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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 03 November 2016



Insights Daily Current Affairs, 03 November 2016


Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


Researchers aim to scoop out marine oil spills


Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Thiruvananthapuram have developed a gelator to recover marine oil spills.


How gelators were produced?

These gelators were produced using glucose as a startling material and after several chemical reactions.


How it works?

The gelator molecule is partly hydrophobic and partly hydrophilic. While the hydrophilic part helps in self-assembling to form gelator fibres, the hydrophobic part is responsible for its diffusion into the oil layer.

  • Since the outer part of the fibre is hydrophobic, oil tends to gets into the spongy network made of fibres.
  • Once inside the fibre network, oil loses fluidity and becomes a gel. As the self-assembly is strong, the gel maintains its structure and rigidity even under pressure.


Key facts:

  • Unlike current methods, the newly developed gelator can recover oil from oil-water mixture and the gelator can be reused several times.
  • To achieve better diffusion of the molecule into the oil phase and enhance the oil recovery the hydrophobicity of the molecule needs to be increased. This is done by adding an aromatic/alkyl group at some part of the molecule.

Sources: the hindu.


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


Online applications for homes under PM Awas Yojana starts


In a significant initiative, the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation has enabled online submission of applications by the urban poor for affordable houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana(Urban).

  • In this regard, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by the Ministry of HUPA and Common Services Centre e-Governance Services India Limited of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.


Key facts:

  • About 60,000 located in urban areas will enable online submission of applications from November 3,2016 at a nominal cost of Rs.25/- per application.
  • As per the MoU, CSCs will also facilitate printing of the acknowledgement receipt with beneficiary photograph which helps applicants in tracking application status.
  • Beneficiaries have to visit the nearest CSC for seeking assistance for seeking benefits of PMAY(Urban) online. In case the beneficiary does not have Aadhar Card, CSCs will enable beneficiaries acquiring them.


About PMAY:

The scheme was launched in June 2015 and envisages Housing for All by 2022. It involves building of more than two crore houses in a span of seven years.

  • The beneficiaries are poor and people living under EWS and LIG categories in the country.
  • The scheme is divided into three phases. In the first phase, a total of 100 cities will be covered from April 2015 to March 2017. In phase two, 200 cities will be covered from April 2017 to March 2019. In the third phase, the leftover cities will be covered from April 2019 to March 2022.
  • The government is providing an interest subsidy of 6.5% on housing loans which can be availed by beneficiaries for 15 years from start of loan date.
  • The government will grant Rs 1 lakh to all the beneficiaries of the scheme. In addition, Rs 1.5 lakh will be given to all eligible urban poor who want to construct their houses in urban areas or plan to go for renovation in their existing houses. One can also avail loans under this scheme to build toilets in existing houses.

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.


Centre moots registry to vet geospatial data


The government is developing a national data registry (NDR) that will require all agencies— state, private and academic — that collect and store geospatial data to provide details of the data they store.


Need for NDR:

The purpose of such a registry is to create a “catalogue” that would “prevent duplication” of data sets and to help users locate the right agencies to source information.


Key facts:

  • The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has been selected as the nodal coordinating agency.
  • The registry will be a ‘meta-data’ repository: it will not actually be a source of geospatial data but will only inform about the nature of the data a service provider has.
  • The registry will serve as a source of authenticated information.
  • This initiative would also act as a clearing house for geospatial applications.


Way ahead:

Everyone from restaurant-location-services providers to hospital-location aggregators will have to comply with the directive, and the government may consider bringing in legislation.

Sources: the hindu.


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


India, Palestine sign MoU for setting up of Techno Park in Ramallah


India and Palestine have signed an agreement for setting up of a techno park in Ramallah with an Indian grant of $12 million.

Ramallah Map


The decision to set up ‘Palestine-India Techno Park’ was taken during the visit of President Pranab Mukherjee to that country last October.


Key facts:

  • Once completed, the Technopark will serve as an IT hub in Palestine with complete IT facilities offering a one-stop solution to all IT-related service requirements.
  • It will also provide the state-of-the-art technology, hosts IT companies and foreign companies benefiting local business, universities and other institutions.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.


Duty drawback facility extended for textiles


The government has extended duty drawback facility for one year on all textile products to boost exports, and has increased rates in some cases for the benefit of Indian exporters.


Key facts:

  • The duty drawback has been announced by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).
  • The duty drawback benefits textile exporters to overcome the barriers they face in exports.
  • CBEC revises drawback rates every year on November 1 for one year.



Under the revised norms, home textiles attract drawback of 7.5% now as against 7.3% earlier. Similarly, incorporation of blanket and other cotton products in this category will attract drawback rate of 8% now from 7.2% earlier. These drawbacks are aimed at giving a boost to exports of cotton textiles as they will provide adequate neutralization of the incidence of duties and taxes on the export goods and make them more competitive in the international markets.

Sources: the hindu.