Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 16 November 2020


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 16 November 2020


Draft rules under Code on Social Security

  • Union Labour Ministry notifies draft rules under Code on Social Security.
  • The ministry has sought objections and suggestions for the draft ruleswithin 45 days. 

About the rules:

  • The rules, which provide for operationalization of provisions of the Code relating to EPF, ESIC, gratuity, maternity benefits, social security, and cess for such workers, have allowed self-registration on a government portal to avail these benefits. 
  • The ministry “has already initiated action for the development of such portal.
  • It has also provided for Aadhaar-based registration of building and other construction workers on the specified portal of the central government and the state government or the state welfare board. 
  • The building workers would be entitled to the benefits in the state they are working in. 
  • According to the ministry, provision has also been made in the draft rules pertaining to the gratuity of a worker who is on fixed-term employment.
  • The draft rules have also provided for a single electronic registration and its cancellation for an establishment in case of its business closure. 
  • Moreover, the rules have also carried a provision with respect to manner and conditions for an establishment to exit EPFO and ESIC coverages.

Generates power from wet cloth

  • A Tripura-based engineer developed a technology to power medical diagnostic kits and mobile phones by generating electrical power from a wet cloth. 
  • The innovation won him the coveted Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) award.


  • ShankhaSubhra Das, who is from Khedabari, a small village bordering Bangladesh in Sipahijala district, developed a device that relies on capillary action and water evaporation. 
  • He used a piece of cloth cut to specific dimensions to insert it into a plastic straw that is vertically fixed in a partially filled water container. 
  • Copper electrodes are attached to both ends of the straw to collect the voltage. When the liquid reaches to the top, due to capillary action, around 700 milli-volts are registered in the voltmeter.
  • A team of innovators with mechanical engineers and a sub-group of Biotech and bio-science experts are now working on achieving a compact design and integrating it with medical diagnostic devices



Indigenous Emergency Retrieval System

  • CSIR-SERC, Chennai Develops Indigenous Emergency Retrieval System (ERS) for Power Lines.


  • It is an indigenous technology, Emergency Retrieval System (ERS), for quick retrieval of power transmission in the event of failure of transmission line towers. 
  • CSIR-SERC has signed an agreement for licensing of the ERS technology with M/s Advait Infratech, Ahmedabad.
  • At present, the ERS systems are imported. 
  • There are very few manufacturers across the world and the cost is relatively high. 
  • This technological development will enable the manufacturing in India for the first time, which will be an import substitute and will cost about 40% of imported systems. 
  • ERS has huge market requirement in India as well as in SAARC and African countries. Hence, this technological development is a big leap forward towards AtmaNirbhar Bharat and Make in India.

Emergency Retrieval System:

  • ERS is a lightweight modular system that is used as temporary support structure to restore power immediately after the collapse of transmission line towers during natural calamities such as cyclone/earthquake, or manmade disruptions. 
  • ERS can be assembled quickly at the disaster site for restoration of power in 2-3 days, whereas the permanent restoration may take several weeks. 
  • This development is very significant as failure of transmission lines severely impact lives of common people and causes huge monetary loss to the power companies. 
  • As the total losses/damages are directly proportional to the outage duration, time is a crucial factor in reinstating or remediating the damaged/fallen structures.

Technical specifications:

  • Made of structurally highly stable box sections, ERS is lightweight, modular and reusable. 
  • It provides complete solution from member connections up to the foundation for different type of soil conditions. 
  • The system is verified through rigorous structural tests. 
  • Basic knowledge and tools are enough to assemble and install ERS at the disaster site. 
  • Suitable configurations for different voltage-class of transmission line systems are possible. 
  • The system is compact and yet provides full functionality on erection. It is designed as a scalable system for 33 to 800 kV class of power lines and can help in building a disaster resilient society.


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Disagree over granting statehood to Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.

  • For the third time in ten years, the United States territory of Puerto Rico has voted in favour of statehood, and thus be treated at par with the current 50 states of the country. 


  • On November 3, the same day US voters chose Joe Biden over Donald Trump in the US election, a majority of Puerto Ricans voted yes in a non-binding referendum for full statehood while rejecting the ‘no’ option– which would have signalled approval for continuing their current commonwealth status or for starting the process of becoming an independent country.
  • At the same time, another part of the US – the country’s capital city, Washington, D.C.– has also for years been clamouring to become a full state. 
  • In June this year, the Democratic party-controlled lower chamber of the US Congress acknowledged this demand, and passed a bill that could potentially make D.C. the 51st US state.

Puerto Rico:

  • The Spanish-speaking island, slightly smaller than the Indian state of Tripura, is located in the Caribbean Sea, about 1,600 km southeast of the US state of Florida.
  • Since its discovery by the explorer Christopher Columbus in 1493, Puerto Rico was a part of the Spanish Empire for over 4 centuries until 1898, when it was annexed by the United States.


Leonid meteor shower

  • The Leonid meteor showers are currently making their yearly appearance, and will reach their peak in India on November 17 and 18, according to Norway-based website
  • In 2020, these showers are active from November 6th to November 30th.

Key findings:

  • The Leonids emerge from the comet Tempel-Tuttle, which requires 33 years to revolve once around the Sun. 
  • These meteors are bright and among the fastest moving– travelling at speeds of 71 km per second. During this year’s showers, peaks of around 10 to 15 meteors are expected to be seen every hour.
  • As per report, the Leonid showers include fireballs– bright and large meteors than can last longer than average meteors, and “earthgazers”– meteors which appear close to the horizon with colourful and long tails.
  • Meteor showers are named after the constellation they appear to be coming from. 
  • The Leonids originate from the constellation Leo the Lion– the groups of stars which form a lion’s mane.

What is a meteor shower?

  • On its journey around the Sun, the Earth passes through large swathes of cosmic debris. The debris is essentially the remnants of comets — great frigid chunks of matter that leave behind dirty trails of rocks and ice that linger long after the comets themselves have passed. 
  • As the Earth wades through this cloud of comet waste, the bits of debris create what appears from the ground to be a fireworks display in the sky — known as a meteor shower.
  • Several meteor showers can be seen around the year. According to NASA, over 30 meteor showers occur annually and are observable from the Earth.
  • For instance, the Perseid meteor shower occurs every year in August and was first observed over 2,000 years ago.



Sports Ministry announces incentive structure to fund 500 private academies

  • Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has introduced an incentivisation structure to extend monetary support to 500 private academies, through the Khelo India Scheme over the next four years starting FY 2020-21.
  • In this model, private academies shall be graded into different categories based on quality achievement of players trained by the academy, level of coaches available at the academy, quality of the field of play and allied infrastructure, availability of sports science facilities, and staff.
  • The 14 priority disciplines identified for excellence in the 2028 Olympics will be eligible for receiving support in the first phase.
  • It is important for the government to extend support to these institutions so that sporting talent can be groomed even in the most remote areas of the country. 
  • There are a lot of small academies in various parts of the country that are doing very good work in identifying and training athletes. 
  • This move aims to encourage all academies, especially the private academies to continue improving the level of infrastructure, resources, and sports science support so that athletes can get the best in class training.
  • Under the scheme, SAI and NSFs will be working together. SAI will also hold discussions with NSFs and implement categorisation and gradation of the academies.


Soumitra Chatterjee

  • Soumitra Chatterjee, Bengali superstar and one of India’s tallest actors, died on Sunday after fighting for his life since October 6, when the 85-year-old was admitted to Belle Vue Clinic here with symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Though he subsequently tested negative for the virus, the infection and the prolonged stay in ICU had severely affected the functioning of his vital organs, particularly his central nervous system. 
  • His death was formally announced by the hospital at a quarter past noon.


  • Soumitra was born in Mirjapur Street (now Surya Sen Street) near Sealdah railway station, in Calcutta in 1935. The first ten years of his early life were spent in Krishnanagar in West Bengal.
  • He graduated from the City College, Kolkata with honours in Bengali literature, as a graduating student of the University of Calcutta also have done masters in Bengali from the same university.
  • He is widely admired for his roles as Apu and Feluda.

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