Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 24 launched the PM-Kisan scheme, transferring the first instalment of Rs 2,000 each to 1.01 crore farmers, totalling Rs 2,021 crore.
About the Scheme
The fully centrally funded scheme called PM-KISAN was announced by the government in its interim budget for 2019-20 on February 1.
Under the .... Read More
The Union Cabinet on February 6 approved the proposal for establishment of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog for Conservation, protection and development of cows and their progeny.
The setting up of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog will lead to conservation, protection and development of cattle population in the country including development and conservation of indigenous .... Read More
The share of distressed agriculture sector in non-food credit offtake has remained stagnant and the banks’ exposure declined even as non-performing assets in the sector zoomed by over 40 per cent as of September 2018, the RBI said in a study on ‘Sectoral Deployment of Bank Credit’.
Credit Growth to the .... Read More
The Government on February 21 announced that it will inject Rs 48,239 crore in 2018-19 into 12 public sector banks, including Allahabad Bank and Corporation Bank, to help them meet capital requirements and accelerate lending to boost growth.
About the Plan
Corporation Bank will get the highest capital infusion at Rs 9,086 .... Read More
The Union Cabinet on February 6 gave its approval to move official amendments to the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018, pursuant to the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Finance (SCF).
Salient FeaturesSubstantive Banning Clause
The Bill contains a substantive banning clause which bans Deposit Takers from promoting, operating, issuing .... Read More
The Union Cabinet on February 6 approved establishment of a unified authority for regulating all financial services in International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) in India through International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill, 2019.
Remember This: The first IFSC in India has been set up at GIFT City, Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
Functions of IFSC
An .... Read More
The US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Centre (GIPC) has released its annual International IP Index.
Top Five Countries: 1. US, 2. UK, 3. Sweden, 4. France, 5. Germany
Inspiring Tomorrow: The latest report is titled Inspiring Tomorrow. It analyses the IP climate in 50 world economies, based on 45 indicators .... Read More
The Government on February 22 issued a notification refreshing the categorisation of currency printing presses and mints as ‘public utility service’ under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
Upon declaration of a service as public utility service as per the law, employees need to comply with certain conditions for strikes and .... Read More
The government on February 19 exempted startups from ‘angel tax’ on funds they have raised from investors in the last up to seven years.
The Commerce and Industry Ministry issued a notification to simplify the process for startups to receive tax exemptions under an anti-evasion provision of the Act. This .... Read More
The Union Cabinet on February 19 gave its approval to the National Policy on Electronics 2019 (NPE 2019), proposed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
The Policy envisions positioning India as a global hub for Electronics System Design and Manufacturing - (ESDM) by encouraging and driving capabilities in .... Read More
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in its latest report, titled, The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture 2019, has flagged the growing practice of monoculture in food production around the world.
What is Monoculture?: It is cultivation of a single crop at a given area.
Of more .... Read More
An expert committee set up by the government has recommended setting the minimum wage at Rs 375 a day, higher than the existing rate of Rs 321 for agriculture or unskilled workers and Rs 371for semi-skilled workers.
Anoop Satpathy Committee: The ministry of labour and employment had constituted the committee under .... Read More
India’s per capita expenditure on health remains among the lowest in the world. It’s a fact that sticks out starkly: 10.6% of the total amount in the Interim Budget is allocated to defence, while only 2.2% is allocated to healthcare. Funding need not be redirected from current allocations to preventive .... Read More
Between 1997 and 2017, India’s per capita national income increased more than four-fold. The pace of poverty reduction accelerated, with a three-to-four-fold increase after 2000. To progress further, India needs a large, productive, and healthy middle class. This requires sustained expansion of good jobs, human capital, and equal opportunities. While .... Read More
Q. Consider the following statements vis-à-vis policy stance of RBI:
Under the Neutral stance, RBI has flexibility to increase or decrease the Repo Rate or Policy rate.
Accommodative stance would mean RBI would keep the policy rate constant or increase it.
(a) Only 1 (b) Only 2
(c) Both 1 and 2 .... Read More
With 2,069 large dams already dotting its landscape, Maharashtra has announced to build another 285 big dams, notwithstanding the fact that hardly any dam has fulfilled even half of its projected irrigation potential.
Not surprisingly, Maharashtra has one of the worst irrigation records in the country, with a mere 19 .... Read More
The Central government is setting up a fully-owned Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to house all its equity and debt investments in metro rail projects across the country. The SPV, which will be under the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, will also be monitoring all metro projects.
From financial year .... Read More
The Ganga river basin could see crop failures rise three-fold and drinking water shortage go up by as much as 39% in some States between now and 2040, says an assessment commissioned by the World Bank and submitted to the Central Water Commission.
If there is no intervention, Uttarakhand, Himachal .... Read More
To ensure a steady inflow of crude oil at a time imports from Iran are falling, state-run Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has become the first domestic company to sign a long-term supply contract with the US.
The annual deal is worth $1.5 billion and will be effective for FY20.
According to .... Read More
The Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India on February 18 decided to transfer a record interim surplus of Rs 28,000 crore to the government, a move that will bolster government’s finances.
Remember This: This is the second successive year the RBI will transfer an interim surplus. In August 2018, .... Read More
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) on February 27 invoked extraordinary powers in public interest, under Para 19 of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013 to bring 42 non-scheduled anti-cancer drugs under price control through trade margin rationalisation.
Currently, 57 anti-cancer drugs are under price control as scheduled formulations.
Now .... Read More
Union Ministry of Commerce on February 19 launched SWAYATT.
What is it?
SWAYATT is an initiative to promote Start-ups, Women and Youth Advantage Through eTransactions on Government e Marketplace (GeM).
This will bring together the key stakeholders within the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem to Government e-Marketplace the national procurement.
GeM Start-up Runway
The ministry also .... Read More
The Reserve Bank of India has taken three public sector banks — Bank of India, Bank of Maharashtra and Oriental Bank of Commerce — out of the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework and lifted various restrictions on lending and expansion of businesses.
According to the RBI, on a review of .... Read More
The Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) has added nine minor forest produce (MFP) items to its minimum support price (MSP) for MFP scheme.
Aim: The aim is to enable the tribals dependent on the forest to get a fair price for their produce.
The Nine New Items Are: Bakul (dried bark), .... Read More
The Arunachal Pradesh Government has decided not to act on the recommendations of a Joint High Power Committee granting permanent resident certificates (PRCs) to non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribes of Namsai and Changlang districts. This decision follows violence in Itanagar, which included arson attacks on the residence of the Deputy Chief .... Read More
In the showdown between the West Bengal government and the CBI, the Union Home Ministry asked the state Chief Secretary to take action against five IPS officers who had shared the stage with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during her sit-in protest in Kolkata.
A look at the rules officers are to .... Read More
On February 20, Rajasthan State Assembly passed legislation providing 5% reservation to Gujjars and four other nomadic communities, classifying them as “extremely backward classes”.
Specific Context in Rajasthan
In Rajasthan, demand by Gujjars has a specific context. In Rajasthan, the community is currently eligible for reservations as an OBC community. They had .... Read More
One of the first decisions of the newly elected Rajasthan government has been to scrap the minimum educational qualification criteria for candidates contesting local body elections. This reverses the amendments introduced by the previous government of the BJP in 2015 which required candidates contesting the zila parishad and panchayat samiti .... Read More
The Supreme Court’s order to evict, over the next five months, occupants of forest lands who failed to make a successful claim for tenure under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, has once again highlighted the dilemma of reconciling inalienable tribal rights with biodiversity conservation.
The Centre and the State of .... Read More
Algorithms is a set of instructions that can be used to solve a problem. The reasons for the increasing reliance on algorithms are evident. First, an algorithm can make decisions more efficiently than human beings, thus indicating its superiority to human rationality. Second, an algorithm can provide emotional distance — .... Read More
Q. Consider the following statements about Doctrine of Basic Structure:
The phrase ‘Basic Structure’ finds no mention anywhere in the Constitution.
Judicial Review and Federal Character of the Constitution falls under the ambit of Basic Structure.
Which of the above statements is/are true?
(a) Only 1 (b) Only 2
(c) Both 1 and 2 .... Read More
Recently, a complaint was submitted to Anurag Thakur, Chairman of Parliament’s Departmentally Related Standing Committee on Information Technology, alleging an anti-rightwing bias on the social media platform Twitter.
The Committee wrote to Twitter on February 1, asking that “representatives of Twitter” attend a hearing of the Committee.
Counter Terrorism Infrastructure in India
Counter-terrorism .... Read More
Recently, the Speaker of the Karnataka Vidhan Sabha was embroiled in a controversy. The chief minister alleged that the Speaker was offered a bribe of Rs 50 crore. He played a tape which purportedly contains a conversation referring to money being offered to the Speaker for accepting the resignation of .... Read More
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) on February 19 expanded his two-member Cabinet with induction of ten members. KCR was sworn in for a second term on December 13, 2018.
More than two months on he had not formed his council of ministers, making it perhaps the first instance .... Read More
World Bank, UN Women, and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) have joined hands to launch a new social impact bonds exclusively for women, called Women’s Livelihood Bonds (WLBs), with an initial corpus of Rs 300 crore.
The proposed bond will enable individual women entrepreneurs in sectors like food .... Read More
New evidence from the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS), conducted in 2015-16 shows that the fertility gap between Hindus and Muslims has narrowed for the first time in many decades.
Total Fertility Rate>
A widely used measure of fertility levels is the ‘total fertility rate’, or the average number of children .... Read More
Data from ‘National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India’ released by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on February 18 shows that prevalence of opioid use is India is three times the global average — 2.06 per cent in India against 0.70 per cent globally.
Key .... Read More
“Under the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the wages fixed by the appropriate government are payable equally to both male and female workers in all sectors, including agriculture, and the Act does not discriminate on the basis of gender,” the Government had told the Lok Sabha recently.
However, an .... Read More
Data released by the Union Ministry of women and child development revealed that 60 per cent of the children adopted in India between 2015 and 2018 were girls.
Significance: The importance of these figures cannot be emphasized enough in a country like India where the sex ratio at birth has been .... Read More
Fifty years after being disinvited from the 1969 Conference of Islamic Countries in Rabat in Morocco at Pakistan’s behest, India made its maiden appearance at the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on March 1 as a “guest of honour”.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj attended the .... Read More
India and Pakistan joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as full member-states at the SCO Summit in Astana (8-9 June 2017), Kazakhstan. Before the addition of the two South Asian nations, the SCO consisted of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. The now eight-member SCO also has four observer-states, .... Read More
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in India for a day’s visit on February 19.
Strong Language against Terrorism: The India-Saudi Arabia joint statement contains strong language against terrorism. It condemns the Pulwama attack by name.
Terrorism as a State Policy Rejected: It calls for rejecting terrorism as an .... Read More
After the Pulwama attack in Jammu and Kashmir, India once again confronts a problem that has persisted ever since Pakistan acquired nuclear weapons in the late 1980s.
Put simply, it is about India’s inability to deter the Pakistan army from using proxies like the Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba to wage a war .... Read More
The 2019 Balakot airstrike occurred on 26 February, when twelve Mirage 2000H jets of the Indian Air Force crossed the Line of Control in Kashmir to perform an airstrike on a terrorist training camp inside Pakistan in retaliation for Pulwama Attack.
Use of Airpower
India Crosses a Major Red Line: The use .... Read More
The Union Cabinet on February 6 gave its ex-post facto approval to the Framework Agreement between India and Indonesia on cooperation in the exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes.
The Framework Agreement was signed and exchanged t Jakarta on May 30, 2018.
Areas of Cooperation: This Framework Agreement .... Read More
India, along with China, South Africa and Venezuela, on February 18 insisted on continuing with the special and differential (S&D) treatment for developing countries at the World Trade Organization (WTO), countering efforts of the US, which is seeking equal treatment for all members at the multilateral trade body.
In a .... Read More
Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, inaugurated the 4th India-ASEAN Expo and Summit 2019 in New Delhi on February 21.
The core idea behind organising this 4th India -ASEAN Expo and Summit is to build upon the success of the previous events and carry forward the .... Read More
Reacting to the rising tension between India and Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack, Nepal, the current chair of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has urged India and Pakistan to exercise restraint.
SAARC Fails to Promote Peace and Prevent Conflict
On the wider regional role on interstate conflicts that threatens .... Read More
Britain has an obligation to end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago and complete the process of decolonisation of Mauritius, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled on February 25.
Decolonisation of Mauritius: ICJ rejected the contention that the issue did not fall within its jurisdiction because .... Read More
Scientists think they have achieved the first gene editing inside the body, altering DNA in adults to try to treat a disease, although it’s too soon to know if this will help. Preliminary results suggest that two men with a rare disorder now have a corrective gene at very low .... Read More
In a world-first breakthrough, researchers from the RMIT University, Melbourne, developed a new technique that can efficiently convert CO2 from a gas into solid particles of carbon. This could transform our approach to carbon capture and storage.The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, offer an alternative pathway for safely .... Read More
Scientists have discovered massive mountains in the Earth’s mantle, an advance that may change our understanding of how the planet was formed. Most school children learn that the Earth has three layers: a crust, mantle and core, which is subdivided into an inner and outer core. While that is not .... Read More
True north isn’t quite where it used to be. Earth’s northern magnetic pole is moving quickly away from the Canadian Arctic toward Siberia. This movement has forced NCEI’s scientists to update the World Magnetic Model (WMM) mid-cycle. What does this mean?
Earth’s north magnetic pole has been drifting so fast in .... Read More
Q.Consider the following statements about Solar Cells:Maximum theoretical efficiency of solar cells is around 98%.Perovskite layer solar cells have efficiency close to 75%.Inkjet printing procedure of perovskite solar cells have lowered the production cost.Which of the above statements is/are true?(a) 1 and 2 only (b) 2 and 3 only(c) 1, .... Read More
NASA’s first asteroid-sampling mission OSIRIS-REx, which went into orbit around asteroid Bennu on New Year’s Eve, has captured incredible photographs of the smallest ever celestial body to be orbited by a spacecraft.
Launched from Florida in 2016, OSIRIS-REx spacecraft reached Bennu, an asteroid the size of the pyramid at Giza, .... Read More
SpaceX’s new Dragon capsule successfully docked on the International Space Station on 3rd March, NASA and SpaceX confirmed during a live broadcast of the mission.
The docking began at 1051 GMT, more than 248 miles (400 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface, north of New Zealand -- and 27 hours after .... Read More
A Japanese space probe named after a falcon, Hayabusa 2, has touched down on an asteroid more than 300 million km (186 million miles) from Earth on a mission to seek clues about the origins of life, Japan’s space agency said on Friday.
On 22nd February, Hayabusa 2 fired a .... Read More
What if one day all buildings could be equipped with windows and facades that satisfy the structure’s every energy need, whether rain or shine?That sustainability dream is today one step closer to becoming a reality thanks to Polish physicist and businesswoman Olga Malinkiewicz.
The 36-year-old has developed a novel inkjet .... Read More
The majestic table of elements that hangs on the walls of chemistry classrooms across the world has turned 150 years old in 2019.
The ‘Periodic Table of Elements’, or simply, ‘The Table’ for many, was written by Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev on 17th February 1869.
Looking back, the Table opens a window .... Read More
With NASA planning to put astronauts back on the Moon, scientists have explored how Sun’s damaging radiation left scars on the lunar surface. A team from the University of California-Berkeley studied data from NASA’s ARTEMIS mission along with simulations of the Moon’s magnetic environment.
Role of the Solar Wind and Moon’s .... Read More
NASA has selected a new mission that will help scientists understand and, ultimately, forecast the vast space weather system around our planet. The mission is planned to launch in August 2022, attached to the exterior of the Earth-orbiting International Space Station.
About the Mission
The Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE) Mission: It will .... Read More
Space agency NASA’s new telescope could find as many as 1,400 new planets outside our solar system, enabling humans to find the largest, deepest and clearest picture of the universe as well as the existence of extraterrestrial life, suggests a new study.About the TelescopeWith a budget of around $3.2 billion, .... Read More
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will fly two small defence satellites in July or August this year on its new rocket-- now known as Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).
Small Satellite Launch Vehicle
Payload Capacity: Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (or SSLV) is a launch vehicle being developed by the Indian Space Research .... Read More
India’s latest communication satellite GSAT-31 was successfully launched from French Guiana, making it the third successful mission by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) this year. The satellite was placed into the orbit within 42 minutes of its launch from Ariane Launch Complex at Kourou, a French territory located in northeastern .... Read More
NASA has yet again made a breakthrough research by finding the coldest and oldest white dwarf, an Earth-sized remnant of a Sun-like star that has died, covered with dust and debris. It is also suspected that this is the first time a white dwarf, with multiple dust rings has been .... Read More
A global study released on February 11 found that China and India are contributing significantly to the greening of the planet.
Green Cover: The world now has about 5.5 million square kilometres of extra green leaf area round the year compared to 2000. A bulk of this increase is due .... Read More
India has designated Sundarban Wetland (Sundarban Reserve Forest) as a Wetland of International Importance.
Sunderbans, which is one of the largest contiguous mangrove forests in the world, was conferred the Ramsar site status on January 30, 2019, exactly three days before the World Wetland Day which is observed on February .... Read More
The 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals (CMS), an environmental treaty under the aegis of United Nations Environment Programme, will be hosted by India during 15th to 22nd February, 2020 at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
Remember This: The 12th Session of .... Read More
The Phase 2 of the River Information System on National Waterway-1 (River Ganga) between Farakka and Patna (410 km) was inaugurated in Prayagraj on February 7, 2019.
River Information System (Farakka -Patna)
Swift Electronic Data Transfer: The inauguration of 2nd phase of RIS on National Waterway-1 on the 410 km Farakka-Patna stretch, .... Read More
Under Jal Marg Vikas Pariyojana, a fish pass has been envisaged for the free movement of Hilsa at Farakka Navigation Lock.
Remember This: Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is implementing the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) for capacity augmentation of navigation on National Waterway-1 on the Haldia – Varanasi stretch .... Read More
The two-day workshop was organised by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) at Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra, New Delhi, India from 4th to 6th February, 2019.
Main .... Read More
On February 4, 2019, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), a regional intergovernmental body – released the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment, the first-ever assessment of impacts of climate change on the ecologically important but fragile region. More than 300 researchers participated in the study who took over four .... Read More
Climate change induced by human beings has claimed its first victim in ‘Class Mammalia’ of the ‘Animal Kingdom’: the Bramble Cay melomys — a ‘little brown rat’ found in Australia.
The Melomys rubicola, also referred to as the Bramble Cay Mosaic-tailed rat, was found in Bramble Cay, a small vegetable .... Read More
Forest officials and experts have decided to set up a vulture safe zone across the states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The decision was taken at a recent vulture conservation workshop held at Waynad, Kerala by the state forest department, according to a news report.
As part of the .... Read More
A committee, chaired by the Union Environment Minister, has accorded wildlife clearance to the project which will encroach upon the TCFS and the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, home to leopards, in Mumbai.
The proposal involves diverting 3.2 hectares of forestland from the TCFS and 97.5 hectares of land close to .... Read More
Q.Consider the following statement vis-à-vis Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC):
GEAC is constituted under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
GEAC is chaired by the Environment Minister.
Which of the above statements is/are true?
(a) Only 1 (b) Only 2
(c) Both 1 and 2 (d) Neither 1 nor 2
GEAC is constituted under the .... Read More
According to the research by environmental experts at Radboud University, levels of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin have reached the point of potentially causing damaging ecological effects.
Remember This: The research is the first to examine the risks of two particular medicines in global freshwater sources, and is being published in Environmental Research .... Read More
Scientists from five European countries have joined forces to develop next-generation Chemical noses to remove industrial pollutants from the environment.
Dealing with pollutants in the environment is becoming an ever-increasing problem. One relatively unknown reason for this is that many agricultural pesticides and pharmaceutical drugs that enter the environment are .... Read More
According to a new study done by the Institute of Science, Banaras Hindu University, the excessive amounts of human waste and toxic effluents that find their way into the Ganga river are not only polluting the water but also causing deficit of dissolved oxygen in the riverbeds in some of .... Read More
The newly developed technology can convert more than 90 percent of polyolefin waste into many different products, including pure polymers, naphtha, fuels, or monomers.
How is it Made?
A new chemical conversion process could transform the world’s polyolefin waste, a form of plastic, into useful products, such as clean fuels and other .... Read More
Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia have for the first time developed a process to turn CO2 into coal. The new process uses liquid metal as a catalyst to permanently and safely convert CO2 into a solid form for storing.
The team managed to engineer gaseous CO2 into solid .... Read More
India is an energy hungry country for both military and civilian purposes. In 2013 India had already become the third largest energy consumer in the world. Such a condition has always directed India to the Middle East, which is both geographically close and strategically important.
Location of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is .... Read More
India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Italy have a similarity that each one is located on a Peninsula. A peninsula is a piece of land almost surrounded by water or projecting out into a body of water.South Korea is located on the Korean Peninsula in East Asia. Since the end .... Read More
CSC: Heartiest congratulations to you from Civil Services Chronicle for your success. How are you feeling about it?
Jaijeet Kaur Hora: Thank You ! I am very happy that my endeavors and hard work paid off.
CSC: What is you inspiration for becoming as PCS officer?
Jaijeet Kaur Hora: The nature and scope .... Read More
Implementation of Agricultural
Meetings and Workshops have been conducted to evolve a roadmap for implementation of the Agriculture Export Policy. A national level meeting was held in New Delhi, on 8th January 2019, under the chairmanship of Minister of Commerce & Industry.
Remember This: Increasing agricultural exports from the present levels, .... Read More
The 91st Academy awards was held on 25th February.
End of Sentence” won the Oscar in the Documentary Short Subject Category List.
This is a film on menstruation, set in rural India in Hapur district, UP where woman fight against the stigma on menstruation (directed by: Rayka Zehtabci, produced by: Gunnet .... Read More
The Assam government on 26th February, formed a 3-member named “Parents Responsibility and Norms for Accountability and Monitoring (PRANAM) Commission” headed by V.B. Pyarelal.
This commission has been constituted for hearing cases under a pay-cut policy envisaged to make its employees to take care of their dependent elderly parents & .... Read More
4th Global Digital Health Partnership Summit
The ‘4th Global Digital Health Partnership Summit (GDHP)’ was held on 25th February, in New Delhi.
This summit aimed to provide an opportunity to support governments and health system reformers to improve the health and well-being of their citizens through digital technologies.
International Vision Zero Conference .... Read More
Hindi author, literary critic and Sahitya Akademi Awardee Namvar Singh passed away on 19th February.
Singh had authored over a dozen books, and had received the Sahitya Akademi award for literary criticism in 1971 for his work Kavita Ke Naye Pratiman.
Goa’s former Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza passed .... Read More
D K Jain
The Supreme Court on 21st February, appointed former Supreme Court Judge, Justice D K Jain as the new BCCI Ombudsman.
He will be the 1st BCCI Ombudsman under the new constitution.
Dr. G C Anupama
Dr. G C Anupama was elected as the 1st women to head the Astronomical Society .... Read More
Muhammadu Buhari was on 27th February re-elected for second time as Nigeria’s President.
He was first elected in 2015.
Former PepsiCo’s CEO Indra Nooyi joined the Amazon’s board of directors on 26th February.
She became the second women to be added in Amazon’s Board of Director after former .... Read More
Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani on 25th February inaugurated the Titanwala Museum in Bagru, Rajasthan.
This museum showcases the Chippa community’s hand-block printing.
National War Memorial
The National War Memorial was dedicated to the nation by the Prime Minister on 25th February, in New Delhi.
The main structure was built in form .... Read More
Inclusive Internet Index 2019
Indian ranks 47th Out of 100 countries in The Facebook Inclusive Internet Index 2019, while Sweden topped the list, followed by Singapore and the US.
It was prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) for Facebook, and the Inclusive Internet score was based on the scores of availability, .... Read More
Cannes International Open Trophy
Indian Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta lifted the Cannes International Open trophy on 25th Februaryafter he took an easy draw with Pier Luigi Basso of Italy in the9th and final round.
AHF’S Player of the Year
The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) has honored Indian hockey team skipper Manpreet Singh with .... Read More
Renewed efforts are required to establish that multilateralism is nothing more than countries coming together, respecting one another, and establishing the forms of cooperation that guarantee peace and prosperity.
In the past few years, globalization seems to be slowing down as a percentage of GDP, trade is no longer rising and .... Read More
Indian Counter Terrorism infrastructure has not been able to evolve itself as per the changing dynamics of terrorism
The recent Pulwama attack on CRPF convoy in Kashmir which claimed more than 40 lives highlights the critical security lapses in Indian counter-terrorism (CT) architecture.
India did not have any structured CT architecture until .... Read More
Profound corporate governance is a must for the Indian economy, however, India still has a long road to travel towards greater corporate governance.
Poor corporate governance standards in India have been a major grievance of domestic and foreign investors alike for long. Recent instances such Chanda Kochhar Case, IL&FS case, sale .... Read More
Every night when you go to sleep after putting an alarm, is that your faith or belief or your daily custom that makes you sure of waking up fit and fine the next morning? For some it is their faith in religion that makes them go to bed peacefully. At .... Read More
Global Mobility SummitThe Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, outlined the vision for the future of mobility in India, in the Global Mobility Summit held in New Delhi in September 2018. He spelt out 7 Cs: Common, Connected, Convenient, Congestion-free, Charged, Clean and Cutting-edge. AMP 2026The Government of India and .... Read More
Announcement of Manned Mission
While addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 72nd Independence Day, the Prime Minster, Shri Narendra Modi announced that India has resolved to send manned spacecraft to the space by 2022 and India will be the fourth country to do this.
So .... Read More
World Environment DayConsidering India’s global leadership in environmental protection and climate change sectors, the UNEP had chosen India to be the global host for World Environment Day (WED) on 5th June, 2018. The main event was organized in Delhi and included a series of conferences in Vigyan Bhawan.This WED, 2018 .... Read More
‘Adopt a Heritage’ Project
Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) launched “Adopt a Heritage Project” to provide world class tourist facilities at the various natural/cultural heritage sites, monuments and other tourist sites.
The project plans to entrust heritage sites/monuments and other .... Read More
Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) project aims to implement the mandate of the National Skill Development Mission (NSDM), which was launched on 15th July, 2018 by Ministry of Skill Development through its core sub-missions.
The project will be implemented in mission mode through World Bank support. .... Read More
Doubling of Farmers’ Income
The Government has set a target of doubling of farmers’ income by the year 2022.
The Government has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee under the Chairmanship of Chief Executive Officer, National Rainfed Area Authority, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare to examine issues relating to doubling of .... Read More
High Performance Computing (HPC)The Ministry of Earth Sciences has augmented its HPC facility by 6.8 Peta Flops (PF) which has been installed at two of its constituent units namely, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune with 4.0 Peta Flops capacity and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), .... Read More
Mumbai’s Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Building Declared as World Heritage by UNESCOIn yet another landmark achievement, India’s nomination of the “Victorian and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai” was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. This makes Mumbai city the second city in India after Ahmedabad to be inscribed on .... Read More
Initiatives for Particularly Vulnerable
bal Groups (PVTGS)
Ministry has enhanced the allocation of funds for the development of PVTGs from Rs 240.00 crores in 2017-18 to Rs 260.00 crores in 2018-19.
State Government have been given the flexibility of utilizing the funds using the gaps identified through Base Line Surveys.
In order to ensure .... Read More
Union Cabinet approved “The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018”.
The Bill has been formulated for the regulation of the use and application of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) technology with the aim to establish the identity of certain category of persons including the victims, offenders, suspects, under trials, .... Read More
India’s First Biofuel-powered FlightA historic flight powered by indigenously produced aviation biofuel based on patented technology of CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehradun completed journey from Dehradun to Delhi on August 27, 2018. With this maiden flight India joined the exclusive club of nations using biofuel in aviation. The use .... Read More
Development of New PortsIn addition to projects for capacity expansion of major ports, 6 new port locations, namely – Vadhavan (Maharashtra), Enayam (Tamil Nadu), Tajpur (West Bengal), Paradip Outer Harbour (Odisha), Sirkazhi (Tamil Nadu), Belekeri (Karnataka) have been identified to increase overall cargo handling capacity.Port ModernizationUnder Project Unnati, global benchmarks .... Read More
NITI Aayog has developed the ‘Healthy States, Progressive India’ Report also known as the ‘Health Index’ in February 2018.
The Composite Water Management Index was also launched in June 2018.
The ‘School Education Quality Index (SEQI)’, ‘SDG India Index’ and the ‘Digital Transformation Index’ (DTI) which will measure states’ .... Read More
SAUBHAGYALaunched for universal electrification in September, 2017Camps organised at village level. Minimum documentation requiredSpecial drive for economically weaker sections under Gram Swaraj AbhiyanOver 2.1 crore households electrified since 11th Oct, 20179 States have achieved 100% saturation in household electrification under Saubhagya namely Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Bihar, J&K, Uttarakhand, Mizoram, Sikkim, .... Read More
Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP)/ Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP)
This is a paradigm shift from Production Sharing Contract (PSC) regime to Revenue Sharing Contract (RSC) regime based on the principle of ease of doing business.
It provides for single License for exploration and production of conventional as well as .... Read More
12 Champion SectorsThe Union Cabinet approved the proposal of the Department of Commerce to give focused attention to 12 identified Champion Services Sectors for promoting their development, and realizing their potential.These include Information Technology & Information Technology enabled Services (IT &ITeS), Tourism and Hospitality Services, Medical Value Travel, Transport and .... Read More
Ayushman Bharat is a centrally sponsored programme anchored in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
It is an umbrella of two major health initiatives, namely Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (PMJAY).
National Health Policy 2017
The National Health Policy of the country was .... Read More
GDP and the Economy
The share of Indian economy in world (measured as a ratio of India’s GDP to world’s GDP at current US$) increased from 2.6 per cent in 2014 to 3.2 per cent in 2017 (as per World Development Indicators database).
The average share of Indian economy in world .... Read More
Relevancy in Prelims
Harvesting wild Genes Gives Crops Renewed Resistance to Disease: In February, 2019, a global alliance of researchers has pioneered a new method to rapidly recruit disease-resistance genes from wild plants for transfer into domestic crops. The technique promises to revolutionize the development of disease-resistant varieties for the global food supply. The technique called AgRenSeq was developed by scientists at the John Innes Centre in Britain working with colleagues in Australia and the USA. The result speeds up the fight against pathogens that threaten global food crops, including wheat, soyabean, maize, rice and potato.
Probable Question in Prelims
Q1. AgRenSeq was .... Read More
This biotechnology application is very important in healthcare because it allows for the mass production of safe and more effective medicines. It also prevents undesirable immune responses which are common with medical products from non-human sources.
Gene therapy is a form of therapy that involves inserting one or more corrective genes that have been designed in the laboratory, into the genetic material of a patient’s cells to cure a genetic disease. Some of the main diseases currently being researched in gene therapy studies include: Cystic fibrosis, Sickle cell anemia, Hemophilia, Muscular dystrophy, Cancer.
Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genes affect .... Read More
Application of Biotechnology in Agriculture involves scientific techniques such as Genetically Modified Organisms, Bt Cotton, Pest Resistant Plants. It helps in modifying plants, animals, and microorganisms and improve their agricultural productivity. Techniques like vaccines, tissue culture, genetic engineering are also used.
Manipulating the DNA of plants (creating genetically modified organisms, or GMOs) has helped create desirable traits such as disease resistance, herbicide, and pest resistance, better nutritional value, and better shelf life. Plants are the most important source of food for the human population. Staples like corn, potatoes, and tomatoes were the first crop plants to be genetically engineered.
Insect-pest resistance .... Read More
Environmental biotechnology in particular is the application of processes for the protection and restoration of the quality of the environment.
Bioremediation refers to the process of using microorganisms to remove the environmental pollutants i.e. the toxic wastes found in soil, water, air etc. The microbes serve as scavengers in bioremediation. The removal of organic wastes by microbes for environmental clean-up is the essence of bioremediation. The other names used for bioremediation are bio-treatment, bio-reclamation and bio-restoration.
In environmental biotechnology, most of the reactions of biodegradation/bioremediation involve Xenobiotic. (Xenobiotics broadly refer to the unnatural, foreign and synthetic chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, refrigerants, .... Read More
Industrial Biotechnology is an application of biotechnology to industrial process in developing technique for the production of different products in the wine industry, development of different vaccine and drugs.
Industrial or ‘white’ biotechnology uses enzymes and micro-organisms to make biobased products in sectors such as chemicals, food and feed, detergents, paper and pulp, textiles and bioenergy (such as biofuels).
The very first expression of industrial applications of biotechnology was found in the production of beer, wine, cheese, bread and other fermented products.
Fermentation is a process of chemical change caused by organisms or their products, usually producing effervescence and heat.
The art of .... Read More
Applications of Bioinformatics in Other Fields of Biotechnology & Life Sciences
Apart from the above fields, bioinformatics has also got vital roles to play in the following verticals of Life Sciences & Biotechnology:
Agricultural Science (Crop Improvement)
Biofuels & .... Read More
Relevancy in Prelims
World’s First Trial Using Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS): In February, 2019, Japan approves world-first clinical trial using iPS stem cells to treat spinal cord injuries. The researchers will inject neural cells produced from so-called induced pluripotent stem cells into four people who sustained injuries while playing sports or in traffic accidents.
Heart Muscle Cells Created From Stem Cells: In February 2019, a team of Rutgers scientists (USA), have taken an important step toward the goal of making diseased hearts heal themselves – a new model that would reduce the need for bypass surgery, heart transplants or artificial pumping .... Read More
Stem cells are defined as cells that have clonogenic and self-renewing capabilities and differentiate into multiple cell lineages. Stem cells are found in all of us, from the early stages of human development to the end of life.
Stem cells are basic cells of all multicellular organisms Stem cells are defined as cells that clonogenic and self-renewing capabilities and differentiate into multiple cell lineages. Stem cells are found in all of us, from the early stages of human development to the end of life. Stem cells are basic cells of all multicellular organisms generation of therapeutic options.
Classification of Stem Cells on .... Read More
Relevancy in Prelims
Gene Editing Applied to Banana Genome: In 2018, using the gene editing technique – CRISPR/Cas9 – researchers at the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute, Mohali have edited the banana genome. This is the first such work in any fruit crop in India. Banana is the fourth most important food crop after wheat, rice and corn in terms of gross value of production. Gene editing could be deployed for improving nutritional quality, agronomical important traits as well as pathogen resistance in banana.
New Tool Developed for Autism Screening: Scientists at the Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, have developed an Indian .... Read More
What are Genes?
Genes are the basic units of heredity. They consist of DNA and are part of a larger structure called the chromosome. Genes carry information that determine what characteristics are inherited from an organism’s parents. They determine traits such as the color of your hair, how tall you are, and the color of your eyes.
What are Chromosomes?
Chromosomes are tiny structures inside cells made from DNA and protein. The information inside chromosomes acts like a recipe that tells cells how to function.
Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes for a total of 46 chromosomes in each cell.
Other plants .... Read More
What is DNA?The actual instructions inside the chromosome is stored in a long molecule called DNA. DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. Structure of DNADNA is a long thin molecule made up of something called nucleotides. There are four different types of nucleotides: adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine. They are usually represented by their first letter: A- adenine T- thymine C – cytosine G - guanineHolding the nucleotides together is a backbone made of phosphate and deoxyribose. The nucleotides are sometimes referred to as “bases”. The DNA CodeThe DNA code is held by the different letters of the nucleotides. As the .... Read More
Heredity or Hereditary is the process of passing the traits and characteristics from parents to offsprings. The offspring cells get their features and characteristics aka genetic information from their mother and father. Heredity and genetics are the reason you look so much like your parents.
Gregor Mendel- The Father of Genetics
Acquiring characteristics or traits from one generation to the other is nothing but inheritance. Here, both the parents contribute equally to the inheritance of traits. It was Gregor Mendel, who conducted immense research and studied this inheritance of traits.
Mutations are alterations to a DNA sequence. A gene mutation .... Read More
Cri du ChatCri-du-chat also called as cat’s cry or 5P- (5P minus) syndrome, is a rare genetic condition caused by the deletion of genetic material on the small arm of chromosome 5. Common symptoms include a high-pitched cat-like cry, growth deficiencies, diminished muscle tone (hypotonia), and microcephaly.Cystic FibrosisCystic fibrosis (CF) is a progressive, genetic disease that affects the secretory glands, including the mucus and sweat glands. Cystic fibrosis causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time. Down SyndromeDown syndrome or trisomy 21 is the most common chromosomal disorder. People with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes in .... Read More
Gene therapy seeks to alter genes to correct genetic defects and thus prevent or cure genetic diseases.
R. Michael Blaese, W. French Anderson and Kenneth Culver at a press conference announcing the start of the first gene therapy trial for treating children with severe combined immunodeficiency, 13 September 1990.
Genome editing (also called gene editing) is a group of technologies that give scientists the ability to change an organism’s DNA. These technologies allow genetic material to be added, removed, or altered at particular locations in the genome.
CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, which are the hallmark .... Read More
Relevancy in Prelims
Global Athlete: It is the name of the newly organised group in February 2019, designed to give athletes a stronger voice in the fight against doping and the powers that police it.
The group, called Global Athlete, is being organized by British cyclist Callum Skinner. Rob Koehler, who quit his post as deputy director general at WADA last year, will be the group’s director general.
Probable Question in Prelims
Q1. Which of the following hormone is secreted from the neurohypophysis?
(a) Antidiuretic Hormone(ADH) (b) Estrogen
(c) Adrenalin (d) Insulin
Relevant Topics for Mains
Should Performance Enhancing Drugs (such as Steroids) Be Accepted in Sports?
Does the .... Read More
The endocrine system is made of 9 major glands located throughout the human body that control and coordinate many functions to keep our bodies working in balance, called homeostasis.
The endocrine system uses chemicals messengers called hormones and release them directly into the blood stream that surrounds the glands.
Glands are a group of cells that produce and release hormones directly into our blood stream in a process called secretion. There are 2 types of glands.
Exocrine glands have ducts or channels which secrete chemicals such as saliva or sweat.
Endocrine glands do not have ducts; they secrete hormones directly into the blood stream.
The .... Read More
Adrenal Cortex Hormones
The adrenal cortex consists of three different regions, with each region producing a different group or type of hormones. Chemically, all the cortical hormones are steroid.
Mineralocorticoids are secreted by the outermost region of the adrenal cortex. The principal mineralocorticoid is aldosterone, which acts to conserve sodium ions and water in the body.
Glucocorticoids are secreted by the middle region of the adrenal cortex. The principal glucocorticoid is cortisol, which increases blood glucose levels.
Gonadocorticoids (sex hormone)
These are secreted by the innermost region. Male hormones, androgens, and female hormones, estrogens, are secreted in minimal amounts in both sexes by the adrenal .... Read More
Relevancy in Prelims
National Nutrition Mission: The government launched National Nutrition Mission (NNM) at Jhunjhunu (Rajasthan), in March 2018, to tackle the problems of under-nutrition, low birth weight and stunting, with a budget of Rs 9,046 crore for a period of three years. The mission, commencing 2017-18, has a target to reduce under-nutrition and low birth weight by 2 per cent each year. It will strive to achieve reduction in stunting from 38.4 per cent as per the National Family Health Survey-4 to 25 per cent by 2022.
Probable Questions in Prelims
Q1. Consider the following statements.
National Nutrition Mission targets to reduce stunting, .... Read More
What is Nutrition?Human nutrition can be defined as the science of food and how it is related to health. It involves the processes where all people (all living organisms) receive and process the nutrients essential for life.Nutrients themselves are defined as the chemical compounds from food that are found in a person’s diet.Nutrients are essential to life; they play a variety of vital life roles such as in the provision of energy, the promotion of growth and development, and the regulation of bodily processes. Classes of NutrientsThere are six major classes of nutrients:Carbohydrates Fats Minerals Proteins VitaminsWaterThe nutrient are also .... Read More
Carbohydrate is an organic compound, it comprises of only oxygen, carbon and hydrogen. The oxygen: hydrogen ratio is usually is 2:1.Carbohydrates are hydrates of carbon, technically they are polyhydroxy aldehydes and ketones. Carbohydrates are also known as saccharides.
Carbohydrates are referred to as energy-giving foods. They provide energy in the form of calories that the body needs to be able to work, and to support other functions.
Carbohydrates are needed in large amounts by the body. Indeed, up to 65% of our energy comes from carbohydrates. They are the body’s main source of fuel because they are easily converted into energy. This .... Read More
Protein is considered the building block of life and is found in every cell of the body. Proteins are formed from 20 different amino acids, depending on the number of amino acids and the sequence of amino acids.Protein is made up of amino acids that are attached to one another in long chains. There are 20 different kinds of amino acids, and the sequence in which the different amino acids are arranged helps determine the role of that particular protein.Classification of ProteinBased on compositionBased on structureBased on Composition Simple Proteins: Classified according to solubility. Ex. Albumins, Globulins, Glutelins, Histones, Protamine, .... Read More
Lipids are composed of long hydrocarbon chains. Lipid molecules hold a large amount of energy and are energy storage molecules. Lipids are generally esters of fatty acids and are building blocks of biological membranes. Most of the lipids have a polar head and non-polar tail. Fatty acids can be unsaturated and saturated fatty acids.
Classification of Lipids
Simple Lipids: They are esters of fatty acids with various alcohols.
Fats: They are esters of fatty acids with glycerol. They are also called triglyceride or neutral fat. A fat in the liquid state at room temperature is known as oil. Monoglycerides and diglycerides are also .... Read More
Relevancy in Prelims
Zika Virus Outbreak: Zika virus outbreak in the last quarter of 2018 in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh was caused by a pathogen unique to India, with little link to the virus behind 2015’s epidemic in Latin America, lowering the risk of a wide-scale epidemic. Scientists from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, an arm of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), led the sequencing of the Indian Zika virus genome, concluding that it has been present in India for years, possibly decades.
Ebola Virus Epidemic: There have been dozens of outbreaks of ebola since it was .... Read More
Immunology deals with physiological functioning of the immune system in states of both health and disease as well as malfunctions of the immune system in immunological disorders like allergies, hypersensitivities, immune deficiency, transplant rejection and autoimmune disorders.
The organs involved with the immune system are called the lymphoid organs, which affect growth, development, and the release of lymphocytes (a certain type of white blood cell). The blood vessels and lymphatic vessels are important parts of the lymphoid organs because they carry the lymphocytes to and from different areas in the body. Each lymphoid organ plays a role in the production .... Read More
Relevancy in Prelims
Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR): On February 8, 2019, the Indian Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO) completed a successful second test flight of Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR)propulsion based missile system from ITR, Chandipur. SFDR is an Indo-Russian R&D project which has been established to develop a long-range air-to-air missile and a surface-to-air missile system in near future. Key technology used in SFDR will be used to develop a MBDA Meteor class air -to-air missile.
Probable Question in Prelims
Q1. Consider the following statements:
Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) uses a ramjet propulsion system to react with the solid propellant .... Read More
Missiles are generally classified on the basis of their Type, Launch Mode, Range, Propulsion, Warhead and Guidance System.
On the Basis of Type
Cruise Missiles: A cruise Missile is an Unmanned self-propelled (till the time of impact) guided vehicle (means a missile with drive). Cruise missiles Classified upon its speed:
Subsonic cruise missile. Ex. NirbhaySupersonic missile Ex. Brahmos-1
Hypersonic missile Ex. Brahmos-2
Ballistic Missile: A ballistic missile is a missile that has a ballistic trajectory over most of its flight path. Ballistic missiles carry huge payload compare to cruise missile. Ex. Prithvi, Agni, Dhanush are ballistic missiles of India.
Quasi Ballistic Missiles: A quasi ballistic .... Read More
The Prithvi was India’s first indigenously developed ballistic missile produced by the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP).
It is a road-mobile, short range ballistic missile (SRBM), powered by a single-stage, two engines, and liquid-fuel.
Development of the Prithvi began in 1983, and it was first test fired on February 25, 1988.
Prithvi I is a single-stage, liquid-fuelled missile. A surface-to-surface missile, it has a range of 150 km and a mounting capability of 1000 kg. It was inducted into the Indian Army in 1994.
The Prithvi-II is a short-range, road-mobile, liquid-propellant ballistic missile with 250 km strike range. India first tested .... Read More
Relevancy in Prelims
DNA ORIGAMI: A precise Measuring Tool for Optimal Antibody Effectiveness: Researchers at University of Oslo have created a DNA origami, or a DNA-based design of precise nanostructures, to judge the most accurate distance from heavily packed antigens to get the tightest bond to antibodies within the immune system. DNA origami is a technique for building different shaped molecules out of the four standard nucleotide bases. Various forms can be constructed, such as tubes, pyramids, and cubes and the shapes of these molecules can significantly affect their functionality. Using DNA Origami- DNA-based design of precise nanostructures, scientists have been .... Read More
Nanomaterials or the Nanoparticles are the set of particles or the substances where atlas one dimension is less than approximately 100nm.Important nanomaterials in use are:
Buckyballs, also called fullerenes, were one of the first nanoparticles discovered.
Buckyballs are composed of carbon atoms linked to three other carbon atoms by covalent bonds.
However, the carbon atoms are connected in the same pattern of hexagons and pentagons you find on a soccer ball, giving a buckyball the spherical structure.
Buckyballs have the interesting electrical property of being very good electron acceptors, which means they accept loose electrons from other materials. This feature is useful, for .... Read More
Systems for Sustainable Intensification in Agriculture
Sustainable intensification is a concept related to a production system aiming to increase the yield without adverse environmental impact while cultivating the same agricultural area.
In this context, novel nanomaterials based on the use of inorganic, polymeric, and lipid nanoparticles, synthesized by exploiting different techniques (e.g., emulsification, ionic gelation, polymerization, oxydoreduction, etc) have been developed to increase productivity.
It is noteworthy to mention that nanomaterials could also be exploited to improve structure and function of pesticides by increasing solubility, enhancing resistance against hydrolysis and photodecomposition, and/or by providing a more specific and controlled-release toward target organisms.
Systems to .... Read More
Drug DeliveryOne application of nanotechnology in medicine currently being developed involves employing nanoparticles to deliver drugs, heat, light or other substances to specific types of cells (such as cancer cells). Particles are engineered so that they are attracted to diseased cells, which allows direct treatment of those cells. This technique reduces damage to healthy cells in the body and allows for earlier detection of disease.Diagnostic TechniquesResearchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute are using antibodies attached to carbon nanotubes in chips to detect cancer cells in the blood stream. The researchers believe this method could be used in simple lab tests that .... Read More
Nanoelectronics: Applications under DevelopmentCadmium selenide nanocrystals deposited on plastic sheets have been shown to form flexible electronic circuits. Researchers are aiming for a combination of flexibility, a simple fabrication process and low power requirements.Integrating silicon nanophotonics components into CMOS integrated circuits. This optical technique is intended to provide higher speed data transmission between integrated circuits than is possible with electrical signals.Researchers at UC Berkeley have demonstrated a low power method to use nanomagnets as switches, like transistors, in electrical circuits. Their method might lead to electrical circuits with much lower power consumption than transistor based circuits.Researchers at Georgia Tech, the .... Read More
Generating Less Pollution
One example of this is how researchers have demonstrated that the use of silver nanoclusters as catalysts can significantly reduce the polluting byproducts generated in the process used to manufacture propylene oxide.
Propylene oxide is used to produce common materials such as plastics, paint, detergents and brake fluid.
Researcher have demonstrated that an array of silicon nanowires embedded in a polymer results in low cost but high efficiency solar cells.
This, or other efforts using nanotechnology to improve solar cells, may result in solar cells that generate electricity as cost effectively as coal or oil.
Increasing the Electricity Generated .... Read More
A nanoporous material called aerogel is an excellent insulator. For example, insulating the walls of your house would only need about one third the thickness if you used this material instead of conventional insulation.Knapsacks and briefcases that include flexible, nanoparticle based solar cells to charge your cell phone and other devices on the go.Skin care products that use nanoparticles to deliver vitamins deeper into the skin.Sunscreens that use nanoparticles to block UV rays without leaving white residue on the skin.Lithium ion batteries that use nanoparticle based electrodes powering plug in electric cars.Flame retardant formed by coating the foam used in .... Read More
Nano-BattlesuitSoldiers need to carry around a lot of heavy equipment’s. Also, their clothing does not give them a foolproof protection from bullets. Many Nanotechnology R&D departments are rigorously involved in developing “nano-battlesuit.” This battlesuit could be as thin as a stretchy polyurethane fabric and contain health monitors and communication equipment. Energy for communication could be generated by normal body movements. Additionally, this material would provide strength far better than the currently available materials and also facilitate effective protection from bullets. Nano-sensorsNanotechnology allows smaller sensors which could find applications in various segments. For instance, integrating these nano-sensors with neural networks can .... Read More
Propulsion SystemsMost of today’s rocket engines rely on chemical propulsion. All current spacecraft use some form of chemical rocket for launch and most use them for attitude control as well (the control of the angular position and rotation of the spacecraft, either relative to the object that it is orbiting, or relative to the celestial sphere). Real rocket scientists though are actively researching new forms of space propulsion systems.Radiation ShieldingRadiation shielding is an area where nanotechnology could make a major contribution to human space flight. A lot of research therefore focuses on developing countermeasures to protect astronauts from those risks. .... Read More
Relevancy in Prelims
Kaiga 1 Nuclear Reactor: On December 31st, 2018, India’s indigenously designed pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR), 220-MW Kaiga 1 nuclear power plant, became a world record holder for running 962 unbroken days. The previous record for continuous operation was held by Heysham-2 Unit 8 in the UK, which ran 940 days before it was taken offline on December 10, 2018.
Green Bioreactors: In February 2019, researchers at Western University and Lawson Health Research Institute used tobacco plants as ‘green bioreactors’ to produce large quantities of a human protein called Interleukin 37, or IL-37. The protein is naturally produced in .... Read More
The energy released by the change in the nucleus of atoms is known as nuclear energy. The changes in the nucleus of atoms are normally caused by either nuclear fusion or nuclear fission. The technology that manipulates such changes in nucleus (nuclear reaction) of some specific elements and transform into energy is known as nuclear technology.
In 1942, the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi first successfully produced the nuclear chain reaction.
A nuclear reactor is a system used to initiate and contain a nuclear chain reaction, and they have many useful applications. These nuclear reactions produce thermal energy through either nuclear .... Read More
Department of Atomic Energy is carrying out nuclear energy programme in India. The Indian Nuclear Power Programme has the following three stages:
It is already commercial now, comprised setting up of PHWRs (pressurized heavy water reactors) and associated fuel cycle facilities.
PHWRs use natural uranium as fuel and heavy water as moderator and coolant.
The design, construction, and the operation of these reactors are undertaken by public sector undertaking, the NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited).
The company operates 16 reactors (2 Boiling Water Reactors and 14 PHWRs) with a total capacity of 3900 MW.
It was envisaged to .... Read More
Kudankulam Nuclear Plant (KNPP)
Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is located in the Tamil Nadu, Southern India.
It is the highest-capacity nuclear plant in India, with a total of 2,000MW currently installed with a further 2,000MW under construction.
The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, an Indo-Russian joint venture, is located at the Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu.
It has been built in collaboration with Atomstroyexport, the Russian state company and NPCIL.
Kudankulam is the only nuclear plant in India that uses pressurised water reactors (PWR) rather than boiling water reactors (BHWR) or pressurised heavy-water reactors (PHWR). The PWRs are based on Russian technology and were .... Read More
The use of isotopes and radiations in modern industry is of great importance for the development and improvement of processes, for measuring, automation and quality control. Currently, almost all branches of technology use radioisotopes and radiations of diverse forms.
Radioactive substances that are introduced into a determinate industrial process, to detect their trajectory thanks to their radioactive emission.
This allows the investigation of different variables of the process (flows, filtrations, leaks) in order to obtain information valuable towards extending the life of industrial equipment.
X-rays of the Pieces’ Internal Structure
This is a quality control application. It’s done with gamma rays or neutrons, .... Read More
DeRelevancy in Prelims
Microsat R: In January 2019, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched a defence imaging satellite Microsat R for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), along with another satellite Kalamsat v2. Both the satellites were launched by the PSLV-C44.
GSAT-7A Mission: In December 2018, GSLV-F11 successfully launched GSAT-7A, ISRO’s 39th communication satellite into the space. GSAT-7A is a geostationary satellite carrying communication transponders in Ku-band. The Satellite is built to provide communication capability to the users over the Indian region.
Probable Questions in Prelims
Q1. With reference to satellite Microsat R launched in January 2019, which of the following statements given .... Read More
Communication SatellitesThe Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system is one of the largest domestic communication satellite systems in Asia-Pacific region with nine operational communication satellites placed in Geo-stationary orbit. GSAT-17 joins the constellation of INSAT System consisting 15 operational satellites, namely - INSAT-3A, 3C, 4A, 4B, 4CR and GSAT-6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 18.The INSAT system with more than 200 transponders in the C, Extended C and Ku-bands provides services to telecommunications, television broadcasting, satellite newsgathering, societal applications, weather forecasting, disaster warning and Search and Rescue operations.Earth Observation SatellitesCurrently, 13 operational satellites are in Sun-synchronous orbit .... Read More
Indian space programme encompasses research in areas like astronomy, astrophysics, planetary and earth sciences, atmospheric sciences and theoretical physics. Balloons, sounding rockets, space platforms and ground-based facilities support these research efforts. A series of sounding rockets are available for atmospheric experiments. Several scientific instruments have been flown on satellites especially to direct celestial X-ray and gamma-ray bursts.
AstroSat is the first dedicated Indian astronomy mission aimed at studying celestial sources in X-ray, optical and UV spectral bands simultaneously.
The payloads cover the energy bands of Ultraviolet (Near and For), limited optical and X-ray regime (0.3 keV to 100keV).
One of the unique .... Read More
Launchers or Launch Vehicles are used to carry spacecraft to space. India has two operational launchers: Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is the third generation launch vehicle of India. It is the first Indian launch vehicle to be equipped with liquid stages. The vehicle can fly in three different configurations to adjust for mission requirements.PSLV can launch a satellite into orbit in four stages. The first and third stages are incorporated with two solid propulsion systems, with the second and fourth stages powered by liquid engines.Recent .... Read More
UNNATI (UNispace Nanosatellite Assembly & Training by ISRO)
Launched in January, 2019, UNNATI is a capacity building programme on Nanosatellite development.
It is an initiative by ISRO to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first United Nations conference on the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space (UNISPACE-50).
The programme provides opportunities to the participating developing countries to strengthen in assembling, integrating and testing of Nanosatellite.
Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC)
On January 30th, 2019, The Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC), the hub of ISRO’s future manned missions, was inaugurated at ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru.
Announced on August 15 2018, the country’s first crewed .... Read More
Satellite Communication utilisation has become wide spread and ubiquitous throughout the country for such diverse applications like Television, DTH Broadcasting, DSNG and VSAT to exploit the unique capabilities in terms of coverage and outreach.
The technology has matured substantially over past three decades and is being used on commercial basis for a large number of applications.
Important initiatives pursued by ISRO towards societal development include Tele-education, Tele-medicine, Village Resource Centre (VRC) and Disaster Management System (DMS) Programmes. The potential of the space technology for applications of national development is enormous.
Earth Observation Applications
Earth Observation Satellites of ISRO has been successfully .... Read More
With UPSC preliminary examination just 3 months away, it is time to analyze yet another Section of UPSC General Studies paper, which has become a game changer in past few years. In this section, close to 19-20 questions were asked in last two years, giving it a hefty weightage in the overall paper (around 20% of total marks every year).
A conspicuous pattern of science and technology based questions is that most of them are either purely general science based questions or application based questions. To handle these questions, one needs grasp of latest scientific products and discoveries. Also, questions are .... Read More
India Innovation IndexThe index has been jointly developed by NITI Aayog, DIPP and CII.The index has been structured based on the practices followed in Global Innovation Index (GII) indicators.India Innovation Index is India’s first online innovation index portal that helps capture data on innovation from all Indian states on real timeThe index adds India-centric parameters which reflect the Indian innovation ecosystem. The pillars of index include: Capacity of human capital and research Strength of institutionsSupporting infrastructure Level of business sophistication The Index is a one-stop data warehouse that tracks progress of each indicator at National level and State level on .... Read More