Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - January 15, 2018


IIP growth hits 17-month high of 8.4% in November 2017

  • India’s factory output, measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) rose to 8.4% in November 2017 from 2% in October 2017.
  • It was due to robust performance by manufacturing and capital goods sectors.
  • According to data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), it was highest growth registered by IIP in 17-months.

Enlighten about Index of Industrial Production (IIP)

  • The IIP is composite indicator that measures short-term changes in volume of production of a basket of industrial products during a given period with respect to chosen base period.
  • It is compiled and published monthly by the Central Statistical Organization (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • It covers 407 item groups. Sector wise, the items included falls into 3 categories viz. Manufacturing (405 items), Mining (1 items) & Electricity (1 item).
  • The weights of the three sectors are 77.63%, 14.37%, 7.9% respectively.
  • The revised eight core Industries have a combined weightage of 40.27% in the IIP.
  • Decreasing order of weightage of core industries is Electricity> Steel> Refinery Products> Crude> Coal> Cement> Natural Gas> Fertilizers.
  • Base year: The CSO had revised the base year of the IIP from 2004-05 to 2011-12 in May 2017 to capture structural changes in the economy and improves the quality and representativeness of the indices.

Electoral Reforms

Umesh Sinha Committee on model code of conduct

Why –

  • Regarding the consideration social media expansion
  • Section 126 of RP act 1951

The Election Commission (EC) has constituted 14 member committee headed by Umesh Sinha to suggest changes to Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (RP Act) in view of social media expansion.

Enlighten about section 126 of RP act 1951 -

  • Section 126 of RP Act, 1951 prohibits displaying any election matter by means of television or similar apparatus, during the period of 48 hours before the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in a constituency.
  • It does not include social and new media under its ambit.

Enlighten about the committee -

  • The Committee will be headed by Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha.
  • It will comprise of 9 officers of EC, one nominated member each from Ministry of Law, Information and Broadcasting Ministry, IT Ministry, Press Council of India (PCI) and National Broadcasters Association (NBA).
  • The committed will study impact of new media and social media during the “silence period” i.e. during 48 hours period prior to elections and its implication in view of Section 126 of RP Act, 1951.
  • It will suggest modifications to the RP Act, 1951and model code of conduct (MCC).

Space (International)


What -

  • China launches two BeiDou-3 navigation satellites

Why -

  • To provide navigation and positioning services to countries along Belt and Road initiative (BRI) by the end of 2018.

Enlighten about it -

  • The two satellites were designated as BeiDou-3 M7 and BeiDou3 M8 (26th and 27th satellites) in BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS).
  • China is plannig to send 18 BeiDou-3 satellites into space in 2018.
  • These two satellites were based on newly-developed dedicated satellite bus and weigh about 1 metric ton each.
  • Both spacecraft had two deployable solar arrays and are designed to be operational for about 12 years.
  • These newly-launched satellites represent third phase of BDS system (BeiDou-3).
  • The first BeiDou-3 satellite was launched in March of 2015


  • BeiDou is 2nd generation of Chinese homegrown navigational system seen as rival to US’s Global Positioning System (GPS).
  • It comprises constellation of total 35 satellites in two separate satellite constellations viz. limited test system (operational since 2000) and full-scale global navigation system which is currently under construction.
  • The first BeiDou satellite was sent into space in 2000.
  • It became operational in December 2011, with constellation of 10 satellites providing services in China only.
  • In December 2012, it began offering services to customers in Asia-Pacic region.
  • On its completion in 2020, it will provide services to global customers.
  • Currently it used for civilian services in field of navigation, messaging, transportation and weather forecasting sectors. It also has military applications.


Goa Bird Festival


  • The second edition of the Goa Bird Festival

When -

  • Held from January 12 to 14

Where -

  • At Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Canacona.
  • The festival will host some of the country’s top naturalists, photographers and artists as resource persons.
  • The State Forest department is organising the event with the support of Goa Tourism, the Goa Bird Conservation Network (GBCN) and Birderpics.com.


Nepal starts receiving internet connection from China

  • Nepal-China optical fibre link via Rasuwagadhi gateway across Himalayan Mountains became operational.
  • The commercial operation of Chinese bandwidth project now ends Nepal’s sole dependence on India for internet bandwidth.
  • Chinese internet bandwidth will provide alternative source for Nepal to meet everincreasing bandwidth demand as use of Internet has been increasing rapidly in the Himalayan country.


The Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) – refused captive breeding of Chiru(Tibetan antelope)
Captive breeding suggested by - by Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests

  • Ministry has refused to allow captive breeding of Chiru (Tibetan antelope), whose underfur is used for making famous shahtoosh shawls.
  • The suggestion for captive breeding was made by Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests asking to consider captive breeding as it will add to livelihood of people of Kashmir.

Shahtoosh shawls

  • Chiru for long time have been hunted for their underfur, which is renowned for its quality which is traditionally woven into an extremely fine fabric to make Shahtoosh shawls.
  • Shahtoosh shawls’ sale and possession is banned in India and in many countries.

Standing committee view -

  • The MoEFCC should conserve and breed Chiru goat, which can then be given to shawl makers for collecting hair.
  • This would increase number of these goats but would also add to sustainable livelihood opportunities of people of Kashmir

MoEFCC Argument

  • Chiru is assessed as ‘Near Threatened’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 2017.
  • Their current low population can only be maintained with continued high levels of protection in its natural.
  • Any relaxation in protection regime of animal will lead to rapid population decline due to commercial poaching.
  • Chiru inhabits high-altitude Tibetan plateau and requires large expanse of land for its movement and ranging patterns to full its feeding and breeding requirements.
  • Rearing it in captivity is extremely dicult. Besides, any attempt to do conservation breeding at very high altitude regions of Ladakh may not be economical or feasible as humans cannot be posted there continuously for more than 2-3 months.
  • Chinese also have failed to keep Chiru in captivity due to its poor survival rates.

Chiru (Tibetan antelope)

  • Its Scientic name is Pantholops hodgsonii.
  • This antelope is considered to be close to goat family.
  • It lives at a 3,250-5,500 metre elevation in high altitude plains and valleys comprising of alpine and desert steppe and pasture, distinguished by low vegetation cover and productivity.
  • It has been enlisted in Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • To enhance its protection, its prime habitats have been declared as Wildlife Sanctuaries viz. Karakorma Wildlife Sanctuary and Changthang Cold Desert Wildlife Sanctuary


Matunga Railway Station All women staff on the station.

  • Matunga Railway Station in Mumbai Division
  • Entered Limca Book of Records 2018 for posting all women staff on the station.
  • Matunga Railway Station has become the first station in India which has all women staff managing the operations of the stations.
  • Ladies staff across all departments viz. operating, commercial, RPF, etc. are posted at Matunga Railway Station to make it first of its kind station on Railways.


WEF’s first ‘Readiness for the future of production report’
WEF ranks India 30th on global manufacturing index, Japan tops
WEF said India’s manufacturing sector has grown by over 7% annually on average in the past 3 decades and accounts for 16-20% of its GDP

  • The World Economic Forum (WEF) has ranked India at 30th position on a global manufacturing index—below China’s 5th place but above other BRICS peers, Brazil, Russia and South Africa.
  • Japan has been found to have the best structure of production in the Geneva-based WEF’s first ‘Readiness for the future of production report’ and is followed by South Korea, Germany, Switzerland, China, Czech Republic, the US, Sweden, Austria and Ireland in the top 10.
  • Among BRICS nations, Russia is ranked 35th, Brazil 41st and South Africa at 45th place.
  • The report, which analyses development of modern industrial strategies and urges collaborative action, has categorised 100 countries into four groups -- Leading (strong current base, high level of readiness for future); High Potential (limited current base, high potential for future); Legacy (strong current base, at risk for future); or Nascent (limited current base, low level of readiness for future).
  • India has been placed in the ‘Legacy’ group along with Hungary, Mexico, Philippines, Russia, Thailand and Turkey, among others. China figures among ‘leading countries’, while Brazil and South Africa are in ‘nascent’ ones.
  • India, the 5th-largest manufacturer in the world with a total manufacturing value added of over $420 billion in 2016, the WEF said the country’s manufacturing sector has grown by over 7% per year on average in the past three decades and accounts for 16-20% of India’s GDP.
  • Home to the second-largest population in the world and one of the fastest growing economies, the demand for Indian manufactured products is rising.

WEF findings -

  • the country needs to continue to raise the capabilities of its relatively young and fast-growing labour force.
  • This entails upgrading education curricula, revamping vocational training programmes and improving digital skills
  • India should continue to diversify its energy sources and reduce emissions as its manufacturing sector continues to expand.
  • The government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative to make the country a global manufacturing hub and of “a significant push” to improve key enablers and move towards a more connected economy with announcement of a $59 billion investment in infrastructure in 2017.

WEF Report ( way forward)

  • The report has been developed in collaboration with A T Kearney and calls for new and innovative approaches to public-private collaboration are needed to accelerate transformation.
  • “Every country faces challenges that cannot be solved by the private sector or public sector alone.
  • New approaches to public-private collaboration that complement traditional models are needed to help governments quickly and effectively form partnerships that unlock new value,” it added.

Bilateral Relations

India- Isreal industrial R&D and technological innovation fund

  • India and Israel will make an contribution of four million US Dollars each for the Fund, both equivalent amount, annually for five years. The Innovation Fund will be governed by a joint Board which will consist of four members from each country.
  • The MoU envisages promotion of bilateral Industrial R&D and Innovation cooperation in the fields of science and technology by extending support to joint projects for innovative or technology-driven new or improved products, services or processes.
  • Such projects will lead to affordable technological innovations in focus areas of mutual interest such as water, agriculture, energy and digital technologies. Institutional support in building up consortia including private industry, enterprises and R&D institutions from India and Israel will be enabled through these collaborative projects.
  • The activities supported by the Joint Fund would increase the techno-economic collaboration between the two countries by investing in jointly developed technology projects and collaborations based on technological innovation.
  • It would leverage the complementary strengths of Israel and India to encourage Israel-Indian joint projects that capitalize on both the national and global marketplace
  • It would provide a comprehensive set of support tools to encourage joint projects that convert "know-how" into "show-how".
  • It is expected that this will foster and strengthen the eco-system of innovation and techno-entrepreneurship in India and will contribute directly to the Start-up India programme.

Sources – PIB, livemint, indian express, the hindu