Daily Current Affairs : 19th June 2020

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

  1. Kodumanal excavation
  2. Infectious disease diagnostic lab & Nav Rakshak
  3. Rule of Law Index
  4. Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan
  5. Dedicated Freight Corridor
  6. UNSC Election
  7. Zero based Timetable
  8. Adjusted Gross Revenue on PSUs
  9. Financial Stability Development Council
  10. Facts for Prelims

1 . Kodumanal excavation

Context: A team from the State Department of Archaeology, Chennai, led by J. Ranjith, Archaeology Officer and Project Director for the Kodumanal excavation, has identified 250 cairn-circles at the village in Erode district.

About the Site

  • Kodumanal is a village located in the Erode district in Tamil Nadu. It is located on the northern banks of Noyyal River, a tributary of the Cauvery.
  • It was once a flourishing ancient trade city known as Kodumanam, as inscribed in Patittrupathu of Sangam Literature.
  • The place is an important archaeological site, under the control of State Archaeological Department of Tamil Nadu.

Details of the excavation

  • The Kodumanal excavation of 10 pots and bowls, instead of the usual three or four pots, placed outside three-chambered burial cists and inside the cairn-circle, has thrown light on burial rituals and the concept of the afterlife in megalithic culture.
  • The rectangular chambered cists, each two metres long and six metres wide, are made of stone slabs, and the entire grave is surrounded by boulders that form the circle.
  • The grave could be of a village head or the head of the community as the size of two boulders, each facing east and west, are bigger than other boulders.
  • Believing that the deceased person will get a new life after death, pots and bowls filled with grains were placed outside the chambers.
  • The findings unearthed so far include an animal skull, possibly of a wolf or a dog; precious stones like beryl, carnelian, quartz, jasper, beads, gold pieces and needles; copper smelting units; the mud walls of a workshop; potteries; and Tamil Brahmi script. Pieces of grooved tiles at a trench were also found
  • Earlier excavations revealed that the site served as a trade-cum-industrial centre from 5th century BCE to 1st century BCE.


  • This is probably the first time that 10 pots have been found near the cists during excavations in the State
  • Previous excavations have revealed that multi-ethnic groups lived in the village, located about 500 metres away from the Noyyal river.

Megalithic Culture

  • A megalith is a stone which is larger in size and has been used to construct monument or a structure. The monument or the structure has been constructe either alone or together with other stones. Megalithic has been used to describe buildings built by people living in many different periods from many parts of the world. The construction of this type of structures took place mainly in the Neolithic and continued into the Chalcolithic Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age.

Types of Megalithic Structures

  • The types of megalithic structures can be divided into two categories, the “Polylithic type” and the “Monolithic type”.
  • In polylithic type more than one stone is used to make the megalithic structure. In monolithic typethe structure consists of a single stone. Following are the different megalithic structures.

Polylithic types :

  • Dolmen: This is a type of megalith which is made in single chamber tomb, usually consisting of three or more upright stones supporting a large flat horizontal capstone. Dolmens were usually covered with earth or smaller stones to form a barrow. But in many cases that covering has weathered away, leaving only the stone “skeleton” of the burial mound intact.
  • Cairn: A Cairn is a human-made pile of stones, often in conical form. They are usually found in uplands, on moorland, on mountaintops, or near waterways. In modern times Cairns are often erected as landmarks. In ancient times they were erected as sepulchral monuments or used for practical and astronomical purposes. These vary from loose, small piles of stones to elaborate feats of engineering.
  • Cromlekh: Cromlekh is a British word used to describe prehistoric megalithic structures, where crom means “bent” and llech means “flagstone”. The term is now virtually obsolete in archaeology, but remains in use as a colloquial term for two different types of megalithic monument.
  • Cist: A cist or kist was used as encasements for dead bodies. It might have associations with other monuments. It would not be uncommon to find several cists close with each other in the cairn or barrow. The presence of ornaments within an excavated cist, indicate the wealth or prominence of the interred individual

Monolithic type :

  • Menhir: A Menhir is a stone Monolithic standing vertically. It could also exist as part of a group of similar stones. They have different sizes with uneven and square shapes, often tapering towards the top. Menhirs are widely distributed across different continents viz., Europe, Africa, and Asia, but are most commonly found in Western Europe; in particular in Ireland, Great Britain and Brittany. Their origin dates back to pre-history. They are members of a larger Megalithic culture that flourished in Europe and beyond.
  • Stone Circle: A Stone Circle is a monument of standing stones arranged in a circle usually dated to megalithic period. The arrangement of the stones may be in a circle, in the form of an ellipse, or more rarely a setting of four stones laid on an arc of a circle. The type varies from region to region

2 . Infectious disease diagnostic lab & Nav Rakshak

Context: Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched the country’s first mobile I-Lab (Infectious disease diagnostic lab) for last mile COVID-19 testing access.

About Infectious disease diagnostic lab

  • Infectious disease diagnostic lab is a mobile lab which will be helpful in Covid-19 testing. The lab can be transported on trains to towns and villages
  • The lab will be deployed in interior, inaccessible parts of the country and has the capability to perform 25 RT-PCR tests a day, 300 ELISA tests a day and additional tests for TB, HIV as per CGHS (Central Government Health Scheme) rates.
  • The Infectious Disease Diagnostic Lab (I-LAB) is supported by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, under the COVID Command strategy


  • National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) has licensed the manufacturing know-how of a PPE (personal protective equipment) suit named — ‘NavRakshak’ — to five MSME clients to meet the ongoing country-wide demand for quality PPE kits.
  • These five manufacturers put together are planning to mass produce more than 10 million PPEs a year.
  • The manufacturing know-how of NavRakshak was developed at the Innovation Cell of the Institute of Naval Medicine, INHS Asvini Hospital (Mumbai) of the Navy, from where the name was derived
  • The PPE is cost-effective as it does not require major capital investment and can be adopted even by gown manufacturing units using basic stitching expertise.

3 . Rule of Law Index

Context: The Supreme Court asked the government to treat a writ petition filed by lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, for setting up expert panels to boost India’s prospects in the Rule of Law Index, as a “representation” and constitute expert committees to examine the practices of the top 20 countries in the Rule of Law Index-2020.

About World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index

  • The World Justice Project (WJP) is an independent, multidisciplinary organization working to advance the rule of law worldwide.
  • The World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index is an annual report measuring the rule of law based on global surveys based on households, legal practitioners and experts. It is the world’s leading source for original, independent data on the rule of law
  • The WJP Rule of Law Index 2020 presents a portrait of the rule of law in 128 countries and jurisdictions by providing scores and rankings based on eight factors: Constraints on Government Powers, Absence of Corruption, Open Government, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice, and Criminal Justice.
  • The scores and rankings in the WJP Rule of Law Index 2020 are derived from more than 130,000 household surveys and 4,000 legal practitioner and expert surveys worldwide. According to WJP Rule of Law index 2020 India is ranked at 69.
  • The Index is the world’s most comprehensive dataset of its kind and the only to rely principally on primary data.

Definition of Rule of Law according to World Justice Project

The rule of law is a durable system of laws, institutions, norms, and community commitment that delivers:

  • Accountability : The government as well as private actors are accountable under the law.
  • Just Laws : The laws are clear, publicized, and stable; are applied evenly; and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and contract, property, and human rights. 
  • Open Government : The processes by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced are accessible, fair, and efficient.
  • Accessible Justice : Justice is delivered timely by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are accessible, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.

These four universal principles constitute a working definition of the rule of law. They were developed in accordance with internationally accepted standards and norms, and were tested and refined in consultation with a wide variety of experts worldwide

4 . Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan

Context: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan on June 20

About Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan

  • Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan offers immediate employment opportunities to migrant workers who have returned to their villages because of the COVID-19 lockdown
  • Out of an estimated 1 crore migrant workers who have returned to their villages, 67 lakh workers are expected to benefit from this scheme
  • 116 districts across six States had been identified as those having the highest number of workers returning home after the lockdown.
  • Public works worth ₹50,000 crore would be carried out in these districts to provide immediate relief to these workers.
  • Workers will be employed in rural housing, rural connectivity including the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, national highways, railway works, community sanitation complex, gram panchayats, anganwadis, water conservation, digging of wells, plantation and horticulture.
  • Within 125 days, for 116 districts, nearly 25 schemes of the government will be brought together under the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan.
  • The scheme will see a coordination between 12 different Ministries/Departments, such as Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Road Transport and Highways, Mines, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Environment, Railways, Petroleum and Natural Gas, New and Renewable Energy, Border Roads, Telecom and Agriculture.
  • This campaign of 125 days, which will work in a mission mode, will involve intensified and focussed implementation of 25 different types of works to provide employment to the migrant workers on the one hand and create infrastructure in the rural regions of the country on the other.

Mapping of Skill Sets

  • The Central and State governments have very meticulously mapped the skill sets of the migrant workers who have returned in large numbers to the 116 districts in 6 States.

5 . Dedicated Freight Corridor

Context: Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd. (DFCCIL), a special purpose vehicle under the Railway Ministry, on Thursday decided to terminate a ₹471-crore signalling contract given to a Chinese firm.

About the News

  • Railways said the contract was being terminated due to “poor progress. The move also comes a day after the Department of Telecom decided to ask the two state-run telcos — BSNL and MTNL — not to use gear by Chinese firms in its 4G upgrade.
  • The contract for ‘signalling and telecommunication work’ for the 417-km section from Kanpur to Mughalsarai on the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor was awarded to Beijing National Railway Research & Design Institute of Signal & Communication Group in 2016.
  • According to the Indian Railways, despite passage of four years, only 20% of the work has been completed.

What are dedicated freight corridors?

  • These are freight-only railway lines to move goods between industrial heartlands in the North and ports on the Eastern and Western coasts.

What is the need of Dedicated Freight corridors?

  • The two above-mentioned routes are highly saturated, with line capacity utilisation reaching as high as 150 per cent. Considering increased transport demands, overtly congested routes and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with road transport, the government had proposed this initiative.
  • These freight corridors will help reduce the cost and allow faster transportation. Along with that, Indian Railways will open new avenues for investment, as this will lead to the construction of industrial corridors and logistic parks along these routes.

Who is constructing?

  • To construct the special freight corridors, Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCC) was set up under Indian Railways in 2006. It was registered as a special-purpose vehicle under the Companies’ Act 1957.
  • The DFCC is one of the largest ever infrastructure projects being undertaken by railways since 1947.

6 . UNSC Election

Context: Terming India’s winning of a non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council one of its “best performances” ever, the Union government said the majority of votes received in the General Assembly demonstrated the “goodwill” the country enjoyed.

Topic Already covered under June 6th Daily Current Affairs Section

Details of the voting

  • In the election India secured 184 of the 192 votes, far in excess of the 128, or two-thirds minimum, it needed to be confirmed. In its last bid for the UNSC seat in 2010, India had won 187 votes. India’s term on the 15-member Council will be its eighth.
  • Eight countries did not vote for India.
  • Others that won were Mexico with 187 votes, Norway 130 and Ireland 128, defeating Canada, which won 108.
  • Neither Kenya (113 votes) nor Djibouti (78), both contesting for one seat from Africa, won a two-thirds majority. The two are contesting a second round.
  • Vote was conducted through secret ballot
  • India has earlier been elected as a non-permanent member for the years 1950-1951, 1967-1968, 1972-1973, 1977-1978, 1984-1985, 1991-1992 and 2011-2012.

7 . Zero based Timetable

What is Zero-Based Time Table?

  • Railway Board officials say that while preparing the time table, it will be assumed that no trains are running in the country right now and the chart is zero.
  • After that, according to the demand and availability of the train, such a time table will be set by the Operation Research Transportation Algorithm so that every train travels the distance faster.
  • To pass a train, many trains will not have to be parked on the side, because the timing will be set differently.

Need for the Zero-Based Time Table?

  • The history of railways in India is centuries old. At this time there are many such coaches which have been running since the British era. Meanwhile, due to the increasing demand for trains, new trains are being run every year across the country.
  • Because of this, wherever there is a gap in the time table, at the same time new trains are inserted and the train starts running accordingly.
  • In this way, due to the induction of new trains, the trains without priority are shunted and the priority trains are passed.
  • Due to this, many other trains have to wait for hours. The idea of a zero-based time table has come up as a remedy to this problem.

8 . Adjusted Gross Revenue on PSU’s

Context : The Union government informed the Supreme Court that it had withdrawn 96% of its ₹4 lakh crore demand in adjusted gross revenue (AGR) from non-telecom public sector undertakings (PSUs).

Background of the issue

  • Supreme Court had ordered telecom companies to pay the AGR dues earlier. The AGR dues judgment had accepted Centre’s AGR regime of 2003 which implied that telecom companies’ gross revenues would also include non-telecom revenues.
  • After the Judgement Government also asked PSUs like DMRC, GAIL Oil India and Gujarat Narmada Valley Corporation to pay the AGR dues as they also held telecom licences but telecom was not their core or a revenue earning business.

About the Supreme Court order

  • A three-judge Bench, led by Justice Arun Mishra, had made it clear that its AGR verdict last year was only limited to AGR dues owed by telecom companies and not PSUs who had nothing to do with the sector.

About the AGR verdict

  • Telecom operators are required to pay licence fee and spectrum charges in the form of ‘revenue share’ to the Centre. The revenue amount used to calculate this revenue share is termed as the AGR.
  • According to the DoT, the calculations should incorporate all revenues earned by a telecom company – including from non-telecom sources such as deposit interests and sale of assets.
  • The companies, however, was of the view that AGR should comprise the revenues generated from telecom services only and non-telecom revenues should be kept out of it.
  • In 2019 SC bench delivered the verdict and effectively upheld the definition of AGR calculation as stipulated by the DoT. The judgment said the gross revenue shall be inclusive of installation charges, late fees, sale proceeds of handsets (or any other terminal equipment, etc.), revenue on account of interest, dividend, value-added services, supplementary services, access or interconnection charges, roaming charges, revenue from permissible sharing of infrastructure and any other miscellaneous revenue, without any set-off for related item of expense, etc.

9 . Financial Stability Development Council

About Financial Stability Development Council

  • Indian Government has setup an apex-level Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) to strengthen and institutionalize the mechanism for maintaining financial stability and enhancing inter-regulatory coordination
  • FSDC has replaced the High Level Coordination Committee on Financial Markets (HLCCFM), which was facilitating regulatory coordination, though informally, prior to the setting up of FSDC. 


  • The Council is chaired by the Union Finance Minister
  • Governor, Reserve Bank of India
  • Finance Secretary and/or Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs; Secretary, Department of Financial Services
  • Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance
  • Chairman, Securities and Exchange Board of India
  • Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority
  • Chairman, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority.


  • The Council deals, inter-alia, with issues relating to financial stability, financial sector development, inter–regulatory coordination, financial literacy, financial inclusion and macro prudential supervision of the economy including the functioning of large financial conglomerates. No funds are separately allocated to the Council for undertaking its activities.

10 . Facts for Prelims

Twitter search prompt for domestic violence

  • Twitter launched a search prompt for users seeking information on domestic violence, which will lead users to the NCW and the Ministry of Women and Child Developments’ pages.
  • When users type keywords including #domesticviolence, #crimeagainstwomen, #dowry, #maritalrape etc, they will be directed to a page hosted on the official website of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) and the Twitter timeline of the National Commission for Women.
  • The purpose is to direct users to information and updates from ‘authoritative’ sources.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

  • The programme was announced by Mr. Obama in 2012.
  • It allows young people brought to the U.S. as children to apply for a temporary status that shields them from deportation and allows them to work. The status lasts for two years and is renewable, but it does not provide a path to citizenship.

1996 agreement between India and China on “Confidence-Building Measures

  • This agreement provides for border security and confidence measures between the parties to the agreement. It calls for military disclosure when the parties are undertaking border exercises and for the reduction of troop levels in the border areas. It also allows the parties to observe and inspect troop movements in each other territory upon invitation.
  • According to the Article VI of the 1996 agreement between India and China on “Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) in the military field along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China border areas, neither side shall open fire, cause bio-degradation, use hazardous chemicals, conduct blast operations or hunt with guns or explosives within two kilometres from the line of actual control. This prohibition shall not apply to routine firing activities in small arms firing ranges.”

Asian Development Outlook

  • The Asian Development Outlook, popularly known as the ADO, is a series of annual economic reports on the developing member countries (DMCs) of the Asian Development Bank.
  • The ADO provides a comprehensive analysis of macroeconomic and development issues for the DMCs of ADB.
  • According to a latest supplement supplement to its Asian Development Outlook (ADO) the Indian economy is expected to contract by 4% during the current financial year. For the countries in Developing Asia, ADB forecasts growth of 0.1% in 2020. ‘Developing Asia’ refers to a group of over 40 countries that are members of the ADB.

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