Current Affairs: 11th November 2020

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

In News:

  • 20th Summit of SCO Council of Heads of State was held on the 10th of November 2020 (in Video Conference Format).

Key points:

  • In the address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to respect “territorial integrity” and “sovereignty”.
  • He reminded that India has traditionally supported infrastructure and connectivity projects in the SCO region and cited examples of the Chabahar port and the North-South Corridor.
  • He reiterated India’s firm belief in regional peace, security and prosperity and raising voice against terrorism, smuggling of illegal weapons, drugs and money-laundering.
  • As a member of the UNSC, India’s attention will be on changing the global rules of governance, he said.
  • From 2021 India will take part in the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member.
  • He announced that in 2021, the National Museum of India will hold an exhibition on the Buddhist heritage of the SCO countries.
  • The President of China hinted at the difficulties among members and said differences should be resolved through dialogue.
  • This was the first SCO Summit held in Virtual Format and the third meeting that India participated in after becoming a full member in 2017.

About Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):

  • SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation.
  • It’s a Eurasian political, economic and military organisation aiming to maintain peace, security and stability in the region.
  • It was created in 2001.
  • The SCO Charter was signed in 2002, and entered into force in 2003.
  • It is a statutory document which outlines the organisation’s goals and principles, as well as its structure and core activities.
  • The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.
  • Prior to the creation of SCO in 2001, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five.
  • Shanghai Five (1996) emerged from a series of border demarcation and demilitarization talks which the four former Soviet republics held with China to ensure stability along the borders.
  • Following the accession of Uzbekistan to the organisation in 2001, the Shanghai Five was renamed the SCO.
  • India and Pakistan became members in 2017.
  • Membership:
    • Kazakhstan
    • China
    • Kyrgyzstan
    • Russia
    • Tajikistan
    • Uzbekistan
    • India
    • Pakistan

 

Survey of River Ganga

Context: 

  • Survey of Ganga River was initiated by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) on behalf of the National Mission for Clean Ganga.

Key points:

  • This is the first study ever done in the country on the entire river, and the first also of all its biodiversity.
  • The institute has been tracking biodiversity through some key aquatic and semi-aquatic species such as the Gangetic Dolphins, gharials, otters, turtles and various species of water birds.

Highlights of the Survey findings are as follows:

  • Ganga river (main river without its tributaries), has found that 49% of the river has high biodiversity.
  • 10% of the high biodiversity areas fall alongside national parks and sanctuaries such as Rajaji national park in Uttarakhand, Hastinapur wildlife sanctuary in UP and Vikramshila gangetic Dolphin sanctuary in Bihar.
  • Increased biodiversity sightings, including of the Gangetic Dolphin and Otters, indicates reduced pollution levels and a healthier state of the river.
  • Many species that used to be found in the main stem and had disappeared, are now coming back, Few such sightings are as follows:
    • Nesting colonies of the Indian Skimmer found.
    • Seibold’s, a species of water snake, disappeared 80 years ago and has now resurfaced.
    • New distributions of the puffer fish found.
    • Many other species have started travelling back from tributaries to the main stem of the river indicating improving water quality and increasing Biodiversity.

 

National Legal Services Day

Context: 

  • National Legal Services Day (NLSD) is celebrated on 9th November every year.

Key points:

  • It aims to spread awareness for ensuring reasonable fair and justice procedures for all citizens.
  • It was first started by the Supreme Court of India in 1995 to provide help and support to poor and weaker sections of the society.
  • Free legal services are provided in matters before Civil, Criminal and Revenue Courts, Tribunals or any other authority exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions.

Following are the Institutions that provide free legal services:

  • National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) – It was constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, the Chief Justice of India is the Patron-in-Chief.
  • High Court Legal Services Committee
  • Supreme Court Legal Services Committee
  • State Legal Services Authority – It is headed by the Chief Justice of the State High Court who is its Patron-in-Chief.
  • District Legal Services Authority – The District Judge of the District is its ex-officio Chairman.
  • Taluka/ Sub-Divisional Legal Services Committee – It is headed by a senior Civil Judge.

Constitutional Provisions on Legal Services:

  • Article 39A – It provides that the State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way.
  • Also to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability.
  • Articles 14 and 22(1) also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law and a legal system which promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all.

 

“Local4Diwali” campaign

Context: 

  • The Union Ministry of Textiles has launched a campaign for Diwali- “Local4Diwali”.

Aim:

  • The main aim of the #Local4Diwali campaign is to urge people to buy and gift Indian handicraft products on this Diwali.
  • The basic aim of the campaign is to give a boost to Indian handicrafts and artisans.

Appeal by Ministry of Textiles:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged the people to use Indian handicrafts and also promote it.
  • The Textiles Ministry has asked the people to come together and show support for local textile and handicraft business.
  • Gift Diyas, home décor or furnishings like curtains, bed sheets or other handcrafted goods to your dear ones on this Diwali. Every purchase counts!
  • To encourage the sale of local handicrafts, share posts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. with hashtag #Local4Diwali.
  • Take a picture of your favorite handicraft product and post the picture tagging others.
  • This campaign will help the handicraft artisans and workers in increasing their sales and promoting their business. After the promotion of the idea of “Vocal for Local” by PM Modi, every sector is working towards promoting local businesses and strengthening Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

 

November 12: World Pneumonia Day

Context:

  • Every year, World Pneumonia Day is celebrated on November 12 by World Health Organization, UNICEF and several other international organizations.

Key Highlights:

  • The first World Pneumonia Day was marked in 2019 by Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia.
  • The Global Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia called GAPP was released by WHO and UNICEF in 2009. 
  • According to GAPP, around 1 million children can be saved every year if treatment and prevention of pneumonia is widely introduced in poorest countries of the world.

About Pneumonia:

  • A course of antibiotics that is less than 1 USD in cost is capable of curing the disease, provided the treatment is started in early stages.
  • Pneumonia sickens 155 million children under 5 and kills 1.6 million each year. This makes the disease number one killer of children under 5 than that of malaria, AIDS, measles.
  • Global Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhea:
    • The GAPPD was launched by UNICEF and WHO in 2009. The main objective of the programme is to reduce the number of children under five who are stunted and end preventable childhood deaths from diarrhoea and pneumonia.

Pneumonia in India:

  • According to the World Health Organization, one in five children in India are affected by Pneumonia. In 2018, Pneumonia killed more than 1,27,000 children. 53% of Pneumonia in India is caused due to child wasting, 27% due to outdoor air pollution and 22% caused by indoor air pollution.

Pneumonia Vaccine in India:

  • In July 2020, Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved the first indigenously developed pneumonia vaccine. 
  • It was developed by Serum Institute of India Limited.
  • By reducing the deaths of children due to Pneumonia and Diarrhoea, one can achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of reducing under five mortality to at least to 25 per 1,000 live births by 2030.