Goaltide Daily Current Affairs

Sep 01, 2019

Current Affair 1:
India will host the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

Here, it is very important to cover all important aspects important for Prelims Exam. The outcomes of UNCCD CoP 14 will be discussed in next Current Affairs section after Convention takes place.

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was adopted on 17 June 1994. The Convention entered into force in December 1996. The UNCCD currently has 197 Parties.

Headquarters of UNCCD- Bonn, Germany

India became a signatory to UNCCD on October 14, 1994 and ratified it on December 17, 1996. Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is the nodal Ministry for the Convention.

The UNCCD’s Conferences of the Parties (COP) is the place where governments agree on strategic and effective land use and sustainable land management goals to ensure nature and ecosystems thrive.

This (CoP14) is the first time, India is hosting UNCCD Session. India never hosted any session of UNCCD before. The first five sessions of the COP were held annually from 1997 to 2001. Since 2002, sessions are held on a biennial basis.

Now, let us learn something about Land Degradation Targets (LDN)

Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN)

Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) has been defined by the Parties to the Convention as:

A state whereby the amount and quality of land resources, necessary to support ecosystem functions and services and enhance food security, remains stable or increases within specified temporal and spatial scales and ecosystems.

In simple terms, Land degradation neutrality (LDN) is a condition where further land degradation (loss of productivity caused by environmental or human factors) is prevented and already degraded land can be restored.

India has so far not set its LDN targets. Recently only, Union Minister announced that government has taken a target to restore 50 lakh (5 million) hectares of land by 2030. We will convert degraded land into fertile land.

Union Minister’s figure for restoration is significantly lower than the target decided by his ministry after the National Workshop on ‘Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Target Setting Programme’ on June 17, 2019. The target for Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) or restoration of degraded land decided then was 30 million hectares. Decreasing LDN Targets before Convention will raise some concerns. Wait till Convention to see how they manage to address concerns.

Few more important Fact for Prelims:

  • The Global Land Outlook (GLO) is a strategic communications platform and associated publications of the UNCCD secretariat that demonstrates the central importance of land quality to human well-being.
  • In 2007, the UN General Assembly declared 2010-2020 The United Nations Decade for Deserts and the fight against Desertification. Your prelims exam is in 2020, so it is still very important.


  • One important initiative of UNCCD during CoP 13 was The Drought Initiative.

The Conference of the Parties (COP) at its thirteenth Meeting (COP13), requested the Secretariat and appropriate UNCCD institutions and bodies including the Science-Policy Interface to implement the Drought Initiative during the 2018-19 biennium. The new initiative focuses on:

  1. Drought preparedness systems
  2. Regional efforts to reduce drought vulnerability and risk; and
  3. A toolbox to boost the resilience of people and ecosystems to drought.

Also, we will learn here about Bonn Challenge:

The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.

It was launched in 2011 by the Government of Germany and IUCN, and later endorsed and extended by the New York Declaration on Forests at the 2014 UN Climate Summit.

Wait for next updates. Don’t wait, you guys focus on study. We will deliver new updates.

Current Affair 2:
ICFRE-ICIMOD’s REDD+ Himalayan programme extended till 2020

Source Link

     Before understanding Programme, know about two bodies:

  1. Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE)
  2. The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)

Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE)

The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) is an autonomous organisation or governmental agency under the Ministry of Environment and Forests,[6] Government of India. Headquartered in Dehradun, its functions are to conduct forestry research; transfer the technologies developed to the states of India and other user agencies; and to impart forestry education.

Organization structure of everybody is very much important for your Prelims Exam:

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing centre serving the eight regional member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalaya – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan – and based in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Some of the important programmes of ICIMOD are:

  1. Improving Livelihoods and Enhancing Resilience of the Rural Poor in the Hindu Kush Himalayas to Environmental and Socio-economic Changes (AdaptHimal)
  2. Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP): It aimed at contributing to enhanced resilience of mountain communities, particularly women, through improved understanding of vulnerabilities, opportunities, and potentials for adaptation
  3. The Support to Rural Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation in the Himalaya (Himalica) initiative aims to support poor and vulnerable mountain communities in the Hindu Kush Himalaya to mitigate and adapt to climate change. This initiative is supported by the European Union.
  4. The Resilient Mountain Solutions (RMS) initiative tests simple and affordable resilience-building tools and approaches that community members in rural parts of the HKH can replicate.

Now we will study about REDD+

The REDD+ programme was initiated by the United Nations in 2007 to mitigate climate change through enhanced forest management in developing countries. Before 2007, the concept encompasses only Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries (hence the acronym REDD). It aimed to create incentives for communities so that they stop forest degrading practices.

Initiated in 2007, but finally, in 2010, at COP-16 (2015) as set out in the Cancun Agreements, REDD became REDD-plus (REDD+). Few additional components were added in REDD+:

  1. Conservation of Forest carbon stocks;
  2. Sustainable management of forests;
  3. Enhancement of forest carbon stocks.


Complying with the UNFCCC decisions on REDD+, India has prepared its National REDD+ Strategy IN 2018. The Strategy builds upon existing national circumstances which have been updated in line with India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change, Green India Mission and India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to UNFCCC.

Now the news is:

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) programme being carried out in the Himalayan states jointly by Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has been extended till July 2020.

Now what is this REDD+ Himalayas?

It is basically implementing REDD+ programme in Himalayan Region.

Developing and using experience in implementing REDD+ in the Himalaya programme was launched in January 2016 in Mizoram to address the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in India's Himalayan states.

Current Affair 3:
About 5,000 students abandoned education in Mica Mining district of Bihar and Jharkhand

Source Link

Before we continue, it is important to inform you that we are covering this section of Mica from a report published recently- Global Mica Mining and Impacts on Childs Rights. We have attached the source also.

Here, what is important is to know about Mica Mining.

What is Mica?

Mica is the name given to a group of minerals that are physically and chemically similar. These minerals are called 'sheet silicate' because they form in distinct layers. Mica comes from the Latin word micare, which means to shine, flash or glitter. The mica group of minerals contains a total of 37 different types of mica. The main types of mica are:

  1. muscovite or white mica (potassium mica);
  2.  phlogopite or amber mica (magnesium mica);
  3.  biotite or black mica (ferro-magnesium mica);
  4. Andlepidolite (lithium mica)

Mica has a crystalline and layered structure, and due to its hexagonal structure can be split into sheets as thin as one micron. Mica’s outstanding physical, chemical and electrical properties mean that it is:

  1. chemically inert, and does not react to water, acids, oil or solvents;
  2. lightweight, flexible and strong;
  3. able to resist extremely high temperatures or sudden changes in temperature;
  4. able to withstand high voltages and insulate with low power loss and
  5. able to absorb or reflect light, which provides a decorative effect and protects against ultraviolet (UV) light.

In which Industries, Mica is used? (Very important for Prelims exam)

It is used in:

  1. Electronics Industry (largest user of mica)
  2. Paints and Coating Industry (second largest)
  3. Cosmetics and Personal Care Industry (fourth largest)
  4. Construction Industry (third largest)
  5. Oil well-drilling (onshore and offshore)
  6. Rubber Industry
  7. Plastics and Printing ink manufacturer
  8. Automotive sector

 What is the status of India in Mica Production?

India is one of the world’s largest producers of Mica, with Jharkhand and Bihar being the main producing states (source, The Hindu, 26th August). China still dominates the largest production category.

One more important point for prelims:

As per the government notification in 2015, Mica has been declared as Minor Mineral, hence the producers report of production directly to state governments, not to Indian Bureau of Mines. As a result, it has become difficult to extract exact data.

Current Affair 4:
Never supported J&K blockade: Press Council of India Chairman

Source Link

Here, important is Press Council of India. We will see here all-important points for UPSC Exam.


Objective of Council: The objects of the Council shall be to preserve the freedom of the Press and to maintain and improve the standards of newspapers and news agencies in India.

Something very important now:

The Press Council of India was first constituted on 4th July 1966 as an autonomous, statutory, quasi-judicial body, under Press Council Act, 1965 with Shri Justice J R Mudholkar, then a Judge of the Supreme Court, as Chairman.

The Act of 1965 provided that the Council shall consist of a Chairman and 25 other members. The Chairman under the Act on 1965, was to be nominated by the Chief Justice of India.

The Council set up under the Act of 1965 functioned till December 1975. During the Internal Emergency, the Act was repealed, and the Council abolished.


The Council was re-established by new Press Council Act, 1978. It consists of a chairman and 28 other members. The new Act provides for selection of the Chairman by a Committee consisting of the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, the Speaker of Lok Sabha and a person elected by the members of the Council from among themselves.



       The important functions of the Council are:

  1. to help newspapers and news agencies to maintain their independence,
  2. to build up a code of conduct for newspapers, news agencies and journalists,
  3. to keep under review any development likely to restrict supply and dissemination of news of public interest and importance.
  4. To concern itself with the developments such as concentration of or other aspects of ownership of newspapers and news agencies which may affect the independence of the press.

Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad, Judge, Supreme Court of India is the current Chairman of Press Council of India.

Current Affair 5:
Oil PSUs to lay world’s longest LPG pipeline between Kandla and Gorakhpur

Source Link

Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) will be laying the world’s longest (that’s why, it is important) LPG pipeline, from Kandla (Gujarat) to Gorakhpur (UP).

Two important points here, you have to remember:

  1. Three states, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh will be connected to the western coast from where LPG will be sourced and then will be sent to 22 bottling Plants of three above Oil Marketing Companies
  2. Of the three, Indian Oil will hold 50 percent and the other two OMCs will hold 25 per cent each.

Current Affair 6:
Dindigul lock, Kandangi saree get GI tag

The products - the Dindigul lock and the Kandangi saree were given the GI tag by the Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai on 29 August 2019.

Now something more about Geographical Indication Tag:

The Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) prescribes minimum standards of protection of GIs and additional protection for wines and spirits.

Articles 22 to 24 of the TRIPS prescribe minimum standards of protection to the geographical indications that WTO members must provide. India, in compliance with its obligation under TRIPS, has taken legislative measures by enacting the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, which came into effect on 15th September 2003 and the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Rules, 2002.

As per the (Indian) Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 "Geographical Indication", in relation to goods, means an indication which identifies such goods as agricultural goods, natural goods or manufactured goods as originating, or manufactured in the territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of such goods is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.

Who is responsible for IPR in India?

Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry is responsible for Intellectual Property Rights relating to Patents, Designs, Trade Marks and Geographical Indication of Goods and oversees the initiative relating to their promotion and protection.

Whom to file for GI Tag registration?

An application for the registration of a GI is to be made to the Registrar of Geographical Indications in the form prescribed under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 (the GI Act) read with the Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) Rules, 2002 (the GI Rules).

Duration of Protection

A Geographical Indication is registered for a period of 10 years and the registration may be renewed from time to time for a period of 10 years at a time.

Current Affair 7:
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved sugar export policy for evacuation of surplus stocks during sugar season 2019-20.

Source Link

Understand in very simple terms:

There was a surplus sugar production. If there is anything surplus, prices go down. Lower sugar prices would make it difficult for mills to pay farmers’ dues. So, government thought to increase export of sugar. If there will be more export, there won’t be any surplus sugar and as a result, prices will increase and then mill owners will pay to farmers and then farmers will be happy, and they will not commit suicide.

So, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved sugar export policy.

The subsidy would be directly credited into farmers’ account on behalf of mills against cane price dues and subsequent balance, if any, would be credited to mills’ accounts.

This news is important because countries like Australia, Brazil and Guatemala have been requesting the multilateral trade body to set up a dispute settlement panel against sugar subsidies given by India. See the clipping from WHO website below:


This Sugar export subsidy is not against World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules as subsidies are allowed up till 2022-23 under WTO norms.

Current Affair 8:
RBI approves surplus transfer of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to Government

Source Link

Let us understand some basic points:

RBI is a statutory body under RBI Act 1934. Under section 47 of RBI Act, 1934, RBI should transfer the surplus profit to government in the form of dividend at the end of every financial year. Actual problem started, when there was tussle between government and RBI over quantum of reserves maintained by RBI. In simple terms, government was of the opinion that RBI should transfer more reserves to government and RBI was of the opinion that it needs excess capital to maintain necessary functions and handle various risks associated with the banks. To resolve this tussle, Bimal Jalan Committee was appointed to give recommendations on Economic Capital Framework of the RBI which deals with how much reserves RBI should maintain and how much reserves, they should transfer to government.

For students, who are still confused with Economic Capital Framework:

As the name suggests, it is related to Capital. Now, say, banks are operating in market with various types of risks- market risks, operational risks, default risks, etc. To mitigate these risk, it is important for banks to have adequate capital to take care of risks. To maintain the faith in banking system, it is the role of RBI to devise/stipulate a regulatory capital.

 So, ECF is nothing but to maintain a certain regulatory Capital. That means, all banks have to mandatorily maintain a specific level of Capital with reference to their Risk weighted Assets.

Also understand here, how does the RBI earn Profits?

The following are considered to be main sources of Income for the RBI:

  1. Returns on the foreign currency assets such as bonds and treasury bills of other central banks.
  2.  Interest on its holdings of domestically issued government bonds or securities.
  3.  Interest on the loans given to the banks.
  4. Management commission on handling the borrowings of state governments and the central government.

The net profit is calculated by subtracting the operation expenditures, and other expenses as stipulated in section 47 of the RBI Act.

After understanding Background, come to current issue:

Bimal Jalan committee has recently submitted its recommendations and most of its recommendations were accepted by RBI. On the basis of recommendations, RBI has decided to transfer a sum of Rs 1,76,051 crores (1.23 lakh crore as per the section 47 of RBI Act, 1934 and remaining 52,00 in line with Bimal Jalan Committee recommendations) to the Government of India for the year 2018-2019.

What committee recommended? We have simplified it. Just read once, you will understand.

The committee defined the economic capital as a combination of Realized Equity and Revaluation Balances. Very difficult terms. Don’t worry we will explain you.

Realized Equity are your actual income (salary, earning interest on deposits, etc.) and Revaluation Balances are also your assets but on paper (shares, properties, etc.), means you have not realized the income, their value may increase or decrease. Now understand this with respect to RBI. RBI’s earning on bonds, interests from banks, etc. are part of Realized Equity and RBI’s holding of foreign currencies, Golds, etc. are part of Revaluation Reserves (their values may fluctuate).

RBI transfer only Realized Equity to the Government. If RBI sometimes feels that macro- economic stability has to be maintained, then only, it will transfer Revaluation Reserves.

As per the committee, If the Realized Equity of the RBI is above the requirement of 6.5-5.5 percent of the RBI Balance sheet, then the entire net income of RBI will be transferred to GOI. Now, at present, Realized Equity currently stands at 6.8 percent of balance sheet, which is higher than the criteria set by Bimal Jalan Committee (6.6 to 5.5 percent). In this context, 1.23 lakh crore was transferred to GOI.

Also, what committee did was it subtracted 6.8 from 5.5 (decreased Realized Income from 6.8 to 5.5), and transferred extra 52,000crore to GOI. So, total 1.23 lakh crore was transferred.

Now keep updates and read criticisms and appreciations of various economists, it will help you to understand things in better way.

Current Affair 9:
Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)- India & European Union

Source Link

    There was article in Hindu (Talking Trade with EU, 27 August 2019), which talks of various reason why India should speed up talks with European Union on Free Trade amid US- China trade tensions.

We will discuss various issues which have become obstacles in EU-India free trade. But first two important things very much important for your Prelims examinations:

  1. Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)- It is an intended trade agreement in negotiation between India & European Union.


Negotiations still going on BTIA. We will discuss. Don’t worry.

  1. In 2018, A Joint Communication by the European Commission was released that provided the EU’s vision for a strategy on India- "A Partnership for Sustainable Modernization and Rules-based Global Order” (UPSC can ask this in Prelims, for example, this communication belongs to which country). The strategy covers India-EU partnership over the next 10 to 15 years.

The last Commission Communication was provided in 2004 and this latest Commission is being provided after a period of 14 years.

  Why India-EU still having differences on BTIA?

  1. There is a disagreement between India and EU on whether the protection of foreign investments will be part of the BTIA or will be dealt with in a separate agreement.
  2. The provision under BTIA makes it mandatory for foreign investors to initially pursue Indian judicial & admin. remedies for at least a period of five years before pursuing a claim under international law. This provision is being opposed by the EU.
  3.  India wants a greater ease of movement of temporary skilled workers to provide services in the EU. European nations have been pursuing a policy of protectionism after successive financial crisis caused a rise in unemployment.
  4.  Moreover, liberalization in immigration policies including for migrant workers is subject to decisions of individual countries, thereby limiting the mandate of EU to negotiate with India.
  5. The EU wants greater market access for its wines and spirits, and that India should lower its tariffs for their imports. Wines and spirits are considered luxury items in India and therefore there is no reasonable cause for such a tariff reduction.
  6. EU is not granting data secure certification to India, which would facilitate the cross-border transfer of personal data that is required by Indian companies especially in the IT industry.
  7.  Agricultural products have been excluded from the negotiations. European countries give huge subsidy to their agro products, due to which Indian agricultural products are not able to compete.
  8. EU has also asked India for change in government procurement policies. India has denied these prospective changes as agricultural procurement is followed on basis of developmental motive rather than profiteering motive.
  9. EU is wary of the data localisation rules within India especially of recent RBI guideline of compulsory financial data localisation. This has led to disagreement on the operating guidelines for e-commerce companies.

Current Affair 10:
Merger of Banks

You have to keep following points in mind regarding merger of banks:

  1. Which all banks got merged in last 1-2 year.
  2. Arrange the banks on the basis of size, for example, SBI is largest bank entity. Which is second largest?  Wait, wait, we have mentioned below.
  3. Alternative Mechanism of 2017
  4. Name of various committees associated with merger of Banks.
  5. Why we merge banks?

The Government announced a mega amalgamation plan, that merged ten public sector banks into four larger entities, alongside board level governance reforms aimed at improving their financial health and enhancing their lending capacity to support growth.

You can see above, how ten Public Sector Banks are merged into four large entities- Punjab National bank, Canara Bank, Union Bank of India and Indian Bank.

If you remember in 2018, merger of Vijaya and Dena Bank with the much larger Bank of Baroda, made it third largest Bank entity.

Now we will see bit history of merger of Banks, not too much important for exam (history in which UPSC is interested, no students are interested, very tough History questions for last two years)

We will cover only relevant things here.

Name of Various committees:

Various committees, including 2nd Narasimhan Committee (1998) constituted by RBI, Khan Committee (1997), Leeladhar Committee (2008) chaired by RBI Deputy Governor, Verma Committee and Nayak Committe (2014) constituted by RBI, have recommended consolidation of Public Sector Banks (PSBs).

In 2017, a panel called Alternative Mechanisms chaired by Finance Minister was formed to expedite the process of merger of Public Sector Banks

Recent History of Bank Mergers:

  1. In April 2017, 5 associate banks were merged with SBI – State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Mysore and State Bank of Patiala.
  2. Bhartiya Mahila Bank was also merged along with SBI in 2017.
  3. Government also initiated amalgamation of Regional Rural Banks under Phase 3 consolidation, bringing them down from 56 to 38.
  4. In 2018, Vijay and Dena Bank were merged with Bank of Baroda to become third largest Bank now (first is SBI and second is Punjab National bank).

Why we merge Banks:

Since financial stability is not threatened and depositors are not running the risk of losing money (as long as the banks have government backing), the logic for consolidation should be cutting cost and acquiring efficiency.

The Finance Ministry opines that the merger of these 10 public sector banks (PSBs) will help India make a USD 5 Trillion Economy. The bank merger was done under the bank consolidation plan of the Union Government. Have a look at the government’s objective behind the merger of these banks:

  • The burden on the central government to recapitalize the public sector banks again and again will come down substantially.
  • The size of each business entity after merger is expected to add strength to the Indian Banking System in general and Public Sector Banks in particular.
  • Small banks can gear up to international standards with innovative products and services with the accepted level of efficiency.
  • In the global market, the Indian banks will gain greater recognition and higher rating.
  • A great number of posts of CMD, ED, GM and Zonal Managers will be abolished, resulting in savings of crores of Rupee.
  •  Improved ability to raise market resources

Current Affair 11:
Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS)

Source Link

According to the IMF’s “Annual Observance Report of the Special Data Dissemination Standard for 2018”, India failed to comply with multiple requirements prescribed in the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) — a practice mandatory for all IMF members.

The news is about SDDS, but we will also see General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) and SDDS Plus. We won’t miss anything. UPSC is very clever. Everyone will study SDDS (as it is in news), and then they will ask GDDS or SDDS Plus.


What are IMF’s Data Standards Initiatives?

The IMF’s Data Standards Initiatives are designed to promote the dissemination of timely and comprehensive statistics, contributing to the formulation of sound macroeconomic policies and the efficient functioning of financial markets. Currently, there are three tiers under the Initiatives:

• The Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS), established in 1996

• The SDDS Plus, established in 2012

• The General Data Dissemination System (GDDS), established in 1997, which was superseded by the enhanced GDDS (e-GDDS) in 2015


  1. The Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) was established by the IMF in 1996 for member countries that have or that might seek access to international capital markets, to guide them in providing their economic and financial data to the public.

Although subscription is voluntary, the subscribing member needs to be committed to observing the standard and provide information about its data and data dissemination practices (metadata).

The SDDS is expected to enhance the availability of timely and comprehensive data and improve the functioning of financial markets.


  1. In 2012, the SDDS Plus was created as an upper tier of the IMF’s Data Standards Initiatives to help address data gaps identified during the global financial crisis.

The SDDS Plus is the highest tier in the Fund’s Data Standards Initiatives and builds on the progress achieved under the SDDS. It is open to all SDDS subscribers, although it is aimed at economies with systemically important financial sectors. In addition to the requirements under the SDDS, the SDDS Plus emphasizes stronger data dissemination practices to enhance data transparency and help strengthen the international financial system.


  1. The General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) was established in 1997 for member countries with less developed statistical systems as a framework for evaluating their needs for data improvement and setting priorities.

In 2015 the enhanced GDDS (e-GDDS) replaced the GDDS. More than 97 percent of IMF member countries participate in the e-GDDS, SDDS, or SDDS Plus.



What about India?

Nothing! India is a member of IMF, so, it needs to follow rules, but its not following norms as per the IMF.

One more important thing you remember is that, India subscribed to the SDDS on December 27, 1996. See the below map, you will find India has subscribed only to SDDS. He is not a member of GDDS (source, Wikipedia).




Current Affair 12:
India’s proposal to upgrade the protection of star tortoises, the smooth-coated otter and small-clawed otters in CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species on Wild Fauna and Flora) have been approved at CITES, Geneva Convention, 2019

Source Link

We have already covered CITES in our previous Weekly Current Affairs. You can go through it.

These above species have been approved under Appendix I of CITES.

Appendix I of CITES lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants. They are threatened with extinction and CITES prohibits international trade in specimens of these species except when the purpose of the import is not commercial, for instance for scientific research.


Now since, they have been listed in Appendix 1 now, it is also important to know about their IUCN Status.


Current Affair 13:
Understanding Clouded Leopard and their Habitat

Source Link

This portion was covered extensively in Hindu Newspaper (24 August 2019).

We learn few things about Clouded Leopard:

  1. It has been categorized as Vulnerable in IUCN status.

  1. It has been placed in Appendix 1 of CITES.
  2. Dampa tiger reserve in Mizoram has one of the highest population densities.
  3. In 2018, India added clouded leopards to its Recovery Programme for Critically Endangered Species to aid more research and strengthen conservation efforts.

This Recovery programme is one of the three components of the centrally funded scheme, Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH). So far, 17 species have been identified under the recovery programme.

These are the Snow Leopard, Bustard (including Floricans), Dolphin, Hangul, Nilgiri Tahr, Marine Turtles, Dugongs, Edible Nest Swiftlet, Asian Wild Buffalo, Nicobar Megapode, Manipur Brow-antlered Deer, Vultures, Malabar Civet, Indian Rhinoceros, Asiatic Lion, Swamp Deer and Jerdon’s Courser.

Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH) will be covered in 2nd September 2019 Daily QUIZ. So, now sincere candidates will follow 2nd September Quiz.

Current Affair 14:
The Deendayal Antayodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) has been conferred the prestigious SKOCH Governance Gold Award for its Portal for Affordable Credit and Interest Subvention Access (PAiSA).

Three things we will cover here:

  1. Deendayal Antayodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission
  2. Portal for Affordable Credit and Interest Subvention Access (PAiSA).
  3. SKOCH Award

Deendayal Antayodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission:


The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation had been implementing a Centrally Sponsored Scheme Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY) since 1997 which has been restructured as Deendayal Antayodaya Yojana - National Urban Livelihoods Mission since September 2013. The NULM has been under implementation w.e.f. September 24, 2013 in all district headquarters (irrespective of population) and all the cities with population of 1 lakh or more.

It is Centrally Sponsored Scheme. Funding will be shared between the Centre and the States in the ratio of 75:25. For North Eastern and Special Category – the ratio will be 90:10.

The aim of the mission: Please read whole paragraph from the image given below.

This mission now falls under Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (name changed in 2018).

Portal for Affordable Credit and Interest Subvention Access (PAiSA).

It is a centralized IT platform which simplifies and streamlines the release of interest subvention under the DAY-NULM. It offers end to end online solution for processing, payment, monitoring and tracking of interest subvention claims from banks on a monthly basis.

The portal has been designed and developed through the Allahabad Bank.

PAiSA is yet another effort by the government to connect directly with the beneficiaries, ensuring that there is greater transparency and efficiency in delivery of services.


Current Affair 15:
Union HRD Minister launches ‘ShaGun’ - a web-portal for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

Here we will cover two important things,

  1. ShaGun Portal
  2. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

ShaGun Portal:

The Union HRD Minister launched a dedicated web portal ‘ShaGun’ for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. ‘ShaGun’ aims to capture and showcase innovations and progress in Elementary Education sector of India by continuous monitoring of the flagship scheme - Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) by assessing performance of States and UTs on key parameters and thereby serve as a platform for the central government for effective planning and deliver on the promise of providing quality education to all.

ShaGun, which has been coined from the words ‘Shala’ meaning Schools and ‘Gunvatta’ meaning Quality, has been developed with a twin track approach.

  1. First, is the Repository with an engaging interface where best practices will be documented in the form of videos, testimonials, case studies, and images, which will display state-level innovations and success stories that are driving improvements in performance under SSA.
  2. Secondly, it has an online monitoring module to measure state-level performance and progress against key educational indicators.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan:

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is Government of India's flagship programme for achievement of Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) in a time bound manner, as mandated by 86th amendment to the Constitution of India making free and compulsory Education to the Children of 6-14 years age group, a Fundamental Right.

SSA has been operational since 2000-2001 to provide for a variety of interventions for universal access and retention, bridging of gender and social category gaps in elementary education and improving the quality of learning.

This scheme has been subsumed under Samagra Shiksha Scheme.

About Samagra Shiksha:

The Union Budget, 2018-19 (very recent scheme, its important), has proposed to treat school education holistically without segmentation from pre-nursery to Class 12.

Samagra Shiksha - an overarching programme for the school education sector extending from pre-school to class 12 has been, therefore, prepared with the broader goal of improving school effectiveness measured in terms of equal opportunities for schooling and equitable learning outcomes.

It subsumes the three schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).

Current Affair 16:
What Is India's "No First Use" Nuclear Policy?

Source Link

Here we will see two important things:

  1. What doctrine says?
  2. Nuclear Command Authority

Our Defence Minister never thought before saying about shift in “No First Use” Policy that it will increase burden of UPSC students. Now he spoke about it, we don’t have any options left. We have to see what this Nuclear Policy is.

India adopted the "No First Use" policy after the Pokhran II tests in 1998 (Smiling Buddha (MEA designation: Pokhran-I), was the first test in 1974), asserting that its newly acquired arsenal will be used only as a deterrent. The then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government affirmed its commitment to the goal of a "world free of nuclear weapons” but reserved the right to exercise "massive retaliation" if another nation should strike first. Pakistan made no such commitment.

We will go little bit in detail, what else this (NFU Policy) doctrine says:

  1. Nuclear retaliatory attacks can only be authorized by the civilian political leadership through the Nuclear Command Authority.

Nuclear Command Authority

The Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) of India is the authority formed in 2003 responsible for command, control and operational decisions regarding India's nuclear weapons programme. The Nuclear Command Authority comprises a Political Council and an Executive Council. The Political Council is chaired by the Prime Minister and the executive is chaired by National Security Adviser (this is important for exam).

The directives of the NCA are to be operationalized by the Strategic Forces Command under the control of a Commander-in-Chief of the rank of Air Marshal (or its equivalent) in charge of the management and administration of the tactical and strategic nuclear forces.

  1. India would not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states.
  2. India would continue to put strict controls on the export of nuclear and missile related materials and technologies,
  3. India remains committed to the goal of a nuclear weapon’s free world, through global, verifiable and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament.

One more important thing for Prelims is:

India is now a member of three of the four international export control groups. These are:  Wassenaar Agreement, Missile Technology Control Regime and the Australia Group. India is not a member of Nuclear Supplier Group. One more interesting fact is, China is a member of only Nuclear Supplier Group (What China has, we don’t have, what we have, China doesn’t have).

Current Affair 17:
Why is the Strait of Hormuz so strategically important?

           Ok, first of all, it is to inform you that this Strait of Hormuz was in news because of US-Iran tensions near it.

   We will see two maps of it:

In the above map, you can see, Strait of Hormuz connects Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman.

In the map below, if you see clearly, country south of Strait of Hormuz is Oman, not UAE. Aisa dikhta ni h, par aisa h (it doesn’t seem like, but this is only correct).

Don’t worry. Gradually you will learn these minute important things.




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