Daily Current Affairs [IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam] – 2nd January 2019

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  • January 3, 2019
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Daily Current Affairs [IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam] – 2nd January 2019



Animal in news: Cinereous vulture

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment and Biodiversity; Animal Conservation

In news:

  • Cinereous vulture was sighted in Jharkhand. Birdwatchers call it a rare sighting, as earlier records of this migratory bird have revealed that it comes to northern parts of India up to Rajasthan. Bird watchers and researchers were baffled to find it in Hazaribagh in Jharkhand.
  • IUCN Red List Status: Near Threatened

Do you know?

  • India is home to nine species of vultures and with the population of these birds dwindling, the country has launched a species-recovery plan through conservation breeding centres in different parts of the country.

9 Species of Large Vultures Found Living in India

  1. Indian Vulture -Gyps Indicus.
  2. Himalayan Vulture -Gyps Himalayensis.
  3. Bearded Vulture -Gypaetus Barbatus.
  4. Slender-Billed Vulture -Gyps Tenuirostris.
  5. White-Rumped Vulture -Gyps Bengalensis.
  6. Cinereous Vulture -Aegypius Monachus.
  7. Egyptian Vulture -Neophron Percnopterus.
  8. Red-Headed Vulture -Sarcogyps Calvus.

India and Pakistan: Humanitarian Gesture

Part of: GS Mains II – India and its neighbours; International Relations

In news:

  • In a peace overture, India has asked Pakistan to take back dozens of Pakistani nationals who have completed jail terms here.
  • Both the countries exchanged lists of convicts who have completed terms.
  • India handed over a list of 249 civilian Pakistani prisoners and 98 fishermen in its custody.
  • Pakistan shared lists of 54 civilian prisoners and 483 fishermen in its jails, who it claims are Indian.

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2019/01/02/DEL/Delhi/TH/5_01/1c0b2d6f_2637321_101_mr.jpg



TOPIC:General studies 2 

  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
  • India and its neighbours; International Relations

India and Bangladesh: The bilateral transformation


  • The coalition led by Bangladesh Prime Minster Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League posted a landslide victory in the recent Bangladesh elections.

Bangladesh under Sheikh Hasina’s regime

  • Under Hasina, the country has undoubtedly done well for itself. She has an enviable record of delivering record economic growth.
  • Bangladesh is one of the ten fastest growing economies in the developing world
  • Bangladesh’s GDP grew at a rate of 7.6% in the last quarter, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
  • World Bank’s latest report states that the economy is likely to remain resilient over the near term, with strong domestic demand and structural transformation.

What Does Sheikh Hasina’s Return Mean For India?

  • Bangladesh is important for India’s security, connectivity to its northeast region, and implementing its Act East Policy.
  • India’s plans to forge a viable alternative to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation rests on Bangladesh, given its location bridging South Asia and South-East Asia.
  • Important for sub-regional groupings like BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) and the BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) Initiative.
  • Diplomatic relations between India and Bangladesh have grown strong steadily whenever the Awami League comes into power.
  • India should work on strengthening its ties with Bangladesh and stress further on connecting with its people by understanding their aspirations and providing necessary support.
  • It will be pragmatic for India to fulfill the promises made to Bangladesh – conclusion of the Teesta treaty and the pending water-sharing treaty.
  • India should also lay emphasis on connectivity between the two countries and lend support to various infrastructure projects planned in Bangladesh.
  • Cooperation between the two countries will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the South Asia region.

Do you know?

  • Bangladesh is India’s largest trading partner in South Asia with an annual turnover of around $9 billion plus an estimated informal trade of around $8-9 billion, across the 4,100-km-long porous border.
  • Cooperation in connectivity, energy, security and intelligence matters has intensified.
  • The Padma multipurpose bridge and the Akhaura-Agartala rail link will dramatically change connectivity within Bangladesh and with India. Waterways are also being revived to reduce the cost of trade.
  • Bangladesh has provided cyber connectivity between the international gateway at Cox’s Bazar to Agartala for faster Internet connectivity in India’s northeastern States.
  • India has also become a partner in Bangladesh’s nuclear power programme, with the beginning of construction at the Rooppur nuclear power plant.
  • India is poised to export around 1100 MW of power to meet the energy deficit in Bangladesh. Power projects totalling more than 3600 MW are under implementation by Indian companies.
  • In 2017, 13 agreements worth around $10 billion were signed in the power and energy sectors.
  • To offset the economic asymmetry, India has granted Bangladesh generous lines of credit (LOCs) and grants, with commitments reaching $8 billion. While LOCs mainly cover infrastructure and connectivity projects, grants flow into social sector development.
  • Capacity building under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme is an important strand in bilateral ties and people-to-people interaction.
  • Bangladeshis are among the largest groups of tourists into India. The visa regime has been liberalised and over a million visas are issued to Bangladeshi citizens annually.


  • There will be setbacks in India-Bangladesh ties, like the current Rohingya issue. India should carefully examine its role in the return of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s efforts in repatriation of the Rohingya have not been successful.
  • Sharing of river waters will remain a challenge.
  • With the rise of religious radicalism and terrorism, defence and security issues will require greater cooperation. Islamist organisations have been breeding grounds for religious radicals and extremist views. These forces will pose a considerable challenge for governance in Bangladesh in the future.
  • China’s security and economic footprint has grown in South Asia and managing this will remain a challenge for both countries.

Connecting the dots:


TOPIC:General studies 2 

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes

Plain packaging of tobacco products: the logical next step for tobacco control policy in India


  • In December 2012, Australia became the first country to introduce plain packaging following the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) guidelines.
  • This year, Thailand and Saudi Arabia will join a growing club of nations introducing plain packaging of tobacco products.
  • They are the first in the Asian and Arab regions, respectively, to adopt the tough measure in order to curb tobacco consumption.
  • It has also been implemented in France and the United Kingdom (both 2016), Norway and Ireland (both 2017) and New Zealand and Hungary (both 2018). It will be implemented in Uruguay (2019) and Slovenia (2020). The move is under process or being considered in 14 more countries.
  • World Trade Organisation (WTO), in June 2018, favoured plain packaging.

Indian context:

  • In India, tobacco is the cause of about one million deaths annually.
  • India implemented larger 85% pictorial health warnings on all tobacco products from 1 April 2016. However, to remove the last bit of glamour and attraction from the tobacco packs, it must now embrace plain packaging.
  • Plain packaging prevents tobacco packs from carrying the tobacco industry brand imagery as mobile billboards. Other than brand and product names displayed in a standard colour and font style, it prohibits the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information.
  • India has taken several preparatory steps implemented by other countries like Australia and the UK that have introduced plain packaging, for example, stronger smoke-free laws, ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, increase in taxes and a report from civil society task force on plain packaging.
  • The trade and investment agreements signed by India are also within the international trade norms relating to public health.

Positive outcomes:

  • The percentage of users in India who thought of quitting because of such warning labels increased sharply to 62% (cigarette), 54% (bidi) and 46% (smokeless tobacco users), according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2016-2017, when compared with the survey results of 2009-2010.
  • Likewise, tobacco use among those aged 15-24 years showed a six-percentage point reduction (18.4% in 2009-10 to 12.4% in 2016-17).
  • The number of tobacco users dropped by eight million.


  • Along with higher taxes and large pictorial warnings, plain packaging can serve as a tool to deter new users and prompt existing users to quit.
  • Plain packaging along with other measures led to 0.55 percentage point reduction in smoking prevalence in Australia, translating into at least 1,18,000 fewer smokers.

Connecting the dots:

  • Do you think plain packaging of tobacco products and increasing excise duty can truly address the addiction of smoking and it’s associated health hazards? Critically examine.


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)


  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
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Q.1) Which of the following statements is/are correct about Vultures?

  1. They are the primary removers of carrion
  2. Vultures of genus ‘Gyps’ are called as flying fox

Select the correct statements

  1. 1 Only
  2. 2 Only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.2) Almost 95% of Vulture population disappeared from India. Which of the following statements are correct about Vultures?

  1. All Vulture species found in India are critically endangered.
  2. Vultures died by consuming carcasses of cattle which were tainted by a pain killer called Diclofinac.

Select the code from following:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.3) Consider the following statements with reference to Vulture Conservation Breeding Centers

  1. These have been established by the Central government under Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
  2. There is at least one such center in every state.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2


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