December 2019

Daily Current Affairs (31-12-19)



Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Science and Techology [Paper-II]: ICT and Governance – various Government schemes promoting use of ICT, Cyber Security concerns


  • Central government has launched a web portal, ‘Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR)’, to facilitate blocking and tracing of stolen/lost mobile phones in Delhi.
  • The launch of the portal,, for Delhi-NCR subscribers will facilitate requests for blocking of stolen or lost mobile phones by customers, blocking of such mobile phones across various mobile networks, allowing services to other existing customers having mobile phones with the same International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, sharing of traceability data with police authorities, as well as unblocking of recovered phones.
  • The web portal was first launched in Mumbai. It will be extended to other parts of the country in 2020.

What is Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR)?

  • CEIR has been undertaken by the Department of Telecom (DoT) for addressing security, theft and other concerns including reprogramming of mobile handsets.
  • It is a database of the IMEI numbers of blacklisted handsets.
  • Every mobile network provider in India has an Equipment Identity Register [EIR] or a database of the phones connected to its network.
  • These EIRs, will now share information with a single database, i.e, CEIR.
  • CEIR acts as a central system for all network Operators to share black listed mobile devices so that devices blacklisted in one network will not work on other networks even if the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card in the device is changed.

What is International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI)?

  • It is the unique identity of mobile phone devices that precisely identifies the device.
  • Mobile phone manufacturers assign IMEI numbers to each device based on ranges allotted to them by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association.
  • GSM networks use the IMEI number to identify valid devices, and can stop a stolen phone from accessing the network.
[Source: The Hindu, Livemint]




Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

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


  • Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat was appointed as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff with a mandate to bring in convergence in functioning of the Army, the Navy and the Indian Air Force.
  • He will serve a full three-year term till December 2022.

What is the office of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)?

  • The CDS is meant to be a single-point military advisor to the government, and to coordinate long-term planning, procurements, training and logistics of the three services.
  • As future wars become short, swift and network-centric, coordination among the three services is crucial.
  • As the stress on resources increases and defence budgets remain flat, the way forward is optimisation of resources by joint planning and training.
  • The CDS, being above the three Service Chiefs, is expected to play this role by optimising procurement, avoiding duplication among the services and streamlining the process.

Mandate of CDS

  • The CDS will also be member of Defence Acquisition Council chaired by the defence minister and Defence Planning Committee chaired by the NSA.
  • CDS will be a four-star General, at par in military rank, salary and perquisites with the three services chiefs.
  • He will head the newly created Department of Military Affairs in the Ministry of Defence and function as its Secretary.
  • The tri-service agencies, organisations and commands relating to cyber and space will be under the command of the CDS, and he will also function as the Military Adviser to the Nuclear Command Authority.
  • He will also be the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. He will act as the Principal Military Adviser to the Defence Minister on all tri-services matters.
  • A key mandate of the CDS will be to facilitate restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through establishment of joint/theatre commands.
  • He will Bringing about jointness in logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance of the three services within three years will also be another major mandate of the CDS.

Dual-Hatted Role

  • The dual-hatted role refers to the two hats the CDS wears: one of the permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee which has the three service chiefs as members, and the other of the head of the newly created Department of Military Affairs (DMA) in the ministry.
  • The former is a military role while the latter is a role in the government.

Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC)

  • Earlier, in the absence of a CDS, the seniormost of the three Chiefs functioned as the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC).
  • But it was an additional role and the tenures have been very short.

Why CDS over CoSC?

  • CoSC arrangement was “unsatisfactory”, and its Chairman was seen as a “figurehead”.
  • The post did not further tri-service integration, resulting in inefficiency and an expensive duplication of asset.
  • The CoSC system is a leftover from the colonial era, with only minor changes being carried out over the years.

International Scenario

  • All major countries, especially the nuclear weapon states, have a CDS.
  • The U.K. from which the Indian armed forces and the Defence Ministry are modelled on has a Permanent Secretary, equivalent to the Defence Secretary, and also a CDS.
  • K. Government guidelines state that the CDS is the professional head of the British armed forces and, as military strategic commander, is responsible for how operations are carried out.

[Source: The Hindu, Indian Express]



  • NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Astronaut Christina Koch has surpassed the record for the single longest space mission by a woman as previously established by NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson in 2017.
  • The 40-year-old Expedition 61 flight engineer exceeded Whitson’s record of 289 days, 5 hours and 1 minute.
  • Madhya Pradesh has got its first elephant colony in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.
  • It is one of the national parks of India, located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh.
  • It was declared a national park in 1968 and then became Tiger Reserve in 1993.
  • The park has a large breeding population of leopards and various species of deer.
  • Bus services between Kolhapur and Belgaum were suspended after the decades-old border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka flared up again.
  • The dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka over Belgaum and other border areas is a longstanding issue between the two states, and has been pending before the Supreme Court for many years.
  • The erstwhile Bombay Presidency, a multilingual province, included the present-day Karnataka districts of Bijapur, Belgaum, Dharwar and Uttara-Kannada (previously North Kanara).
  • In 1948, the Belgaum municipality requested that the district, having a predominantly Marathi-speaking population, be incorporated into the proposed Maharashtra state.
  • However, the States Reorganisation Act of 1956, which divided states on linguistic and administrative lines, made Belgaum a part of the then Mysore State (which was renamed Karnataka in 1973).
  • The report titled ‘World Economic League Table 2020’ was released by the UK-based Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
  • According to the report, India is all set to overtake Japan to become the third-largest economy by 2034 and will overtake Germany to become fourth-largest economy in the world by the year 2026.
  • India has decisively overtaken both France and the UK to become the world’s fifth-largest economy in 2019.
  • India is also set to reach a gross domestic product (GDP) of $5 trillion by 2026, 2 years later than the government’s target.
  • Central government’s citizen engagement platform – MyGov has reached one crore registered users.
  • MyGov platform is a unique path breaking initiative which was launched on July 26, 2014 by PM Modi. It is a unique first of its kind participatory governance initiative involving the common citizen at large.
  • ‘MyGov’ empowers people to contribute towards good governance through various tasks and discussions.
  • MyGov presents an opportunity to the citizens to participate in multiple theme-based discussions and to share their thoughts and ideas with a wide range of people.
  • Citizens can upload documents, case studies, pictures, videos, other work plans etc. on the platform.
  • The idea of MyGov is to bring the government closer to the common man by the use of online platform creating an interface for healthy exchange of ideas and views involving the common citizen and experts with the ultimate goal to contribute to the social and economic transformation of India.


  • NASA has launched a seasonal campaign — part of SnowEx, initiated in 2016-17. SnowEx is a five year program initiated and funded by NASA.
  • It was launched for a better understanding of how much water is contained in each winter’s snowfall and how much will be available when it melts in the spring.
  • The geographical focus of SnowEx is proposed as North America, which contains the six broad snow climate categories identified in the literature: tundra (alpine or Arctic), taiga (Boreal forest), warm (temperate) forest, maritime, prairie, and ephemeral.
  • NASA’s overall target is optimal strategies for mapping global snow water equivalent (SWE) with remote sensing and models leading to a Decadal Survey “Earth System Explorer” mission.
  • Within its geographic range, SnowEx assesses where snow has fallen, how much there is and how its characteristics change as it melts.
  • It uses airborne measurements, ground measurements and computer modelling.
  • Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) announced a new milestone achieved by the Aadhaar project – crossing of the 125 crore mark.
  • This means that over 1.25 billion residents of India have the 12-digit unique identity.
  • Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identity number that can be obtained voluntarily by residents or passport holders of India, based on their biometric and demographic data.
  • The data is collected by the UIDAI, a statutory authority established in 2009 by the government of India, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

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