9 PM Current Affairs Brief – January 21th, 2020

India ranks low at 76th place on global Social Mobility Index

News: World Economic Forum has released its maiden Social Mobility Index


Social Mobility: It can be understood as the movement in personal circumstances either “upwards” or “downwards” of an individual in relation to those of their parents

Social Mobility Index:

It measures 82 countries on five key dimensions:

  • health;
  • education (access, quality and equity);
  • technology;
  • work (opportunities, wages, conditions); and
  • Protections and institutions (social protection and inclusive institutions).

Key Takeaways:

  • Denmark tops the rankings with a social mobility score of 85.2, followed by Finland and Norway
  • India has been ranked 76th

Additional Information:

About World Economic Forum (WEF)

  • WEF was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Objective: To improve the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
  • Reports Published:
  • Global Travel and Tourism Report
  • Global Competitiveness Report,
  • Global Information Technology Report,
  • Global Gender Gap Report,
  • Financial Development Report
  • Global Enabling Trade Report
  • Global Risks Report

Explained: What is Xenobot?

News Tiny living robots have been created using cells taken from frog embryos by scientists in the United States


About Xenobot

  • It is a biological machine named after the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis). They are less than a millimetre in size.


  • It could help the development of useful soft robots that can heal themselves when damaged.
  • Because they are made of living tissue, they also decay once they stop working.
  • In future, such living robots could be used to clean up microplastics, digest toxic materials, or even deliver drugs inside human bodies

National Tribal Youth Exchange Programme

News: 12th National Tribal Youth Exchange Programme was inaugurated in Puducherry


About National Tribal Youth Exchange Programme

  • It is organised by Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) along with state/UT government
  • Aim: To ensure development and empowerment of the tribal youths


  • To expose tribal youth to the technological and industrial advancement that have taken place in different states
  • To sensitize the tribal youth about their rich traditional & cultural heritage
  • To provide exposure to industry and Skill Development programme

Additional Information:

Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS)

  • The scheme of Nehru Yuva Kendra for each district in India started in 1972.
  • It functions under the Department of Youth Affairs, Ministry of Skill Development, Entrepreneurship, Youth Affairs and Sports
  • Objective: providing rural youth avenues to take part in the process of nation building and opportunities for the development of their personality and skills.


News: ELECRAMA 2020 was inaugurated in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh



  • It is organised by Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers Association (IEEMA) and supported by Ministries of Power, Heavy Industries, New and Renewable energy and MSME.
  • It is a platform to connect the world with Indian industry in respect of technology, new trends and innovation for future energy transition.

PM Modi, Nepali PM KP Sharma Oli to inaugurate ICP Biratnagar

News: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepali counterpart KP Sharma Oli jointly inaugurated the second Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Jogbani-Biratnagar. It has been built to facilitate trade and people’s movement.


About Integrated Check Post:

  • It is a centre for facilitation of bilateral trade and movement of passengers across the borders and also secure borders
  • It has regulatory agencies such as Immigration, Customs, and border security in a single complex. It also has services like currency exchange counters, banks, vehicle scanners etc.
  • The Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI) under Department of Border Management, Ministry of Home Affairs, is the implementing agency.

Ministry of HRD and Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs are partnering together for Online Youth Parliament Programme

News: Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs are partnering together for Online Youth Parliament Programme to commemorate 70 years of Constitution.


Salient features of the web-portal 

  • All recognised educational institutions of the country are eligible to participate in this programme.
  • E-training modules, videos, photographs and scripts are available on the portal for online self-learning of the participants.

Additional Information:

National Youth Parliament Scheme

  • It was launched in 1966 in Schools under the Directorate of Education, Government of NCT of Delhi and NDMC, Kendriya Vidyalayas, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas and Universities/ Colleges.
  • The scheme is implemented by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.
  • The scheme encompasses conducting National Youth Parliament Competition every year.

World Economic Outlook Report:IMF 

News:The International Monetary Fund(IMF) has released its World Economic Outlook report.


Report on Global Growth:

  • The report has reduced its global growth projection to 2.9 percent in 2019, 3.3 percent in 2020 and 3.4 percent for 2021.
  • The global growth forecasts has been reduced due to sharper than expected slowdowns in India and other emerging markets.
  • But the report has said that a US-China trade deal is an expected sign that trade and manufacturing activity may soon recover.


  • Rising geopolitical tensions between the United States and Iran could disrupt global oil supply, hurt sentiment and weaken business investment.
  • Social unrest across many countries could disrupt activity, complicate reform efforts and weaken sentiment dragging the growth lower than projected.

Report on India:

  • The report has revised downward India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth projection to 4.8% for the financial year 2020 (FY20) and 5.8% for FY21.
  • The downward is attributed to the current slowdown in the country, stress in the non-bank financial sector and weak rural income growth.
  • However,the growth is expected to pick up to 6.5 percent in FY22, supported by monetary and fiscal stimulus as well as subdued oil prices.

Additional information:

About International Monetary Fund

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 189 countries. It was established in 1945.
  • The main goal of IMF is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system. 
  • It also seeks to facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.

Atal Innovation Mission & UNDP hosts 3 day Youth Co:Lab National Innovation Challenge

News:Atal Innovation Mission(AIM),NITI Aayog and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) hosted a three day long Youth Co:Lab -national innovation challenge in New Delhi.


About Youth Co:Lab:

  • Youth Co:Lab was co-created in 2017 by UNDP and the Citi Foundation and is operational in 25 countries across the Asia Pacific region.
  • The initiative aims to create an enabling ecosystem to promote youth leadership, innovation, and social entrepreneurship.

About Youth Co:Lab India:

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM),NITI Aayog and the UNDP India has launched ‘Youth Co:Lab’ which aims at accelerating social entrepreneurship and innovation in India.
  • The initiative convenes a series of youth dialogues across several cities such as New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai to promote entrepreneurship across India.
  • It also spreads awareness about different issues pertaining to youth, the future of work and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) through Youth Co:Lab
  • The initiative also allows young entrepreneurs and innovators to get a chance to connect with governments, mentors, incubators and investors who will help equip them with entrepreneurial skills.

Additional information:

About Atal innovation mission(AIM):

  • The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) was set up by NITI Aayog in 2016.
  • It aims to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • It seeks to create institutions and programs that enhance innovation in schools, colleges, and entrepreneurs in general.

About UNDP:

  • The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the UN’s global development network.
  • UNDP was established in 1965 by the General Assembly of the United Nations.It is headquartered in New York,US.
  • UNDP has worked in India since 1951 in almost all areas of human development, from systems and institutional strengthening to inclusive growth and sustainable livelihoods.

Global Investment Trend Monitor report:UNCTAD

News:United Nations Conference on Trade and Development(UNCTAD) has released the Global Investment Trend Monitor report.


Key takeaways from the report:

  • The global foreign direct investment(FDI) remained flat in 2019 at $1.39 trillion a 1% decline from a revised $1.41 trillion in 2018.
  • These investments came in the backdrop of weaker macroeconomic performance and policy uncertainty for investors including trade tensions.
  • United States remained the largest recipient of Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) followed by China and Singapore.
  • South Asia recorded a 10% increase in FDI and this growth was driven by India marking a 16% increase in FDI inflows.
  • India was also among the top 10 recipients of FDI in 2019 attracting $49 billion in inflows.
  • Further,the report showed that cross-border Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) declined 40% in 2019 to $490 billion which is the lowest level since 2014. 

Way forward:

  • The report expects FDI flows to rise moderately in 2020 as current projections show the global economy to improve somewhat from its weakest performance since the global financial crisis in 2009.
  • It said that the GDP growth, gross fixed capital formation and trade are projected to rise both at the global level and especially in several large emerging markets.
  • However, significant risks persist including high debt accumulation among emerging and developing economies, geopolitical risks and concerns about a further shift towards protectionist policies.

Additional information:


  • UNCTAD is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964.
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and part of the UN Secretariat.Currently,UNCTAD has 195 member states.
  • UNCTAD produces a number of topical reports, including:1) The Trade and Development Report 2) The Trade and Environment Review 3) The World Investment Report 4) The Economic Development in Africa Report 5) The Least Developed Countries Report 6) UNCTAD Statistics among others.

Dubai declared ‘reciprocating territory’ by India: What does the move mean, why it is important

News:Recently,Ministry of Law and Justice has issued an order declaring the United Arab Emirates to be a reciprocating territory under Section 44A of the Civil Procedure Code,1908.


About Reciprocating territory:

  • Reciprocating territory means that decrees passed by courts in the UAE can now be executed in India as if they were passed by Indian civil courts.
  • The mechanism for conferring such a status to foreign civil decrees has been outlined in Section 44A of the CPC.
  • Apart from Dubai,the other countries that have been declared to be reciprocating territories are: United Kingdom, Singapore, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Trinidad & Tobago, New Zealand, the Cook Islands (including Niue) and the Trust Territories of Western Samoa, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Aden.

About Section 44 of the CPC:

  • Section 44A Civil Procedure Code,1908 provides the law on the subject of execution of decrees of Courts in India by foreign Courts and vice versa.
  • It provides that an order passed by a superior Court in any reciprocating territory can be executed in India by filing a certified copy of the decree in a District Court which will treat the decree as if it has been passed by itself.
  • However,the scope of the Section is restricted to decrees for payment of money not being sums payable in respect of taxes or other charges of a like nature or in respect of a fine or other penalty.

Significance of the decision:

  • The decision is believed to help bring down the time required for executing decrees between the two countries.
  • Indian expatriates in the UAE would no longer be able to seek safe haven in their home country if they are convicted in a civil case in the UAE.

A rare migratory eagle sighted near Vijayawada

News:Recently,Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) has been sighted in Andhra Pradesh during Asian Bird Census.


About Steppe Eagle:

  • The Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) is a large eagle with broad, long wings and a short rounded tail.
  • They are listed as Endangered under the IUCN Red list.
  • They are migratory raptor which has undergone extremely rapid population declines within all its range.
  • They breeds in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia during the winter season.They are also the second-largest migratory eagle species to India.
  • The Steppe Eagle appears on the flag of Kazakhstan.It is also the National bird (animal) of Egypt and appears on its flag.
  • The threats for Steppe Eagle includes (a)habitat loss (b)died due to diclofenac (c)electrocution among others.

Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement needed between India and the European Union:Edgars Rinkevics

News:Latvian foreign minister has said that India-EU trade cannot increase until the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement(BTIA) between the European Union and India is negotiated.


About Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement(BTIA):

  • Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement(BTIA) is a Free Trade Agreement between India and EU which was initiated in 2007.
  • The negotiations on agreement is based on the commitment made by political leaders at the 7th India-EU Summit held in 2006.
  • So far, 15 rounds of negotiations have been held alternately at Brussels and New Delhi.The last meeting was held in the week of 13th May, 2013 in New Delhi.
  • However,even after a decade of negotiations,India and EU have failed to resolve certain issues which have led to a deadlock in negotiations.

What does European Union wants?

  • Reduce taxes on liquor 
  • Reduce taxes on automobiles 
  • More market access with less duty interference.
  • India should adopt stringent Intellectual property(IP) protection standards.
  • To negotiate the Bilateral Investment Treaty before it starts negotiating the EU-India BTIA
  • Wants India to liberalise accountancy and legal services.

What India wants?

  • Data secure status for a number of services especially in the IT and ITES sectors. 
  • Free access to European Markets for the textile industry
  • Liberalisation of services in Mode 1(cross-border trade) and Mode 4 (presence and movement of natural persons).

National Informatics Centre(NIC) organizes Tech Conclave in New Delhi

News:The National Informatics Centre(NIC) is organising a 2-day technology Conclave in New Delhi.


About the Conclave:

  • The Technology Conclave will discuss application of Information and Communication Technology.
  • The theme for the 2020 conclave is “Technologies for NextGen Governance”.

About National Informatics Centre(NIC):

  • The National Informatics Centre (NIC) is an institute set up by the Indian government in 1976 to drive its technology and e-governance initiatives in the country.
  • The institute is part of the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s Department.
  • The centre has been a premier technology advisor in the introduction of several E-Governance initiatives of the Government of India.

Additional information:

Several E-Governance initiatives:

E-PANCHAYAT:It is an e-Governance initiative for the rural sector providing comprehensive software solution attempting automation of Gram Panchayat functions.

eNAM:National Agriculture Market (NAM) is a pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing APMC (Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee) mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.

JEEVAN PRAMAAN:It is a biometric enabled digital service for pensioners of Central Government, State Government or any other Government organization.The service aims to streamline the process of issuing life certificate and make it a hassle-free experience for the pensioners.

KHOYA PAYA:The portal is a citizen-based website to exchange information on missing and found children.It has been developed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Department of Electronics and Information Technology(DeitY).

NIKSHAY:It is a web enabled and case based monitoring application to monitor Revised National Tuberculosis Programme(RNTCP).It has been developed by National Informatics Centre(NIC).

1 trillion USD required to achieve UN’s Decarbonization Target of Shipping Industry

News:According to a study,at least $1 trillion of investment in new fuel technology is needed to enable the shipping industry to meet U.N. targets for cuts in carbon emissions by 2050.


About Global Shipping Carbon emissions:

  • According to the United Nations,the global shipping industry accounts for around 90% of world trade which happen at sea.But it also emits around 2.2% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.
  • However,reducing shipping emissions is ambitious and challenging as the shipping sector plays a major role in the growth of the economy.
  • Hence,in 2018,the International Maritime Organization has adopted a resolution to reduce the shipping industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent from 2008 levels by 2050.
  • To achieve this,the shipping industry will require the swift development of zero or low-emission fuels and new ship designs using cleaner technology.

About the study:

  • The study was conducted by the London based Energy Institute (University College London’s Energy Institute).
  • The study has said if the shipping industry was to fully decarbonize by 2050,this would require investment of around $1.4 trillion to $1.9 trillion in the next 30 years.

Additional information:

International Maritime Organization:

  • The International Maritime Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations.It currently has 174 Member States.
  • IMO is responsible for measures to improve the safety and security of international shipping and to prevent pollution from ships.
  • It is also involved in legal matters, including liability and compensation issues and the facilitation of international maritime traffic.

Indian army showcased firepower demonstrations at Exercise Topchi

News:Recently,the Indian army showcased its artillery firepower capability at Exercise Topchi at Deolali Camp near Nashik.


About Exercise Topchi:

  • Exercise Topchi which means a gunner in English is an annual exercise by the School of Artillery,Deolali.
  • The exercise aims to showcase the Indian Army’s artillery firepower, aviation and surveillance capabilities.
  • The army assets such as the indigenous Advanced Light Helicopters, Ultra Light Howitzer M777, self-propelled gun K Vajra gave a glimpse of the increasing lethality of the Indian army.

Additional information:

About School of Artillery:

  • The School of Artillery was established for the Indian Army at Kakul now in Pakistan in April 1918.It moved to Devlali in June 1941.
  • Since 1947,the School of Artillery has undergone many changes, in conformity with modernisation and expansion of the Indian Army and consequently of the Regiment of Artillery.
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