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UPSC Prelims News 28 February 2023

UPSC Prelims News of 28 February 2023


Context: The Government has recently transferred 13th installment of funds under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).

About PM KISAN Scheme:

  • PM-KISAN is a central sector scheme launched in 2019 to supplement the financial needs of land-holding farmers through direct benefit transfer (DBT).
  • Objectives of PM KISAN:
    • To provide income support to all eligible land-holding farmers and their families.
    • To supplement the financial needs of the farmers in procuring various inputs to ensure proper crop health and appropriate yields, commensurate with the anticipated farm income.
  • Financing: The scheme receives 100% of its financing from the central government.
  • Eligibility: Under PM KISAN, all landholding farmers’ families (earlier it was landholding up to 2 hectares) shall be provided the financial benefit of Rs.6000/- per annum per family. It will be paid in three equal instalments of Rs.200O/- each, every four months.
  • Implementation: The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare is the implementing agency.
  • The prevailing land-ownership system/record of land in different States/Union Territories will be used to identify the intended beneficiaries for the transfer of scheme benefits.
  • The National Informatics Centre and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology have jointly developed and launched the PM-KISAN Mobile App.
    • Aadhar cards can be updated or corrected, and farmers can examine the status of their applications and the history of bank account credits via this app.

UPSC Prelims News 27 February 2023


Compressed Biogas

Context: Following the success of ethanol blending, the government is planning to do the same in compressed biogas (CBG).

  • This will be done by offering capital support for biomass aggregation, laying of gas pipelines, and mandating natural gas marketers to blend 5% biogas by 2027.

About Compressed Bio Gas (CBG):

  • Production: Compressed Bio Gas (CBG) is the mixture of hydrocarbon gases and vapours consisting mainly of Methane in gaseous form, which has been produced by the decomposition of animal and plant waste, purified and compressed for use as an automotive fuel and industrial application.
  • Biogas can be compressed after removal of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide, the same way as natural gas is compressed to CNG, and used to power motor vehicles.
  • Chemically, CBG is the same as CNG — both are compressed methane — and has the same calorific value.
  • The difference between the two is that while CNG is a by-product of petroleum, CBG can be produced from any biomass that makes CBG a commercially viable option as it can be directly used to replace CNG in transportation fuel.
  • Just like CNG, CBG too can be transported through cylinders or pipelines to retail outlets

By-Products of CBG Production:

  • Its solid by-products can be used as bio-manure.
  • It is a rich source of silica that not only aids in the growth and yield of crops but also bestows immunity against many diseases and prevents toxic material uptake by plants such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and other heavy metals.
  • The other by-product is CO2. It can be tapped while purifying the biogas and used to produce liquid or solid CO2, which have high demand for food preservation or to be used in fire extinguishers.

SATAT Scheme:

  • ‘SATAT’ (Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation) scheme on Compressed Biogas (CBG) was launched in 2018.
  • Under the SATAT scheme, entrepreneurs shall set up CBG plants, produce & supply CBG to Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) for sale as automotive & industrial fuels.
  • Aim: To produce compressed biogas (CBG) from Waste and Biomass sources like agricultural residue, cattle dung, sugarcane press mud, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and sewage treatment plant waste and make CBG available in the market for use as a green fuel.
  • The scheme aims to empower and unleash the rural economy by supporting farmers, increase India’s domestic energy production and self-sufficiency and also reduce the air pollution, and help India lead the world toward a clean energy transition.


New Layer at Inner Core

Context: The fifth layer of Earth or the Innermost Inner Core has been recently uncovered by the scientists.

About the Innermost Inner Core

  • Method: Intensive study of Earth’s deep interior, based on the behaviour of seismic waves from large earthquakes, confirmed the existence of a distinct structure inside our planet’s inner core.
    • Upon studying them, the researchers claimed that the seismic waves have demonstrated proof of an identifiable layer inside the earth called the innermost inner core.
      • The deepest regions of the Earth’s inner core have become easier to study owing to the seismic waves produced by earthquakes.
      • Earthquakes unleash seismic waves that travel through the planet and can reveal the contours of its interior structure based on the changing shape of the waves.
      • This new research studied waves from 200 quakes with magnitudes above 6.0 ricocheting like ping pong balls up to five times within the planet.
      • In this study, the researchers analysed digital records of ground motion, known as seismograms.
  • Earth: Earth’s diameter is about 7,900 miles (12,750 km).
    • The planet’s internal structure comprises four layers: a rocky crust on the outside, then a rocky mantle, an outer core made of magma and a solid inner core.
      • This metallic inner core, about 1,500 miles (2,440) wide, was discovered in the 1930s, also based on seismic waves traveling through Earth.
  • Innermost Inner Core: Scientists have observed a mysterious metal ball in the Earth’s deep core showing a structure that has long been speculated about but has never been observed in such detail.
    • This structure is an 800-mile (1,350-kilometre) wide solid ball of iron and nickel which is fiercely hot.
    • Both the outer shell and the newly discovered innermost sphere of the inner core are hot enough to be molten, yet they are made of a solid iron-nickel alloy due to the extreme pressure at the Earth’s core.
  • Significance: The crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core were once thought to make up the Earth’s structure. Yet, this study supports the existence of a fifth layer, called the innermost inner core.
New Layer at Inner Core
New Layer at Inner Core


International IP Index

Context: India ranks 42nd among 55 leading global economies on the International IP Index.

About International IP Index

  • Index is released by the U.S. Chambers of Commerce.
  • Index aims to help nations navigate towards a brighter economic future marked by greater innovation, creativity, and competitiveness.
  • It evaluates the protection of IP rights in 55 of the world’s leading economies, together representing around 90% of global GDP.
  • It covers everything from patent and copyright laws to the ability to monetise IP assets and the ratification of international agreements.

About India’s Ranking

  • India is ripe to become a leader for emerging markets seeking to transform their economy through IP-driven innovation.
  • India has maintained continued strong efforts in copyright piracy through the issuing of “dynamic” injunction orders.
  • India not only has generous R&D and IP-based tax incentives, but also has a strong awareness-raising efforts regarding the negative impact of piracy and counterfeiting.
    • It is a global leader on targeted administrative incentives for the creation and use of IP assets for SMEs.
  • However, index raises serious concerns about rights holders’ ability to enforce their IP rights in India and to resolve IP-related disputes.
International IP Index
International IP Index


Sant Sevalal Maharaj

Context: The Union government has started the year-long commemoration of the 284th birth anniversary of Sant Sevalal Maharaj.

Who was Sant Sevalal Maharaj?

  • Sant Sevalal Maharaj is the religious leader of the Banjara community. He was born at Surgondankoppa in Karnataka’s Shivamogga district.
  • Contributions: He is said to have dedicated his life to serving tribal forest dwellers and nomadic tribes. He is said to have mastery in Ayurveda and Naturopathy.
    • He made efforts to dispel and eradicate myths and superstitions prevalent in the tribal communities, including the Banjaras, and brought about reforms in their way of life.
  • Religious symbolism: Sant Sevalal Maharaj is a revered symbol of every Banjara family.
    • His Samadhi sthal is situated in Washim District of Maharashtra at Pohradevi, also known as Banjara Kashi.

Banjara Community

  • Banjaras were traditionally nomadic communities, who later settled down. They are said to have origins in the Mewar region of Rajasthan.
  • They can be found across parts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
  • Historically, they were pastoralists, traders, expert breeders and goods transporters on the inland regions of India. They usually travelled in groups called tanda.
  • During colonial era, the community was brought under the purview of Criminal Tribes Act of 1871. They were denotified after repeal of the Criminal Tribes Act.
Sant Sevalal Maharaj
Sant Sevalal Maharaj


Fab 4 Alliance

Context: The “Chip 4” semiconductor alliance recently held its first meeting of senior officials.

About Fab 4 Alliance:

  • The “Chip 4” or “Fab 4” alliance was first proposed by the US in March 2022 as part of wider plans aimed at enhancing the “security” and “resilience” of semiconductor supply chains, including by reducing the world’s reliance on chips made in China.
  • It includes four of the world’s top producers of semiconductors: the U.S., Japan, Taiwan, and Korea.
  • It represents more than 70 percent of the value of the global semiconductor industry.
  • It is intended to cooperate on policy implementation that would support sustainable semiconductor manufacturing in the member states’ home countries.
  • Goals:
    • Support industry efforts to diversify their manufacturing base in semiconductor production.
    • Protect the Intellectual Property (IP) of companies in member countries.


  • Semiconductors are materials that have a conductivity between conductors and non-conductors or insulators.
  • They can be pure elements, such as silicon or germanium, or compounds like gallium arsenide or cadmium selenide.


Mission Shakti

Context: The Odisha government’s Mission Shakti scheme has been observed to transform the lives of millions women.

About Mission Shakti:

  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development has formulated ‘Mission Shakti’, an Integrated Women Empowerment Programme, as Umbrella Scheme for the Safety, Security and Empowerment of Women.
  • Mission Shakti’ was launched during the 15th Finance Commission period 2021-22 to 2025-26.
  • It aims at strengthening interventions for safety, security and empowerment of women in a mission mode through institutional and convergence mechanism for greater efficiency, effectiveness and financial prudence.


  • Sambal:
    • It is for Safety and Security of Women.
    • It consists of schemes of One Stop Centre (OSC), Women Helpline (WHL), Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP), with a new component of Nari Adalats – women’s collectives to promote and facilitate alternative dispute resolution and gender justice in society and within families.
  • Samarthya:
    • It is for Empowerment of Women.
    • It consists of erstwhile schemes of Ujjwala, Swadhar Greh and Working Women Hostel have been included with modifications.
    • In addition, the existing schemes of National Creche Scheme for children of working mothers and Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) under umbrella Integrated Child Development Services ICDS have also been included in Samarthya.
    • A new component of Gap Funding for Economic Empowerment has also been added in the Samarthya Scheme.
Mission Shakti
Mission Shakti


Hard and Soft Landing

Context: Recent studies have shown that continued monetary policy tightening by the Federal Reserve and the RBI focussed on reining in inflation can lead to a hard landing in both the United States and India.

About Hard vs Soft Landing

Soft Landing

  • A soft landing is a cyclical slowdown in economic growth that avoids recession.
  • A soft landing is the goal of a central bank when it seeks to raise interest rates just enough to stop an economy from overheating and experiencing high inflation, without causing a severe downturn.
  • Soft landing may also refer to a gradual, relatively painless slowdown in a particular industry or economic sector.

Hard landing

  • When the actions of the central bank bring about a recession, it is called a hard landing.
  • A hard landing is often seen as a result of tightening economic policies that bring high-flying economies to a sudden, sharp check of their growth. It can be seen in the case of monetary-policy intervention intended to curb inflation.
  • Economies suffering a hard landing often fall into a period of stagnation or even recession.


Bisphenol A

Context: Several studies have indicated the harmful effects of chemical Bisphenol A, which is widely used to soften plastics, paints and other products.

About Bisphenol A chemical

  • Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics.
  • Use: It is found in various products including shatterproof windows, eyewear, water bottles, and epoxy resins that coat some metal food cans, bottle tops, and water supply pipes.
  • Exposure: The primary source of exposure to BPA for most people is through the diet, along with exposures from air, dust and water.
  • Impacts of Bisphenol A:
    • It disrupts the endocrine system by interfering with the hormones and affects the brain and prostate gland of foetuses, infants and children.
    • It can cause high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in adults.
    • It is found to shorten the breeding time of mosquitoes, thereby aiding in its quick multiplication.
  • Tackling usage: Limiting packaged foods that aren’t labeled “BPA-free”, and using other alternatives for plastic could help reduce the indirect impacts of Bisphenol A.

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What is Mission Shakti?

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has formulated ‘Mission Shakti’, an Integrated Women Empowerment Programme, as Umbrella Scheme for the Safety, Security and Empowerment of Women.

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