9 PM Current Affairs Brief – September 7th, 2019

Mobile Science Exhibition (SCIENCE EXPLORER)

News:Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism has flagged off the first ever Mobile Science Exhibition (SCIENCE EXPLORER) for the Ladakh Region in Leh.

Facts:

Mobile Science Exhibitions:

  • Mobile Science Exhibitions(MSE) are basically science exhibitions on buses based on various themes of science and technology. 
  • The exhibitions are organized by the National Council of Science Museums(NCSM).
  • Aim:To communicate science in rural areas.These buses target the population which is unable to visit any of the science centre of NCSM
  • The mission of the exhibition is ‘If the people cannot visit the museum, let the museum visit the people at their doorsteps.’
  • The topics chosen for these exhibitions are (a)Measurement (b) Machines in everyday life (c)Food & Health (d)Chemistry & Life with a focus on Water (e)Energy (f)Hygiene & Sanitation and (g)Space Science for Human Welfare.
  • The First MSE was launched by Birla Industrial and Technological Museum (BITM),Kolkata in the year 1965.

Additional information:

National Council of Science Museums (NCSM):

  • The National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) was established in 1978 as a central coordinating agency for national science museums.
  • It is an autonomous Science & Technology institution under the Ministry of Culture jointly with the Department of Science & Technology (DST).
  • NCSM is the world’s largest network of science centres and museums that functions under a single administrative umbrella.

Explained: The sea route from Chennai to Vladivostok

News:India and Russia have signed a Memorandum of Intent to open a full fledged maritime route between Chennai to Vladivostok.

Facts:

About Vladivostok:

  • It is located on the Golden Horn Bay north of North Korea and a short distance from Russia’s border with China.
  • Vladivostok is the largest port on Russia’s Pacific coast and home to the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy.
  • At Vladivostok’s massive port, shipping and commercial fishing are the main commercial activities.

Sea Route From Chennai To Vladivostok:

  • The sea route from Vladivostok to Chennai covers a distance of approximately 5,600 nautical miles, or about 10,300 km. 
  • The sea route would pass through the southward on the Sea of Japan past the Korean peninsula.
  • It then passes through Taiwan and the Philippines in the South China Sea.
  • The route then reaches Singapore and through the Strait of Malacca, it emerges into the Bay of Bengal and then cut across through the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago to Chennai.

Significance of this route for India:

  • It will ensure connectivity between the two major ports which will give impetus to the cooperation between India and the Russian Far East.
  • India is building nuclear power plants with Russia’s collaboration in Kudankulam on the sea coast in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district.The opening of a sea route will help in the project.
  • It will also increase India’s presence in the Indo-Pacific and especially the South China Sea, which is a deeply contested part of the ocean that China claims it completely.
  • The sea route will also enable transfer of cargo between Chennai and Vladivostok in 24 days in comparison to over 40 days currently taken to transport goods from East Russia to Europe.

India International Seafood Show

News:The 22nd edition of India international seafood show(IISS) will be held in Kochi,Kerala from 7 to 9 February 2020. 

Facts:

  • India International Seafood Show(IISS) is a biennial show which means it happens once every two years.
  • The show is organized by the Marine Products Export Development Authority(MPEDA) in association with the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI).
  • The show will provide a platform for interaction between Indian exporters and overseas importers of Indian marine products.

Additional Information 

Marine Products Export Development Authority(MPEDA)

  • MPEDA was constituted in 1972 under the Marine Products Export Development Authority Act,1972.
  • It functions under the Department of Commerce,Government of India.It is headquartered in Kochi, Kerala.
  • It acts as a coordinating agency with different Central and State Government establishments engaged in fishery production and allied activities.

About Fisheries sector in India

  • India is the second largest fish producer in the world with a production of 13.70 million tonnes during 2018-19.
  • India earns 10% of its total exports from fisheries.India is also the fourth largest exporter of fish in revenue terms.
  • The contribution of fisheries to the Gross Domestic Product is about 1% and about 5.37% to the Agricultural GDP.

Swachh Mahotsav 2019

News:Swachh Mahotsav 2019 was held at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi.

Facts:

About Swachh Mahotsav 

  • Swachh Mahotsav was organised by the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti. 
  • On this occasion, President of India presented the Swachh Bharat Awards in various categories.

About Swachh Bharat Awards 2019

  • Best Swachh Iconic Place was awarded to Vaishno Devi Shrine Board in Jammu and Kashmir and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CST), Mumbai.
  • Swachh Award in Swachhta Action Plan category was awarded to the Ministry of Railways.
  • Award for Open Defecation Free(ODF) and Behavior Change were given to Gujarat and Sikkim.

Additional information:

About Swachh Iconic Places(SIP):

  • The Swachh Iconic Places is an initiative under the Swachh Bharat Mission.It is a special clean-up initiative focused on select iconic heritage, spiritual and cultural places in the country.
  • The initiative is being coordinated by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in association with the Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and the concerned State governments.
  • The Swachh Iconic Place award is given on the basis of (a)action plan accomplishment (b)participation of stakeholders (c)funds leveraged and utilised (d)evidence of difference and (e)cleanliness in the surrounding areas.

About Swachhta Action Plan(SAP):

  • SAP was launched in 2017 with the active participation of 72 Ministries and Departments. 
  • It is one of the flagship initiatives of the Prime Minister towards making Swachh Bharat everyone’s business.
  • It aims at engaging all wings of the Government in the Swachh Bharat Mission programme.

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.

National Animal Disease Control Programme

News:Prime Minister will launch National Animal Disease Control Programme for Foot and Mouth Disease and Brucellosis on 11 September 2019 in Mathura.

Facts:

About the Programme:

  • National Animal Disease Control Programme for Foot and Mouth Disease and Brucellosis is a 100% centrally funded programme.
  • It aims to control Foot and Mouth Disease and Brucellosis by 2025 with vaccination and eventual eradication by 2030.

Additional information:

About Foot and Mouth Disease 

  • Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a severe, highly contagious viral disease of livestock that has a significant economic impact.
  • The disease affects cattle, swine, sheep, goats and other cloven-hoofed ruminants.
  • FMD virus belongs to risk group 4 as per World Organization for Animal Health(OIE) Aphthovirus genus of the picornaviridae family.
  • FMD can spread when infected animals bring the virus into physical contact with susceptible animals. 
  • If a cow/buffalo gets infected with FMD, the milk loss is upto 100% which could last for four to six months.

Brucellosis

  • Brucellosis is a zoonotic infection caused by the bacterial genus Brucella.
  • The bacteria are transmitted from animals to humans by ingestion through infected food products,direct contact with an infected animal or inhalation of aerosols.
  • The disease is also known as undulant fever, Malta fever, and Mediterranean fever.
  • In case of Brucellosis the milk output reduces by 30% during the entire life cycle of animal.Brucellosis also causes infertility amongst the animals.

India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue

News:The 6th India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue(SED) will be held in New Delhi from 7-9 September 2019.

Facts:

About the Strategic Economic Dialogue: 

  • India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue is a bilateral dialogue platform between the Niti Aayog and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China.
  • The idea of having such a dialogue was first floated by the then Chinese Premier on his visit to India in 2010.As a result,the first India-China SED was held in 2011 in Beijing,China.
  • The objective of the dialogue is to discuss challenges and explore possibilities of cooperation between sectors that are strategically important for the economic growth of the two countries.
  • The 6th strategic dialogue will focus on collaboration between the two countries on areas of infrastructure, energy, high-tech, resource conservation, pharmaceuticals and policy coordination. 

Additional information 

About NITI AAYOG

  • The NITI Aayog was formed via a resolution of the Union Cabinet on January 1,2015.
  • It is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Government of India providing both directional and policy inputs.It had replaced planning commission as the premier think tank.
  • The NITI Aayog has been mandated with fostering cooperative federalism through structured support initiatives and mechanisms with the States on a continuous basis recognizing that strong States make a strong nation.
  • It also seeks to design and assist the implementation of strategic, long term policy frameworks and programme initiatives and also monitor their progress and efficacy.

Composition of NITI Aayog:

  • Prime Minister of India as the Chairperson.
  • Governing Council comprising the Chief Ministers of all the States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories.
  • Regional Councils will be formed to address specific issues and contingencies impacting more than one state or a region.These will be formed for a specified tenure. 
  • The Regional Councils will be convened by the Prime Minister and will comprise of the Chief Ministers of States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories in the region.These will be chaired by the Chairperson of the NITI Aayog or his nominee.
  • Experts, specialists and practitioners with relevant domain knowledge as special invitees nominated by the Prime Minister.

The full-time organizational framework will comprise of, in addition to the Prime Minister as the Chairperson:

  • Vice-Chairperson: To be appointed by the Prime Minister.
  • Members: Full-time.
  • Part-time members: Maximum of 2 from leading universities research organizations and other relevant institutions in an ex-officio capacity. Part time members will be on a rotational basis.
  • Ex Officio members: Maximum of 4 members of the Union Council of Ministers to be nominated by the Prime Minister.
  • Chief Executive Officer:To be appointed by the Prime Minister for a fixed tenure, in the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.

SATARK

News:Odisha State Disaster Management Authority(OSDMA) has won the IT Excellence Award,2019 for its innovative mobile application called SATARK.

Facts:

SATARK:

  • SATARK stands for System for Assessing, Tracking and Alerting Disaster Risk Information based on Dynamic Risk Knowledge.
  • SATARK is a web/smartphone based app for Early Warning Communication system(EWCS).
  • The app has been developed by Odisha State Disaster Management Authority(OSDMA) in collaboration with the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia(RIMES), Thailand
  • The app provides real time watch, alert and warning information for different hazards like heat wave, lightning, droughts, ocean state information and floods.
  • The app utilises a machine learning algorithm to self-learn from each seasonal cycle of operation and improving on its own advisory generation process over season.

Additional information:

About Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System(RIMES)

  • RIMES is an international and intergovernmental institution owned and managed by its Member States for the generation and application of early warning information.
  • It was established after the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami on 30 April 2009 and was registered with the United Nations on 1 July 2009.
  • RIMES operates from its regional early warning center located on the campus of the Asian Institute of Technology in Pathumthani, Thailand.
  • It is owned and managed by a Council comprising of 48 Members and Collaborating States.Currently,the Government of India chairs the RIMES Council.

India, South Korea seal logistics pact

News:India and South Korea have signed a logistics agreement during India’s Defence Minister’s visit to South Korea.

Facts:

About the Logistics agreement:

  • Logistics agreements are administrative arrangements facilitating access to each other’s military facilities for fuels and services between countries. 
  • India and South Korea logistics agreement establishes basic terms, conditions and procedures for the reciprocal provision of logistic support, supplies and services between the navies of India and South Korea.
  • The agreement will significantly enhance India’s reach in the Indo-Pacific.
  • The agreement will also place South Korea amongst close partners like the US and France that have similar bilateral pacts with India.

Additional information:

Logistics agreement with other countries

  • Since 2016,India has signed militarily logistics sharing agreements with the US, France, Oman, and Singapore.
  • India is looking to conclude three Military Logistics Support Agreements (MLSA) by the year-end with Japan, Russia and Australia.

Mega Food Park scheme

News:Union Minister for Food processing has inaugurated the first Mega Food Park in Telangana.

Facts:

About Mega Food Park Scheme:

  • Mega Food Park is a scheme of the Ministry of Food Processing, Government of India.
  • Aim: To provide a mechanism to bring together farmers, processors and retailers and link agricultural production to the market so as to ensure maximization of value addition, minimization of wastages and improving farmers’ income.
  • These food parks give a major boost to the food processing sector by adding value and reducing food wastage at each stage of the supply chain with particular focus on perishables.
  • The financial assistance under the scheme is provided in the form of grant-in-aid at 50% of eligible project cost in general areas and at 75% of eligible project cost in North East Region and difficult areas (Hilly States and ITDP areas) subject to a maximum of Rs. 50 crore per project. 

Components of the scheme

  • The scheme is based on a cluster based approach based on a hub and spokes model.
  • The scheme includes creation of  Collection Centres(CCs), Primary Processing Centers(PPCs), Central Processing Center(CPC) and Cold Chain infrastructure.
  • The PPCs are meant for functioning as a link between the producers and processors for supply of raw material to the Central Processing Centres.
  • CPC has need based core processing facilities and basic enabling infrastructure to be used by the food processing units setup at the CPC.
  • The scheme is demand-driven and would facilitate food processing units to meet environmental, safety and social standards.

Kaushal Acharya Awards

News:Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has organized the Kaushal Acharya awards.

Facts:

About Kaushal Acharya awards:

  • The awards aims to facilitate trainers from different sectors for exceptional contribution towards creating a future-ready and skilled workforce.
  • This will motivate and incentivize more trainers to join the Skill India Mission.

Skill India mission

  • National Skill Development Mission also known as Skill India Mission was launched in 2015.
  • The mission envisages convergence, coordination and harmonization of the fragmented skilling efforts of various Ministries in Government of India and other key stakeholders.
  • The mission is implemented through the instruments of Common norms, implementation of National Skills Qualification Framework and data integrations through the Skill India Portal.

Important facts about Skill India are:

  • About 64% of India’s population is expected to be in the working age group of 15-59 years by 2026.
  • Yet,30% of India’s youth are neither employed nor in education or training.
  • Also both the service and manufacturing sector (Make in India) requires highly skilled labors.
  • Thus,the Skill India programme was launched with an aim to improve the skill of 40 lakh people by 2022.

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019

News: The Supreme Court has sought a response from the Centre on petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019

Facts:

  • The petitions have challenged the changes to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on various grounds such as-
  • It infringes upon fundamental rights of citizens as guaranteed by the Indian constitution: a) freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) and b) right to life with dignity under Article 21
  • It arbitrarily empowers agencies to declare a person a terrorist.

Additional Information

About Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act 2019

  • It amends the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 which aims to curb certain unlawful activities including terrorist activities and related matters, carried out by individuals and associations in India and abroad.
  • Amendments:
UAPA 1967 UAPA 2019
Allows the Central government to designate an organization as a terrorist organization if commits or participates in acts of terrorism, promotes terrorism, prepares for terrorism or otherwise involved in terrorism. Further, empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists on the same grounds.  Also, provides for putting travel ban on such individuals once they are declared as terrorists
Investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above Also,  empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.
An investigating officer is required to obtain the prior approval of the Director General of Police to seize properties that may be connected with terrorism also empowers the Director-General, National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is being investigated by the agency
It defines terrorist acts to include acts committed within the scope of any of the treaties listed in a schedule to the Act.  The Schedule lists nine treaties Has added the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005) to the Schedule

Additional Information:

  • The UAPA, 1967 was enacted after 16th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1963 which empowered Parliament to impose by law reasonable restrictions under Article 19 of the constitution in the interests of sovereignty and integrity of India. Parliament can impose reasonable restrictions on:
    • Freedom of Speech and Expression
    • Right to Assemble peacefully and without arms
    • Right to form associations or unions.

Great Indian Bustard

News: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Centre to prepare a time-bound action plan within two months for protection of the Great Indian Bustards.

Facts:

About Great Indian Bustard:

  • Features:
    • It is one of the heaviest flying birds (weighing up to 15kgs).
    • It can be distinguished by its black crown on the forehead contrasting with the pale neck and head.
  • Habitat:
    • It is endemic to the Indian subcontinent.
    • It is found in Rajasthan (Desert National park), Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in India and parts of Pakistan
  • Major Threats:
    • mortality by collision with infrastructure, particularly power lines and wind turbines,
    • depletion of grasslands,
    • hunting,
    • development of mines and human habitation in and around their habitats
    • Ingestion of pesticides.
  • Conservation Status:
    • Critically Endangered in IUCN Red List
    • Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972
    • Listed in Appendix I of CITES
  • Conservation Measures
    • Project Great Indian Bustard: It is a Rajasthan government project launched in 2018. It envisages constituting enclosures and securing inviolate areas to ensure successful breeding of birds in the Desert National Park.
    • Bustard Recovery Programme: Initiated by Union Environment Ministry in 2017, it is a programme for Great Indian Bustard, Lesser Florican and Bengal Florican

Additional Information:

National Green Tribunal (NGT)

  • The National Green Tribunal is a statutory body which was established in 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010. T
  • he responsibility of the tribunal is to work on the disposal of cases related to environmental protection, conservation of forests and other natural resources
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