Daily Current Affairs : 4/1/2019

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam

Topics Covered

  1. India – Afghanistan Relationship
  2. Appointment of Judges
  3. LCA Tejas
  4. Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan
  5. Kadaknath Chicken
  6. Clause 6 of Assam Accord
  7. Financial Action Task Force

1 . India – Afghanistan Relationship

Context : U.S. President Donald Trump during an interaction spoke mockingly about India’s development projects in Afghanistan, while suggesting that Delhi should send troops to control the decades-long conflict in the country. India have a stable policy of sending troops abroad and does not send its armed forces abroad except under the specific mandate of UN Peacekeeping Operations

Overview of India – Afghanistan Relationship

  • India-Afghanistan Relations India and Afghanistan have a strong relationship based on historical and cultural links.
  • The relationship is not limited to the governments in New Delhi and Kabul, and has its foundations in the historical contacts and exchanges between the people.
  • In recent past, Indo-Afghan relations have been further strengthened by the Strategic Partnership Agreement signed between the two countries in 2011.
  • The Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between the two sides, inter alia, provides for assistance to help rebuild Afghanistan’s infrastructure and institutions, education and technical assistance to re-build indigenous Afghan capacity in different areas, encouraging investment in Afghanistan’s natural resources, providing duty free access to the Indian market for Afghanistan’s exports support for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, broad-based and inclusive process of peace and reconciliation, and advocating the need for a sustained and long-term commitment to Afghanistan by the international community.
  • There also exists a high-level political engagement with Afghanistan, which is reflected in the large number of bilateral high-level visits

Development Partnership

  • India’s extensive developmental assistance programme, which now stands at around US 2 billion, is a strong signal of its abiding commitment to peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan.
  • This makes India one of the leading donor nations to Afghanistan and by far the largest donor in the region.
  • Government of India has taken on a number of medium and large infrastructure projects in its assistance programme in Afghanistan.  
  • Some of these include: construction of a 218 km road from Zaranj to Delaram for facilitating movement of goods and services to the Iranian border; construction of 220kV DC transmission line from Pul-e-Khumri to Kabul and a 220/110/20 kV sub-station at Chimtala; upgrading of telephone exchanges in 11 provinces; expansion of national TV network by providing an uplink from Kabul and downlinks in all 34 provincial capitals for greater integration of the country.  
  • A consortium of public and private Indian companies has been formed to make one of the biggest investments in the country’s mining sector in the Hajigak iron ore reserves.
  • In an effort towards capacity building in mining area, a Mines Institute is proposed to be established in Kabul with GoI technical & financial support.  
  • Some of the ongoing/completed Indian projects in Afghanistan include new Afghan Parliament building (inaugurated on 25 December 2015 jointly by H.E. Dr. Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and H.E. Mr. Narendra Modi. Prime Minister of India); in addition GoI has also committed assistance for construction of Executive Block for the new Afghan Parliament building; Afghan-India Friendship Dam (Salma Dam); Doshi & Charikar substations (both completed); Restoration of Store Place; establishment of new Diagnostic Centre (completed) & construction of Decentralised Waste Water Treatment System at Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health (IGICH); establishment of Afghan National Agriculture Science & Technology University, Kandahar; commitment to supply 1.1 million MT of wheat to Afghanistan (711,882 MT of wheat or equivalent in cash already delivered at a cost of Rs. 989.45 crore);  commitment to contribute US$ 1 million annually over next five years to Afghan Red Crescent Society for treatment of Afghan children with Congenital Heart Disease (214 children have already been treated under this aid till mid-March 2016); grant-in-aid of US$ 1 million to Habibia High School over next 10 years; and grant-in-aid of US$ 1 million to IGICH over next 5 years. India has also committed to contribute substantially in improving transportation system in Kabul and has decided to donate 1000 buses to Afghanistan along with upgradation related infrastructure.  
  • A significant addition to India’s development portfolio in Afghanistan is the Small Development Projects (SDP) scheme, in the fields of agriculture, rural development, education, health, vocational training, etc.
  • In the area of skill development, GoI offers training to Afghan officials/nationals in diverse fields through 500 ITEC slots and 25 slots under TCS Colombo plan are allocated annually to Afghanistan, Specialised ITEC courses are held for Afghan Government Officials on specific demand, 614 ICAR scholarships under India-Afghanistan Fellowship Programme commenced in 2012-13 lasting up to 2020-21(208 fellowships have been utilised so far), training via tele-education at ANASTU, Kandahar and Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health, Kabul.  GoI also grants ICCR scholarships to 1000 Afghans every year to pursue under graduate courses in various Indian universities in major cities across India.   

Cultural Relationship

  • India and Afghanistan share centuries old cultural heritage with deep rooted linkages in the field of music, arts, architecture, language and cuisine.
  • In the field of music, in particular, in the old days, most Afghan musicians were trained in the Patiala Gharana.
  • Today, Indian films, songs and TV serials are hugely popular with the masses, contributing significantly to the popularization of Hindi and familiarization of the populace with Indian socio -cultural value system.
  • TV serials like Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kasauti Jindagi Ki, Kum Kum and Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki, Saare-ga-ma-pa, Pratigya, Utran have been dubbed in Dari language. They have the highest overall viewership and shown on prime time slots, both on the national as well as private TV Channels.As part of India’s restructuring programme for Afghanistan, India has aimed to take up projects that will render Afghanistan’s cultural heritage sustainable. The Indian cultural centre has also been working towards building o or shared cultural heritage

UN Peace Keeping

  • Peacekeeping has proven to be one of the most effective tools available to the UN to assist host countries navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace. 
  • Peacekeeping has unique strengths, including legitimacy, burden sharing, and an ability to deploy and sustain troops and police from around the globe, integrating them with civilian peacekeepers to advance multidimensional mandates.
  • UN peacekeepers provide security and the political and peacebuilding support to help countries make the difficult, early transition from conflict to peace.
  • Today’s multidimensional peacekeeping operations are called upon not only to maintain peace and security, but also to facilitate the political process, protect civilians, assist in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants; support the organization of elections, protect and promote human rights and assist in restoring the rule of law.
  • More than 200,000 Indians have served in 49 of the 71 UN peacekeeping missions established around the world since 1948. 
  • In 2007, India became the first country to deploy an all-women contingent to a UN peacekeeping mission. The Formed Police Unit in Liberia provided 24-hour guard duty and conducted night patrols in the capital Monrovia and helped to build the capacity of the Liberian police.

UN Peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles

  1. Consent of the parties;
  2. Impartiality;
  3. Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.

2 . Appointment of Judges

Current Age of Retirement of High Court and Supreme Court Judges

  • High Court – 62
  • Supreme Court – 65

What the panel suggested

  • Raising retirement age of High Court Judges to 65
  • Raising retirement age of High Court Judges to 65

Current Procedure

  • As per the existing memorandum of procedure (MoP), the judge appointment proposal has to be initiated by the Chief Justice of the High Court six months before the occurrence of vacancy. Within six weeks, the Chief Minister/Governor has to recommend on the proposal received from the Chief Justice.
  • And within four weeks, the Chief Justice of India/SC Collegium has to recommend the proposal to the Law Ministry.

Reasons provided by Panel to increase the retirement age

  • Large number of vacancies of judges in High Courts
  • Reduce Pendency of cases

3 . LCA Tejas

Context : Improved Light Combat Aircraft gets green light for production

About the News

  • The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has been given the nod to manufacture weaponised version of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas for the Indian Air Force and the first such aircraft is expected to be out by the year-end
  • The Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) has given the green signal to start manufacturing of Tejas Mk1 under Final Operational Clearance (FOC) configuration 
  • The actual final operational clearance, however, will take place only after extensive tests and trial. To get the final operational clearance, the aircraft must have battle-time capabilities of mid-air refuelling, AESA radar, electronic warfare suites, a variety of bombs and weapons, among others 
  • CEMILAC is a DRDO laboratory authorised to certify military aircraft and airborne systems 


  • In the early eighties, it was realised that no organisation existed which had the total capability to develop such an aircraft all on its own. The last time an indigenous fighter aircraft, the HF 24 flew was in 1961. Since then, the HF 24 assembly line had been shut down and the design team had been wound up. The only way left was to develop an aircraft from scratch.
  • To better accomplish these goals, the government of India in 1984 decided to establish the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) to manage the LCA programme. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, (HAL) was to be the principal partner with participation of various DRDO & CSIR Laboratories, Public & private sector industries and academic institutions.
  • The nucleus of Tejas Aircraft is Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) whose principal partner is Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. Indian Air Force, Indian Navy, DGAQA, BEL, various DRDO and CSIR Laboratories, Private and Public Sector undertakings and several academic institutions have actively participated and contributed to this truly national venture which has directly and indirectly bridged major technological gaps in several disciplines.
  • National Flight Test Centre is the directorate of ADA dealing with flight testing of LCA. All the flight test and aircraft instrumentation related activities are planned, coordinated and executed by NFTC which is headed by a Test Pilot from the Indian Air Force. NFTC has Indian Air Force and Indian Navy test pilots and flight test engineers along with the scientists and engineers for instrumentation who are professionally carrying out the flight testing of the LCA.

About LCA Tejas

  • Tejas-Indian Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) together with its variants, is the smallest and lightest Multi-Role Supersonic Fighter Aircraft of its class.
  • This single engine, Compound-Delta-Wing, Tailless Aircraft is designed and developed by ADA with HAL as the principal partner along with DRDO, CSIR, BEL, DGAQA, IAF & IN to meet diverse needs of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy (IN).
  • Tejas is an amalgamation of contemporary concepts and technologies such as relaxed static-stability, fly-by-wire Flight control, advanced glass cockpit, integrated digital avionics systems and advanced composite materials for the airframe.

4 . Swachh Bharat Mission

Context : Many toilets constructed under the Swachh Bharat Mission have already become defunct and unusable, according to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development

About the News

  • The committee has observed that many toilets already constructed under SBM have become defunct and non-usable due to various reasons pertaining to the quality of construction and scarcity of water.
  • The committee was disturbed while taking cognisance of this situation and feel that for the success of this vision, the constructed toilets needs to be safe and sustainable so that they can be utilised for a long period of time

About Swachh Bharat Mission

  • Swachh Bharat Mission is a massive mass movement that seeks to create a Clean India by 2019. The father of our nation Mr. Mahatma Gandhi always puts the emphasis on swachhta as swachhta leads to healthy and prosperous life. Keeping this in mind, the Indian government has decided to launch the swachh bharat mission on October 2, 2014.The mission will cover all rural and urban areas. The urban component of the mission will be implemented by the Ministry of Urban Development, and the rural component by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation

Swachh Bharat Mission Urban

  • The programme includes elimination of open defecation, conversion of unsanitary toilets to pour flush toilets, eradication of manual scavenging, municipal solid waste management and bringing about a behavioural change in people regarding healthy sanitation practices.

Swachh Bharat Mission Rural

  • The Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan has been restructured into the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin).
  • The mission aims to make India an open defecation free country in Five Years. It seeks to improve the levels of cleanliness in rural areas through Solid and Liquid Waste Management activities and making Gram Panchayats Open Defecation Free (ODF), clean and sanitised.
  • Under the mission, One lakh thirty four thousand crore rupees will be spent for construction of about 11 crore 11 lakh toilets in the country.
  • Technology will be used on a large scale to convert waste into wealth in rural India in the forms of bio-fertilizer and different forms of energy.
  • The mission is to be executed on war footing with the involvement of every gram panchayat, panchayat samiti and Zila Parishad in the country, besides roping in large sections of rural population and school teachers and students in this endeavor.

Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan

  • The Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched Swachh Vidyalaya Programme under Swachh Bharat Mission with an objective to provide separate toilets for boys and girls in all government schools within one year.
  • The programme aims at ensuring that every school in the country must have a set of essential interventions that relate to both technical and human development aspects of a good Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programme.
  • The Ministry financially supports States/Union Territories inter alia to provide toilets for girls and boys in schools under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).

Rashtriya Swachhata Kosh

  • The Swachh Bharat Kosh (SBK) has been set up to facilitate and channelize individual philanthropic contributions and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds to achieve the objective of Clean India (Swachh Bharat) by the year 2019.
  • The Kosh will be used to achieve the objective of improving cleanliness levels in rural and urban areas, including in schools.

5 . Kadaknath Chicken

Context : In a letter to Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and the Board of Control for Cricket in India written on the eve of the Sydney Test match, the principal scientist of Jhabua’s Krishi Vigyan Kendra, or agriculture knowledge centre, has suggested that the Kadaknath or Kali Masi chicken could be a healthy addition to the team’s diet.

What is Kadaknath Chicken

  • Kadaknath is the only black meat chicken of india. It’s a native bread of madhya pradesh, reared by the tribes of jabhuva district.
  • The bird is very popular among the adiwasis mainly due to its adaptability to environment, disease resistance, tasty black meat, texture and flavour. Its flesh, bones and nerves appears black; it’s considered not only for delicacy of distinctive taste, but also for good medicinal value.
  • The bird has been brought back form the edge of extinction by the efforts taken by the government.
  • Te Gramin Vikas Trust of Jhabua Madhya Pradesh got the GI tag for Kadaknath Chicken

Merits of Kadaknath chicken

  1. High protein more than 25% (highest of all chicken breads)
  2. Low fat73-1.05% only (lowest of all chicken breads)
  3. Vitamins b1, b2, b6, b12, c and e, niacin, protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus, iron, nicotinic acid etc.
  4. High levels of 18 essential amino acids as well as hormones that are required by the human body.
  5. The amount of fat deposited in the body of a kadaknath chicken is itself very negligible.
  6. It has great importance in siddha & homeopathy medicines for treating nervous disorder.

6 . Clause 6 of Assam Accord

Context : Union Cabinet cleared a proposal to set up a high-level committee to look into the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord of 1985

What is Clause 6?

  • Part of the Assam Accord that came at the culmination of a movement against immigration from Bangladesh
  • Clause 6 reads: “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.”
  • For recognition as citizens, the Accord sets March 24, 1971 as the cutoff. Former Chief Minister Prafulla Mahanta, one of the signatories to the 1985 Accord as then All Assam Students Union (AASU) president, explained that immigrants up to the cutoff date would get all rights as Indian citizens.
  • Therefore, he said, Clause 6 was inserted to safeguard the socio-political rights and culture of the “indigenous people of Assam”.

Who are indigenous people as per clause 6

  • NRC of 1951 should be taken as the cutoff for defining Assamese people eligible for the proposed safeguards
  • The ongoing NRC update for citizenship is based on 1971 that means if 1951 be accepted as the cutoff, it would imply that those who migrated between 1951 and 1971 would be Indian citizens, but would not be eligible for safeguards meant for “Assamese people

What will the proposed committee do?

  • In a statement, the Home Ministry said the committee would examine the effectiveness of actions since 1985 to implement Clause 6.
  • It would hold discussions with all stakeholders and assess the quantum of reservation of seats in the Assembly and local bodies for Assamese people.
  • It will also assess the steps required to protect Assamese and other indigenous languages of Assam, reservation in state government jobs, and other measures.

7 . Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

Context : The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has identified 11 jurisdictions, including Pakistan and Sri Lanka, as having strategic deficiencies in anti-money laundering (AML) measures and combating of financing of terrorism (CFT). According to a statement from the Reserve Bank of India, the other nine jurisdictions are: The Bahamas, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Serbia, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen.

About FATF

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions.
  • The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. 
  • The FATF is therefore a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.
  • The FATF has developed a series ofRecommendations that are recognised as the international standard for combating of money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. 
  • They form the basis for a co-ordinated response to these threats to the integrity of the financial system and help ensure a level playing field. 
  • The FATF’s decision making body, the FATF Plenary, meets three times per year.  
  • India is a member of FATF 

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