CURRENT AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS : 20 AUGUST 2020

Current and Corporate Affairs : 20 August 2020

COVID-19

  1. Australia secures access to Coronavirus vaccine by Oxford AstraZeneca: –Australia has said that it has already secured access to a promising Coronavirus vaccine and will be able to offer free doses to its entire population of 25 million people. The vaccine is being developed by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Oxford University. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that if clinical trials are successful, the deal with AstraZeneca would secure early access for every Australian. He said, it was likely that vaccinations would be mandatory. Australia has recorded 450 Coronavirus deaths, most from an outbreak in the state of Victoria.

NATIONAL NEWS

  1. Cabinet approves setting up of National Recruitment Agency to conduct CET; PM says, agency will prove to be boon for youngsters: – The Cabinet today approved setting up of National Recruitment Agency to conduct Common Eligibility Test. Briefing media Wednesday afternoon, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar termed it as historic decision which will benefit job seeking youth of the country. He said, this fulfills long standing demand of the youth of the country. The National Recruitment Agency (NRA) will conduct a Common Eligibility Test to screen and shortlist candidates for the Group B and C (non-technical) posts. NRA will have representatives of Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance, SSC, RRB and IBPS. Special focus on creating examination infrastructure in the 117 Aspirational Districts would go a long way in affording access to candidates at a place nearer to where they reside. The CET score of the candidate shall be valid for a period of three years from the date of declaration of the result. The best of the valid scores shall be deemed to be the current score of the candidate. There shall be no restriction on the number of attempts to be taken by a candidate to appear in the CET subject to the upper age limit. Relaxation in the upper age limit shall be given to candidates of SC/ST/OBC and other categories as per the extant policy of the\ Government. Candidates would have the facility of registering on a common portal and give a choice of Centres. The Government has sanctioned a sum of 1517.57 crore rupees for the National Recruitment Agency.
  2. Cabinet clears proposal for leasing out Jaipur, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram airports through PPP: The Cabinet which met under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister on Wednesday also approved a proposal for leasing out three airports of Airports Authority of India through Public Private Partnership. Briefing media, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, the three airports are Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram.
  3. CCEA approves Fair and Remunerative Price of sugarcane to Rs. 285 per quintal for 2020-21: – Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved Fair and Remunerative Price of sugarcane payable by sugar mills for the sugar season 2020-21 at 285 rupees per quintal for a basic recovery rate of 10 per cent.
  4. SC holds CBI probe lawful in death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput; Asks Mumbai Police to cooperate in probe: – The Supreme Court today held that the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) probe into the FIR lodged against actress Rhea Chakraborty in connection with the death of Sushant Singh Rajput is lawful. The Apex Court further directed the Mumbai Police to hand over all the evidence in the case to the CBI. The judgment was passed by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy. The Court also directed the CBI to look into any other cases registered in the future in relation to the death of Rajput. The Maharashtra Government has been ordered to assist the CBI in the investigation. The court also held that the FIR lodged in Bihar was lawful. On July 30, Rhea Chakraborty moved the Supreme Court seeking transfer of the case lodged against her. After the order was pronounced, the Maharashtra Government sought to appeal against it. However, the court declined to entertain the same.
  5. LS Speaker Om Birla attends inaugural ceremony of 5th World Conference of Speakers of Parliament: – Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla today attended the inaugural ceremony of the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament (5WCSP). The two day Conference is being organized jointly by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Geneva and the
    Parliament of Austria with the support of the United Nations (UN). This is the first time that an international Parliamentary Conference of such a magnitude is being organised in Virtual mode. Members of Parliament Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Meenakashi Lekhi, both will also be attending the Conference. The theme of the Conference is Parliamentary leadership for
    more effective multilateralism that delivers peace and sustainable development for the people and planet.
  6. JCI & NSC inks MoU to provide certified good quality seeds to jute farmers in year 2021-22: – A Memorandum of Understanding, MoU to provide certified good quality seeds to jute farmers in the year 2021-22 was signed between Jute Corporation of India and National Seeds Corporation. Minister of Textiles Smriti Irani and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar witnessed the MoU signing ceremony through virtual mode. Speaking on the occasion, Smriti Irani said, there is a special provision for jute and jute textile products in the National Technical Textiles Mission which was announced in February this year. She said, there is immense potential for increasing the use of jute in lining of water bodies, road building and construction of structures to contain landslides in hilly areas. The Minister said, in addition to becoming selfreliant in requirement of jute for the domestic market, the next target is to strengthen the export potential of the country in jute
    and its products.

STATE NEWS

  1. Five former Congress MLAs of Manipur join BJP :Five former MLAs of Manipur who had recently resigned from Congress party, joined BJP today at the Party Headquarters in New Delhi today. They joined in the presence of Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, Party’s National Vice President Baijayant Panda and National General Secretary Ram Madhav. Among the five MLAs is Okram Henry Singh, the nephew of Congress
    Legislature Party leader and former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi
    Singh. The remaining MLAs are Oinam Lukhoi, Ngamthang Haokip,
    Paonam Brojen and Ginsuanhau.
  2. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar announces ex gratia of Rs 36 lakh each to families of martyrs Khurshid Khan & Lavkush Sudarshan Sharma: – Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced an ex gratia of Rs. 36 lakh each to the families of two martyrs Khurshid Khan and Lavkush Sudarshan Sharma of the state who made their supreme sacrifice for the country in terror attack in Baramula on Monday. Mr Kumar also announced that one dependent of each of the martyrs would be
    provided a job by the state government The body of Khurshid Khan was buried at Bikramganj in Rohtas district while mortal remains of Lavkush Sudarshan Sharma were consigned to flames at his native village Aaira in Jehanabad district with full state honours.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  1. Sri Lankan govt grants approval to abolish 19th amendment to constitution: – Sri Lankan government has granted approval to abolish the 19th amendment to the constitution and replace it with the 20th amendment. Minister of Mass Media Keheliya Rambukwella said, the decision was taken at the first cabinet meeting of new government held on Wednesday morning. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapksa had made the abolition of 19th amendment as the main election plank during the presidential and parliamentary elections. The amendment brought by previous government had put a twoterm limit on Presidency and curtailed the executive powers of President and transferred it to parliament and independent
    commissions.
  2. US elections: Democratic Party formally nominates Joe Biden as presidential candidate: – In the United States, Democratic Party has formally nominated Joe Biden as its presidential nominee for the 2020 elections. He will take on President Donald Trump in the November polls for the White House. Biden received the nomination in a “roll call across America”, which saw Democratic delegates and normal people from all 50 states and seven territories of the US cast the majority of votes for the former vice president. In a tweet, Biden said it was an honour of life to accept the Democratic party’s nomination for the US President.
    The nomination was a formality, as Senator Bernard Sanders withdrew from the contest in April. Biden has nominated Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate for Vice President’s post.
  3. Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Kita resigns amid military coup: – Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has announced his resignation amid a military coup. He announced his resignation last night on state television hours after mutinous soldiers fired shots into the air outside his home before detaining him. The dramatic development comes after more than two months of regular demonstrations calling for him to step down three years before his final term was due to end.

BUSINESS & FINANCE

  1. RBI releases framework for pan-India entity for retail payments: – Reserve Bank of India has unveiled the framework for setting up of pan-India Umbrella Entity for Retail Payments. As per the framework, the companies with a net worth of over 500 crore rupees will be eligible to set up an umbrella entity which among other things will be permitted to set up, manage and operate new payment systems in the retail space
    comprising ATMs, White Label PoS, Aadhaar-based payments
    and remittance services. The entity will be expected to monitor national as well as international developments so as to avoid shocks and frauds that may adversely affect the system and the economy in general.
    Inviting applications by February 2021, the RBI said that the promoter/promoter group of the umbrella entity shall be owned and controlled by resident Indian citizens