13/7/2020 : Prelim Sure Shot 


  1. Experts question basis of COVID-19 drug

Why in news

Biocon Ltd’s psoriasis drug, Itolizumab, re-purposed for COVID-19, a breakthrough drug for treating the moderately sick and the severely ill, appears to have been tested on too few patients to reliably conclude on its benefits.


To test the drug’s efficacy at preventing deaths or improving health outcomes, the company recruited 30 patients across four hospitals.



  • Biocon announced that it had received the Drug Controller General’s approval to use the drug for emergency use in cases where the infection caused a cytokine storm.
  • Cytokine storm is an uncontrolled attempt by the immune system to neutralise the virus that often ended up damaging the lungs and other organs and even death.
  • When the cytokines that raise immune activity become too abundant, the immune system may not be able to stop itself. It implies that the levels of released cytokines are injurious to host cells.
  • According to the company officials, nobody on the drug died was significant proof of its success.
  • The evaluation also rests on Itolizumab being added to the “best standard of care”. In general, this consisted of hydroxychloroquine, ritonavir (antivirals), oxygen therapy, antibiotics, heparin [to avoid clotting] and methylpredisarone [a corticosteroid].


  1. Kuaizhou-11 Rocket

Why in News

The Chinese rocket named Kuaizhou-11 failed due to malfunction during the flight, losing both the satellites it was carrying.


Key Points


  • Kuaizhou, meaning “fast ship” in Chinese is a low-cost solid fueled carrier rocket.
  • It was operated by the commercial launch firm Expace, and was originally scheduled for 2018 after being developed three years earlier. Also known as KZ-11, it had a lift-off mass of 70.8 tonnes, and was designed to launch low-Earth and Sun-synchronous orbit satellites.
  • Significance: Although the launch failed, it signifies a rapidly growing commercial space industry in China.
  • Companies such as Expace, iSpace, and Landspace, created after the Chinese government opened its space sector to private investment in 2014, have cut down traditional launch operations and are developing rapid response capabilities, the report stated.


Other Important Missions of China:

  • Tianwen-1: China’s Mars Mission to be launched by July, 2020. China’s previous ‘Yinghuo-1’ Mars mission, which was supported by Russia failed in 2012. Tianwen-1 will lift off on a Long March 5 rocket.
  • Long March 5 Rocket: Considered as China’s successful step to operate a permanent space station and send astronauts to the Moon.
  • Tiangong: China’s own space station to be built by 2022. The Chinese rockets will have to create a niche for themselves in the satellite market where the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has already gained a foothold.
  • ISRO’s tried and trusted Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has till now launched 297 foreign satellites and has various variants, which are meant for carrying different-size payloads and to different orbits.


Steps Taken by India:

  • Approval to the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) to provide a level playing field for private companies to use Indian space infrastructure. New Space India Limited (NSIL), the newly created second commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation.
  • ISRO has been a genuine global pioneer of aerospatial cost compression on several fronts. Cost-effectiveness has given the agency a distinct edge in the commercial arena of satellite launch services. With such a valuable base of expertise within the country, it is only natural to expect the emergence of a private space industry that could prove globally competitive.

  1. FASTag Details for New Vehicle Registration

Why in News

Recently, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has decided to ensure capturing of FASTag details while registering or issuing fitness certificates to vehicles all over the country.

Besides facilitating smooth commutation/transit, use of electronic medium of FASTag payment, would also help in checking Covid-19 spread as cash payment is avoided.



  • Introduced in 2017, it is an electronic toll collection system with reloadable tag feature which allows automatic deduction of toll without having to stop for carrying out the cash transaction.
  • The reloadable tag allows addition of monetary values multiple times. It is operated by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) under the supervision of MoRTH.
  • The tag uses Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) technology and is fixed on the windscreen of the vehicle once active.
  • RFID is the use of radio waves to read and capture information stored on a tag attached to an object. A tag can be read from up to several feet away and does not need to be within the direct line-of-sight of the reader to be
  • It is linked to a prepaid account from which the applicable toll amount is deducted. Consumers avoided using it following complaints of technical glitches, and money getting deducted twice from their bank accounts or e-wallets.


Key Points

  • The MoRTH has directed the National Information Centre (NIC) to ensure details of the electronic toll collection device are captured on VAHAN portal.
  • The full integration of National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) with VAHAN portal has been achieved and the portal is now getting all information on FASTags through Vehicle Identification Number/ Vehicle Registration Number (VIN/VRN).
  • VAHAN Portal: It acts as an integrated solution for vehicle registration for the State Transport Department. It helps in various processes like fitness, taxes, permits & enforcement to get computerized.
  • The State Transport Department is governed by both Central Motor Vehicle Regulation (CMVR) and state specific Motor Vehicle Regulation (State MVR). Consequently, VAHAN was conceptualized as a product that would capture the functionalities mandated by CMVR as well as state MVRs.


National Electronic Toll Collection: It was developed by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in 2016 for electronic toll collection at toll plazas using FASTag.


  1. Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Limited

Why in News

Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Limited (RCF) has introduced a hand cleansing IsoPropyl Alcohol (IPA) Based Gel ‘RCF SAFEROLA’ to assist the government in its effort to combat Covid -19.

Key Points

  • The hand cleansing gel is a skin friendly moisturizer based hand-sanitizer which contains IsoPropyl Alcohol (IPA) and Aloe Vera extract. It is enriched with Vitamin-E and has a fresh lime fragrance.
  • RCF is a ‘Mini Ratna’ company and is a leading producer of fertilizers and chemicals in the country. It is under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.
  • It manufactures urea, complex fertilizers, bio-fertilizers, micro-nutrients, water soluble fertilizers, soil conditioners and a wide range of Industrial Chemicals.
  • It has two operating units, one at Trombay in Mumbai and the other at Thal, Raigad district, about 100 km from Mumbai.


  1. CII-ITC Sustainability Awards 2019

Why in News

NTPC Ltd. has won the CII-ITC Sustainability Award 2019, under Outstanding Accomplishment in Corporate Excellence Category.

Key Points

  • CII-ITC Sustainability Award Instituted by the CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development (CESD) in
  • CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) is a non-government, not for- profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization, having members from the private as well as public sectors.
  • It also has links with 288 national and regional sectoral industry bodies.
  • It works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the development of India, industry, Government and civil society, through advisory and consultative processes. It is headquartered in New Delhi.

Rationale behind the Award:

  • Identifying and recognizing exemplary performance in economic, social and environmental dimensions of Indian business, Promoting role models in Indian industry and recognizing excellence achieved by businesses in mainstreaming Sustainability with business practices and Imparting knowledge by which the CESD builds capacity in Indian businesses to adopt sustainability practices.


  • It is India’s largest power corporation, established in 1975 to accelerate power development in India. It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • It became a Maharatna company in May 2010. It is under the Ministry of

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