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Daily Current Affairs : 18-Feb-2020

Major Topics Covered :

1. Rare Earth metals and Lithium reserve Found


3. 3rd Global Conference on Road Safety


5. India Portugal relations

1. Rare Earth Metals and Lithium Reserves Found

Why in news?

The researchers at the India’s Atomic Energy Commission have found Lithium Reserves of 14,100 tonnes in Mandya. Mandya is 100 km away from Bengaluru, Karnataka. Being a very rare metal Lithium is mainly used in manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles.

Important Facts

• The reserves found is very little as compared to the world’s leading producers of Lithium. Of the major The researchers at the India’s Atomic Energy Commission have found Lithium Reserves of 14,100 tonnes in Mandya. Mandya is 100 km away from Bengaluru, Karnataka. Being a very rare metal Lithium is mainly used in manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles.

• The reserves found is very little as compared to the world’s leading producers of Lithium. Of the major producers Chile produces 8.6 million tonnes, Australia produces 2.8 million tonnes and 1.7 million tonnes in Argentina. India’s Scenario Currently, India imports 1.2 billion USD worth lithium batteries (2019). This has increased significantly. In 2017, India imported 384 million USD worth lithium batteries.


• Though India has very little reserves of Lithium and are spread in different places, they can be of significant use. But these reserves are not yet mapped. These reserves can be of good help to promote the clean-energy wave in India. GoI is on the path of implementing 1.4 billion USD plan to make India a manufacturing hub of electric vehicles.

Li-ion batteries

• A lithium-ion battery or Li-ion battery is a type of rechargeable battery.

• Li-ion batteries use an intercalated (Intercalation is the reversible inclusion or insertion of a molecule into materials with layered structures) lithium compound as one electrode material, compared to the metallic lithium used in a non-rechargeable lithium battery.

Lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge and back when charging.

• They are one of the most popular types of rechargeable batteries used for military, battery electric vehicle and aerospace applications.

National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage

• National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage aims to promote clean, connected, shared, sustainable and holistic mobility initiatives.

• A Phased Manufacturing Program (PMP) will be launched to localize production across the entire EV value chain which will be valid for 5 years until 2024.

• The multi-disciplinary programme with an Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee will be chaired by CEO NITI Aayog.

The battery consists of electrolyte, which allows for ionic movement, and the two electrodes are the constituent components of a lithium-ion battery cell.

• The details of the value addition that can be achieved with each phase of localization will be finalized by the Mission with a clear Make in India strategy for the electric vehicle components as well as battery.

• The Mission will coordinate with key stakeholders in Ministries/ Departments and the states to integrate various initiatives to transform mobility in India.


Why in News?

Recently, the Ministry of Minority Affairs has informed that India has made the Haj 2020 process completely digital.

Key Facts

• India has become the first country in the world which has made the entire Haj 2020 process 100% digital.

• The online facilities include application procedure, E-Visa, Haj mobile app, “E- MASIHA” health facility and “E-luggage pre-tagging” providing all information in India itself regarding accommodation/transportation in Makkah-Madinah, Saudi Arabia. o E-MASIHA (E-Medical Assistance System for Indian Pilgrims Abroad) is an

online system to create and maintain the complete health database of Indian pilgrims. o It also provides doctors’ prescriptions, medical treatment as well as

medicine disbursals, and has been developed to deal with any emergency in Makkah-Madinah.

3. 3rd global Conference on Road Safety

Why in news ?

In Stockholm, Sweden Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari represented India at the 3 rd global Conference on Road safety

Important facts

• The conference was held in collaboration with WHO and World Bank.

• The conference aims at renewing the commitment of the world community towards road safety.

• The participated leaders will prepare ways to achieve UN Decade of Action of reducing road crashes by 2030.

The Decade of Action

• The United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety was proclaimed in March 2010 for the decade 2011-20.

o The plan included 4 pillars as follows To strengthen institutional Capacity To

improve road safety for pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists. o To widely use crash avoidance technologies such as anti-lock braking system

and electronic stability control. o To encourage and develop adoption of road safety such as seat-belt wearing,

helmet wearing, speeding, drinking and driving, etc.


According to the United Nations, more than 1.3 million people die every year due to road traffic crashes and more than 20 to 50 million get injured.

National Analysis:

The road accidents numeric:

Minors involved in road crash deaths were at 6.6% of the total deaths.

Steps taken Indian Government

• India has signed the Brasilia declaration and committed to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.

Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, 2019 It hikes the penalties for traffic violations, defective vehicles, juvenile driving, etc.

o It provides for a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, which would provide

compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India for certain types of accidents. o It also provides for a National Road Safety Board, to be created by the

Central Government through a notification. o The act also provides for the protection of good samaritans.

Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan Committee

• Supreme Court had set up the three-member KS Radhakrishnan panel on road safety in 2014. The SC had termed the roads in India as “giant killers”

The road accident severity (the number of persons killed per 100 accidents) has increased by 0.6% in 2018 compared to 2017.

Major Cause:

Two-wheelers accounted for the highest share (35.2%) in total accidents in 2018.


It kills almost 1.5 lakh people annually in India.

The accidents, as well as accident-related deaths in the period 2010-2018, dropped drastically compared with the previous decades, despite the very high rate of growth of automobiles.

Over-speeding is a major cause, accounting for 64.4% of the persons killed. As the maximum number of road accidents occurred on straight roads.

The young adults (18-45 years) accounted for nearly 69.6% of road accident victims.


Why in News

Recently, the Ministry of Science and Technology has launched the “Scientific Utilization through Research Augmentation-Prime Products from Indigenous Cows” (SUTRA-PIC India).

• It is one of the research programmes into indigenous cattle announced during the 2019-20 Union Budget, which aims to develop products as well as improve the genetic quality of indigenous cattle breeds.

Important facts

• It is a collaborative effort of the Department of Biotechnology, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Ministry for AYUSH (Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Homoeopathy) and the Indian Council of Medical Research.

• The department of the Science for Equity, Empowerment and Development (SEED), under the Ministry of Science and Technology, is in charge of the programme.

Development of standards for traditionally processed dairy products of Indian-origin cows, etc.

5. India Portugal relations

Why in News

The Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa visited India from 13th-16th February, 2020.

• The last visit by a Portuguese President to India was in 2007. Highlights of the Visit

14 agreements and understandings were signed between India and Portugal in the fields of maritime heritage, maritime transport and port development, migration and mobility, start-ups, Intellectual Property Rights, aerospace, nano-biotechnology, audio visual co-production, yoga, diplomatic training, scientific research and public- policy.

It can be noted that SEED had also constituted a National Steering Committee to initiate a National Programme on “Scientific Validation and Research on Panchagavya” (SVAROP) in 2017.

• The programme consists of five themes:

Prime-products from indigenous cows-based utility items.

• The above themes aim to perform:

Uniqueness of Indigenous Cows,

Prime-products from Indigenous Cows for Medicine and Health,

Prime-products from Indigenous Cows for Agricultural Applications,

Prime-products from Indigenous Cows for Food and Nutrition,

Scientific research on the complete characterisation of milk and milk products derived from Indian indigenous cows.

Scientific research on nutritional and therapeutic properties of curd and ghee prepared from indigenous breeds of cows by traditional methods.

o One of the agreements included cooperation in setting up a national

maritime museum heritage complex in Lothal, Gujarat.

Permanent Seat at UNSC: Portugal provided its support to India to become a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations.

India-Portugal Joint Economic Committee: It has been decided to hold the next session of the India-Portugal Joint Economic Committee in India soon to review the gamut of the bilateral trade and economic relations.

• Portugal also extended its support for the commemoration of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. Goa visit

o Portuguese president visited churches in Old Goa, including the Basilica of

Bom Jesus where relics of St. Francis Xavier are preserved. He also paid a visit to Institute Mater Dei Santa Monica, a church in the Old Goa heritage complex, and the Christian Art Museum located on the premises. o All these structures at Old Goa, located about nine km from Panaji, are part

of the complex certified as world heritage monuments by UNESCO. o Santa Monica Church is over 450 years old, having been one of the first

churches the Portuguese built in Goa in 1525.

Upcoming Collaborations

o Portugal could join the International Solar Alliance in the near future. o India as an Associate Observer of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, so that both the countries can amplify their developmental partnerships in Africa and elsewhere. o India’s deepening engagement with the European Union (EU), especially

when Portugal assumes the Presidency of the EU in 2021.

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