Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 24th August 2020

Daily Current Affairs for Government Exams:

Today Current Affairs: 24th August 2020 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Contents:

  1. National Council for Transgender Persons.:
  2. The National Digital Health Mission:
  3. Teesta river dispute:
  4. National Food Security Act 2013::
  5. Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has prepared a draft standard for the supply system of piped drinking water.:
  6. Other important current affairs:

 

1. National Council for Transgender Persons.:

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has constituted the National Council for Transgender Persons.

  • The Social Justice Minister would be the Council’s chairperson and its members would include officials from some other Ministries.
  • Five nominated members from the community — Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Gopi Shankar Madurai, Meera Parida, Zainab Javid Patel and Kak Chingtabam Shyamcand Sharma — are also part of the Council.
  • The council is formed under Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.
  • The council has five main functions:
    • advising the central government on the formulation of policies, programmes, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons;
    • monitoring and evaluating the impact of policies and programmes designed for achieving equality and full participation of transgender persons;
    • reviewing and coordinating the activities of all the departments;
    • redressing grievances of transgender persons; and
    • performing such other functions as prescribed by the Centre.

 

2. The National Digital Health Mission:

In his address to the nation on Independence Day, the PM has launched the National Digital Health Mission which rolls out a national health ID for every Indian.

  • The scheme will be rolled out through a pilot launch in the Union Territories of Chandigarh, Ladakh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.

National Digital Health Mission:

  • It is a digital health ecosystem under which every Indian citizen will now have unique health IDs, digitised health records with identifiers for doctors and health facilities.
  • The Mission is expected to bring efficiency and transparency in healthcare services in the country.
  • The new scheme will come under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.

Key features:

  • It comprises six key building blocks — HealthID, DigiDoctor, Health Facility Registry, Personal Health Records, e-Pharmacy and Telemedicine.
  • The National Health Authority has been given the mandate to design, build, roll-out and implement the mission in the country.
  • The core building blocks of the mission is that the health ID, DigiDoctor and Health Facility Registry shall be owned, operated and maintained by the Government of India.
  • Private stakeholders will have an equal opportunity to integrate and create their own products for the market.
  • The core activities and verifications, however, remain with the government.
  • Under the Mission, every Indian will get a Health ID card that will store all medical details of the person including prescriptions, treatment, diagnostic reports and discharge summaries.
  • The citizens will be able to give their doctors and health providers one-time access to this data during visits to the hospital for consultation.

 

3.Teesta river dispute:

India and Bangladesh have been engaged in a long-standing dispute over water-sharing in the Teesta.

  • Bangladesh is now discussing an almost $1 billion loan from China for a comprehensive management and restoration project on the Teesta river.
  • Bangladesh’s discussions with China come at a time when India is particularly wary about China following the standoff in Ladakh.
  • China is the biggest trading partner of Bangladesh and is the foremost source of imports.
  • Recently, China declared zero duty on 97% of imports from Bangladesh. The concession flowed from China’s duty-free, quota-free programme for the Least Developed Countries.
  • China is the biggest arms supplier to Bangladesh.

About Teesta river:

  • Teesta river is a tributary of the Brahmaputra (known as Jamuna in Bangladesh), flowing through India and Bangladesh.
  • It originates in the Himalayas near Chunthang, Sikkimand flows to the south through West Bengal before entering Bangladesh.
  • The Teesta Barrage dam helps to provide irrigation for the plains between the upper Padma and the Jamuna.
  • Negotiations on how to share the water have been going on since 1983.
  • A 2011 interim deal – that was supposed to last 15 years – gave India 42.5 percent of the Teesta’s waters and gave Bangladesh 37.5 percent. Bengal opposed this deal so it was shelved and remains unsigned.
  • Bangladesh sought a fair and equitable distribution of Teesta waters from India, on the lines of the Ganga Water Treaty 1996.
  • The treaty is an agreement to share surface waters at the Farakka Barrage near their mutual border.
  • In 2015, the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Dhaka generated expectations to take forward the issue but it still remains unresolved.
  • However, In India, individual states have significant influence over transboundary agreements, impeding the policymaking process.
  • West Bengalis one of the key stakeholders of the Teesta agreement and is yet to endorse the deal.
  • Importance of Teesta River:
    • For Bangladesh:
      • Its flood plain covers about 14% of the total cropped area of Bangladesh and provides direct livelihood opportunities to approximately 73% of its population.
    • For West Bengal:
      • Teesta is the lifeline of North Bengal and almost half a dozen of districts of West Bengal are dependent on the waters of Teesta.

 

4.National Food Security Act 2013::

Department of Food &Public Distribution issues directions to States/UTs to include all eligible disabled persons under the National Food Security Act 2013.

  • It has also asked the states to ensure that they get their entitled quota of food grains under NFSA & Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana.

Provisions:

  • Section 38 of the Act mandates that the Central Government may from time to time give directions to the State Governments for effective implementation of the provisions of the Act.
  • The Section 10 of the National Food Security Act, 2013 provides for coverage of persons under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana in accordance with the guidelines applicable to the said scheme and the remaining households as priority households in accordance with such guidelines as the States Government may specify.
  • Disability is one of the criteria for inclusion of beneficiaries under AAY households

National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013:

  • The objective is to provide for food and nutritional security in human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices to people to live a life with dignity.

Key features:

  • Coverage and entitlement under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS): The TDPS covers 50% of the urban population and 75% of the rural population, with uniform entitlement of 5 kg per person per month.
  • However, the poorest of the poor households will continue to receive 35 kg per household per month under Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY).
  • Subsidised prices under TPDS and their revision: For a period of three years from the date of commencement of the Act, Food grains under TPDS will be made available at subsidised prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per kg for rice, wheat and coarse grains.
  • Identification of Households: The identification of eligible households is to be done by States/UTs under TDPS determined for each State.
  • Nutritional Support to women and children: Children in the age group of 6 months to 14 years and pregnant women and lactating mothers will be entitled to meals as per prescribed nutritional norms under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) schemes. Malnourished children up to the age of 6 have been prescribed for higher nutritional norms.
  • Maternity Benefit: Pregnant women and lactating mothers will also be receiving maternity benefit of Rs. 6,000.
  • Women Empowerment: For the purpose of issuing of ration cards, eldest woman of the household of age 18 years or above is to be the head of the household.
  • Grievance Redressal Mechanism: Grievance redressal mechanism available at the District and State levels.
  • Cost of transportation & handling of food grains and FPS Dealers’ margin : the expenditure incurred by the state on transportation of food grains within the State, its handling and FPS dealers’ margin as per norms to be devised for this purpose and assistance to states will be provided by the Central Government to meet the above expenditure.
  • Transparency and Accountability: In order to ensure transparency and accountability, provisions have been made for disclosure of records relating to PDS, social audits and setting up of Vigilance Committees.
  • Food Security Allowance: In case of non-supply of entitled food grains or meals, there is a provision for food security allowance to entitled beneficiaries.
  • Penalty: If the public servant or authority fails to comply with the relief recommended by the District Grievance Redressal Officer, penalty will be imposed by the State Food Commission according to the provision.

 

5.Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has prepared a draft standard for the supply system of piped drinking water.:

Recently, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has prepared a draft standard for the supply system of piped drinking water.

  • The draft has been titled as ‘Drinking water supply quality management system requirements for piped drinking water supply service’.
  • Quality of drinking water became a contentious issue in November 2019 when a BIS report, released by Union Government, found Delhi’s tap water quality as the worst among 21 metros and state capitals in the country.
  • The report had also found that tap water in 13 state capitals, including Bhopal, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Chennai, did not comply with BIS standards.

Key Points

  • Draft Standard:
    • It outlines the process of water supply, from raw water sources to household taps.
    • The draft standard is expected to make the process of piped water supply more uniform, especially in rural and underdeveloped areas of the country where the system runs on various government orders and circulars.
    • The draft has been developed keeping in view the Centre’s Jal Jeevan Mission.
    • The Jal Jeevan Mission aims for providing safe and adequate drinking water to all rural households by 2024 through tap connections.
    • It has been prepared by the BIS’s Public Drinking Water Supply Services Sectional Committee.
  • Features of the Draft:
    • It outlines the requirements for a water supplier or a water utility on how they should establish, operate, maintain and improve their piped drinking water supply service.
  • Guidelines for top management of the water supplier/utility which includes:
    • Accountability and customer focus.
    • Establishing a quality policy for their service.
    • Monitoring the quality of water released to people.
    • Conducting a water audit.
    • It sets the Indian Standard (IS) 10500 for the treated water for drinking.
    • The IS 10500 outlines the acceptable limit of heavy metals such as arsenic, pH value of water, turbidity, the total dissolved solids in it, and the colour and odour.
    • Adoption of the concept of District Metering Area (DMA) where possible.
    • DMA is a concept for controlling leakages in the water network, which is essentially divided into a number of sectors, called the DMAs, and where flow meters are installed to detect leaks.
    • The water supplier may provide bulk water meters in the water distribution system to ensure water audit, however the provisions should be made for domestic meters also.
    • The water supplier shall ensure that the consumers do not have direct access to the meters to avoid possible tampering of the meters.
    • The draft also mentions that water should be sampled at the treatment plant every four hours against quality parameters.

Jal jeevan mission

  • Under this the Union government envisages to provide water supply to every household by 2024.
  • The Mission is based on various water conservation efforts like point recharge, desilting of minor irrigation tanks, use of greywater for agriculture and source sustainability.
  • The Mission is based on a community approach to water and includes extensive Information, Education and Communication as a key component of the mission.
  • The Mission will converge with other Central and State Government Schemes to achieve its objectives of sustainable water supply management across the country.
  • The Jal Shakti Ministry is the nodal ministry for the implementation of the mission.

 

Other important current affairs:

1.The official logo of Labour Bureau, an attached office of Ministry of Labour and Employment, was launched by Minister for Labour.

  • Labour Bureau, an attached office under Ministry of Labour and Employment, was set up on 1st October 1946.
  • It is entrusted with the work of compilation, collection, analysis and dissemination of statistics on different aspects of labour.
  • Labour Bureau has two main wings stationed in Shimla and Chandigarh.
  • The functions/activities of Labour Bureau can be classified under the following major heads:
    • Compilation and maintenance of Consumer Price Index Numbers for Industrial Workers, Agricultural/Rural Labourers, Retail Price Index of Selected Essential Commodities in Urban Areas etc.
    • Quick Employment Survey and Employment-Unemployment survey are also being conducted by Labour Bureau.

2.The hottest air temperature recorded anywhere on the planet in at least a century, and possibly ever, was reached in Death Valley in California’s Mojave Desert where it soared to 130 Fahrenheit (54.4 Celsius).

  • The record comes as climate scientists warn of the dangers of a warming planet. Last month was the world’s third-hottest July on record, and three of the hottest ever Julys all occurred within the past five years.
  • A temperature of 134F (56.7C) was recorded in Death Valley in July 1913, and Kebili, Tunisia, is said to have hit 131F in July 1931, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
  • But recent research by Christopher Burt, an extreme weather expert, has led some meteorologists to view these older records as the results of observer error.

3.Mysuru zoo has become the second Indian zoo to house the African cheetah, the fastest land animal, as it managed to get one male and two females from a cheetah conservation centre in South Africa under an animal-exchange programme.

  • Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, popularly known as ‘Mysuru Zoo’, is one of the oldest zoos of the country established in 1892, by the erstwhile ruler of Mysuru Sri Chamarajendra Wadiyar Bahadur.
  • Mysuru zoo is the second zoo in the country to house hunting cheetahs after Hyderabad zoo which has a pair of African Cheetah.

4.The government has announced a new feature ‘Open API Service’ for its contact tracing app Aarogya Setu.

  • The Open API Service of Aarogya Setu addresses the fear/risk of Covid-19 infections and will help the people, businesses and the economy to return to normalcy.
  • Here, organizations can take informed decisions regarding the presence of employees in office and the need to explore work from home.
  • Thus, risk of contracting is reduced without much compromising on activities of the entity.
  • The Open API Service of Aarogya Setu, can be availed by organizations and business entities.

5.The Prime Minister of India greeted the farmers on the occasion of Nuakhai Juhar (23rd August, 2020).

  • Nuakhai Juhar is an agricultural festival, also called Nuakhai Parab or Nuakahi Bhetghat.
  • It is celebrated to welcome the new crop of the season.
  • Nuakhai is a combination of two words that signifies eating of new rice as ‘nua’ means new and ‘khai’ means eat.
  • This is the festival of Western Odisha, southern Chhattisgarh and adjoining areas of Simdega (Jharkhand).
  • Its coastal counterpart is Nabanna, observed in Coastal Odisha.
  • It is observed on panchami tithi (the fifth day) of the lunar fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada (August–September), the day after the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
  • Lagan is the fixed time of the day to celebrate the festival.
  • Festive Activities: Farmers offer the first produce from their lands to Goddess Samaleswari, the famous ‘Mother Goddess’ of Sambalpur district of Odisha.
  • Sambalpuri dance forms like Rasarkeli and Dalkhai can be witnessed.

6.The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the livelihood of several folk artistes including ‘Behrupiyas’.

  • The word ‘behrupiya’ is a derivative of the Sanskrit word bahu (many) and roop (form).
  • Behrupiyas are impersonators, mostly known to perform in villages and markets all over India.
  • They put on various costumes to play figures from mythology, folklore and traditional stories.
  • The behrupiya festival is a traditional Indian style of street theatre and takes place every year in different locations- Delhi, Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Jaipur, Kumbh, Muzaffarnagar and others.
  • National Behrupiya Festival was organised by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) from 5th-8th October 2018.
  • IGNCA is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Culture.
  • Behrupiyas were more than artists in the past. They assisted in circulating, transmitting and publicising the various knowledge forms in the popular domain of Samaj, the people.
  • The vibrant tradition of Ramlila can also be seen as an extension of this practice which continues even today.

7.The oil-rich United Arab Emirates announced that it has connected its Barakah nuclear power plant to the national grid in a new first for the Arab world.

  • The milestone follows the successful start-up of the plant’s first reactor at the end of last month and launches the UAE on the road to meeting 25% of its electricity needs from nuclear power.
  • Barakah was built by a consortium led by the Korea Electric Power Corporation at a cost of some $24.4 billion. The plant is on the Gulf coast west of Abu Dhabi
  • The UAE has substantial oil and gas reserves, but with a power-hungry population of 10 million, it has made huge investments in developing clean alternatives, including solar energy.
  • Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, has said it plans to build up to 16 nuclear reactors, but the project has yet to materialise.

8.The Navy has effectively carried out Mission Based Deployments (MBD) to protect maritime interests by deploying ships and aircraft at major and sensitive locations, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said at a three-day Naval Commanders Conference (NCC).

  • The geo-strategic importance of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has seen a gradual increase in the recent past. Indian Navy regularly deploys ships for Presence and Surveillance Missions (PSM), off critical choke points / sea lanes in the IOR.
  • Since August 2017, Indian Navy deployments in the IOR have been further structured under the Mission Based Deployment (MBD) concept.
  • Under MBD concept, In addition to the anti-piracy deployment, IN ships were also Mission Deployed for
    • Operation ‘GULFDEP’ in the Persian Gulf,
    • Operation ‘CENTDEP’ in the central Indian Ocean Region,
    • Operation ‘NORDEP’ in the northern Bay of Bengal and
    • Operation ‘MALDEP’ in the Andaman Sea and approaches to the Malacca Strait.

9.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered another ancient Orthodox church that became a mosque and then a popular Istanbul museum to be turned back into a place of Muslim worship.

  • The decision to transform the Kariye Museum into a mosque came just a month after a similarly controversial conversion for the UNESCO World Heritage-recognised Hagia Sophia.
  • The Holy Saviour in Chora was a medieval Byzantine church decorated with 14th-century frescoes of the Last Judgment that remain treasured in the Christian world.
  • It was originally converted into the Kariye Mosque half a century after the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks.
  • It became the Kariye Museum after Second World War as Turkey pushed ahead with the creation of a more secular new republic out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.
  • The 1,000-year-old building’s history closely mirrors that of the Hagia Sophia — its bigger neighbour on the historic western bank of the Golden Horn estuary on the European side of Istanbul. But they have added to Turkey’s tensions with Greece and its Orthodox Church.

 

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