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20 May, 2020

57 Min Read

Stages of Amphan Cyclone

GS-I : Human Geography

Stages of Amphan Cyclone


Position (Lat. 0N/ long. 0E)

Maximum sustained surface wind speed (Kmph)

Category of cyclonic disturbance



210-220 gusting to 240

Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm



200-210 gusting to 230

Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm



190-200 gusting to 220

Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm



180-190 gusting to 210

Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm



160-170 gusting to 190

Very Severe Cyclonic Storm



95-105 gusting to 115

Cyclonic Storm



50-60 gusting to 70




20-30 gusting to 40

Low Pressure Area

Source: PIB

Star Rating Protocol of Garbage Free cities


Star Rating Protocol of Garbage Free cities


A total of six cities have been certified as 5-Star (Ambikapur, Rajkot, Surat, Mysuru, Indore and Navi Mumbai), 65 cities as 3-Star and 70 cities as 1-Star. While announcing the results of the Star Rating Protocol of Garbage Free cities under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

About Star Rating Protocol of Garbage Free cities

  • The Star Rating Protocol was launched by the Ministry in January 2018 to institutionalize a mechanism for cities to achieve Garbage Free status, and to motivate cities to achieve higher degrees of cleanliness.
  • The star rating conditions have been designed in a way as to enable cities to gradually evolve into a model (7-star) city, with progressive improvements in their overall cleanliness.
  • The protocol, with increasing levels of stringency with increasing star rating, will also be aspirational in nature, feeding cities’ ambitions and dreams of becoming an ideal city for its residents, and a role model for other cities to follow.

  • The star rating conditions are based on 25 key parameters across the solid waste management spectrum and has been designed to both help cities assess their progress while encouraging them to move towards a better rating thereby improving their cities’ overall cleanliness and aesthetics.
  • The Star Rating is supported by a robust verification mechanism to ensure transparency and standardisation. Cities are required to carry out self-assessment and self-verification for achieving a certain star rating.
  • This self-declaration will be further verified through an independent third-party agency appointed by MoHUA for 1-star, 3-star, 5-star and 7-star garbage free ratings.
  • To ensure that the star rating is aligned with our vision of making SBM a Jan Andolan, citizen groups have to be involved through the system of self-declaration.

  • Since citizen participation is a very crucial component of this survey, social media and other traditional media channels will be used strategically at both national, state and city levels in order to educate citizens about the objectives of the survey and survey methodology, as well as to reinforce the importance of their participation in the survey, in order to ensure significantly higher levels of participation from all citizens.


  • With a vision is to make all 4,377 statutory towns/Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) achieve “Garbage Free” status wherein at any point of time in the day, no garbage or litter is found in any public, commercial or residential locations (including storm drains and water bodies) in the city (except in litter bins or transfer stations)
  • 100 per cent of waste generated is scientifically managed, all legacy waste has been remediated and scientifically managing its municipal solid waste, plastic waste and construction & demolition waste.

Source: PIB

National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC)


National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC)

  • At the national level, Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) are the key committees involved in the top-level decision-making with respect to Disaster Management (DM).
  • A National Crisis Management Committee(NCMC) has been constituted in the Cabinet Secretariat.
  • It deals with major crisis which have serious or national ramifications.

Key functions:

  • Oversee the Command, Control and Coordination of the disaster response.
  • Give direction to the Crisis Management Group (CMG) as deemed necessary.


  • Cabinet Secretary (Chairperson).
  • Secretaries of Ministries / Departments and agencies with specific Disaster management responsibilities.

Source: PIB

Doppler Weather Radar

GS-III : Disaster and Disaster management Natural disaster

Doppler Weather Radar


Extremely severe Cyclone Amphan very likely to move north-northeastwards across northwest Bay of Bengal and cross West Bengal – Bangladesh coasts between Digha (West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) close to Sundarbans during Afternoon to Evening hours of 20th May 2020 with maximum sustained wind speed of 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph.

The system is now being continuously tracked by the Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) at Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), Paradip (Odisha) and Gopalpur (Odisha).

About Doppler Weather Radar

What is Radar?

Radar (Radio Detection and Ranging) is a device which uses electromagnetic waves in the microwaves region to detect location (range & direction), altitude, intensity and movement of moving and non-moving objects.

What is Doppler Principle?

When the source and the signal are in relative motion to each other there is a change in the frequency observed by the observer. If they are moving closer frequency increases and vice versa.

What is Doppler Radar?

Doppler radar is a specific radar that uses the Doppler principle to produce relative motion data about objects at a distance.

Indian Doppler Radar:

Also known as INDRA series of 2D Radars and developed by DRDO for the use of Airforce and the Army. Some have been even exported to Sri Lanka.

INDRA-1: Is low-level target detection mobile surveillance radar.

INDRA 2: Is a modified version of INDRA radar for ground controlled interception of targets. It uses pulse compression to detect low flying aircraft.

Application of Doppler Radars:

  • Aviation,
  • Sounding satellites
  • Meteorology
  • Radar guns
  • Radiology and healthcare
  • Nursing or clinic purpose
  • Bistatic radar (surface-to-air missile)

Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) by ISRO

  • For improving weather forecasting services.
  • The DWR will help in rainfall estimation and detect thunderstorm, cyclones and other severe weather events within a radius of 400 km.
  • DWR has the equipment to measure rainfall intensity, wind shear and velocity and locate a storm centre and the direction of a tornado or gust front.
  • Based on Doppler principle the radar is designed to improve precision in long-range weather forecasting and surveillance using a parabolic dish antenna and a foam sandwich spherical radome.

Polarimetric Doppler Weather Radar

  • India’sfirst Indigenously developed Polarimetric Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) installed at Cherrapunjee, to Nation on May 27, 2016 remotely from Polo ground in Shillong, Meghalaya.
  • The DWR has been designed and developed by Radar Development Area, ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), ISRO and manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bengaluru.
  • The North East, a land of beauty and adventure, has been hit by several natural calamities in the recent past, on account of heavy rain and landslides. This Weather Radar System will enable better weather forecasts, especially for the North Eastern region. This should help in minimising the threat posed by extreme weather conditions
  • The polarimetric capability of the Radar will significantly improve the accuracy of rainfall estimation leading to accurate and timely flash flood warnings.
  • The DWR, being the first S-band (operating at 2.7 - 2.9 GHz) dual polarimetric Doppler Weather Radar can detect Weather phenomenon upto 500 km.
  • This system installed at a place that receives the highest rainfall in Planet Earth, shall open up tremendous research opportunities in the areas of monsoon dynamics, Cloud Physics, impact of orography in precipitation process, precipitation characterisation, thunderstorm and hailstorm genesis and evolution, etc.
  • The data from the DWR is also expected to support a host of operational programmers of IMD and NESAC/ISRO. The near real time precipitation estimates from the DWR shall improve the Flood Early Warning System (FLEWS), being developed by NESAC for NE states.
  • It will also enable IMD and NESAC to take up operational activities on thunderstorm now-casting and hail now-casting for NE states.

Source: PIB




  • The loco is named WAG12 with Number 60027.
  • It was a proud moment for Indian Railways, as it became 6th country in the world to join the elite club of producing high horse power locomotives indigenously.
  • It is the first time, a high horsepower locomotive has been operationalised on a broad gauge track in the world.
  • The locomotive has been produced under Make in India programme. The Madhepura factory is the largest integrated Green Field facility built to the highest standards of quality and safety with production capacity of 120 locomotives and spread across a massive 250 acres.

Advantages of WAG12

  • These locomotives are state of art IGBT-based, 3-phase drive, 9000 KW (12000 horsepower) electric locomotives.
  • The locomotive with a twin Bo-Bo design having 22.5 T (Tonnes) axle load is upgradeable to 25 Tonnes with a design speed of 120 kmph.
  • This locomotive will be a game changer for the further movement of coal trains for the Dedicated Freight Corridor.
  • The locomotives can be tracked through GPS for its strategic use through embedded software and Antennae being lifted through the servers on the ground through a microwave link.
  • The locomotive has air-conditioned driver cabs on either side. The locomotive is equipped with a regenerative braking system which provides substantial energy savings during operations.
  • These high horsepower locomotives will help to decongest the saturated tracks by improving the average speed of freight trains.
  • Madhepura Electric Locomotive Pvt. Ltd. (MELPL) will manufacture 800 State of the Art 12000 HP Electric Freight Locomotives in 11 years and being one of the most powerful full electric locomotives in the world will increase the speed of freight trains and will allow faster, safer and heavier freight trains to move across the country, thus reducing congestion in traffic.
  • It will also lead to considerable savings in energy consumption through regenerative braking.

Madhepura factory

  • As part of the project, a factory along with the township has been set up in Madhepura, Bihar with the capacity to manufacture 120 locomotives per year. The project will create more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the country. More than Rs 2000 Crores has already been invested in the project by the company.
  • Along with the factory, socio-economic development in Madhepura is being driven by this project. As part of CSR initiative skill centres are being set up in Madhepura to impart training to local people.
  • It may be noted that Indian Railways entered into Procurement cum Maintenance Agreement with Madhepura Electric Locomotive Pvt. Ltd. (MELPL), as part of the largest Foreign Direct Investment project of Indian Railways to transform the heavy freight transportation landscape of the country. This is the ‘Make in India’ Initiative by India Railways (IR).

Source: PIB

National Test Abhyas


National Test Abhyas


Union Human Resource Development Minister launched an AI-powered mobile app called the ‘National Test Abhyas'.

About National Test Abhyas

  • The App has been developed by NTA to enable candidates to take mock tests for upcoming exams such as JEE Main, NEET under the NTA’s purview.
  • The app has been launched to facilitate candidates’ access to high-quality mock tests in the safety and comfort of their homes since there was a demand for making up the loss of students due to the closure of educational institutions and NTA’s Test-Practice Centers (TPCs) due to the continuing lockdown.
  • Students across the country can use the App to access high-quality tests, free of cost, in a bid to be fully prepared for the upcoming JEE, NEET and other competitive exams.
  • They can be completed off-line, thus economising on internet availability too.
  • The app will make available practice tests on smartphones or computers for all students in India irrespective of their level of access to devices and quality of the network.
  • The app also has an offline mode where students, on downloading the mock tests, can attempt the test without the internet. The app works on Android-based smartphones and tablets and can be downloaded from Google Play Store. The app will be soon available on iOS.

Source: PIB

Neelam Sanjiva Reddy (1913-1996)

GS-I :

Neelam Sanjiva Reddy (1913-1996)


The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, paid homage to Shri Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, former President of India, at Rashtrapati Bhavan today (May 19, 2020) on his Birth Anniversary. He paid floral tributes in front of the portrait of Shri Neelam Sanjiva Reddy.

About Neelam Sanjiva Reddy

  • He was one of the foremost political leaders from Andhra Pradesh. He participated in various freedom struggles against the British and was imprisoned several times.
  • He was elected to the Constituent Assembly in India.
  • The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh:
    • When the Andhra Province was separated from Madras and T. Prakasam became the Chief Minister of Andhra, Sanjeeva Reddy was appointed Deputy Chief Minister.
    • When the new state of Andhra Pradesh was constituted Sanjeeva Reddy became its first Chief Minister and served in that capacity from 1956 to 1959. He again became the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh in 1962 for one year.
  • Lok sabha speaker: Sanjeeva was the speaker of the Lok Sabha from 1967 to 1969.
  • Presidential election against VV Giri:
    • He then contested for the office of the President as the official Congress candidate against V. V. Giri who was then the Vice-President.
    • The Presidential resulted in the split of the Congress with an overwhelming section siding with Indira Gandhi, who had rebelled against the old guard, headed by Shri Nijalingappa, which came to be known as the Congress (O).
    • Thus Congress came to be divided into the Congress (O) and Congress (R) parties. The Presidential election went in favour of Mr. V. V. Giri.
  • President of India (25 July 1977 to 25 July 1982): After the defeat of the Congress (R) in the Lok Sabha elections of 1977, Sanjeeva Reddy was elected with the backing of the Janata Party as the sixth President of India. As president, Reddy worked with Prime Ministers Morarji Desai, Charan Singh and Indira Gandhi.
  • Reddy authored a book, Without Fear or Favour: Reminiscences and Reflections of a President, published in 1989.

Source: PIB

Keoladeo National Park


Keoladeo National Park

It is Located in Bharatpur district, the eastern part of Rajasthan. The park is spread over nearly 30 sq. km which comprises many artificial and seasonal lagoons. Keoladeo attracts several migratory birds that make the region their breeding and wintering grounds.

  • It is a UNESCO World Heritage and also a Ramsar site.
  • The Siberian crane is one of the rare species that was spotted here till about the turn of the century.
  • It habitat for nearly 365 species of birds, including raptors and waterfowl.
  • An animal such as Jackals, Sambar, Nilgai, wild cats, hyenas, wild boar, porcupines and mongoose can be found in the region.

Ramsar convention

The Convention on Wetlands called the Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental treaty. It provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The Convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975. Since then, almost 90% of UN member states, from all the world’s geographic regions, have acceded to becoming “Contracting Parties”.

The Convention uses a broad definition of wetlands, It includes all lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, Peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, mangroves and other coastal areas, coral reefs, and all human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and salt pans.

Source: TH

Ujh multipurpose project

GS-I : Human Geography River water projects

Ujh multipurpose project

The Central Water Commission (CWC) has finalised a detailed report on Ujh multi-purpose project. The project is to come up in the Kathua district and will store around 0.65 million acre-feet (MAF) of water from Ujh (a tributary of Ravi).

  • It will irrigate 30,000 hectares and produce over 200 MW of power.
  • India has planned this project under the mandates of Indus water treaty (IWT)


Central Water Commission is a premier Technical Organization of India in the field of Water Resources. It is presently functioning as an attached office of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (NOW JAL SHAKTI MANTARALYA).

The Commission is entrusted with the general responsibilities of initiating, coordinating and furthering in consultation with the State Governments concerned, schemes for control, conservation and utilization of water resources throughout the country, for purpose of Flood Control, Irrigation, Navigation, Drinking Water Supply and Water Power Development. It also undertakes the investigations, construction and execution of any such schemes as required.

Source: PIB

Spike missile


Spike missile

Spike anti-tank-guided missiles from Israel. This is because of the decision of the defence ministry to procure world-class missiles from the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) by 2021. Spike is a man-portable "fire and forget missile built by Israel's state-run firm, Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, which can hit moving targets such as a tank. It allows the soldier who fires the missile to quickly move for cover.

Barak missile

India is now planning a deal for 131 Barak surface-to-air missiles from the Israeli firm coasting around $70 million. These missiles are surface-to-air missiles designed to be used as a ship-borne anti-missile defence system against anti-ship missiles. Barak also known as LR-SAM or as MR-SAMis an Indian-Israeli surface-to-air missile (SAM), both maritime and land-based versions of the Barak exist. Barak 8 was jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), India's Defence Research &Development Organisation (DRDO).

Source: PIB

Humpback Whale


Humpback Whale

  • The humpback whale is one of the four species of baleen whales occurring in Indian waters.
  • Characteristic baleen plates and paired blowholes help distinguish baleen whales from toothed whales.
  • These whales strain huge volumes of ocean water through their baleen plates to capture food
  • Humpback Whales migrate annually from the summer feeding grounds near the poles to warmer winter breeding waters closer to the Equator.
  • They are found near coastlines, feeding on tiny shrimp-like krill, plankton, and small fish.
  • The Arabian Sea humpback whales are the only sedentary whales in the world, feeding and breeding in the same area.
  • Researchers from the Environment Society of Oman have tagged a female humpback whale named “Luban” to track its movement via satellite.
  • It started its journey from Oman, heading towards the east and reached off the coast of Goa after two months.
  • Even though the IUCN Red List categorises humpback whales as of ‘least concern, it recognised the distinct Arabian Sea population as ‘endangered’ in 2008.

Source: TH


GS-III : Economic Issues Banking


The Parliament has recently passed the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The Bill seeks to amend the NABARD Act, 1981 which establishes NABARD by transferring the agricultural credit functions of RBI and refinance functions of the then Agricultural Refinance and Development Corporation (ARDC).

  • The amendment bill seeks to increase the authorised capital of the Bank to 30,000 crore rupees from 5,000 crore rupees.
  • Currently the Central government is holding 99.60% share of the bank and the rest is with RBI (0.40%).
  • The capital can be increased further by the government in consultation with the RBI.
  • NABARD is responsible for providing and regulating facilities like credit for agricultural and industrial development in the rural areas.
  • It provides both direct finance (lending directly to customers) and refinance (lending to financial institutions to provide loans to customers)

Direct Finance


  1. Loans for Food Parks and Food Processing Units in Designated Food Parks
  2. Loans to Warehouses, Cold Storage and Cold Chain Infrastructure
  3. Rural Infrastructure Development Fund
  4. Long Term Irrigation Fund
  5. Alternative Investment Fund
  1. State Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks for providing short term agricultural loans

  1. Cooperative Banks - State, District, Primary Urban; RRB, Commercial Banks, Agriculture Development Finance Companies, NBFC for providing credit for investment activities in agriculture and allied activities.

Source: PIB

Classical Language Status

GS-I : Art and Culture Art and Culture

Classical Language Status

Maharashtra government has sent a proposal to the Ministry of Culture for granting classical language status to the Marathi language. As of now, six languages i.e. Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Odia and Sanskrit have been given the status of classical languages.

The criteria adopted for the eligibility of a language for granting classical language status are

  1. High antiquity of its early texts/ recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years;
  2. A body of ancient literature/ texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers;
  3. The literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community;
  4. The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.

The benefits include-

  • A one-time grant of Rs 100 crore for research and development of the language.
  • Two major annual international awards for scholars of eminence in the concerned language.
  • The setting up of a 'Centre of Excellence for Studies in Classical Languages' can be set up.
  • The University Grants Commission can be requested to create, to start with at least in Central Universities, a certain number of professional chairs for classical languages, for scholars of eminence in the concerned language.

Source: PIB

Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga

GS-I : Human Geography Pipeline networks

Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga

Jagdishpur-Haldia & Bokaro-Dhamra Natural Gas Pipeline (JHBDPL) project is also known as Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga. The 2,655 km project aims to connect the eastern states to the national gas grid.

  • Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal are the beneficiary states.
  • The project will usher in Industrial development in East India by supplying environmentally clean natural gas to fertiliser and power plants, refineries, steel plants and other industries.
  • It also provides clean energy to households and transportation in the cities en route the pipeline.
  • State-run gas utility GAIL India has recently placed orders for 400-km of pipeline.

Source: PIB

Swayam Prabha

GS-III : Economic Issues Education

Swayam Prabha

The Swayam Prabha is a group of 32 DTH channels devoted to telecasting of high-quality educational programmes on a 24X7 basis using the GSAT-15 satellite. The channels cover higher education, and school education and assist the students (class 11th & 12th) prepare for competitive exams.

  • The contents are provided by IITs, UGC, IGNOU, NCERT and NIOS.
  • Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET), an autonomous Inter-University Centre (IUC) of UGC maintains the web portal.
  • INFLIBNET is involved in creating infrastructure for sharing of library and information resources and services among Academic and Research Institutions.
  • It allows students to choose the time of their convenience for learning.
  • It widens the scope of SWAYAM, an online education platform which covers teachers' training, and graduate and postgraduate courses.

Under Swayam Prabha, the government had one DTH channel in English and Hindi of the 32 channels for telecasting educational programmes dedicated to teacher training. The government has decided to increase it to 3 channels along with providing an encoder device that permits live video interaction ISRO is collaborating with NIOS in providing the devices to the teachers.

Source: PIB




Malicious software called Cerberus is stealing financial data such as credit card details by luring people with COVID-19-related information, the Central Bureau of Investigation has warned states, Union territories and agencies after receiving Interpol inputs.

The Trojan virus contacts smartphone users via text messages and asks to click on a link saying it will provide COVID-19 updates. When clicked, the link installs a malicious application on their phones, which extracts sensitive financial data.

This malicious software takes advantage of the COVID-19 Pandemic to impersonate and send SMS using the lure of COVID-19-related content to download the embedded malicious link, which deploys its malicious app usually spread via phishing campaigns to trick users into installing it on their smartphones.

Source: TH

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