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Current Affairs 19 March 2024

  1. Predictive AI
  2. Denotification of Civil Areas in Cantonments
  3. India Bhutan Relations
  4. ETHANOL 100
  5. Passing off under Trademark
  6. Noctis Volcano
  7. Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)


Predictive AI emerges as a transformative force, reshaping how businesses analyse data, make decisions, and stay ahead in their respective industries.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Predictive AI: Unveiling Future Insights
  2. Predictive AI vs. Generative AI
  3. Use Cases of Predictive AI

Predictive AI: Unveiling Future Insights

Predictive artificial intelligence (AI) is a groundbreaking technology leveraging machine learning to uncover patterns from historical data and forecast future events. Unlike traditional AI, which primarily analyzes past data, Predictive AI focuses on visionary capabilities, enabling organizations to anticipate outcomes, market shifts, and make strategic decisions with unprecedented foresight. Here’s how it works:

Understanding Predictive AI:

Utilizing Vast Data:

  • Predictive AI relies on access to vast datasets, known as “big data,” to perform accurate analysis and identify intricate patterns.

Leveraging Machine Learning (ML):

  • Machine learning, a subset of AI, is employed in predictive AI to train computer programs to identify data patterns without human intervention.
  • ML algorithms process large datasets autonomously, enabling predictive AI models to analyze vast amounts of data efficiently.

Pattern Recognition:

  • Predictive AI learns to associate specific types of data or occurrences, identifying patterns that indicate future events.
  • By examining hundreds or thousands of factors, Predictive AI can discern patterns and forecast events that may recur in the future.

Predictive AI vs. Generative AI

Common Ground:

  • Both predictive and generative AI leverage machine learning and access to extensive datasets to produce outputs.

Diverging Objectives:

  • Predictive AI employs machine learning to extrapolate future outcomes, while generative AI focuses on creating content.
  • For instance, predictive AI may forecast weather patterns to alert fishermen of upcoming storms, while generative AI could write a novel imagining various interactions between weather and fishing voyages.


  • While both types of AI use statistical analysis to predict patterns, their goals, machine learning models, and use cases differ significantly.

Use Cases of Predictive AI

Analyzing Impact of Extreme Weather Events:

  • Predictive AI can analyze data patterns to predict the impact of events like volcanic eruptions on air travel, enabling real-time monitoring of ash clouds and haze.

Oil and Gas Exploration:

  • Predictive AI systems trained on historical geological data can predict potential locations for new oil wells, optimizing drilling plans and providing precise forecasts for companies like Saudi Aramco.

Medicine Research:

  • Predictive AI models are instrumental in drug discovery, with initiatives like the MELLODDY Project facilitating collaboration among pharmaceutical companies to pool data and advance research in this promising field.

-Source: Indian Express


Recently, the Centre issued a notification to denotify civil areas of 10 out of 58 cantonments in the country. These areas will be merged with the respective state municipalities or local bodies. The government’s plan involves excluding specific areas from the cantonments and integrating them into the local governance structure of the respective states.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Cantonments Overview
  2. Need for Merging Cantonments with Municipalities
  3. Issues in Merging Cantonments with Municipalities

Cantonments Overview:

  • Definition: Cantonments are designated areas primarily for housing military personnel and supporting infrastructure, evolving from temporary military encampments to semi-permanent settlements over time.
  • Historical Background: Originating from the French word “canton,” meaning “corner” or “district,” cantonments have a history dating back to the British East India Company period in India, with the first cantonment established in 1765 at Barrackpore near Calcutta.
  • Purpose: Cantonments serve as accommodations for military troops and their families, providing various facilities such as offices, schools, and logistic services.
Mechanism for Cantonment Administrations in India:
  • Classification: Cantonments in India are classified into four categories (class I to class IV) based on size and population, with varying numbers of elected civilians and government/military members on the cantonment board.
  • Board Composition: The cantonment board, responsible for administration, comprises elected civilians, government/military members, with the station commander serving as the ex-officio president, and an officer from the Defence Estates Organisation as the chief executive and member-secretary.
  • Central Administration: Cantonment administration is controlled by an inter-services organization of the Ministry of Defence, with urban self-governance falling under the jurisdiction of the Union of India as per the Constitution.
Administrative Structure and Regulation:
  • Central Level: The Ministry of Defence oversees cantonment boards, while the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and the Ministry of Home Affairs handle urban governance and municipal corporations in Union Territories, respectively.
  • State Level: Urban governance is part of the state list under the Constitution, with the establishment of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) empowered by the Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 1992.

Need for Merging Cantonments with Municipalities:

  • Civilian Complaints: Residents of cantonment areas have long expressed dissatisfaction with different restrictions imposed by cantonment boards, such as limited access to home loans and restricted movement within the premises.
  • Improved Civic Amenities: Integration of civilian areas into municipal governance can lead to enhanced civic amenities and infrastructural development, offering residents a greater say in local governance matters.

Issues in Merging Cantonments with Municipalities:

  • Legal and Administrative Challenges: The transition from a cantonment town to a merged municipality may pose various legal and administrative hurdles, including the integration of infrastructure systems like roads, water supply, sewage, and electricity.
  • Resistance from City Representatives: City councillors and political representatives may resist allocating funds to support newly merged areas, exacerbating inequalities within the city and hindering efforts to improve services and infrastructure.
  • Strain on Infrastructure: The sudden inclusion of cantonment areas into Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) may strain existing infrastructure, leading to service disruptions and deteriorating living conditions for residents.
  • Environmental Concerns: Uncontrolled construction and commercialization in merged areas could harm the environment, causing issues like deforestation, soil erosion, and increased vulnerability to natural disasters.
  • Security Challenges: Proximity of civilian areas to military installations raises security concerns, necessitating adherence to security guidelines and regulations to ensure the safety of military personnel and assets.

-Source: The Hindu


Recently, Bhutan’s Prime Minister visited India, where both countries engaged in extensive discussions and signed multiple agreements. The close and cordial relationship between India and Bhutan, built on trust, goodwill, and shared values, is evident across various levels of engagement. This enduring friendship serves as a cornerstone for mutual prosperity and regional stability in South Asia.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key highlights of the India-Bhutan bilateral talks
  2. Significance of Bhutan for India
  3. Challenges in India-Bhutan Relations

Key highlights of the India-Bhutan bilateral talks

  • Agreement on Petroleum Products Supply: Both countries signed an agreement to ensure a reliable and sustained supply of petroleum products from India to Bhutan, which will promote economic cooperation and growth in the hydrocarbon sector.
  • Cooperation in Food Safety Measures: The Food and Drug Authority of Bhutan and India’s Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) signed an agreement to enhance cooperation in food safety measures. This will facilitate trade between the two countries by ensuring compliance with food safety standards and reducing compliance costs.
  • MoU on Energy Efficiency and Conservation: An MoU was signed between India and Bhutan on energy efficiency and conservation, demonstrating a commitment to sustainable development. India aims to assist Bhutan in enhancing energy efficiency in households, promoting the use of energy-efficient appliances, and developing standards and labelling schemes.
  • Border Dispute Discussions: The visit of the Bhutanese Prime Minister coincided with ongoing discussions between China and Bhutan to resolve their border dispute, particularly in the Doklam region. This follows the agreement reached between China and Bhutan in August 2023, four years after a conflict between India and China in Doklam.
  • Gelephu Regional Economic Hub: Bhutan’s plans for a regional economic hub in Gelephu, known as the “Gelephu Mindfulness City” (GMC), were discussed. This project aims to prioritize sustainable development and focus on non-polluting industries such as IT, education, hospitality, and healthcare. Gelephu’s strategic significance lies in fostering economic integration and trade facilitation at the crossroads of India’s “Act East” policy and emerging connectivity initiatives in the Indo-Pacific region.

Significance of Bhutan for India:

  • Strategic Buffer State: Bhutan’s location between India and China serves as a strategic buffer state, enhancing India’s security interests.
  • Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity: India’s assistance in defense, infrastructure, and communication has contributed to maintaining Bhutan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  • Border Infrastructure Development: India’s support in building border infrastructure, including roads and bridges, has strengthened Bhutan’s defense capabilities and ensured territorial integrity.
  • Doklam Standoff Support: During the Doklam standoff with China in 2017, Bhutan played a crucial role by allowing Indian troops to enter its territory to resist Chinese incursions.
  • Trading Partner: India is Bhutan’s largest trading partner and primary export destination.
  • Hydropower Development: Bhutan’s hydropower potential is a significant revenue source, with India’s assistance in developing hydropower projects.
  • Financial Assistance: India provides financial assistance for Bhutan’s development projects.
  • Cultural Ties: Strong cultural ties exist due to shared Buddhist traditions, with India helping preserve Bhutan’s cultural heritage, and Bhutanese students studying in India.
  • Environmental Stewardship: Bhutan’s commitment to being carbon-neutral aligns with India’s efforts to promote environmental sustainability. India supports Bhutan in renewable energy, forest conservation, and sustainable tourism, contributing to Bhutan’s carbon-neutral goals.

Challenges in India-Bhutan Relations:

China’s Increasing Presence:

  • China’s growing economic and military influence in Bhutan, particularly along the disputed border, poses a challenge to India’s strategic interests in Bhutan.

Border Incursions:

  • Incidents of border incursions by Chinese forces along the India-Bhutan border have raised concerns.
  • The Doklam standoff in 2017 was a significant flashpoint that could strain India-Bhutan relations if similar disputes escalate.

Hydropower Projects Concerns:

  • While India has been a major partner in Bhutan’s hydropower sector, there have been concerns in Bhutan regarding the terms of some hydropower projects, seen as too favorable to India.
  • Public opposition in Bhutan to Indian involvement in the sector has arisen.

Trade Imbalance:

  • India is Bhutan’s largest trading partner, but Bhutan faces a trade imbalance, importing more from India than it exports.
  • Bhutan seeks greater access to the Indian market to reduce the trade deficit.

-Source: Hindustan Times


The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas launched ‘ETHANOL 100’ at select 183 retail outlets in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi, and Tamil Nadu.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. ETHANOL 100
  2. Flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs)
  3. Ethanol


ETHANOL 100 represents a significant advancement in automotive fuel technology, with several key features and benefits:

  • 100% Ethanol Composition: ETHANOL 100 is composed entirely of ethanol, derived from renewable sources such as corn, sugarcane, or other plant materials. This ensures that it is a sustainable and environmentally friendly fuel option.
  • Reduced Dependence on Fossil Fuels: By promoting the use of ETHANOL 100, there is a reduction in dependence on traditional fossil fuels like gasoline. This contributes to energy security and helps in mitigating the negative environmental impacts associated with fossil fuel extraction and consumption.
  • Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Compared to traditional gasoline, ETHANOL 100 has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions, thereby contributing to efforts to combat climate change and achieve environmental sustainability goals.
  • Alignment with Ethanol Blending Targets: The initiative to introduce ETHANOL 100 aligns with the government’s vision to achieve a 20% ethanol blending ratio (E20) by 2025-26. This goal aims to reduce import dependency on fossil fuels, promote the agricultural sector by creating demand for ethanol feedstocks, and foster economic growth.
  • Promotion of Sustainable Technologies: The adoption of ETHANOL 100 represents a shift towards sustainable technologies and decarbonization in the automotive sector. By embracing cleaner and renewable fuel options, the initiative supports the transition to a more sustainable and eco-friendly transportation system.
  • Versatility and Compatibility: ETHANOL 100 can be used in various vehicles, including flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) that are designed to run on gasoline, ethanol, or any blend of the two. This versatility makes it a practical and feasible option for mainstream adoption, provided the necessary infrastructure is in place to support its distribution and use.

Flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs)

Flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) are vehicles equipped with internal combustion engines (ICE) that can run on a variety of fuels, typically including gasoline/petrol as well as alternative fuels such as ethanol and methanol. Here are the key characteristics and features of flex-fuel vehicles:

  • Fuel Versatility: Flex-fuel vehicles are designed to operate using different types of fuels, providing consumers with the flexibility to choose their preferred fuel at the point of sale. The most common flex-fuel options include gasoline/petrol, ethanol (usually E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline), and methanol.
  • Internal Combustion Engine (ICE): Flex-fuel vehicles are equipped with internal combustion engines similar to those found in conventional gasoline-powered vehicles. These engines are adapted or modified to accommodate the use of alternative fuels such as ethanol and methanol.
  • Fuel Compatibility: The engine and fuel system components of flex-fuel vehicles are designed to withstand the corrosive effects of ethanol and methanol, which can be more corrosive than gasoline. This includes materials such as fuel lines, seals, gaskets, and engine components.
  • Similarity to Gasoline Vehicles: Apart from the necessary modifications to accommodate alternative fuels, flex-fuel vehicles are similar to conventional gasoline vehicles in terms of design, operation, and performance. They can typically use gasoline/petrol when alternative fuels are unavailable.
  • Availability: Flex-fuel vehicles are becoming increasingly common in many markets, particularly in regions where ethanol production is prevalent. However, the availability of alternative fuels such as ethanol and methanol may vary depending on location and infrastructure.
  • Environmental Benefits: The use of alternative fuels such as ethanol and methanol in flex-fuel vehicles can offer environmental benefits, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions and decreased dependence on fossil fuels.


  • Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, serves as a biofuel derived from diverse sources like sugarcane, corn, rice, wheat, and biomass. The manufacturing process includes fermenting sugars using yeasts or employing petrochemical methods like ethylene hydration.
  • The resulting ethanol is highly pure, reaching 99.9% alcohol content, and it can be combined with gasoline to generate a more environmentally friendly fuel option.
  • In addition to its role as a fuel enhancer, ethanol production generates valuable byproducts such as Distillers’ Dried Grain with Solubles and Potash from Incineration Boiler Ash, which find applications in various industries.
  • The Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP) is designed to decrease the nation’s reliance on imported crude oil, diminish carbon emissions, and enhance farmers’ earnings.
  • The Indian government has expedited the goal for achieving a 20% ethanol blending in petrol, referred to as E20, moving the target year from 2030 to 2025.

-Source: The Hindu


The Delhi High Court recently cancelled a trademark registration titled “Dolma Aunty Momos” in the name of one Mohammed Akram Khan, after Dolma Tsering moved court against him for using her trademark.


GS III: Indian Economy

About Passing off under Trademark

Passing off is a legal concept under trademark law that aims to protect the goodwill associated with unregistered trademarks. Here are the key points about passing off under trademark rules:

  • Definition: Passing off occurs when one party uses goods, services, or the goodwill attached to another person’s business without authorization, leading to misrepresentation to the public.
  • Legal Basis: While passing off is not explicitly defined in the Indian Trademarks Act, 1999, it is recognized under common law. Section 27 of the Act acknowledges the common law rights of a trademark owner to take legal action against passing off.
  • Distinction from Infringement: Passing off differs from trademark infringement in that it applies to unregistered trademarks. When a registered trademark is infringed, it constitutes a suit for infringement, whereas passing off applies when the trademark is unregistered.
  • Elements of Passing Off: To establish passing off, the claimant must demonstrate that the defendant’s actions have led to public misunderstanding about the origin of the products or services, potentially harming the goodwill and reputation of the legitimate trademark owner.
  • Legal Proceedings: Trademark owners can initiate legal proceedings against individuals or entities engaging in passing off activities. The essential question in passing off cases is whether the defendant’s behavior causes uncertainty and potential harm to the plaintiff’s goodwill.
  • Challenges in Establishing Passing Off: Establishing passing off can be challenging, as claimants must prove the likelihood of public confusion regarding the origin of goods or services. This requires evidence of misrepresentation and potential harm to the plaintiff’s goodwill.
  • Scope of Passing Off: Passing off covers a wide range of commercial activities, including trade, business, and non-business initiatives. It extends to both goods and services, emphasizing the protection of goodwill and reputation in the marketplace.

-Source: Indian Express


Scientists recently discovered a massive volcano on Mars, temporarily designated ‘Noctis volcano’, that has been active until recent times, with the possible remains of a relict glacier at its base.


GS I: Geography

Noctis Volcano

The Noctis Volcano is a significant geological feature recently discovered on Mars. Here are the key points about the Noctis Volcano:

  • Location: The Noctis Volcano is situated just south of Mars’ equator, specifically in Eastern Noctis Labyrinthus, which is west of Valles Marineris, the planet’s vast canyon system.
  • Geographical Context: The volcano is positioned on the eastern edge of Tharsis, a broad regional topographic rise on Mars. Tharsis is known for being the location of several other giant volcanoes, including Ascraeus Mons, Pavonis Mons, and Arsia Mons.
  • Size: The Noctis Volcano is a massive structure, with an elevation exceeding 9,022 meters (about 29,593 feet), making it taller than Mount Everest, the highest peak on Earth. It spans over a wide area, with a width of more than 450 kilometers (about 280 miles).
  • Geological Features: The central summit area of the volcano is characterized by several elevated mesas forming an arc. These mesas reach a regional high and slope downhill away from the summit area. The outer slopes of the volcano extend outward for up to 225 kilometers (about 140 miles) in different directions.
  • Caldera Remnant: Near the center of the volcano’s structure, there is a caldera remnant, which is the remains of a collapsed volcanic crater that once hosted a lava lake.
  • Geological Deposits: Various geological features are present within the Noctis Volcano’s perimeter, including lava flows, pyroclastic deposits (comprising volcanic particulate materials such as ash, cinders, pumice, and tephra), and hydrated mineral deposits.
  • Glacier Ice: In the southeastern part of the volcano, there is evidence of a thin, recent volcanic deposit beneath which glacier ice is likely still present. This suggests the presence of ice beneath the surface of Mars, particularly in regions associated with volcanic activity.

-Source: Indian Express


Madrigal Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s drug Rezdiffra gained the first US approval to treat a potentially deadly liver disease called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH that affects millions worldwide.


Facts for Prelims

About Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis

Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) is a liver condition characterized by inflammation and damage to the liver caused by the accumulation of fat in the liver cells. Here are the key points about NASH:

  • Part of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD): NASH is a subtype of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a group of conditions where fat builds up in the liver without the presence of significant alcohol consumption.
  • Liver Damage: NASH can progress and lead to more severe liver damage, including scarring of the liver (cirrhosis). However, the disease progression varies among individuals, and not everyone with NASH develops cirrhosis.
  • Similarity to Alcoholic Liver Disease: NASH shares similarities with liver diseases caused by long-term, heavy alcohol consumption. However, NASH occurs in individuals who do not abuse alcohol.
  • Symptoms: As NASH advances and liver damage worsens, individuals may experience symptoms such as fatigue (persistent tiredness), unexplained weight loss, general weakness, and discomfort or pain in the upper right part of the abdomen.
  • Risk Factors: Several factors increase the risk of developing NASH and worsening liver damage, including obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, metabolic syndrome, and certain medications.
  • Treatment: Management of NASH focuses on addressing underlying conditions that contribute to liver damage and reducing the risk of disease progression. Treatment strategies may include lifestyle modifications such as weight loss, dietary changes, and regular exercise to achieve a healthy weight and improve metabolic health. Additionally, controlling conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol levels is essential in managing NASH.

-Source: Hindustan Times

April 2024