Current Affairs Analysis

9th October 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

Rafale jets; UNHRC’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR); United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC); Sixth Schedule; Bodo-Kachari; Hajong; Koch; Rabha; Hindu-Kush-Himalayan (HKH) Region; 20 New Moons Found Around Saturn; Satnami; Satnam Rebellion; World Report on Vision; Nobel Prize in Physics 2019; Global Competitiveness Index; Graded Response Action Plan; Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan; C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group;
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
October 09, 2019


Polity & Governance

  • Stop exclusion from Sixth Schedule: Meghalaya tribes

Issues related to Health & Education

  • WHO Launches its first World Report on Vision


  • India’s rank slips on global competitiveness index to 68th place

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • India to work with China, Pakistan to gauge impact of climate change
  • Explained: How plan for clean air works
  • Carbon Emissions Are Already Falling in 30 Cities

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Task force to improve India’s rights record

Defence & Security Issues

  • Why Rafale jets are important for Indian Air Force

Indian History

  • The peasant rebels of the Satnami Rebellion

Science & Technology

  • 20 New Moons Found Around Saturn, Snagging Satellite Record from Jupiter
  • Physics Nobel goes to trio for work on the universe

Key Facts for Prelims

  • ‘Ganga Amantran Abhiyan’ launched

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Polity & Governance

Stop exclusion from Sixth Schedule: Meghalaya tribes

Organisations representing five minor tribes in Meghalaya have asked Chief Minister to intervene in the move to exclude them from the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.


What is the issue?

  • The five minor tribes – Bodo-Kachari, Hajong, Koch, Mann and Rabha – are clubbed as ‘unrepresented tribes’ for nomination in Meghalaya’s autonomous tribal councils.
  • These councils are in the names of Garo, Jaintia and Khasi, the Meghalaya’s three major communities.
  • In September, a sub-committee on the amendment to the Sixth Schedule constituted by the State government decided to recommend to the Standing Committee of Parliament the removal of the word “unrepresented tribes” from the amended special provision.
  • The Organisations representing these five minor tribes says that the proposed amendment will deprive some of the STs of their constitutional rights in the district councils.

About 6th schedule

  • The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India allows for the formation of Autonomous District Councils to administer regions which have been given autonomy within their respective states (i.e., Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram).

six schedule

Features of 6th Schedule

  • The tribal areas in the four states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoramhave been constituted as autonomous districts. But, they do not fall outside the executive authority of the state concerned.
  • The governor is empowered to organise and re-organise the autonomous districts. Thus, he can increase or decrease their areas or change their names or define their boundaries.
  • If there are different tribes in an autonomous district, the governor can divide the district into several autonomous regions.
  • Each autonomous district has a district councilconsisting of 30 members, of whom four are nominated by the governor and the remaining 26 are elected on the basis of adult franchise. The elected members hold office for a term of five years (unless the council is dissolved earlier) and nominated members hold office during the pleasure of the governor. Each autonomous region also has a separate regional council.
  • The district and regional councils administer the areas under their jurisdiction. They can make laws on certain specified matters like land, forests, inheritance of property, marriage and divorce, social customs and so on. But all such laws require the assent of the governor.
  • The district and regional councils are empowered to assess and collect land revenueand to impose certain specified taxes.
  • The acts of Parliament or the state legislature do not apply to autonomous districtsand autonomous regions or apply with specified modifications and exceptions.
  • The governor can appoint a commission to examineon any matter relating to the administration of the autonomous districts or regions. He may dissolve a district or regional council on the recommendation of the commission.


  • Under the Govt. of India Act, 1935, the hill areas of Assam were divided into two categories-Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas.
  • The Lushai Hills (now Mizoram) the Naga Hills and the North Cachar Hills were under the excluded areas, over which the provincial ministry had no jurisdiction.
  • The Khasi and Jaintia Hills, the Garo Hills, and the Mikir Hills were partially excluded areas. These districts had five representatives in the Assam Legislative Assembly.
  • Briefly, these areas were administered by the state government subject to the special powers of the Governor. The 1935 Constitution did not give local self-government or political autonomyto the hill tribes of the excluded and partially excluded areas to manage their local affairs according to their own genius and ability.
  • In order to ensure their participation in decision making and safeguarding tribal interests, the Government of India appointed a Sub-Committee of the Constituent Assembly – the North-East Frontier (Assam) Tribal and Excluded Areas Committee– under the Chairmanship of Gopinath Bardoloi, Chief Minister of Assam.
  • The Bardoloi Committee’s recommended for a simple set-up (District Councils) of the tribal areas, which were incorporated into the Article 244 (2) of the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
  • The Bardoloi Committee also made provision forRegional Council for the tribes other than the main tribe. This scheme sought to build up autonomous administration (District Councils and the Regional Council) in the hill areas of Assam so that the tribal people could preserve their traditional way of life, and safeguard their customs, and cultures.
  • The Committee also recommended the abolition of the excluded and the partially excluded areasand representation of the hills districts in the legislative Assembly.

About Bodo-Kachari

  • Dimasa-Kachari or Kachari, or Bodo is a generic term applied to a number of ethnic groups living predominantly in the Northeast Assam.
  • The Bodo language, one of the languages spoken by this group, has been recognised as an eighth scheduled Indian language in the year 2004.

About Hajong

  • The Hajong are a tribal people native to the northeast Indian states and Bangladesh. Hajongs are predominantly rice farmers.

About Koch

  • Koch, also called Rajbanshi, is an ethnic group dispersed over parts of India (mainly Assam and West Bengal states) and Bangladesh.

About Rabha

  • Rabha are an indigenous Mongoloid community of Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, Myanmar, and Bangladesh, and the Assam, Meghalaya and West Bengal.
  • In Meghalaya, Rabhas are mostly found in Garo Hills districts.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Issues related to Health & Education

WHO Launches its first World Report on Vision

Ahead of World Sight Day on 10th October, the World Health Organisation (WHO), launches its first World Report on Vision.


Highlights of World Report on Vision:

Highlights of World Report on Vision

  • Globally, at least 2.2 billion people have vision impairment or blindness, of which over 1 billion cases could have been prevented or have yet to be treated.
  • Global demand for eye care is set to triple by 2050 because of population growth, ageing, and changes in lifestyle.
  • The burden weighs more heavily on low- and middle-income countries, on rural communities, older people, women, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and indigenous populations.
  • US$14.3 billion is needed to address the backlog of 1 billion people living with vision impairment or blindness due to short and far sightedness, and cataracts.

Main causes of rising cases of vision impairment

  • Eye conditions that can cause vision impairment and blindness – such as cataract, trachoma and refractive error – are the main focus of national prevention and other eye care strategies.
  • But eye conditions that do not typically impair vision, including dry eye and conjunctivitis, are among the main reasons for people to seek eye health care services in all countries.

Other main drivers of the most common eye conditions include:

  • Myopia (near-sightedness): Increased time spent indoors and increased near work activities.
  • Diabetic retinopathy: increasing numbers of people are living with diabetes, particularly Type 2, which can impact vision if not detected and treated.
  • Late detection: Due to weak or poorly integrated eye care services, many people lack access to routine eye checks.

Recommendations of report


Make eye care an integral part of universal health coverage (UHC)

  • Collecting and reporting information on the met and unmet eye care needs of the national population.
  • Developing a package of eye care interventions to respond to population needs for strategic inclusion into the budgeting of UHC.

Implement integrated people-centred eye care (IPCEC) in health systems

  • Strengthening eye care in PHC to improve access, and to adapt to growth in the number of people with noncommunicable eye conditions.
  • Increasing effective coverage of surgery of refractive error and cataract – the leading causes of addressable vision impairment and blindness.
  • Reinforcing the coordination of eye care services in relevant programmes (e.g. diabetes, maternal child health, ageing); and sectors (e.g. social, education and labour).

Promote high-quality research

  • Supporting the creation of a global research agenda that includes technological innovation for eye care.
  • Creating or enhancing existing funding schemes for implementation and health systems research for eye care.
  • Promoting return on investment studies to provide evidence on how investing in eye care secures health, social and economic return.

About the World Report on Vision


  • It is launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • It provides data on the global vision impairment and generate greater awareness to strengthen eye care globally.
[Ref: Indian Express]



India’s rank slips on global competitiveness index to 68th place

India has slipped 10 spots to rank 68th out of 141 surveyed countries in the annual global competitiveness index as several other economies in the world climbed up on the list due to improvements in economic and business activities.


Highlights of Global competitiveness index

Global highlights 


Top 3 countries in Global competitiveness index

  1. Singapore
  2. USA
  3. Hong Kong
  • Asia-Pacific is the most competitive region in the world, followed closely by Europe and North America.
  • Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland etc.) are among the world’s most technologically advanced, innovative and dynamic while also providing better living conditions and social protection.
  • China is ranked 28th (the highest ranked among the BRICS) while Vietnam is the most improved country in Asia (67th place).

India specific highlights

  • India has been ranked 68th which is among the worst-performing BRICS nations along with Brazil. In 2018, India was ranked at 58th.
  • However, India is ahead of its neighbours Sri Lanka (84th), Bangladesh (105th), Nepal (108th) and Pakistan (110th).
  • India ranks high in terms of macroeconomic stability and market size, while its financial sector is relatively deep and stable despite the high delinquency rate, which contributes to weakening the soundness of its banking system.
  • In innovation, India is well ahead of most emerging economies and on par with several advanced economies.

Reason for lower rank of India

  • Weak adoption of Information, communication and technology
  • Poor health conditions and low life expectancy
  • Lack of worker rights’ protections,
  • Insufficiently developed active labour market politics
  • Critically low participation of women

India’s notable rank in various categories:

  • Shareholder governance: 2nd rank
  • Market size and renewable energy regulation: 3rd rank
  • Corporate governance: 3rd rank
  • Healthy life expectancy: 109th
  • Meritocracy and incentivisation: 118th place
  • The skills rank for India was also at 107 despite the Skill India programme running aggressively for several years.
  • With a ratio of female workers to male workers of 0.26, India has been ranked very low at 128th

Other key observations of the report:

  • The world is at a social, environmental and economic tipping point.
  • Subdued growth, rising inequalities and accelerating climate change provide the context for a backlash against capitalism, globalization, technology, and elites.
  • There is gridlock in the international governance system and escalating trade and geopolitical tensions are fuelling uncertainty.
  • This holds back investment and increases the risk of supply shocks: disruptions to global supply chains, sudden price spikes or interruptions in the availability of key resources.
  • Ten years on from the global financial crisis, the world economy remains locked in a cycle of low or flat productivity growth despite the injection of more than $10 trillion by central banks.

About the Global Competitiveness Index


  • The Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) is a yearly report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) since 1979.
  • It maps the competitiveness landscape of 141 economies through 103 indicators organised into 12 pillars.

12 Pillars of Global Competitiveness Index

  • Institutions
  • Infrastructure
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT) adoption
  • Macroeconomic stability
  • Health
  • Skills
  • Product market
  • Labour market
  • Financial system
  • Market size
  • Business dynamism
  • Innovation capability
[Ref: India Today, Economic Times]


Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

India to work with China, Pakistan to gauge impact of climate change

To better gauge the impact of climate change on the Hindu Kush mountains, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) will collaborate with meteorological agencies in China and Pakistan to provide climate forecast services to countries in the region.


About Hindu-Kush-Himalayan (HKH) Region

  • The Hindu-Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region is considered the third Pole after the North and South Poles.


  • It spans Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • It contains vast cryospheric zones. It has the world’s highest amount of snow and ice outside the polar region.


  • A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently highlighted the threat to the HKH region from global warming.
  • The report said that Floods would become more frequent and severe in the mountainous and downstream areas of the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra river basins, because of an increase in extreme precipitation events.

 [Ref: The Hindu]


Explained: How plan for clean air works

Starting October 15, some stricter measures to fight air pollution will come into force in Delhi’s neighbourhood, as part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). The action plan has already been in effect for two years in Delhi.


  • What is new in the recent announcement is that measures aimed at stopping the use of diesel generator sets will extend beyond Delhi to the NCR, where many areas see regular power cuts.

What is Graded Response Action Plan for Delhi & NCR?

  • In pursuant to the Supreme Court’s order of 2016 in C. Mehta vs. Union of India case regarding air quality in National Capital Region of Delhi, a Graded Response Action Plan was prepared for implementation under different Air Quality Index (AQI).
  • Started in 2017 in Delhi and NCR, Graded Response Action Plan defines the measures to taken based on air quality on the basis of PM 2.5 (Particulate Matter of size 2.5 micrometers) and PM 10 in the atmosphere.
  • Based on the air quality the grades have been classified as Severe+ or Emergency, Severe, Very Poor and Moderate poor.
  • A point of criticism, however, is that the focus of GRAP has been limited to the Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR).

How it works?

  • GRAP works only as an emergency measure. It does not include action by various state governments to be taken throughout the year to tackle industrial, vehicular and combustion emissions.


  • Under this plan, emergency measures are automatically enforced in NCR if level of PM2.5 breaches 300 micrograms per cubic metre (µgm/m3) and PM10 levels stay above 500 (µgm/m3) for two consecutive days.
  • If air quality reaches the severe+ stage, GRAP talks about shutting down schools and implementing the odd-even road-space rationing scheme.
  • During ‘very poor’ air quality, it recommends banning diesel generators and parking fee increased by three to four times.
  • It also lists a number of other measures such as closing brick kilns, stone crushers, hot mix plants and intensifying public transport services and increasing the frequency of mechanised cleaning and sprinkling of water on roads.

Implementing agency

  • It is implemented by EPCA (Environment Pollution Control Authority) in pursuance of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

Overview of the plan:

  • The plan requires action and coordination among 13 different agencies in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan (NCR areas).
  • At the head of the table is the EPCA, mandated by the Supreme Court.
  • Before the imposition of any measures, EPCA holds a meeting with representatives from all NCR states, and a call is taken on which actions has to be made applicable in which town.

Measures announced:

Severe+ or Emergency– (PM 2.5 over 300 µg/cubic metre or PM10 over 500 µg/cu. m. for 48+ hours):

  • Stop entry of trucks into Delhi (except essential commodities).
  • Stop construction work.
  • Introduce odd/even scheme for private vehicles and minimise exemptions.
  • Task Force to decide any additional steps including shutting of schools.

Severe– (PM 2.5 over 250 µg/cu. m. or PM10 over 430 µg/cu. m.):

  • Close brick kilns, hot mix plants, stone crushers.
  • Maximise power generation from natural gas to reduce generation from coal.
  • Encourage public transport, with differential rates.
  • More frequent mechanised cleaning of road and sprinkling of water.

Very Poor– (PM2.5 121-250 µg/cu. m. or PM10 351-430 µg/cu. m.):

  • Stop use of diesel generator sets.
  • Enhance parking fee by 3-4 times.
  • Increase bus and Metro services.
  • Apartment owners to discourage burning fires in winter by providing electric heaters during winter.
  • Advisories to people with respiratory and cardiac conditions to restrict outdoor movement.

Moderate to poor– (PM2.5 61-120 µg/cu. m. or PM10 101-350 µg/cu. m.):

  • Heavy fines for garbage burning.
  • Close/enforce pollution control regulations in brick kilns and industries.
  • Mechanised sweeping on roads with heavy traffic and water sprinkling.
  • Strictly enforce ban on firecrackers.

Success of GRAP

  • GRAP has been successful in creating a step-by-step plan for the entire Delhi-NCR region as well as getting on board several agencies such as all pollution control boards, industrial area authorities, municipal corporations etc.
  • The biggest success of GRAP has been in fixing accountability and deadlines. For each action to be taken under a particular air quality category, executing agencies are clearly marked.
  • In a territory like Delhi, where a multiplicity of authorities has been a long-standing problem for effective governance, this step made a crucial difference.
  • Also, coordination among as many as 13 agencies from four states is simplified to a degree because of the clear demarcation of responsibilities.
  • Three major policy decisions that are due to GRAP are the closure of the thermal power plant at Badarpur, bringing BS-VI fuel to Delhi before the deadline set initially, and the ban on Pet coke as a fuel in Delhi NCR.
[Ref: Indian Express]


Carbon Emissions Are Already Falling in 30 Cities

Austin, Athens, Lisbon, and Venice have joined 26 other major cities in steadily reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new analysis published by a coalition of cities known as C40, ahead of its World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen.


About the reduction in carbon emission in 30 cities


  • The 30 cities identified by C40 have curbed emissions by 22 percent.
  • Some of the most significant reductions are in London, Berlin, and Madrid, while Copenhagen lowered emissions by a dramatic 61 percent.
  • Among the 30 cities, Tokyo stands out for being the only non-Western city. It was forced to opt for fossil fuel over nuclear fuel as a massive tsunami in 2011 prompted Japan to shut down all its working nuclear reactors. Tokyo also introduced the world’s first city-level cap-and-trade program in 2010, focusing on urban buildings

About C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group


  • The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) is a group of 94 cities around the world.
  • It represents 1/12th of the world’s population and 1/4th of the global economy.
  • started in October 2005, C40 is focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens.
  • While C40 originally targeted megacities to address climate change, it now has three types of membership categories: Megacities, Innovator Cities and Observer Cities.
  • Cities of India in C40: Delhi NCT, Jaipur, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata.
[Ref: Indian Express]


Bilateral & International Relations

Task force to improve India’s rights record

The government is forming a task force to prepare a National Action Plan on Human Rights (NAPHR) as mandated under the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to improve India’s human rights record.


  • NAPHR, once implemented, will help mitigate the criticism India faces at international level when it comes to its human rights record as well as strengthen the social justice system.

What is UNHRC’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR)?


  • UPR is a process under UN Human Rights Council.
  • It provides opportunities to member states to declare what actions they have taken to improve human rights and to fulfil their obligations.
  • A review of human rights cycle lasts four-and-half years, during which records of member states are reviewed. The first cycle began in 2008 and lasted until 2011 while the third cycle is currently underway since 2017.

Recommendations of UPR

  • In the third UPR of UN in 2017, India accepted several recommendations on human rights related to eliminating poverty, access to safe drinking water, sanitation and improving protection for women and children.
  • However, India refused to accept recommendation related to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.


  • In UPR-1 and UPR-3, UN recommended that India should have NAPHR covering issues such as the rights to health, education, food security, and housing; aspects related to custodial justice; and measures against the trafficking of women and children.

About United Nations Human Rights Council


  • The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations established by the UN General Assembly in 2006, to replace the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR).
  • It aims to promote and protect human rights around the world.
  • UNHRC has 47 members elected for staggered three-year terms on a regional group basis.
  • The headquarters of UNHRC is in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • UNHRC investigates allegations of breaches of human rights such as freedom of association and assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of belief and religion, women’s rights, LGBT rights, Criminals, drug lords in Philippines and the rights of racial and ethnic minorities.
  • The UNHRC works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and engages the UN’s special procedures.

There are subsidiary bodies that directly report to the Human Rights Council:

  • Universal Periodic Review Working Group
  • Advisory Committee
  • Complaint Procedure
[Ref: Hindustan Times]


Defence & Security Issues

Why Rafale jets are important for Indian Air Force

Defence minister will be taking the delivery of the first of the 36 French-built Rafale fighter aircraft. However, the combat jet will be seen in Indian skies only in May 2020.


What are Rafale jets?

  • The Rafale is a multirole fighter aircraft designed based on technology 4+ generation and built by the French aircraft manufacturer, Dassault Aviation.


  • India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets.
  • The aircraft can be used for numerous roles including Air dominance, interdiction, aerial recce, precision long-range strikes including in the maritime environment.

Importance of Rafael for India

  • Rafale, categorised as a 5 generation aircraft for its radar-evading stealth profile, will be a game changer for the Indian Air Force (IAF) since most of the aircraft in India inventory are third- or fourth-generation fighters.
  • Pakistan do not have any fighter jet equivalent to Rafael.
  • The indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas can be categorised as fourth-generation in terms of avionics and technology but it is too small an aircraft to make a difference. Hence, Rafel will enhance Indian air force capabilities.
  • India will only be the fourth country, after France, Egypt and Qatar, to have the Rafale.
  • However, the Rafale cannot be compared with the J-20, an indigenously developed fifth-generation aircraft of China.



  • It can fly at speeds of 1.8 mach (2,222.6km per hour) and has a range of 3,700km.
  • France has promised to ensure that at least 75 per cent of the Rafale fleet is combat-worthy at any given point, failing which, heavy penalties will be invoked.
  • It can be equipped with air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and air-to-surface missiles along with Nuclear weapons
  • Besides the missile systems, the Rafale jets come with various India-specific modifications, including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems etc.
[Ref: PIB, News18, India Today]


Indian History

The peasant rebels of the Satnami Rebellion

In the history of revolts and rebellions, 1672 holds a special significance as in that year, the Satnamis rebelled against the mighty Mughal Empire.


About Satnami

  • The Satnami sect of Hinduism was founded in 1657 in Narnaul (in today’s Haryana) by a saint named Birbhan. These people lived in Narnaul and Mewar.
  • They are considered to be an offshoot of the followers of the great saint Ravidas.
  • Satnami were Hindu worshippers from lower strata of Hindu society that includes peasants, artisans and untouchables.
  • They were known to have dressed simply like saints, and keep shaved heads (and were hence also called mundiyas), and abstain from intoxicants and animal foods.
  • Today the sect numbers over 1.5 million, and followers are to be found in Rajisthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra.

About Satnam Rebellion

  • The Satnami revolt occurred in the reign of the Moghul Emperor
  • During the rule of Aurangzeb, there was resentment among Hindus for revival of Jaziya tax (poll tax on non-Muslim subjects), and general destruction of temples under imperial orders.


  • Due to above, the revolt began in 1672 when a Moghul soldier killed a Satnami. Other Satnamis took revenge on the Moghul soldier, and in turn the Moghul soldiers went about repressing the Satnamis.
  • Satnamis attacked Narnaul, the main township in the area and destroyed the Mughal garrison. They even set up their own administration.
  • In March 1672, The Satnamis marched towards Shahjahanabad (old Delhi). However, they lost battel against emperor Aurangzeb.
  • Most of the satnamis were killed and the remaining Satnamis fled in all directions and remained disorganized and hence they are found scattered in several parts of the country.
[Ref: Down To Earth]


Science & Technology

20 New Moons Found Around Saturn, Snagging Satellite Record from Jupiter

Astronomers just discovered 20 previously unknown Saturn moons, boosting the it’s tally of known satellites to 82.


About the new discovery

  • Astronomers discovered 20 previously unknown Saturn moons. Now, Satrun has 82 known moons. Till now, Jupiter has the highest amount of moons (79).


  • This was announced by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center.
  • All 20 moons are tiny. S17 of them have retrograde orbits (they move around Saturn in the opposite direction to the planet’s rotation). The other three circle in the same direction that Saturn rotates.
  • The 17 retrograde moons belong to the Norse group of Saturn satellites, which share the same basic orbital parameters. Amon remaining 3 moons, the two innermost moons are believed to be from Inuit group, and the outermost moon belong to the Gallic group.
  • The new discovery plays a crucial role in helping determine how solar system’s planets formed and evolved. The newfound moons’ existence suggests that the impacts that created them occurred after Saturn was fully formed.
[Ref: India Today]


Physics Nobel goes to trio for work on the universe

James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz won the 2019 Nobel Prize for Physics for shedding light on the evolution of the universe and discovering planets orbiting distant suns.

Physics Nobel

2019 Nobel Prize for Physics

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2019 was awarded to:

2019 Nobel Prize for Physics

James Peebles:

  • James Peebles for contributions to the evolution of the universe and Earth’s place in the cosmos. His work showed that the matter known (such as stars, planets) only make up 5 percent of universe, while the other 95 are made up of unknown dark matter and dark energy. This is a mystery to modern physics.
  • He won one-half of the prize” for theoretical discoveries that have contributed to our understanding of “how the Universe evolved after the Big Bang“.
  • Using theoretical tools and calculations, he drew a link between the temperature of the radiation emitted after the Big Bang and the amount of matter it created.
  • His work showed that the matter known to us — such as stars, planets, and ourselves — only makes up five percent, while the other 95 percent is made up of “unknown dark matter and dark energy”.

Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz

  • Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.
  • In 1995, they made the first discovery of a planet outside solar system, an exoplanet, orbiting a solar-type star, 51 Pegasi, using Doppler effect which changes the colour of light depending on whether an object is approaching or retreating from Earth.
  • They shared the prize for their discovery of an exoplanet outside our solar system orbiting a solar-type star in the Milky Way.
  • They were able to detect a gaseous ball similar in size to Jupiter, orbiting a star 50 light years from our own Sun.
  • Harnessing the Doppler effect, the pair proved the planet, known as 51 Pegasus b, was orbiting its star.
[Ref: The Hindu, Live Mint]


Key Facts for Prelims

‘Ganga Amantran Abhiyan’ launched

Jal Shakti Minister launched the ‘Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan’, a month-long exploratory open-water rafting and kayaking expedition.


About Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan

  • It is a month-long exploratory open-water rafting and kayaking expedition.


  • It will cover the five Ganga basin states, namely Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.
  • The expedition will draw attention to the ecological challenges being faced by the Ganga. By holding public awareness campaign on the locations at which they will stop.
  • They will also collect water samples from across diverse ranges of the river for the purpose of water testing, while members of the Wildlife Institute of India will undertake flora and fauna census for the year 2019.
  • It is the first ever effort by the ‘National Mission for Clean Ganga’ to raft across the entire stretch of the river.
  • It is also the longest ever social campaign undertaken through an adventure sporting activity to spread the message of river rejuvenation and water conservation on a massive scale.
[Ref: Business Standard]


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