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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Audit of PM CARES FUND

20th Aug 2020

Why in news?

Supreme Court has recently delivered its judgment on PM CARES funds.

What’s the issue?

The petition was filed by an NGO named Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) had sought a direction to the Centre to transfer the funds of PM Cares Fund to the NDRF.

Highlights of the judgment:

  1. The Court has “refused” to order transfer of funds from the PM CARES Fund to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF). They “are two entirely different funds with different object and purpose”.
  2. PM CARES Fund,being a public charitable trust, “there is no occasion for audit by the Comptroller & Auditor General of India”.
  3. The Court also rejected the request for a new National Plan under the National Disaster Management Act, 2005, to deal with Covid-19 situation.
  4. The court held that there is “no statutory prohibition on individuals to make voluntary contributions to NDRF” under Section 46(1)(b) of the DM Act.
  5. The court also declined to intervene with the “minimum standards of relief” and the necessary guidelines issued by the government under Section 12 of the DM Act.

About PM CARES Fund:

Set up on March 28, the PM CARES Fund is a charitable trust registered under the Registration Act, 1908.

The trust does not receive any Budgetary support or any Government money.

It was constituted with an objective to extend assistance in the wake of public health emergency that is pandemic COVID-19”.

Who administers the fund?

Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of the PM CARES Fund and Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance, Government of India are ex-officio Trustees of the Fund.

What is Public Account?

The Public Account of India was constituted by Article 266(2) of the Indian Constitution. It deals with the money received by the government, i.e. state provident funds, various pre-deposits under income tax, depreciation and reserve funds of departmental undertakings are paid into public accounts. Thus, receipts and disbursements which do not form part of the Consolidated Fund of India are included in the public accounts of India.

Section 46(1) in the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

(a) An amount which the Central Government may, after due appropriation made by Parliament by law in this behalf provide;

(b) Any grants that may be made by any person or institution for the purpose of disaster management.

 

Digital Quality of Life Index 2020:

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Why in news?

Recently, the Digital Quality of Life (DQL) Index 2020 has been released by Surf Shark, an online privacy solutions provider.

According to it, India ranks among the lowest in the world in terms of Internet quality.

Parameters:

The study indexes the countries by looking at five fundamental pillars that define the digital quality of life namely-

  1. Internet affordability
  2. Internet quality
  3. Electronic infrastructure
  4. Electronic security
  5. Electronic government

Performance of other countries:

  1. Top 3:Scandinavian countries Denmark and Sweden topped the index, with Canada rounding up the top three.
  2. Israel offered the cheapest internet — calculated by considering how much time one must work to be able to afford the cheapest mobile internet and broadband.
  3. Of the total countries, 75% of them have to work more than the global average to afford the internet.
  4. Singapore, the UK and the USperformed the best on the e-government indicator — arrived at by checking the state of government’s online presence and readiness to employ artificial intelligence technology and help “minimise bureaucracy, reduce corruption and increase transparency of the public sector”.
  5. The UK, France and Lithuania offer the most security —cyber security and status of personal data protection.
  6. Best Internet Quality- Singapore, Sweden and the Netherlands.
  7. The UAE, Sweden and Denmark have the most developed e-infrastructure.

India’s performance:

  • Of 85 countries, India ranked 9th on the internet affordability indicator, and 15th on e-government.
  • Overall, India is ranked 57th.
  • Internet cost- India scored the best on this parameter, leading countries like the UK, US and China.
  • e-government indicator- India secured 15th position on this, ahead of the Netherlands, China and Belgium.
  • Security- India performed poorly here, standing at 57th position.
  • Internet quality- With a rank of 78, it fell behind countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria and the Philippines.

On electronic infrastructure — focusing on active internet users and information and communications technology adoption rate — India ranked 79th, behind neighbors Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

GI Tag to Black Rice & Terracotta:

Why in News?

GI tag was given to the black rice variety of Manipur and terracotta of Gorakhpur in April 2020.

In-Detail:

  • The Geographical Indication taghad been given to Chak-Hao, a black rice variety of Manipur and Gorakhpur terracotta on 30 April.
  • The Consortium of Producers of Chak-Hao black rice, Manipur filed the application. It was aided by the Department of Agriculture, Government of Manipur and the North-Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited (NERAMAC).
  • The application for the terracotta was filed by the Laxmi Terracotta Murtikala Kendra in Uttar Pradesh.

Black Rice:

  • Black rice, known as Chak-Hao, is in cultivation in Manipur for over centuries.
  • It is known for its special aroma and glutinous rice. It belongs to the species oryza sativa.
  • It is normally served as a dessert – Chak-Hao kheer – during the community feasts.
  • It is a good source of vitamin E, fiber, high sources of anthocyanins, iron and antioxidants.
  • Research indicates that consumption of black rice prevents and manages ailments such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension, high cholesterol, allergies, ageing signs and cancers.
  • The black rice takes the longest cooking time of 40 to 45 mins. This is due to the presence of fibrous bran layer and higher crude content.
  • The Chak-Hao cultivation is practised in various forms such as directly sowing the pre-soaked seeds, transplantation of rice seedlings raised in the nurseries and puddle fields practice in wetlands.

Terracotta:

  • The terracotta of Gorakhpur is the old traditional ceramic artwork. The products are made from the special soil found in the Bhathat area of Gorakhpur district Uttar Pradesh.
  • Baked-clay is called as Terracotta.
  • The artists make various structures like bells, vases, animal figures, idols, lamps and chandeliers with hand-applied ornamentation.
  • The major terracotta products include Hauda Elephants, Mahawatdar horse, deer, camel, five-faced Ganesh, etc.

 

About the GI Tag:

§  The Geographical Indication (GI tag) is a sign used on products that have a unique geographic origin and gain popularity due to its origin.

§  The Geographical Indication of Goods ACT, 1999 came into force from 15 September 2003.

§  GI Act is defined under Article 22(1) of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

  • Some of the products that received GI tags recently are Kovilpatti kadalai mittai of Tamil Nadu, Gulbarga Tur Dal of Karnataka, Khola Chilli of Goa, and Kaji Nemu of Assam.

 

Facts for Prelims:

Ayuraksha:

All India Institute of Ayurveda under Ministry of AYUSH and Delhi Police have jointly launched ‘AYURAKSHA’ for police personnel.

  • Ayurveda medicines will be provided to nearly 80000 personnel of Delhi Police.

 

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