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IAS Foundation 2023-24, Batch Starts: 27th July

9th May 2022

Monkeypox, a smallpox-like disease has been reported in the UK


Health authorities in the United Kingdom recently have confirmed a case of monkeypox, a rare viral infection similar to smallpox, in an individual who recently travelled to that country from Nigeria.


Monkey Pox:

  • Monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus that causes a disease with symptoms similar, but less severe, to smallpox.
  • While smallpox was eradicated in 1980, monkeypox continues to occur in countries of Central and West Africa. 
    • Two distinct clade are identified: the West African clade and the Congo Basin clade, also known as the Central African clade.
  • Monkeypox is a zoonosis- a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans.
  • Cases are often found close to tropical rainforests where there are animals that carry the virus.
  • Evidence of monkeypox virus infection has been found in animals including squirrels, Gambian poached rats, dormice, different species of monkeys and others. 
  • Detection of viral DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the preferred laboratory test for monkeypox.
    • The best diagnostic specimens are directly from the rash – skin, fluid or crusts, or biopsy where feasible.
    • Antigen and antibody detection methods may not be useful as they do not distinguish between orthopoxviruses. 
  • Symptoms: Monkeypox presents with fever, an extensive characteristic rash and usually swollen lymph nodes.
  • It is important to distinguish monkeypox from other illnesses such as chickenpox, measles, bacterial skin infections, scabies, syphilis and medication-associated allergies. 
  • According to the WHO, the proportion of patients who die has varied between 0 and 11% in documented cases, and has been higher among young children.


  • Human monkeypox was first identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then known as Zaire) in a 9-year-old boy in a region where smallpox had been eliminated in 1968.
  • Since then, most cases have been reported from rural, rainforest regions of the Congo Basin, particularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it is considered to be endemic.
  • According to the WHO, 15 countries on four continents have so far reported confirmed cases of monkeypox in humans.
  • Locally acquired cases have been confirmed in the DRC (which has the largest incidence of the infection in the world), Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Cameroon, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
  • Imported cases have been found in South Sudan and Benin in Africa, and in the United States, UK, Israel, and Singapore.

PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction):

  • PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) is a revolutionary method developed by Kary Mullis in the 1980s.
  • PCR is based on using the ability of DNA polymerase to synthesize new strand of DNA complementary to the offered template strand.
  • Because DNA polymerase can add a nucleotide only onto a preexisting 3'-OH group, it needs a primer to which it can add the first nucleotide.
  • This requirement makes it possible to delineate a specific region of template sequence that the researcher wants to amplify.
  • At the end of the PCR reaction, the specific sequence will be accumulated in billions of copies.


Small buttonquail


There are only two sightings of small buttonquail for the whole of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. 


About Small Buttonquail:

  • Turnix sylvaticus(Small Buttonquail) is a species of birds in the family buttonquails.
  • They are native to the Palearctic, Asia, and Ethiopia.
  • They are diurnal omnivores
  • The small buttonquail is polyandrous, which means the male single-handedly shoulders child-rearing responsibilities.

  • Habitat
    • Small buttonquail are found on dry sandy soil, in open bush, low scrub, in short grass, and fallow cultivated lands (Jackson, 1926).
    • They are found where there is ground cover in which to hide. Suitable ground cover includes dwarf palmetto vegetation, cotton, millet or cassave crops, savanna bush, or stubble fields.
    • Bamboo jungle is favored and dense evergreen forests, deserts and wetlands are avoided.
  • Behaviour
  • Turnix sylvaticus is considered to be a sedentary species. Subspecies may be locally migratory or nomadic in northwestern India.
  • These buttonquail enjoy basking in the sun and dust-bathing.

VPN Regulations


Virtual private network (VPN) service providers are up in arms against a new directive of The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team or Cert-In that mandates they must maintain all customer data for five years.


What Is A VPN?

  • A Virtual Private Network (VPN) creates a secure private network from a public internet connection.
    • Simply put, VPNs help you hide your internet protocol (IP) address so your online actions are virtually untraceable.
  • A VPN encrypts your connection to provide greater privacy as it prevents others from seeing the data you’re transferring.
  • It hides you digital activity, including the search history, links you click or the files you download.
  • This keeps your data secure from any spying attempts, hackers, and cybercriminals, particularly on free public Wi-Fi networks.
  • A VPN encrypts your network traffic and disguises your network identity using its servers all over the world.
    • This makes it almost impossible for third parties to track your online activities and steal your data.

How do these networks function?

  • Any and all devices connected to the internet are a part of a large network of computers, servers and other devices spread across the world.
  • To identify each device connected to the internet, service providers globally assign a unique address to each such device called the internet protocol address or IP address.
  • It is this IP address that helps websites, law enforcement agencies and even companies track down individual users and their accurate location.

What does the new CERT-IN directive say?

  • VPN providers will need to store validated customer names, their physical addresses, email ids, phone numbers, and the reason they are using the service, along with the dates they use it and their “ownership pattern”.
  • In addition, Cert is also asking VPN providers to keep a record of the IP and email addresses that the customer uses to register the service, along with the timestamp of registration.
  • Most importantly, however, VPN providers will have to store all IP addresses issued to a customer and a list of IP addresses that its customers generally use.

What does this mean for VPN providers?       

  • VPN services are in violation of Cert’s rules by simply operating in India.
  • That said, it is worth noting that ‘no logs’ does not mean zero logs.
  • VPN services still need to maintain some logs to run their service efficiently.

Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN)

  • CERT-IN is an office within the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • It is the nodal agency to deal with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing. It strengthens the security-related defense of the Indian Internet domain.
  • It was formed in 2004 by the Government of India under the Information Technology Act, 2000 Section (70B) under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

DNA samples from Rakhigarhi burial pits sent for analysis


DNA samples collected from two human skeletons unearthed at a necropolis of a Harappan-era city site in Haryana have been sent for scientific examination, the outcome of which might tell about the ancestry and food habits of people who lived in the Rakhigarhi region thousands of years ago.

  • The skeletons of two women were found a couple of months ago at mound number 7 (named RGR 7 by the Archaeological Survey of India or (ASI), believed to be nearly 5,000 years old.
  • Pots and other artefacts were also found buried next to them in a pit, part of the funerary rituals back in the Harappan Civilisation era.

Benefit of DNA Analysis:

  • The outcome of the DNA analysis will help tell about the ancestry of the people who lived at this ancient city, whether they were native or had migrated from elsewhere to settle.
  • Besides, samples taken from the teeth area would tell about their food habits, what kind of food they consumed and other anthropological patterns related to that human settlement which must have been one of the largest, dating from the Harappan Civilisation period.
  • carbon dating would tell the age via scientific process, the excavation site at mound RGR 7, as per current status of the excavation, can be said to be tentatively dated close to the 3,000 BC period, making the site about 5,000 years old.


  • Representation of Harappan Culture: The site has yielded various stages of Harappan culture.
    • It is by far one of the largest Harappan sites in India.
    • Seven (07) mounds are located here.
  • Collective Site: The ancient site of Rakhi-Khas and Rakhi-Shahpur are collectively known as Rakhigarhi.
  • Location: It is located on the right bank of the now dried-up Palaeo-channel of Drishadvati (Saraswati basin).

  • Some important discovered features:
    • Infrastructure: paved roads, drainage system, large rainwater collection, storage system, terracotta bricks.
    • Art: statue production, and skilled working of bronze and precious metals have been uncovered.
    • Jewelry, bangles made from terracotta, conch shells, gold, and semi-precious stones.
    • Fire altars and apsidal structures were revealed in Rakhigarh


Five places to be developed as “iconic sites”

  • The government proposes to set up an Indian Institute of Heritage and Conservation under the Ministry of Culture.
  • Under this five archaeological sites will be developed as “iconic sites”:
    • Rakhigarhi (Haryana)
    • Hastinapur (Uttar Pradesh)
    • Sivsagar (Assam)
    • Dholavira (Gujarat)
    • Adichanallur (Tamil Nadu)


Additional Information:

  • The cultural span of the Harappan Civilisation can be broadly subdivided into three periods — early (3300 BC to 2600 BC), mature (2600 BC to 1900 BC), and late (1900 BC to 1700 BC), according to archaeological experts.
  •  Five major urban sites — Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Ganweriwala, all three sites now in Pakistan, and Rakhigarhi and Dholavira in India — have been identified as regional centres of the Harappan Civilisation.

The First Training Squadron


The ships of the First Training Squadron are on a visit to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia as part of their five-nation Overseas Deployment.

  • The First Training Squadron comprises of three Indian Navy ships and one Indian Coast Guard ship and is meant to provide hands-on, real-world training to newly-commissioned officers of the Navy and Coast Guard.
  • Four ships of India's First Training Squadron are on a four-day visit to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia as part of a five-nation overseas deployment.
  • On the completion of their ab-initio training from the Indian Naval Academy, the young officers are sent for a six-month-long training period on board the ships where they perform all crucial tasks and master the skill of seamanship.
  • During this visit, issues of bilateral Naval cooperation and training initiatives between the two countries were among the significant points of discussion.
  • Notably, the Indian Navy routinely conducts anti-piracy operations in the region, with the Navy’s INS Kolkata recently visiting Djibouti from May 4-7 as part of an anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden.
  • Indian Navy warships have been deployed in the Gulf of Aden since October 2008 for an anti-piracy patrol to ensure the safe transit of merchant vessels.
  • Vessels from the First Training Squadron of the Indian Navy — INS Tir and INS Sujata along with Indian Coast Guard ship Sarathi — arrived on Thursday at Jeddah port for a training exchange.
  • The exercise comes amid growing defense ties between India and Saudi Arabia.
  • The ships were also joined by INS Tarangini, one of the few sail training ships in the world


  • Jeddah is a port city situated on the coast of the Red Sea, located between the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aden.


  • INS Tir (meaning arrow) is the first dedicated cadet training ship to be built by Mazagon Dock Ltd. in Mumbai, and was commissioned on Feb. 21, 1986.
    • It is the senior ship of the First Training Squadron of the Southern Naval Command and is equipped with all modern training amenities.
  • INS Sujata is an indigenously built Sukanya-class offshore patrol vessel of the Indian Navy commissioned on Nov. 3, 1993.
    • The ship undertakes fleet support operations, humanitarian assistance missions, offshore patrolling, ocean surveillance and escort duties.
    • A cadet training ship for the past nine years, officer cadets are exposed to practical aspects of navigation and seamanship on the vessel before moving on to complex assignments.
  • The Indian Coast Guard ship Sarathi (meaning charioteer) is the third in a series of six offshore patrol vessels designed and built domestically by Goa Shipyard Ltd.
    • Commissioned on Sept. 9, 2016, the 105-meter ship is fitted with state-of-the-art navigation and communication equipment, sensors and machineries.


The Jammu and Kashmir Delimitation report

After multiple objections and extensions, the J&K Delimitation Commission submitted its final report on May 5, 2022, two years after it was appointed to redraw the electoral boundaries in Jammu and Kashmir as per the mandate set by the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.

What is delimitation?

  1. Redrawing boundaries -Delimitation is the process of redrawing boundaries of the Lok Sabha or Assembly constituencies. The process is carried out in accordance with changes in the demographic status of a State or Union Territory.
  2. Independent body- The orders of the independent body cannot be questioned before any court. In the past, Delimitation Commissions were set up in 1952, 1963, 1973, and 2002.
  3. Before the abrogation of Article 370 -Before the abrogation of Article 370 that accorded a special status to J&K, delimitation of its Assembly seats was carried out by the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution and the Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act, 1957. The delimitation of Lok Sabha constituencies, meanwhile, was governed by the Constitution.
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Mains Question:

Q1. In today’s time, the medical industry is driven by technological advancement. In this regard, discuss the recent advances of 3D printing in healthcare. (150 words)


  • Introduction- healthcare industry and current challenges
  • Discuss how technology has enhanced the effectiveness of the industry
  • Define 3D printing and healthcare
  • Significance
  • Conclude accordingly

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