9 PM Current Affairs Brief – February 18th, 2020

National e-Governance Service Delivery Assessment (NeSDA) 2019

News:The Union Government has released the first National e-Governance Service Delivery Index Assessment (NeSDA).


About the index:

  • The index has been prepared by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances(DARPG) with NASSCOM as the designated knowledge partner.
  • It aimed at improving the overall e-Government development by evaluating the efficiency of service delivery mechanism from a citizen’s perspective.
  • The index was based on seven key parameters namely accessibility, content availability, ease of use, information security and privacy, end-service delivery, integrated service delivery and status & request tracking.

Key takeaways from the Index:

States Ranking:

  • Kerala has topped the index.It was followed by Goa at the second spot and Haryana at the third spot.
  • Bihar has not been considered at all for the rankings as it failed to give adequate data for the assessment.Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are at the bottom of the list.

Ministries Ranking:

  • The Ministry of Health & Family welfare was ranked at the top spot while the second position has been secured by the ministry of human resource development(MHRD).

SUTRA PIC Programme

News:The Government of India has unveiled a programme named SUTRA PIC to research ‘indigenous’ cows.


About the programme:

  • SUTRA PIC stands for Scientific Utilisation Through Research Augmentation-Prime Products from Indigenous Cows.

Themes of the programme:

  • Uniqueness of Indigenous Cows,
  • Prime-products from Indigenous Cows for Medicine & Health,
  • Prime-products from Indigenous Cows for Agricultural Applications,
  • Prime-products from Indigenous Cows for Food & Nutrition and
  • Prime-products from indigenous cows-based utility items.

Objectives of the programme:

  • Scientific research on the complete characterisation of milk and milk products derived from Indian indigenous cows.
  • Scientific research on nutritional and therapeutic properties of curd and ghee prepared from indigenous breeds of cows by traditional methods.
  • Development of standards for traditionally processed dairy products of Indian-origin cows among others,


  • The department of the Science for Equity,Empowerment and Development (SEED) under the Ministry of Science and Technology is in charge of the programme.
  • It has the Department of Biotechnology, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Ministry for AYUSH (Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Homoeopathy) among others and the Indian Council of Medical Research as partners.

3rd High Level Global Conference on Road Safety

News:Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways will represent India at the 3rd High Level Global Conference on Road Safety for Achieving Global Goals 2030 in Stockholm,Sweden.


About the conference:

  • It is organised by the World Health Organization(WHO) in association with the World Bank and minister-led delegations from more than 80 countries.
  • The objective of the conference is to bring road safety on the global agenda and renew the commitment of the world community towards road safety.
  • Theme:Achieving Global Goals 2030

Additional information:

About Brasilia Declaration:

  • The Brasilia declaration was signed at the Second Global High-Level conference on Road Safety held in Brazil in 2015.
  • The declaration lays down recommendations on strengthening existing legislations, adopting sustainable transport and strengthening post-crash response.
  • The declaration also calls upon countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 3.6 which calls to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2020.
  • The United Nations has also declared 2010-2020 as the decade of action for Road Safety.

Women Army officers eligible for permanent commission, rules SC

News:The Supreme Court has upheld the Delhi High Court Judgement in 2010 and ruled that the Short Service Commission(SSC) women officers are eligible for the permanent commission and command posts in the Army irrespective of their years of service.



  • The induction of women officers in the Army started in 1992.They were commissioned for a period of five years in certain chosen streams under the Women Special Entry Scheme(WSES).
  • In 2006,WSES was replaced by the Short Service Commission(SSC) scheme.Under the scheme, women were commissioned into the Army for a period of 10 years extendable up to 14 years.
  • However,women were restricted to roles in specified streams and could not opt for Permanent commission.On the other hand, male SSC officers could opt for permanent commission at the end of 10 years of service.
  • Thus,women officers were kept out of any command appointment and could not qualify for government pension which starts only after 20 years of service as an officer.
  • However,in 2019,the Government endorsed the permanent commission for SSC women officers in 10 streams.But said that this would be applied prospectively and the women officers would not be offered any command appointments and would serve only in staff posts.

About the Judgement:

  • The court has said that all serving women officers will be eligible for the Permanent Commission(PC).
  • The women officers will also be eligible for command posts in non-combat areas since an absolute bar on women seeking criteria or command appointments would not go with the guarantee of equality under Article 14.
  • However,the exclusion of women from combat operations was not examined by the court as it was not contested in the appeal.

Significance of the judgement:

  • The women officers will be eligible to occupy all the command appointments at par with male officers which would open avenues for further promotions to higher ranks for them.
  • A woman can rise to the rank of Colonel and above based on merit like their male counterparts.

India becomes 5th largest economy, overtakes UK, France:Report

News:According to a US-based think tank World Population Review,India has emerged as the world’s fifth largest economy by overtaking the UK and France in 2019.


Key takeaways from the report:

  • India’s economy is the fifth largest in the world with a GDP of $2.94 trillion.
  • In purchasing power parity(PPP) terms, India’s GDP (PPP) is $10.51 trillion exceeding that of Japan and Germany.
  • India’s economic liberalisation began in the early 1990s and included industrial deregulation, reduced control on foreign trade and investment, and privatisation of state-owned enterprises.
  • Currently, India’s service sector is the fast-growing sector in the world accounting for 60% of the economy and 28% of employment.
  • However,India’s real GDP growth is expected to weaken for the third straight year from 7.5 per cent to 5 per cent.

Additional information:

About Purchasing Power Parity:

  • The rate at which the currency of one country would have to be converted into that of another country to buy the same amount of goods and services in each country.

Battle of Çanakkale/Gallipoli

News:Turkey President has compared Kashmir to Çanakkale — the World War I battle that built several national identities.


About the Battle:

  • The Battle of Çanakkale also known as the Gallipoli campaign or the Dardanelles campaign is considered to be one of the bloodiest of World War I.
  • This battle took place on the Gallipoli peninsula (Gelibolu in modern Turkey) from 17 February 1915 to 9 January 1916.
  • The allied powers namely Britain, France and Russia sought to weaken the Ottoman Empire by taking control of the Dardanelles straits that provided a supply route to Russia.
  • The Allies’ attack on Ottoman forts at the entrance of the Dardanelles failed and was followed by an amphibious landing on the Gallipoli peninsula in April 1915 to capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (Istanbul).
  • However,in the end, the land campaign was abandoned and the invasion force was withdrawn.It was a costly defeat for the Allies and the campaign was considered a great Ottoman victory.

Significance of the Battle:

  • The battle resulted in a demotion for Winston Churchill, then Britain’s First Lord of the Admiralty and the emergence on the Turkish side of the young military hero, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Madhav National Park

News:The encroachment of Madhav National Park land in Madhu’s Pradesh continues unchecked even though the land was allotted to make way for a tiger corridor.


About the Madhav National Park:

  • Madhav National park is situated near Shivpuri town in Madhya Pradesh. It is a part of the upper Vindhyan hills.
  • The Park was the hunting ground of Mughal emperors and Maharaja of Gwalior.It got the status of a National Park in 1958.
  • The Park is a combination of dry deciduous & dry thorn forests that make home for different varieties of antelopes like Nilgai, Chinkara and Deer.
  • The park is home to Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG)s like Saharia.

Additional information:

Other National Parks of Madhya Pradesh:

  • Bandhavgarh National Park & Tiger Reserve
  • Kanha National Park & Tiger Reserve
  • Satpura National Park & Tiger Reserve
  • Sanjay National Park & Tiger Reserve
  • Van Vihar National Park
  • Ghughua National Park
  • Panna National Park & Tiger Reserve
  • Pench National Park & Tiger Reserve.

Moody’s slashes India’s 2020 growth projection

News:Moody’s Investor Service has released its Global Macro Outlook Report.


Key takeaways from the report:

  • Revised India’s growth forecasts to 5.4% for 2020 and 5.8% for 2021, down from previous projections of 6.6% and 6.7% respectively.
  • India’s key to stronger economic momentum would be revival of domestic demand and resumption of credit growth.
  • It has also reduced the global GDP growth forecast and expects G-20 economies to collectively grow by 2.4% in 2020 and 2.8% in 2021.
  • However,it says that the coronavirus outbreak in China is expected to cause disruption in the first quarter.

Additional information:

About Moody:

  • Moody’s is an essential component of the global capital markets.
  • It provides credit ratings, research, tools and analysis that contribute to transparent and integrated financial markets.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS)

News:Kerala will soon get a Tiger rehabilitation centre, safari park in the Wayanad wildlife sanctuary.


About Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1973.It is the second largest wildlife park in Kerala.It was notified as an Elephant Reserve under Project elephant in 1991-92.
  • It is part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve along with Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Bandipur National Park, Nagarhole National Park, Mukurthi National Park and Silent Valley.
  • Vegetation:Itcomprises tropical semi-evergreen forests, moist mixed deciduous forests, dry mixed deciduous forests, bamboo forests, and marshy grasslands.
  • The sanctuary is contiguous to the protected area network of Nagarhole and Bandipur of Karnataka in the Northeast and Muthumalai of Tamil Nadu in the Southeast.
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