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Daily Current Affairs : 16-Jan-2020

Major Topics Covered :







  7. ARTICLE 131




Defence & Security

Why in news?

  • The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet on Monday approved the commissionerate system of policing for state capital Lucknow, and Noida.


  • The system gives more responsibilities, including magisterial powers, to IPS officers of Inspector General of Police (IG) rank posted as commissioners. Depending on its success here, the policing system may gradually be implemented in other districts as well.

  • As per the Police Act of 1861, the system is to be implemented in cities with more than 10 lakh population.

  • Almost all states barring Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, UT of J&K, and some Northeastern states have a commissionerate system.

  • The British brought the system first in Kolkata.

What is police commissionerate system?

  • Under the 7th Schedule of the Constitution, ‘Police’ is under the State list, meaning individual states typically legislate and exercise control over this subject. In the arrangement in force at the district level, a ‘dual system’ of control exists, in which the Superintendent of Police (SP) has to work with the District Magistrate (DM) for supervising police administration.

  • At the metropolitan level, many states have replaced the dual system with the commissionerate system, as it is supposed to allow for faster decision-making to solve complex urban-centric issues.

  • In the commissionerate system, the Commissioner of Police (CP) is the head of a unified police command structure, is responsible for the force in the city, and is accountable to the state government.

  • The office also has magisterial powers, including those related to regulation, control, and licensing.

  • The CP is drawn from the Deputy Inspector General rank or above, and is assisted by Special/Joint/Additional/Deputy Commissioners.

Source : Indian Express



Part of GS- 3 Environment

Why in news?

  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has identified 13 beaches across the country for the Blue Flag certification.


  • In January, 2020, the Centre issued an Extraordinary Gazette Notification declaring a list of activities and facilities that would be permissible in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) areas of certain beaches, which have been identified for obtaining the ‘Blue Flag’ certification.

  • In July 2019, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) had identified 13 beaches across the country for the Blue Flag certification, and announced a list of activities that would be permissible in their respective CRZ zones for that purpose.

  • The new notification issued on January 9 contains a bigger list, and supersedes the previous notification.

What is ‘Blue Flag’ certification?

  • The ‘Blue Flag’ is a certification that can be obtained by a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator, and serves as an eco-label.

  • The certification is awarded by the Denmark-based non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), which sets stringent environmental, educational, safety-related and access-related criteria that applicants must meet and maintain. It is awarded annually to beaches and marinas in FEE member countries.

  • The world-renowned certification is known as an indication of high environmental and quality standards.

  • Forty-seven countries currently participate in the program, and 4,573 beaches, marinas, and boats have this certification.

In its July 2019 notification, the Environment Ministry identified the following beaches in India for Blue Flag certification:

  • Shivrajpur (Devbhumi Dwarka, Gujarat),

  • Bhogave (Sindhudurg, Maharashtra),

  • Ghoghla (Diu, Daman and Diu),

  • Miramar (Panjim, Goa),

  • Kasarkod (Karwar, Karnataka),

  • Padubidri (Udupi, Karnataka),

  • Kappad (Kozhikode, Kerala),

  • Eden (Puducherry),

  • Mahabalipuram (Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu),

  • Rushikonda (Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh),

  • Golden (Puri, Odisha), and

  • Radhanagar (Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar)

What activities does the new notification permit?

  • According to the latest notification, the following activities and facilities would be permitted in the CRZ of the beaches, including Islands, subject to maintaining a minimum distance of 10 meters from the High Tide Line (HTL):

  • Portable toilet blocks, change rooms and shower panels;

  • Grey water treatment plant;

  • Solid waste management plant;

  • Solar power plant;

  • Purified drinking water facility;

  • Beach access pathways;

  • Landscaping lighting;

  • Seating benches and sit-out umbrellas;

  • Outdoor play / fitness equipment;

  • CCTV surveillance and control room;

  • First aid station;

  • Cloak room facility;

  • Safety watch towers and beach safety equipment;

  • Beach layout, environment information boards and other signages;

  • Fencing, preferably vegetative;

  • Parking facilities;

  • Entry gate, tourist facilitation centre; and

  • Other associated facilities or infrastructure, as per requirements of Blue Flag Certification.

  • The notification also said that these activities and facilities would be exempt from prior clearance under the provisions of CRZ Notification, Island Protection Zone Notification and Island Coastal Regulation Zone Notifications respectively.

Source: Indian Express



Part of GS- 2 IR

Why in news?

  • The index includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations, the publisher of the rankings said in a press release. The data are updated in real time as and when visa policy changes come into effect, the release said.


  • The Indian passport is closer to the bottom, ranked 84th in the world, according to the latest edition of the Henley Passport Index, widely acknowledged to be the most reliable of such rankings.

  • The ranking is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade association of some 290 airlines, including all major carriers.

  • Singapore, in second place (same as in 2019), has a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 190.

  • Germany is No. 3 (same position as in 2019), with access to 189 destinations it shares this position with South Korea, which dropped from the second place it held a year ago, the release said.

  • Japan has the world’s strongest passport; Afghanistan, at rank 107, the weakest.

  • According to Henley & Partners, the residence and citizenship planning firm that publishes the ranking, the Index lists the world’s passports “according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa”.

Source: Indian Express



Defence & Security

Why in news?

  • Army Day was observed on January 15. On January 15, 1949, Field Marshal Kodandera M Cariappa took over from General Sir Francis Butcher to become the Indian Army’s first Commander-in-Chief.


  • The day has been observed as Army Day to recognise this, and to acknowledge the achievements and risks undertaken by Indian army personnel.

  • KM Cariappa, who was fondly known as “Kipper”, was born in 1900, in Karnataka.

  • In 1919, he received the King’s Commission with the first group of Indian cadets and in 1933, he became the first Indian officer to join staff college in Quetta.

  • Subsequently, in 1942, Cariappa raised the seventh Rajput Machine Gun Battalion, which is now referred to as the 17th Rajput regiment.

  • He led the Indian forces on the Western Front during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947.

  • He is one of the only two Indian Army officers to hold the five-star rank of field marshal (an honorary rank).

  • He served as a member of the Army Sub Committee of the Forces Reconstitution Committee during the Partition, as part of which he oversaw the task of dividing the military between India and Pakistan.

Source : Indian Express



Part of GS-3 Economy

Why in news?

  • No jeweller will be allowed to sell gold jewellery or artefacts without hallmark from the Bureau of Indian Standards from January 15, 2021, onwards, Consumer Affairs Minister Ramvilas Paswan announced on 14th January, 2020.


What is Gold Hallmarking?

  • Gold hallmarking is a purity certification of the precious metal and is voluntary in nature at present.

  • Jewellers will be allowed to sell only 14, 18 and 22 carat gold jewellery. Instead of 10 grades earlier, hallmarked gold jewellery will now be available in three cartage of 14 carat, 18 carat and 22 carat.

  • The BIS is already running a hallmarking scheme for gold jewellery since April 2000 and around 40% of gold jewellery is being hallmarked currently.

  • “This will become mandatory from January 15, 2021.

  • We will give one year time for implementation.


  • If jewellery or artefacts made of 14, 18 and 22 carat gold are sold without a BIS hallmark, and then the jeweller could face a huge penalty and even imprisonment.

  • The penalty may be worth five times the cost of the object and the imprisonment up to one year.

Source: The Hindu



Part of GS- 1 Geography

Why in news?

  • Six people were killed and 10 are believed to be missing after a bus and some pedestrians were swallowed by a sinkhole in China’s Xining city, the capital of Qinghai province, on January 13.


  • Sinkholes depressions that open up on the ground — are not uncommon in China. In December 2019, a road in southern China’s Guangdong province collapsed, swallowing a cleaning truck and an electric bike.

  • In November 2019, Xinhua Net reported the discovery of a giant cluster of sinkholes in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Before this, in 2016, scientists discovered the world’s largest cluster of sinkholes in Shaanxi province in Northwest China.

Sinkholes in China and around the world

  • In China, the mining of coal, zinc, lead and iron ore deposits in karsts areas have been associated with the formation of sinkholes due to human activity, according to a 1997 paper published in the journal Environmental Geology.

  • Even so, sinkholes are not uncommon in other parts of the world.

  • For instance, in Florida, in an area that is classified as a karsts landscape, insurance agencies must provide homeowners coverage against damage that can accrue from ground cover collapse.

  • Elsewhere in the US, sinkholes are also common in Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Tennessee. The largest sinkhole in the US is called the “Golly Hole”, which collapsed suddenly in 1972 and is over 325 feet long, 300 feet wide and 120 feet deep.

Karst Features in topography

Karsts landscape

  • The word 'karst' has its origins in pre-Indo-European languages, from kar, meaning 'rock. '

  • In Slovenia the word 'kras', subsequently germanicized as 'Karst,' derives from the name of a barren stony limestone area near Trieste that is still considered the type area for limestone karst.

  • Karst is a type of landscape where the dissolving of the bedrock has created sinkholes, sinking streams, caves, springs, and other characteristic features.

  • Karst is associated with soluble rock types such as limestone, marble, and gypsum.

How are sinkholes formed?

  • Sinkholes are depressions formed in the ground when layers of the Earth’s surface start collapsing into caverns.

  • They can occur suddenly and without warning, because the land under the surface of the Earth can stay intact for a period of time until the spaces get too big.

  • Their formation can be caused due to natural processes or human activity. Typically, sinkholes form in areas of “karst” terrains, where the rock below the surface of the Earth can be easily dissolved by groundwater.


Erosional landforms:

  • Pools, Sinkholes, Lapies and Limestone Pavements Small to medium sized round to sub-rounded shallow depressions called swallow holes form on the surface of limestones through solution.

  • Sinkholes A sinkhole, also known as a cenote, sink, sink-hole, swallet, swallow hole, or doline, is a depression or hole in the ground caused by some form of collapse of the surface layer. Most are caused by karst processes – the chemical dissolution of carbonate rocks or suffosion processes.

  • Lapies : Grooves and ridges formed on a rock surface by solution of limestone.

  • A limestone pavement is a natural karst landform consisting of a flat, incised surface of exposed limestone that resembles an artificial pavement. The lapies field may eventually turn into somewhat smooth limestone pavements.

Depositional landform:

  • Stalactite is an icicle-shaped formation that hangs from the ceiling of a cave and is produced by precipitation of minerals from water dripping through the cave ceiling. Most stalactites have pointed tips.

  • A stalagmite is a type of rock formation that rises from the floor of a cave due to the accumulation of material deposited on the floor from ceiling drippings.

  • A Pillar is a landform, either of rock or earth, defined by the USGS as: "Vertical, standing, often spire-shaped, natural rock formation

Source: Indian Express



Part of GS- 2 Polity and Governance

Why in news?

  • On 14th January, Kerala became the first state to challenge the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) before the Supreme Court.


  • Kerala became the first state to challenge the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) before the Supreme Court.

  • However, the legal route adopted by the state is different from the 60 petitions already pending before the court.

  • Kerala Government moved a resolution in the state Assembly demanding the scrapping of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

  • The Kerala government has moved the apex court under Article 131 of the Constitution, the provision under which the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to deal with any dispute between the Centre and a state; the Centre and a state on the one side and another state on the other side; and two or more states.

About Article 131:

  • The Supreme Court has three kinds of jurisdictions: original, appellate and advisory.

  • Under its advisory jurisdiction, the President has the power to seek an opinion from the apex court under Article 143 of the Constitution.

  • In a 1978 judgment, State of Karnataka v Union of India, Justice P N Bhagwati had said that for the Supreme Court to accept a suit under Article 131, the state need not show that its legal right is violated, but only that the dispute involves a legal question.

  • Article 131 cannot be used to settle political differences between state and central governments headed by different parties.

  • Under its appellate jurisdiction, the Supreme Court hears appeals from lower courts.

  • In its extraordinary original jurisdiction, the Supreme Court has exclusive power to adjudicate upon disputes involving elections of the President and the Vice President, those that involve states and the Centre, and cases involving the violation of fundamental rights.

  • For a dispute to qualify as a dispute under Article 131, it has to necessarily be between states and the Centre, and must involve a question of law or fact on which the existence of a legal right of the state or the Centre depends.

Source: Indian Express



Part of GS- 3 Economy

Why in news?

  • The government on 14th January, 2020, appointed Michael Debaprata Patra as the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).


  • Patra will serve as the deputy governor for three years from the time of his appointment. The date of Patra’s appointment has not been specified yet.

  • The Reserve Bank currently has three deputy governors--NS Vishwanathan, BP Kanungo and MK Jain.

  • Patra will be the fourth among the deputy governors.

  • Shaktikanta Das is the governor of RBI.

  • RBI central board of directors

  • The Reserve Bank's affairs are governed by a central board of directors.

  • The board is appointed by the Government of India in keeping with the Reserve Bank of India Act.

  • They are Appointed/nominated for a period of four years.

  • It comprises:

  • Official Directors: Governor and

  • Not more than four Deputy Governors.

  • Non-Official Directors Nominated by Government: ten Directors from various fields and two governments Official.

  • Others: four Directors - one each from four local boards.

Source: The Hindu

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