Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Dec 04, 2020

Current Affair 1:
Cannabis Removed from Dangerous Substances: UN

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In reviewing a series of World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations on marijuana and its derivatives, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) voted on the decision to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the?1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs?— where it was listed alongside deadly, addictive opioids, including heroin.

The CND’s 53 Member States voted to removed cannabis – where it had been placed for 59 years – from the strictest control schedules, that even discouraged its use for medical purposes. 

But now,

  1. With an historic vote of 27 in favour, 25 against, and one abstention, the CND has opened the door to recognizing the medicinal and therapeutic potential of the commonly used but still largely illegal recreational drug. 
  2. Moreover, according to news reports, the decision could also drive additional scientific research into the plant’s long-heralded medicinal properties and act as catalyst for countries to legalize the drug for medicinal use, and reconsider laws on its recreational use.

From where all it started?

  1. Back in January 2019, WHO unveiled six WHO recommendations?surrounding the scheduling of cannabis in UN drug control treaties.
  2. While the proposals were originally set to be voted on during the CND’s March 2019 session, many countries had requested more time to study the endorsements and define their positions, according to news reports. 
  3. Among WHO’s many points, it clarified that cannabidiol (CBD) – a non-intoxicating compound – is not subject to international controls. CBD has taken on a prominent role in wellness therapies in recent years and sparked a billion-dollar industry.
  4. Currently, more than 50 countries have adopted medicinal cannabis programmes while Canada, Uruguay and 15 US states have legalized its recreational use, with Mexico and Luxembourg close to becoming the third and fourth countries to do so. ?

Now role of India in this.

While the Narcotics Control Bureau has been making high profile Bollywood arrests over cannabis possession, India has voted in favour of a highly divided resolution in the UN Commission for National Drugs to remove it from the category of most dangerous drugs.

India did not deliver an explanation of its vote, but as per sources, the Indian position was that the medical uses of cannabis was “promising”. The recreational use of cannabis will continue to be strictly banned in India.


After signing the Single Convention on Narcotics in 1961, India ratified it in December 1964, but with reservations. India announced that it was accepting the provisions with the caveat that it will temporarily permit the use, production and manufacture of opium, cannabis, cannabis resin, extracts and tinctures for non-medical purposes.

Under India’s Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act 1985, the production, manufacture, possession, sale, purchase, transport, and use of cannabis is a punishable offence.

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is vested with the power to charge individuals in cases related to the illegal use and supply of narcotics.

Also see, Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND):

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was established by Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 1946, to assist the ECOSOC in supervising the application of the international drug control treaties. In 1991, the General Assembly (GA) expanded the mandate of the CND to enable it to function as the governing body of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) reviews and analyzes the global drug situation, considering the interrelated issues of prevention of drug abuse, rehabilitation of drug users and supply and trafficking in illicit drugs. It takes action through resolutions and decisions.

Members of Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND).

Members are elected:

  1. from among the States Members of the United Nations and members of the specialized agencies and the Parties to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961,
  2. with due regard to the adequate representation of countries that are important producers of opium or coca leaves,
  3. of countries that are important in the field of the manufacture of narcotic drugs, and of countries in which drug addiction or the illicit traffic in narcotic drugs constitutes an important problem and
  4. taking into account the principle of equitable geographical distribution.





Current Affair 2:
Chang’e-5 lunar probe

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China successfully landed a spacecraft on the Moon’s surface in a historic mission to retrieve lunar surface samples. China launched its Chang’e-5 probe on November 24. The mission, named after the mythical Chinese goddess of the Moon, aims to collect lunar material to help scientists learn more about the Moon’s origins.

The mission will attempt to collect 2 kg of samples in a previously unvisited area in a massive lava plain known as Oceanus Procellarum, or ‘Ocean of Storms’. If things go according to plan, the mission will return to Earth by mid-December with around 2 kg of lunar soil and rock samples to allow scientists a closer look at the satellite.

If the mission is completed as planned, it would make China the third nation to have retrieved lunar samples after the United States and the Soviet Union.

Chang’e-5 is part of China’s ambitious lunar mission, which itself stems from the country’s efforts to expand its space programme. Over the coming years, China aims to deepen its lunar presence and set up a base for astronauts on the Moon by the 2030s.

China is very smart. We are engage in farmers protests and China is enjoying on moon.

If we see China’s moon Programme:

  1. Phase 1 involved a spacecraft being inserted into the lunar orbit. Chang’e-1 did so successfully in 2007.
  2. The following mission, Chang’e-2, proved a success too in 2010. After achieving the goal of entering the lunar orbit, the spacecraft took off to explore other objects in space. It is scheduled to return somewhere closer to Earth in 2029.
  3. Chang’e-3 & 4 comprised Phase 2, which involved landing and roving on the Moon. The former mission did so in 2013, while the latter created history by landing on the far side of the moon in 2019.
  4. Phase three involves sample returns, to be performed by Chang’e-5 mission and the planned (2024) Chang’e-6 mission. Both will return lunar regolith (soil) samples from the near side.
  5. The final phase involves setting up a scientific station on the moon, which will be performed by Chang’e-7 & 8 over the next decade.
  6. These missions will include orbiters, landers, rovers, and miniature flying spacecraft that will survey the lunar South Pole for exploitable natural resources. They will also be equipped with 3D printers and will help set up instruments for a lunar science base.
  7. China eventually plans to land humans on the Moon and set up a crewed outpost at the South Pole in the 2030s as part of an international scientific collaboration.

Other countries thinking of moon? Yes.


Current Affair 3:
Economy firmly on the path of a V-shaped recovery

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Economic recovery can take many forms, which is depicted using alphabetic notations. For example, a Z-shaped recovery, V-shaped recovery, U-shaped recovery, elongated U-shaped recovery, W-shaped recovery and L-shaped recovery.

Z-shaped recovery:

It is the most-optimistic scenario in which the economy quickly rises after an economic crash. It makes up more than for lost ground before settling back to the normal trend-line, thus forming a Z-shaped chart.

In this economic disruption lasts for a small period wherein more than people’s incomes, it is their ability to spend is restricted.

V-shaped recovery:

It is the next-best scenario after Z-shaped recovery in which the economy quickly recoups lost ground and gets back to the normal growth trend-line.

In this, incomes and jobs are not permanently lost, and the economic growth recovers sharply and returns to the path it was following before the disruption.


U-shaped recovery:

It is a scenario in which the economy, after falling, struggles around a low growth rate for some time, before rising gradually to usual levels. In this case several jobs are lost and people fall upon their savings. If this process is more-long drawn than it throws up the “elongated U” shape.



W-shaped recovery:

A W-shaped recovery is a dangerous creature. In this, growth falls and rises, but falls again before recovering, thus forming a W-like chart. The double-dip depicted by a W-shaped recovery can be due to the second wave of the pandemic.

L-shaped recovery:

In this, the economy fails to regain the level of GDP even after years go by. The shape shows that there is a permanent loss to the economy’s ability to produce.

Current Affair 4:
Indo Gangetic plain global hotspot of atmospheric ammonia

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The Indo- Gangetic Plain (IGP) is the global hot-spot of atmospheric ammonia (NH3) due to intense agricultural activities and fertilizer production there, according to researchers at The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur.

Ammonia (NH3) is a colourless gas which is both naturally occurring and manufactured. The main source of ammonia pollution is agriculture, where it is released from manure and slurry and through the application of manmade fertiliser.

From news:

  1. Agro fertilizers containing high levels of ammonia have long been designated as a hazardous material for human health.
  2. For the first time in India, the seasonal and inter-annual variability of atmospheric ammonia emitted by the agricultural sector has been analyzed by researchers from IIT Kharagpur in collaboration with IITM Pune and European researchers.
  3. And the results are in agreement with the long-held apprehension of global environmentalists - the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) is indeed the global hot-spot of atmospheric ammonia (NH3) due to intense agricultural activities and fertilizer production there.
  4. Using IASI satellite measurements to analyze the seasonal and inter-annual variability of atmospheric NH3 over India for the period 2008-2016, the researchers observed atmospheric ammonia growing rapidly at a rate of 0.08% annually during the summer-monsoon (Kharif crop period) season from June to August.

Agriculture, in its conventional form, contributes significantly to the atmospheric emission of gaseous ammonia that plays a key role in the deterioration of air quality over the whole of India by actively contributing to the formation of secondary aerosols.

This demands regulations on the amount of fertilizer application in cropping seasons in arable lands, in place of conventional blanket recommendation practices, along with viable strategies to curb farm emissions.

Something more:




Current Affair 5:
Cobalt Production in India.

Cobalt is an important ferromagnetic strategic alloying metal having irreplaceable industrial applications. Cobalt is associated mostly with copper, nickel and arsenic ores. Cobalt is extracted as a by-product of copper, nickel, zinc or precious metals.

Cobalt is an essential mineral for the lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles, laptops and smart phones. It offers the highest energy density and is key for boosting battery life. Demand for cobalt is projected to surge fourfold by 2030 in pace with the electric vehicle boom.

Cobalt is used in the following core applications, all of which are important for both the quality of life and for a sustainable planet:

Presently, there is no production of cobalt in the country from indigenous ores. The demand for cobalt was met through imports. Refining capacity of cobalt in India is estimated at about 2,060 tonnes per year.

The Katanga region in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo is home to more than half of the world’s cobalt resources, and over 70% of the current cobalt production worldwide takes place in the country.

Why cobalt is important for India now?

India aims to turn 30 percent of the vehicle’s battery-powered by 2030 as the Asia’s third-largest economy looks to curb oil imports and push for cleaner transport. But nearly 80 percent of the world’s resources of Cobalt—an essential element in rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles—are locked up in just nine deposits in the Andes, the U.S., China and the Democratic Republic of Congo.,

India is looking for such reserves overseas.


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