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  • Published
    21st Jul, 2023

International Relations

India approves procurement of 26 Rafale jets

As the Prime Minister went to France visit, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has accorded approval for the procurement of 26 Rafale-M fighters to operate off the aircraft carriers and three additional Scorpene-class diesel-electric submarines from France.

What are Rafale Jets?

  • The Rafale Marine fighters are the naval variant of the Rafale fighter jets, 36 of which are operated by the Indian Air Force.
  • Manufactured by: France’s Dassault Aviation.
  • The Rafales are advanced twin engine, multirole fighter jets.
  • They are equipped with latest weapon systems — including Meteor-beyond visual range air-to-air missiles, Hammer air to surface smart weapon system, Scalp cruise missiles — and are fitted with modern sensors, and radar to detect and track and attack targets.
  • The jets can carry exceptionally high payloads.

Russian MiG-29Ks

  • The Navy currently operates the MiG-29Ks from its aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.
  • The Russian MiG-29Ks are a carrier-based multirole fighter aircraft and can have a maximum speed over twice the speed of sound (about 2,000 kmph) and can climb to an altitude of over 65,000 feet.

International Relations

Nomadic Elephant- joint Exercise

Indian and Mongolian troops are going to take part in the 15th edition of a bilateral military exercise in Ulaanbaatar from July 17 to 31, 2023.


  • ‘Nomadic Elephant' is an annual training exercise which is conducted alternatively in Mongolia and India
  • This is aimed at exchanging best practices and developing interoperability, the Ministry of Defence.
  • The primary theme of the exercise will focus on counter-terrorism operations in mountainous terrain under United Nations mandate.
  • Soldiers of the Mongolian Armed Forces Unit 084 and the Indian Army's Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Regiment will participate in the exercise
  • The last edition of the exercise was held at the Special Forces Training School, Bakloh, and Himachal Pradesh in October 2019.

International Relations

Cultural Property Agreement with US

Recently, as many as 105 trafficked antiquities have been returned to India by the United States.

  • The Ministry of Culture will sign a Cultural Property Agreement with the US for “smooth repatriation” of all such antiquities smuggled out of the country.


  • Around 50 artefacts relate to religious subjects (Hinduism, Jainism and Islam) and the rest are of cultural significance.
  • These include;
  • A terracotta Yakshi plaque belonging to the 1st century BC, which was stolen from ‘eastern India’;
  • A red sandstone Dancing Ganesha from the 9th century, with its provenance in central India;
  • A 10th century Kubera, also belonging to central India, and several other valuable antiquities and objects in mediums such as marble, terracotta and sandstone.

Polity and Governance

EC to issue online airtime vouchers

Recently, the Election Commission (EC) has made the process of allotting airtime to political parties for campaigning on Akashvani and Doordarshan entirely online.


  • The scheme for allotment of time on public broadcasters during campaigning holds a statutory basis under Section 39A of the Representation of People Act, 1951.
  • Till now, the political parties had to send their representatives to the commission’s offices to collect the time vouchers during elections.
  • After this initiative the political parties have to instead of collecting physical vouchers for the airtime, they will henceforth be issued digital time vouchers through an Information Technology (IT) platform.
  • Under this scheme, an equitable base time is allotted to each national party and recognised State party uniformly on DD and Akashvani and the additional time to be allotted to the parties is decided on the basis of their performance in the last Assembly election or the Lok Sabha election.
  • The actual date and time during which the telecasts and broadcasts would be made by the authorised representatives of any party is predetermined by the Prasar Bharati in consultation with EC and in the presence of party representatives.

Polity and Governance

Government launches portal to help small-time investors

The Ministry of Home Affairs has launched a portal to refund the money of small-time investors of four cooperative societies linked to the Sahara group of companies.

About the initiative:

  • 7 Crore investors will benefit in first phase and claims up to ?10,000 will be settled first.
  • The money will be returned to the Aadhaar-linked bank accounts of the investors within 45-days.
  • The four cooperative societies are Sahara Credit Cooperative Society Limited, Saharayn Universal Multipurpose Society Limited, Humara India Credit Cooperative Society limited and Stars Multipurpose Cooperative Society located at Lucknow, Bhopal, Kolkata and Hyderabad respectively.
  • All these cooperative societies were registered under the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act, 2002 between March 2010 and January 2014.

Small-time investor:

An individual person investing in small quantities of stock or bonds. This group of investors makes up a minimal fraction of total stock ownership.

Science and Technology

Air Independent Propulsion system for installation on Scorpenes

As India begins negotiations with France for three more Scorpene-class submarines, Naval Group has already working on qualifying the Defence Research and Development Organisation- developed (DRDO) Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system for installation on the Scorpenes.


  • The Navy has drawn up plans to install Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) modules on all Scorpene submarines as they go for their refit beginning with INS Kalvari likely by end next year to enhance their endurance.
  • The indigenous AIP module has been tested on shore and recently DRDO and Naval Group signed an agreement to integrate the AIP module on the Scorpene.

What is Air Independent Propulsion?

  • AIP is mostly implemented as an auxiliary source, with the traditional diesel engine handling surface propulsion.
  • Most of these systems generate electricity, which in turn drives an electric motor for propulsion or recharges the boat's batteries.
  • AIP allows longer submergence than a conventionally propelled submarine.

Science and Technology

Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy

A team of doctors from Tamil Nadu along with scientists from Japan have developed a disease-modifying treatment for ‘Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).’

About the disease:

  • DMD is a rare genetic disease, using a food additive — a beta-glucan produced by N-163 strain of yeast Aureobasidium pullulans.
  • This genetic disorder is haracterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness due to the alterations of a protein called dystrophin that helps keep muscle cells intact.
  • DMD is one of four conditions known as
  • The other three diseases that belong to this group are:
    • Becker Muscular dystrophy (BMD, a mild form of DMD)
    • an intermediate clinical presentation between DMD and BMD
    • DMD-associated dilated cardiomyopathy (heart-disease) with little or no clinical skeletal, or voluntary, muscle disease

Science and Technology

Radioisotope thermoelectric generator

India’s space agency, ISRO, is jointly developing a nuclear-powered engine along with Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC).


  • A radioisotope thermoelectric generator, or RTG, uses the fact that radioactive materials (such as plutonium) generate heat as they decay into non-radioactive materials. 
  • The heat used is converted into electricity by an array of thermocouples which then power the spacecraft.
  • A thermocouple is a device which converts thermal energy directly into electrical energy. 
  • Basically, it is made of two kinds of metal that can both conduct electricity.
  • They are connected to each other in a closed loop. 
  • If the two metals are at different temperatures, an electric potential will exist between them. 
  • When an electric potential occurs, electrons will start to flow, making electric current.
  • This is a much different technique than that used by nuclear power stations on Earth.
  • That process is called fission, and gets very high efficiency rates by literally "splitting" unstable radioactive materials (such as uranium) into smaller parts. 

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