Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 27 December 2020
Madhya Pradesh cabinet approves Dharma Swatantrya (Religious Freedom) Bill 2020
- The Madhya Pradesh cabinet approved the Dharma Swatantrya (Religious Freedom) Bill 2020 yesterday. Under the provisions of the bill, forced conversion of a woman will be punishable for a term up to 10 years and minimum fine of Rs 50,000.
- Specific provisions are also made in the cases of religious conversion of minors, groups, or of those belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Blood relatives, including parents of victims of such religious conversion, can file complaints under the proposed Act.
- State home minister Narottam Mishra said that due to insufficient provisions of the old Act in the current scenario, the Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Bill, 2020 has been approved by the Cabinet for introduction in the Assembly.
- A provision is also being made that those willing to convert need to apply before the district administration two months in advance. The new Act will replace the Freedom of Religion Act 1968 in the state of Madhya Pradesh and its rules which were made in the year 1969.
Wuhan Covid citizen journalist jailed for four years in China crackdown
- Zhang Zhan, a 37-year-old former lawyer and citizen journalist who was arrested in May while reporting from Wuhan, has been sentenced to four years in jail.
- Zhang was arrested for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” – an accusation commonly used against dissidents, activists and journalists – with her video and blog reports from the Wuhan lockdown. Last month she was charged with disseminating false information.
- On Monday afternoon, just hours after the trial began, Zhang’s lawyer said she had been sentenced to four years in jail.
- The prosecution of 10 Hong Kongers detained in mainland China after allegedly attempting to flee to Taiwan also began Monday, amid a crackdown apparently timed with the Christmas period to avoid western scrutiny.
- Zhang has been restrained 24 hours-a-day, and force fed with a tube after she went on hunger strike, Zhang Keke said earlier this month. Zhang Keke visited again on Christmas day, and in a blog post said his client had lost 15 to 20kg and her hair had been cut short.
- “She feels psychologically exhausted, like every day is a torment.”
- Local media reported a heavy police presence outside the Shanghai Pudong courthouse on Monday, pushing journalists and observers away from the entrance as Zhang arrived. Foreign diplomats were reportedly among supporters at the scene.
Finance Ministry allowed Rajasthan government to borrow additional amount
- The Finance Ministry on Saturday said it has permitted Rajasthan to borrow an additional Rs 2,731 crore after the state successfully undertook ease of doing business reforms.
- Rajasthan has now joined the five other states namely, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, which have completed the reform facilitating ease of doing business to be eligible for additional borrowing. These six states have been granted additional borrowing permission of Rs 19,459 crore.
- “Thus, the state (Rajasthan) has become eligible to mobilise additional financial resources of Rs 2,731 crore through open market borrowings. Permission for the same was issued by the Department of Expenditure on December 24,” the ministry said in a statement.
- The ease of doing business is an important indicator of the investment friendly business climate in the country. The government had in May decided to link grant of additional borrowing permissions to states who undertake the reforms to facilitate ease of doing business.
- In view of the resource requirement to meet the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the government had in May enhanced the borrowing limit of the states by 2 per cent of their GSDP. Half of this special dispensation was linked to the states undertaking citizen centric reforms -- implementation of ‘One Nation One Ration Card System’, ease of doing business reform, urban local body/ utility reforms and power sector reforms.
India will become the fifth largest economy in 2025
- India, which appears to have been pushed back to being the world’s sixth biggest economy in 2020, will again overtake the UK to become the fifth largest in 2025 and race to the third spot by 2030.
- India had overtaken the UK in 2019 to become the fifth largest economy in the world but has been relegated to 6th spot in 2020.
- “India has been knocked off course somewhat through the impact of the pandemic. As a result, after overtaking the UK in 2019, the UK overtakes India again in this year’s forecasts and stays ahead till 2024 before India takes over again,” the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said in an annual report published on Saturday. The UK appears to have overtaken India again during 2020 as a result of the weakness of the rupee, it said.
- The CEBR forecasts that the Indian economy will expand by 9 per cent in 2021 and by 7 per cent in 2022.
- “Growth will naturally slow as India becomes more economically developed, with the annual GDP growth expected to sink to 5.8 per cent in 2035.” “This growth trajectory will see India become the world’s third largest economy by 2030, overtaking the UK in 2025, Germany in 2027 and Japan in 2030,” it said.
::Science and Technology::
Climate change: Extreme weather causes huge losses in 2020
- The world continued to pay a very high price for extreme weather in 2020, according to a report from the charity Christian Aid.
- Against a backdrop of climate change, its study lists 10 events that saw thousands of lives lost and major insurance costs.
- Six of the events took place in Asia, with floods in China and India causing damages of more than $40bn.
- In the US, record hurricanes and wildfires caused some $60bn in losses.
- 2021 will be cooler but still in top six warmest
- Have countries kept their climate change promises?
- Warmer winters linked to increased drowning risk
- While the world has been struggling to get to grips with the coronavirus pandemic, millions of people have also had to cope with the impacts of extreme weather events.
- Christian Aid's list of ten storms, floods and fires all cost at least $1.5bn - with nine of the 10 costing at least $5bn.
- An unusually rainy monsoon season was associated with some of the most damaging storms in Asia, where some of the biggest losses were. Over a period of months, heavy flooding in India saw more than 2,000 deaths with millions of people displaced from their homes.
- The value of the insured losses is estimated at $10bn.
- China suffered even greater financial damage from flooding, running to around $32bn between June and October this year. The loss of life from these events was much smaller than in India.
- While these were slow-moving disasters, some events did enormous damage in a short period of time.
- Cyclone Amphan struck the Bay of Bengal in May and caused losses estimated at $13bn in just a few days.
- "We saw record temperatures in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal, straddling between 30C-33C," said Dr Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune.
Australian Open: Roger Federer to miss the 2021 tournament
- Six-time champion Roger Federer will miss the Australian Open for the first time in his career as he continues his recovery from knee surgery.
- The 39-year-old Swiss, a 20-time Grand Slam winner, has not played since January because of two operations.
- He hoped to return at the delayed Australian Open, which starts on 8 February in Melbourne.
- "Roger ran out of time to get himself ready for the rigours of a Grand Slam," said tournament director Craig Tiley.