Current Affairs Analysis

17th October 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

Tulagi Island; Location of Soloman Islands; What is a waqf? What is a Waqf Board? Van Dhan Scheme; Van Dhan Vikas Kendras initiative; Food Safety Mitra (FSM) scheme; Eat Right Jacket and Eat Right Jhola; The State of the World's Children 2019; 20th Livestock Census report; Importance of Livestock rearing; Project Soli; GOAL (Going Online as Leaders); Merger of Manipur with Tripura; Rangdum monastery; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
October 17, 2019


Polity & Governance

  • Manipur shuts down against 1949 merger with India
  • Sunni Waqf Board Ready To Drop Claim To Disputed Ayodhya Land

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Union Minister of Tribal Affairs launches Van Dhan Internship Programme of TRIFED

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Malnutrition behind 69 per cent deaths among children below 5 years in India: UNICEF report
  • Union Minister of Health Launches Food Safety Mitra (FSM) among others
  • Facebook to train 5,000 tribal women to be digital young leaders


  • 20th livestock census: Cattle population down in UP, increases in Bengal

Bilateral & International Relations

  • China signs deal to ‘lease’ Pacific island in Solomons

Science & Technology

  • Why Project Soli is keeping Google Pixel 4 out of India

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Rangdum monastery

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Polity & Governance

Manipur shuts down against 1949 merger with India

Parts of Manipur shut down against the merger of the State with the Indian Union 70 years ago.


  • The response to a bandh for the same reason in Tripura was lukewarm.


  • Under the pressure of public opinion, the Maharaja of Manipur, Bodhachandra Singh, held elections in Manipur in June 1948. Thus, Manipur was the first part of India to hold an election based on universal adult franchise.
  • In the Legislative Assembly of Manipur, there were sharp differences over the question of merger of Manipur with India. While the state Congress wanted the merger, other political parties were opposed to this. The Government of India succeeded in pressurising the Maharaja into signing a Merger Agreement in September 1949, without consulting the elected Legislative Assembly of Manipur. This caused a lot of anger and resentment in Manipur.
  • Tripura’s merger was signed by Maharani Kanchanprabha Devi, who was in charge of the State since her husband and the last reigning king of Tripura, Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya died in 1947.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Sunni Waqf Board Ready To Drop Claim To Disputed Ayodhya Land

The Sunni Waqf Board has offered to drop its claim to the disputed temple-mosque site in Ayodhya and has no objection to the land being taken over by the government for a Ram Temple, a mediation panel of the Supreme Court has said in its report.


  • Besides agreeing to give up its claim to the site of the razed Babri mosque, the Waqf Board has also asked that existing mosques in Ayodhya be renovated by the government. The report calls for a National Institution for Harmony in Ayodhya.

What is a waqf?

  • Waqf is the property given in the name of God for religious and charitable purposes. A waqf can be formed through a deed or instrument, or a property can be deemed waqf if it has been used for religious or charitable purposes for a long period of time. The proceeds are typically used to finance educational institutions, graveyards, mosques and shelter homes.
  • A wakf may include both movable and immovable properties. It may include company shares, accessories of immovable properties, books or money.
  • A person creating the waqf cannot take back the property and the waqf would be a continuing entity. A non-Muslim can also create a waqf but the individual must profess Islam and the objective of creating the waqf has to be Islamic.

How is a waqf governed?


  • Waqfs in India are governed by the Waqf Act, 1995. A survey commissioner under the Act lists all properties declared as waqf by making local investigation, summoning witnesses and requisitioning public documents.
  • The waqf is managed by a mutawali, who acts as a supervisor. It is similar to a trust established under the Indian Trusts Act, 1882, but trusts can be set up for a broader purpose than religious and charitable uses. A trust established can also be dissolved by the board unlike a waqf.

What is a Waqf Board?

  • A Waqf Board is a juristic person with power to acquire and hold property and to transfer any such property. The board can sue and be sued in a court as it is recognised as a legal entity or juristic person.
  • Each state has a Waqf Board headed by a chairperson, one or two nominees from the state government, Muslim legislators and parliamentarians, Muslim members of the state Bar Council, recognised scholars of Islamic theology and mutawalis of the waqfs with an annual income of Rs 1 lakh and above.
  • The Waqf Board has powers to administer the property and take measures for the recovery of lost properties of any waqf.

What is the connection between the disputed Ayodhya site and the UP Sunni Waqf Board?

  • According to the Waqf Act, the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board has the power to administer the disputed Ayodhya site.
  • In 1945, in a suit between the Sunni and Shia Waqf Boards, it was held that the Babri Masjid is a Sunni Waqf.

Can a Waqf Board give up its claim to any disputed site?

  • Waqf property cannot be transferred by the chairperson only as it needs prior approval of state waqf boards.
  • In the Ayodhya case, seven claimants, including six individual litigants and the Sunni Waqf Board, have filed suits as representatives of the Muslim community.
  • With the arguments concluded and the judgment reserved, it would be too late for the Sunni Waqf Board to withdraw the suits. Even if the Sunni Waqf Board were to withdraw the suit, it would need the vote of two-thirds of the Board which would include members of the Muslim community.


  • According to the Hindus, the land on which the Babri mosque (Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh) was built in 1528 is the Birthplace of Hindu Lord Ram.
  • However, Mir Baqi, one of Mughal king Babur’s generals, destroyed a pre-existing temple of Rama and built a mosque called Babri Masjid (Babur’s mosque) at the site. In 1885, a petition was filed by the head of the Nirmohi Akhara asking for permission to offer prayers to Lord Ram inside Babri Masjid. However, the permission was denied.
  • The Babri Masjid was destroyed during a political rally which turned into a riot in December 1992. A subsequent land title case was lodged in the Allahabad High Court, the verdict of which was pronounced in 2010. In the hearing, the Court ruled that the Ayodhya land would be divided into three parts, with 1⁄3 going to the Lord Ram represented by the Hindu Maha Sabha, 1⁄3 going to the Sunni Waqf Board and the remaining 1⁄3 going to Nirmohi Akhara.
[Ref: Indian Express]


Government Schemes & Policies

Union Minister of Tribal Affairs launches Van Dhan Internship Programme of TRIFED

Union Minister of Tribal Affairs launched the “Van Dhan Internship Programme” organised by Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) under Ministry of Tribal Affairs. The interns under this programme will work with the team of TRIFED in various tribal areas in development of tribal welfare and inclusive growth.


Van Dhan Scheme



  • Launched in April 2018, The Van Dhan Scheme seeks to improve tribal incomes through value addition of tribal products.
  • The programme aims to tap into traditional knowledge of tribals by adding technology & IT to upgrade it at each stage and to convert the tribal wisdom into a viable economic activity.
  • It provides enhanced livelihood to about 45 lakhs tribal gatherers which is about 4.5% of the total tribal population in India.
  • Tribal community owned Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) and multi-purpose Van dhan Vikas Kendra are set up under this scheme. Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) facilitates establishment of Van Dhan Vikas Kendras.


  • The scheme is implemented through Ministry of Tribal Affairs as Nodal Department at the Central Level and TRIFED as Nodal Agency at the National Level.

Minor Forest Produce:

  • Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is defined as all non-timber forest produce of plant origin and includes bamboo, brushwood, stumps, canes, Tusser, cocoon, honey, waxes, Lac, tendu/kendu leaves, medicinal plants and herbs, roots, tuber and the like.
  • It is a subset of forest produce which got a definition in the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 or Forests Rights Act (FRA).

Van Dhan Vikas Kendras initiative


  • Van Dhan Vikas Karyakram is primarily a component under the Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA).
  • It acts as common facility centres for procurement cum value addition to locally available Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and skill based handicraft.
  • Instead of gathering NTFP products and directly selling it in the market, tribal gatherers can collect, perform primary value addition/processing at the Kendra and then sell the product in the market for better price realization.
  • A typical Vikas Kendra constitute 10 tribal Van Dhan Vikas Self Help Groups (SHGs), each compromising up to 30 NTFP gatherers or tribal handcraft artisans. At least 60% beneficiaries of the SHG is tribal and the SHG is led by a tribal member.
  • Through this initiative, the share of tribals in the value chain of NTFP is expected to rise from the present 20% to around 60%.
[Ref: PIB]


Issues related to Health & Education

Malnutrition behind 69 per cent deaths among children below 5 years in India: UNICEF report

Malnutrition caused 69 per cent of deaths of children below the age of five in India, according to a The State of the World’s Children 2019.


Highlights of State of the World’s Children 2019

Global Highlights

  • Global Highlights


  • One in three children under the age of five years are either undernourished or overweight.
  • Almost two in three children (6 months- 2 years) are not fed food that supports their bodies and brains.
  • Only 42 % of children under six months of age are exclusively breastfed and an increasing number of children are fed infant formula.
  • From 2000 to 2016, the proportion of overweight children between 5 and 19 years of age doubled from 1 in 10 to almost 1 in 5.
  • Afghanistan and Bangladesh have 49% and 46% children under five who are either stunted, wasted or overweight. Sri Lanka and the Maldives are the better performing countries in the region, at 28% and 32%, respectively.

India specific Highlights

  • Every second child is affected by some form of malnutrition.
  • Malnutrition caused 69 % of deaths of children below the age of five in India. This includes stunting (35 %), wasting (17 %) and overweight (2 %).
  • Only 42 % of children (in the age group of 6 to 23 months) are fed at adequate frequency and 21 % get adequately diverse diet. Timely complementary feeding is initiated for only 53 % of infants.
  • Anaemia is the most prevalent in children under the age five years. Its prevalence among adolescent girls is twice that of adolescent boys. Every second woman is anaemic.
  • One in ten children are pre-diabetic.
  • While every fifth child under the age 5 is vitamin A deficient, 1 in every third baby has vitamin B12 deficiency and 2 out of every five children are anemic.
  • The 6X6X6 strategy (six target beneficiary groups, six interventions and six institutional mechanisms) of Anaemia Mukt Bharat programme has been highlighted for using anaemia testing and treatment as the entry point to provide information on healthy diets.
  • Food consumption patterns in India reveal that child diets are largely starved of proteins and micronutrients and are influenced by household (adult) food choices.

Problem of triple burden



The Innocenti Declaration is focused on Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding.


About the Report:

  • The State of the World’s Children 2019 was published by United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). It is a report in 20 years on child nutrition.

UNICEF has laid out recommendations for nutritious, safe and affordable diets for children across the world:

  • Empower families to reduce demand for unhealthy food.
  • Incentivize food suppliers to provide healthy, affordable food.
  • Create accurate, easy-to-understand labelling.
  • Scale up nutrition by protecting water and sanitation systems.
  • Collect and analyzing quality date to track progress.
[Ref: Economic Times, Indian Express]


Union Minister of Health Launches Food Safety Mitra (FSM) among others

On World Food Day 2019, Union Minister of Health launched Food Safety Mitra (FSM) scheme for strengthening and scaling up ‘Eat Right India’ movement. He also launched ‘Eat Right Jacket’ and ‘Eat Right Jhola’.


About Food Safety Mitra (FSM) scheme

  • The ‘Food Safety Mitra (FSM)’ scheme will support small and medium scale food businesses to comply with the food safety laws and facilitate licensing and registration, hygiene ratings and training.


  • This scheme would also create new employment opportunities for youth, particularly with food and nutrition background. The FSMs, after training, will get paid by food businesses for their services.

About Eat Right Jacket and Eat Right Jhola

Eat Right Jhola

  • The Eat Right Jacket, which will be used by the field staff, has a smart design to hold tech devices, a QR code and RFID tag for identification and tracking. Apart from providing safety to field staff on duty, this would bring in efficiency and transparency in food safety administration.
  • The ‘Eat Right Jhola’, a reusable cloth bag shall replace plastic bags for grocery shopping in various retail chains.

Key Facts

  • FSSAI has partnered with the Domestic Workers Sector Skill Council (DWSSC) under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to launch a training course for domestic workers and homemakers across the country.
[Ref: PIB]


Facebook to train 5,000 tribal women to be digital young leaders

Tribal girls would be trained to become digital young leaders for their communities across villages in the country.


  • This would be the second phase of GOAL (Going Online as Leaders) — a Facebook programme aimed at inspiring tribal girls to become leaders.

About GOAL (Going Online as Leaders)

  • Going Online as Leaders (GOAL) is an initiative of Facebook in partnership with Digital Empowerment Foundation (India) to connect underprivileged young tribal women with senior expert mentors in the areas of business, fashion and arts for teaching digital and life skills.


  • This initiative is a year long programme that was launched in March 2019.
  • The program will give technical support to the socially and economically marginalized women for their needs to succeed, using the technology they may otherwise have not had access to.


  • In the first phase from March to August 2019, 25 eminent people from diverse backgrounds mentored 4 girls each from tribal communities across various states.
  • In the second phase of the programme, 5000 young women in India’s tribal dominated districts will be digitally mentored.
[Ref: Indian Express, Economic Times]



20th livestock census: Cattle population down in UP, increases in Bengal

Despite a marginal increase in cattle population in the country, the number of cattle is down in the Hindi-speaking belt, particularly in Uttar Pradesh.


Highlights of 20th Livestock Census report


Total cattle population in India is 192.5 million in 2019. It was 190.9 million in 2012 when the last such census was conducted.

Increase in numbers


  • The total Livestock population (535.78 million) increase by 4.6% over Livestock Census-2012.
  • The total number of cattle (192.49 million) – increase by 0.8 %
  • Total Bovine population (Cattle, Buffalo, Mithun and Yak) – increase by 1%
  • The Female Cattle (Cows population) – increased by 18 %
  • The population of the total Exotic/Crossbred Cattle – increased by 27 %
  • The total milch animals (in-milk and dry) in cows and buffaloes – increase by 6%
  • The total buffalo’s population – increase by 1 %.
  • The total sheep population- increased by 14 %
  • The Goat population – increase of 10%
  • The total poultry – increase of 16 %

Decline in Numbers

  • Total Indigenous/ Non-descript cattle population – decreased by 6 %. However, the pace of decline of Indigenous/ Non-descript cattle population during 2012-2019 is much lesser than as compared to the 2007-12 which was about 9%.
  • The total Pigs population – declined by 12 %

The other livestock including mithun, yak, horses, ponies, mule, donkeys, camel together contribute around 0.23% of the total livestock.

About the livestock census

  • The Livestock Census has been conducted in India by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying periodically since 1919-20.
  • The Livestock Census covers all domesticated animals and its headcounts. So far 19 such censuses have been conducted. The last such census was carried out in 2012.

Uniqueness of 20th Livestock Census

  • The major thrust given to 20th Livestock Census is the collection of data through tablets computers. The 20th livestock census is a unique attempt as for the first time such a major initiative has been take to digitise household level data through online transmission from the field.

Importance of Livestock rearing

  • Livestock rearing is a key livelihood and risk mitigation strategy for small and marginal farmers, particularly across the rain-fed regions of India.
  • Livestock products comprised 32 % of the total value of agriculture and allied activities in 2006-07 which increased from 27 % in 1999-2000.
  • Livestock wealth is much more equitably distributed than wealth associated with land. Hence, when it comes to inclusive growth, from equity and livelihood perspectives, livestock rearing is of utmost significance in poverty alleviation programmes.
  • Government’s support to livestock rearing has contributed significantly to the empowerment of women and an increasing role in decision making at both the household and village level.
  • Livestock rearing, particularly in the rain-fed regions of the country, is also emerging as a key risk mitigation strategy for the poorest.

Challenges in development of Livestock rearing

  • A lack of public services in animal health that reach out to the poorest in rural areas
  • Failure to link small holder livestock keepers to better paying markets
  • Livestock producers, including traditional pastoralists and smallholders, are victims of natural resource degradation due to pollution and other factors damaging environment.
  • Animal health systems have been neglected and that has led to institutional weaknesses that in turn lead to poor delivery of animal health services and higher risks to livelihoods.
[Ref: The Hindu, PIB]


Bilateral & International Relations

China signs deal to ‘lease’ Pacific island in Solomons

A Chinese company signed an agreement to lease an entire island named Tulagi island, in the Solomon Islands a day after China recruited the soloman islands as its latest ally in the strategically important region.


Which the Tulagi Island was given on lease?


  • Recently, Solomon Island made a strategic agreement on Tulagi island with the state-owned China Sam Group.
  • The agreement with China Sam mentions developing a refinery on the island. However, it can be also use as a Chinese military base as the Solomon Islands has deep water anchorage.
  • Tulagi island is the site of a former Japanese naval base and is the place where World War II fight was fought.


  • Taiwan split from mainland China during a civil war in 1949 and set up a rival government. However, China considers Taiwan to be part of its territory and wants to bring the Taiwan back into its territory.
  • Taiwan was previously the Solomons’ largest ally in the Pacific region. However, recently, Solomon island established diplomatic relations with China ignoring friendship with Taiwan.

Location of Soloman Islands


  • It is located in the continent of Oceania.
  • It does not share land borderswith any countries.
  • It lies east of Papua New Guineaand northwest of Vanuatu.
  • The country takes its name from the Solomon Islands archipelago, which is a collection of Melanesian islandsthat also includes the North Solomon Islands (part of Papua New Guinea).
[Ref: Economic Times]


Science & Technology

Why Project Soli is keeping Google Pixel 4 out of India

This Motion Sense Soli technology allows Google Pixel 4 users to wave their hands to snooze an alarm or skip songs or go back to the last song without touching the screen.


What is Project Soli?


  • Project Soli is a project of search engine company Google.
  • Google’s Soli is a purpose-built chip to track your motion on a microscopic scale.
  • Soli is a sensing technology that uses miniature radar to detect touchless gesture interactions. Radar chip can be used to detect hand movements and gestures to interpret what they could mean.

Key features of the Soli radar chip:


  • The Soli radar chip emits electromagnetic waves and when a human hand interacts with this, some of these waves are reflected back to the antenna. The soli quickly interprets the properties of the reflected signal to carry out the required command.
  • The Soli chip measures just 8mm x 10mm and it incorporates the sensor and antenna array into a single device, meaning it can be used in even the smallest wearables.
  • It has no moving parts, consumes very little energy, isn’t affected by light conditions and works through most materials making it a pretty exciting bit of technology.


  • Google announced Project Soli in 2015. Since then, Google’s ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) division has been developing the technology, which can be used in wearables, phones, computers, cars and IoT devices.

How does Google’s Soli chip work?

  • The Google Soli chip uses radar, so it works by emitting electromagnetic waves with objects within the beam reflecting information back to the antenna.
  • Information gathered from the reflected signal – things like time delay or frequency changes – give the device information about the interaction.

 Why does India not allow the Soli chip?

  • The Soli radar chip works on the 60 GHz spectrum frequency as it has the least interference for the kind of minute movements Google wants to track. However, the 60 GHz spectrum is not commercially usable in India.
  • The 60 GHz band is also known as V-band or WiGig band (Wi-Fi at 60 GHz) using IEEE 802.11ad protocol.
[Ref: Indian Express]


Key Facts for Prelims

Rangdum monastery 

A Buddhist monastery in Ladakh in Kargil district could soon be given Central protection as the Archaeological Survey of India invited suggestions on declaring the Rangdum monastery a monument of national importance.


Rangdum monastery

  • Rangdum monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located in the Suru Valley, Ladakh.
  • It is located midway between Kargil and Zanskar valley.
  • It belongs to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • It was built in 18th century by the Gelek Yashy Takpa.
[Ref: The Hindu]


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