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  • Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act of 2018 enacted to nullify the effects of the March 20, 2018 judgment of the court which had diluted the provisions of the Act.
  • A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said a preliminary inquiry is not essential before lodging an FIR under the act and the approval of senior police officials is not needed.
  • The Act also does not provide for anticipatory bail to the accused being charged with SC/ST Act. Courts can, however, quash FIRs in exceptional circumstances.

Godavari-Kaveri river linking project

  • The Narendra Modi government has made the draft Detailed Project Report (DPR) for linking the three rivers – Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri ready, said Rattan Lal Kataria, Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti & Social Justice and Empowerment in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.
  • The minister said that the project to connect the rivers includes three links – Godavari (Inchampalli/Janampet) – Krishna (Nagarjunasagar), Krishna (Nagarjunasagar) – Pennar (Somasila) and Pennar (Somasila ) – Cauvery (Grand Anicut). According to the draft DPR, around 247 TMC of water can be diverted from Godavari river to Nagarjunsagar dam through lifting and further south for meeting the demands of Krishna, Pennar and Cauvery basins.
  • The cost of the project has been estimated as Rs.60,361 crore at the financial year 2018-19 price level by National Water Development Agency (NWDA)

WORLD

U.S. Approves Possible Sale of IADS for India

  • The U.S. Department of State has approved a possible sale to India of military equipment comprising an integrated air defense weapon system (IADWS), the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced.
  • The DSCA announcement comes shortly before an anticipated trip to India by U.S. President Donald J. Trump later this month. Trump is expected to visit India for a two-day trip between February 23 and 26, according to Indian reports.
  • The IADWS package that has been approved includes a range of sensors, weapons systems, and support equipment. Included in the potential sale are AN/MPQ- 64Fl Sentinel radar systems, AMRAAM AIM-120C-7/C-8 missiles and associated guidance and control equipment, and Stinger FIM-92L missiles. The sale also includes M4A1 rifles, M855 5.56mm cartridges, and a range of other
    associated equipment.
  • This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defensive partner, which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.

TAMILNADU

Tamilnadu Tops in Disaster Management

  • K. Satyagopal, Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Tamil Nadu Water Resources Conservation and Rivers Restoration Corporation informed that Tamilnadu ranks first in disasater management in the whole nation .
  • The Third UN United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction was held in Sendai, Japan in March 2015

The Government of Tamil Nadu has announced that the Cauvery delta region will be declared as ‘Protected Special Agricultural Zone’ (PSAZ).

  • Protected Agriculture Zone:
    • Declaring as the Protected Special Agriculture Zone ensures that particular region will not be granted permission for any new projects like those related to hydrocarbons.
    • Only Agro based Industries would be given permission to be built.
  • Regions declared as Protected Zones:
    • To guard the delta areas and end farmers’ ordeals, the special protection will be bestowed on Cauvery Delta districts such as Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagappattinam, Pudukottai, Cuddalore, Ariyalur, Karur and Tiruchirappalli districts.
  • Essential of protection:
    • The Cauvery Delta Region is an important agricultural region in Tamil Naduand farmers continue to do agriculture, despite climate changes.
    • It is just and reasonable that projects like hydrocarbon exploration have raised concerns among farmers and other agriculture-based labourers.
    • Since the delta region is close to the sea, there is a need to safeguard the region.
  • Benefits of this declaration
    • The benefits that have accrued for farmers are manifold.
    • Drilling for extraction of oil and gas in these regions that hampers agriculture and posing much environmental impact or health hazards will be stopped immediately.
    • Whatever the project introduced by the centre, it cannot be implemented without the NOC from that state.
    • India’s first agricultural protection zone was established in 2011 in Uttarkhand.

APPOINTMENTS

Retired district judge D. Jayachandran, of State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) took over as the Commission’s chairperson

  • The State government has appointed Mr. Jayachandran as the acting Chairperson of the Commission.
  • Previous to that former chief justice of Megalaya Ms.Meenakumari,was the chairman who got retired in 2019.

CONFERENCE

First meeting of Ram temple trust likely on February 19

  • The Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust, established for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, is likely to have its first meeting on February 19.
  • The sources said the agenda might include announcement of a date for the start of construction. The possible dates are Ram Navmi (April 2) and Akshay Tritiya (April 26).
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in Parliament last week the formation of the Trust with 15 members (seven members, three trustees and five nominated members). This was in line with the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Ramjanmabhoomi – Babri Masjid dispute.

AWARDS

OSCAR AWARDS

  • The 92nd Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honored the best films of 2019 and took place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

Oscar 2020 Winners List:

  • Best actor: Joaquin Phoenix- Joker
  • Best actress: Renee Zellweger- Judy
  • Best director: Bong Joon-ho- Parasite
  • Best picture: Parasite
  • Best supporting actor: Brad Pitt in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • Best animated feature: Toy Story 4
  • Best animated short: Hair Love
  • Best original screenplay: Parasite
  • Best adapted screenplay: Jojo Rabbit
  • Best live-action short: The Neighbours’ Window
  • Best animated short: Hair Love
  • Best production design: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Best costume design: Little Women
  • Best documentary: American Factory
  • Best documentary short: Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)
  • Best supporting actress: Laura Dern- Marriage Story
  • Best cinematography: 1917
  • Best sound editing: Ford v Ferrari
  • Best sound mixing: 1917
  • Best film editing: Ford v Ferrari
  • Best visual effects: 1917
  • Best makeup and hair: Bombshell
  • Best international feature film: Parasite
  • Best original score: Joker
  • Best original song: I’m Gonna Love Me Again by Rocketman

IMPORTANT DAYS

International day of women and girls in science – Feb 11

  • The International Day of Women and Girls in Science, celebrated on 11 February, is implemented by UNESCO and UN-Women (link is external), in collaboration institutions and civil society partners that aim to promote women and girls in science. This Day is an opportunity to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.

SPORTS

Vivek Sagar Prasad Named 2019 Fih Rising Star Of The Year

  • Upcoming Indian hockey midfielder, Vivek Sagar Prasad, has been named as the 2019 FIH Rising Star of the Year, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced.