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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 17 September 2018

Insights Daily Current Affairs, 17 September 2018


Paper 1:

Topic: population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.


‘Swachhata Hi Seva’ movement

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Basic facts on Swachhata Hi Seva movement and Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • For Mains: Significance and performance of SBM, shortcomings and ways to address them.


Context: ‘Swachhata Hi Seva’ movement has been launched across the country on September 15, 2018.

Aim: Over the next two weeks leading to October 2 – Gandhi Jayanti – the Swachhata Hi Seva movement aims to ensure a high standard of cleanliness across the country, which was Mahatma Gandhi’s dream for the nation.


Significance of the campaign:

  • The campaign for a Swachh Bharat or clean India, which began four years ago, was made into a nation-wide movement today.
  • October 2, 2018 will mark the beginning of the 150th year of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth, and the government plans to realise his dream of a clean India.


About the campaign:

  • The campaign is being coordinated by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, the convening Ministry for the Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • The objective of the campaign is to mobilise people and reinforce the “Jan Aandolan” for sanitation to contribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a Clean India.
  • It will see large scale mobilisation of people from all walks of life to undertake shramdaan for cleanliness and construction of toilets and to make their environments free from open defecation. There will be targeted cleaning of public and tourist places.
  • Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has made elaborate plans along with the State Governments to involve people from various walks of life and make this an unprecedented people’s campaign.
  • Reaching out to the poor and marginalised and providing them with sustainable sanitation services would be the hallmark of this campaign.



Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a campaign which was launched on 2 October 2014, and aims to eradicate open defecation by 2019, and is a national campaign, covering 4,041 statutory cities and towns. Its predecessors were the “Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan” and before that the “Total Sanitation Campaign”. The mission was divided into two parts — urban and rural.


Sources: pib.


Paper 2:

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


Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS)


What to study?

  • For Prelims: Key facts on MPLADS.
  • For Mains: Significance, performance analysis and need for monitoring of the scheme, demand for a legal framework.


Context: Noting that ₹12,000 crore of the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) funds remains unspent, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman to come out with a legal framework to ensure its transparency and hold parliamentarians and political parties accountable for their obligations under the scheme.


Need for legal framework:

MoSPI report showed that in February 2018, funds allotted to MPLADS but unspent stood at ₹4,773.13 crore, while 2,920 instalments of ₹2.5 crore were yet to be released. That resulted in a total backlog of ₹12,073.13 crore.


Structure of the proposed framework:

  • The framework should make transparency a legal obligation, with all MPs and parties required to present the public and Parliament with a comprehensive report on the number of applications received for their constituency, works recommended, works rejected with reasons, progress of works and details of beneficiaries.
  • Liabilities for any breach of duties should also be imposed. Further, the framework should prohibit and prevent MPs using the funds for their private works, or diverting them to private trusts or to their own relatives.
  • District administrations must provide regular information — work-wise, MP-wise, and year-wise details on progress — which are to be compiled by the MoSPI and made available to the public.


About MPLAD scheme:

What is it? It was launched in December, 1993, to provide a mechanism for the Members of Parliament to recommend works of developmental nature for creation of durable community assets and for provision of basic facilities including community infrastructure, based on locally felt needs.

Works under the scheme: Works, developmental in nature, based on locally felt needs and always available for the use of the public at large, are eligible under the scheme. Preference under the scheme is given to works relating to national priorities, such as provision of drinking water, public health, education, sanitation, roads, etc.

Funds: Funds are released in the form of grants in-aid directly to the district authorities. The funds released under the scheme are non-lapsablee. The liability of funds not released in a particular year is carried forward to the subsequent years, subject to eligibility.

Execution of works: The MPs have a recommendatory role under the scheme. They recommend their choice of works to the concerned district authorities who implement these works by following the established procedures of the concerned state government. The district authority is empowered to examine the eligibility of works sanction funds and select the implementing agencies, prioritise works, supervise overall execution, and monitor the scheme at the ground level.

Recommendation of works: The Lok Sabha Members can recommend works in their respective constituencies. The elected members of the Rajya Sabha can recommend works anywhere in the state from which they are elected. Nominated members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha may select works for implementation anywhere in the country.


Sources: the hindu.

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


International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Key facts on Montreal protocol and Ozone day.
  • For Mains: Significance of the Ozone layer and the need for protection.


Context: The International Day for Preservation of Ozone Layer (or World Ozone Day) is observed every year on September 16 for the preservation of the Ozone Layer.

2018 Theme: ‘Keep Cool and Carry On: The Montreal Protocol’.


Significance of the day:

In 1994, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 16 September the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, commemorating the date of the signing, in 1987, of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.


What you need to know about the Ozone layer?

The ozone layer absorbs most of the Sun’s ultraviolet light which is harmful to human life and other life forms. The layer absorbs about 97 to 99% of ultraviolet rays and maintain the ozone-oxygen cycle. Dobson unit is a unit which is used to measure the ozone in the atmosphere at a standard temperature and pressure.


Montreal protocol:

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was designed to reduce the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances in order to reduce their abundance in the atmosphere, and thereby protect the earth’s fragile ozone Layer. The original Montreal Protocol was agreed on 16 September 1987 and entered into force on 1 January 1989.

  • The Montreal Protocol includes a unique adjustment provision that enables the Parties to the Protocol to respond quickly to new scientific information and agree to accelerate the reductions required on chemicals already covered by the Protocol. These adjustments are then automatically applicable to all countries that ratified the Protocol.
  • Montreal Protocol stipulates that the production and consumption of compounds that deplete ozone in the stratosphere-chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform-are to be phased out by 2000 (2005 for methyl chloroform). These compounds significantly deplete the stratospheric ozone layer that shields the planet from damaging UV-B radiation.



The phaseout of controlled uses of ozone depleting substances and the related reductions have not only helped protect the ozone layer for this and future generations, but have also contributed significantly to global efforts to address climate change; furthermore, it has protected human health and ecosystems by limiting the harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the earth.


Sources: the hindu.

Paper 3:

Topic: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM)

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key features and significance of MPATGM.


Context: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) recently conducted first successful trials of indigenously developed third generation Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM).



  • The MPATGM is a third-generation anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), which has been under development by DRDO in partnership with Indian defense contractor VEM Technologies Ltd. since 2015.
  • Fitted with a high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead, the MPATGM reportedly boasts a top attack capability and has a maximum engagement range of about 2.5 kilometers.


The demand:

The Indian Army needs over 40,000 missiles for its infantry and mechanised units. While it has rejected the US-built Javelin system, a formal decision on the procurement on the Israeli SPIKE system is awaited.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


ISRO launches two U.K. satellites

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key facts on satellites launched and PSLV, Significance of this launch.


Context: ISROs PSLV-C42 lifted off for the launch of two satellites from the United Kingdom – NovaSAR and S1-4 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. The two satellites, owned by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) were placed in a circular orbit around the poles, 583 km from Earth.

  • The commercial arm of ISRO, Antrix Corporation earned more than ₹220 crore on this launch.
  • This would be the 44th flight of the PSLV and the third launch by ISRO this year. The PSLV-C-42 is the lightest version of the PSLV flying in its core-alone version without the six strap-on motors.


Key facts:

  • The NovaSAR is a technology demonstration mission designed to test the capabilities of a new low cost S-band SAR platform. It will be used for ship detection and maritime monitoring and also flood monitoring, besides agricultural and forestry applications.
  • The S1-4 is a high-resolution Optical Earth Observation Satellite, used for surveying resources, environment monitoring, urban management and for disaster monitoring.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Conservation and pollution related issues.


CPCB report on river pollution


What to study?

  • For Prelims: Key facts on CPCB.
  • For Mains: River pollution- concerns, challenges and ways to address them.


Context: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has released a report on the extent of pollution in rivers in India.



Based on the recommendations of the National Green Tribunal, the CPCB last month apprised the States of the extent of pollution in their rivers.


Key findings:

  • Increase in numbers: The number of polluted stretches of the country’s rivers has increased to 351 from 302 two years ago, and the number of critically polluted stretches — where water quality indicators are the poorest — has gone up to 45 from 34.
  • Several of the river’s stretches — in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh — are actually far less polluted than many rivers in Maharashtra, Assam and Gujarat. These three States account for 117 of the 351 polluted river stretches.
  • The most significant stretches of pollution highlighted by the CPCB assessment include the Mithi river — from Powai to Dharavi — with a BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) of 250 mg/l; the Godavari — from Someshwar to Rahed — with a BOD of 5.0-80 mg/l; the Sabarmati — Kheroj to Vautha — with a BOD of 4.0-147 mg/l; and the Hindon — Saharanpur to Ghaziabad — with a BOD of 48-120 mg/l.



  • The CPCB, since the 1990s, has a programme to monitor the quality of rivers primarily by measuring BOD, which is a proxy for organic pollution — the higher it is, the worse the river.
  • The health of a river and the efficacy of water treatment measures by the States and municipal bodies are classified depending on BOD, with a BOD greater than or equal to 30 mg/l termed ‘priority 1,’ while that between 3.1-6 mg/l is ‘priority 5.’
  • The CPCB considers a BOD less than 3 mg/l an indicator of a healthy river.


Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB):

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), statutory organisation, was constituted in September, 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.Further, CPCB was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.



  • To promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States by prevention, control and abatement of water pollution.
  • To improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution in the country.


Biochemical oxygen demand (Bod):

  • Biochemical oxygen demand is the amount of oxygen required for microbial metabolism of organic compounds in water.
  • BOD value is most commonly expressed in milligrams of oxygen consumed per litre of sample during 5 days of incubation at 20 °C.
  • BOD can be used as a gauge of the effectiveness of wastewater treatment plants.


Sources: the hindu.

Facts for Prelims:


Paryatan Parv:

Context: The second edition of ‘Paryatan Parv’ of the Ministry of Tourism has begun across the country.

What is Paryatan Parv?

  • The Paryatan Parv will showcase the cultural diversity of the country, with cultural performances, crafts bazaar, food court showcasing folk and classical dance & music, handicrafts & handlooms and cuisine from all regions and States of the country.
  • The Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with other Central Ministries, State Governments and Stakeholders is organizing “Paryatan Parv” across the country.
  • The programme is being organized with the objective of drawing focus on the benefits of tourism, showcasing the cultural diversity of the country and reinforcing the principle of “Tourism for All”.


Pacific Asia Travel Association gold awards:


  • Kerala Tourism has won two prestigious gold awards of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) for its innovative marketing campaigns.
  • These awards were won by Kerala Tourism’s Yalla Kerala print campaign and Live Inspired Posters under PATA’s Travel Advertisement Print and Travel Poster categories respectively.
  • Both campaign and posters were developed and designed by Stark Communications which is advertising agency of Kerala Tourism.

About PATA awards:

  • These awards are given by PATA and are sponsored by Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO).
  • The Awards are presented to outstanding entries in four principal categories: Marketing; Education and Training; Environment, and Heritage and Culture.
  • These awards are presented every year in recognition of the achievements of 25 separate organisations and individuals.


Jharkhand government introduces electric cars for official use:

The state government of Jharkhand has introduced electric vehicles for official use. With the development, Jharkhand has become the fifth state of India and the first state in eastern India to procure the eco-friendly vehicles for government use.