9 PM Current Affairs Brief – September 24th, 2019

Happy Seeder

News:Punjab Chief Minister has said that farmers should use Happy Seeders for direct wheat sowing as it will lead to increased productivity.


About Happy seeder(HS):

  • Happy Seeder(HS) is a tractor-operated machine developed by the Punjab Agricultural University(PAU) in collaboration with Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research(ACIAR).
  • Happy seeder is used for in-situ management of paddy stubble (straw).
  • The seeder has the capability to cut and lift the previous crop and sow a new crop in its place.It also deposits the straw over the sown area as mulch.

Advantages of Happy seeder:

  • The average wheat yield a farmer gets using traditional sowing method (after burning stubble) is 19-22 quintal/acre (q/acre).
  • It has been found that using Happy Seeder also farmers can get a yield of around 19-22 q/acre.

Concerns with Happy seeder:

  • Farmers had to burn the stubble because Happy Seeder doesn’t work on thick bunches of straw left behind.
  • The wheat yield does not increase or decrease using Happy Seeder.But it remains at par with normal average yield.
  • Initially,farmers are facing problems because after sowing with HS,fields require proper management.

Additional information:


  • A mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of the soil. 
  • The reasons for applying mulch include conservation of soil moisture, improving fertility and health of the soil, reducing weed growth and enhancing the visual appeal of the area.

Global Climate Strike movement

News:Students in more than 2,000 cities across the world are holding demonstrations under the #FridaysforFuture movement also called Global Climate Strike movement.


About Global Climate Strike movement:

  • The #FridaysforFuture movement also known as the ‘Youth Strike for Climate Movement’ was started in August 2018.
  • The aim of the Global Climate Strike is to call on millions of people across the world to disrupt business as usual by taking part in protests emphasising the danger of Climate Change.
  • The movement was started by Swedish student ‘Greta Thunberg’ to protest outside Swedish parliament for more action against climate change.
  • She had called for a strike every Friday until the Swedish parliament revised its policies towards climate change.
  • Gradually, students and adults from across the world started mobilising and demonstrating in front of parliaments and local city halls in their respective countries.
  • Thousands of events have been planned from September 20th to 27th, 2019.

Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana

News: According to the data,Ayushman Bharat which has completed a year has recorded 46.4 lakh hospital treatments with 60% of the amount being spent on tertiary care.


About Ayushman Bharat:

  • Government had launched the scheme on September 23,2018 from Ranchi, Jharkhand.
  • The main aim of the scheme is to provide universal health care to the poor, needy and vulnerable sections of the country.
  • The scheme covers both prevention and health promotion.
  • The two flagship programmes under Ayushman Bharat programme are (a)Health and Wellness Centre and (b)National Health Protection Scheme.

Health and Wellness Centre:

  • The National Health Policy, 2017 has envisioned Health and Wellness Centres as the foundation of India’s health system.
  • Under this 1.5 lakh health care centres will be established.
  • These centres will provide comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services.
  • These centres will also provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services.
  • The contribution of the private sector through CSR and philanthropic institutions in adopting these centres is also envisaged.

National Health Protection Scheme:

  • The second flagship programme under Ayushman Bharat is National Health Protection Scheme.
  • The scheme aims to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage upto 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.
  • This is the world’s largest government funded health care programme.
  • The scheme also ensures enhanced productivity,well being and avert wage loss and impoverishment.

Achievements during last one year:

  • In the last one year, more than 46 lakh beneficiaries have availed cashless treatment under the scheme worth ₹7,500 crore with 60% of the amount being spent on tertiary care.
  • This has resulted in saving of over 12 thousand crore rupees to the beneficiary families.
  • Currently,32 States and Union Territories are implementing the scheme and more than 10 crore beneficiary cards have been issued.
  • Over eighteen thousand hospitals are providing services across the country, out of which more than 50 per cent are private hospitals.

Healthy life a basic right, Prime Minister Modi tells UN meet

News:At the 74th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly,Indian Prime minister has addressed the Universal Health coverage meeting.


Key takeaways:The Prime Minister has said that a healthy life is the basic right of every person.He also outlined the four main pillars of healthcare that India focuses on:

Preventive Healthcare: 

  • Prime minister said that India has laid special emphasis on yoga, ayurveda and fitness which has helped in controlling lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure and depression.
  • India has also launched Fit India Movement recently.
  • The Clean India Campaign has contributed towards saving millions of lives.
  • Under immunization,India has not only introduced new vaccines but has also improved access to vaccination in far flung areas.

Affordable Healthcare: 

  • For this the government has rolled out the world’s largest health insurance scheme named Ayushman Bharat. 
  • Under this scheme,500 million poor people have been given the facility of free treatment worth up to Rs.5 lakh every year.In 2018, 4.5 million people availed of this facility.
  • India has opened more than 5000 special pharmacies where more than 800 varieties of vital medicines are available at affordable prices.
  • The cost of stents for heart patients has been slashed by 80% and the cost of knee implants has been cut down by 50 – 70%.
  • India has also helped in providing access to affordable healthcare by way of telemedicine to several other countries, especially African countries.

Supply Side Intervention

  • India’s focus has been on establishment of modern institutions for quality medical education.
  • Government has has also increased the seats in medical colleges for improvement in health resources.

Mission Mode Intervention

  • In order to improve the health of women and children, a National Nutrition Campaign and other new programmes have been launched in mission mode.
  • Also,India has commitment to eliminate Tuberculosis by 2025, five years ahead of the global goal of 2030.

United Nations Climate Action Summit

News:During the 74th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, the Indian Prime Minister has addressed the United Nations(UN) Climate Action Summit.


Highlights of the speech:

  • Prime minister has reiterated India’s commitment to the creation of 175 GW renewable energy capacity by 2022 under the Paris Climate Agreement. 
  • He also said that India’s renewable energy target will be further increased to 450 GW by 2022.
  • He said that India would spend approximately $50 billion in the next few years on the Jal Jeevan Mission to conserve water, harvest rainwater and develop water resources.
  • He also said that more than 80 countries have joined the International Solar Alliance initiated by India.

New initiatives:The Prime Minister has also announced two new international initiatives.

  • Leadership Group for Industry Transition: India and Sweden together with other countries have announced a new that will drive transformation in hard-to-decarbonize and energy-intensive sectors.
  • Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure(CDRI): Itwill be an international partnership that will support countries- developed and developing- to build climate and disaster resilient infrastructure. 
  • The Coalition’s secretariat will be based in Delhi.It will facilitate knowledge exchange, provide technical support and support capacity building.

Multipurpose National Identity Card (MPNIC)

News:Union Home Minister has said that India could have a single multi purpose unique card that will serve as an identity card and double up as a voter card, PAN and even a passport.


About Multipurpose National ID Card (MPNIC)

  • MPNIC was first suggested by a 2001 report on “Reforming the National Security System” by the empowered Group of Ministers(GOM) during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
  • The Group of Ministers(GOM) report had recommended MPNIC in relation to the growing threat from illegal migration.

What did the GOM report said?

  • The report has said that there should be compulsory registration of citizens and non-citizens living in India.This will facilitate the preparation of a national register of citizens. 
  • All citizens should be given a Multi-Purpose National Identity Card (MPNIC) and non-citizens should be issued identity cards of a different colour and design. 
  • This should be introduced initially in the border districts or maybe in a 20 Kms border belt and extended to the hinterland progressively.

Is Government planning to introduce multi purpose identity card?

  • The government has clarified that there is no specific scheme that they are planning to introduce. 
  • But the government would want to link various databases if it intends to create a card that works as a single point of access to various accounts held by an individual.
  • Further,the government is also expected to launch the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) by the start of 2020.

Additional information:


  • NATGRID 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.
  • 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.

India,UAE discuss areas of cooperation to strengthen economic ties

News:The seventh meeting of the UAE-India High Level Joint Task Force on Investments was held in Abu Dhabi,UAE.


About the task force:

  • The Task Force was established in 2012 as a key forum to promote economic ties between the UAE and India. 
  • It aims to promote and facilitate investments between the two countries and in addressing mutual concerns.
  • Further, the task force has acquired more importance since the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement was signed in 2017.

About the meeting:

  • The meeting reviewed the significant progress made to enhance bilateral trade and investment between the two countries.
  • The countries discussed the issues relating to the tax treatment of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority(ADIA) for investment in India.
  • India has agreed to give an early consideration and mutually beneficial solution to the issue in a way that could facilitate ADIA’s investments in India.
  • The countries also expressed satisfaction on the progress made by the Task Force including (a)the signing of a bilateral agreement for the promotion and protection of investments which is now being renegotiated as a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) (b) the UAE’s contribution to India’s strategic petroleum reserve among others.

Head on Generation (HOG) technology

News:The Railway Ministry has announced that it would be upgrading all existing Linke Hofmann Busch(LHB) coaches with the Head on Generation (HOG) technology.


About HOG technology:

  • In HOG Technology,the power will be drawn from the overhead electric supply.
  • The power supply from the overhead cable is 750 volts at single-phase, and a transformer with a winding of 945 kVA converts it to a 750 Volts 50 Hz output at 3-phase.This energy is then provided to the compartments. 

End on Generation technology(EOG):

  • Under the EOG system,the train’s ‘hotel load’ which is the load of air conditioning, lights, fans, and pantry is provided with electricity from two large diesel generator sets which supply 3-phase power at 750 Volts 50 Hz to the entire length of the train.

Benefits of HOG technology over EOG:

  • In the End on Generation technology(EOG),power generator cars used to make huge noise and emit fumes which will no longer be there.
  • In place of two such generator cars, HOG will have one standby silent generator car to be used for emergency. 
  • HOG technology has low Operating price per unit of electricity as compared to the EOG system.
  • HOG technology will have reduced number of generating equipment, low maintenance requirements, reduced dead weight as compared to EOG system.
  • Further,the HOG system will also generate less air pollution and Noise pollution when compared to EOG system.

Additional information:

About LHB Coaches:

  • Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches are the passenger coaches of Indian Railways that have been developed by Linke-Hofmann-Busch of Germany.
  • These coaches are produced in the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala, Punjab.

Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA)

News:The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) is organizing a National workshop on Post Disaster Needs Assessment(PDNA).


About PDNA:

  • Post-Disaster Needs Assessment(PDNA) is a government-led exercise to assess the full extent of a disaster’s impact.
  • The tool was developed by the UN Development Group, the World Bank and the European Union as one of the key commitments of their 2008 agreement to develop and use common assessment and recovery planning approaches in post-crisis settings.
  • The assessments are carried out in the aftermath of earthquakes, cyclones, floods and droughts.
  • The assessment will define the needs for recovery and to serve as a basis for designing a recovery strategy and guide donors’ funding.
  • The assessment takes place with the support from the United Nations, the European Commission, the World Bank and other national and international actors.

National Institute of Disaster Management: 

  • NIDM is a premier institute for training and capacity development programs for managing natural disasters in India on a national as well as regional basis. 
  • The National Centre of Disaster Management(NCDM) constituted under an Act of Parliament in 1995 was re-designated to give the present name of National Institute of Disaster Management(NIDM) by the Disaster Management Act 2005.

Mochi Swabhimaan Initiative

News:Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship announced the launch of Mochi Swabhimaan Initiative.


About the initiative:

  • Mochi Swabhimaan Initiative is a nationwide effort in which Leather Sector Skill Council (LSSC) will support the cobbler community who provide leather-based services, with CSR funds.
  • This will ensure that they work in a dignified manner by bringing respect to their skills by giving them better working environment in the form of kiosks/umbrellas. 

About Leather Sector Skill Council(LSSC):

  • The Leather Sector Skill Council (LSSC) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to meet the demand for skilled workforce in the leather industry in India. 
  • LSSC was set up in 2012 as one of the key sector skill councils approved by National Skill Development Corporation(NSDC).
  • It aims to facilitate a skilled ecosystem in the leather industry through capacity building for high productivity and compliance with global standards.

Additional information:

Statistics on Leather industry:

  • India accounts for about 13% of the world’s leather production. 
  • The leather industry contribute less than 1% to India’s GDP and Footwear industry contributes about 2% to India’s GDP. 
  • Indian leather industry has huge potential for exports.It can reach USD 9.0 billion by 2020, from the present level of USD 5.85 billion.

Chilahati- border railway link

News:Bangladesh railway minister and High Commissioner of India has laid the foundation stone of Chilahati- border railway link.


About Chilahati- border railway link:

  • The railway link is a 7.5 kilometre long railway track.It will help in providing connectivity from West Bengal into Assam via Bangladesh.
  • This railway link will provide a big boost to trade, travel and tourism between Bangladesh and India.

Additional information:

  • The Haldibari- Chilahati railway track was part of the broad gauge main route from Kolkata to Siliguri during the British undivided India.
  • The trains from Bangladesh to Darjeeling via Siliguri operated till 1965 which stopped functioning after the 1965 Indo-Pak war.
  • Indian Railways has already restored the tracks up to international border till Haldibari station.

National Adaptation Fund

News:Experts have said that the National adaptation fund has been allocated only Rs 100 crore in the Budget and about one pilot project in each state.


About the fund:

  • The National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change(NAFCC) is a Central Sector Scheme.
  • It was set up in 2015 to meet the climate change adaptation needs of vulnerable states and Union territories.
  • National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is the National Implementing Entity(NIE).
  • The Scheme has been designed to fulfill the objectives of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and operationalize State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCC).

Additional information:

About adaptation:

  • The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change defines adaptation as adjustments in ecological, social and economic systems in response to current climate change impacts and projected impact.

About NAPCC:

  • The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) was launched in 2008 by the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change.
  • It aims at creating awareness among the representatives of the public, different agencies of the government, scientists, industry and the communities on the threat posed by climate change and the steps to counter it.
  • There are 8 national missions which forms the core of the NAPCC which represent multi-pronged, long term and integrated strategies for achieving key goals in climate change.These are-
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