Daily Current Affairs for 21st September 2020

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Govt. tables Bill to amend FCRA


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

The Centre is set to amend the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act and proposes to make Aadhaar a mandatory identification document for all the office-bearers, directors and other key functionaries of an NGO or an association eligible to receive foreign donations.

Key details

  • The amendment is required to enhance transparency and accountability in the receipt and utilisation of foreign contributions worth thousands of crores of rupees every year.
  • The amendment will facilitate the “genuine” non-governmental organisations or associations who are working for the welfare of society.
  • The Bill proposes to include “public servant” and “corporation owned or controlled by the government” among the list of entities who are not eligible to receive foreign donations.
  1. “Amendment of clause (c) of sub-section (1) of section 3 to include public servant also within its ambit, to provide that no foreign contribution shall be accepted by any public servant.


  • In 2016, the Home Ministry had cancelled the licence of Lawyers Collective, run by noted lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover for various violations.
  1. The Ministry, in its suspension notice, had said that Ms. Jaising — as a government servant — had received foreign funds over ₹96 crore when she held the post of Additional Solicitor General (ASG) between the years 2009 and 2014, in violation of FCRA norms.
  2. Ms Jaising refuted the Ministry’s allegations and had said she was a “public servant” not “government servant.”

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, (FCRA)

  • The FCRA regulates foreign donationsand ensures that such contributions do not adversely affect internal security.
  • First enacted in 1976, it was amended in 2010 when a slew of new measures was adopted to regulate foreign donations.
  • The FCRA is applicable to all associations, groups and NGOs which intend to receive foreign donations.
  • It is mandatory for all such NGOs to register themselves under the FCRA.
  • The registration is initially valid for five years and it can be renewed subsequently if they comply with all norms.
  • Registered associations can receive foreign contribution for social, educational, religious, economic and cultural purposes.
  • Filing of annual returns, on the lines of Income Tax, is
  • In 2015, the MHA notified new rules, which required NGOs to give an undertakingthat the acceptance of foreign funds is not likely to prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India or impact friendly relations with any foreign state and does not disrupt communal harmony.
  • It also said all such NGOs would have to operate accounts in either nationalised or private banks which have core banking facilities to allow security agencies access on a real time basis.

Who cannot receive foreign donations?

  • Members of the legislature and political parties, government officials, judges and media persons are prohibited from receiving any foreign contribution.
  • In 2017 the Ministry of Home Affairs, through the Finance Bill route, amended the 1976-repealed FCRA law paving the way for political parties to receive funds from the Indian subsidiary of a foreign company or a foreign company in which an Indian holds 50% or more shares.

A neglected temple’s transition over the centuries


Mains: General Studies–I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society)

Why in news?

A temple constructed by emperor Ganapati Deva, a mighty ruler of Kakatiya dynasty, in Dharanikota near present Andhra Pradesh capital Amaravathi has been converted into an abode of local goddess Balusulamma (Goddess Durga).

Key details

  • The presiding deity at this 13th century temple was Kakati Devi, the tutelary deity of Kakatiya rulers.
  • Due to ravages of time and for no upkeep, the presiding deity got damaged.
  • The villagers of Dharanikota, who had no knowledge about the past of the temple, installed Balusulamma idol and started worshipping.
  • Unfortunately, neither the shrines sanctified by her ardent royal devotees nor her venerated images have so far been brought to light.
  • People of the land as well as scholars are lamenting this unpleasant aspect.

Ganapati deva and Kakati Devi

  • Ganapati Deva is the first king who introduced the worship of Kakati Devi into the coastal region of Andhra and outside the dominions of his kingdom.
  • After successfully annexing the Andhra region into the kingdom, Ganapati Deva also made matrimonial alliances with Kota chiefs of Dharanikota region by giving his daughter Ganapamba in marriage to Kota Beta Raja.
  • It is quite reasonable to infer that probably on that jubilant occasion Ganapati Deva constructed the temple and sanctified the limestone idol of Kakati Devi as presiding deity.
  • Later, the abode was developed under the patronage of Ganapamba.
  • The goddess is gracefully seated in Padmasana with eight hands.
  1. Her facial physiognomic features are oval, distinguished with slender cheeks, wide open eyes, an elongated nose and closed tender pair of lips.
  2. She has eight hands and poses eight different special attributes.
  • Her lower right hand is benevolently blessing the devotees.
  • This is a very rare and unique image possessed with best iconographical illustrations of the Kakatiya sculptures and pointing towards a most distinguished cult deity.


Architectural features

  • The ceiling bears decorations of lotus medallions and no sikhara on its top.
  • These architectural features are totally akin to their counterparts found in shrines at Hanamkonda and Warangal fort etc., – the original home land of Kakatiya dynasty.
  • With passage of time, when patrons became extinct the shrine was neglected and unpreserved, the idol rolled out from its original place in the sanctum and mutilated.
  • Currently, the idol is placed in a small shelter on the southern side of the temple, locally known as Gollabhama Gudi.

Kakatiya dynasty

  • The Kakatiya dynasty was a South Indian dynasty whose capital was Orugallu, now known as Warangal.

  • It was eventually conquered by the Delhi Sultanate
  • The dynasty’s name derives from the word “Kakati”, which is thought to be the name of a goddess
  • Much of the information about the Kakatiya period comes from inscriptions, including around 1,000 stone inscriptions, and 12 copper-plate inscriptions.
  • Most of these inscriptions document matters relating to religion, such as donations to Hindu temples.
  • They are particularly abundant for the period 1175–1324 CE, which is the period when the dynasty most flourished and are a reflection of that.
  • The probability is that many inscriptions have been lost due to buildings falling into disuse and also the ravages of subsequent rulers, most notably the Muslim Mughal Empire in the Telangana region

12 parties give no-trust notice


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

Twelve opposition parties gave notice for a no-confidence motion against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh, accusing him of violating the parliamentary procedures in trying to pass the farm sector Bills in haste, circumventing all demands for proper voting.

Key details

  • The Opposition parties condemned the Deputy Chairman for cutting short the speech by former Prime Minister Deve Gowda.
  • The Opposition also accused Mr. Harivansh of acting like a rubber stamp of the government.

Why are the Agriculture Bills being opposed?

Cooperative federalism

  • Since agriculture and markets are State subjects – entry 14 and 28 respectively in List II – the ordinances are being seen as a direct encroachment upon the functions of the States.
  • The Centre, however, argued that trade and commerce in food items is part of the concurrent list, thus giving it constitutional propriety.

End to MSP?

  • The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance aims at opening up agricultural sale and marketing outside the notified Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis for farmers, removes barriers to inter-State trade and provides a framework for electronic trading of agricultural produce.
  • It prohibits State governments from collecting market fee, cess or levy for trade outside the APMC markets.

No mechanism for price fixation

  • The Price Assurance Bill, while offering protection to farmers against price exploitation, does not prescribe the mechanism for price fixation.
  • There is apprehension that the free hand given to private corporate houses could lead to farmer exploitation.
  • Contract farming is not a new concept to the country’s farmers – informal contracts for food grains, formal contracts in sugarcane and poultry sectors are common.
  • Critics are apprehensive about formal contractual obligations owing to the unorganised nature of the farm sector and lack of resources for a legal battle with private corporate entities.

Deregulation of food items

  • The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance removes cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities.
  • The amendment will deregulate the production, storage, movement and distribution of these food commodities.
  • The central government is allowed regulation of supply during war, famine, extraordinary price rise and natural calamity, while providing exemptions for exporters and processors at such times as well.
  • The ordinance requires that imposition of any stock limit on agricultural produce must be based on price rise.
  • on the easing of regulation of food items said, it would lead to exporters, processors and traders hoarding farm produce during the harvest season, when prices are generally lower, and releasing it later when prices increase.
  • it could undermine food security since the States would have no information about the availability of stocks within the State.
  • Critics anticipate irrational volatility in the prices of essentials and increased black marketing.

What is a no- trust motion or no-confidence motion?

  • Neither a confidence motion nor a no-confidence motion is mentioned in the Constitution.
  • Article 75 of the constitution spells it out that “the council of ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People”.
  • This implies that the majority of Lok Sabha members must support the prime minister and his cabinet.
  • A no-confidence motion is an attempt, usually by an Opposition party, to get the government of the day to prove its majority on the floor of the House.
  • A no-confidence motion is slightly different from a motion of confidence, or trust vote, which is moved by the government, as an ordinary motion under Rule 184.
  • A government can prove its majority by moving a confidence motion as a counter to the opposition parties.

How it works?

  • A no-confidence motion can be moved by any member of the House.
  • It can be moved only in the Lok Sabha and not Rajya Sabha.
  • Rule 198 of the Rules of Procedure and conduct of Lok Sabha specifies the procedure for moving a no-confidence motion.
  • The member has to give a written notice of the motion before 10 am which will be read out by the Speaker in the House.
  • A minimum of 50 members have to accept the motion and accordingly, the Speaker will announce the date for discussion for the motion.
  • The allotted date has to be within 10 days from the day the motion is accepted. Otherwise, the motion fails and the member who moved the motion will be informed about it.
  • If the government is not able to prove its majority in the House, then the government of the day has to resign.

ICMR’s second Sero-survey ends


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news?

The Indian Council of Medical Research has completed its second national sero-survey to gauge the prevalence of COVID-19.

Key details

  • The first such survey was conducted in May 2020.
  • The survey’s objective was to estimate the national prevalence and spread of the infection in hotspots.
  • Containment zones, that refer to a specific geographical area where positive cases are found are dynamic in nature. They do not fit into nationally representative sampling.
  • The study has two parts out of which the primary task of estimating the fraction of population who has been infected with SARS-CoV-2 in general population has been completed.
  • The second objective of estimating fraction of population who has been infected in containment zones of hotspot cities is in the process of completion.

What is Serological-survey

  • Serological surveys are usually used to quantify the proportion of people or animals in a population positive for a specific pathogen.
  • Such serological surveys are increasingly being used by States.
  • The prominent objective behind such surveys is to check for levels of ‘herd immunity’, or if 60%-70% of the population have encountered the infection. This level of exposure is believed to be effective in protecting the rest of those uninfected.
  • A serological survey includes the IgG Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) test.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR),

  • It is the apex body for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research, is one of the oldest and largest medical research bodies in the world.
  • The ICMR is funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • In 2007 the organization established the Clinical Trials Registry – India, which is India’s national registry for clinical trials.

World Bank seeks ‘universal eligibility’


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in News?

Why in news?

The $1 billion World Bank loan to prevent, detect and respond to the threat of coronavirus and strengthen national health systems for preparedness as India combats the ongoing pandemic comes with a condition of “universal eligibility” in procurements.

 “Universal eligibility” meaning:

  • This would mean that all preferential market access policies, including Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) Order, Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) Policy, certain benefits to start-ups, shall not be applicable on purchases made while implementing the national project.
  • The contractors must agree to comply with the relevant provisions of the World Bank’s anti-corruption guidelines and prohibited policies of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
  • Apart from making way for universal eligibility in the supply system, the World Bank would have the right to review the procurement documents, inspect/audit all accounts, records and other files relating to the project. Compliance to these conditions has been made mandatory for the funding.

Key Details:

  • The first component of the project deals with emergency response to the pandemic and would be implemented until April 2022.
  • The Railways will spend ₹399 crore across its network to strengthen health infrastructure in the combat against COVID-19 in this financial year.

This is part of the “India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Strengthening Project”

  • These funds would be utilised for establishing isolation wards by purchasing ventilators, oxygen cylinders, laboratory machines, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits, face shields, hospital furniture, medical equipment, gloves, goggles and other consumables.

India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Strengthening Project

  • It a joint initiative of the Government of India and the World Bank that has disbursed $1 billion loan by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).
  • The Railway Ministry is one of the implementing agencies of the project.
  • It is aimed at accelerating India’s COVID-19 Social Protection Response Program‘ to support the country’s efforts for providing social assistance to the poor and vulnerable households, severely impacted by the pandemic.
  • The money will also be used for reforms in social security net, making it more integrated, portable and focussed on the urban poor.

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