First GSI survey of the Siachen


Syllabus: GS1/ Physical Geography

In News

  • June-August 2023 marks the sapphire jubilee of a very important event in the history of the exploration of the Siachen glacier.
    • The first Geological Survey of India expedition happened on Siachen glacier.


  • The grid reference point NJ 9842 is the last mutually demarcated point between India and Pakistan as per the Karachi ceasefire agreement of 1949 and also the point where the Line of Control of the Simla Agreement ends.
  • 25 yrs later, Pakistan extended Line of Control from NJ 9842 to Karakoram Pass, setting off a chain of events leading to India’s occupation of Saltoro Heights in 1984. 
  • This event is of historical and geostrategic significance as it puts to rest all myths to the effect that Pakistan was in control of the glacier since the beginning.

The First Siachen Survey

  • In June 1958, V. K. Raina, a top Indian geologist, led the first GSI Survey of the Siachen glacier. It would become a bone of contention between India and Pakistan later and the site of Operation Meghdoot launched by the Indian Armed forces in 1984.
  • 1958 was an important year for geologists all over the world as it was celebrated as the International Geophysical Year. 
  • As per the V.K Raina, the snout of the glacier at that time was a jumbled mass of practically inaccessible ice which exhibited an arc like depression towards the centre with the concave side facing the front or downstream.
  • Post 1947, this was the first official Indian survey of the Siachen glacier by the GSI and that too as part of its International Geophysical Year commitments.

Pakistan’s Response

  • Despite the expedition’s significance and publicity, Pakistan did not lodge any protests or objections against India’s presence on the glacier during the survey.
  • The lack of objections can be attributed to the mutual demarcation under the Karachi ceasefire agreement and the absence of perceived threats or intentions of occupation.

Operation Meghdoot

  • Pakistan was first to see the potential of this strategically-important unoccupied area. However it didn’t deploy troops till 1970 but used to send mountaineering expeditions to the glaciers.
  • In early 1981, Indian Army Col Narinder Bull Kumar sounded the alarm over Pakistan’s expeditions in the region.
  • In April 1984, India urgently dispatched troops to Siachen under secret Operation Meghadoot. Indian troops reached the glacier a week earlier than Pakistan.


  • The Siachen Glacier is a glacier located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas.
  • It is just northeast of the point NJ9842 where the Line of Control between India and Pakistan ends.
  • It is the longest glacier in Karakoram and second-longest in the world’s non-polar areas.
  • It falls from an altitude of 5,753 mabove sea level at its head at Indira Col on the India–China border.

Why is Siachen important?

  • The Siachen glacier demarcates central Asia from the Indian subcontinent, and separates Pakistan from China in the region
  • The Saltoro Ridge of the Siachen glacier serves as a divide that prevents direct linking of PoK with China, stopping them from developing geographical military linkages in the area.
  • Siachen also serves as a watchtower for India to keep a deep watch on Gilgit and Baltistan regions of Pakistan.
  • Due to its control over Saltoro Ridge, India is better placed to strike a bargain while settling bilateral territorial disputes with Pakistan in the future.
  • Siachen also helps India to keep a close watch on China ’s activities as Beijing has vastly improved its infrastructure in this region. China has developed all weather rail and road links in the Shaksgam region, which was ceded to China by Pakistan in the 1960s.

Challenges in Guarding Siachen

  • Adverse climate condition like temperature in winters drop to -60C
  • Constant threats of avalanches, crevasses on the glacier, high-speed winds.
  • Soldiers stationed in the area are affected by a range of fatal altitude related ailments like frost bites, hypoxia, hypothermia and white outs.
Geological Survey of India (GSI) Established in 1851. It is an attached office to the Ministry of Mines.Functions: To creation and updation of national geoscientific data and mineral resource assessment, air-borne and marine surveys and conducting multifarious geotechnical, geo-environmental and natural hazards studies.

Source: TH

Gujarat Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act, 1985

Syllabus: GS2/Governance

In News

  • Lieutenant Governor (L-G) of Delhi has approved a proposal by the Delhi Home Department to extend the Gujarat Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act, 1985 to the national capital.
    • The move comes after the Delhi Police wrote to the L-G asking for a stricter law to rein in snatchers and drug peddlers.

What is the Gujarat PASA Act?

  • The Gujarat Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act, 1985, provides for preventive detention of boot-leggers, dangerous persons, drug offenders, immoral traffic offenders, and property grabbers for preventing their anti-social and dangerous activities prejudicial to the maintenance of public order.
  • It was first published in the Gujarat Government Gazette in 1985, and came into force in 1985.
  • In 2020, amendments to the Act brought under its ambit operators of gambling dens and prostitution rackets, offenders of cow-slaughter, sexual offences and cyber crimes, those involved in usury, and repeated offenders of the Arms Act.
  • As per the Section 3 of the Act, the state government with a view to preventing a person from acting in any manner prejudicial to public order, make an order directing that such a person be detained.
    • The person can be detained anywhere in Gujarat, and be removed from one place of detention to another within the state.
  • The offender must have more than one FIR filed against him at any police station within the state. However, the offender can be booked under PASA only by an officer whose territorial jurisdiction he resides in.


  • Misuse: The authorities have received criticism over the ‘misuse’ of the Act, especially since the criterion of multiple FIRs is often met through complaints filed years ago, for which the detainee has not been convicted.
    • Critics and legal experts argue the Act infringes upon a person’s personal liberty.
  • Detention on multiple grounds: Section 6 allows the government to detain an individual on multiple grounds, making separate orders for each ground. Therefore, even if one of the multiple grounds is held ‘invalid’ or ‘vague’ in a Court, the detention order can sustain on the other grounds.

Way Ahead

  • The Gujarat PASA Act, 1985 has been immensely useful in maintaining peace and order by detaining the anti-social elements.
  • The act will give more power in the hands of Delhi Police to deal with crime incidents like chain snatching, bootlegging, drug peddling and trafficking etc.
  • The act is considered to ensure public safety and law & order in Delhi and on the recommendation of Delhi Police.

Source: IE

Russia become the world’s top wheat exporter

Syllabus: GS3/ India & Foreign Relations, Effect of Policies & Politics of Developed & Developing Countries on India’s Interests

In News

  • Russia is recently seen consolidating its position as the world’s top wheat exporter.
    • It is being claimed that Russia has gained largely at the expense of Ukraine. 

Data on wheat exports

  • Russia’s wheat exports:
    • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has estimated Russia’s wheat exports at a record 45.5 million tonnes (mt) in 2022-23 (July-June).
      • Up from 33 mt, 39.1 mt and 34.5 mt in the preceding three marketing years. 
    • In the process, it has left behind the European Union, which had exported 39.8 mt in 2019-20.
    • Moreover, Russia’s wheat exports are expected to touch a new high of 47.5 mt in 2023-24.
      • Way ahead of the EU (38.5 mt), Canada (26.5 mt), Australia (25 mt) and Argentina (11 mt). 
  • Ukraine’s wheat exports:
    • Russia has gained largely at the expense of Ukraine. 
    • The war-torn nation’s exports fell from 21 mt in 2019-20 to 16.8 mt in 2022-23 
    • There are forecasts to further decline to 10.5 mt in the new marketing year. 
    • USDA has projected the country’s production, too, to dip to 17.5 mt, the lowest since 2012-13.

Significance & causes of this shift

  • Shift of market & ease of shipment:
    • The primary destinations for Russian wheat are the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, led by Egypt, Iran and Algeria
    • While the Black Sea Grain Initiative helped Ukraine export 16.8 mt in 2022-23, about 39% of its wheat actually moved via the land route to Eastern Europe, instead of the specially-created corridors for shipping from the three designated ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and Yuzhny. 
    • Ukraine’s markets have shifted dramatically from Asia and North Africa before the war to mainly Europe, mostly due to ease of shipment, according to the USDA.
  • Relatively low wheat prices from Russia:
    • Ample supplies from Russia have helped soften global wheat prices.
      • Russian wheat is now being exported at around $235 per tonne, as against $275 three months ago, $310 six months ago and $375 a year ago. 
  • Significance for India:
    • The relatively low international prices of wheat can be a comfort factor for countries like India.
      • India might have to consider the option of wheat imports if the kharif rice crop does not turn out too good due to poor monsoon rain in major paddy-growing states.
About WheatIt is the main cereal crop in India.Indian wheat is largely a soft/medium hard, medium protein, white bread wheat, somewhat similar to U.S. hard white wheat. It is Rabi Crop which is sown in October-December and harvested during April-June.Temperature: Between 23±3°C and for good tillering temperature should range between 16-20°C. The best wheat is produced in areas favoured with cool, moist weather during the major portion of the growing period followed by dry, warm weather to enable the grain to ripen properly.Rainfall: 50 cm to 100 cm rainfall.Soil Type: Soils with a clay loam or loam texture, good structure and moderate water holding capacity are ideal for wheat cultivation.Wheat growing states in India:  Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Gujarat.Bhalia Variety of WheatIt is a variety of wheat that received GI certification in 2011.It has high protein content and is sweet in taste. The crop is grown mostly across the Bhal region of Gujarat which includes Ahmedabad, Anand, Kheda, Bhavanagar, Surendranagar, Bharuch districts.This variety is grown in rainfed conditions without irrigation.

Source: TH

Lithium for Commercial Mining

Syllabus: GS3/ Energy, Technology


  • The Union Cabinet approved amendments to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDR Act) -1957 allowing commercial mining of lithium and a few other minerals.
  • The amendments in MMDR Act 1957 allowed commercial mining of six critical minerals — Lithium, Beryllium, Titanium, Niobium, Tantalum and Zirconium, and declared 30 minerals as ‘critical’ for the country.

Importance of Lithium

  • Used in manufacturing electric vehicles, batteries, automotive components, defence machinery, telecommunication equipment, capacitors, super alloys, carbides and medical technology.

Import Dependency

  • Most of the lithium requirement of India is imported from countries such as Chile, Russia, China, Ireland and Belgium.
  • In 2021-22, India’s lithium imports were $22.15 million. Hong Kong, China and the US were the top three sources.

Lithium reserves in India

  • The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has found inferred lithium reserves (preliminary exploration stage) in the Salal Harimana region in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Another reserve has been found in Nagaur district of Rajasthan, which can meet 80% of the country’s total demand of lithium.
  • GSI has begun six projects on lithium investigation in Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya, Jammu & Kashmir, and Andhra Pradesh
  • Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has shown the presence of inferred category Lithium in the pegmatites of Marlagalla – Allapatna area, Mandya district, Karnataka.

Government Initiatives

  • Production – Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for Lithium cells.
  • Khanij Bidesh India Ltd (KABIL) to identify, acquire, develop, and process critical minerals and metals such as lithium, cobalt, copper, and nickel etc.
  • Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme provides incentives for the adoption of electric vehicles.
  • 100 % FDI in electric mobility and domestic manufacturing of battery packs.

Way Ahead

  • Much of India’s mineral wealth is mined from regions with very high levels of poverty, environmental degradation, and lax regulation.
  • Effective and careful management of the sector should be paramount if India’s rare minerals development is to meet its multiple goals — social wellbeing, environmental safety, and national energy security.

Source: TH

Guillain-Barré Syndrome


In News

  • The Peruvian government has recently declared a state of national emergency for up to three months, due to a spike in the number of cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome .

What is Guillain-Barré Syndrome(GBS)?

  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome is a rare neurological disorder where the body’s immune system — which normally protects it from infections and other foreign bodies — mistakenly attacks its own peripheral nerve cells.
  • Symptoms:It include a tingling sensation in the body’s extremities, weakness in the legs that spreads to the upper body, difficulty in facial movements, unsteady walking or inability to walk, pain and, in severe cases, paralysis.

Effects of GBS

  • The peripheral nerves — the nerves that branch out from the brain and the spinal cord — get damaged and as a result, the muscles can become weak or paralyzed. 
  • The paralysis affects the legs, arms, and important parts of the nervous system that regulate breathing, blood pressure and heartbeat.
  • The myelin sheath — an insulating layer of fat and protein that surrounds the nerve cells — becomes inflamed.The myelin sheath enables signals to pass through the nerve tracts at breakneck speed under normal conditions. If the sheath is inflamed, the nerves can hardly transport stimuli.

Causes of GBS

  • The exact reasons for Guillain-Barré Syndrome are not known yet. However, it often develops shortly after a person gets an infectious disease. 
  • GBS is often linked to the cytomegalovirus, Epstein Barr virus,Zika virus and even the COVID 19 pandemic.
  • In GBS the invaders camouflage themselves with a surface that mimics the body’s own structures. So the antibodies also target the body’s own cells and structures as foreign bodies and attach themselves to the surface. This results in a cascade of reactions.
  • Vaccination can also be a reason for the disease.

Cure of GBS

  • Currently, there is no certain cure for Guillain-Barré Syndrome.However there are two treatments that can help recovery and reduce the severity of the disease.
  1. Plasma exchange or plasmapheresis:The plasma or the liquid part of the blood is removed and separated from the blood cells, inducing new plasma production to make up for the loss. This treatment is aimed at removing the antibodies which are attacking the peripheral nerves.
  2. Immunoglobulin therapy:The  healthy antibodies from blood donors are injected intravenously. The damaged antibodies contributing to GBS are then blocked by the high doses of the immunoglobulins. 
  • Recovery:After the fourth week of the disease recovery begins and it can extend between six to 12 months and occasionally up to three years.


Securities Contract Regulation Act (SCRA)

Syllabus: GS3/ Economy

In News

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) plans to form an expert committee to suggest changes to the Securities Contract Regulation Act (SCRA).

More on the news

  • The changes are expected to be made to simplify the law and weed out redundant provisions. 
  • Several changes will be discussed for various aspects of the Act, including Sebi’s penalty powers and the regulatory framework for market institutions, etc.
About SEBIThe Securities and Exchange Board of India was constituted as a non-statutory body on April 12, 1988 through a resolution of the Government of India.But it was established as a statutory body in the year 1992 under the provisions of the SEBI Act, 1992.The Preamble of the SEBI Act describes the basic functions of the SEBI as “…to protect the interests of investors in securities and to promote the development of, and to regulate the securities market and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”.Securities Appellate Tribunal is a statutory body established under the provisions of Section 15K of the SEBI Act, 1992 to hear and dispose of appeals against orders passed by the SEBI or by an adjudicating officer under the Act. Sebi has powers akin to a civil court to issue directions and impose monetary penalties on wrongdoers. However, if Sebi wants to prosecute someone under criminal law, it has to go through regular criminal courts. 

About SCRA 

  • The Securities Contracts Regulation Act, 1956 (SCRA) is one of the primary legal frameworks governing securities trading in India.
  • The SCRA defines securities as a broad range of financial instruments, including shares, bonds, debentures, and derivatives. 
  • SecuritiesIt refers to tradable financial instruments that hold some type of monetary value.
    • These instruments can be issued by companies, governments, or other organizations, and are sold on various financial markets.
    • Securities can take many forms, including stocks, bonds, options, futures, and other derivative contracts.
  • Government securities. Also known as G-secs, these are issued by the Indian government to borrow money from the market.
    • The funds raised through the issuance of government securities are used to finance various development programs and initiatives of the government. 
  • Stock market: It is a public marketplace that enables the trading of stocks of publicly held companies.
    • It provides a platform for investors to buy and sell financial instruments, such as stocks. 
  • Shares are fractions of the company’s capital.
    • Shareholders are company owners who own an equal proportion of the company of the shares held by them. 
    • The company pays dividends to its shareholders when it makes profits. 
  • Bonds are debt instruments that private and public companies issue to borrow capital.
    • Bond owners receive interest payments on an accrual basis. It doesn’t depend on the company’s performance. 
    • Bonds are considerably safer investment options as it is backed by collateral. 
    • Bonds have the lowest liquidity as these are long-term debt instruments. 
  • Debentures are basically medium or long-term instruments that corporate or government companies issue to raise capital.
    • There is usually no collateral, and investors rely on the borrowers’ credit ratings and reputation. Investors earn through interest payments. 
    • Debentures are risky investments as usually there is no collateral to back them up.

Way Ahead

  • The impact of the SCRA on the securities market in India has been significant. It has facilitated the growth of the securities market, making it more transparent, accessible, and secure for investors.
  • However, it needs to be reformed as per changing time spo that it remains a critical piece of legislation for the securities market in India. 

Source: LM

Facts In News

Kaas Plateau 



  • Recently the sediments of a seasonal lake in the Kaas Plateau were studied to understand the past climate of the region.

 Kaas Plateau

  • The plateau  is situated at an altitude of 1200 m, in the Satara district of Maharashtra.It is made from volcanic rocks.
  • The plateau is famous for the different varieties of flowering plants and is a biodiversity hotspot.
  • It was inscribed in the UNESCO world heritage sites list in 2012 under the name of Western Ghats.
  • The name of the plateau is derived from the Kaasa tree, botanically known as Elaeocarpus glandulosus (rudraksha family).


  • The study indicated a major shift in the Indian Summer Monsoons towards dry and stressed conditions with low rainfall during the Early-Mid–Holocene, around 8664 years BP. 
  • The seasonal lake favored freshwater accumulation almost for 8000 years BP and probably dried sometimes after 2000 years BP. 
  • Also the seasonal lake is probably a product of an erosional localized shallow depression on a pediment (rock debris) developed over the crust. 
  • The signatures of diatoms, mites, thecamoebians, and sediment characteristics provided better resolutions regarding the hydrological processes and modification of the seasonal lake.


Darfur Region

Syllabus: GS1/ Places in News

In News: 

  • The UN human rights office said recently that at least 87 people including ethnic Masalits were buried in a mass grave in Sudan’s West Darfur.


  • Ethnically motivated bloodshed has escalated in recent weeks in step with fighting between rival military factions that erupted in April and has brought the country to the brink of civil war. 
  • In El Geneina, witnesses and rights groups have reported waves of attacks by the RSF(Rapid Support Forces) and Arab militias against the non-Arab Masalit people.


  • Location: Northeastern Africa.
  • Capital: Khartoum, which is located at the junction of the Blue Nile and White Nile rivers. 
  • The name Sudan derives from the Arabic expression (“land of the blacks”), by which medieval Arab geographers referred to the settled African countries that began at the southern edge of the Sahara. 
  • It was the largest and one of the most geographically diverse states in Africa, until its split into two countries in 2011 after southern Sudan separated from it. 

Sagar sampark

Syllabus: GS3/Science and Technology

In News

  • The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways inaugurated the indigenous Differential Global Navigation Satellite System (DGNSS) ‘SAGAR SAMPARK’.

What is Differential Global Navigation Satellite System?

  • It is a terrestrial based enhancement system which corrects the errors and inaccuracies in the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) allowing for more accurate positioning information.

It will do so after recapitalization with multiple satellite constellations like GPS and Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS).

It will increase the availability and redundancy as per International standards and helps the mariners to improve their positioning within 5 meters.

  • The error correction accuracy has been improved from 5 to 10 meters to less than 5 meters for 100 Nautical Miles from Indian coastlines.


  • The DGNSS service will help mariners in safe navigation and will reduce the risk of collisions, groundings, and accidents in the port and harbour areas. This will lead to safe & efficient movement of vessels.
  • DGNSS is an important Radio Aid to Navigation towards fulfillment of international obligations of International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA).
    • International Maritime Organisation (IMO): It is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships. 
    • The SOLAS Convention: It is related to the safety of merchant ships. The first version was adopted in 1914, in response to the Titanic disaster.
    • IALA: It is a non-profit, international technical association. Established in 1957, it gathers together Marine Aids to Navigation authorities, manufacturers, consultants, and, scientific and training institutes from all parts of the world and offers them the opportunity to exchange and compare their experiences and achievements.

Source: PIB

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)

Syllabus: GS3/Science and Tech/GS2/Health

In News

  • Researchers have developed a disease modifying treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).

What is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)?

  • It is a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness due to the alterations of a protein called dystrophin that helps keep muscle cells intact.
    • Muscles need lubricant. Dystrophin, an enzyme secreted in the muscles, helps in wear and tear and regeneration of muscles.
  • Symptoms: DMD symptom onset is in early childhood, usually between ages 2 and 3. The disease primarily affects boys, but in rare cases it can affect girls.
    • Muscle weakness is the principal symptom of DMD. It first affects the proximal muscles (those close to the core of the body) and later affects the distal limb muscles (those close to the extremities). 
    • The affected child might have difficulty jumping, running, and walking. 
    • Other symptoms include enlargement of the calves, a waddling gait, and lumbar lordosis (an inward curve of the spine). 
    • Later on, the heart and respiratory muscles are affected as well. Progressive weakness and scoliosis result in impaired pulmonary function, which can eventually cause acute respiratory failure.
  • DMD was first described by the French neurologist Guillaume Benjamin Amand Duchenne in the 1860s, in 1986, a particular gene on the X chromosome was identified leads to DMD when flawed. 
  • Carriers: DMD carriers are females who have a normal dystrophin gene on one X chromosome and an abnormal dystrophin gene on the other X chromosome.
    • Most carriers of DMD do not themselves have signs and symptoms of the disease, but a minority do. 
  • Survival: Until relatively recently, boys with DMD usually did not survive much beyond their teen years but due to advances in cardiac and respiratory care, life expectancy is increasing and survival into the early 30s is becoming more common than before.
  • Treatment: Currently available treatments were gene therapy, Exon-skipping and disease modifying agents (anti-inflammatory medicines such as steroids).
  • Recent treatment: Using a food additive – a beta-glucan produced by N-163 strain of a yeast Aureobasidium pullulans.
    • Along with regular treatment, the participants, all aged above three years, were given the beta-glucan in the form of a food supplement.
    • The muscle strength of the treatment group improved and there was no adverse reaction and it potentially delayed progress of disease without side effects to the liver and kidneys.
    • This research using beta glucan as a food supplement in reducing DMD may be a boon for patients but requires further validation through a large-scale multi-centric study.

Source: TH

Bastille Day

Syllabus:GS2/International Relations

In News

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in France for a two-day official visit, joined President Emmanuel Macron for the French National Day celebrations as the Guest of Honour in Paris.


  • TheFrench National Day is celebrated on July 14, also known as Bastille Day or Fête nationale française, and is marked by a long military parade.
  • The day is often seen as the symbol of the end of monarchy in France.

What led to Bastille Day?

  • Bastille Day is associated with the decade-long French Revolution, which altered French political and social life and influenced the foundational ideas of democracy across the world, popularizing slogans such as “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity). 
  • Bastille is a 14th century fortress-prison in Paris that was used to incarcerate political prisoners.
  • Social and Economic issues:In the 1780s, the French economy was in dire state due to Crop failure and famine and the situation was unaffordable for a vast majority of people.
  • The French society was divided in three estates namely,  clergy (First Estate), the nobility (Second Estate) and the commoners (Third Estate).The ignorance towards the situation by King Louis XVI provoked the commoners (Third Estate). 

Storming of the Bastille

  • On July 14, 1789, a huge, armed mob began marching towards Bastille.The Bastille defenders couldn’t control the protesters and soon it fell.
  • One year later, while Louis XVI was still on the throne, the Fête de la Fédération was observed, to celebrate unity among the French people.
  • Thus, July 14, 1790, was chosen as the day whose anniversary would be the national day. 


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