Current Affairs Analysis

16th October 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

INS Sindhuvir; National Ayurveda Day; Dhanwantari; Pancha Mahabhuta; National Dhanwantari Ayurveda Award; Eat Right India Movement; Fit India Movement; Lifestyle diseases; Whole-of-Government Approach; Nandankanan Zoo; Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005; Women Right to residence; INS Sindhuvir; Release of Pulses from Buffer Stock; Buffer Stock; Fly Ash; Fly Ash in Cement Manufacturing; Mahila Kisan Diwas; Good Laboratory Practice Working Group; Mutual Acceptance of Data system; National GLP Compliance Monitoring Authority (NGCMA); Air pollution data; KAPILA Kalam Program; Interfaith marriages; Indian Human Development Survey; Special Marriage Act 1954; Thailand’s protests; India Agricultural Outlook Forum; etc.
By IASToppers
October 16, 2020


Polity & Governance

  • Woman has right of residence in shared household: SC

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Whole of Government approach for FSSAI’s Vision 2050

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Air pollution among top 5 risk factors for deaths in 2019
  • KAPILA Kalam Program

Social Issues

  • Interfaith marriages


  • Release of Pulses from Buffer Stock
  • Mahila Kisan Diwas

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Nandankanan zoo revives adopt-an-animal scheme
  • NTPC begins to transport fly ash across the country

Bilateral & International Relations

  • India designated Vice-Chair of OECD Working Group on GLP
  • What’s behind Thailand’s protests?

Art & Culture

  • National Ayurveda Day

Key Facts for Prelims

  • India Agricultural Outlook Forum
  • INS Sindhuvir

For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here

Polity & Governance

Woman has right of residence in shared household: SC

The Supreme Court ruled that a woman is entitled to claim right to residence in a shared household where she has been living with her husband even if the said premises belongs to his relatives.

  • The progress of any society depends on its ability to protect and promote the rights of its women.

The recent verdict:

  • The 2006 judgement in the case S.R. Batra Vs. Taruna Batra, the court had disallowed the woman involved from claiming any right to live in the said house since it belonged to mother-in-law of the respondent and did not belong to her husband.
  • A three-judge Bench overruled the 2006 judgement of the court and said that in event, the shared household belongs to any relative of the husband with whom in a domestic relationship the woman has lived, the conditions mentioned in Section 2(s) (of The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005) are satisfied and the said house will become a shared household.
  • In case, the shared household of a woman is a tenanted/allotted/licensed accommodation where tenancy/ allotment/license is in the name of husband, father-in-law or any other relative, the Act, 2005 does not operate against the landlord/lessor/licensor in initiating an appropriate proceeding for eviction of the tenant/allottee/licensee qua the shared household.
  • However, in case the proceedings are due to any collusion between the two, the woman, who is living in the shared household has right to resist the proceedings on all grounds which the tenant/lessee/licensee could have taken in the proceedings.

Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005:

  • The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to protect women from domestic violence.
  • The Act provides for the first time in Indian law a definition of domestic violence with this definition being broad and including not only physical violence, but also other forms of violence such as emotional/verbal, sexual, and economic abuse.
  • It is a civil law meant primarily for protection orders and not for meant to be enforced criminally.

Salient features of the Act:

  • It is primarily meant to provide protection to the wife or female live-in partner from domestic violence at the hands of the husband or male live-in partner or his relatives.
  • The law also extends its protection to women living in a household such as sisters, widows or mothers.
  • Domestic violence under the act includes actual abuse or the threat of abuse whether physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic (harassment by way of unlawful dowry demands).
  • One of the most important features of the Act is the woman’s right to secure housing. The Act provides for the woman’s right to reside in the matrimonial or shared household, whether or not she has any title or rights in the household.
  • The Act provides for breach of protection order as a cognizable and non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to twenty thousand rupees or with both.
  • Non-compliance or discharge of duties by the Protection Officer is also sought to be made an offence under the Act with similar punishment.

 [Ref: Indian Express]

Government Schemes & Policies

Whole of Government approach for FSSAI’s Vision 2050

The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare presided over an inter-ministerial meet with FSSAI and senior officials of various ministries to build a Whole of Government approach to achieve ‘Vision 2050’ of the Eat Right India Movement.

  • Noting that 50% of India’s 1.3 billion does not meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance for critical micronutrients, he championed the move for an approach of ‘Food Security to Nutrition Security’.

Stats in India:

  • The economic cost of food borne diseases in India is estimated to be a whopping $15 billion.
  • Wasting (21%), Underweighting (36%), Stunting (38%) are common among children.
  • 50% of women and children suffering from anaemia.
  • The prevalence of Obesity has doubled in the decade (2005-2015) from 9.3% to 18.6% among males and from 12.6% to 20.7% among females with a corresponding rise in deaths due to Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

Eat Right India Movement:

  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) launched ‘The Eat Right Movement’ on 10th July, 2018.
  • Aim: To improve public health in India and combat negative nutritional trends to fight lifestyle diseases.
  • The three major pillars: Eat Safe, Eat Health and Eat Sustainably for the programme.
  • FSSAI has prescribed a limit for Total Polar Compounds (TPC) at 25% in cooking oil to avoid the harmful effects of reused cooking oil.
  • FSSAI has trained about 1.7 lakh food safety supervisors for capacity building under the Food Safety Training and Certification (FoSTaC) initiative.

Fit India Movement:

  • Fit India Movement aims to encourage people to remain healthy and fit by including physical activities and sports in their daily lives.
  • It was launched by PM Modi at Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi on 29 August 2019 (National Sports Day).
  • A committee headed by Sports Minister and comprising government officials, members of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), National sports federations, private bodies and fitness promoters has been formed to take the movement forward.

Lifestyle diseases:

  • Lifestyle diseases happen due to lifestyle disorders.
  • Examples: Obesity, Cardiovascular diseases, Depression, Diabetes Mellitus, Metabolic Syndrome etc.

Key Facts:

  • The government’s flagship public health programmes running presently are:

POSHAN Abhiyaan, Anaemia Mukt Bharat, Ayushman Bharat Yojana and Swachh Bharat Mission and Fit India’ Movement.

What is Whole-of-Government Approach?

  • Whole-of-Government Approach refers to the joint activities performed by diverse ministries, public administrations and public agencies in order to provide a common solution to a particular problems or issues.
  • The approach and content of the initiatives can be formal or informal.
  • Areas covered can be related to policy development, public project management or public services.

To know about Eat Right Movement in detail, kindly visit the link given below:

[Ref: PIB]

Issues related to Health & Education

Air pollution among top 5 risk factors for deaths in 2019

A new study has been published in the medical journal, The Lancet analysed 286 causes of death, 369 diseases and injuries, and 87 risk factors in 204 countries and territories.

  • According to the report, the latest estimates show how vulnerable countries were to the COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Highlights of the study

  • Data has found that air pollution, high blood pressure, tobacco use, poor diet, and high blood sugar were the top five risk factors for deaths in India in 2019.
  • Air pollution contributed to an estimated 1.67 million deaths, followed by high blood pressure (1.47 million), tobacco use (1.23 million), poor diet (1.18 million), and high blood sugar (1.12 million).
  • In 2019, ischemic heart disease with 1.52 million deaths, followed by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke, diabetes and cirrhosis and other chronic liver diseases were the leading non-communicable cause of deaths in India.
  • While child and maternal malnutrition was found to be the leading risk factor for total health loss in India in 2019, air pollution was observed to be the second leading risk factor.
  • 58 per cent of the total disease burden is caused by non-communicable diseases (NCD) – up from 29 per cent in 1990 – while premature deaths due to NCDs have more than doubled from 22 to 50 per cent.
  • Life expectancy in India has raised from 59.6 years to 70.8 years in 2019. But the increase in healthy life expectancy in India has not been the same, which means people are living more years with illness and disability.
  • Child and maternal malnutrition remained to be the top risk factor for illness and death in India, which contributed to more than 20 per cent of the total disease burden in several states in northern India (Bihar and UP).
[Ref: Indian Express]

KAPILA Kalam Program

Union Education Minister virtually launched the ‘KAPILA’ Kalam Program for Intellectual Property Literacy and Awareness campaign on the 89th birth anniversary of former President and Scientist Late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

Highlights of the launch

  • The Institution Innovation Council (IIC 2.0) annual report was also presented on the occasion and the launch of IIC 3.0 was announced.
  • It has also been decided to celebrate the week of October 15th to 23rd as ‘Intellectual Property Literacy Week’.
  • The IIC 3.0 website was also launched

Institution Innovation Council (ICC)

  • Ministry of Education (MoE) has established ‘MoE’s Innovation Cell (MIC)’ to systematically foster the culture of Innovation amongst all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
  • MIC has envisioned encouraging creation of ‘Institution’s Innovation Council (IICs)’ across selected HEIs.
  • A network of these IICs will be established to promote innovation in the Institution through multitudinous modes leading to an innovation promotion eco-system in the campuses.
  • The major focus of IIC is to create a vibrant local innovation ecosystem. Start-up supporting Mechanism in HEIs.
  • Prepare institute for Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements Framework. Establish Function Ecosystem for Scouting Ideas and Pre-incubation of Ideas.
  • Develop better Cognitive Ability for Technology Students.

National Innovation Day

  • It is celebrated on 15th October everyear on the birth anniversary of former President of India Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (APJ Kalam).
  • National Innovation Day exists to encourage young people to be creative and innovative.
[Ref: PIB]

Social Issues

Interfaith marriages

The featuring of an interfaith couple in an advertisement aired by the Tata-owned Tanishq led to accusation of it promoting love jihad.

  • Tanishq finally withdrew the advertisement fearing a larger impact on the brands.

Inter faith marriages in India

  • The Census does not record interfaith marriages in India nor has the government conducted any nationally representative survey to find out about such marriages.
  • A number of studies conducted by research scholars have found that interfaith marriages have limited impact on society at large.
  • For instance, students and faculty of the Central Government-run International Institute for Population Sciences had presented a paper on interfaith marriages in India in 2013 by analysing data from the “India Human Development Survey (IHDS) data, 2005” to explore the extent of mixed marriages in India.

Indian Human Development Survey Findings

  • Though there was no direct question on inter-religious marriage, the paper has taken the religious affiliation of husband and wife to find the number of inter faith marriages.
  • The study suggests that 2.21 per cent of all married women between the age of 15-49 had married outside their religion.
  • The proportion of inter-religious marriages is highest at 2.8 per cent among the women of the young age group (15-19) than other age groups which decrease with increasing age at marriage with 2.3 per cent for those in the age group 20-24, 2 per cent for 25-29 and 1.9 per cent for those above 30.
  • Interreligious marriages are greater among the women living in urban areas at 2.9 per cent compared to 1.8 per cent for rural areas.

About Indian Human Development Survey

  • The India Human Development Survey 2005 (IHDS) is a nationally representative, multi-topic survey of 41,554 households in 1503 villages and 971 urban neighborhoods across India.
  • It was jointly organised by researchers from the University of Maryland and the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), New Delhi.
  • Funding for the survey was provided by the National Institutes of Health.
  • The prevalence of women marrying outside their faith is the highest amongst Christians with 3.5 per cent of women having mixed marriages.
  • Sikhs come second at 3.2 per cent, Hindu’s 1.5 per cent and Muslims 0.6 per cent.
  • The data, however, does not show the religion which the women are marrying into.
  • Punjab has the highest mixed marriages at 7.8 per cent. This high number is attributed to the somewhat similar religious customs and practices followed by Sikhism and Hinduism.
  • Jharkhand at 5.7 per cent and Andhra Pradesh at 4.9 per cent also have a high proportion of mixed marriages.
  • The lowest percentage of mixed marriages are in Bengal at 0.3 per cent, Chattisgarh 0.6 per cent and Rajasthan 0.7 per cent.

Special Marriage Act 1954

  • The Special Marriage Act (SMA) was enacted in 1954 as part of a series of reforms to personal laws in India that Jawaharlal Nehru had made a priority.
  • The SMA was meant to be a legislation to govern marriages that could not be solemnised according to religious customs – which essentially meant inter-faith or inter-caste marriages.
  • Anybody can get married under the SMA without giving up their religion, and there are proper provisions for divorce (including by mutual consent), custody of children, and alimony.
  • The SMA applies to the whole of India except Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Citizens of India residing in Jammu & Kashmir but from another State/UT can also get married in accordance with the SMA.
  • The language of the core provisions of the SMA is gender-neutral (“any two persons”, “the parties”), which means it could textually apply to same-sex marriages.
[Ref: Indian Express; The Quint]


Release of Pulses from Buffer Stock

At an all-India level, average retail prices of urad have shot up almost 40% in comparison to last year, while the average retail prices of tur dal have increased by almost 24%.

  • To contain the rise in prices of pulses, the Union government plans to release 40,000 tonnes of tur dal from its buffer stock into the retail market in small lots.
  • Major consuming centres of urad and tur dal are Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Bihar and Tamil Nadu.

What is Buffer Stock?

  • Buffer stock refers to a reserve of a commodity that is used to offset price fluctuations and unforeseen emergencies.
  • Buffer stock is generally maintained for essential commodities and necessities like foodgrains, pulses etc.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs fixes the minimum buffer norms on a quarterly basis: i.e as on 1st April, 1st July, 1st October and 1st January of every financial year.
  • Government has engaged National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED), Small Farmers Agri-business Consortium (SFAC) and Food Corporation of India (FCI) to procure pulses for buffer stock.
  • A buffer stock of food grains in the Central Pool is maintained by the Government of India (GOI) / Central Government for
    • Meeting the prescribed minimum buffer stock norms for food security.
    • The monthly release of food grains for supply through the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) and Other Welfare Schemes (OWS).
    • Meeting emergency situations arising out of unexpected crop failure, natural disasters, etc.
    • Price stabilisation or market intervention to augment supply to help moderate the open market prices.

Urad Dal

Implementation Mechanism:

  • The Department of Consumer Affairs introduced a mechanism to use the buffer stock of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED).
  • The NAFED procures pulses from farmers at Minimum Support Price rates.
  • The States are supplied pulses either in bulk or in retail packs for supply through the ration shops of the Public Distribution System, or through milk and vegetable outlets run by the government or cooperatives.
  • In order to make the retail intervention more impactful, offer price of pulses for retail intervention has been modified to the Minimum Support Price (MSP) or the Dynamic Reserve Price (DRP) whichever is lower.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Mahila Kisan Diwas

The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare organized Mahila Kisan Diwas on 15th October, 2020.

  • The e-book on ‘Inspiring Stories of Progressive Women Farmers’ was released and two short video films on ‘Mahila Krishak and her Contribution in Agriculture’ and ‘Global Examples of Successful Women Farmers’ were launched.
  • Beekeeping, fishery, poultry, animal husbandry have major scope for women farmers and women centric schemes in these sectors need to be promoted in consultation with the representatives of women farmers.

International Day of Rural Women

  • The United Nations has dedicated October 15 as the International Day of Rural Women.
  • The International Day of Rural Women was created in 1995 by Civil society organizations at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and was declared an official UN Day in 2007 by the UN General Assembly.
  • So, the first ever International Day of Rural Women was celebrated on October 15, 2008.
  • It recognised the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.
  • Rural women are active agents of socio-economic change and environmental conservation.
  • Theme for 2020 International Day of Rural Women is “Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19”
  • Rural women play a crucial role in agriculture, food security and nutrition, land and natural resource management, and rural enterprises.
  • They have been at the front lines of responding to the pandemic even as their unpaid care and domestic work increased under lockdowns, mobility is restricted, supply chains are disrupted, and climate and conflict crises compound COVID-19 impacts.
  • Government of India (GoI) is celebrating 15th October as Mahila Kisan Diwas since 2016.
[Ref: PIB]

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Nandankanan zoo revives adopt-an-animal scheme

The Nandankanan Zoological Park which suffered a huge loss following its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic has revived its innovative ‘Adopt-An-Animal’ programme to mobilise resources for animals.

Adopt-An-Animal programme:

  • When one adopts an animal or a bird, the contribution goes to its care, feeding, enclosure enrichment and renovation.
  • The adoption scheme would bring public, corporate bodies and institutions closer to the zoo and heighten their love and passion for captive animals and birds.
  • More than 100 organisations and individuals have come forward to adopt animals pledging ₹22 lakhs.

Nandankanan Zoological Park:

  • Nandankanan Zoological Park is a premier large zoo of India located near Odisha’s capital Bhubaneswar.
  • It is one of the leading zoos in the country in terms of its fauna population and species diversity.
  • The zoo is built right inside the forest and set in a completely natural environment.
  • It is the first zoo in the world to breed White tiger and Melanistic tiger.
  • It is the only conservation breeding centre of Indian Pangolins in the world.
  • It is the only zoological park in India to become an institutional member of World Association of Zoos and Aquarium (WAZA).
[Ref: The Hindu]

NTPC begins to transport fly ash across the country

National Thermal Power Corporation(NTPC) Ltd., India’s largest power producer under the Ministry of Power, has started to collaborate with cement manufacturers across the country to supply fly ash as part of its endeavour to achieve 100% utilisation of the by-product produced during power generation.

  • During the financial year 2019-20, almost 44.33 million tonnes of fly ash was utilised for various productive purposes.  NTPC produces approximately 65 Million Tonnes of Ash annually, out of which 80% (approx. 52 Million MT) is Fly Ash.

About Fly Ash

  • Fly ash is a byproduct from burning pulverized coal in electric power generating plants.
  • Coal combustion for the generation of electricity results in 30-35% fly ash as a waste product.


  • Presently, in India, about 73% of total ash is being utilized for the production of cement/concrete or mortar and fly ash bricks, road embankment construction, mine filling, low-lying land development, and ash dyke raising.

Other areas where fly ash can be utilized:

  • Lightweight aggregate
  • Manufacture of asbestos products
  • Floor and wall tiles
  • Refractory bricks/tiles
  • Paint Industry
  • Domestic scouring powder


  • Reduces soil erosion by replacing topsoil as ingredients for most construction mixes.
  • Reduces the amount of greenhouse gases being added to the atmosphere.
  • Hydrophobic nature helps in proper draining off of water from roads and structures.
  • Production of crude oil from polyethylene.
  • Also used in sewage treatment and generation of biofuel as an alternate source of energy resources

Fly Ash in Cement Manufacturing

  • Fly ash, being primarily pozzolanic, can be used as supplementary cementitious material in the production of Portland cement concrete.
  • A pozzolan is a siliceous or siliceous and aluminous material that in itself possesses little or no cementitious value but will, in finely divided form and the presence of moisture, chemically react with calcium hydroxide at ordinary temperatures to form compounds having cementitious properties.


  • Higher Ultimate Strength (Fly Ash gains strength with time)
  • Increased Durability
  • Improved Workability
  • Reduced Bleeding
  • Increased Resistance to Sulfate Attack
  • Reduced Shrinkage
  • Almost zero emission of greenhouse gases.
  • Can be used for the construction of structures on/underwater.


  • Apart from producing power from 24 Coal-based power plants, NTPC Group also produces power through 7 combined cycle Gas/Liquid Fuel, 1 Hydro, 13 Renewables along with 25 Subsidiary & JV Power Stations.
[Ref: PIB]

Bilateral & International Relations

India designated Vice-Chair of OECD Working Group on GLP

India has been designated the ‘Vice-Chair’ of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) Working Group of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Good Laboratory Practice (GLP)

  • GLP is a quality system, which has been evolved by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to ensure that safety data generated on various chemicals.
  • It is applied to industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals (Human and Veterinary), agrochemicals, cosmetic products, food/ feed additives, and medical devices, etc.

OECD Principles of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP)

  • The Principles of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) are a managerial quality control system covering the organisational process and the conditions under which non-clinical health and environmental studies are planned, performed, monitored, recorded, reported and retained (or archived).
  • The OECD Principles of GLP are followed by test facilities carrying out studies to be submitted to receiving authorities for the purposes of assessing the health and environmental safety of chemicals and chemical products.
  • The OECD Principles of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) ensure the generation of high quality and reliable test data related to the safety of industrial chemical substances and preparations.
  • The Principles of GLP define the responsibilities of test facility management, study director, study personnel and quality assurance personnel that are operating within a GLP system.
  • It provides minimum standards concerning the suitability of facilities and equipment to perform studies, the need for standard operating procedures, documentation of raw data, study reports, the archiving of records, etc.
  • The principles have been created in the context of harmonising testing procedures for the Mutual Acceptance of Data (MAD).
  • The OECD Principles of GLP concern “non-clinical” testing of a chemical or chemical product, examined under laboratory conditions or in the environment, including work conducted in greenhouses and in the field. They do not include studies which use human subjects.
  • OECD countries have established national GLP Compliance Monitoring Programmes (CMP) with responsibilities for monitoring GLP compliance of test facilities within their territories.

Mutual Acceptance of Data (MAD) system

  • The OECD Mutual Acceptance of Data system is a multilateral agreement which saves governments and chemical producers around €150 million every year by allowing the results of a variety of non-clinical safety tests done on chemicals and chemical products.
  • The data to be shared across OECD and other countries that adhere to the system.
  • The MAD requires that testing be carried out using OECD standards for test methods and for data quality.
  • Governments need to verify compliance of laboratories with the latter standard by using the OECD agreed procedures.
  • The MAD status gives global recognition to country’s non-clinical safety data by tremendously augmenting its credibility and acceptability across the globe.
  • A study generated by GLP laboratories of a member country is acceptable in 36 OECD member countries and 6 non-member MAD adherent countries.

MAD criterias for non-clinical health and safety test study

  1. The study must have been conducted according to OECD Test Guideines and OECD Principles of GLP.
  2. The study must have been conducted in a test facility which has been inspected by a national GLP compliance monitoring programme.
  3. The national GLP compliance monitoring programme must have undergone a successful evaluation by OECD.
  4. If all three criteria are met, all OECD member countries as well as adherents to MAD must accept the study data.
  5. On March 3, 2011, India became full adherent to the Mutual Acceptance of Data (MAD) in the OECD.
  6. This has not only boosted the confidence of Indian GLP TFs but also led to removal of technical barriers to trade.
  7. India’s engagement in OECD’s work on chemical safety and its membership in our MAD system is indicative of the mutual benefit of the ever-closer relationship between OECD and major emerging economies.

National GLP Compliance Monitoring Authority (NGCMA)

  • NGCMA is the National body which grants GLP certification to test facilities (TFs) conducting safety studies on new chemicals of various categories in accordance with OECD Principles of GLP and OECD Council norms.
  • NGCMA was established by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, with the approval of the Union Cabinet on April 24, 2002.
  • The first GLP certificate was granted by NGCMA in 2004.
  • The non-hazardous nature of chemicals needs to be established through studies and data, which is examined by the regulators of the concerned countries to certify that the use of these chemicals does not pose any hazards to human health and the environment.
  • GLP-compliance certification is voluntary in nature.
  • Industries/ test facilities/laboratories dealing with above chemicals and looking for approval from regulatory authorities before marketing them, may apply to the NGCMA for obtaining GLP Certification.
  • A GLP Certification is valid for a period of three years.
[Ref: PIB]

What’s behind Thailand’s protests?

Thailand’s government banned gatherings of more than five people on Thursday in the face of three months of escalating demonstrations that have targeted King Maha Vajiralongkorn as well as Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

How did the protests start?

  • Anti-government protests emerged last year after courts banned the most vocal party opposing the government of former junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha.
  • After a pause during measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, protests resumed in mid-July – pushing for Prayuth’s removal, a new constitution and an end to the harassment of activists.
  • Some protesters went further with a list of 10 demands to reform the monarchy which were cheered by tens of thousands of people at a demonstration in September.
  • Protesters say they do not seek to end the monarchy, only reform it, but conservatives are horrified by such attacks on an institution.

What is the government doing?

  • The government had said protests would be tolerated but that they must keep within the law.
  • That changed suddenly after it accused jeering protesters of obstructing Queen Suthida’s motorcade and as thousands gathered at Government House to demand the removal of Prayuth.
  • It imposed emergency measures banning gatherings of more than five people in Bangkok, forbid publication of news or online information that could harm national security and freed up police to arrest anyone linked to the protests.
  • The Royal Palace has made no comment on the protests and the demands for reform despite repeated requests.

Who are the protesters?

  • Most are students and young people and there is no overall leader.
  • Key groups include the Free Youth Movement, which was behind the first major protest in July and the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, a student group from Bangkok’s Thammasat University, which has championed calls for monarchy reform.
  • Then there is the Bad Student movement of highschoolers, which also seeks education reform.
  • Most protest leaders are in their 20s although one of the most prominent figures, human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa, is 36.

What royal reforms do the protesters want?

  • Protesters want to reverse a 2017 increase in the king’s constitutional powers, made the year after he succeeded his widely revered late father King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
  • Pro-democracy activists say Thailand is backtracking on the constitutional monarchy established when absolute royal rule ended in 1932.
  • They say the monarchy is too close to the army and argue that this has undermined democracy.
  • Protesters also seek the scrapping of lese majeste laws against insulting the king.
  • They want the king to relinquish the personal control he took over a palace fortune estimated in the tens of billions of dollars, and some units of the army.

The Lese majeste laws

  • The monarchy is protected by Section 112 of the Penal Code, which says whoever defames, insults or threatens the king, queen, heir-apparent or regent shall be jailed for three to 15 years.
  • Rights groups say opponents of the government – including more than a dozen of the protest leaders – have recently been charged under other laws such as those against sedition and computer crimes.
[Ref: Indian Express]

Art & Culture

National Ayurveda Day

The Ayurveda Day is being observed every year from 2016, on the day of Dhanwantari Jayanti. This year it falls on 13th November 2020.

  • Lord Dhanwantari is considered as divine propagator of Ayurveda.
  • He is conferred with the virtues of granting health and wealth.
  • Therefore, Dhanwantari Jayanti was preferred for celebration of Ayurveda Day to nationalize this system of medicine which can prove to be a cornerstone for its ultimate globalization.

Objectives of Ayurveda Day:

  • To promote Ayurveda into mainstream.
  • To focus on strengths of Ayurveda and its unique treatment principles.
  • To reduce the burden of disease and related mortality by utilizing the potential of Ayurveda.
  • To explore the potential of Ayurveda to contribute towards National health policy & National Health programmes.
  • To create a sense of awareness in today’s generation and promote Ayurvedic principles of healing in society.

National Ayurveda Day logo:

  • The logo for the National Ayurveda Day has the following elements.
  • The silhouette of lord Dhanwantari in the centre of the logo represents the lord of Medicine.
  • The five petals in logo symbolize Pancha Mahabhuta (Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space).
  • The three circles beneath signify the fundamental principles of Ayurveda (Vata, Ptta, Kapha).
  • An oval leaf encircling the elements depicts the essence of healing through Nature based on these fundamental principles.

National Dhanwantari Ayurveda Award:

  • The award has been instituted by Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India.
  • It is conferred on Ayurveda experts possessing qualifications included in II, III, IV schedule of Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970 and having profound contribution to the field of Ayurveda.
  • The award is conferred every year on the Ayurveda Day.
[Ref: PIB]

Key facts for Prelims

India Agricultural Outlook Forum

The two-day ‘4th India Agricultural Outlook Forum 2020’ webinar started in Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi on 15 Oct, 2020.

  • Main topics for discussion during the forum: current national and international agricultural economic situation dictated by the pandemic and the way in which India and the world struggled to keep their economies going by minimizing the adverse impacts.
  • International organizations participated: FAO, EU and OECD
  • The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW) has been organizing the ‘India Agricultural Outlook Forum’ since 2017.
  • The 1st Agricultural Outlook Forum was organized in August 2017 in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  • The other major issues addressed in the Forum include regulatory issues in agriculture, need for innovative farm technology and management, challenges in water management and agricultural insurance, crop residue management, agricultural trade, etc.

 [Ref: PIB]

INS Sindhuvir

As per the Ministry of External Affairs India will soon deliver a kilo-class submarine INS Sindhuvir to the Myanmar Navy.

  • The step is in line with India’s SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) initiative and its commitment to building capacities in the neighbourhood.
  • The cooperation in the maritime domain is a part of India’s diverse and enhanced engagement with Myanmar.
  • This will be the first submarine of the Myanmar Navy.
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