Current Affairs

Prelims Spotlight (30-12-2016)

PM expresses sadness over loss of lives in coal mine accident in Jharkhand

  • Eleven workers died and over 50 others were feared trapped when an open-cast coal mine at Paharia Bhodaye in Jharkhand’s Godda district

Food for thought

  • India is the fourth largest producer of coal in the world
  • Types of coal can be explained using the image

The top coal producing states are:

  • Odisha - see Talcher in Angul district
  • Chhattisgarh
  • Jharkhand

Other notable coal mines in India are

  • Singareni collieries in Khammam district, Telangana.
  • Jharia mines in Dhanbad district, Jharkhand.
  • Nagpur & Chandrapur district, Maharashtra.
  • Raniganj in Bardhaman district, West Bengal.
  • Neyveli lignite mines in Cuddalore district, Tamil Nadu.
  • Singrauli Coalfield and Umaria Coalfield in Madhya Pradesh


Year End Review-2016: Ministry of Culture

  • Nearly 100 Monuments Identified for Portal on “Must-See Monuments & Archaeological Sites
  • Ease of doing business –Website & Smart Smarac Mobile App for NMA permissions
  • Digital Exhibition-‘Uniting India: Sardar Patel inaugurated on Rashtriya Ekta Diwas
  • Data on more than 1 Crore artists has been collected under Cultural Mapping of India


  1. Excavation at the site near Saser La Pass in Ladakh at an altitude of about 13500-14000 feet
  • An ancient camping site dating 9245 BC (11195 BP) has been discovered by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), on the way to Saser La which leads to the Karakoram Pass in Ladakh. Proper archaeological excavation is in progress which has so far revealed microlithic and bone artefacts. The discovery is the earliest known evidence of highest known camping site in India, at about 13500 -14000 feet above mean sea level.
  1. Project Mausam
  • Project ‘Mausam’ is an initiative of the Ministry of Culture to be implemented by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as the nodal agency with research support of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and National Museum as associate bodies.
  • This project aims to explore the multi-faceted Indian Ocean ‘world’ – collating archaeological and historical research in order to document the diversity of cultural, commercial and religious interactions in the Indian Ocean – extending from East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Indian Subcontinent and Sri Lanka to the Southeast Asian archipelago.
  • It also aims to promote research on themes related to the study of Maritime Routes through international scientific seminars and meetings and by adopting a multidisciplinary approach.
  1. Sanskriti App: Sanskriti is a Mobile App by culture ministry to view cultural events of India. The main categories of events that can be viewed are Music, Theatre, Dance, Exhibitions, Film Shows, Literature, Lectures and Programs for children. This Application provides updates on the Events organized under Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
  2. Commemorations have been celebrated in 2015-16 like that of Lala Lajpat Rai, Maharana Pratap, Rani Gaidinliu, Tatya Tope, and 500 years of return of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Vrindavan.


Insertion of LEAP SECOND in the Indian Standard Time


  • A “Leap Second” is added every now and then to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) in order to synchronize clocks worldwide with the Earth's ever slowing rotation.
  • UTC consists of a time scale that combines the output of more than 300 highly precise Atomic clocks worldwide, including the one at CSIR-NPL.
  • On the other hand, the Astronomical Time known as Universal Time (UT1) refers to the Earth's rotation around its own axis and determines the length of a day. However, the Earth's rotation around its own axis is not regular, as sometimes it speeds up and sometimes it slows down, due to various factors including the moon’s gravitational Earth-braking forces that often results in ocean tides.
  • As a result, Astronomical Time (UT1) gradually falls out of synch with Atomic time (UTC), and as and when the difference between UTC and UT1 approaches 0.9 seconds, a “Leap Second” is added to UTC through Atomic clocks worldwide.
  • Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) -National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL) is the custodian of Indian Standard Time (IST) and has the responsibility for realization, establishment, maintenance and dissemination of IST through an act of Parliament.

Government Suspends Deemed Recognition of IOA

  • Government has suspended the deemed recognition, granted by it to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) until the IOA reverses its decision to appoint Shri Suresh Kalmadi and Shri Abhay Chautala as Life Presidents.
  • IOA will cease to enjoy the privileges and prerogatives bestowed on it by the Government as the National Olympic Committee (NOC).

Food for thought

  • The Indian Olympic Association is the body responsible for selecting athletes to represent India at the Olympic Games, Asian Games and other international athletic meets and for managing the Indian teams at the events.
  • It also acts as the Indian Commonwealth Games Association, responsible for selecting athletes to represent India at the Commonwealth Games.


Year End review-2016 Ministry of Minority Affairs

Some of the important schemes of Ministry of Minority affairs.

Nai Manzail

  • The ‘Nai Manzil’ scheme was launched, for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir. The scheme was launched for girls in Srinagar on 20th January, 2016.
  • Under the scheme girls from minority communities are being imparted three-month skill development training in seven identified sectors relevant to the region.
  • These include training in saffron processing, food processing, embroidery, computers IT (both software and hardware), Tourism/hospitality, electronics and plumbing.



The Minority Affairs Ministry launched innovative entrepreneurship and skill development programme of Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS)– through leading national/ international experts in different skill sets.


The Ministry of Minority Affairs organised “Hunar Haat” (Skill Haat), an exhibition of handicrafts, embroidery etc made by the artisans from the Minority Communities at the India International Trade Fair.

One of the special feature of this unique “Hunar Haat” was that besides providing free of cost stall to artisans/craftsmen, the Minority Affairs Ministry also made arrangements for their transport and helped in their daily expenses so that these expert artisans can reach to Delhi easily and display their arts/skills at the international platform in the form of International Trade Fair.


Major Developments/Achievements of Ministry of Earth Sciences during 2016

Monsoon Mission, operational dynamical model systems have been implemented for extended range and seasonal forecasts. For the first time, forecasts on different time scales during the hot weather season (April to May) including heat waves were issued by the India Meteorological Department.

SARAT: Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences dedicated the Search and Rescue Aid Tool (SARAT) to the Nation during the XV National Maritime Search and Rescue (NMSAR) Board.

  • To provide Search And Rescue support to all the concerned in connection with the missing AN 32 aircraft, which was reportedly missing off Chennai on 22 July 2016.

OMNI: Ocean Moored buoy Network in the Indian Ocean (OMNI) has been systematically maintaining the twelve deep sea buoy systems with surface & subsurface sensors, four coastal buoys and two tsunami buoys.

Seismic micro-zonation: Seismic micro-zonation is the process of estimating the response of soil layers under earthquake excitations and thus the variation of earthquake characteristics on the ground surface.

PROVe: Indigenously developed 500 m depth rated shallow water/polar remotely operated vehicle (PROVe) was successfully deployed, in the Andaman coral Islands and the vehicle was successfully maneuvered in the undulating reef terrain to record high quality underwater visuals of coral reef biodiversity with spectral irradiance

IndARC: IndARC has been considered as a natural laboratory for studying the Arctic climate variability.