Prelim Snippets 23-11-2019

1.Secretagogin (SCGN)

Why in news?
  • Scientists at the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad have demonstrated the role of a protein secretagogin (SCGN) in increasing insulin action in obesity-induced diabetes.
Research Findings:
  • SCGN was identified as a functional insulin-binding protein with therapeutic potential against diabetes.
  • It said various kinds of cellular stresses can result in loss of structure and function of insulin, ultimately leading to diabetes.
  • SCGN binds to insulin and protects it from various stresses, increases its stability and adds to its action.
  • Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that occurs due to either a deficiency of insulin or insulin action or both.
  • Thisis caused when-
    • when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin – type 1 diabetes
    • when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces – type 2 diabetes
  • This leads to raised blood glucose (sugar) level and over time, serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) projects that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030.
Diabetes Burden in India
  • India continues to be home to the second-largest number of adults with diabetes worldwide, with 77 million adults with diabetes in the 20-79 years age group.
  • India is the largest contributor to diabetes related mortality with more than 1 milliondeaths.
  • The number of diabetics in the country is expected to increase to a staggering 109 million cases by 2035 out of an estimated population of 1.5 billion.
  • A World Economic Forum report on economic implications of diabetesin India has estimated that India stands to loseUS$0.15 trillionbefore 2030.
  • The most common risk factors are obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, advancing age, family history of diabetes, ethnicity and high blood glucose during pregnancy affecting the unborn child.
  • Indians have a peculiar genetic composition and Asian Indian phenotype predisposes them to a higher propensity of metabolic syndrome, diabetes mellitus and coronary artery disease.

2.Web Portal for Exchange of Information inaugurated

Why in news?
  • Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)inaugurated the Web Portal for Exchange of Information on Income Tax Website.
What it does?
  • The Web Portal consolidates all the relevant Automatic Exchange of Information related information at one place for financial institutions, officers and public.
What is automatic information exchange?
  • Automatic exchange of information involves the systematic and periodic transmission of taxpayer information by the source country to the residence country concerning their income.
  • It can provide timely information on tax evasion and non-compliance.
  • AEOI is a crucial system in bringing national tax administration in line with the globalised economy.
  • Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) was initiated by the G20 along with OECD.
  • India is committed to exchange financial account information automatically from 2017 under the Common Reporting Standard on Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI).
What is the CRS?
  • The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) was developed by the OECD.
  • Participant countries obtain information from their financial institutions and automatically exchange that information with other countries on an annual basis.
  • It sets out the financial account information to be exchanged, the financial institutions required to report, the different types of accounts and taxpayers covered, as well as common due diligence procedures to be followed by financial institutions.

3.AgroVision- 2019

Why in news?
  • 11th edition of AgroVision- 2019, an Agricultural exhibitionhad beenconducted in Nagpur.
11th Agrovision: India’s Premier Agri Summit
  • The vision of Agrovision is to create a more knowledgeable, practical and a smart famer.
  • Agrovisionprovides an integrative framework and a platform to bring all the stakeholders consisting of farmers, Government, NGOs, Scientists, Industry under single umbrella.
  • Its objective was to Educate, Encourage and Empower the farmers through activities like Free Workshops for farmers, International Exhibition, Expert Panel Discussions, Conference etc.


Why in news?
  • The tiny South Pacific nation of Tuvalu has rejected offers from Chinese firms to build artificial islands that would help it deal with rising sea levels.
Chinese Influence
  • China has increased efforts to expand its influence in the Pacific, alarming the United States and its allies.
  • China also accused US of luring the smaller countries in with the promise of financial aid and airplanes.


  • Tuvalu (formerly known as the Ellice Islands), is a sovereign state in Polynesia, located in the Pacific Ocean, situated in Oceania and about midway between Hawaii and Australia.
  • Tuvalu is a volcanic archipelago, and also consists of three reef islands and six true atolls.
  • Because of its low elevation, the islands that make up this nation are vulnerable to the effects of tropical cyclones and by the threat of current and future sea level rise.

5.Mandatory FASTags

Why in news?
  • Road Transport and Highways Minister has announced that FASTags will become mandatory for all vehicles, private and commercial, from December 1, 2019.
  • From December, 2019, toll payments will be made only through FASTags under the National Electronic Toll Collection programme.
  • This pan-India programme is intended to remove bottlenecks and ensure seamless movement of traffic.
  • In case of non-compliance, double the toll amount will be charged for traveling through FASTag lanes without tags.
  • It is an electronic tag that is usually affixed on the inside of a vehicle’s windscreen.
  • The tag uses RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology and it is linked to either a bank account or a prepaid wallet.
  • When a vehicle uses a FASTag to pass a toll plaza, the tag is scanned and the toll amount is automatically deducted without the vehicle coming to a halt.
  • The FASTag makes the process faster and more efficient.
  • Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL) (a company incorporated by National Highways Authority of India) and National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) are implementing this program.

6.Commercial Exploitation of Space Research and Development

Why in news?
  •  A new company by name, “New Space India Limited (NSIL)”, has been incorporated in March 2019, as a wholly-owned Government of India Undertaking/Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE), under the administrative control of the Department of Space (DOS) to commercially exploit the research and development work of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
NSIL Mandate:
  •  Small Satellite technology transfer to industry wherein NSIL will obtain license from DOS/ISRO and sub-license it to industries.
  • Manufacture of Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) in collaboration with the private sector.
  •   Productionisation of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) through the Indian Industry.
  • Productionisation and marketing of space-based services, including launch and application.
  • Transfer of technology developed by ISRO Centres and constituent institutions of DOS.
  • Marketing of spin-off technologies and products, both in India and abroad.
  • Any other subject which the Government of India deems fit.
  • With the activity plan and the mandate set for NSIL, Indian industries are likely to see a major spur in their growth in the space sector.
  • This initiative would further enable scaling up the manufacturing and production base in Indian industries towards meeting the growing needs of the Indian space programme and exploiting the opportunities available in the global space market.
  • Through the sale of products related to small satellite, sub-system technology and the spin-off products in the domestic and global markets, foreign exchange revenue is expected to be generated.

7. ‘Destination North East’ Festival

Why in News?
  • The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) will inaugurate the ‘Destination North East’ Festival in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
  • The festival will be held in November 2019 for four days.
  • The festival is being organised by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Government of India.
  • The Previous editions of ‘Destination North East’ were held in Delhi and Chandigarh.
  • Destination NE 2019 will provide live experience to the audience. All 8 NE states will be present at the event along with their handicrafts, handloom, organic products and cultural troupes.
  • The idea of organising such events is to bring the rest of India closer to the North East and to have experience of the rich culture of the North East.
  • During the festival, visitors will have live experiences of the artisans and artists from the NE states working on their looms and crafts, performing their songs and dances in the open stage during the day.
  • Indigenous games will also be performed where visitors can also participate.
  • Live kitchens with recipes from NE and Uttar Pradesh will be serving delicacies throughout the event.
  • The Ganga and Brahmaputra basins offer striking similarities in terms of ancient culture, diverse handlooms and silk products, spiritual heritage and vibrant tourist hubs. Therefore, Varanasi was the natural choice for hosting the Destination North East 2019.
  • Given the importance of NE with respect to organic products, food processing, tourism, water development, seminars will be held on these subjects with participation of experts in the respective fields.

8.India-Finland Joint Commission

Why in news?
  •  19th Session of the India-Finland Joint Commission concludes.
India-Finland Joint Commission:
  •  The India-Finland Joint Commission was set up in 1974.
  • The Agenda for the 19th Joint Commission Session was:
    • WTO issues
    •  India – EU BTIA
    • Bilateral trade and investment relations
    • Trade barrier issues and measures to promote trade
    • Cooperation in the sectors of power, petroleum and gas, new and renewable energy, environment, cleantech, science, technology and innovations, education and skill development, and labour mobility, digitalization including ICT, transportation
    • Cooperation in the textiles sector
    • Cultural cooperation
    • Tourism cooperation
  • The Joint Commission is a forum for strengthening economic relations between India and Finland.
  • The 20th session will be held in Helsinki in 2021.
India – Finland Relations:
  • This year marks the 70th anniversary of India – Finland diplomatic relations.
  • Both India and Finland cooperate on a wide array of issues and as a member of the European Union (EU), Finland regards India as a strategic partner for balanced and comprehensive trade relations.
  • Bilateral trade between India and Finland totalled USD 1.247 billion in 2014-15 and USD 1.284 billion in 2016-17.
  • In 2016 Finnish companies have invested USD 419 million between April 2000 and July 2017.
  • Approximately 100 Finnish companies have operations in India and about 30 Indian companies mainly in the software and consultancy sector are active in Finland.
  • Main export items from India: Electronic goods, mineral fuels and mineral oils, readymade garments, cotton including accessories, pharmaceuticals & fine chemicals, articles of iron and steel, machinery and instrument, coffee, rubber, iron and steel, organic chemicals and nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances and parts thereof.
  • Major imports of India from Finland: Electrical machinery and equipment, nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances, paper and paper board, iron and steel, pulp of wood or of other fibrous cellulosic material, pulp and waste paper, vehicles and transport equipment, etc.

9.Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 2.0

Why in news?
  • The Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) was launched in 2017 aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality by reaching out to each and every child under two years of age and all the pregnant women who are left uncovered under the routine immunization programme.
Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 2.0:
  •  The IMI 2.0 aims to achieve targets of full immunization coverage in 272 districts in 27 States.
  • IMI 2.0 will be rolled out in December 2019.
  • The salient features of IMI 2.0 are:
    • Immunization activity will be in four rounds over 7 working days excluding the RI days, Sundays and holidays.
    • Enhanced immunization session with flexible timing, mobile session and mobilization by other departments.
    • Enhanced focus on left-outs, dropouts, and resistant families and hard to reach areas.
    • Focus on urban, underserved population and tribal areas.
    • Inter-ministerial and inter-departmental coordination.
    • Enhance political, administrative and financial commitment, through advocacy.
    • Intensified Mission Indradhanush immunization drive, consisting of 4 rounds of immunization will be conducted in the selected districts and urban cities in Dec 2019 – March 2020.

10.Patent Prosecution Highway

Why in news?
  • The Union Cabinet approved a proposal for Bilateral Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Programme between the Indian Patent Office under the Controller General of Patents, Design and Trade Marks (CGPDTM), Government of India with Patent Offices of other interested countries/regions.
Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Programme:
  • The programme will initially commence between the Japan Patent Office and the Indian Patent Office on a pilot basis for a period of three years.
  • Under this pilot programme, the Indian Patent Office may receive patent applications in certain specified technical fields only, like electrical, electronics, computer science, information technology, physics, civil, mechanical, textiles, automobiles and metallurgy.
  • The Japan Patent Office may receive applications in all fields of technology.
  • The PPH programme is a set of initiatives for providing accelerated patent prosecution procedures by sharing information between some patent offices.
Benefits of PPH:
  •  Reduction in disposal time and pendency of patent applications.
  • Consistency in the quality of granted patents.
  • Provides an opportunity for Indian inventors including MSMEs and Start-ups to get accelerated examination of their patent applications in Japan (initially, and later other countries).
  • Faster grant of patents in India will result in more inbound investments by companies and also the introduction of newer technologies thereby giving a fillip to Make in India and increasing employment opportunities.

11. Ghoramara Island

Why in News?
  • Residents of Ghoramara Island are being forced to migrate as the small island is slowly being submerged under the sea.
  • Ghoramara Island in the Ganga estuary of West Bengal is slowly being submerged by rising sea levels, forcing people to migrate in large numbers.
  • Neighbouring islands of Sagar and Mousuni are also under threat of submergence.
  • The story of Ghoramara shows how climate change is changing the way people live — how it divides families, breaks social taboos and hastens forced migration.
  • The largely poor people in the island (45 percent live below the poverty line) are under enormous socioeconomic stress that has upturned their lives.

12.Nomura’s Food Vulnerability Index

Why in news?
  • India is ranked 44 out of 110 country’s in Nomura’s Food Vulnerability Index (NFVI)
  • It is reported by Nomura Global Market Research.
  • It ranks Country’s on the basis of their exposure to large swings in food prices.
  • It has three components. They are Country’s GDP per person, the share of food in house hold consumption and the net food import
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