Daily Current Affairs, 02 December 2017
Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms,
Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
Context: Hornbill Festival was
celebrated on the State Formation Day of Nagaland on December 1. The Hornbill
Festival is the perfect showcase of rich Naga culture and traditions, preserved
over the years in the form of music, dance and food.
About the Hornbill Festival:
§ Hornbill Festival is the most
anticipated festivals of Nagaland held between December 1st to December 10th
§ The aim of the festival is to
revive and protect the rich culture of Nagaland and display its traditional
extravaganza. All the tribes of Nagaland, around 16, take part in this week
long festival, with utmost zeal.
§ The Hornbill festival is named
after the hornbill bird. The bird is highly respected and its importance is
reflected in tribal folklore, songs and dances.
Topic: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers,
functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
Autonomy of Election Commission
Context: The Supreme Court has
sought the Attorney-General’s assistance on a PIL petition pointing out the
vagueness in the procedure for removal of Election Commissioners, saying it
affects the Election Commission’s autonomy.
What’s the issue?
A petition has been filed in
the Supreme Court arguing that though the proviso to Article 324 (5) of
the Constitution safeguards the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) from
arbitrary removal, the same provision is silent about the procedure for removal
of the two Election Commissioners.
It only provides that they
cannot be removed from office except on the recommendation of the CEC. The
petition said the ambiguity about the removal procedure of the Election
Commissioners may affect the functional independence of the Commission.
The CEC and the Election
Commissioners have a tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65, whichever is
earlier, and enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to
Supreme Court judges.
Removal of ECs: The CEC and the Election
Commissioners enjoy the same decision-making powers which is suggestive of the
fact that their powers are at par with each other. However, Article 324(5) does
not provide similar protection to the Election Commissioners and it merely says
that they cannot be removed from office except on the recommendation of the
The petition has asked the
Supreme Court to provide Election Commissioners with the same protection
against arbitrary removal as the Chief Election Commissioner. It is because the
element of independence sought to be achieved under the Constitution is not
exclusively for an individual alone but for the institution.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of
Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
World AIDS Day 2017
World AIDS Day takes place on
the 1st December each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite
in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate
those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988,
World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.
WHY IS WORLD AIDS DAY
Globally, there are an
estimated 36.7 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being
identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS,
making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
Today, scientific advances have
been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV
and we understand so much more about the condition. Despite this, many people
do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma
and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition.
World AIDS Day is important
because it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away – there
is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and
What is the difference between
HIV and AIDS?
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency
virus. This virus leads to infection and it attacks the immune system. While
HIV can be transmitted between people, AIDS is a condition that is acquired
only after a person has contracted the HIV infection. AIDS is the final stage
of the HIV infection.
How can HIV be diagnosed?
Serological tests, such as RDTs
or enzyme immunoassays (EIAs), detect the presence or absence of antibodies to
HIV-1/2 and/or HIV p24 antigen. No single HIV test can provide an HIV-positive
diagnosis. It is important that these tests are used in combination and in a
Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by
the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws,
institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these
National Nutrition Mission
Context: The cabinet has approved
the setting up of a National Nutrition Mission (NNM) with a three-year budget
of Rs9,046.17 crore, to rein in malnourishment and stunted growth.
§ NNM will address three
aspects—the food that should be given to rein in stunting, undernourishment,
low birthweight and anaemia; the delivery system required for it; and
monitoring of the entire process.
§ Under the mission, the
government is targeting a reduction of 2% a year in stunting, undernutrition
and low birthweight among 100 million people. Also, it aims to reduce anaemia
among young children, women and adolescent girls by 3% a year.
§ The mission would include
several components like an ICT (information and communications
technology)-based real-time monitoring system, incentivizing of states and
Union territories to meet their targets, social audits, and setting up of
nutrition resource centres.
Under NNM, the ministries of
women and child development, health and family welfare, and water and
sanitation will work together. The mission will form an apex body that would
fix targets and monitor, supervise and guide nutrition-related interventions
across the ministries.
§ The implementation strategy for
NNM would be based on intense monitoring and a convergence action plan up to
the grass-roots level. The programme would be undertaken in a phased manner,
covering 315 districts in 2017-18, 235 districts in 2018-19 and the remaining
districts in 2019-20.
§ NNM would be implemented using
information technology as the basic tool; workers at anganwadis (women and
child development centres) would be given smartphones and their supervisors
smart tablets to monitor daily activities and compile reports. The move will be
a deviation from the old practice of maintaining registers and will also help
to reduce pilferage.
It is very important to invest
in nutrition in India because balanced diet and healthy nutrition plays a
pivotal role in overall development of women and children. Healthy women
deliver healthy children and nurture a good society, and healthy and nourished
children are the country’s future. Therefore, to tackle undernutrition problem
in the country, various ministries need to work in convergence and not silos
and NNM will be a platform to do so. NNM will ensure convergence, and lead to
Transgender Persons Bill, 2016
Context: The contentious
Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 is set to be
re-introduced in the winter session of Parliament without any change in the
draft provisions. However, India’s transgender community — which numbers 4.8
million according to data from the latest round of the census — is opposing
this move, since they believe the legislation meant to safeguard their
interests only serves to undermine their right to life and livelihood.
In February 2014, the Supreme
Court passed a landmark judgement, paving the way for enshrining the rights of
transgenders in law. The apex court deemed that individuals had the right to
the self-identification of their sexual orientation. It ruled that the
fundamental rights granted by the Constitution are equally applicable to
transgenders who constitute the ‘third gender’. The judgement also called for
affirmative action in education, primary health care, and that transgenders be
identified as beneficiaries of social welfare schemes.
Why is the transgender
§ The final version of the
legislation identifies transgenders as being “partly female or male; or a
combination of female and male; or neither female nor male”. This definition
which draws a clinical caricature is a departure from the intention of the
original Bill to cleanse society of the stigma it placed on transgenders.
§ Moreover, to be recognised as
transgenders, individuals have to submit themselves to a medical examination by
a District Screening Committee comprising of a Chief Medical Officer, a
psychiatrist, a social worker, and a member of the transgender community. This
is in stark contrast to the 2014 Bill which gives individuals the right to
self-identify their sex.
§ The anti-discriminatory clauses
of the Bill are extended to education, health care and social security. The
provision of earmarking jobs for transgenders, a central plank of the 2014
Bill, has been lost in translation, with the diluted new draft ditching
reservations and espousing equal opportunity in all spheres of life, as a
panacea to create equity among the sexes.
§ Grievance redressal has been
internalised, with establishments consisting of hundred or more persons
mandated to designate a complaint officer to deal with any violation of the
Act. This is in lieu of the setting up of central and State transgender rights
What did the standing committee
The bill was referred to a
standing committee. In its report on the 2016 draft Bill, the committee draws
attention to the inadequate definition of the third gender, which is founded on
a heterosexual worldview. It also advocates extending civil rights enjoyed by
the citizenry, such as marriage, divorce, and adoption, to encompass the third
Other recommendations include
the rescue, protection, and rehabilitation of transgenders. Educational
institutions have been directed to adopt an inclusive approach that is
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements
involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping
Context: Member States of BIMSTEC
(Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic
Cooperation) recently met in New Delhi to discuss modalities for promoting
coastal shipping in the region. In this first meeting of the Working Group member
countries discussed the draft text of BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement
drafted by the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India.
The meeting of the Working
Group is a follow up of the BIMSTEC leaders’ call at the Retreat hosted by
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in Goa in October 2016, to enhance
connectivity in the region.
About the Coastal Shipping
Agreement:The objective of the above agreement is to facilitatecoastal
shipping in the region, thereby giving a boost to trade between the member
§ The agreement would apply to
coastal shipping, that is shipping within 20 nautical miles of the coastline.
The requirements for movement of vessels in this part of the sea are different
from standard requirements of deep sea shipping.
§ Coastal ship movements require
smaller vessels and lesser draft, and therefore, involve lower costs. Once the
agreement is ratified by the member countries and becomes operational, a lot of
cargo movement between the member countries can be done through the cost effective,
environment friendly and faster coastal shipping route.
What you need to know about
BIMSTEC or the Bay of Bengal
Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation is a regional
organisation which comprises of seven member states which lie near the Bay of
§ This sub-regional organisation
was started on June 6, in the year 1997 through a Bangkok Declaration.
§ BIMSTEC consists of seven
countries: 5 come from South Asia, including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan,
and Sri Lanka; and 2 come from Southeast Asia, which includes Myanmar and
§ BIMSTEC headquarters are
situated in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
§ The whole region which
constitutes the BIMSTEC is home to over 1.5 billion people. The population
counts for around 22 percent of the total world population. These countries
have a combined GDP of $2.7 trillion.
GS Paper 3:
Certificate of Commendation to
India has been awarded with the
Certificate of Commendation for its exemplary enforcement action in its
regional and global effort to combat illegal wildlife trade. The award has been
given to Wildlife Crime Control Bureau by the Secretary General of Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
India was the only recipient of
the Certificate of Commendation at the recently held 69th
Standing Committee meeting of CITES at Geneva.
Operation Save Kurma: The award has been presented
to WCCB for its efforts in conducting and coordinating a species specific
wildlife enforcement Operation, codenamed “Operation Save Kurma”.
“Operation Save Kurma” was conducted in the country by the WCCB to combat
the proliferating illegal trade in live turtles and its parts from the country
to destinations abroad. The operation was also aimed to invite attention of the
enforcement agencies towards such illegal trade. During the ‘Operation Save
Kurma’ conducted from December 15, 2016 to January 30, 2017, approximately 16,
000 live turtles/tortoises were seized and released back into the wild.
About WCCB:The Government of India
constituted a statutory body, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) on 6 June 2007, by amending
the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. It was established to combat organized
wildlife crime in the country.
Functions:Under the Wild Life
(Protection) Act, 1972, it is mandated to collect and collate intelligence
related to organized wildlife crime activities and to disseminate the same to
State and other enforcement agencies for immediate action so as to apprehend
the criminals; to establish a centralized wildlife crime data bank; co-ordinate
actions by various agencies in connection with the enforcement of the
provisions of the Act.
It will also assist State
Governments to ensure success in prosecutions related to wildlife crimes and
advise the Government of India on issues relating to wildlife crimes having
national and international ramifications, relevant policy and laws. It also
assists and advises the Customs authorities in inspection of the consignments
of flora & fauna as per the provisions of Wild Life Protection Act, CITES
and EXIM Policy governing such an item.
Topic: awareness in space.
China’s DAMPE probe
Context: A Chinese satellite which
was sent to the skies to look for evidence of the annihilation or decay of dark
matter particles in space has detected unexpected and mysterious signals in its
measurement of high-energy cosmic rays, bringing scientists closer to proving
the existence of the invisible matter. The mysterious dark matter is believed
to comprise a quarter of universe.
The satellite, Dark Matter Particle
Explorer (DAMPE), also called Wukong or “Monkey King”, has measured more than
3.5 billion cosmic ray particles with the highest energy up to 100
tera-electron-volts (TeV), including 20 million electrons and positrons, with
unprecedented high energy resolution, Xinhua reported.
Significance of these findings:
Precise measurement of cosmic
rays, especially at the very high energy range, are important for scientists to
look for traces of dark matter annihilation or decay, as well as to understand
the universe’s most energetic astrophysical phenomena, such as pulsars, active
galaxy nuclei and supernova explosions.
What is Dark Matter?
Dark matter is one of the great
riddles of physics. While normal matter – making up the stars and planets and
so on – is understood to account for just four percent of the mass-energy
density of the universe, dark matter is believed to make up a quarter, yet its
nature is unknown and yet to be detected. Its existence has been postulated
through observations of the cosmos and, though elusive, it is key to the
formation of the galaxies and structure of the universe.
DAMPE, short for DArk Matter
Particle Explorer, was designed to look for clues to support one hypothesis for
dark matter, which claims it consists of weakly interacting massive particles,
or WIMPs. The idea for DAMPE was to collect the high energy cosmic ray
electrons and anti-matter counterpart positrons, which are emitted by phenomena
such as supernovae and pulsars.
Current Affairs 2nd December
Passengers can now book Rail Tickets
from counters through UPI/BHIM App Payment System on - 30th November 2017
USAID announces USD 1 million
support for Ending Tuberculosis Epidemic in India on - 29th November 2017
Setting up of National Nutrition
Mission approved by - Union Cabinet
can now book Rail Tickets from counters through UPI/BHIM App Payment System on
- 30th November 2017
With an objective to boost
cashless transactions and passenger friendly measures, Railways Ministry on
30th November 2017 initiated the facility for booking railway tickets from
railway counters through payment systems like UPI and BHIM App.
This provision will allow passengers to book reserved tickets from Passenger
Reservation System (PRS) counters and book Season Tickets from Unreserved
Ticketing System worktops.
The provision of payment through UPI/BHIM for booking of e-tickets online on
IRCTC Website has already been executed earlier. This facility now is increased
to the tickets being booked from railway worktops.
Highlights of the new facility
Passengers can avail this facility
with effect from 1st December 2017.
Currently, no transaction charges
will be charged for this facility for a period of 3 months from users.
It will be executed all over Indian
Railways on all PRS counters and UTS counters.
This provision is an addition to the
digital payment options already accessible to railway passengers.
It is safe to use due to no need of
sharing bank account or credit/debit card number.
It is easy to use and supports
payment through different banks on real time basis.
It will decrease hassles of cash
reconciliation and settlement will be
Unified Payments Interface
UPI integrates various bank accounts
into a single mobile application by incorporating several banking features,
enabling seamless fund routing & merchant payments at one place.
It caters to the "Peer to
Peer" collect request which can be arranged and paid as per requirement
For satisfaction of the users, a UPI
App called BHIM has been formed.
Mobile App BHIM has been formed by
National Payments Corporation of India, based on the Unified Payment Interface.
BHIM is inter-operable with other
Unified Payment Interface program and bank accounts.
announces USD 1 million support for Ending Tuberculosis Epidemic in India on -
29th November 2017
Tuberculosis in India
India has the world's highest cases
of Tuberculosis with 2.8 million cases per year, and accounts for more than a
quarter of the global TB burden.
India also has the largest liability
of Multi-Drug-Resistant TB among all nations with almost 150000 incedents every
TB takes over 435000 lives in India
each year, which places TB among the top 10 reasons of death in the Nation.
TB disproportionately affects females
as women, identified with TB, report that their families, employers and
communities differentiate against them.
USAID/India's TB program
USAID has been helping the TB program
of the Union Government since 1998.
It has spent more than USD 140
million to strengthen the ability of national, State, and District-level TB
It launched new tools and approaches
to reach, heal, and prevent TB in India successfully.
The USAID/India TB program focuses to
strengthen the identification and treatment of TB; assist the government in
planning evidence-based interventions to get a TB-Free India and improve
patient-centered TB facilities.
Under USAID/India's TB program, quick
diagnostic tool GeneXpert has been formed to diagnose TB in children along with
the foundation of bedaquiline, the 1st new drug to treat TB in people over 40
The program has partnered with the
'Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation' and the 'India Knowledge Park' to upgrade
obedient treatment in patients.
More about US Agency for
International Development (USAID)
USAID is a prime United States entity
for international TB program.
It is the huge bilateral funder of TB
It also works to stop new TB
infections through a patient-centered approach focused at saving lives.