9 PM Current Affairs Brief – December 30th, 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.
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