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August 23, 2019
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August 26, 2019
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24 August Current Affairs

Innovators Growth Platform (IGP)

In News:

The SEBI Board has approved the norms for migration of companies listed on the Innovators Growth Platform (IGP) earlier called startups to regular trade category of the main board.

The key proposals approved by the Board are as follows:

The Company should have been listed on the Innovators Growth Platform for a minimum period of one year.

At the time of making the application for trading under regular category of main board, the number of shareholders should be minimum 200.

The company  should  have  profitability/  net worth  track  record  of  3  years  or have  75%  of  its  capital  as  on the  date  of  application  for  migration  held  by Qualified Institutional Buyers.

Minimum promoters contribution shall be 20% which shall be locked in for 3 years.

Insider Trading

In News:

The SEBI Board has approved the SEBI (Prohibition of Insider Trading) (Third Amendment) Regulations, 2019.


Salient features of the SEBI (Prohibition of Insider Trading) (Third Amendment) Regulations, 2019 are as follows:

Informant: An informant means a person voluntarily submitting a form detailing credible, complete and original information relating to an act of insider trading.

Office of  Informant  Protection(‘OIP’):  An  independent  office shall be established by SEBI for receipt  and  registration  of  the Voluntary  Information  Disclosure  Form (‘VIDF’) and serve as a medium of exchange between the informant/legal representative and the Board.

Confidentiality of Informant: The confidentiality regarding the identity of the informant and information provided would be protected through the OIP.

Reward: Reward would be given in case the information provided leads to a disgorgement  of  at  least  Rupees  one crore. The  total  amount  of monetary  reward  shall  be 10  % of  the  money collected  but shall not exceed Rs one crore.

Investor Protection and Education Fund (‘IPEF’): IPEF shall be the designated fund from which the reward would be paid.

Exemption under  RTI: The original information provided by the informant shall be exempted from disclosure under section 8(1)(g) and 8(1)(h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

Protection against victimization: Market participants would be  required  to incorporate  in  their  Code  of  Conduct,  suitable provisions  to  ensure  that  no  employee  who  files  a  VIDF  is harassed, or discriminated against.

Vexatious or frivolous complaints: In case the OIP determines that the information submitted   is  frivolous   or   vexatious, SEBI may initiate appropriate action against the informant under the securities laws and any other applicable law.

Henley Passport Index

In News:

The latest Henley Passport Index ranks India at 86, down five places from 81 in 2018.


The Henley Passport Index ranks passports based on their power and mobility.

It is prepared by Henley and Partners, a London-based global citizenship and residence advisory firm. The index gathers data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that manages inter-airline cooperation globally.

Passport rankings point towards the strength of diplomatic relations between countries.

Rankings for 2019:

For 2019, Japan and Singapore are ranked 1 and have a score of 189.

India’s score is 58 and it ranks 86 in the list, down five places from 81 in 2018. Last year, an Indian passport holder had visa-free access to 60 countries; this year, she has access to 58.

Afghanistan holds the weakest passport, with a score and ranking of 25 and 109, respectively. Syria and Pakistan follow with rankings of 107 and 106 and scores of 29 and 30, respectively.

Zonal Councils

In News:

Union Home Minister, Amit Shah chaired the 24th meeting of the Western Zonal Council at Panaji (Goa). The meeting was also attended by Chief Ministers of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and Administrator of the UTs of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.

Five Zonal Councils:

The five Zonal Councils – Western, Eastern, Northern, Southern and Central – were set up under the States Reorganization Act, 1956 to foster Inter-State co-operation and co-ordination among the States.

The Zonal Councils are mandated to discuss and make recommendations on any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning, border disputes, linguistic minorities or inter-State transport etc.

Organisational Structure Of Zonal Councils:

Chairman – The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of each of these Councils.

Vice Chairman – The Chief Ministers of the States included in each zone act as Vice-Chairman of the Zonal Council for that zone by rotation, each holding office for a period of one year at a time.

Members- Chief Minister and two other Ministers as nominated by the Governor from each of the States and two members from Union Territories included in the zone.

Committees Of Zonal Councils:

Each Zonal Council has set up a Standing Committee consisting of Chief Secretaries of the member States of their respective Zonal Councils.

These Standing Committees meet from time to time to resolve the issues or to do necessary ground work for further meetings of the Zonal Councils.

North Eastern Council?

The North Eastern States i.e. (i) Assam (ii) Arunachal Pradesh (iii) Manipur (iv) Tripura (v) Mizoram (vi) Meghalaya and (vii) Nagaland are not included in the Zonal Councils.

Their special problems are looked after by the North Eastern Council, set up under the North Eastern Council Act, 1972.

The State of Sikkim has also been included in the North Eastern Council vide North Eastern Council (Amendment) Act, 2002.

Ocean Energy

In News:

Minister of New and Renewable Energy has approved a proposal to declare ocean energy as Renewable Energy.


The New and Renewable Energy Ministry has clarified to all stakeholders that energy produced using various forms of ocean energy such as tidal, wave and ocean thermal energy conversion will be considered as Renewable Energy.

It will be eligible for meeting the non-solar Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO).

The decision will give a boost to ocean energy in the country.

Technology: Ocean energy is mostly exploited following technologies –

Tidal Energy: The tidal cycle occurs every 12 hours due to the gravitational force of the moon. The difference in water height from low tide and high tide is potential energy.

Wave Energy: Wave energy is generated by the movement of a device either floating on the surface of the ocean or moored to the ocean floor.

Current Energy: Marine current is ocean water moving in one direction. This ocean current is known as the Gulf Stream. Tides also create currents that flow in two directions. Kinetic energy can be captured from the Gulf Stream and other tidal currents with submerged turbines

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC): OTEC, uses ocean temperature differences from the surface to depths lower than 1,000 meters, to extract energy. A temperature difference of only 20°C can yield usable energy.

‘San-Sadhan’ Hackathon

In News:

The Government of India has invited applications for its latest initiative called the ‘San-Sadhan’ Hackathon – for Divyangjan accessible toilets.


Objective: ‘San-Sadhan’ Hackathon is an initiative under the Swachh Bharat Mission to ease lives of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) by making toilets smarter, more accessible, and easier to use.

Bodies involved: The initiative is being organized jointly by the Ministry of Jal Shakti and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, in collaboration with Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and 91springboard.


In this hackathon, the government is looking for smart, scalable and innovative solutions for economical toilets for individual and community use in rural and urban contexts.

Technology enthusiasts have been called to apply by or before August 28th, 2019. The shortlisted applicants will work to develop their prototype during the two-day Hackathon scheduled to be held in the month of September in New Delhi.

Impact Of Nitrate Exposure In Infancy On Indian Women’s Height

In News:

In a new World Bank report that looks at the impact of water pollution worldwide, one aspect covered is the long-term impact of nitrate exposure experienced during infancy.

Key findings:

Nitrate levels in groundwater aquifers in India exceeded permissible levels in more than 50 % of the districts across 19 states.

While short-term exposure to nitrates has almost negligible effect on adult height, cumulative exposure over the first 3 years of life has considerable impact.

An infant girl who has been exposed to nitrate levels above the safety threshold in the first three years experiences a 1-2 cm decrease in her adult height.

Given that female adult height in India has increased by approximately 4 cm over the last century, a 1-2 cm loss means that nitrate exposure in infancy can wipe out almost half of this gain in height.

Nitrate pollution is caused by the overuse of nitrogenous fertilisers which, while boosting yields, can be harmful if they leach into water or air.

In India, the Green Revolution of the 1960s kick-started the use of synthetic fertilisers, the report notes.

WTO reforms

In News:

WTO reforms must be taken up by all member countries: Piyush Goyal.

Need of the hour:

The World Trade Organization remains an indispensable organisation but it requires urgent modernisation. Members have to face the reality that the organisation requires non-cosmetic, serious root-and-branch reform for a WTO adapted to 21st century economic and political realities.


Dispute settlement cases continue to be filed for the time being and are being litigated. A civil dialogue over trade issues persists.

Technical functioning is now wholly inadequate to meet the major challenges to the strategic relevance of the WTO in the 21st century. In critical areas, the organisation has neither responded, nor adapted, nor delivered.

Dimensions of its structures and functions are fragile, creaking, and failing in parts.

Functioning of state enterprises engaging in commercial activities is interfering with and distorting the operative assumption of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)/WTO that international trade is to be conducted, principally, by private sector operators in response to conditions of supply and demand through price in a market economy.

Many WTO members bear responsibility for the use of trade-distorting domestic subsidies. Agricultural and industrial subsidies have caused blockages in the system and prompted protectionist reactions in a number of WTO members.

Blockage and deadlock in the Appellate Body stage of the WTO dispute settlement system triggered the present crisis.

The WTO lost the critical balance between the organisation as an institution established to support, consolidate, and bind economic reform to counter damaging protectionism, on the one hand, and the organisation as an institution for litigation-based dispute settlement, on the other hand.

For years now, the multilateral system for the settlement of trade dispute has been under intense scrutiny and constant criticism. The U.S. has systematically blocked the appointment of new Appellate Body members (“judges”) and de facto impeded the work of the WTO appeal mechanism.


A vibrant WTO cannot accommodate conflicting economic models of market versus state. All WTO members will have to accept the operative assumption of a rules-based order steered by a market economy, the private sector, and competition.

Launch negotiations to address the intertwined issues of agricultural subsidies and market access, while recognising that food security concerns will not disappear.

A credible trading system requires a dispute settlement system that is accepted by all.

Launch serious negotiations to restore the balance, and we must do so in an open-ended plurilateral manner that cannot be blocked by those who do not want to move ahead.

GATT/WTO rules in a number of areas are outdated. New rules are required to keep pace with changes in the market and technology. Rules and disciplines on topics ranging from trade-distorting industrial subsidies to digital trade require updates.

South-South and Triangular Cooperation

In News:

An international dialogue on South-South and Triangular Cooperation was recently held in New Delhi.

About South-South and Triangular Cooperation:

South-South cooperation is a broad framework of collaboration among countries of the South in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical domains.

Involving two or more developing countries, it can take place on a bilateral, regional, intraregional or interregional basis.

Developing countries share knowledge, skills, expertise and resources to meet their development goals through concerted efforts.

Triangular cooperation:

It is collaboration in which traditional donor countries and multilateral organizations facilitate South-South initiatives through the provision of funding, training, management and technological systems as well as other forms of support.

Objectives of South-South Cooperation are to:

foster the self-reliance of developing countries by enhancing their creative capacity to find solutions to their development problems in keeping with their own aspirations, values and specific needs;

create and strengthen existing technological capacities in the developing countries in order to improve the effectiveness with which such capacities are used;

increase and improve communications among developing countries, leading to a greater awareness of common problems and wider access to available knowledge and experience as well as the creation of new knowledge in tackling development problems;

recognize and respond to the problems and requirements of the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States and the countries most seriously affected by, for example, natural disasters and other crises; and

enable developing countries to achieve a greater degree of participation in international economic activities and to expand international cooperation for development.

Oxytocin ban

In News:

The final decision on whether the government can block private pharmaceutical companies from manufacturing and selling vital pregnancy drug oxytocin in India has been deferred, with the Supreme Court deciding the issue needs further deliberation.


The health ministry in April 2018 notified a ban on private firms from manuacturing and selling oxytocin, stating that it wanted to restrict the responsibility of supplying the drug to a Karnataka-based public sector manufacturer to avoid its misuse in the veterinary field.

What’s the issue?

The Delhi high court had quashed the Centre’s December 14, 2018 notification, which had banned its sale by private manufacturers and retail chemists, saying the sale was allowed. Essentially, this meant that only KAPL could produce the drug as there is no other public sector enterprise doing so. However, Delhi high court quashed the amended order too. The central government moved Supreme Court against the Delhi high court order.

About Oxytocin:

Oxytocin has also been dubbed the hug hormone, cuddle chemical, moral molecule, and the bliss hormone due to its effects on behavior, including its role in love and in female reproductive biological functions in reproduction.

Oxytocin is a hormone that is made in the brain, in the hypothalamus. It is transported to, and secreted by, the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain.

It acts both as a hormone and as a brain neurotransmitter.

The release of oxytocin by the pituitary gland acts to regulate two female reproductive functions: Childbirth and Breast-feeding.

Reasons behind the ban are:

Misuse in diary industry: Oxytocin is a naturally-occurring hormone that causes uterine contractions during labour and helps new mothers lactate. However, the drug is misused in the dairy industry where livestock is injected with Oxytocin to make them release milk at a time convenient to farmers.

Oxytocin is also used to increase the size of vegetables such as pumpkins, watermelons, eggplants, gourds, and cucumbers.