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9 PM Current Affairs Brief – February 4th, 2020

World Wetlands Day

News: The World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2nd February.

Facts:

  • Background: the date of adoption of Ramsar Convention on Wetlands on 2nd February, 1971.
  • 2020 Theme: “Wetlands and Biodiversity”

Additional Information

  1. Ramsar Convention on Wetland (1971): It is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources
  2. Montreux Record: It is a register of wetland sites on the List of Ramsar wetlands of international importance. It shows such sites where there has been or likely to be adverse ecological changes due to anthropogenic activities. Indian sites in the Montreux Record are Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan), Loktak Lake (Manipur).

World Cancer Day

News: world Cancer Day is celebrated every year on 4th February

Facts:

  • It is organized by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) 
  • 2020 theme: ‘I Am and I Will’

Additional Information

National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS)

  • It was launched in 2010 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
  • It focuses on strengthening infrastructure, human resource development, health promotion, early diagnosis, management and referral.

Most missing women from Maharashtra, M.P.

News: National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has released a study on missing women and children based on the annual Crime in India Report compiled by the agency for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Facts:

Background: In 2019, the Supreme Court had directed the NCRB to analyse the data on missing persons (especially on women and children) so that areas prone to persons being trafficked can be identified.

Key takeaways:

  • States where the highest number of women went missing were Maharashtra, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh.
  • Mumbai and Pune recorded the highest number of such incidents
  • The maximum number of missing children reports were recorded in Maharashtra and West Bengal

States/ UTs and Districts Awarded for Best Performance under PMMVY

News: Ministry of Women and Child Development gave away the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) awards to States, Union Territories and Districts for best performance

Facts:

  • Best performance since inception of the Scheme to States/ UTs having population of more than 1 crore: Madhya Pradesh, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Haryana
  • Best performance since inception of the Scheme to States/ UTs having population of less than 1 crore: Dadra and Nagar Haveli, followed by Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh

Additional Information:

About Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana

  • It is a conditional Maternity Benefit Programme launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2017. It is in accordance with the National Food Security Act 2013.

Objectives: Providing partial wage compensation in terms of the cash incentive to improve health-seeking behaviour amongst Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW& LM).

Benefits: A cash incentive of 5000/- is provided directly to the Bank / Post Office Account of Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM)

Beneficiaries: All eligible Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers who have their pregnancy on or after 1st January 2017 for the first child in the family.

  • Exclusion: PW&LM who are in regular employment with the Central/State Government or PSUs or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law.

Implementation: PMMVY is implemented using the platform of Anganwadi Services under the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

Matru Vandana Saptah (MVS):

  • Held from 2nd to 8th December 2019.
  • Objective: to increase the implementation of the Scheme and create a healthy competition amongst States/ UTs.
  • Theme “towards building a healthy nation – Surakshit Janani, ViksitDharini”. 

New mascot for National Games: flame-throated bulbul

News:The flame-throated bulbul has been chosen as the mascot of the 36th National Games.

Facts:

About Flame throated Bulbul:

  • The flame-throated bulbul (Pycnonotus gularis) is a member of the bulbul family of passerine birds.
  • They are also called the Rubigula and they are the State bird of Goa.
  • They are found only in the forests of the Western Ghats in southern India.
  • IUCN Status : Least Concern 
  • They are listed as Schedule IV species under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

SATHI Initiative

News:Department of Science & Technology has launched a scheme called Sophisticated Analytical & Technical Help Institutes(SATHI).

Facts:

About SATHI:

  • Aim:To provide shared, professionally managed and strong Science and Technology infrastructure centres in the country which is readily accessible to academia, start-ups, manufacturing, industry and R&D labs.
  • These Centres houses major analytical instruments to provide common services of high-end analytical testing thus avoiding duplication and reduced dependency on foreign sources
  • Currently,DST has already set up three such centres in the country, one each at IIT Kharagpur, IIT Delhi and BHU.It is planned to set up five SATHI Centres every year for the next four years.

Significance:

  • This will foster a strong culture of collaboration between institutions and across disciplines to take advantage of developments, innovations and expertise in diverse areas.

SC directs states to issue notification for establishing ‘Gram Nyayalayas’

News:The Supreme Court has directed the states to establish Gram Nyayalayas within four weeks’ time span.

Facts:

About Gram Nyayalayas:

  • Gram Nyayalayas are mobile village courts established under Gram Nyayalayas Act,2008.
  • They are aimed at providing speedy and inexpensive justice to people in rural areas at their doorsteps.
  • The Gram Nyayalayas should be established for every Panchayat at the intermediate level or a group of contiguous Panchayats at intermediate level in a district or where there is no Panchayat at intermediate level in any State for a group of contiguous Panchayats.

Composition:

  • Nyayadhikaris who will preside over these Gram Nyayalayas are judicial officers and will be drawing the same salary and deriving the same powers as First Class Magistrate working under High Courts.
  • These presiding officers(Nyayadhikari) are to be appointed by the State Government in consultation with the High Court.

Powers:

  • They shall exercise the powers of both Criminal and Civil Courts which are specified in the First Schedule and the Second Schedule to the Act.
  • They are not bound by the rules of evidence provided in the Indian Evidence Act,1872 but shall be guided by the principles of natural justice and subject to any rule made by the High Court.

Economic Survey 2019-20: Afforestation under Green India Mission(GIM)

News:According to the Economic Survey,a sum of Rs 343 crore has been released under the Green India Mission (GIM) for undertaking afforestation activities.However,data for afforestation undertaken under GIM from Parliamentary questions paint a different picture.

Facts:

About Green India Mission(GIM):

  • Launched in 2015 by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change.
  • It is one of the eight missions launched under the National Action Plan on Climate Change(NAPCC)
  • Aim:Toincrease green cover in India to the extent of five million hectares (mha) and improve the quality of existing green cover on another 5 mha.
  • It also aims to improve ecosystem services like carbon sequestration, hydrological services and biodiversity and provisioning services like fuel, fodder, and timber and non-timber forest produces. 
  • It also has a target to increase forest-based livelihood income for about three million households.

CEPI to fund coronavirus vaccine attempts

News:Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI),a Department of Biotechnology(DBT) backed global coalition is funding research for coronavirus vaccine.

Facts:

About CEPI:

  • CEPI is a global partnership between public, private, philanthropic and civil society organisations launched at World a Economic forum(WEF), Davos in 2017.
  • It’s aim is to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and enable equitable access to these vaccines for people during outbreaks.It is headquartered in Oslo,Norway.
  • It is being funded by the Wellcome Trust, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Economic Forum (WEF), Governments of Norway, Japan, India (Department of Biotechnology) and Germany.

Santusht Portal 

News:Union Minister of State (I/C) for Labour and Employment has launched the Santusht Portal.

Facts:

About the Portal:

  • It has been constituted under the Office of Minister of State for Labour and Employment.
  • Aim:To promote transparency, accountability, effective delivery of public services and implementation of policies, schemes of Ministry of Labour and Employment at grassroot level through constant monitoring.

Additional information:

About CPGRAMS:

  • Centralized Public Grievance Redress And Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) is an online web-enabled system.
  • Aim:To enable submission of grievances by the aggrieved citizens to Ministries or departments who scrutinize and take action for speedy and favorable redress of these grievances.
  • Developed by the National Informatics Centre in association with Directorate of Public Grievances(DPG) and Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances(DARPG).

10% Indians to develop cancer, 1 in 15 will die of disease:WHO

News:The World Health Organization(WHO) has released a report on World Cancer Day.

Facts:

About the report:

  • The report aims to set the global agenda on cancer, mobilise stakeholders and help countries set priorities for investing in cancer control and universal health coverage.

Report on India:

  • One in 10 Indians will develop cancer during their lifetime and one in 15 Indians will die of cancer.
  • There were an estimated 1.16 million new cancer cases, 7.8 lakh cancer deaths and 2.26 million 5-year prevalent cases in India in 2018.
  • The six most common cancer types in India are breast cancer, oral cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer and colorectal cancer.Together,these account for 49% of all new cancer cases.

Additional information:

About World Cancer Day:

  • The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) organizes World Cancer Day February 4 every year since 2000.
  • The primary goal of the day is to prominently reduce illness and death caused by cancer.
  • Theme for 2020:’I am and I will’.This theme has been proposed for the next three years.

About the Union for International Cancer Control:

  • The Union for International Cancer Control is a membership based, non-governmental organization that exists to help the global health community accelerate the fight against cancer. 
  • It was founded in 1933 and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Poompuhar:Scientists to digitally recreate Tamil Nadu port city

News:The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has launched ‘Project Digital Poompuhar’ to recreate the Chola Dynasty port city,Poompuhar in Tamil Nadu.

Facts:

About Poompuhar:

  • Poompuhar was once an ancient port city which served as the capital of the early Chola kings in Tamilakam.It is also mentioned in works of Sangam Tamil literature.
  • The port city flourished in inter-continental trade but shifted with time. Finally,it was re-established at the present location at the mouth of the river Cauvery around 3,000 years ago.
  • The shifts took place due to the continuous kadalkol or rising sea levels and the submergence of the delta.

About the project:

  • The reconstruction of Poompuhar is a part of DST’s Indian Digital Heritage(IDH) project.An exhibition of its first project ‘Digital Hampi’ is currently on display at the National Museum.
  • The project involves underwater surveys and photography by remotely operated vehicles and remote sensing-based geodynamic studies to bring out comprehensive information on the time series evolution and extinction.
  • It also involves the visualisation of geodynamic processes of the last 20,000 years like land subsidence, sea-level rise, Cauvery’s migration, floods, tsunami, cyclones and erosion.

Additional information:

About India Digital Heritage Project:

  • India Digital Heritage is a unique initiative by the Department of Science and Technology(DST).
  • The initiative supports collaborative projects between researchers in the areas of Technology and Humanities for digital documentation and interpretation of our tangible and intangible heritage.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras 

News:Government has informed that around 723 Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras has been established till January,2020.

Facts:

About Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras(PMKK):

  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra(PMKK) are Skill training centres established by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship ( MSDE).
  • The National Skill Development Corporation(NSDC) is the implementing agency.
  • The initiative focuses on the creation of standardised infrastructure for delivery of skill development training which is equipped to run industry driven courses of high quality with a focus on employability and to create an aspirational value for skill training.

Additional information:

About Jan Shikshan Sansthan:

  • Aim:Toprovide vocational training to non-literates, neo-literates as well as school drop-outs in rural regions by identifying skills that have a relevant market in that region.
  • Ministry:It comes under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.

International Maritime Bureau(IMB):Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea

News:The International Chamber of Commerce has released the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) annual piracy report.

Facts:

Key takeaways from the report:

  • There was an overall decline in piracy incidents globally in the year 2019.
  • However,there was an alarming increase in piracy related incidents across the Gulf of Guinea.
  • The number of crew kidnapped in the Gulf of Guinea increased more than 50% from 78 in 2018 to 121 in 2019.This equates to over 90% of global kidnappings reported at sea.

About Gulf of Guinea:

  • The Gulf of Guinea is the northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean.
  • The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian (zero degrees latitude and longitude) is in the gulf.
  • Among the many rivers that drain into the Gulf of Guinea are the Niger and the Volta.

Government approves Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2020

News:Union Cabinet has approved the promulgation of Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 and Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act 2015.

Facts:

Key provisions of the ordinance:

Eligibility for auction:

  • Earlier,the government used to auction coal and lignite mining licences only to companies engaged in iron and steel.
  • The ordinance opens up coal mining to any firm whose office is registered in India.

Removal of restriction end-use of coal:

  • Currently,companies acquiring coal mines through auctions can use the coal produced only for specific end-uses such as power generation and steel production.
  • The Ordinance removes this restriction on the use of coal mined by such companies.

Composite license for prospecting and mining:

  • Currently,separate licenses are provided for prospecting and mining of coal and lignite called prospecting license and mining lease respectively. Prospecting includes exploring, locating, or finding mineral deposits.
  • The Ordinance provides for a composite type of license called prospecting license-cum-mining lease.

Significance of the ordinance:

  • This opens up the sector to players outside steel and power as well as removes end-use restrictions.
  • It will create an efficient energy market and bring in more competition as well as reduce coal imports.It might also put an end to Coal India Ltd’s monopoly in the sector.
  • It would help India gain access to high-end technology for underground mining used by miners across the globe.
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