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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 09 December 2016



Insights Daily Current Affairs, 09 December 2016


Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.


Sale of Cotton Stocks by CCI


According to the latest figures, during cotton season 2015-16 (1st October, 2015 to 30th September, 2016), Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) has purchased seed cotton (kapas) equivalent to 8.44 lakh bales at Minimum Support Price (MSP).



During cotton season 2015-16, cotton prices in the country abnormally increased in the month of May/July 2016 due to damage by white fly pests in Northern region & pink boll worm attack in Gujarat region and panic buying by the mills to cover their lean season requirement.

In such situation, in order to safeguard the interest of the textile Industry including Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Government of India, Ministry of Textiles decided in July, 2016 to sell the balance unsold stock available with CCI to MSME units through e-sale so as to provide them some relief from cotton price volatility in the market and stabilize the market prices. Accordingly, all the cotton stocks of CCI has been sold.


About CCI:

Cotton Corporation of India or CCI is a Government of India agency, engaged in diverse activities related to trade, procurement, and export of cotton. CCI is a public sector agency responsible for equitable distribution of cotton among the different constituents of the industry and aid imports of cotton.

  • It was established in 1970 under Companies Act 1956.
  • CCI is governed by Textile Policy 1985 issued by Ministry of Textiles Organisation, Government of India.

Sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


DST-Intel Collaborative Research for Real-Time River Water and Air Quality Monitoring


Recognizing the importance of developing the online River Water and Air Quality Monitoring (WAQM) systems, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India and Intel are collaborating to jointly initiate “DST-Intel Collaborative Research for Real-Time River Water and Air Quality Monitoring” soliciting proposals from Academic/Research Institutions and providing grant-in-aid support to the selected project(s).


Key facts:

  • This will be a joint programme of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode.
  • The aim of this initiative is to develop key technologies for sensing, communication and analysis of large-scale data collected from autonomous networks of perpetual/long-lived sensor nodes, followed by integration and deployment for water and air quality monitoring in real-time.
  • The program will be administered by the binational Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF).

Sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.


Himachal Pradesh becomes 18th State to join UDAY


Government of India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the State of Himachal Pradesh and the State DISCOM under the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY), for operational and financial turnaround of the DISCOM.

  • Himachal Pradesh is the 18th State to sign MoU under UDAY.


How will this move help Himachal Pradesh?

An overall net benefit of approximately Rs. 823 crores would accrue to the State by opting to participate in UDAY, by way of savings in interest cost, reduction in Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) and transmission losses, interventions in energy efficiency etc. during the period of turnaround.



UDAY is an effort to make these DISCOMs financially and operationally healthy, to be able to supply adequate power at affordable rates, and enable the Governments to make efforts towards 100% Village electrification and 24X7 Power For All.

  • It envisages to reduce interest burden, cost of power and AT&C losses. Consequently, DISCOM would become sustainable to supply adequate and reliable power enabling 24×7 power supply.
  • The scheme provides that States would take over 75% debt of Discoms, as on 30th September, 2015 in two years.
  • UDAY has inbuilt incentives encouraging State Governments to voluntarily restructure their debts. These incentives include taking over of DISCOM debt by the States outside the fiscal deficit limits; reduction in the cost of power through various measures such as coal linkage rationalization, liberal coal swaps and priority/additional funding through schemes of MoP & MNRE.
  • UDAY is different from earlier restructuring schemes in several ways including flexibility of keeping debt taken over outside fiscal deficit limit, reduction in cost of power and a series of time bound interventions for improving operational efficiency.
  • UDAY also provides for measures that will reduce the cost of power generation, which would ultimately benefit consumers.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 1 Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.


Triple talaq is ‘cruel’, ‘most demeaning’ to women  


Observing that the judicial conscience is “disturbed”, the Allahabad High Court has held that triple talaq is “cruel” and raised a question whether the Muslim Personal law could be amended to alleviate the sufferings of Muslim women.


Important observations made by the court:

  • Coming down heavily on the practice, the court has held that this form of “instant divorce” is “most demeaning” which “impedes and drags India from becoming a nation“.
  • The court said the view that “the Muslim husband enjoys an arbitrary, unilateral power to inflict instant divorce” does not tie in with Islamic laws.
  • The court observed that “divorce is permissible in Islam only in case of extreme emergency. When all efforts for effecting a reconciliation have failed, the parties may proceed to a dissolution of marriage by Talaq or by Khola“.
  • The court also noted that personal laws of any community cannot claim supremacy over the rights granted to the individuals by the Constitution that provides for equality and non-discrimination.



The constitution allows Muslims, the biggest religious minority group in the country, to regulate matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance through their own civil code. Even the Supreme Court has been examining how much it can interfere in Muslim laws governing family-related issues as it hears a plea to end the practice which permits Muslim men to divorce their wives by saying talaq three times.

Besides, the centre had recently informed the Supreme Court that it is opposed to the Muslim practice of triple talaq. It had also described this practice as “misplaced in a secular country.”

Sources: the hindu.


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.


A more muscular rice variety takes on wheat


A rice variety that packs more protein to match wheat has been released by Karnataka’s University of Agricultural Sciences – Bengaluru.

  • The rice strain, which offers an option to those who are not comfortable switching over to wheat for supplementary protein, is now available for commercial cultivation.
  • The high-protein variety has been under development at UAS-B for nearly 10 years, with Rs. 92 lakh in funding from the Union Department of Biotechnology.


What’s good about the new strain?

  • The new strain has 12 to13% protein content, which is higher than the 6 to 7.5% in normal rice. Wheat has about 14% of protein.
  • Using conventional breeding, researchers raised the amount of lysine, an amino acid that helps synthesize proteins, by about 20%. The higher protein leads to a decrease in starch, benefiting diabetics.
  • The rice protein is also easier to digest compared to what comes from non-vegetarian sources. It is particularly good for children and the elderly.
  • For the farmer, the new entrant is a lucrative option that can be grown like any other cereal, without extra costs.

Sources: the hindu.


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


India, U.S. talk defence partnership


Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and United States Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter have finalised India’s designation as a Major Defense Partner of the United States. This was announced in the recent India-US joint statement on Carter’s visit to New Delhi. This status puts India on a par with the closest allies and partners of the U.S.


Implications of this move:

The designation as a Major Defense Partner is a status unique to India and institutionalises the progress made to facilitate defence trade and technology-sharing with India to a level at par with that of the United States’ closest allies and partners, and ensures enduring cooperation into the future.



During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Washington in June, the United States said it recognised India as a Major Defense Partner. The joint statement issued then had acknowledged the US-India defence relationship as a possible “anchor of stability”, with the United States saying it will “continue to work toward facilitating technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners”.

However, there were differences between the two sides about the level of technology transfer and cooperation permissible under the Major Defense Partner status. Besides, India was seeking benefits granted to the closest allies of the US, such as Australia and the UK which the Pentagon was hesitant to concede.


India Amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act, 2017 (NDAA):

India’s Major Defense Partner status has been made a part of the India Amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act, 2017 (NDAA), approved by the US Congress to allocate funds annually to the US military. This Bill is expected to be passed shortly which will put a formal, official stamp on India’s status.

Under the India Amendment in the NDAA 2017, the US government will, consistent with its conventional arms transfer policy, inform the review of requests to export defence articles, defence services, or related technology to India under the Arms Export Control Act, and inform any regulatory and policy adjustments that may be appropriate.

Besides recognising India’s status as a Major Defense Partner, the India Amendment will designate an American official to ensure the success of the Framework for the United States-India Defense Relationship which was signed last year, to approve and facilitate the transfer of advanced technology, and to strengthen the effectiveness of the US-India Defense Trade and Technology Initiative and the durability of the India Rapid Reaction Cell in Pentagon. 

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims


Shilp Guru Awards:

  • The Shilp Guru Awards were launched by the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) on 15th November, 2002, to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the resurgence of Handicrafts in India.
  • Since 2002 up to 2014, 117 artisans responsible for maintaining craft traditions have been selected for the award.
  • The selection of Shilp Guru is done from amongst those who are hereditary masters, who received the National Award at the very inception of the scheme and who are alive or whose children are carrying on with the tradition and have made a valuable contribution in the development, creativity and expansion of knowledge in their craft.
  • Selection of Shilp Guru has to be from among some extraordinarily skilled masters whose work has not been recognized and who deserve the title of Shilp Guru because of their contribution in keeping alive the craft skill, reviving a languishing craft, setting up of institutions for training of Master Craftspersons.
  • Under exceptional circumstances Shilp Guru Award can be presented to a person who may not be a hereditary craftsperson, but who has mastered the technique and has been responsible for the revival of tradition, training of masters and contributing to the development of technology.
  • Individuals who have not trained masters to carry on the tradition shall not be considered for awarding the title of the Shilp Guru. One important criterion of selection is the contribution of the Shilp Guru to the welfare and development of crafts community and to craft sector as a whole.
  • The Award consists a gold coin, Rs.2,00,000/- in cash, a Tamarapatra, an Angavastram and a certificate.
  • It will be awarded to a craftsperson only once in a lifetime, to encourage master craftspersons to maintain excellence in craftsmanship and keep alive our old tradition.


National Awards for Master craftspersons:

  • The Office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) is implementing a scheme of National Awards for Master craftspersons since 1965.
  • The main objective was to give recognition to the outstanding craftspersons in the Handicraft sector. The awardees represent almost all states of the country, apart from different crafts styles of different locations in the country.
  • The Award consists of Rs.1,00,000/- in cash, a Tamrapatra, an Angavastram and a certificate.
  • Since 1965 to 2014, 1193 National Awards have been given, out of which 189 are women.
  • The main crafts in which Awards have been given are Metal Engaving, Terracotta, Warli Painting, Madhubani Painting, Paper Machie, Punjabi Tilla Juti, Miniature Painting, Gold Leaf Painting, Pichawai painting, Phad Painting, Hand Block Printing, Bone Carving, Sandal Wood Carving, Tie and Dye Clay Modelling, coconut shell carving, Lac work, Stone Dust, Patta chitra paddy Jewellery & Straw craft & Maru Embroidery.
    Warli Painting
    Warli Painting
    Madhubani art
    Pichwai Painting

    Phad Painting
    Phad Painting

  • It will be awarded to a craftsperson only once in a lifetime, to encourage master craftspersons to maintain excellence in craftsmanship and keep alive our old tradition.


SIMCON 2016:

  • The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is organising the 28th State Information Ministers Conference. Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Minister for I&B will chair the conference.
  • The two day conference will promote partnership in the dissemination process between Centre and States, enabling effective communication to the people and on sector specific collaboration in the Films, Broadcasting & Information sector.
  • Being organized after 2009, the conference will deliberate on key policy issues in the Films & Broadcasting sector and new key initiatives undertaken in the information domain.
  • The conference is being organised on the theme – “Reform, Perform & Transform – A New Dimension of Communication” and is expected to provide a synergy for a robust communication outreach process.



  • It is the season’s third cyclonic storm.
  • Vardah has formed in the Southeast Bay of Bengal.
  • It has already hit Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The cyclonic storm is expected to further intensify into a severe cyclone and will continue to move towards the north and then recurve in the northwest direction towards Andhra Pradesh Coast.

    Vardah cyclone
    Source: AccuWeatehr

  • Warm sea surface temperatures of the Bay of Bengal and longer sea travel will help in the further intensification of the storm.