9 PM Current Affairs Brief – January 10th, 2020

Ghataprabha River

News: Migratory birds from Siberia spotted at Ghataprabha River.


About Ghataprabha River

  • It is a right-bank tributary of the Krishna River. It originates from the Western Ghats and joins the river Krishna at Chikksangam, Karnataka.
  • It forms Gokak Falls in Belgaum District of Karnataka.
  • It has a hydroelectric and irrigational dam at Hidkal.

Additional Information:

River Krishna

  • Source: Western Ghats near Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra.
  • Mouth: Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladeevi in Andhra Pradesh.
  • It flows through Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Largest tributary: Tungabhadra River.
  • Longest tributary: Bhima River.
Image result for krishna river on map"

Declare Goa sanctuaries as ‘tiger reserve’: Activists

News: Activists from Goa have demanded that certain areas in wildlife sanctuaries of the state be notified as ‘tiger reserve’.


Background: In 2017, Goa government had sent a proposal to Centre, according to which 500 Sq.km area of Mhadei, Netravali and Cotigao sanctuaries and some part of Mahaveer National Park was to be declared as Tiger Reserve.

Protected areas in Goa

  1. Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary: It is located in South Goa district.
  2. Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary: is located in South Eastern Goa. Netravali is an important tributary of River Zuari, which originates in the sanctuary.
  3. Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary: It is located in the North Goa District. The Mhadei River (known as Mondovi River downstream) flows through the sanctuary. Vazra Sakla waterfalls is located in the sanctuary.
  4. Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park: It is located in Goa along the eastern border with Karnataka. Dudhsagar Falls, on the Mandovi River, is located here.
Image result for protected areas in goa"

Additional Information

Tiger Reserves:

  • Tiger Reserves are protected area that aim at conserving the habitat to ensure a viable population of the tigers along with their prey base in their habitat.
  • They are established under the Project Tiger, launched in 1973.
  • National Tiger Conservation Authority, established in 2005, oversees management of Project Tiger and Tiger Reserves in India.
  • Jim Corbett in Uttarakhand is the first Tiger Reserve to be established under Project Tiger. At present, there are 50 tiger reserves in India.

Did You Know? Goa is the only state in India which has protected the complete Western Ghats’ section within a state.

Centre notifies new Wetland Conservation Rules

News: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has put forward Guidelines for implementing Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017


Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017

Key Features:

  • Prohibits conversion for non-wetland uses, setting up or expansion of industries in wetland area.
  • Prohibits disposal of construction and demolition waste within the wetlands.
  • Each state and Union Territory will have to set up wetland authority that will define strategies for wetlands conservation.
  • The authority should also enhance awareness among stakeholders and local communities.

Additional Information:

  1. Wetland: It is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, and it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem.
  2. Ramsar Sites: It is a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. There are 27 Ramsar Wetland Sites in India
  3. 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.
  4. Montreux Record: It is a register of wetland sites on the List of Ramsar wetlands of international importance. I 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).

Did you know? 2nd February of each year is celebrated as World Wetlands Day to mark the date of adoption of Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. 2020 Theme is “Wetlands and Biodiversity”

Image result for ramsar sites in india

Northeast gas pipeline grid project

News: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved a Capital Grant as the Viability Gap Funding to Indradhanush Gas Grid Ltd for setting up the North East Natural Gas Pipeline Grid.

North East Natural Gas Pipeline Grid

  • States: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura
  • Cities covered: Guwahati, Itanagar, Kohima, Dimapur, Aizwal, Imphal, Shillong, Agartala, Silchar, Numaligarh and Gangtok.


  • Uninterrupted natural gas supplies to the consumers
  • Development of industrial climate in eight states of the north-eastern region
  • Improved environment by reduction in the usage of kerosene, wood etc.
  • Improvement in the standard of living
  • Boost Exploration & Production activities and connect regional gas sources

Additional Information:

Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga project

  • It was launched in 2016 by Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas
  • It aims at laying 2,050-km pipeline connecting Jagdishpur (UP) to Haldia (West Bengal)
  • It seeks to provide piped cooking gas to residents and CNG to vehicles in eastern region.
  • States covered: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal.

National Gas Grid: It seeks to ensure easy availability of natural gas across all regions and help to achieve uniform economic and social progress.

Annual Crime in India Report 2018

News: The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) published the Annual Crime in India Report 2018


Key highlights

  • Overall crime in India increased 1.3% in 2018 compared to 2017
  • crime rate per lakh population was 383.5 in 2018
  • Uttar Pradesh accounted for most number of crime against women followed by Maharashtra and West Bengal
  • Madhya Pradesh account for the most rapes in the country. Among Union territories, Delhi recorded the highest number of rapes.
  • 27,248 cases of cybercrimes were registered in 2018.

Additional Information:

Accidental Death and Suicides in India 2018 report

  • Majority of the suicides were reported in Maharashtra, followed by Tamil Nadu
  • 10,349 people working in the farm sector suicided

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)

  • It is an attached office of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The agency is responsible for collecting and analysing crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Special and Local Laws (SLL).

Nepal’s Seke ‘near-extinct’: The six degrees of endangerment of a language

News:Recently, several newspapers have reported that the near-extinct Nepalese language ‘Seke’ has just 700 speakers around the world.


About Seke Language:

  • Seke means golden language.It is one of the over 100 indigenous languages of Nepal.
  • It is mainly spoken in the five villages of Chuksang, Chaile, Gyakar, Tangbe and Tetang in the Upper Mustang district.
  • The dialects from these villages differ substantially and are believed to have varying degrees of mutual intelligibility.
  • However,there are just 700 or so Seke speakers left in the world.Of these,100 are in New York,USA,
  • The Seke language has been retreating due to Nepali which is Nepal’s official language and is considered to be crucial for getting educational and employment opportunities outside villages.
  • Hence,Seke may be considered to be a definitely endangered language under UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger.
  • Further,as per the Endangered Languages Project (ELP),there are roughly 201 endangered languages in India and about 70 in Nepal.

About UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger:

  • UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger is a tool to raise awareness about language endangerment and the need to safeguard the world’s linguistic diversity.
  • According to the criteria adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO),a language becomes extinct when nobody speaks or remembers the language.
  • The UNESCO has categorized languages on basis of endangerment as follows:

About Endangered Languages Project(ELP):

  • The Endangered Languages Project(ELP) is a worldwide collaboration between indigenous language organizations, linguists and industry partners to strengthen endangered languages.The foundation of the project was launched in 2012.
  • The project aims to foster exchange of information related to at-risk languages and accelerate endangered language research and documentation, to support communities engaged in protecting or revitalizing their languages.

World Bank:Global Economic Prospects report

News:The World Bank has released the 2020 Global Economic Prospects report.


Key takeaways from the report:

Report on Global and Regional Growth:

  • The Global growth is set to rise by 2.5% this year from 2.4% in 2019 as trade and investment gradually recover.
  • The growth among advanced economies as a group is anticipated to slip to 1.4% in 2020 due to continued slowdown in the manufacturing sector.
  • But the growth in emerging markets and developing economies is expected to accelerate to 4.1%.However,this growth is not broad-based as the improvement in performance is likely to come from a small group of large economies 
  • The report also estimates growth to rise to 5.5% for the South Asian region as a whole in 2020 on the assumption of a modest rebound in domestic demand and improved business confidence.

Report on India:

  • The report has lowered its growth estimate for India to 5% for the current fiscal from the earlier projection of 6% for 2019-20.
  • The report cited a lingering weakness in credit from non-banking financial companies(NBFCs) as the main cause for the slowdown.
  • However,the report expects India’s growth to recover only slightly to 5.8% in the next fiscal year. 

Way forward:

  • The global economic outlook for 2020 envisions a fragile upward path that could be turned upside down as there is a high degree of uncertainty around the forecast given unpredictability around trade and other policies. 
  • However,if policy-makers manage to mitigate tensions and clarify unsettled issues in a number of areas – they could prove the forecast wrong by sending growth higher than anticipated.

Henley Passport Index 2020: Japan tops, India at 84

News:Henley & Partners has released the Henley Passport Index 2020.


About the Henley Passport index:

  • The Henley Passport Index(HPI) is a global ranking of countries according to travel freedom for their citizens.
  • The Index is based on the data provided by the International Air Transport Authority(IATA).
  • The index was started in 2006 as Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index(HVRI) and was modified and renamed in January 2018.
  • The index ranks passports based on the number of countries a holder can go to without a visa or the number of countries a holder can go to where they can obtain a visa,visitor’s permit, or electronic travel authority upon arrival.

Key takeaways from the index:

  • Japan continues to top the list of the world’s most powerful passport. Japan is followed by Singapore and Germany,South Korea.
  • India’s passport ranking has dropped by 2 places in 2020 to the 84th position.It is placed along with Mauritania and Tajikistan.
  • Afghanistan’s passport is the world’s worst passport while Pakistan’s is the fourth worst.

16th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas being celebrated 

News:The 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is being celebrated on 9th January, 2020.


Pravasi Bharatiya Divas:

  • The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is celebrated every year on January 9th.It was celebrated for the first time in 2003.
  • The celebratory event for the Diwas is organised by the Ministry of External Affairs.
  • The purpose of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is to recognize the overseas Indians who have contributed to the development of India.
  • It is celebrated on January 9th because Mahatma Gandhi had returned to India from South Africa on January 09,1915.

About Pravasi Bharatiya Samman(PBSA):

  • Pravasi Bharatiya Samman(PBSA) is conferred every year on January 09 on the occasion of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. 
  • This award is conferred by the President of India to NRIs or PIOs (Person of Indian Origin) who have made a significant contribution in supporting, promoting and building India’s links overseas.

Additional information:

About Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana(PKVY):

  • The Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PKVY) is aimed at skilling Indians seeking employment abroad.
  • The programme also aims at boosting the confidence of the Indian youth so that they don’t feel like strangers when they land in a country of their choice for vocation.
  • It is being implemented by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)  through its training partners and in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs and the Skill Development Ministry.

Nirbhaya case convict files curative plea before SC 

News:Recently,one of the convicts in the Nirbhaya Case has filed a curative petition in the Supreme Court after the apex court had issued the death warrants against all four convicts.


About Curative Petition:

  • A curative petition may be filed after a review plea against the final conviction is dismissed. 
  • It is meant to ensure there is no miscarriage of justice and to prevent abuse of process. 
  • A curative petition is usually decided by judges in chamber unless a specific request for an open-court hearing is allowed.

How did the concept of Curative petition evolved?

  • The concept of curative petition was first evolved by the Supreme Court of India in the matter of Rupa Ashok Hurra vs. Ashok Hurra and Anr. (2002) case.
  • The apex court examined whether an aggrieved person is entitled to any relief against the final judgement/order of the Supreme Court after dismissal of a review petition.
  • The Supreme Court held that in order to prevent abuse of its process and to cure gross miscarriage of justice, it may reconsider its judgements in exercise of its inherent powers. 
  • For this purpose,the Supreme Court has devised what has been termed as a curative petition.

Conditions for acceptance of Curative petition:The Supreme court has outlined certain specific conditions for filing a curative petition namely 

  • The petitioner will have to establish that there was a genuine violation of principles of natural justice 
  • The petition is to be sent to the three senior-most judges and judges off the bench who passed the judgment affecting the petition 
  • If the majority of the judges on the above bench agree that the matter needs hearing, then it would be sent to the same bench (as far as possible) and 
  • The court could impose exemplary costs to the petitioner if his plea lacks merit.

ZBNF:Andhra Pradesh government signs pact with Germany-based KFW

News:The Andhra Pradesh Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with German firm to implement Zero Budget Natural Farming in the state.


About Zero Budget Natural Farming:

  • Zero-Budget Natural Farming(ZBNF) is a holistic alternative to the present paradigm of high-cost chemical inputs-based agriculture.
  • ZBNF is a farming practice that believes in natural growth of crops without adding any fertilizers and pesticides or any other foriegn elements. 
  • The word Zero Budget refers to the zero net cost of production of all crops (inter crops, border crops, multi crops).The inputs used for seed treatments and other inoculations are locally available in the form of cow dung and cow urine.
  • The states that are practicing Zero Budget Natural Farming includes AP, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Kerala.

About ZBNF in Andhra Pradesh:

  • Government of Andhra Pradesh is implementing ‘Zero-Budget’ Natural Farming (APZBNF) Programme through Rythu Sadhikara Samstha (RySS).
  • The programme has been initiated in 2015-16 with multiple objectives of enhancing farmers’ welfare, consumer welfare and for the conservation of the environment.

About Rythu Sadhikara Samstha(RySS):

  • Rythu Sadhikara Samstha(RySS) is a not-for-profit company fully-owned by the Government of Andhra Pradesh.
  • It has pioneered Zero Budget Natural Farming in the state of Andhra Pradesh. 
  • The aim is to reach universalization of Natural Farming practices by reaching 6 million farmers and converting 8 million hectares into natural farming fields.

Explained: What is Protecting Power?

News:Iranian government has registered its protest with the Swiss Embassy in Tehran after the killing of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone attack carried out by the United States.


About Protecting Power:

  • A protecting power is a country that represents another sovereign state in a country where it lacks its own diplomatic representation.
  • Switzerland represents the interests of the US in Iran.This is because the US itself does not have an embassy there. 
  • In an arrangement such as this,Switzerland is the Protecting Power of the United States interests in Iran.
  • The instrument of Protecting Powers is provided for under the 1961 and 1963 Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations.

Vienna Convention 1961:

  • The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 is an international treaty that defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries. 
  • It specifies the privileges of a diplomatic mission that enable diplomats to perform their function without fear of coercion or harassment by the host country.
  • It also says that if the diplomatic relations are broken off between two States, or if a mission is permanently or temporarily recalled then the sending State may entrust the protection of its interests and those of its nationals to a third State acceptable to the receiving State.

Vienna Convention 1963:

  • The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 is an international treaty that defines a framework for consular relations between sovereign states.
  • The convention says that sending State may with the prior consent of the receiving State and at the request of a third State not represented in the receiving State undertake the temporary protection of the interests of the third State and of its nationals.

30 countries accept invite for naval exercise Milan in March 

News:Thirty countries have confirmed participation out of the 41 countries invited for the multilateral naval exercise Milan 2020 to be held in March,2020.


About MILAN exercise:

  • MILAN is a series of biennial multilateral naval exercise conducted by Indian Navy.It was first held in the year 1995.
  • It was conducted at Andaman and Nicobar Command(ANC) until last year and is being conducted for the first time on the mainland at Eastern Naval Command(ENC).
  • The theme for the exercise MILAN 2020 is ‘Synergy Across the Seas’.
  • The exercise is aimed to enhance professional interaction between friendly foreign navies and learn from each other’s strengths and best practices in the maritime domain.

Explained:Who was Manilal Doctor?

News:Recently,January 8 was observed as the death anniversary of Manilal Doctor who was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi and is also known for his efforts towards helping abolish the indentured labour system.


About indentured labour system:

  • In 1833,the British Parliament has banned slavery and the practice became illegal throughout the Empire. 
  • However,to maintain the supply of labour in their territories,colonial authorities effectively replaced slavery with the indentured labour system.
  • The ‘indenture’ (meaning contract) system required Indians to sign a legal agreement stating their consent to move abroad for a minimum of five years to work mainly on sugar estates.
  • Many were lured to distant lands, such as the Caribbean, South Africa, Réunion, Mauritius, Malaysia, and Fiji where they ended up living in miserable conditions.
  • In the mid 19th century, over 35 lakh Indians were transported to British, French and Dutch colonies around the world.The system was officially banned in 1917.

How did Manilal Doctor helped in ending the indentured labour system?

  • Mauritius(1907-1911):He organised the Indian community in the Mauritius which consisted of indentured and non-indentured workers.He founded Hindustani newspaper in Mauritius and also helped establish the Arya Samaj in Mauritius.
  • Fiji (1912-1920):He emerged as the leader of the Indian community in Fiji.He started ‘The Indian Settler’ newspaper and also helped set up the Indian Imperial Association.

India-born author bags UK children’s book award

News:Indian born author Jasbinder Bilan has bagged the Costa children’s book award for her debut novel ‘Asha and the Spirit Bird’.


About Costa children’s book award:

  • The Costa Book Awards are a set of annual literary awards recognising English-language books by writers based in Britain and Ireland.
  • The awards are given both for high literary merit but also for works that are enjoyable reading and whose aim is to convey the enjoyment of reading to the widest possible audience.
  • They are considered to be more populist literary prize than the Man Booker Prize.
  • They are given for five book award categories namely (a) Novel, (b) First novel (c) Children’s book (d) Poetry and (e) Biography.
  • The authors need not be British or Irish but they must have been resident in the UK or Ireland for at least six months in each of the previous three years.

Additional information:

About Man Booker Prize:

  • The Man Booker Prize was launched in 1969.It is sponsored by the Man Group.
  • It aims to promote the finest in fiction and is awarded each year to the book adjudged as the best novel of the year written in English and published in the United Kingdom.
  • The prize is open to writers of any nationality and published in the UK or Ireland.
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