Innovations in Sciences, IT, Computers, Robotics and Nanotechnology

Researchers observed rare Higgs Boson Decay


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Higgs Boson Decay

Mains level : Read the attached story

higgs boson

Central Idea

  • Physicists at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) reported detecting a rare decay of the Higgs boson into a Z boson and a photon.
  • The decay process provides valuable insights into the Higgs boson and the nature of our universe.

Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

What is it? – The LHC is the world’s largest science experiment constructed by CERN.

– It collides beams of hadrons, such as protons, for high-energy physics research.

– Upgrades have enhanced the LHC’s sensitivity and accuracy for its third season of operations.

Functioning – Protons are accelerated through a 27 km circular pipe using powerful magnets.

– Magnetic fields guide the protons, reaching speeds close to the speed of light.

Particle Collisions – Collisions of high-energy protons lead to the creation of various subatomic particles.

– The LHC has achieved collision energies of up to 13.6 TeV.

Scientific Discoveries at the LHC – LHC’s detectors, including ATLAS and CMS, discovered the Higgs boson in 2012.

– Scientists have tested predictions of the Standard Model, observed exotic particles, and gained insights into extreme conditions.

Future of the LHC – Upgrades are planned to increase the LHC’s luminosity by ten times by 2027, aiming to discover new physics.

– There is a debate about investing in a larger LHC or smaller experiments to explore new realms of physics.


Understanding the Higgs Boson

  • The Higgs boson is a type of subatomic particle that carries the force of particle movement through the Higgs field, present throughout the universe.
  • Interaction with Higgs bosons determines a particle’s mass, with stronger interaction leading to greater mass.

Importance of Higgs Boson Decay

  • Studying how different particles interact with Higgs bosons and understanding the properties of Higgs bosons helps reveal information about the universe.
  • The recent detection of Higgs boson decay to a Z boson and a photon provides noteworthy insights.

Role of Virtual Particles

  • Quantum field theory suggests that space at the subatomic level is filled with virtual particles that constantly appear and disappear.
  • Higgs bosons interact fleetingly with virtual particles during their creation, resulting in the production of a Z boson and a photon.

New Result and Probability

  • The Standard Model predicts that the Higgs boson will decay into a Z boson and a photon 0.1% of the time.
  • The LHC needed to produce a significant number of Higgs bosons to observe this decay pathway.

Confirmation and Statistical Precision

  • The ATLAS and CMS detectors, which previously observed the decay independently, combined their data for increased statistical precision.
  • Although the significance is not yet 100%, the combined data enhanced the confirmation of the Higgs boson decay.

Significance for the Standard Model

  • Physicists seek to detect and validate the predicted decay pathways of the Higgs boson according to the Standard Model.
  • Precise testing of the model’s predictions helps identify potential deviations and explore new theories in physics.

Implications for New Theories

  • Higher decay rates through the observed pathway could support new theories beyond the Standard Model.
  • Experimental evidence from the LHC could contribute to advancements in scientific understanding.

Back2Basics: Standard Model

  • The Standard Model is a theoretical framework in physics that describes the fundamental particles and their interactions, except for gravity.
  • It provides a comprehensive understanding of three of the four fundamental forces: electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear forces.
  • Developed in the mid-20th century, the Standard Model has been highly successful in explaining and predicting the behaviour of elementary particles.

Key points about the Standard Model:

  1. Particle Classification: The Standard Model classifies particles into two main categories: fermions and bosons.
  • Fermions: Fermions are particles that make up matter. They are further categorized into quarks and leptons. Quarks are the building blocks of protons and neutrons, while leptons include electrons and neutrinos.
  • Bosons: Bosons are force-carrying particles responsible for transmitting the fundamental forces. Examples include photons (electromagnetic force), gluons (strong nuclear force), and W and Z bosons (weak nuclear force).
  1. Fundamental Forces: The Standard Model explains the interactions between particles through the following fundamental forces:
  • Electromagnetic Force: Mediated by photons, this force governs the interactions between charged particles.
  • Strong Nuclear Force: Mediated by gluons, it binds quarks together to form protons, neutrons, and other particles.
  • Weak Nuclear Force: Mediated by W and Z bosons, it is responsible for certain types of radioactive decay.
  1. Higgs Field and Higgs Boson: The Standard Model introduces the concept of the Higgs field, an energy field that permeates the universe. Particles acquire mass through their interaction with this field. The existence of the Higgs boson, a particle associated with the Higgs field, was confirmed in experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2012.

Limitations and Open Questions:

While the Standard Model has been highly successful in describing particle interactions, it has some limitations:

  • Gravity: The theory does not include a description of gravity, which is described by general relativity. Combining gravity with the other forces remains a challenge.
  • Dark Matter and Dark Energy: The Standard Model does not account for dark matter and dark energy, which are believed to constitute a significant portion of the universe.
  • Unification: The theory does not provide a unified description of all forces, including electromagnetism, weak nuclear force, and strong nuclear force.


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Textile Sector – Cotton, Jute, Wool, Silk, Handloom, etc.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : GOTS

Mains level : Not Much

textile cotton

Central Idea

  • Collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA), Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), and Marple (an AI company) aims to track cotton certification in India.
  • Utilizing satellite images and artificial intelligence, the project focuses on identifying and classifying cotton fields in India.

What is GOTS?

  • The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a globally recognized standard for the processing and manufacturing of organic textiles.
  • It is a leading certification for organic fibers, including cotton, throughout the entire supply chain, from harvesting of raw materials to labeling of the final product.
  • GOTS ensures that organic textiles meet strict environmental and social criteria, providing credible assurance to consumers.

Key aspects of GOTS include:

  1. Organic Fiber Criteria: GOTS requires that at least 95% of the fibers in a textile product must be certified organic. It prohibits the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and restricts the use of certain synthetic chemicals.
  2. Environmental Criteria: GOTS sets strict environmental criteria for processing and manufacturing organic textiles. It includes guidelines for wastewater treatment, chemical inputs, and energy usage, promoting sustainability and minimizing the environmental impact.
  3. Social Criteria: GOTS also encompasses social criteria, ensuring fair and safe working conditions for employees throughout the supply chain. It includes provisions for workers’ rights, prohibition of forced labor, and compliance with International Labor Organization (ILO) standards.
  4. Supply Chain Traceability: GOTS requires full traceability of the supply chain, from the source of the organic fibres to the final product. This ensures transparency and integrity throughout the production process.
  5. Labelling and Certification: GOTS-certified products are labelled accordingly, allowing consumers to identify and choose organic textiles with confidence. Certification is carried out by independent third-party organizations that assess compliance with GOTS standards.

What is the new program about?

  • ESA’s programme will train AI models to analyze ESA satellite data and identify cotton fields in India.
  • The project will help GOTS generate accurate estimates of organic cotton yields and incorporate standardized yield metrics.
  • The initiative aims to identify cotton fields meeting predetermined standards and support a seamless transition to organic cultivation.
  • Traditional and ecologically friendly farming practices will be encouraged.



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Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

Role of Evapotranspiration in Earth’s Dynamic Processes


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Evapotranspiration, Water Cycle

Mains level : NA


Central Idea:  Evapotranspiration is a key process in Earth’s dynamic systems, impacting the movement of water and nutrients, influencing the water cycle, and providing crucial information for farmers to manage irrigation and water resources effectively.

Understanding Evapotranspiration

  • Definition: Evapotranspiration refers to the movement of water from terrestrial surfaces into the atmosphere and is a crucial part of the planet-wide water cycle.
  • Water cycle and its connection to evapotranspiration: Evapotranspiration is an amalgamation of evaporation (water loss from soil) and transpiration (water movement and loss by plants), both of which contribute to the overall movement of water in the water cycle.
  • Breakdown of the term: Evapotranspiration encompasses the movement of water upward through plants and its subsequent loss into the air from exposed plant parts.

Factors affecting Evapotranspiration

  • Rate of evapotranspiration: Several factors impact the rate of evapotranspiration, including solar radiation, day length, soil moisture levels, ambient temperature, wind conditions, and the amount of water vapour already present in the air.
  • Insolation and its effect: The intensity of solar radiation directly affects the rate of evapotranspiration, as it provides the energy needed to evaporate water from terrestrial surfaces.
  • Role of day length: The length of the day, soil moisture content, ambient temperature, wind patterns, and the moisture content of the air all contribute to the rate at which evapotranspiration occurs.

Historical significance of evapotranspiration

  • Origin and age of the term: The term “evapotranspiration” has been in use for at least 86 years and was initially published with a hyphenated form.
  • Contribution of Charles Warren Thornthwaite in 1944: Thornthwaite, an American climatologist, defined and popularized the term “evapotranspiration” in 1944.
  • Relevance for farmers in estimating water needs for crops: Even today, evapotranspiration remains significant for farmers who utilize it to estimate the amount of water required to irrigate their crops effectively.

Back2Basics: Water Cycle

  • The water cycle, also known as the hydrological cycle, is the continuous movement and circulation of water on, above, and below the Earth’s surface.
  • Stages of the Water Cycle include:
  1. Evaporation: The process by which water changes from a liquid state to a gaseous state, rising into the atmosphere.
  2. Condensation: The cooling of water vapor in the atmosphere, causing it to change from a gaseous state back to a liquid state, forming clouds.
  3. Precipitation: When condensed water droplets combine and fall from the atmosphere as rain, snow, sleet, or hail.
  4. Runoff: The movement of water on the Earth’s surface, flowing into streams, rivers, lakes, and eventually into the oceans.
  5. Infiltration: The process by which water seeps into the ground and becomes groundwater.
  6. Transpiration: The release of water vapor from plant surfaces into the atmosphere.


Oil and Gas Sector – HELP, Open Acreage Policy, etc.

Oil Reserves in Salt Caverns: The Potential in India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Salt Cavern-Based Reserves

Mains level : Strategic Oil Reserves in India

salt cavern oil reserve india

Central Idea

  • Engineers India (EIL) is conducting a feasibility study for developing salt cavern-based strategic oil reserves in Rajasthan, India, to increase the country’s storage capacity.
  • If successful, it would be India’s first oil storage facility using salt caverns, different from the existing rock cavern-based strategic storage facilities.

Cavern-based Oil Storage

  • Cavern-based strategic oil storage facilities are storage facilities for crude oil or petroleum products that utilize naturally occurring underground caverns for storage purposes.
  • These caverns are typically formed in salt formations or other geological formations through processes such as solution mining or excavation.
  • In the case of salt cavern-based storage facilities, the storage space is created by dissolving salt deposits with water.
  • The process involves pumping water into the geological formations with large salt deposits, which dissolves the salt and creates caverns.
  • Once the brine (water with dissolved salt) is pumped out, the space can be used to store crude oil or other petroleum products.

Advantages offered

  • Secure and safe: They are naturally well-sealed, providing a secure and impermeable barrier against liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons.
  • Impermeable: This inherent sealing property makes them suitable for long-term storage of oil, minimizing the risk of leaks or environmental contamination.
  • Efficient pumping: Furthermore, cavern-based storage facilities often have high injection and extraction rates, allowing for rapid and efficient operations.
  • Huge capacity: The large volume capacity of caverns enables significant storage capacity, making them ideal for strategic oil reserves intended to address supply disruptions or emergencies.
  • Strategic asset: Countries build strategic crude oil reserves to mitigate supply disruptions and ensure energy security during global supply shocks and emergencies.

India’s Current Strategic Oil Reserves


  • Existing strategic oil storage facilities: India’s three current strategic oil storage facilities are located in Mangaluru, Padur, and Visakhapatnam, consisting of excavated rock caverns.
  • Current capacity and days of demand met: India’s current strategic oil reserves have a capacity of 5.33 million tonnes, equivalent to around 39 million barrels, meeting approximately 9.5 days of demand.
  • Expansion plans: India is in the process of expanding its strategic oil reserves by 6.5 million tonnes at Chandikhol in Odisha and Padur.

Salt Cavern-Based Reserves vs. Rock Cavern-Based Reserves

Salt Cavern Rock Cavern
Development Process
  • Developed through solution mining
  • Dissolving salt deposits with water to create storage space
  • Excavated from solid rock formations
  • Naturally well-sealed
  • Rapid injection and extraction of oil
  • Less labour-intensive and cost-intensive compared to rock caverns
  • Excavation process
  • Suitable for certain geological formations
Suitability for Oil Storage
  • Low oil absorbency
  • Impermeable barrier
  • Suitable for storing crude oil
  • Depends on specific geological formations
  • May have varying degrees of oil absorbency and permeability


Examples of Salt Cavern-Based Storage

  • US Strategic Petroleum Reserve: The US has the world’s largest emergency oil storage, with storage caverns created in salt domes along the Gulf of Mexico coast. It has a capacity of around 727 million barrels.
  • Salt caverns for other purposes: Salt caverns are also used for storing liquid fuels, natural gas, compressed air, and hydrogen in various parts of the world.

Potential for such storage in Rajasthan

  • Rajasthan’s conducive conditions: Rajasthan, with abundant salt formations, is seen as a favorable location for developing salt cavern-based strategic storage facilities.
  • Previous plans and current renewal: Earlier plans for a strategic oil reserve in Bikaner did not materialize, but the exploration of salt cavern-based storage in Rajasthan can be seen as a renewed proposal.
  • Infrastructure suitability: The presence of a refinery in Barmer and existing crude pipelines in Rajasthan make the infrastructure conducive for building strategic oil reserves.
  • Importance of technology access: Previously, no Indian company possessed the necessary technical expertise for building salt cavern-based strategic hydrocarbon storage.

Future plans in India

  • Emergency stockpiles: India’s strategic oil reserves are intended to provide emergency stockpiles and are managed by the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve (ISPRL).
  • Import protection: The International Energy Agency (IEA) suggests that countries should hold oil stockpiles sufficient for 90 days of import protection.
  • Commercialization plans and partnerships: India plans to commercialize its strategic petroleum reserves through public-private partnerships, reducing government spending and leveraging the commercial potential of the reserves.
  • Recent actions and releases: India took advantage of low crude oil prices to fill its reserves, leading to cost savings. It also released oil from its strategic reserves as part of coordinated actions with other major oil-consuming countries.


  • Compared to rock cavern-based reserves, salt caverns offer unique benefits that align with India’s goals of increasing storage capacity and ensuring energy security.


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Cashless Society – Digital Payments, Demonetization, etc.

RBI issues draft on Cybersafety for PSOs


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Payment System Operators (PSOs)

Mains level : Not Much

pso  payment

The Reserve Bank of India has released the draft Master Directions on Cyber Resilience and Digital Payment Security Controls for Payment System Operators (PSOs).

What are Payment System Operators (PSOs)?

  • A payment system operator means a legal entity responsible for operating a payment system.
  • The PSO provides services by operating on certain models.
  • They largely outsource their payment and settlement-related activities to various other entities.
  • Examples of PSOs include: Google Pay (and other apps), Clearing Corporation of India, National Payments Corporation of India, Cards Payment Networks, Cross border Money Transfer, ATM networks, Prepaid Payment Instruments, White Label ATM Operators, Instant Money Transfer, and Trade Receivables Discounting System, Bharat Bill Payment System etc.

Key points from the draft

(1) Governance Mechanisms:

  • The draft emphasizes the need for robust governance mechanisms to manage cybersecurity risks effectively.
  • It covers information security risks and vulnerabilities that PSOs should address.
  • PSOs are expected to establish and maintain a comprehensive cybersecurity framework.

(2) Baseline Security Measures:

  • The draft specifies baseline security measures to be implemented by PSOs.
  • These measures are designed to protect digital payment systems from cybersecurity threats.
  • PSOs must implement controls related to data security, access controls, incident response, and business continuity planning.

(3) Resilience to Cybersecurity Risks:

  • The directions aim to ensure that PSOs are resilient to both traditional and emerging information systems and cybersecurity risks.
  • PSOs are required to conduct periodic risk assessments and implement appropriate controls to mitigate identified risks.
  • The draft emphasizes the importance of continuous monitoring and review of cybersecurity measures.

(4) Safeguarding Digital Payment Transactions:

  • The focus of the directions is to enhance the security of digital payment transactions.
  • PSOs must implement strong authentication mechanisms, encryption standards, and secure communication protocols.
  • The draft highlights the need for robust fraud monitoring and reporting mechanisms.


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Industrial Sector Updates – Industrial Policy, Ease of Doing Business, etc.

Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) reaches 31-month high


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI)

Mains level : NA

pmi manager

Central Idea

  • Surge in PMI to 31-month high: The S&P Global India Manufacturing PMI soared to 58.7 in May, the highest level in 31 months.


Service Sector

The service sector, also known as the tertiary sector, includes a wide range of economic activities that are focused on providing intangible goods and services to customers.

Some examples of activities that fall under the service sector include:

  1. Hospitality and tourism: This includes activities such as hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, and tour operators.
  2. Retail and wholesale trade: This includes businesses that buy and sell goods, such as supermarkets, department stores, and online retailers.
  3. Financial services: This includes banks, insurance companies, and investment firms.
  4. Professional and business services: This includes activities such as legal services, accounting, consulting, and advertising.
  5. Information and communication technology: This includes activities such as software development, telecommunications, and data processing.
  6. Healthcare and social assistance: This includes activities such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and social services.
  7. Education and training: This includes activities such as schools, colleges, universities, and vocational training.
  8. Transportation and logistics: This includes activities such as shipping, warehousing, and distribution.

Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)

  • PMI is an indicator of business activity — both in the manufacturing and services sectors.
  • The S&P Global India Services PMI is compiled by S&P Global from responses to questionnaires sent to a panel of around 400 service sector companies.
  • It is a survey-based measure that asks the respondents about changes in their perception of some key business variables from the month before.
  • It is calculated separately for the manufacturing and services sectors and then a composite index is constructed.

How is the PMI derived?

  • The PMI is derived from a series of qualitative questions.
  • Executives from a reasonably big sample, running into hundreds of firms, are asked whether key indicators such as output, new orders, business expectations and employment were stronger than the month before and are asked to rate them.

How does one read the PMI?

  • A figure above 50 denotes expansion in business activity. Anything below 50 denotes contraction.
  • Higher the difference from this mid-point greater the expansion or contraction. The rate of expansion can also be judged by comparing the PMI with that of the previous month data.
  • If the figure is higher than the previous month’s then the economy is expanding at a faster rate. If it is lower than the previous month then it is growing at a lower rate.

Key insights of recent trend

  • Fastest factory order growth: Factory orders rose at the fastest pace since January 2021.
  • Unprecedented accumulation of inputs: Producers accumulated inputs at an unprecedented pace due to lower costs.
  • Improvement in operating conditions: The index reflects a substantial improvement in operating conditions, with a significant increase from 57.2 in April.
  • Strong growth in order books and exports: Order books grew for the 23rd consecutive month, supported by a rise in export deals.
  • Highest output levels in 28 months: Output levels reached the highest point in 28 months.
  • Increased hiring: Pressure on capacities led firms to increase hiring, reaching a six-month high.

Reasons behind this rise

  • Rise in selling prices: Producers raised selling prices at a solid and quicker rate in May, the highest in a year.
  • Mild input costs but adjusted charges: Input costs remained historically mild, but producers adjusted their charges due to sustained cost increases and a supportive demand environment.
  • Improved business confidence: Business confidence about growth improved, reaching a five-month high.
  • Public faith in economy: Factors such as publicity and demand resilience contributed to the optimistic outlook.


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Economic Indicators and Various Reports On It- GDP, FD, EODB, WIR etc

India’s GDP expanded 6.1% in 2022-23’s last quarter


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Trends in India's GDP Growth

Mains level : Read the attached story


Central Idea

  • The National Statistical Office (NSO) has released provisional national income data revealing that India’s GDP growth in the January to March 2023 quarter reached 6.1%.
  • This growth in the fourth quarter is the fastest among major economies, indicating better prospects for the current year compared to previous expectations.

Key Highlights

(1) Manufacturing Sector Growth Slows, Despite Q4 Rebound

  • Gross Value Added (GVA) in the economy rose by 7% in 2022-23, compared to 8.8% in the previous fiscal year.
  • Manufacturing GVA growth declined significantly, reaching only 1.3% compared to 11.1% a year ago.
  • The sector experienced a rebound of 4.5% in the final quarter after six months of contraction, but overall growth remained subdued.

(2) Agri and Services Sectors Propel Economic Growth

  • The agricultural GVA grew by 4% in 2022-23, an increase from 3.5% in the previous year.
  • Financial, real estate, and professional services sectors experienced a 7.1% growth in GVA, compared to 4.7% in 2021-22.
  • Trade, hotels, transport, and communication sectors, along with services related to broadcasting, witnessed a marginal increase of 14% in GVA.

(3) Revised GDP and GVA Figures Reflect Changes in Economic Performance

  • The NSO revised GDP and GVA numbers for the first half of 2022-23, with slight decreases, but the third-quarter figures were slightly increased.
  • The first quarter’s GDP growth in 2022-23 is now pegged at 13.1%, followed by 6.2% in the second quarter and 4.5% growth in the third quarter.
  • GVA growth estimates for the first and second quarters were revised to 11.9% and 5.4% respectively, while the third quarter GVA growth increased to 4.7% from the earlier estimate of 4.6%.

(4) Consumer Sentiment and Consumption Growth

  • Despite a slight uptick in private final consumption expenditure to 2.8% in Q4 from 2.2% in Q3, consumption growth remained muted.
  • This contradicted the uptick in consumer sentiments as per the RBI’s consumer confidence survey, highlighting the disparity between sentiment and actual spending.

(5) Outlook and Challenges for Future Growth

  • Maintaining growth above 6% will be challenging amid a global economic slowdown, according to economists.
  • Higher-than-expected GDP growth in the previous year may temper growth expectations for the current year, with the government and central bank projecting around 6.5% growth.
  • Pent-up demand that supported growth previously may not be as strong, and private sector investment needs to pick up since exports are not expected to contribute significantly to growth.

What can we as an Aspirant infer?

  • The resilience of the Indian economy and its promising trajectory despite global challenges is often highlighted in news.
  • This article justifies this perception about better performance of Indian Economy.


  • To sustain and enhance economic growth, focus on stimulating private sector investment to complement the performance of agriculture and services sectors.
  • Addressing the challenges in the manufacturing sector and boosting consumer confidence can lead to increased consumption and overall economic expansion.
  • Efforts to diversify and promote exports should be prioritized to contribute to future growth and reduce dependence on domestic consumption.

Tap to read more about:

[Static Revision] National Income Determination, GDP, GNP, NDP, NNP, Personal Income

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Tobacco: The Silent Killer

Mandatory Anti-Tobacco Warnings on OTT Platforms


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : Tobacco consumption and issues


Central Idea

  • Over-the-top (OTT) streaming platforms must display anti-tobacco warnings similar to those seen in movies screened in theatres and on TV.
  • The requirement is based on a Union Health Ministry notification that amends the rules under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2004.

What is COTPA, 2004?

Purpose Regulate production, sale, distribution, and consumption of tobacco products
Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Smoking prohibited in public areas like offices, restaurants, parks, public transport, etc.
Health Warnings on Tobacco Products Mandatory display of health warnings on cigarette packages and other tobacco products
Ban on Advertisement and Promotion Prohibition on direct and indirect advertising of tobacco products
Prohibition on Sale to Minors Selling tobacco products to individuals below 18 years of age is strictly prohibited
Packaging and Labelling Requirements Health warnings and pictorial representations of harmful effects on cigarette packages
Powers of Enforcement Authorities empowered to enforce the act, conduct inspections, and seize contraband products

New requirements for Anti-Tobacco Warnings

  • Publishers of online curated content displaying tobacco products or their use must show anti-tobacco health spots at the beginning and middle of the program.
  • When tobacco products or their use are displayed during the program, an anti-tobacco health warning must be prominently displayed as a static message at the bottom of the screen.
  • The warning message should be legible and readable, with black font on a white background.
  • The specified warnings are ‘Tobacco causes cancer’ or ‘Tobacco kills.’
  • Health spots, warnings, and audio-visual disclaimers should be in the same language as used in the show.

Negative health impacts of tobacco

  • Cancer: Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable cancer. It can cause cancer of the lungs, mouth, throat, larynx, pancreas, bladder, kidney, and cervix.
  • Respiratory diseases: It may cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It can also worsen asthma symptoms.
  • Cardiovascular diseases: Consumption increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. It damages blood vessels and increases the risk of blood clots.
  • Reproductive health: Tobacco use can lead to infertility, premature birth, and low birth weight in babies.

Socio-economic impact

(1) On an individual level:

  • Decreased productivity: Smoking-related illnesses can result in absenteeism from work, decreased work performance, and increased medical expenses.
  • Decreased life expectancy: Tobacco consumption can lead to decreased life expectancy, which reduces the overall productive years of an individual.

(2) On a societal level:

  • Healthcare cost: Tobacco consumption can lead to decreased economic development due to the increased burden of healthcare costs and decreased productivity.
  • Increased social expenditure: According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco-related illnesses cost India about $22.4 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity annually

Why tobacco isn’t completely banned?

  • Revenue loss: The industry contributes a significant amount of tax revenue to the government. Banning tobacco would result in the loss of these tax revenues, which are used for various public welfare programs and initiatives.
  • Economic Impact: The tobacco industry provides employment to a large number of people, especially in the agricultural sector, where tobacco farming is prevalent.
  • Not a psychotropic substance: While the harmful effects of tobacco are well-documented, banning a legal product entirely requires careful consideration and legal processes.
  • Regulatory approach: Instead of a complete ban, the Indian government has adopted a regulatory approach to control tobacco use.

Way forward

  • Strengthen tobacco control laws: Review and enhance existing laws to effectively reduce tobacco consumption.
  • Conduct public awareness campaigns: Educate the public about the health risks of tobacco use and the benefits of quitting.
  • Expand access to tobacco cessation programs: Increase availability of affordable and effective programs to support individuals who want to quit tobacco.
  • Implement sin taxes on tobacco products: Increase taxes to discourage consumption, especially among price-sensitive populations.
  • Enforce smoke-free environments: Strictly implement smoke-free laws in public places, workplaces, and public transport.
  • Support tobacco farmers: Provide alternative livelihood options and assistance for farmers transitioning away from tobacco farming.
  • Conduct research and surveillance: Invest in data collection and analysis to inform evidence-based policies and interventions.
  • Collaborate with international organizations: Partner with global entities like WHO to leverage expertise and resources in tobacco control.



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Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

City Investments to Innovate, Integrate and Sustain (CITIIS) Project


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CITIIS 2.0, Smart Cities Mission

Mains level : Not Much

cities city

Central Idea

  • The Union government has approved the second phase of the City Investments to Innovate, Integrate, and Sustain (CITIIS) project.

What is CITIIS 2.0?

  • It is a part of the Smart Cities Mission and aims to promote integrated waste management and climate-oriented reform actions.
  • The project will be implemented in 18 cities selected through a competition process.
  • The project will span over a period of four years, from 2023 to 2027.

Objectives of the project

  • CITIIS 2.0 supports competitively selected projects focusing on circular economy and integrated waste management at the city level.
  • It also emphasizes climate-oriented reform actions at the State level and aims to strengthen institutions and disseminate knowledge at the national level.

Implementation Partners

  • The project is implemented in partnership with the French Development Agency (AFD), Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW), the European Union (EU), and the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA).


The project consists of three major components:

  1. Financial and technical support for developing climate-resilient projects in up to 18 smart cities.
  2. Interventions at the center, state, and city levels to enhance climate governance.
  3. Promotion of climate adaptation and mitigation measures.

Back2Basics: Smart Cities Mission

  • The Smart Cities Mission is an initiative of the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry that was launched in 2015.
  • Cities across the country were asked to submit proposals for projects to improve municipal services and to make their jurisdictions more liveable.
  • Between January 2016 and June 2018 (when the last city, Shillong, was chosen), the Ministry selected 100 cities for the Mission over five rounds.
  • The projects were supposed to be completed within five years of the selection of the city, but in 2021 the Ministry changed the deadline for all cities to June 2023, which was earlier the deadline for Shillong alone.
  • With an increase on urban population and rapid expansion of areas, government is looking at smarter ways to manage complexities, increase efficiencies and improve quality of life.
  • The mission will cover 100 cities that have been distributed among the States /Union Territories (UT) on the basis of an equitable criteria.
  • The formula gives equal weightage (50:50) to urban population of the State/UT and the number of statutory towns in the State/UT.


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Coronavirus – Disease, Medical Sciences Involved & Preventive Measures

India joins Centralised Laboratory Network (CLN)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Centralised Laboratory Network (CLN)

Mains level : Not Much

Central Idea

  • India has recently become a member of the Centralized Laboratory Network (CLN), which is a part of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

Centralised Laboratory Network (CLN)

  • CLN consists of 15 partner facilities in 13 countries and aims to test vaccines for use during pandemics and epidemic disease outbreaks.
  • It focuses on testing vaccines for pandemic and epidemic disease outbreaks.
  • It is part of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
  • The network aims to standardize testing methods and materials.

New members of the CLN

  • Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV) joins CLN.
  • Institute Pasteur de Dakar (IPD) from Senegal is a new member.
  • KAVI Institute of Clinical Research (KAVI ICR) and University of Nairobi Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases (UNITID) from Kenya join CLN.
  • Synexa Life Sciences from South Africa becomes a member.
  • Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) from Uganda is also a new member.

Objectives of the CEPI-funded network

  • The CEPI-funded network aims to identify promising vaccine candidates rapidly and accurately.
  • The network focuses on emerging infectious diseases.
  • The goal is to support sustainable regional outbreak preparedness infrastructure.

CEPI-Funded Network Objectives

  • The CEPI-funded network, which includes CLN, has the primary objective of identifying the most promising vaccine candidates rapidly and accurately against emerging infectious diseases.
  • In addition to vaccine testing, the expanded network also aims to support the development of sustainable regional outbreak preparedness infrastructure.
  • By working collaboratively and sharing standardized methods and materials, the network enhances global preparedness for potential disease outbreaks.


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History- Important places, persons in news

Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar to be renamed Ahilyanagar


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ahilyabai Holkar, Ahmednagar

Mains level : Not Much

ahmad ahilya

Central Idea

  • Government decision: Ahmednagar district was renamed after Punyashlok Ahilya Devi Holkar.
  • Support from officials: Government officials express gratitude and believe it enhances district honour.
  • Previous discussions: Maharashtra Education Minister planned to rename the city as ‘Punyashlok Ahilyadevi Nagar’.

Origin and History of Ahmednagar

  • Ancient references: Ahmednagar was mentioned in reference to Mauryan Emperor Ashok (240 BC).
  • Rule of prominent kingdoms: Rashtrakuta Dynasty, Western Chalukyas, and Delhi Sultanate.
  • Emergence of Ahmednagar: Revolt led to the establishment of Bahmani kingdom, with Ahmednagar as one of the five independent kingdoms.

Malik Ahmad Nizam Shah and Ahmednagar

  • PM of Bahmani Sultanate: Malik Ahmad Nizam Shah assumed the position in 1486.
  • Victory and city foundation: Defeated the king of Bahmani kingdom and founded Ahmednagar in 1494.
  • Unifying communities: Gained loyalty of Muslims, Maratha peasants, and warriors.

Ahilyabai Holkar: Early Life and Marriage

  • Remarkable upbringing: Ahilyabai born in Chondi village, received rare education.
  • Marriage to Khande Rao: Malhar Rao Holkar arranged the marriage after being impressed by Ahilyabai’s devotion.

Administration and Temple-building

  • Assumption of power: Ahilyabai took control of Malwa after her husband’s death in 1754.
  • Effective governance: Excelling in administration and military strategies under her father-in-law’s guidance.
  • Temple restoration: Notable efforts in restoring Hindu temples, earning respect as a capable ruler.

Legacy of Ahilyabai Holkar

  • Recognizing achievements: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration of Samudra Darshan Path and Somnath Exhibition Gallery.
  • Symbol of inspiration: Somnath temple built by Ahilyabai Holkar in 1783, representing triumph of truth and faith.


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Cashless Society – Digital Payments, Demonetization, etc.

Light weight and Portable Payment System (LPSS) for emergencies


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Utkarsh 2.0 initiative, LPPS

Mains level : Cashless payments


Central Idea

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed the development of a Light weight and Portable Payment System (LPSS).

Light weight and Portable Payment System (LPSS)

  • LPSS is referred to as a “bunker” equivalent, to ensure uninterrupted digital payments during exigencies such as natural calamities or war.
  • This system will operate independently of existing payment technologies like UPI, NEFT, and RTGS.
  • It can be operated from anywhere by a minimal staff during exigencies.
  • It will process critical transactions, such as bulk payments and interbank payments, during extreme and volatile situations.
  • The system operates on minimalistic hardware and software and is activated only when needed.

Why such move?

  • As part of the Utkarsh 2.0 initiative, the RBI is working on strengthening the oversight framework for Centralised Payment Systems, including NEFT and RTGS.
  • The initiative aims to enhance the existing payment systems and introduce new functionalities to improve efficiency and reliability.

Importance of an LPSS

  • Near-zero downtime: The RBI aims to create a payment system that can operate on minimalistic hardware and software, ensuring near-zero downtime of the payment and settlement system in the country.
  • Continuous liquidity pipeline: The lightweight system will facilitate uninterrupted functioning of essential payment services like bulk payments, interbank payments, and provision of cash to participant institutions, thereby keeping the liquidity pipeline of the economy alive and intact.
  • Stability of the economy: It is expected to process critical transactions, including government and market-related transactions that are crucial for maintaining the stability of the economy.
  • Enhancing public confidence: The resilient nature of the system will act as a bunker equivalent in payment systems, enhancing public confidence in digital payments and financial market infrastructure, even during extreme conditions.

Differences between LPSS and UPI

  • Existing payment systems: The RBI acknowledges the availability of various payment systems in India for individuals and institutions, each with its distinct character and application.
  • Handling large transaction volumes: Conventional systems like RTGS, NEFT, and UPI are designed to handle large volumes of transactions while ensuring sustained availability, relying on complex wired networks and advanced IT infrastructure.
  • Vulnerability to catastrophic events: However, catastrophic events such as natural calamities and war can temporarily render these payment systems unavailable by disrupting the underlying information and communication infrastructure.
  • Preparedness for extreme situations: To address this vulnerability, the RBI believes it is prudent to be prepared with a lightweight payment system capable of functioning in extreme and volatile situations.


  • The RBI has not provided a specific timeline for the launch of the lightweight payment and settlements system.
  • However, the concept serves as a crucial step towards ensuring the resilience of the payment ecosystem during emergencies.
  • Further research and development efforts are necessary to bring this system to fruition and enhance the overall stability and confidence in digital payments in India.


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ISRO Missions and Discoveries

India discovers TOI 4603b Exoplanet


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Exoplanet TOI4603b

Mains level : Not Much


Central Idea

  • A new Jupiter-size exoplanet with the highest density known till this date has been discovered by an international team of scientists at the Exoplanet Research Group of the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad.
  • Massive giant exoplanets are defined as those with a mass greater than four times that of Jupiter.

About the Exoplanet TOI4603b

  • The exoplanet is found around the star called TOI4603 or HD 245134.
  • It has a mass 13 times greater than that of Jupiter and a density of approximately 14 g/cm3.
  • Initially, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) declared TOI4603 as a possible candidate to host a secondary body of unknown nature.
  • Using PARAS, scientists confirmed the secondary body as a planet, and it was named TOI 4603b or HD 245134b.
  • The exoplanet is located 731 light years away and orbits a sub-giant F-type star TOI4603 every 7.24 days.

Note: An exoplanet, short for “extra-solar planet,” is a planet that orbits a star other than our Sun. These planets are located outside of our solar system and are not part of our planetary system.

Unprecedented Density and Proximity

  • TOI 4603b is one of the most massive and densest giant planets discovered to date.
  • It orbits very close to its host star at a distance less than 1/10th the distance between our Sun and Earth.
  • Comparisons between the TOI-4603 star-planet system and the Sun-Mercury and Sun-Jupiter systems highlight the close proximity of TOI-4603 b to its star.
  • The exoplanet is situated more than 50 times closer to its star than Jupiter is to the Sun.
  • TOI-4603b is 13 times more massive than Jupiter.

Utilization of Indigenous Technology

  • The discovery of this massive exoplanet was made using the indigenously made PRL Advanced Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search spectrograph (PARAS) at the 1.2 m telescope of PRL at its Gurushikhar Observatory in Mt. Abu.
  • The mass of the planet was measured precisely using PARAS.

Uniqueness of the Discovery

  • The planet falls into the transition mass range of massive giant planets and low-mass brown dwarfs, with masses ranging from 11 to 16 times the mass of Jupiter.
  • Only fewer than five exoplanets are currently known in this mass range.
  • The rarity of such discoveries makes this finding significant.

Insights into Formation and Evolution

  • The exoplanet has a surface temperature of 1670 K and is likely undergoing high-eccentricity tidal migration with an eccentricity value of approximately 0.3.
  • The detection of such systems provides valuable insights into the formation, migration, and evolution mechanisms of massive exoplanets.

India’s Contribution to Exoplanet Discoveries

  • This marks the third exoplanet discovery by India and the PRL scientists using the PARAS spectrograph and the PRL 1.2m telescope.
  • Previous discoveries include K2-236b in 2018 and TOI-1789b in 2021.


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Innovations in Biotechnology and Medical Sciences

Devastating Frog Disease: Chytridiomycosis


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Chytridiomycosis

Mains level : Not Much


Central Idea

  • A multinational study has recently published a breakthrough method in the journal Transboundary and Emerging Diseases to detect all known strains of the amphibian chytrid fungus.
  • This method will enhance our ability to detect and research the disease and work towards finding a widely available cure.

Chytridiomycosis: The deadly frog disease

  • Chytridiomycosis, also known as chytrid, is a fungal disease that has been decimating frog populations worldwide for the past 40 years.
  • The disease has caused severe declines in over 500 frog species and led to 90 extinctions, making it the deadliest animal disease known.

How does it infect?

  • Chytrid infects frogs by reproducing in their skin, damaging their ability to balance water and salt levels.
  • The mortality rate is extreme, and the disease has affected a high number of species, causing devastating declines and extinctions.
  • The disease originated in Asia and spread globally through amphibian trade and travel.

Limitations in diagnosis

  • Researchers traditionally used swabs and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) tests, similar to COVID-19 testing, to detect chytrid in frogs.
  • The existing qPCR test could not detect chytrid strains from Asia, limiting research efforts.

New and Improved qPCR Test

  • Researchers in India, Australia, and Panama have developed a new qPCR test that can detect strains of chytrid from Asia.
  • The test is also more sensitive, allowing for the detection of low infection levels and expanding the range of species that can be studied.
  • The test can also detect a closely related species of chytrid that infects salamanders.

Understanding natural immunity in frogs

  • Some amphibian species, even those without an evolutionary history with chytrid, do not become sick when carrying the fungus, indicating natural immune resistance.
  • Frog immunity is complex, involving anti-microbial chemicals, symbiotic bacteria, white blood cells, antibodies, and more.
  • Research in Asia, where chytrid declines have not been observed, may provide insights into how resistance evolves and aid in finding a cure for affected regions.


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International Space Agencies – Missions and Discoveries

Shenzhou-16 successfully launches with 3 Astronauts to Space


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Shenzhou-16, Gaganyan

Mains level : Manned missions to Space


Central Idea

  • China has achieved a successful launch of the Shenzhou-16 spacecraft carrying three astronauts to the Tiangong space station.

What is Shenzhou-16?

  • Shenzhou-16 spacecraft is part of Chinese manned spaceflight missions and was designed to transport astronauts to the Tiangong space station.
  • This mission marks an important step in China’s space exploration efforts, with the crew set to conduct a range of tests and experiments during their five-month stay.
  • The Tiangong space station, operated by the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), is an integral part of China’s ambitious space program and aims to be a hub for scientific research.

Astronauts on Shenzhou-16

  • The crew of the Shenzhou-16 mission consists of three astronauts: Jing Haipeng as the leading commander, Zhu Yangzhu, and Gui Haichao.
  • Jing Haipeng is an experienced senior spacecraft pilot and one of China’s first batch of astronaut trainees.
  • Zhu Yangzhu, a postdoctoral fellow in aerodynamics and former university teacher, will serve as a spaceflight engineer.
  • Gui Haichao is the first Chinese civilian to travel to space and will be responsible for overseeing science experiments at the space station.

Objectives of the Mission

  • The Shenzhou-16 crew will replace the previous crew from the Shenzhou-15 mission that has been aboard the Tiangong space station since November.
  • The new crew will carry out large-scale tests and experiments in various fields, including the study of quantum phenomena, high-precision space time-frequency systems, verification of general relativity, and the origin of life.
  • These scientific endeavors are expected to lead to significant achievements during the crew’s five-month stay.

About the Tiangong Space Station

  • The Tiangong space station, operated by the CMSA, was developed by China after being barred from collaborating with NASA due to concerns of espionage.
  • The station’s first module entered orbit in 2021, with two more modules added subsequently.
  • China’s long-term plan is to expand the station, with the next module set to dock and create a cross-shaped structure.
  • The Tiangong space station aims to become a leading outpost for scientific research once the International Space Station’s operations conclude in 2030.


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Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Delhi’s Ancient Secrets: Recent Excavations at Purana Qila


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Findings at Purana Qila

Mains level : Not Much

purana qila

Central Idea

  • Delhi’s Purana Qila, also known as the Old Fort, is a historic site with a rich and diverse past.
  • Recent excavations have shed light on its continuous history since the pre-Mauryan era.

About Purana Qila

  • The origins of Purana Qila date back to antiquity, with the exact foundation period unknown.
  • It was later rebuilt by Sher Shah Suri and Mughal emperor Humayun.
  • The fort holds immense cultural and historical importance, and many believe it to be the site of Indraprastha mentioned in the Mahabharata.
  • The fort, believed to be the location of the ancient city of Indraprastha, showcases architectural remnants from various periods, including the Mughal and Rajput eras.

Architectural marvels at Purana Qila

  • Purana Qila’s architectural features include walls that rise to a height of 18 meters, spanning approximately 1.5 kilometers.
  • It boasts three arched gateways, including the Bara Darwaza, the south gate (Humayun Gate), and the Talaqi Gate.
  • The fort’s Qila-i-Kuhna Mosque, built by Sher Shah Suri in 1541, showcases pre-Mughal architecture with its pointed arches and elegant prayer niches.
  • The Sher Mandal, a double-storeyed octagonal tower, served as Humayun’s private observatory and library.
  • It features decorative plaster-work and remnants of stone shelving for books.

Recent excavation discoveries

  • Excavations have uncovered significant artifacts, including shards of Painted Gray Ware pottery dating from 1200 BC to 600 BC, indicating the pre-Mauryan period.
  • Other discoveries include a 900-year-old Vaikuntha Vishnu from the Rajput period, a terracotta plaque of Goddess Gaja Lakshmi from the Gupta period, and a 2,500-year-old terracotta ring well from the Mauryan period.
  • Numerous beads, seals, copper coins, and a bone needle have also been found, highlighting the site’s role as a center for trade activities.

Cultural chronology and preservation

  • The ongoing excavation aims to establish a complete chronology of the site, spanning different historical periods from the Kushan to the Mughal era.
  • The remains of Purana Qila will be preserved, conserved, and transformed into an open-air museum to showcase the rich historical legacy of Delhi.
  • The excavated artifacts will also be displayed to delegates attending the G-20 summit, further promoting the cultural heritage of the site.


ISRO Missions and Discoveries

ISRO successfully deploys NavIC NVS-1 Satellite


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NAVIC

Mains level : Indigenous GPS


Central Idea

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation has successfully launched its fifth satellite of 2023.
  • A 2,232-kilogram satellite named NVS-1 was launched into space as part of the NavIC

What is NAVIC?

  • NavIC is a regional satellite navigation system consisting of seven satellites in orbit that provide positioning, navigation, and timing services to various sectors, including civil aviation and the military.

(1) Origins and Motivation:

  • The idea of NAVIC emerged in the early 2000s as IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System) to address India’s need for an independent navigation system for strategic and civilian purposes.
  • The motivation behind NAVIC was to reduce dependence on foreign systems like GPS and enhance national security, sovereignty, and economic growth.

(2) Satellite Deployment:

  • The NAVIC constellation consists of a total of 7* satellites.
  • The first satellite, IRNSS-1A, was launched in July 2013, followed by subsequent launches of IRNSS-1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, and IRNSS-1I.
  • Each satellite is placed in a geostationary orbit or an inclined geosynchronous orbit, providing continuous coverage over the Indian landmass and surrounding regions.

(3) Renaming to NAVIC:

  • In 2016, the system was officially named NAVIC, which stands for Navigation with Indian Constellation.
  • The name change aimed to create a distinct brand identity for the Indian regional navigation system.

Key Features and Technical Details

(1) Coverage Area:

  • NAVIC provides coverage within India and extends up to 1,500 kilometres beyond its borders.
  • The system covers the Indian landmass, as well as the Indian Ocean region.

(2) Satellite Configuration:

  • The NAVIC satellites are equipped with atomic clocks to provide accurate timing signals.
  • They transmit signals on different frequencies, including L5 and S bands, for enhanced accuracy and reliability.

(3) Applications and Services:

  • NAVIC has a wide range of applications, including terrestrial, aerial, and marine navigation.
  • It is utilized in various sectors such as transportation, agriculture, disaster management, surveying, and geodetic applications.
  • The system supports position determination, velocity measurement, and time synchronization services.

About NVS-1 Satellite

  • NVS-1 is part of the second-generation NavIC satellite series and ensures continuity of existing services while introducing new services in the Li band.
  • The satellite features two solar arrays generating up to 2.4 kW of power, a lithium-ion battery for eclipse support, and thermal management and propulsion systems.
  • Notably, NVS-1 includes a Rubidium atomic clock developed in-house by the Space Applications Centre, showcasing India’s technical expertise in this advanced technology.

India’s launch capabilities and recent missions

  • The NVS-1 launch marks the second successful mission in a month and the fifth launch of the year for ISRO.
  • In April, ISRO completed the PSLV-C55 mission, deploying two satellites, including TeLEOS-2 with a synthetic aperture radar payload.
  • The PSLV-C55 mission highlighted collaboration between India and Singapore in space exploration and technology.

*Note: The numbers of satellites in this constellation is disputed. It is given as 7 and 8 on different sources. Total Nine satellites were launched out of which the very first (IRNSS-1A) is partially failed because of some issue in its Atomic Clock. Another and the last satellite had a launch failure. Hence the number 7/8.


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Parliament – Sessions, Procedures, Motions, Committees etc

Parliamentary Institutions in Ancient India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tripitaka

Mains level : Democracy in Indian Civilizations


Central Idea

  • The construction and history of the Indian Parliament building serve as a reminder of India’s rich democratic traditions.
  • Dr BR Ambedkar, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee for the Indian Constitution, highlighted the presence of democratic aspects in Indian history that predate Western influence.

Democratic Traditions in Ancient India

  • Ambedkar had challenged the notion that India’s parliamentary procedures were borrowed from European countries.
  • Ambedkar referred to the Vinaypitaka, a Theravada Buddhist scripture, as evidence of existing democratic procedures in India.
  • The scripture regulated meetings of the Bhikkhus Sangh (monks) and included rules for debates, motions, and voting through a secret ballot system.

Comparison with Western Democracies

  • Ambedkar acknowledged the importance of contributions made by Western democracies in moving away from autocracy and religious dominance.
  • He highlighted the separation of Church and State in Western societies and the transition to secular laws created by the people rather than divine or religious authorities.

Caution against Failure to Address Defects

  • Ambedkar pointed out the tendency of ancient societies to neglect repairing their own defects, leading to their decay.
  • He criticized the Indian society’s reliance on divine laws established by figures like Manu and Yajnavalkya, which hindered the ability to address societal issues.


  • While acknowledging India’s rich democratic history, it is essential to continue building and strengthening democratic institutions to address the evolving needs and challenges of society.
  • This includes fostering an introspective approach, embracing inclusive governance, and upholding the principles of secularism, equality, and social justice.

Back2Basics: Tripitaka

  • The Tripitaka, also known as the Pali Canon, is a collection of sacred Buddhist scriptures that form the foundational texts of the Theravada Buddhist tradition.
  • It is divided into three sections, known as the Tripitaka, which literally means “Three Baskets.”

History and significance

  • The Tripitaka was orally transmitted from the time of Gautama Buddha in the 5th century BCE until it was eventually written down in the 1st century BCE.
  • It holds immense historical and religious significance as it contains the teachings, discourses, rules, and guidelines given by the Buddha and his prominent disciples.

Composition of the Tripitaka:

(1) Vinaya Pitaka (Basket of Discipline):

  • Comprises the rules and guidelines for monastic discipline in the Buddhist community.
  • Provides detailed instructions on the conduct and behavior expected from monks and nuns.
  • Covers various aspects, including ethical guidelines, disciplinary codes, and procedures for resolving disputes.
  • Offers insights into the monastic life, the organization of the Sangha (monastic community), and the role of the monastic code in maintaining harmony and ethical conduct.

(2) Sutta Pitaka (Basket of Discourses):

  • Contains the discourses and teachings delivered by Gautama Buddha and his close disciples.
  • Includes a vast collection of discourses covering a wide range of topics, such as ethics, meditation, philosophy, and social issues.
  • Consists of individual suttas (discourses) grouped into different collections or Nikayas, such as the Digha Nikaya (Long Discourses), Majjhima Nikaya (Middle-Length Discourses), Samyutta Nikaya (Connected Discourses), and Anguttara Nikaya (Numerical Discourses).
  • Presents the Buddha’s profound teachings on the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, dependent origination, and other core concepts of Buddhism.

(3) Abhidhamma Pitaka (Basket of Higher Teachings):

  • Provides a comprehensive and systematic analysis of Buddhist philosophy and psychology.
  • Explores the nature of mind, consciousness, and reality in intricate detail.
  • Presents the teachings in a more technical and analytical manner, offering an advanced understanding of Buddhist concepts.
  • Divided into seven books, known as the Abhidhamma books, which delve into topics such as consciousness, mental factors, elements, and the path to liberation.
  • Offers a deep exploration of the ultimate nature of existence and the workings of the mind.

Features and Characteristics

  • Authenticity and Authority: The Tripitaka is regarded as the most authoritative and authentic collection of Buddhist scriptures in the Theravada tradition.
  • Canonical Language: The texts are primarily written in Pali, an ancient Indian language close to the language spoken during the Buddha’s time.
  • Extensive Coverage: The Tripitaka covers a wide range of topics, offering comprehensive guidance for practitioners in various aspects of life.
  • Preservation of Early Buddhist Teachings: The Tripitaka is believed to preserve the original teachings of the Buddha, providing insights into his wisdom and teachings.


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Innovations in Sciences, IT, Computers, Robotics and Nanotechnology

What is Foucault Pendulum?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Foucault Pendulum

Mains level : NA


Central Idea

  • The Foucault pendulum is a device that proves the Earth’s rotation and has been installed in the new Parliament building in New Delhi.
  • It was designed and installed by the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), Kolkata.

Foucault Pendulum: A Unique Invention

  • Historical Context: In 1851, the Foucault pendulum experiment conclusively demonstrated the Earth’s rotation, settling debates about the planet’s movement.
  • Leon Foucault: The French scientist invented the Foucault pendulum and invited scientists and the public to witness the Earth’s rotation through the experiment.
  • Working: The pendulum consists of a heavy iron ball suspended by a steel wire and swings in a plane, mimicking the Earth’s rotation on its axis.
  • Exhibition at the Pantheon: The demonstration took place at the Pantheon in Paris, where the ball’s motion represented the Earth’s rotation.


  • Earth’s Rotation as a Scientific Fact: The Foucault pendulum experiment solidified the understanding that the Earth rotates on its axis.
  • Supporting Astronomical Studies: The knowledge of the Earth’s rotation is crucial for studying various astronomical phenomena, such as day and night cycles and seasonal changes.
  • Continual Scientific Inquiry: The Foucault pendulum experiment encouraged further research into the Earth’s rotation and its implications for our understanding of the universe.

Modern Applications and Further Exploration

  • Educational Installations: The inclusion of a Foucault pendulum in the new Parliament building in New Delhi provides an opportunity for public education and scientific engagement.
  • Technological Advancements: Advances in technology, such as precision instruments and digital monitoring, can enhance the accuracy and impact of Foucault pendulum installations.
  • Continued Research: Ongoing scientific studies and experiments can deepen our understanding of the Earth’s rotation and its relationship to other celestial bodies.
  • Space Exploration: Exploring the Earth’s rotation from space can offer unique perspectives and insights into its dynamics.


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Police Reforms – SC directives, NPC, other committees reports

What is Narco Analysis Test?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NARCO test

Mains level : Not Much

narco test

Central Idea

  • Wrestlers at Jantar Mantar expressed their willingness to undergo narco analysis test.
  • One of them emphasized that the test should be monitored by the Supreme Court.

What is a Narco Test?

  • In a ‘narco’ or narcoanalysis test, a drug called sodium pentothal is injected into the body of the accused.
  • This transports the accused to a hypnotic or sedated state, in which their imagination is neutralised.
  • In this hypnotic state, the accused is understood as being incapable of lying, and is expected to divulge information that is true.
  • Sodium pentothal or sodium thiopental is a fast-acting, short duration anaesthetic, which is used in larger doses to sedate patients during surgery.
  • It belongs to the barbiturate class of drugs that act on the central nervous system as depressants.

 Difference from Polygraph Tests

  • It is important to differentiate narco-analysis tests from polygraph tests, as they serve different purposes.
  • Polygraph tests rely on physiological responses to detect lies, measuring variables such as blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration, and sweat gland activity while the suspect is being questioned.
  • In contrast, narco-analysis tests induce a hypnotic state through the administration of drugs, aiming to weaken the subject’s resolve to lie.

Reasons to use such tests

  • In recent decades, investigating agencies have sought to employ these tests in investigation, which are sometimes seen as being a “softer alternative” to torture or “third degree” to extract the truth from suspects.
  • However, neither method has been proven scientifically to have a 100% success rate, and remain contentious in the medical field as well.

Restrictions on these tests

  • No self-incrimination: The Bench took into consideration international norms on human rights, the right to a fair trial, and the right against self-incrimination under Article 20(3) of the Constitution.
  • Consent of the accused: In ‘Selvi & Ors vs. State of Karnataka & Anr’ (2010), a Supreme Court Bench comprising then CJI ruled that no lie detector tests should be administered “except on the basis of consent of the accused”. The subject’s consent should be recorded before a judicial magistrate, the court said.
  • Legal assistance to such convicts: Those who volunteer must have access to a lawyer, and have the physical, emotional, and legal implications of the test explained to them by police and the lawyer.
  • Guidelines at place: It said that the ‘Guidelines for the Administration of Polygraph Test on an Accused’ published by the National Human Rights Commission in 2000, must be strictly followed.

Previous Cases and Supreme Court Ruling

  • Narco analysis tests have been employed in significant cases like the 2002 Gujarat riots, the Abdul Karim Telgi fake stamp paper scam, the Nithari killings case in 2007, and the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case involving Ajmal Kasab.
  • However, it was in 2010 that the Supreme Court delivered a ruling addressing the legality and admissibility of narco tests.
  • According to the Supreme Court ruling in “Selvi & Ors vs State of Karnataka & Anr” (2010), lie detector tests should not be administered without the consent of the accused.
  • The ruling emphasized that those who volunteer for the test must have access to legal counsel and be fully informed about the physical, emotional, and legal implications of the test.

Court Decisions and Examples

  • The Supreme Court, relying on its 2010 ruling, rejected a petition to produce narco-test reports in the case of Aarushi Talwar, deeming it an attempt to delay the trial proceedings.
  • In 2019, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) wanted to conduct narco-analysis tests on a former Punjab National Bank (PNB) staffer involved in an alleged fraud case, but the manager did not provide consent.
  • Last year, a Delhi court allowed a narco test on Aaftab Poonawalla, a murder suspect, after he voluntarily consented and acknowledged the potential consequences.

Legal Position before Supreme Court Ruling

  • In 2006, the Madras High Court stated that scientific tests could be used by investigating agencies when the accused did not come forward with the truth, as it did not violate testimonial compulsion.
  • Similarly, the 2008 Delhi High Court ruling in “Sh. Shailender Sharma vs State & Another” acknowledged the need for thorough investigations and stated that narco-analysis tests do not suffer from constitutional infirmities.

Can the results of these tests be considered as “confessions”?

  • Not a confession: Because those in a drugged-induced state cannot exercise a choice in answering questions that are put to them.
  • Assumed as evidence: However, any information or material subsequently discovered with the help of such a voluntarily-taken test can be admitted as evidence.
  • Supports investigation: It reveals the location of, say, a physical piece of evidence (which is often something like a murder weapon) in the course of the test.

Way Forward

  • Evaluate the demand and implications of narco analysis tests in legal proceedings, considering both the benefits and ethical concerns.
  • Engage in a broader discussion on the forced intrusion into an individual’s mental processes and its impact on human dignity and rights.
  • Explore alternative methods of gathering evidence while ensuring constitutional rights are respected and upheld.


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