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State PCS

  • 03 Oct 2022
  • 48 min read

Mahatma Gandhi



Lal Bahadur Shastri


Important Institution

National Disaster Management Authority

For Prelims: NDMA, NDRF, Sendai Framework, SAARC, BIMSTEC.

For Mains: Evolution of National Disaster Management Authority and its Shortcomings.

Why in News?

Recently, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) celebrated its 18th Formation Day on 28th September, 2022.

  • Theme 2022: Volunteerism in Disaster Management.

What is NDMA?

  • About
    • The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is India’s apex statutory body for disaster management.
    • The NDMA was formally constituted on 27th September 2006, by the Disaster Management Act, 2005. The Prime Minister is its chairperson and it has nine other members. One of the nine members is designated as Vice-Chairperson.
    • The primary responsibility for the management of disaster rests with the State Government concerned. However, the National Policy on Disaster Management puts in place an enabling environment for all i.e., the Centre, state and district.
    • The government is working on a programme to set up disaster management volunteers (Aapada Mitra) in 350 districts of the country.
  • Aapada Mitra:
    • It is a Central Sector Scheme that was launched in May 2016.
      • NDMA is the implementing agency.
    • It is a programme to identify suitable individuals in disaster-prone regions who can be trained to be first responders in times of disasters.
    • To provide the community volunteers with the skills that they would need to respond to their community’s immediate needs in the aftermath of a disaster thereby enabling them to undertake basic relief and rescue tasks during emergency situations such as floods, flash-floods and urban flooding.

How has NDMA evolved?

  • In recognition of the importance of Disaster Management as a national priority, the Government of India set up a High-Powered Committee (HPC) in August 1999 and a National Committee after the Gujarat earthquake (2001), for making recommendations on the preparation of Disaster Management plans and suggesting effective mitigation mechanisms.
  • The Tenth Five-Year Plan document also had, for the first time, a detailed chapter on Disaster Management. The Twelfth Finance Commission was also mandated to review the financial arrangements for Disaster Management.
  • On 23th December 2005, the Government of India enacted the Disaster Management Act, which envisaged the creation of NDMA, headed by the Prime Minister, and State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) headed by respective Chief Ministers, to spearhead and implement a holistic and integrated approach to Disaster Management in India.

What are the Functions and Responsibilities of NDMA?

  • Approve the National Disaster Plan
  • Lay down policies on disaster management
  • Approve plans prepared by Ministries or Departments of the Central Government in accordance with National Plan
  • Lay down guidelines to be followed by State Authorities in drawing up State Plan
  • Lay down guidelines to be followed by different Ministries or Departments of Central Government for the purpose of integrating measures for disaster prevention or mitigation of its effects in their development plans and projects
  • Coordinate enforcement and implementation of disaster management policy and plan
  • Recommend provision of funds for the purpose of mitigation
  • Provide such support to other countries affected by major disasters as determined by the Central Government
  • Take such other measures for prevention of disasters or mitigation or preparedness and capacity building for dealing with threatening disaster situation or disaster as it may consider necessary
  • Lay down broad policies and guidelines for the functioning of National Institute of Disaster Management

What are the Shortcomings and Challenges?

  • Questions were raised about the role of NDMA during Uttarakhand Flooding in 2013, where it failed to timely inform people about the flash floods and landslides. The post disaster relief response had been equally poor. Experts blamed the poor planning of NDMA that lead to unfinished projects for flood and landslide mitigation.
  • A CAG (Comptroller and Auditor-General) report noted that there were delays in completion of projects under the flood management programmes.
    • It held that there were huge delays in completion of river management activities and works related to border areas projects which were long-term solutions for the flood problems of Assam, north Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh.
  • Devastations during Kerala Floods in 2018 and Chennai Floods in 2015 were eye-opening for the institutions regarding preparedness for the disaster situation.
    • CAG report on 2015 Chennai Floods termed it to be a “man-made disaster” and holds Tamil Nadu government responsible for the catastrophe.
  • The NDRF personnel lack sufficient training, equipment, facilities and residential accommodation to tackle the crisis situation properly.
  • Misutilization of Funds- Government constituted National Disaster Response Fund and State Disaster Response Fund to deal with the disasters.
    • Audit findings reveal that some states have mis-utilized funds for expenditures that were not sanctioned for disaster management.

What are India's Efforts in Managing Disaster?

Way Forward

  • Policy guidelines at the macro level are needed that would inform and guide the preparation and implementation of disaster management and development plans across sectors.
  • Building in a culture of preparedness and mitigation is the need of the hour.
  • Operational guidelines should be framed for integrating disaster management practices into development, and specific developmental schemes for prevention and mitigation of disasters.
  • Robust early warning systems coupled with effective response plans at district, state and national levels should be put in place.
  • Community, NGOs, CSOs and the media should be involved at all stages of disaster management.
  • Climate risk management should be addressed through adaptation and mitigation.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q. Discuss the recent measures initiated in disaster management by the Government of India departing from the earlier reactive approach. (2020)

Q. With reference to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) guidelines, discuss the measures to be adopted to mitigate the impact of the recent incidents of cloudbursts in many places of Uttarakhand. (2016)

Q. Drought has been recognized as a disaster in view of its spatial expanse, temporal duration, slow onset and lasting effects on vulnerable sections. With a focus on the September 2010 guidelines from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), discuss the mechanisms for preparedness to deal with likely El Nino and La Nina fallouts in India. (2014)

Source: IE

Science & Technology

Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)

For Prelims: Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL)

For Mains: Significance of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Why in News?

Recently, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) celebrated its 81st Foundation Day.

What is CSIR?

  • About: CSIR is the largest research and development (R&D) organisation in India. CSIR has a pan-India presence and has a dynamic network of 37 national laboratories, 39 outreach centres, 3 Innovation Complexes and 5 units.
  • Established: September 1942
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • CSIR is funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology and it operates as an autonomous body through the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
  • CSIR covers a wide spectrum of streams – from radio and space physics, oceanography, geophysics, chemicals, drugs, genomics, biotechnology and nanotechnology to mining, aeronautics, instrumentation, environmental engineering and information technology.
    • It provides significant technological intervention in many areas with regard to societal efforts which include the environment, health, drinking water, food, housing, energy, and farm and non-farm sectors.
  • Organisational Structure:
    • President: Prime Minister of India (Ex-officio)
    • Vice President: Union Minister of Science and Technology (Ex-officio)
    • Governing Body: The Director-General is the head of the governing body.
      • The other ex-officio member is the finance secretary (expenditures).
      • Other members' terms are of three years.
    • CSIR Advisory Board: 15-member body composed of prominent members from respective fields of science and technology. Its function is to provide science and technology input to the governing body.
      • Member terms are of three years.
  • Objectives: The objectives of the Council are scientific and industrial/applied research of national importance. The activities include:
    • Promotion, guidance and coordination of scientific and industrial research in India including the institution and the financing of specific researchers.
    • Establishment and award of research studentships and fellowships.
    • Utilization of the results of the research conducted under the auspices of the Council towards the development of industries in the country.
    • Establishment, maintenance and management of laboratories, workshops, institutes and organisations to further scientific and industrial research.
    • Collection and dissemination of information in regard not only to research but to industrial matters generally.
    • Publication of scientific papers and a journal of industrial research and development.

What are the Key Achievements?

  • Strategic Sector:
    • Drishti transmissometer: It is an Indigenous - Innovative –Cost-effective fvisibility measuring system that provides information to pilots on visibility for safe landing & take-off operations and is suitable for all airport categories.
    • Head-Up-Display (HUD): CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) developed an indigenous Head-Up- display (HUD) for Indian Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas.
      • HUD aids the pilot in flying the aircraft and in critical flight manoeuvres including weapon aiming.
    • Indigenous Gyrotron: Design and development of indigenous gyrotron for nuclear fusion reactors have been accomplished.
      • A gyrotron is a vacuum electronic device (VED) capable of generating high-power, high-frequency THz radiation.
  • Energy & Environment:
    • Solar Tree: It was designed by CSIR- The Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) lab in Durgapur. It occupies the minimum space to produce clean power.
    • Lithium-Ion Battery: The Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi in Tamil Nadu, has set up the first indigenous Li-ion fabrication facility that has applications in defence, solar-powered devices, railways and other high-end usages.
  • Agriculture:
    • Samba Mahsuri Rice Variety: CSIR in collaboration with ICAR developed an improved bacterial blight-resistant Samba Mahsuri variety.
    • Rice Cultivar (Muktashree) for Arsenic Contaminated Areas: A rice variety has been developed which restricts assimilation of Arsenic within the permissible limit.
    • White-fly Resistant Cotton Variety: Developed a transgenic cotton line which is resistant to whiteflies.
  • Healthcare:
    • JD Vaccine for Farm Animals: Vaccine developed and commercialized for Johne’s disease (JD) affecting Sheep, goats, cows and Buffalo so as to immunize them and increase milk & meat production.
    • Plasma Gelsolin Diagnostic Kit for Premature Births, and Sepsis-related Deaths to diagnose premature birth and sepsis.
    • GOMED: A programme called GOMED (Genomics and other omics technologies for Enabling Medical Decision) has been developed by the CSIR which provides a platform for disease genomics to solve clinical problems.
  • Food & Nutrition:
    • Ksheer-scanner: It is a new technological invention by CSIR-Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute (CEERI) to detect the level of milk adulteration and adulterants in 45 seconds at the cost of 10 paise.
    • Double-Fortified Salt: Salt fortified with iodine and iron has improved properties developed and tested for addressing anaemia in people.
    • Anti-obesity DAG Oil: Oil enriched with Diacylglycerol (DAG) instead of conventional triacylglycerol (TAG) developed.
  • Water:
    • Aquifer Mapping of Water Scarce Areas: Heliborne transient electromagnetic and surface magnetic technique-based aquifer mapping was carried out in six different geological locations in Rajasthan (2), Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
    • Understanding the Special Properties of Ganga Water: An assessment of water quality & sediment analysis of Ganga from different parts being done.
  • Waste to Wealth:
    • Non-toxic radiation shielding materials utilizing industrial waste like red mud (from aluminium industries) and fly ash (Thermal Power Plants) developed which have been accredited by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) for application in diagnostic X-Ray rooms.
    • Waste Plastic to Fuel: Process for conversion of waste plastics to gasoline/diesel or aromatics developed.
  • The Indelible Mark:
    • The Indelible ink used to mark the fingernail of a voter during elections is a time-tested gift of CSIR to the spirit of democracy.
      • Developed in 1952, it was first produced in-campus.
  • Aviation:
    • The CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories has designed a plane 'SARAS'.
    • In 2011, successfully tested India's 1st indigenous civilian aircraft, NAL NM5 made in association with National Aerospace Laboratories and Mahindra Aerospace.
  • Traditional Knowledge Digital Library:
    • CSIR has established the first-ever 'Traditional Knowledge Digital Library' in the world. It is accessible in five international languages (English, German, French, Japanese and Spanish).
    • CSIR successfully challenged the grant of patent in the USA for use of Haldi (turmeric) for wound healing and neem as an insecticide on the basis of traditional knowledge.
  • Genome sequencing: CSIR completed the sequencing of the Human Genome in 2009.
  • Computing: Flosolver, India’s first parallel computer was built in 1986. Flosolver’s success triggered other successful parallel computing projects in the country such as PARAM.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. For outstanding contribution to which one of the following fields is Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize given? (2009)

(a) Literature
(b) Performing Arts
(c) Science 
(d) Social Service

Ans: (c)


  • The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize is named after the founder Director of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), late Dr. (Sir) Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar and is known as the ‘Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology’.
  • Prizes, each of the value of `5,00,000 (Rupees five lakh only), is awarded annually for notable and outstanding research, applied or fundamental, in the following disciplines:
    • Biological Sciences,
    • Chemical Sciences,
    • Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences,
    • Engineering Sciences,
    • Mathematical Sciences,
    • Medical Sciences and
    • Physical Sciences.
  • Any citizen of India engaged in research in any field of science and technology up to the age of 45 years as reckoned on 31st December of the year preceding the year of the prize and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) working in India are also eligible for the prize. Therefore, option (c) is the correct answer.

Source: PIB


Gita: The Art of Selfless Living and Dying

For Mains: Ethics and Human Interface

Why in News?

Gandhi’s unwavering faith in high principles both in life and death were shaped by his love for the Bhagwat Gita and is a perfect example for all of us to follow.

Who was Mahatma Gandhi?

  • Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2nd October 1869 – 30th January 1948), also remembered as ‘Father of the Nation’, was the leader of India’s independence movement against British rule.
  • He was conferred with the title of Mahatma (great-soul) Gandhi.
  • His life was dedicated to many other noble causes like poverty alleviation, women’s rights, and eradication of the practice of untouchability, among others.
  • He was the pioneer of the nonviolence philosophy that has inspired civil rights leaders across the world.
  • His birthday, 2nd October, is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti in India and conferred as the International Day of Non-Violence.

What is the Importance of Bhagwat Gita in Gandhi’s Life?

  • A Gospel of Selfless Action:
    • According to Gandhi, Gita teaches us the only desire that is worth pursuing is to realize that we are the soul (or self), aspire to become like Him (God) (i.e., possess his supreme qualities), and to attain eternal bliss instead of being obsessed with material pursuits such as fame, money, and relationships.
      • This is the process of self-realization, which entails understanding that we are the soul (not the body and mind) and are caught in the endless cycle of life and death due to our karma.
      • Karma simply means that any thought, speech, or action undertaken upon others will have a corresponding result in our lives.
  • Role of Action:
    • The Gita acknowledges that for the world to continue running, action (whether mental or physical) needs to be taken.
      • The Gita says, “Do your allotted work but renounce its fruits- be detached and work- have no desire for reward and work."
    • Renunciation of the fruits of one’s actions is the central message in the Gita.
    • Renunciation does not mean indifference to results but a renouncer is the one who performs his duty with cheerfulness and thoroughness and remains desireless of the fruit of the action.
  • Ahimsa and Truth:
    • Gandhi believed that when one enforces the Gita’s central teaching in life, one is bound to follow Ahimsa and Truth.
      • Nonviolence or Ahimsa as per Gandhi Ji is described as the state to do no harm in thoughts, words and actions to all living beings.
    • It is not just refraining from undertaking violent action but also a whole way of life.
    • Since it extends to all living organisms, it encompasses consuming vegetarian food, a sustainable lifestyle, and the protection of the environment.
      • Because when there is no desire for fruit, there is no temptation for untruth or himsa (violence).
      • The cause of any untruth or himsa will be rooted in the fulfillment of attaining a desire fuelled by ego. For instance, sins like murder, theft, etc cannot be performed without attachment.
  • Serving God through the Service of Mankind:
    • A further message in the Gita is that mankind should serve God by serving one another and Gandhi adhered to this message unwaveringly.
    • To this, he elucidated how the soul’s natural progress is towards selflessness and purity.
    • This is why he was able to effortlessly dedicate his whole life to the freedom and betterment of the lives of the people of India.
    • He believed that what we think of in the last moments will become who we are and by doing so one will acquire the qualities and nature of this God (or revered Gurus) in the next birth.
    • But for this to happen in the dying moment, one has to live a life free of attachment and aversion and have a heart that is ready to love and forgive all. Once we have mastered these skills, the peace we get should be channeled into spiritual practices.

Source: Livemint


Midday Meal Scheme (PM Poshan Scheme)

For Prelims: Issues Related to Children, centrally sponsored scheme, Malnutrition, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

For Mains: Midday Meal Scheme and Associated Challenges.

Why in News?

Recently, the Ministry of Finance has approved a hike of 9.6 % cooking cost per child under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme.

  • Since the last hike in early 2020, the cooking cost per child has been Rs 4.97 per child per day in primary classes (class I-V), and Rs 7.45 (class VI-VIII) in upper primary classes. After the hikes come into effect, the allocation at the primary level and upper primary levels will be Rs 5.45 and Rs 8.17, respectively.

What is the Midday Meal Scheme?

  • About:
    • The Midday meal scheme (under the Ministry of Education) is a centrally sponsored scheme which was launched in 1995.
    • It is the world’s largest school meal programme aimed to attain the goal of universalization of primary education.
    • Provides cooked meals to every child within the age group of six to fourteen years studying in classes I to VIII who enrolls and attends the school.
    • In 2021, it was renamed as 'Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman' scheme (PM Poshan Scheme) and it also covers students of balvatikas (children in the 3–5-year age group) from pre-primary classes.
  • Objective:
    • Address hunger and malnutrition, increase enrolment and attendance in school, improve socialisation among castes, provide employment at grassroot level especially to women.
  • Quality Check:
    • AGMARK quality items are procured, tasting of meals by two or three adult members of the school management committee.
  • Food Security:
    • If the Mid-Day Meal is not provided in school on any school day due to non-availability of food grains or any other reason, the State Government shall pay food security allowance by 15th of the succeeding month.
  • Regulation:
    • The State Steering-cum Monitoring Committee (SSMC) oversees the implementation of the scheme including establishment of a mechanism for maintenance of nutritional standards and quality of meals.
  • Nutritional Standards:
    • Cooked meals having nutritional standards of 450 calories and 12 gm of protein for primary (I-V class) and 700 calories and 20 gm protein for upper primary (VI-VIII class)
  • Coverage:
    • All government and government aided schools, Madarsa and Maqtabs supported under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
    • The scheme covers 11.80 crore children across Classes 1 to 8 (age group 6 to 14) in11.20 lakh government and government-aided schools and those run by local bodies such as the municipal corporations in Delhi under the provisions of the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA).
    • In the Budget for 2022-23, the Centre has earmarked Rs 10,233 crore for the scheme, while the states are expected to spend Rs 6,277 crore.

What are the Issues and Challenges?

  • Corrupt Practices:
    • There have been instances of plain chapatis being served with salt, mixing of water in milk, food poisoning etc.
  • Caste Bias and Discrimination:
    • Food is central to the caste system, so in many schools, children are made to sit separately according to their caste status.
  • Covid-19:
    • Covid-19 has posed serious threats to children and their health and nutritional rights.
    • The nationwide lockdown has disrupted access to essential services, including Mid-Day Meals.
    • Although dry foodgrains or cash transfers have been provided to families instead, food and education advocates have warned that this would not have the same impact as hot cooked meals on the school premises, especially for girl children who face more discrimination at home and are more likely to drop out of school due to the closures.
  • Menace of Malnutrition:
    • According to the National Family Health Survey-5, several states across the country have reversed course and recorded worsening levels of child malnutrition.
    • India is home to about 30% of the world’s stunted children and nearly 50% of severely wasted children under the age of five.
  • Global Nutrition Report-2020:
  • Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2020:

Way Forward

  • Interventions to improve maternal height and education must be implemented years before those girls and young women become mothers.
    • The fight against stunting has often focussed on boosting nutrition for young children, but nutritionists have long argued that maternal health and well-being is the key to reduce stunting in their offspring.
  • Expansion and improvement of school meals is needed for inter-generational pay-offs. As girls in India finish school, get married and have children all in just a few years — so school-based interventions can really help.

Source: IE

Important Facts For Prelims

IMEI Number

Why in News?

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has made it mandatory for mobile phone manufacturers to register the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) of all handsets made in India with the Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction portal of Government of India.

  • The IMEI number of mobile phones imported to India will also have to be registered on the same portal of the Government prior to the import of the mobile phone into the country.

What is an IMEI Number?

  • About: The IMEI is a unique number that is used to identify a device on a mobile network. It has 15 digits and is like a phone’s unique identity.
    • The telecom department and the customs department work together to check and record the IMEI numbers of handsets that come into India.
  • Functions: The number is used to verify the identity of a device when a user uses the Internet or places a call through it. Phones with a dual-SIM option has two IMEI numbers, one for each SIM.
    • The IMEI number can help network providers track down a device in case it gets stolen or is lost. Once such loss or theft is reported, the carriers can deny the device access to the cellular network even with a new SIM card.
  • Categorisation: The Communications Ministry had earlier rolled out a Central Equipment Identity Register (CIER), which categorises mobile phones based on their IMEI status in three lists – white, grey and black.
    • Mobile phones with IMEI numbers on the white list are permitted for use, while those on the blacklist are the ones that are reported stolen or lost and are not allowed to access the network.
    • Devices with IMEI numbers in the greylist do not conform to standards but are permitted to connect under supervision. The register also allows the DoT to carry out IMEI-based lawful interception.
  • Prevention of Tampering: In 2017, the government had notified rules to prevent tampering with IMEI numbers of phones by making it a punishable offence which could also attract a jail term.

What was the need for Making IMEI Number Mandatory?

  • It has been found that the IMEI numbers have been reprogrammed for creating duplicate handsets as well, right from the supplier to the seller, one may not realise that a phone with a duplicate code has been sold.
  • Reduce Theft & Cloning of Mobile Phones: The theft and cloning of mobile phones has become a serious problem. The theft of mobile phones is not just a financial loss but also a threat to the personal life of the citizens as well as national security.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)


Q. Which among the following do/does not belong/ belongs to GSM family of wireless technologies? (2010)

(a) EDGE
(b) LTE
(c) DSL
(d) Both EDGE and LTE

Ans: (c)


  • GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) is a digital mobile network that is widely used by mobile phone users. GSM, together with other technologies, is part of the evolution of wireless mobile telecommunications that includes High-Speed Circuit-Switched Data (HSCSD), General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), Enhanced Data GSM Environment (EDGE) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service (UMTS).
  • LTE or Long-Term Evolution is a standard for wireless broadband communication for mobile devices and data terminals which is based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS technologies. It increases the capacity and speed using a different radio interface together with core network improvements.
  • On the other hand, DSL or Digital Subscriber Line is a family of technologies that are used to transmit digital data over telephone lines, thus it is not a wireless technology. Therefore, option (c) is the correct answer.

Source: IE

Important Facts For Prelims

Corbett Tiger Reserve: Uttarakhand

Why in News?

Over 6,000 trees were illegally cut for the proposed Pakhro tiger safari project in Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR), according to a report of the Forest Survey of India (FSI).

  • The FSI has come up with an observation that the area cleared under CTR is estimated as 16.21 hectare (hac) for the Safari Project.
  • Pakhro tiger safari will be spread over an area of 106 hectares, when completed, it would have been the State’s first tiger safari that would have tigers in enclosures to ensure “100% sighting”.

What are the Key Points of Corbett Tiger Reserve?

  • About:
    • It is located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. The Project Tiger was launched in 1973 in Corbett National Park (first National Park of India), which is part of Corbett Tiger Reserve.
      • The national park was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger.
      • It is named after Jim Corbett who played a key role in its establishment.
    • The core area forms the Corbett National Park while the buffer contains reserve forests as well as the Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary.
    • The entire area of the reserve is mountainous and falls in the Shivalik and Outer Himalaya geological provinces.
    • Ramganga, Sonanadi, Mandal, Palain and Kosi are the major rivers flowing through the Reserve.
    • Sprawling over 500 square kilometres, CTR is home to 230 tigers and has the world’s highest tiger density — at 14 tigers per hundred square kilometres.
  • Flora:
    • Dense moist deciduous forests are found. According to the botanical survey of India, Corbett has 600 species of plants - trees, shrubs, ferns, grass, climbers, herbs, and bamboo. Sal, Khair, and Sissoo are the most visible trees found in Corbett.
  • Fauna:
    • Apart from tigers, Corbett also has leopards. Other mammals such as jungle cats, barking deer, spotted deer, sambar deer, sloth etc. are also found there.
  • Other Major Protected Areas of Uttarakhand:

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. Consider the following pairs: (2013)

National Park River flowing through the Park

  1. Corbett National Park : Ganga
  2. Kaziranga National Park : Manas
  3. Silent Valley National Park : Kaveri

Which of the above pairs is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 and 2
(b) 3 only
(c) 1 and 3
(d) None

Ans: (d)


  • Jim Corbett National Park: River Ramganga, a tributary of river Ganga is the primary source of water for the park. Tributaries of Ramganga are Khoh, Kolhu and Mandal rivers. Hence, pair 1 is not correctly matched.
  • Kaziranga National Park: It is a park hosting around two-third of total world’s one-horned rhinoceros and is circumscribed by the Brahmaputra River. The Brahmaputra forms the northern and eastern boundaries of it, whereas the Mora Diphlu forms the southern boundary. Other notable rivers within the park are the Diphlu and Mora Dhansiri. Hence, pair 2 is not correctly matched.
  • Silent Valley National Park: Located in Kerala, the park’s entire stretch drains from north to south by River Kuntipuzha. It is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Hence, pair 3 is not correctly matched.
  • Therefore, option (d) is the correct answer.

Q. Among the following Tiger Reserves, which one has the largest area under “Critical Tiger Habitat”? (2020)

(a) Corbett
(b) Ranthambore
(c) Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam
(d) Sundarbans

Ans: (c)


  • Critical Tiger Habitats (CTH), also known as core areas of tiger reserves, are identified under the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972 based on scientific evidence that “such areas are required to be kept as inviolative for the purpose of tiger conservation, without affecting the rights of the Scheduled Tribes or such other forest dwellers”.
  • The CTHs are notified by the state government in consultation with the expert committee constituted for the purpose.
  • Area of the Core/Critical Tiger Habitat
    • Corbett (Uttarakhand): 821.99 sq. Kms
    • Ranthambore (Rajasthan): 1113.36 sq. Kms
    • Sundarbans (West Bengal): 1699.62 sq. Kms
    • Nagarjunsagar Srisailam (part of Andhra Pradesh): 2595.72 sq. Kms
  • Therefore, option (c) is the correct answer.

Source: TH

Important Facts For Prelims

Vande Bharat Express 2.0

Why in News?

Recently, the Prime Minister flagged off Gandhinagar- Mumbai Vande Bharat Express 2.0 at Gujarat's Gandhinagar station.

  • Earlier, two Vande Bharat Expresses were operational —one between New Delhi and Varanasi and the other from New Delhi to Katra.

What are Vande Bharat Trains?

  • It is an indigenously designed and manufactured semi high speed, self-propelled train that is touted as the next major leap for the Indian Railways in terms of speed and passenger convenience since the introduction of Rajdhani trains.
  • The first Vande Bharat was manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai as part of the ‘Make in India’ programme, at a cost of about Rs. 100 crore.
  • The Vande Bharat was India’s first attempt at adaptation of the train set technology compared with conventional systems of passenger coaches hauled by separate locomotives.
  • The train set configuration, though complex, is faster, easier to maintain, consumes less energy, and has greater flexibility in train operation.

What are the Features of the Vande Bharat Trains?

  • These trains, dubbed as Train 18 during the development phase, operate without a locomotive and are based on a propulsion system called distributed traction power technology, by which each car of the train set is powered.
  • It can achieve a maximum speed of 160 kmph due to faster acceleration and deceleration, reducing journey time by 25% to 45%.
  • It also has an intelligent braking system with power regeneration for better energy efficiency thereby making it cost, energy and environment efficient.

What are the Features of Vande Bharat 2.0?

  • The Vande Bharat Express 2.0 offers a myriad of superior and aircraft-like travelling experiences.
  • It is equipped with advanced state-of-the-art safety features including an indigenously developed Train Collision Avoidance System - KAVACH.
  • In the new design of Vande Bharat Express, a photo-catalytic ultraviolet air purification system is installed in the Roof-Mounted Package Unit (RMPU) for air purification.

Source: PIB

Important Facts For Prelims

US-Pacific Island Summit 2022

Why in News?

Recently, the US President hosted the first-ever U.S.- Pacific Island Country Summit in Washington, D.C, and announced USD 810 million in funding for Pacific Islands.

What were the Key Highlights of the Summit?

  • Expand US Presence: The announced USD 600 million will be in the form of a 10-year package to clean up and develop dirty waters to support the tuna industry, which will also expand climate and development aid and its diplomatic presence.
  • Countering China’s Aggressive Policy: China had made inroads in the strategic but sparsely populated region by asserting itself strongly in recent years in the pacific islands through investment, police training and, most controversially, a security pact with the Solomon Islands. Therefore, the US is re-engaging with the region that has been tied closely to it since World War II.
  • Forging Alliances: The US administration recently formed Partners in the Blue Pacific with Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Britain and further said that Canada and Germany will join and that France, itself a South Pacific power, as well as the European Union, South Korea and India would participate as non-members.

What are Pacific Island Countries?

  • About: The Pacific Island Countries are a cluster of 14 states which are located largely in the tropical zone of the Pacific Ocean between Asia, Australia and the Americas.
    • They include Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
  • Significance:
    • Largest Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs): The islands are divided on the basis of physical and human geography into three distinct parts — Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia.
      • Despite their small land area, the islands are spread out over a wide swath of the Pacific Ocean. Kiribati and FSM, have EEZs larger than that of India.
    • Economic Potential:
      • Large EEZs have a great deal of economic potential since they can be used to exploit the wealth of fisheries, energy, minerals, and other marine resources present there.
    • Potential Vote Bank: The 14 PICs, bound together by shared economic and security concerns, account for as many votes in the United Nations, and act as a potential vote bank for major powers to mobilise international opinion.

Source: TH

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