The Salient Features of Indian Constitution for IAS Preparation – Part 2
February 28, 2020
02 March Current Affairs
March 2, 2020
Show all

29 Feb Current Affairs

UKIERI- UGC Higher Education Leadership Development Programme

In News:.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has launched ‘Higher Education Leadership Development Programme for Administrators’ in New Delhi.

Key Points:

The programme is a joint initiative of University Grants Commission (UGC) and the British Council under the auspices of UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI).

Objective: To train the senior and middle level academic administrators to enable them to bring about systemic changes with renewed approaches, capacity, tools and skill in Universities in India.

The programme is a step towards institutional development in line with Governments’ commitment to improve the quality of education being imparted in Universities.

UK-India Education and Research Initiative:

UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) was started in April, 2006 with the aim of enhancing educational linkages between India and the UK.

UKIERI has been recognized as a key multi stakeholder programme that has strengthened the research, leadership, education and now skill sector relations between the two countries.

UKIERI Phase 3 (2016-2021) aims to promote institutional and individual excellence in educational practices, research, and employability.

NASA’s InSight Mars Mission

In News:

NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander touched down on Mars at the end of 2018.


It is a two year mission that will study the deep interior of Mars to learn how all celestial bodies with rocky surfaces, including Earth and the Moon, formed.

The InSight mission is part of NASA’s Discovery Program (1992).

InSight is the first mission dedicated to looking deep beneath the Martian surface.

Among its science tools are a seismometer for detecting quakes, sensors for gauging wind and air pressure, a magnetometer, and a heat flow probe designed to take the planet’s temperature.

It is being supported by a number of European partners, which include France’s Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA).

Latest Finding:

Mars trembles more often than expected, but also more mildly. Mars doesn’t have tectonic plates like Earth, but it does have volcanically active regions that can cause rumbles.

Analysis of Water in Ulsoor lake

In News:

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the constitution of a joint committee to take samples of water from Bengaluru’s Ulsoor lake and neighbouring areas.


It has been reported that the water quality has come down due to illegal activities being carried out while discharging untreated sewage, effluents and the dumping of garbage into the water body.

Such activities affect the quality of the water and the ecology and aquatic life, much required for ecological sustenance.

Components of Water Analysis:

Biochemical Oxygen Demand:

BOD is the amount of dissolved oxygen used by microorganisms in the biological process of metabolizing organic matter in water.

The more organic matter there is (e.g., in sewage and polluted bodies of water), the greater the BOD; and the greater the BOD, the lower the amount of dissolved oxygen available for higher animals such as fishes.

The BOD is therefore a reliable gauge of the organic pollution of a body of water.

One of the main reasons for treating wastewater prior to its discharge into a water resource is to lower its BOD—i.e., reduce its need of oxygen and thereby lessen its demand from the streams, lakes, rivers, or estuaries into which it is released.

Chemical Oxygen Demand:

COD is a method of estimating how much oxygen would be depleted from a body of receiving water as a result of bacterial action.


Water pollution caused by fecal contamination is a serious problem due to the potential for contracting diseases from pathogens (disease causing organisms).

The presence of pathogens in the water is determined with indirect evidence by testing for an “indicator” organism such as coliform bacteria.

Coliforms are bacteria that are always present in the digestive tracts of animals, including humans, and are found in their wastes. They are also found in plant and soil material.

Presence of any heavy metals like Arsenic, Phosphorus, etc.

Heavy metals are known to induce cardiovascular diseases, developmental abnormalities, neurologic and neurobehavioral disorders, diabetes, hearing loss, hematologic and immunologic disorders.

Studies have shown that toxic heavy metals can interfere with absorption and use of nutritionally essential metals such as iron, calcium, copper, and zinc.

Kerala High Court Bans Agitations on Campus

In News:

The Kerala High Court has banned all forms of agitations by student groups on school and college campuses.


The Kerala High Court has issued this order while hearing a petition filed by 20 educational institutions against campus politics.

The High Court had prohibited campus politics in 2017 also but the decision was not implemented in the State.

Highlights of the Judgement:

The Court has imposed a ban on strikes in schools and colleges that impact the functioning of the campuses.

Educational institutions are meant for academic- related activities and not protests. However, these institutions can be made a venue for peaceful discussions.

There should not be any form of agitation that affects the academic atmosphere on campuses. Right to education is a fundamental right (Article 21-A of the Constitution) and nobody has the right to violate that right.

Arguments Against the Judgement:

Student wings of political parties consider that the verdict infringes upon fundamental rights (including Article 19(1)(a) – Right to Freedom of speech and expression). Campus politics has a larger role in socialising students and instilling in them the values of democracy and secularism.

A student group is also a type of a Pressure Group.

A pressure group is a group of people who are organised actively for promoting and defending their common interest.

It is called so, as it attempts to bring a change in public policy by exerting pressure on the government.

National Technical Textiles Mission

In News:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the setting up of a National Technical Textiles Mission at a total outlay of ₹1,480 crores.

Key Points:

It aims to position the country as a global leader in technical textiles and increase the use of technical textiles in the domestic market.

The Mission will aim at taking domestic market size to $40 billion to $50 billion by 2024.

A Mission Directorate will be operational in the Ministry of Textiles.

It will be implemented for four years starting from 2020-2021 and will have four components-

1) First component: It will focus on research, development and innovation with an outlay of ₹1,000 crores.

The research will be at both fibre level and application-based in geo, agro, medical, sports and mobile textiles and development of bio-degradable technical textiles.

Research activities will also focus on the development of indigenous machinery and process equipment.

2) Second component: It will be for the promotion and development of the market for technical textiles.

3) Third component: It will focus on export promotion so that technical textile exports from the country reach from the ₹14,000 crores to ₹20,000 crores by 2021-2022 and ensure 10% average growth every year till the Mission ends.

An export promotion council for technical textiles will be set up.

4) Fourth component: It will focus on education, training and skill development.

The Mission will promote technical education at higher engineering and technology levels related to technical textiles and its application areas.

Data on the Indian Technical Textiles Segment:

It is estimated at $16 billion which is approximately 6% of the $250 billion global technical textiles market.

The penetration level of technical textiles in India varies between 5% and 10% against the level of 30% to 70% in developed countries.

National Science Day

In News:

28th February is celebrated as National Science Day (NSD) in India. NSD is celebrated to commemorate discovery of the ‘Raman Effect’, which led to Sir C.V. Raman winning the Noble Prize.

The first National Science Day was celebrated on February 28, 1987.


This year, the theme for National Science Day 2020 is “Women in Science”, which aims to appreciate the contribution of women in the field of science.

What is Raman Effect?

A phenomenon in spectroscopy discovered by the eminent physicist Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman in 1928.

Raman Effect is a change in the wavelength of light that occurs when a light beam is deflected by molecules.

  • When a beam of light traverses a dust-free, transparent sample of a chemical compound, a small fraction of the light emerges in directions other than that of the incident (incoming) beam.
  • Most of this scattered light is of unchanged wavelength. A small part, however, has wavelengths different from that of the incident light; its presence is a result of the Raman Effect.

Raman’s experiment:

The violet light of the solar spectrum is isolated with a violet filter and passed through the liquid sample. Most of the light emerging from the liquid sample is the same color as the incident violet beam: the so-called Rayleigh scattered light (the scattering of light by particles in a medium, without change in wavelength. It accounts, for example, for the blue colour of the sky, since blue light is scattered slightly more efficiently than red).

However, Raman, along with K S Krishnan was able to show that some of the scattered light was a different color, which they could isolate by using a green filter placed between the observer and the sample.