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Daily Current Affairs : 26th August 2019 : The Hindu News Analysis

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SPG Cover : The Elite Squad

SPG Cover : The Elite Squad

Context: Recently the central government has taken a decision to remove Special Protection Group(SPG) cover from former Prime Minister Sh. Manmohan Singh's security details.

What is Special Protection Group and did it come up?

  • The Indian Special Protection Group (SPG) is "an armed force of the Union for providing proximate security to the Prime Minister of India and former Prime Ministers of India and members of their immediate families wherever in the world they are." 
  • After the assassination of PM Indira Gandhi in October 1984, a review was undertaken by a Committee of Secretaries and it was decided to hand over the security of the PM to the unitary force.
  • SPG came into being on the recommendation of  Birmal Nath Committee, set up in February 1985 by Ministry of Home Affairs. The Committee submitted its recommendation of constituting of Special Protection Unit (SPU).
  • Finally, it was formed in 1988 by an act of the Parliament of India.
  • Former PMs, their immediate family members, and family members of a serving Prime Minister can decline SPG security by choice.
  • These have more than 3,000 personnel deputed from various forces like ITBP, CISF, CRPF, etc.
  • The "general superintendence, direction and control" of the SPG is exercised by the Central Government.
  • The director of the SPG has been an officer from the Indian Police Service (IPS) since its inception.

Who all are covered currently?

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife.
  • Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi.


Context: A young biologist from Andhra Pradesh recreated a blue whale from bones.

blue whale from bones.

In 2017, Kumpatla Balaji, the Andhra University alumnus launched a project to use the skeletal remains to form the blue whale, replicating its natural anatomy structure.

The 32-ft-long life-size blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) skeleton he engineered is being preserved and on public display since early 2018 at the Coringa Marine Museum in Rajamahendravaram city, where Mr. Balaji is a research scientist.


  • The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is a marine mammal which belongs to the baleen whale parvorder, Mysticeti.
  • With a length up to 29.9 meters (98 ft) and a maximum recorded weight of 173 tonnes (190 short tons), it is the largest animal known to have ever existed.

  • These were abundant in nearly all the oceans on Earth except the Arctic until the beginning of the 20th century. For more than a century, they were hunted almost to extinction by whaling until protected by the international community in 1966.
  • According to the IUCN estimates, there are probably between 10,000 and 25,000 blue whales worldwide today.
  • It falls in the Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. They are also protected under the Endangered Species Act and has been designated as an endangered species status by IUCN.



Context: A team of scientists at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Pune said to have devised a method that could help fight drug resistant infections.

Key points 

  • The scientists at IISER claims to have determined the atomic structure of McrBC which is a complex bacterial protein and which helps in preventing viral infections in a bacterial cell and functions as a molecular scissor.
  • This is the first report of the high-resolution structure from India determined using electron cryo-microscopy, commonly known as cryo-EM
  • The determination of the McrBC’s structure has long-term implications in ‘phage therapy’ and could help combat drug-resistant infections in the future. 
  • Phages are groups of viruses that infect and kill bacterial cells and phage therapy is the therapeutic use of bacteriophages to treat bacterial infections.

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

mica mining districts of Jharkhand and Bihar

Context: A survey has been conducted by NCPCR on children who abandon education, in mica mining districts of Jharkhand and Bihar.

Highlights of the Survey

  • It is observed in the survey that over 5,000 children in the age group of 6 to 14 years have abandoned education in mica mining districts of Jharkhand and Bihar, and a section of them have started working as labourers to supplement their family income.
  • The Survey was conducted after a report by Terre Des Hommes, an international development agency working in India, revealed last year that more than 22,000 children are employed as child labourers in the mica mining areas of Jharkhand and Bihar.
  • The survey had been conducted in the districts of Koderma and Giridih in Jharkhand and Nawada district in Bihar.
  • The Survey found that 649 children in the same age group were reported as not attending school in Nawada district of Bihar.
  • The reasons for not attending school as sited by the Survey included lack of aspiration, lack of interest and also cases of collecting mica scraps.
  • The issue of malnourishment among children in these areas has also been cited by the Survey.


The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is an Indian governmental commission and a statutory body established under the  Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act in December 2005. The Commission began its operations in March 2007.

It works under the aegis of  Ministry of Women and Child development, Government of India.

 “Annual Observance Report of the 'Special Data Dissemination Standard' for 2018

Context: India failed to comply with multiple requirements prescribed in the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS), according to this Report released by IMF.

The IMF reported India's deviations but termed them "Non-Serious". The yearly observance report for each member country lists the compliances and deviations from the SDDS under each data category for that year.
Special Data Dissemination Standard

There are over 20 data categories which IMF considers for this report to capture a nation’s economic health including national accounts (GDP, GNI), production indices, employment, and central government operations.

What is Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS)?

Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) is an International Monetary Fund standard to guide member countries in the dissemination of national statistics to the public. It was established in April 1996. It is a practice that is mandatory for all IMF members. 

The IMF launched the SDDS initiative to guide members to enhance data transparency and help financial market participants with adequate information to assess the economic situations of individual countries. INDIA subscribed to the SDDS on December 27, 1996.


  • The report lists 3 types of deviations from SDDS :  
    • The first deals with delays in data dissemination from the periodicity prescribed in the SDDS. 
    • The second occurs when member countries do not list a data category in their Advance Release Calendars (ARC) despite the category being mandated by the SDDS. 
    • The third deviation occurs when data is not disseminated at all for a particular period.
  • India, in 2018, has deviated from the SDDS in at least one instance in all the data categories listed.
  • IMF report flags several delays in India’s data reporting.
  • A negative entry corresponds to “number of days dissemination was later than timeliness requirement” and in 2018, in 8 data categories, India delayed dissemination by varying degrees.
  • Comparatively, Brazil did not delay dissemination in any category. China, South Africa and Russia lagged in some categories but the delay did not exceed a month (31 days) for any category. For India, the delay has exceeded 100 days in multiple instances.
  • An “X” entry reflects “data not being disseminated”. In 2018, in at least 9 data categories, India has not disseminated data. None of the other BRICS countries’ reports records missing data for the period.
  • An “O” entry corresponds to “no mention in ARC”. In at least 3 data categories, India has not mentioned a prescribed entry in its advanced data release calendar.


Context: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched a $4.2-million redevelopment project for the 200-year-old Sri Krishna temple in Bahrain.

The $ 4.2 million redevelopment project will be on a 16,500 sq.ft piece of land and the new four-floor structure covering 45,000 sq.ft will now have a height of 30 meters.


The heritage and the 200-year-old legacy of the temple will be highlighted in the redevelopment and the new iconic complex will house the sanctum sanctorum and prayer halls.

There are also facilities for traditional Hindu marriage ceremonies and other rituals, promoting Bahrain as a wedding destination and boosting tourism.

 About the Temple 

  • The newly constructed temple will now house 80 per cent more devotees
  • This year marks the 200 years of establishment of the Shri Krishna Temple.
  • It is estimated that the temple had been established around 1817 and was built by Thathai Bhatia Hindu community, and is still being managed by them.
  • The temple is considered to be the first and the oldest temple in the Gulf countries and has been a place of worship for a host of Hindus for centuries.
  • As part of the renovated structure of the temple there will also be a Knowledge Centre and a Museum.


  • P.V. Sindhu became the first Indian to win badminton World Championship gold.
P.V. Sindhu

  • PM Modi was honoured with the "The King Hamad Order of the Renaissance" during his visit to Bahrain on 24-25 August 2019.
    • The two countries also signed MoUs in the field of culture, space, solar energy and RuPay card.
  • Marnus Labuschagne became the first ever 'concussion substitute' and the first ever substitute player to bat in a Test innings.
Marnus Labuschagne
    • Concussion is defined as a brain injury that may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body with an 'impulsive' force transmitted to the head.
    • It temporarily affects brain functioning. Its symptoms includes memory loss, headaches, sleep disturbances, mood changes, difficulty with thinking and balance, blurred vision, nausea, concentration problems and the loss of consciousness.
    • Several other sports - basketball, ice-hockey, rugby, football - have also instituted specific concussion-related protocols.


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