Pradhan Mantri Street Vendor’s Atma Nirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi)
•Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has launched PM SVANidhi, for providing affordable loans to street vendors
•The scheme would benefit vendors, hawkers, thelewale and people involved in goods and services related to textiles, apparel, artisan products, barbers shops, laundry services etc. in different areas
•The vendors can avail a working capital loan of up to Rs. 10,000, which is repayable in monthly instalments within a year.
•This is for the first time that street vendors from peri- urban/rural areas have become beneficiaries of an urban livelihood programme.
[The scheme is valid until March 2022.]
•The loans through the scheme would help to kick-start activity for vendors who have been left without any income due to the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown.
PM-CARES isn’t a public authority under RTI
•Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has clarified that the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM-CARES Fund) is not a public authority under the ambit of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, 2005.
What is PM-CARES Fund?
•PM-CARES Fund was set to accept donations and provide relief during the Covid-19 pandemic, and other similar emergencies
•It was set up as a public charitable trust with the trust deed registered on March 27, 2020.
•It can avail donations from the foreign contribution and donations to fund can also avail 100% tax exemption.
•Composition: Prime Minister as chairperson, and Defence Minister, Home Minister, Finance Minister are ex-officio Trustees of the Fund.
•The argument against conferring PM CARES the status of a “public account” seems to be that it is a fund based on voluntary contributions of individuals and organisations, and as such, beyond the full-fledged scrutiny of the CAG
Antifa(Anti-fascism) and protests in USA
•The USA is experiencing a ‘law and order’ situation due to the violent nationwide protests triggered by anger over racial inequities and excessive use of police force
•The unrest began with peaceful protests over the death of a African-American man in police custody in Minneapolis city of USA
•The USA President has blamed an organisation namely, Antifa for the violent protest that erupted in the country.
•The antifa movement gained more visibility in 2017 after a series of events that put a spotlight on anti-fascist protesters.
•It has been also argued that the USA will be designating Antifa as a terrorist organization in the future
•The word “antifa” was first used in 1946, Antifa stands for “Anti-fascism”.
•The name comes from early 1930s Germany, where socialist “anti-fa” groups attempted to stand up to the rise of Adolf Hitler’s Nazis.
•The organisation covers a range of social justice issues. It believes in a world free of fascism, racism, sexism, homo/transphobia, and islamophobia
[The movement is secretive and has no official leaders]
•Recently, ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service downgraded India’s sovereign ratings from Baa2 to Baa3
•Baa3 is the lowest investment grade in Moody’s rating ladder.
•This means, India is just one notch above the non-investment grade or junk grade.
•Moody’s had upgraded the country’s rating to Baa2 in November 2017
•According to Moody, India’s real GDP growth rate will contract by 4% in 2020-21 due to the shock from the coronavirus pandemic and related lockdown measures.
•It expects the economy to grow 8.7% next financial year and closer to 6% in the subsequent year.
•The government response to the growth slowdown prior to the coronavirus outbreak as well as the recent support package for vulnerable households and small businesses is not enough to restore the sustainable GDP growth
Cyclone Nisarga in Arabian Sea
•fast-moving depression in the Arabian Sea is predicted to be intensified into a severe cyclone named ‘Nisarga’.
•The name ‘Nisarga’ has been suggested by Bangladesh.
•As per the India Meteorological Department, the impact of the cyclone is likely to be felt in Maharashtra and Gujarat
•While cyclones have always been more frequent in Bay of Bengal, they have been less frequent off of India’s western coast — a trend that has been gradually changing, according to scientists
•The year 2019 was slightly unusual as the Arabian Sea saw the most frequent and intense cyclonic activity in more than 100 years. Five cyclones originated in the area in 2019 — Vayu, Hikka, Kyarr, Maha and Pavan [Normally only one or two are formed ]
PM Modi addressed the SPIC MACAY’s International Convention
•SPIC MACAY (Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music And Culture Amongst Youth) is a non-political, nationwide, voluntary movement founded in 1977 by Dr Kiran Seth(He was awarded the Padma Shri for his contribution to the arts in 2009.)
•It is a participatory student movement registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
•In 2011, it was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana award in recognition of its contribution to youth development.
•Its intention is to enrich the quality of formal education by increasing awareness about different aspects of Indian heritage and inspiring the young mind to imbibe the values embedded in it.
•Anubhav Project, a week-long online project, seeks to help youngsters indulge in mystical and diverse aspects of Indian art, culture and heritage. (It is expected to reduce the stress triggered by Covid-19)
DRDO’s Ultra Swachh: A disinfection unit
•DRDO has developed a disinfection unit named Ultra Swachh to disinfect a wide range of materials, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), electronics items, fabrics, etc.
•The system uses an advanced oxidative process (ozonation).
•Ozonation is a type of advanced oxidation process, involving the production of very reactive oxygen species able to attack a wide range of organic compounds and all microorganisms.
•Ozone is more effective than chlorine in destroying viruses and bacteria
•The system is double layered with specialised Ozone sealant technology assuring trapping of ozone for the necessary disinfection cycle