Current Affairs Analysis

18th & 19th March 2018 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017; Specific Relief Act, 1963; Nabakalebara Festival; Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE); 105th Indian Science Congress; Women Science Congress; Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA); International Competition Network Annual Conference 2018; International Competition Network (ICN); Competition Commission of India (CCI); What is cold fusion? ‘Banglar Rosogolla’; What is GI tag? Jackfruit to be Kerala’s state fruit; Floating laboratory; Loktak Lake; New species of water strider; Indian Coast Guard Ship C- 437; Hindu New Year celebrations; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
March 19, 2018


Polity & Governance

  • The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017
  • Odisha man applies to rectify Rosagolla’s GI tag

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE)

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • New species of water strider found in Nagaland
  • A floating laboratory to save the Loktak lake
  • Jackfruit to be Kerala’s state fruit

Bilateral & International Relations

  • India to host International Competition Network Annual Conference 2018

Art & Culture

  • President releases commemorative coins on Nabakalebar festival

Science & Technology

  • PM inaugurates 105th Indian Science Congress
  • India warms to cold fusion

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Indian Coast Guard Ship C- 437
  • Hindu New Year celebrations begins

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Polity & Governance

The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017

With an aim to further ease procedures for doing business in the country, the Lok Sabha has passed Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

  • The Bill seeks to amend the Specific Relief Act, 1963.

Key features of Bill:

  • The Bill seeks to remove conditions of specific performance is limited right, which may be given by court at its discretion and permit specific performance by courts as general rule.
  • It adds limited liability partnership (LLP), a new entity formed from amalgamation of two existing LLPs, one of which may have entered into a contract before the amalgamation.


Performance of contract:

  • The Bill gives affected party (i.e. party whose contract has not been performed by other party) option to arrange for performance of contract by third party or by his own agency (substituted performance).


  • It prevents courts from granting injunctions in contracts related to infrastructure projects, if such injunction hinders or delays completion of project in infrastructure sectors and their sub-sectors like transport, energy, water and sanitation, communication and social and commercial infrastructure. The central government may amend list of sectors through notification.

Special Courts:

  • It allows state government to designate certain civil courts as Special Courts in consultation with Chief Justice of High Court.
  • These courts will deal with cases related to infrastructure projects.

Recovery of possession:

  • It permits person through whom dispossessed got possession of immovable property, to file a suit for recovery.


  • It inserts new provision for engaging technical experts in suits where expert opinion may be needed.
  • The court will determine terms of payment of such expert. The payment of experts will be borne by both parties.

About Specific Relief Act, 1963:

  • Specific Relief Act, 1963 is law sets out remedies available to parties whose contractual or civil rights have been violated.
  • It also provides a remedy that aims at the exact fulfilment of an obligation or specific performance of the contract rather than a general relief or compensation or damages.
  • It sets out two main remedies to party whose contract has not been performed.
  • First one, the party may ask court to compel performance of contract (specific performance) and second one, the party may seek monetary compensation instead of performance.
[Ref: The Hindu, PRSIndia]


Odisha man applies to rectify Rosagolla’s GI tag

The Geographical Indication (GI) Registry has issued a notice to the West Bengal State Food Processing and Horticulture Development Corporation, asking why the GI recognition given to ‘Banglar Rosogolla’ be not withdrawn.


Petitioners’ arguments:

  • A petition was recently filed objecting to the GI status procured by West Bengal for ‘Banglar Rosogolla’ four months ago.
  • The petitioner questioned the data and documents provided by West Bengal for getting GI tag for this famous sweet.
  • He had also pointed out that Odisha was not given a chance to explain its stance when the West Bengal State Food Processing & Horticulture Development Corporation applied for GI status.


Historical evidences:

  • According to one of the documents submitted by West Bengal citing historical evidence, Rasogollas invented in the Nadia district of West Bengal are 60 years old (lower end time frame).
  • Haradhan, a confectioner of village Phulia is named as the inventor. West Bengal has given half-a-dozen historical evidences to back its claim.
  • While Odisha says the famous sweet was part of the offering in Sri Jagannath Temple of Puri at least five centuries ago.


What is GI tag?

  • A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.
  • The tag gave protection to the producer of these genuine products, which commanded premium pricing in the markets, both domestic and international.
  • Once the GI protection is granted, no other producer can misuse the name to market similar products. It also provides comfort to customers about the authenticity of that product.
  • Darjeeling tea, Tirupati laddu, Kangra paintings, Nagpur orange and Kashmir pashmina are among the registered GIs in India.
[Ref: The Hindu, Times of India]


Issues related to Health & Education

Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE)

President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE) in New Delhi. 


  • He also presented Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Awards.

About the Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE):

  • FINE is an initiative to recognise, respect, showcase, reward innovations and foster supportive ecosystem for innovators.
  • The 5-day festival was organised by Rashtrapati Bhavan in association with Department of Science and Technology (DST) and National Innovation Foundation-India (NIFI).


Significance of the Festival:

  • FINE would provide an excellent platform to the innovators for building the linkages with potential stakeholders whose support can improve their prospects in coming years for the larger social good.
  • It will also help in promoting lateral learning and linkages among the innovators to enrich the ecosystem for new India.
  • It would also be a great opportunity to create awareness about the importance of various Ministries of Government of India attaches to their effort and participation in the FINE.
[Ref: PIB]


Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

New species of water strider found in Nagaland

Scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have discovered a new species of water strider from Nagaland.

  • The species is named Ptilomera nagalanda Jehamalar and Chandra.


About Water striders:

  • Water striders are a group of insects adapted to life on the surface of water, using surface tension to their advantage.
  • Their presence serves as an indicator water of water quality and they are found on water surface.
  • Other than being a good indicator of water quality, water striders also play an important role in the food chain by feeding on mosquito larvae.

Significance of this discovery:

  • So far, only five species of water striders under the subgenus Ptilomera were known in India.
  • Ptilomera is that they are only found in rocky, fast flowing streams and rivers that are not exposed to a lot of sunlight.
  • With the discovery of Ptilomera nagalanda the number of species of water striders belonging to the subgenus has increased to six.
[Ref: The Hindu]


A floating laboratory to save the Loktak lake

Recently, a floating laboratory has been introduced to save the Loktak lake.

  • Researchers in a custom motorboat monitor levels of pollution in the 300 sq km water body.

Need for such laboratory:

  • Rising urbanisation and land-use change over the years has seen the Loktak Lake, the largest in the northeast, become a dump-yard for the city’s municipal waste, ranging from plastic refuse to chemical runoff from farming. This worsens during years of floods.


About Loktak Lake:


Loktak Lake, Manipur

  • Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India and is famous for the phumdis floating over it. Phumdis are the heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil and organic matter at various stages of decomposition.
  • Keibul Lamjao is the only floating national park in the world and is the last natural refuge of endangered Sangai deer (state animal).
  • It has first of its kind loktak floating elementary school.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Jackfruit to be Kerala’s state fruit

The Kerala government has declared Jackfruit as the official fruit of the state to promote the ‘Kerala Jackfruit’ as a brand in markets across the country and abroad.


  • The brand will showcase its organic and nutritious qualities.

Significance of this move:

  • This would also help in giving in the fruit’s production and sale, besides increasing its value-added products.
  • It is expected that the state can generate Rs 15,000 crore through sale of jackfruit and its allied products through branding of the fruit.


Key facts:

  • As per officials, Kerala has been producing around 32 crore jackfruits every year, of which 30% gets wasted.
  • Elephant is the state animal of Kerala, while ‘great hornbill’ the bird and ‘kanikkonna’ the official flower.
  • The state had recently declared pearl spot, popularly known as ‘karimeen’, as its official fish.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Bilateral & International Relations

India to host International Competition Network Annual Conference 2018

India is hosting the 17th Annual Conference of International Competition Network 2018 (ICN2018) in New Delhi.


About the 2018 ICN conference:

  • The ICN holds an Annual Conference which is hosted by a member competition agency. The last such Conference was hosted by Portuguese Competition Authority in 2017 at Porto, Portugal.
  • This is the first time India is hosting the ICN2018 Annual Conference since it joined International Competition Network (ICN) in 2009.
  • The conference will provide an opportunity to exchange ideas and strategies for effective enforcement of competition law and for strengthening cooperation amongst the competition authorities as they strive to promote and sustain competition in rapidly changing markets.

About International Competition Network:


  • International Competition Network (ICN) is an international body comprising 132 members from 120 competition jurisdictions exclusively devoted to international competition enforcement.
  • ICN provides competition authorities with a specialised yet informal platform for addressing practical competition concerns, sharing experiences and adopting international best practices.
  • Its members are national competition authorities and NGA (Non-governmental Advisers) which include reputed law firms, eminent persons, and think tanks of international repute.
  • The ICN holds an Annual Conference which is hosted by a member competition agency. The last such Conference was hosted by Competition Commission of Singapore in April 2016 and Portuguese Competition Authority is hosting the next conference in May 2017.
  • India’s Competition Commission of India (CCI) is a member of the ICN since 2003.

About the Competition Commission of India:


Competition Commission of India (CCI) is a body of the Government of India responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002 throughout India and to prevent activities that have an adverse effect on competition in India.

  • CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.
  • It is the duty of the Commission to:
  1. Eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition,
  2. Promote and sustain competition,
  3. Protect the interests of consumers and
  4. Ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
  • The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.
[Ref: PIB]


Art & Culture

President releases commemorative coins on Nabakalebar festival

President Ram Nath Kovind has released Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 10 commemorative coins on the occasion of Nabakalebar festival at a function held in Puri, Odisha.


Nabakalebara Festival:

  • Nabakalebara festival is an ancient ritual that is observed in the Shree Jagannath Temple at Puri, Odisha at predefined time according to Hindu Calender.
  • Naba means new and Kalebara is body.
  • In this festival, the idols of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra and Sudarshan are replaced by new idols as it is believed that Lord Shree Jagannath adornes new body during Nabakalebara.
  • A year with an extra Ashadha masa/month in a year called as Purusottam month as per the Hindu calendar is considered auspicious for conducting the ceremony. This usually occurs every twelve to nineteen years.
  • The Deities are made from a special type of Neem wood known as Daru Bramha.
[Ref: The Hindu, Business Standard]


Science & Technology

PM inaugurates 105th Indian Science Congress

105th Indian Science Congress was recently held in Manipur.

  • The focal theme of 5-day ISC is “Reaching the Unreached Through Science & Technology”.
  • It focussed on translational science for promoting affordable sustainable innovation.

Key Facts

  • The ISC 2018 was organised by the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA), a premier scientific organisation of India.
  • This is 2nd time the Science Congress is being held in the north east. Earlier it was held at Shillong (Meghalaya) in 2009.

Women Science Congress:

  • 7th Women Science Congress was also held at the 105th session of Indian Science Congress in Imphal.
  • The first Women Science Congress was held in 2012.

106th Indian Science Congress:

  • 106th edition of the Indian Science Congress will be held next year in Januaryin
  • The theme: “Future India: Science & Technology”.

About Indian Science Congress Association:

  • Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) is a premier scientific organisation started in the year 1914 in Kolkata.
  • It owes its origin to the foresight and initiative of two British chemists, namely, Professor J. L. Simonsen and Professor P. S. MacMahon.
  • It occurred to them that scientific research in India might be stimulated if an annual meeting of research workers somewhat on the lines of the British Association for the Advancement of Science could be arranged.
  • It has a membership of more than 30,000 scientists.
  • It organises Indian Science Congress annually in the first week of January. The first meeting of the ISCC was held in January 1914 in the Asiatic Society, Kolkata.
  • The 104th edition of ISC was held in Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh) with the theme “Science and Technology for National Development”.

Objectives of ISCA:

  • To advance and promote the cause of science in India.
  • To hold an annual congress at a suitable place in India.
  • To publish such proceedings, journals, transactions and other publications as may be considered desirable.
  • To secure and manage funds and endowments for the promotion of Science including the rights of disposing of or selling all or any portion of the properties of the Association.
  • To do and perform any or all other acts, matters and things as are conductive to, or incidental to, or necessary for, the above objects.
[Ref: PIB]


India warms to cold fusion

What is cold fusion?

  • Cold fusion describes a form of energy generated when hydrogen interacts with various metals like nickel and palladium.
  • Cold fusion is also referred to as the Anomalous Heat Effect AHE, reflecting the fact that there is no definitive theory of the elusive reaction.
  • Cold fusion is a field of condensed matter nuclear science CMNS, and is also called low-energy nuclear reactions LENR, lattice-assisted nuclear reactions LANR, low energy nanoscale reactions LENR, among others.


Why in news?

  • India is taking tentative steps towards restarting research into Cold fusion, some 25 years after it was shut down at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) following global criticism heaped on the idea.
  • Three research groups have taken up the theme.

How cold fusion works?

  • When hydrogen, the main element of water, is introduced to a small piece of the metal nickel or palladium, a reaction occurs that can create excess heat and transmutation products.
  • Excess heat means more heat comes out of the system than went in to the system. The excess heat can make hot water and useful steam to turn a turbine and produce electricity.

Advantages of cold fusion:

  • No radioactive materials are used in cold fusion.
  • It occurs as the tiny protons, neutrons and electrons of hydrogen interact, releasing energy slowly, through heat and photons, without the dangerous radiation associated with conventional nuclear reactions.
  • Cold fusion makes no radioactive waste.


  • Cold fusion seeks to produce nuclear energy without harmful radiation, complex equipment and the application of very high temperatures and pressures. But it has no conclusive theory explaining it and flies in the face of a well-established physics law that goes against easy fusion of nuclei.
  • There is no guarantee that every time a cold fusion or LENR experiment is done, energy will be produced, say critics.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Key Facts for Prelims

Indian Coast Guard Ship C- 437

  • Recently, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has commissioned interceptor boat ICGS C-437 at Porbandar, Gujarat as part of its efforts to strengthen coastal security.
  • The boat is capable of undertaking multifarious task such as surveillance, interdiction, search and rescue and rendering assistance to boats and craft in distress at sea.


  • The boat has advanced navigational and communication equipment with capability to respond to any maritime situation.


Hindu New Year celebrations begins


  • Hindu New Year is being welcomed in different parts of the country with traditional festivities and celebrations.
  • The Chaitra Sukladi, Ugadi, Gudi Padava, Navareh, Navroz and Chetti Chand are the same festivals in different names, marking the occasion.


New year names

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana



Yugadi /Ugadi


Gudi Padwa


Cheti Chand

Marwari of Rajasthan



Sajibu Nongma Panba

Hindus of Kashmir


Hindus of Bali and Indonesia


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