09 March Current Affairs
March 9, 2020
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March 11, 2020
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10 March Current Affairs

Endophytic Actinobacteria for Chemical-free Tea

In News:

Researchers at the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST) Guwahati, have found that the endophytic actinobacteria can replace fertilizers & fungicides in tea.


Endophytic actinobacteria (predominantly free-living microorganisms) which live within a plant are found in diverse environments.

The Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST), Guwahati is an autonomous institute under Department of Science & Technology.

Key Points:

Research findings:

Endophytic actinobacteria have the potential to exhibit multiple growth-promoting traits that positively influence tea growth and production and can hence be used in the management and sustainability of Teacrop.

Application of endophytic Actinobacteria could reduce chemical inputs in Tea plantation.

In recent years, due to higher demand of chemical residue-free made tea by the importing countries, the export of tea has declined. The use of endophyticactino bacteria on tea plantations is expected to benefit the Indian tea market.

Mahila Sabhas on the International Women’s Day

In News:

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has directed all the States and Union Territories to organise Special Gram Sabhas and Mahila Sabhas (Women’s Assemblies) in all Gram Panchayats on 8th March, 2020 to mark the International Women’s Day.


The theme of the International Women’s Day 2020 is “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”.

The Gram Sabhas will hold discussions on “Poshan Panchayat”, land rights, education, safety, reproductive health and equal opportunity.

It will also highlight issues like the importance of breastfeeding during the first 1,000 days of the new-borns for their ideal physical and mental growth; and raising awareness about Child Helpline – 1098.

Role of Women in Panchayati Raj Institution:

PRI was constitutionalized through the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 to build democracy at the grass roots level and was entrusted with the task of rural development in the country.

The act provides for a Gram Sabha as the foundation of the panchayati raj system.

The act provides for the reservation of not less than one-third of the total number of seats for women (including the number of seats reserved for women belonging the SCs and STs).

So far 20 States have enacted legislation to raise women’s reservation to 50% in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).

As a result, out of the 30.41 lakh elected representatives of PRIs, 13.74 lakh (45.2%) are elected women, some of them from socially disadvantaged groups.

Scheme for Adolescent Girls

In News:

The Government is implementing the ‘Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG)’ across the country.

About the Scheme:

Introduced in: 2010

Implemented By: Ministry of Women and Child Development

Implemented Through: Existing Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).

Coverage: Pan-India

Key Objective: To facilitate, educate and empower Adolescent Girls (AGs) so as to enable them to become self-reliant and aware citizens.

Target Group: Out of school girls in the age group of 11-14 years. The scheme aims at motivating out of school girls to go back to formal schooling or vocational /skill training.


Nutrition: Provision for providing specified amount of calories, protein and micronutrients to AGs, etc.

Non-nutrition: Includes health check-up, mainstreaming out of school girls into the school system, Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) supplementation, life skill education etc.

Funding Pattern:

SAG is a centrally sponsored scheme, implemented through Centre and State share in the ratio of 50:50 for nutrition component and 60:40 for the rest of the activities.

For both components, the ratio is 90:10 for North Eastern and three Himalayan States and 100% for UTs without legislation.

Achievement of the Scheme is measured through:

SAG- Rapid Reporting System (RRS): It is a role based Management Information System (MIS) that captures details of the AGs that are taking benefits under this scheme.

Kishore Health Card: To record the information about the weight, height, Body Mass Index (BMI) of AGs along with other services provided under the scheme. These health cards for AGs are maintained at the AWCs.

Scheme for Pension and Medical Aid to Artistes

In News:

The Scheme for Pension and Medical Aid to Artistes is being implemented by the Ministry of Culture.


Objective: To improve the financial and socio-economic status of the old artists and scholars (not less than 60 years of age) who have contributed significantly in their specialized fields of arts, letters etc. in their active age or are still contributing.

Monthly pension: An amount of maximum Rs. 4000/- per month is being given to each beneficiary, out of which minimum Rs. 500/- financial assistance from State/UT Govt. is included.

Medical aid:The Scheme provides for medical aid facilities to an artist and his/her spouse by covering them under a convenient and affordable Health Insurance Scheme of the Government.

Jeevan Kaushal Curriculum

In News:

Recently, the Minister of Human Resource Development informed about the implementation of Jeevan Kaushal (life skills) curriculum in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

Key Points about Curriculum:

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has developed life skills (Jeevan Kaushal) curriculum for undergraduate students at Universities and Colleges.

It covers the courses on communication skills, professional skills, leadership & management skills and universal human values.

The implementation of curriculum is suggestive.

The objectives of the curriculum are:

1) Enhancement of self awareness

2) Creation of emotional competency and emotional intelligence

3) Learning through practical experiences

4) Development of interpersonal skills

5) Time and Stress management

6) Achievement of excellence with ethics.

Super Seven

In News:

Prime Minister of India on 8th March 2020 marked International Women’s Day by handing over control of his social media accounts to seven women achievers.

Namda Traditional Art:

Namda is a local term used for traditional felted wool floor coverings, made out of a coarse variety of wool.

Namda comes from the root word Namata (Sanskrit for woollen stuff).

Namda making is practised as a craft in several cultures, especially in the countries throughout Asia, viz. Iran, Afghanistan and India.

Srinagar in Kashmir and Tonk in Rajasthan are the two major namda making centres in India.

In India, it is known to have come from Iran and was actively promoted in the state under the patronage of the Mughal monarchs and the Rajput royals.

Rich hues and exquisite designing are the hallmarks of the handcrafted Namda.

Unique themes and floral patterns provide the themes for these masterpieces and flowers and leaves, buds and fruits are the essence of the designs.

Banjara Community:

The word ‘banjara’ is derived from Vanaj meaning to trade, and Jara meaning to travel.

Banjara (sometimes called Gypsies) is a nomadic tribe of India and were the vital supply chain for villages.

They were commercial nomads, that is, hundreds of years ago they distributed salt and other essential items to interior villages, but they did have a connection with the land.

The Banjaras were among many tribes that resisted the British attempt to seize their lands for plantations and enrol them as labour.

Their constant revolt frustrated the British, and in 1871, the Banjaras and several other tribes were brought under the Criminal Tribes Act.

The community was denotified in the 1950s but were listed under the Habitual Offenders Act, 1952.

With roots in Rajasthan, Banjaras now live in several states and are known by different names like Lambada or Lambadi in Andhra Pradesh, Lambani in Karnataka; Gwar or Gwaraiya in Rajasthan etc.

They are listed in various States as Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), Other Backward Class (OBC) and as Vimukta Jati/denotified tribes.

The language of Banjara is known as “Gorboli” “Gor mati Boli” or “Brinjari” an independent dialect.

The dialect falls in the category of Indo-Aryan language.

Illegal Trade of Red Panda

In News:

The trade monitoring network TRAFFIC has released a report titled “Assessment of illegal trade-related threats to Red Panda in India and selected neighbouring range countries” recently.


The report has analysed poaching and illegal trade of the species for the ten-year period from July 2010 to June 2019.

Key Findings:

The red panda survival is crucial for the eastern and north-eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests and the eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests.

The animal has been hunted for meat and fur, besides illegal capture for the pet trade.

An estimated 14,500 animals are left in the wild across Nepal, Bhutan, India, China and Myanmar.

The report has indicated that the traditional demand for red panda meat and related products has reduced over time.

Also, the reduction in poaching and illegal trade of red panda is indicative of the success of awareness campaigns about the conservation of the species.

Red Panda:

The red panda is a small reddish-brown arboreal mammal.

The only living member of the genus Ailurus.

It is also the state animal of Sikkim.

It is listed as Endangered in the IUCN red list of Threatened Species and under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

It is found in the forests of India, Nepal, Bhutan and the northern mountains of Myanmar and southern China.

It thrives best at 2,200-4,800m, in mixed deciduous and conifer forests with dense understories of bamboo.

In India, About 5,000-6,000 red pandas are estimated to be present in Sikkim, western Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling district of West Bengal and parts of Meghalaya.

This is the second-largest population after China (6,000-7,000).

Red pandas have been reported from 11 districts of Arunachal Pradesh, which is presumed to hold the largest red panda population in the country.