Monday, 20th March 2023

Table of contents

1   Editorial of the day


Fake News - A major Concern

2   Daily Current Affairs


The great rift: Africa’s splitting plates


Governor Power to call Floor Test


Animal Husbandry Statistics


Active Volcano on Venus


Green Self-Powered Desalination Plant in Lakshadweep


Horseshoe Crabs – Marine Living Fossil


Research, Education and Training Outreach (REACHOUT) Scheme


Zojila Pass


Defence Acquisition Council


BIS Launches ‘Learning Science via Standards’ Series


Khanij Bidesh India Limited

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Editorial of the day

Fake News - A major Concern

Exam View: Spread of Fake News, Impact of fake news on society, SC Judgments, International and National efforts to tackle fake news.

In News: An online campaign with ill intent created a story that claimed migrant workers from Bihar were experiencing violence in Tamil Nadu (TN), which resulted in disruptions to law and order. This incident has once again highlighted the danger of fake news in undermining democratic institutions and social cohesion.

To nurture the narrative, stray news stories of death of a migrant worker were seeded online to build a wider campaign that there was targeted violence in TN against North India.

Fake news impact on Society

  • Manipulation of public narrative: Fake news are threat to democracy where political parties and interested groups with access to huge amount of data could manipulate public narrative for political gains.
  • Affect public and social harmony: Fake news disrupt communal and social harmony by seeding mistrust, anger, and hatred among masses through disinformation and truth sandwich.
  • Financial deception: False information has been utilized to cheat financially vulnerable individuals who are unable to read. For instance, chit fund schemes have employed spam emails and spread misinformation about GPS chips being embedded in the Rs 2,000 note to perpetrate online fraud.
  • Erosion of public trust on Media: Fake news has reduced people’s belief in social, print, and electronic media, affecting the benefits of these media.

International efforts to tackle fake news

  • Code of Practice on Disinformation 2022 by the European Union which includes transparency in political advertising, empowerment of fact-checkers and researchers, tools to flag disinformation, and measures to reduce manipulative behavior.
  • Online Safety Bill by the United Kingdom which will expect social media intermediaries to actively monitor problematic content.
  • Sweden has enlisted a famous cartoon character to teach children about the dangers of fake news.

Steps taken by government to tackle fake news

  • IPC Sections 153A and 295 under which action can be initiated against someone creating or spreading fake news if it can be termed as hate speech.
  • Section 69A of the IT Act, 2000 through which Government blocks access to any information online that it considers necessary in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India.
  • Draft amendment to IT Rules, 2021 empowers the PIB, to flag inaccurate and fake news related to government bodies on social media platforms.
  • Complaints relating to objectionable TV content or fake news can be filed to Broadcasting Content Complaint Council (BCCC).

To prevent the spread of false information, it is imperative for the government to reinforce its regulatory framework and educate the public about the perils of fake news. Furthermore, the promotion and provision of assistance to fact-checking organizations like Alt News that utilize AI tools to authenticate and refute fake news should be encouraged.


Keywords: GS-2 Transparency & Accountability
Daily Current Affairs

The great rift: Africa’s splitting plates

In News: In 2020, a group of scientists predicted that a new ocean would be created as Africa gradually splits into two separate parts, resulting in emergence of a new coastline.

About the East African Rift:

  • East African Rift (also called Great Rift Valley) is a crack that stretches 56 kilometres and appeared in the desert of Ethiopia in 2005, triggering the formation of a new sea.
  • The African plate i.e. the Nubian plate, carries most of the continent, while the smaller Somali plate carries the Horn of Africa.
  • The two major rift valley systems of the East African Rift are Gregory Rift and Western Rift.

What is rifting?

Rifting refers to the geological process in which a single tectonic plate is split into two or more plates separated by divergent plate boundaries.

  • Factors causing rifting:
    • The Earth’s lithosphere is divided into several tectonic plates that are not stationary but rather move in relation to each other at varying speeds.
    • Tectonic forces not only move the plates but can also cause them to rupture, resulting in the formation of a rift and potentially leading to creation of new plate boundaries.
    • This process leads to the emergence of a lowland region known as a rift valley, which can occur either on land or at bottom of the ocean
  • Process of Rifting in Africa:
    • The phenomenon of rifting can be traced back 138 million years, when South America and Africa were divided into separate continents.
    • The three plates i.e. the Nubian African Plate, Somalian African Plate and Arabian Plate are separating at different speeds. The Arabian Plate is moving away from Africa at around an inch per year, while the other two African plates are separating even slower (0.5-0.2 inch per year).
    • The Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea will flood into the region of Ethiopia and East African Rift Valley, leading to the formation of a new ocean. This new ocean will result in East Africa becoming a separate small continent.

What are the consequences of rifting?


  • Emergence of new coastline: This geological process will inevitably divide the continent, resulting in currently landlocked countries, such as Uganda and Zambia, obtaining their own coastlines in due time.
  • Opportunities of economic growth: These countries will have access to new ports for trade, as well as fishing grounds and sub-sea internet infrastructure, which will undoubtedly transform their economic potential.
  • Formation of a new continent with distinct biodiversity, enriching the ecological diversity of Earth.


  • Displacement of People: Rifting, formation of new continents and emergence of oceans would lead to evacuation of large numbers of people and mass displacement.
  • Aggravate environmental degradation: Changes in the physiology of Earth will impact the habitats of flora and fauna due to climate change, resulting in environmental degradation.
  • Uncontrolled waste disposal will also be a significant concern. Furthermore, some species will disappear, while others will become endangered due to habitat changes.
  • Formation of new physical features such as new faults, fissures and cracks or the reactivation of pre-existing faults, leading to increased seismic activity.

Keywords: GS-1 Salient features of world’s physical geography, important geophysical phenomena
Daily Current Affairs

Governor Power to call Floor Test

In News: Recently, Supreme Court said that threats and dissent can’t be ground for Governor to call a floor test.


Constitutional Provision for Floor Test

  • Article 174: It authorizes the Governor to summon, dissolve and prorogue the state legislative assembly.  Article 174 (2)(b) gives powers to the Governor to dissolve the Assembly on the aid and advice of the cabinet.
  • Article 175: Under Article 175(2), the Governor can summon the House and call for a floor test to prove whether the government has the numbers.
  • Governor can exercise the above only as per Article 163 of the Constitution which says that the Governor acts on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister.

Discretionary Power of the Governor

  • Governor's discretionary power is outlined in Article 163(1), which limits their ability to act independently except in cases where the Constitution explicitly requires it.
  • Governors can use their discretionary power in situations where the Chief Minister has lost the confidence of the House and the number of supporters is uncertain, as per Article 174. When the opposition or the Governor suspects that the Chief Minister has lost their majority, they call for a floor test. 
  • Courts on multiple occasions, stated that in cases where the ruling party's majority is in question, a floor test should be conducted as soon as possible.


Keywords: GS -2 Polity and Constitution
Daily Current Affairs

Animal Husbandry Statistics

In News:  Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying has recently released department’s annual publication 'Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics 2022'


  • Total milk production in the country during 2021-22 is 06 million tonnes with an annual growth rate of 5.29%.
  • Top five major milk producing States are Rajasthan (15.05%), Uttar Pradesh (14.93%), Madhya Pradesh (8.06%), Gujarat (7.56%), and Andhra Pradesh (6.97%).
  • In 2021-22, the total egg production in the country is 60 billion nos which has increased by 6.19% as compared to the previous year.
  • Total five major egg producing States are Andhra Pradesh (20.41%), Tamil Nadu (16.08%), Telangana (12.86%), West Bengal (8.84%), and Karnataka (6.38%).
  • The total meat production in the country is 29 million tonnes for the year 2021-22 with an annual growth rate of 5.62%.
  • The total five major meat producing States are Maharashtra (12.25%), Uttar Pradesh (12.14%), West Bengal (11.63%), Andhra Pradesh (11.04%), and Telangana (10.82%).
  • The total wool production in the country during 2021-22 is 13 thousand tonnes, which has declined by 10.30% as compared to the previous year.
  • The top five major wool producing States are Rajasthan (45.91%), Jammu and Kashmir (23.19%), Gujarat (6.12%), Maharashtra (4.78%), and Himachal Pradesh (4.33%).
  • The per-capita availability of milk is 444 gram/day during 2021-22, increased by 17 gram/day over the previous year.
  • In 2021-22, the per-capita availability of egg is 95 nos/annuam, increased by 5 nos/annuam over the previous year.
  • The per-capita availability of meat is 6.82 kg/annuam during 2021-22, increased by 0.30 kg/annuam over the previous year.
  • During 2014-15 and 2020-21, the value addition of the sector grew at a compound annual growth rate of 7.93%.
  • In 2020-21, the share of Livestock at constant prices in Agriculture Sector and total GVA was 13% and 4.9%, respectively.


Keywords: GS-III: Economy: Animal Husbandry
Daily Current Affairs

Active Volcano on Venus

In News: Recent study indicates possible active volcanoes on Venus, adding another feature in common with Earth. Venus is often called Earth's sister planet due to similarities in size, mass, density, and volume.


  • A 2 square kilometre volcanic vent on Venus changed shape in eight months, indicating volcanic activity.
  • Venus has over 1,600 major volcanoes, but none were assumed to be active however, the recent comparison showed the vent almost doubled to a 4 sq km blob.
  • The vent is associated with Maat Mons, the planet’s second-highest volcano and the changes were likely due to lava flow escaping the vent, hinting at possible volcanic activity.
  • Magellan has used radar to image Venus’ surface from different orbits and a few locations suspected to have volcanic activity were observed two or three times over two years.
  • Researchers have analysed images from 1990-1992 for changes in geologic features between two imaging cycles and roughly 42 per cent of the global surface area was imaged two or more times.
  • Researchers have also speculated that Venus is less volcanically active than Jupiter’s moon Io, home to over 100 active spots.
  • Previously, a 2021 study found clues to indicate recent volcanic activity in Idunn Mons, a Venusian volcanic peak in southern Venus.


Keywords: GS-III: Space
Daily Current Affairs

Green Self-Powered Desalination Plant in Lakshadweep

In News: Recently, National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) under the aegis of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), has been working for years on harnessing energy from the ocean.


  • NIOT provides potable water in six islands of Lakshadweep using Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) technology.
  • NIOT is working towards making LTTD technology free of emissions in which differences of temperature are exploited.
  • Ocean thermal technology will be unlikely to be useful for supplying power onshore as large gradient difference in temperature between the surface and ocean depths is needed for such plants to work.
  • In Lakshadweep, these depths can be achieved fairly easily, unlike off the coast of Chennai and therefore, it would make the power produced this way extremely expensive.
  • Currently, Desalination plants are powered by diesel generator sets and once the initiative comes into effect, it is expected to be the first in the world to do so.
  • At present, there are five desalination plants in operation in Lakshadweep islands, with four more expected to function soon.

How does LTTD technology work?

  • LTTD technology exploits the difference in temperature (nearly 15°C) in ocean water at the surface and at depths of about 600 feet.
  • This cold water condenses water at the surface that is warmer but whose pressure has been lowered using vacuum pumps.
  • Such de-pressurised water can evaporate even at ambient temperatures resulting vapour, when condensed, is free of salts and contaminants and fit to consume.


Keywords: GS-III: Science and Tech
Daily Current Affairs

Horseshoe Crabs – Marine Living Fossil

In News: Recently, Scientist demands Horseshoe crab, medicinally priceless and one of the oldest creatures on earth, should be placed in ‘Species Recovery Plan’


  • The horseshoe crab is a marine chelicerate arthropod living in shallow coastal waters on soft sandy or muddy bottoms and spawns mostly on intertidal beaches at summer-spring high tides.
  • The Chelicerata is a division within the Arthropoda, containing animals such as spiders, scorpions, harvestmen, mites and ticks.
  • These have a segmented body and segmented limbs and a thick chitinous cuticle called an exoskeleton.
  • Odisha is the largest habitat of horseshoe crabs in India.

Type of Species and Habitat

  • The American horseshoe crab
  • The tri-spine horseshoe crab
  • The coastal horseshoe crab
  • The mangrove horseshoe crab

First is found in the Gulf of Mexico and the last three are Indo-Pacific species found mainly in the coastal waters of India, Southeast Asia, China and Japan.

IUCN Protection Status

  • American horseshoe crab: Vulnerable
  • Tri-spine horseshoe crab: Endangered
  • The two other species are not listed yet


Keywords: GS-3 Environment
Daily Current Affairs

Research, Education and Training Outreach (REACHOUT) Scheme

In News: Recently, government has launched the Research, Education and Training Outreach (REACHOUT) Scheme


  • REACHOUT scheme consists of R&D in Earth System Science (RDESS), International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography (ITCOocean)Program for Development of and Skilled manpower in Earth System Sciences (DESK)
  • This scheme is being implemented for the entire country and not State/UT-wise.


  • Supporting various R &D activities in the thrust areas of different components of Earth System Sciences that are theme and need-based and that would help in attaining the National goals set up for MoES.
  • Develop useful collaborations with international organizations for the mutual transfer of advanced knowledge in science and technology in Earth Sciences and to provide services to developing countries.
  • Develop skilled and trained manpower in Earth Sciences with the support of academic institutions in the country and abroad.,exploration%20of%20the%20Polar%20regions


Keywords: GS-3 Economy
Daily Current Affairs

Zojila Pass

In News: Recently, BRO opened the strategic Zojila Pass located on the Greater Himalayan Range which acts as a gateway between Union Territories of Ladakh, and Jammu & Kashmir.


  • Zoji La is a high mountain pass located in the Kargil district of Ladakh.
  • Zoji la is known as the “Mountain Pass of Blizzards”.
  • Zojila pass remains closed during winters due to heavy snowfall, cutting off Ladakh region from Kashmir.
  • In 2018, the Zojila tunnel project was launched. The tunnel is Asia's longest and strategic bi-directional tunnel, which will provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh.,Ladakh%2C%20and%20Jammu%20%26%20Kashmir


Keywords: GS-1 Geography
Daily Current Affairs

Defence Acquisition Council

In News: Recently, DAC clears proposals worth ₹70,500 crore including several design and development cases.


  • The DAC is the highest decision-making body in the Defence Ministry for deciding on new policies and capital acquisitions for the three services (Army, Navy and Air Force) and the Indian Coast Guard.
  • The Minister of Defence is the Chairman of the Council.
  • It was formed, after the Group of Ministers recommendations on 'Reforming the National Security System', in 2001, post Kargil War (1999).


Keywords: GS-3 Science, Defence
Daily Current Affairs

BIS Launches ‘Learning Science via Standards’ Series

In News: Recently, BIS launches 'Learning Science via Standards' initiative for students.


  • It is a unique initiative for students for learning science via standards.
  • The initiative focuses on a series of lesson plans aimed to use scientific concepts, principles and laws to help students understand their practical applications in manufacturing, functioning and testing of quality characteristics of different products as stated in the relevant Indian Standards.
  • The subjects for the lesson plans are largely related to products used in day-to-day life and have been chosen based on their relevance to education as part of the course curriculum as well as to industrial applications.
  • This initiative runs in a continuum with an earlier BIS ‘Standards Clubs’ Initiative.


Keywords: GS-3 Science
Daily Current Affairs

Khanij Bidesh India Limited

In News: India mulling to discuss mechanism with Australia under FTA for smooth supply of critical minerals.


  • Khanij Bidesh India Ltd. (KABIL) is a joint venture company was set up with the participation of three Central Public Sector Enterprises namely, National Aluminium Company Ltd.(NALCO), Hindustan Copper Ltd.(HCL) and Mineral Exploration Company Ltd. (MECL).
  • The objective of constituting KABIL is to ensure a consistent supply of critical and strategic minerals to Indian domestic market.
  • While KABIL would ensure mineral security of the Nation, it would also help in realizing the overall objective of import substitution.
  • The equity participation between NALCO, HCL and MECL is in the ratio of 40:30:30.


Keywords: GS-3 Economy
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