Current Affairs Analysis

19th January 2018 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Navika Sagar Parikrama; INSV Tarini; Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA); What are the Empowered Action Group (EAG) states? Maharashtra govt rolls out 1% reservation for orphans; Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS); International Solar Alliance; World Future Energy Summit (WFES); UN Environment Management Group (EMG); What is the Drake Passage? Sangeet Natak Akademi’s Fellowships (Akademi Ratna) and Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar); 'Potentially Hazardous' asteroid set to pass earth; ‘Nirman Samvaad’; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
January 20, 2018


Government Schemes & Policies

  • Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) crosses one crore mark
  • Maharashtra govt rolls out 1% reservation for orphans

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Disaster warning system for Odisha by March

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Over 100 projects to be signed under International Solar Alliance
  • UN Environment Management Group announces new dialogues, campaign

Defence & Security Issues

  • INSV Tarini crosses Cape Horn

Art & Culture

  • President presents Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards

Science & Technology

  • ‘Potentially Hazardous’ asteroid set to pass earth

Key Facts for Prelims

  • ‘Nirman Samvaad’

For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here

Government Schemes & Policies

Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) crosses one crore mark

Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) has crossed one crore mark in antenatal check-ups.


Performance of the scheme:

  • The programme has been successful in reaching out to the difficult and remote areas of India, since out of the 1 crore checkups across the country, more than 25 lakh check-ups were conducted in high priority districts identified by the Health Ministry for focussed attention.
  • While all States/ UTs have made significant efforts to reach out to pregnant women,
  • Maharashtra has reported the largest number of check-ups among the Non-Empowered Action Group (EAG) States and Rajasthan has reported the largest number of check-ups among the Empowered Action Group States.

About Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA):


  • The scheme aims to provide pregnant ladies free ante-natal services (ANC) and required treatment for free on 9th of every month.



Objectives of the scheme are:

  1. Provide healthy life to the pregnant women.
  2. Lowering the maternity mortality rate.
  3. Making pregnant women aware of their health issues and diseases.
  4. Making sure safe delivery and healthy life of the baby.

Applicable to:

  • The scheme is applicable only for the pregnant women in their pregnancy period of 3 to 6 months.


  • The scheme will provide all kinds of medical checkups completely free to pregnant women. These checkups will take place at the medical centres, government and private hospitals and private clinics across the country.
  • These free of cost tests will include blood pressure, sugar level, weight, haemoglobin test, blood test and screening.
  • Women will be marked differently using different colour stickers based on their health problems so that doctors can easily detect the problem. Different colour stickers will be Red Sticker for Serious patients, Blue Sticker for High blood pressure and Yellow Sticker for Other diseases.
  • ‘IPledgeFor9’ Achievers Awards have been devised to celebrate individual and team achievements and acknowledge voluntary contributions for PMSMA in states and districts across India.

Rationale for the program:

  • Data indicates that Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in India was very high in the year 1990 with 556 women dying during child birth per hundred thousand live births as compared to the global MMR of 385/lakh live births.
  • As per RGI- SRS (2011-13), MMR of India has now declined to 167/lakh live births against a global MMR of 216/lakh live births (2015). India has registered an overall decline in MMR of 70% between 1990 and 2015 in comparison to a global decline of 44%.

PMSMA data ias

  • While India has made considerable progress in the reduction of maternal and infant mortality, every year approximately 44000 women still die due to pregnancy-related causes and approximately 6.6 lakh infants die within the first 28 days of life. Many of these deaths are preventable and many lives can be saved if quality care is provided to pregnant women during their antenatal period and high risk factors such as severe anemia, pregnancy-induced hypertension etc are detected on time and managed well.

What are the Empowered Action Group (EAG) states?

  • In India, the eight socioeconomically backward states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh, referred to as the Empowered Action Group (EAG) states, lag behind in the demographic transition and have the highest infant mortality rates in the country.
[Ref: PIB]


Maharashtra govt rolls out 1% reservation for orphans

Maharashtra state government has announced 1% reservation for orphans in government jobs and education.


What does it mean?

  • The reservation, termed parallel reservation, will be provided under the general category, which means the government won’t need to increase its caste reservation quota that has already reached 52%.
  • Parallel reservation means, of the total jobs available under the general category, 1% will be reserved only for orphans.

Maharashtra govt rolls out 1% reservation for orphans ias

Need for such policy:

  • In Maharashtra, 3,900 orphans lived in government-run orphanages. The figure is apart from those living in private orphanages.

Significance of the move:

  • The move will help orphans who are unable to establish their castes.
  • In most cases, orphans are unaware of their caste and hence can’t get reservations benefits in jobs. The decision will end injustice meted out towards them for the past many years.
  • In a way, the government has accepted their guardianship.
[Ref: Times of India, Hindustan Times]


Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Disaster warning system for Odisha by March

India’s first automatic Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS) will be commissioned by March 2018 in Odisha.


  • The project aims to establish fool-proof communication system to address existing gaps in disseminating disaster warning up to community level.

About Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS):

  • The EWDS is a first-of-its-kind automatic public address system in the country.
  • The project is being implemented under National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project with World Bank’s help.
  • It will provide Odhisa’s entire population residing on 480 km length coastline a pre-warning siren in event of occurrence of natural disasters like tsunami or cyclone.
  • It will help to warn vast population of state residing along its coast from State headquarters through loud sirens from towers installed at 122 locations in six coastal districts in event of occurrence of natural disasters like a tsunami or cyclone.

How EWDS Works?

  • The EWDS comprises certain devices inbuilt into it like as Satellite-Based Mobile Data Voice Terminals (SBMDVT), Digital Mobile Radio (DMR), Mass Messaging System (MMS) and Universal Communication Interface (UCI) which help in inter-operability among different communication technologies.
  • Whenever, there is slightest hint of disasters like tsunami or cyclone or any other natural calamity, it will broadcast warning to entire state just by press of button from control room in state capital Bhubeneswar.
  • With press of button, loud sirens will go off at same time and warning sound will heard in localities to radius of 1.5 km. With this pre-warning, EWDS will help people to move to safer places before government agencies start evacuation.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Bilateral & International Relations

Over 100 projects to be signed under International Solar Alliance

In one of its first outreach programmes post-ratification, the International Solar Alliance (ISA) is hosting an event ‘International Solar Alliance Forum’ at the Future World Energy Summit (WFES) 2018.

International Solar Alliance Forum ias

About International Solar Alliance:

ISA was launched, on the sidelines of COP-21, at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in November, 2015 by Modi and French President Francois Hollande.

ias toppers International Solar Alliance2

  • The alliance, headquartered in India, aims to bring together countries situated between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn which receive abundant sunshine for around 300 days a year.
  • ISA aims to invite solar rich 121 countries located fully or partly between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to join the alliance.
  • International Steering Committee was establishment under the mandate of the Paris Declaration of ISA to provide the guidance and direction to establish the ISA.
  • It will function from the Gurgaon, Haryana based National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE).
  • India has offered a contribution of Rs 175 crore for creating ISA corpus fund and for meeting the cost of ISA secretariat for initial five years.
  • Alliance seeks to share common platform to reduce the cost of finance and technology that is needed to deploy solar power widely.
  • Alliance would pursue cooperation in training, building institutions, regulatory issues, common standards, and investment including joint ventures.

About the World Future Energy Summit (WFES):

  • The World Future Energy Summit (WFES) is an annual event, dedicated to advancing future energy, energy efficiency and clean technologies.
  • Located in Abu Dhabi, WFES is a business-first exhibition for project developers, distributors, innovators, investors and purchasers from across the globe to come together and discover new solutions to the world’s growing energy challenges.
[Ref: PIB]


UN Environment Management Group announces new dialogues, campaign

Among its activities in 2018, the Secretariat of the UN Environment Management Group (EMG) is planning to hold a new series of ‘Nexus Dialogues,’ create two new Issue Management Groups and launch a campaign for waste management in the UN.

Nexus Dialogues ias

  • Upcoming dialogues will seek to contribute to a common understanding of the integrated SDGs and targets on selected “nexus” themes.
  • The EMG also will launch a waste management campaign dubbed ‘Say yes to less,’ to raise awareness of waste reduction and management among UN staff.

About the UN Environment Management Group (EMG):

The EMG is a UN system-wide coordination body on environment and human settlements.

UN Environment Management Group ias

  • It was established in 2001 pursuant to a UN General Assembly resolution, supporting a proposal of the UN Secretary-General.


  • Its members include the secretariats of the multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and other specialized agencies, programmes and organs of the UN.
  • Representatives of intergovernmental bodies, civil society and international non-governmental organizations can be invited to contribute.


  • The group is chaired by the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme and supported by a secretariat provided by UNEP, located in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • The EMG works through technical meetings, Issue Management Groups and task forces.
[Ref: Times of India]


Defence & Security Issues

INSV Tarini crosses Cape Horn

An all-woman Indian Navy team on Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Tarini has successfully crossed the notoriously rough Drake Passage, as they rounded Cape Horn off the Southern tip of South America, sometimes called the Mount Everest of sailing.


What is the Drake Passage?

The Drake Passage is the body of water between South America’s Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica.


  • It connects the southwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean (Scotia Sea) with the south-eastern part of the Pacific Ocean and extends into the Southern Ocean.
  • The passage between Cape Horn and Livingston Island is the shortest crossing from Antarctica to any other landmass.
  • There is no significant land anywhere around the world at the latitudes of Drake Passage, which is important to the unimpeded flow of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current which carries a huge volume of water through the Passage and around Antarctica.

About Navika Sagar Parikrama:


  • This is the first ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew.
  • The voyage of Navika Sagar Parikrama began from Goa coast in September 2017 and will be finishing around March 2018.
  • The expedition will be covered in five legs, with stop-overs at 4 ports: Fremantle (Australia), Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands), and Cape Town (South Africa).
  • The project is considered essential towards promoting Ocean Sailing activities in the Indian Navy along with showcasing the Government’s support for empowering women.

About INSV Tarini:

  • INSV Tarini is a 56-foot sailing vessel built in India by M/s Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd, Goa.
  • It was inducted into the Indian Navy recently in February 2017.
  • It has Raymarine navigation suite and an array of satellite communication systems for perfect navigation anywhere in the world.
  • It showcases the ‘Make in India’ initiative on the International forum.

Significance of the voyage:

  • The voyage aims to show case the ‘Make in India’ initiative by sailing onboard the indigenously built INSV Tarini.
  • It also aims to showcase ‘Nari Shakti’ on the world platform and help revolutionise societal attitudes and mindset towards women in India by raising visibility of their participation in challenging environs.
  • Besides, the crew would monitor and report marine pollution on the high seas.
[Ref: PIB, The Hindu]


Art & Culture

President presents Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards

President Ram Nath Kovind presented the Sangeet Natak Akademi’s Fellowships (Akademi Ratna) and Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) for the year 2016.


About Sangeet Natak Akademi:

The Sangeet Natak Akademi – India’s national academy for music, dance and drama – is the first National Academy of the arts set-up by the Republic of India.

ias toppers sangeet natak academy

  • It was set up in 1953 through a resolution of Government of India for the promotion of performing arts.
  • Setting up of Sangeet Natak Akademi is one of the main recommendations of the National conference on Dance, Drama, and Music, held in New Delhi in 1951.
  • The Sangeet Natak Akademi is an Autonomous Body under the Ministry of Culture.
  • It acts at the national level body for the promotion and growth of Indian music, dance and drama; maintenance of standards of training in the performing arts; recognition of outstanding artists; revival, preservation, documentation and dissemination of materials as well as instruments relating to various forms of music, dance and drama.
  • The academy Renders advice and assistance to the government of India in the task of formulating and implementing policies and programmes in the field.
  • It carries a part of the responsibilities of the state for fostering cultural contacts between regions in the country, as well as between India and the world.
  • The Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar (Akademi Award) is an award given by the Sangeet Natak Akademi. The award is the highest Indian recognition given to practicing artists. The awards are being presented in the categories of music, dance, theatre, other traditional arts and puppetry.
  • Ustad Bismillah Khan award is given to young artists for their talent in the fields of music, dance and drama.
  • Each year the Academy awards Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships, Ratna Sadsya, to distinguished individuals for their contribution to the field of arts, music, dance and theatre.
[Ref: PIB]


Science & Technology

‘Potentially Hazardous’ asteroid set to pass earth

According to NASA, a large asteroid that is “potentially hazardous” in terms of size will speed by Earth on Feb. 4, but there is no reason to panic.


  • The asteroid, named 2002 AJ129, is expected to come within just over 2 million miles of Earth, which is relatively close by space standards.
  • It has been classified as a “near-Earth object” and “potentially hazardous” by US space agency NASA.
  • Space debris that enters the Earth’s atmosphere are called meteors. In this case, the asteroid is invisible to the naked eye. Astronomers will need powerful radio waves and a telescope to study it.
  • It is larger than the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa.

What are asteroids?

  • Asteroids are celestial objects that are smaller than planets, which are irregularly shaped and lack fixed orbits.
  • In our solar system, most asteroids originate from the asteroid belt, a zone between Mars and Jupiter, where these objects are scattered about.
[Ref: Economic Times]


Key Facts for Prelims

‘Nirman Samvaad’


  • It is a one-day Mega Conclave, a first ever interaction between the Ministry of Railways and the Construction Industry. The conclave was held recently in New Delhi.
  • This Conclave was organized by Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd. (RVNL), a dedicated arm of Ministry of Railways for fast track implementation of railway projects.
  • It was a major event aimed at taking measures to ensure expeditious implementation of ambitious Railway Infrastructure Development Plans.
  • It aims to streamline procedures and remove bottlenecks to ensure the fast track implementation of projects on the railways.



Current Affairs Analysis

IT on Facebook

Facebook Pagelike Widget


Calendar Archive

October 2020
« Sep