Daily Current Affairs : 9th and 10th September

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Nilgiri Tahr
  2. Sentinels
  3. Common High Courts
  4. Chandrayaan 2
  5. Regasification
  6. National survey to measure the coverage of iodised salt
  7. Facts for Prelims : Volfefe index, Five star movement, Black spots, Time bank

1 . Nilgiri Tahr

Context : Nilgiri tahr, its sightings in the Mukurthi National Park (TN) have risen from 568 in 2018 to 612 this year.

About Nilgiri Tahr

  • Nilgiri tahrs are stocky goats with short, coarse fur and a bristly mane. Males are larger than the females, and have a darker colour when mature.
  • The Nilgiri Tahr, (Nilgiritragus hylocrius  Ropiquet and Hassanin, 2005) is an endangered caprid listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and categorized as ‘endangered’ by the IUCN.
  • It is endemic to the hill ranges of the Western Ghats of Southern peninsular India in pockets where a suitable mosaic of Montane Grasslands and rugged terrain exist.
  • Nilgiri Tahr is closely related to the Himalayan Tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus C.H Smith, 1826) which occurs along the southern flanks of the Himalayas and the Arabian Tahr (Arabitragus jayakari Ropiquet and Hassanin, 2005), which inhibits the arid mountains of Sultanate of Oman.
  • The Nilgiri tahr inhabits the open montane grassland habitats at elevations from 1200 to 2600 m (generally above 2000 m) of the South Western Ghats. Their range extends over 400 km from north to south, and Eravikulam National Park is home to the largest population. The other significant concentration is in the Nilgiri Hills, with smaller populations in the Anamalai Hills, Periyar National Park, Palni Hills and other pockets in the Western Ghats south of Eravikulam, almost to India’s southern tip.

2 . Sentinelese Tribe

Context : Almost nine months after American national John Allen Chau was allegedly killed by the Sentinelese on the North Sentinel Island of Andaman and Nicobar islands, a recent publication by the Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) throws more light on the incident and also the ways of one of the most isolated tribes in the world.

About Sentinelese

  • The Sentinelese, a negrito tribe who live on the North Sentinel Island of the Andamans, have not faced incursions and remain hostile to outsiders.
  • The inhabitants are connected to the Jarawa on the basis of physical, as well as linguistic similarities, researchers say.
  • Based on carbon dating of kitchen middens by the Anthropological Survey of India, Sentinelese presence was confirmed in the islands to 2,000 years ago. Genome studies indicate that the Andaman tribes could have been on the islands even 30,000 years ago.


  • The Govt. of India issued the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956 to declare the traditional areas occupied by the tribes as reserves, and prohibited entry of all persons except those with authorisation. Photographing or filming the tribe members is also an offence.
  • The rules were amended later to enhance penalties. But restricted area permits were relaxed for some islands recently.

Outside Contact

  • The Sentinelese have been fiercely hostile to outside contact. But in 1991 they accepted some coconuts from a team of Indian anthropologists and administrators.
  • Some researchers argue that the Sentinelese have been mostly left alone even from colonial times, unlike other tribes such as the Onges, Jarawas and Great Andamanese, because the land they occupy has little commercial attraction.

3 . Common High Courts

About Common High Courts

  • The Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh will have a common high court
  • 108 Central laws would be applicable for the two UTs while 164 State laws would be repealed and 166 State laws will continue to be applicable.

Constitutional Provisions regarding creation of Courts

  • Article 214 of the Constitution provides that there shall be a High Court for each State

Sharing of Highcourts

  • Bombay High Court – Shared by Daman and Diu, Goa, Maharashtra
  • Calcutta High Court – Andaman and Nicobar islands, West Bengal
  • Gauhati High Court – Arunachal, Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland
  • Madras High Court – Tamil Nadu and Puducherry
  • Kerala High Court – Lakshadweep and Kerala
  • Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh – Punjab and Haryana

4 . Chandrayaan 2

Context : India’s first attempt to land a spacecraft on the Moon has not been successful. The lander of Chandrayaan-2, called Vikram, did not slow down at the expected rate towards the latter part of its descent, and most likely hit the lunar surface at a speed greater than required for safe landing. The ground control station had lost contact with the lander when it was about 2.1 km above the Moon.

Success / Failure of Chandrayaan 2

  • The mission has not failed, although the attempt to land a spacecraft on the Moon certainly has. The mission comprised an orbiter, a lander and rover.
  • The orbiter part is functioning normally. Most of the scientific investigations of the mission are supposed to be carried by instruments onboard the orbiter, including studies to find more evidence of water on the Moon.
  • The lander and rover had a mission life of only 14 days while the orbiter will function for at least one year.
  • Scientists insist that 80-90 per cent of the science output of the mission have to come from the orbiter, and that has not been affected at all.

NASA-built Laser Retroreflector Array

  • One of the instruments in Lander was the NASA-built Laser Retroreflector Array, essentially only a group of mirrors.
  • This was only meant to be deployed on the Moon, not do anything. These mirrors are used by control stations on the ground to reflect signals from the Moon. At least five such reflectors are already on the Moon, deployed by earlier missions.
  • They are used for a variety of purposes. It is by sending signals back and forth to these mirrors that the distance between the Earth and the Moon has been calculated to a very high degree of precision. All these existing retroreflectors are in the equatorial region of the Moon.
  • The one being carried by Vikram lander would have been deployed near the polar region for the first time. If this instrument has not been totally destroyed, it can be used.
  • It is supposed to be a “passive” instrument; it only has to act as a reflector of signals.

5 . Regasification

About Regasification

  • Regasification is the process of converting LNG gas from liquid state to gaseous state. Heat exchangers are used to regasify the LNG after it is removed from the tanks and pressurized between 70-100 bars. Generally sea water is used for the regasification process along with high pressure pumps for transferring LNG.

How Regasification is done?

  • Regasification process involves raising the temperature of the LNG using seawater. The LNG gas is passed through a heat exchanger using sea water. Some LNG terminals also use turbine flue gases from their energy recovery systems. LNG is thus converted into gaseous state by heating at a temperature greater than 0 degree Celsius.
  • Some LNG terminals also have underwater burners which are also used to heat the LNG to convert it to gaseous form. Such burners use natural gas as fuel and are generally used during peak demand period. Such vaporizers are called submerged combustion vaporizers.


  • Once it is turned back to the gaseous state, the natural gas undergoes metering, odorizing, analysis etc. before it is fed to the natural gas transmission system.
  • As natural gas is odorless and inflammable, it is odorised to detect the slightest leak. This is mainly done by injecting tetrahydrothiophene(THT) in the LNG before it is distributed.

6 . National survey to measure the coverage of iodised salt

Context : Tamil Nadu has the lowest consumption of iodised salt despite being the third biggest producer of salt in the country, according to a first-of-its-kind national survey to measure the coverage of iodised salt.

Key Findings of the Study

  • The survey was conducted by Nutrition International in collaboration with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and the Indian Coalition for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD). The survey tested the iodine content in samples of cooking salt from households to estimate the coverage of iodised salt.
  • The study shows that 76.3% of Indian households consumed adequately iodised salt, which is salt with at least 15 parts per million of iodine.
  • The five worst performers were Tamil Nadu (61.9%), Andhra Pradesh (63.9%), Rajasthan (65.5%), Odisha (65.8%) and Jharkhand (68.8%).
  • Rajasthan, which is the second largest producer of salt, also figured among the five worst covered States. Gujarat produces 71% of salt in the country, followed by Rajasthan at 17% and Tamil Nadu at 11%. The rest of the country accounts for a mere 1% of salt produced.
  • The northeastern States are doing very well with respect to iodised salt consumption at the household level

Reasons of poor consumption in producer areas / Legal Provisions

  • By and large most States get their salt from Gujarat and Rajasthan and because of the distance, it is sent by rail. This salt is strictly monitored by the Salt Commissioner’s office and if it is inadequately iodised, they don’t allot rakes.
  • Secondly, salt-producing States have access to common (or non-iodised) salt and, therefore, they start consuming it since it is readily available
  • India made fortification of salt with iodine mandatory for direct human consumption in 1992. This was relaxed in 2000 and then reimposed in 2005. In 2011, the Supreme Court, too, mandated universal iodisation for the control of iodine deficiencies.

Key Recommendations

  • The key recommendation of the study is to sustain the momentum so that iodine coverage does not fall below current levels.
  • It also recommends that the States and the Centre work together to address the current gaps and look into issues that vary from one State to another, leading to adequately iodised salt not being produced.

Importance of Iodine

  • Iodine is a trace element which is needed to carry out proper functioning and development of our body through the thyroid gland.
  • In our body, approximately 70% to 80% of iodine is located in the thyroid gland and is used to make thyroid hormones.
  • Iodine from food is absorbed by the thyroid gland to help produce thyroid hormones which are responsible for regulating many functions in our body such as
    • Breakdown of fat
    • Body temperature
    • Growth
    • Reproduction
    • Muscle and nerve function
    • Heart rate

Implications of Iodine Deficiency

  • Iodine deficiency impairs thyroid function leading to either increase in the size of thyroid gland (also known as goiter) or hypothyroidism (under active thyroid gland leading to low thyroid hormone production).
  • Hence people who suffer from hypothyroidism tend to gain weight or have difficult time losing weight, feel tired and lazy and tend to feel cold very easily.

During pregnancy, Iodine deficiency can prove dangerous for both the mother and the baby.

  1. Severe iodine deficiency during pregnancy can lead to miscarriages, still birth and preterm delivery. Research suggests that out of every 100 miscarriages, 6 are associated with thyroid hormone deficiency.
  2. It also plays a huge role in development of mental retardation, low intelligence, and problems with growth, speech and hearing in children.
  3.  In the most severe case, an underactive thyroid gland due to IDD can lead to permanent mental and growth retardation in children (also known as cretinism).  Iodine is now recognized as the most common cause of preventable brain damage in the world

7 . Facts for Prelims

Volfefe index

  • JPMorgan’s “Volfefe Index,” named after Trump’s mysterious covfefe tweet from May 2017, suggests that the president’s tweets are having a statistically significant impact on Treasury yields.
  • The number of market-moving Trump tweets has ballooned in the past month, with those including words such as “China,” “billion,” “products,” “Democrats” and “great” most likely to affect prices

Five star movement

  • The Five Star Movement (M5S) is a political party in Italy founded in 2009 by Beppe Grillo
  • The “five stars” are a reference to five key issues for the party:
    • Public water
    • Sustainable transport
    • Sustainable development
    • Right to Internet access
    • Environmentalism.

Black spots

  • A black spot is defined as a stretch of not more than 500 metres in length where five accidents have taken place or where 10 fatalities have happened in the last three years.

Time bank

  •  Madhya Pradesh government’s Happiness Department plans to set up a Time Bank that would lend currency to an hour, which could be exchanged to learn a new skill without the need for any paper money.
  • Whenever a bank member needs a service or wants to acquire a skill, say gardening or playing a guitar, she could exchange a credit, worth an hour, with another member knowing the skill.
  • In Madhya Pradesh, time banks will enable person-to-person, person-to-agency and agency-to-agency transactions. “Members will start with zero credits, which they could gradually acquire by imparting skills. Credits can even go in negative. And in case a skill becomes popular over time benefiting only a few members, other members will be compelled to do their mite with vigour to collect more credits

Leave a comment

error: Content is protected !! Copying and sharing on Social media / websites will invite legal action