November 2019

Daily Current Affairs (19-11-19)



Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Science and Technology [Paper-II]: National policy on S&T and Innovations, Institutes and Organization in India promoting integration of S&T and Innovation, their activities and contributions


  • Genrobotic Innovations has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tata Brabo for bulk production of the sewer cleaning robot Bandicoot.
  • It will help the start-up to ensure high production standards and meet the rising demand for Bandicoot to phase out manual sewer cleaning across the country.
  • Brabo Robotics and Automation Limited, owned by Tata Brabo, is India’s first indigenous robot manufacturing company, and a 100% subsidiary of Tata Motors Limited.

What is Bandicoot?

  • It is a semi-automatic robotic system for manhole and sewer line cleaning developed by Genrobotics, a start-up in Kerala.
  • The spider-looking Bandicoot has four limbs and a bucket system.
  • The limbs can go inside the manhole, scoop the garbage and pull it out, sparing human beings doing the job under hazardous conditions.
  • The robot is powered by pneumatics (using gas or pressurised air) since using heavy electronic equipment inside is risky as they can react with the explosive gases present in the manhole.
  • It is the first Robotic scavenger in the world developed with a vision to eliminate manual scavenging from the society.
  • Kerala government officially launched the robot in February 2018, ahead of the famous Attukal Pongala festival in Thiruvananthapuram.
  • It has already been leveraged by more than six states in the country.

Bandicoot 2.0

  • The updated version of the robot, Bandicoot 2.0, has upgraded to a smart operations assistant and also has a 7-machine vision to operate with surgical precision.
  • It has a sensor to identify poisonous gas emanating from the manhole. The smart assistant helps the user to operate the device more easily and helps in unclogging the waste akin to human arms.
  • Higher resistance to corrosion and water, and a light-weight carbon fibre body are the other added features.
  • The updated version was launched by PM Modi and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in October, 2018.


  • According to the Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry, 88 workers have died while cleaning sewers and drains across the country in the last three years.
  • According to Delhi-based Safai Karamchari Andolan, an organization campaigning for eradicating manual scavenging, around 1,850 people have died in the last decade while cleaning sewers,
  • Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 prohibits the employment of manual scavengers, the manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks without protective equipment, and the construction of insanitary latrines.
  • In spite of this, manual scavenging is still a persistent problem across the country.
  • Without an alternative solution to clogged manholes, workers will keep getting employed to carry out this hazardous job.
  • In this scenario, Bandicoot that can replace humans involved in manual scavenging assumes great significance.

About Genrobotics

  • Genrobotics, promoted by the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), was established in 2015.
  • The firm aims at finding solutions to the most pressing social issues through robotics.
  • It seeks to stamp out the practice of manual scavenging from India by 2020.
  • The firm has embarked on a movement called #mission robohole, which is about changing manholes to roboholes, replacing men from the manholes with robots.

[Source: The Hindu, India Today]



Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

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


  • The findings of the Jaccha-Baccha Survey (JABS) were released recently.

About the Survey

  • It was conducted by student volunteers in June 2019.
  • The survey took place in six states namely Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.
  • The aim of the survey was to map the state of pregnant and nursing women and was conducted under the guidance of development economists Jean Dreze and Reetika Khera.
  • In each state, the survey teams visited 10 to 12 randomly-selected ‘anganwadis’ and interviewed as many as possible of the 342 pregnant and 364 nursing women covered by the anganwadi scheme.
  • The survey divided the six states into laggard (Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh) and leader states (Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha).

Key Findings

  • Less than half of pregnant women in rural India eat nutritious food and majority are deprived of quality health care.
  • Uttar Pradesh, which is India’s most populous, performed the worst, while Himachal Pradesh performed the best.
  • UP threw up the worst numbers on pregnant women not getting adequate rest — either because they had no one to help out at home, or because they had to actually go out and work on the farm in their condition.
  • The proportion of women who had to borrow or sell assets just to meet child delivery expenses was quite high, especially among the laggard states.

  • On access to basic healthcare facilities, the survey found that 36% women in UP did not get a single check-up at a primary health centre across different schemes.
  • The States which has a separate state-run maternal benefits scheme performed better on social indicators pertaining to health of women and children, as opposed to those that are fully dependant on the central government.
[Source: Indian Express, Economic Times]



Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

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


Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) along with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has launched the Bharatiya Poshan Krishi Kosh (BPKK).

About the Scheme

  • It is a repository of diverse crops across 128 agro-climatic zones for better nutritional outcomes.
  • It aims at reducing malnutrition through a multi-sectoral results-based framework, including agriculture, among women and children across the country.
  • It seeks to promote healthy dietary practices and tackle under-nutrition in a sustainable manner.
  • The initiative will be built on an essential understanding of social, behavioural and cultural practices that promote and reinforce healthy dietary behaviours both at the individual and community level.
  • Ministry of Women and Child Development has collaborated with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the project.

Key Highlights

  • At the request of the Ministry of WCD, the Harvard Chan School of Public Health through its India Research Center and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will document and evaluate promising regional dietary practices and the messaging around them and develop a food atlas on regional agro-food systems.
  • The project team will select around 12 high focus states which are representative of the geographical, social, economic, cultural and structural diversities of India.
  • In each of the states or group of states, the team will identify a local partner organization which has relevant work experience in Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) and nutrition for developing the food atlas.

Need for the Scheme

  • Government of India’s efforts towards better nutrition has revolved around providing nutritional supplement and other supply side schemes.
  • However, two other approaches are required to complement the Government’s efforts to promote healthy dietary practices.
  • One, addressing the challenge of malnutrition at such a vast scale requires a basic understanding of the social, behavioral and cultural practices that promote and reinforce healthy dietary behaviours, both at the individual and community level including the variation in such practices across India.
  • Two, creating the first ever data base that links relevant agro-food system data at the district, with an aim to map the diversity of native crop varieties that will be more cost-effective and sustainable over the long run.

[Source: PIB, All India Radio]



  • The inaugural edition of the bilateral maritime exercise Za’ir-Al-Bahr (Roar of the Sea) is being conducted from November 17- 21, 2019 between the Indian Navy and Qatari Emiri Naval Force.
  • The five-day exercise includes surface action, air defence, maritime surveillance as well as social and sports events.
  • The exercise will include a three-day harbour phase and two days sea phase.
  • It would further strengthen the robust defence co-operation between the two countries, especially in the fight against terrorism, maritime piracy and security.
  • Haryana Government has decided to create a dedicated new department namely Department of ‘Foreign Cooperation’.
  • The department was created in order to streamline and provide focus to various initiatives taken by the state government for the promotion of investment, employment for youth and welfare of Non-Resident Indians.
  • The new department will deal in formulation of country-wise strategies for promotion of investment, employment in the state, education and skill development and promotion of Haryanavi culture and welfare of Haryanavi diaspora.
  • Kalamandalam Kuttan and Madambi Subramanian Namboodiri have been selected for the State Kathakali award for the year 2018.
  • The two artistes will share the prize money of ₹100,000, a citation and plaque.
  • Pallavoor Raghava Pisharady was selected for Pallavoor Appu Marar award for excellence in ritual music while Kala Vijayan has won the State award for the best dancer.
  • The two awards also comprise a cash prize of ₹100,000, a citation and plaque.
  • Election Commission of India will establish a visiting chair on Interdisciplinary Approach to Electoral Studies in memory of former Chief Election Commissioner T N Seshan.
  • The visiting chair will be established in the Centre for Curriculum Development at India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management, New Delhi from 2020-2025.
  • The Chair will be mentored by former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami.
  • Visiting Chair programme will be targeted to young academics with a proven track record in fields relatable to electoral studies.

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