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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 22 August 2016



Insights Daily Current Affairs, 22 August 2016


Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


BRICS Women Parliamentarians’ Forum adopts Jaipur Declaration


The meeting of women Parliamentarians from BRICS nations concluded recently in Jaipur.

  • During the meeting the parliamentarians expressed commitment to work together in the field of economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection.

Jaipur declaration:

  • At the end of the meeting, ‘Jaipur Declaration’ was adopted.
  • The Declaration calls upon international financial institutions to extend support to developing and least developed countries and help them gain easier access to new and affordable technologies as envisaged under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.
  • The Declaration mentions the need to address climate change and protection of ecological system and forest as well as food security, expeditious parliamentary approval of SDG related legislation and adequate budgetary resources.
  • It also emphasizes on plans for incorporating gender concerns and greater involvement of women parliamentarians in integrating citizens in the development process.
  • The need to inform and educate citizens about the developmental schemes and institutionalisation of the BRICS Women Parliamentarians’ Forum were also taken up in the declaration which was unanimously adopted.

Sources: et.


Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


Myanmar to support Silk Road, BCIM


Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, during her recent visit to China, announced Myanmar’s support to China backed Silk Road initiative and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor.

  • She also sought China’s support for her country’s infrastructure projects while taking into consideration the demands of environmental groups back home, who oppose such foreign-backed initiatives.

About BCIM:

The Bangladesh China India Myanmar Economic Corridor is an initiative conceptualised for significant gains through sub-regional economic cooperation within the BCIM.

  • The multi-modal corridor will be the first expressway between India and China and will pass through Myanmar and Bangladesh.
  • The project will link Kolkata with Kunming, the capital of China’s Yunnan province, passing through Myanmar and Bangladesh, with Mandalay and Dhaka among the focal points.
  • The economic advantages of the BCIM trade corridor are considerable, most notably: access to numerous markets in Southeast Asia, improvement of transportation infrastructure and creation of industrial zones.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


NASA set to launch asteroid space dust probe


NASA is all set to begin its first robotic mission aimed at scooping up 4.5-billion-year-old dust from an asteroid. The $800-million NASA mission is called OSIRIS-REx, which stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer.

  • The unmanned spacecraft will travel to an asteroid near Earth called Bennu to collect space dust that may reveal how the materials necessary for life — such as carbon and ice — made their way to our planet.


  • Material returned is expected to enable scientists to learn more about the formation and evolution of the Solar System, initial stages of planet formation, and the source of organic compounds which led to the formation of life on Earth.
  • If successful, OSIRIS-REx will be the first US spacecraft to return samples from an asteroid.
  • The mission, developed by the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Lockheed Martin Space Systems, is planned for launch in September 2016. The science team includes members from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, and Italy.
OSIRIS-REx, asteroid exploration
Image Source:

Why asteroid in general and bennu in particular was chosen for the study?

An asteroid was chosen as the target of study because an asteroid is a ‘time capsule’ from the birth of our Solar System.

  • In particular, Bennu was selected because of the availability of pristine carbonaceous material, a key element in organic molecules necessary for life as well as representative of matter from before the formation of Earth.

The science objectives of the mission are:

  • Return and analyze a sample of pristine carbonaceous asteroid regolith in an amount sufficient to study the nature, history, and distribution of its constituent minerals and organic material.
  • Map the global properties, chemistry, and mineralogy of a primitive carbonaceous asteroid to characterize its geologic and dynamic history and provide context for the returned samples.
  • Document the texture, morphology, geochemistry, and spectral properties of the regolith at the sampling site in situ at scales down to millimeters.
  • Measure the Yarkovsky effect (a thermal force on the object) on a potentially hazardous asteroid and constrain the asteroid properties that contribute to this effect.
  • Characterize the integrated global properties of a primitive carbonaceous asteroid to allow for direct comparison with ground-based telescopic data of the entire asteroid population.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Disaster and disaster management.


‘Don’t blame nature, bolster disaster preparedness,’ says parliamentary panel on Chennai deluge


A Parliamentary panel has rejected Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi’s contention that there cannot be preparation for a disaster like the Chennai floods which “occurs once in 100 years”.


  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs in its report on ‘Disaster in Chennai caused by torrential rainfall and consequent flooding’ has strongly recommended that the Ministry of Home Affairs, through its subordinate concerned agencies, bolster its disaster preparedness.
  • The committee has also observed that the cost of preparing for the disaster is disproportionately high.
  • The panel said it does not quite accept the argument that since the rainfall was unprecedented and was more than the hundred years’ average the damage was also huge. In the opinion of the committee, any natural disaster of bigger intensity has the propensity to cause damage. Thus instead of putting the blame on the forces of nature, advanced technology should be used to fight it.

Suggestions made by the committee:

  • Separate action should be taken to prepare calamity map of all important cities by developing standard vulnerability indices so as to minimise loss of life, loss of private and public property and vital installations.
  • The administration of both centre and state should work together and remain vigilant to tackle the situation.
  • Natural disaster of high magnitude will always adversely affect people in large numbers and the administration has to respond in a fastest possible manner. Accordingly, the National Disaster Management Authority and all concerned bodies of central and state governments should have established procedures so that vital time is not lost in wriggling out procedural delays.
  • The committee has also recommended that the guidelines prepared by NDMA should be scrupulously followed and they should also review town planning of each city by giving due importance to clear flood channels, proper drainage, safe passage to excess water in lakes, other water bodies, de-siltation of river bed, removal of illegal encroachment.


Devastating floods submerged Chennai and its neighbouring areas in November-December 2015 claiming the lives of over 400 people.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:

  • New RBI governor: Government has named Urjit Patel as the new Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for three years. He will be 24th Governor of RBI. He was previously Deputy Governor of RBI.
Urjit Patel
Urjit Patel
  • Longest glass bridge: The world’s highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge was recently opened in China. The bridge connects two mountain cliffs known as the Avatar Mountains in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
  • New eel species: Scientists have discovered a new species of eel, a snake-like fish, from the northern Bay of Bengal along the West Bengal coast. The species Gymnothorax indicus is slender-bodied, about one feet-long and edible. The scientist said that the eel has 194 vertebrae. Its dorsal fin has a black margin. Globally, about 1,000 species of eels have been identified and, in India, the number is around 125. Though considered a delicacy in many countries like Japan, the consumption of eels in India is limited to coastal areas.
new species of eel, a snake-like fish, from the northern Bay of Bengal
Image Source: The Hindu
  • Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters: Actor Kamal Haasan will be awarded the prestigious Chevalier de L’Ordre Arts et Lettres or The Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Government. The order is a part of France’s premier award, the Legion of Honor, and he is only the second Tamil actor after the legendary Sivaji Ganesan to be chosen for the honour. The Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters is a recognition to people who have contributed to furthering arts in France and throughout the world.


  • Bavar 373 missile defence system: It is a domestically built long-range missile defence system by Iran. The project started when the country was under international sanctions. The system was designed to intercept cruise missiles, drones, combat aircraft and ballistic missiles. The project was launched as an alternative to the Russian S-300 system, the delivery of which was suspended in 2010 due to sanctions imposed over Iran’s nuclear programme.


  • Assocham study: According to a study, India is home to the third largest number of technology-driven start-ups in the world, with the U.S. and the U.K. occupying the top two positions. Bengaluru is host to the largest share of technology start-ups in the country, followed by Delhi NCR and Mumbai, while Hyderabad and Chennai are also quite popular.