Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 13th September-2020

 

1) National School of Drama Society:

Context: Mr. Paresh Rawal has been appointed as new Chairman of National School of Drama Society

  • He has won numerous awards, including the prestigious National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1994.
  • In 2014, he was conferred with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India, for his contribution to the entertainment industry.
  • He also served as a former Member of Parliament.

National School of Drama (NSD):

  • Established in 1959, the National School of Drama is an autonomous organization, fully financed by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
  • One of the foremost theatre training institutions in the world, NSD had its inception under the aegis of the Sangeet Natak Akademi and became an independent entity in 1975.
  • There are two performing wings of NSD – the Repertory Company and Theatre-in Education Company (TiE) that started in 1964 and 1989, respectively.
  • Along with NSD, New Delhi four centres have been established at Varanasi, Gangtok, Agartala and Bengaluru under consolidation of outreach programme.

 

2) Afghan peace process:

Context: Afghan government representatives and the Taliban insurgents gathered on 12th September for peace talks aimed at ending two decades war that has killed tens of thousands of combatants and civilians

What is the Afghan peace process?

  • The Afghan peace process comprises the proposals and negotiations in a bid to end the ongoing war in Afghanistan
  • Although sporadic efforts have taken place since the war began in 2001 negotiations and peace Movement intensified in 2018 Amid talks between Taliban, which is main insurgent group fighting against the Afghan Government and American Troops,
  • And the United States of which 20,000 soldiers maintains a presence within the country to support the Afghan government, the Taliban also attacks civilian targets.
  • Most of the talks have taken place in Doha, the capital of Qatar where a Taliban office is based.
  • In Feb 2020 the US signed a conditional peace agreement with the Taliban which calls for withdrawal of foreign troops in 14 months if the Taliban upholds the terms of the agreement
  • On 1st March 2020 however the Afghan government which was not a party to the deal, rejected the US and Taliban’s call for the Prisoner swap by March 10 2020 with, the president Ashraf Ghani stating that such an agreement will require further negotiation and will also not be implemented as a precondition for future peace negotiations
  • Recently the United Nations Secretariat held a meeting of the 6 + 2 + 1 group on regional efforts to support peace in Afghanistan
  • This group includes six neighboring countries: China, Iran, Pakistan, and Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan, two Global players United States, Russia and Afghanistan itself

Ahead of face-to-face negotiations in the coming days the two sides were urged by various countries and groups to reach and immediate ceasefire and forge an agreement that upholds women’s rights

Achieving a significant reduction in violence and how to get a permanent ceasefire would be among the first issues the sides would discuss when they meet

India’s opinion:

  • India is welcoming the move, but it is concerned that Taliban is given an upper hand here, coz Taliban can play an insurgent role as well as help ISI can help Taliban to destabilize Jammu and Kashmir
  • Afghanistan peace process and India’s role
  • The US has described India as a major actor in the region with an important role in ensuring Afghanistan’s peace and development.
  • The US wants India to continue playing a constructive role in bringing peace internally.
  • This would be the first time India has acknowledged that it should be part of the larger peace process inside Afghanistan.
  • India has been hesitating in being part of a peace process which includes the Taliban as well as Pakistan in key roles.

Why is Afghanistan important for India?

  • Afghanistan serves India’s security and economic interests as it will help to counter the Pakistani influence in the region.
  • India needs Afghanistan for accessing the landlocked Central Asian countries that border Afghanistan.
  • Afghanistan is home to resource deposits worth one trillion dollars, according to the US Geological Survey.
  • The pipeline project TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India), which seeks to connect an energy-rich Central to South Asia, will be possible only if there is peace in Afghanistan.

 

3) Logistic pacts of India:

India now has military logistics agreement with all Quad countries Australia, Japan, and the US

  • Significantly improving interoperability
  • The agreement with the UK and Vietnam are under discussion
  • The agreement with Russia the Reciprocal Logistics Support ARLS is expected to be signed
  • In June India-Australia signed the long pending Mutual Logistics Support MLSA elevated their partnership to comprehensive strategic partnership and also announced a joint declaration on a shared vision for Maritime cooperation in the indo-pacific

With US:

  • Beginning with LEMOA the logistics exchange Memorandum of understanding with the US in 2016 and the Navy has been the biggest beneficiary of them
  • After India signed the Foundational agreement Communications compatibility and security agreement COMCASA

 

4) Singapore Convention:

Context: The Singapore Convention on Mediation came into force on 12 September.

  • The convention will provide a more effective way for enforcing mediated settlements of corporate disputes involving businesses in India and other countries that are signatories to the Convention.
  • Convention is a Settlement framework to boost ease of doing business
  • Also known as the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements, Resulting from Mediation,
  • This is also the first UN treaty to be named after Singapore.
  • With the Convention in force, businesses seeking enforcement of a mediated settlement agreement across borders can do so by applying directly to the courts of countries that have signed and ratified the treaty, instead of having to enforce the settlement agreement as a contract in accordance with each country’s domestic process,”
  • The harmonized and simplified enforcement framework under the Convention translates to savings in time and legal costs, which is important for businesses
  • As on September 1, the Convention has 53 signatories, including India, China and the U.S. According to the statement, the Convention, which entered into force on Saturday, would boost India’s ‘ease of doing business’ credentials by enabling swift mediated settlements of corporate disputes.

Cross-border disputes’

  • Businesses in India and around the world will now have greater certainty in resolving cross-border disputes through mediation, as the Convention provides a more effective means for mediated outcomes to be enforced,” it said.

 

5) G – 20 Meeting:

Context: Union Jal Shakti Minister and Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare highlighted Indian Government’s priorities in G-20 Agriculture and Water Ministers’ Meet

A virtual meeting of G-20 Agriculture and Water Ministers was held.

Presidency:

  • 2020 – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • 2021- Italy
  • 2019 – Japan

The Minister stated that technology plays a critical role in the prevailing pandemic situation and applauded India’s IT expertise which India shares with the whole world.

What is the G20?

  • The Group of Twenty, or the G20, is the premier forum for international economic cooperation. The G20 brings together the leaders of both developed and developing countries from every continent.
  • Collectively, G20 members represent around 80% of the world’s economic output. Two-thirds of global population and three-quarters of international trade.
  • Throughout the year, representatives from G20 countries gather to discuss financial and socioeconomic issues.

What is the history of the G20?

  • Originated in 1999 at the level of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, the G20 gathered for high-level discussions on macro-financial issues.
  • In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, the G20 was elevated to include the leaders of member countries.
  • The first G20 Leaders’ Summit took place in Washington D.C. in November 2008.
  • Consequently, the G20 agenda expanded beyond macro-financial issues, to include socio-economic and development issues.
    Theme 2020
  • Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All

 

6) UNICEF’s celebrity advocate in India:

Context: UNICEF (United Nations International Children Education Fund) appointed Ayushmann Khurrana as its celebrity advocate for promoting and supporting its work around ending violence against children.

  • Ayushman Khurrana will spread awareness and bring the child issue in light for public debates.
  • The special focus will be towards ending violence and abuse against the child.
  • It will be a challenging task for the actor to ensure that, every child has a safe and bright future.
  • Before this in past, Sachin Tendulkar in the year 2013 has also advocated the UNICEF in India.

UNICEF

  • UNICEF was created in 1946 as International Children’s Emergency Fund (ICEF) by UN relief Rehabilitation Administration to help children affected by World War II.
  • UNICEF became a permanent part of the United Nations in 1953.
  • It is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential.
  • UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989.
  • Awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1965 for “promotion of brotherhood among the nations”.
  • Headquarters: New York City, US
  • UNICEF has a presence in 191 countries excluding nine countries.
  • It has regional offices in seven countries which includes, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Kenya, Jordan, Nepal, and Senegal.
  • Whose primarily function is to raise funds from the public sector as UNICEF is entirely dependent on voluntary contributions
  • UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989.

Functions include:

  • Child Development and Nutrition;
  • Child Protection;
  • Education;
  • Child Environment;
  • Polio Eradication;
  • Reproductive and Child Health;
  • Children and AIDS;
  • Social Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation;
  • Advocacy and Partnership;
  • Behavior Change Communication;
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response.

 

7) iRAD App:

Context: The 2-days Orientation and Training programme on iRAD App was conducted by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways

  • The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways is in the process of implementing ‘Integrated Road Accident Database Project (iRAD)’
  • Which will be applicable across the country.
  • In the first instance, it has been decided to implement the proposal in six States, viz. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
  • The development and implementation of iRAD has been entrusted to lIT Madras and National Informatics Centre Services Inc.
  • The App when developed and functional, will enable the stakeholders such as the Police, Transport, Health, etc. to use their mobile phones to collect accident data on the spot.
  • This project is proposed on IT based system for capturing the spot accident data using mobile app configured for this purpose.

This data can then be utilized for various purposes like finding the causes of the accidents and remedial measures to improve the road infrastructure, to record the accidents data for the use of police, health services and other concerned departments.

 

8) Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin, source of fuel methane:

Context : Recent study conducted by researchers at the Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India have found that the methane hydrate deposits are located in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin are of biogenic origin.

  • Methane hydrate is formed when hydrogen-bonded water and methane gas come into contact at high pressures and low temperatures in oceans.
  • The ARI team has further identified the methanogens that produced the biogenic methane trapped as methane hydrate, which can be a significant source of energy.
  • This study using molecular and culturing techniques revealed maximum methanogenic diversity in the KG basin, which is one of the prominent reasons to confirm it to be the extreme source of biogenic methane in comparison to the Andaman and Mahanadi basins.
  • The kinetics study based on their model also predicted the rate of biogenic methane generation in KG Basin hydrates to be 0.031 millimoles methane/gTOC/Day, resulting in total deposits of methane around 0.56 to 7.68trillion cubic feet (TCF).
  • The ARI team has documented a predominance of genus Methanosarcina in KG basin, followed by a few other genera Methanoculleus, Methanobacterium.
  • Genus Methanosarcina was found to be more diverse among the obtained genera with four different species M. siciliae, M. barkeri, M. flavescens, and M. mazeias per their findings.

 

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