31st Aug, 2020


Open API Service in Aarogya Setu

The government has announced a new feature ‘Open API Service’ for Aarogya Setu app.

Through the new feature, organizations can take informed decisions regarding the presence of employees in office and the need to explore work from home.

Thus, risk of contracting is reduced.

Entities which are registered in India and have more than 50 employees can avail this feature. 

No other personal data except the user’s name and status shall be provided through the API.

Application Programming Interface (API) 

It is an interface that can be used to program software that interacts with an existing application.

Open Source API is made publicly available to software developers.

APIs vs. Web Services

Every web service is an API but not every API is a web service. 

While APIs can be online or offline, web services must use a network.

While APIs can use any protocols or design styles, web services usually use specific protocols.

Web services are less prone to hacking than API.


BIS Draft Standard for Drinking Water

Recently, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has prepared a draft standard for the supply system of piped drinking water.

Title: ‘Drinking water supply quality management system — requirements for piped drinking water supply service’.

It outlines the process of water supply, from raw water sources to household taps.

The draft standard is expected to make the process of piped water supply more uniform. 

It has been developed keeping in view the Centre’s Jal Jeevan Mission.

Jal Jeevan Mission 

It aims for providing safe and adequate drinking water to all rural households by 2024 through tap connections.

Ministry: Jal Shakti Ministry

The Bureau of Indian Standards 

It is the national Standards Body of India. 

Ministry: Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution

Act: Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986


Sustainable Finance Collaborative launched 

Sustainable Finance Collaborative was recently launched. 

Launched by: The Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme India. 

It included dialogues on:

Barriers to deploying new and innovative financing such as impact investing

Role of blended finance instruments

Green finance instruments for sustainable development 

Need for taxonomy of environmentally sustainable activities


Great Andamanese Tribe

Recently, the Great Andamanese tribe were in news when some of its members tested positive for COVID-19.

They are one of the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal group (PVTG) of the region.

This is one of the first cases of COVID-19 infection among the endangered PVTGs of the region.


The Great Andamanese 

They are one of five PVTGs that reside in the Andamans archipelago. 

They speak Jeru among themselves.

Total population is just 74.

The five PVTGS residing in Andamans are Great Andamanese, Jarawas, Onges, Shompens and North Sentinelese.

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG)s 

Concerned Ministry: Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) & Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MTA)

75 tribal groups have been categorized as PVTGs by MHA. 

They reside in 18 States and UT of A&N Islands. 

MTA implements “Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)” scheme exclusively for them. 

Under the scheme, Conservation-cum-Development (CCD) Plans are to be prepared by each

State/UT for their PVTGs based on their need assessment.

The plans are then appraised and approved by the Project Appraisal Committee of the Tribal Affairs Ministry. 

Sectors for which activities are undertaken: Education, Health, Livelihood and Skill Development, Agricultural Development, Housing & Habitat, Conservation of Culture etc.



Comprehensive Manser Rejuvenation and Development Plan reviewed

The ‘Comprehensive Manser Rejuvenation and Development Plan’ was recently reviewed. 

Objective: To initiate the process for development, rejuvenation and beautification of Manser Wetlands, Jammu and Kashmir. 

The plan aims at increasing tourist footfall and boosting the social economic development of Jammu region. 

Surinsar-Manser Lakes were designated as Ramsar Convention in November 2005.


New rules for administration notified in the Union Territory of J&K

New rules for administration were recently notified in the Union Territory of J&K. 

Ministry: The Union Home Ministry.

The new rules specify the functions of the Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) and the Council of Ministers (CoM).

Police, public order, All India Services and anti-corruption will fall under the executive functions of the L-G. 

The CM or CoM will have no say in their functioning.

Matters which affect the interest of any minority community shall essentially be submitted to the L-G after intimating the CM. 

The CoM, led by the CM, will decide service matters of non-All India Services officers, proposal to impose new tax, land revenue, reconstituting departments or offices and draft legislation.

However, in case of difference of opinion between the L-G and a Minister, when no agreement could be reached even after a month, the decision of the L-G shall be deemed to have been accepted by the CoM.


Barn Owls being used for controlling damage to coconut yield

Pilot project has started on Biological Control of Rodents (Rats) by Using Barn Owls in Kavaratti Island, Lakshadweep. 

Recent studies revealed the widespread damage caused by rats to the island’s coconut yield and economy.

Coconut is an important cash crop for the islands, but the rodents account for 30 to 40% of the yield loss. 

Total production stood at 8.76 crore nuts in 2017-18.

Barn Owl

Scientific name: Tyto alba.

Distribution: It is the most widely distributed species of owl except in Polar and desert regions, north of the Himalayas, most of Indonesia, and some Pacific islands.

Nearly all of their food consists of small mammals which they locate by sound.

IUCN status: Least Concern.

Cultural significance: The Barn Owl is respected as the acolyte of the Goddess Chamunda in Karnataka. In Bengal, it is revered as the carrier of Lakshmi, the deity of wealth.

Barn owls have been recruited instead of cats or rat snakes because the rats in the Lakshadweep Islands practically live on treetops. 

Using chemical agents is impossible since Lakshadweep practises organic agriculture.



Possibility of Common Electoral Roll discussed

Recently, the possibility of having a common electoral roll for elections to the panchayat, municipality, state assembly and the Lok Sabha were discussed by the Indian Central government. 

In many states, the voters’ list for the panchayat and municipality elections is different from the one used for Parliament and Assembly elections.

The supervision and conduct of elections are supervised by two authorities — the Election Commission (EC) and the State Election Commissions (SECs).

EC: Supervise elections to the President and Vice-President offices, and to Parliament, the state assemblies and the legislative councils.

SECs: Supervise municipal and panchayat elections. 

They are free to prepare their own electoral rolls for local body elections, and this exercise does not have to be coordinated with the EC. 

Each SEC is governed by a separate state Act.

Currently, all states, except Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Assam, Madhya Pradesh,

Kerala, Odisha, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and the Union Territory of J&K, adopt EC’s rolls for local body polls.

The pitch for a single voters list is not new. 

The Law Commission recommended it in its 255th report in 2015. 

The EC too adopted a similar stance in 1999 and 2004.


14th India-Singapore Defence Policy Dialogue held

The 14th India-Singapore Defence Policy Dialogue (DPD) was held via video conferencing.

Discussions on a number of issues of bilateral defence engagements between India and Singapore were held. 

The Implementing Arrangement on Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief (HADR) between India and Singapore was also signed.


World Urdu Conference

World Urdu Conference was recently inaugurated by Union Education Minister. 

Organised by: National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL)

Place: New Delhi.

DGNCC Mobile Training App launched

The Directorate General National Cadet Corps (DGNCC) Mobile Training App was recently launched.

Ministry: Defence Ministry 

The App will assist in conducting countrywide online training of NCC cadets.

Aim: Providing NCC cadets entire training material on one platform.