CAO The Hindu NOTES – 11th Feb, 2018 (Daily News Paper Current Affairs Analysis)

📰 THE HINDU NEWSPAPER DAILY  Hindu Current Affairs Analysis

Date:- 11th Feb 2018


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Modi reiterates support for Palestine {International Relation}

 The first Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Palestine said, support for the Palestinian cause is a continuing thread in India’s foreign policy and hoped for an early realisation of a “sovereign, independent Palestine living in a peaceful environment”.

Six agreements

After bilateral talks, the two sides signed six agreements worth around $50 million, including one for setting up a $30 million super speciality hospital in Beit Sahur.

Agreements were also signed to build schools, a diplomatic training institute and a woman’s empowerment and training centre.

List of MoU

Signed and exchanged by Palestinian side
MOU between India and Palestine for setting up of India-Palestine Super-specialty hospital at Beit Sahour in Bethelhem Governorate at a cost ofUS$ 30 million
MOU between India and Palestine for construction of India Palestine Centre for Empowring women, “Turathi” at a cost ofUS$ 5 million
MOU between India and Palestine for setting up of new National Printing Press at Ramallah at a cost ofUS$ 5 million
MOU between India and Palestine Construction of school in Muthalth Al Shuhada Village at a cost ofUS$ 1 million
MOU between India and Palestine Construction of school in Tamoon village in Tubas Governorate in Palestine at a cost ofUS$ 1.1 million
MOU between India and Palestine Assistance of US$ US$ 0.25 millionfor construction of additional floor to Jawahar Lal Nehru for Boys at Abu Dees


Bengal a hub for soaring trade in wild Indian birds {Environment} {Ecology}

Why in news?

In mid-January, hundreds of wild birds with bright plumage flew out of iron cages in a burst of colours into the freedom of the sky.

There were so many of them that it took several minutes before the cages became empty. The release followed the highest ever seizure of wild birds in West Bengal in the preceding week.

The birds were set free in the forest of Nayagram in the Pashchim Medinipur district, where such a large population of birds could be sustained in the wilderness.

The seizure

It included 1,782 rose-ringed parakeets and plum-headed parakeets, 80 hill mynas and 892 munias. They were stuffed in cages and being transported to a local fair in two vehicles when they were intercepted by the forest officials.

Last year, too, when a similar consignment arrived in West Bengal, the perpetrators managed to slip away

Clandestine trade

Experts observe that Kolkata, and West Bengal, have for the past several years been a hub for the trade in Indian wild birds despite laws prohibiting it. After a 1991 amendment to the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, except for the house crow (Corvus splendens), which is listed as vermin, no Indian bird can be hunted, trapped, caged or traded.

The lowdown on the MSP roadmap {Agro-Economy}

What is it?

Amid the increasing agrarian distress across the country, the Union Budget 2018-19 proposed to give farmers a minimum support price (MSP) 1.5 times of the production cost.

The agriculture sector provides food security to 1.3 billion people, absorbs 54% of the workforce and touches the lives of two-thirds of the rural population. Yet it is lagging, resulting in widening disparity between the farm-dependant population and those working in the other sectors.

How did it come about?

  • The Union government introduced public procurement of paddy and wheat at the MSP in 1965-66 to address grain shortage. For calculating production cost, two broad concepts — Cost A 2 and Cost C 2 — are used.
  • Cost A 2 includes all expenses paid by the farmer in cash or kind such as seed, fertilizer, farmyard manure, pesticides, hired labour, machine labour and irrigation and maintenance costs.
  • It also includes rent paid for leased-in land, depreciation of assets, interest on the working capital and the imputed cost of owned seed, farmyard manure and machine labour. Cost C 2 is calculated by adding to Cost A 2 the imputed cost of family labour, the interest on fixed capital and the rental value of owned land.
  • The question being raised from several quarters is whether the proposed increase will be based on the formula for MSP recommended by the National Commission on Farmers, 2006.
  • Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, in his report submitted to the Central government in 2006, recommended that MSP be based on production cost (C 2 cost) plus a 50% margin. The government submitted a written reply in the Supreme Court against this formula.
  • However, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his budget speech, announced the MSP fixation on the basis of production cost plus a 50% margin. The technical detail in this regard, though, was missing in the speech. Production cost means all paid-out costs, including the rent paid for leased-in land and the imputed value of family labour.

Why does it matter?

Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor of the Ludhiana-based Punjab Agricultural University, a pioneer of the Green Revolution in India, points out that the Finance Minister announced that the MSP for the Rabi crops for the crop year 2017-18 had been fixed on the basis of production cost plus a 50% margin, which is not borne out by data.

That indicates that the Central government may be working on some other definition of production cost rather than the C 2 cost. “Although remunerative prices are required for a desirable level of living for the farmers, MSP is no panacea for all problems as 85% of the farmers in the country are small farmers (owing less than 5 acres) and have little marketable surplus.

Hence, the inputs subsidy policy should have been formulated to watch the interests of these farmers. The staggered MSP is another option for reducing the glut in the market during the harvesting season, easing the role of procurement agencies and minimising storage losses and costs. But these issues are missing from the budget,” he says.

Way forward

  • The Ramesh Chand Committee, constituted to examine the methodological issues in fixing MSP, suggested that for calculating production cost, family labour head should be considered a skilled worker.
  • Further, it said the interest on working capital should be given for the whole season against the existing half season, and the actual rental value prevailing in the village should be considered without a ceiling on the rent.
  • Moreover, post-harvest costs, including cleaning, grading, drying, packaging, marketing and transportation, should be included.
  • The committee recommended that the cost C 2 should be raised by 10% to account for the risk premium and managerial charges. Many experts believe that to address the current agrarian crisis, MSP should be fixed on the basis of the Ramesh Chand Committee’s report.

Why did a moon trip fail to take off?{Science & Tech}

What was the project?

A small consolation for TeamIndus was that at the same time, the agency that conceived the moon-landing contest, the Google Lunar XPrize, back in 2007, declared that none of the five international finalists would be able to meet its $30 million challenge. Which was to soft-land a spacecraft on the moon, move a robotic rover for 500 metres on the lunar terrain and make it send videos and pictures from there — all this before March 31, 2018. It was mandated that each team must be at least 90% private-funded.

Some of ISRO’s retired brains, who had led its 2008 Chandrayaan-1 and Mars orbiter missions, were roped in, and the former ISRO Chairman, K. Kasturirangan, mentored the team. TeamIndus also won an encouraging milestone prize of $1 million.

What went wrong?

  • It needed another six months to raise the money for hardware imports for the spacecraft and the rover, those in the space industry doubt whether it still would have made it.
  • TeamIndus raised about half of the $60-65 million (around ₹400 crore) it needed to complete the mission: new investors did not appear enthused.
  • Space travel costs are high even it is a ride on an internationally economical PSLV.

IISc team identifies an early-stage biomarker for Alzheimer’s {Science & Tech}, {Agriculture}

In news

Researchers at Bengaluru’s Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have identified a potential biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease. The biomarker shows up very early in the disease process and well before clinical and even pathological manifestation of the disease. 

They also found that it is possible to reverse the disease process if identified early.


  • Loss of dendritic spines from the surface of a nerve cell is already recognised as an early feature of Alzheimer’s. But the underlying mechanism behind this loss was not known.
  • Projections on the dendrites called spines grow or shrink in response to activity-dependent modification and correlates with normal memory or memory deficit in animal models.
  • Filamentous actin (F-actin) is a cytoskeletal protein which is responsible for maintaining the shape of the spines. While F-actin is formed by polymerisation of monomeric globular-actin (G-actin), depolymerisation leads to loss of F-actin and, in turn, the loss of spines. F-actin is crucial for memory consolidation.

Testing Memory

  • To test the role of F-actin in behaviour response, two-month-old mice were exposed to mild foot shocks when kept in a conditioning chamber to bring about contextual fear conditioning.
  • While normal mice placed in the chamber the next day they tend to freeze in anticipation of a shock, mice with Alzheimer’s did not exhibit this behaviour. “The Alzheimer mice did not associate the aversive event [electric shock] with context but simply kept exploring the chamber,”
  • To test if decrease in F-actin protein and, in turn, the spine was responsible for deficit in memory a chemical was injected into Alzheimer mice to stabilise the level of F-actin.
  • “A day after the injection, the F-actin level was restored to normal level and the Alzheimer mice showed increased freezing response just like healthy mice.

IACS’ new source of white light {Science & Tech}

In news

Now, pure white light can be produced using zinc, which is usually used to protect iron from rusting and in making brass.

The traditional way

The most commonly used method of producing white light is by mixing three primary colour–emitting phosphors in a proportionate composition. The existing methods of white-light production are energy-intensive and involve a long process.

What is the new research?

The new LED device requires only a single active layer of zinc-based metal–organic framework to get perfect white light under UV-excitation. And synthesis of the zinc framework is easy and highly stable and is not energy-intensive.

Technology behind

LED device uses zinc, one of the most abundant metals on earth, to do the work. For the LED fabrication, indium tin oxide–coated glass was used as anode and vacuum evaporated aluminium as cathode. “The zinc-based framework is used as the active layer in which electrons are recombined to produce white light.


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1 Comment
  1. Reply
    February 12, 2018 at 8:34 am

    It’s very useful initiative, time saving . Please continue this for long ….

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