Current Affairs Miscellaneous

 On March 8, 2020, Minister of Rural Development Narendra Singh Tomar announced that more than 17 lakh Self Help Groups (SHGs) are to be developed by 2022. Currently, there are more than 60 lakh self help groups in the country mobilizing 6 crore women.
  • Highlights
The Self-Help Groups will be provided funds for their livelihood missions. They will be linked with banks for easy credit flow. The platforms such as E-Marketplace will also be linked with the SHGs to provide better prices for their products.
  • Self Help Groups
The concept of Self-Help Groups was introduced in 1992 under the guidelines of RBI and NABARD. Today, more than 90% of SHGs in the country consist of women.
  • Why SHGs?
The SHGs help to promote Gender Equity, Social Integrity, Financial Inclusion and help raise voice of marginalized section. It also helps to improve efficiency of Government Schemes. The “Kudumbashree” project in Kerala is the largest and most successful SHG project in the country that was launched in Kerala. It is a SHG of the State Government. It was launched in 1998.

 On March 6, 2020, Ghojadanga of West Bengal and Agartala of Tripura were designated as land immigration check posts. They are located in Indo-Bangladesh border.
  • Highlights
The Government of India has designated Agartala and Ghojadanga to check all classes of passengers entering to and exiting from India. The immigration posts will check travel documents of the passengers.
  • Legislation
The check posts were authorized under Passport rules, 1950.
  • India-Bangladesh
Bangladesh is one of the strongest trading partners of India. Today, the trade between the countries stand at 10 billion USD. Also, Bangladesh is the largest contributor of tourism to India. Also, the visas issued by Indian high commission in Bangladesh is the highest of all the Indian missions. It issues more than 1 million visas annually.
  • LCS And Customs Ports
The movement of Goods and people are both routed through Land Customs Stations, immigration check posts and inland custom ports. India has adopted the policy of “Guarding and Securing” in order to secure its boundary at Bangladesh border.

 On March 7, 2020, India officially shared two SARS-CoV-2 with the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID).
  • Highlights
The Pune based National Institute of Virology has shared two sequences of novel corona virus with Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data. It is important to study the genome sequences of the virus as it will help in epidemiological investigations. These include how the virus spreads and where the virus has come from, etc.
  • GISAID
The GISAID promotes international sharing of influenza virus sequences.
  • Corona Virus update
More than 100,000 are infected globally due to Corona Virus and spread across 90 countries. Around 31 people are currently infected with Corona Virus. It includes 16 Italian nationals as well. India has so far imposed travel restrictions to Iran, Italy and South Korea. Also, India has suspended issue of e-visas to Italy, Japan, Iran and South Korea.

  The 4th Global Ayurveda Festival will be held at Kochi, Kerala from 16th to 20th May. The theme of the event is Ayurveda Medical Tourism: Actualizing India’s credibility. GAF2020 is being organised by the Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA). It will be the largest Ayurvedic event ever to be held anywhere across the world. More than 500 stalls, the participation of over 5,000 international delegates, ethnic food carnivals, the exhibition of rich medicinal plants and workshops on Panchkarma to be the key highlights of GAF-2020. Ayurveda Tourist Centres and Spas giving rejuvenation therapy and their potential curative aspects will be showcased. GAF-2020 will bring together the world of Ayurveda wellness providers and it’s seekers to one platform.

 On March 6, 2020, the Lok Sabha passed Mineral Laws (Amendment) bill, 2020. The bill aims to amend Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) act, 1957 and also Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015.
  • Highlights
The bill was passed in the parliament without discussion. This was because of the constant uproar of the opposition over death of 52 people in the Delhi Violence over Citizenship Amendment Act.
  • Key Features of the bill
The bill opens up the coal sector completely for commercial mining. It also intends to remove end use restrictions to participate in coal mine auctions. This will mainly help reduce coal imports.
  • Coal Sector in India
The Coal output in India has been declining lately. This is mainly due to flooding of mines and labour unrest. Therefore, GoI has taken several steps to boost coal production in the country. The FDI in coal sector has been made to 100%. GoI is also taking several steps to reduce coal imports. In spite being the fourth largest producer of coal in the world, India imported 235 billion tonnes of coal in 2019. The GoI has also set a target to reach 1 billion tonnes of coal production by 2024.

  Global sports brand PUMA has signed bollywood actor Kareena Kapoor Khan as its new brand ambassador. She will be the face of the sports brand for its studio Collection which involves a low-intensity training apparel collection for yoga, barre and pilates workouts. The collaboration of the bollywood actress aims to encourage more women to lead a fit and healthy lifestyle. Puma is a german sportswear brand which is popular for its design and performance of its footwear, apparel and accessories. It provides performance and sport-inspired lifestyle products in various games ranging from football, running and training, basketball, golf to motorsports.

  The District Employment and Counseling Centre has organized a Workshop-cum-Awareness Programme on the Skill Development for Unorganized Workers. Awareness workshop for the unorganized workers was organized under the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan (PMSYM) Scheme. The workshop was held in Kulgam, Jammu & Kashmir. The participants were made aware of the various pension schemes run by the government such as Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan (PM- SYM) and Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyapari Mandhan (Karam Yogi) Pension Yojana (PM-LVMY).

 On March 6, 2020, the Jammu airport security was taken over by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). With this there are 63 airports under CISF at present.
  • Airport Security
The CISF is responsible for airport security at all commercial airports of India. Earlier the airports were under the control of airport police. However, after the hijack of Indian Airlines Flight 814 in 1999, it was handed over to CISF. Jaipur airport was the first airport to come under CISF control.
  • CISF
It was set up in 1969. However, it was made an armed force in 1983. Recently in 2017, the GoI increased the strength of CISF personnel from 145,000 to 180,000. It operates under Ministry of Home Affairs. Apart from airport, CISF also guards seaports, industrial sectors, atomic power plants, oil refineries, thermal power plants, mines and other public sector undertakings. It also guards currency note presses. There are 4 currency notes presses in India. Two operate at Nashik in Maharashtra and other 2 operate in Mysuru in Karnataka and Salboni in West Bengal.

 The Tamil Nadu Food Safety and Drug Administration recently asked the administrators of temples to obtain BHOG certificate from FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India). This was launched in 2018.
  • What is BHOG?
BHOG is Blissful Hygiene Offering to God. These are certificates issued by FSSAI. The BHOG certificates ensure quality of food offered to devotees and deities as well. It was launched as a precautionary measure to maintain hygiene of foods at the temples.
  • About the Project
The project was initiated by FSSAI. The project apart from maintaining the quality of foods at temples, also gives training for food handlers on basic food safety. It incudes Gurudwaras, Temples, Mosques. The project has also made it mandatory for the Prasad stalls and vendors that sell Prasad in and around temple premises to obtain BHOG certificate.
  • Eat Right Campaign
The certificate also includes principles of Eat Right Campaign. The Eat Right Campaign is based on two broad pillars namely “Eat Healthy” and “Eat Right”.

 A “Student Health Card” scheme has been launched in the Union Territory Jammu and Kashmir. Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Girish Chander Murmu launched the “Student Health Card” scheme to check the malnutrition in school going children. This scheme aims to ensure good health of every school going children. According to the “Student Health Card” scheme, the school going children will undergo a regular checkup so that malnutrition can be prevented. The “Student Health Card” scheme was launched during the programme which was organised by Directorate of Mid Day Meal, School Education Department in cooperation with the National Health Mission.


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