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Current Affairs SEPTEMBER 2020 Set 04

Diksha Sharma 15 MINUTES


1. 51st IFFI to be held from 16th to 24th January next year in Goa

• The 51st Edition of the International Film Festival of India, IFFI will be held from 16th to 24th January, next year in Goa.
• Earlier it was scheduled to be held from 20th November to 28th November, this year.
• The postponement follows discussion between Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar and Goa Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant.
• It has also been jointly decided to hold the festival on new dates as per the International Film Festival guidelines and protocols.
• The festival will be conducted in a Virtual and Physical format.
• All COVID related protocols will be strictly enforced as per the festivals convened recently in the International Film Festival circuit.

2. UN, Britain to co-host a global climate summit on Dec 12

• The United Nations and Britain will co-host a global climate summit on December 12, the fifth anniversary of the landmark Paris Agreement.
• UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will co-host the event to rally much greater climate action and ambition.
• National governments will be invited to present more ambitious and high-quality climate plans at the summit, which would involve government leaders, as well as the private sector and civil society.
• The summit is intended to increase momentum ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) to be held in Glasgow in November 2021.

3. International Day of Peace-20 September 2020

Theme: Shaping Peace Together

• Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September.
• The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.
• The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly. Two decades later, in 2001, the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the Day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire.

4. International Day of Sign Languages-23 September 2020

Theme- “Sign Languages are for Everyone!”

• The proposal for the Day came from the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), a federation of 135 national associations of deaf people, representing approximately 70 million deaf people’s human rights worldwide.
• The resolution A/RES/72/161 was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations, co-sponsored by 97 United Nations Member States and adopted by consensus on 19 December 2017.
• The choice of 23 September commemorates the date that the WFD was established in 1951.
• The International Day of Sign Languages was first celebrated in 2018 as part of the International Week of the Deaf.
• The International Week of the Deaf was first celebrated in September 1958 and has since evolved into a global movement of deaf unity and concerted advocacy to raise awareness of the issues deaf people face in their everyday lives.

5. World Maritime Day-24 September

2020 Theme: Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable Planet

• The theme for this year is “Sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet," which provides an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to showcase the work that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and its Member States are undertaking to achieve the targets.
• The theme will provide opportunities for leaders from various sectors, including shipping, to both reflect on the work done and the urgent steps they further plan towards a sustainable future.
• This year’s World Maritime Day was celebrated on 24 September 2020 in the form of an online event, due to social distancing measures caused by the pandemic.

6. International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons-26 September

• The General Assembly commemorates 26 September as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
• This Day provides an occasion for the world community to reaffirm its commitment to global nuclear disarmament as a priority. It provides an opportunity to educate the public - and their leaders - about the real benefits of eliminating such weapons, and the social and economic costs of perpetuating them.
• The General Assembly declared the International Day in December 2013, in its resolution 68/32 as a follow-up to the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament held on 26 September 2013, in New York.
• The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons has been observed annually since 2014.
• In 2020, Fiftieth Anniversary of the entry- into force of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

7. World Tourism Day- 27 September 2020

Theme-“Tourism and Rural Development”

• For the first time in the 40-year history of World Tourism Day, the official celebration was not hosted by a single Member State of the United Nations specialized agency. Instead, nations from the Mercosur bloc (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, with Chile joining with observer status) will serve as joint hosts.
• The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) decided to institute World Tourism Day in a meeting that took place in Spain, commencing the first celebration of the observance in the year 1980.
• This date was chosen to coincide with an important milestone in world tourism: the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the UNWTO Statutes on 27 September 1970.
• Afterwards, during its 70th session in 2015, the United Nations General Assembly designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, in which it encouraged support for sustainable tourism as a means of promoting and accelerating sustainable development, especially poverty eradication.
• Tourism is an essential pillar of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the commitment to our Sustainable Development Goals, especially goals 8, 12, and 14.
• It serves as a first entry point to the world of work, especially for women, youth, migrant workers, and rural populations in developing and least developed countries (LDCs).


1. Varanasi’s Shivangi Singh to be first woman to fly Rafale

• Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh is set to become India’s first woman fighter pilot to fly the Rafale aircraft that was formally inducted into the Indian Air Force on September 10.
• Singh, who hails from Varanasi, is currently being trained to fly IAF’s newest fighter based in Ambala. She is undergoing conversion training to fly the Rafale jet and will soon join the Ambala-based No. 17 squadron, also known as “Golden Arrows.”
• The officer, who is one of IAF’s 10 women fighter pilots, joined the air force in 2017. After joining IAF, she has been flying the MiG-21 Bison aircraft and was till recently serving at a fighter base in Rajasthan.
• Ten women have been commissioned as fighter pilots after the experimental scheme for their induction into IAF’s combat stream was introduced in 2015, a watershed in the air force’s history.
• IAF is operating its Rafale fighter jets in the Ladakh theatre where the military is on its highest state of alert, amid heightened border tensions with China. IAF’s current fleet of five Rafale fighters is fully operational and ready to undertake any mission.

2. Legendary Singer SP Balasubhramaniyam passes away at the age of 74 years

• Multiple National award-winning singer SP Balasubrahmanyam, who had been hospitalized since August 5 after testing positive for the coronavirus, died at MGM Health Care hospital in Chennai at the age of 74.
• SPB was a multi-talented person. He had worked as a singer, actor, music director, dubbing artist and film producer in multiple languages. In his career spanning five decades, he had recorded over 40,000 songs in several languages.
• In his long career, he had won several awards and accolades for his mellifluous voice. In fact, he had won the Guinness World Record for recording the highest number of songs. He had been conferred Nation Award for Best Male Playback Singer six times and had bagged Nandi Awards in Telugu cinema 25 times.
• SPB was also bestowed with Padma Shri Award in 2001 and Padma Bhushan in 2011.

3. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya 104th Birth Anniversary 2020

• The 104th birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya was observed on 25 September, 2020. He was born on 25 September, 1916.
• Union Ministers and other leaders are paying homage to Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya's 104th birth anniversary.
• He was a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) thinker and co-founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the forerunner of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

4. Jaswant Singh, founding member of the BJP and former Union minister, passes away

• Jaswant Singh, former Union minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet who held the crucial portfolios of external affairs, defence and finance, died after a prolonged illness.
• Having joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as one of its early founding members after serving in the Indian Army, Singh had a bitter falling out with his party in 2014 when he was denied a Lok Sabha ticket of his choice from Barmer in Rajasthan. He contested the 2014 general election, which was his last as an independent, but lost.
• Singh -- considered close to Vajpayee and veteran BJP leader LK Advani -- was twice expelled from the party; in 2009, the parliamentary board of the BJP expelled him after his book Jinnah - India, Partition, Independence was published.
• He rejoined the party after 10 months, but faced a second expulsion in 2014 when he defied party orders and challenged the BJP’s decision of not fielding him as a contestant from Barmer.
• Singh -- a four-time member of the Lok Sabha and elected to the Rajya Sabha five times -- was the external affairs minister during the Kandahar hijacking case, and had escorted Mulana Masood Azhar and two other terrorists in lieu for the release of hostages on board Indian Airlines IC-814 that was hijacked on December 24, 1999.
• After India conducted the nuclear tests in 1998, and the US imposed sanctions on India, Singh was the lead negotiator for talks with the then US deputy secretary of state, Strobe Talbott.
• The two-year negotiations paved the way for the visit of the then US President Bill Clinton, considered to be a turning point in India-US relations.


1. US moves to restrict stay of Chinese journalists to 90 days

• The Trump Administration is seeking to restrict the stay of Chinese journalists in the US to just 90 days as against the 240 days general limit to foreign journalists.
• A federal notification issued said there will be provision for extension for a similar duration.
• The proposal of the Department of Homeland Security is part of the fixed time limit on visas of students, researchers and foreign journalists in the US.
• Foreign journalists and their dependents would have to leave the country immediately on expiry of their visa or denial of their extension application.
• Previously, foreign journalists were admitted in the US for the duration of their employment.
• Four Chinese State-run media outlets -- Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International and China Daily- were asked to reduce their total staff of 160 Chinese nationals to 100.
• In June, the US designated four top state-run Chinese media houses as foreign missions, terming them as propaganda outlets controlled by the ruling Communist Party of China.

2. World Bank approves 200 million dollar loan for safe water & sanitation in Bangladesh

• The World Bank (WB) has approved a 200 million dollar loan for Bangladesh to improve access to safe water and sanitation services in the rural areas of the country.
• The Bangladesh Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene project will help 6 lakh people to have access to clean water through piped water schemes in rural areas.
• The project will also provide sanitation services to over 3.6 million rural people in Bangladesh.
• The WB said that the project will help prevent diseases and protect from pandemics like COVID 19 by providing better access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities at homes and in public places.
• World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan Mercy Tembon said that the project will provide clean water and sanitation services that will reduce diarrheal diseases, improve nutrition, health and reduce stunting among children under five.
• The project will also help in setting up more than 2500 handwashing stations in public places with overhead tanks for running water and sanitation facilities. To ensure quality and sustainability of piped water scheme and fecal sludge management, the project will also train local entrepreneurs.
• The 30 year concessional credit has a five year grace period. It comes from the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA). Bangladesh currently has the largest ongoing IDA program totaling over USD 13.5 billion.

3. Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong arrested

• Police in Hong Kong arrested prominent democracy activist Joshua Wong for participating in an unauthorised assembly in October 2019 and violating the city’s anti-mask law.
• He was freed on bail three hours later.
• Wong’s latest arrest adds to several unlawful assembly charges or suspected offences he and other activists are facing related to last year’s pro-democracy protests, which prompted Beijing to impose a sweeping national security law on June 30.
• The anti-mask law was introduced last year in a bid to help police identify protesters they suspected of committing crimes and it is facing a challenge in court. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong government has made face masks mandatory in most circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic.

4. G4 countries call for decisive push for UN Security Council reforms

• Foreign Ministers of the G4 countries - India, Brazil, Japan, and Germany have highlighted the urgency of reforming the United Nations and updating its main decision-making bodies, in order to better reflect contemporary realities.
• They expressed disappointment at attempts to derail this process and committed to addressing the issue in a meaningful way and with increased urgency at this 75th anniversary of the UN.
• External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar, and his counterparts from Brazil, Japan and Germany met virtually during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly yesterday.
• In a Joint Press Statement, the G4 Ministers said, only reforms in the UN Security Council can save it from becoming obsolete. Broader membership of the Security Council will allow it to preserve its credibility and create the political backing needed for the peaceful resolution of today's international crises.
• The G4 Ministers expressed their concern at the lack of any meaningful movement forward in the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform.
• The G4 Ministers reiterated their support for each other's candidatures as aspiring new permanent members in a reformed Security Council. They expressed their determination to seek concrete outcomes during the 75th session of the General Assembly.


1. India extends 15 million dollars grant assistance to Sri Lanka

• The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that India has announced USD 15 million grant assistance to Sri Lanka for the promotion of Buddhist ties between the two countries.
• This grant will help deepen people to people linkage between the two countries in the sphere of Buddhism.
• The MEA official also said that in the current COVID imposed restrictions, the successful conduct of the virtual summit reflects the high degree of commitment at the leaders' level on taking forward the bilateral relations.

2. Senior officials from India, Australia, Japan, United States hold consultations on various issues

• Senior officials from the Ministry of External Affairs of India, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and Department of State of the United States of America held a video conference for consultations on regional and global issues of common interest.
• Following up on the last such official level discussions in November last year, and the Ministerial engagement of September last year, the officials exchanged views on ongoing and proposed practical cooperation in the areas of connectivity and infrastructure development, and security matters, including counter-terrorism, cyber and maritime security, with the objective of promoting peace, security, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
• In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, the officials underscored the importance of enhancing the resilience of supply chains and sharing best practices on how to combat the pandemic.
• The officials reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region based on shared values and principles and respect for international law.
• The officials reiterated their firm support for ASEAN-Centrality and ASEAN-led mechanisms particularly the leaders-led East Asia Summit, in the regional architecture for the Indo-Pacific, and their readiness to work with ASEAN and all other countries towards realizing a common and promising vision for the Indo-Pacific.
• They appreciated the Vietnamese chairmanship of the ASEAN and looked forward to the 15th East Asia Summit in November this year. The officials looked forward to the Ministerial consultations to be held later this year.

3. RRTS trains entirely being manufactured under 'Make in India' policy, says MoHUA Secretary

• Housing and Urban Affairs secretary Durga Shankar Mishra said that high-speed commuter trains Regional Rapid Transit System, RRTS are entirely being manufactured under the government's Make in India policy.
• Unveiling the first look of India's first RRTS train Mr Mishra said that the environment friendly, energy efficient trains will improve the quality of life in and around NCR by accelerating economic growth and creating economic opportunities. He said it will also reduce air pollution, carbon footprint, congestion and accidents.
• The Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS corridor is one of the three prioritised RRTS corridors being implemented in phase-1.
• The 82 km long Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Corridor is the first RRTS corridor being implemented in India. The corridor will bring down the travel time between Delhi to Meerut by around one third.
• The prototype is scheduled to roll off the production line in 2022 and will be put into public use after extensive trials.
• The state-of-the-art RRTS rolling stock will be first of its kind in India with a design speed of 180 kilometre per hour.

4. Income Tax Dept launches Faceless Income tax Appeals

• The Income Tax Department has launched Faceless Income tax Appeals.
• Under it, all income tax appeals will be finalised in a faceless manner with the exception of appeals relating to serious frauds, major tax evasion, sensitive and search matters, International tax and Black Money Act.
• The Faceless Appeals system aims to streamline the income tax collection process and check corruption and unfair practices during the resolution of the appeals of the taxpayers.
• The CBDT said, now there will be no physical interface between the taxpayers or their counsel and the Income Tax Department.
• The taxpayers can make submissions from the comfort of their home and save their time and resources. The Faceless Appeal system will include allocation of cases through Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence under the dynamic jurisdiction with central issuance of notices which would be having Document Identification Number.
• As part of dynamic jurisdiction, the draft appellate order will be prepared in one city and will be reviewed in some other city resulting in an objective, fair and just order. The faceless appeal will provide great convenience to the taxpayers. The new system will also be instrumental in imparting greater efficiency, transparency and accountability in the functioning of the Income Tax Department.
• The CBDT said that as on date there is a pendency of almost four lakh 60 thousand appeals at the level of the Commissioner in the Department. Out of this, about 88 per cent of the total appeals will be handled under the Faceless Appeal mechanism. It said that almost 85 per cent of the present strength of Commissioners (Appeals) shall be utilised for disposing off the cases under the Faceless Appeal mechanism.

5. PM Modi, Japan' Suga agree to further strengthen Indo-Japan relationship

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga for the first time since the latter was elected to the office, the Prime Minister's Office.
• PM Narendra Modi congratulated Yoshihide Suga on his appointment as the Japan prime minister and also wished him success in achieving his goals.
• He and Japan PM Yoshihide Suga also spoke about boosting the ties between the two countries based upon mutual trust and shared values.
• The two leaders agreed that the strategic and global partnership between India and Japan has advanced over the years.
• Yoshihide Suga, a loyal aide to former PM Shinzo Abe, won a landslide victory in a ruling party leadership election on September 14.

6. Ayush Minister lays Foundation stone of Post Harvest Management Centre and E-Launches 21 AYUSH Health & Wellness Centres in J&K

• Shri Shripad Naik Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH and Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for the Prime Minister Office and Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, have laid Foundation Stone for Post Harvest Management Centre for Medicinal Plants at Bhaderwah and inaugurated 21 AYUSH Health & Wellness Centres in Jammu & Kashmir on 25th Sept 2020 through video conferencing.
• The purpose of establishing Post Harvest Management Centre for Medicinal Plants is to develop facilities for drying, sorting, processing, certification, packaging, and safe storage of herbal raw materials produced and collected by local people so that its quality is enhanced to fetch better price and augment the income of farmers associated.
• A holistic wellness model would be created through these centres to reduce the disease burden and out of the pocket expenditure.
• The main focus of AYUSH interventions would be to empower masses for “self-care” on the prevention of diseases through a healthy lifestyle, food, Yoga, and medicinal plants.

7. India-Japan Maritime bilateral exercise ‘JIMEX’ begins in North Arabian Sea

• The fourth edition of India-Japan Maritime bilateral exercise (JIMEX) began in the North Arabian Sea. The exercise is conducted biennially between the Indian Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).
• 'JIMEX' series of exercises commenced in January 2012 with special focus on maritime security cooperation.
• The last edition of JIMEX was conducted in October 2018 off Visakhapatnam coast. JIMEX 20 will be spread over three days and is being conducted in a 'non-contact at-sea-only format', in view of COVID-19 restrictions.

8. Central govt suspends operation of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code by another 3 months

• The Central Government has suspended the operation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) by another three months.
• In exercise of the powers conferred by section 10A of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, the Government has extended the suspension of sections 7,9, 10 of the IBC for a further period of three months.
• Extension of suspension of sections 7,9,10 of the IBC reinforces the Government's commitment to protecting businesses.
• It also gives companies breathing time to recover from financial stress, according to the Finance Ministry.

9. RBI suggests 5-pillared approach to deal with cybersecurity issues in UCBs

• The Reserve Bank came out with a five-pillared strategic approach 'GUARD' to deal with cybersecurity threats being faced by urban cooperative banks (UCBs).
• The number, frequency and impact of cyber incidents and attacks have increased manifold in the recent past, more so in the case of the financial sector, including UCBs, RBI said in its document 'Technology Vision for Cyber Security for Urban Cooperative Banks 2020-2023'.
• It has, therefore, become essential to enhance the security posture of UCBs to prevent, detect, respond to and recover from cyber-attacks, the central bank said.
• The five-pillared strategic approach 'GUARD' comprises Governance Oversight, Utile Technology Investment, Appropriate Regulation and Supervision, Robust Collaboration and Developing necessary IT and cybersecurity skills set.
• The technology vision document, which was formalised after obtaining inputs from various stakeholders, is aimed at enhancing the cybersecurity posture of UCBs against evolving IT and cyber threat environments, the RBI said.
• The 12 specific action points suggested in the document include -- more board oversight over cybersecurity; enabling UCBs to better manage and secure their IT assets; and setting up an offsite supervisory mechanism framework on cybersecurity-related controls.
• "The implementation of the approach outlined in this Technology Vision document will strengthen the cyber resilience of the Urban Co-operative Banks," the RBI said.
• Observing that the cybersecurity landscape will continue to evolve with wider adoption of digital banking channels, necessitating the UCBs to manage the associated risks effectively, the RBI said "active collaboration within UCBs and their stakeholders would be necessary for sharing and coordinating various measures taken on cybersecurity aspects."
• Use of information technology by banks has grown rapidly and is now an important part of the operational strategy of banks.
• In October 2018, the RBI had issued a circular prescribing basic cybersecurity controls for all the UCBs.

10. FM grants permission to raise additional financial resources of Rs. 9,913 crore to five states through Open Market Borrowings

• Union Finance Ministry has granted permission to raise additional financial resources of Rs. 9,913 crore to five states through Open Market Borrowings.
• These States are Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Goa, Karnataka and Tripura.
• The permission has been accorded after these States successfully met the reform condition of implementation of One Nation One Ration Card System.
• This permission allows Karnataka to raise Rs. 4,509 crore whereas Andhra Pradesh can borrow Rs. 2,525 crore.
• Telangana has been permitted to borrow Rs. 2,508 crore while Goa can raise Rs. 223 crore and Tripura Rs. 148 crore.
• In view of the unprecedented pandemic the Central Government had in May allowed an additional borrowing limit of up to 2 percent of Gross State Domestic Product to the States for the current financial year.
• This made an amount of up to Rs. 4,27,302 crore available to the States.

11. India, Sri Lanka hold first bilateral summit since Rajapaksa took office

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa held their first virtual bilateral summit meeting.
• Issues related to the Tamil Community of Sri Lanka, Indian fishermen entering Sri Lankan waters, India-China border tensions and Buddhist ties were among other issues discussed during the meeting.
• Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa "commended" the strong leadership shown by PM Modi in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic based on the vision of mutual support and assistance to the countries of the region.
• India also focused on enhancing cultural ties between the two countries by announcing grant assistance of $15 million for the promotion of Buddhist ties between India and Sri Lanka.
• India will also facilitate the visit of a delegation of Buddhist pilgrims from Sri Lanka in the first inaugural flight to Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh.
• India has been continuously pressing upon Sri Lanka to implement the 13th amendment that would allow reconciliation of the Tamil community of Sri Lanka.
• The two sides also decided to enhance cooperation to combat terrorism and drug trafficking, including in the fields of intelligence, information sharing, de-radicalisation and capacity building.

12. Lok Sabha passes the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020

• The Lok Sabha passed the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020 that looks to reorient the governance model in central ports to landlord model, whereby port infrastructure is leased to private operators.
• The bill aims at decentralizing decision making and to infuse professionalism in governance of major ports. The landlord model of port operation is widely followed globally.
• Of the 204 ports in the country, 12 are major ports, including Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla), Mumbai, JNPT and Cochin.
• The bill is expected to help impart faster and transparent decision making benefiting the stakeholders and better project execution capability.
• The role of Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) has been redefined in the bill. The port authority has now been given powers to fix tariffs which will act as a reference tariff for purposes of bidding for PPP projects. PPP operators will be free to fix tariffs based on market conditions.
• The Board of each major port shall be entitled to create a specific master plan in respect of any development or infrastructure established or proposed to be established within the port limits and such master plan shall be independent of any local or state government regulations of any authority whatsoever.

13. Govt raises limit for use of SDRF funds by states

• States can now use 50 percent of their disaster relief funds to manage Covid-19 as the cap of 35 per cent has been removed, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting with seven chief ministers administering states most affected by the pandemic.
• PM Modi asked states to reassess if lockdowns of one or two days are effective in containing Covid-19 and told them to press on with full strength in opening economic activities while fighting the virus.
• He said "micro containment zones" should be the way forward as it will curb the infection spread and also allow activities to go on.
• He asked states to further enhance their focus on effective testing, tracing, treatment, surveillance and clear messaging to curb the pandemic.
• Noting that most of the Covid-19 patients are asymptomatic, Modi said an effective messaging is all the more important as rumours often get spread and the common man wonders if the testing is wrong.
• The prime minister said it has to be ensured that medicines move unhindered from one state to another and noted that India has also been able to supply medicines across the world during such hard times.

14. Parliament passes Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill

• Parliament passed a Bill that seeks to provide a legal framework for bilateral netting of qualified financial contracts.
• The Lok Sabha had passed the bill earlier.
• The legislation allows for enforcement of netting for qualified financial contracts.
• Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman termed the Bill as critical for financial stability in the country, and said it brings in a firm legal basis for bilateral netting for two counterparties.
• Sitharaman said: "It is just the bilateral contracts which do not have any firm legal basis. Value of bilateral derivative contracts is estimated by the Clearing Corporation of India to be Rs. 56,33,257 crore as of March 2018."
• Bilateral contracts constitute 40 per cent of total financial contracts while multilateral contracts constitute 60 per cent, she added.

15. Railways target to complete 100% electrification of broad gauge routes by 2023

• Railways has planned for 100 percent electrification of its broad gauge routes by 2023. This was stated by the Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
• The Minister informed that around 63 per cent broad gauge lines have already been electrified out of a total 63,631 route kilometers as on 1st of April this year.
• He said, a total of 23,765 route kilometre lines are yet to be electrified in the country.
• In another question, the Railway Minister said, the vacant land of Railways which is not required for its immediate operational needs is utilized in the interim period for commercial development to mobilize additional financial resources.
• He said, station redevelopment is planned by leveraging real estate potential of spareable land and air spaces in and around the station by inviting private participation.

16. Parliament passes Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill

• Parliament passed a bill to amend the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act to make furnishing of Aadhaar numbers by office bearers of NGOs mandatory for registration, with the government asserting that the proposed legislation is aimed at transparency and not against any NGO.
• The legislation was not against any NGO and is an effort to maintain transparency.
• The bill was passed in Lok Sabha and will now be sent to the President for his assent.
• The bill provides for reduction in administrative expenses of any NGO receiving foreign funding, from 50 per cent to 20 per cent of annual funds to ensure spending on their main objectives.
• Among other provisions, the bill proposes to enable the Centre to allow an NGO or association to surrender its FCRA certificate.
• The bill also seeks to bar public servants from receiving funds from abroad.
• This bill was necessary in the context of internal security of the country as there are earlier instances where NGOs did not disclose their foreign funding and also did not furnish proper audit of their expenditure.

17. DRDO conducts second successful flight-test of missile target vehicle Abhyas

• The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Tuesday conducted successful flight-tests of the indigenously-designed Abhyas High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) in Balasore.
• During trials for the interim test range, two demonstrator vehicles were successfully test flown. The vehicle is a drone that will be used as a target for various missile systems, DRDO said. It can also be used as a decoy aircraft, if needed.
• This is the second time that the target vehicle was flight-tested successfully. The first successful test was in May 2019. But during these tests, Abhyas cleared all the parameters that were being evaluated.
• According to DRDO, the test vehicle met “the user requirement of 5 km flying altitude, vehicle speed of 0.5 mach [half the speed of sound], endurance of 30 minutes and 2G turn capability”.
• Designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of DRDO, Abhyas is capable of fully-autonomous flight and runs on a gas turbine engine. Its inertial navigation system is based on micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and it uses a flight control computer for guidance and control, the DRDO said.

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

• The government has launched a direct cargo ferry service to Maldives to strengthen bilateral relations.
• Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of Maldives Ms Aishath Nahula jointly e-launched the service.
• "During its maiden voyage, a vessel with a capacity of 200 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) and 3,000 MT (metric tonne) 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," the Ministry of Shipping said in a statement.
• It is scheduled to reach Kulhudhuffushi on September 26, 2020, and Male on September 29, 2020.
• This ferry service, being operated by 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.
• 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 S Jaishankar during his virtual meeting with the Foreign Minister of Maldives on August 13, 2020.


1. PM Modi addresses 75th session of United Nations General Assembly

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the United Nations General Assembly for the general debate in the 75th session of the General Assembly.
• The theme of the 75th UNGA is “The future we want, the United Nations we need, reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism - confronting the Covid-19 through effective multilateral action’.
• He questioned the role of the UN in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic and also asked for how long will India be kept out of decision making structures of the global body.
• He focused on reforming the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) at the 75th UNGA in New York.
• PM Modi's address at UNGA has come a day after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan tried to play Islamabad's fake propaganda while raising the Kashmir issue. However, Imran Khan got an apt reply from Indian representative who exposed Islamabad blatant lies.

2. Madhya Pradesh CM to launch Mukhyamantri Kisan Kalyan Yojana in Bhopal

• Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan will launch the Mukhyamantri Kisan Kalyan Yojana in Bhopal.
• The scheme has been prepared on the lines of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana. On the occasion, the Chief Minister will also interact with the farmers through video conferencing.
• In the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, farmers are paid 6 thousand rupees in 3 equal installments in a year. Under the Mukhyamantri Kisan Kalyan yojna, the Samman Nidhi of 4 thousand rupees will be given by the state government in 2 equal installments to the beneficiary farmers of PM Kisan samman Nidhi Yojana.
• In this way, every farmer will now get a total of 10 thousand rupees per year as samman nidhi in Madhya Pradesh.
• Meanwhile, the state government transferred Rs 40 crore 52 lakhs to the account of more than 16 thousand meritorious students for purchasing laptops at the rate of Rs 25 thousand per student yesterday. Talented Students Promotion Scheme was started in 2009. Students who scored more than 85 percent marks in the Class XII examination are provided funds to buy laptops. This year, around 40 thousand students are being given more than Rs 101 crore in this scheme.

3. Mandatory tuberculosis tests in West Bengal for recovered COVID patients

• In West Bengal, the State health department has instructed mandatory tuberculosis tests of recovered covid patients after their discharge from hospitals or after testing negative in home isolations.
• This directive has been forwarded to all government and private Covid hospitals and testing laboratories of the state.
• The directive says it is mandatory to test for tuberculosis of the recovered covid patients in between one to three weeks of their recovery.
• In case of covid-19, the immunity of the patients reduces simultaneously, which makes them much more vulnerable for an infection of tuberculosis.

4. Over 4 lakh tele-consultations recorded on eSanjeevani platform: Health Ministry

• The Out Patient Department (OPD) platform of Health Ministry e-Sanjeevani has completed the landmark milestone of four lakh tele-consultations.
• The top performing states include Tamil Nadu with over one lakh 33 thousand sessions and Uttar Pradesh with over one lakh sessions logged in for this purpose.
• e-Sanjeevani OPD is running 196 online OPDs which include 27 general OPDs and 169 speciality and super-speciality OPDs in 24 states.
• Premier institutions like AIIMS, Bathinda, AIIMS, Rishikesh, AIIMS, Bibinagar, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Associated Hospitals, Regional Cancer Centre (Thiruvananthapuram), Cochin Cancer Centre (Ernakulam) are also using e-Sanjeevani platform to provide speciality services to the patients across the states. The Health Ministry said, e-Sanjeevani supports two types of telemedicine services , Doctor-to-Doctor (e-Sanjeevani) and Patient-to-Doctor (e-Sanjeevani OPD) Tele-consultations.
• Nationally, the e-Sanjeevani platform is being used by 26 states and over 12 thousand practitioners of various State Government Health Departments and their services have been sought by people from 510 districts of the country.

5. Telangana govt to resume inter-state, city bus operations in phased manner

• The Telangana state government has decided to resume City Bus operations in a phased manner in Hyderabad.
• The inter-state bus services to Karnataka and Maharashtra also will be resumed. State Transport Minister P Ajay Kumar announced this after a meeting with Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao last evening in Hyderabad.
• Initially, 25 percent of about 3,200 city buses of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TS RTC) will be operated while taking precautions to prevent spread of COVID-19. About 700 city buses of the state-run TS RTC will be hitting the roads today after about 6 months.

6. Maharashtra govt puts cap of Rs 5500 for convalescent plasma therapy treatment

• Maharashtra government has put a cap of 5500 rupees for convalescent plasma therapy treatment.
• The move comes after it has been reported that many hospitals and blood banks are charging hefty sums for the plasma therapy treatment.
• Health Minister Rajesh Tope said Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) or chemiluminescence test is conducted prior to the therapy then hospitals can charge 1,200 and 500 rupees per test respectively.
• State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said it has been observed that private and trusted blood banks are charging exorbitant fees for plasma bags required for plasma therapy. He said an expert committee was constituted by the State Blood Transfusion Council to determine the cost per dose of this plasma. Tope said the committee has fixed the rates of plasma banks keeping in view the cost of collecting plasma as well as service charges for other tests.
• Accordingly, a maximum price of Rs 5,500 has been fixed for a 200 ml plasma bag.

7. UP govt launches unified portal ‘U-Rise’

• U-Rise portal has been launched by the Uttar Pradesh government to help students find jobs.
• The U-RISE or the Unified Reimagined Innovation For Students Empowerment portal will be giving career counselling assistance to students. It is a joint initiative of the Department of Technical Education, Department, Training, Employment and the Skill Development Mission as well as the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University, Lucknow.
• UP is the first state to have launched a portal like this and further added that it would benefit about 20 lakh students getting vocational and technical education.
• The U-Rise portal will include content like online exams, digital content, digital assessment, digital examination papers, internship, and information

8. PM Modi to virtually inaugurate VAIBHAV Summit scheduled to be held on 2nd October

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually inaugurate the Vaishwik Bharatiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) Summit scheduled to be held on 2nd of October this year.
• VAIBHAV summit is a collaborative initiative by Science and Technology and Academic Organisations of the country to enable deliberations on thought process, practices and Research and development culture with a problem solving approach for well defined objectives.
• It aims to bring out the comprehensive roadmap to leverage the expertise and knowledge of global Indian researchers for solving emerging challenges.
• The platform will bring the Indian Overseas and resident academicians and scientists together to evolve a structure of association.
• The aim of the summit is to reflect in-depth on the collaboration and cooperation instruments with academia and scientists in India.
• The inauguration will be followed by month-long deliberation sessions starting from 3rd October to 25th October 2020 among researchers through webinar mode.

9. Madhya Pradesh CM deposits interest-free loan amount of Rs 10,000 each in accounts of rural street vendors

• In Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today deposited an interest-free loan amount of 10 thousand rupees each in the accounts of around 10 thousand rural street vendors at a function organized in Bhopal.
• He also held discussions with rural street vendors through video conferencing.
• Loan distribution programmes for rural street vendors have been also organized in other districts of the state.
• The Mukhyamantri Street Vendor Scheme has been made for the street vendors residing in the villages and towns of Madhya Pradesh on the lines of the Pradhan Mantri Swanidhi Yojana launched for urban street vendors by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
• Under the Mukhyamantri Street Vendor Scheme, working capital of up to 10 thousand rupees will be provided by the bank without any guarantee and interest for small businessmen between 18 and 55 years of age. This loan will have to be repaid within a year.
• On payment of loan on time, interest free loans of up to 20 thousand rupees will be available under the scheme for business next year. Apart from this, the beneficiary will also get an incentive of 1,200 rupees for making digital payment.

10. India aims to end tuberculosis by 2025: Health Minister at UN

• Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that India has accorded high priority for ending tuberculosis by 2025, five years ahead of the Sustainable Development Goals.
• Dr Harsh Vardhan said this while addressing Ministers of Member Nations of WHO, Heads and Representatives of UN Agencies through virtual interaction.
• He spoke on India's role and contribution towards strengthening multisectoral action and progress towards ending TB, especially in context of the COVID-19 crisis.
• The Minister added that Tuberculosis has been in existence since time immemorial and continues to remain a major global public health problem. Despite the progress made over the last decade, TB remains the leading infectious killer disease worldwide. He said, India has taken several critical steps towards ending TB.

11. COVID-19: Govt permits ISO tank containers to carry liquid oxygen

• Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has allowed the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to grant permission to stakeholders for carrying liquid oxygen in tank containers in bulk.
• PESO has also devised a system to receive online applications from the stakeholders to expeditiously grant permission to transport liquid oxygen in ISO tank containers.
• These containers are manufactured as per the International Organisation for Standardisation requirements.
• These are designed to carry liquids in bulk. One tank can carry 20 MT of liquid oxygen.
• Due to the pandemic, an urgent need was felt to transport oxygen in sufficient quantities, at a short notice, from surplus areas to deficit ones.
• Since they can carry a huge amount of oxygen at one go, ISO containers will help translocate sufficient oxygen to areas where required.

12. About 80 lakh farmers of Madhya Pradesh to be benefited by Mukhymantri Kisan Kalyan Yojana

• In Madhya Pradesh, the Mukhymantri Kisan Kalyan Yojana is being implemented in the state on the lines of Pradhanmantri Kisan Samman Nidhi yojna.
• Under this scheme, additional financial assistance of four thousand rupees will be given to the eligible beneficiaries of Pradhanmantri Kisan Samman Nidhi yojna.
• About 80 lakh farmers of Madhya Pradesh will be benefited by the Chief Minister Kisan Kalyan Yojana. Now they will be able to get an annual assistance of 10 thousand rupees.
• Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was addressing the 'Sabko Sakh-Sabka Vikas' program organized under the Garib Kalyan Week at Minto Hall in Bhopal. The Chief Minister deposited an amount of Rs 800 crore in the accounts of cooperative banks and societies along with disbursement of loans and credit cards to farmers.
• Apart from this, farmer friendly schemes will be integrated into the state and implemented as a package. On this occasion, the Chief Minister also provided Kisan Credit Cards to 63 thousand beneficiaries. Along with this, a loan of 122 crore was also given to 35 thousand 532 farmers by cooperative societies.

13. Lok Sabha passes Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020

• The Lok Sabha passed the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020 with voice vote, allowing Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi, apart from the existing Urdu and English, to be official languages in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
• Since 53.26 per cent of people in Jammu and Kashmir speak Kashmiri, there was a need to include it as the official language of the state. 26.64 per cent of the people in the UT speak Dogri, while Urdu, which is currently an official language, is spoken only by 0.16 percent of the population.
• As per the Bill, Kashmiri will be the official language along with four other languages -- Dogri, Hindi, Urdi and English.

14. Parliament passes Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill

• Parliament gave its assent to the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020 with Lok Sabha passing it with voice vote.
• Rajya Sabha had already given its nod to the bill on 19th of this month. 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.
• 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.

15. 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.

16. 2,729 people from 44 countries granted Indian Citizenship since 2017

• A total of two thousand 120 people from Pakistan have been granted Indian Citizenship in the last three and half years. This was stated by Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai in the Rajya Sabha.
• The Minister informed that a total number of two thousand 729 people from 44 countries have been granted Indian Citizenship during the period of 2017 to 17th September of this year. He said, after Pakistan, 188 people from Afghanistan and 99 from Bangladesh have been granted Indian Citizenship.
• Mr. Rai informed that maximum 385 people from Pakistan have got Indian Citizenship in this year till 17th September.

17. 82,575 cases of cyber crimes reported in country between 2014 & 2018

• Cyber crimes are increasing in the country and a total of 82 thousand 575 cases of cyber crimes have been reported in the country during the year 2014 to 2018. This was stated by the Minister of State for Home Affairs G. Kishan Reddy in the Rajya Sabha.
• The Minister informed that a maximum number of 27 thousand 248 cases have been reported in the year 2018 followed by 21 thousand 796 cases in 2017 and 12 thousand 317 cases in the year 2016.
• Mr. Reddy informed that the maximum number of six thousand 280 cases related to Cyber crimes have been reported in Uttar Pradesh followed by 5 thousand 839 cases in Karnataka.