9 PM Current Affairs Brief – August 30, 2019

Status of Policing in India Report 2019

  1. Common Cause and Centre for the Study Developing Societies has released Status of Policing in India Report 2019. The report highlights the dismal work conditions in which the police operate in India.
  2. According to the report, the police force work with just 3/4th of its required capacity. An average police officer works for 14 hours a day, six hours more than what the Model Police Act recommends
  3. The study also found a decline in the total strength of women in the police from 11.4% in 2007 to 10.2% in 2016. Tamil Nadu had highest representation of women at 12.9% in 2016
  4. The report stated that 28% police personnel believe that pressure from politicians is the biggest hindrance in a crime investigation. The other obstacles cited were related to society, legal systems and internal working systems in police
  5. According to the report, 50% of Indian policemen believes that Muslims are “very much” or “somewhat” prone to committing crimes. One-third of policemen also believe that people from Schedule Caste are prone to committing crimes.
  6. The survey also found that while the police personnel were sufficiently trained on physical parameters, weaponry and in crowd control, many lacked training on modules of new technology, cybercrime or forensic technology.

Two new eel species discovered

  1. Two new species of marine eel have been discovered and documented by Estuarine Biology Regional Centre (EBRC) of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) at Gopalpur-on-sea in Odisha.
  2. One of them is a short brown un-patterned moray eel. It has been named ‘Gymnothorax andamanensesis’.
  3. Another species discovered was a white-spotted moray eel which has been named ‘Gymnothorax smithi’
  4. Marine eels are mostly found in shallow waters but some of them live offshore in sandy or clayey bottoms ranging up to 500 metres.
  5. The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) is the premier Indian organization, under Environment Ministry for zoological research and studies to promote the survey, exploration and research of the fauna in India. It was established in 1960. It is headquartered in Kolkata, West Bengal.

T.N.’s Dindigul lock and Kandangi saree get GI tag

  1. Dindigul lock and Kandangi saree from Tamil Nadu have been given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
  2. Dindigul locks are made in an area of 5 km in and around Dindigul in Tamil Nadu. The lock is world famous for their superior quality and durability, and the Dindigul city is often referred to as the “Lock City”.
  3. The Kandangi sarees are manufactured in the entire Karaikudi taluk in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu. They are characterised by large contrast borders.
  4. GI is an Intellectual Property Right. It is a status accorded to a good which is unique to a particular region or area, and is originated from there.
  5. The GI tag in India is governed by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection Act), 1999 and is administered by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  6. Good in the categories of a) Agricultural products (e.g. Nagpur Orange), b) foodstuffs (e.g. Joynagar Moa), c) handicrafts (e.g. Agates of Cambay), d) textile (e.g. Kullu Shawl), e) natural products (e.g. Makrana Marble) and f) manufactured products (e.g. Kannauj Perfume) come under the ambit of GI Tags.
  7.  Darjeeling Tea is the first good to receive a GI Tag in India.

Campaign Angikaar

  1. Ministry of Housing and urban Affairs has launched Angikaar Campaign. The campaign will officially be rolled out in all cities with PMAY (U) on October 2, 2019
  2. It has been launched for social behaviour change, focusing on issues such as water & energy conservation, waste management, health, tree plantation, sanitation and hygiene
  3. The campaign will cover beneficiaries of completed houses under PMAY (U). It will be implemented through community mobilisation and Information Education Communication (IEC) activities.
  4. For this purpose, the campaign will converge with schemes and Missions of other Ministries dealing with these subjects. The convergence would especially focus on Ujjwala for gas connection and Ayushman Bharat for health insurance to the beneficiaries of PMAY (U)
  5. The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Urban (PMAY-U) aims to construct 1.2 crore houses and ensure “Housing for All by 2022” by providing financial assistance to the beneficiaries. It has four components: a) In-situ Slum Redevelopment (ISSR), b) Affordable Housing in Partnership (AHP), c) Beneficiary-led Individual house construction or Enhancement (BLC), and d) Credit-Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS).

National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM), Conferred the Prestigious SKOCH Governance Gold Award

  1. Deendayan Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) has been conferred the prestigious SKOCH Governance Gold Award. DAY-NULM has been awarded for its Portal for Affordable Credit and Interest Subvention Access (PAiSA)
  2. PAiSA was launched in 2018. It is a centralized IT platform which simplifies and streamlines release of interest subvention under the Mission. It offers end to end online solution for processing, payment, monitoring and tracking of interest subvention claims from banks on a monthly basis.
  3. DAY-NULM is a mission under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. It aims to reduce poverty and vulnerability of the urban poor households by enabling them to access gainful self-employment and skilled wage employment opportunities.
  4. SKOCH Award, instituted in 2003, is the highest civilian honour in the country conferred by an independent organisation. It recognises the best of efforts in the area of digital, financial and social inclusion

Centre releases ₹47,436 crore to 27 States for afforestation

  1. The Union Environment Ministry has transferred ₹47,436 crore to 27 States for afforestation. These funds are part of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF).
  2. The CAF comprises of the money paid by developers who have cut down forest for construction and other activities. The fund is used for afforestation and regeneration activities as a way of compensating for forest land diverted to non-forest purposes.
  3. The amount to be paid depends on the economic value of the goods and services that the razed forest would have provided. These include timber, bamboo, firewood, carbon sequestration, soil conservation, water recharge, and seed dispersal.
  4. This is in accordance to the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980, which says that whenever a forest land is to be diverted for non-forestry purposes, the equivalent non forest land has to be identified for compensatory afforestation and funds for raising compensatory afforestation are to be imposed.
  5. The CAF Act 2016 established an independent authority called the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority to execute the fund. Earlier, ad hoc National Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority was set up to manage the fund.
  6. In 2018, Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Rules were put forward. The rule had been criticised on the grounds that it undermined several aspects of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) and the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA).

UN warns of rising seas, storm surges

  1. A draft Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has warned that rising global ocean waterline could displace 250 million people by 2100.
  2. The report further noted that there could be a hundred-fold or more increase in the damages caused by superstorms.
  3. It noted that cryosphere has been damaged by man-made warming, with ice sheets shedding more than 400 billion tonnes in mass each year. The cryosphere is the frozen water part of the Earth system.
  4. Also, at least 30% of the northern hemisphere’s surface permafrost could melt by end of 21stcentury if global emissions remain unchecked.
  5. The IPCC is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations. It provides policymakers with regular scientific assessments on climate change, its implications and potential future risks. It also puts forward adaptation and mitigation options

Safe Cities Index 2019

  1. UK based, Economist Intelligence Unit, has released Safe Cities Index 2019. It ranks 60 countries worldwide across five continents.
  2. It measures the multi-faceted nature of urban safety, with indicators categorised as digital, infrastructure, health and personal security.
  3. Tokyo ranked overall the safest city followed by Singapore and Osaka.
  4. Mumbai has been ranked as the 45th safest city. Delhi stood at 52nd position.
  5. New Delhi and Mumbai have both ranked 47th in terms of Digital Security; Mumbai ranked 50th, while New Delhi ranked 51st in terms of Health Security; Mumbai ranked 50th, while New Delhi ranked 57th in terms of Infrastructure Security; and in Personal Security, Mumbai ranked 37th, while New Delhi ranked 41st.

Union HRD Minister launches Integrated Online junction for School Education ‘Shagun’

  1. Union Human Resource Development(HRD) Minister has launched an Integrated Online junction for School Education ‘Shagun’.
  2. Shagun is an initiative to improve school education system by creating a junction for all online portals and websites relating to various activities of the Department of School Education and Literacy.
  3. The word Shagun is coined from two different words- ‘Shala’ meaning Schools and ‘Gunvatta’ meaning Quality.
  4. This initiative will enhance the accessibility of information relating to schools and will ensure a holistic approach to transform the education sector.
  5. The portal will also allow common people to directly give their feedback about schools which will further increase the public participation and will ensure accountability and transparency.
  6. Further,the portal will also provide information on schools nearby and navigable vis-a-vis aerial distance between schools so as to help policy-makers in making informed decisions.

Integrated National School Education Treasury (INSET)

  1. Union HRD Minister has announced the setting up of the Integrated National School Education Treasury(INSET).
  2. INSET is envisaged as a fully integrated, instantly accessible and seamless information network for all parameters relating to the students, teachers and schools in the country. 
  3. The aim is to create an easily accessible multi-layered ecosystem of information – school wise, block-wise, district-wise, constituency-wise, state-wise and region-wise. 
  4. The main focus of INSET will be on the following areas (a)Reinforcing and cleaning the data of the Integrated Online Junction through feedback from Stakeholders (b)Ensuring full interoperability among the websites, portals and applications which are already hosted in the junction (c)Creating high quality e-contents, including quizzes and puzzles to enhance learning and also for teachers in aiding classroom transactions and (d)Using artificial intelligence and deep machine learning in a variety of ways to enhance the quality of school education including for designing evidence based inventions.

RBI says lack of domestic demand affecting ‘animal spirits’ of economy

  1. According to the annual report of the RBI,the lack of domestic demand is holding back the animal spirits in the economy. 
  2. Animal spirit is a term used by the British economist,John Maynard Keynes to describe how people arrive at financial decisions including buying and selling securities in times of economic stress or uncertainty.
  3. The report has said that the economic slowdown could be cyclical in nature rather than a deep structural one.But there are some crucial structural issues in land, labour, & agricultural marketing that require urgent reforms.
  4. The report has also emphasised on the need to revive consumption demand and private investment during 2019-20.
  5. This can be revived by (a)strengthening the banking and non-banking sectors (b)big push for spending on infrastructure (c)implementation of much needed structural reforms in the areas of labour laws, taxation and (d)other legal reforms.
  6. Further,the report has said that the Gross Non-Performing Assets (GNPA) ratio of the banking system has declined to 9.1% in March this year from 11.2% in the previous year which is a healthy sign for the financial system.
  7. However,the report has said that non-banking financial companies (NBFC) are under stress due to irrational exuberance and considerable overleveraging with asset-liability mismatches.

TECHSAKSHAM

  1. Union Minister for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) has launched Tech Saksham.
  2. The project is a collaboration between the Ministry of MSME and Confederation of Indian Industry(CII).The project will bring together technology majors to address technological gaps faced by MSMEs in their growth.
  3. The aim of the project is to bridge the gap in technology adoption for MSMEs so as to provide an impetus for them to be competitive on a global scale, increase their contribution to country exports and leverage cost efficiencies.
  4. It will be a three-year long comprehensive project.In its first phase,the project would focus on MSMEs in sectors that are labour-intensive and have the propensity to respond positively to tech-adoption.
  5. The platform would also help MSMEs to overcome challenges through multiple policy recommendations, knowledge sessions, mentoring initiatives among others.

E-Course on ‘Vulnerability Atlas of India’

  1. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched an e-course on ‘Vulnerability Atlas of India’.
  2. The objective of the course is to create awareness and understanding about natural hazards and help in identification of regions with high vulnerability such as earthquakes and landslides.
  3. The course would be offered jointly by the School of Planning and Architecture and Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC).
  4. The E-course would also be a tool for effective and efficient disaster mitigation and management in the field of architecture, civil engineering, urban and regional planning, housing and infrastructure planning, construction engineering.

Ghaznavi missile

  1. Pakistan has successfully test-fired surface-to-surface ballistic missile called Ghaznavi.
  2. Ghaznavi is a hypersonic surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile designed and developed by the National Development Complex(NDC).
  3. The missile has an operational range of between 290-320 km.Its first version has been in service with the Pakistan Army’s strategic command since 2004.
  4. The timing of the missile launch is seen as part of a two-pronged effort (a) to internationalise the Kashmir issue at both military and diplomatic levels and (b) to raise the spectre of nuclear war between the two countries.

‘Fit India Movement’

  1. Prime Minister(PM) has launched the Fit India Movement on the occasion of National Sports day.
  2. The movement aims to encourage Indians to include fitness activities and sports in their daily lives to pave way for a healthy and fit lifestyle.
  3. During the occasion,the PM said that many lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension are increasing in India.Hence,small lifestyle changes can prevent these diseases. 
  4. He said that sports has a direct relation to fitness but fit India movement aims to go beyond fitness.It sees fitness as not just a word but an essential pillar to a healthy and prosperous life.
  5. National Sports Day is celebrated on 29th August every year to mark the birth anniversary of legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand.

Shaheen VIII

  1. Pakistan and China are conducting joint bilateral aerial exercise named Shaheen VIII.
  2. The exercise is being conducted at Chinese city of Holton which is close to the Indian border near Ladakh.
  3. This is the eight edition of this aerial exercise which is conducted annually by both the countries.
  4. The exercise is aimed at developing a mechanism for interoperability of both countries air forces.It is also touted as a means to enhance close relations between both countries.
  5. In this edition of exercise,Pakistan is participating with its JF-17 fighter aircraft while China is taking part with their J-10 and J-11 fighters.

Russia set to offer submarines during Modi-Putin summit

  1. Indian Prime minister will be visiting Russia as the guest of honour at Eastern Economic Forum(EEF).The bilateral summit will also be held on the sidelines of the EEF.
  2. During the bilateral summit,Russia is likely to offer India its conventional submarines on the government-to-government route under the Indian Navy’s Project-75I.
  3. The Russian submarine will likely be based on the Amur 1650 conventional submarine modified to suit Indian requirements.
  4. The Project 75I-class submarine is a follow-on of the Project 75 Kalvari-class submarines for the Indian Navy.
  5. Under this project,the Indian Navy intends to acquire six diesel-electric submarines which will feature advanced Air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems to enable them to stay submerged for longer duration and substantially increase their operational range.

China’s new drug law may open door for Indian generic medicines: Report

  1. China has passed a revised drug law.The revised drug law removes drugs that are legal in foreign countries but not approved in China from the category of fake medicines.
  2. The revised law will also mean that residents who use the drugs without official approval can be granted leniency if the amount of the drug is small and will not be punished if the drug does not cause health problems or delay in treatment.
  3. This decision will also allow Chinese residents to access effective and cheap generic drugs from India especially to treat ailments like cancer.
  4. However,the announcement did not mention how the medicines could be procured as they are not available at pharmacies.
  5. According to a 2011 World Bank report,lack of access to drugs emerged as a burgeoning problem for the Chinese government as heart disease, strokes and chronic lung disease accounted for 80% of the deaths.
  6. Further,India has been demanding that China open its pharmaceutical market to Indian drugs as part of the efforts to lower the USD 57 billion trade deficit in about USD 95.5 billion total trade last year.

‘100% FDI in coal will boost competitiveness’

  1. Recently,Union cabinet has decided to permit 100% foreign direct investment(FDI) in the coal sector.
  2. This decision is likely to help the coal-bearing states to get more revenue and bring in more players to create an efficient and competitive coal market.
  3. However,experts have said that right kind of policies are needed to ensure that global players come to India.
  4. The policies would include a (a)single-window clearance to ensure approvals on environment clearance (b)mining leases and (c)land acquisition are processed in a time bound manner.
  5. Further,the foreign investment will be beneficial for India as it is among the few remaining markets where coal mining and demand for the resource is growing.In most other countries,demand has peaked.

Bank frauds rise 74%, says RBI

  1. According to Reserve Bank of India’s annual report,the amount involved in bank frauds has increased by 74% over the last one year.
  2. Among the banks,the public sector banks(PSBs) have accounted for the bulk of frauds at around 90% of total fraud amount.It was followed by private sector banks and foreign banks.
  3. The report said that most of these frauds were because of cheating and forgery followed by misappropriation & criminal breach of trust.
  4. Another point of concern for RBI was that the banks took an average of nearly 2 years to detect the frauds. 
  5. To curb this menace,the RBI has said that it would coordinate with various agencies including the ministry of corporate affairs to examine the feasibility of interlinking various databases and information systems to improve the system of fraud monitoring and take necessary corrective regulatory and supervisory action.

CSIR and GAIL join hands to scale up production of diesel from Plastic waste

  1. Union Minister for Science and Technology has inaugurated a waste plastic to diesel plant in Dehradun.
  2. The plant has been set up in CSIR- Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) whose scientists will process waste plastics into fuel.The technology has been developed under the GAIL’s sponsorship.
  3. Using this plant,polyolefinic wastes which accounts for approximately 70% of total plastics consumed can be converted to automotive grade diesel through environmentally friendly process.
  4. The plant has the capacity to produce 800-litre diesel from one tonne of plastic.The fuel meets the specifications for use in vehicles.The diesel will be made available to government,police and army vehicles for regular use.
  5. According to Central Pollution Control Board(CPCB) report,India generates 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste everyday but 40% of it remains uncollected.
  6. The uncollected waste causes choking of drainage and river systems, ingestion by stray animals, soil and water pollution and open air burning leading to adverse impacts on human health and environment. 
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