Goaltide Daily Current Affairs

Dec 22, 2019

Current Affair 1:
Global Gender Gap Index 2020

India has been ranked 112th among 153 countries in the annual Global Gender Gap Index for 2020, published by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The Global Gender Gap Index benchmarks 153 countries on their progress towards gender parity in four dimensions:








Learn about India.

India has slipped to the 112th spot from its 108th position in the last edition. India was ranked relatively higher at 98th place in 2006 Report.

India ranks 112th on the overall Global Gender Gap Index and the country has closed two-thirds of its overall gender gap (score of 66.8%). However, the condition of women in  large fringes of India’s society is precarious.

It has lost four positions since the previous edition, despite a small score improvement, as some countries ranked lower than India have improved more. The economic gender gap runs particularly deep in India. Only one-third of the gap has been bridged (score of 35.4%, 149th, down 7 places). Since 2006, the gap has gotten significantly wider. Among the 153 countries studied, India is the only country where the economic gender gap is larger than the political gender gap. Only one-quarter of women, compared with 82% of men, engage actively in the labour market (i.e. working or looking for work)—one of the lowest participation rates in the world (145th). Furthermore, female estimated earned income is a mere one-fifth of male income, which is also among the world’s lowest (144th). Women only account for 14% of leadership roles (136th) and 30% of professional and technical workers.

India ranks a low 150th on the Health and Survival sub index (94.4), as a result of the skewed sex ratio at birth: there are 91 girls born per 100 boys born, a ratio well below the natural one. Violence, forced marriage and discrimination in access to health remain pervasive.

The situation and the trend are more positive in terms of gender gaps in education. From primary to tertiary education, the share of women attending school is systematically larger than the share of men. But a large difference persists for literacy rate; only two-thirds of women are literate compared with 82% of men. Yet the gap has been narrowing in the past decade, because the literacy rate has significantly increased among women (66%) and slightly decreased among men to 79%.

Finally, India ranks 18th (score of 41.1%) on the Political Empowerment sub index. Of the past 50 years, the country was headed by a woman for 20 years (4th) which largely explains this strong performance. But today, female political representation is low: women make up only 14.4% of the parliament (122nd) and 23% of the cabinet (69th).

Iceland has been the frontrunner on the Global Gender Gap Index for 11 years in a row. It has closed almost 88% of its gender gap, followed by Nordic neighbours Norway, Finland and Sweden.

Current Affair 2:
No State Wise Minority Classification: SC

Source Link

Religion has no borders, Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde said, as the Supreme Court dismissed a petition to recognize Hindus as minorities in the States where they are low in population.

The petition asked the court to frame guidelines to “identify and define” religious minorities in every State, especially where Hindus are in a minority, to protect their culture and interests. “The States have been carved language-wise. But religion is beyond all borders, especially political borders. It has to be taken on a pan-India basis,” the Chief Justice Observed.

Constitutional Provisions:

The term "Minority" is not defined in the Indian Constitution. However, the Constitution recognizes only religious and linguistic minorities.

In India, the term ‘minority’ has been defined in different ways in different contexts. The terms ‘minority’ and ‘minority-rights’ have always been politically debated. The Constitution of India does not define the term . However, it uses the word ‘minority’ or its plural form in Articles 29 to 30 1 and 350A to 350B . While Article 29 of the Constitution refers to any section of citizens having a distinct language, script and culture; Article 30 speaks about two categories of minorities - religious and linguistic. Article 350 relates to linguistic minorities.

The National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 says that “Minority for the purpose of the Act, means a “community notified as such by the Central Government”. Acting under this provision on 23rd October 1993, the Central Government notified the Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Parsi (Zoroastrian) communities to be regarded as religious ‘minorities’ for the purpose of this Act.

Let us see some provisions.

Article 29 : It provides that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same.

It grants protection to both religious minorities as well as linguistic minorities. However, the Supreme Court held that the scope of this article is not necessarily restricted to minorities only, as use of the word ‘section of citizens’ in the Article that include minorities as well as majority.

Article 30 : Under the article, all minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

The protection under Article 30 is confined only to minorities (religious or linguistic) and does not extend to any section of citizens (as under Article 29). Under 29, both minority and majority are applicable.

Article 350-B : Originally, the Constitution of India did not make any provision with respect to the Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities. But, the Seventh Constitutional Amendment Act of 1956 Inserted Article 350-B in the Constitution.

It provides for a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities appointed by the President of India. It would be the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the constitution.

National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992

Current Affair 3:
Global Refugee Forum

One year after the historic affirmation of the Global Compact on Refugees, the first Global Refugee Forum is a critical opportunity to build momentum towards achieving the objectives of this new commitment and strengthen the collective response to refugee situations.

Recently, the Global Refugee Forum meeting was held in Geneva, Switzerland. It was the first ever meeting of global refugee forum.

Global Refugee Forum is guided by the Global Compact on Refugees.

What is this Global Compact on Refugees?

On 17 December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly affirmed the Global Compact on Refugees, after two years of extensive consultations led by UNHCR with Member States, international organizations, refugees, civil society, the private sector, and experts.

The Global Compact on Refugees is a framework for more predictable and equitable responsibility-sharing, recognizing that a sustainable solution to refugee situations cannot be achieved without international cooperation.

It provides a blueprint for governments, international organizations, and other stakeholders to ensure that host communities get the support they need and that refugees can lead productive lives.

It constitutes a unique opportunity to transform the way the world responds to refugee situations, benefiting both refugees and the communities that host them.

Its four key objectives are to:

  1. Ease the pressures on host countries;
  2. Enhance refugee self-reliance;
  3. Expand access to third-country solutions;
  4. Support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity.

This compact emerged from the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in 2016.

Now, what is this New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in 2016?

On September 19, 2016, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. The New York Declaration reaffirms the importance of the international refugee regime and contains a wide range of commitments by Member States to strengthen and enhance mechanisms to protect people on the move. It has paved the way for the adoption of two new global compacts in 2018: a global compact on refugees and a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.

In adopting the New York Declaration, Member States:

  1. expressed profound solidarity with those who are forced to flee;
  2. reaffirmed their obligations to fully respect the human rights of refugees and migrants;
  3. agreed that protecting refugees and supporting the countries that shelter them are shared international responsibilities and must be borne more equitably and predictably;


  1. pledged robust support to those countries affected by large movements of refugees and migrants;
  2. agreed upon the core elements of a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework; and
  3. agreed to work towards the adoption of a global compact on refugees and a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.

Now one more important point:

Annex II of the New York Declaration set in motion a process of intergovernmental consultations and negotiations towards the development of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. This process concluded on 10 December 2018 with the adoption of the Global Compact by the majority of UN Member States at an Intergovernmental Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, followed closely by formal endorsement by the UN General Assembly on 19 December.

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) sets out a common, comprehensive approach to international migration.

The GCM is a voluntary, non-binding document that introduces no additional obligations to states. It is a global agreement setting out a common framework, shared principles and best practices on international migration.

It aims at cooperation between states and promotes measures to strengthen regular migration pathways, to tackle irregular migration, and to protect human rights of migrants among other objectives.

Notably, the Global Compact establishes a United Nations mechanism allowing Governments and companies to contribute technical, financial and human resources for implementing it.

The global compact is framed consistent with target 10.7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in which member States committed to cooperate internationally to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration.

Now, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people.

UNHCR is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to seek international protection and permanent solutions for refugees. It also has the responsibility to supervise the implementation of the 1951 Convention by States Parties. States Parties are required to cooperate with UNHCR and provide relevant information and statistical data.

India has signed neither the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention nor its 1967 Protocol, which has 140 signatories, an overwhelming majority of the world's 190-odd nations.

Current Affair 4:
Front of Packet Labelling to be delinked from general labelling regulation: FSSAI

Source Link

Front of Packet Labelling (FoPL) will soon be delinked from the general labelling regulation.

First, we will learn about Front-of-pack labelling (FOPL):

Front-of-pack labelling (FOPL) is an important policy tool for countries to help consumers to make healthier food choices. FoPL was included within the draft Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2019 in India.

It is aimed at making consumers aware of food products that are high in fat, sugar and salt content. It consists of two aspects — a threshold for India and a way to depict the same on the food packets.

Issues and Reasons to delinking-

  1. The main issue regarding front-of-pack labelling was about getting thresholds that were relevant to Indian conditions, in place of adopting any other country- or region-specific threshold
  2. Authority stated that the threshold should be an India-relevant threshold.
  3. The front-of-pack labelling requirement is largely related to the declaration of the threshold of salt, sugar and fat and its depiction.
  4. The authority has decided that front-of-pack and general labelling regulations should be delinked, and that the two can move at their own pace.
  5. FSSAI will look into the subject of thresholds needed to be defined across the food categories.


On December 17, Delhi-based think-tank Centre for Science and Environment or CSE released the findings of its study which tested 33 foods including 14 packaged foods (six types of chips, four types of namkeen, three types of noodles and one soup) and 19 fast foods (eight types of burgers, three types of fries, four types of pizza, four types of sandwich and wraps and one fried chicken).
The test results of the Environment Monitoring Laboratory at Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) have unmasked two anomalies:

  • First, food manufacturers blatantly sell products that have unhealthy levels of nutrients.
  • Second, a nexus between the industry and regulating agencies backs this brazen act.

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has shown that the total amount of salts, fat, trans-fat and carbohydrates in various fast foods such as pizzas, burgers, chips, instant noodles etc. is well-above the recommended dietary allowance (RDA).

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) refers to the daily ceiling on the amount of salt, fat, carbohydrate and trans-fat. The RDA is based on scientific consensus and has been agreed upon by expert bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN).

India, therefore, urgently needs a robust law on labelling and disclosure of nutritional information on food packs.

Six long years have passed since the need to label these, upfront, was recognized. The baseline was that consumers must know everything about the food they buy. The existing Food Safety Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011, is too weak and ineffective, as shown here:


  1. The delinking of  FoPL and studies for India specific thresholds points towards another attempt to delay and dilute.
  2. The thresholds are based on World Health Organization norms developed after years of deliberations for countries like India. Therefore, it must not be weakened.
  3. It would be detrimental to the health of the people.

Current Affair 5:
Impeachment of US President

Donald Trump has become the third US President in history to be impeached by the House of Representatives. The trial will now start in the Senate. The two prior impeachments were: Andrew Johnson (1868) and Bill Clinton (1998).

The legislature of the United States of America i.e. Congress of the United States consists of two houses: the Senate, in which each state, regardless of its size, is represented by two senators, and the House of Representatives, to which members are elected on the basis of population.

Understand the impeachment process: two beautiful diagrams.

Impeachment in India:

Current Affair 6:
Sahitya Akademi Awards 2019

Source Link

Sahitya Akademi announced its annual Sahitya Akademi Awards in 23 languages. Seven books of poetry, four of novel, six of short stories, three of essays and one each of non-fiction, autobiography and biography have won the Sahitya Akademi Awards 2019

The Sahitya Akademi was formally inaugurated by the Government of India on 12 March 1954. Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters, is the central institution for literary dialogue, publication and promotion in the country and the only institution that undertakes literary activities in 24 Indian languages, including English.

Akademi gives 24 awards annually to literary works in the languages it has recognized and an equal number of awards to literary translations from and into the languages of India, both after a yearlong process of scrutiny, discussion and selection.

Besides the 22 languages enumerated in the Constitution of India, the Sahitya Akademi has recognized English and Rajasthani as languages in which its programme may be implemented.

Its Parent Organization is Ministry of Culture.

Current Affair 7:
Rhinos to be Re-introduced in Uttarakhand

Source Link

Recently, the Uttarakhand State Wildlife Board has cleared a proposal by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to introduce rhinoceroses in the Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR).

Reasons for Translocation

  1. This has been done to boost tourism and revive the habitats of species that survive on low-height grass.
  2. Geographical terrain and environmental conditions in CTR are suitable for rhinos.
  3. The rhino’s range, once continuous across the flood plains of the Indus, Ganges and the Brahmaputra, now limited to small fragmented pockets in India and Nepal as a result of anthropogenic pressures and poaching, as per the WWI experts.
  4. Re-introduction into habitats in the historic range would create safety-net populations for the species and also restore their ecological role in these faunally degraded habitats.
  5. Rhinos are poached because their horns are considered an aphrodisiac. Every translocated animal would be fitted with a GPS radio-collar for monitoring their ranging patterns, foraging habits, demography and habitat use.

Learn more about Rhinos.

There are majorly five species of Rhino- Black, White, One-horned (Indian), Javan and Sumatran.

The Indian Rhinoceros is an herbivorous grazer and is one of the three species of Rhinos native to Asia- other two Javan an Sumatran. The Indian rhinoceros lives primarily in northern India and Nepal.

Assam has the largest number of Indian one horn Rhino in the world where the Rhino census is conducted in every three years. As per the 2018 Census, Kaziranga has total of 2413 Rhinos.

What is India Rhino Vision 2020?

Launched in 2005, Indian Rhino Vision 2020 is an ambitious effort to attain a wild population of at least 3,000 greater one-horned rhinos spread over seven protected areas in the Indian state of Assam by the year 2020.

It was launched by the Assam Forest Department, in partnership with the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) and WWF-India.

One more thing, we will learn here about Rhino is Rhinoceros DNA Index System (RhODIS). Not in news recently. But just for information you read. May be later, it might appear.

RhODIS (Rhino DNA Index System) is a project that was initiated by the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory of the University of Pretoria in order to help with the plight of the rhinos. The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory is collecting DNA samples of rhinos across the country to create a database using the unique DNA profile of individual rhinos. The goal is for all rhinos to be on the system. This will deter poachers and assist in forensic prosecutions.

In 2016, RhODIS India was launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in partnership with Wildlife Institute of India.

The progress of RhODIS implementation is reviewed by the Ministry on an annual basis.

Nothing more will be important for RhODIS. If you remember 2017 Prelims Paper, they asked about M-STrIPES. Similarly, RhODIS may appear. So, remember this. Not difficult.

Current Affair 8:
Afghanistan first country to recognize Indian Pharmacopoeia

Source Link

Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP) has been recognized formally by the National Department of Regulation of Medicines and Health Products of the Ministry of Public Health of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. It will also be used based on the requirement as reputable pharmacopoeia in the laboratory of medicines and health products quality.

Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP) is an officially recognized book of standards as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules 1945 thereunder. As per the Second Schedule of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, IP is designated as the official book of standards for drugs imported and/or manufactured for sale, stock or exhibition for sale or distribution in India.

Current Affair 9:
More plastic pollution on Maharashtra beaches than Karnataka, Goa: Study

Source Link

A study titled ‘Assessment of macro and micro plastics along the west coast of India: abundance, distribution, polymer type and toxicity’ has been published by National Institute of Oceanography which highlights the higher abundance of Plastic pollution in Maharashtra beach as compared to the Goa and Karnataka beach.

The study has blamed plastic industries located near the shore and increased tourism activities for the pollution.

In this respect it is important for us to understand NIO and Micro plastic pollution from UPSC perspective.

What are Microplastics?

Microplastics are very small pieces of plastic that pollute the environment. Microplastics are not a specific kind of plastic, but rather any type of plastic fragment that is less than 5 mm in length according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

They enter natural ecosystems from a variety of sources, including cosmetics, clothing, and industrial processes.

What is Classification of Microplastics?

Two classifications of microplastics currently exist.

Primary microplastics: Primary microplastics are any plastic fragments or particles that are already 5.0 mm in size or less before entering the environment. These include microfibers from clothing, microbeads, and plastic pellets (also known as nurdles).

Secondary microplastics: Secondary microplastics are microplastics that are created from the degradation of larger plastic products once they enter the environment through natural weathering processes. Such sources of secondary microplastics include water and soda bottles, fishing nets, and plastic bags.


NIO, National Institute of Oceanography (NIO)

 It is one of the constituent laboratories of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi. Headquarters: Dona Paula, Goa,

Principal focus: The principal focus of research has been on observing and understanding special oceanographic characteristics of the Indian Ocean.

Current Affair 10:
Manual Scavenging left 282 dead since 2016

Source Link

282 people have died while cleaning sewers and septic tanks in the country between 2016 and November 2019, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment said in a response to a question in Rajya Sabha. Sanitation is a State subject, the people for cleaning of sewers and septic tanks are employed by local bodies.

Law on Manual Scavenging: Remember these points if you have to write any answers or an essay on manual scavenging.

Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 provides for the prohibition of employment as manual scavengers, rehabilitation of manual scavengers and their families.

Section 7 of the Act prohibits any person, local authority or any agency to engage or employ people for hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks. Violation of the provision provides for imprisonment which may extend to two years.

Section 13 of the Act provides for rehabilitation of persons identified as manual scavengers by a Municipality.

However, the law is not properly enforced, and people are forced to do manual scavenging.

Section 2 (g) of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (hereinafter the PEMSR Act, 2013) defines manual scavenger as “a person engaged or employed....by an individual or a local authority or an agency or a contractor, for manually cleaning, carrying, disposing of, or otherwise handling in any manner, human excreta in an insanitary latrine or in an open drain or pit into which the human excreta from the insanitary latrines is disposed of, or on a railway track or in such other spaces or premises...”

Current Affair 11:
About National Population register (NPR)
  1. The National Population Register (NPR) is a comprehensive identity database maintained by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India under Ministry of Home Affairs.
  2. It is a Register of “usual residents of the country” and will be prepared at the local, sub-district, district, state and national level.
  3.  The NPR is being prepared under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. It is mandatory for every “usual resident of India” to register in the NPR.
  4.  As per section 14A of Citizenship Act 1955, it is compulsory for every citizen of the country to register in the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC). The creation of NPR is the first step towards preparations of NRIC.
  5. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, “usual resident of the country” is one who has been residing in a local area for at least the last 6 months or intends to stay in a particular location for the next six months.
  6. Citizens & Foreigners - Unlike the NRC, the National Population Register will not only include citizens but also foreigners as it would record even a foreigner staying in a locality for more than six months. The NPR database would contain demographic as well as biometric details.
  7. Seeding with Aadhaar - The government also plans to seed Aadhaar database with the updated NPR. This updated NPR database along with Aadhaar Number will become the mother database and can be used by various government departments

for selection of beneficiaries under their respective schemes.

How is the NPR different than NRC?

National Population Register is a database of people living in India, citizens or not, but National Register of Citizens is a database of Indian citizens.

The NRC process demands proof of citizenship from the respondents. Those who found in want of the proof may face deportation or detention in long run. But in NPR, there is no need to provide any document.

How is the NPR different than census?

While the process of NPR and Census will begin simultaneously, the two databases are not same. The decennial census is the largest single source of a variety of statistical information on different characteristics of the people of India.

While NPR only contains demographic information, more details are required for census like information on demography, economic activity, literacy and education, and housing and household amenities besides others.

The census is the basis for reviewing the country's progress in the past decade, monitoring the ongoing schemes of the government and plan for the future.

Current Affair 12:
EChO Network

Source Link

EChO Network, a national program to provide a template for cross-disciplinary leadership in India with the specific focus of increasing research, knowledge, and awareness of Indian ecology and the environment was launched,

Current Affair 13:
Russia deploys Avangard hypersonic missile system

Source Link

A new intercontinental weapon that can fly 27 times the speed of sound became operational, bolstering the country's nuclear strike capability.

The Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle is launched atop an intercontinental ballistic missile, but unlike a regular missile warhead that follows a predictable path after separation it can make sharp maneuvers in the atmosphere in route to target, making it much harder to intercept.

The Russian leader noted that Avangard is designed using new composite materials to withstand temperatures of up to 2,000 Celsius (3,632 Fahrenheit) resulting from a flight through the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds.

Asper the Russian officials, the Avangard is capable of flying 27 times faster than the speed of sound. It carries a nuclear weapon of up to 2 megatons.

Current Affair 14:
European Green Deal

Source Link

In the background of the failure of the global community to reach any agreement in the recently concluded COP 25, the European Union (EU) has come up with a climate action plan known as the European Green Deal.

Two major decisions are at the heart of the European Green Deal. One is about achieving “climate neutrality”. The EU has promised to bring a law, binding on all member countries, to ensure it becomes “climate neutral” by 2050.

The second decision pertains to an increase in its 2030 emission reduction target. In its climate action plan declared under the Paris Agreement, the EU was committed to making a 40 per cent reduction in its emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. It is now promising to increase this reduction to at least 50 per cent and work towards 55 per cent.

Current Affair 15:
Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth

Source Link

The newly formed Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth (CCIG) held its first meeting to discuss issues related to the slowdown in the economy. We are not going to discuss what the committee discussed in first meeting.

We are going to learn Cabinet Committees.

Cabinet Committees are extra-constitutional in emergence. In other words, they are not mentioned in the Constitution. However, the Rules of Business provide for their establishment.

These Rules emerge out of Article 77(3) of the Constitution, which empowers the President to make rules for the more convenient transaction of the business of the Government, and for the allocation among Ministers.

These committees are of two types—standing and ad hoc. The standing Cabinet Committees are of a permanent nature while the ad hoc Cabinet Committees are of a temporary nature.

All Cabinet Committees except Cabinet Committee on Accommodation and Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs are headed by Prime Minister.

<< Previous Next >>

Send To My Bookmarks