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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

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 labor to infrastructure, health, the environment, and poverty Key Features: The report highlights that most countries have shied away from an open-data p

New Red Alga found in Arabian Sea

Two new species of red seaweed - Hypnea indica and Hypnea bullata - have been discovered by marine biologists from 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 Kanyakumari and Diu island of Daman and Diu. Another species, Hypnea nidifica, has been found for the first time in Indian coasts. The genus Hypnea consists of

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 which is utilised for a specific purpose only. The bill removes the d

Mitali Express between India & Bangladesh

PM Modi & Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina inaugurated passenger train between Dhaka, 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 birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Prime

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 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, agriculture and others. Four states of North East India -A

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 land animals on Earth. They are slightly larger than Asian E

Gram Ujala Scheme

The Union Power and Renewable Energy Minister launched the Gram Ujala scheme in Varanasi. Under the scheme, the government offers the world’s cheapest LED bulbs in rural areas at Rs. 10. The Power Ministry in a press release mentioned that under the Gram Ujala scheme, Convergence Energy Services Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of EESL- Energy Efficiency Services Limited, will be distributing the high-quality LED bulbs at a cost of Rs. 10 in rural areas of Varanasi. Signi

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

Union Health Minister launched the “Tribal TB Initiative” as a step towards achieving 'TB Mukt Bharat' by 2025. The Ministry also released a guidance note on Joint Action Plan for elimination of Tuberculosis (TB), a Special Edition of Tribal Ministry’s Publication ‘ALEKH’ on TB and a document on Tribal Tuberculosis (TB) Initiative at the event. About the Initiative: The Health Minister stated that India has over 104 million tribal population liv

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 quality is free from flaws. Features of the Central Scrutiny Cent

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 collaboration with governments, Collab

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 functions of the National Commission? The National Commission for Alli

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 biodiversity, and climate change. During

International Intellectual Property Index 2021 Released

The International Intellectual Property Index 2021 has been released. 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 across nine categories of protection: 1) Pa

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: Suez Canal is actually the first cana

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 the 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 1963. UNITAR provides training and learning services to ind

National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development Bill, 2021

Rajya Sabha has recently cleared National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development Bill, 2021 About National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NBFID) Bill, 2021 : The Bill seeks to establish the NBFID as the principal development financial institution(DFIs) for infrastructure financing. DFIs are set up for providing long-term finance for segments involving risk beyond the acceptable limits of commercial banks and other ordinary financial institutions.

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 tourism in Kashmir Valley. About

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 actions in three areas dir

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, Gawdas and Velips celebrate the fest

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 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 are, Employees covered under Section 2(9) of the ESI Act 1948. IP should have completed 2 years of Insurable employment.

Increasing House Sparrow Population in India

House Sparrow population was on the decline in cities, for decades. But now the citizen-led movements across various states are facilitating the increase of 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 colouration. The male is dark brown with a black bi

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, 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 passed by Earth in 2021. It was discovered 20 years ago by 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 approach is its hi

National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2021

National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2021 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 sho

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 ajmalii). 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 three strains were previously undiscovered. International Space Station (ISS)

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 is commonly known as ‘on-tap’ licensing. About On tap licensing: It means the RBI window for granting banking licen

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 the 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 hunger at global, regional and national levels. How are Countries ranked?

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): 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 procedure for appointing the CJI. Article 124(1)

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: SAAMAR campaign has been launched with a 1000 d

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 gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community. WSIS’s chief aim is to bridge the global digital divide separating rich countries from poor countries. The WSIS aims to achieve this by increasing internet accessibility in the developing world. The

Namami Gange Program

The Government of India has been currently implementing several initiatives under the Namami Gange Programme to clean the polluted rivers of Ganga. Namami Gange Programme: 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-Surfac

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 independent, self-financing organization

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 must meet regularly at leas

Traditional Textiles of Assam in News due to Upcoming Elections

Decorative jaapi (field hats), hand-woven gamosa, 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 to protect themselves from the harsh weather, both sun and rain whi

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 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 Government of India in 1995 during the commemoration o

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 batteries can be used for

Diatom Test for Detecting Death via Drowning

Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) relied on a diatom tests 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 enter the lungs when the person inhales water whi

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 that creates a comprehensive legal framework a

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 of the SCO member states. Further, helping them in identifying and suppr

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 focuses on the effects of COVID-19 and how people

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 is following stringent methods like shooting the public, night raids on protesters home, 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. The border between India and Myanmar is unfenced, a

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 and second most abundant el

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 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 elections in Parliamentary and Assembly

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 as a prerequisite before filing an FIR against the media or a publication. In the World Press Freedom Index, 2020, India had been ranked at 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 Monit

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: C.auris survives on the skin before entering the body through wounds.

Tiger Reserves in India

6 tigers are unaccounted for in the Ranthambore tiger reserves in Rajasthan, since March 2020. NTCA has constituted a committee in this regard. About Tiger Reserves: Tiger Reserves are protected areas that aim at conserving the habitat to ensure a viable population of the tigers along with their prey base in their habitat. Declared by: Tigers Reserves are declared by the National Tiger Conservation Authority via Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act,2006 under Project Tiger. P

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 States. It will provide an opportunity for key stakeholder groups to discuss opportunities, challenges, and barriers for bilateral R&D collaboration. It will serve as a platform to enable AI innovation, help share ideas for developing an AI

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 as captive mines. The Bill removes the distinction between captive and

Mission Innovation

Mission Innovation Mission Innovation is a global initiative of 24 countries and EU launched during 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 Department of Science and T

Global Hunger Index

Global Hunger Index GHI is a peer-reviewed annual report, jointly published by Concern Worldwide, an Ireland-based humanitarian group, and Welthungerhilfe, a Germany-based NGO, designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and country levels. It says the aim of publishing the report is to trigger action to reduce hunger around the world. Parameters used to calculate the GHI: Undernourishment: It is the share of the population with insuff

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups

As in March 2021, India has 75 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups across 18 states and 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 Dhebar Commission created Primitive Tribal Groups

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 Implementation. States have their own

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: 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, private sector, academic and knowledge institutions. It aims to promote the resilience of new and existing infrastruc

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 lakh and Rs. 1 crore without any maximum

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 to 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 in the world and boasts some of the hig

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 of TB. Secretariat: Geneva,

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 inputs on the cooperation. About Joint Rivers Commission Framework Joint River Commission Framework was constituted under the Indo-Bangla Treaty

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, learning about cutting-edge science. About Science and Engineering Board(SERB): SERB is a statutory body established in 2009. It functions under th

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 remaining from nuclear. About IRENA: It is an intergovernmental organisation mandated to facilitate cooperation, advance knowledge, and promot

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 to use 2 radar frequencies (L-band an

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 whether it offers additional protection.

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 headquartrs at Patiala, Nagpur, Udaipur, Prayagraj, Kolkata, Dimapur and Thanjavur. Ancient folk cultures being preserved in Jharkhand are Faguwa Nritya, Turi Nritya, Paika Nritya, Hodopathy, Tribal dance (Karam Nritya).    

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 listed as the 10th most polluted city

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 economic infrastructure projects identified under the National Infrastructure P

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 water security. About

Seabuckthorn Plantations in Himanchal 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. Benefits of Seabuckthorn Plantation: It

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 Tribes (7.5%) Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (27%) and Economically

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 Project get conducted? The NIO research team onboard its research v

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 convert any place of worship of any religious denomi

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 National Center for Polar and Ocean Research and 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 response to glacial-interglacial cycles To assess the v

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 the term “government” refer

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 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 health

Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium

Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium Government of India through Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), a registered society under 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 Fund too (P

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 Transmission: Adenoviruses are usually s

Mera Ration Mobile App

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution launches the ‘Mera Ration’ mobile app. About Mera Ration Mobile app: Mera Ration Mobile app will facilitate the ‘One Nation-One Ration Card’ system. It aims to help those ration cardholders who migrated to new areas for livelihoods. Its developed by National Informatics Center(NIC). Features of the app: The application allows beneficiaries to Find out the nearest fair pri

Support to State Extension Programs for Extension Reforms

About the Scheme: Centrally Sponsored Scheme Popularly known as ATMA Scheme - under implementation since 2005. Not implemented in all of India. Only in 28 states. The scheme promotes decentralized farmer-friendly extension system in the country. Under the scheme grants-in-aid is released to the State Governments with an objective to support State Government’s efforts to make available the latest agricultural technologies and good agricultural practices  Includes 

National AYUSH Mission (NAM)

National AYUSH Mission (NAM) Government of India is implementing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM) through States/UTs for development and promotion of AYUSH system of medicine including Homoeopathy. Under NAM, Grant-in-aid is being provided to State/UT Governments for development and promotion of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) as per their proposed State Annual Action Plans (SAAPs). Specific resource pool with respect t

Deep Ocean Mission

Deep Ocean Mission The Deep Ocean Mission is proposed as multi-ministerial multi-disciplinary programme with emphasis on development of deep sea technology, exploration of deep sea mineral resources and biodiversity, acquisition of a research vessel for exploration, deep sea observations, and capacity building. Ministry of Earth Sciences is the nodal agency for implementing the programme. The Deep Ocean Mission is proposed to be a Central Sector Scheme and no separate allocation for Sta

National Institutes of Food Technology Bill, 2019 Passed by Rajya Sabha

Rajya Sabha passed the National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2019. Provisions: The bill declares two institutes of food technology, entrepreneurship, and management as institutions of national importance. These are: National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management, Haryana Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology, Tamil Nadu. Institutions of National Importance:. The status is conferred on a p

Martian Blueberries

According to Researchers from Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad the Blueberries in India and “Martian Blueberries” share similar characteristics. What are Martian Blueberries? Martian blueberries are small spherical haematites.  The Mars rover “Opportunity” discovered them in 2004 on the planet Mars. Composition of Martian blueberries: Martian Blueberries are made of iron oxide compounds called haematites. These haematites are known

ISRO-JAXA Virtual Meeting

ISRO and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) held a virtual meeting. Key Takeaways : They have signed an Implementing Arrangement for collaborative activities on rice crop area and air quality monitoring using satellite data. The agencies also reviewed ongoing cooperation to launch a joint lunar polar exploration (LUPEX) mission. About LUPEX Mission: LUPEX is a robotic lunar mission by ISRO and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The mission ai

Lingaraja Temple

Lingaraja Temple is a Hindu temple in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. The temple is believed to be built by the kings from the Somavamsi dynasty, with later additions from the Ganga rulers. The temple is a classic example of the Kalinga style of architecture. The temple is built in the Deula style that has four components namely, vimana (structure containing the sanctum), jagamohana (assembly hall), natamandira (festival hall) and bhoga-mandapa (hall of offerings), each increasing in height compa

Small Finance Banks

About Finance Banks: They are niche banks that focus and serve the needs of a certain demographic segment of the population. The objectives of setting up of small finance banks will be to further financial inclusion by the provision of savings vehicles supply of credit to small business units; small and marginal farmers; micro and small industries; and other unorganised sector entities, through high technology-low cost operations. SFBs was recommended by the Nachik

Agglomeration Effect

Agglomeration Economies: A localized economy in which a large number of companies, services, and industries exist in close proximity to one another and benefit from the cost reductions and gains in efficiency that result from this proximity. If an area specialises in the production of a certain type of good, all firms can benefit from various factors such as: Good supply networks Supply of trained workers Infrastructure built specifically for the industry Good transport li

Committee for Studying Saraswati River

The Central Government reconstituted an advisory committee for studying the mythical Saraswati river for the next 2 years. Advisory Committee on Saraswati River: The Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) set up the Advisory Committee for the Study of the River Saraswati in 2017 for 2 years. Aim was to study the mythical Saraswati river and draw up a plan to identify its basin and define its path. The committee, now reconstituted, is chaired by the Culture Minister. Abou

Flowering of Bamboos in Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve

The gregarious flowering of bamboo inside the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and the nearby Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and Gudalur forest division in Tamil Nadu. Life cycle of bamboo: Bamboo is a monocarpic (flowering occurs only once in the life cycle) plant belonging to the Poaceae family (grass family), and its flowering cycle varies from 40 to 60 years. The Bamboo flowers and die. Regeneration occurs from seeds after gregarious flowering. Seeds have no dormancy, and they can under

AsterX – France’s First Military Exer-cise in Space

French Space Command launched its first military space exercise called AsterX. AsterX: The exercise has been named AsterX in reference to the first French satellite, which was put into orbit in 1965. During the exercise, the French Military aims to monitor a potentially dangerous space object. It will also analyze threats to its own satellite from another foreign power possessing a considerable space force. The new US Space Force and German space agencies are also taking part in

Influx of Illegal Migrants From Myanmar

Ministry of Home Affairs has written to states, sharing international boundaries with Myanmar. Why was this directive issued? Myanmar’s military ordered a crackdown on protesters several Myanmar citizens are illegally entering India. The State governments had no powers to grant refugee status to any foreigner. India is not a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol. About United Nations Refugee Convention,1951: The 1951 Refuge

Commemorative Dandi March to mark 75 years of Independence

The Prime Minister flagged off a commemorative 2021 Dandi March to launch the celebrations of the 75th year of Independence – ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’. About the Dandi March: It was a 24-day march from March 12 to April 5, 1930. It was a tax resistance campaign against the British salt monopoly. The march was based on Gandhi’s principle of non-violence or Satyagraha. Why did Gandhiji call for the Dandi March? The 1882 Salt Act gave the Brit

Sharks Conservation in India

As per a recent study, the global population of sharks and rays reduced by over 70% in the past 5 decades. About Sharks: Sharks come under a subclass of fish species called elasmobranchii. The species in this subclass have skeletons made from cartilage and not bones. They use gills to filter oxygen from the water. Sharks inhabit 3 major marine habitats such as continental shelves, deep-sea and open ocean. Sharks have been around for more than 400 million years—long befor

"Mera Ration" Mobile App

"Mera Ration" Mobile App Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution on March 12, 2021 launched "Mera Ration" Mobile App for those ration card holders who migrate to new places in search of livelihood (migrant workers). Currently, 32 States and Union Territories are covered under One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) and the remaining four States and UTs are expected to be integrated into the scheme in the next few months. The One Nation One Ra

Virtual Quad Summit

The first-ever leadership Quad summit held virtually. Key Takeaways The leaders have called for a free and open Indo-Pacific backed by democratic values, and not by coercion. The leaders have also pledged to promote a free, open rules-based order, rooted in international. About Quad summit: Quad summit is the strategic dialogue between 4  India, United States, Japan, and Australia. The grouping traces its genesis to 2004, when the four countries came together to coo

INS Karanj Inducted into service

Indian Navy inducted INS Karanj into service, the 3rd Scorpene-class conventional diesel-electric submarine. About INS Karanj: INS Karanj is a part of Project-75I. It is the 3rd of the first batch of 6 Scorpene-class submarines for the Indian Navy. It is French naval defence and energy group. Manufactured by Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai. Key Features: INS Karanj is equipped with centralised propulsion and machinery control. The powerful diesel engine

Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi

The Union Cabinet approves the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi (PMSSN). About Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi(PMSSN): This program will ensure access to universal & affordable health care through a fund that does not lapse at the end of the financial year. Features: It has been set up as a single non-lapsable reserve fund for a share of Health. It will be made from the share of health in the proceeds of Health and Education Cess. The fund will be admini

Green Bonds

India has announced its intention to achieve all the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030. The first green bond was issued in 2015. This is an alternative to Kuznets hypothesis that is used by the developed countries to achieve SDG goals Green bond is a fixed-income instrument designed specifically to support specific climate-related or environmental projects. Green bond market in India include: Corporates issue green bonds for a period of 3-5 years

Dumping Inert Waste in Bhatti Mines

SDMC is seeking permission to dump material in 3 former mining pits in the sanctuary and one outside it. Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary It is located on the Southern Ridge of Aravalli Hills, one of the oldest mountain systems of the world. It is the part of the Northern Aravalli leopard wildlife corridor. It is the green lung & carbon sink for New Delhi. It provides a potential shelterbelt for arresting the shifting of sandunes & protection of desert storms. As it is lo

Miyawaki Technique

In a year, a patch of land in Mumbai’s eastern suburbs has become a testament to create the “urban forests” through the Miyawaki technique. Miyawaki is an afforestation technique to create urban forests based on the work of Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki in the 1980s. Miyawaki forests are tiny forests grown on small plots of land in 2 to 3 years and are self-sustaining, like how a forest is. Three layers of greens - shrubs and undergrowth, medium-height trees an

IDBI Bank out of Prompt Corrective Action Framework

Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has taken out IDBI Bank from the prompt corrective action(PCA) framework subject to certain conditions. Prompt corrective action Framework: Banks with weak financial metrics are put under the PCA framework by the Reserve Bank of India It aims to check the problem of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) in the Indian banking sector. When was the PCA framework introduced? The RBI introduced the PCA framework in 2002. It is a structured early-intervention

Stand Up India Scheme

The government has informed the Lok Sabha that 81% of the accounts under the Stand Up India Scheme belong to women entrepreneurs. Stand Up India Scheme: Launched in 2016 by the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance. The Stand-Up India Scheme facilitates bank loans for setting up a new enterprise in manufacturing, services, agri-allied activities, or the trading sector by SC/ST/Women entrepreneurs. It provides bank loans between Rs 10 lakh and up to 1 crore. Th

India Not Part of Troika-plus-Pakistan Conference

Russia has planned to hold a Troika-plus-Pakistan conference on Afghanistan in Moscow, Russia. About the Troika-plus-Pakistan Conference: Troika-plus-Pakistan meeting involves consultations between the US, Russia, China, Pakistan along with the representatives of the Afghanistan government, Taliban, and other senior Afghan leaders. The meeting is expected to discuss ways to assist in advancing the intra-Afghan talks in Doha. It aims to reduce the level of violence and to end the ar

Exercise Dustlik-II between India and Uzbekistan

Exercise Dustlik-II between India and Uzbekistan will be held in Uttarakhand from March 10 to 19. About Exercise Dustlik-II: Exercise Dustlik is a military exercise between the Indian Army and Uzbekistan Army. First Edition: The first edition of the Exercise Dustlik was held in 2019 at Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Aim: The aim of the exercise is strengthening Counter Insurgency (CI) and Counter-Terrorism (CT) operations. Especially in mountainous, rural and urban scenarios u

US-Afghanistan Doha Peace Talks

The U.S Secretary of State has confirmed the US intention to fully withdraw all forces from Afghanistan as per the Doha Agreement. About Doha Agreement: In 2020, the United States signed a historic deal with the Taliban. aiming to end the 18-year-war in Afghanistan The deal was signed in Doha (Qatar) and thus termed as Doha Agreement. The key features of the Doha agreement are: Troops Withdrawal: The US will withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Further, the NATO or

Mobilising Electric Vehicle Financing in India Report by NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute(RMI) India jointly releases a new report titled ‘Mobilising Electric Vehicle Financing in India’. Aim: The report highlights the role of finance in India’s transition to electric vehicles(EVs). Further, the report also identifies solutions for capital and financing to aid in India’s EV transition. What does the report say about Electric Vehicle Financing? India’s Electric Vehicle ecosystem has so far focu

Parliamentary Standing Report Committee on National Social Assistance Program

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development has submitted its report to the Lok Sabha. It suggests that the Central Government must increase the small amount of pensions provided for poor senior citizens, widows and disabled people under the National Social Assistance Programme(NSAP). About National Social Assistance Programme(NSAP): Nodal Ministry: It was launched in 1995. It is a welfare programme administered by the Ministry of Rural Development. The pro

Unlawful Activities [Prevention] Act

The Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) informed Lok Sabha about the number of cases registered under the Unlawful Activities [Prevention] Act(UAPA) in 2019. About Unlawful Activities [Prevention] Act(UAPA): UAPA was introduced in 1967 to target secessionist organizations. It is primarily an anti-terror law aimed at preventing certain unlawful activities of individuals and associations. Investigation: The cases under the UAPA are investigated by the State police and

Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission

SPMRM is a scheme launched by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) in 2016 to deliver integrated project based infrastructure in the rural areas, which will also include development of economic activities and skill development. A predecessor to SPMRM was the Provision of Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA), announced in 2003. Provision of Urban Amenities to Rural Areas Provision of Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA) was aimed at provision of urban ame

Sattras in Assam

Political parties often go to different Sattras to seek blessings of Sankardeva. About Sattras: Sattras are monastic institutions in Assam. They were created as part of the 16th century Neo-Vaishnavite reformist movement. Movements started by the Vaishnavite saint-reformer Srimanta Sankaradeva(1449-1596). Why were they established? They were established to spread the Sankardeva’s unique “worship through art” approach. They are doing it presently

Small Satellite Launch Vehicle Planned by ISRO for April, 2021

The maiden flight of Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) - ISRO’s compact launcher - will be made soon. SSLV will meet the “launch on demand” requirements in a cost-effective manner for small satellites in a dedicated and ride-share mode. It is a 3-stage all solid vehicle that can launch up to 500 kg satellite into 500 km Low Earth Orbit and 300 kg into Sun Synchronous Orbit. With lower per kg launch cost, the mini launcher will have multiple satellite mounting o

Dams on Brahmaputra River Cleared in China's 5-Year Plan

A draft of 14th China’s new Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) has permitted first dams to be built on the lower basin of Yarlung Zangbo river (Brahmaputra’s name in Tibet), before it flows into India. It calls for building a hydropower base on the lower reaches of Yarlung Zangbo river and clean energy bases in the Jinsha River. Jinsha River is the upper course of Yangtze river in western China. The project is also listed along with the Sichuan-Tibet railway and the national wat

Compressed Biogas Plants

Under the Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) scheme, Oil and Gas Marketing Companies (OGMCs) invited entrepreneurs to procure Compressed Bio Gas (CBG). Under this scheme, provisions are, Assured price for offtake of CBG with long term agreements by OGMCs; Inclusion of bio manures produced from CBG plants as Fermented Organic Manure (FOM) under Fertilizer Control Order 1985; Inclusion of CBG projects under Priority Sector Lending by RBI. So far, 9

Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre

Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre: It is set up under the newly created Cyber and Information Security (CIS) division of the MHA.  It has seven components: National Cyber Crime Threat Analytics Unit National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal National Cyber Crime Training Centre Cyber Crime Ecosystem Management Unit National Cyber Crime Research and Innovation Centre National Cyber Crime Forensic Laboratory Ecosystem Platform for Joint Cyber Crime

Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi (PMSSN)

Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi (PMSSN) Importance of Health Health is vital for improved developmental outcomes. From an economic standpoint, better health improves productivity, and reduces losses due to premature death, prolonged disability and early retirement. Health and Nutrition also directly impact scholastic achievements and have a bearing on productivity and income.  Health Outcomes depend substantially on public spending on health.  One extra year of pop

Agriculture Voltage Technology

Agri-voltaic system of 105 KW capacity was developed by ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur. This technology can increase the income of farmers by generation of electricity and growing of cash crops simultaneously on the same piece of land. Under component-I of KUSUM scheme, there is a provision for installation of agri-voltaic system in farmers’ fields with a capacity ranging from 500 KW to 2 MW. KUSUM Scheme: Launched by Ministry of New and Rene

India's Satellite Man- Udupi Ramachandra Rao

To commemorate the 89th birth anniversary of the former Chairman of (ISRO) Udupi Ramachandra Rao, Google Doodle featured his sketch with a background of Earth and stars. Rao was an Indian space scientist and chairman of ISRO who supervised the 1975 launch of India’s first satellite — “Aryabhata.” In 1991, he initiated the development of the geostationary launch vehicle GSLV and the development of cryogenic technology. 

Covid-19 Vaccine Passport

What is a Covid-19 vaccine passport? A vaccination pass or passport is documentation proving that the individual has been vaccinated against Covid-19. As more people are inoculated, there will likely be aspects of public life in which only people who have been vaccinated are allowed to participate. In order to travel internationally, government and health authorities will need to know if you have been vaccinated or have tested negative for the virus.

Constitutionality of Reservations in India

Some of the prominent laws framed for reservation policies are listed below. Article 15(4) – 1st Amendment,1951 – Special provision for Advancement of Backward Classes. Article 15(5) – 93rd Amendment, 2006 – Provision of Reservation for Backward, SC, and ST classes in private educational institutions. Article 16(3) – Reservation of posts in public employment on the basis of residence Article 16(4) – Reservation in public employment for backward cla

Loya Jirga- The National Gathering in Afghanistan

What is Loya Jirga? It is a mass national gathering that brings together representatives from the various ethnic, religious, and tribal communities in Afghanistan. It is a highly respected centuries-old consultative body that has been convened at times of national crisis or to settle national issues. According to the Afghan Constitution, a Loya Jirga is considered the highest expression of the Afghan people. It is not an official decision-maki

Types of Visas Granted by the US Administration

To fill a vacuum of highly-skilled low-cost employees in IT and other related domains, the US administration issues a certain number of visas each year which allows companies from outside the US to send their employees to work on client sites. When a person travels to the US with a non-immigrant visa, then he/she has to depart from the US by the date of visa expiration. It allows one to work for a specific employer only.  H1B Visa It is most popular among Indian IT companies.

Jal Jeevan Mission Extended Till 31st March, 2021

The Ministry of Jal Shakti is overseeing the implementation of the mission at the national level. Har Ghar Nal Se Jal by 2024. JJM aims at providing potable water at service level of 55 litre per capita per day (lpcd) to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) by 2024. The fund sharing between the Centre and states is 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States, 50:50 for other states, and 100% for Union Territorie

OPEC+ Countries

The non-OPEC countries which export crude oil along with the 14 OPECs are termed as OPEC plus countries. OPEC plus countries = Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, South Sudan, and Sudan. India is not a member of OPEC + countries. OPEC member countries produce about 40 percent of the world’s crude oil. Equally important to global prices, OPEC’s oil exports represent about 60 percent of the total petroleum traded

PM Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana, 2008

PM Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana, 2008 It is an irony that even after 70 years of Independence, only 40% of population can afford branded medicines. And India is in Top 4 countries to export generic medicine to ~ 200 countries. 1 out of 6 medicines consumed in the World is from India. And in India 6 out of 10 have no access to them. Hence India launched Jan Aushadhi Scheme in 2008 by Dept of Pharma, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. It is implemented by BPPI, Gurugram. To bring

Slowing Currents in the Gulf Stream

The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension the North Atlantic Drift, is a warm and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico and stretches to the tip of Florida. It then follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean as the North Atlantic Current. The Gulf Stream system conveys warm surface water from equator to the north and the deep

Lowering Government Yields

Government Security (G-Sec) yields could soften temporarily as the Indian government’s fiscal deficit may undershoot FY2021 Revised Estimate (RE) by Rs.50,000 crore to Rs.90,000 crore. G-Secs are a government debt issuances used to fund daily operations, and special infrastructure and military projects. They guarantee the full repayment of invested principal at the maturity of the security and often pay periodic coupon or interest payments. The two key categories are: T

Invasive Earthworm Species Found in Karnataka

An exotic and highly invasive earthworm Amynthas alexandri has been collected and reported for the first time from Karnataka. They are medium-to-large-sized, fast-moving worms, which have practically inhabited all the districts of Kerala. Their original home is Southeast Asia.

GISAT-1 Being Planned by ISRO

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to launch GISAT-1 into space using GSLV-F10 rocket. Geo Imaging Satellite-1 or GISAT-1 is India’s first earth observation satellite in a geostationary orbit. The rocket will place GISAT-1 in geosynchronous orbit, and subsequently in geostationary orbit, using its onboard propulsion system. GISAT-1 will facilitate near real-time observation of the Indian sub-continent, under cloud-free condition, at frequent intervals. With onbo

Pradhan Mantri YUVA Yojana

PM YUVA Yojana is a centrally sponsored Scheme on entrepreneurship education and training. It is being implemented by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) for 2016-17 to 2020-21 period (5 years). It aims at creating an enabling ecosystem through entrepreneurship education, training, advocacy and easy access to entrepreneurship support network and promoting social enterprises for inclusive growth. The objectives of the scheme are, Educate and equip pote

Umbrella Schemes of Women and Child Development Ministry

Women and Child Development Ministry has classified all its programs under 3 umbrella schemes - Mission Shakti, Poshan 2.0, Vatsalya. Mission Shakti is a Mission for Protection and Empowerment for Women. It will cover policies and schemes like, SAMBAL (One Stop Centre, Mahila Police Volunteer, Women's Helpline/Swadhar/Ujjawala/Widow Homes etc.) SAMARTHYA (Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Creche, PM Matru Vandana Yojana/ Gender Budgeting/Research/ among others.) Mission POSHAN 2.0 will be

Recent Cyber Attacks & India's Cyber Security Agencies

Recently, the Union Power Ministry said that State-sponsored Chinese hacker groups targeted various Indian power centres. India has been attacked by suspected Chinese state-sponsored groups multiple times in the past. In 2009, a suspected cyber espionage network dubbed GhostNet was found to be targeting the Tibetan government in exile in India, and many Indian embassies. There were a number of subsequent attacks that targeted India. Such as: Stuxnet which had also taken down nucle

Recent India-Srilanka Defence Exercise

A team of 4 Sarang Advance Light Helicopters, Surya Kiran (Hawks), Tejas Fighter Aircraft and the Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft from India were in Sri Lanka this week, to participate Historical background: During Sri Lanka’s over three decade-civil war, India has played a crucial role, politically and at times, using its military. India launched ‘Operation Poomalai’ of 1987 — when the Indian Air Force dropped food supplies in Jaffna.

5G vs. 4G Connectivity

5G 4G 5G uses utilises much higher radio frequencies of 28 ghz. 4G uses lower reading frequencies of 700 mhz to 2500 mhz. 5G transfer more data over the air at faster speeds. 4G speed is lesser with less data transfer. 5G has lower latency i.e the delay before a transfer of data begins following an instruction. Latency for 5G is predicted to be below 10 milliseconds, a

International North-South Transport Corridor

Context India’s Foreign Minister addresses the Chabahar Day event organized at the Maritime India Summit.  During the address, the minister put forward the proposal with respect to INSTC (International North-South Transport Corridor): Inclusion of Chabahar Port in the International North-South Transport Corridor(INSTC). Expansion of the INSTC membership by including Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. About the International North-South Transport Corridor(INST

Hazara Tribe Under Attack in Pakistan

Hazaras are a tribe belonging to Shia sect living in the mountainous region of Afghanistan-Pakistan border. They have been in news because of prosecution by the Sunni majority regime in both the countries.

ISRO & Related Space Agencies- Antrix, New Space India Limited & IN-SPACe

NSIL and ANTRIX NSIL’s main purpose is to market the technologies developed by ISRO and bring it more clients that need space-based services. That role, incidentally, was already being performed by Antrix Corporation, another PSU working under the Department of Space, and which still exists. The government has clarified the role of NSIL that it would have a demand-driven approach rather than the current supply-driven strategy. Essentially, what that means is that inste

Concept of "Product Graduation" in EU's Generalized System of Preferences

Product graduation is a concept  that applies when average imports of a product from a beneficiary country exceed 17.5% of EU-GSP imports of the same product from all beneficiary countries over 3 years. India’s exports such as textiles, inorganic and organic chemicals, gems and jewellery, iron, steel and their articles, base metals and automotives are out of the ambit of EU-GSP benefits now.

Manas National Park

Manas National Park: Manas national park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a Project Tiger reserve, an elephant reserve and a biosphere reserve. It is located in the Himalayan foothills in Assam. It is contiguous with the Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan. The name of the park is originated from the Manas River. Significance: The park is known for its rare and endangered endemic wildlife such as the Assam roofed turtle, hispid hare, golden langur and pygmy hog. It is also f

Simlipal Biosphere Reserve

  Simlipal National Park is national park and a tiger reserve in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. It is part of Similipal-Kuldiha-Hadgarh Elephant Reserve popularly known as Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve. Simlipal National Park derives its name from the abundance of semul (red silk cotton trees) that bloom here. It was the second largest national park in India. Its reserve is part of UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2009. The park has protected area of 84

Search of Stromatolites on Jezero Crater in Mars

Fossil stromatolites are the oldest evidence for life on Earth. They first appeared 3.7 billion years ago. The drone Ingenuity will search the surface of Martian crater Jezero to look for signs of this microbe trapped in its atmosphere.

Ease of Living Index 2020

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs released the final rankings of Ease of Living Index (EoLI) 2020. The Index categorises the cities into,  Million+ populated cities (Population of more than a million) - Bengaluru (Top), Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, etc., Less than Million populated cites (Population of less than a million) - Shimla (Top), Bhubaneshwar, Silvassa, etc., All the cities under the Smart Cities Program. EoLI is an assessment tool that evaluates the quality

Municipal Performance Index 2020

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs released the final rankings of the Municipal Performance Index 2020. The MPI has classified municipalities based on their population as- Million+ category (Municipalities having over a million population) - Indore (Top), Surat, Bhopal. Less than Million Population category (Municipalities with a population of less than a million) - New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) (Top), Tirupati and Gandhinagar. Five verticals - Services, Fin

Draft UGC Regulations

Draft UGC (Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign Higher Education Institutions to offer Joint Degree, Dual Degree and Twinning Programmes) Regulations, 2021 was put for public review. It may effectively implement the Higher Education Institutions (HEI) aspect of National Education Policy, 2020. Joint Degree programme - The curriculum shall be designed jointly by the collaborating Indian and foreign HEIs. The degree shall be awarded by both the institutions with a single Cert

CSIR Floriculture Mission

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Floriculture Mission will be implemented in 21 States and Union Territories of India. Efforts are being made to take the agro-technologies, new varieties and value addition technologies with the CSIR institutions to the farmers and entrepreneurs.  It is being implemented in collaboration with Directorate of Floriculture (ICAR); KVIC; APEDA; TRIFED; Fragrance and Flavour Development Centre (FFDC), and Universities. The conver

Red Rice in Assam

Boosting India’s rice exports potential, the first consignment of ‘red rice’ was flagged off to the USA. This rice variety is called ‘Bao-dhaan’ - Integral part of Assamese food. ‘Red rice’ is grown in Brahmaputra valley of Assam, without the use of any chemical fertilizer. It is rich in iron. Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has been promoting rice exports through the Rice Export Promotion Forum

SAARC Summit

It is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are its members. Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) in 2006. States with observer status include Australia, China, European Union, Iran, Japan, Mauritius, Myanmar, South Korea and United States. Pakistan was to host the Summit in 2016, but I

India is partly free: US Think Tank

India is partly free: US Think Tank Freedoms in India have reduced, according to a report from a U.S. thinktank, Freedom House, resulting in India being classified as ‘partly free’. India’s score was 67, a drop from 71/100 from last year (reflecting 2019 data) downgrading it from the free category last year (based on 2020 data). “The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its State-level allies continued to crack down on critics during the year…,&

Gross Domestic Product vs Gross Value Added

Gross Domestic Product  Gross domestic product (GDP) is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period. GDP includes all private and public consumption, government outlays, investments, private inventories, paid-in construction costs and the foreign balance of trade (exports are added, imports are subtracted) Thus the components of GDP are Consumption (C) plus Investment (I) plus Government Spending (G)

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 had 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 strategically located next to a Chinese-run Colombo International

Political & Humanitarian Crisis in Ethiopia- Important Relevant Facts

It is a landlocked country. Horn of Africa houses the countries of  Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somali. 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 of the largest recipients of long term concessional credit from India in Afric

Achievements of Indians in S&T

Achievements of Indians in S&T C.V.Raman Raman was 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 Asian and

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-threatened) and white-

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

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

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 Qatar since June 2017. The blockading count

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 integrity of the international fina

Iran Nuclear Deal- Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

Commonly called as 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-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years. For the ne

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 and 13 from the U.S.). A

One District One Focus Product

Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, and Ministry of Food Processing Industries has 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 Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). They will be promoted in a cluster approach through convergence of the schemes, to

Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme

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 capacities of institutions. The Technical Education Quality Improvemen

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 rain water harvesting structures appropriate to the soil-substrata and climatic conditions, with active participation of people. Key Features : Duration of the campaign: The awareness generation phase of campaign will run from mid-December 2020 to March 2021. Tagli

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