Daily Current Affairs for 8th September 2020

  1. Home
  2. »
  3. Current Affairs September 2020
  4. »
  5. Daily Current Affairs for 8th September 2020

Govt. intervention in education policy should be minimal: PM


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

Why in news?

The government’s intervention in the education policy should be “minimal”, PM said, emphasising that the policy belonged to the whole country, rather than to any particular government in power.

Minimum Interference:

  • The Central, State governments, as well as local bodies, all have responsibility for the education system.
  • PM urged a “collective responsibility” in implementing the policy.
  • The Prime Minister urged the States to hold consultations with stakeholders on the implementation of the policy by September 25.

Key Statistics:

  • Investment in education is only 7% of the GDP in India, in comparison to 2.8% in the U.S., 4.2% in South Korea and 4.3% in Israel.
  • The goal of investing 6% of the GDP in public education had remained unreachable since it was originally made in the 1968 Education Policy.

India’s score in education

  • According to the Economic Survey- India spent 3% of its total GDP on education in 2018-19 or about 5.6 lakh crore.
  • NITI Aayog, has highlighted that the country spends less on education, in its ‘Strategy for New India @ 75′ report’ on December 19, 2018, it has recommended that spending on education should be increased to at least 6 per cent of GDP by 2022.

National Education Policy (NEP) 2020

  • The new policy seeks rectification of poor literacy and numeracy outcomes associated with primary schools, reduction in dropout levels in middle and secondary schools and adoption of the multidisciplinary approach in the higher education system.
  • Recognising Importance of Formative years: In adopting a 5+3+3+4 model for school education starting at age 3, the policy recognises the primacy of the formative years from ages 3 to 8 in shaping the child’s future

Significance of National Education Policy 2020

  • It would help transform the country into a “knowledge economy” and tackle brain drain by paving the way to open local campuses of global educational institutions.
  • The focus on critical thinking, instead of mere curricular studying, as well as the emphasis on vocational education.
  • Introduction of vocational courses with an internship, it would help in realisation of the goal of Skill India Mission.
  • The NEP proposes the extension of the Right to Education (RTE) to all children up to the age of 18.
  • NEP buries the strident Hindi versus English language debate; instead, it emphasises on making mother tongue, local language or the regional language the medium of instruction at least till Grade 5.

U.K. threatens to undercut Brexit pact


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

Why in news?

The European Union told Britain that there would be no trade deal if it tried to tinker with the Brexit divorce treaty, raising the prospect of a tumultuous end-of-year finale to the saga.

Key details

  • Britain government was planning new legislation to override parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement it signed in January.
  • That could potentially jeopardise the whole treaty and create frictions in British-ruled Northern Ireland where special arrangements had been made to avoid a hard border with Ireland to the south that could be detrimental to a peace agreement.


  • Britain has officially left the European Union (EU) and has become the first country to leave the 28-member bloc.
  • The UK will be able to work in and trade freely with EU nations and vice versa until December 31, 2020. However, it will no longer be represented in the EU’s institutions.
  • From 2021, the UK and EU will enter a new relationship possibly underpinned by a free trade deal.
  • The transitional arrangement is designed to make the separation process smoother and it covers subjects like trade, law, and immigration.
  • It will give them more time to iron out all the details of their future relationship including a possible free trade deal.

A brief guide to the key terms of the Brexit story:

Article 50

  • The exit clause within the Lisbon Treaty, the terms of which form the constitutional basis of the EU.
  • A member state must invoke the treaty before it can formally and legally leave the bloc.
  • The UK triggered Article 50 on March 29, 2017, becoming the first EU member to do so.
  • The article allows a departing country two years to negotiate an exit deal, a period that has been extended by the EU for the UK.

Customs Union

  • An agreement under which two or more countries agree not to impose taxes on imported goods from one another and to apply a common tariff on goods imported from countries not party to the agreement.
  • Under the terms of the EU’s customs union, goods that have been legally imported into the bloc can circulate throughout its member states with no further customs checks and member states are forbidden from negotiating trade agreements separately from the bloc.


This refers to the UK departing the EU with a brokered agreement on the terms of its withdrawal and future trading arrangements with the bloc.

Hard border

  • Because of Brexit, a physical border controlled and protected by customs authorities, police or military forces could be erected between Northern Ireland, a constituent part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state.

Hard Brexit

  • There is no strict definition of hard Brexit, but it is generally accepted to mean a version of withdrawal from the EU which would see the UK leave the bloc’s single market and customs union.
  • A hard Brexit would also likely see the UK stop paying into the EU’s budget and end freedom of movement, a founding principle of the union which permits citizens of EU member states to live and work in any part of the bloc.

Norway-style compromise

  • Under “Norway-style compromise” approach, the UK would remain in the bloc’s single market, otherwise known as the internal market or the European Economic Area, after it has formally left the union.
  • As such, Britain would be able to trade freely within the bloc while also striking trade deals with non-EU countries.

Single market

The EU’s single market covers all member states and four other countries – Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – and permits people, goods, services and money to move around freely as within a single country. Common rules and regulations are devised, implemented and adhered to by its members

Soft Brexit

  • There is no strict definition of soft Brexit, but it is generally accepted to mean a version of withdrawal from the EU which would see the UK remain part of the bloc’s single market and customs union, or both.

A soft Brexit could also include UK concessions to aspects of the freedom of movement principle.

Measures needed to protect growth potential


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

Why in news?

  • The 23.9% contraction in first-quarter GDP should alarm us all and policymakers need to be “frightened out of their complacency” and take meaningful steps, former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan wrote.

Key details

  • Without relief measures, the growth potential of the economy will be seriously damaged.
  • With discretionary spending expected to stay low until the virus was contained, government provided relief assumed far greater significance.
  • The government’s reluctance to do more immediately and instead conserve resources for a possible future stimulus was a “self-defeating” strategy.
  • India’s economic contraction compared with a decline of 12.4% in Italy and 9.5% in the U.S.- two of the most pandemic-affected advanced countries.
  • The pandemic is still raging in India, so discretionary spending, especially on high-contact services like restaurants, and the associated employment, will stay low until the virus is contained.
  • Government-provided relief becomes all the more important. This has been meagre.

Key suggestions by Mr. Rajan

  • Noting that Brazil, which had spent ‘tremendously’ on relief, was seeing a much lower downgrade to medium-term growth than India, “government officials who hold out the possibility of a stimulus when India finally contains the virus are underestimating the damage from a more shrunken and scarred economy at that point.”
  • The government would have to expand the resource envelope in every way possible, and spend cleverly.
  • MNREGA is a tried and tested means of providing rural relief and should be replenished as needed. Given the length of the pandemic, more direct cash transfers to the poorest households, especially in urban areas that do not have access to MNREGA.

Hypersonic cruise vehicle test puts India in elite club


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

Why in news?

The hypersonic air-breathing scramjet technology was successfully demonstrated by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) with a flight test of the hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle (HSTDV), which will lead to the development of hypersonic cruise missiles and vehicles in future.

Key details

  • The HSTDV took off from the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam launch complex on Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast.
  • The hypersonic cruise vehicle was launched using a proven solid rocket motor, which took it to an altitude of 30 km, where the aerodynamic heat shields were separated at hypersonic speed.
  • The cruise vehicle separated from the launch vehicle and the air intake opened as planned.


  • It’s a major technological breakthrough in the country.
  • This testing paves the way for development of more critical technologies, materials and hypersonic vehicles.
  • This puts India in a select club of nations that have demonstrated this technology.
  • Scramjet engine is a major breakthrough. Air goes inside the engine at supersonic speed and comes out at hypersonic speeds. The vehicle reaches a certain altitude, then cruises and also reaches very high temperatures, up to 1,000°-2,000° Celsius, during re-entry.

The hypersonic vehicle and its scramjet engine

  • The scramjets are a variant of a category of jet engines called the air breathing engines.
  • The ability of engines to handle airflows of speeds in multiples of speed of sound, gives it a capability of operating at those speeds.
  • Hypersonic speeds are those which are five times or more than the speed of sound.
  • The unit tested by the DRDO can achieve upto six times the speed of sound or Mach 6, which is well over 7000 kilometers per hour or around two kilometers per second.

Development of the technology

  • The DRDO started on the development of the engine in early 2010s.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has also worked on the development of the technology and has successfully tested a system in 2016.

August rainfall highest since 1926: IMD


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

Why in news?

August rainfall this year has been the highest since 1926 with 32.7 cm – or about 27% more than what is normal for the month.  In August 1926, the rainfall recorded was 34.8 cm, exceeding the normal by 33%.

Key details

  • There has been a decrease in rainfall across India since the beginning of September. However, IMD expect a revival again around September 17.
  • In the normal course, the monsoon begins its retreat from September 15 and this can go on for nearly a month.

Causative Factor:

The heavy rain in August was due to several long-lasting low-pressure systems, or rainbearing winds, that formed in the Bay of Bengal and were vigorous enough to travel all the way from the south-eastern coast up to north-west India.

Low-pressure systems

  • The heavy rain in August was due to several long-lasting low-pressure systems, or rainbearing winds, that formed in the Bay of Bengal and were vigorous enough to travel all the way from the south-eastern coast up to north-west India.
  • In a typical monsoon season, there are 12-13 LPA. There were fewer this year, however, there were six of them in August and they lasted for several days. Together that led to several rainy days in August.
  • The surplus rain was primarily in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Odisha

Climate change

  • Long periods of heavy rain followed by extended dry periods are a feature of climate change and is part of a general change in monsoon patterns over India.
  • The agency’s monthly forecasts for July and August were widely off the mark, but this was due to “intra-seasonal” variations and the IMDs shorter-term forecast models had anticipated spells of heavy rain and adequately warned authorities.

India Meteorological Department

  • Formed in 1875, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) is the national meteorological service of the country
  • It is the chief government agency dealing in everything related to meteorology, seismology, and associated subjects.

Detail steps for senior citizens’ care during pandemic, SC tells States


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

Why in News:

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the States to provide a more detailed version of the measures in place to provide care, support and priority medical treatment to senior citizens, especially those who live alone during the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Many elderly persons were battling loneliness and depression.
  • The lockdown of the past months and social isolation imposed were telling on senior citizens, leaving many of them in the grip of anxiety.

Key Details:

  • On August 4, the court ordered the States to respond promptly to the needs of senior citizens and ensure they do not suffer financially during COVID-19.
  • The Apex Court also directed that the elderly should get their pension on time.
  • According to SC, older people should be provided necessary medicines, masks, sanitisers and other essential goods by the respective States.
  • Court also directed further, as and when any individual request is made, the same shall be attended to by the administration with all promptness.
  • The SC had directed that senior citizens, who were generally vulnerable to the virus, ought to be given priority in government hospital admissions.
  • Government hospitals should take care to promptly remedy any grievances voices by senior citizens during this health crisis.

Elderly Care:

  • Elderly care also as aged care, is the fulfillment of the special needs and requirements that are unique to senior citizens.
  • This broad term encompasses such services as assisted living, adult day care, long term care, nursing homes (often referred to as residential care), hospice care, and home care.

Elderly Care in India:

  • Under Directive Principles, the Article 41 says that State shall within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right of public assistance in cases of old age.
  • This is an explicit provision for ageing population and to realize this DPSP, government of India has launched the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP).

National Policy for Older Persons

The Government launched National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP) in 1999 with key features such as:

  • Old Age Pension Scheme;
  • Tax Exemption for Senior Citizens;
  • Make PDS to reach older people;
  • Subsidy in healthcare, geriatrics care, mental health services,
  • counselling facilities; Grants,
  • land grant at concessional rates to NGOs
  • private hospitals to provide economical and specialized care for the older person;

Dr V Mohini Giri Committee

When the NPOP completed 10 years in 2010, the Government constituted Dr. V Mohini Giri committee to review it and make suggestions. This committee made some of the important suggestions and a Draft of National Policy for Senior Citizens 2011. Key recommendations are:

  • Lifelong healthcare facilities for Padma award winners, gallantry award winners
  • Setting up of a department of senior citizens and national council for senior citizens.
  • Increase in old age pension amount

International Initiative:

  • In 1982, the Report of the World Assembly on Ageing (also known as “the International Plan on Ageing”) was published, which represented the first international debate on the rights of older persons and presented a plan for their implementation.
  • The United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) were tasked with implementing the Plan of the Second World Assembly which adopted “Madrid International Plan” on ageing in 2002.

The 2002 Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) is central to this measurement agenda and has three priority areas:

  • Older persons and development (in particular social protection);
  • Advancing health and well-being into old age; and
  • Ensuring enabling and supportive environments.

Current Affairs

Recent Posts