Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Vitamin-D Deficiency


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Vitamin D

Mains level : Not Much

The pandemic-induced lockdown has confined people to their houses for five months now. The resultant lack of sunlight, followed by rains, has brought down the vitamin D levels to the lowest.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2014:

Q.Consider the following pairs:

Vitamin Deficiency:: Disease

  1. Vitamin C::Scurvy
  2. Vitamin D:: Rickets
  3. Vitamin E:: Night blindness

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 1, 2 and 3

(d) None

What is Vitamin-D?

  • Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that has myriad positive effects on several systems in the body.
  • Unlike other vitamins, it functions like a hormone and every cell in your body has a receptor for it.
  • It is sparsely found in certain fatty fish and fortified dairy products, and it is extremely difficult to get the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of 600-800 IU from diet alone.

There are two main forms of vitamin D in the diet:

– Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) — found in plant foods like mushrooms.
– Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) — found in animal foods like salmon, cod and egg yolks.

Common signs and symptoms of the deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common and most people are unaware of it, as the symptoms are subtle and nonspecific.

– Getting sick or infected often with common cold and flu, because of a weak immune system.
– Fatigue and tiredness
– Bone and muscle pains
– Depression
– Impaired wound healing
– Bone loss and osteoporosis

Sources of Vit. D

  • Sunlight is the best natural source of vitamin D. Sunlight synthesizes cholesterol into Vitamin D3.
  • Usually, 20 to 30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 am and 3 pm is adequate to meet daily requirements, in places with minimum pollution levels.

Interstate River Water Dispute

Kalasa-Banduri Dam Project


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kalasa-Banduri Dam Project

Mains level : Inter-state water disputes

India is on the brink of an acute water crisis, which has, to an extent, fabricated a looming threat of trans-boundary water conflicts. The conflict on the Mandovi / Mahadayi River— flowing through Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra— is one such example.

Try this PYQ:

What is common to the places known as Aliyar, Isapur and Kangsabati?

(a) Recently discovered uranium deposits

(b) Tropical rain forests

(c) Underground cave systems

(d) Water reservoirs

Kalasa-Banduri Project

  • The project undertaken by the Karnataka government proposes to divert Mandovi river water from Kalasa and Banduri canals into the Malaprabha river in the state.
  • The project received clearance from the Centre in 2002. It aims to construct a total of 11 dams on the river Mandovi.
  • The diversion of water from Kalasa and Banduri nullahs, however, has been the point of contention between Karnataka and Goa, with the latter claiming it would strip the state of its flora and fauna.

The conflict

  • The Mandovi originates from Karnataka’s Belgaum district.
  • The Mandovi river basin falls into the states of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
  • The river is 81 kilometres (km) in length; 35 km of which flows in Karnataka, 1 km in Maharashtra and 45 km in Goa.
  • The seeds of the conflict were sowed over 40 years ago: In 1985Karnataka initially explored a 350 megawatt-hydro-electric project to divert 50 per cent of the Mandovi river water in Karnataka for irrigation.
  • The plan was also to allow a steady flow of water from the power project’s storage dam after using the water for irrigation purposes in Karnataka.
  • This would have served to drinking water and irrigation purposes in Goa as well.

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM)

Mains level : Not Much

As a first step towards Greening the Indian short term power market, the  Ministry of Power and New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) has launched pan-India Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM) in electricity.

Try this question

Q.What is the Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM)? Discuss its working and key benefits to the Renewable Energy sector.

About GTAM

  • GTAM is an alternative new model introduced for selling off the power by the renewable developers in the open market without getting into long term PPAs.
  • This would promote RE merchant capacity addition and help in achieving RE capacity addition targets of the country.

Benefits of GTAM

  • It would lessen the burden on the RE-rich States and incentivize them to develop RE capacity beyond their own RPO.
  • It will benefit buyers of RE through competitive prices and transparent and flexible procurement. It will also benefit RE sellers by providing access to the pan- India market

Key features

  • Transactions through GTAM will be bilateral in nature with clear identification of corresponding buyers and sellers, there will not be any difficulty in accounting for RPO.
  • GTAM contracts will be segregated into Solar RPO & Non-Solar RPO as RPO targets are also segregated.
  • Further, within the two segments, GTAM contracts will have Green Intraday, Day Ahead Contingency, Daily and Weekly Contracts
  • Green Intraday Contract & Day Ahead Contingency Contract – Bidding will take place on a 15-minute time-block wise MW basis.
  • Daily & Weekly Contracts – Bidding will take place on an MWh basis.
  • Price discovery will take place on a continuous basis i.e. price-time priority basis. Subsequently, looking at the market conditions open auction can be introduced for daily & weekly contracts.
  • Energy scheduled through GTAM contract shall be considered as deemed RPO compliance of the buyer.

Indian Army Updates

Special Frontier Force: The Vikas Battalion


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Special Frontier Force (SFF)

Mains level : India's security forces

There have been reports that a Special Frontier Force (SFF) unit, referred to as Vikas Battalion, has been instrumental in occupying some key heights on the LAC.

Try this question for mains:

Q.“It cannot be business as usual with China after the border clash.” Critically comment.

What is the Special Frontier Force (SFF)?

  • SFF was raised in the immediate aftermath of the 1962 Sino-India war.
  • It was a covert outfit which recruited Tibetans (now it has a mixture of Tibetans and Gorkhas) and initially went by the name of Establishment 22.
  • It was named so because it was raised by Major General Sujan Singh Uban, an Artillery officer who had commanded 22 Mountain Regiment.
  • He, therefore, named the new covert group after his regiment. Subsequently, the group was renamed as Special Frontier Force.
  • SFF now falls under the purview of the Cabinet Secretariat where it is headed by an Inspector General who is an Army officer of the rank of Major General.

Is SFF a part of the Army?

  • Strictly speaking, the SFF units are not part of the Army but they function under the operational control of the Army.
  • The units have their own rank structures which have equivalent status with Army ranks.
  • However, they are highly trained Special Forces personnel who can undertake a variety of tasks which would normally be performed by any Special Forces unit.
  • The SFF units, therefore, function virtually as any other Army unit in operational areas despite having a separate charter and history.

Major operations conducted

  • There are several overt and covert operations in which SFF units have taken part over the years.
  • They took part in operations in the 1971 war, Operation Blue Star in Golden Temple Amritsar, Kargil conflict and in counter-insurgency operations in the country.
  • There are several other operations too in which the SFF has participated but the details are classified.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Pinaka Missile System


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Pinaka Multibarrel Missiles

Mains level : India-China LAC tensions

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed contracts with three Indian companies for supply of six regiments of the Pinaka Rocket System to be deployed along borders with Pakistan and China.

Following things are crucial to know about the Pinaka Missile System:

1) It’s development and manufacture

2) Fire Range and other capabilities

3) Latest technology enhancement

Pinaka Missile System

  • Pinaka is an indigenously developed rocket system named after Lord Shiva’s mythological bow.
  • It is used for attacking the adversary targets prior to the close-quarter battles which involve smaller range artillery, armoured elements and the infantry.
  • The development of the Pinaka was started by the DRDO in the late 1980s, as an alternative to the multi-barrel rocket launching systems of Russian make, called like the ‘Grad’, which are still in use.
  • After successful tests of Pinaka Mark-1 in late 1990, it was first used in the battlefield during the Kargil War of 1999, quite successfully.
  • Subsequently, multiple regiments of the system came up over the 2000s.

Its versions and capabilities

  • The Pinaka, which is primarily a multi-barrel rocket system (MBRL) system, can fire a salvo of 12 rockets over a period of 44 seconds.
  • One battery of the Pinaka system consists of six launch vehicles, accompanied by the loader systems, radar and links with network-based systems and a command post.
  • It can neutralize an area one kilometre by one kilometre.
  • The Mark-I version of Pinaka has a range of around 40 kilometres and the Mark-II version can fire up to 75 kilometres.
  • The Mark-II version of the rocket has been modified as a guided missile system by integrating it with the navigation, control and guidance system to improve the end accuracy and increase the range.
  • The navigation system of the missile is linked with the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System.

Indian Army Updates

Exercise Indra 2020


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Exercise Indra

Mains level : India-Russia defence ties

Amid high operational alert by the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) India and Russia are scheduled to hold the bilateral naval exercise, Indra 2020, in the Andaman Sea, close to the strategic Strait of Malacca.

[Prelims Spotlight]: Various Defence Exercises in News

Exercise Indra

  • It is a joint, tri-services exercise between India and Russia
  • This series of exercise began in 2003 and the First joint Tri-Services Exercise was conducted in 2017.
  • Company sized mechanized contingents, fighter and transport aircraft, as well as ships of respective Army, Air Force and Navy, participate in this exercise of ten days duration.

Innovations in Sciences, IT, Computers, Robotics and Nanotechnology

What is Carbon-14 (C14) Battery?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : C-14, Carbon Dating

Mains level : Scientific management of nuclear waste and its disposal

A California-based company has made a self-charging battery, which can run for 28,000 years on a single charge, by trapping carbon-14 (C14) nuclear waste in artificial diamond-case.

Try this PYQ:

Q.The known forces of nature can be divided into four classes, viz. gravity, electromagnetism, weak nuclear force and strong nuclear force. With reference to them, which one of the following statements is not correct?

(a) Gravity is the strongest of the four

(b) Electromagnetism act only on particles with an electric charge

(c) Weak nuclear force causes radioactivity

(d) Strong nuclear force holds protons and neutrons inside the nuclear of an atom.

What is C14?

  • Carbon-14 (14C), or radiocarbon, is a radioactive isotope of carbon with an atomic nucleus containing 6 protons and 8 neutrons.
  • There are three naturally occurring isotopes of carbon on Earth: carbon-12, which makes up 99% of all carbon on Earth; carbon-13, which makes up 1%; and carbon-14, which occurs in trace amounts.
  • Its presence in organic materials is the basis of the radiocarbon dating method pioneered by Willard Libby and colleagues (1949) to date archaeological, geological and hydrogeological samples.

C14 battery

  • The battery works by generating electricity on its own from a shower of electrons as a result of radioactive decay scattered and deposited in the artificial diamond-case.
  • The battery can be used in electric vehicles, mobile phones, laptops, tablets, drones, watches, cameras, health monitors and even sensors.
  • It is also said to be extremely safe and tamper-proof as it is coated with a non-radioactive diamond which prevents radiation leaks.

Best example of nuke waste recycling

  • It is estimated that 33 million cubic metres of global nuclear waste will cost over $100 billion to manage and dispose of.
  • And a lot of this waste is graphite that is one of the higher risks of radioactive waste and one of the most expensive and problematic waste to store.

Its applications

  • The company says its battery can be used to powerhouses, and that any excess electricity generated can be sold to the grid.
  • As the new battery need not be replaced, it can be installed in hard to reach places like pacemakers and implants, where a regular change of battery is not possible.
  • Another area of use is space electronics. The battery is said to power space equipment in rockets.
  • It can power the electrical needs of space crafts, like providing power to cockpits and assisting launch into the upper atmosphere.

Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Renati Chola Era Inscription


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Renati Cholas, Chola Administration

Mains level : Not Much

A rare inscription dating back to the Renati Chola era has been unearthed in a remote village of Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh.

Try this PYQ:

Q.In the context of the history of India, consider the following pairs:

Term: Description

  1. Eripatti: Land revenue from which was set apart for the maintenance of the village tank
  2. Taniyurs: Villages donated to a single Brahmin or a group of Brahmins
  3. Ghatikas: Colleges generally attached to the temples

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 and 2

(b) 3 only

(c) 2 and 3

(d) 1 and 3

Who are the Renati Cholas?

  • The Telugu Cholas of Renadu (also called as Renati Cholas) ruled over Renadu region, the present-day Kadapa district.
  • They were originally independent, later forced to the suzerainty of the Eastern Chalukyas.
  • They had the unique honour of using the Telugu language in their inscriptions belonging to the 6th and 8th centuries.
  • The earliest of this family was Nandivarman (500 AD) who claimed descent from the family of Karikala and the Kasyapa gotra.
  • He had three sons Simhavishnu, Sundarananda and Dhananjaya, all of whom were ruling different territories simultaneously.
  • The family seems to have had its origin in Erigal in the Tunmkur district, situated in the border between Pallava and Kadamba regions.

About the inscription

  • The inscription so found was engraved on a dolomite slab and shale.
  • The inscription was written in archaic Telugu which is readable in 25 lines — the first side with eleven lines and the remaining on the other side.
  • It was assigned to the 8th Century A.D. when the region was under the rule of Chola Maharaja of Renadu.
  • The inscription seems to throw light on the record of a gift of six Marttus (a measuring unit) of land gifted to a person Sidyamayu, one of the Brahmins serving the temple at Pidukula village.
  • It says the people who safeguard this inscription for future generations will acquire the status of conducting Aswamedha Yajna and those destroying it will incur sin equivalent to causing death in Varanasi.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Russia

Exercise Kavkaz 2020


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Exercise Kavkaz 2020

Mains level : Not Much

India has turned down Russia’s invitation to participate in the multilateral defence exercise Kavkaz 2020.

Go through the list for once. UPSC may ask a match the pair type question asking exercise name and countries involved.

Exercise Kavkaz 2020

  • The Kavkaz 2020 is also referred to as Caucasus-2020.
  • The exercise is aimed at assessing the ability of the armed forces to ensure military security in Russia’s southwest, where serious terrorist threats persist and preparing for the strategic command-staff drills.
  • The main training grounds that will be involved are located in the Southern Military District.
  • The invitation for participation has been extended to at least 18 countries including China, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey apart from other Central Asian Republics part of the SCO.

Why didn’t India participate?

  • While it is learned that China has confirmed its participation, Pakistan is also likely to send its troops for the exercise.
  • In the response communicated to Russia, New Delhi cited Covid-19 as the official reason to skip ‘Exercise Kavkaz 2020’.
  • The move comes in the backdrop of a border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh.

Earlier instances

  • Exercise Tsentr last year had the participation of India, Pakistan and all Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member-nations.
  • India had participated in SCO peace mission exercise in 2018, and in 2019, for the first time, was involved in a strategic command and staff exercise as part of Exercise Tsentr.

Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

[pib] Historic City of Hampi


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Hampi

Mains level : Vijayanagara Architecture

The Ministry of Tourism organised their latest webinar titled Hampi- Inspired by the past; Going into the future under Dekho Apna Desh Webinar series.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Building ‘Kalyaana Mandapas’ was a notable feature in the temple construction in the kingdom of-

(a) Chalukya

(b) Chandela

(c) Rashtrakuta

(d) Vijayanagara

Facts about Hampi

  • Its name is derived from Pampa which is the old name of the Tungabhadra River on whose banks the city is built.
  • In 1336 CE, the Vijayanagara Empire arose from the ruins of the Kampili kingdom.
  • It grew into one of the famed Hindu empires of South India that ruled for over 200 years.
  • The Vijayanagara rulers fostered developments in intellectual pursuits and the arts, maintained a strong military and fought many wars with sultanates to its north and east.
  • They invested in roads, waterworks, agriculture, religious buildings and public infrastructure.
  • The site used to be multi-religious and multi-ethnic; it included Hindu and Jain monuments next to each other.
  • The buildings predominantly followed South Indian Hindu arts and architecture dating to the Aihole-Pattadakal styles.
  • The Hampi builders also used elements of Indo-Islamic architecture in the Lotus Mahal, the public bath and the elephant stables.

Major attractions

  • One of the major attractions of Hampi is the 15th Century Virupaksha temple which is one of the oldest monuments of the town.
  • The main shrine is dedicated to Virupaksha, a form of Lord Shiva.
  • Hemkunta Hill, south of the Virupaksha temple contains early ruins, Jain temples and a monolithic sculpture of Lord Narasimha, a form of Lord Vishnu.
  • At the eastern end, there is the large Nandi in stone; on the southern side is the larger than life Ganesha.
  • Large single stone carvings seem to have been the fashion of the day in Hampi, for there is a large image of Narasimha (6.7m high), the half-lion half-man incarnation of God, as well as a huge linga.

History- Important places, persons in news

Person in news: Noor Inayat Khan


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Noor Inayat Khan

Mains level : Not Much

World War II spy Noor Inayat Khan is now the first woman of Indian origin to be commemorated by the distinct blue London plaque.

Try this PYQ:

Q.A recent movie titled “The Man Who Knew Infinity” is based on the biography of-

(a) S. Ramanujan
(b) S. Chandrasekhar
(c) S. N. Bose
(d) C. V. Raman

Noor Inayat Khan

  • A descendant of Tipu Sultan, Noor Inayat Khan became a secret agent during the Second World War.
  • She was the first woman radio operator to be infiltrated into occupied France in 1943 and worked under the code name ‘Madeleine’.
  • Renowned for her service in the Special Operations Executive, an independent British secret service set up by Winston Churchill in 1940.
  • Noor was Britain’s first Indian Muslim war heroine in Europe and the first female radio operator sent into Nazi-occupied France.
  • She was killed at the Dachau concentration camp in 1944 and was posthumously awarded the George Cross in 1949.

What are Blue Plaques?

  • The idea of placing commemorative plaques on historically significant buildings was first mooted in 1863.
  • The idea was to honour important people and organisations that have lived or worked in London buildings.
  • Currently, the blue plaque scheme is being run by the charity organisation, English Heritage that takes care of historic sites and buildings in England.
  • While Khan is the first woman of Indian origin to be honoured with a blue plaque, it has been erected on houses and venues associated with several Indian men including Mahatma Gandhi, Raja Ram Mohun Roy, B R Ambedkar, Sardar Patel and Swami Vivekananda among others.

GI(Geographical Indicator) Tags

In news: Channapatna Toys


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : GI Indications in news

Mains level : NA

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a crippling blow to the Channapatna Toys industry.

Must read:

GI Tags in news for 2020 Prelims

All time GI tags in news

Channapatna Toys

  • Channapatna toys are a particular form of wooden toys (and dolls) that are manufactured in the town of Channapatna in the Ramanagara district of Karnataka.
  • This traditional craft is protected as a geographical indication (GI) under the World Trade Organization, administered by the state govt.
  • As a result of the popularity of these toys, Channapatna is known as Gombegala Ooru (toy-town) of Karnataka.
  • Traditionally, the work involved lacquering the wood of the Wrightia tinctoria tree, colloquially called Aale mara (ivory-wood).
  • Their manufacture goes back at least 200 years according to most accounts and it has been traced to the era of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan in the 18th century.
  • The toys are laced with vegetable dyes and colours devoid of chemicals and hence they are safe for children.

Back2Basics: Geographical Indications in India

  • A Geographical Indication is used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
  • Such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to its origin in that defined geographical locality.
  • This tag is valid for a period of 10 years following which it can be renewed.
  • Recently the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry has launched the logo and tagline for the Geographical Indications (GI) of India.
  • The first product to get a GI tag in India was the Darjeeling tea in 2004.
  • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 (GI Act) is a sui generis Act for the protection of GI in India.
  • India, as a member of the WTO enacted the Act to comply with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
  • GI protection is granted through the TRIPS Agreement.

History- Important places, persons in news

Who was Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Dr Kotnis and his legacy

Mains level : NA

A bronze statue of Indian doctor Dwarkanath Kotnis is set to be unveiled in China.

Try this PYQ:

Q.A recent movie titled The Man Who Knew Infinity is based on the biography of

(a) S. Ramanujan
(b) S. Chandrasekhar
(c) S. N. Bose
(d) C. V. Raman

Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis

  • He is revered in China for his contributions during the Chinese revolution headed by its founder Mao Zedong and World War II.
  • He hailed from Sholapur in Maharashtra came to China in 1938 as part of a five-member team of doctors sent by the Indian National Congress to help the Chinese during World War II.
  • He joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1942 and died the same year at the age of 32.
  • Kotnis’ medical assistance during the difficult days of the Chinese revolution was praised by Chinese leader Mao Zedong.
  • His statues and memorials were also set in some of the Chinese cities in recognition of his services.

A revered personality in China

  • Late Chinese leader Mao Zedong was deeply affected by his death.
  • Mao wrote in his eulogy that “the army has lost a helping hand; the nation has lost a friend. Let us always bear in mind his internationalist spirit”.
  • Kotnis is remembered not only as a symbol inspiring medical students to work hard, but also an eternal bond between the people of China and India.

Roads, Highways, Cargo, Air-Cargo and Logistics infrastructure – Bharatmala, LEEP, SetuBharatam, etc.

Atal Tunnel at Rohtang


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Atal Tunnel, Pir Panjal Range

Mains level : Not Much

The Atal Tunnel at Rohtang, near Manali, is almost complete in all respects and will be inaugurated very soon in September.

Tap to read more about Himalayas at:

Atal Tunnel

  • The 9-km-long tunnel is constructed under the Pir Panjal range.
  • It has been named after former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and will be the world’s longest highway tunnel above the altitude of 10,000 feet (3000 metres).
  • It was scheduled to be completed by May 2020, in a revised estimate, but the Covid-19 pandemic pushed back the completion by a few months due to lockdown conditions.
  • Vehicles can travel at a maximum speed of 80 km per hour. Up to 1,500 trucks and 3,000 cars are expected to use it per day when the situation gets to normal.

What is its strategic advantage?

  • Cutting through the Pir Panjal range, the tunnel will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km.
  • The tunnel will provide almost all-weather connectivity to the troops stationed in Ladakh.

Tribes in News

PVTGS in Andaman


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PVTGs in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Mains level : Not Much

Five members of the Great Andamanese tribe, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTGs) have tested positive for COVID-19.

Try this PYQ:

Q. Consider the following statements about Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in India:

  1. PVTGs reside in 18 States and one Union Territory.
  2. A stagnant or declining population is one of the criteria for determining PVTG status.
  3. There are 95 PVTGs officially notified in the country so far.
  4. Irular and Konda Reddi tribes are included in the list of PVTGs.

Which of the statements given above are correct?(CSP 2019)

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2, 3 and 4

(c) 1, 2 and 4

(d) 1, 3 and 4

PVTGs in Andaman

  • Great Andamanese is one of five PVTGs that reside in Andamans archipelago.
  • The Great Andamanese speak Jeru dialect among themselves and their number stands at 51 as per the last study carried out by Andaman Adim Janjati Vikas Samiti in 2012.
  • The five PVTGS residing in Andamans are Great Andamanese, Jarwas, Onges, Shompens and North Sentinelese.

What are PVTGs?

  • There are certain tribal communities who have declining or stagnant population, low level of literacy, pre-agricultural level of technology and are economically backward.
  • They generally inhabit remote localities having poor infrastructure and administrative support.
  • These groups are among the most vulnerable section of our society as they are few in numbers, have not attained any significant level of social and economic development.
  • 75 such groups have been identified and categorized as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).

The Crisis In The Middle East

Turkey’s Maritime Disputes


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Causacus region mapping

Mains level : Not Much

Turkish President Erdogan has asserted that his country will take whatever belongs to it in the Mediterranean, as well as Aegean and the Black Sea.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Turkey is located between

(a) The Black Sea and Caspian Sea

(b) The Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea

(c) Gulf of Suez and the Mediterranean Sea

(d) Gulf of Aqaba and the Dead Sea

Assertion over the Mediterranean

  • Greece and Turkey have been locked in a dispute over control of eastern Mediterranean waters.
  • They are at odds over the rights to potential hydrocarbon resources, based on conflicting claims over the extent of their continental shelves.
  • The Turkish navy will hold the shooting exercises in the eastern Mediterranean off the coast of Iskenderun, northeast of Cyprus.
  • Cyprus was divided in 1974 following a Turkish invasion triggered by a Greek-inspired coup.
  • Turkey recognizes the Turkish-populated north of Cyprus as a separate state, which is not recognised by other countries.

Coronavirus – Economic Issues

Eat Out to Help Out Scheme


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

Mains level : NA

Since the lockdown began in India, different bodies representing the country’s hospitality sector have repeatedly asked the government for financial assistance to help tide over the crisis. UK’s popular Eat Out to Help Out (EOHO) Scheme can be an example of the kind of intervention in India.

Note: The ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ Scheme recently seen in news is related to Hospitality. One may get confused over Poverty and Hunger.

What is the EOHO Scheme?

  • The EOHO Scheme is an economic recovery measure by the UK government to support hospitality businesses as they reopen after the lockdown.
  • The scheme was announced as part of the Plans for Jobs summer economic update.
  • Under the EOHO Scheme, the government would subsidise meals (food and non-alcoholic drinks only) at restaurants by 50 per cent.
  • There is no minimum spending and no limit on the number of times customers can avail the offer, since the whole point of the scheme is to encourage a return to dining in restaurants.

Why was this scheme deemed necessary?

  • All over the world, the food services sector is one of the worst affected by the pandemic.
  • The top two concerns were customers avoiding restaurants for fear of contracting the virus and customers having less disposable income for dining out.
  • Instead of delivering a financial package to operators, it makes eating out more affordable for consumers directly and helps restore demand.
  • Restoring consumer demand is being seen as crucial to the UK’s economic recovery.

Can India benefit from such a scheme?

  • The main problem confronting the restaurant industry, following Unlock 1.0 in June, has been consumer fear, even as the government has remained silent about specific recovery packages aimed at the hospitality industry.
  • The government needs to work on the demand side.

Indian Navy Updates

Dismantling INS Viraat


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : INS Viraat

Mains level : Not much

Decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Viraat is set to be scrapped at a ship breaking yard at Alang in Gujarat soon.

In rarest case we would see a question based on this in CSP. However, we can expect a question based on INS Viraat in the CAPF exam very well.

INS Viraat

  • Viraat, a Centaur class aircraft carrier weighing 27,800 tonnes, served in the British Navy as HMS Hermes for 25 years from November 1959 to April 1984.
  • It was commissioned into the Indian Navy in May 1987 after refurbishment and had operated Harrier fighter jets.
  • It was decommissioned from in March 2017, and the Navy had been incurring expenditure since then on its upkeep, such as the provision of electricity and water, and repairs.
  • In 2018, the Maharashtra Cabinet approved a proposal to convert the carrier into a museum and hospitality centre on a PPP basis and had invited bids. But there were no takers.

ISRO Missions and Discoveries

ASTROSAT Satellite


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ASTROSAT; Space missions of ISRO and NASA

Mains level : NA

ASTROSAT, India’s first multi-wavelength satellite observatory, has detected an extreme ultraviolet (UV) light from a galaxy which is 9.3 billion light-years away from Earth.

Try out:


Consider the following statements regarding the AstroSat:

1)AstroSat is India’s multi-wavelength space telescope.
2)ASTROSAT mission is that enables the simultaneous multi-wavelength observations of various astronomical objects with a single satellite.
3)ASTROSAT observes the universe in the optical and high energy X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Which of the following above statements is true?

a.1 and 2
b.2 and 3
c.1 and 3
d.1, 2 and 3


  • AstroSat has detected extreme-UV light from a galaxy, called AUDFs01, 9.3 billion light-years away from Earth.
  • The galaxy is located in the Hubble Extreme Deep field, through AstroSat.
  • This is a very important clue to how the dark ages of the universe ended and there was light in the universe.


  • AstroSat is India’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space telescope. It was launched on a PSLV-XL on 28 September 2015.

It is the first dedicated Indian astronomy mission aimed at studying celestial sources in X-ray, optical and UV spectral bands simultaneously.


Find some time to scroll through recent ISRO missions and discoveries.

ISRO Missions and Discoveries

Roads, Highways, Cargo, Air-Cargo and Logistics infrastructure – Bharatmala, LEEP, SetuBharatam, etc.

River Ropeway over Brahmaputra


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Brahmaputra Ropeway

Mains level : Not Much

 India’s ‘longest’ river ropeway across the Brahmaputra River was unveiled in Guwahati.

Navigate to this page for more readings on Brahmaputra River systems:

Brahmaputra River System

Brahmaputra Ropeway

  • The 1.82 km bi-cable jig-back ropeway connects the southern bank of the Brahmaputra and a hillock behind the Doul Govinda temple in North Guwahati on the other.
  • It passes over the mid-river Peacock Island that houses Umananda, a medieval Shiva temple.
  • It thus cuts travel time between the two banks to 8 minutes.
  • The current travel options between the two banks are by ferry (30 minutes or more, depending on current and season) or by road through a bridge that usually takes over an hour in the traffic.