Insights Daily Current Affairs, 02 January 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 02 January 2017



Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Decide on safety sealing in six months: HC to Centre


The Bombay High Court has given the Union government six months’ time to take a decision on making safety sealing mandatory for healthcare and hygiene products.

  • The court passed the directive while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL). The PIL is about pilferage of cosmetics, child care, healthcare and hygiene products.


What’s the concern?

The PIL states that while in transit from manufacturer to consumer, there is a possibility of contamination and adulteration of the products due to the absence of a seal. It also highlights that at present, there are no mandatory provisions to put the seal.



Previously, the State had said that there are no mandatory provisions under the Legal Metrology Act, 2009, and hence the sealing of the products cannot be done. However, in October 2014, the Centre said that it is awaiting recommendations from a committee constituted to look into the matter. The government had also said that all creams and lotions are mandatorily sealed under the amended Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 2013.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


India, Pakistan exchange lists of nuclear sites


India and Pakistan recently exchanged for the 26th consecutive year the list of their nuclear installations under a bilateral agreement that prohibits them from attacking each other’s atomic facilities.


Key facts:

  • The exchange was carried out under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations between India and Pakistan.
  • This is the 26th consecutive exchange of such list between the two countries, the first one having taken place on January 1, 1992.


About the agreement:

The agreement, which was signed on December 31, 1988, and entered into force on January 27, 1991, says that the two countries will inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the agreement on January 1 of every calendar year.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


PM Narendra Modi Announces New Housing Schemes For The Poor


Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced number of schemes during his speech on the eve of the New Year.



For the poor: Two new schemes under PM Awaas Yojna. Home loans for poor and middle class people up to Rs 9 lakh will get 4% exemption on interest and 3% for up to Rs 12 lakh loans.

For farmers: Sixty days interest waiver for farm loans taken from from district co-operative banks and co-operative societies.

For senior citizens: 8% interest up to Rs 7.5 lakh deposit by senior citizens in banks.

For small businesses: Credit guarantee for micro small and medium enterprises to be raised to Rs 2 crore from current Rs 1 crore.

For women: Pregnant women across India will be given Rs 6,000 in their bank accounts to take care of initial medical needs.

For farmers: The government will convert 3 crore Kisan Credit cards to RUpay Credit cards.

For small businesses: Banks have been asked to raise cash credit limit for small businesses to 25% from 20%.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


After wallet cos, Modi now brings cheer to digital lending firms


PM’s New Year eve speech has opened up opportunities for digital lending players, including startups in the space. PM has announced the inclusion of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) in the credit guarantee scheme for small, medium and micro enterprises (SMEs) and also extended the scheme for loans up to Rs 2 crore.


Significance of this move:

  • The credit guarantee scheme for SMEs was so far open only for banks, and the inclusion of NFBCs will help new-age NBFCs reach out to more borrowers.
  • Extension of credit guarantees to NBFCs will help innovative players to penetrate under-served, new-to-credit borrower segments.



So far, NBFCs had to take the entire risk only by themselves, and some were still conservative in lending to borrowers who may not have been eligible under conventional norms.


About the scheme:

The current credit guarantee scheme includes term loans or working capital facility up to Rs 100 lakh per SME borrower, extended without any collateral security or third-party guarantee. It was so far applicable only to scheduled commercial banks and some regional rural banks. The guarantee cover available under the scheme is to the extent of a maximum 85% of the sanctioned amount.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 1 Topic: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.


Fossil fuel formation linked to rise in atmosphere’s oxygen


The rapid rise in the atmospheres oxygen roughly 500 million years ago which made advanced animal life possible on Earth is linked to the process that led to the formation of fossil fuels, suggests new research.

  • According to the study, the rise in oxygen was associated with a rapid increase in the burial of sediment containing large amounts of carbon-rich organic matter – the raw material of coal, oil and natural gas.



Multicellular life is largely a creation of the “Cambrian explosion,” which coincided with a spike in atmospheric oxygen roughly 500 million years ago. It was during the Cambrian explosion that most of the animals appeared and evolved.


What accounted for the sudden spike in oxygen during the Cambrian?

The study linked the rise in oxygen to a rapid increase in the burial of sediment containing large amounts of carbon-rich organic matter.

  • The key is to recognise that sediment storage blocks the oxidation of carbon. Without burial, this oxidation reaction causes dead plant material on Earth’s surface to burn.
  • That causes the carbon it contains, which originated in the atmosphere, to bond with oxygen to form carbon dioxide. And for oxygen to build up in our atmosphere, plant organic matter must be protected from oxidation.
  • And that is exactly what happens when organic matter — the raw material of coal, oil and natural gas — is buried through geologic processes.


Concern expressed by scientists:

The researchers warned that today, burning billions of tonnes of stored carbon in fossil fuels is removing large amounts of oxygen from the atmosphere, reversing the pattern that drove the rise in oxygen. And so the oxygen level in the atmosphere falls as the concentration of carbon dioxide rises.

Sources: et.


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.


Drug discovery for GPCR signalling made easy by IIT Kanpur


Researchers have shown that the regulation of G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) by new drugs can be simpler than generally thought — it can be mediated by engaging only the end of the receptor, which is called the tail of the receptor.


Significance of these findings:

With this, discovering new drugs that bind to G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs), which are central to almost every physiological process in our body such as vision, taste, immune response and cardiovascular regulation, becomes easier.



Nearly 50% of prescription drugs currently available in the market for the treatment of blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes, obesity, cancer and many other human diseases target GPCR receptors. All these drugs bind to their respective receptors and either activate or stop their signalling.


What is G protein coupled receptor?

G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest and most diverse group of membrane receptors in eukaryotes. These cell surface receptors act like an inbox for messages in the form of light energy, peptides, lipids, sugars, and proteins.

How GPCRs operate?

Receptors found on the cell surface receive signals and transmit them to inside the cells. A part of the receptor is embedded in the cell membrane and the other part protrudes outside the membrane and inside of the cell.

  • The part of the receptor that protrudes outside the membrane changes its shape whenever a stimulus in the body binds to it. In response to this change in the outside part of the receptor, a corresponding change happens in the shape of the receptor that is positioned inside the cell.
  • This change in the shape of the receptor positioned inside the cell allows it bind to other proteins called effectors. These effectors cause specific effects in the cell, referred to as cell signalling, which leads to physiological changes in our body.


About the new method:

General understanding is that effector proteins have to simultaneously bind at two sites — the tail of the receptor and the core of the receptor — for the drug to become effective in pulling the receptor inside the cell.

  • Through specific engineering of the receptor researchers basically disrupted one of the two binding sites, namely the core of receptor. They found that even without the second site, the protein was able to pull the receptor inside the cell by binding just to the tail of the receptor.
  • There is a key region in the core which the researchers genetically deleted thereby making the core of the receptor ineffective.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims


Anil Baijal takes over as new Lt Governor of Delhi:

  • Anil Baijal is the new Lt Governor of Delhi. Baijal is the 20th Lt Governor of Delhi.
  • He was appointed to the post by President Pranab Mukherjee last week. His appointment came after Najeeb Jung’s sudden resignation from the post.
Anil Baijal

Anil Baijal