Current Affairs 12th Class

 The UK-based OneWeb company has sent 34 satellites into orbit on a single Soyuz rocket, from Baikonur port, Kazakhstan. The aims are to have the full network in operation by the end of 2021. This is the 50th Soyuz mission conducted by Arianespace, as the company plans to perform 19 more medium-lift Soyuz from three spaceports by 2021. Its mission was to drop its satellite batch into one of 12 planes planned for the constellation.

  President Ram Nath Kovind presented ‘President’s Colour’ to the INS Shivaji at a ceremony in Lonavala, Maharashtra. The Presentation of Colour or Standards by the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces is an acknowledgement of the unit’s meritorious service. INS Shivaji was commissioned in 1945. It is now the premier technical training establishment of the Indian Navy with the motto Kar-masu Kaushalam. INS Shivaji imparts training in an engineering discipline to personnel of the Navy, Coast Guard, other sister services and allied countries. It has trained over two lakh officers and sailors, both Indian and international, since inception. All courses conducted at INS Shivaji are recognised by the All India Council for Technical Education.

  National Workshop on e-office was inaugurated in New Delhi by Union Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Dr Jitendra Singh. During the National Workshop on e-office, Centralized Public Grievance Redress And Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) Reforms also launched by the minister. After the launch, he stated that the number of public grievances has increased to 19 lakh at present from 2 lakh in 2014. The Government of India in 2019 has received 18.7 lakh public grievances and disposed 18.1 lakh of them. The Centralized Public Grievance Redress And Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) 7.0 version has mapped the last mile grievance officers hence saving the time as well as improving the quality of disposal of cases. The CPGRAMS aligns with the Government of India’s vision of “Minimum Government-Maximum Governance”.

 The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has approved the setting up of an air quality monitoring network of 90 stations in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The air quality monitoring network of 90 stations will make it the largest such network in India, overtaking Delhi, which is currently having 38 monitors. Location-wise updates on the quality of air will be provided by these stations. The air quality monitoring network project will be funded by the BMC and private players and is expected to be finished in the next five years. At present, Mumbai is having 30 air quality monitoring stations out of which 5 stations are under Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), 10 stations are under the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) and 15 stations come under the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB).

 BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise 2020 has been started in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is organizing the BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise 2020 on behalf of the Government of India. The BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise was inaugurated by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
  • Participating countries:
The representatives of BIMSTEC member countries from India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka are participating in the exercise. Thailand and Bhutan are not participating this year.
  • Objective of BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise 2020:
The BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise 2020 organized by NDRF aims to test the existing emergency procedures for notification, preparedness and emergency response, during a major earthquake and flood scenarios. It also aims to improve the coordination and co-operation involving multi-agency operations in an earthquake, flooding and storm surge. The exercise will also test the coordination among the multi-stakeholders which involves international, national, state, district and local agencies, during a disaster scenario.

  The Vivad se Vishwas Scheme was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman during the Budget 2020-21. On February 12, 2020, the Union Cabinet approved to make required changes in the Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020 in order to widen its cover over litigation pending in debt recovery tribunal. 
  • Highlights
The amendment has been introduced in order to widen the scope of the scheme in debt recovery tribunal.
  • About the Scheme
The scheme focuses on tax payers whose tax demands are locked in multiple disputes. It is similar to the Indirect Tax Sabka Vishwas Scheme. The scheme aims to resolve 483,000 direct tax dispute cases that are pending in various appellate. The scheme aims to release 9 lakh crore direct taxes that are locked up in litigation.
  • Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020
The bill introduces a resolution mechanism through which an appellant can file a declaration. The authority (resolution mechanism implementer) will determine the amount payable within 15 days of the receipt of declaration.

 On February 12, 2020 the Union Cabinet approved the Memorandum of Understanding signed between India and Iceland in the field of fisheries.
  • Highlights
The countries had signed agreements in September 2019, to develop inland fisheries. According to the agreement, the countries agreed to create facilities of technical experts and scientists in shore areas and deep sea areas. They also agreed on exchange of scientific research literature, scientific experts in the field of fisheries. The agreement strengthens bilateral cooperation between India and Iceland.
  • Fisheries in India
According to the Economic Survey 2020, fisheries contribute to 6.58% of India’s GDP along with agriculture and forestry. The export of marine products for the year 2018-19 was 13.92 lakh tonnes. The survey also says that the total fish production of the country stood at 13.42 million tonnes in the year 2018-19. The major fisheries resources of India is spread across the vast coast line. It stands at 2.02 million square km of the Exclusive Economic Zone. The GoI in 2018-19 allocated Rs 7,522 crores of rupees towards Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Fund (FIDF).

 On February 12, 2020, the Union Cabinet approved on capital infusion in three Public Sector Units namely United India Insurance Company (UIICL), Oriental Insurance Company Limited (OICL) and National Insurance Company Limited (NICL).
  • Highlights
During the meet the cabinet also approved an immediate release of Rs 2,500 crores in order to address their critical financial position and also regulate their solvency requirements. The capital infusion is aimed at merging the three insurance companies in the future. Merging the companies will improve their operational efficiency and solvency ratio. The step is being taken to make these companies meet the solvency ratio criteria of IRDA (Insurance Regulatory Development Authority)
  • Solvency Ratio
The Solvency ratio is the key metric used to measure the ability of an enterprise to meet its debt obligation. It indicates if a company has sufficient cash flow in order to meet its long term and short-term liabilities. It is the ratio between after-tax net operating income and total debt obligations.

 On February 11, 2020, United States approved sale of Integrated Air Defence Weapon System to India. The cost of the system is estimated as 1.86 billion USD.
  • Highlights
India aims to buy Integrated Air Defence Weapon System (IADWS) from the US in order to modernize its armed forces. It will help India to counter threats posed by air attacks. US President is to visit India between February 23 and February 26, 2020. The countries are expected to seal the deal during his visit. The IADWS includes Air Defence Weapon System, AMRAAM Missiles, NASAMS-II, surface to air missiles, radars, etc.
  • NASAMS-II
The National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System was developed by USA in partnership with Norway. NASAMS-II is an upgraded version of NASAMS of Norway called Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System.
  • Significance
It is important for India to modernize its weapon systems. This is because China is undertaking massive military modernization. It is also increasing its presence in the Indian Ocean Region.

 On February 13, 2020, the Ministry of MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) launched “Apiary on Wheels”. It is a unique concept framed by KVIC (Khadi and Village Industries Commission). The main aim of “Apiary on Wheels” is to make migration easy.
  • Highlights
Apiary on wheels is an approach to make beekeeping simpler. It is a platform to carry 20 Bee Boxes. The vehicle has 2 large wheels on either sides and 4 separate compartments to place the boxes. It also has a solar panel that automatically powers a fan when the temperature inside the boxes reaches 35 degree Celsius. Also, it is designed in such a way that it can easily be connected with tractors or trolleys. As a beginning, they are to be placed in mustard farms.
  • Significance
It addresses the challenges faced by the beekeepers. Bee keeping involves laborious and mental challenges such a placing the bee boxes in strategic positions, migrating the bee boxes and fulfil the nourishment needs of the bees. The Apiary on Wheels addresses all the above issues. The concept was launched as a part of National Honey Mission launched in 2017
  • National Honey Mission
The mission since its launch has been training beekeepers, educating unemployed youths, distributing bee boxes. Under the mission, KVIC provides training and awareness to Bee farmers.


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