Insights Daily Current Affairs, 17 April 2017

 


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 17 April 2017


 

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.

 

Not just a love hormone

 

According to a recent study, Oxytocin, often referred to as “the love hormone,” is involved in a broader range of social interactions than previously understood.

oxytocin

Key facts:

  • The new study pinpoints a unique way in which oxytocin alters activity in a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, which is crucial to experiencing the pleasant sensation neuroscientists call “reward.”
  • The findings not only provide validity for ongoing trials of oxytocin in autistic patients, but also suggest possible new treatments for neuropsychiatric conditions in which social activity is impaired.

 

Background:

Oxytocin has also been dubbed the hug hormone, cuddle chemical, moral molecule, and the bliss hormone due to its effects on behavior, including its role in love and in female reproductive biological functions in reproduction.

  • Oxytocin is a hormone that is made in the brain, in the hypothalamus. It is transported to, and secreted by, the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain.
  • It acts both as a hormone and as a brain neurotransmitter.
  • The release of oxytocin by the pituitary gland acts to regulate two female reproductive functions: Childbirth and Breast-feeding.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Telangana Cabinet clears bill to increase quotas for STs, Muslims

 

Both the houses of Telangana Legislature have cleared a bill which increases the reservations for Scheduled Tribes and backward sections among the Muslim community in government jobs and educational institutions.

  • The Telangana Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and of Appointments or Posts in the Services under the State) Bill, 2017 was cleared amid opposition from many MLAs.

Telangana

Key facts:

  • Under the bill, quota for STs will be increased to 10% from the existing 6%, while that for BC-E category (the backward sections among the Muslim community) will go up to 12% from the existing 4%.
  • The total reservations in the state, consequently, will go up to 62% from the existing 50%.

 

What necessitated this move?

The state defends its move by saying that “after the bifurcation of the combined Andhra Pradesh state, the percentage of Muslims in Telangana has gone up and 90% of them are poor and socially backward.”

 

Background:

The Sudhir Commission which was set up to take stock of the socio-economic and educational status of Muslims observed in its report that in Telangana, following the general trend across India, the proportion of Muslim employees had fallen. The commission’s report observed that Muslim employees were just 7.36 per cent of the total workforce in the state.    

 

Way ahead:

The reservation exceeds the Supreme Court’s 50% ceiling for such benefits. Now, the Centre has to include the bill in the 9th schedule of Constitution to grant it immunity from a judicial review.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

Canberra keen on joining naval games

 

Australia is keen on joining the Malabar trilateral naval exercises among India, Japan and the U.S., and has requested observer status at the upcoming edition, scheduled for July.

naval exercise

Background:

Australia had been a part of the exercises in 2007. But a sharp response from China, which saw the joint exercises as a coalition against it, put an end to the quadrilateral format.

Japan and the U.S. are keen on expanding the games to include Australia with officials from both countries specifically stating so on various occasions. However, India has been reluctant to antagonise China.

 

About Malabar exercise:

The Malabar drills, which began in 1992 as a bilateral naval exercise between India and the U.S., has since grown in scope and complexity, acquiring considerable heft in recent times. In 2015, it was expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

 

Technical textiles use in govt. projects gets push

 

Technical textiles or functional textiles, considered a sunrise sector in the country, is all set for demand taking off for products such as geo and agro textiles.

technical textiles

What are technical textiles?

Technical Textiles are defined as Textile material and products manufactured primarily for their Technical performance and functional properties rather than aesthetic and decorative characteristics.

  • Technical textiles include textiles for automotive applications, medical textiles (e.g., implants), geotextiles (reinforcement of embankments), agrotextiles (textiles for crop protection), and protective clothing (e.g., heat and radiation protection for fire fighter clothing, molten metal protection for welders, stab protection and bulletproof vests, and spacesuits).
  • Functional textiles can be woven or non-woven. Automobile, geo, medical, industrial, and agro textiles are among the range of products that are made in the country.

 

Background:

Technical textiles is a thrust area for the Government because of the value addition involved. It can be used in infastructure projects, including ports, roads, and railways, and in sectors such as agriculture.

 

Challenges for the sector:

Technical textiles is a fragmented sector with several small and medium-scale industries manufacturing specialised products. The main challenges for technical textiles in the country are awareness among consumers, need for technology and knowledge about it among entrepreneurs, the investments and time needed to be innovative and develop applications, and raw material availability.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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.

 

Election Commission seeks funds for paper trail units

 

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) has requested the Union Law Ministry for urgent release of funds, given the “prevailing environment,” to facilitate procurement of VVPAT (voter verifiable paper audit trail) machines for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

vvpat

What is VVPAT?

VVPAT stands for Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail. VVPAT system maintains a physical trail of all votes cast. Small slips of paper records the details of the vote. The Election Commission (EC) first introduced VVPAT in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

 

How is it related to EVMs?

When a vote is cast on the electronic voting machine, a small paper slip bearing the name and symbol of the candidate is generated. This paper appears for about 10 seconds. The slip will then automatically fall in a sealed safe box, attached to the EVM, thus maintaining a physical paper trail of all the votes cast.

 

Background:

EC feels that with most of the political parties having declared their lack of faith in EVMs, VVPAT machines are the need of the hour.

 

Way ahead:

Over 16 lakh VVPATs would be required, at an estimated cost of ₹3,174 crore, to cover all polling stations in the next Lok Sabha polls.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Energy: going where the wind blows

 

For the first time, wind power installations (windmills) in the country have crossed the 5 Gigawatt mark, to reach 5,400 MW in 2016-17. The earlier record was 3,472 MW of 2015-16. The current year might see installations of 6 GW.

Modern Windmill

Significance of this expansion:

The Centre wants to buy electricity from wind power producers and sell it to electricity supply companies in other states, which are bound by law to buy a portion of their needs from wind and solar sources.

 

Background:

India, with 32,280 MW, has the fourth biggest capacity in the world, after China, the U.S. and Germany. The national target is 60 GW by 2022. Wind accounts for 10% of India’s total power capacity of 3.2 lakh MW; and 4% in terms of electricity produced.

The Indian wind industry has been around since the late 1980s. For many years, it existed only in T.N., the windiest State. In the last decade, it spread to eight other States that have any wind potential — four other southern states, M.P., Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

Terms in News Khurki and Teenkathiya systems:

  • Khurki: Under Khurki system, the British planters used to pay some money to the farmers (Raiyyat) by mortgaging their lands and houses and compelling them to sow indigo.
  • Teenkathiya: The British administration and Jamindar had established “Teen Kahitya” system under which teen katha land out of one bigha was reserved for indigo (Neel) farming. The farmers had to bear the cost of indigo farming and the British planters used to keep the yields without compensating the farmers.

 

Country’s first Vistadome coach inaugurated in Visakhapatnam:

  • Indian Railways has launched the country’s first ever Vistadome coach services on Visakhapatnam-Araku route.
  • Features of the coaches include glass roof, LED lights, revolving seats and GPS-based info system.