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UPSC Courses

Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge launched

Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge launched  Launched by: Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) Aim: To provide further impetus to the strong ecosystem of Start-up, innovation and research in the country. To realize the ambition of self-reliance. Indigenously developed microprocessors SHAKTI and VEGA have also been rolled out under the  Microprocessor Development Programme. Microprocessor Development Programme Aim: Meeting Ind

Nuakhai Juhar

Nuakhai Juhar Nuakhai Juhar is an agricultural festival, also called Nuakhai Parab or Nuakahi Bhetghat. It is celebrated to welcome the new crop of the season. Nuakhai is a combination of two words that signifies eating of new rice as ‘nua’ means new and ‘khai’ means eat. This is the festival of Western Odisha, southern Chhattisgarh and adjoining areas of Simdega (Jharkhand). Its coastal counterpart is Nabanna, observed in Coastal Odisha.

Harit Path Mobile App

Harit Path Mobile App Context Recently, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has developed a mobile App, ‘Harit Path' to facilitate creation of Green Highways across the country. About Harit Path Mobile App The App will help to monitor location, growth, species details, maintenance activities, targets and achievements for each and every plant. In order to track the growth and health of the plants, photographs along with data of the plants captured usin

Synthetic Flavanoids

Synthetic Flavanoids Context Recently, scientists from Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune have found the first synthetic route for producing flavonoids molecules related to the treatment of tuberculosis and chikungunya. ARI is an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. About Flavonoids: It is for the first time that scientists have been able to synthesize the flavonoid molecules such as rugosa flavonoids, podocare fl

Chora Museum 

Chora Museum  Context Recently, the Turkish President reconverted the Chora museum into a mosque. This is the second museum after Hagia Sophia to be converted into a mosque. Turkey has also found a new gas field in Black Sea. Chora Museum: It was built initially as a church in 534 AD, during the early Byzantine period. In the 11th century, its internal walls, pillars and domes were covered with mosaics and frescoes showing scenes from biblical stories. After the c

Walter Scheidel’s Analysis

Walter Scheidel’s Analysis Walter Scheidel, the Austrian economic historian, argues that throughout human history, there have been four types of catastrophic events that have led to greater economic equality: pandemic, war, revolution and state collapse. In Scheidel’s analysis, the decline in inequality is a result of excess mortality that raises the price of labour.

Short Film ‘Am I?’ wins first prize in Online Short Film Contest organized by I&B Ministry and NFDC

Short film ‘Am I?’ directed by Abhijit Paul has won the first prize in an Online Short Film Contest organized by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting along with National Film Development Corporation (NFDC). The theme as announced by the I&B Ministry and NFDC for the short film entries was to revolve around patriotism, while also equating it to the Atmanirbharta, self-reliance as the new mantra of progress for the nation.  

Swachh Survekshan 2020

Swachh Survekshan 2020 Context Recently, the Swachh Survekshan 2020 report has been launched by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA). It is the 5th edition of the annual cleanliness urban survey conducted by the MoHUA. It is one of the world’s largest sanitation surveys. News: This year the Ministry has released rankings based on the categorisation of cities on population, instead of releasing overall rankings. The categories based on populatio

Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA)

Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) It is an initiative of the Ministry of Education, Government of India to systematically rank all the major higher educational institutions and universities in India on indicators related to “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development” amongst students and faculties. More than quantity, ARIIA focuses on quality of innovations and tries to measure the real impact created by these innovations nationally and interna

National Recruitment Agency

National Recruitment Agency Context The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has decided to set up a National Recruitment Agency (NRA) to conduct a common preliminary examination for various recruitments in the central government. About NRA: The NRA will conduct the Common Eligibility Test (CET) for recruitment to non-gazetted posts in government and public sector banks. Approximately 1.25 lakh government jobs are advertised every year for which 2.5 crore aspirants a

Barakah nuclear power plant

Barakah nuclear power plant The Barakah nuclear power plant is the United Arab Emirates's first nuclear power station, the first nuclear power station in the Arabian Peninsula, and the first commercial nuclear power station in the Arab World. It consists of four APR-1400 nuclear reactors (one operating, three mostly completed). Total capacity is 5,600 MW which is intended to supply up to 25% of UAE's energy needs.

Development of Synthetic Flavonoids

Recently, scientists from Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune have found the first synthetic route for producing flavonoids molecules related to the treatment of tuberculosis and chikungunya. Key takeaways It is for the first time that the flavonoid molecules such as rugosa flavonoids, podocare flavone and isoflavone have been synthesised in a lab. These three molecules have so far been isolated from plants only.  These are part of the polyphenol class of phytonutrients

'Subhiksha Keralam' Project

'Subhiksha Keralam' Project The Kerala Government's program 'Subhiksha Keralam' Project or Padhathi aims to combat food scarcity in the state, the Kerala state agriculture department has started converting fallow lands into farms. The government is targeting around 25,000 hectares of fallow land to convert to farms. Subhiksha Keralam Padhathi is a convergence scheme where all the departments are merging together. The government is trying to create good models of in

Plug and play Business model

Plug and play Business model The government intends to promote scheme of ‘plug and play’ for further fast-tracking investment proposals especially for projects having substantial foreign investment. About plug and play ‘Plug and play’ concept normally refers to ready facilities in terms of building, power-water-sewage connectivity, road connectivity, beside other basic things including clearances in hand required to start the industry. This concept ga

Bank of schemes, ideas, innovation & research portal on MSMEs

Bank of schemes, ideas, innovation & research portal on MSMEs Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari launched bank of schemes, ideas, innovation and Research portal - http://ideas.msme.gov.in on MSMEs. About the portal: The portal gives access to all schemes of Union, States and Union Territory Governments and has the provision for uploading ideas, innovations and researches in the sector.  It has unique features of not only crowd sourcing o

Darknet:

Darknet: It refers to the hidden internet platform used for narcotics sale, exchange of pornographic content and other illegal activities by using the secret alleys of the onion router (ToR- a free and open-source software for enabling anonymous communication) to stay away from the surveillance of law enforcement agencies. It is tough to crack because of its end-to-end encryption. The dark net is part of the deep web, which encompasses all unindexed sites that don't pop up when an

Jaya Jaitly Committee

Jaya Jaitly Committee A task force has been constituted by the Government of India to evaluate issues related to Infant Mortality Rate, Maternal Mortality Rate, Total Fertility Rate, Sex Ratio at Birth, Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and any other issue that pertains to health as well as nutrition. It will also review the correlation of age of marriage and motherhood along with health, medical well being and nutritional status of mother and child, during pregnancy & birth. The task force

Kalpana Chawla Award

Kalpana Chawla Award Three women from Aadhanur in Perambalur district, who rescued two youth from drowning in the Kottakarai dam, by throwing their sarees to them, were awarded the Kalpana Chawla award for courage and daring enterprise by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami during the 74th Independence Day celebrations at Fort St. George on Saturday.

African Swine Fever (ASF)

African Swine Fever (ASF) African Swine Fever (ASF) is different from swine flu. The virus does not affect people and there is no impact on human health. Swine influenza or swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs, which is caused by type A influenza virus. ASF is a severe viral disease that affects wild and domestic pigs typically resulting in an acute haemorrhagic fever. ASF is caused by a large DNA virus of the Asfarviridae family.

Abraham Accord

UAE, Israel reach agreement to establish diplomatic ties Context: The United Arab Emirates has become the first Gulf Arab country to reach a deal on normalising relations with Israel The United Arab Emirates and Israel have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties as part of a deal to halt the annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state. The development caps years of discreet contacts between the two countries in commerce and technology. The so-ca

Greater Male Connectivity project

Greater Male Connectivity project Context: India announces $500 mn package for the Maldives India has announced its support in the implementation of the Greater Male Connectivity project (GMCP in the Maldives). The financial package comprises of a new Line of Credit (LoC) of USD 400 million and a grant of USD 100 million. New connectivity measures for the Maldives, including air, sea, intra-island and telecommunications, have been announced by India. It is an effort to help Mald

Environmental Performance Index 2020

Environmental Performance Index: The global Environmental Performance Index report has consistently put India at the bottom of its rankings. India ranked 168th in the 12th edition of the Environment Performance Index (EPI) 2020. It was ranked 177th out of 180 countries in 2018. EPI is a biennial index prepared by Yale University and Columbia University in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. The index considers 32 indicators of environmental performance and includes 10-yea

Global Forest Watch

Global Forest Watch The Global Forest Watch (GFW) is released by World Resources Institute (WRI) Global Forest Watch (GFW) is an online platform that provides near-real-time data and tools for monitoring forests. The GFW map utilizes cutting edge satellite and remote sensing technology to show near real-time data on tree cover loss. Tree cover data is accompanied by land use and conservation data to contextualize forest change. The GFW platform allows users to subscribe to alert

‘Mega labs’ to boost COVID-19 testing

‘Mega labs’ to boost COVID-19 testing Introduction: The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is working on developing mega labs to ramp up testing for COVID-19 as well as improve the accuracy rate. The labs will be repurposing large machines, called Next Generation Sequencing machines (NGS). Advantages: The mega labs will sequence 1,500 to 3,000 viral genomes at a go to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Used optimally and with appropriate modificati

‘Mega labs’ to boost COVID-19 testing

‘Mega labs’ to boost COVID-19 testing Introduction: The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is working on developing mega labs to ramp up testing for COVID-19 as well as improve the accuracy rate. The labs will be repurposing large machines, called Next Generation Sequencing machines (NGS). Advantages: The mega labs will sequence 1,500 to 3,000 viral genomes at a go to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Used optimally and with appropriate modificati

Abscisic Acid (ABA)

What is Abscisic Acid? Glands are organs secrete hormones at different times to stimulate body processes such as growth, development, and the breaking down of sugars. Abscisic acid is a plant hormone involved in many developmental plant processes, such as dormancy and environmental stress response. Function of Abscisic Acid Plants have openings on the bottom side of their leaves, known as stomata. Stomata take in carbon dioxide and regulate water content. Abscisi

Magnetic Hyperthermia-Mediated Cancer Therapy

Magnetic hyperthermia-mediated cancer therapy (MHCT) It is a non-invasive cancer treatment. The technique: Delivery and localisation of magnetic materials within the targeted tumour site followed by subsequent application of an alternating magnetic field (AMF), thereby generating heat at the tumour site. It can efficiently act against deep-seated inaccessible solid tumours like glioblastoma (aggressive type of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord)

Postinfo app

Postinfo app Minister of Communications & Information Technology Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad has launched India Post’s mobile app for mail tracking. The new Postinfo app, developed by the Centre for Excellence in Postal Technology, provides facilities for: mail item tracking; post office searches; and a calculator for postage costs, insurance premiums and interest. According to India Post, the app can be used to track the following types of mail items: • Speed Post &b

Instrument Landing System (ILS)

Instrument Landing System (ILS) Instrument Landing System (ILS) is defined as a precision runway approach aid based on two radio beams which together provide pilots with both vertical and horizontal guidance during an approach to land.

All 9 tribal freedom fighters museums to be ready by end of 2022

As per the statement released by the ministry, two of the nine museums sanctioned for the tribal freedom fighters are already nearing completion and the rest of them are at the different stages of progress. The largest of these museums have been built in Rajpipla in Gujarat at a cost of Rs. 102.55 crores. The government has been planning permanent museums in the states where Tribals had lived, struggled against the British rule, and had refused to bow down so that the upcoming generations ma

Farm infra scheme

Farm infra scheme A new financing scheme has been launched under the ?1 lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund meant for setting up storage and processing facilities, which will help farmers get higher prices for their crops. The scheme will support farmers, PACS [primary agricultural credit societies], FPOs [farmer producer organisations], agri-entrepreneurs, etc. in building community farming assets and post-harvest agriculture infrastructure. These assets will enable farmers to

What Is Severance Pay?

What Is Severance Pay? Severance pay is the compensation and/or benefits an employer provides to an employee after employment is over. Severance packages may include extended benefits, such as health insurance and outplacement assistance to help an employee secure a new position. It is given under Industrial Disputes Act,1947 if a worker is employed for a period of 248 days. Employers offer packages to employees who are laid off, whose jobs are eliminated because of downsizing, or who

COVAX program

COVAX program COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator The ACT Accelerator is a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO. Its aim is to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for eve

Covishield: 2nd – 3rd Phase trails

Covishield: 2nd – 3rd Phase trails Recently, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has given approval to the Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune to conduct Phase II/III clinical trials of Covishield in India. SII is the world’s largest maker of vaccines and it has a tie-up with AstraZeneca, the Swedish-British pharma giant, to manufacture the Covid-19 vaccine for low- and middle-income countries.

Space X Capsule Returns

Space X Capsule Returns GS-Paper-3 Space (PT-MAINS) Recently, two National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken have returned to earth in their SpaceX Dragon capsule named Endeavour, in less than a day after departing the International Space Station (ISS). Their capsule parachuted into the Gulf of Mexico about 40 miles off the coast of Pensacola, Florida Panhandle (USA), whic

Anniversary of Lokmanya Tilak: 100th

Anniversary of Lokmanya Tilak: 100th GS-Paper-1 History personality (PT-MAINS) Recently, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) conducted the webinar to observe 100th death anniversary of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak on the 1st August , 2020. Background: Born on 23rd July 1856 in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra. Lawyer by profession and also known as Lokmanya Tilak. Gave the slogan of “Swaraj is my birthright an

Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN)

Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) The Health Ministry has announced the use of the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN). eVIN is an innovative technological solution aimed at strengthening immunisation supply chain systems across the country. This is being implemented under the National Health Mission (NHM), to get real-time information on vaccine stocks and flows, and storage temperatures across all cold chain points in the country. This system has been used w

Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP) 2020

Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP) 2020 Context: Ministry of Defence (MoD) has put out a draft ‘Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP) 2020’ for public feedback. DPEPP has been drafted with the vision to make India amongst the leading countries of the world in the defence sector, including aerospace and naval shipbuilding sectors, from design to production, with the active participation of public and private sector and thus fulfillin

UK to Issue Coin in Honour of Mahatma Gandhi

UK to Issue Coin in Honour of Mahatma Gandhi Britain is considering minting a coin to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi. The consideration is seen as part of efforts to celebrate achievements of people from the Black, Asian and other Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. The British Finance Minister has written a letter to the Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC), to consider recognising the contribution of BAME communities on Britain's coinage. The RMAC is an independent co

Lakshadweep and environment

Lakshadweep and environment Recently, the southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has granted an interim stay on felling of coconut trees on Agatti Island in Lakshadweep. Background: Recently, a petition was moved in the NGT over indiscriminate cutting of coconut trees for a beach road. The tree-felling was violating the Union Territory’s (UT) Integrated Island Management Plan (IIMP). IIMP was formulate

Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Genetic Resources (MAPGRs)

Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Genetic Resources (MAPGRs) National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) and ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) have entered into a MoU to conserve the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Genetic Resources (MAPGRs). The conservation will be done in long-term storage module in the National Gene bank and/or at Regional Station for medium term storage module. The authorized institute NMPB and the ICAR-NBPGR on behalf of the ICAR would develop detailed modali

Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Yellow fever is caused by a virus that is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. These mosquitoes thrive in and near human habitations where they breed in even the cleanest water. It is endemic in 34 countries in the sub-Saharan African region, despite the existence of a vaccine for the disease. There are three transmission ‘cycles’ for the disease in Africa - Urban, zoonotic and intermediate. The urban cycle mediated by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes is responsible fo

Dhole

Dhole Dhole is also known as Asian wild dog, Asiatic wild dog, Indian wild dog, whistling dog, red dog, and mountain wolf. Besides the tiger, the dhole is the only large carnivore in India that is under the IUCN’s ‘endangered’ category. It play an important role as apex predators in forest ecosystems. A research paper on conserving the endangered dhole was published in Mammal Review. Highlights Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh rank high in the conservat

BeiDou

BeiDou China’s administration has officially commissioned BeiDou Navigation Satellite System constellation. It was initiated in 1994. It aims to integrate its application in different sectors, including fishery, agriculture, special care, mass-market applications, forestry and public security. It now offers services including accurate positioning, navigation and timing as well as short message communication. BeiDou uses a network of satellites and can provide positional accuracies of

U.K. to issue coin to honour Gandhiji

U.K. to issue coin to honour Gandhiji Context Britain is considering minting a coin to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhiji’s birthday, October 2, is observed as the International Day of Non-Violence. As part of a global reassessment of history, colonialism and protests against racism in the U.S., some British institutions have begun re-examining their past. Many organisations have taken initiatives to make investments to help the Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) comm

Density Dependent dispersals

Density Dependent dispersals Context Scientists at the Pune-based Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) carried out experiments to study the phenomenon of ‘density-dependent dispersal’ by observing around 29,000 fruit flies to see if evolution had modified their tendency to move towards or away from crowded regions. Study findings: While females had been dispersing more than the males initially, the males overtook females in movement after evo

Barakah nuclear power plant

Barakah nuclear power plant United Arab Emirates has announced the start-up of its Barakah nuclear power plant. Barakah was built by a consortium led by the Korea Electric Power Corporation. The plant is located on a sparsely populated strip of desert on the Persian Gulf coast. It has 4 nuclear reactors. It will have a total capacity of 5,600 megawatts, which is almost a fifth of the country’s current installed generating capacity. Its first nuclear reactor has achieved first

NEP drops Mandarin from language list

NEP drops Mandarin from language list Context The National Education Policy (NEP) has dropped Mandarin (Chinese) from its list of foreign languages that can be taught in schools. News The language was included in the draft policy released in May 2019, but is missing from the final document approved by the Cabinet. However, Higher Education Secretary has pointed that Schools are free to offer other languages. The plan for teaching Mandarin in Indian schools and Hindi langu

Dhole conservation

Dhole conservation A study has pointed out that Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh rank high in the conservation of the endangered dhole, in India. About Dhole: Also known as Asiatic wild dog, Dhole (Cuon alpinus) is native to Central, South, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. Dholes play an important role as apex predators in forest ecosystems. Dholes hunt in packs and tend to venture into forested landscapes adjoining protected areas. Besides the tiger, the dhole is t

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