9 PM Current Affairs Brief – December 18th, 2019

Govt. aims to provide broadband access to all villages by 2022

News: Ministry of Communications launched National Broadband Mission (NBM).


Aim: fast track growth of digital communications infrastructure and bridge the digital divide


  • Broadband access to all villages by 2022
  • Facilitate universal and equitable access to broadband services
  • Lay incremental 30 lakhs route km of Optical Fibre Cable by 2024
  • increase in tower density from 0.42 to 1.0 tower per thousand of population by 2024
  • Develop a Broadband Readiness Index (BRI):  It will measure the availability of digital communications infrastructure and conducive policy ecosystem within a State/UT.
  • Investment from stakeholders of Rs 7 Lakh Crore including Rs 70,000 crore from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)

Additional Information:

Bharat Net:

  • BharatNet project (previously known as National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN)) seeks to provide affordable high speed broadband connectivity to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats across India.
  • It is funded by Universal service Obligation Fund (USOF). The nodal ministry for the project is Ministry of Communication.

International Migrants Day

News: International Migrants Day is celebrated every year on 18thDecember.


  • Background: 18th December marks the day when UNGA, in 1990, adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
  • Chief Organization: The day is celebrated through the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
  • 2019 Theme: “We Together.”

Additional Information:

  1. International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families: It is a multilateral treaty on protection of migrant workers’ rights. India has not signed the treaty.
  2. International Organization for Migration (IOM): Established in 1951it is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration management. It is headquartered in Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland.  In 2016, it became a related organization of the United Nations.

Star named after Indian scientist, exoplanet gets a Sanskrit name

News: International Astronomical Union (IAU) has given, a star and its exoplanet, Indian names


  • A yellow-white dwarf star in the constellation Sextans, has been named Bibha. It means “a light beam” and refers to Bibha Chowdhuri, a pioneering Indian scientist.
  • Bibha’s exoplanet has been named Santamasa, which in Sanskrit means “clouded”

International Astronomical Union:   It is an international association of professional astronomers.  It was founded in 1919. It is headquartered in Paris, France.

Exoplanet: Planets that orbit around stars outside our solar system.

Additional Information:

  • In October 2091, IAU named a minor planet after Indian musician Pandit Jasraj. He is an exponent of Indian classical vocal music belonging to the Mewati gharana. He has created a novel form of jugalbandi called Jasrangi.

Successful launch of two BrahMos missiles from land and air platforms

News: Two BrahMos missile tests, one each from land and air platforms, were successfully conducted from Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur, Odisha.


About BrahMos Missiles:

  • The BrahMos is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile capable of being launched from submarines, warships, fighter jets or land
  • It has a strike range of nearly 300 kilometres.
  • It is developed by BrahMos Aerospace Pvt. Ltd. (BAPL), New Delhi.

Additional Information:

BrahMos Aerospace Pvt. Ltd. (BAPL)

  • It is a joint venture company between the Russian Federation’s NPO Mashinostroeyenia and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
  • It is named after Brahmaputra and Moscow rivers.
  • It is responsible for designing, developing, producing and marketing BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.

Annular Eclipse of the Sun on 26th December

News: An annular solar eclipse will be visible in India along with several other countries on December 26, 2019.


  • Solar eclipse: It occurs on a new moon day when the Moon comes in between the Earth and the Sun and when all the three objects are aligned in syzygy. The shadow cast by the Moon on Earth blocks the sunlight fully or partially.
  • Annular Solar Eclipse: It occurs when the angular diameter of the Moon falls short of that of the Sun. The moon covers the Sun’s centre, leaving the Sun’s visible outer edges to form a “ring of fire” or annulus around the moon.

Additional Information:

Other Types of Solar Eclipse:

  1. Partial: It happens when the Moon only partially covers the disk of the Sun.
  2. Total: It happens when Sun’s disk is completely obscured by the Moon.
  3. Hybrid: It changes from an annular to a total solar eclipse, and vice versa, along its path.

No State-wise minority classification, says Supreme Court

News: Supreme Court dismissed a petition to recognise Hindus as minorities in the States where they are low in population.


Minority Status in India:

  • Constitution of India doesn’t define minority but puts forward safeguards for minority communities in India. It recognises linguistic and cultural minorities.
  • Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 defines a minority as “a community notified as such by the Central government”.
  • Six religious communities, viz; Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains have been notified in Gazette of India as minority communities in India by the Union Government.

Constitutional safeguards:

  • Article 29: Protection of interests of minorities
  • Article 30: Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions

Important SC Judgement:

Bal Patil & Anr vs. Union of India & Ors, 2005:SC observed that linguistic minorities are to be identified on the basis of their population within a particular state of India. However, recognizing religious minority status on the basis of their population at the state level would be against the integrity and secular fabric of India.

Additional Information:

National Commission for Minorities:

  • NCM is statutory body set up under National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992. It works under the Ministry of Minority Affairs
  • Its mandate is to evaluate progress of development of minority communities and safeguard their rights and interests.
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