Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 20th October -2020


1)Assam-Mizoram border clashes:

Context: Violent clashes along Assam-Mizoram border have left several persons injured

  • Saturday’s clashes were reported near Vairengte village in Kolasib district of Mizoram and Assam’s Lailapur in Cachar district.
  • The Mizoram government claimed that some miscreants pelted stones at a group.
  • A large number of persons gathered and set fire to about 20 temporary bamboo sheds said to be in Assam’s jurisdiction.
  • Section 144 was imposed and a large number of security personnel were deployed in the area. Several persons were injured.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked Assam and Mizoram to maintain peace and display no aggressive posturing after violent clashes took place at the border between the two States on Saturday night.
  • An emergency Cabinet meet. Cabinet “expressed regret over the unilateral and provocative acts of disturbing public peace and harmony in the border areas at three locations — Thinglun, Saihapui, and Vairengte of Mizoram
  • By the district administrations of Cachar and Karimganj districts and expects that government of Assam will take urgent measures to restore normalcy in these areas.”
  • It also accused Assam of blocking inter-State highways thereby affecting the supply of essential commodities into the State.
  • The two States were asked to provide security to trucks and goods vehicles passing through the inter-State border so that supply of essentials was not blocked in Mizoram.

Reason for clashes:

  • Assam has had a boundary dispute with Mizoram for decades and several rounds of talks have been held since 1994-95 to solve the issue.
  • Till 1972, Mizoram was a part of Assam and acquired full statehood in 1987.
  • The 164.6 km-long border between the States runs along Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts in Assam and Kolasib, Mamit and Aizawl districts in Mizoram.


  • According to an agreement between governments of Assam and Mizoram some years ago, status quo should be maintained in no man’s land in the border area.
  • No man’s land is area between Lailapur and Vairengte
  • However, people from Lailapur broke the status quo and allegedly constructed some temporary huts.
  • People from Mizoram side went and set fire on them.
  • DC of Cachar, told that the contested land belongs to Assam as per state’s records.
  • The boundary between present-day Assam and Mizoram, 165 km long today, dates back to the colonial era, when Mizoram was known as Lushai Hills, a district of Assam.
  • The dispute stems from a notification of 1875 that differentiated Lushai Hills from the plains of Cachar, and another of 1933 that demarcates a boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur.

What does Mizoram say?

  • Mizoram believes the boundary should be demarcated on the basis of the 1875 notification, which is derived from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act, 1873.
  • Mizo leaders have argued in the past argued against the demarcation notified in 1933 because Mizo society was not consulted.
  • Whereas Assam government follows the 1933 demarcation, and that was the point of conflict.
  • The boundary dispute between the two states has been simmering since the formation of Mizoram as a separate state in the 1980s.
  • According to an agreement between governments of Assam and Mizoram some years ago, status quo should be maintained in no-man’s land in the border area.
  • However, clashes have erupted from time to time over the issue.


2) SANT Missile:

Context: India successfully test fired the Stand-Off Anti-Tank Missile named as SANT, It will be inducted in the Indian Air Force.

  • The missile has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
  • The missile was test fired from the Chandipur test range. The SANT missile has the capability of lock-on before launch and lock-on after launch.

SANT Missile

  • The missile is a variant of Nag missile and an upgraded version of the HELINA.
  • HELINA is yet another variant of the NAG missile.
  • The missile was first test fired in November 2018 from Pokhran.
  • This upgraded version comprise of a nose-mounted active radar homing seeker that has an extended range of 15 to 20 km.


3) Ayushman Sahakar Fund:

Context: Union Minister of State for Agriculture Shri Parshottam Rupala today launched AYUSHMAN SAHAKAR, a unique scheme to assist cooperatives play an important role in creation of healthcare infrastructure in the country formulated by the apex autonomous development finance institution under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).

  • NCDC would extend term loans to prospective cooperatives to the tune of Rs.10, 000 Crore in the coming years.
  • He said that the ongoing pandemic has brought into focus the requirement of creation of more facilities.
  • NCDC’s scheme will be a step towards strengthening farmer’s welfare activities by the Central Government.
  • AYUSHMAN SAHAKAR scheme would revolutionize the way healthcare delivery takes place in rural areas.
  • He also gave a call to existing cooperatives take up healthcare services as an activity for farmers.
  • The NCDC fund would give a boost to provision of healthcare services by cooperatives.
  • NCDC’s scheme aligns itself with the focus of the National Health Policy, 2017, covering the health systems in all their dimensions- investments in health, organization of healthcare services, access to technologies, development of human resources, encouragement of medical pluralism, affordable health care to farmers etc.
  • It has a comprehensive approach-hospitals, healthcare, medical education, nursing education, paramedical education, health insurance and holistic health systems such as AYUSH.
  • Ayushman Sahakar scheme fund would also assist cooperative hospitals take up medical / Ayush education.
  • In line with National Digital Heath Mission launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 15th August, 2020, NCDC’s Ayushman Sahakar would bring transformation in rural areas.
  • NCDC assistance will flow either through the State Governments/ UT Administrations or directly to the eligible cooperatives.
  • Subsidy/ grant from other sources can be dovetailed.
  • The scheme also provides working capital and margin money to meet operational requirements.
  • The scheme provides interest subvention of one percent to women majority cooperatives.
  • NCDC was set up under an Act of Parliament in 1963 for promotion and development of cooperatives.


4) Malabar 2020 Naval Exercise:

  • The Malabar series of naval exercises started in 1992 as a bilateral Indian Navy-US Navy exercise.
  • Japan joined the Naval exercise in 2015 is an annual exercise
  • As India Seeks to increase cooperation with other countries in the maritime security domain and in the light of increased defence cooperation with Australia, Malabar 2020 will see the participation of the Australian Navy.
  • The exercise will strengthen the coordination between the Navies of the participating countries.
  • The participants of Exercise Malabar 2020 are engaging to enhance safety and security in the maritime domain.
  • They collectively support free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and remain committed to a rules based international order.


5) Regulatory Sandbox:

  • The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA), with an objective to develop a world class FinTech hub at the IFSC located at GIFT City in Gandhinagar (Gujarat, India), endeavours to encourage the promotion of financial technologies (‘FinTech’) initiatives in financial products and financial services across the spectrum of banking, insurance, securities and fund management.
  • As a step towards attaining this vision, IFSCA has introduced a framework for “Regulatory Sandbox”.
  • Under this Sandbox framework, entities operating in the capital market, banking, insurance and financial services space shall be granted certain facilities and flexibilities to experiment with innovative FinTech solutions in a live environment with a limited set of real customers for a limited time frame.
  • These features shall be fortified with necessary safeguards for investor protection and risk mitigation.
  • The Regulatory Sandbox shall operate within the IFSC located at GIFT City.
  • All entities (regulated as well as unregulated) operating in the capital market, banking, insurance and pension sectors as well as individuals and startups from India and FATF compliant jurisdictions, shall be eligible for participation in the Regulatory Sandbox.
  • IFSCA shall assess the applications and extend suitable regulatory relaxations to commence limited purpose testing in the Sandbox.
  • The details on the eligibility criteria, the application and approval process and other operational aspects of the Sandbox have been provided in the circular.
  • As an additional steps towards creating an innovation-centric ecosystem in the IFSC, IFSCA has proposed the creation of an “Innovation Sandbox”, which will be a testing environment where FinTech firms can test their solutions in isolation from the live market, based on market related data made available by the Market Infrastructure Institutions (MIIs) operating in the IFSC.
  • The Innovation Sandbox will be managed and facilitated by the MIIs operating within the IFSC.


6) Special KCC Saturation Drive for farmers:

As part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Package, the Government has announced to cover 2.5 crore farmers under the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme with a credit boost of Rs. 2 lakh crore through a special saturation drive.

  • As a result of concerted and sustained efforts by the banks and other stakeholders in the direction of providing access to concessional credit by the farmers, including Fishermen and Dairy farmers, a major milestone target of covering more than 1.5 crore farmers under KCC, with sanctioned credit limit of Rs.1.35 lakh crore has been achieved.
  • The KCC Scheme was introduced in the year 1998 with the objectives of providing adequate and timely credit to the farmers for their agricultural operation.
  • The Government of India provides interest subvention of 2% and Prompt Repayment Incentive of 3% to the farmers, thus making the credit available at a very subsidized rate of 4% per annum.
  • Government has taken a major farmer friendly steps by extending the benefits of KCC with interest subvention in 2019 to Animal Husbandry including Dairy and Fisheries farmers for their working capital requirement and raising the existing limit of collateral free agriculture loan from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs.1.60 lakh.
  • While ensuring convenient and cost-effective credit delivery to farmers, the ongoing campaign will also be instrumental in driving the rural economy and further accelerating agricultural production and allied activities, besides enhancing the income level of farmers.
  • This will also go a long way in fulfilling the objective of food security for our country.


5) Y. S. Malik Committee:

Committee to transform IAHE into world class Institute in highway sector

  • 5th General Council meeting of Indian Academy of Highway Engineers (IAHE) was held today though video conferencing under the chairmanship of Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways (
  • Created in 1983, IAHE has been providing training at entry level/refresher courses/ training on specialized areas of highway, bridge & tunnel engineering/ orientation programmes/management development programmes/strategic training programmes etc.
  • To highway engineers and professionals working in Central Government, State Governments, PSUs, Local Bodies, Contractors, Consultants etc.
  • Need was however felt to considerably expand and improve the activities of IAHE to better contribute to highway development programmes.
  • Accordingly, Ministry constituted a committee under the chairmanship Shri Y. S. Malik, former Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) to give recommendations to transform IAHE into a world-class premier institute in highway sector.

The council deliberated the recommendations of the Committee to enhance the scope of the IAHE to three distinct functions, namely

  • Training,
  • Applied Research and Development in the Highways and Public Transport Sector,
  • (Road Safety and Regulation and decided to take further necessary action to transform IAHE into a world-class premier institute in highway sector.


6) Country’s first multi-modal logistic park:

Context: Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari will virtually lay the foundation stone for the first-ever multi-modal logistic park in Assam

  • The park will provide direct connectivity to air, road, rail and waterways to the people.
  • It will be developed under the ambitious Bharatmala Pariyojana of the Government of India.


7) Frontier Technologies Cloud Innovation Centre:

NITI Aayog announced the establishment of first of its kind the Frontier Technologies Cloud Innovation Centre (CIC)

  • This is being developed in order to address societal challenges through digital innovation.
  • For developing the system, NITI Aayog is collaborating with Amazon Web Services (AWS).
  • This also align with the Prime Minister’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat and NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission.

Cloud Innovation Centre (CIC)

  • This CIC is a part of the AWS CIC Global Programme.
  • It provides an opportunity to the government agencies, non-profits and educational institutions in order to come together on pressing challenges, to test new ideas, to apply design thinking, and to access the technology expertise of AWS.
  • The Frontier technologies CIC will enable the budding innovators and start-ups to help in piloting the state-of-the-art, cloud-centric digital innovations by using the emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, robotics and block chain.

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