Insights Daily Current Affairs, 15 February 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 15 February 2017


Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.


MoU signed between Publications Division and Sasta Sahitya Mandal for Joint Publication of books


Publications Division, a Media Unit under Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Sasta Sahitya Mandal (SSM) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for joint publication of books on heroes of freedom struggle, cultural leaders and other eminent personalities who worked towards Nation development.


Key facts:

  • The agreement is a joint initiative between the two organisations to sensitise the young generation about India’s rich and diverse culture and history.
  • It would promote availability of good literature for the people on diverse topics.
  • The agreement would also provide an opportunity, for both the organizations to enhance their reach by displaying and offering on sale any of publications published by either of the organizations.
  • This MOU is valid for three years from the date of signing of this MOU, which can be extendable for similar terms by mutual agreement.


About SSM:

SSM is a Trust established by Mahatma Gandhi in 1925 and mandated to promote, develop and publish high class literature in Hindi and to make it available to the public at affordable prices. Since its inception SSM has brought out more than 2500 titles on Indian culture, heritage, Indian epics, & stories and has created a huge corpus of children literature to infuse in them the values of life and love for the nation and humanity.

Sources: pib.


Paper 2  Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Ninth Phase of Science Express


Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS II) is all set to be flagged off on February 17 from Safdarjung Railway station in Delhi.


Key facts:

  • The SECAS II is a unique collaborative initiative of Department of Science & Technology (DST), Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Railways and Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC).
  • The SECAS II will run from February 17 to September 8 2017, culminating its journey at Gandhinagar.
  • During its journey, the Science Express will cover over 19, 000 km, and will be exhibited at 68 stations across 20 states of the country. During this seven month journey, SECAS will roll into Tripura for the first time.


About Science Express:

Science Express, redesigned as SECAS, intends to contribute towards increasing understanding of the science of climate change, the observed and anticipated impacts, and different possible responses. 

  • It is an innovative mobile science exhibition mounted on a 16 coach AC train, which has been custom-built for Department of Science & Technology (DST) by Indian Railways.
  • This unique mobile exhibition was first launched in October 2007 by DST. Since then it has travelled across India eight times, traveling about 1, 42, 000 km and exhibiting at 455 locations. More than 1.50 crore people visited the exhibition over 1, 602 exhibition days.
  • Science Express has become the largest, the longest running and the most visited mobile science exhibition. It has six entries in the Limca Book of Records.
  • The exhibition will convey a message about Climate Change and will also be a good opportunity to generate a dialogue and discussion. The state-of-the-art exhibition on board the SECAS aims to create awareness among various sections of society, as to how climate change can be combated through mitigation and adaptation.

Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


FSSAI constitutes panel to identify nutritional gaps


The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which is addressing the nutritional gap in the population through fortification of various foods, has constituted a Scientific Panel on “Food Fortification and Nutrition” to take the program further.


Key facts:

  • The Panel will identify critical nutritional gaps in the Indian diet in general as well as in specific target groups based on diet surveys and credible scientific evidence.
  • It will define strategies to address nutritional needs of the general population and vulnerable groups, and review the standards for all suitable food fortifying vehicles, in addition to the healthy dietary intake of Fat, Sugar & Salt.
  • It will also address regulatory and related technological issues, review proposals from industry using modern risk assessment methods, and prescribe standard sampling and test methods for effective monitoring, surveillance and enforcement of the relevant regulations.



Micronutrient Malnutrition Disorders are ubiquitously prevalent in all age groups of the population. According to National Family Health Survey (2006-07) and the World Bank (2006), about 70% preschool children suffer from iron deficiency anaemia and 57% preschool children have sub-clinical Vitamin A deficiency respectively. Further, as per the World Bank (2006), Iodine deficiency is endemic in 85 per cent of districts. Moreover, folate deficiency which leads to Neural Tube Defects (NTDS)are the most common congenital malformation in Indian context with an incidence that varies between 0.5-8/1000 births. It is estimated that 50-70% of these birth defects are preventable.


Food Fortification Logo: FSSAI has also unveiled a Logo for fortified foodswhich may be used by food businesses. This Logocomprises of a square encompassing an F with a ‘+’ sign with a ring around it which signifies the addition of extra nutrition and vitamins to daily meals toprovide good health, protection and an active life. Several food businesses have already started using this logo.


What is food fortification?

Food fortification or enrichment is the process of adding micronutrients (essential trace elements and vitamins) to food. Food fortification is a proven and effective strategy to meet the nutritional needs of a large number of people across various sections of the society, including the poor and underprivileged as well as the vulnerable, such as pregnant women and young children.

  • Fortification requires neither changes in existing food patterns, habits nor individual compliance. It is socio-culturally acceptable and does not alter the characteristics of the food. It can be introduced quickly and can produce nutritional benefits for populations in a short period of time. It is safe and cost effective, especially if advantage is taken of the existing technology and delivery platforms.
  • Food fortification reinforces and supports existing nutrition improvement programmes and is part of a broader, integrated approach to prevent micronutrient deficiencies, thereby complementing other approaches to improve health and nutrition.

 food fortification

Food fortification in India:

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has formulated a comprehensive regulation on fortification of foods namely ‘Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2016’. These regulations set the standards for food fortification and encourage the production, manufacture, distribution, sale and consumption of fortified foods. The regulations also provide for specific role of FSSAI in promotion for food fortification and to make fortification mandatory. This sets the premise for the national summit on fortification of food.

Sources: pib.


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


India’s air rivals China’s as deadliest in the world: Study


According to a new study of global air pollution, India’s air pollution levels are surpassing China’s as the world’s deadliest. The study was conducted by the Health Effects Institute and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.


Important observations made by the report on India:

  • India’s notoriously poor air quality causes nearly 1.1 million premature deaths every year, almost on a par with China.
  • India has recorded a nearly 50% increase in premature deaths linked to fine airborne particles known as PM2.5 between 1990 and 2015.
  • India and China, the two Asian giants accounted for more than half of all global deaths related to PM2.5 exposure.
  • India has undergone a rapid economic transformation in the past two decades but burning coal for energy and torching farmland to plant new crops has seen pollution rocket.
  • India and neighbouring Bangladesh have experienced the steepest increases in pollution since 2010 and now have the highest PM2.5 concentrations in the world.
  • Experts blamed lack of proactive policies for the rising air pollution.


Way ahead:

The report asks the government to undertake sustained public policy initiatives to reduce the pollution.

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.


‘Thubber’ for use in soft, stretchable electronics


In a breakthrough for creating soft, stretchable machines and electronics, scientists have developed a novel rubber material with high thermal conductivity and elasticity.


Key facts:

  • The material, nicknamed ‘thubber’, is an electrically insulating composite that exhibits an unprecedented combination of metal-like thermal conductivity, elasticity similar to soft, biological tissue, and can stretch over six times its initial length.
  • The key ingredient in “thubber” is a suspension of non-toxic, liquid metal micro-droplets.
  • The liquid state allows the metal to deform with the surrounding rubber at room temperature. When the rubber is pre-stretched, the droplets form elongated pathways that are efficient for heat travel.



  • This material can be used in applications such as wearable computing and soft robotics, which require mechanical compliance and stretchable functionality.
  • Applications could extend to industries like athletic wear and sports medicine — think of lighted clothing for runners and heated garments for injury therapy.
  • Advanced manufacturing, energy, and transportation are other areas where stretchable electronic material could have an impact.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


IAF inducts indigenous early warning system


The IAF has formally inducted the first indigenously built Airborne Early Warning and Control System Netra developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.

Key facts:

  • The AEW&C consists of a state-of-the-art active electronically scanned radar, secondary surveillance radar, electronic and communication counter measures, LOS (Line of Sight) and beyond-LOS data link, voice communication system and self-protection suite, built on an Emb-145 platform, having a mid-air refueling capability to enhance surveillance time.
  • A complex tactical software has been developed for fusion of information from the sensors, to provide the air situation picture along with intelligence to handle identification/classification of threat.
  • It has battle management functions, built in-house, to work as a network centric system of Integrated Air Command & Control System (IACCS) node.
  • This system has been developed and evaluated through collaborative efforts between the DRDO and the Indian Air Force.
  • The indigenous system mounted on an aircraft can track an area within 240 degrees of its sides at any given point of time.
  • The United States, Russia and Israel are the other countries which have developed the technology for the system.

Sources: the hindu.


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


Muziris Heritage Project set to turn over a new leaf


The uniquely ambitious Muziris Heritage Project (MHP), which seeks to link up heritage sites, restore monuments and community spaces along the riparian North Paravur, Chendamangalam, Chittattinkara, Vadakkekara, Pallippuram, Kodungalloor, Mathilakam, Eriyad and Methala and liven them up with community-based projects and cultural shows from the region, is on the cusp of being revitalised and fast-tracked by the Kerala State Tourism Department.

  • As a first step, a working team of project consultants and officials is visiting the Muziris region, putting to technical scrutiny each site that’s up and running for upgrade as originally envisaged, besides surveying new sites for making it a participatory conservation tourism initiative with renewed thrust on cultural research and learning.


About the Muziris Heritage Project:

The Muziris heritage Project utilizes at a global level the possibilities of a region, which lost its glory centuries ago. Muziris is an ancient port town in little Kerala still holds a kind of beauty that is filled with history and culture.

The Government of Kerala has initiated the Muziris Heritage Project to reinstate the historical and cultural significance of the legendary port of Muziris. The region is dotted with numerous monuments of a bygone era that conjure up a vast and vivid past. The entire project is designed to involve and integrate the local community in all intended developmental initiatives.

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.


ISRO launches record 104 satellites at Sriharikota


The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully launched a record 104 satellites into space on a single rocket from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.


Significance of this launch:

With the successful launch, India did something no country has done before. Its launch of 104 satellites from a single rocket was a world record most satellites launched at the same time from a single rocket. The country that comes second to us in this aspect is Russia, who is far behind with a maximum of 37 satellite launches from a single rocket.


Key facts:

  • Of the total earth-observation satellites, three are Indian, 88 are from the US and the rest from Germany, Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.
  • This PSLV-XL rocket launch is ISRO’s 15th space mission. ISRO has a very impressive success arte in terms of space programmes as it hasn’t failed even ince since 2010. The XL version of the PSLV was earlier used in India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) after it had debuted in 2008 in India’s first attempt to raech moon, Chandrayan-I.
  • India had earlier made a national record in June 2016 after it had succesfully rocketed 20 satellites at one go, including 13 from the United States of America.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims


Kalimpong is Bengal’s 21st district:

  • The Kalimpong subdivision of the Darjeeling hills has become the 21st district of West Bengal.
  • Kalimpong was once known for the Silk Route that passed through the region, connecting Nepal and Bhutan with the city.