January 09, 2020 – UPSC Current Affairs: Key Prelims News Topics

Jharkhand Assembly’s New Speaker

  • JMM MLA Rabindra Nath Mahato was unanimously elected as the Speaker of the Jharkhand Assembly.
  • This significant political development marks a new chapter in Jharkhand’s legislative process.
  • Mahato’s unanimous election signifies a strong consensus among the legislative members, reflecting a potential for cohesive governance and decision-making in the state.
  • The role of the Speaker is crucial in maintaining order and decorum in the Assembly, and Mahato’s election is expected to contribute positively to the legislative proceedings and democratic processes in Jharkhand.

Antarrashtriya Yoga Diwas Awards

  • The Indian Information and Broadcasting Minister, Prakash Javadekar, conferred the inaugural ‘Antarrashtriya Yoga Diwas’ awards to 30 media organizations.
  • This award ceremony highlights the growing recognition and importance of yoga in both national and global contexts.
  • By honoring media organizations, the government acknowledges the pivotal role played by media in spreading awareness about yoga and its benefits.
  • These awards, part of a broader initiative to promote yoga, demonstrate India’s commitment to fostering a culture of health and wellness, both domestically and internationally.

Demise of Akbar Padamsee

  • The Indian art world mourned the loss of Akbar Padamsee, a revered painter and sculptor, who passed away at 91 in Coimbatore.
  • Padamsee, a recipient of prestigious honors like the Padma Bhushan and the Lalit Kala Akademi Fellowship, was an influential figure in modern Indian art.
  • His contributions spanned various forms, including painting, sculpture, and photography, and his work was known for its introspective and expressive quality.
  • Padamsee’s demise marked the end of an era in Indian art, leaving behind a legacy of creativity and innovation.

Lt Gen P N Hoon’s Demise

  • The Indian military community bid farewell to Lt Gen P N Hoon, a former commander of the Army’s Western Command, who passed away at 90 in Chandigarh.
  • Lt Gen Hoon’s career was marked by distinguished service and contributions to India’s defense.
  • His leadership and strategic acumen were especially notable during critical periods of India’s military history.
  • His passing is not only a loss to the Indian Army but also to the nation, which he served with dedication and honor.

India’s Economic Indicators

  • India’s economic indicators showed mixed trends, with the GDP growth rate for 2019-20 estimated at 5%, a decline from 6.8% in the previous year.
  • However, there was a positive development in terms of individual financial growth, as the per-capita monthly income increased by 6.8% to Rs 11,254 during 2019-20.
  • These figures reflect the complexities of India’s economic landscape, indicating areas of both concern and progress.
  • The data underscores the need for targeted economic policies to stimulate growth while ensuring equitable income distribution.

GST and Economic Reforms

  • The 2nd National GST Conference was held in New Delhi, focusing on streamlining the Goods and Services Tax (GST) system.
  • This conference, chaired by the Revenue Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, highlighted the government’s commitment to refining and improving the GST framework.
  • A key outcome was the formation of a committee comprising both central and state officers.
  • This committee is tasked with implementing measures to curb fraudulent refund claims and is expected to operationalize a Standard of Procedure by the end of January 2020.
  • Additionally, the Income Tax Department is set to investigate major cases of fake imports and fraudulent refunds, reflecting a significant step in strengthening India’s economic structure.

NASA’s TESS Discoveries

  • NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) achieved a significant milestone by discovering an Earth-sized planet within the habitable range of its star.
  • This discovery is notable as it adds to the growing list of potentially habitable exoplanets, expanding our understanding of the universe.
  • The planet, named ‘TOI 700 d’, is one of the few known Earth-sized planets in a star’s habitable zone, a region where conditions might be right for the presence of liquid water.
  • This finding is critical for future research in astrobiology and the search for life beyond our solar system.

Pakistan’s Military Leadership

  • In a move that solidified the current military leadership’s position, Pakistan’s National Assembly passed bills giving a three-year extension to Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
  • This decision underscores the significant role of the military in Pakistan’s political landscape and reflects the government’s confidence in Gen Bajwa’s leadership.
  • The extension is seen as a critical aspect of maintaining continuity and stability in Pakistan’s military strategy and operations, especially considering the country’s complex regional security dynamics.

Iran’s Response to US Actions

  • In a dramatic escalation of tensions, Iran designated the US armed forces and the Pentagon as ‘terrorist entities’.
  • This unprecedented move came in response to the US’s assassination of Iranian Quds Force General Qasem Soleimani.
  • This development marks a significant shift in the geopolitical landscape, heightening tensions between Iran and the United States.
  • It reflects the growing complexity and volatility in the Middle East, posing challenges to international peace and security.

Sports Highlights

  • The city of Bhubaneswar was announced as the host of the first edition of the Khelo India University Games, scheduled from February 22 to March 1.
  • This event represents a major step in promoting sports at the university level in India, providing a platform for young athletes to showcase their talents.
  • The inclusion of various sports disciplines in the Games is expected to encourage broader participation and help in identifying and nurturing sporting talent across the country.
  • This initiative aligns with the government’s vision of fostering a strong sports culture and supporting the development of athletes in India.

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