Daily IAS Current Affairs March 25 and 26, 2020 | PendulumIAS

2020-03-26 | 7 minutes

General Studies-II- Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation

1. Financial Benefits to Construction workers


The central government has asked states to utilize construction cess fund to provide financial and other benefits to construction workers through Direct Benefit Transfer.


  • The decision came after the lockdown announced that hampered the livelihood of workers in the informal sector.
  • The advisory comes under Section 60 of the Building and other construction workers (BOCW) Act, 1996.
  • Respective state governments and UTs will decide the amount to be given to the workers.

Prelims Facts


  • A Cess is levied on the tax payable like a surcharge on tax and is collected for a specific purpose.
  • It can be imposed on direct tax like income tax or indirect tax.
  • Its proceeds are credited in the Consolidated Fund of India, but unlike a tax, its proceeds cannot be utilized for any kind of government expenditure.
  • Unlike tax proceeds, the cess proceeds are not compulsory to be shared with the states and UTs.
  • Certain examples of cess are Krishi Kalyan cess, Education cess, clean environment cess, etc.  


General Studies-II- Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

2. Hantavirus cases in China


Recently, the rise in the number of cases and death due to hantavirus in the Yunan province of China have been reported.


  • It is a family of viruses that can cause severe respiratory disease Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS).
  • It is an RNA virus that can be spread by rodents. Rodents carrying this virus can infect a person in contact with it.
  • A person infected with hantavirus shows symptoms like muscle ache, headache, chills, fever, abdominal pain and can later develop symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath.
  • Currently, there is no vaccine for the treatment of Hantavirus infection.


General Studies-II- Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

3. Virtual Summit of Leaders of G20 countries


Saudi Arabia proposed the virtual summit of leaders of G-20 countries to deal with COVID-19.


  • The meeting will be chaired by Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, the current president of the G-20 group.
  • Spain, Jordan, Singapore, Switzerland, along with other leading organizations, have been invited to 2020 summit.

Prelims Facts


  • It is an annual meeting of leaders of fastest-growing economies that account for 85% of the world’s GDP and 2/3rd of its population.
  • It was founded in 1999 to discuss the policies related to the promotion of global financial stability and inclusive growth.
  • Members- Argentina, Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, India, France, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, Indonesia, Germany, USA, UK, China, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and EU.

G20+/G21/G23: It is a bloc of developing countries formed in 2003 at the fifth ministerial conference at WTO held at Cancun, Mexico. The group has 23 member countries, including India.


General Studies – II- Appointment to various Constitutional Posts, Powers, Functions and Responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

4. ECI permitted use of indelible ink


The Election Commission has given its nod for the use of indelible ink to stamp home quarantined amid the outbreak of COVID-19.


  • All the state governments, chief electoral officers and other authorities were communicated this decision
  • The authorities were advised not to use ink for marking on left-hand fingers as the forefinger of left hand is inked in the polling booth before a person castes his/her vote.
  • The ink is prepared by the sole manufacturer, Mysore Paints and Varnish Limited, an undertaking of the Karnataka government.

Prelims Facts

Election Commission of India:

  • It is an autonomous constitutional body that was formed on 25 January 1950. Therefore, 25 January is observed as National Voters’ Day across the country.
  • Article 324 provides the power of superintendence, direction and control of elections to the Election Commission.
  • It is a multi-member body with a Chief Election Commissioner and two other election commissioners appointed by the President.
  • The body is responsible for administering smooth elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies, State Legislative Councils, Office of President and Vice President.
  • Chief Election Commissioner can be removed in the same manner as a judge of the Supreme Court. In contrast, the other Election Commissioners can be removed by the President on the recommendations of the Chief Election Commissioner.


General Studies – I- Indian Culture - Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

5. New Year Vikram Samvat 2077


The Prime Minister and President congratulated people on the eve of new year or Chaitra Shukla Pratipada.


  • The festival marks the beginning of new year of Hindu/vedic calendar.
  • Vikram Samvat marks the beginning of the Vikram Era after Vikramaditya defeated Sakas and invaded Ujjain. It has twelve months.
  • The first month of Vikram Samvat starts with Chaitra. Saka Samvat starts from 78 AD and Vikram Samvat from 57 BC.
  • Saka Samvat is used with the Gregorian calendar for official purposes in India.
  • The new year is known with different names in different regions:
    • Ugadi- Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh
    • Gudi Padwa- Maharashtra
    • Cheti Chand- Sindhi
    • Navreh- Kashmir
    • Sajibu Cheiraoba- Manipur


General Studies – III- Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life.

6. New variety of wheat developed


The scientists at Agharkar Research Institute, Pune has made a variety of wheat MACS 4028, which is biofortified.


  • The new variety is semi-dwarf and has high protein content.
  • It is resistant to stem rust, leaf rust, brown white mite, etc.
  • The variety has been tagged under the biofortified category by ICAR.
  • It has been included by Krishi Vigyan Kendra programme for UNICEF to reduce malnutrition and it will boost Kuposhan Mukt Bharat.

Prelims Facts


  • After Rice, Wheat is the second most important cereal food in India.
  • It is a Rabi crop.
  • It is widely grown in the temperate region across the world.
  • It requires 50 to 75 cm of rainfall during the growing period.
  • It grows best in alluvial and black soil.
  • Major wheat-producing states in India are Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Karnataka, etc.