Awaas Week 2020 Celebration in India

Awaas Diwas, as well as Awas Week, were observed on 20th November. On 20th November 2016, the Hon’ble PM launched the Rural Housing Project Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G) in the city of Agra, in Uttar Pradesh.


The PM launched the Rural Housing Programme Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G) in the city of Agra, in Uttar Pradesh, on 20th day of November 2016.

In commemoration of the release of PMAY-G, which intends to provide “Housing for All by 2022, it’s also agreed to observe “AwaasDiwas” each year on the 20th of November.

The programme foresees the construction by 2022 of almost all of the adequate amenities of the 2,95 million square meters PMAY-G building.

According to PMAY-G, via the introduction of some enforcement reforms, the state aims to retain accountability and accelerate house building, maintain performance and improve the timely flow of funds to recipients via direct revenue transfer (DBT) as well as provide technology to recipients Help provided recipients with a variety of housing designs in particular places.

About the Awaas Diwas:

The policy envisages the construction by 2022 of 2,95 crores houses with all modern essentials. During the 1st phase of the project, from 2016-17 to 2018-19, goals were required for the development of one crore pucca home. In the 2nd phase of the project, beginning from 2019-20 to 2021-22, the goal for the development of the remaining 1,95 crore dwellings has been set. To date, 1.75 Crore PMAY-G houses have been approved and 1.20 crore households have been constructed against the allotted total target of 2.26 crore dwellings.


India brings up the high-impact projects worth 80 Million US Dollars

India has entered into an MOU with Afghanistan on the building of the Shahtoot Dam, which would provide clean drinking water to 2 million people living in Kabul City, said that the Indian Government. 

Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs S. Jaishankar, who entered the 2020 Afghanistan Forum in Geneva on a 2-day link to the video, stated India would be implementing more than 100 major projects worthy of $80 million in Afghanistan. The meeting was co-hosted mostly by UN, the Gov. of Afghanistan as well as the Gov. of Finland.

The projects underscore India’s support for the Afghan government led by President Ashraf Ghani and also the citizens of the war-torn region, as well as its plan to remain active in the growth of the country, considering the prospect of the Taliban moving to Kabul through a power-sharing agreement.

India is suspicious of the Taliban because of its connection to Pakistan and its strategic intelligence agency Inter-Services-Intelligence. Ghani’s government is involved in peace talks with the Taliban after the USA agreed with the rebel movement in February to encourage US-led foreign forces to withdraw after nearly two decades.


  • The 2020 Afghanistan meeting was held in Geneva from 23rd to 24th November 2020.
  • At the meeting, Dr S. Jaishankar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of India, headed the Indian delegation.
  • The Conference was jointly organized by the United States, the Gov. of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan as well as the Gov. of Finland.
  • During the meeting, the Government stated many new development initiatives for Afghanistan, including:
  • Construction of the Shatoot Dam, which will provide clean drinking water to 2 million people living in Kabul.


A Panel formed by NITI Aayog to study the feasibility of Virgin Hyperloop

A govt think tank which is Niti Aayog having a significant committee to investigate the technical and economic potential of the Virgin Hyperloop design for ultra-high-speed transport in India, weeks once the first flight with people on deck was conducted.

The Niti Aayog paper, which has been accessed, notes that because of the evolving transport technologies and to achieve a first-mover edge, it is necessary to look at the technical and commercial feasibility of the Virgin Hyperloop technologies.

About the Virgin Hyperloop:

The Virgin Hyperloop is one of a handful of firms that are attempting to develop such a passenger transport device. In a hyperloop, cars are steadily propelled by electric propulsion into a low-pressure tunnel. The pod floats around the track using permanent magnets and drifts at aero plane speeds over lengthy ranges due to ultra-low atmospheric forces.

The Virgin Hyperloop quick test was completed on a 500-metre trajectory in Las Vegas, USA, with a pod dubbed a hyperloop, flying with travelers, including an Indian, inside a sealed tunnel at more than 100 mph or 161 km/h.

Maharashtra considered hyperloop a public transport exercise and authorized the Virgin Hyperloop-DP World Partnership as the initial project promoter of the Mumbai-Pune hyperloop venture.


Pilibhit Tiger Reserve awarded TX2 International Award

The Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, as well as the UP Forest Department, have received the 1st international TX2 award. This Pilibhit Tiger Reserve was awarded to double its population of tigers in 4 years. The goal set was to double the amount in 10 years. The goal was set by the award partners in 2010. The collaborators are the Global Tiger Forum, along with the UN Sustainability Initiative, the Survival Tiger Guidelines as well as Lion’s Share.

None of the rest 13 tiger range countries will succeed in increasing the large cat number within 10 years.

Why was Pilibhit Tiger Reserve selected for this award?

The Pilibhit Tiger Reserve is selected based on the Tiger Census undertaken by the National Tiger Protection Authority in 2018. As per the census, there are 57 tigers throughout the reserve. In the short period of 4 years, about 40 tigers have evolved. This would be the primary justification for selecting the Tiger Reserve for the award.

What are the 13 countries of the Tiger Range?

There have been 13 tiger habitat countries in which the tigers now walk about openly. “Roam around freely” requirements are relevant because tigers require large territories. A male tiger will take between 60 and 100 square kilometers as well as a tigress will take 20 sq. kilometers. Of all the tigers on the planet, the Siberian tigers are the biggest in the world. Its jurisdiction is more than 10,000 sq. kilometers long.

Tiger range nations include India, Bhutan, along with Bhutan, along with Bangladesh, Cambodia, together with Indonesia, China, Russia, Malaysia, Laos, along with Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam as well as Nepal.


India and the US’s MoU for 10 more years

After the US presidential election, India and the United States of America have expanded their nuclear energy partnership MOU for more than a decade (10 years).

Points for Mention:

Outline of the MoU on the 10th year of collaboration between nuclear countries has been completed.

This has been accomplished at the National Centre for Nuclear Energy Cooperation.


India as well as the USA, concluded a memorandum of understanding on collaboration with the GCNEP in New Delhi on 7th November 2010.

Cooperation between India and the USA: 

The joint declaration between India and the United States acknowledged India’s significant 2010 pledge.

In 2010, India committed to creating a Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Cooperation to facilitate clean, stable and sustainable nuclear energy for the good of the human race through a global partnership.

Both countries have also recognized the importance of the relationship in the fields of defense, nuclear, including radiological security cooperation (RSC). Both sides are also committed to fostering collaboration on projects aimed at improving nuclear safety and defense, research and development of nuclear science and technology.

India and the US will collaborate to improve the nuclear and other radioactive material protection dialogue (RMS). This will be achieved by partnering together on sophisticated systems.

They will draw on the international acceptance of the Global Center for Nuclear Energy Cooperation.


The GCNEP is the 1st nuclear energy cooperation center of 2 nuclear-armed nations in the world to be established in Haryana, India. It is active in promoting debates and discussions among international experts on topics such as nuclear plant innovation as well as the nuclear fuel cycle—India-USA Expands MoU for Nuclear Energy Cooperation.


China sells Negative Yield Bonds.

Recently China sold negative yield bonds for the first time, which attracted many investors from Europe.

Currently, yield in Europe is even lower, so the 4- billion -Euro garnered a tremendous response.


Primary points

  • Negative Yield bonds are instruments where the maturity price paid is lower than the purchase price, and investors pay interest to borrowers to keep the money with them.
  • These bonds are favored during stress and uncertainty; indeed, most developed nations facing COVID-19 are reeling under even lower yields on bonds; hence investors are looking for better options.

International Day for The Elimination Of Violence Against Women


  • Nov 25 has been designated as International Day to eliminate violence against women by United Nations General Assembly (Resolution 54/134).
  • The premise is to raise awareness that, till date, women are faced with different forms of torture and violence, including rape, murder, honor killings, domestic violence, etc.
  • This date is based on the killings of three Mirabal sisters (political activists) in the Dominican Republic in 1960, officially recognized by the UN in 1999.


Re-invest 2020

The 3rd Global Renewable Energy Investment Meeting and Expo (RE-Invest 2020) will be integrated by the Prime Minister on 26 November 2020, virtually.


Primary Points

  • The summit is organized by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy from Nov 26-28.
  • The theme for the year is ‘Innovations for Sustainable Energy transition.’
  • It will feature a conference on present and future renewable energy choices and an exhibition of manufacturers, developers, investors, etc.
  • Based on the success of the first two editions (2015 & 2018), provide an international investment forum for renewable energy.


Katchal Island

The Indian Coastal Guard (ICG) towed a fuel tanker dangerously venturing towards the untouched Katchal Island due to power failure.


About the Island

  • The Katchal Island is one of the Nicobar Islands, which was previously known as Tihanyu.
  • It is inhabited by the Nicobar tribes and the Migrated Taimilians (Rubber plantation workers under the Sastri-Srimao Bandaranayaka Pact of 1964).



Discovery In Mount Vesuvius

The Italian Ministry has announced the discovery of well-preserved remains of two men who died due to the volcanic blast in Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, a catastrophic disaster that destroyed an entire Roman city of Pompeii and killed around 16000 people.


Details about Vesuvius

  • Located in Southern Italy, Naples’ coastal city, 4203 ft. tall Vesuvius volcano is the only active volcano in mainland Europe.
  • It is a type of composite volcano and has explosive eruptions and pyroclastic flows (high-density mix of hot lava, ash blocks, etc.).
  • It has erupted 50 times; the last severe eruption was in 1944, lasting two weeks amidst World War 2, killing 26 civilians and is considered the most dangerous volcano in the world.


Atal Faculty Development Programs (FDPs)


The Union Education Minister inaugurated 46 online AICTE training and learning academies (ATAL) and Factual Development Programs (FDP’s) to train teachers of higher education institutions associated with AICTE in emerging technology fields.



  • The FDP’s will be conducted across 22 states within India.
  • The main objective is to provide quality enriched, technical education, thereby promoting research and entrepreneurship in various fields of IIT, IIIT, NIIT, and research centers.


Germany’s New Boardroom Quota for Women


What is the boardroom quota?

Germany is planning for a mandatory quota for women working in senior management positions in the country’s listed firms to narrow the gender gap.

  • As per agreed provisions, in the executive board of listed companies having more than three members, one must be a woman.
  • Companies having the federal govt’s stake will require a supervisory board quota of at least 30 per cent and minimum participation in executive boards.


Why need now?

Germany already has a 30 per cent quota for the supervisory board, but it has minimally improved the proportion of women in senior management positions.



UP Unlawful Religious Conversion Prohibition Ordinance

Cleared by the Uttar Pradesh government recently.



  • It makes religious conversion for marriage a non-bailable offence.
  • The burden will be on the defendant to prove that the conversion was not for marriage.
  • Notice period to the district magistrate for the religious conversion is for two months.


Penalties involved

  • Violation of the law would attract a jail term from one to five years and a fine of Rs 15000.
  • If a woman from SC or ST community is converted, the jail term will range from three to ten years and a penalty of Rs 25000.
  • Strict guidelines for social organizations dealing with mass conversion.


Why is it controversial?

  • The Ordinance comes days after the Allahabad court had given the verdict on Salamat Ansari and Priyanka Kharwae that the right to choose a partner or live with them is the fundamental right of citizens under life and liberty.
  • The verdict also stated that earlier rulings on ‘religious conversions for marriage were unacceptable’ was not proper in the legal scenario.
  • According to the legal experts, the concept of love jihad has no constitutional backing as Article 21 provides a person to marry the person of his own choice; similarly, Article 25, the freedom of conscience, provides that the practice and conversion of the religion one’s choice are also guaranteed.
  • The law is quite ambiguous as open-ended phrases like undue influence, allurement, and coercion has been used.
  • The interpretation of these phrases is a point of concern as it is left under the judge’s complete discretion.
  • Politicization, moral policing are also some effects that may occur due to this.


The Supreme Court in both Lily Thomas and Sarala Mudgal cases has said that religious conversions carried out with a bonafide belief and the sole purpose of depriving some legal benefit do not hold any value.



Corporates to Set Up Banks: Attracts Flak


A recent report by the Internal Working Group of the Reserve Bank of India another is has attracted a lot of attention and is being intensely criticized.


The IWG was constituted to “review extant ownership guidelines and corporate structure for Indian private sector banks,” which submitted its report last week.


Why criticized?

  • One of the key recommendations is to allow corporates/big industrial houses to become private banks’ promoters.
  • This goes contrary to RBI’s vision that the ideal ownership status of banks should promote a balance between efficiency, equity, and financial stability.
  • Banks held by corporate houses are likely to erode the general public’s trust as government-owned banking systems are relatively stable, which helped people trust such institutions.
  • The fact of the concern is allowing large corporate houses to own banks would start a cycle of connected lending.


Connected Lending

  • It is a situation when the bank’s promoter is the borrower. They can channelize customer’s deficits in their lending operation, which starts a crisis altogether, as shown by the recent examples in the case of Yes Bank. ICICI Bank, DHFL, etc.
  • ‘Evergreening of loans’ where another loan is given to repay the first one is the starting point of such a crisis.

Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan and Former Deputy governor Viral Acharya have termed this move very unwise and a move in the wrong direction wherein the present case scenario, the banks are already suffering under great crisis.