Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 22nd August-2020


1. Dragonfly festival:

Context: Kerala readies to host its first dragon fly festival, festival named Thumbi mahotsavam will encourage varied participation with Pantalu as its official mascot.

The events are part of national dragonflies festivals being organised by the WWF India, Bombay Natural History Society and the Indian Dragonfly society in Association with the National Biodiversity Board, United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Development Programme and the International Union for conservation of nature likely to be held in January 2021.

Background: The pan-India festival dedicated to dragonflies, aims to create awareness for the conservation of these insects. The Dragonfly Festival started in 2018 to educate and inform the public about the integral role that dragonflies, and their lesser known siblings damselflies, play in our environment. The aim of the festival has always been to create a connection between the common man and these beautiful creatures.

  • In 2018, dragonfly festival was conducted by WWF India and BNHS in Delhi.
  • Dragonfly Festival 2020 will be held in nine different states this year.
  • Dragonfly Festival 2020 will be held in nine different states this year.

About WWF:

  • It is an international non-governmental organization
  • Founded in 1961
  • Headquarter – Gland (Switzerland).
  • Aim : wilderness preservation & the reduction of human impact on the environment
  • It is the world’s largest conservation organization.



2. Steps taken by India during Corona virus pandemic:

Pandemic started few months back and within few months coronavirus has plunged the global economy into its deepest economic contraction since the Great Depression of 1930s.
Trillions of dollars of the economic output has been wiped out, most countries will take years to return to pre-coronavirus levels and billions of people are confronting a shrunken future.

Indian governments steps in pandemic time:
India has avoided this fate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has undertaken series of decisive, calibrated actions like Rapid lock-down, provided abundant relief to protect livelihoods and simultaneously positioning the economy for strong revival through the Atmanirbhar Bharat policy package, the nationwide lock-down has dampened the disease’s exponential growth rate and gave the country time to prepare.

  • During the Lock-down the nation got ready to face the pandemic; every citizen learnt the value of masks, social distancing and hand washing, and hospitals got ready with infrastructure and PPE kits, along with N95 masks.
  • Quarantine centers were established in every block, testing labs were made ready and available.
  • Extra Medical advances and treatment protocols are widely in place and some vaccine candidates are now in the final stages of testing.
  • Thus the national lock-down saved lakhs of lives.
  • Along with life, livelihood has also saved through the bold action, soon after lock-down Prime Minister announced the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana relief package for the needy.
  • Through this program around 80 crore fellow citizens are being provided relief through public distribution system that saved them money and put cash in their pockets.
  • The rural economy which supports 60 to 70% of India’s population and accounts for 46% of GDP is surging.
  • The excellent Rabi harvest has resulted in over rupees 75,000 crore in farmer payments by the government.
  • Almost 10 crore farmers have received rupees 40,000 crore as income support through Pradhanmantri Kisan Samman Nidhi.
  • Over 4 crore houses are benefiting from Mahatma Gandhi Employment Guarantee Act scheme.
  • The Rural economy has received over rupees 2 lakh rupees of cash delivery into beneficiary account from the central government and state government have Run their own relief programs.
  • These massive cash payments have driven rural confidence with consumer goods motorcycle and tractor at or above pre-pandemic levels.

RBI and policy actions:

  • MSMEs and large corporate have also been provided with relief between Reserve Bank of India and the government.
  • Compliance filings and tax payments were extended by several months; borrowers received a loan Moratorium of 6 months.
  • RBI has cut rates by 115 BPS and pumped in more than rupees 9 lakh crore in liquidity in the financial system.
  • Rupees 3 lakh crore have been made available as guarantee and Collateral free loans for MSME Borrowers.
  • The National bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, Industrial Development Bank of India, National Housing Bank, and Non Banking Financial Companies have all been provided refinancing facilities


3. Election Commission of India:

Context: The former finance secretary was appointed as the Election Commissioner. The outgoing Election Commission Ashok Lavasa is to join the Asian Development Bank as its vice president.

Election Commission of India
Article 324 of the Constitution of India mentions provisions to ensure and safeguard functions of Election Commission. They are as follows:

  • An Election Commissioner has been provided with security of tenure. He can be removed from office only on the same grounds as that of judge of Supreme Court. That is, both the houses of the Parliament have to pass a resolution based on proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
  • Though he is appointed by the President, he cannot be removed even by the president.
  • The Constitution has not provided any qualification (education) for the members of Election Commission.

The Part-15 of the Indian constitution establishes election commission and deals with elections. Election Commission had only one election commissioner. However, after Election Commissioner Amendment Act, 1989, multiple election commissioners are being appointed.


4. Agriculture Infrastructure Fund:
Context: Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar holds discussions with Chief Ministers and State Agriculture Ministers on recent agriculture market reforms and implementation of the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.

Agriculture Infrastructure Fund:

  • Rs 1 lakh crore Agriculture Fund (AIF) to be used over the next four years.
  • This fund will be used to build post-harvest storage and processing facilities, largely anchored at the Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), but can also be availed by individual entrepreneurs.
  • The fund will also be used to provide loans, at concessional rates, to FPOs and other entrepreneurs through primary agriculture credit societies (PACs).
  • NABARD will steer this initiative in association with the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • The implication of this for the Central government budget is not going to be more than Rs 5,000 crore over four years in terms of interest subvention subsidy.
  • The fund is a major step towards getting agri-markets right.
  • The Narendra Modi government had earlier issued three ordinances related to the legal framework of agri-markets with a view to bringing about some degree of liberalisation. These ordinances relate to amendments in the Essential Commodities Act, allowing farmers to sell their produce outside the APMC mandis and encouraging farming contracts between farmers, processors, exporters and retailers.
  • Changes in the legal framework are a necessary condition, though not a sufficient one, for getting agri-markets right. Creating post-harvest physical infrastructure is as important as the changes in the legal framework


5. Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Scheme:

Context: Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers has said that the Department of Fertilizers, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has initiated thorough scrutiny of the cost of production / imports in the country for all fertilizers under the Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Scheme.

Background: What is Nutrient Based Subsidy Scheme?
Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Programme for Fertilizers was initiated in the year 2010.

  • Under the scheme, a fixed amount of subsidy decided on an annual basis is provided on each grade of subsidized Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers, except for Urea, based on the nutrient content present in them.
  • The scheme is administered by the Department of Fertilizers under the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers.
  • In a recent development, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal of the Department of Fertilizers for the continuation of the Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) till 2019-20.
  • The continuation of the Nutrient Based Subsidy Scheme will ensure that an adequate quantity of P&K is made available to the farmers at a statutory controlled price.


6. JalJeevan Mission:

JalJeevan Mission – the flagship programme of the Union Government mandates the Gram Panchayats, local communities,to play a key role in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance & mobilize the community for long-term sustainability of water supply systems in villages.

Aim: JalJeevan Mission aims at ensuring potable water supply in adequate quantity (@ the rate of 55 litres per person per day) and of prescribed quality to every rural household of the country on regular and long-term basis. The provision of household tap connection in rural areas will help in removing ‘drudgery’ of women, especially the girls. It will also improve the ‘ease of living’ for people living in rural areas.

This has become an excellent example of decentralized water management through community participation.



7. Harit Path:

Context: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, has developed a mobile App called ‘Harit Path’ to monitor location, growth, species details, maintenance activities, targets and achievements of each of its field units for each and every plant under all plantation projects.

According to an NHAI release, to commemorate 25 years of its service to the nation, it has also recently undertaken ‘Harit Bharat Sankalp’, a nation-wide plantation drive which is in line with its commitment to promote environment protection and sustainability. Under this initiative, NHAI planted over 25 lakh plants in 25 days along the stretches of the National Highways between 21st July to 15th August 2020. The drive takes the total cumulative number of plantations done during the current year to 35.22 lakh.



8. Chandrayaan-2 completes a year around Moon:

Context: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said that the second lunar mission of India Chandrayaan-2 has completed one year around the Moon in the lunar orbit. According to ISRO, all the instruments of Chandrayaan-2 are performing well at present.

Chandrayaan-2 was launched to enhance the knowledge about the moon through a detailed study of its surface chemical composition, topography, thermo-physical characteristics, mineralogy, and atmosphere.

The second lunar mission launched in 2019 . The first lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 was launched by ISRO in October 2008.



9. Madhya Pradesh first state to recruit on basis of CET conducted by NRA:

Madhya Pradesh will become first state to give jobs based on the marks obtained by candidates in the common eligibility test (CET) by National Recruitment Agency (NRA). With this, Madhya Pradesh has become the first state in India to offer jobs depending on marks obtained in CET.

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