Daily Current Affairs
24 December 2020

General Studies-I

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

Topic: Geography

1) Kilauea volcano

In News

The Kilauea volcano in Hawaii’s Big Island erupted on December 20 which was followed by an earthquake of magnitude 4.4.

  • The volcano erupted last in 2018. The lava flowed for over 4 months, destroying homes and displacing people.

Details

  • After eruption, lava mixed rapidly with water in the summit’s Crater Lake to create steam.
  • The crater is located within Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park and was home to a longstanding lava lake that was present for years before a 2018 eruption caused it to drain.
  • Kilauea, ranks among the world's most active volcanoes.
  • It is an elongated dome built of lava eruptions from a central crater and from lines of craters extending along east and southwest rifts, or fissures.

Volcano

  • A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface.
  • On Earth, volcanoes are most often found where tectonic plates are diverging or converging, and most are found underwater.
  • For example, a mid-oceanic ridge, such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, has volcanoes caused by divergent tectonic plates whereas the Pacific Ring of Fire has volcanoes caused by convergent tectonic plates.
  • Volcanoes can also form where there is stretching and thinning of the crust's plates, such as in the East African Rift and the Wells Gray-Clearwater volcanic field and Rio Grande Rift in North America.

Volcanoes in India

  • Barren Island, Andaman Islands (India's only active volcano)
  • Narcondam, Andaman Islands
  • Baratang, Andaman Islands
  • Deccan Traps, Maharashtra
  • Dhinodhar Hills, Gujarat
  • Dhosi Hill, Haryana

 

Source: Indian Express

 

Topic: Important National Day

2) National Consumer Rights Day

In News

Every year, the National Consumer Rights Day is celebrated on December 24 in India. The day is observed every year to spread awareness to about consumer importance, their rights, and responsibilities.

  • The World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated on March 15.

Theme

  • The theme of the National Consumer Day is ‘The Sustainable Consumer’.
  • The theme is in view of the urgent need for action to approach the worldwide crisis, global temperature change and biodiversity loss.

History

  • On December 24, 1986, the Consumer Protection Act 1986, regarded as the 'Magna Karta', received the approval of the President of India and came into force.
  • The main objective of the Consumer Protection Act is to provide consumers with effective safeguards against different types of exploitation such as defective goods, unsatisfactory services, and unfair trade practices.

Significance

  • Consumer Protection Act 1986 in the field of consumer protection came into force for checking unfair trade practices.
  • Consumers are provided protection from the damages brought about to them due to different unfair trade practices.
  • The act has ensured speedy settlements of consumer disputes by establishing a widespread and effective network of redressal forums.
  • The appellate courts all across India also ensure inexpensive resolution of consumer discrepancies.
  • It has empowered consumers to a greater extent and also had a significant impact on how businesses deal with such complaints.
  • The rights recognized under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provided in the UN charter are Right to Protection, Right of Information, Right of Choice, Right of Hearing, Right of Redressal, and Right of Education

 

Source: News 18

 

General Studies-II

Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations

Topic: Governance

3) Standing Committee Report on CoVID 19

In News

The Parliamentary standing committee on Home Affairs on the management of the CoVID-19 pandemic, headed by Anand Sharma, has submitted its report to Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu.

The Committee has made a detailed assessment of four aspects:

  • Preparedness
  • Augmentation of Health Infrastructure
  • Social Impact
  • Economic Impact

Key Findings

  • There had been several instances of beds reserved for COVID-19 patients in private hospitals being sold at exorbitant rates.
  • There is need to have regulatory oversight on all hospitals working in the country to prevent refusal to accept insurance claims.
  • Committee appreciate the work done by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) by coming out with standard operating procedures (SOPs), guidelines and awareness generation.
  • At the time of a pandemic, measures should be taken to avoid social stigma and fear of isolation and quarantine, by making people aware and treating them with respect and empathy.
  • The committee observes that government schemes need effective implementation at the ground level. The problems being faced by farmers, non-corporate and non-farm small/micro enterprises in getting loans need to be addressed.
  • Consumption had been severely curtailed due to huge job loss and fall in income due to the lockdown.
  • The committee expressed concern that with schools shut down, many children were deprived of mid-day meal. Many States continued the scheme by delivering dry ration to students at their homes or giving them allowances. But this was not uniform.
  • Migrant labourers, factory workers, daily wage earners were the worst affected.

Recommendations

  • There should be a comprehensive public health Act at the national level with suitable legal provisions to keep checks and controls over private hospitals in times of a pandemic and to curb black marketing of medicines and product standardisation.
  • The government should be proactive by holding awareness campaigns on cheaper and effective repurposed medicines to prevent people from panicking and spending a huge amounts of money on expensive drugs.
  • The committee strongly recommends that the target should be to make COVID-19 treatment cashless for all people that are having insurance coverage.
  • A separate wing may be formed in the NDMA that will specialize in handling /managing pandemics like COVID-19 in future.
  • More schemes and interventions were required to support the recovery and to sustain this economic revival especially for the MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) sector.
  • The committee recommends that the Ministry of Home Affairs, with the Department of Food and Public Distribution, take up the mid-day meal scheme matter with the State governments to ensure that the local administrations are delivering the rations/ allowances in time and this should be continued until the schools reopen.

Parliamentary Committees

Parliamentary committees are of two kinds: Standing Committees and Ad Hoc Committees.

  • Standing Committees: Permanent (constituted every year or periodically) and work on a continuous basis. They can be categorized into following broad groups:
  • Financial Committees
  • Departmental Standing Committees (24)
  • Committees to Inquire
  • Committees to Scrutinise and Control
  • Committees Relating to the Day-to-Day Business of the House
  • House-Keeping Committees or Service Committees
  • Ad Hoc Committees: Ad hoc committees are temporary and cease to exist on completion of the task assigned to them.

 

Source: The Hindu

 

Topic: IR

4) Exercise "Shaheen-IX"

In News

China has justified its ongoing joint air exercise "Shaheen-IX" with Pakistan, even though it had expressed apprehensions about India’s “Malabar exercise” last month.

  • Shaheen-IX is the ninth in the series of Joint Air Exercises which is conducted each year in both countries on alternate basis.
  • The first such drill was held in Pakistan in March 2011.

Details

  • Chinese Foreign Ministry said the "Shaheen-IX" exercise with Pakistan air force as a routine arrangement, which experts believe is reflective of a larger strategic posture towards India.
  • Air Forces of China and Pakistan are holding their annual exercise "Shaheen-IX" since 9th December in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province near the Indian border.
  • A contingent of the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), comprising combat pilots, air defence controllers and technical ground crew, participated in the exercise.

India

India recently hosted the Malabar 2020 naval exercise with the U.S., Japan and Australia.

  • A Chinese state media had termed the Malabar naval drill as an ill-intentioned attempt to corner China.
  • India had categorically stated that the orientation of Malabar exercise had been towards a free, open, inclusive Indo-Pacific as well as a rule-based international order.

 

Source: DD I News

 

General Studies-III

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

 

Topic: Economy

5) Military Salary Package

In News

The Indian Army and Bank of Baroda have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Baroda Military Salary Package.

  • Under this MoU, services will be offered to serving and retired personnel of Indian Army through the bank's network of over 8,200 domestic branches and around 20,000 business correspondent touchpoints.

Details

The MoU lays down the basis on which banking services would be provided by Bank of Baroda to serving and retired personnel of Indian Army.

The package offers very attractive benefits including:

  • Free personal accidental insurance cover
  • Permanent total disability cover
  • Partial disability cover
  • Air accident insurance cover of sizeable amounts
  • Higher education cover
  • Girl child marriage cover
  • Unlimited free ATM transactions at all bank ATMs
  • Waivers or concessions on various service charges in retail loans
  • Free remittance facility through RTGS/NEFT
  • Free demand draft/banker's cheque
  • Substantial discount in locker rentals
  • Various additional benefits in usage of cards

Memorandum of understanding

  • A memorandum of understanding (MoU) is a type of agreement between two (bilateral) or more (multilateral) parties.
  • It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action.
  • It is often used either in cases where parties do not imply a legal commitment or in situations where the parties cannot create a legally enforceable agreement. It is a more formal alternative to a gentlemen's agreement.

 

Source: Business-Standard

 

Topic: Economics

6) 100% FDI in DTH

In News

The Union Cabinet recently approved revised guidelines for Direct to Home (DTH) broadcasting services.

Direct To Home Service

  • Direct-to-Home (DTH) television is a method of receiving satellite television by means of signals transmitted from direct-broadcast satellites.
  • The government permitted the reception and distribution of satellite television signals in November 2000.
  • On the other hand, in a Cable connection, the cable TV operators receive the signals from satellite and transmit to nearby areas through cables.
  • In DTH, the customers are directly connected to the satellites.

Satellites in DTH Network

Currently eight satellites are in use to provide DTH services to India. They are NSS-6 operated by Dish TV, MEASAT-3 operated by Sun Direct, SES-7 operated by Airtel, AsiaSat 5, ST-2 operated by Dish TV, GSAT-10 operated by Tata Sky and GSAT-15 operated by Sun Direct.

Details

  • It has increased the license period to twenty years. Earlier, it was ten years.
  • The guidelines allow 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in DTH.  Till now, the FDI cap was limited to 49 per cent.
  • The license fee has been revised to 8% from 10% of the Adjusted Gross Revenue.
  • The broadcasting firms will have to pay the license fee in quarterly basis. The firms are now paying in annual basis.
  • The guidelines also enable the DTH service providers to invest more coverage leading to increased operations and higher growth.
  • The Government of India has allowed the DTH operators to share the infrastructure. The service providers shall share common hardware for their Conditional Access System applications and Subscriber Management System.

Foreign direct investment

A foreign direct investment (FDI) is an investment in the form of a controlling ownership in a business in one country by an entity based in another country. It is thus distinguished from a foreign portfolio investment by a notion of direct control.

The origin of the investment does not impact the definition, as an FDI: the investment may be made either "inorganically" by buying a company in the target country or "organically" by expanding the operations of an existing business in that country.

 

Source: ND TV

 

Topic: Defence & Security

7) Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM)

In News

The Medium Range Surface to Air Missile was recently tested from a defence facility in Odisha. It was jointly developed by the Defence Research development Organisation and the Israel Aerospace Industries.

Details

  • This is most advanced state-of-the-art sleek missile.
  • Having a strike range of nearly 100 km, the 4.5-meter long nuclear-capable ballistic missile weighs around 2.7 tonne and can carry a payload of 60 kg.
  • Apart from the missile, the launching platform includes a Multi-Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MFSTAR) for detection, tracking, and guidance of the missile.
  • The new generation MRSAM has been developed to neutralise airborne threats like jets, missiles and rockets, including projectiles launched simultaneously.
  • The missile has a speed of Mach 2 and possesses high degrees of maneuverability at the target interception range.
  • MRSAM is a one command control system that tracks missiles, radar and mobile launcher systems.
  • The MRSAM is powered by the dual-pulse solid propulsion system developed by DRDO.

 

Source: The Hindu