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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 06 September 2019

Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 06 September 2019

Table of contents:


GS Paper 1:

  1. Mapping lightning across India.


GS Paper 2:

  1. CBI to get Centralised Technology Vertical.
  2. ‘eat right movement’ Campaign.
  3. WHO South-East Asia Region plans to banish measles, rubella by 2023.
  4. Eastern Economic Forum.


GS Paper 3:

  1. Hepatitis B.
  2. Institutes of Eminence Scheme.


Facts for Prelims:

  1. Indo–Thai CORPAT.
  2. Lunar missions so far.
  3. Germany to phase out glyphosate by 2023.
  4. Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report.


GS Paper 1:


Topics covered:

  1. Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.


Mapping lightning across India


What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings of the report, how lightning strikes?

For Mains: Need for studying the pattern and forecasts.


Context: For the first time, a report- Mid- Monsoon 2019 Lightning Report- has mapped lightning strikes across the country, and the lives they have claimed.

It has been prepared by Climate Resilient Observing Systems Promotion Council (CROPC), a non-profit organisation that works closely with India Meteorological Department (IMD).


Lightning strikes have caused at least 1,311 deaths in the four-month period between April and July this year.


Need for and significance of forecasts:

  • It is possible to predict, 30-40 minutes in advance, when a lightning strike heads towards Earth.
  • The prediction is possible through study and monitoring of the in-cloud lightning strikes. Timely dissemination of this information can save several lives.


What is lightning, and how does it strike?

It is a very rapid — and massive — discharge of electricity in the atmosphere, some of which is directed towards the Earth’s surface. These discharges are generated in giant moisture-bearing clouds that are 10-12 km tall.


How does it strike?

  1. The base of these clouds typically lies within 1-2 km of the Earth’s surface, while their top is 12-13 km away. 
  2. Temperatures towards the top of these clouds are in the range of minus 35 to minus 45 degrees Celsius.
  3. As water vapour moves upward in the cloud, the falling temperature causes it to condense. Heat is generated in the process, which pushes the molecules of water further up.
  4. As they move to temperatures below zero degrees celsius, the water droplets change into small ice crystals. They continue to move up, gathering mass — until they are so heavy that they start to fall to Earth.
  5. This leads to a system in which, simultaneously, smaller ice crystals are moving up and bigger crystals are coming down.
  6. Collisions follow, and trigger the release of electrons — a process that is very similar to the generation of sparks of electricity. As the moving free electrons cause more collisions and more electrons, a chain reaction ensues.
  7. This process results in a situation in which the top layer of the cloud gets positively charged, while the middle layer is negatively charged.
  8. The electrical potential difference between the two layers is huge — of the order of a billion to 10 billion volts. In very little time, a massive current, of the order of 100,000 to a million amperes, starts to flow between the layers.
  9. An enormous amount of heat is produced, and this leads to the heating of the air column between the two layers of the cloud. This heat gives the air column a reddish appearance during lightning. As the heated air column expands, it produces shock waves that result in thunder.


How does this current reach the Earth from the cloud?

While the Earth is a good conductor of electricity, it is electrically neutral. However, in comparison to the middle layer of the cloud, it becomes positively charged. As a result, about 15%-20% of the current gets directed towards the Earth as well. It is this flow of current that results in damage to life and property on Earth.

There is a greater probability of lightning striking tall objects such as trees, towers or buildings. Once it is about 80-100 m from the surface, lightning tends to change course towards these taller objects. This happens because air is a poor conductor of electricity, and electrons that are travelling through air seek both a better conductor and the shortest route to the relatively positively charged Earth’s surface.


Sources: Indian Express.


GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.


CBI to get Centralised Technology Vertical


What to study?

For Prelims: About Centralised Technology Vertical.

For Mains: CBI- Establishment, its functioning, issues related to its autonomy and need for consent in investigations.


Context: The centre is planning to set up a Centralised Technology Vertical (CTV) under the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).


What is CTV? What is it’s role?

It facilitates real-time information sharing with investigators across the country.


Need for CTV:

India has the second largest users of Internet in the world.

And there is rise in “cyber manipulators” across the country. They are posing risk to the country by circulating fake videos on social media. This needs to be addressed.


About CBI:

Operates under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.


It’s evolution:

  1. The Special Police Establishment, was set up in 1941, six years before independence from British rule to probe bribery and corruption in the country during World War II.
  2. In 1946, it was brought under the Home Department and its remit was expanded to investigate corruption in central and state governments under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.
  3. The special police force became the Central Bureau of Investigation after the Home Ministry, which is in charge of domestic security, decided to expand its powers and change its name in 1963.


Challenges faced by CBI:

  1. dependent on the home ministry for staffing.
  2. depends on the law ministry for lawyers.
  3. susceptible to the government’s ability to manipulate the senior officers.
  4. CBI needs the consent of the State government in question before it can make its presence in that State.


Reforms needed:

  1. Bring in a formal and legal framework.
  2. Strengthen the CBI in terms of legal mandate, infrastructure and resources.
  3. Ensure financial autonomy.
  4. Develop its own dedicated cadre of officers who are not bothered about deputation and abrupt transfers.


Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

  1. Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders


‘eat right movement’ campaign


What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the movement, what are TPCs, need for a limit.

For Mains: Significance and the need for staying healthy, government measures to keep the country healthy and raise awareness about it.


Context: Government has launched a mass media campaign on the Eat Right India movement.

This movement is aligned with the government’s flagship public health programmes such as POSHAN Abhiyaan, Anemia Mukt Bharat, Ayushman Bharat Yojana and Swachh Bharat Mission.


About Eat Right Movement:

It was launched by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

The movement aims to cut down salt/sugar and oil consumption by 30% in three years.

It also aims to engage and enable citizens to improve their health and well-being by making the right food choices.


Measures in place:

  1. FSSAI has put in place robust regulatory measures under three major pillars: Eat Safe, Eat Health and Eat Sustainably for the programme.
  2. FSSAI has prescribed a limit for Total Polar Compounds (TPC) at 25% in cooking oil to avoid the harmful effects of reused cooking oil.


Significance of the campaign:

The country is in need of a movement on preventive health for all in the backdrop of the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases including diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases, widespread deficiencies of vitamins and minerals and rampant food-borne illnesses.

The Eat Right India movement acts as a crucial preventive healthcare measure to trigger social and behavioural change through a judicious mix of regulatory measures, combined with soft interventions for ensuring awareness and capacity building of food businesses and citizens alike.


Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

Issues related to health.


WHO South-East Asia Region plans to banish measles, rubella by 2023


What to study?

For Prelims: About Measles and Rubella.

For Mains: Spread, concerns and ways to eliminate them.


Context: Member-countries of the World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia Region have resolved to eliminate highly infectious childhood killer diseases measles and rubella by 2023.

  • A resolution to eliminate the diseases was adopted at the 72nd session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia in Delhi.


How the new target is to be achieved?

  1. By strengthening the immunisation systems for increasing and sustaining high level of population immunity against the two diseases at both the national and sub-national levels.
  2. By ensuring a highly sensitive laboratory supported case-based surveillance system – better evidence for appropriate planning and response.
  3. By mobilising political, societal and financial support to ensure the interruption of transmission of indigenous measles and rubella virus by 2023.

The need for elimination:

Eliminating measles will prevent 500,000 deaths a year in the region, while eliminating rubella/ CRS would avert about 55,000 cases of rubella and promote health and wellbeing of pregnant women and infants.


About Measles:

What is It? Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. Spread: Measles is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons.

Initial symptoms, which usually appear 10–12 days after infection, include high fever, a runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. Several days later, a rash develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards.

Vulnerability: Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.

The most serious complications include blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), severe diarrhoea and related dehydration, and severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia.

Prevention: Routine measles vaccination for children, combined with mass immunization campaigns in countries with low routine coverage, are key public health strategies to reduce global measles deaths.

Preventive efforts: Under the Global Vaccine Action Plan, measles and rubella are targeted for elimination in five WHO Regions by 2020. WHO is the lead technical agency responsible for coordination of immunization and surveillance activities supporting all countries to achieve this goal.



It is generally a mild infection, but has serious consequences if infection occurs in pregnant women, causing congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which is a cause of public health concern. CRS is characterized by congenital anomalies in the foetus and newborns affecting the eyes (glaucoma, cataract), ears (hearing loss), brain (microcephaly, mental retardation) and heart defects, causing a huge socio-economic burden on the families in particular and society in general.



Sources: the Hindu.


Topics covered:

Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Eastern Economic Forum


What to study?

For Prelims: Geographical position and features of the Far East, About the forum and it’s genesis.

For Mains: need for and significance of India- Russia cooperation.


Context: India extends $1 billion line of credit for development of Russia’s Far East.

This was announced by PM Modi at the ongoing 5th Eastern Economic Forum.


About the Eastern Economic Forum:

  1. Established by Decree of the President of the Russian Federation in 2015.
  2. It takes place each year in Vladivostok.
  3. Serves as a platform for the discussion of key issues in the world economy, regional integration, and the development of new industrial and technological sectors, as well as of the global challenges facing Russia and other nations.
  4. Participants: The Forum business programme includes a number of business dialogues with leading partner countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and with ASEAN, a key integration organization of dynamically developing nations in Southeast Asia.



The Far East is the easternmost part of Russia

It borders two oceans, the Pacific and the Arctic, and five countries (China, Japan, Mongolia, the United States and the DPRK).

The Far Eastern Federal District covers more than a third of the country’s territory.

RESOURCES: The Far East is rich in natural resources like diamonds, stannary, borax materials, 50 gold, tungsten, and fish and seafood. About 1/3 of all coal reserves and hydro-engineering resources of the country are here. Forests of the region comprise about 30% of the total forest area of Russia.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered:

  1. 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.


Hepatitis B


What to study?

For Prelims: Causes, symptoms and prevention of the disease.

For Mains: Concerns, spread of the disease and ways to address them.


Context: On September 3, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Thailand became the first four countries in the World Health Organization’s southeast Asia region to have successfully controlled hepatitis B

The virus is said to be controlled when the disease prevalence is reduced to less than 1% among children less than five years of age.


India’s scenario:

  1. Despite the introduction of hepatitis B vaccine in the Universal Immunisation Programme in 2002 and scaling-up nationwide in 2011, about one million people in India become chronically infected with the virus every year.
  2. Despite the high vaccination coverage, disease prevalence in children aged less than five years has not dropped below 1%. One of the reasons for this is the sub-optimal coverage of birth dose in all infants within 24 hours of birth.


What is hepatitis?

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected.

Causes: Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can all cause hepatitis. However, hepatitis is often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common hepatitis viruses are hepatitis A virus, hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus.


What is the difference between hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C?

Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C are liver infections caused by three different viruses.

  1. Hepatitis A is usually a short-term infection and does not become a long-term infection.
  2. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can also begin as short-term infections but in some people, the virus remains in the body, and causes chronic, or lifelong, infection.

There are vaccines to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B; however, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C.


How is hepatitis B spread?

The hepatitis B virus is spread when blood, semen, or other body fluid infected with the hepatitis B virus enters the body of a person who is not infected. 


Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

  1. 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.


Institutes of Eminence Scheme


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Institutes of Eminence Scheme- features and significance.


Context: The Human Resource Development Ministry has awarded the status of Institute of Eminence to the IIT-Madras, the IIT-Kharagpur, Delhi University, Benares Hindu University and the University of Hyderabad.

Four private universities — the Vellore Institute of Technology, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Jamia Hamdard University and the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology — were issued Letters of Intent to grant them the status. The new greenfield Bharti Institute, a project of Airtel’s Satya Bharti Foundation, has also been issued the letter.


What next?

Each university will be required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry, laying out its plan to achieve the objective of becoming a world-class institution.

The public institutions on the list will then be eligible for a government grant of ₹1,000 crore.


What is Institutions of Eminence scheme?

The institutes of eminence scheme under the Union human resource development (HRD) ministry aims to project Indian institutes to global recognition.

The selected institutes will enjoy complete academic and administrative autonomy.

The selection shall be made through challenge method mode by the Empowered Expert Committee constituted for the purpose.

Eligibility: Only higher education institutions currently placed in the top 500 of global rankings or top 50 of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) are eligible to apply for the eminence tag.

The private Institutions of Eminence can also come up as greenfield ventures-provided the sponsoring organisation submits a convincing perspective plan for 15 years.



  1. Institutions with the eminence tag would be allowed greater autonomy without having to report to the University Grants Commission (UGC).
  2. They would be able to admit foreign students and recruit faculty from abroad, and follow a flexible course and fee structure to enable them to vault to the ranks of the top global institutions.


Need for world-class institutes:

India lacks world-class universities according to international rankings, and Indian academics, compared internationally, are rather poorly paid. Students also suffer an immense shortage of places in top academic institutions and throughout the higher education system. India today educates only half as many young people from the university age group as China and ranks well behind most Latin American and other middle-income countries.


Sources: pib.

Facts for prelims:


Indo–Thai CORPAT:

28th edition of India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (Indo-Thai CORPAT) between the Indian Navy (IN) and the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) is being held.

The Objectives of the Indo-Thai CORPAT are to ensure effective implementation of United Nations Conventions on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) which specify regulations regarding protection and conservation of natural resources, conservation of marine environment, prevention and suppression of illegal, unregulated fishing activity/ drug trafficking/ piracy, exchange of information in prevention of smuggling, illegal immigration and conduct of Search and Rescue operations at sea.


Lunar Missions so far:

Chandrayaan-2 is 110th Moon mission and the 11th this decade.

90 out of the 109 so far, were sent between 1958 and 1976.

Key Moon missions so far:

  1. Flybys: Pioneer 3 and 4 by the United States and Luna 3 of the then USSR.
  2. Orbiters: Chandrayaan-1.
  3. Rovers: The rover onboard Vikram lander in the Chandrayaan-2 mission is called Pragyaan. Earlier this year, a Chinese lander and rover mission reached the moon.
  4. Human missions: So far only NASA of the United States has been able to land human beings on the moon. So far, six teams of two astronauts each have landed on the moon, all between 1969 and 1972. After that, no attempt has been made to land a moon.



Germany to phase out glyphosate by 2023:

Germany took this step to protect insect populations that play a pivotal role in ecosystems and pollination of food crops.

Glyphosate is used widely in agriculture, forestry, urban and home applications.

Concerns: Its use has been surrounded by much debate due to safety concerns. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) had declared glyphosate it “probably” carcinogenic to humans.


Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019:

Released by the World Economic Forum.

Covers 140 economies.

The study scores countries on four indicators — enabling environment; travel and tourism policy and enabling conditions; infrastructure; natural and cultural rankings.

Performance of India:

  1. India is ranked 34, up six places from 2017.
  2. India’s highest improvement was in enabling environment, by 10 places to 98.
  3. The least improvement is in infrastructure as well as in natural and cultural rankings, by just three places each, but India’s rank was already high in the latter.

Global performance:

Spain, France, Germany, Japan and the United States are the world’s most travel-ready nations.