Insights Daily Current Affairs, 27 December 2016

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 27 December 2016


Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Last Hurdle for Ken Betwa link over


Wild life board has cleared the Ken Betwa river link project. Now, the government is all set to start the work once the funding pattern is decided.


About the project:

The Ken and Betwa rivers in the states of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Madhya Pradesh (MP) are to be linked under an historic agreement that marks the first such project in India’s ambitious and controversial national river-linking project.

  • The project envisages construction of a dam across river Ken in Chhatarpur district in Madhya Pradesh to irrigate 6.35 lakh hectare area of land, drinking water purposes and generation of 78 MW hydropower.Ken Betwa link
  • The project comprises two powerhouse of 2×30 MW and 3×6 MW each, two tunnels of 1.9 km long upper level, 1.1 km long tunnel lower level and a 221 km long Ken-Betwa link canal, proposed on the left bank of the river.
  • The project will provide irrigation facilities for 6,35,661 hectares of land in Panna, Chhattarpur, Tikamgarh districts in Madhya Pradesh, and Banda, Mahoba and Jhansi districts in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The project was first mooted in the early 1980s but was actively taken up by the NDA government under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It was then challenged in the Supreme Court, which finally gave the nod in 2013.

Sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.


Sagarmala Development Company


The government recently inaugurated the Sagarmala Development Company (SDC). The Cabinet had approved the formation of the SDC under the administrative control of the Ministry of Shipping in July 2016.


Key facts:

  • The Sagarmala Development Company (SDC) has been incorporated under the Companies Act, 2013.
  • The company has an initial Authorized Share Capital of Rs. 1,000 Crore and a subscribed share capital of Rs. 90 Crore.
  • The main objective of the company is to identify port-led development projects under the Sagarmala Programme and provide equity support for the project Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) set up by the Ports / State / Central Ministries and funding window and /or implement only those residual projects which cannot be funded by any other means / mode.
  • SDC would be raising funds as debt/equity (as long term capital), as per the project requirements, by leveraging resources provided by the Government of India and from multi-lateral and bilateral funding agencies. It would also aim to increase the scope of private sector participation in project development.


Important functions to be performed by the company:

  • The company would help in structuring activities, bidding out projects for private sector participation, identifying suitable risk management measures for strategic projects across multiple States / Regions and obtaining requisite approvals and clearances.
  • The Company would act as the nodal agency for coordination and monitoring of all the currently identified projects under Sagarmala as well as other projects emerging from the master plans or other sources.
  • It would also undertake the preparation of the detailed master plans for the Coastal Economic Zones (CEZs) identified as part of the National Perspective Plan (NPP).



The incorporation of SDC is part of the ambitious Sagarmala Programme by the Government of India which aims to harness India’s 7,500 km long coastline, 14,500 km of potentially navigable waterways and strategic location on key international maritime trade routes. The concept of the Sagarmala Programme was approved by the Cabinet in March 2015.

Sources: pib.


Paper 1 Topic: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.


Centre releases special stamp on freedom fighter “Shri Gaya Prasad Katiyar”


Department of Posts, Ministry of Communications has brought out a Special Cover on freedom fighter “Shri Gaya Prasad Katiyar”.


About Gaya Prasad Katiyar:

  • He was one of the most dedicated soldiers of India’s freedom struggle.
  • He was born at Jagadishpur (UP). He joined Hindustan Socialist Republican Association in 1925 and got connected with Chandra Shekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh.
  • Later he participated on Lahore Conspiracy Case and was arrested from Saharanpur in 1929. He joined the hunger strike at Lahore Jail with his co prisoners. Later he was transported to Cellular jail in Andaman and again he participated on hunger strike there.
  • He was repatriated in 1937 but again arrested and transported to cellular jail from where he was released in 1946.

Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.


Remission power lies with State: SC


Noting that the power to grant remission is exclusively that of the State government and not the judiciary, the Supreme Court refrained itself from allowing any reprieve to four convicts who have served 25 years of their life sentence in Kolkata.

  • The court has declined to intervene, simply observing that “this is a power which can be exercised by the State.”



The judgment is in sync with the Tamil Nadu government’s review petition on the question of who has the actual authority — the Centre or the State — in granting remission for life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Tamil Nadu has sought a review of the Constitution Bench verdict in the high-profile case.


Constitutional provisions:

A pardon or remission can be given under Article 72 (by President) or 161 (by Governor) of the Constitution by the constitutional authority.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


Researchers create bacteria-powered battery on a single sheet of paper


Scientists have developed a bacteria-powered battery on a single piece of paper, which they say could be a cheap and easily manufactured power source for medical sensors in remote and developing areas.


Key facts:

  • The paper battery, which is foldable, is the latest example of what are known as bio-batteries, which store power generated by organic compounds. In this case, the power is generated by common bacteria found in wastewater.
  • The paper-based design is part of a new field of research called papertronics, which like the name suggests, is a fusion of paper and electronics.

paper batteries

How was it created?

To make their battery, the researchers laid a ribbon of silver nitrate on a piece of chromatography paper. On top of this, they placed a thin layer of wax to create a cathode – the battery’s positive electrode.

  • On the other side of the paper, the team made a reservoir out of a conductive polymer, which acts an anode (negative electrode), once filled with a few drops of the bacteria-containing wastewater liquid.
  • When the paper is folded so that the cathode and anode come into contact, the battery is powered by the bacterial metabolism, also known as cellular respiration.
  • The amount of power output depends on how much paper you have and how it’s stacked and folded.


Potential applications of the new battery:

  • The battery is powerful enough to run simple biosensors for things like monitoring glucose levels in diabetes patients or detecting pathogens in patients, which could help bring urgent medical aid to people who need assistance in places without electric power.
  • The simple components needed to make these kinds of paper-based electronics should be easy to come by in remote parts of the world, which could make them a reliable backup in places where grid electricity or conventional batteries aren’t available.


Way ahead:

Right now, it would take millions of the paper batteries to generate enough power for a 40-watt light bulb, so this kind of technology probably isn’t going to be a solution for powering conventional electronics any time soon. A lot more work needs to be done to get more current out of the device.

Sources: toi.


Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


First functional biological pacemaker developed


Scientists have developed the first functional pacemaker cells from human pluripotent stem cells which can regulate heart beats with electrical impulses, paving the way for an alternate, biological pacemaker therapy.


How they were developed?

Pluripotent stem cells have the potential to differentiate into more than 200 different cell types that make up every tissue and organ in the body. These cells were coaxed in 21 days to develop into pacemaker cells by the researchers.



Sinoatrial node pacemaker cells are the heart’s primary pacemaker, controlling the heartbeat throughout life. Defects in the pacemaker can lead to heart rhythm disorders that are commonly treated by implantation of electronic pacemaker devices.


Significance of these findings:

  • Biological pacemakers represent a promising alternative to electronic pacemakers, overcoming such drawbacks as a lack of hormonal responsiveness and the inability to adapt to changes in heart size in pediatric patients.
  • Learning how to generate pacemaker cells could also help in understanding disorders in pacemaker cells, and provide a cell source for developing a biological pacemaker.

Sources: toi.


Facts for Prelims


New Regional Institute of Education at Nellore:

  • Ministry of Human Resource Development is opening a new Regional Institute of Education at Nellore (Andhra Pradesh). Presently NCERT, an apex body of Government of India on School Education, has five RIEs in the country at Ajmer, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Mysore and Shillong.
  • The opening of the new RIE at Nellore will be give an impetus to the strengthening of School Education and Teacher Education in the region and benefit not only Andhra Pradesh but also the adjoining States of Telegana, Tamil Nadu, Pudduchery etc.
  • The opening of the RIE fulfills the long-standing demand of the region. The new institution at Nellore shall offer teacher education programmes like B.Sc/BA B.Ed, M.Ed, Ph.D etc.
  • It will undertake research and development of Resource Materials on school and teacher education, help capacity building of Teachers and Teacher Educators, strengthen implementation of Government of India Schemes like SSA, RMSA, ICT in schools, and strengthen linkages among State Education Agencies besides addressing educational needs of the States.