Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - August 26, 2017


Global convention on mercury has comes into effect -

  • Protecting millions of children and infants from possible neurological and health damage.

The Minamata Convention

  • Commits Governments to specific measures, which include banning new mercury mines, phasing-out existing ones, regulating artisanal and small-scale gold mining, and reducing emissions and mercury use.
  • Since the element is indestructible, the Convention also stipulates conditions for interim storage and disposal of mercury waste.
  • Mercury is a naturally occurring element. It can be released to the environment from natural sources – such as weathering of mercury containing rocks, forest fires, volcanic eruptions or geothermal activities but also from human activities.
  • .
  • An estimated 5500-8900 tons of mercury is currently emitted and re-emitted each year to the atmosphere, with much of the re-emitted mercury considered to be related to human activity, as are the direct releases. Due to its unique properties, mercury has been used in various products and processes for hundreds of years.
  • Governments that are party to the Convention are now legally bound to take a range of measures to protect human health and the environment by addressing mercury throughout its lifecycle
  • The Minamata Convention provides controls over a myriad of products containing mercury, the manufacture, import and export of which will be altogether prohibited by 2020, except where countries have requested an exemption for an initial 5-year period.
  • These products include certain types of batteries, of lamps such as compact fluorescent lamps, of and relays, soaps and cosmetics, thermometers, and blood pressure devices.

Bilateral Relation

Drug Demand Reduction and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking

What -

  • Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Nepal
  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval on Drug Demand Reduction and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and precursor chemicals and related matters.
  • The MoU lists out the areas of cooperation on drug matters between the two countries. It also indicates the mechanism of information exchange and the compCLt authorities in the two countries who are responsible for the implementation of the MoU and exchange of any information.
  • Cooperation on drug matters is expected to curb the illicit traffic of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals in the two countries.

Enlighten about the MOU

  • Develop mutual cooperation with a view to effectively resolving the issue of illicit traffic in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors, cooperate in drug demand reduction through prevention, awareness, education and community based programmes, treatment and rehabilitation; and
  • Exchange information of operational, technical and general nature in drug matters, exchange literature on their existing laws, rules, procedures, best practices and methods of curbing illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors and any further amendments to the existing legislation.


Relaxation In Norms For – Udan-2

  • By Civil aviation ministry
  • For greater connectivity.
  • Relaxation of norms for its flagship regional flying scheme called UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik)
  • The relaxation the exclusivity clause mandating that only one airline may fly on one route in the initial years has been relaxed
  • The norms that restricted two airports in close proximity from participating in the bidding has also been relaxed.

Enlighten about UDAN:

  • Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik, “let the common man fly”
  • Proposes that at least half the seats on every flight should have a fare cap of Rs2,500 per seat per hour of flying.
  • Inexpensive regional air connectivity under the UDAN scheme would allow travellers to save time and enable the middle-classes in small-town India to take their first flights.
  • Five airlines including Air India, SpiceJet, Turbo Megha, Air Odisha and Air Deccan were allotted 128 routes to fly in the first round by March, but only 16 routes have been operationalised so far.
  • If the scheme is successfully implemented, the air connectivity to difficult terrains of Jammu and Kashmir, northeast India, Himachal Pradesh,
  • Uttarakhand, Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep will get a major push. The ministry has marked these regions under priority areas.

Renaming of the new Central Sector Scheme –

  • SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) as “Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) “

Approved by –

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi

For the period of –

  • 2016-20 coterminous with the 14th Finance Commission cycle.

Objective -

  • To supplement agriculture, modernize processing and decrease Agri-Waste.

Funding & Beneficiary

  • PMKSY with an allocation of Rs. 6,000 crore is expected to leverage investment of Rs. 31,400 crore, handling of 334 lakh MT agro-produce valuing Rs. 1,04,125 crore, benefit 20 lakh farmers and generate 5,30,500 direct/ indirect employment in the country by the year 2019-20.

Benefits after implementation

  • Creation of modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlet.
  • Boost in the growth of food processing sector in the country.
  • It will help in providing better prices to farmers and is a big step towards doubling of farmers’ income.
  • It will create huge employment opportunities especially in the rural areas.
  • It will also help in reducing wastage of agricultural produce, increasing the processing level, availability of safe and convenient processed foods at affordable price to consumers and enhancing the export of the processed foods.

Enlighten about PMKSY

  • PMKSY is an umbrella scheme incorporating ongoing schemes of the Ministry like Mega Food Parks, Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure, Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure, etc. and also new schemes like Infrastructure for Agro-processing Clusters, Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages, Creation / Expansion of Food Processing & Preservation Capacities


MOSSES (common plant) –can be used to measure the pollution

What –

  • Delicate mosses found on rocks and trees in cities around the world can be used to measure the impact of atmospheric change and could prove a low-cost way to monitor urban pollution.

By –

  • Latest research by scientists from Japan

Enlighten about Mosses

  • Mosses are a common plant in all cities so this method can be used in many countries. They have a big potential to be bioindicators.
  • Mosses absorb water and nutrients from their immediate environments – cheaper to use than other methods of environmental evaluation, and can also reflect changes to ecosystems.
  • Mosses are small flowerless plants that typically grow in dense green clumps or mats, often in damp or shady locations.
  • The individual plants are usually composed of simple leaves that are generally only one cell thick, attached to a stem that may be branched or unbranched and has only a limited role in conducting water and nutrients.

Science & Technology

Project Brainwave


  • Microsoft has announced its Project Brainwave deep learning acceleration platform for real-time artificial intelligence (AI)


  • Real-time AI is becoming increasingly important as cloud infrastructures process live data streams, whether they be search queries, videos, sensor streams, or interactions with users.


  • Real-time AI is becoming increasingly important as cloud infrastructures process live data streams, whether they be search queries, videos, sensor streams, or interactions with users.

Enlighten about AI

  • Artificial intelligence is branch of computer science concerned with making computers behave like humans. In contrast to normal hardware and software, AI enables a machine to perceive and respond to its changing environment.