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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 12 January 2017



Insights Daily Current Affairs, 12 January 2017


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


India-CERT Signs an MoU with US-CERT


India and the US have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for close cooperation and exchange of information pertaining to cyber security. The MoU was signed between Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and US CERT.

  • The MoU intends to promote closer co-operation and the exchange of information pertaining to the Cyber Security in accordance with the relevant laws, rules and regulations of each economy and this Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit.



Earlier United States and India signed an MoU in July, 2011 to promote a closer cooperation and timely exchange of information between the organizations of their respective Governments responsible for Cyber Security. Since, 2011 regular interactions between CERT-In and US CERT are taking place to share the information and discuss cyber security related issues. In continuation to the cooperation in cyber security areas both have renewed the MOU.


About CERT-In:

What is it?

CERT-In (the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) is a government-mandated information technology (IT) security organization. CERT-In was created by the Indian Department of Information Technology in 2004 and operates under the auspices of that department.


It’s purpose:

  • The purpose of CERT-In is to respond to computer security incidents, report on vulnerabilities and promote effective IT security practices throughout the country.
  • According to the provisions of the Information Technology Amendment Act 2008, CERT-In is responsible for overseeing administration of the Act.

Sources: pib.


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


Air pollution a national problem


According to an analysis of 2015 data by Greenpeace India, pollution levels in various cities across the country ae alarming.


Highlights of the study:

  • Of the 168 cities studied by Greenpeace India, 154 were found to have an average particulate matter level higher than the national standard.
  • None of the cities studied had air quality matching the standard prescribed by the World Health Organisation.
  • While air quality in North and Central India saw dangerous levels of particulate matter, South India appeared to have comparatively cleaner air.
  • All 10 of the least polluted cities surveyed were in the South and the East: eight in Karnataka and one each in Odisha and Tamil Nadu.
  • Looking at the sources of pollution, the report found that fossil fuels were the biggest contributors to the particulate matter.
  • The study noted, “Due to the Himalayas and the cooler weather as well as big industrial clusters, the levels of pollution are higher in the North. Southern India has the benefit of the mixing of sea breeze. However, pollution is a national-level problem and has to be treated as such.”  


Ranking of the cities:

Using data from various State pollution control boards, accessed from their websites and through RTI queries, the report ranked the cities based on the annual average of PM10, which are all particles less than 10 microns in diameter. These include the very harmful fine particles, PM2.5.

  • Delhi was found to be the most polluted city, with the annual average for PM10 being 268 micrograms per cubic metre, or over four times the 60 micrograms/cubic metre limit prescribed in the National Ambient Air Quality Standards of the Central Pollution Control Board.
  • Ghaziabad, Allahabad and Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh and Faridabad in Haryana followed closely, making for the worst five cities in terms of PM10 levels, the annual average concentrations being four times or more than the standard.

Sources: the hindu.


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


Green tribunal orders test of cosmetics containing microbeads


The National Green Tribunal has directed the Centre to test cosmetic products containing microbeads after a plea sought a ban on their use on the ground they are extremely dangerous for aquatic life and environment.

  • The court also said that it is the duty of the government to ensure that no “dangerous” product is allowed to be manufactured or sold to public and directed the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation to analyse the products in laboratory.



The order came on a petition seeking a complete ban on the use of microbeads in the manufacture, import and sale of various cosmetics or personal care products. The petitioner also argued that the unregulated production and usage of plastic in microbeads in various cosmetic products and their excessive usage by the end user is leading to water pollution across the globe.


What are microbeads?

Microbeads are tiny plastic substances measuring less than five millimetres that act as exfoliators (agents which remove dead cells) on skin and teeth when used in soap, toothpaste and other products. Many brands manufacturing beauty products use microbeads.



Over 299 million tonnes of plastic was produced worldwide in 2013 some of which made its way to oceans, costing approximately $13 billion per year in environmental damage to marine ecosystems, says a June 2015 report by the United Nations Environmental Programme that investigated the possible harm by microbeads/microplastics.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 1 Topic: Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.


Triple talaq certificate issued by chief kazi has no legal sanction


The Madras high court has clarified that certificate issued by chief kazi for triple talaq is only an opinion and has no legal sanction under the Kazis Act, 1880. The court also said pending consideration by the Muslim Personal Law Board, no certificate in respect of talaq would be issued by the chief kazi.



The order came on a public interest litigation petition seeking to declare that Kazis in India, particularly Tamil Nadu, were not empowered to certify talaq.


What the petitioner says?

  • The petitioner claimed that Kazis were issuing certificates recognising talaq without following necessary precedents like reconciliation. Sometimes, it was done without even the knowledge of the wife. Such certificates issued in an arbitrary manner are causing undue hardship to Muslim women.
  • The petitioner also contended that the nature of talaq certificates were causing immense confusion in the matrimonial proceedings and in the understanding by both the spouses as to the effect of such a certificate being issued by the Chief Kazi.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 1 Topic: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.


New fault in Indian Ocean may trigger quakes in future: study


Scientists have found a new plate boundary being formed on the floor of the Indian Ocean as a result of the largest earthquake that shook the Andaman-Sumatra region in 2012. Scientists warn that the new fault system could trigger more quakes in the future.

  • Researchers have found evidence for this plate on the floor of the Indian Ocean in the Wharton Basin.


How this plate boundary may have been formed?

A slip-strike quake occurs when two plates slide horizontally against one another. Such quakes can be caused by deformations that occur in plates distant from fault lines as pressure builds up across a plate. They can lead to inter-plate earthquakes and cause a plate to break, resulting in a new boundary and this in turn can lead to even more quakes. It is this scenario that the researchers believe happened in 2012 when two earthquakes struck the Andaman-Sumatran regio (north-west part) of the Indian Ocean — the largest inter-plate earthquakes ever recorded.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Measles-rubella vaccine to roll out in February


Three years after the national vaccine advisory body recommended the introduction of the measles-rubella vaccine (MR) in the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP), the vaccine is all set to be introduced from next month in five states and Union territories as a part of the basket of preventive medications that every child born in India is entitled to.Measles-rubella vaccine

  • The UIP basket already has ten vaccines of which measles is one; once MR is introduced, monovalent measles will be discontinued.


About the disease:

Rubella, or German measles, is a contagious viral infection that causes a distinctive red rash. Though there are no statistics on its prevalence, the health ministry says the disease is endemic in India.

  • It spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes and can also be passed on from mother to the newborn.
  • Experts say more than two lakh children in India are born deaf, blind, or with heart or brain damage every year due to the congenital rubella syndrome.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims


DEFCOM – 2017:

  • DEFCOM – 2017 was recently inaugurated in Delhi.
  • Theme- ‘Infrastructure and Skilled Human Resource for Digital Army’.
  • DEFCOM is an annual seminar organised jointly by the Corps of Signals of Indian Army and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
  • DEFCOM is the most seminal forum for interaction between the officers of the Armed Forces, Indian Industry, Academia and R&D organisations on matters related to operational communication systems for the Army.


New species of gibbon discovered in China:

  • Scientists have discovered a new species of gibbon living in south-west China’s rainforests.
  • It has been named the Skywalker hoolock gibbon by its discoverers, who are Star Wars fans. The name is also a nod to the fact that the Chinese characters of its scientific name, Hoolock tianxing, mean “Heaven’s movement”.Skywalker hoolock gibbon
  • Gibbons are renowned for their loud song, which they use to mark territory, and this also sounded unusual.
  • The scientists estimate that about 200 Skywalker gibbons are living in China and also potentially in neighbouring Myanmar, but say that the species should already be classified as endangered. Habitat loss and fragmentation is putting the gibbons at risk of extinction.


World’s first gender literature fest in Patna: 

  • The world’s first ‘Gender Literature Festival’ will be held in Patna in the second week of April.
  • The Gender Resource Centre of Bihar’s Women Development Corporation will be organising the festival.
  • The objective of this initiative is to create a platform, to exchange ideas, and to share and learn experiences of renowned people in the field of gender based or focussed literature.
  • The festival will also act as a platform to increase visibility for gender equity and advocacy in the State of Bihar.


India’s first international stock exchange:  

  • India’s first international exchange-India INX- was recently inaugurated by PM at International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Gujarat International Financial Tech City (GIFT) located in Gandhinagar.
  • India International Exchange (INX), the wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), through its global bourse, will start trading initially in equity derivatives, currency derivatives, commodity derivatives including Index and Stocks. Subsequently, depository receipts and bonds would be offered once the required infrastructure for the same is in place.
  • India INX is one of the world’s most advanced technology platforms with a turn-around time of 4 micro seconds. It will operate for 22 hours a day to allow international investors and Non Residents Indians to trade from anywhere across the globe.
  • It will act as a gateway to raise capital for the country’s infrastructure and development needs. In parallel, it would provide cross-border opportunities of investment with a comparatively low cost of transaction in the world’s most technologically advanced platform.