Daily Current Affairs - February 04, 2020 (The Hindu, PIB, Fact Pedia)

February 04, 2020 - Find all the important news articles and editorials from The Hindu, PIB, Fact Pedia on our Daily Current Affairs Feed.

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The Hindu – Hyderabad Edition

1. Manufacturing activity reaches a near 8­year high in January
• Where does it fall under UPSC Syllabus?
 Prelims: Economic development
 Mains: GS3: Economy - Industry
 Synopsis:
 The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index rose from 52.7 in December to 55.3 in January, it is the highest level in just under eight years.

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 Reasons for improvement in the manufacturing sector:
o the sharp rise in new business orders
o greater client requirements and
o improvement in demand conditions
o the rise in total sales (due to demand from external markets)
 About Purchasing Managers index:
 PMI stands for ‘Purchasing Managers’ index’
 Indicator of the economic health and investor sentiments about the manufacturing and service sectors.
• PMI above 50 points = economic expansion
• PMI below 50 points = contraction of economic activities
 PMI is separate for manufacturing and services
 Five major indicators: new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and the employment environment.
 PMI Data is published by Japanese firm Nikkei but compiled and constructed by Markit Economics.
 PMI data are based on monthly surveys of carefully selected companies.
 It provides information about current business conditions to company decision-makers, analysts and purchasing managers.

2. Most missing women from Maharashtra, M.P.
• Where does it fall under UPSC Syllabus?
 Prelims: Governance
 Mains: GS2: Governance – Issues related to Women
 Synopsis:
 National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has released a study on missing women and children based on the annual crime for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018.
 NCRB did so because in 2019 the Supreme Court had directed the NCRB to analyse the data on missing persons (especially on women and children) to find out reasons for persons being trafficked can be identified.
 Findings of the report:
o States with the highest number of women missing: Maharashtra, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh.
o Mumbai and Pune recorded the highest number of such incidents
o The maximum number of missing children reports were recorded in Maharashtra and West Bengal

3. If tap water meets BIS norms, RO systems will be banned
• Where does it fall under UPSC Syllabus?
 Prelims: Environment
 Mains: GS3: Environment
 Synopsis:
 The Central government is planning to ban the use of membrane-based water purification systems (MWPS) – primarily reverse osmosis (RO) systems – in areas where the source of water meets the Bureau of Indian Standards’ drinking water norms.
 This act came after National Green Tribunal sought a ban on membrane-based water purification systems for wasting water.
 Nodal agency to implement final rules: CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board)
 NGT order:
o In May 2019, the NGT ordered the prohibition of RO Systems where
o It results in the recovery of less than 60% of water and
o Total Dissolved Solids is less than 500 mg/l.
o It had called for laying down further provisions for recovery of water up to 75% and use of such RO-reject water for purposes such as utensil washing, flushing, gardening, cleaning of vehicles and mopping.
o The NGT gave a final ultimatum to the Environment Ministry in November.
 Issues with RO systems:
 Wastage of 80% of water
 In the process of removing salts, they end up depriving water of its essential minerals.
 It does not tackle bacterial agents or chemical traces and manufacturers themselves often claim the need for additional filtration to obtain potable water.
 Why is it a matter of concern?
o The draft is a positive step in regulating RO manufacturers who often make false & distorted claims to sell their products.
o It will educate the people of the demerits of using the RO system and that they are not always required.
o Also, thorough scrutiny of the quality of water supplied by the Water Boards shall be done, infuse confidence among the public so that they need not opt for RO systems where it is not required.

4. What Brexit means for the EU and its partners (editorial)
• Where does it fall under UPSC Syllabus?
 Prelims: Current events of national and international importance
 Mains: GS 2: International relations
 Synopsis:
 On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom left the European Union
 During the transition period of 11 months, the U.K. will continue to participate in the EU’s Customs Union and in the Single Market.
 Impact of Brexit on U.K. and EU:
 By leaving, the U.K. automatically, mechanically, legally, leaves hundreds of international agreements concluded by or on behalf of the Union.
 Both of them must be ready for the economic shift in trading on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms.
 The more the U.K. is able to work with the EU and together with partners around the world, the greater would be chances of addressing these challenges like climate change effectively.
 Both sides can work together on security and defence, areas where the U.K. has experiences and assets that are best used as part of a common effort.
 The EU and the U.K. are bound by history, geography, culture, shared values and a strong belief in rules-based multilateralism which will be reflected in its future partnership as well.
• It refers to British Exit – UK leaving European union.
• EU is an economic and political union consisting of 28 members which allows free trade and free movement of the people to live and work in country of their choice.
• UK joined the group in 1973, if exits it will be first member state to do so.
• The Brexit all started based on a referendum conducted in June, 2016 whether to leave or to be part of EU. 52% of Britions voted to leave EU.
• The reasons behind the decision to leave is based on various aspects- loss of sovereignty, immigration, less integration with EU, cultural factors, economic opportunities etc.
• Brexit was originally due to happen on March 29th, 2019 but got delayed twice.
• The sticking point, that delayed the exit was the backstop, which was designed to ensure that there would be no border posts or barriers between Northern Ireland and the republic of Ireland after Brexit.
• But if it is allowed UK will be in close trade relationships with EU and avoids checks together.
• And it was felt this arrangement will leave UK in the trap of EU customs union, this sticking point resulted in resignation of prime minister Theresa May in July 2019. Borris Johnson took over the reigns then who promised for an early Brexit.
• Now the new deal provided an arrangement for the Backstop.
• As per the deal, the whole of UK will leave the customs union. But Northern Ireland will also remain an entry point into the EU customs zone.
• UK will not apply tariffs to products entering to Northern Ireland, as long as they are not destined to enter EU. And some checks will also have to be introduced on goods travelling from Great Britain into Northern Ireland.
• After four years, North Ireland assemble can vote whether to continue this arrangement or not.

Press Information Bureau (PIB)

1. DST launches SATHI Initiative for building shared, professionally managed strong S&T infrastructure
 Which part of UPSC syllabus covers this:
 Prelims: Current events of national and international importance
 Mains: GS3: Science & Technology
 Synopsis:
 The Department of Science & Technology has launched a scheme called Sophisticated Analytical & Technical Help Institutes (SATHI).
 About SATHI:
 Aim: To provide shared, professionally managed and strong Science and Technology infrastructure centers in the country which is readily accessible to academia, start-ups, manufacturing, industry and R&D labs.
 SATHIs will have analytical instruments to provide common services of high-end analytical testing to avoid duplication and reduced dependency on foreign sources
 SATHI Centers in India: IIT Kharagpur, IIT Delhi and Banaras Hindu University
 Benefits of SATHI: They help in building a strong culture of collaboration between institutions and across disciplines to take advantage of developments, innovations and expertise in diverse areas.


1. World Wetlands Day
• Celebrated every year on 2nd February
• 2020 Theme: “Wetlands and Biodiversity”
• Why 2nd Feb? Because it is the date of adoption of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
• Ramsar convention: Framework/Guidelines for national action to conserve and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

2. World Cancer Day
• Celebrated every year on 4th February
• 2020 theme: ‘I Am and I Will’
• India’s initiatives to control cancer: National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS)

Art & Culture

1. Project Digital Poompuhar
• Poompuhar was an ancient port city and capital of the early Chola kings in Tamilakam.
• It is mentioned in Sangam Tamil literature
• The present location of poompuhar: At the mouth of the river Cauvery
• Project Digital Poompuhar:
• The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has launched this project to recreate the Chola Dynasty port city in Tamil Nadu.

2. Dinanath Nadim
• Dinanath Nadim was born in 1916. He wrote in Kashmiri, Hindi and Urdu.
• He received the Sahitya Akademi award in 1986 for his opera Shuhul Kull (The Shady Tree).
• Well-known works: Vitasta (Jhelum River), Safar Taa Shehjaar (The Journey and The Shade) and Bombur Taa Yemberzal (The Bumble Bee and The Narcissus Flower).


1. Global Hunger Index
• India’s Rank: 102 in 2019 (103 in 2018)
• Published by: Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide
• It ranks countries on a 100-point scale, with
o 0 = best score (no hunger)
o 100 = worst
o Values <10 = low hunger
o Values from 20 to 34.9 = serious hunger
o Values from 35 to 49.9 = alarming and
o Values of 50 or more = extremely alarming
• It captures three dimensions of hunger using four component indicators
• 3 dimensions of hunger: insufficient caloric intake, child undernutrition, and child mortality
• 4 components:
o UNDERNOURISHMENT: the share of the population that is under-nourished, reflecting insufficient caloric intake
o CHILD WASTING: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (low weight-for-height), reflecting acute undernutrition.
o CHILD STUNTING: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (low height-for-age), reflecting chronic undernutrition.
o CHILD MORTALITY: the mortality rate of children under the age of five.


1. Cooperative Federalism
• It is a concept of federalism in which federal, state, and local governments interact cooperatively and collectively to solve common problems.
• Benefit: States’ participation in the formulation and implementation of national policies with cooperation.

2. Gram Nyayalayas
• They are mobile village courts established under Gram Nyayalayas Act,2008.
• Aim: To provide speedy and inexpensive justice to people in rural areas at their doorsteps.
• Nyayadhikari is the presiding officer appointed by the State Government in consultation with the High Court.
• His/her salary is the same as First Class Magistrate working under High Courts.

Prelims Practice Questions

1. Backstop arrangement recently seen in news is related to which among the following:
(a) WTO
(d) UNSC

2. How is the National Green Tribunal (NGT) different from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)?
1. The NGT has been established by an Act whereas the CPCB has been created by executive order of the Government.
2. The NGT provides environmental justice and helps reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts whereas the CPCB promotes cleanliness of streams and wells, and aims to improve the quality of air in the country.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

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