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Current Affairs Analysis

13th October 2016 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Draft National Water Framework Bill, 2016; National Seismic Programme; P-notes; MoU between India and Hungary; Carbon Cathode Using Human Hair; First World Tsunami Awareness Day; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
October 13, 2016


Polity & Governance

  • Draft Water Bill suggests basin-level management


  • Dharmendra Pradhan launches National Seismic Programme in Mahanadi Basin
  • SIT set to comb P-Note data for black money

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Cabinet approves MoU between India and Hungary on cooperation in the field of water management

Defence & Security Issues

  • India to promote indigenous expertise in cyber security, to fund start-ups

Science & Technology

  • Researchers use human hair to produce cheaper cathodes for solar cells

Key Facts for Prelims

  • First World Tsunami Awareness Day


Polity & Governance

Draft Water Bill suggests basin-level management

The Central Government has brought final draft of the National Water Framework Bill, 2016 to provide uniform national legal framework to manage water in a better and efficient way.


Key facts:

  • The comprehensive draft Bill proposes model law for all states.
  • However, water being a State subject under VII Schedule of constitution the law will be not binding on States for adoption.

Aim of the bill:

  • The draft bill aims to resolve several inter-state disputes over river water sharing.

Key features of the draft bill:

Right to water:

  • Every person has a right to sufficient quantity of safe water for life within easy reach of the household regardless of his/her socio-economic factors.

Equitable rights:

  • All basin states have equitable rights over the use of river water provided such use does not violate the right to water for life of any person in the river basin.

Role of the States:

  • States must recognise the principle that the rivers are public trustees and not owned by the basin-States.

All sates are equal:

  • All the basin States are equal in rights and status, and there is no hierarchy of rights among them. Here equality of rights means not equal but equitable shares in river waters.

Resolve conflicts:

  • Managing water at river basin-level and right measurement of State’s contribution to river system in order to resolve conflicts.

River Basin Authority:

  • Establishing River Basin Authority (RBA) for each inter-State basin to ensure optimum and sustainable development of rivers and valleys.

Institutional arrangements:

  • Establishing institutional arrangements to deal with inter-state water disputes in order to “obviate” disputes through negotiations, mediation or conciliation.

Other mechanisms:

  • Proposes other mechanisms such as National water quality and footprint standards, Integrated river basin development and management plan and Graded pricing system.

Why we need a new bill?

  • The water shortage problem is escalating and country has witnessed acute drought situation in certain parts.
  • In future, such situations may increase backdrop of climate change.
  • Besides, presently in absence of institutional arrangement there are inter-state water disputes because states do not their contributions to a river’s catchment area to resolve conflicts.
[Ref: The Hindu]



Dharmendra Pradhan launches National Seismic Programme in Mahanadi Basin

Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has inaugurated the National Seismic Programme (NSP) in Odisha to trace hydrocarbon resources like oil and natural gas in Mahanadi basin in Odisha.


Key features of National Seismic Programme:

  • The NSP aims to undertake a fresh appraisal in all sedimentary basins across India, especially where no/scanty data is available, to have a better understanding of the hydrocarbon potential of India.
  • Under this programme, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Limited (OIL) have been entrusted to conduct 2D seismic Acquisition, Processing and Interpretation (API) across India.
  • ONGC will carry out the National Seismic Programme in most parts of the country.
  • Oil India Ltd will undertake the project in north-eastern states.
  • The outcome from the NSP would contribute to better understanding of the sub-surface with Petroleum Systems across wider geological ages to explore the hydrocarbon reserves in Odisha.
  • NSP would attract significant investment to the hydrocarbon sector in Odisha generating employment opportunities and bringing prosperity to the State.
[Ref: The Hindu]


SIT set to comb P-Note data for black money

The special investigation team (SIT) on black money has asked the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to furnish the details of all those investing through participatory notes (P-Notes).


  • This is the first time the government-constituted body has sought such massive amount of data, which includes the list of beneficial owners and transfer trials of investors taking the P-Note route to invest in domestic equity and debt markets.


  • The SIT wants to ensure that the regulatory changes made by SEBI are sufficient to curb misuse of tools, particularly with respect to end beneficiaries.
  • The expert panel is concerned that the P-Note route could still be used by Indian companies to bring back unaccounted money.
  • In May, SEBI tightened norms for P-Notes. It had increased KYC requirement, issued curbs on transferability and prescribed stringent reporting for P-Notes issuers and holders. It mandated issuers to follow anti-money laundering laws.
  • The tightening of P-Note norms was triggered by the concerns raised by SIT in 2015, especially over the investment coming from Cayman Islands, the top destination for P-Note investors investing in the Indian securities market.

What is P-notes?

  • P-notes, or Off-shore Derivatives Instruments (ODIs), allow foreign investors to take exposure to Indian stocks without registering with SEBI.
  • These instruments are issued by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) registered with SEBI.
  • Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Credit Suisse are among the biggest P-note issuers on the Indian market.
[Ref: Business Standard]


Bilateral & International Relations

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Hungary on cooperation in the field of water management

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Hungary on cooperation in the field of water management.


  • This is for the first time India is entering into a MoU with Hungary with wide-ranging areas on water sector.

Key facts:

  • The MoU will be signed between Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India and the Ministry of Interior, Government of Hungary.
  • Both the countries will cooperate in the field of river basin management, integrated water resources management, irrigation technology innovation, efficiency in water supply and flood & drought management to improve the socio-economic conditions of the people.
  • They will also exchange of scientific delegations and experts in the field of water resources development and management for joint activities.

Significance of the MoU:

  • The MoU will enhance bilateral cooperation in the field of water management, on the basis of equality and mutual benefits.
  • This will encourage the development of bilateral relations between public and private organizations concerning water resources of both the countries.
[Ref: PIB]


Defence & Security Issues

India to promote indigenous expertise in cyber security, to fund start-ups

India is building its first platform for homegrown cyber security companies to promote indigenous expertise in the field and help local firms get a larger share of the country’s digital security technology budget.

Key facts:


  • In this regard, the government and industry have come together to prepare a road map to create a platform for digital and cyber security products and solution companies.
  • This includes creating a special fund for cyber security start-ups to groom them to build local solutions to tackle internet security challenges.
  • Data Security Council of India (DSCI) will collaborate with the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeITY) and the Technology Development Board of the Department of Science and Technology for the platform and funds.

Scope of India’s cyber security market:

  • India’s cyber security market size is about $4 billion (about Rs 26, 729.5 crore), which is expected to grow nine-fold to $35 billion by 2025.
  • According NASSCOM data, there are about 150 cyber security companies in India. However, the security landscape in India still remains considerably untouched by investors.

Why we need an indigenous expertise in cyber security?

  • In some ways, cyber attacks are 21st century plagues, and to stay secure, we need widespread immunity and awareness. India is not there yet.
[Ref: Business Standard]


Science & Technology

Researchers use human hair to produce cheaper cathodes for solar cells

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Kolkata have produced cost-effective, metal-free cathodes using human hair for use in solar cells.


Significance of the research:

  • This is the first instance where a bio-waste-derived electrode (in this case human hair) has been used as cathode in a quantum dot sensitised solar cell device.

How is it made?

  • Researchers have developed graphitic porous carbon cathode by cleaning and drying human hair and treating with sulphuric acid to achieve precarbonisation.
  • It was then heated at different temperatures in the presence of inert gas for six hours to carbonise and bring better electrical conductivity for efficient charge transfer.
  • This efficient green cathode achieves highly catalytic graphitic porous carbon stage at optimum temperature of 850 degrees C.

Advantages of carbon cathode using human hair:

  • Producing graphitic porous carbon cathode using human hair is simple, quick and inexpensive.
  • It has potential to bring down the cost of solar cells.
  • The bio-waste-derived cathode has higher efficiency to convert visible sunlight to electricity. It also enhances the power conversion efficiencies.
  • It generates high open-circuit voltage compared to conventional platinum and activated carbon cathodes.
  • It is metal-free cathode, while commonly used cathode is made of platinum metal and metal sulfides.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Key Facts for Prelims

First World Tsunami Awareness Day


  • The First World Tsunami Awareness Day will be celebrated on 5 November 2016.
  • An event will be organised with Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Champions at the Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) 2016.
  • The significance of the day to tsunami awareness can be traced back to the year 1854. A villager in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, was concerned about an impending tsunami after a high-intensity earthquake on 5 November 1854. He set up a fire to rice sheaves on the top of a hill. Fellow villagers, who went atop to put off the fire, were saved even as a tsunami destroyed their village down below. This was the first documented instance of a tsunami early warning.
  • To commemorate that day of “Inamura no Hi” (the burning of rice sheaves), a resolution was jointly proposed by 142 countries including Japan as a follow up of the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • The United Nations designated the 5th November as World Tsunami Awareness Day.


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