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UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 24-April-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. Devanhalli Chakota

  2. Industries cannot be forced to pay wages: panel

  3. India following U.S. trajectory, says Chinese disease expert

  4. Imams overrule Pakistan’s lockdown as Ramzan approaches

  5. RBI to restart Operation Twist to manage yields

  6. Birth of 'Snowman' at edge of solar system


Why in news?

  • Endowed with a unique taste and flavour, and a Geographical Indication (GI) tag, the Devanahalli Pomelo, the citrus fruit popularly known as chakota, is getting a fresh cultivation push. 


  • The Karnataka Horticulture Department is set to provide the plant to interested farmers in Devanahalli and Doddaballapur regions.

  • The fruit is localised to around 13 villages in Devanahalli taluk, eight villages of Sidlaghatta taluk and seven villages of Doddaballapura taluk.

  • Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), which operates the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) too is cultivating the fruit. BIAL said in a statement that under its CSR programme ‘Namma Ooru’, it will have 500 chakota plants.

Source : Hindu ( )


Why in news?

  • The Parliamentary Committee on Labour, in its report on the Industrial Relations Code, 2019, submitted on Thursday, has recommended that “in case of natural calamities, payment of wages to the workers until the re-establishment of the industry may be unjustifiable”.


  • The ongoing lockdown to check the spread of COVID-19 can be counted as one such calamity.

  • The Industrial Code makes it incumbent upon the employer to pay 50% wages to the workers/employees who are laid off due to a shortage of power, coal, raw material and such instances for 45 days. 

  • The committee has suggested that “clarity” be brought in so that employers “not responsible for closure or lay off, are not disadvantaged in case of such natural calamity of high intent”. 

  • In his dissent note against the report, Mr. Karim said the recommendations are unfortunate especially in the present context. 

  • The Industrial Relations Code, 2019 is an amalgamation of three laws — the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Trade Unions Act, 1926, and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946. 

Source : Hindu ( )


Why in news?

  • India’s trajectory in COVID-19 cases is following the United States and likely to similarly reach a plateau rather than peak soon, one of China’s top infectious disease experts has said.


  • Since there were already signs of some community transmission in India, it was more likely to follow the trend of the U.S. and Europe rather than limit cases to a low number.

  • “I think the overall situation in India may be similar to that of the U.S,” he said. “The measures of each state in the U.S. are different. Some states are strict and some have resumed work. India has to consider how the economy functions and how the epidemic can be controlled, so it does not pay a high price for epidemic prevention.”

  • He suggested China’s “100%” lockdown, or Australia’s approach of locking down until very low numbers of new cases were reached, was unlikely to be replicated in other countries, and added that he did not necessarily advocate a one-size-fits-all approach.

  • He believed the global pandemic was broadly under control, and as the number of diagnosed cases increased, the mortality rate would further reduce. 

  • This outbreak, he said, was very different from SARS in 2003, which had a far higher mortality among both young and old. This also explained why some countries were choosing to reopen their economies and schools.

Source : Hindu ( )

Imams overrule Pakistan’s lockdown as Ramzan approaches

Why in news?

  • While clerics and governments across the Muslim world will greet Ramzan this week under lockdown, working together to shut mosques and urging worshippers to pray at home, in Pakistan, some of the most prominent imams have rallied their devotees to ignore the anti-pandemic measures.


  • Ramzan, which begins in Pakistan later this week, is the holy month in which Muslims crowd into mosques and fast all day, holding feasts after sundown with family and friends.

  • Those are ripe conditions for the coronavirus to spread, and imams around the world are asking people to stay home.

  • But in Pakistan, pandemic or no pandemic, hard-line clerics are calling the shots, overriding the government’s nationwide virus lockdown, which began late last month.

  • As Ramzan drew closer, dozens of well-known clerics and leaders of religious parties — including some who had initially obeyed the lockdown orders — signed a letter demanding that the government exempt mosques from the shutdown during the holy month or invite the anger of God and the faithful.

  • On Saturday, the government gave in, signing an agreement that let mosques stay open for Ramzan as long as they followed 20 rules, including forcing congregants to maintain a 6-foot distance, bring their own prayer mats and do their ablutions at home.

  • The defiance of the lockdown is exposing the limits of the military’s control.

Source : Hindu ( )


Why in news?

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced simultaneous purchase and sale of government bonds in a bid to soften long-term yields.


  • The central bank will buy ₹10,000 crore of bonds maturing between 2026 and 2030 and sell the same amount of T-bills.

  • Such open market operations are known as ‘Operation Twist,’ which was used by the RBI in December last year for the first time. 

  • Following the announcement, the yields on the 10- year bonds dropped by 20 basis points (bps).

  • The move will also aid monetary transmission by prompting banks to pass on interest rate cut benefits to their customers.

  • The RBI had reduced key policy rate or the repo rate by 75 bps to 4.4% in the monetary policy review, announced in the last week of March.

Source : Hindu ( )


Why in news?

  • New research by a team of astronomers shed new light on the formation of Kuiper Belt objects, asteroid-like objects at the edge of the solar system, and for understanding the early stages of the solar system's formation. 


  • A model developed at the Faculty of Physics at the Technion, Institute of Technology, in collaboration with German scientists at Tubingen, explains the unique properties of Arrokoth -- the most distant object ever imaged in the solar system. 

  • It is the farthest imaged object in the system, and pictures of it were first taken last year by the New Horizons space mission. 

  • New Horizons provided spectacular images of Pluto and its moon Charon, and provided invaluable scientific information that is now still being investigated, and will likely be studied for years. 

  • Beyond Neptune, in a region called the Kuiper Belt, there are numerous asteroid-like objects ranging in size from a few feet to thousands-of-miles-big objects. 

  • In their Nature article, the Technion researchers present novel analytic calculations and detailed simulations explaining Arrokoth's formation and features. 

  • According to our model, these two bodies revolve around each other, but because they revolve together around the Sun, they basically constitute a triple system.

Source : Times of India ( )

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