Daily Current Affairs and GK | 26 February 2020
1. Number of dolphins in Odisha’s Gahirmatha reduced by half
- In an annual census conducted by the forest department of the Odisha at Chilika lake, the population of dolphin in the state is found to be 233.
- The number of dolphins in Gahirmatha has reduced by half over a year.
- In 2015, the census recorded total dolphins as 270.
- Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary is located within Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha and is the world’s largest nesting beach for Olive Ridley Turtles.
- Chilika lake is a salt water lake and is also a Ramsar site.
- Dolphins are listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and their IUCN status is Endangered. Also, these are included in Appendix I of CITES and Appendix II of CMS.
2. SPICe+: A web form to integrate services of various ministries and departments
- SPICe+ is an integrated web form that has been launched by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to boost ease of doing business in India.
- SPICe+ will replace the SPICe form and will integrate 10 services like DIN allotment, issue of PAN, EPFO, ESIC registration, allotment of GSTIN, etc. of different ministries and departments.
- It will save time and cost for starting a business in India.
- India has improved its rank in Ease of Doing Business Index in past few years i.e. from 142nd in 2014 to 63rd in 2019.
3. P. Sankaran passes away at the age of 72
- Senior Congress leader P. Sankaran has passed away at the age of 72 due to illness.
- He was former Health and Tourism Minister and was born in 1947.
- His parents were freedom fighter Kelu Nair and Makkam Perambra.
4. HC said Proof of Burden on person claiming citizenship
- Nur Begum filed a plea in Guwahati High Court against the order of Foreigners Tribunal which declared her a foreigner.
- The Guwahati HC dismissed her plea quoting that the burden of proof lies on the person claiming the citizenship.
- Nur Begum was not able to prove her linkage to any ancestor who were residents in India before March 25, 1971.
- Under NRC, the people living in Assam had to produce documentary proof to prove that their ancestors were living in India before March 25, 1971 and also their linkage to those ancestors to get the status of Indian Citizenship.
- Articles 5-11 of the Indian Constitution deals with Citizenship while, the Citizenship Act defines the methods of acquiring and suspension of Indian Citizenship.
- The Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 has amended the Citizenship Act, 1955 to declare six communities from three countries (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh) as legal migrants that can apply for Indian Citizenship.
5. World Health Organisation warns of COVID-19
- As the number of cases of COVID-19 have increased in China and the infection is spreading in other countries too, the WHO has warned of the disease being grown into a pandemic.
- In China, more than 2,600 people have died and over 77,000 are infected due this new strain of coronavirus.
- A disease is declared pandemic when it is novel for which people are not immune and spreads across the world beyond expectations. There is no threshold for deciding this.
- Epidemic is a sudden increase in cases of disease that can be unique to one country or community. E.g. Ebola, SARS, etc.
- Endemic is a rare disease that is not as widespread as an epidemic but exists in a community of a particular region. E.g. Malaria, Chicken Pox
6. India and the United States agreed on a three-billion-dollars defence deal
- India and the US has finalized the $ 3 billion defence deal and signed three agreements.
- India has signed an agreement to purchase state-of-the-art US military equipment including Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters worth more than three billion dollars from the US.
- An MoU on mental health was also signed between the health departments of the two countries.
- Another MoU was signed between the Central Drug Standards Control Organization and the Food and Drug Administration of the United States regarding the safety of medical products.
- Indian Oil Corporation Ltd signed a letter of cooperation with Exxon Mobil India LNG Limited and Chart Industries of USA.
7. Election Commission announces biennial elections to Rajya Sabha
- The Election Commission announced that the biennial elections would be held on March 26 for the 55 seats of the Rajya Sabha.
- The term of the members is coming to an end in April this year, with the maximum number of seats being vacant from Maharashtra (7) and Tamil Nadu (6).
- Rajya Sabha:
- The Rajya Sabha or the upper house of the Parliament is the permanent House.
- One-third of its members retire after two years.
- The maximum member strength of Rajya Sabha has been fixed at 250. Of which 238 members are elected indirectly while 12 members are nominated by the President.
8. BIMSTEC Energy Conference inaugurated in Dhaka, Bangladesh
- The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Energy Conference was inaugurated in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
- Inaugurating the BIMSTEC Energy Conference in Dhaka, Dr Tawfiq-E-Elahi Chowdhury, Energy Advisor to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, announced that BIMSTEC is working to set up a 3000 km long power grid from Myanmar-Thailand to India.
- The construction of this grid will ensure electricity demand and supply balance for member countries. At the same time, consumers will also get the benefit because the price of electricity will decrease and they will continue to have uninterrupted power supply.
- The member countries of the organization had signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a regional energy grid in 2018.
- It is an association of seven countries lying in South and Southeast Asia, including Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan.
- It was founded in 1997.
- It is headquartered in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
9. High Level Committee constituted on clause-6 of the Assam Accord submitted its report to CM
- The High Level Committee constituted on clause-6 of the Assam Accord has submitted its report to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in Guwahati.
- This high-level committee, headed by retired judge Biplab Kumar Sharma, has recommended measures to protect the interests of the people of the state.
- The Assam government will send the report to the Ministry of Home Affairs for further action.
- The Assam Accord was signed in 1985 among the Central government, Government of Assam, All Assam Student Union and All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad.
10. MP has become the first state to introduce unified vehicle registration card
- Madhya Pradesh has become the first state in the country to launch the Unified Vehicle Registration Card and is the second state in the country, after Uttar Pradesh, to introduce Unified Driving License.
- These cards are being issued across the country to bring uniformity in driving license and vehicle registration cards.
- The new cards will have more detailed information printed on both sides of the card. It will also hold a unique number recognized nationwide.
- The smart cards will have a QR code to authenticate the data printed on the cards.
- The driver’s ability to drive in hilly areas and an emergency contact number will also be specified on these cards.
11. Former Egyptian President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak passed away at the age of 91
- Mohammad Hosni Mubarak, 91-year-old former Egyptian president who held the power for thirty years, has passed away.
- Former Egyptian Air Force chief Hosni Mubarak became the country's Vice President on 14 October 1981 and was sworn in as President only eight days later.
- Hosni Mubarak guided the slow but strong economic growth in Egypt and kept his country usually isolated from military conflicts after decades of war with Israel.
- After remaining in power for nearly three decades, he had to resign on February 11, 2011, after 18 days of protests across the country.
- Egypt is a North African country that connects Northeast Africa to the Middle East.
- Its capital is Cairo and currency is Egyptian Pound.
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
1. Which of the following is true about Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary?
A. It is located within Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha.
B. It is the world's largest nesting beach for Olive Ridley Turtles.
C. No dolphins are found here.
D. Both A and B
2. SPICe+ is an integrated web form that has been launched by which of the following ministries?
A. Ministry of Finance
B. Ministry of Corporate Affairs
C. Ministry of Civil Aviation
D. Ministry of Human Resource and Development
3. P. Sankaran recently passed away due to critical illness. He belonged to which of the following fields?
4. Which of the following statements is incorrect?
A. Articles 5-11 of the Indian Constitution deals with Citizenship.
B. Article 6 of the Constitution defines the methods of acquiring Citizenship.
C. Under NRC, the cut-off date for people living in India is March 25, 1971.
D. Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 declare six communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for citizenship.
5. COVID-19 has been declared as _____ by WHO.
C. Public Health Emergency
D. Both B and C
6. India has signed an agreement with which country to purchase Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters?
7. How many members of Rajya Sabha are nominated by the President?
8. BIMSTEC Energy Conference was held in which country?
D. Sri Lanka
9. Under whose chairmanship was the High Level Committee on clause six of the Assam Accord formed?
A. Biplab Kumar Sharma
B. HL Dattu
C. R S Sharma
D. Vishveshwar Dutt
10. Recently which state has become the first state in the country to introduce unified vehicle registration card?
A. Madhya Pradesh
B. Uttar Pradesh
11. Recently Mohammed Hosni Mubarak passed away. He was the former President of which country?