9 PM Current Affairs Brief – July 29, 2019

India is not being overrun by immigrants

  1. According to the recently released 2011 Census migration data, immigration rate has decreased 0.6% in 2001 to 0.4% in 2011.
  2. The number of Indian residents born outside the country has decreased from 6.2 million to 5.3 million between 2001 and 2011.
  3. According to Census 2011, the number of Bangladeshis in India is falling. Based on the basis of birth, the number for Bangladeshis fell from 3.7 million in 2001 to 2.7 million, and based on the place of residence, it fell from 3.1 million to 2.3 million in 2011.
  4. Nepalese numbers rose by around 30% between 2001 and 11. A striking feature is that it fell by 6% for males and grew by 60% for females.
  5. The number of Sri Lankans remained roughly the same at around 150,000 on the basis of last residence and fell from over 200,000 to 183,000 on the basis of birth.
  6. Further, the migration data has indicated that a number of Indians have begun to return from foreign destinations like the US, Australia and the Gulf countries.
  7. The number of people born in the US and enumerated in India grew ten times from roughly 3,000 in 2001 to 36,000 by 2011. Also, the numbers from United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia increased threefold.

Understanding cryptocurrencies: What’s to like, and what’s to fear

  1. An inter-ministerial committee (IMC) that was set up to assess the viability of virtual currencies has recommended that India should ban private cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
  2. A cryptocurrency is a subset of virtual currencies. It is decentralised, and protected by cryptography. Example: Bitcoin, Etherum, etc.
  3. A virtual currency is a digital representation of value that can be digitally traded. It functions as (a) a medium of exchange, and/ or (b) a unit of account, and/or (c) a store of value. However, unlike fiat currency like the rupee, it is not legal tender and does not have the backing of a government.
  4. All virtual currencies use Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). It refers to technologies that involve the use of independent computers (also referred to as nodes) to record, share, and synchronise transactions in their respective electronic ledgers. Unlike traditional ledger, data in DLT is not centralised.
  5. Cryptocurrency like Bitcoin uses Blockchain technology- a special kind of DLT. A Blockchain is a digital, immutable, distributed ledger that chronologically records transactions in near real time.
  6. Internationally, the application of DLT is being explored in the areas of trade finance, mortgage loan applications, digital identity management or KYC requirements, cross-border fund transfers and clearing and settlement systems.
  7. The inter-ministerial committee (IMC) has recognised the potential of DLT and Blockchain. It has recommended the Department of Economic Affairs to take necessary measures to facilitate the use of DLT in the entire financial field after identifying its uses.
  8. Further, it has also recommended that that regulators — RBI, SEBI, IRDA, PFRDA, and IBBI should explore evolving appropriate regulations for development of DLT in their respective areas.
  9. However, it has called for a ban on private cryptocurrencies. It also noted that the RBI Act has the enabling provisions to permit the central government to approve a “Central Bank Digital Currency” (CBDC) as legal tender in India.
  10. The IMC has highlighted a number of concerns regarding private cryptocurrencies. These are: a) non-official virtual currencies can be used to defraud consumers, b) scaling up such a currency system over a large population would exploits huge levels of energy resources, c) the RBI would lose control over the monetary policy and financial stability as it would not be able to keep a tab on the money supply in the economy, d) anonymity of private digital currencies make them vulnerable to money laundering and use in terrorist financing activities, e) there is no grievance redressal mechanism in such a system, f) transactions are irreversible in such a system.

CRPF Celebrates 81st Raising Day

  1. On 27th July, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) celebrated its 81st Raising Day.
  2. The force came into existence as the Crown Representative’s Police this day in 1939. It became the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on the enactment of the CRPF Act on December 28, 1949.
  3. The CRPF is India’s largest Central Armed Police Force (CAPF). It functions under the aegis of Ministry of Home Affairs.
  4. The mission of the CRPF is to enable the government to maintain rule of law, public order and internal security effectively and efficiently, to preserve national integrity and promote social harmony and development by upholding supremacy of the Constitution.
  5. The CRPF has been the lead force in dealing with the militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, fighting the Left-Wing Extremism and insurgency in the Northeast.
  6. There are seven CAPF in India. They are a) Assam Rifles (AR), b) Border Security Force (BSF), c) Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), d) Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), e) Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), f)National Security Guard (NSG) and g) Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)

PM releases results of 4th cycle of All India Tiger Estimation – 2018

  1. On the occasion of Global Tiger Day, celebrated on 29th July, Indian Prime Minister has released the All India Tiger Estimation Report– 2018.
  2. The count of tigers in India, has risen to 2967, in 2018 from 2,226 in 2014. Madhya Pradesh saw the highest number of tigers at 526, closely followed by Karnataka (524) and Uttarakhand (442). Chhattisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in tiger population.
  3. Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of tigers, Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu registered the “maximum improvement” since 2014
  4. The tiger census is carried out by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). The first census was conducted in 2006.
  5. The tiger census provides details on the number of tigers in the 18 tiger reign states with 50 tiger reserves. However, the current census also included data collected from the rough terrains of north-eastern states which was not possible due to logistic constrains before.
  6. The All India Tiger Estimation 2018 has used M-STRiPES (Monitoring System for Tigers-Intensive Protection and Ecological Status). M-STRiPES was launched in 2010 by NTCA and along with the Wildlife Institute of India. It is a patrol-based wildlife monitoring GIS database, designed to assist wildlife protection, monitoring, and management of Protected Areas.
  7. India had launched Project Tiger in 1973 with an aim to limit factors that leads to reduction of tiger habitats and to mitigate them by suitable management. Established in 2005, NTCA oversees management of Project Tiger and Tiger Reserves in India.
  8. In 2010, the governments of the world’s 13 tiger range countries put forward the Global Tiger Recovery Plan. The plan outlines how each country could double the number of tiger population in the country.
  9. The Plan was part of the ambitious species conservation goal called Tx2 set up by the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF). The goals is to double the number of wild tigers by 2022.

Project Sahara – In Ahmedabad new tool to help reduce maternal mortality

  1. An initiative called Project Sahara by the Ahmedabad district administration has reduced maternal deaths due to postpartum haemorrhage (PPH).
  2. Under Project Sahara, Non-pneumatic Anti-Shock garment (NASG) has been provided to primary health centres in the district. At present, 40 PHCs in Ahmedabad have an NASG suit each.
  3. Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) leads to continuous and excessive bleeding. The rapid loss of blood because of PPH reduces the body’s blood pressure and can even cause death.
  4. The NASG applies pressure to the lower body and abdomen, thereby forcing the blood that was getting accumulated in the pelvic area to other essential organs of the body.
  5. According to Sample Registration System data of 2016-17, Gujarat’s maternal Mortality Rate was 91.
  6. Maternal mortality refers to the number of maternal deaths which occur due to pregnancy or as a result of a complication of the same. Maternal mortality rate (MMR) is taken as the number of recorded maternal deaths, for every 1 lakh live births.
  7. United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 3.1) calls to reduce MMR to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.

Agent Smith

  1. Indian cybercrime officials has said that the Agent Smith malware is targeted at Indians. Indians constitute the highest number of victims so far.
  2. According to a report by Checkpoint, a private cyber security firm, Agent Smith is believed to have infected over 25 million devices so far.
  3. The Agent Smith malware can replace apps on android phones with malicious versions without the user’s knowledge.
  4. Malware which means malicious software refers to any kind of software that is designed to cause damage to a single computer, server or computer network
  5. It is an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive malicious software including computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, and ransomware among others.

Naga register will shield State from outsiders, says Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister

  1. Nagaland’s Deputy Chief Minister has backed Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN). He has argued that it will help to safeguard the State from outsiders.
  2. The RIIN was announced by the Nagaland state government in June 2019. The exercise began on 10th July and will be completed in 60 days.
  3. It is aimed at preparing a master list of all indigenous peoples. It is being prepared to stop the issuance of fake indigenous inhabitant certificates.
  4. December 1, 1963, the date on which Nagaland attained statehood is the base year for determining an indigenous inhabitant of the State.
  5. The exercise is being conducted through an extensive survey of residents in every village and ward in the state and is based on existing official records. The list will be prepared under the supervision of each district administration.

Accessible Elections; a successful endeavor of Election Commission of India during Lok Sabha Election 2019

  1. Election commission of India’s motto of ‘Accessible Elections’ was successful in making the India’s elections inclusive and participative for all.
  2. EC had used several key initiatives such as electors with disabilities and senior citizens were mapped polling station wise to provide them targeted and need based assistance on the day of poll.
  3. During the election, all the polling stations were equipped with enough supply of wheelchairs and it was ensured that all polling stations had sturdy ramps for the convenience of Persons with Disabilities (PwD) electors.
  4. EC had also launched a ‘PwD App’ to enable PwDs to request for new registration, change in address, change in particulars and mark themselves as PwD through the app.
  5. Further, EVMs used in the elections were also embossed with Braille signage for the visually impaired voters assistance. It was also the first time that Electoral Photo Identity Card(EPIC) with braille were provided to the visually impaired electors.
  6. Other than nationwide initiatives States also innovated and enhanced the spirit of accessibility. In states such as Uttarakhand, Himachal and J&K initiative of DivyangSarathi and DivyangDolis was rolled out to facilitate PwDs and senior citizens.

Convicted in graft case, Sikkim CM seeks disqualification waiver

  1. Sikkim Chief Minister (CM) has requested the Election Commission (EC) to grant him a waiver of the remaining period of his disqualification to retain the post.
  2. Sikkim CM who was appointed on May 27, 2019 needs to be elected to the Assembly within six months of his appointment. However, he is barred from contesting polls as he has been convicted in a corruption case.
  3. Under the Representation of the People Act, 1951, those convicted and imprisoned under the Prevention of Corruption Act are disqualified from contesting elections during the period of incarceration and until six years after release.
  4. However, Section 11 of the Representation of the People Act,1951, empowers the Election Commission(EC) to remove or reduce the period of disqualification.
  5. Earlier, the EC had exercised its powers under Section 11 to remove or reduce disqualification of a convicted person. In 1977,EC had reduced the period of disqualification of two Uttar Pradesh MLAs who were convicted of criminal offence.

States told to set up Centres to detain illegal migrants

  1. The Central Government is planning to release a Model Detention Manual,2019.
  2. The manual has asked all states and union territories to set up at least one detention centre each with modern amenities for illegal migrants/ foreigners.
  3. The aim behind setting up such detention centres is to restrict the movement of foreigners staying back illegally and thereby ensure that they are physically available at all times for expeditious repatriation or deportation.
  4. As per the manual, states will not need any specific approval from the Union home ministry for setting up a detention or holding center.
  5. Further, every detention centre shall have a cell which will provide help to the detainee foreigners for contacting the concerned embassy or their family through proper procedure.
  6. The manual also says that a skill centre and crèche facilities for children may also be provided within the detention camp. Further, observing that detention centres in most states were being run from prison, the manual has also directed that detention centres or camps be set up outside jail premises.
  7. This manual comes in the backdrop of the exercise in Assam where the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is being finalised for which the Supreme Court has extended the deadline till August 31,2019.
  8. According to Citizenship Act 1955, an illegal migrant is a foreigner who enters the country without valid travel documents like a passport and visa or enters with valid documents but stays beyond the permitted time period. Illegal migrants may be imprisoned or deported under the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport (Entry into India) Act,1920.

Army’s first Integrated Battle Groups to be structured by end of next month

  1. According to a report, Integrated Battle Groups(IBGs) which the Army plans to create as part of overall force transformation is close to implementation.
  2. Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) are brigade-sized, agile, self-sufficient combat formations which can swiftly launch strikes against adversary in case of hostilities.
  3. Each IBG would be tailor-made based on Threat, Terrain and Task and resources will be allotted based on the three Ts. They will also be able to mobilise within 12-48 hrs based on the location.
  4. IBGs will be defensive and offensive. The offensive IBGs would quickly mobilise and make thrust into enemy territory for strikes. On the other hand, defensive IBGs would hold ground at vulnerable points or where enemy action is expected.
  5. The Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) idea was initiated after the terrorist attack on the Parliament where the Indian military undertook massive mobilisation but the Army’s formations took weeks to mobilise losing the element of surprise.
  6. Following this, the Army formulated a proactive doctrine known as ‘Cold Start’ to launch swift offensive but its existence was consistently denied in the past. Its existence was acknowledged for the first time in January 2017.

Govt panel says foreign firms need not mirror personal data in India

  1. Recently, a high-level government panel has decided to do away with the need for foreign firms to store a copy of all personal data within India.
  2. But the panel has said that all critical personal data must still be stored and processed in the country.
  3. Further, the panel has decided to hold further discussions with all stakeholders to decide what would constitute critical personal data.
  4. However, this panel’s order is a dilution of the recommendations of the Justice Srikrishna committee. The committee had recommended that while personal data can be processed and stored abroad, a copy needs to be stored here.
  5. The committee had also said that all critical personal data to be stored only in India.
  6. The committee had said that critical personal data will include passwords, financial data, Health data among others. However, it had added that the government should define critical personal data.

India must convince industry of RCEP’s benefits: Australia

  1. Australian High Commissioner to India has said that Indian government must convince the industry of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership(RCEP) benefits.
  2. Recently, Indian Commerce minister had met industry bodies to review issues that India would need to keep in mind when continuing deliberations on the RCEP in China.
  3. The associations had said that industries are apprehensive of India signing RCEP because of fears that China will use it to enter and dominate the Indian market by dumping it with cheaper goods.
  4. However, the Australian envoy has said that Indian government should explain to the industry that RCEP will open the door for Indian industry to multiple markets.
  5. The RCEP will also allow Indian industry access to a number of countries in the region and is a pathway to India’s economic development.
  6. Further, she said that other challenge would be if RCEP countries decide to go ahead without countries like India and China as these are the two biggest economies of the region.
  7. RCEP is proposed mega trade pact between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six states with which ASEAN has existing Free trade agreements(FTA’s)(Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).
  8. It aims to boost goods trade by eliminating most tariff and non-tariff barriers — a move that is expected to provide the region’s consumers greater choice of quality products at affordable rates. It also seeks to liberalise investment norms and do away with services trade restrictions.

Karnataka Speaker disqualifies 14 more rebel MLAs till end of Assembly term

  1. Karnataka Assembly Speaker has disqualified 14 MLAs under the tenth schedule of the Constitution (anti defection law).
  2. The disqualification bars the legislators from contesting Assembly polls for the term of the current Assembly and also bars them from holding constitutional posts during this period.
  3. The Anti-defection law is contained in the 10th Schedule of the Constitution. It was enacted by Parliament in 1985.
  4. The purpose of the anti-defection law is to curb political defection by the legislators. The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies.
  5. It lays down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection by the Presiding Officer of a legislature based on a petition by any other member of the House.
  6. There are two grounds on which a member of a legislature can be disqualified: a) if he/she voluntarily gives up the membership of his/her party and b) if a legislator votes in the House against the direction of his/her party and his/her action is not condoned by his party.
  7. There is an exception that has been provided in the law to protect the legislators from disqualification. The 10th Schedule says that if there is a merger between two political parties and two-thirds of the members of a legislature party agree to the merger, they will not be disqualified.
  8. In Kihoto Hollohan vs Zachillhu and Others (1991),the Supreme Court Constitution Bench had declared that the Speaker’s decision was subject to judicial review.
  9. Further, the Speaker of the House does not have the power to review his own decisions to disqualify a candidate. Such power is not provided for under the Schedule and is not implicit in the provisions either.

Conflicting views pervade BRICS Ministers’ meeting

  1. The two-day BRICS foreign ministers was held in Rio de Janeiro,Brazil. This meeting was held in preparation for the 11th BRICS summit in November,2019.
  2. During the meeting, the foreign ministers called on all States to prevent the financing of terrorist networks and terrorist actions from their territories.
  3. BRICS nations also said that a comprehensive approach is necessary to ensure effective results against terrorism. The comprehensive approach should include (a) countering radicalisation (b) recruitment (c) travel of foreign terrorist fighters (d) blocking sources and channels of terrorist financing (e) dismantling terrorist bases and (f) countering misuse of the Internet by terrorist entities.
  4. The ministers has also called for an adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN General Assembly.
  5. The five nations also reaffirmed their commitment to support international cooperation in combating illicit financial flows from all types of criminal activity including within the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the World Customs Organisation (WCO).
  6. The ministers also agreed to further deepen BRICS three-pillar-driven cooperation in the areas of economy, peace and security and people-to-people exchanges.
  7. BRICS nations also reiterated the urgent need to strengthen and reform the multilateral system including the UN, the WTO, the IMF and other international organisations.
  8. However, there was a conflicting views on (a)Political crisis in Venezuela and (b)on the approach to the crisis in the Persian Gulf.

Dr Jitendra Singh reviews status of implementation of various projects under MDoNER

  1. Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (MDoNER) has announced that Assam will become the first state to have first-ever Bamboo Industrial Park in the northeast. 
  2. This industrial park will be set up in Manderdisa in Assam’s Dima Hasao district. This project is set to be completed by March 2021. 
  3. Further, the central government has also planned to set up another project for Bamboo Park in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh which would be taken up by the North eastern Council (NEC).   
  4. North Eastern Council (NEC) was constituted as a statutory advisory body under the NEC Act,1971 and came into being on the 7th November,1972 at Shillong.
  5. The eight States of Northeast India are members of the council with their respective Chief Ministers and Governors representing them. Sikkim was added to the council in the year 2002.
  6. The headquarters of the council is situated in Shillong, Meghalaya and functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India.
  7. The Council was initially set up as an advisory body but now sanctioned as a Regional planning body since 2002.They can now discuss any matter in which the North Eastern States have a common interest and decide the action to be taken on any such matter.

Rural ministry to focus on 3-5 lakh women SHGs to scale up enterprises

  1. Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has decided to focus on select 3-5 lakh women Self Help Groups(SHGs) with a view to convert their nano enterprises into micro enterprises.
  2. This Initiative is taken up as part of Aajeevika-National Rural Livelihood Mission(NRLM).
  3. The NRLM mission aims to organize the rural poor women into SHGs and continuously nurture and support them to take economic activities till they attain appreciable increase in income over a period of time. This will help them to improve their quality of life and come out of poverty.
  4. Since 2011-12, SHGs have been entitled to get up to Rs 10 lakh as loan without collateral over a period of six to eight years.
  5. Further, the government is also planning to bring more women SHGs into micro and small enterprises through, bank loans, registration on government e-market portals and similar e-commerce portals such as Amazon.
  6. The Union Budget 2018-19 has also substantially increased funding to NRLM by 60% and offers Rs 1 lakh MUDRA loan to one woman in each of the SHGs with a view to make them more self-reliant and increase their incomes.
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