Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 28 November 2019

Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 28 November 2019

Table of contents:


GS Paper 3:

  1. What are starred questions?
  2. QS Indian University Rankings.
  3. Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR–RC).


GS Paper 3:

  1. Contract for the web.
  2. Emission Gap Report.
  3. Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) Initiative.


Facts for prelims:

  1. Trachischium apteii.
  2. HIM VIJAY Military Exercise.



GS Paper 2:


Topics Covered:

Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.


What are starred questions?


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Difference between Starred and unstarred questions.


Context: As many as 20 starred questions were taken up during Question Hour in one day, a record since 1972.



The number of starred questions was fixed at 20 per Question Hour from the fourth session of the fifth Lok Sabha in 1972.


Type of Questions:

Members have a right to ask questions to elicit information on matters of public importance within the special cognizance of the Ministers concerned. The questions are of four types:

  1. Starred Questions: A Starred Question is one to which a member desires an oral answer from the Minister in the House and is required to be distinguished by him/her with an asterisk. Answer to such a question may be followed by supplementary questions by members. 


  1. Unstarred Questions: An Unstarred Question is one to which written answer is desired by the member and is deemed to be laid on the Table of the House by Minister. Thus it is not called for oral answer in the House and no supplementary question can be asked thereon.


  1. Short Notice Questions: A member may give a notice of question on a matter of public importance and of urgent character for oral answer at a notice less than 10 days prescribed as the minimum period of notice for asking a question in ordinary course. Such a question is known as ‘Short Notice Question’.


  1. Questions to Private Members: A Question may also be addressed to a Private Member (Under Rule 40 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha), provided that the subject matter of the question relates to some Bill, Resolution or other matter connected with the business of the House for which that Member is responsible. The procedure in regard to such questions is same as that followed in the case of questions addressed to a Minister with such variations as the Speaker may consider necessary. 


Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

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


QS University Rankings


What to study?

For Prelims: Indicators and top performers.

For Mains: Significance of the rankings and ways to improve the higher education system.


Context: QS World University Rankings for Asia has been released.

The National University of Singapore is ranked Asia’s best for the second consecutive year. It is followed by Nanyang Technological University, which has risen from 3rd to 2nd; and the University of Hong Kong.


Performance of Indian Institutes:

  1. 96 Indian institutions rank among 550 for the continent.
  2. India does not yet have a university among the top 30.
  3. The best performing institution from India is IIT Bombay, which drops one place to 34th position. It is followed by IIT Delhi at 43rd place and IIT Madras at 50th.

Way ahead:

The Indian higher education system has grown exponentially over the past decade. The number of universities has nearly doubled, and the number of colleges has grown by 50 per cent. The sheer scale of this development is awe-inspiring. Nevertheless, the domestic demand for tertiary education of its young population — which is estimated to become the world’s largest by 2030 — is growing more rapidly than the expanded provision.


Sources: Indian Express.

Topics Covered:

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


Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR–RC)


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Meaning, significance and the need for CBDR- RC.


Context: The Union Cabinet has approved India’s approach for the 25th Conference of Parties (COP) scheduled to be held in Spain.

India’s approach will be guided by principles and provisions of the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement particularly the principles of Equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capability (CBDR-RC).


What is CBDR- RC?

Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR–RC) is a principle within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

It acknowledges the different capabilities and differing responsibilities of individual countries in addressing climate change.

Reflecting CBDR-RC, the Convention divided countries into “Annex I” and “non-Annex I,” the former generally referring to developed countries and the latter to developing countries.

Under the Convention Annex I countries have a greater mitigation role than non Annex-I countries.

CBDR-RC and the annex classifications were codified in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, and Annex I country emissions reductions were legally bound. 


Sources: pib.



GS Paper 3:


Topics Covered:

Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


Contract for the Web


What to study?

For Prelims: What is World Wide Web? How is it regulated?

For Mains: Overview and significance of the contract.


Context: Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, has announced a “Contract for the Web” — aimed at saving the future of his invention.


What is the Contract for the Web?

The idea is to create a global plan of action for all stakeholders to together commit to building a “better” Web. The goal is to create a standard policy for a Web that benefits all.

The Contract consists of nine principles — three each for governments, private companies, and individuals and civil society to endorse.

It has been created by representatives from over 80 organisations, including governments, companies, civil society activists, and academics.


What are the principles in the Contract?

  1. Governments will “Ensure everyone can connect to the Internet”, “Keep all of the Internet available, all of the time”, and “Respect and protect people’s fundamental online privacy and data rights”.
  2. Companies will “Make the Internet affordable and accessible to everyone”, “Respect and protect people’s privacy and personal data to build online trust”, and “Develop technologies that support the best in humanity and challenge the worst”.
  3. Citizens will “Be creators and collaborators on the Web”, “Build strong communities that respect civil discourse and human dignity”, and “Fight for the Web” so that it “remains open and a global public resource for people everywhere, now and in the future”.


Relevance of the contract:

The Contract is not meant to be “simply aspirational”, or just a “declaration”. “It’s actually meant to be implemented, and it’s meant to be a plan of action.

Governments who are looking to regulate in the digital era, can use the contract as a roadmap to lay out their policies and laws going forward.

Companies had themselves reached out to be active participants in the Contract. This was an opportunity for them to have conversations with governments and civil society instead of shouting at each other.


How will the Contract be implemented?

The ‘Contract for the Web’ is not a legal document, or a United Nations document — though the organisation is in talks with the UN. It cannot currently bend governments or companies — even those that are on board — to its will.


Need of the hour:

  • The Web, which is now almost an essential condition for human existence, is at a tipping point and needs radical intervention from all stakeholders — governments, companies, civil society groups, as well as individual users.
  • Citizen action is an important part of the Contract, and the organisation hopes citizens would hold governments and companies accountable for violations of its terms.


Sources: Indian Express.

Topics Covered:

  1. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Emission Gap Report


What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings.

For Mains: Challenges present and ways to address them.


Context: The annual United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) flagship Emissions Gap Report has been released.


What is the “Emissions Gap”?

Also called as the “Commitment Gap”, it is the difference between the low level of emissions that the world needs to drop to, compared with the projected level of emissions based on countries’ current commitments to decarbonization.

It measures the gap between what we need to do and what we are actually doing to tackle climate change.


Why does the Emissions Gap Matter? 

The gap is important because if we can’t close it and meet the emissions reduction target, we will face increasingly severe climate impacts worldwide.

Therefore, it is important that policymakers, and their citizens, know what the gap is so that the commitments countries are making are sufficient to close the gap.


The Emissions Gap Report measures and projects three key trendlines: 

  1. The amount of greenhouse gas emissions every year up to 2030.
  2. The commitments countries are making to reduce their emissions and the impact these commitments are likely to have on overall emission reduction.
  3. The pace at which emissions must be reduced to reach an emission low that would limit temperature increase to 1.5oC, affordably.

The report also identifies key opportunities for each country to increase the pace of emission reduction necessary to close the gap. 


Key findings of the report:

  1. The world will fail to meet the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement unless global greenhouse gas emissions fall by 7.6 per cent each year.
  2. Global temperatures are set to rise about 3.2 degrees C by 2100, the report says, bringing catastrophic weather including hotter, deadlier heatwaves and more frequent floods and drought.
  3. The top four emitters (China, USA, EU and India) contributed to over 55% of the total emissions over the last decade, excluding emissions from land-use change such as deforestation.
  4. The rankings would change if land-use change emissions were included, with Brazil likely to be the largest emitter.


Where India stands?

India is the fourth-largest emitter of Green House Gases (GHGs).

It is among a small group of countries that are on their way to achieve their self-declared climate targets under the Paris Agreement.

The report names five key areas that will be decisive in the future:

  1. At least €1.45 billion ($1.59 billion) annual investment in renewables and more efficient energy use.
  2. Coal phaseout.
  3. Decarbonization of transport.
  4. Decarbonization of industry.
  5. Increased access to electricity for 3.5 billion people.



  1. A full decarbonization of the energy sector is necessary and possible.
  2. Renewables and energy efficiency are critical to the energy transition.
  3. The potential emission reduction thanks to renewable energy electricity totals 12.1 gigatonnes by 2050.
  4. Electrification of transport could reduce the sector’s CO2 emissions by a huge 72 per cent by 2050.
  5. Each sector and each country has unique opportunities to harness renewable energy, protect natural resources, lives and livelihoods, and transition to a decarbonization pathway.


Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

  1. Infrastructure- energy and conservation related issues.


Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) Initiative


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: SATAT initiative- key objectives, significance and brief overview on CNG and CBG.


Context: SATAT initiative has the potential of addressing environmental problems arising from stubble burning. The viability is based on techno commercial factors.


About the initiative:

The initiative is aimed at providing a Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) as a developmental effort that would benefit both vehicle-users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs.

Compressed Bio-Gas plants are proposed to be set up mainly through independent entrepreneurs.


How it works?

  • CBG produced at these plants will be transported through cascades of cylinders to the fuel station networks of OMCs for marketing as a green transport fuel alternative.
  • The entrepreneurs would be able to separately market the other by-products from these plants, including bio-manure, carbon-dioxide, etc., to enhance returns on investment.
  • This initiative is expected to generate direct employment for 75,000 people and produce 50 million tonnes of bio-manure for crops.


There are multiple benefits from converting agricultural residue, cattle dung and municipal solid waste into CBG on a commercial scale:

  1. Responsible waste management, reduction in carbon emissions and pollution.
  2. Additional revenue source for farmers.
  3. Boost to entrepreneurship, rural economy and employment.
  4. Support to national commitments in achieving climate change goals.
  5. Reduction in import of natural gas and crude oil.
  6. Buffer against crude oil/gas price fluctuations.


What is Bio- Gas?

Bio-gas is produced naturally through a process of anaerobic decomposition from waste / bio-mass sources like agriculture residue, cattle dung, sugarcane press mud, municipal solid waste, sewage treatment plant waste, etc. After purification, it is compressed and called CBG, which has pure methane content of over 95%.


What is CBG?

Compressed Bio-Gas is exactly similar to the commercially available natural gas in its composition and energy potential. With calorific value (~52,000 KJ/kg) and other properties similar to CNG, Compressed Bio-Gas can be used as an alternative, renewable automotive fuel.


Way ahead:

The potential for Compressed Bio-Gas production from various sources in India is estimated at about 62 million tonnes per annum. Going forward, Compressed Bio-Gas networks can be integrated with city gas distribution (CGD) networks to boost supplies to domestic and retail users in existing and upcoming markets. Besides retailing from OMC fuel stations, Compressed Bio-Gas can at a later date be injected into CGD pipelines too for efficient distribution and optimised access of a cleaner and more affordable fuel.


Sources: the Hindu.



Facts for prelims:


Trachischium apteii:

  • It is a newly discovered snake species from Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It was found in Tally Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • It belongs to a group of fossorial (adapted to digging) snakes that live mostly underground, and surface mainly during or after a heavy monsoon shower.


HIM VIJAY Military Exercise:

  • HIM Vijay is the Indian Army’s biggest mountain combat exercise.
  • It is the first-ever military drill that was held in the north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The exercise will include troop mobilisation, mountain assault and air assault.