October 2019

Daily Current Affairs (16-10-19)


Related Topics: Government Schemes, Public Health, Universal Health Coverage

Why in News?

  • Central government’s flagship programme, the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) crossed the milestone of 50 lakh mark.

News in Detail

  • Under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, free secondary and tertiary treatment worth ₹7,901 crore has been availed in the 32 states and UTs.
  • There are nine hospital admissions every minute across India under the scheme.
  • As per the National Health Authority (NHA) data, more than 60 per cent of the amount spent has been on tertiary care.
  • Segments like cardiology, orthopaedics, radiation, oncology, cardiothoracic and vascular surgery, and urology have emerged as the top tertiary specialities.
  • Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh have emerged as the top-performing states under the scheme.

Ayushman Bharat Scheme

It is an umbrella of two major health initiatives, namely Health and Wellness Centres and National Health Protection Scheme.

(i) Health and Wellness Centres

  • Under this 5 lakh existing sub centres will bring health care system closer to the homes of people in the form of Health and Wellness centres.
  • These centres will provide comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services.

(ii) National Health Protection Scheme (AB-PMJAY)

  • It is the Central Government’s health insurance scheme that aims to give medical cover to over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families of approximately 50 crore beneficiaries.
  • The scheme was launched on 25 September, 2018.
  • It provides coverage of up to ₹5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.
  • There is no restriction on the basis of family size, age or gender.
  • Ayushman Bharat is different from other medical insurance schemes where there is a waiting period for pre-existing diseases.
  • All kinds of diseases are covered from day one of the Ayushman Bharat policy.
  • The benefit cover includes both pre and post hospitalization expenses.
  • The scheme created a cadre of certified frontline health service professionals called Pradhan Mantri Aarogya Mitras (PMAMs) who will be primary point of facilitation for the beneficiaries to avail treatment at the hospital.
  • So far, 16,000 hospitals have been empanelled, nearly 34 lakh beneficiaries have been admitted, and 9 crore e-cards have been issued.
  • PMJAY is a visionary step towards advancing the agenda of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
[Source: The Hindu, Livemint, Vikaspedia]



Related Topics: Art & Culture, India – Netherlands Relations


  • The exhibition ‘India and the Netherlands in the Age of Rembrandt’ was inaugurated at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands as a part of their state visit to India.
  • The show is the first-ever collaborative effort between the CSMVS and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, supported by the Netherlands Consulate General in Mumbai.
  • The exhibition is a tribute to the Dutch master painter, Rembrandt, on his 350th death anniversary.
  • The collaboration also celebrates 400 years of cultural heritage between the two countries.

Rembrandt and Mughal Miniatures

  • Rembrandt made 25 drawings based on Mughal miniatures from India during 1656 to 1661, at the height of his career.
  • This is in spite of the fact that the Dutch artist never set foot on Indian soil.
  • The original artwork — depicting kings, princes and courtiers — made its way to the artist via the Dutch East India Company that controlled trade in Asia.
  • It is believed that Rembrandt was inspired by these miniatures and created several drawings which are now scattered all over the world with eight in the collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
  • Many of these miniatures featured Shahjahan, who was the ruler of Mughal India during Rembrandt’s lifetime.
  • The fact that a master artist like Rembrandt was inspired by Indian miniatures is a great tribute to the skill and craftsmanship of Indian artists.

About Rembrandt

  • Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606 – 1669) was a Dutch draughtsman, painter and printmaker.
  • He is one of the greatest storytellers in the history of art, possessing an exceptional ability to render people in their various moods and dramatic guises.
  • He is also known as a painter of light and shade and as an artist who favoured an uncompromising realism that lead some critics to claim that he preferred ugliness to beauty.
  • The Night Watch, a 1642 painting by Rembrandt, is one of the most famous Dutch Golden Age paintings.
[Source: The Hindu]



Related Topics: Awards & Honours, Culture


In a major recognition to Mumbai‘s heritage conservation movement, three city landmarks have won UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation 2019.

About the Award

  • The UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation programme recognises the efforts of private individuals and organisations that have restored and conserved structures of heritage value in the region.
  • This year marked 20 years of the awards.
  • 16 projects from five countries, Australia, Bhutan, China, India and New Zealand, were recognised by the international jury of conservation experts in 2019 awards.
  • The renewal of the historic Tai Kwun — Centre for Heritage and Arts in Hong Kong won the Award of Excellence.
  • From Mumbai, Keneseth Eliyahoo synagogue in Fort and Our Lady of Glory Church in Byculla received awards of merit while Flora Fountain received an honourable mention.
  • Ahmedabad’s Vikram Sarabhai Library won the award of distinction.

Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue

  • The restoration of Keneseth Eliyahoo synagogue celebrates the cultural plurality of Mumbai.
  • From a state of dilapidation with extensive material decay and structural damage, the mid-19th century Classical Revival structure has been successfully revitalised in a technically proficient manner.

Our Lady of Glory Church

  • It is one of the oldest Roman Catholic churches in Mumbai which has been lovingly restored to its original splendour.
  • The project demonstrates state-of-the-art conservation practice in its methodical process, attention to detail and commitment to using like-for-like materials.
  • The architects worked on the church from 2013 to 2018 but did not close the church for the job, which was a challenge.

Flora Fountain

  • The careful restoration of Mumbai’s iconic Flora Fountain completes the series of conservation interventions to revive the city’s many Victorian era fountains, a collection of ornate civic monuments unique in India.
  • The project has not only recovered the fountain’s artistic beauty, but has also validated its continuing role in the life of the community and its prominent place in the urban fabric of Mumbai.
[Source: The Hindu]



Related Topics: Government Schemes & Initiatives, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)


Secretary Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has launched the website and mobile application [Learn to Protect, Secure and Maximize Your Innovation] on Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) in New Delhi.

Who developed it?

The website and app has been developed by Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM)-DPIIT in collaboration with Qualcomm and National Law University (NLU), Delhi.


  • The modules of L2PRO will aid and enable youth, innovators, entrepreneurs and small and medium industries (SMEs) in understanding IPRs for their ownership and protection, integrate IP into business models and obtain value for their R&D efforts.
  • It will have 11 modules for three different levels: Basic, Intermediate and Advanced.
  • Each module comprises of e-text for understanding concepts, short animated videos of the concepts, links to additional resources on the subject and quizzes for assessment and grading the learner’s knowledge and understanding of the subject.

Global Experience

  • The L2Pro has been successfully implemented in Germany, United Kingdom, Italy and France, benefiting immensely from close collaboration with respective IP organizations and public research institutions.
  • The learning app has been customized for India in order to ensure that innovation which is fundamental to startups are protected, managed and commercialised.


Learners can access the L2Pro IP e-learning platform through their desktop, laptop, mobile browser and mobile application (available on Android & iOS).


Learners will be provided e-certificates by CIPAM-DPIIT and NLU Delhi and Qualcomm on successful completion of the e-learning modules.


  • Both the website and app will be very useful to the startup community which holds great promise for India and its economy.
  • Startups are more tuned into investment and risk taking but lack legal knowledge.
  • On the threshold of the fourth industrial revolution the interface between technology and law is growing.
  • Therefore, it is very essential to ensure that a specialised website and app is available to help startups with the IP process.

[Source: PIB]




The prestigious Booker Prize 2019 for Fiction was awarded jointly to Canadian author Margaret Atwood for ‘The Testaments’ and Anglo-Nigerian author Bernardine Evaristo for ‘Girl, Woman, Other’. The award has been shared twice before, in 1974 and 1997, when the rules were changed to supposedly prevent it from happening again. Yet, the panel of judges announced that Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo would share the accolade—and the £50,000 ($62,700) prize money as they “couldn’t separate” the two novels even after hours of deliberation. Margaret Atwood became the second female author to win the award twice. Bernardine Evaristo is the first black woman to win the prize.


Reliance Jio’s decision to charge its subscribers 6 paise per minute for voice calls on other networks drew sharp reaction from the rival Airtel and Vodafone Idea. The real bone of contention, however, is the Interconnect usage charges which Reliance Jio wants abolished. Interconnect usage charges (IUC) are paid by a telecom service provider whose subscriber makes a call to the service provider whose subscriber receives the call. IUCs (termination, origination and transit charges), directly impact the call tariff. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) terms interconnection as the “lifeline of telecommunications” as it allows subscribers of one network to seamlessly communicate with those of another network or access the services offered by other networks. Recently, TRAI came out with ‘Telecommunication Interconnection Usage Charges (Thirteenth Amendment) Regulations’ wherein it directed slashing mobile termination charges by 57% from 14 paise to 6 paise per minute from October 1,2019 and completely doing away with these charges from January 1, 2020.


According to Zoological Society of London (ZSL), a fern has started taking its own selfies at the London Zoo. ZSL scientists had laid the groundwork for the feat with the ultimate aim of using plants to power camera traps and sensors in the wild. This was achieved by installing microbial fuel cells in Pete, a maidenhair fern. Microbial fuel cells are devices that use bacteria as the catalysts to oxidise organic and inorganic matter and generate current. Electrons produced by the bacteria are transferred to the negative terminal and flow to the positive terminal. Plants naturally deposit biomatter as they grow, which in turn feeds the natural bacteria present in the soil, creating energy that can be harnessed by fuel cells and used to power a wide range of vital conservation tools remotely, including sensors, monitoring platforms and camera traps. Among conventional power sources, batteries must be replaced while solar panels rely on a source of sunlight. On the other hand, plants can survive in the shade, naturally moving into position to maximise the potential of absorbing sunlight.

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