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1. Furoshiki

A Japanese traditional wrapping cloth is a sustainable alternative to plastic wrapping paper

Because of the negative impact of non-biodegradable plastics on the environment, many people are discouraged to
use single-use plastic bags.

While paper bags are a better alternative, they tend to be less durable and usually end up in the landfill
after a few uses.

To further lessen our carbon footprint, we can get inspiration from the Japanese use of Furoshiki. It is basically the art of using cloth for a variety of uses such as gift wrapping and carrying items.

2. Basmati rice

For the first time in the country, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has specified the identity standards for Basmati Rice (including Brown Basmati Rice, Milled Basmati Rice, Parboiled Brown Basmati Rice and Milled Parboiled Basmati Rice) vide Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) First Amendment Regulations, 2023 notified in the Gazette of India.

What guideline says:

As per these standards, Basmati rice shall possess natural fragrance characteristic of basmati rice and be free from artificial colouring, polishing agents and artificial fragrances. These standards also specify various identity and quality parameters for basmati rice such as average size of grains and their elongation ratio after cooking; maximum limits of moisture, amylose content, uric acid, defective/damaged grains and incidental presence of other non-basmati rice etc.

The standards are aimed at establishing fair practices in the trade of Basmati rice and protect consumer interest, both domestically and globally. These standards will be enforced w.e.f 1st August, 2023.

About Basmati

Basmati rice is a premium variety of rice cultivated in the Himalayan foothills of the Indian sub-continent and is universally known for its long grain size, fluffy texture and unique inherent aroma and flavour. Agro-climatic conditions of the specific geographical areas where Basmati rice is grown; as well as the method of harvesting, processing and ageing of the rice contributes to the uniqueness of Basmati rice. Due to its unique quality attributes, Basmati is a widely consumed variety of rice both domestically and globally and India accounts for two thirds of its global supply.





Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), a subordinate office of the Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India, is the National Apex Agency entrusted with the
responsibilities of providing scientific inputs for management, exploration, monitoring, assessment, augmentation and regulation of ground water resources
of the country. Central Ground Water Board was established in 1970 by renaming the Exploratory Tube wells Organization under the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. It was merged with the Ground Water Wing of the Geological Survey of India during 1972.

Central Ground Water Board is a multi-disciplinary scientific organization consisting of Hydrogeologists, Geophysicists, Chemists, Hydrologists, Hydrometeorologists and Engineers and has its headquarters at BHUJAL BHAWAN, NH 4, Faridabad,
Haryana. It is headed by the Chairman and has four main wings

Work Area:

Major activities being taken up by Central Ground Water Board include macro/micro-level ground water management studies, exploratory drilling programme, monitoring of ground water levels and water quality through a network of ground water observation wells comprising both large diameter open wells and purpose-built bore/tube wells (piezometers), implementation of demonstrative schemes for artificial recharge and rainwater harvesting for recharge augmentation. Periodic assessment of replenishable ground water resources of the country is carried out by the Board jointly with the concerned State Government agencies. Geophysical studies, remote sensing & GIS
studies and ground water modelling studies are taken up to supplement these activities. The Board also takes up special studies on various aspects of ground water sector such as ground water depletion, sea water ingress, ground water contamination, conjunctive use of surface & ground water, water balance etc. It also organizes various capacity building activities for personnel of its own as well as Central/State Government organizations engaged in various activities in ground water sector as well as mass awareness
campaigns on the importance of water conservation and judicious ground water management. The data generated from various studies taken up by CGWB provide a scientific base for water resource planning by stakeholders. Besides advising states and other user agencies on planning and management of ground water
resources, Central Ground Water Board also provides technical know-how for scientific ground water exploration, development and management to various

The Board regularly publishes scientific reports based on the data generated through various investigations for dissemination to the stakeholders. These include State and District hydrogeological reports, ground water year books and Atlases, ground water user maps and guides/manuals/pamphlets on various aspects of ground water management.

4. Overburden to M-Sand initiative

Sand is classified as a “minor mineral”, under The Mines
and Minerals (Development and Regulations) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act) and administrative control over minor minerals vests with the State Governments, and accordingly, regulated through State specific rules. Due to high demand, regulated supply and complete ban of sand mining during monsoon to protect river ecosystem, finding alternative to river sand became necessary. Sand
Mining Framework (2018) prepared by Ministry of Mines envisages alternative sources of sand in the form of Manufactured Sand (M-Sand) from crushed rock fines (crusher dust), sand from Overburden (OB) of coal mines.

During Opencast mining the overlying soil and rocks are
removed as waste to extract coal and the fragmented rock (Overburden or OB) is heaped in dumps. Most of the waste is disposed off at the surface which occupies considerable land area and requires extensive planning and control to minimize the environmental impact of mining. Coal India Ltd (CIL) has envisaged to process the overburden rocks for sand production in mines where OB material contain about 60% sandstone by volume which is harnessed through crushing and processing of Overburden.

OB to M-Sand initiative of CIL is facilitating processing
of waste overburden in its OC Mines. Manufactured Sand (M-Sand) from overburden of coal mines have several benefits in terms of economy and environmental sustainability, including:

·Cost-effectiveness: Using manufactured sand can be more cost-effective than using natural sand, as it  can be produced in large quantities at a lower cost.

· Consistency: Manufactured sand can have a consistent grain size and shape, which can be beneficial for construction projects that require a specific type of sand.

· Environmental benefits: Using manufactured sand can help to reduce the need for mining natural sand, which can have negative environmental impacts. Additionally, using the overburden from coal mines can help to repurpose materials that would otherwise be considered waste.

· Reduced water consumption: Using manufactured sand can help to reduce the amount of water required for construction projects, as it does not require washing before use.

· Better workability: Manufactured sand is more angular and has a rougher surface, which makes it more workable for construction projects.

· Land occupied by OB dumps can be freed for alternative useful purposes

· Recovery of sand from waste overburden is the best out of waste product

· Commercial sale of produced sand can generate additional revenue for coal companies

· Apart from commercial use, sand produced shall also be consumed for sand stowing in Underground Mines enhancing safety & conservation

· Lesser Sand extraction from river will reduce erosion of channel bed & banks and protect water habitat

· Help maintaining water table



1. Magnatic field of Earth & Mars

Our Earth is a giant magnet, and its magnetic field protects us from high-speed charged particles that are continuously emitted from the Sun in the form of solar wind. Unlike Earth, the planet Mars do not have any intrinsic magnetic field.

This allows the high-speed solar wind to interact directly with the Mars atmosphere, like an obstacle in flow. It has been suggested that even in a weak and thin
magnetosphere as that of the Mars, one can observe frequent occurrences of solitary waves. However, despite several missions to Mars, the presence of solitary waves in the Martian magnetosphere has never been reported earlier. 

2.  ZyCoV-D

ü The world’s first and India’s indigenously developed DNA based vaccine for Covid-19

ü  Developed in partnership with the Department of
Biotechnology, Government of India under the ‘Mission COVID Suraksha’ and implemented by BIRAC

ü  3 dose vaccine which when injected produces the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and elicits an immune response, which plays a vital role in protection from disease as well as viral clearance. The plug-and-play technology on which the plasmid DNA platform is based can be easily adapted to deal with mutations in the virus, such as those already occurring.


About DBT

ü The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), under the Ministry of Science and Technology, promotes and improves biotechnology development in India through its development and implementation in agriculture, healthcare, animal sciences, the environment, and industry.


ü A non-for-profit Public Sector Enterprise, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), has been set up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, which acts as an interface agency
to enhance and encourage the evolving biotechnology industry to implement strategic research and development activities in regards to the product development needs of the Nation.

3. ‘BharOS’

Made In India mobile operating system developed by IIT Madras. BharOS is not very distinct from Android and
iOS. Although there is no information publicly available on BharOS and its key features, it appears to be less of an alternative and more of a fork version of Android.

So what is forking?

Introducing a completely new operating system and forking Android are two different things. In forking, a developer can copy the source code of a programme, app, or even operating system and create a new project without violating copyright laws. Google’s Android has been an open-source project ever since it debuted in 2008. Anyone can use it, use the source code, and create their own fork or alternate version. Amazon’s Fire OS, for example, is essentially a fork version of Android.

But a forked version loses access to the Google Play Store —  the primary way most Android users
download millions of apps on their devices and Google services. Fire OS, for instance, has Amazon’s own App Store.



Context: Union Health Minister unveils world’s first intranasal COVID19 vaccine, iNNCOVACC

ü  This vaccine has the double benefit of enabling faster development of variant-specific vaccines and easy nasal delivery that enables mass immunization to protect from emerging variants of concern.

ü  It promises to become an important tool in mass vaccinations during pandemics and endemics.


ü   Vaccine is a recombinant replication deficient adenovirus vectored vaccine with a pre-fusion stabilized spike protein

ü    iNCOVACC was developed in partnership with
Washington University, St Louis, which had designed and developed the recombinant adenoviral vectored construct and evaluated in pre-clinical studies for efficacy



Bilateral Naval Exercise between India and France

While the bilateral exercise between the two navies were initiated in 1993, it was christened as ‘VARUNA’ in 2001 and has become a hallmark of India – France strategic bilateral relationship.


ü  Indian Navy’s major maritime exercise

ü  As part of the exercise, all surface combatants of the Indian Navy including Destroyers, Frigates, Corvettes as well as submarines and aircraft are put through complex maritime operational deployments to validate and refine the Navy’s Concept of Operations including operational logistics and interoperability with other Services. 


 AMPHEX is aimed at joint training of elements of all three services in various facets of amphibious operations to enhance interoperability and synergy.