DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS: 28th MARCH 2020 THE HINDU +PIB

Daily Current Affairs: 28th March 2020: The Hindu+PIB

The following compilation has been made keeping in mind the need of the UPSC IAS exam. Each and every topic which has been included in this compilation is taken from very authentic and relevant source including The HinduThe Indian ExpressBusiness Standard, Press Information Bureau, etc.

As per the evolving pattern of the UPSC IAS prelims and mains exam each and every topic has been handpicked keeping in mind the syllabus of the exam.


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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS: 27th MARCH 2020: THE HINDU + PIB

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS: 26th MARCH 2020: THE HINDU + PIB






TABLE OF CONTENTS

    PRIME MINISTER NATIONAL RELIEF FUND


    Context: The Vice President of India and the Chairman Rajya Sabha, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu contributed a sum equivalent to a month’s salary to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) to strengthen the government’s efforts in combating COVID-19 outbreak in the country.






    ABOUT PM NATIONAL RELIEF FUND


    In pursuance of an appeal by the then Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru in January, 1948, the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) was established with public contributions to assist displaced persons from Pakistan.


    CHAIRMAN: Prime Minister is the Chairman of PMNRF and is assisted by Officers/ Staff on honorary basis.


    UTILIZATION OF FUND:  The resources of the PMNRF are now utilized primarily to render immediate relief to families of those killed in natural calamities like floods, cyclones and earthquakes, etc. and to the victims of the major accidents and riots. Assistance from PMNRF is also rendered, to partially defray the expenses for medical treatment like heart surgeries, kidney transplantation, cancer treatment and acid attack etc.


    REGULATION OF FUND: The fund consists entirely of public contributions and does not get any budgetary support. The corpus of the fund is invested in various forms with scheduled commercial banks and other agencies. Disbursements are made with the approval of the Prime Minister. PMNRF has not been constituted by the Parliament.


    RECOGNIZATION OF FUND: The fund is recognized as a Trust under the Income Tax Act and the same is managed by Prime Minister or multiple delegates for national causes.


    EXEMPTION UNDER FUND: PMNRF is exempt under Income Tax Act, 1961 under Section 10 and 139 for return purposes. Contributions towards PMNRF are notified for 100% deduction from taxable income under section 80(G) of the Income Tax Act, 1961. 


    ACCEPTANCE OF CONTRIBUTIONS: PMNRF accepts only voluntary donations by individuals and institutions. Contributions flowing out of budgetary sources of Government or from the balance sheets of the public sector undertakings are not accepted. Conditional contributions, where the donor specifically mentions that the amount is meant for a particular purpose, are not accepted in the Fund.


    IMPACT: The fund was used extensively to provide support for victims of Uttarakhand flood 2013, cyclone in Kerala and Lakshadweep, 2014 violence in Assam, Madhya Pradesh explosion 2015, Tamil Nadu floods 2015 etc.

    READ MORE: MYLAB PATHODETECT COVID-19 QUALITATIVE PCR KIT

    BHRAHMA KUMARIS


    Context: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has expressesed condolences on the passing away of Rajyogini Dadi Janki Ji, the Chief of Brahma Kumaris.


    BRAHMA KUMARIS





    WHO ARE BRAHMA KUMARIS?


    The Brahma Kumaris are a Spiritual movement that originated in Hyderabad, Sindh, during the 1930s. The Brahma Kumaris (“Daughters of Brahma”) movement was founded by Lekhraj Kripalani. The organisation is affiliated with the United Nations and is known for the prominent role that women play in the movement.


    WHAT ARE THE BELIEFS OF BRAHMA KUMARIS?


    The movement has distinguished itself from its Hindu roots and sees itself as a vehicle for spiritual teaching rather than as a religion


    It teaches a form of meditation that focuses on identity as souls, as opposed to bodies. They believe that all souls are intrinsically good and that God is the source of all goodness. The organisation teaches to transcend labels associated with the body, such as race, nationality, religion, and gender, and it aspires to establish a global culture based on what it calls “soul-consciousness”


    In 2008, the movement claimed to have more than 825,000 regular students, with over 8,500 centres in 100 countries.


    WHAT IS THE LIFESTYLE OF BRAHMA KUMARIS?


    Brahma Kumaris recommend a specific lifestyle in order achieve greater control over physical senses. However, many participate in a casual way, electing to adopt whichever beliefs and lifestyle disciplines in the following list they wish:

    • Complete celibacy, whether in or out of marriage.
    • Sattvic vegetarianism, a strict lacto-vegetarian diet (excluding eggs, onions, garlic and/or spicy food) cooked only by the self or other members of the Brahma Kumaris.
    • Abstaining from alcohol, tobacco and non-prescription drugs.
    • Daily early morning meditation at 4:00 to 4:45 am, called ‘Amrit Vela’.
    • Daily morning class at approximately 6:30 am.
    • Brahma Kumaris can be identified by their frequent adoption of wearing white clothes, to symbolise purity.
    • Students often prefer to keep the company of other BK followers as opposed to non-BKs.



    WHAT ARE THE ACTIVITIES UNDERTAKEN BY BRAHMA KUMARIS?


    EDUCATION: Brahma Kumaris conducted an introduction to meditation consisting of seven two-hour-long sessions. With the support of Vicente Fox, the Brahma Kumaris introduced their meditation practice and philosophy to the Government of Mexico through the “Self Management Leadership” (SML).


    RENEWABLE ENERGY: Their work in solar energy and sustainable energy has included the 2007 development of the world’s largest solar cooker, and a solar thermal power plant in Talheti at the base of Mount Abu, where the international headquarters is located.


    SUSTAINABLE YOGIC AGRICULTURE: Sustainable Yogic Agriculture (SYA) is a program started in Northern India in 2009. The program has been a collaboration between Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University in Gujarat India and the Brahma Kumaris Rural Development wing. The program has now been publicly backed by the Indian Government

    • With the governments support the program has been redesigned into Akhil Bharatiya Krushak Sashakatikaran Abhijan (ABKSA), and was launched in December 2015.
    • ABKSA extends the initial scope of the SYA program to include teaching meditation and self-empowerment to the farmers themselves.
    • ABKSA now comprises three main elements: 
      • A self empowerment program for Indian farmers;
      • Ongoing research on whether the use of meditation can improve crop yields;
      • Education on a blend of traditional and organic farming techniques;
    UN CONSULTATIVE STATUS: In 1998 the Brahma Kumaris gained consultative status with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.



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    SATISH GUJRAL


    Context: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has condoled the demise of Satish Gujral.


    SATISH GUJRAL





    WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SATISH GUJRAL?


    • Satish Gujral (25 December 1925 – 26 March 2020) was an Indian painter, sculptor, muralist and writer of the post-independent era.
    • He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award of the Republic of India, in 1999. In April 2014, he was honoured with NDTV Indian of the Year Award.
    • His elder brother, Inder Kumar Gujral, was the Prime Minister of India between 1997 and 1998.
    • From 1952 to 1974, Gujral organised shows of his sculptures, paintings and graphics in many cities across the world such as New York City, New Delhi, Montreal, Berlin and Tokyo, among others. 
    • Gujral was also an architect and his design of the Belgium Embassy in New Delhi was selected by the international forum of architects as one of the finest buildings built in the 20th century.
    • He was also part of the 2007 BBC television film, Partition: The Day India Burned. 
    • A 24-minute documentary called “A Brush with Life” was released on 15 February 2012 which was based on his own book with the same name. 



    EXPORT PROMOTION COUNCILS (EPC)


    Context: The Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry Shri Piyush Goyal held a video conference with representatives from various Export Promotion Councils (EPCs) from across the country, to assess the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown in the country.


    EXPORT PROMOTION COUNCILS





    WHAT ARE EXPORT PROMOTION COUNCILS?


    Export promotional Councils (EPC) are the authorities which are basically promoting, supporting and assisting firms in entering the International markets and realizing their optimum potential from given resources. They also provide guidance and assistance to the exporters. These lies under the administrative control of Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industries.

    In legal terms, Export Promotional Councils are non-profit organisation registered as a company or society. Each Export promotional council is responsible for his particular group of products.


    WHAT IS THE ROLE PLAYED BY EXPORT PROMOTION COUNCIL IN EXPORT IMPORT INDUSTRY?


    Following are the key roles which are played by the Export Promotion Councils in Export-Import Industry: 

    • PROMOTION OF GOVERNMENT SCHEMES: Export Promotional Council (EPC) helps and promotes the exporters by making them aware of the government schemes and other benefits.
    • COLLECTION AND RESTORATION OF DATA: Export Promotional Council (EPC) further promotes and collects the export data to compare the industry growth and solve any hurdle in between. It aims to build a statistical base and provide data on the exports and imports of the country, exports and imports of their members, as well as other relevant international trade data.
    • SENDING TRADE DELEGATIONS: To make arrangements for sending trade delegations and study teams to one or more countries for promoting the export of specific products and to circulate the reports of specific products and diversifying to new products.
    • POLICY ROLES: EPC also plays various roles at the policy level to promote and grow the industry.
    • PROMOTION OF INTERACTION: EPCs promote interaction between the exporting community and the Government both at the Central and State levels.
    • ADVISORY ROLES: EPCs offer professional advice to their members in areas such as technology upgradation, quality and design improvement, standards and specifications, product development, innovation, etc.

    WHAT IS THE PRESENT SCENARIO?

    Presently, there are 14 Export Promotion Councils under the administrative control of the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Government of India. These are: 
    • Engineering Export Promotion Council of India, Kolkata.
    • Project Export Promotion Council of India, New Delhi.
    • Basic Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics Export Promotion Council (Chemexcil), Mumbai.
    • Chemicals and Allied Products Export Promotion Council (CAPEXIL), Kolkata.
    • Council for Leather Exports, Chennai.
    • Sports Goods Export Promotion Council, New Delhi.
    • Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Mumbai.
    • Shellac Export Promotion Council, Kolkata.
    • Cashew Export Promotion Council of India, Kerala.
    • The Plastics Export Promotion Council, Mumbai.
    • Export Promotion Council for EOUs & SEZ Units (EPCES), New Delhi.
    • Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council, Hyderabad.
    • Indian Oil Seeds & Produce Export Promotion Council (IOPEPC), Mumbai.
    • Services Export Promotion Council, Gurgaon.


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     ILYUSHIN 38SD (IL-38)


    Context: An Ilyushin 38SD (IL-38), a Long Range Maritime Reconnaisence Aircraft of the Indian Navy, was promptly readied to depart INS Hansa for Palam Airport, New Delhi to complete a shipment of 60,000 face masks ordered by Indian Medical Association, Goa to offset the shortfall in Goa amid COVID-19 pandemic.

     ILYUSHIN 38SD (IL-38)

    KEY DETAILS OF THE AIRCRAFT

    The Ilyushin Il-38 “Dolphin” (NATO reporting name: May) is a maritime patrol aircraft and anti-submarine warfare aircraft designed in the Soviet Union. It was a development of the Ilyushin Il-18 turboprop transport.

    ROLE: Anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrol aircraft.

    DESIGN: The Il-38 is an adaptation of the four-engined turboprop Ilyushin Il-18 for use as a maritime patrol aircraft for the Soviet Navy.

    OPERATION: The Il-38 was operated by units in the Soviet Northern, Pacific and Baltic fleets. In March 1968 a squadron of Il-38s deployed to Cairo in Egypt, flown by Soviet crews but in Egyptian markings, until being withdrawn in 1972

    VARIANTS: This aircraft has the following variants:
    • IL-38: Production aircraft
    • IL-38M: Modified with a receiver probe as part of a probe and drogue air refueling system. System not adopted.
    • IL-38MZ: Tanker variant of the Il-38. Prototype only
    • IL-38N: Improved variant sometimes referred to as Il-38SD for Sea Dragon, which is a new search and tracking system.

    FIGHT CORONA IDEATHON


    Context:  MHRD Innovation Cell, AICTE, MEITY Startup Hub, InnovatioCuris and other institutions of global and national prominence organise Fight Corona IDEAthon.

    FIGHT CORONA IDEATHON


    WHAT IS IT?

    Fight Corona IDEAthon is a 2-day online ideathon which is an initiative jointly organised by MHRD Innovation Cell, AICTE, MEITY Startup Hub, InnovatioCuris and other institutions of global and national prominence offering support in terms of Technology, Knowledge, Outreach, etc., with Forge Accelerator as the Partner incubator, in the endeavour to scout for accessible and affordable technological solutions that can contain the rapid spread of infection, ease the mounting pressure and ensure a quick return to normalcy.

    WHO WILL BE FACILITATED DURING THE PROGRAM?

    Ideas and solutions that demonstrate a proof of potential shall be awarded cash prizes up to Rs. 7 lakhs (sponsored by AICTE and AWS) and shall be offered innovation grants up to Rs. 40 lakhs to enable them to accelerate further development of their ideas and prototypes. Selected startups and innovators shall be offered incubation support with access to industry partners, industrial-grade prototyping lab and pilot production facilities, co-working facilities, business support services, mentoring and expertise in tech, strategy and venture development, corporate grants, etc.



    Few international agencies like worldstartup.co, United Nations Technology and Innovation lab, and Crowdera have also come forward to support the participants.


    WHY SUCH AN INITIATIVE HAS BEEN ORGANIZED?

    Challenges and problem statements have been sought from healthcare professionals, government officials and other stakeholders working on the ground and are curated under 8 different categories such as – 


    • Personal Hygiene & Protection;

    • Awareness;

    • Preparedness & Responsible Behavior; 

    • Medical Systems – Diagnostic & Therapeutic, Screening, Testing & Monitoring – Devices & IT/Digital/Data Solutions; 

    • Protecting Most Vulnerable Groups, Community Task Forces/Working Groups;

    • Remote Work & Remote Education; 

    • Stabilizing Affected Businesses; and 

    • Open Category where one has the flexibility to choose and solve their own challenges.

    Problem statements of high magnitude soliciting innovative technological solutions like the
    • Design of reusable/washable masks; 

    • A system that can disinfect currency notes/coins; 
    • Mobile applications with an ability to provide right, reliable and authentic information to curb infection and the spread of panic;
    • A non-invasive diagnostic kit; 
    • Alternate solutions for ventilators to treat patients who face chronic breathing problems; 
    • Storage Kits to collect test samples from homes and transport them to laboratories, etc. are put forth for student innovators, educators, researchers, professionals and startups to ideate and innovate feasible products.
    Therefore, this platform will try to cater to all these problems and will provide a platform to look into the ideas and feasible products.


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    RAILWAY BOARD CONTROL CELL

    Context: Indian Railways has opened a Railway Board Control Cell to ensure seamless flow of information and suggestions between Railway Administration and general public. 
    RAILWAY CONTROL BOARD CELL


    KEY DETAILS

    • As part of its efforts to contain the impact of Covid-19  infection, Indian Railways has made functional two 24-hr Helplines138 & 139 – to answer inquiries, provide assistance & to disseminate relevant information to railway customers and others during the 21-day all-India lockout. 
    • The idea of using the number 138 is to use, in addition to the call-centre based agent & IVRS services provided through 139, the wide reach of Indian Railways to service the large number of its patrons across the country. 
    • Railway Board Control Cell would work round the clock and shall be manned by a Director level officer
    • The Control Board would monitor calls received on the centralised Railway Helpline 139 and the de-centralised Railway Helpline 138, in addition to monitoring trends on social media, especially Twitter, to communicate and alleviate any difficulties faced by Railway customers and others by taking timely action.
    • While 139 will continue to work centrally as presently, 138 is a Helpline which will take the caller directly to the local Railway Division so as to provide him the updated local and regional information. 
    • Both 138 & 139 as well as Social Media cell would be manned round-the-clock to answer inquiries, provide assistance (wherever possible) & to disseminate relevant information to Railway customers and others. 
    • Suggestions would also be accepted. Helpline personnel would have updated information, inter alia, on issues like refund, State/District/Railway medical facilities, and updated Local/Regional/National Helpline Numbers for Covid19 detection and aid.

    “COMPREHENSIVE DISABILITY INCLUSIVE GUIDELINES”


    Context: The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has issued “Comprehensive Disability Inclusive Guidelines” to States and Union territories for protection and safety of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) in light of Pandemic Covid-19 (Corona Virus).

    COMPREHENSIVE DISABILITY INCLUSIVE GUIDELINES


    WHAT ARE THESE “COMPREHENSIVE DISABILITY INCLUSIVE GUIDELINES”?

    These guidelines which are issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Home Affairs are applicable to all citizens, the following measures are suggested which need to be acted upon by various State/District authorities to give focused attention to protection and safety of persons with disabilities during COVID 19: 
    • All information about COVID 19, services offered and precautions to be taken should be available in simple and local language in accessible formats; i.e. in Braille and audible tapes for persons with visual impairment, video-graphic material with sub-titles and sign language interpretation for persons with hearing impairment.
    • Sign language interpreters who work in emergency and health settings should be given the same health and safety protection as other health care workers dealing with COVID-19.
    • All persons responsible for handling emergency response services should be trained on the rights of persons with disabilities.
    • During quarantine, essential support services, personal assistance, and physical and communication accessibility should be ensured e.g. blind persons, persons with intellectual/mental disability (psycho-social) are dependent on care giver support. 
    • Caregivers of persons with disabilities should be allowed to reach Persons with disabilities by exempting them from restrictions during lockdown.
    • The Resident Welfare Associations should be sensitized about the need of persons with disabilities so as to allow entry of maid, caregiver and other support providers to their residence after following due sanitizing procedure.
    • Persons with disabilities should be given access to essential food, water, medicine, and, to the extent possible, such items should be delivered at their residence.
    • The States/UTs may consider reserving specific opening hours in retail provision stores including super markets for persons with disabilities and older persons.
    • Peer-support networks may be set up to facilitate support during quarantine for PwDs.
    • Additional protective measures should be taken for persons with disabilities based on their impairment who need to be given travel pass during the emergency period.
    • Persons with disabilities should be given priority in treatment, instead they should be given priority.
    • Employees with blindness and other severe disabilities in both public and private sector should be exempted from essential services work.
    • On-line counselling mechanism should be developed to de-stress persons with disabilities.
    • 24X7 Helpline Number at State Level be set up exclusively for Divyangjan with facilities of sign language interpretation and video calling.
    WHAT IS THE MECHANISM TO RESOLVE THE DISABILITY SPECIFIC ISSUES DURING THE LOCKDOWN PERIOD?

    I. STATE COMMISSIONERS FOR PWDs
    • The State Commissioners for PwDs should be declared as the State Nodal authority in respect of persons with disabilities.
    • They should be the overall in-charge to resolve disability specific issues during the crisis period.
    • They will be responsible to ensure that all information about COVID 19, public restriction plans, services offered are available in local language in accessible formats.
    II. DISTRICT OFFICERS FOR PWDs
    • The District Officer dealing with empowerment of PwDs should be declared as the District Nodal authority in respect of persons with disabilities.
    • He should have a list of PwDs in the District and monitor their requirements periodically.
    • He will be responsible for resolving the issue within the resources available and if necessary may take the help of Non-Governmental Organisations and Civil Society Organisations/Resident Welfare Associations.

    NOTE: Section 8 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 guarantees equal protection and safety for persons with disabilities in these situations. It also mandates Disaster Management Authorities at District/State/National levels to take measures to include persons with disabilities in disaster management activities and to keep them duly informed about these. These authorities are mandatorily required to involve the concerned State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities during disaster management. 


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