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CURRENT AFFAIRS LUKMAAN IAS

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1. POLITY AND CONSTITUTION


1.1. CENTRE ALL SET TO REVAMP BRITISH-ERA INDIAN PENAL CODE
1.2. GIVING JUDGEMENT ON POLICY OF ORGANISATIONS NOT ENVISAGED UNDER RTI: HC
1.3. RULES TO REGULATE SOCIAL MEDIA BY JANUARY 15, 2020
1.4. CABINET EASES NORMS FOR FIRMS TO SET UP FUEL OUTLETS
1.5. BSNL, MTNL TO BE MERGED
2. INTERNATIONAL RELATION
2.1. INTERPOL TO HOLD GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN INDIA IN 2022
2.2. US INDIA STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP FORUM, USISPF
2.3. MARAWAH ISLAND
2.4. NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT (NAM)
2.5. TWITTER TO BAN ALL POLITICAL ADVERTISING WORLDWIDE FROM NOVEMBER 22
2.6. INDIA, SAUDI ARABIA TO ESTABLISH STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL
2.7. MOU SIGNED BETWEEN AIIA AND FRANKFURTER INNOVATIONSZENTRUM BIOTECHNOLOGIE GMBH,
GERMANY
3. ECONOMY
3.1. TECHSAGAR
3.2. BHIM 2.0
3.3. TIDE 2.0: STARTUPS
3.4. INDIA RANKS 63 IN WORLD BANK’S EASE DOING BUSINESS REPORT
3.5. NIRVIK SCHEME
3.6. OVERSEAS CITIZENS OF INDIA CAN INVEST IN NPS
4. SECURITY
4.1. IMNEX-2019
4.2. US-INDIA DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY AND TRADE INITIATIVE
4.3. COL. CHEWANG RINCHEN SETU
4.4. MAKE IN INDIA IN DEFENCE
4.5. SIACHEN AREA NOW OPEN TO TOURISTS
4.6. POLICE COMMEMORATION DAY TECHNOLOGY DEMONSTRATION SITE AT KEVADIA
4.7. TECHNOLOGY DEMONSTRATION SITE AT KEVADIA
5. ENVIRONMENT
5.1. DEFINITION OF LAND AS FOREST
5.2. TASMANIAN TIGER’S
5.3. MINIMUM LEAD CONCENTRATION IN PAINTS
5.4. GREAT BARRIER REEF
5.5. WHITE BELLBIRD
5.6. MINIMUM SUPPLY OF WATER HAS BEEN MANDATED
5.7. SMALLEST OZONE HOLE IN DECADES
5.8. DOUBT OVER PROPOSAL TO CREATE AN ANTARCTIC OCEAN SANCTUARY

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5.9. FIRST NATIONAL PROTOCOL TO ENUMERATE SNOW LEOPARD POPULATION IN INDIA LAUNCHED
5.10. MASSIVE GALAXY FOUND HIDDEN AMID COSMIC DUST
5.11. CHANDIGARH’S SUKHNA LAKE
5.12. INDIA, NEPAL & BHUTAN PLAN TRANS-BORDER CONSERVATION AREA
5.13. AFTER SUPER CYCLONE KYARR, ANOTHER STORM BREWS OVER ARABIAN SEA, IMD ISSUES ALERT
5.14. RISING SEAS IN INDIA AND THE WORLD
5.15. 2nd ASSEMBLY OF INTERNATIONAL SOLAR ALLIANCE
6. SOCIAL ISSUE
6.1. UTTAR PRADESH TOPS IN CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN, SAYS NCRB REPORT
6.2. 87% OF INDIA COVERED UNDER IMMUNISATION PROGRAMME: GOVT
6.3. DISTRESS SIGNAL: SHARE OF YOUNGEST WORKERS IN NREGS BEGINS TO RISE
6.4. WHAT DETERMINES THE WEALTH OF A NATION?
6.5. NO GOVT. JOBS IN ASSAM FOR PEOPLE WITH MORE THAN TWO CHILDREN
6.6. BHARAT KI LAXMI MOVEMENT
6.7. HEALTH MINISTRY’S GUIDELINES FOR PERITONEAL DIALYSIS SERVICES WELCOMED
6.8. WILD POLIOVIRUS TYPE 3 (WPV3)
6.9. THE 50th UNION WORLD CONFERENCE ON LUNG HEALTH LAUNCHED IN INDIA
6.10. “UNITED TO ELIMINATE LYMPHATIC FILARIASIS”
6.11. 14TH NATIONAL HEALTH PROFILE, 2019
7. SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
7.1. UTERINE TRANSPLANT
7.2. SPECTROSCOPY
7.3. QS INDIAN UNIVERSITY RANKINGS
7.4. GRAND CHORD ROUTE
7.5. METEOR SHOWER
7.6. NOVEL ''ARTIFICIAL LEAF'' PRODUCES CLEAN GAS FROM SUNLIGHT
7.7. NEW GUIDELINES RELEASED FOR NANO DRUGS EVALUATION
7.8. CHENANI NASHARI TUNNEL RENAMED AFTER DR SYAMA PRASAD MOOKERJEE
7.9. NEW WORLD BANK PROJECT TO SUPPORT CLIMATE RESILIENT AGRICULTURE IN ODISHA
7.10. NPCIL ADMITS MALWARE ATTACK AT KUDANKULAM NUCLEAR POWER PLANT
8. CULTURE
8.1. BALI YATRA
8.2. DIGITAL BHARAT DIGITAL SANSKRITI
8.3. IQBAL AND HIS ROLE IN THE CREATION OF PAKISTAN
8.4. PETTA THULLAL
8.5. HUNAR HAAT
8.6. TAANAJI MALUSARE
8.7. KITTUR UTSAV
8.8. BUDDHIST STRUCTURE COLLAPSES IN VIZAG AFTER HEAVY RAINFALL
8.9. NATIONAL UNITY DAY
8.10. 28th VYAS SAMMAN CONFERRED ON LEELADHAR JAGOORI

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1. POLITY AND CONSTITUTION

1.1. CENTRE ALL SET TO REVAMP BRITISH-ERA INDIAN PENAL CODE


Why in news?
The Home Ministry is all set to overhaul the Indian Penal Code (IPC) designed by the British. A senior
government official said rebooting the code introduced by the British in 1860 was necessary as it is
primarily based on the spirit of “master and servant.”
Background:
• The Indian Penal Code (IPC) is the official criminal code of India. It is a comprehensive code intended
to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law.
• The code was drafted in 1860 on the recommendations of first law commission of India established in
1834 under the Charter Act of 1833 under the Chairmanship of Lord Macaulay. It was passed into law
in 1860. The Code came into operation in 1862.
Highlights:
• Rebooting the code introduced by the British in 1860 was necessary as it is primarily based on the
spirit of “master and servant.”
• After it was framed, the IPC has never been amended in totality. Some additions and deletions have
been made.
• In 2016, the Home Ministry had proposed insertion of two stricter anti-racial discrimination
provisions in the IPC. The two amendments Section 153A and Section 509A “to deal with racially
motivated crimes” received lukewarm response from the States.
Source: The Hindu

1.2. GIVING JUDGEMENT ON POLICY OF ORGANISATIONS NOT ENVISAGED UNDER RTI: HC


Why in news?
The Delhi High Court has said that giving judgment on the policy framework of an organisation and
directing change of policies are not envisaged under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Judgement:
• The observation came as the court set aside a Central Information Commission (CIC) direction to the
Centre to revise the present policy for selection of meritorious students under the 'Bal Shree
scheme'.
• The HRD Ministry filed an appeal, contending that the CIC order was bad in law as the direction
given was beyond the scope, purview and ambit of the RTI Act.
• The CIC order had come on an RTI applicant's plea to the National Bal Bhawan, seeking details
regarding the age limit for Bal Bhawan membership and whether it was necessary for being eligible
for a 'Bal Shree award'.
Source: AIR
1.3. RULES TO REGULATE SOCIAL MEDIA BY JANUARY 15, 2020
Why in news?
New rules to regulate hate speech, fake news, defamatory posts and anti-national activities on social
media will be finalised by January 15, the government told the Supreme Court.
Highlights:
• Top court also transferred all cases pending at the Madras, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh High
Courts, concerning a demand for sharing of decrypted data of social media profiles, to itself.
• The Ministry of Information Technology said in an affidavit that rules to regulate social media
intermediaries needed to be revised.
Ministry of Information Technology said that:
• Internet has emerged as a potent tool that can cause unimaginable disruption to the democratic
polity.
• It said in an affidavit that rules to regulate social media intermediaries needed to be revised.

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• The regulatory regime had to be ramped up considering the “ever-growing threats to individual rights
and the nation’s integrity, sovereignty, and security.”
• The new Information Technology Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules would be notified by
January 15, 2020.
• The regulatory regime had to be ramped up considering the “ever-growing threats to individual rights
and the nation’s integrity, sovereignty, and security.”
Source: The Hindu

1.4. CABINET EASES NORMS FOR FIRMS TO SET UP FUEL OUTLETS


Why in news?
The Cabinet has approved a new policy wherein retail outlets for fuel can be set up by non-oil companies.
The requirements to set up these outlets have also been relaxed, according to an official announcement
on 23rd October 2019.
Salient features of Guidelines:
• Non-oil companies can also invest in the retail sector, regardless of whether they have prior
investments in the oil and gas sector.
• The newly authorised entities will have to install facilities to market at least one new generation fuel
such as CNG, LNG, biofuels, electric charging, within three years of the outlet being operationalised.
• Entities seeking authorisation will need a minimum net worth of Rs. 250 crores vis-à-vis the current
requirement of Rs. 2,000 crores of prior investments in the sector.
• The new policy will give a fillip to ‘ease of doing business’, with transparent policy guidelines.
• It will boost direct and indirect employment in the sector. Setting up of more retail outlets (ROs) will
result in better competition and better services for consumers.
Source: The Hindu

1.5. BSNL, MTNL TO BE MERGED


Why in news?
The Union Cabinet 23rd October 2019, approved merger of loss-making telecom firms BNLL and MTNL as
part of a revival package that includes raising sovereign bonds, monetising assets and voluntary
retirement scheme (VRS) for employees.
Why decision was taken?
• Administrative allotment of spectrum for 4G services to BSNL and MTNL. This will be funded by the
Government of India by capital infusion in these PSUs at a value of over Rs 20,000 Crore,
• BSNL and MTNL will also raise long-term bonds of Rs 15,000 Cr for which sovereign guarantee will be
provided by the Government of India (GoI). With this, BSNL and MTNL will restructure their existing
debt.
• BSNL and MTNL will also offer Voluntary Retirement to their employees, aged 50 years and above
through attractive Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS), the cost of which will be borne by the
Government of India through budgetary support.
• BSNL and MTNL will monetise their assets so as to raise resources for retiring debt, servicing of
bonds, network upgradation, expansion and meeting the operational fund requirements.
• In-principle merger of BSNL and MTNL. An immediate merger will not be feasible, given that MTNL is
a listed entity. Till the time the process is completed, MTNL will work as a subsidiary of BSNL.
Source: LiveMint

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2. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
2.1. INTERPOL TO HOLD GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN INDIA IN 2022
Why in news?
India will host the 91st Interpol General Assembly
in 2022 after a proposal received the
overwhelming support of member countries at
this year's congregation at Santinago in Chile.
Highlights:
• The International Criminal Police
Organisation (Interpol) had hosted the
general assembly, where representatives of
all member countries converge, in India in
1997.
• The general assembly of Interpol is an
annual exercise hosted by member countries.
• All major decisions affecting general policy, the resources needed for international cooperation,
working methods and finances are deliberated and discussed by representatives.
INTERPOL
• The International Police Organisation is commonly known as Interpol.
• It is an international organization facilitating international police cooperation against cross-border
terrorism, trafficking, and other crime.
• HQ: Based in Lyon, France, Interpol is an international police cooperation organisation with 194
member states.
• Founded: 1923.
• The organisation has 90-million records spread across 17 databases.
• Interpol Notices: It issues 8 type of notices (7 of which are colour-coded) which are in the form of
alert/requests allowing police in member countries to share critical crime-related information.
• Equipped with secure global data communication channel I-24/7, incident response teams,
command and control centre, a worldwide network of NCBs, the organisation assist law
enforcement agencies of member countries.
Source: AIR
2.2. US INDIA STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP FORUM, USISPF
Why in news?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India stands for three Ds - Democracy, Demography and
Dimaag. He said, that the target of the government is to ensure Ease of Living. Members of US India
Strategic Partnership Forum, USISPF called on the Prime Minister in New Delhi
Highlights:
• USISPF, a non-profit organization,
• Aims: at strengthening the India-US strategic partnership in the fields of economic growth,
entrepreneurship, employment-creation, and innovation.
• Objective: Strengthening the India-US bilateral and strategic partnership through policy advocacy in
the fields of economic growth, entrepreneurship, employment-creation, and innovation.
• According to USISPF estimates, India-US bilateral trade is projected to grow to 238 billion dollars by
2025.
• Sectors like defence trade, commercial aircraft, oil and LNG, coal, machinery and electronics are
areas of potential growth in US investments and commerce into India.
Source: AIR

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2.3. MARAWAH ISLAND


Why in news?
The oldest known natural pearl in the world has been discovered by Abu Dhabi archaeologists working at
a Neolithic site on Marawah
Island, just off the coast of
Abu Dhabi.
Marawah Island
• Marawah is a low-lying
island off the coast of
Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the
United Arab Emirates.
• This island is a key center
of archaeology.
• Archeologists at Marawah
island have identified
various sites dating from
the Neolithic to the
Islamic Period (12-13 AD).
Source: AIR

2.4. NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT (NAM)


Why in news?
Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu will represent India at the 19th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit
in Baku, Azerbaijan on October 25 and
26, marking the second time in a row
that Prime Minister Narendra Modi
will give the summit a miss.
Highlights:
• The PM absence indicates a
decisive move away from past
practice at the 60-year-old
organisation that India was a
founding member of, by the
NDA government.
• In 2016 as well, India was
represented by then Vice-
President Hamid Ansari at the
NAM summit in Venezuela.
• The theme for the Baku summit
is ‘Upholding the Bandung Principles to ensure concerted and adequate response to the challenges
of contemporary world.’
• Since it was inaugurated in 1961, the Indian Prime Minister has always attended the NAM summit,
except once in 1979, when Chaudhury Charan Singh was the caretaker PM and hence missed it.
NAM
• The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 developing world states that are not formally
aligned with or against any major power block. After the United Nations, it is the largest grouping of
states worldwide.
• Drawing on the principles agreed at the Bandung Conference in 1955, the NAM was established in
1961 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia through an initiative of the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and
the Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito. This led to the first Conference of Heads of State or

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Governments of Non-Aligned Countries.


• Headquarters: Central Jakarta, Indonesia
BANDUNG PRINCIPLES
• The theme for the XVIII NAM Summit is “Upholding the Bandung Principles to ensure concerted
and adequate response to the challenges of contemporary world”.
• The Ten Principles of Bandung, a political statement encapsulating the need to promote world
peace and cooperation were formulated at the Asian-African Conference in 1955.
• The theme is significant as it relates to the forthcoming 65th anniversary of Bandung Principles in
2020 and the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Movement in 2021.
• It has since grown to 120 members to become one of the largest groupings of nation-states.
Source: The Hindu

2.5. TWITTER TO BAN ALL POLITICAL ADVERTISING WORLDWIDE FROM NOVEMBER 22


Why in news?
Twitter will ban all political advertising worldwide from 22nd November. This is in response to growing
criticism over misinformation from politicians on social media. It said the reach of political messages
should be earned, not bought. Twitter's rival Facebook recently ruled out a ban on political ads.
Highlights:
• Internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power
brings significant risks to politics Dorsey said the new policy, details of which will be unveiled next
month, would ban ads on political issues as well as from candidates.
• According to the BBC, news of the ban has divided America's political camps for the 2020 election.
Source: AIR

2.6. INDIA, SAUDI ARABIA TO ESTABLISH STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL


Why in news?
India and Saudi Arabia have agreed to establish a Strategic Partnership Council, resolved to strengthen
cooperation in combating terrorist operations and signed 12 MoUs in various areas of mutual interests,
taking the bilateral relationship to the next level
Highlights:
• The Council will be an all-encompassing bilateral mechanism which will cover an entire spectrum of
relationship between the two countries.
• It will be headed by the top leadership on either side.
• The two sides re-affirmed their deep commitment to strengthen the strategic partnership envisaged
in the ‘Riyadh Declaration’ of 2010
Highlights of MoU:
• Strategic Partnership Council Agreement
• MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Renewable Energy
• Agreement on Security Cooperation
• MoU for Cooperation in the field of combating illicit trafficking and smuggling of narcotic drugs.
• MoU for collaboration in military acquisition, industries, research, development and technology
• MoU for Cooperation in the field of Civil Aviation
• MoU for Cooperation in the field of medical products regulations
• Letter of Intent between Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monshaat) of the
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, of the Republic of India
• Cooperation Programme between Foreign Service Institute, MEA and Prince Saud Al Faisal Institute
of Diplomatic Studies (IDS) of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia
• MoU between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited (ISPRL) and Saudi Aramco.
• MoU for Cooperation between National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul)
• MoU between National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and Saudi Payments
Source: AIR

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2.7.MOU SIGNED BETWEEN AIIA AND FRANKFURTER INNOVATIONSZENTRUM


BIOTECHNOLOGIE GMBH, GERMANY
Why in news?
An MOU has been signed between All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) under Ministry of AYUSH and
Frankfurter Innovations Centrum Biotechnologies GmbH (FiZ).
Highlights:
• The Agreement on the occasion of the event “German/Indian knowledge exchange regarding
current developments in the health care sector.”
• One important goal of the collaboration is to research in the field of genomics and develop
evidence-based guidelines supported with latest technologies like Artificial Intelligence and machine
learning.
• Integrate Ayurvedic principles and practises into modern medicine for the wider reach to the
masses.
• Further, exchange of knowledge and experiences will be another component in the MoU.
Source: PIB
3. ECONOMY
3.1.TechSagar
Why in news?
The National Cyber Security Coordinator's office in partnership with Data Security Council (DSCI) of India
on 21st October 2019 launched TechSagar – a platform to discover India’s technological capability
through a portal.
Highlights:
• The portal will list business and research entities from the IT industry, startups, academia, and
individual researchers.
• A dynamic platform, TechSagar, will be frequently updated with new entities and information to
maintain its relevancy and usefulness.
• It provides actionable insights about capabilities of the Indian Industry, academia and research across
25 technology areas like Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), etc.
• It currently features over 4,000 entities. It will be frequently updated with new entities and
information to maintain its relevance and usefulness.
Source: Indian Express

3.2. BHIM 2.0


Why in news?
The IT Ministry on 21st October 2019 unveiled a slew of new initiatives and programmes, including BHIM
2.0 that packs-in new functionalities, supports additional languages and has increased transaction
limits.
BHIM
• Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) is a UPI based payment interface. Developed by National Payments
Corporation of India (NPCI). Allows real time fund transfer. It was launched in December, 2016.
BHIM 2.0
• BHIM 2.0 include a 'Donation' gateway, increased transaction limits for high value transactions,
linking multiple bank accounts, offers from merchants, option of applying in IPO, gifting money.
• The new version of BHIM also supports three additional languages -- Konkani, Bhojpuri and Haryanvi
over and above the existing 13.

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UPI
• Unified Payments Interface is an instant real-time payment system developed by National Payments
Corporation of India facilitating inter-bank transactions.
• The interface is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India and works by instantly transferring funds
between two bank accounts on a mobile platform.
NPCI
• National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), an umbrella organisation for operating retail
payments and settlement systems in India.
• It is an initiative of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the
provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, for creating a robust Payment &
Settlement Infrastructure in India.
Source: PIB
3.3.TIDE 2.0: STARTUPS
Why in news?
The country can also develop as a centre for deep technology, Prasad said at an event co-hosted by the
Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) to launch a host of new initiatives.
Highlights:
• Technology Incubation Development for Entrepreneurs 2.0 (TIDE 2.0) is aimed at strengthening close
to 2,000 technology startups in areas of national concern, by leveraging emerging technologies NSE
2.96 % and empowering 51 incubation centres across the country.
• Objective: India should become a big centre for patent and Intellectual Property.
• The initiatives include the MeitY Startup Hub (MSH), the second phase of the BHIM scheme, the
Indian Software Product Registry and select Incubation Centres under the TIDE 2.0

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MeitY Startup Hub (MSH)


• MeitY StartUp Hub (MSH) has been envisioned as an overarching collaborative platform to act as a
national coordination, facilitation and interconnected centre for all activities in the tech startup
ecosystem.
• MSH will support startups to reach out to mentors and facilitate startups to scale from ideation to
marketplace.
• MSH portal brings onboard key constituents of the tech startup ecosystem with startups,
technology incubation centres, Centres of Excellence (CoEs), mentors, VCs and angels together.
• It is also mandated to integrate existing programmes and innovation related activities of Ministry of
ELectronics and IT (MeitY).
Source: Economics Times

3.4. INDIA RANKS 63 IN WORLD BANK’S EASE DOING BUSINESS REPORT


Why in news?
The World Bank released its latest Doing Business Report (DBR, 2020) todayon24th October 2019. India has
recorded a jump of 14 positions against its rank of 77 in 2019to be placed now at 63rdrank among 190
countries assessed by the World Bank.

Highlights:
• India's leap of 14 ranks in the Ease of Doing Business ranking is significant considering that there has
been continuous improvement since 2015.
• The third consecutive year India is amongst the top 10 improvers. As a result of continued efforts by
the Government.
• India has improved its rank by 79 positions in last five years [2014-19].
• The Doing Business assessment provides objective measures of business regulations and their
enforcement across 190 economies on ten parameters affecting a business through its life cycle.

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• The DBR ranks countries on the basis of Distance to Frontier (DTF), a score that shows the gap of an
economy to the global best practice. This year, India’s DTF score improved to 71.0 from 67.23 in the
previous year.
• India has improved its rank in 7 out of 10 indicators and has moved closer to international best
practices (Distance to Frontier score).
• Significant improvements have been registered in ‘Resolving Insolvency’, 'Dealing with Construction
Permits', ‘Registering Property’, ‘Trading across Boards’ and ‘Paying Taxes’ indicators.
• The changes in seven indicators where India improved its rank are as follows:
S. No. Indicator 2018 2019 Change
1 Resolving Insolvency 108 52 +56
2 Construction Permits 52 27 +25
3 Trading Across Borders 80 68 +12
4 Registering Property 166 154 +12
5 Paying Taxes 121 115 +6
6 Getting Electricity 24 22 +2
7 Starting a Business 137 136 +1
Overall rank 77 63 +14
The important features of India's performance this year are:
• The World Bank has recognized India as one of the top 10 improvers for the third consecutive
year.
• Recovery rate under resolving insolvency has improved significantly from 26.5% to 71.6%.
• The time taken for resolving insolvency has also come down significantly from 4.3 years to 1.6
years.
• India continues to maintain its first position among South Asian countries. It was 6th in 2014.
Source: PIB
3.5.NIRVIK SCHEME
Why in news?
The Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC) is optimistic that the Nirvik scheme announced
by the Union Government recently would give a fillip to export lending and insurance cover for export
credit.
Highlights of Nirvik (Niryat Rin Vikas Yojna) Scheme:
• Ministry of Commerce & Industry through Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) has
introduced a new Export Credit Insurance Scheme (ECIS) called NIRVIK to enhance loan availability
and ease the lending process.
• Insurance cover guaranteed will cover up to 90 percent of the principal and interest.
• The increased cover will ensure that foreign and rupee export credit interest rates are below 4
percent and 8 percent respectively for the exporters.
• The insurance cover will include both pre and post-shipment credit.
• The gems, jewellery and diamond (GJD) sector borrowers with limit of over Rs 80 crore will have a
higher premium rate in comparison to the non-GJD sector borrowers of this category due to the
higher loss ratio.
• For accounts with limits below Rs 80 crore, the premium rates will be moderated to 0.60 per annum
and for those exceeding Rs80 crore, the rates will be 0.72 per annum for the same enhanced cover.
• It mandates inspection of bank documents and records by ECGC officials for losses exceeding Rs.10
crore as against the present Rs 1crore.
• The banks shall pay a premium to ECGC monthly on the principal and interest as the cover is offered
for both outstanding.
Source: The Hindu

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3.6.OVERSEAS CITIZENS OF INDIA CAN INVEST IN NPS


Why in news?
The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has added one more category of
investors who can invest in the National Pension System. Through a circular issued on October 29, PFRDA
has stated that now Overseas Citizen of India (OCIs) can enrol to invest in NPS tier-1 accounts.
Highlights:
• According to the circular, " Considering the requests received from different sections, the Authority
has decided to permit Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) to enrol in National Pension System at par with
Non-Resident Indians (NRI) subscribing to NPS. However, the option of NPS Tier-II account will not be
available for both NRI and OCI subscribers.
• "Prior to this, OCIs could not invest in NPS. In a PFRDA circular from May, 2015, it was stated that
Hindu Undivided Family (HUFs), OCIs and Persons of Indian Origin were not allowed to invest in NPS.
• PFRDA's most recent circular follows a government notification dated October 17, 2019 which said: " A
NRI or an OCI may subscribe to the National Pension System governed and administered by Pension
Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), provided such person is eligible to invest as per
the provisions of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Act. The
annuity/accumulated saving will be repatriable'(Schedule III (4) of Foreign Exchange Management
(Non-Debt Instruments) Rules, 2019."
Who is an Overseas Indian Citizen?
• According to Ministry of External Affairs website, an OCI is "A foreign national, who was eligible to
become citizen of India on 26.01.1950 or was a citizen of India on or at any time after 26.01.1950 or
belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15.08.1947 is eligible for registration as
Overseas Citizen of India (OCI). Minor children of such person are also eligible for OCI. However, if the
applicant had ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, he/she will not be eligible for OCI."
What is NPS tier 1 account?
• NPS is a government sponsored pension scheme which allows its subscribers to contribute regularly
during their working life. The subscribers at the time of retirement can withdraw the money in the
form of lump sum withdrawal or annuity payments.
• To invest in NPS scheme, it is mandatory for the subscriber to open Tier-I account. On the other hand,
Tier-II account is optional. The NPS in turn invests subscribers' money in various asset class such as
equity, debt and so on.
• According to the government notification over 3.18 crore individuals have subscribed to the NPS and
Atal Pension Yojana as on October 26 with Rs 3,79,758 crores of total assets under management under
the schemes. More than 66 lakhs government employees have been enrolled under NPS and 19.2
lakhs subscribers have subscribed to NPS in the private sector with 6,812 entities registered as
corporates.
Tax benefits of investing in NPS
• At the time of investing in Tier-I account of NPS, one can claim additional tax benefit of Rs 50,000
which is over and above the Section 80C tax benefit of Rs 1.5 lakh, currently.
• Similarly, at the time of maturity, the entire 60 per cent withdrawal from the scheme is exempted
from tax. The remaining 40 per cent of the lump sum amount is used to buy annuity plan.
PFRDA
• PFRDA is the statutory Authority established by an enactment of the Parliament, to regulate, promote
and ensure orderly growth of the National Pension System (NPS) and pension schemes to which this
Act applies.
• NPS was initially notified for central government employees joining service on or after 1st Jan 2004
and subsequently adopted by almost all State Governments for its employees. NPS was extended to
all citizens of Indian on voluntary basis from 2009 and to corporates in 2011 and to Non-Resident
Indians in 2015.
Source: Economic Times

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4. SECURITY
4.1. IMNEX-2019
Why in news?
The opening ceremony of the second edition of 'India Myanmar Naval Exercise' IMNEX-2019 was conducted
onboard INS Ranvijay here on 18th October.
Highlights:
• Myanmar naval ships UMS Sin Phyu Shin (F-14) and UMS Tabinshweti (773) arrived at
Visakhapatnam and it would engage in professional interaction with Indian Navy personnel for sharing
of expertise on various maritime issues between both the navies.
• The harbour phase of IMNEX-19 scheduled till October 20 includes visits to Indian Naval units, training
and maintenance facility at Visakhapatnam.
• During Sea Phase scheduled from October 20 to 22, INS Ranvijay, a guided-missile destroyer and INS
Kuthar, a missile corvette will be carrying out a joint exercise with Myanmar ships UMS Sin Phyu Shin,
a frigate and UMS Tabinshweti, a corvette in the Bay of Bengal.
• The joint exercise will encompass a variety of operations including anti-air and surface firing exercises,
flying exercises using integral helicopter and seamanship evolutions at sea.
Source: Business Standard

4.2. US-INDIA DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY AND TRADE INITIATIVE


Why in news?
According to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition and Sustainment, DTTI came
about to expedite the scope of cooperation on defence technology that become narrow due to the
presence of differing bureaucratic processes and legal requirements.
Highlights:
• The ninth India-US Defence Technologies and Trade Initiative (DTTI) group meeting is scheduled to
happen in New Delhi.
• DTTI is not a treaty or law, it is a flexible mechanism to make sure that senior leaders from both
countries are engaged consistently to strengthen the opportunities in the field of defence.
• Its central aims include strengthening India’s defence industrial base, exploring new areas of
technological development and expanding U.S.-India business ties.
STA-1
• In August 2018, the US granted to India the designation of Strategic Trade Authority Tier 1 or STA-1.
• Providing India with greater supply-chain efficiency by allowing US companies to export a greater
range of dual-use and high-technology items to India under streamlined processes.
• This authorisation is the equivalent of NATO allying with Japan, South Korea and Australia.
Source: Indian Express

4.3. COL. CHEWANG RINCHEN SETU


Why in news?
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh left for Ladakh on 21st October. He will attend the inaugural ceremony of
Col. Chewang Rinchen Setu which has been constructed at an altitude of 14,650 feet in the forward area of
Ladakh region. This bridge has been built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
Highlights:
• It is named in honor of Colonel Chewang Rinchan who was one of the highly decorated officer in the
Indian Army from Ladakh and he was awarded the Maha Vir Chakara twice.

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• This Bridge is built on the


strategically important
road Durbuk Shyok
Daulat Beg Oldie in sub
sector north in eastern
Ladakh.
• The Bridge, which is 1400
feet span, is constructed
by the Border Road
Organization.
• According to BRO, micro
pile technology was used
during the foundation of
the bridge to overcome the technological challenges in this remote area of Ladakh.
• The construction of the Bridge was completed within 15 working months using 6900 cubic meters of
concrete and 1984 metric tons of steel.
Micro pile technology
• Micro piles are high-performance, high-capacity drilled deep foundation elements typically between
5–12 inches in diameter that can extend to depths of 200 feet and achieve working loads of over 200
tons.
• Micro piles are comprised of high-strength steel casing, rebar, grout.
Source: AIR
4.4. MAKE IN INDIA IN DEFENCE
Why in news?
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh, met 21st October
2019 and accorded approval for Capital Procurement for the Defence forces amounting over Rs. 3300
crores of indigenously designed and developed equipment.
Highlights:
• Maintaining its impetus on the ‘Make in India’ initiative, the DAC accorded approval for three projects
to be indigenously designed, developed and manufactured by the Indian industry.
• The first two projects include third generation Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) and the Auxiliary
Power Units (APUs) for the T-72 and T-90 Tanks.
• While the third generation ATGM would provide ‘Fire and Forget’ and “Top Attack” capabilities to
the troops in an armoured battle, the APUs would enable incorporation of various upgrades to Fire
Control System and Night Fighting capabilities of the Tanks.
• Both these projects will be progressed under the ‘Make-II’ Category and will provide a boost to
indigenous research and development in the Private Sector.
• With this, for the first time the Ministry of Defence has offered complex Military equipment to be
designed, developed and manufactured by the Indian private industry.
• The third indigenous project pertains to discrete Electronic Warfare (EW) systems for the mountain
and High-Altitude terrain, which would be designed and developed by DRDO and manufactured by
design cum production partner from the Indian industry.
Source: PIB
4.5. SIACHEN AREA NOW OPEN TO TOURISTS
Why in news?
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Monday announced that tourists will now be allowed into areas of
the Siachen glacier, the world’s highest battlefield. The announcement came while the inauguration of ‘Col
Chewang Rinchen Setu’.

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Strategic location:
• Siachen, the world’s highest
battlefield was closed 35
years ago for civilians.
• Col Chewang Rinchen Setu
is built over River Shyok,
which connects Durbuk and
Daulat Beg Oldie in Eastern
Ladakh.
• The location of the bridge is
sandwiched between
strategic Karakoram and
Chang Chenmo ranges.
• The ‘Col Chewang Rinchen
Setu’ is a 430-metre bridge
built at an altitude of about
15,000 feet using Micro Piling Technology.
Siachen
• The entire Siachen Glacier, with all major passes, is currently under the administration of India since
1984.
• The Siachen Glacier is located in the Eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas, just northeast of
Point NJ9842 where the Line of Control between India and Pakistan ends.
• It is the second-longest glacier in the world's non-polar areas.
• The Siachen Glacier lies immediately south of the great drainage divide that separates the Eurasian
Plate from the Indian subcontinent in the extensively glaciated portion of the Karakoram sometimes
called the "Third Pole".
Source: PIB
4.6. POLICE COMMEMORATION DAY
Why in news?
Union Minister of Home Affairs Shri Amit Shah presided over the occasion of the Police Commemoration
Day and paid homage to the police personnel martyred in the line of duty at the National Police Memorial,
in New Delhi 21st October 2019.
Highlights:
• Police Commemoration Day owes its origin to the unflinching dedication and commendable courage
of CRPF men.
• It was on this very day in 1959 when CRPF scripted a saga of valour and sacrifice in the snow-laden,
inaccessible, inhospitable terrain of Hot Springs in Ladakh.
• A patrol party of twenty personnel of CRPF and Intelligence Bureau had gone to search for a missing
reconnaissance party when it was ambushed by PLA (Chinese Army). In spite of the sudden attack and
disadvantageous tactical position, they fought valiantly against the Chinese army personnel who were
in large numbers and heavily armed.
• In this battle, ten CRPF men were martyred in defence of the country. Since then, Police
Commemoration Day is observed on 21st October every year to honour the loyalty and supreme
sacrifice of police personnel for the nation.
Source: PIB

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4.7. TECHNOLOGY DEMONSTRATION SITE AT KEVADIA


Why in news?
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, inaugurated the Technology Demonstration Site at Kevadia in Gujarat.
Highlights:
• Technological Demonstration Site consisted of various displays by Police and Paramilitary forces,
showcasing modern technologies including the exhibition of lethal and non-lethal arms.
• CISF, CRPF, BSF, NSG and various State police contingents displayed their modern technology
cantering on various themes like aviation security, modernization of forces, digital initiatives etc.
• While CISF’s theme cantered on integrating modern technology with a focus on faster and efficient
facial recognition technology at airports, NSG showcased the security kits, modern weaponry and
remote-controlled vehicles and equipment.
• Ministry of Home Affairs prominently displayed the initiative of ‘112’, signifying one number for all
emergencies. The highlights of MHA display were National Database on Sexual Offenders, e-Mulaqat
and other digital initiatives.
• The CRPF stall displayed the gallantry medals and honours received by the CRPF personnel. The history
displaying the saga of valour since 1939 and memorable battles fought by CRPF were also exhibited.
Source: PIB

5. ENVIRONMENT
5.1. DEFINITION OF LAND AS FOREST
Why in news?
the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the environment ministry, comprising independent experts and
officials in the Centre’s forestry division, has clarified that the States need not take the Centre’s approval
to define what constitutes unclassified land as forest.
Highlights:
• States, having well established forest departments, are in a better position, rather than Union
Environment Ministry.
• To understand their own forests and needs& state should frame criteria for their forests.
• Criteria so finalised by a State need not be subject to approval by Union Environment Ministry.
• The freedom to define land, not already classified as forests by the Centre or state records, as forest
has been the prerogative of the States since 1996 and stems from a Supreme Court order called the
Godavarman judgement.
1996 SUPREME COURT JUDGMENT:
• The 1996 Supreme Court judgment expanded the definition of forest to include lands that were
already notified by the Centre as forests, that appear in government records as forests as well as
those that fell in the “dictionary definition” of forest.
• The latter clause allows the States to evolve their own criteria and define tracts of land as forest, and
these would then be bound by forest conservation laws.
• An all-encompassing definition of forest wasn’t possible for India because the country has 16 different
kinds of forest.
• A tract of grassland in one State might qualify in one region as forest, but not in another.
Source: The Hindu
5.2. TASMANIAN TIGER’S
Why in news?
According to the Australian Museum, the thylacine (a dog headed pouched dog) was widespread over
continental Australia, extending North to New Guinea and south to Tasmania. It was confined to Tasmania
in recent times and disappeared from mainland Australia over 2000 years ago.

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Highlights:
• The thylacine, now extinct, is
one of the largest known
carnivorous marsupials,
evolving about 4 million years
ago.
• Names: The thylacine is
commonly known as the
Tasmanian tiger because of its
striped lower back, or the
Tasmanian wolf because of its
canid-like characteristics.
• IUCN status: The last known
thylacine died in captivity over
80 years ago, in Tasmania’s
Hobart Zoo in 1936.
• Distribution: It was native to Tasmania, New Guinea, and the Australian mainland.
• Features: The thylacine appeared like a medium-to-large-size dog, except for its stiff tail and
abdominal pouch similar to a kangaroo, and dark transverse stripes that radiated from the top of its
back, reminiscent of a tiger.
Source: Indian Express

5.3. MINIMUM LEAD CONCENTRATION IN PAINTS


Why in news?
As World Lead Prevention Week starts on October 20, 2019, a new United Nations (UN) report has
revealed that many of its members do not have proper laws inhibiting the concentration of lead in items
like paints.
Highlights:
• According to the report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), only 13 countries
have laws which prescribe that lead concentration should not be more than 90 particles per million
(ppm).
• Ninety ppm is the concentration limit recommended by the Model Law and Guidance for Regulating
Lead Paint published by the UNEP in 2018.
• It is the lowest and most protective regulatory limit for lead paints that has been set in India, the
United States (US), Bangladesh, Canada, Cameroon, China, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya,
Nepal and the Philippines.
• Lead is added to paints for various reasons, including enhancing the colour, reducing corrosion and
decreasing the drying time. However, lead can reach soil, dust and groundwater through weathering
or peeling of the patin. And, it has several adverse health impacts.
Source: Down To Earth
5.4. GREAT BARRIER REEF
Why in news?
While the Great Barrier Reef has witnessed record bleaching in the recent years, it is in good condition
and has a “vibrant future”, claimed the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).
Highlights:
• The GBRMPA had, in a recent five-year report, predicted the reef's condition to turn “very poor”, if
climate change is not mitigated.

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GREAT BARRIER REEF


• The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual
reefs and 900 islands stretching for
over 2,300 kilometres over an area of
approximately 344,400 square
kilometres.
• The reef is located in the Coral Sea,
off the coast of Queensland,
Australia.
• The Great Barrier Reef can be seen
from outer space and is the world’s
biggest single structure made by
living organisms.
• This reef structure is composed of
and built by billions of tiny organisms,
known as coral polyps. It was selected
as a World Heritage Site in 1981.

Source: Down To Earth


5.5. WHITE BELLBIRD
Why in news?
Bellbirds have the loudest bird calls yet documented in the world, according to a study which found that
their mating songs pack more decibels than the screams of howler monkeys and the bellows of bison’s.
Highlights:
• The discovery offers another example of the consequences of sexual selection.
• Sexual selection happens when males compete for mates, driving the evolution of truly bizarre and
exaggerated traits such as the peacock’s tail, and the now found loud singing abilities of the male
bellbirds.
• In general, sexual selection is a theory in postulating that the evolution of certain conspicuous physical
traits such as pronounced coloration, increased size, or striking adornments in animals may grant the
possessors of these traits greater success in obtaining mates.
• IUCN: Least Concern
• The white bellbird is one of the four bellbird species in South and Central America.
Source: The Hindu

5.6. MINIMUM SUPPLY OF WATER HAS BEEN MANDATED


Why in news?
Hydropower projects that do not comply with the Centre’s ecological flow notification (2018), which
mandates that project developers ensure a minimum supply of water all through the year, could face
closure.
Norms for minimum environmental flow (e-flow) for Ganga:
• The e-flows are the acceptable flow regimes that are required to maintain a river in the desired
environmental state.
• The e-flow notification specifies that the upper stretches of the Ganga — from its origins in the
glaciers and until Haridwar — would have to maintain:
• 20% of the monthly average flow of the preceding 10-days between November and March,
which is the dry season;
• 25% of the average during the ‘lean season’ of October, April and May; and
• 30% of monthly average during the monsoon months of June-September.
Any dam or structure meant for diversion of river flows for the purpose of irrigation, hydro-power and

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domestic or industrial use will now have to maintain the minimum flow. However, mini and micro
projects, which do not alter the flow significantly are exempted.
• The Central Water Commission (CWC) is the designated authority for supervision, monitoring,
regulation of flows. Power projects will be assessed by the CWC quarterly for compliance after
December 2019.
• The central government through National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) may direct release of
additional water in the river Ganga to meet special demand as and when required.
Source: The Hindu
5.7. SMALLEST OZONE HOLE IN DECADES
Why in news?
The annual ozone hole reached its peak extent of 16. 4 million sq. km on September 8, then shrank to
less than 10 million sq. km for the remainder of September and October, satellite measurements show.
Highlights:
• During September and October, the ozone hole over the Antarctic has been the smallest observed
since 1982, NASA and US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists have
reported.
• The annual ozone hole reached its peak extent of 16. 4 million sq. km on September 8, then shrank to
less than 10 million sq. km for the remainder of September and October, satellite measurements
show. NASA has described it as great news for the Southern Hemisphere.
WHAT IS OZONE HOLE?
• Ozone, made up of three oxygen atoms, occurs naturally in small amounts. Roughly 10 km to 40 km
up in the atmosphere (the layer called the stratosphere), the ozone layer is a sunscreen, shielding
Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation.
• On the other hand, close to the surface, ozone created as a by-product of pollution can trigger health
problems such as asthma and bronchitis.

• Manufactured chemicals deplete the ozone layer. Each spring over Antarctica (it is now spring there),
atmospheric ozone is destroyed by chemical processes. This creates the ozone hole, which occurs
because of special meteorological and chemical conditions that exist in that region.
WHY IT’S SMALL THIS YEAR?
• There have been abnormal weather patterns in the atmosphere over Antarctica. In warmer
temperatures like this year, fewer polar stratospheric clouds form and they don’t persist as long,
limiting the ozone-depletion process.
• NASA has cautioned it is important to recognise that what we are seeing this year is not a sign that
atmospheric ozone is suddenly on a fast track to recovery.
Source: Indian Express

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5.8. DOUBT OVER PROPOSAL TO CREATE AN ANTARCTIC OCEAN SANCTUARY


Why in news?
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), is considering the
proposal of creating the East Antarctic marine park, in its 38th meeting starting from 21st October 2019.
Highlights:
• China and Russia have been key in blocking the proposal, which was first floated by Australia,
France and the European Union in 2010 before being scaled down in 2017. Both China and Russia
have fishing interests in the region.
• The proposed park, almost a million square kilometres, would protect important foraging areas and
essential food sources for emperor penguins as well as seals, whales and other seabirds.
• Rampant sailing has brought some species of the ocean like seals, whales, fish, to the brink of
extinction.
• Also looming are the consequences of the changing climate. The ocean is warming, acidifying and ice
shelves are thinning and collapsing.
• The consent of all 26 members of the CCAMLR is required for the creation of marine park. CCAMLR
has previously established other major ocean Antarctic sanctuaries including the world’s largest
spanning 1.55 million square kilometres in the Ross Sea.
Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources
• CCAMLR was established by international convention in 1982 with the objective of conserving
Antarctic marine life.
• This was in response to increasing commercial interest in Antarctic krill resources, a keystone
component of the Antarctic ecosystem and a history of over-exploitation of several other marine
resources in the Southern Ocean.
• Its Secretariat is located in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
Source: The Hindu

5.9. FIRST NATIONAL PROTOCOL TO ENUMERATE SNOW LEOPARD POPULATION IN INDIA


LAUNCHED
Why in news?
In a major boost towards protecting and conserving Snow Leopards, Union Minister for Environment, Forest
and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Shri Prakash Javadekar launched the First National Protocol on Snow Leopard
Population Assessment in India, on the occasion of International Snow Leopard Day on 23rd October.
Highlights:
• The first National Snow Leopard Survey of the nation has been developed by scientific experts in
association with the Snow Leopard States/UTs namely, Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh,
Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.
• The use of technology such as camera traps and scientific surveys will help to estimate the numbers.
• The occasion also marked the inaugural session of the 4th steering committee meeting of the Global
Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Program.
• The GSLEP is a high-level inter-governmental alliance of all the 12 snow leopard range countries.
• The snow leopard countries namely, India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Mongolia, Russia, Pakistan,
Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
• It majorly focuses on the need for awareness and understanding of the value of Snow Leopard for the
ecosystem.
• The GSLEP Program (2019) is being organized by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate
Change at New Delhi.
• Currently, the Steering Committee meeting of GSLEP chaired by Nepal and co-chaired by Kyrgyzstan.

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Snow Leopard
• The snow leopard inhabits the higher Himalayan and trans-Himalayan landscape in the five states of
Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh. This area
contributes to about 5% of the global snow leopard range.
• Protection
• IUCN: Vulnerable
• Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
• CITES: Appendix I
• Other conservation efforts launched by India are:
• Project Snow Leopard- 2009 (PSL): It promotes an inclusive and participatory approach to
conservation that fully involves local communities.
• SECURE Himalaya: Global Environment Facility (GEF)-United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) funded the project on conservation of high-altitude biodiversity and reducing the
dependency of local communities on the natural ecosystem.
• This project is now operational in four snow leopard range states, namely, Jammu and Kashmir,
Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Sikkim.
• 2015 — International Year of the Snow Leopard
• Protected areas for the Snow leopard
• Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary at Lahaul Spiti, - Himachal Pradesh
• Pin Valley National Park at Lahaul Spiti, - Himachal Pradesh
• Great Himalayan National Park at Kullu, - Himachal Pradesh
• Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary, near Anini, - Arunachal Pradesh
• Hemis National Park, in Ladakh- - Jammu and Kashmir
Source: The Hindu
5.10. MASSIVE GALAXY FOUND HIDDEN AMID COSMIC DUST
Why in news?
Researchers, including those from the University of Massachusetts in the U.S., said the discovery provides
new insights into the first steps of some of the biggest galaxies in the universe.
Highlights:
• The found galaxy has almost equal numbers of stars as the Milky Way, but it is forming new stars at
100 times the rate of the Milky Way galaxy.
• The research has been carried out with the help of Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA).
• It is an international partnership of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the U.S. National
Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan, together
with NRC (Canada), NSC and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of Korea), in cooperation with the
Republic of Chile.
• ALMA is a single telescope composed of 66 high precision antennas located on the Chajnantor
plateau, northern Chile.
• Further, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is expected to enhance the quality of research
related to cosmic dust clouds.
• The James Webb Space Telescope (also called JWST or Webb) will be a large infrared telescope with
a 6.5-meter primary mirror.
• The telescope will be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana in 2021.
• It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after
the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to
the evolution of our own Solar System.
• Webb is an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and
the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
Cosmic Dust
• Cosmic dust consists of tiny particles of solid material floating around in the space between the

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stars.
• It is more like smoke with small particles varying from collections of a few molecules to grains of 0.1
mm in size.
• It plays an important role in the formation of young stars and planets in space.
Source: The Hindu
5.11. CHANDIGARH’S SUKHNA LAKE
Why in news?
The Chandigarh administration has issued a draft notification for declaring Sukhna Lake as a wetland under
the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rule, 2017.
When was this decision taken?
• In July this year 2019, the Chandigarh Wetlands Authority had unanimously decided to declare the
Sukhna Lake as a wetland.
• It was the second meeting of the Union Territory of Chandigarh Wetlands Authority that was chaired by
Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator V P Singh Badnore.
How will this help Sukhna?
• Declaring Sukhna a wetland will help preserve the lake and conserve its ecological and biodiversity. A
major threat to Sukhna is the discharge of pollutants from neighbouring areas.
• Sukhna Wetland is spread over 565 acres.The catchment area of Sukhna Wetland spreading over 10,395
acres as finalised by the Survey of India includes 2,525 acres of Haryana and 684 acres of Punjab.
• With this, various activities will be prohibited/regulated/ promoted both in the wetland as well
catchment areas.
What activities will be prohibited?
• Encroachment of any kind, setting up of any industry and expansion of existing industries,
manufacturing or handling or storage or disposal of construction and demolition waste covered under
the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016, hazardous substances covered under
the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989, or the Rules for Manufacture,
Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous Micro-organisms Genetically Engineered Organisms or
Cells, 1989, or the Hazardous Waste (Management, Handling and Trans-Boundary Movement) Rules,
2008.
• This also includes electronic waste covered under the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016, solid waste
dumping, discharge of untreated waste and effluents from industries, cities, towns, villages and other
human settlements and any construction of a permanent nature within specific distance of the wetland.
What measures has the administration taken till now?
• The administration had introduced a programme to include villagers of Kaimbwala under the ‘Friends
of Sukhna’ — a voluntary program to keep a check on activities taking place in the area.
Source: Indian Express

5.12. INDIA, NEPAL & BHUTAN PLAN TRANS-BORDER CONSERVATION AREA


Why in news?
India, Nepal and Bhutan have drafted a memorandum of understanding to create a trans-boundary wildlife
conservation 'peace park', under the Ministry of Environment, forest and climate change.
Highlights:
• The trans-boundary parks present a fundamental shift in which wildlife conservation is done. From a
species focused approach, we are moving to a landscape-based approach.
• There is already one trans-boundary Protected Area in India and Bhutan, which includes the Manas
landscape of Assam, and the new tripartite park will be an extension.
• This initiative was taken by India keeping in view the migratory wildlife species such as elephant.
• The process started this year, with the idea that wildlife species, their movement and conservation
should not be interrupted by political boundaries.

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Source: Down To Earth

5.13. AFTER SUPER CYCLONE KYARR, ANOTHER STORM BREWS OVER ARABIAN SEA, IMD ISSUES
ALERT
Why in news?
Even as very severe Cyclone Kyarr remains active in the Arabian Sea as it paces towards Oman, away from
the western coast of India, India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued alert for another cyclone
brewing in the Arabian Sea.
Highlights:
• The fresh low-pressure area was formed over Comorin Area, near the southern-most end of the
country and the adjoining Equatorial Indian Ocean and became more well-marked early on
Wednesday (30th October).
• The system has concentrated into a depression over Maldives- Comorin and adjoining Lakshadweep
area about 200 km east-southeast of Minicoy (Lakshadweep), 380 km southeast of Kavaratti
(Lakshadweep) and 220 km west-southwest of Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala).
• Cyclone Kyarr was the first Super Cyclone to have formed in the Arabian Sea in last 12 years after
Super Cyclone Gonu in 2007 and was considered to be among the strongest so far. After forming in
the east-central Arabian Sea, it began moving north-westwards towards Oman.
• As per recent forecasts, it is very likely to weaken into a Severe Cyclonic Storm and subsequently into
a Cyclonic Storm by Thursday noon (31st October).
Factors responsible for formation of Cyclone/ Typhoon:
There are six conditions favourable for this process to take place.
• The temperature of the surface layer of ocean water must be 26.5 °C (80 °F) or warmer, and this
warm layer must be at least 50 metres (150 feet) deep.
• A pre-existing atmospheric circulation must be located near the surface warm layer.
• The atmosphere must cool quickly enough with height to support the formation of deep convective
clouds.
• The middle atmosphere must be relatively humid at a height of about 5,000 metres (16,000 feet)
above the surface.
• The developing system must be at least 500 km (300 miles) away from the Equator.
• The wind speed must change slowly with height through the troposphere—no more than 10 metres
(33 feet) per second between the surface and an altitude of about 10,000 metres (33,000 feet).

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Formation of Cyclone
• The energy that strengthens the storm comes from the condensation process in the towering
cumulonimbus clouds, surrounding the centre of the storm.
• With an uninterrupted supply of moisture from the sea, the storm is again strengthened.
• On reaching the terrestrial region the moisture supply is cut off and the storm dissipates. The place
where a tropical cyclone cuts the coast is called the landfall of the cyclone.
• A landfall is frequently accompanied by sturdy winds, heavy rain and mounting sea waves that could
threaten people and cause damage to properties.
• Cyclones which cross 20 degrees North latitude are more destructive.
• They cover a larger area and can originate over the land and sea whereas the tropical cyclones
originate only over the seas and on reaching the land they dissipate.
Source: Livemint

5.14. RISING SEAS IN INDIA AND THE WORLD


Why in news?
A new study claims to remove over-estimations in the assessment of land elevations in coastal areas. As a
result, it finds that much larger areas of land were threatened by rising sea levels because of climate
change.

Highlights:
• The number of people in India threatened by rising sea-levels is at least seven times more than
previously estimated, a new research has revealed. The research, published in Nature
Communications, has found large areas on the eastern as well as western coastlines under threat of
rising sea levels, including Mumbai on the west and Kolkata on the east.
• It says 36 million people along the Indian coastlines currently live on land that will fall below the
annual flood level by 2050, exposing them to risks of flooding, damage to infrastructure, loss of
livelihood, or permanent displacement. The previous estimate was of five million people in these
areas being exposed to these risks.
How the study was done?
• Researchers Scott Kulp and Benjamin Strauss of Climate Central, an independent organisation of
climate scientists, have reported that they have developed a new tool that measures elevation of land
from mean sea levels with much greater accuracy than earlier models.
• Their study claims that previous methods to measure land elevation suffered from large errors in most
of the world apart from the US, Australia and parts of Europe.
• Land elevation data in most of these other areas came from satellite measurements done by a NASA
project called Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, or SRTM.

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• The study says the error in the measurements came from the fact that often the tops of trees or
buildings were taken to be the protrusions of earth. Thus, SRTM measurements even in the coastal
cities of the US often overestimated land elevations by as much as 15.5 feet on an average.
• Their new tool, called CoastalDEM (or Coastal Digital Elevation Model), which uses artificial
intelligence and machine learning on 51 million data samples, brought down this error to less than 2.5
inches on an average, it says.
The threat projection
• The study claims to remove over-estimations in the assessment of land elevations in coastal areas. As
a result, it finds that much larger areas of land were threatened by rising sea levels because of climate
change. Consequently, a significantly higher population group was at risk.
• The study found that 300 million people, and not 80 million as estimated earlier, across the globe
were currently living in areas that were below the annual coastal flood line. By the turn of this
century, land that is now home to 200 million of these people would be permanently below the high
tide line.
• Almost 80 per cent of these 300 million people live in China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia
and Thailand. China alone accounted for 43 million.
Vulnerable areas in India
• The new tool has found that in particular, the western coastline near Bhuj, Jamnagar, Porbandar,
Surat, Bharuch and Mumbai are much more susceptible to rising sea levels than earlier assessments.
• On the eastern side, almost the entire coastline of West Bengal and Odisha have been found under
threat. Except for some areas near Kakinada, the threats to the coastlines of the southern states have
not been affected by the new measurements.
• The study has serious prediction for India for 2050. “By that year, projected sea level rise could push
average annual floods above land currently home to some 36 million people. West Bengal and coastal
Odisha are projected to be particularly vulnerable, as is the eastern city of Kolkata,” it says.
Source: Indian Express

5.15. 2nd ASSEMBLY OF INTERNATIONAL SOLAR ALLIANCE


Why in news:
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Hosts 2nd Assembly of International Solar Alliance (ISA) on 31
October In New Delhi. While on 30 October 2019, coordination and consultation meetings on different
aspects of ISA programmes and initiatives will be held, the Assembly would meet on 31 October 2019.
Highlights:
• The Assembly is the supreme decision-making body of the ISA, and gives directions on various
administrative, financial and programme related issues.
• India (represented by the Minister for New and Renewable Energy and Power) is the President and
France is the Co-President of the ISA Assembly.
• Till now, 81 countries of the 121 prospective member countries have signed the Framework
Agreement of the ISA. Of these, 58 countries have ratified the same.
• During the first Assembly of the ISA, an Indian resolution to extend the Membership of the
organisation to all countries that are Members of the United Nations was adopted.
• Since the first assembly on 3rd October 2018, ISA has initiated many activities and programmes.
• For building domestic capacity of the ISA member countries programmes such as STAR - C
Programme, development of the Infopedia etc. have been launched.
• STAR C is a Solar Technology Application Resource Centre project.
• Infopedia is an online platform dedicated to the dissemination of information, best practices
and knowledge on Solar Energy.
• The ISA sent country missions to eight countries over the course of 2019 in order to understand the
challenges and issues ‘on the ground’.

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• ISA has significantly extended outreach and have partnered with over 40 organizations. These broadly
include United Nations (UN), Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), Development Finance
Institutions (DFIs), etc.
International Solar Alliance
• The ISA, is an Indian initiative that was launched by the Prime Minister of India and the President of
France on 30th November 2015 in Paris, France on the side-lines of the Conference of the Parties
(COP-21), with 121 solar resource rich countries lying fully or partially between the tropic of Cancer
and tropic of Capricorn as prospective members.
• The overarching objective of the ISA is to collectively address key common challenges to the scaling up
of solar energy in ISA member countries.
• The Government of India has allotted 5 acres of land to the ISA in National Institute of Solar Energy
(NISE) campus, Gurugram and has released a sum of Rs. 160 crores for creating a corpus fund, building
infrastructure and meeting day to day recurring expenditure of the ISA up to the year 2012-22.
Source: PIB

6. SOCIAL ISSUE
6.1. UTTAR PRADESH TOPS IN CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN, SAYS NCRB REPORT
Why in news?
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on 21st October 2019 released annual Crime in India Report 2017
with two years of delay.
Highlights of report:
• As per the report, 3,59,849 cases of crime against women were reported in the country. Uttar
Pradesh topped the list with 56,011 cases followed by Maharashtra with 31,979 cases and West
Bengal 30,002.

• Majority of cases under crimes against women were registered under


• ‘Cruelty by Husband or his Relatives’ (27.9%) followed by
• ‘Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty’ (21.7%),
• ‘Kidnapping & Abduction of Women’ (20.5%) and ‘Rape’ (7.0%).

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• As per the report, 58,880 incidents of rioting were reported, of which the maximum incidents were
reported from Bihar - 11,698, followed by Uttar Pradesh - 8,990 and Maharashtra - 7,743. Of the total
riots reported, communal and sectarian riots accounted for 723 and 183 incidents respectively. There
were 805 riots due to caste conflict and 1909 riots occurred due to political reasons.
• The incidents registered under the Scheduled Caste Prevention of Atrocities Act saw an increase
from 5,082 incidents reported in 2016 to 5,775 in 2017. Incidents of crime related to Scheduled
Tribes dipped from 844 in 2016 to 720 in 2017.
• A total of 95,893 cases of kidnapping and abduction were registered during 2017, showing an increase
of 9.0% over 2016 (88,008 cases).
• “A total of 63,349 children (20,555 male, 42,691 female and 103 transgender) were reported missing
in 2017. During the year 2017, a total of 70,440 children (23,564 males, 46,798 females and 78
transgender) were recovered/traced,” the report said.
• The NCRB for the first time collected data on circulation of “false/fake news and rumours.” Under
the category, maximum incidents were reported from Madhya Pradesh (138), Uttar Pradesh (32)
and Kerala (18).
Source: The Hindu

6.2. 87% OF INDIA COVERED UNDER IMMUNISATION PROGRAMME: GOVT


Why in news?
Launched in December 2014, Mission Indradhanush has pulled up India’s immunisation coverage
significantly to 87 per cent, Joint Secretary (Health) Vandana Gurnani said 22nd October 2019.
Highlights of the Report:
• The Government will launch the second phase of nationwide immunisation drive, i.e. Intensified
Mission Indradhanush 2.0, to mark the 25 years of Pulse polio programme.
• Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0 aims to achieve at least 90% pan-India immunisation coverage
by 2022.
• However, official data on India’s immunisation coverage is still 62%, given as the National Family
Health Survey-4 (2015-16).
Mission Indradhanush
• Mission Indradhanush was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government
of India on December 25, 2014.
• Between 2009-2013 immunization coverage has increased from 61% to 65%, indicating only 1%
increase in coverage every year.
• To accelerate the process of immunization by covering 5% and more children every year,
Indradhanush mission has been adopted to achieve target of full coverage by 2020.
• The Mission Indradhanush aims to cover all those children by 2020 who are either unvaccinated,
or are partially vaccinated against vaccine preventable diseases.
• India’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) provide free vaccines against 12 life threatening
diseases, to 26 million children annually.
• Mission Indradhanush is a booster vaccination programme that started in 201 districts with low
immunisation coverage.
• It represents the seven vaccines that were then included in the Universal Immunisation
Programme against seven diseases: tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, hepatitis B, diphtheria, pertussis,
tetanus and measles. The number has since risen to 12 with the inclusion of vaccines against
measles rubella, rotavirus, Haemophilus influenza type-B and polio.
Intensified Mission Indradhanush
• The Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) was launched by the Government of India in 2017 to
reach each and every child under two years of age and all those pregnant women who have been
left uncovered under the routine immunisation programme.
• Under IMI, greater focus has been given on urban areas which was one of the gaps of Mission
Indradhanush.

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• The target under IMI was to increase the full immunization coverage to 90% by December 2018.
However, only 16 districts in the country have achieved 90% coverage so far.
• The Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0 will target the districts which have immunisation
coverage of 70% or below.
Source: Indian Express
6.3. DISTRESS SIGNAL: SHARE OF YOUNGEST WORKERS IN NREGS BEGINS TO RISE
Why in news?
The steady decline in the proportion of young workers, those between 18 and 30, under the Mahatma
Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has halted and has begun to rise in the
wake of demonetisation and the rollout of GST.
Highlights of the Report:
• An analysis of age-wise data of persons employed in MGNREGA indicates that the share of workforce
in the 18-30 age bracket began moving up after financial year 2017-18.
• The total number of young workers (18-30 years) employed under the job guarantee scheme was
more than 1 crore in 2013-14 which came down to 58.69 lakh in 2017-18. However, their number
started rising again and reached 70.71 lakh in 2018-19.
• This upward trend is continuing during the current financial year as the number of young persons
employed under MGNREGA has reached 57.57 lakh for figures up to October 21, 2019.
• In 2013-14, the ratio of young workers among total MGNREGA workers was 13.64 per cent which
came down to 7.73 percent in 2017-18 before rising to 9.1 percent in 2018-19 and 10.06 percent in
2019-20.
• Government took a decision to demonetise high value currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 in
November 2016 while GST was implemented from July 1, 2017. Both these decisions caused
disruptions in the economy, which many experts feel contributed to the slowdown.
• Data shows the total number of individuals who worked under MGNREGA has also gone up in recent
years. For instance, in 2013-14, of 7.95 crore worked under MGNREGA and this number came down
to 6.71 crore in 2014-15 but started rising again and reached 7.21 crore in 2015-16, 7.65 crore in
2016-17 and 7.76 crore in 2018-19.
• During the current financial year, the total number of persons working under MGNREGA has
already reached 5.72 crore up to October 21, 2019.
Source: Indian Express

6.4. WHAT DETERMINES THE WEALTH OF A NATION?


Why in news?
Global Wealth Report 2019: Wealth is defined in terms of “net worth” of an individual. This, in turn, is
calculated by adding up the value of financial assets (such as money) and real assets (such as houses) and
then subtracting any debts an individual may have.
Highlights:
• The Credit Suisse Group, a Switzerland-based multinational investment bank, has released the 10th
edition of its annual Global Wealth Report.
• The report typically tracks both the growth and distribution of wealth – in terms of the numbers of
millionaires and billionaires and the proportion of wealth that they hold – as well as the status of
inequality around the world.

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How is wealth defined?


Wealth is defined in terms of “net worth” of an individual. This, in turn, is calculated by adding up the
value of financial assets (such as money) and real assets (such as houses) and then subtracting any
debts an individual may have.
Key findings:
• A key finding of 2019’s report is that China has overtaken the United States this year to become “the
country with most people in the top 10% of global wealth distribution”.
• As things stand, just 47 million people – accounting for merely 0.9% of the world’s adult population
– owned $158.3 trillion, which is almost 44% of the world’s total wealth.
• At the other end of the spectrum are 2.88 billion people accounting for almost 57% of the world’s
adult population who owned just $6.3 trillion or 1.8% of the world’s wealth.
• The other way to look at this distribution of wealth is from the prism of inequality. “The bottom half
of wealth holders collectively accounted for less than 1% of total global wealth in mid-2019, while
the richest 10% own 82% of global wealth and the top 1% alone own 45%,” states the report.
• What’s more, the global financial crisis of 2008-09 seems to decidedly hurt those at the bottom of
the pyramid more than the wealthiest as inequalities within countries grew in the wake of the GFC.
As a result, the top 1% of wealth holders increased their share of world wealth.
Source: Indian Express
6.5. NO GOVT. JOBS IN ASSAM FOR PEOPLE WITH MORE THAN TWO CHILDREN
Why in news?
Two years after the 126-member Assam Assembly adopted a population policy, the State Cabinet on
Monday evening decided to make government jobs out of bounds for people with more than two children.
Highlights:
• The State Assembly had in September 2017 passed the ‘Population and Women Empowerment Policy
of Assam’ seeking to encourage small family.
• Apart from specifying that candidates with two children only would be eligible for government jobs,
the policy warranted that existing government employees should strictly follow the two-child norm.
Source: The Hindu

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6.6. BHARAT KI LAXMI MOVEMENT


Why in news?
Deepika Padukone and PV Sindhu have joined hands for PM Narendra Modi's new initiative Bharat Ki Laxmi
movement.
Highlights:
• Bharat Ki Laxmi movement is a campaign to honour Indian women who have made a mark with their
achievements in various fields for public good.
• Encouraging Bharat ki Laxmi means strengthening the path to success of the country and its people.
• PM urges people to highlight the work of women of substance on social media platforms using the
hashtag "BharatKiLaxmi".
Source: AIR

6.7. HEALTH MINISTRY’S GUIDELINES FOR PERITONEAL DIALYSIS SERVICES WELCOMED


Why in news?
Health Ministry has released guidelines for establishing peritoneal dialysis services under the Pradhan
Mantri National Dialysis Program (PMNDP).
Highlights:
• The guidelines are expected to benefit the 2 lakh Indians who develop end-stage kidney failure every
year in India.
• There are two main types of dialysis namely- Haemodialysis, and Peritoneal dialysis.
o In peritoneal dialysis, people will have access to the treatment option that could be performed
at home (as in hemodialysis, treatment needs to be performed at a designated dialysis centre).
o The peritoneal dialysis avoids the substantial costs of infrastructural set-up, maintenance, and
staffing; reduces the demands placed on the healthcare system, and offers patients the
autonomy to be at home. Consequently, the decision to include peritoneal dialysis under the
ambit of the PM National Dialysis Programme was finalized.
o Mass-based peritoneal dialysis programmes have the potential to substantially bring down the
cost of treatment.
• The move is also expected to benefit children suffering from kidney failure who need dialysis
treatment because of biological and lifestyle reasons.
o Also, paediatric haemodialysis facilities are scarce in India.
• The guidelines will also serve as a comprehensive manual for states intending to set up peritoneal
dialysis centres.
o This will ensure the delivery of high-quality and cost-effective services and develop a clinically-
safe and effective programme.
Source: The Hindu

6.8. WILD POLIOVIRUS TYPE 3 (WPV3)


Why in news?
In an announcement by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on World Polio Day (October 24), an
independent commission of experts declared that wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated
worldwide.
Highlights of Report:
• This follows the eradication of smallpox and wild poliovirus type 2. With this, 2 out of 3 wild
poliovirus strains have been eradicated.
• The achievement of polio eradication will be a milestone for global health. Commitment from partners
and countries, coupled with innovation, means that of the three wild polio serotypes, only type one
remains.
• There are three individual and immunologically distinct wild poliovirus strains: wild poliovirus type 1
(WPV1), wild poliovirus type 2 (WPV2) and wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3).

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• Symptomatically, all three strains are identical, in that they cause irreversible paralysis or even
death. But there are genetic and virologic differences, which make these three strains three
separate viruses that must each be eradicated individually.

Polio
• Polio (poliomyelitis) is a highly infectious disease
caused by a virus. The virus is transmitted by
person-to-person spread mainly through the
faecal-oral route.
• It invades the nervous system, and can cause
total paralysis in a matter of hours. 1 in 200
infections leads to irreversible paralysis. Among
those paralysed, 5% to 10% die when their
breathing muscles become immobilized.
• Polio mainly affects children under 5 years of
age.
• There is no cure for polio, it can only be
prevented. Polio vaccine, given multiple times,
can protect a child for life.

Source: WHO

6.9. THE 50th UNION WORLD CONFERENCE ON LUNG HEALTH LAUNCHED IN INDIA
Why in news?
The Union launched the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health which will be held in Hyderabad,
India from 30 October – 2 November 2019.
Highlights:
• The Vice President of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu has called for developing a new and long-lasting
vaccine to combat TB, which was one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2018.
• Inaugurating ‘The 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health’ in Hyderabad, he referred to the
contention that the effect of BCG vaccine being administered for TB does not last for many years and
said there was an absolute need for a booster vaccine or a new vaccine that is effective and long-
lasting.
• The four-day Conference is being attended by the delegates from 130 countries.
INDIA TB REPORT 2019
Why in news?
The Union Health Ministry released the India TB Report 2019.
Key highlights of report:
• There was a 16% increase in the number of TB cases in 2018 as compared to the previous year. 21.5
lakh TB cases were notified to the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) in
2018.
• India accounted for a quarter of the Global TB burden with an estimated 27 lakh new cases in 2018.
• 25% (5.4 lakh) cases were from the private sector; a 40% increase over last year.
• Among the notified, treatment was initiated for about 19.1 lakh cases (90%) across both public and
private sectors.
• The majority of the affected individuals (89%) were in the age group 15-69.
• Uttar Pradesh accounted for 20% of all notifications (187 cases/lakh population).
• Odisha witnessed a decline in the number of notified cases from over 67,000 in 2017 to 50,244 in

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2018, or about 25%. Odisha was the only such state


• The Union Territories of Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands too witnessed a drop.
• The two UTs of Delhi and Chandigarh had the highest number of notified patients per lakh
population, at 417 and 468, respectively. Their rates of notification are higher because people from
many other parts of India get notified from these UTs.
• TB is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among people living with HIV, and HIV co-
infection rates among incident TB patients is estimated to be 3% — 86,000 HIV-associated TB
patients are emerging annually. 11,000 people with HIV die every year due to TB.
Source: PIB
‘TB HAREGA DESH JEETEGA’ CAMPAIGN
Why in news?
Union Minister for Health launched the new TB Harega Desh Jeetega Campaign, along with the
National TB Prevalence Survey on 25th September 2019.
Highlights of TB Harega Desh Jeetega Campaign:
• India committed to eradicate TB before 2025.
• The new TB campaign aims to improve and expand the reach of TB care services across the country,
by 2022.
• The three strong pillars of the campaign include clinical approach, public health component and
active community participation.
• Other supporting elements of the campaign comprise private sector engagement, patient support,
and political and administrative commitment at all levels.
• Union Health Minister released the TB India Report (2019), the Work Place Policy Framework for TB,
Operational Guideline for Employer Led Model on TB, Training module for transforming TB survivor
to TB champion, and Elected Representative’s Handbook on TB.
• In addition to these, as an important step, the Union Health Minister also launched an all oral
regimen kit for multi-drug resistant TB patients who do not include injections which are painful
and can have side effects.
• Also announced a partnership with the World Bank which is providing a $400 million credit for
accelerating TB response in 9 states through private sector engagement and other critical
interventions.
National TB Prevalence Survey:
• The Union Health Minister also flagged off a van for the National TB Prevalence Survey.
• In all, 25 such vans will be part of the prevalence survey, which will go to 625 clusters of the country
and check for TB. This sample survey is to be completed by 2020.
• This shall present national and state level data, which will be used as a policy tool for further
interventions.
Additional information:
• In 2018, 21.5 lakh TB cases were reported to the government, compared to 18 lakhs in 2017, an
increase of 17% in one year.
• The Government of India has also partnered with the Global Fund to launch JEET (Joint Effort for
Elimination of TB), a private sector engagement program operating in 45 cities across the country.
• In April 2018, the government launched the Nikshay Poshan Yojana, a direct benefit transfer
(DBT) scheme to provide nutritional support to TB patients. Under the scheme, TB patients have
been receiving Rs. 500 per month for the entire duration of treatment.
Source: PIB

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6.10. “UNITED TO ELIMINATE LYMPHATIC FILARIASIS”


Why in news?
Planning, commitment, vision,
societal involvement and past
experiences can help us achieve
our goal of eliminating
Lymphatic Filariasis from the
country by 2021. Dr. Harsh
Vardhan, Union Minister for
Health & Family Welfare as he
inaugurated the day long
National Symposium on the
theme ‘United to Eliminate
Lymphatic Filariasis’.
Highlights:
• The ‘Call to Action to
eliminate Lymphatic
Filariasis by 2021’
Ministry said, “While we
have taken significant
steps to ensure more
people are not affected by
these NTDs, what we need
now is a common vision
driven towards achieving the elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis. This however, will only be possible if
we foster greater collaboration and commitment by all stakeholders including global public health
experts, national & state representatives, partners & donors”.
• Lymphatic filariasis (LF), commonly known as elephantiasis or Hathipaon, is a neglected tropical
disease.
• Cause: LF disease is caused mainly by Wuchereria Bancrofti and spread by Culex mosquito. This
mosquito grows in dirty accumulated water. Infection occurs when filarial parasites are transmitted
to humans through mosquitoes. The infection is usually acquired in childhood, causing hidden
damage to the lymphatic system.
• Effect: LF does not kill the affected people, but may cause permanent disfigurement, reduced
productivity and social stigma.
• Vulnerable groups: The disease affects the poorest population in society, particularly those living in
areas with poor water, sanitation and hygiene.
• Global scenario: It is one of the oldest and most debilitating neglected disease, which is currently
endemic in 73 countries of the world, including India.
• The Global Program to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) was launched by the World Health
Organization in 2000.
• Government of India launched the Accelerated Plan for Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (APELF) in
2018. By the end of February 2019, India successfully rolled out IDA treatment (Treatment for iron-
deficiency anaemia) across 4 districts including Arwal in Bihar, Simdega in Jharkhand, Nagpur in
Maharashtra and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
Source: PIB
6.11. 14TH NATIONAL HEALTH PROFILE, 2019
Why in news?
Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan released the 14th National Health Profile (NHP), 2019 and its e-book
in New Delhi.

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Highlights:
• The data is an important source of understanding the needs and issues of the population.
• It helps understand the goals, our strengths and weaknesses. It is also an important means to
strategize area-specific interventions.
• The e-book of NHP-2019 is a step towards realizing India’s vision of Digital India, as digital
documents give us an opportunity for wider dissemination of information.
• The NHP is prepared by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence and covers comprehensive
information on
• Information on demographic,
• Socio-economic health status,
• Health finance indicators, health infrastructure and
• Health of human resources in the country.
Source: AIR

7. SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY


7.1. UTERINE TRANSPLANT
Why in news?
It is now one year since India’s first baby was born to a mother with a transplanted uterus. Such cases are
rare across the world Radha, whose parents have just celebrated her first birthday, is the 12th such baby
worldwide.
Highlights:
• Approximately 1 in 500 women are estimated to have uterine factor infertility according to the
September issue of the British Medical Bulletin.
• In India, about 17% of all women face issues relating to infertility, and the reason is related to the
uterus in 20% of these.
• For women whose uterus is not healthy, or who do not have one, a transplant is the newest form of
infertility treatment.
• Normal reproduction is not possible with a transplanted uterus a transplant makes sense only with in
vitro fertilisation (outside the body).
• The first successful transplant was performed in Saudi Arabia in 2002 but did not result in pregnancy.
• In Turkey, pregnancy following a 2011 transplant lasted only eight weeks. The first birth after a
transplant, in 2014, happened in Sweden.
Ethical considerations:
• There has been debate whether uterus transplants are ethically justified. There is vast literature on
this debate, covering psychological and physical risks as well as complications arising out of
immunosuppressive therapy.
• According to the British Medical Bulletin’s September 2019 issue, concerns have been raised about
the welfare of living donors who may end up regretting their choice to donate.
• Experts suggest that a living donation is justified only after informed consent by the donor, and this
after counselling by physicians and psychologists.
Source: Indian Express

7.2. SPECTROSCOPY
Why in news?
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) released an image from Chandrayaan-2 showing
measurements from the Moon, carried out by the instrument Imaging Infrared Spectrometer (IIRS). Such
studies make up a branch of physics called spectroscopy.

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What is spectroscopy?
• Spectroscopy is the technique of splitting light (or more precisely electromagnetic radiation) into its
constituent wavelengths (a spectrum), in much the same way as a prism splits light into a rainbow of
colours.
• Old style spectroscopy was carried out using a prism and photographic plates. These days, modern
spectroscopy uses diffraction gratings to disperse the light, which is then projected onto CCDs (Charge
Coupled Devices) similar to those used in digital cameras.

Imaging Infrared Spectrometer (IIRS):


• IIRS is designed to measure light from the lunar surface in narrow spectral channels (bands). It has the
ability to split and disperse reflected sunlight (and its emitted component) into these spectral bands.
• From the reflected solar spectrum, scientists will look for signatures, including of minerals. This will
help map the lunar surface composition, which in turn will help us understand the Moon’s origin and
evolution in a geologic context.
Source: Indian Express

7.3. QS INDIAN UNIVERSITY RANKINGS


Why in news?
The QS (Quacquarelli Symonds)
Indian University Rankings were
released — this is the second
edition of the standalone rankings
for India’s higher education
institutions. The rankings include
public, private, higher education
or deemed universities.
Highlights:
• The Indian Institutes of
Technology (IITs) dominate
the list, with seven IITs
figuring in the top ten
rankings. Like last year, IIT-
Bombay leads followed by
the Indian Institute of
Science (IISc). This year, IIT-Delhi has improved its performance by one rank to overtake IIT-Madras.
• The methodology used eight indicators to determine the institutions’ rankings. These were:

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• Academic reputation (weight of 30%),


• Employer reputation (20%),
• Faculty-student ratio (20%),
• The proportion of staff with a PhD (10%),
• Papers per faculty from Scopus database (10%),
• Citations per paper from Scopus database (5%),
• The proportion of international students (2.5%),
• The proportion of international faculty (2.5%).
Source: Indian Express

7.4.GRAND CHORD ROUTE


Why in news?
Indian Railways has installed the most advanced Electronic Interlocking System on the Grand Chord route.
Highlights:
• The measure is expected to help Indian Railways speed up trains and achieve the objective of
reducing the travel time between Delhi and Howrah to about 12 hours from the existing 17 to 19
hours.
• Grand Chord is part of the Howrah-Gaya-Delhi line and Howrah-Allahabad-Mumbai line.
• It acts as a link between Sitarampur in West Bengal and Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyay Junction, Uttar
Pradesh, and covers a stretch of 450 kilometres falling in North Central Railway Zone.
• The new Electronic system has replaced outdated 65-year old mechanical signalling system at
Tundla Junction in Uttar Pradesh on the route.
Source: AIR

7.5. METEOR SHOWER


Why in news?
According to NASA, over 30 meteor showers occur annually and are observable from the Earth. They are
named after the constellation they appear to be coming from. Orionids meteor shower is believed to
originate from the constellation Orion The Hunter.
What are meteor showers?
• Meteors are bits of rock and ice that are
ejected from comets as they manoeuvre
around their orbits around the sun. The
Orionids meteors emerge from the comet
1P/Halley.
• Meteor showers, on the other hand, are
witnessed when Earth passes through the
trail of debris left by a comet or an
asteroid.
• When a meteor reaches the Earth, it is
called a meteorite and a series of
meteorites when encountered at once, is
termed as a meteor shower.
• As it falls towards the Earth, the resistance
makes the space rock extremely hot and
as the meteorite passes through the atmosphere, it leaves behind a streak of hot glowing gas that is
visible to the observers and not the rock itself.
Where is it observable from?
• NASA describes the Orionids meteor shower as the “most beautiful showers of the year.” When
meteorites travel as fast as the Orionids showers do, they leave behind a trail of hot gas and

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sometimes burn, becoming “fireballs”, which means they become brighter than the planet Venus and
therefore, may be visible for several seconds to a minute.
• The Orionids meteor shower is visible from both the Northern and Southern hemispheres after
midnight.
Source: Indian Express

7.6. NOVEL ''ARTIFICIAL LEAF'' PRODUCES CLEAN GAS FROM SUNLIGHT


Why in news?
Scientists have developed an ‘artificial leaf’ device that uses sunlight to produce a widely-used gas
currently made from fossil fuels, and could be used to create a sustainable liquid fuel alternative to
petrol.
Highlights:
• The carbon-neutral device can directly produce the gas — called syngas — in a sustainable and
simple way from carbon dioxide and water, setting a new benchmark in the field of solar fuels.
• Rather than running on fossil fuels, the artificial leaf developed by researchers at the University of
Cambridge in the UK is powered by sunlight, although it still works efficiently on cloudy and
overcast days.
• Unlike the current industrial processes for producing syngas, the leaf does not release any additional
carbon dioxide, according to the research published in ‘Nature Materials’.
• Syngas is currently made from a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, and is used to produce
fuels, pharmaceuticals, plastics and fertilisers.
Source: TOI

7.7. NEW GUIDELINES RELEASED FOR NANO DRUGS EVALUATION


Why in news?
The Minister for Science and Technology, Earth Sciences and Health and Family Welfare, released
guidelines for evaluation of nano-pharmaceuticals, which are emerging as more potent tools for treating
various diseases.
Highlights:
• The Guidelines are developed by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and
Technology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Central Drugs Standard Control
Organization (CDSCO), Ministry of Health.
• The guidelines apply to the nano pharmaceuticals in the form of finished formulation as well as
Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) of a new molecule or an already approved molecule with
altered nanoscale dimensions intended to be used for treatment or prevention of diseases.
• These guidelines are intended to provide transparent regulatory pathways for nano pharmaceuticals in
India. It would facilitate translational research in line with the regulatory requirements.
Source: The Hindu
7.8. CHENANI NASHARI TUNNEL RENAMED AFTER DR SYAMA PRASAD MOOKERJEE
Why in news?
Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MSME Shri Nitin Gadkari announced renaming of
Chenani Nashri Tunnel on NH 44 in Jammu & Kashmir as Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Tunnel in an event
in New Delhi 24th October, 2019.
Highlights:
• This 9 km tunnel is the longest such state of art tunnel in the country, connecting Udhampur to
Ramban in Jammu.
• Constructed at a cost of Rs 2500 crore, it cuts down 31 km of travel distance and reduces the travel
time between the two points by about two hours, in addition to substantial saving in fuel cost.
Syama Prasad Mukherjee:
• Syama Prasad Mukherjee (1901 – 1953) was an Indian politician who served as the Minister for
Industry and Supply in Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's cabinet.

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• He quit Congress because of differences of opinion with Nehru led government on the issue of Jammu
& Kashmir.
• He founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the predecessor to the Bharatiya Janata Party, in 1951.
• About 66 years ago in 1953, Dr Mookerjee was arrested illegally from Lakhanpur, and was taken to
Srinagar through Chenani Nashari. Dr Mookerjee was a sitting member of Lok Sabha at that time.
Source: PIB
7.9. NEW WORLD BANK PROJECT TO SUPPORT CLIMATE RESILIENT AGRICULTURE IN ODISHA
Why in news?
The Government of India, Government of Odisha and the World Bank signed a US$165 million loan
agreement to support smallholder farmers strengthen the resilience of their production systems as well
as diversify and improve the marketing of their produce, for increased income.
Highlights:
• The Odisha Integrated Irrigation Project for Climate Resilient Agriculture will be implemented in rural
areas vulnerable to droughts and largely dependent on rainfed agriculture.
• It will benefit about 125,000 smallholder farmer households from 15 districts of Odisha managing
128,000 ha of agricultural land.
• The project will strengthen the resilience of smallholder farmers against adverse climate by improving
access to resilient seed varieties and production technologies, diversifying towards more climate-
resilient crops, and improving access to better water management and irrigation services.
• It is a project under the National Action Plan on Climate Change of the Government of India.
Source: PIB

7.10. NPCIL ADMITS MALWARE ATTACK AT KUDANKULAM NUCLEAR POWER PLANT


Why in news?
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) on 30th October 2019, confirmed that a malware had
indeed infected its system at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP), a day after KKNPP officials had
categorically asserted that the systems at the plant could not be accessed by anyone outside the network
as they were all isolated.
Highlights:
• Identification of malware in NPCIL
system is correct, said by Associate
Director and Appellate Authority,
NPCIL.
• The matter was conveyed by CERT-In
[Indian Computer Emergency Response
Team] when it was noticed by them on
September 4, 2019. The matter was
immediately investigated by DAE
specialists.
• The investigation had revealed that the
infected computer belonged to a user
who was connected in the Internet
connected network used for
administrative purposes.
• Investigation also confirms that the
plant systems are not affected.
What is Malware?
• Malware, or malicious software, is any
program or file that is harmful to a
computer user.
• Types of malware can include computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses and spyware.

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• These malicious programs can perform a variety of different functions such as stealing, encrypting or
deleting sensitive data, altering or hijacking core computing functions and monitoring users' computer
activity without their permission.
Different types of malware contain unique traits and characteristics. Types of malware include:
• Virus: is the most common type of malware which can execute itself and spread by infecting other
programs or files.
• Worm: can self-replicate without a host program and typically spreads without any human
interaction or directives from the malware authors.
• Trojan horse: is designed to appear as a legitimate program in order to gain access to a system.
Once activated following installation, Trojans can execute their malicious functions.
• Spyware: is made to collect information and data on the device user and observe their activity
without their knowledge.
• Ransomware: is designed to infect a user's system and encrypt the data. Cybercriminals then
demand a ransom payment from the victim in exchange for decrypting the system's data.
• A rootkit: is created to obtain administrator-level access to the victim's system. Once installed,
the program gives threat actors root or privileged access to the system.
• Backdoor virus or remote access Trojan (RAT) secretly creates a backdoor into an infected system
that allows threat actors to remotely access it without alerting the user or the system's security
programs.
• Adware: is used to track a user’s browser and download history with the intent to display pop-up
or banner advertisements that lure the user into making a purchase. For example, an advertiser
might use cookies to track the web pages a user visits to better target advertising.
• Keyloggers: also called system monitors, are used to see nearly everything a user does on their
computer. This includes emails, opened web-pages, programs and keystrokes.

Nuclear plants in India


• Nuclear Power production in India is one of the growing sources of energy in India.
• Located in Maharashtra, Tarapur is the first and largest nuclear power plant in India.
• Following are the major Operating nuclear power plants in India −
List of Nuclear Power Plants in India
Sr.No. Name of the power station State Operator Total
capacity
1. Tarapur Atomic Power Station Maharashtra NPCIL 1,400
2. Kakrapar Atomic Power Station Gujarat NPCIL 440
3. Kudankulam Nuclear Power Tamil Nadu NPCIL 2,000
Plant
4. Kaiga Nuclear Power Plant Karnataka NPCIL 880
5. Madras Atomic Power Station Tamil Nadu NPCIL 440
6. Rajasthan Atomic Power Station Rajasthan NPCIL 1,180
7. Narora Atomic Power Station Uttar Pradesh NPCIL 440
NPCIL:
• The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) is an Indian public sector undertaking based
in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
• It is wholly owned by the Government of India and is responsible for the generation of nuclear
power for electricity.
• NPCIL is administered by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
Source: The Hindu

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8. CULTURE
8.1. BALI YATRA
Why in news?
Baliyatra, one of the biggest trade fairs of Odisha, is scheduled to begin on November 12.
Highlights:
• The trade fair will continue for eight days.
• This year’s Bali yatra will be jointly organized by the Cuttack District Administration, District Cultural
Council, and the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC).
• A preparatory meeting for the mega fair was recently held under the chairmanship of District
Collector Bhabani Shankar Chayani at Cuttack.
• As per a decision was taken at the meeting, the Administration will issue identity cards to all stall
owners at the fair that commemorates the ancient maritime glory of Odisha. There will be separate
vending zones for small traders and vendors.
• The District Administration will open a temporary information centre at the fair. Amid ban on usage of
Single-Use Plastics, the administration has stressed on preparations with special focus on ensuring
polythene-free celebration of the festival this year.
Source: AIR
8.2. DIGITAL BHARAT DIGITAL SANSKRITI
Why in news?
Union Minister of State for Culture & Tourism (IC), Shri Prahlad Singh Patel launched the E-Portal of
CCRT ‘Digital Bharat Digital Sanskriti' and CCRT YouTube Channel on 21st October in New Delhi.
Highlights:
• This will enable dissemination of cultural education through digital interactive medium into the
classrooms all over the country.
• For this initiative, CCRT has tied up with Routes 2 Roots, an NGO, for connecting seamlessly all the
CCRT
• Regional Centres i.e., Guwahati, Udaipur and Hyderabad.
CCRT
• The Centre for Cultural Resources and Training is autonomous organisation under Ministry of
Culture of Government of India.
• Founded: May 1979, Delhi.
Source: PIB

8.3. IQBAL AND HIS ROLE IN THE CREATION OF PAKISTAN


Why in news?
Furqan Ali, a headmaster of a government primary school in Pilibhit district of Uttar Pradesh was
suspended after his students recited a poem written by Muhammad Iqbal in 1902 titled, “Lab pe aati hai
dua”.
Muhammad Iqbal
• Allama Iqbal was a poet-philosopher whose work promoted the philosophy of self-hood and dealt
with the intellectual and cultural reconstruction of the Islamic world.
• Iqbal is also known as Allama Iqbal and has also written, “Saare Jahan se acha”.
• Iqbal’s first published collection of poems came out in 1923 and is titled, “Bang-e-Dara” (Call of the
Marching Bell). He wrote mostly in Urdu and Persian. Some of his works include Zabur-i-Ajam, Bal-i-
Jibril (The Gabriel’s Wings), Musafir (The Wayfarer), Mysteries of the Selflessness, Secrets of the
Self and The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam.
His role in the creation of Pakistan
• Iqbal is considered to have given the vision for the creation of Pakistan, whereas Jinnah is considered
to be the one who shaped this vision.

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• In 1930, Iqbal delivered a Presidential Address to the 25th Session of the All-India Muslim League in
Allahabad where he expressed his thoughts on Islam and nationalism, unity of the Indian nation and
one on the problem of defence.
• “The principle that each group is entitled to its free development on its own lines is not inspired by
any feeling of narrow communalism. There are communalisms and communalisms. A community
which is inspired by feelings of ill-will towards other communities is low and ignoble. I entertain the
highest respect for the customs, laws, religious and social institutions of other communities. Nay, it is
my duty, according to the teaching of the Quran, even to defend their places of worship, if need
be,” he said.
• The Pakistan government officially named him "National Poet of Pakistan".
Source: Indian Express

8.4. PETTA THULLAL


Why in news?
Blanket ban mooted on chemical powder which has a high content of hazardous metals.
Highlights:
• Taking a serious note of the health hazards posed by the material to the pilgrims and to the
environment, the authorities have proposed a blanket ban on the material in the upcoming season,
which kicks off next month.
• Plans are afoot to promote organic varieties of the brightly coloured powder, the bespattering of
which constitutes an indispensable part of the Petta Thullal ritual.
• A study by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB) has pointed to the presence of hazardous
metals, including lead, arsenic, and cadmium, in this powder. Besides causing skin troubles, it
pollutes the soil and often gets washed into the waterbodies
• The PCB officials said that mud samples from the riverbeds of the Manimalayar and nearby canals,
including the Erumeli Thodu, where the pilgrims take a dip, showed presence of the harmful metals
much above the permissible level.
PETTA THULLAL
• Petta thullal, also known as Petta Kettu, is a historic ritualistic dance held annually on 27th Dhanu
at Erumely in the district of Kottayam in Kerala.
• It is performed during the Mandalam Makaravilakku period (November, December and January) in
the presence of thousands of devotees which depicts the joyfulness of people by the slaying of
Mahishi by Lord Ayyappa.
• Two groups actively participate in the thullal, one from Ambalappuzha and other from Aalangadu.
• Ambalappuzha group starts their journey to Erumely on 22nd of Dhanu and a couple of days before
the thullal.
• They visit the Manimala Bhagavathy temple on 25th Dhanu and performs an Aazhi pooja.
• Before the thullal of Ambalappuzha group, a Krishna parunth (sacred eagle) flies round in the sky.
• It is believed that lord Vishnu himself arrives from Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna temple on his mount
Garuda to witness the thullal.
• It also denotes the beginning of the last leg of the annual Sabarimala pilgrimage season in Kerala.
Manimalayar River

Manimala River originates from Muthavar Hills located near Peermede in Idukki District.

The river which has a length of 92kms merges with the Pamba River in Alappuzha.

The river is the waterway of the central Travancore.
Source: The Hindu

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8.5. HUNAR HAAT


Why in news?
Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said the Government will provide employment
opportunities to lakhs of artisans, craftsmen and traditional culinary experts through Hunar Haat in the
next the 5 years.
Highlights:
• Hunar Haat will be organised at North Central Zone Cultural Centre in Prayagraj from 1st to 10th of
November 2019.
• All Hunar Haat, to be organised this year and next year will be based on the theme of 'Ek Bharat
Shresth Bharat'.
• In the coming days, Hunar Haat will be organized in various places, including Delhi, Mumbai,
Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Dehradun, Patna, Bhopal, Bhubneshwar, Ajmer
and other places.
• Achievements more than 2 lakh 50 thousand master artisans, craftsmen and culinary experts have
been provided employment opportunities in the last 3 years under the Hunar Haat programme.
Hunar Haat
• HUNAR HAAT provides platform to the artisans / crafts-persons from the Minority communities for
marketing their products.
• NMDFC is intending to create a data-bank of crafts, artisans / crafts-persons belonging to the
notified Minority communities viz., Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis and Jains.
Source: AIR

8.6. TAANAJI MALUSARE


Why in news?
Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn Monday took to Twitter to share the first look of his upcoming period drama
film, Tanhaji: The unsung warrior. It is being said that the film is based on Subedar Taanaji Malusare, a
Maratha military leader and a close aide of Chhatrapati Shivaji.
Highlights:
Battle of Singhagad, 1670
• In the year 1665, the Treaty of Purandar
was signed between Jai Singh and
Shivaji.
• Amongst several demands, the treaty had
required the Maratha ruler to give up
Fort Kandhana to the Mughals.
• Located near Pune, the fort was one of
the most heavily fortified and of high
strategic importance. After it was taken
over by the Mughals, the fort was
guarded by Rajput, Pathan and Arab
troop guards and was said to be
impenetrable.
• Even though the attack by Taanaji took the Mughals by surprise, the latter nonetheless outnumbered
the Marathas. A fierce battle is said have taken place between the Rathore and Taanaji. The two
clashed for long. Malusare was gravely wounded in the fight and died
• According to legend, Shivaji, upon hearing the news of Tanaji’s demise, said Gad ala pan Sinha gela
(Although the fort was captured, a lion was lost).
• The fort was renamed as Singhagad (lion’s fort) by Shivaji to honour Tanaji.
Source: Indian Express

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8.7. KITTUR UTSAV


Why in news?
Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa will inaugurate Kittur Utsav in Kittur on 23rd October 2019. The three-day
festivities will include sports, cultural programmes and lectures by resource persons on the kingdom of Rani
Channamma.
Highlights:
The State government has released Rs. 1 crore for the Utsav, Member of the Legislative Assembly
Mahantesh Dodagoudar said here on Monday.
KITTUR UTSAV
• Kittur Chennamma (1778 – 1829) was an Indian freedom fighter and Rani of the Kittur, a former
princely state in Karnataka.
• She is one of the first women freedom fighters to have fought against the British rule in India.
• She led an armed force against the British East India Company in 1824 in defiance of the DOCTRINE
OF LAPSE in an attempt to maintain Indian control over the region. She was defeated in the third war
and was imprisoned at Bailhongal Fort where she died in 1829.
• Chennamma's legacy and first victory are still commemorated in Kittur, during the Kittur Utsava
annually held on 22–24 October. in 2007 a statue of Rani Chennamma was unveiled at the Indian
Parliament Complex by Pratibha Patil, the first woman President of India.
DOCTRINE OF LAPSE
• The doctrine of lapse was an annexation policy applied by the British East India Company in India
until 1859.
• Many Indian states were annexed by Lord Dalhousie, the Governor General of India to the English
East India Company.
• The doctrine was based on the idea that in case the ruler of an independent state died childless, the
right of ruling the State reverted or ‘lapsed’ to the sovereign.
• Dalhousie applied the doctrine of lapse vigorously for annexing Indian princely states between 1848
and 1856, but the policy was not solely his invention.
• The East India Company annexed Kittur in 1824, Mandvi in 1839, Kolaba and Jalaun in 1840 and
Surat in 1842 by imposing a 'doctrine of lapse'.
• Annexed Lapsed States It was a matter of chance that during Lord Dalhousie’s term many rulers of
states died without a male issue and seven states were annexed under the Doctrine of Lapse. The
most important of these were Satara (1848), Jhansi and Nagpur (1854). The other small states
included Jaitpur (Bundelkhand), Sambhalpur (Orissa), and Baghat (Madhya Pradesh).
Source: The Hindu
8.8. BUDDHIST STRUCTURE COLLAPSES IN VIZAG AFTER HEAVY RAINFALL
Why in news?
Mahastupa of the Buddhist heritage site of Thotlakonda, which was reconstructed in 2016 by the State
Archaeology department, collapsed recently.
Highlights:
• It is 2000 years old monastic complex with remnants of stupas, chaitya grihas and viharas atop
Thotlakonda Hill, Andhra Pradesh.
• The Buddhist monks arriving from places like China, Burma and many other countries used to stay at
this site for months before finishing their learning.
Buddhist Architecture:
• Stupas: These are Buddhist commemorative monument usually housing sacred relics associated
with the Buddha or other saintly persons.
• Chaityas: A Chaitya was a rectangular prayer hall within a stupa placed in the centre, the
purpose was prayer.
• Viharas: Viharas were the residences of the monks.
Source: TOI

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8.9. NATIONAL UNITY DAY


Why in news?
National Unity Day 2019 | Since 2014, every year on 31 October 'Rashtriya Ekta Diwas' or the National
Unity Day is observed to pay tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel – an Indian politician who played a pivotal
role in India's freedom struggle and then during the integration of the country.
Highlights:
• It is celebrated to commemorate the birth
anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who
really unified the country.
• National Unity Day (also known as Rastriya Ekta
Diwas) is celebrated every year on 31st of
October by the people all through India.
• In 2014, when a new government formed at the
Centre, it was decided that October 31 be
celebrated as Rastriya Ekta Diwas.
• Rastriya Ekta Diwas or National Unity Day was
introduced by the Government of India in 2014
with the aim of celebrating this event every year
on 31st October.
• The aim of introducing this event is to pay tribute
to the great man, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, on his
birth anniversary by remembering his extraordinary works for the country. He really worked hard in
keeping India united.
• Patel, the 'Iron Man of India', who had dreamt of full integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India,
played an instrumental role in convincing several princely states to align with the Indian Union.
Therefore, 31 October is celebrated to honour his efforts and contributions.
• The Ministry of Home Affairs had made the announcement in a press release saying, "occasion will
provide an opportunity to reaffirm the inherent strength and resilience of our nation to withstand
the actual and potential threats to the unity, integrity, and security of our country."
• Last year in 2018, the government unveiled the ‘Statue of Unity’, sculpted in his honour, in the state of
Gujarat. The colossal statue of the first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of independent
India stands at a height of 182 metres and is the tallest in the world.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s role in the Indian Freedom Movement
• In the initial stages of the freedom movement, Patel was neither keen on active politics nor the
principles of Mahatma Gandhi. However, the meeting with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in
Godhra (1917) fundamentally changed Patel's life.
• On Gandhi’s call, Patel quit his job and joined the movement to fight for exemption of taxes in
Kheda at the time of plague and famine (1918).
• Patel joined Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement (1920) and travelled around West India to
recruit 3,00,000 members. He also collected more than Rs 1.5 million for the party fund.
• There was a British law banning the hoisting of the Indian Flag. When Mahatma Gandhi was
imprisoned, it was Patel who led the Satyagraha movement in Nagpur in 1923 against the British
law.
• It was the Bardoli Satyagraha of 1928 which earned Vallabhbhai Patel the title of ‘Sardar’ and
made him popular throughout the country. So great was the impact that Pandit Motilal Nehru
suggested Vallabhbhai’s name to Gandhiji for the presidency of the Congress.
• In 1930, British arrested Sardar Patel during the Salt Satyagraha and put him on trial
without witnesses.
• On the outbreak of World War II (1939), Patel the supported Nehru’s decision to withdraw the
Congress from central and provincial legislatures.
• Patel was at his persuasive best when he spoke at the Gwalia Tank ground (now called August

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Kranti Maidan) in Mumbai to launch the nation-wide civil disobedience movement in 1942 at the
behest of Mahatma Gandhi.
• During Quit India Movement (1942), the British arrested Patel. He was imprisoned with the
entire Congress Working Committee from 1942 to 1945 at the fort in Ahmednagar.
• Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as Congress President: After the signing of the Gandhi–Irwin Pact, Patel
was elected president of Congress for its 1931 session (Karachi).
• Congress committed itself to the defence of fundamental rights and civil liberties. Patel
advocated for the establishment of a secular nation. Minimum wages for workers and the abolition
of untouchability were among his other priorities.
• Patel used his position as Congress president to organise the return of confiscated land to farmers
in Gujarat.
• After India achieved independence, Patel became the first Home Minister and also the Deputy
Prime Minister.
• Patel played a very crucial role in post-independence India by successfully integrating around 562
princely states under the Indian Dominion.
Source: The Hindu

8.10. 28th VYAS SAMMAN CONFERRED ON LEELADHAR JAGOORI


Why in news?
The 28th Vyas Samman for the year 2018 was conferred on well-known Hindi writer Leeladhar Jagoori at a
function in New Delhi.
Highlights:
• Mr Jagoori has been chosen for the prestigious award for his poetry collection- Jitne Log Utne Prem.
Renowned Author and Scholar Govind Mishra gave away the award to him.
• The Vyas Samman, started in 1991, is given by K K Birla Foundation for an outstanding literary work
in Hindi authored by an Indian citizen published during the last 10 years.
• It carries an award money of four lakh rupees along with a citation and plaque.
Source: AIR

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