Join Our Telegram : Prelims Telegram Group

Daily Newsletter | TPS 20 Daily Current Affairs | 18th March 2020



Modified New Pricing Scheme -III (NPS-III)

Why in news?

Cabinet approves removal of ambiguities in the Modified NPS-III for determination of fixed costs for the urea units.

Modified New Pricing Scheme -III (NPS-III):

  • A scheme for determination of fixed costs for the urea units.
  • It is to facilitate smooth implementation which will result in grant of Additional Fixed Cost of Rs.350/MT to 30 urea manufacturing units.
  • The implementation of the Modified NPS-III will result in gains to existing urea units to the extent of their actual increase in fixed cost with ceilings as mentioned in the proposal which will ensure that no unit is benefited unduly.
  • This will facilitate the continued operations of the urea units resulting in sustained and regular supply of urea to the farmers.
  • The approval will also grant the special compensation of Rs. 150/MT to urea units which are more than 30 years old and converted to gas which will incentivize these units to remain viable for sustained production.
  • The measures will ensure maximum domestic production of urea and reduce will reduce import dependency.

Note: Modified NPS-III was notified on 2nd April, 2014. 

  • However, the scheme could not be implemented due to its ambiguous language.
Curative Petition

Why in news?

The Supreme Court of India rejected the curative petitions filed over Nirbhaya case.

Curative petition:

  • It is the final and last option for the people to acquire justice as mentioned and promised by the Constitution of India.
  • It was evolved by the apex court to prevent the miscarriage of justice and to prevent abuse of process.
  • The concept of curative petition originated from a landmark judgment in Rupa Ashok Hurra V. Ashok Hurra and Anr, 2002.
  • The concept of Curative petition is supported by the Article 137 of Constitution of India.
  • The Article enables Supreme Court to review its own judgements made under Article 145.
  • Such a petition needs to be filed within 30 days from the date of judgement or order.
  • A curative petition is usually decided by judges in chamber, unless a specific request for an open-court hearing is allowed.
Stand Up India Scheme

Why in news?

More than Rs 20,000 crores of loans sanctioned under Stand up India Scheme since its inception.

More about the scheme

  • Stand up India Scheme was launched by the Union Ministry of finance in
  • The scheme is anchored by Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance.
  • The scheme aims at promoting entrepreneurship among women and scheduled castes and tribes.
  • The Scheme facilitates bank loans between 10 lakh and Rs. 1 crore to at least one Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe borrower and at least one woman borrower, per bank branch of Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs), for setting up Greenfield enterprises in the manufacturing, services or the trading sectors.
  • In the case of non –individual enterprises at least 51% of the shareholding and controlling stakes should be held by either an SC/ST or women entrepreneur.
  • The scheme which covers all branches of Scheduled Commercial Banks, will be accessed in three potential ways:
  • Directly at a Bank Branch
  • Through SIDBI Stand-Up India Portal (
  • Through the Lead District Manager(LDM)
Starch-Based Hemostat

Why in news?

Scientists from the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, have developed a starch-based ‘hemostat’ material that concentrates the natural clotting factors in blood by physically absorbing excess fluid.

More about

  • Hemostat materials absorb excel fluid by concentrating the natural clotting factors in the blood that are
  • critical for stopping the blood flow; however, the bleeding can restart when non-biodegradable materials are removed.
  • By chemically modifying natural starch to form micro particles, team has combined the advantages of biocompatibility and biodegradability with a five- to ten-fold increase in fluid absorption and much-improved adhesion.
  • When the micro particles combine, they create an adherent gel that can remain on the wound until slowly dissipating as healing proceeds.
  • The product has increased absorption capacity, improved absorption, inexpensive, biocompatible as well as biodegradable.
  • The micro particles are prepared by modifying some of the chemical hydroxyl groups on starch to carboxymethyl groups while also incorporating the beneficial calcium ions, which encourages the aggregation of red blood cells and platelets and their activation to generate the fibrin protein network that forms a stable blood clot.
  • This modification increases the ability of the molecules to interact with water.
  • This is the basis of its impressive ability to absorb fluid from the blood and hence concentrate the clotting factors.
  • The micro particles of the product, known as 'calcium-modified carboxymethyl-starch,' swelled up to form a cohesive and adherent gel within 30 seconds after contact with blood in lab tests.
Uranium Contamination

Why in news?

A report brought out by Duke University, USA in association with Central Ground Water Board and State Ground Water departments shows that there is prevalence of Uranium concentration above permissible limit in some of the localized pockets of few States/UTs in the country.

More about

  • Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir have localized occurrence of Uranium concentration.

Limit in India

  • The Indian Standard IS 10500: 2012 for Drinking Water specification has specified the maximum acceptable limits for radioactive residues as alpha and beta emitters, values in excess of which render the water not suitable.
  • These requirements take into account all radioactive elements including uranium. No individual radioactive elements have been specifically identified.
  • As per Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS), they are working to incorporate maximum permissible limit of Uranium as 03 mg/l (as per WHO provisional guidelines) in all drinking water standards after following due process.


  • Uranium is a heavy metal which has been used as an abundant source of concentrated energy for over 60 years.
  • It is a radioactive silvery metal.
  • Uranium occurs in most rocks in concentrations of 2 to 4 parts per million and is as common in the Earth's crust
  • as tin, tungsten and molybdenum.
  • Uranium occurs in seawater, and can be recovered from the oceans.
  • Uranium was apparently formed in supernovae about 6.6 billion years ago.
  • While it is not common in the solar system, today its slow radioactive decay provides the main source of heat inside the Earth, causing convection and continental drift.


  • Uranium is a very important element because it provides us with nuclear fuel used to generate electricity in nuclear power stations.
  • It is also the major material from which other synthetic Trans-uranium elements are made.
  • Uranium is also used by the military to power nuclear submarines and in nuclear weapons.
  • Depleted uranium is uranium that has much less uranium-235 than natural uranium. It is a dense metal that can be used as ballast for ships and counterweights for aircraft. It is also used in ammunition and armour.

As A Nuclear Fuel

  • Naturally occurring uranium consists of 99% uranium-238 and 1% uranium-235.
  • Uranium-235 is the only naturally occurring fissionable fuel (a fuel that can sustain a chain reaction).
  • Uranium fuel used in nuclear reactors is enriched with uranium-235.
  • The chain reaction is carefully controlled using neutron-absorbing materials.
  • The heat generated by the fuel is used to create steam to turn turbines and generate electrical power.
  • In a breeder reactor uranium-238 captures neutrons and undergoes negative beta decay to become plutonium-239. This synthetic, fissionable element can also sustain a chain reaction.
Super Hydrophobic Coating

Why in news?

A team from the Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines), Dhanbad, and Ohio State University has created a super hydrophobic coating to save steel from rusting.

More about the news

  • The team used polyurethane and silicon dioxide nanoparticles to create the coating which can be easily spin-coated on steel.
  • Spin coating is a procedure used to deposit uniform thin films onto flat substrates.
  • Spin coating is advantageous and cost-effective compared to immersion coating and spray coating.
  • Spin coating dried quickly and the thickness of the coat could be controlled easily.
  • The coating was also chemically stable in both acidic (pH 5) and alkaline (pH 8) conditions and also exhibited thermal stability up to 230 degree C.
  • Another useful property exhibited by the coating was of self-cleaning.
  • When water droplets were made to fall on an uncoated surface they stuck to it and made a messy surface.
  • Easy to make: The chemicals used to make the coating are easily available in the country and they are environmental friendly too.

Super Hydrophobic Coating

  • The term hydrophobicity means the ability to repel water.
  • Super hydrophobic coating is a nanoscopic surface layer that repels water.
  • Super-hydrophobic coatings are also found in nature; they appear on plant leaves, such as the Lotus leaf, and some insect wings.
  • Super hydrophobic coatings have important applications in maritime industry.

Current Affairs Capsules

Question Hour in Lok Sabha
  • The first hour of every sitting of Parliament is generally reserved for the asking and answering of questions and that hour is called the Question Hour.
  • Questions are of four types:- Starred, Un-starred, Short Notice Questions and Questions addressed to private Members.
  • A member gives notice in writing addressed to the Secretary-General, Lok Sabha, intimating his intention to ask a question.

Note: Zero Hour: The time immediately following the Question Hour has come to be known as "Zero Hour".

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
  • He served as the first President of Bangladesh and later as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh from 1971 until his assassination in 1975.
  • He is considered to be the driving force behind the independence of Bangladesh.
  • He is popularly dubbed with the title of "Bangabandhu (Friend of Bengal).
  • Thus, he is regarded Jatir Janak or Jatir Pit" (Father of the Nation") of Bangladesh.