Great Barrier Reef


The highest levels of coral cover, within the past 36 years, has been recorded in the northern and central parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR), according to the annual long-term monitoring report by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).


Environment and Ecology (Conservation of Environment and Ecology, Environmental Pollution and Degradation)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Great Barrier Reef
  2. About Coral Reefs
  3. What does the new report say?

Great Barrier Reef

  • The Great Barrier Reef, located in the Coral Sea (North-East Coast), off the coast of Queensland, Australia, is the world’s most extensive and spectacular coral reef ecosystem composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands.
  • This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps which are tiny, soft-bodied organisms and their base which is a hard, protective limestone skeleton called a calicle, forms the structure of coral reefs.
  • It was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981.

About Coral Reefs

  • Indonesia has the largest coral reef area in the world and the Great Barrier Reef of the Queensland coast of Australia is the largest aggregation of coral reefs.
  • India, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Chagos have the maximum coral reefs in South Asia.
  • Coral Reefs protect humanity from natural calamities acting as a barrier, provide revenue and employment through tourism and recreation and also provide habitats for fishes, starfish and sea anemones.
  • Coral blocks are used for buildings and road construction, the lime supplied by corals is used in cement industries and coral reefs may also be used in jewellery.
  • India has four coral reef areas:
    • Gulf of Mannar,
    • Andaman and Nicobar Islands,
    • Lakshadweep islands
    • Gulf of Kutch.

Risks and threats to coral reefs

  • Due to anthropogenic activities such as coastal development, destructive fishing methods and pollution from domestic and industrial sewage.
  • Due to increased sedimentation, over-exploitation and recurring cyclones.
  • Coral diseases such as black band and white band due to infectious microorganisms introduced by the human population that live on the coastal regions.

What does the new report say?

  • The annual long-term monitoring by AIMS began 36 years ago, and reefs are surveyed through in-water and aerial techniques.
  • The report states that reef systems are resilient and capable of recovering after disturbances such as accumulated heat stress, cyclones, predatory attacks and so on, provided the frequency of such disturbances is low.
  • The new survey shows record levels of region-wide coral cover in the northern and central GBR since the first ever AIMS survey was done.
  • Coral cover is measured by determining the increase in the cover of hard corals.
  • The hard coral cover in northern GBR had reached 36% while that in the central region had reached 33%.
  • Meanwhile, coral cover levels declined in the southern region from 38% in 2021 to 34% in 2022.
  • The record levels of recovery, the report showed, were fuelled largely by increases in the fast-growing Acropora corals, which are a dominant type in the GBR.
  • Incidentally, these fast growing corals are also the most susceptible to environmental pressures such as rising temperatures, cyclones, pollution, crown-of-thorn starfish (COTs) attacks which prey on hard corals and so on.
  • Also, behind the recent recovery in parts of the reef, are the low levels of acute stressors in the past 12 months — no tropical cyclones, lesser heat stress in 2020 and 2022 as opposed to 2016 and 2017, and a decrease in COTs outbreaks.

Genome Sequencing


A recent study revealed that the rate of genetic changes in the monkeypox virus was higher than expected.


GS III- Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Genome Sequencing: 
  2. Importance of Genome Sequencing
  3. Genomic surveillance
  4. APOBEC3 protein
  5. About Monkeypox

About Genome Sequencing: 

Genome sequencing is figuring out the order of DNA nucleotides, or bases, in a genome—the order of Adenine, Cytosine, Guanines, and Thymine that make up an organism’s DNA.

Human genome

  • It is made up of 23 chromosome pairs with a total of about 3 billion DNA base pairs.
  • There are 24 distinct human chromosomes: 22 autosomal chromosomes, plus the sex-determining X and Y chromosomes.
  • Chromosomes 1-22 are numbered roughly in order of decreasing size.
  • Somatic cells usually have one copy of chromosomes 1-22 from each parent, plus an X chromosome from the mother and either an X or Y chromosome from the father, for a total of 46.
  • There are estimated 20,000-25,000 human protein-coding genes.
  • The estimate of the number of human genes has been repeatedly revised down from initial predictions of 100,000 or more as genome sequence quality and gene finding methods have improved, and could continue to drop further.

Importance of Genome Sequencing

  • Sequencing the genome is an important step towards understanding it.
  • The genome sequence will represent a valuable shortcut, helping scientists find genes much more easily and quickly. A genome sequence does contain some clues about where genes are, even though scientists are just learning to interpret these clues.
  • Scientists also hope that being able to study the entire genome sequence will help them understand how the genome as a whole works—how genes work together to direct the growth, development and maintenance of an entire organism.
  • Finally, genes account for less than 25 percent of the DNA in the genome, and so knowing the entire genome sequence will help scientists study the parts of the genome outside the genes. This includes the regulatory regions that control how genes are turned on and off, as well as long stretches of “nonsense” or “junk” DNA—so called because significance of it hasn’t been established.

Genomic surveillance

  • Genomic surveillance of pathogens could provide unique insights to understand the outbreak better, track the spread of pathogens and provide immense opportunities for public health decision-making as well as for epidemiology.
  • Researchers from across the world have made available over 650 complete genome sequences of monkeypox isolates to date in public domain databases including GISAID and GenBank.
  • This includes over 600 genomes which were sequenced this year alone from over 35 countries, including genomes of two isolates from India, collected from Kerala. 

Accelerated evolution of  monkeypox virus

  • The monkeypox virus has a DNA genome of around 2,00,000 base pairs, roughly six times larger than that of SARS-CoV-2.
  • Like other viruses, the monkeypox virus evolves by the accumulation of genetic errors, or mutations, in its genome when it replicates inside a host.
  • Information about mutations occurring in different genome sequences of the monkeypox virus across different regions can, thus, provide essential insights into how the virus is evolving, its genetic diversity and other factors that may be relevant to the development of diagnostic tools.
  • Being a DNA virus, the monkeypox virus like other poxviruses was believed to have a small rate of accumulating genetic changes compared to viruses with an RNA genome like SARS-CoV-2, which have a much larger rate of mutations.
  • For poxviruses, this rate is estimated to be as low as a couple of genetic changes every year.
  • A recent study, however, revealed that the observed rate of genetic changes in the virus was higher than expected — average of around 50 genetic changes.
  • The higher-than-expected rate of evolution coupled with the rapid rise in monkeypox cases across the world could potentially be due to highly parallel evolution in a large number of individuals simultaneously, as the present outbreak came out of a superspreader event. 

APOBEC3 protein

  • The study also suggests that several mutations that have been identified in the new sequences of the monkeypox virus may have emerged due to interaction between the virus genome and an important family of proteins coded by the human genome known as the Apolipoprotein B Editing Complex (or APOBEC3).
  • These proteins offer protection against certain viral infections by editing the genome sequence of the virus while it replicates in the cell.
  • Some researchers, therefore, suggest that many of the genetic mutations in the monkeypox genomes from the current outbreak are relics of the effect of APOBEC3 and may not provide a significant evolutionary advantage to the virus. 
  • Monkeypox virus can infect a range of hosts, including non-human primates and rodents which could act as a natural reservoir. 
  • Infections in the reservoir could also enable continued transmission and accumulation of mutations before spilling over to cause human infections. 
  • Other studies have also suggested a continued evolution of the virus, including deletions involving genes as seen in a few genomes from the present outbreak, which could suggest newer ways in which the virus continues to evolve with sustained human-to-human transmission.

About Monkeypox:

  • Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease with symptoms similar to smallpox, although with less clinical severity.
  • The CDC’s monkeypox overview says the infection was first discovered in 1958 following two outbreaks of a pox-like disease in colonies of monkeys kept for research — which led to the name ‘monkeypox’.

Zoonotic disease

  • Monkeypox is a zoonosis, that is, a disease that is transmitted from infected animals to humans.
  • According to the WHO, cases occur close to tropical rainforests inhabited by animals that carry the virus.
  • Monkeypox virus infection has been detected in squirrels, Gambian poached rats, dormice, and some species of monkeys.
  • Human-to-human transmission is, however, limited — the longest documented chain of transmission is six generations, meaning the last person to be infected in this chain was six links away from the original sick person, the WHO says.


  • Transmission, when it occurs, can be through contact with bodily fluids, lesions on the skin or on internal mucosal surfaces, such as in the mouth or throat, respiratory droplets and contaminated objects.


  • According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), monkeypox begins with a fever, headache, muscle aches, back ache, and exhaustion.
  • It also causes the lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy), which smallpox does not.
  • The WHO underlines that it is important to not confuse monkeypox with chickenpox, measles, bacterial skin infections, scabies, syphilis and medication-associated allergies.
  • The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days.
  • Usually within a day to 3 days of the onset of fever, the patient develops a rash that begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body.
  • The skin eruption stage can last between 2 and 4 weeks, during which the lesions harden and become painful, fill up first with a clear fluid and then pus, and then develop scabs or crusts.
  • According to the WHO, the proportion of patients who die has varied between 0 and 11% in documented cases, and has been higher among young children.

Jagdeep Dhankhar is new Vice-President


National Democratic Alliance candidate and former West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar will be the 14th Vice-President of the country.


GS II- Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Vice-President
  2. Election
  3. Qualification
  4. Powers and Functions
  5. Removal of Vice President

About Vice-President:

  • The Vice-President occupies the second highest office in the country.
  • He is accorded a rank next to the President in the official warrant of precedence.
  • This office is modelled on the lines of the American Vice President.


  • The Vice-President, is elected by the method of indirect election. He is elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of the members of both Houses of Parliament.
  • Thus, this electoral college is different from the electoral college for the election of the President in the following two respects:
    • It consists of both elected and nominated members of the Parliament (in the case of president, only elected members).
    • It does not include the members of the state legislative assemblies (in the case of President, the elected members of the state legislative assemblies are included).


To be eligible for election as Vice-President, a person should fulfil the following qualifications:

  • He should be a citizen of India.
  • He should have completed 35 years of age.
  • He should be qualified for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
  • He should not hold any office of profit under the Union government or any state government or any local authority or any other public authority.

The nomination of a candidate for election to the office of VicePresident must be subscribed by at least 20 electors as proposers and 20 electors as seconders. Every candidate has to make a security deposit of 15,000 in the Reserve Bank of India.

Oath or Affirmation
  • Before entering upon his office, the Vice-President has to make and subscribe to an oath or affirmation. In his oath, the Vice-President swears
    • To bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India
    • To faithfully discharge the duties of his office.
  • The oath of office to the Vice-President is administered by the President or some person appointed in that behalf by him.
Conditions of the Office

The Constitution lays down the following two conditions of the Vice President’s office:

  • He should not be a member of either House of Parliament or a House of the state legislature. If any such person is elected Vice-President, he is deemed to have vacated his seat in that House on the date on which he enters upon his office as Vice-President.
  •  He should not hold any other office of profit.

Powers and Functions

The functions of Vice-President are two-fold

  •  He acts as the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha. In this capacity, his powers and functions are similar to those of the Speaker of Lok Sabha. In this respect, he resembles the American vice-president who also acts as the Chairman of the Senate, the Upper House of the American legislature.
  •  He acts as President when a vacancy occurs in the office of the President due to his resignation, removal, death or otherwise. He can act as President only for a maximum period of six months within which a new President has to be elected. Further, when the sitting President is unable to discharge his functions due to absence, illness or any other cause, the Vice-President discharges his functions until the President resumes his office.

While acting as President or discharging the functions of President, the Vice-President does not perform the duties of the office of the chairman of Rajya Sabha. During this period, those duties are performed by the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha.

Removal of Vice President

  • The Constitution states that the vice president can be removed by a resolution of the Rajya Sabha passed by an Effective majority (majority of all the then members) and agreed by the Lok Sabha with a simple majority( Article 67(b)).
  • But no such resolution may be moved unless at least 14 days’ notice in advance has been given.
  • Notably, the Constitution does not list grounds for removal.
  • No Vice President has ever faced removal or the deputy chairman in the Rajya Sabha cannot be challenged in any court of law per Article 122.

Model Tenancy Act


According to Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Model Tenancy Act has been rectified by only four states, i.e., Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Assam.


GS-III: Indian Economy (Growth and Development of Indian Economy)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the Model Tenancy Act?
  2. Significance

What is the Model Tenancy Act?

  • Model Tenancy Act, 2019, a tenancy law in India, was designed to rebuild tenancy market seeking to replace archaic rental laws of India and to solve housing availability deficit.
  • The Act seeks to penalize recalcitrant tenants for refusing to move out of their rental properties after the agreed-upon rental period expires.
  • The landlord will be able to claim double of the monthly rent for two months and four times of the monthly rent after that as compensation.
  • The Act stipulates that a landlord cannot refuse to provide essential utilities and access to common facilities. This has been a fairly common grouse of tenants in the past.
  • The landlord will also not be able to increase the rent without giving at least three months’ notice to the tenant, and cannot increase rent in the middle of a rental term.
  • In order to bring transparency, fix accountability and promote fairness in the rental housing segment, the policy proposes setting up of a rent authority.
  • The Act will help in achieving the target of “Housing for All by 2022”.
  • The Act is not binding on the states as land and urban development remain state subjects.


  • In order to quickly resolve conflicts and other relevant issues, the authority will offer a method.
  • It will contribute to a nationwide revamp of the legal system governing rental homes.
  • In order to overcome the severe housing shortage, it is anticipated to boost private investment in rental housing.

Ration Mitra


The Centre has launched a common facility to register names in ration cards on a pilot basis for 11 States and Union Territories.


GS III- Indian Economy (Food Security)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Ration Mitra
  2. About National Food Security (NFS) Act

About Ration Mitra

  • Ration Mitra’ Portal aims to enable these States to identify and verify the eligible beneficiaries for coverage under the National Food Security Act.
  • Named as Ration Mitr, this software developed by the National Informatics Centre can be used to enrol people of any State.
  • The portal is an enabler for States/UTs to complete their inclusion exercise under NFSA.
  • The NFSA provides food security coverage for 81.35 crore persons in the country. The present NFSA coverage is about 79.74 crore.

About National Food Security (NFS) Act

  • The NFS Act, 2013 aims to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two-thirds of India’s 1.2 billion people.
  • It converts into legal entitlements for existing food security programs of the GoI.
  • It includes the Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme and the Public Distribution System (PDS).
  • Further, the NFSA 2013 recognizes maternity entitlements.
  • The Midday Meal Scheme and the ICDS are universal in nature whereas the PDS will reach about two-thirds of the population (75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas).
  • Pregnant women, lactating mothers, and certain categories of children are eligible for daily free cereals.
  • The NFS Act, 2013 aims to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two-thirds of India’s 1.2 billion people.
  • It coIt includes rice at Rs 3/kg, wheat at Rs 2/kg and coarse grain at Rs 1/kg — under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS). These are called central issue prices (CIPs).

Peninsular Rock Agama (Psammophilus Dorsalis)


A study carried out by researchers from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, undertook to characterise urbanisation in the region and also to understand where the rock agama reside in and around Bengaluru specifically.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Peninsular Rock Agama
  2. Why research them?

About Peninsular Rock Agama

  • The Peninsular Rock Agama (Psammophilus dorsalis) is a type of garden lizard has a strong presence in southern India.
  • This lizard is a large animal, strikingly coloured in orange and black.
  • They do not generate their own body heat, so they need to seek warmth from external sources like a warm rock or a sunny spot on the wall.
  • They are important in ecology from different aspects — they can indicate which parts of the city are warming, and their numbers show how the food web is changing.
  • Habitat loss and other such features of urbanisation have affected the presence of the animal in urban centres.

Why research them?

  • A healthy environment depends on insects because they provide a wide range of functions, including pollination.
  • Therefore, even while rock agamas are fascinating in and of themselves, they also serve as a useful model system for analysing other facets of the ecosystem.
  • There is a great deal of vegetation and fauna that is quickly disappearing in cities like Bengaluru.
  • One such species, the rock agama, is reliant on rocky scrub environments that are being transformed into structures and crops.


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