Current Affairs 22nd February, 2019

PAPER – 1

Topics Covered

1. Modern India History

2. Monuments

Mahatma Gandhi’s statute opened at Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha

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What to read?

Prelims – About Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha

Mains – Languages leading to National Integration

The President of India, unveiled a statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha in Chennai.

Delivering a speech in three languages – Tamil, English and Hindi - on the occasion, the President said that the Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, founded by Mahatma Gandhi, has completed 100 years.

Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha

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  • "Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha" was established in the year 1918 by our Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi.

  • Aim- propagating Hindi in southern states.

  • The first Pracharak was none other than Devadoss Gandhi son of Mahatma Gandhi.

Hindi Prachar

  • "Hindi Prachar" was a movement that emerged as part of Freedom Movement and the leaders who led the nation to "FREE INDIA" felt the necessity of making a single Indian Language the National Language, and through that language unify the people and thereby intensify National Integration.

DBHPS as Independent Organisation

  • 1927 saw the emergence of Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha as an independent organisation and Mahatma Gandhi was its President till he breathed his last.

Learning another language – an advantage for National Integration

  • Learning the language of another region or another state can be very educative. It can open a window to a culture that is at once familiar and new

  • Twinning programmes between different states are popularising the language of one region in another. Such steps reinforce national harmony.


PAPER – 2

Topics Covered

1. International Organisation

UNSC condemns Pulwama attack

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What to read?

Prelims – About UNSC – its Structural Organisation, Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism

Mains – On-going Negotiations of India with UNSC regarding JeM

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) issued a statement, condemning the Pulwama attack and underlining the need to hold those responsible accountable. Significantly Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) has been named on the statement as having taken responsibility for the attack.

UNSC

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  • The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.

  • Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions; it is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.

  • The Security Council consists of fifteen members. Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States—serve as the body’s five permanent members. These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.

  • The Security Council also has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms. The body’s presidency rotates monthly among its members.

CCIT

  • CCIT is a draft proposed by India in 1996 that is yet to be adopted by the UNGA.

  • Despite India’s efforts to push a global intergovernmental convention to tackle terrorism, the conclusion and ratification of the CCIT remains deadlocked, mainly due to opposition from three main blocs – the US, the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), and the Latin American countries.

  • CCIT provides a legal framework which makes it binding on all signatories to deny funds and safe havens to terrorist groups.

Concerns expressed by various countries:

  • US + allies: concerns over definition of terrorism, including acts by US soldiers in international interventions without UN mandate.

  • Latin American countries: concerns over international humanitarian laws being ignored.

  • There are also concerns that convention will be used to target Pakistan and restrict rights of self-determination groups in Palestine, Kashmir etc.

On-going Negotiations  within UNSC regarding JeM

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the heinous and cowardly suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir on Feb 14, 2019.

  • the UNSC statement was released after prolonged Security Council negotiations. China had wanted additional time to think it through as it had some concerns, they said.

  • France is also working, in parallel, to sanction JeM chief Masood Azhar at the UNSC.

Note - Similar action against Azhar in 2017 was blocked by China (India had moved the 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar twice before in 2009 and 2016).


PAPER – 2

Topics Covered

1. Goverenance

2. International Organistions and their reports

Backward, drought-prone districts in Andhra Pradesh – relatively happier

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What to read?

Prelims – World Happiness Report of UNSDSN

Mains – Efforts taken by the Government in this regard

Some of the backward and drought-prone districts in Andhra Pradesh have shown a higher happiness quotient. The State government has selected the level of happiness as an important indicator of good governance.

Impact of World Happiness Index

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While India is ranked at 133 among 155 countries in the World Happiness Report, 2018, prepared by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN), the State government, using the same criteria and methodology, has estimated that the State is at the 74th position globally.

What are the criteria for the ranking?

The happiness rankings are based on six factors.

  • GDP per capita

  • Healthy years of life expectancy,

  • Social Support,

  • Trust (measured by a perceived absence of corruption),

  • Perceived Freedom to make life decisions &

  • Generosity (measured by recent donations).

  • The 2017 report also included a chapter on ‘Happiness at Work’ as the numbers of hours spent at work are usually a big part of people’s lifetimes.

Andhra Pradesh’s estimation of Happiness

The State government has a full chapter on ‘happiness scores’ and their estimation in the ‘Sunrise Andhra Pradesh Vision 2029’ document. It has also been ranking the 13 districts for this in the past two years (2017, 2018)

The Vision 2029 version 2.0/2019-2014 document says the level of happiness has been estimated by the ‘Ease of Living’ parameter based on 56 core indicators and 22 support indicators.

Efforts taken

  • Presence of large urban conglomerations and irrigation facilities have buoyed up the happiness quotient in Krishna, Visakhapatnam and Chittoor

  • Support in the form of economic activity from nearby urban conglomerations, and agricultural growth, appear to have helped these districts in arriving at a better score.

Note - In the study conducted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Tirupati ranked fourth, Vijayawada ninth, Visakhapatnam 19th and Kakinada 64th among the top 111 cities in the country.


PAPER – 2

Topics Covered

1. International Organisations

WHO prescribes ‘aerobics 150’ to stay fit

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What to read?

Prelims – What is Aerobics 150? Its Benefits,Non Communicable Diseases, About WHO

Reiterating the need for physical activity to reduce the incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCD), the World Health Organisation (WHO) has prescribed 150 minutes of weekly physical activity. 

What did WHO say on physical inactivity?

  •  Physical inactivity is now identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality.

  • The WHO warned that physical inactivity levels are rising in many countries with major implications for the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and the general health of the population worldwide

  • Physical inactivity is estimated to be the main cause for approximately 21%-25% of breast and colon cancers, 27% of diabetes and approximately 30% of ischaemic heart disease burden.

Benefits of physical activity

  • Regular and adequate levels of physical activity in adults reduces the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer, depression and the risk of falls; improve bone and functional health; and are a key determinant of energy expenditure, and thus fundamental to energy balance and weight control

  • Children and youth aged 5-17 years should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily

  • Most of the daily physical activity should be aerobic.

  • The WHO noted that physical activity provides young people opportunities for self-expression, building self-confidence, social interaction and integration.

Non Communicable Diseases

NCDs are mostly those diseases which are related to stress, ignorance of healthy diet and proper habits. NCDs are estimated to account for a chilling 60 per cent of all deaths in India, making them the leading cause of death ahead of other reasons.

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  • According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), India stands to lose $ 4.58 trillion (Rs 311.94 trillion) due to non-communicable diseases between 2012 and 2030


PAPER – 3

Topics Covered

1. Defence

Assam Rifles granted power to arrest anyone in Northeast

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What to read?

Prelims – About Assam Rifles

Mains – Constructive and Destructive sides of the overwhelming power

Assam Rifles, deployed along the Myanmar border, has been empowered by the Centre to arrest anyone and search a place without warrant in the border districts of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram.

“An officer of the rank corresponding to that of the lowest rank of members of the Assam Rifles” has been given these powers under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Note - Earlier, Assam Rifles was making arrests only in areas where the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act was in effect.

What is the need of the move?

  • Assam Rifles were finding it difficult to make seizures and arrest in Mizoram, which doesn’t have AFSPA. This is to basically correct that anomaly.

  • The MHA had lifted AFSPA from some areas of Arunachal Pradesh last year.

Assam Rifles

Assam Rifles is the oldest of the Central Para Military Forces.
• Though the organisation has a cadre of its own officers, most senior positions are filled by taking officers on deputation from the Army.
• The Force functioned under the control of the Ministry of External Affairs till 1965.
• Its control was then transferred to the Ministry of Home Affairs and has since been functioning under that Ministry.
• The Assam Rifles Act, 1941, presently governs the Force.
• Its charter of functions include:

a) Maintaining security of the North Eastern sector of the international border;
b) Helping states in the North East to maintain law and order and other states as and when needed; and
c) Taking counter insurgency measures in states of the North East.

PAPER – 2 AND PAPER – 3

Topics Covered

1. Governmental Intervention to protect the vulnerable sections of the society

2. Economic Development

Lakhs of forest dwellers face eviction

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What to read?

Prelims – Forest Rights Act of 2006

A recent Supreme Court order may lead to the eviction of lakhs of persons belonging to the Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) categories across 21 States — their claim as forest dwellers have been rejected under the Forest Rights Act of 2006.

Forest Rights Act, 2006

  • Section 6 of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act of 2006 shows a multi-layered and hierarchical procedure for recognition or rejection of forest-dweller claims starting at the gram sabha level with multiple appellate committees at the State level.

  • The Act is intended to provide a framework to “recognise and vest the forest rights and occupation in forest land in forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have been residing in such forests for generations but whose rights could not be recorded.”

Supreme Court verdict

  • A three-judge Bench of Justices had ordered the Chief Secretaries of many of these States to evict those whose claims as forest dwellers have been finally rejected under the law. The court directed that the eviction should be carried out on or before July 24, 2019.

  • The court ordered the Forest Survey of India (FSI) to make a satellite survey and place on record the “encroachment positions.” It directed FSI to also place on record the position “after the eviction as far as possible.


PAPER – 3

Topics Covered

1. Defence

2. Science and Technology

Maiden Drone Olympics Competition - Aero India 2019

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What to read?

Prelims – Aero India 2019

Mains – Aero India, Drone Olympics – Its scope

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) made a spectacular entry at the Aero-India 2019 with the first ever ‘Drone Olympics' competition for UAV's held at Air Force Station, Yelahanka, Bengaluru.

Aero India 2019 – The Biggest ever

  • The 12th Edition of  Aero India exhibition, is with the theme - ‘The Runway to a Billion Opportunities’  is held at Yelahanja in Bengaluru.

  • It has a logo inspired by the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

  • Aim - to bolster business in the international aviation sector and provide a platform to showcase India’s aeronautical advancements.

Note - Aero India Show is a biennial air show organized by the Ministry of Defence. The first edition of the air show was held in 1996.The show aims at giving a fillip to the rapidly growing economy, defence production and participation of private players.

Drone Olympics  and its scope in Defence

Under Aero India’s  banner, the ‘Drone Olympics’ organized by Ministry of Defence, aims to encourage the UAV industry to connect with potential buyers and business partners in the country and also provide an opportunity to the Armed Forces to assess the capabilities of UAVs , the role of which is ever-increasing in the defence  sectors, making them the ideal platform for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, electronic warfare and strike missions.


PAPER – 3

Topics Covered

1. Defence

Deadlier version of BrahMos to be tested in 3 years

The Brahmos supersonic cruise missile during rehearsals for the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi.

What to read?

Prelims – About BrahMos missile

Mains – Significance of BrahMos induction in our defence forces

 A stylish, more lethal version of the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos is under development and the prototype should be ready for testing in about three years.

New Components to make the lethal version

  • For this several mechanical components in the missile are being replaced with electrical components which will also reduce the size.

  • The reduced weight enables the NG variant to be carried by the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). An LCA can carry two missiles while a Su-30MKI can carry five of them

BrahMos

  • BrahMos is a joint venture between India and Russia and named after Brahmaputra and Moscowa rivers.

  • It is capable of being launched from land, sea, sub-sea and air against surface and sea-based targets. The development trials of an anti-shipping variant began in 2003 and combat trials began in 2005.

  • The land and sea variants of BrahMos are already operational with the Army and Navy and the air-launched version is under development.

  • The original range of the missile was 290 kms in line with the limitations of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). After India joined the grouping in June 2016, the range was extended to 450 kms and is to be further extended to 600kms.

BrahMos in Navy

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  • Presently the missile is deployed on most of the Navy’s frontline warships and will be a standard fitment on all major warships in future. The Army has deployed three BrahMos regiments on the Western and Eastern borders

BrahMos in Air Force

  • The IAF is modifying some Su-30MKIs to enable them to carry the air launched variant. This gives the IAF a long range standoff capability to target key enemy infrastructure.

Note - Indigenous Seekers

  • Recently India had also successfully test-fired the missile with an indigenous seeker, a critical technology, in missiles.

  • So far the seeker, a critical technology in missiles, came from Russia. The plan is to replace all the seekers with indigenous ones.

  • The seeker was jointly developed by Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad and BrahMos Aerospace.