What's New :

28th February 2023

Mantle and related phenomenon


Researchers trying to uncover the secrets of Earth's geology have revealed the fifth layer of the planet. Seismic waves generated by earthquakes have revealed new insights about the deepest parts of Earth’s inner core.

  • The Earth has four layers namely;
    • The solid crust on the outside,
    • The mantle and
    • The core — split between the outer core and the inner core.
  • The crust is everything we can see and study directly.
  • The thinnest layer of the Earth, the crust still measures about 40 km on average, ranging from 5–70 km (~3–44 miles) in depth.
  • But at the scale of the planet, that’s less than the skin of an apple.
  • There are two types of crust: continental and oceanic crust.

Oceanic crust can be found at the bottom of the oceans or below the continental crust; it is generally harder and deeper, consisting of denser rocks like basalt, while continental crust contains granite-type rocks and sediments. The continental crust is thicker on land.

Key highlights of the study:

  • The mantle:
    • The research has revealed that the mantle normally is a 2,900 km thick layer of solid rock sandwiched between the Earth’s upper crust and lower core — has been hiding two layers inside it.
    • One is the “low viscosity” zone in the upper mantle, roughly 100 kilometres in thickness.
    • The other layer is the ‘low-velocity zone’, which is also a part of the upper mantle.
    • The low viscosity zone coincides with the transition zone between the upper and the lower mantle

It was also found that mantle covers the largest area inside the earth of about 44% of the earth.

  • About Earthquakes:
    • The study showed that the Earth kept moving months after the earthquake.
    • The mantle’s viscous properties govern convection and help in transfer of heat between areas of different temperatures. This enables to understandplate tectonics and related phenomenon.

Significance of the study:

  • The analysis showed that the partially molten layer extends from 90 km to 150 kilometres. Below this depth, the waves resume speed found in below the Turkey land.
  • This layer sits below the tectonic plates, which create new crusts and destroy older ones.
  • Plate tectonics is thought to have played an instrumental role in making the Earth habitable.

Russia’s suspends participation in New START


Russian President has announced that Moscow was unilaterally suspending the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty with the U.S., stating that the West was trying to destroy Russia.

  • The New START treaty was signed in 2010 by former S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
  • It was extended for five years when current U.S. President Joe Biden took office in 2021.


  • Signed: 8 April 2010
  • Entered into Force: 5 February 2011
  • Duration: Ten-year duration with option to extend for no more than five years
  • Parties: United States, Russian Federation

What is the New START nuclear treaty?

Under the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), there exist the following agreements:

  • Russia and the U.S. exchange data twice a year on the ballistic missiles under the treaty’s purview, on bombers, test sites, nuclear bases and so on.
  • The treaty also mandates the two parties to send notifications within five days if they change or updates something in their stockpile, like moving missiles to a new base or deploying a new warhead to the system.
  • It allows each side to carry out up to 18 short-notice (32 hours) on-site inspections of strategic nuclear weapons sites annually to ensure the other has not crossed the limits of the treaty.
  • Under the Treaty, America and Russia cannot deploy more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads and more than 700 long-range missiles and bombers.
  • It also limits each country to 800 deployed and non-deployed launchers and delivery vehicles.

Statement of conflict between US and Russia:

  • Russia’s view: The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the U.S. wanted to “inflict ‘strategic defeat’ on Russia and try to get to our nuclear facilities at the same time.
  • USA’s view:In its New START annual implementation report 2023, the U.S. State Department stated that Moscow was not complying with the pact as it had not let Washington carry out on-site inspections.

What are the concerns after Russia’s suspends the treaty?

  • Uncontrolled use of arms and weapons: The two largest nuclear powers could get an opportunity to other nuclear-armed countries, especially China and others like Pakistan, Iran, Israel, and India among others, to increase their arsenals.
  • Effect global peace: The arms treaty was aimed to hold the global peace and no use of nuclear weapons. However, the Russia’s decision to suspend it causes concerns for developing countries.

New e-waste (management) Rules 2022


In November 2022, the Ministry of Environment and Forests further notified a new set of e-waste rules, which will come into force from April 1, 2023.

So, let us analyse the provisions under the new rules.

  • The first set of e-waste Rules was notified in 2011 and came into effect in 2012.
  • An important component of the Rules (2011) was the introduction of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).
  • Under EPR compliance, ‘producers’ are responsible for the safe disposal of electronic and electric products once the consumer discards them.
  • E-waste rules 2016, which were amended in 2018, were comprehensive and included provisions to promote ‘authorisation’ and ‘product stewardship’.
  • Other categories of stakeholders such ‘Producer Responsibility Organisations (PRO)’ were also introduced in these rules.

Need for a new set of rules:

  • Most of the ‘refurbishers’ or the ‘repair shops’ operating was found as not authorised under the Central Pollution Control Board of India.
  • Further, many formal recyclers undertake activities only up to the pre-processing or segregation stage, and thereafter channelize e-waste to the informal sector, which is a pure violation of law.

Provisions of E-waste rules 2022:

  • Application: It will apply to every manufacturer, producer, refurbisher, dismantler and recycler involved in manufacturing, sale, transfer, purchase, refurbishing, dismantling, recycling and processing of e-waste or electrical and electronic equipment. 
    • The rule is applicable to all electrical devices and radiotherapy equipment, nuclear medicine equipment and accessories, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), electric toys, air conditioners, microwaves, tablets, washing machine, refrigerator and iPad among others.
  • Restrictions:
    • The government has restricted the use of hazardous substances in manufacturing electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) following deaths due to exposure to radioactive material.
    • It mandates the reduction of the use of lead, mercury, cadmium among others in the manufacturing of electronic equipment.
  • Reuse and recycling:
    • Manufacturers shall use the technology or methods so as to make the end product recyclable and shall ensure that components or parts made by different manufacturers are compatible with each other so as to reduce the quantity of e-waste.
  • Strict monitoring:
    • The Central Pollution Control Board shall conduct random sampling of electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market to monitor and verify the compliance of reduction of hazardous substances provisions.
    • If a product does not comply with the e-waste management rules, the manufacturer will have to withdraw all samples from the market. 
  • Extended Producer Responsibility Certificates:
    • Draft rules aim to incentivise registered electronic waste recyclers by introducing EPR or Extended Producer Responsibility certificates (which was not part of 2016 Rules).
  • E-waste exchange facilities:
    • The EPR requires producers to set up e-waste exchange facilities to facilitate collection and recycling, and assign specific responsibility to bulk consumers of electronic products for safe disposal.
  • Imports:Imports or placement in the market for new electrical and electronic equipment shall be permitted only for those which are compliant with provisions laid down by the government. 
  • Disposal:
    • It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to collect e-waste generated during manufacture and to ensure its recycling or disposal. 
    • However, the rule does not apply to waste batteries, packaging plastics, micro enterprises and radio-active waste, as covered under the provisions of the law. 

Concerns associated:

  • Left Unorganised sector behind: The informal sector is the ‘face’ of e-waste disposal in India as 95% of e-waste is channelized to the sector.
    • Therefore, they also hold immense potential to improve the state of e-waste management.
  • Responsibility given to dismantlers for data updation: The new notification does away withProducer Responsibility Organisations (PRO)and dismantlers and vests all the responsibility of recycling with authorised recyclers where they will have to collect a quantity of waste, recycle them and generate digital certificates through the portal.

‘Fab 4' chip group


The U.S.-led "Fab 4" semiconductor alliance of Taiwan, the United States, Japan and South Korea held its first video meeting of senior officials to focus on supply chain resilience.

  • The United States last September convened the first meeting of the working group, colloquially called "Fab 4" or "Chip 4", to discuss how to strengthen the semiconductor supply chain, after a global chip crunch caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The meeting discussed setting up an early warning system to ensure a steady chip supply.
  • The Taiwan representatives suggested that the Fab 4 should exchange information on different parts of the supply chain as early as possible.
  • Taiwan and South Korea will handle manufacturing issues, Japan will report on materials issues and the US will concentrate on market issues.

What is Fab 4 chip group?

  • It is asemiconductor alliance of Taiwan, the United States, Japan and South Korea.
  • The "Fab" in the name refers to a shorthand industry expression for the fabrication plants where chips, used in everything from fridges and smartphones to fighter jets, are made.
  • The group's members are home to the world's largest contract chip maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (2330.TW), South Korean memory chip giants.
  • Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) and SK Hynix (000660.KS), and key Japanese suppliers of semiconductor materials and equipment.


  • As important members of the Indo-Pacific region, the countries also play a key role in the global semiconductor industry, and have deep economic and trade relations with countries in the region.

Why is semiconductor industry important?

  • A semiconductor is a substance that has specific electrical properties that enable it to serve as a foundation for computers and other electronic devices.

Semiconductor Chips: Semiconductors are materials which have conductivity between conductors and insulators. They can be pure elements, silicon or germanium or compounds; gallium, arsenide or cadmium selenide.

  • They are the basic building blocks that serve as the heart and brain of all modern electronics and information and communications technology products.
  • These chips are now an integral part of contemporary automobiles, household gadgets and essential medical devices such as ECG machines.

Government Initiatives in India:

  • In 2021:10 billion dollar production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme to encourage semiconductor and display manufacturing in the country.
  • Fiscal support for a design-linked initiative (DLI) schemeto drive global and domestic investment related to design software, IP rights etc.
  • Modifications in “Programme for Development of Semiconductors and Display Manufacturing Ecosystem in India:The Union Cabinet has approved a uniform incentive of 50% of the projectcost for setting up semiconductor, display and compound semiconductor fabrication units.
  • India Semiconductor Mission (ISM)”will be set up
  • Scheme for setting up of Compound Semiconductors facilities.
  • Vedanta and Taiwanese chipmaker Foxconnwill set up a ?1, 54,000 crore semiconductor plant in Gujarat.


Short News Articles


1,300-yr-old Buddhist Stupa found in Odhisha

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has identified a 1,300-year-old stupa, in the middle of a mining site in Odisha’sJajpur district from where Khondalite stones were supplied for the beautification project around the 12th Century Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri.



  • The stupa could be 4.5-metre tall and initial assessment showed it may belong to the 7 th or 8 th century.
  • The stupa found is said to the part of Lalitgiri Buddhist site.
  • The ASI has asked to stop the mining activity in the area for excavation of Khondalite stones.
  • Khondalite stones were widely used in ancient temple complexes. The State government had come up with an ambitious plan to spend ?3,208 crore under the Augmentation of Basic Amenities and Development of Heritage and Architecture (ABADHA) scheme in three years to transform Puri into a world heritage city using these stones.

Polity and Governance

PM inaugurated Shivamogga airport

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Shivamogga airport at Sogane, Karnataka.

Key points:

  • The new airport has a lotus-shaped terminal and has been developed at a cost of around ?450 crore.
  • The passenger terminal building of the airport can handle 300 passengers per hour.
  • Built on 775 acres of land, the airport has a 3.2 km long runway, and the passenger terminal has a built-up area of 4,320 sqft.
  • The airport can handle aircraft ranging from the ATR 72 to the Airbus 320.
  • It is considered the second largest airport in the State, after KempeGowda International Airport in Bengaluru.

Science and Technology

National Science Day 2023


The Government of India designated February 28 as National Science Day, to commemorate the announcement of the discovery of the “Raman effect”.

About Raman Effect:

  • The Raman Effect was the discovery which won physicist Sir CV Raman his Nobel Prize in 1930.
  • Conducting a deceptively simple experiment, Raman discovered that when a stream of light passes through a liquid, a fraction of the light scattered by the liquid is of a different colour.
  • This discovery was immediately recognised as ground-breaking in the scientific community, being the subject of over 700 papers in the first seven years after its announcement.

Significance of Raman Effect:

  • The discovery would also find its use in chemistry, giving birth to a new field known as Raman spectroscopy as a basic analytical tool to conduct non-destructive chemical analysis for both organic and inorganic compounds.

National Science Day 2023:

  • Theme: “Global Science for Global Wellbeing”, in light of India’s G20 presidency.
  • Announced in: 1986 for the first time.

Art and Culture

Siang Unying Festival

Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush attended the colourful Siang Unying Festival.


  • The colourful Siang Unying Festival – which is an important festival of the Adi community at Boleng, Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The festival of Unying is celebrated to herald the season of cultivation, beginning of the Adi community’s New Year, arrival of spring seasons as well as a great way to strengthen the bond among the community.
  • In this festival, it is customary for all male members of a family to go on a hunting spree (open season) and stay in the jungles for one week.
  • When they return home they come back with various kills such as deers, birds, squirrels, fish etc.
  • The children perform “Yakjong” (house to house) wearing colorful traditional attire and bless the house where they perform.


The New Abnormal


  • The basic structure of the world order, established over decades through trust, multilateral institutions and mutually beneficial and well-intentioned global negotiations in various fora, is transferring towards protectionist policies and minimising globalisation.


World towards Protectionism:

  • The Inflation Reduction Act: The European Commission has reacted to the Inflation Reduction Act by presenting its own Green Deal Industrial Plan with state aid to help Europe in clean tech products manufacturing.
  • Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism: It was introduced to protect its industries from imports from jurisdictions with “less stringent” climate policies.
  • High global inflation: For many decades in the pre-Covid era, central banks in the West struggled to increase inflation to near 2 per cent.
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