9 PM Current Affairs Brief – September 9th, 2019

Genomic grid for India-specific cancer research

News:Government has planned to set up a National Genomic Grid to study genomic data of cancer patients from India.


About Genomic Grid:

  • The National Genomic Grid will be formed in line with the National Cancer Tissue Biobank (NCTB).
  • The grid will have four parts corresponding to eastern, western, northern and southern parts of India.

Objective of the Grid:

  • The grid will collect samples from cancer patients to study genomic factors influencing cancer and identifying the right treatment modalities for the Indian population.
  • The grid will also aims to make cancer treatment viable for people of different economic classes.

Additional information:

National Cancer Tissue Biobank (NCTB):

  • National Cancer Tissue Biobank(NCTB) is a state-of-the-art non-profit community based tissue biobank.
  • It is a joint initiative of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India and Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM), Chennai.
  • It is the first of its kind facility in India and is aimed at providing researchers with high quality of cancer tissues and the patient data in order to facilitate cancer research that will lead to improvements in cancer diagnosis and treatment. 

S-400 systems will be delivered to India within 18-19 months: Russia

News:Russian has said that S-400 air defence missile systems will be delivered to India in strict accordance with the schedule.


About S-400 

  • India had signed a $5 billion deal with Russia for the purchase of five S-400 systems during the 19th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit in 2018.
  • S-400 Triumf Missile System is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system (SAM).It has an operational range of over 400 km.
  • The S-400 Trimuf can engage all types of aerial targets such as aircraft, ballistic and cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
  • It can track 100 airborne targets including super fighters such as the American built F-35 and engage six of them simultaneously.

Additional information:

US on S-400 Deal

  • Earlier,the United States had threatened India that it might exercise sanctions on India under Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act(CAATSA) act for trading with Russia.

Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act(CAATSA)

  • The Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) is a United States federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
  • It includes sanctions against countries that engage in significant transactions with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors.

Trump calls peace talks with Taliban over Kabul attack

News:US President has called off the peace negotiations with the Taliban that sought to end America’s 18-year war in Afghanistan.


About US-Taliban talks:

  • U.S. and Taliban negotiators had struck a draft peace deal which could have led to a withdrawal  of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
  • However, an increase in Taliban violence has led to the US withdrawing from the talks.
  • Under a draft deal,the two sides had agreed over a potential agreement which had focussed on four key issues.
  • The four key issues are (a)Taliban guarantee that it will not allow foreign armed groups and fighters to use Afghanistan as a launchpad to conduct attacks outside the country (b)the complete withdrawal of US and NATO forces (c)an intra-Afghan dialogue and (d)permanent ceasefire.

Consequences of the withdrawal:

  • There are fears that a civil war can again emerge due to differences between ethnic Pasthuns and Tajiks.This ethnic differences was the foundation for civil war and unrest in Afghanistan in the 1990’s. 
  • The unrest in Afghanistan will also unsettle India’s trade and investment plans as India-developed infrastructure will face a threat from Taliban.

India, Thailand, Singapore’s trilateral naval drill this month

News:India, Thailand and Singapore will conduct their first-ever trilateral naval exercise in the Andaman Sea between 16th-20th September,2019.


About the Naval exercise:

  • The trilateral exercise is aimed at ensuring free and unhindered shipping flow through the Malacca Straits.
  • The exercise would involve Indian destroyer Ranvir along with a Singapore frigate and Thai multi-purpose warship.
  • Further,India is hopeful that Malaysia and Indonesia will join the exercise to ensure that sea lanes connecting the Indian Ocean with the Pacific are protected from any unilateral aggressive move.

Additional information:

About strait

  • A strait is a naturally formed, narrow, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger, navigable bodies of water.
  • It most commonly refers to a channel of water that lies between two land masses.
  • But it may also refer to a navigable channel through a body of water that is otherwise not navigable, for example because it is too shallow or because it contains an unnavigable reef or archipelago.

Malacca strait:

  • Malacca strait is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world.
  • It is the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

Economic census to be held every three years

News:Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) has said that the economic census will now be conducted every three years.


About Economic Census:

  • Economic Census is a complete count of all economic establishments located within the geographical boundary of the country.It provides disaggregated information on various operational and structural variables of all establishments of the country.
  • The Census also provides valuable insight into geographical spread and clusters of economic activities, ownership pattern, persons engaged in all economic establishments of the country.
  • There are total Six Economic Censuses(EC) been conducted till date. The first Economic Census was first undertaken in 1977.

7th Economic Census:

  • The Seventh Economic Census (7th EC) is being conducted by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) in 2019.
  • The MoSPI has partnered with Common Service Centres e-Governance Services India Limited,Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology(MeitY) as the implementing agency for 7th Economic Census.
  • The data will be collected through door to door survey of each household and commercial establishments under the provisions of Collection of Statistics Act 2008.

Additional information:

Common Services Centre (CSC):

  • Common Services Centre (CSC) programme is an initiative of the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY).It was launched in 2006.
  • CSCs are the access points for delivery of various electronic services to villages in India, thereby contributing to a digitally and financially inclusive society.
  • CSCs acts as a strategic cornerstone of the Digital India programme. They enable the three vision areas of the Digital India programme namely (a)Digital infrastructure as Utility to Every Citizen (b)Governance and services on demand and (c)Digital empowerment of citizens.

Amid acute poverty, M.P.’s Saharia children battle malnutrition

News: Saharias,a particularly vulnerable tribal group has been facing acute malnutrition due to crushing poverty, delayed breastfeeding, premature pregnancies and seasonal migrations.


About Saharias:

  • Sahariya tribe comes under particularly vulnerable tribal group(PVTGs)
  • The Saharias are mainly found in many districts of Madhya Pradesh and Baran district of Rajasthan.
  • Due to the fact that it is the most backward tribe of Madhya Pradesh the government has declared this tribe as special backward tribe.

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group(PVTG)

  • The PVTGs are the marginalized section of the Scheduled tribes of India. 
  • They are a section who are relatively isolated, educationally and socio-economically backward living in a habitat far away from amenities.
  • PVTG is not a Constitutional category nor are these constitutionally recognized communities.
  • It is a government of India classification created with the purpose of enabling improvement in the conditions of certain communities with particularly low development
  • The criteria followed for determination of PVTGs are (a)pre-agriculture level of technology (b)stagnant or declining population (c) Extremely low literacy and d)subsistence level of economy.
  • Among the 75 listed PVTG’s the highest number are found in Odisha (13), followed by Andhra Pradesh (12) and among others.

Scheme of development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group(PVTG)

  • The Ministry of Tribal Affairs implements the Scheme Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups(PVTGs).
  • The scheme was first started in 1998-199 for exclusive development of PVTGs and later revised in 2015.
  • The scheme aims at planning their socio-economic development in a comprehensive manner while retaining the culture and heritage of the community by adopting habitat development approach.
  • The scheme mandates all the 18 State Governments and the Union Territory of A&N Island shall prepare a long term “Conservation cum development(CCD) Plan” for each PVTG of their State based on baseline survey.
  • The plan is then appraised and approved by the Project Appraisal Committee of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

Chinese trawlers in southern Indian Ocean worry India

News:According to a report,there has been a huge increase in Chinese deep-sea fishing trawlers in the southern Indian Ocean.


  • In the last four years,on an average at least 500 Chinese trawlers were present in the region and around 32000 incidents were recorded per year.
  • However,the trawlers were not in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) but beyond.
  • There were 1,100 occurrences near Somalia and 1,500 occurrences near the Coast of Oman. 
  • The incidents were recorded with the help of Automatic Identification System(AIS).
  • This has raised concerns for the Indian government and the security establishment.

Additional information:

Exclusive Economic Zones

  • Exclusive Economic Zones refers to the area from the edge of the territorial sea out to 200 nautical miles from the baseline.In this area,the country has sole exploitation rights over all natural resources.
  • The most important reason to introduce EEZ was to halt the clashes over the Fishing Rights and Oil Rights.
  • In the EEZ, the foreign vessels have freedom of navigation and overflight subject to the regulation of the coastal states.Foreign states are allowed to lay submarine pipes and cables.

Automatic Identification System (AIS):

  • The automatic identification system (AIS) is an automatic tracking system that uses transponders on ships and is used by vessel traffic services(VTS). 
  • AIS information supplements marine radar, which continues to be the primary method of collision avoidance for water transport.
  • The AIS information comprises name, MMSI number, position, course, speed, last port visited, destination and so on. 
  • This information can be picked up through various AIS sensors including coastal AIS chains and satellite based receivers.
  • In India, there has been a national effort to install AIS systems on ships under 20m for which a pilot study has been carried out. 
  • AIS works through satellite and the ISRO has already delivered 1000 transponders for trails in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
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