19 October Current Affairs
October 19, 2019
22 October Current Affairs
October 22, 2019
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21 October Current Affairs

Saharan Silver Ant

In News:

Researchers announced that the Saharan silver ant is the world’s fastest known ant species.


The Saharan silver ant (Cataglyphis bombycina) is an ant that lives in the Sahara Desert.

It can clock a blistering 855 millimetres — nearly a metre — per second. Measured another way, it covers 108 times its own body length per second, a feat topped only by two other creatures, the Australian tiger beetle and the California coastal mite.

It does this by swinging its tiny 5-mm long appendages at speeds of up to 1,300 mm per second.

Hurun Global Unicorn List 2019

In News:

According to Hurun Global Unicorn List 2019, India, with 21 unicorns, has emerged as third largest ecosystems for more successful start ups right behind China and US but ahead of Britain and Israel.


Hurun Research found 494 unicorns in the world, based in 25 countries and 118 cities. Set up seven years ago on average, they are worth $3.4 billion on average and $1.7 trillion in total.

With 21 unicorns, India has emerged as third largest ecosystems for more successful start ups right behind China and US but ahead of Britain and Israel.

Leading the pack from the India are payments solutions platform One97 Communications ($10 billion), cab aggregator Ola Cabs ($6 billion), online educator Byjus ($6 billion), and travel-stay finder OYO Rooms ($5 billion).

China pipped the USA to lead by 206 versus 203, together accounting for over 80 per cent of the worlds unicorns. Europe has 35 unicorns.

City wise, Beijing is the worlds unicorn capital with 82 unicorns.

As a region, Silicon Valley leads the world with 102 or 21 per cent of the worlds unicorns.

Role of Sea Power in Shaping of Nations

In News:

The sixth edition of the Dilli Series Seapower Seminar on “Role of Sea Power in Shaping of Nations” concluded at the Indian Naval Academy (INA). Eight papers were presented during the seminar centered on the theme.


The Indian Naval Academy (INA Ezhimala) is the initial officer training establishment of the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard, located in Ezhimala, Kannur district, Kerala.

Named after the Mount Dilli located within INA, Ezhimala premises, Dilli Series Seminar is conducted at INA during Autumn Term every year, with an aim to expose young trainees to the vibrant maritime history and arouse in them a curiosity to explore further.

The theme of the sixth edition of the seminar held at INA on 17-18 Oct 19, was ‘Role of Sea Power in Shaping Nations’.


In News:

Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) has conducted the second edition of Defence of Andaman & Nicobar Islands 2019 (DANX-19), a large scale joint services exercise from 14 Oct to 18 Oct 19.


Spanning over a period of five days, components of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard carried out mobilisation and field manoeuvres to validate defensive plans of Headquarters ANC towards ensuring territorial integrity of the A&N Islands.

In addition to internal forces from ANC, accretional forces from Mainland comprising ships and aircraft, Special Forces from the newly formed Armed Forces Special Operations Division (AFSOD), also participated in this edition.

Admission Of Girl Children In Sainik Schools

In News:

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh has approved a proposal for admission of girl children in Sainik schools w.e.f. academic session 2021-22 in a phased manner. The decision has been taken following the success of the pilot project started by the Ministry of Defence for admission of girl children in Sainik School Chhingchhip in Mizoram two years ago.


The Sainik Schools are a system of schools in India established and managed by the Sainik Schools Society under Ministry of Defence. The Sainik Schools Society is an organization under the Ministry of Defence.

The objective of the Sainik Schools is to prepare the students to lead as officers in the Defence Services of the country.

The first Sainik School was opened in UP in 1960 under UP state government and there after other Sainik school and Military Schools we’re opened. UP Sainik School Lucknow located near Amausi Airport remains the only Sainik School under State Govt.

National Milk Sample Safety Quality Survey

In News:

The Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) released the National Milk Sample Safety Quality Survey.

Key findings:

Milk samples from Telangana, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Kerala, showed the highest number of cases of adulteration.

In terms of safety parameters, 4% of the total processed milk samples (of 2,607) failed to comply with the FSSAI norm as contaminants like aflatoxin-M1 were found. In case of raw milk, non-compliance was at an even higher rate of 47% of the total samples of 3,825.

In terms of quality, 7% of the total sample of processed milk did not comply with quality parameters because the presence of contaminants such as fats, Maltodextrin and sugar were above permissible limits.

Guru Ravidas

In News:

Yielding to the protests against the Supreme Court-directed demolition of a Guru Ravidas temple in south Delhi, the Centre has agreed to allot the same site to the devotees to construct a new temple.

Who is Guru Ravidas?

He was a poet and saint of the Bhakti movement.

Born in Varanasi to the ‘untouchable’ leather tanners caste.

He is believed to be a disciple of the bhakti saint-poet Ramanandaand a contemporary of the bhakti saint-poet Kabir.

One of his famous disciples was the saint, Mirabai.

Ravidas’ devotional songs were included in the Sikh scriptures, Guru Granth Sahib.

The Panch Vani text of the Dadupanthi tradition within Hinduism also includes numerous poems of Ravidas.

Ravidas taught removal of social divisions of caste and gender, and promoted unity in the pursuit of personal spiritual freedoms.

Among Ravidas’s moral and intellectual achievements were the conception of “Begampura”, a city that knows no sorrow; and a society where caste and class have ceased to matter.

Naga Peace Accord

In News:

Four years after the government inked the Naga peace accord in 2015, the Centre has now said that the process had almost concluded, despite the fact that the talks had hit a roadblock in its final stages.

Why is it being delayed?

It is mainly because of unrealistic demands. NSCN I-M has issued statements in the past claiming that it wanted a separate Constitution, flag and integration of all contiguous Naga-inhabited areas under Nagalim (Greater Nagaland).

Government of India’s stand:

A mutually agreed draft comprehensive settlement, including all the substantive issues and competencies, is ready for inking the final agreement. Respecting the Naga people’s wishes, the Government of India is determined to conclude the peace process without delay.

How old is the Naga political issue?

Pre- independence:

The British annexed Assam in 1826, and in 1881, the Naga Hills too became part of British India. The first sign of Naga resistance was seen in the formation of the Naga Club in 1918, which told the Simon Commission in 1929 “to leave us alone to determine for ourselves as in ancient times”.

In 1946 came the Naga National Council (NNC), which declared Nagaland an independent state on August 14, 1947.

The NNC resolved to establish a “sovereign Naga state” and conducted a “referendum” in 1951, in which “99 per cent” supported an “independent” Nagaland.

Post- independence:

On March 22, 1952, underground Naga Federal Government (NFG) and the Naga Federal Army (NFA) were formed. The Government of India sent in the Army to crush the insurgency and, in 1958, enacted the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

When did the NSCN come into being?

A group of about 140 members led by Thuingaleng Muivah, who were at that time in China, refused to accept the Shillong Accord, and formed the National Socialist Council of Nagaland in 1980.

As per the accord, NNC and NFG agreed to give up arms.

In 1988, the NSCN split into NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) after a violent clash.

What did the NSCN (IM) want?

A “Greater Nagalim” comprising “all contiguous Naga-inhabited areas”, along with Nagaland. That included several districts of Assam, Arunachal and Manipur, as also a large tract of Myanmar.

The Nagaland Assembly has endorsed the ‘Greater Nagalim’ demand — “Integration of all Naga-inhabited contiguous areas under one administrative umbrella” — as many as five times: in December 1964, August 1970, September 1994, December 2003 and as recently as on July 27, 2015.

The ceasefire:

The Government of India signed a ceasefire agreement with NSCN (IM) on July 25, 1997, which came into effect on August 1, 1997.

What’s in peace accord?

NSCN – IM has been derecognized as a militant organization and talks have been initiated with the government.

GOI is open to discuss the Naga territorial issue within the existing boundaries of the neighboring states of Manipur, Assasm etc which are being claimed as part of Greater Nagalism.

Key issues that have been put under consideration includes AFSPA, demographic changes due to cross border migrations and other tribals like Meitei who are diluting the local populations in the Naga areas.

UN Human Rights Council

In News:

Venezuela Elected to UN Human Rights Council.

About UNHRC:

Established in 2006 with the aim of promoting and protecting human rights around the globe, as well as investigating alleged human rights violations.

Made up of 47 member states, which are selected by the UN General Assembly on a staggered basis each year for three-year-long terms.

Members meet around three times a year to debate human rights issues and pass non-binding resolutions and recommendations by majority vote.

Members serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.

The council also carries out the Universal Periodic Review of all UN member states, which allows civil society groups to bring accusations of human rights violations in member states to the attention of the UN.

Merchant Discount Rate

In a move that may boost digital payments, businesses with an annual turnover of more than ₹50 crore will have to mandatorily offer electronic mode of payments to their customers from 1 November. Besides, no charges or merchant discount rate (MDR) will be levied on either customers or merchants.

It is a fee charged from a merchant by a bank for accepting payments from customers through credit and debit cards in their establishments.

MDR compensates the card issuing bank, the lender which puts the PoS terminal and payment gateways such as Mastercard or Visa for their services.

MDR charges are usually shared in pre-agreed proportion between the bank and a merchant and is expressed in percentage of transaction amount.

Shirui lily festival

Shirui Lily Festival inaugurated in Manipur.

Shirui Lily Festival is an annual five-day State festival celebrated in Ukhrul district to spread awareness about the endangered state flower ‘Shirui Lily’ as well as to promote Ukhrul district as a potential tourist destination in Manipur.

The festival was celebrated by the locals in their own level till 2016, when the State Government in 2017 declared that Shirui Lily festival would be celebrated in state level.

Shirui Lily, or Lilium mackliniae, is the State Flower of Manipur found only in the upper ranges of Shirui Hills in Ukhrul district of Manipur.