1. World Urdu Conference 2020


The World Urdu Conference 2020 is being organised by the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) from 27 -28 August 2020.

Main Points

  • Meaning: Literally, the word Urdu (originally Turkish) means the royal camp.


  • Urdu had developed and flourished in Delhi during the period of ‘Delhi Sultanate’ from 12 to 16 century and then during the period of ‘Mughal Empire’ in Delhi from 16 century to 19 century when several court poets used this language in their great poetry and writings.
  • Its first major folk poet Amir Khusrau (1253-1325), composed dohas (couplets) and riddles in the newly-formed speech, then called
  • Spread in South India: When Delhi Sultanate and then Mughal Empire spread in the Deccan, Urdu spread in southern states.
  • The language derived even local words from the local languages of those states and developed as a ‘Dakhni’ language which was a bit distinctive of Urdu language in the North.
  • The divide between Urdu and Hindi occurred under the colonial impact.
  • Hindi and Urdu got split along religious lines with Hindi in Nagari script becoming identified with Hindus, and Urdu in Persian script identified with
  • Contemporary Context: Urdu is a major language of South Asia. It is spoken in countries including India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
  • It has become the culture language and lingua franca of the South Asian Muslim diaspora outside the sub-continent, especially in the Gulf and the Middle East, Western Europe, Scandinavia, USA and Canada.

Relation with Hindi:

  • Both Urdu and Hindi belong to the new Indo-Aryan group sharing the same Indic base.
  • Urdu and Hindi taken together form the third largest speech community in the world today.

Status in India:

  • Scheduled Language: Urdu is one of the languages mentioned in the 8 Schedule to the Constitution.
  • The Constitutional provisions relating to the 8 Schedule are articles 344(1) and
  • Presently, 8 Schedule consists of the 22 languages namely (1) Assamese, (2) Bengali, (3) Gujarati, (4) Hindi, (5) Kannada, (6) Kashmiri, (7) Konkani, (8) Malayalam, (9) Manipuri, (10) Marathi, (11) Nepali, (12) Oriya, (13) Punjabi, (14) Sanskrit, (15) Sindhi, (16) Tamil, (17) Telugu, (18) Urdu (19) Bodo, (20) Santhali, (21) Maithili and (22) Dogri.
  • Official Language of Different States: It is one of the official languages in states like Kashmir, Telangana, UP, Bihar, New Delhi and West Bengal.
  • Composite Culture: Urdu is a language of composite culture and interfaith bonds in India.
  • Hindu-Muslim composite culture is a constructed concept of the 20 century that describes amalgams of Hindu and Islamic elements in South Asian culture.
  • Article 51A(f) of the Constitution declares a solemn fundamental duty of every citizen to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.

Speaker Base:

  • The Urdu speakers in India number almost 44 million. The largest numbers are in the state of Uttar Pradesh, followed by Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
  • These states together account for 85% of the national Urdu-speaking population. Delhi is the major centre of Urdu literature and publishing.

National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language

  • NCPUL has become the biggest Urdu networking hub in the world.
  • The National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language started functioning as an autonomous body in 1996. It comes under the Ministry of Education.
  • It is the National Nodal Agency for Promotion of Urdu. NCPUL has also been assigned the responsibility of promotion of Arabic and

Major Objectives:

  • To take action for making available in Urdu language, the knowledge of scientific and technological development as well as knowledge of ideas evolved in the modern context.
  • To advise the Government on issues connected with Urdu language as may be referred to it.


  1. Hurricane Laura


Hurricane Laura, has made landfall in southwestern Louisiana (South Central United States) with wind speeds reaching up to 250 km (about 150 miles) an hour.

Main Points

  • Description: Hurricane Laura is a Category 4 storm. A Category 4 storm has wind speeds between 130-156 mph and can uproot trees and bring down power lines.
  • The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale: Hurricanes are categorized on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which rates them on a scale of 1 to 5 based on wind speed.
  • Hurricanes that reach category three or higher are classified as major hurricanes.
  • It is because of their potential to cause devastating damage to property and life.

Timings of Hurricane:

  • Two seasons of hurricanes are observed in the Atlantic and Pacific regions: The Atlantic hurricane season runs from 1 June to 30 November . The Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from 15 May to 30 November.
  • Hurricane Hanna: It was the last storm which made landfall on the Texan coast reaching wind speeds of up to 90 mph, and was listed as a Category 1
  • It was the first hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.


  • Origin: Tropical cyclones or hurricanes use warm, moist air as fuel, and therefore form over warm Equatorial water.


  • Low-Pressure Creation: When the warm, moist air rises upward from the surface of the ocean, it creates an area of low air pressure below.
  • When this happens, the air from the surrounding areas rushes to fill this place, eventually rising when it becomes warm and moist too.
  • An eye forms in the centre. It is the calmest part of the cyclone. Before the wind reaches the centre it gets warmed up and rises upwards.
  • When the warm air rises and cools off, the moisture forms clouds. This system of clouds and winds continues to grow and spin.
  • This disturbance is fuelled by the ocean’s heat and the water that evaporates from its surface.
  • Such storm systems rotate faster and faster.
  • Storms that form towards the north of the equator rotate counterclockwise, while those that form to the south spin clockwise because of the rotation of the Earth.

Worldwide Terminology of Tropical Cyclones:

  • Depending on where they occur, hurricanes may be called typhoons or cyclones. They are given many names in different regions of the world:
  • Typhoons: tropical cyclones are known as Typhoons in the China Sea and Pacific Ocean.
  • Hurricanes: In the West Indian islands in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
  • Tornados: In the Guinea lands of West Africa and southern USA.
  • Willy-willies: In north-western Australia and
  • Tropical Cyclones: In the Indian Ocean Region.


  1. Controlling Dengue Using Bacteria


Researchers from the World Mosquito Program have used mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria to successfully control dengue in Yogyakarta city of Indonesia.

  • The World Mosquito Program is an Australia-based not-for-profit initiative that exists to protect the global community from mosquito-borne diseases.


  • Wolbachia are natural bacteria present in up to 60% of insect species, including some mosquitoes.
  • However, Wolbachia is not usually found in the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the primary species responsible for transmitting human viruses such as Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.
  • Wolbachia is safe for humans, animals and the environment.

Main Points

  • About: The Aedes aegypti mosquito, that spreads Dengue and other diseases such as chikungunya, Zika and yellow fever cannot do so when they are artificially infected with a bacterium, Wolbachia.
  • The bacteria Wolbachia “inhibits” viral infection, that is, even if people encounter mosquito bite, they will not be infected.
  • This happens because bacteria does not allow the virus to replicate in the mosquito thereby minimising its number within the mosquito.
  • Method: The scientists infected some mosquitoes with Wolbachia and then released these in the city where they bred with local mosquitoes, until nearly all mosquitoes in the area were carrying Wolbachia bacteria. This is called the Population Replacement Strategy.


  • At the end of 27 months, the researchers found that the incidence of dengue was 77% lower in areas where Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes had been released, as compared to areas without such deployments.
  • This method does not only block Dengue Virus but also many other viruses present in mosquitoes.
  • Mass Production: A French company Innova Feed, which produces insects to feed livestock, is partnering with WMP to develop the first industrial-level production of Dengue- controlling mosquitoes.

Other Developments:

  • Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) also has been working on a similar project developing a strain of Aedes aegypti containing Wolbachia, known as Puducherry Strain.
  • The strain was developed at the Vector Control Research Centre (VCRC), Puducherry in collaboration with Monash University in Australia.


  • Dengue is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus (Genus Flavivirus), transmitted by several species of mosquito within the genus Aedes, principally Aedes aegypti.
  • Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash. There are four strains from Type I-IV, of which Type-II and IV are considered more severe.
  • Incidence of dengue has grown dramatically around the world in recent decades, with a vast majority of cases under-reported, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • WHO estimates 39 crore dengue virus infections per year, of which 9.6 crore show symptoms.
  • India registered over 1 lakh dengue cases in 2018 and over 1.5 lakh cases in 2019, according to the National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP).
  • NVBDCP is the central nodal agency for prevention and control of six vector borne diseases i.e. Malaria, Dengue, Lymphatic Filariasis, Kala-azar, Japanese Encephalitis and Chikungunya in India. It works under the Ministry of Health and Family
  • The dengue vaccine CYD-TDV or Dengvaxia was approved by the US Food & Drug Administration in 2019, the first dengue vaccine to get the regulatory nod in the US.
  • Dengvaxia is basically a live, attenuated dengue virus which has to be administered in people of ages 9 to 16 who have laboratory-confirmed previous dengue infection and who live in endemic areas.


  1. NDC-Transport Initiative for Asia


Recently, the NITI Aayog launched the “India Component” of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)–Transport Initiative for Asia (TIA).

Main Points


  • It is a regional initiative that aims to promote a comprehensive approach to decarbonize transport in India, Vietnam, and China.
  • In each of the partner countries, the NDC-TIA supports in making their sectoral contributions to the achievement of the NDCs of the Paris
  • The NDC-TIA programme has a duration of 4 years.


  • It is a joint programme, supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).
  • It is implemented by a consortium of seven organisations.
  • The India component is implemented by six consortium organisations. On behalf of the Government of India, NITI Aayog, is the implementing partner.
  • Focus: The NDC–TIA India Component will focus on:
  • Strengthening GreenHouse Gas (GHG) and transport modelling capacities.
  • Providing technical support on GHG emission reduction measures.
  • Financing climate actions in transport.
  • Offering policy recommendations on electric vehicle (EV) demand and supply policies etc.


  • The programme will help to promote electric mobility in India. It will also support the development of policies and regulations to promote electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

India’s Transport Sector:

  • India has the world’s second-largest road network, which contributes to maximum Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions through all means of transportation.
  • With increasing urbanisation, the fleet size i.e. the number of sales of vehicles is increasing rapidly. It is projected that the total number of vehicles will be doubled by 2030.
  • Therefore, the transition to a decarbonisation path for the transport sector in India is essential to achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement for 2050.


  1. Native People of Andaman and Nicobar


  • The report of Covid-19 cases among the members of the Great Andamanese tribe is a matter of concern as the total population of the tribe is already low.

Main Points

  • Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG): Great Andamanese are one of five PVTGs that reside in Andamans archipelago. The other four are: Jarwas, Onges, Shompens and North Sentinelese.
  • Shompen is the only PVTG in the region with Mongoloid The other PVTGs have negroid features. Some of them interact with ‘Great Nicobarese’ – a Scheduled Tribe.
  • The population of Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ primitive tribes has rapidly declined over the years. The epidemics and crippling health crises of the past have been seen to disproportionately impact these indigenous tribal groups.
  • 75 tribal groups have been categorised by the Ministry of Home Affairs as PVTGs. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs implements the Scheme of ‘Development of PVTGs’ exclusively for them.
  • Article 366 (25) of the Constitution provides a process to define Scheduled Tribes.

Great Andamanese Tribe:

  • The tribe is based in ‘Strait Island’ of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The members speak Jeru dialect among themselves and their number stands at 51 as per the last study carried out by Andaman Adim Janjati Vikas Samiti in 2012.
  • More than 5,000 Great Andamanese lived in the Islands before British settlers arrived in the 19 century.
  • However, hundreds were killed in conflict as they defended their territories from British invasion, and thousands more were wiped out in epidemics of measles, influenza and syphilis (a bacterial infection).


  1. Amnesty International


Amnesty International (AI) India has demanded an independent investigation into all allegations of human rights violations by the police during the north-east Delhi riots.

  • On 23 February 2020, riots broke out in Northeast Delhi between Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019 and pro-CAA protestors. The violence took a communal turn and led to deaths, injuries and destruction of properties.
  • Earlier, AI put forward its views on issues in J&K and the role of Foreigners Tribunals in Assam.

Main Points

  • Amnesty International (AI) is an international Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) founded in London (UK) in 1961.
  • It seeks to publicise violations by governments and other entities of rights recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), especially freedom of speech and of conscience and the right against torture. In 1977, it was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.
  • AI India is a part of the global human rights movement spearheaded by Amnesty International. It has its registered office in Bangalore (Karnataka).

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