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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 02 March 2017



Insights Daily Current Affairs, 02 March 2017


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


7th National Awards for Technology Innovation in Petrochemicals and Downstream Plastics Processing Industry (2016-17)


Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Ananthkumar recently presented the 7th National Awards for Technology Innovation in Petrochemicals and Downstream Plastics Processing Industry (2016-17).

  • For the 7th National Awards, 415 nominations were received and finally, 16 nominations have been selected as Winners and 7 nominations as Runners-up for 2016-17.


About the awards:

Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET) has been entrusted with the responsibility of implementing the scheme of the National Awards for Technology Innovation in Petrochemical sector and Downstream Plastics Processing Industry.


About CIPET:

It is an autonomous organization under Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals (DCPC). CIPET headquarters was established at Chennai in 1968 with UNDP assistance. It receives funding support from the administration ministry, OPEC, UNIDO and the World Bank.

This is the only institute of this kind in India where all facilities like design, tooling, processing and testing of plastics are available under one roof. CIPET caters to the needs of plastic industries through manpower training, processing, design and CAD/CAM/CAE, testing, consultancy, advisory and developmental services.

Sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


Successful Test Firing of AAD Endo-Atmospheric Interceptor Missile


DRDO recently conducted the successful launch of the interceptor missile Advanced Area Defence (AAD) from Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha.


Key facts:

  • The AAD is part of the two-layered Ballistic Missile Defence system developed by the DRDO, the research and development wing of the Defence Ministry, with the Hyderabad-based Research Centre Imaarat (RCI).
  • The endo-atmospheric missile is capable of intercepting incoming targets at an altitude of 15 to 25 kms.
  • The interceptor is a 7.5-metre long single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator.
  • The second level of the system is the endo-atmosphere AAD missile.
  • The interceptor missile has its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and sophisticated radars.



AAD further validates the reliability of the under-development, two-layered Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) in shooting down enemy missiles.

The BMD consists of two interceptor missiles, the Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) for exo-atmospheric ranges and the Advanced Area Defence (AAD) missile for endo-atmosphere or lower altitudes. The BMD is critical to protect the country from the long-range ballistic missiles proliferating in the neighbourhood. DRDO expects to have shield ready for deployment by 2022.   

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


DMRL AND JSHL Sign Licensing Agreement for Transfer of Technology of High Nitrogen Steel


Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), Hyderabad, a premier research laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Jindal Stainless (Hisar) Limited (JSHL) have signed the Licensing Agreement for Transfer of Technology of High Nitrogen Steel (HNS) for armour applications.


About High Nitrogen Steel:

High nitrogen steels (HNS) are a new class of high alloy martensitic, austenitic or duplex grades with up to 0.9 mass% of N in solid solution. They are applied e.g. to stainless tools and bearings, in chemical engineering and for high strength non-magnetic components.

  • HNS is not only tough but also has good strength. In addition to being non magnetic as well as corrosion resistant, the HNS cost is about 40% less compared to Rolled Homogenous Armour Steel (RHA).
  • This material has potential for a number of defence and civil applications like armouring, mine trawls, oil industries etc.

Sources: pib.


Paper 1 Topic: Effects of globalization on Indian society.


A Government Panel recommends legal framework for protection of interests of migrants in the country


The ‘Working Group on Migration’ set by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviationin 2015 has submitted its Report to the Government.

  • The Panel has recommended necessary legal and policy framework to protect the interests of the migrants in the country, stating that the migrant population makes substantial contribution to economic growth and their Constitutional rights need to be secured.


Important recommendations:

  • The Working Group has recommended that the Protocols of the Registrar General of India needs to be amended to enable caste based enumeration of migrants so that they can avail the attendant benefits in the States to which migration takes place. It also recommended that migrants should be enabled to avail benefits of Public Distribution System (PDS) in the destination State by providing for inter-State operability of PDS.
  • Referring to Constitutional Right of Freedom of Movement and residence in any part of the territory of the country, the Group suggested that States should be encouraged to proactively eliminate the requirement of domicile status to prevent any discrimination in work and employment. States are also to be asked to include migrant children in the Annual Work Plans under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) to uphold their Right to Education.
  • Noting that money remittances of migrants was of the order of Rs.50,000 cr during 2007-08, the Working Group suggested that the vast network of post offices need to be made effective use of by reducing the cost of transfer of money to avoid informal remittences. It also suggested that migrants should be enabled to open bank accounts by asking banks to adhere to RBI guidelines regarding Know Your Customer (KYC) norms and not insist on documents that were not required.
  • The Group suggested that the hugely underutilized Construction Workers Welfare Cess Fund should be used to promote rental housing, working Women Hostels etc., for the benefit of migrants.



According to Census 2011 and National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), migrants constitute about 30% of the country’s population and also of the total working force. The recent Economic Survey noted that annual migration in the country increased from 3.30 million in 2011 to 9.00 million in 2016.

Sources: pib.


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


Projects worth Rs 1050 Crore Awarded to arrest sewage pollution in Ganga from Patna


In a major step taken to develop adequate sewage treatment infrastructure in Patna to keep Ganga clean, projects worth Rs 1,050 crore have been awarded under Namami Gange programme. The amount will be spent for setting up two two Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), renovation of one existing STP, construction of two pumping stations and laying of new underground sewage network of about 400 kilometers.


About Namami Gange Programme:

Namami Gange programme was launched as a mission to achieve the target of cleaning river Ganga in an effective manner with the unceasing involvement of all stakeholders, especially five major Ganga basin States – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.

  • The programme envisages River Surface Cleaning, Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure, River Front Development, Bio-Diversity, Afforestation and Public Awareness.



  • The program would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organizations i.e., State Program Management Groups (SPMGs).
  • In order to improve implementation, a three-tier mechanism has been proposed for project monitoring comprising of a) High level task force chaired by Cabinet Secretary assisted by NMCG at national level, b) State level committee chaired by Chief Secretary assisted by SPMG at state level and c) District level committee chaired by the District Magistrate.
  • The program emphasizes on improved coordination mechanisms between various Ministries/Agencies of Central and State governments.


Ganga unlikely to be cleaned by 2018:

According to some experts, the government is unlikely to be able to clean the Ganga by 2018, a target set by the government. Key reasons include “unreasonable” directions by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) questioning the operating capacity of sewage treatment plants in Uttar Pradesh and a delay in clearances by State governments to execute projects.

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.


Google Street View helps manage urban ecosystem


Scientists have concluded that Google Street View helps manage urban ecosystem.



Scientists have used over 100,000 images extracted from Google Street View to map and quantify how street trees regulate urban ecosystems in megacities. While it was generally accepted that trees and plants helped in regulating urban ecosystems, until now researchers had very little data to quantify its extent.


How was this done?

Researchers developed a method to map and quantify how street trees regulate ecosystem services. Scientists analysed hemispherical photographs using an algorithm to quantify the proportion of green canopy coverage at 50 metre intervals across more than 80% of Singapore’s road network.

  • Google Street View’s technology allowed researchers to tap into a standard dataset of panoramic photographs and streetscapes that use a global positioning system (GPS) to map images to specific locations.
  • The high spatial resolution of the images allowed researchers to estimate the amount of solar radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface. Researchers said that increasing the cover of the street tree canopy could reduce ground surface and air temperatures on Singapore’s streets.


Significance of this move:

This new and relatively inexpensive method of rapidly estimating the amount of shade provided by street trees could help urban planners to identify areas of a city with low shade and prioritise the planting of new trees.

Sources: the hindu.


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


Keeping over 10 old notes to attract fine


The Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Act, 2017 has received President Pranab Mukherjee’s approval. The government has also notified this law making it a criminal offence to possess more than a certain number of the old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes.


Key facts:

  • Now, possessing more than 10 pieces of old notes by individuals and more than 25 pieces for study, research or numismatics purposes would attract a fine of Rs. 10,000 or five times the value of the cash held, whichever is higher.
  • The law also has a provision for a fine of a minimum of Rs. 50,000 if people falsely declare they were outside the country during the demonetisation period of November 9, 2016 to December 30, 2016. According to the rules, those actually outside the country within this window are allowed to deposit the old notes till March 31.
  • The Act also effectively puts to end the liability of the RBI and the government on the demonetised currency notes.



The decision to demonetise high value currency notes was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016, with the stated objective of hitting those with black money stashed away, as well as stopping the influx of counterfeit notes of these denominations.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.


‘Free trade should be fair too’


In an indication that increased market access for American companies will be a key priority in his engagement with New Delhi, U.S. President Donald Trump indirectly mentioned the 100% duty that India imposes on high-end motorcycles as a case of unfair trade practice and vowed to change it, in his first address to Congress.



Mr. Trump did not take India’s name, but India is the only major country that has a 100% customs duty on motorcycles. American company Harley-Davidson has been seeking a duty reduction for several years now.



According to experts, the Trump administration will be less concerned about balancing trade issues with strategic concerns. For India, that means that sectors with price controls, high customs duties, or compulsory local manufacturing rules may increasingly be on the radar screen.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.


Aleppo report accuses all sides of brutal war crimes


A UN-established commission has issued a damning report on human rights violations in Syria’s war-ravaged Aleppo, accusing both sides to the conflict of committing war crimes.

  • The commission gathered evidence to confirm witness accounts that the Syrian and Russian governments used prohibited cluster munitions on civilians in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, suggesting the deliberate destruction of hospitals with repeated airstrikes, among other rights violations.

Aleppo report

Key facts:

  • The report looked at violations committed last year between July 21, when the rebel-held part of Aleppo was besieged, and Dec. 22, when Syrian troops and allied forces assumed full control of the city. In perhaps the most damning discovery the commission said that evacuations were a military tactic — not a humanitarian effort.
  • The report concludes that the six-month siege of the city, “was a stage of unrelenting violence.”
  • It notes that civilians from both sides were left trapped in the eastern part of Aleppo without adequate food or medical supplies as Syrian and Russian forces conducted daily air strikes that killed hundreds and decimated hospitals, schools and markets. The situation was so severe that as civilians tried to flee they were violently forced to stay by armed groups and used as human shields. In the western part of the city, rebel groups would often fire indiscriminately killing and injuring dozens — including women and children.
  • By early September, pro-Government [forces] had renewed and secured the siege. Faced with a protracted humanitarian catastrophe, confined armed groups began a concerted campaign of shelling western Aleppo neighborhoods over the next three months.
  • Attacks were predominantly characterized by indiscriminate, indirect artillery fire into dense urban terrain, often with no apparent legitimate military objective, the effect of which terrorized the inhabitants of western Aleppo city.
  • Among the commission’s findings is that Russian and Syrian warplanes dropped unguided munitions, known as “dumb bombs,” and that the Syrian government intentionally carried out airstrikes on a humanitarian convoy in the rural outskirts of western Aleppo last September.
  • The report observed that by using air-delivered munitions with the knowledge that humanitarian workers were operating in the location, Syrian forces committed the war crimes of deliberately attacking humanitarian relief personnel, denial of humanitarian aid, and attacking civilians.



The northern Syrian city of Aleppo was caught in a brutal four-year deadlock. It was a key battleground in the war between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and rebels who want to overthrow him.

In November, Syrian government forces launched a renewed assault, and rapidly retook almost all of the opposition-held east. By mid-December they had pushed the rebels into just a few neighbourhoods.

Tens of thousands of civilians fled those districts. The UN said it had received allegations that hundreds of men had gone missing since crossing into government-controlled areas – and that rebels prevented some civilians from leaving.



Aleppo was once Syria’s largest city, with a population of about 2.3 million. It was also the country’s industrial and financial centre. The old city is a Unesco World Heritage site and was famous for its 13th Century citadel, 12th Century Great Mosque and huge covered markets.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims


Regional conference on enhancing steel consumption in India:

  • Maiden regional conference of Eastern States on enhancing steel consumption in India will be held in Gangtok, Sikkim.
  • The theme is ‘Enhancing steel consumption in India’.
  • This will be first of the four regional conferences being planned across India.
  • The delegates in the conference would deliberate on measures to increase steel demand, advantages of steel intensive construction & steel in high-rises, rural sector, bridges and other fields.
  • The occasion would provide a unique platform for exchange of user perspective and producers response.
  • The delegates in the conference would include decision makers in projects in central and state Governments, architects, structural designers and consultants, project financers, contractors, fabricators, erectors, Faculties from Metallurgy, Mechanical and Civil Engineering departments, representatives from large infrastructure industry, steel/engineers/architect associations.


India’s WTO ambassador:

  • S. Deepak has been appointed as country’s permanent representative to World Trade Organization (WTO).
  • The appointment order has been issued by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by the Prime Minister.