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UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 23-April-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. Promulgation of an Ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 in the light of the pandemic situation of COVID-19

  2. Siberian crane: The species may vanish & why

  3. Giraffe

  4. VidyaDaan 2.0

  5. No 100% quota for tribal teachers: Supreme Court

  6. Global remittances will see a sharp fall: WB 

  7. Moonshot for Biology


Why in news?

  • During the current COVID-19 pandemic, there have been instances of the most critical service providers i.e. members of healthcare services being targeted and attacked by miscreants, thereby obstructing them from doing their duties. 


  • The current Ordinance is intended to ensure that during any situation akin to the current pandemic, there is zero tolerance to any form of violence against healthcare service personnel and damage to property. 

  • Violence as defined in the Ordinance will include harassment and physical injury and damage to property. 

  • Healthcare service personnel include public and clinical healthcare service providers such as doctors, nurses, paramedical workers and community health workers; any other persons empowered under the Act to take measures to prevent the outbreak of the disease or spread thereof; and any persons declared as such by the State Government, by notification in the Official Gazette. 

  • The penal provisions can be invoked in instances of damage to property including a clinical establishment, any facility identified for quarantine and isolation of patients, mobile medical units and any other property in which the healthcare service personnel have direct interest in relation to the epidemic.

  • The amendment makes acts of violence cognizable and non-bailable offences. 

  • Commission or abetment of such acts of violence shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of three months to five years, and with fine of Rs.50,000/- to Rs.2,00,000/-.  In case of causing grievous hurt, imprisonment shall be for a term six months to seven years and with fine of Rs.1,00,000/- to Rs.5,00,000/-.   In addition, the offender shall also be liable to pay compensation to the victim and twice the fair market value for damage of property.

  • Offences shall be investigated by an officer of the rank of Inspector within a period of 30 days, and trial has to be completed in one year, unless extended by the court for reasons to be recorded in writing.

Source : PIB ( )


Why in news?

  • This critically endangered species is now only found in one main population in East Asia, with a few birds remaining in the historic Western/Central population. 


  • Among cranes, its serrated bill makes it unique, and enables it to easily feed on underground roots and slippery prey items.

  • Easily recognisable, it has red skin on the forehead, face and sides of the head, and white plumage with black wingtips, reddish pink legs. 

  • The Eastern population breeds in northeastern Siberia and winters at Poyang Lake in the Lower Yangtze River Basin in China.

  • In the Western/Central population, a single crane named Omid (Hope) continues to winter along the south coast of the Caspian Sea in Iran. 

  • Omid’ is the last remaining bird from the western population which prefers to spend winter in Iran and, previously, Rajasthan. These birds have not been sighted in Bharatpur National Park of Rajasthan since 2001. 

  • There are only 3,200 Siberian cranes left in the world. 

  • These cranes feed and nest primarily in marshes, bogs and other wetlands where there are wide reaches of shallow fresh water with good visibility. 

  • Siberian cranes are not very social. During breeding and winter seasons individuals are territorial.

  • Family flocks number about 12 to 15 cranes.

  • They are aquatic birds, and use the wetlands for feeding, roosting, nesting and other behavioural displays.

Source : Times of India ( )


Why in news?

  • Illegal hunting, habitat loss and changes through expanding agriculture and mining, increasing humanwildlife conflict, and civil unrest are all pushing the species towards extinction.


  • The giraffe is the tallest living terrestrial animal and the largest ruminant.

  • It has nine subspecies.

  • Two-subspecies — Nubian and Kordofan giraffe — are listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ and

  • Two others — reticulated and Masai giraffe — are listed as ‘Endangered’ by the IUCN.

  • The rest have been notified as vulnerable. 

  • Illegal hunting, habitat loss and changes through expanding agriculture and mining, increasing human wildlife conflict, and civil unrest are all pushing the species towards extinction. 

  • Some scientists believe that zebras, antelope, and wildebeests often congregate near giraffes to take advantage of their ability to see danger from a distance. The giraffe could be considered the early warning system of the African grasslands. 

  • Baby giraffes tend to stand immediately after birth thanks to their rapidly inflating legs. 

  • White Giraffe :

  • The white appearance of the giraffe is due to leucism, a genetic condition that causes skin cells to have no pigmentation.

Source : Times of India ( )


Why in news?

  • The Union Human Resource Development minister e-launched VidyaDaan 2.0 program for inviting e-learning content contributions.


  • VidyaDaan is conceptualised as a common national program for individuals & organizations across the country to donate/contribute e-learning resources for both school and higher education to ensure continuity of quality learning.

  • The content will be used on the DIKSHA app to help millions of children across the country to continue their learning anytime and anywhere.

  • Contributions can be made by educationists, subject experts, schools, colleges, Universities, Institutes, government and non-government organisations, individuals, etc. 

Source : PIB ( )


Why in news?

  • A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court held it unconstitutional to provide 100% reservation for tribal teachers in schools located in Scheduled Areas across the country.

Highlights :

  • A 152-page judgment by a Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra said it was an “obnoxious idea” to have only tribals teach tribals.

  • It is an obnoxious idea that tribals only should teach the tribals. When there are other local residents, why they cannot teach is not understandable. The action defies logic and is arbitrary. Merit cannot be denied in toto by providing reservation

  •  The five-judge Bench was answering a reference made to it in 2016 on whether 100% reservation is permissible under the Constitution.

  • The court held that 100% reservation is discriminatory and impermissible. The opportunity of public employment is not the prerogative of few. A 100% reservation to the Scheduled Tribes has deprived Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes also of their due representation.

  • The court referred to the Indira Sawhney judgment, which caps reservation at 50%.

  • Citizens have equal rights, and the total exclusion of others by creating an opportunity for one class is not contemplated by the founding fathers of the Constitution of India

  • The case stemmed from a legal challenge to January 10, 2000 order issued by the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh Bench providing 100% reservation to the Scheduled Tribe candidates, out of whom 33.1/3% shall be women, for the post of teachers in schools located in the Scheduled Areas of the State. The court said the 2000 notification was “unreasonable and arbitrary”.

Source : Hindu ( )


Why in news?

  • Global remittances are projected to experience their sharpest decline in recent times — 20% — owing to migrants losing jobs and wages because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group said in a report released on Wednesday. 


  • The pandemic and declining oil prices are likely to reduce remittances from the U.S., the U.K., and EU countries to South Asia, resulting in a projected fall of 22% in remittances to $109 billion. 

  • In India, remittances for 2020 are projected to fall by 23% to $64 billion.

  • Remittances are crucial in low and middle income countries, financing household and family expenses — such as on higher education. 

  • Studies have shown that higher remittances improve nutritional outcomes by increasing investments in higher education, a fall in these remittances puts these outcomes at risk

Source : Hindu ( )


Why in news?

  • The Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI), Kerala here is gearing up to play a key role in a nationwide project to decode the genetic information of all known species of plants and animals in the country.


  • The Institute has been selected as one of the Biological Knowledge and Resource Centres of the Indian Initiative on Earth BioGenome Sequencing (IIEBS). It will join hands with other premier research institutes to utilise cutting edge technologies for genome sequencing. 

  • The whole genome sequencing of 1,000 species of plants and animals will be taken up in the initial phase of IIEBS to be completed over a period of five years

  • The project was part of the Earth BioGenome Project, an international initiative to catalogue life on the planet. This will eventually lead to the generation of the genetic blueprint of all living forms.

  • Described as a “moonshotfor Biology”, EBP aims to sequence the genetic codes of all of earth’s eukaryotic biodiversity over a period of 10 years. 

  • The digital repository of genome sequences is expected to provide the critical infrastructure for better understanding of ecosystems and conservation of biodiversity as well as the development of new treatments for infectious and inherited diseases, agricultural products, biomaterials and biological fuels.

Source : Hindu ( )

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