Current Affairs 12th February, 2019

PAPER – 1, PAPER – 2, PAPER - 3

Topics Covered

1. Art and Culture

2. Governance – Schemes

3. Infrastructure

Developmental Projects at Kurukshetra

What to read?

Prelims – Importance of Kurukshetra from ancient times

Mains – Projects announced for development

Prime Minister will inaugurate and lay foundation stone of several development projects at Kurukshetra in Haryana.

  • It is also known as Dharmakshetra ("Holy Place"). It is also known as the "Land of the Bhagavad Gita".

  • Kurukshetra lies at distance of 160 km from New Delhi and about 93 km from Chandigarh - city with the nearest airport.

Purana and Kurukshetra

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According to the Puranas, Kurukshetra is a region named after King Kuru, the ancestor of Kauravas and Pandavas, as depicted in epic Mahabharata. The importance of the place is attributed to the fact that the Kurukshetra War of the Mahabharata was fought on this land and the Bhagavad Gita was preached here during the war when Lord Krishna found Arjuna in a terrible dilemma.

Projects announced for development

  • National Cancer Institute at Bhadsa in Jhajjar district. The institute is the state-of-the-art tertiary cancer care-cum-research centre constructed at the AIIMS Jhajjar campus. 

The 700-bed hospital will have facilities like surgical oncology, palliative care and nuclear medicine, besides hostel rooms for doctors and attendants of cancer patients.

  • Mr Modi will also inaugurate Employees' State Insurance Corporation's (ESIC) medical college and hospital in Faridabad. This will be the first ESIC medical college and hospital in north India. ESIC provides social security to the insured persons and their beneficiaries, especially to worker population and their dependents.

  • The Prime Minister will also lay the foundation stone of National Institute of Ayurveda in Panchkula which is being set up at Shri Mata Mansa Devi Temple Complex. It will be a national-level institute for Ayurveda treatment, education and research.

  • Foundation stone of Sri Krishna Ayush University in Kurukshetra will also be laid by Mr Modi. It will be the first university related to Indian system of medicine in Haryana as well as the first of its kind in India.

  • Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay University of Health Sciences in Karnal. Mr Modi will also lay the foundation stone of 'Battles of Panipat Museum' at Panipat. The museum will honour the heroes of various battles of Panipat.

Image result for 'Battles of Panipat Museum' at Panipat.

  • The Prime Minister will also participate in Swachh Shakti-2019 and distribute the Swachh Shakti awards. He will visit the Swachh Sundar Shauchalay exhibition in Kurukshetra and address a public gathering. 

Related Scheme

1. Swachh Shakti - a programme aimed at empowering women, is a national event which is attended by women panchs and sarpanchs from across the country.

2. Swachh Sundar Shauchalaya Contest- Campaign to mobilize rural households to beautify their toilets


Topics Covered

1. Art and Culture

Kuthiyottam and Attukal Bhagavathy Temple

Image result for Kuthiyottam and Attukal Bhagavathy Temple

What to read?

Prelims – What is Kuthiyottam of Pongala festival and Importance of Attukal Bhagavathy Temple?

Aerial surveillance will form a key component of the tight security scheme that has been chalked out by the Kerala Police for the Attukal pongala day on February 20.

  • The Kuthiyottam ritual is usually performed every year during the Pongala festival at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

  • Pongal, which means ‘to boil over’, is a ritual in which women prepare a pudding made from rice, jaggery, coconut and plantains cooked together, and offer it to the goddess

  • The ritual can only be performed by women

  • The Attukal Pongala festival is the largest congregation of women for a festival in the world

What does the Kuthiyottam ritual involve?

  • Nearly 1,000 young boys undertake a seven-day penance before Pongala day

  • These boys are said to represent the wounded soldiers of the goddess

  • The boys have to observe strict discipline and stay inside the temple for seven days

  • The rigors include sleeping on the floor, strict diet restrictions, and bathing three times a day

  • They also have to prostrate 1,008 times before the deity

  • The ritual reportedly involves piercing the child’s side with a small hook and knotting a thread through it to symbolize their bond with the Goddess

Related Temple  

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple

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  • Goddess Bhadrakali (Kannaki), mounted over 'vethala', is the main deity in this temple. She is often referred as Kannaki, the heroine of Ilanko Adikal's 'Silapathikaaram'

  • A festival that has figured in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the single largest gathering of women for a religious activity, the Attukal Pongala continues to draw millions of women with each passing year.

PAPER – 1 and PAPER - 2

Topics Covered

1. Women Empowerment

2. Governmental intervention in protecting the vulnerable sections of the society

60% children adopted in India between 2015 and 2018 are girls

60% children adopted in India between 2015 and 2018 are girls

What to read?

Prelims – CARA

Mains – Highlights of the data

Data from the Ministry of Women and Child Development shows that of the 11,649 children adopted, 6,962 were girls and 4,687 were boys

Central Adoption Resource Authority

  • Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory autonomous body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.

  • It functions as the nodal body for the adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.

  • CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.

  • CARA primarily deals with the adoption of the orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated /recognised adoption agencies.

Related Convention

1. Hague Adoption Convention

  • The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption is an international convention dealing with international adoption, child laundering, and child trafficking.

  • The Convention was developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the preeminent organization in the area of private international law. It was concluded on 29 May 1993 and entered into force on 1 May 1995.

  • It is an effort to protect those involved from the corruption, abuses, and exploitation which sometimes accompanies international adoption.

  • The Convention has been considered crucial because it provides a formal international and intergovernmental recognition of intercountry adoption to ensure that adoptions under the Convention will generally be recognized and given effect in other party countries.

  • 96 countries including India has signed and ratified this convention. Whereas Nepal, South Korea and Russia are yet to ratify it.

Highlights of the data

  • The number of female children placed for in-country adoptions and inter-country adoptions between 2015 and 2018 are relatively higher than male children.

  • During this period, about 11,649 children were put up for in-country adoptions; of them 6,962 were girls and 4,687 were boys.

  • Of the 3,011 children that were placed for in-country adoption in 2015-16, as many as 1,855 were female children. In the year 2016-17, as many as 3,210 children were placed under in-country adoptions and of them 1,915 were females. The figures for 2017-18 and 2018-19 (till December 2018) were 3,276 and 2,152, of which the numbers of girl children were 1943 and 1249 respectively.

  • All the figures put together, female children comprise almost 60% of all in-country adoptions. When it came to inter-country adoptions, the number of female children was even higher: 69%. Of the 2,310 children placed under adoption between the same period, 1,594 were females.

Change in attitude

  • There was little doubt that more girls were being adopted and it reflected that gender bias and the attitude of people against the girl child are changing across the country.

  • Whole issue of more girls getting adopted needs to be looked into with research.

  • Urban middle class people were preferring female children because they are concerned and aware of the situation of the girl child. The situation may not be the same for villages and small towns.


Topics Covered

1. International Relations

Abu Dhabi declaring Hindi as official language in courts

Image result for Abu Dhabi declaring Hindi as official language in courts

What to read?

Prelims – Importance of such move

  • The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department had that it has included Hindi as the third official language used in its courts, alongside Arabic and English, as part of a move designed to improve access to justice.

  • Abu Dhabi declaring Hindi as one of the official languages in its courts will make the justice delivery system simpler and more accessible to Indian expatriates in that country.


Topics Covered

1. Polity

2. Judicial Intervention in promoting the welfare of weaker sections of the society

SC directs NCM to decide on representation seeking definition of ‘minorities’

What to read?

Prelims and Mains – National Commission on Minorities, Impact of defining minority by state-wise population

The Supreme Court has directed the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) to decide within three months on a representation seeking guidelines for redefining the term 'minority' based on state-wise population

National Commission on Minorities

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  • It is a statutory body set up under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.

  • The commission is made up of :

  • a Chairperson,

  • a Vice Chairperson and

  • five members.

  • Unlike other bodies like NCSC and NCST, NCM has no constitutional backing or status.

  • It works under the Ministry of Minority Affairs, and before the formation of this ministry it came under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

  • It looks into complaints from members of five religious communities — Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis). Jain community was notified as a minority community in 2014.

  • Some states viz. Andhra Pradesh, Assam , Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi , Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have also set up State Minorities Commissions.

  • There’s no prescribed selection process for making appointments with the Cabinet Appointments Committee arbitrarily picking up names from a list suggested by the “nodal” ministry.

Who are minorities in India?

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  • Constitution of India has not defined word ‘Minority’ and only refers to ‘Minorities’.

  • It speaks of minorities ‘based on religion or language’ and rights of minorities have been spelt out in Constitution in detail.

  • Six religious communities, viz. Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains have been notified in Gazette of India as minority communities by Union Government all over India.