Current Affairs Analysis

4th October 2017 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Physics Nobel for gravitational waves; Gravitational Waves; Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO); Soumya Swaminathan; WHO; ‘India’s Million Death Study’; National Health Mission; Diploma in Elementary Education (D.El.Ed); National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS); Central Water Commission; Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP); Noble Prize; Mathru Poorna scheme; Swachhta Pakhwada; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
October 04, 2017


Issues related to Health & Education

  • Union HRD Minister launches Diploma in Elementary Education (D.El.Ed)
  • One million children saved, says a new study published in the Lancet

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • CWC Sign MoU With IIT Roorkee And MNNIT Allahabad To Support Dam Rehabilitation Efforts

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Soumya Swaminathan Appointed WHO Deputy Director General

Science & Technology

  • U.S. trio wins physics Nobel for gravitational waves

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Mathru Poorna scheme
  • Ministry of Health adjudged best for ‘Swachhta Pakhwada’, receives award

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Issues related to Health & Education

Union HRD Minister launches Diploma in Elementary Education (D.El.Ed)

A quality programme of National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) for in-service untrained teachers training Diploma in Elementary Education (D.El.Ed) was launched by Union Ministry of Human Resource Development.


  • Fifteen lakh untrained school teachers have enrolled for a training course with the NIOS to get themselves trained by 2019 to be able to retain their jobs.
  • This is for the first time in the world that such high number of applications have been received for an online course.
  • The highest number of applications has been received from Bihar — over 2.8 lakh — followed by Uttar Pradesh (1.95 lakh), Madhya Pradesh (1.91 lakh), West Bengal (1.69 lakh) and Assam (1.51 lakh).


This has happened just after Parliament passed an amendment to the Right to Education Act to offer them a last window to acquire proper training, something seen as essential to the provision of quality education in government and private schools.

Details of the Course

  • The programme is designed for all Untrained Govt. /Govt. aided /Private unaided recognized in- service Untrained teachers of Elementary Schools & 15 lakh (approx) teachers have been enrolled so far.
  • All registered teachers will pursue their D.El.Ed in distance mode over four semesters
  • The candidates, all in-service teachers, will be expected to spend three hours every day on the coursework which will be offered in shape of online lectures on the SWAYAM platform and self-check exercises.
  • The course will be offered through ‘Swayam’, a platform for online education, imparting knowledge through Dish TV.
  • The course will spread over four semesters and have 1,080 lectures accessible in 10 languages.
  • There will be an exam at the end of each semester.
  • Those who teach in Classes I to VIII need to have a D.EL.Ed certificate.
  • The National Institute of Open Schooling has prepared study materials for the untrained teachers in 11 languages – English, Hindi, Bengali, Odia, Tamil, Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Telugu, Kannada and Assamese.
  • Only those who scored at least 50% in Class-12 can acquire this diploma. Those who could not could appear again with the NIOS to try and get the requisite marks.

About National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS):

The NIOS, formerly National Open School (name changed in 2002) is the board of education under the Union Government of India.

iastoppers National Institute of Open Schooling

  • It was established by the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Government of India in 1989.
  • It aims to provide education to remote areas under the motive to increase literacy and aimed forward for flexible learning. Here children can study without coming to school.
  • The NIOS is a national board that administers examinations for Secondary and Senior Secondary examinations of open schools similar to the CBSE and the CISCE to increase literacy and provide education to rural areas.
  • It also offers vocational courses after the high school. Despite being established for distance education, NIOS provides a formal and regular secondary and Senior Secondary program equivalent to CBSE.
  • NIOS, which is the largest open school board in the world is tasked by the HRD Ministry to run a one-time D.El.Ed course to train all untrained teachers before the March 2019 deadline.
[Ref: PIB]


One million children saved, says a new study published in the Lancet

According to study published in the latest issue of The Lancet, India has avoided about 1 million (10 lakh) deaths of children under age five since 2005, owing to the significant reductions in mortality from pneumonia, diarrhoea, neonatal infections and birth asphyxia/trauma, measles and tetanus.


  • The study further illustrates that the conditions prioritized under the National Health Mission had the greatest declines.

About the ‘India’s Million Death Study’:

  • The ‘India’s Million Death Study’, implemented by the Registrar General of India, is the first study to directly quantify changes in cause-specific child deaths in India, nationally and sub-nationally, from 2000-15 among randomly selected homes.
  • The Million Death Study builds on the Sample Registration Survey (SRS) by directly monitoring the causes of death in over 1.3 million (13 lakh) homes.
  • This is a direct study based on face-to-face interviews with families, and is not based on modeling or projections from small samples.

Highlights of the study:

  • The study states that the mortality rate (per 1,000 live births) in neonates fell from 45 in 2000 to 27 in 2015 or a 3.3% annual decline
  • Mortality rate of 1-59 months’ fell from 45.2 in 2000 to 19.6 in 2015 or a 5.4% annual decline.
  • Among 1-59 months, pneumonia fell by 63%, diarrhoea by 66% and measles by more than 90%.
  • These declines were greater in girls, indicating that India has, remarkably, equal numbers of girls and boys dying, a significant improvement from just a few years ago.
  • Pneumonia and diarrhoea mortality rates for 1-59 months declined substantially between 2010 and 2015 at an average of 8% to 10% annual decline nationally and more so in the rural areas and poorer States.

About National Health Mission:

The National Health Mission is India’s flagship health sector programme to revitalize rural and urban health sectors by providing flexible finances to State Governments.

iastoppers National Health Mission

  • The National Health Mission comprises of 4 components namely the National Rural Health Mission, the National Urban Health Mission, Tertiary Care Programmes and Human Resources for Health and Medical Education.
  • NHM brought together at National level the two Departments of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The priority focus of NHM is Reproductive and Child Health services.
[Ref: The Hindu, PIB]


Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

CWC Sign MoU With IIT Roorkee And MNNIT Allahabad To Support Dam Rehabilitation Efforts

Central Water Commission (CWC) has signed MoUs with IIT Roorkee and MNNIT Allahabad to support dam rehabilitation efforts of various implementing agencies and CWC.



  • Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has taken on board selected premier academic and research institutes, for capacity building in the areas of dam safety through World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP).
  • The scope includes strengthening the testing laboratories, enhancing analytical capabilities, exposure visits to best global institutions and on ground exposure to dam safety concerns to the faculty of these institutions.
  • CWC has already signed MoUs with IIT Madras, IISc Bangaluru, NIT Calicut and NIT Raurkela for supporting these institutes for the procurement of specified equipment and software for enhancing their testing and modeling capabilities.

About Central Water Commission:

Central Water Commission is a premier Technical Organization of India in the field of Water Resources.

ias toppers Central Water Commission

  • It is presently functioning as an attached office of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India.
  • The Commission is entrusted with the general responsibilities of initiating, coordinating and furthering in consultation of the State Governments concerned, schemes for control, conservation and utilization of water resources throughout the country, for purpose of Flood Control, Irrigation, Navigation, Drinking Water Supply and Water Power Development.
  • It also undertakes the investigations, construction and execution of any such schemes as required.

About DRIP:

The Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR), Government of India, with assistance from the World Bank, is implementing the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP).


  • DRIP is a project involving 9 implementing agencies (IAs) across seven states of India (Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, and Jharkhand) and targets rehabilitation of about 225 dam projects across the country.
  • The Project is also facilitating the institutional strengthening of the implementing agencies for sustainable dam safety initiatives.
  • The project will also promote new technologies and improve Institutional capacities for dam safety evaluation and implementation at the Central and State levels and in some identified premier academic and research institutes of the country.
  • The Central Dam Safety Organisation of Central Water Commission, assisted by a Consulting firm, is coordinating and supervising the Project implementation.
  • The preparation of Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for all DRIP dams is one of the important activities under DRIP. This document defines clear roles for all concern agencies as well as Standard Operating Protocols during various stage of exigencies, as well as contains all technical details about the flood waves moving downstream affecting the downstream habitation.

The project development objectives of DRIP are:

  1. To improve the safety and performance of selected existing dams and associated appurtenances in a sustainable manner, and
  2. To strengthen the dam safety institutional setup in participating states as well as at central level.
[Ref: PIB]


Bilateral & International Relations

Soumya Swaminathan Appointed WHO Deputy Director General

The World Health Organization (WHO) appointed Soumya Swaminathan one of two deputy directors general.


  • This is the first time such a post has been ever created within the organisation.
  • The position is also the highest post held by an Indian in the WHO.

About Soumya Swaminathan:

  • Swaminathan is currently the Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
  • She is a paediatrician and a globally-recognised researcher on tuberculosis and HIV, who has over 30 years of experience in clinical care and research.
  • She also served as Coordinator of the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) in Geneva.
  • She was also the Co-Chair of the Lancet Commission on TB.
  • She has been responsible for increasing the focus on tuberculosis research and created a consortium for tuberculosis research in India.
  • Swaminathan’s father, MS Swaminathan, is considered the pioneer of Green Revolution in the country.

About WHO:

  • The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health.
  • It was established on 7 April 1948, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It is a member of the United Nations Development Group.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Science & Technology

U.S. trio wins physics Nobel for gravitational waves

U.S. astrophysicists Barry Barish, Kip Thorne and Rainer Weiss were awarded the Nobel Physics Prize 2017 for the discovery of gravitational waves – a phenomenon that opens a door on the extreme Universe.


  • They were selected for their decisive contributions to the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) detector and the observation of gravitational waves.
  • The 9 million Swedish kronor (825,000 British pounds) prize will be divided. One half was awarded to Rainer Weiss of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the other half jointly to Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne — both from California Institute of Technology (Caltech).


What are Gravitational Waves?

Gravitational waves are ‘ripples’ or disturbances in the fabric of space-time. 

  • They are produced when whole black holes collide and stars explode. These waves are sound track of cosmos.
  • They transport energy as gravitational radiation and pass through matter without interacting with it.
  • Gravitational waves were first predicted in 1916 by Albert Einstein on the basis of his Theory of General Relativity which are now confirmed and detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) — specialised laboratories in Louisiana and Washington in the US.
  • Discovery of gravitational waves would represent a scientific landmark, opening the door to an entirely new way to observe the cosmos and unlock secrets about the early universe and mysterious objects like black holes and neutron stars.
  • Gravitational waves could also help physicists understand the fundamental laws of the universe.
  • Gravitational waves are important in telling about the early universe.

About LIGO:

LIGO is world’s largest gravitational wave observatory.


  • The observatory, described as “the most precise measuring device ever built,” is actually two facilities in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington.
  • They were built and operated with funding from the National Science Foundation, which has spent $1.1 billion on LIGO over the course of several decades.
  • The project is led by scientists from the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is supported by an international consortium of scientists and institutions.
  • ‎It comprises two enormous laser interferometers located thousands of kilometers apart.
  • ‎It helps to detect and understand the origins of gravitational waves.
  • The Interferometers used in LIGO work by merging two or more sources of light to create interference pattern, which can be measured and analyzed.

About Noble Prize

  • The Nobel Prize is a set of annual international awards bestowed in several categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in recognition of academic, cultural or scientific advances.
  • Awarded for Outstanding contributions for humanity in chemistry, economics, literature, peace, physics, or physiology or medicine
  • Named after Alfred Nobel (born on 21 October 1833 in Stockholm), Sweden. He was a chemist, engineer, and inventor.
  • Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences selects the Nobel recipients.
  • The prize comes with nine million Swedish kronor (around $1.1 million or 940,000 euros).
  • Last year, British scientists David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz were honoured for their groundbreaking research on topology, or unusual phases or states of matter, which may one day yield superfast computers.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Key Facts for Prelims

Mathru Poorna scheme


  • It is a Karnataka State government scheme meant to meet the nutritional needs of pregnant and lactating women in rural areas.
  • Under the programme, pregnant and lactating poor women in rural areas will get one nutritious meal daily for 25 days in a month.
  • A full meal, consisting of rice, dal with vegetables/sambar, one boiled egg and 200ml of milk, will be given to pregnant women. Those who don’t eat eggs would be given two varieties of sprouts.
  • This meal will meet 40-45% of the daily calorie, protein and calcium requirement per day of the pregnant and lactating mothers.
  • Along with the meal, Iron Folic Acid (IFA) tablets will be administered and gestational weight monitoring will be ensured for pregnant women.
  • The scheme will be implemented through anganwadis in the State.


Ministry of Health adjudged best for ‘Swachhta Pakhwada’, receives award


  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been adjudged as the best department for its contribution during Swachhta Pakhwada, an inter-Ministry initiative of Swachh Bharat Mission of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
  • Swachhta Pakhwada started in April 2016 with the objective of bringing a fortnight of intense focus on the issues and practices of Swachhta by engaging GOI Ministries/Departments in their jurisdictions.
  • Swachhta Pakhwada activities were organized and observed within the Ministry offices, in Central Government Hospitals and in public health facilities of the states across 36 States/UTs.
  • The Ministries observing Swachhta Pakhwada are monitored closely using online monitoring system of Swachhta Samiksha


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