Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 23 September 2019

Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 23 September 2019


Table of contents:


GS Paper 2:

  1. Recognition of Prior Learning – RPL.
  2. AISHE report.
  3. PACEsetter Fund programme.


GS Paper 3:

  1. Head on Generation (HOG) technology.
  2. Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA).


Facts for Prelims:

  1. Kargil to Kohima (K2K) Ultra Marathon – “Glory Run”.
  2. Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE).
  3. Sagittarius A*.
  4. Happy Seeder.
  5. Nonylphenol (NP).
  6. West Bank.
  7. Shodh Shuddh.
  8. Pusa Yashasvi.
  9. Mochi Swabhimaan Initiative.
  10. #FridaysForFuture.

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.


Recognition of Prior Learning – RPL


What to study?

For Prelims: What is RPL?

For Mains: Need for and significance of RPL, Skill gaps and ways to address them.


Context: Minister, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship distributes certificates to RPL trainees under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana.

More than 2 million candidates across the country have received RPL certification under the PMKVY.


About Recognition of Prior Learning – RPL:

RPL is a key element under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).


The objectives of RPL are:

  1. Align the competencies of the unregulated sectors of the country with the National Skills Qualification Framework
  2. Enhance the chances of employment of individuals and provide them with more options for higher education.
  3. Reduce the inequalities that are present due to the privileges given to some types of skills and knowledge over others.


Significance and the need for RPL:

  • A huge section of India’s unorganized workforce are unskilled and semi-skilled. Most of them pick up skills and knowledge in an informal set up by observing people or working under their guidance or through complete self-learning.
  • As a result, even though they manage to get a job and earn a decent wage or salary, they may not be able to improve their skills.
  • This affects their productivity and quality of output.
  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) can help them get assessed and certified on their current competencies as per NSQF levels.
  • RPL also shows them a path to bridge their current knowledge and skill levels to reach a competency level or go for higher skills for professional growth.


Sources: pib.

Topics Covered:

  1. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


AISHE report


What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings of the report.

For Mains: Concerns, challenges ahead and measures to address them.


Context: All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) report for 2018-19 was recently released by the HRD ministry.



  • The survey, undertaken as an annual, web-based, pan-India exercise on the status of Higher Education since 2010-11, covers all the Higher Educational Institutions in the country
  • The survey collects data on several parameters like teachers, student enrolment, programmes, examination results, education finance, infrastructure, etc.


Key findings:

  1. Gender gap narrowing.
  2. More Girls in two states: In Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, there are now more females in the age group of 18-23 enrolling for higher education than male students.
  3. Female enrolment improved from 47.6% in 2017-18 to 48.6% in 2018-19.
  4. The gross enrolment ratio (GER) increased marginally – from 25.8 in 2017-18 to 26.3 in 2018-19.
  5. In absolute terms, enrolment increased from 3.66 crore to 3.74 crore students in the same period. GER for SCs has also shown a growth from 21.8 to 23.0 and STs from 15.9 to 17.2. 
    Number of universities has grown from 903 in 2017-18 to 993 in 2018-19 and total HEIs (higher educational institutions) from 49,964 to 51,649 in the same period.
  6. Number of faculty has also increased from 13.88 lakh to 14.16 lakh.
  7. Preferred stream at PG level: While one-third of undergraduate students are enrolled in humanities, management seems to be a preferred stream at the postgraduate (PG) level. Science and engineering technology registered relatively more enrolment in M. Phil and Ph.D programmes.
  8. Preferred stream at the UG level, 35.9% of the total enrolment was in arts/ humanities/social science, just 16.5% students are pursuing science, followed by commerce with 14.1%. Engineering is the fourth choice.


Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

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


PACEsetter Fund programme


What to study?

For Prelims: What is it? Overview.

For Mains: Significance and the need for this fund, why promote off- grid clean energy?


Context: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy awards grants to four projects in second round of PACEsetter Fund programme.


PACEsetter fund:

  • Constituted by India and the USA in 2015.
  • It is a INR 50 crore (USD 7.9 million) fund jointly capitalized by the Governments of the Republic of India and the United States of America
  • It is a joint fund to provide early-stage grant funding to accelerate the commercialization of innovative off-grid clean energy products, systems, and business models.
  • The Fund will award grants for direct support of innovative technology, business models, and programs including but not limited to: rural energy services companies (full scale integrated operators); rural distribution companies/franchisees; operations/maintenance companies; technology implementers/ system integrators; and enterprises.



To be eligible, projects must be focused on improving the viability of off grid renewable energy businesses and organizations, under served individuals and communities in India without access to grid connected power or with limited or intermittent access less than 8 hours per day using small scale (under 1 megawatt) clean energy systems.



Energy access is crucial for improving the quality of life for India’s citizens and their economic conditions, and 24/7 energy availability remains a priority for the Indian government.

Off-grid, clean energy technologies, combined with innovative financing models, market-based solutions, and policy alignment, have tremendous potential to become a transformative agent of economic opportunity and rural development.


Sources: pib.

GS Paper 3:


Topics Covered:

  1. Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


Head on Generation (HOG) technology


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Features and significance of HOG and EOG technologies.


Context: Railway Ministry is upgrading all existing Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches with the Head on Generation (HOG) technology.

Significance: This would cause the trains to become more cost-efficient and less polluting.


What is Head on Generation (HOG) technology?

  • The system runs the train’s ‘hotel load’ (the load of air conditioning, lights, fans, and pantry, etc.) by drawing electricity from the overhead electric lines through the pantograph.
  • The power supply from the overhead cable is 750 volts at single-phase, and a transformer with a winding of 945 kVA converts it to a 750 Volts 50 Hz output at 3-phase. This energy is then provided to the compartments.


How is it different from the present EOG technology?

Under the End on Generation (EOG) system, the train’s ‘hotel load’ (the load of air conditioning, lights, fans, and pantry, etc.) is provided with electricity from two large diesel generator sets, which supply 3-phase power at 750 Volts 50 Hz to the entire length of the train.

Each coach then picks up the power supply through a 60 KVA transformer, bringing down the voltage to 110 volts at which level the equipment in the compartment is run. The generator cars are attached to either end of the train, giving the system its name.


Benefits of HOG over EOG:

  • Since the HOG-fitted trains do not require power from diesel generators at all, they only have one emergency generator car attached, instead of two regular generator cars.
  • The extra space created would now be used for an LSLRD (LHB Second Luggage, Guard & Divyaang Compartment)– meaning more passengers can be accommodated.
  • Cost savings would be significant: Once all LHB trains get the new system, NR 1390 crores would be saved every year.
  • HOG system is free of air and noise pollution: It would bring down yearly CO2 and NOx emissions, which are currently at 1724.6 tonnes/annum and 7.48 tonnes/annum respectively, to zero.
  • The reduction in emissions could also help the Railways accrue carbon credits, and trade them on the international market.
  • With the noise-emitting generator sets gone, noise pollution would also drop.


Sources: Indian Express.

Topics Covered:

  1. Disaster and disaster management.


Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA)

What to study?

For Prelims: PDNA- Features.

For Mains: Need for and significance of PDNA in planning.


Context: The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) recently organised a one day National workshop on Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA).



NIDM recently undertook the study for developing a scientific tool on Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), under the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP).

The focus of this workshop is to disseminate the outcome documents of the study to all the relevant stakeholders so that the same may be utilized by them as a reference document while preparing the memorandum for submission to the MHA in post disaster phase.


What are Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA)?

  • The PDNA tool was developed by the UN Development Group, the World Bank and the European in
  • The aim was to develop and use common assessment and recovery planning approaches in post-crisis settings.
  • The main goal is to assess the full extent of a disaster’s impact, define the needs for recovery, and, in so doing, serve as the basis for designing a recovery strategy and guide donors’ funding.
  • Objective: A PDNA looks ahead to restoring damaged infrastructure, houses, livelihoods, services, governance and social systems, and includes an emphasis on reducing future disaster risks and building resilience.


Significance of PDNA:

In the aftermath of disasters, affected countries need to invest significant resources to address recovery needs. These should be guided by a comprehensive assessment that estimates damages and losses, and identifies the needs of the affected population.

PDNA is the first step towards developing a holistic recovery programme that promotes equity and inclusion.



Sources: pib.



Facts for Prelims:


Kargil to Kohima (K2K) Ultra Marathon – “Glory Run”:

Context: Kargil to Kohima (K2K) Ultra Marathon – “Glory Run” was recently Flagged off from KARGIL.

The aim of the expedition is to promote awareness for Pedestrian Safety and recently launched Fit India Movement and also to pay tribute to the brave hearts who have made the supreme sacrifice for our motherland. 

What is important?

  1. Some of the passes in Ladakh region that the team will pass through areNamiki–La (12198 ft), Fout–La (13510 ft), Tanglang–La (17480 ft), Lachung–La (16613 ft), Baralancha–La (16040 ft) and Rohtang (13129 ft).
  2. States covered- Ladakh, HP, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West-Bengal, Assam and Nagaland.


Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE):

CABE is the highest advisory body to advise the Central and State Governments in the field of education.

Background: First established in 1920 and dissolved in 1923 as a measure of economy. It was revived in 1935. It has been reconstituted by the Government in July 2004.

Functions: CABE has a particularly important role to play at the present juncture in view of the significant socio-economic and socio-cultural developments taking place in the country and for the review of the National Policy on Education which is also due.

Composition: It consists of nominated members representing various interests in addition to elected members from the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, and the representatives of the Government of India, State Governments and UT Administrations.


Sagittarius A*:

What is it? It is a supermassive black hole 26,000 light years away from Earth, near the Galactic Centre, or the centre of the Milky Way.

Why in News? In recent years, it has shown unusual activity, and the area around it has been much brighter than usual.

Possible reasons for this:

  1. It may be that the Sagittarius A* has become hungrier, and has been feeding on nearby matter at a markedly faster rate, described as a “big feast”. 
  2. It could be growing faster than usual in size, or that the current model that measures its level of brightness is inadequate and is in need of an update.
  3. A black hole does not emit light by itself, but the matter that it consumes can be a source of light. A large quantity of gas from the S0-2 star, which travelled close to the black hole last year, may now have reached the latter. 


Happy Seeder:

What is it? Happy Seeder (HS) or Turbo Happy Seeder (THS) is a tractor-operated machine developed by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in collaboration with Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), for in-situ management of paddy stubble (straw).

Significance: Using Happy Seeders for direct wheat sowing leads to increased productivity and farmers can ‘stop burning paddy stubble’ to clear the fields.


Nonylphenol (NP):

What is it? It is a harmful chemical found in detergents. It is banned in several countries or is being phased out owing to its harmful effects on humans and aquatic organisms. 

Key facts:

  1. NP is a persistent, toxic, bio-accumulative chemical.
  2. It acts as a hormone disruptor and can be responsible for a number of human health effects.
  3. Its exposure through water, soil and food crops may result in a burning sensation, cough, laboured breathing, sore throat, unconsciousness, skin irritation and burns.
  4. Upon ingestion, it may cause abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea and sore throat. It is also toxic for aquatic animals. 
  5. It has amphiphilic properties and is substantially used as a surfactant in the textile industry.

Regulation: The Bureau of Industry Standards (BIS) has set the standard of phenolic compounds for drinking water (0.001 mg/L) and surface water (5.0 mg/L). However, unlike other countries, India does not have specific standards for Nonylphenol in drinking water and surface water.


West Bank:

Context: Israel has cut off power to some parts of occupied West Bank due to outstanding payments.

Key facts:

  • The West Bank is a landlocked territory, which is bordered by Jordan to the east and the Green Line separating it and Israel in the north, south and west.
  • The territory was occupied by Israel during the six-day war in 1967.
  • Under the Oslo Accords, which was signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in September 1993, the two sides agreed that West Bank and Gaza Strip would be treated as a single territorial unit.

Shodh Shuddh:

It is a Plagiarism Detention Software (PDS) launched by the union Ministry of HRD.

This service is being implemented by Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET), an Inter University Centre (IUC) of UGC.

Significance: It will significantly help to improve the quality of research outcome by ensuring the originality of ideas and publication of the research scholars.


Pusa Yashasvi:

  • It is a new wheat variety unveiled recently by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI).
  • Also Called HD-3226, the new variety has a higher weighted average yield compare to predecessors.
  • It also has higher content of protein and gluten (which contributes to strength and elasticity of the dough), apart from more zinc (at 36.8 parts per million.
  • It has high levels of resistance against all major rust fungi — yellow/stripe, brown/leaf and black/stem.
  • It will grow to its full maturity duration of 150 days and is ready for harvesting by end-March/early-April, 10-15 days before other wheat varieties.
  • It is also ideal for zero-tillage planting.


Mochi Swabhimaan Initiative:

It is a nationwide activity in which the Leather Sector Skill Council (LSSC) will extend support to the cobbler community who provide leather-based services, with CSR funds and bring respect to their skills by giving them a better working environment in the form of kiosks/umbrellas.

About the Leather Sector Skill Council (LSSC):

  • It is a non-profit organisation dedicated to meeting the demand for skilled workforce in the leather industry in India.
  • The LSSC was set up in 2012 as one of the key sector skill councils approved by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).



  • It is a movement that began in August 2018, after 15 years old Greta Thunberg sat in front of the Swedish parliament every schoolday for three weeks, to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis.
  • On the 8th of September, Greta decided to continue striking every Friday until the Swedish policies provided a safe pathway well under 2-degree C, i.e. in line with the Paris agreement
  • It has now become an international movement of school students who take time off from class to participate in demonstrations to demand action to prevent further global warming and climate change.

Why in News? Between September 20 and September 27, 2019 FFF, is marking Global Climate Strike. The strike is timed to be in sync with the Climate Action Summit that UN Secretary-General António Guterres will hold on September 23, 2019 to address the “global climate emergency”.