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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 09 March 2017



Insights Daily Current Affairs, 09 March 2017


Paper 1 Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.


PM Modi releases postage stamp on 100 years of Yogoda Satsang Math


A commemorative postage stamp was recently released by the PM on 100 years of Yogoda Satsang Math.



This year marks the 100th anniversary of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS), founded in 1917 by Paramahansa Yogananda, whose Autobiography of a Yogi has introduced millions of truth seekers all over the world to yoga and meditation, and whose universal Kriya Yoga teachings provide methods for achieving spiritually harmonious lives.

The “science” of Kriya Yoga is the foundation of Yogananda’s teachings. Kriya Yoga is “union (yoga) with the Infinite through a certain action or rite (kriya). The Kriya Yogi mentally directs his life energy to revolve, upward and downward, around the six spinal centers (medullary, cervical, dorsal, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal plexuses) which correspond to the twelve astral signs of the zodiac, the symbolic Cosmic Man. One-half minute of revolution of energy around the sensitive spinal cord of man effects subtle progress in his evolution; that half-minute of Kriya equals one year of natural spiritual unfoldment. 


About Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS):

Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS) is a non-profit religious organization. In countries outside the Indian subcontinent it is known as the Self-Realization Fellowship.

Sources: pib.


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


Global fund to help solve India’s HIV drug crisis


After running out of the child-friendly HIV syrup, Lopinavir, India is likely to procure the drug from a rapid supply facility routed through the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), a multilateral donor agency.



India has a cohort of over 600 children who require 36,000 bottles of Lopinavir syrup annually. Stocks of Lopinavir syrup — a child friendly HIV drug — ran out after Cipla, the sole manufacturer of the drug, stopped manufacturing it over the issue of non-payment from the Health Ministry. Cipla is the dominant player in the Indian market across the HIV segment and has not stopped participating in government tenders after the Health Ministry failed to pay Cipla for consignments sent in 2014.


About Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM):

The Global Fund is a 21st-century partnership organization designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics.

  • Founded in 2002, the Global Fund is a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases. The Global Fund raises and invests nearly US$4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts in countries and communities most in need.
  • The idea was discussed at a G8 summit in Okinawa, Japan, in 2000. The real commitment began to coalesce at the African Union summit in April 2001, continued at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session in June of that year, and was finally endorsed by the G8 at their summit in Genoa in July 2001. A Transitional Working Group was established to determine the principles and working modalities of the new organization, and the Global Fund came into being in January 2002.
  • The Global Fund is a financing institution, providing support to countries in the response to the three diseases. It does not implement programs on the ground. Global Fund staff, all based in Geneva, Switzerland, come from all professional backgrounds and from more than 100 different countries.
  • Each implementing country establishes a national committee, or Country Coordinating Mechanism, to submit requests for funding on behalf of the entire country, and to oversee implementation once the request has become a signed grant. Country Coordinating Mechanisms include representatives of every sector involved in the response to the diseases.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 1 Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.


International Women’s day 2017


International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8 across the world. It is an annual marker that aims to bring attention to women’s accomplishments and obstacles.


Key facts:

  • The day is designed to “reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
  • The first International Women’s Day took place in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.
  • The UN celebrates the day on the basis of different themes. In 2016, the theme was Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality. This year, the theme is Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.
  • The day has now come to be also known as the United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.

Sources: the hindu.


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


IMA wants doctors to report any unusual symptoms they notice in patients


Doctors across the country will now have to report not just notifiable diseases to the local health authorities but also any unusual symptoms that cannot be explained they see in their patients.

  • The Indian Medical Association (IMA), which has been aggressively supporting timely notification of notifiable diseases, now wants all doctors to start reporting any unusual symptoms that they notice in their patients. The association has been sending out mails to over two lakh member-doctors across the country.


Need for such move:

This was essential especially in the wake of several new infections spreading rapidly. With blurring of international boundaries and increasing travel, there is a threat of global spread of any infectious disease. Doctors alone can no longer be responsible for public health and prevention and control of outbreaks also require commitment on the part of policymakers, administrators and all other stakeholders.


About IMA:

The Indian Medical Association (IMA), is a national voluntary organisation of Doctors of Modern Scientific System of Medicine in India, which looks after the interest of doctors as well as the well being of the community at large. It was established in 1928 as the All India Medical Association, renamed “Indian Medical Association” in 1930. It is a society registered under The Societies Act of India.

The Indian Medical association is a founder member of the World Medical Association.

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.


Electoral bonds to flag elections: FM


Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the electoral bonds will be made available ahead of the elections and would remain valid for a few days.


About Electoral Bonds:

The concept of electoral bonds was introduced by Mr. Jaitley during his Budget 2017 speech in order to bring some transparency to the electoral funding process.

  • These bonds have to be authorised under a scheme under the Income Tax Act.
  • It will open for a limited period of time during the elections, or maybe a little before the elections.
  • A bond can be purchased by any donor only by cheque or electronic payment, only at authorised banks.
  • These bonds can be donated only to a political party. These are redeemable in only one account of that party, registered with the Election Commission.


Advantages of Electoral Bonds:

The advantage of the electoral bond system over donations through cheques is that many donors expressed reluctance to use cheques because it becomes transparent and leads to political vendetta by rivals. The other reason that donors did not want their names to be known was that, following the donation, if they legitimately win a contract, then they open themselves up to suspicion of benefiting from a quid pro quo arrangement with the party in power.

Sources: the hindu.


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


Centre mulls more ‘border haats’


The government is mulling opening more ‘border haats’ (border markets), encouraged by its success at the India-Myanmar border. Current border haats are functioning well.


What are Border Haats?

The border haats are markets that aim at promoting the wellbeing of the people dwelling in remote areas across the borders of two countries, by establishing traditional system of marketing the local produce through local markets.

India currently has functional border haats with Bangladesh.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


India gold demand to revive in 2017, says World Gold Council


The World Gold Council (WGC) expects a revival in demand for the yellow metal in India in the current calendar year after 2016 ended on a dismal note on account of a surge in gold price coupled with factors like an increase in excise duty and demonetisation.

  • The global body expects Indian gold demand to be about 650-750 tonnes in 2017. Demand was just a little more than 600 tonnes in the last calendar year.



The year 2016 saw gold demand in India falling to its lowest level since 2009 as government policies along with weak rural sentiment kept consumers away.


Impact of demonetisation:

While demonetisation did dent economic growth, it was helping large jewellery retailers and consumers in terms of transparency and quality.

Demonetisation is also boosting large jewellery retailers, and they will continue to grab a larger share of the market. Over time, consumers will move away from cash towards digital payments, and organised players should benefit from this trend. This change in market dynamics will result in more transparency and a better deal for consumers, protecting them from shady practices such as under–carating.


Impact of cap on cash transactions:

While the government had put a cap of ₹3 lakh on cash transactions starting April 1, the Council was of the view that while it could hamper gold purchases, consumers might buy the precious metal in smaller quantities or might also look at the black market to bypass the regulations.


About World Gold Council:

The World Gold Council is the market development organisation for the gold industry. It works across all parts of the industry, from gold mining to investment, and their aim is to stimulate and sustain demand for gold.

  • The World Gold Council is an association whose members comprise the world’s leading gold mining companies.[3] It helps to support its members to mine in a responsible way and developed the Conflict Free Gold Standard.
  • Headquartered in the UK, they have offices in India, China, Singapore, Japan and the United States.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity. 


SC to HCs: Don’t keep review pleas pending


The Supreme Court has asked High Courts to dispose of review petitions as expeditiously as possible to prevent any slow-up in the process of justice.

  • The Supreme Court has asked the High Courts not to keep the applications for review pending as that is likely to delay the matter in every court and also embolden the likes of the petitioner to take a stand intelligently depicting the same in the application for condonation of delay.



The court was hearing a case in which a plea for review of an order passed by a Single Judge Bench of the Kerala High Court on March 9, 2012 took four years to be decided on October 26, 2016.


Key facts:

  • The court has issued a slew of guidelines for High Courts, litigants and their lawyers while dealing with review petitions. It said “an endeavour has to be made by the High Courts to dispose of the applications for review with expediency.”
  • The judgment observed that it was also the duty of a litigant to file his review plea against a judgment on time. The court said it was the obligation of counsel filing an application for review to cure or remove the defects at the earliest. Review petitions were often kept on “life support” by litigants and their lawyers to deliberately delay the process.
  • The court said the registry of the High Courts had a duty to place the matter before the judge/Bench with defects so that there could be preemptory orders for removal of defects. An adroit method could not be adopted to file an application for review and wait till its rejection and, thereafter, challenge the orders in the special leave petition.

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.


Centre plumps for rural FMCG e-sales


The Centre has initiated talks with FMCG companies to sell their products online in rural areas through common service centres (CSCs) as it looks to increase the business for such centres.



The government is focused on expansion of CSCs because of their inherent strength to transform rural India. With the sale of FMCG products, the door has been opened for popularising e–commerce through CSCs.

There are more than 2.5 lakh CSCs across the country which enable people, particularly in rural areas, to access government services online. These services include ration card, birth certificate, train tickets and online form submission, among other things.


Significance of this move:

The move will help Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) who run CSCs to earn commission on the products sold while also enabling access for customers in rural areas to these products. According to estimates, a VLE is likely to earn a commission in the range of 12-20% on FMCG products, which is far higher than less than 10% on other services offered.


About CSCs:

Common Services Centers (CSCs) are a strategic cornerstone of the Digital India programme. They are the access points for delivery of various electronic services to villages in India, thereby contributing to a digitally and financially inclusive society.


CSCs enable the three vision areas of the Digital India programme:

  • Digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen.
  • Governance and services on demand.
  • Digital empowerment of citizens.

Sources: the hindu.


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


Downloading apps may cost money with ‘Google tax’: Report


After the application of equalisation levy on online advertisements, the government is mulling over the option of widening its scope.

  • The government might impose a six per cent tax levy on all online multinational companies that earn revenue from India, this could include even the downloading of apps on smartphones.



India became the first country to impose equalisation levy, popularly being called Google Tax which had impacted Indian businesses who use online platforms of foreign digital companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc to advertise their products.

  • The Government decided to impose a 6% levy on any payments made by Indian businesses for advertising in websites of foreign companies that are not permanent establishments.
  • The equalisation levy was a part of the government’s move to tax companies like Google, who were making significant earnings from India but were not paying the income tax. The reason being that these companies do not fulfil the criteria of a permanent establishment, commonly defined as a ‘fixed place of business’ in a tax territory.


About Google Tax:

The finance ministry had notified that the equalisation levy (popularly known as Google tax) introduced in budget. It came into force on June 1, 2016. As of now, it will apply to payments for online advertisements made by Indian business entities to non-residents (such as Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook) where the aggregate payment in a financial year to a non-resident exceeds Rs 1 lakh. Only B2B transactions attract this levy.

Sources: the hindu.


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


Kamaladevi Chattopadhya National Awards


The Government has announced ‘Kamaladevi Chattopadhya National Awards’, a new category of awards specially for women handloom weavers and women handicraft artisans.

  • The awards are being instituted from this year, so that women weavers and artisans receive due recognition and economic benefits associated with the Awards.


About Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay:

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was an Indian social reformer and freedom fighter. She is most remembered for her contribution to the Indian independence movement; for being the driving force behind the renaissance of Indian handicrafts, handlooms, and theatre in independent India; and for upliftment of the socio-economic standard of Indian women by pioneering the co-operative movement.

  • Several cultural institutions in India today exist because of her vision, including the National School of Drama, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Central Cottage Industries Emporium, and the Crafts Council of India.
  • In 1974, she was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship the highest honour conferred by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s National Academy of Music, Dance & Drama.

Sources: pib.


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


Web Portal for obtaining CRZ Clearances


The government has launched the web portal for obtaining Coastal Regulation Zone clearances, here today. 


Key facts:

  • The Portal is a web-based system for obtaining clearances required from the Environment Ministry under the “Coastal Regulation Zone” (CRZ) by the Project proponents.
  • The system will enable the Project proponents and the concerned State/Union Territory bodies like the State Coastal Zone Management Authorities (SCZMAs) and Municipal/Town Planning agencies in tracking the status of their proposals.
  • The Portal is a very user-friendly initiative, which enables submission of applications for CRZ clearance in a single-window interface and facilitates quick flow of information related to CRZ clearances. The portal allocates a unique identity for each proposal for all future references.  It is accessible from any computer with internet facility.
  • The objectives of the web portal include – enhancing efficiency, transparency and accountability in the process of CRZ clearances; enhance responsiveness through workflows and availability of real-time information on the status of CRZ clearance proposals; ease of business and convenience of citizens in accessing information and services; standardised procedures and processes across Central and State levels.

Coastal Regulation Zone

About Coastal Regulation Zone:

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1986, notification was issued in 1991 for regulation of activities in the coastal area by Ministry of Environment and Forests. This notification known as Coastal Regulation Zone Notification defined the Coastal Regulation Zone or CRZ as coastal land up to 500m from the High Tide Line and a range of 100m along banks of creeks, estuaries, backwaters and rivers subject to tidal fluctuations is CRZ. According to Coastal Regulation Zone notifications, it is divided into 4 zones:

  • CRZ I – It refers to the ecologically sensitive areas, essential in maintaining ecosystem of the coast. These lie between the HTL and LTL. Only exploration of natural gas and extraction of salt is permitted.
  • CRZ II – These areas form up to the shoreline of the coast. Authorized structures are not allowed to be constructed in this zone.
  • CRZ III – This includes rural and urban localities. Only certain activities relating to agriculture and public utilities allowed here.
  • CRZ IV – This includes the aquatic area up to the territorial limit (12 nautical miles). Fishing and allied activities permitted in this zone. Solid waste can be let off in this zone.

Sources: pib.