August 2019

Daily Current Affairs (29-08-19)


Related Topics: Science &Technology, Biometric Identification


  • India has become the first country in the world to issue Biometric Seafarer Identity Document (BSID), capturing the facial bio-metric data of seafarers.
  • The issuance of SID involves the collection of biometric and demographic details of the seafarers, their verification and then issuance of the card to them.

New Facial Biometric Technology

  • The new facial biometric technology is a marked improvement over the two fingers or iris based bio-metric data, with modern security features.
  • It will make the identification of the SID holder more reliable and efficient, while protecting their dignity and privacy.


  • It will have a biometric chip embedded in it.
  • At the time of data capturing, the live face is cross matched through passport photo using face matching software.
  • The card has two optical security features- Micro prints/micro texts and Unique Guilloche pattern.
  • A software has been developed for capturing the facial biometrics and its authentication through the public key infrastructure.
  • A record of each SID issued will be maintained in a national database and its related information will be internationally accessible.
  • In India, the BSID project has been taken up in collaboration with Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), Mumbai.

Collection Centres

Nine data collection centers have been setup at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Noida, Goa, New Mangalore, Kochi, Vizag & Kandla for issue of BSID.

Who is eligible?

  • Every Indian seafarer who possesses a valid Continuous Discharge Certificate issued by the Govt. of India will be eligible for issue of a BSID.
  • All the existing seafarers will be given BSID within the next 2 years.

ILO Convention

  • The new card is in confirmation of the Convention No. 185 of the International Labour Organisation on BSID which was ratified by India in October 2015.
  • The Government notified the Merchant Shipping (Seafarers Bio-metric Identification Document) Rules in 2016.


  • Shipping sector is seeing major developments in the areas of coastal shipping, inland waterways and other maritime activities.
  • This is leading to generation of employment in the sector, which is evident in the growing number of Indian seafarers in the international shipping industry.
  • The total number of Indian seafarers who were employed on Indian or foreign flag vessels increased from 154349 in 2017 to 208799 this year, showing an unprecedented increase of 35%.
  • The new document will give a foolproof identification to Indian seafarers which will facilitate their movement, provide ease of getting jobs and help in identifying them from any location in the world.
  • It will also ensure a security system to ward off the potential risk of breach of security and possible terrorist attacks.

Practice Question

“Biometric Identity Card and Right to Privacy – can they co-exist? Discuss.”

[Source: PIB]



Related Topics: Disaster Management, International Relations

Why in News

Union Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval for the Establishment of an International Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

What is CDRI?

  • It will serve as a platform where knowledge is generated and exchanged on different aspects of disaster and climate resilience of infrastructure.
  • It will bring together technical expertise from a multitude of stakeholders.
  • In doing so, it will create a mechanism to assist countries to upgrade their capacities and practices, with regard to infrastructure development in accordance with their risk context and economic needs.

When it will be launched?

  • It is proposed to be launched at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, USA on 23rd September 2019.
  • This event will bring together the largest number of Heads of States to generate commitments for combating the effects of climate change and resulting disasters, and will provide the high-level visibility required for the CDRI.

Who will benefit?

  • Economically weaker sections of society, women and children, are the most vulnerable to the impacts of disasters.
  • Hence, they will be benefitted from the improvement of knowledge and practice in creating disaster resilient infrastructure.
  • In India, the north-eastern and Himalayan regions are prone to earthquakes, coastal areas to cyclones and tsunamis and central peninsular region to droughts.
  • This initiative will benefit all sections of society and all areas with high disaster risk.

Need for CDRI

  • A global coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure would address concerns that are common to developing and developed countries, small and large economies, countries at early and advanced stages of infrastructure development, and countries that have moderate or high disaster risk.
  • Few concrete initiatives work at the intersection of Sendai Framework, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Climate Change Adaptation with a focus on infrastructure.
  • Focus on disaster resilient infrastructure will simultaneously address the loss reduction targets under the Sendai Framework.
  • It will address a number of SDGs and also contribute to climate change adaptation.

[Source: PIB]



Related Topics: Digital India, National Monuments Authority

Why in News

Union Minister of State for Culture & Tourism (Independent Charge) has launched the NOC Online Application Portal and Processing System (NOAPS) for the National Monument Authority (NMA) in six states.

What is NOAPS?

  • It is an initiative taken by the National Monument Authority for streamlining of approval procedure for construction related activities in regulated/restricted areas in the vicinity of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) protected monuments in various cities of India.
  • NOAPS was launched by the NMA in September 2015 but was limited to only five urban local bodies in Delhi and one civic body in Mumbai.
  • Now, the facility has been expanded to six more states: Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Jharkhand and Telangana.

Who designed it?

  • It has been designed by NIC and incorporates state of the art technology.
  • The Portal has utilized the technology and expertise of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), who are in the process of mapping all 3886 ASI protected monuments.

‘Smarac’ Mobile App

The portal has integration with the ‘Smarac’ mobile app of ISRO, through which the applicant can traverse his plot and submit geo coordinates of the land, along with uploading images into the NIC portal.


  • With increase of urbanization, development, growth and increasing population pressure, there is growing pressure on land including the land around centrally protected monuments.
  • This often affects the monument/site adversely.
  • There is a need for properly regulating such growth around the centrally protected monuments, balancing the needs of individuals and growth and development on the one hand and the requirements of preservation and protection of these monuments on the other.
  • By using the portal, property owners can calculate the geo-coordinates and can find out if it is possible to carry out any construction as permissible.
  • It will greatly add to the convenience of the people since they no longer need to run to local offices to get NOC for their property which is nearby to monuments.

[Sources: PIB, Livemint]



Related Topics: Wildlife Protection, International Conventions


  • The Eighteenth Conference of the Parties (CoP18) of CITES was recently held in Geneva.

Highlights of CoP18

  • India’s proposal to upgrade the protection of star tortoises (Geochelone elegans), the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) and small-clawed otters (Anoyx cinereus) in CITES have been approved.
  • These species have been listed under Appendix I of CITES and will now enjoy the highest degree of protection.
  • Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko) will be included in CITES Appendix II.

Why listing species under Appendix I?

  • Appendix I of CITES lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants.
  • They are threatened with extinction and CITES prohibits international trade in specimens of these species except when the purpose of the import is not commercial, for instance for scientific research.


  • 90% of trade of Star tortoises occurs as part of the international pet market.
  • Star tortoise is categorized as ‘vulnerable’ by IUCN and a decline greater than 30% was predicted by 2025 if the exploitation continued or expanded.
  • Small-clawed otter and smooth-coated otter are traded for their fur in the international market and their numbers are declining due to habitat loss.
  • Tokay geckos are sold in the open in some south Asian countries and its inclusion in CITES Appendix II will bring some restriction on the sale.

What is CITES?

  • It is an international agreement to which States and regional economic integration organizations adhere voluntarily.
  • Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
  • The CITES Secretariat is administered by UNEP and is located Geneva at, Switzerland.
  • It is also known as Washington Convention.


CITES classifies plants and animals according to three categories, or appendices,based on level of threats faced by them.

Appendix I species:  It lists species that are in danger of extinction. It prohibits commercial trade of these plants and animals except in extraordinary situations for scientific or educational reasons.

Appendix II species:  They are those that are not threatened with extinction but that might suffer a serious decline in number if trade is not restricted. Their trade is regulated by permit.

Appendix III species:  They are protected in at least one country that is a CITES member states and that has petitioned others for help in controlling international trade in that species.

[Sources: The Hindu, Indian Express]




Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) is planning to set up a 9 million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa) greenfield refinery at Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu to expand its refining capacity and help meet the rising energy demand in India. The expansion will be carried out by its subsidiary Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL). The products, including motor spirit (MS) and high speed diesel (HSD), which will be produced from the refinery will help meet the latest BS-VI specification in the southern states.


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved sugar export policy for evacuation of surplus stocks during sugar season 2019-20. The policy involves an export subsidy of ₹10,448 per metric tonne (mt) to sugar mills. Around ₹6,268 crore will be transferred directly to the farmers. The subsidy would be directly credited into farmers’ account on behalf of mills against cane price dues and subsequent balance, if any, would be credited to mills’ account. The move is aimed at countering the surplus sugar stock’s impact on prices.


Union HRD Minister has launched an Integrated Online junction for School Education named  ‘Shagun’. It is an over-arching initiative to improve school education system by creating a junction for all online portals and websites relating to various activities of the Department of School Education and Literacy in the Government of India and all States and Union Territories.


Union HRD Minister announced the setting up of the Integrated National School Education Treasury (INSET). It envisages a fully integrated, instantly accessible and seamless information network for all parameters relating to the students, teachers, and schools in the country. The aim is to create an easily accessible multi-layered eco-system of information – school wise, block-wise, district-wise, constituency-wise, state-wise and region-wise.

Maitri Mobile App

Five Girls from Amity International School in Noida, Uttar Pradesh have developed a mobile application called ‘Maitri’ that connects children at orphanages with senior citizens in old-age homes. It is aimed at bringing together individuals suffering from loneliness and depression and those lacking nurturing love of elderly role models.

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