Daily Current Affairs - 31st Aug 2020

Census, NPR unlikely in 2020

  • The first phase of the Census and the exercise to update the National Population Register (NPR), scheduled for this year but deferred due to the coronavirus outbreak, may be delayed by a year as there is no sign of slowdown of the pandemic. The Indian census is one of the largest administrative and statistical exercises in the world, with the involvement of more than 30 lakh officials who would visit each household across the length and breadth of the country.
  • The house-listing phase of the Census and the exercise to update NPR were scheduled to be carried out across the country from April 1 to September 30, 2020 but were postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Djokovic wins 35th Masters crown

  • Novak Djokovic tied Rafael Nadal’s record by earning his 35th title at a Masters 1000 tournament, overcoming a sluggish start to beat Milos Raonic 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the Western & Southern Open final and improve to 23-0 this season.

Djokovic-led move to form players’ body opposed by Federer and Nadal

  • The Novak Djokovic-led move to form Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA), a breakaway players’ body outside the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), has set alarm bells ringing. The World No. 1 is the current head of the ATP Player Council, but is understood to have resigned along with Canadian Vasek Pospisil and American John Isner.

DoPT spells out quarterly review for early retirement of bureaucrats

  • The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has asked all departments and ministries to maintain a register of officers attaining 50/55 years of age or completing 30 years of service who may be asked to take early retirement in ‘public interest’ grounds of ‘doubtful integrity’ and ‘ineffectiveness’.
  • The step is being taken to strengthen the administrative machinery by developing responsible and efficient administration at all levels and to achieve efficiency, economy and speed in the disposal of Government functions.

England beat Pakistan by five wickets to win the second T20I

  • England defeated Pakistan by five wickets in the second match of the three-match T20I series at Old Trafford in Manchester to take a 1-0 lead. Pakistan posted a total of 195 runs for the loss of four wickets in 20 overs. Morgan stepped up with a captain's knock of 66 (33) and received quality support from Dawid Malan, who scored an unbeaten half-century to lead England home.

Finance Minister to hold review meeting with bank, NBFC chiefs on September 3

  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will hold on September 3 a review meeting with top management of scheduled commercial banks and NBFCs on the implementation of the resolution framework for Covid-19 related stress in bank loans. The review will focus on enabling businesses and households to avail of the revival framework on the basis of viability, necessary steps like finalising bank policies and identifying borrowers, and discussing issues that require addressing for smooth and speedy implementation.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had this month permitted one-time restructuring of both corporate and retail loans.

Ghani names council for peace deal with Taliban

  • Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has named 48 people who will decide the negotiation strategy for a meeting with the Taliban aimed at ending the country’s protracted conflict. The members of the High Council for National Reconciliation include former President Hamid Karzai and ex-mujahideen leaders.
  • The council will draw the red line, strategy and agenda for the negotiators who will engage in direct talks with the Taliban that are set to be held in Doha.

Global death toll from COVID19 surpass 840,000

  • Global Covid-19 deaths surpassed 8 lakh 40,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. With total Covid-19 cases around the world reaching 2 crore 48 lakhs 92 thousand 543, the death toll worldwide rose to 8 lakh 40 thousand 341.
  • The US reported the most Covid-19 cases which stood at 59 lakhs 58 thousand 486. It also reported 1 lakh 82 thousand 711 deaths, accounting for more than one fifth of the global death toll. Brazil recorded 38 lakhs 46 thousand 153 cases and 1 lakh 20 thousand 262 deaths, second only to the United States.

GVK in deal with Adani Group for Mumbai International Airport

  • Gautam Adani's Adani Group said it has reached an agreement to acquire GVK Group's shareholding and control of Mumbai airport. GVK Group holds 50.50 percent equity stake in Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL). The debt will be converted into equity. Together with 50.50 percent stake of GVK, Adani's total holding in Mumbai airport will be 74 percent after completion of the transaction.

India and Russia announced as joint winners of FIDE Chess Olympiad

  • India and Russia were announced as joint winners of the FIDE Chess Olympiad as Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh lost connection to their games in the second round and had to forfeit.
  • In a first, the olympiad was conducted online. Originally, Russia were declared as the winners, but India filed an appeal and after investigation, both India and Russia were announced as joint winners.
  • This was the first time that India reached the finals of the FIDE Chess Olympiad.

India can become a global toy hub: Modi

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called upon start-ups and entrepreneurs to “team up for toys”, pointing out that India’s share in the Rs. 7 lakh crore global toy market is minuscule. He asserted that the country has the potential to be a hub for the industry.
  • In his monthly radio address, Mann ki Baat, he also called for promoting indigenous dog breeds.

K.S. Bajpai, former envoy to U.S., dead

  • Katyayani Shankar Bajpai, former Indian Ambassador to the United States and Pakistan, died. He was 92. Better known as Shankar Bajpai, the 1952-batch Indian Foreign Service officer had a long and distinguished career serving in crucial postings within the country and abroad.
  • He served in Pakistan during the 1965 war. The next year, he accompanied Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri to Tashkent for a summit with Pakistan President Ayub Khan.

Myanmar extends COVID-19 related restrictions on entry of Foreign Nationals till Sept. 30

  • Myanmar government has further extended the restrictions imposed on travellers visiting the country in order to contain the further spread of COVID-19 virus. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in an announcement said that the temporary suspension of all kinds of visas including on-arrival visa and e-visa will continue to be in place till September 30.
  • In the meanwhile, Myanmar reported 16 new cases of Corona infections taking the total number of infected people in the country to 749 out of which 351 people have recovered and 6 died.

RBI rejects lenders’ plea to put Reliance Home Finance, Reliance Commercial under NCLT resolution

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has rejected the move by Bank of Baroda (BOB) to send Anil Ambani group companies -- Reliance Home Finance Ltd (RHFL) and Reliance Commercial Finance Ltd (RCFL) to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for debt resolution under Section 227 of the IBC.
  • RBI is satisfied with the progress made by the lenders and by both companies towards successful resolution under its June 7 circular of last year.
  • BoB is the lead consortium of both companies and had sought RBI’s permission in May this year asking the regulator to send the company to the NCLT. Section 227 of the IBC gives special power to RBI and the Union government for referring financial services companies to the NCLT for debt resolution.

Unlock 4: SAI to open up its facilities for Developmental Group athletes

  • Sports Authority of India (SAI) has been opening up its facilities for sporting activities in a phased manner after the Government announced Unlock 1. In the first phase, Olympic and Paralympic-bound athletes began sporting activities at SAI's sporting facilities. As country enters Unlock 4, SAI has decided to open up its facilities for Developmental Group athletes.