UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 15-July-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. Pragyata Guidelines

  2. Medical test not needed for trans ID certificate: draft rules

  3. U.S. rejects Beijing’s claims in S. China Sea

  4. NPAs may witness unprecedented increase in 6 months: Raghuram Rajan

  5. India, EU ink civil nuclear pact


PRAGYATA GUIDELINES

Why in news?

  • Schools can hold live online classes for a maximum of 1.5 hours per day for Classes 1-8, and three hours per day for Classes 9-12, according to the Pragyata guidelines for digital education, released by the Ministry of Human Resource Development on Tuesday. 


Highlights:

  • These guidelines, prepared by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), are only advisory in nature, and State governments have been asked to build on them and formulate their own rules, based on local needs.

  • Over 25 crore students have been out of school since mid-March.

  1. The Pragyata guidelines acknowledge that these students live in households which fall into different categories:

  • those having computers or smartphones with 4G,

  • those with smartphones but limited or no internet access,

  • those with TV with cable or DTH,

  • those with a radio set or a basic phone with FM radio, and

  • those with no communication devices at all.

  1. Noting that members from different categories may be present in the same class, the guidelines advise schools to survey students before making decisions on the mode of teaching. 

  2. Children exposed to digital technologies or gadgets for a longer time are prone to severe health issues


Source : Hindu ( Page 1, 15 Jul. 20 )


MEDICAL TEST NOT NEEDED FOR TRANS ID CERTIFICATE: DRAFT RULES

Why in news?

  • After facing flak from the transgender community, the Union government has done away with the requirement of a medical examination for trans persons applying for a certificate of identity in its latest draft rules framed under the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.


Highlights:

  • The draft of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020, published in the gazette on Monday, stated that a District Magistrate would issue a transgender identity certificate and card based on an affidavit by the applicant, “but without any medical examination”.

  • An earlier draft of the rules, for which the Ministry had invited public comments till May 18, mandated a report from a psychologist along with the affidavit for the application.

  • The trans rights movement had opposed this, as it was seen as going against a trans person’s right to self-identification.

  • An online application system was being prepared and may be ready by September.

  • Trans persons would be required to fill out a form and submit an affidavit saying they perceive themselves to be “a transgender person whose gender does not match with the gender assigned at birth”.

  • In case of change of gender, the application for new identification certificate would require a certificate from the medical superintendent or chief medical officer of the medical institution where the applicant underwent the intervention.


Source : Hindu (Page 11, 15 Jul. 20 )


U.S. REJECTS BEIJING’S CLAIMS IN S. CHINA SEA

Why in news?

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday the United States would treat Beijing’s pursuit of resources in the dispute-rife South China Sea as illegal, ramping up support for Southeast Asian nations and triggering a furious response from Beijing.


Highlights:

  • “We are making clear: Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them,” Mr. Pompeo said in a statement.

  • The United States has long rejected Beijing’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea, which is both home to valuable oil and gas deposits and is a vital waterway for the world’s commerce.

  • Mr. Pompeo’s statement goes further by explicitly siding with Southeast Asian nations, including the Philippines and Vietnam, after years of the U.S. saying it took no position on individual claims.

  • Beijing claims most of the South China Sea through a so-called nine-dash line, a vague delineation based on maps from the 1940s.

  • It has spent years building military bases on artificial islands in the contested areas to cement its claims, while dragging out a diplomatic process to resolve the disputes for nearly two decades.

  • Mr. Pompeo issued his statement to mark the fourth anniversary of a tribunal decision that sided with the Philippines against the nine-dash line.

  • The United States as a result now rejects Beijing’s claims in the waters surrounding Vanguard Bank off Vietnam, Lucania Shoals off Malaysia, waters considered in Brunei’s exclusive economic zone and Natuna Besar off Indonesia.

  • Mr. Pompeo also rejected Beijing’s southernmost claim of Malaysian-administered James Shoal, which is 1,800 km (1,150 miles) from the Chinese mainland.


Source : Hindu ( Page 14, 15 Jul. 20)


NPAS MAY WITNESS UNPRECEDENTED INCREASE IN 6 MONTHS: RAGHURAM RAJAN

Why in news?

  • Sounding a note of caution, former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan on Tuesday said non-performing assets (NPAs) of the banking sectorare likely to witness unprecedented increase in the next six months and the sooner the problem is recognised the better it would be.


Highlights:

  • The outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown to curb the spread of disease has hit businesses hard and many of them are facing difficulty in servicing debt. 

  • "The level of the NPAs is going to be unprecedented in six months from now if we really recognise the true level of NPAs...We are in trouble and sooner we recognise it, better it is because we really need to deal with the problem,” Rajan said during a session at the India Policy Forum 2020 organised by NCAER. 

  • He said one positive factor for Indian economy is that the agriculture sector is doing well. 

  • Certainly, the government has come up with reforms. These are reforms which have been talked about for a long time. They certainly can be beneficial for a significant portion of our economy if implemented

  • As part of the reform process for the farm sector, the government amended the six-and-a-half-decade-old Essential Commodities Act to deregulate food items, including cereals, edible oil, oilseeds, pulses, onion and potato. 

  • The amendment, besides deregulating production and sale of food products, will provide for no stock limit to be imposed on any produce. 


Source : TOI ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/npas-may-witness-unprecedented-increase-in-6-months-raghuram-rajan/articleshow/76967403.cms )


INDIA, EU INK CIVIL NUCLEAR PACT

Why in news?

  • India and the European Union today signed a civil nuclear agreement to set the stage for the India-EU virtual summit on Wednesday.


Highlights:

  • The summit, to be co-chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, will unveil a joint roadmap for cooperation.

  • As Covid cases have risen in India, which is also a crucial link in the global pharmaceutical supply chain, both issues will be discussed at the summit, EU officials say.

  • Revealing that India had submitted an ambitious project to enhance India-EU connectivity, they said the other key areas are artificial intelligence, digital field, security, climate, environment and trade and investment.

  • The two sides will also resume their dialogue on human rights.


Source : Tribune ( https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/india-eu-ink-civil-nuclear-pact-113088 )


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