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CURRENT AFFAIRSDECEMBER 2019

Daily Current Affairs: 5th December 2019: The Hindu+PIB


Daily Current Affairs: 5th December 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.


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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.



HORNBILL FESTIVAL


Context: The Union Minister of State for Tourism & Culture (I/C) Shri Prahlad Singh Patel participated in the ongoing Hornbill festival at Kisama, near state capital Kohima.


About the Nagaland Hornbill Festival

Hornbill festival is also known as ‘Festival of Festivals’ and is named after hornbill bird. This festival symbolises ‘Respect and ‘Folklore’ among Nagas community.

The festival is an annual tourism promotional event to showcase traditional and rich cultural heritage of north-eastern states in all its ethnicity, diversity and grandeur. It is organised by state government of Nagaland.

Key Highlights of Nagaland Hornbill Festival 2019

The 10 Days Hornbill Festival began with traditional blessing pronounced by Mongtei of Aniashu village. This year’s Hornbill Festival is set to get bigger with a new global partner and a mantra of zero-waste.

The Festival will witness cultural performance of different tribes of Nagaland and Northeastern States, indigenous games, night carnival, city tour, art exhibition, photo-fest  among others. The festival included a colourful display of Naga Culture themed as ‘Colours of Nagaland’.  

A display of Sukhoi aircraft flying over Kisama site was also organised in close coordination between state government and Eastern Air Command (IAF) (headquartered in Shillong). Nagaland government has also partnered with Airbnb in hope that deal would boost state’s tourism potential.

About Great Hornbill Bird

The Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis) is the most famous of all the 9 hornbill species in India. In India it is commonly known as the great Indian hornbill or great pied hornbill.


Great Hornbill, Indiathinkers

It is mainly found in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The bulk of the population is found in India, where it is restricted to the Himalayan foothills, hill forests in northeast India and, disjunctly, the wet evergreen forests of west India.

The bird has an IUCN Status of Near Threatened and is listed in Appendix I of CITESThe great hornbill is the state bird of Kerala and Arunachal in India. It is not a state bird of Nagaland, although the hornbill festival is celebrated in Nagaland. (State Bird of Nagaland is Blyth's tragopan.)

Also, the logo of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) is Great hornbill.



Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund (SCWF)


Context: A "Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund (SCWF)” has been established under the Finance Act, 2015, to be utilized for such schemes for  the promotion of the welfare of senior citizens, in line with the National Policy on Older Persons.


National Policy on Older Persons, Indiathinkers

The amount of money available with Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment under Senior Citizens Welfare Fund is Rs 410.23 crore.  

The unclaimed money which is lying under Small Savings Schemes, Employees Provident Fund, Public Provident Fund schemes, Life and non-life insurance schemes or polices maintained by insurance companies and accounts of Coal Mines Provident Fund is transferred into Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund.

About National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP)

The National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP), 1999 envisages State support in order to ensure financial and food security, health care, shelter and other needs of older persons, equitable share in development, protection against abuse and exploitation, and availability of services to improve the quality of their lives. 

The policy also covers issues like social security, intergenerational bonding, family as the primary caretaker, role of Non-Governmental Organizations, training of manpower, research and training.

The Ministry of Rural Development has been implementing Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) since 1995 with the aim to provide financial security to senior citizens living below the poverty line. Under the Scheme Central assistance is given towards pension @ Rs. 200/- per month to persons above 60 years and @ Rs. 500/- per month to persons above 80 years of age.

Also, the National Council of Older Persons was constituted in 1999 to monitor the implementation of the Policy and advise the Government on issues related to the welfare of senior citizens. The Council has been reconstituted in 2012 as National Council of Senior Citizens with wider national impact. Similar Councils have been constituted at the State level also. Further, the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act has been enacted in 2007 for providing more effective provisions for maintenance and welfare of senior citizens.





India-Germany Relations


Context:  Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) between India and Germany regarding cooperation on strategic projects in the field of Railways has been recently apprised by the Union Cabinet.


India-Germany Relations, Indiathinkers

The MoUs/ MoCs/ AAs/ JDIs facilitate exchange of technical experts, reports and technical documents, training and seminars/ workshops focusing on specific technology areas and other interactions for knowledge sharing.

Background

Ministry of Railways have signed Memorandums of Understanding/ Memorandums of Cooperation/ Administrative Arrangements/ Joint Declarations of Intent for technical cooperation in the rail sector with various foreign Governments and National Railways in respect of identified areas of cooperation, which inter alia, include high speed rail, speed raising of existing routes, development of world class stations, heavy haul operations and modernization of rail infrastructure etc.

What are the benefits of such a declaration?

Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) with the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy of the Federal Republic of Germany will provide a platform to Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the field of Railways. It will also facilitate exchange of information expert meetings, seminars, technical visits and implementation of jointly agreed cooperation projects.


BHARAT BOND EXCHANGE TRADED FUND (ETF)



Context: An approval for creation and launch of Bharat Bond Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) has been given by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).


Bharat Bond ETF, Indiathinkers




The Bharat Bond Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) would be the first corporate bond ETF in the country.
The major objective behind the launch of Bharat Bond ETF is to create an additional source of funding for Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs), Central Public Financial Institutions (CPFIs) and other Government organizations.



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About the Bharat Bond ETF

Bharat Bond ETF will be a basket of bonds issued by CPSE/CPSU/CPFI/any other Government organization Bonds (Initially, all AAA rated bonds) with following main features:
  • Should be tradable on exchange.
  • Should have a Small unit size Rs 1,000
  • Transparent NAV (Periodic live NAV during the day)
  • Transparent Portfolio (Daily disclosure on website)
  • Low cost (0.0005%)
Each Bharat Bond ETF will have a fixed maturity date and the ETF will track the underlying Index on risk replication basis, i.e. matching Credit Quality and Average Maturity of the Index.

Edelweiss AMC will be the firm issuing the Bharat Bond ETF.

It will invest in a portfolio of bonds of CPSE, CPSU, CPFI or any other Government organizations that matures on or before the maturity date of the ETF.

As of now, it will have 2 maturity series - 3 and 10 years. Each series will have a separate index of the same maturity series.

Index will be constructed by an independent index provider – National Sock Exchange. Different indices tracking specific maturity years - 3 and 10 years. 





World Malaria Report 2019


Context: The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released the World Malaria Report 2019.

Malaria Report 2019, Indiathinkers


Key Findings of the Report
  • Globally, there were 228 million cases of malaria in 2018, down from 251 million cases in 2010.
  • WHO region-wise, the highest estimated cases of all malaria forms were in Africa, at 93% of the cases (213 million) followed by South-East Asia (7.9 million).
  • Nigeria had the highest burden of all malaria cases, at 24%.
  • Incidence of P vivax malaria (the second most common form of the disease) was the highest in India, which accounts for 47% of all cases in 2018, or roughly 3.5 million. India had more than four times as many cases as Afghanistan, the next highest at 11%.
  • Seven states account for about 90% of the burden of malaria cases in India. These are Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Gujarat, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.
  • As compared to 2017, India reported 2.6 million fewer cases in 2018. This makes India the country with the largest absolute reductions among the countries that share 85% of the malaria burden. 
  • The Report also found that there were 4,05,000 deaths from malaria globally in 2018, compared to 4,16,000 in 2017 and 5,85,000 in 2010.
  • More than 85% of the global malaria deaths in 2018 were concentrated in the 20 countries of WHO’s African region and India.
  • Africa had the highest number of deaths due to malaria in 2018, at 3,80,000. 

GLOBAL CARBON BUDGET 2019


Context: Global Carbon Budget 2019 has been released by the Global Carbon Project, which puts out emission estimates for across the world every year.


Global Carbon Budget 2019, Indiathinkers

Key Highlights
  • The Budget for 2019 estimates that the global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry have increased every decade from an average of 11.4 GtCO2 in the 1960s to an average of 34.7±2 yr.
  • In 2018, the global CO2 emissions were dominated by emissions from China (28%), the USA (15%), the EU (28-member states; 9%) and India (7%).
  • Growth rates of these countries from 2017 to 2018 were +2.3% for China, +2.8% for the USA, -2.1% for the EU28 and +8.0% for India.
  • Net CO2 emissions from deforestation and other land-use change were 5±2.7 GtCO2 on average during 2009-2018, accounting for about 14% of all emissions from human activity (fossil fuel, industry, land use change).
  • Of the total emissions from human activities during the period 2009-2018, about 45% accumulated in the atmosphere, 23% in the ocean and 29% on land.
  • Atmospheric CO2 concentration in 2019 are 47% above pre-industrial levels.
  • The cumulative carbon emissions are the sum of the total CO2 emitted during a given period of time. Total cumulative emissions from 1850 to 2019 were 1649 GtCO2 from fossil fuels and industry, and 751 GtCO2 from land use change. 
Why this report is important?

The numbers put out by Global Carbon Project are estimates, and not official. But these numbers offer important indicators to global trends in carbon dioxide emissions in near-real time. Collection, collation and calculation of emissions take considerable time, and in any case, official numbers are put out by the governments. 

In case of India, the most recent official numbers relating to all kinds of emissions pertain to 2014. According to those numbers, India’s carbon dioxide emissions in 2014 was 1.99 billion tonnes, while its total greenhouse gas emissions, which include other greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide, was 2.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The Global Carbon Project estimates the carbon dioxide emissions in 2019 alone to be about 2.6 billion tonnes. 

About Global Carbon Project


The Global Carbon Project is a Global Research Project of Future Earth and a research partner of the World Climate Research Programme.

It was established in 2001 by a shared partnership between the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and Diversitas


The realization of the fact that anthropogenic climate change is a reality has focused the attention of the scientific community, policymakers and the general public on the rising atmospheric concentrations of the main greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). The GCP has approached this challenge by focusing comprehensively on the global biogeochemical cycles which govern these three greenhouse gases, including their natural and human drivers, and opportunities for low carbon pathways.

The scientific goal of the Global Carbon Project is to develop a complete picture of the global carbon cycle, including both its biophysical and human dimensions together with the interactions and feedbacks between them. This will be:
  • Patterns and Variability: What are the current geographical and temporal distributions of the major pools and fluxes in the global carbon cycle?
  • Processes and Interactions: What are the control and feedback mechanisms - both anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic - that determine the dynamics of the carbon cycle?
  • Carbon Management: What are the dynamics of the carbon-climate-human system into the future, and what points of intervention and windows of opportunity exist for human societies to manage this system?



Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO)


Context: It is found in a study by a team of Indian and U.S. researchers that the Global warming is altering a key weather system and that may be whetting cyclones in the Bay of Bengal, decreasing winter rain in north India and altering global rainfall patterns.


Madden Julian Oscillation, Indiathinkers



The system that has been altered is the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) which is a moving band of rain clouds that travels around the globe spanning 12,000–20,000 km across the tropical oceans. 


According to the study performed by the team of Indian and US researchers, MJO, in its journey, interacts with surface waters of the Indo-Pacific ocean, the largest pool of warm water in the globe, and due to this the lifecycle of the MJO gets affected.

The MJO clouds on average are spending only 15 days, instead of 19, over the Indian Ocean. Over the west Pacific, it increased by five days (from an average 16 days to 23 days).

This change in the residence time of MJO clouds that has altered the weather patterns across the globe.

The changes in MJO behaviour have increased the rainfall over northern Australia, west Pacific, Amazon basin, southwest Africa and southeast Asia.

This has also brought a decline in rainfall over central Pacific, along the west and east coast of U.S. (e.g., California), north India, east Africa and the Yangtze basin in China.

The frequent California fires, droughts in Africa and East Asian floods and cyclones in the Bay of Bengal may be linked to these changes in global weather. 



First Manned Mission


Context:  An information regarding the First Manned Mission of India was provided by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.

First Manned Mission, Indiathinkers

Key Highlights 

The Human Space Mission: Gaganyaan is approved by the Government of India and is targeted for December 2021. The design and configuration of major subsystem has been finalized. The procurement and system/ subsystem realisation for tests and flight has also commenced.

Further, the crew selection and training process for Gaganyaan mission is progressing well including the training in Russia under Gaganyaan Mission.

GSLV Mk III launcher which is ISRO’s heavy lift launcher is identified for Gaganyaan mission. It has requisite payload carrying capacity for Orbital module in desired elliptical orbit.

Further, ISRO has taken steps for human rating of existing systems to ensure crew safety. In certain areas where ISRO lacks experience such as Human centric systems, crew training, crew recovery etc., it is planning to collaborate with national and international agencies. MoUs in this regard have already been signed with DRDO labs, Indian Air Force and Russian space agency.

About GSLV Mk III Launcher


GSLV Mk III, which was also chosen to launch Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft, is a three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle developed by ISRO. The vehicle has two solid strap-ons, a core liquid booster and a cryogenic upper stage.


The GSLV Mk III launcher is designed to carry 4 ton class of satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) or about 10 tons to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), which is about twice the capability of the GSLV Mk II.

GSLV Launches till date include: 
  • The first experimental flight of LVM3, the LVM3-X/CARE mission lifted off from Sriharikota on December 18, 2014 and successfully tested the atmospheric phase of flight. Crew module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment was also carried out in this flight. The module reentered, deployed its parachutes as planned and splashed down in the Bay of Bengal.
  • The first developmental flight of GSLV Mk III, the GSLV-Mk III-D1 successfully placed GSAT-19 satellite to a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) on June 05, 2017 from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota.
  • GSLV MkIII-D2, the second developmental flight of GSLV MkIII successfully launched GSAT-29, a high throughput communication satellite on November 14, 2018 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota
  • GSLV MkIII-M1, successfully injected Chandrayaan-2, India’s second Lunar Mission, in to Earth Parking Orbit on July 22, 2019 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota



e-Marketplace


Context: GeM SPV has been established as the National Public Procurement Portal to facilitate procurement of goods and services required by Central and State Government organizations.


E-Marketplace, Indiathinkers

Key features of the marketplace are include:

  • Marketplace based end to end procurement platform for products and services.
  • Online validations.
  • Inclusive & open.
  • Transparent.
  • Direct Purchase, e-Bidding, Reverse Auction modes of procurement enabled.
  • No registration fee/listing fee.

GeM has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Canara Bank and Indian Bank on 31.10.2019. This MOU provides for the establishment of online banking facility/services from collection and transfer of funds to services like GeM Pool account, ePBG, EMD and payment gateways. 



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