Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - October 5, 2018

Science & Technology

Hayabusa2 - Japan drops new robot on asteroid The German-French observation device is part of a mission to find clues to the solar system’s origins


  • A Japanese probe launched a new observation robot towards an asteroid as it pursues a mission to shed light on the origins of the solar system.
  • The Hayabusa2 probe launched the French-German Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout, or MASCOT, towards the Ryugu asteroid’s surface
  • The 10-kg box-shaped MASCOT is loaded with sensors. It can take images at multiple wavelengths, investigate minerals with a microscope, gauge surface temperatures and measure magnetic fields.

MASCOT’s launch comes 10 days after the Hayabusa2 dropped a pair of MINERVA-II micro-rovers on the Ryugu asteroid.

Connect to Ryugu asteroid observation

  • It was the first time that moving, robotic observation devices had been successfully landed on an asteroid.
  • The rovers will take advantage of Ryugu’s low gravity to jump around on the surface — travelling as far as 15 metres while airborne and staying in the air for as long as 15 minutes — to survey the asteroid’s physical features with cameras and sensors.
  • Unlike those machines, MASCOT will be largely immobile — it will “jump” just once on its mission, and it can turn on its sides.
  • And while the rovers will spend several months on the asteroid, the MASCOT has a maximum battery life of just 16 hours, and will transmit the data it collects to the Hayabusa2 before running out of juice.
  • The Hayabusa2 is scheduled later this month to deploy an “impactor” that will explode above the asteroid, shooting a two-kilo copper object into it to blast a small crater on the surface.

Health awareness

India ranked 5th in pictorial warning on tobacco products


  • India has been ranked fifth in the listing of countries that have pictorial health warning on tobacco products, with experts here quick to add that the country is making tremendous progress towards creating public awareness on the health hazards of tobacco abuse.

Publishing agency

  • ‘The Cigarette Package Health Warnings: International Status Report’ was released recently by the Canadian Cancer Society which documents global progress on plain packaging.

Connect to the report

  • It has ranked 206 countries and territories on the size of their health warnings on cigarette packages, and lists countries and territories that require graphic picture warnings.
  • East Timor is ranked first with 85% of the front and 100% of the back of the packaging being used for pictorial warnings.
  • Nepal follows with 90% coverage on both sides. Indian packaging has the warning on 85% of both sides.
  • The report found that 118 countries and territories have now made picture health warnings on cigarette packages mandatory, up from 100 in 2016. Canada was the first to insist on picture health warnings in 2001.
  • India, meanwhile, is the only SAARC country to have a Quit-Line number on tobacco products and the fourth in Asia after Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
  • This is because of the Union Health Ministry’s notification on the new set of 85% pictorial health warnings for mandatory display on both sides of the packet of cigarettes, bidis and chewing tobacco with effect from September 1, 2018.
  • Government of India for the first time introduced Quit-Line number to be printed on all tobacco products

Quit-Line number

  • The pack warning will help to warn people, especially the illiterate and children, about the harms of tobacco consumption.
  • The Quit-Line number will help those who want to quit
  • The current pictorial warnings on both sides of all packets of cigarettes, bidis and all forms of chewing tobacco products in India came into effect in April 2016 on the direction of the Rajasthan High Court and, subsequently, the Supreme Court of India.

Science and Technology

Four-day long India International Science Festival (IISF-2018) begins


  • 4thIndia International Science Festival-2018 (IISF-2018) to be held in Lucknow from 05th to 08th October.
  • The mega science expo will be formally inauguratedby the President Shri Ram NathKovind.
  • The theme of this edition of Science Festival is “Science for Transformation”.

Connect to IISF

  • It is conceivably the biggest platform in India that brings together students, researchers, artists and general public to celebrate our nation’s achievements in science and technology.
  • It is a medium to encourage the young minds towards the field of science and to promote the networking of stakeholders working towards the propagation of science.
  • IISF-2018 with its focal theme “Science for Transformation” will have 23 special events.
  • IISF-2018 is expected to be represented by approximately 10000 delegates including 5000 students, 550 teachers, 200 students from North-East Region, 20 international delegates and approximately 200 startups.
  • The Global Indian Science & Technology Stakeholders Meet (GIST), Industry Academia Meet and Science & Technology for Harnessing Innovations (SATHI)-A National startup entrepreneurship summit and Student Science Village are some of the important events, being organized.
  • The Science Village program is linked with the Pradhan Manthri Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana to reach out to the rural masses and propagate science and for seeking scientific solutions to the diverse challenges facing our society, particularly rural India.
  • North East Student’s Conclave will bring hundreds of innovative, dedicated, passionate and award-winning students on a single platform to share their experiences and put forth the new dimensions of passion with science.
  • As World record attempts have been a key part of IISF since 2015, in IISF 2018, a World Record attempt will be made to “isolate DNA” by 500 students from class 8th to 10th standard.
  • Approximately 800 women scientists/entrepreneurs will attend the event. There will be a special effort to engage with stakeholders of the Northeast and the aspirational districts.

Civil Aviation

Civil aviation Ministry Releases the policy on Biometric based Digital processing of passengers at airports called “Digi Yatra” will be operational by end of February, 2019


  • The civil aviation ministry released the policy on biometric based digital processing of passengers at airports called “Digi Yatra
  • The Ministry has taken the initiative to develop standards for digital processing of passengers at airport to ensure uniform implementation and passenger experience across Indian airports through a connected ecosystem.
  • The DigiYatra Central Platform will be operational by end of February, 2019.
  • Bangalore & Hyderabad International Airports will be ready with pilot implementation by end of February, 2019.
  • Airport Authority of India (AAI) intends to roll out the programme initially at Kolkata, Varanasi, Pune & Vijayawada by April, 2019.

Connect to DigiYatra

  • It will provide a pan-India powerful platform for future, adding that Airports will have the possibility of providing innovative services and consent based targeted services in future.
  • It is a Facial Recognition based passenger processing which is a common standard being adopted the world over.
  • To provide a seamless experience right from the entry to the airport upto boarding the aircraft, Shri Sinha said, DigiYatra will have a centralised registration system for passengers.
  • “Under the Digi Yatra, passenger can get a Digi Yatra ID by sharing minimum details like Name, e-mail ID, Mobile number and details of one approved Identity proof where Aadhar ID is not mandatory.
  • Digi Yatra will bring benefits to passengers and all stakeholders involved in the process, as Airport operator will have travel information in advance for better resource planning and the real-time data of passengers

Drinking Water & Sanitation

Swachh Survekshan Grameen Awards 2018


  • Prime Minister gave awards to top Ranked State, District and State with maximum citizen participation based on the National Swachh SurvekshanGrameen 2018 commissioned by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
  • The awards by Prime Minister were given at the concluding session of Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention at RahtrapatiBhawan Cultural Centre.
  • Haryana was ranked as the best State while Satara District of Maharashtra was ranked as the best district as per the ranking undertaken by Swachh SurvekshanGrameen 2018.
  • Uttar Pradesh was rewarded for maximum citizens’ participation.

Connect to SSG-2018

  • The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation had commissioned “Swachh Survekshan Grameen-2018” (SSG 2018) through an independent survey agency to develop ranking of all districts of India on the basis of quantitative and qualitative sanitation (Swachhata) parameters.
  • This ranking was done based on a comprehensive set of parameters including surveys of public places like schools, Anganwadis, PHCs, Haat/ Bazaars, Panchayat and citizen’s perception of Swachhata and their recommendations for improvement of the program and data from the SBM-G IMIS.
  • As part of Swachh SurvekshanGrameen, 6786 villages in 685 Districts across India were covered. 27,963 public places namely schools, anganwadis, public health centres, haat/ bazaars/religious places in these 6786 villages were visited by an independent agency for survey.
  • The SSG 2018 turned out to be massive mass mobilisation exercise with communities in each village undertaking special drives to improve the general cleanliness in their villages. Gram Panchayats invested funds from their local area development fund to augment the sanitation situation in public places.

Overall Ranking

  • Top 3 States-1) Haryana, 2) Gujarat 3) Maharashtra
  • Top 3 Districts 1) Satara, Maharashtra 2) Rewari, Haryana 3) Pedapalli, Telangana
  • States with maximum citizen participation 1) Uttar Pradesh 2) Gujarat 3) Maharashtra
  • Districts with maximum citizens’ participation 1) Nashik, Maharashtra 2) Solapur, Maharashtra 3) Chittorgarh, Rajasthan

New and Renewable Energy(follow up article)

India’s Ambitious Offshore WindTarget

  • A session titled ‘A Leap Into Offshore’ was held at the 2nd Global RE-INVEST India-ISA Partnership Renewable Energy Investors Meet & Exp
  • Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) experts lauded India’s 30 GW offshore wind industry target by 2030.
  • The National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) has called for ‘Expression of Interest’ for the first offshore wind energy project of India, a 1000 MW offshore wind energy project in Gulf of Khambat, off the coast of Gujarat.MNRE plans to install at least 5 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2022.

Connect to 2nd Global RE-Invest India-ISA Partnership Renewable Energy Investors Meet & Expo

  • RE-Invest is a global platform to explore strategies for development and deployment of renewables.
  • It showcases India’s clean energy market and the Government’s efforts to scale up capacity to meet the national energy demand in socially, economically and ecologically sustainable ways.
  • The 2nd Global RE-Invest will build upon the success of RE-Invest 2015 and provide an international forum to established players as well as new segments of investors and entrepreneurs to engage, ideate and innovate.

Connect to ISA

  • Vision and mission of the International Solar Alliance is to provide a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries where the global community, including bilateral and multilateral organizations, corporates, industry, and other stakeholders, can make a positive contribution to assist and help achieve the common goals of increasing the use of solar energy in meeting energy needs of prospective ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner.

Re-Invest 2018

Connect to the developments

  • Over 10,000 people attended the 2nd Global RE-Invest India-ISA Partnership Renewable Energy Experts’ Meet & Expo (RE-Invest 2018)
  • The sessions included the First Assembly of the International Solar Alliance, 2nd Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Energy Experts Meeting, Chief Ministerial Plenary and country sessions by USA and France among others.
  • A joint declaration was signed between Indian Ocean Rim Association and International Solar Alliance.
  • The Government of Haryana announced solar award in partnership with ISA in memory of Kalpana Chawla, the first woman astronaut of Indian origin to go to space.
  • An MoU was signed between the French Agency for Development and Solar Energy Corporation of India, on innovation in Solar Energy and another MoU was signed between the French Commission for Atomic and Alternative Energies (CEA) – Bollore’ Blue Solutions, and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), on storage, grid management and e-mobility.

21 IORA Countries adopt the Delhi Declaration on Renewable Energy


  • As many as 21 countries in the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) today adopted the Delhi Declaration on Renewable Energy in the Indian Ocean Region, post the 2nd IORA Renewable Energy Ministerial Meeting held at the 2nd Global Re-Invest India-ISA Partnership Renewable Energy Investor’s Meet & Expo

Delhi Declaration

  • The Delhi Declaration on Renewable Energy in the Indian Ocean Region calls for collaboration among IORA member states in meeting the growing demand for renewable energy in the Indian Ocean littorals, development of a common renewable energy agenda for the Indian Ocean region and promote regional capacity building.
  • The declaration also calls for promotion of technology development and transfer, strengthening of public private partnerships in renewable energy and collaboration among IORA member states and the member nations of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).

Collaboration between IORA and IRENA

  • IORA member countries also resolved to collaborate with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
  • As per the declaration adopted, IORA member nations will collaborate with the ISA member nations to exchange knowledge and share views and potential interests in the renewable energy sector
  • The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between IORA and ISA with a focus on joint capacity-building programs, research & development activities in solar energy and exchange of best practices.

Connect to IORA

  • The Indian Ocean Rim Association was set up with the objective of strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean Region with 21 Member States and 7 Dialogue Partners.
  • The last Renewable Energy Ministerial Meeting was held on 21st January, 2014 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
  • Subsequently, during the meeting of IORA Council of Ministers, held in October, 2016 in Bali, Indonesia, it was decided that the next conference will be held in India.
  • In line with the commitment made, India hostedthe 2nd IORA Renewable Energy Ministerial meet today.

Member countries of IORA

  • India, Australia, Iran IR, Indonesia Thailand, Malaysia, South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Singapore, Mauritius, Madagascar, UAE, Yemen, Seychelles, Somalia, Comoros and Oman are members of IORA.