Current Affairs Analysis

5th May 2017 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Banganapalle mango gets GI tag; Swachh Survekshan-2017; World Press Freedom Index 2017; eVIN project; A deal on Syrian crisis; NASA’s inflatable greenhouse; Molecule Disarib
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
May 05, 2017


Polity & Governance

  • Swachh Survekshan-2017
  • World Press Freedom Index 2017
  • Haryana House passes motion for separate HC

Issues related to Health & Education

  • eVIN Project of Health Ministry becomes global best practise in immunisation

Environment & Ecology

  • Banganapalle mango gets GI tag

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Russia, Iran and Turkey sign a deal on Syrian crisis

Science & Technology

  • NASA’s inflatable greenhouse could feed astronauts on Mars

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Molecule Disarib

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Polity & Governance

Swachh Survekshan-2017

Union Urban Development Miniser M Venkaiah Naidu announced the results of Swachh Survekshan 2017 survey.

ias toppers Swachh Survekshan 2017

About the Swachh Survekshan 2017 survey:

  • Swachh Survekshan-2017 was commissioned by the Ministry of Urban Development during January– February, 2017.
  • Swachh Survekshan 2017 aimed at capturing the outcomes on ground of the ongoing efforts to make urban areas Open Defecation Free and to improve door-to-door collection, processing and disposal of Municipal Solid Waste. Accordingly, it is outcome oriented.
  • The survey was conducted by the Quality Council of India.
  • Under the Swachh Survekshan 2017, 434 cities and towns were surveyed for cleanliness and categorized based on the marks scored by each of them.
  • It deployed 421 assessors for on the spot assessment of 17500 locations in 434 cities and towns. Another 55 persons regularly monitored the survey process in real time.

Criteria for Swachh Survekshan 2017:

Criteria and weightages for different components of sanitation related aspects used for the Survey are:

  • Solid Waste Management including Door-to-Door collection, Processing and Disposal (45% of total 2,000 marks i.e. 900 marks)
  • Citizen feedback (30% i.e. 600 of total marks)
  • Independent observation (25% i.e. 500 marks)

Highlights of the report:

ias toppers 1 Swachh Survekshan 2017

  • Out of the 434 cities and towns, Indore in Madhya Pradesh was adjudged as the cleanest city. Gonda in Uttar Pradesh was adjudged as the least clean city.
  • Four of the bottom 10 clean cities are from UP, two each from Bihar and Punjab and one each from Uttarakhand and Maharashtra.
  • Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh account for 31 of the top 50 clean cities with 12 in Gujarat, 11 in MP and 8 in AP.
  • Telangana and Tamil Nadu account for 4 cities each in top 50, followed by Maharashtra with 3.
  • Chandigarh, Chattisgarh, Delhi, HP, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Sikkim and UP account for one city each in top 50 clean cities of the country.
  • Rajasthan and Punjab have 5 towns each in the bottom 50, followed by Maharashtra-2 and one each from Haryana, Karnataka and Lakshadweep.
  • Faridabad in Haryana has emerged as the ‘Fastest Mover Big City’.
  • At the national level, Tirupati was ranked the ‘Cleanest Medium City’ while Ambikapur, Chattisgarh bagged this honour in Small Cities category.
  • Rewa, Madhya Pradesh emerged as the ‘Faster Mover’ in medium cities category, Khargone, Madhya Pradesh moved the fastest by significantly improving it’s rank this year over that of 2014 Survey in small cities category.


[Ref: PIB]


World Press Freedom Index 2017

World Press Freedom Index for the year 2017 has been released.

iastoppers World Press Freedom Index 2017

About the index:

  • World Press Freedom Index is published annually by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) since 2002.
  • It measures the level of freedom available to journalists in 180 countries using the following criteria – pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative environment, transparency, infrastructure, and abuses.

Performance of various countries:


  • Norway is at the apex and North Korea at the bottom of the 180-strong list of nations.
  • After six years at the top, Finland has surrendered its No. 1 position due to political pressure and conflicts of interests.
  • Sweden has risen six places to take 2nd position.
  • India is ranked 136, three points down from last year. India’s previous rank was 133. The report blames the rise of Hindu nationalism for the drop in ranking.
  • The Index’s bottom five also include Turkmenistan (178th), one of the world’s most repressive and self-isolated dictatorships, which keeps increasing its persecution of journalists, and Syria (177th), riven by a never-ending war and still the deadliest country for journalists, who are targeted by both its ruthless dictator and Jihadi rebels.
  • The Middle East and North Africa region, which has ongoing wars in Yemen (down 4 at 166th) as well as Syria, continues to be the world’s most difficult and dangerous region for journalists.
  • Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the second worst region, does not lag far behind. Nearly two third of its countries are ranked below or around the 150th mark in the Index.
  • The Asia-Pacific region is the third worst violator overall but holds many of the worst kinds of records. Two of its countries, China (176th) and Vietnam (175th), are the world’s biggest prisons for journalists and bloggers.
  • It has some of the most dangerous countries for journalists: Pakistan (139th), Philippines (127th) and Bangladesh (146th).

Important observations made by the report:

  • RSF’s latest World Press Freedom Index highlights the danger of a tipping point in the state of media freedom, especially in leading democratic countries.
  • The obsession with surveillance and violations of the right to the confidentiality of sources have contributed to the continuing decline of many countries previously regarded as virtuous.
  • Media freedom has never been so threatened and RSF’s “global indicator” has never been so high (3872). This measure of the overall level of media freedom constraints and violations worldwide has risen 14% in the span of five years.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Haryana House passes motion for separate HC

Haryana Assembly has unanimously passed a resolution, urging the Parliament to effect an appropriate amendment in the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 to provide for the creation of a separate High Court for the State in Chandigarh.


Why the Haryana Assembly needed for a separate HC?

  • While Haryana has completed 50 years of its existence as a separate state, a separate HC has still not been provided for the state. This has led to delays in the disposal of cases due to heavy workload in the common HC.
  • Also, there are only 18 judges from Haryana against a total sanctioned strength of 85. There are 13 Judges from Haryana under direct quota drawn from advocates of the HC, against a sanctioned strength of 23, leading to under-representation of the advocates from Haryana.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Issues related to Health & Education

eVIN Project of Health Ministry becomes global best practise in immunisation

India’s electronic vaccine intelligence network project also known as eVIN project has got the attention of five countries.

ias toppers eVIN Project

  • Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand are mulling to replicate India’s immunisation project.

About the eVIN project:

  • eVIN is an indigenously developed technology system in India that digitizes vaccine stocks and monitors the temperature of the cold chain through a smartphone application.
  • The eVIN is presently being implemented across twelve states in India.
  • eVIN aims to support India’s ‘Universal Immunisation Programme’ by providing real-time information on vaccine stocks and flows, and storage temperatures across all cold chain points in states.
  • The project is being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • eVIN provides an integrated solution to address widespread inequities in vaccine coverage by supporting state governments in overcoming constraints of infrastructure, monitoring and management information systems and human resources, often resulting in overstocking and stock-outs of vaccines in storage centres.

The integrated solution combines:


  • To facilitate evidence-based decision-making by making available online real-time information on vaccine stocks and storage temperature through the eVIN application software and temperature loggers;


  • To ensure efficient vaccine logistics management by systemizing record keeping through standardizing stock and distribution registers; identifying gaps and improving clarity on vaccine cold chain network; drawing attention to infrastructure upgrades; developing standard operating procedures; and encouraging good practices;

Human Resources:

  • To empower the state cold chain network by building the capacities of government cold chain handlers; and deploying vaccine and cold chain managers in every district for constant support to estimate vaccine requirements, supervise cold chain handlers and coordinate with cold chain technicians across the district.
[Ref: PIB]


Environment & Ecology

Banganapalle mango gets GI tag

The Banganapalle mango received a Geographical Indication (GI) tag.


  • This makes Andhra Pradesh the proprietor of the variety known for its sweetness.
  • The Andhra Pradesh government is the registered proprietor of the GI tag for Banganapalle mangoes, often hailed as “the king of fruits.”

About Banganapalle mango:

  • Banganapalle mango is generally known as The King of Mangoes. It also known as Beneshan, Baneshan, Benishan, Chappatai and Safeda.
  • These mangoes are large sized, weighing on an average 350-400 grams.
  • The pulp is fibreless, firm and yellow with sweet taste.
  • Their skin has very light spots, stone is oblong in shape and has very thin seed with sparse and soft fibre all over.
  • These mangoes have been grown for over 100 years in the state.
  • The primary centre of origin of the fruit is Kurnool district comprising Banaganapalle, Paanyam and Nandyal mandals.

What is GI tag?

  • A GI tag indicates that the product comes from a specific region.
  • GI is covered under the Intellectual Property Rights and the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
  • A GI tag certifies the origin of a product or produce from a particular region as the quality or other features of the product is attributable only to the place of its origin.
  • The tag helps farmers or manufacturers, as the case may be, to get a better price in the market.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Bilateral & International Relations

Russia, Iran and Turkey sign a deal on Syrian crisis

Allies of Syria- Russia and Iran and rebel supporter Turkey signed a memorandum, backing Moscow’s plan of creating safe zones in Syria to encourage a truce between the Syrian government and the rebel forces.

ias toppers deal on Syrian crisis

  • The Syrian government and rebel delegations were not among the signatories.

Key facts:

  • The representative delegations reviewed the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the termination of hostilities during the two-day talk in Astana.
  • After much deliberation, the guarantor countries agreed to sign a memorandum on the creation of de-escalation zones in Syria.
  • The main aim of the deal is to put an immediate end to the violence, to provide safe conditions for the voluntary return of refugees and to enable immediate delivery of relief supplies and medical aid.
  • The proposal calls for the creation of safe zones in rebel-held territories including the north-western province of Idlib, parts of Homs province in the centre, in the south and in the opposition enclave of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus.
  • However, in spite of all these measures, some issues remain unclear like which guarantor country would be policing which safe zone.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Science & Technology

NASA’s inflatable greenhouse could feed astronauts on Mars

NASA Scientists have designed an inflatable greenhouse that could be used one day by astronauts to grow fresh food and produce oxygen on Mars or Moon.


  • The first-of-its-kind sample involves an inflatable, deployable greenhouse that can support plant and crop production for nutrition, air revitalisation, water recycling and waste recycling.

Key facts:

  • The new approach uses plants to scrub carbon dioxide while providing food and oxygen for those working in deep space.
  • This way the carbon dioxide exhaled by the astronauts will be introduced into the greenhouse and the plants would then generate oxygen through the process of photosynthesis.
  • Similarly, the water cycle too would begin with water brought along or found at the lunar or Martian landing site. The water would be oxygenated, given nutrient salts and it would continuously flow across the root zone of the plants and then return to the storage system.


  • Currently, scientists are conducting tests on the Prototype Lunar Greenhouse to determine what plants, seeds or other materials should be taken along to make the system work.
  • Besides this, NASA Scientists are developing systems to harness resources such as water that should be available in certain areas of the lunar or Martian surface in order to support missions that last for months or years.
  • While prior to this, astronauts have successfully grown plants and vegetables aboard the International Space Station (ISS), NASA wants to develop long-term methods to help sustain pioneers working in deep space.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Key Facts for Prelims

Molecule Disarib


  • It is a novel small molecule, designed and synthesised by Indian researchers.
  • It has shown promise in targeted killing of cancer cells.
  • It works by binding itself to a protein called BCL2, which suppresses the death of cancerous cells.
  • While BCL2 protein is produced in excess in cancer cells, its expression is almost undetectable in normal cells. Hence, Disarib targets and kills only cancer cells while sparing normal cells.


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