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Daily Current Affairs : 18-Dec-2019

Major Topics Covered :







  7. Lt Gen M.M. Naravane appointed as Chief of Army Staff



  10. Global Gender Gap Index for 2020



Part of GS- 2 Polity and Governance

Why in news?

Delivering the Second Atal Bihari Vajpayee Memorial Lecture in New Delhi on December 16 (Monday), former President Pranab Mukherjee said that the number of seats in Lok Sabha should be increased to 1,000 from the present 543, and advocated a corresponding increase in the number of MPs in Rajya Sabha and state legislatures.


  • Every MP currently represents an average 16-18 lakh Indians - too large a number to be kept in touch with in a meaningful way, Mukherjee said.

  • This argument has been made by several political leaders in the past - most recently by Jitin Prasada, Mukherjee’s former Cabinet colleague, who said that the number of Lok Sabha seats should be rationalised on the basis of population.

  • Article 81 of the Constitution defines the composition of the House of the People or Lok Sabha. It states that the House shall not consist of more than 550 elected members of whom not more than 20 will represent Union Territories.

  • At present, the strength of the Lok Sabha is 543, of which 530 have been allocated to the states, and the rest to the Union Territories.

  • The strength of Lok Sabha hasn’t always been 543 seats. Originally, Article 81 provided that the Lok Sabha shall not have more than 500 members. The first House constituted in 1952 had 497 members.

  • The last time the strength of the Lok Sabha was revised was in 1977, which was based on the 1971 census that put the population at 55 crore.

  • Arguments for change: Every MP currently represents an average 16-18 lakh Indians — too large a number to be kept in touch with in a meaningful way. Thus number of Lok Sabha seats should be rationalised on the basis of population. The population since then has more than doubled.

  • Under Article 331, the President could nominate up to two Anglo-Indians if he/she felt the community was inadequately represented in the House.

  • However, The Constitution (126th Amendment) Bill passed by Parliament last week, while extending the reservation for SC/STs, did away with the provision for nomination of Anglo Indians to Lok Sabha and some state Assemblies. This has brought the strength of Lok Sabha down to 543 now.

Source: Indian Express


Part of GS-1 Social Issue

Why in news?

Pew Research Center analysis released a new report titled “Religion and Living Arrangements Around the World.” The report analyses how Household living arrangements – how many people share a dwelling and how these people are related – varies by religion.


  • Worldwide, Muslims live in the biggest households. The average Muslim lives in a home of 6.4 people, followed by Hindus (5.7), Christians (4.5), Buddhists (3.9), the religiously unaffiliated – also known as “nones” (3.7) – and Jews (3.7).

  • Extended-family households – where relatives such as aunts, parents and grandparents live together – are the most common living arrangement around the world. This arrangement accounts for 38% of all people, including a majority of Hindus (55%).

  • Worldwide, Jews are the most likely to live alone (10%), while Muslims and Hindus are the least likely to do so (1% for each).

  • Christians are the most likely to live in single-parent households. Buddhists are the least likely to live in two-parent families.

  • In sub-Saharan Africa, 11% of all people live in polygamous households, including a quarter of Muslims. Outside of sub-Saharan Africa, the country having the highest share of people in polygamous households is Afghanistan (5%).

  • Women, regardless of their religious affiliation, are more likely than men to be single parents.

Source : PEW


Part of GS- Health

Why in news?

According to activists working at the grassroots level, The Maternity scheme namely the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) is exclusionary. Thus there is a growing louder demand for a scheme that is truly universal.


  • Registration for the scheme requires an applicant to provide her husband’s Aadhaar details along with her own, affecting single women which include unwed mothers, deserted wives and widows.

  • The Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 31, 2016 as a pan-India maternity benefit programme promising ₹6,000 to new mothers.

  • A mother seeking benefits needs to provide proof of address of her marital home, which proves challenging for a newlywed expecting a child and often residing in her natal home during pregnancy.

  • While the scheme is solely for the first living child, it ironically leaves out those who are most likely to give birth to one — a newlywed woman.

  • A mother is unable to get the compensation when she needs it the most, i.e. during the nine months of her pregnancy.

  • The requirement that the applicant has to be at least 19 years old also leaves out younger brides, who hesitate in getting their marriages registered as the legal age of marriage is 18 years.

  • Documentation work is likely to result in many women living on the margins, such as sex workers, women in custody, migrant and those living in post-conflict situations.

Source : The Hindu


Part of GS-2 IR

Why in news?

All migrants are entitled to equal protection of all their human rights. On this International Day, I urge leaders and people everywhere to bring the Global Compact to life, so that migration works for all.


UN Secretary-General António Guterres:

  • Throughout human history, migration has been a courageous expression of the individual’s will to overcome adversity and to live a better life.

  • Today, globalization, together with advances in communications and transportation, has greatly increased the number of people, who have the desire and the capacity to move to other places.

  • This new era has created challenges and opportunities for societies throughout the world.

  • It also has served to underscore the clear linkage between migration and development, as well as the opportunities it provides for co-development, that is, the concerted improvement of economic and social conditions at both origin and destination.

  • Migration draws increasing attention in the world nowadays. Mixed with elements of unforeseeability, emergency, and complexity, the challenges and difficulties of international migration require enhanced cooperation and collective action among countries and regions.

  • The United Nations is actively playing a catalyst role in this area, with the aim of creating more dialogues and interactions within countries and regions, as well as propelling experience exchange and collaboration opportunities.

Why do we mark International Days?

  • International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity.

  • The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool.

Global Issues: Migration

  • Today, more people than ever live in a country other than the one in which they were born. While many individuals migrate out of choice, many others migrate out of necessity.

  • In 2019, the number of migrants globally reached an estimated 272 million, 51 million more than in 2010.

  • World Migration Report 2020

  • Since 2000, IOM has been producing world migration reports.

  • The World Migration Report 2020, the tenth in the world migration report series, has been produced to contribute to increased understanding of migration throughout the world.

  • This new edition presents key data and information on migration as well as thematic chapters on highly topical migration issues.

Source: United Nation


Part of GS-3 S&T

Why in news?

The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), the global tracker for Internet shutdowns, was inundated with messages of shutdowns across the country - a frequently recurring phenomenon in India over the past several years.

December 16, 2019 marked the 134th day of the continuing Internet shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir, which began on August 5, the day the erstwhile state was stripped of its special status under Article 370 of the Constitution. This is the longest ever continuous Internet shutdown in the country.


  • The world’s fastest growing Internet market is also the global leader by far in cutting off access to small and large sections of its population.

  • Home Departments in the states are mostly the authorities that enforce shutdowns, drawing powers from The Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. The central government also has powers under this law, but has not used it.

  • Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 has enabled many of the shutdowns in the recent past. It gives the District Magistrate or any other executive magistrate empowered by the state government the power to issue orders to “maintain public tranquility”.

  • Section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, allows central and state governments to prevent the transmission of messaging during a “public emergency or in the interest of public safety”, or “in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state”, etc.

  • It is now commonplace during moments of tension for law enforcement and government officials to cut off the Internet as both an early and a preventive response - as much to stymie communication between restive groups to prevent them organising, as to block the spread of rumours and fake news.

  • The economic cost to shutdowns is immense: Over the past five years, some 16,000 hours of Internet shutdowns cost the economy a little over $3 billion, according to estimates in a report by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER).

  • SFLC also found frequent shutdowns in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Egypt, Congo, Syria, Sudan, Burundi, Iraq, and Venezuela.

Source: Indian Express


Part of GS-3 S&T

Why in news?

In Mumbai, investigators said they might apply for a bone ossification test to determine whether the prime accused in the murder of Vakola guitarist Bennett Rebello (55) is a minor or not.


  • Bone ossification, or osteogenesis, is the process of bone formation.

  • This process begins between the sixth and seventh weeks of embryonic development and continues until about age twenty-five; although this varies slightly based on the individual.

  • There are two types of bone ossification, intramembranous and endochondral.

  • Intramembranous ossification directly converts the mesenchymal tissue to bone and forms the flat bones of the skull, clavicle, and most of the cranial bones.

  • Endochondral ossification begins with mesenchymal tissue transforming into a cartilage intermediate, which is later replaced by bone and forms the remainder of the axial skeleton and the long bones.

  • In 2016, the Bombay high court ruled that a bone ossification test is by itself not conclusive proof of age.

Source : Times of India

Lt Gen M.M. Naravane appointed as Chief of Army Staff

Part of GS-3 Defence

Why in news?

Government has decided to appoint Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane, PVSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, as the next Chief of the Army Staff after the retirement of General Bipin Rawat, UYSM, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM, ADC on December 31, 2019.


  • Lt Gen Naravane will take over as Chief of the Army Staff in the substantive rank of General with effect from the afternoon of December 31, 2019.

  • Lt Gen Naravane did his schooling at Dnayana Prabodhinee Prashala, Pune.

  • In a distinguished military career spanning almost four decades, the General Officer has the distinction of tenating key command and staff appointments in Peace and Field both in North East and Jammu & Kashmir and has been part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka during ‘Operation Pawan’.

  • The Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) is the professional head, commander, and the highest-ranking military officer of the Indian Army.

  • The position is always held by a full general.

  • Appointments to the office are made by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

  • The Officer brings with him enormous experience of serving in the most challenging areas. The General Officer has commanded 2nd Battalion, Rashtriya Rifles (Sikh Light Infantry), 106 Infantry Brigade, Inspector General Assam Rifles (North) at Kohima, Nagaland and 2 Corps.

  • The General Officer had the privilege of commanding the Republic Day Parade in 2017 in his capacity as the General Officer Commanding (GOC) Delhi Area.

  • After successfully commanding the Army Training Command, Shimla, he took over as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) of Eastern Command on October 01, 2018.

Source: PIB


Part of GS-3 S&T

Why in news?

All villages to be covered by 2022, broadband mission enables fast track growth of digital communication infrastructure


  • The Minister for Communications, Law & Justice and Electronics and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that the National Broadband Mission is to fulfill all aspirations of the people and enables fast track growth of digital communication infrastructure.

  • He was addressing the gathering after launching the National Broadband Mission (NBM) at an event on 17 December 2019.

  • The Minister of State for Communications, Human Resources Development and Electronics & Information Technology, Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre, the Secretary (Telecom), Anshu Prakash and other senior officials were present on the occasion.

  • A large number of representatives from the telecom industry, officers from various Ministries of the Government of India, various State Governments and senior officers of the Department of Telecommunications participated in the event.

  • Ravi Shankar Prasad also launched the Logo of the NBM, a Booklet on this occasion.

  • Broadband access to all villages by 2022.

  • Laying of incremental 30 lakhs route km of Optical Fiber Cable and increase in tower density from 0.42 to 1.0 tower per thousand of population by 2024.

  • Develop innovative implementation models for Right of Way (RoW) and to work with States/UTs for having consistent policies pertaining to expansion of digital infrastructure including for RoW approvals required for laying of OFC.

  • Develop a Broadband Readiness Index (BRI) to measure the availability of digital communications infrastructure and conducive policy ecosystem within a State/UT.

  • Creation of a digital fiber map of the Digital Communications network and infrastructure, including Optical Fiber Cables and Towers, across the country.

  • Investment from stakeholders of USD 100 billion (Rs 7 Lakh Crore) including Rs 70,000 crore from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).

Source: Business Standard


Part of GS-2 IR

Why in news?

  • According to the UNHCR, the first GRF is being held “at the end of a tumultuous decade in which the number of refugees has risen to over 25 million people worldwide”.

  • The first Global Refugee Forum (GRF), a two-day gathering of United Nations member states, began in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday (December 17).

  • Highlights:

  • The Forum, jointly hosted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency, and the government of Switzerland, aims to debate and discuss the response of the world’s countries to the global refugee situation.

  • The GRF will be held every four years at the Ministerial level.

  • It aims to debate and discuss the response of the world’s countries to the global refugee situation.

  • The first GRF has been organised around six areas of focus: burden- and responsibility-sharing, education, jobs and livelihoods, energy and infrastructure, solutions, and protection capacity.

Source: Indian Express

Global Gender Gap Index for 2020

Part of GS-1 Social Issues

Why in news?

India has ranked 112th among 153 countries in the annual Global Gender Gap Index for 2020, published by the World Economic Forum (WEF). Iceland, Norway, and Finland occupy the top three spots in the Report.

  • Highlights:

  • Now in its 14th year, the Report benchmarks countries on their progress towards gender parity in four dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival and Political Empowerment.

  • The analysis presented in the Global Gender Gap Report 2020 is based on “a methodology integrating the latest statistics from international organizations and a survey of executives”, the WEF said.

  • The Report aims to serve “as a compass to track progress on relative gaps between women and men on health, education, economy and politics”. Through this annual yardstick, the Report says, “stakeholders within each country are able to set priorities relevant in each specific economic, political and cultural context”.

Global Gender Gap Index for 2020: Key findings

  • Globally, the average (population-weighted) distance completed to gender parity is at 68.6%, which is an improvement since last edition.

  • The largest gender disparity is in political empowerment.

  • Only 25% of the 35,127 seats in parliaments around the world are occupied by women, and only 21% of the 3,343 ministers are women.

  • Projecting current trends into the future, the overall global gender gap will close in 99.5 years, on average, across the 107 countries covered continuously since the first edition of the Report.

  • At the current pace, gender gaps can potentially be closed in 54 years in Western Europe, 59 years in Latin America and the Caribbean, 71.5 years in South Asia, 95 years in SubSaharan Africa, 107 years in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 140 years in the Middle East and North Africa, 151 years in North America, and 163 years in East Asia and the Pacific.

Source: Indian Express


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