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November 18, 2019
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November 20, 2019
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19 November Current Affairs

Winter-Grade Diesel Outlet

In News:

Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah launched the first Winter-Grade Diesel outlet for Ladakh region, which will help to address the problem faced by people due to loss of fluidity in Diesel fuel during extreme winter conditions.


The winter grade diesel is produced by Panipat Refinery of State-run Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC)

It has a pour point of – 33 degree Celsius. It does not lose its fluidity function even in the extreme winter weather of the region unlike the normal grade of Diesel which becomes exceedingly difficult to utilize.

This Winter-Grade Diesel will not only smoothen the travel and transportation during peak tourist season in extreme cold, but will also help in giving a boost to tourism and supply needs of the people of the region and helping in the overall economic development.

Ramakant Gundecha

In News:

Dhrupad maestro and Padma Shri awardee Ramakant Gundecha, 56, passed away. He was the younger one of the Gundecha brothers.


The Gundecha Brothers are Indian classical singers of the dhrupad genre of the Dagar vani. They are also the founders of the Gurukul Dhrupad Sansthan in Bhopal.

From 1985 to 2019 the duo consisted of brothers Umakant Gundecha and Ramakant Gundecha.

Following the death of Ramakant Gundecha in 2019, his son Anant began to perform with Umakant in the Gundecha bandhu.

They have been awarded Padma Shri by Government of India in 2012 and Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2017.


Dhrupad is the oldest surviving classical style of Hindustani vocal music.

Its name is derived from dhruva-pada, simply meaning “refrain,” and today denotes both a form of poetry and a style of music in which the poetry is sung.

Dhrupad music traditionally has three major parts – alap, jor-jhala, and composition. A dhrupad is introduced by a slow tempo-ed, rather somber and controlled, recurrent set of syllables (non-words) known as an alap.

Places Of Worship Act, 1991

In News:

In its recent Ayodhya judgment, the Supreme Court commended the enactment of Places Of Worship Act, 1991 as one that preserved the constitutional value of secularism by not permitting the status of a place of worship to be changed.


Objective of the Act:

To freeze the status of any place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947.

To provide for the maintenance of the religious character of such a place of worship as on that day.

To pre-empt new claims by any group about the past status of any place of worship and attempts to reclaim the structures or the land on which they stood.

Main features:

The Act declares that the religious character of a place of worship shall continue to be the same as it was on August 15, 1947. It says no person shall convert any place of worship of any religious denomination into one of a different denomination or section.


These provisions will not apply to monuments and sites covered by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958; a suit that has been finally settled or disposed of; and any dispute that has been settled by the parties or conversion of any place that took place by acquiescence before the Act commenced.

Section 5 says that the Act does not apply to the place of worship commonly referred to as Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.

Penal provision in the Act: The Act provides for imprisonment up to three years and a fine for anyone contravening the prohibition.


Lala Lajpat Rai

In News:

November 17 is the death anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai, the firebrand Indian nationalist leader affectionately called ‘Punjab Kesari’.

His contributions, achievements and related key facts:

Rai is remembered for his role during the Swadeshi movement and for his advocacy of education.

Born in 1865, he became a follower of Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of the Arya Samaj, and went on to become one of the society’s leaders.

In 1881, he joined the Indian National Congress at the age of 16.

He also helped found the Punjab National Bank.

In 1885, Rai established the Dayanand Anglo-Vedic School in Lahore and remained a committed educationist throughout his life.

Rai, Tilak, and Bipin Chandra Pal (called Lal-Bal-Pal) fervently advocated the use of Swadeshi goods and mass agitation in the aftermath of the controversial Partition of Bengal in 1905 by Lord Curzon.

He founded the Indian Home Rule League of America in New York City in 1917.

He was elected President of the Indian National Congress during its Special Session in Kolkata in 1920, which saw the launch of Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-cooperation Movement.

The patriot died at Lahore in 1928 after he was attacked by police during a protest rally against the Simon Commission.

His important works include: ‘The Arya Samaj’, ‘Young India’, ‘England’s Debt to India’, ‘Evolution of Japan’, ‘India’s Will to Freedom’, ‘Message of the Bhagwad Gita’, ‘Political Future of India’, ‘Problem of National Education in India’, ‘The Depressed Glasses’, and the travelogue ‘United States of America’.

The significance of his views for the freedom struggle are as follows:

His views helped recognize the importance of a united front against British.

The British efforts to divide India on communal lines as seen in the Acts of 1909 and 1919 was made clear to Indian leadership.

His thoughts of cultural diversity were given post independence by Nehru as ‘Unity in Diversity’.

His idea of people of all religions as true citizens of India, combined with Gandhiji’s ideas of inclusive fight against British led to Non- Cooperative movement linked with the Khilafat movement.

Rai’s understanding of the societal issues led him to form various social organizations like All India Trade Union Congress, Punjab National Bank which are still flourishing in India.

President of Sri Lanka- Election process

In News:

Sri Lanka’s former wartime defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa, part of the country’s most powerful political dynasty, has been elected president.

The government structure:

Sri Lanka’s government operates under a semi-presidential system, where the president holds widespread executive authority but governs in partnership with a prime minister they appoint and a cabinet recommended by the prime minister.

Election of the President:

The president is directly elected for a five-year term, through a version of Instant-runoff voting in which electors rank up to three candidates, and limited to only two rounds in total.

If no candidate wins a majority in the first round of voting, second and third preferences from ballots whose first preference candidate has been eliminated are used to determine the winner.


The Constitution sets the following qualifications for holding the presidency:

If he/she is a citizen having been nominated as a candidate for such office by a recognized political party or elected member of the legislature.

No person who has been twice elected to the office of President by the People, shall be qualified thereafter to be elected to such office by the People.

Citizenship (Amendment) Bill

In News:

With political positions on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) largely unchanged, the government, which is hoping to move a new version of it during the winter session of Parliament, faces tough negotiations.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill:

It seeks to allow illegal migrants from certain minority communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenshipby amending the Citizenship Act of 1955.

It seeks to grant citizenship to people from minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians —after 6 years of stay in India even if they do not possess any proper document. The current requirement is 12 years of stay.

The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.

The Bill, however, does not extend to illegal Muslim migrants. It also does not talk about other minority communities in the three neighbouring countries, such as Jews, Bahais etc.

However, the bill is being criticised for the following reasons:

It violates the basic tenets of the Constitution. Illegal immigrants are distinguished on the basis of religion.

It is perceived to be a demographic threat to indigenous communities.

The Bill makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion. This may violate Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees the right to equality.

It attempts to naturalise the citizenship of illegal immigrants in the region.

The Bill allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law. This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences.

Need for Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016:

There are thousands of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians and Parsis who have entered India after facing religious persecution in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan without any valid document.

These refugees have been facing difficulty in getting Long Term Visa (LTV) or Citizenship.

The existing Citizenship law does not allow anyone granting Indian nationality if he or she can not show proof of documents on country of birth and therefore they have to stay at least 12 years in India.

Those Hindus who are persecuted due to religion has no other place to go except India.

Concerns, issues and consequences of these changes:

Introduced religion as a new principle into the citizenship law: By marking out Muslims as a residual category, it reiterates the narrative of partition, without incorporating the principles of inclusion which were present in both the constitution of India and the Citizenship Act of 1955 at its inception.

While religious persecution is a reasonable principle for differentiation, it cannot be articulated in a manner that dilutes the republican and secular foundations of citizenship in India, and goes against constitutional morality.

Special concerns of NE indigenous people:

The Bill has not been sitting well with the Assamese as it contradicts the Assam Accord of 1985, which clearly states that illegal migrants heading in from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971, would be deported.

Mizoram fears Buddhist Chakmas and Hindu Hajongs from Bangladesh may take advantage of the Act.

Meghalaya and Nagaland are apprehensive of migrants of Bengali stock.

Groups in Arunachal Pradesh fear the new rules may benefit Chakmas and Tibetans.

Manipur wants the Inner-line Permit System to stop outsiders from entering the state.

ADMM- Plus

In News:

The latest ADMM-Plus meeting where Defence Ministers of ASEAN countries and eight other nations would gather and discuss the way forward for security cooperation, is being held in Bangkok.

About the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus):

Consistent with the ADMM guiding principles of open and outward looking, the 2nd ADMM in Singapore in 2007 adopted the Concept Paper to establish the ADMM-Plus.

The ADMM-Plus is a platform for ASEAN and its eight Dialogue Partners to strengthen security and defence cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region.

Agreed five areas of practical cooperation under this new mechanism, namely maritime security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping operations and military medicine. In 2013, a new priority area of humanitarian mine action was agreed.


To benefit ASEAN member countries in building capacity to address shared security challenges, while cognisant of the differing capacities of various ASEAN countries.

To promote mutual trust and confidence between defence establishments through greater dialogue and transparency.

To enhance regional peace and stability through cooperation in defence and security, in view of the transnational security challenges the region faces.

To contribute to the realisation of an ASEAN Security Community which, as stipulated in the Bali Concord II, embodies ASEAN’s aspiration to achieve peace, stability, democracy and prosperity in the region.

To facilitate the implementation of the Vientiane Action Programme, which calls for ASEAN to build a peaceful, secure and prosperous ASEAN, and to adopt greater outward-looking external relation strategies with our friends and Dialogue Partners.