Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Jul 03, 2020

Current Affair 1:
Four new fungi species discovered on bat carcasses in China

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Questions won’t be asking like name the species found. There are many more things hidden, why bats are important, what they carry, Bats are pollinating agents, etc. So, along with news focus on these aspects also.

A subterranean expedition by a group of researchers in China has led to the discovery of four novel fungal species on bat carcasses. The four new species are Mortierella rhinolophicola; M multispora; M yunnanensis; and Neocosmospora pallidimors.

Neocosmospora pallidimors, according to researchers, is particularly important as the Neocosmospora genus is known to contain numerous aggressive pathogens that can infect mammals. One of the more alarming findings was that many infections related to Neocosmospora, which have previously been associated with human and animal mycotoxicoses (ingestion of toxins produced by fungi affecting liver and endocrine), are thought to be on the rise.

Current Affair 2:
Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY)

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"Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY)" under the National Mission for Financial Inclusion was launched initially for a period of 4 years (in two phases) on 28th August 2014. It envisages universal access to banking facilities with at least one basic banking account for every household, financial literacy, access to credit, insurance and pension.

The scheme is administered by Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance. Most important.

The Government has decided to extend the comprehensive PMJDY program beyond 28.8.2018 with the change in focus on opening accounts from “every household” to “every adult”, with following modification:


National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) for the period 2019-2024 initiated by RBI.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has chalked out an ambitious strategy for financial inclusion till 2024, in which it aims to strengthen the ecosystem for various modes of digital financial services in all Tier-II to Tier VI centres to create the necessary infrastructure to move towards a less-cash society by March 2022.


Few diagrams given below to help you with Answer writing:

Current Affair 3:
Elephant Deaths in Botswana

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Botswana is investigating a growing number of unexplained deaths of elephants, having confirmed 275 had died, up from 154 two weeks ago. The dead elephants were first spotted months ago in the Okavango Panhandle region, and the authorities say they have since been trying to discover the cause. Poaching has been ruled out as the cause of death, as the carcasses were found intact.

Africa’s overall elephant population is declining due to poaching, but Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent’s elephants, has seen numbers grow to 130,000 from 80,000 in the late 1990s.

If we have to learn about Elephants in India:

The Indian Elephant (Elephas maximus) is protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, which affords maximal protection. It is listed as “Endangered” in the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Latest Elephant Census has been conducted in 2017: Remember very carefully. So, all numbers related to elephants comes from this census only.


Only three things you have remember from this report now:

  1. Elephant population in the country is estimated at 29,964 as per the census conducted in 2017. The South Region accounted for 14,612 followed by North East with 10,139 elephants.
  2. According to the report, released by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change on August 12, Karnataka has the highest number of elephants (6,049), followed by Assam (5,719) and Kerala (3,054).
  3. The numbers are lower than from the last census estimate in 2012 (between 29,391 and 30,711).

Now one more thing:

Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE)

The CITES Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) Programme is a site-based system designed to monitor trends in the illegal killing of elephants, build management capacity and provide information to help range States make appropriate management and enforcement decisions.

What is the objective of MIKE?

The overall aim of MIKE is to provide information needed for elephant range States and the Parties to CITES to make appropriate management and enforcement decisions, and to build institutional capacity within the range States for the long-term management of their elephant populations. MIKE aims to help range States improve their ability to monitor elephant populations, detect changes in levels of illegal killing, and use this information to provide more effective law enforcement and strengthen any regulatory measures required to support such enforcement.

Current Affair 4:
Permanent Court of Arbitration

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Recently, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) has published an extract of the final award of the ad-hoc tribunal constituted to settle disputes related to the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) regarding Italian marine Case between India and Italy.

Background is: In 2012, Indian police had detained two Italian marines posted on oil tanker Enrica Lexie who had shot at two Indian fishermen on an Indian vessel, apparently mistaking them for pirates operating near the Kerala Coast.

It has rejected India’s contention that the soldiers, who were accused of killing Indian fishermen, could be tried in Indian courts and ordered India to cease all criminal proceedings.

Important for you is to learn about Permanent Court of Arbitration

The PCA was established by the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, concluded at The Hague in 1899 during the first Hague Peace Conference. The Conference had been convened at the initiative of Czar Nicolas II of Russia “with the object of seeking the most objective means of ensuring to all peoples the benefits of a real and lasting peace, and above all, of limiting the progressive development of existing armaments.”

It is an intergovernmental organization providing a variety of dispute resolution services to the international community.

The PCA provides administrative support in international arbitrations involving various combinations of states, state entities, international organizations and private parties. The PCA has experience in administering international arbitrations concerning disputes arising out of treaties, including bilateral investment treaties and multilateral treaties, and other instruments. The PCA also plays an important role under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Rules.

Current Affair 5:
What Moral Philosophy Teaches Us About Eliminating Drug Tests on Animals in India?

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Important for ethics Paper and also animal lovers will like this article.

Many drug and cosmetics manufacturers across the world currently test the safety and potency of their products on animals. As a result, thousands of animals like rabbits, rats, mice, monkeys and dogs are frequently kept in subpar conditions in laboratories and suffer physical and psychological trauma.

India was the first South Asian country to ban animal testing for cosmetics.

Why law is impotent in India?

In India, the legal position on experimentation on animals is captured under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act 1960 and its regulations.

Under the PCA, a statutory body to control and supervise experiments on animals has been set up. Its main objective is to ensure judicious use of animals in research. It also makes sure persons and establishments that experiment on animals are properly registered and oversees housing and feeding provisions. This body can also direct persons and institutions to not perform certain experiments.

However, contravening any decision by this body invites a fine of only Rs 200. Similarly, a person violating the PCA is liable to be punished but the extent of punishment hasn’t been specified. So, the PCA is effectively impotent.

What other steps India has taken?

At the same time, India has taken a few steps to reduce animal testing for drugs.

  1. A 2016 amendment to the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules allows animal toxicity tests for a drug conducted in other countries to simply be resubmitted in India when registering the same drug.
  2. The Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission also has guidelines on drug tests by Indian manufacturers, enforced by regulatory authorities.
  3.  In 2018, the commission approved two animal-free tests for drug makers: the pyrogen test to confirm the impurity of a drug or potential side-effects, and the abnormal toxicity test to confirm vaccines are free of biological contamination.

So, the Indian animal rights movement towards securing the rights of animals used in labs has achieved some victories. Even if animal testing hasn’t been eliminated altogether, the activism has helped erode the importance of animal-testing for drugs.

A way Forward: What scientists have to say

  1. Within the scientific community, some have said the importance of animals to medical or scientific knowledge has been overstated. There have also been instances where animal testing has in fact had a detrimental impact on humans.
  2. Scientists found that the absence of toxicity in animals, including monkeys, provides no significant or additional insight into whether a new drug will also be safe for humans.
  3. importance of animal testing to breakthroughs in medicine have been exaggerated and that the inter-species variability is too high to draw sensible parallels.
  4. Finally, the manner in which animals are kept captive in labs often leaves them bereft of fresh air, natural light, free movement and company.
  5. This may cause animals to exhibit abnormal or unnatural behaviour, and potentially exposes them to lab-generated diseases and distresses. Animals have also been known to experience contagious anxiety, stress and high blood pressure if they can see, hear or in any way sense that their kin are hurt.

Research going on reduce animal testing.

  1. Some scientists are developing sophisticated non-animal testing techniques that have proven to be more effective, faster, more accurate, more economical and, most of all, more empathetic.
  2. Many organizations such as the UK’s National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research, funds research into alternative technologies.
  3. Some related technologies include stem cell platforms, 3D tissue and organ cultures and ‘organs on a chip‘. Some experiments performed with the last item have proved to be more accurate than those performed on animals.

Conclusion: In a society that currently doesn’t recognize the inherent worth of all animals, lobbying for laws to protect animal rights warrants a piecemeal rather than absolutist approach. Indian laws on animal testing are relative more progressive than those in other countries (but the PCA specifically also has no teeth), thanks in part to the Indian animal rights movement’s cautious approach. Let’s hope that they continue with similar success until the endgame: to replace animal testing with more sustainable, empathetic and fool-proof solutions.

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