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Daily Current Affairs : 27-Dec-2019

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Part of GS- 2 Polity and Governance

Why in news?

National Consumer Day was observed on December 24, 2019.


  • The objective is to highlight the importance of the consumer movement and the need to make every consumer more aware of their rights and responsibilities.

  • The theme of this year is “ alternate consumer grievance/dispute redressal”. On this day the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted.

  • The Act aims to provide consumers with effective safeguards against different types of exploitation, such as defective goods, deficiency in services and unfair trade practices.

  • Parliament gave its nod to the landmark Consumer Protection Bill, 2019 which aims to protect the rights of consumers by establishing authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumers dispute, this year.

  • Upon receiving the assent of President, it has become an act which entails setting up of a Central Consumer Protection Authority, CCPA to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers as a class.

  • The new Act has replaced the more than three decades old Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The CCPA would make interventions to prevent consumer detriment arising from unfair trade practices.

  • The agency can also initiate class action, including enforcing recall, refund and return of products.

Source: AIR


Part of GS- 1 Geography

Why in news?

The last solar eclipse of this year will take place on December 26, which will fall over the eastern hemisphere of the Earth and be visible from India, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Malaysia, Oman, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Mariana Islands and Borneo among a few other places.


What is an annular solar eclipse?

An eclipse happens when the moon while orbiting the Earth, comes in between the sun and the Earth, due to which the moon blocks the sun’s light from reaching the Earth, causing an eclipse of the sun or a solar eclipse.

There are three types of eclipses:

one is a total solar eclipse, which is visible only from a small area on Earth. According to NASA, people who are able to view the total solar eclipse are in the centre of the moon’s shadow as and when it hits the Earth. A total solar eclipse happens when the sun, moon and Earth are in a direct line.

The second type of a solar eclipse is a partial solar, in which the shadow of the moon appears on a small part of the sun.

The third kind is an annular solar eclipse, which happens when the moon is farthest from the Earth, which is why it seems smaller. In this type of an eclipse, the moon does not block the sun completely, but looks like a “dark disk on top of a larger sun-colored disk” forming a “ring of fire”.

Furthermore, during a solar eclipse the moon casts two shadows on the Earth, the first one is called the umbra, which gets smaller as it reaches the Earth. The second one is called the penumbra, which gets larger as it reaches the Earth.

Where can the annular solar eclipse be viewed from?

Some of the areas in India from where the annular solar eclipse can be viewed include Kannur, Ooty, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Erode Trichy, Madurai and Karaikudi among a few others. The annular eclipse will begin roughly around 8 am on December 26.

Is it safe to view solar eclipses?

NASA maintains that the sun can be viewed safely using the naked eye only during a total eclipse, while during partial and annular solar eclipses, the sun should not be viewed without proper equipment and techniques.

Not using proper methods and equipment for viewing can cause permanent eye damage or severe visual loss, it says.

Safety equipment includes eclipse glasses and using appropriate solar filters for covering binoculars, telescopes and cameras.

Source: Indian Express


Part of GS- 3 Economy

Why in news?

National Payments Corporation of India, NPCI today said that customers can recharge FASTags through any BHIM UPI enabled mobile app.


  • FASTag, by the National Electronic Toll Collection, NETC, has been made mandatory for toll payment in the country from 15 of this month.

  • NCPI said in a release that recharge facility through BHIM UPI would now give vehicle owners the opportunity to recharge their FASTags on the go and avoid queues at toll plazas.

  • NPCI is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.

  • The corporation's current and future service portfolio includes: National Financial Switch (NFS), Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), RuPay, National Common Mobility Card, Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AePS), Unified Payments Interface (UPI), BHIM, Bharat Bill Payment System etc.

Headquarters: Mumbai.

It is Established in 2008 by Reserve Bank of India & Indian Banks' Association (IBA).

A not-for-profit organisation registered under section 8 of the Companies Act 2013.

NETC FASTag is a simple to use, reloadable tag fixed on the windscreen of a vehicle, which enables automatic deduction of toll charges from the prepaid or savings account linked to it while the vehicle is in motion.

A programme designed to meet the electronic tolling needs of the Indian market, it offers an interoperable nationwide toll payment solution including clearinghouse services for settlement and dispute management.

Source: AIR


Part of GS- Education

Why in news?

Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank launched the five documents developed by University Grants Commission, UGC covering the 5 verticals of Quality Mandate in New Delhi today.


  • These five documents cover evaluation reforms, eco-friendly and sustainable university campuses, human values and professional ethics, faculty induction and academic research integrity.

  • The Higher Education Quality Improvement Programme Mandate aims at evolving higher education system to equip country’s next-generation with vital skills, knowledge and ethics for leading a rewarding life.

  • In order to make student assessment more meaningful, effective and linked to Learning Outcomes, the report ‘Evaluation Reforms in Higher Educational Institutions in India’ is very timely and beneficial for HEIs.

  • SATAT – the Framework for Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Campus development in Higher Educational Institutions – encourages universities to adopt policies to enhance the environmental quality of the campus.

  • UGC has also developed a policy framework- “MulyaPravah - Guidelines for Inculcation of Human values and Professionals Ethics in Higher Educational Institutions”.

  • Guidelines for Guru-Dakshta - A guide to Faculty Induction Programme will fulfil its main objective to motivate the faculty to adopt learner-centred approaches, ICT integrated learning and new pedagogic approaches to teaching-learning.

  • Mr Nishank emphasized the importance of promoting high-quality research and creation of new knowledge by faculty members. He lauded UGC’s efforts for setting up a Consortium for Academic and Research Ethics (UGC-CARE) to continuously monitor and identify quality journals across disciplines.

Source: AIR


Part c of GS- 1 Geography

Why in news?

In the Philippines, a strong typhoon, 'Phanfone' has killed at least 20 people leaving a trail of devastation through the centre of the country.


  • The storm-battered several islands with gusts of 190km/h, destroying homes and power lines and spoiled Christmas celebrations in the predominantly Catholic country.

  • Typhoon Phanfone, locally known in the Philippines as Ursula, is a currently active typhoon which had traversed through the central Philippines.

  • The origins of Phanfone can be traced to an upper-level low which had formed near the Caroline Islands, located in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea.

  • One disaster response officer said, more than 58,000 people were evacuated ahead of the storm and about 25,000 others were stranded at ports when ferries services were suspended. The extent of the damage began to emerge only today. Most deaths occurred in Iloilo and Capiz provinces.

  • About 20 typhoons and storms batter the Philippines each year.

  • The Southeast Asian nation is also located in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions often occur, making the country of more than 100 million people one of the world's most disaster-prone.

Source: AIR


Part of GS- 1 Social Issue

Why in news?

Last week, the Supreme Court used extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to grant divorce in a case of “irretrievable breakdown of marriage”.


Currently, Hindu marriage law does not include “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” as a ground for divorce. However, the apex court in a number of cases has provided the said relief using its extraordinary powers that allow it to do “complete justice”.

Grounds for divorce under Hindu law

  • The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, lays down the law for divorce, which applies to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs.

  • Under Section 13 of the Act, the grounds for divorce include:

  • “voluntary sexual intercourse with any person other than his or her spouse”; “cruelty”; desertion “for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition”; “ceas(ing) to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion”; and being “incurably of unsound mind”.

  • In addition, Section 13B provides for “divorce by mutual consent”.

  • Section 27 of The Special Marriage Act, 1954 provides the grounds for grant of divorce in the case of marriages solemnised under that Act.

  • Thus, neither of the two Acts provide for “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” as a ground for divorce.

Irretrievable breakdown of marriage:

  • The Law Commission of India in its 71st report and 217th report has recommended that “irretrievable breakdown” of marriage be included as a new ground for granting divorce to Hindus under the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act.

  • Article 142, the court said, “provide(s) a unique power to the Supreme Court, to do “complete justice” between the parties, i.e., where at times law or statute may not provide a remedy, the Court can extend itself to put a quietus to a dispute in a manner which would befit the facts of the case. It is with this objective that we find it appropriate to take recourse to this provision in the present case.”

Source: Indian Express


Part of GS- 1 History

Why in news?

The distasteful tweet — now deleted — on Periyar by the Tamil Nadu BJP on his 46th death anniversary has triggered a firestorm of protests in the state.


Why is an iconoclast, rationalist social reformer so dear to the people of a state where Hindu religiosity is in open and constant evidence?

Who was E V Ramasamy ‘Periyar’?

  • Born in 1879, Periyar is remembered for the Self Respect Movement to redeem the identity and self-respect of Tamils.

  • He envisaged a Dravida homeland of Dravida Nadu, and launched a political party, Dravidar Kazhagam (DK).

  • Periyar started his political career as a Congress worker in his hometown Erode.

  • He quarrelled with Gandhi over the question of separate dining for Brahmin and non-Brahmin students at Gurukkulam, a Congress-sponsored school owned by nationalist leader V V S Iyer in Cheranmahadevi near Tirunelveli. At the request of parents, Iyer had provided separate dining for Brahmin students, which Periyar opposed.

  • Gandhi proposed a compromise, arguing that while it may not be a sin for a person not to dine with another, he would rather respect their scruples.

  • After failing to bend the Congress to his view, Periyar resigned from the party in 1925, and associated himself with the Justice Party and the Self Respect Movement, which opposed the dominance of Brahmins in social life, especially the bureaucracy.

  • The Justice Party had a decade earlier advocated reservation for non-Brahmins in the bureaucracy and, after coming to power in the Madras Presidency, issued an order to implement it.

  • Periyar’s fame spread beyond the Tamil region during the Vaikom Satyagraha of 1924, a mass movement to demand that lower caste persons be given the right to use a public path in front of the famous Vaikom temple.

  • During the 1920s and 30s, Periyar combined social and political reform, and challenged the conservatism of the Congress and the mainstream national movement in the Tamil region.

  • He argued that caste was imported to the Tamil region by Aryan Brahmins, who spoke Sanskrit and came from Northern India.

  • In the 1930s, when the Congress Ministry imposed Hindi, he drew a parallel with the Aryanisation process, and claimed it was an attack on Tamil identity and self-respect. Under him, the Dravidian Movement became a struggle against caste and an assertion of Tamil national identity.

  • In the 1940s, Periyar launched Dravidar Kazhagam, which espoused an independent Dravida Nadu comprising Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, and Kannada speakers. The Dravidian linguistic family was the foundation on which he based his idea of a Dravida national identity.

  • These ideas had a seminal influence on the shaping of the political identity and culture of the Tamil speaking areas of Madras Presidency, and continue to resonate in present-day Tamil Nadu.

Periyar died in 1973 at the age of 94.

Source: Indian Express


Part of GS- 3 Defence and Security

Why in news?

Last week, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) carried out two successful tests of the latest variant of the BrahMos missile, one from the land platform and the other from air.


BrahMos, developed through a collaboration between India and Russia, is one of the most advanced weapons in India’s armoury.

The missile:

  • BrahMos is a cruise missile, meaning it can be guided towards a pre-determined land- or sea-based target.

  • With a capability to attain speeds 2.8 times that of sound (Mach 2.8), BrahMos is classified as supersonic cruise missile.

  • A newer version under development is aimed at flying at speeds greater than Mach 5.

  • These are called hypersonic cruise missiles. Besides decreasing the reaction time of the enemy, higher speeds also substantially reduce the chances of the missile getting intercepted.

  • An amalgam of the names of the rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva, BrahMos is being produced by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture company set up by DRDO and Mashinostroyenia of Russia in 1998.

  • The first version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was inducted into the Indian Navy in 2005, meant to be fired from INS Rajput.

  • Recent air-based test of the missile marked the completion of the integration of BrahMos missile with the Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft.