Current Affairs June 2019




Recently Government has reconstituted NITI Aayog, renaming Rajiv Kumar as its vice chairman and appointing Home Minister Amit Shah as ex-officio member. Background

  • Planning Commission was initially set up in 1950 as an agency to direct investment activity in a country.
  • Planning Commission of India had two key duties to perform i.e.; to implement five-year plan and second was to provide the finances to the state.

Relevance of NITI Aayog

  • Competitive Federalism: Various reports of NITI Aayog like Healthy states Progressive India etc which give performance-based rankings of States across various verticals to foster a spirit of competitive federalism. It helps to identify the best practices in different States in various sectors and then try to replicate them in other States.
  • Cooperative federalism: Due to composition of NITI Aayog, it gives better representation of states in this body which facilitate direct interactions with the line ministries, also helps to address issues in a relatively shorter time.
  • Greater Accountability: NITI Aayog has established a Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office which collects data on the performance of various Ministries on a real-time basis. The data are then used at the highest policymaking levels to establish accountability and improve performance.


Recently, Chief Justice of India has written to Prime Minister to initiate a motion for removal of a judge of Allahabad High Court. Background

  • Article 217 provides that the judge of high court may be removed from his office by the President in the manner provided in Article 124 for the removal of a Judge of the Supreme Court.
  • Under Article 124(4) of the Constitution a Judge of SC can be removed only by the President on ground of ‘proved misbehaviour’ or ‘incapacity’ only after a motion to this effect is passed by both the Houses of Parliament by special majority.
  • Constitution requires that misbehavior or incapacity shall be proved by an impartial Tribunal whose composition is decided under Judges Inquiry Act 1968


Recently, central Government has given states and Union Territories June 30, 2020 deadline, to roll out the ‘one nation, one ration card’ system.

About the scheme

  • Under the scheme the beneficiaries can buy subsidized food grains from a ration shop in any part of the country.
  • Ration card Aadhar linkage is must to access the scheme.
  • A person will only be eligible for the subsidies supported by the centre such as those under Nation Food security act, 2013.

o Even if a beneficiary moves to a state where grains are given for free he/she will not be able to access those benefits.

  • A migrant will be allowed to buy maximum of 50% of the family quota. This is to ensure that the individual, after shifting to another place does not buy the entire family quota in one go.




Recently, the countries of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation adopted the Bishkek Declaration in 19th SCO summit, held at Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek.

About SCO

  • SCO is a Eurasian political, economic, and military organisation. Along with BRICS, SCO is seen as an attempt by China & Russia to challenge the Western dominated global order and counterbalance the activities of United States and NATO in Central Asia.
  • Currently, SCO has 8 Member States – China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan; 4 Observer States – Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia and 6 Dialogue Partners – Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka.
  • Official working languages of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are Chinese and Russian.


Recently, the 14th G-20 summit was held in Osaka, Japan.

  • The G20 Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy is held every year to discuss the critical issues affecting the global economy.

Group of Twenty (G-20)

  • It is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union.
  • It was formed in 1999 to discuss policies relating to financial stability, in the aftermath of the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-1998.
  • Its agenda was expanded since 2008 including heads of governments / heads of states as well as finance ministers and foreign ministers.
  • It thus, brings important industrialized and developing countries to discuss important issues in the global economy.
  • For the first time, India will host the annual G-20 Summit in 2022.


India has won the unanimous support of all countries in the 55-member Asia-Pacific Group at the United Nations in support of its bid for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council (UNSC) for a two-year term in 2021-22. UNSC Membership

  • Along with the five permanent members, the Security Council of the United Nations has temporary members that hold their seats on a rotating basis by geographic region. • Five permanent members: China, France, Russia, UK, and the US.
  • The 10 non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis:

o Five for African and Asian States; o One for Eastern European States;

o Two for the Latin American and Caribbean States; and

o Two for Western European and other States.



  • Recently, there has been a controversy over India’s new GDP series and its estimation methodology.
  • In a recent published research paper, Former Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian has concluded that the country’s growth has been overestimated by around 2.5% between 2011-12 and 2016-17. Changes made in Indian GDP Series In 2015, the Central Statistics Office came up with a revised methodology for the calculation of GDP of the country.
  • Change of base year to 2011-12 (from 2004-05) to capture the unorganized sector data from NSSO’s Employment-Unemployment Survey (EUS) of 2011-12.
  • Incorporation of Recommendations of System of National Accounts (SNA), 2008:

o Valuation of Gross Value Added (GVA) & Net Value Added (NVA) at basic prices

o Considering GDP at market prices as headline GDP instead of GDP at factor cost, to make the new calculation more consumer-centric.


  • GST is a destination-based indirect tax and is levied at the final consumption point.
  • Under GST, a gamut of 17 indirect taxes like excise duty, VAT, service tax, luxury tax etc are subsumed.

o Taxes NOT subsumed under GST: Basic Custom Duty, Anti-Dumping Duty, Central Excise on Petroleum Products, VAT on alcohol for human consumption, Stamp Duty, Property Tax (levied by local bodies), Professional Tax etc.

  • GST is currently levied on every product [except petroleum products, alcohol, real estate & electricity] in four slabs of 5, 12, 18 and 28%. o Most of the daily use articles have zero GST as per the latest revision of the tax rates last year.

o In addition, a cess is levied on automobiles, luxury, and demerit and sin goods.

  • From Government’s perspective, it is easier to collect and reduces tax evasion, for customer it is easier to understand & will reduce tax burden and for industry, it ensures that there is no cascading effect of the tax and there is harmonization of tax laws, procedures and rates of tax.


Due to various steps taken by Government and RBI, there has been a reduction in NPAs.

  • According to Economic survey 2018-19, the performance of the banking sector (domestic operations), and Public Sector Banks in particular, improved in 2018-19.
  • The Gross Non-Performing Advances (GNPA) ratio of Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) decreased from 11.5 % to 10.1 % between March 2018 and December 2018 while for PSBs it declined from 15.5 % to 13.9 %


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) relaxed the leverage ratio (LR) for banks in a bid to help them expand their lending activities.

About Leverage Ratio

  • The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) introduced the concept of a leverage ratio in the 2010 Basel III package of reforms to indicate the level of debt incurred by banks. Banks had to publicly disclose their Basel-III leverage ratio on a consolidated basis from 1st April 2015.
  • It was introduced in the backdrop of the global financial crisis, which was the result of the build-up of excessive on and off-balance sheet leverage in the banking system.
  • The leverage ratio, as defined under Basel-III norms, is Tier-I capital as a percentage of the bank’s exposures.

Recently, leverage ratio has been reduced to 4% for Domestic Systemically Important Banks (DSIBs) and 3.5% for other banks for moving towards synchronisation with Basel III standards.


The Union cabinet approved ratification of a multilateral convention to implement OECD’s project on checking tax evasion. About the Convention

  • The Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) was signed in Paris in 2017.
  • It entered into force on 1st July 2018.
  • The Multilateral Convention is an outcome of the OECD/G20 Project to tackle Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS).
  • The Convention will modify India’s treaties in order to curb revenue loss through treaty abuse and base erosion and profit-shifting strategies by ensuring that profits are taxed where substantive economic activities generating the profits are carried out and where value is created.


Recently, SEBI came up with set of wider disclosure norms for the Credit Rating Agencies (CRA).

  • It introduced a “probability of default” mechanism under which rating agencies have to disclose the probability of default for the issuers they rate by December 2019.
  • It also provides for formulation of Uniform Standard Operating Procedure for tracking and timely recognition of default.


Recently, the Government of India has granted the final approval to three National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZ), namely Prakasam (Andhra Pradesh), Sangareddy (Telangana) and Kalinganagar (Odisha).

National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZ)

  • The NIMZs are envisaged as integrated industrial townships with state of the art infrastructure, land use on the basis of zoning, clean and energy efficient technology, necessary social infrastructure, skill development facilities etc. to promote world-class manufacturing activities.
  • At least 30% of the total land area proposed for the NIMZ will be utilized for location of manufacturing units.
  • The land for these zones will preferably be waste infertile land not suitable for cultivation, not in the vicinity of any ecologically fragile area and with reasonable access to basic resources.
  • On receipt of final approval, the NIMZ will be declared by the State Government as an industrial township under Article 243Q(1)(c) of the Constitution.


Recently at Circular Economy Symposium 2019, NITI Aayog CEO said that Circular Economy has the potential to generate 1.4 crore jobs in next 5-7 years.

What is Circular Economy?

  • The circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended.
  • This is a departure from the traditional, linear economic model, which is based on a take-make-consume-throw away pattern. It relies on large quantities of cheap, easily accessible materials and energy.



The armies of India and Myanmar carried out a coordinated operation called Operation Sunrise 2 in their respective border areas, targeting several militant groups operating in Manipur, Nagaland and Assam. About Operation Sunrise 2

  • The armies coordinated with each other to bust camps of militant outfits, including the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), the United Liberation Front of Assam (I) and the National Democratic Front of Boroland.
  • The first phase of “Operation Sunrise” was conducted in February 2019 along the Indo-Myanmar border, during which a number of camps of northeast-based militant groups were busted.


The Governments of India has started acquisition of defence infrastructure under the newly adopted Strategic Partnership Policy. About Strategic Partnership Policy

  • It intends to promote Indian private sector participation in defence manufacturing.
  • It was approved by Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in 2017 and placed in the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) – 2016 titled as ‘Revitalising Defence Industrial Ecosystem through Strategic Partnerships’.
  • The concept of this model was first suggested by the Dhirendra Singh Committee.
  • The partnership model broadly involves creating two separate pools of Indian private companies and foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEMs).


Recently, the Standing Committee on Finance has submitted a report titled, ‘Status of Unaccounted Income/Wealth Both Inside and Outside The Country – A Critical Analysis’.

  • Although there is no uniform definition of unaccounted income or black money, but on a general basis it can be said it is the income from those economic activities that circumvent or otherwise avoid government regulation and taxation.
  • It includes all illegal economic activities as well as the income from legal economic activities where the tax is evaded.
  • There has been widespread discussions and debate over the existence of unaccounted income, it’s estimates, reasons and steps, which need to be taken to tackle this menace.



Recently, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) asked Maharashtra Government to initiate action to stop cultivation of illegal Herbicide-Tolerant variety of Bt Cotton (Ht-bt cotton). Background

  • At least 700 million people in India depend, directly or indirectly, on agriculture for a livelihood. However, due to frequent droughts, bumper crops and unremunerative prices, farmers across states are embracing illegal genetically modified (GM) crops from Bt brinjal to herbicide tolerant (HT) cotton for increasing crop productivity.


Reiterating its commitment to fight desertification, India has launched a pilot project to restore degraded forest landscapes in five states to enhance the capacity on forest landscape restoration (FLR).

  • The announcement came in the wake of the 14th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 14) of UNCCD to be hosted by India, in 2019. India will take-over the COP presidency from China for two years until the next COP is hosted in 2021.
  • The project will be implemented by National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board (NAEB) in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).


Recently, Delhi recorded an ozone pollution which is 1.22 times higher than the eight-hour average standard for ozone exposure that is 100 ug/cu m. About Ozone Pollution

Ozone is not directly emitted from any source. It is a secondary pollutant which gets formed when emissions from vehicles, industry or power plants — nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds — react in the air under the influence of sunlight and temperature. It is also the third most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide and methane.

Generally, ozone is classified into two types:

  • Good ozone: Found in stratosphere, it protects the Earth’s surface from dangerous ultraviolet light.
  • Bad Ozone: Found in the troposphere (also known as ground level ozone), it is man-made. The released nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO) and volatile organic compounds (VOC), (NOx, CO, and VOCs are known as ozone precursors) combine chemically with oxygen to form ozone during sunny days.


The monsoon made a delayed onset over the Kerala coast on 8 June (1 week delay) and had been advancing at a sluggish pace over the mainland. Atmospheric circulations affecting Monsoon

  • El Nino/La Nina:
  • El Nino is the abnormal warming of sea surface temperature (SST) of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru in South America, while La Nina is the opposite, an abnormal cooling of SST.
  • While El Nino leads to deficit rainfall, La Nina brings an above-average monsoon.
  • Madden-Julian Oscillation o The location and strength of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) wave play an important role in the development of monsoon over India.
  • Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) o It is also referred to as the Indian Niño, is a condition when the SST of the western region of Indian Ocean alternately becomes abnormally colder and then abnormally hotter than the eastern region


The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation project was inaugurated recently in Jayashankar Bhupalpally district of Telangana. More on news

  • Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation (KLIP) Project will be world’s largest multi-stage, multipurpose lift irrigation (Earlier the Colorado lift scheme in America and the Great Manmade River in Egypt were the largest).
  • It is being built across Godavari river.
  • It will harness water at the confluence of two rivers with Godavari by constructing a barrage at Medigadda in Jayshankar Bhoopalpally district.
  • It will divert water through lifts and pumps into a huge and complex system of reservoirs, water tunnels, pipelines and canals. It also includes longest irrigation tunnel in the world.



Recently, Food and Nutrition Security Analysis, India, 2019, prepared by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation and World Food Programme (WFP) was released. Finding of reports: Food and Malnutrition Trend in the country

  • Trend in Malnutrition: Despite decreasing stunting by one fifth during last decade, almost one in three Indian children under five years i.e. 31.4% of children will still remain stunted by the 2022.
  • Inter and Intra State Variations in Malnutrition is found in country with highest levels of stunting and underweight are being found in Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
  • Prevalence of Multiple Types of Malnutrition among Children: Multiple burden of malnutrition is the coexistence of any two or all three measures of malnutrition: stunting, wasting and underweight.


Recently a new index launched to measure global gender equality, ranked India at 95th among 129 countries.

About the SDG Gender Index

  • It has been developed by Equal Measures 2030, a joint effort of regional and global organisations including African Women’s Development and Communication Network, AsianPacific Resource and Research Centre for Women, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Plan International and International Women’s Health Coalition.
  • It includes 51 gender specific indicators across 14 of the 17 official Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that cover aspects such as poverty, health, education, literacy, political representation and equality at the workplace.
  • The overall index scores are based on a scale of 0–100. A score of 100 indicates the achievement of gender equality in relation to the underlying indicators.



Recently, World Bank and the Government of India signed a loan agreement of $400 million for the Program Towards Elimination of Tuberculosis. More about the agreement

  • This program will cover nine States and it will support the government’s National Strategic Plan to end TB in India by 2025.
  • It will provide financial incentives to private sector care providers for reporting cases of TB and ensuring that their patients complete the treatment regimen.
  • It will also provide Direct Benefit Transfers to patients for acquiring the critical nutrition needed during treatment.
  • It will strengthen the detection, treatment and monitoring of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis and will track progress in the detection of additional drug resistance.
  • The program will help the Government of India strengthen the monitoring and implementation of Nikshay—the government’s web-based TB case monitoring system.

Drug Resistant TB:

o Multidrug Resistance TB (MDR): It is TB that does not respond to at least isoniazid and rifampicin (2 of the most powerful first line drugs).

o Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB): It is resistant to at least four of the core anti-TB drugs. It involves multidrug-resistance (MDR-TB), in addition to resistance to any of the fluoroquinolones (such as levofloxacin or moxifloxacin) and to at least one of the three injectable second-line drugs (amikacin, capreomycin or kanamycin).

o Totally drug-resistant tuberculosis (TDR-TB): TB which is resistant to all the first- and second-line TB drugs


Department of Food and Public Distribution under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs recently approved a centrallysponsored pilot scheme on fortification of rice and its dispersal through Public Distribution System (PDS).

  • Financial assistance of up to 90 per cent in case of North-Eastern, Hilly and Island States and up to 75 per cent in case of rest of the States has been extended by GOI.
  • Government of India has also advised all states and UTs especially those states and UTs, which are distributing wheat flour through PDS, to distribute fortified wheat flour through PDS.

What is food fortification?

  • Food fortification is the deliberate addition of one or more micronutrients to food so as to correct or prevent a deficiency and provide a health benefit. • These nutrients may or may not have been originally present in the food before processing.
  • Food fortification is a “complementary strategy” and not a replacement of a balanced & diversified diet to address malnutrition.


Vice President of India inaugurated India’s first proton therapy centre in Chennai for the treatment of Cancer. More in news

  • The name of the centre is Apollo Proton Cancer Centre (APCC) and is launched by Apollo Hospitals Group. It is South Asia’s first such centre.
  • With this India becomes 16th country in the world to offer the therapy. About Proton Therapy
  • It is a type of radiation therapy which uses protons rather than x-rays to treat cancer.
  • It is considered as one of the most advanced forms of external beam radiation therapy for cancer treatment in the world. It is also known as Proton Beam Therapy and offers high levels of precision as compared to other treatment options.
  • It is particularly effective for paediatric cancers and tumours affecting the brain, eye, colon, breast, gastrointestinal area, pelvis, and prostate and those close to the spinal cord, brain stem and other vital organs.


Recently, researchers from IIT Madras have found a way of enhancing the optoelectronic properties of tungsten diselenide.

  • Optoelectronics is the study and application of electronic devices and systems that source, detect and control light.
  • It is based on the quantum mechanical effects of light on electronic materials, especially semiconductors.
  • It encompasses the design, manufacture and study of electronic hardware devices that, as a result, converts electricity into photon signals for various purposes such as medical equipment, telecommunications and general science.
  • Some materials such as tungsten diselenide and molybdenum diselenide are being studied keenly for their optoelectronic properties.


Prasar Bharati has asked All India Radio (AIR) to come up with a proposal to phase out Short Wave (SW) transmitters.

Short Wave Radio transmission:

  • It is transmission and reception of information by means of electromagnetic waves of about 10 to 100 m in length having frequencies of approximately 3 to 30 megahertz.
  • Radio waves in the shortwave band can be reflected or refracted by the ionosphere.



June 28th marked the 100th anniversary of Treaty of Versailles, signed on 28th June 1919 between Germany & Allied Powers that brought World War I to an end. About the Treaty

  • The treaty was a consequence of six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.
  • The provisions of the treaty were majorly decided by Britain (under David Lloyd George), France (under Georges Clemenceau) and USA (under Woodrow Wilson). Both Russia and Germany were not given representation at the conference.


Recently, Chaukhandi Stupa has been declared of national importance by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI).

About Chaukhandi Stupa

  • It is an ancient Buddhist site in Sarnath (Uttar Pradesh), with a lofty brick structure crowned with an octagonal tower.
  • Originally stupa is said to be built by Emperor Ashoka.
  • The octagonal tower on top is a Mughal monument built in 1588 to commemorate Humanyu’s visit to this place.


Recently, a Buddhist relic, having features belonging to Amravati school of Art, has been unearthed by a group of indologists on the banks of River Gundlakamma in Andhra Pradesh.

  • The unearthed Buddhist relic is a local limestone pillar, which is carved with half lotus medallions at the centre and top portions on all the four sides. Such features have striking similarities with Amaravati School of Art of the Ikshwaku times.
  • The Amravati School of Art flourished in the region of Andhra Pradesh between the lower valleys of rivers Krishna and Godavari.
  • The main patrons of this art form were the Satavahans but it carried on even later, patronized by their successor Ikshavaku rulers. This art is said to have flourished between 150 BC and 350 AD.
  • An important characteristic of the Amravati school is the ‘narrative art’. The medallions were carved in such a manner that they depict an incident in a natural way. For example one medallion depicts a whole story of ‘taming of an elephant by the Buddha’.
  • There is prominence of human figures rather than to figures drawn from nature.


Recently statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839 AD) was unveiled on his 180th death anniversary at the Lahore Fort, Pakistan. About Maharaja Ranjit Singh

  • He was a Sikh leader who ruled Punjab in 19th century.
  • Punjab during 1700s was ruled by powerful chieftains who had divided the territory into Misls.
  • Ranjit Singh overthrew the warring Misls and established a unified Sikh empire after he conquered Lahore in 1799.
  • Ranjit Singh belonged to the Sukerchakia misl.
  • He ruled over a region spanning the border into modern day China and Afghanistan. His rule was called ‘Sarka-i-Khalsa’.
  • He was given the title Lion of Punjab (Sher-e-Punjab) because he stemmed the tide of Afghan invaders in Lahore.
  • Secular Character of state: Under his tenure, the Sikh Empire was very secular and allowed men from different religions as well, to rise to commanding positions of authority.
  • Modernization of Army: He modernized his army using services of European officers, to train the infantry and the artillery. o He appointed French General Jean Franquis Allard to modernise his army.
  • Sikh Khalsa Army was formed, to prevent the British from colonizing Punjab during his lifetime



  • In a recent Lok Sabha Election, none of the political parties were able to secure minimum 10% of strength required to be eligible for Leader of Opposition (LoP) post.
  • About Leader of Opposition (LoP) o LoP is a statutory post, drawing its power from Salaries and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament (SALOP) Act, 1977.

o The act defines LoP as the Leader in that House of the party in opposition to the Government having the greatest numerical strength and recognised as such by the Chairman of the Council of States or the Speaker of the House of the People.

o However, while recognizing LoP the Speaker should follow the Directions by the Speaker of Lok Sabha issued in 1956.

o According to the directions Speaker is not obliged to recognise any member of the largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha as LoP in case the said party does not have the strength equal to 1/10th of the quorum required for a sitting of the House.


  • The central government decided to extend the President’s rule in J&K for six more months and subsequently moved a resolution in Lok Sabha recently.
  • How is President’s rule different in Jammu and Kashmir?
  • In other states, the Centre invokes Article 356 to impose President’s rule; in J&K, Section 92 of the J&K Constitution provides for President’s rule.
  • Under the J&K constitution, before imposing President’s rule, Governor’s Rule is imposed in the state for a period of six months.
  • Jammu and Kashmir assembly remains under suspended animation during this period. However, the governor may dissolve the assembly.
  • At the expiry of six months of Governor’s Rule and if suspension of assembly has not been revoked, Jammu and Kashmir comes under the President’s Rule as mandated by the Constitution of India as per Article 356.
  • However, in both the cases, the governor administers as per the Centre’s directions.
  • If the Governor decides to dissolve Legislative Assembly during his own rule or when the state is under the President’s Rule, election shall be held within six months.


  • The Election Commission of India recently declared the National People’s Party as a national party, making it the first from the north-eastern region to earn this status.
  • The NPP is recognised as a State party in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland.
  • It became the 8th national political party in the country. The other national political parties are: Indian National Congress, Bhartiya Janta Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), National Congress Party, All India Trinamool Congress.
  • India has a multi-party system, where the Election Commission registers political parties for the purpose of elections and grants them recognition as national or state parties on the basis of their poll performance.


  • Recently, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has voted in favour of restoring Russia’s voting rights, five years after they were revoked over its illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.
  • The Council of Europe is an international organization set up to promote democracy, as well as protect human rights and the rule of law on the continent of Europe.
  • It was founded in 1949 by the Treaty of London and currently comprises of 47-member states, which include 28 members of the European Union.


  • Recently, Saudi Arabia has become the first Arab country to be granted full membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
  • About FATF: It’s an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

o The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.

o Membership: FATF consists of 39 members including India and two regional organizations, the European Commission and the Persian Gulf Co-operation Council.

  • FATF has put Pakistan on its terrorist financing watch list or the Grey List for failing to curb anti-terror financing


  • Recently, United Nation released its biennial World Population Prospect report 2019, and highlighted the trajectories and overview of global demographic patterns and prospects.
  • Highlights of the report

o The world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion persons in the next 30 years, from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11 billion by 2100.

o Globally, people aged above 65 are the fastest growing age group, the proportion of the working-age population is shrinking. These situations are putting pressure on social protection system.

  • Highlights of Demographic Pattern of India
  • India is expected to add 273 million people by 2050, which will be the largest national increase in the world. It is set to overtake China as the most populous country by 2027.
  • Demographic dividend will peak by 2047.


  • NASA has planned a Dragon Fly Mission to Titan, the largest moon of Saturn planet.
  • About Mission: It’s scheduled to launch in 2026 and reach Titan in 2034, to study how far prebiotic chemistry may have progressed and investigate the moon’s atmospheric & surface properties and its subsurface ocean and liquid reservoirs.

o It will be the first time that NASA will fly a multirotor vehicle for science on another planet, powered by nuclear-power.


  • Facebook along with other technology companies such as Visa, Spotify, eBay, PayPal and Uber etc. released a prototype of new cryptocurrency Libra and a digital wallet Calibra.
  • It is being designed as a form of electronic money linked to many national currencies.


  • Recently, female anaconda has given a birth through the phenomenon of Parthenogenesis.
  • Parthenogenesis is a reproductive strategy that involves development of a female (rarely a male) gamete (sex cell) without fertilisation or development of an embryo from an unfertilised egg cell.
  • It is an adaptive strategy when sexual reproduction is not possible due to environmental conditions.
  • It occurs commonly among lower plants, pests of agriculture and horticulture, invertebrate animals (particularly rotifers, aphids, ants, wasps and bees) and rarely among higher vertebrates.
  • Offspring from parthenogenesis tends to be clones of the parent because there has been no exchange and rearrangement of genetic information with another individual.


  • Recently, Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks has granted GI tag to Kolhapuri chappal from Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara and Solapur districts of Maharashtra and Dharwad, Belgaum, Bagalkot and Bijapur of Karnataka.
  • Kolhapuri chappals are eco-friendly handcrafted footwear, famous for its durability and strength.
  • It’s made from processed leather in the villages of Maharashtra.


  • Recently, Author Amitav Ghosh was felicitated with the 54th Jnanpith Award for his “outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Indian Literature in English”.
  • He is known for various works like Shadow Lines, The Glass Palace, The Hungry Tide, and Ibis Trilogy — Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke, and Flood of Fire.
  • Jnanpith Award is presented annually by the Bharatiya Jnanpith (a literary and research organisation) to an author for their “outstanding contribution towards literature”.
  • It was instituted in 1961 and is awarded to Indian citizens (no posthumous conferral) writing in Indian languages included in 8 th Schedule of the Constitution of India and English (added after 49th Jnanpith Award).


  • The Madras High Court recently ruled that composer Ilaiyaraaja was entitled to “special moral rights” over 4,500 songs composed by him.
  • Section 57 of the Copyright Act, 1957 provides for “Author’s Special Rights,” better known as “Moral Rights.”
  • Though initially intended to protect only literary works, the concept of moral rights was later extended to artistic, musical, dramatic and cinematograph films as well.
  • It was founded on basis of Article 6bis of the Berne Convention, according to which moral rights.


  • India and Portugal will cooperate in the setting up of a national maritime heritage museum at Lothal in Gujarat.
  • The National Maritime Heritage Complex (NMHC) is likely to be built in public-private partnership and will have a huge museum displaying India’s heritage of inland waterways and trade through water route.
  • The project is being implemented by the Ministry of Shipping through its Sagarmala programme, with the involvement of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the State government and other stakeholders.


  • NASA’s Curiosity rover recently measured the highest level of methane gas ever found in the atmosphere at Mars’s surface.
  • The reading taken at Gale Crater was 21 parts per billion by volume (ppbv) which is three times greater than the previous record.
  • Presence of methane on Mars is tracked because its presence could be a sign of life.


  • Recently, Gujarat has launched the world’s first emissions trading system for particulate pollution in Surat city.
  • Under the programme, the government sets a cap on emissions and allows industries to buy and sell permits to stay below the cap.


  • Ministry of Tribal Affairs launched, “Go Tribe Campaign”- to create awareness and promote tribal arts and crafts, as well as aid in socio-economic welfare of over 700 Indian tribes across the country.
  • The campaign is organised by Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED)
  • This will make available tribal handcrafted textiles, jewellery, and natural collection such as Telangana coffees, Karnataka spices through e-commerce platform.


  • The Indian Air Force participated in bilateral exercise between Indian and French Air Force named Exercise ‘Garuda-VI’ France.
  • This is the sixth edition of Exercise Garuda and was planned at French Air Force Base, Mont-de-Marsan.


  • Indian Navy launched Operation Sankalp in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman to reassure Indian flagged vessels transiting through strategic shipping lane between Strait of Hormuz, Persian/ Arabian Gulf Region are safe following the recent maritime incidents in the region.
  • INS Chennai and INS Sunayna have been deployed in the region to undertake maritime security operations. In addition, aerial surveillance in the area is also being done by Indian Navy aircraft


  • Indigenously-built heavyweight anti-submarine electric torpedo Varunastra has been successfully inducted in the navy, making India one of the eight countries to have the capability to design and build such a system.
  • It can be fired from the Rajput class destroyers, Delhi class and all future Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) ships capable of firing heavy weight torpedoes.