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Published: 18th May, 2023

International Relations

Indian Ocean Conference

The 6th Indian Ocean Conference took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh. 


  • The Indian Ocean Conference is a flagship consultative forum of the Indian Ocean countries to deliberate upon the prospects of regional cooperation for Security and Growth for All in Region (SAGAR).
  • This process began in 2016. 

Bangladesh recently released its Indo-Pacific Outlook. Thus, Bangladesh has joined several other countries in the world that are supporting a Free, Open, Inclusive Indo-Pacific (FOIP). 

International Relations

India-Indonesia bilateral exercise 'Samudra Shakti-23'

The 4th edition of the India-Indonesia Bilateral exercise, Samudra Shakti-23, is scheduled from 14-19 May 2023.

Exercise ‘Samudra Shakti’

  • Exercise ‘Samudra Shakti’ was conceived in 2018 as a bilateral Indian Navy-Indonesian Navy exercise in pursuance of India’s Act East Policy.
  • The exercise has matured in complexity over the last three editions and involves the conduct of complex maritime operations including Military Interdiction Operations (MIO), Cross Deck Landings, Air Defence serials, Practice Weapon Firings, Replenishment Approaches and Tactical Manoeuvres.
  • The 3rd edition of ‘Samudra Shakti’ was conducted off the approaches to Sunda Strait, Indonesia in September 2021.

International Relations (GS-II)

International Organization for Migration

The U.N. migration agency elected Amy Pope of the United States as its director general. She will be the first woman to head the International Organization for Migration.


  • Established in: 1951
  • IOM is the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration and is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.
  • IOM is part of the United Nations system, as a related organization.

Polity & Governance (GS-II)

Meri LiFE, Mera Swachh Shehar

The government launched the ‘Meri LiFE, Mera Swachh Shehar’.


  • This campaign aims to champion, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle (RRR) concept of waste management. 
  • Under this nationwide campaign, RRR Centres or one-stop collection centres will be set up where citizens can give their used clothes, shoes, old books, toys and plastic to be reused or recycled.

Polity & Governance (GS-II)

Data Governance Quality Index

The Data Governance Quality Index (DGQI) has been recently released by Niti Aayog.


  • The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) has scored 4.7 out of 5 and excelled in data governance.
    • The National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways, and Coasts at IIT Madras has assisted the ministry to improve the management information system.
    • NTCPW functions as the assistant organisation for MoPSW in facilitating the technology. 

What is Data Governance Quality Index (DGQI)?

  • Conducted by: Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office (DMEO), NITI Aayog
  • The DGQI survey aims to measure the maturity level of administrative data systems and their use in decision-making of various Ministries and Departments on the implementation of Central Sector Schemes (CS) and Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS).
  • Themes: The DGQI assessment encompasses six pivotal themes, including Data Generation, Data Quality, Use of Technology, Data Analysis, Use and Dissemination, Data Security and HR Capacity, and Case Studies.

Economy (GS-III)

Nano urea in field trials

Nano liquid urea’s promises of increasing farm yields have fallen short, with farmers reporting no effect of the fertiliser on the crops.


  • ‘Nano urea’, a product that uses organic polymers, is being touted as a substitute for granular urea used as a fertiliser.
  • The specialised fertiliser urea was developed in 2021 by Indian Farmers and Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO).
  • Urea is one of the most concentrated nitrogenous fertilisers and is vital for farming. 
    • Urea provides plants with the nitrogen they need to make protein.
    • Usually, plants get nitrogen from the bacteria that live in the plant’s roots and have the ability to break down atmospheric nitrogen.
    •  But to improve the yield of agricultural crops, the element is supplied through fertilisers like urea.


Cabinet Approves revision in Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) rates


The Union Cabinet revised the Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) rates for various nutrients i.e. Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P),Potash (K) and Sulphur (S) for Rabi Season 2022-23 (from 01.01.2023 to 31.03.2023) and approved NBS rates for Kharif Season, 2023 (from 1.4.2023 to 30.09.2023) for Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers.

  • The Subsidy on P&K fertilizers is governed by Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Scheme.
  • Government will be providing a subsidy of Rs. 38,000 crores for the Kharif 2023 to fulfil its commitment of providing quality and subsidized P&K fertilizers to farmers.
  • Benefits
    • ensuring availability of DAP and other P&K fertilizers to farmers at subsidized, affordable and reasonable prices during Kharif season
    • ensure rationalization of subsidy on P&K fertilizers
      • Kharif crops include rice, maize, sorghum, sugar cane, millet/bajra, finger millet/ragi (cereals), arhar (pulses), soyabean, paddy, groundnut (oilseeds), cotton, etc. 
      • Rabi crops include wheat, barley, oats (cereals), chickpea/gram (pulses), linseed, mustard (oilseeds) etc.

      Economy (GS-III)

      Unsponsored depository receipts (UDRs)

      The International Financial Services Centre Authority (IFSCA), the regulatory body overseeing GIFT City’s international financial services centre, is considering permitting unsponsored depository receipts (UDRs) for Indian shares.


      • Depository receipts allow investors exposure to equities of foreign companies, with custodian banks facilitating the transactions by purchasing shares and issuing receipts.
      • These receipts can be traded on designated stock exchanges, similar to regular shares.
      • Sponsored depository receipts are initiated by companies themselves, while third parties introduce unsponsored depository receipts.

      Economy (GS-III)

      Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN)

      The Reserve Bank of India has opened the application window for all India based firms and innovators to participate in Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN)’s first ever Greenwashing TechSprint.


      • RBI will be among the 13 international regulators taking part in GFIN’s Greenwashing TechSprint.
      • The TechSprint will bring together 13 international regulators alongside firms and innovators to address GFIN’s priority on environmental, social and governance (ESG) and sustainable finance.

      Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN)

      • Launched in: 2019
      • GFIN is a network of over 70 organisations committed to supporting financial innovation in the interests of consumers.
      • It seeks to provide a more efficient way for innovative firms to interact with regulators, helping them navigate between countries as they look to scale new ideas.
      • The GFIN also aims to create a new framework for co-operation between financial services regulators on innovation related topics, sharing different experiences and approaches.

      Economy (GS-III)

      Centre for Processing Accelerated Corporate Exit (C-PACE)

      The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has set up the Centre for Processing Accelerated Corporate Exit (C-PACE) to centralise the process of striking off companies from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) Register.

      • Set up by: Ministry of Corporate Affairs
      • Location:  Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) in Manesar, Haryana.
      • The establishment of C-PACE is part of MCA’s efforts towards ease of doing business and ease of exit for companies.
      • The C-PACE institution will be operational through the Registrar of Companies (RoC) for the purpose of processing and disposal of applications.
      • The C-PACE will help keep the registry clean and provide stakeholders with more meaningful data.
      • With the establishment of the C-PACE, companies can look forward to a hassle-free exit process.

      Science & Technology (GS-III)

      Promising new Alzheimer's drugs

      For the second time, an experimental drug has been shown to reduce the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

      In January this year, FDA granted accelerated approval to lecanemab.

      About the drug

      • A US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly announced that its monoclonal antibody donanemab slowed mental decline by 35% for some participants in a 1,736-person trial — a rate comparable to that for competitor drug lecanemab.
        • Like lecanemab, donanemab targets amyloid protein, which is thought to cause dementia by accumulating in the brain and damaging neurons. 
      • Alzheimer’s disease
      • In Alzheimer’s disease the neurons stop functioning, lose connections with other neurons, and dies.
      • Alzheimer’s disrupts processes vital to neurons and their networks, including communication, metabolism, and repair.
      • Effects:
        • Alzheimer’s disease typically destroys neurons and their connections in parts of the brain involved in memory, including the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus.
        • Eventually, many other areas of the brain are damaged. Over time, a person with Alzheimer’s gradually loses his or her ability to live and function independently.
        • Ultimately, the disease is fatal.

      Science & Technology

      National Hadron Beam Treatment Facility


      On the occasion of National Technology Day on May 11, 2023, Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the National Hadron Beam Treatment Facility at Tata Memorial Centre’s Advanced Centre for Treatment Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC), Kharghar. 

      About Hardon Beam Treatment

      • Hadron beam treatment is a form of radiation therapy used to treat cancer.
      • Unlike traditional radiation therapy, which uses X-rays or gamma rays to destroy cancer cells, hadron beam treatment uses beams of charged particles called hadrons, such as protons or carbon ions.
      • Advantage:
      • It can deliver high doses of radiation directly to the tumor while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
      • It is used for cancers that are difficult to treat with conventional therapy
      • It reduces the risk of long-term side effects on healthy tissue.

      U.S. okays use of bird-flu vaccine for California condors

      To prevent additional deaths of critically endangered California condors, US have approved the emergency use of a vaccine against the highly contagious avian flu that’s plaguing birds nationwide.

      About California condor

      • The California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) is one of the world's largest flying birds with a wingspan of up to 9 feet (2.7 meters) and weighing more than 20 pounds (9 kg).
      • It is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

      Bird Flu

      • Highly pathogenic avian influenza, or bird flu is an infectious type of influenza that spreads among birds. In rare cases, it can affect humans.
      • The virus largely spread by wild birds that transmit it to poultry.

      Science (GS-III)

      mpox not a PHEIC: WHO

      The WHO declared that mpox was no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).


      • It was first identified in monkeys in 1958.
      • Mpox is a rare disease caused by infection with the mpox virus.
      • Mpox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox.
      • Mpox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and mpox is rarely fatal.
      • Mpox is not related to chickenpox.
      • In November last year, the disease’s name was changed by WHO from ‘monkeypox’ to ‘mpox’

      Environment (GS-III)

      Palak Lake

      As part of the mass mobilisation of public participation in the Lifestyle for the Environment (LiFE), a nature walk was organized along the Palak Lake.

      • The Palak Wetland Reserve is located in Mizoram, and falls under the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot.
      • Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot
      • The Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot spans across parts of India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China.
      • Endangered species in the region: Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, Javan rhinoceros, and Mekong giant catfish.


      Thawing permafrost in the Arctic

      With rising global temperatures, thawing permafrost is likely to destabilise thousands of industrial sites in the Arctic, which could result in the spread of toxic substances across the region, according to a new study.


      • Permafrost is essentially any ground that stays frozen — 0 degree Celsius or lower — for at least two years straight.
      • Permafrost is composed of “a combination of soil, rocks and sand that are held together by ice.
      • The soil and ice in permafrost stay frozen all year long.
      • These permanently frozen grounds are often found in Arctic regions such as Greenland, Alaska (the United States), Canada, Russia and Eastern Europe.


      Gharial seen in Pakistan’s Punjab

      A gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) has been seen in Pakistan’s Punjab province for the first time after three decades. 


      • The gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), is a crocodilian in the family Gavialidae, native to sandy freshwater river banks in the plains of the northern part of the Indian subcontinent.
      • Gharials are critically endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Species.
      • The species is also listed under Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
      • Chambal River in National Chambal Sanctuary is the natural habitat of gharial.

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