Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - October 29 & 30, 2018

Science & Technology

CSIR develops Less Polluting Firecrackers named – SWAS, SAFAL and STAR

Connect to the highlights

  • These crackers are 15-20 % cheaper than conventional onesand NEERI team involved in the project has 80 % women scientists
  • E-crackers also being developed with products like E-Ladi, E-Anar, E-cracker show
  • For the first time an Emission Testing Facility established in India for sound and emission testing of crackers


  • CSIR scientists have developed Less Polluting Firecrackers which are not only environment friendly but 15-20 % cheaper than the conventional ones
  • These crackers have been named as safe water releaser (SWAS), safe minimal aluminium (SAFAL) and safe thermite cracker (STAR).
  • First time in India, an Emission testing Facility has been established at CSIR-NEERI and extensive testing is in progress for conventional and green crackers for monitoring the emissions and sound
  • It has unique property of releasing water vapour and /or air as dust suppressant and diluent for gaseous emissions and matching performance in sound with conventional crackers.


  • E-crackers- CSIR-CEERI, being an electronics laboratory, is developing safe and pollution free technology of electronic crackers (E-crackers) to meet latent social aspiration of enjoying fireworks.
  • It includes various products like E-Ladi, E-Anar, system for E-cracker show etc. At present CSIR-CEERI is ready with the laboratory level prototype of E-Ladi.
  • E-Ladi is based on high-voltage electrostatic discharge to generate light/sound effect.
  • It is triggered by providing heat to the thermal switch which will give the excitement of firing the conventional cracker.
  • The E-Ladi is also programmable to give various light/sound effect.

Other developments

  • Post combustion control system and devices:CSIR-NEERI has also planned to use area source control through development of new systems called PURE-WAYU as also photochip material for local dust control. The system is being tested currently.
  • Reduced Emission crackers: CSIR-CECRI, Karaikudi has developed reduced emission crackers through the replacement of commonly used Aluminium with Magnesium and Magnesium based compounds in flash powder.

Bilateral Agreements

India and Japan

Connect to the agreements

Agreement regarding ISA

  • Japan announced joining the International Solar Alliance (ISA) submitting the instrument of ratification on 29th October 2018.
  • As of now there are 70 countries that have signed the ISA Framework Agreement (ISA FA) and 47 countries that have ratified it. Japan will be the 71st country to sign and 48th country to ratify the ISA FA.

Loan agreements

  • Exchange of Notes concerning the provision of seven Yen loan projects including the Project for the Construction of Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail, Project for Renovation and Modernization of Umiam-Umtru Stage-III Hydroelectric Power Station, Delhi Mass Rapid Transport System Project (Phase 3), North East Road Network Connectivity Improvement Project, Project for the Construction of Turga Pumped Storage, Project for the Construction of Chennai Peripheral Ring Road and Project for Sustainable Catchment Forest Management in Tripura

Food Processing

Gujarat’s first Mega Food Park in Surat inaugurated


  • The Gujarat Agro Mega Food Park will benefit the people of Surat District and the people of nearby Districts of Navsari, Tapi, Narmada & Bharuch.
  • This Mega Food Park has been set up in 70.15 acre of land at a cost of Rs. 117.87 crore.
  • The facilities being created by the developer at Central Processing Centre (CPC) of this Mega Food Park include Multi Chamber Cold Store,Warehouse

Connect to Food parks

  • Mega Food Parks create modern infrastructure facilities for food processing along the value chain from farm to market with strong forward and backward linkages through a cluster based approach.
  • Common facilities and enabling infrastructure is created at Central Processing Centre and facilities for primary processing and storage is created near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centers (PPCs) and Collection Centers (CCs).
  • Under the Scheme, Government of India provides financial assistance upto Rs. 50.00 Crore per Mega Food Park project.


Conference on “CCTNS--Good practices and success Stories”


  • Inauguration of the two-day conference on “CCTNS--Good practices and Success Stories” organised by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB)

Connect to CCTNS

  • At present 14,749 Police stations ( Out of 15,655) and 6,649 higher offices (out of 7931) are connected through CCTNS and sending data to NDC regularly, except Bihar.
  • 36 States/UTs, 35 States/UTs have launched their citizen portals for providing services to citizens like filing of complaints online and seeking antecedents verification of tenants , domestic helps.
  • Criminal record check of applicants of Global Entry programme( GEP) of USA is being done by NCRB using CCTNS.
  • Coordinate and integrate the various organs of the Criminal Justice System such as the Police, Courts, Prisons, Prosecution, Forensic Laboratories, Finger Prints and Juvenile Homes with the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) database,

Foundation stone for India’s largest Dry Dock at Cochin Shipyard laid


  • The foundation stone laid for India’s largest Dry Dock at Cochin Shipyard in Kerala.
  • The Dry Dock will give an impetus to “Make in India” initiative under Sagarmala and raise India’s share in global shipbuilding to 2 percent. India currently occupies 0.66 % share in global shipbuilding market.
  • The dock will be designed to handle both ship building and repairs, and bear a load up to 600 T/m.
  • It will be equipped with international safety standards. The dock will also have a water treatment plant and Green Belt Development. Equipped with this Dry Dock, Cochin Shipyard will be able to build specialized and technologically advanced large vessels
  • The project is expected to be completed by May 2021 and generate employment opportunities for about 2000 people.

Science & Technology

The 24th India-Italy Technology Summit


  • It was jointly inaugurated by Union Minister forScience & Technology, Earth Sciences, Environment, Forest & Climate Change Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Italian Deputy Minister for Economic Development

From Hampi to Pompeii

  • Summing up the partnership between the two countries in a catch-phrase “From Hampi to Pompeii” which signifies technologies for the restoration and preservation of cultural heritage, was an area where Italy and India could do a lot of useful work together.
  • Key areas he identified for cooperation included clean energy, energy efficiency, life sciences, and space.
  • The Tech Summit is 24th in the series, since 1995. This year focuses on seven key sectors identified jointly by both the countries which include aerospace, cleantech, cultural heritage, education, healthcare, ICT and renewables.

In India’s first container movement on inland waterways PEPSICO to move 16 containers from Kolkata to Varanasi


  • Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will transport container cargo belonging to the food and beverage giant PepsiCo (India) from Kolkata to Varanasi on river Ganga (National Waterway-1)
  • This would be the country’s first container movement on inland vessel post-independence, and a milestone moment in the history of India’s IWT sector.
  • PepsiCo (India) will move 16 containers – equivalent to 16 truckloads- filled with food and snacks in the vessel MV RN Tagore which will reach Varanasi in 9-10 days.
  • MV RN Tagore will make its return journey with fertilizers belonging to IFFCO that will be procured from its Phulpur plant near Allahabad.

Connect to National waterways

  • The government is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under JMVP from Haldia to Varanasi (1390 Km) with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs 5369 crore.

State Specifics

A.P. ranked first, with 10.5% growth


  • Andhra Pradesh has achieved the number one rank in the country with an average growth of 10.5% during the last four years.

Connect to the report

  • It has surpassed many developed States such as Maharashtra and Gujarat following a “focused approach” and setting high targets for itself.
  • According to the State Planning Department, the average growth in the country stood at 7.3% during the last four years.
  • Andhra Pradesh is the only State to clock the double-digit growth rate.
  • While Telangana has slipped to the second place, Maharashtra is ranked sixth. Punjab is placed 14th and Karnataka third.
  • Gujarat, which is considered the most developed State, registered a growth of 10.5% in 2014-15. But it slipped to 10.1 in 2016-17. The data pertaining to 2017-18 is not available.
  • The Per Capita Income (PCI) also increased by more than 40,000 during 2017-18 in the State, which started its journey with “the lowest PCI of 93,903” in the southern States.
  • The PCI crossed the 1 lakh mark in 2015-16. The trend has been upward since then.


Mahila Mall to open on November 14 First mall in the country with an all-women crew


  • Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will launch Mahila Mall, the first mall in the country with an all-women crew
  • The mall, a venture of Unity Group under the Kozhikode Corporation Kudumbasree CDS, is in its final stages of completion.
  • It houses business establishments by around 75 women entrepreneurs or groups, including those from the Kudumbasree fold.
  • This will be the first mall that opens with full occupancy and all shops in complete running condition

Odisha launches disaster alert system for its coast


  • The Odisha government launched the much-awaited Early Warning Dissemination System, the first-of-its-kind technology in India, to simultaneously warn coastal communities and fisherfolk about impending cyclone and tsunami through siren towers.
  • Sirens will go off from 122 towers installed along the 480-km-long coast of the State if a button is pressed in the State emergency centre in Bhubaneswar.

Connect to the warning system

  • The innovative warning system would alert people about disasters such as floods and cyclone.
  • Fishermen fishing in deep sea can also be reached via mass SMS on their mobile phones through EWDS
  • The EWDS, a collaborative effort of the Central and State governments, has been implemented under the assistance of World Bank.
  • It comprises technologies such as satellite-based mobile data voice terminals, digital mobile radio, mass messaging system and universal communication interface for interoperability
  • It’s a part of the last-mile connectivity programme under National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project. Six coastal districts —Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Puri and Ganjam — have been covered under the EWDS.
  • The odisha government dedicated the EWDS to the public on the 19th anniversary of the Odisha Super Cyclone
  • The 1999 Odisha cyclone was the strongest recorded tropical cyclone in the North Indian Ocean and among the most destructive in the region


Delhi tops national charts in bad air quality


  • Fourteen out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India as per figures compiled and released earlier this year by the World Health Organization (WHO).

A report by Climate trends

  • Climate Trends, an Indian group working on environmental issues picked up the same 14 cities to analyse the CPCB data in summer and winter months for a comparative analysis — just to put it in context with the WHO children’s health report
  • WHO children’s health report noted that 93% of the world’s children under 15 years breathe polluted air.
  • It says Delhi tops the charts of bad air quality nationally.
  • The report says India faces the highest air pollution-related mortality and disease burden in the world, with more than 2 million deaths occurring prematurely every year, accounting for 25% of the global deaths due to poor air quality.
  • It adds that apart from Delhi, in most cities the online monitoring was happening with less than 4 monitoring stations and Srinagar had none.
  • Delhi has close to 40 monitoring stations that display data online every day.
  • Most cities, unlike Delhi, do not have an emergency response plan to tackle air pollution.

Children under 15 at serious risk from polluted air: WHO 93% of world’s 1.8 billion children could suffer neuro-development deficits


  • Every day about 93% of the world’s children under the age of 15 (1.8 billion children) breathe polluted air that puts their health and development at serious risk, the World Health Organisation (WHO)

Connect to the report

  • The report on air pollution and child health released on the eve of the WHO’s first ever global conference on Air Pollution and Health
  • Pregnant women when exposed to polluted air, they are more likely to give birth prematurely, and have small, low birth-weight children.
  • Air pollution also impacts neuro-development and cognitive ability and can trigger asthma, and childhood cancer.
  • Children exposed to high levels of air pollution may be at greater risk for chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease later in life
  • One reason why children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution is that they breathe more rapidly than adults and so absorb more pollutants.
  • They also live closer to the ground, where some pollutants reach peak concentrations — at a time when their brains and bodies are still developing.