Feb. 28, 2023

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 28, 2023

What is JO201?
The Hubble Space Telescope recently captured an image of JO201, a jellyfish galaxy in the Abell 85 galaxy cluster.

About JO201:

  • It is a jellyfish galaxy which lies in Abell 85 galaxy cluster.
  • It is at a distance of about 700 million lightyears, in the constellation of Cetus or the Whale.

What are jellyfish galaxies?

  • They are a type of galaxy that exhibit long “tentacles” or “tails” of gas, dust, and stars that appear to be streaming away from the galaxy’s main body.
  • These tentacles are formed as the galaxy moves rapidly through the hot gas of a galaxy cluster, causing the gas to strip away from the galaxy and form a tail. This process is called ram-pressure stripping.
  • The tendrils of jellyfish galaxies extend beyond the bright disc of the galaxy's core.

What are Galaxy clusters?

  • They are the largest objects in the universe that are held together by their own gravity.
  • They contain hundreds or thousands of galaxies, lots of hot plasma, and a large amount of invisible dark matter.
  • Galaxy clusters are home to the biggest galaxies in the known universe and provide us with information about the structure of the universe on the largest scales.
Science & Tech

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 28, 2023

What is Augmented Reality (AR)?
MIT researchers recently built an augmented reality headset called X-AR that lets users see hidden objects inside a box or under a pile.

About Augmented Reality (AR):

  • It is an enhanced version of the real physical world that is achieved through the use of digital visual elements, sound, or other sensory stimuli and delivered via technology.
  • It overlays digital content onto real-life environments and objects. 
  • AR works by superimposing digital information onto real-world objects to create a 3D experience that allows users to interact with both the physical and digital worlds. 
  • It incorporates three features: a combination of digital and physical worlds, interactions made in real time, and accurate 3D identification of virtual and real objects.
  • Unlike Virtual Reality (VR), which creates its own cyber environment, AR adds to the existing world as it is.

What is Virtual Reality (VR)?

  • It is a simulated 3D environment that enables users to explore and interact with a virtual surrounding in a way that approximates reality as it is perceived through the users' senses. 
  • The environment is created with computer hardware and software, and the users need to wear devices such as helmets or goggles (Virtual Reality headsets or helmets) to interact with the environment. 
Science & Tech

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 28, 2023

Who is Veer Savarkar?
Home Minister recently paid his tributes to Veer Savarkar on his death anniversary.

About Veer Savarkar:

  • He was born in 1883 near Nasik in Maharashtra.
  • He was the first to acknowledge the mutiny of 1857 as the first struggle for Independence and wrote the book 'The History of the War of Indian Independence'.
  • He was a passionate promoter of Hindutva since childhood.
  • He was sentenced to 50 years in the cellular jail of Andamans, also known as Kala Pani, for revolting against the Morley-Minto reforms (Indian Councils Act 1909) in 1911.
  • After his release from jail, he worked on the abolishment of untouchability in Ratnagiri.
  • Serving as the president of the Hindu Mahasabha political party, he opposed the Quit India movement in 1942.
  • He founded the organizations Abhinav Bharat Society and Free India Society.
  • He was a critic of the Indian National Congress and its acceptance of India's partition.
  • He was also a critic of Mahatma Gandhi and called him a 'hypocrite'. In 1948, he was charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 28, 2023

Bodoland International Knowledge Festival
The first Bodoland International Knowledge Festival recently began in Assam’s Kokrajhar district.

About Bodoland International Knowledge Festival:

  • The festival is being hosted by Bodoland University with support from the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) government.
  • It seeks to provide a platform for thought leaders, educators, Research scholars, researchers, and practitioners to engage with constituents of Higher Education Institutions in BTR through participation.
  • Goal: To create, foster and promote knowledge exchange, solution sharing, and partnership building for the achievement of social development priorities and key Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 in contemporary BTR and the world.
  • It aims to draw the best practices from across the world to enhance scientific temperament for the creation of “Peaceful, Green and Smart Bodoland” in light of the Bodo Peace Accord 2020.

Bodo Peace Accord 2020:

  • It is a tripartite accord signed in 2020 by representatives of Bodo organizations with the Central and Assam governments.
  • The Bodo parties to the agreement include the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), the United Bodo People’s Organisation (UBPO), and all four factions of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB).
  • It presents a new model of power-sharing and governance in Assam under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
  • Features:
  • Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) which comprises four districts -Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri will be renamed the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR).
  • The number of seats in the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) will be increased from 40 to 60 without adversely affecting the existing percentage of reservation for tribals”.
  • It promises more legislative, executive, and financial powers to the BTC in respect of 40 subjects already transferred to it and eight additional subjects.
  • The Assam government will set up a Bodo-Kachari Autonomous Council, which will be a satellite council for the focused development of Bodo villages outside the BTR.
  • The Indian government will expedite the process of granting Hills tribe status to Bodos living in Hills areas.
  • It also promises Scheduled Tribe status to Bodos living in the hill districts of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao
  • The Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police will be appointed in consultation with the BTC authority.
Polity & Governance

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 28, 2023

Exercise Cobra Warrior
India recently dispatched Mirage-2000 fighters and other aircraft to participate in the 'Cobra Warrior' exercise in the United Kingdom.

About Exercise Cobra Warrior:

  • It is a multilateral exercise in which Air Forces from Finland, Sweden, South Africa, USA, and Singapore would also participate alongside UK’s Royal Air Force and Indian Air Force.
  • The aim of the exercise is to participate in diverse fighter aircraft engagements and learn from the best practices of various Air Forces.
  • IAF is participating in the exercise with five Mirage 2000 fighters, two C-17 Globemaster, and an IL-78 mid-air refueller aircraft.

Other Exercises between India and the United Kingdom:

  • Konkan Shakti-Tri services exercise
  • Ajeya warrior-Army exercise
Defence & Security

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 28, 2023

What is the Hayabusa 2 Mission?
Scientists at the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) recently discovered life-forming molecules from studying samples returned by Hayabusa 2 explorer.

About Hayabusa 2 Mission:

  • It is a Japanese spacecraft that studied the asteroid Ryugu, collected samples, and brought them to Earth for analysis.
  • It was the first to deploy rovers to operate on an asteroid.
  • Mission Objectives:
  • To clarify the origin and evolution of the Solar System, including the beginnings of life.
  • To establish deep space exploration technology by taking on new challenges.
  • It was launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in December 2014.
  • It arrived at asteroid Ryugu on June 2018, collected samples from the asteroid during two touchdowns in 2019, and delivered the sample capsule back to the Earth on December 2020.
  • After delivering the capsule, the spacecraft continued on to a new mission. This new phase is referred to as the “Extended Mission”, with a new target destination of the small asteroid, 1998 KY26.
  • Hayabusa2 is a follow-up to Japan’s original Hayabusa mission, which was the first spacecraft to take samples from an asteroid, and was also the first mission to successfully land and take off from an asteroid. It returned samples from asteroid 25143 Itokawa to Earth on June 13, 2010.
Science & Tech

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 28, 2023

What is Hindustan 228-201 LW?
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) recently approved a new variant of the Hindustan 228-201 LW aircraft developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

About Hindustan 228-201 LW:

  • It is a passenger aircraft developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
  • It has a maximum take-off weight of 5695kgs with 19 passenger seating capacity.
  • The aircraft would fall in the Sub-5700 kg aircraft category.
  • Benefits:
  • It has reduced pilot qualification requirements enabling pilots with a commercial pilot license to fly the aircraft.
  • Enhanced availability of a pilot pool for the aircraft.
  • Reduced operational cost.
  • Reduced training requirements for flying and ground crew, including aircraft maintenance engineers.

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 28, 2023

Tomahawk missile
Japanese Prime Minister recently said that Japan will purchase 400 Tomahawk missiles from the United States.

About Tomahawk missile:

  • It is an American-made long-range cruise missile used for deep land attack warfare.
  • It can be launched from a ship or submarine and can deliver its warhead precisely to a target at a long range.
  • They are designed to fly at extremely low altitudes at high subsonic speeds.
  • It has an accuracy of about 5 meters (16 feet).
  • The 6-meter (18.4-foot-) long missile has a range of up to 2,400 km (1,500 miles) and can travel as fast as 885 km (550 miles) per hour.
  • The missile is powered by a solid propellant during its launch phase. Thereafter it is powered by a turbofan enginethat does not emit much heat, which makes infrared detection difficult.
  • It is capable of twisting and turning like a radar-evading fighter plane.
  • There are several variants of the Tomahawk missile, each with specialized capabilities.
Defence & Security

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 28, 2023

What is Raisina Dialogue?
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) recently announced that Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni would be the chief guest and keynote speaker at the 8th Raisina Dialogue.

About Raisina Dialogue:

  • It is India’s premier conference on geopolitics and geoeconomics, committed to addressing the most challenging issues facing the global community. 
  • It is held annually since 2016 in New Delhi.
  • The Dialogue is structured as a multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral discussion involving heads of state, cabinet ministers, and local government officials, who are joined by thought leaders from the private sector, media, and academia.
  • It is organized by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

About Observer Research Foundation (ORF):

  • Established in 1990, the ORF is an independent, nonpartisan think tank that conducts policy research on good governance, foreign policy, and sustainable economic development for India.
  • ORF’s work spans a wide range of topics, including climate, energy, cyber issues and media, economic development, and national security.
  • It provides non-partisan, independent, well-researched analyses and inputs to diverse decision-makers in governments, business communities, academia, and to civil society around the world.
  • Mandate: It seeks to lead and aid policy thinking towards building a strong and prosperous India in a fair and equitable world.
Polity & Governance

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 28, 2023

What are Radio Galaxies?
A team of astronomers from the National Centre of Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) Pune; Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) Ahmedabad; and the University of Oxford recently discovered several ‘elusive dying radio galaxies’.

About Radio Galaxies:

  • Radio Galaxies, also known as radio-luminous galaxies or radio-loud galaxies, are a particular type of active galaxy that emits more light at radio wavelengths than at visible wavelengths.
  • These happen through the interaction between charged particles and strong magnetic fields related to supermassive black holes at the galaxies’ center.
  • Radio galaxies are driven by non-thermal emissions.
  • They are much bigger than most of the other galaxies in the universe. 
  • There are two broad classes of radio galaxies:
  • Core-halo radio galaxies:
  • They exhibit radio emission from a region concentrated around the nucleus of the galaxy.
  • The region of radio emission is comparable in size to the optically visible galaxy.
  • Lobed radio galaxies:
  • They display great lobes of radio emission extending, in some cases, for millions of light years beyond the optical part of the galaxy.
  • Some radio galaxies have a single lobe, but more often, the lobes are double, arrayed on both sides of the optical galaxy.
Science & Tech

Feb. 27, 2023

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 27, 2023

What is Attukal Ponkala?
All arrangements are in place for the Attaukal Ponkala festival, considered one of the world's largest religious gathering of women.

About Attukal Ponkala:

  • It is a 10-day long festival celebrated annually at Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Trivandrum, Kerala.
  • This festival is dedicated to Attukal Bhagavathy, also known as Goddess Kannaki or Bhadrakali.
  • It is celebrated every year and falls in the month of February or March.
  • Pongala, which means 'to boil over’, is the ritual in which women prepare sweet payasam (a pudding made from rice, jaggery, coconut and plantains cooked together) and offer it to the Goddess or ‘Bhagavathy’. This ritual is performed on the 9th day.
  • It is one of the largest congregation of women for a festival in the world.
  • During the 10-days festivities, a sacrificial offering known as Kuruthitharpanam is also included in the religious event.
History & Culture

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 27, 2023

What is the Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP) Scheme?
The Haryana government’s Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP) and IT-based welfare schemes will be displayed at the first Anti-Corruption Working Group meeting under the G20 Summit in Gurugram.

About Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP) Scheme:

  • It was launched by the Haryana Government in 2015.
  • The primary objective of PPP is to create authentic, verified, and reliable data of all families in Haryana.
  • PPP identifies each and every family in Haryana and keeps the basic data of the family, provided with the consent of the family, in a digital format.
  • Under the scheme, a unique identity card — called Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP) is launched — through which the state government aims to monitor all the families living across the state.
  • Under PPP, each family is considered a single unit.
  • Each family will be provided an eight-digit Family Id. 
  • The Family ID will be linked to the Birth, Death, and Marriage records to ensure automatic updating of the family data as and when such life events happen.
  • A family has to register itself on the PPP portal to avail the benefits of social-security schemes of the state government.
  • Benefits:
    • PPP scheme makes citizens able to take benefits of government schemes and services by sitting at home through online medium.
    • It also brings transparency to the system and eliminates middlemen so as to stop ineligible people from taking advantage of any scheme.

Government Schemes and Initiatives

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 27, 2023

What are Seagrasses?
A recent study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Madras and Presidency College revealed that a species of marine seagrass found in the Mandapam region near Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu has the potential to be used in chemotherapy treatment for liver cancer.

About Seagrasses:

  • Seagrasses are flowering plants that grow submerged in shallow marine waters like bays and lagoons.
  • They are so-named because most species have long green, grass-like leaves.
  • Seagrasses have roots, stems, and leaves and produce flowers and seeds.
  • Like terrestrial plants, seagrass also photosynthesizes and manufactures their own food and releases oxygen.
  • They evolved around 100 million years ago, and there are approximately 72 different seagrass species that belong to four major groups.
  • Some of the important seagrasses are Sea Cow Grass (Cymodocea serrulata), Thready Seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata), Needle Seagrass (Syringodium isoetifolium), Flat-tipped Seagrass (Halodule uninervis), Spoon Seagrass (Halophila ovalis) and Ribbon Grass (Enhalus acoroides). 
  • Distribution:
    • They are found on all continents except Antarctica.
    • The tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific hold the highest diversity of seagrasses in the world.
  • Seagrass distribution in India:
    • They occur all along the coastal areas of India.
    • They are abundant in the Palk Strait and Gulf of Mannarin Tamil Nadu.
  • Ecosystem services:
    • They are considered to be ‘Ecosystem Engineers’.
    • Seagrasses help maintain water quality. They trap fine sediments and suspended particles in the water column and increase water clarity.
    • They filter nutrients released from land-based industries before they reach sensitive habitats like coral reefs.
    • The extensive vertical and horizontal root systems of seagrasses stabilise the sea bottom.
    • They are one of the most productive ecosystems in the world.
Environment & Ecology

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 27, 2023

National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
According to National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), India has recorded 30 tiger deaths within 2 months into 2023.

About National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA):

  • It is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • It was established in 2006 under Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.
  • Objectives:
    • Providing statutory authority to Project Tiger so that compliance of its directives become legal.
    • Fostering accountability of Center-State in management of Tiger Reserves by providing a basis for MoU with States within the federal structure.
    • Providing for an oversight by Parliament.
    • Addressing livelihood interests of local people in areas surrounding Tiger Reserves.
  • NTCA Members:
    • Minister in charge of MoEFCC (as Chairperson),
    • Minister of State in MoEFCC (as Vice-Chairperson),
    • three members of Parliament, the Secretary (MoEFCC), and other members.


What is ‘Project Tiger’?

  • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) of the MoEFCC.
  • It was launched on 1st April 1973.
  • It provides funding support to tiger range States for the in-situ conservation of tigers in designated tiger reserves.
  • Project Tiger has been the largest species conservation initiative of its kind in the world.
  • National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is the immediate supervising agency.
Environment & Ecology

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 27, 2023

What is the Pink Bollworm?
The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) recently approved confined field trials for Pink Bollworm-resistant GM cotton in Hisar, Haryana

About Pink Bollworm:

  • It is one of the most destructive pests of cotton.
  • Scientific name: Pectinophora gossypiella
  • Distribution: Originally native to India, it is now recorded in nearly all the cotton-growing countries of the world.
  • Description:
    • The adults are small moths about 3/8 inch long and are dark brown with markings on the fore wing.
    • The larval stage is the destructive and identifiable stage.
    • The larvae have distinctive pink bands and can reach a length of ½ inches right before they pupate.
  • Ecological Threat:
    • Pink bollworms are major pests of cotton
    • Adults only last for 2 weeks, but females will lay 200 or more eggs.
    • Adults lay eggs on cotton bolls; once hatched, the larvae eat the seeds and damage the fibers of the cotton, reducing the yield and quality
    • When the larvae mature, they cut out the boll and drop to the ground and cocoon near the soil surface. 
    • It has also been observed to attack hibiscus, okra, and hollyhock plants.
Environment & Ecology

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 27, 2023

Bisphenol A
A recent study conducted in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, suggests Bisphenol A can indirectly aid in the spread of vector-borne diseases in humans and animals.

Why in news?

  • The research establishes that the human-made chemical Bisphenol A can significantly shorten the breeding time of southern house mosquitoes (Culex quinquefasciatus).
  • This mosquito is a major carrier of the West Nile virus, Rift Valley fever virus and avian pox in tropical and subtropical countries, and thereby aids in its quick multiplication.

What is Bisphenol A?

  • Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that is mainly used in combination with other chemicals to manufacture plastics and resins.
  • It is produced by the condensation of phenol and acetone.
  • This type of plastic is used to make some types of beverage containers, compact disks, plastic dinnerware, impact-resistant safety equipment, automobile parts, and toys.
  • Generally, BPA acts on the hormonal level by distorting hormonal balance and inducing estrogenic effects through binding with estrogen-related receptors (ERR).
Science & Tech

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 27, 2023

Malabar Tree toad
Malabar tree toad found in Mollem National Park which is threatened by three infrastructure project finds mentioned in the updated ‘Checklist of Indian Amphibians (2023)’ released by the Zoological Survey of India.

About Malabar tree toad:

  • The Malabar tree toad is a small species found in the forest along the Western Ghats in wet tree hollows or leaf bases containing water.
  • This toad species is found mainly during the monsoon season and then it disappears.
  • It is believed to be the only toad to dwell on high canopies.
  • Its population is shrinking mainly due to habitat loss, climate change and Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a deadly fungus that has been decimating entire amphibian populations worldwide.
  • Conservation status
    • IUCN: Endangered

Key facts about the Mollem National Park

  • It is located in Sanguem taluk in Goa close to the border with Karnataka.
  • This park also has several temples dating back to the Kadamba Dynasty.
  • The park was earlier known as Mollem game sanctuary.
  • It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and renamed Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary.
  • Since then, the national park is called Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park.
  • Fauna: King Cobra, Hump-nosed pit viper, Indian rock python and Malabar pit viper are found in the park.
Environment & Ecology

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 27, 2023

Banjara Community
Recently, the Union government of India kicked-off year-long celebrations to mark the 284th birth anniversary of Santh Sevalal Maharaj, a spiritual and religious leader of the Banjara community.

About Banjara Community:

  • Banjara is made of various groups found throughout India and most of them are found in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka states in South India.
  • This community settled across the country with different names, have permanently abandoned their nomadic lifestyle and settled in their settlements called Tandas.
  • They speak Gor Boli also called Lambadi which belongs to the Indo-Aryan Group of Languages. Lambadi has no script.
  • Banjara people celebrate the festival of Teej during Shravanam (in the month of august). In this festival young unmarried Banjara girls pray for a good groom.
  • Fire dance and Chari are the traditional dance forms of the banjara people.

Who is Santh Sevalal Maharaj?

  • He is considered a social reformer and spiritual teacher of the Banjara community.
  • He travelled across the country with his Ladeniya Troup to serve especially the forest dwellers and nomadic tribes.
  • Due to his extraordinary knowledge, excellent skills and spiritual background in Ayurveda and Naturopathy, he was able to dispel and eradicate myths and superstitions prevalent in the tribal communities.
Polity & Governance

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 27, 2023

Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) Telescope
The Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA), a radio telescope comprising 66 antennas is set to get software and hardware upgrades.

About Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) Telescope:

  • It is a state-of-the-art telescope that studies celestial objects at millimetre and submillimetre wavelengths.
  • They can penetrate through dust clouds and help astronomers examine dim and distant galaxies and stars out there.
  • It also has extraordinary sensitivity, which allows it to detect even extremely faint radio signals.
  • The telescope consists of 66 high-precision antennas, spread over a distance of up to 16 km.
  • It is operated under a partnership between the United States, and 16 countries in Europe, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Chile.
  • The radio telescope was designed, planned and constructed by the US’s National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

What are some of the notable discoveries made by ALMA?

  • It had observed the detailed images of the protoplanetary disc surrounding HL Tauri which is a very young T Tauri star in the constellation Taurus, approximately 450 light years from Earth.
  • It helped scientists observe a phenomenon known as the Einstein ring, which occurs when light from a galaxy or star passes by a massive object en route to the Earth, in extraordinary detail.
Science & Tech

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 27, 2023

Karakattam Dance
Recently, the Prime Minister of India congratulated Karakattam dancer and recent Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar awardee V Durga Devi.

About Karakattam Dance:

  • Karakattam is a form of folk dance performed at festivals, conferences, road shows, and primarily at Mariamman festivals.
  • It is one of the many creative traditions that owe their existence to Mariamman, the rain goddess. 
  • While the dance form is not dying, it has undergone radical change and adaptation in recent years.
  • Karakattam and agriculture have a link. It is because the Mariamman pooja is held in the month of Medam after Makarakkoythu (harvest season) in Kerala.
  • Karakattam is mostly famous in Tamil Nadu, it’s performed in different parts of Kerala as well. 

What are the characteristics of Karakattam?

  • Karakattam performances are characterised by a lot of swaying movements and joyous banter. 
  • It requires a lot of practice and dedication. Three tiers of flower arrangements of different colours sit on top of a container filled to the brim with either water, rice, or soil.  
  • All of this is balanced on the head of a Karakattam dancer while he or she dances.” 
  • Other highlights include blowing fire, inserting needles into eyes, and keeping balance while holding a bottle parallel to the ground on the performer’s back. 
History & Culture

Feb. 26, 2023

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 26, 2023

Exercise Desert Flag VIII
Indian Air Force is participating in Exercise Desert Flag VIII 110 which is hosted by the United Arab Emirates.

About Exercise Desert Flag VIII:

  • It is an annual multinational large-force employment warfare exercise hosted by the UAE Air Force.
  • The IAF would be participating with five Light Combat Aircraft, LCA Tejas and two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.
  • Participants: Air Forces from UAE, France, Kuwait, Australia, the UK, Bahrain, Morocco, Spain, the Republic of Korea, and the USA would also be participating.
  • The exercise is scheduled from the 27th of February to the 17th of March.

India’s Joint Military Exercises with the UAE:

  • With the UAE, India has In-UAE BILAT (bilateral naval exercise) as well as Desert Eagle-II (bilateral air force exercise).
Defence & Security

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 26, 2023

Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA)
IREDA is planning to establish an office in Gujarat's GIFT City to finance Renewable Energy projects in foreign currency.

About Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA):

  • Nodal Ministry: The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
  • It was set up as a specialized non-banking finance agency for the renewable energy sector.
  • IREDA plays a key role in renewable energy project financing which gives confidence to the financial institutions/banks to lend in the sector.

Key facts about the GIFT City

  • The Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) is India’s first and only International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) where banks, stock exchanges and financial services firms have set up their global operations.
  • It consists of a multi-service Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which houses India’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) and an exclusive Domestic Tariff Area (DTA).

What is IFSCA?

  • It is a statutory authority established under the International Financial Services Centres Authority Act, 2019.
  • Mandate: To develop and regulate the financial products, financial services, and financial institutions in the International Financial Services Centres (‘IFSC’).
  • Before the establishment of IFSCA, the domestic financial regulators, namely, RBI, SEBI, PFRDA and IRDAI regulated the business in IFSC.
  • GIFT-IFSC is the maiden IFSC in India.
  • The International Financial Services Centres Authority consists of nine members, appointed by the central government.
  • Term: All members of the IFSC Authority will have a term of three years, subject to reappointment
Polity & Governance

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 26, 2023

What is Mad Cow disease?
Brazil has halted its beef exports to China after a case of mad cow disease was confirmed in the northern state of Para.

About Mad Cow disease:

  • It is also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
  • It is a transmissible, slowly progressive, degenerative, and fatal disease which affects the central nervous system of adult cattle.
  • Causes: It is caused by a protein called a prion, which is normally found on cell surfaces, called a prion, 
  • When this protein gets altered, it destroys the nervous system tissue- the brain and spinal cord.
  • Transmission: A cow gets BSE by eating feed contaminated with parts that came from another cow that was sick with BSE.
  • Symptoms:
  • A common sign of BSE in cows is incoordination. A sick cow has trouble walking and getting up.
  • It usually takes four to six years from the time a cow is infected with the abnormal prion to when it first shows symptoms of BSE.
  • There are no vaccines available for this disease.

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 26, 2023

Unying Festival
Recently, the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush attended the colourful Siang Unying Festival in Arunachal Pradesh.

About Unying Festival:

  • The festival of Unying is celebrated to herald the season of cultivation, the beginning of the Adi community’s New Year, arrival of spring seasons as well as a great way to strengthen the bond among the community.

Key facts about the Adi community

  • They are believed to have come from southern china in the 16th century.
  • The Adi constitute a major group and inhabit the lower part of the Lower Dibang Valley district, especially the Roing and Dambuk areas of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • They are experts in making cane and bamboo items.
  • The Adis are basically dependent on agriculture. Both wet rice cultivation and shifting cultivation are practised.
  • Solung (a harvesting festival where animal sacrifices and rituals are performed) and Aran ( a hunting festival where all the male members of the family go hunting) are two major festivals of the Adi tribes.
History & Culture

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 26, 2023

Himalayan Griffon
Recently, the Himalayan Griffon was sighted in the Patrampur and Bail Parao ranges of the Terai forest range after nearly 15 years.

About Himalayan Griffon:

  • It is an Old World vulture in the family Accipitridae. It is one of the two largest Old World vultures and true raptors.
  • Distribution:This species is found along the Himalayas and the adjoining Tibetan
  • Threat: Himalayan vultures are also susceptible to toxicity induced by diclofenac, a drug whose residues are in domestic animal carcasses.
  • But their population have however not shown signs of rapid decline as witnessed in populations of other Gyps vultures across Asia.
  • Conservation status
  • IUCN: Near Threatened

Other Vulture species found in India

  • India is home to 9 species of Vulture namely the Oriental white-backed, Long-billed, Slender-billed, Himalayan, Red-headed, Egyptian, Bearded, Cinereous and Eurasian Griffon.

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 26, 2023

What are Meghalaya stoles and Nagaland shawls?
Prime Minister recently gifted Meghalaya Stole and Nagaland Shawl to the German Chancellor, who is on a two-day visit to India.

About Meghalaya stoles:

  • Meghalaya stoles were originally woven for the Khasi and Jaintia royalty, who considered them a symbol of their power and status.
  • The stoles were worn during ceremonial occasions and festivals.
  • They are made using locally sourced wool, and natural dyes.
  • These stoles are famous for their warmth and softness.
  • The designs used in the stoles reflected the royal family's beliefs, myths, and legends, and were a testament to their cultural heritage.
  • They were used as a form of diplomatic gift-giving. The Khasi and Jaintia kings would often present these stoles to other rulers as a symbol of goodwill and respect.

About Nagaland shawls:

  • These shawls are known for their vibrant colors, intricate designs, and the use of traditional weaving techniques, which have been passed down from generation to generation.
  • One of the most striking features of the Naga shawl is the use of geometric and symbolic designs. 
  • The designs are inspired by the tribe's myths, legends, and beliefs, with designs having specific meanings and significance.
  • The Naga shawl is made from locally sourced materials such as cotton, silk, and wool
  • The colors used in these shawls are symbolic. E.g., Red color symbolizes courage, while black represents mourning.
  • The colors use natural dyes made from plants and roots.
  • The shawls are often worn during festivals, ceremonies, and other special occasions as symbols of rank and lineage. They are also used as blankets, seat coverings, and even as bags.
  • The shawls are known for their durability and can last for several generations.
History & Culture

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 26, 2023

Financial Stability Board (FSB)
India recently asked the IMF and Financial Stability Board (FSB) to jointly prepare a technical paper on crypto assets.

About Financial Stability Board (FSB):

  • FSB is an international body that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system.
  • It was established in April 2009 after the G20 Summit in London as the successor to the Financial Stability Forum.
  • Mandate:
  • To coordinate at the international level the work of national financial authorities and international standard-setting bodies and to develop and promote the implementation of effective regulatory, supervisory, and other financial sector policies.
  • The FSB, working through its members, seeks to strengthen financial systems and increase the stability of international financial markets
  • Headquarters: Basel, Switzerland.
  • The board includes all G20 major economies.
  • The FSB consists of 68 member institutions. It comprises several central banks, ministries of finance, and supervisory and regulatory authorities from 25 jurisdictions, as well as 10 international organizations and six Regional Consultative Groups (RCGs).
  • Framework:
  • The Plenary, which serves as the sole decision-making body.
  • The Steering Committee, which takes forward operational work in between Plenary meetings.
  • Three Standing Committees, each with specific but complementary responsibilities.
  • The FSB’s decisions are not legally binding on its members.
  • India and FSB: India is an active Member of the FSB, having three seats in its Plenary represented by Secretary (Dept of Economic Affairs), Deputy Governor-RBI, and Chairman-SEBI.

About International Monetary Fund (IMF):

  • It is a United Nations (UN) specialized agency founded at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944.
  • Objective: To secure international monetary cooperation, to stabilize currency exchange rates, and to expand international liquidity (access to hard currencies).
  • Headquarters: Washington D.C, USA.
  • Currently, it has 190 member countries.
  • The IMF's resources mainly come from the money that countries pay as their capital subscription (quotas) when they become members. 
  • Each member of the IMF is assigned a quota based broadly on its relative position in the world economy.
  • Functions:
  • The IMF provides loans—including emergency loans—to member countries experiencing actual or potential balance of payments problems.
  • It provides technical assistance and training to governments, including central banks, finance ministries, revenue administrations, and financial sector supervisory agencies.

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 26, 2023

What is the Earth’s innermost inner core?
Seismologists at The Australian National University(ANU) recently documented the evidence of a distinct fifth layer of earth at the centremost part of Earth— the “innermost inner core”.

About Earth’s innermost inner core (IMIC):

  • It is a 400-mile-wide (644-kilometer-wide) ball of metal.
  • IMIC exists in a solid state as an alloy of iron and nickel because of the extreme pressure at the center of the Earth.
  • Its temperature is estimated to be about 5,500-6,000 degrees (Celsius/9,930-10,830 Fahrenheit), similar to the sun's surface temperature.
  • It has a distinct anisotropy, which is a property of a substance that allows it to take on different characteristics depending on the angle from which it’s approached.
  • The concept of the innermost part of the inner core was first proposed in 2002 by seismologists from Harvard University— Miaki Ishii and Adam Dziewonski.

About the Inner core of the Earth:

  • It is a solid metallic ball made mainly of iron.
  • The inner core is solid due to the pressurecaused by the weight put on it by the Earth’s other top layers.
  • It is distinct from the outer core, which is a liquid.
  • Radius:
  • The inner core has an average radius of 1220 km.
  • The boundary between the inner and outer core is located at approximately 5150 km below the surface of the Earth.
  • This boundary is called the Lehman Seismic Discontinuity.
  • Temperature: Inner core temperatures reach extraordinary levels, estimated to be between 7,200–8,500ºF (4,000–4,700ºC).
  • Properties:
  • It is predicted to have very high thermal and electrical conductivity.
  • The inner core generates its own magnetic field and spins a bit faster than the rest of the planet.

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 26, 2023

What are Perovskites?
Scientists have recently created a new process to fabricate large perovskite devices that could create the next generation of solar cells.

About Perovskites:

  • What is it? A perovskite is a material that has the same crystal structure as the mineral calcium titanium oxide (CaTiO3), the first-discovered perovskite crystal.
  • The mineral was discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia by Gustav Rose in 1839 and is named after Russian mineralogist Lev Perovski.
  • Generally, perovskite compounds have a chemical formula ABX3, where ‘A’ and ‘B’ represent cations, and X is an anion that bonds to both.
  • A large number of different elements can be combined together to form perovskite
  • Due to its compositional flexibility, scientists can design perovskite crystals to have a wide variety of physical, optical, and electrical characteristics from insulating, semiconducting, metallic, and superconducting characteristics.
  • Applications:
  • They have applications in various fields of optoelectronics, including photovoltaic solar cells, photodetectors, light-emitting devices, etc.
  • Solar cells are currently the most prominent perovskite application, as synthetic perovskites are recognized as potential inexpensive base materials for high-efficiency commercial photovoltaics.

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 26, 2023

What is the “Chip 4” alliance?
The “Chip 4” semiconductor alliance recently held its first meeting of senior officials.

About “Chip 4” alliance :

  • The “Chip 4” or “Fab 4” alliance includes four of the world’s top producers of semiconductors: the U.S., Japan, Taiwan, and Korea.
  • It represents more than 70 percent of the value of the global semiconductor industry.
  • It was first proposed by the US in March 2022 as part of wider plans aimed at enhancing the "security" and "resilience" of semiconductor supply chains, including by reducing the world's reliance on chips made in China.
  • It is intended to cooperate on policy implementation that would support sustainable semiconductor manufacturing in the member states’ home countries.
  • Goals:
  • Support industry efforts to diversify their manufacturing base in semiconductor production.
  • Protect the Intellectual Property (IP) of companies in member countries.
  • Develop policies regarding the export of the most advanced semiconductors and equipment.

What is a Semiconductor?

  • Semiconductors are materials that have a conductivity between conductors (generally metals) and nonconductors or insulators (such as most ceramics).
  • They can be pure elements, such as silicon or germanium, or compounds like gallium arsenide or cadmium selenide.
  • Due to their specific electrical properties, semiconductors serve as a foundation for computers and other electronic devices.
  • Semiconductors are used in many electrical circuits because of the ability to control the flow of electrons in this material, for example, with a controlling current.



Feb. 25, 2023

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 25, 2023

What is the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)?
Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recently suspended Russia’s membership.

About Financial Action Task Force (FATF):

  • FATF is an inter-governmental policy-making and standard-setting body dedicated to combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • Objective: To establish international standards, and to develop and promote policies, both at national and international levels, to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
  • It was established in 1989 during the G7 Summit in Paris to develop policies against money laundering.
  • In 2001 its mandate expanded to include terrorism financing.
  • Headquarters: Paris, France.
  • FATF members include 39 countries, including the United States, India, China, Saudi Arabia, Britain, Germany, France, and the EU as such.
  • India became a member of FATF in 2010.
  • What are FATF 'grey list' and 'blacklist'? FATF has 2 types of lists:
  • Black List:Countries knowns as Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) are put on the blacklist. These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities. The FATF revises the blacklist regularly, adding or deleting entries.
  • Grey ListCountries that are considered a safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put on the FATF grey list. This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.
  • Three countries North Korea, Iran, and Myanmar are currently in FATF’s blacklist.
  • Consequences of being on the FATF blacklist:
  • No financial aid is given to them by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Union (EU).
  • They also face a number of international economic and financial restrictions and sanctions.

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 25, 2023

International Intellectual Property (IP) Index 2023
India ranks 42nd among 55 leading global economies on the recently released International IP Index.

About International IP Index:

  • It is released annually by the US Chamber of Commerce.
  • The index evaluates IP rights in 55 global economies across 50 unique indicators.
  • The indicators include patent and copyright policies to commercialization of IP assets, and ratification of international treaties.
  • The index aims to help nations navigate toward a brighter economic future marked by greater innovation, creativity, and competitiveness.
  • International IPIndex 2023: The United States is ranked first, followed by the UK and France. India is ranked 42nd in the index.

What is Intellectual Property?

  • It refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names, and images used in commerce.
  • Intellectual property rights (IPR) refers to the legal rights given to the inventor or creator to protect his invention or creation for a certain period of time.
  • There are several types of intellectual property protection like patent, copyright, trademark, etc.

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 25, 2023

What is Switchblade 600?
The US Government recently announced a new package of long-term security assistance for Ukraine with a $2 billion commitment to send more rounds of ammunition and a variety of small, high-tech drones, including the upgraded Switchblade 600 Kamikaze drones.

About Switchblade 600 kamikaze  drone:

  • The Switchblade 600 kamikaze drone is a man-portable tube-launched loitering munition developed and designed by the US company AeroVironment.
  • It is an upgraded version of Switchblade 300 fitted with an ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile), designed to neutralize tanks and heavy armored vehicles.
  • It aims to provide precision optics for destroying targets in a direct downward strike.
  • Features:
  • It can fly, track and engage non-line-of-sight targets and armored vehicles with precision lethal effects without the need for external ISR(Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance)  or fire assets.
  • It has a range of over 40km and has more than 40 minutes of flight endurance.
  • It is powered by an electric battery and propeller
  • It is equipped with high-resolution EO/IR sensors and advanced precision flight control, which are used for navigation, surveillance, and targeting.

What are Kamikaze drones?

  • Kamikaze drones are crewless aerial vehicles loaded with explosives that can fly directly to tanks or units and explode on collision.
  • They are known as a “loitering munition” because they are capable of circling for some time in an area identified as a potential target and only striking once an enemy asset is identified.
  • They are small, portable and can be quickly launched.
  • They are designed to crash into a target and explode, detonating their warhead and destroying the drones in the process. 
  • Their main advantage is that they are hard to detect and can be fired from a distance.
Defence & Security

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 25, 2023

INS Sindhukesari
INS Sindhukesari has become the first Indian submarine to dock in Indonesia.

About INS Sindhukesari :

  • It is a 3,000-tonne Kilo-class diesel-electric submarine.
  • It was designed as part of Project 877 and built under a contract betweenRosvooruzhenie, Russia, and the Ministry of Defence (India).
  • Features:
  • It has a displacement of 3,000 tons.
  • It has a maximum diving depth of 300 meters, a speed of up to 18 knots, and can operate solo for 45 days with a crew of 53.

What are Kilo-class submarines?

  • The Kilo Class is the NATO designation for a naval diesel-electric submarine made in Russia.
  • The original version of the vessels were designated Project 877 Paltus (Halibut) in Russia.
  • They are mainly intended for anti-shipping and anti-submarine operations in relatively shallow waters.
  • The first Kilo Class submarine entered service in the Soviet Navy in 1980, and the vessel continues to be in service in the Russian Navy. 
  • These submarines are 70-74 meters long. It can travel at a maximum speed of 10-12 knots when surfaced and 17-25 knots when underwater.
  • These vessels can carry up to eight surface-to-air missiles and 18 torpedoes or 14 underwater mines. 
Defence & Security

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 25, 2023

What are Neutrinos?
Recently, the Kamioka Liquid Scintillator Antineutrino Detector (KamLAND) experiment in Japan has found no evidence that neutrinos are their antiparticles.

About Neutrinos:

  • Neutrinos are mysterious particles, produced copiously in nuclear reactions in the Sun, stars, and elsewhere.
  • They also "oscillate"-- meaning that different types of neutrinos change into one another.
  • A neutrino is a fermion that interacts only via weak interaction and gravity.
  • Probing of oscillations of neutrinos and their relations with mass are crucial in studying the origin of the universe.
  • Neutrinos are created by various radioactive decay; during a supernova, by cosmic rays striking atoms etc.

What is Antiparticle?

  • In quantum theory, every type of particle is associated with an antiparticle with the same mass but with opposite physical charges. For example, the antiparticle of the electron is the positron.
Science & Tech

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 25, 2023

Recently, four police personnel from Red Hills including a sub-inspector were suspended after an inquiry report found that they had let off a group of men who had smuggled into the city two orangutans.

About Orangutan:

  • These are exclusively arborealwhich means they live among the trees of tropical rainforests.
  • According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), there are three species of orangutans: Bornean, Sumatran and Tapanuli.
  • They feast on wild fruits like lychees, and figs, and slurp water from holes in trees.
  • Orangutans can live up to 50 years, but they have a relatively low reproductive rate because females only give birth once every 5-10 years. 
  • Bornean and Sumatran orangutans differ a little in appearance and behaviour. While both have shaggy reddish fur, Sumatran orangutans have longer facial hair.
  • Sumatran orangutans are reported to have closer social bonds than their Bornean cousins.
  • Bornean orangutans are more likely to descend from the trees to move around on the ground. 
  • Conservation status
  • IUCN: Critically Endangered

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 25, 2023

Eastern River Canal Project
Recently, the Madhya Pradesh state government approached the supreme court seeking a stay on an Eastern River Canal Project execution.

About Eastern River Canal Project:

  • This canal project aims to harvest surplus water available during the rainy season in rivers in Southern Rajasthan such as Chambal and its tributaries, including Kunnu, Parvati, and Kalisindh, and use this water in south-eastern districts of the state, where water is scarce for drinking and irrigation.
  • It proposes to provide drinking water to 13 districts of Rajasthan and provide irrigation water for 2.8 lakh hectares of land through 26 different large and medium projects.

Key facts about the Chambal River

  • It is one of the tributaries of the Yamuna River and the most pollution-free river in India.
  • It originates at the Singar Chouri peakon the northern slopes of the Vindhya mountains
  • On its south, east and west, the basin is bounded by the Vindhyan mountain ranges and on the northwest by the Aravallis.
  • The Hadauti plateau in Rajasthan occurs in the upper catchment of the Chambal River to the southeast of the Mewar Plains.
  • Tributaries:Banas, Kali Sindh, Sipra, Parbati, etc.
  • Major Dams on the River: Gandhi Sagar Dam, Rana Pratap Sagar Dam, Jawahar Sagar Dam.
  • The National Chambal Sanctuary is situated along river Chambal on the tri-junction of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 25, 2023

Kol Tribe
Recently, Union Home Minister addressed the 'Kol Janjati Mahakumbh' organized on the occasion of Shabri Mata Janm Jayanti at Satna, Madhya Pradesh.

About Kol Tribe:

  • The Kol tribes belonged to the Proto-Australoid ethnic stratum.
  • They consider themselves to be the descendants of Sahara Mata, a member of the Savaras of epic fame; she is known as the "mother of the Kol." 
  • They are concentrated in the northern districts of Madhya Pradeshand Small Kol populations are also found in Orissa and Maharashtra.
  • The Kol speak local dialects of Hindi and use the Devanagari script for writing.
  • They celebrate the Jawara festival which appears to be an ancient Kol agricultural festival that later acquired some Hindu characteristics.
  • The name is derived from the juari plant, a type of millet. Jawara is held twice a year, in the fall just before the sowing of the winter crop, and in the spring after it has been harvested.

What is Kol Revolt/uprising?

  • The Kols, tribal people from the Chhota Nagpur area, rose in revolt against the British in 1831.
  • The rebel kols were under the leadership of Buddhu Bhagat, Joa Bhagat, Jhindrai Manki, Madara Mahato  fought against British rules.

Prelims Pointers
Feb. 25, 2023

Dekho Apna Desh Initiative
Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will be operating the Baba Saheb Ambedkar Yatra tour package under the “Dekho Apna Desh” initiative.

Why in news?

  • The Baba Saheb Ambedkar Yatra, designed by IRCTC, aims to highlight the places and destinations associated with Ambedkar's life.
  • The First Journey of the Baba Saheb Ambedkar Yatra will be from New Delhi in April 2023.
  • As part of the "Dekho Apna Desh" initiative, the Ministry of Railways, in collaboration with the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), operates Bharat Gaurav Tourist Trains on various theme-based circuits throughout India.

Key facts about the Dekho Apna Desh initiative

  • Nodal Ministry: The Ministry of Tourism
  • The scheme aims to promote tourism and encourage people to explore the rich cultural heritage and diversity of India.
  • The scheme is intended to offer financial help to tourists travelling to different parts of India.
  • The government has set aside a substantial budget for the implementation of this scheme, which will be used to promote travel and build out tourist infrastructure around the nation.
  • Objectives: The scheme aims to increase domestic tourism in India and under this plan, around 50 destinations in the country will be developed and promoted to attract tourists.
Government Schemes and Initiatives
Load More...