Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 27 Apr, 2021

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“Exercise VARUNA 2021” – Indian and French Navy Conducted the 19th Edition

What is the News?

The 19th edition of the Indian and French Navy bilateral exercise VARUNA-2021’ was conducted in the Arabian Sea.

About Exercise Varuna:

  • Exercise Varuna 2021 is a bilateral naval exercise between India and France.
  • Initiated in: The exercise was initiated in 1993. Since 2001, the exercises are called ‘VARUNA’.
  • Aim: To develop interoperability between the two navies. Further, it aims to foster mutual cooperation by learning from each other’s best practices to conduct joint operations.
  • Participation: From the Indian Navy’s side the following frigates and submarines participated in the exercise.
    • Guided-missile stealth destroyer Kolkata
    • Guided-missile frigates Tarkash and Talwar,
    • Kalvari class submarine and
    • P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft

Other Exercises between India and France:

  • Exercise Garuda: It is a bilateral exercise between the Indian and French Air Force. The first edition of the exercise was held in 2003.
  • Exercise SHAKTI: It is a biennial military exercise conducted between India and France. It was first conducted in the year 2011.
  • Exercise La Pérouse: It is a multilateral maritime exercise led by the French Navy. Indian Navy has participated in this exercise for the first time in 2021.

Source: AIR

“Cybercrime Volunteer Programme” – No Centralised list of Volunteers Maintained

What is the News?

Union Home Ministry has said that it does not maintain a centralised list of volunteers enrolled under the cybercrime volunteer programme. The ministry also said that it is because the police is a “State subject” under the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.

What is the issue?

  • A Right to Information Act(RTI) application was filed to know the total number of volunteers applied under the Cybercrime Volunteer Programme.
  • But the Union Home Ministry replied to claim for such information directly to the respective States and Union Territories. As it does not maintain a centralised list of volunteers enrolled under the cybercrime volunteer programme.
  • Further, the Ministry said that “police” and “public order” were State subjects in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. Hence, the States were primarily responsible for the prevention, detection and investigation of crimes through their law enforcement agencies(LEAs).

 About Cybercrime Volunteer Programme:

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs launched the Cybercrime Volunteer programme.
  • The programme aims to bring together citizens to contribute to the fight against cybercrime in the country. The scheme also aims to assist State/UT in their endeavour to curb cybercrimes.
  • Under the programme, citizens can register themselves as Cyber Crime volunteers. They will help the law enforcement agencies in identifying, reporting and removing illegal/unlawful online content.
  • The program is a constituent of the National Cybercrime Ecosystem Management Unit. This unit is in turn a part of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre(I4C) scheme.

Click Here to Read more about Cyber Volunteers Programme

Concerns against the Programme:

  • Firstly, Culture of Surveillance: Internet Freedom Foundation(IFF), a digital rights group has said that the programme enables a culture of surveillance. The IFF also mentions that the programme could create a potential social distrust by encouraging civilians to report the online activities of other citizens.
  • Secondly, Chances of Misuse: There is no information available on how the Ministry will ensure that the program is not misused to extract misguided personal or political vendettas.

Source: The Hindu

CSIR-CMERI Indigenously Developed “Oxygen Enrichment Technology”

What is the News?

CSIR-CMERI in association with MSME-DI has indigenously developed Oxygen Enrichment Technology.

About Oxygen Enrichment Technology:

  • It is a device that concentrates the oxygen from the air around us by selectively removing nitrogen to supply oxygen-enriched air.
  • The concentrated Oxygen is delivered to the patients, having respiratory diseases, through an oxygen mask or nasal cannula.
  • Uses:
    • The device can be used in remote places, homes, or hospital-like facilities for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), chronic hypoxemia and pulmonary edema.
    • It may be used as an adjunct treatment for severe sleep apnea.

Key Features of the Oxygen Enrichment technology developed by CSIR-CMERI:

  • The unit works on the principle of Pressure Swing Adsorption(PSA). It utilizes Zeolite Columns to selectively remove nitrogen from air under certain pressure thereby increasing the Oxygen Concentration.
  • The unit is capable of delivering medical air in the range of up to 15 Litres Per Minute(LPM) with oxygen purity of more than 90%. If required, this unit can even deliver up to 70 LPM at a purity of around 30%. It is way better in comparison to other commercially available devices.
  • The commercially available Oxygen Enrichment Units generally work till 8000 ft from sea level. However, this unit can work up to the altitude of 14000 ft thereby making it very handy for usage at the high altitude terrain battlefield in contingencies.

Note: Pressure swing adsorption(PSA) is the process by which atmospheric air passes through an internal filtration system (e.g. a molecular sieve [zeolite granules or membranes]). This system has a large enough total surface area to separate nitrogen(N2) from the air concentrating the remaining oxygen (O2) to a known purity.

Source: PIB

“Project DANTAK” Completes 60 years in Bhutan

What is the News? 

Project DANTAK is commemorating its Diamond Jubilee i.e 60 years in Bhutan.

About Project DANTAK

  • Project DANTAK was established in 1961 under the leadership of the Third King of Bhutan and then Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru.
  • Objective: It was established with the objective of developing roads, telecommunication networks and other such landmark infrastructure-related projects in Bhutan.
  • Nodal Agency: Border Roads Organisation(BRO)

Key Achievements of the Project:

  • Project DANTAK completed the road connecting Samdrup Jongkhar to Trashigang in 1968. In the same year, Thimphu was connected to Phuentsholing.
  • Some other notable projects executed by the project include the construction of Paro Airport, Yonphula Airfield, Thimphu – Trashigang Highway, Telecommunication & Hydro Power Infrastructure, Sherubtse College, Kanglung and India House Estate.
  • The medical and education facilities established by DANTAK in far-flung areas were often the first in those locations
  • Further, the project also established food outlets along the road. The famous Takthi Canteen midway between Phuentsholing and Thimphu is a compulsory stop for travellers.

Source: PIB

India 3rd Highest Military Spender in 2020: SIPRI

What is the News?

 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute(SIPRI) released a report titled “Trends in World Military Expenditure Report, 2020”. The report provides data related to the military expenditure by countries in 2020.

Note: SIPRI is an independent international institute established in 1966 in Stockholm, Sweden. Its functions are to research into conflict, armaments, arms control, and disarmament.

Key Findings Related to India:

  • India was the 3rd largest military spender in the world in 2020 behind only the US and China.
  • India’s military expenditure was $72.9 billion in 2020. This is an increase of 2.1% since the year 2019.
  • India’s military spending is 2.9% of its Gross Domestic Product(GDP).
  • India accounted for 3.7% of the money spent on the military globally.

Other Key Findings:

  • World military expenditure was $1981 billion in 2020. It is an increase of 2.6% compared to 2019.
    • The increase in military spending came in a year when the global GDP shrank by 4.4% largely due to the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Total military spending accounted for 2.4% of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020.
  • The five biggest spenders in 2020 were the United States, China, India, Russia, and the United Kingdom. These countries together accounted for 62% of world military spending.
  • The United States accounted for 39% of the money spent on the military globally. It spent $778 billion on the military in 2020 representing an increase of 4.4% over 2019.
  • Whereas, China accounted for 13% of the money spent on the military globally with $252 billion on the military in 2020, representing an increase of 1.9% over 2019.
  • Likewise, the other top military spenders include Russia with $61.7 billion, the UK at $59.2 billion, Saudi Arabia at $57.5 billion, followed by Germany and France at just under $53 billion each.
  • From 2011 to 2020, US military expenditure dropped by 10%. But China saw a 76% growth while India’s military spending grew by 34%.

Source: Indian Express

“GloLitter Partnerships Project” – 30 countries join the initiative to tackle marine litter

  1. What is the News? Around 30 Countries from across the oceans have joined the GloLitter Partnerships Project to tackle marine plastic litter.

GloLitter Partnerships Project:

  • GloLitter Partnerships Project was launched by the International Maritime Organization(IMO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations(FAO). The Government of Norway provided initial funding for the project.
  • Aim: The project aims to help the maritime transport and fishing sectors to adapt to a low-plastic future. To achieve this goal, this initiative will assist developing countries to apply best practices for prevention, reduction, and control of marine plastic litter from those sectors.
  • Participating Countries: 30 Countries will be participating in the project. India is one of the participating countries.
  • Significance:
    • The project will promote compliance with the Voluntary Guidelines of the MARPOL Convention. It contains regulations against discharging plastics into the sea.
    • Further, protecting the marine environment is also the objective of Sustainable Development Goal(SDG) 14.


  • International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is one of the main international conventions. It aims at the prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.
  • Adopted in: The Convention was adopted by the International Maritime Organisation(IMO) on 2nd November 1973.
  • India is a signatory to the MARPOL Convention.
  • Annexes: The convention currently includes six technical Annexes:
    1. Annex I: Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Oil
    2. Annex II: Regulations for the Control of Pollution by Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk
    3. Annex III: Prevention of Pollution by Harmful Substances Carried by Sea in Packaged Form
    4. Annex IV: Prevention of Pollution by Sewage from Ships
    5. Annex V: Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships
    6. Annex VI: Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships.

About International Maritime Organization(IMO):

  • International Maritime Organization(IMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations founded in 1948.
  • Purpose: IMO is responsible for measures to improve the safety and security of international shipping and to prevent pollution from ships.
  • Headquarters: London, United Kingdom

Source: IMO


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