Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 19th August-2020


1. Swachh Survekshan 2020

  • The fifth edition result to be declared by Prime Minister .
  • Swachh Survekshan 2020 is the World’s largest cleanliness survey.
  • Event is being organized by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India

Objective of Swachh Survekshan:

  • Swachh Survekshan (cleanliness survey), is an annual survey of cleanliness, hygiene and sanitation in cities and towns across India.
    Swachh Survekshan was introduced by the government in 2016 with the objective of generating large scale citizen participation in the cleanliness Mission.
  • Aims to ensure sustainability of initiatives taken towards garbage free and open defecation free cities.


  • Evaluated for each quarter on basis of monthly updation of Swachh Bharat Mission Urban (SBM –U ), with 25% weightage integrated into the final Swachh Survekshan results for this year.


  • Ranks for Swachh – Survekshan 2020 have been assigned based on the population in two categories of cities:
    o 1 lakh and above with sub-categories of
    o 1 – 10 lakh
    o 10 lakhs and above
  • less than 1 lakh (under this category the rankings are given zone and population wise)
  • It includes five zones namely

While Mysuru had won the award for the Cleanest City of India in the first edition of the survey, Indore has retained the top position for three consecutive years (2017, 2018, 2019).

Another feature of the event will be the bringing together and felicitation of MoHUA’s partner organizations in the SBM-U journey, including United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Google, etc.


  • Launched as a part of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which aims to make India clean and free of open defecation by 2 October 2019.
  • First survey undertaken in 2016.
  • Surveys are carried out by QUALITY COUNCIL OF INDIA.



2.Lacunae in the functioning of the committee formed to reform Criminal law

Context :

  • In July ministry of home affairs constituted the committee for reforms in criminal law to undo colonial foundations of our criminal law.

Committee aim:

  • To recommend an overhaul of Indian criminal justice system lawyers, judges, and activists have voiced their concerns about the composition and operations of the committee

Concerns raised:

  • committee’s procedures are designed to disable broad based participation
  • The exclusive way to participate is committee’s website
  • However only 40 % of the population actively uses internet, also internet usage is linked to structural barriers.
  • Women less likely to have internet access and in Kashmir internet services were suspended in August 2020 and yet to be restored fully.

further the committee’s documentation and background resources, including 89 reports of the law commission of INDIA are in English.

  • Most reliable estimates say only 10 %of Indian people speak English and most such persons reside in urban areas.
  • There are no published terms of reference of the committee.
  • There is nothing to explain why an adhoc-commitee is set up for a task of this relevance and not to LCI, which has established procedures to include inclusion and transparency.
  • The committee has not undertaken to publish the representations of weaker sections in a broad manner.

The committee is carrying out consultations from July to October, only 3 months , within 3 months respondents are expected to form and articulate reasoned opinions on almost every conceivable issue of criminal law, procedures and evidences, in constrast with Malimath committee that took 5 times as long as this committee to submit its report.

Malimath committee – examined the fundamental principles of criminal law so as to restore confidence in criminal justice system.



3. Dhanwantari Rath:

  • Aim is to bring Ayurveda at doorsteps of Delhi Police families
  • A MoU was signed between All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) and Delhi Police today for extending the Ayurveda Preventive and Promotive health services in the residential colonies of Delhi Police.
  • Dhanwantari Rath – Mobile unit of Ayurveda health care services would consist a team of Doctors who would be visiting Delhi Police colonies regularly. These Ayurveda Health care services are expected to reduce the incidence/prevalence of various diseases and also reduce the number of referrals to hospitals thereby reducing cost to healthcare system as well as patient.
  • These services are to be provided through a mobile unit named ‘Dhanwantari Rath’
  • AYURAKSHA a joint venture of AIIA, an autonomous Institute under Ministry of AYUSH and Delhi Police aims for maintaining the health of frontline COVID warriors like Delhi police personal through Ayurveda immunity boosting measures.



4. Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge:

Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge- Innovate Solutions for #Aatmanirbhar Bharat” seeks to invite innovators, startups and students to use these microprocessors to develop various technology products.

  • To provide further impetus to the strong ecosystem of Start-up, innovation and research in the country.
  • The “Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge” is part of the series of proactive, preemptive and graded measures taken by Ministry of Electronics and IT.
  • To realize the ambition of self-reliance and a momentous stride towards “Atmanirbhar Bharat
  • To spur the technology led innovation ecosystem in the country and staying at the forefront of digital adoption

IIT Madras and Center for Development of Advance Computing (CDAC) have developed two microprocessors named SHAKTI (32 bit) and VEGA (64 bit) respectively using Open Source Architecture under the aegis of Microprocessor Development Programme of Ministry of Electronics and IT.

  • Registration process begins on 18th August 2020 through MYGOV portal. Opportunity for 100 semi-finalists to win total rs.1.00 cr of award, 25 finalists to win total rs.1.00 crore of award.
  • Top 10 teams entering the finale, will get the seed fund of total rs.2.30 crore and 12 months of incubation period.





In June 2020 Delhi high court heard a petition filed challenging an order of Prime Minister’s Office refusing to disclose information about the establishment and governance of fund under Right to Information Act , 2005

ISSUES Raised:

  • Petition filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, a non-profit organization, stating that PM CARES was constituted to circumvent the National Disaster Response Fund.
  • Bring PM- CARES under RTI and allow audit by CAG.
  • Plea calling on the court to direct the Government to create a new National Disaster Relief Plan to combat COVID 19.
  • New minimum standards of relief for covid 19.

Argument of the court:

  • A three judge bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan said PM-CARES fund is entirely different from NDRF established under disaster management act 2005.
  • There is no occasion to direct the transfer of PM-CARES fund to NDRF as Donors can also contribute to NATIONAL DISASTER RESPONSE FUND as there is no statutory prohibition on individuals to make voluntary contributions to NDRF under section 46 (1)(b) of disaster management act
  • No need for CAG audit, to audit a public charitable trust independent of budgetary support or government money.
  • Court also rejected a related plea calling on the court to direct the Government to create a new National Disaster Relief Plan to combat
  • COVID 19 as the National Plan and guidelines by its very nature is prior to the occurrence of any disaster, it is a measure of preparedness .
  • It is not conceivable that a national plan would be framed after the disaster has occurred.
  • There is no need to lay down new minimum standards of relief for covid 19 as the existing guidelines under section -12 include shelter, food, drinking water, medical cover, sanitation among other things holds good for even covid 19 pandemic .


  • The government has set up the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM-CARES Fund) to deal with any kind of emergency or distress situation like posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Fund is a public charitable trust , voluntarily given with the Prime Minister as its Chairman. Other Members include Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister.
  • The Fund enables micro-donations as a result of which a large number of people will be able to contribute with the smallest of denomination
  • Contribution to PM – CARES Fund will Qualify as CSR Expenditure
  • Contributions by companies towards the PM-CARES Fund will count towards mandatory Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure.

Under the Companies Act, 2013, companies with a minimum net worth of Rs 500 crore or turnover of Rs 1,000 crore, or net profit of Rs 5 crore are required to spend at least 2% of their average profit for the previous three years on CSR activities every year.

The term “Corporate Social Responsibility” in general can be referred to as a corporate initiative to assess and take responsibility for the company’s effects on the environment and impact on social welfare



6. ADB approves 1 billion USD for Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System:

The Asian Development Bank approved 1 billion USD loan to support construction of modern high-speed Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System in India. The system is first of its kind.


  • The system aims to help improve regional connectivity by establishing transit options connecting Delhi and Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. The system is the first of the three priority rail corridors in the integrated transport network of NCR Regional Plan 2020-21.
  • The project is to finance construction of station buildings, railway tracks, maintenance facilities, power supply and traction. Also, it will use advanced and high technology signaling systems that will have multimodal hubs that will ensure smooth interchange with transport modes.

Other funds to the project:

  • The ADB’s Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction will also support various activities. This includes provisions for mobility aids such as wheel chairs for the differently abled, visual and hearing aids, etc.
  • The project will also train women and the differently abled on safe mobility. It will also deliver better urban environment through systematic land use planning, reduced air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions.


  • Delhi accounts to 37% of population of the National Capital Region. Thus, the project will help to decongest the city. It will also provide safe and reliable seamless travel.

Ashok Lavasa:

  • Ashok Lavasa resigned as Election Commissioner. He is to serve as the Vice President of Asian Development Bank from September 2020. He is a 1980 batch IAS officer.

Asian Development Bank:

  • The bank was established in 1966. The headquarters of the bank is located in Manila, Philippines. Mainly for projects such as transport, education, energy, finance, public sector management, agriculture, rural development, health and ICT.



7.INDIA’S Air bubble with neighbours:


  • India plans air bubbles with five neighbours, Pakistan not among them.


  • A travel bubble/bilateral air bubble is travel corridor between two countries that wish to re-open their borders and re-establish connection with each other.
  • Exclusive partnership considered between countries that has either largely eliminated the virus, or trust the testing numbers.
  • Countries of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia were first to create a bubble following free travel within the countries, while restricting outsiders from entering.
  • Air travel arrangements are already in place with USA, UK , France, France , Germany, UAE , QATAR and Maldives.
  • Maldives was first the first neighbouring country with which India has made the ‘Air Bubble’ agreement
  • We are negotiating with 13 more countries to establish such arrangements.

Why need of air bubble:

  • Unlock has begun, to resume international travel, to revive economy.
  • We continue to further strengthen to reach and scope of Vande Bharat Missioin
  • Air bubble seeks to restore commercial passenger services to pre-pandemic levels. Pakistan is not on the list of five countries.



8. National cancer registry programme report 2020:

  • Report by Indian council of medical research (ICMR) and National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR).
  • Report found that in 2020,tobacco related cancers are estimated to contribute to 27.1 % of total cancer burden and highest in North – eastern region of the country.
  • Report estimates cancer cases in the country to be at 15.6 lakhs by 2025.

Index of cancer preparedness:

  • Prepared by economist Intelligent Unit (EIU), created in 1946, is the research and analysis of The Economist Group and the world leader in global business intelligence.
  • Aim – To allow benchmarking of national efforts and identify best practices in addressing cancer challenges.
  • INDIA AND ICP : India ranks 19 in ICP index and 17 in cancer policy and planning.



9. IC-IMPACTS (the India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability) : 

  • It the first, and only, Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence established through the Canadian Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) as a new Centre dedicated to the development of research collaborations between Canada and India.
  • The Department of Biotechnology and Department of Science and Technology are collaborating with Canada through the India-Canada Centre for Innovation Multi-disciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS), on programme focusing on Clean Water technology

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