Daily Current Affairs : 22nd and 23rd October 2020

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Integrated theatre commands
  2. Asteroid Bennu / Osiris – Rex Mission
  3. State of Global Air 2020 
  4. General Consent to CBI
  5. CPI -IW
  6. 20th Amendment
  7. OCI and PIO Card Holders
  8. Facts for Prelims

1 . Integrated theatre commands

Context : The next step in defence reforms after the appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) would be the formation of integrated theatre commands, Army Chief Gen. Manoj Naravane said on Wednesday. This process would be “deliberate, thoughtful and well considered.”

About Integrated theatre Command

  • An integrated theatre command is one that enables the pooling of resources of all three services under a single commander, towards securing a particular geographical area.
  • A military commander in charge of a joint command will have the resources of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force at his/her disposal in the face of a national security threat. The commander can also carry out joint training while benefitting from the logistics of all three services. 

India’s Service Commands

  • Currently, India only has two tri-service commands.
  • The first of these, known as the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), was created in 2001 and is led by service chiefs on a rotational basis.
  • The second is a functional command (not overseeing a particular geographical location) called the Strategic Forces Command established in 2006. 
  • The current structure of the armed forces includes 17 different commands, seven each belonging to the Army and the Air Force, and three headed by the Navy. Under the Army, the commands are the Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western, Central, Southwestern, Central and Maintenance and Training. The Navy is divided into Western, Eastern and Southern commands. 
  • However, defence analysts have called for the elimination of this separation through the establishment of integrated theatre commands that enable all three services to prosecute operations collectively. 

2 . Asteroid Bennu

Context : A NASA spacecraft descended to an asteroid and, dodging boulders the size of buildings, momentarily touched the surface to collect a handful of cosmic rubble for return to Earth.

About the News

  • The Osiris-Rex spacecraft sent back confirmation of its contact with asteroid Bennu more than 200 million miles away
  • Following commands sent well in advance by ground controllers near Denver, the spacecraft took 4 1/2 hours to make its way down from its tight orbit around Bennu.
  • Bennu’s gravity was too low for Osiris-Rex to land the asteroid is just 510 metres across. As a result, the spacecraft had to reach out with its 3.4-meter robot arm and attempt to grab at least 60 grams of Bennu.
  • The spacecraft was programmed to shoot out pressurized nitrogen gas to stir up the surface, then suck up any loose pebbles or dust. Contact was expected to last a mere 5 seconds to 10 seconds, with the spacecraft quickly backing away.
  • Scientists want between 2 ounces (60 grams) and 4 pounds (2 kilograms) of Bennu’s black, crumbly, carbon-rich material thought to contain the building blocks of our solar system.
  • But it could be a week before scientists know how much, if anything, was grabbed and whether another try will be needed. If successful, Osiris-Rex will return the samples in 2023.
  • It was a first for the United States only Japan has scored asteroid samples.

About OSIRIS-REx Mission

  • The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will travel to a near-Earth asteroid, called Bennu (formerly 1999 RQ36), and bring at least a 2.1-ounce sample back to Earth for study. The mission will help scientists investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.
  • OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to launch Sept. 8, 2016, at 7:05 p.m. EDT. As planned, the spacecraft will reach its asteroid target in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023.

3 . State of Global Air 2020 

Context : Long-term exposure to outdoor and household air pollution contributed to over 1.67 million annual deaths from stroke, heart attack, diabetes, lung cancer, chronic lung diseases and neonatal diseases in India in 2019, according to the State of Global Air 2020 by the U.S.-based Health Effects Institute. Overall, air pollution was now the largest risk factor for death among all health risks, the report noted.

Details of the Report

  • Outdoor and household particulate matter pollution also contributed to the deaths of more than 1,16,000 Indian infants in their first month of life last year. More than half of these deaths were associated with outdoor PM2.5 and others were linked to use of solid fuels such as charcoal, wood, and animal dung for cooking.
  • For the youngest infants, most deaths were related to complications from low birth weight and preterm birth.
  • India faced the highest per capita pollution exposure — or 83.2 μg/cubic metre — in the world, followed by Nepal at 83.1 μg/cubic metre and Niger at 80.1, according to the report which sources its data from publicly available sources.

4 . Central Bureau of Investigation

Context : Maharashtra government issued an order withdrawing the general consent given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe cases in the state.

How CBI operates

  • While the CBI is considered a Central investigative agency, it was not constituted by an Act of Parliament like the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
  • The CBI was founded under a Delhi government law called the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946 (DSPE Act).
  • Since the CBI has jurisdiction only over Central government departments and employees, it can investigate a case involving state government employees or a violent crime in a state only after the government concerned gives consent.

When can CBI Take over the Case registered by State Police

  • The CBI can take over a criminal case registered by a state police only in three situations:
    • First, the state government concerned makes a request to that effect and the Centre agrees to it pursuant to receiving comments from the CBI.
    • Second, the state government issues notification of consent under Section 6 of the DPSE Act, and the Centre also issues a similar notification.
    • Finally, if the Supreme Court or the high court orders the CBI to take up a case.

About General Consent

  • General consent is given by states so that the CBI can seamlessly conduct its investigation and not seek the state government nod for every case — unlike the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has jurisdiction across the country.

Impact of Withdrawal of General Consent

  • The withdrawal of “general consent” will not have a bearing on cases that CBI has already been investigating. Also, withdrawal only means that the agency cannot register an FIR in Maharashtra. It can still register FIRs in other states and probe anyone in the state, as per a 2018 order of the Delhi High Court.
  • There is also no bar on the investigation into cases that are already being probed by the CBI, although the CBI now cannot file any new FIRs in any new cases.
  • Now CBI will need consent from the state for every case, if the Supreme Court asks the agency to take up a case, the withdrawal will not bar it from taking up the investigation

5 . CPI -IW

Context : The Labour and Employment Ministry revised the base year of the Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW) from 2001 to 2016 to reflect the changing consumption pattern, giving more weightage to spending on health, education, recreation and other miscellaneous expenses, while reducing the weight of food and beverages. 

About the Change in base year

  •  The new series of CPI(IW) with base 2016=100 will replace the existing series with base 2001=100.
  • Earlier to this revision, the series were also revised from the year 1944 to 1949;1949 to 1960; 1960 to 1982 and 1982 to 2001 since inception of Labour Bureau. 
  • Revision of CPI-IW with new base covering representing latest consumption pattern of the target population will prove to be in the interest of workers in times to come.
  • It will help in measurements of macroeconomic indicators of the Indian economy. The improvements made in it, incorporating international standards and practices, will make it more comparable at international level.
  • As per the recommendations of International LabourOrganisation (ILO), Index Review Committee (IRC) and National Statistical Commission (NSC), the base year of price index numbers should be revised at frequent intervals generally not exceeding 10 years to reflect the changes that take place in the consumption pattern of consumers. The CPI-IW is compiled as per international best practices & guidelines of ILO.

Some of the important improvements made under the new series of CPI-IW (2016=100) vis-à-vis old series (2001=100) which are as under:

  • A total of 88 centers have been covered in the 2016 series as against 78 centers in the 2001 series.
  • The sample size for the conduct of Working Class Family Income and Expenditure Survey, on the basis of which weighting diagrams have been derived, was increased to 48384 families from 41040 in the 2001 series.
  • The number of selected markets for collection of retail price data has also been increased to 317 markets under the 2016 series as against 289 markets covered in the 2001 series.
  • The number of items directly retained in the index basket has increased to 463 items as against 392 items in the 2001 series.
  • The number of States/UTs has increased to 28 under 2016 series as against 25 in the 2001 series.
  • In the new series, as per the direction of Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on Statistics of Prices and Cost of Living (SPCL), the Geometric mean based methodology (GM of Price Relatives) is used for compilation of indices as against Arithmetic mean used in 2001 series.
  • The group level weights under newseries has changed in comparison to earlier series (1982 and 2001). The weight of Food & Beverages has declinedover time whereas the weight of Miscellaneous group(Health; Education & Recreation; Transport & Communication;Personal Care & Effects; Household Goods & Services etc.) has increasedsubstantially under 2016 series vis-à-vis earlier series. The weight of Housing Group has reported an increasing share over period of time. 


  • This index is the oldest among the CPI indices as its dissemination started as early as in 1946.
  • The history of compilation and maintenance of Consumer Price Index for Industrial workers owes its origin to the deteriorating economic condition of the workers post first world war which resulted in sharp increase in prices.
  • As a consequence of rise in prices and cost of living, the provincial governments started compiling Consumer Price Index.The estimates were however not satisfactory.
  • In pursuance of the recommendation of Rau Court of enquiry, the work of compilation and maintenance was taken over by government in 1943.
  • Since 1958-59, the compilation of CPI(IW) has been started by Labour Bureau ,an attached office under Ministry of Labour & Employment.

What is CPI – IW

  • Consumer Price Index Numbers for Industrial workers measure a change over time in prices of a fixed basket of goods and services consumed by Industrial Workers.
  • The target group is an average working class family belonging to any of the seven sectors of the economy- factories, mines, plantation, motor transport, port, railways and electricity generation and distribution .
  • CPI (IW) is currently calculated at base 2001=100 for 78 centres and prices are collected from 289 markets across these 78 centres. 
  • The index has a time lag of one month and is released on the last working day of the month.
  • It is used for wage indexation and fixation of dearness allowance for government employees.

6 . 20th Amendment

Context : The controversial 20th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s Constitution that envisages expansive powers and greater immunity for the Executive President was passed in Parliament with a two-thirds majority, following a two-day debate.

Key Features of 20th Amendment

  • The 20th Amendment reduces the Prime Minister’s role to a ceremonial one.
  • President will be able to hold ministries as well as appoint and fire ministers. He will also be the appointing authority of the elections, public service, police, human rights, and bribery or corruption investigation commissions.
  • These commissions were perceived independent with a constitutional council comprising legislators from different political parties and civil personalities making the appointments. With the amendment, the constitutional council is abolished for a parliamentary council whose observations the president is not bound to implement.
  • The president can also dissolve Parliament after two years and six months of it being elected instead of the previous law that prohibited him from dissolving Parliament until six months before its five-year term ends.
  •  Lifted a ban on dual citizens holding political office.

7 . OCI and PIO Card Holders


  • Initially Indian citizens living out of the country had the option of either applying for a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) Card or an Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card.
  • These acted as a long-term traveling and identifying document in lieu of a visa. Eventually these were merged and the Indian government advised everyone to apply for an OCI.
  • Starting September 30, 2019, all PIOs will be deemed invalid and only OCIs will be acceptable as a valid traveling document for all travelers of Indian origin living abroad.
  • PIO card (Person of Indian Origin) card and OCI cards (Overseas Citizen of India) give different benefits.

Benefits of a PIO card:

  • A PIO card holder doesn’t need a visa to visit India. The holder also doesn’t require a student or employment visa to acquire employment or academic opportunities in india.
  • The holder was exempted from registering at the foreigner regional registration office (FRRO) during the duration of stay in India.
  • The holder also enjoys parity with NRIs in concern to economic, financial and educational matters. These may include matters related to property transfer or acquisition, holding, disposal, investment, admission of children in educational institutions under general category quota for NRIs.
  • Separate immigration counters are provided at all International airports in India for PIO card holders.

Drawbacks of PIO card:

  • It does not provide voting rights to the holder. Prior permission is needed to undertake mountaineering expeditions or any such related research work in protected areas.
  • Meanwhile, the PM promoted the idea of converting their PIO cards with OCI cards. The OCI cards also provided several benefits.
  • OCI is essentially a lifetime visa status offered by India to an Indian person who has given up his citizenship.

The benefits of OCI cards are substantial.

  • OCI cards give you lifetime multiple entry visa to India. Also, you never have to register with the FRRO no matter how long your stay is.
  • If you remain an OCI for 5 years, you can attain Indian citizenship and then live in India for a period of one year including short breaks.
  • Special immigration counters are provided at all international airports in India for OCI card holders.
  • An OCI cards holder can open special bank accounts in India just like NRIs and make investments. OCI holders can also buy non-farm property and exercise ownership rights.
  • An OCI card allows you to apply for a driver’s license, PAN card or  open a bank account in India. You get same economic, financial and educational benefits like NRIs and you can also adopt children.

Restrictions for OCI card holders

  • An OCI card holder cannot vote, hold a government job or purchase agricultural or farm land. The person can also not run for public office or travel to restricted areas without permission.

8 . Facts for Prelims


  • COVIRAP is a novel portable rapid diagnostic device that can detect Covid-19 infections within one hour and at a fraction of the cost of existing diagnostic tests
  • It is developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur
  • The device tests whether a person is infected by the virus, or not, by looking for fragments of RNA unique to the virus in the swabs taken from patients. The device is expected to cost ₹10,000 apiece.
  • It has been approved for commercial use by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

INS Kavaratti

  • INS Kavaratti is one of the four indigenously built anti-submarine warfare (ASW) stealth corvettes
  • The ship was designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house organisation, Directorate of Naval Design(DND), and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata,
  • INS Kavaratti has a state-of-the-art weapons and sensor suite capable of “detecting and prosecuting” submarines.
  • In addition to its anti-submarine warfare capability, the ship also has a credible self-defence capability and good endurance for long-range deployments.
  • The last of four indigenously built Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) stealth corvettes, INS Kavaratti under Project 28 is scheduled to be commissioned into the Indian Navy 
  • The ship has up to 90 per cent indigenous content and the use of carbon composites for the superstructure is a commendable feat achieved in Indian shipbuilding.
  • Kavaratti takes her name from erstwhile INS Kavaratti which was an Arnala class missile corvette. The older Kavarattiis known for her operation in support of Bangladesh’s liberation in 1971.


  • Nag is an Anti Tank Guided Missile
  • Nag had been developed to engage highly fortified enemy tanks in day and night conditions. The missile has “fire and forget” and “top attack” capabilities with passive homing guidance to defeat all Main Battle Tanks (MBT) equipped with composite and reactive armour
  • The Nag missile carrier is a BMP-II based system with amphibious capability.
  • The missile will be produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), while Ordinance Factory, Medak will produce NAMICA (NAG Missile Carrier, NAMICA)

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