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Insights Daily Current Events, 22 April 2016

Insights Daily Current Events, 22 April 2016

Paper 2 Topic: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

President’s Rule set aside by the HCHC

The Uttarakhand High Court has quashed the order of the Central government that had put the State under President’s Rule on March 27.

What the court said?

Coming down heavily on the Centre for the March 27 proclamation under Art 356, the court said the imposition of the President’s rule was contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court.

What next?

Following this, the Harish Rawat government will be reinstated and will be asked to prove majority in the state assembly.

Options before the Centre:

Move Supreme Court challenging HC’s order.


In March, just one day before Mr Rawat was scheduled to prove his majority in the legislature, the Centre declared that it would govern Uttarakhand through Governor KK Paul.

Sources: the hindu.

Paper 3 Topic: conservation.

Bird hit: NGT halts Tawang hydro power project

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has suspended the Union Environment Ministry’s clearance for the Rs. 6,400-crore hydro power project in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh. The clearance by the centre was granted in 2012.


This move was particularly aimed at protecting the vulnerable black-necked crane in the region.


The project was planned on the Nyamjang Chhu river and was the largest of 13 hydro power projects to be built in the Tawang basin.

About the species:

  • Black-necked crane is a species that breeds on the Tibetan plateau and migrates to Tawang for the winter.
  • The bird, most commonly found in China, is legally protected in Bhutan and India and is considered sacred to certain Buddhist traditions.
  • It is rated as ‘vulnerable’ in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list of endangered species.
  • It is also listed in India’s Wildlife Act as a Schedule 1 species, which gives animals and birds the highest legal protection.

Other species that are found in the region include the red panda, the snow leopard and the Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala, a recently-described primate species in the area.

Sources: the hindu.

Paper 3 Topic: conservation.

US Senate passes legislation for a modern energy landscape

The US Senate has passed the first broad energy Bill that reflects significant changes in U.S. oil and natural gas production over the past decade and boosts alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power.


  • The bill would boost renewables such as solar and wind power, as well as hydropower, geothermal energy and even critical minerals such as cobalt, beryllium and lithium that are used in cell phones, computers and other electronics.
  • The bill also would encourage so-called clean-coal technology, including projects to capture carbon dioxide generated by coal-fired power plants, and increase public-private partnerships to develop advanced nuclear technologies.
  • The bill would update building codes to increase efficiency, strengthen electric-grid safety standards and reauthorize a half-billion-dollar conservation fund that protects parks and other public lands.
  • The bill also would speed federal approval of projects to export liquefied natural gas to Europe and Asia, where prices are higher than in the U.S. following a yearlong boom in domestic gas production.

Sources: the hindu.

Paper 3 Topic: conservation.

Earth Day

Earth Day 2016 is being celebrated around the world today (April 22).

Theme for Earth Day 2016: Trees for the Earth!

What is Earth Day?

Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970. The idea for it was first proposed at a UNESCO conference a year earlier, when activist John McConnell suggested a day to honour the planet and the idea of peace. US senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day in the US. It was made into an international day in 1990 and now is celebrated by over 193 countries every year.

The aim of the day is to bring attention to environmental issues to spark changes that will result in a healthy, sustainable environment. This includes addressing climate change and finding ways to protect the planet for future generations.

Significance of Earth Day 2016:

Earth Day 2016 is particularly important as it will see nations across the world sign the Paris Agreement on climate change, set out in COP21 last year. The historic agreement saw countries pledge to limit global warming to below 2C on pre-industrial levels. From 22 April, it will be open for signatures for one year. The agreement will come into effect in 2020.

Sources: the hindu.

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

India Overtakes China As Top FDI Destination

India has replaced China as the top FDI destination for the year 2015.

Key facts:

  • India attracted FDI worth $63 billion in 2015, emerging as the highest-ranked country by capital investment.
  • Five Indian states were among the top 10 destination states for FDI in 2015. Gujrat emerged as top state for FDI with $12.4 billion in investment, while Maharashtra attracted FDI worth $8.3 billion in 2015.
  • Domestic market growth potential and proximity to markets are the two main reasons for rising FDI.

Sources: the hindu.

Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology.

ISRO’s New Light-As-Air Gel Can Keep Indian Soldiers Warm In Siachen Snow

ISRO scientists have developed the world’s lightest synthetic material called ‘silica aerogel’ or ‘blue air’ or ‘frozen smoke’.

What is Silica Aerogel?

Silica aerogel is a nano-structured material with high specific surface area, high porosity, low density, low dielectric constant and excellent heat insulation properties.

About the material:

  • This material has excellent thermal resistance and if used as a filler in soldiers’ uniforms it can possibly help save many lives at the Siachen glacier.
  • The material has uses both in space and on Earth.
  • It can also be used in thermal jacket, foot insoles, as well as in window glazing. It is extremely useful for people working in very cold environments, in a very strategic way.

What are aerogels?

Aerogels are a unique class of open-pore polymer foams that can be prepared from either organic or inorganic precursors. Aerogels are typically prepared using sol-gel chemistry, starting with liquids that form tiny sol particles, which eventually connect together in chain-like fashion to make a semi-solid gel. When the solvent is removed from the wet gel and replaced by air in a manner that does not collapse the delicate gel structure, a solid aerogel results. What makes the aerogels unique is their nano-sized structure; they consist of particles and pores both of which are smaller than wavelengths of visible light. This unique nano-structure is responsible for many of the unusual acoustic, mechanical, optical and thermal properties observed for aerogels.

Aerogel properties:

With the lowest density, highest thermal insulation, lowest refractive index, dielectric constant and sound speed, and highest surface area per unit volume of any solid, aerogels exhibit an amazing range of properties which are not observed in any other kind of material. The following table summarizes physical properties of typical silica aerogels.

Sources: toi.

Facts for Prelims:

  • China’s President Xi Jinping has taken on a new military title, in his latest move to exert greater control over the armed forces. Mr Xi is now Commander-in-Chief of the Joint Battle Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).


  • The commerce and industry ministry has launched a ‘Twitter Seva’ to address queries and grievances on matters relating to the ministry. Through this Twitter Seva, queries on matters relating to Department of Commerce (DoC) and Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) will be answered. In particular, queries regarding the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Directorate General of supplies and Disposals, SEZs, tea, coffee, rubber, spices, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) would be addressed by the ministry. Issues related to manufacturing policy, industrial corridors, investment promotion, Make in India, Start up India, FDI, intellectual property rights will be addressed by the DIPP.