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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 31 October 2016



Insights Daily Current Affairs, 31 October 2016


Paper 3 Topic: awareness in space.


Three astronauts return from ISS


Three astronauts recently landed safely in Kazakhstan following a 115-day mission aboard the International Space Station.


Key facts:

  • The team included U.S. astronaut Kate Rubins, the first person to sequence DNA in space. Ms. Rubins’ participation in the mission generated particular excitement after NASA announced plans for the career scientist to sequence DNA aboard the ISS in a world first.
  • Rubin’s participation was aimed at identifying potentially dangerous microbes aboard the ISS and diagnose illnesses in space.
  • This journey marks the first complete mission to and from the orbital lab for a new generation of Soyuz spacecraft with upgraded features.
 Kate Rubins
Kate Rubins and others

About the International Space Station (ISS):

The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit. The ISS is now the largest artificial body in orbit.

  • The ISS consists of pressurised modules, external trusses, solar arrays and other components. ISS components have been launched by Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets as well as American Space Shuttles.
  • The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology and other fields.
  • The station is suited for the testing of spacecraft systems and equipment required for missions to the Moon and Mars.
  • The ISS maintains an orbit with an altitude of between 330 and 435 km by means of reboost manoeuvres using the engines of the Zvezda module or visiting spacecraft. It completes 15.54 orbits per day.
  • ISS is the ninth space station to be inhabited by crews, following the Soviet and later Russian Salyut, Almaz, and Mir stations as well as Skylab from the US.
  • The ISS programme is a joint project among five participating space agencies: NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA, and CSA.
  • The ownership and use of the space station is established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements. The station is divided into two sections, the Russian Orbital Segment (ROS) and the United States Orbital Segment (USOS), which is shared by many nations.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.


Andaman gets training in seaweed farming


The emerging seaweed farming industry in the country will get a major boost with the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) recently transferring seaweed cultivation technology to the Andaman administration.

  • The CMFRI has provided scientific inputs on methods of seaweed farming suitable for the islands as part of the institute’s initiative to intensify its consultancy services.


Why Andaman was selected?

A feasibility study conducted in the seawater-inundated areas in south Andamans by a team of CMFRI scientists revealed that these regions had good prospects for seaweed farming. Also, aimed at avoiding environmental disruptions, the CMFRI selected the coastal areas devoid of coral reefs.



Seaweed cultivation is perceived as one of the most environmentally benign types of mariculture. Seaweeds are of immense industrial, human and agricultural value. They gained prominence during 13th century, after the discovery of agar-agar in Japan and Alginic Acid in European continent.


What is seaweed cultivation?

Seaweed farming is the practice of cultivating and harvesting seaweed. In its simplest form, it consists of the management of naturally found batches. In its most advanced form, it consists of fully controlling the life cycle of the algae.

seaweed Farming
Seaweed Farming

Seaweed cultivation in India:

In India, agar-agar gained importance as seaweed chemicals during the Second World War. After the advent of Central Salt and Marine Chemical Research Institute (CSMCRI), commercial technologies for agar-agar, alginic acid, Carrageenan and LSF, the importance of seaweed wealth on Indian coast especially South Indian coast has been greatly realised. Consequently, a systematic study on seaweed resources assessment in South Indian coast has been carried out jointly by Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute and Central Marine Fisheries Institute and the Department of Fisheries, Government of Tamil Nadu.

The surveys conducted in this connection revealed the vast hidden wealth of seaweeds from this region which has a great bearing on the future of seaweed based industries in India.

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.


Employees Online (EO) Mobile App of DoPT launched


The government has launched the Employees Online (EO) App. EO App is a mobile application of the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.


Key facts:

  • The application would enable its users, which may include officers, media persons and all stakeholders to stay updated on real time basis with appointments and postings approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) and vacancies at senior level in the Government of India.
  • By eliminating the information asymmetry in this regard, the EO App will reduce speculations regarding transfers and postings in the Government of India and will make the system completely transparent as all the relevant orders and notifications will now be instantly available in the public domain.
  • This is an effective management tool which also empowers the IAS officers on Pan India basis and officers serving under Central Staffing Scheme by providing their personal records like Annual Performance Appraisal Report (APAR), Immovable Property Return (IPR), Executive Record (ER) sheet through secured NIC login Id and Password.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: important international organizations.


Russia ousted from UN Human Rights Council in historic vote


Russia has lost its bid to retain a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. The General Assembly recently elected 14 countries to the 47-member council. With 112 votes, Russia lost to Hungry and Croatia.

  • This is the first time Russia has not been part of the UNHRC since the council’s inception in 2006.
  • 80 different human rights organizations had signed a petition asking Russia be removed from UNHRC after Russia’s involvement in Syria’s civil war caused many to believe Russia is guilty of war crimes.



It is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.

  • It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.
  • The Council is made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly.
  • The term of each seat is three years, and no member may occupy a seat for more than two consecutive terms.
  • The council works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and engages the United Nations’ special procedures.
  • The General Assembly can suspend the rights and privileges of any Council member that it decides has persistently committed gross and systematic violations of human rights during its term of membership. The suspension process requires a two-thirds majority vote by the General Assembly.

Sources: the hindu.