9 PM Current Affairs Brief – March 4th, 2020

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Just over 34,000 people sign up for traders pension scheme 

News: Just over 34,000 people have signed up for the National Pension Scheme for Traders, Shopkeepers and Self-Employed Persons.


National Pension Scheme for Traders, Shopkeepers and Self-Employed Persons/Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyapari Maan-dhan Yojana

  • It is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Labour & Employment
  • Features:
    • It assures a minimum monthly pension of ₹3000 per month to small shopkeepers, retail traders and the self-employed people after attaining the age of 60 years.
    • The scheme is available to all small shopkeepers and self-employed persons and retail traders with Goods and Services tax (GST) turnover below Rs. 1.5 crore. The age limit is 18-40 years.
    • Further, to be eligible, the applicants should not be covered under the National Pension Scheme, Employees’ State Insurance Scheme and the Employees’ Provident Fund or be an Income Tax assesse.

Union Tourism Minister launches multilingual Incredible India website

News: Ministry of Tourism launched multilingual Incredible India website. It aims to showcase India as a popular tourist destination worldwide


Incredible India 

  • It is the name of the international tourism campaign maintained by the Ministry of Tourism, since 2002, to promote various tourism destinations and products, including cultural heritage of India.
  • The ‘Incredible India 2.0’ was launched in September 2017. The campaign focuses on digital and social media and the promotion of niche tourism products of the country.

Monuments of the Deccan Sultanate

News: The Government of India has submitted nomination dossier for the inclusion of Monuments and forts of the Deccan Sultanate in World Heritage List for the year 2020.


Deccan sultanate:

  • The Deccan sultanates were five late-medieval Indian kingdoms. They ruled on the Deccan Plateau between the Krishna River and the Vindhya Range. 
  • The kingdoms were Ahmadnagar, Berar, Bidar, Bijapur, and Golconda.[
  • Their architecture was a regional variant of Indo-Islamic architecture,

Monuments and Forts of the Deccan Sultanate

Bahmani MonumentsGulbarga, Karnataka14th CenturyComprise of the Gulbarga Fort and Great Mosque in the Fort and the Haft Gumbad complex with seven tombs
Bahmani and Barid Shahi MonumentsBidar, Karnataka15th-early 16th centuryComprise of the Bidar Fort, the Madrasa  Mahmud Gawan, the Bahamani tombs at Ashtur and the Barid Shahi tombs.
Adil Shahi MonumentsBijapur, Karnataka15th to the late 17th centuriesEnsemble of 80 small and big monuments including the fortifications, gates, water systems and tanks, several mosques and tombs and palatial structuresMost remarkable: Gol Gumbaz
Qutb Shahi MonumentsHyderabad, Telangana1543 to 1672Golconda Fort, Qutb Shahi Tombs and Charminar

Source: https://whc.unesco.org/fr/listesindicatives/5887/

Black carbon levels spike at Himalayan glaciers

News: According to a study by scientists at the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), black carbon concentrations near the Gangotri glacier rose 400 times in summer due to forest fires and stubble burning from agricultural waste, and triggered glacial melt


Black Carbon

  • Black carbon results from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass.
  • It is short-lived and remains in the atmosphere only for days to weeks before it descends as rain or snow.


  • Black carbon absorbs solar energy and warms the atmosphere. 
  • When it falls to earth with precipitation, it darkens the surface of snow and ice, reducing their albedo (the reflecting power of a surface), warming the snow, resulting in faster glacial melt.

Additional Information:

Other types of Carbon:

  1. Blue Carbon: It  refers to coastal, aquatic and marine carbon sinks held by vegetation, marine organisms and sediments.
  2. Green Carbon: It is the carbon that is stored in terrestrial ecosystems such as forests, pastures and soils.
  3. Brown Carbon: It is a light-absorbing particle in the Earth’s atmosphere that has the unique characteristics of both cooling the planet’s surface and warming its atmosphere.

Gangotri Glacier

  • Gangotri Glacier is located in Uttarkashi District, Uttarakhand.
  • Gaumukh, the snout of the Gangotri glacier is the source of river Bhgairathi, one of the important tributary of River Ganga

Janaushadhi Diwas 

News:Janaushadhi week is being celebrated across the country from 1st March to 7th March 2020.On this occasion various activities like health checkup Camp, Jan Aushadhi Paricharcha, Jan Aushadhi ka sath are being undertaken.


About Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana(PMBJP):

  • Launched in 2008 by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.
  • Aim:To bring down the healthcare budget of citizens of India by providing generic quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses through Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra.
  • Implementation:Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) is the implementing agency.

Additional information:

About Generic medicines:

  • Generic medicines are unbranded medicines which are equally safe and having the same efficacy as that of branded medicines in terms of their therapeutic value. 
  • The prices of generic medicines are much cheaper than their branded equivalent.

About BPPI:

  • Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) was established in 2008 under the Department of Pharmaceuticals,Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.
  • It got registered as an independent society in 2010 under the Societies Registration Act,1860.

Urja Dakshata Information Tool(UDIT)

News:Bureau of Energy Efficiency(BEE) along with World Resources Institute (WRI) has launched Urja Dakshata Information Tool(UDIT) to facilitate a database on energy efficiency.


About UDIT:

  • Urja Dakshata Information Tool(UDIT) is a user-friendly platform that explains the energy efficiency landscape of India across industry, appliances, building, transport, municipal and agriculture sectors. 
  • It will also showcase the capacity building and new initiatives taken up by the Government across the sectors in the increase energy efficiency domain.

About BEE:

  • The BEE is a statutory body under the Ministry of Power. It was set up under the provisions of Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
  • Its mission is to assist in developing policies with the primary objective of reducing energy intensity of the Indian Economy.

About WRI:

  • The World Resources Institute(WRI) is a global research non-profit organization that was established in 1982.
  • It aims to promote environmental sustainability, economic opportunity, and human health and well-being.
  • It is headquartered in Washington,USA.

Global Coalition for Biodiversity

News:European Commission has launched the Global Coalition for Biodiversity on the occasion of World Wildlife Day.


About the Coalition:

  • The Coalition is a campaign for raising awareness about biodiversity loss.
  • It calls on world zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens and natural history museums to join the coalition to raise awareness about the nature crisis ahead of the CoP 15 in Kunming,China in 2020.
  • It also adopted a pledge to raise voice for nature citing the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services(IPBES) Global Assessment finding that one million species were already at risk of extinction.

Setu Bharatam Scheme

News:Government has envisaged replacement of all the level crossings on National Highways by Road Over Bridges or Road Under Bridges under the Setu Bharatam scheme by 2020.


About Setu Bharatam Scheme:

  • Launched in 2016 by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
  • Aim:To make all National Highways free of railway level crossings in order to ensure safe and smooth flow of traffic and reduce road fatalities by 50%.

Additional information:

About Indian Bridge Management System(IBMS):

  • It is a digital database of all bridges in the country to rate their structural condition so that timely repair and rehabilitation work can be carried out based on the criticality of the structure.

Greek Island of Lesbos

News:Greece has reinforced its sea and land borders to stop migrants crossing over from Turkey to reach Greek Island of Lesbos.


About Greek Island of Lesbos:

  • Lesbos is a Greek island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea.It is the third largest island in Greece. 
  • It is separated from Turkey by the narrow Mytilini Strait.The island is largely volcanic in the west.

Additional information:

About Aegean Sea:

  • The Aegean Sea is located between the nations of Turkey and Greece.
  • It is connected to numerous waterways including the straits of Bosphorus and Dardanelles as well as the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara.

White-throated laughingthrush

News:Around 50 white-throated laughingthrush birds have died mysteriously in the forests of Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand.



  • The white-throated laughingthrush (Proterorhinus albogularis) is a species of passerine bird in the family Leiothrichidae.
  • Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.
  • It is found mainly in the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent, primarily the Himalayas and some adjoining and disjunct areas.
  • IUCN Red list: Least Concern.

Land Ports Authority of India

News:Union Minister of State for Home Affairs has addressed the 4th Foundation Day of the Land Ports Authority of India(LPAI).


About LPAI:

  • The Land Ports Authority of India(LPAI) is a statutory body established under the Land Ports Authority of India Act,2010.
  • It functions under the administrative control of the Department of Border Management, Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • It was established to provide safe, secure and systematic facilities for movement of cargo as well passengers at its Integrated Check posts(ICPs) along the international borders of India.

Additional information:

About Integrated Check Post(ICP):

  • Integrated Check Post (ICP) is a trade centre for facilitation of bilateral trade between countries as well as for movement of passengers across the border. 
  • It also aims to generate employment opportunities and provide a boost to the economy of the State and the region.

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