Recently, Supreme Court upheld the amendments made by government in the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

  • To curb the misuse of Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities POA) Act, 1989, Supreme Court in March 2018 diluted the Act in Subhash Kashinath Mahajan vs State of Maharashtra case.
  • This judgment had triggered widespread protests and violence and the government had to amend the Act to negate the effect of the apex court ruling. In August 2018, amendment restored the bar against anticipatory bail and nullifying the apex court verdict.

o A new section 18A was inserted in the Act of 1989, which does away with the court-imposed requirements of undertaking preliminary inquiry and of procuring approval prior to making an arrest.

o It also asserted that in cases under the Atrocities Act, no procedure other than that specified under the Act and Cr. P. C. shall apply.

  • Recently, Supreme court reserved its verdict on the petitions challenging the validity of 2018 amendments to The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 o It restored the earlier position of the law by recalling two directions in the March, 2018 verdict, which provided no absolute bar on grant of anticipatory bail and prior inquiry before effecting arrest of public servant and private individual under the Act.


The Assam Cabinet has decided that no government jobs will be given to persons having more than two children after January 1, 2021.

  • Assam will become the fourth state after Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to have a two-child norm in place for government jobs.
  • Few more have at some point implemented two-child policy for state government employees.
  • Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh later revoked their two-child policy laws.



Recently, China and Nepal signed agreements for all-weather road connectivity between Kathmandu and the Tibet Autonomous Region.

  • These infrastructure-building agreements were part of the 20 documents that were signed after delegation level talks between the two nations.

o The current road network is unsafe as it is prone to disruption due to landslips and poor maintenance.

  • Both countries have agreed to intensify the implementation of projects under the Belt and Road Initiative, now to be developed under the Trans-Himalayan Multidimensional Connectivity Network umbrella first announced in 2018.


Recently, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu attended the 18th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit at Baku in Azerbaijan.

  • Theme of the summit: ‘Upholding the Bandung Principles to ensure concerted and adequate response to the challenges of contemporary world’.
  • This is the second time in a row that PM Narendra Modi will skip the summit, marking India’s transformation from a non-aligned country to one which is supposedly multi-aligned. This is seen as indication that NAM is losing relevance in present global order.

About NAM

  • The Non-Aligned Movement was formed during the Cold War as an organization of States that did not seek to formally align themselves with either the United States or the Soviet Union, but sought to remain independent or neutral.
  • The Movement has its origin in the Asia-Africa Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955. “Ten Principles of Bandung”, were proclaimed at that Conference were guiding principles of NAM.
  • NAM was founded and held its first conference (the Belgrade Conference) in 1961 under the leadership of India, Yugoslavia, Egypt, Ghana, and Indonesia.
  • It has 120 members as of 2018 comprising 53 countries from Africa, 39 from Asia, 26 from Latin America and the Caribbean and 2 from Europe (Belarus, Azerbaijan). There are 17 countries and 10 international organizations that are Observers at NAM.
  • Key principles of NAM: The policy of non-alignment was based on the five principles of Panchasheel. These principles were

o mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty;

o non-interference in each other’s military and internal affairs;

o mutual non-aggression;

o equality and mutual benefit;

o peaceful coexistence and economic cooperation.



Doing Business 2020 Report, a World Bank Group flagship publication, was released.

  • Doing Business 2020 is the 17th in a series of annual studies investigating the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it.
  • By documenting changes in regulation in 12 areas of business activity, Doing Business analyses regulation that encourages efficiency and supports freedom to do business.
  • India has made a substantial leap upward, raising its ease of doing business ranking from 130 in 2016 to 63 in Doing Business 2020.

India, for the third year in a row, is among the 10 economies that improved the most on the ease of doing business after implementing regulatory reforms.


  • India rallied 51 countries at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to reject a US presidential memorandum, which had sought to deny special and differential treatment (S&DT) to developing countries in current and future trade agreements.
  • South Korea will no longer seek special treatment reserved for developing countries by the World Trade Organization in future negotiations given its enhanced global economic status.

Criteria for determining developing country status

  • The WTO has not specified any criteria or process for determining developing country status, allowing members to self-declare their status without meeting any analytical requirements.
  • However, other members can challenge the decision of a member to make use of provisions available to developing countries.
  • In the WTO, developing countries are entitled to ‘special and differential treatment’ set out in its rules.
  • That a WTO member announces itself as a developing country does not automatically mean that it will benefit from the unilateral preference schemes of some of the developed country members such as the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). In practice, it is the preference giving country which decides the list of developing countries that will benefit from the preferences.

Special and differential treatment (S&DT)

  • These are provisions which give developing countries special rights and which give developed countries the possibility to treat developing countries more favourably than other WTO Members. These special provisions include, for example, longer time periods for implementing Agreements and commitments or measures to increase trading opportunities for developing countries.
  • S&DT is given to all developing members due to the uneven level of development between developed and developing Members.


India’s first private train, Tejas Express, was recently flagged off on the Lucknow-Delhi-Lucknow corridor.

  • Indian Railways’ commercial tourism and catering arm, IRCTC has been given the task of operating two premium trains as a private entity. 2nd private train will soon be run on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad-Mumbai sector.
  • Additionally, the Government is in the process of forming a task force to draw a blueprint for handing over operations of 150 trains and 50 railway stations to private operators.


Recently, the Cabinet has approved a new process of Strategic Disinvestment for expediting privatization of select PSUs.

Recent changes in the process of Strategic Disinvestment

  • The Union Cabinet approved the new Strategic Disinvestment policy under which the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) under the Ministry of Finance has been made the nodal department for the strategic stake sale.
  • DIPAM and NITI Aayog will now jointly identify PSUs for strategic disinvestment
  • DIPAM secretary would now co-chair the inter-minister group on disinvestment, along with the secretary of administrative ministries concerned.


Indian-American economist Abhijit Banerjee has won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics, along with Esther Duflo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Michael Kremer of Harvard University “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”

  • The awarding committee said the research conducted by these laureates has considerably improved our ability to fight global poverty.
  • Their new experiment-based approach- called Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) has transformed development economics.

Randomised Control Trials

  • RCTs break larger questions about policy interventions into smaller, easier to test studies.
  • For example, the big questions like ‘poverty’ are broken down into its various dimensions like–poor health, inadequate education, etc.
  • Within poor health, they look at nutrition, provisioning of medicines, and vaccination, etc. Within vaccinations, they try to conduct various experiments and, based on such “evidence”, decide what needs to be done.
  • This is extremely relevant when it comes to framing policy in low- and middle-income countries, where state capacity is quite limited and it is particularly necessary to be able to prioritise more effective policies over less.


Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has released the 20th Livestock Census report.

About Livestock census

  • It has been conducted periodically since 1919-20 which covers all domesticated animals and its headcounts both in rural and urban areas.
  • Various species of animals (Cattle, Buffalo, Yak, Sheep, Goat, Pig, Donkey Camel, Dog, Rabbit, Elephant etc. poultry birds possessed by the households, household enterprises/non-household enterprises and institutions are counted at their site.
  • 20th Livestock Census was conducted in participation with all States and Union Territories.

o This census is a unique attempt as for the first time a major initiative has been take to digitise household level data through online transmission from the field.

o National Informatics Centre (NIC) has developed a mobile Application software and was used for data collection as well as online transmission of data from the field to the NIC server.

o Census has been designed to capture Breed-wise number of animals and poultry birds.

  • The last livestock census was conducted in 2012.
  • The collection of the data becomes important as they are the vital component of rural economy.

Key findings of the census in comparison to 2012 census

  • State-wise Uttar Pradesh (UP) has recorded highest livestock population in 2019 followed by Rajasthan, MP, West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka and Gujarat.

o In terms of cattle population, West Bengal figured at the top followed by UP, MP, Bihar and Maharashtra.

o There is decline in cattle population in UP, MP, Maharashtra and Odisha in 2019while Jharkhand and Bihar recorded the highest increase during the period.

  • Total Bovine population (Cattle, Buffalo, Mithun and Yak) is 302.79 Million which shows an increase of 1.0%.


Recently, the Union Government jointly launched PRAKASH (Power Rail Koyla Availability through Supply Harmony) portal.

About Prakash Portal

  • The Portal aims at bringing better coordination for coal supplies among all stakeholders – Ministry of Power, Ministry of Coal, Coal India, Railways and power utilities.
  • This is an important step in ensuring adequate availability and optimum utilization of coal at thermal power plants.
  • The Portal is developed by NTPC and sources data from different stakeholders such as Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) and coal companies.



The October 31 deadline set by the Union government to conclude the Naga peace talks ended on a somewhat ambiguous note.

  • The deadlock between the government and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) (NSCN (IM)) over a separate Naga flag and constitution were the issues holding up a final agreement.

o Now, NSCN (IM) agreed to a settlement without a Constitution and with a conditional flag that can only be used for nongovernmental purposes.

o NSCN-IM would have to persuade Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam to give up parts of their territories inhabited by the Naga people for creation of ‘Greater Nagalim’.

  • But Ministry of Home Affairs claimed in a communique that no final settlement has been arrived at.


Recently, there were cyber-attacks on Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP).

  • National Cyber Coordination Centre received intelligence from a US-based cybersecurity firm that a ‘threat actor’ had breached and intercepted the “domain controllers” at the KKNPP and at ISRO.
  • This spyware identified as ‘Dtrack’ is programmed to steal data and give the hacker or the ‘threat actor’ complete control over all the infected devices by exposing its credentials and passwords.
  • These two incidents cast serious doubts on the Indian state’s claims to being a legitimate power in cyberspace, both due to the vulnerability of its critical information infrastructure.

Critical Information Infrastructure (CII)

o It is defined as “those facilities, systems or functions whose incapacity or destruction would cause a debilitating impact on national security, governance, economy and social well-being of a nation”

o The critical sectors covered under CII are:

✓ Power & Energy like Thermal Power, Hydroelectric Power, Nuclear Power etc.

✓ Banking, Financial Institutions & Insurance like RBI, Stock Exchanges, Payment getaways etc.

✓ Information and Communication Technology like Satellite Communication, broadcasting etc.

✓ Transportation like Civil Aviation, Railways & Shipping

✓ E-governance and Strategic Public Enterprises

o The government has designated the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) of National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) as the nodal agency under Section 70A (1) of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2008 for taking all measures including associated research and development for the protection of CIIs in India.



The Centre has allowed gram panchayats and local bodies to decide on water usage charges for supply of potable piped water under the Jal Jeevan Mission.

Need for water pricing in India

India is specially in need of a standardized water pricing regime because of its unprecedented water crisis.

  • About 82% of rural households in India do not have individual piped water supply, and 163 million live without access to clean water close to their homes. 70% of India’s surface water is contaminated.
  • While declining per capita water availability contributes towards India’s water crisis, failure to manage its water resources

effectively is also a major reason. India ranks as the third-largest exporter of groundwater through virtual water trade (through agricultural products), while 52% of its wells are facing declines.

  • Agriculture: Water use efficiency in agriculture, which consumes around 80% of our water resources, continues to be among the lowest in the world. At 25-35 percent, this compares poorly with 40-45 percent in Malaysia and Morocco and 50-60 percent in Israel, Japan, China and Taiwan.
  • Municipalities and urban centres are unable to recover the cost of treatment and supply the drinking water to its residents. This is reflected in poor pipeline infrastructure, contaminated water and also the wastage of water.


Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare placed the revised draft Seeds Bill 2019, in the public domain for suggestions and comments.

Seed Industry in India

  • The Indian seeds market reached a value of US$ 4.1 Billion in 2018, exhibiting a CAGR of 15.7% during 2011-2018.
  • Seed Development Policy, 1988 and National Seed Policy, 2002 have helped in strengthening the Indian seed industry in the areas of R&D, product development, supply chain management and quality assurance.
  • Owing to this, India has emerged as the fifth largest seed market across the globe.
  • Moreover, the active participation of both, public and private sectors has also played a vital role in laying a strong foundation of the industry.

o This includes launching initiatives to promote the use of hybrid seeds among the farmers who had earlier used outmoded open pollinated varieties.

Key features of the seed bill 2019

  • The draft Seeds Bill aims to regulate the quality of seeds for sale, import, export, and replace the Seeds Act, 1966.
  • The new draft Bill will also replace other legislations governing the seed market such as Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001 (PPVFR Act) and Seeds Control Order, 1983.
  • All varieties of seeds for sale have to be registered and are required to meet certain prescribed minimum standards. o If a registered variety of seed fails to perform up to expected standards, the farmer can claim compensation from the producer or dealer.
  • Transgenic varieties of seeds can be registered only after the applicant has obtained clearance under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • Mandatory certification through a proper lab process for all seeds instead of the earlier clause of self certification by the company that was there in the 2004 Act.


  • It is a National Mission document by Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises providing the vision and the roadmap for the faster adoption of electric vehicles and their manufacturing in the country.
  • As part of the NEMMP 2020, Scheme named Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME) was launched in the year 2015 to promote manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicle technology and to ensure sustainable growth of the same.
  • The Phase-I of this Scheme (FAME I) was initially launched for a period of 2 years and was implemented through four focus areas:
  • Demand Creation,
  • Technology Platform,
  • Pilot Project and
  • Charging Infrastructure.

o It was launched in March 2019 for a period of 3 years.

o The main objective of the scheme is to encourage faster adoption of electric and hybrid vehicle by way of offering upfront incentive on purchase of electric vehicles and also by establishing the necessary charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.


Recently, two cyclonic storms namely Cyclone Kyarr and Cyclone Maha have prevailed simultaneously over the Arabian Sea.

  • This event of simultaneous cyclones in Arabian Sea has occurred for the first time since 1965.
  • Cyclone Kyarr was categorised as the super cyclone and is second super cyclone to be formed after Cyclone Gonu in 2007. • Remenants of Cyclone Kyarr has led to another Cyclone named Maha which was categorised as ‘very severe cyclone.
  • It has also helped make 2019 the most active North Indian cyclone season on record on the basis of Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE).

o ACE is a measure of the total destructive power of a cyclone season, based on the number of days strong winds are observed.

Tropical Cyclones: Favourable conditions for formation and categorization

  1. Large sea surface with temperature higher than 27° C temperature,
  2. Presence of the Coriolis force enough to create a cyclonic vortex,
  3. Small variations in the vertical wind speed,
  4. A pre-existing weak low-pressure area or low-level-cyclonic circulation
  5. Upper divergence above the sea level system


Recently, an unusual warming event known as Sudden Stratospheric warming has been observed over the Antarctica which is also found to be linked with ozone hole shrinking over the pole.

Sudden Stratospheric warming

  • This rare warming phenomenon occurs when rapid warming begins high up in the stratosphere.
  • While the sudden stratospheric warming is common and occurs every second year on average in the northern hemisphere associated with cold weather, it is a rarity in the southern hemisphere.
  • It has raised temperatures in the South Pole by more than 40 degrees Celsius and can trigger hot, dry winds across Australia over the next three months, impact rainfall and worsen droughts in the continent.
  • Every winter, westerly winds – often up to 200 kilometre per hour (120 miles per hour) – develop in the stratosphere high above the South Pole and circle the polar region.
  • The winds develop as a result of the difference in temperature over the pole (where there is no sunlight) and the Southern Ocean (where the sun still shines).
  • As the sun shifts southward during spring of southern hemisphere, the polar region starts to warm. This warming causes the stratospheric polar vortex and associated westerly winds to gradually weaken over the period of a few months. (A stratospheric polar vortex is an upper-level low-pressure area lying near one of the Earth’s poles)


Recently, the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have signed an agreement to set up the country’s first e-waste clinic in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

About e-waste clinic

  • It would enable segregation, processing and disposal of waste from both household and commercial units.
  • The clinic is a three-month pilot project. If it would be a success, then the same would be replicated throughout the country.
  • Electronic waste will be collected door-to-door or could be deposited directly at the clinic in exchange for a fee.
  • The CPCB will provide technical support at the unit.
  • The hazardous waste will be sent to Bengaluru for recycling.
  • The clinic is being conceived in compliance with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.



Global Hunger Index was released recently.

About Global Hunger Index

  • The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and country levels. High-income countries are not included in the GHI
  • The GHI has been released by Welthungerhilfe (lately in partnerships with Concern Worldwide) since 2000.
  • The GHI ranks countries on a 100-point scale, with 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst, although neither of these extremes is reached in actuality.

Key Findings

  • Global Hunger is moving from Serious to Moderate: With a 2019 GHI score of 20.0, the level of hunger and undernutrition worldwide is on the cusp of the moderate and serious categories. This score reflects a decline of 31 percent since 2000, when the global GHI score was 29.0 and fell into the serious category.
  • Highest in South Asia and Africa South of the Sahara: South Asia and Africa South of the Sahara are the regions with the highest 2019 GHI scores, at 29.3 and 28.4 respectively, indicating serious levels of hunger.

GHI and India

  • India has slipped from 95th rank in 2010 to 102nd in 2019 on the Global Hunger Index (GHI).
  • India has demonstrated improvement in under 5 mortality rates.
  • India’s child wasting rate is extremely high at 20.8 percent, the highest wasting rate of any country. India’s child stunting rate, 37.9 percent, is also categorized as very high.
  • In India, just 9.6 percent of all children between 6 and 23 months of age are fed a minimum acceptable diet.



The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to William Kaelin, Peter Ratcliffe and Gregg Semenza for discovering the complex processes behind how human cells respond to change in levels of oxygen.

  • The research has tried to explain how cells adapt to higher or lower amounts of the molecule in the atmosphere.
  • When the body detects that less oxygen is present, the kidneys release a hormone called erythropoietin, or EPO, which tells the body to make more red blood cells to carry more oxygen around.


The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to John D. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for their roles in the development of lithium-ion batteries.

  • M. Stanley Whittingham: laid foundations of Lithium (Li) ion batteries in 1970s, when he used titanium disulphide as cathode and metallic lithium, which is highly reactive, as anode.
  • John B. Goodenough: In 1980s, he replaced titanium disulphide with cobalt oxide as the cathode doubling the battery’s potential. However, the use of reactive lithium remained a concern.
  • Akira Yoshino: The first commercially viable lithium-ion battery was developed by him in 1991. He replaced lithium anode with petroleum coke anode, which drew Li-ions towards it from the Lithium Cobalt oxide cathode.


The Nobel Prize in Physics 2019 was awarded to three scientists- James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz “for contributions to our understanding of the evolution of the universe and Earth’s place in the cosmos”.

  • James Peebles was awarded for “theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology”.
  • Peebles’ theoretical tools are the foundation of our modern understanding of the universe’s history, from the Big Bang to the present day. His theoretical tools and calculations helped interpret traces from the infancy of the universe.
  • Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz were awarded for discovering “an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star”.
  • They discovered the first planet outside our solar system, an exoplanet, named 51 Pegasi B orbiting a solar-type star in our home galaxy, the Milky Way, in 1995.
  • It started a started a revolution in astronomy as more than 4,000 exoplanets have since been discovered in the Milky Way since then.


Recently Chandrayaan-2 had detected charged particles in Moon’s soil during the orbiter’s passage through the “geotail”.

  • CLASS, is an instrument on Chandrayaan-2, designed to detect signatures of elements in the Moon’s soil.
  • The Moon’s soil can be best observed when a solar flare provides a rich source of X-rays to illuminate the surface. This happens when Moon traverses through geotail.
  • Once every 29 days, the Moon traverses the geotail for about six days.


Recently, the Government of India has launched the Gagan Enabled Mariner’s Instrument for Navigation and Information (GEMINI) device, a satellite-based advisory service for deep-sea fishermen.

  • In an effort to achieve Blue Revolution, to enhance the country’s marine resources management and utilisation, the Meena Kumari Committee had recommended optimum utilization of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)— sea between 22 and 370 km from the coast.
  • The committee’s recommendations on allowing large trawlers in this zone invited protests from several fishermen bodies, as it would negatively impact large number of small fishermen.


Zoological Society of London (ZSL) scientists used plants to power sensors in the wild by installing microbial fuel cells.

About Microbial fuel cells

  • A microbial fuel cell (MFC) is a bio-electrochemical device that harnesses the power of respiring microbes to convert organic substrates directly into electrical energy.
  • It transforms chemical energy into electricity using oxidation reduction reactions
  • It relies on living biocatalysts to facilitate the movement of electrons throughout their systems instead of the traditional chemically catalyzed oxidation of a fuel at the anode and reduction at the cathode.


Recently, Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication officially declared that wild poliovirus type 3 has been eradicated.

  • This is the second wild poliovirus to be declared eliminated — the first was in 2015 when type 2 wild poliovirus was declared as eliminated.
  • With two of the three wild polioviruses eliminated, only type 1 wild poliovirus is still in circulation and is restricted to just two countries — Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • It opens up the possibility of switching from the currently used bivalent oral polio vaccine containing type 1 and type 3 to a monovalent vaccine containing only type 1.

Acute flaccid myelitis

  • Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), being referred to as a ‘polio-like condition’, has been tested negative for the polio virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States.
  • AFM is a neurological illness, with weakness or paralysis of the limbs and inflammation of the spinal cord.
  • Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare but serious condition. The symptoms of AFM, particularly, weakening of limbs, are similar to polio.
  • In India incidence rate of AFM was 120 per million population in 2010.
  • This is the second wild poliovirus to be declared eliminated — the first was in 2015 when type 2 wild poliovirus was declared as eliminated.
  • With two of the three wild polioviruses eliminated, only type 1 wild poliovirus is still in circulation and is restricted to just two countries — Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • It opens up the possibility of switching from the currently used bivalent oral polio vaccine containing type 1 and type 3 to a monovalent vaccine containing only type 1.



The second India- China informal summit took place at Mamallapuram owing to its historical link to the China.

  • It was one of the major port cities by the 7th century within the Pallava kingdom. The town was named after Pallava king Narasimhavarman I (AD 630-668), who was also known as Mamalla.

Architectural heritage of Mamallapuram:

o Shore Temple: It is a structural temple built between 700–728 AD with granite Blocks. It was built by Narasimhavarman II in Dravidian Style of Architecture. ✓ It has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

o Pancharathas (Five Rathas or Chariots): These are monolithic rock cut structures named after the five Pandava brothers and Draupadi but they neither have anything to do with chariots nor probably with the Pandavas and these associations are purely of a local character.

o Arjuna’s Penance: It is a 27m x 9m world largest bas-relief. It has over 100 sculptures of Gods, Birds and Beasts and Saints. It is Popularly called as Arjunan Penance (Tapas).

The Chinese connection

  • The Pallava Kings had a trade and defence relationship with China, in which the kings agreed to help China in keeping a check on the growth of Tibet as a powerful nation.
  • The Chinese traveller Huien Tsang visited the region during the rule of the Narasimhavarman I.
  • It is also said that Bodhidharma, who is credited with taking Zen Buddhism to China, travelled from the Tamil Nadu coast to Guangzhou in 527 AD.


Karnataka government has announced to remove Tipu Sultan’s history lessons from textbooks in the state and also public celebrations of Tipu Jayanti will not be held. About Tipu Sultan

  • Tipu Sultan became the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore after the death of his father Hyder Ali in 1782 during 2nd Anglo-Mysore War.
  • Tipu Sultan is seen as the fearless “Tiger of Mysore” and a brilliant military strategist who, in a short reign of 17 years, mounted the most serious challenge that the East India Company faced in India.
  • However, because of the help given by Nizam of Hyderabad and Marathas, in 4th Anglo-Mysore War, Tipu was defeated and killed on 4 May 1799 while defending his fort of Seringapatam.
  • With Tipu gone, Wellesley imposed the Subsidiary Alliance on the reinstated Wodeyar king, and Mysore became a client state of the East India Company.


Nobel Prizes for Literature and Nobel Peace Prize were awarded recently.

Nobel Prize for Literature: The Swedish Academy announced two winners – one for 2019 and one for 2018 – because the prize was not awarded last year.

  • Austrian author Peter Handke has won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature. Peter Handke was awarded “for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience.”
  • The Nobel Prize in Literature 2018 was awarded to the Polish author Olga Tokarczuk “for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life.”

o She also won the Man Booker International Prize, 2018.

Nobel Peace Prize: The Nobel Peace Prize 2019 is awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali “for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.


Recently Punjab University had proposed to merge Department of Urdu language with school of foreign languages, which led to the criticism that Urdu is an Indian language.

About Urdu

  • Urdu is one of the official languages (under 8th schedule) under the Constitution of India.
  • It is among the 15 Indian Languages written on the Indian Currency notes.
  • It is one of the official languages in states like Kashmir, Telangana, UP, Bihar, New Delhi and West Bengal.
  • Urdu is closely related to Hindi. They are very similar in phonology and grammar.
  • According to experts, the Urdu language originated and evolved in India from 6th to 13th century A.D.
  • All the historical references indicate that origin of Urdu had taken place in Punjab state of India.
  • Main dialects of Urdu are: Dehlavi, Rekhta etc.



  • Recently, Jan Soochna Portal, the first of its kind, was launched by the Rajasthan State Government.
  • The portal has been developed by the Department of Information Technology and Communication (DoIT&C) in collaboration with civil society and other stakeholders.
  • It is the first of its kind system in the country and has information about 23 government schemes and services from 13 departments on a single platform.


  • Around 6000-7000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are to be relocated to the newly built camp on the Bhashan Char Island, Bangladesh.

o Bhashan Char, also known as Thengar Char is located in the Bay of Bengal.

o The island was formed with the Himalayan silt in 2006 on the mouth of river Meghna.

  • Rohingyas are ethnic group, largely comprising Muslims, found in Rakhine state of Myanmar.


  • UN General Assembly elected 14 States to the Human Rights Council.
  • The members were elected by the assembly through secret ballot.
  • All 14 members will serve three-year terms beginning on 1 January 2020.
  • Venezuela won a contested election despite a campaign opposition by over 50 organisations and many countries including United states to Nicolas Maduro’s government of Venezuela and its rights record.


  • US announced the death of Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during an overnight raid led by US military forces in Syria.
  • The operation was officially codenamed Operation Kayla Mueller.
  • Baghdadi proclaimed himself Caliph of the Islamic State in 2013.


  • Nomadic Elephant: Recently, the Indo – Mongolian joint military training, Exercise Nomadic Elephant XIV, was conducted in Oct at Bakloh, Himachal Pradesh.
  • Operation Him Vijaya: It was conducted by Indian army to test offensive capabilities against China in Arunachal Pradesh. It is an important exercise for the newly raised Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) to meet the requirements of modern warfare keeping the military progress of the enemy threats in mind.
  • Exercise SHAKTI: is a biennial exercise between armies of India and France. It is conducted alternately in India and France and was started in 2011. The 2019 edition will be conducted in Rajasthan.


  • The first-ever indigenous light passenger aircraft Saras will be inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) from 2024.
  • This Saras Mk2 project is led by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL). The first attempt to design and develop a multi-role transport aircraft began in 1999.
  • It will have various applications such as troop movement, VIP transport and supply roles during emergency situations.
  • It has low acquisition and operating costs, high aircraft performance abilities and the latest generation technologies compared to any contemporary aircraft.


  • In a bid to resolve the crisis of air pollution, the Government launched green firecrackers.
  • They are based on formulations developed by a consortium of eight laboratories under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) led by Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).
  • The green crackers are named as Safe Water Releaser (SWAS), Safe Thermite Cracker (STAR) and Safe Minimal Aluminium (SAFAL) with 30% reduction in particulate matter on an average using Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) as oxidant.
  • These crackers have the unique property of releasing water vapour, air as a dust suppressant and diluents for gaseous emissions that match with the performance in sound with traditional conventional crackers.


  • Recently, a new fossil record of bamboo has shown that India is the birthplace of Asian bamboo.
  • The fossils were found in the Tirap mine of Makum Coalfield in Assam.
  • This finding further strengthens the theory that bamboo came to Asia from India and not from Europe.
  • Bamboo survives in a wide range of climatic conditions from as cold as 5 degree C to even 30 degrees C. And at sea level to heights of about 4,000 metres.


  • The thumbnail-sized species was discovered in India’s Western Ghats.
  • Scientists have named the frog Astrobatrachus kurichiyana for its constellation-like markings and the indigenous people of Kurichiyarmala, the hill range where it was found.
  • The researchers have nicknamed them starry dwarf frogs because they’re around the size of an adult’s thumb, have an orange belly, a brown back and are covered in white spots.


  • Recently, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs launched m-hariyali app to encourage public engagement in planting trees and Green drives.
  • The mHariyali application provides automatic geo- tagging of plants. It will hence enable the nodal officers to periodically monitor the plantation.
  • People can now upload information/photos of any plantation done by them, which is linked to app and will be displayed on a website.


  • Recently, Col Chewang Rinchen Setu, India’s highest altitude all-weather permanent bridge, was inaugurated in eastern Ladakh.
  • The 1400-ft -long bridge on Shyok River, situated at 14,650 ft.
  • It is strategically located on the 255-km Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) section of the road between Leh and Karakoram Pass, at nearly 45 km from the country’s border with China
  • The bridge’s superstructure is called ‘Extra Wide Bailey Bridge’.


  • President of India recently conferred the Vayoshreshtha Samman 2019 to mark ‘International Day of Older Persons’ celebrated on 1st October.
  • Vayoshreshtha Samman is a Scheme of awards instituted by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
  • Launched in 2005, they were elevated to status of national awards in 2013.
  • It is awarded to institutions involved in rendering distinguished service for the cause of elderly persons and to eminent citizens in recognition of their service/achievements.


  • Thought Works Technologies-based in Pune developed Telescope Common Software for The Thirty Meter Telescope and is also developing another software component for the telescope.
  • The TMT is a proposed astronomical observatory with an extremely large telescope (30 m prime mirror diameter). It would be world’s largest ground-based telescope.
  • It is an international project being funded by scientific organisations of Canada, China, India, Japan and USA.
  • Planned location: Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii in the US state of Hawaii.


  • Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism recently launched the e-Portal of Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) ‘Digital Bharat Digital Sanskriti’ and CCRT YouTube Channel with an aim to take India to a newer digital pinnacle and to promote Indian culture.
  • For this initiative, CCRT has tied up with Routes 2 Roots, an NGO, for connecting seamlessly all the CCRT Regional Centres.