9 PM Current Affairs Brief – November 8th, 2019

Where does Kerala’s Internet access stand compared to other States?

News: Kerala state government has recently announced Kerala Fibre Optic Network project


About Kerala Fibre Optic Network project

  • The project aims to provide free high-speed internet connection to around 20 lakh families below the poverty line in the state.
  • The scheme will be set up by Kerala State Electricity Board Limited and Kerala State IT Infrastructure Limited. Internet service providers and cable television operators can also join the optic-fibre network project to provide their services.
  • The financial assistance for the project will be provided by Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board.
  • The fibre optic network project will be completed by December 2020.

Additional Information:

Internet Penetration in India

  • According to Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), report, titled ‘India Internet 2019’, Delhi NCR has the highest internet penetration (69%) followed by Kerala (54%).
  • The lowest penetration rate was in Odisha (25), Jharkhand (26) and Bihar (28).
  • The IAMAI report also notes that Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Delhi have the highest proportion of female Internet users.
  • Further, TRAI data as of June 2019 show that Kerala is well-placed in terms of Internet connections. It stands fourth among all telecom service areas in terms of Internet subscriptions per 100 population, behind Delhi, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh

Note: Internet penetration rate (defined as number of individuals aged above 12 per 100 population who accessed the Internet in the last month; survey period January-March 2019).

Union Home Minister addresses 10th Meeting of Heads of Departments of SCO Member States, dealing with the prevention and Elimination of Emergency Situations

News: The Union Minister for Home Affairs addressed the 10th Meeting of the Heads of Departments of SCO Member States, dealing with the prevention and elimination of emergency situations, in New Delhi. India is organizing an SCO Ministerial Meeting for the first time.


About SCO

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation
  • It was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • The Secretariat of SCO is based in Beijing, China.


  • The members of the SCO are China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
  • The SCO has four observer states, Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia.


  • strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states;
  • promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection,
  • making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region;
  • Moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.

Additional Information:

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Joint Exercise on Urban Earthquake Search and Rescue -SCOJtEx-2019

  • It was hosted by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) from 4th to 7th November 2019 in New Delhi.
  • The aim of the exercise was to rehearse the disaster response mechanism, share knowledge, experience and technology for mutual coordination.
  • The exercise also tested SCO countries’ preparedness and resilience towards effective activation of Intergovernmental interaction for immediate response

Maharashtra tops in justice delivery: India Justice Report 2019

News: Tata Trusts has released India Justice Report 2019.


About India Justice Report 2019:

  • It has been prepared by Tata Trusts in collaboration with Centre for social Justice, Common Cause, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Daksh, TISS-Prayas and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.
  • It is India’s first-ever ranking of states on justice delivery.
  • The report looks into the ‘four pillars’ – of Judiciary, Legal Aid, Police and Prisons, and analyses the budgets, human resources, personnel workload, diversity, infrastructure and trends against the government’s declared standards and benchmarks.

Key Takeaways from India Justice Report 2019

  • Overall Ranking of States:
    • Maharashtra has topped the list of states in delivering justice to people followed by Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Haryana. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar ranked at the bottom.
    • Among the small states (where population is less than one crore each), Goa has topped the list followed by Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh. Tripura ranked at the bottom.
  • Policing: the best score was achieved by Tamil Nadu – 6.49. UP received the lowest score- 2.98. UP fared poor in terms of budgeting, spending on police per person, vacancies and diversity.
  • Prisons: Jharkhand performed the worst with a score of 3.46. It was followed by Uttarakhand (3.72), Punjab (4.35). The best in this regard was Kerala with a score of 7.18.
  • Judiciary: Bihar, with a score of 2.41, fared the worst in this regard. It was followed by UP (3.7), Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand. Tamil Nadu featured on the top in terms of judiciary with a score of 6.99. It was followed by Punjab, Haryana and Maharashtra.
  • Legal aid: The report has said that almost 80% of India’s 1.25-billion population is eligible for free legal aid, but only 15 million people have availed it since 1995.

PM to visit Brazil next week for BRICS Summit

News: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Brazil from Nov 13-14 to attend an annual summit of BRICS.



  • BRICS is the acronym coined for an association of five major emerging national economies that have similar economic development. The five countries are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Brazil is the current chair of BRICS
  • Originally the first four were grouped as “BRIC”. The acronym was first used in 2001 by economist Jim O’Neill.
  • In 2010, South Africa was officially admitted as a BRIC nation following an invitation from China and the other BRIC nations, making the current acronym BRICS.

BRICS Summits

  • Since 2009 BRIC countries has held annual BRICS Leaders’ Summits.
  • Discussions focus on spheres of political and socioeconomic coordination, in which member countries have identified business opportunities, economic complementarities and areas of cooperation.
  • The theme for upcoming 2019 BRICS Summit is ‘Economic Growth for an Innovative Future’.
  • At the 2019 BRICS Summit, i-BRICS — Innovation BRICS Network, will be launched. It will include networking of research institutes like science parks, incubators and accelerators. Further, The BRICS leaders will also agree to establish the Women Business Alliance.

Indian Navy – Indonesian Navy Bilateral Exercise ‘Samudra Shakti’

News: India is jointly exercising its anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kamorta along with Indonesian warship KRI Usman Harun, a multi-role corvette, in the Bay of Bengal as part of the 2nd edition of Samudra Shakti.


About Samudra Shakti Exercise

  • It is an annual naval exercise between Indian and Indonesian Navy.
  • The first edition of the exercise took place in 2018 in the Java Sea.
  • The aim of the exercise is to strengthen bilateral relations, expand maritime co-operation, enhance interoperability and exchange best practices.
  • The exercise has two phases- Sea Phase and Harbour Phase.
  • The Harbour Phase includes professional interactions in the form of Subject Matter Expert Exchanges (SMEE), cross deck visits, simulator drills, planning conferences, sports fixtures and social interactions.
  • The Sea Phase includes manoeuvres, Surface Warfare exercises, Air Defence exercises, Weapon firing drills, Helicopter Operations and Boarding Operations

Additional Information:

Other India-Indonesia Bilateral Exercises:

  1. Garuda Shakti: It is an annual military exercise between Indian and Indonesian Army. It is conducted on a reciprocal basis and its first edition was conducted in the year 2012 in India.
  2. IND-INDO CORPAT: It is a bi-annual coordinated patrol exercise along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) naval exercise conducted by Indian and Indonesian Navvy.
  3. Exercise KOMODO: Ex- KOMODO is a multilateral Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise. The exercise participants include India, Indonesia, USA, China, Russia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Laos.

Parliamentary standing committee invites suggestions on ‘The Occupational safety, health and working conditions code, 2019

News: The Occupational Safety Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019, has been referred by the Speaker to the Standing Committee on Labour headed by Bhartruhari Mahtab, for examination and report.


About Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019

  • The code was introduced in the Lok Sabha in July 2019
  • The Code repeals and replaces 13 labour laws relating to safety, health and working conditions.

Key Features:

  • Applicability: It applies to establishments employing at least 10 workers, and to all mines and docks.  It does not apply to apprentices.
  • Registration: The code states that all establishments covered by the Code must be registered with registering officers.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Boards: The code states that the central and state governments should set up Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Boards at the national and state levels, respectively. These Boards will advise the central and state governments on the standards, rules, and regulations to be framed under the Code. 
  • Duties of Employers: The Code entails duties for employers which include a) providing a workplace that is free from hazards that may cause injury or diseases, and b) providing free annual health examinations to employees, as prescribed.
  • Rights and duties of employees:
    • Every employee will have the right to obtain from the employer information related to safety and health standards.   
    • Duties of employees under the Code include: a) taking care of their own health and safety, b) complying with the specified safety and health standards, c) reporting unsafe situations to the inspector.
  • Working Hours: Work hours for different classes of establishment and employees will be provided as per the rules prescribed by the central or state government. For overtime work, the worker must be paid twice the rate of daily wages.
  • Leave: No employee may work for more than six days a week. However, exceptions may be provided for motor transport workers.
  • Working conditions: The employer is required to provide a hygienic work environment with ventilation, comfortable temperature and humidity, sufficient space, clean drinking water, and proper sanitation facilities.
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