Current Affairs Analysis

15th August 2017 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Largest volcanic region on earth lies in Antartica; West Antarctic rift system; National Human Rights Commission (NHRC); Recommendations of Olympic Task Force; Pashu Sanjivni component under National Mission on Bovine Productivity scheme; Information Network for Animal Productivity & Health (INAPH) data base; Shell company; Companies Act, 2013; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
August 15, 2017


Polity & Governance

  • NHRC issues notice to UP government
  • Olympic Task Force recommends steps to improve sports in India


  • Data on 85 lakh milk producing animals uploaded on INAPH Data Base
  • A hasty order

Geophysical Phenomena

  • Largest volcanic region on earth lies in Antartica

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Polity & Governance

NHRC issues notice to UP government

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government, seeking a detailed report on the death of children at BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur in four weeks.


  • The rights panel has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports hinting at negligence in the supply of liquid oxygen at the hospital which resulted in the death of a large number of children.

About NHRC:


  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India is an autonomous public body constituted in 1993.
  • It was given a statutory basis by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (TPHRA).
  • Recommendations given by NHRC are just advisory and not binding in nature.
  • NHRC submits Annual report to the Central government and to the concerned state governments.


The NHRC (National Human Rights Commission) consists of:

  • A Chairperson, retired Chief Justice of India
  • One Member who is, or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court of India
  • One Member who is, or has been, the Chief Justice of a High Court
  • Two Members to be appointed from among persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights
  • In addition, the Chairpersons of four National Commissions of (1. Minorities 2. SC and ST 3. Women) serve as ex officio members.


The Chairperson and members of the NHRC are appointed by the President of India, on the recommendation of a committee consisting of:

  • The Prime Minister (chairperson)
  • The Home Minister
  • The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha (House of the People)
  • The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha (Council of States)
  • The Speaker of the Lok Sabha (House of the People)
  • The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Council of States)

Powers and Functions:

The NHRC has the following functions:

  • To investigate complaints regarding the violation of human rights either suo moto or after receiving a petition.
  • To investigate the failure of duties on the part of any public official in preventing the violation of human rights.
  • To intervene in any judicial proceedings involving any allegation of violation of human rights.
  • To visit any jail or any other institution under the control of the State Government to see the living conditions of the inmates and to make recommendations thereon.
  • To review the safeguards provided under the constitution or any law for the protection of the human rights and to recommend appropriate remedial measures.
  • To study treaties and other international instruments on human rights and to make recommendations for their effective implementation.
  • To undertake and promote research in the field of human rights.
  • To encourage the efforts of the non-governmental organisations working in the field of human rights.
  • To spread human rights literacy among various sections of society and to promote awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights through publications, the media, seminars and other means.
  • To review all facts related to the activities of the terrorists which obstruct the way of the protection of human rights and to make recommendations for their effective implementation.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Olympic Task Force recommends steps to improve sports in India

The eight-member Olympic Task Force, constituted to plan a roadmap to improve India’s performance in the next three Olympics, has submitted its report.


  • The report has been titled “Preparation of 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games“.
  • The report focuses on three-fold formula of being athletic-centric, coach-led and system driven.
  • The report addressed issues like upgradation in sports governance, sport science and culture of sports, among many others.

Important recommendations made by the task force:

  • The task force urged sports authorities to visit the countryside and make all out attempts to spot talent in various primary schools and nurture them.
  • It focused on inculcating physical wellness, ethical and moral values among the budding sportsperson so that they evolve into world-class personalities in the sporting arena.
  • It calls for the establishment of an Empowered Steering Committee (ESC) to drive all initiatives. ESC will be responsible for ensuring proper preparation for Tokyo 2020 Olympics and it should have full financial autonomy. The ESC should be supported by a special cell that will take care of all the logistical issues for athletes, so they can concentrate on training alone.
  • It calls for the appointment of an internationally acclaimed High-Performance Director who will be working with the Empowered Steering Committee.
  • It calls for a removal of the cap on salary for the Indian coached and support staff.
  • It suggests that former athletes should be encouraged to return to respective sports as coaches, and support staff on deputation.
  • It asks for issuing Pradhan Mantri Gold Card for the elite potential athlete and their coaches as an identity of being a ‘National asset’. It says that this card will provide them with facilities like emergency quota for air/train/bus tickets as well as hassle free access at various places.
  • It says that athletes should have an access to a 24×7 National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) helpline, where they can seek advice on any doubt.
  • It suggests that primacy of athletes and coaches should be maintained at all the times. In addition, the ESC and HPD should work towards creating an environment – like infrastructure, equipment, training camps and all else – that allows them to deliver.
  • It suggests that all these recommendations should apply to Para athletes as well.


The report remarked that

  • Currently sports governance is at stake as relationship and coordination of various sports federations with all their concerned stakeholders need much more advancement for timely disbursement and dispensation of sports grants to nurture the sporting talent.
  • Sports science is currently missing in sports syllabi, as a result, the best of sportspersons in India are not uplifted beyond a certain threshold and therefore, the earlier the sports science is introduced to sports, the better would it be for ultimate evolution of all sports in the country.



  • The task force was set up under the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the end of Rio Olympics, where India won just two medals despite sending its largest contingent ever.
  • The task force included national badminton coach Pulella Gopichand, India’s lone individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and former India hockey captain Viren Rasquinha among others.
[Ref: Indian Express]



Data on 85 lakh milk producing animals uploaded on INAPH Data Base

Pashu Sanjivni component under National Mission on Bovine Productivity scheme was initiated by the Government in November 2016.


  • Under the scheme, as on date 85 lakh milk producing animals have been identified and their data has been uploaded on Information Network on Animal Health and Productivity (INAPH) data base.

About the scheme:

  • Under the scheme, 88 million milk producing animals out of 300 million cattle and buffaloes are being identified using polyurethane tags with 12 digit unique identification (UID) number.
  • The polyurethane tags, which will last for a few year, will be affixed by the technicians using a special applicator.
  • Next, the technicians will, using a tablet, upload details of the cow including its vaccination and deworming status into an online database.
  • The purpose of the exercise, in the long run, is to improve vaccination practices, and ensure that scientific interventions can be made to improve both breeding and milk production.
  • The Pashu Sanjivni is crucial for control and spread of animal diseases, scientific management of animals, enhanced production and productivity, improvement in quality of livestock & livestock products, increase in trade of livestock and livestock products by meeting out sanitary and phtyosanitory issues.

About the INAPH data base:

Information Network for Animal Productivity & Health (INAPH) data base is a Desktop/ Netbook / Android Tablet based field IT application that facilitates the capturing of real time reliable data on Breeding, Nutrition and Health Services delivered at farmer’s doorstep.


  • It has been developed by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
  • It provides a tool for farmers, field functionaries, Union, Federation, NDDB to assess and monitor the progress of the project.
  • INAPH application is being used in various projects implemented by NDDB in partnership with milk unions and AI service providers as well as agencies implementing ration balancing programmes.
[Ref: PIB]


A hasty order

The Securities and Exchange Board of India recently imposed trading restrictions on 331 companies suspected of being shell entities.



  • It is suspected that trading on the shares of these “shell” companies was used as a way to launder black money.

What’s the issue?

  • As part of efforts to curb the black money menace, the corporate affairs ministry has already cancelled the registration of more than 1.62 lakh companies that have not been carrying out business activities for long. The ministry is implementing the Companies Act and firms are required to be registered under this law.
  • SEBI had acted on a list of suspect companies that the Ministry of Corporate Affairs had forwarded after consultation with the Serious Fraud Investigation Office and the Income Tax department.

Opposition of the move:

  • However, this is being seen as an example of rash regulatory action.
  • The Securities Appellate Tribunal also recently stated in its order that “it is apparent that SEBI passed the impugned order without any investigation.”
  • Instead of conducting an independent investigation into these suspect companies, SEBI passed the buck to the exchanges and asked them to impose immediate trading restrictions on the companies.

Any provisions regarding shell company in Companies Act, 2013?

  • The term ‘shell company’ is not defined under the Companies Act, 2013. The Act requires that a company may be set up for any lawful purpose only.
  • Subsequent to incorporation, if a company is found to be formed for fraudulent or unlawful purpose, it is liable for penal action, including for winding up under Section 271 of the Act.

What are the concerns?

  • The government’s resolve to act against dodgy companies, for the sake of bringing business practices under the purview of the law, is indeed warranted. However, on the list of companies closed were also companies with huge market capitalisations.
  • A sound business environment requires that the government adhere to the basic rules of justice at all times. Handing out extremely harsh punishment on suspect companies without giving them an adequate chance to explain their positions smacks of heavy-handedness.
  • The economic costs of freezing the trading of shares of popular companies are not commensurate with the purported benefits of such action.

What’s next?

  • While the SAT order has brought some fairness to the entire proceedings, SEBI’s action will deal a blow to its credibility among investors as being an effective and unbiased regulatory body.
  • Not surprisingly, investor unease was at least partially evident on the street where stocks witnessed a sharp fall after the order. In order to restore confidence, SEBI and the government must explain the rationale behind their actions.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Geophysical Phenomena

Largest volcanic region on earth lies in Antartica

Researchers from Britain have discovered the largest volcanic region on Earth, two km below the surface of the vast ice sheet in west Antarctica.

ias toppers Largest volcanic region

  • They have found 91 previously unknown active volcanoes in the region known as the West Antarctic rift system, adding to the exiting 47 volcanoes that were discovered earlier. This makes it largest volcanic region on the Earth.


Key facts:

  • These active peaks are concentrated in the west Antarctic rift system region — which stretches 3,500 km from Antarctica’s Ross ice shelf to the Antarctic peninsula.


  • The height of these newly discovered active volcanoes ranges from 100 to 3,850 metres, with the highest being almost as tall as Switzerland’s Eiger mountain (3,970 metre).
  • All of these volcanoes are covered in thick layers of ice.
  • This region is larger than east Africa’s volcanic ridge which is currently rated as the densest concentration of volcanoes in the world.

ias toppers West Antarctic rift system

What are the concerns?

  • If one of these volcanoes were to erupt it could further destabilise west Antarctica’s ice sheets. Anything that causes the melting of ice – which an eruption certainly would – is likely to speed up the flow of ice into the sea.
  • Another alarming trend is that most volcanism in the world at present is in regions that have only recently lost their glacier covering – after the end of the last ice age. This could happen in west Antarctica, where significant warming in the region caused by climate change has begun to affect its ice sheets.
[Ref: The Hindu]


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