National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams- 1st February 2019


Topic: Government Policies

IN NEWS: Minister of State (I/C) for Labour & Employment inaugurated OPD Wing of ESIC AYUSH Hospital, Narela, Delhi.

More on the Topic:

  • All the facilities under Ayush, such as Ayurvedic, Homeopathic, Siddha, Unani and Yoga will be provided in this hospital.

About ESIC:

  • Employee’s State Insurance (abbreviated as ESI) is a self-financing social security and health insurance scheme for Indian workers.
  • This fund is managed by the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) according to rules and regulations stipulated in the ESI Act 1948. ESIC is an autonomous corporation by a statutory creation under Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India.
  • For all employees earning ₹21,000 (US$290) or less per month as wages, the employer contributes 4.75% and the employee contributes 1.75%, total share 6.5%.
  • This fund is managed by the ESI Corporation (ESIC) according to rules and regulations stipulated there in the ESI Act 1948, which oversees the provision of medical and cash benefits to the employees and their family. ESI scheme is a type of social security scheme for employees in the organised sector.
  • The employees registered under the scheme are entitled to medical treatment for themselves and their dependentsunemployment cash benefit in certain contingencies and maternity benefit in case of women employees. In case of employment-related disablement or death, there is provision for a disablement benefit and a family pension respectively.

About AYUSH Ministry:

  • The Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy, abbreviated as AYUSH, is a governmental body in India purposed with developing, education and research in the field of alternative medicines including ayurveda, yoga, unani, naturopathy, siddha and homoeopathy.
  • The ministry is headed by a Minister of State (Independent Charge) which is currently occupied by Shripad Naik

Model Mains Question: Analyse the potential role of alternative medicine to tackle the low doctor to patient ratio in India.  

Source: PIB

De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities


Topic: Social Justice

IN NEWS: A Committee under NITI Aayog will be set-up to complete the task of identifying De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic communities not yet formally classified.

About denotified Tribes:

  • Denotified tribes or Vimuktajatis are all those communities notified under the Criminal Tribes Acts enforced during British Rule, whereby entire populations were branded criminals by birth. In 1952, the Act was repealed and the communities were de-notified.

Nomadic tribes:

  • The Nomadic tribes are the ones who maintain constant geographical mobility, while semi-nomads are those who are on the move but return to a fixed habitation once a year mainly for occupational reasons.
  • The latest Idate Commission report has noted that post-independence policies for these communities have been mostly “symbolic reparations”, with post-liberalisation policies alienating them further from their land and occupations.


  • Population: The Renke Commission report (2008) had arrived at a rough estimate of their population being between 10-12 crore.
  • Worse than others: The condition of denotified tribes is “worse” than SCs and STs. These tribes lead a nomadic life, traveling from place to place, living in makeshifts tents, receiving no education and often subject to atrocities, especially against women.
  • Social stigma: Despite the repeal of the Act after Independence, subsequent legislation has forcibly alienated them from their traditional occupations and habitations.

Recent Developments:

  • The NITI Aayog has agreed with the recommendation to set up a permanent commission for the communities on the lines of similar commissions for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes.
  • In its letter to the ministry, the Aayog has also offered to set up a working group to come up with policy suggestions on many issues of the communities.
  • NITI Mayor’s response to the recommendation was part of the whole exercise. The body has also supported the panel’s suggestion to form a dedicated ‘National Finance Development Corporation for DNT, SNT, and NTs)

Source: PIB

Bharat Parv


Topic: Culture

In news: The celebration of ‘Bharat Parv’ concluded at Red Fort. The Parv was organized by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India at the Red Fort, New Delhi.

More on the Topic:

  • Bharat Parv is a five-day festival organised by Ministry of Tourism (India), Government of India to showcase the cuisine and culture of different states of India.
  • The major attractions this year included the replica of the Statue of Unity created by sculptor Shri. Ram Vanji Suttar and, also a Gandhi Gram in which 10 painting artists created paintings on the theme ‘Ideology of Mahatma Gandhi’.
  • The daily highlights of events were Display of Republic Day Parade TableauxPerformances by the Armed Forces Bands (Static as well as dynamic), a Multi-Cuisine Food Court, Crafts Mela,Cultural Performances from different regions of the country, exhibition-cum-sale of crafts items, Yoga demonstrations and live Kitchen demonstrations. The Parv at the Red Fort, New Delhi witnessed a large number of visitors.
  • Another attraction this year was the stall on the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ project of the Tourism Ministry, where the Monument Mitras are arranging Video walkthroughs/Project awareness videos/Segway experience on the projects they have taken up under Adopt a Heritage.
  • 27 States participated by setting up of Stalls, Showcasing their food, handicrafts and tourism products.

Model Mains Question: Elucidate the importance of tourism sector in growth of Economy and poverty alleviation.

Source: The Hindu

International Year Of The Periodic Table


Topic: Science and Technology

In news:  2019 has been designated by UNESCO as the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT), marking the 150th anniversary of the Mendeleev periodic table, which is an iconic image and a vital tool to all who learn and work in science, at all stages of their learning and careers.

More on the Topic:

  • According to a statement from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), events and activities will be held throughout the year to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the organisation of the periodic table by Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleev, one of the fathers of modern chemistry.
  • The events will bring together scientists, representatives of the private sector.
  • Consisting of educational material and science experiments to help young people improve their understanding of chemistry and its numerous uses, the initiative will be brought to schools around the world during 2019.

Periodic Table:

  • The periodic table, or periodic table of elements, is a tabular arrangement of the chemical elements, arranged by atomic number, electron configuration, and recurring chemical properties, whose structure shows periodic trends.
  • The seven rows of the table, called periods, generally have metals on the left and non-metals on the right.
  • The columns, called groups, contain elements with similar chemical behaviours. Six groups have accepted names as well as assigned numbers: for example, group 17 elements are the halogens; and group 18 are the noble gases. Also displayed are four simple rectangular areas or blocks associated with the filling of different atomic orbitals.
  • The International Union of Pure Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) is responsible for maintaining the periodic table.
  • IUPAC is an international federation of National Adhering Organizations that represents chemists in individual countries. It is a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU).

Source: The Hindu

Effects of global warming on El Niño in the 21st Century


Topic: Environment and Ecology

In News: A study, published in Journal nature, has thrown some light on the effects of global warming on El Niño in the 21st Century.

More on the Topic:

  • El Niño remains the largest climate phenomenon that occurs frequently producing droughts, floods, wildfires, dust and snow storms, fish kill, and even elevated risks of civil conflicts. The theater of action for El Niño is the tropical Pacific Ocean but its global reach costs the global community tens of billion dollars each time.
  • El Niño’s occur every two-to-seven years with very strong El Niño’s occurring about every 15 years. How its frequency or the time between two events and strength will change because of global warming remains a grand challenge for climate models.
  • This also impacts projections of future climate since El Niños redistribute the heat gathered by the ocean between two El Niño events to cause a mini global warming.

The Findings by the Report:

  • El Niño is measured by an index that averages sea surface temperature anomalies over the central-eastern tropical Pacific.
  • Each model delivers a slightly different rendition of El Niño compared to nature. This has been an issue in finding a consensus among models as far as the El Niño response to global warming is concerned.
  • But by using a model-specific El Niño index to make room for the inter-model differences, the latest projection posits that strong El Niño’s and thus extreme weather events associated with such strong El Niño’s will increase in the coming decade
  • The results should serve as a warning to the countries on all continents that suffer from these extreme weather events during strong El Niño events such as the ones during 1982-83, 1997-98 and 2015-16. However, some major caveats are in order.


  • El Niño is the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (commonly called ENSO) and is associated with a band of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial including off the Pacific coast of South America.
  • El Niño Southern Oscillation refers to the cycle of warm and cold temperatures, as measured by sea surface temperature (SST) of the tropical central and eastern Pacific Ocean.
  • El Niño is accompanied by high air pressure in the western Pacific and low air pressure in the eastern Pacific.
  • The cool phase of ENSO is called “La Niña” with SST in the eastern Pacific below average and air pressures high in the eastern and low in western Pacific. The ENSO cycle, both El Niño and La Niña, cause global changes of both temperatures and rainfall.
  • Developing countries that are dependent upon agriculture and fishing, particularly those bordering the Pacific Ocean, are usually most affected.

Source: Down to Earth

Interim budget 2019

Topic: Polity and Governance

In news: A The Union Minister of Finance Piyush Goyal presented the interim budget.

About Interim Budget:

  • An interim budget in all practical sense is a full budget but made by the government during the last year of its term – ie. just before the election. An interim Budget is a complete set of accounts, including both expenditure and receipts. But it may not contain big policy proposals.
  • It is not mandatory for the government to present a vote on account in an election year.
  • Though the convention is to present an interim budget and get the fund required for spending via the vote on account route, the government (if it wishes so) can even go for a Full Budget and get the appropriation bills passed to get the finances.
  • However, during an election year, the ruling government generally opts for a vote-on-account or interim budget instead of a full budget. While technically, it is not mandatory for the government to present a vote-on-account, but it would be inappropriate to impose policies that may or may not be acceptable to the incoming government taking over in the same year.

About Vote on Account:

  • Since Parliament is not able to vote the entire budget before the commencement of the new financial year, the necessity to keep enough finance at the disposal of Government.
  • A special provision is, therefore, made for “Vote on Account” by which Government obtains the Vote of Parliament for a sum sufficient to incur expenditure on various items for a part of the year.
  • Vote on Account is a grant in advance to enable the government to carry on until the voting of demands for grants and the passing of the Appropriation Bill and Finance Bill.

Source: The Hindu

Indian Post Payment Bank (IPPB)


Topic: Indian Economy

In news:  AIPPB completed two years since its pilot launch recently.

More on the Topic:

  • IPPB was launched as a pilot project on 30 January 2017 in Ranchi (Jharkhand) and Raipur (Chhattisgarh).
  • It was launched on 2018 by the Prime Minister of India at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi.
  • India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) was setup under the Department of Posts, Ministry of Communication.
  • Government of India owns 100% equity in IPPB.
  • IPPB will provide the banking services to urban and rural areas, but it’s primary focus would be on rural engagement.

Source: The Hindu

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