Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 14th December 2019

Daily Current Affairs for Prelims | PT Exam:

Today Current Affairs: 14th December 2019  for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc.

 

1. 7th Economic Census: First time digital; to be completed by 2020:

The Seventh Economic Census is being conducted nationwide through Common Service Centres (CSC) and is expected to be completed by March 2020. This is the first time the census is being conducted digitally.

About the Economic Census:

  • The Indian Economic Census is counting entrepreneurial units in the country.
  • It involves both agricultural and non-agricultural activities.
  • It provides information such as the number of persons employed, number of establishments, type of ownership, source of finance, etc.
  • The information provided by the census is used to plan and assess the contribution of various sectors towards the GDP of the country.

Indian Economic Census:

The Indian Economic Census was first launched in 1977. So far 6 censuses have been conducted in the years 1977, 1980, 1990, 1998, 2005, 2013. The economic census 1980 and 1990 were integrated with the population census.

 

2. Accessible India Campaign:

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment informed Lok Sabha that the deadline for the government’s Accessible India campaign has been extended to March 2020 due to slow progress.

About:

Accessible India campaign aims at making public spaces friendly for persons with disabilities.

All existing and new public buildings have to follow the accessibility standards notified on June 15, 2017. The existing buildings were given five years to comply.

The original deadlines under the Accessible India campaign were July 2016 for conducting an accessibility audit of 25-50 of the most important government buildings in 50 cities and making them completely accessible and March 2018.

The decision to extend the deadline was taken by the Central Advisory Board chaired by Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot.

 

3. UNESCO representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity:

This year, UNESCO has included 20 elements – such as “Nuad” Thai massage, Irish harping, Portugal’s Carnival of Podence – in its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity at its recent meeting that was held in Bogota, Columbia.

About:

Intangible culture is that part of the culture that cannot be touched but can only be recorded. It includes performing arts like songs, music, drama, skills, crafts, etc.

Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted in 2003. India ratified it in 2007.

Till date, this list includes 13 intangible cultural heritage items from India:

The most recent addition was made in 2017 when Kumbh Mela was added to the list. The first three entries were made in 2008, when Vedic chanting, Ramlila and Sanskrit theatre Kutiyattam were added.

From India the Intangible Cultural Heritages added into this list include:

  1. The tradition of Vedic chanting.
  2. Ramlila, the traditional performance of the Ramayana.
  3. Kutiyattam, Sanskrit theatre.
  4. Ramman, religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal Himalayas.
  5. Mudiyettu, ritual theatre and dance drama of Kerala.
  6. Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan.
  7. Chhau dance.
  8. Buddhist chanting of Ladakh: the recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in the trans-Himalayan Ladakh region, Jammu and Kashmir.
  9. Sankirtana, ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur.
  10. Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab.
  11. Kumbh Mela.
  12. Yoga
  13. Nowruz, Iranian New Year

 

4. National Energy Conservation Day:

The National Energy Conservation Day is organized every year on 14th December by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE).

Aim: It aims to showcase India’s achievements in energy efficiency and conservation while working for its ambition of holistic development as part of the nation’s overall effort towards climate change mitigation.

BEE is observing National Energy Conservation Week from 9th to 14th December 2019 in order to drive mass awareness about the importance of energy efficiency and conservation.

In order to realize the development goals, India’s energy demand is expected to double between 2013 and 2030, to approximately 1500 million tons of oil equivalent.

National Energy Conservation Awards Programme:

It recognizes the energy efficiency achievements in 56 sub-sectors across industry, establishments, and institutions.
Ministry of Power is implementing various policies and schemes viz The Perform, Achieve, and Trade (PAT) Scheme, Standard and Labelling and Demand Side Management.

These programs are helpful in achieving significant energy savings and also, in the promotion of the efficient use of energy across society.

Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE):

  • BEE is a statutory body under the Ministry of Power which is mandated to implement policy and programs in the area of energy efficiency and conservation.
  • The objective of such initiatives is to reduce energy intensity in our country by optimizing energy demand and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) which are responsible for global warming and climate change.

 

5. National Centre For Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM):

Union Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change informed Lok Sabha about the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM).

About:

  • The Ministry of Environment has set up the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) at Chennai.
  • It has been set up to undertake studies and research in the area of Coastal Zone Management including coastal resources and environment.
  • It advises the Union and State Governments and other associated stakeholders (s) on policy, and scientific matters related to Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM).
  • For the first time, Integrated Island Management plans including holistic island development plans have been prepared by NCSCM for implementation by coastal States/ UTs.

 

6. E-Commerce:

The government has issued new rules that make it compulsory for e-commerce companies with foreign investments to submit an audit report every year, showing that they have been in compliance with the FDI rules for the sector.

About: According to a notification amending the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999,  e-commerce companies have to obtain a statutory auditor report by the end of September each year for the preceding financial year.

 

7. Fund Manager:

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has come out with a draft notification with regard to the remuneration of India-based fund managers who are managing funds of overseas investors.

About:

Section 9A of the Income-tax Act, 1961, provides for a special taxation regime in respect of certain offshore funds in the context of their fund managers being located in India.

Finance (No 2) Act, 2019 amended section 9A so as to provide that the remuneration paid by the fund to an eligible fund manager in respect of fund management activity undertaken by him on its behalf is not less than the amount calculated in such manner as may be prescribed.

 

8. Atal Bhujal Yojna:

Minister of Jal Shakti informed Lok Sabha about the Atal Bhujal Yojana.

About:

The World Bank has approved Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY), an Rs.6,000 Crore Central Sector Scheme, for sustainable management of groundwater resources with community participation.

The funding pattern is 50:50 between the Government of India and the World Bank.

The scheme envisages active participation of the communities in various activities such as the formation of Water User Associations, monitoring and disseminating groundwater data, water budgeting, preparation and implementation of Gram-Panchayat wise water security plans, etc.

The identified water-stressed areas for the implementation of the scheme fall in the States of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.

 

9. Ministry of Home Affairs deploys drones to destroy hidden marijuana plantations:

The Ministry of Home Affairs along with the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) will investigate illegal plantations of marijuana plantations and destroy them deploying drones before the plants are harvested. The ministry is to use the help of satellites to detect the crops.

Highlights:

The US uses airplanes and drones to detect illegal plantations of marijuana. In 2018, India seized 414 tons of marijuana plants in more than 24,000 cases filed. The satellite data is to be collected by the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau.

Marijuana Smuggling:

The smuggling of Marijuana is predominant in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal. Haryana and Rajasthan. Among these states, large scale smuggling of marijuana occurs from Tuticorin port in Tamil Nadu to the Maldives.

About marijuana: is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant used for medical or recreational purposes.

 

10. Nagaland extends Inner Line Permit regime to Dimapur district:

The state government of Nagaland has extended Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime to Dimapur district, which is the commercial hub of the state.

Dimapur was the only district that was not under the ILP regime unlike the rest of Nagaland, which came into being in 1963. The ILP regime was also extended to neighboring Manipur with President Ram Nath Kovind signing the order in this effect.

What is the ILP regime?

The main aim of the ILP system is to prevent the settlement of other Indian nationals in these states to protect the indigenous population. Thus to visit ILP-regime states, the outsiders, including people from other states of the country, need to take permission.

What is the sudden need for ILP?

With the passing of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill by parliament, there have been widespread protests in the Northeast against it.

According to the act, members of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, till 31 December 2014, facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah had also announced that proposed law will not be applicable to ILP regime states and areas governed under the 6th Schedule of Constitution.

 

11. Essential Medicines:(Drug price control order).

India’s drug pricing regulator, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), has allowed an increase in the maximum retail prices of 21 drugs currently under price control by as much as 50%.

The decision has been taken by invoking paragraph 19 of the Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO), 2013 which until now has been used only to reduce the prices of stents and knee implants.

Most of these drugs are used as the first line of treatment and are crucial to the public health program of the country.
The decision by the NPPA will apply to formulations like the BCG vaccine for tuberculosis, vitamin C, antibiotics like metronidazole and benzylpenicillin, antimalarial drug chloroquine and leprosy medication dapsone.

The decision has been taken to ensure that life-saving essential drugs must remain available to the general public at all times. This is to avoid a situation where these drugs become unavailable in the market and the public is forced to switch to costly alternatives.

This is the first time the NPPA — which is known to slash prices of essential and life-saving medicines — is increasing prices in public interest. In the longer-term, India needs to build capabilities to manufacture the key ingredients for these medicines.

 

12. National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management:

The National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) is established under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to undertake studies and research in the area of Coastal Zone Management including coastal resources and environment.

It is located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

Objective:

  • It aims to promote integrated and sustainable management of the coastal and marine areas in India for the benefit and wellbeing of the traditional coastal and island communities.
  • It also intends to promote sustainable coasts through increased partnership, conservation practices, scientific research, and knowledge benefit and well being of current and future generations.

 

13. Disha Bill:

The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly has passed the Andhra Pradesh Disha Bill, 2019 (Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2019).

Disha is the name given to a veterinarian who was raped and murdered in Hyderabad on November 27.

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 and includes Section 354 F and 354 G in IPC.
  • 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. For this, a new Section 354 E will be added to IPC, 1860.
  • As per the Bill, the Andhra Pradesh government will establish, operate and maintain a register in electronic form, to be called the ‘Women & Children Offenders Registry’. This registry will be made public and will be available to law enforcement agencies.

The government will constitute special police teams at the district level to be called District Special Police Team to be headed by DSP for investigation of offenses related to women and children. The government will also appoint a special public prosecutor for each exclusive special court.

 

14. International Geological Congress:

India is gearing up to host the 36th International Geological Congress (IGC) in March 2020.

Facts:

  • India is the only Asian country to host the event twice.
  • In 1964, India had hosted it for the first time, which was the 22nd IGC.
  • Geological Survey of India is the nodal agency for organizing the event.

About International Geological Congress: It is a global geoscientific event held once in four years and participated by around 5000-6000 geoscientists from all across the world.

  • Theme: ‘Geosciences: The Basic Science for a Sustainable Development’.

 

15. The new definition of kilogram:

The prototype of one kilogram (NPK-57) is now available in India and placed at the National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi.

Background: Scientists, last year, have changed the way the kilogram is defined. The decision was made at the General Conference on Weights and Measures. The new definitions came into force on 20 May 2019.

How does the new system work?

Electromagnets generate a force. Scrap-yards use them on cranes to lift and move large metal objects, such as old cars.

The pull of the electromagnet, the force it exerts, is directly related to the amount of electrical current going through its coils. There is, therefore, a direct relationship between electricity and weight.

So, in principle, scientists can define a kilogram, or any other weight, in terms of the amount of electricity needed to counteract the weight (gravitational force acting on a mass).

 

16. Prime Minister chairs the first meeting of National Ganga Council:

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi chaired the first meeting of the National Ganga Council in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh today.

The Council has been given overall responsibility for the superintendence of pollution prevention and rejuvenation of River Ganga Basin, including Ganga and its tributaries.

The first meeting of the Council was aimed at reinforcing the importance of a ‘Ganga-centric’ approach in all departments of the concerned states as well as relevant Central Ministries.

For the first time, the Central Government had made a commitment of Rs. 20,000 crores for the period 2015-20 to the five states through which Ganga passes, to ensure adequate as well as uninterrupted water flows in the river. Rs. 7700 crores have already been spent so far, prominently for the construction of new sewage treatment plants.

 

17. November retail inflation reaches 5.54%, at 3 year high:

  • India retail inflation in November rose 5.54%(from 4.62% in October).
  • Higher food prices contributed to the spike.
  • Food price inflation climbed 10.01% in November.
  • Inflation based on the consumer price index was 4.62%in November.

 

18. MOODY’s reduces India GDP for fy20 to 5.6%:

Moody’s Investors Service on Thursday slashed India’s economic growth forecast to 5.6 percent for 2019, saying government measures do not address the widespread weakness in consumption demand.

Moody’s had on October 10 slashed India’s economic growth forecast for 2019-20 fiscal to 5.8 percent from an earlier estimate of 6.2 percent.

 

19. Nirmala Sitharaman among world’s 100 most powerful women: Forbes:

The Forbes 2019 list of ‘The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’ has been topped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Sitharaman, a newcomer on the Forbes most powerful women list, is ranked 34th. India’s first female finance minister, Sitharaman has also served as the country’s defense minister.

 

Other Important Daily Current Affairs:

1. Angela Merkel tops 2019 Forbes’ List of World’s most powerful women. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has topped the Forbes’ 2019 edition of 100 World’s Most Powerful Women for the ninth consecutive year.

2. On December 13, 2019, the Ministry of Coal initiated the auction process of 27 coal mines. Out of the 27 coal mines, applications were received for 6 mines. It includes mines at Bikram, Brahmapuri, Bhaskarpara, Jagannathpur, and Jamkhani.

3. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and National Board of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) signed Memorandum of Understanding on December 13, 2019. The agreement was signed to facilitate the research and technologies to develop climate-resilient practices in the agriculture sector and hi-tech farming practices.

4. India Design Council (IDC) launched two initiatives, called Design Education Quality Mark (DEQM) and Chartered Designs of India (CDI), with the objective to support and set standards for the design profession. The initiatives will harmonize the different education systems whilst taking into account their great diversity.

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