Current Affairs for UPSC IAS/Civil Services Examinations

Latest Current Affairs 2019-2020 for UPSC IAS / Civil Services Examination. This category comprises the current affairs short notes useful primarily for UPSC preliminary examination and upsc mains as well as state civil services examinations. For fortnightly Current General Studies (CGS) documents, click here.

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Inter-State portability of ration cards launched in 4 states

Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution launched inter-State portability of ration cards i.e. public distribution in four adjoining states in two clusters (i.e. pairing two states) -Andhra Pradesh and Telangana & Gujarat and Maharashtra. It has been launched in a bid to implement major plan to roll out ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ by June 2020.

Inter-State portability of ration cards

The inter-state portability of ration cards is undertaken pairing two States each viz Telangana and Andhra Pradesh & Maharashtra and Gujarat. Under this mechanism, beneficiary from one state will be able to avail entitled subsidised foodgrains under Food Security Act from ration shops/Public Distribution System (PDS)/Fair Price Shops (FPSs) in any other paired state.

This means beneficiaries living in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh can buy their quota of ration PDS (ration shops), in either of the two States. Similar will be the in case of Maharasthra and Gujarat. In these four states, both intra-state and inter-state portability of ration card has been implemented successfully.

The intra-state and inter-state portability of ration card holders is achieved through installation of electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) devices FPSs, supported by the biometric/Aadhaar authentication

Future Implementation

Seven States, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan and Tripura, at present are testing intra-portability of ration cards, which means beneficiaries can lift their quota of ration from any PDS located within a State. Gradually, inter-state portability of ration cards will be implemented in these seven states. By January 2020, these 11 states will be formed as one grid where ration cards will be made portable i.e. beneficiaries can buy ration from any one of these states.

Food Subsidy

At present, Central Government as per National Food Security Act supplies 5 kg of subsidised foodgrain to each person per month to over 81 crore people via 5,00,000 ration shops (PDS) in the country. The foodgrain is supplied to beneficiaries via ration shops at highly subsidised rate of Rs.3/kg for rice,₹Rs. 2/kg for wheat and Rs. 1/kg for coarse grains.

Month:  Categories: Government Schemes & Projects

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HarmonyOS: Huawei launches its own Operating System

Chinese telecom giant Huawei launched its own operating system called HarmonyOS or HongMeng in Chinese. It was revealed by Richard Yu, head of Huawei’s consumer business at a press conference in Dongguan.

This unveiling comes at a time when telecom giant is facing threat of losing access to Google’s Android platform, amid escalating U.S.-China trade tensions, although Huawei has reportedly been working on its own operating system since 2012.

About HarmonyOS

HarmonyOS is future oriented and designed to be more smooth and secure, and is completely different from Android and iOS.

The first version of this operating system would launch in late 2019 in its smart screen products and would later be expanded to across a range of smart devices, including wearable technology, over next 3 years.

Backup Plan: Although Huawei had no plan to launch a smartphone with HarmonyOS but the company has a backup plan ready i.e. if in future Huawei would cannot use Android then the company can immediately switch to HarmonyOS. This is because without access to full version of Android/other popular services offered by Google (including applications available on Google Play store), Huawei may face trouble in convincing its consumers outside China to buy its phones.

Importance: This highly anticipated operating system is considered crucial for Huawei’s survival as it confronts a looming White House ban on U.S. companies that are selling technology products to Huawei, which could possibly remove Huawei’s access to Android.

Background

In May 2019 Huawei was swept into deepening trade war between China and US which has seen punitive tariffs slapped on billions of dollars of two-way trade.

US President Donald Trump amid suspicions that Chinese telecom giant Huawei which is considered world leader in superfast fifth-generation (5G) equipment and is also world’s number 2 smartphone producer, provides a backdoor for Chinese intelligence services, blacklisted the company. However firm denies US accusations.

Blacklisting of Huawei by US, has resulted into restrictions on American companies which are theoretically no longer allowed to sell technology products to firm, however a 3-month exemption period (which ends in second week of August), was granted by US before measure came into force.

Ban could prevent Chinese tech firm from getting hold of key hardware and software which includes smartphone chips and elements of Google Android operating system (OS), which equips vast majority of smartphones in world, including those of Huawei.

Month:  Categories: Science & Technology

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