Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - June 22, 2018

Department of Space

Discovery of a Sub-Saturn like Planet around a Sun-like star


  • A Team of scientists and engineers of Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad,


  • Discovered a sub-Saturn or super-neputune size planet (mass of about 27 Earth Mass and size of 6 Earth Radii) around a Sun-like star.
  • The planet will be known as EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b.

Enlighten about the discovery

  • The discovery was made by measuring the mass of the planet using the indigenously designed “PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search” (PARAS) spectrograph integrated with 1.2m Telescope at PRL's Gurushikhar Observatory in Mount Abu, India.
  • Only 23 such planetary systems (including this discovery) are known to this date with masses between 10 and 70 Earth mass and size of 4 to 8 Earth radii with such precise measurement of mass This discovery is very important for understanding the formation mechanism of such super-Neptune or sub-Saturn kind of planets, that are too close to the host star and as well as planet formations around Sun-like stars.
  • With this discovery, India has joined a handful of countries, which have discovered planets around stars beyond our solar system. Further, PARAS is the first of its kind spectrograph in Asia, which can measure the mass of a planet going around a star.

Enlighten about PARAS

  • It is a ground-based extrasolar planet search device. Based at 1.2m telescope is located at Mt. Abu, India.
  • The project is funded by Physical Research Laboratory, India. The spectrograph works at a resolution of 67000.
  • With the help of simultaneous calibration technique, PARAS has achieved an RV accuracy of 1.3 m/s for bright sun like quiet stars.
  • Thorium-Argon lamp is used for calibration. New calibration techniques are also being explored by the project team.
  • PARAS can detect planet in the habitable zone around M type stars.

Smart India Mission

Shillong (Meghalaya) gets selected as the 100th Smart City

  • Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya has been selected as 100th Smart City after evaluating the proposal submitted by it.
  • As the Smart Cities Mission enters its fourth year, the Centre has finally announced the 100th and the last city which will be part of the project: Shillong.
  • This announcement also sets the end date for the mission as June 2023, as every city gets five years to complete its projects, according to a senior mission official. The first 20 cities were selected in January 2016, and they should now be at the halfway point of their mission.
  • Till now, 99 smart cities had been selected in four rounds of competition and with today’s announcement, selection of 100 cities has been completed under the Smart Cities Mission.
  • Previously, 20 cities were selected in January 2016, 13 cities in May 2016, 27 cities in September 2016, 30 cities in June 2017 and 9 cities in January 2018.
  • With the selection of Shillong, the total proposed investment in the finally selected 100 cities under the Smart Cities Mission would be Rs.2,05,018 crores.
  • Each selected city is required to set up a Special Purpose Vehicle which will actually carry out the mission

Enlighten about Smart Cities Mission

  • It is an urban renewal and retrofitting program by the Government of India with the mission to develop 100 cities across the country making them citizen friendly and sustainable.
  • The Union Ministry of Urban Development is responsible for implementing the mission in collaboration with the state governments of the respective cities.
  • Smart Cities Mission envisions developing an area within 100 cities in the country as model areas based on an area development plan, which is expected to have a rub-off effect on other parts of the city,and nearby cities and towns.
  • Cities will be selected based on the Smart Cities challenge, where cities will compete in a countrywide competition to obtain the benefits from this mission.
  • It is a five-year program, where all of the Indian states and Union territories are participating, except West Bengal by nominating at least one city for the Smart Cities challenge.
  • Financial aid will be given by the central and state governments between 2017-2022 to the cities, and the mission will start showing results from 2022 on wards.

Clean India Mission

KVIC adopts Jagatpur village in Delhi for Swachhata Abhiyaan

  • The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has adopted Jagatpur village in Delhi for its Swachhata Abhiyaan.
  • The sanitation drive by KVIC began with a plantation drive and ended with cleanliness drive along the bank of the Yamuna river.


India’s first river interlinking project

What’s the tussle

  • Disagreements over water-sharing and difficulty in acquiring non-forest land impede the ₹18,000-crore Ken- Betwa river interlink project.
  • The project, which involves deforesting a portion of the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, was accorded clearance by the National Wildlife Board on the condition that the land lost would be made good by acquiring contiguous, revenue land.
  • This is to ensure that wildlife corridors in the region aren’t hit.
  • Another hurdle is a dispute over how Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh — the two beneficiaries — will share water in the Rabi season.

Ministry of Home Affairs

19th All India Conference of Directors of Finger Print Bureaux


  • There is need to amend the Identification of Prisoners Act 1920, to provide legal authority for taking of finger impressions, photographs and measurements of persons arrested.
  • 19th All India Conference of Directors of Finger Print Bureaux in Hyderabad

Why its needed

  • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) which has just 11.5 lakh finger print records needs to be expanded.
  • Finger print evidence is considered reliable by investigators and jurists as it is fool proof and an effective forensic tool.

Enlighten about the conference

  • Aziz-ul-Haq trophy to finger print experts who excelled in the All India Board Exam. He also released two books titled ‘Compendium of Finger Print equipment – 2018’ and ‘Award of excellence in identification’.
  • The two-day conference being organised in Hyderabad for the first time will deliberate on finger print identification systems and modernization of state finger print bureaux among other issues.

International Organisations

USA withdrawal from UNHRC


  • The United States has announced its withdrawal from United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)


  • USA stated UNHRC as hypocritical and self-serving.
  • It has blamed UNHRC for bias against Israel and refusing to eject members who are violators of human rights.

USA did this earlier also

  • US had opted to stay out of UNHRC before also
  • The George W. Bush administration had opted against seeking membership when the council was created in 2006.
  • US joined the council only in 2009 under President Barack Obama.

Enlighten about UNHRC session, under “Item 7” on the agenda (bone of contention)

  • Item 7 on “Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories” has been part of UNHRC’s regular business almost as long as it has existed.

Enlighten about Trump’s withdrawal decisions

  • Since President Donald Trump took offce in January 2017, US has announced its withdrawal from UN-backed 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, left UN educational and cultural organization and pulled out of Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

  • UNHRC is an inter-governmental body within United Nations system.
  • It is responsible for strengthening promotion and protection of human rights around globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.
  • It was created by UNGA on 15 March 2006 by adopting resolution 60/251 to promote human rights globally.
  • It had replaced former UN Commission on Human Rights.
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Members: UNHRC is made up of 47 UN member states which are elected by UN General Assembly (UNGA)
  • Members serve for three-year terms and can serve only two terms in a row.
  • UN Security Council make referral to International Criminal Court (ICC).
  • UNHRC does not have authority to take action but can exert signify
  • cant pressure on violating country. It can also set up special rapporteurs with mandate to investigate and report human-rights violations and abuses

Sources – PIB, The Hindu , Indian Express , UNHRC & Smart India Mission official website