Daily Current Affairs and General Studies

2020-02-26 | 6 minutes

General Studies- III- Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment

1. Number of dolphins declined by almost half


In a census report released by the Forest Department of Odisha government, the number of dolphins in Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary has reduced by half.


  • The census was conducted at the Chilika lake and the total number of dolphins in the state has found to be 233.
  • While in the 2015 census, the first census, 270 dolphins were recorded. 2016 and 2017 census were not conducted due to bad weather.
  • 2020 census is the fourth such census and reported 60 Irrawaddy dolphins and only 2 bottle- nose dolphins in Gahirmatha.

Prelims Facts

Chilika Lake:

  • It is a brackish water lake and is a Ramsar site (designated in 1981 under the Ramsar Convention of 1971).
  • The lake is spread across Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha.

Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary:

  • It is located within Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha.
  • It is the world’s largest nesting beach for Olive Ridley Turtles.

Olive Ridley Turtles:

  • It is the second smallest and most abundant of all the sea turtles found in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.
  • IUCN status: Vulnerable


  • Conserved under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • IUCN Status: Endangered
  • Included in Appendix I of CITES and Appendix II of CMS.


General Studies-II- Indian Constitution—Historical Underpinnings, Evolution, Features, Amendments, Significant Provisions and Basic Structure

2. Proof of Burden on Person claiming Citizenship


Guwahati High Court has dismissed the plea of a woman challenging the order of Foreigners Tribunal declaring her a foreigner. 


The Guwahati High Court rejected the plea of Nur Begum, saying that the proof of burden lies on the person claiming the status of citizenship. Nur Begum was not able to establish the link to any ancestor who was living in India before March 25, 1971.

Prelims Facts

  • National Register of Citizens (NRC): It is the process of identifying illegal immigrants in Assam and the register was first prepared in 1951. Under NRC, the people in Assam had to produce the documentary proof regarding the ancestors living in India before March 25, 1971, and their linkage to those ancestors to get into the list.
  • Articles 5-11 of the Indian Constitution are related to Citizenship.
  • Citizenship Amendment Act 2019: The act amends Citizenship Act 1955 to allow migrants from six communities (Sikhs, Parsis, Jains, Christians, Buddhists and Hindus) that fled to India till Dec 31, 2014, from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.


General Studies-II- Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

3. India and United States signed three agreements


India and the United States have signed three agreements in the health and oil sectors and also finalized defence deals worth USD 3 billion.


  • A MoU has been signed between the health departments of the two countries related to mental health.
  • Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has signed MoU with the US Food and Drug Administration regarding the safety of medical products.
  • Indian Oil Corporation Limited and Exxon Mobil India LNG Limited and Chart Industries Inc, US have signed a letter of cooperation.
  • A defence deal to buy Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters was also finalized during the visit of US President to India.
  • Both countries committed to protecting their people from radical Islamic terrorism.
  • The two leaders decided to take Indo-US ties to a comprehensive global partnership level.


General Studies-II: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation

 4. Unified Vehicle Registration Card


Madhya Pradesh has become the first state in India to launch a unified vehicle registration card.


  • It has also become the second state after Uttar Pradesh to introduce a Unified Driving License.
  • The guidelines have been issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to bring uniformity in driving licenses and vehicle registration cards in the country and this initiative complies with these guidelines.
  • These cards will contain detailed information printed on both sides of the card. It will also have a unique number along with the QR code to authenticate the data printed on it.
  • The driver’s ability to drive in hilly and dangerous areas and an emergency contact number will also be written on these cards.


General Studies-II: Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these.

5. Elections for 55 seats in Rajya Sabha


The Election Commission announced recently that the biennial election for the 55 seats of Rajya Sabha will be held on 26 March 2020.


  • The term of members will expire in April this year and maximum seats will be vacant from Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
  • The maximum strength of Rajya Sabha is 250 members. Out of these, 238 members are elected indirectly while 12 members are nominated by the President of India. (Article 80)
  • The members are elected by the elected members of the legislative assemblies of the State and by the members of the Electoral College for that Union Territory, as per the case, by the system of proportional representation with the single transferable vote system.

Prelims Facts

  • Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament and is not subject to dissolution.
  • One-third of its members retire after every two years and is, therefore, the permanent house of the Parliament.
  • The allocation of seats to the States and UTs in Rajya Sabha is based on the population of that state/UT. The Fourth Schedule provides the allocation of seats to each state and UT.
  • The Vice-President is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
  • Article 84 of the Constitution lays down the qualifications for membership of Rajya Sabha.


Mains Questions

Q1. India and the US have agreed to take bilateral ties to the comprehensive global partnership level. Discuss the areas of contention between the two countries and challenges before India in achieving such level of partnership.

Q2. In the context of recent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, how the three organs of the government can strike a balance between the right to dissent and reasonable restrictions against Article 19?