November 2019

Daily Current Affairs (16-11-19)



Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Science and Technology [Paper-II]: Technology in Space


  • Ultima Thule, the farthest cosmic body ever visited by a spacecraft, has been renamed Arrokoth, or “sky” in the Native American Powhatan language.
  • It was renamed, following a backlash over the previous name’s Nazi connotations.
  • NASA’s New Horizons team proposed the name to the International Astronomical Union and Minor Planets Center, the international authority for naming Kuiper Belt objects.

Earlier Names

  • It was provisionally named 2014 MU69 based on the year of its discovery.
  • It was given the nickname ‘Ultima Thule’ in 2018, following public suggestions made to NASA.

Why the name was changed?

  • “Ultima Thule” was the subject of controversy.
  • It references a mythical distant land, but the term had also been used by a precursor to the Nazi party.
  • The new name avoids those negative connotations.

About Arrokoth

  • It is a trans-Neptunian object located in the Kuiper belt.

  • It was discovered in 2014 by a New Horizons team using the powerful Hubble Space Telescope.
  • It was surveyed by the NASA spaceship New Horizons in January, 2019.
  • According to the survey, it consisted of two spheres stuck together in the shape of a snowman.
  • It belongs to a class of Kuiper belt objects called the “cold classicals”, which have nearly circular orbits with low inclinations to the solar plane.

[Source: Indian Express, NASA]



Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Science and Technology [Paper-II]: Public Health, Health Care


The India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI), launched in four districts of Kerala, has been able to control hypertension in about 35% of the people covered under the initiative.

About IHCI

  • It is a collaborative project of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), State Governments, World Health Organization (WHO), and Resolve to Save Lives initiative of Vital Strategies.
  • Launched in November, 2017, the initiative has enrolled more than three lakh patients with high blood pressure in government health facilities in 25 selected districts in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, and Maharashtra.
  • It was recently expanded to cover 100 districts across all states.
  • It aims to reduce disability and death related to cardiovascular disease (CVD) by improving the control of high blood pressure (hypertension), reducing salt consumption and eliminating artificial trans-fats, the leading risk factors for CVD.
  • This initiative aims to strengthen the cardiovascular disease component of the Health Ministry’s National Program for Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS).
  • It will focus on strengthening hypertension management and monitoring at the primary health care level, within the existing healthcare system.
  • It is aligned with WHO’s Global HEARTS Initiative and National Guidelines.

Key Features

  • Treatment protocols that simplify quality patient care in primary care facilities
  • Provision of adequate supply of quality medicines and blood pressure monitors
  • Comprehensive training for healthcare workers at all levels on latest practices in hypertension treatment
  • Team-based care for counseling and follow up of the patients

Need for the Initiative

  • Around 200 million adults in India have high blood pressure, yet control rates for the condition remain low.
  • Studies suggest that in rural areas in India, only one quarter of people with hypertension are aware of their condition, and only around 10 percent have their blood pressure controlled.
  • In urban areas, around 40 percent of people with hypertension are aware of their condition, and only around 20 percent have their blood pressure controlled.

IHCI in Kerala

  • IHCI was launched in Kerala in April 2018 as a multi-partner five-year initiative with the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Indian Council of Medical Research, State government, and WHO India.
  • The results from Kerala had been the most impressive so far than other states because of the infrastructure strength of non-communicable disease clinics across the State
  • Each patient was given a treatment book and the health card was kept at the hospital.
  • Every month there was a follow-up on the patient by the hospital over the phone or by visit of an Accredited Social Work Activist.
[Source: The Hindu]




Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Social Justice [Paper-I]: Rights Issues (Human rights, Women rights, SC/ST rights, Child rights, etc.), Important Acts


  • Union Environment Ministry withdrew a draft amendment that proposed updates to the Indian Forest Act, 1927.
  • The draft amendment had sparked a controversy over its approach towards forest dwellers and provisions for additional indemnity to forest officers.

Indian Forest Act, 1927

  • The Indian Forest Act, 1927 was largely based on previous Indian Forest Acts implemented under the British.
  • The preamble to the Indian Forest Act, 1927 states that the Act seeks to consolidate the law relating to forests, the transit of forest produce and the duty that can be levied on timber and other forest produce.
  • It also defines the procedure to be followed for declaring an area to be a Reserved Forest, a Protected Forest or a Village Forest.
  • It defines forest offence, acts prohibited inside a Reserved Forest, and penalties leviable on violation of the provisions of the Act.

Why the draft law was withdrawn?

  • The zero draft proposed in March 2019, had sparked protests among various tribal organizations over some of the proposed changes, which pitted the forest-dwellers against the government.
  • The proposed bill had been criticised for further empowering forest officials, who continue to enjoy significant discretion and powers under the existing act.
  • It was argued that the bill would give government the power to divest the forest dwellers of their rights.
  • It envisaged granting the forest bureaucracy powers to raid, arrest, search and seize property and even shoot to kill with a degree of immunity that is usually provided to other government officers.
  • As per the Union Minister, It was a ‘zero draft and was mistakenly taken as a ‘government draft’ and circulated.
[Source: The Hindu]



  • Tobacco Board of India was awarded the Golden Leaf Award in the Most Impressive Public Service Initiative category for the year 2019.
  • The Board was awarded for its efforts to initiate various sustainability (green) initiatives in Flue-Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco cultivation in India.
  • The awards under this category are given to a company or institution that introduced a public service programme or educational campaign of creativity, effectiveness to date and best use of resources.
  • The Golden Leaf Awards were created to recognize professional excellence and dedication in the tobacco industry by Tobacco Reporter, an international magazine in the year 2006.
  • In 2014, the Tobacco Board of India won a Golden Leaf Award in the Most Impressive Public Service Initiative category for its implementation of an electronic auction system, which has made the marketing of flue-cured tobacco in India more transparent and accountable.
  • India is the world’s fourth largest producer of FCV tobacco.
  • Tobacco Board is a statutory body established under Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • PM Modi described the death of renowned mathematician Vashishtha Narayan Singh as the loss of a rare talent in the field of science.
  • He was born in a poor family of Basantpur village in Bhojpur district of Bihar on April 2, 1942.
  • He studied at Patna Science College after which he went to University of California in 1965 and completed his PH.d on cycle vector space theory in 1969.
  • He is said to have challenged great scientist Einstein’s theory of relativity.
  • The private outdoor gear firm Wildcraft India has bagged an order from the Ministry of Defence to design, develop and deliver 1.8 lakh units of 90-litre rucksacks equipped to carry supplies for 30 days.
  • This is a ‘heavily-engineered’ accessory meant for jawans, who are exposed to extreme environments and climatic conditions.
  • These high torso bags will be made out of high grade nylon and will have high resistance to abrasion.
  • They come with a lightweight alloy back frame so that they comfortably stay on the back of soldiers even after they are mounted with armament.
  • This is the first time in the history of the Indian Army that a third-party firm will make rucksacks for its jawans.
  • The Indian Ordnance Factories, an industrial organisation under the Department of Defence, currently makes such bags for the Army.

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