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Insights Daily Current Events, 31 May 2016

Insights Daily Current Events, 31 May 2016


Paper 2 Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States. 


With 4 new vaccines, govt to revamp immunisation drive


The health ministry is planning to revamp its flagship immunisation programme ‘Mission Indradhanush‘ to include four new vaccines.

  • The mission, currently providing coverage against seven life-threatening diseases, will soon also include vaccines for rotavirus, measles rubella, inactivated polio vaccine bivalent and Japanese Encephalitis for adults.

Mission Indradhanush:

Mission Indradhanush was launched by the Health & Family Welfare Ministry. The Mission was launched on Good Governance Day to mark the birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna Madan Mohan Malaviya and birthday of Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee.


The Mission Indradhanush, depicting seven colours of the rainbow, aims to cover all those children by 2020 who are either unvaccinated, or are partially vaccinated against seven vaccine preventable diseases which include diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis B.


  • The Mission is being implemented in 201 high focus districts in the country in the first phase which have nearly 50% of all unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children (Of the 201 districts, 82 districts are in just four states of UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and nearly 25% of the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children of India are in these 82 districts of 4 states).
  • These districts will be targeted by intensive efforts to improve the routine immunization coverage.
  • The campaign is part of the Universal Immunisation Programme by 2020 and is being implemented under the National Health Mission across the country.
  • Between 2009-2013 immunization coverage has increased from 61% to 65%, indicating only 1% increase in coverage every year. To accelerate the process of immunization by covering 5% and more children every year, the Mission Mode has been adopted to achieve target of full coverage by 2020.
  • The focused and systematic immunization drive will be through a “catch-up” campaign mode where the aim is to cover all the children who have been left out or missed out for immunization.
  • The learnings from the successful implementation of the polio programme will be applied in planning and implementation of the mission.
  • The Ministry will be technically supported by WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International and other donor partners. Mass media, interpersonal communication, and sturdy mechanisms of monitoring and evaluating the scheme are crucial components of Mission Indradhanush.


The World Health Organization (WHO) pegs India’s vaccine coverage at less than 80%. The government is targeting to immunise 90% of infants by 2020 under its ambitious nationwide immunisation drive.

Sources: toi.


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


Google tax kicks in tomorrow


The finance ministry has notified that the equalisation levy (popularly known as Google tax) introduced in this budget, will come into force from June 1.

  • As of now, it will apply to payments for online advertisements made by Indian business entities to non-residents (such as Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook) where the aggregate payment in a financial year to a non-resident exceeds Rs 1 lakh. Only B2B transactions attract this levy.

Key facts:

  • From June 1, an equalisation levy of 6% will have to be deducted by a business entity in India which makes payments exceeding Rs 1 lakh in the aggregate in a financial year to a non-resident service provider for specified services.
  • For now, specified services cover online advertisements, provision for digital advertising space or any other facility or service for the purpose of online advertisements.
  • If the non-resident service provider has a permanent establishment (place of business in India) and the bill is raised by such Indian entity, then the equalisation levy will not have to be deducted by the Indian payer.


  • This levy has come in for criticism from some quarters, as the foreign entity, will not get a foreign tax credit for such deduction in its home country. ALso, as tax is already deducted at source on the payments made to the foreign entity, imposition of an equalisation levy, it is viewed amounts to double taxation.
  • The equalisation levy, is expected to impact the bottom lines of companies such Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter and others, unless they deal with Indian business entities via their subsidiaries in India.


A panel set up by the finance ministry to look into taxation of e-commerce transactions had, in addition to online ads, recommended a wide range of services for imposition of equalisation levy, ranging from online content; designing, creating, hosting or maintenance of a website; use or download of online music, movies, games, books et all, online search, online maps or global positioning systems (GPS) applications.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: awareness in space.


China launches three satellites


China has successfully launched a new civilian high-resolution mapping satellite along with two other foreign satellites.

Key facts:

  • The mapping satellites- Ziyuan III 02- took off on the back of a Long March 4B rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in northern Shanxi Province. It was the 228th flight mission by a Long March carrier rocket.
  • Also on board the rocket were two NewSat satellites developed by URUGUS S A, the Uruguayan subsidiary of Argentine company Satellogic.
  • The Ziyuan III 02 satellite will be used for land resource surveys, natural disaster prevention, agricultural development, water resource management and urban planning, among others applications.
  • It is the second satellite in the remote-sensing mapping system that the country plans to build by 2030.
  • It will join its predecessor Ziyuan III 01, launched in January 2012 to form a network and capture high-definition 3-D images and multispectral data.

Sources: toi.


Paper 3 Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.  


Hacking scare leads to norms for smartphones


Amid attempts of hacking and data theft by Pakistan and China, the government has come up with a smartphone policy for officials dealing with sensitive information.


  • To begin with, the government has put curbs on officials connecting their phones to office computers.
  • They will not be allowed to even to charge the phone battery. Also, every such device will have to be approved by seniors.
  • The rules would apply to armed forces, intelligence officials and personnel of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).


It was recently come to notice that Pakistan Intelligence Agencies were spying on Indian Security Forces by sending malwares in mobile apps such as Top Gun (Game App), mpjunkie (music App), vdjunky (video app), talking frog (entertainment App).

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.  


Water sensing from the skies in pipeline


The CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) is working on a plan to map India’s groundwater reserves by a helicopter-based electromagnetic survey.

About the technique:

The heliborne transient electromagnetic technique, as it is called, involves sending electromagnetic pulses to the ground — in timed bursts — and analysing the unique pattern that these waves make as they bounce off the freshwater or saline water reserves.

It would allow mapping potential water reserves nationwide and cost Rs.12,000 crore over 10 years. This approach would be less cumbersome than the manual methods now being used to map the groundwater.


According to the estimates from India’s groundwater authority, groundwater irrigation has been expanding at a very rapid pace since 1970s and now accounts for over 60% of the total area irrigated. About 85% of the rural drinking water supply is also met from groundwater sources. The most significant change in the groundwater scenario is that the share of bore-well irrigation went up from one per cent during 1960-61 to 60% during 2006-07, according to 2008 statistics. The estimated number of wells and bore-wells is around 27 million, with bore-wells accounting for more than 50%.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.  


Scientists devise a new method to deal with jet lag


Scientists from Nagoya University’s Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM) in Japan have synthesized molecules that can shorten the circadian period. These new molecules can modify the sleep and wake cycle, paving the way for improved treatments for jet lag and sleep disorders.

What is jet lag?

Jet lag, also called desynchronosis and flight fatigue, is a temporary disorder that causes fatigue, insomnia, and other symptoms as a result of air travel across time zones. It is considered a circadian rhythm sleep disorder, which is a disruption of the internal body clock.

The negative impacts of jet lag and shift work could be significantly reduced if it were possible to reset our 24-hour natural circadian or sleep and wake cycle.

What is sleep cycle and how it operates?

Most living organisms, including humans, have a biological clock that resets every 24 hours, regulating functions such as sleep and wake cycles and metabolism. When this cycle is disrupted, like in jet lag, sleep disorders occur.

Long-term sleep loss may affect the cardiovascular, endocrine, immune and nervous systems with severe consequences including hypertension, obesity and mental health disorders, among others.

Human biological clock:


Our biological clock is basically run by four “master regulator” proteins that work in tandem. CLOCK and BMAL1, when combined, promote the production of the proteins PER and CRY. These proteins, in turn, block CLOCK and BMAL1, thus, closing the cycle.

This cycle of activation, production and stop or block goes around once a day and is also influenced by a compound called FBXL3, which flags CRY for degradation by cellular enzymes.

Role of newly discovered molecules:

A molecule discovered in 2012, called KL001, lengthens the circadian cycle by competing with FBLX3 for the same spot on the CRY protein, preventing its degradation. By analyzing its structure, researchers prepared compounds that were similar to KL001, thus synthesizing the first circadian shortening molecules that target the CRY protein. New molecules act directly on CRY.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:


  • According to a report, in the last 17 months alone, 2,234 persons across India have been infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) while getting blood transfusions. The maximum number of such cases — 361 — was reported from Uttar Pradesh due to unsafe blood transfusion practices in hospitals. Gujarat with 292 cases, Maharashtra with 276 and Delhi with 264 cases are the other leading States where patients have been transfused unsafe blood. The data was revealed by National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) in response to a Right to HIV blood transfusionInformation query. In India, NACO has been primarily responsible for ensuring provision of safe blood. According to law, it is mandatory to screen donors/donated blood for transmissible infections of HIV, HBV and hepatitis C, malaria and syphilis. According to NACO’s 2015 annual report, the total number of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIVs) in India was estimated at around 20.9 lakh in 2011. Nearly 86 per cent of these patients are in the 15-49 age-group. Children less than 15 years of age accounted for 7 per cent or 1.45 lakh of all infections in 2011 while 39 per cent (8.16 lakh) were among women.  


  • Music maestro A R Rahman has been announced as the recipient of Grand Fukuoka Prize 2016 for his outstanding contribution to Asian culture through his music. He has been chosen for the honour alongside Philippines’ historian Ameth R Ocampo (Academic Prize) and Yasmeen Lari from Pakistan (Arts and Culture Prize) by the secretariat of Fukuoka prize committee. The annual award was established by Fukuoka City, Japan, in 1990 with an aim to honour the outstanding work of individuals, groups and organisations working to preserve and promote the unique and diverse culture of Asia.


  • India climbs to 41st slot on competitiveness ranking: India has moved up three spots from last year to 41 on the IMD World Competitiveness Scoreboard, 2016. The country’s ranking had fallen to 44 in 2015, from 35 in 2012. Hong Kong replaced the US as the world’s most competitive economy. Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Canada have got slots in the top 10. India’s improvement is in sharp contrast to the sagging fortunes of other Asian countries.

competitiveness ranking india


  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was recently signed between Ministry of Railways and PEC University of Technology for setting up of ‘Kalpana Chawla Chair’ on Geospatial Technology for Indian Railways at PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh. In order to promote research in Geo-spatial Technology, the Chair was announced in Budget speech of Hon’ble MR for the current financial year. Indian Railways would provide a corpus of Rs 10 Crore to PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh towards setting up and to meet the running expenses of this chair. The objective of this chair is to encourage research activities in Geo-spatial Technology and to strengthen Indian Railways especially Railway projects where use of remote sensing data , global positioning system (GPS) and Geographical information System (GIS) is predominant. This will immensely help Indian Railways to develop in house solutions to the problems which are often outsourced to western countries.