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24th November 2022

Why Indonesian earthquake was so deadly?


A recently hit Earthquake of Magnitude 5.6 in the West Java province of Indonesia has led to massive devastation in the island country.

So, let us find out the reasons contributing to the region’s vulnerability to natural disasters.

The Location:
  • Population: 270 million people live in the island country.
  • Area: The area spans some 40,000 kilometers.
  • Occurrence of Natural Disasters: The Island is prone to frequent earthquakes, Tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Many of Indonesia’s earthquakes are minor and cause little to no damage. But there have also been deadly earthquakes.
About the West Java Province:

  • West Java is a province of Indonesia on the western part of the island of Java, with its provincial capital in Bandung.
  • West Java is bordered by the country's capital region of Jakarta to the west, the Java Sea to the north, the province of Central Java to the east, and the Indian Ocean to the south. 
  • West Java was one of the first eight provinces of Indonesia.
  • Jakarta is congested, prone to earthquakes, and rapidly sinking into the Java Sea.
  • The tectonics and seismicity of Jakarta and adjacent areas are highly influenced by the convergence of the Australian Plate toward the Eurasian Plate.
Occurrence of Earthquakes:
  • An earthquake is the shaking of the earth. It is a natural event.
  • It is caused due to release of energy, which generates waves that travel in all directions.
  • The vibrations called seismic waves are generated from earthquakes that travel through the Earth and are recorded on instruments called
  • The location below the earth’s surface where the earthquake starts is called the hypocenter, and the location directly above it on the surface of the earth is called the epicenter.

Types of earthquakes:

  • Tectonic earthquakes
  • Volcanic earthquakes
  • Human-induced earthquakes
Factors Responsible for Earthquakes in the region:
Geographic Factors:
  • Located on the Ring of fire: because of its location on the arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin known as the ‘Ring of Fire, it becomes one of the places where a majority of the world’s earthquakes occur.

  • Movement of Fault lines: A fault is a place with a long break in the rock that forms the surface of the earth. When an earthquake occurs on one of these faults, the rock on one side of the fault slips with respect to the other.
    • A number of rocks placed inside the island form fault lines, they are continuously moving with respect to normal rocks. Hence, they can slide over each other easily and are not stiff.
  • Type of Soil: The Indonesian island is made of basically volcanic soil made up of ashes which is similar to black soil in India. This soil easily gets settled down and is easy to swell and shrink.
    • The Structure holding capacity of the soil is also poor.
  • Other Factors include;
    • Proximity to the surface. the origin of the earthquake.
    • Distance from Volcano
    • The population of the region
Economic Factors:
  • A Less developed Country: The Island’s economy largely depends upon fishing activities and marine products. Therefore, there is a lack of proper infrastructure in the region due to a shortage of funds.
  • Lack of Earthquake Mitigation Methods: The absence of an adequate team and strategy to mitigate the effects of earthquakes makes the region prone to further suffering of common people.
Social Factors:
  • Lack of awareness among people.
  • Illiteracy prevalent among women makes them not aware of earthquake safety structures
Recent Earthquakes:
  • In February, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed at least 25 people and injured more than 460 in West Sumatra province.
  • In January 2021, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed more than 100 people and injured nearly 6,500 in West Sulawesi province.
  • A recent earthquake occurred in West Java province near the capital city of Jakarta.

Bird flu: UK is seeing its largest-ever outbreak


In the UK, more than 150 cases of bird flu have been reported between September and November.

  • This outbreak has led to the death of nearly 100 million poultry birds around the world.
  • It is threatening wild bird populations in Europe and the US.
  • Threat: 15 species of seabirds have tested positive for HPAI for the first time.
  • Deaths have been reported in species like great skuas, which are worrying due to their magnitude and potential to threaten the species’ persistence in the UK.
Avian influenza
  • Avian influenza is a highly contagious viral disease that occurs primarily in poultry and wild water birds.
  • Avian influenza viruses are either high or low-pathogenic viruses (HPAI and LPAI, respectively).
  • The variant depends on the molecular characterization of the virus and its ability to cause disease and mortality in chickens.
    • These mutate rapidly and can combine genetic material from other influenza viruses into their genomes to produce new variants.
  • The bird flu spreads through their droppings, contaminating the water bodies they visit.
  • Avian influenza can be transmitted from animals to humans in two main ways:
    • Directly from birds or from contaminated environments.
    • Through an intermediate host, such as a pig.
Which strain is affecting the poultry right now?
The H5N1 strain of HPAI:
  • It seems to be more infectious and more fatal to poultry.
  • It is more persistent in wild bird populations.
  • It’s also able to affect a greater diversity of species than previous strains.
Avian flu season:
  • Western Europe’s avian flu season starts in the autumn.
  • It is when millions of migratory birds from colder climates such as geese, ducks, and swans arrive for the winter.
  • Their contact with the domestic poultry population may result in the spread of any pathogens carried by them.
What are the different types of avian influenza?
  • There are four types of influenza (flu) viruses: A, B, C, and D.
  • Wild aquatic birds, including gulls, terns, shorebirds, and wild waterfowl, such as ducks, geese, and swans are considered reservoirs (hosts) for avian influenza A viruses.
  • Subtypes of Influenza A Viruses:
    • Influenza A viruses are divided into subtypes based on two proteins on the surface of the virus: hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA).
    • There are 18 known HA subtypes and 11 known NA subtypes.
    • All known subtypes of influenza A viruses can infect birds, except subtypes A(H17N10) and A(H18N11).
Highly Pathogenic and Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza A Viruses
  • Avian influenza A viruses are classified into the following two categories:
    • low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) A viruses: Low pathogenic avian influenza viruses cause either no signs of disease or mild disease in chickens/poultry (such as ruffled feathers and a drop in egg production).
    • highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A viruses: Highly pathogenic?avian influenza viruses?cause severe disease and high mortality in infected?poultry.?
  • Both HPAI and LPAI viruses can spread rapidly through poultry flocks.
  • Both LPAI and HPAI A viruses have caused mild to severe illness in infected humans.

Buddhist Nyingma sect finds ‘reincarnation’ of famous Rinpoche


In a significant development in Tibetan Buddhist circles, the Nyingma sect has identified a boy from Spiti in Himachal Pradesh as the reincarnation of the late Taklung Setrung Rinpoche, a scholar known for his knowledge of Tibetan Tantric School.


The Five Precepts of Buddhism (Basic Principles):

  • Refrain from taking life. Not killing any living being.
  • Refrain from taking what is not given. Not stealing from anyone.
  • Refrain from the misuse of the senses. Not having too much sensual pleasure.
  • Refrain from wrong speech.
  • Refrain from intoxicants that cloud the mind.
  • Schools of Buddhism came into existence with the passage of time. The two primary schools of Buddhism were
    • Theravada School of Buddhism
    • Mahayana School of Buddhism
  • Later, from these two branches, several forms of Buddhism came into existence.
  • Though the form of expression in these schools differs the basic principles remain the same.

Schools in Buddhism:

  • Theravada School of Buddhism: It was popularized in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, China, and other Asian countries.
    • According to the doctrine of Theravada Buddhism, an individual needs to abide by the basic principles of Buddhism strictly.
  • Mahayana School of Buddhism: The main idea behind Mahayana Buddhism is that anyone can reach the stature of the Buddha by following Buddha Marga. Mahasanghika sect is believed to be the source of Mahayana Buddhism.
    • This school of Buddhism had a huge impact on China, Korea, and Japan.
  • Vajrayana School of Buddhism: This is the tantric school of Buddhism. It is believed that by practicing Vajrayana, a Buddhist follower can achieve enlightenment easily.
    • It is more popularly used in Tibetan Buddhism. When considered in a larger aspect, it is a part of the Mahayana school of Buddhism.
    • It is also commonly referred to as ‘Lamaism’ because at the center of the school lies the Lama.

The Nyingma Sect of Buddhism:

  • As Buddhism made progress and spread to different parts of the world, new thoughts and improvisations came to be attached to the existing beliefs and practices.
  • This process led to the development and evolution of different schools or sects.
  • The Nyingma sect is the oldest of all Buddhist sects.
  • It is practiced under the Vajrayana School of Buddhism.
  • The followers of the sect are spread across Tibet, Bhutan, Ladakh, Sikkim, and other Himalayan Buddhist pockets.

Who was Taklung Setrung Rinpoche?

  • Taklung Setrung Rinpoche was a profound scholar renowned for his expertise in Tibetan Tantric School.
  • The Rinpoche used to live in the Takthok monastery of Ladakh, one of the oldest monasteries related to the Nyingma sect.
  • The Rinpoche was widely consulted by the followers of the faith.

The Concept of ‘Reincarnation’ in Buddhism:

  • The process of reincarnation has to be determined following the physical demise of a revered monk.
  • The incarnation is, therefore, an important development as this is the continuation of an important teacher.
  • Following the Buddhist belief in the principle of rebirth, the Dalai Lama is believed by Buddhists to be able to choose the body into which he is reincarnated.
  • The search involves consulting oracles, interpreting visions, and reading spiritual signs.

What is the Assam Meghalaya Border dispute?


Recently, six people, including an Assam Forest Guard, were killed during an alleged clash between the Assam Police and a mob from Meghalaya in area between the West Karbi Anglong district of Assam and Mukroh village in Meghalaya’s West Jaintia Hills.


The Assam Megalaya Border dispute:

  • During the British rule, undivided Assam included present-day Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Mizoram.
  • Meghalaya was carved out in 1972 and their boundary demarcated as per the Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act of 1969, but has held a different interpretation of the border since then.
  • In 2011, the Meghalaya government had identified 12 areas of difference with Assam, spread over approximately 2,700 sq. km of area.
  • Assam and Meghalaya have a longstanding dispute in 12 stretches of their 884-km shared border.
  • The two states had signed a pact in March 2011, resolving the dispute in six out of 12 areas. To solve the issue, they decided to form regional committees.
  • The Assam-Meghalaya pact was seen as a major achievement.
  • A final set of recommendations were made jointly: out of 79 sq. km of disputed area taken up for settlement in the first phase.
  • But, there still exists the area under tension between both the states.

The Disputed region:

  • There are six disputed sectors including Tarabari, Gizang, Hahim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pillangkata, and Ratacherra under the Kamrup, Kamrup (Metro), and Cachar districts of Assam and the West Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi and East Jaintia Hills districts of Meghalaya.
  • A major point of contention between Assam and Meghalaya is the district of Langpih in West Garo Hills bordering the Kamrup district of Assam.
  • Langpih was part of the Kamrup district during the British colonial period but post-Independence, it became part of the Garo Hills and Meghalaya.
  • Assam considers it to be part of the Mikir Hills in Assam.
  • Meghalaya has questioned Blocks I and II of the Mikir Hills -now Karbi Anglong region – being part of Assam. Meghalaya says these were parts of erstwhile United Khasi and Jaintia Hills districts.
  • Both Assam and Meghalaya have constituted border dispute settlement committees.
  • They are historical facts, ethnicity, administrative convenience, mood and sentiments of the people concerned, and the contiguity of the land.

ISRO to launch Oceansat-3, 8 nanosatellites


ISRO is set to launch Earth Observation Satellite - 06 (EOS-06) and eight nanosatellites.

Earth Observation Satellite-EOS-06 (Oceansat-3)

  • EOS-6 is the third-generation satellite in the Oceansat series. This is to provide continuity services for Oceansat-2 spacecraft with enhanced payload specifications as well as application areas.
  • Payloads
    • Ocean Color Monitor (OCM-3)
    • Sea Surface Temperature Monitor (SSTM)
    • Ku-Band Scatterometer (SCAT-3)
    • ARGOS
  • Mission Objectives
    • To ensure the data continuity of Ocean color and wind vector data to sustain the operational applications.
    • To improve the applications, some additional datasets such as Sea Surface Temperature and more bands in the Optical region for fluorescence and in the Infrared area for atmospheric corrections are accommodated.
    • To develop/improve related algorithms and data products to serve in well-established application areas and to enhance the mission utility.

Launch Vehicle- Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C54) PSLV-C54

  • This will be the 56th flight of PSLV and the 24th flight of the PSLV-XL version.
  • The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is the third generation launch vehicle of India.

Passenger Satellites in PSLV-C54


Agency, Country             


URSC, India


Pixxel, India

Thybolt (2 Nos.)

Dhruvaspace, India

Astrocast (4 Nos.)

Spaceflight, USA


  • It is a technology demonstrator nanosatellite, which is aimed at demonstrating the capabilities and commercial applications of miniaturized earth-observation cameras.


  • These two amateur radio communication nanosatellites are named Thybolt-1 and Thybolt-2 and are part of the company's Thybolt mission.


  • It is a 3U spacecraft on a technology demonstration mission for the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • These are basically CubeSats, which is a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites.
    • CubeSats are built to standard dimensions (Units or “U”) of 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm.
    • They can be 1U, 2U, 3U, or 6U in size, and typically weigh less than 1.33 kg (3 lbs) per U.

Joint India-Bhutan Mission (INS-2B)

  • ISRO will launch ISRO Nano Satellite-2 for Bhutan (INS-2B) spacecraft with the PSLV-C54 mission.
  • INS-2B will have two payloads:
    • NanoMx: NanoMx is a multispectral optical imaging payload developed by Space Applications Centre (SAC).
    • APRS-Digipeater: APRS-Digipeater payload is jointly developed by DITT Bhutan and URSC.

Short Articles

Topic: Polity & Governance

Kuki-Chin Bangladeshi Migrants

As per the latest information, about 270 members of the Kuki-Chin community from Bangladesh had entered the Indian borders via Mizoram.

The Kuki-Chin community:

  • The Kuki constitute one of several hill tribes within India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
  • It is a Christian community from Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts shares close ethnic ties with people in Mizoram.
  • In Northeast India, they are present in all states except Arunachal Pradesh.

India is also not a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol for migrants.

Topic:Science & Technology

Europe names world’s first ‘parastronaut’ to work in space

  • The European Space Agency named the first ever “parastronaut” in a major step towards allowing people with physical disabilities to work and live in space.
  • The 22-nation agency said it had selected former British Paralympic sprinter John McFall as part of a new generation of 17 recruits picked for astronaut training.

Topic:Science & Technology

Measles now an imminent global threat

  • Measles now an imminent global threat as Covid affected vaccination coverage, say WHO, US CDC
  • Measles is a contagious disease that causes fever, a red rash, cough and red eyes. 
  • Measles is an airborne disease caused by a virus
  • The disease is almost entirely preventable through vaccination.
    • o   However, it requires 95% vaccine coverage to prevent outbreaks among populations.


Fixing India’s malnutrition problem


The poor performance of India in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2022 and the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) highlights the continuing problem of malnutrition among its population.

Government schemes are not delivering

  • The problem of Fund allocation: The budget for overarching Schemes like PM POSHAN; POSHAN 2.0, and Saksham Anganwadi is nowhere near what is required to improve nutrition in the country.
  • Low Per Capita costs: The per capita costs of the Supplementary Nutrition Programme (one of this scheme's most significant components) have not increased since 2017.
  • Absence of Accountability: Issues like manpower constraints; controversies around the menu of the mid-day meal scheme and social audits are not actively administered.

Cash transfers and the factor of reliance

  • Cash transfers as a favored solution: Cash transfers in social sectors interventions like in Health and nutrition sectors backed by JAM trinity have been successful.
  • Digital Infrastructure: Due to robust digital infrastructure, targeting the right beneficiaries (i.e., pregnant women and families with children under the age of five) is possible.
  • Cash transfer is no panacea: Inflation, the impact of son preferences on household decisions on the nutrition needs of sons/daughters may dilute the advantage of cash transfers.
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QUIZ - 24th November 2022

Mains Question:

Question: How Nyingma sect of Buddhism became a cultural bridge between Tibet and India. Also explain its origin and significance with Indian schools of Buddhism? (150 words)

Question Mapping

  • Subject: History (GS-I)
    • Sub-topic: Buddhism
  • IntroduceNyingma sect of Buddhism and its origin.
    • Link with the current development (Identification of a boy from Spiti as a reincarnation of renowned Tibetan scholar from Nyingma sect- Taklung Setrung Rinpoche)
  • Mention various other major schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Also explain its philosophical similarities with Indian Buddhism.
    • Hint: (Madhyamaka school of India)
  • Conclude with their cultural significance with India.

Verifying, please be patient.

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