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1st May 2023

Thrissur Pooram 2023


Kerala is preparing to commemorate the grand and vibrant Thrissur Pooramtemple festival, which lasts for 36 hours or simply 3 days. 

  • This festival is considered the mother of all poorams.
  • It is an impressive exhibition of cultural customs and traditions, featuring adorned elephants, colourful umbrellas, and percussion music. 
  • The festival is a splendid blend of Kerala's spiritual and cultural heritage and is held in the Thekkinkadu Maidanam in Thrissur during the Malayalam month of medam, which falls in April-May.

Historical Belief

  • Thrissur Pooram is a prominent temple festival in Kerala with a history spanning over 200 years. 
  • The festival was established by the ruler of the Kingdom of Cochin. The festival's origin dates back to 1796, when a group of temples was prohibited from attending the Arattupuzha Pooram festival due to heavy rainfall. 
  • Upon hearing their grievances, Shakthan Thampuran decided to organise his own festival, which eventually became the Thrissur Pooram celebrated on the same day in May.

India-Myanmar Kaladan waterway


Fifteen years after it was approved, the waterway component of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport project (KMTTP) is set to become operational.

  • The deep-water port at Sittwe is part of the Rs 3,200 crore Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP). 

Sittwe, which was one of the busiest rice-exporting ports in the late 19th century, is located at the mouth of the Kaladan in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

  • Piloted by the Ministry of External Affairs and first approved in 2008, the project is aimed at boosting trade and commerce between India and Myanmar and easing access to other South Asian countries. 
  • Once ready, it will also provide a strategic alternate link connecting the landlocked northeastern states to the rest of India and easing the pressure on the existing narrow Siliguri corridor. 
  • Developed by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) — an autonomous organisation under the Union shipping ministry — the construction of the Sittwe port was completed way back in 2018. 
  • But it could not be operationalised because of several obstacles, including delays in getting approvals and licenses because of the political turmoil in Myanmar and intense conflict in the Chin and Rakhine state.

The KMTTP Route: 

  • KMTTP connects Kolkata to Sittwe port, which is further linked to Paletwa in Myanmar through a waterway route along the river Kaladan. 
  • Both the port at Sittwe and the inland water terminal at Paletwa.
  • From Paletwa, a 110 km road is being built to connect to Zorinpui at Mizoram on the Indo-Myanmar border. 
  • Zorinpui is further connected to Lawngtlai through a 100 km road. 
  • From Lawngtlai, an existing highway connects it to Aizawl, which in turn is linked to other northeastern cities including Guwahati.  

Toxic gas kills 11 in Ludhiana


At least 11 people have died following a gas leak in Ludhiana, Punjab. The death is due to the inhalation of neurotoxic gas.

What is Neurotoxicity?

  • Neuro-toxicity occurs when exposure to natural or manmade toxic substances (neurotoxicants) alters the normal activity of the nervous system that includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. 
  • Nerve cells, or neurons, communicate with each other through a series of electrical and chemical signals and are at the greatest risk of damage from neurotoxins because of their high metabolic rate.
  • Neuro-toxic substances can damage nerve cell function by modifying the structure of the cell membrane, which controls the passage of ions into and out of the neuron. 
  • As a result, the electrical activity of the neuron may change. 
  • Furthermore, neurotoxins can prevent neurotransmitters from being released or taken up by other neurons, thereby preventing their production or release. 
  • Neurotransmitters are responsible for signal transmission between neurons.

Industrial gas leaks in India

  • Industrial gas leaks are not rare in India.
  • Three years ago a gas leak at a chemical plant killed at least 12 people in the city of Visakhapatnam, in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
  • In 1984 a chemical leak in a pesticide plant in the central city of Bhopal killed thousands of people, in what is acknowledged to be the world's worst industrial disaster.

Nicobar project violates tribal rights: ST panel


The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has now flagged alleged discrepancies with respect to the forest clearance granted for the Rs 72,000-crore Great Nicobar Island (GNI) Project

What are the issues?

  • No recognition of rights of tribals: Months after the project was granted forest clearance, implementation reports prepared by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs show that the island administration neither recognised nor granted ownership of any forest land to local tribespeople as per FRA, a requisite step under the Forest Conservation Rules, 2017 before Stage-I clearance is granted.
    • The Stage-1 clearance for the project was granted in October 2022, two years after the application was received.  

The project

  • The Rs 72,000-crore project titled ‘Holistic Development of Great Nicobar Island at Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ is being implemented by the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Integrated Development Corporation (ANIIDCO).
  • The project has four components – 
    • an International Transhipment Port (ITP)
    • Greenfield International Airport
    • a power plant
    • a new township that could constitute a Special Economic Zone. 
  • These four interlinked projects form the core of the new city and the holistic master plan.

Claims made by the government

  • The government has said that the project intends to use about 7.114 sq. km of tribal reserve forest land, where the Shompen, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), and the Nicobarese reside. 
  • It insisted that locals will not be displaced by the project.

Short News Article

Geography (GS-I)

World’s second deepest blue hole discovered in Mexico

As per the latest development, scientists have uncovered a massive sinkhole off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. 


  • The giant blue hole which is around 900 ft deep, has been dubbed as the second deepest blue hole found on the planet.
    • The world’s deepest known deep hole was discovered in the South China Sea in 2016, and is known as the Dragon Hole. As per the records, it’s more than 980 ft deep.
  • The Mexico blue hole has been named Taam Ja’, which means ‘deep water’ in Mayan. 
  • Reportedly, these blue holes get their names from their indigo centres and light blue perimeters, and they follow the rules of the ocean subject to tide.

A blue hole is actually a massive underwater sinkhole, which is hundreds of metres long and spans across areas that are bigger than cities and stands at a height of several skyscrapers.

Geography (GS-I)

Rare Sun Halo 

  • A sun halo is an optical phenomenon that occurs when sunlight interacts with ice crystals in the atmosphere. 
  • It appears as a bright ring or halo around the sun, typically with a radius of approximately 22 degrees. The ring is formed by unique hexagonal ice crystals present in the atmosphere.
  • These icy crystals are found in cirrus clouds, which are thin and wispy clouds. When sunlight enters these ice crystals, it is refracted, or bent, by the crystal's surfaces. 
  • This bending of light causes the sun's rays to separate into their component colors, creating a spectrum of colors that are visible as the halo.

Polity & Governance (GS-II)

Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021

In the current Lok Sabha session, the Ministry of Finance was questioned about the Cryptocurrency Bill (that was scheduled in 2021).


  • A cryptocurrency is a form of virtual asset based on a network that is scattered across a huge number of computers. 
  • It is a decentralized form that allows cryptocurrency to exist outside the control of the central government or authorities

The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021 was introduced in the Lok Sabha. The bill seeks to create a favorable framework for the creation of digital currency that will be issued by the Reserve Bank Of India (RBI). 

International Relations (GS-II)

United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) 

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) promotes industrial safety and safe working conditions and, as a contribution to World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2023, has launched a new training course, Occupational Safety and Health Aspects of Leather Manufacturing.

  • UNIDO is a specialized agency of the United Nations with a unique mandate to promote, dynamize and accelerate industrial development.  
  • It’s mandate is reflected in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 9: “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”, but UNIDO’s activities contribute to all the SDGs. 
  • India is one of UNIDO's Founding Members.

April 28 is also the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers, organised worldwide by the trade union movement since 1996 to honour the memory of victims of occupational accidents and diseases.


India, its SDG pledge goal, and the strategy to apply


The country needs to replicate its COVID-19 response plan to succeed in meeting its SDG targets — one that is also pioneering and a nationwide effort


  • The Prime Minister, while addressing the first meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors under India’s G20 Presidency, expressed concern that “progress on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) seems to be slowing down”.
  • Regardless of the global progress that has been made to date, the sheer population size of India means that realising SDGs at a global scale is intrinsically tied to the success of India.
  • India becoming the third largest economy in the near future and translating this growth into progress on social and human development have to be equally valued.

India’s progress is mixed

  • The SDGs framework sets targets for 231 unique indicators across 17 SDG goals related to economic development, social welfare and environmental sustainability, to be met by 2030.
  • India is ‘On-Target’ to meeting 14 of the 33 SDGs, including indicators for neonatal and under-five mortality, full vaccination, improved sanitation, and electricity access, all of which have substantially improved in the last five years.
  • Of concern, for 19 of the 33 SDG indicators, the current pace of improvement is not enough to meet SDG targets. Despite a national policy push for clean fuel for cooking, more than two-thirds (479) of districts remain ‘Off-Target’. 
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