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UPSC Daily Current Affairs | Prelim Bits 13-02-2020

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February 13, 2020


  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has named the new coronavirus disease as ‘Covid-19’.
  • The new name is taken from the words "corona", "virus" and "disease", with 2019 representing the year when it emerged.
  • The WHO wanted to avoid stigmatizing a country or particular group, so it chose a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or a group of people.
  • The WHO, in consultation with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has identified best practices for naming new human diseases.
  • These best practices apply to a new disease:
  1. That is an infection, syndrome, or disease of humans;
  2. That has never been recognised before in humans;
  3. That has potential public health impact; and
  4. Where no disease name is yet established in common usage
  • Names that are assigned by the WHO may or may not be approved by the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) at a later stage.
  • The ICD, which is also managed by the WHO, provides a final standard name for each human disease according to standard guidelines that are aimed at reducing the negative impact from names while balancing science, communication and policy.

Scheduled Tribes in Karnataka

  • Recently, the Lok Sabha passed the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019.
  • It seeks to include the Parivara and the Taliwara communities in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category to ensure they get a reservation and other benefits provided by the government.
  • The Siddi tribes of Belagavi and Dharwad would also be included in the category apart from those living in the Uttar Kannada districts of Karnataka.
  • The Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha in 2019 and it will amend Part VI of the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950, that specifies the tribal and tribal communities which are deemed to be Scheduled Tribes.

Parivara and Taliwara

  • Most people from these communities live in Mysore, Chamrajanagara, Mandya and Tumkur districts.
  • Majority of them employed as coolies, engaged in collecting firewood, husbandry and the cottage industry, thereby leading a life of lower status.
  • The communities’ life cycle rituals, language, lifestyle, the standard of living, physical features, socio-economic and educational status and their geographical isolation are similar to that of Beda, Nayaka and Valmiki which are already included in the ST category in the state of Karnataka.
  • As per the government, Pariwara and Taliwara are socially, politically, economically and educationally backwards.

Siddi Tribe

  • The Siddi community is also known by different synonyms such as Habshi and Badsha.
  • It is believed that they are of African origin because they clearly show the Negroid racial strain in their physical features.
  • Descendants of Bantu people of East Africa, Siddi ancestors were largely brought to India as slaves by Arabs as early as the 7th Century, followed by the Portuguese and the British later on.
  • When slavery was abolished in the 18th and 19th centuries, Siddis fled into the country’s thick jungles, fearing recapture and torture.
  • At present, the Siddis are living on the western coast of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka states.
  • In Karnataka, they mainly live in Dharwad, Belagavi and Uttar Kannada districts.
  • In India, the Union government in 2003, classified Siddis under the list of Scheduled Tribes.
  • They are included in the Centre’s list of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.
  • Previously they depended on hunting and gathering but at present, their main source of livelihood is labour and agriculture.

Uniform Civil Code

  • It is a generic set of governing laws for every citizen without taking into consideration the religion.
  • Article 44 of the Constitution says that there should be a Uniform Civil Code. According to this article, “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”.
  • Since the Directive Principles are only guidelines, it is not mandatory to use them.
  • Indian laws do follow a uniform code in most civil matters – Indian Contract Act, Civil Procedure Code, Sale of Goods Act, Transfer of Property Act, Partnership Act, Evidence Act etc.
  • States, however, have made hundreds of amendments and therefore in certain matters, there is diversity even under these secular civil laws.
  • As of now all Indian states do not follow a Uniform Civil Code, the Law Commission even concluded that a Uniform Civil Code is neither feasible nor desirable.

INS Shivaji

  • INS Shivaji is an Indian Naval station located in Lonavala, Maharashtra, India.
  • It houses the Naval College of Engineering, which trains officers of the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard.
  • It was commissioned in 1945 as HMIS Shivaji , It is located close to the Bhushi Dam.
  • Indian Navy operates the first damage control simulator Akshat at INS Shivaji to train its officers and sailors on damage control on a warship at sea.
  • Indian Navy's Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence (NBCD) School and Center for Marine Engineering Technology are also based here.

BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise

  • Second edition of BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise on flood rescue inaugurated recently at, Puri (Odisha). 
  • Delegates & rescue teams of five member nations namely- India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka & Myanmar, of BIMSTEC group participated in the exercise.
  • Highlighting the historicity and diversity cultural heritage sites in the BIMSTEC region, this exercise will provide a platform to conduct risk assessment in the context of cultural heritage sites at the time of disaster.

International Search & Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG)

  • The International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) is a network of disaster-prone and disaster-responding countries and organizations dedicated to urban search and rescue (USAR) and operational field coordination.
  • It aims to establish standards and classification for international USAR teams as well as methodology for international response coordination in the aftermath of earthquakes and collapsed structure disasters.
  • The INSARAG Secretariat is located in the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Dark fiber

  • Dark Fiber also known as unlit Fiber is an unused optical fiber that has been laid but is not currently being used in fiber-optic communications.
  • Since fibre-optic cable transmits information in the form of light pulses, a "dark" cable refers to one through which light pulses are not being transmitted.
  • Companies lay extra optical fibres in order to avoid cost repetition when more bandwidth is needed.
  • Recently major telecom service providers in India ,have approached the state-run Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) to use its dark fiber.
  • It will help the telecom service providers to cut down on their capital expenditure.

Bharat Broadband Network Limited

  • It is a Special Purpose Vehicle set up by the Government of India under the Companies Act, 1956 with an authorized capital of ₹1000 crore.
  • It comes under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
  • In 2011, it was mandated to create the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) in India, which was later renamed as the BharatNet project in 2015.


Source: PIB, Indian Express, The Hindu



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