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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Asiatic Society of Mumbai

5th September 2019

Why in News?  Asiatic Society of Mumbai has elected the first woman president in the 215 years of its existence. Prof Vispi Balaporia will now head the institution.

About Asiatic Society, Mumbai:

  • It is a learned society whose activities include conducting historical research, awarding historians, and running an institute of post-graduate studies.
  • Its library, home to over 1 lakh books, consists of rare manuscripts contributed to it by the East India Company, as well as generous donations.
  • The Society offers Junior Fellowships for research and recommends scholars for the Tagore National Fellowship of the Ministry of Culture.
  • The Governor of Maharashtra is the Society’s Chief Patron.


 It’s evolution:

  • It began journey in 1804 as the Literary Society of Bombay.
  • Founded by Sir James Mackintosh, a Scottish colonial administrator who had a keen interest in Oriental studies.
  • In 1826, it became the Mumbai arm of the London-based Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland and came to be called the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (BBRAS).
  • In 1954, the institution was severed from its London parent and became the Asiatic Society of Bombay. In 2002, it acquired its present name.


Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Ethanol :

Why in News?  CCEA has approved an increase in the price of ethanol to be procured by public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) from sugar mills for blending with petrol for the 2019-20 supply year from December 1.

  • It has also allowed conversion of old sugar into ethanol.

 What is ethanol?

  • Ethanol is basically alcohol of 99%-plus purity, which can be used for blending with petrol.
  • Produced mainly from molasses, a byproduct of sugar manufacture.

Benefits of the latest move:

  • There is a huge incentive to produce ethanol today. This has been additionally facilitated by the government mandating 10% blending of petrol with ethanol.
  • If mills are able to divert more of cane juice for ethanol, it would mean producing less sugar. Since the country is producing too much sugar and is importing oil, the ethanol-blending programme is beneficial both for mills and for the country’s balance of payments.

Benefits of ethanol blending:

  • Reduction in import dependency.
  • Support to agricultural sector.
  • Environmental friendly fuel.
  • Additional income to farmers.

About Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme:

  • Launched in 2003 on pilot basis.
  • The aim is to promote the use of alternative and environmental friendly fuels.
  • Implemented by the Ministry or Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs).


  • India is the third largest consumer of energy in the world after China and the US.
  • India is dependent on imports for about 1% of its crude oil requirement and to the extent of about 44.4% in case of natural gas.
  • India is expected to need 10 billion litres of ethanol annually to meet the 20% blending target in 2030 if petrol consumption continues to grow at the current pace. At present, the capacity stands at 1.55 billion litres a year.

Concerns and challenges:

  • Consistent shortfall in supply of ethanol in the past, mainly on account of the cyclical nature of the sugarcane harvests in the country.
  • Lack of an integrated approach in the EBP across its value chain.

 Way ahead:

  • The National Policy on Bio-fuels has set a target of 20% blending of biofuels, both for bio-diesel and bio-ethanol. This will require an integrated approach in the Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP).
  • The time is ripe for a cogent and consistent policy and administrative framework in the program implementation for the success.


Facts for Prelims:


  • The 2019 JCB Prize for Literature:

JCB Prize for Literature is an Indian literary award established in 2018. It is awarded annually with 25 lakh INR (38400 USD) prize to a distinguished work of fiction by an Indian writer working in English or translated fiction by an Indian writer.

  • Benchmark interest rate:

It is also called base interest rate . It is the minimum interest rate investors will demand for investing in a non-Treasury security. It is also tied to the yield to maturity offered on the comparable-maturity treasury security that was most recently issued (on-the-run).


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