Factly articles for 20th August 2020

1.Cabinet approves setting up of National Recruitment Agency

News: Union Cabinet has given its approval for creation of National Recruitment Agency(NRA).


  • National Recruitment Agency(NRA): It will be a multi-agency body which will conduct the Common Eligibility Test(CET) to screen/shortlist candidates for the Group B and C (non-technical) posts.
  • Sectors: The NRA will initially conduct the CET for three sectors- Selection Commission(SSC), Railway Recruitment Boards(RRBs) and Institute of Banking Service Personnel(IBPS).
  • Composition: It will have representatives of the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance/Department of Financial Services, SSC, RRBs and IBPS.
  • Scores Validity: Score of the candidate shall be valid for a period of three years from the date of declaration of the result.The best of the valid scores shall be deemed to be the current score of the candidate.

2.Lok Sabha Speaker attends 5th World Conference of Speakers of Parliament

News: Lok Sabha Speaker has attended the inaugural ceremony of the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament(5WCSP).


  • About the Conference: The Conference is being organized jointly by the Inter-Parliamentary Union(IPU) and the Parliament of Austria with the support of the United Nations(UN).
  • Aim: To strengthen multilateralism and international cooperation in order to rebuild a better world.
  • Theme: “Parliamentary leadership for more effective multilateralism that delivers peace and sustainable development for the people and planet”.

Additional Facts:

  • Inter-Parliamentary Union(IPU): It was established in 1889 as a global organization of national parliaments.
    • Aim: To promote parliamentary dialogue world-wide and works for peace and cooperation among the people.
    • Significance: IPU has permanent observer status at the United Nations General Assembly.
    • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.

3.India ranks among lowest in terms of Internet quality

News: Digital Quality of Life(DQL) Index, 2020 has been released by SurfShark, an online privacy solutions provider.


  • About the Index: It is a global research on the quality of digital wellbeing in 85 countries (81% of the global population).
  • Parameters: The index ranks countries by looking at five fundamental pillars that define the digital quality of life:
    • Internet affordability(mobile and broadband)
    • Internet quality (mobile and broadband)
    • Electronic government availability and advancement
    • Electronic infrastructure development and
    • State of electronic security.

Key Takeaways:

  • Top Rankings: Scandinavian countries Denmark and Sweden topped the index with Canada rounding up the top three.
  • Indian Rankings: India stands at the overall rank of 57 out of the 85 countries.
    • Internet Affordability: 9th place and outperforms countries like the UK, the USA and China.
    • Internet Quality: 78th place and is almost at the bottom of the pillar.
    • E-infrastructure: India ranked 79th behind neighbours Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
    • Electronic Security: India performed poorly here standing at 57th position.
    • E-government: 15th place ahead of the Netherlands, China and Belgium.

4.eSanjeevani telemedicine service records 2 lakh tele-consultations

News: The ‘e-Sanjeevani’ digital platform of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has completed 2 lakh tele-consultations.


  • eSanjeevani: It is a digital platform that has enabled two types of telemedicine services:
    • eSanjeevani: It is a doctor to doctor telemedicine system being implemented under the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre(AB-HWCs) programme.
      • Aim: To implement tele-consultation in all the 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres in conjunction with identified Medical College hospitals in a ‘Hub and Spoke’ model.
    • eSanjeevaniOPD: It was launched amid the Covid-19 pandemic to enable patient-to-doctor tele-consultation.

5.Atlantic Ocean contains 10 times more microplastics than previously thought: Study

News: A study published in Nature Communications has estimated the amount of microplastic pollution in the Atlantic Ocean and put it at 11.6-21.1 million tonnes.


  • Microplastics: These are plastic debris smaller than 5mm in length or about the size of a sesame seed.
  • Sources: They can be divided into two main categories according to their source:
    • Primary microplastics:
      • Directly released in the environment as small particles
      • Main sources: laundering of synthetic clothes, abrasion of tyres through driving, intentionally added microplastics in personal care products for example microbeads in facial scrubs.
    • Secondary microplastics:
      • Originate from degradation of larger plastic objects such as plastic bags, bottles or fishing nets.
  • Effects of Microplastics:
    • Microplastics found in the sea can be ingested by marine animals.The plastic then accumulates and can end up in humans through the food chain.
    • Consumption of plastic by humans is harmful since several chemicals that are used to produce plastics can be carcinogenic.

6.Millennium Alliance Awards US$3.6 Million to 49 Social Innovations

News: The Millennium Alliance Initiative today announced awards of US$ 3.6 million to 49 aspiring Indian social entrepreneurs for their innovative solutions to address Indian and global development challenges.


  • Millennium Alliance:It is an innovation-driven and impact-focused initiative leveraging collaborative resources to identify test and scale Indian innovations that address global development solutions.
  • Bodies Involved: It is a consortium of partners (Public-Private Partnership) including the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, United States Agency for International Development(USAID), FICCI, UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), Facebook and Marico Innovation Foundation.
  • Significance: The program has played an important role in providing funding, capacity building and business development support to Indian social enterprises.

7.Mali president resigns after military mutiny

News: The military in Mali has arrested the president and prime minister in a coup after weeks of destabilizing protests over a disputed election, government corruption and a violent Islamist insurgency that has lasted for eight years.


  • Mali: It is a landlocked country in West Africa.Its capital is Bamako.
  • Border Countries: It borders Algeria to north-northeast, Niger to east, Burkina Faso to south-east, Ivory Coast to south, Guinea to south-west and Senegal to west and Mauritania to north-west.
  • Physical Features: Most of the Mail lies in the southern Sahara Desert as it’s borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara Desert while the southern part features the Niger and Senegal rivers.
  • Significance: Mali’s prominent natural resources include gold ( third largest producer in the African continent) and salt.

8.Domicile-based job quota: the law, SC rulings, and special cases

News: The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh has announced that the government jobs will be reserved for the “children” of the state and legal provisions will be made for the same.


What does the Constitution say:

  • Article 16(1): It provides for equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to ’employment or appointment’ to any office under the State.
  • Article 16(2): It provides that there cannot be any discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them.
  • Article 16(3): It provides an exception by saying that Parliament may make a law “prescribing” a requirement of residence for jobs in a particular state.This power vests solely in the Parliament, not state legislatures.

Supreme Court Judgements:

  • Dr Pradeep Jain v Union of India,1984: The Supreme Court discussed the issue of legislation for “sons of the soil”.It expressed an opinion that such policies would be unconstitutional but did not expressly rule on it as the case was on different aspects of the right to equality.
  • Sunanda Reddy v State of Andhra Pradesh (1995): The Supreme Court affirmed the observation in Pradeep Jain to strike down a state government policy that gave 5% extra weightage to candidates who had studied with Telugu as the medium of instruction.
  • In 2019, the Allahabad High Court struck down a recruitment notification issued by the Uttar Pradesh Subordinate Service Selection Commission which prescribed preference for women who were original residents of the state.

States Reserving Jobs for Locals: Some states have been using the loopholes in the laws to reserve government jobs for locals:

  • Public Employment (Requirement as to Residence) Act: Exercising the powers under Article 16(3), Parliament enacted the act aimed at abolishing all existing residence requirements in the states and enacting exceptions only in the case of the special instances of Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura and Himachal Pradesh.
  • Language: States have gone around the mandate of Article 16(2) by using language.States that conduct official business in their regional languages prescribe knowledge of the language as a criterion.
    • This ensures that local citizens are preferred for jobs. For example, states including Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu require a language test.
  • Special protections under Article 371: Some states have special protections under Article 371. Andhra Pradesh under Section 371(d) has powers to have “direct recruitment of local cadre” in specified areas.
  • Jammu and Kashmir: The Central Government has issued a notification reserving jobs for J&K domiciles expanding the definition to central government employees who had served in the erstwhile state for over 10 years.