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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 08 April 2017


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 08 April 2017


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


First NIMCARE World Health Day Summit 2017

The first NIMCARE World Health Day Summit 2017 was recently held in New Delhi.

  • The slogan of the first NIMCARE World Health Day Summit is, ‘Unite for a Healthy Mind’.
  • The summit will focus on the importance of talking about depression as a vital component of recovery.

nimcare summit


Out of all the mental health disorders, depression is the most common. Depression affects people of all ages from all walks of life and in all countries. As per the National Mental Health Survey 2015-16 conducted by NIMHANS, 5.2% of the Indian adult population suffers from depression in some form or the other. The problem of depression often gets ignored due to lack of understanding on the part of family members. The social stigma attached to a mental disorder, even if it is easily treatable, is also a major problem in India.

Way ahead:

The stigma surrounding mental illness, including depression, remains a barrier to people seeking help throughout the world. Talking about depression, whether with a family member, friend or medical professional; in larger groups, for example in schools, the workplace and social settings; or in the public domain, in the news media, blogs or social media, helps break down this stigma, ultimately leading to more people seeking help.

NIM CARE is a non-profit organisation founded in the year 2009, a registered Charitable Trust under the Government of Tamil Nadu.


Sources: pib.


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.


MIS for monitoring PMKSY Projects


The government has launched MIS for monitoring PMKSY Projects.

Key facts:

  • Under the new MIS, Project wise nodal officers have been nominated for regularly feeding the physical and financial progress of the projects.
  • Project wise/ Priority wise /Statewise physical/financial details in tabular/graphical format are available in MIS.
  • It has the feature of comparing the progress of the project on quarterly basis and also provides details of the constraints affecting the progress of the project.


About PMKSY:

PMKSY has been conceived amalgamating ongoing schemes viz. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR,RD&GR), Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) of Department of Land Resources (DoLR) and the On Farm Water Management (OFWM) of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC).


Objectives of the scheme:

The major objective of PMKSY is to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level, expand cultivable area under assured irrigation, improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water, enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop), enhance recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices by exploring the feasibility of reusing treated municipal waste water for peri-urban agriculture and attract greater private investment in precision irrigation system.


Implementation of the scheme:

The scheme will be implemented by Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development.

  • Ministry of Rural Development is to mainly undertake rain water conservation, construction of farm pond, water harvesting structures, small check dams and contour bunding etc.
  • MoWR, RD &GR, is to undertake various measures for creation of assured irrigation source, construction of diversion canals, field channels, water diversion/lift irrigation, including development of water distribution systems.
  • Ministry of Agriculture will promote efficient water conveyance and precision water application devices like drips, sprinklers, pivots, rain-guns in the farm “(Jal Sinchan)”, construction of micro-irrigation structures to supplement source creation activities, extension activities for promotion of scientific moisture conservation and agronomic measures.


Programme architecture of PMKSY will be to adopt a ‘decentralized State level planning and projectised execution’ structure that will allow States to draw up their own irrigation development plans based on District Irrigation Plan (DIP) and State Irrigation Plan (SIP).

  • It will be operative as convergence platform for all water sector activities including drinking water & sanitation, MGNREGA, application of science & technology etc. through comprehensive plan. State Level Sanctioning Committee (SLSC) chaired by the Chief Secretary of the State will be vested with the authority to oversee its implementation and sanction projects.
  • The programme will be supervised and monitored by an Inter-Ministerial National Steering Committee (NSC) will be constituted under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister with Union Ministers from concerned Ministries.
  • A National Executive Committee (NEC) will be constituted under the Chairmanship of Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog to oversee programme implementation, allocation of resources, inter ministerial coordination, monitoring & performance assessment, addressing administrative issues etc.


Sources: pib.


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


India jumps 12 spots in WEF’s global travel & tourism ranking


The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 has been released by the World Economic Forum.

  • The report ranks 136 countries across 14 dimensions, revealing how well countries could deliver sustainable economic and societal benefits through their travel and tourism sector.


About the index:

The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index measures “the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector, which in turn, contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country”. The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index enables all stakeholders to work together to improve the industry’s competitiveness in their national economies.

Performance of India:

  • India is ranked 40
  • India is one of the countries that improved the most as it gained 12 places in Asia, but lagged behind its other Asian peers like Japan and China which were ranked way ahead at 4th and 13th place, respectively.
  • Some of the factors that helped India climb up the ladder include international openness through strong policies such as implementing visa on arrival and e-visas, and improvements in the country’s ground transport infrastructure which benefited the travel and tourism sector in the country.
  • India has seen continued growth in international arrivals over the past 15 years, reaching the 8 million mark in 2015. The report, however, noted that though health conditions are improving, they remain “inadequate”. Similarly, ICT readiness, security concerns and human resources are improving, but remain “weak”.


Global scenario:

In the global ranking Spain, France and Germany were ranked at the top three positions, making them the most tourism friendly economies.

  • Traditional strong travel and tourism destinations, including Japan (4th), the United Kingdom (5th), the United States (6th), Australia (7th), Italy (8th), Canada (9th) and Switzerland (10th), have also made it to the top 10.
  • While advanced economies still hold the top slots, 12 of the top 15 most improved countries are emerging markets.


Sources: toi.


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


Ken-Betwa link hits green hurdle


India’s apex forest advisory body- the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC), has imposed tough conditions on the Ken-Betwa river interlinking project.



Given the ecological and environmental impact posed by the project, the project had to pass multiple authorities for clearance. A forest advisory clearance was seen to be the last step before the project was to begin.


What has the FAC said?

As compensation for the pristine Panna tiger habitat that would be inundated by the project, the Water Ministry had agreed to acquire about 8,000 hectares of forest land from the Madhya Pradesh government and revive them as forest.

  • But the FAC said this land was not good enough as it was fragmented, and, to meaningfully revive a forest that is part of tiger habitat, the land acquired ought to be contiguous. This would require, according to the FAC, “revenue lands/non-forest lands by way of purchase or otherwise by the project proponents and the government”.
  • While a State can relatively allocate forest land for Central projects, transferring private or revenue land is harder, time-consuming and costly. The FAC has also asked for the project’s main canal to be re-aligned.


About the project:

The Ken and Betwa rivers in the states of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Madhya Pradesh (MP) are to be linked under an historic agreement that marks the first such project in India’s ambitious and controversial national river-linking project.

  • The project envisages construction of a dam across river Ken in Chhatarpur district in Madhya Pradesh to irrigate 6.35 lakh hectare area of land, drinking water purposes and generation of 78 MW hydropower.
  • The project comprises two powerhouse of 2×30 MW and 3×6 MW each, two tunnels of 1.9 km long upper level, 1.1 km long tunnel lower level and a 221 km long Ken-Betwa link canal, proposed on the left bank of the river.
  • The project will provide irrigation facilities for 6,35,661 hectares of land in Panna, Chhattarpur, Tikamgarh districts in Madhya Pradesh, and Banda, Mahoba and Jhansi districts in Uttar Pradesh.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.


Sarin gas: what is it?


The United States believes the Syrian government employed a sarin-like nerve agent in recent deadly attack in the country’s northwest.


What is Sarin gas?

The name sarin comes from the chemists who discovered it by chance: Schrader, Ambros, Ruediger et Van der Linde.

  • Originally conceived as a pesticide, sarin was used by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime to gas thousands of Kurds in the northern town of Halabja in 1988.
  • Inhaled or absorbed through the skin, the gas kills by crippling the respiratory center of the central nervous system and paralysing the muscles around the lungs.
  • The combination results in death by suffocation, and sarin can contaminate food or water supplies, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Symptoms of exposure to the agent include nausea and violent headaches, blurred vision, drooling, muscle convulsions, respiratory arrest and loss of consciousness.
  • Sarin is 26 times more deadly than cyanide gas. Even when it does not kill, sarin’s effects can cause permanent harm —damaging a victim’s lungs, eyes and central nervous system.
  • Heavier than air, the gas can linger in an area for up to six hours, depending on weather conditions.


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.


Atmosphere found around Earth-like planet GJ 1132b 


Scientists say they have detected an atmosphere around an Earth-like planet for the first time.

gj1132b planet

Key facts:

  • Scientists studied a world known as GJ 1132b, which is 4-times the size of our planet and lies 39 light years away.
  • Their observations suggest that the “super-Earth” is cloaked in a thick layer of gases that are either water or methane or a mixture of both.
  • The discovery of planet GJ 1132b was first announced in 2015. It lies in the Vela constellation in the southern hemisphere.
  • While it is a similar size to Earth, the star it orbits is much smaller, cooler and dimmer than our Sun.
  • The observations of planet GJ 1132b suggest that it has a thick atmosphere containing either steam and/or methane.
  • Discovering an atmosphere, and characterising it, is an important step forward in the hunt for life beyond our Solar System. But it is highly unlikely that this world is habitable: it has a surface temperature of 370C.


Sources: the hindu.


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


North India to get its first DNA bank for wild animals


In a milestone for wildlife conservation in the country, Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) is planning to set up a DNA bank for wild animals, the first of its kind in North India. Scientists have so far collected samples of 140 species. A DNA bank exists in Hyderabad at present


What is it for?

Through the DNA bank, scientists at IVRI’s Centre for Wildlife will be able to tell the name and schedule of the species if they get only a part of the meat, hair, blood, skin or bone of any animal.

  • The move will help clamp down on wildlife poaching and smuggling, and also aid in research on wildlife species.


Need for DNA Bank:

Forest and police officials at times catch poachers and recover animal parts but the species of the animals is difficult to determine. Experts at times are able to suspect the species based on the type of meat or bone and the population of animals present in the area of origin of the body parts.

But if scientists get any animal’s meat, hair, blood or any other part from which cells can be obtained, they will compare it with the DNA bank to know the name and schedule of species. The schedule of the species will help in knowing that whether animal falls in endangered category or not.


Sources: the hindu.