Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 29 December 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 29 December 2020


Portable water testing devices

  • The Jal Jeevan Mission and the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade have launched an innovation challenge to develop portable devices for water testing.


  • The main objective of the exercise is to develop a modular, and cost-effective solution that can be used at the household level to test the drinking water quality instantly.
  • The JJM is a national mission to provide potable water on tap to every household by 2024.
  • Startups, individual innovators, MSMEs and corporates can participate in the innovation challenge, open till January 18. 
  • The contest would be for three types of devices— One that is capable of checking 13 water quality parameters including pH, total dissolved solids, turbidity, total alkalinity, bacterial contamination and the presence of many other material contaminants, the other will be for checking microbial contamination and the third for a device that can test one or more parameters. 
  • The selected innovations will be hand-held for further support and deployment opportunities.
  • Water quality testing is one of the priority areas under JJM. 
  • The aim of the innovation challenge is to ensure that water sources are tested at various locations, at different levels; thereby, helping the policy framers to design programmes which address the water contamination issues.

R P Tiwari committee

  • The UGC set up a seven-member committee on December 23, headed by Vice-Chancellor of Central University of Punjab R P Tiwari, “to consider the issue (of) holding common entrance test at undergraduate level only from the next academic year in central universities to provide a single platform for admission”.
  • The new NEP, released in July this year, advocates reducing the number of entrance tests to “eliminate the need for taking coaching for these exams”.
  • There are 40-odd central universities run by the Ministry of Education (MoE) and, collectively, all of them have about 1 to 1.25 lakh seats across different disciplines at the undergraduate level. 
  • Of these, currently about 16 central universities, all set up under the UPA-II government, have a common entrance test for Bachelor’s study.
  • If the NEP suggestion is implemented, the National Testing Agency will be tasked to conduct a common aptitude test as well as specialised common exams for different disciplines at least twice a year, for admission to bachelor’s in central universities.


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Louis Kahn

  • The board of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad has decided to demolish the dormitories built by legendary American architect Louis Kahn on its campus triggering a controversy. 
  • The restoration of the dorms was part of an ongoing project by a well-known Mumbai-based consultant.

Why are the dorms being demolished?

  • The IIM-A plans to bring down at least 14 of 18 dorms which were built between 1968 and 1978 have problems of leakages from the roof, dampness in walls, leakages in toilet walls, slabs etc. Besides this, the earthquake of 2001 caused major structural damages to these buildings.
  • In a letter to alumni, IIM-A Director Prof Errol D’Souza has justified the demolition and construction of new dorms which will increase housing capacity on campus from 500 to 800, as per the tender. 
  • In the letter, he also questioned Kahn’s signature exposed brick structure, calling the bricks substandard. 
  • As concrete encasing was not used to protect the embedded reinforcement bars in the brickwork, the bars have rusted and the brickwork cracked, he has written.

Archaeologists uncover ancient street food shop in Pompeii

  • Recently, researchers have unearthed a hot drinks counter in the Roman empire town of Pompeii.
  • Pompeii is one of the world’s largest and most significant archaeological sites in Italy situated along the Bay of Naples.
  • It was completely buried by volcanic ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE, over 2000 years ago.


Inner Line Permit

  • Inner Line Permit(ILP) is an official travel document issued by the concerned state government to allow travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period.
  • It is obligatory for the citizens from outside those states to obtain a permit for entering into the protected state.
  • Objective behind this is to prevent settlement of other Indian nationals in ILP states so as to protect the indigenous population and their access to land, jobs, and other facilities.
  • At present Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Nagaland come under the ILP system.

Science and Technology

Busting basmati fraud the scientific way

  • A team of researchers from India and the UK have developed not just one, but two devices that can detect adulteration in basmati sold in markets.
  • While one of the tests can be done using a hand-held device and thus faster, the other is a lab-based one, but 100 per cent accurate.


  • The teamdeveloped two different techniques for exposing such food frauds. 
  • While one is based on near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy and can be deployed in a hand-held device, the other uses a lab-based instrument and works on principles of gas chromatography mass spectroscopy (GC-MS).

Grain of truth:

  • According to the scientists, both types of testing methods are based on producing food fingerprints. 
  • The NIR generates a fingerprint of the rice in terms of how it absorbs light energy and produces a spectral pattern. Using multi-variant models, they can then differentiate high-quality basmati rice from adulterated rice.
  • The GC-MS test, on the other hand, produces a fingerprint of the volatile organic compounds that produce marker compounds to identify the special aroma of basmati rice and adulterants.



ICC’s Cricket Awards

  • India captain Virat Kohli has chosen for the ICC top honours for the decade, winning the Sir Garfield Sobers award for the best male cricketer of the past 10 years.
  • He was also picked for the ODI Cricketer of the Decade award.
  • Former India skipper M S Dhoni won the ‘ICC Spirit of Cricket Award of the Decade’, chosen by fans for his gesture of calling back England batsman Ian Bell after a bizarre run out in the Nottingham Test in 2011.
  • Australia’s Elysse Perry swept the women’s awards, securing the ICC Female Cricketer of the Decade honours alongside ODI and T20 Cricketers of the Decade award.

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