18 March Current Affairs
March 18, 2020
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March 20, 2020
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19 March Current Affairs

Maharashtra: Top Performer in Organ Donation

In News:

Recently, Maharashtra surpassed Tamil Nadu and Telangana and became the top performer in the field of organ donation.


Sensitisation drives and the meticulous efforts of Regional Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation – State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (ROTTO-SOTTO) along with four Zonal Transplant Coordination Centres (ZTCCs) are important contributing factors behind this achievement.


The Ministry of Health and Family welfare has established National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) at National level, State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (SOTTO) in States and Regional Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (ROTTO) at regional level.

National Network division of NOTTO functions as apex centre for coordinating all activities and networking for procurement and distribution of organs and tissues and maintaining registry of organs and tissues donation and transplantation in the country.

Legal Framework:

Organ Transplantation and Donation is permitted by law, and covered under the “Transplantation of Human Organs Act 1994”, which has allowed organ donation by live & Brain-stem Dead donors.

In 2011, amendment of the Act also brought in donation of human tissues, thereby calling the Amended Act “Transplantation of Human Organs & Tissues Act 2011”.

The Government of India has also started a National Organ and Transplant Program (NOTP), under which patients below the poverty line are supported for the cost of transplant as well as cost of immunosuppression after transplant for one year.

Sheikh Mujibur Rehman

In News:

The 100th Birth Anniversary celebrations of ‘Jatir Pita’ Bangabandhu, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, is being celebrated on 17th March 2020 in Bangladesh.

Key Points:

Mujibur Rahman was born on 17th March 1920 in Tungipara, India (now in Bangladesh) and passed away on 15th August 1975 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

He was a Bengali leader who became the first prime minister of Bangladesh (1972–75) and later became the president of the same in 1975.

He began his formal political career in 1949 as a co-founder of the Awami League.

He played a crucial role in advocating political autonomy for East Pakistan, the detached eastern part of Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

Sheikh Hasina Wazed, the current prime minister of Bangladesh, is the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan

In News:

Recently, information related to the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA) was given by the Ministry for Human Resource Development (MHRD).

Key Points:

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is a flagship program of the Ministry for Human Resource Development (MHRD).


It aims to link the Higher Education Institutions with a set of at least (5) villages, so that these institutions can contribute to the economic and social betterment of these village communities using their knowledge base.

Main Objectives:

To engage the faculty and students of Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) in identifying development issues in rural areas and finding sustainable solutions for the same.

Identify & select existing innovative technologies, enable customisation of technologies, or devise implementation methods for innovative solutions, as required by the people.

To allow HEIs to contribute to devising systems for smooth implementation of various Government programmes.

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0:

It is the upgraded version of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 1.0. It was launched in 2018.

The scheme is extended to all educational institutes; however under Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0 participating institutes are selected based on the fulfillment of certain criteria.

Performance So Far:

Currently under the scheme, 13072 villages have been adopted by 2474 Institutes.

The technological interventions under the UBA cover different subjects broadly categorized like in the area of sustainable agriculture; water resource management; artisans, industries and livelihood; basic amenities (infrastructure & services) and rural energy system.

This has transformed the living conditions in villages and has been beneficial for rural India.

Classical Languages

In News:

Recently, a Bill to grant the status of Central universities to three deemed Sanskrit universities was passed by the Rajya Sabha.


The Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, 2019 gives Central status to the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan and Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth in Delhi and the Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth in Tirupati.

The government has been accused of neglecting other classical languages in India.

Key points:

Currently there are six languages that enjoy the ‘Classical’ status in India:

Tamil (declared in 2004), Sanskrit (2005), Kannada (2008), Telugu (2008), Malayalam (2013), and Odia (2014).

All the Classical Languages are listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

The Ministry of Culture provides the guidelines regarding Classical languages.

Guidelines for declaring a language as ‘Classical’ are:

1) High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years;

2) A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers;

3) The literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community;

4) The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.

Superhydrophobic Coating on Metallic Surfaces

In News:

A team from the Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines), Dhanbad, and Ohio State University has created a superhydrophobic coating to save steel from rusting.

The coating was made from polyurethane and silicon dioxide nanoparticles.

Superhydrophobic Surfaces:

The term hydrophobicity is derived from two greek words that are hydro (water) and phobos (fear). It is the ability to repel water.

Superhydrophobic coating is a nanoscopic surface layer that repels water.

Adding a superhydrophobic coating makes a surface liquid and water repellent, easy to clean, and boosts its anti-icing performance (ability to delay the formation of ice for a certain period of time).

Super-hydrophobic coatings are also found in nature; they appear on plant leaves, such as the Lotus leaf, and some insect wings.

Apart from steel the coating can be done on other metallic surfaces, such as aluminum, copper, brass. The coatings have also been developed for glass, cloth, paper and wood.

Developing an antimicrobial superhydrophobic coating for biomedical applications is also being worked on.

Without this, the coating tends to easily peel off due to smoothness of steel.

The spin coating was found to be more advantageous and cost-effective compared to immersion coating and spray coating.

Spin coating dried quickly and the thickness of the coat could be controlled easily.

Properties of the Coating:

1) Chemically Stability: Stable in both acidic (pH 5) and alkaline (pH 8) conditions for more than six weeks.

2) Thermal Stability: Stable up to 230 degree C.

3) Mechanical Stability: Highly stable when tested with water jet, floating, bending, sand abrasion tests.

Permanent Commission for Women in Indian Navy

In News:

The Supreme Court has upheld the right of serving Short Service Commission (SSC) women officers of the Navy to be granted permanent commission (PC) on a par with their male counterparts.


The judgment was based on a case filed by 17 women SSC officers who were denied PC and discharged despite completing 14 years of service as SSC officers.

They had challenged a February 26, 2008 policy letter of the government granting PCs to SSC officers in all the three branches of the Armed Forces. However, the offer was restricted to certain categories and was to operate prospectively for the benefit of future batches inducted on SSCs after January 2009.

The Supreme Court on 17 February upheld a 2010 Delhi high court ruling and had directed the Centre to ensure that women officers are given permanent commissions in the Indian Army on a par with male officers, including for command posting.

Observations made by the Supreme Court:

Women officers have worked shoulder to shoulder with their men counterparts in every walk of service.

Therefore, the “101 excuses” devised by the government, including motherhood and physiological limitations, reeked of a stereotypical mindset.

And women naval officers cannot be denied the right to equal opportunity and dignity entitled to under the Constitution on specious grounds such as physiology, motherhood and physical attributes.

Implications of the judgment:

Women naval officers will now be eligible to apply for permanent commission.

All serving women short service commission (SSC) officers in at least seven wings, including the executive, engineering, electrical, education, law and logistics, will be eligible to apply.

The grant of PCs will be subject to: (i) availability of vacancies in the stabilised cadre; (ii) Suitability of the candidate; and (iii) recommendation by the chief of Naval Staff.

What is a permanent commission?

A Permanent Commission means a career in the army until one retires. If one gets selected through Permanent Commission, one has the option to serve the country up to the full age of retirement.

A women naval SSC officer retires in 10 years, whereas one with a permanent commission is entitled to serve for four more years, making it a total of 14 years.

Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020

In News:

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which seeks to amend the MTP Act, 1971, was passed in Lok Sabha recently.

Key changes:

It seeks to extend the upper limit for permitting abortions from 20 weeks to 24 under special circumstances.

The “special categories of women” include rape survivors, victims of incest, the differently abled and minors.

The Bill proposes requirement of opinion of one registered medical practitioner (RMP) for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation.

It also provides for the requirement of opinion of two RMPs for termination of pregnancy of 20 to 24 weeks.

Constitution of a Medical Board: Every state government is required to constitute a Medical Board. These Medical Boards will consist of the following members: (i) a gynaecologist, (ii) a paediatrician, (iii) a radiologist or sonologist, and (iv) any other number of members, as may be notified by the state government.

Under the Bill, if any pregnancy occurs as a result of failure of any device or method used by a woman or her partner to limit the number of children, such an unwanted pregnancy may constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman.

Need for overhaul:

The present abortion law, which is about five decades old, permits abortion up to a maximum foetal gestation period of 20 weeks.

In recent years, there have been strong demands to raise the foetal gestation period for abortion beyond 20 weeks.


The move to amend the MTP Act, 1971 is a progressive step towards empowerment of women. It will provide greater reproductive rights to women as abortion is considered an important aspect of the reproductive health of women. Deaths and injuries from unsafe abortions are largely preventable provided services are performed legally by trained practitioners.

Abortion laws across the world:

Abortion laws vary across the world. It is learnt that around 60 countries prescribe gestational limits.

52 % including France, the UK, Austria, Ethiopia, Italy, Spain, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and even Nepal, allow for termination beyond 20 weeks on the diagnosis of foetal abnormalities.

Some countries go beyond even these limits with laws in 23 countries-Canada, Germany, Vietnam, Denmark, Ghana, and Zambia-allowing for abortion at any time during the pregnancy on the request of the mother.