Daily Current Affairs for 10th October 2020

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NRI quota in professional courses is not sacrosanct: Supreme Court


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

Private colleges and institutions that offer professional and technical courses have a complete discretion to do away with their Non-Resident Indian (NRI) quota of seats after giving reasonable prior notice, the Supreme Court held.

Court’s statements

  • NRI quota was not sacrosanct. Candidates under the quota cannot assert their right to be admitted.
  • Private colleges and institutions, which offer professional and technical courses, have some elbow room: They can decide whether, and to what extent, they wish to offer NRI or management quotas.


  • The judgment came in an appeal against the change in seat matrix introduced in private medical and dental colleges in Rajasthan for post-graduate courses.
  • The colleges could completely eliminate the NRI quota for 2020-21 academy year.
  • The colleges argued in court that the NRI seats would not be filled during the pandemic. Besides, many NRI candidates have been considered for the management seats on the basis of merit.

Non-Resident Indian

  • Overseas Indians, officially known as Non-Resident Indians (NRI/NRIs) or Persons of Indian Origin(PIO/PIOs), are people of Indian birth, descent or origin who live outside the Republic of India.
  • The term says non-resident refers only to the tax status of a person who, as per section 6 of the Incometax Act of 1961, has not resided in India for a specified period for the purposes of the Income Tax Act.
  • The rates of income tax are different for persons who are “resident in India” and for NRIs.
  • For the purposes of the Income Tax Act, “residence in India” requires stay in India of at least 182 days in a financial year or 365 days spread out over four consecutive years and at least 60 days in that year.
  • According to the act, any Indian citizen who does not meet the criteria as a “resident of India” is a nonresident of India and is treated as NRI for paying income tax.

Constitution 93rd Amendment Act, 2006

  • The Supreme Court delivered a judgement August 12, 2005 in the case of P.A. Inamdar & Ors. vs.State of Maharashtra & Ors, declaring that the State can’t impose its reservation policy on minority and non-minority unaided private colleges, including professional colleges.
  • So, to impose the State’s reservation policies on the private unaided colleges, this amendment was enacted.
  • Further, the act aims to provide greater access to higher education including professional education to a larger number of students belonging to the socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  • The number of seats available in aided or State maintained institutions, particularly in respect of professional education, was limited in comparison to those in private unaided institutions.
  • It is laid down in article 46, as a directive principle of State policy, that the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and protect them from social injustice.

Delhi Cabinet gives nod for ‘Tree Transplantation Policy’


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

The Delhi Cabinet approved the ‘Tree Transplantation Policy’ for the preservation of trees in the Capital.

Key details

  • A minimum of 80% of trees affected by a development or construction project will be transplanted and as much 80% of the transplanted trees must survive after transplantation.
  • The Delhi government will form a panel of agencies for tree transplantation and the government departments concerned will contact these agencies.
  • A few days back, the people of Delhi started a huge movement, ‘Yuddh, Pradushan Ke Viruddh’, against the air pollution levels. Various measures will be taken under this, including EV, tree transplantation, and preventing stubble burning. One of the key components of this campaign was the tree transplantation policy.

Save and preserve- Delhi

  • The woodland of Delhi is very dense and the trees are old and strong because Delhi is quite an old city and the government constantly tries to save and preserve trees but often due to construction and development work trees are cut down.
  • Until now, the policy entailed planting 10 saplings as a compensatory effort if one tree was supposed to be cut. The tree which was cut could be around 400-500 years old and a symbol of how nature preserved it and nurtured it for so many years and was different from newly planted saplings.
  • Delhi is the first State in the country where this policy has been passed.

Transplantation cell

  • A dedicated Tree Transplantation Cell will also be formed by the Delhi government and local committees, which will include government officials, citizens, RWAs to monitor the transplanted trees and to certify that the task has been done with due diligence.
  • A smog tower will also be installed in Delhi that will be the second smog tower in the world. The first smog tower in the world was set up in China.
  • The technology used in the smog tower installed by the Delhi government is different from the
  • technology used in China.
  • In China, the smog tower sucks the polluted air from below and releases clean air from above.
  • The smog tower will suck the polluted air from above and release clean air from the bottom.
  • The Delhi Cabinet has sanctioned ₹20 crore for the installation of this first-of-its-kind smog tower, and we hope that the installation work will be completed within the next 10 months.

Pollution in India

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) says that India has 6 of the top 10 most polluted cities in the world. National capital Delhi is sitting on the top of the list.
  • According to a Greenpeace report published last year;1.2 million people die every year in India due to air pollution.
  • According to research by IQ AirVisual, a Swiss-based group that gathers air-quality data globally, and Greenpeace, Of the world’s most polluted 30 cities, 22 are in India,
  • The remaining eight cities are all in Pakistan, Bangladesh and China – but the list doesn’t include Beijing, which comes in at number 122.
  • Pollution in urban areas is usually a mix of different factors – mostly traffic, fossil fuel burning power plants and heavy industries.

What is Smog Tower?

  • It is a structure of concrete that has multiple layers of filters. The size of this structure would be 40 feet in height and 20 feet on each side. In total it requires a compound of around 30×30 metres.
  • The device will be able to take in air from all 360-degree angles and generate 1,300,000 cubic metres of clean air per hour.
  • Although its capacity would have the capacity to clean 32 million cubic metres of air per day.
  • This giant purifier will have 48 fans to keep the flow of clean air going. The manufacturer of this device claims that it could provide clean air to 75,000 people living in the 3 kilometre radius around it.
  • China has passed through such severe air condition and the Chinese government has installed the smog tower in Xi’an in the Shaanxi province.
  • India is also planning to take the same initiative. A Delhi-based company ‘Kurin Systems’ has recently got the patent of the world’s largest air purifier.

DRDO tests anti-radiation missile


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news?

A New Generation Anti Radiation Missile (NGARM), RudraM-I, was successfully flight-tested by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). This is the first indigenous anti-radiation missile of the country.

Key details

  • This is India’s first indigenous anti-radiation missile
  • An anti-radiation missile can locate and target any radiation emitting source like enemy radars, communication sites and other Radio Frequency (RF) emitting targets.
  • They can play a key role in neutralising any jamming platforms of the enemy or take out radar stations thereby clearing a path for own fighters to carry out an offensive and also prevent own systems from being jammed.


  • Rudram is an air-to-surface missile, designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
  • The RudraM-I was successfully flight-tested onto a radiation target located on Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha. The missile was launched from SU-30 MkI fighter aircraft.
  • It hit the radiation target with pinpoint accuracy.
  • The missile after the launch, manoeuvred towards the target based on direction detected by the seeker and all mission objectives were successfully met.
  • It has a range of up to 200 km depending upon the launch conditions. The missile can be launched from altitudes of 500 m to 15 km and speeds of 0.6 to 2 mach.
  • The missile, integrated with SU-30 MkI aircraft, has a capability of varying ranges based on the launch conditions.
  • Having the Inertial Navigation System (INS)-Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation with Passive Homing Head (PHH) for the final attack, it is a potent weapon for the Indian Air Force for suppression of enemy air defence effectively from large stand-off ranges.
  • The PHH can detect, classify and engage targets over a wide band of frequencies as programmed.


  • The NGARM is being developed by Defence Research Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad, as the nodal agency.
  • It is a joint effort involving several DRDO labs, the IAF, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and several public and private sector enterprises.

What is an anti-radiation missile?

  • Anti-radiation missiles are designed to detect, track and neutralise the adversary’s radar, communication assets and other radio frequency sources, which are generally part of their air defence systems.
  • Such a missile’s navigation mechanism comprises an inertial navigation system — a computerised mechanism that uses changes in the object’s own position — coupled with GPS, which is satellite-based.
  • For guidance, it has a “passive homing head” — a system that can detect, classify and engage targets (radio frequency sources in this case) over a wide band of frequencies as programmed.

World Food Programme wins Nobel Peace Prize 2020


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the World Food Programme for feeding millions of people from Yemen to North Korea, with the coronavirus pandemic seen pushing millions more into hunger.

Key details

  • The WFP was honoured for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.
  • the WFP prides itself on being “the leading humanitarian organisation” in a world where, by its own estimates, some 690 million people — one in 11 — go to bed on an empty stomach.
  • This is the 12th time the Peace Prize has gone to the UN, one of its agencies or personalities — more than any other laureate.

WFP’s work

  • Founded in 1961, the UN organisation helped 97 million people last year, distributing 15 billion rations to people in 88 countries last year.
  • Despite making progress over the past three decades, the UN’s goal to eradicate hunger by 2030 appears out of reach if current trends continue, according to experts.
  • War can be caused by hunger, but hunger is also a consequence of war, with people living in areas of conflict three times more likely to be undernourished than those living in countries at peace.

Yemen’s case

  • Yemen, which is living through what the UN has described as the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.
  • Both the UN and aid agencies have repeatedly raised the alarm over the disastrous consequences of the conflict which has claimed tens of thousands of lives since 2015, when a powerful military coalition led by Saudi Arabia joined the government’s fight against Iran-backed Huthi rebels.
  • The conflict has displaced three million people and pushed the country to the verge of famine.
  • The outlook for the world has grown even bleaker this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to earnings losses, made food more expensive and disrupted supply chains.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a strong upsurge in the number of victims of hunger in the world.

United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP)

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security.
  • The WFP strives to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, with the ultimate goal in mind of eliminating the need for food aid itself.
  • It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.
  • Born in 1961, WFP pursues a vision of the world in which every man, woman and child has access at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life.
  • The WFP is governed by an Executive Board which consists of representatives from member states.
  • The WFP operations are funded by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors.
  • WFP food aid is also directed to fight micronutrient deficiencies, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat disease, including HIV and AIDS.

Amid pandemic gloom, 544 reasons for India to cheer


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news?

India has 544 reasons to cheer with the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) releasing their annual publications, ‘Animal Discoveries 2019’ and ‘Plant Discoveries 2019’ respectively.

Key details

Findings of the publications

  • A rock-dwelling gecko, Cnemaspis anandani, endemic to the Western Ghats.
  • Sphaerotheca magadha, a burrowing frog discovered in the farm fields of Jharkhand.
  • Enoplotrupes tawangensis, a dung beetle from Tawang.
  • A wild ginger variety, Amomum nagamiense, discovered from the forest behind Kohina Zoo in Nagaland.
  • A wild fern, Pteris subiriana, found not just in Kerala but also Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
  • ‘Animal Discoveries 2019’ lists 368 faunal species as new to science and 116 species as being spotted for the first time in India.


Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)

  • ZSI is a premier Indian organisation in zoological research and studies to promote the survey, exploration and research of the fauna in the country.
  • It founded on 1 July 1916 by Government of India Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • It has been declared as a designated repository for the National Zoological Collection as per Section 39 of the National Biodiversity Act, 2002.


  • To promote the survey, exploration, research, and documentation on various aspects of animal taxonomy in the Indian subcontinent. It also seeks the advancement of knowledge on animal taxonomy.
  • Make a status survey of the threatened and endemic species.
  • Preparation of Red Data Book, Fauna of India, and Fauna of States.
  • Bio-ecological studies on important communities/species.

Botanical Survey of India (BSI)

  • Botanical Survey of India (BSI) is an organization for survey, research and conservation of plant resources, flora and endangered species of India, including by collecting and maintaining germplasm and gene bank of endangered, patent and vulnerable plant species.
  • It was founded on 13 February 1890, by Government of India Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.


  • Exploration, inventorying and documentation of phytodiversity in general and protected areas, hotspots and fragile ecosystems in particular
  • Publication of National, State and District Floras.
  • Identification of threatened and red list species and species rich areas needing conservation.
  • Ex-situ conservation of critically threatened species in botanical gardens.

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