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Current Affairs 12 December 2020 for UPSC Exam


  1. Israel, Morocco agree to normalise relations
  2. ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus
  3. Cross-sector initiative for universal health coverage
  4. Sarna Dharam Code


Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

Israel and Morocco agreed to normalize relations in a deal brokered with U.S. help, making Morocco the fourth Arab country to set aside hostilities with Israel in 2020.


  • As part of the agreement, U.S. President changed longstanding U.S. policy and recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara.
  • The Western Sahara is a desert region where a decades-old territorial dispute has pitted Morocco against the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, a breakaway movement that seeks to establish an independent state in the territory.
  • Morocco is the fourth country since August to strike a deal aimed at normalizing relations with Israel. The others were the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.
  • Palestinians have been critical of the normalization deals, saying Arab countries have set back the cause of peace by abandoning a longstanding demand that Israel give up land for a Palestinian state before it can receive recognition.
  • Under the agreement, Morocco will establish full diplomatic relations and resume official contacts with Israel, grant overflights and also direct flights to and from Israel for all Israelis.

-Source: The Hindu


Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

The 14th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Plus was organized online at Hanoi, Vietnam, marking the 10th anniversary of ADMM Plus.

More about the ADMM-Plus

  • The ADMM-Plus is a platform for ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and it’s eight Dialogue Partners to strengthen security and defence cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region.
  • The ADMM-Plus countries include ten ASEAN Member States and eight Plus countries, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, and the United States.
  • It aims to promote mutual trust and confidence between defence establishments through greater dialogue and transparency.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional organization of 10 Countries, which was established to promote political and social stability amid rising tensions among the Asia-Pacific’s post-colonial states.

Members of ASEAN

  1. Indonesia
  2. Malaysia
  3. Philippines
  4. Singapore
  5. Thailand
  6. Brunei
  7. Vietnam
  8. Laos
  9. Myanmar
  10. Cambodia

ASEAN’s Objectives

  1. To promote intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational, and sociocultural integration among its members and other countries in Asia.
  2. To maintain close and beneficial cooperation with existing international and regional organisations.
  3. To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter.
  4. To accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian Nations.

A major partner of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, ASEAN maintains a global network of alliances and dialogue partners and is considered by many as the central union for cooperation in Asia-Pacific.

  • The motto of ASEAN is “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.
  • ASEAN is headquartered in Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • 8th August is observed as ASEAN Day.
  • In 1967 ASEAN was established with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by its founding fathers: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
  • Chairmanship of ASEAN rotates annually, based on the alphabetical order of the English names of Member States.
  • ASEAN is the 3rd largest market in the world – larger than EU and North American markets.

-Source: The Hindu, Hindustan Times


Focus: GS-II Social Justice

Why in news?

The Lancet Citizens’ Commission on Reimagining India’s Health System, a cross-sector initiative to develop a citizens’ roadmap to achieving universal health coverage (UHC) in India over a period of ten years, was launched online.

Highlights on Lancet Citizens’ Commission

The mission of the Commission is to lay out the path to achieving UHC in India in the coming decade, working with all stakeholders.

The Commission will be guided by four principles:

  1. UHC covers all health concerns
  2. Prevention and long-term care are key
  3. The concern is financial protection for all health costs
  4. Aspiring for a health system that can be accessed by all who enjoy the same quality.

The co-chairs, during the launch, stressed on the state’s role as a leader in the sector, but to fulfil this role, it must grapple with the complex and fragmented architecture of India’s health system.

  • The commission will enable participatory public engagement to develop a citizens’ blueprint for the implementation of UHC.
  • To this end, they have called for contributions and partners to reach out through the Lancet Citizens’ Commission website.

-Source: The Hindu


Focus: GS-I Indian Society

Why in news?

  • The Jharkhand State Assembly, in a special session sent a resolution to the Union government asking for a separate religion code for the tribal population in the upcoming Census 2021 exercise. The resolution named it ‘Sarna Adivasi Dharam’.

‘Sarna Adivasi Dharam’

  • Followers of ‘Sarna’ are usually nature worshippers.
  • They have been demanding recognition of it as a distinct religion for decades.
  • At present, under the census, there are codes for only six religions: Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism.
  • While filling in these columns, a tribal resident has to identify himself or herself as one of these or as ‘others’, but cannot specify his / her religion as a different one.
  • In census surveys during 1871-1951, there was a separate category for the tribal population. But later, this was dropped.
  • In independent India, the tribal identity has been about constitutional provisions promising to protect their rights and central laws promising to protect their land.
  • Although recognised as an administrative and social category — Scheduled Tribes — these communities have never been recognised as a separate religious group.
  • For the Census 2011, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes did recommend the addition of this code.
  • Demand for the separate religion code picked up in Jharkhand as preparations for the survey started in September.
  • Till now, the Union government has not agreed to this.
  • The resolution has resurrected the debate over whether tribal religion is a distinct ecological way of life or just a belief system.
  • It is often argued that tribal religious belief is an ecological expression of their existence that maintains an intimate relationship with nature.

-Source: Down To Earth Magazine

December 2023