9 PM Current Affairs Brief – September 13th, 2019

Jeevan Kaushal programme

News:Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development has launched the Curriculum for Life Skills(JeevanKaushal) programme.


About the Jeevan Kaushal programme:

  • The Curriculum for Life Skills (JeevanKaushal) programme has been designed by the University Grants Commission(UGC).
  • The programme is aimed at inculcating emotional and intellectual competencies in higher education students and help them overcome stress and manage time effectively.
  • The life skills programme will comprise of four courses namely (a)communication skills (b)professional skills (c)leadership skills and (d)universal human values.
  • The programme will also focus on teamwork, problem-solving and decision-making among others.

Eurasian Economic Forum

News:The Shanghai Cooperation Organization(SCO) has organized the Eurasian Economic Union meeting.


About the meeting:

  • India had skipped the meeting as the event was organized to discuss and deliberate upon China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
  • The meeting had also promoted the revival of the ancient Great Silk Road in Eurasia in a new, modern format.

China’s Belt and Road initiative:

  • Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an ambitious programme to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors. 
  • The initiative aims at improving (a) regional integration, (b) increasing trade and (c) stimulating economic growth.
  • India has repeatedly opposed the BRI.The main reason for India’s opposition to the BRI is the (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) CPEC which is a flagship programme of the BRI.
  • The CPEC passes through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (Gilgit-Baltistan). As both India and Pakistan claim all of Kashmir,the area is considered a disputed territory by India. 

Ancient Silk Road:

  • The Ancient Silk Road or Silk Route was an ancient network of trade routes that were central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent connecting the West and East from China to the Mediterranean Sea.

Additional information:

About Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)

  • The Eurasian Economic Union is an international organization for regional economic integration that came into existence on 1st January 2015.
  • The member states of the Eurasian Economic Union are (a)Armenia (b)Belarus (c)Kazakhstan (d)Kyrgyz Republic and (e)Russian Federation.
  • The EAEU provides for free movement of goods, services, capital, and labour within its borders.
  • It pursues, coordinates, & harmonizes the policies in the sectors determined by the treaty and international agreements within the Union.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO):

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) also known as the Shanghai Pact is a Eurasian political, economic, and military organisation.
  • Prior to the creation of SCO in 2001,Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five.
  • Following the accession of Uzbekistan to the organisation in 2001, the Shanghai Five was renamed to SCO.
  • India and Pakistan became members in 2017.


News:The National Intelligence Grid(NATGRID) project wants to link social media accounts to the huge database of records related to immigration entry and exit,banking and telephone details among others.


About National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID):

  • It is an integrated intelligence grid connecting databases of core security agencies to collect comprehensive patterns of intelligence that can be readily accessed by intelligence agencies.

Functions of NATGRID:

  • Under NATGRID,21 sets of databases will be networked to achieve quick, seamless and secure access to desired information for intelligence/enforcement agencies.
  • The database would be accessible to authorised persons from 11 agencies on a case to case basis and only for professional investigations into suspected cases of terrorism.
  • It will utilize technologies like Big Data and analytics to study and analyze the huge amounts of data from various intelligence and enforcement agencies to help track suspected terrorists and prevent terrorist attacks.

Importance of NATGRID:

  • India is a place where many terror networks operate that carry out attacks from time to time.Despite prone to such terror attacks,India don’t have a well-formulated database of these terror networks.
  • The idea is to collate and analyze vital data to get a complete view of a situation.Hence,the details that take one to three months can be had within minutes.
  • NATGRID will tackle the problem of coordination mechanism regarding data transfer from one agency to another agency.
  • Due to federal nature of government,the coordination at the center and states level is also lacking and in the case of any emergency,the response mechanism is not effective.Hence,NATGRID will be effective in solving this problem.


  • There can be misuse of digital databases against the citizens, it may compromise individual privacy and even violate national security.
  • The crucial intelligence information, if available to many agencies can be leaked and used against the nation.
  • The data can also be misused by state agencies itself and surveillance like situation against every citizen is against the democratic principle. 

Kerala to set up India’s first trade centre for women

News:Kerala will be setting up India’s first International Women’s Trade Centre (iWTC).


About International Women’s Trade Centre(iWTC):

  • This IWTC initiative is in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs).
  • The first phase of iWTC which is being executed under the Gender Park’s “Vision 2020” is scheduled to be completed by 2021.
  • The trade centre will aim at accelerating women entrepreneurship and secure gender parity.
  • The facility will also provide women with a safe place away from home to start new businesses, set up or expand and get their products marketed globally.
  • The facility will have women’s startup and incubation centre, retail fashion and technology outlets, health and wellness centres, business centres among others.

Additional information:

Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs):

  • The Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) were born at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.
  • The objective was to produce a set of universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing the world.
  • The SDGs are a bold commitment to finish what the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) started and tackle some of the more pressing challenges.

DRDO successfully flight-tests indigenously developed Antitank Guided Missile

News: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully flight tested indigenously developed Man-Portable Anti Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM).


About the missile:

  • Man-Portable Anti Tank Guided Missile(MPATGM) is a guided missile primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily armored military vehicles.
  • The missile is low weight and fire and forget missile.It was launched from a man-portable Tripod launcher.
  • The missile is incorporated with Infrared Imaging Seeker along with advanced avionics.
  • The missile has a strike range of 2.5 km.It weighs around 14.5 kg to maintain man portability.

Additional information:

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO):

  • DRDO was established in 1958 by the government of India.It is under the administrative control of Union Ministry of Defence.
  • DRDO aims to enhance India’s self-reliance in Defence Systems.It undertakes design & development leading to the production of a world-class weapon system.

Exercise Maitree – 2019

News:India and Thailand are all set to organize Joint Military Exercise MAITREE-2019 at Foreign Training Node, Meghalaya from 16-29 Sep 2019.


About the exercise:

  • Exercise Maitree is a joint military exercise between Indian Army and Royal Thai Army.
  • The exercise is being conducted alternatively in Thailand and India since 2006.
  • The exercise aims to share experience gained during various counter terrorism operations in their respective countries.
  • The joint military exercise will also enhance the defence co-operation and bilateral relations between the two countries.

Srivilliputhur palkova bags GI tag

News:Geographical Indication Registry of India has accorded Geographical Indication(GI) tag to Srivilliputhur palkova.


About Srivilliputhur palkova:

  • Srivilliputhur palkova is a sweet made from cow milk and sugar.
  • The palkova is manufactured in and around the municipality of Srivilliputtur in Virudhunagar district,Tamil Nadu.

Additional information:

About the geographical indication(GI) tag:

  • A geographical indication(GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
  • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 provides registration and also protection of GI goods in India.
  • The act is administered by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and trademarks under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • GI tag secures the quality and authenticity of a product to a particular geographical origin.It provides legal protection from duplication.
  • Darjeeling Tea is the first good to receive a GI Tag in India.

Consider tribal area status for Ladakh, says ST commission

News:The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes(NCST) has recommended that the Union Territory(UT) of Ladakh be given Tribal area status under Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.


Why Ladakh should be given Tribal status?

  • The total tribal population in Ladakh region is more than 97%.
  • The major Scheduled Tribes(STs) in Ladakh are (a)Balti Beda (b)Bot (or Boto) (c)Brokpa (d)Changpa (e)Garra (f)Mon and (g)Purigpa.
  • Hence,tribal status will help in preserving and promoting several distinct cultural heritages of these communities in Ladakh region.
  • Further,the inclusion in the sixth schedule will also help in democratic devolution of powers in the region and will also enhance the transfer of funds for speedy development of the region.

Additional information:

Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution:

  • The Constitution of India makes special provisions for the administration of the tribal dominated areas in four states namely Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
  • As per article 244 and 6th Schedule,these areas are called “Tribal Areas”,which are technically different from the Scheduled Areas under fifth schedule.
  • The Governors of these four states are empowered to declare some tribal dominated districts / areas of these states as autonomous districts and autonomous regions.
  • It provides for the creation of autonomous District and Regional Councils in these tribal areas and they enjoy a certain degree of administrative, legislative, judicial and financial autonomy.

Autonomous Districts:

  • Autonomous District are administrative bodies constituted by the governor.
  • The governor is empowered to organise and re-organise the autonomous districts.
  • The acts of Parliament or the state legislature do not apply to these autonomous districts or apply with specified modifications and exceptions.

District Councils:

  • Each autonomous district has a district council consisting of 30 members, of whom four are nominated by the governor and the remaining 26 are elected on the basis of adult franchise.
  • The elected members hold office for a term of five years (unless the council is dissolved earlier) and nominated members hold office during the pleasure of the governor.
  • Each autonomous region also has a separate regional council.

Powers of Councils:

  • The district and regional councils administer the areas under their jurisdiction. 
  • They can make laws on certain specified matters like land, forests, canal water, shifting cultivation, village administration, inheritance of property, marriage and divorce, social customs and so on.But all such laws require the assent of the governor.

Village Councils:

  • The district and regional councils within their territorial jurisdictions can constitute village councils or courts for trial of suits and cases between the tribes.They hear appeals from them.The jurisdiction of High Court over these suits and cases is specified by the governor.

National Commission of Scheduled Tribes(ST):

  • National Commission for Scheduled Tribes(NCST) is an Indian constitutional body.
  • It was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003.
  • The Commission comprises a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and three full-time Members (including one lady Member).The term of members is three years from the date of assumption of charge.
  • NCST is empowered to investigate and monitor matters relating to safeguards provided for STs under the Constitution or under other laws or under Govt order. 
  • The Commission is also authorized to inquire into specific complaints relating to rights and safeguards of STs and to participate and advise in the Planning Process relating to socio-economic development of STs and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and States.
  • The commission submits its report to the President annually on the working of safeguards and measures required for effective implementation of Programmers/ Schemes relating to welfare and socio-economic development of STs.

Government e-Marketplace (GeM)

News:GeM and Punjab Government has signed an MoU for setting up of project management unit.


About GeM:

  • Government e Marketplace is an online marketplace setup in 2016 for procurement of commonly used goods and services by government ministries,departments and CPSEs.
  • It aims to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement.
  • GeM is a completely paperless,cashless and system driven e-marketplace that enables procurement of commonly used goods and services with minimal human interface.
  • It is a National Procurement Portal of India.It functions under Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D),Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • Further,it provides the tools of e-bidding, reverse e-auction and demand aggregation to facilitate the government users achieve the best value for their money.

Centre moves to sell data from Smart Cities project

News:The government is planning to make health,education and financial data collected from more than 4,000 urban local bodies under its Smart Cities Mission public by 2024 and eventually monetising it.


About India Urban Data Exchange(IUDX):

  • India Urban Data Exchange is a research project under smart cities mission.
  • The project is implemented by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) in collaboration with Indian Institute of Science(IISc), Bengaluru.
  • The project aims to create an open source software platform for cities, industry and researchers to share Smart City data with each other.
  • The project would now be expanded eventually leading to a marketplace which means it would be monetised in the future similar to the Unified Payments Interface(UPI) for bank accounts and digital payments.
  • This will facilitate secure, authenticated and managed exchange of data amongst various data platforms in a uniform and seamless way.

Additional information:

About Smart Cities Mission:

  • Smart Cities Mission is an urban renewal and rejuvenation program by the Government of India.
  • It aims to develop 100 smart cities across the country by 2022 making them citizen friendly and sustainable.
  • The Union Ministry of Urban Development is implementing the mission in collaboration with the state governments of the respective cities.

Swachhata Hi Seva (SHS)

News:Prime Minister has launched Swachhata Hi Seva(SHS) 2019 


About Swachhata Hi Seva(SHS):

  • Swachhta Hi Sewa’ (Cleanliness is service) is a campaign launched in 2018 as a part of Swachh Bharat Mission. 
  • The campaign is being coordinated by the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation,convening Ministry for the Swachh Bharat Mission. 
  • The objective of the campaign is to mobilise people and reinforce jan aandolan (mass movement) for sanitation and to contribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a Clean India.

Swachhata Hi Seva(SHS) 2019 

  • The Swachata hi Sewa 2019 theme is ‘plastic waste awareness and management’.
  • The campaign will witness mass awareness generation activities on plastic waste management between September 11 and October 1,2019.
  • The SHS campaign 2019 would give a big boost to subsequent collection, recycling and disposal of plastic waste.

Additional information:

About Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

  • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a cleanliness campaign initiated by Govt. of India in 2014.It seeks to achieve a Clean India by 2019 as a tribute to the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • It has two sub-missions.Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) and Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban).

Swachh Bharat Mission(Gramin)

  • Swachh Bharat Mission(Gramin)  aims to improve the levels of cleanliness in rural areas through Solid and Liquid Waste Management activities and making villages Open Defecation Free (ODF) and clean. 
  • It is implemented by Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Jal Shakti Ministry.

Swachh Bharat Mission(Urban)

  • Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) aims at elimination of open defecation, conversion of unsanitary toilets to pour flush toilets, eradication of manual scavenging, municipal solid waste management and bringing about a behavioural change in people regarding healthy sanitation practices. 
  • It is implemented by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.


News:The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) has postponed the 3rd Global Renewable Energy Investors(RE-INVEST) meet.



  • It is a global platform to explore strategies for the development and deployment of renewables.
  • It showcases India’s clean energy market and the Government’s efforts to scale up capacity to meet the national energy demand in socially, economically and ecologically sustainable ways
  • In 2015, the first edition of Re-Invest was organized in New Delhi.

Additional information:

  • The government allows 100% Foreign direct investment(FDI) under the automatic route for projects of renewable power generation and distribution provided they comply with the provisions of The Electricity Act,2003.
  • The Indian government has set a growth target of installation of 175 GW aggregate capacity of renewable energy by 2022.It includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydro-power.

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Man Dhan Yojana

News: Prime Minister has launched Pradhan Mantri Kisan Man Dhan Yojana


About Pradhan Mantri Kisan Man Dhan Yojana

  • It is a scheme under Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers welfare
  • Aim: To provide social security to all landholding Small and Marginal Farmers.
  • Features:
    • It is voluntary and contributory for farmers in the entry age group of 18 to 40 years.
    • A monthly pension of Rs. 3000/- will be provided to them on attaining the age of 60 years. The farmers will have to make a monthly contribution of Rs.55 to Rs.200, depending on their age of entry, in the Pension Fund till they reach the retirement date i.e. the age of 60 years.
    • The Central Government will also make an equal contribution of the same amount in the pension fund.
    • The spouse is also eligible to get a separate pension of Rs.3000/- upon making separate contributions to the Fund.
    • In case of death of the farmer before retirement date, the spouse can continue in the scheme by paying the remaining contributions till the remaining age of the late farmer.
    • If the spouse does not wish to continue, the total contribution made by the farmer along with interest will be paid to the spouse.
    • If there is no spouse, then total contribution along with interest will be paid to the nominee.
    • If the farmer dies after the retirement date, the spouse will receive 50% of the pension as Family Pension.
  • Implementation:
    • The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) is the Pension Fund Manager and responsible for Pension pay out.

Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyapari Maan-dhan Yojana


Prime Minister has launched the Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyapari Maan-dhan Yojana 2019.


About Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyapari Maan-dhan Yojana

  • It is a pension scheme for retailers and small traders.
  • It assures a minimum monthly pension of ₹3000 per month to small shopkeepers, retail traders and the self-employed people after attaining the age of 60 years.
  • They have to contribute to the scheme every month from the time of enrolment and till age 60 for getting the pension. Further, the Government of India will make matching contribution in the subscribers’ account.
  • Eligibility:
    • The scheme is available to all small shopkeepers and self-employed persons and retail traders with Goods and Services tax (GST) turnover below Rs. 1.5 crore. The age limit is 18-40 years.
    • Further, to be eligible, the applicants should not be covered under the National Pension Scheme, Employees’ State Insurance Scheme and the Employees’ Provident Fund or be an Income Tax assesse.
  • The scheme is based on self-declaration. No documents are required except Aadhaar and bank account.
  • Interested persons can enrol themselves through Common Service Centres (CSC) spread across India.
  • Implementation:
    • Government will establish a pension fund to implement the scheme. The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) will be the pension fund manager.
    • LIC will be responsible for managing the pension fund, central record keeping, and responsible for pension pay out.

Water found for first time on potentially habitable planet

News: data from the Hubble Space Telescope have revealed water vapour in the atmosphere of an exoplanet called K2-18b.


About K2-18b

  • It is an exoplanet eight times the mass of Earth.
  • The planet orbits dwarf star K2-18. K2-18 is located about 110 light years from Earth in the Leo constellation in Milky Way.
  • The planet was first discovered in 2015 by NASA’s Kepler space telescope.

Additional Information:

Exoplanets: planets outside the solar system are called exoplanets. The first exoplanet was discovered in 1992, orbiting a pulsar (a neutron star that emits electromagnetic radiation)

Dwarf star: A dwarf star is a star of relatively small size and low luminosity.

Hubble Space Telescope:

  • It is world’s first space-based optical telescope that was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990. It still remains operational.
  • It has been named after astronomer Edwin Hubble.
  • It is one of NASA’s Great Observatories. NASA’s series of Great Observatories satellites are four large, powerful space-based astronomical telescopes. The telescopes other than Hubble include the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope

Kepler Space Telescope: It was an observatory in space launched by NASA to discover Earth-size planets orbiting other stars. It was launched in 2009 and decommissioned in 2018.

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