Daily Current Affairs : 21st and 22nd February

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Indelible and Invisible Ink
  2. Bank Recapitalisation
  3. UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism
  4. Bharat Net
  5. Forest Rights Act
  6. Election Symbols
  7. Indus Water Treaty

1 . Indelible and Invisible Ink

Context : The Delhi-based National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the creator of indelible ink, has a new concoction that, when applied on the finger, doesn’t leave a trace — it merely glows a bright orange when a low-intensity beam of ultraviolet light is shone on it.

About Indelible Ink


  • The idea first came about in the year 1951/1952, the year of India’s first ever General Elections. At the time, the country’s election commission was having a tough time dealing with identity theft, as they soon discovered that there were duplicate or fake votes. The commission reached out to the National Physical Laboratory of India to find a solution to the problem.
  • A team of scientists led by Dr. M.L. Goel went to work and they later developed the indelible ink.
  • The ink was first used during India’s third General Elections in 1962. Indelible ink has been used in every General Election since

Chemical Composition

  • Indelible ink is made of a chemical compound called silver nitrate. When applied to the skin and exposed to ultraviolet light, it leaves a mark that is almost impossible to wash off. The stain is so strong, in fact, it is only removed when the external skin cells are replaced
  • When put on the skin, silver nitrate reacts with the salt present on it to form silver chloride. Silver chloride is not soluble in water, and clings to the skin. It cannot be washed off with soap and water.
  • It cannot be washed even with hot water, alcohol, nail polish remover, or bleach. The ink will disappear as the old skin cells die and get replaced by a new one.
  • The election ink used in India puts a permanent mark on the cuticle area which disappears only with the growth of new nail ie almost 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Mysore Paints and Varnish Limited is a company located in the city of Mysore, India. It is the only company in India authorised to produce the indelible ink, which is used in the elections to prevent people from voting multiple times. It also exports the indelible ink for elections in other countries

About Invisible Ink

  • The NPL prepared the ‘invisible ink’ as part of a pilot project mooted by the Mysore Paints and Varnish Ltd. (MVPL)
  • It is a transparent liquid — as an “organic-inorganic” mixture that was biodegradable and could be washed off in 48 hours.” The ink works on the well-known principle of fluorescence — certain materials emit a characteristic glow when exposed to ultraviolet light.
  • The NPL ink, however, glows only when exposed to a narrow band of frequencies of ultraviolet (UV) light.
  • Commercial UV markers or inks respond to a very broad spectrum of UV light. So, along with the ink, we’ll supply an inexpensive LED (costing no more than Rs. 30) that would emit a specific frequency of UV
  • The NPL’s invisible ink experiment is linked to a larger project of creating security inks that could be used to make bank notes and documents, such as passports, more secure.

2 . Bank Re-capitalisation

Context : The government has approved the disbursal of a recapitalisation package of Rs. 48,239 crore for 12 public sector banks, Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar announced on Wednesday.

Objectives of the Package

  • Bringing the better-performing banks currently in the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) category out of it,
  • Helping those that have recently come out of PCA to stay out of it,
  • Equipping non-PCA banks to meet regulatory requirements
  • Helping the remaining PCA banks to meet their requirements as well

About Bank Re-capitalisation

About Prompt Corrective Action

3 . UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism

Context : The joint statement by India and Saudi urged for early adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and pitched for “comprehensive sanctioning of terrorists and their organisations by the UN

About UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism

  • The Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism is a proposed treaty which intends to criminalize all forms of international terrorism and deny terrorists, their financiers and supporters access to funds, arms, and safe havens.
  • The negotiations are currently deadlocked even after two decades of proposal i.e. through 1996 till 2016.

4 . Bharatnet Programme

Context : Digital Communications Commission (DCC), the highest decision-making body for the telecom sector, has given an in-principle approval to monetise 2.5 lakh km of fibre laid under the government’s flagship BharatNet programme, by leasing or selling the assets to private players.

About Bharatnet Programme

  • BharatNet is a project of national importance to establish, a highly scalable network infrastructure accessible on a non-discriminatory basis, to provide on demand, affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps for all households and on demand capacity to all institutions, to realise the vision of Digital India, in partnership with States and the private sector.
  • The entire project is being funded by Universal service Obligation Fund (USOF), which was set up for improving telecom services in rural and remote areas of the country. The objective is to facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, Internet and other services to the rural India.

About Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)

  • Apart from the higher capital cost of providing telecom services in rural and remote areas, these areas also generate lower revenue due to lower population density, low income and lack of commercial activity. Thus normal market forces alone would not direct the telecom sector to adequately serve backward and rural areas.
  • Keeping in mind the inadequacy of the market mechanism to serve rural and inaccessible areas on one hand and the importance of providing vital telecom connectivity on the other, most countries of the world have put in place policies to provide Universal Access and Universal Service to ICT.
  • The New Telecom Policy – 1999 (NTP’99) provided that the resources for meeting the Universal Service Obligation (USO) would be raised through a ‘Universal Access Levy (UAL)’, which would be a percentage of the revenue earned by the operators under various licenses.
  • The Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Act, 2003 giving statutory status to the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) was passed by both Houses of Parliament in December 2003. The Fund is to be utilized exclusively for meeting the Universal Service Obligation.

About Digital Communication Commission

  • The Telecom Commission was set up in 1989 by the Government of India with administrative and financial powers of the Government of India to deal with various aspects of Telecommunications.
  • The Government, has re-designated the ‘Telecom Commission’ as the ‘Digital Communications Commission’ in 2018


  • The Digital Communications Commission consists of a Chairman, four full time members, who are ex-officio Secretaries to the Government of India in the Department of Telecommunications and four part time members who are the Secretaries to the Government of India in the concerned Departments.
  • The Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Telecommunications is the ex-officio Chairman of the Digital Communications Commission.
  • The full-time Members of the Digital Communications Commission are Member (Finance), Member (Production), Member (Services) & Member (Technology).
  • The part-time Members of the Digital Communications Commission are Cheif Executive Officer, NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog, Secretary (Department of Economic Affairs), Secretary ( Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology) and Secretary (Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion).


  • Formulating the policy of Department of Telecommunications for approval of the Government;
  • Preparing the budget for the Department of Telecommunications for each financial year and getting it approved by the Government; &
  • Implementation of Government’s policy in all matters concerning telecommunication.

5 . Forest Rights Act

Context : A recent Supreme Court order may lead to the eviction of lakhs of persons belonging to the Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) categories across 21 States — their claim as forest dwellers have been rejected under the Forest Rights Act of 2006

About the News

  • A three-judge Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee on February 13 had ordered the Chief Secretaries of many of these States to evict those whose claims as forest dwellers have been finally rejected under the law. 
  • Must Read – History of the case

6 . Election Symbols

Context : Twenty-seven registered unrecognised political parties have been allotted symbols ranging from chappals, tea filter and chapati roller to gas stove and phone charger, for the coming Lok Sabha election. The applications of the 27 parties for concession in the allotment of a common symbol to their candidates in the general elections had been accepted by the Commission, says an EC order.

About Assigning Election Symbols

  • As per the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, the Election Commission allots symbols for anyone contesting in polls.
  • A person contesting on behalf of a recognised political party will inherit the party’s symbol. An independent candidate or someone contesting on behalf of an unrecognised political party has to approach the Commission and get a symbol allotted from the list of ‘free’ symbols available.
  • A candidate will have to provide three symbols from the free list at the time of submission of nomination papers, one of which will be allocated to him/her. Any choice other than from the EC’s list will be summarily rejected.
  • In the case of a recognised political party, the Commission allows it to ‘reserve’ a symbol. For example, if a political party recognised in a particular State wishes to contest in elections in another State, it can ‘reserve’ the symbol being used by it.
  • Two or more recognised political parties can have the same symbol provided they are not contenders in the same State or Union Territory.
  • The Election Commission may also derecognise a political party if it has not polled at least six per cent of votes or won two seats in the State elections. In case of a national party, it should have polled minimum six per cent votes and 2 MLAs in at least four States.
  • Until 1997, unrecognised parties would lose their symbols. Later, the EC modified its order to allow them to retain its symbol.

7 . Indus Water Treaty

Context : India will use its share of water from the Indus network of rivers that flows through its territory, Road Transport and Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari reiterated on Thursday.

What is Indus Water Treaty?

  • In the year 1960, India and Pakistan signed a water distribution agreement — came to be known as Indus Water Treaty which was orchestrated by the World Bank.
  • This agreement took nine years of negotiations and divides the control of six rivers between the two nations once signed.
  • Under this treaty, India got control over: Beas, Ravi, Sutlej (Eastern Rivers)
  • Pakistan got control over: Indus, Chenab, Jhelum (Western Rivers)

Why this treaty is important for Pakistan

  • Indus, Chenab and Jhelum are the lifelines of Pakistan as the country is highly dependent on these rivers for its water supply. Since these rivers do not originate from Pakistan but flow to the country through India, Pakistan fears the threat of drought and famine.
  • While Chenab and Jhelum originate from India, Indus originates from China, making its way to Pakistan via India.
  • The treaty clearly spells the do’s and don’ts for both countries; as it allows India to use only 20 per cent of the total water carried by the Indus river.

About Current Statement

  • The Indus Water Treaty gives India water from three rivers in the Indus system — the Ravi, Beas and Sutlej — and Pakistan water from three others.
  • Around 95 per cent of the water was being used in India after building of three main dams, and close to five per cent flowed to Pakistan.
  • The 5 % of water flowing to Pakistan from India’s share of water would be diverted to supply Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. Construction work on a dam on the Ravi river — the Shahpur-Kandi project will help in this regard. Ujh project would also store water for use in Jammu and Kashmir
  • Shahpur Kandi Project – Covered under PIB Analysis 6/12/2019

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