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Daily Current Affairs : 15-Jan-2020

Major Topics Covered :











Part of GS- Health

Why in news?

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare published a national policy for treatment of rare diseases, listing 450 diseases as rare but not providing a detailed roadmap on treatment.


• The policy also intends to kick-start a registry of rare diseases that Indian Council of Medical Research will maintain.

• In India, Haemophilia, Thalassemia, Sickle cell anaemia and Primary Immuno Deficiency in children, auto-immune diseases, Lysosomal storage disorders such as Pompe disease and Gaucher’s disease are in the rare diseases list.

• The latest policy creates three categories of rare diseases — diseases requiring one-time curative treatment, diseases which need long-term treatment but the cost is low, and diseases that require life-long treatment and the cost is high.

• The policy states that the Centre will provide assistance of Rs 15 lakh to patients suffering from rare diseases that require one-time curative treatment under the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi scheme.

• The treatment is limited to beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.

• Some diseases in this category are osteopetrosis, immune deficiency disorders and Lysosomal Storage Disorders.

• According to Health Ministry, about 95 per cent rare diseases have no approved treatment. “Less than one in 10 patients receives disease-specific treatment,” the policy states.

• The Centre first prepared such a policy in 2017, but appointed a committee in 2018 to review it.

• The policy has recommended that state governments support patients belonging to the second category of diseases that include Phenylketonuria and Galactosemia, among others.

• It also recommends crowd funding as a source to fund treatment of rare diseases and advises hospitals to report such cases on digital platforms to gather funds.

• “The policy is at least beginning of a discussion on rare diseases in the country. But last time they announced a Rs 100-crore corpus fund, now there is no budget. There is no clarity of Centre and State responsibilities and on category III patients,” said Prassana Shirol, founder of Organisation for Rare diseases India.




Part of GS- 2 IR

Why in news?

  • The World Future Energy Summit will begin on 13th January in Abu Dhabi. 33,500 participants from 170 countries and 800 specialist exhibitors are expected to attend the four-day annual event.


• The theme for this year's summit is "Rethinking Global Consumption, Production, and Investment." World Future Energy Summit is the Middle East’s largest future energy and sustainability event.

• The event is starting to set an example for best practice, supporting the circular economy through recycling, and acting to remove single-use plastics from the event.

• Also held alongside the World Future Energy Summit are the Climate Innovations Exchange, ‘CLIX’ for short and the Future Sustainability Summit.

• The 2020 edition includes exhibition and forum programmes across five main pillars: energy, solar, water, waste and smart cities, hosting an unrivalled gathering of top-level government and business leaders.

• The event will showcase 42 of the world’s most disruptive innovations, selected from 1,402 global submissions from 128 countries, related to the future of energy, food, agriculture and sustainability in space.

World future energy summit:

• The World Future Energy Summit (WFES) is an annual event, dedicated to advancing future energy, energy efficiency and clean technologies.

• Held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, WFES includes a summit, an exhibition, the Project Village, Round Table Discussions, the Young Future Energy Leaders program, corporate meetings and social events.

Source: The Hindu



Part of GS- 1 A&C

Why in news?

On 11th-13 Jan, the 93rd edition of the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, a resolution was passed demanding the declaration of Marathi as a ‘Classical’ language, Loksatta reported. In many of its conventions in the past, the body has made this demand.


• The Sammelan, an annual conference of Marathi writers, was started in 1878, and over the years has been headed by leading Marathi intellectuals, including Justice Mahadev Govind Ranade, Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III of Baroda, and Prahlad Keshav “Acharya” Atre.

• This year’s conference was presided over by litterateur, environmentalist, and Catholic priest Francis D’Britto, the first Christian to do so in history. How Classical Language Declared?

1. According to information provided by the Ministry of Culture in the Rajya Sabha in February

2014, the guidelines for declaring a language as ‘Classical’ are: 2. High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years; 3. A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of

speakers; 4. The literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community; 5. The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a

discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.

What are ‘Classical’ languages in India, and how are they classified?

➢ Currently, six languages enjoy the ‘Classical’ status: ➢ Tamil (declared in 2004), ➢ Sanskrit (2005), ➢ Kannada (2008), ➢ Telugu (2008), ➢ Malayalam (2013), and ➢ Odia (2014).

How are the Classical languages promoted? The Human Resource and Development Ministry in its reply to a starred question in the Lok Sabha in July 2014 noted the benefits it provides once a language is notified as a Classical language:

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Two major annual international awards for scholars of eminence in classical Indian languages

A Centre of Excellence for studies in Classical Languages is set up

The University Grants Commission is requested to create, to start with at least in the Central Universities, a certain number of Professional Chairs for the Classical Languages so declared.”

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In a 2019 Lok Sabha reply, the Ministry of Culture listed the institutions that have been dedicated to Classical languages.

Sanskrit: Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi; Maharishi Sandipani Rashtriya Ved Vidya Pratishthan, Ujjain; Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, Tirupati; and Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, New Delhi

Telugu and Kannada: Centres of Excellence for Studies in the respective languages at the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) established by the HRD Ministry in 2011.

Tamil: Central Institute of Classical Tamil (CICT), Chennai

Source: Indian Express



Part of GS- 2 IR

Why in news?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that Raisina Dialogue has emerged as a vibrant forum for discussing important global and strategic issues over the years.


• The theme this year is ‘Navigating the alpha century’.

• Speaking at the event, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, Indian foreign policy seeks to achieve a focus on key challenges, a broad engagement with many parties and managing, if not leveraging, global contradictions.

• He said, advancing the interests in a multi-polar world and contributing to global good is what it is all about.

The three-day conference will see the participation of 12 Foreign Ministers, including from Russia, Iran, Australia, Maldives, South Africa, Denmark, Uzbekistan and the EU. ABOUT RAISINA DIALOGUE:

The Raisina Dialogue is a multilateral conference committed to addressing the most challenging issues facing the global community.

• Every year, global leaders in policy, business, media and civil society are hosted in New Delhi to discuss cooperation on a wide range of pertinent international policy matters.

• The Dialogue is structured as a multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral discussion, involving heads of state, cabinet ministers and local government officials, as well as major private sector executives, members of the media and academics.

• The fifth edition of conference is hosted by the Observer Research Foundation in collaboration with the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs

Source: PIB



Part of GS- 1 Geography

Why in news?

In the Philippines, a volcano called Taal on the island of Luzon, 50 km from Manila, erupted on Sunday (January 12), spewing lava on the ground, and ash and smoke into the sky.


Although Taal is a tiny volcano, the eruption has caused concerns in the Philippines. There are several reasons:

A complex volcano

Taal is classified as a “complex” volcano by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

• A complex volcano, also called a compound volcano, is defined as one that consists of a complex of two or more vents, or a volcano that has an associated volcanic dome, either in its crater or on its flanks. Examples include Vesuvius, besides Taal.


Taal has erupted more than 30 times in the last few centuries.

• Its last eruption was on October 3, 1977.

• An eruption in 1965 was considered particularly catastrophic, marked by the falling of rock fragments and ashfall.

• Because it is a complex volcano with various features, the kinds of eruption too have been varied.

• An eruption can send lava flowing through the ground, or cause a threat through ash in the air.

• Before that, there was a “very violent” eruption in 1911 from the main crater. The 1911 eruption lasted for three days, while one in 1754 lasted for seven months. Source: Indian Express



Part of GS- Defence and Security

Why in news?

One of the Key Result Area for Indian Navy has been fuel quality standards revision to keep pace with induction of new technology equipment and meet contemporary emission standards.


• With the advent of technology and refining techniques in the petroleum industry better quality of fuel abiding to more stringent specifications has become a necessity.

• The new specification will not only ensure a better quality fuel but also result in a reduced carbon footprint.

• Given the positive results, the new fuel was therefore decided for pan Navy implementation. On 13 January 2020, the launch of the new fuel (High Flash High Speed Diesel) HFHSD – IN 512, with revised technical specifications was undertaken.

Leveraging technology and improved refining techniques available with the country’s petroleum industry, the Indian Navy in collaboration with M/s IOCL carried out an extensive and thorough study and a comparative evaluation of existing international regulations.

• As an outcome, a revised technical specification was arrived at consisting of 22 test parameters including critical parameters cetane number, flash point, sulphur content, sediment content, oxidation stability and Cold Filter Plugging Point (CFPP).

• This revolutionary initiative would go a long way in enhancing equipment reliability, performance, reduced carbon footprint, emissions and more importantly would be key enabler in the Navy’s ‘Mission Based Deployment’ on a global scale.

Source: PIB



Part of GS- 3 Environment

Why in news?

Diego has retired. A member of the Chelonoidis hoodensis, or the giant tortoise species, Diego has spent much of his long life — he is 100 years old — in saving his kind. His phenomenal sex drive ensured he produced enough progeny to secure the future of his species.


• On January 10, the Galapagos National Park, where Diego lived, called off the captive breeding programme.

• They are include in the IUCN Red List – status Vulnerable.

• It is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

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• “Based on the results of the last census conducted at the end of 2019 and all the data available since 1960, both of the island and its turtle population, we developed mathematical models with different possible scenarios for the next hundred years and in all the conclusion was that the island has sufficient conditions to keep the turtle population that will continue to grow normally, even without any new repatriation of juveniles,” said Washington Tapia, director, Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI) of the National Park.

• The Galápagos tortoises are native to seven of the Galápagos Islands, part of Ecuador, located about 1,000 km west of the Ecuadorian mainland.

• With lifespans in the wild of over 100 years, it is one of the longest-lived vertebrates.

• They are the largest living species of tortoise.

• Modern Galápagos tortoises can weigh up to 417 kg.

Source : Indian Express



Part of GS- Miscellaneous

Why in news?

The government on 13th January, 2020 launched a central accident database management system that will help in analysing causes of road crashes and in devising safety interventions to reduce such accidents in the country.


• The IT tool, known as the Integrated Road Accident Database (IRAD), has been developed by the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) and will be implemented by the National Informatics Centre.

The project costs ₹258 crore and is being supported by the World Bank.

Incidence- Highest fatalities

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• The system will be first piloted in the six States with highest fatalities from road crashes — Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

• The IRAD will be improved on the basis of the learnings from the trial, following which it will be rolled out across the country.

Data thus collected will be analysed by a team at IIT-M, which will then suggest if corrective measures in road design need to be taken.

India sees the largest number of road fatalities in the world.

More than 1.5 lakh people lost their lives in road crashes in the country in 2018, according to government data.

• Of the total people killed in road crashes in 2018, 48% were between 18 years and 35 years old, and more than 60% of such fatalities were due to over speeding.

• The IRAD mobile application will enable police personnel to enter details about a road accident, along with photos and videos, following which a unique ID will be created for the incident.

• Subsequently, an engineer from the Public Works Department or the local body will receive an alert on his mobile device. He or she will then visit the accident site, examine it, and feed the required details, such as the road design.

Source: The Hindu



Part of GS- 3 Economy

Why in news?

SEBI extends the time for listed companies to separate the roles from April 1, 2020 to April 1, 2022.


• As part of the latest amendment to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, the capital markets regulator postponed the deadline for the separation of the MD and CEO roles for the top 500 companies from the earlier stipulated April 1, 2020 to April 1, 2022.

• This assumes significance as some of the biggest names of India Inc. had sought a relief in terms of postponing the deadline to comply with the norm notified in May 2018.

• The SEBI notification stated that with effect from April 1, 2022, the chairperson of any of the top 500 listed entities would be a non-executive director and not be related to the MD or CEO as per the definition of the term “relative” defined under the Companies Act, 2013.

• Companies that have implemented the change in board structure without waiting for last date, might feel [let down] with this postponement.

Tendency to postpone compliance due to a change in law has developed a habit amongst stakeholders to wait till the last date and see if there is any postponement.

As many as 160 of the top 500 listed entities are yet to split the MD and the CEO posts, according to data from Prime Database.

• Industry had various concerns in implementation, including seeking a clear regulatory demarcation on the role and responsibility under the Companies Act, 2013 and SEBI’s Listing Regulations for chairman and managing director.

Source: The Hindu

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