January 03, 2020 – UPSC Current Affairs: Key Prelims News Topics

Mobile Aided Note Identifier (MANI)

  • The Mobile Aided Note Identifier (MANI) is an innovative mobile application launched by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to assist visually challenged individuals in identifying the denomination of Indian currency notes.
  • The app uses the camera of a smartphone to scan currency notes and provides audio output in both Hindi and English to convey the denomination.
  • This technology is a significant step towards inclusive financial services, ensuring that visually impaired individuals have greater independence in currency transactions.

National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)

  • The National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Government of India that provides financial support to the elderly, widows, and persons with disabilities in the form of social pensions.
  • NSAP comprises schemes like the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme, Widow Pension Scheme, and Disability Pension Scheme.
  • This program reflects the government’s commitment to the Directive Principles of State Policy, particularly Article 41 of the Constitution, which directs the State to provide public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness, and disablement.

DRDO Young Scientists Laboratories (DYSL)

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) established the DRDO Young Scientists Laboratories (DYSL) as a network of five cutting-edge defense laboratories.
  • These labs, led by scientists under the age of 35, are located in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad.
  • Each lab focuses on developing key technologies for India’s future defense systems.
  • The initiative aims to foster innovation and drive technological advancements in the country’s defense sector, supported by ample funding and administrative autonomy.

Indian Science Congress

  • The Indian Science Congress is an annual event that brings together scientists from across the country and the world to discuss advancements and developments in science and technology.
  • The 107th edition, held in Bengaluru, focused on Rural Development through Science and Technology.
  • Special features of this edition included the Farmers Science Congress and the Children’s Science Congress.
  • The Indian Science Congress Association, headquartered in Kolkata, organizes the event, playing a pivotal role in promoting scientific research and innovation in India.

Sugar Production in India

  • India’s sugar production is a significant aspect of its agricultural sector and economy.
  • The production figures, which see fluctuations due to various factors like weather conditions and crop health, impact the domestic and global sugar market.
  • The decline in sugar production can affect the prices and export potential of sugar.
  • The government regulates aspects like the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for sugarcane, ensuring a balance between the interests of farmers and sugar mills.

Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS)

  • The Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS) is a recent reform in the Indian Railways, merging existing railway services into a single entity.
  • This move aims to end departmental silos and improve efficiency in railway operations.
  • The IRMS encompasses various specializations and is expected to lead to more coherent policy-making and implementation in the railway sector.
  • The reform is part of a larger effort to modernize and improve the Indian Railways, which is one of the world’s largest railway networks.

Department of Military Affairs (DMA)

  • The Department of Military Affairs, part of India’s Defence Ministry, was established to facilitate greater integration of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • Headed by the Chief of Defence Staff, the DMA aims to promote jointness in operations, procurement, and training.
  • The creation of the DMA is a significant administrative reform, seeking to streamline defense management and enhance the operational effectiveness of the military.

Flight Information System (FIS) Dornier Aircraft

  • The Flight Information System (FIS) Dornier aircraft is a significant addition to the Indian Air Force, particularly for No 41 Squadron, ‘The Otters’.
  • Induction of this aircraft at the Air Force Station Palam enhances India’s aviation capabilities.
  • FIS-equipped aircraft are crucial for missions involving surveillance, reconnaissance, and data gathering, playing a vital role in national security and defense.

Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)

  • The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed by the Indian Parliament has been a subject of intense discussion and debate.
  • It amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 to provide a pathway for citizenship to persecuted minorities from neighboring countries.
  • However, the Act has faced criticism and opposition for its exclusion of certain groups and perceived threat to secular principles, leading to resolutions like the one passed by the Kerala Assembly demanding its scrapping.

Railway Protection Force (RPF)

  • The Railway Protection Force (RPF) is a security force of the Indian Railways responsible for the protection and safeguarding of railway passengers, passenger areas, and railway property.
  • The RPF plays a critical role in maintaining law and order within railway premises and trains, ensuring the safety and security of the rail transport system in India.

National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP)

  • The National Infrastructure Pipeline is a mega project announced by the Finance Minister of India, envisioning an investment of Rs 102 lakh crore in infrastructure sectors over five years.
  • This initiative aims to boost India’s journey towards becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2025, focusing on sectors like railways, power, urban, irrigation, health, and education.
  • The NIP is a significant move to revitalize infrastructure development and stimulate economic growth.

Task Force on National Infrastructure Pipeline

  • The Task Force on National Infrastructure Pipeline was set up to draw up a detailed plan for infrastructure development in India from 2019-2025.
  • The task force’s report outlines significant investment plans in key sectors such as energy, transport, agriculture, irrigation, and digital infrastructure.
  • This strategic roadmap is crucial for realizing India’s vision of becoming a globally competitive and economically strong nation.

Asiatic Lion Census 2020

  • The Asiatic Lion Census 2020, conducted by the Wildlife Institute of India, is a significant wildlife conservation effort focusing on counting the population of Asiatic lions in Gujarat.
  • Utilizing advanced techniques and technologies, such as the use of cameras and scientific methods, this census aims to provide accurate data on lion numbers, informing conservation strategies and policies for this endangered species.

UNICEF Report on Violations Against Children

  • UNICEF’s report highlighting the increase in violations against children emphasizes the growing concern for children’s safety in conflict zones.
  • The report, stating a three-fold increase in such attacks since 2010, calls attention to the urgent need to protect children from violence, exploitation, and abuse worldwide.
  • This report underscores the importance of international efforts in safeguarding children’s rights and well-being.

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)

  • The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi is a central sector scheme aimed at providing income support to small and marginal farmers.
  • Under the scheme, eligible farmers receive direct cash transfers, enhancing their financial stability and agricultural productivity.
  • The scheme represents a significant step towards bolstering the agricultural sector and improving the livelihoods of farmers in India

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