Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - October 3, 2017

Noble Prize

Three US-born scientists win 2017 Nobel Medicine Prize

  • The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to
  • Jeffrey C. Hall (72)
  • Michael Rosbash (73) and
  • Michael W. Young (68).
  • It was announced by Nobel Assembly at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute.
  • They were awarded for discovering molecular mechanisms controlling circadian rhythm. Their discoveries explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with Earth’s revolutions.

Circardian Rhythm

  • Circardian Rhythm is 24 hour cycle in physiological processes of living beings, including plants, animals, fungi and cyanobacteria. It influences such biological functions as hormone levels, sleep, body temperature and metabolism

Nobel Medicine Prize

  • The Nobel award for medicine is given to persons whose discoveries have significantly enhanced understanding of life or practice of medicine.
  • The winners are chosen by Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute.
  • The prestigious award carries prize money of 8 million Swedish kroner or 1.1 million dollars.
  • Medicine is first of the Nobel Prizes awarded each year.
  • It is one of five Nobel Prizes established by Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite in 1895.

Health Sector

Good food or bad drugs

Guidelines to regulate the ‘nutraceutical’ industry have led to mixed reactions

  • Until recently, a system to verify and notify adverse reactions from products other than those recognised as ‘drugs’, under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, did not exist.
  • With the framing last year, of guidelines by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to regulate products recognised as ‘nutraceuticals’ — or supplements and foods that aren’t drugs but purported to contain ingredients essential to well-being, the need to report adverse reactions was felt and the Hyderabad-based NIN was selected to run the centre
  • On receiving reports of adverse reactions, the NIN (National Institute for Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad) centre will discuss with reporting clinicians the specific case to make an assessment.
  • The adverse event is then tagged to the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) for notification to the product manufacturer
  • The new rules formulated by FSSAI are set to become effective in January next year.
  • Though exhaustive, there is scepticism — mostly legal — in the food and drug industry over whether the new set of rules can effectively regulate nutraceuticals
  • Recently, the government’s reported attempts to amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Act to make a distinction between drugs and dietary supplements has seen the industry aver that vitamins should have the benefit of being defined as both a drug and food.

Blame it on the genes

  • Over a third of Indians carry a set of genetic variations that put them at higher risk of heart disease
  • About 35 to 40% of Indians carry a set of genetic variations which puts them at a higher risk of heart disease
  • Research was done by scientists at IIT-Madras
  • Carriers of a set of genetic variants in the chromogranin A (CHGA) gene called ‘CHGA promoter haplotype2’ may be at higher risk for cardiovascular and metabolic disorders.
  • It is a protein of neuroendocrine origin and is secreted along with hormones like catecholamines

IIT Roorkee repurposes a drug for chikungunya

  • Currently, there is no cure for the disease and treatment is focused more on relieving the symptoms.
  • The team at IIT Roorkee used an existing drug piperazine
  • Piperazine is used for the treatment of worm infections.
  • The antiviral drug indinavir used for treating HIV positive people is a piperazine-based molecule. The derivatives of piperazine are used as anti-histamines and anti-depressants drugs too
  • Based on crystal structure, the researchers ascertained that the drug molecule binds to the hydrophobic pocket of capsid protein of Aura virus

Science & Tech

NIIST team fabricates a wearable antenna

The prototype made may need more improvements

  • Wearable antenna embedded in a multilayered polyester fabric suitable for WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) applications may soon become a reality, thanks to the work by researchers at the National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (CSIR-NIIST), Thiruvananthapuram.
  • The wearable WiMAX antenna, which is about 3 cm in length and nearly 4 cm in width, is flexible, light weight and operates at around 3.37 GHertz. Wearable antenna has applications in telemedicine, defence and environmental monitoring, among others
  • Embedded in the jacket worn by soldiers in remote locations. We can connect the antenna to different sensors such as temperature, pressure and ECG sensors and the data can be transmitted to a remote server monitor the health of soldiers
  • The antenna fabrication can be dramatically simplified by printing technology using copper ink
  • But the use of copper ink is fraught with problems as it gets oxidised easily
  • overcame this problem by using a silver ink for printing the bottom electrode on the polyester fabric
  • To overcome the problem of surface roughness, we coated the fabric with a polymer (polyvinyl butyral or PVB)

Socio-Economic Issues

President Appoints Commission to Examine Sub Categorization of other Backward Classes under Article 340 of the Constitution

  • Decision will ensure more Backwards among OBC Communities to Avail benefits of Reservation
  • It Reinforces Government’s effort to Achieve Greater Social Justice And Inclusion for all through Sub Categorization of the OBCS
  • The President in exercise of the powers conferred by article 340 of the Constitution appointed a Commission to examine the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes.
  • This decision, taken on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, reinforces, in the spirit of his teachings, the Government's efforts to achieve greater social justice and inclusion for all, and specifically members of the Other Backward Classes.
  • Sub categorization of the OBCs will ensure that the more backward among the OBC communities can also access the benefits of reservation for educational institutions and government jobs.
  • The Commission will be headed by Justice (Retd.) G. Rohini,

The terms of reference of the Commission are as under

  • to examine the extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among the castes or communities included in the broad category of Other Backward Classes with reference to such classes included in the Central List
  • to work out the mechanism, criteria, norms and parameters in a scientific approach for sub-categorisation within such Other Backward Classes
  • to take up the exercise of identifying the respective castes or communities or sub-castes or synonyms in the Central List of Other Backward Classes and classifying them into their respective sub-categories.
  • The Commission is required to present their Report to the President within a period of twelve weeks of assumption of charge by the Chairperson of the Commission.

On receipt of the Report of the Commission, the Central Government will consider ways and means for equitable distribution of the benefits of the reservation in Central Government jobs and admission in Central Government Institutions amongst all strata of the Other Backward Classes.


NHAI launches countrywide Free Eye Check-up Campaign

  • The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has launched countrywide Free Eye Check-up Campaign and distribution of spectacles for truck drivers, cleaners and helpers.
  • It was launched by Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari at Panjari Toll Plaza, Nagpur Bypass, Nagpur in Maharashtra.
  • Under it, 50 free eye check-up camps will be set up on identified national highways on either side
  • The cleaners can avail of this facility on condition of producing valid driving license.
  • These camps will distribute free spectacles up to certain power as prescribed by eye specialist.
  • Moreover, other eye defects like cataract will be also identified and medicines will be prescribed. NHAI has roped in Non-governmental organizations (NGOs),

Industrial Sectors

Odisha Government creating land bank for industrial allocation

  • The Odisha Government is creating 1.2 lakh acre land bank across state for allocation to industrial sector in order to avoid repeat of Posco fiasco.
  • The purpose of the land bank is to cut red tape and avoid local issues in the land acquisition process. Under it, state government is acquiring government land for industrial use.

Key Facts

  • The land bank is based on plug-and-play kind of model wherein facilities related to water, power, roads and all clearances are in place.
  • The companies need to only make payment of base premium upfront for land and annual rent for rest of the 90 years lease period.

International Day

2 October: International Day of Non-violence

  • The International Day of Non-violence is celebrated every year on 2 October throughout world on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of Indian independence movement and also pioneer of philosophy of non-violence (ahimsa).
  • Observance of this day seeks to promote principles of non-violence through education and public awareness and is observed by all countries of the UN. In India, this day is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti.
  • The day was instituted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by adopting resolution A/RES/61/271 in June 2007 to disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness

Government Initiatives

Government opens two border crossing points with Myanmar, Bangladesh

  • The Union Home Ministry has opened two Zorinpui and Kawrpuichhuah immigration check posts along borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh.
  • The Zorinpui land check post is located in Lawngtlai district of Mizoram.
  • It was designated as authorised immigration check post for entry into or exit from India with valid travel documents for all classes of passengers to or from Myanmar.
  • It was selected as new land custom station along Indo-Myanmar border in Mizoram for Kaladan multi-modal project.
  • Kawrpuichhuah land check post in Lunglei district of Mizoram along a riverine border with Bangladesh.


Indian entrepreneur Birendra Sasmal wins UK business award for innovative IT solutions

  • Ghana-based Indian entrepreneur Birendra Sasmal won International Business Person of Year at Asian Achievers Awards in London.
  • Sasmal CEO of Subah, bagged this award for turning his company into a thriving IT, telecoms and manufacturing success story with operations across West Africa.
  • The Subah Group headquartered in Accra, Ghana employs around 350 people with offices in Guinea, Sierra Leone, New York City and Dubai