GK News on 11 Jan 2021 

SC says it intends to stay farm laws

The Supreme Court on Monday said it intended to stay the implementation of the controversial agricultural laws while proposing to form an independent committee chaired by a former Chief Justice of India to “amicably resolve” the stand-off between the protesting farmers and the Union government.

A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde underlined its “disappointment” at the Centre’s handling of the farmers’ protest, including the string of failed talks, States “up in rebellion”, suicides among protestors, and the sight of aged farmers, women and children suffering in the biting cold amid the pandemic even as Republic Day looms close.

“We don't want to make any stray observations against you... But we are extremely disappointed in the way you’re handling this situation. You [Centre] made a law without enough consultation, resulting in a strike. Many States are up in rebellion against you... The whole thing has been going on for months... You say you are negotiating, talking... What negotiating? What talking? What is going on?” Chief Justice Bobde asked Attorney General K.K. Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, both appearing for the Centre. The court said it would pass orders on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Centre has filed an urgent affidavit saying that there is a misconception being propagated that government held no discussions or consultations with any Committee before the Farm Acts were passed. The Agriculture Ministry said that this was an “erroneous notion” being spread by the protestors and that most farming communities were happy with the laws.

In another development, Delhi Police, in a separate intervention in the Supreme Court, has sought an order of injunction against any tractor rallies by farmers on Republic Day.

PM-KISAN payouts worth ₹ 1,364 cr went to 20 lakh ‘wrong’ beneficiaries: RTI info

PM-KISAN is the Centre’s flagship scheme to provide income support worth ₹6000 a year to farming families. PM-KISAN is the Centre’s flagship scheme to provide income support worth ₹6000 a year to farming families.

PM-KISAN payments worth ₹ 1,364 crore have been wrongly made to more than 20 lakh ineligible beneficiaries and income tax payer farmers, according to information provided by the Agriculture Ministry in response to an RTI request from activist Venkatesh Nayak. There are 11 crore beneficiaries registered under the scheme.
Punjab tops the list of States where undeserving payouts were made, accounting for 23% of the people who wrongly received money. Maharashtra and Assam also saw large numbers of such payments. As The Hindu has previously reported, a number of State Agriculture Departments have now been tasked with recovering the money wrongly paid.

PM-KISAN is the Centre’s flagship scheme to provide income support worth ₹6,000 per year to farming families. When it was launched just before general elections in 2019, it was meant to cover only small and marginal farmers who owned less than two hectares of agricultural land. Later that year, large farmers were included in the scheme as the government removed land size criteria.

However, certain exclusions remained. If any member of a farming family paid income tax, received a monthly pension above ₹10,000, held a constitutional position, or was a serving or retired government employee, they were not eligible for the scheme. Professionals and institutional landholders were also excluded.

Until July 2020, 20.5 lakh people who should have been excluded had wrongly received PM-Kisan payouts. According to the Agriculture Ministry's response to the RTI query, 56% of these undeserving persons belonged to the “income tax payee” category, while the rest belonged to the “ineligible farmers” category. However, 72% of the payout amount was paid to income tax payees, indicating that this category continued to receive money for multiple installments before their ineligible status was discovered and they were weeded out of the scheme’s beneficiary database.

Punjab (23%), Maharashtra (17%) and Assam (14%) accounted for more than half of the beneficiaries of wrong payments, followed by Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh with 8% each.

Bird flu outbreak confirmed in 10 states so far: Govt

A worker seen spraying disinfectant at the trays while sanitizing at the Ghazipur Poultry market, which is closed as a precautionary measure against spread of bird flu in New Delhi on Sunday.A worker seen spraying disinfectant at the trays while sanitizing at the Ghazipur Poultry market, which is closed as a precautionary measure against spread of bird flu in New Delhi on Sunday.

The Centre on Monday said bird flu has been confirmed in 10 states so far and stressed on increased surveillance around water bodies, live bird markets, zoos and poultry farms.

“Till January 11, 2021, Avian Influenza has been confirmed in 10 states of the country,” the department of animal husbandry and dairying said in a statement. The outbreak was confirmed in seven states — Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh — as on January 10.
On Monday, bird flu has also been confirmed in Delhi, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra.States have been asked to build awareness among the public and avoid the spread of misinformation.

“States/ UTs have been requested to increase surveillance around water bodies, live bird markets, zoos, poultry farms, etc. along with proper disposal of carcass, and strengthening of biosecurity in poultry farms,” it said. The Centre has also directed states to maintain adequate stock of PPE kits and accessories required for culling operations.

AAP MLA Somnath Bharti arrested in UP shortly after youth hurls ink at him

Aam Aadmi Party MLA Somnath Bharti on Monday had ink hurled at him in Rae Bareli and was arrested later for allegedly making objectionable remarks, PTI reported. “Shocked to learn that my bail application has been kept pending till 13th January n I am sent to judicial custody of 14 days,” Bharti tweeted.

He was arrested on charges of criminal intimidation and promoting enmity between groups, the police said, following derogatory remarks allegedly referring to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the state’s hospitals.

A little earlier, a youth hurled ink at the Delhi MLA when he was emerging out of a guest house. Superintendent of Police (of Rae Bareli) Shlok Kumar said, “Ink was thrown on the AAP MLA, and the matter is being probed.” The arrest took place less than an hour after the ink-throwing incident.

Shortly after ink was flung at him, Bharti retweeted a video clip in which he is heard using a derogatory term for Adityanath while talking about “atrocities on women” in the state. Amethi police arrested Bharti, a former Delhi minister, in Rae Bareli on the basis of a complaint filed by BJP worker Somnath Sahu over the alleged remarks made last week.

Trump could be impeached again

Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., read the final certification of Electoral College votes cast in November's presidential election during a joint session of Congress after working through the night, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., read the final certification of Electoral College votes cast in November's presidential election during a joint session of Congress after working through the night, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.

The U.S House of Representatives plans to vote on a resolution on Monday to ask Vice- President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, a statute by which the President — Donald Trump — can be removed on grounds of incapacitation. This comes days after Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol building.

If Pence does not invoke the statute, the House will consider impeaching Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to fellow House Democrats on Sunday evening (U.S. time).

“In protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both. As the days go by, the horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this President is intensified and so is the immediate need for action,” Pelosi wrote.

Given Pence’s apparent hesitation to invoke the 25th Amendment, it is highly likely the House will seek to impeach Trump this week. There are 10 days left in Trump’s term and if impeached, he will be the first President to be impeached twice. If convicted in the Senate, Trump could be barred from running for office again in the future.

Third Test between India and Australia ends in a draw

India's Hanuma Vihari receives treatment to a leg injury during play on the final day of the third cricket test between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, Australia on January 11, 2021. India's Hanuma Vihari receives treatment to a leg injury during play on the final day of the third cricket test between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, Australia on January 11, 2021.

 

Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin batted out the entire evening session on Day 5 to eke out a memorable draw against Australia in the third Test in Sydney on Monday.

 

Vihari (23 not out off 161) and Ashwin (39 not out off 128), who got together in the 89th over of India’s second innings, batted for more than 42 overs. India ended up with 334 for five in 131 overs. Vihari, who was limping for a major part of his innings due to a hamstring injury, and Ashwin kept the Australians at bay with a marathon match-saving effort.

The series remains tied at 1-1 going into the fourth and final Test, beginning at the Gabba in Brisbane on January 15.

Covid Watch: Numbers and Developments

The number of reported coronavirus cases from India stood at 1,04,76,734 at the time of publishing this newsletter, with the death toll at 1,51,339.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday claimed that the two already approved made-in-India Covid-19 vaccines are more cost-effective than any other in the world, and have been developed as per the country’s needs.

Interacting with chief ministers of all States to discuss the vaccine roll-out, Modi also said that apart from the two already approved vaccines, four others are in the pipeline.

Public representatives are not part of the three crore corona warriors and frontline workers to be vaccinated first, Modi said. In the first phase, starting on January 16, the cost of vaccination for these three crore people would be borne by the central government, he added.

Meanwhile, the government has placed a purchase order with Serum Institute of India (SII) for 11 million doses of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, Covishield, each costing ₹210, including GST. India’s drugs regulator has approved Covishield and the indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech, for restricted emergency use in the country.

In Brief:

The Chinese soldier who was apprehended last Friday in Eastern Ladakh was handed back to China on Monday morning. The soldier was handed back to China at Chushul-Moldo at 10.10 a.m., the Army said. He was apprehended in the early hours of January 8 after he transgressed across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), south of Pangong Tso lake in Eastern Ladakh.

Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli and actor Anushka Sharma announced on Monday that they have been blessed with a baby girl. This is the couple’s first child. Kohli took to Twitter to make the announcement.

 

Synopsis

1. Bird flu spreads to 10 states; Centre allays fears of transmission to humans

The Centre has asked State governments not to shut down poultry markets or restrict sales of eggs or broiler chicken meat in the wake of the avian influenza outbreak.

2. U.S. House will consider Donald Trump impeachment

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told Democrats on a call on January 11 that members should plan to return to Washington on January 12 evening to consider a House resolution calling on Vice-President Mike Pence to invoke constitutional authority to remove Donald Trump from office.

3. SC to pronounce orders on farm laws, farmers' protests

The Supreme Court may take a call on setting up of a committee headed by a former Chief Justice of India to find ways to resolve the impasse.

Farmers at the Singhu border protest site in Delhi on Monday.

4. Indian Navy to conduct two-day mega drill from January 12

The Indian Navy will kick-start a two-day mega defence exercise on Tuesday covering the country's 7516 km coastline and exclusive economic zone, officials said.

5. CDS Rawat reviews security situation in Ladakh amid border standoff with China

Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat is on a visit to Ladakh to review the country's overall military preparedness as thousands of Indian and Chinese troops remained deployed in a high state of combat readiness in various mountainous locations in the region amid the eight-month-long border standoff.

6. Aus vs Ind Test series | Injured Vihari out of last Test, unlikely for Eng series; Shardul likely in place of Jadeja

India's injury woes in the Test series against Australia compounded on Monday after the hero of their drawn game in Sydney, Hanuma Vihari, was ruled out of the fourth and final match with a hamstring tear that could keep him out of action for a considerable time.

Australia's Mitchell Starc bowls to India's Hanuma Vihari during play on day two of the second cricket test between India and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020.

7. Indian Super League | Facing similar struggles, NorthEast and Bengaluru target revival in ISL

There is little to separate NorthEast United from Bengaluru FC at the halfway stage of Indian Super League as both the teams struggled after a strong start and would look to revive their fortunes when they face off on Tuesday. Both the sides started strong, maintaining their place in the top four before a bad run of results saw them slide down the table.

8. Coronavirus | Latest numbers and developments

The number of positive coronavirus cases reported from India now stands at 1,04,79,691 at the time of publishing this newsletter. The death toll from the disease stands at 1,51,380.

 

Air India flight with all-woman cockpit crew successfully lands at Bengaluru airport

Air India''s longest direct flight from San Francisco to Bengaluru with an all-woman cockpit crew successfully landed in the southern city on Monday.

Modi urges youngsters to join Startup India international summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called upon youngsters to attend ''Prarambh'', the Startup India international summit on January 15 and 16, saying it seeks to bring together top minds from industry, academia, investment, banking and finance besides young start up leaders.

Maharashtra: Bird flu confirmed after 900 hens die in Parbhani

Bird flu has been confirmed as the cause of death of around 900 hens in the last few days at a poultry farm in Maharashtra''s Parbhani district, a senior official said on Monday.

 

International

Pelosi says House will impeach Trump, pushes VP to oust him

Washington: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will proceed with legislation to impeach President Donald Trump as she pushes the vice president and Cabinet to invoke constitutional authority to force him out.

Japanese Health Ministry finds new virus variant

The Japanese Health Ministry has found a coronavirus variant in people arriving from Brazil that''s different from the ones in Britain and South Africa.

Indonesia intensifies search for crashed plane's black boxes

The search for the black boxes of a crashed Sriwijaya Air jet intensified on Monday to boost the investigation into what caused the plane carrying 62 people to nosedive at high velocity into the Java Sea.

Virus infections top 90 million confirmed cases

Coronavirus infections have now surpassed 90 million confirmed cases around the world, as more countries braced for wider spread of more virulent strains of a disease that has now killed nearly 2 million worldwide.

British Hindus seek Boris Johnson intervention over Pak minority persecution

British Hindu umbrella organisations have issued a joint letter to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeking urgent action from Pakistan over the rampant persecution of Hindus in the country, highlighting the burning of a temple in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province last month as the most recent example.

 

Business

Sensex rallies over 400 pts to fresh intra-day record; Nifty tops 14,450

Mumbai: Equity benchmark Sensex surged over 400 points in early trade to top the 49,000 mark for the first time, tracking gains in IT stocks amid largely positive trend in global equities and massive FPI inflow.

Rupee falls 24 paise to 73.48 against US dollar in early trade

The rupee depreciated 24 paise to 73.48 against the US dollar in opening trade on Monday, tracking a rebound in the American currency even as domestic equities were trading with significant gains.

Asian shares mostly higher on optimism despite pandemic

Asian shares were mostly higher Monday as bullish sentiment persisted despite continuing signs of economic damage from the pandemic.

 

Legal

Seizure of animals can be done under 2017 rules of PCA Act pending litigation: Centre to SC

New Delhi: The Centre justified in the SC the 2017 rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, and said that there is difference between seizure and confiscation of animals and a plea can be filed in the concerned court seeking release of seized animals.

HC extends relief to Sonu Sood in 'illegal' construction case

The Bombay High Court on Monday extended till January 13 a civil court order granting interim protection to actor Sonu Sood from coercive action by the BMC against the alleged illegal structural changes made by him in a residential building in suburban Juhu without permission.

HC asks government to consider representation on nursery admissions for upcoming session

The Delhi High Court Monday asked the Delhi government to consider a representation by a lawyer that admission of children to nursery class be postponed in the upcoming academic session of 2021-22 in view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

Plea to declare all child marriages in Delhi as void: HC seeks AAP govt stand

The Delhi High Court on Monday sought response of the AAP government on a plea to declare all child marriages performed in the national capital as void ab initio (to be treated as invalid from the outset).

Sedition case: HC extends relief to Kangana till Jan 25

The Bombay High Court on Monday extended the interim relief of no coercive action against actor Kangana Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel till January 25 in connection with an FIR registered against them under sedition and other charges.

 

Entertainment

First look of 'Ashwatthama' out, Vicky Kaushal says exploring new technology alongside acting

Mumbai: The first look of the forthcoming science fiction feature "Ashwatthama", fronted by Vicky Kaushal, was revealed by the makers and the actor said he is looking forward to start shooting for the project.

Mindy Kaling teases 'Legally Blonde 3': We have a lot of fan favourites from original

Actor-writer Mindy Kaling, who is penning "Legally Blonde 3" with "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" co-creator Dan Goor, says the new movie will definitely pay homage to the original. Hollywood star Reese Witherspoon will be returning as attorney Elle Woods for the much-anticipated MGM project and will also be producing via her Hello Sunshine banner along with franchise''s original producer Marc Platt.

'WandaVision' team details 'nerve wracking' process of recreating different sitcom eras

Disney Plus series "WandaVision", which marks Marvel Studios foray into digital space, is an ode to sitcoms and their timeless appeal, according to the team behind the show.

Rasika Dugal wraps up 'Out of Love' season two

Actor Rasika Dugal on Monday said she has finished shooting for the second season of the web series "Out of Love".

Bruce Langley on 'American Gods' season three: More of rollercoaster than train ride

British actor Bruce Langley says the latest installment of his fantasy-drama series "American Gods" will feature several fan favourite moments as the third season falls back to the narrative of Neil Gaimon''s book. Based on Gaiman''s 2001 novel of the same name, the series primarily revolves around a war brewing between the Old Gods of ancient mythological roots and the New Gods of modern technology.

 

Sports

Fight To Remember: Vihari, Ashwin pull off memorable draw after Pant pyrotechnics

Sydney: R Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari battled pain and a hostile Australian bowling attack while resolutely displaying the largely extinct art of Test-saving batsmanship to snatch a remarkable draw for India.

Unacceptable, upsetting: Rahane on racist abuse at Sydney Test; Paine backs him

India skipper Ajinkya Rahane on Monday said the racial abuse that his teammates endured from the crowd during the third Test against Australia here was unacceptable and found support from his Australian counterpart Tim Paine, who said he stands with the tourists on this issue.

Wanted to make sure that Indian boys knew we were against it too: Paine

Australia skipper Tim Paine, who had won hearts for joining the Indian team huddle after racial slurs were hurled at its players on day four of the third Test, on Monday said he did so to "make sure that the visitors knew that he and his team were against any sort of abuse".

Australia in command after Pant, Pujara dismissal; India reach 280/5 at tea

Sydney: Australia were firmly on course for a victory in the third Test after getting rid of a dangerous Rishabh Pant and the rock-steady Cheteshwar Pujara, reducing India to 280 for 5 at tea in pursuit of 407 on the fifth and final day.

Three-time Dakar Rally winner Hubert Auriol dies at 68

Hubert Auriol, the first competitor to win the Dakar Rally on a motorbike and in a car, has died. He was 68.

Pujara becomes 11th Indian to cross 6000-run mark in Test cricket

Cheteshwar Pujara on Monday became only the 11th Indian to cross the 6000-run mark in Test cricket.


LAST MONTHS G.K.

May 22 : 28, 28, 27, 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 09, 08, 07, 07, 06, 05, 04, 03, 02, 01

April 22 : 30, 29, 29, 27, 27, 25, 24, 23, 22, 20, 19, 18, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 09, 08, 08, 07, 06, 05, 04, 01

March 22 : 31, 30, 29, 28, 27, 26, 23, 22, 21, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 09, 08, 08, 07, 06, 05, 04, 03, 02, 01

February 22 : 24, 24, 15, 02, 01

January 22 : 25, 24, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 18, 18, 01

December 21 : 30, 29, 28, 27, 25, 24, 23, 22, 22, 21, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 08, 07, 06, 06, 04, 03, 02, 01

November 21 : 20, 18, 18, 18, 17, 17, 11, 10, 09, 09, 08, 06, 03, 02, 01

October 21 : 24, 23, 21, 20, 19, 18, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 08, 08, 07, 06, 04, 01

September 21 : 07, 04, 03, 02, 01

August 21 : 11, 10

July 21 : 10, 10, 09, 09, 08, 06, 05, 03, 02, 01

June 21 : 08, 07, 07, 05, 04, 03, 02, 01

May 21 : 29, 28, 27, 25, 24, 23, 22, 20, 19, 18, 17, 17, 14, 13, 11, 10, 10, 08, 07, 06, 05, 04, 03, 01

April 21 : 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 09, 08, 08, 07, 05, 03, 02, 01

March 21 : 18, 17, 16, 15, 13, 12, 10, 10, 09, 08, 05, 04, 03, 02, 01

February 21 : 27, 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 15, 13, 12, 12, 11, 10, 08, 06, 03, 01

January 21 : 27, 25, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 16, 15, 14, 12, 11, 09, 08, 07, 06, 05

December 20 : 30, 29, 28, 24, 21, 18, 17, 15, 11, 07, 03, 01

November 20 : 24, 20, 19, 18, 12, 11, 10, 09, 08, 07, 06, 05, 04, 03, 02

October 20 : 31, 30, 29, 29, 27, 26, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 09, 08, 08, 07, 06, 06, 03, 02, 01

September 20 : 30, 29, 29, 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 12, 11, 10, 09, 09, 08, 07, 05, 04, 03, 02, 01

August 20 : 31, 29, 28, 27, 26, 25, 24, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 17, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 10, 08, 07, 06, 05, 04, 03, 01

July 20 : 31, 30, 29, 28, 27, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 18, 17, 14, 13, 10, 09, 09, 08, 07, 06, 04, 03, 02, 01

June 20 : 30, 27, 26, 24, 23, 22, 20, 19, 18, 18, 17, 16, 13, 12, 11, 10, 09, 06, 05, 04, 03, 02, 01

May 20 : 30, 29, 28, 26, 25, 23, 22, 22, 22, 22, 22, 16, 14, 13, 11, 09, 08, 07, 07, 05, 04, 02, 01

April 20 : 30, 28, 27, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 11, 10, 09, 08, 07, 07, 07, 04, 03, 02, 01

March 20 : 31, 27, 26, 25, 24, 22, 21, 19, 18, 17, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 09, 07, 06, 05, 04, 04, 03, 02

February 20 : 29, 28, 28, 26, 25, 24, 21, 20, 19, 18, 11

January 20 : 13