August 2019
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Centre widens petroleum’s definition to cover more hydrocarbons


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, and Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: HELP, new definition of HCs

Mains level: India’s energy security concerns and measures taken to overcome them.


Context: The government has amended the Petroleum and Natural Gas Rules 1959 to include shale in the definition of petroleum, a change that would allow private companies to explore and produce the resource in the blocks they already operate.

Redefining Hydrocarbons

  1. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has liberalised the definition of petroleum to bring more hydrocarbons such as coal bed methane and shale gas under its fold.
  2. According to the gazette notification for the Petroleum and Natural Gas (Amendment) Rules, 2018, petroleum will now mean naturally occurring hydrocarbons, whether in the form of natural gas, in a liquid, viscous or solid form, or a mixture of these.
  3. It, however, does not include coal, lignite and helium occurring in association with petroleum or coal or shale, the notification said.
  4. Till now the definition of ‘petroleum’ only meant any liquid hydrocarbon or a mixture of hydrocarbons and any inflammable mixture (liquid, viscous or solid) containing a liquid hydrocarbon.

In line with the HELP

  1. The new HELP allows producers to harness any hydrocarbon resource they find within the assigned area subject to a revenue-share commitment.
  2. The earlier definition had excluded shale and other such hydrocarbons, hampering their exploration and production in the country.
  3. This should help in enhancing domestic exploration and production of hydrocarbons, thereby increasing India’s energy security and reducing our dependence on imports.


Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP)

  1. It is a policy adopted by Government of India on 10.03.2016 indicating the new contractual and fiscal model for award of hydrocarbon acreages towards exploration and production (E&P).
  2. HELP is applicable for all future contracts to be awarded.
  3. HELP replaces the present policy regime for exploration and production of oil and gas, known as New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), which has been in existence for 18 years.
  4. Features of HELP:
  • Uniform License: It provides for a uniform licensing system to cover all hydrocarbons such as oil, gas, coal bed methane etc. under a single licensing framework, instead of the present system of issuing separate licenses for each kind of hydrocarbons.
  • Open Acreages: It gives the option to a hydrocarbon company to select the exploration blocks throughout the year without waiting for the formal bid round from the Government.
  • Revenue Sharing Model: Present fiscal system of production sharing contract (PSC) is replaced by an easy to administer “revenue sharing model”. The earlier contracts were based on the concept of profit sharing where profits are shared between Government and the contractor after recovery of cost.
  • Marketing and Pricing Freedom: It has been granted, subject to a ceiling price limit, for new gas production from Deepwater, Ultra Deepwater and High Pressure-High Temperature Areas.
Coal and Mining Sector

[pib] Indian Railways Launches “Mission Satyanishtha”


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Mission Satyanishtha

Mains level: Read the attached story


Mission Satyanishtha

  1. In first of its kind event held by any government organization, the Indian Railways organized a programme on Ethics in Public Governance and Launched “Mission Satyanishtha”.
  2. The issue of Ethics, Integrity and probity in public life has been a matter of concern all over the government sector.
  3. This mission aims at sensitizing all railway employees about the need to adhere to good ethics and to maintain high standards of integrity at work.
  4. Talks and Lectures on the subject are being organised all over the Indian Railways today for this purpose.
  5. The objectives of the Mission are:
  • To train every employee to understand the need and value of ethics in Personal and Public life.
  • To deal with ethical dilemmas in life and Public Governance.
  • To help understand the policies of Indian Railways on ethics and integrity and the employee’s role in upholding the same.
  • To develop inner governance through tapping inner resources.
Railway Reforms

Explained: Privilege Motion


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Parliament & State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges & issues arising out of these

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Everything about Privilege Motion

Mains level: Read the attached story


Privilege Motion

  1. Parliamentary privileges are certain rights and immunities enjoyed by members of Parliament, individually and collectively, so that they can “effectively discharge their functions”.
  2. When any of these rights and immunities is disregarded, the offence is called a breach of privilege and is punishable under law of Parliament.
  3. A notice is moved in the form of a motion by any member of either House against those being held guilty of breach of privilege.
  4. Each House also claims the right to punish as contempt actions which, while not breach of any specific privilege, are offences against its authority and dignity.

What are the rules governing privilege?

  1. Rule No 222 in Chapter 20 of the Lok Sabha Rule Book and correspondingly Rule 187 in Chapter 16 of the Rajya Sabha Rulebook govern privilege.
  2. It says that a member may, with the consent of the Speaker or the Chairperson, raise a question involving a breach of privilege either of a member or of the House or of a committee thereof.
  3. The rules however mandate that any notice should be relating to an incident of recent occurrence and should need the intervention of the House. Notices have to be given before 10 am to the Speaker or the Chairperson.

Role of the LS Speaker/RS Chairperson

  1. The first level of scrutiny that a privilege motion has to go through is that of the Speaker, in case the motion is moved in the Lok Sabha and that of the Chairperson when a motion is moved in the Rajya Sabha.
  2. The Speaker/Chair may decide on the privilege motion at their own discretion or they may refer it to a parliamentary committee.
  3. The Speaker/Chair has authority to admit or dismiss the Privilege Motion.
  4. The Speaker/Chair can decide on the privilege motion himself or herself or refer it to the privileges committee of Parliament.
  5. If the Speaker/Chair gives consent under Rule 222, the member concerned is given an opportunity to make a short statement.
  6. The Speaker/Chair can seek the services of “Committee of Privileges” to establish the allegations with facts. The committee may also recommend any punishment, which the Speaker may or may not accept.

Privileges Committee

  1. In the Lok Sabha, the Speaker nominates a committee of privileges consisting of 15 members as per respective party strengths. A report is then presented to the House for its consideration.
  2. The Speaker may permit a half-hour debate while considering the report.
  3. The Speaker may then pass final orders or direct that the report be tabled before the House.
  4. A resolution may then be moved relating to the breach of privilege that has to be unanimously passed.
  5. The process is similar in the Upper House, except that the privilege committee consists of 10 members and is headed by the deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha.

[pib] Invest India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Invest India

Mains level: Not Much



  1. Invest India and Business France has signed a MoU to promote investment facilitation and cooperation between startups of India and France.
  2. The goal will be to facilitate direct foreign investment by providing practical investment information to enterprises and support the companies pursuing those opportunities which contribute positively to economic growth of the two countries.

Invest India

  1. Invest India is the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of India and acts as the first point of reference for investors in India.
  2. It is set up as a nonprofit venture under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Government of India.
  3. Operationalized in early 2010, Invest India is set up as a joint venture company between the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry (35% equity), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) (51% equity), and State Governments of India (0.5% each).
  4. Thus, essentially, Invest India is a private company, unlike India Brand Equity Foundation – another investment promotion agency in India set up by the same Ministry – Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
  5. Invest India’s specialists provide multiple forms of support such as market entry strategies, deep dive industry analysis, partner search and location assessment, and policy advocacy with decision makers.
  6. Functions:
  • The core mandate of Invest India is investment promotion and facilitation.
  • It provides sector-specific and state-specific information to a foreign investor, assists in expediting regulatory approvals, and offers hand-holding services.
  • Its mandate also includes assisting Indian investors to make informed choices about investment opportunities overseas.
  • Its experts, specializing across different countries, Indian states and sectors, handhold investors through their investment lifecycle ⎯ from pre-investment to after-care.
Economic Indicators-GDP, FD,etc

[pib] National Achievement Survey (NAS) to increase focus on learning outcomes in quality of elementary education


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NAS and its particulars

Mains level: Policy measures for Outcome-based Education and Leaning


More focus on Learning Outcomes

  1. In order to increase focus on quality of elementary education, the Central rules to the RTE Act, 2009 have been amended in February, 2017 to include reference on class-wise, subject-wise Learning Outcomes.
  2. The Learning Outcomes for each class in Languages (Hindi, English and Urdu), Mathematics, Environmental Studies, Science and Social Science up to the elementary stage (classes 1 to 8) have, accordingly, been finalized and shared with all States and UTs.
  3. Learning outcomes have been translated in different languages and serve as a benchmark for student’s capabilities to be achieved in each subject & class.

Particulars of the National Achievement Survey (NAS)

  1. To assess the learning levels of the students in Classes 3, 5 and 8  NCERT conducted the NAS in February in which  approximately 22 lakh children across the country participated.
  2. NAS at the elementary level was based on the Learning Outcomes developed by the NCERT.
  3. The design and implementation of the survey included in its ambit the school leaders, teachers and the whole network of officials at the Cluster, Block, District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) and the Directorates of Education in the different States/ UTs.
  4. NCERT similarly conducted NAS for class 10 on February 05, 2018.
  5. The survey tools used multiple test booklets in Mathematics, Modern Indian Language, English, Sciences and Social Sciences. The attainment of the learning levels of nearly 15 lakh students was assessed.
  6. District report cards (provisional) for NAS 2018 for class X have been released and are available on MHRD website.
Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

[pib] National Overseas Scholarships for Scheduled Castes


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the scholarship

Mains level: Government initiatives for empowerment of weaker sections


National Overseas Scholarship

  1. The National Overseas Scholarship is a Central Sector scheme for Scheduled Caste (SC) students.
  2. Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment
  3. The Scheme provides financial assistance to the finally selected candidates for pursuing Master level courses and Ph.D abroad in the accredited Institutions/University by an authorized body of that country.
  4. 30% of the awards are reserved for female candidates.
  5. There is no state wise quota of slots under this Scheme.
  6. Advertisements inviting applications under the scheme are published in leading newspapers and Employment News twice a year, once at the beginning of the year and then once again later during the financial year.
Minority Issues – Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

[pib] Atal Innovation Mission & MyGov launches “Innovate India Platform”


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Innovate in India Platform

Mains level: Not Much


Innovate India Platform

  1. “#InnovateIndia Platform” is collaboration between the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and MyGov, a citizen centric platform of the Government of India.
  2. It will serve as the common point for all the innovation happening across the nation.
  3. The #InnovateIndia MyGov-AIM portal creates the much-needed innovations platform for registering both grassroots and deep-tech innovators at a national level.
  4. With the launch of the platform Indians will be able to upload and rate their/organizations innovation on the platform.The citizens can access the platform on

Features of this platform:

  1. The platform is open to all Indian citizens
  2. The users can View, comment, share, and rate the innovations crowdsourced on the #InnovateIndia platform
  3. View the leaderboard which is calculated based on the votes on each innovation.
  4. Citizens can share their/organizations/someone else’s innovation on the platform by login to the MyGov website
  5. These innovations can also be shared on various social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter.
Innovation Ecosystem in India

[pib] Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Scheme

Mains level: Women empowerment through community participation


Ministry of Women and Child Development  has approved a new scheme namely Mahila Shakti Kendra for implementation during 2017-18 upto 2019-20 to empower rural women through community participation.

Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme

  1. The scheme is envisaged to work at various levels and at the national level (domain based knowledge support) and state level (State Resource Centre for Women) technical support to the respective governments on issues related to women.
  2. It is implemented with cost sharing ratio of 60:40 between centre and states except for North East and Special Category States where the ratio is 90:10.

Provisions of the Scheme

  1. Community engagement through College Student Volunteers is envisioned in 115 aspirational districts as part of the Block Level initiatives.
  2. Student volunteers are to play an instrumental role in awareness generation regarding various important government schemes/ programmes as well as social issues.
  3. District Level Centre for Women (DLCW) has also been envisaged for 640 districts to be covered in phased manner.
  4. These centres to serve as a link between village, block and state level in facilitating women centric schemes and also give foothold for Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme at the district level.
Women empowerment issues: Jobs,Reservation and education

India, US set to sign pact for secure military communications


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: COMCASA, LEMOA, BECA

Mains level: Military partnership of India with other countries


COMCASA to be signed

  1. India and the US are likely to sign the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA)
  2. It would be a bilateral pact between the two countries for secure military communications

Modified CISMOA

  1. The general agreement signed by the US with other countries is called the Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) but the name was changed to COMCASA to reflect its India-specific nature
  2. COMCASA is meant to provide a legal framework for transfer of communication security equipment from the US to India that would facilitate “interoperability” between their forces — and potentially with other militaries that use US-origin systems for secured data links

3 foundational agreements

  1. COMCASA is part of a set of three military agreements that the US considers “foundational” for a functional military relationship
  2. In August 2016, India had signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), which allows the military of each country to replenish from the other’s bases
  3. Negotiations on the third agreement, Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA), have not yet begun
Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

Banka Unnayan among three finalists in Commonwealth awards in innovation category


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Banka Unnayan programme, Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM), Unnat Bharat Abhiyan

Mains level: Various interventions by the government to improve education sector


New online learning method

  1. Banka Unnayan programme has got an award from Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM)
  2. It was the government of India that had nominated Unnayan project as its only entry for innovation incubation category

About the program

  1. It is an interactive online and offline study method through interactive concept videos, real-time doubt-clearing, examination and digital report card generation
  2. It has been teaching Class IX and Class X students through smart classes and Eckovation app
  3. Banka district has been running Unnayan programme in its 70 schools under a project that was started in August 2017
  4. The model is being replicated by Unnat Bharat Abhiyan in schools of about 5,000 villages across the country
Primary and Secondary Education – RTE, Education Policy, SEQI, RMSA, Committee Reports, etc.

[op-ed snap] India’s Magna Carta


Mains Paper 1: Freedom Struggle| Various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  100th year of Montford Reform , GoI Act 1919, Rowlatt Act.

Mains level:  Role of Montford Reforms in forming a responsible government in India



This month marks the 100th year of the publication of the ‘Report on Indian Constitutional Reforms’, commonly known as the Montagu-Chelmsford Report (MCR).

Montague-Chelmsford Reforms 

  1. Edwin Montagu, then Secretary of State for India, had advocated for increased participation of Indians in the British Indian administration and had begun consultations nearly a year earlier.
  2. After many meetings with Indian representatives, Montagu and the then Governor-General, Lord Chelmsford, published the MCR on July 8, 1918.
  3. It drew up a report, with the help of Bhupendra Nath Bose, Lord Donoghmore, William Duke and Charles Roberts.

Created background for Government of India Act 1919

  1. The important features of this act were as follows:
  • The Central Legislative Council was now to consist of two houses- The Imperial Legislative and The Council of States.
  • The provinces were to follow the Dual Government System or
  1. Accordingly, the Rights of the Central and Provincial Governments were divided in clear-cut terms.
  2. The central list included rights over defence, foreign affairs, telegraphs, railways, postal, foreign trade etc.
  3. The provincial list dealt with the affairs like health, sanitation, education, public work, irrigation, jail, police, justice etc.
  4. The powers which were not included in the state list vested in the hands of the Centre.
  5. In case of any conflict between the ‘reserved’ and ‘unreserved’ powers of the State (the former included finance, police, revenue, publication of books, etc. and the latter included health, sanitation, local-self government etc.), the Governor had its final say.
  6. In 1921, the “Diarchy” was installed in Bengal, Madras, Bombay, United Provinces, M.P., Punjab, Bihar, Orissa and Assam and in 1932; it was extended to the North-West Frontier Province.


  1. The MCR stands out for proposing some of the most radical administrative changes for giving provincial legislatures the mantle of self-governance.
  2. The report recommended that the Provinces are the domain in which the earlier steps towards the progressive realisation of responsible government should be taken.
  3. Another one of the most far-reaching objectives of the report was to elucidate the principle of accountable governance by directing that the “Government of India must remain wholly responsible to Parliament.

Reception in India

  1. Many Indians had fought with the British in First World War and they expected much greater concessions. Congress and the league had recently come together demanding for self-rule.
  2. The 1919 reforms did not satisfy political demands in India. The British repressed opposition, and restrictions on the press and on movement were re-enacted through the Rowlatt Acts introduced in 1919.
  3. The act allowed certain political cases to be tried without juries and permitted internment of suspects without trial.
  4. These measures were rammed through the Legislative Council with the unanimous opposition of the Indian members. Several members of the council including Jinnah resigned in protest.
  5. These measures were widely seen throughout India of the betrayal of strong support given by the population for the British war effort.

Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

  1. Gandhi launched a nationwide protest against the Rowlatt Acts with the strongest level of protest in the Punjab.
  2. The situation worsened in Amritsar in April 1919, when General Dyer ordered his troops to open fire on demonstrators hemmed into a tight square, resulting in the deaths of 379 civilians.
  3. Montagu ordered an inquiry into the events at Amritsar by Lord Hunter.
  4. The Hunter Inquiry recommended that General Dyer, who commanded the troops, be dismissed, leading to Dyer’s sacking.
  5. The Amritsar massacre further inflamed Indian nationalist sentiment ending the initial response of reluctant co-operation.
  6. At the Indian National Congress annual session in September 1920, delegates supported Gandhi’s proposal of swaraj or self-rule – preferably within the British Empire or out of it if necessary.
  7. The proposal was to be implemented through a policy of non-cooperation with British rule meaning that Congress did not field candidates in the first elections held under the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms in 1921.

Paving way for the 1935 Act

  1. The Montagu-Chelmsford report stated that there should be a review after 10 years.
  2. Sir John Simon headed the committee (Simon Commission) responsible for the review which recommended further constitutional change.
  3. Three round table conferences were held in London in 1930, 1931 and 1932 with representation of the major interests. Mahatma Gandhi attended the 1931 round table after negotiations with the British Government.
  4. The major disagreement between the Indian National Congress and the British was separate electorates for each community which Congress opposed but which were retained in Ramsay MacDonald’s Communal Award.
  5. A new Government of India Act 1935 was passed continuing the move towards self-government first made in the Montagu-Chelmsford Report

Magna Carta of Modern India

  1. The MCR went on to become the basis for the Government of India Act, 1919 and 1935, and, ultimately, the Constitution.
  2. The key principles of responsible government, self-governance and federal structure grew out of these reforms.
  3. The MCR on Indian constitutional reforms along with the Montagu Declaration are, thus, worthy claimants of the title of the Magna Carta of Modern India.
History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] National Policy on Bio-Fuels-2018


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Read the attached story

Mains level: Aim and particulars of the National Policy on Biofuels.


Context: Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has notified the National Policy on Biofuels-2018.

Aim: Ensuring adequate and sustained availability of domestic feedstock for biofuel production, increasing Farmers Income, Import Reduction, Employment Generation and Waste to Wealth Creation,

Provisions of the Policy

  1. The policy categorizes biofuels as “Basic Biofuels” such as bio ethanol & biodiesel and “Advanced Biofuels” such as Second Generation (2G) ethanol, bio-CNG, Third Generation Biofuels, etc. to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.
  2. It also includes promotion of advanced biofuels through various incentives, off-take assurance and viability gap funding.

Damaged and Surplus foodgrains to be utilised

  1. With an objective of increasing production of ethanol, this Policy allows production of ethanol from damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice etc. which are unfit for human consumption.
  2. Additionally, during an agriculture crop year, when there is projected over supply of food grains as anticipated by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, the policy allows conversion of surplus quantities of food grains to ethanol, based on the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee.
  3. Use of damaged food grains and surplus food grains for production of ethanol will increase its availability for Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme.
  4. This will result in increasing the blending percentage, increasing farmer’s income, saving of foreign exchange and addressing environmental issues.
Biofuel Policy

[pib] POSHAN Abhiyan (National Nutrition Mission)


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the mission

Mains level: Holistic strategy to counter Malntrition


Poshan Abhiyan

  1. The Government of India has set-up POSHAN Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission) which was launched by the PM Modi on 8thMarch, 2018 from Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan.
  2. The programme through use of technology, ha a targeted approach and convergence strives to reduce the level of Stunting, Under-nutrition, Anemia and Low Birth Weight in Children, as also, focus on Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women & Lactating Mothers for holistically addressing malnutrition.
  3. POSHAN Abhiyaan aims to ensure service delivery and interventions by use of technology, behavioural change through convergence and lays-down specific targets to be achieved across different monitoring parameters over the next few years.
  4. To ensure a holistic approach, all 36 States/UTs and 718 districts will be covered in a phased manner by the year 2020. Never before has nutrition been given such prominence at the highest level in the country.

Additional Information

  1. As part of this Abhiyaan, initiative to mobilize a peoples’ movement or Jan Andolan on Nutrition, the MoWCD has developed a Caller Tune and Ring Tone to popularize and create a connect with the Abhiyaan’s goal of Sahi Poshan Desh Roshan.
  2. It was decided that the activities to be carried in the month of September to celebrate as National Nutrition Month and this will be celebrated every year.
Mother and Child Health – Immunization Program, BPBB, PMJSY, PMMSY, etc.

World’s fastest man-made spinning object developed

A nanodumbbell levitated by an optical tweezer in vacuum can vibrate or spin, depending on the polarization of the incoming laser.


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the finding

Mains level: Quantum mechanics and its applications


Fastest rotor

  1. Scientists have developed the fastest man-made rotor in the world, which they believe will help them study quantum mechanics
  2. At more than 60 billion revolutions per minute, this machine is more than 100,000 times faster than a high-speed dental drill

Working of the rotor

  1. The team synthesised a tiny dumbbell from silica and levitated it in a high vacuum using a laser
  2. The laser can work in a straight line or in a circle – when it is linear, the dumbbell vibrates, and when it is circular, the dumbbell spins
  3. A spinning dumbbell functions as a rotor, and a vibrating dumbbell functions like an instrument for measuring tiny forces and torques, known as a torsion balance

Applications of the rotor

  1. These devices were used to discover things like the gravitational constant and density of Earth
  2. As they become more advanced, they will be able to study things like quantum mechanics and the properties of the vacuum
  3. By observing this tiny dumbbell spin faster than anything before it, scientists may also be able to learn things about vacuum friction and gravity
  4. There are a lot of virtual particles which may stay for a short time and then disappear and these can be studied better by sensitive torsion balance

Quantum Mechanics

  1. Quantum mechanics is a fundamental theory in physics which describes nature at the smallest scales of energy levels of atoms and subatomic particles
Innovations in Sciences, IT, Computers, Robotics and Nanotechnology

[pib] Special AYUSH Clinics for the Elderly


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NAM

Mains level: Govt measures to ensure healthcare facilities for the elderly population


  1. The Government provides optimum services to the elderly under AYUSH system of medicines.
  2. As Health is a State subject, the opening of a special clinic for elder persons in villages comes under the purview of the respective State/UT Government.
  3. Under Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM), there is a provision of financial assistance to the States/UTs for setting up of up to 50-bedded integrated AYUSH Hospitals and for the establishment of AYUSH facility in Primary Health Centres (PHCs).

Geriatric Care under National AYUSH Mission (NAM)

  1. Under NAM there is a provision of the supply of essential drugs to the AYUSH hospitals and dispensaries through which the public including elderly persons can avail free services.
  2. In addition, Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), an autonomous organization under Ministry of AYUSH is providing health services to the elderly persons through its 23 Clinical units (Special Geriatric Clinics) located throughout the country.
  3. Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy, an autonomous organization under Ministry of AYUSH is providing health services to the elderly persons through its 23 research centres and 8 peripheral Out Patient Departments (OPDs) located throughout the country.
  4. Central Council for Research in Siddha (CCRS), an autonomous organization under Ministry of AYUSH is also providing Geriatric special Out-Patient services.
  5. Further, National Institute of Siddha (NIS), an autonomous organization under Ministry of AYUSH also conducts a special OPD for elderly persons where Geriatric patients are exempted from payment of Indoor-Patient Department (IPD) charges.


National AYUSH Mission

  1. Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India has launched National AYUSH Mission (NAM) during 12th Plan for im­plementing through States/UTs.
  2. The basic objective of NAM is:
  • to promote AYUSH medical systems through cost-effective AYUSH services,
  • strengthening of educational systems,
  • facilitate the enforcement of quality control of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani & Homoeopathy (ASU &H) drugs and sustainable availability of ASU & H raw-materials.
  1. It envisages flexibility of implementation of the programmes which will lead to a substantial participation of the State Governments/UT.
  2. The NAM contemplates the establishment of a National Mission as well as corresponding Missions in the State level.
AYUSH – Indian Medicine System

Kerala trumps high-profile peers to top Public Affairs Index 2018

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: PAI

Mains level: Measures of Human Development in India.


Public affairs Index 2018

  1. The index provides a multi-dimensional and comprehensive matrix that attempts to capture the complexities of governing the plural and diverse people of this sub-continent.
  2. It is conducted by the Public Affairs Centre, a Bengaluru-based think tank.
  3. The think tank has undertaken the study across all the Indian states considering them across 10 themes such as essential infrastructure, support to human development, social protection, women and children as well as law and order.
  4. The states were divided into two categories — large and small — on the basis of their population. States with more than two crore population were considered large.
  5. PAI 2018 comprises 10 broad themes, 30 focus subjects and 100 indicators as well as a special chapter on the children of India relying solely upon government data and no private data sources that may be interpreted as “biased”.

Performance of the States

  1. Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka and Gujarat followed Kerala among the top five states delivering good governance, according to the report.
  2. Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar ranked the lowest on the PAI, indicating higher social and economic inequalities in the states.
  3. Among smaller states (with a population less than two crores), Himachal Pradesh topped the list, followed by Goa, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura which figured among the top five states with good governance.
  4. Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya were ranked at the bottom of the index among small states.

Kerala leads

  1. Kerala, according to the think tank, has emerged first overall among 30 States in the country, with a top ranking in four of the 10 parameters for big States.
  2. These include essential infrastructure, support to human development, women and child development and a child-friendly approach.
  3. While the theme on essential infrastructure includes power, water, roads and communication and housing, that on support to human development covers education and health.

Other Indices

  1. This year’s PAI also included a separate index on the children of India, giving a measure of how child-friendly each of the states is.
  2. Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Mizoram topped the index on being the states to provide better living conditions for all children.

[pib] Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0

Mains level: Holistic development of rural India through capacity building with help of various premier institutes


The Government has successfully launched Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0.

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0

  1. Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is a flagship programme of the Ministry of HRD, which aims to link the Higher Education Institutions with a set of at least 5 villages so that these institutions can contribute to the economic and social betterment of these village communities using their knowledge base.
  2. It is a significant initiative where all Higher Learning Institutes have been involved for participation in development activities, particularly in rural areas.
  3. It also aims to create a virtuous cycle between the society and an inclusive university system, with the latter providing knowledge base; practices for emerging livelihoods and to upgrade the capabilities of both the public and private sectors.
  4. Currently, 748 Institutions are participating under the scheme.
  5. The objective of the scheme is:
  • To engage the faculty and students of Higher Educational Institutions in understanding rural realities;
  • Identify and select existing innovative technologies, enable customization of technologies, or devise implementation methods for innovative solutions, as required by people; and
  • To allow Higher Educational Institutions to contribute to devising systems for smooth implementation of various Government Programs.


Unnat Bharat Abhiyan

  1. This is an HRD Ministry initiative launched in 2014 with the two-fold aim to provide rural India with professional resource support from institutes of higher education in the field of STEM
  2. And Building institutional capacity in Institutes of higher education in research & training relevant to the needs of rural India
  3. This programme will be launched in collaboration with the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), Indian Institutes of Science Education & Research (IISERs) and the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) throughout the country
  4. Each IIT/NIT/IISER will identify 10 villages in its neighbourhood and work out technologies to solve the most pressing issues of the region
  5. Various teams from these institutes will visit the villages, identify problems and then aim to find financially-viable schemes.
Rural Infrastructure Schemes

[pib] ‘Study in India’ Programme to make India an educational hub for foreign students


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Scheme

Mains level: Measures for internationalization of higher education in India


‘Study in India’ Programme

  1. To facilitate Internationalization of Higher Education in India, a Programme viz. ‘Study in India’ has been launched.
  2. EdCIL(India) Limited is the implementing agency for the Programme.
  3. Its objectives are:
  • to make India an education hub for foreign students;
  • improve the soft power of India with focus on the neighbouring countries and use it as a tool in diplomacy;
  • to rapidly increase the inflow of inbound International Students in India through a systematic brand-building, marketing, social media and digital marketing campaigns;
  • to increase India’s market share of global education exports;
  • improvement in the overall quality of higher education;
  • to reduce the export-import imbalance in the number of international students;
  • growth in India’s global market share of International students; and
  • increase in global ranking of India etc.

Provisions of the SIP    

  1. The programme focuses on International students from select 30 countries across South-East Asia, Middle East and Africa for a period of two years i.e. for the academic years 2018-19 and 2019-20.
  2. It envisages participation of select reputed Indian institutes/universities by way of offering seats for the International students at affordable rates.
  3. This Programme does not offer any Scholarships, however, fee waivers to meritorious foreign students ranging from 100% to 25% are offered.
  4. A centralised admission web-portal ( acts as a single window for the admission of foreign students.
Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

India to expand polar research to Arctic as well


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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: IndARC, Indian mission on poles

Mains level: Measures undertaken to harness hydrocarbon resources from the poles.


Shifting focus to the Arctic

  1. Three decades after its first mission to Antarctica, the government is refocusing priorities to the Arctic because of opportunities and challenges posed by climate change.
  2. It has renamed the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) — since 1998, as the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research.
  3. It’s also in talks with Canada and Russia, key countries with presence in the Arctic Circle, to establish new observation systems, according to a source. Presently India only has one Arctic observation station near Norway.

Hunt for Hydrocarbons

  1. Climate change was a decisive factor in India re-thinking priorities. Sea ice at the Arctic has been melting rapidly — the fastest in this century.
  2. That means several spots, rich in hydrocarbon reserves, will be more accessible through the year via alternative shipping routes.

India and the Arctic

  1. India is already an observer at the Arctic Council — a forum of countries that decides on managing the region’s resources and popular livelihood.
  2. India in 2015 set up an underground observatory, called IndARC, at the Kongsfjorden Fjord, half way between Norway and the North Pole.


Indian mission on the Antarctic

  1. The Indian Antarctic Program is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional program under the control of the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India.
  2. It was initiated in 1981 with the first Indian expedition to Antarctica.
  3. The program gained global acceptance with India’s signing of the Antarctic Treaty and subsequent construction of the Dakshin Gangotri Antarctic research base in 1983, superseded by the Maitri base from 1990.
  4. The newest base commissioned in 2015 is Bharati, constructed out of 134 shipping containers.

Indian mission on the Arctic

  1. Himadri Station is India’s first Arctic research station located at Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway. It is located at the International Arctic Research base, Ny-Ålesund.
  2. It was inaugurated on the 1st of July, 2008 by the Minister of Earth Sciences. It is followed by IndARC.
  3. The United States Geological Survey estimates that 22% of the world’s oil and natural gas could be located beneath the Arctic.
  4.  ONGC Videsh has signed joint-venture with Russia for oil exploration there.

Arctic Council

  1. It is an advisory body that promotes cooperation among member nations and indigenous groups as per the Ottawa Declaration of 1996.
  2. Its focus is on sustainable development and environmental protection of the Arctic,
  3. The Arctic Council consists of the eight Arctic States: Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.
  4. India and China are one of the observer countries since 2013.
Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

[pib] New SAFAR system with Air Quality Early Warning System

Image Source


Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: SAFAR and Air Quality Early Warning System

Mains level: Problem of Air Pollution in Delhi and its adjacent areas and measures for its mitigation


Advanced SAFAR

  1. Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan unveiled a state-of-the-art Air Quality and Weather Forecast System– SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting) at Chandni Chowk in Delhi.
  2. The giant true colour LED display gives out real-time air quality index on 24×7 basis with colour coding along with 72-hour advance forecast.
  3. The system will be an integral part of India’s first Air Quality Early Warning System operational in Delhi and will strengthen the existing air quality network of SAFAR.
  4. The system, first of its kind in the country, was developed indigenously in record time by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune and operationalized by India Meteorological Department (IMD).

LED Display of advisories

  1. Based on the Air Quality Index on a particular day, Health advisory and related precaution will be notified to prepare citizens well in advance.
  2. It will also measure the sun’s UV-Index and will provide a measurement of online automatic ultrafine particles PM1 and Mercury, both of which have direct relevance to human health.
  3. Based on UVI, skin advisories will be issued on display.

Benefits of the Early Warning System

  1. According to a preliminary economic assessment of the benefits of the system, if 5% of people suffering from air-pollution related diseases take advantage of the advisories and precautions in Delhi alone, it would result in a saving of nearly Rs. 2,500 crores in terms of health-related cost benefit.
  2. It will accelerate public awareness and preparedness of air pollution and weather extremes.
  3. It will also lead to a better understanding of linkages among emissions, weather, pollution and climate by monitoring all weather parameters like temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed and wind direction.
  4. In addition to regular air quality parameters like PM2.5, PM10, Sulfur Dioxide, Ozone, Nitrogen Oxides, Carbon Monoxide, the system will also monitor the existence of Benzene, Toluene and Xylene.
  5. Besides health, SAFAR system would benefit cost savings to several other sectors like agriculture, aviation, infrastructure, disaster management skill, tourism and many others, which directly or indirectly get affected by air quality and weather.


System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR)

  1. Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Govt. of India, has introduced a major national initiative “SAFAR” for greater metropolitan cities of India to provide location-specific information on air quality in near real time and its forecast 1-3 days in advance for the first time in India
  2. It was started under the plan scheme “Metropolitan Advisories for Cities for Sports, Tourism (Metropolitan Air Quality and Weather Services)
  3. The SAFAR system is developed by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, along with ESSO partner institutions namely India Meteorological Department (IMD) and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF)
  4. The implementation of SAFAR is done with an active collaboration with local municipal corporations and various local educational institutions and governmental agencies in that Metro city.
  5. It was started on a Pilot basis in the cities of Pune, Ahmadabad, New Delhi and Mumbai
Air Pollution