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Current Affair Analysis

22nd August 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

‘Skin And Bones Unresolved’ report; NISHTHA, National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers Holistic Advancement; SARAL - 'State Rooftop Solar Attractiveness Index'; Solar power in India; Rooftop solar installations; Article 370 of the Constitution; International Court of Justice (ICJ); Law for minimum age for marriage; CITES CoP 2019; Ivory Trade; Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); What is Floccinaucinihilipilification? ‘Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis’; Clark R Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Award; She Taxi; Mahatma Gandhi Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana; Illegally trafficking of tigers; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
August 22, 2019


Government Schemes & Policies

  • Why is age of marriage different for men and women?
  • Kerala Cabinet approves appointment of women drivers for Govt, PSU vehicles

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Union HRD Minister launches NISHTHA to build capacities of 42 Lakh government teachers


  • Power Minister launches SARAL – ‘State Rooftop Solar Attractiveness Index’

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • CITES CoP 2019: Resolution seeking closure of domestic ivory markets not adopted
  • Report on illegal global tiger trade counts 2,359; highest in India

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Islamabad to move ICJ over Kashmir issue

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Conservationist Vivek Menon wins Clark Bavin Award
  • What is Floccinaucinihilipilification?
  • Mahatma Gandhi Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana

For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here 

Government Schemes & Policies

Why is age of marriage different for men and women?

Recently, the Delhi High Court took up a plea that sought a uniform age of marriage for men and women. Court issued a notice to the Centre and the Law Commission of India, seeking their response to the public interest litigation.


What is the current minimum marriage age as per law?

  • Currently, the law prescribes that the minimum age of marriage is 21 and 18 years for men and women, respectively.
  • The minimum age of marriage is distinct from the age of majority (considered to be an adult), which is gender-neutral.
  • An individual attains the age of majority at 18 as per the Indian Majority Act, 1875.
  • The Special Marriage Act, 1954 and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 also prescribe 18 and 21 years as the minimum age of consent for marriage for women and men respectively.

Why a minimum age?

  • The law prescribes a minimum age of marriage to remove child marriages and prevent abuse of minors.
  • Personal laws of various religions that deal with marriage have their own standards, often reflecting custom.
  • For Hindus, the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 sets 18 years as the minimum age for the bride and 21 years as the minimum age for the groom. Child marriages are not illegal but can be declared void at the request of the minor in the marriage.
  • In Islam, the marriage of a minor who has attained puberty is considered valid under personal law.


Evolution of law for minimum age for marriage

  • The Indian Penal Code (1860) criminalised any sexual intercourse with a girl below the age of 10.
  • The provision of rape was amended in 1927 through the Age of Consent Bill, 1927, which made marriages with a girl under 12 invalid.
  • The law had faced opposition from conservative leaders of the nationalist movement such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Madan Mohan Malaviya who saw the British intervention as an attack on Hindu customs.
  • In 1929, the Child Marriage Restraint Act set 16 and 18 years as the minimum age of marriage for women and men respectively.
  • The law, popularly known as Sarda Act after Harbilas Sarda who was a member of Arya Samaj, was eventually amended in 1978 to prescribe 18 and 21 years as the age of marriage for a woman and a man, respectively.


Arguments in favour of having same marriage age

  • Having different legal standards contributes to the stereotype that wives must be younger than their husbands. The law perpetuates the stereotype that women are more mature than men of the same age and therefore can be allowed to marry sooner.
  • The international treaty Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), also calls for the abolition of laws that assume women have a different physical or intellectual rate of growth than men.
  • Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution, which guarantee the right to equality and the right to live with dignity, are violated by having different legal age for men and women to marry. The Law Commission also recommended that the minimum age of marriage for both genders be set at 18.


Court’s view

  • In 2014, in National Legal Services Authority of India v Union of India, the Supreme Court while recognising transgender as the third gender said that justice is delivered with the assumption that humans have equal value and should be treated as equal as well as by equal laws.
  • In 2019, in Joseph Shine v Union of India, the Supreme Court decriminalised adultery and said that a law that treats women differently based on gender stereotypes is an affront to women’s dignity.
[Ref: Indian Express]


Kerala Cabinet approves appointment of women drivers for Govt, PSU vehicles

The proposal by the social justice department of the Kerala government to appoint women drivers in all government departments and Public Sector Undertaking has been approved by the cabinet.


About the Keral’s move to appoint women drivers

  • Kerala government has approved a proposal to frame a new law for the appointment of women as drivers in State Public Sector Undertakings and various departments of the Kerala Government.
  • The decision is part of state government’s plan to ensure gender equality in all sectors of the society.
  • This is for the first time when any state government decided to allow women to drive government vehicles, however, women in Kerala drive auto-rickshaws, taxi, private buses and ambulances.

Objective of the move

  • To remove the disparities in the society and to demonstrate that women can undertake any work traditionally meant to be in the domain of men.
  • To moving towards a gender neutral society.

About She Taxi


  • She-Taxi’ was launched by the Kerala government on November 2013 to provide self-employment opportunities to women.
  • It also ensures safe and convenient transportation facilities to the women passengers.
  • This initiative bagged the Chief Minister’s Award for Innovation in Public Policy in 2014.
  • It was initiated by Gender Park, an autonomous institution promoted by the Department of Social Justice, Government of Kerala.
  • However, it did not receive much success due to the lack of an online system for booking is as one of the reason for its decline. 
  • In 2018, it was taken up by the Kerala State Women’s Development Corporation (KSWDC).

Other decisions by Kerala Government

  • The Kerala government has recently formed the Department of Women and Children.
  • The government recently set up the first women battalion with 550 members in it to increase the representation of women in the police force.
  • The cabinet has also decided to appoint 83 national sports awardees in different government departments.
[Ref: PIB]


Issues related to Health & Education

Union HRD Minister launches NISHTHA to build capacities of 42 Lakh government teachers

Union Human Resource Development Minister launched the National Mission to improve Learning Outcomes at the Elementary level- NISHTHA, National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers Holistic Advancement.


About the NISHTHA:


  • It is an initiative of Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  • Under this programme, standardized training modules will be developed at national level for all States and UTs.
  • It is the largest teachers’ training programme of its kind in the world
  • The features of this programme are activity based modules including educational games, Social-emotional learning, motivational interactions, team building, preparation for school based assessment, in-built continuous feedback mechanism etc.


  • The training will be conducted directly by key resource persons (KRPs) and state resource persons (SRPs) chosen by the state and UTs, who will in turn be trained by persons from the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS), Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and NGOs.


  • A Mobile App and Learning Management System (LMS) based on MOODLE (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) have been developed by NCERT for registration of Teachers, dissemination of resources, training gap and impact analysis etc.

NISHTHA National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers Holistic Advancement 4 iastoppers


  • To build the capacities of around 42 lakh participants covering all teachers and Heads of Schools at the elementary level in all Government schools, faculty members of State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs), District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) as well as Block Resource Coordinators and Cluster Resource Coordinators.
  • To develop teacher’s skills on various aspects related to Learning Outcomes, Competency Based Learning, School Leadership qualities Pre-vocational Education, eco club, youth club, kitchen garden etc.


  • It was observed that the expectation from teachers in the present day is different and includes many new attributes.
  • Teachers today are also expected to be aware of the provisions regarding gender, the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
[Ref: PIB, Live Mint]



Power Minister launches SARAL – ‘State Rooftop Solar Attractiveness Index’

Karnataka ranks the best among states for setting up a rooftop solar project, according to the Attractiveness Index (SARAL) released by Minster of New and Renewable Energy and Power.


Highlights of the SARAL

  • First rank – Karnataka
  • Second rank – Telangana
  • Third rank – Gujarat
  • Fourth rank – Andhra Pradesh

About State Rooftop Solar Attractiveness Index (SARAL):

  • SARAL was designed collaboratively by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation (SSEF), Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and Ernst & Young (EY).
  • It evaluates Indian states based on their attractiveness for rooftop development.
  • It is the first of its kind index to provide a comprehensive overview of state-level measures adopted to facilitate rooftop solar deployment.

SARAL currently captures five key aspects:

  1. Robustness of policy framework
  2. Implementation environment
  3. Investment climate
  4. Consumer experience
  5. Business ecosystem

Solar power in India

  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has set a target of 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, of which 100 GW solar power is to be operational by March 2022, of which 40 GW is expected to come from grid connected solar rooftops.
  • The Indian Grid Connected Rooftop PV (GRPV) segment is slowly gaining momentum with substantial interest from entrepreneurs, financial institutions, development banks etc.

Rooftop solar

  • Rooftop solar installations (large-scale solar power generation plants) can be installed on the roofs of buildings.
  • As such, they fall under two brackets: commercial and residential. This simply has to do with whether the solar panels are being installed on top of commercial buildings or residential complexes.

Rooftop solar 2019 iastoppers 1

What are the benefits?

  • Rooftop solar provides companies and residential areas the option of an alternative source of electricity to that provided by the grid.
  • While the main benefit of this is to the environment, since it reduces the dependence on fossil-fuel generated electricity, solar power can also augment the grid supply in places where it is erratic.
  • Rooftop solar also has the great benefit of being able to provide electricity to those areas that are not yet connected to the grid — remote locations and areas where the terrain makes it difficult to set up power stations and lay power lines.

Potential for Rooftop solar in India:

  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has pegged the market potential for rooftop solar at 124 GW.
  • However, only 1,247 MW of capacity had been installed as of December 31, 2016. That is a little more than 3% of the target for 2022, and 1% of the potential.

Challenges for its wider usage

  • One of the major problems with rooftop solar — and what affects solar energy generation in general — is the variability in supply.
  • Not only can the efficiency of the solar panels vary on any given day depending on how bright the sunlight is, but the solar panels also produce no electricity during the night. Arguably, night is when off-grid locations most need alternative sources of electricity.
  • Storage technology for electricity, however, is still underdeveloped and storage solutions are expensive. Most residential customers will find the cost of installing both rooftop solar panels and storage facilities prohibitive. Residential areas also come with the associated issues of use restrictions of the roof — if the roof is being used for solar generation, then it cannot be used for anything else.
  • Another major reason why rooftop solar is not becoming popular is that the current electricity tariff structure renders it an unviable option. Many states have adopted a net metering policy, which allows disaggregated power producers to sell excess electricity to the grid. However, the subsidised tariffs charged to residential customers undermine the economic viability of installing rooftop solar panels. The potential profit simply does not outweigh the costs.
[Ref: The Hindu, Business standard]


Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

CITES CoP 2019: Resolution seeking closure of domestic ivory markets not adopted

A resolution calling for Japan and the European Union (EU) to close their legal domestic ivory markets was not adopted at the ongoing 18th Conference of Parties (CoP18) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Geneva in August 2019.


What is the issue?

  • The CITES member countries, in a meeting to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, will address issues of the future of the ivory trade, illegal killings of rhinos and the rhino horn trade, management of African elephant populations and the booming exotic pet business.
  • Earlier, a coalition of 30 African elephant range countries in favour of elephant protection strongly criticised the failure of Japan and the EU to close their markets as recommended at the last CITES Conference, in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2016.

What is ivory?

Ivory tusks

  • Ivory tusks are massive teeth that protrude well beyond the mouths of elephants. Elephant tusks evolved from teeth, giving the species an evolutionary advantage.
  • They serve a variety of purposes: digging, lifting objects, gathering food, stripping bark from trees to eat, and defence.

Ivory Trade

  • At least 20,000 elephants are being illegally killed each year for their ivory.
  • On an average around 55 elephants are poached every day in Africa.


Usages of Ivory

  • Commercial uses of ivory include the manufacture of piano and organ keys, billiard balls, handles, and minor objects of decorative value.
  • Ivory is prized for its close-grained texture, adhesive hardness, mellow color, and pleasing smoothness.
  • In modern industry, ivory is used in the manufacture of electrical appliances, including specialized electrical equipment for airplanes and radar.
  • Its use in art dates back to prehistoric times, when representations of animals were incised on tusks.
  • Objects in ivory were created in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Italy and there are many biblical references to its use at least from the time of Solomon.
  • Large Greek statues, such as the Athena of Phidias, were made in gold and ivory and the Romans made lavish use of ivory in furniture, implements of war, and decorative items.

Efforts to stop ivory trade

  • In 1997, the CITES mandated TRAFFIC (a non-governmental organisation working on wildlife trade) to establish and maintain a robust system to monitor ivory trade, now known as the Elephant Trade and Information System (ETIS).
  • China closed its legal domestic ivory market in 2017 and Hong Kong has agreed to a market closure by 2021.
  • In recent years, countries like the S. and U.K. have also banned the domestic trade in elephant ivory.
  • Australia will soon ban the domestic trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn.

About Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

ias toppers CITES

  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) was adopted in March 1973 to regulate worldwide commercial trade in wild animal and plant species.
  • The goal of the CITES is to ensure that international trade does not threaten the survival of any species.
  • The convention resulted from a resolution adopted at a 1963 meeting of member countries of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • The formal text of CITES was entered into force in 1975.
  • CITES is legally bindingon state parties to the convention, which are obliged to adopt their own domestic legislation to implement its goals.
  • It is administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • The number of state parties to the convention are 183and more than 5,800 animal and 30,000 plant species had been classified.
  • CITES classifies plants and animals according to three categories, or appendices, based on how threatened they are:

Appendix I lists endangered species that are at risk of extinction. It also prohibits outright the commercial trade of these plants and animals; however, some may be transported internationally in extraordinary situations for scientific or educational reasons.

Appendix II species are those that are not threatened with extinction but that might suffer a serious decline in number if trade is not restricted; their trade is regulated by permit.

Appendix III species are protected in at least one country that is a CITES member and that has petitioned others for help in controlling international trade in that species.

  • In addition to plants and animals and their parts, the agreement also restricts trade in items made from such plants and animals, such as clothing, food, medicine, and souvenirs.
[Ref: Down to earth]



Report on illegal global tiger trade counts 2,359; highest in India

More than 2,300 endangered tigers have been killed and illegally trafficked since the turn of the century, according to the report named ‘Skin And Bones Unresolved’.


Global Highlights of the report Skin And Bones Unresolved’

  • 2,360 tigers were seized from 2000 to 2018 across 32 countries and territories globally.
  • Apart from live tigers and whole carcasses, tiger parts were seized in various forms such as skin, bones or claws.
  • On average, 60 seizures were recorded annually, accounting for almost 124 tigers seized each year.
  • The top three countries with the highest number of seizure incidents were India (463 or 40.5% of total seizures) and China (126 or 11.0%), closely followed by Indonesia (119 or 10.5%).
  • The vast majority (66 %) of seized commodity types involved Tiger parts, with skins alone accounting for 40.0% of the overall Tiger parts seized from 2000 to 2018.


India Specific Highlights:

  • While the latest tiger census in India shows the tiger population at 2,967, this report uses the 2016 WWF estimate of 2,226.
  • India is home to more than 56% of the global wild tiger population.
  • India has the highest number of seizure incidents (463, or 40% of all global seizures) as well as tigers seized (625).
  • In terms of various body parts seized, India had the highest share among countries for tiger skins (38%), bones (28%) and claws and teeth (42%).

tigers illegally trafficked 3


  • There is need for continued intelligence-led law enforcement, leading to strong and deterrent convictions in the fight against poaching and illegal tiger trade.
  • Information sharing sharing between countries, particularly in cross-border incidents, is pivotal in any effort to crack down on international smuggling operations. Sharing information across borders would allow for such trends to be noted in real time allowing for adaptive management of enforcement approaches.
  • As Tiger skins alone constituted the highest proportion of Tiger commodities seized in 2017 and 2018 (35–39%), the sharing of images of skins by the seizing country can help determine the provenance of the Tiger from the stripe pattern, which would greatly bolster knowledge, of criminal networks that trade in Tiger commodities.
  • Legislation and regulations and their consistent enforcement must be implemented as a matter of urgency, especially where loopholes facilitate illegal trade or where penalties are too low to represent an effective deterrent. In tiger range countries, the opportunity to profit from trafficking in Tigers far outweighs the potential loss of profit.
  • Sensitisation of the judiciary could contribute towards better outcomes for Tiger-related crimes.
  • Provisions to register, manage, monitor, audit and control captive facilities, particularly those with a sizeable stock of captive Tigers in any location or facility is paramount. Transparency in this process is fundamental to prevent laundering, especially when considering that a large number of captive-held Tigers continue to be seized due to illegal operations.
  • DNA profiles and other markings (such as photographic evidence) of captive-held Tigers must be taken and maintained in a centralised registry and reported to the CITES Secretariat to prevent any illegal laundering activity.

About the report

  • It has been compiled by TRAFFIC, a NGO working in conservation and currently in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  • The 2019 report is the fourth iteration of TRAFFIC’s analysis on the illegal trade in Tigers Panthera tigris looking at an overall 19-year trend from 2000 to 2018.
  • Previous analyses reviewed seizures from the 2000–2010, 2000–2012 and 2000–2015 periods.

Key Fact

  • All Tiger subspecies have been listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since 1975. This means that all commercial international trade in Tigers, their parts, products and derivatives, are prohibited.
[Ref: Indian Express]


Bilateral & International Relations

Islamabad to move ICJ over Kashmir issue

Pakistan said it will approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the Kashmir issue, weeks after India revoked the special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan move ICJ over Kashmir issue

What is the issue?

  • Recently, India abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union territories
  • This created tensions between India and Pakistan.As a result, Pakistan went to UNSC for justice. However, the rare closed-door consultations on Kashmir by the UN Security Council ended without any outcome or statement.
  • Hence, Pakistan took decision to take the issue of Kashmir to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the basis of alleged violation of human rights in Kashmir.

Basis on which Pakistan can take Kashmir issue to the ICJ:

  • There are two ways in the ICJ statuteunder which Pakistan can take the Kashmir issue to the ICJ; one is Article 36 (1) and second is Article 36 (2).
  • As per Article 36(2), Each State which has recognized the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ has the right to bring any one or more other countries, which have accepted the same obligation, before the ICJ. 
  • As far as Article 36 (2) is concerned, it will be difficult or nearly impossible for Pakistan to bring India before the ICJ on the Kashmir issue, as India has made a declaration in 1974 in which it exempted (did not followed ICJ ruling) itself from ICJ jurisdiction in two instances. The first is cases involving two members of the Commonwealth and the second is its multilateral treaty reservation.
  • Pakistan might go to ICJ on the Kashmir issue under Article 36 (1) under which the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ has three dimensions. Jurisdiction exists: (a) In respect of all cases which parties refer to it, (b) In terms of all matters specially provided for in the Charter of the United Nations, or (c) In terms of all matters specially provided for in treaties and conventions in force.
  • So, Pakistan may approach ICJ jurisdiction under Article 36 (1) if either there is any treaty and convention in force exist between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.
  • The Shimla Agreement between India and Pakistan in 1972 state that in the case of Jammu and Kashmir, neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations.
  • Under Lahore declarationof 1999, the two countries agreed to intensify their efforts to resolve all issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Therefore, if the jurisdiction of the Court is founded on particular ‘treaties and conventions in force’ or under the UN Charter, it becomes irrelevant for the Court to consider the objections to other possible bases of jurisdiction.
  • If Pakistan goes to ICJ against India’s violation of the principles and purposes of the Charter, as also envisaged under Shimla agreement, pursuant to Article 36 (1) of the ICJ Statute, the Court still will have no jurisdiction to entertain the Application on the basis of Article 36 (1) of the Statute as the UN Charter contains no specific provision conferring compulsory jurisdiction on the Court.

About International Court of Justice:

ias toppers International Court of Justice

  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN).
  • It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946.
  • The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).
  • Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York (United States of America).
  • Its official languages are English and French.
  • Only countries are eligible to appear before the ICJ, not individuals, non-governmental organisations, corporations or any other private entities. 


  • The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. It is assisted by a Registry, its administrative organ.
  • The 15 judges of the Court are distributed as per the regions: three from Africa, two from Latin America and Caribbean, three from Asia, five from Western Europe and other states and two from Eastern Europe.

Role of the court

  • The Court’s role is
  1. i) To settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and
  2. ii) To give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.

Qualifications of ICJ judges

  • A judge should have a high moral character.
  • A judge should fit to the qualifications of appointment of highest judicial officers as prescribed by their respective states or
  • A judge should be a juriconsult of recognized competence in international law.


  • As stated in the UN Charter, all 193 UN members are automatically parties to the Court’s statute. Non-UN members may also become parties to the Court’s statute.
  • Once a state is a party to the Court’s statute, it is entitled to participate in cases before the Court.
  • However, being a party to the statute does not automatically give the Court jurisdiction over disputes involving those parties.

Nature of judgements:

  • Its judgments have binding force and are without appeal for the parties concerned.

When is the jurisdiction of the ICJ compulsory?

  • Some countries recognise the jurisdiction of the ICJ as compulsory by filing a declaration.
  • India and Pakistan have filed these declarations in 1974 and 2017, respectively.
  • Filing such a declaration means that the concerned country (which acknowledges the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ) has the right to move the ICJ against any other country, which also accepts the same obligation, by filing an application instituting proceedings with the ICJ.

What happens when the jurisdiction of the ICJ is disputed?

  • In case there is a dispute related to the ICJ’s jurisdiction, the matter is settled by the decision of the ICJ itself guided by provisions given under Article 36 of the statute.
  • The purpose of the statute is to organise the composition and functioning of the court.

What is the procedure for filing a case in the ICJ?

  • In case of a unilateral application, as per the rules of the court (1978), the applicant state will have to specify the legal grounds for ICJ’s jurisdiction.
  • However, proceedings cannot begin until the country (against whom the application has been made) consents to the ICJ’s jurisdiction over the matter.

Can the ICJ’s judgments be revised?

  • A judgment can be revised if there is discovery of a fact important to the matter which was not known to the ICJ.

 Did India approached ICJ in the past?

  • India and Pakistan were involved with the Kulbhushan Jadhav case at the ICJ. In this case, Kulbhushan, an Indian, was given a death sentence by a Pakistani military court in 2017 on charges of espionage.
  • This case was filed by India based on the breach of Pakistan’s obligations under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The ICJ gave jurisdiction in favour of India.
  • Now, some believed that Pakistan will be approaching the ICJ to decide the Kashmir issue and it will then hardly lie in India’s favour to object to the jurisdiction of ICJ as Kulbhushan case was in India’s favour and hence, India cannot object to ICJ even if ICJ give jurisdiction in favour of Pakistan.
  • Moreover, India’s traditional stance has been that all issues withPakistan would be resolved bilaterally and the change (taking issues to ICJ) could give an opening to Pakistan to internationalize the Kashmir issue.
[Ref: Indian Express, Live Mint, India Today]


Key Facts for Prelims

Conservationist Vivek Menon wins Clark Bavin Award

Conservationist Vivek Menon, head of Delhi-based conservation non-profit, Wildlife Trust of India was awarded the prestigious Clark R Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Award for the year 2019 in Geneva.

Vivek Menon Clark Bavin

About the Clark R Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Award

  • It is instituted by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), a non-governmental organization based in USA.
  • It has been named in memory of Clark R. Bavin, who was the Chief of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Law Enforcement.
  • It is given to wildlife law enforcement officers, law enforcement agencies and others who have engaged in one or more exemplary law enforcement actions to protect species of wildlife listed in the Appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species(CITECS).
  • It is presented by the Secretary-General of CITES during meetings of the Conference of the Parties.
[Ref: Down To Earth]


What is Floccinaucinihilipilification?

In the minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee, which decides on India’s monetary policy, one of the government-nominated members stated that ‘Estimates of economic growth in India have unfortunately been subject to a fair degree of floccinaucinihilipilification’.


What is Floccinaucinihilipilification?

  • Floccinaucinihilipilification is the action or habit of estimating something as worthless.
  • The word has Latin roots — flocci, nauci, nihili, pili — all of which mean at little value.
  • It was used to characterise the efforts of several economists who have raised doubts about the validity of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) estimates.
  • Recently, the debate about the correctness of India’s GDP estimates received fresh impetus when chief economic adviser went on to say that existing GDP growth rates overestimate growth by as much as 2.5 percentage points.

Key Fact

  • The longest word in English is 45-letter word ‘Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis’, which is a lung disease caused by the inhalation of silica or quartz dust.
[Ref: Indian Express]


Mahatma Gandhi Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana

Mahatma Gandhi Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana

  • Punjab government’s flagship universal health insurance scheme — Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana was launched recently.
  • With this scheme, covering 76% of the state’s population, Punjab has become the first state in the country to offer medical insurance cover to the maximum number of its people.
  • The scheme incorporates Ayushman Bharat or Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), Centre’s health insurance scheme for poor.
  • By clubbing Centre’s Ayushman Bharat plan with its MGSSBY, it is expected to benefit 46 lakh families covering 76% of state’s population.
  • Going by last Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC), Ayushman Bharat or PMJAY would have covered 14.86 lakh families in Punjab.


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