Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - September 7, 2017


Environment Minister Urges State Governments to Initate Necessary Action to Manage Air Pollution

Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has called upon State Governments of Delhi-NCR region, to initiate all necessary actions on a war footing for management of air pollution

Simple steps can go a long way in mitigating the levels of pollution such as

  • Prevention of biomass and crop burning,
  • Better management of crop residue,
  • Sprinkling water on dusty roads,
  • Dust mitigation at all construction and demolition sites
  • Strict prevention of crop burning,
  • Closure of unauthorised brick kilns,
  • Installation of vapour recovery at fuel stations,
  • Avoidance of over-loaded vehicles and
  • Strict implementation of ‘Pollution Under Check’ certification.
  • Ensure implementation of all long-term actions as directed by the Central Government in right earnest besides strict implementation of Graded Response Action Plan for various levels of pollution.

The Minister added that the success will lie in ensuring that the emergency levels are not reached, as per the Graded Response Action Plan

The Ministry has already initiated efforts for Clean Air by organising Harit Diwali – Swasth Diwali campaign with large number of students.

Cyber Security

Ransomeware – “Locky”

Issued alert by -

  • The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In)

About the -

  • Spread of new ransomware (malicious software) - ‘Locky’

What -

  • Lock computers and demand ransom for unlocking them.
  • Ransomware is basically type of malicious software designed to block access to computer system until sum of money is paid.

Enlighten about Locky ransomware

  • It is being circulated through massive spam campaign in which spam emails with common subject lines target computers by locking them and demanding ransom for restoring access to users.
  • It first had surfaced in 2016.
  • It encrypts les on victims’ PCs and adds a .locky file extension.
  • The attackers then demand ransom in Bitcoin payment to unlock the files.

Its impact on Indian systems is not clear so far.

  • The Locky Ransomware cyberattack is third major ransomware attack this year after Wannacry and Petya which had crippled thousands of computers, including those of multinational corporations.
  • According to an Assocham PWC study, India was third worst affected country in list of over 100 countries hit by Wannacry in May 2017.

Enlighten about CERT-In

  • CERT-In is nodal agency for information technology security under aegis of Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Electronics and IT
  • It was established in 2004.
  • Its mandate is to protect Indian cyberspace and software infrastructure against destructive and hacking activities.
  • It also responds to computer security incidents, report on vulnerabilities and promote effective IT security practices throughout country.
  • It also issue guidelines, vulnerability notes, advisories, and whitepapers regarding to information security practices,


Breakthrough Listen project

Why in news -

  • Breakthrough Listen project has detected 15 fast radio bursts (FRBs) coming from a dwarf galaxy about 3 million light years away from earth.
  • The new detection was made with help of Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia.
  • It was emitted from FRB 121102, a mysterious source associated with galaxy in the distant universe.
  • The first known radio burst from FRB 121102 was detected on November 2, 2012 (hence the object’s name).
  • Two more bursts were detected in May 2015 and eight more in

Enlighten about Fast radio bursts (FRB)

  • FRB is brief, bright pulse of radio emission from distant galaxies.
  • It was first detected in 2007 with help of Parkes Telescope in Australia.
  • It is a high-energy astrophysical phenomenon of unknown origin manifested as transient radio pulse lasting only a few milliseconds.

Enlighten about - Breakthrough Listen Project (BLP)

  • BLP is US$100-million global astronomical initiative launched in 2015 by Internet investor Yuri Milner and cosmologist Stephen Hawking.
  • It has teams from around the world to nd signs of intelligent life in universe.
  • The 10-year programme aims to survey 1,000,000 closest stars to Earth by scanning entire galactic plane of Milky Way.
  • It will listen for messages from the 100 closest galaxies at 10 billion different frequencies originated beyond our galaxy



  • Earth-sized planets orbiting ultracool TRAPPIST-1 dwarf star may have substantial amounts of water and could be habitable.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

  • A joint project of European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA to estimate whether there is water on seven planets orbiting in TRAPPIST-1 planetary system

More details -

  • Astronomers had examined amount of ultraviolet radiation (UV) received by individual planets of system to detect presence of water.
  • UV radiation is important factor in atmospheric evolution of planets as it can break water vapour in atmospheres of planets into hydrogen and oxygen in process called photodissociation.
  • UV rays with more energy and X-rays heat upper atmosphere of planet, which allows hydrogen and oxygen, products of photodissociation to escape.
  • Hydrogen gas escaped from exoplanets’ atmospheres was detected by HST indicating it as a possible indicator of atmospheric water vapour.
  • The results suggest that outer planets of TRAPPIST-1 planetary system may harbour substantial amounts of water.
  • This includes three planets within habitable zone (Goldilocks zone) of star, lending further weight to the possibility that they may indeed be habitable and support alien life
  • The observed amount of UV radiation emitted by TRAPPIST-1 suggests that planets could have lost gigantic amounts of water over course of their history.
  • The inner planets (TRAPPIST-1b, 1c, 1d) could have lost water worth more than 20 Earth- oceans- during the last eight billion years.
  • Outer planets of system (e, f and g) which are in habitable zone might have lost much less water, suggesting that they could have retained some on their surfaces.
  • TRAPPIST-1 The seven Earth-sized planets (named TRAPPIST-1b, c, d, e, f, g and h) orbiting ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 were discovered by astronomers in February 2017.

Nine new members were inducted into Council of Ministers of NDA Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in recent reshuffle.
The aim of reshue was to reinforce 4Ps — passion, prociency, professional and political acumen in Government.
9 new members inducted are
Hardeep Singh Puri: Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
Satya Pal Singh: MoS Human Resource Development and MoS Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
Shiv Pratap Shukla: MoS Finance Ministry. Alphons Kannanthanam: MoS (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Tourism; and MoS in Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Raj Kumar Singh:
MoS (Independent Charge) of Ministry of Power; and MoS (Independent Charge) of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy

Virendra Kumar:
MoS in Ministry of Women and Child Development; and MoS in min of minority affairs

Anantkumar Hegde:
MoS in Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

Four senior ministers were elevated to the cabinet rank.
Piyush Goyal: Railway Ministry.
Nirmala Sitharaman: Defence Ministry.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi: Minority Affairs Ministry.
Dharmendra Pradhan: Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry.

India and Myanmar have signed 11 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) in range of sectors
The MoUs were signed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Nay Pyi Taw.
It was first bilateral visit of PM Narendra Modi to Myanmar and overall second.

The focus of visit was to strengthen cooperation in security and counter-terrorism, trade and investment, infrastructure and energy and culture between both countries.

Signed Agreements are

MoU on cooperation in the field of Health and medicine
Technical Agreement for providing Coastal Surveillance System
Exchange of Letter for Extension of MoU on the establishment of MIIT
MoU for Upgradation of Women’s Police Training Centre at Yamethin, Myanmar
MoU on Maritime Security Cooperation Cultural Exchange Programme for year 2017-2020
MoU on Cooperation in Medical Products Regulation
MoU for Sharing White Shipping Information between Indian Navy and Myanmar Navy
MoU on Cooperation between Press Council of India and Myanmar Press Council
Exchange of Letter for Extension of MoU on establishment of India-Myanmar Centre for Enhancement of IT-Skill
MoU in the field of elections between Election Commission of India and Election Commission of Myanmar

Hrd Ministry

Diksha Portal

Launched by -

  • The Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development (HRD) For
  • providing digital platform to teacher to make their lifestyle more digital.

It will serve as National Digital Infrastructure for Teachers.
Through this portal, all teachers across nation will be equipped with advanced digital technology.
Key facts
Diksha portal will enable, accelerate and amplify solutions in realm of teacher education.
It will aid teachers to learn and train themselves for which assessment resources will be available.
It will help teachers to create training content, profile, in-class resources, assessment aids, news and announcement and connect with teacher community.
The portal will record complete work and accomplishment of teachers in educational institutes from start to end point till their retirement.
It will cover entire life cycle of teacher– from time they were enrolled as student teachers in Teacher Education Institutes (TEIs) to after they retire as teachers.
The portal will help teachers boost their teaching skills and create their own separate profile with their skills and knowledge.
It will help in improving quality of education wit use of latest technologies in education sector.
Government, private institutes and NGO’s also can participate in the Diksha initiative