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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 19 January 2018

Insights Daily Current Affairs, 19 January 2018


Paper 1:

Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues.


Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA)

Context: Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) has crossed one crore mark in antenatal check-ups.

  • The programme has been successful in reaching out to the difficult and remote areas of India, since out of the 1 crore checkups across the country, more than 25 lakh check-ups were conducted in high priority districts identified by the Health Ministry for focussed attention.
  • While all States/ UTs have made significant efforts to reach out to pregnant women, Maharashtra has reported the largest number of check-ups among the Non-Empowered Action Group (EAG) States and Rajasthan has reported the largest number of check-ups among the Empowered Action Group States.


About PMSMA:

The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan has been launched by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India.

  • The program aims to provide assured, comprehensive and quality antenatal care, free of cost, universally to all pregnant women on the 9thof every month. PMSMA guarantees a minimum package of antenatal care services to women in their 2nd/3rd trimesters of pregnancy at designated government health facilities.
  • The programme follows a systematic approach for engagement with private sector which includes motivating private practitioners to volunteer for the campaign; developing strategies for generating awareness and appealing to the private sector to participate in the Abhiyan at government health facilities.



Data indicates that Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in India was very high in the year 1990 with 556 women dying during child birth per hundred thousand live births as compared to the global MMR of 385/lakh live births. As per RGI- SRS (2011-13), MMR of India has now declined to 167/lakh live births against a global MMR of 216/lakh live births (2015). India has registered an overall decline in MMR of 70% between 1990 and 2015 in comparison to a global decline of 44%.

While India has made considerable progress in the reduction of maternal and infant mortality, every year approximately 44000 women still die due to pregnancy-related causes and approximately 6.6 lakh infants die within the first 28 days of life. Many of these deaths are preventable and many lives can be saved if quality care is provided to pregnant women during their antenatal period and high risk factors such as severe anemia, pregnancy-induced hypertension etc are detected on time and managed well.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues.


INSV Tarini

Context: An all-woman Indian Navy team on Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Tarini has successfully crossed the notoriously rough Drake Passage, as they rounded Cape Horn off the Southern tip of South America, sometimes called the Mount Everest of sailing.


INSV Tarini:

INSV Tarini is a 56 foot sailing vessel built in India by M/s Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd, Goa. It was inducted into the Indian Navy recently in February 2017. It has Raymarine navigation suite and an array of satellite communication systems for perfect navigation anywhere in the world. It showcases the ‘Make in India’ initiative on the International forum.


Navika Sagar Parikrama:

The voyage of Navika Sagar Parikrama began from Goa coast in September 2017 and will be finishing around March 2018. The expedition will be covered in five legs, with stop-overs at 4 ports: Fremantle (Australia), Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands), and Cape Town (South Africa).

The project is considered essential towards promoting Ocean Sailing activities in the Indian Navy along with showcasing the Government’s support for empowering women.



It also aims to showcase ‘Nari Shakti’ on the world platform and help revolutionise societal attitudes and mindset towards women in India by raising visibility of their participation in challenging environs. The voyage aims to show case the ‘Make in India’ initiative by sailing onboard the indigenously built INSV Tarini. The crew would monitor and report marine pollution on the high seas.


Facts for Prelims:

The Drake Passage is the body of water between South America’s Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. It connects the southwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean (Scotia Sea) with the southeastern part of the Pacific Ocean and extends into the Southern Ocean.

The passage between Cape Horn and Livingston Island is the shortest crossing from Antarctica to any other landmass. There is no significant land anywhere around the world at the latitudes of Drake Passage, which is important to the unimpeded flow of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current which carries a huge volume of water through the Passage and around Antarctica.


Sources: the hindu.



Paper 2:

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.


Maharashtra govt rolls out 1% reservation for orphans


In an unprecedented move, Maharashtra government has announced a 1% reservation in the open category for orphans in the state. Officials say Maharashtra is, perhaps, the first state to bring such a policy.

Eligibility: Only children who have no idea who their parents were and what their caste is will be covered under this reservation.


Significance of this move:

The historic decision is aimed at social and economic empowerment of such children. This will help orphans get education and employment, especially in government services. This will also help many children who otherwise find it hard to be assimilated in the mainstream.


Sources: toi.

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


International Solar Alliance

Context: In one of its first outreach programmes post-ratification, the International Solar Alliance (ISA) is hosting an event ‘International Solar Alliance Forum’ at the Future World Energy Summit (WFES) 2018.


About ISA:

The Paris Declaration establishes ISA as an alliance dedicated to the promotion of solar energy among its member countries. The ISA’s major objectives include global deployment of over 1,000GW of solar generation capacity and mobilisation of investment of over US$ 1000 billion into solar energy by 2030.

  • As an action-oriented organisation, the ISA brings together countries with rich solar potential to aggregate global demand, thereby reducing prices through bulk purchase, facilitating the deployment of existing solar technologies at scale, and promoting collaborative solar R&D and capacity building.
  • When the ISA Framework Agreement entered into force on December 6th, 2017, ISA formally became a de-jure treaty based International Intergovernmental Organization, headquartered at Gurugram, India. As of now the ISA Framework Agreement has been signed by 48 countries, with 19 of them also depositing the instruments of ratification with the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


UN Environment Management Group




Context: The Secretariat of the UN Environment Management Group (EMG) is planning to hold a new series of ‘Nexus Dialogues,’ create two new Issue Management Groups and launch a campaign for waste management in the UN, among its activities in 2018.

  • Upcoming dialogues will address sustainable consumption and production (SCP), biodiversity, and UN system support for SDG implementation at the national level. The dialogues seek to contribute to a common understanding of the integrated SDGs and targets on selected “nexus” themes.
  • The EMG also will launch a waste management campaign dubbed ‘Say yes to less,’ to raise awareness of waste reduction and management among UN staff.


About the UN Environment Management Group (EMG):

The EMG is a UN system-wide coordination body on environment and human settlements. It was established in 2001 pursuant to a UN General Assembly resolution, supporting a proposal of the UN Secretary-General.

  • Its members include the secretariats of the multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and other specialized agencies, programmes and organs of the UN. Representatives of intergovernmental bodies, civil society and international non-governmental organizations can be invited to contribute.
  • The group is chaired by the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme and supported by a secretariat provided by UNEP, located in Geneva, Switzerland. The EMG works through technical meetings, Issue Management Groups and task forces.


Sources: et.


Paper 3:

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


‘Nirman Samvaad’

What is it? It is A one-day Mega Conclave, a first ever interaction between the Ministry of Railways and the Construction Industry. The conclave was held recently in New Delhi.


Key facts:

  • It was a major event aimed at taking measures to ensure expeditious implementation of ambitious Railway Infrastructure Development Plans. It aims to streamline procedures and remove bottlenecks to ensure the fast track implementation of projects on the railways.
  • This Conclave was organized by Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd. (RVNL), a dedicated arm of Ministry of Railways for fast track implementation of railway projects.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


Maharashtra unveils Public cloud policy


Maharashtra has unveiled a public cloud policy, virtually mandating its departments to shift their data storage onto the cloud, which intends to make them available for free to the general public.


About the policy:

The policy, a first by any State, will create a $2 billion opportunity for the industry. Under the framework, the government will make it mandatory for the data to be stored within the country.

  • The objective is to use public cloud in cases wherever the Right to Information Act is applicable, and then go in for enhanced security features for private and sensitive data, which will also be stored on the cloud.
  • A four-member committee under the secretary of the information technology department has been formed by the CM to oversee the implementation of the policy.
  • Once the policy is implemented and the data stored on the cloud, the access to the public cloud services will either be free or on a pay-per-usage model.
  • The State policy is compliant with the Union government’s National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy, 2012, which mandates facilitation of access to government-owned shareable data in human readable and machine readable forms.


Significance of this move:

The government produces 1.25 lakh documents every day. Most of them are being stored at 75 centralised data centres, resulting in a high maintenance cost. With the public cloud, investment on these centres is not required. The idea is to reduce expenditure on IT resources. This will also accelerate e-governance, and open an area for private sector investments, taking new technologies to all the departments as the government is the biggest data creator and consumer.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.




Context: Prime Minister Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu recently dedicated to the nation the iCreate facility located on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.


About iCreate:

iCreate is an independent centre created with the objective of facilitating entrepreneurship through a blend of creativity, innovation, engineering, product design and leveraging emerging technologies to deal with major issues such as food security, water, connectivity, cybersecurity, IT and electronics, energy, bio-medical equipment and devices etc.

Aim: iCreate aims to develop an ecosystem in India to generate quality entrepreneurs.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


2002 AJ129

What is it? It is an asteroid larger than the tallest building on Earth, Burj Khalifa. As per reports, the asteroid will pass Earth on February 4, missing our planet by 2.6 million miles. It has been classified as a “near-Earth object” and “potentially hazardous” by US space agency NASA.


What are asteroids?

Asteroids are celestial objects that are smaller than planets, which are irregularly shaped and lack fixed orbits. In our solar system, most asteroids originate from the asteroid belt, a zone between Mars and Jupiter, where these objects are scattered about.


Sources: et.