Active Volcano Found on Venus

In Context

  • A new analysis of archival radar images taken around three decades ago has found direct geological evidence of recent volcanic activity on the surface of Venus.


  • Scientists made the new discovery by pouring over images of Venus taken by NASA’s Magellan spacecraft between 1990 and 1992. 
  • During their examination, they looked at the planet’s Atla Regio area, where two of the biggest volcanoes of VenusOzza Mons and Maat Mons, are located. 

What are the findings?

  • A vent situated on the north side of a domed shield volcano that is part of the larger Maat Mons volcano that changed significantly in shape and size between February and October 1991.
  • The “computer models of the vent in various configurations to test different geological-event scenarios concluded that only an eruption could have caused the change.

Significance of Findings

  • The volcanoes act like windows to provide information about a planet’s interior, the new findings take scientists a step further to understand the geological conditions of not just Venus but also other exoplanets. 
    • An exoplanet is a planet outside our own Solar System, sometimes referred to as an extrasolar planet.
  • The findings give a glimpse of what more is to come regarding Venus as in the next decade, three new Venus missions would be launched, including the European EnVision orbiter and NASA’s DAVINCI and VERITAS missions. 

What is a Volcano?

  • A volcano is a vent or fissure in Earth’s crust through which lava, ash, rocks, and gases erupt. 
  • A volcano can be active, dormant or extinct. An eruption takes place when magma (a thick flowing substance), formed when the earth’s mantle melts, rises to the surface. 
  • The magma is lighter than solid rock, it is able to rise through vents and fissures on the surface of the earth. After it has erupted, it is called lava.
  • Not all volcanic eruptions are explosive since explosivity depends on the composition of the magma. 
  • When the magma is runny and thin, gases can easily escape it, in which case, the magma will flow out towards the surface and if the magma is thick and dense, gases cannot escape it, which builds up pressure inside until the gases escape in a violent explosion.

About Planet Venus

  • Earth’s Twin: Venus is Earth’s closest planetary neighbour which is similar in structure but slightly smaller than Earth, it is the second planet from the sun. Therefore, Venus has been called Earth’s twin.
  • Thick & Toxic Atmosphere: Venus has an atmosphere 50 times denser than Earth’s. Venus is wrapped in a thick, toxic atmosphere filled with carbon dioxide that traps in heat.
  • Inhabitable:  Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system. The temperature of Venus is too high, and its atmosphere is highly acidic, just two of the things that would make life impossible. Surface temperatures reach a scorching 880 degrees Fahrenheit (471 degrees Celsius), hot enough to melt lead.
  • Other Features: It has no moons and no rings. Venus’ solid surface is a volcanic landscape covered with extensive plains featuring high volcanic mountains and vast ridges. It spins from east to west, the opposite direction from all other planets in our solar system but the same as Uranus.

Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations

In News

  • India has launched a strong protest against the United Kingdom over the vandalization incident at the Indian High Commission in London
    • Dy High Commissioner was reminded in this regard of the basic obligations of the UK Government under the Vienna Convention.”

Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 

  • About:
    • It provides a complete framework for the establishment, maintenance, and termination of diplomatic relations on a basis of consent between independent sovereign States.
    • It entered into force in  1964 and is nearly universally ratified, with Palau and South Sudan being the exceptions.
    • It codifies the longstanding custom of diplomatic immunity, in which diplomatic missions are granted privileges that enable diplomats to perform their functions without fear of coercion or harassment by the host country.
  • Key Provisions: 
    • Article 22 confirms the inviolability of mission premises – barring any right of entry by law enforcement officers of the receiving State and imposing on the receiving State a special duty to protect the premises against intrusion, damage, disturbance of the peace, or infringement of dignity.
      • Even in response to abuse of this inviolability or emergency, the premises may not be entered without the consent of the head of the mission.
        • As per the Vienna Convention, a “receiving State” refers to the host nation where a diplomatic mission is located. 
      • Basically, the security of any High Commission or Embassy is the responsibility of the host nation. While diplomatic missions can also employ their own security, ultimately, the host nation is accountable for security
    • Article 24 ensures the inviolability of mission archives and documents – even outside mission premises – so that the receiving State may not seize or inspect them or permit their use in legal proceedings.
    • Article 27 guarantees free communication between a mission and its sending State by all appropriate means, and ensures that the diplomatic bag carrying such communications may not be opened or detained even on suspicion of abuse.
    • Article 29 provides inviolability for the person of diplomats and article 31 establishes their immunity from civil and criminal jurisdiction – with precise exceptions to immunity from civil jurisdiction where previous State practice had varied.
    • Article 34 sets out the tax exemption accorded to diplomats along with detailed exceptions in respect of matters unrelated to their official duties or to ordinary life in the receiving State. 
    • Article 36 provides for exemption from customs duties on diplomatic imports throughout a diplomat’s posting.
    • Article 38 bars from all privileges and immunities, except for immunity for their official acts, nationals, and permanent residents of the receiving State. 
Vienna ConventionsThe term “Vienna Convention” can refer to any of a number of treaties signed in Vienna, most of which are related to the harmonisation or formalisation of the procedures of international diplomacy. Various Vienna ConventionsVienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961)Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (1963)Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963)Vienna Convention on Road Traffic (1968)Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969)Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (1985)Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations (1986)United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988)

Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana

In Context

  • The Prime Minister has recently praised the efforts of farmers of Sirsa for showcasing the benefits of PM Matasya Sampada Yojana.

Fish Farming of Haryana

  • There is a lot of land in the state of Haryana, which was often left barren due to the rise in the saline water level.
  • Farmers in the state have started earning more money than other crops by doing the business of shrimp fisheries through crop diversification.
    • Fish farming is being done on 785 acres of land in the entire state, out of which 400 acres land is in Sirsa.
  • Sirsa district adjoining the border of Rajasthan and Punjab at the last end of Haryana has the highest number of cultivators in the state.

Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY)

  • About:
    • It is a flagship scheme for focused and sustainable development of the fisheries sector in the country with an estimated investment of 20,050 crore for its implementation during 2020-21 to 2024-25 as part of Aatmanirbhar Bharat package.
  • Ministry: 
    • Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying. 
  • Aim: 
    • To bring about a blue revolution through sustainable and responsible development of the fisheries sector in India.
    • To double the incomes of fishers and fish farmers, reducing post-harvest losses from 20-25% to about 10% and the generation of gainful employment opportunities in the sector.
  • Implementation:
    • It is implemented as an umbrella scheme with two separate components namely
      • Central Sector Scheme:
        • The project cost will be borne by the Central government. The entire project/unit cost will be funded by the Government of India (GoI) (i.e., 100% GoI Funding).
      • Centrally Sponsored Scheme:
        • All the sub-components/activities will be implemented by the States/UTs and the cost will be shared between Centre and State.
          • North Eastern & Himalayan States: 90% Central share and 10% State share.
          • Other States: 60% Central share and 40% State share.
    • A well-structured implementation framework would be established for the effective planning and implementation of PMMSY.
    • For optimal outcomes, ‘Cluster or area-based approach’ would be followed with requisite forward and backward linkages and end to end solutions.
  • Approach:
    •  ‘Cluster or Area based approaches and many new interventions such as fishing vessel insurance, Aquaculture in saline/alkaline areas, Sagar Mitras, FFPOs, Nucleus Breeding Centres, etc.
  • Achievements: 
    • From 2019–20 to 2021–2022, the Fisheries sector had an incredible growth of 14.3%.
    • Fish production has increased from 141.64 lakh tonnes in 2019-20 to 161.87 lakh tonnes (provisional) in 2021-22.
    • The sector achieved all-time high exports of 13.64 lakh tonnes, reaching Rs 57,587 crores (USD 7.76 billion), topped by shrimp exports.

Example of Sirsa

  • Original agricultural prctice & issue of salinity:
    • In this district, farmers have been mainly cultivating narma, cotton, guar, paddy, wheat since the beginning.
    • Due to the adoption of traditional farming, where the groundwater went down considerably in some places in this area, thousands of acres of land became saline.
    • As the water level was reduced, the farmers’ agricultural production stopped on such land after which the land became barren. 
    • The economic condition of the farmers was also disturbed due to non-fertile land. 
  • Introduction of Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana:
    • Keeping in view the condition of farmers across the country, the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana was implemented by the central government to promote the Blue Revolution.
    • Sirsa district now has the highest number of fish cultivators in Haryana.
    • Market:
      • From Sirsa, the fish is exported to various countries including China. 
      • Its seeds and feed are brought by fisheries traders from Andhra Pradesh. Buyers also hail from Telangana and West Bengal.

Status of Fisheries Sector & way ahead

  • The fisheries sector has been recognized as a powerful income and employment generator as it stimulates growth of a number of subsidiary industries and is a source of cheap and nutritious food, at the same time it is an instrument of livelihood for a large section of the economically backward population of the country. 
  • Fishery sector occupies an important place in the socio-economic development of the country.
  • India is the 3rd largest fish producing and 2nd largest aquaculture nation in the world after China. 
  • The Blue Revolution in India demonstrated the importance of the Fisheries and Aquaculture sector. 
  • The sector is considered as a sunrise sector and is poised to play a significant role in the Indian economy in near future. 
The National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) NFDB was established in 2006 as an autonomous organization under the administrative control of the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Government of India It was established to enhance fish production and productivity in the country and to coordinate fishery development in an integrated and holistic manner. A wide range of fishery development activities viz., intensive aquaculture in ponds and tanks, culture based capture fisheries in reservoirs, Coastal AquacultureMariculture, Sea Weed cultivation, establishment of infrastructure, fishing harbours and fish landing centres, fishing dressing centres and solar drying of fish, domestic marketingdeep sea fishing and tuna processing, ornamental fisheriestrout culture, artificial reefs technology upgradation and capacity building of fishermen and fish farmers are being supported through the State Governments/Implementing agencies.

Source: Business Today

Women in Public Sector Banks

In News

  • Recently,  data  shared by the government shows increased participation of women on the payrolls of public sector banks.


  • According to data shared by the Minister of State for Finance, in the Lok Sabha
    • The proportion of women employees has increased over the past year in most public sector banks.
    • In three public sector banks women employees constitute 30% or more of the total work force.
    • Indian Overseas Bank had the highest share of female staffers in their total staff strength at 36%
  • Cabinet committee on  Empowerment Of Women in its fourth report (16 th lok sabha)  considered the working condition of women in public sector banks. It had the following  suggestions
    • It found representation of women in high grades low and asked the government to treat it as an issue of high priority.
    • It called on the government to revisit policies regarding  posting /transfer of women to distant places. 
    • It found low awareness among women employees regarding the venues available to them for prevention of sexual harassment at work place.

Women’s Labour force participation 

  • Data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) shows that India’s Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) has fallen to just 40% from an already low 47% in 2016.
  • The main reason for India’s LFPR being low is the abysmally low level of female LFPR. According to CMIE data, as of December 2021, while the male LFPR was 67.4%, the female LFPR was as low as 9.4%.
  • India ranks 135 among a total of 146 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2022, which slipped from 112th position in 2020. 
  • According to the World Bank.From 30.7% in 2006, the proportion of working age women taking part in paid work dropped to 19.2% in 2021

Reasons for Low Participation

  • Lack of opportunities: Rural distress has affected women the most as income-generating opportunities have disappeared. The lack of suitable job opportunities is acute for women in rural India.
  • Women education: India is one of the most climatically vulnerable places. All the improvements done over decades could be erased in an instance by Natural calamity; the poor public infrastructure and limited state capacity make the task  difficult.
  • Rising income among urban population: It has removed the economic incentive for women to work .
  • Unpaid work: Most Indian women are deeply engaged in running households, which is unpaid work, and does not count as being part of the workforce.
  • Demand-supply gap in employment: The country has not created enough jobs and the demand-supply gap in employment opportunities results in women deciding to stay at home.
  • Working Conditions: The non-availability of white collar jobs, disproportionate long hours and lesser job security restricts the job opportunities for educated women in India.

Government Initiatives

  • The Maternity Benefit Act entitles a woman working in the organized sector to 26 weeks of paid maternity leave. With regard to childcare, the Act has created a provision to provide for crèche facilities in every establishment having 50 or more workers.
  • The Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, defines sexual harassment at the workplace and creates an organisational mechanism for redressal of complaints. 
  • Equal Remuneration Act, 1976; Factories (Amendment) Act, 1948 also  seek to provide equality and fairness in women working conditions.

Way Forward

  • Government policies should also start targeting  women workers in the unorganised sector which houses the largest number of females and has little to no penetration of  schemes.
  • Apart from this Provision of amenities and basic infrastructure such as childcare facilities will go a long way in welcoming the entry of women into the labour force 

Synthesis Report of IPCC AR6

In Context

  • The fourth and final installment of the sixth assessment report (AR6) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was released.
    • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations responsible for advancing knowledge on human-induced climate change.
    • It was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).


  • The report highlighted the Climate change that is a threat to human well-being and planetary health and there is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.
  • The report finds that it is likely that warming will exceed 1.5°C during the 21st century, despite progress in climate mitigation policies and legislation.
  • The report also highlights the economic imperative for taking action, finding that the global economic benefit of limiting global warming to 2°C exceeds the cost of mitigation in most assessed literature.
  • The report demonstrates an undeniable scientific consensus about the urgency of the climate crisis, and the irreversible harm that will occur if warming surpasses 1.5°C, even temporarily.
  • The report evaluates the physical science basis of climate change, impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.

Key Takeaways from the Report

  • GreenHouse Gas(GHG) emissions will lead to increasing global warming in the near term, and it’s likely this will reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2035.
  • The world is currently at around 1.1°C of warming, and current climate policies are projected to increase global warming by 3.2°C by 2100.
  • The IPCC has “very high confidence” that the risks and adverse impacts from climate change will escalate with increasing global warming.
  • To keep within the 1.5°C limit, emissions need to be reduced by at least 43% by 2030 compared to 2019 levels and at least 60% by 2035.
  • Losses and damages will disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable populations, particularly those in Africa and least-developed countries, creating more poverty.
  • Tracked climate finance for mitigation falls short of the levels needed to limit warming to below 2°C or to 1.5°C across all sectors and regions.
  • Public and private finance flows for fossil fuels are still greater than those for climate adaptation and mitigation.
  • Prioritizing equity, social justice, inclusion, and just transition processes would enable ambitious climate mitigation actions and climate-resilient development.

What is a Climate emergency?

  • Climate emergency refers to the urgent and immediate need to take action to address the escalating threats posed by the changing climate.
  • This is based on overwhelming scientific evidence that human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, are driving global temperatures to unprecedented levels.
  • These have led to catastrophic consequences such as extreme weather events, sea level rise, loss of biodiversity, and widespread human suffering.
  • The need for climate emergency action is urgent as there is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to limit global warming to 1.5°C and avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

Need for Climate Change strategies:

  • Avoiding Catastrophic Climate Change Impacts: Implementing climate change strategies is critical to avoiding catastrophic impacts, such as mass extinctions, widespread crop failures, and irreversible damage to ecosystems.
  • Protecting Public Health: Climate change strategies, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting clean energy, can help to protect public health.
  • Economic Benefits: Implementing climate change strategies can also bring significant economic benefits, including job creation, increased energy efficiency, and reduced energy costs.
  • Mitigating Social Inequities: Climate change disproportionately affects vulnerable populations and so change strategies can help to mitigate social inequities and ensure access to a safe and healthy environment.
  • International Cooperation: Addressing climate change requires international cooperation and collaboration to build stronger relationships between countries, promote innovation and technology transfer, and build a more sustainable and resilient global economy.

key challenges:

  • Political Will:  Major countries have failed to implement climate policies, especially in countries that are heavily reliant on fossil fuels or have powerful industries that are resistant to change.
  • Technological Innovation: Addressing climate change will require significant innovation in technology, clean energy and carbon capture and storage which will require significant investment, research, and development.
  • Financing: Implementing climate change solutions will require significant financial resources, both in terms of public and private sector investment which can make it difficult to implement effective policies.
  • Public Awareness: Raising public awareness and building support for climate action is critical to creating the political will needed to implement effective policies.
  • International Cooperation: Getting countries to agree on common goals and strategies can be challenging, particularly when countries have different priorities and interests.

Way ahead:

  • The IPCC’s report underscores the urgency of taking more ambitious action to ensure a sustainable future for all.
  • The report warns that beyond 2030, it may be impossible to prevent the earth from heating 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels if significant action to cut emissions is not taken.
  • Overall, urgent and decisive action on climate emergency is critical to ensure a liveable future for all, and to prevent irreversible and catastrophic consequences for the planet and future generations.
  • Thus, implementing climate change strategies is critical for protecting the environment, public health, and economic prosperity which requires a collective effort from governments, businesses, and individuals to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.

Zoonoses Theory of SARS-COVID-2

In News

  • Recently, New evidence has emerged supporting the zoonotic origin of COVID.


  • A zoonotic disease is an infectious disease that is transmitted between species from animals to humans (or from humans to animals). 
  • Rabies, Marburg disease, MERS, Monkeypox, Nipah are some of the examples of Viral  zoonotic diseases. Diseases like anthrax, brucellosis, plague, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, lyme disease are caused due to bacterial zoonoses.
  • There are two prevalent theories concerning the origin of covid. One is that the virus  was already present in animals and the first human infection happened in the Meat market in Wuhan.
  • The other theory suggests the virus had origins in a parasitic lab and leaked from there.
  • The evidence presented to the Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens found samples from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market containing the virus which also had human genetic material.

Increasing Incidence

  • Ecological changes: with unchecked exploitation of ecosystems,humans have come into contact with  unaccustomed ecosystem in which potential pathogens form part of the biotic community
  •  Increased trade in animal products: increased trade in Wool, bone meal, meat, etc. has opened up a new avenue  for  introducing disease into new territories.
  • Climate Change: Due to increase in temperature places which were inhospitable  for micro organisms have become more hospitable.


  • Zoonotic diseases are harder to predict and therefore are harder to manage. They divert precious state resources and impact the vulnerable sections the most. 
  •  Mortality rate increases because comorbidities which were manageable till the pandemic become fatal as the body gets weakened fighting the zoonotics.
  • Increased Antibiotic usage for zoonotics leads to the development of antimicrobial resistance which makes it harder to fight infections.
  • As zoonotics spread easily ,isolation protocols are required for their control .With isolation economic activity comes to a halt.

Way Forward

  • Instead of separate protocols,our health system should incorporate the concept of one health,which leads to  collaboration between local, national, and global experts from public health, health care, forestry, veterinary, environmental, and other related disciplines to bring about optimal health for humans, animals, and the environment.

World Sparrow Day

In News

  • Every year on March 20 is celebrated as World Sparrow Day.


  • World Sparrow Day was initiated by the Nature Forever Society of India in collaboration with the Eco-Sys Action Foundation of France. 
  • The first World Sparrow Day was celebrated on March 20, 2010, and was aimed at creating awareness about the decline in the sparrow population and the need for their conservation.

Theme for World Sparrow Day 2023 

  • The theme for World Sparrow Day 2023 is a continuation of the previous year’s theme i.e. “I love Sparrows,” which emphasises the role of individuals and communities in sparrow conservation.


  • About:
    • A sparrow is a member of the genus Passer. They are small passerine birds which belong to the family Passeridae.
    • The genus has about 30 species around the world. The best known of these is the house sparrow, Passer domesticus.
  • House Sparrow
    • Scientific Name: Passer domesticus. 
    • Characteristics: It is a small brown-coloured bird, not bigger than a tennis ball, with black streaks on its back.
  • Habitat: It is a social species, found in groups of eight to 10, chirping and chattering to communicate with each other.
    • It is known to nest in buildings, finding crevices and holes in walls, or at best, using the bird houses and nest boxes put out by humans in their gardens.
  • Distribution: It is widespread across the world, inhabiting every continent, except Antarctica, China and Japan. It is native to Eurasia and North Africa.
  • Threats: Habitat destruction, pollution caused by microwave towers and pesticides.
  • Conservation Status: The house sparrow is listed as the Least Concern on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
    • In 2012, the house sparrow was declared the state bird of New Delhi as part of a massive campaign to save and raise awareness about the species.

Laccase Enzyme

In News

  • An enzyme called laccase generated by a group of fungi has been found capable of degrading a variety of hazardous organic dye molecules that are regularly drained into water bodies after dying clothes in the textile industry.


  • This observed characteristic which the scientists termed substrate promiscuity can have deep implication in designing enzyme-coated cassettes for treating heavily dye-polluted water through a natural solution to make the environment greener.
  • Laccase was known for its capacity to degrade various organic molecules. Hence the scientists saw a scope in using it to develop a technology to treat/degrade the dye effluents emanated from textile industries.

Sand Battery

In News

  • Finland has installed the world’s first sand battery that can store heat from renewable energy sources for months.

What is a Sand Battery?

  • “sand battery” is a high temperature thermal energy storage that uses sand or sand-like materials as its storage medium. It stores energy in sand as heat. 
  • Its main purpose is to work as a high-power and high-capacity reservoir for excess wind and solar energy. 


  • As heat alone accounts for half of the world’s energy use, followed by transport (30 percent) and electricity (20 percent), as per intergovernmental organisation International Energy Agency (IEA). Currently, 80 percent of the world’s energy comes from dirty fossil fuels.
  • The energy is stored as heat, which can be used to heat homes, or to provide hot steam and high temperature process heat to industries that are often fossil-fuel dependent.
  • Currently, most industrial-scale batteries used for storing electricity from intermittent renewable energy sources are made out of lithium. They are bulky and expensive and do not cope well with large amounts of excess power.


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