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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 11 November 2016



Insights Daily Current Affairs, 11 November 2016


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.


Smart India Hackathon 2017


Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar recently inaugurated the world’s largest digital national building initiative “Smart India Hackathon 2017”.


Key facts:

  • Through Smart India Hackathon 2017, HRD ministry is keen on reaching out to all technology institutions in India and challenge students to offer innovative solutions to some of the daunting problems faced by our nation.
  • The Hackathon will have nearly 500 problem statements in all which will be published on
  • In this regard, the ministry has unveiled the first set of 250 problem statements received from various ministries that the students will be required to solve during the Hackathon.


About Smart India Hackathon:

The ‘Smart India Hackathon 2017’ is a pan-India 36-hour nonstop digital programming competition which will take place in more than 20 centres simultaneously.

  • Each participating college can nominate up to three teams, each having six team members, which can belong to different courses or semesters within the same college.
  • Each team will need to have at least one female team member, to encourage women coders. Each team will also have the option of choosing up to two mentors, who can be faculty, alumni or any other expert in their circles.
  • Each of the participating 25 ministries and government departments will give away prizes to top three teams, so 75 teams will stand a chance to win cash rewards as well as a chance to work with those ministries and departments for up to six months to execute their winning solution.
  • For every ministry and department, the first prize will be of Rs.100,000, second prize of Rs.75,000 and third prize of Rs.50,000.
  • Some of the ministries and departments participating in the Hackathon include Railways, External Affairs, Defence, Civil Aviation, Indian Space Research Organization, Department of Atomic Energy, etc.  
  • All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), University Grants Commission (UGC), i4c, MyGov, NASSCOM, Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini and Persistent Systems have joined hands to organize this ambitious ‘Smart India Hackathon 2017’ under the aegis of Ministry of Human Resource Development.


What is it for?

The Smart India Hackathon 2017 will aim to find digital solutions to problems in the areas of power, education, health, water, finance, agriculture, energy, urban & rural development, aviation & shipping, transport, sanitation, sports, law & justice, skill development & entrepreneurship, defence, textiles, tourism, etc.

The initiative will help institutionalize a model for harnessing the creativity and skills of youth for nation-building.


Significance of this initiative:

‘Smart India Hackathon 2017’ will harness creativity & technical expertise of over 30 lakh students from technology institutes in remotest parts of India, to spark several institute-level hackathons countrywide and help build a funnel for ‘Startup India, Standup India’ campaign.

Besides its potential to be the inflection point for impacting campaigns such as Digital India, Skill India, Make in India, Startup India and Standup India, the Smart India Hackathon can also set an example for the world on how youth power can help find digital solutions to legacy problems within a matter of hours.

Sources: pib.


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


High Level Meeting of Interior Ministers of the Indian Ocean Region


High Level Meeting of Interior Ministers of the Indian Ocean Region to Counter Drug Trafficking was recently held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

  • The high-level meeting in Colombo was attended by 18 littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region which included seven Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Interior/Home Affairs.
  • The meeting was also attended by seven international organizations/partner agencies and UN agencies engaged in counter-narcotics initiatives in the region.
  • The delegates resolved to work towards making the Indian Ocean a “Drug Free Zone”.


Colombo declaration:

The meeting concluded with the adoption of the Colombo declaration.

  • The declaration states that narcotic drug trafficking in the Indian Ocean poses a threat to peace and security in the region and its possible link to organized crime and funding of terrorism.
  • It stresses upon the need for coastal states to cooperate more closely on enforcing maritime law, sharing information, and providing mutual legal assistance, including the expansion and development of communication through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC’s) Indian Ocean Prosecutors Network.
  • The declaration also called on the littoral states of the Indian Ocean to meet on an annual basis within the framework of the Southern Route Partnership (SRP) of Indian Ocean Forum on Maritime Crime (IOFMC) to assess and report on the drug trafficking threat in the Indian Ocean and develop a coordinated approach to counter such threats.

Sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: awareness in space.


China launches pulsar test satellite


China has launched a satellite into space to detect signs of pulsars, which are very high density stars formed by neutrons.


Key facts:

  • The X-ray pulsar navigation satellite, weighing more than 200 kilogrammes, was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the country’s northwest.
  • It was carried by a Long March-11 rocket, the 239th flight mission by a Long March carrier rocket series.
  • The satellite operates in a Sun-synchronous orbit and will conduct in-orbit experiments using pulsar detectors to demonstrate new technologies.
  • While in orbit, the satellite will undergo tests on its detector functions and space environment adaptability.


Significance of this launch:

The X-ray pulsar navigation will help reduce the spacecraft’s reliance on ground-based navigation methods and is expected to lead to autonomous spacecraft navigation in the future.

Sources: the hindu.


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


India slams World Bank process on Indus Treaty


India has taken strong exception to the World Bank’s “inexplicable” decision to set up a Court of Arbitration and appoint a Neutral Expert to go into Pakistan’s complaint against it over Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects in Jammu and Kashmir.

  • The Neutral Expert has been asked to go into Pakistan’s complaint against India on the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects in Jammu and Kashmir.



While India had asked for a neutral expert to be appointed over Pakistan’s objections to the Kishenganga and Ratle dam projects first, Pakistan appealed directly for a Court of Arbitration (CoA) to be set up as it claims India has violated the 1960 Indus Water treaty.


What’s the issue?

Kishengaga is a tributary of the river Jhelum and the project is coming up in Bandipora.

  • Pakistan argues that the project cannot be built in a way that will divert the river tributary. Its case was rejected by a Court of Arbitration in 2013.
  • The project is almost complete and was to be commissioned this month.
  • Pakistan also has objections on the Ratle project on the river Chenab in Doda district; it wants the water storage capacity to be reduced drastically, saying that the project will reduce the river flow into Pakistan.


What India says?

Surprised at the World Bank’s decision to appoint a Neutral Expert, as sought by the Indian government and at the same time establish a Court of Arbitration as wanted by Pakistan, India says proceeding with both the steps simultaneously “legally untenable”.

Also, India has made it clear that it cannot be party to actions which are not in accordance with the Indus Waters Treaty. The government has said that it will examine further options and take steps accordingly.



Under the Indus Waters Treaty, signed between India and Pakistan and also the World Bank in 1960, the World Bank has a specified role in the process of resolution of differences and disputes.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.


SYL Land Bill unwarranted, says court


The Supreme Court, referring to its 2006 Mullaperiyar dam judgment, has held that a State Assembly “cannot through legislation do an act in conflict with the judgment of the highest court which has attained finality”.

  • The court declared that Punjab reneged on its promise to share the waters of rivers Ravi and Beas with neighbouring States like Haryana by unilaterally enacting the controversial Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Act of 2004.



The court gave its opinion on a Presidential Reference made to it 12 years ago, on July 22, 2004, questioning the constitutional validity of the Act.


What else has the court said?

The court termed the enactment of the Punjab Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal Land (Transfer of Proprietary Rights) Bill in 2016 by the government as “unwarranted developments” when the Presidential Reference was still pending in the apex court.


Controversy surrounding the Bill:

The 2016 Bill, which is yet to receive the assent of the Governor, planned to give back to the farmers over 5000 acres acquired for the canal. Haryana argues the Bill would negate the Supreme Court’s 2004 decree calling for unhindered construction of the canal which will give Haryana its share of water.

Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal
Source: Times of India

The Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal and the controversy over it:

The creation of Haryana from the old (undivided) Punjab in 1966 threw up the problem of giving Haryana its share of river waters. Punjab was opposed to sharing waters of the Ravi and Beas with Haryana, citing riparian principles, and arguing that it had no water to spare.

  • However, Centre, in 1976, issued a notification allocating to Haryana 3.5 million acre feet (MAF) out of undivided Punjab’s 7.2 MAF.
  • To enable Haryana to use its share of the waters of the Sutlej and its tributary Beas, a canal linking the Sutlej with the Yamuna, cutting across the state, was planned. In April, 1982, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ceremonially dug the ground at Kapoori village in Patiala district for the construction of the 214-km Sutlej-Yamuna Link (or SYL) canal, 122 km of which was to be in Punjab, and 92 km in Haryana.
  • A tripartite agreement was also negotiated between Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan in this regard.
  • However, following the protests in Punjab, the Punjab Assembly passed The Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004, terminating its water-sharing agreements, and thus jeopardising the construction of SYL in Punjab.

Sources: the hindu.