Current Affairs Analysis

19th February 2016 Current Affairs Analysis

By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
February 19, 2016


Social Issues

  • Labour Ministry moots National Social Security Authority

International Relations

  • Belgium keen to join ‘Clean Ganga’ drive

Defence & Security Issues

  • 4th Indo-Myanmar Coordinated Patrol (IMCOR)
  • HIPPO report & India’s concerns

Science & Technology

  • Indian origin scientist discovers fast Tin Monoxide conductor to replace silicon 

Social Issues

Labour Ministry moots National Social Security Authority


In order to provide social security to the entire population, the Labour Ministry has mooted the idea of forming a National Social Security Authority and a separate Social Security Department within the ministry.

  • The idea comes at a time when the trade unions have announced fresh nationwide protests against the government’s “anti-labour policies”.

Key features:

  • The authority will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The authority may have all the ministers and secretaries of all ministries dealing with social security programmes along with state government officials as members.
  • The proposed Social Security Department within the Labour Ministry will provide “policy inputs” and “secretarial services” to the body.
  • The current social security programmes and schemes will be “strengthened” and universalised.


The functions of the authority should be mainly:

  • To formulate the National Policy on Social Security
  • To co-ordinate the central and state level programmes and
  • To ensure that the objectives of the policy are achieved within the time frame prescribed.

Four-tier system:

The Labour Ministry in its note proposes a four-tier system to cover the entire population of the country, including both formal and informal sector workers, through a common Social Security Code.

  • The first tier would include the “destitute and people below the poverty line
  • The second tier would have workers in the unorganised sector who may be covered under a subsidised scheme
  • The third tier would cover workers who can, with the help of employer, can make contribution to the schemes.
  • The fourth tier would include people who are comparatively affluent and can make their own provisions for meeting contingencies or risks as and when arise.

[Ref: Hindu]


International Relations


Belgium keen to join ‘Clean Ganga’ drive


Belgium is keen to take part in the “Clean Ganga” campaign.

  • In this regard a Belgian mission with companies specialising in sanitation will meet Indian government officials soon.
  • Belgium has claimed that it has specific solutions which are unique in the world.
  • A Belgian Research Institute, Vito has developed a technology not only to clean sewage water but also to produce out of it, electricity.

India and Belgium trade is huge. A big part of this is taken up by diamonds. Belgium wants to diversify its trade with India from the diamonds business, which contributes to a large part of the bilateral trade. 

[Ref: Hindu]


Defence & Security Issues


4th Indo-Myanmar Coordinated Patrol (IMCOR)


The Fourth Edition of the India-Myanmar Coordinated Patrol (IMCOR) was successfully undertaken along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in the Andaman Sea.


As part of the ongoing India-Myanmar defence relations, Navies of the two countries have conducted Coordinated Patrols along the Maritime boundary since 2013.


  • This is only the third country after Indonesia and Thailand with which India has signed a formal agreement for maritime coordinated patrols and reflects growing naval interaction between India and Myanmar.
  • During the Closing Ceremony of 4thIMCOR, the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for IMCOR was also signed between Indian Navy and Myanmar Navy.
  • The signing of the SOP is a significant achievement and will facilitate smooth conduct of coordinated patrols between two friendly neighbours that share a long maritime boundary in the strategically significant Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal.    

[Ref: PIB]


HIPPO report & India’s concerns


Syed Akbaruddin, the Permanent Representative of India at the U.N, recently presented India’s position on the HIPPO (High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations) report to the UN.

About HIPPO report:

  • In 2014, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon established a High-level Independent Panel on UN Peace Operations, to make a comprehensive assessment of the state of UN peace operations.
  • The HIPPO report is aimed at countering international terror groups.
  • The HIPPO report has expanded the scope of counter-terror operations beyond the traditional U.N. peacekeeping operations by recommending that “ad hoc coalitions authorised by the U.N. Security Council” can undertake counter-terror operations with the intention of peacekeeping and peace-enforcement.

India’s concerns:

  • Presenting the report, Syed Akbaruddin told the United Nations Special Committee for Peacekeeping Operations that it recognises the need for “flexibility” on international anti-terror operations if they are backed by U.N. authorisation.
  • The HIPPO report recommendations are expected to be implemented after “cost-benefit analysis” for India.
  • India has also highlighted that peacekeeping under the U.N. needs to be strengthened in view of the expanding international networks of terrorism.

This has also opened up possibilities of India’s participation in foreign anti-terror operations to safeguard “Indian interests.”

[Ref: Hindu]


Science & Technology


Indian origin scientist discovers fast Tin Monoxide conductor to replace silicon 


A team at the University of Utah led by an Indian-origin engineer has discovered a new kind of 2D semi-conducting material for electronics

  • The material opens the door for much speedier computers and smartphones that consume a lot less power.
  • The name of Indian-origin engineer is Professor Ashutosh Tiwari.


Key facts:

  • The semi-conductor is made of tin and oxygen or tin monoxide (SnO).
  • It is a layer of 2D material only one atom thick, allowing electrical charges to move through it much faster than conventional 3D materials such as silicon.


Applications of newly discovered material:

  • This material could be used in transistors, the lifeblood of all electronic devices such as computer processors and graphics processors in desktop computers and mobile devices.
  • This material could be especially important for medical devices such as electronic implants that will run longer on a single battery charge.

About 3d materials:

  • Transistors and other components used in electronic devices are currently made of 3D materials such as silicon and consist of multiple layers on a glass substrate.
  • But the downside to 3D materials is that electrons bounce around inside the layers in all directions.

Benefits of 2D materials:

  • The 2D material is made of one layer the thickness of just one or two atoms. Consequently, the electrons can only move in one layer so it’s much faster.
  • Transistors made with 2D semi-conducting material could lead to computers and smartphones that are over 100 times faster than regular devices.
  • Because the electrons move through one layer instead of bouncing around in a 3D material, there will be less friction, meaning the processors will not get as hot as normal computer chips.
  • They will also require much less power to run, a boon for mobile electronics that have to run on battery power.

[Ref: Hindu]


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