Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 17 September 2021

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 17 September 2021


Arsenic contamination

  • A recent study has found the presence of arsenic in food chain- mainly rice, wheat and potato - in Bihar.
  • Arsenic is present in the groundwater as it is used on a large scale for irrigation by farmers.
  • The contribution of food over drinking water to overall arsenic exposure was estimated for arsenic exposed populations in Bihar.


  • Arsenic is naturally present at high levels in the groundwater of a number of countries.
  • Arsenic is highly toxic in its inorganic form.
  • Contaminated water used for drinking, food preparation and irrigation of food crops poses the greatest threat to public health from arsenic.
  • Long-term exposure to arsenic from drinking-water and food can cause cancer and skin lesions. It has also been associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In utero and early childhood exposure has been linked to negative impacts on cognitive development and increased deaths in young adults.
  • The most important action in affected communities is the prevention of further exposure to arsenic by provision of a safe water supply.

Quota for SCs, STs in job promotion

  • The Supreme Court said that, it was not ready to reopen a debate on its judgments granting reservation in promotion in government jobs to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  • A Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao reiterated the court’s stand that it was up to the State governments to find ways and means of implementing the court’s June 2018 judgment on the issue.
  • The State to show quantifiable data to prove the “backwardness” of a Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe community in order to provide quota in promotion in public employment.
  • The five-judge Bench judgment in the Jarnail Singh case in 2018 had given a huge fillip to the government’s efforts to provide “accelerated promotion with consequential seniority” for Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) members in government services.

Indra Sawhney case:

  • In the Indira Sawhney case, the court had held that the “test or requirement of social and educational backwardness cannot be applied to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, who indubitably fall within the expression ‘backward class of citizens’”.
  • The Constitution Bench had refused to refer the Nagaraj judgment to a seven-judge Bench.
  • It had also dismissed the government’s view that comparing the strength of an SC/ST community to the population of India cannot be the test to determine whether they are adequately represented in government services.
  • It had held that the question of adequate representation of an SC/ST community ought to be left to the respective States to determine.


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Global Ozone Day

  • India observes the 27th Global Ozone Day.
  • 16th September is observed as International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer or World Ozone Day.
  • In order to keep in check on substances that deplete the Ozone layer, a deal named Montreal Protocol was signed by almost every country in the year 1987.
  • Montreal Protocol came into existence where countries from across the globe decided to curb substances such as:
  1. Aerosols
  2. Chlorofluorocarbon
  3. Halons
  • The theme for 2021 for International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is ‘Montreal Protocol -‘Keeping us, our food and vaccines cool.’

AUKUS group

  • The US, UK and Australia have announced the formation of AUKUS - a new trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific region.


  • The first project of AUKUS will be to help Australia acquire a nuclear-powered conventionally-armed submarine fleet.
  • The three heads of state reaffirmed their intention to continue to work with their allies and groupings in tandem with AUKUS, with the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue having UnitedStates, Japan, Australia and India as members) being mentioned by the UK and Australia.
  • AUKUS is the first step that conveys the US resolve to punctuate the maritime domain in a manner that will not only protect Australia’s core security interests, but shape the regional strategic environment.
  • A nuclear submarine has reach and stealth that is of a much higher order than a conventional diesel boat, and will be able to ensure a very high degree of sea-denial to any potential adversary.


UNCTAD Trade and Development Report 2021

  • The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released their 2021 edition report.


  • After a 3.5% fall in 2020, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) expects world output to grow 5.3% this year.
  • UNCTAD expects world output to grow 3.6% in 2022.
  • India “suffered a contraction” of 7% in 2020 and is expected to grow 7.2% in 2021.
  • The report projects that India will clock an economic growth of 6.7% in 2022, slower than the country's expected 2021 growth rate.
  • Income and wealth inequalities have widened, and social unrest has increased in India.


Transparent ceramics

  • Indian researchers have developed transparent ceramics (magnesium aluminate spinel ceramics),reaching theoretical transparency through a technique called colloidal processing for the first time in India.


  • Transparent ceramics is a new class of advanced materials with unique transparency and excellent mechanical properties.
  • These materials can be designed not only for transparent to visible light but also for ultraviolet (UV), Infrared (IR), and Radiofrequency (RF), giving opportunity for diverse applications.
  • Spinel is currently emerging as a transparent ceramic based on the outstanding optical
  • properties of transmission (more than 75 % in the visible and more than 80% in the infrared range).
  • The material can be used for thermal imaging applications, especially in harsh service conditions and personal protection systems such as helmets, face shields and goggles.


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