19/11/2019: UPSC Current Affairs Notes: Prelims Sure Shot 


1.Pak. successfully tests nuclear-capable missile

  • Pakistan has successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile which can strike targets up to 650 km.
  • According to a press release issued by the media wing of the Pakistani military, the launch of the Shaheen-I missile was held as part of a training exercise aimed at testing the operational readiness of Army Strategic Forces Command.

2.Shaheen-1 missile

  • It is a land based supersonic short-range ballistic missile (SRBM).
  • It has been jointly designed and developed by joint venture of Pakistan’s National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM) and National Defence Complex (NDC). 
  • Its design is reportedly based on Chinese M-9 missile. It was first tested in April 1999.
  • It derives its name after a species of Falcon found in the mountains of Pakistan.
  • It is also designated as Hatf IV.
  • It is capable of delivering all types of warheads (conventional as well as nuclear).
  • It has strike range of 650 KMs, bringing a number of Indian cities under its range.
  • It is propelled by a two-stage solid-fuel rocket motor.

 3.ISRO to Launch 13 satellites and Cartosat-3

  • The Indian Space Research Organization will launch 13 commercial nano satellites of the United States along with the imaging and mapping satellite Cartostat-3.
  • The launch is scheduled on November 25, 2019.


  • The satellites will be launched by PSLV-C47, a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle into Sun Synchronous Orbit from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.


  • Cartosat-3 is the third generation Earth observation satellite built by ISRO.
  • It is one of the most advanced imaging satellites built by the organization so far.
  • It has the capability to produce high resolution aerial images in the world.

The features of the satellite include

  • Panchromatic-Captures all visible colors of light
  • Hyperspectral-Captures light from electromagnetic spectrum
  • Multispectral-Captures light within specific ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Till date, eight Cartosats have been launched.

13 commercial satellites

  • The 13 satellites are launched by the Luxembourg based space company Kleos, as a part of its multi-satellite constellation mission called the Scouting Mission.
  • The Scouting mission aims to provide a global picture of unregistered marine activity and surveillance and intelligence capability to government and commercial entities.
  • The mission also has an Automatic Identification system that rectifies commonly faced challenges of the surveillance mission.

4.Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index

  • The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) is produced by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
  • It measures the factors and policies that make a country a viable place to invest within the Travel and Tourism sector.
  • India has secured 34th place in the Index.
  • Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has taken several steps for creation of tourism infrastructure in the country to promote tourism such as
  1. Swadesh Darshan – Integrated Development of Theme-Based Tourist Circuits
  2. PRASHAD- Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive.
  3. The Adopt a Heritage “Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan” – it is a collaborative effort by Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), State/UTs Governments, envisages developing heritage sites and making them tourist friendly, to enhance tourism potential and cultural importance in a planned and phased manner.

Adventure Tourism Guidelines

  • Ministry of Tourism has classified 31 Adventure Tourism Activities which are  land-based, water-based  and air-based under the revised Guideline ‘Indian Adventure Tourism Guidelines – 2018’ (Version 2.0)
  • Adventure tourism activities take place in various States/UTs  depending on the terrain and availability of infrastructure and are done under the supervision of State Govts./UTs.
  • Ministry of Tourism   provides Central Financial Assistance to State Governments/UT Administrations under various schemes for development of Infrastructure for Adventure Tourism.
  • The responsibility of dealing with medical emergencies arising during Adventure Tourism activity is with the concerned State Govts /UTs.

5.Ex – Roar of the Sea

  • Exercise Za’ir-Al-Bahr (Roar of the Sea) being conducted between the Indian Navy and Qatari Emiri Naval Forces.
  • Za’ir-Al-Bahr 2019 would strengthen cooperation and enhance interoperability between the two navies.
  • This Bilateral Maritime Exercise between the two navies would strengthen the robust defence co-operation between the two countries.

 6.India to host the Kimberely Process Certification Scheme

  • The Plenary meeting of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is to be hosted by India between November 18, 2019 and November 22, 2019.
  • The event is hosted by Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • The meeting is held annually to make sure that the trade of diamonds is conflict free.

Highlights of the meeting

  • During the meeting three special forums are to be held.
  • It includes adapting to changes in diamond industry, financial inclusion and women empowerment in the diamond industry and origin and identification of diamonds.
  • Also, several meetings of the working groups and committees of Kimbereley Process Certification Scheme.

Why is KPCS important for India?

  • Currently India is exporting 24 billion USD. In the coming years it is expected that the target will reach 1 trillion USD.
  • There are more than 1 million people employed in diamond industry in India.

About KPCS

  • India is one of the founding members of the KPCS
  • The Scheme outlines the rules that govern the trade of diamonds. The purpose of the scheme is to prevent the flow of conflict diamonds. It is not an organization. There are no offices or headquarters for KPCS. It cannot frame agreements. It simply relies on contributions of the participants, industries, governments, civil society observers
  • The KPCS has been agreed by the United Nations and the World Diamond Council.

Working of KPCS

  • The scheme works on certain terms and conditions.
  • The participating countries should implement national legislation, export and import controls and should exchange statistical data.
  • The countries should also be transparent to the scheme meetings.

What are conflict diamonds?

  • Conflict diamonds are rough diamonds that are used by the rebel movements to finance wars, especially in the third world countries


 7.Fit India Movement

  • The Fit India Movement was launched by PM Modi in august 2019.
  • It encourages Indians to include fitness activities in their daily lives.
  • There is zero investment on the project. However, the reach and spread of the movement is big.
  • The UGC and the CBSE board have asked the schools to encourage students and staffs to participate in the movement


8.NITI Aayog Report: Health Reforms

  • On November 18, 2019, NITI Aayog released a report on “Health Systems for a New India: Building Blocks-Potential Pathways to reforms”.
  • The report provides a framework to build a rigid health system for India.

Key findings of the Report

  • The report has identified 4 focus areas namely
    • To deliver on unfinished public health agenda
    • To change the health financing from out of pocket expenditures into large insurers.
    • To integrate health services with digitization
    • To empower citizens on becoming better health buyers
  • The report criticized the multiplicity of health schemes. The think tank believes that multiplicity prevents standardization of purchasing procedures.

Recommendations of the report

  • The financing structure of the health care system in the country has to be changed. The out-of-pocket expenditure should be reduced and the spending should be directed towards purchasing capabilities.
  • The report recommended the practices of Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust of Karnataka. It went on to enroll hospitals from neighboring states. It has succeeded its implementation in the state and is now targeting entire 6.4 crore population
  • It suggests to extend the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, the cashless insurance scheme to cover entire country. The scheme is now focusing on 10 crore poor families



  • IBSA stands for India-Brazil-South Africa
  • Aims at galvanizing South-South cooperation
  • All Developing Democracies
  • The forum provides the three countries with a platform to engage in discussions for cooperation in the field of agriculture, trade, culture, and defence among others.
  • IBSA was formalised and launched through the adoption of the “Brasilia Declaration” in 2003
  • Brasilia Declaration (2003): Approved urgent need for reforms in the United Nations, especially the Security Council. 


10.National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) : Important Facts

  • It was done for 2015-16.
  • The survey was conducted after collecting information from 6 lakh households, 7 lakh women and 1.3 lakh men.
  • For the first time it provides district level estimates.

Key Findings:

  • Infant Mortality Rate (IMR):
    • It has declined from 57 to 41 per 1,000 live births between NFHS-3 (2005-06) and NFHS-4.
    • IMR has declined substantially in almost all the states during the last decade.
    • It reflects that concerted efforts and focussed interventions in the sector can translate to improved outcomes.
  • Sex ratio at birth (number of females per 1,000 males):
    • It has improved from 914 to 919 at the national level over the last decade.
    • It is highest in Kerala (1,047), followed by Meghalaya (1,009) and Chhattisgarh (977).
    • Haryana also witnessed a significant increase from 762 to 836.
  • Institutional births:Increased by 40 percentage points from 38.7% in NFHS-3 to 78.9% in NFHS 4.
  • Total Fertility Rate (TFR):It also has declined to 2.2 children per woman from 2.7 in NFHS-3. Thus, it is moving closer to target level of 2.1.
  • Underweight children:
    • There was a decline by 7 percentage points, a consequence of improved child feeding practices and focus on nutritional aspects of children.
    • There was “substantial” decline of anaemia from 69% in NFHS-3 to 58% in NFHS-4 among children aged 6-59 months.


11.Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)

  •  By  Ministry of Women and Child Development


  • To improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years;
  • To lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child;
  • To reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout;
  • To achieve effective co-ordination of policy and implementation amongst the various departments to promote child development; and
  • To enhance the capability of the mother to look after the normal health and nutritional needs of the child through proper nutrition and health education.


  • Following six services are provided under ICDS:
  • It is a  Centrally sponsored Scheme implemented by States/UTs across the country. 
    • Supplementary nutrition (SNP),
    • Immunization,
    • Health check-up,
    • Referral services,
    • Pre-school non-formal education and
    • Nutrition & health education are provided. 
  • Launched in 1975
  • WB and UNICEF supports it


12.India ranks 59th in 2019 IMD World Talent Ranking

  • India was ranked 59th among 63 countries in the 2019 IMD World Talent Ranking released by International Institute for Management Development. 
  • This year, India slipped by 6 places as compared to 53rd rank in 2018 edition of this global annual list. India’s poor performance was on account of low quality of life and expenditure on education.

IMD World Talent Ranking

  • It is released annually by International Institute for Management Development (IMD), Switzerland based business school.  It assesses the status and the development of competencies necessary for enterprises and the economy to achieve long term value creation.
  • The ranking of countries is based on the performance in three main categories– investment & development, appeal and readiness.
  • These 3 categories assess how countries perform in wide range of areas such as cost of living, quality of life, education, language skills, apprenticeships, workplace training, remuneration and tax rates.

Highlights of 2019 Rankings

  • Top 10 Countries: Switzerland (1st), Denmark (2nd), Sweden (3rd)
  • BRICS countries: India is also lagging behind fellow BRICS countries – China ranked 42nd, Russia (47th) and South Africa (50th).
  • India’s Performance: It also witnessed one of  harpest declines among Asian economies owing to low quality of life, negative impact of brain drain, and the low priority of its economy on attracting and retaining talents.
  • China: It was ranked in the lower half of the index. This year its rank slipped by 3 places due to low ranking on government expenditure per student, cost of living index and exposure to particle pollution.


13.Some Updates: National Biofuel Policy

  • The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas notified a new National Policy on Biofuels in June 2018. On a written reply at the opening session of Lok Sabha on November 18, 2019, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas provided its implementation steps.

Government measures and achievements

  • The percentage of Ethanol in Ethanol blended petrol has been increased from 1.53% in 2013-14 to 4.22% in 2017-18
  • GoI has procured 180 crore litres of ethanol against the target of 225 crore litres for the year 2018-19
  • The total Ethanol production capacity of the country is 355 crore litres per annum.

Current Government schemes on Biofuels

  • The Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable scheme aims at establishing 5000 compressed bio gas plants across the country by 2023.
  • The Oil Marketing Companies that are part of the Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme can sell blended petrol with maximum ethanol percentage of 10%.

Salient Features of the Policy

  • The Biofuels will be categorized as Basic Biofuels and Advanced Biofuels.
  • Government will provide incentives, viability gap funding and off-take insurance for advanced biofuels. Advanced Biofuels are derived from non-food feedstocks. They are also known as second-generation biofuels.
  • According to the new policy, B-molasses, damaged food grains, sugarcane juice and surplus food grains can be used for ethanol production
  • A supply chain will be set up for the production of biodiesel. It is to be produced from non-edible oil seeds, short gestation crops and used cooking oil
  • The Policy defines the roles and responsibilities of all the ministries and other concerned departments that are involved in production and supply of Biodiesel.


Source- The Hindu, PIB & Indian Express

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