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  • Published
    1st Mar, 2023

Art and Culture






The annual Pongala festival is celebrated in the month of February-March is going to take place in Kerala.

About the festival:

  • The AttukalPongala held in Attukal Temple, Thiruvananthapuram is the largest congregation of women for a festival in the world.
  • It is a ten-day festival.
  • It got its name from its location, on the banks of the Killi River.
  • Pongala, which means 'to boil over’, is the ritual in which women prepare sweet payasam (a pudding made from rice, jaggery, coconut and plantains cooked together) and offer it to the Goddess or ‘Bhagavathy’.
  • The ritual can only be performed by women and the streets of the city are known to be jam-packed with faithful devotees during the time of the festival.
  • The Goddess ‘Attukalamma’ is said to be appeased by this ritual.
  • The entire Thiruvananthapuram city lights up in festive fervour and the number of devotees has increased to the point that it has been recorded in the Guinness World Book of Records.

Polity and Governance

Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) portal

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology launched the Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) portal under the IT Rules, 2021.


  • The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 were amended to require social media companies to respect all the rights accorded to the citizens under the Constitution, including in the articles 14, 19 and 21.
  • It aims that social media platforms may now have to allow speech that is not allowed on their platforms, but are otherwise legal to express in public.


  • This portal will allow people who are dissatisfied with complaints to social media companies on content takedown requests, to be heard by one of three Committees constituted by the government.
  • The website of the GACs is now accepting appeals from the public orders.

Science and Technology

India’s first DNA vaccine for Dengue

In a significant development in DNA vaccination research, India’s first and only DNA vaccine candidate for dengue has shown promising results.


  • The world’s first DNA vaccine—ZyCoV-D, developed by Ahemdabad-based pharmaceutical firm ZydusCadila—was approved in 2021 for emergency use against COVID-19.
  • Globally, DNA vaccines are being developed for diseases like tuberculosis and chikungunya.
  • Some 19 DNA dengue vaccines are being evaluated, but yet to reach final clinical trials.

How a DNA vaccine works?

  • DNA and RNA vaccines use genetic material to deliver information to human cells and elicit an immune response.
  • DNA vaccines are safe, easy, affordable to produce, and, unlike RNA vaccines, are stable at room temperature.
  • These attributes make them more promising for rapidly immunizing populations, especially in resource-limited settings.

Science  and Technology

Proton beam therapy

To access the proton beam therapy (PBT), there are not enough facilities offering the treatment, and the cost is also very high.

What is proton beam therapy?

  • Proton therapy, also called proton beam therapy, is a type of radiation therapy.
  • It uses protons rather than x-rays to treat cancer.
  • A proton is a positively charged particle. At high energy, protons can destroy cancer cells.
  • Like x-ray radiation, proton therapy is a type of external-beam radiation therapy.
  • Proton beam therapy enables a dose of high energy protons to be precisely targeted at a tumour, reducing the damage to surrounding healthy tissues and vital organs which is an advantage in certain groups of patients or where the cancer is close to a critical part of the body such as the spinal cord.
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