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UPSC Courses

OPEC and OPEC+ Countries

OPEC and OPEC+ Countries About OPEC It is an intergovernmental organization of 13 nations, founded in 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela). HQ is in Vienna, Austria. It aims to manage the supply of oil in an effort to set the price of oil in the world market, in order to avoid fluctuations that might affect the economies of both producing and purchasing countries. The current OPE

Dragon Fruit or Kamalam to be exported to Dubai

Dragon Fruit or Kamalam to be exported to Dubai In a major boost to export of exotic fruit, a consignment of fibre and mineral rich ‘Dragon Fruit’, also referred as Kamalam, has been exported to Dubai. A consignment of Dragon Fruit for exports was sourced from the farmers of Tadasar village, Sangli district, Maharashtra and it was processed and packed at APEDA recognized exporter – M/s Kay Bee. Scientifically referred to as Hylocereusundatus, the dragon fruit is grown

Everything about Neutrinos

Everything about Neutrinos Neutrinos was 1st proposed by Swiss scientist Wolfgang Pauli in 1930. It is the 2nd most widely occurring particle in the Universe, after Photons (the particle which makes up light). Neutrinos are so abundant among us that every second there are > 100 trillion of them passing right through each of us. Properties of Neutrinos They are subatomic part different from Neutrons. Leptons family. No charge.

Delta Plus variant of COVID-19

Delta Plus variant of COVID-19 What is the Delta variant? How is it different from the Delta Plus variant? Why has it become a global concern? A mutant variant of SARS-CoV-2, B.1.617.2 is now named the Delta variant. It has mutations in its spike protein, which makes it more transmissible and able to evade immunity. It has already spread to 80 countries across the world. After India, now it is spreading fast in the U.K., some States in the U.S., Singapore and southern China. When t

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) It was started in 10th five year plan in 2005. It works under Ministry of Ministry of Rural Development. Funding: Centrally Sponsored with the pattern 90:10. Providing provides a legal guarantee of at least 100 days of unskilled manual work in rural areas. Any member > 18 years (Adult members) of a rural household, willing to do unskilled man

Do insects migrate? Which insect has the longest migration route?

Do insects migrate? Which insect has the longest migration route? Many dragonflies, beetles, butterflies, locusts and moths are known to migrate during the breeding season and the distance travelled varies with species. Most insects travel in large groups and scientists have been studying these movements for several years. A recent study (PNAS) noted that the painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) can make 12,000 to 14,000 kilometre round trips. This is the longest annual insect migrati

Tibet gets first bullet train, links Lhasa to India border

Tibet gets first bullet train, links Lhasa to India border China started operating the first bullet train line in Tibet, linking Lhasa to Nyingchi near the border with Arunachal Pradesh. The China State Railway Group said the 435-km line, on which construction began in 2014, has a designed speed of 160 km per hour and would connect the capital city of the Tibet Autonomous Region to the border city of Nyingchi with a travel time of three and a half hours. Over 90% of the track is 3,000

Central Railside Warehouse Company merged with Central Warehouse Corporation

Central Railside Warehouse Company merged with Central Warehouse Corporation Taking another step towards implementing the direction of “Minimum Government Maximum Governance” given by Prime Minister, promoting ease of doing business and bringing private sector efficiencies in Public Sector Undertakings, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved to merge and transfer all assets, liabilities, rights and obligations of ‘Central Railside

Bhutan’s Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) launched in partnership with India

Bhutan’s Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) launched in partnership with India About Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) Programme The Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) Programme which is jointly launched by UNDP and OECD is intended to support developing countries to strengthen national tax administrations through building audit capacity and to share this knowledge with other countries. The TIWB Programme aims to strengthen tax administrations of developing countries

Why do new waves of COVID-19 happen?

Why do new waves of COVID-19 happen? Dr. V.K. Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog was explaining the reasons behind emergence of new pandemic waves and how it can be controlled or even avoided by following COVID appropriate behaviours and taking measures such as vaccination. Dr. Paul said that there are four elements leading to the formation of a new wave. Behaviour of the virus: The virus has the capacity and ability to spread Susceptible host: Virus keeps looking for susceptible hosts

EU – India Joint Naval Exercise

EU – India Joint Naval Exercise On 18-19 June 2021, the EU and India conducted a joint naval exercise in the Gulf of Aden namely EUNAVFOR exercise. The exercise involved Indian Navy frigate INS Trikand, EU NAVFOR Somalia - Operation Atalanta assets, including Italian frigate Carabiniere (Atalanta’s flagship) and Spanish frigate Navarra, French frigate Surcouf and French amphibious assault helicopter carrier Tonnerre. The exercise was based on the scenario of an anti-p

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. IAEA’s genesis was U.S. President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” address to the United Nations General Assembly in 1953. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization in 1957 and not under direct contr

EUNAVFOR exercise: EU – India Joint Naval Exercise

EU – India Joint Naval Exercise The maiden Indian Navy and European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) exercise began in the Gulf of Aden. Five warships from four navies are participating in the two-day exercise. INS Trikand is participating in the exercise, along with Italy’s ITS Carabinere, the Spanish Navy’s ESPS Navarra, and FS Tonnerre and FS Surcouf of France. On 18-19 June 2021, the EU and India conducted a joint naval exercise in the Gulf of Aden. The exercise i

Ramsar sites and Wetlands in India

Ramsar sites and Wetlands in India Context: A wetland is a place where the land is covered by water. Marshes, ponds, the edge of a lake/ocean, the delta at the mouth of a river, low-lying areas that frequently flood — all of these are wetlands. Wetlands of international importance are also known as Ramsar sites.   Wetlands are areas where water is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life. They occur where the water table is

Shenzhou-12 Manned Mission of China

Shenzhou-12 Manned Mission of China Recently, a Chinese spaceship “Shenzhou-12” carrying a three-person crew docked with China’s new space station module Tianhe-1. The first group of Chinese astronauts entered the country’s under-construction space station, a major step in China’s plans to have a fully functioning station by next year. Shenzhou-12 spaceship, carrying the three astronauts, completed an “automated rendezvous and docking” with the

Inland Vessels Bill, 2021

Inland Vessels Bill, 2021 It will replace the Inland Vessels Act, 1917. The Bill will regulate safety, security and registration of inland vessels. A key feature of the Bill is a unified law for the entire country, instead of separate rules framed by the States. The certificate of registration granted under the proposed law will be deemed to be valid in all States and Union Territories, and there will be no need to seek separate permissions from the States. The Bill provides for a ce

Mandatory Hallmarking of Gold

Hallmarking of Gold Mandatory Hallmarking of Gold Jewellery is going to come into force from tomorrow, 16th June, 2021. Under Hallmarking scheme of Bureau of Indian Standards, Jewellers are registered for selling hallmarked jewellery and recognise testing and Hallmarking centres. BIS (Hallmarking) Regulations, were implemented w.e.f. 14.06.2018. Hallmarking will enable Consumers/Jewellery buyers to make a right choice and save them from any unnecessary confusion while buying gold.

NAFED launches Fortified Rice Bran Oil

NAFED launches Fortified Rice Bran Oil Rice Bran oil has multiple health benefits, including lowering cholesterol level due to its low trans-fat content and high mono unsaturated and poly unsaturated fat contents. It also acts as a booster and reduces the risk of cancer due to the high amount of Vitamin E it contains. This oil is recommended by The American Heart Association and the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the best substitutes for other edible oils. Rice Bran oil

Why do some corals withstand climate change better than others?

Why do some corals withstand climate change better than others? In 2014 and 2015, the brown rice coral in Hawaii was completely bleached, but the blue rice coral recovered quickly after bleaching, and blue coral was unaffected by the elevated ocean temperatures. Researchers from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, U.S., have now decoded the reason for this resilience. Hawaiian blue rice corals have a deep blue pigment derived from algae called zooxanthellae that live inside t

Russia to supply hi-tech satellite to Iran

Russia to supply hi-tech satellite to Iran Russia is set to deliver an advanced satellite system to Iran that will vastly improve its spying capabilities. Moscow is preparing to give Iran a Kanopus-V satellite with a high-resolution camera. It will allow the Islamic republic to monitor facilities of its adversaries across the West Asia, the newspaper said, citing current and former U.S. and West Asian officials. The satellite would be launched in Russia and contain Russian-made hardw

China Sri Lanka Friendship Hospital

China Sri Lanka Friendship Hospital President Gotabaya Rajapaksa inaugurated the China-Sri Lanka Friendship Hospital in Polonnaruwa, built with a Chinese grant of $60 million. The hospital, located in Sri Lanka’s North Central Province, will specialise in treating kidney ailments, a widely prevalent and recurring concern in the region, especially among farmers. For years now, residents of this agriculture-intensive area have been frequently diagnosed with a kidney disorder that t

Operation Pangea XIV by Interpol on fake medicines

Operation Pangea XIV by Interpol on fake medicines More than 1.1 lakh web links, including websites and online marketplaces, have been taken down in an operation involving the police, customs and health regulatory authorities of 92 countries against the sale of fake and illicit medicines and medical products. Code-named “Operation Pangea XIV”, the exercise was coordinated by Interpol. Indian agencies also participated in the operation, said an official of the Central Burea

Defense Corridors in India

In pursuance to the budget announcement (2018-19), it has been decided to set up two Defence Industrial Corridors in the Country, one in Uttar Pradesh and another in Tamil Nadu. Subsequently, six nodes in Uttar Pradesh Defence Corridor viz. Agra, Aligarh, Chitrakoot, Jhansi, Kanpur and Lucknow have been identified. Similarly, for Tamil Nadu Defence Corridor, five nodes viz.  Chennai, Coimbatore, Hosur, Salem and Tiruchirappalli have been identified. Investments of approximately

G7 countries agree on Uniform minimum Corporate Tax

G7 countries agree on Uniform minimum Corporate Tax What is G-7 grouping? It is an intergovernmental organisation that was formed in 1975. The bloc meets annually to discuss issues of common interest like global economic governance, international security and energy policy. The G-7 does not have a formal constitution or a fixed headquarters. The decisions taken by leaders during annual summits are non-binding. G-7 is a bloc of industrialized democracies i.e. France, Germany, I

OPCW (Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons)

OPCW (Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) Not under UN. Independent, autonomous body having a working relation with UN.  It implements Chemical Weapons Convention of 1997. It prohibits Developing, producing, acquiring, stockpiling or retaining Chemical Weapons. Direct or indirect transfer. Use or military prepare for use. Assisting, encouraging, inducing other states in engage in such acts. Use of riot control agents

Treatment of Cancer: SPAG9 and ASPAGNIITM

Treatment of Cancer: SPAG9 and ASPAGNIITM Cancer is a large group of diseases that can start in almost any organ or tissue of the body when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably, go beyond their usual boundaries to invade adjoining parts of the body and/or spread to other organs. The latter process is called metastasizing and is a major cause of death from cancer. A neoplasm and malignant tumor are other common names for cancer. Lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach and liver cancer are the

SAGE portal for the Elderly

SAGE portal for the Elderly The SAGE ( Seniorcare Ageing Growth Engine) initiative portal will be a “one-stop access” of elderly care products and services by credible start-ups. The SAGE portal will be opened for applications from 5th June, 2021 onwards. The start-ups will be selected on the basis of innovative products and services, which they should be able to provide across sectors such as health, housing, care centers, apart from technological access linked to financ

MGNREGA payment through Caste Categories

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) It was started in 10th five year plan in 2005. It works under Ministry of Ministry of Rural Development. Funding: Centrally Sponsored with the pattern 90:10. Providing provides a legal guarantee of at least 100 days of unskilled manual work in rural areas. Any member > 18 years (Adult members) of a rural household, willing to do unskilled man

Model Tenancy Act, 2021

Model Tenancy Act, 2021 A new Model Tenancy Act has been approved by the Union cabinet June 2, 2021. The main trigger for this is the 1.1 crore vacant houses that were found to be locked and empty in the 2011 census. Chances are that this number must have risen in the past 10 years. This model law now has to be accepted and adapted by all the states and Union territories which will notify the law according to their state’s requirements. The new tenancy law is a model Act cre

Sand

Sand Sand shall not be treated as minor mineral when used for any of the following purposes namely; purpose of refractory and manufacturer of ceramic, metallurgical purposes, optical purposes, purposes of stowing in coal mines, for manufacture of silvicrete cement, manufacture of sodium silicate and manufacture of pottery and glass. Under MMDRA, 1957 Sand is a minor mineral and sand mining is regulated by State Govts. Sand mining is don

Compressed Biogas and SATAT

Compressed Biogas and SATAT About Biogas Energy produced from organic waste. Converted into energy by direct combustion or by conversion of such wastages into alcohol,  methane, or other storage fuels. Bio-gas is produced naturally through process of anaerobic decomposition from waste and bio-mass sources like agriculture residue, cattle dung, municipal solid waste, farms, gardens, kitchen waste, night soil waste, sugarcane press mud,

Maratha community brought under EWS Quota

Maratha community brought under EWS Quota In a bid to extend relief to the Maratha community in the State, the tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra on Monday extended the benefits of reservation for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) to the Socially and Economically Backward Class (SEBC). Previously, the government had decided that the Maratha community could not take advantage of the 10% EWS category as Maratha reservation was in force in the State. The Sup

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