9 PM Current Affairs Brief – January 28th, 2020

Maharashtra launches Rs 10 lunch plate scheme on pilot basis

News: Maharashtra government launched Shiv Bhojan scheme on a pilot basis


  • Aim: To provide affordable and quality food to all, irrespective of caste, creed, religion and financial status
  • Under the scheme, meal for Rs.10 would be available to the people at designated centres/ canteens during a stipulated time in all the districts.

Additional Information:

Similar Canteens in other Indian states:

  • Amma Unavagam: Tamil Nadu
  • Indira Canteen: Karnataka

Astronomers Have Caught a Rare And Massive ‘Accretion Burst’ in Our Galaxy

News:Astronomers have recently found that the funnelling of matter into a forming star happens at different rates over time. Sometimes


About accretion burst event

  • Accretion is the formation of planets and other bodies by collection of material through gravity.
  • Sometimes the forming star swallows up a huge amount of matter, resulting in a burst of activities in the massive star. This is called an accretion burst event.
  • The first observation of accretion burst event was in 2016.

Additional Information:

Maser Monitoring Organisation

  • Established in 2017, it is an international collaboration of scientists dedicated to detect masers to learn more about the birth of massive stars, among other cosmic phenomena.


  • A maser is the microwave (radio frequency) equivalent of laser.
  • The word stands for “microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.”
  • Masers are observed using radio telescopes.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

News: Since 2005, January 27th is celebrated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day by the United Nations


  • 2020 Theme: 75 Years after Auschwitz-Holocaust Education and Remembrance for Global Justice
  • Holocaust (1941–1945): It was the World War II genocide of the European Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators.

Andhra Pradesh Assembly passes bill to establish three capitals

News: The Andhra Pradesh assembly passed the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of all Regions Bill 2020.


  • It provides for 3 capitals in Andhra Pradesh:
  • Executive capital in Visakhapatnam,
  • Legislative capital in Amravati
  • Judicial Capital in Kurnool
  • Rationale: To enable decentralisation and inclusive development of all regions

Prime minister pays tributes to Lala Lajpat Rai on his birth anniversary

News:Prime Minister has paid tributes to freedom struggle Lala Lajpat Rai on his birth anniversary.


About Lala Lajpat Rai:

  • Lala Lajpat Rai was born at Dhudike near Ludhiana in Punjab in 1865.He studied law at the Government College,Lahore.
  • He was a follower of Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of the Arya Samaj.
  • In 1881,he joined the Indian National Congress at the age of 16.

Contribution of Lala Lajpat Rai:

  • Dayanand Anglo-Vedic School:He founded the school in 1885 in Lahore and remained a committed educationist throughout his life.
  • Hindu Relief Movement:He founded Hindu Relief movement in 1897 to provide help to the famine -stricken people and thus preventing them falling into the clutches of the missionaries.
  • Swadeshi movement:Lala Lajpat Rai, Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal (called Lal-Bal-Pal) advocated the use of Swadeshi goods and mass agitation in the aftermath of the controversial Partition of Bengal in 1905 by Lord Curzon.
  • Indian Home Rule League of America:He founded Indian Home Rule League of America in New York City in 1917.
  • Indian National Congress:In 1920,he was elected President of the Indian National Congress during its Special Session in Kolkata which saw the launch of Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-cooperation Movement.
  • Simon Commission:In 1928,he opposed the Simon Commission,a British-appointed group of lawmakers arrived in India to study the implementation of the Government of India Act, 1919 (the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms).

Important works of Lala Lajpat Rai:He wrote extensively in English and Urdu.His important works include

  • ‘The Arya Samaj’ 
  • ‘Young India’ 
  • ‘England’s Debt to India’
  • ‘Evolution of Japan’
  • ‘India’s Will to Freedom’ 
  • ‘Message of the Bhagavad Gita’ 
  • ‘Political Future of India’ 
  • ‘Problem of National Education in India’ 
  • ‘The Depressed Glasses’ and 
  • The travelogue ‘United States of America’.

HRD Ministry flags graft in Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan(RUSA)

News:The Ministry of Human Resource Development(HRD) has approached the Prime Minister’s Office(PMO) over the alleged corruption in the implementation of the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan(RUSA).


  • The alleged acts of corruption in the implementation of RUSA was discovered in 2019 after the audit was done by Tata Institute of Social Sciences(TISS).
  • The audit found that the funds spent out of RUSA were used for the personal trips by the former National mission director of RUSA.

About Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan(RUSA):

  • Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme(CSS) launched in 2013.
  • It aimed at providing strategic funding to eligible state higher educational institutions to achieve the aims of equity, access and excellence.

Objectives of RUSA:

  • Improve the overall quality of state institutions by conforming to the prescribed norms and standards.
  • Adoption of accreditation(certification of competency) as a mandatory quality assurance framework.
  • Promoting autonomy in state universities and improving governance in institutions.
  • Ensure adequate availability of quality faculty in all higher educational institutions.
  • Create an enabling atmosphere for research in the higher education system.
  • Correct regional imbalances in access to higher education by setting up institutions in unserved and underserved areas.
  • Improve equity in higher education by providing adequate opportunities to the disadvantaged.


  • The central funding (in the ratio of 60:40 for general category States, 90:10 for special category states and 100% for union territories) would be norms based and outcome dependent.
  • The funding would flow from the central ministry through the state governments/union territories to the State Higher Education Councils on the basis of critical appraisal of State Higher Education Plans.

A.P. Cabinet gives the nod to abolish Legislative Council

News:The Andhra Pradesh Assembly has passed a statutory resolution seeking to abolish the state Legislative Council.


About Legislative Council:

  • India has a bicameral system i.e two Houses of Parliament.At the state level, the equivalent of the Lok Sabha is the Vidhan Sabha or Legislative Assembly and that of the Rajya Sabha is the Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council.

Need of Legislative Council:The Legislative Council is needed

  • To act as a check on hasty actions by the popularly elected House and 
  • To ensure that individuals who might not be cut out for the direct elections too are able to contribute to the legislative process.

Creation of Legislative Council:

  • Under Article 169 of the constitution,Parliament may by law create or abolish the second chamber in a state if the Legislative Assembly of that state passes a resolution to that effect by a special majority.

Strength of Legislative Council:

  • As per article 171 clause (1), the total number of members in the legislative council must not have more than a third of the total membership of the Assembly of that state and in no case fewer than 40 members.

Election of Legislative Council:

  • 1/3rd of members are elected by the members of the Assembly.
  • 1/3rd by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and other local authorities in the state.
  • 1/12th by an electorate consisting of teachers.
  • 1/12th by registered graduates.
  • The remaining members are nominated by the Governor from among those who have distinguished themselves in literature, science, art, the cooperative movement, and social service.

National Security Act (NSA),1980

News:Recently,Lieutenant Governor of Delhi had issued an order giving the Police Commissioner the power to detain individuals under the tough National Security Act (NSA),1980.


About National Security Act(NSA):

  • The National Security Act(NSA) of 1980 is an act of Indian Parliament which empowers the Centre or a State government for preventive detention if authorities are satisfied that a person is a threat to national security or law and order.
  • The maximum period for which one may be detained is 12 months.But the term can be extended if the government finds fresh evidence.

Grounds for Preventive Detention:As per the National Security Act, the grounds for preventive detention of a person include:

  • acting in any manner prejudicial to the defence of India, the relations of India with foreign powers or the security of India.
  • regulating the continued presence of any foreigner in India or with a view to making arrangements for his expulsion from India.
  • preventing them from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or for the maintenance of public order or to the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community it is necessary so to do.

Rights against preventive detention:

  • Normally, if a person is arrested, he or she is guaranteed certain basic rights.These include the right to be informed of the reason for the arrest.
  • However,under NSA person could not be informed about the reasons for his arrest for up to five days and in exceptional circumstances not later than 10 days.
  • The arrested person is also not entitled to the aid of any legal practitioner in any matter connected with the proceedings before an advisory board which is constituted by the government for dealing with NSA cases.

Palestinians threaten to quit Oslo peace accord

News:Palestine has threatened to withdraw from key provisions of the Oslo Accords if the US announces its Middle East Peace Plan.


About Oslo Accord:

  • The Oslo Accords are a series of agreements signed between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization(PLO) in the 1990s.
  • The accord meant to effectively bring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to its end by means of territorial concessions and facilitating the creation of the Palestinian Authority.

Oslo accord I(1993):

  • It is formally known as the Declaration of Principles(DOP).The pact established a timetable for the Middle East peace process.It planned for an interim Palestinian government in Gaza and Jericho in the West Bank.

Oslo accord II(1995):The accord called for 

  • Israel to withdraw from Jericho and Gaza and eventually the West Bank.
  • Five years of limited autonomy for Palestinians in those areas.
  • Election of Palestinian Legislative Council within nine months.
  • Establishment of a Palestinian police force.
  • The question of Jerusalem was left undecided.

Historic tripartite agreement signed between Centre, Assam govt and nine factions of NDFB

News:Government of India has signed the third Bodo accord with the nine factions of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland(NDFB).


Key provisions of the agreement:

  • To provide political, economic, executive and land rights to Bodo tribals and will safeguard their cultural and linguistic identities. 
  • The Centre and State Government will provide financial assistance of 1,500 crore rupees for economic development of the community.
  • Increase the scope and powers of the Bodo Territorial Council (BTC) and to streamline its functioning.
  • Commission to be setup under Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to recommend the inclusion or exclusion of tribal population residing in villages adjoining Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) areas.
  • Government of Assam will also establish a Bodo-Kachari Welfare Council.
  • The government will notify Bodo language as an associate official language in the state and will set up a separate directorate for Bodo medium schools and 
  • Rehabilitate members of National Democratic Front of Bodoland(NDFB) factions.

About NDFB:

  • The National Democratic Front of Bodoland(NDFB) is an armed separatist outfit which seeks to obtain a sovereign Bodoland for the Bodo people.
  • It is designated as a terrorist organisation by the Government of India.It traces its origin to Bodo Security Force, a militant group formed in 1986.

About Bodos:

  • Bodos are the single largest tribal community in Assam, making up over 5-6 per cent of the state’s population. They have controlled large parts of Assam in the past.
  • The first Bodo accord was signed with the All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) in 1993, leading to the creation of a Bodoland Autonomous Council(BAC) with limited political powers. 
  • The second accord was inked in 2003 with the rebel outfit Bodo Liberation Tigers which led to the creation of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) in Assam.

3rd Global Potato Conclave

News:Prime Minister will inaugurate the Third Global Potato Conclave at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.


About the Conclave:

  • The Conclave is being organized by Indian Potato Association(IPA) in collaboration with Indian Council of Agricultural Research and ICAR Central Potato Research Institute and the International Potato Center (CIP),Lima,Peru.
  • The Partner Country for this conclave is Netherlands.
  • The aim of the Conclave is to provide an opportunity to bring all stakeholders at one common platform.This will enable the stakeholders to chalk out future plans for the potato sector.

Additional information:

About Potato:

  • Potato is the third most important food crop in the world after rice and wheat in terms of human consumption.
  • Its importance led to the official declaration of the year 2008 as the International Year of the Potato by the United Nations.
  • Gujarat is leading producers of potato in India with a productivity of more than 30t/ha.The state uses modern methods of agriculture like sprinkler and drip irrigation for cultivation.

About Operation Green:

  • Operation Green was announced by the Union government in the Budget 2018-2019.
  • Aim:It seeks to stabilize the supply of Tomato, Onion and Potato (TOP) crops and to ensure the availability of TOP crops throughout the country round the year without price volatility.
  • This can be achieved through promoting farmer producers organisations, agri-logistics, processing facilities and professional management.
  • Ministry:Ministry of Food Processing Industries will be the Nodal Ministry.NAFED is the agency to implement price stabilisation measures.
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