20201226 Current Affairs and Editorial

WHO’s 2019 Global Health Estimates

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health


  • The WHO’s 2019 Global Health Estimates was released recently.

Key takeaways 

  • According to the report, non-communicable diseases now make up 7 of the world’s top 10 causes of death, an increase from 4 of the 10 leading causes in 2000.

  • The new data cover the period from 2000 to 2019.

  • Heart disease:(1) It has remained the leading cause of death at the global level for the last 20 years; (2) It now represents 16% of total deaths from all causes; (3) The number of deaths from heart disease increased by more than two million since 2000 to nearly 9 million in 2019.

  • Diabetes and dementiaare also among the world’s top 10 causes of death.

  • HIV/AIDSdropped from the 8th leading cause of death in 2000 to the 19th in 2019.

  • Tuberculosisis also no longer in the global top 10, falling from 7th place in 2000 to 13th in 2019, with a 30% reduction in global deaths.

  • In 2019, people were living more than 6 years longer than in 2000, with a global average of more than 73 years in 2019 compared to nearly 67 in 2000.

  • There has been a global decline in deaths from communicable diseases, which however, still remain a major challenge in low- and middle-income countries.

Do you know?

  • In 2019, pneumonia and other lower respiratory infections were the deadliest group of communicable diseases and together ranked as the fourth leading cause of death.

Post Matric Scholarship To Students Belonging To Scheduled Castes

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Policies and Interventions

In news

  • The Union Cabinet has recently approved major changes in the Centrally Sponsored Scheme ‘Post Matric Scholarship to students belonging to Scheduled Castes (PMS-SC)’ to benefit more than 4 Crore SC students in the next 5 years so that they can successfully complete their higher education.

Key takeaways

  • A campaign will be launched to enrol the students, from the poorest households passing the 10th standard, in the higher education courses of their choice in the next 5 years.

  • The scheme will be run on an online platform with robust cyber security measures that would assure transparency and timely delivery of the assistance.

  • The States will undertake fool-proof verification of the eligibility, caste status, Aadhar identification and bank account details on the online portal.

  • Transfer of financial assistance to the students under the scheme shall be on DBT mode, and preferably using the Aadhar Enabled Payment System.

  • It shall start from from 2021-22.

  • The Central share shall be 60% in the scheme.

  • Monitoring mechanism will be further strengthened through conduct of social audits, annual third party evaluation, and half-yearly self-audited reports from each institution.

  • The Central Assistance which was around Rs 1100 crore annually during 2017-18 to 2019-20 would be increased more than 5 times to be around Rs 6000 core annually during 2020-21 to 2025-26.

Medium Range Surface To Air Missile (MRSAM) launched

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Defence and Security

In news

  • DRDO recently achieved a major milestone with the maiden launch of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM), Army Version from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur, off the Coast of Odisha.

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Defence and Security

In news

  • DRDO recently achieved a major milestone with the maiden launch of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM), Army Version from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur, off the Coast of Odisha.

    Key takeaways

    • The missile completely destroyed a high speed unmanned aerial target which was mimicking an aircraft with a direct hit.

    • Army version of MRSAM is a surface to Air Missile developed jointly by DRDO, India and IAI, Israel for use of the Indian Army.

MRSAM Army weapon system comprises of Command post, Multi-Function Radar and Mobile Launcher system.

 India and World Bank sign USD 500 million worth project for Green
National Highway Corridors

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Infrastructure

In news

  • The Indian Government and the World Bank signed a USD 500 million project to build safe and green national highway corridors in Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

Key takeaways

  • The Green National Highways Corridors Project will support the Road Transport and Highways Ministry to construct 783 kilometres of highways in various geographies by integrating safe and green technology designs such as local and marginal materials, industrial by-products and other bioengineering solutions.

  • The project will help reduce GHG emissions in the construction and maintenance of highways.

  • The project will also enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in mainstreaming safety and green technologies.

  • The $500 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a maturity of 18.5 years including a grace period of five years.

Important value additions 

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)

  • It is an international financial institution.

  • Established in:1944

  • Headquarter:Washington, D.C., USA

  • It is the lending arm of World Bank Group.

  • It offers loans to middle-income developing countries.

  • It is the first of five member institutions that compose the World Bank Group.

  • The IBRD and its concessional lending arm, the International Development Association (IDA), are collectively known as the World Bank as they share the same leadership and staff.

Baroda Military Salary Package

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Economy; Defence and Security

In news

  • Indian Army and Bank of Baroda have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for ‘Baroda Military Salary Package’.

Key takeaways

  • The MoU lays down the basis on which banking services would be provided by Bank of Baroda to serving and retired personnel of Indian Army.

  • Services under ‘Baroda Military Salary Package’ will be offered to serving and retired personnel of Indian Army through the Bank’s network.

  • The benefits include:Free Personal Accidental Insurance cover, Permanent Total Disability cover, Partial disability Cover and Higher Education Cover and Girl Child Marriage Cover on death in case of serving personnel.

  • Other offerings:Unlimited free ATM transactions at all bank ATMs, waivers or concessions on various service charges in retail loans, free remittance facility through RTGS/NEFT, free Demand Draft/Banker’s Cheque, substantial discount in locker rentals, and various additional benefits in usage of Cards.


       Shaheen-IX is joint air exercise between China and Pakistan.

  • China defended “Shaheen-IX” exercise with Pakistan air force as a routine arrangement, which experts believe is reflective of a larger strategic posture towards India.

  • It is being held in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province near Indian border.

  • India recently hosted the Malabar 2020 naval exercise with the U.S., Japan and Australia which was termed by a Chinese state media as an ill-intentioned attempt to corner China.

Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana

  • Rahim Khan’s tomb was opened to the public after six years of restoration work — perhaps the largest conservation project ever undertaken for any monument of national importance in India.

  • Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana (1556 – 1627), popularly known as simply Rahim, was a poet who lived in India during the rule of Mughal emperor Akbar.

  • Abdul Rahim was the son of Bairam Khan, Akbar’s trusted guardian and mentor.

  • He was one of the nine important ministers (dewan) in Akbar’s court, also known as the Navaratnas.

  • Rahim is known for his Hindi dohe (couplets) and his books on astrology.

  • Rahim also translated Babar’s memoirs, Baburnama from Chagatai language to Persian language.

  • In Sanskrit, he wrote two books on astrology, Khetakautukam and Dwatrimshadyogavali.

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