29th November 2020

Lok Virasat

  • Films Division (FD) is organizing Lok Virasat, a festival of films on folk art and painting starting from November 27, 2020.

  • An exclusive bouquet of documentary films on folk art and paintings – Lok Virasat – is being showcased, between November 27–29, 2020 on the FD website and YouTube channel.

  • The films being streamed include:

    • The Kingdom of God , on the great Indian heritage of art and culture with focus on various folk art traditions,

    • Bhavai – Fading Memories, a film on Bhavai – a folk art of Gujarat,

    • Naman – Khele, a film on the ancient folk art performed in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra,

    • Sahi Jata, The Fusion Cult, a film on the unique fusion of muscle and music in the form of folk art on the back-drop of the ancient Orissa town of Puri and

    • Therukoothu : Dancing For Life , a film depicting the age old Tamil folk art.

Period Products

  • The Scottish parliament passed a landmark legislation that has made period products such as sanitary pads and tampons free of cost to those people who need them.

  • The bill is titled, “Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill”.

  • Scotland is the first country to take such a step.

  • The bill was passed with the aim of tackling “period poverty”, which is when some people who need period products struggle to afford them.

  • The objective is to end the silence and stigma that surrounds menstruation.

  • Certain circumstances make access to sanitary products difficult for women and trans people. 

  • These include homelessness, coercive, controlling and violent relationships and health conditions such as endometriosis.


India – Afghanistan – Relations

India announced a new phase of over 100 high-impact community projects in Afghanistan worth US $ 80 million (Rs 592 crore) as the country”s development portfolio in the war-ravaged nation has reached over US $ 3 billion (Rs 22,200 crore) so far.

The announcement about the new development package was made by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar during his virtual address at a global conference on Afghanistan during which he also called for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire to stop violence in that country.

  • “India’s development portfolio in Afghanistan has to-date amounted to over US $ 3 billion. The minister highlighted that no part of Afghanistan today is untouched by the 400 plus projects that India has undertaken in all 34 of Afghanistan’s provinces. More than 65,000 Afghan students have also studied in India,” the MEA said in a release.

  • In his address, Jaishankar also called for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire to stop violence in the country, and reiterated that the peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.

  • “The external affairs minister (EAM) announced at the conference that India had just concluded with Afghanistan an agreement for the construction of the Shatoot dam, which would provide safe drinking water to 2 million residents of Kabul city,” the release said.

  • India had earlier built the 202-km Phul-e-Khumri transmission line that provided electricity to Kabul city.

Government recognition to Archery Association of India

Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports has restored the government recognition to Archery Association of India as a National  Sports Federation for promotion and regulation of Archery Sport in the country. 

  • The Government recognition of AAI was withdrawn eight years back on account of failure to conduct its elections in accordance with the National Sports Development Code of India, 2011 (Sports Code).

  • Government recognition of AAI will be valid for one year.

  • This comes after AAI’s independent elections and revocation of suspension by the World Archery and Indian Olympic Association.

International Cricket Council (ICC). 

  • New Zealand’s Greg Barclay has been elected as the new independent chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC). 

  • The head of the New Zealand Cricket team, NZC, Barclay beat Imran Khwaja in the second round of voting. 

  • Imran was interim chairman after Shashank Manohar stepped down from the post in July this year.

  • In the first round of voting last week, Barclay had 10 votes to Khwaja’s six, and needed 11 votes for a two-thirds majority of the 16-person ICC Board. 

  • That vote arrived from Cricket South Africa in a second round of voting. Barclay is the second independent chairman of the world body, after Shashank Manohar of India.

  • A commercial lawyer by trade, Barclay has served as a director of NZC since 2012. 

  • He was a director of 2015 Men’s World Cup, held in Australia and New Zealand. 

  • He is also an experienced company director holding board positions with various New Zealand and Australian companies.

Unique Document Identification Number (UDIN)

  • Finance Ministry has said, CBDT will validate Unique Document Identification Number (UDIN) generated from ICAI portal at the time of upload of Tax Audit Reports.

  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, in its gazette notification dated 2nd August, 2019, had made generation of UDIN from ICAI website www.icai.org mandatory for every kind of certificate/tax audit report and other attests made by their members as required by various regulators.

  • This was introduced to curb fake certifications by non-CAs misrepresenting themselves as Chartered Accountants.

  • In line with the ongoing initiatives of the Income Tax Department for integrating with other Government agencies and bodies, Income-tax e-filing portal has completed its integration with ICAI portal for validation of UDIN generated from ICAI portal by the Chartered Accountants for documents certified or attested by them.

  • Income-tax e-filing portal had already factored mandatory quoting of UDIN with effect from 27th April this year for documents certified and attested by a Chartered Accountant. 

  • With this system level integration, UDIN provided for the audit reports and certificates submitted by the Chartered Accountants in the e-filing portal shall be validated online with the ICAI. 

  • This will help in weeding out fake or incorrect Tax Audit Reports not duly authenticated with the ICAI.


  • Indian Railway has launched a completely digitised online Human Resource Management System (HRMS). 

  • Railway Board Chairman and CEO Vinod Kumar Yadav launched the system for railway employees and pensioners through video conferencing.

  • The HRMS system is a high thrust project for the Indian Railways to leverage improved productivity and employee satisfaction. 

  • The move is aimed at improving the efficiency and productivity of the Indian Railway system and a step towards realizing PM Narendra Modi’s vision of transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. 

  • The Human Resource Management System (HRMS) is expected to create a big impact on the functioning of all the employees and make them more tech-savvy.

  • Employee Self Service (ESS) module: This module will help railway employees to interact with various modules of HRMS including communication regarding change of data.

  • Provident Fund (PF) Advance module: This module will enable Railway employees to check their PF balance and apply for PF advance online. The employees will also be able to see the status of their PF application online.

  • Settlement module: This module digitizes the entire settlement process of retiring employees. It will enable employees to fill their settlement and pension booklet online. 

  • The service details will be fetched online and pension will be processed online as well. This will eliminate the use of paper and facilitate monitoring for timely processing of settlement dues of retiring employees.

Draft of the Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020

  • The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has come up with a draft of the Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020 for public consultation. 

  • It has been a priority of the government of India to replace all archaic colonial laws with modern and contemporary International laws with the active participation of people to enhance transparency in the governance. 

  • For the same, the Ministry has also issued two draft Bills for public consultation, namely ‘Aids to Navigation Bill 2020’ and ‘Coastal Shipping Bill 2020’. 

  • Moreover, Major Port Authorities Bill 2020 is also under consideration.

  • All these Bills are going to generate sweeping waves in the maritime scenario moving India towards a fully developed maritime economy.

  • Repeal and replace: The Bill aims to repeal and replace the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 and the Coasting Vessels Act, 1838.

  • Incorporate the best practices: It has the primary aim of promoting the growth of the Indian shipping industry by incorporating the best practices adopted by other advanced countries like the U.S., Japan, U.K., Singapore and Australia. 

  • Compliant with international laws: The Bill incorporates all up-to-date IMO Conventions or protocols, to which India is a party. 

  • Ensure safety and security: The Bill incorporates adequate provisions to ensure the safety and security of vessels, safety of life at sea, prevent marine pollution, provide for maritime liabilities and compensations.

SDG Investor Map for India

  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Invest India have launched the SDG Investor Map for India with an aim to help India promote Sustainable Development. 

  • Under this, it had laid 18 Investment Opportunities Areas (IOAs) in six critical SDG enabling sectors in order to balance commercial returns with catalytic development impact.

  • The Map will bridge the gap between high-level development targets and the need for commercially viable returns. 

  • Investing in opportunities will enhance employment and employability and push forward the inclusion of underserved communities and leverage technology. 

  • IOAs will create job opportunities and industrialization needs.

  • It focused on inclusive business models and leverage digital technologies to deliver commercial returns and impact at scale.

  • IOAs include Digital Platforms to service input/output needs of farmers to enable easy access to markets (Agriculture), Online Supplementary Education for K12’ (Education), Access to credit by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Low-Income Groups especially through digital platforms for Income Generating Purposes’ (Financial Services), and Tech-Enabled Remote Care Services (Healthcare).

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