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October 18, 2019
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October 21, 2019
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19 October Current Affairs

Van Dhan Internship Programme

In News:

Union Minister of Tribal Affairs launched the “Van Dhan Internship Programme” organised by TRIFED under Ministry of Tribal Affairs.


18 interns (to be called Minister’s interns) from some of the reputed Institutes of Rural Management/ Management Institutions/ Institutes of Social Work/ Social Services of the country are participating in the “Van Dhan Internship Programme”.

The period of internship is 6 months (extendable developing upon the need of the organisation).

These interns have been selected to work in various districts in tribal areas on Van Dhan programme. They will support the TRIFED activities on livelihood promotion, value addition of NTFTs, marketing and credit linkages.

Going Online as Leaders (GOAL)

In News:

Union Minister of Tribal Affair announced the second phase of Going Online as Leaders (GOAL).


Going Online as Leaders (GOAL) is a Facebook program in association with Union Ministry of Tribal Affair.

It was launched in March 2019.

It aims at inspiring, guiding and encouraging tribal girls from across India to become village-level digital young leaders for their communities.

GOAL connects underprivileged young tribal women with senior expert mentors in the areas of business, fashion and arts to learn digital and life skills.

In the second phase, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Facebook together will digitally mentor 5000 young women in India’s tribal dominated districts. The program will include weekly one-to-one mentoring sessions, focused on digital literacy, entrepreneurship and online safety.

WIPO’s annual World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report

In News:

According to WIPO’s annual World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report, China accounted for nearly half global patent filings in 2018.

Key findings:

In all, innovators worldwide filed 3.3 million patent applications (up 5.2% for a ninth straight yearly increase), 3 million trademark applications, and 1.3 million industrial design applications.

Asia has become a global hub for innovation. Asia accounted for more than two-thirds of all patent, trademark and industrial design applications in 2018.

China ranked first in all three categories and had as many patent filings as the next 10 places combined, including Japan (3rd), South Korea (4th) and the European Patent Office (5th).

China accounted for nearly half of global patent filings last year, with a record 1.54 million applications, led by telecoms and computer technology. Number of patents filed by China increased by 11.6 % in 2018 from 2017.

The US ranked second with almost 600,000 patent applications, down 1.6 percent on the previous year and the first drop in a decade.

Solomon Islands

In News:

A Chinese company has signed an agreement to lease an entire island in the Solomon Islands.


The Solomons’ Central Province made a “strategic cooperation agreement” on Tulagi island with the state-owned China Sam Enterprise Group for the development of the special economic zone.

The agreement with China Sam mentions developing a refinery on the island, but its potential for dual use as a Chinese military base is certain to raise concerns with the United States and Australia.

Recently, China and the Solomons officially established diplomatic relations after China persuaded the impoverished Pacific nation to sever ties with Taiwan and become its ally. Days later another Taiwan loyalist in the region, Kiribati, did likewise.


In News:

Indian Air Force is participating in a Bilateral Joint exercise with Royal Air Force Oman (RAFO), named EX EASTERN BRIDGE-V, scheduled from 17-26 Oct 19, at Air Force Base Masirah.


The last exercise, EX EASTERN BRIDGE-IV was held in 2017 at Jamnagar.

IAF contingent comprises of MiG-29 and C-17 aircraft.

Besides strengthening bilateral relations, the exercise will enhance inter-operability during mutual operations between the two Air Forces and will provide an opportunity to learn from each other’s best practices.

Innovation Index (III) 2019

In News:

NITI Aayog with Institute for Competitiveness as the knowledge partner released the India Innovation Index (III) 2019.


The study examines the innovation ecosystem of Indian states and union territories.

The aim is to create a holistic tool which can be used by policymakers across the country to identify the challenges to be addressed and strengths to build on when designing the economic growth policies for their regions.

The states have been bifurcated into three categories: Major States, North-East & Hill states, and Union territories/City States/Small States.

The Index is calculated as the average of the scores of its two dimensions – Enablers and Performance.

The Enablers are the factors that underpin innovative capacities, grouped in five pillars: (1) Human Capital, (2) Investment, (3) Knowledge Workers, (4) Business Environment, and (5) Safety and Legal Environment.

The Performance dimension captures benefits that a nation derives from the inputs, divided in two pillars: (6) Knowledge Output and (7) Knowledge Diffusion.

Key highlights:

There seems to be a west-south and north-east divide across the country. The top ten major states are majorly concentrated in southern and western India.

Karnataka is the most innovative major state in India. Karnataka’s number one position in the overall ranking is partly attributed to its top rank in the Performance dimension.

Among the major states, Maharashtra performs the best in the dimension of Enablers.

Sikkim and Delhi take the top spots among the north- eastern & hill states, and union territories/city states/small states respectively.

Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh are the most efficient states in translating inputs into output.


In News:

Union home minister Amit Shah recently inaugurated an international seminar on the role of Gupta dynasty emperor Skandagupta at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi. Extolling the greatness of Skandagupta, Shah said history has been unfair to Gupta period rulers.


The Gupta period is known as the golden period of ancient Indian history and Skandagupta Vikramaditya is known as the Saviour of India as he successfully fought the battle against the invading Huns.

Who is Skandagupta?

He ascended the throne in 455 AD and ruled till 467 AD.

During the 12 year rule, he not only defended the great culture of India but also from external aggression and defeated the Huns (Bhitari pillar inscription), who had invaded India from the north west.

By defeating Pushyamitras during his initial years of ascendancy, Skandagupta proved his ability to rule and took upon himself the title of Vikramaditya.

The Junagadh rock, which contains inscription of the earlier rulers Ashoka and Rudradaman, has an inscription engraved on the orders of Skandagupta’s governor Parnadatta. The inscription states that Skandagupta appointed governors of all provinces, including Parnadatta as the governor of Surashtra.

Skandagupta issued five types of gold coins: Archer type, King and queen type, Chhatra type, Lion-slayer type and Horseman type.

His silver coins are of four types: Garuda type, Bull type, Altar type and Madhyadesha type.

Veer Savarkar

In News:

Had it not been for Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the 1857 uprising would have been viewed through the lens of the British, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said recently.

Who is Veer Savarkar?

Born on May 28, 1883 in Bhagur, a city in Maharashtra’s Nashik.

In his teenage, Savarkar formed a youth organization. Known as Mitra Mela, this organization was put into place to bring in national and revolutionary ideas.

He was against foreign goods and propagated the idea of Swadeshi. In 1905, he burnt all the foreign goods in a bonfire on Dussehra.

He championed atheism and rationality and also disapproved orthodox Hindu belief. In fact, he even dismissed cow worship as superstitious.

In his book, The History of the war of Indian Independence, Savarkar wrote about the guerilla warfare tricks used in 1857 Sepoy Mutiny.

The book was banned by Britishers, but Madam Bhikaji Cama published the book in Netherlands, Germany and France, which eventually reached many Indian revolutionaries.

He was arrested in 1909 on charges of plotting an armed revolt against the Morle-Minto reform.

He also Worked on abolishment of untouchability in Ratnagiri. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar also compared his work to Lord Buddha.

He founded the two-nation theory in his book ‘Hindutva’ calling Hindus and Muslims two separate nations. In 1937, Hindu Mahasabha passed it as a resolution.

It was in year 1964, when Savarkar declared his wish to attain Samadhi and started hunger-strike on February 1, 1966 and passed away on February 26, 1966. He believed that his purpose of life is solved as India has gained Independence.

In 2002, Port Blair airport at Andaman and Nicobar’s Island was renamed after Veer Savarkar International Airport.

Global Tuberculosis (TB) Report

In News:

The report has been released by WHO.


The report provides a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the TB epidemic and progress in the response at global, regional and country levels for India.

Key findings and observations:

Tuberculosis incidence rate in India has decreased by almost 50,000 patients over the past one year (26.9 lakh TB patients in India in 2018).

Incidence per 1,00,000 population has decreased from 204 in 2017 to 199 in 2018.

Number of patients being tested for rifampicin resistance has increased from 32% in 2017 to 46% in 2018.

Treatment success rate has increased to 81% for new and relapse cases (drug sensitive) in 2017, which was 69% in 2016.

Global scenario:

TB remains the top infectious killer in the world claiming over 4,000 lives a day.

However, more people received life-saving treatment in 2018 than ever before, largely due to improved detection and diagnosis.

Reduction in the number of TB deaths: 5 million people died from TB in 2018, down from 1.6 million in 2017.

Number of new cases of TB has been declining steadily in recent years.

The burden remains high among low-income and marginalized populations: around 10 million people developed TB in 2018.

Challenges present:

  • Fragile health infrastructure and workforce shortages.
  • Weak reporting systems.
  • More out-of-pocket expenditure.
  • Drug resistance.
  • Fight against TB remains chronically underfunded.

Way ahead:

The world must accelerate progress if it is to reach the Sustainable Development Goal of ending TB by 2030.

Sustained progress on TB will require strong health systems and better access to services. That means a renewed investment in primary health care and a commitment to universal health coverage.

There is an urgent need for funding of TB research and development, with an annual shortfall of US$1.2 billion.

Priority needs include a new vaccine or effective preventive drug treatment; rapid point-of-care diagnostic tests; and safer, simpler, shorter drug regimens to treat TB.

Global TB targets:

SDG 3.3 includes a target of ending the TB epidemic by 2030

The World Health Assembly-approved Global TB Strategy aims for a 90 per cent reduction in TB deaths and an 80 per cent reduction in the TB incidence rate by 2030 compared with 2015 levels. The Strategy established milestones for 2020 of a 35% reduction in TB deaths and a 20% reduction in the TB incidence rate from 2015 levels.

The UN Political Declaration on TB in 2018 includes 4 new global targets:

Treat 40 million people for TB disease in the 5-year period 2018-22 (7 million in 2018).

Reach at least 30 million people with TB preventive treatment for a latent TB infection in the 5-year period 2018-22.

Mobilize at least US$13 billion annually for universal access to TB diagnosis, treatment and care by 2022.

Mobilize at least US$2 billion annually for TB research.

TB facts:

Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affect the lungs. Tuberculosis is curable and preventable.

About one-quarter of the world’s population has latent TB, which means people have been infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with the disease and cannot transmit it.

The highest burden of TB in 2018 is in 8 countries: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and South Africa.

Vikram Sarabhai

In News:

Department of Atomic Energy organizes a Curtain Raiser programme to mark the Centenary Celebrations of Dr Vikram Sarabhai.

About Vikram Sarabhai and his contributions:

Vikram Sarabhai was born on August 12, 1919. Sarabhai was instrumental in forming India’s future in astronomy and setting up the country’s space research facilities.

Key contributions:

Based on his persuasion, the Indian government agreed to set up the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) in 1962.

Sarabhai was the first chairman of the committee.

The INCOSPAR was restructured and renamed as Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 1969.

Sarabhai founded the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad in the year 1947. The laboratory started its operation from RETREAT, Sarabhai’s residence in Ahmedabad. Its first topic of research was cosmic rays.

He also set up India’s first rocket launch site in Thumba, a small village near the Thiruvananthapuram airport in Kerala.

Vikram Sarabhai was also responsible for bringing cable television to India. His constant contact with NASA paved a way for the establishment of Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) in 1975.

Sarabhai was the mastermind behind building India’s first satellite, Aryabhata.

He was one of the founding members of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA).

Vikram Sarabhai received the Padma Bhushanin 1966 for his contribution to India’s progress. He was also awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1972, posthumously.