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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 04 September 2019

Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 04 September 2019

Table of contents:

GS Paper 1:

  1. Asiatic Society of Mumbai.
  2. Swachh Iconic Places.


GS Paper 2:

  1. North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited (NERAMAC).
  2. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.


GS Paper 3:

  1. PIL in Supreme Court for community kitchens in all states to combat hunger.
  2. One Nation-One Ration Card scheme.
  3. Ethanol
  4. ANDREX Project.
  5. Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment.


Facts for prelims:

  1. ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise (AUMX).
  2. Poshan Maah (National Nutrition Month).
  3. Kun.
  4. Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2019.
  5. Apache attack helicopters.


GS Paper 1:

Topics Covered:

  1. Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.


Asiatic Society of Mumbai


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: About the Society, it’s functions and objectives.


Context: Asiatic Society of Mumbai has elected the first woman president in the 215 years of its existence.

Prof Vispi Balaporia will now head the institution.


About Asiatic Society, Mumbai:

  • It is a learned society whose activities include conducting historical research, awarding historians, and running an institute of post-graduate studies.
  • Its library, home to over 1 lakh books, consists of rare manuscripts contributed to it by the East India Company, as well as generous donations.
  • The Society offers Junior Fellowships for research and recommends scholars for the Tagore National Fellowship of the Ministry of Culture.
  • The Governor of Maharashtra is the Society’s Chief Patron.


It’s evolution:

  1. It began journey in 1804 as the Literary Society of Bombay.
  2. Founded by Sir James Mackintosh, a Scottish colonial administrator who had a keen interest in Oriental studies.
  3. In 1826, it became the Mumbai arm of the London-based Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland and came to be called the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (BBRAS).
  4. In 1954, the institution was severed from its London parent and became the Asiatic Society of Bombay. In 2002, it acquired its present name.


Sources: Indian Express.

Topics covered:

Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.


Swachh Iconic Places


What to study?

For Prelims: SIP and SBM- key features, brief overview of places chosen for SIP project.

For Mains: SBM- features, significance, challenges and sub- missions.


Context: Mata Vaishno Devi shrine atop the Trikuta hills in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir has been named country’s ‘Best Swachh Iconic Place’.


About Swachh Iconic Places (SIP):

What is it? It is an initiative of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation under Swachh Bharat Mission.

Aims to take iconic places and their surroundings to higher standards of Swachhata, so that all visitors benefit and also take away home the message of cleanliness.

Implementation of the project: It is a collaborative project with three other central Ministries: Urban Development, Culture, Tourism; all levels in the concerned States and more importantly, Public Sector and Private companies as partners.


  1. Phase I iconic places are: Ajmer Sharif Dargah, CST Mumbai, Golden Temple, Kamakhya Temple, MaikarnikaGhat, Meenakshi Temple, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, Shree Jagannath Temple, The Taj Mahal and Tirupati Temple.
  2. Phase II included Gangotri, Yamunotri, Mahakaleshwar Temple, Charminar, Convent and Church of St. Francis of Assissi, Kalady, Gommateswara, BaidyanathDham, Gaya Tirth and Somnath temple.
  3. Phase III includes RaghavendraSwamy Temple (Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh); Hazardwari Palace (Murshidabad, West Bengal); Brahma Sarovar Temple (Kurukshetra, Haryana); VidurKuti (Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh); Mana village (Chamoli, Uttarakhand); Pangong Lake (Leh-Ladakh, J&K); Nagvasuki Temple (Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh); ImaKeithal/market (Imphal, Manipur); Sabarimala Temple (Kerala); and Kanvashram (Uttarakhand).


Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.


North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited (NERAMAC)


What to study?

For Prelims: Key features and objectives of NERAMAC.

For Mains: Significance and challenges faced by NE region and ways to address them.


Context: Foundation stone of North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited (NERAMAC) Marketing complex was recently laid in Guwahati, Assam



  • The NERAMAC is a pioneer marketing organization in the field of Agri-Horti sector of the North-eastern region, involved in supporting farmers right from the fields and up to the markets to the end consumers through registered FPO/FPCs.
  • It was incorporated in the year 1982 as a Government of India Enterprise and having its registered office at Guwahati and operating under the administrative control of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER).


Sources: pib.

Topics Covered:

  1. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.
  2. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: The Fund, its objectives, need for funding, significance and challenges.


Context: India has announced a contribution of 22 million US Dollars to the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFTAM) for the 6th replenishment cycle, an increase of 10% over the amount contributed by us in the 5th cycle.


What is it?

  • The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (or simply the Global Fund) is an international financing organization.
  • It aims to “attract, leverage and invest additional resources to end the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to support attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations.”
  • Founded in 2002, the Global Fund is a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases.
  • The organization maintains its secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.


Historical background:

The Global Fund was formed as an independent, non-profit foundation under Swiss law and hosted by the World Health Organization in January 2002. In January 2009, the organization became an administratively autonomous organization, terminating its administrative services agreement with the World Health Organization.

Sources: the Hindu.



GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered:

  1. Issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.


PIL in Supreme Court for community kitchens in all states to combat hunger 


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: What are community kitchens, their significance and the need?


Context: A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to all states and union territories (UTs) to formulate a scheme for community kitchens to combat hunger and malnutrition.


What does the PIL seek?

Many children under the age of five die every day due to hunger and malnutrition and this condition was violative of various fundamental rights, including the right to food and life of citizens.

Therefore, it is necessary to create a national food grid for people falling outside the purview of the public distribution scheme.



Various schemes to combat hunger, malnutrition and the resulting starvation are in place. But, in reality, effective implementation of the schemes was unclear and fairly limited.

In the interest of justice and for entitlement of nutritious food, which has been held as a basic fundamental and human right, in both national and international law, alike, the establishment of community kitchens may be directed as an added mechanism for provision of nutritious food with the intent of holistically combating eradication of hunger, malnutrition and starvation in the country, and diseases, illnesses and deaths resulting thereof.


Way ahead:

There are various state-funded community kitchens being run in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Jharkhand and Delhi that serve meals at subsidised rates in hygienic conditions.

Then, there are the concepts of soup kitchen, meal centre, food kitchen or community kitchen, in other countries, where food is offered to the hungry usually for free or sometimes at a below-market price.



  • Food and Agriculture Report, 2018 stated that India houses 195.9 million of the 821 million undernourished people in the world, accounting for approximately 24% of the world’s hungry.
  • Prevalence of undernourishment in India is 14.8%, higher than both the global and Asian average.
  • The most alarming figure revealed is that approximately 4500 children die every day under the age of five years in our country resulting from hunger and malnutrition, amounting to over three lakh deaths every year owing to hunger, of children alone.


Sources: the Hindu.

Topics covered:

  1. Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security.


One Nation-One Ration Card scheme


What to study?

For prelims: key features of the proposed scheme, PDS.

For mains: Need for, significance of the scheme and challenges in its implementation.


Context: Four more States join ration card portability.

  • Ration card holders in Kerala and Karnataka, as well as in Rajasthan and Haryana, will be able to buy subsidised food from ration shops in the neighbouring State from next month.


About the scheme:

One Nation One Ration Card (RC) will ensure all beneficiaries especially migrants can access PDS across the nation from any PDS shop of their own choice.

Benefits: no poor person is deprived of getting subsidised foodgrains under the food security scheme when they shift from one place to another. It also aims to remove the chance of anyone holding more than one ration card to avail benefits from different states.

Significance: This will provide freedom to the beneficiaries as they will not be tied to any one PDS shop and reduce their dependence on shop owners and curtail instances of corruption. 



  1. Prone to corruption: Every state has its own rules for Public Distribution System (PDS). If ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ is implemented, it will further boost corruption in an already corrupted Public Distribution System.
  2. The scheme will increase the woes of the common man and, the middlemen and corrupt PDS shop owners will exploit them.
  3. Tamil Nadu has opposed the proposal of the Centre, saying it would result in undesirable consequences and is against federalism.


Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

  1. Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.




What to study?

For Prelims: Ethanol blended petrol programme, National Policy on Bio- fuels.

For Mains: Ethanol blending- significance, potential, challenges and solutions.


Context: CCEA has approved an increase in the price of ethanol to be procured by public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) from sugar mills for blending with petrol for the 2019-20 supply year from December 1.

  • It has also allowed conversion of old sugar into ethanol.


What is ethanol?

Ethanol is basically alcohol of 99%-plus purity, which can be used for blending with petrol.

Produced mainly from molasses, a byproduct of sugar manufacture.


Benefits of the latest move:

There is a huge incentive to produce ethanol today. This has been additionally facilitated by the government mandating 10% blending of petrol with ethanol. If mills are able to divert more of cane juice for ethanol, it would mean producing less sugar. Since the country is producing too much sugar and is importing oil, the ethanol-blending programme is beneficial both for mills and for the country’s balance of payments.


Benefits of ethanol blending:

  1. Reduction in import dependency.
  2. Support to agricultural sector.
  3. Environmental friendly fuel.
  4. Additional income to farmers.


About Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme:

Launched in 2003 on pilot basis.

The aim is to promote the use of alternative and environmental friendly fuels.

Implemented by the Ministry or Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs).



  • India is the third largest consumer of energy in the world after China and the US.
  • India is dependent on imports for about 82.1% of its crude oil requirement and to the extent of about 44.4% in case of natural gas.
  • India is expected to need 10 billion litres of ethanol annually to meet the 20% blending target in 2030 if petrol consumption continues to grow at the current pace. At present, the capacity stands at 1.55 billion litres a year.


Concerns and challenges:

  1. Consistent shortfall in supply of ethanol in the past, mainly on account of the cyclical nature of the sugarcane harvests in the country.
  2. Lack of an integrated approach in the EBP across its value chain.


Way ahead:

The National Policy on Bio-fuels has set a target of 20% blending of biofuels, both for bio-diesel and bio-ethanol. This will require an integrated approach in the Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP). The time is ripe for a cogent and consistent policy and administrative framework in the program implementation for the success of EBP.


Sources: the hindu.


Topics Covered:

Awareness in space.

ANDREX Project


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: key objectives and significance of the mission.


Context: Scientists have discovered that, contrary to existing assumptions, biological processes far out at sea are the most important factors determining how the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide.

  • This enhances the understanding of the link between the Southern Ocean — next to Antarctica — and the atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
  • Scientists studied data collected as part of the ANDREX project (Antarctic Deep water Rates of Export) which measured the physical, biological, and chemical properties of the waters in the gyre between 2008 and 2010.



Carbon dioxide is absorbed in the surface oceans and stored in the deep seas, gradually, over a timescale of 100s to 1,000s years.

The Southern Ocean plays a critical role in how the carbon dioxide is taken out of the atmosphere, and knowing how it functions helps scientists understand this mechanism’s role during dramatic climate transitions in the past, such as the ice ages, and better predict the current and future climate change.


About ANDREX project:

The project seeks to assess the role of the Weddell gyre in driving the southern closure of the meridional overturning circulation, in ventilating the deep global ocean, and in sequestering carbon and nutrients in the global ocean abyss.

Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

Awareness in space.

Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Key objectives, components and significance of the mission.


Context: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and European Space Agency (ESA) asteroid researchers and spacecraft engineers have come together to check the progress in the mission which is known as Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment (AIDA).


About AIDA:

  • Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment (AIDA) is a joint research mission between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) teams.
  • It aims to study the viability of diverting an asteroid by crashing a spacecraft into its surface.
  • The project aims to deflect the orbit of one of the two Didymos asteroids between Earth and Mars, with an observer craft gauging the effect of the impact more effectively than ground-based observers could manage.

Sources: the Hindu.


Facts for prelims:


ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise (AUMX):

The first ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise (AUMX) between regional bloc- Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and United States is being held at the Sattahip Naval Base in Thailand.


About Poshan Maah (National Nutrition Month):

The Government is celebrating the month of September as the National Nutrition Month under the Poshan Abhiyan.

  • The primary objectiveis to take the messages of POSHAN to the grass root level.
  • The programme- an initiative of WCD Ministry and NITI Aayog is supported by 18 line Ministries/Departments/Government Organizations.
  • It seeks to synergise all efforts by leveraging technology and intends to take nutrition awareness to the level of Jan Andolan or People’s Movement.
  • The programme focuses on 8 themes – Antenatal Care, Optimal Breastfeeding (Early & Exclusive), Complementary Feeding, Anemia, Growth Monitoring, Girls-education, diet, right age of Marriage, Hygiene & Sanitation, Food Fortification.


Mt. Kun:

Context: The Indian Army recently conducted a mountaineering expedition to Mt. Kun.

Kun is the second-highest peak in between the Zanskar and Kargil regions of Ladakh.

It is a part of the Nun Kun mountain massif in the Himalayas.

Nun (7135 m) is the highest peak in the part of the Himalayan range lying on the Indian side of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.


Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2019:

Context: As part of the ongoing Indo-US defence cooperation, a joint military training, Exercise Yudh Abhyas – 2019 is being conducted at Joint Base Lewis Mc Chord, Washington, USA.


Apache attack helicopters:

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has formally inducted eight AH-64E Apache attack helicopters into service at the Pathankot Air Force Station.

  • Apache attack helicopters are being purchased to replace the Mi-35 fleet.
  • India is 16th nation to select the Apache and the AH-64E is the most advanced variant.
  • Apache is the most advanced multi-role heavy attack helicopter in the world.
  • Alongside the capability to shoot fire and forget anti-tank guided missiles, air-to-air missiles, rockets and other ammunitions, it also has modern Electronic Warfare (EW) capabilities to provide versatility to helicopters in a network-centric aerial warfare.