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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 24 July 2020

Contents

  1. Chinese companies face curbs in getting govt contracts
  2. India appreciates Dhaka’s Kashmir position
  3. China launches Tianwen-1 Mars rover mission
  4. Ties with U.S. severely harmed: China
  5. Yuva Scheme: First-time offenders get a chance

CHINESE COMPANIES FACE CURBS IN GETTING GOVT CONTRACTS

Focus: GS-III Indian Economy, GS-III International Relations

Why in news?

  • The Central Government changed rules to enable curbs on bidders from countries that share a land border with India “on the grounds of defence and national security”.
  • The action signals increasing impatience with China over its failure to fully implement the ‘consensus’ to disengage and de-escalate.

Details

  • Though the order does not name any country, it is clearly aimed at scrutinizing and imposing curbs on Chinese investments and partnerships in Indian projects.
  • The new rules seek to block supply of stationery, turbines and telecom equipment as well as award of road and power contracts to firms with links with China.
  • As per the order any bidder from such countries sharing a land border with India will be eligible to bid only if registered authority to be set up by the department of promotion of industry and internal trade.
  • The government order amended the General Financial Rules 2017 to allow the Centre to intervene in matters that directly or indirectly relate to defence and national security.
  • As per the Order any bidder from such countries sharing a land border with India will be eligible to bid in any procurement whether of goods, services (including consultancy services and non-consultancy services) or works (including turnkey projects) only if the bidder is registered with the Competent Authority.

What are General Financial Rules (GFRs)?

  • The General Financial Rules (GFRs) are set of rules that deal with matters that involve public finances. They were first issued in 1947 bringing together all the existing orders. They are instructions that pertain to financial matters.
  • They lay down the general rules applicable to Ministries / Departments, and detailed instructions relating to procurement of goods are issued by the procuring departments broadly in conformity with the general rules, while maintaining flexibility to deal with varied situations.

Recently in news:

  • India mandated government approval for foreign direct investment (FDI) from countries with which it shares land borders.
    Similar to the current move, no country was named explicitly.
  • The curbs aimed to shield Indian companies from predatory investments, particularly those from China—a big hint that policymakers in New Delhi have become ever more cautious of Beijing’s growing role in the Indian economy.
  • Latest data from Global Trade Alert shows China has faced more trade restrictions than any other country since 2019.

Click Here to read more about Restrictions on China and India’s dependence and more

-Source: Times of India


INDIA APPRECIATES DHAKA’S KASHMIR POSITION

Focus: GS-II International Relations, GS-I History, Prelims

Why in news?

  • India spoke of its unique relation with Bangladesh, in response to Pakistan raising the Kashmir issue with the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) saying India appreciates Bangladesh’s position which regards Kashmir as an ‘internal’ matter of India.
  • The MEA also said India and Bangladesh are celebrating the centenary event ‘Mujib barsho’ this year in memory of the founder of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Mujib Year

  • The government of Bangladesh has announced the commemoration of 2020–2021 as the Mujib Year on the occasion of the centennial birth anniversary of the founding leader of the country, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
  • The UN General Assembly, UNESCO, has decided to jointly celebrate the Mujib Year with Bangladesh at the UNESCO 40th General Assembly.

Who is Sheikh Mujibur Rahman?

  • Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a Bangladeshi politician and statesman called “Father of the Nation” in Bangladesh.
  • He is considered to be the driving force behind the independence of Bangladesh.
  • He is popularly dubbed with the title of “Bangabandhu” (“Friend of Bengal”) by the people of Bangladesh.
  • Mujib is credited as an important figure in efforts to gain political autonomy for East Pakistan and later as the central figure behind the Bangladesh Liberation Movement and the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.
  • In 1975 a group of junior army officers invaded the presidential residence with tanks and killed Mujib, his family and personal staff.
  • Only his daughters Sheikh Hasina (who is the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh) and Sheikh Rehana escaped.

Bangladesh–India relations

  • Bangladesh and India are South Asian neighbours and Diplomatic Relations between the two countries was followed by the visit of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1972 where there she had signed the Indo-Bangladesh Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Peace Relations, popularly known as the ‘Indira-Mujib Treaty of 1972, with then Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
  • The relations between the two countries have usually been friendly, although sometimes there are border disputes.
  • They are common members of SAARC, BIMSTEC, IORA and the Commonwealth.
  • The two countries share many cultural ties. In particular, Bangladesh and the east Indian state of West Bengal are Bengali-speaking.
  • In 1971, the Bangladesh Liberation War broke out between East Pakistan and West Pakistan; India intervened in December 1971 on behalf of East Pakistan and helped secure East Pakistan’s independence from Pakistan as the country of Bangladesh.

-Source: The Hindu


CHINA LAUNCHES TIANWEN-1 MARS ROVER MISSION

Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

Why in news?

The Tianwen-1 mission launched atop a Long March 5 rocket and is now on its way to Mars.

Details: Tianwen-1

  • Tianwen-1 is China’s first fully homegrown Mars mission.
  • The success of the mission will make China the third country to achieve a Mars landing after the USSR and the United States.
  • Tianwen-1 is an all-in-one orbiter, lander and rover will search the Martian surface for water, ice, investigate soil characteristics, and study the atmosphere, among completing other objectives.
  • The Tianwen-1 mission will lift off on a Long March 5 rocket, and will carry 13 payloads (seven orbiters and six rovers) that will explore the planet.
  • The mission’s launch in July was confirmed on 24th May by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), which has been working on the project since 2016.
  • The Chinese mission will be the first to place a ground-penetrating radar on the Martian surface, which will be able to study local geology, as well as rock, ice, and dirt distribution.
  • China’s previous ‘Yinghuo-1’ Mars mission, which had piggybacked on a Russian spacecraft, had failed after it could not leave the Earth’s orbit and disintegrated over the Pacific Ocean in 2012.

Previous Mars missions

USSR

  • The USSR in 1971 became the first country to carry out a Mars landing– its ‘Mars 3’ lander being able to transmit data for 20 seconds from the Martian surface before failing.
  • The country made its second and Mars landing two years later in 1973.

U.S.A.

  • The second country to reach Mars’s surface, the US, holds the record for the highest number of Mars landings.
  • Since 1976, it has achieved 8 successful Mars landings, the latest being the ‘InSight’ in 2019 (launched in 2018).

India

  • India and the European Space Agency have been able to place their spacecraft in Mars’s orbit.
  • India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or ‘Mangalyaan’ was able to do so in September 2014, almost a year after its launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh.

Why Mars exploration?

  • Mars, the Red Planet, has several Earth-like features– such as clouds, polar ice caps, canyons, volcanoes, and seasonal weather patterns.
  • For ages, scientists have wondered whether Mars can support life.
  • In the past few years, Mars missions have been able to discover the possible presence of liquid water on the planet, either in the subsurface today or at some point in its past.
  • Another significant point is: exploration of Mars will pave the way for other missions to planets farther away and hence are very important for the future missions.

Mangalyaan

  • The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called Mangalyaan, is a space probe orbiting Mars since 24 September 2014.
  • It was launched on 5 November 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • It is India’s first interplanetary mission and it made it the fourth space agency to reach Mars, after Roscosmos, NASA, and the European Space Agency.
  • It made India the first Asian nation to reach Martian orbit and the first nation in the world to do so on its maiden attempt.

-Source: The Hindu


TIES WITH U.S. SEVERELY HARMED: CHINA

Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

China warned it will be forced to respond after the U.S. ordered the shutdown of its Houston consulate.

Details

  • Washington gave China 72 hours to close the consulate “to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information”, marking a dramatic escalation of tension between the world’s two biggest economies.
  • Chairman of Senate Intelligence Committee described the Houston Consulate as the “central node of the Communist Party’s vast network of spies & influence operations in the United States”.
  • Chinese Foreign Ministry described the U.S. allegations as “malicious slander”, and that China must make a necessary response and safeguard its legitimate rights.

Sharp deterioration

U.S.-China ties have deteriorated sharply this year over issues ranging from the pandemic and telecoms-gear maker Huawei to China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and its clampdown on Hong Kong.

Recently in News: Click Here to read more about US & India Conducting a Joint Naval Exercise

-Source: The Hindu


YUVA SCHEME: FIRST-TIME OFFENDERS GET A CHANCE

Focus: GS-IV Ethics and Integrity, GS-II Social Justice

Example to use regarding Yuva Scheme

  • A man was recently arrested on charges of pickpocketing train passengers, which was the first time he committed a crime.
  • He is out on bail and has enrolled in the Delhi Police’s self-sufficiency programme, ‘Yuva’.
  • As a part of the scheme, when he completes his classroom as well as practical training, he will be given a chance to work at nursing homes and private hospitals as a clerical assistant.
  • In short, his life changed from spiraling down into a life of another criminal to someone who is making an honest living and employed.

About the Yuva Programme

  • Delhi police commissioner said that they believe that first-time offenders must be given a chance to reform.
  • As a crime control strategy, Delhi police are segregating first-time offenders from repeat offenders and arranging for their vocational training to make them self-reliant.
  • The training not only teaches them how to work efficiently but also educates them about how to keep away from anti-social elements and lead a healthy and safe life.
  • Currently there are around 10 first-time offenders enrolled in the Yuva programme, all of whom have lost their livelihood due to the pandemic.
  • The idea of enrolling first-time offenders in such a programme came when it was noticed that many labourers, contractual employees and those involved in similar jobs have lost their livelihood due to lockdown.

Way Forward

  • Training is not the issue, as in the current times, even skilled workers are out of work and we need more jobs and income support.
  • This calls for a much bigger initiative which won’t be possible with the efforts of the police alone.

-Source: Hindustan Times

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