Daily IAS Current Affairs February 28, 2020 | PendulumIAS

2020-02-28 | 7 minutes

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

1. India among top suppliers of pharma drug used in trafficking


According to the 2019 report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), released by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), India is among the top manufacturers of illicit and licit drugs used in trafficking.


  • India had not submitted Form P, which is the mandatory and voluntary statistical reports on manufacturing, importing and exporting oflegal drugs and raw materials regulated under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971.    
  • According to the report, India is a significant source of trafficked, falsified, sub-standard or illicitly manufactured products branded and marketed as ‘tramadol’. Tramadol is an opioid pain medicine thatis addictive.
  • 87% of the tramadol seized in Ghana in 2017 had its origin in India.
  • Phenobarbital, a substance included on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines for treating epilepsy, is one of the most internationally traded controlled psychotropic substances, with more than 161 countries reporting imports of the substance in 2018.

Prelims Facts

International Narcotics Control Board (INCB):

  • It is an independent, quasi-judicial expert body established by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 by merging two bodies: Permanent Central Narcotics Board, created by the 1925 International Opium Convention; andDrug Supervisory Body, created by the 1931 Convention for Limiting the Manufacture and Regulating the Distribution of Narcotic Drugs.
  • It has 13 members elected for a period of five years. The members are eligible for re-election.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC):

  • It was established in 1997 with its headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
  • It deals with Drug Prevention, Human Trafficking, Migrant Smuggling, Money Laundering, organised crime, Terrorism Prevention, etc.
  • It publishes the World Drug Report annually that is an assessment of the international drug problem.
  • Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 and the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988 are the treaties that guide UNODC’s drug related programs.


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

 2. Review meeting on the MSMEs related scheme


A review meeting was held on the key schemes of the Ministry of MSME that was attended by the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, Ministry of Finance and senior management of all banks.


  • The meeting mainly focused on the PM’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) and Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE).
  • The issue of restructuring of stressed loans to MSMEs was also discussed during the meeting.
  • The banks supported in setting up a large number of enterprises under PMEGP and in the last financial year, more than 73,000 micro-enterprises were assisted.
  • The discussions were also held with Banks to increase the reach of the Credit Guarantee scheme. The government has set a target to increase credit guarantee to Rs. 50,000 crores under the CGTMSE scheme.
  • All CMDs agreed to support MSMEs in restructuring their stressed loans and the cut-off date for the restructuring of loans to MSMEs has been extended up to 31st December 2020.

Prelims Facts

Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP):

  • It is a credit-linked subsidy scheme of the government of India under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
  • The scheme is implemented at the national level by Khadi& Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and the state level by the KVIC, KVIB and District Industries center.
  • It aims to generate employment opportunities through setting up of self-employment ventures and to provide sustainable employment to the artisans and youth to help mitigate migration from rural to urban areas.
  • It is applicable to all new projects in urban as well as rural areas under the Micro Enterprises sector.
  • Only one person per family, who is above 18 years, is eligible for the financial assistance provided under the scheme.
  • The maximum cost of the project is capped at Rs. 25 lakh for manufacturing sector and Rs. 10 lakh for business/service sector.
  • Self Help Groups, Institutions registered under Societies Registration Act, 1860, Productive cooperative societies and Charitable trusts are eligible for this scheme.

Credit GuaranteeFund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE):

  • It was launched in 2000 to provide collateral-free credit to micro and small enterprise sector (MSEs).
  • The existing and new enterprises can opt for this scheme.
  • A Trust named Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) was established by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) to implement this scheme.
  • Scheduled commercial banks (Public Sector Banks/Private Sector Banks/Foreign Banks) and select Regional Rural Banks are eligible under the scheme.
  • The guarantee cover available under the scheme is to the extent of the maximum 85% of the sanctioned amount of the credit facility.


General Studies-III: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-technology, Bio-technology and issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights.

3. 2020 CD3- A mini moon


The astronomers have discovered a small object orbiting Earth, which has been dubbed a mini-moon or the planet’s second moon.


  • The mini-moon was found by KacperWierzchos and Teddy Pruyne of the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) in Arizona.
  • It is an asteroid in actual whose diameter is about 1.9-3.5m.
  • The mini-moon is not permanent and will break free of Earth’s orbit and will move on its own way.
  • Dubbed 2020 CD3 was captured into Earth’s orbit while crossing it due to the influence of the gravitational force of Moon and the Sun, and now it is orbiting at a distance farther from the Earth. Such type of asteroid is called a Temporarily Captured Object (TCO).

Prelims Facts

Catalina Sky Survey is a project to discover and track near-Earth objects and is funded by NASA. Near-Earth objects are asteroids or comets that orbit around the Sun, and their orbits come close to that of the Earth’s.


General Studies-III: Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology

4. National Science Day 2020


28th February is celebrated as National Science Day to mark the discovery of ‘Raman Effect’ by Sir C V Raman.


  • The day is observed every year to create awareness among the people regarding the importance of science and its application.
  • The first National Science Day was celebrated on 28th February 1987.
  • The theme for this year is “Women in Science”
  • The National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC) of the Ministry of Science and Technology is the nodal agency to support the celebration of science day.
  • A total of 21 awards were presented on the occasion, which included National Science and Technology and Communication Awards, Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research (AWSAR) awards, SERB Women Excellence Awards and National Award for Young Woman Showing Excellence Through Application of Technology for Societal Benefits.

Prelims Facts

Raman Effect:

  • Sir ChandrasekharaVenkata Raman discovered the Raman effect for which he was given the Nobel Prize in 1930.
  • Raman effect is the change in the wavelength of light that occurs when the molecules deflect a light beam. When a beam of light traverses a dust-free, transparent sample of a chemical compound, a small fraction of the light emerges in directions other than that of the incident (incoming) beam. Most of this scattered light is of unchanged wavelength. A small part, however, has wavelengths different from that of the incident light; its presence is a result of the Raman effect.

Mains Questions

Q1. The theme for National Science Day 2020 is ‘Women in Science’. Evaluate the role of women in the science and technology field and the measures taken by the government to promote the participation of women in science. (250 words)

Q2. Discuss the institutional bottlenecks that are hindering the growth of MSMEs in India? (125 words)