of 1,000 crore rupees which will be spent in the next three months without any banking linkage.
• He said, the beneficiaries would have to be part of self-help groups, joint liability groups.
• Those seeking to avail benefits of the scheme will be able to register themselves at a new portal which will be launched on September 16.
• The Minister mentioned that youths up to 40 years with the minimum qualification of matriculation would be able to get the benefit of SVAYEM scheme.

2. Delhi paired with Sikkim under Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat programme

• To celebrate and strengthen this identity, Ek Bharat shreshth Bharat abhiyan focused campaign is underway in the country. National Capital Delhi has been paired with Sikkim under Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat programme.
• Since 2017, selected Students and Teachers of both states are visiting each other under the programme.
• Cultural exchanges are taking place from time to time in Sikkim and Delhi with food festivals, dance festivals etc.
• With people to people contact, the Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat initiative has strengthened the bond between Delhi and Sikkim a sense of oneness in the country.

3. Thaawarchand Gehlot to launch 24x7 Toll-Free Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline 'KIRAN'

• Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot will launch the 24x7 Toll-Free Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline "KIRAN".
• The helpline number is 1800-500-0019. This Helpline has been developed by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities to provide relief and support to persons with Mental Illness.
• This helpline will offer mental health rehabilitation services with the objective of early screening, first-aid, psychological support, mental well-being and psychological crisis management.
• It will function as a lifeline to provide 1st stage advice, counseling and reference to individuals, families, NGOs, Parent Associations, Professional Associations, Rehabilitation Institutes, Hospitals or anyone in need of support across the country.
• This assumes great significance in view of the growing incidence of Mental Illness, particularly in the wake of COVID-19 Pandemic.

4. ICMR issues new guidelines allowing testing on demand for COVID-19

• Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued a new advisory on Covid-19 testing strategy, allowing testing on demand for individuals.
• It has also advised testing on demand for all individuals undertaking travel to countries or Indian states mandating a negative Covid-19 test at the point of entry.
• The state governments can simplify the modalities to facilitate testing on demand. The 'Advisory on Strategy for Covid-19 Testing in India' (version -6) said, it may be modified as per discretion of State Health authorities.
• The advisory has suggested that 100 per cent of people living in containment zones should be tested by rapid antigen tests, particularly in cities where there has been widespread transmission of the infection.
• Besides, it advised testing all symptomatic individuals with a history of international travel in the last 14 days.
• ICMR has also suggested testing for asymptomatic patients undergoing surgical or non-surgical invasive procedures and all pregnant women who are hospitalised for delivery. It stressed that no emergency procedure, including deliveries should be delayed for lack of test, and pregnant women should not be referred for a lack of testing facility.
• Mothers who test positive for Covid-19 should be advised to wear a mask and undertake frequent handwashing while handling their baby for 14 days. They should also be advised on breast cleaning before feeding the neonate.

5. Madhya Pradesh paired with Manipur and Nagaland under 'Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat'

• Madhya Pradesh has partnered with Nagaland and Manipur under Ek Bharat-Shreshtha Bharat Yojana to strengthen cultural relations between them.
• The government of Madhya Pradesh has made its Higher Education Department as nodal department to execute the scheme
• MP will participate in Sangai Mahotsav, which is being organized in Manipur. Likewise, teams from Nagaland and Manipur will take part in Lok Rang and Bal Rang programmes of MP to present their cultural programmes
• An 8-member team from Madhya Pradesh toured Manipur and Nagaland in this regard
• The aim of participating in these events is to present their cultural programmes and to apprise people of their culture
• The translation work of Nagaland books has also been started in Madhya Pradesh with an aim to introduce people of the state with their activities and cultural heritage
• One team of Nagaland and Manipur will participate in the march past on the occasion of Republic Day on January 26 and Independence Day on August 15.
• Ek Bharat-Shreshtha Bharat Yojana was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Ekta Diwas (October 31, 2015) on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel.
• Its objective is to strengthen cultural relations of various parts of the country and to embolden mutual connection between people dwelling in different states. It also aims to celebrate the unity in diversity culture of India and to bolster sentimental bonds between people of different states.

6. State govt made an appeal in SC for re-verification of NRC: Assam CM Sonowal

• Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that the state government has made an appeal in the Supreme Court for the re- verification of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
• The Chief Minister said, it must be ensured that all genuine Indian citizens be included in the NRC list while the name of illegal citizens should be excluded.
• The Chief Minister asserted that once the Supreme Court grants permission, it will give a better way for publication of an error free NRC.
• Mr. Sonowal emphasized that North Eastern states must join hands to promote the region. He said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given special emphasis for the development of this region.
• Mr. Sonowal said, the Prime Minister visited the North East 30 times in the last few years.
• The Chief Minister said that the Act East Policy has played a very important role in promoting the region.

7. Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat programme: Goa paired with Jharkhand

• Under Ek Bharat Shresht Bharat, Goa is paired with Jharkhand.
• Lot of exchange activities are happening on this front. During lockdown, the intensity of programmes is less and focus is laid on virtual events.
• Lokotsav programmes held earlier in Goa in Panaji evoked good response. Stalls of Jharkhand displayed delicacies from that state and Goans enjoyed savouring the same.
• Folk dances presented by Jharkhand artistes also were appreciated by Goan artistes. Later Goan artistes also visited Jharkhand and presented Goan folk dances.
• Bangle making workshops were held in Goa wherein experts from handicraft arena of Jharkhand guided Goan artistes. More of such exchange activities and projects are being planned between Goa and Jharkhand in the near future.

8. Odisha govt passes resolution to request Centre to accord classical status to Odishi music

• Odisha Government has passed a resolution to request the Centre to accord classical status to Odishi music.
• The resolution was passed in the Heritage Cabinet meeting held yesterday under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
• The Government of Odisha has already recognised it as a classical form of music since 2008.
• After Odishi dance and Odia language, now is the turn for Odishi music to claim classical status.
• While the world famous odissi dance had been granted the classical status by the government of India way back in 1964, Odia language had to see many ups and downs before settling down as a classical language in 2014.
• Odishi music lovers too have been batting for its classical uniqueness since long. Odishi music, besides being of ancient origin, also enjoys 'Shastric' specificities to be eligible as a classical genre.

9. Delhi HC allows breath analyser test through tube process for air traffic controllers

• The Delhi High Court allowed a breath analyser test through tube process for air traffic controllers (ATC) that was earlier suspended in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
• The high court modified its March 23 interim order suspending breath analyser tests (BAT) through tube process for ATCs, saying the DGCA will be bound by the June 16 recommendations of the medical board.
• Justice Navin Chawla allowed the application of DGCA seeking modification of the earlier order and to implement the medical report of Directorate General of Medical Services (DGMS). As per the DGMS medical board’s recommendation, one machine would be used per person and not used again for the next 12 hours.
• The court said the interest of ATCs and passengers has to be balanced and noted that BAT is being presently conducted on pilots also in a restricted manner. The application was filed in pending petition by the Air Traffic Controllers’ Guild (India), represented through Advocates Piyush Sanghi and Khushbu Sahu, seeking direction to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to temporarily suspend the BAT through the current tube process to prevent further spread of the virus.
• The petitioner had said that on a random basis 10 percent of the ATCs are subjected to the BAT, which uses equipment that could result in the spread of COVID-19.

10. Madhya Pradesh govt instructs officials to establish Command Control Rooms to monitor people under home isolation

• In Madhya Pradesh, the state government has instructed concerned officials to establish Command Control Rooms in each district.
• These control rooms will monitor the people who are under home isolation and home quarantine. The MP government has instructed that ambulances should also be kept ready in every command control room.
• At the same time, information about health of home isolation patients must be collected at least twice a day.
• Madhya Pradesh has ranked 17th in the country in comparison to the active cases of Corona.

11. Gujarat govt decides to cut down salaries of MLAs, ministers by 30%

• The Gujarat government has decided to bring a bill in the upcoming session of the state assembly to cut down the salaries of MLAs and ministers by 30 per cent for one year due to COVID-19 pandemic.
• The decision to bring this bill, which will replace an ordinance, was taken in the state cabinet meeting. However, the schedule of the assembly session is yet to be announced.
• The state government will save Rs 6.27 crore by reduction in salaries of elected representatives. This money will be used in the fight against coronavirus.
• As per the rules, the state assembly has to be convened before the completion of six months of its last session. The last session was held in March, just before the coronavirus-induced lockdown was announced.
• The state government also decided to cut 30 per cent salaries of those employees who have been retained in government services on contracts after retirement.

12. Cabinet approves introduction of J&K Official Languages Bill 2020 in Parliament

• The Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the introduction in Parliament of the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill 2020 in which five languages will be official languages.
• These are Urdu, Kashmiri, Dogri, Hindi and English. Briefing the media, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said inclusion of Dogri, Hindi and Kashmiri as official languages in Jammu and Kashmir is not only a fulfillment of a long-pending public demand but is also in keeping with the spirit of equality.

13. Cabinet approves signing of MoU between India and Japan

• The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Textiles Committee, India and M/s Nissenken Quality Evaluation Centre, Japan for improving quality and testing of Indian textiles and Clothing for the Japanese market.
• The MoU would enable M/s Nissenken Quality Evaluation Centre, Japan in assigning Textile Committee as their cooperative Testing and Inspection service providers in the Republic of India for Textiles & Apparel products including Technical Textiles and any other products mutually agreed upon at a later date for both domestic and overseas clients/buyers.

14. Government Blocks 118 Mobile Apps Which are Prejudicial to Sovereignty and Integrity of India, Defence of India, Security of State and Public Order

• The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India invoking its power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 and in view of the emergent nature of threats has decided to block 118 mobile apps since in view of information available they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.
• The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures.
• The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps.
• Likewise, there have been similar bipartisan concerns, flagged by various public representatives, both outside and inside the Parliament of India. There has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against Apps that harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens.
• On the basis of these and upon receiving of recent credible inputs that information posted, permissions sought, functionality embedded as well as data harvesting practices of above stated Apps raise serious concerns that these Apps collect and share data in surreptitious manner and compromise personal data and information of users that can have a severe threat to security of the State.
• In the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India and security of the State. And using the sovereign powers, the Government of India has decided to block the usage of certain Apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet enabled devices. These apps are listed in the attached appendix.
• This move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety, security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.

15. Govt. says, all calendars, diaries and similar materials to be digital now

• The Centre has decided to discontinue calendars, diaries and other similar materials printed physically by ministries, departments, public sector units and public sector banks.
• The Ministry of Finance asked all organs of the government to adopt innovative means to use digital or online solutions instead of printed calendars, diaries or schedulers.
• There is to be no activity towards printing wall calendars, desktop calendars, diaries and other such material for use in the coming year by any Ministries/Departments/PSUs/PSBs and all other organs of the government. All such activity shall go digital and online.
• The ministry said that there should be a concerted effort towards incorporating innovative methods.
• Using technological innovations for planning, scheduling and forecasting are well known to be economical, efficient and effective.
• The government has also ended the practice of printing Coffee Table books.
• The ministries, PSU and public lenders can still create such publication materials but only for the digital version.
• Innovative digital and online solutions which will achieve the same result as physical calendars or diaries are to be prioritised and to be put into practice.
• All calendars, diaries & other similar materials, which were earlier printed in physical format, will now be done digitally by Ministries/Depts/PSUs/PSBs.

16. Cabinet gives nod to 'Mission Karmayogi', National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building

• The Union Cabinet approved Mission Karmayogi, a skill development scheme for civil servants.
• The government aims to build a future-ready civil service in the country through its Mission Karmayogi scheme.
• Launching the scheme, Union minister Prakash Javadekar described Mission Karmayogi as the "biggest human resource development reform in the government".
• The Mission Karmayogi scheme will be open to all government employees for their re-skilling. They would be encouraged under the scheme to better equip themselves with their domain, and improve their functional and behavioural competencies.
• The scheme will be under the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) with the Prime Minister's HR Council functioning as the apex body to provide guidance and direction to these capacity-building reforms. The council will have chief ministers as members.
• Mission Karmayogi will radically improve human resource management practices in the government. It will use scale and state of the art infrastructure to augment the capacity of civil servants.
• The scheme aims to prepare civil servants for the future by making them more creative, constructive and innovative through transparency and technology.
• The government will set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), fully owned by it, for the operation of an online platform and facilitate digital learning. The total outlay for the scheme will be Rs 510 crore for the first five years.
• To be launched on a subscription-based model, the SPV will charge an annual subscription fee of Rs 431 per civil servant for the skill development programme.
• This new skill development programme for the babus comes a week after the Union Cabinet approved the setting up of the National Recruitment Agency (NRA) last week. Javadekar said the NRA was a pre-recruitment reform while the Mission Karmayogi scheme is a post-recruitment reform for the government servants.
• The scheme is aimed at improving the performance of the government employees and officers.
• The government said the scheme will end subjective evaluation of the employees, and ensure scientifically-devised, objective and real-time assessment of their performance.
• The objective of the scheme is to build future-ready civil servants with the right attitude, skills and knowledge, aligned to the vision of a "New India" that Prime Minister Narendra Modi often refers to in his speeches.

17. Madhya Pradesh govt launches campaign 'Gandagi Bharat Chhodo'

• In Madhya Pradesh, a massive 'Gandagi Bharat Chhodo' campaign was launched by the State Government.
• The campaign was divided into five themes- Cleanliness Oath, Continuous reduction in urban waste emissions, Cleanliness in COVID conditions, Separation of waste from sources of houses and Launching a special cleanliness campaign for public places.

18. UP govt decides to set up exclusive anti-electricity theft police stations in every district

• Uttar Pradesh government has decided to set up exclusive anti-electricity theft police stations in every district of state to address the problem of frequent cases of power theft.
• One police station dedicated to deal with the issue of power theft will be opened in all 75 districts out of which 63 have already started functioning.
• The government has also raised the number of enforcement teams from 33 to 88 to launch a crackdown against those involved in power pilferage. As many as 53 teams are already functioning.
• The release says that this year, 20,401 cases of power theft were registered and a compounded fine of Rs 2.75 crore was released from the offenders.
• The local police were already burdened with law and order work so the investigation into the power theft cases were being hampered hence the government had decided to set up a dedicated police station for power theft in each of the 75 districts of the state.
• 63 power theft police stations had already started functioning in all big cities of the State.

19. Govt. gives nod to 27 integrated cold chain development projects under PM Kisan SAMPADA Yojana

• Government gave its nod to 27 projects under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana for development of integrated cold chains and value addition infrastructure in the country.
• The new integrated cold chain projects will generate direct and indirect employment for over 16,000 people and benefit nearly 2,57,000 farmers.
• Union Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal said, saving the perishable produce, by provisioning adequate infrastructure, will help in augmenting farmers' incomes and will also act towards making India self-reliant in the fruits and vegetables sector.
• She added that the projects will help in streamlining the agricultural supply chain and generate direct and indirect employment opportunities in rural areas.
• These 27 new projects will leverage a total investment of Rs 743 crore for the creation of modern, innovative infrastructure and effective cold chain facilities for the food processing sector across various states including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
• 85 Cold Chain Projects have also been considered for financial assistance under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana.

20. Supreme Court directs telcos to pay AGR dues in 10 years

• The Supreme Court announced its verdict in the much-awaited Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) case and granted 10 years time to telecom firms to clear outstanding dues.
• The 10-year timeline for repayment of the dues will begin from April 1, 2021, said the Supreme Court bench led by Justice Arun Mishra.
• The remaining installments will have to be paid by February 7 every year since the commencement of timeline. 10 percent of the total AGR dues have to be cleared by telecom firms by March 31, 2021.
• Further, it asked that managing directors and chairpersons of the concerned telecom firms to mandatorily give an affidavit undertaking to pay the amount. While announcing the verdict, the SC bench said any default will not only accrue interest but will also invite contempt of court proceedings.
• Last year the Apex court had passed orders directing the various telecom companies to immediately pay the total amount of over 92,000 crores in AGR dues.
• In January, the Department of Telecom moved a plea for a staggered payment schedule of 20 years. The DoT had informed the court that asking for payment over a shorter timeline would bankrupt the companies and destroy the telecom sector.
• The two most-affected telecom firms, Vodafone Idea with over Rs 50,000 crore dues and Bharti Airtel with over Rs 26,000 crore dues, had sought 15 years. It may be noted that Vodafone Idea had made it clear that it would be left with no option but to shut operations if it was forced to pay AGR dues in one go.
• The top court has not fully accepted the argument, and allowed only a 10-year payment period.
• The court, however, did not make any decision regarding the sale of spectrum as an asset by distressed companies. It has also not decided on the liability of Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel for payment of dues owed by companies which had sold assets to them.
• The bench has asked the NCLT to decide on whether spectrum can be an "asset" as part of IBC process, and what is the tenure of spectrum licenses held by a company.

21. Assam govt gears up to implement Arunodoi scheme from Oct 2

• The Assam government is taking steps to implement the Arunodoi scheme from 2nd of October this year.
• 830 rupees will be given per month to beneficiary families under the scheme.
• Widows, unmarried women, divyang and divorced women get priority in beneficiary selection.

22. UP: 13 new biosafety second generation coronavirus testing labs launched

• Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has said that the state is now facing a bigger challenge of Asymptomatic Covid patients and it can only be dealt with more intense contact tracing and testing.
• He was speaking at the launch of 13 new biosafety second generation testing labs in the state through video conferencing.
• In a boost to coronavirus testing, the state got 13 new BSL-2 standards which started functioning in various districts.
• With this, the state's capacity of undertaking RT-PCR tests will go up by 5,000 per day. The state is already conducting an average of 1.5 lakh Covid-19 tests per day of which about 50% are RT-PCR. State has conducted more than 50 lakh tests till date.
• The new labs include 10 in the public sector and the remaining three at private medical colleges. Government labs have come up in Basti, Ayodhya, Azamgarh, Banda, Saharanpur, Ambedkarnagar, Badaun, Bahraich, Jalaun and Firozabad while private labs have been set up at Teerthankar Mahaveer Medical College Moradabad, GS Medical College Hapur and Mayo Institute of Medical Sciences in Barabanki district.

23. UP CM helpline 1076 actively engaged in calling COVID-19 patients under home isolation upcmo.up.nic.in

• In Uttar Pradesh, the Chief Minister helpline 1076 has been actively engaged in calling COVID-19 patients who are under home isolation or in hospital.
• Everyday the call executives are calling around 20,000 patients to know about their health status and transferring the information to districts for further action.
• Meanwhile, state capital Lucknow witnessed the highest ever increase in the number of new cases in a day.

24. Hospitals empanelled with Ayushman Bharat scheme to get star ratings: NHA

• The hospitals empanelled with the Ayushman Bharat scheme will now get star ratings based on their healthcare quality and services.
• The National Health Authority, NHA has issued guidelines in this regard. More than 23 thousand hospitals across the country are empanelled with Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri - Jan Arogya Yojana.
• Out of which more than 12,828 hospitals are from the public sector and over ten thousand hospitals are from the private sector.
• The rating of the empanelled hospitals has been proposed on six healthcare quality domains.
• These are timeliness, safety, patient centred, effectiveness, efficiency and equitability.
• The star ranking of hospitals will provide guidance to beneficiaries in approaching empanelled hospitals.
• Ayushman Bharat scheme, which is the world's largest health care programme, provides a health cover of five lakh rupees annually to vulnerable families.
• It aims at benefiting more than ten crore poor families all over the country.
• The scheme was launched in September 2018 and more than one crore 19 lakh beneficiaries have availed treatment under the scheme.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

1. UN chief warns of famine risk in 4 countries

• UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that there is a risk of famine and widespread food insecurity in four countries affected by conflict — Congo, Yemen, northeast Nigeria and South Sudan — and the lives of millions of people are in danger.
• The UN chief said the four countries rank “among the largest food crises in the world”, according to the 2020 Global Report on Food Crises and recent food security analyses.

2. Japanese companies relocating from China to India, Bangladesh to get Japan govt's subsidy

• The Japanese government will offer subsidies to its manufacturers if they shift their production out of China to India or Bangladesh.
• The move is said to expand the Japanese government programme aimed at diversifying the supply chain.
• The Japanese government has allocated $221 million (or Rs 1,615 crores) in its 2020 supplemental budget as a subsidy to encourage companies to disperse and shift to India and across the ASEAN region.
• By expanding the scope of the subsidy programme, Japan aims to reduce its dependence on a particular region and build a system for stable supply of medical or electronic equipment even during an emergency.
• The second round of applications began, where the projects that will contribute to the resilience of the ASEAN-Japan supply chain were added to the list, assuming that Japan is looking forward to relocating its supply chain with India and Bangladesh.
• China is Japan’s biggest trading partner under normal circumstances, but imports from China have slumped by almost half in February due to lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus hitting manufacturing and the supply chain.

3. Bangladesh govt extends suspension of jail term of former PM Khaleda Zia for 6 months

• Government of Bangladesh has suspended the jail sentence of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia for six more months on health grounds.
• The decision has been taken so that the 75 year old leader can receive necessary medical treatment.
• Former Prime Minister and leader of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Khaleda Zia was released on March 25 for six months after suspending her sentence for six months on health grounds.
• Before her release in March this year, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia was serving jail sentence since February 2018 after the court sentenced her to five years imprisonment in 2017 in connection with the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
• The High Court enhanced her imprisonment to 10 years in 2018.

4. US President urges Iran not to execute 27-yr-old popular wrestler Navid Afkari

• US President Donald Trump has urged Iran not to execute a popular wrestler who authorities say killed a man during 2018 anti-government rallies.
• Judiciary authorities in Iran say Afkari was sentenced to death for the death of Hassan Torkaman, a water supply company employee in the southern city of Shiraz, following an anti-government protest over economic problems.
• A provincial court in Shiraz sentenced Afkari to death and his brothers Vahid Afkari and Habib Afkari to 54 and 27 years in prison, respectively. All three were construction workers.
• The July verdicts that were reported in August prompted an outcry both in Iran and internationally.

5. Germany joins Indo-Pacific club aimed at securing trade routes from aggressive China

• Germany has joined the Indo-Pacific club. The move is aimed at securing the trade routes from aggressive China. Germany has drafted a 40-page guidelines as it formally adopts a strategy for the Indo-Pacific region.
• The move makes it the second European nation after France to formally adopt a strategy for the Indo-Pacific region.
• The strategy is designed to allow Germany to make an active contribution to shaping the international order in the Indo-Pacific.
• The move by Germany augurs well for the Quad which is constituted by the United States, Japan, Australia, and India.
• German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said, the Indo-Pacific is where the shape of the international rules-based order of tomorrow will be decided. He said Germany wants to help shape that order-so that it is based on rules and international cooperation, not on the law of the strong.

6. US Prez Trump, Joe Biden to commemorate 19th anniversary of Sept 11 attacks in Pennsylvania

• Both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden will commemorate the 19th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in rural Pennsylvania where one of the hijacked planes crashed in a field, the White House and Biden's campaign announced.
• It was not immediately clear whether their visits to the memorial in Shanksville will overlap. But it probably will be the closest that the candidates have been to one another in months.
• The National Park Service, which co-hosts the annual memorial event, is planning an abbreviated ceremony this year to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.
• The agency plans a 20-minute ``Moment of Remembrance" set to begin at 9:45 am, without a keynote speaker or musical guests.
• The name of each passenger and crew member from Flight 93 will be read aloud with the ringing of the Bells of Remembrance," according to the agency's website.
• A White House spokesman, Judd Deere, said the president and first lady Melania Trump would visit the site to honour and remember the lives lost on September 11, 2001.
• Trump is expected to speak, although the White House and Park Service did not immediately reconcile that with the planned commemoration.
• In 2016, Trump and Democratic president nominee Hillary Clinton both spent September 11 in New York and both visited the Ground Zero memorial in lower Manhattan.
• The day ended up being a significant one on the campaign, after Clinton abruptly left the ceremony, complaining she was overheated, and was captured on video struggling to step into a van.
• Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, will attend Sept. 11 memorial ceremonies in New York this year.
• The 2,200-acre Flight 93 National Memorial marks the spot in rural Pennsylvania where the hijacked flight crashed, killing all 40 people on board.
• Three other planes hijacked that day crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon. Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks.
• It's the second time Trump will mark Sept. 11 with a visit to the site. He visited the Pentagon in 2017 and 2019.

7. Bangladesh HC orders Hindu widows entitled to share in all properties of deceased husband

• In a landmark judgement the High Court of Bangladesh has ordered that Hindu widows are entitled to share in all properties of their deceased husband.
• Earlier, the law entitled the Hindu widows only to the homestead property of their husband.
• The single judge bench of Justice Miftah Uddin Choudhury pronounced the judgement confirming a lower court's verdict of 2004 that had ruled that the widow had rights to all the properties of her husband.
• Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad General Secretary Rana Das Gupta hailed the verdict as a landmark judgement and also a safeguard to helpless Hindu widows.
• The inheritance rights of a woman on the property of her husband is guided by the Hindu Women's Rights to Property Act, 1937 which curtailed Hindu women of their property rights.

8. Google partners with Bangladesh for flood forecasting

• Google has partnered with Bangladesh Water Development Board to bring the flood warning services to the country.
• Google currently covers more than 40 million people in Bangladesh and it is working to expand its coverage to the whole of the country.
• More than 65 percent of people who receive advance flood warnings take action to protect themselves and their assets.
• Google is working to launch a new forecasting model to double the lead time so that people have an extra day or so to prepare in case of impending floods. It said the alert is available in Hindi, Bengali and seven other local languages.
• The company is also partnering with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to build to deliver alerts to people who don’t have smart phones to receive the alerts directly.
• The company uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyse historical data to predict flood in the river basins. Google launched its flood forecasting pilot programme in Patna in 2018.

9. WHO issues new treatment guidance, recommending steroids to treat critically ill COVID patients

• An analysis of pooled results from seven studies, led by a group from the World Health Organization, found that steroids reduced the risk of death in the first month by about one-third compared with placebo treatment or usual care alone in these seriously ill patients who needed extra oxygen.
• The findings were published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA. The study concluded that each of the three drugs reduced the risk of death.
• JAMA published that paper and the related studies, along with an editorial describing the research as an important step forward in the treatment of patients with Covid-19.
• Corticosteroids should now be the first-line treatment for critically ill patients.

10. Facebook announces measures to stop its misuse during Myanmar Elections

• Facebook has announced a series on measures intended to stop its misuse during the forthcoming general elections in Myanmar.
• It committed itself to ensure the integrity of Myanmar’s election on its platform. It also announced the formation of a team with members from civil society dedicated to Myanmar.
• Facebook has decided to remove misinformation that could lead to voter suppression or damage the electoral process. Misinformation and rumours would be removed from the Facebook platform
• Facebook said it will deploy Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify hate speech. It claimed that in the second quarter of 2020 it took action against more than 2.8 lakh pieces of hate-speech related content in Myanmar.
• To bring transparency in political advertisement, all such ads in Myanmar will have a ‘paid for by’ tag attached to them to show the organisation or person behind the ad.
• In order to limit the spread of misinformation, Facebook has decided that when a user shares a photo which is more than a year old and violent in content, they will be shown a message to that effect. It will ensure that harmful and misleading information is not shared out of context on Facebook.
• Facebook has introduced a third party fact checking programme since March this year to reduce the spread of misinformation through its platform. In Myanmar, Facebook is working with three fact-checking partners – BOOM, AFP Fact Check and Fact Crescendo.
• The social media platform informed that it is working to find and stop coordinated campaigns aimed at manipulating public debate.
• Myanmar is going to hold its general election on 8 November.
• Facebook has been criticised in the past for allowing its platform to be misused to incite violence against Rohingyas in Myanmar.

11. Bangladesh Announces National Mourning in Honour of Former President Pranab Mukherjee

• The Bangladesh government has announced one-day national mourning in honour of the former president of India Pranab Mukherjee.
• The national flag of People's Republic of Bangladesh will be flown half-mast on September 2 in honour of Pranab Mukherjee
• In her condolence message, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina shared her memories with Pranab Mukherjee and the rapport she shared with him over decades.
• Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina expressed deep sorrow and grief over the death of Pranab Mukherjee, a prominent politician of the country and a true friend of Bangladesh.
• As she mourned the death of Pranab Mukherjee, Sheikh Hasina recalled many memories of him along with the Bangabandhu family.
• Sheikh Hasina also added that in the death of Pranab Mukherjee, India lost a wise and patriotic leader and Bangladesh lost a loved one. She said Pranab Mukherjee will survive as a shining star in the politics of the country.
• Sheikh Hasina also conveyed her deepest condolences to the bereaved family members.


ECONOMY, BUSINESS, DEFENCE, AND BANKING NEWS

1. RBI revises PSL guidelines

• Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has comprehensively reviewed the Priority Sector Lending (PSL) Guidelines to align it with emerging national priorities and bring sharper focus on inclusive development, after having wide ranging discussions with all stakeholders.
• Revised PSL guidelines will enable better credit penetration to credit deficient areas; increase the lending to small and marginal farmers and weaker sections; boost credit to renewable energy, and health infrastructure.
• Bank finance to start-ups (up to Rs 50 crore); loans to farmers for installation of solar power plants for solarisation of grid connected agriculture pumps and loans for setting up Compressed BioGas (CBG) plants have been included as fresh categories eligible for finance under priority sector.
• RBI said that to address regional disparities in the flow of priority sector credit, higher weightage have been assigned to incremental priority sector credit in 'identified districts' where priority sector credit flow is comparatively low. The targets prescribed for "small and marginal farmers" and "weaker sections" are being increased in a phased manner.
• Higher credit limit has been specified for Farmers Producers Organisations (FPOs)/Farmers Producers Companies (FPCs) undertaking farming with assured marketing of their produce at a predetermined price.
• Loan limits for renewable energy have been increased (doubled).For improvement of health infrastructure, credit limit for health infrastructure (including those under 'Ayushman Bharat') has been doubled.

2. India now got world's 2nd largest road network: Nitin Gadkari

• India has now the second largest road network in the world being fuelled by the tremendous growth in construction of expressways and highways.
• Road, Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said this while addressing the 60th annual convention of SIAM through a video conference.
• He informed that the current rate of road building per day has averaged to 30 Kilometre a day, with the highest being 40 Kilometre per day of highways.
• Mr Gadkari expressed confidence over achieving Road safety targets in near future. He said, the automobile industry has progressed a lot in that direction.
• The Minister noted that vehicle manufacturers have implemented regulations crucial to vehicle safety such as crash norms, airbags, seat belt reminder and reverse parking assist.
• These regulations have brought the auto industry in India at par with the global auto industry.

3. Defence Minister meets Chinese counterpart in Moscow amid border tension

• Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe had frank and in-depth discussions about the developments in the India-China border areas as well as on India-China relations.
• The two Ministers met in Moscow on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting.
• The Defence Minister's office said Mr Singh emphasized that the actions of the Chinese troops, including amassing a large number of troops, their aggressive behaviour and attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo, were in violation of the bilateral agreements.
• Mr Singh categorically conveyed India's position on the developments along the Line of Actual Control including in the Galwan valley in the Western Sector of the India-China Border Areas in the last few months.
• The Defence Minister stated clearly that while the Indian troops had always taken a very responsible approach towards border management, at the same time there should also be no doubt about determination to protect India's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
• He said that both sides should take guidance from the consensus of the leaders that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas was essential for the further development of bilateral relations and that the two sides should not allow differences to become disputes.
• Mr Singh advised that it was important that Chinese side should work with the Indian side for complete disengagement at the earliest from all friction areas including Pangong Lake as well as de-escalation in border areas in accordance with the bilateral agreements and protocols. He further said that the current situation should be handled responsibly and that neither side should take any further action that could either complicate the situation or escalate matters in the border areas. Mr Singh also conveyed that the two sides should continue their discussions, including through diplomatic and military channels, to ensure complete disengagement and de-escalation and full restoration of peace and tranquillity along the LAC at the earliest.
• The Defence Ministry said in a statement that the Defence Minister of China said that both sides should scrupulously implement the consensus reached between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Minister suggested that both sides should maintain communication at all levels including between the two Ministers.

4. Shipping Ministry directs all major ports to procure, charter only 'Made in India' tug boats

• The Ministry of Shipping has directed all major ports to procure or charter tug boats which are only made in India. The all procurement being done by major ports would now need to be carried out as per the revised Make in India Order.
• The Ministry of Shipping is aiming to promote Indian shipbuilding industry and also have discussions with some leading countries for Make in India shipbuilding. This decision is being considered a big move towards realizing Make in India in shipbuilding.
• Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that the government is taking 360-degree actions to revive old shipyards and promote shipbuilding in India. It is a step towards bolstering the revival of Indian Ship building and a big move towards Atmanirbhar Shipping in Atmanirbhar Bharat.
• The government will try to create an eco-system for shipbuilding, ship repair, ship recycling and flagging in the country. Atmanirbhar Shipping is going to be the order in the coming times.
• Recently, government-owned Cochin Shipyard Limited has also been successful in grabbing the order for two automated vessels from Norwegian Government.
• These will be the first of its kind unmanned vessels. Various decisions taken by the Ministry of Shipping will turn around the Ship Building sector in the near future.

5. Trial run on new river route connecting Bangladesh with Tripura starts

• The trial run from Daudkandi in Bangladesh to Sonamura in Tripura started as the MV Premier sailed from Daudkandi with 50 metric tonne of cement cargo.
• It is scheduled to arrive in Sonamura in Tripura after covering a distance of 93 kilometers through river Gumti.
• The route will connect Tripura with Bangladesh using the inland waterways for the first time. This is yet another recent connectivity initiative with Bangladesh, which will greatly enhance connectivity between Bangladesh and the North Eastern states of India boosting bilateral trade with Bangladesh.
• The opening of the new route follows the signing of the 2nd addendum to the Protocol for Inland Water Trade & Transit (PIWTT) in May 2020 which opened two new routes.
• The PIWTT was signed between India and Bangladesh in 1972 to connect the two countries through inland waterways. In 2019-2020, approx. 3.5 million MT of cargo was transported between India and Bangladesh on the protocol routes.
• Enhanced connectivity through inland waterways in the present Covid-19 scenario will provide an economical, faster, safer and cleaner mode of transportation for traders and business communities of both countries.

6. Surpassing target, over 3000 kms of NH constructed during April to August this year

• The Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways has surpassed its target for construction of National Highways in the country.
• During April to August this year, three thousand 181 kilometre NH length was constructed against the target of two thousand 771 kilometer for this period.
• The Ministry in a statement said, 3 thousand 300 kilometer length of NH works have been awarded during this year till August, which is more than double of the one thousand 367 kilometer during the same period last year.
• The Ministry said, sanctions were also issued for construction of around three thousand kilometres of National Highways all over the country during this period.

7. Defence Minister meets Russian counterpart

• Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met his Russian counterpart General Sergey Shoigu in Moscow wherein the duo discussed strengthening defence and strategic cooperation between both the two countries.
• Singh reached Moscow on a three-day visit to Russia to attend the combined meeting of Defence Ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
• Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar held a meeting with Dmitry Shugaev, Director, Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation, Russia.

8. Tamil Nadu: Work on mega broad gauge rail doubling project resumes from Virudhunagar

• In Tamil Nadu, work on the mega broad gauge rail doubling project costing 2,168 crore rupees has been resumed from the Virudhunagar end.
• The project is expected to create a quantum jump in rail traffic in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu.
• The work had been stopped for almost five months now, following lock down measures imposed in the country following the Covid 19 pandemic.
• The project involves doubling of railway lines south of Madurai in two phases.
• The first phase consists of a distance of 159 kms from Madurai to the picturesque Vanchi Maniyachi junction.
• The line to the port town of Thuthukudi branches off. The second phase consists of doubling works to a distance of 102 kms from Vanchi Maniyachi to Nagercoil, the southern town close to Kanyakumari and the Kerala border.
• Railway officials in charge of the doubling works have indicated that the work is progressing as per plan and that they expect it to be completed within the time and budget limits. The project was started in 2018 with the aim of completing doubling works within a period of three years.

9. Govt. makes several interventions to ensure timely payments to MSMEs

• The Central Government has made a number of interventions to ensure timely payments to MSMEs.
• Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, as part of AtmaNirbhar Bharat package, had announced that Government entities should make such payments within 45 days.
• MSME Ministry followed up this announcement vigorously and took up the matter with the Central Ministries and Central Public Sector Enterprises and State Governments. Active follow up has been done with the Heads of CPSEs.
• To make the reporting easy, regular and seamless, a dedicated online reporting format has been made for reporting the monthly payments and monthly pendency.
• As reported, more than Rs 6,800 crore have been paid by the Ministries and CPSEs in the last three months alone.

10. Centre announces guidelines for resuming metro operations from 7th September

• Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep S Puri has announced the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) guidelines for metro operations ahead of resumption of metro services from 7th September in a graded manner.
• Metros having more than one line should open different lines from 7th of this month onwards in a graded manner so that all corridors become operational by 12th of September.
• The operations are being resumed in a graded manner. Those metro systems which are more than one line, will open different lines, starting from 7th September in a calibrated manner so that all corridors become operational by 12th September.
• Daily hours of operations may also be staggered initially and these will be increased gradually as we go along with the resumption of full revenue service by 12th September.
• The frequency of trains will also need to be regulated to avoid passenger overcrowding at stations and in trains. In the first stage, Delhi Metro services will operate in two shifts, from 7 to 11 AM and from 4 to 8 PM.
• Normal operations will start from the 12th of this month. Metro Stations and entry-exit gates in containment zones will be closed. In order to ensure social distancing, suitable markings at stations and inside trains must be done.
• Wearing a face mask is mandatory for all passengers and staff. Metro rail corporations may make arrangements for supply of masks on payment basis to the persons arriving without masks.
• Only asymptomatic persons will be allowed to travel after thermal screening at entry into the stations.
• Symptomatic persons will be advised to go to the nearby COVID Care Centre or Hospital for testing and medical attention.
• Sanitizers will be made available at entry points of stations for use by passengers. Sanitization of all areas having human interface is to be done at regular intervals.
• Use of Smart Cards and cashless or online transactions will be encouraged. Tokens and paper slips or tickets must be used with proper sanitization. Metro rail corporations may also resort to skipping of stations to ensure proper social distancing. Passengers are advised to travel with minimum luggage and avoid carrying metallic items for easy and quick scanning. Intake of fresh air in the air-conditioning system must be increased to the extent possible.
• Based on these guidelines, Delhi, Noida, Chennai, Kochi, Bangalore, Mumbai Line-1, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Maha Metro (Nagpur), Kolkata, Gujarat and UP Metro (Lucknow) have prepared their SOPs. Maharashtra government has decided not to resume operation of metro during September. Hence, Mumbai Line-1 and Maha Metro operations shall commence from October or as decided by the State Government.

11. Union Power Minister launches Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM) in electricity through video conferencing

• As a first step towards Greening the Indian short term power Market, Shri R. K. Singh, the Minister of State (IC) Power and New & Renewable Energy & Minister of State (Skill Development and Entrepreneurship), launched pan-India Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM) in electricity through video conference in New Delhi on the 1st September 2020.
• The introduction of GTAM platform would lessen the burden on RE-rich States and incentivize them to develop RE capacity beyond their own RPO. This would promote RE merchant capacity addition and help in achieving RE capacity addition targets of the country.
• GTAM platform will lead to an increase in the number of participants in the renewable energy sector. It will benefit buyers of RE through competitive prices and transparent and flexible procurement. It will also benefit RE sellers by providing access to pan- India market
• The market is first Exclusive product for renewable energy sector in the world

12. Coal India to invest over Rs 1.22 lakh cr on 500 projects by 2023-24

• Coal India Ltd (CIL) will invest over 1.22 lakh crore rupees on development of nearly 500 projects related to coal evacuation, infrastructure, project development, exploration and clean coal technologies in the country.
• The investment aims at making India self-reliant in terms of coal and achieve the production target of 1 billion tonnes by 2023-2024.
• The involvement of all concerned stakeholders in company's affairs will reduce and uncover the project risks.
• The national miner, CIL, will be investing around 14 thousand 200 crore rupees over the next 3 to 4 years, in two phases for its 49 First Mile Connectivity projects. First Mile Connectivity is the transportation of coal from pitheads to dispatch points. Computer-aided loading technology of coal is being developed to replace the existing methodology of transportation via road.
• Coal India has also identified 15 greenfield projects which will be operated under the Mine Developer and Operator (MDO) model. Overall nearly 34 thousand 600 crore rupees will be invested through this route.
• In the meeting, Coal India also announced an array of measures for relaxations and exemptions for greater participation of its stakeholders. The experience criteria has been brought down from 65 percent to 50 per cent for mining tenders, while work experience criteria are relaxed by 50 per cent in turnkey contracts.

13. DGFT comes out with procedure to seek licence for export of N95 masks

• Directorate General of Foreign Trade- DGFT has laid out a procedure to seek licence for export of N95 masks.
• Online applications filed by exporters only from 7th to 9th of this month will be considered for getting licence or permission for shipments of N95 masks.
• This is a part of the procedure and criteria laid out by the DGFT for exporters to file applications to seek licence for shipments of N95 and FFP2 masks.
• Exports of 50 lakh masks per month are permitted. Export of only one crore total units of masks will be allowed for the month of August and September.
• As per the laid down procedure, manufacturer exporters can apply through DGFT's online system only to seek licence.The validity of the export licence will be for three months only.

14. Indian Railways solarises more than 960 stations

• In an attempt to turn into a Green mode of transportation, Indian Railways has solarised over 960 railway stations till date.
• This has been done by the national transporter to achieve the objective of becoming 100 percent self-sustainable for all its power requirements as well as to contribute to national solar power goals.
• According to the Railway Ministry, orders have been placed for a solar rooftop of 198 MW capacity of as many as 550 railway stations on the Indian Railways network, which are under execution.
• Besides, Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways is aiming to produce solar energy for meeting all its energy consumption requirements of more than 33 billion units by the year 2030.
• The current yearly requirement is about 20 billion units, the ministry said.

15. India to receive development assistance loan worth Rs 3,500 Cr from Japan

• Japan said it will extend emergency loan support of upto 50 billion yen towards India's response to the Covid-19 pandemic that includes implementation of health and medical policy.
• This "COVID-19 crisis response emergency support loan" provides the necessary funds for India's fight against coronavirus.
• This financial support will support the implementation of health and medical policy by the Government of India, and will lead to the development of hospitals equipped with ICUs and infection prevention and management facilities.
• It is expected that these measures, in addition to controlling the spread of infection in the country, will also contribute to the recovery and stability of the country's society and economy, as well as to sustainable development.
• The loan will have an interest rate of 0.01 per cent per annum with a redemption period of 15 years, including a four year grace period.
• Moreover, both the countries also exchanged notes on a grant worth 1 billion Yen to India through Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) scheme, namely, "The Economic and Social Development Programme".
• It is expected that this grant aid will lead to reinforcing the fight against infectious diseases including COVID-19, in India, and contribute towards further strengthening cooperation between Japan and India.

16. MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari inaugurates Technology Centre at Bhiwadi in Rajasthan through video conferencing

• Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs, Nitin Gadkari inaugurated Technology Centre at Bhiwadi in Alwar District of Rajasthan through video conferencing.
• The manufacturing sector contributes around 22 to 24 per cent in the GDP of the country. He said, in the wake of Atman Bharat Bharat call of the Prime Minister, the Government is establishing 15 new Technology Centres and upgrading existing 18 Centres to create skilled human resources.
• These Centres will help in increasing production, reducing unemployment and fulfill the dream of a self reliant India.

17. India withdraws from multilateral military exercise in Russia next month

• India is withdrawing from a multilateral war game in Russia, a week after confirming its participation in the exercise that is also expected to be attended by the Chinese and Pakistani troops.
• A defence ministry spokesperson said India has decided not to send its contingent to the exercise in view of the coronavirus pandemic and "consequent difficulties".
• People familiar with the development said China's participation in the exercise was a major factor behind the decision. "India cannot be seen to be participating with China in an exercise when the two armies are involved in a standoff," said sources.
• Last week India had conveyed to Russia that it will participate in the strategic command-post exercise to be held in the Astrakhan region in southern Russia from September 15 to 26.
• It is learnt that the decision was taken following deliberations between the top brass of the military and the ministry of external affairs.
• Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a bitter standoff in several areas along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh for over three-and-half months. Both the countries are holding talks at military and diplomatic levels to resolve the dispute.
• India had earlier planned to send around 150 Indian Army troops, 45 Indian Air Force personnel and a number of Navy officers to the multilateral military exercise.
• Russia has been a major partner of India in the defence sector and the cooperation has been steadily growing further. In June, a tri-services contingent from India participated at the Victory Day Parade at the iconic Red Square in Moscow to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War. A contingent from China had also attended it.
• Both India and China are members of the SCO, an influential regional grouping.
• The SCO, seen as a counterweight to NATO, has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations which accounts for almost 44 per cent of the world population stretching from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea.

18. Finance Ministry asks banks to refund charges collected on electronic transactions after 1st Jan 2020

• The Finance Ministry has asked banks to immediately refund the charges collected after 1st of January this year on transactions carried out using the electronic mode prescribed under the IT act.
• The Ministry also advised banks not to impose charges on any future transaction carried out through the electronic mode.
• Central Board of Direct Taxes, CBDT has issued notification in this regard on 30th December last year.
• If the transactions were carried out through RuPay card, BHIM - UPI, UPI QR Code and BHIM- UPI QR code, no banks or system providers will impose charges.
• A new provision has been made in the Payment and Settlement System, PSS Act, which provides that no bank or system provider will impose any charge on a payer making payment or a beneficiary receiving payment through electronic mode.


PEOPLE IN NEWS

1. Rajiv Kumar takes over as Election Commissioner

• Former bureaucrat Rajiv Kumar assumed charge as the new election commissioner. He takes the place vacated by Ashok Lavasa who joins the Asian Development Bank as vice president.
• Kumar, a retired 1984-batch IAS officer of the Jharkhand cadre, will have a five-year tenure and retire in 2025.
• He will preside over the next Lok Sabha polls in 2024.
• According to rules, an election commissioner has six years on the post or till he turns 65, whichever is earlier. Kumar was born in February, 1960.
• During the span of more than 36 years of service, Kumar has worked in various ministries at the Centre and his state cadre of earlier Bihar and then Jharkhand.
• He retired as the union finance secretary in February this year and was appointed chairperson of the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) on April 29.


SPORTS NEWS

1. Para swimmer Satyendra Singh first Divyang sportsperson of country to get prestigious Adventure Award

• Para-swimmer Satyendra Singh Lohia of Madhya Pradesh is the first Divyanga Indian sportsperson of the country, who has been awarded today with the Tenzing Norgay Adventure Award.
• He is also the first Asian Divyang swimmer to cross the 42-kilometer Catalina Channel in the US in just 11 hours 34 minutes.
• Para-swimmer Satyendra Singh was also conferred with the Best Sportsperson National Award by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on World Divyanga Day. He has also been awarded the highest sports award of Madhya Pradesh as well as many other national and international honours.
• Apart from Mr Lohia, Malkhamb trainer Yogesh Malaviya of MP has been awarded the Dronacharya Award.

2. India, Russia declared joint winners of 2020 Online FIDE Chess Olympiad

• India and Russia were declared joint winners of the 2020 Online Chess Olympiad after the final was marred by internet disconnection and server malfunction.
• Russia were initially declared winners after two Indian players -- Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh -- lost out on time in the final after suffering a disconnection with the server.
• India lodged a protest against the controversial decision which was reviewed.
• This was the first time FIDE, the international chess federation, was holding the Olympiad in an online format, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
• "FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich made a decision to give gold medals of FIDE Online #ChessOlympiad to both teams - India and Russia".


IMPORTANT DAYS

1. International Day of Charity- 5 Sep

• The International Day of Charity was established with the objective of sensitizing and mobilizing people, NGOs, and stakeholders all around the world to to help others through volunteer and philanthropic activities.
• The date of 5 September was chosen in order to commemorate the anniversary of the passing away of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 "for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace."
• Mother Teresa, the renowned nun and missionary, was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910. In 1928 she went to India, where she devoted herself to helping the destitute. In 1948 she became an Indian citizen and founded the order of Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata (Calcutta) in 1950, which became noted for its work among the poor and the dying in that city.
• For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity’s expansion, first in India and then in other countries, including hospices and homes for the poorest and homeless. Mother Teresa’s work has been recognized and acclaimed throughout the world and she has received a number of awards and distinctions, including the Nobel Peace Prize. Mother Teresa died on September 5th 1997, at 87 years of age.