Context:  Exercise TSENTR 2019 is going to be conducted by Central Military Commission of Russia between 09 September to 23 September 19 at Donguz training ranges, Orenburg, Russia.

What it is?

Exercise TSENTR 2019 is a part of the Russian Armed Forces’ annual training cycle which is held annually in form of large scale exercises. The series which rotates through the 4 main Russian operational strategic commands is held every year at one of it’s four military Commands i.e Vostok (East), Zapad (West), TSENTR (Centre) and Kavkas (South). With Belarus participating in ZAPAD-2017 and China and Mongolia participating in VOSTOK2018, these annual exercises have slowly began to take an international character. This year, invitations for participation have been extended to 9 other nations as well. This year, apart from host Russia, military contingents from China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan will also take part in this mega event.

 What is the objective of this annual exercise?

The aim of the exercise is to evolve drills of the participating armies and practicing them in the fight against the international terrorism. It will ensure military security in the strategic central Asian region. TSENTR 2019 will have two modules. The first one will include counter- terror operations, repelling air strikes, reconnaissance operations and defensive measures, while the second will focus on offensive operations.

Eat Right India Movement

Eat Right India Movement

Context: The campaign ‘Eat Right India’ with its new logo and tagline Sahi Bhojan, Behtar Jeevan were released by the Health Minister, on the side-lines of the 5-day ‘72nd Session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia’.

About the Movement

To improve public health in India and to combat negative nutritional trends to fight lifestyle diseases, FSSAI launched ‘The Eat Right Movement’ on 10th July, 2018. This movement is in line with the flagship public health programmes of the Government such as POSHAN Abhiyaan, Ayushman Bharat Yojana and Swachh Bharat Mission to lead us to the New India by 2022. This campaign along with the ‘Fit India’ Movement’ will help to fight lifestyle diseases like hypertension, obesity and diabetes effectively.

What are the steps taken by the Government?

A limit of 25% for Total Polar Compounds (TPC) in cooking oil  has been prescribed by the Government to avoid the harmful effects of reused cooking oil. Standards for 5 fortified staples which includes wheat flour, rice, oil, milk and salt to reduce large-scale deficiencies of vitamins and minerals have also been notified, in addition to standards for health supplements, nutraceuticals, prebiotics and probiotics products. The Government has put in place regulations to reduce trans-fat to less than 2% in all oils, fats and food products to reach the target of Trans-fat Free India by 2022.

What are Total Polar Compounds (TPC)?

These are the compounds which are formed during the frying when oil undergoes degradation due to their exposure to elevated temperatures which result in changes in the physico-chemical, nutritional and sensory properties of the oil. These compounds are highly toxic and cause several diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, Alzhemeimer’s disease liver diseases etc. and hence it is very essential to monitor the quality of vegetable oils during frying. The FSSAI has fixed a limit for Total Polar Compounds at 25% beyond which the vegetable oil shall not be used. Therefore, Vegetable Oils should not be repeatedly used for frying.

Institutions of Eminence (IoE) Scheme

Context: Steps has been taken by the Ministry of HRD to implement the scheme of Institutions of Eminence (IoEs). 

What are these steps taken?

Orders has been released to 5 public Universities who are conveying their declaration as Institutions of Eminence (IoE). These includes IIT Madras, Banaras Hindu University, IIT Kharagpur, University of Delhi and University of Hyderabad. Letters of Intent (LoI) were also issued to 5 Private Universities for accepting and sending their preparedness for being declared as Institutions of Eminence. These are Amrita Viswavidyapeetham, Tamil Nadu;  Vellore Institute of Technology, Tamil Nadu;  Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi;  Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Odisha;  & Bharti Institute, Satya Bharti Foundation, Mohali.

About the Scheme

Institutions of Eminence (IoE) scheme under University Grant Commission has been launched to empower the Higher Educational Institutions and to help them become world class teaching and research institutions, as announced by the Hon’ble Finance Minister in his budget speech of 2016. Till date we have 16 institutions as IoEs. Earlier, in the 1st round under the IoE scheme, Six institutions were selected as IoEs:

  • Public Category: Indian Institute of Sciencee (IISc), Bangalore; ; Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi & Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay
  • Private Category: Birla Institute of Technology& Sciences (BITS), Pilani; Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Manipal; & Jio Institute under the Greenfield category.

Benefits of Institutions of Eminence

  • The Government Institutions selected under the scheme will get additional funding upto 1000 Crore and shall have complete academic and administrative autonomy.
  • They will have complete financial autonomy to spend the resources raised and allocated, subject to general conditions & restrictions of the Statutes and GFR.
  • There would be no government approvals needed for academic collaborations with foreign higher educational institutions (in top 500).
  • These will have the freedom to hire personnel from industry, etc, as faculty who are experts in their areas but may not have the requisite higher academic qualifications.
  • They will also have the freedom to recruit faculty from outside India (limit of 25% of its faculty strength for public institution).
  • These will have the freedom to enter into academic collaborations with other Institutions within the country.
  • They will have their own transparent merit based system for admission of students.
  • They will have the freedom to admit additionally foreign students on merit subject to a maximum of 30% of the strength of admitted domestic students.
  • These will have the freedom to fix and charge fees from foreign students without restriction.
  • These can determine the domestic student fees, subject to the condition that no student who gets selected admission is turned away for lack of finance. Every Institute needs to encourage scholarships and extension of loans facility.
  • They can offer courses within a program as well as to offer degrees in newer areas, including inter-disciplinary ones, after approval of its Governing Council and conforming to the minimum prevailing standards. 
  • They will have the flexibility of course structure in terms of number of credit hours and years to take a degree, after approval of their Governing Council and conforming to the minimum prevailing standards.
  • They will have the flexibility in fixing of curriculum and syllabus, with no UGC mandated curriculum structure.
  • They can offer online courses as part of their programmes with a restriction that not more than 20% of the programme should be in online mode. The certificate courses can entirely be through online mode.
  • The students enrolment capacity in these institutions to be 10,000 in 15 years.
  • The Faculty Student Ratio should be 1:20 at the time of notification and should increase to 1:10 in five years.
  • Also, the UGC Inspection shall not apply to Institutions of Eminence (IoE).

India lends $1 billion for Russia’s Far East

India lends $1 billion for Russia’s Far East

Context: India announced an “unprecedented” $1 billion line of credit for the development of Russia’s Far East at the plenary session of the 5th Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok as part of its ‘ACT FAR EAST’ policy.

What has been the background of cooperation with Russia’s Far East?

Expanding economic cooperation has always been the one of the key challenges for New Delhi and Moscow. It was in December 2014, that the countries’ leaders set up a goal to bring bilateral trade and investment figures to $30 billion by 2025. While the investments from both the sides have crossed $50 billion by 2017, after the acquisition of Essar Oil by the Rosneft-led consortium, the pace of bilateral trade is still far from the threshold set up by the two countries. The largest state-owned companies as well as private business partners from INDIA have been investing in the Far East, which includes ONGC’s investments in oil and gas projects, the development of coal and gold deposits by Tata Power and Sun Group, diamond polishing factories which are set up recently by KGK group and M Suresh, among others. There has been exchange of visits between multiple delegations of state authorities and business from both countries since the beginning of 2019. The latest and largest being the delegation of 4 chief ministers and over 130 companies which was headed by Minister of Railways and Minister of Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal. Several MoUs have been signed as a result of these talks, along with a few investments projects in mining, logistics, oil and gas sectors which are likely to be concluded soon. India-Russia Inter-governmental Agreement on Promotion and Mutual Protection of Investments, which is yet to be signed was discussed during the 20th summit. It is to be noted that the far East has created a system of preferences which have the lowest level of taxation in the Asia-Pacific region. There are several preferential regimes which have been created here. Till date, 1,786 projects worth above $60 billion have also been set up. Also, Russia has introduced e-visa option for business people travelling to some of the locations, including the Far East.

Study on the profile of persons accused in trafficking

Study on the profile of persons accused in trafficking

Context: A recent study has been conducted on the profile of persons accused in trafficking in almost 200 cases in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Organizations such as HELP from Andhra Pradesh, Goranbose Gram Bikash Kendra (GGBK) from West Bengal and Partners for Anti-Traficcking (PAT), which is a consortium of eight community-based organizations in Bengal have collaborated together to conduct the study.

Highlights of the Study

The study revealed that of about 200 cases of trafficking in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, about 1/3rd of them are women. The study also revealed that the largest group of the traffickers (34%, or 148) were neighbours, while 31% were completely unknown to the survivors. Of the 198 cases which were analyzed during the study — in which the names of 429 accused have figured — only one trafficker from the source area was convicted. In the same way, in all the cases analysed, only two other traffickers were convicted from the destination area as per the study. The study highlighted a lack of legal support to survivors and a prolonged trial which provides impunity to the traffickers.



Context: World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia Region have resolved to eliminate highly infectious childhood killer diseases measles and rubella by 2023.

The resolution to eliminate the diseases was adopted at the 72nd session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia in which was held in Delhi.

The elimination of Measles and control over Rubella has been a regional flagship priority since 2014. A number of countries including Bhutan, DPR Korea, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste have eliminated measles, while, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste have controlled rubella.

What do you need to know about Measles and Rubella?

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease which is caused by a virus. It can result in serious health complications, such as pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and can even cause death.

Rubella is again a viral infection that usually affects the unvaccinated children and young adults. If an unvaccinated woman gets exposed to rubella during pregnancy – especially during her first three months – then, it can have critical conditions including miscarriages, fetal deaths, still births, and having infants born with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).


  • The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) inducted its first electric bus called Shivaee. The bus can run for 300 km on one charge and takes between one and five hours for a full charge.
  • Fibre-to-home service started by Reliance Jio across 1,600 cities in India with the basic pre-paid ‘Bronze’ plan starting at Rs. 699 per month and going up to Rs. 8,499 a month for its ‘Titanium’ pre-paid plan.
    • Under the Jio Welcome offer, the basic plan offers 100 GB of data (with 50GB extra), free voice calls to anywhere in India, TV video calling, conferencing, gaming, home networking (content sharing at home and outside) and device security for up to five devices.
    • Further, on payment of Rs. 2,500 for installation, which includes a security deposit of Rs. 1,500, the subscriber will get Jio home gateway worth Rs. 5000, 4K set-top box worth Rs. 6,400 and bluetooth speaker worth Rs. 2,999 and annual subscription for Jio content.
  • Sahitya Akademi Award-winning writer Kiran Nagarkar dies at 77. His historical fiction, Cuckold (1997), for which he was awarded the 2001 Sahitya Akademi Award in English firmly established Nagarkar’s reputation as a novelist.
  • Chinese firm creates first cloned kitten. The pet-cloning outfit has made more than 40 pet dogs — a procedure that costs 3,80,000 yuan ($53,000), while the price for a cat comes in at 2,50,000 yuan ($35,000).
    • The first major success in animal cloning was Dolly the sheep, born in Britain in 1996 as the first mammal cloned from an adult cell.
    • In 2005, researchers in South Korea cloned the first dog


5th September 2019 Current Affairs

4th September 2019 Current Affairs

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