20 Feb Current Affairs
February 20, 2020
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February 22, 2020
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Feb 21 Current Affairs

Portuguese President’s Visit to India

In News:

The Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa visited India from 13th-16th February, 2020.

The last visit by a Portuguese President to India was in 2007.

Highlights of the Visit:

14 agreements and understandings were signed between India and Portugal in the fields of maritime heritage, maritime transport and port development, migration and mobility, start-ups, Intellectual Property Rights, aerospace, nano-biotechnology, audio visual co-production, yoga, diplomatic training, scientific research and public-policy.

One of the agreements included cooperation in setting up a national maritime museum heritage complex in Lothal, Gujarat.

Permanent Seat at UNSC: Portugal provided its support to India to become a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations.

India-Portugal Joint Economic Committee: It has been decided to hold the next session of the India-Portugal Joint Economic Committee in India soon to review the gamut of the bilateral trade and economic relations.

Portugal also extended its support for the commemoration of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.

Visit to Goa:

Portuguese president visited churches in Old Goa, including the Basilica of Bom Jesus where relics of St. Francis Xavier are preserved. He also paid a visit to Institute Mater Dei Santa Monica, a church in the Old Goa heritage complex, and the Christian Art Museum located on the premises.

All these structures at Old Goa, located about nine km from Panaji, are part of the complex certified as world heritage monuments by UNESCO.

Santa Monica Church is over 450 years old, having been one of the first churches the Portuguese built in Goa in 1525.

Upcoming Collaborations:

Portugal could join the International Solar Alliance in the near future.

India as an Associate Observer of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, so that both the countries can amplify their developmental partnerships in Africa and elsewhere.

India’s deepening engagement with the European Union (EU), especially when Portugal assumes the Presidency of the EU in 2021.

Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)

In News:

The annual All India Conference of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) was held in New Delhi on 16th February, 2020.


The Conference was presided over by the Union Minister for Law and Justice.

Apart from central services issues, the CAT will soon have jurisdiction to handle disputes and other issues related to the non-central services in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Central Administrative Tribunal:

Article 323 – A: The Central Administrative Tribunal had been established under Article 323 – A of the Constitution for adjudication of disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or other authorities under the control of the Government.

In pursuance of Article 323-A, the Parliament has passed the Administrative Tribunals Act in 1985. The act authorises the Central government to establish one Central Administrative Tribunal and the state administrative tribunals. This act opened a new chapter in the sphere of providing speedy and inexpensive justice to the aggrieved public servants.

Benches: There are 17 Benches and 21 Circuit Benches in the Central Administrative Tribunal all over India.

Objective and Composition: The CAT is a specialist body consisting of Administrative Members and Judicial Members who by virtue of their specialized knowledge are better equipped to dispense speedy and effective justice. It was established in 1985.

A Chairman who has been a sitting or retired Judge of a High Court heads the Central Administrative Tribunal.

Operating Principles:

It exercises jurisdiction only in relation to the service matters of the parties covered by the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985.

The Tribunal is guided by the principles of natural justice in deciding cases and is not bound by the procedure, prescribed by the Civil Procedure Code.

Under Section 17 of the Administrative Tribunal Act, 1985, the Tribunal has been conferred with the power to exercise the same jurisdiction and authority in respect of contempt of itself as a High Court.

Independence: The conditions of service of the Chairman and Members are the same as applicable to a Judge of High Court as per the Administrative Tribunals (Amendment) Act, 2006.

Appeals against Orders: The orders of Central Administrative Tribunal are challenged by way of Writ Petition under Article 226/227 of the Constitution before respective High Court in whose territorial jurisdiction the Bench of the Tribunal is situated.

Battle of Gallipoli

In News:

India has objected to Turkey President’s comparison of the Kashmir situation to the Battle of Çanakkale/Gallipoli of World War I (1914–18). He has compared the struggle of Kashmiris with that of Turkey during World War I.

Earlier in September, 2019 Turkey had raised the Kashmir issue in the United Nations General Assembly.

Key Points:

Gallipoli Campaign (1915-16): The Battle of Gallipoli or the Dardanelles Campaign was an unsuccessful attempt by the Allied Powers to control the sea route from Europe to Russia during World War I.

The campaign began with a failed naval attack by British and French ships on the Dardanelles Straits (connecting the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea) involving British and French troops as well as divisions of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). ANZAC corps was created early in World War I (1914–18).

Failure: Lack of sufficient intelligence and knowledge of the terrain, along with a fierce Turkish resistance (Ottoman army), hampered the success of the invasion.

Result: It is considered to be one of the bloodiest battles of World War I leading to the death of tens of thousands of soldiers on both sides.

Legacy of the Battle: The Battle resulted in the downfall of Winston Churchill and the emergence of the Turkish military hero, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

The event is today one of the central pillars of the modern Turkish identity.

The campaign is also seen to have seeded Australian and New Zealand national consciousness.

The date of the Gallipoli landings i.e April 25, 1915 is observed by Australia and New Zealand as ANZAC Day, the day of national remembrance for the war dead.

Swachh Iconic Places

In News:

The 3rd Annual Review meeting on Swachh Iconic Places (SIP) was held recently at Baidyanath Dham Deoghar, Jharkhand.

About Swachh Iconic Places (SIP):

It is an initiative of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation under Swachh Bharat Mission. Aims to take iconic places and their surroundings to higher standards of Swachhata, so that all visitors benefit and also take away home the message of cleanliness. Implementation of the project: It is a collaborative project with three other central Ministries: Urban Development, Culture, Tourism; all levels in the concerned States and more importantly, Public Sector and Private companies as partners.

Initiatives taken up under Swachh Iconic Places initiative:

Improved sewage infrastructure, installation of Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), drainage facilities, improved sanitation facilities, water vending machines, solid and liquid waste management (SLWM) set-up, structure restoration, lighting arrangements, beautification of parks, roads maintenance, better transport facilities in approach and access areas besides at the main sites.

Places selected:

Phase I iconic places are: Ajmer Sharif Dargah, CST Mumbai, Golden Temple, Kamakhya Temple, MaikarnikaGhat, Meenakshi Temple, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, Shree Jagannath Temple, The Taj Mahal and Tirupati Temple.

Phase II included Gangotri, Yamunotri, Mahakaleshwar Temple, Charminar, Convent and Church of St. Francis of Assissi, Kalady, Gommateswara, BaidyanathDham, Gaya Tirth and Somnath temple.

Phase III includes RaghavendraSwamy Temple (Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh); Hazardwari Palace (Murshidabad, West Bengal); Brahma Sarovar Temple (Kurukshetra, Haryana); VidurKuti (Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh); Mana village (Chamoli, Uttarakhand); Pangong Lake (Leh-Ladakh, J&K); Nagvasuki Temple (Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh); ImaKeithal/market (Imphal, Manipur); Sabarimala Temple (Kerala); and Kanvashram (Uttarakhand).

Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC)

In News:

Sanjay Kothari, Secretary to the President of India, will be the next Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC).

The post of CVC has been vacant since June 2019.

About CVC:

It is the apex vigilance institution created via executive resolution (based on the recommendations of Santhanam committee) in 1964 but was conferred with statutory status in 2003.

It submits its report to the President of India.

The Commission was set up on the recommendation of the K.Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption.


Consists of central vigilance commissioner along with 2 vigilance commissioners.


They are appointed by the President of India on the recommendations of a committee consisting of Prime Minister, Union Home Minister and Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha (if there is no LoP then the leader of the single largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha).


Their term is 4 years or 65 years, whichever is earlier.


The Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner can be removed from his office only by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the President, has, on inquiry, reported that the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner, as the case may be, ought to be removed.