21 August Current Affairs
August 21, 2019
23 August Current Affairs
August 23, 2019
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22 August Current Affairs


In News:

In three months, Tamil Nadu will put in place an M-sand policy to promote its use as an alternative building material and eliminate sub-standard products through regulation of trade.


Manufactured sand (M-Sand) is a substitute of river sand for concrete construction .

Production: Manufactured sand is produced from hard granite stone by crushing. It is manufactured using technology like High Carbon steel hit rock and then ROCK ON ROCK process which is synonymous to that of natural process undergoing in river sand information.

Features: The crushed sand is of cubical shape with grounded edges, washed and graded to as a construction material. The size of M-Sand is less than 4.75mm.

Why Manufactured Sand is Used? Due to fast growing construction industry, the demand for sand has increased tremendously, causing deficiency of suitable river sand in most part of the world.

Advantages of M-Sand:

It does not contain organic and soluble compound that affects the setting time and properties of cement, thus the required strength of concrete can be maintained.

It does not have the presence of impurities such as clay, dust and silt coatings, increase water requirement as in the case of river sand which impair bond between cement paste and aggregate. Thus, increased quality and durability of concrete.

Since manufactured sand can be crushed from hard granite rocks, it can be readily available at the nearby place, reducing the cost of transportation from far-off river sand bed.

The sizes of m-sand can be controlled easily so that it meets the required grading for the given construction.

‘D’ Voter

In News:

With few days left for the publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Election Commission of India (ECI) is now faced with the legal question whether those excluded should be marked as ‘D’ voters.


‘D’ voters, sometimes also referred to as Dubious voter or Doubtful voter, are a category of voters in Assam whose citizenship is doubtful or under dispute.

This category was introduced in 1997 at the time the Election Commission of India (ECI) was revising the state’s voter list.

While ‘D’ voters continue to remain on Assam’s electoral roll, they cannot vote in an election unless their case is decided by a Foreigners’ Tribunal.

Around 1.2 lakh ‘D’ voters did not participate in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections.

Lunar Orbit Insertion

In News:

Chandrayaan-2 successfully completed the Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) maneuver on August 20, 2019. With this, Chandrayaan-2 was successfully inserted into a Lunar orbit. The orbit achieved is 114 km x 18072 km.

Lunar orbit insertion:

Insertion into lunar orbit means, just like it was going around the Earth at the start of its journey, Chandrayaan-2 is now orbiting the Moon.

After being launched, Chandrayaan-2 had been put in an elliptical orbit around the Earth.

It spent nearly a week in that orbit, before firing a booster once again to break free from the Earth orbit and begin its journey towards the Moon.

After five days of this journey, Chandrayaan-2 came sufficiently close to the Moon to experience its gravity. And on August 20, it entered into an orbit around the Moon.

Way ahead:

Following this, a series of orbit maneuvers will be performed on Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft to enable it to enter its final orbit passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from the Moon’s surface.

Subsequently, the Vikram lander will separate from the Orbiter and enters into a 100 km X 30 km orbit around the Moon. Then, it will perform a series of complex braking maneuvers to soft land in the South polar region of the Moon on September 7, 2019.

Why are these manoeuvres needed?

it is possible to fly straight to the Moon, without getting into the Earth orbits. The lunar orbit, however, cannot be avoided. The spacecraft cannot land directly on the Moon.

The Apollo missions flew directly to the Moon without getting into the Earth orbits. But this is not considered wise or economical.

That is because the rockets need to be extraordinarily powerful to carry the spacecraft all the way to Moon. An enormous amount of fuel too is required.

Taking a longer route, however, makes it much easier for the spacecraft to travel. The rocket has to take the spacecraft only about 200 km from the Earth’s surface and deposit it in Low-Earth Orbit. Thereafter, the spacecraft moves around the Earth under the influence of gravity.

This stable position is also a good time for ground controllers to check on the health of the equipment on board.


In News:

Union Minister for Health wrote a letter to the Ministers of Law, Minister of Social Justice and Chief Ministers for amending 108 discriminatory laws against persons affected by Leprosy.


Even though the disease is now fully curable by Multi–Drug Therapy (MDT), there still exist 108 discriminatory laws against persons affected by leprosy including 3 Union and 105 State laws.

The target of Global Leprosy Strategy, 2016 – 2020 is to reduce the number of countries with laws allowing discrimination on the ground of leprosy to zero.

The National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP) has achieved enormous success in leprosy control, particularly in the last four decades.

Thus India should expedite the introduction of the Elimination of Discrimination against Persons Affected by Leprosy (EDPAL) Bill, which was drafted by the Law Commission of India and annexed in its 256th Report.

Recent initiatives by government:

Following initiatives were introduced from 2016 onwards to address the issues being faced by the National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP):

Leprosy Case Detection Campaign (LCDC) (specific for high endemic districts), Focussed Leprosy Campaign (for hot spots i.e., rural and urban areas), ASHA based Surveillance for Leprosy Suspects (ABSULS) have contributed to early case detection.

Sparsh Leprosy Awareness Campaign (SLAC) is implemented to reduce stigma against persons affected by Leprosy in the community.

Piggery Development Project

In News:

Chief Minister of Meghalaya called on Union Minister for Animal Husbandry to discusses piggery development project to be launched in Meghalaya.


The piggery development project is to be launched in Meghalaya financed by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) along with the State Government.

The proposed Piggery development project will boost domestic availability of meat in the entire North Eastern Region and also promote its exports thereby giving livelihood opportunities to the people.

Piggery in North East? 

Pig farming is very important component in North East India. Out of total pig population in India, 28% are grown in this region.

Hampshire, HSX 1, Large White Yorkshire, Duroc and Landrace are the commonly grown breeds.

Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission

In News:

The Magnetospheric Multiscale mission (MMS) recently made the first precise measurements of an interplanetary shock using high-resolution instruments.

These interplanetary shocks provide ideal test beds for learning about larger universal phenomena.

About Magnetospheric Mission:

NASA’s MMS investigates how the Sun’s and Earth’s magnetic fields connect and disconnect, explosively transferring energy from one to the other in a process that is important at the Sun, other planets, and everywhere in the universe, known as magnetic reconnection.

Reconnection limits the performance of fusion reactors and is the final governor of geospace weather that affects modern technological systems such as telecommunications networks, GPS navigation, and electrical power grids.

Science Goals:

MMS reveals, for the first time, the small-scale three-dimensional structure and dynamics of the elusively thin and fast-moving electron diffusion region.

It does this in both of the key reconnection regions near Earth, where the most energetic events originate.

Mission Objective:

By observing magnetic reconnection in nature, MMS provides access to predictive knowledge of a universal process that is the final governor of space weather, affecting modern technological systems such as communications networks, GPS navigation, and electrical power grids.

MMS will establish knowledge, methods and technologies applicable to future space weather missions and the future growth and development of space weather forecasting.

MMS sensors will measure charged particle velocities, as well as electric and magnetic fields, with unprecedented (milliseconds) time resolution and accuracy needed to capture the elusively thin and fast-moving electron diffusion region.

MMS probes reconnection of solar and terrestrial magnetic fields in the dayside and nightside of Earth’s magnetosphere, the only natural laboratory where it can be directly observed by spacecraft.


In News:

Mentioned by RBI governor in his recent speech.


Professor Pangloss was a character in Candide, ou l’Optimisme (translated into English as Candide: Optimism), a satirical novella published by the French Enlightenment philosopher François-Marie Arouet a.k.a. Voltaire in 1759.

Pangloss was convinced that “all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds”, an idea that he also taught his young student, Candide.

A Panglossian way of life is one of extreme optimism, in which you are convinced whatever happens is for the best, and hence make no effort to change it.

Fly ash

In News:

IIT Hyderabad scientists convert fly ash into waterproofing material.


Treating fly ash with stearic acid, used in soaps and shampoos, modified the nature of fly ash and helped develop materials with contrasting adhesion behaviours — high adhesions like a rose petal and low adhesion like a lotus leaf.

What is Fly Ash?

Fly ash is a major source of PM 2.5 (fine, respirable pollution particles) in summer. It becomes air borne, and gets transported to a radius of 10 to 20 kms.

It can settle on water and other surfaces.


Fly ash contains heavy metals from coal, a large amount of PM 2.5 and black carbon (BC).

Health and environmental hazards:

Toxic heavy metals present: All the heavy metals found in fly ash nickel, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, lead, etc—are toxic in nature. They are minute, poisonous particles accumulate in the respiratory tract, and cause gradual poisoning .

Radiation: For an equal amount of electricity generated, fly ash contains a hundred times more radiation than nuclear waste secured via dry cask or water storage.

Water pollution: The breaching of ash dykes and consequent ash spills occur frequently in India, polluting a large number of water bodies.

Effects on environment: The destruction of mangroves, drastic reduction in crop yields, and the pollution of groundwater in the Rann of Kutch from the ash sludge of adjoining Coal power plants has been well documented.

The issues which impede its full-scale utilization in India:

Indian fly ash is primarily of the calcareous or class C variety, implying that it possesses not only pozzolanic, but also hydraulic (self-cementing) properties. In contrast, European fly ash is of a silicious or class F variety, implying an absence of hydraulic properties.

BIS revised the maximum and minimum blending standards. While the BIS is in line with the American standards on blended cement, the European and South African standards allow the blending of fly ash up to 55%.

The pricing of fly ash is increasingly becoming a contentious issue that is hampering its gainful utilisation.

Imperfections typical of quasi-markets, such as information asymmetry and high transaction costs, vested interests, technical and technological limitations, and the lack of regulatory oversight and political will, have impeded the flow of fly ash to its most value-adding use.

How can it be utilised?

Fly ash is a proven resource material for many applications of construction industries and currently is being utilized in manufacturing of Portland Cement, bricks/blocks/tiles manufacturing, road embankment construction and low-lying area development, etc.

There is need for education and awareness generation.

Road contractors and construction engineers need to know the benefits of using fly ash in construction.

Measures need to be taken to reduce the cost of construction of roads using fly ash by way of tax structure, subsidies and transportation services.

There is also a need to prevent the ash from coming to the power plant by washing the coal at its place of origin.

The government should also come out with a policy to encourage fly ash use in cement plant.

Vedanta Societies

It refers to organizations, groups, or societies formed for the study, practice, and propagation of Vedanta.

More specifically, they often refer to branches of the Ramakrishna Mission located outside India.

The first Vedanta Society, the Vedanta Society of New York, was founded by Swami Vivekananda in November 1894.

In 1897, Swami Abhedananda, another disciple of Ramakrishna, came to the United States and took charge of the society. He was the president of the society until 1921.

Currently, the Vedanta Society is affiliated with the Ramakrishna Math religious monastic order and the Ramakrishna Mission.

Ramakrishna Mission (RKM)

It is a Hindu religious and spiritual organisation which forms the core of a worldwide spiritual movement known as the Ramakrishna Movement or the Vedanta Movement.

The mission is named after and inspired by the Indian saint Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and founded by Ramakrishna’s chief disciple Swami Vivekananda in 1897.

The organization mainly propagates the Hindu philosophy of Vedanta–Advaita Vedanta and four yogic ideals–jnana, bhakti, karma, and Raja Yoga.