Push for Semiconductor Industry

In News

  • The government recently modified the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for the development of a semiconductor and display manufacturing ecosystem in India.
    • The scheme aims to make India’s $10 billion chip-making initiative more attractive to investors.

More about the Modified Scheme

  • About:
    • The new scheme seeks to harmonise government incentives for all technology nodes of semiconductors.
    • It was brought to encourage all areas of chip-making & to create an integrated ecosystem in India, rather than manufacturing here and having to package and test chips elsewhere. 
  • Fiscal support:
    • The modified scheme:
      • It provides uniform 50% fiscal support for all nodes. 
      • Besides, it will provide 50% of capital expenditure for other steps of the process as well [chip design and ATMP (assembly, testing, marking and packaging)].
    • Original scheme:
      • In the previous version of the scheme, the Centre was offering to fund 
        • 30% of the project cost for 45nm to 65nm chip production, 
        • 40% for 28nm to 45nm, and 
        • 50% or half of the funding for chips 28nm or below. 
  • Production Focus:
    • The modified scheme also emphasised the production of the 45nm chip, which is fairly less time-consuming and economical in terms of production. 
More about the Semiconductor industryWhat are Semiconductors?Semiconductors are the thumbnail-sized building blocks of almost every modern electronic device from smartphones to connected devices in the Internet of Things (IoT). They help give computational power to devices. Components:The basic component of a semiconductor chip is a sliver of silicon, which is etched with billions of microscopic transistors and projected to specific minerals and gases, forming patterns to control the flow of current while following different computational instructions. Semiconductor nodes and uses:The most-advanced semiconductor technology nodes available today are the 3 nanometre (nm) and the 5nm ones. Semiconductors having higher nanometre value are applied in automobiles, consumer electronics and so on. Those with lower values are used in devices such as smartphones and laptops.India’s potential:India’s consumption of semiconductors is expected to cross $80 billion by 2026 and is expected to reach $110 billion by 2030.The global semiconductor industry:The global semiconductor industry is currently valued at $500-$600 billion and caters to the global electronics industry currently valued at about $3 trillion.The chip-making industry is a highly-concentrated one, with the big players being Taiwan, South Korea and the U.S. among others. 90% of 5nm (nanometre) chips are mass-produced in Taiwan, by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Issue of the global chip shortage: U.S.-China tensions over Taiwan, and the supply chain blockages owing to the Russia-Ukraine conflict have led major economies to enter the chip-making sector with a renewed push.


  • Chip production is a resource-intensive and expensive process: 
    • While the new scheme provides equal funding for all steps of the process, the outlay of the scheme remains $10 billion
    • Notably, just the setting up of one semiconductor fab requires an investment of anywhere between $3 and $7 billion
  • Area of focus:
    • Analysts, while positive, are concerned that not much of the current scheme outlay could be allocated to supporting other elements including display fabs, packaging and testing facilities, and chip design centres
    • They also argue that the initial funding should focus on areas like design and R&D, for which India already has an established talent pool.
  • Lagging-edge vs cutting-edge technology:
    • India focuses on “lagging-edge” technology nodes in the start to supply to the automotive and appliance sector. 
    • Creating global demand may be difficult as giants like Taiwan offer viable cutting-edge chip-tech worldwide. 
  • Water intensive:
    • Chip-making also requires gallons of ultrapure water in a single day. 
    • This requirement could be a task for the government to provide to factories, compounded also by the drought conditions which often prevail in large parts of the country. 
  • Power supply:
    • Besides, an uninterrupted supply of power is central to the process, with just seconds of fluctuations or spikes causing millions in losses.

Initiatives taken by India 

  • Semicon India programme:
    • It provides $10 bn fiscal support and other non-fiscal measures 
    • The Semicon India Program aims to provide attractive incentive support to companies/consortia that are engaged in Silicon Semiconductor Fabs, Display Fabs, Compound Semiconductors / Silicon Photonics / Sensors (including MEMS) Fabs, Semiconductor Packaging (ATMP / OSAT) and Semiconductor Design.
  • India Semiconductor Mission:
    • It has been set up as an Independent Business Division within Digital India Corporation having administrative and financial autonomy to formulate and drive India’s long-term strategies for developing semiconductors and display manufacturing facilities and semiconductor design ecosystem. 
  • Production Linked Incentive scheme:
    • The government also recently announced the PLI and DLI schemes as major steps towards building a semiconductor ecosystem in the country.
  • The Cabinet approval:
    • The recent Cabinet approval with an outlay of 76,000 crore spread over a period of six years for the development of semiconductors and display manufacturing ecosystem is expected to be a shot in the arm. 
    • This move claims to attract 1.7 lakh crore private investment in India.
Production Linked Incentive (PLI) SchemeThe Finance Minister announced the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Schemes across 13 key sectors.It will create national manufacturing champions and generate employment opportunities for the country’s youth. The aim is to give companies incentives on incremental sales from products manufactured in domestic units.It also invites foreign companies to set units in India along with encouraging local companies to set up or expand existing manufacturing units.

Way Ahead

  • India must seize the opportunity and become an attractive alternative destination for semiconductor manufacturing.
    • Attracting global players to set up here would be beneficial as they come with their customer base.
  • Government policies should also focus on assuring and securing access to foreign technology suppliers through trade and foreign policy to ensure a global level of collaboration.

8 years of ‘Make in India’ Programme

In News

  • ‘Make in India’ recently completed 8 years since its inception.

More about the news

  • Make in India, the flagship program of the Government of India that aspires to 
    • Facilitate investment, 
    • Foster innovation, 
    • Enhance skill development,
    • Build best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure,
    • Protect the intellectual property,
    • Make India digital,
    • Create healthy relationships with various countries,
    • Provide employment opportunities.
  • Make in India” had three stated objectives:
    • To increase the manufacturing sector’s growth rate to 12-14% per annum;
    • To create 100 million additional manufacturing jobs in the economy by 2022;
    • To ensure that the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP is increased to 25% by 2022 (later revised to 2025).

Review of ‘Make in India’

  • Accomplishments: 
    • Ministry of Commerce & Industry said that the program, which is aimed at self-sufficiency or being ‘aatmanirbhar’, has substantial accomplishments across 27 sectors, including strategic sectors such as manufacturing and services.
  • Attracting record FDI Inflows:
    • In the first year of the ‘Make In India’ scheme, FDI inflows stood at $45.15 billion. 
    • The year 2021-22 recorded the highest ever FDI at $83.6 billion and India is on track to attract $100 billion FDI in the current financial year,
  • Steps taken to ensure ease of doing business:
    • In order to simplify the various aspects of doing business, the government has taken various steps to increase the ease of doing business in India. 
      • A Phased Manufacturing Programme along with reduction in corporate taxes, 
      • Public procurement orders and 
      • The National Single Window System (NSWS), 
      • These programs have increased the ease of doing business. 
  • Improving toy exports, reducing imports:
    • Custom duty on toys:
      • In an attempt to reduce the import of foreign made toys and enhance India’s ability to manufacture toys domestically, the  Basic Custom Duty on the import of toys was increased from 20 percent to 60 percent. 
    • Initiatives such as:
      • The India Toy Fair 2021, Toycathon 2021, Toy Business League 2022 have been conducted to encourage innovation in this sector. 
    • The growth of toy industry:
      • Export:
        • Despite the pandemic, the Indian toy industry has grown, boasting of export of $326 million (Rs 2,601.5 crore) of toys in FY21-22, which is an increase of over 61 percent over $202 million (Rs 1,612 crore) in FY18-19. 
      • Import:
        • The import of toys in FY21-22 has reduced by 70 percent to $110 million (Rs 877.8 crore), compared to imports worth $371 million (Rs 2,960 crore) in 2018-19.
Reasons for choosing the manufacturing sectorIndia’s growth over the past two decades has largely been due to the service sector. This led to a huge pay-off in the short run, wherein the Information Technology and Business Process Management thrived expansively.The tertiary sector has helped boost the economy but the secondary sector, i.e. manufacturing is severely lagging. This program was initiated to provide a much-needed boost to the manufacturing sector, which would also provide employment opportunities.Challenges Although the program has been successful, there are certain challenges.Agriculture & Environment:India is primarily an agro-based country and thereby has 60% cultivable land. Even if a ‘green strategy’ is adopted, the rapid increase in industrialisation can lead to depletion of natural resources.Industrialisation can lead to adverse effects on the environment and can lead to disastrous effects.Domestic markets:Increase in large-scale foreign direct investment can lead to disruptions in the domestic market, as the farmers and small-scale entrepreneurs may not be able to compete with the international players.The Government should also ensure that there are sufficient platforms for improving research and development in the country.Infrastructural facilities: There exist serious lacunae in the infrastructural facilities in the country. Although several programs have been initiated, the implementation of these programs has not been up to the mark.

Other measures to strengthen the Make in India initiative

  • The reform measures include 
    • Amendments to laws, 
    • Liberalization of guidelines and regulations, in order to reduce unnecessary compliance burden, 
    • Bring down cost and 
    • Enhance the ease of doing business in India. 
    • Burdensome compliances to rules and regulations have been reduced through simplification, rationalisation, decriminalisation, and digitisation, making it easier to do business in India. 
  • Labour reforms:
    • Additionally, Labour reforms have brought flexibility in hiring and retrenchment. 
  • Promotion of manufacturing:
    • Steps to promote manufacturing and investments also include reduction in corporate taxes, public procurement orders and Phased Manufacturing Programme.
    • Quality control orders have been introduced to ensure quality in local manufacturing. 
  • Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes:
    • As a part of the ‘Make In India’ program, the government introduced Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes across 14 key manufacturing sectors in 2020-21 as a big boost to the ‘Make in India’ initiative. This also included a $10-billion incentive scheme to build a semiconductor, display, design ecosystem in India
  • The One-District-One-Product (ODOP) initiative:
    • It is aimed at facilitating the promotion and production of indigenous products from each district of the country and providing a global platform to the artisans and manufacturers aiming to contribute to the socio-economic growth of various regions of the country
  • ‘Gatishakti’ programme:
    • The programme will ensure logistical efficiency in business operations through the creation of infrastructure that improves connectivity. 
    • This will enable faster movement of goods and people, enhancing access to markets, hubs, and opportunities, and reducing logistics cost. 
  • State initiatives:
    • In line with the Make in India, individual states too launched their own local initiatives, such as “Make in Odisha“, “Tamil Nadu Global Investors Meet“, “Vibrant Gujarat“, “Happening Haryana“, and “Magnetic Maharashtra“.

Way Ahead

  • The Make in India initiative has been striving to ensure that the business ecosystem in the nation is conducive for investors doing business in India and contributing to growth and development of the Nation. 
  • This has been done through a range of reforms that has led to increased investment inflows as well as economic growth. 
  • With this initiative at the forefront, the businesses in India are aiming that the products that are ‘Made in India’ are also ‘Made for the World,’ adhering to global standards of quality. 

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)

In News

  • Recently, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) successfully crashed into Dimorphous.


  • Humanity’s first planetary defence test: 
    • With the collision, the test has been completed successfully in a mission that went exactly as planned without any hitches.
  • Reason for test: 
    • The impact should have nudged the asteroid slightly and subtly changed its orbit around Didymos, the larger asteroid. 
    • Telescopes on Earth and in space are going to take measurements of this change to see how the change measures up to computer-generated simulations.
  • Why Dimorphos?
    • Didymos is a perfect system for the test mission because it is an eclipsing binary which means it has a moonlet that regularly orbits the asteroid and it can be seen when it passes in front of the main asteroid. 
    • The Didymos system is not an Earth-crossing asteroid, and there is no possibility that the deflection experiment could create an impact hazard.
    • Earth-based telescopes can study this variation in brightness to understand how long it takes Dimorphos to orbit Didymos.

About the DART Mission 

  • It is a planetary defence-driven test of technologies for preventing an impact on Earth by a hazardous asteroid. 
  • Objectives: 
    • DART is the first technology demonstration of the kinetic impactor technique that could be used to mitigate the threat of an asteroid hitting Earth. 
    • The kinetic impactor mitigation technique is the impulsive deflection of the asteroid through the sudden addition of momentum. In simpler terms, DART is being sent to collide with an asteroid to change its orbital period.

Image Courtesy: Scientificamerican

Follow-up mission: Hera

  • The European Space Agency is developing Hera, a spacecraft that will be launched to Didymos in 2024 and arrive in 2027 (5 years after DART’s impact), to do a detailed reconnaissance and assessment.
AsteroidsAsteroids, sometimes called minor planets, are rocky, airless remnants left over from the early formation of the solar system about 4.6 billion years ago.Most of this ancient space rubble can be found orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter within the main asteroid belt.Some asteroids go in front of and behind Jupiter, which are called Trojans. Asteroids that come close to Earth are called Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) for short. NASA keeps close watch on these asteroids.Asteroids range in size from Vesta (the largest at about 329 miles in diameter) to bodies that are less than 33 feet across. The total mass of all the asteroids combined is less than that of Earth’s Moon.Asteroids are not all round like planets. They have jagged and irregular shapes.Structure:Most asteroids are made of different kinds of rocks, but some have clays or metals, such as nickel and iron.Detecting Asteroids MissionAsteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA): This includes NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission and Hera Mission.Hera Mission: It is the asteroid deflection mission of European Space Agency (ESA) that is scheduled to be launched in 2024 to measure the impact crater produced by the DART collision and study the change in the asteroid’s orbital trajectory. It will arrive at the Didymos system in 2027.

Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC)


  • The Indian government is pushing smartphone makers to enable support for its NavIC navigation system in new devices to be sold in India from next year.


  • Indigenous technology: NavIC is an independent stand-alone navigation satellite system developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • Reliable alternative: It acts as an alternative to the GPS navigation system of the U.S.A.
  • Project Cost: It was originally approved in 2006 at a cost of $174 million. 
  • Operational timeline: It became operational in 2018 though missing the completion timeline of late 2011. 
  • A constellation of satellites: NavIC now consists of eight satellites (7 upon launch).

Functional aspects of NavIC

  • Coverage: It covers the Indian mainland (primary coverage area) and a region extending up to 1,500 km beyond the mainland with plans of extension.
  • Accuracy: 
  • Position: Aims for better than 10 meters throughout Indian landmass and 20 meters in the Indian Ocean.
  • Timing: Better than 50 nanoseconds(20).
  • Applications: NavIC provides two levels of service.
  •  The standard positioning service: Open for civilian use.
  • For example- transport, map applications, timekeeping etc.
  • A restricted service (encrypted):  For authorized users such as the military.
  • Current Usage: Limited for-
  • Public vehicle and commercial vehicles tracking (NavIC based trackers)
  • Emergency warning alerts to fishermen navigating into the deep sea without adequate terrestrial network connectivity
  • Tracking and providing information related to natural disasters

Other global or regional navigation systems

  • Global
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) of the U.S.A. 
  • Galileo from the European Union
  • Russian GLONASS 
  • China’s Beidou 
  • Regional: QZSS covers the Asia-Oceania region, with a focus on Japan.

Enabling NavIC in smartphones

  • Self-reliance: NavIC aims to remove dependence on foreign satellite systems for navigation service requirements, especially for strategic sectors.
  • It will further the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat and ‘vocal for local’.
  • Risk aversion: Reliance on GPS and GLONASS may not always be reliable as they are operated by the respective defense agencies. 
  • They might degrade or deny the services in case of emergency. 
  • For e.g. The U.S. denied GPS data for Kargil region to the Indian military in 1999.
  • Indian control:  As NavIC is an indigenous positioning system, there is no risk of the withdrawal of service in similar situations.
  • Promotion of local industry: Ministries can use NavIC applications to promote local industry to develop indigenous NavIC-based solutions.
  • Satellite navigation draft policy 2021 plans to expand the NavIC coverage from regional to global. 
  • Global precedents: 
  • In 2021, 94.5% of smartphones manufactured in China were Beidou supported.
  • Russia mandates inclusion of GLONASS system in locally manufactured and sold smartphones
  • Apple’s devices support five global and regional navigational systems like GPS, GLONASS, Beidou etc.

Smartphone companies response 

  • Existing support: Major mobile chipset manufacturers like Qualcomm, MediaTek and Broadcom already support NavIC across various chipset platforms.
  • Widening ambit: A few recently launched mobile handsets can be enabled to receive NavIC.
  • For example, the Redmi Note 9 series from Xiaomi, the Realme 6 series, the OnePlus Nord etc. 
  • Concerns
  • Additional costs: Xiaomi and Samsung reported higher research and production costs (hardware changes-Dual band chipsets) might cause losses in a price sensitive market like India. 
  • Tight time frame: Testing clearances can take more time possibly missing the 1 January 2023 deadline for making smartphones NavIC-complaint.
  • Technical complexities: Mobile phone chipsets at present support L1 frequency band (used by GPS and GLONASS). NavIC is available in L5 band, making immediate compliance to it difficult.

Way Forward

  • For the timely launch of NavIC compliant smartphones, ISRO can provide technical expertise and support to the mobile manufacturing companies.
  • Feasibility studies should be conducted to ensure balance between NavIC compliant phones and keeping price stability intact.
  • Industry sources have suggested a tentative timeline of January 2025 for supporting NavIC in domestically manufactured smartphones.
  • ISRO is also planning to launch a satellite in 2024-25 to support the L1 frequency band for satellite communication and navigation etc.

World Environmental Health Day

In News

  • Recently, World Environment Health Day was celebrated on September 26 which called for an urgent need to strengthen the One Health approach.

About World Environmental Health Day

  • The theme for this World Environment Health Day is: Strengthening Environmental Health Systems for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
    • There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations to be achieved by 2030.
  • Challenges posed by Pandemic
    • Climate change could facilitate the cross-species transmission of some 4,000 viruses by 2070, a 2022 study published in Nature journal found.

What is One Health approach? 

  • WHO defines it as: an integrated, unifying approach to balance and optimise the health of people, animals and the environment. 
  • The aim is to have a multi-sectoral approach to achieve long-term, effective solutions to issues surrounding food and water safety, nutrition, controlling zoonoses, pollution management, and combating antimicrobial resistance. 
  • It is important in preventing, predicting, detecting, and responding to global health threats such as the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • One Health Quadripartite: The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) work together with WHO to form the One Health Quadripartite.

Benefits of One Health

  • Reduce potential threats at the human-animal-environment interface to control diseases that spread between animals and humans
  • Tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
  • Ensure food safety
  • Prevent environment-related health threats to humans and animals
  • Protect biodiversity.

Issues associated with One Health

  • The concept is in a very nascent stage (not yet completely developed) in India with sporadic efforts in some states.
  • Wildlife surveillance has been the biggest lacunae according to Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE).
  • Institutes for high-security animal disease, virology and epidemiology exist but only in silos which runs counter to the concept of One Health.
  • A weak biosafety process also hinders India’s One Health programme, barring a largely reactive approach.
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research and the Department of Biotechnology are the agencies responsible for the biosafety process but it needs to be more standardised as it remains highly sectoral.
  • Bats, primates and rodents have the highest potential to harbour pathogens that can infect humans. Those who handle these don’t always follow the necessary biosafety protocols.
  • There is also a severe shortage of biosafety labs in India with only one biosafety level (BSL) 4 lab, the highest level of biosecurity, generally used for extremely infectious viruses like Ebola at the National Institute of Virology in Pune
  • Investment on this front is critical in preventing pandemics, particularly so in biodiversity-rich parts of India such as the Himalayas, the north-east region, Western Ghats and central India.
  • The National Standing Committee on Zoonoses lacked representation from the wildlife sector and had unclear guidelines and the National Influenza Pandemic committee was disease-specific and only for the duration of the pandemic. 
Facts/ DataC:\Users\WELCOME\Desktop\one-health_by-the-numbers_1200x1200.jpg

India’s approach towards One Health

  • The first One Health consortium was launched in 2021
    • It was led by the National Institute of Animal Biotechnology, Hyderabad, constituting 27 organisations.
  • Pradhan Mantri Atma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojna 
    • Under the scheme, the first One Health institute is set to come up in Nagpur.
  • Budgetary Allocations
    • Over Rs 64,000 crore were earmarked for the scheme in the 2021-22 Union Budget for over six years to combat new and emerging diseases. 
  • The Integrated Disease Surveillance Project
    • It was launched in 2004 for disease outbreak detection and rapid response functions, has generated several information on flow of certain disease outbreaks but the programme has been unable to integrate human and animal (livestock and wildlife) surveillance.

Suggestions/ Way forward

  • An absolute necessity: With the possibility of reducing a quarter of the global disease burden by ensuring healthier environments, as per the global health body, a One Health approach is an absolute necessity. 
  • Pandemic-preparedness plans are already under consideration among major international bodies to thwart pandemic in the future. 
  • Potential solutions to these problems can only be understood when human, animal, and environmental health questions are evaluated in an integrated and holistic manner rather than in siloed approaches. 
  • The One Health concept is not new but its importance to address the complex health and environmental challenges has become more prominent in recent years.

Sittanavasal Cave

In News

  • Recently, the Archaeological Survey of India has undertaken conservation measures and also introduced digital checks to track public access in  Sittanavasal.


  • Sittanavasal Cave (also, Arivar Koil) is a 2nd-century Tamil ?rama?a complex of caves in Sittanavasal village in Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu, India.
  •  Its name is a distorted form of Sit-tan-na-va-yil, a Tamil word which means “the abode of great saints”.
  • This is the only place in Tamil Nadu where we can see Pandya paintings.
  • The monument is a rock-cut monastery or temple created by Tamil ?rama?a, it is called the Arivar Koil, and is a rock cut cave temple of the Arihants. 
  • It contains remnants of notable frescoes from the 7th century. 
    • The murals have been painted with vegetable and mineral dyes in black, green, yellow, orange, blue, and white. 
    • It is considered by historians to be one of the oldest inhabited areas in the district, and a major centre of Jain influence.
    • The artwork on the ceiling of the sanctum and the ardha mandapa of Arivar Kovil is an early example of post-Ajanta cave paintings of the fourth to sixth centuries, done using the fresco-secco technique (a process that dispenses with preparation of the wall with wet plaster).
    • Faint outlines linger of dancing girls on the ‘ Ardha mandapam’ pillars.
  • The Sittanavasal Cave is listed as one of the Adarsh Smarak Monuments by the Archaeological Survey of India.
  • The  site and art was first mentioned by local historian S. Radhakrishnan Iyer in his 1916 book General History of Pudukottai State. 

Rohini Sounding Rocket

In Context

  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) hopes to achieve a remarkable feat — the 200th successful launch of the Rohini RH-200 sounding rocket in a row.


  • RH-200 is a two-stage rocket capable of climbing to a height of 70 km bearing scientific payloads. 
  • It is 3.5-metre-tall and is used by the ISRO for atmospheric studies.
    • The  Rohini RH-200  has completed 198 consecutive successful flights.
    • The 199th launch, from Thumba, will happen on October 7,2022 during the World Space Week celebrations. 
  • The ‘200’ in the name denotes the diameter of the rocket in mm. 
  • The ISRO has launched more than 1,600 RH-200 rockets so far.
  • Other operational Rohini variants are RH-300 Mk-II and RH-560 Mk-III.
  • Over the years, the rocket has served as a flexible platform for experiments and testing out new technologies.

What is a Sounding Rocket?

  • A sounding rocket is an instrument-carrying rocket designed to take measurements and perform scientific experiments during its sub-orbital flight. 
    • The rockets are used to launch instruments from 48 to 145 km above the surface of the Earth.
Rohini (Rocket family)Rohini is a series of sounding rockets developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for meteorological and atmospheric study. These sounding rockets are capable of carrying payloads of 2 to 200 kilograms between altitudes of 100 to 500 kms.The ISRO currently uses RH-200, RH-300, RH-300 Mk-II, RH-560 Mk-II and RH-560 Mk-III rockets, which are launched from the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching (TERLS) in Thumba and the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota.
  • The first sounding rocket to be launched from Thumba was the American Nike-Apache – on November 21, 1963. 
  • After that, two-stage rockets imported from Russia (M-100) and France (Centaure) were flown. 
  • The ISRO launched its own version – Rohini RH-75 – in 1967.

Flex Fuel

In News

  • India’s first ‘flex fuel’ developed car is set to launch soon.

About Flex Fuel Vehicle 

  • It is a Toyota sedan that can run on one or multiple fuel types.
  • Pilot Project: 
    • The pilot has been initiated as part of a government-led push to carmakers for adopting alternative fuels and the sedan.
    • It will be equipped with flex fuel tech.
    • Aim will be to replicate the commercial deployment of this particular technology in other markets such as Brazil, Canada and the US.

Image Courtesy: IE 

Flex fuel technology

  • A flex fuel, or flexible fuel, vehicle has an internal combustion engine (ICE), but unlike a regular petrol or diesel vehicle, this can run on more than one type of fuel, or even a mixture of fuels. 
  • The most common versions use a blend of petrol and ethanol or methanol, but these engines are also equipped to run on 100 percent petrol or ethanol as well. 
  • This is made possible by equipping the engine with a fuel mix sensor and an engine control module (ECM) programming that senses and automatically adjusts for any ratio of designated fuels. 
  • Benefit: 
    • The use of ethanol blending sharply lowers harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide, sulphur, and carbon and nitrogen oxides. 
    • The blending will help cutback on oil imports for fueling vehicles.
    • Countries such as Brazil have the ability to be flexible on the degree of the mix depending on the crude prices, varying it when energy prices surge. The precondition being that the vehicular fleet has been equipped to adjust to this fuel mix of varying degrees.
  • Problems: 
    • A flex fuel car typically takes a small hit on fuel efficiency when using ethanol for motive power, ranging from between 4 percent and 8 percent. 
    • Crops such as sugarcane are usually very water-intensive
      • A NITI Aayog report suggested that in 2019-20, of the total ethanol produced in the country, over 90 percent came from sugarcane alone. 

Government Initiatives

  • Currently, around 9.5 percent ethanol blending with petrol has been achieved in fuel dispensed in pumps in most metros and it is likely that the targeted 10 percent ethanol blending will be achieved by November 2022
  • The government announced its 2025 target of 20 percent blending of ethanol in petrol envisaged in its National Biofuel Policy 2018.

National Service Scheme (NSS)

In News

  • Recently, the President conferred the National Service Scheme NSS Awards for the year 2020-21.


  • National Service Scheme (NSS) was launched during 1969, the birth centenary year of Mahatma Gandhi, in 37 universities involving 40000 students.
  • NSS is an extension of the higher education system to orient the student youth to community service while they are studying in educational institutions. 
  • It is being implemented by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. 

Aims and objectives of NSS

  • To understand the community in which they work.
  • To understand themselves in relation to their community.
  • To identify the needs and problems of the community and involve them in the problem solving process.
  • To develop among themselves a sense of social and civic responsibility.
  • To utilise their knowledge in finding practical solutions to individual and community problems.
  • To develop competence required for group-living and sharing of responsibilities:
    • To gain skills in mobilising community participation.
    • To acquire leadership qualities and democratic attitude.
    • To develop capacity to meet emergencies and natural disasters.
    • To practice national integration and social harmony.

Enrollment in NSS

  • NSS is a voluntary scheme. 
  • NSS scheme starts from 11th Standard onwards. 
  • At college level the NSS volunteers will be enrolled from the first and second year degree-class students. 
  • The students from foreign countries studying in Indian universities can also join NSS so that they may share the experiences of national reconstruction and community work. 
  • NCC cadets will not be allowed to join NSS. 
  • Similarly NSS volunteers will not participate in NCC or any other youth organisation as long as they are in NSS.

Activities undertaken by NSS

  • National Integration Camp
  • Shramdaan
  • Blood donation
  • Immunisation
  • Plantation
  • Disaster Management
  • Adventure programs.

Madhav National Park

In News 

  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has given the green signal to relocate five tigers from three national parks of the state to Madhav National Park (MNP).

Madhav National Park(MNP)

  • About:
    • It is situated near Shivpuri town in Madhya Pradesh and is a part of the upper Vindhyan hills. 
    • It was the hunting ground of Mughal emperors and Maharaja of Gwalior. 
    • It got the status of a National Park in 1958.
  • Biodiversity: 
    • It  is gifted with a diverse ecosystem comprising lakes, forests and grasslands. The forest is home to antelopes like Nilgai, Chinkara and Chowsinga and Deer including Chital, Sambar and Barking Deer. Animals like the Leopard, Wolf, Jackal, Fox, Wild Dog, Wild Pig, Porcupine, Python etc are also sighted in the park.

Rotterdam Convention

In News 

  • International trade of two new hazardous pesticides — Iprodione and Terbufos — has been recommended for “prior informed consent” (PIC) procedure under Rotterdam convention. 
    • The PIC procedure is a mechanism for formally obtaining and disseminating the decisions of importing parties on their willingness to receive future shipments of hazardous chemicals.


  • The 17th meeting of the chemical review committee (CRC 17) had recommended these two pesticides for listing in Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention 
    • Annex III includes pesticides and industrial chemicals that have been banned or severely restricted for health or environmental reasons by two or more parties. 

About Rotterdam Convention

  • Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent Procedures (PIC) entered into force  in 2004.
  • It is an international treaty designed to facilitate informed decision-making by countries with regard to trade in hazardous chemicals
  • It is a legally binding instrument.
  • India acceded to the Convention in 2006.
  • Objectives : To promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among State Parties in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals in order to protect human health and the environment from potential harm. 
    • To contribute to the environmentally sound use of these hazardous chemicals by facilitating information exchange about their characteristics, providing for a national decision making process on their import and export, and by disseminating these decisions to the Parties. 
Do you Know ?Iprodione, a fungicide used on vines, fruits, trees and vegetables, has been classified as carcinogenic and toxic for reproduction.Terbufos is a soil insecticide used commonly on sorghum, maize, beet and potatoes. It has also been found to pose risk to aquatic organisms due to its toxicity.Both the pesticides, which are used in agriculture, are known for their harmful impacts on human health and the environment. In India, the use of these chemicals was permitted by the 2015 Anupam Verma committee report.  The country is among the largest exporters of Terbufos.

Attorney General of India

In News 

  • Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi has declined the government’s offer to be Attorney General (A-G) for India .

About the Attorney General for India

  • The Constitution of India places the post of the A-G on a special footing
  • The A-G is the Government of India’s first law officer, and has the right of audience in all courts of the country.
  • Eligible:  Under Article 76(1), the A-G is appointed by the President from among persons who are “qualified to be appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court”.
  • TermArticle 76(4) says “the Attorney-General shall hold office during the pleasure of the President, and shall receive such remuneration as the President may determine.”
  • Power and Functions: Article 76(2) of the Constitution says “it shall be the duty of the Attorney-General to give advice to the Government of India upon such legal matters, and to perform such other duties of a legal character, as may from time to time be referred or assigned to him by the President”.
    • The A-G is also supposed to “discharge the functions conferred on him by or under this Constitution or any other law for the time being in force”.
    • Under Article 88, the “Attorney-General of India shall have the right to speak in, and otherwise to take part in the proceedings of, either House, any joint sitting of the Houses, and any committee of Parliament of which he may be named a member”.
      • However, he “shall not by virtue of this article be entitled to vote” in the House.


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