Daily Current Affairs : 21st July 2020

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. COVID-19 case fatality rate in India
  2. National Financial Reporting Authority
  3. Hope Mission
  4. PASSEX exercise
  5. Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020
  6. Facts for Prelims

1 . COVID-19 case fatality rate in India

Context : The case fatality rate (CFR) in India has been falling steadily and has for the first time dipped below the 2.5% mark to reach 2.49%. It was 3.2% in the second week of May.

About the News

  • India’s Case Fatality Rate (CFR) has fallen below 2.5% for the first time
  • As per data issued by the Ministry, currently there are 29 States and UTs with CFR lower than the India average. Five States and UTs have a CFR of zero; 14 States and UTs have a CFR of less than 1%.
  • States and UTs having a CFR below the national average include Tripura (0.19%), Assam (0.23%), Kerala (0.34%), Odisha (0.51%), Goa (0.60%), Himachal Pradesh (0.75%), Bihar (0.83%), Telangana (0.93%), Andhra Pradesh (1.31%), Tamil Nadu (1.45%), Chandigarh (1.71%), Rajasthan (1.94%), Karnataka (2.08%) and Uttar Pradesh (2.36%).

What is case fatality rate?

  • Case fatality rate also called as case fatality risk or case-fatality ratio is the proportion of deaths from a certain disease compared to the total number of people diagnosed with the disease for a particular period

Main Reasons for falling CFR

  • Efficient Management– Reduction in CFR can be attributed to the focused efforts of the Centre and State/UT governments on efficient clinical management of hospitalised cases. The state of preparedness and enhanced capacity to handle cases when they suddenly surge. This was seen in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi, where well-equipped hospitals were stretched beyond their capacities.It also includes effective containment strategy, aggressive testing and standardised clinical management protocols based on holistic standard care approach
  • Identifying Vulnerable Population – Many States have conducted the population surveys to map and identify the vulnerable population like the elderly, pregnant women and those with co-morbidities. This, with the help of technological solutions like mobile apps, has ensured keeping the high-risk population under continuous observation, thus aiding early identification, timely clinical treatment and reducing fatalities,” said the Ministry.
  • Role of ASHA and ANMs – The work at the ground level by frontline health workers like ASHAs and ANMs, who according to the Ministry have done a commendable job of managing the migrant population and to enhance awareness at the community level.
  • Biological Reason – India has a young population (75% below 45 years) and the exposure to other infections makes innate immunity stronger. This is also the case for all countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia and parts of Africa, as well. The difference to a Caucasian population is rather stark.
  • Behavioural Aspects : The health-seeking behaviour of people could also play a pivotal role. It has been generally seen that people in some States, particularly in the southern States, seek medical intervention quite early during any disease. Besides the good quality of care, the early health-seeking behaviour has been particularly good in Kerala, which has so far reported only 43 deaths and has a case fatality rate of just 0.34% compared with 4.4% in Gujarat, the highest in India.
  • Case Detection : Another reasons for the dip in case fatality rate could be ascribed to the increased number of fresh cases detected daily. For example over 40,000 fresh cases were reported on 20th July, the highest reported for a single day and surpassing the earlier highest record of 35,468 on July 16.

2 . National Financial Reporting Authority

Context : The audit regulator, National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA), has constituted a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) under the Chairmanship of R Narayanaswamy, Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru.

About Technical Advisory Committee

  • The TAC, which comprises seven members, including the Chairman, would, among other things, aid and advise the Executive Body of the NFRA on issues related to the drafts of accounting standards and auditing standards.
  • It will also provide inputs from the perspectives of users, preparers and auditors of financial statements.
  • The terms of reference of TAC include advise on development of measures of audit quality; advise on suitable methods for promoting awareness (a) relating to compliance with accounting and auditing standards and (b) of the role of the NFRA in protecting investors through independent auditor regulation.

About NFRA

The National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) was constituted on 01st October,2018 by the Government of India under Sub Section (1) of section 132 of the Companies Act, 2013.

Functions and Duties As per Sub Section (2) of Section 132 of the Companies Act, 2013, the duties of the NFRA are to:

  • Recommend accounting and auditing policies and standards to be adopted by companies for approval by the Central Government;
  • Monitor and enforce compliance with accounting standards and auditing standards;Oversee the quality of service of the professions associated with ensuring compliance with such standards and suggest measures for improvement in the quality of service;
  • Perform such other functions and duties as may be necessary or incidental to the aforesaid functions and duties.
  • Sub Rule (1) of Rule 4 of the NFRA Rules, 2018 , provides that the Authority shall protect the public interest and the interests of investors, creditors and others associated with the companies or bodies corporate governed under Rule 3 by establishing high quality standards of accounting and auditing and exercising effective oversight of accounting functions performed by the companies and bodies corporate and auditing functions performed by auditors.

Companies and Bodies Corporate Governed by the Authority

As per rule 3 of the NFRA rules,2018,The Authority shall have power to monitor and enforce compliance with accounting standards and auditing standards, oversee the quality of service under sub-section (2) of section 132 or undertake investigation under sub-section (4) of such section of the auditors of the following class of companies and bodies corporate, namely:-

  • Companies whose securities are listed on any stock exchange in India or outside India;
  • Unlisted public companies having paid-up capital of not less than rupees five hundred crores or having annual turnover of not less than rupees one thousand crores or having, in aggregate, outstanding loans, debentures and deposits of not less than rupees five hundred crores as on the 31st March of immediately preceding financial year;
  • Insurance companies, banking companies, companies engaged in the generation or supply of electricity, companies governed by any special Act for the time being in force or bodies corporate incorporated by an Act in accordance with clauses (b), (c), (d), (e) and (f) of sub-section (4) of section 1 of the Act;
  • Any body corporate or company or person, or any class of bodies corporate or companies or persons, on a reference made to the Authority by the Central Government in public interest
  • A body corporate incorporated or registered outside India, which is a subsidiary or associate company of any company or body corporate incorporated or registered in India as referred to in clauses (a) to (d), if the income or networth of such subsidiary or associate company exceeds twenty per cent. of the consolidated income or consolidated networth of such company or the body corporate, as the case may be, referred to in clauses (a) to (d)

3 . Hope Mission

Context: The first Arab space mission to Mars, an unmanned probe dubbed “Hope”, blasted off from Japan.

About Hope mission

  • The unmanned probe is developed by UAE and is launched using a Japanese rocket from the Tanegashima Space Centre in southern Japan.
  • The launch of the probe is known as “Al-Amal” in Arabic.
  • “Hope” is expected to enter Mars orbit by February 2021, marking the year of the 50th anniversary of the unification of the UAE, an alliance of seven emirates.
  • Hope will not land on the Red Planet, but instead orbit it for a whole Martian year, or 687 days.
  • Carrying three instruments including a high-resolution camera and a spectrometer, the spacecraft is on an orbital mission to collect data on Martian climate dynamics and help scientists understand why Mars’s atmosphere is decaying into space.
  • Hope is the UAE’s fourth space mission and first interplanetary one. The previous three were all Earth-observation satellites. It is also the first interplanetary mission for the Arab World.

Countries that have sent a mission to Mars

  • The United States, India, the former Soviet Union, and the European Space Agency.

Other upcoming mission to Mars

  • Perseverance: hunt or life : NASA’s rover Perseverance will look for signs of habitable conditions on Mars and microbial life in its ancient past.
    • Over its mission duration of one Martian year (687 Earth days), it will collect Martian rock and sediment samples for analysis on Earth.
    • The rover is equipped with specialised equipment to collect data, analyse weather conditions that can help plan for future human missions, and produce oxygen from the carbon-dioxide-rich atmosphere.
    • Perseverance is expected to touch down on Mars on February 18, 2021. NASA’s Curiosity rover has been exploring Mars since 2012. It remains active although its targeted mission life is over.
  • Tianwen-1 – China’s first Mars probe will launch on a Long March 5 Y-4 booster from Xichang, China.
    • It consists of an orbiter, a lander and a rover and aims to study Martian topography and geology and determine the composition of the surface material, climate and environment.
    • The orbiter is expected to reach the planet by early 2021 and will use high-resolution cameras to search for a suitable landing site somewhere in the Utopia Planitia region. It weighs around 240 kg and will carry cameras, a subsurface radar, a spectrometer, a magnetometer, and atmospheric sensors.

Why is the Mars mission being planned now?

  • The timing is dictated by the opening of a one-month window in which Mars and Earth are in ideal alignment on the same side of the sun, which minimizes travel time and fuel use. Such a window opens only once every 26 months.
  • The end of July 2020 offers such a launch window during which Earth and Mars will be aligned at their closest points in two years, which means using less fuel to reach the planet. If a spacecraft is launched too early or too late, it will arrive in the planet’s orbit when the planet is not there.

4 . Warships meet U.S. strike group

Context: Amid border tensions with China, Indian warships began conducting  Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with the US Navy’s nuclear-powered USS Nimitz close to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands

About the news

  • As part of PASSEX exercise, four frontline naval ships, Shivalik, Sahyadri, Kamorta and Rana including a stealth corvette, teamed up with carrier USS Nimitz ( world’s largest warship) and three other U.S. ships in the eastern Indian Ocean near the islands.
  • While operating together, the two Navies conducted high-end exercises designed to maximise training and interoperability, including air defence
  • The passing exercise or PASSEX is expected to continue for the next two days as US navy ships pass through the south side of Andaman Nicobar Islands, sailing from Malacca Straits and is on its way to the Persian Gulf.


  • A passing exercise or Passex is an exercise conducted between two or more navies which consists of navigational and communication drills as ships coordinate manoeuvres alongside and around each other.
  • Common drills include flashing light drills, semaphore drills, and flaghoist drills.
  • In modern times, navies within a very close alliance may include electronic and digital cooperation including using electronic communications and target acquisition.
  • A passage exercise is normally conducted when there is an opportunity in contrast to pre-planned maritime drills.

Significance of PASSEX

  • PASSEX between India and US aims at a free and open Indo-Pacific and promoting an international rules-based order wherein each country can reach its potential without sacrificing national sovereignty. 
  • PASSEX exercise is being carried out to test the capabilities of the Indian Navy and be battle-ready against Chinese forays in the seas amid the India-China tussle in eastern Ladakh.
  • India is also looking at strengthening its military diplomacy through the Navy hence PASSEX exercise is an opportunity to improve interoperability on the high seas alongwith military diplomacy

PASSEX with other countries

  • India has earlier conducted similar exercises with Japanese and French navies.

5 . Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020

Context: The Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020, which fall under the Consumer Protection Act, will be notified within a few days.

About Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020

  • The e-commerce portals will have to set up a robust consumer redressal mechanism as part of the rules under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
  • Under this, the e-commerce entities will have to provide every detail relating to return, refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee, delivery and shipment, modes of payment, grievance redressal mechanism, payment methods, security of payment methods, charge-back options and so on.
  • They will also have to mention the country of origin which are necessary for enabling the consumer to make an informed decision at the pre-purchase stage on its platform.
  • The e-commerce platforms also have to acknowledge the receipt of any consumer complaint within 48 hours and redress the complaint within one month from the date of receipt under this Act.
  • They will also have to appoint a grievance officer for consumer grievance redressal.
  • Under the rules, sellers cannot refuse to take back goods or withdraw services or refuse refunds, if such goods or services are defective, deficient, delivered late, or if they do not meet the description on the platform.
  • The rules also prohibit the e-commerce companies from manipulating the price of the goods or services to gain unreasonable profit through unjustified prices.
  • The e-commerce rules are “mandatory in nature” and violation of these will attract penalties as decided by the consumer protection authority and consumer courts as provided under the Act

6 . Facts for Prelims

Chardham highway project

  • The Char Dham project will connect Badrinath Dham, Kedarnath Dham, Gangotri, Yamunotri, and part of the route leading to Kailash Mansarovar yatra.
  • Char Dham National Highway (NH) project comprises improvement as well as the development of 889 km length of national highways
  • Chardham Yatra in Uttarakhand is pilgrimage to four destinations – Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. All of these four sites are devoted to a specific deity. Gangotri is dedicated to the Goddess Ganga, Yamunotri is dedicated to the Goddess Yamuna, Kedarnath is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the 12 jyotirlingas, and Badrinath, which is also part of India’s Char Dham, is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

T-90 mine ploughs

  • The Acquisition Wing of the Defence Ministry has signed a ₹557-crore contract with Bharat Earth Movers Ltd. (BEML) for the procurement of 1,512 mine ploughs for T-90 Tanks.
  • Tank T-90 is Indian army’s main battle tank.
  • Mine ploughs are mounted on tanks and help clear minefields allowing the tanks to manoeuvre freely and minimises risks to men and machines.
  • The T-90 tanks have been deployed in Ladakh as part of Indian Army’s enhanced deployment at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • As per the procedure, the contract has Buy and Make (Indian) categorisation with a minimum of 50% indigenous content in the Make portion
  • Significance
    • These mine ploughs will be fitted on T-90 Tanks of the Indian Armoured Corps which will facilitate individual mobility to the tanks while negotiating a minefield.
    • The mobility of the tank fleet will enhance manifold which in turn would extend the reach of the armoured formations deep into enemy territory without becoming a mine causality.

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