9 PM Current Affairs Brief – February 27th, 2020

Govt to host Artificial Intelligence-focused Raise 2020 summit

News:The Government has announced that it will hold the RAISE 2020- ‘Responsible AI for Social Empowerment 2020’ summit in New Delhi between April 11 and April 12.


About RAISE 2020:

  • Aim:To bring together people to exchange ideas on the use of Artificial Intelligence for social empowerment, inclusion and transformation in industries such as education, smart mobility, agriculture and healthcare among others.
  • It will be organized by the Government of India along with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in partnership with industry & academia.

Additional information:

About Artificial Intelligence:

  • It refers to the ability of machines to perform cognitive tasks like thinking, perceiving, learning, problem-solving and decision making.
  • It includes technologies like machine learning, pattern recognition, big data, neural networks, self algorithms among others.

India and AI:

  • National strategy on artificial intelligence:It has been released by NITI Aayog in 2018.It identifies five core areas for application of artificial intelligence: Healthcare, Agriculture, Education, Smart Cities and Infrastructure and Smart Mobility and Transportation.
  • Global AI Report 2019:According to this report,India stood at the ninth position in terms of the number of AI specialists working in the field.The US, China and the UK has topped the list.
  • According to a report, AI could add $957 billion to the Indian economy and will lift the country’s income by 15% in 2035.
  • AIRAWAT:In 2019,NITI Aayog had proposed to establish a cloud computing platform called Artificial Intelligence Research, Analytics and Knowledge Assimilation Platform(AIRAWAT) to make India a pioneer amongst emerging economies with regards to AI.

Market Intelligence and Early Warning System(MIEWS) Portal 

News:Union Minister of Food Processing Industries, launched the– Market Intelligence and Early Warning System (MIEWS) Web Portal.


About the Portal:

  • The portal will provide real time monitoring of prices of tomato, onion and potato (TOP) and simultaneously generate alerts for intervention under the terms of the Operation Greens(OG) scheme. 
  • It would also disseminate all relevant information related to TOP crops such as Prices and Arrivals, Area, Yield and Production, Imports and Exports among others.

About Operation Greens:

  • Operation Green was announced by the Union government in the Budget 2018-2019 with an outlay of Rs.500 crores.
  • The immediate aim of the scheme is to contain the annual price distress of tomatoes, onions and potatoes (TOP) in regions with high production.
  • It also aspires to increase the income of the farmers as in line with an ambition of doubling the farmer’s income by 2022.
  • These goals are to be achieved through interventions by encouraging farmer producers’ organisations, agri-logistics, processing facilities and professional management.

Cabinet approves National Technical Textiles Mission

News:Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs(CCEA) has given its approval to set up a National Technical Textiles Mission with a total outlay of Rs 1480 Crore.


About Technical Textiles:

  • Technical textiles are textiles materials and products manufactured primarily for technical performance and functional properties rather than aesthetic characteristics.

About the mission:

  • The mission aims at increasing the size of the technical textiles in the domestic market to $40 billion which would require an average growth of at least 10% per annum.
  • The mission will have a four year implementation period from FY 2020-21 to 2023-24.
  • A Mission Directorate in the Ministry of Textiles headed by an eminent expert in the related field will be made operational for the mission.

Components of the mission:

  • Component-l: Promoting both a) fundamental research at fibre level and (ii) application based research in geo-textiles, agro-textiles, medical textiles among others,
  • Component-II: Promotion and Market Development.
  • Component-III: Export promotion of technical textiles and ensuring 10% average growth in exports per year upto 2023-24.An Export Promotion Council for Technical Textiles will be set up for this purpose.
  • Component-IV: Promoting technical education at higher engineering and technology levels related to technical textiles.

Masala Bonds

News:Asian Development Bank (ADB) has listed its 10-year masala bonds worth Rs 850 crore on the global debt listing platform of India INX.


About Masala Bonds:

  • Masala Bonds are rupee-denominated borrowings issued by Indian entities in overseas markets.
  • The objective of Masala Bonds is to fund infrastructure projects in India, fuel internal growth via borrowings and internationalise the Indian currency.

Who can issue these bonds?

  • The bond can be issued in a country and subscribed by a resident of such a country that is a member of the Financial Action Task Force and whose securities market regulator is a member of the International Organisation of Securities Commission.
  • It can also be subscribed by multilateral and regional financial institutions where India is a member country.
  • The first Masala bond was issued in 2014 by IFC for the infrastructure projects in India.

How does Masala Bonds help bond issuers?

  • As Masala bonds are issued directly in Indian rupees,the investor needs to bear the exchange rate risks. 
  • Rupee rate falls will not affect the issuer of Masala Bonds. In simpler words, as Masala Bonds are rupee-denominated bonds, the risk goes directly to the investor.

Additional information:

About India INX:

  • India INX is the country’s first international exchange, located at International Financial Services Centre, GIFT City in Gujarat.

Exercise Indradhanush – 2020

News:Indian and UK Air Force has jointly commenced the fifth edition of Exercise Indradhanush.


About the exercise:

  • It is a joint bilateral air exercise between India and the UK started in 2006.
  • The focus of this edition of the exercise is ‘Base Defence and Force Protection’.
  • Aim:To share and jointly validate strategies and tactics to counter terror threats to their installations.

Additional information:

Other exercises between India and UK:

  • Exercise Konkan:It is an annual maritime bilateral exercise between Indian Navy and the Royal Navy of Britain.
  • Exercise Ajeya warrior:It is a joint military exercise between India and the UK.It was held for the first time in 2013.

Explained: InSight mission

News:Recently,the findings of 10 months of NASA’s InSight lander mission have been described in a set of six papers.


About InSight mission:

  • The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission is a robotic lander designed to study the deep interior of the planet Mars
  • The mission is part of NASA’s Discovery Program.It is being supported by a number of European partners, which include France’s Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA).

Objectives of the mission:

  • To uncover how a rocky body forms and evolves to become a planet by investigating the interior structure and composition of Mars. 
  • To determine the rate of Martian tectonic activity and meteorite impacts.

Key findings of the mission:

Seismically active:

  • Mars is seismically active through the detection of hundreds of quakes some of which can be traced to a volcanic region nearly 1,000 miles away.
  • However,Mars doesn’t have tectonic plates like Earth but it does have volcanically active regions that can cause rumbles.


  • Billions of years ago,Mars used to have a global magnetic field.But that’s no longer the case as what is left behind are what NASA describes as ghosts i.e magnetized rocks that are between 61 m to several km below ground.
  • However,the mission has also found that the field surrounding the lander has 10 times stronger magnetic field than that predicted by scientists.

Dust Devils:

  • The weather sensors have detected thousands of passing whirlwinds, which are called dust devils.
  • However, despite detecting the dust devils,the lander has been unable to capture one on camera.

International Conference on Ensemble Methods in Modelling and Data Assimilation(EMMDA)

News:An International conference on Ensemble Methods in Modelling and Data Assimilation(EMMDA) is being organised by the National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting(NCMRWF).


About the conference:

  • The Conference provides a platform for discussions and deliberations on the present status, future prospects and optimum use of Ensemble Prediction System(EPS).

About Ensemble Prediction System(EPS):

  • Ensemble Prediction Systems(EPS) are numerical weather prediction (NWP) systems that allow us to estimate the uncertainty in a weather forecast as well as the most likely outcome.
  • The individual NWP solutions that make up the ensemble are often referred to as the ensemble members.


  • The National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) is a Centre of Excellence in Weather and Climate Modelling under the Ministry of Earth Sciences. 
  • It develops advanced numerical weather prediction systems with increased reliability and accuracy over India and neighbouring regions through research and development.

National Science Day-2020

News:National Science Day is celebrated every year on 28 February to commemorate the discovery of the ‘Raman Effect’ by Dr CV Raman.He was also awarded the Nobel Prize for this discovery in 1930.


About National Science Day:

  • The Government of India had first celebrated National Science Day in 1986. 
  • National Council for Science & Technology Communication(NCSTC), Department of Science and Technology(DST) acts as a nodal agency to celebrate the National Science Day.
  • Theme for 2020:Women in Science.

About Raman effect:

  • The Raman Effect is a change in the wavelength of light that occurs when a light beam is deflected by molecules. 
  • When a beam of light traverses a dust-free,transparent sample of a chemical compound,a small fraction of the light emerges in directions other than that of the incident (incoming) beam.
  • Most of this scattered light is of unchanged wavelength.However,a small part has wavelengths different from that of the incident light; its presence is a result of the Raman effect.


News:Recently,ICoSDiTAUS-2020,the International Conference on Standardisation of Diagnosis and Terminologies in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha Systems of Medicine concluded in New Delhi.


About the conference:

  • The conference was jointly organized by the Ministry of AYUSH and the World Health Organization(WHO) in New Delhi.
  • The conference adopted the New Delhi Declaration on Collection and Classification of Traditional Medicine(TM) Diagnostic Data.

About New Delhi Declaration:

  • The New Delhi declaration emphasised the commitment of the countries to Traditional Medicine (TM) as a significant area of health care.
  • It also sought for inclusion of traditional systems of medicine like Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha in the International Classification of Diseases(ICD) of WHO which is the standard diagnostic tool for health management across the world. 
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