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Daily Current Affairs : 14-Jan-2020

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Why in news?

  • Two Indian Coast Guard Ships (ICGS) — Annie Besant and Amrit Kaur — were commissioned by Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar at Kolkata on 12th January, 2020.


Historical Scenario:

ICGS Annie Besant

  • ICGS Annie Besant was named in honour of Annie Besant, philanthropist, theosophist, prolific author and supporter of the Indian freedom struggle.

  • The ship will be based at Chennai under the operational and administrative control of the Commander, Coast Guard Region (East).

ICGS Amrit Kaur

  • ICGS Amrit Kaur derives the name from Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, who belonged to the ruling family of Kapurthala, Punjab.

  • She took active part in the ‘Salt Satyagraha’ and ‘Quit India Movement’, and served Independent India as its first Health Minister.

  • She worked towards uplift of the less privileged, the progress of women, and was a founder-member of All India Women’s Conference and founder-President of Indian Council for Child Welfare.

  • The ship will be based at Haldia under the operational and administrative control of the Commander, Coast Guard Region (North East).


  • ICGS Annie Besant and ICGS Amrit Kaur are fitted with state-of-the-art technology, navigation and communication equipment, sensors and machinery.

  • The ships are also equipped with Bofors 40/60 guns and 12.7 mm SRCGs (Stabilised Remote Controlled Gun) for enhancing the fighting efficiency of the ship.

  • The ships carry one RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) and a Gemini boat each for swift boarding and search and rescue operations.

  • ICGS Annie Besantis commanded by Commandant (JG) Sunny Deo while ICGS Amrit Kaur is commanded by Commandant (JG) Himanshu Mishra, the release added.

Source: PIB



Part of GS- 1 A&C

Why in news?

  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind has greeted his fellow citizens on the eve of the festivals of Lohri, Makar Sankranti Pongal, Bhogali Bihu, Uttarayan and Poush.


  • Makara Sankranti or Maghi, is a festival day in the Hindu calendar, dedicated to the deity Surya.

  • It is observed each year in January(14).

  • It marks the first day of the sun's transit into Makara (Capricorn), marking the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days.

  • Makar Sankranti is observed according to solar cycles.

  • It is held normally on the 14th of January, or a day before or after.

  • In certain regions celebrations can go on for even four days and vary a lot in the rituals.

New Year Festival across India

  • Makar Sankrant in Maharashtra

  • Makar Sankramana in Karnataka

  • Uttarayan in Gujarat

  • Sukaraat in Madhya Pradesh

  • Khichdi Parwa in parts of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

  • Bhogali Bihu in Assam

  • Lohri in Punjab and Jammu

  • Maghi in Haryana and Himachal

  • Saen-kraat in Kashmir

  • Paush Parbon in Bengal

  • Pongal in Tamil Nadu

Source: PIB



Part of GS- 3 Economy

Why in news?

  • The list, based on data from the United Nations Population Division, appears unusual; this is because the total fertility rate (TFR, the number of children a woman is likely to have in the childbearing age of 15-49) in Kerala is 1.8 as per NITI Aayog data from 2016 — below the replacement rate of 2.1.


  • The Economist put Malappuram at the top of the “Top ten fastest-growing cities” in the world, based on “Total % change, 2015-20 forecast”.

  • Another Kerala city, Thrissur, is No. 13, and the capital Thiruvananthapuram is No. 33 on the UN list. Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu — which has an even lower TFR of 1.6 — is No. 30. Surat in Gujarat (TFR of 2.2) is No. 27.

  • There is no representation on the list from high population growth states like Bihar and UP.

  • Fastest growing refers to population? How is a “city” defined?

  • The UN list refers to “urban agglomerations” (UA), which are extended areas built around an existing town along with its outgrowths — typically villages or other residential areas or universities, ports, etc., on the outskirts of the town.

  • The Census defines a UA as “a continuous urban spread consisting of a town and its adjoining urban outgrowths or two or more physically contiguous towns together”.

  • Thus, the UA of Greater Mumbai includes Greater Mumbai and the municipal corporation areas of Mira-Bhayander, Thane, Navi Mumbai, and Kalyan-Dombivali, plus the municipal council areas of Ulhasnagar, Ambernath and Badlapur.

  • The National Capital Territory of Delhi is a UA that includes the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) areas, as well as 107 “Census towns” — erstwhile surrounding villages where more than 75% of the population is now engaged in non-agricultural pursuits.

Source: Indian Express



Part of GS- 1 Social Issue

Why in news?

  • According to data from the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK), of the 926 deaths inside sewers in the country, from 1993 till December 31, 2019, families of 172 victims were yet to receive compensation.


  • Tamil Nadu, which had the highest number of such deaths, had paid compensation in all but seven of the 234 cases. Gujarat was yet to pay or confirm payment in 48 of the 162 sewer deaths recorded in the State, and in 31 of those cases, the legal heir could not be traced, the data showed.

  • According to the NCSK, a total of 53,598 people, of which 29,923 were in Uttar Pradesh alone had been identified as engaged in manual scavenging after surveys in 2013 and 2018.

  • One-time cash assistance had been disbursed in 35,397 cases, with Uttar Pradesh accounting for 19,385 such people.

  • Capital subsidy and skill development training had been provided to 1,007 and 7,383 of the identified manual scavengers, respectively, the data showed.

  • Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013

  • The Act prohibits the employment of manual scavengers, the manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks without protective equipment, and the construction of insanitary latrines.

  • The District Magistrate and the local authority shall be the implementing authorities.

  • Offences under the Act shall be cognizable and non-bailable, and may be tried summarily.

  • It seeks to rehabilitate manual scavengers and provide for their alternative employment.

  • Each local authority, cantonment board and railway authority is responsible for surveying insanitary latrines within its jurisdiction.

  • They shall also construct a number of sanitary community latrines.

  • Each occupier of insanitary latrines shall be responsible for converting or demolishing the latrine at his own cost.

  • If he fails to do so, the local authority shall convert the latrine and recover the cost from him.

About NCSK:

  • The NCSK was established in the year 1993 as per the provisions of the NCSK Act 1993 initially for the period upto 1997.

  • The NCSK is a statutory body that looks into matters concerning the Safai Karamcharis' welfare and makes recommendations to the government.

  • For the first time, NCSK was constituted as a statutory body under the NCSK ACT, 1993. This commission continued till February 2004, when the relevant Act expired.

  • The NCSK Act ceased to have effect from 2004.

  • After that the tenure of the NCSK has been extended as a non-statutory body from time to time. The tenure of the present Commission is upto 31.3.2019.

Source: The Hindu



Part of GS- 3 Economy

Why in news?

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has chalked out an ambitious strategy for financial inclusion till 2024.


  • It aims to strengthen the ecosystem for various modes of digital financial services in all Tier-II to Tier VI centres to create the necessary infrastructure to move towards a less-cash society by March 2022.

  • While charting out a National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) for the period 2019-2024, RBI said, “Financial inclusion is increasingly being recognised as a key driver of economic growth and poverty alleviation the world over.”

  • Aim of providing basic of financial services, a target has been set that every willing and eligible adult, who has been enrolled under the Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yogana, be enrolled under an insurance scheme and a pension scheme by March 2020.

  • One of the objectives of the strategy includes increasing outreach of banking outlets of to provide banking access to every village within a 5-km radius or a hamlet of 500 households in hilly areas by March 2020.

  • RBI said that the aim was also to see that every adult had access to a financial service provider through a mobile device by March 2024.

  • The plan is also to make the Public Credit Registry (PCR) fully operational by March 2022 so that authorised financial entities could leverage the same for assessing credit proposals from all citizens.

National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI): 2019-2024

  • Financial inclusion is increasingly being recognised as a key driver of economic growth and poverty alleviation world over.

  • Access to formal finance can boost job creation, reduce vulnerability to economic shocks and increase investments in human capital. Seven of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of 2030 view financial inclusion as a key enabler for achieving sustainable development worldwide.

  • To achieve the above objectives in a coordinated and time-bound manner, preparation of a National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) is essential.

  • Globally, the adoption of National Financial Inclusion Strategies (NFIS) have accelerated significantly in the past decade. Keeping in view the global trend, Reserve Bank of India under the aegis of Financial Inclusion Advisory Committee (FIAC) initiated the process of formulation of National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) for the period 2019-2024. Wide ranging discussions were held with all stakeholders.

  • Based on the inputs/feedback received, NSFI has been finalised and approved by the Financial Stability Development Council (FSDC). The document was formally released by Shri M K Jain, Deputy Governor, RBI at the High Level Meeting on Financial Inclusion for the North East region convened at Agartala on January 10, 2020.

  • The NSFI sets forth the vision and key objectives of the Financial Inclusion policies in India to expand the reach and sustain the efforts through a broad convergence of action involving all the stakeholders in the financial sector.

Source: The Hindu



Part of GS- 1 Social Issues

Why in news?

  • India is among the few countries in the world where, in 2018, the mortality under-5 years of girls, exceeded that of boys, according to the ‘Levels and Trends in Child Mortality’ report by the United Nations (UN) inter-agency group for child mortality.


  • The global report states that in 2018 fewer countries showed gender disparities in child mortality, and across the world, on average, boys are expected to have a higher probability of dying before reaching age-5 than girls. But this trend was not reflected in India.

  • In some countries, the risk of dying before age 5 for girls is significantly higher than what would be expected based on global patterns. These countries are primarily located in Southern Asia and Western Asia.

  • According to India’s 2017 Sample Registration System (SRS) the States with the highest burden of neonatal mortality are Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, with 32, 33 and 30 neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively. India’s neonatal mortality rate is 23 per 1,000 live births.

  • According to the report, half of all under-5 deaths in 2018 occurred in five countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia. India and Nigeria alone account for about a third.

  • Also States and Union Territories, Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttarakhand showed the largest gender gaps in under-5 mortality.

  • The burden of child mortality is determined both by the mortality rate (the proportion of children who die) and by the estimated population of any given State (total number of annual births).

  • Estimates indicate that the majority of child mortality cases in India are attributable to deaths during the neonatal period.

  • The major causes of neonatal mortality are pre-term birth, intrapartum related events, and neonatal infection. In the post-neonatal period, the major direct causes of death are diarrhoea and pneumonia.

  • Globally, 85% of deaths among children and young adolescents in 2018 occurred in the first five years of life, accounting for 5.3 million deaths, of which 2.5 million (47%) occurred in the first month of life, 1.5 million (29%) at age 1-11 months, and 1.3 million (25%) at age 1-4 years. An additional 0.9 million deaths occurred among children aged 5-14 years.

Source: The Hindu



Part of GS- 2 Polity and Governance

Why in news?

  • In a landmark order, the High Court of Tripura ordered the police to refrain from prosecuting a man who was earlier arrested over a social media post.

  • Chief Justice Akil Kureshi also barred the police from making any further arrest in connection with the case.


  • The Chief Justice of Tripura High Court, passed the order on Friday after lawyers moved his court against the arrest and harassment of a Congress youth activist Arindam Bhattacharjee over his post on a social media platform.

  • Mr. Bhattacharjee had in his Facebook page criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party’s online campaign in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and warned people to not dial a given phone number even by mistake.

  • The Chief Justice in his order broadly remarked that posting on social media was tantamount to a “fundamental right” applicable to all citizens, including government employees.

  • In compliance with the court’s order, the police have now erased Sections 120(B) and 153(A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) from the relevant First Information Report (FIR) to quash the case.

Important Points:

  • Social media in India is regulated by the Information Technology Act, enacted in 2000. Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India, 1950 guarantees “Right to freedom of speech and expression”. This is a fundamental right guaranteed to all citizens of India.

Sections 120(B) and 153(A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)


Punishment of criminal conspiracy:

  • (1) Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable with death, (imprisonment for life) or rigorous imprisonment for a term of two years or upwards, shall, where no express provision is made in this Code for the punishment of such a conspiracy, be punished in the same manner as if he had abetted such offence.

  • (2) Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy other than a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable as aforesaid shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding six months, or with fine or with both.]


  • The purpose of the Section 153 A is to punish persons who indulge in wanton vilification or attacks upon the religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc of any particular group or class or upon the founders and prophets of a religion.

Source: The Hindu



Part of GS- 2 Polity & Governance

Why in news?

  • The Supreme Court held in a judgment that a citizen’s right to own private property is a fundamental right.


  • The State cannot take possession of it without following due procedure and authority of law.

  • The State cannot trespass into the private property of a citizen and then claim ownership of the land in the name of ‘adverse possession.’

  • Grabbing private land and then claiming it as its own makes the State an encroacher.

  • The court was hearing a plea filed by Vidya Devi, a widow, whose four acres of land was taken over by the Himachal Pradesh government in 1967.

  • Ordering the State to pay her ₹1 crore in compensation, the Supreme Court noted that in 1967, ‘right to private property was still a fundamental right’ under Article 31 of the Constitution.

  • Property ceased to be a fundamental right with the 44th Constitution Amendment in 1978.

  • Nevertheless, Article 300A required the State to follow due procedure and authority of law to deprive a person of his or her private property, the Supreme Court reminded the government.

  • In a welfare state, right to property is a human right.

About in loco parentis:

  • The term in loco parentis, Latin for "in the place of a parent"refers to the legal responsibility of a person or organization to take on some of the functions and responsibilities of a parent. Originally derived from English common law, it is applied in two separate areas of the law.

  • One, the term allows educational institutions such as colleges and schools to act in the best interests of the students as they see fit, provided, prohibiting such acts that violates a student’s civil liberties.

  • Two, this doctrine can provide a non-biological parent, the legal rights and responsibilities of a biological parent if they have held themselves out as the parent, without going through the adoption process.

  • A foster parent, a county custodial agency or a boarding school which is assuming the parental obligations for the minor, including protecting his/her rights, may be referred to as being in loco parentis.

Source : The Hindu



Part of GS- 2 IR

Why in news?

  • Oman’s monarch, Sultan Qaboos bin Said died after having ruled the country for nearly five decades. Various news reports suggest that Qaboos had been suffering from colon cancer since 2014.


  • Oman’s Diwan of the Royal Court issued an obituary on Saturday (January 11) announcing a three-day period of mourning. “…the Diwan of Royal Court mourns His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, who passed away on Friday, the 14th of Jumada Al-Ula, the 10th of January 2020, after establishing a comprehensive renaissance over the past 50 years since he assumed power on the 23rd of July 1970,” the statement said.

  • Qaboos, who did not have children will be succeeded by his cousin and Oman’s Minister of Heritage and Culture Sultan Haitham bin Tariq bin Taymur.

  • A fourteenth-generation descendant of the founder of the House of Al Said, he was the longest-serving leader in the Middle East and Arab world at the time of his death.

  • Oman is one of the six countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The other members include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Bahrain.

  • As Sultan, Qaboos implemented a policy of modernization and brought an end to Oman's international isolation.

  • His reign saw a rise in living standards and development in the country, the abolition of slavery, the end of the Dhofar Rebellion and the promulgation of Oman's constitution.

  • In 2004, Government of India honoured him with the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding.

Who was Sultan Qaboos?

  • Qaboos was born on November 18, 1940, in Salalah, which is the capital of Oman’s southern province of Dhofar, where he spent his childhood. At the time the state was known as Oman and Muscat.

  • The statement issued by the Diwan of Royal Court said that it was Qaboos’ “renaissance”, which resulted in a “balanced foreign policy that was saluted with respect by the whole world.”

Important Information

India’s Act East Policy:

  • This policy was originally developed as an economic initiative. It has now got strategic, political as well as cultural dimensions to it. It also envisages the setting up of institutional mechanisms for cooperation and dialogue.

  • This policy has given importance to India-ASEAN cooperation in the country’s domestic agenda on manufacture, infrastructure, skills, trade, smart cities, urban renewal, and other initiatives like the Make in India.

  • India has improved its relations to that of strategic partnership with Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore and Australia; and also with the ASEAN.

  • India has also created close relations with all nations in the Asia-Pacific region.

  • Other than the ASEAN, the ARF (ASEAN Regional Forum) and the East Asia Summit (EAS), India has also been involved with other regional forums like the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Mekong Ganga Cooperation, Asia Cooperation Dialogue and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

Look West Policy:

  • Foreign policy is an important part of the international relations segment of the UPSC syllabus. In this article, you can read about India’s Look West Policy, which has significantly changed the way in which India deals with the West Asian countries.

  • After successfully implementing a “Look East” policy to promote trade and investment with its Asian neighbors, India has adopted a similar policy toward West Asia.

  • The Gulf region has become a major economic partner, is a home to over 4 million Indians and a major source of oil and gas.

  • This has resulted in increased interaction, enhanced trade and economic relations and launch of negotiations towards FTA with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

  • The Government is keen to cooperate with the Gulf countries in the promotion of peace and stability in the region.

  • It has appointed a Special Envoy for the Gulf and West Asia.

Source: Indian Express

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