9 PM Current Affairs Brief – December 14th, 2019

Economic Census Flagged off in Delhi

News: The Seventh Economic Census was launched in the National Capital Territory of Delhi.


About Economic Census

  • Economic Census is a complete count of all economic establishments located within the geographical boundary of India.
  • It is conducted every five years by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI). The first Economic census was held in 1978.
  • The MoSPI has partnered with Common Service Centres e-Governance Services India Limited, Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) as the implementing agency for 7th Economic Census.

Additional Information:

Other Important Censuses

  1. Population Census: It provides information on size, distribution and socio-economic, demographic and other characteristics of India’s population. It is conducted every 10 years by the Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs. The first synchronous census in India was held in 1881.
  2. Socio-Economic Caste Census: It is a study of socio economic status of rural and urban households and allows ranking of households based on predefined parameters. It is conducted by Ministry of Rural Development in rural areas and Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation in urban areas. The census is under the administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs: Registrar General of India (RGI) and Census Commissioner of India.
  3. Agriculture Census: It provides information on basic characteristics of operational holdings such as land use and cropping patterns, irrigation status, tenancy particulars and the terms of leasing. It is conducted every 5 years by the Ministry of Agriculture.
  4. Livestock Census: It provides information on all domesticated animals. It is conducted every 5 years by Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying under Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying

Targets missed, Accessible India campaign’s deadline extended

News: The deadline for the Accessible India campaign has been extended to March 2020.


Accessible India Campaign- Sugamaya Bharat Abhiyan

  •  It is a nation-wide Campaign launched by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in 2015.
  • It aims to provide universal accessibility to persons with disabilities. 
  • It focuses on developing an accessible physical environment, transportation system, and Information & communication ecosystem.
  • The campaign targeted to complete accessibility audit of 25-50 of the most important government buildings in 50 cities by 2016 and making them completely accessible by 2018.

Additional Information:

Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016

  • The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 replaced the PwD Act, 1995
  • In the Act, the types of disabilities have been increased from 7 (as in PwD Act, 1995) to 21 and the Central Government has been empowered to add more types of disabilities.
  • It states that every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years have been given the right to free education.
  • The Act also calls to ensure accessibility in public buildings (both Government and private) in a prescribed time-frame.

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana for Disabled Persons: It is a scheme for providing Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens belonging to the BPL category. It was launched by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in 2017.

44,000-year-old cave art in Indonesia is ‘world’s oldest’

News: According to a study published in the journal “Nature”, oldest animal drawing has been found in Indonesia.


  • The painting has been discovered in a cave called Leang Bulu’Sipong 4 in the south of Sulawesi, Indonesia. It has been found to be 44,000 years old.
  • Until now, the oldest rock art showing animals, dating back to 40000 year, had been an ivory sculpture found in a cave in Germany.

Additional Information:

Pre-historic paintings in India:

  • Pre-historic paintings were first discovered in Bhimbetaka caves in Madhya Pradesh in 1957–58 by eminent archaeologist V.S. Wakankar.
  • Some of the examples of sites early rock paintings are Lakhudiyar in Uttarakhand, Kupgallu in Telangana, Piklihal and Tekkalkotta in Karnataka, Bhimbetka and Jogimara in Madhya Pradesh.

Classification of Pre-historic paintings in India

  • The pre-historic rock paintings in India can be classified into various groups on the basis of style, technique and superimposition
Period Characteristics
Upper Palaeolithic Use of minerals for pigments Ochre or geru mixed with lime and water- one of most common minerals Linear representations in green and dark red for large animals For human figurines, red was used for hunters and green for dancers
Mesolithic Period Themes multiply Size of painting smaller than Upper Palaeolithic Hunting scenes predominate Wide prevalence in the use of red colour
Chalcolithic Period The paintings of this period reveal the association, contact, and mutual
exchange of requirements of the cave dwellers Most paintings depict battle scenes Paintings bear common motifs such as cross-hatched squares, lattices Pottery and metals tools are also shown

International Universal Health Coverage Day

News: Universal Health Coverage Day is celebrated on 12thDecember.


  • Universal health Coverage (UHC): It is defined as ensuring that all people have access to needed health services of sufficient quality without suffering financial hardship. It includes health promotion, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care.
  • Background: UHC Day was proclaimed by the United Nations in 2017. It marks the day when in 2012 the UNGA endorsed a resolution urging countries to accelerate progress toward UHC.
  • Aim: To raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems and universal health coverage with multi-stakeholder partners.
  • 2019 Theme: ‘Keep the Promise’.
  • UHC and Sustainable Development Goal: SDG 3.8 calls for achieving universal health coverage. This includes financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all by 2030.

Additional Information:

Ayushman Bharat:

  • The scheme was launched in 2018 as recommended by the National Health Policy 2017, to achieve the vision of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The scheme is under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The main aim of the scheme is to provide universal health care to the poor, needy and vulnerable sections of the country. The scheme covers both prevention and health promotion.
  • National Health Authority is the apex body responsible for implementing ‘Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana’.
  • The two flagship programmes under Ayushman Bharat programme are (a) Health and Wellness Centre and (b) Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY).

Health and Wellness Centre:

  • Under this, 1.5 lakh health care centres will be established.
  • These centres will provide comprehensive health care (including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services), free essential drugs and diagnostic services.

Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY):

  • It is the world’s largest health insurance scheme fully financed by the government.
  • PM-JAY provides cover of Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization across public and private empaneled hospitals in India.
  • It provides cashless access to health care services for the beneficiary at the point of service, that is, the hospital. It covers up to 3 days of pre-hospitalization and 15 days post-hospitalization expenses such as diagnostics and medicines

The government launches a portal to showcase Indian culture

News: The Ministry of Culturehas unveiled the Indian culture web portal


About the portal

  • It is a digital resource of documents, artefacts, paintings and other items available in the archive.
  • The Indian Culture portal was envisioned by the Ministry of Culture and was created by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, in collaboration with IGNOU
  • It is the first government authorized portal where knowledge and cultural resources of various organizations of Ministry of Culture are available in public domain on a single platform

PM Modi chairs National Ganga Council meeting

News: The National Ganga Council will meet on 14th December in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh


About National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga (National Ganga Council)

  • It has been established as an Authority under National Council for River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Act, 2016.


  • It comprises the chief ministers of 5 states along the Ganga — Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Jharkhand. Other members include nine Union ministers and the NITI Aayog vice-chairman.
  • Prime minister of India is the chairperson of the Council.

Mandate: Superintendence, direction, development and control of River Ganga and the entire River Basin for prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution in river Ganga.

Additional Information:

Namami Gange:

  • It was launched in 2014. It is an Integrated Conservation Mission under Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  • Aim: achieve effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.
  • Main Pillars:
    • Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure,
    • River-Surface Cleaning,
    • Afforestation,
    • Industrial Effluent Monitoring,
    • River-Front Development,
    • Bio-Diversity,
    • Ganga Gram and
    • Public Awareness

Institutional structure for policy and implementation: A 5 tier structure was put forward by National Council for River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Act, 2016

  1. National Ganga Council
  2. Empowered Task Force (ETF) on river Ganga: It functions under chairmanship of Union Minister of Jal Shakti. It ensures that states, ministries, departments have an action plan with specific activities, milestones, and timeliness for implementing the programme.
  3. National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG): It has been established as an Authority under National Council for River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Act, 2016. It is the implementing agency of the Namami Gange Programme at the national level.
  4. State Ganga Committees oversee the implementation of the programme in respective states.
  5. District Ganga Committees in every specified districts through which river Ganga and its tributaries pass

National Afforestation Programme

News: Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change informed Lok Sabha about National Afforestation Programme.


About National Afforestation Programme (2000):

Aim: Sustainable development and management of forest resources


  • Ecological restoration of degraded forests
  • Improve livelihoods of the forest-fringe communities

Implementation: It is implemented by three tier institutional setup through

  • State Forest Development Agency (SFDA) at the state level,
  • Forest Development Agency (FDA) at the forest division level 
  • Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs) at village level.

Additional Information:

  1. National Forest Policy, 1988: It aims to maintain 33% of total geographical area under forest and tree cover to prevent soil erosion, land degradation and maintain ecological balance.
  2. National Mission for a Green India (GIM), 2015: It is one of the eight missions launched under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). It targets increasing the forest and tree cover by 5 million ha, and increasing the quality of the existing forest and tree cover in another 5 million ha of forest/ non forest lands in 10 years.
  3. National Green Highways Mission, 2016: It aims to provide a green canopy along 100,000km of highways.
  4. Nagar Van-udyan Yojana, 2015: It aims to create “city forest” in each City with Municipal Council.

UNESCO’s list of Intangible culture heritage

News: UNESCO has included 20 intangible cultural heritages in its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.


Intangible cultural heritage: Intangible culture is the immaterial part of the culture. It is made up of oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices and traditional craftsmanship techniques.

Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage, 2003

Objectives of the Convention

  1. to safeguard the intangible cultural heritage;
  2. to ensure respect for the intangible cultural heritage of the communities, groups and individuals concerned;
  3. to raise awareness at the local, national and international levels of the importance of the intangible cultural heritage

Publications: UNESCO publishes three lists of intangible cultural heritage:

  • Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
  • List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding
  • Register of good safeguarding practices

Additional Information:

Intangible Cultural Heritages from India in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Name Characteristics
Kutiyattam Form of Sanskrit theatre, practised in Kerala Performed in theatres called Kuttampalams, which are located in Hindu temples.
Tradition of Vedic chanting The Vedic heritage embraces a multitude of texts and interpretations collected in four Vedas
Ramlila Form of theatre performed across northern India during the festival of Dussehra Staging of the Ramayana is based on the Ramacharitmanas by Tulsidas  
Ramman It is a religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal Himalayas, Uttarakhand
Mudiyettu It is a ritual theatre and dance drama of Kerala
Kalbelia folk songs and dances Performed by kalbelia community of Rajasthan
Chauu Dance Performed in Eastern India Theme: episodes from epics including the Mahabharata and Ramayana, local folklore and abstract themes Three distinct styles: Seraikella, Purulia and Mayurbhanj- the first two uses masks
Buddhist chanting of Ladakh It is the recitation of sacred Buddhist texts by major sects viz. Nyngma, Kagyud, Shakya and Geluk
Sankritana It is ritual singing, dancing, drumming of Manipur Theme: lives and deeds of Krishna
Craft of the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru  Constitutes the traditional technique of manufacturing brass and copper utensils in Punjab.
Nowruz Persian new year-celebrated on March 21st
Yoga consists of a series of poses, meditation, controlled breathing, word chanting and other techniques
Kumbh Mela It is the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth During the festival pilgrims bathe or take a dip in the holy Ganges It is held at Allahabad, Hardwar, Ujjain and Nasik every four years by rotation

EU’s Climate Neutrality 2050 plan

News: European Union has put forward European Green Deal at UNFCC CoP25 in Madrid, Spain


About European Green Deal: It commits to climate neutrality by 2050. EU’s NDC under the Paris Agreement is to reduce its emissions by 40 % by 2030 from the 1990 levels.

Additional Information:

Climate neutrality: It is when CO2 emissions do not have negative impact on climate. It can be achieved through reducing emissions to a minimum and balancing remaining emissions with climate protection measures.

India’s Nationally Determined Contributions under Paris Agreement:

  • reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33% to 35% by 2030 from 2005 level,
  • increase total cumulative electricity generation from fossil free energy sources to 40% by 2030,
  • Create additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons through additional forest and tree cover.
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