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05 December Current Affairs

Bilateral Annual Haj 2020 Agreement Between India And Saudi Arabia

In News:

India has become the first country to make the entire process for pilgrims going on Haj completely digital.

About:

Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said this after signing the bilateral annual Haj 2020 agreement between India and Saudi Arabia for next year’s pilgrimage with the Saudi Haj Minister in Jeddah.

An online application, e-visa, Haj mobile app, ‘e-MASIHA’ health facility, “e-luggage pre-tagging” providing all information in India itself regarding accommodation and transportation in Mecca and Madina will be provided to 2 lakh Indian Muslims going for Haj in 2020.

For the first time facilities were provided for digital pre-tagging of pilgrims’ baggage.

E-MASIHA (E-Medical Assistance System for Indian Pilgrims Abroad), an online system to maintain the health database of Indian pilgrims has been developed to deal with any emergency in Mecca and Madina.

A portal of Haj Group Organisers (HGOs) – http://haj.nic.in/pto/ – has been developed which contains all the details of HGOs and their packages.

India’s Gross Domestic Product Growth Rate

In News:

With the news of a decline in India’s Gross Domestic Product growth rate, the ruling party has offered several arguments to deny the existence of a slowdown. One of them even questioned the merit of the basic variable used to map economic growth — that is, the GDP.

About:

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures the monetary value of all goods and services produced within the domestic boundaries of a country within a timeframe (generally, a year).

The Gross National Product (GNP) measures the monetary value of all goods and services by the people and companies of a country regardless of where this value was created.

For example, if Apple manufactures its mobile phone worth $1 million within India, then this $1 million will be counted in India’s GDP and US’ GNP. If the US office of Infosys created software worth $1 million, then it will be counted in US’ GDP and India’s GNP. It is the domestic boundary that distinguishes the GDP.

Data On Water Contamination

In News:

Ministry of Jal Shakti tabled data on water contamination in Parliament.

About:

Among rural habitations in Indian states, 55,511 face quality issues with drinking water.

As of November 27 this year, 3.22 per cent of rural habitations across all states and UTs, accounting for 3.73 per cent of the population, were consuming drinking water with quality issues.

Iron is the most common contaminant of drinking water, with over 18,000 rural habitations affected, followed by salinity that affects roughly 13,000 rural habitations, arsenic (12,000), fluoride (nearly 8,000) and heavy metal.

Rajasthan has the highest number of rural habitations affected by contamination overall, at 16,833. Most of these – 12,182 – are affected by salinity in drinking water, at 12,182.

West Bengal has the highest number of rural habitations affected by arsenic contamination, at 6,207, followed by Assam (4,125).

Assam has the highest number of rural habitations affected by iron contamination, at 5,113, followed by West Bengal (5,082).

States and UTs that are not affected by any of these contaminants include Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Sikkim and Tamil Nadu.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

In News:

The leaders of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) met in London to mark the 70th birthday of the organization.

About:

NATO is also called the North Atlantic Alliance.

Objective: It is an intergovernmental military alliance between North American and European countries. It constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.

HQ: Brussels, Belgium.

Origin: The alliance is based on the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed in 1949.

Member Countries: It consists of 29 independent member countries. Three former Soviet states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) are members of NATO.

Partners: NATO cooperates with a range of international organisations and countries in different structures (as mentioned below):

  • Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC)
  • NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue
  • Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI)

Partners across the globe: Under it, countries develop cooperation with NATO in areas of mutual interest, including emerging security challenges. Pakistan is also NATO’s partner across the globe.

Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System (PPRTMS)

In News:

Election Commission of India (ECI) is set to implement “Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System” (PPRTMS).

About:

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has reviewed the system and process of registration of political parties. The new guidelines will be effective from 1st January,2020.

Accordingly, the PPRTMS will be implemented through an online portal, to facilitate tracking of status of application by applicants.

Under PPRTMS, the applicant (who is applying for party registration from 1st January, 2020 onwards) will be able to track the progress of his / her application and will get status update through SMS and email.

The applicant is required to provide contact mobile number and email address of the party / applicant in his application if he/she wishes to track the progress of the application.

The new guidelines have been hosted on the Commission’s website https://eci.gov.in.

National Artificial Insemination Programme

In News:

Nationwide Artificial Insemination Programme (N.A.I.P) was launched by Prime Minister on 11th September 2019.

About the programme:

It is a campaign mode genetic up-gradation program being implemented by the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying.

It Aims over 1 crore insemination in 6 months.

The Programme is being implemented in 600 identified districts having less than 50% artificial insemination coverage.

The duration of the program is from 15th September 2019 to 15th March 2020.

All breeds of cattle and buffaloes will be covered under this program.

All the animals covered under the program will be ear-tagged with ‘PashuAadhaar’.

Further, all inseminated animals will be given Animal health Card (Nakul Swasthya Patra).

About Rashtriya Gokul Mission:

Rashtriya Gokul Mission was launched in 2014.

It seeks the development and conservation of indigenous bovine (cattle) breeds (through the selection of high genetic merit bulls for breeding).

The mission is under Department of Animal Husbandry and dairying, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying.

About the mission objectives:

To undertake a breed improvement program for indigenous cattle breeds so as to improve their genetic makeup and increase the stock.

To enhance milk production and productivity of indigenous bovine breeds.

To upgrade nondescript cattle using elite indigenous breeds like Gir, Sahiwal, Rathi, Red Sindhi, etc.

Arrange quality Artificial Insemination services at farmers’ doorstep.

About Gokul Grams:

Integrated Indigenous Cattle development Centres – “Gokul Grams”- are established under mission with the aim of conservation and development of indigenous bovine breeds in a scientific and holistic manner.

About Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog:

It has been established by the government in 2019.

It seeks for conservation protection and development of cows and their progeny.

It is a high powered permanent body.

At present, it functions as a part of Rashtriya Gokul Mission under the Department of Animal Husbandry and dairying, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying.

The objective is to provide the policy framework and direction to the cow conservation and development programs and ensure proper implementation of laws with respect to the welfare of cows.

COP25 Climate Summit

In News:

The 25th edition of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or COP25 has begun from December 2 in Madrid (Spain).

Background:

Originally, the Summit was scheduled to be held at Chile (South America) but violent mass movement across the country made Chile reluctant from hosting the event.

The location of this conference is rotated every year in different regions of the world. This year it was the turn of South America to host the event.

About the agenda:

The prime objective of the conference is to complete the rule-book to the 2015 Paris Agreement that will become effective in 2020 to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol (comes to an end in 2020).

The issues like the creation of new carbon markets, emission reduction targets, country’s individual targets, etc. remained unresolved during COP24 at Katowice (Poland) 2019. Thus the rulebook under the Paris Agreement could not be finalized.

About the summit:

The summit will also discuss about the functioning of international emissions trading systems, compensation for poor countries to deal with rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change.

It will consider the annual Emissions Gap Report, produced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and a series of reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Both the reports summarise that the goal of keeping average temperatures within 1.5°C from pre-industrial times is “on the brink of becoming impossible.”

As the overall emissions are still increasing worldwide.

The processes and methods of reporting information about climate change would be fixed during the summit.

Specifically, the developing countries will try to ensure that there are greater appreciation and recognition of the issue of loss and damage due to climate change.

There is a demand to institute a mechanism to compensate countries that suffer major losses due to climate change-induced events like cyclones or floods.

Efforts to commit to a long-term action plan to fight climate change.

So far, only 71 countries, most of them small emitters, have committed themselves to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

About India’s agenda:

India is unlikely to announce any enhanced targets during the summit.

India’s current efforts are already much more compared to even rich and developed countries.

Thus, India will reiterate its stand for” Common but Differentiated Responsibilities”.

Developed countries are major contributors to climate change and they are doing proportionately less, especially when it comes to providing finance and technology to the less developed world.

Rotavirus

In News:

Vice- President has launched the new rotavirus vaccine – ROTAVAC5D.

Details:

The vaccine has been designed and developed by Bharat Biotech.

About Rotavirus:

It is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the Reoviridae family.

Rotavirus is a leading cause of severe diarrhoea and death among children less than five years of age.

It is responsible for around 10% of total child mortality every year.

Rotavirus-Signs and Symptoms:

Kids with a rotavirus infection have fever, nausea, and vomiting, often followed by abdominal cramps and frequent, watery diarrhea.

Kids may also have a cough and runny nose.

Sometimes the diarrhea that accompanies a rotavirus infection is so severe that it can quickly lead to dehydration.

As with all viruses, though, some rotavirus infections cause few or no symptoms, especially in adults.

Transmission:

Rotavirus is transmitted by the faecal-oral route, via contact with contaminated hands, surfaces and objects, and possibly by the respiratory route. Viral diarrhea is highly contagious.

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