Aadi Mahotsav or National Tribal Festival will be organised in
The festival is a joint initiative of Union Ministry of Tribal
Affairs and Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of
The theme of the festival is “A celebration of the spirit of
Tribal Craft, Culture and Commerce”.
The objective of the festival is to celebrate, cherish and
promote the spirit of tribal craft, culture, cuisine and commerce.
The Mahotsav will comprise display and sale of items of tribal
art and craft, tribal medicine & healers, tribal cuisine in which
tribal artisans from different States of the country shall participate and
provide a glimpse of their rich traditional culture.
The event will have two reputed local cultural troupes
presenting Ladakhi folk dances namely (a)Jabro Dance which is a nomadic
dance and song of people inhabiting eastern Ladakh and (b)Spawo dance
which is a heroic song and dance associated with a legendary hero of
Himalayan region called K’sar.
The TRIFED was established in 1987.It is a national-level apex
organization functioning under the administrative control of Ministry of
The objective of TRIFED is socio-economic development of tribal
people in the country by way of marketing development of the tribal products.
It acts as a facilitator and service provider.
The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) has proposed
a new scheme named Scientific and Useful Profound Research Advancement
The objective of the scheme is to fund exploration of new
scientific and engineering breakthroughs with global impact.
The scheme will fund disruptive ideas that can lead to new
areas of study, new scientific concepts, new products and technologies.
The scheme is also designed to attract high quality research
proposals consisting of new hypotheses or challenge existing ones and
provide ‘out-of-box’ solutions.
SERB is a statutory body under the Department of Science and
Technology.It was established by an Act of the Parliament of India in
The Board was set up for promoting basic research in science
and engineering and to provide financial assistance to scientists,
academic institutions, R&D laboratories, industrial concerns and other
agencies for such research.
Defence Minister has said that India has strictly adhered to
the doctrine of ‘No First Use’(NFU) policy of nuclear weapons.But what
happens in the future depends on the circumstances.
A No First Use(NFU) policy refers to any authoritative
statement by a nuclear weapon state to never be the first to use these
weapons in a conflict.
It will be reserved strictly only to retaliate in the aftermath
of a nuclear attack against its territory or military personnel.
India adopted No first use policy after its second nuclear
tests,Pokhran-II in 1998 and articulated the policy in 2003.However,the
policy made it clear that India’s nuclear retaliation to a first strike
will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage.
In contrast,Pakistan has openly threatened India with the use
of nuclear weapons on multiple occasions beginning from the time the two
nations were not even acknowledged nuclear powers.
The Indian nuclear doctrine also provides that nuclear
retaliatory attacks can only be authorised by the civilian political
leadership through the Nuclear Command Authority.The Nuclear Command
Authority comprises a Political Council and an Executive Council.The
Political Council is chaired by the Prime Minister.
Further,India would not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear
India would also continue to put strict controls on the export
of nuclear and missile related materials and technologies, participate in
the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty negotiations, and continue to observe
the moratorium on nuclear tests.
Union minister of environment has attended the 5th BRICS
Minister of Environment Meeting held in Sao Paulo,Brazil.
The meeting acknowledged the importance of urban environmental
management for improving the quality of life in cities.They agreed to work
together to resolve the multifaceted environmental issues faced by cities
in the five-nation association.
The key themes of urban environmental management such as (a)
contaminated areas and soil remediation (b)water quality (c)circular
economy in context of sustainable consumption and production (d) marine
litter and biodiversity were agreed to be integrated into BRICS
The declaration highlighted key initiatives taken by BRICS such
as (a)Partnership on Urban Environmental Sustainability Initiative to
share knowledge on issues such as waste management, sanitation, urban air
quality among others (b)BRICS Environmentally Sound Technology Cooperation
Platform for innovations, knowledge sharing and (c)Clean River of BRICS
program for improvement of river ecology and combating marine litter.
Addressing the meeting,Union minister has said that India has
reduced energy intensity by 25% and 78GW of renewable energy has also been
achieved.Further,the forest cover has also increased by nearly 15,000 sq
BRICS is an association of Brazil, Russia, India, China and
South Africa, the five fastest emerging nations.The BRICS Leaders Summit
is convened annually.
United Nations Security Council has met for a closed-door
informal consultation on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir at the request
India and Pakistan did not attend the UNSC meeting which was
open only to the five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members.
However,except China,no other UNSC member commented on the
meeting after it ended given that it was an informal consultation.
Indian Ambassador to the UN countered China.He reiterated that
issues around special status to Jammu & Kashmir were an internal
matter of India.
The ambassador has also said that the abrogation of Article 370
was done to enhance good governance and socio-economic development in
Jammu and Kashmir and that the UNSC consultations had taken note of this.
The ambassador has also said that India was committed to all
the agreements it had signed on the Kashmir issue.It informed UN of 1972
Simla Agreement between India and Pakistan which had turned Kashmir into a
During his Independence Day speech,Prime Minister has
underlined challenges posed by population growth in the country.
According to the data,the Total fertility rate(TFR) has dropped
to 2.2. This is only marginally higher than the fertility rate (2.1)
required for replacement of the existing population.
Total fertility rate(TFR) is defined as the number of children
born to a woman until the end of her child-bearing age.It is a key
indicator for population trends.
Even the states that have a higher TFR such as Uttar
Pradesh(3.0), Bihar (3.2), MP(2.7), Rajasthan(2.6), Assam(2.3),
Chhattisgarh(2.4) and Jharkhand(2.5) have been witnessing a declining
trend in fertility rates. These seven states account for about 45 % of the
total population in the 2011 Census.
Further,two more states namely Gujarat and Haryana has recorded
a TFR of 2.2 which is above the replacement rate but is equal to the
national average.Taken together,these nine major states account for 52 %
of the 2011 population.
This means that barring these nine states which accounts for
almost half the population,the replacement level is either 2.1 or has gone
The states with a lower TFR include states such as Kerala
(1.7), Tamil Nadu (1.6), Karnataka (1.7), Maharashtra (1.7), Andhra
Pradesh (1.6), Telangana (1.7), West Bengal (1.6), Jammu and Kashmir (1.6)
and Odisha (1.9).
According to the latest RBI data,India’s foreign exchange
reserves has reached a new high at USD 430 billion due to rise in foreign
Foreign exchange reserves are assets held on reserve by a
central bank in foreign currencies.These reserves are used to back
liabilities and influence monetary policy.
These assets serve many purposes but are most significantly
held to ensure that a central government agency has backup funds if their
national currency rapidly devalues or becomes altogether insolvent.
The Foreign exchange reserves of India consists of four
categories which are (a)Foreign Currency Assets (b)Gold (c)Special Drawing
Rights(SDRs) and (d)Reserve Tranche Position.
A reserve tranche is a portion of the required quota of
currency each member country must provide to the International Monetary
Fund(IMF) that can be withdrawn at any time without any interest during
critical situations of a country.
The Special drawing rights(SDR) is an international reserve
asset created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement its member countries
official reserves.The SDR is neither a currency nor a claim on the IMF.
The SDR basket Includes five currencies namely the U.S. dollar,
the euro, the Chinese renminbi, the Japanese yen and the British pound
India has contributed 1 million US Dollars to the United
Nations Special Purpose Trust Fund(SPTF).
SPTF is a specific fund housed within United Nation(UN)
Secretariat.It was established to receive, consolidate, manage and account
for all contributions as well as financial transactions of new Resident
SPTF web portal displays in real time all commitments,
contributions and expenditures recorded for the fund.
The portal aims to enhance effective coordination of UN’s work
in more than 160 countries in support of UN sustainable development goals
(SDGs) and is part of a wider UN reform efforts on development,
management, peace and security.
Resident Coordinator(RC) system aims to bring together
different United Nations(UN) agencies that deals with operational
activities for development irrespective of their formal presence in the
NASA scientists will study how global warming is melting
Greenland’s ice. Specifically, Scientists would study whether melting is
being caused more by warm air or warm seawater. The project is known as
Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG).
To study the melting of ice, NASA scientists will fly over
Greenland for 5 years in a Douglas DC-3 aircraft.
A 2019 study looked at 28 glaciers in Greenland with long-term
data and found that nearly all are melting. Further, a NASA satellite
found that Greenland’s ice sheet lost about 255 billion metric tons a year
between 2003 and 2016.
According to scientists, along with warm air, warm sea water
might play a crucial role in melting of ice. This is because warm, salty
water weakens coastal glaciers from below and causes them to break way and
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved new oral
three-drug regimen for the extensively-drug resistant tuberculosis
The treatment involves Pretomanid tablets in combination with
bedaquiline and linezolid, collectively referred to as the BPaL regimen.
It has an efficacy rate of 90%. Pretomanid was developed by TB Alliance, a
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious airborne bacterial disease
caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It most commonly affects the lungs
but can also damage other parts of the body.
There are two TB-related conditions: a) Latent TB – the
bacteria remain in the body in an inactive state. They cause no symptoms
and are not contagious, but they can become active and b) Active TB – the
bacteria do cause symptoms and can be transmitted to others.
When TB infection becomes resistant to the first line of
treatment — isoniazid and rifampicin, it is called Multi-drug resistant TB
(MDR-TB). Two major reasons for prevalence of MDR TB are: a) mismanagement
of TB treatment (incomplete and incorrect treatment) and b) person to
Extensively-drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) is a more
serious form of MDR TB. It happens when the infection becomes resistant
even to the second-line treatment. It has a mortality rate of 60%.
According to 2018 WHO TB update, there are 1, 14,237 MDR-TB
patients globally, of which more than 8,000 are XDR-TB. India has 26,966
MDR-TB patients, the highest in the world, while there are 2,130 XDR-TB
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has released the “Below the
Canopy report”. It is the world’s first-ever global assessment of
forest-living species populations.
The report uses the methodology of WWF’s Living Planet Report
(Living Planet Index) and developed a Forest Specialist Index that tracks
wildlife that lives only in forests. In total, the report took into
account 268 species (455 populations) of birds, mammals, reptiles and
According to the report, there has been a 53% decline in the
number of forest wildlife populations since 1970. Of the 455 monitored
populations, more than half declined at an annual rate of 1.7%, on average
between 1970 and 2014.
The report has noted that along with deforestation there were
other major threats that has led to decline in wildlife populations. These
include: Habitat loss and habitat degradation/change, overexploitation and
Loss of habitat due to logging, agricultural expansion, mining,
hunting, conflicts and spread of diseases accounted for almost 60% of
threats. Nearly 20% of threats were due to overexploitation.
Climate change threatened to 43% of amphibian populations, 37%
of reptile populations, 21% of bird populations but only 3% of mammal
In October 2018 WWF published the Living Planet Report. The
report highlighted that global populations of fish, birds, mammals,
amphibians and reptiles have decreased by an average of 60% between 1970
In an effort to conserve nature, world leaders have agreed to
launch a New Deal for Nature and People at 15th
Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) COP in 2020 in China.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has finalised India’s
first National Essential Diagnostics List (NEDL). With this, India has
become the first country to have such a list.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) released a first edition of
its essential diagnostics list (EDL) in May, 2018. This has acted as a
reference for ICMR’s NEDL.
The NEDL is on the lines of the essential drugs list, the
National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) which was first released in
1996. It was last updated in 2015.
The NEDL has recommended that at least 159 tests should be made
available for patients in even primary government health facilities.
The diagnostics list mentions 105 general laboratory tests for
a broad range of common conditions. It also mentions 30 disease-specific
tests such as for HIV, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and 24 imaging tests
including X-rays, CT and MRI scans and ultrasound sonography.
The NEDL has been based on the Free Diagnostics Service
Initiative and other diagnostics initiatives of the Health Ministry to
provide an expanded basket of tests at different levels of the public
The NEDL is expected to improve healthcare service delivery
through evidence-based care, improved patient outcomes and reduction in
out-of-pocket expenditure. It is also expected to lead to effective
utilisation of public health facilities; effective assessment of disease
burden, identify outbreaks and curb antimicrobial resistance.
In India, diagnostics (medical devices and in vitro
diagnostics) follow a regulatory framework based on the drug regulations
under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Drugs and Cosmetics Rules
1945. Diagnostics are regulated under the regulatory provisions of the
Medical Device Rules, 2017.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, the
apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of
biomedical research. It is funded by the Government of India through the
Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
NewSpace India Ltd has invited expressions of interest from one
or more experienced companies to produce PSLV satellite launch vehicles.
Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is an
indigenously-developed expendable launch system of the ISRO. It is the
first Indian launch vehicle to be equipped with liquid stages.
It comes in the category of medium-lift launchers with a reach
up to various orbits, including the Geo Synchronous Transfer Orbit, Lower
Earth Orbit, and Polar Sun Synchronous Orbit.
New Space India Limited (NSIL) was set up in March 2019. It is
a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE), under the administrative
control of Department of Space (DOS).
The NSIL has been set up to meet the increasing demands of
Indian space programmes and to commercially exploit the emerging global
The main functions of NSIL are: a) Manufacture of Small
Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) in collaboration with Private Sector, b)
production of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) through Indian
Industry, c) production and marketing of Space based products and
services, including launch and application, d) Transfer of technology
developed by ISRO Centres and constituent units of DOS and e) Marketing
spin-off technologies and products/services, both in India and abroad.
NSIL is the second commercial entity of the Department of Space
(DoS) after Antrix Corporation Limited which was set up in 1992 to market
the products and services of the Indian Space Research Organisation