Current Affairs is an important section to cover if one wish to appear in any kind of competitive exams like APSC, UPSC, all state civil service exams, Railway exams, SSC, RRBs, IAS, ACS, all Government job exams, TET, CTET and different banking exams like IBPS, SBI PO, SBI Clerk , RBI etc. We have covered the latest Weekly Current Affairs, August 8 – August 14, 2020. Visit our page regularly to get the latest informations and get updated and prepared for your exams.
- G.C. Murmu Appointed as New CAG
- Submarine Cable launched by PM Modi
- Powerloom Board scrapped by GOI
- “Project Cheetah” to be revived by Indian Armed Forces
- Skyroot Aerospace test fires India’s first Private Upper Stage Rocket Engine
- ‘Transparent Taxation – Honouring The Honest’ Platform launched
1. G.C. Murmu Appointed as New CAG
The President of India Ram Nath Kovind appointed Girish Chandra Murmu as the new CAG on August 4 2020. He assumed office as the Comptrollar and Auditor-General of India the same Day.
About G.C. Murmu
G.C. Murmu was born on November 21, 1959 in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. He served as Joint Secretary in the Department of Expenditure, Additional Secretary in the Department of Financial Services and Department of Revenue. He also served as Special Secretary in the Department of Expenditure and later on appointed as the full-fledged Secretary of the same Department. Murmu was Principal Secretary to Narendra Modi during his tenure as Gujrat Chief Minister.
G.C. Murmu, a 1985-batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre holds a post graduate degree in Political Science from Utkal University. He also holds an MBA degree from the University of Brimingham. Murmu completed his schooling at Baripada.
Before his appoinment as the Comptroller and Auditor General of India he was serving as the Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. His tenure as the new CAG will be up to November 20, 2024. He succeeded Rajiv Mehrishi, a 1978 batch IAS officer of the Rajasthan cadre who completed his term on August 7 2020.
The Comptroller and Auditor General(CAG) of India is a constitutional functionary, primarily entrusted with the responsibility of auditing the accounts of the central and state government. Established by Article 148 of the Constitution of India , CAG audits all expenditures and receipts of the Centre and the States, including those of bodies and authorities substantially financed by the Government.
The CAG also has the responsibility of auditing Government owned corporations and to conduct supplementary audit of government companies .
CAG reports are laid before Parliament and legislatures of the states and taken into consideration by the Public Accounts Committees(PACs) and Committees on Public Undertakings (COPUs). PACs and COPUs are special committees in the Parliament of India and state legislatures.
The CAG is nominated by the Prime Minister of India and appointed by the President India and is the head of the Indian Accounts and Audit Department. The term of CAG is 6 years or up to 65 years of age whichever is earlier.
The CAG is mentioned in the Constitution of India under several Articles and two Schedules.
The Article 148 of the Indian Constitution laid down the provisions of appointment, eligibility, oath, salaries, allowances, pensions and other conditions of service of the CAG.
The Article 149 of the Indian Constitution deals with the duties and powers of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
The Article 150 of the Indian Constitution defines the Form of Accounts of the Union and the States. The account should be kept in such forms as the President advices the CAG.
The Article 151 of the Indian Constitution described about the submission of reports relating to accounts of both Union and States.
The reports relating to the accounts of the Union shall be submitted to the president whereas that of the State to the Governor of the State concerned.
The Article 279 of the Indian Constitution deals with the certification of net proceeds by the CAG.
The Third Schedule of the Constitution of India prescribes the form of oath or affirmation to be made by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India at the time of assumption of office.
The Sixth Schedule includes the provisions as to the Administration of Tribal Areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
2. Submarine Cable launched by PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Chennai-Andaman and Nicobar Island Submarine Cable System on August 10 2020 through a video conferencing. The projects connects Chennai and Port Blair through Submarine Opticle Fibre Cable(OFC) for better internet connectivity and telecommunication.
- The foundation stone of the project was laid by PM Narendra Modi on 30 December, 2018, at Port Blair.
- The cost of the OFC project is Rs 1224 crore.
- The length of the under water cable is 2,313 km.
- The project has been funded by the Department of Telecommunicatiom and executed by state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL).
- The OFC will provide internet speeds of up to 400 gbps till port Blair and 200 gbps in the other islands.
- The underwater OFC link will deliver bandwidth of 2 x 200 GB per second between Chennai and Port Blair and 2 x 100 GB per second between Port Blair and Other islands.
Advantages of the OFC project
- The cable will boost digital connectivity of Andaman Islands with the mainland.
- The problem of mobile and internet connectivity is resolved as soon as the project is launched.
- The scope of tourism industry will increase many folds as a better net connectivity has become the first priority for any tourist site.
- A considerabe development will be seen in ease of living of the natives of Andaman. They will now have easy access to online classes, tourism, online shopping, tourism services, net banking, telemedicine and many more.
- The project will improve connectivity from Chennai to Port Blair and seven other islands . They are Swaraj Deep(Havelock), Rangat, Kamorta, Long Island, Hutbay(Little Andaman), Car Nicobar and Campbell Bay(Great Nicobar).
What is a submarine communication cable ?
A submarine communication cable is a cable which is laid on the seabed connecting land-based stations to transmit telecommunication signals across stretches of ocean and sea. They are also called Submarine Optical Fibre Cable.
Submarine cables are laid down in the ocean or sea bed by using specially modified ships.
The first submarine communications cable was laid in 1850 which became operational on 16 August 1858. It was used to carry telegraphy traffic between continents.
Types of Submarine Cables
There are two types of Submarine. They are – Unrepeatered and repeatered Submarine fibre cables.
- Unrepeatered Cables – This submarine cables does not require repeaters. They are used to connect stations with short distances. They are low cost cables but the maximum transmission distance is limited.
- Repeatered Cables – Repeatered Cables need repeaters and can connect stations with long distance.
3. Powerloom Board scrapped by GOI
The ministry of textile has disbanned the All India Powerloom Board through a notification issued on August 4 2020. Another notification stating change in the status of all eight Textiles Research Association (TRAs) has also been issued on August 6 2020.
The later notification states that the TRAs will now cease to be “affiliate bodies” of the ministry and will now be “approved bodies” for conducting testing, research and developmental activities related to the textile sector.
The Eight TRAs
- Northern India Textile Research Association, Gaziabad,
- Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association,
- Bombay Textile Research Association,
- South India Textile Research Association, Coimbatore,
- Synthetic and Art Silk Mills Research Association, Mumbai
- Man-made Textile Research Association, Surat,
- Wool Research Association, Thane,
- Indian Jute Industry’s Research Association, Kolkatta.
Reason behind the Ban
Government sources states that the decision to disband was taken following an assessment that states that the All India Powerloom Board failed to impact policy making and became vehicles of “Political patronage” with the emergence of ‘middleman culture’. Such culture cannot be in the interest of the weavers.
By scrapping the Board the Centre aims at achieving “minimum government and maximum governance” and “leaner government machinery and for systematic rationalisation of government bodies”.
About All India Powerloom Board
The All India Powerloom Board was first constituted as an advisory board in November, 1981. In December 2013 it was reconstituted for a period of two years.
The Board had representatives of Central and State governments , Powerloom Federation, Associations of Powerloom, Textile Industry as its members and was headed by the Union Minister of Textiles as the Chairman.
Aim of AIPB
The aim of the board was to advise the Government generally on matters concerning the healthy development of Powerlooms within the power-operated weaving sector including measures to be taken to acheive better productivity, increased efficiency, improve welfare of workers and locational disposal of Powerlooms.
4. “Project Cheetah” to be revived by Indian Armed Forces
The Indian Armed Forces has decided to revive “Project Cheetah” which was pending for a long time. The tri-service have decided to revive the project amid border tensions with China. The project is expected to cost Rs 3500 to the exchequer.
- The project ‘Cheetah’ will be revived to upgrade the drones used for carrying out offensive operations against the enemies.
- Under the project the tri-services seeks to upgrade around 90 Heron drones by equipping them with laser guided bombs, precision guided munitions, air to ground and air-launched anti-tank guided missiles which would help to target enemy posts and regiments.
- The proposal of reviving the project Cheetah has been sent to the high level defence ministry committee headed by Ajay Kumar.
- The newly formed committee under Ajay Kumar is in charge of looking into the procurements for the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.
About Ajay Kumar
Ajay Kumar is the present Union Defence Secretary of India. He was born on October 2, 1962 in Uttar Pradesh.
Ajay Kumar, a 1985 batch IAS officer of the Kerela cadre has a Bachelor of Technology in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology , Kanpur. He also has a Master of Science in development economics from the University of Minnesota and a Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration from the Carlson school of Management of the same University.
He has served various posts through out his career . In November 2017 Kumar was appointed as the Union Defence Production Secretary and on 21 August 2019, he was appointed as Union Defence Secretary of India.
The IAI Heron Drone is a medium-altitude long-endurance UAV which is capable of operations of up to 52 hours’ duration. It is manufactured by Israel Aerorospace Industries.
The Heron UAV was flown for the first time in 1994. It is used primarily used by Israeli Defence Force, Indian air Force, Brazilian Federal Police and Turkish Air Force.
5. Skyroot Aerospace test fires India’s first Private Upper Stage Rocket Engine
The Skyroot Aerospace has become the first Indian private company to test fire a homegrown upper stage rocket engine. It has demonstrated for the first time the capability to build a homegrown rocket engine.
The Rocket Engine – Raman
The 3D-printed rocket engine has been named after Noble laureate CV Raman. It is India’s first 100% 3D-printed bi-propellant liquid rocket engine injector. The rocket engine has fewer moving parts and weighs less than half of a conventional rocket engine of similar capacity. The engine has the capability of multiple restarts which enables the launch vehicle to insert various satellites into multiple orbits in a single mission.
Aerospace startup Skyroot Aerospace is a Hyderabad based aerospace manufacturer and satellite manufacturing company founded by Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharath Daka, both former scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO). The company was founded on June 12 2008. Since its inception it has earned fame for its Vikram series of launch vehicles – Vikram I, Vikram II and Vikram III.
Skyroot Aerospace plans to build a family of rockets. It is expected that the first rocket, which can hurl satellites of 250-700 kgs into a lower earth orbit will be launched by the end of 2021.The firm has raised 31.5 crore from investors to develop the family of rockets and is in continuous talks to raise 90 crore by mid-2021.
Private Sector Participation in Space Activities
In order to advance India’s capabilities in the space sector the Union Cabinet had approved the participation of the private sector in various space activities recently. The move was made during a meeting of the Union Cabinet on 24th June, 2020.
- Through this reform private sector is now allowed to carry out space activites like building rockets, satellites, providing launch services etc.
- Private sectors can also be part of planetary exploration missions.
- An approval was made to set up Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (In-Space) under the Department of Space. It will play the role of guiding the private sector in various space activities.
- In-Space will have its own directorates for technical, legal safety and security, activity promotion as well as for monitoring purposes.
- The New Space India Limited(NSIL), a PSU, founded in March 2019 will have the responsibility to change the economic and social policies for encouraging the private sector in space activities by making Indian Space Sector from “supply driven” to “demand driven and thus ensure optimum utilization of space assets.
6. ‘Transparent Taxation – Honouring The Honest’ Platform launched
The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi launched the ‘Transparent Taxation – Honouring The Honest’ Platform through a video conferencing on August 14 2020.
The PM also unveiled Taxpayers Charter and faceless assessment which are the next phases of direct tax reforms aimed at easing compliance and rewarding honest taxpayers as the government looks to re-built the COVID-19 hit economy.
Aim of ‘Transparent Taxation – Honouring The Honest’ Platform
The aim of the platform is to ensure a free, fair and transparent tax environment in the country by reducing the scope for corruption and overreach by officials.
- ‘Transparent Taxation – Honouring The Honest’ Platform is based on reforms such as faceless assessment, faceless appeal and taxpayers’ charter.
- Faceless assessment and taxpayers’ charter are implemented from August 13 2020.
- Faceless appeal facility will be made available on September 25 2020.
Excerpts from Prime Ministers speech
- PM Modi said that the process of Structural Reforms in the country has reached new heights from the launch day of the platform.
- He said that the focus of the Government in next last six years has been “Banking the Unbanked, Securing the Unsecured and Funding the Unfunded” and that the platform is in the similar direction.
- Th PM praised the role of honest taxpayers in nation building and expressed that making the life of such taxpayers easy is the responsibility of the Government.
- According to the Prime Minister the country’s tax structure needed fundamental reforms as the earlier tax structure was developed from the one created during pre-independent times.
- He remarked that simplified laws and procedures makes it easy to comply .
- The PM said that the ongoing reforms aim at making the tax system Seamless, Painless, Faceless. By seamless he meant Seamless system works to resolve the problems of a taxpayer instead of entangling him further. By Painless he meant everything from technology to rules should be simple. And faceless system means there is no need for a direct contact between Taxpayer and Income Tax Officer.
- Narendra Modi said that the Taxpayers Charter is a significant step where the taxpayer is now assured of fair, courteous and rational behavior. The charter takes care of maintaining the dignity and sensitivity of the taxpayer.