DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 31st JULY 2020

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  • July 31, 2020
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Special Status to Delhi under Article 239AA

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Polity – Centre-State/UT relations; Special status to Delhi; Constitution


  • Delhi government had sent proposal to the Lieutenant­-Governor regarding the selection of a panel of lawyers to represent it in cases of Delhi riots and anti­-CAA protest and not the lawyers panel suggested by Delhi Police.
  • However, the L-G issued orders to the Delhi government to notify the panel of lawyers suggested by Delhi Police instead of the panel of lawyers selected by the Home Department.
  • L-G rejected the decision of the Delhi Cabinet by exercising his special powers under Article 239AA (4) of the Constitution.
  • Article 239AA of the Constitution of India grants Special Status to Delhi among Union Territories (UTs).
  • It was done through 69th constitutional amendment in 1991


  • As per Article 239AA – Public Order, Police & Land in NCT of Delhi fall within the domain and control of Central Government which shall have the power to make laws on these matters. 
  • For remaining matters of State List or Concurrent List, in so far as any such matter is applicable to UTs, the Legislative Assembly shall have power to make laws for NCT of Delhi.
  • Further, for Offences against laws, Jurisdiction & powers of Courts (except SC) and Fees (except court fees) so far as they relate to Public Order, Police & Land in NCT of Delhi; Central Government would have power to make laws.

Lt. Governor and Council of Ministers

  • The Council of Ministers (i.e. CM and his Ministers) are elected to aid and advise the LG in the exercise of his functions in relation to matters with respect to which the Legislative assembly has power to make law. 
  • Therefore, in respect of Public Order, Police & Land – LG would not need aid and advise from the Council of Ministers. For other matters enumerated in the State List, this arrangement would work.
  • In the case of difference of opinion between the Lieutenant Governor and Council of Ministers, the Lieutenant Governor shall refer it to the President for decision and act according to the decision given thereon by the President. — 239AA (4)

India now has fifth highest COVID­19 fatalities in the world

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Health issue

In news:

  • India now has the fifth highest death toll in the world, surpassing Italy
  • The case fatality rate in the country is now 2.18% which is “among the lowest in the world.”
  • With 786 deaths registered on 30th July 2020 India’s death toll reached 35,800. 
  • Maharashtra tops the chart with 266 deaths and then Tamil Nadu (100) and Karnataka (83)

NASA launches Mars rover Perseverance 

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Science and Technology; Space related missions

In news:

  • NASA launched Mars rover Perseverance to look for signs of ancient life.
  • Atlas V rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center with NASA’s Perseverance rover on its way to Mars, on July 30, 2020.
  • This is the world’s third and final Mars launch of the summer (UAE’s Hope Probe and China’s Tianwen-1)


  • Perseverance will aim for treacherous unexplored territory: Jezero Crater, riddled with boulders, cliffs, dunes and possibly rocks bearing signs of microbes from what was once a lake more than 3 billion years ago.
  • Perseverance will also release a mini helicopter that will attempt the first powered flight on another planet, and test out other technology to prepare the way for future astronauts.

Do you know?

  • U.S. is the only country to safely put a spacecraft on Mars
  • It is seeking its ninth successful landing on the planet
  • The opportunity to fly between Earth and Mars comes around only once every 26 months when the planets are on the same side of the sun and about as close as they can get.

Earlier missions

  • Two other NASA landers are also operating on Mars — 2018’s InSight and 2012’s Curiosity rover. 
  • Six other spacecraft are exploring the planet from orbit: three from the U.S., two from Europe and one from India.

Gandhi-King initiative 

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – India-US relations and Diaspora


  • U.S. to come up with Gandhi-King initiative – which seeks to establish an exchange programme between India and the U.S. to study the work and legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
  • It will establish annual scholar and student exchange programmes for Indians and Americans to study the leaders’ legacies and visit historic sites in India and the U.S., relevant to the India’s freedom struggle and the U.S.’s civil rights movement.
  • The Bill also seeks to establish the Gandhi­-King Global Academy, a conflict resolution initiative based on the principles of non­violence.
  • It proposes the establishment of the U.S.-­India Gandhi King Development Foundation set up by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the government of India, organised under Indian law.

Do you know?

  • The Foundation, which has a proposed budget authorised of up to $30 million per year for five years through 2025, is tasked with administering grants to NGOs that work in health, pollution and climate change, education and empowerment of women.

India inaugurated new Supreme Court building of Mauritius

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – India- Mauritius relations

In news:

  • Prime Minister jointly inaugurated the new Supreme Court building of Mauritius with his Mauritian counterpart.
  • The Supreme Court building has been constructed with Indian grant assistance of 30 US million dollars and has been constructed under the India-assisted infrastructure project in the capital city of Port Louis after the outbreak of Coronavirus.

Vision SAGAR

  • PM reiterated India’s commitment to the vision SAGAR which was enunciated by him in 2015.
  • SAGAR, which stands for security and growth for all in the region, is India’s high level articulation towards its vision of participatory developmental works in the Indian Ocean.


Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Govt schemes and initiatives; Science and Innvoation

In news:

  • Atal Innovation Mission launched ‘AIM-iCREST’, in partnership with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wadhwani Foundation.
  • AIM iCREST – an Incubator Capabilities enhancement program for a Robust Ecosystem focuses on creating high performing Startups

About the initiative 

  • AIM iCREST has been designed to enable the incubation ecosystem and act as a growth hack for AIM’s Atal and Established incubators across the country.  
  • Under the initiative, the AIM’s incubators are set to be upscaled and provided requisite support to foster the incubation enterprise economy, that will help them to significantly enhance their performance. 
  • This will be complemented by providing training to entrepreneurs, through technology driven processes and platforms.

Domestic violence and sexual abuse cases increased during lockdown

Part of: GS Mains II – Violence against women; Social/Gender issue

In news:

  • Domestic violence and online sexual abuse cases were higher in red-­zone COVID­19 districts as compared to those in orange and green zones.
  • Gender-­based violence shifted from streets to domestic spaces due to restrictions on mobility



Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources 
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

National Education Policy 2020

Context:  The Union Cabinet has approved the new NEP 2020 with an aim to introduce changes in the Indian education system so as to meet the needs of 21st Century India.

The Cabinet has also approved the renaming of the MHRD to the Ministry of Education

Did You Know?

  • The last NEP was that of 1986 and modified in 1992. 
  • The current policy is based on the report filed by the committee headed by eminent space scientist K. Kasturirangan.
  • NEP 2020 policy envisages 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030

Key Takeaways from NEP 2020

  1. School Education:
    • Universalization of education from preschool to secondary level: The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, will be extended to cover children between 3 and 18 years
    • Structure: The current 10+2 system will be divided into 5 (3 to 8 years) +3 (8to 11 years) + 3 (11 to 14 years) + 4 (14 to 18 years) format.
    • Co-curriculum and vocational subjects like sports, arts, commerce, science will be treated at the same level.
    • Computer Skills: Students will be allowed to take up coding from class 6 onward.
    • Vocational Education to start from Class 6 with Internships.
    • Additional Meal: Provision of an energy-filled breakfast, in addition to the nutritious mid-day meal, to help children achieve better learning outcomes.
    • Regular Exams: To track progress, all students will take school examinations in grades 3, 5, and 8 which will be conducted by the appropriate authority.
    • Class 10 and 12 board examinations to be made easier, to test core competencies rather than memorised facts, with all students allowed to take the exam twice
    • Curriculum content will be reduced in each subject to its core essentials, and will make space for critical thinking and more holistic, inquiry-based, discovery-based, discussion-based, and analysis-based learning
    • Teacher Capabilities: A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education (NCFTE) 2021, will be formulated by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) in consultation with NCERT
  1. Medium of Instruction:
    • The policy says that wherever possible, the medium of instruction in schools until at least Class 5, but preferably until Class 8 and beyond, will be the home language or mother tongue or regional language
    • The three languages learned by children will be the choices of states, regions, and of the students, so long as at least two of the three languages are native to India
  1. Higher Education
    • Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to be raised to 50% by 2035 (presently it is at 26.3%)
    • Flexibility in Higher Education: NEP 2020 proposes a multi-disciplinary higher education framework with portable credits, and multiple exits with certificates, diplomas and degrees
    • The common entrance exam for all higher education institutes to be held by NTA. The exam will be optional and not mandatory
    • Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs, to be set up as models of best multidisciplinary education of global standards in the country.
    • The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education
    • M.Phil courses will be discontinued and all the courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD level will now be interdisciplinary.
  1. Higher Education Commission of India (HECI)
    • It will be set up as a single umbrella body for the entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education.
    • It will be a single, lean body with four verticals for standards-setting, funding, accreditation and regulation so as to provide “light but tight” oversight
    • Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges.
  1. Technology & Foreign Institutes
    • An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration.
    • National Assessment Centre- ‘PARAKH’ has been created to assess the students.
    • It also paves the way for foreign universities to set up campuses in India.

What are the merits of new NEP 2020?

  • Comprehensive: NEP seeks to address the entire gamut of education from preschool to doctoral studies, and from professional degrees to vocational training. 
  • Early Childhood Education: In adopting a 5+3+3+4 model for school education starting at age 3, NEP recognises the primacy of the formative years from ages 3 to 8 in shaping the child’s future
  • Easy on Regulations: NEP 2020 makes a bold prescription to free our schools, colleges and universities from periodic “inspections” and place them on the path of self-assessment and voluntary declaration
  • Holistic: The policy, inter alia, aims to eliminate problems of pedagogy, structural inequities, access asymmetries and rampant commercialisation. 
  • Promote Inclusion: The Policy proposes creation of ‘inclusion funds’ to help socially and educationally disadvantaged children pursue education

What are the Challenges ahead w.r.t implementing NEP 2020?

  • Cooperation from States
    • Any educational reform can be implemented only with support from the States, and the Centre has the giant task of building a consensus on the many ambitious plans
    • The idea of a National Higher Education Regulatory Council as an apex control organisation is bound to be resented by States
  • Inadequate check on donations: Fee regulations exist in some States even now, but the regulatory process is unable to rein in profiteering in the form of unaccounted donations. 
  • Funding: Progress on these crucially depends on the will to spend the promised 6% of GDP as public expenditure on education.


If implemented in its true vision, the new structure can bring India at par with the leading countries of the world.

Connecting the dots:

  • Right to Education Act
  • Operation Digital Board


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)


  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1) With respect to Article 239AA of Constitution Delhi assembly can legislate on all those matters listed in the State List and Concurrent List as are applicable to union territories, excluding which of the following?

  1.  Public Order
  2.  Police
  3. Land

Select the correct statements

  1. 1 and 2
  2.  2 and 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.2) In what regard the Centre have special relationship with respect to NCT of Delhi as compared to other states?

  1. Centre appoints Lieutenant Governor of NCT of Delhi unilaterally while Governor of a State is appointed only after consultation with the Chief Minister of the respective State.
  2. Chief Minister of NCT of Delhi is appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of NCT of Delhi while the Chief Minister of a State is appointed by the Governor of that State.

Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3.  Both 1 and 2
  4.  Neither 1 nor 2

Q.3) The provision which says – “to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women” in Indian Constitution is provided in

  1. Preamble
  2. Fundamental Rights
  3. Fundamental Duties
  4. DPSPs

Q.4) Consider the following statements with reference to Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation (IOR-ARC)

  1.  It is the only pan-Indian ocean grouping.
  2. All countries in Indian Ocean are its members.
  3.  Its headquarters are located in Mauritius.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 1 and 3
  3.  2 and 3
  4. 1,2 and 3

AIM iCREST initiative was launched by –

  1. Minsitry of Science and Technology
  2. Education Ministry
  3. NITI Aayog
  4. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare


1 A
2 A
3 C
4 A
5 A

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