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Current Affairs
May 30, 2023

KSS-III Batch-II Submarine
South Korea has recently come up with a special proposal to provide its advanced KSS-III Batch-II submarine to India.
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About KSS-III Batch-II Submarine:

  • The KSS-III, the largest submarine to ever be built by South Korea, is being developed in two phases, Batch-I and Batch-II.
  • It is a series of diesel-electric attack submarines.
  • KSS-III Batch-II is an advanced version of its predecessor in terms of combat management systems, firepower, and sonar capabilities.
  • It is jointly developed by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).
  • Features:
    • The submarine will be 89 metres long, 9.6 metres wide, and have a displacement of around 3,600 tonnes.
    • The Batch-II series will be equipped with lithium-ion batteries, which will reportedly make it capable of cruising at higher speeds with a greater period of underwater endurance, life expectancy, and durability.
    • Additionally, the submarines will be equipped with Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) technology that will allow them to operate without access to atmospheric oxygen.
    • It will also be capable of carrying a crew of 50 members.
    • It can fire missiles such as Hyunmoo-4-4 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM).
    • The submarines can attain a maximum operating speed of approximately 20 knots and cruising range of 10,000 nmi.
    • The navigation aids on board the submarine include an inertial navigation system (INS) and global positioning system (GPS).
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
May 30, 2023

What is Acinetobactor baumannii?
A group of scientists recently discovered a new antibiotic that can kill a deadly superbug called Acinetobacter baumannii.
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About Acinetobactor baumannii:

  • Acinetobacter is a group of bacteria (germs) commonly found in the environment, like in soil and water. 
  • While there are many types, the most common cause of infections is Acinetobacter baumannii, which accounts for most Acinetobacter infections in humans.
  • It is a Gram-negative bacteria that often displays multidrug resistance.
  • It can cause infections in the blood, urinary tract, and lungs (pneumonia), or in wounds in other parts of the body.
  • It can also “colonize” or live in a patient without causing infections or symptoms, especially in respiratory secretions (sputum) or open wounds.
  • These germs are frequent causes of hospital-acquired infections, especially in intensive care units (ICUs). 
  • It is highly contagious.

Gram-Positive vs. Gram-Negative Bacteria:

  • Gram-positive bacteria have cell walls made of a thick layer of peptidoglycan.
  • The cell walls of gram-negative bacteria contain only a thin layer of peptidoglycan, but they also have an outer membrane that is absent in gram-positive bacteria.
  • Gram staining is a technique that uses violet dye to distinguish between gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.
  • If the bacteria are gram-positive, the thick, peptidoglycan layer in their cell walls will retain the dye and they will stain violet.
  • If the bacteria are gram-negative, the dye will leak out of the thin peptidoglycan layer, and the bacteria will stain red.

Current Affairs
May 30, 2023

What is Spear Phishing?
According to a recent report, as many as 53 per cent of organisations studied in India were victims of spear phishing in 2022.
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About Spear Phishing:

  • It is an email or electronic communications scam targeted towards a specific individual, organization or business. 
  • It is a targeted attempt to steal sensitive information such as account credentials or financial information from a specific victim, often for malicious reasons
  • This is achieved by acquiring personal details on the victim such as their friends, hometown, employer, locations they frequent, and what they have recently bought online.
  • Working:
    • A spear phishing email uses social engineering techniques to urge the victim to click on a malicious link or attachment.
    • Additionally, the email will blatantly ask the recipient to respond urgently, such as transferring a specific sum of money or sending personal data such as a banking password.
    • Because the emails are written in a highly familiar tone and refer to personal information about the recipient, victims mistakenly believe they know and trust the sender and respond to the request.
    • Once the victim completes the intended action, the attacker can steal the credentials of a targeted legitimate user and enter a network undetected.
  • This is the most successful form of acquiring confidential information on the internet, accounting for 91% of attacks.
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
May 30, 2023

Sakhalin-1 Project
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s subsidiary, ONGC Videsh, recently said that oil output from the Sakhalin-1 project in Russia had bounced back to its plateau level of about 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) from zero.
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About Sakhalin-1 Project:

  • Location: The Sakhalin-1 oil and gas development project is located in the Okhotsk Sea, off the north-eastern coast of Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East.
  • It comprises three offshore fields namely Chayvo, Odoptu, and Arkutun-Dagi.
  • It is operated by Exxon Neftegas (ENL), a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil which holds a 30% participating interest. The other partners of the project are the Japanese consortium Sakhalin Oil and Gas Development Company (SODECO, 30%), India’s state-owned ONGC Videsh (20%), and Russian oil company Rosneft (20%).
  • The Sakhalin 1 project is estimated to hold approximately 2.3 billion barrels of oil and 17.1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in recoverable reserves.

ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL):

  • It is a Miniratna Schedule “A” Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE)of the Government of India and is the wholly owned subsidiary and overseas arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC).
  • It comes under the administrative control of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
  • The primary business of ONGC Videsh is to prospect for oil and gas acreages outside India, including exploration, development and production of oil and gas.
  • ONGC Videsh is the second largest petroleum company of India, next only to its parent ONGC.

Current Affairs
May 30, 2023

Senkakau Islands
Amid the rising tensions in the Indo-Pacific region, Japan Coast Guard (JCG) source recently revealed that a China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel has been navigating in Japan’s territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands.
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About Senkaku Islands:

  • Location:
    • The Senkaku Islands are an uninhabited group of islands situated in the East China Sea.
    • It is approximately 90 nautical miles north from the Yaeyama Islands in Japan's Okinawa Prefecture and 120 nautical miles northeast of the island of Taiwan.
  • They are also known as the Diaoyu Islands in Mainland China, the Diaoyutai Islands in Taiwan and the Pinnacle Islands by other observers.
  • The islands comprise Uotsuri Island, Kuba Island, Taisho Island (also called Kumeakashima Island), Kitakojima Island, Minamikojima Island, Tobise Island, Okinokitaiwa Island, and Okinominamiiwa Island.
  • Dispute: The islands are the focus of a territorial dispute between Japan and China and between Japan and Taiwan.
  • Administration
    • They were never administered by any other country before Japan incorporated them into its territory in 1895.
    • Currently, Japan administers and controls the Senkaku islands as part of the city of Ishigaki in Okinawa Prefecture.

Current Affairs
May 30, 2023

What is Meningitis?
Authorities in US and Mexico recently appealed to the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a public health emergency over a fungal meningitis outbreak.
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About Meningitis:

  • Meningitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. These membranes are called meninges.
  • The most common causes of meningitis are viral and bacterial infections. Other causes may include:
    • cancer
    • fungi
    • drug-induced reactions
  • Transmission: Infections that cause meningitis can be spread through sneezing and coughing.
  • Symptoms:
    • Common symptoms of meningitis are neck stiffness, fever, confusion or altered mental status, headaches, nausea and vomiting.
    • Less frequent symptoms are seizures, coma and neurological deficits (for example hearing or vision loss, cognitive impairment, or weakness of the limbs).
    • Types of meningitis caused by viruses or bacteria can have similar symptoms. Symptoms may be stronger in some types of meningitis than in others and require different treatment. 
  • Treatment and Prevention:
    • Meningitis is a medical emergency. It is potentially fatal within 24 hours and requires urgent medical attention.
    • Meningitis can vary in severity, appropriate treatment and care depending on the cause. Meningitis caused by bacteria requires immediate antibiotic treatment.
    • Vaccines offer the best protection against common types of bacterial meningitis.
    • Antibiotics for close contacts of those with meningococcal disease, when given promptly, decreases the risk of transmission.

Mains Daily Question
May 30, 2023

Discuss the challenges faced by Indian universities in ensuring quality education and the relevant measures taken by the government to address the issues ailing our higher education system.

Current Affairs
May 30, 2023

Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG)
A US Congressional Committee recently recommended strengthening Nato Plus by including India in the five-member grouping.
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About Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG):

  • CAG is the apex authority responsible for external and internal audits of the expenses of the National and state governments in the country.
  • The Constitution of India provides for an independent office of the CAG in Chapter V.
  • The CAG is mentioned in the Constitution of India under Article 148 – 151.
  • Constitutional Provisions:
    • Article 148broadly deals with the CAG appointment, oath and conditions of service.
    • Article 149deals with duties and powers of the CAG.
    • Article 150says that the accounts of the Union and of the States shall be kept in such form as the President may, on the advice of the CAG, prescribe.
    • Article 151says that the reports of the CAG relating to the accounts of the Union shall be submitted to the President, who shall cause them to be laid before each House of Parliament.
    • As per Article 279, Calculation of "net proceeds" is ascertained and certified by the CAG, whose certificate is final.
  • Appointment and Terms of Service:
    • As per Article 148 of the Constitution, there shall be a Comptroller and Auditor-General of India who shall be appointed by the President and can be removed from office only in the manner and on the grounds that a Judge of the Supreme Court is removed.
    • He holds office for a period of six years or upto the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • Functions of CAG:
    • CAG audits the accounts related to all expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India, Consolidated Fund of each state and UT’s having a legislative assembly.
    • He audits all expenditure from the Contingency Fund of India and the Public Account of India as well as the Contingency Fund and Public Account of each state.
    • He audits all trading, manufacturing, profit and loss accounts, balance sheets and other subsidiary accounts kept by any department of the Central Government and the state governments.
    • CAG audits the receipts and expenditure of all bodies and authorities substantially financed from the Central or State revenues; government companies; other corporations and bodies, when so required by related laws.
    • He audits the accounts of any other authority when requested by the President or Governor e.g. Local bodies.
    • He advises the President with regard to prescription of the form in which the accounts of the Centre and States shall be kept.
  • Reports by CAG: The CAG submits his audit reports relating to the accounts of the Centre to the President, who shall, in turn, place them before both the houses of Parliament. He submits 3 audit reports to the President-
    • Audit report on appropriation accounts;
    • Audit report on finance accounts;
    • Audit report on public undertakings;
  • He also submits his audit reports relating to the accounts of a State to the Governor, who shall, in turn, place them before the state legislature.
Polity & Governance

30 May 2023

India to train ASEAN women in United Nations Peacekeeping operations

Why in news?

  • On May 29, the Indian Army commemorated the 75th International Day of UN Peacekeepers.
  • On this day, India also announced that it will organize two initiatives later this year for women personnel from South East Asia as part of defence cooperation with ASEAN.
    • This announcement follows Indian Defence Minister’s suggestion last year to focus on "women in United Nations Peacekeeping (UNPK) operations" as an important initiative.

What’s in today’s article?

  • United Nations Peacekeeping (UNPK) operations
  • News Summary

UN Peacekeeping

  • The UN Charter gives the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • In fulfilling this responsibility, the Council can establish a UN peace operation.

Peacekeeping mandates

  • UN peace operations are deployed on the basis of mandates from the United Nations Security Council.
  • These mandates differ from situation to situation, depending on the nature of the conflict and the specific challenges it presents.
  • Depending on their mandate, peace operations may be required to:
    • Deploy to prevent the outbreak of conflict or the spill-over of conflict across borders;
    • Stabilize conflict situations after a ceasefire;
    • Assist in implementing comprehensive peace agreements;
    • Lead states or territories through a transition to stable government, based on democratic principles, good governance and economic development.


  • There are three basic principles that continue to set UN peacekeeping operations apart as a tool for maintaining international peace and security. These are:
    • Consent of the parties
      • In the absence of such consent, a peacekeeping operation risks becoming a party to the conflict; and being drawn towards enforcement action.
    • Impartiality
      • Peacekeepers should be impartial in their dealings with the parties to the conflict, but not neutral in the execution of their mandate.
    • Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate


  • Since 1948, the UN has helped end conflicts and foster reconciliation by conducting successful peacekeeping operations in dozens of countries, including Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mozambique, Namibia and Tajikistan.
  • UN peacekeeping has also made a real difference in other places with recently completed or on-going operations such as Sierra Leone, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Timor-Leste, Liberia, Haiti and Kosovo.
  • In other instances, however, UN peacekeeping have been challenged and found wanting, for instance in Somalia, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.
  • Overall, UN Peacekeeping Forces have an impressive record of peacekeeping achievements, including winning the Nobel Peace Prize (1988).

India’s contribution in peacekeeping missions

  • Current status
    • India is one of the largest troop contributing nation to UNPK.
    • Currently, India has around 5,900 troops deployed in 12 U.N. Missions.
    • India’s contribution to the peacekeeping budget stands at 0.16%.
  • Contribution so far
    • India has been actively participating in peacekeeping right from 1950 when it supplied medical personnel and troops to the UN Repatriation Commission in Korea.
    • India has contributed approximately 2,75,000 troops to peacekeeping missions so far and 159 Indian Army soldiers have lost their lives across the globe.
  • Joint training of U.N. peacekeepers from African countries
    • In 2016, India and the U.S. had begun an annual training programme for joint training of U.N. peacekeepers from African countries.
  • Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK)
    • Indian Army has established a CUNPK in New Delhi to impart training in peacekeeping operations and the Centre trains more than 12,000 troops every year.
  • Women deployment
    • India has deployed Female Engagement Teams in United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei.
      • This is the second largest women contingent after Liberia.
    • India has also deployed Women Military Police in United Nations Disengagement Observer Force and women staff officers and military observers in various missions.
  • Other contributions
    • In August 2021, India, in collaboration with the UN launched UNITE AWARE platform.
      • It is a technology platform to ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers.
    • India has also proposed a 10-point plan, including making those targeting UN peacekeepers more accountable.
    • It also suggested to build a memorial wall to honour peacekeepers.

News Summary

  • To further expand the India-ASEAN ties,the Raksha Mantri had announced initiatives for Women in UN Peace Keeping Operations.
    • These proposals were made at the inaugural India-ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting held in November 2022 at Siem Reap, Cambodia, to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of India-ASEAN relations.
  • As part of this announcement, India is set to conduct two initiatives for women personnel from South East Asia later this year.

Initiatives under the India-ASEAN Initiative for women in UNPK operations

  • Courses for women peacekeepers of ASEAN member-states
    • One of the initiatives includes conducting of tailor-made courses for women peacekeepers of ASEAN member-states at the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in India this September.
      • The Indian Army has established CUNPK (in 2000) in New Delhi to impart niche training in peacekeeping operations.
    • In all 20 peacekeepers, two from each country, would be trained.
  • Table Top Exercise for women officers from ASEAN
    • The other initiative is a ‘Table Top Exercise’ for women officers from ASEAN incorporating facets of UNPK challenges to be conducted in December.
Defence & Security

30 May 2023

What is a Foucault’s Pendulum?

Why in News?

  • A Foucault pendulum that rotates on its axis is suspended from the ceiling of the entrance hall of the Constitution Hall of India's new Parliament building, signifying the integration of the idea of India with the idea of the cosmos.
  • Created by the National Council of Science Museum (NCSM, Kolkata), the pendulum is being dubbed as the largest such piece (22 m in height, and 36 kg in weight ) in India.

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • What is a Foucault’s Pendulum?
  • Working of a Foucault’s Pendulum
  • Time to Change Orientation at Different Latitudes
  • News Summary Regarding Foucault’s Pendulum at new Parliament Building 

What is a Foucault’s Pendulum?

  • The original Foucault’s pendulum, named after 19th century French physicist Leon Foucault, is a simple experiment to demonstrate earth’s rotation.
  • When Foucault carried out this experiment for the public in 1851, it was the first direct visual evidence of the fact that the earth rotates on its axis.
  • The experimental set-up involves a heavy object hung from a height with a string, free to swing in any direction.
  • Once set in to-and-fro motion, the pendulum is seen to change its orientation slowly over time.
  • For example, if the initial motion imparted to it was in the north-south direction, after a few hours it could be seen moving in the east-west direction.

Working of a Foucault’s Pendulum:

  • According to Newton's First Law of motion, every object will remain in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force.
  • Thus, when a pendulum is set to swing it will continue to swing in the same direction unless it is pushed or pulled in some other direction.
  • The earth, on the other hand, will rotate once every 24 hours underneath the pendulum.
  • This means, if one stands to watch the pendulum, s/he would be likely to notice that the line of the pendulum's swing has changed to a different direction.
  • This is because observers too are rotating with the earth, but can notice the change in orientation of the pendulum.

Time to Change Orientation at Different Latitudes:

  • At the equator, the pendulum is perpendicular to the axis of rotation, and hence it never changes its orientation of the swing.
  • At other latitudes, it will, and would return to the original course after fixed time periods.
    • At the north and south poles, when the pendulum is aligned with the axis of rotation of the earth, the pendulum’s back-and-forth motion comes back to its original plane in exactly 24 hours.
    • At other latitudes (because the pendulum is not aligned to the axis of rotation of the earth), it takes longer for the pendulum to return to its original orientation of swinging.

News Summary Regarding Foucault’s Pendulum at new Parliament Building:

  • Pendulum at the new Parliament:
    • All the components of the pendulum have been completely made in India.
    • The piece, made using gunmetal, has been fixed with an electromagnetic coil to ensure hassle-free movement.
    • The suspension system is mounted on the ceiling. There is continuous power supply so there are no obstacles (to the pendulum’s movement).
    • At the latitude of the Parliament, it takes 49 hours, 59 minutes, and 18 seconds for the pendulum to complete one rotation.
  • Significance: It is a piece reflecting the spirit of Article 51A of the Indian Constitution, which enshrines every citizen “to develop the scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of inquiry and reform”.
  • The first such pendulum: It was installed in 1991 at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) in Pune.
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