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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 10 May 2017


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 10 May 2017


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


Measurement of Liveability Index


Ministry of Urban Development is planning to launch measuring of Liveability Index of cities based on indigenously evolved Index. The Ministry has already invited bids for selecting the agency for carrying out the assessment based on the parameters evolved by the Ministry.

  • To start with, Liveability Standards of 140 cities including 53 cities with population of one million and above and Smart Cities will be assessed.


What you need to know?

  • The Ministry of Urban Development has come out with a detailed document on “Methodology for Collection and Computation of Liveability Standards in Cities” for the benefit of States and Cities.
  • Cities will be assessed on 15 core parameters relating to Governance, social infrastructure pertaining to education, health and safety and security, economic aspects and physical infrastructure like housing, open spaces, land use, energy and water availability, solid waste management, pollution etc.
  • Cities will be ranked based on Liveability Index that would cover a total of 79 aspects.


Significance of this move:

This promotes a sense of healthy competition among cities and towns in the country to focus their attention on improving governance and infrastructure availability.


Sources: pib.


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


Project “LOcal Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse) (LOTUS HR)


Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and NWO, the Netherlands Science Agency have announced a joint call for proposals for cleaning the Barapullah drain. Accordingly, work has begun on Cleaning the Barapullah Drain in New Delhi under the Project “Local Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse (LOTUS HR).


What you need to know about LOTUS HR?

The project Local Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse (LOTUS HR) is an Indo-Netherlands joint project funded by Department of Biotechnology(DBT), Govt of india and NWO/STW, The Govt of Netherlands.

  • The project has stakeholders from both Academia and Industry from India and Netherlands. It is coordinated by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi with participation of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi and National Environment Research Institute, Nagpur from India while Technical University Delft is coordinating it from The Netherlands, with participation of Environmental Engineering and Water Technology Department, UNESCO, Wageningen University and its Aquatic Ecology Department. There is also commitment from industry, especially from The Netherlands, in terms of both cash and kind towards the project.
  • The project aims to demonstrate a novel holistic (waste-) water management approach, that will produce clean water that can be reused for various proposes (e.g. industry, agriculture, construction etc.), while simultaneously recovering nutrients and energy from the urban waste water, thus converting drain into profitable mines. Special attention will be paid to pathogen removal and removing conventional and emerging pollutants.
  • The project will develop an innovative pilot scale plant, suitable to cope with Indian conditions in a location specific manner. The final design of the pilot plant will be scalable and modular, to fit into the highly populated urban terrain.


Sources: pib.


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


NHAI’s Masala Bond expected to list on the LSE shortly


National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has decided to access the Masala Bond Market. Towards this objective NHAI has been conducting a global investor engagement exercise targeted at the world’s largest Supra Nationals and Sovereign Wealth Funds, Global Macro Funds and International Asset Managers. This exercise is expected to culminate in London.


What are Masala bonds?

Masala bonds are bonds issued outside India but denominated in Indian Rupees, rather than the local currency. The term was used by IFC to evoke the culture and cuisine of India. Unlike dollar bonds, where the borrower takes the currency risk, masala bond makes the investors bear the risk.

The first Masala bond was issued by the World Bank backed International Finance Corporation in November 2014 when it raised 1,000 crore bond to fund infrastructure projects in India. Later in August 2015 International Financial Corporation for the first time issued green masala bonds and raised Rupees 3.15 Billion to be used for private sector investments that address climate change in India.


Sources: pib.


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


29th India- Indonesia Co-Ordinated Patrol (Corpat) Commences


The 29th series of India–Indonesia CORPAT has begun at Port Blair under the aegis of Andaman and Nicobar Command.


What you need to know about Corpat?

The Indonesian Navy and the Indian Navy have been participating in coordinated patrol (CORPAT) twice a year since 2002 to keep this vital part of the Indian Ocean Region safe and secure for commercial shipping and international trade.

Apart from securing the trade sea route, the coordinated patrolalso serves to enhance mutual understanding and inter-operability between the two navies.The CORPAT thus reflects the shared concern between the two countries for a peaceful Indian ocean for the benefit of international community.


Sources: pib.


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


India wins stay at International Court of Justice in Kulbhushan Jadhav case


In a major breakthrough for the government’s efforts in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, the former naval officer sentenced to death in Pakistan, the government received a stay order from the International Court of Justice at The Hague, in a petition that accused Pakistan of gross violations of international laws.

  • Ordering the stay, President of the International Court of Justice Ronny Abraham directed Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to “act in such a way so as to enable the court to enforce any decision it takes on the Indian plea,” effectively staying Mr. Jadhav’s execution until the court hears the matter and passes orders.



In its petition, India had listed out the details of the Jadhav case and the “egregious violations” of the Geneva convention that deals with Consular relations, including Pakistan’s refusal to give any details of Mr. Jadhav’s arrest and trial until after the death sentence was passed, failure to provide consular access to India despite 15 attempts, and suggesting access would be given only in exchange for information about Mr. Jadhav from India.

In its petition explaining the urgency, India said that “without the provisional measures requested, Pakistan will execute Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav before the Court can consider the merits of India’s claims and India will forever be deprived of the opportunity to vindicate its rights”, indicating that a final appeal filed by Mr. Jadhav’s mother in the Pakistan Supreme Court could be adjudicated at any time, unless the International court acted.


What you need to know about ICJ?

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946.

  • The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).
  • Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York (United States of America).
  • The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.
  • The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. It is assisted by a Registry, its administrative organ. Its official languages are English and French.
  • Its judgments have binding force and are without appeal for the parties concerned.



As stated in the UN Charter, all 193 UN members are automatically parties to the Court’s statute. Non-UN members may also become parties to the Court’s statute. Once a state is a party to the Court’s statute, it is entitled to participate in cases before the Court. However, being a party to the statute does not automatically give the Court jurisdiction over disputes involving those parties.


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.


Now, turn any surface into touchscreen with a spray paint


Scientists have developed a new technology that can turn any surface — including walls, furniture and steering wheels — into a touchscreen using tools as simple as a can of spray paint. for this, the scientists used a well-known technique called electric field tomography.


What you need to know?

With the new technology dubbed Electrick, conductive touch surfaces can be created by applying conductive paints, bulk plastics or carbon-loaded films among other materials.

The “trick” is to apply electrically-conductive coatings or materials to objects or surfaces, or to craft objects using conductive materials. By attaching a series of electrodes to the conductive materials, researchers showed they could use a well-known technique called electric field tomography to sense the position of a finger touch.


Sources: the hindu.


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


Tax processed foods: FSSAI panel


An expert panel set up by food regulator FSSAI recently submitted its report to the government. The FSSAI had constituted the panel consisting of experts from different fields like medicine, nutrition and dietetics from well-known medical research and academic institutions.

  • The report by the 11-member panel on ‘Consumption of Fat, Sugar and Salt (FSS) and its health effects on Indian population’ suggests ways to cut consumption of unhealthy food products and reduce rising burden of chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes.
  • This report will serve as a guideline document for all the stakeholders, including the industry, the FSSAI and consumers, in reducing consumption of fat, sugar and salt through processed food products.


Important recommendations made by the committee:

  • Additional tax on highly processed commodities and sugar sweetened beverages. Imposing additional tax on the purchase of commodities such as pre-packaged foods with high salt and fat content, sugar sweetened beverages, etc can be a pragmatic approach to reduce their intake.
  • Imposition of excise tax on unhealthy eating products would lead to positive health effects among population. The nutrition-related programmes of the government can be supported through profit from taxing unhealthy food products.
  • Advertisement ban for foods high in FSS during children TV shows or kids TV channels is urged. In fact, the country should progress towards a total ban law as being done in a few other countries like Chile.
  • Celebrity endorsements of such foods need to be discouraged, adding that online social media websites should also comply with advertising ban for unhealthy foods.
  • Reliable monitoring systems should be there to examine FSS intake periodically at the national level. The industry should be encouraged for “voluntary reformulation” of food products to cut down FSS intake in packaged food items.
  • Like total calories, amount of carbohydrates, sugar, fat, protein, sodium, dietary fibre, amount of trans-fat added in food should be mandatory for labelling in food products.
  • On nutrient-specific recommendations, the panel said fats should be largely consumed in the unsaturated form. The consumption of unsaturated fatty acids, especially the long chain mono- and poly unsaturated-fatty acids, should be encouraged in everyday diets.


What necessitated this move?

In India, the rising burden of mortality and morbidity due to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancers is alarming. In the next 25 years, the burden of chronic diseases will tend to increase continuously as a ramification of the rapidly transitioning food intakes, changing dietary patterns and other lifestyle factors.

A salient finding was that Low Income Groups (LIG) reportedly consumed more fried snacks and sweets than High Income Groups (HIG) and, the highest consumption of bakery items was in slums, said a study on urban populations.


Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:


In news- Amur Falcon:

  • Amur falcons are the longest travelling raptors in the world. They weigh just 150 grams.
  • Males are mostly grey in colour and the females have dark-streaked cream or orange underparts.
  • The species flies non-stop from Mongolia to northeast India covering 5,600 km in five days and nights, a small part of its 22,000 km circular migratory journey. The birds halt briefly in Myanmar. After a month or so, they reach central and western India en route to South Africa.
  • Until recently, Naga tribesmen used to hunt thousands of Amur falcons for meat. But, after a vigorous campaign by wildlife activists, they have pledged to protect the bird and since then, not a single bird has been hunted in the area.


Buddha Jayanti:

  • May 10, 2017 marks the 2561st Buddha Jayanti, the birthday of the Buddha, and Buddha Purnima.
  • It is an important day charted by Buddhist monks and all followers of the message of Gautam Buddha.
  • Interestingly, Buddha Purnima, celebrated in May every year, is even more special because the Buddha’s enlightenment and mahaparinirvan also happened during the Purnima in the month of May.
  • The world over, the day is observed through dhana, sila and bhavana.
  • On this day, monks, or the Buddha’s disciples, from Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand and other countries gather to discuss world peace. The Buddha’s message is one of peace, compassion and non-violence.
  • To mark the day that is also known as Vesak, in some countries such as Vietnam, China and Japan the Buddha’s idol is bathed in water and flowers.


Indian Navy ships; INS Karwar and Kakinada decommissioned:

  • Indian Naval Ships Karwar and Kakinada were recently decommissioned.
  • INS Karwar (M67), was the first of the ‘Natya’ class minesweepers acquired from the erstwhile USSR. She was commissioned on 14 July 1986 at Riga (Russia) under the command of commander R K Sinha. The ship operated from Vishakhapatnam till 2013 after which, the ship was based at Mumbai. Manned by a crew of six officers and 90 sailors, INS Karwar had her motto ‘Hamesha Tayyar’.
  • INS Kakinada (M70), was the second of the same class and also commissioned at Riga on 23 December 1986. Like her sister ship, Kakinada also operated from Vishakhapatnam till 2013 before shifting base port to Mumbai.
  • With the decommissioning of the two minesweepers, the Navy is now left with a fleet of four Soviet-origin minesweeping ships will also be decommissioned by the end of 2018.


Darbar Move:

  • Leaders in Jammu and Kashmir have floated the idea of abrogation of the 146-year-old Dogra-era practice of ‘Darbar Move’.
  • What is it? Under this the State’s civil secretariat shuttles between summer capital Srinagar and winter capital Jammu bi-annually. It was introduced by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1872.
  • Terming this as a costly affair, leaders have asked for bifurcation of the offices. Every year, over 7,000 employees of the civil secretariat shuttle between Srinagar and Jammu along with the files, which are ferried in buses and tracks. It costs the State over ₹40 crore.