Daily Current Affairs
23 December 2020

General Studies-I

Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society

Topic: Important National Day

1)National Farmers Day/ Kisan Diwas

In News

National Farmer's day is observed to raise awareness about farmers and their role in the economy.

  • The day is observed on December 23, the birth anniversary of Chaudhary Charan Singh, the fifth prime minister of India.
  • Charan Singh worked on bringing small and marginal farmer issues to the forefront.
  • To spread awareness about farmer’s issues in the country, Charan Singh founded the Kisan Trust on December 23, 1978.

Choudhary Charan Singh

  • He was born in Meerut in 1902. He was from a peasant family.
  • He believed in the Slogan “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” that was given by the former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri.
  • He served as the Prime Minister for a very short period between 1979 and 1980. During his term as the PM of the country he brought in several farmer friendly initiatives.
  • He was an active participant of Arya Samaj and Indian National Congress during the independence struggle. He was jailed twice during British rule.
  • In 1939, he introduced the Debt Redemption Bill. It gives relief to the farmers from the money lenders.
  • In 1952, as an Agricultural Minister he worked hard to abolish the Zamindari System in India.
  • In 1953, he got the Consolidation of Holdings Act passed. Under the act, the fragmented landholdings of the farmers were pooled and re-allotted to farmers in such a way that each farmer got a single farm.
  • For his contributions towards the welfare of the farmers, his memorial in New Delhi was named as Kisan Ghat.

 

Source: India Today

 

Topic: Dance

2) Breakdancing

In News

Breakdancing became an official Olympic sport.

  • The International Olympic Committee’s pursuit of urban events to lure a younger audience saw street dance battles officially added to the medal events program at the 2024 Paris Games.
  • Also confirmed for Paris by the IOC executive board were skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing.
  • Breakdancing was proposed by Paris organizers almost two years ago after positive trials at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.

 

Source: Business-Standard

 

General Studies-II

Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations

 

Topic: IR

3) Stopgap Funding Bill

In News

The US President signed the Stopgap Funding Bill. The bill provides the law makers two more days to sort out few issues in the ongoing negotiations about the 900 billion USD aid package.

Details

  • A stopgap funding bill is used by the US Government to ensure that it does not run out of funds for running federal programme after the deadline of an Appropriation Act.
  • In a fiscal year, the US Congress passes 12 Appropriation Acts which gives budgetary authority to spend from the US Treasury for specific purposes.
  • These Acts have a deadline and the funds cannot be used to address new obligations after it. When the Congress fails to fund the government, a government shutdown is declared and all non-essential services are stopped.

How does the Federal Funding expire?

  • The Fiscal year in US begins on October 1. During a fiscal year, the Congress passes twelve annual appropriation acts that provide the budget authority to expend funds from US Treasury for specific purposes.
  • The funds cannot be used to address new obligations. In other words, the funds expire after specified deadline.

What is called Government Shutdown?

  • The Government Shutdown occurs when the Congress fails to fund the government.
  • In such scenario, the US Government stops all the non-essential services. On the other hand, the essential services such as police departments, armed forces, etc continue of function.

Impacts on the Public

The Government Shutdowns in the United States have resulted in furloughs for several hundred thousand Government Employees. The reduction in Government activities affected various sectors of the economy.

 

Source: Bloom Berg

 

Topic: Bills & Amendments

4) Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020

In News

The Union power ministry has notified rules to ensure the rights of consumers and to mandate standards of service such as round-the-clock electricity supply.

  • The rules also provide for penalties for power distribution firms in case they do not maintain mandated standards of services.

Background

The ministry in September published a set of draft rights for electricity consumers under the Electricity Act, 2003, which has a consumer charter. The latest rules empower consumers and introduce new supply rights for them.

Details

  • Implementation of the rules shall ensure that new electricity connections, refunds, and other services are given in a time-bound manner.
  • Rules are aimed to benefit about 300 million existing and prospective consumers.
  • The policy proposes suspension of licences in case of non-availability of adequate power supply arrangements.
  • Imposition of penalties in case of disruptions in supply to consumers, except due to force majeure condition or technical faults.

Highlights of the bill

  • The Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020, seek timely and simplified procedure for connections, expedited modification of the existing ones, 2% to 5% rebate on serving bills with a delay of 60 days or more.
  • It allows payment of all bills worth Rs 1,000 or more online.

Prosumers

  • A new category of Prosumers has been identified under the new rule.
  • Prosumers are those consumers who have the right to produce electricity for self-use and inject excess to the grid.
  • They are also consumer who have set up rooftop units or solarised irrigation pumps. The excess power is fed into the grid using the same point of connection.
  • The limits to inject into the grid is set by SERC.

Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum

A Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum is to be established. The forum will have representatives of consumers at various levels. It includes sub-division for ease of consumer grievance redressal.

 

Source: Hindustan Times

 

General Studies-III

Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Topic: Economics

5) Companies (Auditor’s Report) Order, 2020 (CARO)

In News

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has announced the notification of Companies (Auditor’s Report) Order, 2020 (CARO). CARO 2020 would come into effect from financial years commencing on or after April 1, 2021.

Background

  • Earlier, CARO 2020 was to come into force from financial year starting on or after April 1, 2020.
  • The new reporting regime of CARO 2020–which was introduced by MCA in consultation with National Financial Reporting Authority in February this year— had superseded CARO 2016.

About New order

  • Under the new regime, an auditor was required to report/certify several details which was so far not required to be certified.
  • As many as 21 items required detailing in the new CARO-2020.

Details

  • The CARO requires companies to comply with disclosure on various issues, including whistle blower complaints and default in repayment of borrowings.
  • Disclosure of details of proceedings against company for holding Benami property.
  • The auditor should provide details of investments made by the company.
  • Fraud committed by the company or on the company should be reported.
  • The cash losses in the financial year and the preceding financial year should be reported.
  • The report should hold details of loan repayment period and amount to be repaid.

Significance

The CARO 2020 enhances the information available to both investors and financial institutions. It is a major step for transparency in accounts.

 

Source: Indian Express

 

Topic: Economics

6) Positive Pay System

In News

The Reserve Bank of India is to introduce “Positive Pay System” from January 1, 2021 for cheque transactions above Rs 50,000.

Positive Pay System for cheque transactions

  • The concept of Positive Pay involves a process of reconfirming key details of large-value cheques.
  • Under this process, the issuer of the cheque submits electronically, through channels like SMS, mobile app, Internet banking and ATM, certain minimum details of that cheque (like date, name of the beneficiary, or payee and amount) to the drawee bank, details of which are cross-checked with the presented cheque by Cheque Truncation System (CTS).
  • Any discrepancy is flagged by CTS to the drawee bank and presenting bank, who then take redressal measures.

Dispute Redressal Mechanism

Only the cheques that are compliant with the new system are accepted under the Dispute Redressal mechanism. The member banks shall implement similar arrangements for cheques collected outside the Cheque Truncation System as well.

What type of cheques will come under Positive Pay?

  • Banks will enable the new system for all account holders issuing cheques for amounts of Rs 50,000 and above.
  • While availing of this facility is at the discretion of the account holder, banks may consider making it mandatory in case of cheques for amounts of Rs 5,00,000 and above.
  • The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) will develop the facility of Positive Pay in CTS, and make it available to participant banks.

Share of Positive Pay system

The Cheque Truncation System is currently available all over India. It presently covers 2% of the retail payment in terms of volume and 15% of the retail payment in terms of value.

Current Scenario

Currently, the CTS-2010 standard that specifies minimum security features on cheque leaves act as deterrent against cheque frauds. On the other hand, the standardisation of field placements on cheque forms enable straight through processing by use of image character or optical character recognition technology.

National Payments Corporation of India

  • It is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.
  • Founded in 2008, the NPCI is a not-for-profit organisation registered under Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013, established by the Reserve Bank of India and Indian Banks' Association.

 

Source: Indian Express

 

Topic: Defence & Safety

7) F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets

In News

Boeing announced the successful demonstration of the compatibility of its F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets with the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers as part of its pitch for the Navy’s fighter procurement.

Details

  • The demonstrations were held in coordination with U.S. Navy on a shore-based facility at the Naval Air Station Patuxent river in Maryland, U.S.
  • The demonstrations show that the F-18 Super Hornet would do well with the Indian Navy’s Short Take-off but Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) system and validate earlier simulation studies done over the last two years.
  • As a part of Boeing’s proposed “By India, for India” sustainment program, the Block III Super Hornets could be serviced in partnership with the Indian Navy as well as India and U.S. based partners throughout the life cycle of the aircraft.

Significance

  • The F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet would not only provide superior war-fighting capability to the Indian Navy but also create opportunities for cooperation in naval aviation between the U.S. and India.
  • F/A-18 can also interface with the Navy’s P-8I as a “force multiplier” and also with other platforms under induction.

STOBAR

  • STOBAR ("Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery" or "Short Take-Off, Barrier Arrested Recovery") is a system used for the launch and recovery of aircraft from the deck of an aircraft carrier, combining elements of "short take-off and vertical landing" (STOVL) with "catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery" (CATOBAR).
  • The Navy’s sole carrier in service INS Vikramaditya and the under-construction indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC)-I Vikrant both have a ski-jump with a STOBAR mechanism.

 

Source: The Hindu