Table of Contents
Daily Current Affairs for Government Exams:
Today Current Affairs: 10th February 2020 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
- Vigilance Wing for Health in Kerala.
- Li-ion batteries.
- No mandamus can be issued by the court directing state governments to provide reservations.
- Guru Ravidas Jayanti.
- Reservation in promotion in public posts, not a fundamental right: SC.
- Muktoshri rice.
- Indian diaspora
- Poor status of compensation to survivors of trafficking.
- Other important current affairs.
1. Vigilance Wing for Health in Kerala:
Kerala government has proposed to set up a Vigilance Wing in the Health Department to monitor private practice by doctors and crackdown on quackery. There were complaints against doctors regarding the violation of private practice ban and matters involving medico-legal issues.
- A police officer is likely to head the Vigilance Wing.
- The Vigilance Wing will detect private practice by medical education service doctors, the crackdown on quackery and unearth ethically dubious financial relationships between State doctors and diagnostic clinics, pharmacies, and health care firms in the private sector.
- It will also monitor healthcare advertising and flag false claims aired by healthcare companies to mass-market pharmaceutical and Ayurveda drugs without doctor’s prescription as off-the-shelf cures for a wide range of ailments.
- The wing will also prosecute self-styled healers who exploit their influence in the social media to fuel unhealthy skepticism about government’s vaccination programs and offer resistance against the State’s efforts to prevent the spread of global viral outbreaks such as the Corona pandemic.
2. Li-ion batteries:
The Union Science Ministry informed Lok Sabha about the imports of Li-ion batteries which are vital for powering a range of devices from cellphones to electric vehicles.
- India has quadrupled its imports of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries and more than tripled its import bill on the product from 2016-2018.
- 175 million such batteries were imported in 2016, 313 million in 2017, 712 million in 2018 and 450 million from January 1, 2019, till November 30 of that year.
- The cost of these imports rose from $383 million in 2016 to $929 million (₹6,500 crores) in 2019.
- Indian manufacturers source Li-ion batteries from China, Japan, and South Korea and the country is among the largest importers in the world.
In June 2018, the Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CECRI) in Tamil Nadu’s Karaikudi, under the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), and RAASI Solar Power Pvt. Ltd. signed an MoU for transfer of technology for India’s first lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery project.
- To promote indigenous development of such batteries, the Union Cabinet in 2019 approved a program, called a National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage, under the NITI Aayog to “drive clean, connected, shared, sustainable and holistic mobility initiatives.”
3. No mandamus can be issued by the court directing state governments to provide reservations.:
The Supreme Court has ruled that no mandamus can be issued by the court directing state governments to provide reservations.
- Mandamus literally means ‘we command’. When issued to a person or body, the writ of mandamus demands some activity on their part.
- It orders the person or body to perform a public or quasi-public duty, which they have refused to perform, and where no other adequate legal remedy exists to enforce the performance of that duty.
- Under Article 361, mandamus cannot be granted against the President or Governor of a State, “for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office or for any act done or purporting to be done by him in the exercise and performance of those powers and duties”.
- The writ also cannot be issued against a private individual or body, except where the State is in collusion with the private party for contravening a provision of the Constitution or a statute.
- The writ cannot be issued unless the legal duty is of public nature, and to whose performance the applicant of the writ has a legal right.
- The remedy is of a discretionary nature a court can refuse to grant it when an alternative remedy exists.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has arrested the country’s first ‘darknet’ narcotics operative under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
- Darknet refers to the hidden internet platform used for narcotics sale, exchange of pornographic content and other illegal activities by using the secret alleys of the onion router (ToR- free and open-source software for enabling anonymous communication) to stay away from the surveillance of law enforcement agencies.
- It is tough to crack because of its end-to-end encryption.
- The payment gateways of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoins and Litecoin were used by the operators to conceal the transactions from regulatory agencies.
- The NCB was part of a global ‘Operation Trance’, launched in December 2019, which is a joint intelligence-gathering action on international postal, express mail and courier shipments containing psychotropic drugs (which can only be purchased on a doctor’s prescription) that are abused as sedatives and painkillers.
5. Guru Ravidas Jayanti:
Sant Ravidas Jayanti was celebrated on February 9th.
- Guru Ravidas was a North Indian mystic poet of the bhakti movement.
- While the exact year of his birth is not known, it is believed that the saint was born in 1377 C.E.
- Guru Ravidas Jayanti is celebrated on Magh Purnima, which is the full moon day in the Hindu calendar month of Magha.
- The Adi Granth of Sikhs, in addition to the Panchgani, are the two of the oldest documented sources of the literary works of Guru Ravidas.
- Notably, he belonged to an untouchable caste and suffered a lot of atrocities as a result.
- However, the saint chose to focus on spiritual pursuits and also penned several devotional songs which made a huge impact in the Bhakti movement during the 14th to 16th century CE.
- He is believed to be a disciple of the bhakti saint-poet Ramananda and a contemporary of the bhakti saint-poet Kabir.
- One of his famous disciples was the saint, Mirabai.
- Among Ravidas’s moral and intellectual achievements were the conception of “Begampura”, a city that knows no sorrow; and a society where caste and class have ceased to matter.
6. Reservation in promotion in public posts, not a fundamental right: SC:
The Supreme Court has recently ruled that the states are not bound to provide reservation in appointments and promotions and that there is no fundamental right to reservation in promotions.
- Reservation in promotion in public posts cannot be claimed as a fundamental right.
- Articles 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) of the Constitution does not confer individuals with a fundamental right to claim reservation in promotion.
- It only empowers the State to make a reservation in matters of appointment and promotion in favor of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, only if in the opinion of the State they are not adequately represented in the services of the State.
- State governments are not bound to make a reservation and have discretion in providing reservations.
- The judgment also noted that even the courts could not issue a mandamus directing the States to provide reservation.
Constitutional basis for reservations- Article 335:
- Article 335 recognizes that special measures need to be adopted for considering the claims of SCs and STs in order to bring them to a level playing field.
6. Muktoshri rice:
West Bengal government’s rice research center has come up with a new variety of rice called Muktoshri that can be grown in arsenic prone areas.
It was developed jointly by the Rice Research Station at Chinsurah, coming under West Bengal’s Agriculture Department and the National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow.
- West Bengal has a high concentration of arsenic in groundwater, with 83 blocks across seven districts having higher arsenic levels than permissible limits.
Arsenic- Key facts:
- Arsenic is naturally present at high levels in the groundwater of a number of countries.
- It is also present in rocks and soils.
- Arsenic is highly toxic in its inorganic form.
- World Health Organization’s provisional guideline value for arsenic in drinking water is 0.01 mg/l (10 μg/l).
- The permissible limit of arsenic in India in the absence of an alternative source is 0.05 mg/l (50 μg/l).
7. Indian Diaspora:
There are over 1.36 crore Indian nationals living abroad, according to data tabled by the Ministry of External Affairs in Lok Sabha.
- The highest number of Indians abroad are living in the United Arab Emirates, where the 34,20,000 Indians comprise about one-fourth of all Indians abroad.
- The UAE is followed by Saudi Arabia (25,94,947), the US (12,80,000), Kuwait (10,29,861), Oman (7,79,351), Qatar (7,56,062), Nepal (5,00,000), UK (3,51,000), Singapore (3,50,000) and Bahrain (3,23,292).
- During 2018-2019, $76.4 billion was received as remittances from Indians abroad. During 2019-2020 (April-September), $41.9 billion was received.
8. Poor status of compensation to survivors of trafficking:
Based on the data of the NCRB, a non-profit organization released a report on compensation awarded to survivors of trafficking the country, which highlighted the poor status of compensation awarded during 2011- 2019.
- NCRB reports put the total number of cases of human trafficking at 35,983, but only 82 (0.2%) victims were awarded compensation.
- The report titled ‘UNCOMPENSATE VICTIMS’ was released by Sanjog, a technical resource organization that works to combat trafficking and gender-based violence.
- Following the national outrage over the Nirbhaya gang-rape case (2012), the government had announced ₹1,000 crore fund to be used to combat sexual violence against persons – children or adults.
- The amount of compensation to victims of trafficking varied from State to State, hence the Supreme Court had directed the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to frame a standardized victim compensation scheme.
- The study also reflects the number of trafficking survivors who applied for the victim compensation scheme to their respective legal services authority.
- While 107 individuals applied under the scheme, in 102 cases between 2011 and 2019, courts directed the authorities to release compensation.
Other important current affairs:
1. A new study has pinned the cause of the melting of Thwaites Glacier to the presence of warm water at a vital point beneath the glacier.
- Thwaites Glacier is an Antarctic glacier flowing into Pine Island Bay, part of the Amundsen Sea.
- It is unusually broad and fast glacier with its surface speeds exceeding 2 km/yr near its grounding line.
- The grounding line is the place below a glacier at which the ice transitions between resting fully on bedrock and floating on the ocean as an ice shelf.
- The location of the line is a pointer to the rate of retreat of a glacier.
2. Kaamya Karthikeyan, a twelve-year-old Indian student, has become the youngest girl in the world to summit Mt. Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America.
- At 6962 meters, Mt. Aconcagua is the highest peak outside Asia.
- It lies in the Southern Andes (the world’s longest mountain range that is located along the entire western coast of South America).
- At 8,850 meters, Mount Everest is the highest mountain in Asia and the world.
- Aconcagua is of volcanic origin, but it is not itself an active volcano.
3. Ethiopia is building one of the largest dams in the world, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), on the river Nile near the Sudan border.
- It is Africa’s biggest dam project and will have lasting impacts on its longest river- Nile.
- The hydroelectric dam is being built on the Nile (north-flowing river in Africa), in the lowlands of Ethiopia.
4. Fermentation, the chemical breakdown of a substance by microorganisms such as bacteria or yeasts, results in some of the foods and beverages, including cheese, chocolate, and wine. Now, research has shown it can result in music, too.
- Joshua Rosenstock of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute has shown that the chemical processes of fermentation can be used to create spontaneous tunes.
- He has built multiple art exhibits called Fermentophone – Edible musical instrument made of fermented fruits – to showcase how fermentation can make music.
5. Well-known Hindi novelist Giriraj Kishore passed away at the age of 83.
- Giriraj Kishore was best known for his novel ”Pehla Girmitiya” which was based on Mahatma Gandhi”s stay in South Africa.
- He was awarded the Padma Shri, Sahitya Akademi award and Vyas Samman.
6. Recently, the central government has announced that the rail line to connect the northeastern region with Bangladesh will be ready by the end of 2021.
- The rail line between Agartala in Tripura and Akhaura in Bangladesh would pave the way for the first train to run from the northeastern region to Bangladesh.
- The railway link will connect Gangasagar in Bangladesh to Nischintapur in India and from Nischintapur to Agartala railway station.
7. The Andhra Pradesh state government is preparing to implement the Disha Bill once it gets the nod of the President.
- As per the law, the state has to equip itself with facilities like forensic laboratories, special courts, and public prosecutors.
- Last year, the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly had passed the Andhra Pradesh Disha Bill, 2019 (Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2019).
- Key features of the Bill:
- It envisages the completion of investigation in seven days and trial in 14 working days, where there is adequate conclusive evidence, and reducing the total judgment time to 21 days from the existing four months.
- It prescribes life imprisonment for other sexual offenses against children
- In cases of harassment of women through social or digital media, the Act states two years imprisonment for the first conviction and four years for second and subsequent convictions
- The government will establish exclusive special courts in each district to ensure speedy trial.
8. February 10: National Deworming Day:
- Every year National Deworming Day is observed twice on February 10th and August 10th.
- The event is observed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- The worms mainly spread from the feces of people who defecate in open.
- On Deworming Day, the deworming tablet Albendazole is administered to children.
9. Aditya Mehta from Mumbai, Maharashtra won the National Snooker Championship held at Pune.
- He defeated multiple-time world champion, Pankaj Advani. In Women’s Snooker Finals, Vidya Pillai from Madhya Pradesh won the title.
10. The 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals is to be held in India between February 17, 2020, and February 22, 2020.
- The Conference is called the CMS-COP-13 in short. The Conference is to be hosted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on behalf of India
- India has been designated as the President of the Conference for the next three years.
- The representatives from 130 countries are to participate in the conference.
- Theme: Migratory species Connect the Planet and we welcome them
- The mascot designated for the CMS COP-13 is Indian Bustard.
11. Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu announced that Cauvery Delta is to be declared as Protected Special Agricultural Zone.
- With the zone being Agricultural protected Zone, the permission of the State government is required to undertake projects. This infers that oil exploration projects cannot be undertaken by the private firms without the permission of state government.
- Agricultural Protection Zone: When land is announced as a Protected Agricultural Zone, it cannot be used for any other non-agricultural activities.
12. NASA of the United States and the ESA (European Space Agency) will send space probes to the sun to map its poles.
- The probe will use the gravitational influence of the Earth and Venus to position itself at 26 million miles from the sun.
- It is 95% of the distance between the sun and the earth.
- The probe will map the poles for the first time.
- This will help scientists to observe the solar winds.
- The solar winds permeate the solar system.
13. The researchers of Robert Koch institute in Germany and Humboldt University have founded a mathematical model to predict the global spread of novel coronavirus cases.
- India was ranked 17th in the ranking system. So far three cases have been reported in Kerala. They are all from Kerala
- The highest risk of importing the virus was with Thailand. It was 2.1%. The import risk of India was 0.2% according to the study.
14. Parth: World’s Cheapest Gun Shot Locator developed by Indian Army
- The Indian Army’s College of Military Engineering with a private firm developed the gunshot locators called “Parth”.
- These are much cheaper than the ones imported.
- The device was showcased at DefExpo 2020.
15. Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat Campaign (18-day) gets underway across the country, organised by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
- In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had mooted the idea of a cultural connection between different regions.
- The objectives of Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat include celebrating the Unity in Diversity of our nation and promoting the spirit of national integration through engagement between all states and UT.
16. Oscars 2020: Joaquin Phoenix wins best actor trophy
- Hollywood star Joaquin Phoenix has won the best actor trophy for his performance in “Joker” at the 92nd Academy Awards ceremony at Dolby Theatre in Los Angles, United States.
- Renee Zellweger won the best actress for her poignant portrayal of yesteryear actor-singer Judy Garland in Rupert Goold’s “Judy”.
- Director Bong Joon Hoed has won best director Oscar for his sensational class satire “Parasite” which also won the best film award
17. 5th Dhaka Art Summit inaugurated in Bangladesh
- Dhaka Art Summit ( biennial art extravaganza of Bangladesh) was inaugurated by the State Minister for Cultural Affairs of Bangladesh KM Khalid.
- More than 500 artists, sculptors, architects and art professionals from various countries are participating in the Summit.
- The Summit will also feature live events, panel discussions and puppet shows among other things.