Daily GK Update: 20th February 2020

India ranks 77th on sustainability, 131st in child flourishing index rankings: UN report

  • India ranked 77th on a sustainability index that takes into account per capita carbon emissions and 131st on a flourishing ranking that measures the best chance at survival and well-being for children, according to a UN-backed report.
  • The report was released on Wednesday by a commission of over 40 child and adolescent health experts from around the world. It was commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and The Lancet medical journal.

Source: The Economic Times

Animal Culture Linked to Conservation for the first time at UN Wildlife Conference in India.

  • Animal culture, the learning of non-human species through socially transmitted behaviours, is being linked to conservation action for the first time .
  • There is evidence that whales, dolphins, elephants and primates acquire some of their knowledge and skills through social learning. In addition to individual learning, some animals may learn socially from adults or peers about various behaviours, including optimal migration routes.
  • To consider conservation measures for the Eastern Tropical Pacific Sperm Whale and the nut-cracking Chimpanzee two such proposals will be presented to delegates at the ongoing 13th Conference of Parties meeting to the Convention of Migratory Species at Gandhinagar(CMS COP 13).
Source: Press Information Bureau


  • India ranked 35th in the Worldwide Educating for the Future Index (WEFFI) 2019, as per a report published by The Economist Intelligence Unit.
  • India scored 53 and has jumped five ranks from the 40th rank with an overall score of 41.2 across categories in 2018.
  • Finland topped the index followed by Sweden.
  • WEFFI ranks countries based on their abilities to equip students with skill-based education.
  • The rankings are based on three categories:
    • Policy environment.
    • Teaching environment.
    • Overall socio-economic environment.
  • The report analyses the education system from the perspective of skill-based education in areas such as critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership, collaboration, creativity and entrepreneurship as well as digital and technical skills.
  • Among the world’s largest economies, the US, UK, France and Russia fell back in the index while China, India and Indonesia took steps forward.

CSIR, IISc-Bangalore top scientific research institutional rankings in Nature Index 2020

  • The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has ranked first in the Nature Ranking Index-2020. The rankings are based on total research output which the institutions have carried out from 1 December 2018 to 30 November 2019. Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, has ranked second.
  • CSIR, New Delhi, has achieved the top position with 142 counts and a share percentage of 87.74 while IISC-Bengaluru stands second with 211 counts and 83.61 in share percentage.
  • The total research output indicated the counts (which mean total citations in numbers) and shares (which mean the sharing percentage per article). The top subjects associated with the research work include: Earth and Environmental Sciences, Physical Science, Chemistry, and Life Sciences.

Source: Indusdictum

Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh celebrate Statehood Day

  • The northeastern states Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh on Wednesday observed their Statehood Day with numerous cultural events and sports meets.
    Wednesday marks the 32nd and 47th Statehood Day of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh respectively.
  • President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi greeted people of the two states on this ocassion.

Source: Business Standard

NITI Aayog organizes North East Sustainable Development Goal Conclave 2020 in Assam

  • The Conclave is to be held in the state capital Guwahati.
  • It includes climate adaptive agriculture, sustainable livelihoods, education, health and nutrition, skill development, connectivity, entrepreneurship, infrastructure development.
  • It is important to make progress in the North East Regions at higher level as compared to the rest of the nation.

Source: The World News Monitor

Govt makes crop insurance schemes voluntary for farmers

  • The government on Wednesday made its flagship crop insurance schemes voluntary for farmers with existing crop loans or those willing to take new ones, as it seeks to address the concerns raised by farmers’ body and states in implementation of these programmes.
  • “The Union Cabinet has approved revamping of ‘Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)’ and ‘Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS)’ to address the existing challenges in implementation of crop insurance schemes,” an official statement said. Under the PMFBY, which was launched in February 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it is mandatory for loanee farmers to take insurance cover under this scheme.

Source: India Today

Cabinet approves creation of 12-member ‘Technology Group’ for policy advice, R&D

  • The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the constitution of an empowered ‘Technology Group’ and mandated it to render timely policy advice on the latest technologies.
  • The cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi has decided that the group will have 12 members with the Principal Scientific Adviser to the government as its chair.
  • The group has been asked to also map technology and technology products, commercialisation of dual-use technologies developed in national laboratories and government R&D organisations, developing an indigenisation road map for selected key technologies, and selection of appropriate R&D programs.

Source: CNBC TV18

Swachh Bharat Mission II phase to cost Rs 52,000 crore, gets cabinet nod

  • The Centre on Wednesday approved the second phase of Swachh Bharat Mission (Rural), Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project focussed on sustainability of ODF and management of solid and liquid waste.
  • The second phase will be implemented on a mission mode between 2020-21 and 2024-25 with an estimated central and state budget of Rs 52,497 crore, the Jal Shakti Ministry said in a statement.
  • The rural sanitation programme was started on October 2, 2014, when the sanitation coverage in the country was reported at 38.7 per cent. More than 10 crore individual toilets have been constructed since the launch of the mission and as a result, rural areas in all states have declared themselves open defecation free (ODF) as on October 2, 2019.

Source: India Today

GoI to launch “TILHAN Mission” to make India Self Reliant in oil seed Production

  • On February 19, 2020, the Agricultural Minister Narendra Singh Tomar announced that Government of India is to launch “TILHAN MISSION” to boost the oil seed production.
  • The National Mission on Oil Seeds and Oil Palm was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare.
  • In September 2019, the palm oil imports (before the Malaysian PM’s accusation) were 310,648 tonnes.

Source: The World News Monitor

‘Saudi Arabia, China, Turkey blocked US move against Pakistan at FATF’

  • China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the three close allies of Pakistan, have joined hands to block a move by the Trump administration to place Islamabad on an international terror-financing watch list, a US media report said today.
  • While Pakistan has claimed a victory of sorts, the US was working behind the scenes during the ongoing Paris meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) so as to take action against the country which it believes has not acted against terrorist financing and the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions.

Source: The Economic Times