Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - August 14, 2018

Urban Development

Ease of Living index Pune tops Patna ranked lowest of 111 cities

City ranking

  • A city’s ranking reflects its ability to provide data, as well as its actual performance on four different parameters — institutions or governance, social indicators, economic indicators and physical infrastructure
  • The ranking marks “a shift to a data-driven approach to urban planning and management.

Top rankers

  • Three cities in Maharashtra — Pune, Navi Mumbai and Greater Mumbai — top the first Ease of Living Index brought out by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • The national capital, New Delhi, is ranked 65 among 111 cities, while Chennai is in 14th place. Kolkata did not participate in the survey.

Enlighten about the data used for ranking

  • New Delhi has a score of “zero” on indicators regarding inclusive housing and mixed land use and compactness, and a score of just 0.12 on economy and employment.
  • This does not mean that the capital actually performs so poorly on these indicators, according to members of the consortium which carried out the survey and produced the Index for the government.
  • Instead, it probably means that the NDMC and the three Municipal Corporations which govern the city simply failed to provide any data on those indicators.
  • If Delhi is showing zero in any category, it probably means that no data was given for any indicator under that category

Complex administration

  • Particular complications were seen in indicators such as health —where local governments did not have access to data from private hospitals.
  • The consortium assisted cities in plugging the data gap with regard to certain indicators.
  • The other cities in the top 10 include Tirupati, Chandigarh, Thane, Raipur, Indore, Vijayawada and Bhopal. The three cities at the bottom of the rankings are Rampur, Kohima and Patna.

FOCUS/Department of Space

'Sarabhai Centenary' programmes Jammu, Agartala to get Space Research Technology Centres

  • Jammu will be the first city in North India to get a full-fledged Space Technology Research Centre, devoted to research, academics and post-graduation study.
  • The Centre will function under the aegis of the Central University Jammu.
  • In addition to Jammu, the other town selected for opening a Space Technology Research Centre is in the Northeast in Tripura, where it would function under the aegis of National Institute of Technology (NIT) Agartala.
  • This was disclosed on the occasion of the beginning of year-long "Sarabhai Centenary" programmes of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), starting from today, that is, the 99th birth anniversary of Dr Vikram Sarabhai, the first Chairman of ISRO and the founding father of India's Space Programme.

Enlighten about Dr. Sarabhai

  • He was considered as the Father of the Indian space program; He was a great institution builder and established or helped to establish a large number of institutions in diverse fields.
  • He was instrumental in establishing the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad : after returning from Cambridge to an independent India in 1947, he persuaded charitable trusts controlled by his family and friends to endow a research institution near home in Ahmedabad.
  • Thus, Vikram Sarabhai founded the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad on November 11, 1947.
  • He was only 28 at that time. Sarabhai was a creator and cultivator of institutions and PRL was the first step in that direction. Vikram Sarabhai served of PRL from 1966-1971.
  • He was also Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.
  • He along with other Ahmedabad-based industrialists played a major role in the creation of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Some of the most well-known institutions established by Dr. Sarabhai are:

1. Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad
2. Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad
3. Community Science Centre, Ahmedabad
4. Darpan Academy for Performing Arts, Ahmedabad (along with his wife)
5. Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuramm
6. Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad (This institution came into existence after merging six institutions/centres established by Sarabhai)
7. Faster Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR), Kalpakkam
8. Varaiable Energy Cyclotron Project, Calcutta
9. Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Hyderabad
10. Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL), Jaduguda, Bihar

  • The establishment of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was one of his greatest achievements.
  • He successfully convinced the government of the importance of a space programme for a developing country like India after the Russian Sputnik launch. Dr. Sarabhai emphasized the importance of a space program
  • Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha, widely regarded as the father of India's nuclear science program, supported Dr. Sarabhai in setting up the first rocket launching station in India.
  • This center was established at Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram on the coast of the Arabian Sea, primarily because of its proximity to the equator.
  • After a remarkable effort in setting up the infrastructure, personnel, communication links, and launch pads, the inaugural flight was launched on November 21, 1963 with a sodium vapour payload.
  • As a result of Dr. Sarabhai's dialogue with NASA in 1966, the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) was launched during July 1975 - July 1976 (when Dr.Sarabhai was no more).
  • Dr. Sarabhai started a project for the fabrication and launch of an Indian Satellite. As a result, the first Indian satellite, Aryabhata, was put in orbit in 1975 from a Russian Cosmodrome.

Science & Technology

CSIR’s new patented Clot buster PEGylated Streptokinase set to revolutionize the treatment of Strokes


  • A new Clot buster, PEGylated Streptokinase - a Novel Biological Entity developed by Dr. Girish Sahni, DG, CSIR and Secretary, DSIR and his team of inventors at CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology (CSIR-IMTECH), Chandigarh is all set to revolutionize the treatment of ischemic strokes.

Ischemic stroke

  • It is a condition caused by a dysfunction in the supply of blood to the brain due to emboli, thrombus or atherosclerosis occurring in cerebral arteries.
  • According to the American Stroke Association (ASA), brain strokes are the second leading cause of death in the world with a staggering 15 million people effected causing 11 million people either die or become permanently disabled.
  • Surprisingly, the prevalence of stroke is much higher in India than the West and about 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes.

PEGylated Streptokinase for treatment of Ischemic Stroke.Epygen

  • PEGylated Streptokinase, the novel recombinant protein Thrombolytic molecule has been precisely engineered through decades of research for enhanced proteolytic stability and extended plasma half-life, fibrin-specificity and associated clot specificity, with reduced immuno-reactivity which would be significant attributes with unmistakable clinical advantages such as reduced probability of hemorrhage over current treatment regimens of thrombolytic drugs for acute stroke.
  • These are huge advantages with a potential to transform the way ischemic stroke, deep-vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and acute myocardial infarction are treated around the globe, especially in the developing world.

Disaster Management

Operation Madad and Operation Sahyog

  • Operation Madad – by Indian Navy - to rescue and relief operation in flood-hit Kerala.
  • Operation Sahyog – by India Army - to rescue people in flood-hit Kerala.
  • These both operations will support rescue and relief efforts of civil administration an National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF).

Operation Madad

  • The operation was launched to assist state administration and undertake disaster relief operations due to unprecedented flooding in many parts of Kerala following incessant rainfall and release of excess water from Idukki and other dams.
  • Under it, Naval helicopters were also deployed for ferrying diver power tools, axes and relief material to flooded areas to augment ongoing relief operations.

Operation Sahyog

  • Indian Army has deployed its men and machinery into disaster relief an rescue operations at Kannur, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Idukki after incessant rain and landslides hit various northern districts of the state.
  • The army constructed temporary bridges for the evacuations of th stranded people from the isolated villages

Banking/Financial Inclusion

Iris Scan Authentication feature for Aadhaar-base transactions through its micro ATM tablets


  • Axis Bank became first bank in the country to introduce Iris Scan Authentication feature for Aadhaar-base transactions through its micro ATM tablets.
  • These micro ATM tablets are Standardisation Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) certified and UIDAI compliant registered devices with completely integrated iris sensors.

Enlighten about the working

  • Customer need to select desired service (funds transfer, cash withdrawal) and feed-in the Aadhaar numbers in micro ATM.
  • Next, they have to choose IRIS as desire mode of authentication.
  • Verification will be done by scanning eyes on customers through tablet’s iris sensor camera in 3-5 seconds.
  • The transaction will be completed after biometric details are verified from UIDAI database.
  • Significance Iris scan technology is completely contactless and provides up to 98.2 authentication success rate and offers edge over other prevalent biometric modes.
  • It will help to boost bank’s financial inclusion efforts by making Aadhaar authentication process hassle-free and offering easier access to digital banking for consumers especially in rural parts of the country.


Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018

  • Passed by The Lok Sabha


  • To help India become hub for domestic and global arbitration for settling commercial disputes.
  • It seeks to amend the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 which contains provisions to deal with domestic and international arbitration and defence law for conducting conciliation proceedings.

Enlighten about Arbitration Council of India (ACI):

  • The Bill establishes ACI as an independent body for promotion of arbitration, mediation, conciliation and other alternative dispute redressal mechanisms.
  • It will frame policies for gradin arbitral institutions and accrediting arbitrators, make policies for establishment, operation and maintenance of uniform professional standard for all alternate dispute
  • It will consist of Chairperson who is either Judge Supreme Court or Judge of High Court or Chief Justice of High Court or eminent person with expert knowledge in conduct of arbitration.
  • Its other members will include eminent arbitration practitioner, academician with experience in arbitration and government appointees.
  • The Bill allows Supreme Court and High Court to designate arbitral institutions, which parties can approach for appointment of arbitrators.
  • For international commercial arbitration, appointments will be made by institution designated by Supreme Court.
  • The institution designate by concerned High Court will make appointments for domestic arbitration appointments.
  • In case there are no arbitral institutions available, the concerned High Court Chief Justice can maintain panel of arbitrators to perform functions of arbitral institutions. The application for appointment of arbitrator is required to be disposed of within 30 day
  • The Bill proposed to remove time restriction for international commercial arbitrations.
  • Earlier under the parent Act, arbitration tribunals were required to make their award within period of 12 months for an arbitration proceedings.
  • The Bill requires written claim an defence to claim in arbitration proceeding should be completed within s months of appointment of arbitrators.
  • Currently, there is no time limit to for written submissions before an arbitral tribunal.


Coral reefs could survive global warming According to a study published in the journal Current Biology.


  • Scientists have found that coral-algal partnerships have endured numerous climate change events since the age of dinosaurs.
  • The relationship between corals and the mutualistic micro-algae that enable them to build reefs is considerably older and more diverse than previously assumed, according to a study published in the journal Current Biology.

Enlighten about the research

  • The research indicates that modern corals and their algal partners have been entwined with each other for much longer — since the time of the dinosaurs, approximately 160 million years ago
  • The micro-algae, commonly called zooxanthellae, lives inside the cells of corals, allowing them to acquire energy from sunlight and to build the massive, economically valuable reef formations upon which countless marine organisms rely for habitat.
  • The fossil record shows that today’s reef-building corals exploded in diversity around 160 million years ago

Use of Genetic evidence

  • Finding that the origin of the algal symbionts corresponds to major increases in the abundance and diversity of reef-building corals implies that the partnership with Symbiodiniaceae was one of the major reasons for the success of modern corals
  • The team used genetic evidence — including DNA sequences, phylogenetic analyses and genome comparisons — to calculate the micro-algae’s approximate age of origin.

Morphological techniques

  • The scientists used this technology in which they compared visual characteristics of these symbionts using light and electron microscopy, along with computer modelling and other methods, to discover that in addition to being older, the algae family is far more diverse than previously perceived.

Enlighten about Coral reefs

  • Coral reefs are diverse underwater ecosystems held together by calcium carbonate structures secreted by corals.
  • Coral reefs are built by colonies of tiny animals found in marine water that contain few nutrients.
  • Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups.
  • The polyps belong to a group of animals known as Cnidaria, which also includes sea anemones and jellyfish.
  • Unlike sea anemones, corals secrete hard carbonate exoskeletons which support and protect the coral polyps. Most reefs grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny and agitated water.
  • Often called "rainforests of the sea", shallow coral reefs form some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth.
  • They occupy less than 0.1% of the world's ocean surface, about half the area of France, yet they provide a home for at least 25% of all marine species,
  • Paradoxically, coral reefs flourish even though they are surrounded by ocean waters that provide few nutrients.
  • They are most commonly found at shallow depths in tropical waters, but deep water and cold water corals also exist on smaller scales in other areas.
  • Coral reefs deliver ecosystem services to tourism, fisheries and shoreline protection.
  • Coral reefs are fragile ecosystems, partly because they are very sensitive to water temperature.
  • They are under threat from climate change, oceanic acidification, blast fishing, cyanide fishing for aquarium fish, sunscreen use, overuse of reef resources, and harmful land-use practices, including urban and agricultural runoff and water pollution, which can harm reefs by encouraging excess algal growth

Ministry of Tourism

First project under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme the ‘North East Circuit: Imphal & Khongjom The project is the first project under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme being inaugurated in the country


  • Swadesh Darshan scheme is one of the flagship scheme of Ministry of tourism for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritised manner.
  • The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and as on date the Ministry has sanctioned 70 projects for Rs.5708.88 Crore to 29 States and UTs under the Scheme.
  • The project covers two sites i.e. Kangla Fort and Khongjom.

Kangla Fort

  • It is one of the most important historic and archaeological site of Manipur located in the heart of the Imphal city.
  • It served as the seat of Manipur’s power till 1891.
  • Under this project Ministry has carried out works like Restoration & Improvement of Outer & Inner Moat and Rejuvenation of Sacred Ponds; Reconstruction of Old Rampart

Khongjom (Manipur)

  • It is the place where the last war of resistance of Anglo Manipur War of 1891 was fought.
  • Under the project a Pedestrian bridge and rejuvenation of Kombirei Lake has been carried out for Rs.4.89 Crore.

International Travel Mart

  • The Ministry organises International Travel Mart every year in one of the North eastern state with objective of providing platform to these sates to showcase its tourism potential to perspective international and domestic buyers and opportunity to interact with them. This year the 7th Edition of ITM is scheduled to be held in November in Agartala, Tripura.

Source – The Hindu , PIB , IndianExpress , Vikaspedia