• Current Affair , 27th February 2020

    • February 27, 2020
    • Posted By : upliftlife
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    1. Pulse Polio Programme



    • The Union health ministry has launched the campaign to check the disease that affects children at a young age.
    • The World Health Organization (WHO) defines polio or poliomyelitis as “a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children.”
    • The virus is transmitted by person-to-person, spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g. contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.
    • Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs. In a small proportion of cases, the disease causes paralysis, which is often permanent. There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented by immunization.”
    • India launched the Pulse Polio immunisation programme in 1995, after a resolution for a global initiative of polio eradication was adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA)in 1988.
    • Children in the age group of 0-5 years are administered polio drops during national and sub-national immunisation rounds (in high-risk areas) every year.
    • To prevent the virus from coming to India, the government has since March 2014 made the Oral Polio Vaccination (OPV)mandatory for those travelling between India and polio-affected countries, such as Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Syria and Cameroon




    1. online trading platform for agriculture produce



    • E-NAM (National Agriculture Market) is an online trading platform for agriculture produce aiming to help farmers, traders, and buyers with online trading and getting a better price by smooth marketing.
    • It was launched by the Centre in 2015 and the government had to extend it in a phased manner across the 585 mandis of the country by December 31, 2019.
    • For the farmers,NAM promises more options for sale. It would increase his access to markets through warehouse based sales and thus obviate the need to transport his produce to the mandi.
    • For the local trader in the mandi / market,NAM offers the opportunity to access a larger national market for secondary trading.
    • Bulk buyers, processors, exporters etc.benefit from being able to participate directly in trading at the local mandi / market level through the NAM platform, thereby reducing their intermediation costs.
    • The gradual integration of all the major mandis in the States into NAM will ensure common procedures for issue of licences, levy of fee and movement of produce.
    • The NAM will also facilitate the emergence of value chains in major agricultural commodities across the country and help to promote scientific storage and movement of agri goods.
    • Fragmentation of state into multiple market areas. Poor quality of infrastructure and low use of technology. In the traditional mandi system, farmers generally procured very less price for their crops as they had to pass through various intermediaries at the physical marketplace. This not only adds costs but also handling costs. In addition, the farmer has to face obstacles in form of multiple tax levies and licenses and weak logistics and infrastructure in India.


    1. Sub-categorization within other Backward Classes in the Central List



    • Cabinet approves Extension of term of the commission constituted under Article 340 of the constitutionto examine the issue of Sub-categorization within other Backward Classes in the Central List.
    • That means un-equals cannot be treated equally.Measures are required to be taken for the upliftment of un-equals to bring them on par with the advanced classes.
    • In view of this, the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)proposed the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) back in 2015.
    • In October 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind, in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 340 of the Constitution, appointed a commission to examine the issue of sub-categorisation of OBCs, chaired by retired Justice G. Rohini,to ensure social justice in an efficient manner by prioritising the Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs).
    • Sub categorization of the OBCs will ensure that the more backward among the OBC communities can also access the benefits of reservation for educational institutions and government jobs.
    • At present, there is no sub-categorisation and 27% reservation is a monolithic entity.




    1. Cabinet approves Model MoU with foreign countries for unilateral/bilateral recognition of Certificates of Competency of seafarer


    • Cabinet approves Model MoU with foreign countries for unilateral/bilateral recognition of Certificates of Competency of seafarers.
    • This is in pursuant to Regulation  1/10 of International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for Seafarers.
    • It will facilitate unilateral recognition by another country of the certificates issued by the Directorate General of Shipping to Indian seafarers, without seeking similar recognition by India of the certificates issued by that country.
    • Indian Seafarers, therefore, will be eligible to be placed on ships under the flag of that country for employment, thus leading to increased employment opportunities.
    • The bilateral MoU would make the seafarers of both the countries to be eligible for employment on ships of either party based on the certificates so recognized.  India being a seafarer supplying nation with large pool of trained seafarers will stand to be benefitted.
    • The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (or STCW), 1978sets qualification standards for masters, officers and watch personnel on seagoing merchant ships.
    • STCW was adopted in 1978 by conference at the International Maritime Organization (IMO)in London, and entered into force in 1984.
    • The 1978 STCW Convention was the first to establish basic requirements on training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers on an international level.
    • The Convention prescribes minimum standards relating to training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers which countries are obliged to meet or exceed.
    • One important feature of the Convention is that it applies to ships of non-party States when visiting ports of States which are Parties to the Convention.
    • The Manila amendments to the STCW Convention and Codewere adopted on 25 June 2010, marking a major revision of the STCW Convention and Code.


    1. First Anniversary National War Memorial



    • The National War Memorial was dedicated to the Armed Forces by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India one year ago on 25 Feb 2019. It is a tribute by the grateful nation to its fallen heroes in the line of duty during various external wars and Internal security challenges that the Armed Forces of the country have faced since 1947.
    • Ever since its dedication to the Armed Forces a year back, the memorial has witnessed an enthusiastic participation with over 21 lakh visitors, both foreign and domestic. Over 5000-7000 people visit the monument every day which includes large numbers of school student from NCR. Hon’ble President and the Hon’ble Prime Minister have paid tribute thrice at the Memorial in the last one year. The most poignant moment of the day is the wreath-laying ceremony, which is conducted every evening, wherein one of the next of kin of martyrs lay the wreath at Amar Chakra.
    • The first anniversary events commenced from 22 Feb with a static band display by three services on three consecutive days. A wreath laying ceremony by the Chief of Defence Staff along with veterans from the three services was organised at National War Memorial on 25 Feb 2020. A Quiz competition, based on Indian military history, will also be held on 26th  Feb 2020 comprising students from schools and colleges across Delhi. It was a great opportunity for citizens to observe and interact with members of the armed forces and take part in celebration of independent India’s first National War Memorial.



    1. Indonesia: Floods in Jakarta worsen; inundates thousands of homes & buildings



    • Floods that have crippled much of Indonesia’s capital worsened today, inundating thousands of homes and buildings, including the Presidential Palace, and paralysing transport networks, said officials.
    • Overnight rains caused more rivers to burst their banks in greater Jakarta starting Sunday, sending muddy water up to 1.5 meters (5 feet) deep into more residential and commercial areas, said Agus Wibowo, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency’s spokesman.
      Severe flooding and landslides that hit greater Jakarta early last month killed more than 60 people, displaced hundreds of thousands and forced an airport to close.
    • Seasonal downpours cause dozens of landslides and flash floods each year in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile plains.


    1. Bahrain suspends its flights to Dubai over fears about spread of novel coronavirus


    • Bahrain has suspended its flights to Dubai, today, over fears about the spread of novel coronavirus.
    • The move by Bahrain, a small island off the coast of Saudi Arabia, suggested its monarchy had doubts about screenings of incoming passengers in Dubai and nearby Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.
    • It said the ban was immediate and would last at least 48 hours. Bahrain counted its first case of the coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 illness yesterday in a school bus driver who transited Dubai while coming from Iran.
    • Iran’s government said yesterday that 12 people had died nationwide from the novel coronavirus, rejecting claims of a much higher death toll of 50 by a lawmaker from the city of Qom that has been at the epicenter of the virus in the country. Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq and Oman also announced their first cases of the virus yesterdsay and connected them to travel with Iran. The UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula, has reported 13 cases of the new virus. Most of those were connected with travel to China.



    1. EAO (East Asian Observatory)



    • India is in preliminary discussions to be a part of the East Asian Observatories Consortiumof eight countries committed to build large telescopes and pool resources.
    • Formed  by EACOA (East Asian Core Observatories Association) for the purpose of pursuing joint projects in astronomy within the East Asian region.
    • The intention of EAO is to build and operate facilities, which will enhance and leverage existing and planned regional facilities.
    • It will also raise funding and to build an observatory staff, separate from that of the EACOA institutions.
    • The EAO is chartered as a non-profit Hawaii corporation.
    • Its first task is to assume the operation of the James Clerk Maxwell Submillimetre Telescope (JCMT)on the summit of Maunakea, Hawai`i.
    • It consists of China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea as full members and Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia as ‘observers’.
    • Having India join the group could mean the establishment of new kinds of telescopes — one proposed being in Tibet —that could aid the observation of new black holes and throw light on cosmic phenomena.



    1. Democracy Index





    • Democracy Index 2019has been released.
    • The report ranks 165 independent states and two territories, covering almost the entire population of the world.

    About the index:

    • It is released annually by The Economist Intelligence Unit.
    • It provides a snapshot of the state of world democracy for 165 independent states and two territories.
    • The Index is based on five categories:
    • Electoral process and pluralism.
    • Civil liberties.
    • Functioning of government.
    • Political participation.
    • Political culture.
    • Based on their scores on 60 indicators within these categories, each country is then itself classified as one of four types of regime: full democracy; flawed democracy; hybrid regime; and authoritarian regime.
    • Performance of India:
    • In 2019, India slipped 10 places to 51st position.
    • It is placed in the “flawed democracy” category,which also includes Bangladesh (5.88).
    • Its score, down from from 7.23 in 2018 to 6.90 in 2019, is its lowest ever since the Democracy Index was begun in 2006.
    1. Birth rate in China has fallen to the lowest in 70 years


    • Birth rate in 2019 was at 10.48 per 1,000, the lowest since 1949.
    • The number of babies born in 2019 fell by over 580,000 to 14.65 million.
    • This fall in birth rate can be largely attributed to China’s one-child policy,which came into force in 1979 under then leader Deng Xiaoping.
    • It was adopted out of the Malthusian fears that unchecked population growth would lead to economic and environmental catastrophe.It was also a response to concerns about food shortages.
    • Thomas Robert Malthuswas the first economist to propose a systematic theory of population. He articulated his views regarding population in his famous book, Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), for which he collected empirical data to support his thesis.
    • He argued that if left unchecked, a population will outgrow its resources, leading to a host of problems.
    • In essence, it did bring down the population by 400 million, according to Chinese officials. But, it failed to spark a baby boom. When the announcement was made, 11 million couples were eligible to have a second child. As such, officials were expecting around two million births in 2014. That figure never came into fruition as only 700,000 couples applied for the new dispensation and only 620,000 were given a permit. In other words, China is facing a huge demographic issue in the next years to come. They have a rapidly aging population where a quarter will be over 60 by 2030.
    • The implications of such a policy being enforced in India would surely have been more disastrous than it did in China. India is way behind China in basic development indicators like life expectancy, IMR and maternal mortality rate. The preference of a male child, the regional disparities in development, and the growing intolerance against minorities in the present milieu would be further magnified with the state entering homes and enforcing such strict norms.
    • The fact that women are at the receiving end of such policies in a patriarchal society is another story in itself. The burden of limiting family size falls on the woman, and most often female sterilisations are promoted rather than giving the couple the choice of contraception.
    • Limiting family size cannot be an end in itself at the neglect of basic needs and services like food security, housing, education, and health.


    1. Global Social Mobility Report.



    • The report has ranked India a lowly 76 out of the 82 countries profiled.
    • It lists India among the five countries that stand to gain the most from a better social mobility score. It ranks 41st in lifelong learning and 53rd in working conditions. The Areas of improvement for India include social protection (76th) and fair wage distribution (79th).
    • The Nordic nations hold the top five spots, led by Denmark in the first place (scoring 85 points), followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden (all above 83 points) and Iceland (82 points). Among the G7 economies, Germany is the most socially mobile, ranking 11th with 78 points.
    • It can be understood as the movement in personal circumstances either “upwards” or “downwards” of an individual in relation to those of their parents. In absolute terms, it is the ability of a child to experience a better life than their parents. On the other hand, relative social mobility is an assessment of the impact of socio-economic background on an individual’s outcomes in life. It can be measured against a number of outcomes ranging from health to educational achievement and income.
    • The Global Social Mobility Index reveals that there are only a handful of nations with the right conditions to foster social mobility. Most countries underperform in four areas: fair wages, social protection, working conditions and lifelong learning. The index also reveals that achieving higher levels of social mobility needs to be perceived as an important element of a wider move towards a stakeholder-based model of capitalism. Looking at all economies and average income levels, those children who are born into less affluent families typically experience greater barriers to success than their more affluently born counterparts.


    1. Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)



    • Iran has warned to withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)if the European Nations refer the dispute over its atomic programme to the United Nation Security Council.
    • Britain, France and Germany launched a process last week charging Iran with failing to observe the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.
    • This move could eventually see the Security Council reimpose international sanctions on the country.
    • Iran has accused the three EU member states of inaction over sanctions the United States reimposed on it after unilaterally withdrawing from the landmark accord in 2018.
    • The landmark 2015 deal reached with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme. Since the U.S. pullout, Iran has progressively rolled back its commitments to the accord in retaliation.
    • The NPT is a multilateral treaty aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear weapons including three elements: (1) non-proliferation, (2) disarmament, and (3) peaceful use of nuclear energy. These elements constitute a “grand bargain” between the five nuclear weapon states and the non-nuclear weapon states.
    • The treaty was signed in 1968 and entered into force in 1970. Presently, it has 190 member states.
    • The Treaty defines nuclear weapon states (NWS) as those that had manufactured and detonated a nuclear explosive device prior to 1 January 1967. All the other states are therefore considered non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS).
    • The five nuclear weapon states are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The Treaty does not affect the right of state parties to develop, produce, and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.



    1. Bangladesh records sharp decline in Child malnutrition: UNICEF Survey


    • The child malnutrition rate in Bangladesh has declined sharply over the last six years. The finding was reported in the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2019, jointly conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) and UNICEF. The survey has also recorded an improvement in many other areas related to health and nutrition, Child protection, hygiene and sanitation.
    • The rate of chronic malnutrition among children measured by the stunting level among them has come down from 42 percent in 2013 to 28 percent in 2019. The percentage of underweight children below 5 also declined from about 32 percent to 22.6 percent over the same period. The infant mortality rate has also declined from 46 to 34 per thousand live births between 2012-13 and 2019.
    • The survey reports that the percentage of children of school entry age who enter the first grade of primary school marked a sharp upward trend from 33 percent in 2012-13 to 61.4 in 2019.
    • The survey also records improvement in access to and use of toilets, birth registration, ante-natal care coverage, institutional deliveries and similar other parameters indicating an overall improvement in child and mother health in the country.
    • However, the availability of Children’s books declined from 8.8 percent to 6.1 percent during this period. The incidence of violent disciplining of children has shown an upward trend during this period.
    • The Global MICS Programme was developed by UNICEF in the 1990s. It collects internationally comparable data on a wide range of indicators on the situation of children and women for use in policies, programmes, and national development plans.





    1. ICC bans Oman player Yousuf Abdulrahim Al Balushi from all forms of cricket for 7 years


    • The International Cricket Council (ICC) has banned Oman player Yousuf Abdulrahim Al Balushi from all forms of cricket for seven years for his involvement in trying to fix matches. Al Balushi accepted four charges of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code. The charges are all related to the ICC men’s T20 World Cup Qualifiers 2019 held in the United Arab Emirates.
    • According to an ICC statement, Al Balushi breached Article 2.1.1 of the Anti-Corruption Code – being party to an agreement or effort to fix or contrive in any way the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of matches. Besides, he also breached Article 2.1.4, Article 2.4.4 and Article 2.4.7 — all relating to corrupt practices.
    • Under the provisions of the code, Al Balushi chose to admit the charges and agreed on the sanction with the ICC in lieu of an Anti-Corruption Tribunal hearing.


    1. India to host Commonwealth Shooting and Archery Championships in January 2022

    • India will host the Commonwealth Shooting and Archery Championships in January 2022. The medals from the two events will be counted for ranking of competing nations at the Birmingham Games. However, the medals will be added to the final tally one week after the conclusion of the Games.
    • The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) announced this decision after the three-day Executive Board meeting in London yesterday.  The two events will be held in Chandigarh in January 2022 while the Birmingham Commonwealth Games is scheduled from 27th of July to 7th of August , 2022.
    • The decision is being  considered a big win for India after IOA  threatened to boycott the 2022 Birmingham Games for dropping shooting from the roster in July last year. But, following a visit by CGF President Louise Martin and CEO David Grevemberg in November last, the IOA withdrew its warning during the Annual General Body Meeting in December.
    • While the cost for the shooting championship is to be met largely by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), the archery event would be funded solely by the Government of India. India also received wholehearted support from International Shooting Sports Federation and World Archery, the global governing bodies of the two sports.



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