Monday, 29th May 2023

Table of contents

1   Editorial of the day


Pakistan spring

2   Daily Current Affairs


Manufactured Sand (M- Sand) As Easy Alternative to River Sand






Transport Outlook 2023 Report


The Role of Small Modular Reactors in the Energy Transition


Rice Fortification Pilots in India Show Drop in Anaemia


X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPOSAT) Mission


Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK)




Khorramshahr-4 ballistic missile


e-governed State


Dancing Girl


India’s Antarctic research stations

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Editorial of the day

Pakistan spring

Exam View: Status quoists’ stand against the Pakistan Spring; Geopolitical reality of Pakistan.

Context: The dramatic arrest of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan within the premises of Islamabad High Court on May 9 led to massive protests across Pakistan, which could be deemed as the beginning of Pakistan Spring.

Decoding the editorial: Pakistan Spring

Status quoists’ stand

  • Harsh realities of the country today, like the economic crisis, could be exploited to crush the spring.
  • The Pakistan army will stand united in the face of such open hostility. The army’s image of being a “glue” that keeps the country together would prevail and the chaos would end if firm action is taken against Khan.
  • Imran Khan, a “beneficiary” of the army’s patronage in the past, has become opportunistic and destructive by tapping into the anti-army sentiment among the public.

Geopolitical reality of Pakistan

  • Army under siege:
    • Since the withdrawal of US troops, the emboldened Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Baloch groups mounted over 850 attacks against the armed forces last year.
    • Hundreds of policemen, paramilitary personnel and senior army officers have been killed. Army operations are continuing but there is no respite in sight.
    • The TTP is expanding its footprint across Balochistan and Punjab.
  • The Afghanistan angle:
    • Frequent clashes with the Taliban along the Afghanistan border have been reported.
    • The Pakistan embassy and a hotel frequented by the Chinese in Kabul came under serious attack last year.
    • Pakistan defence minister’s repeated threats to the Taliban that it withdraw support to the TTP have been ignored.
    • The army, which boasted of deep strategic depth in Afghanistan, is practically fighting a two-front war and keeping a tight watch on the Iran border.
    • The aura of the army playing a smart proxy game has faded with the Taliban becoming a threat.
  • Resentment against China:
    • The two provinces crucial for CPEC, KPK and Balochistan, have become battle grounds for security forces.
    • The army’s steadfast backing of CPEC has brought it to the centre of rising public resentment against Chinese investments. The Chinese foreign minister stressed that some forces had fabricated the rumour that China created a “debt trap” in Pakistan.

  • Economic Crisis:
    • The inflation rate in Pakistan is currently over 30%. This is making it difficult for people to afford basic necessities, such as food and fuel.
  • Internal rebellion:
    • Apart from the social media campaigns of the TTP and Baloch groups, street mobilisations after the ouster of Imran Khan have made the army vulnerable.
    • For the first time, violent mobs, including workers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, attacked army and paramilitary installations across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Punjab, Balochistan and major cities of Pakistan. This is being deemed as “Pakistan spring”.
    • The public fear of the army has been such that it was not targeted even in the wake of 1971 liberation of Bangladesh, military coups or post the assassination of popular leaders such as Benazir Bhutto.
    • There is talk of military courts being set up to try violent mobs.

The fate of Pakistan depends upon the common people, global powers like the US and China and events in Afghanistan. International forces need to intervene to ensure that Pakistan does not become unstable. The growing instability in the Af-Pak region could spill over in no time.



Keywords: GS Paper-2: India and its neighbours
Daily Current Affairs

Manufactured Sand (M- Sand) As Easy Alternative to River Sand

In News: Rajasthan govt promotes manufactured sand as easy alternative to river sand


Manufactured sand (M-Sand) is artificial sand produced from crushing hard stones into small sand-sized angular shaped particles, washed and finely graded to be used as construction aggregate. It is an alternative to River Sand used for construction purposes. It is produced from hard granite stone by crushing. The crushed sand is cubical with rounded edges, washed and graded to as a construction material.

The manufacturing process for M sand takes place in three stages:

  • First stage- crushing stones of varying sizes into aggregates using vertical shaft impact (VSI) crushers.
  • Second stage- the material is then fed into a Rotopactor for crushing the aggregates into sand to the desired grain size.
  • Final stage- the process of screening, to remove dust particles and washing of sand for eliminating minute particles, is carried out.

Advantages of Manufactured Sand

  • Higher compressive and flexural strength
  • Graded with precision and consistency thus it has higher Fineness Modulus compared to natural sand and crusher dust
  • Free of impurities such as clay, dust and silt and has denser particle packing
  • Can be produced near to the construction sites, thus bringing down the transportation costs and consistent supply for demanded quantity can be assured
  • The physical and chemical properties in M Sand are balanced and can withstand any harsh climatic conditions
  • It can overcome the defects in concrete like segregation, honeycombing, corrosion of reinforcement steel, voids, capillary, bleeding etc.
  • A smooth surface texture and free from elongated and flaky particles as it is shaped by using VSI shaping machine
  • The cubicle-shaped particles provide greater durability, higher strength and long life to the concrete
  • The cubical shape and proper gradation give good flexibility to mortar producing excellent workability
  • The usage of M sand in concrete reduces voids, bleeding, segregation and has an optimal initial and final setting time

Sand Mining in India

  • Sand mining in India Sand is classified as a ‘minor mineral’ under Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulations) Act, 1957, and administrative control vests with State Governments.
  • Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines 2016, issued by Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEFCC), encourages scientific sand mining and environmentally friendly management method.
  • Sand Mining Framework, 2018, prepared by Ministry of Mines, envisages alternative sources of sand in the form of M-Sand from crushed rock fines (crusher dust), etc.
  • Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has published Environmental Guidelines for Stone Crushing units that include measures for air pollution control to be followed in stone-crushing units.


Keywords: GS-1 Geography
Daily Current Affairs


In News: National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) constitutes Cheetah Project Steering Committee

About Cheetah Project Steering Committee:

  • It is a newly formed committee by the National Tiger Conservation Authority with Rajesh Gopal, Secretary General of Global Tiger Forum as the Chairman of the committee.
  • The committee will seek advice from a panel of international cheetah experts when required, including specialists from South Africa and Namibia.
  • Its main responsibilities include reviewing progress, monitoring, and providing advice on the Cheetah introduction to the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department and NTCA.
  • They will also explore the possibility of opening the Cheetah habitat for eco-tourism and would eventually involve local community and interface in the project activities.
  • The committee will be active for a period of two years and will hold at least one meeting every month, along with field visits as needed.
  • The committee has the authority to invite additional experts for consultation based on specific project requirements.


  • It is currently listed as a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • The global population of cheetahs is estimated to be around 7,100 individuals in the wild and are mainly found in sub-Saharan Africa, with a small population also residing in
  • The cheetah population has faced significant decline due to habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation.


Keywords: GS-3: Environment, Conservation
Daily Current Affairs


In News: WMO approves a global tracker for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

About global tracker for GHGs:

  • Global Tracker for Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs) will be established by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)
  • The tracker aims to support urgent action in reducing heat-trapping gases that contribute to global temperature increases.
  • It will fill critical information gaps and provide an integrated and operational framework for monitoring GHGs.
  • Currently, there is a lack of comprehensive and timely international exchange of surface and space-based GHG observations and modelling products.
  • The Global Tracker will consist of four main components:
    • Comprehensive global observations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) concentrations
    • Prior estimates of GHG emissions based on activity data and models
    • Global Earth System models representing GHG cycles
    • Data assimilation systems combining observations and models for higher accuracy.
  • The tracker will improve understanding of the carbon cycle, which is crucial for planning effective mitigation activities.
  • The increasing levels of greenhouse gas concentrations, surpassing levels of the past 800,000 years, highlight the urgency of monitoring and reducing GHG emissions.
  • The unanimous support from the World Meteorological Organization's 193 members demonstrates the growing societal importance of GHG monitoring.

Greenhouse gases (GHGs)

  • These are gases that trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere, contributing to the greenhouse effect and influencing the planet's climate.
  • They have the ability to absorb and emit infrared radiation, leading to an increase in surface temperatures.
  • The primary greenhouse gases include: Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous Oxide (N2O), and Fluorinated Gases such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).


Keywords: GS-3: Important International Bodies
Daily Current Affairs

Transport Outlook 2023 Report

In News: ITF releases Transport Outlook report at Leipzig Transport Summit on decarbonisation on transport sector.

About Transport Outlook Report 2023:

The Transport Outlook Report 2023 was presented at the Leipzig Transport Summit of the International Transport Forum (ITF) on sustainable economies and transportation.

Major Findings:

  • Decarbonization efforts can lead to an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions in the transport sector over the next 25 years compared to 2019 levels.
  • Implementing decarbonization measures can significantly reduce the need for investment in core infrastructure such as roads, railways, and ports.
  • A mix of policies is necessary to promote sustainable choices in transportation, including investments in public transport infrastructure and policies supporting higher occupancy and more compact cities.
  • Decarbonization aligns with the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, contributing to the global efforts to limit temperature increases.
  • By taking decisive action to decarbonize transport, governments can potentially save around $4 trillion globally on road maintenance and investment.
  • Proactive decarbonization efforts offer cost savings in capital investment for core infrastructure, with projections indicating about 5% less investment compared to current policies.
  • The report has also highlighted the importance of avoiding unnecessary transport activity, shifting to no-carbon transport options, and improving overall transport efficiency.
  • Overall, achieving an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2044 would put transport on the right path to limit global temperature increases to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.


Keywords: GS-3: Important Reports
Daily Current Affairs

The Role of Small Modular Reactors in the Energy Transition

In News: The NITI Aayog recently released a report on ‘The Role of Small Modular Reactors in the Energy Transition’.

Highlights of the Report:

  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) has projected the global nuclear installed power capacity to rise from 413 GW in 2021 to 871 GW by 2050 to meet Net Zero Emissions by 2050.
  • With the requirement to reduce fossil-fuel based electricity generation, nuclear power can make a major contribution in terms of providing base load power and grid balancing.
  • As per International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Small Modular Reactors (SMR) are advanced nuclear reactors with a power generation capacity ranging from less than 30 MWe to 300+ MWe.
  • Benefits of SMR:
    • Cogeneration SMR systems have potential to complement variable renewables through flexible operations.
    • SMRs can also be installed in remote off-grid locations and help in achieving energy transition goals.
    • SMR can be manufactured in a controlled factory environment and then transported to project site, thus optimising time & cost of project.
    • Deployment advantages like reduced size of Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) and passive safety system.
    • They can be located at places which are not feasible for constructing large size reactors.
    • Lower capital investment per reactor for SMRs, however per MW capital investment is high in the beginning.
  • Challenges for SMR Industry:
    • The SMR industry is yet to realise a fully developed operational fabrication facility for large-scale serial manufacturing of SMR components.
    • A large number of technologies, if adopted for deployment at the same time, could create regulatory challenges and take away some degree of cost optimization.
    • Mobilising finance for development of SMR can be another challenge.


Keywords: GS-3 Indigenization of Technology & Developing New Technology
Daily Current Affairs

Rice Fortification Pilots in India Show Drop in Anaemia

In News: Four large-scale pilots in different parts of the country were carried out, with three in school lunch and one in Integrated Child Development Scheme, which showed that rice fortification could reduce nutritional anaemia among schoolchildren.

About the rice fortification:

  • Fortification is the practice of deliberately increasing the content of one or more micronutrients (i.e., vitamins and minerals) in food or condiments (supplemental food) to improve nutritional quality of food supply and provide public health benefits with minimal risk.
  • Apart from combating malnutrition, food fortification prevents cretinism, goitre, thyrotoxicosis, brain damage and improves foetal and neonatal health
  • The UN, through its World Food Programme, supported national and state governments with a pilot-to-scale approach, useful in countries where governments were not yet fully convinced about fortification.
  • Challenges to the program:

Since the PDS serves around 800 million people, there were concerns that efforts to roll out rice fortification could not achieve the required scale and quality.

    • Furthermore some stakeholders were not very optimistic regarding the success of the program, as it would be difficult to replicate the best practices of other successful countries in Indian context
  • However the pilots have demonstrated that rice fortification could be rolled out through existing social assistance distribution systems and costs could be lowered through economies of scale.
  • After witnessing the success and feasibility of the pilot project, the government has announced that all rice distributed through food-based social assistance programmes would be fortified by 2024.



Keywords: GS-2 Issues relating to poverty and hunger, Food Security, Health
Daily Current Affairs

X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPOSAT) Mission

In News: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is collaborating with Raman Research Institute, Bengaluru to build the X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat),scheduled to be launched in 2023.

About XPoSat:

  • XPoSat is India’s first dedicated Polarimetry mission to study various dynamics of bright astronomical X-ray sources in extreme conditions.
  • It is India’s first, and the world’s 2nd polarimetry mission, after NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) launched in 2021 that is meant to study various dynamics of bright astronomical X-ray sources in extreme conditions.
  • The spacecraft will carry two scientific payloads in a low earth orbit.
    • POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays) is the primary payload, which will measure the polarimetry parameters (degree and angle of polarisation).
      • POLIX is expected to observe about 40 bright astronomical sources of different categories during the planned lifetime of XPoSat mission of about 5 years.
      • This is the first payload in a medium X-ray energy band dedicated for polarimetry measurements.
    • XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing) payload will give spectroscopic information (on how light is absorbed and emitted by objects).
      • It would observe several types of sources, such as X-ray pulsars, blackhole binaries, low-magnetic field neutron stars, etc.
    • Polarimetry is a technique to measure the polarisation of light. It is a tool that allows astronomers to infer information about celestial objects, from passing comets to distant galaxies. Polarisation is seen across all wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum.
    • X-rays have much higher energy and much shorter wavelengths, between 0.03 and 3 nanometres, so small that some x-rays are no bigger than a single atom of many elements.
      • The physical temperature of an object determines the wavelength of the radiation it emits. The hotter the object, the shorter the wavelength of peak emission.


Keywords: GS-3 Space Technology
Daily Current Affairs

Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK)

Why in news? Recently, The Ministry of Minorities Affairs has approved a grant under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK), to support the upgradation of Unani Medicine facilities at Hyderabad, Chennai, Lucknow, Silchar and Bengaluru.


  • The Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK) is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, under the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
  • The erstwhile Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) has been restructured and renamed as Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram for effective implementation since 2018.
  • The revised PMJVK has been approved by the Government for continuation over the 15th Finance Commission Cycle i.e., during FY 2021-22 to 2025-26.
  • Objective:
    • To improve socio-economic condition of the communities living in the areas through community infrastructure development support.
    • Provide basic amenities for improving quality of life of the people.
    • Reducing imbalances and development deficit in the identified Minority concentration areas.
  • Approach: Demand driven financial assistance for infrastructural development for community assets only.
  • Infrastructure assets developed under the project are for use of all communities living in the Catchment areas.
  • The Revised PMJVK Scheme will now be implemented in all Districts of the Country including all the Aspirational Districts.
  • States/ UTs can propose infrastructure projects in the 5 identified areas where the concentration of minority population is more than 25% in the catchment area.


Keywords: General Studies –2 Government Policies & Interventions
Daily Current Affairs


Why in news? Recently, Indian Astronomical Observatory (located in Hanle of Ladakh) has observed the brightening of BL Lacertae (BL Lac), a blazar located about 950 million light years away from Earth.


  • Blazars are active galactic nuclei (AGN), whose jets are aligned with the observer’s line of sight.
    • AGN is formed when the gravitational energy of these materials, being pulled towards the black hole, is converted into light.
  • A Blazar is a type of galaxy that is powered by a humongous black hole and is among one of the brightest and most powerful objects in the universe.
  • They are known for emitting highly energetic particles and radiation, including gamma rays, X-rays, and radio waves.

Black Hole:

  • A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light cannot get out.
  • The gravity is so strong there because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. This phenomenon happens when a star is dying.
  • Black holes can be big or small.


Keywords: General Studies – 3 Science and Technology, Space technology, Scientific Innovations & Discoveries
Daily Current Affairs

Khorramshahr-4 ballistic missile

Why in news? Recently, Iran launched the fourth generation of its liquid-fuelled of Khorramshahr ballistic missile, named Kheibar.


  • The Khorramshahr-4 is named after an Iranian city that was the scene of heavy fighting during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.
  • The missile also is called Kheibar, after a Jewish fortress conquered by the Muslims in the 7th century - in what is now Saudi Arabia.
  • Khorramshahr-4 has a 2,000-kilometre range with a 1,500-kilogram warhead.
  • It is modeled after North Korea’s Musudan ballistic missile.
  • Ballistic missiles uses projectile motion to deliver nuclear or conventional warheads on a target.
  • They are powered initially by a rocket.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Science and technology, Defence Technology
Daily Current Affairs

e-governed State

Why in news? Recently, Kerala has become the first full ‘e-governed state’ in India.


  • It has successfully digitized an extensive range of government services, ensuring prompt and transparent delivery to its citizens.
  • Delivery of all vital services has already been digitised, covering all key domains including health, education, land revenue, documentation of properties, public distribution system and social security payouts.
  • E-governance, meaning ‘electronic governance’ is using information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as Wide Area Networks, the Internet, and mobile computing for the purpose of enhancing governance.
  • Initiatives of Kerala:
    • Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON) project, which has made internet access a citizen's right.
    • e-Sevanam, a single portal for 900 public services to taluk-level offices.

Keywords: General Studies –2 Polity & Governance
Daily Current Affairs

Dancing Girl

Why in news? Recently, On the occasion of International Museum Day (May 18), Prime Minister unveiled the Expo’s mascot – a “contemporised” version of the famous Dancing Girl of Mohenjodaro.


  • The Dancing Girl is a small bronze figurine dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization, which thrived around 2500 BCE.
  • It was made using 'Lost Wax' method (molten wax is poured into a mould to create a model).
  • Sculpture of dancing girl was excavated from Mohenjodaro in 1926, by British archaeologist Ernest McKay.
  • It is named the 'Dancing Girl' owing to her posture, with her right hand on back of her hip and left hand resting on her left thigh.
  • Mascot of International Museum Expo 2023 was inspired by Dancing Girl Sculpture.


Keywords: General Studies –1 Art & Culture
Daily Current Affairs

India’s Antarctic research stations

Why in news? Recently, Union Minister for Earth Sciences engaged virtually with scientists stationed at Bharati Station in Antarctica.


  • Dakshin Gangotri (abandoned in 1990)
    • Dakshin Gangotri, first permanent research station established in 1983 over Ice shelf in Central Dronning Maud Land region.
  • Maitri (Currently operational)
    • Maitri is India’s second permanent research station in Antarctica.
    • Maitri, located in Schirmacher Oasis, was opened in 1989.
    • India also built a freshwater lake around Maitri known as Lake Priyadarshini.
  • Bharti: (Currently operational)
    • Bharati, located between Thala Fjord & Quilty bay, east of Stornes Peninsula, is operational since 2012.
    • It is India’s first committed research facility.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Science and technology
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