9 PM Current Affairs Brief – February 19th, 2020

Centre begins process of delimitation of assembly seats in J&K

News:The Central Government has begun the process of delimitation of Assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir.

Facts:

About Delimitation:

  • Delimitation is the act of redrawing boundaries of Lok Sabha and state Assembly seats to represent changes in population.
  • The main objective of delimitation is to provide equal representation to equal segments of a population.

Process of Delimitation:

  • Under Article 82, the Parliament enacts a Delimitation Act after every Census.
  • Once the Act is in force,the Union government sets up a Delimitation Commission.
  • The Delimitation commission was constituted in 1952, 1963, 1973 under their respective acts.
  • In 1976, the 42nd Constitutional Amendment was used to stop the delimitation process until 2001.
  • In 2002, based on the 2001 Census delimitation commission was setup to readjust the boundaries of existing Lok Sabha and Assembly seats and reworking the number of reserved seats.
  • Further,In 2002,the 84th Constitutional Amendment was used to freeze the delimitation process till at least 2026.

About Delimitation commission:

  • The Delimitation Commission is appointed by the President of India and works in collaboration with the Election Commission of India.
  • The commission is made up of a retired Supreme Court judge, the Chief Election Commissioner and the respective State Election Commissioners.
  • The commission is mandated to a) determine the number and boundaries of constituencies to make the population of all constituencies nearly equal and b) identify seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, wherever their population is relatively large.
  • The constitution mandates that the orders of commission are final and cannot be questioned before any court as it would hold up an election indefinitely.

Worldwide Education for the Future Index 2019

News:The Economist Intelligence Unit has released the Worldwide Educating for the Future Index (WEFFI) 2019.

Facts:

About the Index:

  • The index assesses countries based on their abilities to equip students with skill-based education.
  • It has ranked countries based on three pillars namely environment, teaching environment and overall socio-economic environment.
  • The theme of the index is “From Policy to Practice”.

Key takeaways from the index:

  • Finland has been ranked at the top of the index.It was followed by Sweden at second position and New Zealand at third position.
  • India has been ranked 35th on the overall index in 2019 with a total score of 53.In 2018,it was ranked at 40th position.
  • The bottom three nations in the index were Kenya (48th), Nigeria (49th) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (50th).

Pakistan to continue in FATF Grey List

News:The International Co-operation Review Group(ICRG) of the Financial Action Task Force(FATF) has recommended that Pakistan be retained on the Grey List given its failure to completely implement the 27-point action plan to check terror financing.

Facts:

FATF and Pakistan:

  • In 2018,Pakistan was placed on the grey list by the FATF and was given a 27-point action plan to implement by February 2020 or face the risk of being placed on the black list with Iran and North Korea.

About FATF:

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 during the G7 Summit in Paris.
  • Its Secretariat is located at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) headquarters in Paris.
  • The objectives of the FATF are to (a) set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures (b) for combating money laundering (c)terrorist financing and (d) other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
  • Currently,the FATF comprises 37 member jurisdiction and 2 regional organisations representing most major financial centres in all parts of the globe.

Listing by FATF:

  • Grey List: Countries that are considered safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put in the grey list.This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.
  • Black List: Countries known as Non-Cooperative are put in the blacklist. These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities. The FATF revises the blacklist regularly adding or deleting entries.

11 Indian universities in top 100 for emerging economies

News:Times Higher Education’s (THE) Emerging Economies University Rankings 2020 has been released.

Facts:

About the rankings:

  • The Emerging University Rankings is based on the same 13 performance indicators used for the World University Rankings.
  • These 13 indicators measure an institution’s performance across teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.
  • However, the weightings are different to reflect the development priorities of universities in emerging economies.

Key takeaways from the ranking:

  • The Tsinghua University from China has topped the Emerging University Rankings.
  • Indian universities had also performed well as 11 universities made it to the top 100 emerging universities of the world.Only China has more universities than India in the top 100 at 30.
  • The Indian Institute of Science(IISc), ranked 16th is India’s top-ranked institution.The other universities included are IIT Kharagpur at 32nd, IIT Delhi at 38th and IIT Madras at 63rd.
  • A total of 56 Indian universities appear in the full ranking of a total of 533 universities from 47 emerging economies of the world.

Mukurthi National Park

News:Tamil Nadu government are constructing fire lines’ or ‘fire breaks’, in the Mukurthi National Park(MNP) ahead of summer and peak fire season.

Facts:

About Mukurthi National Park:

  • Location: It is located in the northwest corner of Tamil Nadu in the Western Ghats mountain range.It is also a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
  • Type:It is characterised by montane grasslands and shrublands interspersed with sholas in a high altitude area of high rainfall, near-freezing temperatures and high winds.
  • Keystone Species:Themain reason behind establishing a national park in the place was to protect the Nilgiri Tahr which is a Keystone species.
  • The park also has the distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is part of the Western Ghats.

Additional information:

About Fire Line:

  • It is an artificially formed break in foliage or forest cover to control the spread of wildfires by limiting the amount of combustible vegetation available.

About Keystone Species:

  • keystone species is a species that plays an essential role in the structure, functioning or productivity of a habitat or ecosystem at a defined level (habitat, soil, seed dispersal, etc).
  • Disappearance of such species may lead to significant ecosystem change or dysfunction which may have knock on effects on a broader scale.

KALA KUMBH – Handicrafts Exhibitions for promotion of GI Crafts

News:The Ministry of Textiles is organising the Kala Kumbh – Handicrafts Thematic Exhibition in various parts of the country.

Facts:

About Kala Kumbh:

  • It is an exhibition to promote GI (Geographical Indication) crafts and heritage of India.
  • It is being organized through the Office of Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) under the Ministry of Textiles.
  • It is sponsored by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts(EPCH).

About GI tag:

  • A geographical indication(GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
  • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 provides registration and also protection of GI goods in India.
  • The act is administered by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and trademarks under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • As of August 2019, 178 GI handicraft products are registered from all over India.

About EPCH:

  • Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts(EPCH) was established as a non-profit organisation under Companies Act in 1986-87.
  • It aims to promote, support, protect, maintain and increase the export of handicrafts.

E-MASIHA App

News:Recently, the Ministry of Minority Affairs has informed that India has become the first country in the world which has made the entire Haj 2020 process 100% digital..

Facts:

About the E-MASIHA App:

  • E-Masiha stands for E-Medical Assistance System for Indian Pilgrims Abroad.
  • It is an online system to create and maintain the complete health database of pilgrims along with doctors’ prescriptions as well as medicine disbursals to deal with any emergency in Makkah-Madinah.

About HAJ APP:

  • Indian Haj Information System (Haj App) has been developed to receive grievance from Hajis and feedback to improve the service.

ECI awarded ‘Silver’ in re-engineering process for digital transformation

News:The Election Commission of India has been awarded Silver for Excellence in Government Process re-engineering for digital transformation for the year 2019-20.

Facts:

About the award:

  • The award was presented during the 23rd National Conference on e-Governance by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances(DARPG).
  • Aim:Torecognize the projects that involved analysis and re-design of workflow which resulted in improvement in outcomes related to efficiency, the effectiveness of the process, cost, quality, service delivery or a combination of these.

Additional information:

About ERONET:

  • ERONET(Electoral Role Services Net) is a web portal setup by Election commission of India.It is a common database for all States and UTs with data of 91 crore electors.
  • It provides bedrock of electoral roll in providing various web services to Conduct of Elections applications of Election Commission of India.
  • It automates the process of electoral roll management starting from elector registration, field verification of electors, decision support system for Electoral registration officers and for providing extensive integrated value-added services.
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