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Insights Daily Current Events, 30 May 2016

Insights Daily Current Events, 30 May 2016

Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

India to ‘export’ #TwitterSeva

Micro-blogging platform Twitter is now considering the roll-out of the Twitter Seva service in other countries such as the U.K. and the UAE. This follows the success of the service, developed for the India market to help delivery of e-governance services.

About Twitter Seva service:

  • Twitter Seva helps process a large volume of tweets and assigns them to the relevant authority for real time resolution.
  • It is currently being used by Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Railways, besides the Bengaluru Police.
  • Twitter India is also exploring the roll-out of the product with more ministries and state governments.
  • Twitter Seva is an India-only product right now. The product had been designed and developed in the country, and the processes that Twitter had built into it are ‘absolutely’ India exclusive.
  • Through the service, the Railway Ministry processes about 5,500 tweets per day, responding to any citizen query related to catering, cleanliness, or even urgent medical support on board a train.
  • Similarly, Ministry of External Affairs processes over 6,000 tweets in a month, while the number is over 40,000 per month for Commerce Ministry and over 3,000 in a month for Bengaluru Police.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in Space.


European Space Agency discovers chemical building blocks for signs of life


Scientists have discovered ingredients regarded as crucial to the origins of life in a comet the European Space Agency (ESA) has been probing for two years.

  • Scientists have discovered these key organic compounds in Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (also known as Rosetta’s comet), bolstering the notion these celestial objects delivered such chemical building blocks for life long ago to Earth and throughout the solar system.
  • With this, scientists now say possible impact of small bodies on a forming Earth drastically increased the concentration of life-related chemicals by impact on a closed water body.


  • The ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft made several detections of the amino acid glycine, used by living organisms to make proteins, in the cloud of gas and dust surrounding the comet.
  • Glycine was previously discovered in 2006 in samples taken from comet Wild-2 during a flyby, but “possible terrestrial contamination” made analysis tough. Glycine is commonly found in proteins and phosphorus is a key ingredient of DNA.
  • Scientists have also found other organic compounds, including hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen cyanide on the comet.
  • Rosetta’s findings are important because of the unchanging nature of celestial bodies such as comets. In contrast, Earth has gone through some dramatic changes since its formation billions of years ago.


Rosetta was launched on 2 March 2004 on an Ariane 5 rocket and reached the comet on 6 August 2014, becoming the first spacecraft to orbit a comet. Rosetta took off from Earth 10 years ago carrying Philae and traveled 6.4 billion miles before arriving at the comet.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.


Bring brand ambassadors under Consumer Protection Act, says CAIT


Traders body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has said that brand ambassadors should be brought under the ambit of Consumer Protection Act as consumers are often “guided” through such endorsement, irrespective of quality of product.

  • CAIT has also threatened to move court if the government did not take necessary action. The body has also demanded that specific guidelines be formulated, fixing the liability of brand ambassadors.

Why this is necessary?

According to CAIT, prominent personalities of different fields are engaged by big companies to endorse their products to grab more share in the market for their products irrespective of the quality of the product and those personalities in lust of earning huge money never care for the quality. Also, such endorsements influence customer’s choice to great extent.


Recently, in its report on the Consumer Protection Bill 2015, a parliamentary panel had also suggested legal teeth to make celebrities accountable for misleading advertisements. The panel had suggested legal teeth to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to curb misleading ads, besides proposing severe penalties, jail and cancellation of licence of those involved in food adulteration.

What the law says?

  • There is no specific word in the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA) about the extent, or lack, of liability or duty of care of the brand ambassador, who signs on to promote the brand as its ‘face’ and takes on the role of a marketing representative. Sections 24 and 53 of the 2006 Act deal specifically with advertisements.
  • Section 24 (1) says in general terms that “no advertisement shall be made of any food which is misleading or deceiving or contravenes the provisions of this Act, the rules and regulations made thereunder.” Here, it does not explain whether the term “made” is only confined to commissioning the advertisement or its actual making. In the latter case, a brand ambassador does play a part.
  • Subsection (2) of the same section says “no person shall engage himself in any unfair trade practice for the purpose of promoting the sale…” This clause does not specify who the “person” mentioned in it is, thus, making the ambit of the provision pliable.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.


Digital vans all set to take e-governance to rural areas


The government is all set to roll out a new campaign under which 66 digital vans, equipped with Internet and audio-visual facilities, will go to 657 districts by March 2017 to increase awareness about various e-governance services in rural and semi-urban areas.

  • The aim of this campaign is to reach out to more than 10 lakh citizens and register over 1.5 lakh rural citizens for MyGov, digital locker, Aadhaar and other digital services.


  • The campaign will run from May 30, 2016 to March 31, 2017. The vans will use the Internet and audio visual facilities to interact with and educate the people in rural areas, especially the youth, about the various Digital India initiatives. These vans would cover more than 13 lakh km in 13,200 man days.
  • State governments, along with the Department of Posts, Department of Telecommunications (BSNL) and CSC-SPV, will play an active role in the execution of this campaign.
  • A district level committee, headed by the District Collector, will foresee its ground level execution to ensure that the maximum benefit is generated out of this campaign.
  • During phase 1 of the campaign till July 2016, some 16 vans will cover 34 districts in nine States — Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Rural citizens will be informed about the services offered at Common Service Centers (CSC), national scholarship portal, e-hospital, digital lockers and Aadhaar in 14 languages — Hindi, English, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Oriya, Bengali, Assamese, Manipuri, Urdu, Marathi and Malayalam.

Sources: the hindu.


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


Get ready for plain packaging of tobacco products


Following Australia’s example, for this year’s World No Tobacco Day on May 31 the World Health Organisation has called on countries to “get ready for plain packaging of tobacco products”.

  • The WHO’s call for action comes at a time when the tide is firmly turning against the tobacco companies.

What is Plain packaging?

Plain packaging refers to “measures to restrict or prohibit the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names displayed in a standard colour and font style (plain packaging)”.


  • Against all odds, Australia was the first country to successfully introduce plain packaging in 2012 and has since seen a decline in smoking.
  • Between December 2012 and September 2015, plain packaging together with enlarged graphic warnings and 25% tax increase since 2010 reduced average smoking prevalence among Australians aged 14 years and over by 0.55 percentage points. This reduction is would result in at least 118,000 fewer smokers.
  • France, Ireland, and the U.K. have also passed legislation that makes plain packaging mandatory from May 20 this year. All cigarette packets manufactured in these countries will have to be plain, standardised in the same drab green colour with the product name on the pack in a standard font.
  • Also, experimental studies, surveys and focus group studies have also found that plain packaging achieves its objectives — deter young people from taking up smoking in the first place than making smokers to quit.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit to Meghalaya tried his hand in beating Khasi traditional drum ‘Ka Bom.’


  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande recently marked the 100-year anniversary of the Battle of Verdun. The Verdun battle was one of the longest in World War I, lasting more than 300 days from February to December 1916, and its commemoration has come to signify the reconciliation between Germany and France after decades of hostility and distrust following two world wars.


  • The trial of Spanish train Talgo, the lighter and faster vehicle whose speed goes up to 115 km per hour, was recently conducted between Bareilly and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, as part of the Railways’ strategy to increase the speed of trains. These trains are also energy efficient. The Talgo train coaches are lightweight and designed in a way that it can run on curves without decelerating the speed.