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UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 18-May-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. Govt. throws open defence production and coal sectors

  2. Cyclonic storm brewing in Bay of Bengal.

  3. Etalin Hydroelectric Power project : Ecology vs Development

  4. Delete criminal content in 1 hour, new French law tells social media 

  5. CCI to probe into anti-trust allegations against WhatsApp Pay: Report

  6. 25 years on, Tibetans still await release of 11th Panchen Lama 

  7. Eye on China, India backs 62-nation coalition’s push for probe into Covid-19 origin


Why in news?

  • Steps to indigenise defence production by banning the import of some weapons and platforms while hiking foreign direct investment into the sector were among the highlights of the fourth tranche of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package, which seemed to focus more on industry reforms than any sort of economic stimulus. 


  • Union Finance Minister also announced measures to introduce commercial mining in the coal sector, liberalise the mineral sector, ease airspace restrictions and encourage private involvement in space and atomic energy projects.

  • These sectors with these reforms are going to be the new horizon for growth and, therefore, we see great potential in more investments which can be drawn with the reforms that we are announcing today.

Source : Hindu ( https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/coronavirus-package-government-throws-open-defence-production-and-mining-sectors/article31604541.ece)


Why in news?

  • A cyclonic storm brewing in the Bay of Bengal lay 1,220 km south-southwest of Digha in West Bengal on Saturday morning, and is likely to bring heavy to very heavy rain in the coastal districts of the state from May 19, the Met office said here. 


  • Cyclone Amphan, a "very severe storm", will turn "extremely severe" in the next 24 hours, weather agency India Meteorological Department said on Sunday.

  • The weather phenomenon will cause heavy rainfall and high-velocity wind in several coastal districts of Odisha, West Bengals, and Andaman and Nicobar.

  • After Amphan the new name series will come into force for future cyclones.

Criteria followed for naming cyclones :

The proposed name should be neutral to

  1. (a) politics and political figures

  2. (b) religious believes,

  3. (c) cultures and

  4. (d) gender

  • Name should be chosen in such a way that it does not hurt the sentiments of any group of population over the globe

  • It should not be very rude and cruel in nature

  • It should be short, easy to pronounce and should not be offensive to any member

  • The maximum length of the name will be eight letters

  • The proposed name should be provided along with its pronunciation and voice over

  • The Panel reserves the right to reject any name, if any of the criteria above is not satisfied.

  • The finalised names may also be reviewed during the course of time of implementation with the approval of PTC in its annual session, in case any reasonable objection is raised by any member

  • The names of tropical cyclones over the north Indian Ocean will not be repeated.Once used, it will cease to be used again. Thus, the name should be new. It should not be there in the already existing list of any of the RSMCs worldwide including RSMC, New Delhi.

Source : TOI and PIB ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/cyclonic-storm-brewing-in-bay-of-bengal-several-coastal-districts-to-experience-heavy-rain-from-tuesday/articleshow/75774367.cms & https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1619051 )


Why in news?

  • The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Union environment ministry had met to discuss the 3,097-MW Etalin Hydroelectric Power project (EHEP), in Arunachal Pradesh, which awaits the ministry’s okay before construction can begin.


  • According to the minutes, the FAC has neither recommended nor rejected the proposal, but has palmed off the burden to the Union ministry of power, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the environment ministry’s wildlife division.

  • Now, the ministry of power needs to explain, among other things, the six-year delay in implementing the project (before construction has even begun) and changes to India’s power generation mix in this period and prioritising existing hydropower project proposals based on adverse ecological impact.

  • It is one of the many projects that compromise on ecology in the name of development.

  • On April 24, for example, the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) recommended a proposal to mine coal in the Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve, Assam. The reserve is in the Assam valley and encompasses tropical, wet evergreen forests and the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, home to elephants, Malayan sun bears, marbled cats, clouded leopards, and varioussnakes, lizards, turtles and butterflies.

  • On March 20, the Karnataka State Wildlife Board cleared the Hubballi-Ankola Railway Track (HART) cutting through the Western Ghats in Karnataka.

Source : Wire ( https://science.thewire.in/environment/etalin-is-only-one-of-many-problem-projects-closing-in-on-green-light/ )