January this week ( Current GK)
- The nation paid homage to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his 123rd birth anniversary on 23 January. It was on this day in 1897. Netaji was born in Cuttack, Odisha. A number of functions were organized across the country to mark the occasion. President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid rich tributes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
- Union Cabinet has approved revised cost estimates for establishment of permanent campuses of new National Institutes of Technology, NITs, at a total cost of 4371.90 crore rupees for the period till 2021-2022. NITs were established in the year 2009 and started functioning from academic year 2010-2011 in their temporary campus with very limited space and infrastructure. These NITs will be fully functional from their permanent campuses by 31st March, 2022.
- In a path breaking ruling, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said, the time has come when Parliament should have a rethink on whether disqualification petitions ought to be entrusted to a Speaker as a quasi-judicial authority when such Speaker continues to belong to a particular political party either de jure or de facto. The Apex Court said, Parliament may seriously consider amending the Constitution to substitute Speaker or Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies as arbiter of disqualification issues with a Permanent Tribunal headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court or some other mechanism to ensure swift and impartial decisions.
- President Ram Nath Kovind presented the Pradhan Mantri Rashrtiya Bal Puraskar, 2020 to 49 children at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 22 January. The Bal Puraskar is given by government every year to recognize exceptional achievements of children in various fields. These fields are innovation, scholastic achievements, social service, arts and culture, sports and bravery. Twenty-two children who were selected for National Bravery Awards also received the awards from the President on the same occasion.
- The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has assigned a new motor vehicle Registration Mark “DD” to ‘Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu’ for registration of vehicles. A new Union Territory has been formed after merger of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu. The ministry has issued a Notification No. S.O. 295(E) dated 22nd January, 2020 to this effect, under the Motor Vehicle Act 1988. This will be implemented from 26th January, 2020.
- Defence Acquisition Council, DAC has approved procurement of equipment worth over five thousand crore rupees from local sources to promote indigenization. They include sophisticated Electronic Warfare Systems for the Army designed by Defence Research and Develop Organization, DRDO and manufactured locally by the Indian industry. These systems will be used in deserts and plains and will provide comprehensive Electronic Support and Counter Measure capabilities to the field formations in both communication and other aspects of Electronic Warfare. The council also approved prototype testing of trawl assemblies designed by DRDO for T-72 and T-90 tanks providing an important indigenous de-mining capability to the Army. The DAC also accorded approval for inclusion of Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) in Defence Procurement Procedure. This will provide avenues in capital procurement for the Armed Forces to startups and innovators working for iDEX and provide huge fillip top their budding efforts. In another significant step, the DAC also approved short-listing of Indian Strategic Partners (SP) and the potential Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) that will collaborate with SPs to construct six conventional submarines in India. This programme is being progressed under the Strategic Partnership Model, promulgated in 2017 to give a major boost to make in India in Defence Sector.
- Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has informed the Bombay High Court that its latest amendments to TV broadcast sector tariffs are aimed at ensuring transparency and non-discrimination in channel rates. In an affidavit, TRAI counsel Venkatesh Dhond said it is a consumer-friendly measure. A division bench of Justices SC Dharmadhikari and R I Chagla was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by television broadcasters claiming that the new rules were unreasonable. The regulatory authority claimed that the provisions of the previous regulatory framework are being misused by broadcasters and Distribution Platform Operators, The bench has posted the petitions, for further hearing on 30th January.
- India has reiterated that there is no role for any third party on the Kashmir issue. Responding to a media query on United States President Donald Trump’s remarks to help in resolving the Kashmir issue. External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Raveesh Kumar said, New Delhi’s position has been clear and consistent that the issue should be discussed between India and Pakistan under provisions of Shimla Agreement and Lahore Declaration. He said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment for engagement.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India has been playing the role of a trusted partner in Nepal’s all round development. The Prime Minister was speaking after jointly inaugurating the Jogbani-Biratnagar Integrated Check Post, ICP through video conferencing with his Nepalese counterpart K P Sharma Oli on 21 January. Mr Modi said, Neighbourhood First is the main policy of his government and improving cross border connectivity becomes more important if it concerns India and Nepal. He said that their relations are not simply of neighbours, but of history and geography.
- The Hague-based International Court of Justice has ordered Myanmar to take emergency measures to prevent the genocide of the Rohingyas. The court also ordered Myanmar to report to them in four months on what measures the country has taken to comply with the order. The court asked to report every six months as the case moves slowly through the world court. According to the ICJ, the court has the power to order provisional measures when irreparable prejudice could be caused to rights which are the subject of judicial proceedings. The court found that the condition of urgency had been met in this case. The court’s President Judge Abdulqawi Ahemd Yusuf said the Internaitonal Court of Justice is of the opinion that the Rohingya in Myanmar remain extremely vulnerable.
- The World Archery has conditionally lifted the suspension on India, less than a week after the embattled national federation held its elections. A statement from the World Archery said the federation needs to comply with good governance and activity portions of the World Archery constitution and rules. The Indian archers, who had to complete as neutral athletes at the Asian Championships because of the suspension, can now represent the country under the Tricolour. The next international tournament is Indoor World Series in Las Vegas in three weeks’ time. Union Minister Arjun Munda was on 18 January elected President of the Archery Association of India (AAI) after the much-delayed elections were held in presence of three observers, including one from the World Archery.
- International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed that four among 16 countries will qualify for the tournament proper of ICC World T20 scheduled to be held in India in 2021. The event replaces the eight-team Champions Trophy ODI tournament that was last held in 2017 in England. An ICC release said, 11 regional qualification tournaments will take place across the five ICC regions (Africa, Americas, Asia, East-Asia Pacific and Europe) with eight terms progressing to one of two global qualifying events. The 12 teams, which make round two of the ICC T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia will gain automatic entry into the event following year. All Members who meet the ICC Event Participation Criteria (EPPC) will be eligible to participate in the qualification for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.