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Current Affairs 16 December 2019 for UPSC Exam


  1. Dengue in Karnataka and Gujrat
  2. Drinking Water Quality and Supply
  3. India-Maldives Joint Commission
  4. Saraswati river
  5. Agitation in North-east over CAB
  6. Drug Resistant Bacteria
  7. Comet 21/Borisov
  8. OSIRIS Rex Mission
  9. COP25- Failure to build Consensus on Climate Action
  10. Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)
  11. Strandhogg


Why in News?

  • National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) data shows Gujrat and Karnataka are on top of the list with total Dengue cases.
  • According to experts in NVBDCP, transmission of dengue is governed by various ecological factors along with : Unplanned developmental activities, Improper water storage, Migration and Improper solid waste management.
  • Earlier dengue was associated with monsoon. Now it has become a self-limiting viral fever which is prevalent all through the year.

Extra information Dengue

  • Dengue is caused by virus (DENV of 4 types)
  • Dengue is spread by infected aedes aegypti mosquito, which breeds in freshwater and bites during the day.
  • National dengue day is observed on May 16th in India.


Why in News?

  • Over 3 Lakh rural inhabitants across the country don’t get the government’s minimum prescribed provision of 40 litre per capita per day (lpcd) of portable drinking water with assured quality.

Extra information

  • National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) was restructured and subsumed into Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) – to provide Functional Household Tap Water (FHTC) to every rural household with service level at the rate of 55 lpcd i.e., Har Ghar Nal Se Jal (HGNSJ) by 2024.


Why in News?

  • On 13th December Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid met Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar.
  • This was the 6th mission and first such commission to be held in 4 years.


  • India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy and Maldives “India First” policy work in tandem to strengthen a dynamic, multifaceted and mutually beneficial partnership.
  • They agreed towards an early extension of the National Knowledge Network (NKN) to Maldives to strengthen academic, research and commercial links between two countries.
  • India’s $1.4 Billion USD economic package pledge on December 2018 as also discussed along.
  • Various constructions and building projects implemented with India’s assistance like Composite Training Centre to train defence forces of Maldives, setting up of Coastal Surveillance Radar System (CSRS) were discussed.
  • The countries also agreed to partner Greater Male Area Connectivity Project, aiming at connecting islands in the west of Male with the capital.
  • Key takeaway: Albeit India’s means, location and generous heart towards Maldives makes security relationships with India a priority and reality, China is a generous donor investing in housing and infrastructure projects and the Maldives government finds it in the good will of the Chinese leadership to work with them.


Why in News?

  • Analysing the sand from 3-10 metres below the modern day river Ghaggar, researchers estimated the date and source of the river, rekindling the question of whether Evidence of River Saraswati’s existence was found.
  • The analysis of the sand shows that Ghaggar river was indeed fed by glacial rivers in the past.


  • The Indus Valley civilization was the largest and oldest urban civilization in the world flourishing the present day North-western India and Adjacent Pakistan.
  • Nearly 2/3rd of the 1500+ archaeological sites of the Indus Valley civilization occur on the dried banks of the Ghaggar River.
  • Presently, Ghaggar river is a seasonal, monsoon-fed river originating in the sub-Himalayas.

In the past: 

  • After the committee had come across an unique palaeochannel (path abandoned by river when it changes course) and relating it to the present Sarsuti, Ghaggar, Nara and Hakra rivers (present-day Ganga, Ghaggar and Yamuna) the K.S. Valdiya committee in its report submitted to the Union Water Resources Ministry has concluded that Saraswati River so far considered mythical, existed.
  • Earlier the river Saraswati was considered as a mythological river and has been mentioned in the ancient Hindu scriptures like the Rig Veda, Ramayana, Mahabharata and others giving credence that it existed during those times.



  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 11th December and the President gave assent on 12th.
  • Some States were kept outside the purview of the Act, which will grant citizenship to Hindus and other non-Muslim minorities of three countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan), under the Sixth Schedule and the inner line permit (ILP) system. The uneasiness on the ground is about what it will mean for the ethnic diversity of the region.
  • The rules under which Hindu and other minorities may get amnesty have NOT yet been specified in the CAA.
  • Around 19 lakh people have been left out of the final NRC list and have to prove their citizenship in Assam’s foreigner’s tribunals.

Background with respect to Assam:

  • Between 1979 and 1985, there were huge movements in Assam against illegal migration which had been simmering on for long, leading to insurgencies by outfits like United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA). After thousands of lives were lost, the Assam Accord was signed in 1985 that aimed to: 1- Stop “foreigners” from Bangladesh entering illegally, 2- Provide constitutional safeguards for Assamese citizens. 
  • According to All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) the CAA now goes against the promise to deport illegal immigrants and instead seems to be welcoming more migrants, and they have filed a Petition in the Supreme Court challenging the CAA .

ILP and its effect:

  • Unlike Assam, the tribal states have got protection from the Act under ILP system.
  • The ILP regulates the visit of outsiders to States under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.
  • It was in force in 3 North-eastern States of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland. On 11th December 2019, Manipur was included under ILP (previously Manipur was withdrawn in 1950).
  • In Nagaland, Dimapur, the commercial hub of the State was brought under the ILP’s purview.
  • Most of Meghalaya is protected from the Act because of the Sixth Schedule- some areas of the capital Shillong however, are outside the purview of ILP.


Why in News?

  • A novel molecule developed chemically linking glycine to a polymer has been found to possess high anti-bacterial activity against multidrug-resistant bacteria Acineto-bacter baumannii while showing no toxicity whatsoever to human cells.


  • The A. baumannii bacteria are already resistant to most antibiotics.
  • On evaluation, the bacteria did not develop any resistance to the new molecule over a period of 14 days, while developing high resistance against other drugs over the same period.
  • The molecule destroyed the integrity and permeate both the outer and inner membranes, even at low concentrations.


  • A (first such identified) interstellar comet to have come close to the Sun from another stellar system.
  • It was spotted by the Hubble telescope.


  • NASA’s first mission to collect samples from an asteroid and return it to Earth.
  • The OSIRIS REx has been orbiting Bennu (the asteroid) since last December.


International climate talks (COP25) ended in Madrid, with major polluters resisting calls to ramp up efforts to keep global warming at bay and negotiators postponing the regulation of global carbon markets until next year

What the Final Declaration says?

  • The final declaration underscored the “urgent need” to cut planet­ heating greenhouse gases in line with the goals of the landmark 2015 Paris climate change accord
  • No consensus were built on matters of carbon trading and carbon markets.
  • They, however eached agreement on the key question of increasing the global response to curbing carbon.
  • All countries will need to put new climate pledges on the table by the time of the next major conference in Glasgow next year.
Infographic, BBC

Opposition and a compromise

Supported by the European Union and small island states, the push for higher ambition was opposed by a range of countries including the US, Brazil, India and China.

However a compromise was agreed with the richer nations having to show that they have kept their promises on climate change in the years before 2020.

What is the evidence for global warming?

The world is now nearly one degree Celsius warmer than it was before widespread industrialisation, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

  • The 20 warmest years on record have all occurred in the past 22 years, with the years from 2015-2018 making up the top four.
  • The WMO says that if the current warming trend continues, temperatures could rise by 3-5C by the end of this century.
  • A threshold of 2C had long been regarded as the gateway to dangerous warming. More recently, scientists and policy makers have argued that keeping temperature rise to within 1.5C is a safer limit for the world.
  • But an IPCC report in 2018 suggested that keeping to the 1.5C target would require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.

How will climate change affect us?

There are varying degrees of uncertainty about the scale of potential impacts.

Potential Effects of Climate Change

The changes could drive freshwater shortages, bring sweeping changes to our ability to produce food, and increase the number of deaths from floods, storms, heat waves and droughts.


The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994. Today, it has near-universal membership. The 197 countries that have ratified the Convention are called Parties to the Convention.

The UNFCCC is a “Rio Convention”, one of three adopted at the “Rio Earth Summit” in 1992. Its sister Rio Conventions are the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat Desertification. The three are intrinsically linked. It is in this context that the Joint Liaison Group was set up to boost cooperation among the three Conventions, with the ultimate aim of developing synergies in their activities on issues of mutual concern. It now also incorporates the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Preventing “dangerous” human interference with the climate system is the ultimate aim of the UNFCCC.


Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) is a maternity benefit programme being implemented in all districts of the country with effect from 1st January, 2017.

  • It is a centrally sponsored scheme being executed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme: Cash benefits are provided to pregnant women in their bank account directly to meet enhanced nutritional needs and partially compensate for wage loss.

Target Beneficiaries:

  • All Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM), excluding those who are in regular employment with the Central Government or the State Governments or PSUs or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law for the time being in force.
  • All eligible Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers who have their pregnancy on or after 1st January 2017 for the first child in the family.

Benefits under the Scheme:

Beneficiaries receive a cash benefit of Rs. 5,000 in three installments on fulfilling the following conditions:

  • Early registration of pregnancy
  • Ante-natal check-up
  • Registration of the birth of the child and completion of first cycle of vaccination for the first living child of the family.
  • The eligible beneficiaries also receive cash incentive under Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY). Thus, on an average, a woman gets Rs. 6,000


  1. It is said that, single mothers and young brides are left out of the scheme.
  2. A mother is unable to get the compensation when she needs it the most, i.e. during the nine months of her pregnancy. While the scheme is solely for the first living child
Tedious documentation 
I Only for the 
I first born 
Provided after 
'—meeting several 
-registration of 
pregnancy, at least one 
ante-natal check-up, 
registration of child birth 
and vaccinations 
Proof of address of 
Omarital home 
A Husband's 
"Aadhaar card 
Minimum age of 
019 years 
Father and mother 
need to 
give separate 
undertaking that 
the child is the 
first living 
child for both of 
• Total 6 application forms to be filled, 
with total 30 of 32 pages to be filled by the 
• As many as 9 IDs to be produced: copy of 
Aadhaar card (or enrolment slip), copy of 
Identity proof, copy of Voter ID card (as age 
proof) for both husband and wife, copy of ration 
card (as proof of address of marital home), copy 
of passbook, Mother and Child protection Card


Why in news?

The Union Home Ministry has sent an alert to all States warning them about the vulnerability of the Android operating system to a bug called ‘StrandHogg’

What is ‘Strandhogg’?

It is a bug that allows real­time malware applications to pose as genuine applications and access user data of all kind.

Types of Malware 
A type Of error. flaw or failure 
that produces an undesirable 
or unexpected result. Bugs 
typically exist in a website's 
source code and can cause a 
Wide range of damage. 
A piece of code that is loaded 
onto your website Or computer 
without your knowledge. It can 
easily multiply end be transmitted 
as an attachment or file. 
Much like the myth, a Trojan 
disguises itself as a normal 
file and tricks users into 
downloading it. consequently 
installing malware. 
A type of malware that automatically 
displays unwanted advertisements. 
Clicking on one of these ads could 
redirect you to a malicioug site. 
A norm relies on security failures 
to replicate end spread itself to 
other computers. They ere often 
hidden in attachments and will 
consume bandwidth and 
overload a web server. 
A software program created to 
perform specific tasks. Bots can 
send spam or be used in a 
attack to bring down en 
entire website. 
Ransomware denies access 
ta your files and demands 
payment through Bitcoin 
in order far access to be 
granted again. 
A type of malware that functions 
by spying on a user's activity. 
This type Of spying includes 
monitoring a user '5 activity. 
keystrokes and more.
February 2024