Current Affairs Analysis

22nd September 2017 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

INS Kalvari, First Indian Scorpene Submarine; Intelligent Transportation Systems; International Road federation (IRF); New PPP Policy to promote private investments in affordable housing; “VASTRA – An International Textile and Apparel Fair 2017”; India’s textiles sector; World's first 'molecular robot'; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
September 22, 2017



  • NITI Aayog, International Road Federation ink SoI for Intelligent Transportation Systems
  • Centre announces new PPP Policy to promote private investments in affordable housing
  • VASTRA 2017

Defence & Security Issues

  • INS Kalvari, First Indian Scorpene Submarine, Handed Over to Navy

Science & Technology

  • Scientists create world’s first ‘molecular robot’

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NITI Aayog, International Road Federation ink SoI for Intelligent Transportation Systems

The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog and International Road Federation (IRF), Geneva have signed Statement of Intent (SoI) to cooperate in field of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).

iastoppers Intelligent Transportation Systems

  • The objective of SoI is to create National Platform, involving all relevant Union Government stakeholders, Indian and foreign companies active in sector.
  • It will also create platform for relevant technical experts for developing National ITS Policy.
  • The national platform will provide coherent and consistent National ITS Policy.

ITS Policy will be covering

  • Traffic Management,
  • Parking Management,
  • Electronic Enforcement of Traffic Rules and Regulations,
  • Fleet Management and Monitoring,
  • Innovation in the field of ITS and
  • Education in field of ITS.

Objective of the ITS Policy:

  • Its objective will be to contribute to reduce urban traffic congestion, improving situation around parking of vehicles in cities, improving road safety, and improving security of passenger and goods traffic.
  • It will be also covering domains such as traffic and parking management, enforcement, and security.

About International Road federation (IRF):

iastoppers International Road federation (IRF)

  • The IRF is global non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation with mission to encourage and promote development and maintenance of better, safer and more sustainable roads and road networks.
  • It was founded in 1948. Its motto is Better Roads. Better World.
  • It is headquartered in Washington, DC, United States.
  • IRF seeks to promote social and economic benefits of sustainable and environmentally sound road transport infrastructure at all levels of society.
  • It helps to put in place technological solutions and management practices that provide maximum economic and social returns from national road investments.
  • It provides a wide base of expertise for planning road development strategy and policy for governments and financial institutions in all aspects of road policy and development.
[Ref: PIB]


Centre announces new PPP Policy to promote private investments in affordable housing

With the aim of attracting private players in the affordable housing sector to meet the ‘housing for all’ target by 2022, the government has unfolded a new public-private partnership (PPP) policy that allows extending central assistance up to Rs 2.5 lakh per house built by private builders, even on private land.

iastoppers-New PPP Policy-to-promote-private-investments-in-affordable-housing

  • The policy also envisages opening up potential for private investments in affordable housing projects on government land in urban areas.
  • With the new policy in place, it is expected that the private sector will actively participate.
  • The policy gives eight PPP options for the private sector to invest in the affordable housing sector.
  • Eight PPP options, including six for promoting affordable housing with private investments using government lands have been evolved after extensive consultations with States, promoter bodies and other stakeholders.

Two models using private lands:

  • The two PPP models for private investments in affordable housing on private lands include extending central assistance of about Rs.2.50 lakh per each house as interest subsidy on bank loans as upfront payment under the Credit Linked Subsidy Component (CLSS) component of Pradhan Mantri Awas yojana (Urban).
  • Under the second option, central assistance of Rs.1.50 lakh per each house to be built on private lands would be provided, in case the beneficiaries do not intend to take bank loans.

The six models using government lands are:

1.DBT Model: Under this option, private builders can design, build and transfer houses built on government lands to public authorities. Government land is to be allocated based on the least cost of construction. Payments to builders will be made by the public authority based on progress of project as per agreed upon milestones and buyers will pay to the Government.

  1. Mixed Development Cross –subsidized Housing: Government land to be allotted based on number of affordable houses to be built on the plot offered to private builders, cross subsidizing this segment from revenues from high end house building or commercial development.
  2. Annuity Based Subsidized Housing: Builders will invest against deferred annuity payments by the Government. Land allocation to builders is based on unit cost of construction.
  3. Annuity-cum-Capital Grant Based Affordable Housing: Besides annuity payments, builders could be paid a share of project cost as upfront payment.
  4. Direct Relationship Ownership Housing: As against government mediated payments to builders and transfer of houses to beneficiaries in the above four models, under this option, promoters will directly deal with buyers and recover costs. Allocation of public land is based on unit cost of construction.
  5. Direct Relationship Rental Housing: Recovery of the costs by builders is through rental incomes from the houses built on government lands.

Under these six Government land based PPP models, beneficiaries can avail central assistance of Rs.1.00 to Rs.2.50 lakh per house as provisioned under different components of PMAY(Urban). Beneficiaries will be identified as per the norms of PMAY (Urban).


  • Concerns have been expressed over the private sector so far not entering affordable housing segment despite huge scope for the same under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana(Urban) and an enabling eco-system put in place through several concessions and incentives offered including the grant of infrastructure status for this segment.
[Ref: PIB]



The 6th edition of VASTRA i.e. “VASTRA – An International Textile and Apparel Fair 2017” (VASTRA – 2017) was recently inaugurated at Jaipur.

iastoppers 6th VASTRA 2017

  • Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation Ltd. (RIICO) is the organiser and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) is the co-organiser of the fair.

About VASTRA fair:

VASTRA, an all-encompassing trade fair and conference on Textiles and Apparel, presents a fusion of the finest and the latest in textile products – from fibre to fashion, services and technology.


  • Crafted to create business opportunities, it aims at revitalizing existing business ties and forging of new business relations.
  • It is the ideal platform to enter JVs, strategic alliances and partnerships worldwide, launch new products, as well as, harness new locations for setting up businesses in India. It is also a place for disseminating technology and interacting with R&D Labs and experts for solution in technology and latest trends.
  • VASTRA, since its inception in 2012 has created a space for itself in the calendar of international exhibitions on textiles and apparel.

India’s textiles sector:

  • India’s textiles sector is one of the oldest industries in Indian economy dating back several centuries.
  • Even today, it is one of the largest contributors to India’s exports with approximately 11% of total exports (exports during FY 2015-16 stood at US$ 40 billion).
  • It contributes approximately 5% to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and 14% to overall Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
  • It is also labour intensive and is the second largest employer after agriculture.
  • Government has allowed 100% FDI in the Indian textiles sector under the automatic route.
[Ref: PIB]


Defence & Security Issues

INS Kalvari, First Indian Scorpene Submarine, Handed Over to Navy

INS Kalvari, the first of the six Scorpene-class submarines, has been handed over to the Indian Navy by shipbuilder Mazgaon Dock limited, paving way for its commissioning soon.


  • The development marks a major milestone in Indian Navy’s submarine programme as the vessel is expected to bolster India’s maritime prowess.

Features of INS Kalvari:

  • INS Kalvari is a class of diesel-electric attack submarine. These submarines are based on the Scorpene-class submarine being built for the Indian Navy.
  • Kalvari is named after a deep-sea tiger shark. The Scorpene is part of the ambitious Project 75 of Indian Navy’s submarine programme.
  • While INS Kalvari is designed by French naval defence and energy company DCNS, they are being manufactured by Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai.
  • All six Kalvari class submarines being built in India will be equipped with anti-ship missiles.
  • It is stealth submarine difficult to be detected by the enemy and is designed to operate in all theatres including the tropics.
  • It can undertake various operations including multifarious warfare, Anti-submarine warfare, Intelligence gathering, mine laying, area surveillance etc.
  • It can launch attack on the enemy using precision guided weapons and attack can be launched from underwater or on surface.
  • It can launch attack on the enemy using precision guided weapons and attack can be launched from underwater or on surface.
  • These missiles will provide the submarines the ability to neutralise surface threats at extended ranges and boost India’s maritime security.


  • Six Scorpene submarines are being built under Project-75 by Mazgaon Docks Limited (MDL) with technology transfer from France.
  • All the six submarines under this projects will be indigenously built at Mumbai’s Mazagaon Dockyard Ltd.
  • All six submarines will be fitted with indigenous Air Independent Propulsion System (AIP) technology developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to extend their endurance.
  • The second Scorpene submarine in the series, INS Khanderi was launched in January 2017 after the ghost of data leak which threatened to derail project in August 2016.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Science & Technology

Scientists create world’s first ‘molecular robot’

Scientists from University of Manchester have created world’s first ‘molecular robot’ — millionth of a millimetre in size.


  • Such molecular robots can be used for medical purposes, advanced manufacturing processes and even building molecular factories and assembly lines.

Key Facts about the molecular robot:

  • The molecular robot is millionth of millimetre in size. It is made up of just 150 carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen atoms which are basic building blocks required to form molecules.
  • It can be programmed to move and build molecular cargo using a tiny robotic arm.
  • The molecular robot operates by carrying out chemical reactions in special solutions which can then be controlled and programmed by scientists to perform the basic tasks. It responds to series of simple commands that are programmed with chemical inputs.
  • Each individual robot is capable of manipulating single molecule. In terms of size context, billion of these molecular robots piled on top of each other will be only same size as a single grain of salt.

Significance of the molecular robot: 

  • The molecular robot is so small, that it massively reduces demand for materials, dramatically reduce power requirements and can accelerate and improve drug discovery and rapidly increase the miniaturisation of other products.
[Ref: Economic Times]


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