CAO The Hindu NOTES – 25th April, 2018 (Daily News Paper Current Affairs Analysis)

📰THE HINDU NEWSPAPER – DAILY  Hindu Current Affairs Analysis

Date:- 25th April 2018


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The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) will be coordinating with the United States and Finland to develop a pollution-forecast system in place by winter, one that will help anticipate particulate matter (PM) levels at least two days in advance and at a greater resolution than what is possible now.

Key points

The new system will use a different modelling approach as well as computational techniques from that now being used in the country by availing expertise from the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the U.S.’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This could provide better resolution and more accurate forecasts.

The ministry aims to develop the system before this winter so as to develop forecasts around the “stubble-burning season” that adds to Delhi’s pollution woes in the winter.

This collaboration come in lien with, the Union Environment Ministry’s National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) that aims to improve air quality monitoring in India by increasing the number of pollution monitoring stations and, incorporating it into a pollution forecast system.

The current system in place

Currently, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), run out of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, serves as the apex forecaster of pollution trends in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad. It generates likely air quality profile for a day in advance, for these cities.

SAFAR monitors pollutants like PM1, PM2.5, PM10, NOx (NO, NO2), CO, Ozone, SO2, BC, Methane (CH4), Non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC), Benzene, VOC’s, Mercury.
The main objective of SAFAR project is to increase awareness among general public regarding the air quality.


  • The Supreme Court asked the Central and state governments to work for eradication of leprosy, and remove provisions from laws that discriminate against and stigmatise those affected from the disease.
  • Court found that leprosy is curable and patients should not be victims of social stigma and thus leprosy should not be considered as a disability under law.
  • The order will help in paving the way for recognising the fundamental right to equality, dignity and equal opportunity of persons affected by leprosy in the backdrop of still prevalent age old wrong beliefs about leprosy.
  • The order was made by the court while hearing a PIL petition filed to repeal 119 Central and State laws in practice since the 1950s which discriminate against leprosy patients, stigmatise and isolate them despite the fact that modern medicine completely cures the disease.

About Leprosy

  • Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae and it usually affects the skin and peripheral nerves. While the mode of transmission of leprosy is not known, the most widely held belief is that the disease was transmitted by contact between those with leprosy and healthy persons, thus creating ground for social stigmas.
  • According to WHO, leprosy affected 2,12,000 people globally in 2015. India alone reported 1,27,326 new cases, accounting for 60% of new cases globally.
  • Though there has been reduction in numbers of the infected, it is not yet at acceptable level since multidrug therapy, or MDT — has been made available since the 1980s and can fully cure leprosy.


China on Tuesday said President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi may arrive at some important consensus to resolve the “outstanding issues”, including the boundary row when they meet for the two-day summit in Chinese central city of Wuhan.
Experts are of the opinion that China may be gradually shifting its position from “managing” and shelving the border issue, to a new and untried stance of resolving the border dispute. Such a position would align well with India’s approach of seeking a final resolution of the boundary dispute.

What and where of the Border dispute?

India shares total boundary of around 3,488 km with China. The Sino-Indian border is generally divided into three sectors namely: Western sector, Middle sector, and Eastern sector, with 5 states viz. Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarkhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh sharing border with China.

1. Western Sector:

In the western sector, India shares about 2152 km long border with China, between Jammu and Kashmir and Xinjiang Province of China. In this sector, territorial dispute is over Aksai Chin, which was a theatre of 1962 war.
At present, Line of Actual Control (LAC) is the line separating Indian areas of Jammu and Kashmir from Aksai Chin. It is concurrent with the Chinese Aksai Chin claim line.

2. Middle sector

In this sector, India shares about 625 km long boundary with China which runs along from Ladakh to Nepal. The states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand touch this border with Tibet (China) in this sector. Both sides do not have much disagreement over border in this area.

3. Eastern Sector

In this sector, India shares 1,140 km long boundary with China. It runs from the eastern limit of Bhutan to a point near the Talu Pass at the trijunction of Tibet, India and Myanmar. This boundary line is called McMahon Line.
China considers the McMahon Line illegal and unacceptable claiming that Tibetans representatives who had sign the 1914 Convention held in Shimla which delineated the McMahon line on the map were not having rights to do so and claims whole of Arunanchal Pradesh as its own


  • Researchers from the University of Exeter in the U.K. have developed a new greener, stronger and more durable concrete production technique that reinforces the material using the wonder-material graphene, which they say could revolutionise the construction industry.
  • The new technique uses nano-engineering technology to incorporate graphene into traditional concrete production.
  • The new composite material is more than twice as strong as and four times more water resistant than existing concretes and also drastically reduced the carbon footprint of conventional concrete production methods, making it more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

What is Graphene?

Graphene is a carbon material that is one atom thick. It is the world’s strongest and lightest known material derived from carbon. It has high conductivity and excellent electronic, mechanical, thermal and optical properties.
It is used in many applications ranging from miniaturised electronics to biomedical devices, water filtration and purification, renewable energy, sensors, personalised healthcare and medicine etc. It also used to improve battery performance in energy devices, to cheaper solar panels.


  • The Trump administration is planning to propose to end allowing spouses of H1-B visa holders to work legally in the US, a move that could have a devastating impact on tens of thousands of Indians.
  • H-4 is issued to the spouse of H-1B visa holders, a significantly large number of whom are high-skilled professionals from India. They had obtained work permits under a special order issued by the previous Obama administration.
  • Indian-Americans were a major beneficiary of this provision. Of those H-4 spouses with work authorisation as of early 2017, a total of 94 per cent were women, and the vast majority, 93 per cent, were from India, while four per cent were from China.
  • Its significance is that the rule issued by the Obama administration allows work permits for spouses who otherwise could not be employed till H-1B visa holders get permanent resident status — a process that can take a decade or longer.

H Visas

  • The USA issues different types of visas for its applicants, of which H Visas are visas for Skilled Workers. The categories of H Visas are H-1B, H1B1, H1C, H-2A, H2B , H3 and H4
  • The US immigration law allows employers to temporarily employ qualified individuals from abroad in specialty occupations. Such foreign nationals who are specialized and experts in certain fields are issued H-1B visas.
  • H-4 visa holders are immediate family members of H visa holders. Most H-4 visa holders are spouses who want to join their partner in a new country. They enjoy many of the benefits of living in the United States, but some limitations exist. They also have the right to attend college in the United States and may even enjoy discounted tuition.


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