9 PM Current Affairs Brief – January 3rd, 2020

RBI launches mobile app MANI 

News: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched a mobile app called MANI’ (Mobile Aided Note Identifier)


About MANI’ (Mobile Aided Note Identifier)

  • It seeks to aid visually impaired persons in identifying denomination of currency notes.
  • It can scan currency notes using the camera of the mobile phone and gives audio output in Hindi and English. It can work in offline mode too.
  • However, the app cannot authenticate a currency note as being genuine or counterfeit.

PM dedicates 5 DRDO Young Scientists Laboratories to the Nation

News: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dedicated 5 DRDO Young Scientist Laboratories (DYSLs) to the nation.


About DRDO Young Scientist Laboratories (DYSLs)

  • The DYSLs are located in five cities: Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad.
  • These labs will work on a key advanced technology of importance to the development of futuristic defence systems. This includes Artificial intelligence, Quantum technologies, Cognitive technologies, Asymmetric technologies and Smart materials.

Additional Information:

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)

  • DRDO is India’s premier organization for research related to defence technology.
  • It is under administrative control of Department of Defence Research and Development, Ministry of Defence.
  • It was established in 1958 and is headquartered in New Delhi.

Assam state zoo first to breed endangered Hargila

News: The Assam State Zoo and Aaranyak has jointly bred a pair of Greater Adjutant (Hargila) chicks in an artificial platform within the zoo enclosure. It is a first ever experiment of this kind.


About Greater Adjutant Stork (Hargila):

  • It is found in a few isolated pockets in Assam and Bihar in India and PrekToal in Cambodia.
  • It is listed as Endangered under the IUCN Red List.
  • It is listed under schedule IV of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife

News: The WHO has designated as the “Year of the Nurse and midwife”, in honour of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale.


  • Year of the Nurse and midwife highlights the importance of nurses and midwives in achieving universal health coverage.
  • It also advocates for increased investments in the nursing and midwifery workforce.

Additional Information:

Universal Health Coverage (UHC): It is defined as ensuring that all people have access to needed health services of sufficient quality without suffering financial hardship.

UHC and Sustainable Development Goal: SDG 3.8 calls for achieving universal health coverage.

Nursing Now! Campaign:

  • It is a three-year global campaign (2018-2020) to improve health globally by raising the status of nursing.
  • WHO runs the campaign in collaboration with International Council of Nurses.
  • It is based on the Triple Impact Report (2016) which states how developing nursing will improve health (SDG 3), promote gender equality (SDG 5) and support economic growth (SDG 8).

Florence Nightingale: She was an English social reformer and is regarded as the founder of modern nursing.

Palau is first country to ban ‘reef toxic’ sun cream

News: Palau has become the first country to ban sun cream that is harmful to corals and sea life.


  • The ban covers chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate used in sunscreen
  • These chemicals are toxic to wildlife species such as corals, fish, and macroalgae. They can cause:
  • corals to become more susceptible to coral bleaching,
  • damage the DNA of coral, and
  • deform and kill juvenile corals

Additional Information:


  • It is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean.
  • Rock Islands Southern Lagoon of Palau is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Palau created world’s first shark sanctuary in 2009.

Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas signs Contracts for 7 Blocks Awarded under Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP)

News: Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas signed contracts for 7 blocks, awarded under Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP) Bid Round – IV.


Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP):

  • Launched in 2016, OALP, is a part of Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP).
  • It is aimed at enabling faster survey and assessment of areas with oil and gas potential.
  • It enables companies apply for particular areas they deem to be attractive to invest in, and the Centre then put those areas up for bids.

Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP):

  • Introduced in 2016, it is a contractual and fiscal model for award of hydrocarbon acreages towards exploration and production (E&P).

Major Characteristic Features:

  • Single License for both conventional and unconventional Hydrocarbons
  • Transition from Cost Recovery mechanism to Revenue Sharing mechanism.
  • Full Marketing & Pricing Freedom
  • Low regulatory burden
  • Fiscal incentives provided to investors

Implementing Agency: Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas

Additional Information:

National Data Repository: It is an integrated data repository of Exploration and Production (E&P) data of Indian sedimentary basins.

ECI launches PPRTMS

News: The Election Commission has launched Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System (PPRTMS).


Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System (PPRTMS):

  • It is an online system that will allow political parties to track their applications for registration with the ECI on a real-time basis.

Registration of Political Parties

  • Registration of political parties in India is governed by the section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • An association seeking registration has to submit an application to the ECI within a period of 30 days from the date of its formation.

Northeast monsoon ends, country records 30 per cent surplus rain

News: Northeast monsoon ended with an overall surplus

About North east monsoon season

  • It is a season of winter rainfall experienced in south-eastern peninsular India.
  • Time for NE Monsoon: October to December
  • Regions: Tamil Nadu (including Puducherry), Kerala, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema and South Interior Karnataka.
  • Mechanism:
  • The northeast trade winds prevail over India during winters. They blow from land to sea and hence are dry and does not bring rainfall.
  • A part of the NE trade winds blow over the Bay Bengal which gathers moisture from the sea and bring rainfall over the Tamil Nadu coast.
  • Significance:
  • It contributes only 11% to India’s annual rainfall of 1,187 mm.
  • However, it is particularly important for Tamil Nadu, which receives almost half its annual rainfall from this season.
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