9 PM Current Affairs Brief – January 31th, 2020

Indian gaur spotted in Konkan sanctuary for the first time in recorded history

News: Wildlife researchers recently documented the presence of an Indian gaur in the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary (PWS), Maharashtra.

Facts:

Indian gaur

  • World’s largest and tallest wild bovines
  • Listed as Schedule I species under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972
  • IUCN Status: Vulnerable

Explained: What is Economic Survey, and why is it important?

News: The Economic Survey for 2019-2020 will be tabled in Parliament on Friday (January 31).

Facts:

About Economic Survey

  • It is a report the government presents on the state of the economy in the past one year, the key challenges it anticipates, and their possible solutions.
  • It is prepared by the Economic Division of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) under the guidance of the Chief Economic Advisor (currently Dr Krishnamurthy Subramanian.)
  • The first Economic Survey was presented in 1950-51

Significance:

  • Crucial document as it provides a detailed account of the state of the economy, prospects and the policy challenges.
  • Carries sectorial overviews and comments on reform measures that are required.
  • Survey’s outlook serves as a marker about future policy moves.

Note: Government is not constitutionally bound to present the Economic Survey or to follow the recommendations that are made in it.

Livestock Census: No. of stray cattle down in country, up in UP

News: According to the 20th Livestock Census, the number of stray cattle in the country has marginally come down to 50.22 lakh in 2019 from 51.88 lakh in 2012.

Facts:

20th Livestock Census: Key Takeaways:

  • Total Livestock population: 535.78 million
  • Total Bovine population (Cattle, Buffalo, Mithun and Yak): 302.79 Million
  • Total poultry: 851.81 million

Additional Information:

About Livestock Census

  • Conducted Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.
  • Conducted quinquennially (every five years) since 1919-20
  • Covers all domesticated animals and its headcounts

Explained: The debate over UN’s new rules for ships in the Arctic region

News: International Maritime Organization (IMO) put forward new regulations, called IMO 2020

Facts:

IMO 2020

  • Bans ships from using fuels with a sulphur content above 0.5 per cent, compared with 3.5 per cent previously.
  • Only ships fitted with sulphur-cleaning devices, known as scrubbers, are allowed to continue burning high-sulphur fuel.
  • Ships can opt for cleaner fuels, such as marine gasoil (MGO) and very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO).

Rationale behind the ban: Sulphur oxides (SOx), which are formed after combustion in engines, are known to cause respiratory symptoms and lung disease, and also leads to acid rain.

Concern over VLSFO: Contribute to highly polluting black carbon emissions.

Additional Information:

International Maritime Organization

  • A specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for measures to improve the safety and security of international shipping and to prevent pollution from ships.
  • Founded in 1948 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom

International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)

  • Main international convention aimed at the prevention of pollution from ships caused by operational or accidental causes.
  • Adopted by IMO in 1973.

Govt gives nod to amendments in National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019

News: The Union Cabinet has approved the amendments in the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019

Facts:

  • The Bill seeks to repeal the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973 

Key features of the bill:

  • Sets up the National Commission for Homoeopathy (NCH) which will frame policies for regulating medical institutions and homoeopathic medical professionals.
  • Sets up certain autonomous boards under the supervision of the NCH.  These boards are:
  • Homoeopathy Education Board
  • Medical Assessment and Rating Board for Homoeopathy
  • Board of Ethics and Medical Registration for Homoeopathy
  • Central government will constitute an Advisory Council for Homoeopathy. It will be the primary platform through which the states/union territories can put forth their views and concerns before the NCH
  • There will be a uniform National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for admission to under-graduate homoeopathy education in all medical institutions
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