9 PM Current Affairs Brief – December 24th, 2019

South India has higher prevalence of mental disorders: study

News:India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative has released the first report on disease burden attributable to mental health from 1990.


Key Highlights of the report:

  • The study finds that roughly one in seven Indians or 197 million people suffered from mental disorders of varying severity in 2017.Among these,depression and anxiety disorders are the commonest mental disorders in India.
  • The contribution of mental disorders to the total disease burden in India in terms of disability adjusted life years (DALYs) increased from 2.5% in 1990 to 4.7% in 2017.One DALY is at least one lost year of ‘healthy’ life.
  • The prevalence of mental disorders is increasing and is relatively higher in the southern states and in females.
  • The Southern states namely Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh accounted for a higher prevalence of mental disorders.

State wise Scenario:

  • In its State-wise analysis,the study divides different States into three categories on the basis of their socio-demographic index(SDI) namely low, medium and high SDI States.
  • The SDI is a composite measure of per-capita income, mean education, and fertility rate in women younger than 25 years and is calculated on a scale of one.
  • The prevalence of depressive disorders was highest in Tamil Nadu (loss of 836 years per 1 lakh population ) in the high SDI State group and Andhra Pradesh (loss of 793 years) in the middle SDI State group.
  • Anxiety disorders were found to be more common in Kerala (loss of 383 years per 1 lakh population) in the high SDI State group and Andhra Pradesh (loss of 328 years) in the middle SDI State group.

Additional information:

About Mental Healthcare Act,2017:

  • The Mental Health Care Act,2017 seeks to ensure the rights of the person with mental illness to receive care and to live a life with dignity.
  • The act says that every person shall have a right to access mental health care and treatment from mental health services run or funded by the appropriate government.It also assures free treatment to those who are homeless or below the poverty line
  • The Act empowers people with mental illness to make an advance directive that states how he/she wants to be treated for the illness and who his/her nominated representative shall be.
  • It envisages the establishment of Central Mental Health Authority and State Mental Health Authority.
  • Further,the Act says that mentally ill person shall not be subjected to electro-convulsive therapy without the use of muscle relaxants and anaesthesia.Further, electroconvulsive therapy cannot be used on minors.
  • The act also decriminalizes Section 309 for suicide.It states that whoever attempts suicide will be presumed to be under severe stress and shall not be punished for it.

First tripartite Memorandum of Agreement(MoA) signed under Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Fund(FIDF)

News:The first tripartite Memorandum of Agreement has been signed between the department of Fisheries Government of India, NARBARD and the Government of Tamil Nadu for the implementation of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Fund(FIDF).


About Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Fund(FIDF):

  • The Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF) has been formed in 2018.
  • The main aim of the fund is to boost fish production to achieve the target of producing 15 million tonnes of fish production by 2020 and 20 million tonnes by 2022-23 from current production of 11.4 million tonnes.
  • The fund provides concessional finance to the eligible entities, cooperatives, individuals and entrepreneurs for development of identified fisheries infrastructure.
  • The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development(NABARD), National Cooperative Development Corporation(NCDC) and all scheduled banks are Nodal Loaning entities(NLEs) to provide concessional finance under the FIDF.

Features of the fund:

  • Creation of fisheries infrastructure facilities both in marine and Inland fisheries sectors.
  • To augment fish production to achieve its target of 15 million tonne by 2020 set under the Blue Revolution; and to achieve a sustainable growth of 8% -9% thereafter to reach the fish production to the level of about 20 MMT by 2022-23.
  • Employment opportunities to over 9.40 lakh fishers/fishermen/fisherfolk and other entrepreneurs in fishing and allied activities.
  • To attract private investment in creation and management of fisheries infrastructure facilities.
  • Adoption of new technologies.

Additional information:

About NCDC:

  • National Cooperative Development Corporation(NCDC) was established by an Act of Parliament in 1963 as a statutory Corporation under Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.
  • It has many regional centres to provide financial assistance to Cooperatives or Societies or Federations.

Russia hopeful of India’s free trade pact with EAEU

News:Russia is hopeful of India concluding a new Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union(EAEU).


About Eurasian Economic Union(EAEU):

  • The Eurasian Economic Union is an international organization for regional economic integration.
  • It was established in 2015 by the Treaty of the Eurasian Economic Union.
  • The EAEU provides for free movement of goods, services, capital and labor, pursues coordinated, harmonized and single policy in the sectors determined by the Treaty and international agreements within the Union.
  • The Member-States of the Eurasian Economic Union are the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and the Russian Federation.
  • The Union is being created to comprehensively upgrade, raise the competitiveness of and cooperation between the national economies, and to promote stable development in order to raise the living standards of the nations of the Member-States.

Bodies under EAEU:

  • Supreme Council is the Union’s supreme authority. The Heads of the Member-States form the Supreme Council.
  • Intergovernmental Council is a Union’s body consisting of the Heads of the Member-States Governments.
  • Eurasian Economic Commission is a permanent supranational regulatory body of the Union. The core tasks of the Commission are fostering the conditions to support the operation and development of the Union, and drafting proposals in the field of economic integration within the Union.
  • Court of the Eurasian Economic Union is the court of justice of the Eurasian Economic Union, which ensures the uniform application of the EAEU Treaty and other Union treaties by the Union Member-States and bodies.

First Annual Meet of State Nodal Agencies for Ecoclub programme conducted

News:Ministry of Environment,Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has organized an annual meeting of state nodal agencies for implementing the National Green Corps ‘Eco Club’ programme for the first time.


About National Green Corps:

  • National Green Corps is a programme started in 2001-02 by the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change.
  • The programme aims to provide opportunities for children to understand the environment and environmental problems through school eco-clubs.
  • The programme is a sub part of Environment Education Awareness and Training (EEAT) which is a central sector scheme of the Ministry of the Environment continuing since 1983-84.

Objectives of the programme:

  • To impart knowledge to school children through hands-on experience, about their immediate environment, interactions within it and the problems therein.
  • To develop requisite skills of observation, experimentation, survey, recording, analysis and reasoning for conserving the environment through various activities.
  • To inculcate the proper attitude towards the environment and its conservation through community interactions.
  • To sensitize children to issues related to environment and development through field visits and demonstrations.
  • To promote logical and independent thinking among children so that they are able to make the right choices in a spirit of scientific inquiry.
  • To motivate and stimulate young minds by involving them in action projects related to environmental conservation.


  • The scheme is being operated through Eco-clubs of 50-60 students having an interest in environment related issues, formed in member schools.
  • Eco clubs are supervised by a Teacher In-charge who is selected from among the teachers of the member schools on the basis of his/her interest in environment related issues.
  • There is District Implementation and Monitoring Committee to supervise, organise training for In-charge teachers and monitor periodically the implementation of scheme at the District level.
  • There is a State Steering Committee for guidance, direction and to oversee the implementation of the scheme.
  • The State Nodal Agency coordinates the implementation of the scheme in the State and organize related activities like training to Master Trainers.
  • The National Steering Committee will give overall direction to the programme and ensure linkages at all levels.

Ministry of Road Transport amends MV Rules Mandating Adherence to AIS-155

News:Union Ministry of Road Transport has issued rules regarding Automotive Industry Standards(AIS)-155 in respect of Microdot identifiers to be affixed on the motor vehicles and their parts.


About the rules:

  • The rules amends the Rule 92 of the Central Motor vehicles (Fourteenth Amendment) Rules 1989.
  • It says that the Manufacturers who are affixing microdot identifiers in the motor vehicles and their parts shall conform to Automotive Industry Standards(AIS)-155 as amended from time to time.
  • The AIS standards are developed by the Automotive Industry Standards Committee(AISC) set up under Central Motor Vehicles Rules – Technical Standing Committee(CMVR-TSC) by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways.

About Microdot Technology:

  • Microdots are a globally proven technology to ensure originality in spare parts of machines and components including in the automobile sector.
  • The microdot technology involves spraying thousands of microscopic dots onto vehicles or other assets to form a unique identification.
  • Each microdot carries this identification which is registered to the owner, but is not visible to the naked eye.

Significance of this technology:

  • Every year,14 lakh vehicles are stolen across the country with Delhi topping the list at 38,644 in 2016 which translates to over 100 vehicles daily.
  • Hence,the government has envisaged that with microdots becoming a permanent feature in vehicles, identifying them would become easier in case they are stolen.
  • The move will ensure that consumers have a way of identifying original parts from fake ones and that contributes to overall safety as well.

Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile successfully flight-tested off Odisha coast

News:Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) system has been successfully flight-tested from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur off the Odisha coast.


About QRSAM:

  • Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) system has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • The missile is equipped with indigenously developed phased array radar, inertial navigation system, data link and radio frequency seeker.
  • The missile uses uses solid-fuel propellant and has a range of around 25-30 km.
  • The missile is an all weather weapon that is capable of tracking firing with precision.It is also capable of engaging in multiple targets.

Significance of the missile:

  • India is placed at a geographical location where it has hostile neighbours such as Pakistan and China.
  • Hence,it was important to develop another missile system rather than relying on a single Air defence system like Akash.

Additional information:

About Akash missile:

  • The Akash is a medium range Surface-to-air missile with multi-target engagement capability.The missile has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • The missile has a strike range of 25 km.It can reach an altitude of 18 km and can be fired from both tracked and wheeled platforms.
  • The missile is capable of neutralizing advanced aerial targets and in striking down enemy fighter jets and drones effectively.

Eight West African nations rename common currency to Eco

News:Recently, eight West African nations have agreed to change the name of their common currency from ‘CFA franc’ to ‘Eco’.


Which are the countries that uses CFA Franc?

  • CFA Franc is the name of two currencies- ‘the West African CFA franc’, which is used in 8 West African countries and ‘Central African CFA franc’, which is used in 6 Central African countries.
  • Both currencies are guaranteed by French treasury and was created in 1945.
  • However,the currency is seen by many as a sign of French interference in its former African colonies even after countries became independent.

What was the decision?

  • The eight West African namely Ivory Coast, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Guinea-Bissau have agreed to change the name of their common currency from ‘CFA franc’ to ‘Eco’.
  • All these countries except Guinea-Bissau are the former French colonies.
  • This decision was taken after Economic Community of West African States(ECOWAS) had urged members to push on with efforts to establish a common currency to be launched in 2020.
  • Further,the countries have also decided that Eco will remain pegged to the euro but the African countries in the bloc won’t have to keep 50% of their reserves in the French Treasury and there will no longer be a French representative on the currency union’s board.

Additional information:


  • Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was established in 1975 by the Treaty of Lagos.It is considered as one of the pillars of the African Economic Community,
  • It is a 15-member regional group with a mandate of promoting economic integration in all fields of activity of the constituting countries.
  • The member countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’ Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo
  • It was set up to foster the ideal of collective self-sufficiency for its member states.As a trading union,it is also meant to create a single, large trading bloc through economic cooperation.

OIC voices ‘concern’, flags impact of CAA

News:The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation(OIC) has voiced concern over the Citizenship Amendment Act and the verdict in the Ayodhya case.


About Citizenship amendment Act,2019:

  • The Act amends the Citizenship Act,1955 to make illegal migrants who belong to certain religious minorities (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians) from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.
  • It also reduces the requirement of 11 years of continuous stay in the country to six years to obtain citizenship by naturalization for these communities belonging to these 3 nations.
  • It also provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India(OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.

What are the objections raised by OIC?

  • The OIC has urged the Indian government to ensure the safety of the Muslim minority and the protection of their religious sites.
  • It also cautioned that any action, contrary to these principles and obligations, may lead to further tensions and may have serious implications on peace and security across the region.

About OIC:

  • OIC is an international organization which was established in 1969 upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco
  • The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world.It endeavors to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.
  • It is the second largest intergovernmental organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states.Of these,47 are Muslim Majority countries.
  • It is headquartered at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.The OIC also has the permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union.
  • The observer states of OIC are Bosnia and Herzegovina, Central African Republic, the Kingdom of Thailand, Russian Federation and Turkish Cypriot State.
  • India is not a member of the OIC. However,India was invited as a guest of honour at 46th Session of the Council of Foreign Minister in 2019.
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