National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams- 26th February 2019

Chagos Islands


Topic: International Relations

In News: Britain has an obligation to end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago — home to the U.S. military base of Diego Garcia — and complete the process of decolonisation of Mauritius, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague has said in an advisory opinion that is a significant legal victory for Mauritius and other nations, including India, that supported its case.

More on the Topic:

  • Delivering the opinion, ICJ president Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf said the judges had rejected the contention that the issue did not fall within its jurisdiction because it was a bilateral matter for the two countries, and concluded that the decolonisation of Mauritius was not lawfully completed, as a result of Britain’s continued administration of the Chagos Islands.
  • The Chagos Islands are home to the U.S. military base of Diego Garcia, under lease from the United Kingdom since the 1960s.
  • The advisory opinion is unlikely to impact the U.S. military base: even assuming Britain acted on the advisory opinion as Mauritius is ready to enter in to the same agreement.

Wider ramifications:

  • The case is seen as having far wider ramifications beyond the two parties immediately concerned as it deals with the legacy of colonialism and whether the kind of agreements struck between colonial powers and their colonies in the final stages before independence was granted could really be seen as legitimate, given the imbalance of power involved in the relationship.
  • This has certainly been at the heart of Mauritius’ contention — that the leadership of its independence movement had been corralled into agreeing to the 1965 separation of the islands, fearful that if they did not do so, independence would not be granted.

India’s Stand:

  • India too supported Mauritius in its case, with India’s Ambassador to the Hague Venu Rajamony telling the court last year that a historical survey of facts placed the archipelago as part of Mauritian territory. “Regarding the process of decolonisation of Mauritius, it remains incomplete both technically and in substance as long as the Chagos Archipelago continues to be under the colonial control,” he told the court in September last year(2018).

Source: The Hindu

Drought less probable this year: Skymet


Topic: Environment and Ecology

In News: There’s unlikely to be a drought in 2019 as the El Nino — a climate phenomenon linked to drying up of the monsoon rains in India — is likely to peter out by the beginning of the monsoon, according to a forecast on Monday by private weather forecaster Skymet.

More on the Topic:

  • The El Niño conditions were on the rise in the Pacific Ocean till December last. The temperatures are now declining, and the probability of El Nino is also falling.
  • This will reduce to about 50% by the time monsoon arrives with a gradual decline thereafter as well. This means it is going to be a devolving El Nino year.
  • An El Nino refers to a half-to-one-degree rise in temperatures in the Central equatorial Pacific and is linked to a reduction in rains over key monsoon belts.
  • Skymet defines ‘normal rains’ as that in a 4% window of 88 cm between June and September; 88 cm means ‘100%’ rainfall. Anything from 90% to 96% of the normal is ‘below normal’ and less than 90% constitutes a drought. Mr. Singh said that while the chances of a normal monsoon were the highest, about 50%, the next highest odds were those of ‘below normal’ rains.
  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) too concurred that a strong El Nino is unlikely but said it’s too early to rule out a drought. For such a prediction there is a need of weather conditions until March 30 to input into our models and only then we get a sense of the monsoon.

Source: The Hindu

Gandhi Peace Prize


Topic: Awards and Honours

In News: The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, presented the Gandhi Peace Prize for the years 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 in the presence of the Prime Minister and other dignitaries, at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

More on the Topic:

  • The Gandhi Peace Prize was presented to the Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari for 2015, jointly to the Akshaya Patra Foundation and the Sulabh International for 2016, to the Ekal Abhiyan Trust for 2017, and to Shri Yohei Sasakawa for 2018.
  • The President said that Mahatma Gandhi remains relevant to 21st century concerns as well. In his advocacy of sustainability, ecological sensitivity and living in harmony with nature, he anticipated some of the pressing challenges of our times.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations are Gandhian philosophy in action. India’s pivotal role in the International Solar Alliance and its domestic Swachh Bharat Mission – aimed at the universalisation of modern sanitation – too are reflective of Gandhiji.

Model Mains Question: The Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations are Gandhian philosophy in action. Comment.

Source: The Hindu

Heat Wave


Topic: Environment and Ecology

In News: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is conducting a two-day national workshop on heat wave risk reduction on 27-28 February, 2019.

More on the Topic:

  • Heat wave has emerged as one of the major severe weather events around the globe in recent years. Climate change is driving temperatures higher as well as increasing the frequency and severity of heat waves. India too is experiencing increased instances of heat waves every year.
  • NDMA has been closely working with vulnerable States to reduce the adverse impacts of heat wave.
  • Sustained efforts – timely release and effective implementation of the national Guidelines on heat wave, preparation of Heat Action Plans by 13 vulnerable States, regular follow-up and monitoring by NDMA, extensive awareness generation campaigns through print, electronic and social media, preparedness workshops in 2017 and 2018 – have significantly brought down the number of heat-related deaths in the past few years. From more than 2,000 deaths in 2015, the number came down to 25 in 2018.
  • It will also provide an opportunity for community capacity building and awareness generation among vulnerable populations. The workshop will also discuss the integration of long-term heat risk reduction measures into developmental plans as well as Climate Change Adaptation.

About Heat Wave:

  • A heat wave is a period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity, especially in oceanic climate countries. While definitions vary, a heat wave is usually measured relative to the usual weather in the area and relative to normal temperatures for the season.
  • The term is applied both to hot weather variations and to extraordinary spells of hot which may occur only once a century. Severe heat waves have caused catastrophic crop failures, thousands of deaths from hyperthermia, and widespread power outages due to increased use of air conditioning. A heat wave is considered extreme weather, and a danger because heat and sunlight may overheat the human body. Heat waves can usually be detected using forecasting instruments so that a warning call can be issued.

Model Mains Question: Heat wave has emerged as one of the major severe weather events around the globe in recent years. Discuss the criteria for heatwaves and causes for the same.

Source:The Hindu

National War Memorial


Topic: Culture

In News: Prime Minister inaugurated the National War Memorial.

More on the topic:

  • The National War Memorial is a monument constructed by the Government of India in the vicinity of the India Gate, New Delhi, to honour Armed Forces.
  • The war memorial is built as a tribute to the armed force martyrs post independence.

Source: The Hindu

Intellectual Property Competition


Topic: Economy

In News: The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM), Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, in collaboration with ASSOCHAM and ERICSSON India, has launched the second edition of ‘IPrism’, an Intellectual Property (IP) competition for students of schools, polytechnic institutes, colleges and universities.

More on the Topic:

  • This year, entries are invitedon “IP in Daily Life” in two categories – film making and comic book making.
  • The film making competition will accept entries of 60 second long animated/film videos, while the comic book making encourages participants to narrate a story in comic strips under 5 pages.
  • Cash prizes worth more than Rs. 2 lakh will be given to the winning teams besides a special trophy of recognition for the school/institute/college that the students represent. The winners will also be recognised on CIPAM’s official website (


  • CIPAM has been set up under the aegis of DIPP with a mandate to effectively implement the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy.
  • The website is interactive providing regular updates on all upcoming events including awareness and sensitization programs being conducted, as also information on all Intellectual Property Rights.
  • It would make available resource material on IPRs specially curated for various levels: schools, universities, industry and enforcement agencies.
  • The website provides regular updates on the latest IP trends-statistics on applications filed, examined, grants and disposal for various IPRs.
  • It would provide information on the various initiatives being taken by the Government to strengthen the IPR regime in the country.

The National IPR Policy:

  • The National IPR Policy was adopted on May 12, 2016, to create a vibrant IP ecosystem in the country.
  • Creating IPR Awareness through outreach and promotional activities is a key objective of the Policy.
  • The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management, set up under the aegis of the DPIIT to fulfil the policy objectives, has been actively involved in many outreach activities including a nation-wide IPR awareness campaign.

Source: The Hindu

Monkey Declared Vermin in Himachal Pradesh

Topic: Ecology

In News: Monkeys have again been declared vermin for the next one year in 11 districts’ 91 tehsils and sub-tehsils of Himachal Pradesh.

More on the Topic:

  • The state government had urged the centre to declare Monkeys as vermin because the animals have been adversely affecting crops and causing harm to humans.


  • Wildlife laws divide species into ‘schedules’ ranked from I to V. Schedule I members are the best protected, in theory, with severe punishments meted out to those who hunt them. Wild boars, nilgai and rhesus monkeys are Schedule II and III members — also protected, but can be hunted under specific conditions. Crows and fruit bat fall in Schedule 5, the vermin category.
  • Section 11(1)a of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) authorizes chief wildlife warden to permit hunting of any problem wild animal only if it cannot be captured, tranquillized or translocated.
  • For wild animals in Schedule II, III or IV, chief wildlife warden or authorized officers can permit their hunting in a specified area if they have become dangerous to humans or property (including standing crops on any land).
  • Section 62 of Act empowers Centre to declare wild animals other than Schedule I & II to be vermin for specified area and period.

Source: The Hindu

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