CURRENT AFFAIRS FOR IAS PCS HCS UPSC CSE 20201224

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CURRENT AFFAIRS FOR IAS PCS HCS UPSC CSE 20201224

20201224 Current Affairs and Editorial

(FOR PRELIMS & MAINS OF UPSC CSE)

1.SolarWinds Hack: A cyberattack discovered in the USA

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Cybersecurity

In news

  • The ‘SolarWinds hack’, a cyberattack recently discovered in the USA.

  • It has emerged as one of the biggest ever targeted against the US government, its agencies and several other private companies.

  • It is likely a global cyberattack.

Key takeaways 

  • This is being called a ‘Supply Chain’ attack.

  • Instead of directly attacking the federal government or a private organisation’s network, the hackers target a third-party vendor, which supplies software to them.

  • In this case, the target was an IT management software called Orion, supplied by the Texas-based company SolarWinds.

  • Orion has been a dominant software from SolarWinds with clients, which include over 33,000 companies.

  • The hackers gained “access to victims via trojanized updates to SolarWinds’ Orion IT monitoring and management software.

  • Once installed, the malware gave a backdoor entry to the hackers to the systems and networks of SolarWinds’ customers

2.India pledges a sum of USD 1 million to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 


  • Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – International Relations

    In news

    • India has pledged a sum of USD 1 million to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) towards the agency’s scientific research budget.

    • It will allow WADA to develop innovative anti-doping testing and detection methods.

    Important value additions 

    The World Anti-Doping Agency 

    • It is a foundation initiated by the International Olympic Committee to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against drugs in sports.

    • The agency’s key activities include monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code, whose provisions are enforced by the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport.

    • Headquarters: Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

    • Established in: 1999.

    • 3.GPS-Based Toll Collection System


    • Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Infrastructure

      In news

      • The Government has finalised GPS-based (Global Positioning System) toll collection to ensure seamless movement of vehicles across the country.

      • Ministry: Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways

      Key takeaways 

      • This will ensure India becomes ‘toll booth free’ in next two years.

      • The toll amount will be deducted directly from the bank account based on the movement of vehicles.

      • While now all commercial vehicles are coming with vehicle tracking systems, the Government will come up with some plan to install GPS technology in old vehicles.

      • The Minister expressed hope that the toll collections may reach Rs 34 thousand crore by March 2021.

      • By using GPS technology for toll collection, the toll income in next five years will be Rs 1.34 lakh crore.

      Related article:

      • About FASTag:

      • 4.Winter session Of Parliament cancelled this year due to Covid-19

        Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Parliament; Constitution

        In news

        • Due to Covid-19, the Winter session of the Parliament has been cancelled this year.

        • Budget Session shall be held in January, 2021.

        Key takeaways 

        • The power to convene a session of Parliament rests with the government.

        • The decision is taken by the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, which currently comprises nine ministers, including Defence, Home, Finance, and Law Ministers.

        • The decision of the Committee is formalised by the President, in whose name MPs are summoned to meet for a session.

        • The summoning of Parliament is specified in Article 85 of the Constitution.

        • This provision specified that the central legislature had to be summoned to meet at least once a year, and that not more than 12 months could elapse between two sessions.

        • India does not have a fixed parliamentary calendar.

        • By convention, Parliament meets for three sessions in a year.

        • 4.Winter session Of Parliament cancelled this year due to Covid-19 

      • Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Parliament; Constitution

        In news

        • Due to Covid-19, the Winter session of the Parliament has been cancelled this year.

        • Budget Session shall be held in January, 2021.

        Key takeaways 

        • The power to convene a session of Parliament rests with the government.

        • The decision is taken by the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, which currently comprises nine ministers, including Defence, Home, Finance, and Law Ministers.

        • The decision of the Committee is formalised by the President, in whose name MPs are summoned to meet for a session.

        • The summoning of Parliament is specified in Article 85 of the Constitution.

        • This provision specified that the central legislature had to be summoned to meet at least once a year, and that not more than 12 months could elapse between two sessions.

        • India does not have a fixed parliamentary calendar.

        • By convention, Parliament meets for three sessions in a year.

        • 5.The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approves proposals to procure equipment

        • Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Defence & Security

          Innews

          • The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in its meeting approved proposals to procure equipment worth Rs 28,000 crore.

          • Ministry: Ministry of Defence

          Key takeaways 

          • Acquisition proposals approved include the DRDO designed and developed Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) Systems for the Indian Air Force, Next Generation Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Indian Navy and Modular Bridges for the Indian Army.

          • This is the first meeting of the DAC under the new regime of Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020.

          • These are the first set of Acceptance of Necessity (AoNs) accorded.

          • Majority of AoNs are being accorded in the highest categorization of Buy Indian (IDDM).

          • 6 of the 7 proposals for which AoNs were granted will be sourced from the Indian industry to give a boost to the “Make in India” and “Atmanirbhar Bharat” initiatives of the Government.

          Related articles:

          • Defence Acquisition Council:

          • Critically analyse Defence Procurement Policy:

          • 6.Election Commission proposes to extend the facility of postal ballots to overseas and NRIs

      • Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Constitution

        In news

        • The Election Commission of India (ECI) wrote to the Law Ministry, proposing to extend the facility of postal ballots to (eligible) overseas, non-resident Indians (NRIs) for the Assembly elections in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal in 2021.

        Key takeaways 

        • The ECI proposed amending the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, in order to allow this facility.

        • The postal ballots will be sent to NRIs electronically and they will send these ballots after choosing their candidate via post.

        • This partially electronic facility is now available for service voters (being a member of the armed Forces of the Union; or a member of a force to which provisions of the Army Act, 1950) through the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System, or ETPBS.

        Do you know? 

        How can overseas voters currently vote in Indian elections?

        • Prior to 2010, an Indian citizen who is an eligible voter and was residing abroad for more than six months owing to employment, education or otherwise, would not have been able to vote in elections.

        • After the passing of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2010, eligible NRIs who had stayed abroad beyond six months have been enabled to vote, but only in person at the polling station where they have been enrolled as an overseas elector.

        Related article:

        Election Commission:

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