Goaltide Daily Current Affairs

Oct 13, 2019

Current Affair 1:
Global Hunger Index

We will learn very important things here. We will learn through various diagrams.

Small introduction to report: Everyone is discussing about the report. Thoda respect we will give by giving introduction.

The 2019 Global Hunger Index report (GHI)—the 14th in an annual series—presents a multidimensional measure of global, regional, and national hunger. The latest data available show that while we have made progress in reducing hunger on a global scale since 2000, we still have a long way to go. Of the 117 countries with GHI scores, levels of hunger are still serious or alarming in 47 countries and extremely alarming in one country. This year’s report focuses on climate change—an increasingly relevant threat to the world’s hungry and vulnerable people that requires immediate action.

The report prepared jointly by Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German organization Welt Hunger Life.


The GHI ranks countries on a 100-point scale, with 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst. Values less than 10 reflect low hunger, values from 20 to 34.9 indicate serious hunger; values from 35 to 49.9 are alarming; and values of 50 or more are extremely alarming.


What are the indicators used to measure index?

Now we will directly jump to India: bhut bura haal hai.

In the 2019 Global Hunger Index, India ranks 102nd out of 117 qualifying countries. With a score of 30.3, India suffers from a level of hunger that is serious.


India bagged the top spot in child wasting rate in the world with an increase of 4.3 percentage points in nine years.

When it comes to stunting in children under five, the country saw a dip, but it’s still high — 37.9 per cent in 2019 from 42 per cent in 2010.

Neighbouring countries like Nepal (73), Sri Lanka (66), Bangladesh (88), Myanmar (69) and Pakistan (94) are also in the 'serious' hunger category but have fared better at feeding its citizens than India.

Ok, here in this index, don’t search for top scorer. The 17 countries with 2019 GHI scores of less than 5 are not assigned individual ranks, but rather are collectively ranked 1–17. Differences between their scores are minimal. Central African Republic is worst performer with score of 53.6

At the end of the report, it recommended some policy measures government needs to adopt. We will mention it here. It will be useful. If you mention in your answer writing that following points were recommended by Global Hunger Report 2019, you will get extra mark for that and then please thank me for that. Ok, now see recommendations:

Now whole life you want to read Hunger Index only or want to read new topic? Go for next topic. Enough about Global Hunger Report.

Current Affair 2:
NPCIL to speed up construction of reactors

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At the 11th Nuclear Energy Conclave by India Energy Forum, Secretary to the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) said that the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) has speed up construction of nuclear power plants in the country.

We will here learn about Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) is a Public Sector Enterprise under the administrative control of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Government of India.


The Mission of the Company is ‘To develop nuclear power technology and to produce nuclear power as a safe, environmentally benign and economically viable source of electrical energy to meet the increasing electricity needs of the country'.

The Company was registered as a Public Limited Company under the Companies Act, 1956 in September 1987 with the objective to operate atomic power plants and implement atomic power projects for generation of electricity in pursuance of the schemes and programmes of the Government of India under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962.

?NPCIL is responsible for design, construction, commissioning and operation of nuclear power reactors.

Current Affair 3:
No Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) on Digital Payment to Large Firms

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In line with the budget speech announcement of 2019-20, the government has done away with Merchant Discount Rate on all digital payments made to large retailers. (those with greater than Rs.50 Crore turnover)

This move will come in effect from November 1, 2019. Amendments have been made into the Income Tax Act as well as the Payment and Settlement System Act 2007 to enact the new provisions.

We will first understand here what is Merchant Discount Rate?

MDR is a fee charged from a merchant by a bank for accepting payments from customers through credit and debit cards in their establishments. MDR charges are usually shared in pre-agreed proportion between the bank and a merchant and is expressed in percentage of transaction amount.

If you remember a question on Merchant Discount Rate was asked in Prelims 2018:

Impact of the move

On the Banks

Since MDR is a source of revenue for banks, doing away with them will affect their profits which could have a spillover effect on their lending ability, credit situation in the market and thus growth. (although negligible)

However, the banks will significantly reduce cash-handling cost that can offset the cost incurred on account of MDR loss.

On the Retailers

Since the MDR charges were borne by merchants, it will increase their margins and encourage them to adopt low-cost digital payments.

On consumers

  1. Ease of transaction
  2. Security
  3.  Elimination of holding cost (cash).

On Economy

  1. Reduction of black money
  2. Reduction on cash-GDP ratio which is high at 16-17% in comparison with single digit in advanced economies.
  3. Switch to complete cashless will increase GDP by 3 % according to some studies.

Current Affair 4:
Legislative Council abolished in J&K

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Let us learn something about Legislative Councils.

What are the Legislative Councils, and why are they important?

India has a bicameral system i.e., two Houses of Parliament. At the state level, the equivalent of the Lok Sabha is the Vidhan Sabha or Legislative Assembly; that of the Rajya Sabha is the Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council.

A second House of legislature is considered important for two reasons: one, to act as a check on hasty actions by the popularly elected House and, two, to ensure that individuals who might not be able to make through direct elections too are able to contribute to the legislative process.

Opposition to the idea of Legislative Councils is centered on three broad arguments. One, they can be used to park leaders who have not been able to win an election. Two, they can be used to delay progressive legislation. Three, they would strain state finances.

So, do all states have Legislative Councils?

No. Our constitution does not force a bicameral legislature on states. It gives states the option of having a second House. As of today, seven states have Legislative Councils. These are Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Now it is left with 6 after abolition in Jammu and Kashmir.

How Legislative councils are created? Directly jumps to article 169.

How are members of the Council elected?

Membership may vary, but the Legislative Council must not have more than a third of the total membership of the Assembly of that state, and in no case fewer than 40 members. (The exception is J&K, where the Legislative Council has 36 members vide Section 50 of the constitution of the state.)

About 1/3rd of members are elected by members of the Assembly, another 1/3rd by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and other local authorities in the state, 1/12th by an electorate consisting of teachers, and 1/12th by registered graduates. The remaining members are nominated by the Governor from among those who have distinguished themselves in literature, science, art, the cooperative movement, and social service.

 Legislative Councils are permanent Houses, and like Rajya Sabha, one-third of their members retire every two years.

Current Affair 5:
Interconnect Usage Charge

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Recently, Reliance Jio announced that it would start charging its customers Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC) of 6 paisa per minute on all outgoing calls made to Airtel and Vodafone-Idea’s networks. This is led to price war between the telecom players and have raised questions over the imposition of Interconnect Usage Charges (IUC).

What is the Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC)?

Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC) is the cost that a mobile operator pays to another operator for carrying through/terminating a call. If a customer of mobile operator 'A ' calls a customer of operator 'B' and the call is completed, then A will pay an IUC charge to B for carrying/facilitating the call. In India, IUC is set by the TRAI.

In September 2017, TRAI had ordered a reduction in IUC to 6 paise per minute from 14 paise earlier. Earlier, the TRAI had proposed to end the IUC by 2020. However, recently, it has issued a consultation paper on the need for the continuation of the IUC even beyond 2020.

What's the present controversy?

Jio has claimed that because of the price difference between free voice on Jio network and high tariffs on Airtel and Vodafone-Idea networks, customers of the other networks are relying on giving missed calls to Jio customers. It has claimed that the Jio network receives 25 to 30 crores missed calls daily, presumably because people want their friends or family on Jio to call them back. These call backs by the Jio Customers to the customers on the other networks is leading to payment of higher Interconnect Usage charges by the Reliance Jio Company. Hence, the Reliance Jio has sought to recover the charges from its customers.

Also learn about Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI):

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was established with effect from 20th February 1997 by an Act of Parliament, called the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997, to regulate telecom services, including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services which were earlier vested in the Central Government.

TRAI's mission is to create and nurture conditions for growth of telecommunications in the country in a manner and at a pace which will enable India to play a leading role in emerging global information society.

One of the main objectives of TRAI is to provide a fair and transparent policy environment which promotes a level playing field and facilitates fair competition.

The TRAI Act was amended by an ordinance, effective from 24 January 2000, establishing a Telecommunications Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to take over the adjudicatory and disputes functions from TRAI. TDSAT was set up to adjudicate any dispute between a licensor and a licensee, between two or more service providers, between a service provider and a group of consumers, and to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction, decision or order of TRAI.

Current Affair 6:
20th Livestock census

We will see the findings of census. But before that, some important points regarding Livestock census.

The Livestock Census has been conducted in the country periodically since 1919-20. The Livestock Census usually covers all domesticated animals and headcounts of those animals will be carried out during a specific time period. So far 19 such censuses have been conducted in participation with State Governments and UT Administrations.

Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has released the 20th Livestock Census report recently.

Importance of census:

  1. The Census will prove beneficial not just for policy makers but also for agriculturists, traders, entrepreneurs, dairying industry and masses in general. This release provides some key results reflecting the aggregate counts of various species as well as its comparison with previous census.
  2. The initiatives on collection of breed-wise reliable information of various species will give vital information for determination of threatened indigenous breeds and to take initiatives accordingly for their conservation. Considering this aspect, the 20thLivestock Census would be a Breed-wise Livestock Census which will be helpful for framing policies or programmes for Breed improvement.
  3. Further, the latest data on Fishermen folk are available as per Livestock Census 2003 only. Therefore, the fishery part is very important component so as to capture the information of fishermen families and infrastructure available for both inland and marine sector.
  4. The major thrust of 20th Livestock Census would be data collection through tablets computers which is aimed to fulfil the objective of Digital India Programme of Hon’ble Prime Minister.

Some key findings:

  1. The total Livestock population is 535.78 million in the country showing an increase of 4.6% over Livestock Census-2012.
    West Bengal observed the highest increase of 23%, followed by Telangana (22%).
  2. The total number of cattle in the country has shown an increase of 0.8 %.


  1. The increase is mainly driven by a sharp increase in cross-bred cattle and higher female indigenous cattle population.
  2. Uttar Pradesh has observed a maximum decrease in cattle population though the state has taken several steps to save cattle.
  3. West Bengal has seen the highest rise of 15% in cattle population.

  1. decline of 6% in the total indigenous cattle population has been observed.
    1. India’s indigenous cattle numbers continue to decline, notwithstanding the government’s efforts to promote conservation of desi breeds through the Rashtriya Gokul Mission.
    2. The sharpest fall has been observed in the states (Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, etc.) with tough cow slaughter laws.
  2. The total milch animals have shown an increase of 6%.
    1. Due to higher yields, foreign breeds constitute more than half the population of milch animals.
    2. The more the number of animals that produce milk, the more would be pressure on land and fiercer would be competition between man and animals for survival.
    3. The figures show that nearly 75% of total cattle in the country are female (cows)-- a clear sign of dairy farmers' preferences for milk-producing cattle. This also gained momentum in the past couple of years due to the government's assistance in terms of providing sex-sorted artificial insemination (AI), with semen of high-yielding bulls, free of cost at farmers' doorstep.
  3. The backyard poultry has increased by around 46%.
    The sharp increase in backyard poultry is a significant change in the rural landscape which shows a sign of poverty alleviation.
  4. Total Bovine population (Cattle, Buffalo, Mithun and Yak) has shown an increase of about 1%.
  5. The population of sheep, goat and Mithun grew in double digits while the count of horses and ponies, pigs, camels, donkeys, mules and yaks declined.
  6. The population of the total exotic/crossbred cattle has increased by 27%.

Cross-bred animals contributed around 28% to India’s total milk production in 2018-19. The milch population of exotic and crossbred cattle such as Jersey or Holsteins shows higher milk yields and thus farmers prefer animals yielding more milk.

Current Affair 7:
Aflatoxin-M1 in Processed Milk

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What was news?

Traces of Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1), a deadly carcinogen, were found in some of the milk samples tested as part of a national survey by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The results of the milk survey were released on October 18, 2019.

Out of the 6,432 total milk samples that were tested, 368 (5.7 per cent) were found to have aflatoxins beyond permissible limits. According to FSSAI standards, the permissible limit of aflatoxins in milk is 0.5 µg/kg.

The highest rates of aflatoxin contamination were found in Tamil Nadu (88 out of 551 samples), Delhi (38 out of 262 samples) and Kerala (37 out of 187 samples). The carcinogen was found to be more prevalent in processed rather than raw milk.

What are Aflatoxins?

Aflatoxins are toxins produced by certain fungi which are generally found in agricultural crops like maize, peanuts, cotton seed and others. They are carcinogenic in nature, which means they can cause cancer.

Consumption of food containing aflatoxin concentrations of one milligram/kilogram or higher has been suspected to cause aflatoxicosis, the prognosis of which consists of acute liver failure, jaundice, lethargy and nausea, eventually leading to death, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) study in February 2019.

What all other things were detected in the sample?

Apart from the Aflatoxin, samples had traces of antibiotics but within permissible limits, the survey report stated. Maltodextrin, a food additive, was also found in 156 out of 6,432 samples. Although it is not lethal, its presence increases the levels of fat and Solids-not-Fat (SNF). Sugar was found in 78 out of 6,432 samples.

Both, Maltodextrin and Sugar were mainly found in processed milk.

Current Affair 8:
World Intellectual Property Indicators- 2019

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According to the United Nations, World Intellectual Property Indicators Report-2019, global Intellectual Property (IP) filing activity continued to grow at a rapid pace.

In 2018, patent filings around the world exceeded by around 3.3 million, representing a 5.2% growth over 2017 figures. Asia accounted for two-thirds of these applications, being the global hub for IP applications.

China has been at the leading position of global growth in worldwide IP filings in 2018 whereas the United States of America marked its first decline since 2009.

We are more interested in India. Do ‘t worry, we will show you picture of India.

In India, there was a large increase in the number of filings with respect to

Trademark filing activity (+20.9%), Patent filings (+7.5%), and Industrial design filing activity (+13.6%), marking almost double-digit growth in 2018. For India, this was the third successive year of double-digit growth.

India emerged as top tenth nation in the ranking of the total (resident and abroad) IP filing activity by origin.

In India, domestic filing for patents has increased from 22% in 2013-14 to 34% in 2018-19.

The IP filings have seen a significant rise in IT, science and computer science filings. Startups and small firms IP filings saw over 200% rise to 511 from 160 in 2016-17, according to the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) data.

According to list unveiled by the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Design & Trademarks, IT juggernauts Wipro and TCS were ranked 1st and 2nd respectively while seven-year-old startup Hike stood at the third spot in terms of patent filing in the field of IT.

The rise in IP filing in India will boost innovation and research and development (R&D) activity in the country. India needs to push it further to be among the top five nations in the world. With over 60% of youth constituting India populations and increasing usage of technology and the internet, this should not be a hurdle.

Do use the above points, if you get to write answers on Intellectual Property related to India.

Current Affair 9:
GOAL (Going Online as Leaders)

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What was news?

The second phase of GOAL (Going Online as Leaders) has been jointly launched by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Facebook to digitally mentor 5000 young women in India’s tribal-dominated districts.

What is Facebook's GOAL initiative all about?

Launched earlier this year in March, Going Online as Leaders (GOAL) connects underprivileged young women from tribal areas with senior expert mentors in the areas of business, fashion and arts to learn digital and life skills.

Through this partnership, the GOAL programme will provide economically and socially marginalized young women with the tools and guidance they need to succeed, using technology they may otherwise have not had access to.

It will help to close the digital gender gap by enabling more women to get online and access digital services.

Current Affair 10:
Rangdum Monastery

The Archaeological Survey of India is planning to declare the Rangdum Monastery located in Ladakh (Kargil district) as a monument of national importance.


The move aims to look into the opportunities for expansion of tourism in the Ladakh region in the backdrop of the decision to split Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

We will learn about the monastery.

It is the 18th century-built monastery that is situated at an altitude of 4,031 m. at the head of the Suru Valley, in Ladakh. Suru Valley is drained by the Suru River which is a tributary of the Indus River. Rangdum Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery belonging to the Gelugpa sect.

Ok, as it was very small topic, we will here also learn about Archaeological Survey of India.

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)

ASI is the premier organization for the archaeological research, scientific analysis, excavation of archaeological sites, conservation and preservation of protected monuments. It is an attached office under the Department of Culture, Ministry of Culture.

ASI was founded in 1861 by Alexander Cunningham- the first Director-General of ASI.

Current Affair 11:
Noble Prize in Physics 2019

The Nobel Prize for Physics has been awarded to:

  1. James Peebles for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology, and
  2. Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for discovering an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.


James Peebles: Theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology

Peebles developed a theoretical framework about the cosmos and its billions of galaxies and galaxy clusters since the mid-1960s. The importance of the cosmic radiation during birth of the Big Bang was realized by him.

James Peebles also interpreted traces from the infancy of the universe and discovered new physical processes.

The results showed a universe whose just five percent of content is known, the matter which constitutes stars, planets, trees – and us. The rest, 95 per cent, is unknown dark matter and dark energy.

This is a mystery and a challenge to modern physics.


Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz: Discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.

It was the first discovery of an exoplanet (a planet outside our solar system, orbiting a solar-type star in our home galaxy, the Milky Way).

The discovery of exoplanet 51 Pegasi b, started a “revolution in astronomy”. 51 Pegasi b is a gaseous ball comparable with Jupiter. Ever since 4,000 exoplanets have been found in the Milky Way Galaxy.

Current Affair 12:
Noble Prize in Chemistry 2019

The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been jointly awarded to John B Goodenough, M Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for the development of lithium-ion batteries.

Through their work, this year’s Chemistry Laureates have laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil fuel-free society.

In the early 1970s, Dr. Whittingham developed the first functional lithium battery. Dr. Goodenough doubled the lithium battery’s potential, creating the right conditions for a vastly more powerful and useful battery. Dr. Yoshino succeeded in eliminating pure lithium from the battery, instead basing it wholly on lithium ions, which are safer than pure lithium. This made the battery workable in practice.

The result was a lightweight, hardwearing battery that could be charged hundreds of times before its performance deteriorated.

The advantage of lithium-ion batteries is that they are not based upon chemical reactions that break down the electrodes, but upon lithium ions flowing back and forth between the anode and cathode. The lithium-ion batteries have reshaped energy storage and transformed cars, mobile phones and many other devices in an increasingly portable and electronic world.

Current Affair 13:
Nobel Prize in Physiology/ Medicine 2019

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2019 was jointly awarded to William G. Kaelin, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, and Gregg L. Semenza, for ‘their discoveries on how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.’

The discovery by scientists aims to identify the molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen and understand how underlying cells adapt to such variations in oxygen supply.

Gregg L. Semenza was awarded the Prize for the discovery of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) protein. This protein is responsible for switching genes on and off in response to low oxygen levels in the cells.

Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe (Professor at Oxford University), earned his share of the Prize for discovering a mechanism common to all cells of the human body.

When oxygen levels are low in the cells, this mechanism signals the kidneys to produce more red blood cells, which carry the vital molecule throughout the body.

William G. Kaelin (Professor at Harvard University) received the Prize for his work investigating a genetic syndrome called Von Hippel-Lindau’s (VHL) disease. He found that the gene behind VHL encodes for a protein that seems to prevent cancer and was implicated in its response to low oxygen levels.

This discovery was eventually tied to HIF-1 and gave potential understanding to treat a range of conditions like cancer, diabetes, and coronary artery disease. The scientists focused on developing drugs that could treat diseases by either activating or blocking the body’s oxygen-sensing machinery.

For example, the oxygen response is confiscated by cancer cells which stimulates the formation of blood vessels to help themselves grow.

This work by scientists has paved the way for new strategies to fight anemia, cancer, and other diseases.

Current Affair 14:
Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences 2019

The Prize in Economic Sciences for 2019 was jointly awarded to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Michael Kremer, for ‘their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.’

This year’s laureates have introduced a new approach to obtain reliable answers about the best ways to fight global poverty. Their approach divides the larger issue into smaller ones that could be easily examined to find out the solution to the problem.

The three adopted an evidence-based approach to apply their theory to real-life situations using randomized trials and then assessing the outcomes. For instance, they found that in India, despite immunization being free, women were not bringing in their children for the vaccination shot. The two economists Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo decided to give them a bag of pulses free to women who brought their babies for vaccination. This freebie policy soon spread, and the rate of immunization shot up in the region.

The fieldwork-based approach that these economists have presented has revolutionized the field of development economics and made it more relevant in policymaking. In this way, the experiment-based approach of the three laureates has transformed the developmental economics and turned it into a flourishing field of research.

The trio’s experimental research methods have benefited more than five million Indian children, who are part of remedial tutoring programmes in schools.

Esther Duflo has become the second woman to win the prize after Elinor Ostrom of the USA (in 2009). She is also the youngest ever to win the prize.

Current Affair 15:
Transforming sulphur dioxide from harmful to useful

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The international team developed porous, cage-like, stable copper-containing molecules known as molecular organic frameworks (MOFs) that are designed to separate sulphur dioxide (SO2) gas from other gases more efficiently than existing systems.

A unique new material developed by an international collaboration of scientists has proved that it can help reduce sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions in the environment by selectively catching the molecules in minutely engineered cages. The captured toxic gas can then be safely released for conversion into useful industrial products and processes.

Around 87% of sulphur dioxide emissions are the result of human activity, typically produced by power plants, other industrial facilities, trains, ships, and heavy equipment, and can be harmful to human health and the environment.

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