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    31st Mar, 2023

Art and Culture (GS-I)

Hybrid gamosa

Amid rising controversy over an Assamese-Bangla paired gamosa, the Bangla Sahitya Sabha, Assam, (BSSA) tendered an apology for hurting sentiments through its act of cutting Assamese and Bengali 'gamosas' and mixing its designs.


  • The traditional Assamese Gamosa/Gamusa or Gamucha is one of the most recognisable cultural symbols of Assam.
  • It is a white rectangular piece of cloth with embroidered red borders.
  • The red border is called the "anchu" and is believed to be the sign of Ahom strength.
    • "Anchu” was derived from a certain red flower which was also known as “anchu”.

The controversy

  • The Bangla Sahitya Sabha, Assam (BSSA) felicitated guests at a function with “hybrid gamosas”.
  • Hybrid gamosa was made using the designs of Assamese gamosa and Bengali gamcchhas.
    • Half of the scarf was a red-and-white phulam gamosa — considered a symbol of Assamese identity
    • The other half was a red-and-white chequered pattern gamchha used by Bengalis

Geography (GS-I)

NASA monitors South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA)

Nasa is monitoring a region of magnetic intensity in Earth's field between South America and south-west Africa.

  • The odd phenomenon, called the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA), is known as a "dent" in Earth's magnetic field.
  • While it doesn't affect Earth, orbital spacecraft including the International Space Station can pass directly through the anomaly.

Geography (GS-I)

Western Disturbances

The reason for the abnormal winter seasons since 2020-21 lies in the changing character of the Western Disturbances.

  • A western disturbance (WD) is an extra-tropical storm which originates in the Mediterranean region.
  • The disturbance travels from the “western” to the eastern direction.

Disturbance means an area of “disturbed” or reduced air pressure. Equilibrium exists in nature due to which the air in a region tries to normalise its pressure.

  • In the term “extra-tropical storm”, storm refers to low pressure. “Extra-tropical" means outside the tropics.
  • As the WD originates outside the tropical region, the word “extra-tropical” has been associated with them.
  • A WD is associated with rainfall, snowfall and fog in northern India.
  • Upon its arrival in Pakistan and northern India, clouds along with rain and snow also arrive.
  • The moisture which WDs carry with them comes from the Mediterranean Sea and/or from the Atlantic Ocean

Geography (GS-I)

Saving Day time

Recently, Lebanon was thrown into mass confusion after its government at the last minute delayed the start of daylight saving time by a month.

  • Greenland has chosen to stay with daylight saving time forever.

What is daylight saving time?

  • According to Norway-based Time and Date, daylight saving time (DST) is the practice of setting the clocks forward one hour from the standard time during the summer and back again in the autumn.
  • This is done to make better use of natural daylight.
  • India does not follow daylight saving time as countries near the Equator do not experience high variations in daytime hours between seasons.

What is phenomenon behind it?

  • Daylight saving is a result of the earth's tilted rotation around the sun.
  • The Earth's axis of rotation is tilted, which means that the sun rises and sets at different times throughout the year as the Earth moves around the Sun.

International Relations (GS-II)

Riyadh joins Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Saudi Arabia has approved a memorandum for granting the status of a ‘dialogue partner’ in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).


  • Saudi Arabia's cabinet approved, a decision to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as to build a long-term partnership with China despite U.S. security concerns.
  • The decision followed an announcement by Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) which raised its multi-billion dollar investment in China, by finalizing a planned joint venture in northeast China and acquiring a stake in a privately controlled petrochemical group.
  • Dialogue partner status will be a first step within the organization before granting the kingdom full membership in the mid-term.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO):

  • The SCO is a political and security union of countries spanning much of Eurasia, including China, India, and Russia.
  • It aimed to cooperate against non-traditional security challenges, in particular fighting the so-called “three evils” of terrorism, separatism, and extremism.
  • The fact that the SCO also strives to strengthen mutual trust and good neighborly relations between its member states.

Polity and Governance (GS-II)

Panchamasali reservation

The High Court of Karnataka has allowed the State government to take a decision on reservation for the Panchamasali (Lingayat sub-sect.)

Who are Lingayats?

  • The Lingayats are followers of 12th-century social reformer Basavanna, who was inspired by the Bhakti Movement.
  • Basavanna was a treasurer in the court of King Bijjala II; he rejected Brahmin rituals and temple worship and envisaged a society that was casteless, free of discrimination, and where men and women had equal opportunities.


  • The government gave an undertaking that the proposed decision would not disturb the constitutionally guaranteed quota in the existing Category 2A of the caste-based reservation list.
  • There are now 99 sub-sects within the Lingayats, whose main goal was once the eradication of the caste system.
  • Prominent sub-sects include the Panchamasalis, Ganiga, Jangama, Banajiga, Reddi Lingayat, Sadars, Nonaba and Goud-Lingayats.

Polity and Governance (GS-II)

‘Call Before u Dig’ App

Recently, the Prime Minister has launched an app called 'Call Before u Dig’.


  • Objective: To help prevent uncoordinated digging that results in damage to underground utility assets like optical fibre cables, costing the government thousands of crores every year.
  • The ‘Call Before u Dig’ (CBuD) app aims to facilitate coordination between excavation agencies and underground utility owners to prevent damage to utilities due to digging.
  • With this, it would help to protect underground public infrastructure across the country.
  • The mobile application has been developed by the department of telecommunications and the Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics functioning under the Gujarat government to protect underground public infrastructure across the country.
  • The app will connect excavators and asset owners through SMS/Email notifications and click-to-call in bid to execute planned excavations.

Polity and Governance (GS-II)

Revised NCERT books under NEP 2020

After nearly two decades, school students at all levels will learn from updated textbooks to be introduced in the 2024-25 academic year.

About the development:

  • The modification was done as per the National Education Policy 2020 and National Curriculum Framework (NCF) released in August 2022.
  • Currently the government has released NCF for pre-school to Class 2, for children aged between three and eight years.
  • The framework for other classes is yet to be rolled out.
  • Correspondingly, textbooks based on NCF for Class 1 and 2 will be released by the end of this month.

Key features:

  • The new National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks will be developed in 22 languages, in consonance with the NEP 2020 perspective of imparting multilingual education.
  • NCERT has developed material to feed into the play-way teaching method: the Jaadui Pitaara (magic box) would be made available to every school in the form of open education resources.


  • The Ministry of Education aims to help students develop their cognitive and critical thinking skills, which involve problem-solving in real-life situations.
  • It also speaks about developing the social and emotional capacities of the child.
  • There is an emphasis on vocational education so students can develop an entrepreneurial mindset or be gainfully employed in the future.

Polity and Governance (GS-II)

‘Bharat Nepal Ashtha Yatra

As per the information by IRCTC, more than 80 per cent of seats for the first-ever trip of the 600-seater ‘Bharat Nepal Ashtha Yatra’ special train have already been booked.

  • The train is scheduled to start its journey from Jalandhar in Punjab on March 31.


  • The route will cover Ayodhya, Varanasi, and Prayagraj in India and Pashupatinath (Kathmandu) in Nepal.
  • The train, operated by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) Ltd, offers a nine-day and 10-night package inclusive of boarding fees, transport costs, and meals.
  • More than 80 per cent of seats out of 600 have been booked.
  • The train will run till Raxaul railway station in East Champaran in Bihar and, thereafter, tourists will be taken to Nepal in buses.
  • The boarding stations are Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Ambala, Kurukshetra, and Panipat in the Ambala Railway division.

Environment (GS-III)

Plastic-rock hybrid discovered in Andaman’s Aves island

A team of marine biologists during routine monitoring of marine litter in some of the remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands, have stumbled upon a piece of rock made from plastic.


  • Known as Plastiglomerate, the rock is composed of sand, rock fragments, shells and other materials held together by plastic, resulting in a plastic-rock hybrid.
  • It is a new form of plastic pollution described by scientists in 2014.
  • This is the first find from India of Plastiglomerate.
  • Laboratory analysis showed that it has two very commonly used plastic polymers– polyethene and polyvinyl chloride– which was holding the smaller rock and sand particles to form a rock, approximately the size of ones found along railway tracks.
  • The findings have been published in Marine Plastic Pollution.


  • Plastic accumulating in oceans and on beaches has turned into a global crisis due to which thousands of seabirds and sea turtles, seals and other marine mammals are killed each year after ingesting plastic or getting entangled in it.

Science and Technology (GS-III)

Konkan 2023

Recently the annual bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom (UK) was held from March 20 to 22 off the Konkan coast in the Arabian Sea.

About the exercise:

  • INS Trishul, a guided missile frigate of the Indian Navy, and HMS Lancaster, a Type 23 guided missile frigate of the Royal Navy, participated.
  • This edition of the exercise undertook multiple maritime drills to enhance interoperability and imbibe best practices.
  • The exercises covered all domains of maritime operations — air, surface, and sub-surface.
  • It included gunnery shoots on surface inflatable target ‘Killer Tomato’, helicopter operations, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare drills, Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS), ship manoeuvres and exchange of personnel.

Visit Board search and seizure (VBSS):

  • Visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) is the term used by United States military and law enforcement agencies for maritime boarding actions and tactics.
  • VBSS teams are designed to capture enemy vessels, combat terrorism, piracy, and smuggling, and to conduct customs, safety and other inspections.

Science and Technology (GS-III)

World Tuberculosis Day 2023

World Tuberculosis Day is observed every year on March 24, to raise the awareness about Tuberculosis.


  • TB is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis and primarily affects the lungs, although it can also affect other parts of the body.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has set a goal to eliminate the diseases of 2030.
  • In 1982, the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) launched World TB day to coincide with the 100th Anniversary of Koch’s discovery.


  • World TB Day is an opportunity to focus on the progress made in the prevention and treatment of Tuberculosis.

Science and Technology (GS-III)

Army to get satellite for critical data

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed three contracts worth ?5,400 crore — two with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) worth ?2,400 crore and Sarang Electronic Support Measure (ESM) systems.

About the deal:

  • Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) will procure an Automated Air Defence Control and Reporting SystemProject Akashteer’ for the Army.
  • Another ?2,963 crore contract is with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), for an advanced communication satellite, GSAT 7B, for the Army has been signed.
  • NSIL is a Central Public Sector Enterprise under the Department of Space.
  • The geostationary satellite, being a first-of-its-kind in the five-tonne category, will be developed indigenously by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Sarang System:

  • ‘Sarang’ is an advanced ESM system for helicopters of the Navy, designed and developed indigenously by the Defence Electronics Research Laboratory, Hyderabad under the programme, Samudrika.
  • Sarang ESM systems along with associated engineering support package from BEL, Hyderabad will generate an employment of approximately two lakh man-days over a period of three years.

Significance of the move:

  • The satellite will considerably enhance the communication capability of the Indian Army by providing mission critical beyond line of sight communication to troops and formations as well as weapon and airborne platforms.
  • Akashteer will enable monitoring of low level airspace over the battle areas of Indian Army and effectively control the ground based air defence weapon systems.

Environment (GS-III)



Ubuntu, a philosophy taken from African customs can be helpful to tackle the macro-level repercussions of climate change.


  • Ubuntu can best be described as an African philosophy that places emphasis on 'being self through others'.
  • It is a form of humanism which can be expressed in the phrases 'I am because of who we all are' and ubuntu ngumuntu ngabantu in Zulu language.
  • The African word Ubuntu, which means ‘ humanity to others’, invokes a spirit of collective, global and regional inter-governmental action, as well as communal and individual efforts to resolve the complex climate crisis.

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