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Akademik Lomonosov: Worlds first floating Nuclear Plant

Mains Paper 3 : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways Etc. |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the reactor

Mains level : Protective measures against nuclear hazards



News

  • Recently, a Russian-built floating nuclear power plant completed its 5,000-km journey along the Northern Sea Route.
  • This has sparked fears among environmentalists over the safety of the Arctic region.

Akademik Lomonosov

  • The Akademik Lomonosov is a first-of-its-kind floating nuclear power station built in St Petersburg, the Russian port city on the Gulf of Finland.
  • Three tugboats pulled it from the northern port of Murmansk for 5,000 kilometres to Chukotka, in Russia’s far east.
  • Named after the 18th-century Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov, the 21,000-tonne floating plant is 144 m long and 30 m wide, and contains two nuclear reactors of 35 MW each.
  • It is a small plant compared to conventional land-based nuclear projects.
  • Run by the state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom, it is expected to have a working life of 40 years.

Why such a plant

  • After it becomes operational next year, the plant will supply electricity to the Chukotka region, where important Russian national assets such as oil, gold, and coal reserves are located.
  • Some 50,000 people currently live in the area, and get their electricity from a coal power station and an ageing nuclear power plant.
  • The floating station would become the northernmost nuclear power project in the world.
  • Electricity supplied by floating power stations, without long-duration contracts or massive investments, is an option that island nations could consider.
  • Power from such small-sized plants can also be supplied to remote regions, as Russia plans to do.
  • Additionally, it is argued that nuclear power plants are a more climate-friendly option than coal-fired plants that emit greenhouse gases.

Fears and apprehensions

  • Environmental groups such as Greenpeace have criticised the project as a “Chernobyl on ice” and a “nuclear Titanic”.
  • Activists fear that any accident aboard the plant could cause great damage to the fragile Arctic region.
  • A recent nuclear accident in Russia after which there was a brief spike in radiation levels has added to the fears.
  • The radiation fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan is also cited as a reason to not rush into such projects.
Nuclear Energy

Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centres (VCBCs)

Mains Paper 3 : Conservation, Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Eia |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Diclofenac, Indian Vulture

Mains level : Not Much



News

  • Starting with just a few vultures, the total number of vultures in the VCBCs has increased to more than 700.

Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centres

  • The VCBC were started in 2004 when the vulture population had already crashed significantly, almost by 99 %.
  • At present there are nine (VCBC) in India, of which three are directly administered by Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).
  • The three species of vultures bred in the VCBC are the White-backed, Long-billed and the Slender-billed vulture.
  • The objective of the VCBCs was not only to look after the vultures and breed them in captivity, but also to release them into the wild.
  • The first objective of the VCBC was to produce a few hundred pairs of each of the three species of the endangered vultures.

Threat to vultures

  • The major reason behind the vulture population getting nearly wiped out was the drug Diclofenac found in the carcass of cattle the vultures fed on.
  • The drug, whose veterinary use was banned in 2008, was commonly administered to cattle to treat inflammation.
Wildlife Conservation Efforts

[pib] Inflight and Maritime Telecom Connectivity in India

Mains Paper 2 : Governance, Transparency & Accountability, Citizens Charters |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : FMC Rules

Mains level : Read the attached story



News

  • Union Ministry for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology has launched the maritime communication services.

Providing Maritime connectivity

  • Nelco India’s leading VSAT solutions provider is the first Indian company that will now provide quality broadband services to the maritime sector.
  • Nelco through global partnerships, infrastructure including transponder capacity on satellite of ISRO and a comprehensive service portfolio
  • It will help Energy, Cargo and Cruise vessels by enhancing operational efficiency, improving crew welfare and enabling customer services.
  • Maritime Connectivity will enable high-end support to those in sea by providing access to Voice, Data and Video services while traveling on sailing vessels, cruise liners, ships in India, using satellite technology.

Making it possible through IFMC license

  • In December 2018, the Govt. announced the licenses for In-flight and Maritime Communications (IFMC) that allows voice and internet services while flying over the Indian skies and sailing in Indian waters.
  • The IFMC licence has not only enabled connectivity for on-board users on ships but also brings operational efficiencies for shipping companies which were less evolved until now.
  • The IFMC license is a key initiative of the Telecom Ministry, a move to liberalise satellite communication services in India.
  • It permits both international and Indian aircrafts and vessels.

FMC Rules

  • In a major policy decision, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications had notified the Flight and Maritime Connectivity (FMC) Rules, 2018 on 14th December, 2018.
  • It permits voice and data service provisioning in flights and ships.
  • The intent is to open the airspace and territorial waters for telecommunication services for general public which was not possible earlier due to lack of enabling rules.
  • Rules envisage creation of satellite gateway within India for providing telecom services in aircraft and ships through Indian licensed service providers.
  • Further, Indian satellite bandwidth has to be utilised. If a foreign satellite is used, it has to be approved by ISRO.
  • Only the authorized IFMC service provider, can provide wireless voice or data or both type of services on ships within Indian territorial waters and on aircraft within or above India or Indian territorial waters.
Digital India Initiatives

[pib] Exercise Maitree – 2019

Mains Paper 3 : Various Security Forces, Agencies & Their Mandates |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the Exercise

Mains level : India-Myanmar strategic relations


News

  • Joint Military Exercise MAITREE-2019 between India and Thailand will be conducted at Foreign Training Node, Umroi (Meghalaya) this month.

Exercise Maitree 2019

  • Exercise MAITREE is an annual training event which is being conducted alternatively in Thailand and India since 2006.
  • Indian and Royal Thailand Army (RTA) will participate in the exercise with an aim to share experience gained during various counter terrorism operations in their respective countries.
  • This is in the series of military training exercises undertaken by India with various countries.
  • Exercise MAITREE with Thailand is a significant in terms of the security challenges faced by both the nations in the backdrop of changing facets of global terrorism.
  • The scope of this exercise covers company level joint training on counter terrorism operations in jungle and urban scenario.
Indian Army Updates

Cryodrakon boreas: the largest flying animal

Mains Paper 3 : Awareness In The Fields Of It, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Cryodrakon boreas

Mains level : Not Much



News

  • Scientists unveiled a new species of pterosaur, the plane-sized reptiles that lorded over primeval skies above T-rex, Triceratops and other dinosaurs of the late Cretaceous.

Cryodrakon boreas

  • With a wingspan of 10 m and weighing 250 kg, C. boreas rivals another pterosaur as the largest flying animal of all time.
  • It was identified as being distinct from Quetzalcoatlus the other giant pterosaur for which it was initially mistaken.
  • Its remains were first discovered more than 30 years ago in Alberta, Canada, yet elicited scant excitement because of the misclassification.
  • But a closer look at the fossil remains of a juvenile and the intact giant neck bone of a full-grown specimen left no doubt that a new species had been discovered.
  • Like other winged reptiles living at the same time, about 77 million years ago, C. boreas was carnivorous and probably fed on lizards, small mammals and even baby dinosaurs.
  • Despite a likely capacity to cross large bodies of water, the location of fossil remains and the animal’s features point to an inland habitat.

About Pterosaurs

  • They were flying reptiles of the extinct clade or order Pterosauria.
  • They existed during most of the Mesozoic: from the late Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous. Pterosaurs are the earliest vertebrates known to have evolved powered flight.
  • There are more than 100 known species of pterosaurs.
  • Despite their large size and wide distribution — across North and South America, Asia, Africa and Europe — only fragmentary remains have been unearthed, making the new find especially important.
Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Bombay blood group

Mains Paper 3 : Awareness In The Fields Of It, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Blood Groups

Mains level : Not Much


News

  • Over the last two weeks, the “Bombay blood group”, a rare blood type, has been at the centre of attention in Mumbai’s healthcare scene.
  • Demand for the blood type has coincidentally spiked at hospitals, but supply has been scarce.

Bombay blood group

  • The four most common blood groups are A, B, AB and O.
  • The rare, Bombay blood group was first discovered in Mumbai (then Bombay) in 1952.
  • Each red blood cell has antigen over its surface, which helps determine which group it belongs to.
  • The Bombay blood group, also called hh, is deficient in expressing antigen H, meaning the RBC has no antigen H.
  • For instance, in the AB blood group, both antigens A and B are found. A will have A antigens; B will have B antigens. In hh, there are no A or B antigens.

Rare in India, rarer globally

  • Globally, the hh blood type has an incidence of one in four million.
  • It has a higher incidence in South Asia; in India, one in 7,600 to 10,000 are born with this type.
  • This blood type is more common in South Asia than anywhere else because of inbreeding and close community marriages.
  • It is genetically passed. Shared common ancestry among Indians, Sri Lankans, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis has led to more cases of hh blood phenotype in this region.

Testing for the group

  • To test for hh blood, an Antigen H blood test is required.
  • Often the hh blood group is confused with the O group.
  • The difference is that the O group has Antigen H, while the hh group does not.
  • If anyone lacks Antigen H, it does not mean he or she suffers from poor immunity or may be more prone to diseases.
  • Their counts for haemoglobin, platelets, white blood cells and red blood cells are similar to the count of others based on their health index.
  • Because of rarity, however, they do face problems during blood transfusion.

Transfusion limitations

  • The individuals with Bombay blood group can only be transfused autologous blood or blood from individuals of Bombay hh phenotype only which is very rare.
  • Rejection may occur if they receive blood from A, B, AB or O blood group. In contrast, hh blood group can donate their blood to ABO blood types.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Motihari-Amalekhgunj Petroleum Pipeline

Mains Paper 2 : India & Its Neighborhood - Relations |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the Pipeline

Mains level : India-Nepal Economic Realtions



News

  • PM Modi and his Nepalese counterpart KPS Oli will “switch on” the Motihari-Amalekhgunj petroleum pipeline from their offices in New Delhi and Kathmandu.

About the Pipeline

  • The pipeline will transport fuel from Barauni refinery in Bihar’s Begusarai district to Amalekhgunj in southeastern Nepal, situated across the border from Raxaul in East Champaran district.
  • The 69-km pipeline will drastically reduce the cost of transporting fuel to landlocked Nepal from India.
  • The Amalekhgunj fuel depot will have the capacity to store up to 16,000 kilolitres of petroleum products.
  • The pipeline will help in tackling the oil storage problem in Nepal and doing away with transportation of petroleum products through tankers.
  • It will ensure smooth, cost-effective and environment-friendly supply of petroleum products to Nepal.

Years in making

  • The pipeline project was first proposed in 1996, but progress was slow. Things began to move after PM visited Kathmandu in 2014.
  • The following year, the two governments signed an agreement to execute the project; however, political tensions, including India’s alleged “economic blockade” of Nepal, acted as roadblocks in the implementation.
  • In 2017 Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) signed a petroleum trade agreement to supply about 1.3 million tonnes of fuel annually to Nepal with a promise to double the volume by 2020.
  • In July, the two countries successfully concluded a “testing transfer” through the oil pipeline.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Nepal

Nilgiri Tahr

Mains Paper 3 : Conservation, Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Eia |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nilgiri Tahr

Mains level : Conservation of wildlife species in India



News

  • In more good news for the State animal, the Nilgiri tahr, its sightings in the Mukurthi National Park have risen from 568 in 2018 to 612 this year.

Why a good news?

  • There was a decrease in tahr numbers in 2017, when a population of only 438 was recorded, down from 480 in 2016.
  • This was the second consecutive year that an increase in the population of the animal had been recorded in the park, meaning the population of the Nilgiri tahr, also known as the Nilgiri ibex, has risen by 132 since 2016.

Nilgiri tahr

  • IUCN Conservation Status: Endangered
  • The Nilgiri tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius) aka the Nilgiri ibex or simply ibex.
  • It is endemic to the Nilgiri Hills and the southern portion of the Western Ghats in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in Southern India.
  • It is the state animal of Tamil Nadu.
  • The Nilgiri tahr inhabits the open montane grassland habitat of the South Western Ghats montane rain forests eco-region.
  • At elevations from 1,200 to 2,600 metres (3,900 to 8,500 ft), the forests open into grasslands interspersed with pockets of stunted forests, locally known as sholas.
  • Eravikulam National Park is home to the largest population of this Tahr.
Wildlife Conservation Efforts

[pib] Exercise TSENTR 2019

Mains Paper 3 : Various Security Forces, Agencies & Their Mandates |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Exercise TSENTR 2019

Mains level : Significance of the exercise


News

Exercise TSENTR 2019

  • It is part of the annual series of large scale exercises that form part of the Russian Armed Forces’ annual training cycle.
  • The series rotates through the four main Russian operational strategic commands.
  • These annual exercises have slowly began taking an international character, with Belarus participating in ZAPAD-2017 and China and Mongolia participating in VOSTOK-2018.
  • This year, invitations for participation have been extended to nine other countries.
  • Apart from host Russia, military contingents from China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan will also take part in this mega event.

 Aim of the exercise

  • The exercise aims at evolving drills of the participating armies and practicing them in the fight against the scourge of international terrorism thereby ensuring military security in the strategic central Asian region.
  • It will focus on evaluating the level of troop preparedness, the acquisition of the required skills and raising the level of inter- operability and demonstrate the readiness of the participating armies.
Indian Army Updates

Asiatic Society of Bombay

Mains Paper 1 : Arts & Culture |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Asiatic Society

Mains level : Read the attached story



News

  • On Saturday, the Asiatic Society of Mumbai, which was started by and for white European men in the early 19th century, elected the first woman president in the 215 years of its existence.
  • Prof Vispi Balaporia will head the institution that is a treasure house of remarkable historical artifacts.

Asiatic Society, Mumbai

  • The Asiatic Society is housed in the iconic Town Hall building in the colonial-era Fort precinct and has witnessed the evolution of the city’s intelligentsia in its long history.
  • It is a learned society whose activities include conducting historical research, awarding historians, and running an institute of post-graduate studies.
  • Its library, home to over 1 lakh books, consists of rare manuscripts contributed to it by the East India Company.
  • It has generous donations by the likes of Mountstuart Elphinstone, Jagannath Shankarsheth, Cowasji Jehangir, and Bhau Daji Lad.
  • The library recently scrapped its referral system for membership, thus expanding access to its resources.
  • Among the prized collections of the Society is an original copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy, and coins issued by Kumaragupta (5th century), Akbar (16th century), and Shivaji (17th century).
  • The Society offers Junior Fellowships for research and recommends scholars for the Tagore National Fellowship of the Ministry of Culture.
  • The Governor of Maharashtra is the Society’s Chief Patron.

A 200-year history

  • The Asiatic Society began its journey in 1804 as the Literary Society of Bombay.
  • It was founded by Sir James Mackintosh, a Scottish colonial administrator who had a keen interest in Oriental studies.
  • In 1826, the Literary Society became the Mumbai arm of the London-based Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland and came to be called the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (BBRAS).
  • In its early days, membership of the Society was restricted to European “gentlemen”, and the “natives” were not allowed to join until 1841.
  • The Bombay Geographical Society and the Anthropological Society of Bombay merged with the BBRAS in 1873 and 1896 respectively.
  • In 1954, the institution was severed from its London parent and became the Asiatic Society of Bombay. In 2002, it acquired its present name.
  • According to the Society’s website, its journal has been in publication since 1841.

Back2Basics

Asiatic Society

  • The Asiatic Society was founded by civil servant Sir William Jones on 15 January 1784 in a meeting presided over by Sir William Jones, Justice of the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William in Calcutta.
  • It aimed to enhance and further the cause of Oriental research.
  • In 1832 the name was changed to “The Asiatic Society of Bengal” and again in 1936 it was renamed as “The Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal”.
  • One of the main activities of the Asiatic Society was to collect the old manuscripts of India. There was an enormous collection of Sanskrit manuscripts with the society.
History- Important places, persons in news

India’s longest electrified railway tunnel between Cherlopalli and Rapuru (AP)

Mains Paper 3 : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways Etc. |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the tunnel

Mains level : Not Much



News

  • Vice President inaugurated the country’s longest electrified rail tunnel between Cherlopalli and Rapuru and the electrified railway line between Venkatachalam and Obulavaripalli.

About the tunnel

  • The 6.7-km-long tunnel is an “engineering marvel” and said it would provide viable rail connectivity between the Krishnapatnam Port and the hinterland for the seamless movement of freight.
  • It also reduces the distance for trains coming from Guntakal Division to Krishnapatnam by 72 km and eases traffic density in the Obulavaripalli-Renigunta-Gudur section.
  • This newly commissioned line of 112 km reduces the travel time to five hours as compared to the 10 hrs earlier for a goods train from Krishnapatnam Port to Obulavaripalli.
  • Besides facilitating operation of freight trains the new line would also provide the shortest path on the Chennai-Howrah and Chennai-Mumbai rail routes.
  • It would also ease congestion of both passenger and freight-carrying trains in the Vijayawada-Gudur-Renigunta-Guntakal sections.
Railway Reforms

TN’s Dindigul lock and Kandangi Saree get GI tag

Mains Paper 3 : Intellectual Property Rights |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the GI tag

Mains level : Benefits of GI Indications


News

  • Two well-known products from Tamil Nadu — Dindigul lock and Kandangi Saree — have been given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag by The Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai.

Dindigul Lock

  • The Dindigul locks are known throughout the world for their superior quality and durability, so much so that even the city is called Lock City.
  • Government institutions such as prisons, godowns, hospitals, and even temples use these locks instead of other machine-made ones.
  • The application for the lock was made by the Dindigul Lock, Hardware and Steel Furniture Workers Industrial Co-operative Society Limited.
  • More than 3,125 lock manufacturing units are limited to an area of 5 km in and around Dindigul.
  • The abundance of iron in this region is the reason for the growth of the industry.
  • There are over 50 varieties of locks made by the artisans using raw materials such as MS flat plates and brass plates procured from the nearby towns, including Madurai and Salem.

Kandangi Saree

  • The Kandangi sarees are manufactured in the entire Karaikudi taluk in Sivaganga district.
  • They are characterised by large contrast borders and some are known to have borders covering as far as two-thirds of the saree which is usually around 5.10 m-5.60 m in length.
  • Worn in summer, these cotton sarees are usually bought by customers in bulk.
  • The Amarar Rajeev Gandhi Handloom Weavers Co-operative Production and Sales Society Limited filed the application for the Kandangi saree.

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 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.
  • Geographical Indications protection is granted through the TRIPS Agreement.
GI(Geographical Indicator) Tags

Hurricane Dorian

Mains Paper 1 : Geographical Features & Their Location |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Difference between a hurricane, a cyclone, and a typhoon

Mains level : Tropical Cyclones in India



News

  • The hurricane Dorian is to hit the east coast of Florida as a “major” hurricane, in Category 3 or possibly Category 4.

What do the categories mean?

  • Powerful winds are what define a hurricane, so they are named and classified based on how hard their winds are blowing.
  • To qualify as a hurricane, a storm must have sustained winds of 74 mph or more.
  • All hurricanes are dangerous, but some pack more punch than others.
  • So meteorologists try to quantify each storm’s destructive power by using the Saffir-Simpson scale placing it in one of five categories based on sustained wind speed:

Saffir-Simpson scale

Category 1, 74 to 95 mph:

  • These storms’ winds may knock down some trees and power lines and do a bit of damage to buildings.

Category 2, 96 to 110 mph:

  • These storms are likely to uproot many trees, disrupt electric power over wide areas and do significant roof and siding damage.

Category 3, 111 to 129 mph:

  • These are major storms that can take roofs off even well-constructed houses and knock out electric and water systems for days or weeks.
  • Roads will be blocked by falling trees and poles. Dorian is forecast to be at least this strong when it makes landfall.

Category 4, 130 to 156 mph:

  • These major storms do catastrophic damage, felling most trees and power poles and wrecking some buildings.
  • Affected areas may be uninhabitable for days or weeks afterward.

Category 5, 157 mph or more:

  • Storms this powerful are rare, and when they strike, they are immensely destructive.
  • Few structures will come through a direct hit unscathed, and a large percentage of frame buildings will be destroyed. Recovery may take weeks or months.

Back2Basics

What is the difference between a hurricane, a cyclone, and a typhoon?

  • The only difference between a hurricane, a cyclone, and a typhoon is the location where the storm occurs.
  • In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term “hurricane” is used.
  • The same type of disturbance in the Northwest Pacific is called a “typhoon” and “cyclones” occur in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.
  • A tropical cyclone is a generic term used by meteorologists to describe a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has closed, low-level circulation.
Global Geological And Climatic Events

VIP security in India

Mains Paper 3 : Various Security Forces, Agencies & Their Mandates |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Various security agencies mentioned

Mains level : Not Much


News

  • The Central government has withdrawn Special Protection Group (SPG) security cover for a former PM.
  • The former PM will now be given Z-plus cover by the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

SPG and SPG Act

  • After Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own security guards in 1984, the Rajiv Gandhi government decided to create a special cadre of security personnel for the PM.
  • In March 1985, following the recommendations of a committee set up by the Home Ministry, a special unit was created for this purpose under the Cabinet Secretariat.
  • This unit, initially called the Special Protection Unit, was renamed as Special Protection Group in April 1985.
  • Subsequently, the Parliament passed The Special Protection Group (SPG) Act, which was notified in June 1988 “to provide for the constitution and regulation of an armed force of the Union for providing proximate security to the Prime Minister of India and for matters connected therewith”.

Security under the SPG Act

  • The SPG Act defined “proximate security” as “protection provided from close quarters, during journey by road, rail, aircraft, watercraft or on foot or any other means of transport” and to “include the places of functions, engagements, residence or halt”.
  • The SPG protective cover goes with the person of the protectee as the shadow would a man. It is for the SPG to devise how to render meaningful protection to the protectee.
  • SPG personnel can be seen around the Prime Minister of India at all times.

Who are covered?

  • SPG protection was extended, apart from the PM, to “former PMs of India and members of their immediate families” through an amendment in the Act in the aftermath of the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991.
  • Rajiv Gandhi had lost SPG cover after being defeated in the Lok Sabha elections of 1989.
  • The Act was subsequently amended again in 1994 and 1999.

Categories of security

  • Besides the SPG, VIPs in India are protected by other security forces as well.
  • The levels of security cover are determined by the threat perception around the individual.
  • The highest level of security cover is the Z-plus category, followed by Z, Y, and X categories.
  • The higher the level of cover, the larger the number of personnel protecting the individual.
  • Roughly 24-36 personnel with automatic weapons are deployed for Z-plus category protectees and 16-20 personnel guard Z-category protectees.
  • The elite ‘Black Cat’ commandos of the NSG are deployed to protect VIPs for whom the threat perception is the highest.
Police Reforms – SC directives, NPC, other committees reports

[pib] Janaushadhi Sugam

Mains Paper 2 : Health & Education |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Janaushadhi Sugam and its features

Mains level : Ensuring quality and cheaper medicines



News

  • Union Ministry for Chemicals and Fertilizers launched a mobile application “Janaushadhi Sugam”.

Janaushadhi Sugam

  • It aims to enable people to search Janaushadhi generic medicines and the stores at the tip of their fingers.
  • The mobile application would have user-friendly options like- to locate nearby Janaushadhi Kendra, direction guidance for location of the Janaushadhi Kendra through Google Map, search Janaushadhi generic medicines etc.
  • It will help analyse product comparison of Generic vs Branded medicine in form of MRP & overall Savings.
Pharma Sector – Drug Pricing, NPPA, FDC, Generics, etc.

Mitra Crater

Mains Paper 3 : Awareness In The Fields Of It, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Mitra crater

Mains level : Not Much



News

  • Chandrayaan-2’s orbiter or mother spacecraft has zeroed in on a crater on the moon named after 20th century’s.

Mitra Crater

  • Mitra is a lunar impact crater that is attached to the western outer rim of the larger crater Mach, on the far side of the Moon.
  • It is named after Sisir Kumar Mitra (1890-1963). He also lends his name to the S. K. Mitra Centre for Research in Space Environment of the University of Calcutta.
  • This is a heavily eroded formation with an outer rim that has been damaged by subsequent impacts.
  • The pictures were taken by the Terrain Mapping Camera-2 at the north pole of moon.
  • At 25 degrees Kelvin (minus 248 degrees Celsius), the northern polar region is believed to be one of the coldest spots in the solar system.

Lunar nomenclature

  • The first attempts at naming lunar craters date back to the 17th century, K B Shingareva and G A Burba write in their book The Lunar Nomenclature: The Reverse Side of the Moon, 1961-1973.
  • Some used the names of prominent personalities — scientists, philosophers and even members of royalty — while others named the lunar features after comparable features on Earth.
  • In a resolution by the International Astronomical Union in 1973, crater and crater-like formations are given the names of astronomers or eminent scientists , posthumously.
  • Among other lunar features, mountains are given names corresponding to the geographical names of mountains of the Earth, while extensive dark surfaces are given names that correspond to the mental states of humans.
ISRO Missions and Discoveries

CSIR to certify air quality monitoring sensors

Mains Paper 3 : Awareness In The Fields Of It, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CSIR, NPL

Mains level : Not Much


News

  • The Union Environment Ministry has tasked the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)-National Physical Laboratory (NPL) with certifying air quality monitoring instruments.
  • CSIR-NPL will develop necessary infrastructure, management system, testing and certification facilities conforming to international standards.

Why such move?

  • This is in anticipation of a rising demand by States — against the backdrop of the National Clean Air Campaign — for low cost air quality monitoring instruments.
  • The Centre in January launched a programme to reduce particulate matter (PM) pollution by 20%-30% in at least 102 cities by 2024.
  • An edifice of this initiative is to have a vast monitoring network of sensors that can capture the rapid fluctuations of pollutants, necessary to ascertain how these gases and particles affected health.
  • Currently, the machines employed by State and Central Pollution Control Boards (SPCB and CPCB) are imported and can cost up to ₹1 crore to install and about ₹50 lakh to maintain over five years.
  • Several new sensors, which are far cheaper, are likely in the future, and it would be useful to have a creditable agency that can rate the quality of these devices.
  • Still several monitoring units were poorly calibrated, that is, over time, they were susceptible to erroneous readings.

About CSIR

  • The CSIR was established by the Government of India in September of 1942 as an autonomous body that has emerged as the largest research and development organisation in India.
  • Although it is mainly funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, it operates as an autonomous body through the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
  • The research and development activities of CSIR include aerospace engineering, structural engineering, ocean sciences, life sciences, metallurgy, chemicals, mining, food, petroleum, leather, and environmental science.

CSIR NPL

  • The CSIR-NPL , situated in New Delhi, is the measurement standards laboratory of India.
  • It maintains standards of SI units in India and calibrates the national standards of weights and measures.
  • Each modernized country, including India has a National Metrological Institute (NMI), which maintains the standards of measurements. This responsibility has been given to the NPL.
  • The NPL maintains standard units of measurement such as Metre, Kg, Seconds, Ampere, Kelvin, Candela, Mole and Radiation.
Innovations in Sciences, IT, Computers, Robotics and Nanotechnology

Special Protection Group (SPG) Cover

Mains Paper 3 : Various Security Forces, Agencies & Their Mandates |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SPG

Mains level : Not Much



News

  • The government is likely to withdraw the Special Protection Group (SPG) from a former Prime Minister’s security detail.

Special Protection Group

  • The SPG was set up in 1985 after the assassination of PM Indira Gandhi, and Parliament passed the SPG Act in 1988 dedicating the group to protecting the Prime Ministers of India.
  • At the time, the Act did not include former Prime Ministers, and when V.P. Singh came to power in 1989 his government withdrew SPG protection to the outgoing PM Rajiv Gandhi.
  • After Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991 the SPG Act was amended, offering SPG protection to all former Prime Ministers and their families for a period of at least 10 years.
  • The SPG cover would only be reduced on the basis of threat levels as defined in the SPG Act of 1988.
Prime Minister’s Office : Important Updates

7 new species of insects that can walk on water discovered

Mains Paper 3 : Conservation, Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Eia |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the species

Mains level : Not Much



News

  • Scientists of the Zoological Survey of India have discovered seven species of water treaders, semi-aquatic insects that can walk or run on the surface of water.

About the species

  • The newly described species belong to the genus Mesovelia whose size ranges from 1.5 mm to 4.5 mm and are equipped with hydrophobic setae (bristles) on their legs.
  • The combination of hydrophobic setae and water surface tension prevents them from sinking.
  • The insects are pale green with silver-white wings with black veins on the basal half which make them stand out over the green mat of aquatic weeds.
  • Among the new discoveries, Mesovelia andamana is from Andaman Islands, bispinosa and M. isiasi are from Meghalaya, M. occulta and M. tenuia from Tamil Nadu and M. brevia and M. dilatata live both in Meghalaya and Tamil Nadu.

Evolution

  • These bugs are hemimetabolous insects without having larval stage i.e., they go from egg to nymph to adult.
  • They are found on freshwater bodies such as ponds, lakes, pools, streams, rocks with moss and sometimes on estuaries.
  • These bugs serve as predators and scavengers (feed on midges, water fleas, feed on dead and dying mosquitoes), thereby removing organic waste and also providing a natural sanitation service.
  • The females of Mesovelia are larger than males and dig several holes on plants and insert eggs in plant tissues with a specially adapted long serrated ovipositor (genital organ).

Adratiklit boulahfa

Mains Paper 1 : Salient Features Of World'S Physical Geography |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Adratiklit boulahfa

Mains level : Not Much



News

Adratiklit boulahfa

  • Scientists have described a new species of stegosaurus and dated it to 168 million years ago, which makes it the oldest known member of that group of dinosaurs ever known.
  • Named Adratiklit boulahfa, it is also the first stegosaurus to be found in North Africa.
  • Its remains were discovered in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
  • The scientists believe it is not only a new species but also belongs to a new genus.
  • The name is derived from the words used by the Berber (an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa) for mountains (Adras), lizard (tiklit) and and the area where the specimen was found. (Boulahfa).

What makes it special?

  • The Adratiklit was armoured and herbivorous, and lived on the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana, which later split into Africa, South America, Australia and Antarctica.
  • Most stegosaurus remains so far have been found in the northern hemisphere.
  • However, this may not mean that stegosaurs were uncommon in Gondwana.
  • It may be due to the fact that Gondwana rock formations have been subject to far fewer excavations and detailed studies.
Global Geological And Climatic Events