Insights Daily Current Affairs, 31 January 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 31 January 2017


Paper 2 Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.


Warning against spurious schemes being floated in the name of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao


The Ministry of Women & Child Development has warned unauthorised sites/organisations/NGOs/individuals that are distributing forms in the name of cash incentive under Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme.

  • The government has made it clear that the scheme has no provision for individual CASH TRANSFER COMPONENT by Government of India.


About the scheme:

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme was launched in January, 2015 at Panipat in Haryana. The scheme is aimed at promoting gender equality and the significance of educating girls.

  • The Scheme is targeted at improving the Child Sex Ratio through multi sectoral interventions including prevention of gender biased sex selection and promoting girls’ education and her holistic empowerment.
  • It is a tri-ministerial effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.
  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme focuses on challenging mindsets and deep rooted patriarchy in the societal system, strict enforcement of PC&PNDT Act, advancing education of the girl child: focus is on issues of women empowerment on a life cycle continuum.

Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.


Panel headed by Vinod Rai to oversee BCCI’s affairs


The Supreme Court has appointed a four-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai to oversee the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

  • The committee will function as the interim head of the BCCI and run the day-to-day administration of the cricket body till the Lodha reforms are fully implemented and elections held.

Image Source: The Hindu


The Supreme Court recently ousted former BCCI president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke for stalling the Lodha reforms.


Way ahead:

The court has asked the BCCI CEO to submit a report to the committee detailing the level of compliance achieved by the BCCI and its members in adopting the Lodha recommendations upheld by the court.

The BCCI CEO has to submit the report to the new committee within a week. After this, the committee has been given four weeks to scrutinise the compliance achieved and report to the Supreme Court.


Lodha Committee’s key recommendations include:

  • One state, one vote.
  • An age limit of 70 years for administrators.
  • Nine-member Apex council instead of working committee.
  • Nine-year tenure for administrators with cooling period after every three-year term.
  • Three-member selection committee to pick the Indian team.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.


Centre to hold talks to end Manipur crisis


The Centre has decided to hold tripartite talks with the United Naga Council (UNC) and the Manipur government to end the ongoing blockade of two national highways in Manipur, which has disrupted normal life and led to a shortage of essential commodities in the State.


What’s the issue?

The economic blockade is imposed by the UNC, an umbrella body of Naga groups under the patronage of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah). It is against the Manipur government’s decision to carve out seven new districts.

  • The blockade has continued for over four months now. The UNC sees creation of new districts as an attempt to truncate the concept of a greater Nagalim.
  • The Centre has been accused of turning a blind eye to the activities of the UNC, with which the Union government had signed a framework agreement in 2015 to resolve the decades-old Naga issue.



According to the government, the decision for formation of seven new districts was taken for administrative convenience and to enable the state government take up development works effectively even in the remote and underdeveloped parts of the state.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


India to launch standby navigation satellite


India is planning to launch one of its back up navigation satellites this year as a replacement to IRNSS-1A satellite, whose three atomic clocks have failed.

  • Each of seven satellites has three clocks. The clocks are important to provide precise data.


What is an atomic clock?

An atomic clock is a clock that uses the resonance frequencies of atoms as its resonator. The resonator is regulated by the frequency of the microwave electromagnetic radiation emitted or absorbed by the quantum transition (energy change) of an atom or molecule. The advantage of this approach is that atoms resonate at extremely consistent frequencies.


About NAVIC:

The Rs 1,420 crore Indian satellite navigation system NavIC consists of seven satellites in orbit and two as substitutes. Starting in July 2013, the Indian space agency has launched all the seven navigation satellites. The last one was launched on April 28, 2016. Each satellite has a life span of 10 years.

  • Simply put, the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is similar to the GPS (Global Positioning System) of the US, Glonass of Russia and Galileo of Europe as well as China’s Beidou. While GPS and Glonass are fully functional global systems, the Chinese and the Japanese systems offer regional coverage and Europe’s Galileo is yet to be operational.
  • According to Indian space agency, the applications of IRNSS are: terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation, vehicle tracking and fleet management, terrestrial navigation for hikers and travellers, disaster management, integration with mobile phones, mapping and geodetic data capture and visual and voice navigation for drivers.
  • Apart from the civilian applications, the IRNSS will be used for defence purposes as well.

Sources: et.


Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


New test to detect signs of life on alien planets


NASA scientists have developed a new chemical assay that could aid the search for life on exoplanets by identifying the presence of amino acids, the compounds that make up proteins and building blocks of life.


How is it done?

The test uses a liquid-based technique known as capillary electrophoresis to separate a mixture of organic molecules into its components.

  • It was designed by researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in the US specifically to analyse for amino acids, the structural building blocks of all life on Earth.
  • It involves combining a liquid sample with a liquid reagent, followed by chemical analysis under conditions determined by the team.
  • By shining a laser across the mixture – a process known as laser-induced fluorescence detection – specific molecules can be observed moving at different speeds. They get separated based on how quickly they respond to electric fields.


Advantages of the new method:

  • The method is 10,000 times more sensitive than current methods employed by spacecraft like NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover, according to researchers.
  • One of the key advantages of the new way of using capillary electrophoresis is that the process is relatively simple and easy to automate for liquid samples expected on ocean world missions.
  • Additionally, it allows scientists to detect the amino acids at very low concentrations, even in highly salty samples, with a very simple ‘mix and analyse’ process.

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.


Artificial skin that can ‘feel’ temperature changes created


Scientists have constructed a new material that can feel temperature differences, which could possibly be used in prosthetic limbs to act as a sensitive artificial skin.


Key facts:

  • The new material is known as Pectin. The material uses a mechanism that is akin to the pit organ in vipers. The researchers were studying synthetic wood when they discovered that a molecule, pectin, played a role in generating an electrical impulse when exposed to changes in temperature.
  • Pectin is widely used in the food industry as a jellifying agent; it’s what you use to make jam. So, its easy and cheap to obtain.


About Pectin:

Pectin molecules are long chains weakly bonded together and they contain calcium ions. When temperatures increase, the chain breaks and the ions are free to move. Either the higher number of free ions or their newfound freedom allow for the material to have a reduced electrical resistance.

  • The material can detect changes as subtle as 0.01°C (0.018°F) over the temperature range – almost 10 times more sensitive than previously developed electronic skin and 100 times more responsive.
  • The material could also be used as a smart dress wound. Since infections raise temperatures in the body, the material can be used as a signal to medical practitioners that something is affecting the wound.

Sources: et.


Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights. 


‘Vampire’ star caught in the act


India’s first dedicated space observatory, ASTROSAT, has captured the rare phenomenon of a small six-billion-year-old “vampire” star “preying” on a bigger celestial body. Scientists say the smaller star, also called a “blue straggler,” feeds off its companion star by sucking out its mass and energy, causing its eventual death.


Why is it called a vampire star?

The most popular explanation is that these are binary systems in which the smaller star sucks material out of the bigger companion star to become a blue straggler, and hence is called a vampire star.

The small star becomes bigger, hotter and bluer, which gives it the appearance of being young, while the ageing companion burns out and collapses to a stellar remnant.



ASTROSAT is India’s first dedicated multi wavelength space observatory. This scientific satellite mission endeavours for a more detailed understanding of our universe.

  • ASTROSAT is designed to observe the universe in the Visible, Ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum simultaneously with the help of its five payloads.
  • Astrosat aims at understanding the high energy processes in binary star systems containing neutron stars and black holes, to estimate magnetic fields of neutron stars, to study star birth regions and high energy processes in star systems lying beyond the Milky Way galaxy.
  • This mission has put ISRO in a very exclusive club of nations that have space-based observatories. Only the United States, European Space Agency, Japan and Russia have such observatories in space.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims


Meghalaya’s first ever Apparel and Garment Centre:

  • Meghalaya’s first ever Apparel and Garment Centre was recently inaugurated at Ampati.
  • The Centre will create employment opportunities for both men and women of the region, thereby empowering them economically.
  • The Centre has been set up at a cost of approximately Rs. 14.26 crore, under the North East Region Textiles Promotion Scheme (NERTPS) of the Ministry of Textiles.