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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 09 May 2017


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 09 May 2017


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


DIPP & WIPO to set up Technology and Innovation Support Centers


The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) have signed an agreement to establish Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISC).



What you need to know about TISC?

These centres will be set up under WIPO’s Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISC) program. The programme provides innovators in developing countries with access to locally based, high quality technology information and related services, helping them to exploit their innovative potential and to create, protect, and manage their intellectual property (IP) rights.


Services offered by TISCs may include:

  • Access to online patent and non-patent (scientific and technical) resources and IP-related publications.
  • Assistance in searching and retrieving technology information.
  • Training in database search.
  • On-demand searches (novelty, state-of-the-art and infringement).
  • Monitoring technology and competitors.
  • Basic information on industrial property laws, management and strategy, and technology commercialization and marketing.


Key facts:

  • The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) is designated as the National Focal point for the TISC national network.
  • As the national focal point, CIPAM will identify potential host institutions, assess their capacities and support them in joining the TISC project.
  • CIPAM will also act as the main intermediary between WIPO and TISC host institutions and coordinate all the activities of the national TISC network.


About WIPO:

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is one of the 17 specialized agencies of the United Nations.

  • It was created in 1967 “to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world.”
  • It has currently 188 member states, administers 26 international treaties, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Non-members are the states of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, South Sudan and Timor-Leste. Palestine has observer status.
  • India is a member of WIPO and party to several treaties administered by WIPO.


Sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.


Doctrine of “SAMADHAN’ for use in security operations


The Home Minister has enunciated an operational strategy ‘SAMADHAN’ to fight Left Wing Extremism.



The elements of this strategy are:

  • S for Smart Leadership.
  • A for Aggressive Strategy.
  • M for Motivation and Training.
  • A for Actionable Intelligence.
  • D for Dashboard-based Key Result Areas and Key Performance Indicators.
  • H for Harnessing Technology.
  • A for Action Plan for Each Theatre.
  • N for No access to Financing.


Significance of this strategy:

  • Alongside aggressive operations, road construction works, setting up of telecommunication, power and railway facilities in the remote areas will be expedited. The home minister has also stressed for befitting strategies during the security operations and enhanced intelligence in tackling the Maoists.
  • Economic resources play an important role in any war — only when money is available is it possible to buy, eat, drink and possess ammunition and weapons. Therefore, choking the financial resources of the left wing extremists is the most basic mantra in this fight.


Need for the doctrine:

There are 10 LWE affected states- Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh. As many as 12,000 citizens had lost their lives in Maoist violence over the last two decades. Of these, 2,700 were jawans of security forces and 9,300 were innocent common people.


Sources: pib.


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


India unanimously elected to head UN-Habitat


India has been unanimously elected as the President of the UN-Habitat, an organ of the United Nations’ Organisation (UNO) that promotes socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements across the world, after 10 years.


What you need to know?

  • Since the UN-Habitat came into being in 1978, it is only the third time that India has been elected to lead this important organization after 2007 and 1988.
  • India will be represented by the Union Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation. Currently, the minister will chair the ongoing meeting of the 58 member Governing Council of UN-Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • The theme of the 26th Meeting of the Governing Council is “Opportunities for effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda” with focus on inclusive, sustainable and adequate housing for a better future and planning and financing sustainable urbanization and integrated human settlements. The New Urban Agenda was adopted by the world community at Quito, Ecuador last year.


About UN Habitat:

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN–Habitat) is the United Nations agency for human settlements and sustainable urban development. It was established in 1978 as an outcome of the First UN Conference on Human Settlements and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat I) held in Vancouver, Canada in 1976.

  • It is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. It is a member of the United Nations Development Group.
  • The mandate of UN-Habitat derives from the Habitat Agenda, adopted by the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1996. The twin goals of the Habitat Agenda are adequate shelter for all and the development of sustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world.
  • As an inter-governmental policy making and decision making body, the Governing Council of UN-Habitat seeks to promote integral and comprehensive approach to human settlements, assist the countries and regions in addressing human settlement problems and strengthen cooperation among all countries on human settlement issue.
  • UN-Habitat reports to the United Nations General Assembly.


Sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.


2,000-strong CoBRA force for Sukma


The CRPF will soon deploy a fresh squad of about 2,000 commandos from its special guerrilla warfare CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) battalions in and around the Sukma district of Chhattisgarh to defang the Maoists and their arsenal.

  • The paramilitary has prepared a blueprint to mobilise at least 20 to 25 companies of the CoBRA from their present locations in West Bengal, Bihar, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh to the Bastar region that has some of the worst Maoist violence-hit districts.




Sukma and its adjoining areas have witnessed some of the deadliest ambushes on security forces recently like the one where 25 CRPF men were killed in the Burkapal area of the district on April 24.


What you need to know about CoBRA force?

COBRA (backronym for Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) is a specialised unit of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) of India proficient in guerrilla tactics and jungle warfare. Originally established to counter the Naxalite problem, CoBRA is deployed to address any insurgent group engaging in asymmetrical warfare.

Currently numbering ten battalions, CoBRA is ranked among one of India’s more experienced and successful law enforcement units.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.


Armymen favour political intervention in Kashmir


A significant number of military officers have asked the centre to intervene immediately politically if the level of violence has to come down anytime soon in Jammu and Kashmir without changing the aggressive security posture taken in Kashmir.


Need for Centre’s intervention:

Several military officers are pointing out to the drying up of genuine intelligence from locals in the Kashmir Valley in recent months. They say it was a gradual slowdown over the past couple of years, but today most units have nothing dependable coming in. Without credible intelligence, the security forces are “blinded” and “fumbling”. The present situation is also from those of past. With even school students coming out to throw stones and protest against security forces, the security forces are actually operating in extremely tricky situation.



The widespread assessment within the Army on the need for political intervention seems to run counter to the aggressive stand taken by the Central government, which is yet to show any willingness for a political outreach towards Kashmiris, despite the worsening situation.


Sources: the hindu.


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


Centre to tap MGNREGA funds to make Saraswati flow again


The Centre plans to tap rural employment guarantee funds to recharge remnants of ancient rivers — including the mythical Saraswati — in a bid to boost groundwater reserves.

  • Reviving such palaeo-channels may not be useful for irrigation but it could improve groundwater storage.



Palaeo-channels are old rivers that have dried up and filled with sediment. Last October, a committee of hydrologists, geologists and archaeologists — as part of study commissioned by the Water Resources Ministry — reported evidence on the course of the Saraswati, mentioned in the Rigveda and Hindu mythology.

K.S. Valdiya, who led the team, concluded that the Sutlej river “represented the western branch of the Saraswati.”


About Saraswati:

  • Saraswati river flowed through Haryana, Rajasthan and North Gujarat. It also flowed through Pakistan before meeting Western Sea through Rann of Kutch and was approximately 4,000 km in length.
  • One-third of the river stretch fell in present-day Pakistan. The longer, two-third stretch measuring nearly 3000 km in length fell in India.
  • The river had two branches: western and eastern. The Himalayan-born Satluj “of the PAST”, which flowed through the channels of present-day Ghaggar-Patialiwali rivulets, represents the western branch of the ancient river.
  • On the other hand, Markanda and Sarsuti represented the western branch of Saraswati, known as Tons-Yamuna.
  • The confluence of the branches was near Shatrana, 25 km south of Patiala. And suddenly, it flows crossing the dessert (Rann of Kutch) and meet gulf of western sea.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.


Centre to raise with U.S. non-tariff barriers


India is planning to take up with the Trump administration the “barriers” imposed by the U.S., which are hurting Indian goods exports to that country in sectors including agriculture, pharmaceuticals and other industrial products.


non tariif

What are non-tariff barriers imposed by the US?

The U.S. “non-tariff/Sanitary & Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) barriers” include those imposed under laws concerning bio-terrorism, child-labour, national security, ‘Buy America’ norms preferring U.S.-made items and American suppliers in U.S. Government purchases, registration fee hikes (in sectors such as pharma), food safety as well as animal and plant health regulations.


Concern areas:

  • The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has “arbitrarily” listed 23 items produced in India on the ‘List of Goods Produced by Child Labour or Forced Labour’ — which is in effect a ban on their import. Indian industry is worried as the reports that the DOL relies upon are “not always accurate.”
  • Also worrying is the U.S. Government measures envisaged within an initiative to counter potential terrorist threats to the international maritime container trade system. This included X-ray scanning of containers exported to U.S., a measure that would cause additional costs for Indian exporters across sectors.
  • In addition, a law (the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 of the U.S.) allows American manufacturers to petition for curbing imports from third nations on national security grounds without providing proof from industry. This is a major Non-Tariff Barrier (NTB) of the U.S. affecting Indian exports across sectors as the law — allowing invocation of ‘national security exceptions’ without having to apply any detailed criteria — in effect restricts foreign competition.


Way ahead:

India will raise this issue soon after the new U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) takes charge, official sources said. They said this issue would also be on the agenda of the next India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum (TPF) — the main bilateral platform for discussing and resolving trade and investment issues. The date for the next TPF meeting will be fixed after the new USTR assumes office.


Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:


Panchayat Pustak Mela:

  • The NBT is set to launch an ambitious scheme called the Panchayat Pustak Mela (Panchayat Book Fair), whose aim would be to organise regular book fairs in rural areas across the country.
  • National Book Trust (NBT) is an Indian publishing house, founded in 1957 as an autonomous body under the Ministry of Education of the Government of India. NBT now functions under aegis of Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India.


In news- Chinnar wildlife sanctuary:

  • An ambitious project of the Kerala Forest Department at the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) to rehabilitate Indian star tortoises (Geochelone elegans) seized from smugglers has turned into a major success. This makes the CWS the only rehabilitation centre for star tortoises in the country.
  • The CWS is the only place in Kerala where star tortoises are known to occur in the wild. The sanctuary is now a haven for at least 450 such tortoises seized from poachers in less than two years.
  • Indian star tortoises are considered auspicious for gaining wealth. It is the reason why Indian star tortoises, which are protected under the Wildlife Act, are poached and smuggled. It is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN.