Daily Current Affairs for 13th August 2020

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Keep Arunachal out of any Naga peace deal’


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

Why in News:

The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) also rejected claims that there were Nagas living in their State while making it clear that any “territorial changes” while finding a solution would not be tolerated.

Demand of Nagalim

  • Nagalim, a longterm goal of the NSCN (IM), encompasses Naga inhabited areas of Myanmar and the northeastern States bordering Nagaland.
  • The Nagalim map the outfit released a few years ago includes Tirap, Changlang, Longding, Anjaw, Lohit and Namsai districts of Arunachal Pradesh.


The peace talks between the Government of India and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), NSCN (IM), could not yield a peace agreement by October 31, the government’s deadline for concluding an accord.


  • The Centre’s push for a solution to the vexed issue by October 2019 and the non-flexibility of the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) on the “Naga national flag” and “Naga Yezhabo (constitution) have delayed the peace settlement.
  • NSCN (IM) intends to have a framework where India and Nagaland would be independent allies in a shared-sovereignty federal relationship. 
  • The Indian government is not ready to accept these demands though is willing to allow for regional autonomy within the framework of the Indian constitution.
  • Other Naga groups namely the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) have already promised a settlement with or without the NSCN (IM). However, it is important to have NSCN (IM) on board to find a perpetual solution to this issue.

IISER Bhopal scientists’ study on seed germination may lead to crop improvement


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

Why in News:

A team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Bhopal, has conducted a study on seed germination that could have a major impact on agriculture in the long run by helping determine the optimum timing of seed germination and thus ensure high plant yields.

Key details:

  • The study is focused on the interplay between plant hormones like abscisic acid (ABA) which inhibit the sprouting of the seed and environmental cues like light and darkness.
  • All plants, depending on their external environment, make the decision to open its embryonic leaves aftersprouting or to enforce a growth arrest.
  • Being ‘sessile’, plants have an extraordinary sensing mechanism to allow them assess environmental conditions before a seed decides to open up and establish as a young seedling.
  • Like humans, plants, too, have hormones like ABA that modulate their growth and development,plants, too mediate a “developmental lockdown” under stressful conditions to ensure their survival.

Why this study is important?

Although ABA, a ubiquitous plant hormone, was discovered almost 80 years ago and the mechanisms underlying germination inhibition by this protein have been the subject of intensive research, there is scant knowledge about the mechanisms controlled by ABA for arresting the post germination growth in response to environmental cues.

Abscisic acid (ABA

  • Abscisic acid(ABA) is a plant hormone.
  • ABA functions in many plant developmental processes, including seed and bud dormancy, the control of organ size and stomatal closure.
  • It is especially important for plants in the response to environmental stresses, including drought, soil salinity, cold tolerance, freezing tolerance, heat stress and heavy metal ion tolerance.

Seed Germination:

  • Seed germination may be defined as the fundamental process by which different plant species grow from a single seed into a plant. This process influences both crop yield and quality.
  • A common example of seed germination is the sprouting of a seedling from a seed of an angiosperm or gymnosperm.

Vaccine panel mulls early access


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

Why in News:

The first ever meeting of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID19 decided on conceptualization and implementation mechanisms for creation of a digital infrastructure for inventory management and delivery mechanism of the vaccine including tracking of vaccination process with particular focus on last mile delivery.

Key Details:

  • The expert group discussed on the financial resources required for procurement of COVID19 vaccine and various options of financing the same.
  • Available options in terms of delivery platforms, cold chain and associated infrastructure for roll out of COVID19 vaccination were also taken up.
  • The expert group also discussed that India will leverage domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity and will also engage with all international players for early delivery of vaccines not only in India but also in low- and middle-income countries

The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID19

  • It a single central system which I set up to procure covid-19 vaccines for pan-India requirements, which will be supervised by the Centre, and advised states not to initiate separate mechanisms to buy the antigen.
  • Though there are several groups on vaccine development, this group is significant as it is expected to deliberate on how a vaccine, whenever it is available, will be practically made available to Indians.
  • They also deliberated on the broad parameters to select vaccine candidates for the country and sought inputs from the standing technical sub-committee of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI).
  • The meeting was chaired by Dr V.K. Paul, member of NITI Aayog, with Rajesh Bhushan, secretary, ministry of health and family welfare, as the co-chair.

Poor access to abortion drugs revealed by the recent study


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

Why in News:

  • A study conducted by the Foundation for Reproductive Health Services India (FRHSI) indicated a severe shortage of medical abortion (MA) drugs in five out of the six States surveyed.
  • Severe shortage in Madhya Pradesh (6.5%), Punjab (1%), Tamil Nadu (2%), Haryana (2%) and Delhi (34%).


  • The findings show that Statewise regulatory and legal barriers are the key reasons that 79% of the chemists surveyed refrained from stocking these drugs.
  • Overregulation of drugs to curb gender biased sex selection such as through government programmes like ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ has hindered access to safe, legal and cost-effective abortion.


  • The regulatory crackdown has resulted in abortion services on the whole becoming inaccessible, especially those during the second trimester.
  • The lack of availability of Medical Abortion drugs forces many women to seek a surgical abortion from a facility, reducing her choice.
  • It will also reduce access to safe abortion and force them to seek services from unsafe providers.
  • Abortions are allowed under the Medical Termination Act.
  • The law on abortions allows termination of pregnancy in the first nine weeks and in some cases even in the second trimester, such as in sexual assault cases as well as due to foetal anomalies.

Additional Information:

  • Abortion pills are different from emergency contraceptive pills.
  • The latter are taken 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent an unintended pregnancy.
  • Abortion pills or MA drugs are abortifacients which terminate a pregnancy by expelling an embryo or foetus.

Forest loss threatens hornbills


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

Why in News:

A study based on satellite data has flagged a high rate of deforestation in a major hornbill habitat in Arunachal Pradesh.

Key Details:

  • Using fine scale satellite imagery, a trio of ecologists assessed the changes in forest cover of the 1,064 sq.km. Papum Reserve Forest (RF) adjoining the Pakke Tiger Reserve as well as a part of Assam.
  • Papum RF is a nesting habitat of three species of the large, colourful fruit eating hornbills: Great, Wreathed and Oriental Pied.
  • The 862 sq.km. Pakke reserve houses a fourth species, the Rufous Necked.
  • The satellite data pointed to alarming deforestation rates in Papum RF with annual loss rates as high as 8.2 sq.km. as per estimates from 2013- 2017 where forest cover declined to 76% of the total RF area,


  • The loss and degradation of critical hornbill habitat in the biologically rich forests of the Indian Eastern Himalaya is due to illegal logging within a 1 km radius around 29 hornbill nest trees.
  • From 2011 to 2019, the forest cover was found to have declined from 38.55 sq.km. to 21.94 sq.km. around these trees.
  • Hornbills used to be hunted for their casques — upper beak — and feathers for headgear despite being cultural symbols of some ethnic communities in the northeast, specifically the Nyishi of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Illegal logging, has led to fewer tall trees where the bird’s nest.
  • According to the Global Forest Watch 2020 report, the State lost 1,110 sq.km. of primary forest from 2002-2019 due to illegal logging.


Great Indian Hornbill

  • The great hornbill is one of the larger members of the hornbill family, In India the bird is found in Western Ghats and in North-east India.
  • The bird is state bird of Kerala and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Recently the bird was documented probably for the first time within Coonoor town in the Nilgiris.
  • The bird is known to populate the lower slopes of the Nilgiris up to an elevation of around 1,200 meters above mean sea level.
  • It is an elusive species which tends to steer clear of major towns and human habitations.
  • According to IUCN the Great Indian Horn bill is consider to be Vulnerable.

Hornbill Festival:

The objective of this festival is to

  • To protect and promote the rich culture of Nagaland.
  • Revive the traditions of Nagaland.
  • To promote inter-tribal interaction.
  • Promote tourism in Nagaland, by helping the tourists experience the customs, food, songs and, dance of Nagaland.

When did the Hornbill festival start?

  • The first Hornbill festival was held in December 2000.
  • This festival is organised by the Government of Nagaland.
  • Hornbill festival is held in a village named Kisama located at a distance of 12 kms from Kohima, capital of Nagaland.
  • Hornbill festival is held from 1st December to 10th December. The festival derives its name from the bird named Hornbill.

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