Jan. 31, 2020

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2020

PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY OF INTERNATIONAL CONCERN (PHEIC)
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the novel coronavirus infection a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), as China reported that death toll had climbed to 213 with nearly 10,000 infections.

About:

  • Criteria followed by WHO to declare PHEIC: A public health emergency is defined as “an extraordinary event which is determined:
    • to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease; and

    • to potentially require a coordinated international response”.



  • Declared by whom: The responsibility of declaring an event as an emergency lies with the Director-General of the WHO.

  • Past incidence: In the past decade, WHO has declared public health emergencies for outbreaks including swine flu, polio and Ebola.

  • Implications of a PHEIC being declared: Declaring a PHEIC may lead to restrictions on travel and trade for the host country, which in the case of the coronavirus is China.

Important Info :

Novel Coronavirus? 

  • The novel coronavirus (a new strain of coronavirus which has not been previously identified in human beings) is one among a large family of coronaviruses that can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to the more serious Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 
  • The source of the novel coronavirus is not yet known and there is no treatment for it so far. 
Source : Times of India
Health

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2020

EXERCISE SAMPRITI
A joint military training exercise between India and Bangladesh named SAMPRITI-IX will be conducted at UMROI, Meghalaya, India from 03 Feb to 16 Feb 2020.

About:

  • Exercise SAMPRITI is a joint military exercise between India and Bangladesh which is hosted alternately by both countries.

  • During SAMPRITI-IX, the ninth edition of the exercise, a Command Post Exercise (CPX) and a Field Training Exercise (FTX) will be conducted. 

Source : PIB
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2020

SARASWATI PUJA
Basant Panchami or Vasant Panchami, also celebrated as Saraswati Puja, was celebrated in various parts of the Nation on January 30.

About:

  • Basant Panchami or Vasant Panchami marks the beginning of the spring season - Basant means spring and Panchami means "the fifth day" (or Panchmi of Shukla Paksha in Magh Maas).

  • The day is also celebrated as Saraswati Puja and the Hindu goddess of wisdom and knowledge, Saraswati, is worshipped on this day.

  • Regions: Saraswati Puja on Vasant Panchami is more popular in Bengal, Odisha and North Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh. 

Important Info :

How Basant Panchami, Saraswati Puja Is Celebrated?

  • On this day, the Hindus visit temples and pray to Goddess Saraswati. Several schools begin their session on Saraswati Puja day.
  • Men, women and children dress up in the vibrant yellow colour as mustard fields in northern parts of India blooms during this season. Yellow flowers are offered to Goddess Saraswati and the festive yellow dishes like sweet saffron rice, kesari sheera, boondi ke ladoo, rajbhog and khichdi are prepared in homes. 
Source : All India Radio
Culture

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2020

NAGOBA JATARA
Nagoba Jatara, the tribal festival of Telangana concluded.

About:

  • Nagoba Jatara is a tribal festival held in Keslapur village, Inderavelly Mandal Adilabad district, It starts in pushya masam.

  • It is celebrated by Mesaram clan of Gond tribes for 10 days. Tribal people from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh belonging to the Mesram clan offer prayers at the festival.

  • The Gusadi Dance performance by dancers from the Gond tribe is a major special attraction of the event.

  • The event also includes a ceremony called ‘bheting’, which incorporates new brides into the clan.

  • The ceremony of Betal puja, which involves display of martial art, constitutes the last of the rituals in the event. 

Source : The Hindu
Culture

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2020

BEATING RETREAT CEREMONY
Beating Retreat ceremony was held which marked the culmination of the Republic Day celebrations. The ceremony ended with Abide With Me, said to be Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite.

About:

  • It officially denotes the end of Republic Day festivities.

  • It is conducted on the evening of 29 January, the third day after the Republic Day.

  • it is organized by Section D of the Ministry of Defence.

  • It is performed by the bands of the three wings of the military, the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force, and pipe bands from the Army, plus from 2016 a massed formation of bands of the Central Armed Police Forces and the Delhi Police.

  • The venue is Raisina Hills and an adjacent square, Vijay Chowk, flanked by the North and South blocks of the Central Secretariat and the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President's Palace) towards the end of Rajpath.

  • The chief guest of the function is the President of India.

  • The ceremony traces its origins to the early 1950s when Major Roberts of the Indian Army developed the unique ceremony of display by the massed bands.

Source : The Hindu
Culture

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2020

MEDICAL TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2020
The Union Cabinet has approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.

Salient features of proposed amendments:

  • Proposing requirement for opinion of one provider for termination of pregnancy, up to 20 weeks of gestation and introducing the requirement of opinion of two providers for termination of pregnancy of 20-24 weeks of gestation.

  • Enhancing the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for special categories of women including survivors of rape, victims of incest and other vulnerable women (like differently-abled women, Minors) etc.

  • Upper gestation limit not to apply in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities diagnosed by Medical Board. The composition, functions and other details of Medical Board to be prescribed subsequently in Rules under the Act.

  • Name and other particulars of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated shall not be revealed except to a person authorised in any law for the time being in force. 

Source : The Hindu
Health

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2020

NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR HOMOEOPATHY BILL, 2019
The Union Cabinet has approved the amendments in the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019 for amending the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973. Presently, the Bill is pending in Rajya Sabha.

About:

  • The Bill sets up the National Commission for Homoeopathy (NCH). The NCH will consist of 20 members, appointed by the central government.  

  • Functions of the NCH include: (i) framing policies for regulating medical institutions and homoeopathic medical professionals, (ii) assessing the requirements of healthcare related human resources and infrastructure, (iii) ensuring compliance by the State Medical Councils of Homoeopathy of the regulations made under the Bill, and (iv) ensuring coordination among the autonomous boards set up under the Bill.

  • The Bill sets up following autonomous boards under the supervision of the NCH:
    • the Homoeopathy Education Board,

    • the Medical Assessment and Rating Board for Homoeopathy, and

    • the Board of Ethics and Medical Registration for Homoeopathy



  • The central government will constitute an Advisory Council for Homoeopathy. The Council will be the primary platform through which the states/union territories can put forth their views and concerns before the NCH.

  • The amendments will:
    • ensure necessary regulatory reforms in the field of Homoeopathy education.

    • enable transparency and accountability for protecting the interest of the general public. The Commission will promote availability of affordable healthcare services in all parts of the country.



Source : All India Radio
Health

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2020

SCHEMES OF NORTH EASTERN COUNCIL
Union Cabinet has approved allocation of 30 % of the North Eastern Council’s (NEC’s) allocation for new projects for focused development of deprived areas.

The Union Cabinet has approved the following:

  • Allocation of 30 percent of North Eastern Council’s (NEC’s) allocation for new projects under the existing “Schemes of North Eastern Council” for focussed development of deprived areas. The balance allocation shall be bifurcated in the existing two components (State component-60% and Central component-40%)

  • Allowing projects under State component, upto 25% of each State’s normative allocation, for sectors not covered in the mandate of NEC, but which are considered important as per local felt needs as per the recommendations of the State Governments. 

Important Info :
  • In 2018, the Government approved schemes of North Eastern Council (NEC) for 3 years i.e. 2017-18 to 2019-20.
  • The projects under the existing “Schemes of NEC” will accrue socio-economic benefits to the marginalized and vulnerable groups of people in backward and neglected areas of the North Eastern States.
Source : PIB
North-East

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2020

NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR INDIAN SYSTEM OF MEDICINE BILL, 2019
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for proposal of Official Amendments in the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019 (NCIM) which is pending in the Rajya Sabha.

About:

  • The Bill seeks to repeal the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970.

  • The Bill provides for the establishment of the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCISM). The NCISM will consist of 29 members, appointed by the central government.

  • Functions of the NCISM include: (i) framing policies for regulating medical institutions and medical professionals of Indian System of Medicine and (ii) ensuring coordination among the autonomous boards set up under the Bill.

  • The Bill sets up following autonomous boards under the supervision of the NCISM:
    • the Board of Ayurveda and the Board of Unani, Siddha, and Sowa-Rigpa,

    • the Medical Assessment and Rating Board for Indian System of Medicine and

    • the Ethics and Medical Registration Board:



  • The central government will constitute an Advisory Council for Indian System of Medicine, which will be the primary platform through which the states/union territories can put forth their views and concerns before the NCISM.

  • There will be a uniform National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for admission to under-graduate education in each of the disciplines of the Indian System of Medicine in all medical institutions regulated by the Bill. 

Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2020

ANTICIPATORY BAIL
The Supreme Court ruled that no time limit could be fixed while granting anticipatory bail, and that it could continue till the end of trial.

About: 

  • A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said the court could extend pre-arrest bail, with suitable conditions, under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

  • The bench was hearing a matter regarding whether anticipatory bail should be limited to a particular period.

  • According to court, the protection of anticipatory or pre-arrest bail cannot be limited to any time frame or “fixed period” as denial of bail amounts to deprivation of the fundamental right to personal liberty.

  • According to court, section 438 (anticipatory bail) of the Code of Criminal Procedure protects people from the ignominy of detention in jail for days on end and disgrace to their reputation.

Important Info :
  • Under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code there is a provision for a person to seek ‘Anticipatory Bail’. This means that an individual can seek or request to get bail in anticipation or in expectation of being named or accused of having committed a non-bailable offence.
  • To get anticipatory bail the person seeking it, must approach the Court of Sessions or the High Court and citing section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code apply for it. 
Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance

Jan. 30, 2020

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2020

DATA ON POLICE ORGANIZATIONS
Union Home Minister Amit Shah released the Data on Police Organizations (DoPO) as on 1.1.2019” in India.

About:

The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) has been publishing the “Data on Police Organizations (DoPO)” annually since 1986.  The salient features of the “DoPO as on 1.01.2019” are as under:

  • Total Sanctioned Police Force (Civil +  DAR+ Spl. Armed): 25,95,435

  • Total Actual Police Force (Civil + DAR+ Spl. Armed): 20,67,270

  • Vacancy: 5,28,165

  • Strength of Women Police Force (Civil + DAR+Spl. Armed)/ Percentage: 1,85,696/8.98%

  • Percentage increase of Women Police over previous year: 9.52%

  • Strength of Women Police in CAPFs/ Percentage: 29,532/ 2.95%

  • Population Per Police person (PPP) - Sanctioned: 503.40

  • Population Per Police person (PPP) - Actual: 632.02

  • Police Population Ratio (Per Lakh) (PPR) - Sanctioned: 198.65

  • Police Population Ratio (Per Lakh) (PPR) - Actual: 158.22

  • Number of Police Districts: 777

  • Number of Police Commissionerates: 63

Source : PIB
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2020

OPERATION VANILLA
Indian Navy has launched ‘Operation Vanilla’ to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief at Madagascar.

About:

  • The Operation Vanilla has been launched to provide assistance to the affected population of Madagascar post devastation caused by Cyclone Diane.

  • The Indian Navy Ship is geared to set up medical camp and provide food, water and other necessary relief material. 

Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2020

KARNATAKA ANTI-SUPERSTITION LAW
A controversial anti-superstition law in Karnataka, the Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Act, 2017, has been formally notified by the government.

About:

  • The practice of Vaastu, astrology, pradakshina or circumabulation of holy places, yatras, parikramas performed at religious places were kept out of the purview of the law.

  • Made Snana, the practise of having Dalits roll over left over food, has now been modified to be voluntary and not involving leftover food.

  • Practices such as barring menstruating women from entering houses of worship and their homes, coercing people to take part in fire-walks, and beating up people by declaring them evil, are among the irrational practices that have been banned under the 2017 law.

  • A total of 16 practices have been banned under the law.

  • The law stipulates “imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to seven years and with fine which shall not be less than five thousand rupees but which may extend to fifty thousand rupees”, as punishment for violations. 

Source : Indian Express
Social Issues

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2020

TRUMP’S MIDDLE EAST PLAN
President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan, Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People, was recently released.

About:

  • Both Israel and the Palestinians make non-negotiable claims over Jerusalem. The plan says Jerusalem will not be divided, and it will remain “the sovereign capital of the State of Israel”.

  • The capital of Palestine can occupy far-flung eastern neighbourhoods lying beyond “the existing security barrier”, which can be renamed Al Quds, the Arabic name for Jerusalem.

  • Israel does not have to dismantle any of its illegal settlements in the West Bank.

  • To the Palestinians, the deal offers the possibility of a US-recognised quasi sovereign state that will not, however, have a standing army; they will also have to give up violent resistance to Israel, and ensure the disbandment of Hamas, which governs Gaza.

  • Observers have said that the deal, which was drawn up without any meaningful Palestinian participation, is loaded in Israel’s favour. 

Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2020

NO-FLY LIST
Four airlines in India — IndiGo, SpiceJet, Air India and GoAir — have banned stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra from taking their flights after he allegedly heckled television news anchor Arnab Goswami on an IndiGo flight.

About:

  • In 2017, the government issued rules for preventing disruptive behaviour by air travellers and laid down guidelines for a no-fly list.

  • As per the rules, a complaint of unruly behaviour needs to be filed by the pilot-in-command, and this is to be probed by an internal committee to be set up by the airline.

  • During the period of pendency of the inquiry, the rules empower the concerned airline to impose a ban on the passenger. The committee is to decide the matter within 30 days, and also specify the ban duration.

  • The rules define three categories of unruly behaviour:
    • Level 1 refers to behaviour that is verbally unruly, and calls for debarment up to three months;

    • Level 2 indicates physical unruliness and can lead to the passenger being debarred from flying for up to six months;

    • Level 3 indicates life-threatening behaviour for which the debarment would be for a minimum of two years.



  • Any aggrieved person, upon receipt of communication of a ban from the airline, may appeal within 60 days from the date of issue of the order, to an Appellate Committee constituted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2020

STAR CAMPAIGNERS
The Election Commission of India (ECI) removed BJP leaders Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Sahib Singh from the party’s list of star campaigners.

About:

  • A recognised political party can have 40 star campaigners and an unrecognised (but registered) political party can have 20.

  • The list of star campaigners has to be communicated to the Chief Electoral Officer and Election Commission within a week from the date of notification of an election.

  • The expenditure incurred on campaigning by such notified star campaigners is exempt from being added to the election expenditure of a candidate. However, this only applies when a star campaigner limits herself to a general campaign for the political party she represents.

Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2020

POLYCRACK
Indian Railways has commissioned country’s first governmental Waste to Energy Plant, having capacity of 500 Kg waste per day, in Mancheswar Carriage Repair Workshop at Bhubaneswar in East Coast Railway.

About:

  • This Waste to Energy Plant, a patented technology called POLYCRACK, is first-of-its-kind in Indian Railways and fourth in India.

  • It is world’s first patented heterogeneous catalytic process which converts multiple feed stocks into hydrocarbon liquid fuels, gas, carbon and water.

  • Using Polycrack Plant, all types of waste including plastic and e-waste can be converted to Light Diesel Oil which is used to light furnaces. It can be fed with all types of Plastic.

  • Polycrack has the following advantages over the conventional approach of treating solid waste:
    • Pre-segregation of waste is not required to reform the waste. Waste as collected can be directly fed into Polycrack.

    • It is an enclosed unit hence the working environment is dust free.

    • All constituents are converted into valuable energy thereby making it Zero Discharge Process. 



Environment

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2020

MISSING PERSON SEARCH; GENERATE VEHICLE NOC
National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) launched two Police related Citizen centric services on Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS) platform.

About:

  • The two citizen services namely ‘Missing Person Search’ and ‘Generate Vehicle NOC’ will now be available online to Citizens.

  • The Citizens can search for their missing kins against the national database of recovered unidentified found person/unidentified dead bodies from their homes.

  • ‘Generate Vehicle NOC’ allows citizens to ascertain the status of a vehicle before its second hand purchase, as to whether it is suspicious or clean from Police records. 

Source : PIB
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2020

INDIAN ACADEMY OF HIGHWAY ENGINEERS (IAHE)
The report of the YS Malik Committee, constituted to give recommendations to transform the Indian Academy of Highway Engineers (IAHE) into a world class premier institute on highway sector was submitted to the Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways.

About:

  • IAHE is the premier institute for pooling of experience and sharing of knowledge on entire range of subjects involving management of highways.

  • It was created by Ministry for Road Transport & Highways in 1983.

  • It is located in NOIDA (Uttar Pradesh).

  • The recent report says, there is need to improve existing training infrastructure, content and training methodology, establish linkages with world-renowned international institutes and carry out applied research & related works.

Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2020

BHAKTA RAMADASU
A 11-foot imposing bronze statue of Bhakta Ramadasu, the renowned saint composer of the 17th century, was unveiled at his birthplace, Nelakondapalli in Telangana’s Khammam district, on the occasion of his 387th birth anniversary.

About:

  • Kancharla Gopanna (1620 – 1680), popularly known as Bhakta Ramadasu or Bhadrachala Ramadasu was a 17th-century Indian devotee of Lord Rama and a composer of Carnatic music.

  • He is a famous Vaggeyakara (classical composer) from the Telugu classical era.

  • His devotional lyrics to Rama are famous in South Indian classical music as Ramadaasu Keertanalu.

  • He also wrote Dasarathi Shatakamu, a collection of nearly 108 poems dedicated to the son of Dasaratha (Lord Rama). 

Source : The Hindu
Culture

Jan. 29, 2020

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2020

AFRICAN CHEETAH
The Supreme Court allowed the Centre to introduce the African cheetah to suitable habitat in India.

About:

  • The apex Court's decision followed a petition filed by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) seeking permission for the introduction of the African cheetah from Namibia as rare Indian cheetah is almost extinct in the country.

  • The Court also set up a three-member committee, comprising former Director Wildlife of India Ranjit Singh, Director General of Wildlife of India Dhananjay Mohan and Deputy Inspector General, Wildlife, Ministry of Environment to guide the NTCA in taking a decision on the issue. 

Important Info :

Cheetah?

  • Family: It is a large cat of the subfamily Felinae
  • Scientific name: Acinonyx jubatus.
  • The 4 subspecies are: Southeast African cheetah, Asiatic cheetah, Northeast African cheetah and Northwest African cheetah.
  • Distribution: it is found in North, Southern and East Africa, and a few localities in Iran.
  • Habitat: It inhabits a variety of mostly arid habitats like dry forests, scrub forests, and savannahs.
  • Conversation Status: The cheetah has been
    • classified as vulnerable by the IUCN; and
    • listed under Appendix I of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).
  • Speed: The cheetah is the fastest land animal. 
Source : All India Radio
Environment

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2020

RAMSAR SITES
Ramsar has declared 10 more wetland sites from India as sites of international importance for the conservation of global biological diversity.

About:

  • Maharashtra gets its first Ramsar site (Nandur Madhameshwar), Punjab added 3 more (Keshopur-Miani, Beas Conservation Reserve, Nangal) and UP has added 6 more (Nawabganj, Parvati Agra, Saman, Samaspur, Sandi and SarsaiNawar).

  • With this, the numbers of Ramsar sites in India are now 37 and the surface area covered by these sites is now 1,067,939 hectares. 

Important Info :
  • The Ramsar Convention was signed in 1971 to maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity.
  • Wetlands declared as Ramsar sites are protected under strict guidelines of the convention.
Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2020

SPITZER SPACE TELESCOPE
On January 30, 2020, NASA’s Spitzer Mission, which studied the universe in infrared light for more than 16 years, will come to an end since it is low on fuel and has been drifting away from Earth for a few years now.

About:

  • The Spitzer Space Telescope (SST) is an infrared space telescope. It was launched in 2003 and is planned to be retired on 30 January 2020.

  • This telescope by NASA is named in honor of astronomer Lyman Spitzer, who had promoted the concept of space telescopes in the 1940s.

  • It is one of the elements of NASA’s Great Observatories that include the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-Ray. Using different infrared wavelengths, Spitzer was able to see and reveal features of the universe including objects that were too cold to emit visible light.

  • Spitzer could also see through large amounts of gas using infrared wavelengths to find objects that may otherwise have been invisible to human beings. These included exoplanets, brown dwarfs and cold matter found in the space between stars.

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2020

SIS-DP PROJECT
Union Minister of State for Department of Space inaugurated the 'National Workshop on Space based Information Support for Decentralised Planning (SISDP)-update.' He also launched the Bhuvan Panchayat V 3.0 web portal in Bengaluru.

About:

  • ISRO had launched 'SISDP' project to assist gram panchayats at grassroots level with basic planning inputs derived from satellite data for preparing developmental plans, its implementation and monitoring of activities.

  • National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), located in Hyderabad, is the lead centre to execute the project. NSRC is one of the centres of ISRO.

  • SISDP phase-I project was successfully concluded in 2016-17. Based on the experience of SISDP phase-I, 'SISDP-Update' has been initiated.

  • The geodatabase, products and services prepared under this project are expected to be disseminated through Bhuvan geoportal, an easy to use Geo portal developed for database visualization, data analytics etc. for the benefit of Gram Panchayat members and other stake holders. 

Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2020

RUKUNA RATHA YATRA
During the Republic Day celebrations of 2020, the tableau of Odisha displayed the famous Rukuna Ratha Yatra of Lord Lingaraja worshipped as both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu in a sixth century built temple named 'Lingaraj Temple' at Bhubaneswar.

About:

  • Rukuna Rath Yatra of Lord Lingaraj in Bhubaneswar is one of the biggest festival of the city.

  • The Chariot Festival of Lord Lingaraja is celebrated at Bhubaneswar on the day of Ashokastami or Basanti Durga Puja.The festival takes place in the month of Chaitra (March-April) the day preceding Ramanavami.

  • On the day of Ashokastami 3 deities i.e. Chandrasekhar – the representative of lord Lingaraja, Rukmini & Basudeva are ceremonially brought to ascend chariot.

  • After that, the chariot is drawn to Rameswara temple and remained there for four days called Gundicha Gharand on the fifth day the three deities start the return journey called Bahuda. 

Source : Outlook
Culture

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2020

AIR INDIA DISINVESTMENT
The newly constituted Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM) has approved the release of the Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM) for inviting Expression of Interest (EOI) from the Interested Bidders (IBs) for Strategic Disinvestment of Air India.

About:

  • The Union government invited bids for a 100% stake sale of Air India (AI) and transfer of management control along with its complete share in two subsidiaries — low-cost international carrier Air India Express and ground-handling arm AISATS.

  • The government has also offered to hive off liabilities worth nearly ₹40,000 crore.

  • On the table is a 100% stake in AI, 100% stake in AI Express Limited (AIXL) and all of the government’s 50% stake in AISATS, which is a joint venture with the Singapore-based ground handling company SATS Limited.

  • The buyer will get a total of 146 aircraft, 56% of which are owned by the airline group, while the remaining are on lease. Any private or public limited company, a corporate body and a fund with a net value of ₹3,500 crore will be eligible to bid.

  • The last date for submitting interest to the transaction adviser is March 17 and the outcome of this round will be known by March 31. 

Important Info :
  • The newly constituted Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM) is headed by Union Home Minister and comprises Union Ministers of Commerce & Industry, Finance & Corporate Affairs and Civil Aviation, as members.
  • This is the second attempt in two years by the government at privatising the national carrier. On May 31, 2018, when the deadline for bids closed, not even a single private player had shown interest.
Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2020

HCFC-141b
India has successfully achieved the complete phase out of Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141 b.

About:

  • Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141 b is a chemical used by foam manufacturing enterprises and is one of the most potent ozone depleting chemical after Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

  • HCFC-141 b is used mainly as a blowing agent in the production of rigid polyurethane (PU) foams.

  • The Ministry of Environment has brought out a Gazette notification through which import of HCFC-141b is prohibited from 1st January, 2020 under Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Amendment Rules, 2019 issued under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

  • The complete phase out of HCFC 141 b from the country in foam sector is among the first at this scale in Article 5 parties (developing countries) under the Montreal Protocol. 

Source : PIB
Environment

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2020

STCW CONVENTION
The Union Cabinet has approved the Model MoU with foreign countries for recognition of seafarers’ competency certificates, pursuant to STCW Convention, 1978.

About:

  • International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978 sets minimum qualification standards for masters, officers and watch personnel on seagoing merchant ships and large yachts.

  • The Convention did not deal with manning levels: IMO provisions in this area are covered by the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974.

  • STCW was adopted in 1978 by conference at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, and entered into force in 1984. The Convention was significantly amended in 1995.

  • One especially important feature of the Convention is that it applies to ships of non-party States when visiting ports of States which are Parties to the Convention.

Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2020

PRESOLAR GRAINS
Scientists have discovered the oldest solid material ever found on the Earth, in the form of stardust trapped inside a meteorite that crashed into Australia 50 years ago and predates the formation of our solar system.

About:

  • This stardust provides evidence for a ‘baby boom’ of new stars that formed 7 billion years ago, contrary to the theory that star formation happens at a steady, constant rate. The materials the researchers examined are called presolar grains.

  • Presolar grains are interstellar solid matter in the form of tiny solid grains that originated at a time before the Sun was formed. Presolar stardust grains formed within outflowing and cooling gases from earlier presolar stars.

  • These bits of stardust became trapped in meteorites where they remained unchanged for billions of years, making them capsules of the cosmic time before the solar system.

  • However, presolar grains are very tiny and rare, found only in about five per cent of meteorites that have fallen to the Earth. Since presolar grains are formed when a star dies, they can tell us about the history of stars. 

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Jan. 28, 2020

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2020

GOTT PROJECT MANAGEMENT UNIT (PMU)
Government eMarketplace (GeM), under the Department of Commerce (Ministry of Commerce) and Government of Uttar Pradesh, signed a MoU to set up a GeM Organizational Transformation Team (GOTT) Project Management Unit (PMU) in the State.

About:

  • The PMU to be setup under the MoU will make it easier for MSMEs of U.P. to onboard and transact on GeM. GOTT will assist the buyer agency to redesign the procurement processes and enhance competencies to derive maximum benefit from the online marketplace.

  • The Government of Uttar Pradesh is the second State after Punjab to establish a GOTT-PMU for efficient and transparent procurement. Among the CPSEs, SAIL has already signed MoU for setting up a PMU. 

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2020

BODO AGREEMENT
A historic agreement was signed between Government of India, Government of Assam and Bodo representatives to end the over 50-year old Bodo crisis.

Key highlights of the agreement:

  • Increase the scope and powers of the Bodo Territorial Council (BTC) and to streamline its functioning;

  • Set up a commission under Section 14 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India, to recommend the inclusion or exclusion of tribal population residing in villages adjoining Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) areas;

  • The Government of Assam will establish a Bodo-Kachari Welfare Council;

  • The Assam government will also notify Bodo language as an associate official language in the state and will set up a separate directorate for Bodo medium schools;

  • promote and protect Bodo's social, cultural, linguistic and ethnic identities;

  • Providing legislative protection for the land rights of tribals;

  • A Special Development Package Rs. 1500 crores over three years will be given by the Union Government to undertake specific projects for the development of Bodo areas.

  • Rehabilitate members of National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) factions (With this agreement, over 1500 armed cadres will abjure violence and join the mainstream). 

Source : PIB
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2020

3rd GLOBAL POTATO CONCLAVE
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the 3rd Global Potato Conclave at Gandhinagar, Gujarat on 28th of January 2020. The Potato Conference will be held for 3 days during 28-30 January, 2020.

About:

  • Bodies involved: The Conclave is being organized by Indian Potato Association (IPA) in collaboration with Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, and ICAR-Central Potato Research Institute, Shimla and International Potato Center (CIP), Lima, Peru.

  • Background: The present conclave is the third in the series. During last two decades two Global Potato Conferences were organized during 1999, and 2008.

  • Aim: The Conclave will provide an opportunity so that all the issues are discussed and future plans are made involving everyone related to the potato sector. 

Important Info :

Gujarat and Potato sector:

  • Gujarat is one of the leading producers of Potato in the country. In the last eleven years alone, while the area under potato in India, has increased by 19%, it has increased by about 170% in Gujarat.
  • With a productivity of more than 30t/ha, Gujarat is holding the No. 1 position in India for last one decade. 
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2020

75th ANNIVERSARY OF THE LIBERATION OF AUSCHWITZ
On January 27, 2020, survivors of the Holocaust and international heads of state marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

About:

  • During the Second World War, the government of Nazi Germany killed approximately 17 million people across Europe in half a dozen camps specifically designated for killings.

  • Of these seven killing centers, the camp at Auschwitz (in German-occupied Poland), perhaps the most well known, was the largest in size. In many ways, Auschwitz has become the center of Holocaust history and research and serves as a reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust.

  • Allied forces entered Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, finding hundreds of sick, starving and exhausted prisoners, who had somehow survived. In 2005, the UN-designated January 27 as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. 

Source : Indian Express
History

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2020

RELATED-PARTY TRANSACTIONS
A working group, put in place by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in November 2019, has proposed significant changes to strengthen the regulatory framework for related-party transactions that have been the subject of many corporate governance matters.

Recommendations made:

  • Broaden the definition of RPTs (related-party transactions) to include transactions which are undertaken, whether directly or indirectly, with the intention of benefitting related parties.

  • An audit committee approval must be made mandatory for transactions between a listed entity or its subsidiary with its related party.

  • Any entity related to the promoter or promoter group should be considered a related party. Further, any entity holding — directly or indirectly along with their relatives — 20% or more stake in the company should also be considered a related party. 

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2020

SIGNIFICANCE OF JANUARY 26
26 January 1950 was the day India’s Constitution came into effect, and the country became a republic. The day- 26 January- was chosen for a particular reason, as it marked a key event in the struggle for India’s freedom from British rule.

About:

  • In 1929, Lahore hosted the Indian National Congress session, in which Jawaharlal Nehru was president. On December 31, 1929, Nehru hoisted the tricolour on the banks of the Ravi river and demanded “Poorna Swaraj” or complete self-rule, and the date set for independence was January 26, 1930.

  • On January 26, 1930, the Congress passed the Poorna Swaraj resolution or the Declaration of Independence. The day was then celebrated as Poorna Swaraj day for the next 17 years.

  • When India became independent in 1947, the day set by the British was August 15– chosen to coincide with the second anniversary of the day when Japanese forces submitted to allied powers after the Second World War.

  • Thus, when the Constitution of India was adopted on 26th November, 1949, many considered it necessary to celebrate the document on a day associated with national pride. The Poorna Swaraj day was the best option– January 26. It has since been celebrated as the country’s Republic Day. 

Source : Indian Express
History

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2020

REPUBLIC DAY CELEBRATIONS 2020
The 71st Republic Day was celebrated at Rajpath, New Delhi.

Key highlights of the event:

  • For the first time that the Prime Minister paid homage to martyrs at the National War Memorial (NWM) near India Gate instead of Amar Jawan Jyoti (AJJ).
    • The NWM, inaugurated in February 2019, is located at the ‘C’ Hexagon near the India Gate and was built in memory of about 22,500 Indian soldiers who laid down their lives in the post-independence period.

    • The AJJ will now be used only for regimental events and visiting dignitaries.



  • Anti-satellite weapon – Mission Shakthi developed by DRDO, Army’s battle tank Bhishma, infantry combat vehicles, Air Forces’ newly inducted Chinook and Apache helicopters were showcased during the parade.

  • The President of Brazil, Jair Messias Bolsonaro was this year’s chief guest.

  • The first contingent in the uniform of the erstwhile Gwalior Lancers was 61 Cavalry, the only active serving horse cavalry regiment in the world. It was raised on August 01, 1953 with the amalgamation of six state forces’ cavalry units.

  • For the first time, a contingent of women bikers of CRPF performed daredevil stunts. 

Source : PIB
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2020

GALLANTRY AWARDS 2020
India’s third-highest gallantry medal in peacetime, Shaurya Chakra, has been awarded to six Army and three police personnel for conspicuous bravery in counter-terror operations.

About:

  • Order of precedence of these awards is the Param Vir Chakra, the Ashoka Chakra, the Mahavir Chakra, the Kirti Chakra, the Vir Chakra and the Shaurya Chakra.

  • Announcement: These gallantry awards are announced twice in a year - first on the occasion of the Republic Day and then on the occasion of the Independence Day.

  • Shaurya Chakra is awarded to the armed forces for instances of extraordinary gallantry.

  • President Kovind also approved four Uttam Yudh Seva Medals (UYSM) for top Army generals including Lt. Gen. Y K Joshi, who will soon take charge of the Northern Army Command.

  • The President also approved five Nao Sena Medals (gallantry), four Bar to Sena Medals (devotion to duty), 36 Sena Medals (devotion to duty), eight Nao Sena Medals (devotion to duty), one Bar to Vayu Sena Medal (devotion to duty) and 13 Vayu Sena Medals (devotion to duty). 

Source : Times of India
Awards

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2020

GIANT STRAIGHT-TUSKED ELEPHANT
An international study in Quaternary Science Reviews has sought to bring some order into our understanding of giant straight-tusked elephant.

About:

  • About 800,000 years ago, a giant straight-tusked elephant migrated out of Africa and spread across Europe and Asia.

  • Marked by a huge head, the elephant divided into many species, such as Palaeoloxodon antiquus (in Europe), Palaeoloxodon namadicus (India) and Palaeoloxodon naumanni (Japan).

  • One key point of confusion was the different sizes of skull crests in fossils found in Europe. The new study has concluded that there was a single European species.

  • On the other hand, fossils found in Asia and East Africa represent distinct species that evolved. 

Important Info :
  • The straight-tusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus) is an extinct species of elephant that inhabited Europe and Western Asia during the Middle and Late Pleistocene (781,000–50,000 years before present).
  • Palaeoloxodon namadicus or the Asian straight-tusked elephant, was a species of prehistoric elephant that ranged throughout Pleistocene Asia.
Source : Indian Express
Environment

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2020

NATIONAL SECURITY ACT (NSA), 1980
Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Anil Baijal has issued an order giving the Police Commissioner the power to detain individuals under the tough National Security Act (NSA), 1980.

About:

  • The National Security Act, 1980 is described as “an Act to provide for preventive detention in certain cases and for matters connected therewith”.

  • The Act has been widely criticised as being “draconian” because of the powers of preventive detention that it gives to the government.

  • The detention under the NSA can extend up to 12 months — or even for longer if the government is able to produce more evidence against the detainee.

Source : Indian Express
Defence & Security
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