9 PM Current Affairs Brief – April 17th, 2020

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About 9 PM Brief- With the 9 PM Current affairs brief we intend to provide our readers daily free digest of articles and editorials from multiple sources which are usually left out by aspirants. This will provide you with analysis, broad coverage and factual information in all in one pill for your IAS and IFS preparation. Take this pill daily to learn more.

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National Legal Services Authority(NALSA)

News:According to the National Legal Services Authority(NALSA), around 11,077 undertrials have been released from prisons nationwide as part of the mission to decongest jails following the Covid-19 pandemic.


  • NALSA has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.
  • Aim: To provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.
  • Chairman: The Chief Justice of India is the Patron-in-Chief.
  • Executive Chairman: Second Senior most Judge of the Supreme Court.
  • State Level:State Legal Services Authority is headed by Chief Justice of the respective High Court.
  • District Level: District Legal Services Authority is chaired by the District Judge of the respective district.

Additional Facts:

  • Article 39(a):It is part of the Directive Principles of state policy.It states that equal opportunity to secure justice must not be denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities and provides for free legal aid.
  • Articles 14 and 22(1):It makes it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law and a legal system which promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all.
  • Lok Adalats: It is a forum where disputes/cases pending in the court of law or at pre-litigation stage are settled/ compromised amicably.Lok Adalats have been given statutory status under the Legal Services Authorities Act,1987.

Thrissur Pooram festival

News:Thrissur Pooram festival has been cancelled for the first time due to Coronavirus pandemic.


  • Thrissur Pooram also known as mother of all festivals is a seven day annual Hindu festival conducted in Kerala.
  • It was started in the 18th Century by Sakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of erstwhile Kochi.
  • During the festival, Paramekkavu Devi temple and Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna temple pay their obeisance to Lord Shiva,the presiding deity of the Vadakkunnathan temple at Thrissur.

Additional Facts:

  • Other Major Festivals of Kerala: Onam, Vishu, Thiruvathira, Theyyam Festival, Attukal Pongala, Makaravilakku Festival, Nehru Trophy Boat Race among others.

Russian poplar

News:The Jammu and Kashmir(J&K) High Court has stayed its 2015 order  directing the civil administration to cut down Russian Poplar trees in the union territory of J&K.


  • The name Russian poplar is a misnomer and has nothing to do with Russia.
  • The tree is a Western American species known as Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides) in the US.
  • It was introduced in Kashmir in 1982 from the US under a World Bank-aided social forestry scheme.
  • Benefits:The species takes less time(10-15 years) to grow as compared to the Kashmir poplar that takes 30-40 years.Due to their high yield, poplars are intensively used in the timber and construction industry.
  • Health concerns:During summers, female poplar sheds a cotton-like material carrying seeds that cause allergy and aggravate respiratory disorders.This cotton has become an irritant in the recent past for the locals as well as tourists.

Software Technology Parks of India(STPI)

News:Due to Covid-19 and subsequent lockdown, Government of India has decided to provide relief from payment of four month rental to the small IT units operating out of the Software Technology Parks of India(STPI).


  • Software Technology Parks of India(STPI) is an Autonomous Society set up in 1991 under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
  • Aim: To encourage, promote and boost the Software Exports from India.
  • Headquarters: New Delhi.

Post-Intensive Care Syndrome(PICS)

News:After leaving the Intensive care unit(ICU), some Covid-19 patients may suffer from what is known as post-intensive care syndrome(PICS).


  • Post-intensive care syndrome(PICS) is a collection of physical, mental and emotional symptoms that continue to persist after a patient leaves the intensive care unit(ICU).
  • Causes: Prolongedmechanical ventilation, experienced sepsis, multiple organ failure and a prolonged duration of bed-restore deep sedation.
  • Symptoms:Generalised weakness, fatigue, decreased mobility, anxious or depressed mood, sexual dysfunction, sleep disturbances and cognitive issues.
  • Treatment: Physical and occupational therapy, lowest dose of pain medications, treatments for depression, anxiety among others.

Crisis Recovery Facility

News:Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank(AIIB) has set up a US$10 billion Crisis Recovery Facility in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.


  • Aim:To provide financing to both public and private sector entities within its members facing serious adverse impacts as a result of Coronavirus pandemic.

Additional Facts:


  • The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank(AIIB) is an international financial institution formed in 2016.
  • Aim:To provide finance to infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Headquarters:Beijing,China.
  • Members: India is one of the founding members.
  • Voting rights: China is the largest shareholder followed by India and Russia

RBI launches OBICUS

News: The Reserve Bank of India (RIBI) launched the 49th round of OBICUS of manufacturing sector for the reference period January-March 2020.According to the latest survey, capacity utilisation (CU) had declined to 68.6% in the third quarter of 2019-20 from 69.1% in the previous quarter.


  • OBICUS stands for Order Books, Inventories and Capacity Utilisation Survey.
  • It provides an insight into the demands of the Indian manufacturing sector.
  • It is conducted quarterly (4 times in a year). The first survey was conducted in 2008.
  • The information collected in the survey includes quantitative data on:
    • new orders received during the reference quarter,
    • backlog of orders,
    • pending orders,
    • total inventories with a breakup between work-in-progress (WiP) and finished goods (FG) inventories
    • item-wise production.

National Conference on Kharif Crops, 2020

News: National Conference on Kharif crops was held on April 16, 2020, through video conferencing


Key highlights of National Conference on Kharif Crops 2020:

  • Target of foodgrains for the year fixed at 2020-21 at 298 million tonnes.
  • Initiatives to combat Covid-19 impact on agriculture discussed:
  • All India Agri Transport Call Centre started to facilitate inter-state movement of perishables amid lockdown
  • Intensification of “Per drop more crop” under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana
  • format of State Action Plan for advance planning and implementation of the National Food & Nutritional Security Mission simplified
  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, Rs 16,621 disbursed to help farmers.
  • Minimum Support Price (MSP) is to be fixed at a level at least 2 times the cost of production.
  • New guidelines for E-Nam initiative to avoid crowding  at mandis and help farmers in selling their produce.

Additional facts:

Cropping Seasons:

  • The kharif cropping season is from June-September during the south-west monsoon.  Major Kharif crops include rice, maize, sorghum, groundnut etc
  • Rabi cropping season extends from October-March (winter).Major Rabi crops are wheat, barley,oats etc.
  • Zaid cropping season extends from March- June. examples of Zaid crops are watermelon, bitter gourd etc.

Survey of India maps to bolster Arogya Setu app

News:The Department of Science and Technology (DST), has created an Integrated Geospatial Platform to help government agencies and healthcare professionals take vital decisions during the Covid-19 outbreak


  • The platform will have information on biomedical waste disposals, containment areas, available hospitals for Covid-19 cases, ICMR testing laboratories, and quarantine camps.
  • Mobile app SAHYOG, prepared & managed by the Survey of India (SoI), has been customized to collect COVID-19 specific geospatial datasets. It will help collect location specific data with the help of community workers.
  • SAHYOG will complement the “AAROGYA-SETU” mobile application.

Additional Facts:

Survey of India

  • Survey of India is the national survey and mapping organization of India. It functions under the Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • It was set up in 1767 and is the oldest scientific department of India.
  • It provides user focused, cost effective, and reliable and quality geospatial data, information and intelligence to meet the needs of national security, sustainable national development and information markets.

Aarogya- Setu App

  • It has been developed through Public Private partnership under the guidance of National Informatics Centre(NIC), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology(MeitY).
  • It enables people to assess the risk of catching the Corona Virus infection based on their interaction with others using cutting edge Bluetooth technology, algorithms and artificial intelligence.
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