2nd December 2019 : Prelims Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam : Prelims Sure Shot

50th flight of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

Why in News?

  • ISRO is preparing for the 50th flight of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The PSLV-C48 mission is scheduled for lift-off on December 11.


  • To date,49 PSLV missions have lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. They include the initial three developmental flights designated PSLV D1, D2 and D3 and 46 operational flights.
  • PSLV has launched more than 45 Indian payloads including Chandrayaan 1 and Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan)spacecraft and 310 foreign satellites. The C37 mission has the credit of placing a whopping 104 satellites in orbit, a record.
  • The total count includes two failed missions and the PSLV variants such as PSLV-XL and PSLV-CA.Along with heftier sibling Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), the PSLV continues to remain the mainstay of the Indian space programme.
  • The 50th flight would have on board 10 satellites, including India’s RISAT-2BR1 and nine small satellites from abroad.The successor to the SLV and ASLV, the PSLV is ISRO’s third-gen launch vehicle, capable of placing payloads in different orbits including the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).


Operation Clean Art

Operation Clean Art was conducted in India to ensure that the mongoose hair brush trade to be closed down across the country.

  • The mongoose is listed under Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 – making its hunting, possession, transportation and trade a punishable offence. There are six species of mongoose found in India.
  • Mongoose hair is in high demand because of the quality of brushes they help create, which define lines clearly and hold paint properly. India is a major source for these brushes. For about 150 kg of mongoose hair, at least 6,000 animals would have been killed. 


  • Operation Clean  Art conceived by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) was the first pan India operation to crack down on the smuggling of mongoose hair in the country.
  • Raids were carried out not only in Uttar Pradesh, but also at Jaipur in Rajasthan, Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra, and in Kerala, on the same day. The entire operation across the country yielded 54,352 brushes and 113 kg of raw hair. 


Why in news?

From December 15, 2019, FASTag, a prepaid rechargeable tag for toll payments, on national highways will become mandatory for all vehicles.

What is FASTag?

  • It is a prepaid radio­frequency identification-enabled tag that facilitates automatic deduction of toll charges.
  • The new system will now do away with a stop­over of vehicles and cash transactions at toll plazas.

Implemented by:

  • The FASTag electronic toll collection programme is being implemented by the Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL), a company incorporated by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), and the National Payments Corporation of India in coordination with Toll Plaza Concessionaires, tag issuing agencies and banks.


  • FASTag has a validity of five years.

What are the benefits?

  • Apart from plugging revenue leakages and reducing the cost of delays and fuel consumption, which is also likely to cut down the nation’s GDP loss, the tag helps remove bottlenecks, ensures seamless movement of traffic and saves time.
  • The centralised system provides authentic and real­ time data to government agencies for better analysis and policy formulation.
  • It also helps reduce air pollution and the use of paper besides cutting the cost of managing toll plazas.

What lies ahead?

  • The integration, which will become mandatory across the country from April 2020, will help revenue authorities check whether goods vehicles are actually headed to the specified destination.
  • Suppliers and transporters will also be able to keep track of their vehicles through SMS alerts generated at each tag reader­-enabled toll plaza.
  • The Central government also plans to enable the use of FASTag for a range of other facilities such as fuel payments and parking charges.

India’s cold-wave regions

  • India’s cold-wave zone covers the north Indian states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and also other states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh,  and Bihar.


Hornbill Festival

Why in News?

  • 20th Edition of Hornbill Festival begins in Nagaland. It is held at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama which is about 12 km from Kohima in Nagaland.


  • The festival is named after the bird “Indian hornbill”, which is displayed in the folklore of most of the state’s tribes. There are 9 hornbill species in India of which Great Hornbill is the most famous. It is annually held from 1 – 10 December.
  • The first festival was held in 2000. It is organized by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments of the Government of Nagaland.
  • Festival highlights include the traditional Naga Morungs exhibition and the sale of arts and crafts, food stalls, song and dance shows, indigenous games etc. It is also called the ‘Festival of Festivals’.
  • One of the major highlights of this festival is the Hornbill International Rock Festival where local and international rock bands perform.


Concept of Oligopoly

What is Oligopoly 
  • Oligopoly is a market structure in which a small number of firms has the large majority of market share . An oligopoly is closely linked to monopoly,except that rather than one firm, two or more firms holds the domination in the market.There is no precise upper limit to the number of firms in an oligopoly in general. 
Greek word
olígos= few
polein= to sell
Some of the characteristics of oligopoly are:-
Few Sellers: Under the Oligopoly market, the sellers are few, and the customers are many. Few firms dominating the market enjoys a considerable control over the price of the product. Ex: Major & Minor Airline Companies.
Competition: It is genuine that with a few players in the market, there will be an intense competition among the sellers. Any move taken by the firm will have a considerable impact on its rivals. Thus, every seller keeps an eye over its rival and be ready with the counterattack. Ex: Seasonal Offers & Discounts given to consumers on large scale.
Interdependence: it is one of the most important features of an Oligopoly market, wherein, the seller has to be cautious with respect to any action taken by the competing firms. Since there are few sellers in the market, if any firm makes the change in the price or promotional scheme, all other firms in the industry have to comply with it, to remain in the competition.Thus, every firm remains alert to the actions of others and plan their counterattack beforehand, to escape the turmoil. Hence, there is a complete interdependence among the sellers with respect to their price-output policies.
Advertising: Under Oligopoly market, every firm advertises their products on a frequent basis, with the intention to reach more and more customers and increase their customer base.This is due to the advertising that makes the competition intense.If any firm does a lot of advertisement while the other remained silent, then he will observe that his customers are going to that firm who is continuously promoting its product. Thus, in order to be in the race, each firm spends lots of money on advertisement activities. EX: Fliplkart & Amazon Advertisements.
Lack of Uniformity: There is a lack of uniformity among the firms in terms of their size, some are big, and some are small depending on the scope of area and work performed by them in market.
Entry and Exit Barriers: The firms can easily exit the industry whenever it wants, but has to face certain barriers to entering into it. These barriers could be Government license, Patent, large firm’s economies of scale, high capital requirement, complex technology, etc. It can be also due to Government’s policies on entry and exit.

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