Daily Current Affairs: 1st November 2019: The 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.
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.
International Solar Alliance (ISA)
Context: The 2nd Assembly of International Solar Alliance (ISA) was recently held. The Assembly was hosted by the Minister of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
The Assembly noticed the participation of delegations from 78 countries, which includes 29 Ministerial delegations of which 25 are from ISA member countries, 2 from signatory countries and further 2 from prospective member countries. The Assembly also has participation from important ISA Partners, and other invitees. Two countries – Eritrea and St. Kittis and Nevis, signed the framework agreement of ISA during the Assembly. With this a total of 83 countries have signed the ISA framework agreement. At the United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019, PM Modi pledged to increase renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by 2022 and committed for further increasing it to 450 GW. Background The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy hosted the 2nd Assembly of International Solar Alliance (ISA) on 30 and 31 October 2019 New Delhi. The Assembly is the supreme decision making body of the ISA, and gives directions on various administrative, financial and programme related issues. Earlier 81 countries of the 121 prospective member countries have signed the Framework Agreement of the ISA. Of these, 58 countries have ratified the same. The 1st Assembly of the ISA was attended by 78 countries. Since the first Assembly on 3 October 2018, ISA has initiated many activities and programmes which includes:
- ITEC Master Trainers Programme at NISE Gurugram;
- M. Tech programme for mid-career professionals at IIT, Delhi;
- STAR-C programme, and development of the INFOPEDIA.
- To understand the challenges and issues ‘on the ground’ and to strengthen support for ISA programmes, the ISA sent country missions to 8 countries over the course of 2019 – to Benin, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Togo, and Uganda.
- Further, ISA has significantly extended outreach and have partnered with over 40 organizations including:
- UN, Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs),
- Development Finance Institutions (DFIs),
- International and regional organizations and foundations, and
- Private sector players.
What has been the India’s efforts so far?
- The Government of India has allotted 5 acres of land to the ISA in National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) campus, Gurugram.
- It has also released a sum of Rs. 160 crore, i.e. US$ 26 million for creating a corpus fund, building infrastructure and meeting day to day recurring expenditure of the ISA up to the year 2012-22.
- As per commitment, India will also release additional Rs. 15 crore, i.e. US$ 2.1 million in the year 2020-21.
- Further, a number of Public Sector Enterprises of Government of India have contributed US$ 8 million for augmenting ISA corpus fund.
- Besides above, India has set aside US$ 2 Billion for solar projects in Africa out of Government of India’s US$10 Billion concessional Line of Credit (LOC) for Africa which is being implemented by the Exim Bank of India in close coordination with ISA countries in Africa.
- Also, on the 24th September 2019, on the side-lines of the 74th UN General Assembly, India announced allocation of US$ 12 million grant, and a concessional LOC of US$ 150 Million for Pacific Islands Developing States for undertaking solar, renewable energy and climate related projects.
About ISA The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of 121 countries initiated by India, most of them being sunshine countries (which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.) The primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is India’s contribution to the global efforts for decarbonizing the energy systems and allowing countries around the world in align domestic priorities with global sustainability commitments. ISA is reflection of India’s commitment for universalizing the use of solar energy having the potential to transform the world’s energy scenario while yielding social and economic gains for the global population. Countries that do not fall within the Tropics can also join the alliance and enjoy all benefits as other members, with the exception of voting rights. It is headquartered in India. In January 2016, Narendra Modi, and the then French President François Hollande jointly laid the foundation stone of the ISA Headquarters and inaugurated the interim Secretariat at the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) in Gwal Pahari, Gurugram, India. India has pledged a target of installing 100GW by 2022 and reduction in emission intensity by 33–35% by 2030.
International Film Festival of India (IFFI)
Context: International Film Festival of India (IFFI) celebrates the Golden Jubilee of its journey this year. The 50th International Film Festival of India,2019 will witness over 200 best films from 76 countries, 26 feature films and 15 non feature films in Indian panorama section and more than 10,000 people and film lovers are expected to participate in the golden jubilee edition.
50th IFFI will be having World Premiere of Turkish Master Semih Kaplanoglu’s film Commitment which is the Oscar entry from Turkey this year. It is held annually, currently in the state of Goa, on the western coast of the country. The festival is conducted jointly by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Directorate of Film Festivals and the Government of Goa. The very first edition of IFFI was organised by the Films Division, Government of India, with the patronage of the first Prime Minister of India. It was held in Mumbai from 24 January to 1 February 1952, the Festival was subsequently taken to Madras, Delhi, Calcutta and Trivandrum. Since 2004, starting from the 35th edition, the International Film Festival of India, became globally competitive, and moved to its permanent venue Goa, and is being held during the months of November and December of each year. THEME: The theme of the Open Air Screenings for 50th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa would be ‘The Joy of Cinema’. This year, the screenings will be organised at two venues –
- Joggers Park (Altinho, Panjim):
- Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958)
- Padosan (1968)
- Andaz Apna Apna (1994)
- Hera Pheri (2000)
- Chennai Express (2013)
- Badhaai Ho (2018)
- Total Dhamaal (2019)
- Miramar Beach,Panjim:
- Nachom-ia Kumpasar (Konkani)
- Super 30 (Hindi)
- Anandi Gopal (Marathi)
- Uri : The Surgical Strike (Hindi)
- Hellaro (Gujarati)
- Gully Boy (Hindi)
- F2 – Fun and Frustration (Telugu)
Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2021
Context: Preparations for PISA 2021 was reviewed by the Union Human Resource Development Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal This examination is believed to be an important platform to bring global recognition to Indian talent.
PISA is organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in which many countries of the world participate. India has decided to participate in this examination in 2021. The students of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti and Union Territory of Chandigarh will represent India in this examination. What is it? It is an international assessment that measures 15-year-old students’ reading, mathematics, and science literacy every 3 years. It was conducted for the first time in 2000 with major domain of study rotates between reading, mathematics, and science in each cycle. PISA also includes measures of general or cross-curricular competencies, such as collaborative problem solving. By design, PISA emphasizes functional skills that students have acquired as they near the end of compulsory schooling. PISA is coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which is an intergovernmental organization of industrialized countries, and is conducted in the United States by NCES. In 2012 PISA test, schools of Shanghai in China topped reading, mathematics and science test, followed closely by Singapore. In 2015, Singapore, Japan and Estonia were ranked as top 3 countries, in that order. PISA and India In 2009, India had taken part in Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and bagged the 72nd rank among 74 participating countries. Then UPA government had boycotted PISA, blaming “out of context” questions for India’s dismal performance. Later, the HRD Ministry, under the NDA-II government, revisited this decision in 2016 and the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) had set up a committee to review the matter and submitted its report in December 2016. The report recommended for participation in test in 2018. However, India missed the application deadline for the 2018 cycle.
PULSE POLIO PROGRAMME
Context: 31st October 2019 marked the 25 years of the PULSE POLIO PROGRAMME in India.
BACKGROUND It was in 1988, when the World Health Assembly (WHA) passed a resolution to launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). The Government of Delhi, under leadership of Dr. Harsh Vardhan, piloted the first ever large scale supplementary immunization campaign with Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) in 1994 giving birth to the “Pulse Polio” immunization campaign with the iconic ‘Do Boond Zindagi Ki’ tagline, on 2nd October 1994, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday.
The campaign in Delhi reached nearly one million children up to the age of three years with two doses of OPV being administered on 02 October and 04 December through exclusive booth-based strategy. This strategy was later adopted and implemented by Government of India as Pulse Polio Campaigns. India’s attainment of polio-free status in 2014 was coined by the World Health Organization as “one of the most significant achievements in public health,” and marked not just India but the entire South East Asia Region being declared polio-free. Key Takeaways from the Programme In the programme, children in the age group of 0-5 years administered polio drops during National and Sub-national immunization rounds (in high risk areas) every year. Approximately more than 17.4 crore children of less than five years across the country are given polio drops as part of the drive of Government of India to sustain polio eradication from the country. The last polio case in the country was reported from Howrah district of West Bengal with date of onset 13th January 2011. After that, no polio case has been reported in the country. It was on 24th February 2012 when WHO removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild polio virus transmission. Programme Objective: One of the key objective under the Programme was achieving 100% coverage under Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV). Steps taken by the Government
- Maintenance of a very high level of vigilance through surveillance across the country for any importation or circulation of poliovirus and VDPV is being done.
- There has been establishment of Environmental surveillance (sewage sampling) to detect poliovirus transmission and as a surrogate indicator of the progress as well for any programmatic interventions strategically in Mumbai, Delhi, Patna, Kolkata Punjab and Gujarat.
- Rapid Response Team (RRT) has been developed by all States and Union Territories in the country to respond to any polio outbreak in the country.
- Further, an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (EPRP) has also been developed by all States indicating steps to be undertaken in case of detection of a polio case.
- International border vaccination is being provided through continuous vaccination teams (CVT) to all eligible children round the clock, in order to reduce risk of importation from neighbouring countries. These are provided through special booths set up at the international borders that India shares with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan Nepal and Myanmar.
- Guidelines for mandatory requirement of polio vaccination has been issued by Government of India to all international travelers before their departure from India to polio affected countries namely: Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Syria and Cameroon. This mandatory requirement is in effect for travellers from 1st March 2014.
- Maintenance of a rolling emergency stock of OPV is being ensured to respond to detection/importation of wild poliovirus (WPV) or emergence of circulating vaccine derived poliovirus (cVDPV).
- Further, National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) has recommended Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV) introduction as an additional dose along with 3rd dose of DPT in the entire country in the last quarter of 2015 as a part of polio endgame strategy.
- South-East Asia Region of WHO has been certified polio free.
- On 27th March 2014, the Regional Certification Commission (RCC) issued certificate regarding the polio free status.
- India has achieved the goal of polio eradication as no polio case has been reported for more than 3 years after last case reported on 13th January, 2011.
- On 24th February 2012, WHO removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild polio virus transmission.
- There are about 24 lakh vaccinators and 1.5 lakh supervisors who are involved in the successful implementation of the Pulse Polio Programme.
Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 2.0 Portal
Context: Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 2.0 Portal launched as Ministry of Health and Family Welfare celebrates Silver Jubilee of the Pulse Polio Programme. The IMI 2.0 portal, has been designed to capture information on the blockwise target of children and pregnant women to be vaccinated during the IMI drive and also the coverage data during the rounds of activity. The data will be entered at the district level. This will help the Programme officers and administrators at the block, district, state and national level to have real time information on the progress of the campaign and also take timely action on slow progress in any particular area. Background Since 2014, from the inception of Narendra Modi government’s programme Mission Indradhanush — the Universal Immunization (UIP) — the basket of vaccines has expanded to cover 12 Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs) from the earlier 7. As of today, Mission Indradhanush and related programmes have successfully reached out to and vaccinated 3.39 crore children and 87.2 Lakh pregnant women in India. About Mission Indradhanush Mission Indradhanush is a health mission of the Indian Government. It was launched by Union Health Minister J. P. Nadda on 25 December 2014. The Scheme seeks to drive towards 90% full immunization coverage of India and sustain the same by year 2020. 201 districts will be covered in the first phase. Of these, 82 districts are in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh. As part of the Mission, vaccination is being provided against 8 vaccine-preventable diseases nationally, i.e.
- Severe form of Childhood Tuberculosis and Hepatitis B and meningitis & pneumonia caused by Haemophilus influenza type B.
- Rotavirus Diarrhea and Japanese Encephalitis in selected states and districts respectively.
Intesified Mission Indradhanush It was launched on October 8, 2017 to further intensify the immunization programme. With the help of this programme, Government of India aims to reach each and every child up to 2 years of age and all those pregnant women who have been left uncovered under the routine immunisation programme/UIP. Under IMI, 4 consecutive immunization rounds will be conducted for 7 days in 173 districts (121 districts and 17 cities in 16 states and 52 districts in 8 northeastern states) every month between October 2017 and January 2018. Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) will cover low performing areas in the selected districts (high priority districts) and urban areas. Special attention will be given to unserved/low coverage pockets in sub-centre and urban slums with migratory population. The focus is also on the urban settlements and cities identified under National Urban Health Mission (NUHM).
Recent developments in UT of J&K and Ladakh
Context: There has been a number of developments that has taken place in the newly formed Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. Establishment of Bamboo Technology Parks Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region announced that Bamboo Technology Parks would be set up in the two new Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. The Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre (CBTC) under NEC will implement the project. It has now been decided that the model for bamboo cultivation, harvesting and utilisation currently existing in the North Eastern Region shall be replicated in the two new Union Territories to give a fillip to the sector. The project for setting up 3 new Bamboo Technology Parks in Jammu, Srinagar and Leh would be in consonance with the National Bamboo Mission (NBM). “A Bamboo Industrial Park has already been approved to be set up in the Dima Hasao district of Assam”. New Regional Centre of GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & Development New Regional Centre of GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & Development at Union Territory of Ladakh realizing the importance of the Indian Himalayan region and recognizing the need to study its ecology. The GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable Development caters to environment management, conservation of natural resources and policies for sustainable development of communities in the Indian Himalayan Region. It has its Headquarters at Kosi-Katarmal (Uttarakhand) and Regional Centres (RCs) as:
- Himachal RC at Mohal-Kullu, Himachal Pradesh (to cover J&K and H.P.);
- Garhwal RC at Srinagar (to cover Uttarakhand);
- Sikkim RC at Pangthang, Gangtok (to cover Sikkim and W.B. hills);
- Northeast RC at Itanagar (to cover remaining NE States)
First Lieutenant Governor of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh
Shri Girish Chandra Murmu took oath as the first Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Shri Radha Krishna Mathur sworn in as the Lieutenant Governor of Union Territory of Ladakh.
Excavations at Gottiprolu
Context: The recent excavations carried out by Archaeological Survey of India in Gottiprolu, Andhra Pradesh indicate it as a Trade Centre of Early Historic Period. Location of the Site: The site of Gottiprolu (13° 56’ 48” N; 79° 59’ 14” E) lies on the right bank of a distributary of river Swarnamukhi about 17 km east of Naidupet and 80 km from Tirupati and Nellore. Key findings of the Excavation The remains of a huge settlement which are surrounded by a massive brick enclosure were excavated during the 1st phase of excavation by a team of Archaeological Survey of India’s Excavation Branch – VI, Bangalore at Gottiprolu near Naidupeta in Nellore (now renamed as Sri Potti Sri Ramulu) district, Andhra Pradesh.
|Massive Brick Structure|
The excavations carried out in the already leveled area revealed elliptical, circular and rectangular brick structures. The most outstanding discovery is of massive sized brick enclosure wall at the southern part of the mound. This structure is of baked bricks and exposed to a length of more than 75 m with an average width of about 3.40 m, which rise to a height of nearly 2 m and runs in a curvilinear pattern towards the northern end of the mound.
|Rectangular Brick Tank|
Another interesting find is the small rectangular brick tank which is exposed near the inner lining of the curved brick structure. The available brick sizes (43 – 48 cms) are comparable with the Satavahana / Ikshvaku period structures in Krishna valley i.e. Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda. On the basis of the brick size and associated findings they can be placed anywhere between 2nd – 1st century BCE or little later (nearly 2000 years old).
|Excavated Vishnu Idol|
Apart from the excavated remains, one of the most major find was the discovery of a buried Vishnu sculpture from the western part of the village. Subsequent excavations conducted around the image revealed it to be a life size image of Vishnu measuring about 2 meters in height. It displays a four-armed Vishnu standing over a pedestal carrying chakra and conch in his upper right and left hands respectively. The lower right is in bestowing boon and the left hand in katihastha (resting on the hip) posture. The iconographical feature like the elaborate head gear, thick holy thread and decorative drapery dates it to Pallava period (circa 8th cent. CE).
|Molded Terracotta Figurine|
Other interesting antiquity retrieved is the molded female terracotta figurine with two hands lifted upwards.
Interesting pottery finds are the base of conical jars placed at the eastern side of the structure. Such conical jars are widely distributed in Tamil Nadu and considered to be imitated variety of Roman Amphorae jars.
|Terracotta pipes for drainage|
A series of broken terracotta pipes fitted into one another revealed about the civic amenities maintained by the occupants of this site. The drainage system pattern is understood by the exposed remains of the drainage at the site.
The findings of assorted stone tools of Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods from secondary contexts suggest that prehistoric people also occupied this area. Further studies are being carried out through geological, chemical analysis of the site/samples. The proximity of the site to the seacoast suggests that the site could have served as a strategic settlement involved in maritime trade. Further research will reveal interesting facts about the site as trade centre.
|Sherds of Russet Coated Painted Ware|
Other major retrieved antiquities unearthed are copper and lead coins, iron spear head, stone celts, terracotta beads, ear stud in semi precious stone and hopscotches. The ceramic assemblage of the site consisted of fine quality black and red ware collected from the lower levels, conical jars, rouletted sherds, russet coated ware etc. The extensively used goblet shaped ware indicates the typical table ware associated with the site.