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UPSC Prelims News 4 November 2022


UPSC Prelims News of 4 November 2022

Omicron XBB Variant

Context: INSACOG has said that Indian patients infected with Omicron sub-lineage XBB of COVID-19 have mild disease and no increase in severity.

The XBB variant

  • Currently, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is continuously accumulating mutations, some of which might contribute to increased transmissibility and immune evasion.
  • XBB is a BJ.1/BM.1.1.1 recombinant lineage with breakpoint in the spike protein. It is presently appearing in multiple countries.
  • This recombinant lineage was first identified in Singapore and the U.S., and has also been identified in multiple States in India.
    • A sub-lineage of XBB with an additional mutation has also been detected (XBB.1).

Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG):

  • INSACOG is a consortium of 54 laboratories to monitor the genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2. It is a multi-laboratory, multi-agency, Pan-India network.
  • INSACOG is jointly initiated by the Union Health Ministry of Health and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) with Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
  • Mandate: INSACOG helps to understand super spreader events, outbreaks and strengthen public health interventions across the country to help in breaking the chains of transmission.
    • The consortium aims to study clinical correlations in mild Vs severe cases of COVID, longitudinal study to understand long term post-COVID complications and change in immunity.
    • In addition, the consortium works to expand sewage surveillance as a quick and early detection tool to assess the spread of variants.

UPSC Prelims News of 3 November 2022


Panamaram Heronry

Context: Panamaram heronry set to get a new lease of life with new intervention for its conservations

  • About Panamaram heronry
    • It is the largest breeding ground of different species of herons in the Malabar region.
    • It is formed on a sandbank on the Panamaram river, is a breeding ground for nine species of waterbirds.
    • It is the only location in State where the cattle egret breeds
  • Challenge: human intervention has left a negative impact on the avian habitat
  • Steps taken: Grama panchayat and biodiversity board join hands to plant bamboo and vetiver saplings to stop the islet’s sandbank erosion
  • About Heronry: A breeding colony of herons, typically in a group of trees.
  • About Heron: It is a family of birds with long legs and beaks that reside near wetlands and water habitats.

BS Norms in India

Context: The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has invoked measures under Stage 4 of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) with immediate effect.

  • Order prohibits the use of diesel four-wheelers that are not BS-VI compliant, as well as the entry of trucks into Delhi.

About BS (Bharat Stage) Emission Standards

  • Bharat Stage (BS) are the emission norms followed by the auto manufacturers, regulated by the Government of India to control the output of pollutants expelled by Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles into the air.
  • Bharat Stage Emission Standards have been instituted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change.
  • BS standards basically dictate the amount of gases a vehicle is allowed to emit, like carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), Hydrocarbons and oxides of Nitrogen, which are the by-products of an IC engine running.
  • India was earlier following European (Euro) emission norms with a time lag of five years, but it skipped switching to BS V and moved straight to BS-VI from BS-IV in 2020.
  • Difference Between BS4 and BS6: Both BS-IV and BS-VI are unit emission norms that set the maximum permissible levels for pollutants that an automotive or a two-wheeler exhaust can emit.
    • Compared to the BS4, BS6 emission standards are stricter.
    • Whereas makers use this variation to update their vehicles with new options and safety standards, the biggest modification comes in the permissible emission norms.
  • The Supreme Court ordered car manufacturers to shift to BS-VI car models starting April 1, 2020.



Context: ISRO’s RISAT-2 satellite, launched in 2009, has made an uncontrolled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

More on the News

  • RISAT-2 satellite, weighing about 300 kg, made an uncontrolled re-entry at the predicted impact point in the Indian Ocean near Jakarta.
  • The Indian System for Safe and Sustainable Space Operations Management (IS4OM) facility in ISTRAC, Bengaluru had been monitoring the re-entry for the last one month.

About RISAT-2

  • RISAT-2, or Radar Imaging Satellite-2 was an Indian radar imaging reconnaissance satellite that was part of India’s RISAT programme.
  • It was built by ISRO and successfully launched aboard a PSLV-CA launch vehicle in 2009 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.

RISAT (Radar Imaging Satellite)

  • It is a series of radar imaging reconnaissance satellites built by ISRO. They provide all-weather surveillance using synthetic aperture radars (SAR).
  • The RISAT series are the first all-weather Earth observation satellites from ISRO. Previous observation satellites relied primarily on optical and spectral sensors which were hampered by cloud cover.
  • List of satellites launched under RISAT series:
    • RISAT 2.
    • RISAT 1.
    • RISAT 2B.
    • RISAT 2BR1.


  • ISTRAC stands for ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network.
  • Objective: It is responsible for providing Space Operation services that include spacecraft control, TTC support services and other related projects and services, for the launch vehicle and low earth orbiting spacecraft and deep space missions of ISRO and other space agencies around the world.
  • Headquarters: Bengaluru, Karnataka.


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