Goaltide Daily Current Affairs

Jan 12, 2020

Current Affair 1:
Govt. launches road accident database

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We will first study small background than we will learn Integrated Road Accident Database (IRAD)

  1. India is a signatory to the second global high level Conference on Road Safety held in Brazil in 2015, referred to popularly as the Brasilia declaration, which, inter-alia, resolved to halve the deaths and injuries from accidents by 2020 and to include this target in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development by the participating countries .
  2. Road traffic continues to be a major developmental issue, a public health concern and is a leading cause of death and injury across the World killing more than 1.35 million globally in 2016 as reported in the Global Status report on Road Safety 2018 with 90% of these casualties taking place in the developing countries.
  3. According to the World Road Statistics, India recorded the highest number of road accident deaths across 199 countries in 2018 followed by China and the US.
  4. Road accidents in India kill almost 1.5 lakh people annually. Accordingly, India accounts for almost 11% of the accident related deaths in the World.

See few charts of India:

So, after seeing small background,

The government has launched a central accident database management system that will help in analyzing causes of road crashes and in devising safety interventions to reduce such accidents in the country.

The system, known as the Integrated Road Accident Database (IRAD), has been developed by the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) and will be implemented by the National Informatics Centre.

Integrated Road Accident Database (IRAD)

  1. It is an IT tool
  2.  A central accident database management system that will help in analyzing causes of road crashes and in devising safety interventions to reduce such accidents in the country.
  3.  It has been developed by the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) and will be implemented by the National Informatics Centre.
  4.  The project is being supported by the World Bank.
  5. The system will be first piloted in the six States with highest fatalities from road crashes — Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

Current Affair 2:
PM and world leaders to attend Raisina Dialogue

Raisina Dialogue 2020

Theme: ‘Navigating the alpha century’

Important pillars of this year’s version of Raisina Dialogue are

  • Nationalist impulses challenging global institutions and collective action
  • Debate on the global trading architecture.
  •  Role of technologies in determining political, economic and military power
  • Global development agenda
  • State-individual relationship in the age of digital communities and cyberspace


About Raisina Dialogue

Raisina Dialogue is India’s version of think-tank diplomacy jointly hosted by Observers Research Foundation and Ministry of External Affairs.

 It was conceived of in 2016 as India’s flagship conference of geopolitics and geo- economics involving multiple stakeholders including representatives from government, academics, journalists, business community etc.

It is considered to be India’s version of Shangri-La Dialogue that is a 'Track One' inter- governmental security forum of 28 Asia-Pacific states hosted by an independent think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Asia (Singapore).

Earlier Versions

• 2016: 'Asia: Regional and Global Connectivity’

• 2017: The New Normal: Multilateralism with Multi-Polarity

• 2018: Managing Disruptive Transitions: Ideas, Institutions and Idioms

• 2019: A World Reorder: New Geometries; Fluid Partnerships; Uncertain Outcomes”

Current Affair 3:
NASA water vapor imagery shows Tino's heavy rain potential over Fiji

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When NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the Southern Pacific Ocean it gathered water vapor data that provided information about the intensity of Tropical Cyclone Tino.

Tropical Cyclone Tino formed near Fiji in the Southern Pacific Ocean and NASA's Aqua satellite provided meteorologists with a look at the water vapor content of the storm showing potential for heavy rain.

Learn Aqua Earth-observing satellite mission

Aqua, Latin for water, is a NASA Earth Science satellite mission named for the large amount of information that the mission is collecting about the Earth's water cycle, including evaporation from the oceans, water vapor in the atmosphere, clouds, precipitation, soil moisture, sea ice, land ice, and snow cover on the land and ice. Additional variables also being measured by Aqua include radiative energy fluxes, aerosols, vegetation cover on the land, phytoplankton and dissolved organic matter in the oceans, and air, land, and water temperatures.

The Aqua mission is a part of the NASA-centered international Earth Observing System (EOS).

Current Affair 4:
Blue-green algae found to produce greenhouse gas methane

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An international team of researchers has found that cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) produce the greenhouse gas methane. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes tests they carried out with blue-green algae in their lab and what they found.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and anthropogenic emissions are partly responsible for climate change. Less well known is that there are other greenhouse gases that also contribute to global warming. One of those gases is methane, which is released into the atmosphere in a variety of ways, some natural, some from human activities.

Research over the past decade has shown that methane is approximately 60 times more efficient at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, making it a major concern. In this new effort, the researchers studied blue-green algae to find out if it emits methane.

Current Affair 5:
Huge ‘hot blob’ in Pacific Ocean killed nearly a million seabirds

Remember what blob is.

Five years ago, tens of thousands of emaciated seabirds washed ashore on the Pacific Coast. Now, scientists know why: a long-lived marine heat wave known as "the blob."

A study released by the University of Washington found the birds, called common murres, probably died of starvation between the summer of 2015 and the spring of 2016.

The common murre (Uria aalge) is a black and white seabird that reaches about 1 foot (0.3 meters) long and can dive hundreds of meters deep into water in search of prey. These seabirds feast on tiny "forage fish" such as sardines, herring and anchovies, and need to consume about half of their body weight every day in order to survive.

Current Affair 6:
Apache, chinook to make republic day debut

What was News?

Apache attack helicopters and Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, which were recently inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF), will make their debut during the Republic Day fly-past on January 26.


In 2015, India and US had signed a $3-billion deal for 22 AH-64E Apache helicopters and 15 Chinook helicopters for the Indian Air Force. (Indian Air Force received the 1st Apache in May this year and has currently inducted 8 Apaches based in Pathankot). So far, 17 Apache and 10 Chinook helicopters have been delivered.

About Apache AH-64E

  • The AH-64 Apache is a multi-role combat helicopter.
  • It is the main attack helicopter of US Army.
  •  It is an all-weather attack helicopter that can engage both air and ground targets.
  •  AH-64E is customized for India to enhance the defensive capability to counter ground-armored threats and modernize its armed forces.

CH-47F (I) Chinook helicopters

  1. The CH-47F (I) Chinook is a heavy lift, tandem rotor helicopter that serves armed forces of 19 countries. It will greatly enhance IAF's HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief) capability.
  2. The Chinook is an advanced multi-mission helicopter that will provide support to the Indian armed forces during disaster relief, medical evacuation, search and rescue missions, aircraft recovery and parachute drops.
  3. Each Chinook can carry goods and cargo weighing up to 9.6 tonnes. The cargo can include men and machines such as artillery guns and light armoured vehicles. Chinook is suited for operations in the Himalayas and has the capability to ferry heavy cargo like road construction equipment over difficult terrain.
  4. The Chinook contains a fully integrated, Digital Cockpit Management System, Common Aviation Architecture Cockpit and advanced cargo-handling capabilities.
  5. In July 2018, the first CH-47F (I) Chinook helicopter made for the Indian Air Force completed its first flight. The Indian Air Force received its first Chinook heavy-lift helicopter on February 10 at the Mundra port in Gujarat.

Current Affair 7:
Manual Scavenging in India

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Why in News?

The Central Monitoring Committee to review the implementation of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 has mentioned that many states are lagging behind in the rehabilitation of manual scavengers.

Though most of the sewer death compensation had been paid but states like Gujarat, Maharashtra is yet to pay compensation.

Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.

Now read important provisions of this Act

The Act defines manual scavengers as:


Learn about National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK)

The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) was constituted on 12th August 1994 as a statutory body by an Act of Parliament viz. ‘National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993’, for a period of three years i.e. up to 31st March 1997. As per sub-section (4) of Section 1 of the Act, it was to cease to exist after 31.3.1997. However, validity of the Act was extended up to March 2002, and then up to February 2004 vide Amendment Acts passed in 1997 and 2001 respectively.

With the lapsing of the “The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993” w.e.f. 29.2.2004, the Commission is acting as a Non-Statutory body of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

Current Affair 8:
‘Levels and Trends in Child Mortality’ report 2019

India is among the few countries in the world where, in 2018, the mortality for girls under 5 years of age exceeded that of boys, according to the ‘Levels and Trends in Child Mortality’ report by the United Nations (UN) inter-agency group for child mortality.

 The report states that in 2018, fewer countries showed gender disparities in child mortality, and across the world, boys are expected to have a higher probability of dying before reaching age 5 than girls. But this trend was not reflected in India.

In some countries, the risk of dying before age 5 for girls is significantly higher than what would be expected based on global patterns. These countries are primarily located in Southern Asia and Western Asia.

 According to India’s 2017 Sample Registration System, the States with the highest burden of neonatal mortality are Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, with 32, 33 and 30 neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively. India’s neonatal mortality rate is 23 per 1,000 live births.

Further, Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttarakhand showed the largest gender gaps in under-5 mortality.

Current Affair 9:
Kaziranga has one of the highest numbers of wetland birds

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According to the second wetland bird count conducted in Kaziranga, it has recorded 96 species of wetland birds, which is one of the highest for wildlife reserves in India.

The survey registered a total of 19,225 birds belonging to 96 species under 80 families. The first waterfowl census in 2018 had yielded 10,412 birds covering 80 species, belonging to 21 families.

The other species with sizeable numbers include gadwall, common coot, lesser whistling duck, Indian spot-billed duck, little cormorant, ferruginous duck, tufted duck, Eurasian wigeon, Asian openbill, northern lapwing, ruddy shelduck and spot-billed pelican.

The first wetland bird survey in Kaziranga, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985, was conducted in 2018.

Learn about Wetland International

Wetlands International is a global organisation that works to sustain and restore wetlands and their resources for people and biodiversity. It is an independent, not-for-profit, global organisation, supported by government and NGO membership from around the world.

“We are the global not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation and restoration of wetlands. Wetlands are the source of water that supports all forms of life. Despite our efforts to promote their importance, loss and damage to wetlands and their biodiversity continues. Our vision is a world where wetlands are treasured and nurtured for their beauty, the life they support and the resources they provide”

Current Affair 10:
The Giant tortoise

The Giant tortoise named Diego from Galapagos National Park has been called off from the captive breeding program. He is a member of ‘Chelonoidis hoodensis species.’

 Diego will be returned to his home in Española Island from where it was taken to the captive breeding program. The species is native to Española Island in the Galápagos. Introduction of Diego in the park has resulted in s significant rise in the number of tortoises.

IUCN status- The species belonging to these species are declared as ‘Critically Endangered (CR)’.

Current Affair 11:
New Energy Performance Standards for Air Conditioners

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The Central Government in consultation with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has notified new energy performance standards for Room Air Conditioner (RACs) on 30th October 2019.

Some introduction:

What India is doing? Read below:

The government, at both the federal and state levels, is exercising political action. Ahmedabad, India, was the first city in South Asia to formulate a heat action plan after a devastating heat wave hit the city in 2010. By June 2017, 17 cities and 11 states across India had released or were developing heat action plans. In 2019, India became the first major country in the world to develop a national policy document on cooling, the India Cooling Action Plan, which provides a 20-year roadmap addressing India’s future thermal comfort and the cooling needs of its people in a sustainable manner.

Recognizing that innovation is key to addressing India’s exponential cooling demand in a sustainable manner, the Government of India, through its Department of Science of Technology and other nodal ministries, is supporting the Global Cooling Prize. The prize envisions a “5X solution” – a cooling solution that has one-fifth of the climate impact of the commonly sold room AC units in the market today, taking into account both the grid-supplied electricity consumption and refrigerant global warming potential of the technology.

With rapid scaling and adoption of a superefficient and climate-friendly solution, India could avoid paying for nearly 400 gigawatts of new power generation capacity by 2050 – equivalent to saving nearly $380 billion, or a whopping 15% of India’s 2017 GDP. By switching its current and future room AC stock with a 5X solution, India could potentially mitigate up to 16 gigatons of cumulative carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 2050.

What are new standards?

The 24-degree Celsius  default setting has been made mandatory from Jan 1, 2020 for all room air conditioners covered under the ambit of BEE star-labelling program vide this notification.

Additionally, the Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (ISEER) as per the new standards will range from (3.30 - 5.00) for split and (2.70 – 3.50) for window air conditioners, which will be applicable from 1st January 2021 onwards.

The notification states, “All brands and types of star labelled room air conditioners, namely, Multi-Stage Capacity Air Conditioners, Unitary Air Conditioners and Split Air Conditioners which are rated from one star to five star, based on their relative energy efficiencies up to a rated cooling capacity of 10,465 Watts (9,000 kcal/hour) and manufactured, commercially purchased or sold in India, shall ensure default setting of temperature in the room air conditioners at twenty-four degrees Celsius with effect from the 1st January 2020.”

Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)

BEE is a statutory body under the Ministry of Power, Government of India.

It is assisted in developing policies and strategies with the primary objective of reducing the energy intensity of the Indian economy. BEE coordinates with designated consumers, designated agencies, and other organization to identify and utilize the existing resources and infrastructure, in performing the functions assigned to it under the energy conservation act.

Current Affair 12:
Mandatory Re-grassing After Mining: SC

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The Supreme Court asked the central government to impose a condition in the mining leases and environmental clearance for mines which shall ensure that once the mining operations cease, the mine owners must ensure re-grassing in the mining and any other area that has been disturbed due to the mining.

Re-grassing — a technique to reclaim land by growing grass on land affected by mining activity — as a mandatory condition for mining leaseholders in the National Mining Policy, 2019, which is being drawn up.

Supreme Court states:

It is observed that an area which is mined results in complete elimination of grass which in turn denies fodder to the herbivores.

We see no reason why the area which has been mined should not be restored so that grass and other vegetations including trees can grow in the mining areas for the benefits of animals.

The Court clarified that the re-grassing operations should be done at the cost of mining lease holders.

Current Affair 13:
Operation Sankalp

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Why in News?

Indian Navy continues to deploy one warship for Operation SANKALP in order to ensure the safe passage of Indian Flag Vessels transiting through the Strait of Hormuz amidst deteriorating US-Iran relations.

Indian Navy launched Operation SANKALP in the Gulf Region on 19th June 2019.

Indian Navy warships and aircraft are deployed to establish presence, provide a sense of reassurance to the Indian merchantmen, monitor the ongoing situation and respond to any emergent crises like deteriorating US-Iran relations in the recent times.

Current Affair 14:
TOI 700 d

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has reported the discovery of an Earth-size planet, named TOI 700 d.

The planet was found by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission, which was launched in 2018. With TOI 700 d, TESS has discovered its first Earth-size planet in its star’s habitable zone.

About TESS Mission

Current Affair 15:

What is this new virus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which includes the common cold and severe acute respiratory syndrome.

The first Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) fatality was recorded in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 449 people have now died from the virus.

Mers is a virus that is transmitted from animals to humans. The WHO says that camels are likely to be a source of Mers infection, but the exact route of transmission is not yet known.

There have been cases where the virus has spread between two people, but close contact seems to be needed.

What does it do?

Coronaviruses cause respiratory infections in humans and animals. Symptoms are a fever, cough and breathing difficulties. It causes pneumonia and, sometimes, kidney failure. Most of the people who have been infected so far have been older men, often with other medical conditions. Experts say they are not sure why we are seeing this pattern and if it will change over time. It is also unclear how often people might develop a milder form of the disease.


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