Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Jul 09, 2020

Current Affair 1:
Maldives, Sri Lanka eliminate measles and rubella, ahead of 2023 target

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Maldives and Sri Lanka were today verified for having eliminated rubella, making them the first two countries in WHO South-East Asia Region to achieve measles and rubella elimination ahead of the 2023 target. Bhutan, DPR Korea and Timor-Leste are other countries in the Region who have eliminated measles.

What does elimination means?

A country is verified as having eliminated measles and rubella when there is no evidence of endemic transmission of the measles and rubella viruses for over three years in the presence of a well performing surveillance system.

What was the target?

Member Countries of WHO South-East Asia Region resolved to eliminate measles and rubella by 2023, to prevent deaths and disabilities caused by these highly infectious childhood killers diseases.

The Member countries adopted a “Strategic Plan for Measles and Rubella Elimination 2020-2024” that lays down the road map and focus areas to achieve the elimination targets in the Region

Who are the members of WHO South-East Asia Region?

The WHO South East Asia Region has 11 Member States: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste (a South-Eastern Asian country).

Here, we will also learn about South East Asia Regulatory Network “SEARN”

This (SEARN) is the website of Network National Regulatory Authorities responsible for regulation of medical products, including medicines, vaccines, biological and medical devices and diagnostics for human use in the eleven countries of the South East Asia Region. WHO is providing secretariat support to the network.

Now, one more important thing is, don’t compare this SEARN (South East Asia Regulatory Network) with other SEARN which is The South East Asia Research Network (SEARN).

SEARN (South East Asis Research Network) provides a forum to support the communication and dissemination of research findings, highlight research areas, and link people in LSHTM (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine) and outside collaborators with an interest in South East Asia. It includes all ASEAN countries: Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Timor-Leste (East Timor) and the Philippines.

With respect to India: First learn what is Measles and Rubella Disease?

What is Congential Rubella Syndrome (CRS)?

Rubella infection in pregnant women may have serious consequences causing miscarriages, stillbirths or severe birth defects known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). Children with CRS can suffer hearing impairments, cataracts, heart defects, developmental delay and many other lifelong disabilities.

Current Affair 2:
Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010

News: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has constituted an inter-ministerial committee to coordinate investigations into violation of various legal provisions of PMLA, Income Tax Act, FCRA etc. by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust & Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.

Foreign funding of voluntary organizations in India is regulated under FCRA act and is implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs. We will see provisions of the Act. Learn carefully. Very important topic.

What is the objective of this Act? See below.

  1. To prohibit on certain persons from accepting foreign contribution
  2. To restrict certain persons from accepting foreign hospitality
  3. To regulate the acceptance of foreign contribution by persons having a definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social programme

Some important definition:

Definition of Association:

Definition of Foreign Contributions and Foreign Source:

Person who can’t accept foreign contribution - Section 3

Foreign contribution should not affect:

Who can accept Foreign Contribution?

A person having a definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social programme can accept foreign contribution after getting registration or prior permission from the Central Government

Prohibition to transfer foreign contribution to another person:

Power of Central Government:


Current Affair 3:
Pokkah Beong: A new major threat for the Sugarcane Farmers

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As the Kharif Season is ongoing and the farmers are working hard despite the threats of coronavirus and the losses sustained during the lockdown. The conditions have been far from good for the farmers but estimates of a record production provide hope.

Due to this chaos, an issue that has gone under the radar is the Pokkah Beong. Pokkah Beong is an airborne fungal disease that is primarily caused by two fungus, Fusarium monoliforme, and Fusarium subglutinans.

The disease targets the base of the plants and turns the base of the crops into a yellowish tinge (chlorosis) which ultimately damages the crops. The symptoms also include distortion of the stalk and the rotting of the apical part of the stalk.

Pookah Beong can be a serious concern for the farmer as Sugarcane is a crop that provides huge revenues to the farmers and provides good yield. The research titled “Pokkah Beong: An Emerging Disease of Sugarcane” found that the sugarcane production of farmers was affected between 1-90%. It also said that incidents of Pokkah Beong were not only reported in Uttar Pradesh but also Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Assam, Tamil Nadu, and Bihar.

Current Affair 4:
Guidelines for Evaluation of Nano-based Agri-input and food products in India

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Government has recently released the ‘Guidelines for Evaluation of Nano-based Agri-input and food products in India’.

You can use introduction paragraph:

The Guidelines have been prepared jointly by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (M/o A&FW) and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare through concerted Inter-Ministerial efforts coordinated by DBT.

The formulation of these ‘Guidelines’ is one of the most important steps for delineating quality, safety and efficacy assessment of the novel nano-formulations which can be commercialized.

These guidelines apply to the following two categories of products:

  1. Agri-input products in the nano form of finished formulation as well as active ingredient(s) (AI) of a new material (inorganic/organic/composite) dimension that is intended to be used in agriculture and allied sectors.
  2. Agri-products in the nano form of finished food formulations, finished feed formulations, finished dairy formulations, food/feed formulations from marine resources, nano carriers for nutraceuticals delivery, nano processing aids, nanocomposites for food packaging and nano sensors for food/feed packaging, food/feed safety applications and for dairy products safety applications.

Significance of the guidelines:

  1. These guidelines are aimed at assisting in making policy decisions by providing information on the existing regulations for nano-based products in agriculture and food and also to ensure quality, safety and efficacy of the targeted products.
  2. These guidelines would help policy makers and regulators to frame effective provisions for future novel nano-based products in the Agri-input and food sectors of India.
  3. Compared to bulk form of chemical inputs in crops, use of nano-nutrients can reduce nutrient run-off into ground and surface water and thus can reduce environmental pollution.
  4. Encourage the Indian innovators and industries to develop and commercialize new nano-based formulations and products in these sectors.

Current Affair 5:
Equalisation levy on foreign e-com firms

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News: The government has said that it is not considering extending the deadline for payment of Equalisation Levy by non-resident e-commerce players.

Equalisation Levy was introduced in India in 2016, with the intention of taxing the digital transactions i.e. the income accruing to foreign e-commerce companies from India. It is aimed at taxing business to business transactions.

Equalisation Levy is a direct tax, which is withheld at the time of payment by the service recipient. The two conditions to be met to be liable to Equalisation levy:

  1. The payment should be made to a non-resident service provider.
  2. The annual payment made to one service provider exceeds Rs. 1,00,000 in one financial year.

Currently the applicable rate of tax is 6% of the gross consideration to be paid. For example,”:

Facebook will bill Rohan for an amount of Rs. 2,12,765. Rohan will deduct TDS at the rate of 6% of Rs. 2,12,765.9 = Rs. 12,765.9 and pay the balance of Rs. 2,00,000 (Rs. 2,12,765.9 – Rs. 12,765.9) to Facebook.

The levy is seen aimed at taxing foreign companies which have a significant local client base in India but were billing them through their offshore units, effectively escaping the country’s tax system. Nothing more than this is required now.

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