Current Affairs Analysis

16th & 17th April 2017 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Kempe Gowda Festival; What is VVPAT? Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes Scheme (SCS); What are technical textiles? Malabar exercise; Oxytocin – a “Love Hormone”; Tropical Cyclone Maarutha; Vistadome Coach; Khurki and Teenkathiya systems of British era; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
April 17, 2017


Polity & Governance

  • Election Commission seeks funds for paper trail units
  • Telangana Cabinet clears bill to increase quotas for STs, Muslims


  • Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes Scheme (SCS)
  • Centre to promote use of technical textiles

Defence & Security Issues

  • Australia keen on joining Malabar exercise

Art & Culture

  • Kempe Gowda Festival

Science & Technology

  • Oxytocin – More than just a “Love Hormone”

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Tropical Cyclone Maarutha
  • Vistadome Coach
  • Khurki and Teenkathiya systems of British era


Polity & Governance

Election Commission seeks funds for paper trail units

What is VVPAT?


  • The VVPAT system is a new initiative of the Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections.
  • In the VVPAT system, when a voter presses the button for a candidate of his choice in the electronic voting machines (EVM), a paper ballot containing the serial number, name of the candidate and poll symbol will be printed for the voter.
  • It is intended as an independent verification system for EVM designed to allow voters to verify that their votes are casted correctly, detect possible election fraud or malfunction and provide a means to audit the stored electronic results.

Why in news?

ias toppers funds for paper trail units

  • Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) has requested the Union Law Ministry for urgent release of funds, given the “prevailing environment,” to facilitate procurement of VVPAT (voter verifiable paper audit trail) machines for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
  • Over 16 lakh VVPATs would be required, at an estimated cost of ₹3,174 crore, to cover all polling stations in the next Lok Sabha polls.


  • EC feels that with most of the political parties having declared their lack of faith in EVMs, VVPAT machines are the need of the hour.
  • Earlier, the Supreme Court has also reiterated the necessity to implement the Vote Verifier Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in electronic voting machines (EVMs) to ensure 100% transparency in elections.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Telangana Cabinet clears bill to increase quotas for STs, Muslims

The Telangana legislature has passed the Telangana Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and of Appointments or Posts in the Services under the State) Bill, 2017.

ias toppers Telangana

  • The bill increases the reservations for Scheduled Tribes and backward sections among the Muslim community in government jobs and educational institutions.

Rationale behind the move:

  • After the bifurcation of the combined Andhra Pradesh state, the percentage of Muslims in Telangana has gone up and 90% of them are poor and socially backward. Hence, the state government has decided to increase the quota for Muslims, treating them as OBC (other backward class).
  • Moreover, the Sudhir Commission which was set up to take stock of the socio-economic and educational status of Muslims observed in its report that in Telangana, following the general trend across India, the proportion of Muslim employees had fallen. The commission’s report observed that Muslim employees were just 7.36 per cent of the total workforce in the state.

Implications of the bill:

  • The new legislation will increase the reservation for socially and educationally backward Muslims from the existing 4% to 12% and for Scheduled Tribes from 6% to 10% taking the total quotas in government jobs and educational institutions in the state much beyond the 50 % ceiling set by the Supreme Court.
  • The total quota in the state will now increase to 62%.

9th schedule:

The bill will now be sent for obtaining President’s assent. Since the reservation goes beyond the 50% ceiling set by the Supreme Court, the state government wants the centre to include the bill in the 9th schedule of the Constitution which will preclude a judicial review. States like Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand already have reservations totalling more than 50 percent.

[Ref: Times of India]



Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes Scheme (SCS)

About the Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes Scheme (SCS):

The scheme of Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes was launched in 2014-15 with unique feature of higher level of loans from Rs.50 lakhs to Rs.15 crores for SC entrepreneurs.

  • It was launched to encourage budding and existing entrepreneurs from Scheduled Castes (SCs).
  • Its objective is to promote entrepreneurship amongst the SCs who are oriented towards innovation and technological growth by providing concessional finance to them.
  • It also seeks to enhance direct and indirect employment generation for SC population.
  • Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI) Limited will be the Sponsor this scheme. While, Settler and Asset Management Company (AMC) will be nodal agency to operate the scheme.
  • Under this scheme, Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will provide assistance of Rs. 15 crore to each 30 persons a year, in the form of loan.

Why in news?

ias toppers Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes Scheme

  • The government has informed that under Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes Scheme (SCS) loans amounting to Rs.236.66 crores to 65 Scheduled Caste entrepreneurs has been sanctioned till date.
  • The loans have been sanctioned in different areas including Solar Energy, Water treatment plants, Food processing and Beverages, Hotel etc.
[Ref: PIB]


Centre to promote use of technical textiles

What are technical textiles?


  • Technical Textiles or functional textiles, considered a sunrise sector in the country, are defined as Textile material and products manufactured primarily for their Technical performance and functional properties rather than aesthetic and decorative characteristics.
  • Technical textiles include textiles for automotive applications, medical textiles (e.g., implants), geotextiles (reinforcement of embankments), agrotextiles (textiles for crop protection), and protective clothing (e.g., heat and radiation protection for fire fighter clothing, molten metal protection for welders, stab protection and bulletproof vests, and spacesuits).
  • Functional textiles can be woven or non-woven.
  • Automobile, geo, medical, industrial, and agro textiles are among the range of products that are made in the country.

Why in news?

  • Technical textiles sector is all set for demand taking off for products such as geo and agro textiles.

Significance of technical textiles sector:

  • Technical textiles sector is a thrust area for the Government because of the value addition involved.
  • It can be used in infrastructure projects, including ports, roads, and railways, and in sectors such as agriculture.

What are the challenges for technical textiles?

  • Technical textiles is a fragmented sector with several small and medium-scale industries manufacturing specialised products.
  • The main challenges for technical textiles in the country are awareness among consumers, need for technology and knowledge about it among entrepreneurs, the investments and time needed to be innovative and develop applications, and raw material availability.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Defence & Security Issues

Australia keen on joining Malabar exercise

What is Malabar exercise?

ias toppers Malabar exercise Australia

  • Indian Navy and US Navy (USN) have regularly conducted the annual bilateral exercise named ‘MALABAR’ since 1992.
  • Since 2007, MALABAR has been held alternatively off India and in the Western Pacific.
  • In 2015, the 19th edition of the exercise, Ex MALABAR-15, was conducted off Chennai and included participation by the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF).
  • 21st edition of Malabar, trilateral naval exercises among India, Japan and the U.S. is scheduled to be held in July 2017.

Why in news?

  • It is in news as Australia is keen on joining it and has requested observer status.


  • Australia had been a part of the exercises in 2007. But a sharp response from China, which saw the joint exercises as a coalition against it, put an end to the quadrilateral format.
  • Japan and the U.S. are keen on expanding the games to include Australia with officials from both countries specifically stating so on various occasions. However, India has been reluctant to antagonise China.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Art & Culture

Kempe Gowda Festival

The President of India, recently, inaugurated the Kempe Gowda Festival organized by the Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Foundation in New Delhi.


About Kempe Gowda:


  • Kempe Gowda was a chieftain under the Vijayanagara kings and ruled over most parts of Karnataka in the 16th century.
  • The city of Bengaluru itself was established by Kempe Gowda in 1537, as the capital of his erstwhile kingdom. He is considered to be the founder of Bengaluru, currently the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka.
  • According to historians, Kempe Gowda is a just and humane ruler and is widely accepted as the founder of Bangalore.
  • He visualized a city with military cantonment, water tanks, temples etc, that provide employment to tradesmen.
  • Kempe Gowda’s planned city had eight access gates and wide roads. He ensured that collection of revenue is just and equitable in the city.
  • Planned urban development of the Bengaluru city is a testimony to the capability of Kempe Gowda that even today despite unprecedented challenges of population, traffic and environmental pollution, Bengaluru remains as a Garden City.
  • He ensured that collection of revenue is just and equitable.
  • He is also credited with building the Basavanagudi Bull temple, Ulsoor Someshwara temple and Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple, all of which are stronger even today.
  • In the 1550s, Kempe Gowda struck coins known as Pagodas. This act of his incurred the displeasure of the Vijayanagara kings and he was imprisoned for five years. After an illustrious reign of three decades, Kempe Gowda died in 1570.
  • One of his social reforms was to prohibit the custom of amputating the last two fingers of the left hand of the married women during “Bandi Devaru”, an important custom of Morasu Vokkaligas.
[Ref: Business Standard]


Science & Technology

Oxytocin – More than just a “Love Hormone”

What is Oxytocin?

ias toppers Love Hormone

  • Oxytocin is a hormone that is made in the brain, in the hypothalamus. It is transported to, and secreted by, the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain.
  • It acts both as a hormone and as a brain neurotransmitter.
  • The release of oxytocin by the pituitary gland acts to regulate two female reproductive functions: Childbirth and Breast-feeding.
  • Oxytocin has also been dubbed the hug hormone, cuddle chemical, moral molecule, and the bliss hormone due to its effects on behavior, including its role in love and in female reproductive biological functions in reproduction.

Why in news?

  • According to a recent study, Oxytocin is involved in a broader range of social interactions than previously understood.
  • The new study pinpoints a unique way in which oxytocin alters activity in a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, which is crucial to experiencing the pleasant sensation neuroscientists call “reward.”

Importance of the findings:

  • The findings not only provide validity for ongoing trials of oxytocin in autistic patients, but also suggest possible new treatments for neuropsychiatric conditions in which social activity is impaired.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Key Facts for Prelims

Tropical Cyclone Maarutha


  • A deep depression in Bay of Bengal has intensified into a tropical cyclone named Maarutha.
  • This cyclone is expected to hit Myanmar on 17 April 2017 and bring heavy rains in parts of that country.
  • Tropical Cyclone Maarutha is the first named storm of 2017 Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclone season.


Vistadome Coach


  • The Indian Railways has launched the country’s first ever Vistadome coach services on Visakhapatnam-Araku route.
  • The objective of this trial run is to offer tourists to enjoy the scenic beauty, not only at destination, but also en route to picturesque Araku Valley.
  • The advance features of the coaches include glass roof, LED lights, revolving seats and GPS-based info system, which will certainly make it a comfortable and enjoyable journey for the tourists as well as the local residents.


Khurki and Teenkathiya systems of British era


What is Khurki?

  • Under Khurki system, the British planters used to pay some money to the farmers (Raiyyat) by mortgaging their lands and houses and compelling them to sow indigo.

What is Teenkathiya?

  • The British administration and Jamindar had established “Teen Kahitya” system under which teen katha land out of one bigha was reserved for indigo (Neel) farming.
  • The farmers had to bear the cost of indigo farming and the British planters used to keep the yields without compensating the farmers.


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