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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 19 May 2018

Insights Daily Current Affairs, 19 May 2018


Paper 1:

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.


Lalit Kala Akademi

Context: President Ram Nath Kovind has appointed Mumbai-based sculptor Uttam Pacharne the chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi.


Lalit Kala Akademi:

  • The Lalit Kala Akademi or National Academy of Art is India’s National Academy of Fine Arts.
  • It is an autonomous organization, established at New Delhi in 1954 to promote and propagate understanding of Indian art, both within and outside the country.
  • It does so through providing scholarships, a fellow program, and sponsoring and organizing numerous exhibitions in India and overseas.


Sources: the hindu.

Paper 2:

Topic: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.


Cauvery Management Scheme

Context: The Supreme Court has ordered the Central government to implement its draft Cauvery Management Scheme after finding it in consonance with its February 16 judgment. The court also found the draft scheme in conformity with Section 6A of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act.



The apex court, in its verdict delivered on February 16, had asked the Centre to frame the Cauvery management scheme, including creation of the Cauvery Managament Board, for release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.


Modifications made by the Court:

  • The top court had modified the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) award of 2007 and made it clear that it will not be extending the time for this on any ground.
  • It had raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu’s share, while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin, saying the issue of drinking water has to be placed on a “higher pedestal”.


About the Cauvery Management Scheme:

  • The Cauvery water management scheme will deal with the release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
  • It will be implemented by the Cauvery Management Authority (CMA). CMA will be the sole body to implement the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award as modified by the apex court. The Centre would have no say in it except for issuing administrative advisories to it.


What’s the dispute?

The dispute began with Karnataka’s demand of ‘equitable sharing of the waters’ after it expanded farming activities in the Cauvery basin. It claimed that the previous agreements, which happened between erstwhile Madras Presidency and Kingdom of Mysore in 1924, were highly skewed to what is present day Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu used to get about 602 TMC of the total water, leaving only about 138 TMC for Karnataka.


Facts for Prelims:

  • Cauvery River rises on Brahmagiri Hill of the Western Ghats in south-western Karnataka state. It flows in a south-easterly direction for 475 miles through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • Before emptying into the Bay of Bengal south of Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, the river breaks into a large number of distributaries forming a wide delta called the “garden of southern India.” The river is important for its irrigation canal projects.
  • In the upper course, at the Krishnaraja Sagara, the Kaveri is joined by two tributaries, the Hemavati and Lakshmantirtha, where a dam was constructed for irrigation.
  • Upon entering Tamil Nadu, the Kaveri continues through a series of twisted wild gorges until it reaches Hogenakal Falls. There the Mettur Dam was construted for irrigation and hydel power.
  • The Kaveri’s main tributaries are the Kabani (Kabbani), Amaravati, Noyil, and Bhavani rivers.


Sources: the hindu.

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


“AYUSH” finds a place in English Language

Context: The Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology has decided to adopt the word ‘AYUSH’ in Hindi and English languages for scientific and technical purposes.

As approved by the Commission, the word ‘ayush’ will have the meaning “Traditional and Non-Conventional Systems of Health Care and Healing which include Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa, Homoeopathy etc.



The “AYUSH” became popular as the acronym for five traditional and complementary systems of medicine, namely Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy and successfully adopted and used in all Government communications.



This decision will give a boost to India’s efforts to find a place for the Indian Systems of Healthcare in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) of the World Health Organization.  The Indian systems finding a place in ICD will lead to their international acceptance, increased rigor of research in them and their over-all development.


About International Classification of Diseases (ICD):

  • The International Classification of Diseases is the standard diagnostic tool for epidemiology, health management, and clinical purposes. This includes the analysis of the general health situation of population groups. It is used to monitor the incidence and prevalence of diseases and other health problems, providing a picture of the general health situation of countries and populations.
  • The first international classification edition, known as the International List of Causes of Death, was adopted by the International Statistical Institute in 1893. WHO was entrusted with the ICD at its creation in 1948. The ICD is revised periodically and is currently in its 10th revision.


Uses of ICD:

Uses include monitoring of the incidence and prevalence of diseases, observing reimbursements and resource allocation trends, and keeping track of safety and quality guidelines. They also include the counting of deaths as well as diseases, injuries, symptoms, reasons for encounter, factors that influence health status, and external causes of disease.


Facts for Prelims:

Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology:

The Commission for Scientific & Technical Terminology (CSTT) was set up on December 21, 1960 by a resolution of Government of India under the proviso to Clause (4) of Article 344 of the Constitution with the objective to evolve and define scientific and technical terms in Hindi and all Indian languages; publish glossaries, definitional dictionaries, encyclopaedia.


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: ICD- 10, CSTT.
  • For Mains: Significance and the need of ICD.


Sources: pib.

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


SCO Cultural Ministers’ meeting

Context: 15th SCO Cultural Ministers’ Meeting is being held in Sanya, China. India is participating in the Cultural Ministers’ Meet for first time as full time member.


About SCO:

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an eight-member multilateral organization, established on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai, China by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
  • Pakistan also became the full member of SCO along with India, taking its membership to 8.
  • After the expansion of membership, SCO represents approximately 42% of the world’s population, 20% of its GDP and 22% of the landmass.
  • The main objectives of the SCO are to strengthen relations among member states; promote cooperation in various fields like political affairs, economics, and education, culture, tourism, environment protection etc. and promote regional peace, security, and stability among others.


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: SCO Cultural Ministers’ meet.
  • For Mains: SCO and its significance.


Sources: pib.


Paper 3:

Topic: Infrastructure.


Zoji La Tunnel

Context: The construction of the much-awaited infrastructure project Zoji La tunnel has begun.


About the Zojila pass tunnel:

What is it? It is a 14.2-km long tunnel project in Jammu and Kashmir to provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh, which remains cut-off from the rest of India during winters due to heavy snowfall. “Zojila tunnel will be the longest bi-directional tunnel in Asia.

Implementation: The project will be implemented by the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRT&H) through the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).

Benefits of the tunnel: The project would enhance the safety of travellers crossing Zojila Pass and reduce the travel time from 3.5 hours to 15 minutes. This pass is most strategic for the entire Kargil sector which has seen intrusion and war in the past. It will further increase the employment potential for the local labourers for the project activities.


Facts for Prelims:

Zojila pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway which remains closed during winters (December to April) due to heavy snowfall and avalanches cutting off Leh-Ladakh region from Kashmir.


Sources: pib.

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


Arsenic contamination


Context: The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in collaboration with a private company has developed a new device-  ‘Arsenic Sensor and Removal Media- which can be used to detect and remove arsenic content from water and make it safe and usable by households.


Permissible limit:

According to the WHO’s guidelines for drinking water quality (2011), the permissible limit of Arsenic in groundwater is .01 mg per litre. However, in India the permissible limit in drinking water has recently been revised from .05 mg per litre to .01 mg per litre.


Arsenic in groundwater:

  • Arsenic in ground water is a geogenic contaminant i.e. caused by natural geologic processes. Incidence of high arsenic in groundwater reported from various parts of the country, particularly in the Ganga- plains is a serious threat to the health of human being.
  • Over the last three decades numerous measures have been initiated which includes alternate arrangement for supply of arsenic free water to the affected populace and providing arsenic removal plants. Arsenic occurrences in ground water in these areas is highly sporadic in nature and all the sources in these areas are not necessarily contaminated.
  • Technological options to combat arsenic menace, in groundwater, to ensure supply of arsenic free water, in the affected areas can be in-situ remediation of arsenic from aquifer system, ex-situ remediation of arsenic from tapped groundwater by arsenic removal technologies, use of surface water source as an alternative to the contaminated groundwater source, tapping alternate safe aquifers for supply of arsenic free groundwater or combination of above techniques.


What has the government done in this regard?

  • The government is tapping alternate safe aquifers, for supply of arsenic free groundwater in many areas on a local scale; however, this approach would require extensive studies and analysis for mapping of groundwater availability, freshwater reserves and to examine mobilization of arsenic in the aquifer, both on spatial and temporal scale, due to forcing perturbation.
  • Under the National Aquifer mapping programme (NAQUIM) of CGWB special attention has been given to this aspect and water wells have been constructed tapping arsenic free aquifers using state of the art technology in parts of Ballia and Ghazipur districts of Uttar Pradesh”.
  • However, the growing arsenic occurrences demands a systematic translation of success stories of one place/region to another and formulating a comprehensive plan to mitigate the arsenic problem through a wider consultation process.


Way ahead:

Technological options to combat arsenic menace, in groundwater, to ensure supply of arsenic free water, in the affected areas can be in-situ remediation of arsenic from aquifer system, ex-situ remediation of arsenic from tapped groundwater by arsenic removal technologies, use of surface water source as an alternative to the contaminated groundwater source, tapping alternate safe aquifers for supply of arsenic free groundwater or combination of above techniques.


What’s important?

For Prelims and Mains: Arsenic contamination- effects, causes and solutions.


Sources: the hindu.

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


‘Green Good Deeds’


Context: The BRICS Ministerial on Environment has agreed to include “Green Good Deeds” in its official agenda in the next Ministerial in Brazil and another meeting in Russia.


“Green Good Deeds” campaign:

  • The campaign has been launched by the Environment Ministry to sensitise the people and students, in particular, about climate change and global warming. The objective of the campaign is to restore and return the clean and green environment to the next generation.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change had drawn up a list of over 500 Green Good Deeds and asked people to alter their behaviour to Green Good Behaviour to fulfil their Green Social Responsibility.
  • These small positive actions to be performed by individuals or organisations to strengthen the cause of environmental protection, were put on a mobile application named “Dr Harsh Vardhan App”.


Significance of this move:

International conferences on Environment have been deliberating and adopting declarations. However, these declarations are hardly put to practice at the ground level, involving every section of the society. “Green Good Deeds” is an idea to take it to the people and get them involved.


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: Green Good Deeds campaign, Dr Harsh Vardhan App.
  • For Mains: Significance and the need for such campaigns in creating awareness, Environment protection campaigns as people’s movement.


Sources: pib.