9 PM Current Affairs Brief – December 29th, 2019

Explained:About the Preamble of the Indian Constitution

News:The Constitution particularly its Preamble, has frequently been at the centre of the ongoing debate over the Citizenship Amendment Act.


About Preamble:

  • The term ‘preamble’ refers to the introduction or preface to the Constitution.It contains the summary or essence of the Constitution.
  • It serves two purposes namely (a)indicates the source from which the Constitution derives its authority and (b)It also states the objects which the Constitution seeks to establish and promote.

Source of Preamble:

  • The Preamble is based on the Objective Resolution moved by Jawaharlal Nehru in the Constituent Assembly on December 13,1946.The Resolution was adopted on January 22, 1947.
  • On October 17, 1949,the Constituent Assembly presided by Rajendra Prasad took up the Preamble for discussion.
  • It was adopted on 26 November 1949 by the Constituent Assembly and came into effect on 26 January 1950, celebrated as the Republic Day in India.

Preamble:The Preamble to the Constitution of India states:

“We,THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all;

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation:



  • The original Preamble, adopted by the Constituent Assembly in 1949, declared India a “Sovereign Democratic Republic”.
  • By the 42nd Amendment of 1976, the words “Socialist” and “Secular” were inserted; the Preamble now reads “Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic”.

Supreme Court cases related to Preamble:

Berubari Union case,1960:

  • The Supreme Court said that the Preamble shows the general purposes behind the several provisions in the Constitution.
  • However,it held that the Preamble is not a part of the Constitution.It is also not the source to prohibit the power which is given explicitly in the Constitution.Further,the Preamble is also not enforceable in a Court of Law.

Kesavananda Bharaticase,1973:

  • The Supreme Court rejected the earlier opinion (in the Berubari Case) and held that the Preamble is a part of the Constitution.
  • It has observed that Preamble is subject to the amending power of the Parliament as are any other provisions of the Constitution,provided the basic structure of the Constitution is not destroyed.

3 years on, a mere 30% of Poshan Abhiyaan funds used

News:According to the data shared in Parliament, State governments/UTs have utilised a mere 30% of the funds released under the Poshan Abhiyaan or the National Nutrition Mission since it was launched in 2017.


Key takeaways from the data:

  • The five best performers in terms of fund utilisation were Mizoram , Lakshadweep, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.
  • The worst five performers were Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Jharkhand and Assam.
  • The programme was conceptualised to be implemented in phases so the utilisation will increase over the years.
  • However,few services have showed a slow start and are now pickling up like the Integrated Child Development Services-Common Application Software(ICDS-CAS).

About Poshan Abhiyan:

  • The Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition or POSHAN Abhiyaan or National Nutrition Mission is Government of India’s flagship programme.
  • It is aimed at improving nutritional outcomes among pregnant women, lactating mothers and children by reducing the level of stunting, underweight, anaemia and low birth weight by 2022.
  • The mission is implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • The mission targets to reduce stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.
  • Although the target to reduce Stunting is at least 2% p.a.,it strives to achieve a reduction in Stunting from 38.4% (NFHS-4) to 25% by 2022.


  • The 50% of the funding is through budgetary support.It is further divided into 60:40 between the Centre and the States, 90:10 for north-eastern region and the Himalayan States and 100% for the Union Territories without legislature.
  • The remaining 50% is from the World Bank or other multilateral development banks.

Additional information:

About ICDS:

  • The Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) was launched in 1975.
  • The scheme comes under the purview of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD). 
  • The beneficiaries under the Scheme are children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Objectives of ICDS:

  • improve the nutritional and health status of children aged 0-6 years
  • lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child
  • reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout,
  • promote child development through effective coordination of policy and implementation amongst the various departments,
  • impart proper nutrition and health education to mothers for enhancing mother’s capability to address normal health and nutritional needs of the child.

Explained:The Drake Passage

News:Recently,six rowers from four countries had crossed the Drake Passage, in just under two weeks after pushing off from the southern tip of South America. The project was dubbed  as the Impossible Row.


About the Impossible Row Project:

  • The six men rowed for 12 days,1 hour and 45 minutes making it the first completely human-powered crossing of the passage which was confirmed by the Guinness World Records (GWR).
  • As per the GWR,the row represents among the first row on the Southern Ocean,the first row across the Drake Passage and the first row to the Antarctic continent.

About Drake Passage:

  • The Drake Passage is located between Cape Horn at the tip of South America and the Antarctic Peninsula.
  • The passage is named after Sir Francis Drake, who was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe.
  • It is also the narrowest stretch in the Southern Ocean and spans approximately 800 km between the southern tip of South America and the northern tip of the West Antarctic Peninsula.
  • It is considered one of the roughest waterways in the world because here, layers of cold seawater from the south and warm seawater from the north collide to form powerful eddies.

Explained: Russia Avangard missile

News:Russia’s military has deployed a new intercontinental weapon called the Avangard hypersonic missile system.


About Avangard Hypersonic missile system:

  • The Avangard hypersonic missile system is a reentry body carried atop an existing ballistic missile which has the capability to manoeuvre.
  • It’s manoeuvring capability makes it difficult to predict its trajectory and gives it the ability to protect itself from the air and ballistic missile defences by delivering nuclear warheads to targets.
  • The missiles have a range of over 6,000 km, weigh approximately 2,000 kg and can withstand temperatures of over 2000 degree celsius.
  • The missiles can travel more than 20 times the speed of sound and put Russia ahead of other nations.

About Hypersonic missile system:

  • Hypersonic is generally defined as a speed of Mach 5 which means at least five times the speed of sound.
  • Hypersonic Cruise Missiles (HCM):It is a typical cruise missile which is all the way powered to achieve hypersonic speeds of Mach 5 or higher.
  • Hypersonic Glide Vehicles(HGV):The missiles have a boost-glide systems.They are launched like a traditional ballistic missile.But instead of following an arc high above the atmosphere,the re-entry vehicle is put on a trajectory that allows it to enter Earth’s atmosphere quite quickly before gliding un-powered for hundreds or thousands of kilometres.

Importance of Hypersonic missiles:

  • Hypersonic weapons strikes at a tremendous speed and prohibits the defender to get his defences to react to such a threat in time.
  • They can fly lower than the traditional ballistic missiles,thus they tend to avoid radar detection.Hence,they are difficult to be detected by the US missile defense satellites and radars.
  • The payloads gliding at speeds in excess of Mach 5 and more are so manoeuvrable due to their non-ballistic trajectories that they can change their targets at any point.

Renewable Energy Certificates Sales Down 10% in December

News:The sales of Renewable Energy Certificates(REC) fell around 10% to 5.04 lakh units in December as compared to 5.59 lakh in the same month a year ago.


Background on REC:

  • The Electricity Act, 2003 and the National Action Plan on Climate Change(NAPCC) provide for a roadmap for increasing the share of renewable in the country.
  • Central Electricity Regulatory Commission(CERC) had notified the Regulation on Renewable Energy Certificate(REC) in 2010.

About Renewable Energy Certificates(REC):

  • Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) mechanism is a market based instrument to promote renewable energy and facilitate compliance of renewable purchase obligations(RPO).
  • It is aimed at addressing the mismatch between availability of RE resources in state and the requirement of the obligated entities to meet the renewable purchase obligation(RPO).

Working of REC:

  • REC are also known as green energy certificates or tradable renewable certificates.They are proof that energy has been generated from renewable sources such as solar or wind power.
  • Each REC represents the environmental benefits of 1MWh of renewable energy generation.When you purchase RECs,renewable energy is generated on your behalf.
  • Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) and Power Exchange of India (PXIL) are the two power bourses in the country, which are engaged in trading of RECs and electricity.
  • The mechanism helps states meet their regulatory requirements by overcoming the geographical constraints on the existing renewable potential in different states.

Kerala State Youth Welfare Board organises Kalaripayattu training for young women

News:Kerala State Youth Welfare Board has organised Kalaripayattu training for young women in the backdrop of women increasingly becoming vulnerable.


About Kalaripayattu:

  • Kalaripayattu is a great and ancient physical, cultural and martial art of Kerala.The martial art originated during the 3nd century BC to the 2nd century AD.
  • The word kalari first appears in the Tamil Sangam literature (c. 300 BCE to 300 CE) to describe both a battlefield and combat arena.
  • The Kalaripayattu is also considered as one of the oldest fighting systems in existence.
  • Kalaripayattu techniques include a combination of steps (Chuvatu) and postures (Vadivu).
  • Chuvatu literally means ‘steps’, the basic steps of the martial arts.Vadivu literally means ‘postures’ or stances are the basic characteristics of Kalaripayattu training.Named after animals,they are usually eight in number.

Finance Minister launches ‘eBkray’ online auction platform for assets attached by banks

News:Union Finance Minister has launched an eBkray or eBक्रय which is a common e-auction platform.


About the eBkray platform:

  • The eBkray platform enables the online auction of the attached assets transparently and cleanly for the improved realization of value by the Public Sector banks(PSBs).
  • The platform is equipped with property search features and navigational links to all PSB e-auction sites.
  • It also provides single-window access to information on properties up for e-auction as well as facility for comparison of similar properties.
  • It enhances user experience through seamless access to information by search based on the type and location of property put up for e-auction by banks in India.
  • The e-auction platform has also now been linked to the Indian Banks Auctions Mortgaged Properties Information(IBAPI) portal and guidelines have been made available.

Additional information:

About Indian Banks Auctions Mortgaged Properties Information(IBAPI):

  • IBAPI is is an initiative of Indian Banks Association (IBA) under policy of Department of Financial Services (DFS), Union Ministry of Finance.
  • It provides details of mortgaged properties to be auctioned online by banks, starting with PSBs.
  • The buyers can use the portal to search and get properties details and participate in auction process.Currently,21 banks are onboard on this portal.

UN to draft new international treaty on cyber crime

News:The United Nations has approved a new resolution in order to draft an international treaty to combat cyber crime.


About the international treaty:

  • The UN General Assembly has established an expert committee.The committee was made after Russia had drafted a resolution which was approved by 193 member countries.
  • The committee will elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes.
  • The United States had suggested that the world should expand the accord on existing 2001 Budapest Convention.

About Budapest Convention:

  • The Council of Europe’s(CoE) Cybercrime Convention is also known as the Budapest Convention.It was open for signature in 2001 and came into force in 2004.
  • The convention is the sole legally binding international multilateral treaty on cybercrime.
  • The convention coordinates cybercrime investigations between nation-states and criminalizes certain cybercrime conduct.
  • It serves as a guideline for any country developing comprehensive national legislation against Cybercrime and as a framework for international cooperation between state parties to this treaty.
  • The countries like India and Brazil have not adopted the convention on the grounds that they did not participate in its drafting.

Additional information:

About Council of Europe:

  • The Council of Europe is Europe’s oldest political body.It aims to uphold human rights,democracy and the rule of law across the continent.
  • The council was founded in 1949 and it has 47 member states,28 of which are members of European Union(EU).However,the organisation is distinct from the EU.
  • The council oversees and enforces rulings made by the European Court of Human Rights which considers cases brought by individuals and groups against the signatories to the convention.The Council of Europe is also an official United Nations Observer.

MOSPI constitutes committee on economic statistics

News:The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation(MOSPI) has constituted a Standing Committee on Statistics(SCES).



  • The committee has been constituted after several economists had expressed concern over political interference in influencing statistical data in India.
  • They had called for restoration of institutional independence and integrity to the statistical organisations.

About the committee:

  • The committee consists of 28 members.It is headed by former Chief Statistician Pronab Sen.
  • The committee will review and develop the country’s surveys on employment, industry and services sector amid criticism of official statistics.
  • It will also review the existing framework of data sources, indicators and definitions of index of industrial production, periodic labour force survey, time use survey, economic census and unorganised sector statistics, among others.
  • Further,the committee will subsume in it the four standing committees on labour force statistics, industrial statistics, services sector and unincorporated sector enterprises.

Indian Army rescues 1,500 tourists stranded in Nathu La in Sikkim

News:Recently,the Indian Army has rescued about 1,500 tourists who were stranded in Nathu La in eastern part of Sikkim.


About NathuLa Pass:

  • Nathu La is a mountain pass in the Himalayas in East Sikkim district.It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.
  • The pass is also one of the three open trading border posts between China and India.The others being Shipki La Pass in Himachal Pradesh and Lipulekh at the trisection point of Uttarakhand–India,Nepal and China.
  • Nathu La pass was re-opened in 2006 to shorten the travel distance to important Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the region and give a boost to Indo-China trade.
  • The pass is also one of the five officially agreed Border Personnel Meeting points between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army of China for regular consultations and interactions between the two armies to improve relations.

MyGov reaches 1 crore registered users

News:The Central government’s citizen engagement platform – MyGov has reached one crore registered users.


About MyGov:

  • MyGov is a citizen engagement platform founded by the Government of India in 2014.
  • The platform is aimed at creating a common platform for Indian citizens to crowdsource governance ideas from citizens.Its users discuss and contribute to various government projects and plans.
  • It promotes the active participation of Indian citizens in their country’s governance and development.
  • The website is hosted and managed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC).

Additional information:

About National Informatics Centre(NIC):

  • The National Informatics Centre (NIC) is an institute set up by the Indian government in 1976 to drive its technology and e-governance initiatives in the country.
  • The institute is part of the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s Department.
  • NIC has the mandate to set up, implement and support all the information technology led-programs of the central and state governments and other government organizations in India.

Explained:How Andhra’s concept of three capitals is inspired by South Africa

News:The Andhra Pradesh cabinet has deferred taking a decision on relocating the state capital to three separate locations.


About the decision on state capital:

  • The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister had announced that Andhra Pradesh could have three decentralised capitals on the lines of South Africa.
  • The new capital being developed at Amaravati could become the Legislative Capital.The port city Visakhapatnam as the Executive Capital and Kurnool as the Judicial Capital.

About South Africa Model:

  • In South Africa,there are three cities that serve as the capitals of the country– Pretoria (executive), Cape Town (legislative) and Bloemfontein (judicial).
  • This arrangement was a result of the Second Boer War (1899-1902) in which Britain annexed the two Afrikaner speaking states -– the Orange Free State and the South African Republic (also called Transvaal Republic).
  • The Cape of Good Hope then remained in the British Empire, becoming self-governing in 1872 and uniting with three other colonies to form the Union of South Africa in 1910.

Other examples of multiple capital cities:

  • In Sri Lanka,Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is the official capital and seat of national legislature while Colombo is the de facto seat of national executive and judicial bodies.
  • Malaysia has its official and royal capital and seat of national legislature at Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya is the administrative centre and seat of national judiciary.

Among Indian States:

  • Among Indian states, Maharashtra has two capitals namely Mumbai and Nagpur (which holds the winter session of the state assembly).
  • Himachal Pradesh has capitals at Shimla and Dharamshala (winter).The former state of Jammu & Kashmir had Srinagar and Jammu (winter) as capitals.

RBI directs large co-op banks to report all exposures above Rs.5 crore

News:The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has directed large cooperative banks to report all aggregate exposures of Rs.5 crores and more to Central Repository of Information on Large Credits(CRILC).


About CRILC:

  • The Reserve Bank of India has created a CRILC of commercial banks, certain Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and All India Financial Institutions(AIFIs).
  • CRILC collects, store, and publish data on all borrowers’ credit exposures.The Banks/Financial Institutions are expected to report findings to CRILC.
  • The banks have to provide credit information to CRILC about their borrowers with an aggregate fund-based and non-fund based exposure of and over Rs.5 Crores (Rs.50 million).
  • The banks should also report the Special Mention Accounts(SMA) status of their borrowers to the Central Repository of Information on Large Credits.

Additional information:

About Co-operative Banks:

  • A Co-operative bank is a financial entity which belongs to its members, who are at the same time the owners and the customers of their bank.
  • Co-operative banking in India started in the early 20th century with the passing of Co-operative Societies Act in 1904 and later with the Co-operative Societies Act, 1912.
  • They are often created by persons belonging to the same local or professional community of sharing a common interest.
  • They are classified into two categories namely Urban Co-operative Banks(UCBs) and rural co-operative banks.

About Special mention accounts(SMA):

  • Special Mention Accounts are those accounts that shows symptoms of bad asset quality in the first 90 days itself.
  • The Special Mention Account identification is an effort for early stress discovery of bank loans.It was introduced as a corrective action plan to contain stress.

India may surpass Germany to become the fourth-largest economy in 2026:Report

News:The UK-based Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has released a report titled ‘World Economic League Table 2020’.


About the report:

  • The World Economic League Table is an annual calculation by Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) jointly published by CEBR and Global Construction Perspectives.
  • The base data for 2019 is taken from the IMF World Economic Outlook.

Key takeaways from the report:

  • India is expected to overtake Germany to become the fourth-largest economy in 2026 and Japan to become the third largest in 2034.
  • India is also set to reach a gross domestic product (GDP) of USD 5 trillion by 2026.This is 2 years later than the Indian government’s target of 2024.
  • India has decisively overtaken both France and the UK to become the world’s fifth-largest economy in 2019.
  • However,the report has also said that the US and China will continue to play a dominant role in the global economy despite the rapid growth of countries like India and Indonesia.
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