• Current Affairs , 02 JANUARY 2020

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    1. 2nd SDG India Index 2019
    2. Capital continues to reel under severe cold, minimum temperature recorded at 2.4°C
    3. Railways announces marginal fare hike
    4. GST revenue crosses 1 Lakh crore rupees
    5. 4 IAF personnel selected for training in Russia for Gaganyaan Mission to be launched in 2022
    6. Vinod Kumar Yadav assumes charge as Chairman, Railway Board on reappointment for period of one year
    7. 16th ISFR-2019 by FSI released
    8. PM condoles passing away of Speaker of Nagaland’s Assembly, Er. Vikho-o Yhoshu
    9. Rabi Crops Sowing area increases by 35.9 Lakh Hectare
    • Index of Eight Core Industries (Base: 2011-12=100) November, 2019
    1. DG All India Radio F Sheheryar retires from service
    2. Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen defends anti-infiltration law aimed at China
    3. North Korea threatens to unveil a new strategic weapon soon
    4. Sri Lanka: Public officials administered oath for efficient, productive service
    5. MS Dhoni picked captain of ESPNCricinfo’s ODI and T20 teams of past decade

     

     

     

    NATIONAL NEWS

     

    1. 2nd SDG India Index 2019

     

     

    • NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog has released the2nd edition of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index and dashboard for the year 2019 in New Delhi. Kerala topped the index with a score of 70. The index gives a brief analysis on the progress made by states and union territories(UTs) towards achieving the 2030 SDG targets.
    • SDG improvements by India: The composite score of India has improved to 60 in 2019from 57 in 2018. Huge improvements were made Goals 6 (clean water and sanitation), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) and 7 (affordable and clean energy).
    • The 2019 index was based on 54 targets spread over 100 indicators out of 306 outlined by the UN, and these 100 indicators are drawn from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation’s (MoSPI’s) National Indicator Framework (NIF).
    • Kerala was followed by Himachal Pradesh in the 2nd rank with a score of 69. Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu together ranked at the third position with a score of 67.
    • Bihar was followed by Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh as the worst performing states. Gujarat did not show any improvement from 2018
    • Based on the ‘zero hunger’ parameters, Goa, Mizoram, Kerala, Nagaland and Manipur were the front runners.
    1. Index development:The index has been developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), United Nations(UN) in India and Global Green Growth Institute.

    ii.Indicators: The 2019 index was based on 54 targets spread over 100 indicators out of 306 outlined by the UN, and these 100 indicators are drawn from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation’s (MoSPI’s) National Indicator Framework (NIF). The 2018 index was launched with 13 goals and 39 indicators.

    iii.The SDG India Index 2.0 and the dashboard will make India to track and encourage progress to meet the SDGs across all its states and UTs. Close coordination with the states for the next 5 years will be made as only 12 years are left to achieve SDG and to save planet from adverse effects of climate change.

    • 2020 will be the final decade for achieving the SDGs- the ‘Decade for Action’.

    iv.Being in the 5th year period of the SDG era, India’s progress in the global goals is very crucial as the country constitutes one-sixth of the world’s population.

    v.SDG India Index score is given based on the following criteria. They are:

    • Aspirant: 0-49
    • Performer: 50-64
    • Front Runner: 65-99
    • Achiever: 100

    vi.State categories: 

    • Uttar Pradesh(UP), Bihar and Assam were previously in the ‘aspirant’ category with scores in the range of 0 to 49. They have now improved to the ‘performer’ category (50 to 64).
    • Andhra Pradesh(AP), Telangana, Karnataka, Goa and Sikkim that were previously in the ‘performer’ category,now moved to the ‘front runner’ category (65 to 99).

    vii.The 1st of the SDG India Index was launched in 2018 with the help of UN & took into account 16 out of 17 goals specified by the UN as SDGs.

    viii.The SDGs, have 17 goals ,169 related targets & 306 national indicators to be achieved by 2030 as framed by the UN.

    1. Capital continues to reel under severe cold, minimum temperature recorded at 2.4°C

     

     

    • Delhi continues to reel under severe cold conditions as the minimum temperature was recorded 2.4 degrees Celsius this morning.
    • The weather department has forecast a partly cloudy sky with moderate fog over the next few days. Twenty-nine trains were delayed by two to nine hours due to fog.
    • Air quality index of the city also remains in a severe category as the index was recorded at 439.

     

    1. Railways announces marginal fare hike

     

     

     

    • The railways has announced a marginal fare hike across its network effective from today. The suburban fares remain unchanged, while ordinary non-AC, non-suburban fares were increased by one paise per kilometre of the journey. The railways also announced a two paise per kilometre hike in fares of mail and express non-AC trains and four paise per kilometre hike in the fares of AC classes.
    • Keeping the affordability concerns of daily commuters, there shall be no fare hike for passengers over suburban sections and season ticket holders. This class constitutes 66 per cent of total passenger segment over Indian railways. Last fare revision over Indian Railways was done in 2014-15.
    • The Ministry said, Railways has continuously endeavoured to augment passenger experience through modernization of coaches and provision of improved facilities over stations. It said, in order to expand passenger amenities and facilities at various railway stations and trains, it has become imperative to increase the fare marginally without overburdening any class of passengers. The fare hike is also applicable to premium trains such as Shatabdi, Rajdhani and Duronto.

     

    1. GST revenue crosses 1 Lakh crore rupees

     

    • The GST revenue collection has crossed one lakh crore rupees in December last year, which is a growth of 16 per cent over the revenue collected in the same month in 2018. The total GST collected during last month was one lakh three thousand and 184 crore rupees.
    • Finance Ministry said, a total of over 81 lakh GSTR 3B returns were filed for the month of November up to 31st December 2019.

     

    1. 4 IAF personnel selected for training in Russia for Gaganyaan Mission to be launched in 2022

     

     

    • ISRO Chairman Dr. K Sivan has announced that four air men from Indian Air Force have been identified for India’s first manned mission to space, Gaganyan.
    • Speaking to media persons in Bengaluru today he said the four chosen airmen will undergo astronauts’ training in Russia from third week of January. Gaganyan is planned to be launched in 2022 as announced by the Prime Minister.
    • The ISRO Chairman said an unmanned mission will be launched this year to test human rating of propulsion model and microgravity simulations. Dr. Siven also informed Chandrayan-3 mission has been approved by the Government.
    • This will be launched without an orbiter. He said the lander and rover will be soft landing in the south pole of lunar surface. It will carry out experiments that were planned during Chandrayan-2.
    • Sivan also announced today that a second satellite launch station will come up in Tuticorinin Tamil Nadu for which 2300 acre land will be acquired. He said initially small satellites will be launched from here.

     

    1. Vinod Kumar Yadav assumes charge as Chairman, Railway Board on reappointment for period of one year

     

     

    • Vinod Kumar Yadav has assumed the charge of Chairman, Railway Board after being reappointed.
    • The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved the reappointment of Vinod Kumar Yadav as Chairman, Railway Board for a period of one year.

     

     

    7.      16th ISFR-2019 by FSI released

     

    • The Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change(MoEFCC), Shri Prakash Javadekar released the biennial “India State of Forest Report (ISFR)”, in New Delhi. The report assesses forest and tree resources in India biennially and is published by the Forest Survey of India (FSI). The ISFR-2019 is the 16th report in the series since 1987.
    • As per the recent assessment made, the total forest and tree cover of the country now stands at 73 million hectareswhich is 24.56% of the geographical area of the country.
      When compared to the 2017assessment, the total forest and tree cover in the country made an increase of 5,188 sq. kilometers.
    • Forest cover:3,976 sq km increase in the forest cover has been observed. Range increase in forest cover is first observed in open forest followed by very dense forest and then in moderately dense forest.
    • Tree cover:1,212 sq. km increase in tree cover has been observed.
    • Top states with increased forest cover: Karnataka topped among the states with an increase in forest cover with area of coverage of 1,025 sq. km. it was followed by Andhra Pradesh (990 sq km) and Kerala (823 sq km) in the 2nd and 2rd place respectively.
    • In terms of largest forest cover in the country by area wise, Madhya Pradesh (MP) has the largest forest cover. It was followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th place respectively.
    • .Forest cover as a percentage of total geographical area:Mizoram (85.41%), Arunachal Pradesh (79.63%), Meghalaya (76.33%), Manipur (75.46%) and Nagaland (75.31%) ranked 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th place respectively in terms of forest cover as a percentage of total geographical area.
    • Top rankers in mangrove coverage:Mangrove cover in the country has been separately reported in the ISFR 2019 and the total mangrove cover is 4,975 sq km which has increased by 54 sq Km compared to the previous assessment of 2017. Top three states showing mangrove cover increase are Gujarat (37 sq km) followed by Maharashtra (16 sq km) and Odisha (8 sq km) in the 1st, 2d and 3rd rank respectively.
    • Bamboo bearing area: The extent of bamboo bearing area of the country has been estimated to be 16.00 million hectares which has increased by 0.32 million hectare from the previous assessment.
    • Carbon stock: The total carbon stock in the forest is estimated to be 7,124.6 million tonnes with an increase of 42.6 million tonnes from previous assessment made. The annual increase in the carbon stock is 21.3 million tonnes, which is 78.2 million tonnes CO2 (carbon dioxide) equivalent.
    • Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) represents the largest pool of carbon stock in forests, with an estimated amount of 4,004 million tonnes. It contributes 56% to the total forest carbon stock of the country.
    • Wetlands coverage: There are 62,466 wetlands covering 3.8% of the area.
    • Forest coverage accuracy:The accuracy of forest cover classification were 93.17%. The accuracy of classification between forest and non-forest classes were 97.20%.
    • Fire prone area coverage: The present report fire prone forest areas of different severity classes were mapped in the grids of 5km x 5kmbased on the frequency of forest fires in the last 14 years.
    • Report coverage: The report covers information mainly on forest cover, tree cover, mangrove cover, growing stock inside and outside the forest areas, carbon stock in India’s forests, Forest Types and Biodiversity, Forest Fire monitoring etc.
    • Satellite data: The satellite data was based on interpretation of LISS-III (Linear Imaging Self Scanning Sensor-III) data from Indian Remote Sensing satellite data (Resourcesat-II) with a spatial resolution of 23.5 meters. The scale of interpretation was 1:50,000 to monitor forest cover and forest cover changes at District, State and National level.
    • Satellite data for the entire country was taken from NRSC (National Remote Sensing Centre) for the period October, 2017 – February, 2018.
    • It is also to be noted that for the 1st time Ortho-rectified satellite datahas been used for forest cover mapping.

     

    1. PM condoles passing away of Speaker of Nagaland’s Assembly, Er. Vikho-o Yhoshu

     

    • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has condoled the passing away of the Speaker of Nagaland’s Assembly, Er. Vikho-o Yhoshu.
    • “Anguished by the demise of the Speaker of Nagaland’s Assembly, Er. Vikho-o Yhoshu. He was a diligent leader who devoted his life towards the progress of Nagaland. My thoughts are with his family and supporters in these moments of sadness. May his soul rest in peace”, the Prime Minister said.

     

    1. Rabi Crops Sowing area increases by 35.9 Lakh Hectare

     

    • As per preliminary reports received from the States, the total area sown under Rabi crops as on 27thDecember, 2019 stands at 571.84 lakh hectares as compared to 536.35 lakh hectare for corresponding period last year. The progress in Rabi sowing has picked up significantly with the improvement of soil moisture in almost all Rabi growing states.
    • Wheat has been sown/transplanted in 297.02 lakh hectares, rice in 13.90 lakh hectares, pulses in 140.13 lakh hectares, coarse cereals in 46.66 lakh hectares and area sown under oilseeds is 74.12 lakh hectares
    • The area sown so far and that sown during last year this time is as follows:
    • (Area in lakh hectare)
    CropsArea Sown in 2019-20Area Sown in 2018-19
    Wheat297.02270.75
    Rice13.9011.93
    Pulses140.13136.83
    Coarse cereals46.6642.12
    Oilseeds74.1274.72
    Total Crops571.84536.35

     

    1. Index of Eight Core Industries (Base: 2011-12=100) November, 2019

     

    The summary of the Index of Eight Core Industries (base: 2011-12) is given at the Annexure.

    1. The Eight Core Industries comprise 40.27 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). The combined Index of Eight Core Industries stood at 126.3 in November, 2019, which declinedby 1.5per centas compared to the index of November,2018. Its cumulative growth during April to November,2019-20was 0.0per cent.

    Coal

    1. Coal production (weight: 10.33per cent)declinedby 2.5 per cent in November,2019 over November,2018. Its cumulative index declinedby 5.3 per centduring April to November,2019-20over corresponding period of the previous year.

    Crude Oil

    1. Crude Oil production (weight: 8.98per cent) declinedby 6.0 per cent in November,2019 over November,2018. Its cumulative index declined by 5.9 per centduring April toNovember,2019-20over the corresponding period of previous year.

    Natural Gas

    1. The Natural Gas production (weight: 6.88per cent) declinedby6.4 per cent in November,2019 over November,2018. Its cumulative index declined by 3.1 per centduring April toNovember,2019-20 over the corresponding period of previous year.

    Refinery Products

    1. Petroleum Refinery production (weight: 28.04per cent)increasedby3.1 per cent inNovember,2019 overNovember,2018. Its cumulative index declined by 1.1 per centduring April to November,2019-20over the corresponding period of previous year.

    Fertilizers

    1. Fertilizers production (weight: 2.63 per cent) increased by 13.6 per cent in November,2019 overNovember,2018. Its cumulative index increasedby 4.0 per cent during April toNovember,2019-20 over the corresponding period of previous year.

    Steel

    1. Steel production (weight: 17.92per cent)declinedby 3.7 per cent inNovember,2019 over November,2018. Its cumulative index increased by 5.2per centduring April to November,2019-20 over the corresponding period of previous year.

    Cement

    1. Cement production (weight: 5.37per cent) increasedby4.1per cent inNovember,2019overNovember,2018. Its cumulative index declinedby 0.02 per centduring April to November,2019-20over the corresponding period of previous year.

    Electricity

    1. Electricity generation (weight: 19.85per cent) declinedby5.7per centin November,2019over November,2018. Its cumulative indexincreased by0.7per cent duringApril to November,2019-20over the corresponding period of previous year.
    2. DG All India Radio F Sheheryar retires from service

     

     

     

    • Director-General, All India Radio, F. Sheheryar has retired from service.
    • He took the charge of the Director-General, All India Radio in 2014.
    • He joined the Indian Broadcasting (Programme) Service in 1981.

     

     

     

     

    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

     

    1. Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen defends anti-infiltration law aimed at China

    • China has been relentless in its attempts to influence and infiltrate Taiwan’s politics and society, but the island’s new ban on political interference should have no effect on normal exchanges between the sides.
    • This was stated by Taiwan’s President in her New Year’s address.
    • The Anti-Subversion Law obtained a third and final approval in Taiwan’s legislature today. It aims to prevent illegal campaign contributions, staging of political events, spread of misinformation and other acts by foreigners that could affect Taiwan’s elections or government work.
    • It was denounced by the opposition and by China’s Cabinet, but President Tsai Ing-wen defended it as having no effect on normal interactions. She said, the law’s passage won’t have any effect on freedom or violate human rights, and won’t influence normal commercial exchanges.
    • Tsai added that it will provide greater guarantees from Taiwan’s freedom and democracy.
    • Given China’s similar actions in other countries, Taiwan’s failure to prevent interference could give the impression it is untroubled by Beijing’s actions.
    • Tsai cited the continuing protests in Hong Kong as proof its governing framework, which Beijing proposes for Taiwan, is untenable.

     

    1. North Korea threatens to unveil a new strategic weapon soon

    • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has declared an end to moratoriums on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests with a threat to demonstrate a new strategic weapon soon.
    • The announcement was reported by Pyongyang state media.
    • Washington has responded by urging Kim to take a different course. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed that the US wanted peace not confrontation.
    • Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said he believes Kim will stick to his commitments on denuclearization, even as he threatened the new weapon.
    • A self-imposed ban on such tests has been the centrepiece of the nuclear diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington over the past two years. Despite three meetings between Kim and Trump, little tangible progress has been made.

     

    1. Sri Lanka: Public officials administered oath for efficient, productive service

     

    • In Sri Lanka, all public officials were administered an oath on the first working day of the year, pledging to work towards an efficient and productive public service.
    • All public servants were required to read the oath, to create a people-centred economy and to perform the role entrusted to them in the implementation of public policies and goals, efficiently, productively and with loyalty to the public, with a view to meet the challenges of developing the motherland.
    • President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has called upon public service to improve its efficiency saying the new government is determined and committed to make 2020 the ‘Year of Prosperity’. He said the inefficiency in the state sector should come to an end during the tenure of the present government and asserted that strict action will be taken against public officers found guilty of misconduct including corruption and bribery.
    • President Rajapaksa said inefficient public service has created displeasure among the public towards every previous government. He said the entire state sector should bear the responsibility of restoring the public faith and trust in their service.

     

     

    SPORTS NEWS

     

    1. MS Dhoni picked captain of ESPNCricinfo’s ODI and T20 teams of past decade

    • Former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was today picked as captain of ESPN Cricinfo’s ODI and Twenty20 teams of the decade, while Virat Kohli was named the leader in Tests.
    • The criteria, set by the 23-member panel, for selection was a minimum of 50 Tests or six active years in the traditional format while it was 75 ODIs and 100 T20s for the limited-overs teams.
    • Kuldeep Yadav, and Yuzvendra Chahal, were the only other Indians to make the Test XI, which also featured England’s Alastair Cook and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson. Kohli scored 7202 runs in this period at an impressive average of 54.97 while Ashwin took 362 wickets at 25.36. Rohit Sharma with 7991 runs was also named in the ODI XI.
    • Jasprit Bumrah found a place, alongside Kohli and Dhoni in the T20 XI, dominated by Caribbean players. As many as five West Indies players were named in the team, including Universe boss Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell.
    • Former skipper Mithali Raj and fast bowler Jhulan Goswami were named in the same women’s team picked for both the ODIs and T20s.  Australia’s inspirational cricketer, Meg Lanning was named the captain of the side.

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