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Current Affairs SEPTEMBER 2020 Set 03

Diksha Sharma 15 MINUTES

SPORTS NEWS

1. Novak Djokovic wins Men's Singles event in Italian Open

• In tennis, the world number one Novak Djokovic won a record 36th Masters Title in Italian Open on September 21, 2020, by beating Diego Schwartzman in Rome.
• The Serbian tennis player was playing his first tournament since being disqualified from the US Open in September 2020.
• Djokovic won 7-5, 6-3 in the Italian Open final to ensure that he goes into French Open on a high.

2. 13th IPL kick-starts in Abu Dhabi starts from 20 September 2020

• The 13th edition of Indian Premier League kicked off at Abu Dhabi in the United Aarab Emirates.
• The tournament, which has been shifted to the UAE due to COVID-19 pandemic, is a TV only event.
• In all, 60 matches will be held in three avenues- Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai.
• Mahendra Singh Dhoni led Chennai Super Kings beat defending champions Mumbai Indians by five wickets in the opening game of the 13th edition of Indian Premier League in Abu Dhabi.

ECONOMY, BUSINESS & DEFENCE NEWS

1. Direct cargo ferry service between India & Maldives jointly e- launched

• Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of Maldives, Ms Aishath Nahula jointly e- launched a direct cargo ferry service between India and Maldives.
• During its maiden voyage, a vessel with a capacity of 200 TEU and 3000 MT of break bulk cargo will sail from Tuticorin to Kochi, from where it will proceed to Kulhudhuffushi port in North Maldives and then to Male port.
• It is scheduled to reach Kulhudhuffushi and Male on 29th of this month. This ferry service being operated by the Shipping Corporation of India will run twice a month and will provide a cost effective direct and alternate means of transportation of goods between India and Maldives.
• This direct cargo service will further cement the close ties between India and Maldives by enhancing people-to-people contact and boosting bilateral trade.
• Maldivian Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation Ms Aishath Nahula expressed deep appreciation for the launch of the service as reflective of the close ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
• The launch of this service fulfils the commitment made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Maldives in June last year and the announcement made by External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar during his virtual meeting with the Foreign Minister of Maldives on 13th of last month.

2. J&K administration signs MoU with Army to operationalise Kishtwar airstrip

• In Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Territory Administration has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Army for development and operationalization of Airstrip in Kishtwar.
• The Airstrip would provide a vital connectivity to Kishtwar District to benefit both Defence personnel and Civilians, even during the severe winter conditions and for medical and other emergencies, besides giving a fillip to socio-economic development of the region. The issue of operationalizing the airstrip was pending since 2018.
• The project is aimed to benefit around 2.50 lakh people of Kishtwar and hoped that the project would deliver the desired results like increasing per capita earnings in district, owing to higher tourists influx which will facilitate better and quick transport facility through operationalization of airstrip, better health indicator (HDI)-low mortality rates- the speedy and crucial transfer of patient to better equipped Jammu hospital, reduce the time taken to travel from eight hours to less than 30 minutes; better monitoring and administration of the district and Integration of people with the main land.

3. In a first, 2 women officers to operate helicopters from Indian Navy warships

• In the first, two women officers have been selected to join as ‘Observers’ (Airborne Tacticians) in the Indian Navy’s helicopter stream that would ultimately pave the way for women being posted in frontline warships.
• Sub Lieutenant (SLt) Kumudini Tyagi and SLt Riti Singh would, in effect, be the first set of women airborne tacticians in India who would operate from the deck of warships.
• Earlier, entry of women was restricted to the fixed wing aircraft that took off and landed ashore.
• The two are a part of a group of 17 officers of the Navy, including four women officers and three officers of the Indian Coast Guard, who were awarded ‘Wings’ on graduating as ‘Observers’ at a ceremony held today at INS Garuda.

4. India extends 250 million dollars support to Maldives

• India has provided financial assistance of USD 250 million to the Maldives to help it mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian embassy here said on Sunday.
• The grant, provided under the most favourable terms possible, was in response to the request made by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to overcome the difficult economic situation in the Maldives.
• The USD 250 million budgetary support showcases the resilience and reliability of the India-Maldives relationship.
• India's Neighbourhood First policy and the Maldives' India First policy have worked in tandem during the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard the well-being of our peoples.
• India had provided substantial and continued assistance to the Maldives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

5. Railways starts running 40 clone trains with higher speed and fewer stops

• Railways have started running 40 clone trains from today in the wake of the huge demand for travel on specific routes.
• These clone trains -- primarily 3-AC trains with fewer halts, higher speeds and a departure time before the parent train -- come as a boon for the passengers who have to travel in an emergency or have made last-minute plans. Waitlisted passengers on high traffic routes can hope to reach their destinations two-three hours before the corresponding parent train.
• 10 trains will operate between Bihar and Delhi under the East Central Railways. These trains will originate and terminate at Bihar's Saharsa, Rajendra Nagar, Rajgir, Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur.
• The two trains operating under the Northeast Frontier Railway are also from Katihar to Delhi and back.
• The Northern Railway will also run 10 trains which will operate between Delhi and Bihar and back, West Bengal to Delhi, Punjab to West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh to Delhi among others.
• The South Central Railway will operate two trains between Danapur (Bihar) to Secunderabad and back. The South Western Railway will operate 6 trains between Goa and Delhi, Karnataka-Bihar and Karnataka-Delhi.
• The Western Railway will run 10 trains between Bihar (Darbhanga)-Gujarat (Ahmedabad), Delhi-Gujarat, Chhapra to Gujarat, Mumbai-Punjab, and Ahmedabad-Patna.

6. India joins Djibouti Code of Conduct/ Jeddah Amendment as Observer

• India has joined the Djibouti Code of Conduct/ Jeddah Amendment, DCOC/JA, as Observer. The move came following the high level meeting of the Djibouti Code of Conduct/ Jeddah Amendment held virtually on 26th of August.
• DCOC/JA is a grouping on maritime matters comprising 18 member states adjoining the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, the East Coast of Africa and Island countries in the Indian Ocean Region. India has joined Japan, Norway, the UK and the US as Observers to the DCOC/JA.
• The DCOC, established in January 2009, is aimed at repression of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Western Indian Ocean Region, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.
• As an observer at the DCOC/JA, India is looking forward to working together with DCOC/JA member states towards coordinating and contributing to enhanced maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region.

7. Govt allows RT- PCR testing at entry of airport on pilot basis to facilitate transfer of international passengers

• Government has allowed RT- PCR testing at the entry of airports on pilot basis to facilitate the transfer of international passengers.
• According to the guidelines, the airport operator will create a sample collection cum waiting lounge facility for RT-PCR testing.
• The operator will provide options to the passengers to either stay at the waiting lounge awaiting the test results or to proceed to the designated hotel, to isolate themselves till the test results are available.
• Passport of the passenger will be retained by the State authority at the Sample Collection cum Waiting Lounge till the test results are available. If the test result is negative, passengers will be permitted to exit the Waiting Lounge and proceed to the Departures to catch the connecting flight. However, if the result is positive, the passenger will be processed in line with applicable ICMR protocols by the State authorities.

8. Govt bans export of all varieties of onions with immediate effect

• The Union Government banned the export of all varieties of onions with immediate effect. The move is aimed at increasing availability and checking the price of the commodity in the domestic market.
• Directorate General of Foreign Trade said in a notification that the export of all varieties of onions is prohibited with immediate effect.
• The DGFT, under the Commerce Ministry, deals with exports and imports-related issues.
• The provisions under transitional arrangement shall not be applicable under this notification.

9. France-based EDF Group, VJTI, I2EN ink MoU to establish Centre of Excellence in civil nuclear sector in Maharashtra

• France-based EDF Group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute in Mumbai and International Institute of Nuclear Energy (I2EN) to conduct a pre-feasibility study for the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in the civil nuclear sector in Maharashtra.
• I2EN is the umbrella organization of French stakeholders involved in nuclear education and training.
• EDF, which is engaged in the development and construction of the biggest nuclear plant in the world, with six European Pressurised Reactors totalling close to 10,000 MW at Jaitapur, along with state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, is aiming to develop a large pool of diversified skills in India to support the project.

10. Rajya Sabha passes Aircraft (Amendment) Bill 2020

• The Upper House of the Parliament, Rajya Sabha, on Tuesday passed the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill 2020, which was tabled by Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, after an hour-long discussion.
• The Bill had already been cleared by the Lok Sabha in March this year.
• The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill 2020 seeks to convert aviation agencies like the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Bureau of Civil aviation security (BCAS) and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) into statutory bodies.
• Under the new Act (after its implementation), any violation will attract heavy punishment, for example, violators will be punished up to two years in jail or fine up to Rs 10 lakhs or both. Carrying arms, ammunition, and explosives or other banned goods on board, and developing illegal construction around the airports will attract fines up to Rs 10 lakhs to Rs 1 crore.

11. CCEA approves Haryana Orbital Rail Corridor Project from Palwal to Sonipat

• The government approved the construction of the crucial Haryana Orbital Rail Corridor Project from Palwal to Sonipat which will decongest the railway network in the National Capital Region and connect unserved areas of the state.
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) cleared the project to be completed at an estimated cost of Rs 5,617 crore and with a likely completion time of five years.
• This rail line will facilitate diversion of traffic not meant for Delhi, thus decongesting the NCR network and will also help in developing multimodal logistics hubs in Haryana.
• The project runs via Sohna-Manesar-Kharkhauda and will have connectivity with all the existing railway routes originating from Delhi and passing through Haryana as well as with the Dedicated Freight Corridor network.
• This rail line will start from Palwal and end at the existing Harsana Kalan station (on the Delhi-Ambala section). This will also give connectivity en route to existing Patli Station (on Delhi-Rewari line), Sultanpur station (on Garhi Harsaru-Farukhnagar Line) and Asaudha Station (on Delhi Rohtak Line).
• It will be implemented by the Haryana Rail Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (HRIDC), a joint venture of the Ministry of Railways and the Government of Haryana.
• The project will have joint participation of the Railways, the Haryana government and private stakeholders. Once completed, the project will benefit Palwal, Nuh, Gurugram, Jhajjar and Sonipat districts of Haryana.
• It will provide high-speed seamless connectivity of this region to the dedicated freight corridor network resulting in reduction of cost and time of transportation for EXIM traffic from NCR to the ports of India, making exports of goods more competitive, the statement said.
• This efficient transport corridor along with other initiatives will provide infrastructure to attract multinational industries to set up manufacturing units to fulfil the 'Make in India' mission, the statement said.
• The project will connect unserved areas of Haryana, thereby boosting economic and social activities in the state.
• This multipurpose transport project will also facilitate affordable and faster commuter travel, long-distance travel in different directions from Gurugram and the industrial regions of Manesar, Sohna, Farukhnagar, Kharkhauda and Sonipat.

NATIONAL NEWS

1. Parliament passes IIIT Laws (Amendment) Bill 2020

• Parliament has passed the Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill 2020 with Rajya Sabha approving it.
• The Bill amends the Indian Institutes of Information Technology Act, 2014 and the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Public-Private Partnership) Act, 2017.
• The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Public-Private Partnership) Act, 2017 declares certain IIITs established under public-private partnership mode as institutions of national importance. The Bill seeks to declare five IIITs set up under the public private partnership mode in Surat, Bhopal, Bhagalpur, Agartala, and Raichur as institutions of national importance.

2. Parliament passes Essential Commodities Amendment Bill to Remove Stock Limit On Agricultural Produce

• Parliament passed a Bill to remove cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities.
• The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, which was approved by the Lower House on September 15, was approved by a voice vote in Rajya Sabha. The Bill replaces an ordinance promulgated in June.
• The Bill is also aimed at removing fears of private investors of excessive regulatory interference in their business operations.
• The freedom to produce, hold, move, distribute and supply will lead to harnessing economies of scale and attract private sector/foreign direct investment into the agriculture sector, the government had said earlier.
• The amendments to the six-and-half-decade law provides that stock holding limit on commodities will only be imposed under exceptional circumstances like national calamities, famine with a surge in prices.
• Also, processors and value chain participants are exempted from the stock limit.
• The move will boost investment in the agriculture sector and will also create more storage capacities to reduce post harvest loss of crops.
• The changes in the 1955 law is an important step by the government to achieve its target of doubling farmers’ income and also for ease of doing business.

3. National Forensic Sciences University Bill 2020 passed in parliament

• A bill to establish a National Forensic Sciences University by upgrading the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University was passed by LoK Sabha.
• The National Forensic Sciences University Bill was introduced in the House in March during the last session. When it came up for passage, it was passed without a debate.
• The proposed university would facilitate and promote studies and research and help achieve excellence in the field of forensic science in conjunction with applied behavioural science studies, law, criminology and other allied areas.
• The university will grant degrees and other academic distinctions and will be open to all persons irrespective of gender, race, caste, creed, disability, domicile, ethnicity, social or economic background.

4. Parliament passes Rashtriya Raksha University Bill 2020

• Parliament has passed the Rashtriya Raksha University Bill 2020.
• The Bill establishes the Raksha Shakti University, Gujarat as a University called the Rashtriya Raksha University in Gujarat.
• The Bill declares the University to be an institution of national importance. The Bill also repeals the 2009 Act.
The Bill provides for several authorities under the University. These include: (i) the Governing Body, to frame the broad policies and programmes of the University, (ii) the Executive Council, which will be the principal executive body, and (iii) the Academic Council, which will specify the academic policies of the University.

5. J&K LG Manoj Sinha formally launches home delivery of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Pooja Prasad

• In Jammu and Kashmir, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha formally launched home delivery of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Pooja Prasad for devotees who may not be able to visit the Hindu pilgrimage, during the Board meeting at the Raj Bhavan, Jammu.
• AIR Jammu Correspondent reports that to get Prasad delivered home packed in sanitized boxes, a devotee can book the Pooja Prasad through the website of SMVDSB.
• Once the booking is done, the Board ensures that Pooja is performed within 72 hours and Prasad is dispatched through Speed Post.
• So far, around 1500 packets of Pooja Prasad have been dispatched to the devotees across the country through speed post for which the Board has entered into an agreement with the Postal Department.

6. Lok Sabha passes Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill 2020

• The Lok Sabha passed the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
• The Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was introduced in Rajya Sabha on September 14, 2020. The Bill, which is now an Act, amends the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973.
• The Act sets up the Central Council of Homoeopathy which regulates homoeopathic education and practice. The Bill replaced the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 which was promulgated on April 24, 2020.

7. Parliament passes Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020

• Parliament passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020. The bill amends the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 which provides a time bound process for resolving insolvency in companies and also among individuals.
• The legislation seeks to temporarily suspend initiation of the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process, CIRP under the Code. It replaces the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated in June this year.
• The Bill provides that for defaults arising during the six months from 25th of March this year, CIRP can never be initiated by either the company or its creditors.
• The central government may extend this period to one year through notification. Insolvency is a situation where individuals or companies are unable to repay their outstanding debt.
• Replying to the discussion, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that Insolvency and Bankruptcy is the significant part of the business and it is helping the companies and people to resolve the issues without going to NCLT.
• Amendments were brought due to the Covid-19 situation to give the immunity to the business from insolvency proceedings in this critical situation.

8. Parliament passes Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill 2020

• Parliament gave its assent to the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020 with Lok Sabha passing it with voice vote.
• The bill amends the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 to include protections for health care service personnel combating epidemic diseases and expands the powers of the Central Government to prevent the spread of such diseases.
• The bill repeals the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance that was promulgated in April this year.
• The legislation makes harm, injury, hurt or danger to the life of health care service personnel as a cognizable and non-bailable offence. It has provisions of imprisonment from three months to five years and a fine between 50 thousand rupees to two lakh rupees.
• Persons convicted of offences under the bill will also be liable to pay compensation to the health care service personnel whom they have hurt.
• Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, the ordinance was brought in view of the attack on the health care workers and the country felt the need to bring strict legislation to check such incidents in the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
• States have been provided adequate health care equipment to deal with the crisis. He informed that the government is working on the National Public Health Act and 14 states have sent their suggestions in this regard.

9. Govt announces increase in MSPs for six Rabi crops

• The Union Government has announced an increase in the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for all mandated Rabi crops.
• The decision was taken in the meeting of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs held under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
• The MSP of wheat has been increased by 50 rupees and now stands at one thousand 975 rupees per quintal whereas the MSP for Masoor has been hiked by 300 rupees. MSP for Mustard and Chana has been increased by 225 rupees. Increase in Jowar's MSP is by 75 rupees while for Safflower the hike is by 112 rupees per quintal.
• The hike is in consonance with the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission's report reflects the current government's commitment towards Minimum Support Price and procurement of agri products in the country.

10. Tamil Nadu: Nutrition park to be set up in Chandrasekharapuram, Namakkal

• Steps are being taken up to set up a nutrition park in Chandrasekharapuram, Namakkal near Trichy.
• This is part of the National Nutrition Month programme being undertaken in Tamilnadu.
• A project to develop value added products from drumsticks will be set up adjacent to the park.

11. Drug Controller General of India approves commercial launch of COVID-19 test 'FELUDA'

• The Tata Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, CRISPR test, powered by CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) FELUDA has received regulatory approvals from the Drug Controller General of India for commercial launch.
• As per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines, the test has met high quality benchmarks with 96 per cent sensitivity and 98 per cent specificity for detecting the Novel Coronavirus.
• This test uses an indigenously developed, cutting-edge CRISPR technology for detection of the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 virus. CRISPR is a genome editing technology to diagnose diseases.
• The Tata CRISPR test is the world's first diagnostic test to deploy a specially adapted Cas9 protein to successfully detect the virus causing COVID-19. This marks a significant achievement for the Indian scientific community, moving from Research and Development to a high-accuracy, scalable and reliable test in less than 100 days.
• The Tata CRISPR test achieves accuracy levels of traditional RT-PCR tests, with quicker turnaround time, less expensive equipment and better ease of use. Moreover, CRISPR is a futuristic technology that can also be configured for detection of multiple other pathogens in the future.
• The effort is the result of a fruitful collaboration between the scientific community and industry. The Tata Group has worked closely with CSIR-IGIB and ICMR to create a high-quality test that will help the nation ramp up COVID-19 testing quickly and economically, with a Made in India product that is safe, reliable, affordable, and accessible.

12. Lt. Governor announces ₹1,350 crore package for J&K to tide over losses faced in 13 months

• With J&K facing an estimated ₹42,000 crore loss in the past 13 months, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Kumar Sinha announced a relief-and-revival package of ₹1,350 crore to revive the Union Territory’s business sector.
• The ₹1,350-crore economic package is apart from the ₹1,400 crore package announced for J&K under the Aatma Nirbhar Abhiyan, of which ₹6,000 crore is for power sector reforms etc.
• Mr. Sinha, who met over 35 delegations since taking over the office, had constituted a committee headed by Advisor K.K. Sharma. Kashmir's top business body, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) had projected losses of around ₹42,000 crore first due to the August 5 decision last year and thereafter due to the pandemic.
• This is the first effort since August 5, 2019, to infuse stimulus in J&K.
• The main component of the package is 5% interest subvention to all borrowers irrespective of their sizes, which would cost about ₹950 crore. The interest subvention will be available for six months in the current financial year and it will be a huge relief in the current scenario.
• The Lt. Governor also announced a 50% waiver of fixed charges for one year with respect to electricity and water. which would cost ₹105 crore.
• The administration also announced assistance in installing bio-digesters in the houseboats. For around 3,100 artists, who have lost their livelihood during the pandemic, ₹1,000 will be paid per month out of the J&K Relief Fund for a period of nine months from April 1.
• For the agriculture sector, district level bankers committee shall be constituted to ensure loan coverage for agriculture and allied non-farm activities under Mudra loans. Meetings will be organised every month to overcome difficulties faced by the borrowers, an official spokesman said.
• The J&K Bank shall also frame a customised ‘Help Tourism’ scheme for financial assistance to persons associated with the tourism sector.

13. J&K: LG Manoj Sinha launches National Generic Document Registration System

• In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha launched the National Generic Document Registration System (NGDRS).
• NGDRS represents a major shift from the existing manual registration system to online registration of all transactions in sale-purchase and transfer of land.
• Stamp papers have been replaced by e-stamps which have been incorporated in coordination with Stockholding Corporation of India.
• J&K will be the 10th among States and UTs to become part of NGDRS.
• The entire process has been reduced to 15 minutes which earlier would take several days in view of multiple steps involved. Now all 5 steps are under the digital process.

14. PM Modi inaugurates Kosi Rail mega bridge & 12 railway projects in Bihar

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dedicated the historic Kosi Rail Mahasetu (mega bridge) to the nation through video-conference. He also inaugurated 12 rail projects related to passenger facilities to benefit the people of Bihar.
• The 1.9-kilometre long Kosi mega bridge has been completed at a total cost of 516 crore rupees. The bridge connects the Mitihila and Kosi region. With the construction of the bridge the rail distance between Nirmali and Saraigarh would come down from the present 298 kilometres to 22 kilometres. This bridge is of strategic importance along the Indo-Nepal border. It would also make it easy for long distance travel to Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai for the people of the region.
• The Prime Minister stressed that the dedication of this project has fulfilled the 86-year old dream and the long wait of the people of the region.
• During the heavy flood and severe Indo-Nepal earthquake in 1934, the Koshi rail link was washed away and thereafter due to the meandering nature of river Kosi no attempt was made to restore this rail link for a long period.
• The Prime Minister also flagged off a demu train from Supaul Railway Station on Saharsa-Adampur-Kupaha section.
• Among the 12 other projects inaugurated by the Prime Minister are two new railway lines, five electrification projects, one electric locomotive shed and third line project between Barh and Bakhatiarpur.
• The two new railway lines are the Hajipur-Ghoswar-Vaishali section as well as Islampur-Nateshar section and Karnauti- Bakhtiarpur by-pass rail line between Barh-Bakhtiarpur.
• The railway electrification projects include Muzaffarpur- Sitamarhi sections, Katihar-New Jalpaiguri, Samastipur-Khagaria, Bhagalpur- Shivnarayanpur and Samastipur-Jaynagar sections.

15. Union govt approves amendment in Foreign Direct Investment Policy in Defence Sector

• The Union Government has approved the amendment in Foreign Direct Investment Policy in Defence Sector.
• For new licensees, FDI is allowed upto 74 per cent through automatic route and beyond 74 per cent to be permitted through government route.
• For existing licensees, infusion of fresh foreign investment up to 49 percent can be done by making declaration of change or transfer within 30 days.
• This will enhance ease of doing business and contribute to growth of investment, income and employment. Foreign investments in the defence sector shall be subject to scrutiny on grounds of national security.

16. Uttar Pradesh govt decides to give cows to families with malnourished children

• The government has decided to give cows to the families of malnourished children in Uttar Pradesh, as part of 'Poshan Abhiyan' (Nutrition Month) launched for the month of September across the country by the Centre.
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the 'Poshan Abhiyan' campaign last month with an aim to bring down malnutrition levels and make this a people's campaign.
• The UP government, in a novel twist to the same, has decided it will give cattle from its cow shelters in the state to the families which have malnourished children or women as "cow milk will be extremely useful" in removing malnutrition.
• The cows will be given to the families who are willing to keep them and also have available space for them. If the family wishes so, it will also be given an opportunity to choose a cow at the cow shelter. As far as possible, the cow would be handed over to the family in the presence of a public representative.
• The UP government would be carrying out this exercise under the 'Chief Minister Destitute Cow Participation Scheme' launched in the state last year in which willing farmers, dairy farmers or common people can adopt a cow from the existing shelters and take the animal home.
• The scheme had put one lakh cattle in cow shelters up for public adoption and said it will transfer Rs 900 per month to the bank account of such willing people who can take home a cow.
• Each such animal is to be ear-tagged for identity. The one condition was that the person adopting the animal cannot sell or let loose/abandon the animal.

17. Govt sets up expert panel to study reports of China snooping on Indian politicians & leaders

• The central government has set up an expert committee under the National Cyber Security Coordinator to study reports released earlier this week saying that a China-based company is mining data and snooping on hundreds of Indian politicians and leaders, including the Prime Minister, President, Chief Justice of India and other chief ministers.
• The panel will study these reports, evaluate their implications, assess any violations of law and submit its recommendations within 30 days.
• The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has also raised the issue of Zhenhua Data Information Technology Co. allegedly spying on prominent Indians with the Chinese Ambassador.
• China reportedly said that Zhenhua is a private company and has made clear its position publicly.

18. Tamil Nadu govt to continue with two-language formula for education in state

• Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister KP Anbalagan wrote to Union Education Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank about certain facets envisaged in the new National Education Policy (NEP).
• The state had successfully implemented the two-language policy and that the state government had already taken a decision to continue the same in the future.
• NEP 2020 targets a three-language policy but in August, the HRD Ministry or the Ministry of Education put out a tweet stating that the three-language formula will continue to be implemented in schools "with greater flexibility" but that "no language will be imposed on any state".
• NEP 2020 also called for an increased focus on regional languages of India and mother tongue as the medium of instruction for students up to class 5.

19. State-wide programme 'My Family-My Responsibility' to contain spread of Covid-19 begins in Maharashtra

• In Maharashtra, the state-wide programme to contain the spread of Covid-19 began and as per the programme 'My Family-My Responsibility' each and every household in the state will be visited by health teams along with the help of local public representatives.
• The health teams will inquire about the health of members in the family and accordingly classification will be done with regards to the problems they face.
• The line of treatment will also be decided after examining the health condition of an individual.

20. PMGKP Insurance Scheme for health workers fighting COVID-19 extended for another six months

• The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting COVID-19 has been extended for another six months.
• It was announced on 30th March this year for a period of 90 days and it was extended for a further period of 90 days up to 25th September.
• The scheme has now been extended for another 180 days.
• This Central Sector Scheme provides an insurance cover of Rs. 50 lakh to healthcare providers, including community health workers, who may have to be in direct contact and care of COVID-19 patients and therefore at risk of being infected.
• It also includes accidental loss of life on account of contracting COVID-19.

21. Parliament passes 'Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020'

• Parliament has passed the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020 with Rajya Sabha approving it.
• The bill seeks to establish an Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda and declare it an Institute of National importance.
• The bill also has the provision to merge three Ayurveda institutes situated in Jamnagar, Gujarat into one. The institutes are, the Institute of Post-Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurved Mahavidyalaya and the Indian Institute of Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Sciences. The proposed Institute will be situated in the campus of Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar.

22. Agriculture bills passed in Lok Sabha

• The Lok Sabha, through voice vote, passed two legislations -- The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.
• The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, allows the electronic trading of farmers’ produce and the setting up transaction platforms for facilitating direct online buying and selling of farm products.
• The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 provides for a farming agreement prior to the production or rearing of any farm produce.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

1. US bans Chinese apps Tik Tok and WeChat from 20 Sep

• The United States government on Friday ordered a ban on popular Chinese-owned mobile applications TikTok and WeChat from September 20, citing threats to national security.
• For now, the two apps will no longer be available for download in the US.
• The order does not prevent US companies from doing business with TikTok and WeChat outside the borders of the country. US companies like Walmart and Starbucks use WeChat’s embedded programmes to facilitate transactions and engage consumers in China. The order will also not prohibit Apple, Google or others from offering TikTok or WeChat apps anywhere outside the United States.

2. India beats China to become member of UN's Commission on Status of Women

• India has been elected as the member of the Commission on Status of Women (CSW), a body of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
• India will be a member of the prestigious body for four years from 2021 to 2025.
• India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations T S Tirumurti said, it is a ringing endorsement of India's commitment to promote gender equality and women's empowerment in all the endeavours.
• India, Afghanistan and China had contested the elections to the Commission on Status of Women. While India and Afghanistan won the ballot among the 54 members, China failed to cross the half-way mark.
• The CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
• A functional commission of the ECOSOC, it was established by ECOSOC resolution 11(II) of 21 June 1946.
• It promotes women's rights, highlights the reality of women's lives throughout the world and helps in shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
• 45 member states of the United Nations serve as members of the Commission at any one time.

3. Bangladesh gives special permission for export of Hilsa fish to India

• The Commerce Ministry has allowed nine exporters to send a total of approximately 1500 tonnes of Hilsa to India. The export will be allowed till October 10.
• Bangladesh imposed a ban on the export of Hilsa in 2012. However, as a special measure, last year also export of 500 tonnes of Hilsa to India was permitted by the government around the time of Durga Puja.
• Hilsa or 'Ilish' is considered a delicacy in Bangladesh and West Bengal. Bangladesh has a shore of close to 75 percent in the production of Hilsa fish in the world.

PEOPLE IN NEWS & OBITUARIES

1. Yoshihide Suga formally elected as Japan's new PM

• Japan's Parliament elected Yoshihide Suga as prime minister replacing long-serving leader Shinzo Abe with his right-hand man.
• Suga was chief Cabinet secretary in Abe’s government.
• Suga has been a loyal supporter of Abe since Abe’s first stint as prime minister from 2006 to 2007. Abe’s tenure ended abruptly because of illness, and Suga helped him return as prime minister in 2012.
• Abe, 65, has ulcerative colitis and his current treatment requires IV injections.

2. Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigns in protest

• Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the Shiromani Akali Dal's (SAD) lone minister in the Narendra Modi government resigned to protest the three agriculture bills that were later passed by voice vote in the Lok Sabha.
• She has submitted her resignation to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

3. Tamil Nadu: Prominent Ayurveda physician PR Krishnakumar passes away

• In Tamil Nadu, prominent Ayurveda physician and Managing Director of the iconic Coimbatore Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, PR Krishnakumar passed away in Coimbatore at the age of 69 years.
• He had been under treatment for various ailments at a private hospital in Coimbatore for the past one week.
• Krishnakumar, who had done yeomen service for the popularisation of the Ayurvedic system of medicine, had been conferred the Padma Shri award in 2009.
• He had also been the recipient of the National Ayurveda Award instituted by the Government of India.
• Besides being the founder of AVP Research Foundation, Krishnakumar was also the Chancellor of the renowned Avinashilingam University in Coimbatore.
• Krishnakumar hailed from a Kerala Warrier family of hereditary ayurvedic physicians. His father Dr PV Rama Warier had founded the Coimbatore Arya Vaidya Pharmacy.
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the demise of prominent Ayurveda physician PR Krishnakumar.

4. Renowned scholar of Indian classical dance Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan passes away

• Leading scholar of Indian classical dance, art, architecture and art history, Dr Kapila Vatsyayan passed away.
• She was a former Member of Parliament and also served as Secretary to the Government in the Ministry of Education, where she was responsible for the establishment of a large number of national institutions of higher education.
• Dr Vatsyayan served as the founding Director of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.
• She was former President of India International Centre (IIC) and an IIC Life Trustee and the Chairperson of the IIC International Research Division.