9 PM Current Affairs Brief – February 13th, 2020

Explained: What is Yaravirus?

News: Scientists have discovered a new virus in Lake Pampulha.


  • The new virus has been named Yaravirus after “Yara,” the mother of waters — an important character in the mythological stories of the Tupi-Guarani indigenous tribes
  • Over 90% of the Yaravirus genome has never been documented in viral research
  • The virus infects amoeba. It does not infect human cells.

Note: Lake Pampulha is an artificial lagoon in the city of Belo Horizonte in Brazil.

Image result for Lake Pampulha map

Supreme Court: Demolish resorts, shops at Hampi Island

News:The Supreme Court has backed the move of Karnataka government to demolish 70 resorts and restaurants near Hampi.


  • Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River, Bellary District, Karnataka
  • It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Emperor Ashoka’s Rock Edicts in Nittur and Udegolan (Bellary district) suggest that the region was part of the Maurya Empire during the 3rd century BCE
  • Hampi was the capital city during the four different dynasties altogether in the Vijayanagar city that came into existence in the year 1336 AD. The four dynasties which ruled over Vijayanagar were Sangama Dynasty, Saluva Dynasty, Tuluva Dynasty and Aravidu Dynasty.


  • Dravidian architecture flourished under the Vijayanagara Empire.
  • The Vitthla temple is the most ornate structure on the site and represents the culmination of Vijayanagara temple architecture.
  • Vijayanagara architecture is also known for its adoption of elements of Indo Islamic Architecture in secular buildings like the Queen’s Bath and the Elephant Stables.
Image result for hampi in india map

Union Cabinet clears Bill to regulate pesticide business

News: The Union Cabinet has approved the Pesticides Management Bill, 2020. It seeks to replace the existing Insecticides Act of 1968


About Pesticides Management Bill, 2020

Aim: To protect the interest of farmers and ensure they get safe and effective pesticides.

Key Features:

  • Farmers would be empowered to get all information regarding the available pesticides, their strength, weaknesses, and risks from the dealers
  • Any person who wants to import, manufacture, or export pesticides would have to register under the new bill and provide all details regarding expected performance, efficacy, safety, usage instructions
  • Provision to provide compensation if there is any farm loss because of low quality or spurious pesticides
  • All the information regarding the available pesticides would be available in the public domain, in all languages in digital format.

Centre clears Major Ports Authority Bill

News: The Union Cabinet has approved the Major Ports Authority Bill 2020. At present, major ports are regulated by the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963


Aim: to provide for regulation, operation and planning of Major Ports in India


  • It vests the administration, control and management of such ports upon the Boards of Major Port Authorities
  • It empowers the Board of Port Authority to raise loans and issue securities for the purposes of the capital expenditure and working capital requirements of such port authority.
  • It seeks to constitute an Adjudicatory Board for adjudication of disputes among major ports, Public Private Partnership concessionaries and captive users
  • It provides for the provision for Corporate Social Responsibility measures within the port limits.

Additional Information

Image result for Major Ports in India

India has 12 major ports— Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla), Mumbai, JNPT, Marmugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Kamarajar (earlier Ennore), V O Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia).

Explained: The difference between private and government Bills in Parliament

News: Members of Parliament will table Private Member’s Bill in the Lok Sabha


Bills to be tabled:

  • Unemployment Allowance Bill 2019: It proposes unemployment allowance to jobless citizens.
  • Financial Assistance to Unemployed Post-Graduates Bill 2019: It restricts the unemployment allowances to unemployed postgraduates only.
  • Unemployed Youth (Allowance and Employment Opportunities) Bill 2019: It deals with generating gainful employment opportunities and payment of unemployment allowance.

Private Member: An MP who is not a minister is a private member

Private Member Bill:

  • Bills introduced by private members are referred to as private member’s Bills and those introduced by ministers are called government Bills.
  • The admissibility of a private Bill is decided by the Chairman in the case of the Rajya Sabha and the Speaker in the case of the Lok Sabha.
  • Before the Bill can be listed for introduction, the Member must give at least a month’s notice, for the House Secretariat to examine it for compliance with constitutional provisions and rules on legislation.
  • Private member’s bill can only be introduced and discussed on Fridays, while a government Bill can be introduced and discussed on any day.

2,361 humans, 510 elephants killed in conflict in five years

News: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change tabled data in Parliament on man-animal conflict.


Key Takeaways:

  • Between 2014 and 2019, 2,361 humans were killed as a result of conflict with elephants
  • 510 elephants were killed in incidents of electrocution, train accidents, poaching and poisoning during the same period.
  • Conflict with tigers caused 275 human deaths between 2014 and 2019
  • West Bengal had the highest number of human deaths caused by elephants and tigers, followed by Odisha and Maharashtra

Additional Information:

Government Initiatives

Draft national wildlife action plan (NWAP) 2017-31

  • ensure that developmental projects do not increase conflicts
  • Use of traditional knowledge to tackle conflicts,

Immune-contraception method: It is non-hormonal form of contraception. It causes production of antibodies which in turn prevents pregnancy. Environment Ministry sanctioned over Rs 10 crore for ‘immunology contraception’ of wild boars, Rhesus monkeys and elephants

Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change Guidelines on Man-Animal conflict

  • Wild Life Rescue Teams equipped with adequate personnel, equipments and communication systems
  • Identifying regular movements corridors of large wildlife, and adequate publicity/awareness to avoid disturbances
  • Compilation of data on conflicts, reasons for such conflicts, best practices of response.
  • Insurance programs for damage due to wildlife

Global Futures Report

News:Recently, the Global Futures report has been released jointly by the World Wide Fund for Nature, Global Trade Analysis Project and the Natural Capital Project.


About the report:

  • The report analysed how the natural assets would change under various future development scenarios and how the consequent changes in ecosystem services would in turn affect the global economy.

Key takeaways from the report:

Ecosystem Services:

  • Nature has provided humanity with six ecosystem services namely 1) Pollination of crops 2) Protection of coasts from flooding and erosion 3) Supply of water 4) Timber production 5) Marine fisheries and 6) Carbon storage.
  • However,the natural assets that provided these services — forests, wetlands, coral reefs and fish stocks are under attack from the globe’s human population in the name of unsustainable economic development.

The report has presented two scenarios namely:

Business as usual:

  • In this situation,the reduced supply of the six ecosystem services would lead to a 0.67% drop in the annual global GDP by 2050.
  • That would be equal to annual loss of $479 billion and total cumulative loss of $9.87 trillion in the period between 2011 (the base year for the study) and 2050.

Sustainable Model:

  • In this,if the world adopts a more sustainable model of development and safeguarded biodiverse areas, the annual global GDP would be higher by 0.02%— $11 billion — by 2050.

Additional information:

About WWF:

  • The World Wide Fund for Nature(WWF) is an international non governmental organization founded in 1961.It is headquartered at Gland,Switzerland.
  • It aims to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.

Govt launches school health programme under Ayushman Bharat

News:The Government of India has launched a School Health Programme under Ayushman Bharat-Health & Wellness Centres.


About the School Health Ambassador Initiative:

  • Aim:To foster the growth, development and educational achievement of school going children by promoting their health and well-being.
  • Ministry:It has been jointly rolled out by the Ministries of Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.
  • The initiative will also be effectively linked with other government initiatives such as the Fit India movement, Eat Right campaign.

Features of the initiative:

  • Under the initiative,two teachers will be selected as Health and wellness ambassadors in public schools to raise awareness about preventive health aspects.
  • These ambassadors will receive support from class monitors, who will serve as Health and Wellness Messengers.
  • The ambassadors will be trained by the National Resource Group that was constituted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).

Additional information:

About Ayushman Bharat:

  • Launched in 2018 under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • Aim:Toprovide universal health care to the poor, needy and vulnerable sections of the country.It covers both prevention and health promotion.

About Fit India Movement:

  • Aim:To encourage people to inculcate physical activity and sports in their everyday lives.
  • It is implemented by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

About Eat Right campaign:

  • Launched by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in 2018. 
  • Aim: The movement aims to improve public health in India and combat negative nutritional trends to fight lifestyle diseases.

UNHCR:2 Billion Kilometres to Safety Campaign

News:United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) has launched a 2 Billion Kilometers to Safety’ campaign.


About the campaign:

  • The 2 Billion Kilometres to Safety campaign aims to encourage people to support refugees by championing individual acts of solidarity.
  • The campaign invites people to act in solidarity and run, walk or cycle to achieve a cumulative total of two billion kilometres.
  • Hence,these acts,when taken together acknowledge the resilience and strength of refugees.

About UNHCR:

  • The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was created in 1950.It is headquartered at Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It’s mandate is to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people, and assists in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country.

Facebook launches digital literacy programme for women in UP

News:Facebook has launched the programme ‘We Think Digital’ programme” for women in Uttar Pradesh.


About the programme:

  • The programme has been launched by Facebook in partnership with the National Commission for Women(NCW) and Cyber Peace Foundation.
  • Aim:To provide digital literacy training addressing issues around privacy, safety and misinformation to one lakh women across seven states throughout the year.
  • The programme will start with the state of Uttar Pradesh and expand to other states including Assam, West Bengal Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Bihar.

RBI planning umbrella entities for retail payment systems

News:The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has released a draft framework for authorisation of a pan-India New Umbrella Entity(NUE) for Retail Payment Systems.


About New Umbrella Entity(NUE):

  • The new pan-India new umbrella entity(NUE) or entities will focus on retail payment systems with a minimum paid-up capital of Rs 500 crore.
  • They may be a ‘for-profit’ or a Section 8 Company incorporated in India.It will be governed by the provisions of the Payment and settlement systems(PSS) Act and other related guidelines.
  • It will set up, manage and operate new payment systems especially in the retail space consisting of ATMs,white label PoS, Aadhaar-based payments and remittance services, develop payment methods among others.

Who can apply for NUE?

  • Any promoter or group who has three years of experience in the payment ecosystem as an operator, service provider or technology service provider can apply for NUE.
  • However,the RBI has also disallowed any single promoter or group to hold more than 40% investment in the capital of the NUE.
  • Further,RBI has also allowed the promoter or promoter group shareholding to dilute the minimum of 25% after 5 years of the commencement of the business of the NUE.

International fund for Agricultural Development(IFAD)

News:The 43rd session of the governing council of the International fund for Agricultural Development(IFAD) was held at the Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) in Rome,Italy.


About IFAD:

  • The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is an international financial institution and a specialized agency of the United Nations.
  • It was established in 1977 and is one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference.It is headquartered in Rome,Italy.
  • It invests in rural people by empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience.
  • Since 1978, IFAD has provided US$18.5 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 464 million people.

About FAO:

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.It is headquartered in Rome,Italy. 
  • It aims to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives.
  • The various reports published by FAO are a) Global Food Price Index and b) State of the World’s Forests report among others.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Iceland in the field of Sustainable Fisheries Development

News:Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) signed between India and Iceland in the field of Fisheries.


Salient features of the MoU:

  • Creation of facilities for exchange of scientists and technical experts and their proper placement, especially in areas of estimating Total Allowable Catches in offshore and deep sea areas.
  • Provision of training to fisheries professionals from key fisheries institutions.
  • Exchange of scientific literature research findings and several other information.
  • Processing and marketing of products from high seas fisheries for entrepreneurship development.

About India-Iceland Relations:

  • India and Iceland’s friendship is based on the shared values and mutuality of interests.
  • A series of high level visits since 2000 have imparted dynamism to the bilateral relations sustained by the opening of resident missions (in New Delhi in February 2006 and in Reykjavik in August 2008).
  • Iceland was the first Nordic country to publicly extend support to India’s candidature for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council(UNSC). 
  • Iceland was one of the countries co- sponsoring India’s Resolution at the UN to declare June 21 as the “International Day of Yoga”.
  • The Bilateral Trade between the countries have moved from USD 26.51 million in 2013-14 to USD 39.49 million in 2018-19.

Lok Sabha clears Bill to include more tribes in Karnataka in ST category

News:The Lok Sabha has passed The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill,2019.


About the Bill:

  • The bill seeks to include the Parivara and the Taliwara communities in the Scheduled Tribes(ST) category to ensure they get a reservation and other benefits provided by the government.The Siddi tribes would also be included in the category.

About Parivara and Taliwara Tribes:

  • Pariwara and Taliwara are socially, politically, economically and educationally backwards communities.
  • They have characteristic features similar to that of the Nayaka tribe which are already included in the list of Scheduled Tribes(ST) of Karnataka.

About Siddi Tribe:

  • The Siddi tribes of Karnataka are believed to have descended from the Bantu people of Southeast Africa who were treated as slaves by Portuguese merchants. 
  • They are predominantly found in the states of western coast of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka states.They are primarily Muslims although some are Hindus and others belong to the Catholic Church.
  • They are included in the list of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups(PVTG’s).
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