Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - August 31, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Africa declared free of wild polio in 'milestone'

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


  • Africa has been declared free from wild polio by the independent body, the Africa Regional Certification Commission.
  • Polio usually affects children under five, sometimes leading to irreversible paralysis.
  • Death can occur when breathing muscles are affected.


  • Twenty-five years ago thousands of children in Africa were paralysed by the virus.
  • The disease is now only found in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • There is no cure but the polio vaccine protects children for life.

About the Highlights

  • Nigeria is the last African country to be declared free from wild polio, having accounted for more than half of all global cases less than a decade ago.
  • The vaccination campaign in Nigeria involved a huge effort to reach remote and dangerous places under threat from militant violence and some health workers were killed in the process.

About Polio

  • Polio is a virus which spreads from person to person, usually through contaminated water.
  • It can lead to paralysis by attacking the nervous system.
  • Two out of three strains of wild polio virus have been eradicated worldwide.
  • Africa has been declared free of the last remaining strain of wild poliovirus.
  • More than 95% of Africa's population has now been immunised. 
  • This was one of the conditions that the Africa Regional Certification Commission set before declaring the continent free from wild polio.

Source: BBC News.

Draft data safety policy of India’s digital health mission out for public comments

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.


  • The draft for Health Data Management Policy of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), which aims to look at data safety measures as part of India’s attempt to digitise its healthcare system, has been put in the public domain for feedback.
  • The National Health Authority (NHA) that is the implementing authority of the country’s flagship public health insurance scheme --- Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna --- has released the draft policy for public comments and feedback until September 3.
  • The draft policy has been released on the official website of NDHM (https://ndhm.gov.in/stakeholder_consultations/ndhm_policies), and will be finalised after receiving public feedback.
  • The Draft Health Data Management Policy is the maiden step in realising NDHM’s guiding principle of “Security and Privacy by Design” for the protection of individual’s data privacy.
  • It encompasses various aspects pertaining to healthcare data such as data privacy, consent management, data sharing and protection etc.

About the Policy Highlights

  • The objective of this draft policy is to provide adequate guidance and to set out a framework for the secure processing of personal and sensitive data of individuals, who are a part of the national digital health ecosystem in compliance with all applicable laws and international standards.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced during the 74th Independence Day speech this year that the vision of NDHM was to create a national digital health ecosystem that would enable timely and efficient access to inclusive, affordable, and safe healthcare to all citizens.
  • The policy is expected to significantly improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of healthcare services in the country.

Source: Hindustan Times.

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Ramagopal Rao Committee constituted

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chairman has constituted a five-member expert committee to review the charter of duties for all laboratories of the DRDO and to focus on indigenous development of futuristic technologies.
  • The committee is headed by Professor V. Ramagopal Rao, Director, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.

About the terms of reference

  • To study and review the charter of duties of all the labs of the DRDO
  • To redefine the charter of duties of the labs on the current and futuristic defence and battlefield scenario and 
  • To minimise the overlap of technologies amongst the labs.

Source: Hindustan Times.

Pulikali Festival

Focus: GS1.

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.


  • Pulikkali, a colourful part of Onam celebrations in Thrissur, will be an online-only affair this year due to COVID-19.
  • Pulikkali is a recreational folk art from the state of Kerala.
  • The folk art is mainly practiced in Thrissur district of Kerala.

About Pulikkali

  • It is performed by trained artists to entertain people on the occasion of Onam, an annual harvest festival, celebrated mainly in the Indian state of Kerala.
  • On the fourth day of Onam celebrations (Nalaam Onam), performers painted like tigers and hunters in bright yellow, red, and black dance to the beats of instruments like Udukku and Thakil.
  • The origin of Pulikkali dates back to over 200 years, when the Maharaja Rama Varma Sakthan Thampuran, the then Maharaja of Cochin, is said to have introduced the folk art, who wanted to celebrate Onam with a dance that reflected the wild and macho spirit of the force.
  • Later, Konar of (Pattalam Road) used to celebrate with great fervor.
  • They popularised the folk genre with steps and body language peculiar to a tiger being stalked by a hunter, enacting a play of the hunter and the beast.
  • Along with the celebrations, they used to perform the art form decked as tigers with peculiar steps resembling the tiger, then known as 'Pulikkettikali' which was immensely enjoyed by the locals.
  • Pulikkali in Thrissur is held in memory of this event.

Source: The Hindu.

Comprehensive Manser Rejuvenation & Development Plan

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


  • Minister of State in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh reviewed the Comprehensive Manser Rejuvenation and Development Plan for initiating the process for development, rejuvenation and beautification of Manser Wetlands.
  • The plan aims at increasing tourist footfall and boosting the social economic development of Jammu region.


  • The Plan includes upgradation of existing facilities and development of new projects with an aim to increase the annual tourist footfall to twenty lakhs.
  • The meeting was held through video conferencing with senior officials of Tourism Department of Jammu & Kashmir.

About the plan

  • A comprehensive Development and Rejuvenation plan of Manser was presented.
  • The meeting was also attended by Advisor to LG Sh Baseer Ahmed Khan.
  • Dr Singh emphasized the need for investment from private sector and said  the project is being promoted in a way that the private sector can become partner in the socio-economic development of the region.
  • Once the project is completed, the local economy will get a boost and will open employment opportunities for the local youth especially in the tourism and hospitality sector.
  • Dr Singh said that Manser, as a tourist destination, had immense potential for adventure sports, Eco-tourism, sightseeing, wildlife preservation and recreational activities.
  • He said that the proposed plan would also include a Birds Galary and Birds Watchers Lodge.
  • He also said that option of developing a wellness center with Department of AYUSH at Manser may also be explored so that it can be developed as a popular wellness destination in the UT as well as North India.

About Mansar Lake

  • Mansar Lake is situated 62 km (39 mi) from Jammu, Mansar is a lake fringed by forest-covered hills, over a mile in length by half-a-mile in width.
  • Surinsar-Mansar Lakes are designated as Ramsar Convention in November 2005.
  • Besides being a popular excursion destination in Jammu, it is also a holy site, sharing the legend and sanctity of Lake Manasarovar.
  • On the Eastern Bank of the Lake there is a shrine to Sheshnag (a snake with six heads).
  • The shrine comprises a big boulder on which are placed a number of iron chains perhaps representing the small serpents waiting on the tutelary deity of the Sheshnag.
  • Two ancient temples of Umapati Mahadev & Narsimha as also a temple of Durga are situated in the vicinity of the Mansar lake.
  • People take a holy dip in the water of the lake on festive occasions.

Source: Indian Express.

Grand finale to Textile Grand Challenge 2019

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


  • Recently, the Ministry of Textiles organized Grand finale to the TextileGrand Challenge 2019.
  • The Ministry of Textiles has appealed to industries to take forward the newly developed ideas & technologiesto set up new ventures for manufacturing such biodegradable and non-polluting bags.
About the objective
  • To bring forward innovative ideas by start-ups/entrepreneursfor the development of cost-effective and low-weight carry bags using Jute Bio-mass, Jute Plant-based bio-polymer and cotton fibre waste for phasing out plastic bags.
  • This will help entrepreneurs and products from India to find new export markets.

About the Challenge

  • It was organized by the Ministry of Textiles with the active support of National Jute Board and the Startup India Team of the Department for Promotion of Industry & Industrial Trade (DPIIT). 
  • It focused on the need to upgrade textiles machine technology, especially in the Jute sector.
  • It is also an initiative towards‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’ under which innovative solutions were sought for (i) Alternative to single-use Plastic bags  (ii) Alternative to Multi-use Plastic bags using domestically grown natural fibres viz; Jute and Cotton.

Source: The Hindu.

Great Andamanese tribe tested positive for COVID-19

Focus: GS1.

Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.


  • Five members of the Great Andamanese tribe, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal group (PVTG), have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The Great Andamanese, who number just 74, speak Jeru among themselves.

About the tribes in Andaman

  • The five PVTGS residing in Andamans are Great Andamanese, Jarawas, Onges, Shompens and North Sentinelese.
  • The four major tribes of Andaman are as follows –
  • Great Andamanese – Strait Island is the part of North and Middle Andaman district which is the home to Great Andamanese tribe, Fewer than 50 Great Andamanese are alive today.’
  • Jarawa – South Andaman and Middle Andaman Islands is inhabited by the Jarawa tribes, there are only 300-400 people of this community alive today.
  • Sentinelese –North Sentinel Island is part of North Andaman region which is home to the Sentinelese tribe, only 50-100 tribes are alive today.
  • Onge – The Little Andaman Island is home to Ongetribes, these tribes are fewer than 100.
  • The Andaman tribes including the Sentinelese are Negrito, where the Nicobar tribes are Mongoloid. Seafaring, Hunting, Forest dwelling are the predominant occupation of these tribes.

Source: The Hindu.


Test your Knowledge

  1. Consider the following statements wrt Central List of Scheduled Castes and Tribes:
  1. The Central List of Scheduled Castes and Tribes is notified by the Prime Minister under Articles 341 and 342 of the Constitution.
  2. The consent of the Parliament is required to exclude or include castes in the List. 
  3. States cannot unilaterally add or pull out castes from the List.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

      A. 1 and 2 only
      B. 2 and 3 only
      C. 1 and 3 only
      D. AOTA

Solution: B

2. Consider the following:

  • The Central List of Scheduled Castes and Tribes is notified by the President under Articles 341 and 342 of the Constitution.

“Chunauti”- Next Generation Startup Challenge Contest is organised by:

      A. Ministry of Electronics and IT
      B. Ministry of HRD
      C. ISRO
      D. NITI Aayog

Solution: A

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