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THE HINDU DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 18TH JANUARY 2020

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Q.1 “Crimea” is situated between which of the following sea(s)?
(a) Black sea and Sea of Azov
(b) Sea of Azov and Caspian Sea
(c) Black sea only
(d) Black sea and Mediterranean Sea

Q.2 Consider the following statements about All
India Survey on Higher Education 2018-19:
1. Gross Enrolment Ratio for male population is 26.3% and for females, it is 26.4%.
2. Their are more female teachers in Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) in India than males.
3. UP and Karnataka have more female enrolment in higher education as compared to other states.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 1 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Q.3 The proposed Higher education Commission of India will replace
1. University Grants Commission (UGC)
2. All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)
3. Medical Council of India
4. Central Advisory Board of Higher Education (CABE)
Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1, 2 and 3
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

ANSWERS: A.C,D.

 

CENSUS

NEWS:

Officials of non-BJP-ruled States on Friday asked the Registrar General of India (RGI) to remove the column on “place of birth of mother and father” in the proposed National Population Register (NPR) to be updated simultaneously with the Census exercise in April-September.

The RGI and the Home Ministry had convened a day-long conference to discuss the modalities to be adopted during the house-listing phase of Census 2021 and the NPR. During the meeting, presentations were given on the objectives of the Census and the NPR and their benefits and on the use of mobile app, which will be used in the Census for the first time.

All about Census :- Done every 10 years, the census was first conducted in 1872 during the British rule and the first complete census was done in 1881. The last census was done in 2011 and the next census will be conducted in 2021, the 16th one. This time, instead of forms, every individual can fill the required details on an app. No document will be required to be shown as proof and self-declaration will suffice.

How is the census conducted?

The primary tool of census operations is the questionnaire that is developed over the years, taking into account the changing needs of the country. It is a list of questions that helps the government collect all the necessary details required about citizens. The name of person, relationship to head, sex, date of birth and age, current marital status, religion, mother tongue, literacy status are some of the fundamental questions one can find in almost all census questionnaires.

Who conducts the census?

The Census is conducted by the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

What is the Census Act? 

The Census Act was enacted in 1948 to provide for the scheme of conducting population census with duties and responsibilities of census officers.

UAPA

NEWS: The police have invoked the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against the suspected Islamist extremists arrested in connection with the killing of special sub-inspector Wilson on January 8.

ABOUT UAPA

What is UAPA?

UAPA is a law that prevents unlawful activities that may cause harm to the integrity and sovereignty of the government.

What are the changes proposed?

Amit Shah proposed the following changes to the bill:

It redefined terrorist: Earlier, the central government could designate an organisation as a terrorist organisation if the organisation, committed or participated in acts of terrorism, prepared for terrorism, promoted terrorism or was otherwise involved in terrorism. Now, the amendment proposes to empower the government to designate even an individual as a terrorist based on the same grounds.

Seizure of property by NIA: Earlier the Act said that an investigating officer requires prior approval of Director General of Police to seize properties that may be connected with terrorism. Now the amendment proposes that the NIA officers require the approval of the Director-General of NIA to seize properties that may be connected with terrorism.

Officers who can conduct Investigation: Earlier no officer below the rank of  Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police could conduct the investigation in terrorism-related cases. The bill gives authority to the NIA officers, of the rank of Inspector or above to investigate cases.

Insertion to schedule of treaties: Earlier the Act defined terrorist acts, it included acts committed within the scope of any of the treaties listed in a schedule to the Act.  The Schedule lists nine treaties, including the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (1997), and the Convention against Taking of Hostages (1979).  The amendment adds another treaty to the list.  This is the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005).

BLUE DOT NETWORK

U.S. has launched a “Blue Dot Network” (BDN), which has already taken Japan and Australia on board to encourage private investment in infrastructure projects.

The network is “ratings mechanism” that would grade infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific region on different parameters to ensure transparency and is planned as direct counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

However, unlike the BRI, the BDN would not offer public funds or loans for the project.

The official said he hoped India, which has refused to join China’s BRI, would join the U.S.-led BDN. “India has as much a role as it wants on the Blue Dot Network (BDN).

UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL

NEWS:

Russia and China gave divergent views on the Kashmir issue two days after the UN Security Council discussed the current status of the region.

Addressing the Indian media here, Russian envoy Nikolay Kudashev argued that Moscow considers Kashmir to be a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan, but an official of the China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasised the role of multilateral diplomacy in resolving the lingering issue.

ABOUT UNSC

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.

The Security Council consists of fifteen members. Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States—serve as the body’s five permanent members. These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.

The Security Council also has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms. The body’s presidency rotates monthly among its members.

Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions;

It is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.

ACCESS TO INTERNET FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT

Arbitrary and unreasonable Internet shutdowns by the government is a violation of the fundamental rights to information, education and free speech protected by the Constitution, said a petition filed in the Supreme Court on Friday. The petition filed by Ehtesham Hashmi, a Supreme Court advocate, said that access to Internet should be a fundamental right.

Supreme Court declared in a judgment in the Anuradha Bhasin case challenging the Jammu and Kashmir restrictions that free speech and expression on the Internet was a fundamental right and constitutionally protected under Article 19.

BRU DEAL

NEWS:

The agreement to settle some 35,000 Bru tribal people in Tripura and not in Mizoram from where they were displaced, could encourage the creation of ethnocentric States in the northeast, rights activists have said.

The move, they feel, has set a bad precedent but is the “State-level variant” of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s “national policy of keeping minorities under pressure”.

Others agree the “solution” has the potential of creating conflicts between the Brus and indigenous communities of Tripura.

Everything you need to know about the Bru-Reang refugee crisis:-

Back in 1997, about 30,000 Bru-Reang tribals fled from Mizoram and took shelter in Tripura’s refugee camps. These refugees were said to have fled from Mizoram due to ethnic tension. Before the agreement on Thursday, these people were living in temporary shelters at Kanchanpur, in North Tripura.

Brus, who are spread across Tripura, Mizoram and parts of southern Assam, are said to be the most populous tribe in Tripura. They are also known as the Reangs in Mizoram, as they are essentially ethnically different from the Mizos, and have their own distinct language and dialect and thus form one of the 21 scheduled tribes of Tripura.

VENKAT RAMAN RAMAKRISHNAN:

In 2009, he shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Thomas A. Steitz and Ada Yonath, “for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome”.

He was elected President of the Royal Society for a term of five years starting in 2015.

FIRST EDITORIAL: FIGHTING RADICALIZATION

WHY IN NEWS?

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat while addressing a panel on countering terrorism at the Raisina dialogue organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and Observer Research Foundation at New Delhi, argued that there has been a significant increase in radicalisation among young people in Kashmir — “girls and boys as young as 10-12”,

CDS suggested that youth should be “isolated from radicalisation in a gradual way” and to be “taken out separately and possibly taken into some deradicalisation camps”. He also revealed that such camps existed in the country.

EDITORIAL’S VIEW

There is no doubt that radicalisation must be countered at all levels, whether in Kashmir or elsewhere. But the government should reveal the nature of these camps that the CDS claims are functioning as they raise questions about their legal status and the identity of the youth there.

However, while deradicalisation is certainly an imperative, Gen. Rawat’s solution is way off the mark. Segregation of youth and individuals from family and community — many could be juveniles — is a recipe for further alienation and public revulsion and also plainly illegal.

It is not the job of the Army or security forces to undertake what is a mandate for the agencies of the civilian State.

Deradicalisation is best achieved through effective teaching and incorporation of civic studies in the school curriculum for children who are getting radicalised due to the prevailing circumstances in the Valley.

Besides this, there has to be an administrative outreach to the citizenry not to give in to radical demands and the rhetoric of extremists.

More importantly, the reversal of repressive conditions such as limited Net access and the detention of political representatives is a must.

Winning Kashmiri hearts and minds is a long battle; short-sighted and illiberal measures from an authoritarian playbook could prove counter-productive.

LEAD ARTICLE: WHY STUDENTS ARE PROTESTING?

FIRST REASON: SPREAD OF EDUCATION AND VALUES OF FREEDOM STRUGGLE

Author highlights that howsoever poorly a system of education imparts knowledge to the young, it has its own dynamic which arises from knowledge itself. When educational opportunities expand across social classes, new social processes are unleashed. Our system of education has gone through radical expansion over the last three decades. It has widely disseminated the values enshrined in Constitution. The system has also conveyed to the young a general memory of the freedom movement, especially the memory of Gandhi, his ideas and methods.

SECOND REASON: POOR TREATMENT OF YOUNG BY HIGHER EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

In general, the system of higher education has treated the young quite poorly.

The thought that you had gone to an institution to acquire knowledge, but you got badly thrashed as you sat reading will linger and hurt

Higher classes ought to introduce the young to a wider perspective, but our universities ignore the intellectual needs of students and underestimate their potential. The opportunity to go deeply into a subject should enable the young to see things from a higher perspective. This is the real meaning of the term ‘higher’.

The system of higher education in India is sharply divided between a beleaguered public sector and an insulated private sector. The latter has remained isolated from the suffering of the former. A handful of private universities flaunt their global connections and eminent faculty in social sciences and humanities. But faculty fame cannot compensate for disengaged pedagogy. Advertisements of inter-disciplinary studies and critical thinking remain hollow if an institution hides cocooned behind its security.

THIRD REASON: LET DOWN BY THE POLITICAL LEADERS

Students  are protesting today on their own — as a generation let down by the institutional and political order. This is not merely a matter of poor economic prospects or frustration with the conditions prevailing in the institution. It is a cry of the young against the ethical and intellectual hollow they have spotted in the nation’s public life.

CONCLUSION

It will be a pity if the current unrest in some of our best institutions of higher learning intensifies the prejudice and disdain they have suffered over the years. If violence has vitiated the atmosphere in some of them, that is all the more reason why the role the public universities has played in building the nation is recalled and given due respect. JNU is not the first university to be hollowed out by indefensible appointments. Nor is it the only one to have lost its autonomy. But its loss is symbolic of a systemic misfortune.

SECOND ARTICLE: CANCELLATION OF PROJECTS OF PREVIOUS REGIMES

WHY IN NEWS?

Since sweeping to power in Andhra Pradesh last May, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and his YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government have cancelled or put on hold a number of high-profile State contracts and projects, many involving foreign partners who now face huge losses.

Other newly elected State governments (most recently Maharashtra) are also considering cancelling public work commitments made by their predecessors.

WHAT IS THE OFFICIAL REASON FOR SUCH AN ACTION?

Officials say reviewing commitments made by the previous government will increase accountability and decrease corruption in the State

WHY IT IS HARMFUL?

Critics fear that the goal is to refashion deals to benefit new government officials and their supporters.

Analysts caution that it will be extremely hard for the State to attract foreign investors in future.

In the case of Andhra Pradesh, potentially at risk is the reputation of what has been considered one of the most business-friendly States in India. Without investments, it will be harder for the State to raise the revenues it needs for social programmes and economic development. Further, if more States follow suit, the dependability of India as a foreign direct investment destination may be negatively affected.

Cancelling multiple high-profile public projects may imperil state’s ability to deliver on his most important goal: to create new jobs and opportunities in the State.

Cancellations risk exposing the State to potentially costly and damaging legal challenges. The relative lack of information about how the reviews are being made, and whether stakeholders have a real voice in the outcome, will likely be a concern to investors.

Increased numbers of potential Indian business destinations mean that investors can look elsewhere if things in any State get tough.

CONCLUSION

Newly-elected governments certainly have the right to review potentially unjust or unwarranted deals. However, a State must be careful to provide explicit and clear evidence when making its case to trigger such reviews; it must also make clear which prior projects were reviewed and found to be sound. Recent events in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra — two of India’s largest State economies — have chilled investor enthusiasm just as the Indian economy slows. Indian States and the Central government have a shared interest in reversing this trend.

SECOND EDITORIAL: US-CHINA TRADE DEAL

WHY IN NEWS?

Due to signing of phase one trade deal U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He.

WHAT IS THERE IN THE DEAL?

China is to buy $200-billion in goods and services in the coming two years — purchases in 2017, were valued at some $187-billion. The proposed increase in exports is believed to be unprecedented in U.S. trade history and caused speculation on the impact these steep targets could have on China’s other trading partners. Agricultural exports form the smallest proportion of the latest offers relative to manufactured goods and services.

EDITORIAL’S VIEW

Editorial highlights that it is a temporary truce that leaves the key issues of the trade dispute unresolved.

WHY? The pact that Mr. Trump has touted as a step toward creating a fairer and reciprocal partnership still leaves intact nearly three-fourths of punitive tariffs slapped on China since the onset of the trade rift in 2017.

WHAT NEXT?

Mr. Trump has said that negotiations on a phase two agreement would begin immediately and even hinted that he could travel to Beijing.

However, questions over government control of China’s state-owned firms and industrial subsidies — at the core the bilateral dispute — are not expected to be resolved until after the 2020 U.S. Presidential elections.

CONCLUSION

The new forum could set the tone to address sensitive issues that have dogged Beijing’s relations with the U.S. and its allies after China joined the WTO.

 

OP-ED PAGE 

ISSUE: WHY DEATH OF SO MANY CHILDREN IN KOTA?

  1. Extremely unhygienic and filthy J K Lon hospital in Kota, with even pigs straying into the premises sometimes.
  2. Shortage of staff, overworked resident doctors, paediatricians and nurses.
  3. A major shortcoming in the hospital is the absence of a centralised oxygen system, as the oxygen cylinders are supplied by carts. Besides, Chinese medical equipment of inferior quality is being used for treatment, putting the children’s health at risk.
  4. 13 out of the 19 ventilators in the hospital were defunct, 81 of the 111 infusion pumps were useless, and 44 of the 71 warmers were not working. Most of the nebulisers, which are required especially during winter, were also defunct. Against the 12 sanctioned posts of professors and associate professors, only seven are working.
  5. Childrens death in Kota is a sheer manifestation of the collapse of the public health system at all levels.

FOREX RESERVES

NEWS: Foreign Exchange reserves rose $58 million to an all-time high of $461.21 billion in the week to January 10, according to RBI data.

ABOUT FOREX

  • India’s forex reserves comprise Foreign Currency Assets (FCAs), gold reserves, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and India’s reserve position with the International Monetary Fund.

DECLINE IN CHINA’S BIRTH RATE

NEWS: 

China’s birth rate dropped last year to its lowest level since the Communist country was founded in 1949, adding to concerns that an aging society and shrinking workforce will pile pressure on a slowing economy.

To avoid a demographic crisis, the government relaxed its one-child policy in 2016 to allow people to have two children, but the change has not resulted in an increase in pregnancies. In 2019, the birth rate stood at 10.48 per 1,000 people, down slightly from the year before, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released on Friday. The number of births has now fallen for three consecutive years, still, there were 14.65 million babies born in 2019.

NATIONAL INVESTIGATION AGENCY

NEWS:Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday alleged that the Union government’s decision to ask the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe arrested Jammu and Kashmir police officer Davinder Singh was an attempt to ‘silence’ him, and questioned NIA chief Y.K. Modi’s track record.

ABOUT NIA 

It is the central agency established by the Government of India to combat terror in India.

Agency came into existence with the enactment of the NIA Act 2008.

NIA was created after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.Y C Modi is chairman of NIA.

NIA works under Ministry of Home Affairs.

GSAT 30

The nation’s latest communication satellite, GSAT-30, was launched into space from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou at 2.35 a.m. IST on Friday.

The 3,357-kg satellite will replace INSAT-4A, which was launched in 2005 and marks the first mission of the year for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The high-power satellite is equipped with 12 normal C band and 12 Ku band transponders.

GSAT-30 will provide DTH [direct to home] television services, connectivity to VSATs [that support working of banks] ATMs, stock exchange, television uplinking and teleport services, digital satellite news gathering and e-governance applications. The satellite will also be used for bulk data transfer.

ISRO opted for a foreign launch as the GSAT-30 is much heavier than the 2,000-kg lifting capacity of its geostationary launch vehicle GSLV-MkII.

NATIONAL ELECTRIC MOBILITY MISSION PLAN

NEWS: The Supreme Court on Friday sought the response of the government on a petition that alleges non-implementation of the National E-Mobility Mission Plan, 2020.

The plan, initiated in 2012, had made several recommendations for the adoption of electric vehicles, including electric-powered government fleets and public transportation and subsidies for those who opt for electric and zero emission vehicles.

The petition was filed by NGOs Centre for PIL, Common Cause and Sitaram Jindal Foundation, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan. The petition contended that the governmental apathy has violated the fundamental rights of citizens to health and clean environment guaranteed under under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

ABOUT NATIONAL ELECTRIC MOBILITY MISSION PLAN

The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 is a National Mission document providing the vision and the roadmap for the faster adoption of electric vehicles and their manufacturing in the country. This plan has been designed to enhance national fuel security, to provide affordable and environmentally friendly transportation and to enable the Indian automotive industry to achieve global manufacturing leadership.

As part of the NEMMP 2020, Department of Heavy Industry formulated a Scheme viz. Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) Scheme in the year 2015 to promote manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicle technology and to ensure sustainable growth of the same.

Under the NEMMP 2020, there is an ambitious target to achieve 6-7 million sales of hybrid and electric vehicles by the year 2020.

Various initiatives have been taken by the Government to promote electric mobility in the country. Some of them are summarized hereunder:

(i)    Under new GST regime, the rates of GST on Electric Vehicles has been kept in the lower bracket of 12% (with no Cess) as against the 28% GST rate with Cess up to 22% for conventional vehicles.

(ii)    Ministry of Power has allowed sale of electricity as ‘service’ for charging of electric vehicles. This would provide a huge incentive to attract investments into charging infrastructure.

(iii)    Ministry of Road Transport Highways issued notification regarding exemption of permit in case of battery operated vehicles.

(iv) Issue of Expression of Interest (EoI) for deployment of 5000 electric buses by State Transport Departments/Undertakings etc.

MOHINIYATAAM DANCE

NEWS: ‘Ekatmakam’, a mega Mohiniyattam event, will be held at Thekkinkadu Maidan in Thrissur on Saturday. The event, in which 6,000 dancers will take part, is organised with an aim to enter the Guinness World Records.

ABOUT MOHINIYATAAM DANCE

Mohiniyattam literally interpreted as the dance of ‘Mohini’the celestial enchantress of the Hindu mythology, is the classical solo dance form of Kerala.

According to a Puranic story, Lord Vishnu took on the guise of a ‘Mohini’ to seduce the Asuras, both in connection with churning of the ocean and episode of the slaying of Bhasmasura.

The delicate body movements and subtle facial expressions are more feminine in nature and therefore are ideally suited for performance by women.

References of Mohiniyattam can be found in the texts Vyavaharamala written in 1709 by Mazhamagalam Narayanan Namputiri and in Ghoshayatra, written later by great poet Kunjan Nambiar.

This dance form of Kerala was structured into the present day classical format by the Travancore Kings, Maharaja KartikaTirunal and his successor Maharaja Swati Tirunal (18th -19th century C.E.).

Salient Features of Mohiniyattam Dance

Mohiniyattam is characterized by graceful, swaying body movements with no abrupt jerks or sudden leaps. It belongs to the lasya style which is feminine, tender and graceful.

The movements are emphasized by the glides and the up and down movement on toes, like the waves of the sea and the swaying of the coconut, palm trees and the paddy fields.

CREATION OF 1 MILLION JOBS BY AMAZON

American multinational Amazon has announced plans to create 1 million new jobs in India by 2025 through continued investments in technology, infrastructure and its logistics network, the company said.

It said jobs which will be created both directly and indirectly, will be across industries such as information technology, skill development, content creation, retail, logistics, and manufacturing. This will be in addition to the 7 lakh jobs the company has enabled in India over the last six years.

He said that Amazon India would also add 10,000 electric rickshaws to its electric fleet.

Amazon’s investments will help create new jobs in hiring talent to fill roles across Amazon in India, including software development engineering, cloud computing, content creation, and customer support.

During his visit to Mumbai Mr. Bezos met Hindi film industry actors and industrialists, company officials said.

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