Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 7th February 2020

Daily Current Affairs for Government Exams:

Today Current Affairs: 7th February 2020 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Contents:

  1. The dropout rate in schools.
  2. National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme (NMMSS).:
  3. The Second National Judicial Pay Commission.
  4. Lucknow Declaration
  5. Motion of thanks.
  6. Genome India Project Approved.
  7. Longest Spaceflight by a Woman: Christina Koch.
  8. Public Safety Act.
  9. Other important current affairs.

1. The dropout rate in schools:

The Ministry of Human Resource Development released state-wise figures of the dropout rate in schools in Lok Sabha.

  • The dropout rate in schools is the highest in Assam, at both primary and secondary levels.
  • The dropout rate in Assam at primary level was 10.1% in 2017-18, followed by Arunachal Pradesh (8.1), Mizoram (8), Uttar Pradesh (8) and Tamil Nadu (5.9).
  • At the secondary level, Assam’s dropout rate was 33.7%, followed by Bihar (32), Odisha (28.3), Tripura (27.2) and Karnataka (24.3).
  • The dropout rate among boys in primary schools in Assam was 11.2%, followed by Arunachal Pradesh (10). For girls at the primary level, the highest five dropout rates were in Assam (8.9), followed by Mizoram (7.4).
  • At the secondary level, the dropout rates for boys were 32.1% in Assam, followed by Bihar (30.3). Among girls in secondary school, the highest five dropout rates were in Assam (35.2%), followed by Bihar (33.7).

 

2. National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme (NMMSS).:

Union Minister for Human Resource Development informed Rajya Sabha about the National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme (NMMSS).

  • It is a Central Sector Scheme, Implemented since 2008.
  • Objective: to award scholarships to meritorious students of economically weaker sections to arrest their drop out of class VIII and encourage them to continue the study at the secondary stage.
  • Under the Scheme, one lakh fresh scholarships @ of Rs.12000/- per annum per student are awarded to selected students of class IX every year and their continuation/renewal in classes X to XII for study in a State Government, Government-aided and Local body schools.

 

3. The Second National Judicial Pay Commission :

The Second National Judicial Pay Commission has submitted its Final Report covering the subject of Pay, Pension and Allowances, in the Registry of the Supreme Court.

  • The Commission has been constituted pursuant to the Order of the Supreme Court in All India Judges Association case.
  • Justice P.V. Reddi, former Judge of the Supreme Court is the Chairman of commission.
  • The Supreme Court will have to issue directions regarding the implementation of recommendations after hearing the stakeholders.

Recommendations on

Pay:

  • It has recommended the adoption of Pay Matrix which has been drawn up by applying the multiplier of 2.81 to the existing pay, commensurate with the percentage of increase of pay of High Court Judges.
  • The highest pay which a District Judge (STS) will get, is Rs.2,24,100/-.

Pension:

  • Pension at 50% of last drawn pay worked out on the basis of proposed revised pay scales is recommended w. e. f. 1-1-2016.
  • The family pension will be 30% of the last drawn pay.
  • The recommendation has been made to discontinue the New Pension Scheme (NPS) which is being applied to those entering service during or after 2004.
  • The old pension system, which is more beneficial to be revived.

Allowances:

  • The existing allowances have been suitably increased and certain new features have been added.
  • However, the CCA is proposed to be discontinued.
  • Certain new allowances viz. children education allowance, home orderly allowance, transport allowance in lieu of pool care facility, have been proposed

 

4. Lucknow Declaration.:

The first India-Africa Defence Ministers’ Conclave (IADMC 2020) held in Lucknow on February 06, coinciding with DefExpo-2020, adopted the Lucknow Declaration.

  • Besides traditional partners in Eastern and Southern Africa, Western African states have also sought to deepen defense ties with India including training for its officers and joint defense exercises.
  • The leaders recognized the importance of peace and security for both India and the African countries including “Silence the Guns; Creating Conducive Conditions for African Development” as the African Union’s theme of the year.
  • They welcomed the AU vision for peace and security in Africa that coincides with India’s vision of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region).
  • Defense Ministers also called for deeper cooperation in the domain of defense industries including through investments, a joint venture in defense equipment software, digital defense, research and development on mutually beneficial terms.
  • India has also made available defense equipment and supply to African countries through its robust India-Africa development partnership, including through grant assistance and Lines of Credit.

 

5.Motion of Thanks:

Recently, the President of India has addressed the joint sitting of the Parliament and debate on Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address was held in Lok Sabha.

What is Motion of thanks:

  • The President makes an address to a joint sitting of Parliament at the start of the Budget session, which is prepared by the government and lists its achievements.
  • It is essentially a statement of the legislative and policy achievements of the government during the preceding year and gives a broad indication of the agenda for the year ahead.
  • The address is followed by a motion of thanks moved in each House by ruling party MPs. During the session, political parties discuss the motion of thanks also suggesting amendments.

Amendments to the “Motion of Thanks”:

  • Notices of amendments to Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address can be tabled after the President has delivered his Address. Amendments may refer to matters contained in the Address as well as to matters, in the opinion of the member, the Address has failed to mention.
  • Amendments can be moved to the Motion of Thanks in such form as may be considered appropriate by the Speaker.

Provisions governing them:

  • President’s Address and Motion of Thanks are governed by Articles 86 (1) and 87 (1) of the Constitution and Rules 16 to 24 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha.
  • Members of Parliament vote on this motion of thanks. This motion must be passed in both of the houses.
  • A failure to get the motion of thanks passed amounts to the defeat of government and leads to the collapse of the government. This is why the Motion of Thanks is deemed to be a no-confidence motion.

 

6. Genome India Project Approved:

The Department of Biotechnology under the Ministry of Science and Technology has cleared the Genome India Project.

  • It is a gene-mapping project involving 20 leading institutions including the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru and a few Indian Institute of Technology (IITs).
  • The project is said to be among the most significant of its kind in the world because of its scale and the diversity it would bring to genetic studies.
  • The first stage of the project will look at samples of 10,000 persons from all over the country to form a grid that will enable the development of a reference genome.
  • The Centre for Brain Research, which is an autonomous institute in the IISc, Bengaluru, will serve as the nodal point of the project.

Human Genome Project:

  • It was an international research effort to determine the sequence of the human genome and identify the genes that it contains.
  • It was a 13-year-long, publicly funded project that ended in 2003.
  • The HGP has revealed that there are probably about 20,500 human genes.
  • This information can be thought of as the basic set of inheritable “instructions” for the development and function of a human being.

 

7. Longest Spaceflight by a Woman – Christina Koch:

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut Christina Koch landed on the Earth on 6th February 2020 after a record stay of 328 days on the International Space Station.

  • The previous longest single spaceflight by any woman was 289 days by Peggy Whitson, also an American, who set that record in 2017.
  • Valery Polyakov of Russia holds the combine (i.e. for both men and women) record for the longest single spaceflight in history (438 days).

 

8. Public Safety Act:

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has slapped the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) against former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah besides two political stalwarts from the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party.

After PSA is used:

  • Within four weeks of passing the detention order, the government has to refer the case to an Advisory Board.
  • This Advisory Board will have to give its recommendations within eight weeks of the order.
  • If the Board thinks that there is a cause for preventive detention, the government can hold the person up to two years.
  • The person detained has limited rights. Usually, when a person is arrested, they have the right to legal representation and can challenge the arrest. But, when a person is arrested under the PSA, they do not have these rights before the Advisory Board unless sufficient grounds can be established that the detention is illegal.
  • There have been cases where the High Court has interfered and quashed the detention.

According to Section 13(2), the detaining authority need not even inform the detained individual as to the reason for the action, if it decides that it goes against the public interest.

 

Other important current affairs:

1. The Pan-Cancer project involving 1,300 scientists has completed a decade-long project to map the many gene mutations that drive cancer’s development.This might be helpful in a treatment tailored for specific cancers.

  • Scientists read the cancer genomes (DNA sequences) in 2,600 samples of 38 types of cancer and compared them with the genomes of healthy tissue in the same patients.
  • The project found people’s cancers contain, on average, between four and five fundamental mutations that drive cancer’s growth.
  • However, 5% of cancers appeared to have no driver mutations at all, showing there is still more work to do.
  • The genome of each patient’s cancer is unique, but there is a finite set of recurring patterns, so with large enough studies, all patterns can be identified to optimize diagnosis and treatment.
  • The mapping project also developed a new method for “carbon dating” the origins of cancer tumors.
  • They were able to identify early mutations in cells that occurred years or decades before cancer appears — possibly opening a window for detection well ahead of any symptoms.

2. Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) has yet again “requested companies to abide by the Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP)”.

  • There have been several instances of breach of the voluntary Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) by pharma companies.
  • There has also been a demand from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and doctors to make it mandatory.
  • UCPMP Code is a voluntary code issued by the Department Of Pharmaceuticals relating to marketing practices for Indian Pharmaceutical Companies and as well medical devices industry.
  • At present, the UCPMP Code is applicable to Pharmaceutical Companies, Medical Representatives, Agents of Pharmaceutical Companies such as Distributors, Wholesalers, Retailers, and Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Associations.

3. Recently, a rejuvenation camp for captive elephants was inaugurated inside the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR).

  • Mudumalai Tiger Reserve is located in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu state at the tri-junction of three states, viz, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • It is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (1st Biosphere Reserve in India) along with Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala) in the West, Bandipur National Park (Karnataka) in the North, Mukurthi National Park and Silent Valley in the South.

4. Every year, February 6 is observed as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

  • Female Genital Mutilation is the name given to procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical or cultural reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of human rights and the health and integrity of girls and women.
  • WHO classifies four types of FGM:
    • type 1 (partial or total removal of the clitoral glans).
    • type 2 (partial or total removal of the external and visible parts of the clitoris and the inner folds of the vulva).
    • type 3 (infibulation, or narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal).
    • type 4 (picking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area).
  • Most girls and women who have undergone FGM live in sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab States, but it is also practiced in some countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Countries, where FGM is performed, include Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Egypt, Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq, Iran, Georgia, Russian Federation, Columbia, and Peru, among others.

5. Euthermia: A new study, published in the journal eLife, that concluded the average human body temperature has never been constant in the first place.

  • Normal human body temperature, also known as normothermia or euthermia, is the typical temperature range found in humans.
  • The thermometer reading of 98.6°F has been a gold standard for a century and a half, ever since a German doctor laid it down as the “normal” human body temperature.
  • In 1851, Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich pioneered the use of the clinical thermometer. He took over a million measurements of 25,000 patients, and published his findings in a book in 1868, in which he concluded that the average human body temperature is 98.6°F.
  • Most modern scientists feel Wunderlich’s experiments were flawed, and his equipment inaccurate. Different studies have found the human body temperature averaging out differently, including at 97.7°, 97.9°, and 98.2°F.

6. The President of India presented the International Gandhi Awards for Leprosy to Dr. N.S. Dharmashaktu under the Indian nomination (individual) category and the Leprosy Mission Trust under the institutional category.

  • Gandhi Memorial Leprosy Foundation, Wardha, a pioneering organization established in 1951 in the field of leprosy in India, has instituted the award titled “International Gandhi Award” in 1986.
  • The award is presented once in two years and consists of Rs. 2 lakhs as a cash award, a Medallion, and a Citation.
  • Two awards are presented either to individuals or institutions.
  • The Award is given to a Leprosy Worker or Institution who/which has undertaken work in the field of leprosy for a period of not less than 10 years. The Award is open to medical, paramedical or non-medical and social workers in the leprosy field.

7. Madhya Pradesh government is organizing a three-day multi-cultural festival to promote tourism in the heritage city of Orchha, Madhya Pradesh.

  • Namaste Orchha will take place between March 6 to 8, 2020 at Orchha, Madhya Pradesh.
  • It will celebrate the cultural diversity, natural beauty and the architectural heritage of the town by showcasing music, dance, heritage walks, local cuisine, arts, and handicrafts.
  • The first day of the festival will be held at Jahangir Mahal, built-in the 17th Century by the then ruler Vir Singh Deo in honor of the Mughal emperor Jahangir.

8. India becomes the second-largest producer of Crude Steel

  • As per World Steel Association data, India has surpassed Japan in terms of annual steel production, becoming the second-largest producer of crude steel in the world, after China.
  • India produced 111.2 million tonnes of crude steel in 2019.
  • In 2019, Japan (99.3), the United States (87.9) and Russia (71.6) rank third, fourth and fifth respectively.
  • Steel is a deregulated sector, the Government does not set any annual targets for steel production.

9. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao will inaugurate the 11-km stretch of corridor-II of elevated Hyderabad Metro Rail.

  • The stretch will join Secunderabad and Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station in Hyderabad facilitating bus commuters with two major Railway Stations in the State Capital.
  • Hyderabad Metro is the second-largest metro service after Delhi in the country and the largest one in the world under PPP mode.

10. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner is stepping down after 11 years at the helm of the popular professional social networking company owned by Microsoft.

  • Ryan Roslansky, currently senior vice president of product, will become CEO effective June 1.
  • During Weiner’s tenure, LinkedIn’s revenue increased to more than USD 7.5 billion in the trailing 12 months from USD 78 million.
  • Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26 billion in 2016.

10. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in New Delhi on a five-day state visit to India.

  • During the visit, Mr. Rajapaksa will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and call on President Ram Nath Kovind.
  • He will be accorded a ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan tomorrow.
  • Prime Minister Rajapaksa is also scheduled to visit Varanasi, Sarnath, Gaya and Tirupati.

 

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