Daily Current Affairs: 20th September 2019: Hindu+PIB

The following compilation has been made keeping in mind the need of the UPSC IAS exam. Each and every topic which has been included in this compilation is taken from very authentic and relevant source including The Hindu, The Indian Express, Business Standard, Press Information Bureau, etc.

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As per the evolving pattern of the UPSC IAS prelims and mains exam each and every topic has been handpicked keeping in mind the syllabus of the exam.

Belgium Luxembourg Economic Union

Context: The 16th Session of the Joint Economic Commission (JEC) between India and Belgium Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU) was recently convened in New Delhi.

Highlights of the JEC Joint Economic Commission between India and Belgium – Luxembourg Economic Union (India-BLEU) was established in 1997 and is the main vehicle for discussing bilateral economic and commercial issues. 

Belgium Luxembourg Economic Union, Daily Current Affairs

Importance of the JEC towards the development of bilateral economic and trade relations was highlighted by India and BLEU through facilitating dialogue and enhancing cooperation on multiple range of issues of mutual interest, such as, transportation and logistics, renewable energy, aerospace and satellites, audio and visual industry, agro and food processing industry, life sciences, ICT, traditional medicine, Ayurveda and yoga, and tourism. These Joint Economic Commissions are convened on the basis of an agreement signed in 1990 in New Delhi. This event taking place after every two years is organized in capital cities of the three countries (India, Belgium and Luxembourg) in an alternative manner, and is considered as the main vehicle for discussing economic and commercial issues between India and BLEUHighlight of relations between India-Belgium-Luxembourg As per the records, the bilateral trade between India-Belgium and India-Luxembourg in year 2018-19 was $17.2 billion and $161.98 million, respectively, registering growth of 41% and 150%, as compared to 2017-18.  If we talk about the cumulative FDI inflows to India from Belgium and Luxembourg during April, 2000 to June, 2019, it was found to be around $1.87 billion and $2.84 billion, respectively.  The main focus of bilateral relations has been on trade and investment. India is Belgium’s 2nd largest export destination and 4th largest trade partner outside the European Union with a significant contribution from the Indian diaspora. The leading exports from Belgium to India are: 

  • Gem and jewellery (rough diamonds);
  • Chemical and chemical products; 
  • Machinery and mechanical products. 

The major exports from India to Belgium are: 

  • Gem and jewellery (finished products);
  • Base metals and articles;
  • Chemicals and chemical products.

On an estimate, there are around 160 Belgian companies in India. A number of Indian companies particularly in the IT and software sectors like TCS, Infosys, Tech Mahindra and HCL have established base in Belgium in order to cater to the Belgian and European markets.

 Submarine ‘KHANDERI

Context: Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited delivers the 2nd Scorpene submarine “KHANDERI” to Indian Navy.

About the Project  Mazagon Dock Ltd is assembling 6 Scorpene submarines in partnership with French shipbuilder, Naval Group (formerly DCNS).

Submarine ‘KHANDERI’, Daily Current Affairs

Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) which is also known as theShip Builder to the Nation, is one of India’s leading Defence public sector undertaking shipyards under the Ministry of Defence which continue to service nation with “Make in India” programme.  The 1st Submarine Khanderi was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 06th December 1968 and decommissioned on 18th October 1989 after more than 20 years of service to the nation. The submarine ‘KHANDERI’ is named after the wide snouted Saw fish, which is a deadly sea predator of the great Indian Ocean.  The Scorpene class of submarines can undertake multiple types of tasks typically undertaken by any modern submarine which include anti-surface as well as anti ­submarine warfare. The constructions of 3rd Scorpene at MDL, KARANJ, was started on 31st January 2018, and is currently undergoing the rigorous phase of sea trials.  The 4th Scorpene, VELA was recently launched in May 2019, and is being prepared for sea trials, whilst the remaining two submarines, VAGIR and VAGSHEER, are in various stages of outfitting.

Handbook on Fisheries Statistics – 2018

Context: The handbook has been published by the Department of Fisheries of  Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Government of India.

The Handbook on Fisheries Statistics – 2018 is the 13th edition which puts forward the useful statistical information with respect to various aspects of Fisheries sector. The previous (12th edition) Handbook was published in 2014. This 13th edition of Handbook provides information on:

  • Annual fish production (Marine & Inland) from1990-91to 2017-18.
  • Trend of fisheries exports fisheries resources, fishing craft, pattern of per capita fish consumption in different States/UTs. 
  • Grass Value Addition (GVA) from fisheries sector and its contribution to total GVA of the Country. 
  • Fisheries institutes.
  • Fishermen population. 
  • Various schemes implemented for sustained and responsible development of fisheries sector.

Importance of Fisheries Sector

The Fisheries sector provides livelihood to over 1.60 Crore people along with double the number in down and upstream. Development of fisheries can ensure nutritional security, food security of India and also provide employment in these regions that are predominately inhabited by rural populace. According to an estimate, the total fish production registered in 2017-18 was 12.59 million metric tonnes with a contribution of 8.90 million metric tonnes from inland sector and 3.69 million metric tonnes from marine sector.  The average growth in fish production during 2017-18 stands out at 10.14% as compared to 2016-17 (11.43 million metric tonnes). 

“Handbook on Fisheries Statistics - 2018”, Daily Current Affairs

Such a change is mainly due to 14.05% growth in Inland fisheries when compared to 2016-17 (7.80 million metric tonnes). It is worth mentioning that  India is currently world’s 2nd largest producers of fish and world’s second largest in terms of aquaculture production as well as in inland capture fisheries. The % contribution of inland fish production in the total fish production has increased from 29% during the year 1950-51 to 71% in the year 2017-18.  Andhra Pradesh has recorded the highest production of inland fish (34.50 lakh tones) where asGujaratis the leading state in Marine fish (7.01 Lakh tonnes) in the country.  Total registered fishing vessels and fishing crafts in coastal States/UTs was 2,69,047 as on July, 2019 There has been steady growth in the export of fish and fish products over the period. During 2017-18 the volume of fish and fish products exported was13,77,243.70 tonnesworthRs 45,106.90 crore. The export of Marine Fish products has registered growth of21.35% (Quantity)and19.11 % (Value)during 2017-18.

National Educational Alliance for Technology (NEAT) Scheme

Context: A new PPP Scheme, for using technology for better learning outcomes in Higher Education has been launched by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).

NEAT Scheme, Daily Current Affairs

The major objective of the scheme is to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to make learning more personalised and customised according to the requirements of the learner. Key Points to remember

  • NEAT programme would be implemented by the AICTE. The administration of the scheme shall be under the guidance of an Apex Committee which would be constituted by MHRD. 
  • For the evaluation and selection the EdTech solutions an Independent Expert Committees would be constituted. MoUs will be signed with the shortlisted EdTech companies. MHRD would be responsible for the awareness programmees to create awareness of the NEAT solutions to teachers and students.
  • MHRD would be acting as a facilitator in order to ensure that the solutions are  available free of cost to a large number of economically backward students. 
  • National NEAT platform would also be created and maintained by MHRD that would provide one-stop access to these technological solutions.
  • Further, the EdTech companies would bear the responsibility of developing solutions and managing registration of learners through the NEAT portal. These companies would be having a free hand in charging fees as per their policy. 
  • These EdTech companies are also supposed to offer free coupons to the extent of 25% of the total registrations for their solution through NEAT portal as their contribution towards the National cause. MHRD would be distributing these free coupons for learning to the most socially/economically backward students.

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)

Context: Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), which is a flagship scheme of the GoI for pregnant women and lactating mothers has achieved a significant milestone by crossing 1 crore beneficiaries. 

Up till now, the total amount disbursed to the beneficiaries under the scheme has crossed Rs. 4,000 crores.

PMMVY, Daily Current Affairs

Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Rajasthan are the top 5 States/UT in the country in implementation of PMMVY. Odisha and Telangana are yet to start implementation of the scheme. 

About Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) PMMVY is a direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme under which cash benefits are provided to pregnant women directly into their bank account to meet enhanced nutritional needs and partially compensate for wage loss. 

Implementation of the scheme started w.e.f 01.01.2017. Under the ‘Scheme’,Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM)receive a cash benefit ofRs. 5,000in 3 installments on fulfilling the respective conditionality, i.e., 

  • Rs. 1000/- on Early registration of pregnancy;
  • Rs. 2000/- on atleast one Ante-natal check-up;
  • Rs. 2000/- on registration of the birth of the child and completion of first cycle of vaccination for the first living child of the family. 

The eligible beneficiaries also receive cash incentive under Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY). Thus, on an average, a woman gets Rs. 6,000. Target Beneficiaries under the scheme

  • All Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM), (excluding PW&LM who are in regular employment with the Central Government or the State Governments or PSUs or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law for the time being in force).
  • All eligible PW&LM who got pregnant on or after 01.01.2017 for the very first child in family.
  • In case of any Miscarriage/Still Birth :
    • The eligibility of a beneficiary for receiving benefits under the scheme is only once.
    • In case of miscarriage/still birth, the beneficiary would be eligible to claim the remaining installment(s) in event of any future pregnancy.
    • In other words, if after receiving the first installment, the beneficiary undergoes a miscarriage, then she would only be eligible for receiving second and third installment in event of future pregnancy and that only upon the fulfillment of eligibility criterion and conditionalities of the scheme. 
    • In the same way, if the beneficiary undergoes a miscarriage or still birth after receiving first and second installments, then, she would only be eligible for receiving third installment in event of future pregnancy after fulfilling the eligibility criterion and conditionalities of the scheme.
  • There will be no provision of claim of benefits under the scheme in case of Infant Mortality, if the beneficiary has already received all the installments of the maternity benefit under PMMVY earlier.
  • Pregnant and Lactating AWWs/ AWHs/ ASHA can also avail the benefits under the Scheme if they fulfill the eligibility and the conditionalities under the scheme.


Context: Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department (TNAD) has stated that the cultural deposits unearthed during excavations at Keeladi in Sivaganga district can be dated to a period between 6th century BCE and 1st century CE. The Report on recent findings The Report has been titled as Keeladi-An Urban Settlement of Sangam Age on the Banks of River Vaigai’. The new findings in the report, placed Keeladi artefacts at about 300 years earlier than previously believed i.e, the 3rd century BCE.

keeladi excavation, daily current affairs

According to the results from the 4th excavations, it is suggest that the “2nd urbanisation (Indus being the first) of Vaigai plains happened in Tamil Nadu around 6th century BCE. Skeletal fragments recovered from the site were sent to Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute in Pune, and these skeletons were identified by them as species of cow/ox (Bos indicus), buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), sheep (Ovis aries), goat (Capra hircus), nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus), blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), wild boar (Sus scrofa) and peacock (Pavo cristatus). Pottery specimens which were recovered from Keeladi were analysed to find that the water containers and cooking vessels were shaped out of locally available raw materials. Further, the recovery of 10 spindle whorls, 20 sharply pinpointed bone tip tools used for design creations, hanging stones of the yarnterracotta spheres, copper needle and earthen vessels to hold liquid clearly attest to the various stages of weaving industry from spinning, yarning, looming and weaving and later for dyeing. About Keeladi Excavation Site Keeladi excavation site is a Sangam period residence that has been excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India. The site is located near the town of Keeladi in Sivagangai district, Tamil Nadu. The excavation at the site took place in terms of phases as follows:  FIRST PHASE which took place in June 2015, by the Archaeological Survey of India’s group led by Amarnath Ramakrishnan in the area close to Vaigai river in Keeladi. SECOND PHASE began in 2 January 2016. In this phase a number of documents, including medical jars, antique kitchen wells, factory and government seals were discovered at the site. At the end of this phase, there were more than 6000 objects and they were found to be 2,200 years old when tested. THIRD PHASE is took place under the chairmanship of the Archaeological Department, Sri Ramanan, from January 2017 up to 30 September 2017. There were 16 digging sites which were selected taking up the total area of 400 square meters, in the third phase. FOURTH PHASE took place between 2017 and 2018 which brings out 5,820 artifacts. This particular phase of excavation was conducted by Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department while the first three phases were conducted by ASI. FIFTH PHASE which was started in June 2019, by the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department led by Dr R Sivanantham will be over in span of 4 to 5 months in which 15 trenches are planned to be dug.


Ola drivers to get healthcare benefits under Ayushman Bharat Government’s healthcare scheme — Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) — has partnered with Ola, a mobility platform, to extend the welfare to its drivers. As a result of this partnership comprehensive health insurance for secondary and tertiary care will be provided to tens of thousands of drivers who are working with the cab aggregator and their families. During the first phase, the collaboration between Ola and AB-PMJAY will conduct a pilot project in NCR, which will subsequently be rolled out at scale to other cities. The drivers who are eligible as well as those are Ola employees will be able to avail the benefits of the programme and will be able to obtain an Ayushman Bharat card at a minimal cost of Rs. 30/-. AB-PMJAY was launched in September 2018 to provides a health cover of Rs. 5 lakh in government and empanelled private hospitals to 10.74 crore economically disadvantaged families. Google Service in India to get three more languages Google announced the addition of more local languages such as Tamil, Telugu and Bengali for products including Search, Lens, Discover and Bolo. It also plans to extend Search to 3 more Indian languages by the this year end. Google is adding more Indian languages to other Google products, such as Discover – Google’s news feed, including Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada, Malayalam. Oriya, Urdu and Punjabi will be following soon. Similarly, Google Lens, which allows people to search for information, ask questions and translate text by pointing their phone’s camera at things they’re interested in, will now be able to translate Tamil, Telugu and Marathi. Another application Bolo, which is a speech-based app that helps children learn how to read, will get Bangla, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu as additional languages. 5th International Ramayan Festival Presided as Chief Guest by the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, it is being organized for the 5th year in a row, during which 17 countries have participated with their artists and rendered their versions of Ramayan. It has been organized by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR), which is an autonomous organization of the Government of India founded in 1950 by Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad (Independent India’s first Educational Minister) to implement the programmes pertaining to India’s external cultural relations and to promote cultural exchanges with other countries and people and to develop relations with nations. ICCR has its headquarters in New Delhi. TRAIN-THE-TRAINER (TTT) PROGRAM Global IT major IBM and the Directorate General of Training (DGT) division of Ministry of Skill Development has signed an agreement for the nation-wide TTT program in Artificial Intelligence (AI). The ITI trainers will be trained on basic AI skills towards using the technology in their daily training activities.The programme will be executed over a period of 1 year under which IBM aims at training faculty members from ITIs across the country. IBM will be providing the necessary training at 7 centres including 6 National Skills Training Institutes (NSTI) and one Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in Pune.


19th September 2019 Current Affairs

18th September 2019 Current Affairs

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