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Daily Current Affairs – 10th Dec. 2020

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Daily Current Affairs

Given below are the daily current affairs for 10th Dec. 2020. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.

POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

Partners in Population and Development (PPD)

Context:

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare addresses the Inter-Ministerial Conference by Partners in Population and Development (PPD).

About PPD:

  • Partners in Population and Development is an intergovernmental organisation for promoting south-south cooperation in the fields of reproductive health, population, and development.
  • PPD was launched at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), when ten developing countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America formed an intergovernmental alliance to help implement the Cairo Program of Action (POA).
  • This POA, endorsed by 179 nations, stresses the need to establish mechanisms to promote development through the sharing of experiences in reproductive health (RH) and family planning (FP) within and among countries and to promote effective partnerships among the governments, NGOs, research institutions and the private sector.
  • The members of the PPD are:
  • Asia & the Pacific (AP):
  • India
  • China
  • Bangladesh
  • Indonesia
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA):
    • Zimbabwe
    • Uganda
    • South Africa
    • Senegal
    • Nigeria
    • Mali
    • Kenya
    • Ghana
    • The Gambia
    • Ethiopia
    • Côte d’Ivoire
    • Benin
  • Latin America & the Caribbean (LAC)
    • Colombia
    • Mexico
  • Middle East & North Africa (MENA)
    • Egypt
    • Jordan
    • Morocco
    • Tunisia
    • Yemen

Its Secretariat is located in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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Karnataka Assembly adopts Bill against cow slaughter

Context:

The Karnataka Legislative Assembly has adopted the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020.

Details:

  • The Bill, piloted by Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Minister makes even selling/disposing of the cattle for slaughtering or intentionally killing the cattle an offence.
  • It has stringent penal provisions ranging from the imprisonment of three to seven years and penalty of ?50,000 to ?7 lakh for violations.
  • If the accused is convicted, then the court can forfeit the confiscated cattle, vehicle, premises, and material on behalf of the State government.
  • The government can appoint a tahsildar or officer, not below the rank of veterinary officer of the Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Department as the competent authority to look into various issues related to slaughtering under the proposed legislation.

Way Forward:

  • Slaughter of the cow and its progeny is banned in most of India; the consumption of their meat is also largely prohibited.
  • However, this has been politically sensitive issue for long.
  • It would also impact the livelihood of lakhs of butchers.
  • Similar legislation in Uttar Pradesh (Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act) had seen instances of it being misused against innocent persons.
  • Such a decision requires a detailed investigation into the possible impact on all the stakeholders.

Lakshadweep to get optical fibre cable

What’s in News?

The Union Cabinet approved laying of undersea optical fibre cable to connect 11 islands of Lakshadweep with Kochi by May 2023.

  • It will be funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund.
  • The project envisages provision of a direct communication link through a dedicated submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) between Kochi and 11 Islands of Lakshadweep.
  • This is expected to help improve broadband connectivity in the Union Territory.
  • This would improve telecommunication facilities in Lakshadweep by providing large bandwidth, and will play a vital role for delivery of e-governance services, potential development of fisheries, coconut-based industries, high-value tourism, educational development and healthcare.

Note:

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had launched the submarine cable connectivity to Andaman and Nicobar Islands in August 2020.


HISTORY

Cattle, buffalo meat residue found in Indus Valley vessels

Context:

A new study has found the presence of animal products, including cattle and buffalo meat, in ceramic vessels dating back about 4,600 years at seven Indus Valley Civilisation sites.

  • These sites are situated in present-day Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Details:

  • Study of lipid residues conducted on Indus pottery point towards a dominance of animal products in vessels – such as the meat of non-ruminant animals like pigs, ruminant animals like cattle or buffalo and sheep or goat, as well as dairy products.
  • Lipids are relatively less prone to degradation and have been discovered in pottery from archaeological contexts around the world.
  • The study said that, about 50-60% of domestic animal bones found at Indus Valley sites come from cattle/buffalo.
  • According to the study, high proportions of cattle bones could suggest a cultural preference for beef consumption across Indus populations, supplemented by the consumption of mutton/lamb.

ECONOMY

Cabinet approves EPF subsidy for new workers

Context:

The Union Cabinet has approved the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana.

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Details:

  • The scheme would entail the government paying Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributions of both the employee and employer for two years for new workers hired from October 1 to June 30, 2021.
  • For companies that employ up to 1,000 workers, the government would pay the entire contribution – 12% of wages paid by the employee and the employer each.
  • For establishments with over 1,000 workers,it would pay the 12% share of the employee alone.
  • The scheme will apply to those earning less than ?15,000 a month.
  • The Employees Provident Fund Organisation would credit the amount into the Aadhaar-seeded accounts of the members.
  • The scheme’s expenditure is Rs 1,584 crore for the current financial year (2020-21) and Rs 22,810 crores for the entire scheme period i.e. 2020-2023.

Significance:

  • It is an employment generation scheme, which aims to create more formal jobs.
  • The Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana is expected to boost the economy and formal employment.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Beresheet 2: Israel

Why in News

Recently, Israel launched the Beresheet 2 project aimed at landing an unmanned craft on the moon in 2024.

  • Earlier, Israel’s Beresheet probe crash landed on the Moon.

Key Points

Background:

  • The Beresheet probe was a private mission to the Moon by Israeli non-profit SpaceIL organisation.
  • Beresheet in hebrew (spoken in Israel) means Genesis.
  • It was successfully launched in February 2019, on board a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral (USA) and arrived in lunar orbit in April 2019.
  • It suffered an engine failure as it prepared to land and crashed abruptly on the surface of the moon.

Beresheet 2:

  • Objective: Conducting experiments and collecting data on behalf of school students.
  • Structure: It will involve launching two landing craft and an orbiter that would circle the moon for years.
  • Cost: It will cost around 100 million dollars raised from international partnerships and donors.
  • Significance: Israel could become the fourth nation to land a spacecraft on the moon after the USA, the former Soviet Union and China.

Other Missions to Moon:

  • India has planned a new moon mission named Chandrayaan-3. It is likely to be launched in early 2021.
  • It will be a mission repeat of Chandrayaan-2 and will include a Lander and Rover similar to that of Chandrayaan-2, but will not have an orbiter.
  • Chandrayaan-2 failed which crushed India’s dream to become the first nation to successfully touch down on the lunar surface in its maiden attempt.
  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has decided to send an unmanned spacecraft to the moon in 2024.
  • Artemis is a crewed spaceflight program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that has the goal of landing “the first woman and the next man” on the Moon, specifically at the lunar south pole region by 2024.

PM- WANI

Context:

Public Wi-Fi plan ‘PM Wani’ gets cabinet approval.

  • The move is aimed at helping accelerate the uptake of broadband Internet services.
  • It was first recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in 2017.

Key features of the project:

  1. This will allow setting up of public WiFi hotspots across the country via public data offices or public data offices (PDOs).
  2. It will not require the PDOs to get a license or pay a fee.
  3. This will involve multiple players, including PDOs, Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOA), app providers, and a central registry.

Implementation:

  1. PDOs will be “facilitators” between service providers and users.
  2. A PDOA will be an aggregator of PDOs that will oversee functions relating to authorization and accounting of Wi-Fi connections.
  3. A person, who wants to use public Wi-Fi, can do so via an app and will make payments as per usage.
  4. The project will also have an app developer who will build a platform to register users and discover Wani-compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in an area and display them on the app.
  5. A central registry, which will be maintained by the Centre for Development of Telematics, will record the details of app providers, PDOAs and PDOs.

Significance of the project:

Public Wi-Fi networks will ‘democratize’ content distribution and broadband access to millions at affordable rates. This will be the UPI (unified payments interface) of connectivity services.


ENVIRONMENT

Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms:

Context:

The six-member panel constituted by the National Green Tribunal recently conducted a field-level investigation into the alleged violations of Coastal Regulatory Zone norms along the coastal belt between Karavaka and Antarvedi Pallipalem in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district.

  • The panel sought the necessary data pertaining to the nature of permissions granted for aquaculture and extraction of beach sand.

What are CRZ norms?

Under the section 3 of Environment Protection Act, 1986 of India, Coastal Regulation Zone notification was issued in February 1991 for the first time.

  • In 2018-19, fresh Rules were issued, which aimed to remove certain restrictions on building, streamlined the clearance process, and aimed to encourage tourism in coastal areas.

Objectives:

  • They restrict certain kinds of activities — like large constructions, setting up of new industries, storage or disposal of hazardous material, mining, reclamation and bunding — within a certain distance from the coastline.

What are the restrictions?

  • The restrictions depend on criteria such as the population of the area, the ecological sensitivity, the distance from the shore, and whether the area had been designated as a natural park or wildlife zone.
  • The latest Rules have a no-development zone of 20 m for all islands close to the mainland coast, and for all backwater islands in the mainland.

For the so-called CRZ-III (Rural) areas, two separate categories have been stipulated.

  1. In the densely populated rural areas (CRZ-IIIA) with a population density of 2,161 per sq km as per the 2011 Census, the no-development zone is 50 m from the high-tide level, as against the 200 m stipulated earlier.
  2. CRZ-IIIB category (rural areas with population density below 2,161 per sq km) areas continue to have a no-development zone extending up to 200 m from the high-tide line.

Implementation:

While the CRZ Rules are made by the Union environment ministry, implementation is to be ensured by state governments through their Coastal Zone Management Authorities.

Mini Kaziranga:

  • Assam’s Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is also known as ‘Mini Kaziranga’.
  • It has the highest density of one-horned rhinos in the world and second highest concentration in Assam after Kaziranga National Park.

Why in News?

Too many cattle robbing rhinos of nutrition in ‘Mini Kaziranga’.

  • This has been confirmed by the death of two rhinos whose alimentary canals had a high load of worms because of nutritional stress caused by dry reeds and other such “junk food” of the wilderness.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

Context:

36th Charter Day anniversary of SAARC observed recently.

  • The Charter establishing the Association was signed on December 8, 1985 by the SAARC Heads of States/Governments during first Summit meeting in Dhaka.

What is SAARC? When was it established?

Afghanistan became the newest member of SAARC at the 13th annual summit in 2005.

The Headquarters and Secretariat of the Association are at Kathmandu, Nepal.

Importance of SAARC:

  1. SAARC comprises 3% of the world’s area, 21% of the world’s population and 3.8% (US$2.9 trillion) of the global economy.
  2. It is the world’s most densely populated region and one of the most fertile areas.
  3. SAARC countries have common tradition, dress, food and culture and political aspects thereby synergizing their actions.
  4. All the SAARC countries have common problems and issues like poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, natural disasters, internal conflicts, industrial and technological backwardness, low GDP and poor socio-economic condition.

‘U.S. will keep raising issues like CAA’

Context:

The U.S. State Department’s annual designation of countries on the basis of their support for religious freedom in their territories.

Details:

  • The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) had recommended that India be added to the ‘Countries of Particular Concern’ [CPC] list — countries with the most egregious violations of religious freedoms.
  • However, the State Department, which makes its own annual determination of religious freedom across the world, had, rejected the recommendation on India when the list was announced.
  • While rejecting the proposal to place India under the ‘Countries of Particular Concern’ [CPC] list, it said that it has and will continue to raise issues like the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) with the Indian government.

Quad is U.S. anti-China game: Russia

What’s in News?

Russia’s concerns on QUAD.

  • Russia hit out at the Quad, calling it a devious policy by western powers to engage India in anti-China games.
  • Quad is a four-nation quadrilateral strategic dialogue between India, Australia, Japan and the U.S.
  • While Moscow has expressed concerns about the U.S. Indo-Pacific policy and criticised the Quad, it is the first time it has suggested that India-Russia ties could be affected by it.
  • India hosted the Malabar exercise with all the members of the Quad.

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