Prelims Exam

Short Notes or Revision Notes 

1.ISRO’s START Programme

Syllabus: Prelims – Science and Tech.

  • Context:ISRO is conducting the Space science and Technology Awareness Training (START) programme 2024.
  • Objective:Attract youngsters to space science and technology.
  • Features:
    • Introductory modules on various space science and technology domains.
    • Sessions on Indian space exploration programmes and research opportunities.
  • Eligibility:Post-graduate and final year undergraduate students in physical sciences and technology from Indian educational institutions.

2.Krishi Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC)

Syllabus: Prelims – Economy

  • Syllabus:GS2/Government Initiatives; GS3/Agriculture
  • Context:Union Agriculture Minister inaugurated the Krishi ICCC at Krishi Bhavan, New Delhi.
  • About:A significant technological advancement in Indian agriculture using multiple IT applications and platforms.
  • Objective:Informed decision-making in agriculture.
  • Technology:Uses AI, Remote Sensing, and GIS to collect and process data on:
    • Temperatures, rainfall, wind speed.
    • Crop yields and production estimations.
    • Presents data in graphical format.
  • Benefits:
    • Comprehensive farm sector monitoring through geospatial information from various sources:
      • Remote sensing
      • Soil survey data
      • Weather data (IMD)
      • Sowing data (Digital Crop Survey)
      • Farmer data (Krishi MApper)
      • Market intelligence (UPAg)
      • Yield estimation data (GCES)
    • Visual information on crop yields, production, drought situation, cropping patterns.
    • Access to trends, outliers, KPIs, and insights on agriculture schemes.

3.India Supports Philippines on South China Sea

  • Syllabus:Prelims – International Relations
  • Context:During his visit to Manila, India’s External Affairs Minister supported the Philippines in upholding its national sovereignty.
  • India-Philippines Relations:
    • Historical links through Srivijaya and Majapahit empires.
    • Sanskrit roots in Tagalog language and historical artefacts.
    • Diversified relations in political-security, trade, and people-to-people realms.
    • Expanding ties in civil aviation, fintech, education, defence, and security.
    • Shared interest in a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific.
  • South China Sea Dispute:
    • Territorial conflict involving Philippines, China, and other countries.
    • China claims most of the South China Sea based on historical records.
    • Philippines and others dispute China’s claims and accuse them of encroaching on their territorial waters.
    • India supports a rules-based order in the South China Sea based on UNCLOS (Law of the Sea Treaty).

 

  • 4.ASI to Delist “Lost” Monuments

  • Syllabus:Prelims – History
  • Context:Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to delist 18 “centrally protected monuments.”
  • Delisting Meaning:
    • ASI, under the Ministry of Culture, protects monuments of national importance under the AMASR Act, 1904 and 1958.
    • Delisting removes monuments from ASI’s conservation, protection, and maintenance.
    • Allows construction and urbanization activities around the monument.
    • Current number of ASI-protected monuments: 3,693 (will reduce to 3,675 after delisting).
  • AMASR Act:
    • Protects monuments over 100 years old, including temples, tombs, forts, and more.
    • Requires ASI to regularly inspect and conserve protected monuments.
    • Allows ASI to take action against encroachments.
  • Reasons for Delisting:
    • ASI’s assessment that the monuments lack national importance.
    • Some monuments are lost due to urbanization, neglect, or lack of public memory.

 

5.Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)

Syllabus: Prelims – Science

Context: Recent approval of gene therapies for SCD in the US highlights the need for improved access to treatment in India.

Background:

  • Genetic therapies offer hope for SCD, but require advanced medical facilities.

About Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)

  • Inherited haemoglobin disorder causing red blood cells (RBCs) to become sickle-shaped.
  • Sickle-shaped RBCs are rigid and impair circulation, leading to:
    • Anaemia
    • Organ damage
    • Severe pain episodes
    • Premature death
  • India has the third highest number of SCD births globally.

Access to Treatment in India

  • Major issue despite the National Sickle Cell Anaemia Elimination Mission (2023).
  • Examples of limited treatment options:
    • Hydroxyurea (reduces pain severity) – unavailable in many areas.
    • Blood transfusions – limited to district-level facilities.
    • Bone marrow transplantation (BMT) – expensive and lacks donor availability.

CRISPR Gene-Editing Technology

  • Offers promise for SCD treatment.
  • India has approved a five-year project to develop CRISPR for SCD.
    • Around Rs 34 crore allocated (2020-2023).

CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats)

  • Originally a bacterial immune system feature.
  • Researchers adapted it to:
    • Cut, delete, or add DNA sequences precisely.
    • Potentially treat genetic disorders like SCD.

6.Paris Club

Syllabus: Prelims – Economy

Context: Sri Lanka’s debt treatment plan with India and the Paris Club.

Background:

  • Collaborative effort to provide Sri Lanka with a sustainable debt solution.
  • Proposed plan:
    • Moratorium of up to six years.
    • Reduced interest rate during repayment.

About Paris Club

  • Informal group of creditor nations for sustainable debt relief.
  • Established in 1956 with 22 permanent members, including major economies.
  • India is not a member.
  • Meets monthly in Paris to negotiate debt relief terms for struggling countries.
  • Key considerations for debt relief:
    • Economic and financial situation
    • Commitment to economic reforms
    • Consultation with IMF and World Bank

7.Foreign Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)

Syllabus: Prelims – Economy

Context: SEBI’s restriction on further inflows into Foreign Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).

Background:

  • Effective from April 1, 2024, due to reaching RBI’s investment cap.
  • Surge in US markets (especially tech stocks) increased investor interest.

About Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)

  • Mutual funds listed and traded on stock exchanges like individual stocks.
  • Track various underlying assets:
    • Stock indices
    • Commodities
    • Bonds
    • Baskets of assets
  • Passively managed (replicate a specific index, unlike actively managed mutual funds).

Foreign Exchange-Traded Funds (Foreign ETFs)

  • Subset of ETFs focusing on overseas markets.
  • Invest in foreign securities (stocks, bonds, commodities) listed on international exchanges.
  • Provide exposure to global markets without directly buying foreign stocks/bonds.
  • Track indices from specific countries, regions, or sectors.
  • Bought and sold during trading hours on stock exchanges.

 

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