1. Three new Rafale jets to fly non-stop from France to India

The issue in news

Three Rafale fighter jets of the Indian Air Force are scheduled to arrive in India, flying non-stop from France. With this, the IAF will have eight of the 36 Rafale jets in service.

  • India has contracted 36 Rafale multi-role fighter jets from France in fly-away condition with 13 India Specific Enhancements (ISE) under a €7.87 billion Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) signed in September 2016.
  • As per the IGA, deliveries begin 36 months from the signing of the contract and would be completed in 67 months.


Origin of Rafale

  • Rafale is a French word meaning “gust of wind” and is a French-origin Delta winged, twin-engine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured and designed by Dassault Aviation.
  • Rafale is a Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) that is said to boost India’s air dominance exponentially, currently safeguarded by fighter jets like Russia made Sukhoi Su-30MKI and MiG 29, along with French Mirage-2000 and indigenously built HAL Tejas
  • The initial bidders were Lockheed Martin’s F-16s, Boeing’s F/A-18s, Eurofighter Typhoon, Russia’s MiG-35, Sweden’s Saab’s Gripen and Dassault’s Rafale.
  • All aircraft were tested by the IAF and after careful analysis on the bids, two of them — Eurofighter and Rafale — were shortlisted.
  • Dassault bagged the contract to provide 126 fighter jets as it was the lowest bidder and the aircraft was said to be easy to maintain. After Rafale won the contract, the Indian side and Dassault started negotiations in 2012.


  • The Rafale is a modern fighter jet known for its agility, speed, weapon holding capacity and attack capability. The Dassault Rafale has a delta wing design and is capable of g-forces as high as 11g (in case of emergency).
  • The Rafale is available in both single and dual seating cabin (India ordered 28 single and 8 dual seater Rafale).
  • The Rafale is powered by two SNECMA M88 engines, each capable of providing up to 50 kilonewtons (11,000 pounds-force) of dry thrust and 75 kN (17,000 pounds-force) with afterburners.
  • The engines push the Rafale to attain a high speed of 1.8 Mach (1912 kmph) and a range of more than 3700 km with 3 drop tanks.
  • Dassault has also loaded the Rafale with a Martin-Baker Mark 16F “zero-zero” ejection seat, capable of operation at zero speed and zero altitude.
  • In terms of weapons, the Rafale can be equipped with air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and air-to-surface missiles along with Nuclear weapons. For avionics, the Rafale is also equipped with AESA radar, SPECTRA Electronic Warfare System and IRST System.
  • The Rafale jets will come with various India-specific modifications, including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems among others.
  • The Indian government is paying top dollar to Dassault to not only modify and certify the aircraft to an exacting specification but also to stand by its reliability in service — something that has never been done with a fighter aircraft in Indian service to date.


  1. States’ Formation Day

The issue in news

Many states of India celebrate their Formation Day on 1st November.

Main points

The states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Kerala celebrate their formation day on November 1.

UTs Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh and Puducherry were also formed on November 1. Delhi was also formed on this date.



 The following table gives the details:

  • Andhra Pradesh – 1956 – States Reorganisation Act, 1956
  • Chhattisgarh – 2000 – Madhya Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2000
  • Haryana -1966 – Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966
  • Karnataka (As Mysore State – Renamed in 1973) – 1956 – States Reorganisation Act, 1956
  • Kerala – 1956 – States Reorganisation Act, 1956
  • Tamil Nadu – (As Madras State – Renamed in 1969) – 1956 – States Reorganisation Act, 1956
  • Punjab – 1966 – Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966
  • Andaman & Nicobar Islands – 1956 – States Reorganisation Act, 1956
  • Chandigarh – 1966 – Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966
  • Delhi – 1956 – States Reorganisation Act, 1956
  • Puducherry – 1954 – UT status in 1962
  • Lakshadweep -1956 – States Reorganisation Act, 1956


States Reorganization Commission

  • At the time of independence in 1947, India had more than 500 disjointed princely states. Temporarily the constituent units of India were divided into Part A, B, C, and D states.
  • Hence State Reorganization was constituted by the Government of India on 29 December 1953 to look into the matter of redrawing the boundaries of States.
  • One of the most popular demands was to reorganize the states based on languages, this was done to make administration easier and to replace controversial caste and religion-based identities with less controversial linguistic identities.

The State reorganization commission consisted of H N Kunzru, Fazal Ali and K M Panikkar.

Indian states Reorganised after Independence

  • Soon after independence, 571 princely states were reorganised and merged together to form 27 states. This reorganization was done based on political and historical considerations. This reorganization of states was done on a temporary basis.
  • The State Reorganization Commission formed in 1953 gave its report in 1955 to reorganize states into 16 states and 3 union territories. The Government divided the country into 14 states and 6 union territories under the State Reorganization Act that was passed in November 1956.
  • The State Reorganization Commission recommended that “it is neither possible nor desirable to reorganise States on the basis of the single test of either language or culture, but that a balanced approach to the whole problem is necessary in the interest of our national unity.”
  • Later when the states were reorganized one could say the basis of reorganization could be linguistic, ethnic or administrative purposes.
  • Reorganizing states on the basis of language would not only help in ease of administration but also the development of vernacular languages which was ignored by the British.
  • Even cultural affiliations were taken into account, for example, Nagaland was created taking into account tribal affiliations. In the recent past, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand were created for better economic development in the respective regions.

The First State of Independent India

  • Andhra Pradesh was the first state of Independent India formed on linguistic basis. It was formed on October 1, 1953. This state was formed for Telugu speaking people after prolonged agitations.



The issue in news

In a move to increase tourism, Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of Development of North Eastern Region, inaugurated the Mansar Lake Development Plan in Jammu and Kashmir.


Main points

  • The project is eyed to attract almost 20 lakh tourists every year and create employment for 1.15 crore man-days with an income generation of ₹800 crore per year.
  • Mansar Lake is situated 62 km from Jammu. It is a lake fringed by forest-covered hills, over a mile in length. Surinsar-Mansar Lakes are designated as Ramsar Convention in November 2005.
  • Mansar is of immense importance from Pilgrimage as well Heritage point of view beyond being the most scenic attraction due to vast Mansar Lake and its flora and fauna


  1. Vaibhav Summit

The issue in news

VAIBHAV Summit concludes.

Main points

  • The VAIBHAV Summit is a global virtual summit of overseas and resident Indian Scientists, Researchers and Academicians.
  • It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The summit was organized from 2nd October to 31st October 2020. 
  • The initiative involves multiple levels of interactions among overseas experts and Indian counterparts over a month-long series of webinars, video-conferences, etc.
  • VAIBHAV Summit is a joint effort of various Science & Technology (S&T) and Academic organizations, including the Department of S&T, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • The aim of the summit is to bring Indian origin luminaries in academic institutes and R&D organizations across the world and resident counterparts on a single platform to debate upon collaboration mechanisms to strengthen academic and S&T base in India for global development.
  • Key areas of discussion in the VAIBHAV summit comprised quantum technologies, artificial intelligence and machine learning, communications technologies, computational and data sciences, aerospace technologies, etc.
  • The ‘Vaibhav Summit’ is planned with the Indian Diaspora working in the World’s top universities and R&D organisations to strengthen the factors enabling the outcome-driven research and education which will help create an ideal ecosystem
  1. Dairy Production in Indus Valley Civilisation

The issue in news

Recently, a study by Indian and Canadian archaeologists has found that dairy products

were being produced by the Harappans as far back as 2500 BCE. The finding reveals the earliest evidence of dairy production.

  • The year 2020 also marks 100 years of discovery of Indus Valley Civilisation.


Main points

Dairy production in Indus Valley Civilisation

  • By analysing residues on ancient pots, researchers show the earliest direct evidence of dairy product processing, thus throwing fresh light on the rural economy of the civilization.
  • The studies were carried out on 59 shards of pottery from Kotada Bhadli, a small archaeological site in present-day Gujarat.

How did they find it?

  • The team used molecular analysis techniques to study the residues from ancient pottery.
  • Pots are porous. The pot preserves the molecules of food such as fats and proteins. Using techniques like C16 and C18 analysis we can identify the source of lipids.
  • Traces were seen in cooking vessels indicating that milk may have been boiled and consumed.

Significant outcome of the study

  • The study has found residues in a bowl showing that either heated milk or curd could have been served.
  • There are also remains of a perforated vessel, and similar vessels were used in Europe to make cheese.
  • The Harappans did not just use dairy for their household.
  • The large herd indicates that milk was produced in surplus so that it could be exchanged and there could have been some kind of trade between settlements.
  • This could have given rise to an industrial level of dairy exploitation


  1. Asteroid 16 Psyche

The issue in news

A recent study has found that asteroid 16 Psyche, which orbits between Mars and Jupiter, could be made entirely of metal.

Main points

The study 

  • Researchers observed the asteroid through the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • Ultraviolet observation: The scientists noted that the manner in which ultraviolet light was reflected from Psyche was very similar to the way in which iron reflects sunlight.
  • Presence of iron oxide ultraviolet absorption bands: This is an indication that oxidation is happening on the asteroid, which could be a result of the solar wind hitting the surface.
    • The term ‘solar wind’ refers to a stream of charged particles emitted from the sun’s hot outer atmosphere, which is known as its Corona.
  • Metallic asteroid: NASA scientists believe that the asteroid is made up of almost entirely of iron, nickel and several other rare materials like gold, platinum, cobalt, iridium and rhenium. 
    • Most asteroids that are made up of rocks or ice. Metal asteroids are not commonly found in the solar system.
    • It is thought to be the core of an earlier planet that failed in formation
  • Highly valuable: Hypothetically, if it was to be transported to Earth, NASA has calculated that the iron alone would be worth more than $10,000 quadrillion.

NASA’s Psyche mission:

  • The primary target of the Psyche mission to be launched in 2022 by NASA is to study this asteroid completely and confirm the assumptions being made by the scientists.
  • Psyche mission will be the first mission to investigate this metallic asteroid. Psyche spacecraft will land on the asteroid in early 2026.
  • As the composition of Psyche is very similar to earth’s own core, its study will also give an insight to earth’s violent history of collisions and accretion that created it.


  1. Rising GST Revenues

The issue in news

Revenues from the Goods and Services Tax surpassed 1.05 lakh crore in October 2020.

This signals a 10% increase from a year ago and the highest recorded since February 2020.

  • While economists and businesses are cautious about the sustainability of this trend, the government cited this as a clear sign of a recovery in the economy after its 23.9% contraction in the first quarter of 2020-21.
  • According to experts, the slight upward trend in October’s GST inflows could be attributed to the festive demand and input tax credits as well as other reconciliations that were due for businesses in September 2020.
  • The Consortium of Indian Associations, an umbrella body of MSMEs, stressed that these revenues normally relate to sales that occurred when a majority of the economy, including public transport, were unlocked and hence must not be considered a return to normalcy for businesses.

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