Daily Current Affairs : 3rd and 4th September

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. India-Russia Relationship
  2. South Asian Speakers Summit Male declaration
  3. Category 5 Hurricane
  4. Apache Attack helicopters
  5. Cardio Vascular Diseases
  6. India-Japan annual defence ministerial dialogue
  7. Food for all
  8. Ration card portability
  9. TM Manoharan Task Force
  10. National Wildlife Board and Gulmarg Sanctuaary

1 . India-Russia Relationship


  • Relations between India and Russia are rooted in history, mutual trust and mutually beneficial cooperation.  This is a strategic partnership that has withstood the test of time, and which enjoys the support of the people of both countries. 
  • Diplomatic relations between India and Russia began even before India achieved independence, on 13 April 1947.  In the period immediately following independence the goal for India was attaining economic self-sufficiency through investment in heavy industry.  The Soviet Union invested in several new enterprises in the areas of heavy machine-building, mining, energy production and steel plants. 
  • During India’s second Five Year Plan, of the sixteen heavy industry projects set up, eight were initiated with the help of the Soviet Union.  This included the establishment of the world famous IIT Bombay. 
  • A watershed moment in relations between India and the Soviet Union was the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship in August 1971.  The Treaty was the manifestation of shared goals of the two nations as well as a blueprint for the strengthening of regional and global peace and security.  
  • After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, India and Russia entered into a new Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in January 1993 and a bilateral Military-Technical Cooperation agreement in 1994. 
  • In 2000, during the visit of President Putin to India, the partnership acquired a new qualitative character, that of a Strategic Partnership.  During the 2010 visit of President Dmitry Medvedev  the relationship was elevated to the status of a Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership. 

Political Relationship

  • Annual Summit: The Annual Summit meeting between the Prime Minister of India and the President of the Russian Federation is the highest institutionalized dialogue mechanism in the strategic partnership between India and Russia
  • Inter Govt Commissions : Both the countries have institutionalized dialogue mechanisms that report to two leaderships.  These are the Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC), co-chaired by the External Affairs Minister of India and the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and the Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) co-chaired by the Defense Ministers of both countries. 
  • Frequent Bilateral Cooperation and consultations
  • In the international arena both countries have similar positions and coordinate their actions. They cooperate closely within the United Nations, BRICS and G-20 groupings, as well as in the various structures in the Asia Pacific region such as ASEAN and East Asia Summit Forum.

Cooperation in Different Sectors

  • Defence Cooperation : India has longstanding and wide-ranging cooperation with Russia in the field of defence. India-Russia military technical cooperation has evolved from a buyer – seller framework to one involving joint research, development and production of advanced defence technologies and systems. BrahMos Missile System as well as the licensed production in India of SU-30 aircraft and T-90 tanks, are examples of such flagship cooperation
  • Economic Relations : Making the economic partnership a strong pillar of the bilateral partnership like other areas of cooperation between India and Russia is a key priority for both governments. In December 2014, the leaders of the two countries set a target of US $ 30 billion bilateral trade by 2025. A few important steps/projects that could provide a major boost to bilateral trade are: Operationalization of the „Green Corridor‟ project between the two countries which has already reached an advanced stage; implementation of the International NorthSouth Transport Corridor, and the signing of an FTA between Indian and the Eurasian Economic Union (EaEU). Hydrocarbons is an active area for exploring cooperation between the two countries.
  • Nuclear Energy : Russia is an important partner for India in the area of peaceful use of nuclear energy. It recognizes India as a country with advanced nuclear technology with an impeccable non-proliferation record. In December 2014, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Russia‟s Rosatom signed the Strategic Vision for strengthening cooperation in peaceful uses of atomic energy between India and Russia. Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) is built in India with Russian cooperation
  • Space Cooperation : India-Russia cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of outer space dates back to about four decades. 2015 marked the 40th anniversary of the launch of India‟s first satellite “Aryabhatt” on a Russian (then USSR) launch vehicle „Soyuz.‟ In 2007, India and Russia signed a framework agreement on cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, including satellite launches, GLONASS navigation system, remote sensing and other societal applications of outer space
  • Science & Tech : The Working Group on Science and Technology functioning under IRIGCTEC, the Integrated Long Term Programme (ILTP) and the Basic Science Cooperation Programme are the three main institutional mechanisms for bilateral Science and Technology cooperation, while the Science Academies of the two countries promote inter-academy exchanges.
  • Cultural Cooperation :
    •  The linkages that started with Afanasy Nikitin reaching India even before Vasco-da-Gama revealed India to the West, Gujarati traders  settling in Astrakhan and the establishment of the Russian theatre in Kolkata have all brought peoples of our countries closer. 
    • Russian scholars like Gerasim Lebedev and Nicholas Roerich have travelled to India and studied Indian culture and philosophy. The grand epic of India, Mahabharata, has been translated into Russian. 
    • Similarly, Russian literature and thinkers like Leo Tolstoy, Alexander Pushkin and others have had a profound influence and contribution to Indian literature and thought.  Several generations of Russians have grown up watching Indian films. Yoga in Russia has been growing and becoming increasingly popular since the 1980s, particularly in majors cities and urban centres. 
    • There are regular cultural initiatives to promote people-to-people contacts between India and Russia, including reciprocal Years of Culture.

2 . 4th South Asian Speakers Summit

Context : A day after India stalled Pakistan’s attempt to rake up the Kashmir issue at the South Asian Speakers’ Summit in the Maldives, the Male Declaration, adopted at the meeting on Monday, ignored all assertions made by Islamabad on the matter.

About South Asian Speakers Summit

  • The 4th South Asian Speakers’ Summit on Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), jointly organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the People’s Majlis is held in Male’ (Maldives)
  • This is the fourth event in a series of Speakers’ Summits for the region on SDGs, the previous three having been hosted by the Jatiya Sangsad of Bangladesh (in 2016), the Sansad of India (in 2017) and the Parliament of Sri Lanka (2018).
  • This high-level Summit will build on the conclusions of the previous summits and will allow Speakers of Parliament to continue to develop dialogue and parliamentary cooperation on achieving the SDGs. Given their legislative, oversight, representative and budgetary functions, parliaments play a key role in ensuring a sustainable future for current and future generations.
  • The Summit is intended for Speakers of the Parliaments of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

About Inter Parliamentary Union

  • IPU is a unique organization made up of national parliaments from around the world.  Its aim is to protect and build global democracy through political dialogue and concrete action.
  • It was the first permanent forum for political multilateral negotiations. Initially, the organization was for individual parliamentarians, but has since transformed into an international organization of the parliaments of sovereign states.
  • Currently there are 179 Member Parliaments and 12 regional parliamentary associations are Associate Members. India is a member of IPU.
  • The IPU has permanent observer status at the United Nations General Assembly
  • It is financed primarily by our Members out of public funds. Our headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.

3 . Category 5 Hurricane

Context : Dorian Hurricane has been gaining energy since it blew through the Virgin Islands. The National Hurricane Center said that Dorian was expected to hit the east coast of Florida as a “major” hurricane, in Category 3 or possibly Category 4.

About the categories

  • Powerful winds are what define a hurricane, so they are named and classified based on how hard their winds are blowing. To qualify as a hurricane, a storm must have sustained winds of 74 mph or more.
  • Meteorologists try to quantify each storm’s destructive power by using the Saffir-Simpson scale, placing it in one of five categories based on sustained wind speed
    • Category 1, 74 to 95 mph: These storms’ winds may knock down some trees and power lines and do a bit of damage to buildings. Dorian was in Category 1 when it blew through the Virgin Islands on Wednesday.
    • Category 2, 96 to 110 mph: These storms are likely to uproot many trees, disrupt electric power over wide areas and do significant roof and siding damage.
    • Category 3, 111 to 129 mph: These are major storms that can take roofs off even well-constructed houses and knock out electric and water systems for days or weeks. Roads will be blocked by falling trees and poles. Dorian is forecast to be at least this strong when it makes landfall.
    • Category 4, 130 to 156 mph: These major storms do catastrophic damage, felling most trees and power poles and wrecking some buildings. Affected areas may be uninhabitable for days or weeks afterward
    • Category 5, 157 mph or more: Storms this powerful are rare, and when they strike, they are immensely destructive. Few structures will come through a direct hit unscathed, and a large percentage of frame buildings will be destroyed. Recovery may take weeks or months.

Category 5 Storms?

  • Four Atlantic hurricanes since 1924 have been this powerful when they made landfall in the United States. The most recent ones is Hurricane Michael, before that Hurricane Andrew walloped South Florida in August 1992, Hurricane Irma swept through the Caribbean and Cuba before heading for Florida in 2017

4 . Apache Helicopters

Context : The Indian Air Force (IAF) formally inducted eight US made AH-64E Apache attack helicopters into service at the Pathankot Air Force Station. Apache is the most advanced multi-role heavy attack helicopter in the world. Apache attack helicopters are being purchased to replace the Mi-35 fleet

About Apache attack Helicopters

  • IAF had signed a contract with aerospace major Boeing and the United States government in 2015 for 22 Apache AH-64Es. The first eight of these attack helicopters have been delivered on schedule, and the last of the choppers is to be delivered by March 2020
  • Apaches have the ability to operate at much higher altitudes than the aging Russian attack helicopters. The Mi-35 could not operate in the Kargil conflict at the heights that the IAF wanted it to be used in support of the Army.
  • Among the Apache’s modern capabilities are the ability to shoot fire-and-forget anti-tank missiles, air-to-air missiles, rockets, and other munitions. It also has modern electronic warfare capabilities to provide versatility in network-centric aerial warfare.
  • The firepower in the Apaches is being integrated with the helicopter by Boeing itself in the United States. The helicopter is capable of delivering a variety of weapons, which include air-to-ground Hellfire missiles, 70 mm Hydra rockets, and air-to-air Stinger missiles.
  • The Apaches also carry a 30 mm chain gun with 1,200 rounds as part of the area weapon subsystem. The helicopter carries the fire control Longbow radar, which has 360-degree coverage, and a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night-vision systems.
  • These tandem seating helicopters are day/night, all weather capable, and have high agility and survivability against battle damage
  • The Apaches are being received in a semi-flyaway condition. After affixing their rotors, the aircraft are able to fly on their own. There is an agreement between Boeing and Tata to manufacture the fuselage of the Apaches in India under the joint-venture Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited, Hyderabad. It is not known if any of these fuselages have been used in the eight Apaches delivered so far.
  • Boeing’s global customers for the Apache include Egypt, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, apart from the United States Army. 

5 . Cardio Vascular Diseases

Context : Cardiovascular disease (CVD) continues to be the leading cause of death across the world, but there are significant variations between rich and poor nations.

Details about the research

  • In high income countries, death from cancer is twice that of CVD, in low income countries, including India, death from cardiac disease was three times that of cancer.
  • The mortality was highest in the Low Income Countries (LIC) despite lower risk factors, and lowest in the High Income Countries (HIC).
  • The high mortality in poorer countries is not due to a higher burden of risk factors, but likely other factors including lower quality and less health care
  • The study establishes that though risk factors are lower in low income countries, factors such as access to quality health care and lack of insurance have a play, leading to the mortality.
  • With better insurance and improving hospital standards, it is possible for LIC to head towards similar outcomes
  • The HIC in the study were Canada, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and United Arab Emirates. The middle-income countries (MIC) were Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Columbia, Iran, Malaysia, Palestine, Philippines, Poland, Turkey and South Africa.
  • The LIC were Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.


  • In another paper, also published in the Lancet on ‘Modifiable risk factors, cardiovascular disease, and mortality’, researchers established indoor air pollution as an emerging source of risk for cardiovascular disease in LIC and MIC.

6 . India-Japan annual defence Ministerial dialogue

Context : India and Japan have decided to hold their first Foreign and Defence Ministerial Dialogue (2+2) ahead of the Japan-India annual summit this year for “advancing cooperation towards peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region”. Accord on the meeting was reached by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Japanese counterpart Takeshi Iwaya at the India-Japan annual defence ministerial dialogue, the Defence Ministry

Discussions during the Annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue

  • The Ministers recognised that peace and stability of the Indian and Pacific Oceans are crucial for ensuring prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region and the entire world
  • The Ministers shared their views on exploring cooperation with countries in the Indo-Pacific region through various initiatives that would further the shared vision of peace and stability
  • Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) and Indian Navy will make efforts towards participating in multilateral exercises including participation as observers.
  • In this regard, the Ministers welcomed both the Japan-India-U.S. trilateral maritime exercise ‘Malabar 2019’ and the second Japan-India-U.S. trilateral mine-countermeasures exercise (MINEX) and expressed their resolve “to continue the trilateral exercise in the same framework from next year onwards.”
  • The Armies and Air Forces of India and Japan held their first bilateral exercises, ‘Dharma Guardian’ and ‘Shinyuu Maitri’, in 2018. Last year, Japan also joined the India-US Air Force exercise ‘Cope India’ as an observer for the first time.
  • The two countries have made steady progress in Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) based on implementing the arrangement for deeper cooperation between the two Navies, signed last year. The Ministers also noted the progress on the ongoing negotiations for the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA), which commenced after the summit meeting in October last year.

7 . Community Kitchens

Context : The Supreme Court has agreed to examine a plea that starvation deaths continue to eat into the right to life and dignity of social fabric and a “radical” new measure like community kitchens need to be set up across the country to feed the poor and the hungry.

About the Petition

  • The petition said State-funded community kitchens was not a novel concept in the country. They pointed out how Tamil Nadu’s Amma Unavagam had become a roaring success by involving peers in self-help groups, employing the poor to serve hygienic food to eradicate the gnawing problem of hunger on the streets.
  • The petition also referred to how Rajasthan’s Annapurna Rasoi, Indira Canteens in Karnataka, Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Canteen, Anna Canteen in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand Mukhyamantri Dal Bhat and Odisha’s Ahaar Centre were combating starvation and malnutrition crisis.
  • It urged the court to direct the Chief Secretaries across the country to formulate schemes for the implementation of community kitchens and to further ensure that “no person should sleep on an empty stomach”. It called for the creation of a national food grid by the Centre that would be beyond the scope of the Public Distribution Scheme (PDS).
  • “Direct the National Legal Services Authority to formulate a scheme to further the provisions of Article 51A of the Constitution of India in order to mitigate deaths resulting from hunger, malnutrition and starvation,”


  • There are statistics available for malnutrition deaths in children and adults in the country, there is no official data available for death of persons owing to starvation
  • Food and Agriculture Report, 2018 stated that India houses 195.9 million of the 821 million undernourished people in the world, accounting for approximately 24% of the world’s hungry. Prevalence of undernourishment in India is 14.8%, higher than both the global and Asian average
  • Reported in 2017 by the National Health Survey (NHS) that approximately 19 crore people in the country were compelled to sleep on an empty stomach every night. Moreover, the most alarming figure revealed is that approximately 4500 children die every day under the age of five years in our country resulting from hunger and malnutrition, amounting to over three lakh deaths every year owing to hunger, of children alone
  • lnspite of the existence of a plethora of schemes aimed at eradicating hunger, malnutrition, starvation deaths, and allied issues, the country is still grappling with the said problems on a large scale, leaving scope for newer radical solutions to combat the same.

8 . Ration Card Portability

Context : Ration card holders in Kerala and Karnataka, as well as in Rajasthan and Haryana, will be able to buy subsidised food from ration shops in the neighbouring State from next month

About the Scheme

  • In a bid to implement ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ across the country by June 1, 2020, the Centre kick-started inter-state portability of ration cards between Telangana-Andhra Pradesh as well as Maharashtra-Gujarat earlier
  • This means beneficiaries living in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh can buy their quota of ration from the Public Distribution System (PDS), also called ration shops, in either of the two States. Similar would be the case in Maharasthra and Gujarat
  • With effect from October 1, these two new clusters will join the existing State pairs of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, as well as Maharashtra and Gujarat as pioneers in inter-State portability of ration cards,
  • By January 1, 2020, the Centre hopes the eight States in these initial experimental clusters, as well as Jharkhand, Punjab and Tripura, can be clubbed into a single grid.
  • This means that migrants from these 11 States can access their rations guaranteed under the National Food Security Act in any of the other State within the grid.
  • By March 2020, intra-State portability will be implemented in another 13 States and Union Territories: Tamil Nadu, Goa, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir, Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.


  • The scheme is implemented mostly in States where almost all ration shops have electronic point of sale machines. However, 10 States are lagging behind badlyIn WestBengal there is only 70% coverage of ePOS, 33% in Uttarakhand and 15% in Bihar.
  • In the north-east, in Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Assam, [as well as in Delhi], there is no coverage at all.
  • Apart from ePOS coverage, Aadhaar authentication and online supply depot management are also critical for the implementation of the system which is also lacking in many states

9 . TM Manoharan Task Force

Context: Task force headed by TM Manoharan for the development of a secondary market for corporate loan submitted the recommendations


  • The task force recommended an online loan sales platform to conduct auctions.
  • The task force also said that a self-regulatory body of participants should be formed to finalise detailed modalities for the secondary market for corporate loans, including standardisation of documentation.
  • The committee noted that the secondary market for loans, in general, had not evolved to the scale of its potential and factors that had impeded development of this market were absence of a systematic loan sales platform, lack of standardisation in documentation and legal factors.
  • It has also recommended setting up a central loan contract registry.
  • Amendment of the regulations with respect to securitisation and assignment of loans, asset reconstruction, foreign portfolio investment and external commercial borrowings were also recommended.
  • The committee also said that amendments in regulations issued by SEBI, IRDA and PFRDA were needed to enable participation of non-banking entities such as mutual funds, insurance companies and pension funds.

10 . National Board for Wildlife & Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary

Context : The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has given its nod for an air defence and weaponry project in Jammu and Kashmir in which 1.18 hectares of Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary land will be used. The project will also cover 12.35 hectares of forest land outside Gulmarg Sanctuary.


  • Due to the rapid decline in wildlife population, the Government of India during 1952 had constituted an advisory body designated as the Indian Board for Wildlife (IBWL).
  • The Indian Board for Wildlife was chaired by the Prime Minister. Since its inception, twenty-one meetings have been convened and several important decisions relating to conservation of wildlife has been taken by the Board. 
  • During the 1970’s the Government of India appointed a committee for recommending legislative measures and administrative machinery for ensuring environmental protection.
  • Accordingly, a comprehensive central legislation was enacted in 1972 called the Wildlife (Protection) Act for providing special legal protection to our wildlife and to the endangered species of fauna in particular.
  • The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 was subsequently amended during 1991 and last during 2002. As per the amendment of the Act in 2002, a provision was incorporated for the constitution of the National Board for Wildlife, replacing the Indian Board for Wildlife. 

About National Board for Wildlife

  • The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) is constituted by the Central Government under Section 5 A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA).
  • The National Board for Wildlife has 47 members with the Prime Minister in the Chair. The Minister in charge of the Ministry of Environment & Forests in the Central Government is the Vice-Chairperson
  • The National Board may, at its discretion, constitute a Standing Committee under sub-section (1) of Section 5B.
  • The Standing Committee shall consist of the Vice-Chairperson (Union Minister in charge of Forests and Wildlife) the Member Secretary and not more than ten members to be nominated by the Vice-Chairperson from amongst the members of the National Board.
  • The WLPA mandates that without the approval/recommendation of the NBWL, construction of tourist lodges, alteration of the boundaries of PAs, destruction or diversion of wildlife habitat and de-notification of Tiger Reserves, cannot be done.

Specific provisions in the Wildlife Protection Act

  • S 33 (a): No construction of commercial lodges, hotels… shall be undertaken except with the prior approval of the National Board
  • S 35(5): No alteration of the boundaries of a National Park except on a recommendation of the National Board;
  • S 35(6): No destruction, removal of wildlife or forest produce from a National Park or diversion of habitat unless State Government in consultation with the National Board authorizes the issue of such permit
  • S 38-O (g): Ensure Tiger Reserves and areas linking one protected area with another are not diverted for ecologically unsustainable uses except in public interest and with the approval of the National Board
  • S 38-W(1) & (2): No alteration or denotification of Tiger Reserves without the approval of the National Board for Wildlife

About the Project

  • The proposed project in J&K includes installation of air defence and weaponry along with helipad construction. “Only radar system would be set up in the sanctuary area and all other basic infrastructure will be outside the wildlife area
  • The radar system in the project is aimed at keeping an eye on aerial movements inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and on attempts to cross the Line of Control. The defence forces lack such monitoring capability in this area

About Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary in J&K abodes rich faunal and floral bio-diversity with variegated species like Musk Deer, Common Leopard ,Barking Deer, Asiatic Black Bear, Himalayan Black Bear, Indian Wolf, Snow Cock, Chakoor etc
  • To ensure survival of highly endangered Musk Deer(Moschus crysogater),Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary was upgraded from Man and Bio-sphere Reserve in the year 1987.
  • The area is one of the best world renowned tourist destination for its famous meadows ,rocky cliffs, dense birch forests and a home for bird watcher.

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