Daily Current Affairs : 7-Jan-2020

Major Topics Covered :

  1. NetSCoFAN

  2. TULU










Part of GS- 3 Science & Tech

Why in news?

  • Union Health Minister launched NetSCoFAN (Network for Scientific Co-operation for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition), a network of research & academic institutions working in the area of food & nutrition.

  • “The right kind of diet will help to reduce the disease burden in the country”.


  • This was stated by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare while inaugurating the second edition of the ‘Eat Right Mela’ at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium.

  • He stressed upon the importance of having a Jan Andolan, a peoples’ movement, encouraging people to have healthier diets which will help in reduction of the disease burden in the country.

  • The NetSCoFAN would comprise of eight groups of institutions working in different areas viz. biological, chemical, nutrition & labelling, food of animal origin, food of plant origin, water & beverages, food testing, and safer & sustainable packaging.

  • FSSAI has identified eight Nodal Institutions who would develop a ‘Ready Reckoner’ that will have inventory of all research work, experts and institutions and would carry out and facilitate research, survey and related activities.

  • “Let the ‘Eat Right Melas’ be part of public gatherings like local melas, community programs etc., so that the citizens would learn about health and nutrition benefits of different types of food, dietary advice by experts, engage in dialogues and conversations with food visionaries and experts, relish the delicious street food, live demonstration of food recipes and have fun and entertainment.

Source : PIB


Part of GS- 1 Art & Culture

Why in news?

  • Activists are making efforts to include Tulu in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.


  • Tulu is a textbook example of linguistic discrimination.

  • Tulu is a Dravidian language whose speakers are concentrated in two coastal districts of Karnataka and in Kasaragod district of Kerala.

  • Kasaragod district is called ‘Sapta bhasha Samgama Bhumi (the confluence of seven languages)’, and Tulu is among the seven.

  • The Yuelu Proclamation, made by the UNESCO at Changsha, The People’s Republic of China, in 2018, says that the protection and promotion of linguistic diversity helps to improve social inclusion and partnerships.

  • The Census 2011 reports 18,46,427 native speakers of Tulu in India.

  • The Tulu-speaking people are larger in number than speakers of Manipuri and Sanskrit, which have the Eighth Schedule status.

  • Advantages of including Tulu in the Eighth Schedule:

  • If included in the Eighth Schedule, Tulu would get recognition from the Sahitya Akademi.

  • Tulu books would be translated into other recognised Indian languages.

  • Members of Parliament and MLAs could speak in Tulu in Parliament and State Assemblies, respectively.

  • Candidates could write all-India competitive examinations like the Civil Services exam in Tulu.

Source : The Hindu


Part of GS- 1 Social Issues

Why in news?

  • The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019 has been referred to the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment by the Lok Sabha Speaker.


  • Member of Parliament Rama Devi will head the committee. The committee will examine the bill and submit the report.

  • The committee has decided to invite memoranda containing suggestions, comments and views from the public and various stakeholders. The procedure can be seen at the Lok Sabha website.

Salient features of the bill:

  • Definition of "children" and ‘parents’ has been expanded.

  • Definition of ‘maintenance’ and ‘welfare’ has been expanded.

  • Mode of submission of application for maintenance has been enlarged.

  • Ceiling of Rs.10,000/- as maintenance amount has been removed.

  • Preference to dispose of applications of senior citizens, above eighty years of age, early has been included.

  • Registration of Senior Citizens Care Homes/Homecare Service Agencies etc. have been included.

  • Minimum standards for senior citizen care homes has been included in the Bill.

  • Appointment of Nodal Police Officers for Senior Citizens in every Police Station and District level Special Police Unit for Senior Citizens has been included.

  • Maintenance of Helpline for senior citizens has been included.

Source: AIR


Part of GS- 3 Economy

Why in news?

  • The Reserve Bank of India today released on its website, “Guidelines for ‘on tap’ Licensing of Small Finance Banks in the Private Sector”.


  • The ‘in-principle’ approval will be valid for 18 months, within which Shivalik Mercantile Co-operative Bank had to comply with the norms of a SFB.

  • On being satisfied that the applicant has complied with the requisite conditions as part of “in-principle” approval, the RBI would consider granting it a licence for commencement of banking business under Section 22 (1) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 as a SFB.

  • Major changes from the earlier Guidelines on Small Finance Banks dated November 27, 2014, are

  • The licensing window will be open on-tap;

  • minimum paid-up voting equity capital / net worth requirement shall be ₹ 200 crore;

  • for Primary (Urban) Co-operative Banks (UCBs), desirous of voluntarily transiting into Small Finance Banks (SFBs) initial requirement of net worth shall be at ₹ 100 crore, which will have to be increased to ₹ 200 crore within five years from the date of commencement of business. Incidentally, the net-worth of all SFBs currently in operation is in excess of ₹ 200 crore;

  • SFBs will be given scheduled bank status immediately upon commencement of operations;

  • SFBs will have general permission to open banking outlets from the date of commencement of operations;

  • Payments Banks can apply for conversion into SFB after five years of operations, if they are otherwise eligible as per these guidelines.


  • It may be recalled that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had last issued guidelines for licensing of Small Finance Banks in the private sector on November 27, 2014.

  • In June 2018, the RBI had announced that it would allow voluntary transition of UCBs which meet certain conditions into SFBs, in pursuance of the recommendations of High Powered Committee on UCBs (2015), chaired by Shri R Gandhi.

  • Accordingly, the “Scheme on voluntary transition of Urban Co-operative Bank into a Small Finance Bank” was issued on September 27, 2018.

  • Consequently, the Reserve Bank issued in-principle approval to ten applicants and they have since established the banks.

  • It was mentioned in the guidelines that after gaining experience in dealing with these banks, RBI would consider receiving the applications on a continuous basis.

  • In the Second Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2019-20 dated June 06, 2019, it was announced that the Draft Guidelines for ‘on tap’ Licensing of such banks will be issued.

  • Accordingly, the draft guidelines were published on the RBI website on September 13, 2019 inviting comments from the stakeholders and members of the public.

  • Taking into consideration the responses received, the final guidelines have now been issued.

Source: RBI


Part of GS- Education

Why in news?

  • The Supreme Court has held that state can regulate minority educational institutions.


  • The judgment came on a challenge to the validity of the West Bengal Madrasah Service Commission Act of 2008.

  • The State Act mandated that the process of appointment of teachers in aided madrasahs, recognised as minority institutions, would be done by a Commission, whose decision would be binding.

  • The Supreme Court held that the State is well within its rights to introduce a regulatory regime in the “national interest” to provide minority educational institutions with well-qualified teachers in order for them to “achieve excellence in education.”

  • The managements of minority institutions cannot ignore such a legal regime by saying that it is their fundamental right under Article 30 of the Constitution to establish and administer their educational institutions according to their choice.

Source : The Hindu


Part of GS- 3 Science & Tech

Why in news?

  • India plans to ring in its own era of space-to-space tracking and communication of its space assets this year by putting up a new satellite series called the Indian Data Relay Satellite System (IDRSS).


  • The IDRSS is planned to track and be constantly in touch with Indian satellites, in particular those in low-earth orbits which have limited coverage of earth.

  • Work on the two IDRSS satellites planned initially has begun.

  • The first of them will be sent towards the end of 2020. It will precede the pre-Gaganyaan experimental unmanned space flight which will have a humanoid dummy.

  • A second one will follow in 2021.

  • The two will offer near total tracking, sending and receiving of information from the crew 24/7.

  • In the coming years, it will be vital to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), whose roadmap is dotted with advanced LEO missions such as space docking, space station, as well as distant expeditions to moon, Mars and Venus. It will also be useful in monitoring launches.

  • The first beneficiary would be the prospective crew members of the Gaganyaan mission of 2022 who can be fully and continuously in touch with mission control throughout their travel.

Source : The Hindu


Part of GS- 3 Economy

Why in news?

  • The Central Government in consultation with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has notified new energy performance standards for Room Air Conditioner (RACs) on 30th October 2019.


  • All Room Air Conditioners to have Default Temperature Setting of 24 Degrees Celsius from Jan 1, 2020

  • The notification states, “All brands and types of star labelled room air conditioners, namely, Multi-Stage Capacity Air Conditioners, Unitary Air Conditioners and Split Air Conditioners which are rated from one star to five star, based on their relative energy efficiencies up to a rated cooling capacity of 10,465 Watts (9,000 kcal/hour) and manufactured, commercially purchased or sold in India, shall ensure default setting of temperature in the room air conditioners at twenty-four degrees Celsius with effect from the 1st January 2020.”

  • The Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (ISEER) will range from (3.30 - 5.00) for split and (2.70 – 3.50) for window air conditioners, which will be applicable from 1st January 2021 onwards.

  • BEE launched the voluntary star labelling program for fixed-speed room air conditioners (RACs) in 2006, and this program became mandatory on 12th January 2009.

  • Thereafter, in 2015, voluntary star labelling program for inverter room air conditioners was launched and which was made mandatory with effect from 1st January 2018.

  • The BEE star labelling program for Room Air Conditioners now covers both fixed and inverter RAC up to a cooling capacity of 10,465 watts (2.97 TR).

  • Continual enhancement in performance levels has resulted in substantial energy efficiency improvement of about 43% in the minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for split units, which are the most popular RACs sold in the market.

  • ISEER (Indian Seasonal Energy efficiency ratio) is the energy performance index used for Room Air Conditioners (RACs) and its assessment is based on the bin hours defined in ISO 16358.

About BEE:

  • BEE is a statutory body under the Ministry of Power, Government of India.

  • It is assisted in developing policies and strategies with the primary objective of reducing the energy intensity of the Indian economy.

  • BEE coordinates with designated consumers, designated agencies, and other organization to identify and utilize the existing resources and infrastructure, in performing the functions assigned to it under the energy conservation act.

Source: PIB


Part of GS- 2 International

Why in news?

  • Responding to President Donald Trump’s threat to attack sites that were “important to Iran and Iranian culture”, Iran’s Foreign Minister said that Trump threatens to commit again new breaches of JUS COGENS.


  • JUS COGENS or ius cogens, meaning “compelling law” in Latin, are rules in international law that are peremptory or authoritative, and from which states cannot deviate.

  • These norms cannot be offset by a separate treaty between parties intending to do so, since they hold fundamental values.

  • Today, most states and international organisations accept the principle of jus cogens, which dates back to Roman times.

  • The jus cogens rules have been sanctioned by the Vienna Conventions on the Law of Treaties of 1969 and 1986.

  • According to both Conventions, a treaty is void if it breaches jus cogens rules.

  • Besides treaties, unilateral declarations also have to abide by these norms.

  • So far, an exhaustive list of jus cogens rules does not exist.

  • However, the prohibition of slavery, genocide, racial discrimination, torture, and the right to self-determination are recognised norms.

  • The prohibition against apartheid is also recognised as a jus cogens rule, from which no derogation is allowed, since apartheid is against the basic principles of the United Nations.

Source : Indian Express


Part of GS- 3 Economy

Why in news?

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to impose restrictions on urban cooperative banks (UCBs) for deterioration of financial position, in line with the prompt corrective action (PCA) framework that is imposed on commercial banks.


  • For breach of such risk thresholds, UCBs will have to submit an action plan to correct the situation like reducing net NPAs below 6%, for restoring the profitability and wiping out the accumulated losses, and increasing capital adequacy ratio to 9% or above within 12 months.

  • The RBI may also seek a board-approved proposal for merging the UCB with another bank or converting itself into a credit society if CAR falls below 9%.

  • It can impose restrictions on declaration or payment of dividend or donation.

  • Some of the other curbs include restricting fresh loans and advances carrying risk-weights more than 100% on incurring capital expenditure beyond a specified limit and on expansion of the balance sheet.

  • The move comes in the wake of the recent crisis at the PMC Bank.

  • Under this revised Supervisory Action Framework (SAF), UCBs will face restrictions for worsening of three parameters:

  • when net non-performing assets exceed 6% of net advances,

  • when they incur losses for two consecutive financial years or have accumulated losses on their balance sheets, and

  • if capital adequacy ratio falls below 9%.

Source : The Hindu


Part of GS- 3 Science & Tech

Why in news?

  • California’s new privacy law — the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)is first-of-its-kind data legislation. As users’ data are increasingly commodified by technology conglomerates, the law — which went into effect on January 1 — gives Californians new controls over how companies use their data.


  • These controls include the right to access the data, the right to ask for its deletion, and the right to prevent its sale to third parties.

  • The law only applies to businesses with gross annual revenues of more than $25 million; those that buy, receive or sell the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers in California; or those that derive more than half of their annual revenue from selling consumers’ personal information.

  • The law applies to businesses collecting information of Californians; not just to businesses that operate in the state.

  • Unintentional noncompliance will lead to fines of $2,500 per violation; intentional noncompliance will attract a penalty of $7,500 per violation.

  • Significantly, because of the global nature of the Internet, these changes will affect users worldwide. Even Indian companies that have customers in California would have to comply with the law.

  • “What this new law comes down to is giving consumers the right to take back control over their information from thousands of giant corporations. This is about power: the more a company knows about you, the more power it has to shape your daily life. That power is exercised on the spectrum ranging from the benign, such as showing you a shoe ad, to the consequential, like selecting your job, your housing, or helping to shape what candidate you support in an election,” Alastair Mactaggart, author of the 2018 ballot initiative that led to CCPA, wrote in the law’s proposal.

  • Comparison of this act with India’s proposed data protection bill:

  • Several of these rights are also in India’s Personal Data Protection Bill.

  • These include the right to access a copy of your data, and the right to deletion. India’s bill goes further in some regards, including the right to correction.

  • However, India’s bill is more focused on users’ rights over collections, while California’s act is focused more on the third-party sharing and selling of a user’s data.

Source : Indian Express

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