9 PM Current Affairs Brief – January 25th, 2020

Centre seeks to revamp child care scheme in urban areas

News: NITI Aayog will develop draft policy for enhancing ICDS programme in urban areas.


Integrated Child Development scheme

  • Launched in 1975, the scheme is implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.


  • Improvement in the health and nutritional status of children 0–6 years and pregnant and lactating mothers.
  • Reduction in the incidence of their mortality and school drop out
  • Psychological, physical and social development of the child.
  • Enhancement of the maternal education


  • Children 0–6 years of age
  • Pregnant and lactating mothers
  • Women 15–44 year of age
  • Since 1991 adolescent girls up to the age of 18 years for non-formal education and training on health and nutrition


  • Supplementary Nutrition
  • Pre-school non-formal education
  • Nutrition & health education
  • Immunization
  • Health check-up and
  • Referral services


  • The services arc extended to the target community at a focal point ‘Anganwadi’ (AWC)
  • AWC is managed by female worker ‘Anganwadi Worker'(AWW) who is the key community level functionary

India helps Maldives tackle measles outbreak

News: India despatched over 30,000 doses of measles and rubella (MR) vaccine to Maldives.


Measles and Rubella

  • Measles and Rubella (German measles) are contagious viral disease that is spread by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. Measles is caused by Rubeola virus and Rubella is caused by Rubella virus.
  • Both of them can be entirely prevented with a two-dose of MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine.

Elimination Efforts


  • India has initiated the world’s largest Measles-Rubella (MR) Campaign in 2017. It targets vaccination of 410 million children and adolescents aged between 9 months and 15 years.
  • It is also covered under Mission Indradhanaush. Launched in 2014, the mission aims to cover all those children by 2020 who are either unvaccinated or are partially vaccinated against vaccine-preventable diseases


  • Global Vaccine Action Plan: Under the Global Vaccine Action Plan, WHO has targeted to eliminate measles by 2020
  • ‘Measles Elimination and Rubella/CRS Control by 2020’: In 2013, WHO SEAR initiated ‘Measles Elimination and Rubella/CRS Control by 2020’. It seeks to curb and control measles and rubella through immunization, surveillance and developing and maintaining an accredited measles laboratory network. 

Additional Information:

  • India and Maldives has signed Memorandum of Understanding on Health cooperation in 2019.
  • The MoU envisages capacity building and training of doctors and medical professionals, disease surveillance, training of mental health professionals, setting up of digital health capacities in Maldives.

Establishment of Chairs in the Universities in the name of eminent women

News: The Ministry of Women and Child Development with assistance from University Grants Commission (UGC) has launched Establishment of Chairs in the Universities in the name of eminent women initiative.


About Establishment of Chairs in the Universities in the name of eminent women

  • It envisages setting up of 10 Chairs across different universities after eminent women administrators, artists, scientists and literatures.
  • Aim: To encourage women to pursue higher education and excel in their chosen fields.
  • Tenure: Each Chair per year will be for ₹50 lakh and established for a period of 5 years.
  • Functions: engaging in research, strengthening the role of university in public policy making and designing and executing short-term capacity-building programmes for teachers in higher education.
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Thai Amavasai

News: Thai amavasi was celebrated on 24th January in Tamil Nadu


  • Thai Amavasai is the New moon day in the Tamil month ‘Thai’ (January – February).
  • It marks the first New Moon that comes after the Sun starts moving towards the Northern hemisphere

Australia’s Yarrabubba Asteroid Impact Crater Is Oldest on Earth

News: According to a new study, the Yarrabubba impact structure is the oldest known asteroid crater on Earth


About Yarrabubba Asteroid Impact Crater

  • It is located in Yarrabubba, southeast of the town of Meekatharra in Western Australia.
  • The Yarrabubba impact occurred during the Proterozoic eon.
  • The asteroid crater is 2.229 billion years old.
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Tribal Affairs Ministry proposes 6th Schedule Area status to Ladakh

News: Union Tribal Affairs Ministry has proposed 6th Schedule Area status to Union Territory of Ladakh.


About Sixth Schedule

  • The Sixth Schedule consists of provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, according to Article 244 of the Indian Constitution. It was passed by the constituent Assembly in 1949.
  • It seeks to safeguard the rights of tribal population through the formation of Autonomous District Councils (ADC).
  • It also provides for separate Regional Councils for each area constituted as an autonomous region. 
  • The Governors of these four states are empowered to declare some tribal dominated districts / areas of these states as autonomous districts and autonomous regions.

Additional Information:

Autonomous District Councils

  • Autonomous District Councils are administrative bodies constituted in accordance to Sixth Schedule, Article 244 (2) & Article 275(1) of the Indian Constitution.
  • Powers:
  • can constitute village courts within their jurisdiction to hear trial of cases involving the tribes
  • empowered to make legislative laws on matters like land, forests, fisheries, social security, entertainment, public health, etc. with due approval from the governor
  • Acts passed by Parliament and state legislatures may or may not be levied in these regions unless the President and the governor gives approval.
  • There are 10 autonomous district councils:
  • Assam: Bodoland Territorial Council, Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council and Dima Hasao Autonomous District Council.
  • Meghalaya: Garo Hills Autonomous District Council, Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council and Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council.
  • Tripura: Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council.
  • Mizoram: Chakma Autonomous District Council, Lai Autonomous District Council, Mara Autonomous District Council.

Fifth Schedule:

  • It deals with the administration and control of Scheduled Areas as well as of Scheduled Tribes residing in any State other than the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

India Climate Collaborative(ICC)

News:Recently,Philanthropy arms of top corporate groups have announced a partnership to launch an initiative called India climate Collaborative.


About India Climate Collaborative(ICC):

  • India Climate Collaborative(ICC) is a first-of-its kind India-focused collaboration launched by philanthropic arms of top Indian corporates to minimise the climate change impact.
  • Aim: To work together to build a compelling, India-focused climate narrative and drive solutions that help people and nature thrive.

Need of this initiative:According to India Climate Collaborative(ICC),this initiative was launched as:

  • India ranked highest in climate-triggered deaths in 2018 and is the fifth-most vulnerable country to the impacts of climate change. 
  • Approximately 42% of India’s land area faced drought in April last year worsening the farm crisis. 
  • Since 1980, nearly 60,000 suicides in India are attributed to warming temperatures accounting for almost 7% of the national upward trend in suicide rates. 
  • There has been a 150% rise in air pollution-related deaths over the past 20 years and in 2017 alone,India saw 1.2 million deaths due to air pollution. 
  • India suffered an economic loss of $37 billion due to climate change in 2018.Of this losses due to floods amounted to $2.8 billion.

10th National Voters Day(NVD)

News:The 10th National Voters Day(NVD) is being celebrated on January 25, 2020.


About National Voters Day:

  • National Voters Day is celebrated on the 25th of January since the year 2011 to mark Election Commission’s foundation day.
  • The objective of the day is to a) encourage, facilitate and maximize the enrolment, especially for the new voters and b) spread awareness among voters for promoting informed participation in the elections.
  • Theme this year : “Electoral Literacy for Stronger Democracy”.

Additional information:

About Election Commission: 

  • The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India.
  • The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies in India and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country.
  • It operates under the authority of the Constitution as per Article 324 and subsequently enacted Representation of the People Act,1951.
  • Appointment:President appoints Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.It currently consists of Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.They have tenure of six years or up to the age of 65 years whichever is earlier. 
  • They enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court of India. 
  • Removal:The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through impeachment by Parliament.Other Election Commissioners can be removed by the President of India on the recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner.

State of Maharashtra’s Agri-business and Rural Transformation Program (SMART) Project

News:Government of India, the Government of Maharashtra and the World Bank has signed a loan agreement of USD 210 million for State of Maharashtra’s Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project(SMART).


About SMART Project:

  • The project has been launched by the Maharashtra Government with the assistance of World Bank.
  • It aims to transform Rural Maharashtra through the revamp of agricultural value chains with special focus on marginal farmers.

Objectives of the project:

  • Support value addition in the post-harvest segments of agriculture value-chains;
  • Facilitate agribusiness investments through inclusive business models that provide opportunities to small farmers;
  • Stimulate the establishment of small and medium enterprises; and
  • Support resilience of agricultural production systems to better manage increasing production and commercial risks associated with climate change.

Significance of the project:

  • The project is a giant step towards transformation of rural economy and empowerment of farmers.
  • The project unites agriculture-oriented corporates and farmers by providing them a common platform.

International Summit on Women in STEM

News:The Department of Biotechnology is organising an International Summit on Women in Science, technology, engineering and mathematics(STEM).


About the summit:

  • The summit is being organized by the Department of Biotechnology.
  • The theme of the summit is “Visualizing the Future: New Skylines”.
  • Aim:To boost the participation of women in STEM fields for development of scientific career.

Additional information:

Initiatives for women in STEM:

About KIRAN:

  • KIRAN stands for Knowledge, Involvement, Research, Advancement through Nurturing for women scientists.
  • The scheme is administered by the Ministry of Science & Technology.

Objectives of the scheme:

  • To increase the number of women researchers in India.
  • Provide Research grants particularly to those female researchers and technologists who had to take a break in career owing to household reasons.
  • Bring about as far as achievable gender parity in the field of science and technology.

This Word Means: Archaea

News:Scientists at the National Centre for Microbial Resource — National Centre for Cell Science (NCMR-NCCS) have discovered a new archaeon (a kind of microorganism) in Sambhar Salt Lake in Rajasthan.


About Archaeon:

  • Archaea (singular archaeon) are a primitive group of microorganisms that thrive in extreme habitats such as hot springs, cold deserts and hypersaline lakes.
  • These slow-growing organisms are also present in the human gut and have a potential relationship with human health.However,as archaea are relatively poorly studied,little is known about how archaea behave in the human body.
  • They are also known for producing antimicrobial molecules and for antioxidant activity with applications in eco-friendly waste-water treatment.
  • Further,Archaea are extremely difficult to culture due to challenges in providing natural conditions in a laboratory setting.

About Natrialba Swarupiae:

  • The new archaeon discovered in Sambhar Lake has been named Natrialba swarupiae after Dr Renu Swarup,Secretary,Department of Biotechnology for her initiative in supporting microbial diversity studies in the country.

Additional information:

About Sambhar Lake:

  • Sambhar Lake is India’s largest inland saltwater lake situated in the state of Rajasthan.
  • The Lake was designated as a Ramsar site in 1990.It is also famous for salt production and is also an Important Bird Area(IBA)


  • National Centre for Microbial Resource(NCMR) was started as Microbial Culture Collection(MCC) in 2009.
  • It comes under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT),Government of India.
  • It’s mandate is to preserve and catalogue the diversity of bacteria collected from different ecological niches from all over India and to make them available for biotechnological exploitation by researchers.

Bushfire crisis: Australia may list Koalas as endangered

News:The Australian government might declare Koalas as an endangered species after the population animal suffered an extraordinary hit in the devastating bushfires.


About Koalas:

  • Koalas is a tree-dwelling marsupialanimal endemic to Australia.They are listed as vulnerable under the IUCN Red list.
  • They have exceptional parental care and strange eating habits as they eat the leaves of eucalyptus that would be toxic or even fatal to most mammals.
  • They are threatened due to habitat destruction, climate change & severe weather events.

Additional information:

About Marsupial:

  • Marsupials are those animals which are born in an incomplete state.
  • They have a short-lived placenta that nourishes their young for just a few days before they’re born, the rest of their nutrition coming from the mother’s teats inside the pouch. 
  • Instead of the placenta,the mother’s milk nourishes the young and allows it to grow and develop.

Communication Resource Unit created to provide support to national flagship programmes 

News:National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj(NIRDPR) has joined hands with UNICEF to establish a ‘Communication Resource Unit’ (CRU).


About Communication Resource Unit(CRU):

  • Communication Resource Unit(CRU) has been established by the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj(NIRDPR) in collaboration with UNICEF.
  • The resource unit will act as an institutional mechanism for providing social and behavioural change communications to State governments and Central government for schemes such as Poshan Abhiyaan, National Health Mission and Swachh Bharat Mission among others.
  • Currently,the resource unit is operating in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Additional information:


  • The National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj(NIRDPR) is an autonomous organisation under the Union Ministry of Rural Development.
  • It is a premier national centre of excellence in rural development and Panchayati Raj.It is located at Hyderabad,Telangana.


  • UNICEF, acronym of United Nations Children’s Fund, formerly United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund was created by the United Nations General Assembly in 1946.It is headquartered in New York, USA.
  • It is a special program of the United Nations(UN) devoted to aiding national efforts to improve the health, nutrition, education, and general welfare of children.

Stop expansion work on commercial Karwar port: HC

News:Recently,the Karnataka High Court has directed the State government to stop all the developmental activities being undertaken at Karwar port under the Sagarmala project.


About Karwar port:

  • Karwar port is situated at the Southern side of the Kali River in the state of Karnataka.
  • This port has been developed as an all weather port in the Karwar bay.
  • The port, which is operated by the Government of Karnataka services the hinterland of northern Karnataka, Goa and southern Maharashtra.

About Sagarmala project:

  • Sagarmala project was approved by the Union Cabinet in 2015.The initiative aims to promote Port-led development along India’s 7500 km long coastline.
  • The Union Ministry of Shipping has been appointed as the nodal ministry for this project.

Objectives of the project:

  • Reducing cost of transporting domestic cargo through optimizing modal mix
  • Lowering logistics cost of bulk commodities by locating future industrial capacities near the coast
  • Improving export competitiveness by developing port proximate discrete manufacturing clusters
  • Optimizing time/cost of EXIM container movement.

Components of the project:

Rising carbon dioxide levels may double floods

News:According to a study conducted by scientists, risk of extreme floods or storms are rising due to increased CO2 level.


About the study:

  • The study is based on the data collected on climate from 155 countries over 46 years(1970 to 2016).
  • The analysis has used econometric modelling which involves accounting for a country’s vulnerability to hazards, its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), population density and changes in mean rainfall.

Key takeaways from the study:

  • Due to rising carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere,the intense storms and floods could double every 13 years.
  • The intensity of Hydro meteorological disasters such as floods,droughts , landslides could increase by 5.4% annually.
  • On an average, India will face one extreme disasters every year.Extreme disaster is defined as one that causes 100 or more fatalities and/or affects 1,000 or more people.
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