UPSC Courses

PRISM Scheme

PRISM Scheme Promoting Innovations in Individuals, Startups and MSMEs (PRISM) is an initiative of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) aimed at transforming an individual innovator into a successful technopreneur by promoting, supporting, and funding implementable and commercially viable innovations created for the society. Under the initiative, an innovator of Indian nationality - student, professional and common citizen - is provided technical, strategic, and fin

World Development Report 2021

World Development Report 2021 The World Bank has published the World Development Report 2021: Data for Better Lives. About World Development Report: It is annual report which is being published since 1978. It gives in-depth analysis and policy recommendations on agriculture, the role of the state, transition economies, and labour to infrastructure, health, the environment, and poverty Key Features: The report highlights that most countries h

New Red Alga found in Arabian Sea

New Red Alga found in the Arabian Sea Two new species of red seaweed - Hypnea indica and Hypnea bullata - have been discovered by marine biologists from the Central University of Punjab (The genus Hypnea includes red seaweeds.) Hypnea indica - Discovered from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, and Somnath Pathan and Sivrajpur in Gujarat.  Hypnea bullata - Discovered from the Kanyakumari and Diu islands of Daman and Diu. Another species, Hypnea nidifica, has been found for the first tim

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2021

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2021 The Rajya Sabha passed the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation), Amendment Bill, 2021 doing away with the distinction between the captive and non-captive mines, allowing captive mines to sell up to 50% of the minerals excavated during the current year that will also help towards the auctioning of more mines. The MMDR Act, 1957 empowers the central government to reserve any mine as captive mine whic

Mitali Express between India & Bangladesh

Mitali Express between India & Bangladesh PM Modi & Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina inaugurated a passenger train between Dhaka, and New Jalpaiguri. It will strengthen the people-to-people connectivity & connect Dhaka cantonment and New Jalpaiguri on the Chilhati-Haldibari train link. About Mitali Express: The Chilhati-Haldibari train link is a significant one as it connects north Bangladesh with north Bengal. Other Key Events: On the occasion of the birt

Panchayat Implementation in 6th Schedule Areas

Panchayat Implementation in 6th Schedule Areas The Union Minister of State for Home informed the Lok Sabha on March 23, 2021, that there is no proposal presently to introduce the Panchayat system in the Sixth Schedule areas of Assam.  What is Sixth Schedule? The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India protects tribal populations and provides autonomy to them by allowing the formation of autonomous administrative councils that can frame laws on land, public health, agric

IUCN Declares African Elephants as Critically Endangered

IUCN Declares African Elephants as Critically Endangered The IUCN has declared African Forest elephants as ‘critically endangered’ and Savanna (or bush) elephants as ‘endangered’. Previously IUCN listed both African elephants as “vulnerable”. But now it has opted to list them separately. It is after genetic evidence proved that both are different species. About African Elephants African elephants are the largest lan

Tribal TB Initiative to achieve ‘TB Mukt Bharat’ by 2025

 Tribal TB Initiative to achieve ‘TB Mukt Bharat’ by 2025 Union Health Minister launched the “Tribal TB Initiative” as a step toward achieving 'TB Mukt Bharat' by 2025. The Ministry also released a guidance note on Joint Action Plan for the elimination of Tuberculosis (TB), a Special Edition of Tribal Ministry’s Publication ‘ALEKH’ on TB and a document on the Tribal Tuberculosis (TB) Initiative at the event. About the Initiative:

Finance Minister launched Central Scrutiny Centre and IEPFA App

Finance Minister launched Central Scrutiny Centre and IEPFA App The Finance Minister virtually launched the Central Scrutiny Centre(CSC). She also launched the mobile app for the Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority(IEPFA).  About Central Scrutiny Centre: Central Scrutiny Centre is an initiative of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. It aims to scrutinize the forms filled by companies under straight-through processes. The objective is to ensure that data qua

International Day of Forests

International Day of Forests The United Nations observed March 21 as the International Day of Forests. About International Day of Forests: The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 21 as the International Day of Forests (IDF) in 2012. The day celebrates and raises awareness about the importance of all types of forests. The day is celebrated by the United Nations Forum on Forests and the Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO). The celebrations are done in collab

National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2021

National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2021 Lok Sabha has passed the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2021. The bill aims at setting up a National Commission for Allied and healthcare Professions to standardize and regulate the education and practice of allied and healthcare professionals. It will also facilitate the maintenance and regulation of standards of education and services by healthcare professionals. What will be the func

Earth Hour Day- Celebrated on March 27

Earth Hour Day- Celebrated on March 27 Earth Hour Day was observed all over the world on March 27, 2021. About Earth Hour Earth Hour is a global movement for environmental conservation. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) started it in 2007. It is an annual event, that takes place on the last Saturday of March. Millions of people in over 180 countries and territories participate in it by turning off their lights. It aims to call attention to global warming, loss of

International Intellectual Property Index 2021 Released

The International Intellectual Property Index 2021released About International Intellectual Property Index: It is an annual report released by the US Chamber of Commerce & Global Innovation Policy Centre(GIPC). The index evaluates Intellectual Property rights in 53 global economies. These economies represent together over 90% of global GDP. It ranks countries based on 50 unique indicators. These indicators are divided into nine categories of protection: 1) Patents 2)

Traffic Suspension in Suez Canal

Traffic Suspension in Suez Canal A 400 m long “Ever Given vessel” blocked the Suez Canal. The ship blocked the canal due to a lack of visibility created by bad weather and a sand storm. So temporarily the traffic is suspended. About the Suez Canal: Suez Canal is a sea-level waterway running north-south across the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt to connect the Mediterranean and the Red seas. The canal separates the African continent from Asia. Significance: S

PM thanked United Nations Institute for Training and Research

PM thanked United Nations Institute for Training and Research United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) appreciated India’s progress in reducing premature mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The Indian Prime Minister(PM) has thanked UNITAR in return. About United Nations Institute for Training and Research(UNITAR) United Nations Institute for Training and Research(UNITAR) is a dedicated training arm of the United Nations system. It was founded in

Tulips in Jammu & Kashmir

Tulips in Jammu & Kashmir The Prime Minister through a tweet asked everyone to visit a tulip garden in Jammu and Kashmir. The garden is located at the foothills of the Zabarwan range. About the Tulip Garden: The tulip garden is located at the foothills of the Zabarwan range. It is Asia’s largest tulip garden, spreading over an area of about 30 hectares. This garden is home to more than 64 varieties of tulips in bloom. It was started in 2007 to boost floriculture and touri

Oxfam Inequality Index

Oxfam Inequality Index The Oxfam’s Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index, 2020 ranked India at 129 overall out of 158 countries. But the Minister of Labour and Employment has said that the index lacked clarity & the report did not take into account various initiatives taken by the government. About Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index: It is released by Oxfam International. The index ranks 158 countries. The Index measures the policies and

Shigmotsav Festival of Goa

Shigmotsav Festival of Goa Amid a rise in Covid-19 cases, Goa government permitted the celebrations of the Shigmotsav Festival. Questions are being raised over the scale of celebrations of the festival in Goa. About Shigmotsav Festival: Shigmotsav festival also known as Shigmo is a spring festival celebrated in the state of Goa. The festival is the celebration of a rich, golden harvest of paddy by the tribal communities of Goa. Agricultural communities including the Kunbis, Gawda

Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana

Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana is a welfare measure being implemented by the Employee's State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) on a pilot basis for a period of 2 years initially. It has been extended to June 30, 2021. Introduced w.e.f. July 01, 2018, it offers cash compensation to Insured Persons (IPs) when they are rendered unemployed. Eligibility for the scheme is, Employees are covered under Section 2(9) of the ESI Act 1948. IP should have com

Increasing House Sparrow Population in India

Increasing House Sparrow Population in India House Sparrow population was on the decline in cities, for decades. But now citizen-led movements across various states are facilitating the increase of the House Sparrow population. About House Sparrow: House Sparrow(Passer domesticus) is a bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found in most parts of the world. Characteristics of House Sparrow: The male and female House Sparrow are easily distinguishable not in size but in col

Indo French Space Collaboration

Indo-French Space Collaborations Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and French space agency Centre National dEtudes Spatiales (CNES) are working on their 3rd joint satellite mission. ISRO and CNES have completed the feasibility study to realise the earth observation satellite mission with TRISHNA, a thermal infrared imager. TRISHNA will monitor the water cycle to help in properly utilizing it.  ARGOS of CNES will be integrated into ISRO’s OCEANSAT-3 satellite.

Asteroid 2001 FO32- The Largest Asteroid to pass by Earth in 2021

Asteroid 2001 FO32 Asteroid 2001 FO32 is the largest asteroid that passed by Earth in 2021. It was discovered 20 years ago by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program in Socorro, New Mexico in 2001. When it is at its closest to Earth, it is at a distance of 2 million km (Equal to 5¼ times the distance between Earth & moon). So, it has been designated as a “potentially hazardous asteroid”. The reason for the asteroid’s close appr

National Commission for Allied and Healthcare

National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill The Bill seeks to regulate and standardise the education and practice of allied and healthcare professionals.  Key features of the Bill include: Allied health professional: The Bill defines ‘allied health professional’ as an associate, technician, or technologist trained to support the diagnosis and treatment of any illness, disease, injury, or impairment.  Such a professional should ha

Bacteria found on International Space Station named after Indian scientist

Bacteria found on International Space Station named after Indian scientist 4 species of bacteria have been discovered onboard the International Space Station (ISS). About the Discovery:  One of the bacteria has been named after Indian biodiversity scientist Seyed Ajmal Khan (Methylobacterium ajmaline). Four strains of bacteria belong to this family These bacteria aid in plant growth. While one strain was identified as Methylorubrum rhodesianum bacteria, the other thre

RBI Committee to Study Applications for Universal Banks & Small Finance Banks

RBI Committee to Study Applications for Universal Banks & Small Finance Banks The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced the creation of a Standing External Advisory Committee under the chairmanship of Shyamala Gopinath for evaluating applications for Universal Banks and Small Finance Banks. This is part of the central bank’s earlier announced plan to give banking permits on a continuous basis to candidates, a process that is commonly known as ‘on-tap’ licensing.

Global Hunger Index- Criteria, Methodology & India's Ranking

Global Hunger Index- Criteria, Methodology & India's Ranking The government has questioned the methodology and data accuracy of the Global Hunger Index (GHI) report, alleging that children considered healthy were also counted to determine the ranking. India was ranked at 94th position out of 107 countries that were studied. About Global Hunger Index: The report is a peer-reviewed publication released annually by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide. It tracks hunge

NV Ramanna to be the next Chief Justice of India

NV Ramanna to be the next Chief Justice of India The current Chief Justice of India(CJI) has recommended Justice N.V. Ramana, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court as the next CJI. About Chief Justice of India(CJI): The Chief Justice of India is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of India. He/she is also the highest-ranking officer of the Indian judiciary. Constitution on appointment of CJI: The Constitution of India does not have any specific provision for criteria and

SAAMAR Campaign in Jharkhand

SAAMAR Campaign in Jharkhand The Jharkhand government has launched the SAAMAR campaign to tackle malnutrition in the state. About SAAMAR Campaign: SAAMAR is an acronym for Strategic Action for Alleviation of Malnutrition and Anaemia Reduction. The SAAMAR campaign aims to identify anaemic women and malnourished children. It brings together various departments to effectively deal with the major malnutrition problem in the state. Features of the campaign: SAMAR campaign

World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2021

World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2021 Union Minister of Telecom has represented India at the World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2021.  About World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2021: It is one of the world’s largest annual gatherings of the ‘ICT for the development community. WSI's chief aim is to bridge the global digital divide separating rich countries from poor countries. The WSIS aims to achieve this by increasing inter

Namami Gange Program

Namami Gange Programme The Government of India has been currently implementing several initiatives under the Namami Gange Programme to clean the polluted rivers of Ganga. The Programme was launched in 2014. It is an Integrated Conservation Mission under the Ministry of Jal Shakti. It Aims to achieve effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of the National River Ganga. Main Pillars of the Programme: Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure, River-Surface

New Projects Under Jal Jeevan Mission

New Projects Under Jal Jeevan Mission The Ministry of Jal Shakti Ministry has entered a partnership with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the government of Denmark. The agreement aims to bring tap water connections to 11 water-scarce districts in Uttar Pradesh under the Jal Jeevan mission. About United Nations Office for Project Services(UNOPS): The office was established in 1973 as part of the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP). It became an

Indus Water Commission

Indus Water Commission India and Pakistan will hold the 116th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission(PIC) in New Delhi. They will discuss water-sharing issues and address each other’s concerns with the Indus Water Treaty. About Permanent Indus Commission(PIC): The Permanent Indus Commission is a bilateral commission of officials from India and Pakistan. It is created to implement and manage the goals of the Indus Water Treaty, 1960. The Commission according to the treaty m

Traditional Textiles of Assam in News due to Upcoming Elections

Traditional Textiles of Assam in News due to Upcoming Elections Decorative jaapi (field hats), hand-woven games, and bell-metal xorais are making frequent appearances in Assam as the election is coming closer. About Jaapi: Jaapi is a conical hat. It is made of bamboo and covered with dried tokou leaves Tokou is a palm tree found in the rainforests of Upper Assam. Jaapi is most often used in official functions in Assam to felicitate guests. Farmers also use jaapi t

Gandhi Peace Prize 2020 & 2019

Gandhi Peace Prize 2020 & 2019 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the former Sultan of Oman, the late Qaboos bin Said Al Said, will be awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize for 2020 and 2019, respectively. They were selected by the jury, chaired by the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, the leader of the single largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha, Lok Sabha Speaker and founder of Sulabh International. About the Gandhi Peace Prize: The annual award was instituted by the Governm

Aluminium Air Batteries

Aluminium Air Batteries Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. has entered into a joint venture with Israel-based battery technology start-up Phinergy to develop aluminium-air technology-based battery systems. These batteries utilise oxygen in the air which reacts with an aluminium hydroxide solution to oxidise the aluminium and produce electricity. These batteries are said to be a lower-cost and more energy-dense alternative to lithium-ion batteries, which are currently in use in India. These

Diatom Test for Detecting Death via Drowning

Diatom Test for Detecting Death via Drowning Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) relied on a diatom test for leads in the alleged murder case of Mansukh Hiran. About Diatom Test It helps in diagnosing the death caused by drowning. It tests diatoms in the body being tested. Diatoms are photosynthesizing algae found in aquatic environment including fresh and marine waters, soils, etc., (almost anywhere moist). If the person is alive when he enters the water, the diatoms will en

Turkey Withdraws from Istanbul Convention

Turkey Withdraws from Istanbul Convention Turkey withdraws from the Istanbul Convention - to combat violence against women. About Istanbul Convention: Istanbul Convention is also called the Council of Europe Convention. It aims towards preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The convention was adopted in 2011. It came into force in 2014. Once ratified the Convention is legally binding on the country. It is the first legally-binding instrument t

Pabbi-Antiterror-2021 – SCO’s Joint Anti-Terrorism Exercise

Pabbi-Antiterror-2021 – SCO’s Joint Anti-Terrorism Exercise India, Pakistan, China and other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will hold a joint anti-terrorism exercise called “Pabbi-Antiterror-2021”. About Exercise Pabbi-Antiterror-2021: It was announced during the 36th meeting of the Council of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Purpose is to improve cooperation between the competent authorities

United Nation's World Happiness Report 2021

United Nation's World Happiness Report 2021 World Happiness Report 2021 has been released. It evaluates levels of happiness by accounting factors such as GDP, social support, personal freedom, and levels of corruption in each nation.  About World Happiness Report: It is an annual report published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). It ranks countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. The 2021 edition

Sealing of India's Border with Myanmar

Sealing of India's Border with Myanmar India has sealed all entry points along the India-Myanmar border to prevent any Myanmar nationals from entering the country. To curb civil disobedience movements Junta ruled Myanmar following stringent methods like shooting the public, night raids on protesters' homes, etc. Due to this the Myanmar nationals have crossed into India and sought refuge. Hence, to stop this illegal migration India-Myanmar border has been closed. Th

Helium Crisis in India

Helium Crisis in India India imports the majority of helium for its domestic needs but now the U.S appears to cut off exports of helium from 2021. Hence, the Indian industry stands to lose out heavily. About Helium: Helium is a chemical element with the symbol He and atomic number 2. It is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, first in the noble gas group in the periodic table. Its boiling point is the lowest among all the elements. Helium is the second lightest a

Allotting Election Symbol by SC

Allotting Election Symbol by SC The Supreme Court dismissed the special petition challenging the Kerala HC judgments that upheld the Election Commission of India's order allotting the 'Two Leaves' symbol to the Kerala Congress (M). The Election Commission (EC) has plenary powers under Article 324 of the Constitution to decide on the allotment of symbols. Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, empowers the EC to allot symbols to the political parties at e

Index Monitoring Cell Report

Report by Index Monitoring Cell The Index Monitoring Cell (IMC) in its report recommended, Decriminalising of defamation Consent of the Press Council of India is a prerequisite before filing an FIR against the media or a publication. In the World Press Freedom Index, 2020, India had been ranked 142nd among 180 countries. In the Freedom in the World Report, 2021, India’s status had been downgraded from a free country to a “partly free” country. Index Mon

Drug-resistant superbug “Candida Auris” found in Andamans

Drug-resistant superbug “Candida Auris” found in Andamans Candida Auris has been identified for the first time in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. About Candida Auris: Candida Auris or C.auris is a multidrug-resistant fungus. Origin of Candida Auris: Candida Auris was first identified in 2009 in a patient in Japan.  The fungus is mostly found in tropical marshes and marine environments, outside hospital environments. Symptoms of C.Auris:

India-USA Artificial Intelligence Initiative

India-USA Artificial Intelligence Initiative The Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) has launched the U.S. India Artificial Intelligence (USIAI) Initiative. IUSSTF is a bilateral organization funded by the Department of Science & Technology (DST) and the U.S. Department of State. It will provide an opportunity for key stakeholder groups to discuss opportunities, challenges, and barriers to bilateral R&D collaboration. It will serve as a platform to enable AI inno

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Amendment Bill, 2021

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Amendment Bill, 2021 Lok Sabha has passed the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill,2021 which seeks to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. This act regulates the mining sector in India. Key Provisions: The Act empowered the central government to reserve any mine (other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals) for particular end-use. Such mines are known

Mission Innovation

Mission Innovation Mission Innovation is a global initiative of 24 countries and the EU launched during the Paris Agreement at COP21 on November 30, 2015. The program focuses on Clean Energy Research, Development, and Demonstration (RD&D) initiatives to accelerate clean energy innovations. Department of Biotechnology is the nodal agency for coordinating national efforts in clean energy R, D & D and implementing various activities in close collaboration with the Department

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups As of March 2021, India has 75 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups across 18 states and the Union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) In India, tribal population makes up for 8.6% of the total population. PVTGs are more vulnerable among the tribal groups. Due to this factor, more developed and assertive tribal groups take a major chunk of the tribal development funds. In 1973, the Dheba

MPLAD Scheme Funds for 2019-20

MPLAD Scheme Funds for 2019-20 The Finance Minister has said that the funds under the MPLAD scheme for 2019-20 are clear. The government of India has decided to make the MPLADS scheme non-operational for 2 years.  These funds will be used to strengthen the Government’s efforts in managing the impact of COVID-19 in the country. About MPLADs Scheme: MPLADS is a Central Sector Scheme. It was launched in 1993. Ministry of Statistics and Programme Imple

EU Joins Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure Initiative

EU Joins Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure Initiative The 27-member European Union joins the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) initiative. About Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure Initiative: The Prime Minister of India launched it in 2019 at the UN Climate Change Summit. It is a multi-stakeholder global partnership of national governments, UN agencies, multilateral development banks, the private sector, and academic and knowled

SC Hearing Issue of Electoral Bonds

SC Hearing Issue of Electoral Bonds The Supreme Court agrees to hear a plea to stay the fresh sale of Electoral Bonds. The hearing of the case is set before the upcoming state assembly elections. What are Electoral Bonds? Electoral Bonds are interest-free bearer financial instruments for making donations to political parties. They were introduced by the Government of India by the Finance Bill, 2017. The bonds are issued in multiples of Rs. 1,000, Rs. 10,000, Rs. 1 lakh, Rs. 10 l

Ecuador’s Sangay Volcano Eruption

Ecuador’s Sangay Volcano Eruption Ecuador’s Sangay volcano erupted and blew clouds of ash as high as 8,500 meters into the sky. About Sangay Volcano: Sangay is an active stratovolcano in central Ecuador. Strato volcanoes are conical volcanoes composed of multiple layers of intermediate lava, ash, and other volcanic debris. Sangay Volcano is located on the eastern edge of the Andes Mountains. The Andes is the longest mountain range 

Stop TB Partnership Board

Stop TB Partnership Board Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare appointed as the Chairman of the Stop TB Partnership Board. The Minister will serve a 3-year term/ About Stop TB Partnership: Stop TB Partnership was established in the Year 2000. Its aim is to eliminate tuberculosis as a public health problem. Amsterdam Declaration: In 2000, Stop TB Partnership gave a call for collaborative action from ministerial delegations of 20 countries with the highest burden

Joint Rivers Commission framework

Joint Rivers Commission framework India-Bangladesh Water Resources Secretary-level meeting held under the Joint Rivers Commission framework. Key Takeaways: India and Bangladesh share 54 common rivers. Hence, both the countries agreed to expand cooperation on water resources-related issues. For this, a Joint Technical Working Group will be set up to provide input on the cooperation. About Joint Rivers Commission Framework The Joint River Commission Framework was


SERB-PRISM Portal The Science and Engineering Board (SERB) launched a portal called “SERB – Project Information System & Management(SERB-PRISM Portal) About the SERB-PRISM Portal: The portal aims to provide information regarding all projects sanctioned by SERB from 2011 onwards. It will help researchers in research trends, and learning about cutting-edge science. About Science and Engineering Board(SERB): SERB is a statutory body established in 2009.

World Energy Transitions Outlook Report

World Energy Transitions Outlook Report The report was released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). It says that the Covid-19 crisis offers an unexpected opportunity for countries across the world to decouple their economies from fossil fuels. IRENA estimates that by 2050, 90% of total electricity needs would be supplied by renewables, 6% from natural gas and the remaining from nuclear. About IRENA: It is an intergovernmental organisation mandated to

NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar

NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar ISRO and NASA signed a partnership in 2014, to collaborate on and launch NISAR (NASA-ISRO SAR) by 2022. About NISAR: NASA is providing L-band SAR, a high-rate communication subsystem for science data, etc., ISRO is providing the S-band radar, and launch services. NISAR is a Synthetic Aperture Radar that can produce extremely high-resolution images for a joint earth observation satellite mission. It will be the first satellite mission

Illegal Farming in Wenlock Downs

Illegal Farming in Wenlock Downs Over 100 hectares of the total expanse of 1,500 hectares of the last remaining grasslands in the Wenlock Downs of Nilgiris is being slowly eroded by Todas and Kotas. This is because many of the Todas and Kotas have leased the “forest lands” to non-tribals in exchange for a small fee. There is also the question of the Forest Rights Act in this area, as to whether it would supersede the rights acknowledged under the Toda Patta lands, or wheth

Conservation of Ancient Folk Cultures

Conservation of Ancient Folk Cultures To protect, preserve & promote various forms of folk art and ancient folk cultures throughout the country including Jharkhand, Bihar and Kerala, the Government of India has set up seven Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs) with headquarters at Patiala, Nagpur, Udaipur, Prayagraj, Kolkata, Dimapur and Thanjavur. Ancient folk cultures being preserved in Jharkhand are Faguwa Nritya, Turi Nritya, Paika Nritya, Homoeopathy, Tribal danc

World Air Quality Report, 2020

World Air Quality Report, 2020 IQ Air, a Swiss air quality technology company released a report titled “World Air Quality Report, 2020”. About World Air Quality Report: World Air Quality is an annual report. The report is based on PM2.5 data. It is from 106 countries based on data from ground-based monitoring stations.  Key Findings Related to India India is home to 35 of the world’s 50 most polluted cities in the World. Delhi has gotten list

Proposal for Setting up of “Development Finance Institution Approved

Proposal for Setting up of “Development Finance Institution Approved The Union Cabinet approved a bill to set up a Development Finance Institution(DFI). It will be called National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID). About National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID): Initially, the Government of India will own it with a 100% stake. They will gradually bring it down to 26% in a few years. It will provide finance for social and e

Rule Curve of a Dam

Rule Curve of a Dam The Supreme Court ordered the Tamil Nadu govt. to give information on the ‘rule curve’ for the Mullaperiyar dam. What is Rule Curve? The ‘rule curve’ in a dam decides the fluctuating storage levels in a reservoir. The gate opening schedule of a dam is based on the ‘rule curve’. It is part of the “core safety” mechanism in a dam. Rules curves are used to guarantee the safety of the reservoir as well as wate

Seabuckthorn Plantations in Himanchal Pradesh

Seabuckthorn Plantations in Himachal Pradesh The Himachal Pradesh government has decided to start Sea Buckthorn Plantation in the cold desert areas. About Sea buckthorn: It is a shrub that produces an orange-yellow coloured edible berry. It is found above the tree line in the Himalayan region. It is generally in dry areas such as the cold deserts of Ladakh and Spiti. It is locally called Himalayan chharma and grows in the wild in Lahaul and Spiti and parts of Kinnaur.

Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Act, 2019

Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Act, 2019 According to an RTI, older Indian Institutes of Management(IIMs) are lagging behind the newer IIMs in enforcing the quota rule. Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Act,2019: The act provides for the reservation of posts in appointments of Central educational institutions by direct recruitment of persons belonging to: Scheduled Castes (15%) Scheduled Tr

Genome mapping of Indian Ocean by National Institute of Oceanography

Genome mapping of Indian Ocean by National Institute of Oceanography National Institute of Oceanography(NIO) has launched its first-of-its-kind project of Genome Mapping in the Indian Ocean. About the Genome Mapping in the Indian Ocean Project: Aim of the Project: To reveal the internal working of the body of the ocean at a cellular level. To understand the biochemistry and the response of the ocean to climate change, nutrient stress and increasing pollution. How will the P

Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act,1991

Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act,1991 The Supreme Court asked the Centre to respond to a plea challenging the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. About Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991: The Act was passed in 1991. It seeks to maintain the “religious character” of places of worship as it was in 1947. The Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute was exempted from the Act. Key Provisions: It says that no person shall c

Indian Collaborative Research in Antarctica

Indian Collaborative Research in Antarctica It is an Indo-Japanese project that was initiated during 2019 to reconstruct the past climate. In 2019  India-Japan under the aegis of the National Center for Polar and Ocean Research and the National Institute of Polar Research signed an MoU to share and carry out R & D in Antarctica Objective of SONIC To understand the ice sheet variability at the Schirmacher Oasis to examine East Antarctic Ice Sheet sensitivity and its re

NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill 2021

NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill 2021 The Ministry of Home Affairs has introduced the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill,2021 in the Lok Sabha.  About NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill 2021: It seeks to amend the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act,1991. The main objective is to give overarching powers to the Lieutenant Governor (LG) in the functioning of Delhi. Key Points of the proposed Bill: The Bill provides that t

Great Indian Bustard and Conservation Efforts

Great Indian Bustard and Conservation Efforts It is one of the heaviest Flight birds. They have weak eyesight. Habitat is grassland (not covered under Forest Conservation Act, 1980). It is endemic to the Indian subcontinent found in Central India, west India and eastern Pakistan. Bustard species found in India: Great Indian Bustard, Lesser Florican and Bengal Florican; Houbara Bustard in Pakistan. It is considered as the flagship/ indicator grassland species, representing the hea

Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium

Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium The government of India through the Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), a registered society under the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India, is promoting Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) by mobilizing the farmers and helping them in registering as companies and providing them with handholding support and training for their sustainability. SFAC handles Prize Stabilization

Low Efficacy of Adenovirus Based Vaccines

Low Efficacy of Adenovirus-Based Vaccines AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, produced from harmless adenovirus have low efficacy compared to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which are produced from mRNAs. About Adenovirus: Adenoviruses are common viruses that cause a range of illnesses. They can cause cold-like symptoms, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhoea and conjunctivitis. Adenoviruses are non-enveloped, double-stranded DNA viruses.  Adenoviruses T

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West Container Terminal to be Constructed Jointly by India-SL-Japan

West Container Terminal to be Constructed Jointly by India-SL-Japan The Sri Lankan Cabinet has approved a proposal to develop Colombo Port’s West Container Terminal(WCT) under a joint venture with India and Japan. Note: This proposal comes after Sri Lanka pulled out of the 2019 tripartite agreement with India and Japan to develop the East Container Terminal (ECT). About the West Container Terminal(WCT) Project: Location: The West Container Terminal(WCT) is

Political & Humanitarian Crisis in Ethiopia- Important Relevant Facts

Political & Humanitarian Crisis in Ethiopia- Important Relevant Facts It is a landlocked country. The Horn of Africa houses the countries of  Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. The Tigray people make up roughly 6% of the population, while the Oromos have a 34% share and the Amharas 27%. The Oromos have alleged marginalisation and called for better representation. India-Ethiopia Relations Ethiopia is one o

Achievements of Indians in S&T

Achievements of Indians in S&T C.V.Raman Raman was an Indian physicist who carried out ground-breaking work in the field of light scattering. Raman led an experiment with K. S. Krishnan, on the scattering of light, when he discovered what is called the Raman effect. It gave proof of the quantum nature of light.  He won the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the Raman effect”. He was the first A

Himalayan Serow

Himalayan Serow A Himalayan Serow has been spotted in Manas Tiger Reserve, Assam.  It is a mammal that is somewhere between a goat and an antelope, which is a high-altitude dweller found 2,000-4,000 metres above sea level. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species Status - ‘Vulnerable’. It is listed under Schedule I of The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, which provides absolute protection. A black-necked crane (Near-thr

Nag River

Nag River The Nag River Pollution Abatement Project has been approved under the National River Conservation Plan. It will be implemented by the National River Conservation Directorate. The Nag River, which flows through Nagpur city, is now a highly polluted water channel of sewage and industrial waste. Origin - Western weir of Ambazari Lake in west Nagpur. Nag River is the main river along with the other, River Pili Nadi.

Black-browed Babbler

Black-browed Babbler After a long time, a solitary black-browed babbler was spotted in south-eastern Kalimantan in Indonesian Borneo. This small brown-grey songbird was stout, with a relatively short tail and a robust bill with a black eye stripe running all the way around its head. This bird is often called 'the biggest enigma in Indonesian ornithology.' IUCN Red List - “Data Deficient” category.

Al Ula Summit- Gulf Cooperation Council

Al Ula Summit- Gulf Cooperation Council It is a regional political and economic alliance of 6 Gulf States i.e Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. HQ - Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Its aim is to achieve ever closer union between the energy-rich Gulf countries. Established in 1981 GCC promotes economic, security, cultural and social cooperation between the 6 states. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt have imposed an air, land and sea blockade on Qa

Financial Action Task Force

Financial Action Task Force Paris-based 39-member Financial Action Task Force has decided once again to keep Pakistan on its “grey list”. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 during the G7 Summit in Paris. The objectives of the FATF are to set standard and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the inte

Iran Nuclear Deal- Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

Iran Nuclear Deal- Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Iran Nuclear Deal- Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Commonly called the Iran nuclear deal is an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program reached in Vienna in 2015. It was signed between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany) together with the European Union. Under JCPOA, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enric

PSLV C-51 Launched by NSIL

PSLV C-51 Launched by NSIL PSLV-C51 was successfully launched by ISRO recently. This was the 53rd flight of ISRO’s launch vehicle and the first dedicated mission of its commercial arm, NewSpace India Ltd. The mission was undertaken under a commercial arrangement with Spaceflight Inc., U.S. Satellites onboard: It carried 19 satellites (Including Brazil’s optical earth observation satellite, Amazonia-1, and 18 co-passenger satellites — five from India an

One District One Focus Product

One District One Focus Product Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, and the Ministry of Food Processing Industries have finalized the products for One District One Focus Product (ODOFP). Products - Agricultural, horticultural, animal husbandry, poultry, milk, fisheries, aquaculture, marine and processed food sectors. These products are finalized after taking inputs from States/UTs and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). They will be promoted in a cluster

Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme

Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme The government is planning to replace the Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP) with a new programme MERITE Project. About the Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme: It was started in 2002 by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development with the assistance of the World Bank and is being implemented in a phased manner. It aims to upscale the quality of technical education and enhance the capacities

Catch the Rain Campaign

Catch the Rain Campaign What is the Catch the Rain Campaign? The “Catch the Rain” campaign launched by National Water Mission(NWM) is an awareness generation program nudging the state governments and stakeholders to take up rainwater harvesting structures appropriate to the soil substrata and climatic conditions, with the active participation of people. Key Features : Duration of the campaign: The awareness generation phase of the campaign will run from mid-De

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