India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline (IBFPL)

In News

  • Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh recently inaugurated the India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline (IBFPL).
    • It is the first cross-border energy pipeline between the two countries.

More about the India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline (IBFPL)

  • About:
    • The entire pipeline is 131.5 km long.
    • The pipeline runs from the Siliguri-based marketing terminal of the Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) to the Parbatipur depot of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC).
  • Cost:
    • The pipeline has been built at an estimated cost of ?377 crore. Bangladesh’s section of the pipeline cost ?285 crore.
      • The construction of the project started in 2018 with the help of India’s grant funding.
  • Fuel transport:
    • It will be used to supply diesel from India to Bangladesh.
      • The supply will start on an experimental basis in June this year.
    • The pipeline will transport 1 million metric ton of high-speed diesel every year to seven districts of North Bangladesh.
    • The fuel transport deal will be effective for 15 years with an option for further extension.
  • Significance:
    • The operation of India- Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline will put in place a sustainable, reliable, cost-effective and environment friendly mode of transporting HSD (High-speed diesel) from India to Bangladesh and will further enhance cooperation in energy security between the two countries

India Bangladesh Relations

  • India was one of the first countries to recognize Bangladesh and establish diplomatic relations immediately after its independence in December 1971.
  • Internationally both the nations share the following platforms:
    • SAARC, BIMSTEC, Indian Ocean Coastal Regional Cooperation Association, and Commonwealth.
  • Trade and investment: 
    • Bangladesh is India’s biggest trade partner in South Asia and India is the largest market in Asia for Bangladesh’s exports
    • India’s exports to Bangladesh during 2021 was US$14.09 Billion.
    • Bangladesh may become India’s fourth-largest export destination in FY22, jumping five places in two years.
    • Bangladesh’s growth stems largely from its success as an exporter of garments, which account for around 80 percent of its total exports
  • Power and energy cooperation:
    • Cooperation in the power sector has become one of the hallmarks of India -Bangladesh relations.
      • Bangladesh is currently importing 1160 MW of power from India.
    • Bangladesh is the biggest development partner of India.
      • India has extended 3 Lines of Credits (LOC) to Bangladesh in the last 8 years amounting to US$ 8 billion for the development of infrastructure in various sectors including roads, railways, shipping and ports.
  • Capacity Building and Human Resource Development:
    • Human resource development is a key component of India’s development cooperation efforts in Bangladesh through its several ongoing training programs and Scholarships.
    • The Government of India has been training 1800 Bangladesh Civil Service officials from 2019 at National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG), Mussoorie
    • The Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre (IGCC) in Dhaka plays an important role in the celebration of common cultural links between the two countries.
    • Its training programs including Yoga, Kathak, Manipuri dance, Hindi language, Hindustani classical music and the cultural programs of renowned artists of India and Bangladesh contribute to the promotion of people-to-people contacts.
  • Defense Cooperation:
    • High level exchanges at the level of services chief of Indian Navy, Bangladesh Navy and Indian Air Force, the conduct of second annual defense dialogue and inaugural tri-services staff talks, service specific talks of Navy and Air Force.
    • DG-level talks between the Coast Guards have contributed to significant improvement in bilateral defense cooperation.
    • In the training domain both the countries have continued and enhanced mutual engagements.
    • Various Joint exercises take place between the two countries:
      • Exercise Sampriti (Army) and 
      • Exercise Milan (Navy).
  • Multimodal Connectivity:
    • The passenger trains between India and Bangladesh:
      • Bandhan Express: starting from Kolkata for Khulna – Since 2017
        • It covers the distance via Petrapole and Benapole border route to cater to the demands of the people from both countries.
      • Maitree Express: starting from Dhaka for Kolkata – since 2008
        • The tri-weekly service between Kolkata and Dhaka used to run with 90 percent occupancy. 
        • The train has a capacity to carry 456 passengers, the same as Bandhan Express.
      • Mitali Express: starting from New Jalpaiguri in North Bengal for Dhaka.
    • Bus Serice:
      • Both the governments decided to commence: Dhaka-Siliguri-Gangtok-Dhaka and DhakaSiliguri-Darjeeling-Dhaka bus service to enhance people to people contacts between both the countries and the trail run of Dhaka-Siliguri-Gangtok-Dhaka was also held in December 2019.
    • The Government of India has also been providing grant assistance to Bangladesh for various infrastructure projects including the construction of the Akhaura-Agartala rail link, dredging of inland waterways in Bangladesh and construction of the India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline.

Source: TH

Homi Jehangir Bhabha & Vikram Sarabhai

In Context

  • Recently, the SonyLiv series ‘Rocket Boys’, which focuses on the lives of Indian scientists Homi J Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai, premiered. 
    • Homi J Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai had their mark contributions in creating landmark scientific programmes and institutions in a newly-independent India.

Homi Jehangir Bhabha 

  • Early life:
    • Homi Jehangir Bhabha was born on October 30, 1909, to a wealthy Parsi family from Mumbai. 
    • In 1927, Bhabha began his studies at Cambridge University, studying mechanical engineering; later on he studied theoretical physics and received a doctorate degree in nuclear physics from the University of Cambridge in 1934.
  • Contributions:
    • Homi Jehangir Bhabha is mostly known as the chief architect of India’s nuclear programme. 
    • He was the first Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India.
    • Starting his nuclear physics career in Britain, Bhabha had returned to India for his annual vacation before the start of World War II in September 1939. War prompted him to remain in India and he accepted a post of reader in physics at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru, headed by Nobel laureate C.V. Raman.
    • It was under his direction that the scientists of India made their way into making an atomic bomb and the first atomic reactor was operated in Mumbai in 1956. Bhabha also led the first UN Conference held for the purpose of Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva, 1955.
    • For the benefit of the nation, Dr Bhabha established the Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay (AEET) in January 1954 for a multidisciplinary research program essential for the ambitious nuclear program of India. After the sad demise of Bhabha in 1966, AEET was renamed Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).
  • Awards & Honours:
    • He was an associate of various societies of science including the American National Academy of Sciences.
    • He was awarded the Adams Prize (1942) 
    • He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1954, the third-highest civilian award in India.
    • He was also nominated for the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1951 and 1953–1956.

About Dr. Vikram Sarabhai

  • Early Life:
    • Born in Ahmedabad in 1919, Sarabhai was instrumental in forming India’s future in astronomy
  • Contributions:
    • Dr. Vikram Sarabhai is considered as the father of India’s space program.
    • He was a great institution builder and established or helped to establish a large number of institutions in diverse fields. 
    • He was instrumental in establishing the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad. 
    • In 1947, he founded the Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association, and looked after its affairs until 1956. 
    • After Russia’s Sputnik launch, he managed to convince the Indian government of the need for India to have its own space program. For this he established the Indian National Committee for Space Research in 1962, which was later renamed the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
    • He along with other Ahmedabad-based industrialists played a major role in the creation of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
    • He had worked on India’s first satellite ‘Aryabhata’.
    • After the death of physicist Homi Bhabha in 1966, Sarabhai was appointed chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India.
  • Awards and Honours:
    • He received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in 1962, Padma Bhushan in 1966 and was conferred the Padma Vibhushan posthumously in 1972.
    • In 1973, a crater on the moon was named after him.
    • Lander of Chandrayaan 2, India’s 2nd mission to the moon is named ‘Vikram’ to honour late Dr. Vikram Sarabhai.

Background Radiation Levels in Kerala

In News

  • The pan-India study by scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has found that in parts of Kerala, background radiation levels are nearly three times more than what’s been assumed.
    • The pan-India study was conducted by scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and measured radiation levels from nearly 100,000 locations across the country.

What is Background Radiation?

  • Background radiation is radiation emitted from natural sources such as rocks, sand, or mountains.
  • There are two kinds of background radiations:
    • Natural Radiation: These are the radiations that originate due to the radioactive materials present on earth.
    • Cosmic Radiation: These are the radiations that come from the sun, stars, and other celestial bodies by penetrating our earth’s atmosphere.
  • Radiation results from the disintegrating nucleus of an unstable element and these can be from anywhere, including from inside our bodies to the constituents of matter.
  • Gamma rays are a kind of radiation that can pass unobstructed through matter. Though extremely energetic, they are harmless unless present in large concentrated doses. It’s similar to heat from a fire feeling pleasant until a sustained, concentrated burst can scald or worse, ignite.

Major Findings

  • The study found that the levels of background radiation in the Kollam district (where Chavara is situated) were 9,562 nGy/hr, or about three times more.
  • This computes to about 70 milliGray a year, or a little more than what a worker in a nuclear plant is exposed to.
  • The traces however don’t translate to an elevated health risk as the limits set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are extremely conservative and only reflect abundant caution.
  • India’s plans to increase reliance on nuclear energy meant that it was time to update estimates on the natural background radiation.
  • The last study was conducted in 1986 and computed the radiation to be 89 nGy/hr while the highest radiation exposure was found in Chavara, Kerala, at 3,002 nGy/year.
  • The study has also found a slightly fair correlation between soil classes and absorbed dose rate:
    • Low values of absorbed dose rate in the air were recorded for mixed red and black soils of Maharashtra and Gujarat.
    • High values were recorded in the west-coastal plains of Kerala containing coastal and derived deltaic alluvial soils.

What are the major implications of the Study?

  • The higher radiation levels in Kollam are attributed to monazite sands that are high in thorium.
  • This is part of India’s long-term plan to sustainably produce nuclear fuel.
  • Southern India has higher levels of radiation from uranium deposits due to the presence of granite and basaltic volcanic rock.

Nuclear Energy of India

  • India is a country that heavily relies on nuclear energy for its power generation with vast nuclear deposits, and the government has taken numerous steps to utilize this energy source to its full potential.
  • India’s nuclear deposits are primarily found in the states of Jharkhand, Rajasthan, and Meghalaya containing a variety of minerals, including uranium, thorium, and monazite. 
  • Thorium, which is a fertile material that can be converted into nuclear fuel, is found in large quantities in the beach sands of Kerala.
  • India has 23 operational nuclear power reactors in seven nuclear power plants across the country. These reactors have a total installed capacity of 7,480 megawatts (MW). The major nuclear power plants in India are:
    • Tarapur(Maharashtra), Kakrapar(Gujarat),Kaiga(Karnataka), Narora(Uttar Pradesh) and Kudankulam(Tamil Nadu) etc. 
  • In addition to these operational plants, India is also constructing several new nuclear power plants, including:
    • Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojana (GHAVP) in Haryana, 
    • Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project in Maharashtra, 
    • Kovvada Nuclear Power Project in Andhra Pradesh.

Way ahead

  • The study results indicate that background radiation levels in Kerala are high, but they do not pose a significant health risk.
  • It’s important to continue monitoring radiation levels in areas with higher levels of natural background radiation, and to update estimates periodically.
  • Despite these challenges, India remains committed to developing its nuclear power industry, and the government has taken several steps to address these challenges. 

India sees an increase in Sugar Exports

In News

  •  India has become the world’s largest producer and consumer of sugar.


  • Sugarcane is a tall, perennial grass used to make sugar, ethanol and paper. 
  • Sugar industry impacts the livelihood of about 50 million sugarcane farmers and around 5 lakh workers directly employed in sugar mills.
  • Crop Conditions: 
    • Temperature: Between 21-27°C with hot and humid climate.
    • Rainfall: Around 75-100 cm.
    • Soil Type: Deep rich loamy soil.It can be grown on all varieties of soils ranging from sandy loam to clay loam given these soils should be well drained.
  • Top Sugarcane Producing States: Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Bihar.
  • Distribution Of Industry : 
    • Sugar industry is concentrated around two major areas of production- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Punjab in the north and Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in the south.
    • South India has a tropical climate which is suitable for higher sucrose content resulting in a higher yield per unit area as compared to north India.
  • Sugar exports have shown an impressive trend .This can be seen from the fact that during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 sugar years (Oct-Sept), India’s shipments were a mere 0.46 lakh tonnes (lt) and 6.2 lt respectively. They had zoomed to 110 lt by 2021-22. 
  • Reasons for Increase in Exports:
    • Impressive Sugar Season (Sep-Oct): All records of sugarcane production, sugar production, sugar exports, cane procured, cane dues paid and ethanol production was made during the last years season.
    • Shift From Refined to Raw Sugar: Exporters started focussing on raw sugar .Much of the world sugar trade is in ‘raws’ that are transported in bulk vessels of 40,000-70,000 tonnes capacity.
    • Indian Government Policy Initiatives: Timely government initiatives in the last 5 years have taken the sugar industry  out of financial distress in 2018-19 to the stage of self-sufficiency in 2021-22.

Government Initiatives:

  • Encouraging Ethanol Production: The Government has encouraged sugar mills to divert sugar to ethanol and also export surplus sugar so that mills may have better financial conditions to continue their operations.
  • Ethanol Blending with Petrol (EBP) Programme: The National Policy on Biofuels 2018, provides an indicative target of 20% ethanol blending under the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme .
  • Fair and remunerative price (FRP): The FRP is the minimum price that sugar mills have to pay to sugarcane farmers for procurement of sugarcane. Government has increased FRP by more than 34% in the past 8 years.


  • Uncertain Production Output: Sugarcane has to compete with several other food and cash crops like cotton, oil seeds, rice, etc. By nature being a water guzzling crop it’s productivity depends on monsoon and  varies from year to year causing fluctuations in prices leading to losses in times of excess production due to low prices.
  • Low Yield of Sugarcane: India’s yield per hectare is extremely low as compared to some of the major sugarcane producing countries of the world. For example, India’s yield is only 64.5 tonnes/hectare as compared to 90 tonnes in Java and 121 tonnes in Hawaii.
  • Short Crushing Season: Sugar production is a seasonal industry with a short crushing season varying normally from 4 to 7 months in a year.
    • It causes financial loss and seasonal employment for workers and lack of full utilisation of sugar mills.
  • Low Sugar Recovery Rate: The average rate of recovery of sugar from sugarcane in India is less than 10% which is quite low as compared to other major sugar producing countries.
  • High Production Cost: High cost of sugarcane, inefficient technology, the uneconomic process of production and heavy excise duty result in high cost of manufacturing.


  • The sugarcane is a water guzzling crop. More Research and development in sugarcane can help address issues like sustainability, low yield and low sugar recovery rates.
  • A fixed export policy will help in building supply chains  which can result in higher price realisation for Farmers.
  • The government should encourage value addition preferably with the help of co-operative enterprises for better price realisation.
  • India should also look forward to producing sugar from beets in order to save scarce water resources.

Sangita Kalanidhi and Nritya Kalanidhi Awards

In News

  • The Madras Music Academy has announced the winner of the Sangita Kalanidhi and Nritya Kalanidhi for the year 2023.


  • Carnatic vocalistBombay Jayashri has been selected for the Sangita Kalanidhi award.
    • She is known for her melodic and meditative style of singing and is recognised by a Padma Shri from the Indian government. 
  • The Nritiya Kalanidhi award for dance goes to Vasanthalakshmi Narasimhachari.
    • She excels both in Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi. 

Sangita Kalanidhi Award

  • It is considered the highest accolade in the field of Carnatic music.
  • It came into existence in 1942. 
    • Prior to that, a senior musician/expert was invited to preside over the Music Academy’s annual conference. 
  • In 1942, it was decided that the musician so invited would be conferred the title of Sangita Kalanidhi, the award comprising a gold medal and a birudu patra (citation). 

Nritya Kalanidhi award

  • It is presented in the field of dance every year by the Madras Music Academy.

Sangita Kala Acharya

  • Instituted in 2012 by Dr Engikollai Krishnan and Dr Leela Krishnan it is conferred each year in January on a senior dancer at the inauguration of the annual dance festival.

About Madras Music Academy 

  • It is a landmark institution in the history of the fine arts. It emerged as an offshoot of the All India Congress Session held in Madras in December 1927. 
  • It was conceived to be the institution that would set the standard for Carnatic music. 
  • It also confers the various awards such as the Sangita Kalanidhi, Nritya Kalanidhi, Sangita Kala Acharya, TTK, and Musicologist awards for the year.
Carnatic MusicCarnatic music or Carnatic sangeet is the south Indian classical music.Carnatic Sangeet has developed in the south Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. These states are known for their strong presentation of Dravidian culture.Purandardas is considered to be the father of Carnatic music.In Carnatic music there is a very highly developed theoretical system. It is based upon a complex system of Ragam (Raga) and Thalam (Tala). Raga is basically the scale and the seven notes of this scale are Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha and Ni. The Tala (thalam) is the rhythmic foundation of Carnatic music. Notable Carnatic music exponents are Papanasam Shivan, Gopala Krishna Bharati, Swati Tirunal, Mysore Vasudevachar, Narayan Tirtha, Uttukadu Venkatasubbair, Arunagiri Nathar and Annamacharya. 

Raccoon Dogs

In News

  • A new analysis of genetic data collected from the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China, has linked coronavirus to raccoon dogs

About Raccoon Dogs

  • Raccoon dogs are neither dogs nor raccoons. They belong to the canid family and are closely related to foxes.
  • They are the only canids that hibernate during the winter. 
  • Food habits: They are omnivores, dining on food sources like rodents and berries.
    • Although they appear svelte in the summer, they pack on the pounds for winter, when their fur also becomes thicker. They are monogamous, often living in pairs.
  • Distribution: Raccoon dogs are originally from East Asia and are commonly found in parts of China, Korea, and Japan, where they are known as tanuki. 
  • They are also found in Europe, where they were first brought in by fur traders in the 1920s.
    • Today, raccoon dogs are considered to be a threat to the local ecosystem in Europe and an EU report declared them “one of the most successful alien carnivores in Europe.”
    • However, in Japan, tanuki is revered. 
  • Threats: They are sold for meat and fur.
  • Protection Status: Least Concern in The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • Research and Experiments: Laboratory experiments have shown that raccoon dogs are susceptible to and capable of transmitting the novel coronavirus.
    • But that does not mean that they are the natural reservoir for the virus. 


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