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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 13 October 2016



Insights Daily Current Affairs, 13 October 2016


Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Draft Water Bill suggests basin-level management


The Centre has come out with a draft National Water Framework Bill, 2016.

Aim of the Bill: It aims to resolve several inter-state disputes over river water sharing.


Highlights of the draft:

  • The draft says that every person has a “right to sufficient quantity of safe water for life” within easy reach of the household regardless of caste, creed, religion, age, community, class, gender, disability, economic status, land ownership and place of residence.
  • It provides for a mechanism to develop and manage river basin in an integrated manner so that every state gets “equitable” share of a river’s water without violating rights of others.
  • It pitches for establishing River Basin Authority for each inter-state basin to ensure “optimum and sustainable” development of rivers and valleys.
  • It also devises an integrated approach to conserve water and manage groundwater in a sustainable manner.
  • The draft Bill proposes establishing institutional arrangements at all levels within a state and beyond up to an inter-state river-basin level to “obviate” disputes through negotiations, conciliation or mediation before they become acute.
  • It also says that each River Basin Authority will prepare a master plan for the river basin, under its jurisdiction, comprising such information as may be prescribed. The master plan, so prepared, will be reviewed and updated every five years after due consultation with all other planning agencies and stakeholders.


Key facts:

  • Since water is a ‘state’ subject, the proposed legislation will not be binding on states for adoption even if it becomes a law through Parliament in due course.
  • It will work as a model bill for the states, giving them a framework to come out with local laws to use and conserve water.


Way ahead:

The draft Bill will go to the Union cabinet for its approval. Once it gets the required nod, the Union water resources ministry will introduce it in the Parliament.

Sources: the hindu.


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.


SIT set to comb P-Note data for black money


The special investigation team (SIT) on black money has asked the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to furnish the details of all those investing through participatory notes (P-Notes).

  • This is the first time the government-constituted body has sought such massive amount of data, which includes the list of beneficial owners and transfer trials of investors taking the P-Note route to invest in domestic equity and debt markets.



The SIT wants to ensure that the regulatory changes made by Sebi are sufficient to curb misuse of tools, particularly with respect to end beneficiaries. The expert panel is concerned that the P-Note route could still be used by Indian companies to bring back unaccounted money.

  • In May, Sebi tightened norms for P-Notes. It had increased KYC requirement, issued curbs on transferability and prescribed stringent reporting for P-Notes issuers and holders. It mandated issuers to follow anti-money laundering laws.
  • The tightening of P-Note norms was triggered by the concerns raised by SIT in 2015, especially over the investment coming from Cayman Islands, the top destination for P-Note investors investing in the Indian securities market.



P-Notes are derivative products issued by FPIs in foreign markets which give their holders the right to have a share of the profit and loss from underlying Indian stocks but at the same time help maintain anonymity about the actual owners of those notes.

P-Notes allow foreign investors to take exposure to Indian stocks without registering with Sebi. These instruments are issued by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) registered with Sebi.

Sources: bs.


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.


India to promote indigenous expertise in cyber security, to fund start-ups


India is building its first platform for homegrown cyber security companies to promote indigenous expertise in the field and help local firms get a larger share of the country’s digital security technology budget.


Key facts:

  • In this regard, the government and industry have come together to prepare a road map to create a platform for digital and cyber security products and solution companies.
  • This includes creating a special fund for cyber security start-ups to groom them to build local solutions to tackle internet security challenges.
  • Data Security Council of India (DSCI) will collaborate with the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeITY) and the Technology Development Board of the Department of Science and Technology for the platform and funds.


Need for indigenous expertise in cyber security:

India’s cyber security market size is about $4 billion (about Rs 26, 729.5 crore), which is expected to grow nine-fold to $35 billion by 2025. According Nasscom data, there are about 150 cyber security companies in India. However, the security landscape in India still remains considerably untouched by investors.

Besides, in some ways, cyber attacks are 21st century plagues, and to stay secure, we need widespread immunity and awareness. India is not there yet.

Sources: bs.


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.


Regional air link scheme may use e-auction path


The civil aviation ministry is all set to start the bidding process of routes under the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) and it has sought the coal ministry’s suggestions on e-auctioning in this regard.


Key facts:

  • The government will unveil the final RCS policy soon after which it will invite bids from the airlines wanting to fly on regional routes.
  • The Airports Authority of India (AAI), the nodal body entrusted to implement the ambitious scheme, has written to the coal ministry to share its experience on the modus operandi of the coal block e-auction process.
  • The civil aviation ministry will do the bidding of the routes through state-owned Metal and Scrap Trading Corporation (MSTC) — the body which conducts the coal mine and iron ore auction.



The Centre has proposed to cap fares at Rs 2,500 for a one-hour flight under the RCS. Airlines operating under the RCS will get viability gap funding and a host of other benefits such as lowers taxes and airport charges to promote regional connectivity.

The government has already notified setting up of a regional air connectivity fund for providing VGF to aircraft operators. The Centre will share 80% of the cost of VGF, while the states will contribute the remaining.

Sources: bs.


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


Human hair used to produce cheaper cathodes for solar cells


Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Kolkata have used human hair to produce cost-effective, metal-free cathodes for use in solar cells. This is the first instance where a bio-waste-derived electrode has been used as cathode in a quantum dot sensitised solar cell device.


How is it done?

Producing graphitic porous carbon cathode using human hair is simple, quick and inexpensive. Unlike in the case of other synthetic porous carbons, no physical or chemical activation process or templates are required to produce the pores of 2-50 nm diameter.

  • The porosity, along with high surface area to volume ratio, plays an important role in adsorption-desorption of electrolyte.
  • The cleaned and dry human hair is first treated with sulphuric acid at 165 degrees C for 25 minutes to achieve precarbonisation. It is then heated to different temperatures in the presence of an inert gas for six hours to carbonise and bring better electrical conductivity for efficient charge transfer.



  • The cathode shows an impressive performance in converting visible sunlight to electricity much higher than commercially available activated carbon cathodes and is comparable with commonly used cathodes made of platinum metal and metal sulfides.
  • Besides its higher efficiency to convert visible sunlight to electricity, the cathode was found to generate high open-circuit voltage, which is at par with conventional platinum and activated carbon cathodes. Thereby, the power conversion efficiencies can also be enhanced.
  • They also have the potential to bring down the cost of solar cells.

Sources: the hindu.