National Current Affairs – UPSC/IAS Exams- 17th January 2020
Topic: Reports and Indices
In News: NGO Pratham has released Annual Status of Education Report 2019.
More on the topic:
- Cognitive skillsof children: Tests included sorting images by colour and size, recognising patterns, fitting together a four-piece animal puzzle — as well as simple literacy and numeracy tests.
- However, of those children who could correctly do all three cognitive tasks, 52% could read words,and 63% could solve the addition problem.
- ASER data shows that children’s performance on tasks requiring cognitive skills is strongly related to their ability to do early language and numeracy tasks.
- This suggests that focussing on play-based activities that build memory, reasoning and problem-solving abilities is more productivethan an early focus on content knowledge.
- Early childhood education: Only16% of children in Class 1 can read the text at the prescribed level, while almost 40% cannot even recognise letters.
- Early childhood education has the potential to be the“greatest and most powerful equaliser”.
- Global research shows that 90% of brain growth occurs by age 5,meaning that the quality of early childhood educationhas a crucial impact on the development and long-term schooling of a child.
- Government and Private Schools: Of 6 year olds in Class 1, nearly 42% of those in private schools could read wordsin comparison to only 19% from government schools.
- This gap is further exacerbated by a gender divide.
- More than a quarter of Class 1 students in government schools are only 4 or 5 years old, younger than the recommended age.These younger children struggle more than others in all skills.
- At the same time, 36% in Class 1 are olderthan the Right To Education (RTE) Act (2009) -mandated age of 6.
- There is considerable scope for expanding Anganwadi outreach for 3 and 4 year-old children. Strengthen the early childhood components in the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) system for raising school readiness among young children.
|Need of the Hour:
· A reworking of curriculum and activities is urgently needed for the entire age band from 4 to 8, cutting across all types of preschools and early grades regardless of whether the provision is by government institutions or by private agencies.
· There is considerable scope for expanding Anganwadi outreach for 3 and 4 year-old children. Strengthen the early childhood components in the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) system for raising school readiness among young children.
· The year 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of the RTE Act. This is the best moment to focus on the youngest cohorts before and during their entry to formal schooling and ensure that 10 years later they complete secondary school as well-equipped and well-rounded citizens of India.
Source: Indian Express
Open Acreage Licensing Policy
In News:The Government has launched the bidding process offering 11 areas in oil and gas blocks. The 11 blocks under Open Acreage Licensing Policy Round-V (OALP-V).
More on the Topic:
- The OLAP was declared by the union government in June 2017. Under it, the potential investors choose the exact areas they are interested in, convey their interest to the government, which then places just those blocks up for bidding.
- Companies are allowed to choose the areas in which they want to explore oil and gas, under OALP. After choosing the area, companies put in an expression of interest which are then put on auction by the government.
- The process offers attractive and liberal terms like reduced royalty rates, no oil cess, marketing and pricing freedom, round the year bidding, freedom to investors for carving out blocks of their interest, a single licence to cover both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon resources, exploration permission during the entire contract period, and an easy, transparent and swift bidding and awarding process.
Topic: Science and Technology
In News: The nation’s latest communication satellite, GSAT-30, was sent to space from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou.
More on the Topic:
- It will replace INSAT-4A which was launched in 2005 and marks the first mission of the year for Indian Space Research Organisation.
- The high-power satellite is equipped with 12 normal C band and 12 Ku band transponders.
- GSAT-30 will provide DTH (direct to home) television services, connectivity to VSATs (that support working of banks’) ATMs, stock exchange, television uplinking and teleport services, digital satellite news gathering and e-governance applications. The satellite will also be used for bulk data transfer for a host of emerging telecommunication application.
- ISRO hired a foreign launcher as GSAT-30 is much heavier than the 2,000-kg lifting capacity of its geostationary launch vehicle GSLV-MkII.
- Newer and more powerful GSLV-MkIII that can lift up to 4,000 kg, the space agency plans to save the two or three upcoming MkIIIs mainly for its first human space flight Gaganyaan of 2022 and two preceding crew-less trial.
|The “band” in use refers to the radio frequencies used to and from the satellite:
In News: U.S. warship transits Taiwan Strait less than week after election.
More on the Topic:
- Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial and diplomatic issue and Beijing has never ruled out the use of force to bring the island under its control. The narrow Taiwan Strait which separates the island from China is a frequent source of tension.
- Washington has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself and is its main source of arms.
- Taiwan (Republic of China) calls itself a democratic, self-ruled country, however, according to the “One China” policy, Beijing considers Taiwan a province of Mainland China.
- The One-China policy refers to the policy or view that there is only one state called “China”, despite the existence of two governments that claim to be “China”.
- As a policy, this means that countries seeking diplomatic relations with People’s Republic of China (PRC, Mainland China) must break official relations with the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan) and vice versa.
- It is the diplomatic acknowledgement of China’s position that there is only one Chinese government. Under the policy, China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province to be reunified with the mainland.
· Since 1949, India has accepted the “One China” policy that accepts Taiwan and Tibet as part of China.
· However, India uses the policy to make a diplomatic point, i.e., if India believes in “One China” policy, China should also believe in a “One India” policy
In News: Jallikattu, the traditional event associated with Pongal festival was held at various parts of Tamil Nadu.
More on the Topic:
- In Jallikattu Bull is released into a crowd of people, and multiple human participants attempt to grab the large hump on the bull’s back with both arms and hang on to it while the bull attempts to escape.
- Participants hold the hump for as long as possible, attempting to bring the bull to a stop. In some cases, participants must ride long enough to remove flags on the bull’s horns.
- As there were incidents of injury and death associated with the sport, both to the participants and to the animals forced into it, animal rights organizations have called for a ban to the sport, resulting in the court banning it several times over the past years. However, with protest from the people against the ban, a new ordinance was made in 2017 to continue the sport.
Topic: Environment and Ecology
In News: An annual one-month long people centric fuel conservation campaign of the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) named Saksham was launched recently.
Other Fuel Efficiency Enhancing Initiatives:
- PCRA in association with the Institute of Petroleum-Dehradun has developed high energy efficient Piped Natural Gas (PNG) burner/Gasstove for household where piped gas is supplied which will save gas as compared to modified LPG stove for PNG.
- The annual Saksham National Competitionwhich generally is launched in the month of July, has seen participation of 1.48 crore students.
- An awareness Campaign on 100 busiest intersections of Delhithrough the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) on encouraging the behaviour of switching-off engine at red light was recently carried out by PCRA.
- PCRA is a registered society set up under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
- As anon-profit organization, PCRA is a national government agency engaged in promoting energy efficiency in various sectors of economy.