9 PM Current Affairs Brief – December 27th, 2019

Periyar: Why the iconoclast social reformer matters in Tamil Nadu

News:Recently,a political party in Tamil Nadu has posted a tweet on 46th death anniversary of Periyar which has triggered a firestorm of protests in the state.

Facts:

About E V Ramasamy Periyar:

  • E V Ramasamy Periyar was born in 1879.He was an Indian social activist and politician.

As a member of Congress Party:

  • E.V. Ramasamy joined the Indian National Congress in 1919.He disagreed with Gandhi over the question of separate dining for Brahmin and non-Brahmin students.
  • He resigned from the party in 1925 and associated himself with the Justice Party and the Self Respect Movement which opposed the dominance of Brahmins in social life, especially the bureaucracy.

Vaikom satyagraha(1924-1925):

  • Vaikom Satyagraha was a satyagraha in Travancore,Kerala against untouchability in Hindu society.
  • The Satyagraha was aimed at securing a freedom to all sections of society through the public roads leading to the Sri Mahadeva Temple at Vaikom.
  • K. Kelappan played a dominant role in the Vaikom Satyagraha and was also the leader of the Guruvayur Satyagraha in 1932.
  • Gandhiji, Chatampi Swamikal and Sree Narayana Guru had also supported the movement.Further, Periyar also came from Tamil Nadu to support the movement.
  • The other prominent leaders in the movement include T K Madhavan, Velayudha Menon, K Neelakantan Namboothiri, T R Krishnaswami Iyer and George Joseph
  • The movement managed to open the roads around the temple for their use.The temple entry movement gained momentum after this.

Self respect movement:

  • The Self-Respect Movement was dedicated to the goal of giving non-Brahmins a sense of pride based on their Dravidian past.
  • It’s aim was to achieve a society where backward castes have equal human rights and encouraging backward castes to have self-respect in the context of a caste-based society that considered them to be a lower end of the hierarchy.
  • It was founded in 1925 by S. Ramanathan who invited Periyar to head the movement in Tamil Nadu.

As a President of Justice Party:

  • A political party known as the South Indian Libertarian Federation (commonly referred to as Justice Party) was founded in 1916.
  • It was formed to principally oppose the economic and political power of the Brahmin groups.
  • The party’s goal was to render social justice to the non-Brahmin groups.Periyar took over the leadership of the party in 1938.

Bar-headed goose spotted near Pandalam

News:Recently,Bar-headed Goose has been spotted in the wetlands of Karingali Puncha in Pathanamthitta District of Kerala.

Facts:

About Bar-headed Goose:

  • The Bar-headed goose (Anser Indicus) are found in central China and Mongolia and they breed there.
  • They start migration to the Indian sub-continent during the winter and stay till the end of the season.
  • They return to their homes by crossing the Himalayan ranges.The migration of Bar-headed Goose has been a fascination as they cross the Himalayas on one of the most high-altitude migrations in the world.
  • The bar-headed goose is also one of the world’s highest-flying birds having been heard flying across Mount Makalu – the fifth highest mountain on earth.
  • The species is classified as “Least Concerned” as per the IUCN Red List.

About Karingali Puncha:

  • The wetlands of Karingali Puncha is a major birding spot in Kerala.
  • It was reported to have the highest bird count in the Asian Waterbird Census of 2015.

Additional information:

About Asian Waterbird Census:

  • Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) was started in the year 1987.It is an annual event in which thousands of volunteers across Asia and Australasia count waterbirds in the wetlands of their country.
  • The census is conducted by the wetlands International and forms part of global waterbird monitoring programme called the International Waterbird Census(IWC).
  • It’s main focus is to monitor the status of waterbirds and the wetlands.It also aims to create public awareness on various issues concerning wetlands and waterbird conservation.

Union Minister inaugurates 2nd Edition of “Eat Right Mela”

News:Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare has inaugurated the 2nd edition of Eat Right Mela in New Delhi.

Facts:

Initiatives launched during the event:

About Eat Right Mela:

  • Eat Right Mela has been organised by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
  • It is an outreach activity for citizens to nudge them towards eating right.It is organised to make citizens aware of the health and nutrition benefits of different types of food.

About The PURPLE Book:

  • It is a handbook on diets for diseases.The book provides general guidelines for hospitals on suitable diets for common medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, gut disorders among others.

About NetSCoFAN:

  • NetSCoFAN stands for Network for Scientific Cooperation for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
  • It is a network of research & academic institutions working in the area of food & nutrition along with the NetSCoFAN directory, covering detailed information of various heads/Directors and lead scientists of lead and associated partnering institutions.
  • It would comprise of eight groups of institutions working in different areas namely biological, chemical, nutrition & labelling, food of animal origin, food of plant origin, water & beverages, food testing and safer & sustainable packaging.
  • It would identify research gaps in respective areas and collect, collate and develop database on food safety issues for risk assessment activities.

Additional information:

About Eat Right India Movement

  • The Eat Right India Movement was launched by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI) in 2018.
  • It is a preventive healthcare measure to trigger social and behavioural change among people.
  • The movement aims to improve public health in India and combat negative nutritional trends to fight lifestyle diseases.

Aadhaar made mandatory for Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana pension scheme

News:Government has decided to make Aadhaar mandatory for subscribers of the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana(PMVVY).

Facts:

About Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana(PMVVY):

  • Government has launched the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) in 2017.
  • Aim:To provide social security during old age and to protect elderly persons aged 60 and above against a future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions.
  • The scheme is implemented by the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).There is no maximum age for entry in the scheme.
  • ‎The scheme provides an assured return of 8% per annum for 10 years.It is also exempted from Goods and Services Tax.
  • ‎The differential return which is the difference between return generated by LIC and the assured return of 8% per annum would be borne by the Government of India as subsidy on an annual basis.
  • In Budget 2018,government has increased the limit of Rs7.5 lakh per senior citizen to Rs15 lakh.The budget has also decided to keep the scheme open for investment till March 2020.

Explained: Atal Bhujal Yojana — Why a scheme for groundwater

News:Recently,the Prime Minister has launched the Atal Bhujal Yojana amid growing concerns over the country’s groundwater resources.

Facts:

About Groundwater crisis in India:

  • India accounts for 16% of the world’s population living in less than 2.5% of the global area and has just 4% of the global water resources.
  • Groundwater is one of the most important water sources in India accounting for 63% of all irrigation water and over 80% of the rural and urban domestic water supplies.
  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Water Development Report has stated that India is the largest extractor of groundwater in the world.
  • However,54% of India’s groundwater wells have declined over the past seven years and 21 major cities are expected to run out of groundwater by 2020.

What is the need for Atal Bhujal Yojana?

  • According to the Central Water Commission (CWC),the estimated water resources potential of the country which occurs as natural runoff in the rivers is 1,999 billion cubic metres.
  • Of this,the estimated utilisable resources are 1,122 billion cubic metres per year — 690 BCM per year surface water and 432 BCM per year replenishable groundwater.
  • However,with the population rising,demand for water will increase manifold in coming years.But the per capita availability in the country will decrease from 1,434 cubic metres in 2025 to 1,219 cubic metres in 2050.
  • Further,the Jal Shakti ministry has said that compared to the decadal average for 2009-18,there has also been a decline in the groundwater level in 61% of wells monitored by the Central Ground Water Board(CGWB).
  • The CGWB has also classified the country’s assessment units (blocks, taluks, mandals etc) into safe, semi-critical and over-exploited in terms of groundwater resources.
  • It has classified 14% of the country’s assessment units as semi-critical, 5% as critical and 17% as over-exploited as of 2017.

About Atal Bhujal Yojana:

  • Atal Bhujal Yojana is a central sector scheme under the ministry of Jal Shakti.The scheme was announced in the 2016-17 Union Budget.
  • It aims to recharge groundwater sources and ensure the efficient use of water by involving people at the local level.
  • The funding pattern of the scheme is 50:50 between the Government of India and the World Bank.
  • The scheme will seek to strengthen the institutional framework and bring about behavioural changes at community level for sustainable groundwater resource management.It envisages community-led Water Security Plans.
  • The scheme will be implemented in water-stressed areas of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.

Additional information:

About Central water commission (CWC)

  • It is a premier Technical Organization of India in the field of Water Resources
  • It functions as an attached office of the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. It was founded in 1945 and is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • It is mandated with the initiation and coordination of schemes introduced by the Ministry of Jal Shakti.

National Consumers Right Day 2019

News:National Consumer Day is being observed every year on 24th December.

Facts:

About National Consumer Day,2019:

  • The objective of Consumer Day is to highlight the importance of the consumer movement and the need to make every consumer more aware of their rights and responsibilities.
  • The theme of this year is “ alternate consumer grievance/dispute redressal”.
  • On this day the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted.The Act aims to provide consumers with effective safeguards against different types of exploitation, such as defective goods, deficiency in service and unfair trade practices.

About Consumer Protection Act,2019:

  • Recently,the Parliament has passed the Consumer Protection Bill,2019. The act replaces the Consumer Protection Act,1986.
  • The act aims to protect the rights of consumers by establishing authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumers dispute.
  • The act defines a consumer as a person who buys any goods or avails a service for a consideration.It does not include a person who obtains a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purposes.

Cabinet approves ratification of the Tenth Additional Protocol to the Constitution of the Universal Postal Union(UPU)

News:Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the ratification of the Tenth Additional Protocol to the Constitution of the Universal Postal Union (UPU).

Facts:

About Universal Postal Union(UPU):

  • UPU is a specialized agency of the United Nations.It was established by the Treaty of Bern of 1874.
  • It is the second oldest international organization worldwide after International Telecommunication Union(ITU).
  • It is headquarters in Bern,Switzerland.It consists of 192 member countries.India joined the UPU in 1876.
  • UPU is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players. It helps to ensure a truly universal network of up-to-date products and services.
  • It also oversees the Telematics and Express Mail Service (EMS) cooperatives.Each member agrees to the same terms for conducting international postal duties.
  • Further,it also coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to the worldwide postal system.

Significance of ratification:

  • The approval enables the Postal Administration of India to have the Instrument of Ratification signed with the Director-General of the International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union through diplomatic channels along with the approval of other Acts of the Union.
  • It will also enable the Department of Posts to bring out any administrative orders to implement the provisions of the UPU Convention in India.

WCD Ministry invites application for Nari Shakti Puraskar

News:Ministry of Women and Child Development has invited applications for Nari Shakti Puraskar for the year 2019.

Facts:

About Nari Shakti Puruskar:

  • The Nari Shakti Puraskar is a national honour conferred on individual women for their exceptional achievement and exemplary service to the cause of upliftment of women.
  • The award was established in 1991.The awards are conferred by the President of India on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
  • The award recognises the spirit of courage of women in difficult circumstances and the pioneering contribution of an individual in empowering women and raising women’s issues.

About International Women’s Day:

  • The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March during International Women’s Year 1975.
  • It aims to empower women in all settings be it rural and urban and celebrate the activists who work constantly to assert women’s rights and realise their full potential.
  • The day is observed to stand in harmony with all those fearless women fighting for gender equality and highlight those women who often pass unnoticed.
  • The theme for 2019 was ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change’.

About International Women’s Day and SDGs:

  • International Women’s Day is also an opportunity to achieve the goal number 4 & 5 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
  • The Goal 4 of SDG aims to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.
  • The Goal 5 aims to achieve gender equality, empower all women and girls and to end all forms of discrimination and violence against all women and girls everywhere.

Run Through Files- Centralized File Movement and Tracking Information System(CFMS)

News:Haryana Government has devised a scheme named Run through files  mechanism to clear files quickly.

Facts:

  • This mechanism was formulated so that government matters don’t get delayed owing to conflicting hierarchical and departmental priorities.

About the scheme:

  • The scheme aims to ensure that important government matters don’t get delayed owing to conflicting hierarchical and departmental priorities.
  • A file shall be marked as Run Through Files(RTF) only by the Chief Minister in the CFMS.
  • Every file marked as RTF has to be cleared on priority greater than that is currently being accorded to the files marked top priority.
  • A system generated SMS and email will automatically be sent on each downward or upward movement of the file.
  • The movement of these files and time taken in clearing the file shall be personally reviewed by the Chief Minister and only he will be able to mark and close the file as Run Through File.

Additional information:

About CFMS:

  • Centralized file movement and Tracking Information System(CFMS) is a Haryana Government’s initiative.
  • CFMS is a web based system for tracking the movement of files and papers in medium as well as large government offices.
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