Goaltide Daily Current Affairs

Nov 17, 2019

Current Affair 1:
Toads in News

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Here we will see two important topics related to toads:

  1. Conservation of Malabar Tree Toad (MTT)
  2. First in vitro Puerto Rico crested toad 

Malabar Tree Toad.

The Metastring Foundation a citizen-based conservation non-profit, was awarded a grant of Rs 15 lakh for one year for its project on the Malabar Tree Toad (MTT), a very rare species of amphibian endemic to the Western Ghats.

The MTT is an endangered species that spends most of its life on trees, coming to the ground only during the first monsoon showers to mate.

The Western Ghats, where the MTT is found, is a biodiversity hotspot and is home to 179 recorded amphibian species, 80 per cent of which are not found anywhere else.

First in vitro Puerto Rico crested toad

The Puerto Rican crested toad, or simply Puerto Rican toad, is a species of toad found only in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico Toad is a critically Endangered species.

Why it was in news?

A critically endangered Puerto Rican toad was for the first time born via in vitro fertilization as U.S. scientists attempt to save it from extinction. This is a significant advance for critically endangered species, as it will allow zoos, researchers and other conservationists to expand their genetic population used to increase the general population while keeping toads in their natural and wild habitat.

Current Affair 2:
Climate change pushed Indus Valley migrants west to east: Study

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A new study by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IITKGP) has found new evidence for the popular hypothesis that climate change caused human migration during and after the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC).

The researchers concluded this from the study of two previously unknown post-Harappan, Iron Age sites in the western part of the Great Rann of Kutch (GRK) and the lower fringes of the Thar desert.

The Iron Age (3100-2300 years before now) is often referred to as the ‘Dark Age’ because of scant historical and archaeological evidence from that period. These are the first Iron Age sites found in this particular region.


The evidence from the sites at Karim Shahi in the Great Rann of Kutch (GRK) and Vigakot in Thar proves that human habitation continued in the region up to the Early Medieval Period (900 years before now).

YOU WILL REMEMBER THESE TWO PLACES- Karim Shahi and Vigakot. A similar question was asked in UPSC Prelims 2019 about places.

Current Affair 3:

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Researchers have discovered a new active substance effective against gram negative bacteria that targets a previously unknown site of action: 'Darobactin'.

More and more bacterial pathogens of infectious diseases become resistant to customary antibiotics. Typical hospital germs such as Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae have become resistant to the most available antibiotics. Their additional external membrane makes these bacteria difficult to attack. It protects the bacteria particularly well by preventing many substances from getting into the cell interior. Especially for the treatment of diseases caused by these so-called gram-negative bacteria, there is a lack of new active substances.

An international team of researchers announced their discovery of Darobactin, which can kill resistant microbes known as gram-negative bacteria.

The newly discovered compound breathes new life into the search for a solution to the antimicrobial resistance crisis. The molecule has a unique structure and an unusual mode of action that make it particularly effective against gram-negative bacteria.

Current Affair 4:
Gamma-Ray Bursts

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What was in news?

A pair of distant explosions discovered by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory have produced the highest-energy light yet seen from these events, called gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). The record-setting detections, made by two different ground-based observatories, provide new insights into the mechanisms driving gamma-ray bursts.

What is Gamma-ray bursts?

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are one of the most energetic phenomena in the Universe, and also one of the least researched.

The most common type of GRB occurs when a star much more massive than the Sun runs out of fuel. Its core collapses and forms a black hole, which then blasts jets of particles outward at nearly the speed of light. These jets pierce the star and continue into space. They produce an initial pulse of gamma rays—the most energetic form of light—that typically lasts about a minute.

As the jets race outward, they interact with surrounding gas and emit light across the spectrum, from radio to gamma rays. These so-called afterglows can be detected up to months—and rarely, even years—after the burst at longer wavelengths.

Try to understand more through video given in a link.


Current Affair 5:
Bill to Change Stature of Official Languages

Recently, a private member’s bill was introduced in the ongoing Winter Session of the Parliament to give all 22 languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution the stature of national official languages. So, till now which language has that status? See article 343:

Only Hindi Language has that status. The new bill reads as:

The bill proposes to substitute this with, “the official language of the Union in addition to Hindi in Devanagari script shall be the languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule to this Constitution”.

The new bill also proposed to amend clause 3 of Article 343. What is clause 3 of 343?

The new bill seeks to amend this clause 3 of 33. The bill proposes:

The bill seeks to add to this subclause, “Parliament may by law provide for the use of the English language or the languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule to this Constitution”.

What is this 8th Schedule?

The Eighth Schedule to the Constitution consists of the following 22 languages:

(1) Assamese, (2) Bengali, (3) Gujarati, (4) Hindi, (5) Kannada, (6) Kashmiri, (7) Konkani, (8) Malayalam, (9) Manipuri, (10) Marathi, (11) Nepali, (12) Oriya, (13) Punjabi, (14) Sanskrit, (15) Sindhi, (16) Tamil, (17) Telugu, (18) Urdu (19) Bodo, (20) Santhali, (21) Maithili and (22) Dogri.

Of these languages, 14 were initially included in the Constitution.

Sindhi language was added by the 21st Amendment Act of 1967.

Konkani, Manipuri, and Nepali were included by the 71st Amendment Act of 1992.

Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, and Santhali were added by 92nd Amendment Act (remember this like 21+71) of 2003.

What is Private Member Bill?

A Member of Parliament (MP) who is not a Minister in the Union Cabinet is called a Private Member. Bills introduced by such members are called Private Member's Bills. A PMB can be introduced in either the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. Bills introduced by ministers are called Government Bills.

The scope of a Private Member Bill (PMB) is same as that of a Government Bill. These bills can deal with any issue and can also be a Constitutional Amendment Bill. Unlike a Government Bill, a PMB is not discussed by the Council of Ministers internally.

The member has to provide a one-month notice along with a copy of the ‘Statement of Object and Reasons’.

There is also a committee: Committee on Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions (Lok Sabha). Please learn about it. Committees are very important for your Prelims Exam.

This Committee consists of 15 members and the Deputy Speaker is its Chairman when nominated as a member of the Committee. The Committee is nominated by the Speaker.

The functions of the Committee are to allot time to Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions, to examine Private Members’ Bills seeking to amend the Constitution before their introduction in Lok Sabha, to examine all Private Members’ Bills after they are introduced and before they are taken up for consideration in the House and to classify them according to their nature.

Current Affair 6:
On global cybercrime, India votes in favour of Russia-led resolution

Recently, India voted in favour of a cybercrime resolution led by Russia in a committee of the United Nations General Assembly. The resolution seeks to set up new cyber norms considered as counter alternative to the US backed Budapest Accord. Therefore, we have basically two conventions to learn here:

  1. Budapest Convention (old)
  2. Russia led Cybercrime Convention (new)

Budapest Convention:

The Convention on Cybercrime of the Council of Europe, known as the Budapest Convention, is the binding international instrument that serves as a guideline for any country developing comprehensive national legislation against Cybercrime and as a framework for international cooperation between State Parties to this treaty.

The Convention is the first international treaty on crimes committed via the Internet and other computer networks, dealing particularly with infringements of copyright, computer-related fraud, child pornography and violations of network security. It also contains a series of powers and procedures such as the search of computer networks and interception.

Its main objective, set out in the preamble, is to pursue a common criminal policy aimed at the protection of society against cybercrime, especially by adopting appropriate legislation and fostering international co-operation.

India has neither signed nor ratified the Convention.


Now, Russian led resolution:

Russia has framed the treaty as an alternative to the Budapest Convention.

The Russian proposal entitled “Countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes” was recently put forth in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

The Russian proposal calls for creation of a committee that will convene in August 2020 in New York in order to establish a new treaty through which nation-states can coordinate and share data to prevent cybercrime.

This draft Convention goes far beyond what the Budapest Convention allows for regarding cross-border access to data, including limiting the ability of a signatory to refuse to provide access to requested data.

If this resolution will be passed by the UNGA, it will become the second international convention on cybercrime.

What is the status of India on Russian- led Convention?

India voted in favour of a Russian-led UN resolution to set up a separate convention. This is important.

Latest development in India regarding cyber protection:

The government has proposed the Draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 (based on the recommendation of Justice BN Srikrishna Committee).

Wit for the updates and see what happens

Current Affair 7:
Living Root Bridges

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Why in news?

According to a study recently published in the journal Scientific Reports, the living root bridges (found in Meghalaya) can be considered as a reference point for future botanical architecture projects in urban contexts.

What is this Living Root Bridges:

During monsoon season in northeast India, rainwater gushes through the emerald valleys and deep gorges of Meghalaya, the “abode of the clouds.” The mountainous plateau between Assam and Bangladesh is one of the wettest places on Earth, and the Khasi tribes who inhabit these hills have developed an intimate relationship with the forest.

Long before the availability of modern construction materials, the Khasi devised an ingenious way to traverse the turbulent waterways and link isolated villages: living root bridges, locally known as jing kieng jri.

How they construct these bridges?

Tree trunks are planted on each side of the bank to create a sturdy foundation, and over the course of 15 to 30 years, the Khasi slowly thread roots across a temporary bamboo scaffolding to connect the gap. A combination of humidity and foot traffic help compact the soil over time, and the tangle of roots grows thick and strong. Mature bridges stretch 15 to 250 feet over deep rivers and gorges and can bear impressive loads—upwards of 35 people at a time.

Unlike modern building materials like concrete and steel, these structures typically become more resilient with age and can survive centuries. They regularly withstand flash flooding and storm surges that are common in the region—a low-cost and sustainable way to connect remote mountain villages scattered throughout the steep terrain.

Current Affair 8:
Bougainville votes on independence from Papua New Guinea

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On November 23, the people of Bougainville (a small South Pacific island), will vote for a referendum to gain independence from Papua New Guinea. If the referendum is passed, Bougainville would become the world’s newest and possibly the smallest independent country.

Let us see map of both the countries.

Bougainville is currently a province of Papua New Guinea- one of the most populous Pacific island states. It forms the part of the Solomon Islands archipelago.

Nothing more is required.

Current Affair 9:
Citizenship Act, 1955

Why in news?

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has cancelled the citizenship of Chennamaneni Ramesh who is a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Vemulawada in Telangana.

The MHA held that Ramesh obtained citizenship under section 5(1)(f) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 in the year 2009 by means of fraud, false representation and concealment of facts and thus, his action attracts provisions of section 10(2) of the Act.

Can be see provisions now:

Section 5(1)(f)

Section 5 of the Citizenship Act 1955 deals with acquisition of citizenship by registration. Section 5(1)(f) states one of the categories eligible for the case of registration.

  1. That is, a person of full age and capacity who, or either of his parents, was earlier citizen of independent India, and
  2. Has been residing in India for one year immediately before making an application for registration.

Section 10(2)

Section 10 deals with deprivation of citizenship.

Section 10(2) provides that the Central Government may, by order, deprive a citizen (who is such by registration) of Indian citizenship, if it is satisfied that:

  1. The registration was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact; or
  2. That citizen has shown himself by act or speech to be disloyal or disaffected towards the Constitution of India; or
  3. That citizen has, during any war in which India may be engaged, unlawfully traded or communicated with an enemy or been engaged in, or associated with, any business that was to his knowledge carried on in such manner as to assist an enemy in that war; or
  4. That citizen has, within five years after registration or naturalization, been sentenced in any country to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years; or
  5. That citizen has been ordinarily resident out of India for a continuous period of seven years.

The law, however, also provides for checks to ensure that citizenship is not cancelled arbitrarily.

Section 10(3) of the Act says that the Central Government shall not deprive a person of citizenship under this section unless it is satisfied that it is not conducive to the public good that person should continue to be a citizen of India.

Current Affair 10:
Price Stabilization Fund

Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF) refers to any fund constituted for the purpose of containing extreme volatility in prices of selected commodities. The amount in the fund is generally utilized for activities aimed at bringing down/up the high/low prices say for instance, procurement of such products and distribution of the same as and when required, so that prices remain in a range.

The prices of some of the agricultural commodities such as onion, potato and pulses are highly volatile. Sudden increase in the prices of these commodities could adversely affect the consumers.

Now, the important part is who manage it?

The Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) was set up in 2014-15 under the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Famers Welfare to help regulate the price volatility of important Agri-horticultural commodities like onion, potatoes and pulses were also added subsequently.

The PSF scheme was transferred from Department of Agriculture to the Department of Consumer Affairs (DOCA) w.e.f. 1st April 2016.

It’s a Central Sector Scheme.

Activities undertaken:

  1.  Procurement of commodities will be undertaken directly from farmers or farmers’ organizations at farm gate/mandi and made available at a more reasonable price to the consumers.
  2. Losses incurred, if any, in the operations will be shared between the Centre and the States.
  3. PSF Scheme provides for advancing interest free loan to State Governments/Union Territories (UTs) and Central agencies to support their working capital and other expenses they might incur on procurement and distribution interventions for such commodities.

The Fund shall be managed by a “Price Stabilisation Fund Management Committee" (PSFMC).

Current Affair 11:
ISRO gets set for launch of Cartosat-3

In the above image, you find a new term NSIL. Let us learn NSIL.


The Union Government has set up New Space India Limited (NSIL), a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under the administrative control of Department of Space (DOS) in March 2019 to commercially exploit the research and development work of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Centres and constituent units of DOS.

 NSIL has been incorporated to carry out the following roles and functions as part of its mandate:

  1.  Small Satellite technology transfer to industry, wherein NSIL will obtain license from DOS/ISRO and sub-license it to Industries;
  2. Manufacture of Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) in collaboration with Private Sector;
  3. Productionisation of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) through Indian Industry;
  4. Productionisation and marketing of Space based products and services, including launch and application;
  5.  Transfer of technology developed by ISRO Centres and constituent units of DOS;
  6. Marketing spin-off technologies and products/services, both in India and abroad;


Current Affair 12:
Israel-Palestine conflict

See the images.

Current Affair 13:
Strategic Disinvestment

What was in news?

The Cabinet’s latest decision to approve strategic disinvestment of the government’s shareholding in five public sector enterprises can at best be described as an expedient exit. Let us understand about strategic disinvestment.


Disinvestment refers to the mechanism in which the Government loses a part of its ownership of the PSUs through the sale of shares.

The Disinvestment as a policy was adopted by the Government post 1991 LPG Reforms.

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management under the Ministry of Finance acts as the nodal agency for the Disinvestment in India.

According to the Department of Disinvestment, in the strategic sale of a company, the transaction has two elements:

  1. Transfer of a block of shares to a Strategic Partner and
  2. Transfer of management control to the Strategic Partner

The strategic sale takes place when more than 51% of shares go to the private sector strategic partner. At the same time, it is not necessary that more than 51% of the total equity goes to the Strategic Partner for the transfer of management to take place. In other words, strategic sale can take place even if the private sector partner gets less than 51% shares.

According to the strategic sale guidelines issued by DIPAM, after the transaction, the Strategic Partner may hold less percentage of shares than the Government, but the control of management would be with partner. The necessary condition is that the control of the firms should be with the strategic partner.

Procedures for Strategic Disinvestment (4 steps)

  1. NITI Aayog identifies CPSEs for Strategic Disinvestment
  2. NITI Aayog advises on the mode of sale and percentage of shares to be sold
  3. Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment (CGD) headed by Cabinet Secretary considers the recommendations of NITI Aayog
  4. Decision by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on strategic disinvestment.

If you look at data:

In 2016-17 fiscal, the government had mopped up Rs. 46,247 crores through CPSE disinvestment, as against the budget target of Rs. 56,500 crores. In 2015-16, it had raised Rs. 23,997 crore, as against the budget target of Rs. 69,500 crores. In 2014-15, receipts from disinvestment stood at Rs. 26,068 crores against a target of Rs. 58,425 crores.    In 2017-18 fiscal, the record proceeds of Rs. 1 lakh crore were achieved against a budget target of Rs. 72,500 crores. 


   Total disinvestment (in crores)

  Budget Target











           1 lakh crore



             80,000 crores

**** not updated.


Current Affair 14:
Avian botulism killed 18,000 birds at Sambhar: Govt report

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Avian botulism killed over 18,000 birds in and around Rajasthan’s Sambhar lake, the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly, said in a report released on November 21, 2019.

About Avian Botulism

Avian botulism is a serious neuromuscular illness of birds caused by a toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.

 Avian botulism has been recognized as a major cause of mortality in wild birds since the 1900s. The first outbreak in Australia occurred in 1938; one of the earliest major reported die-offs of a large number of waterfowls linked to this disease was encountered in Victoria in 1938.

What happened at Sambhar?

  1. Water levels were fluctuating throughout the year. Locals reported that due to a good monsoon this year, the water level reached the lakebed after a gap of 20 years.
  2. The good monsoon provided a favorable environment for the bacteria to spread. The bacteria need anaerobic (absence of oxygen) conditions and does not grow in acidic conditions.
  3. The temperature of the water was about 25 degree Celsius. Its pH ranged between 7.4- 9.84.
  4. It also requires a nutrient-rich substrate, like areas with large amounts of decaying plant or animal materials.
  5. The monsoon brought with it a large population of crustaceans (like shrimps, crabs, and prawns), invertebrates (snails) and plankton (like algae).
  6. These living organisms are capable of hosting the bacteria for a long period of time. According to reports, the bacteria is also found in the gills and digestive tracts of healthy fish.
  7. It reproduces through spores and these spores remain dormant for years. They are resistant to temperature changes and drying. Under favorable conditions, the spores are activated.
  8. The IVRI report noted that after the monsoon, when the water levels receded, there might have been an increase in salinity levels which could have led to the death of these living organisms. At this point in time, the spores could have been activated.
  9. According to another theory, ‘a bird-to-bird cycle’ could also have led to the tragedy. In such an event, maggots feeding on dead birds can concentrate the toxin. Birds feeding on dead birds can get affected.
  10. This was observed in Sambhar too as researchers found only insectivorous and omnivorous birds affected and not herbivores.

Current Affair 15:
Water Quality Report

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Union Minister of Consumer Affairs released the Water Quality Report for State Capitals & Delhi as analyzed by Bureau of India Standards (BIS).

The study focused on the quality of piped drinking water and also ranked the States, smart cities and districts accordingly.

This study was in line with Jal Jeevan Mission which aims to provide tap water to all households by 2024.

Tests were conducted on various parameters:

Organoleptic and Physical Tests

Chemical test

Toxic substances

Bacteriological tests

Total Dissolve Solids (TDS)


Total hardness

Total alkalinity

Minerals and metals

Presence of Coliform and E Coli

A vast majority of the samples have failed to comply with the requirements in one or more parameters.

Tap water in Mumbai is the safest for drinking while Delhi’s water is one of the worst.

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