Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 13th October -2020


1) Nobel in economics 2020:

Context: awarded to Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson for improvements to auction theory

  • The Nobel Prize 2020 in Economic Sciences was awarded to Paul R. Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson for improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats.
  • This year’s Laureates, Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson, have studied how auctions work.
  • They have also used their insights to design new auction formats for goods and services that are difficult to sell in a traditional way
  • Their discoveries have benefitted sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world,” it added.
  • Along with enormous prestige, the prize comes with a 10-million krona ($1.1 million) cash award and a gold medal to be handed out at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway, on anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death.
  • In 2019, the award was shared by Indian-American economist Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer.
  • The trio was awarded for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.


2) Govt targets Rs 1 lakh crore spending:

To stimulate growth in the economy, the government on Monday announced a twin set of measures to boost consumption demand and capital expenditure, which along with participation of the private sector, are estimated to result in quick spending of more than Rs 1 lakh crore by March-end.

  • Through the Leave Travel Concession (LTC) voucher scheme, which can be availed by private sector employees as well, and a festival advance for government employees, the Finance Ministry has tried to advance consumption of non-essential, relatively high-value goods and services in the economy.
  • Leveraging a degree of stimulus with minimal fiscal cost to the exchequer.
  • These measures were aimed at advancing consumer spending and capex in a “fiscally prudent way”.
  • Capital expenditure steps are “directly linked to increase in economic output (GDP)


  • Some economists argued that the amounts were too small to have any meaningful impact on economic growth, and that there was no additional spending push from the government itself.
  • These measures would not require any extra borrowing by the central government.
  • Additional Rs 25,000 crore is being provided for capital expenditure on roads, defence infrastructure, water supply, urban development, and domestically produced capital equipment.
  • This is expected to come through re-allocation of resources.
  • Special assistance will be provided to states in the form of interest-free 50-year loans of Rs 12,000 crore, which can be used only for capex purposes, with certain conditions.
  • It (the package) will help a little bit on the demand side, but amounts are very small
  • “This is really not the stimulus that is required. Now we need a much stronger stimulus.

Government’s Answer-

  • Steps were being taken keeping in mind that these must not burden the common citizen with future inflation and must not put government debt on an unsustainable path.
  • Central government employees will be provided tax benefits on LTC component without having to actually travel.
  • The employees would be required to spend three times the LTC fare component to purchase items that attract 12% or more Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • What this effectively means is that if your fare component of LTC is Rs 40,000, you need to spend Rs 1.2 lakh on goods that fall in the 12% or more GST slab in order to save tax on Rs 40,000.
  • As for the leave encashment component of LTC, the employee will have to spend an equivalent amount towards purchase of goods that attract GST of 12% or more.
  • Through the LTC consumption boost plan, the government expects a demand generation of Rs 28,000 crore in the economy.
  • Now these measures aim at promoting consumption of high-value items by those employees whose salaries and jobs have not been affected by Covid-19 pandemic
  • Since most employees have not been able to travel after the start of pandemic, the shifting of the LTC benefit is expected to generate demand elsewhere, although it may impact the travel and tourism industry — where demand has already been severely dented — negatively.
  • Under the festival advance scheme
  • All central government employees will get interest-free advance of Rs 10,000 that will be recovered in 10 instalments.
  • It will be given in the form of a pre-loaded RuPay card of the advance value. The government expects to disburse Rs 4,000 crore under the scheme by March 31.
  • The government is seeking to time this boost to coincide with the upcoming festive period and spur overall consumption while also being spending-lite so as not to put additional burden on the exchequer, in the midst of a notable shortfall in tax and divestment revenues.

Capital expenditure

  • Helps in creation of Physical or financial assets or reduction in financial liabilities

Capital expenditure includes expenditure on the following

  • Acquisition of land
  • Purchasing of building
  • Purchasing of machinery
  • Loans given to the states or other parties
  • Investment in shares


3) International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction:

The United Nations observe the International Day for Disaster Reduction on October 13 annually.

  • This day is also called as the World Calamity Control Day. T
  • The day is observed to spread awareness about how people and communities across the world are reducing their exposure to disasters.
  • Theme: Disaster Risk Governance.
  • In India, Himachal Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority (HPSDMA) would be celebrating the day like every year.
  • HPSDMA would carry forward the 10th edition awareness campaign on disaster risk reduction called ‘Samarth’.


The United Nations had started observing the day in 1989. After that, The United Nations also adopted the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015.

Sendai Framework

Under the framework, seven strategic targets and 38 indicators had been set in order to audit the progress of reducing disaster losses. The year wise seven strategic targets include:

  • 2016- Target 1: To reduce global disaster mortality rate in between 2020-2030 as compared to 2005-15.
  • 2017- Target 2: To reduce number of people getting affected amid the disaster globally.
  • 2018- Target 3: To reduce economic losses.
  • 2019- Target 4: To combat the disruption of basic services.
  • 2020- Target 5: To encourage more countries to adopt the National Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies by 2020.
  • Thus, it aims to increase the number of countries with the risk mitigation strategy.
  • 2021- Target 6: To strengthen the international cooperation by a sustainable and adequate support
  • 2022- Target 7: To boost the availability of multi-hazard warning systems and assessments.

India’s Plan

  • India had framed National Disaster Management Plan on the basis of Sendai Framework.
  • It also constituted the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

National Disaster Management Plan

  • The plan was framed with an aim to make India disaster resilient.
  • It contains an integrated framework to prevent, mitigate, respond and recover from disasters.
  • Guidelines were made for 18 broad activities some of which include- Evacuation of people and animals, early warning systems, Search and rescue of animals and people, medical care, food and essential supplies etc.


4) Pravara Rural Education Society:

Context: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will release the autobiography of Dr. Balasaheb Vikhe Patil and rename Pravara Rural Education Society as ‘Loknete Dr. Balasaheb Vikhe Patil Pravara Rural Education Society’

  • Dr. Balasaheb Vikhe Patil served as Member of Lok Sabha for multiple terms.
  • His autobiography is titled ‘Deh Vechwa Karani’ which means ‘dedicating one’s life for a noble cause’, and is aptly named as he dedicated his entire life to the benefit of society through his path-breaking work in various fields, including agriculture and cooperatives.

Pravara Rural Education Society

  • It was established in 1964 at Loni in Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra with the aim to provide world class education to the rural masses and empower the girl child.
  • The Society is currently serving with the core mission of educational, social, economical, cultural, physical and psychological development of students.


5) Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog:

Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA) has been constituted by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for the conservation, protection and development of cows and their progeny and for giving direction to the cattle development programmes.

  • RKA is high powered permanent body to formulate policy and to provide direction to the implementation of schemes related to cattle so as to give more emphasis on livelihood generation. Livestock economy sustains nearly 73 million households in rural areas.
  • Even though, the country is largest producer of milk, the average milk yield in India is only 50% of the world average.
  • The low productivity is largely due to deterioration in genetic stock, poor nutrition and unscientific management.
  • The trend needs to be reversed and popular perception about cow and cow based agriculture and cow based industry need to be corrected immediately for social and economic rejuvenation of society particularly poor in rural areas.
  • RKA is trying to its best to implement the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’
  • The Cow-centric economy can also help in achieving this goal by making its own humble contribution.
  • For this purpose, RKA has been consistently endeavoring to increase the use of various cow- panchgavya products to raise the income of farmers, gaupalaks, youth, women, self-help groups and other stakeholders.


6) Mobile Water Testing Laboratory Van:

Context: Haryana Government comes up with an innovative solution for Water testing, Launches State of the Art Mobile Water Testing Laboratory Van

  • The supply of clean and safe water is essential for public health therefore, ensuring supply of water along with regular testing is imperative.
  • The Jal Jeevan Mission of the Ministry of Jal Shakti aims to provide tap water connection to every rural home by 2024.
  • The work under this mission is being done on war footing and the mission gives a lot of emphasis on water quality surveillance and monitoring.

Taking cognizance of the pressing need for water testing, Govt. of Haryana has come up with a novel approach by launching a State of the Art Mobile Water Testing Laboratory Van, fully equipped with multi-parameter system containing analyzers/ sensor/ probes/ instruments meant for water testing.

  • Water Quality in State of Haryana is mainly affected by constituents like total dissolved solids (TDS), Fluoride, nitrate, iron and alkalinity.
  • This mobile water testing lab van has been uniquely designed and fully loaded with latest technologies and features.
  • It is GPS enabled for location tracking and the analyzed sample data can be transmitted to a centralized PHED server via GPRS/ 3G connectivity with power backup.
  • It also provides On-site recording and reporting of results through a smart phone or similar device with the ability to send results direct to a web based secure central server.
  • This mobile van also has a fully automated sensor-based analysis controlled by centrally commanded software. The LED display unit in the mobile lab gives an instant display of the results immediately after analysis.
  • Needless to say, this mobile water testing laboratory will be an effective mode of surveillance of drinking water quality in rural areas of the State.
  • The lab is capable of measuring different water quality parameters like pH, alkalinity, TDS, hardness, residual chlorine, zinc, nitrite, Fluoride, turbidity and micro-biological test of water samples.
  • This mobile lab will help in quickly identifying the water quality problem on the spot at site.
  • This new facility will provide access to water-testing facility even at the remotest corner of the State.
  • Further, in the event of outbreak of water-borne disease, these vans can be deployed onsite for effective management and quick access to water test reports.
  • Besides, they can also be used for counter checking of quality of testing from all laboratories.

Jal Jeevan Mission

  • Jal Jeevan Mission is a flagship programme of Union Government and under this program Government of Haryana is fully committed to provide tap water connection to every rural household ensuring sustainable supply of potable water.
  • The mission gives a lot of emphasis on water quality surveillance and monitoring.
  • It mandates that in every village 5 persons especially women to be trained for use of Field Test Kits, so that water can be tested in villages.
  • Public Health Engineering Department/ Rural Water Supply department of States are ensuring supply of safe drinking water to rural homes and monitoring water quality on regular basis by testing in the laboratories.


7) Tech for Tribals Initiative:

Context: TRIFED under Ministry of Tribal Affairs in collaboration with Chhattisgarh MFP Federation and IIT, Kanpur will be launching Tech for Tribals initiative tomorrow.

  • In order to provide advance level training to the Vandhan tribal beneficiaries, TRIFED has collaborated with MSME for providing skill upgrading and entrepreneurial capacity building support to the Van Dhan tribal beneficiaries to establish their sustainable enterprise.
  • The program titled “Tech for Tribals” aims at the holistic development of tribals with a focus on entrepreneurship development, soft skills, IT, and business development through SHGs operating through Van Dhan Kendras (VDVKs).
  • Under this initiative, TRIFED has tied up reputed national institutions such as IIT, Kanpur; Art of Living, Bangalore; TISS, Mumbai; KISS, Bhubaneswar; Vivekananda Kendra, Tamil Nadu and SRIJAN, Rajasthan, for conducting Vandhan-ESDP Training Programs in the States of Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan.
  • Tech for Tribals is a unique program to make tribals of India “Aatmanirbhar”, focussing to bridge the gap between tribal entrepreneurs and urban markets.
  • The beneficiaries will undergo a 30 days program over six weeks comprising 120 sessions. The training will be initially held from 12th Oct. to 7th Nov., 2020, in which Vandhan beneficiaries across all districts of Chhattisgarh State will be trained on various facets of micro-enterprise creation, management and functioning.
  • The training module developed by IIT, Kanpur will be disseminated among beneficiaries in a phased manner through various modes like online lectures and trainings, online activities and gradually move to face to face interactions in class rooms, practical, onsite visits and exposure visits.
  • The training also comprises of exposure through onsite demos on best practices in manufacturing, Total Quality, Hygiene, and standards to be followed in the market.
  • The relevant branding and implementation of best in class packaging solutions are expected to add value to the indigenous Minor Forest Produces and subsequently propagating entrepreneurship among the tribals.
  • The expected outcome shall be successful, aspiring and confident tribal entrepreneurs ready to compete with the best products in the market with feasible business plans.
  • IIT, Kanpur will run the skill development program of tribal youth across Chhattisgarh and Kerala to help them build their enterprise by commercializing the products using MFPs.
  • This program will mainly entail three aspects of development for sustainable entrepreneurship which can be considered as the three pillars – Engagement, Capacity Building, and Market linkages.
  • This will lead to the path of commercialization of the tribal entrepreneurs.


8) Delhi, Male $ 400 mn pact for connectivity:

Following up on India’s announcement of a $500 million package to the Maldives, the Exim Bank of India and the Maldives’s Ministry of Finance on Monday signed an agreement for $400 million in Male.

  • The line of credit (LoC) will fund the Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP)
  • India has also pledged a grant of $ 100 million for the initiative.
  • It is the gateway to a more developed and economically-resilient nation
  • Thank you India for partnering with the Maldives in delivering this project with $100 million of grant and $400 million Line of Credit,”
  • The grant and LoC come in addition to the previous LoC of $800 million, among India’s largest loans extended in the region.
  • Maldivians have often highlighted the disparity between capital Male and the atolls that can be reached only via boat service.
  • The GMCP, a 6.7 km bridge and causeway network connecting Male, with islands Villingili, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi, is the second significant connectivity project in the Indian Ocean archipelago, coming two years after the China backed $200 million Sinamale Bridge, or the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge connecting airport island of Hulhule with the capital, was inaugurated.

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