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PIB 17th May


  1. Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘AMPHAN’
  2. Advance of southwest monsoon
  3. Invalid FASTag to be charged double toll Fee
  4. NIF’s Challenge COVID-19 Competition (C3)


Focus: GS-I Geography, Prelims

Why in news?

  • The Very Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘AMPHAN’ (pronounced as UM-PUN) over central parts of South Bay of Bengal moved northwards on 17th May, 2020.
  • It is very likely to intensify further into an Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm during next 24 hours.
  • It is very likely to move nearly northwards slowly during next 12 hours and then re-curve north-northeastwards and move fast across northwest Bay of Bengal and cross West Bengal – Bangladesh coasts by 20th May 2020 as a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm.

Tropical Cyclone Scales

  • Tropical cyclones are ranked on one of five tropical cyclone intensity scales, according to their maximum sustained winds and which tropical cyclone basin(s) they are located in.
  • Any tropical cyclone that develops within the North Indian Ocean between 100°E and 45°E is monitored by the India Meteorological Department (IMD, RSMC New Delhi).

Classification in North Indian Ocean

Classification of Tropical Cyclones in Indian Ocean
  • The lowest official classification used in the North Indian Ocean is a Depression, which has 3-minute sustained wind speeds of between 17–27 kn.
  • A Deep Depression has winds between 28–33 kn.
  • When it develops gale-force wind speeds of between 34–47 kn, it is classified as Cyclonic Storm and assigned a name by the IMD.
  • Very Severe Cyclonic Storms have hurricane-force winds of 64–89 kn (73–102 mph; 118–166 km/h).
  • Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storms have hurricane-force winds of 90–119 kn (166–221 km/h, 104–137 mph).
  • The highest classification used in the North Indian Ocean is a Super Cyclonic Storm, which have hurricane-force winds of above 120 kn (138 mph; 222 km/h).

Click Here to read more about the Formation of Tropical Cyclones


Focus: GS-I Geography, Prelims

Why in news?

The National Weather Forecasting Centre/Cyclone Warning Division of the India Meteorological Department said The Southwest Monsoon has advanced into some parts of south Bay of Bengal, Nicobar Islands & Andaman Sea.

Major features associated with advance of southwest monsoon

South-westerly wind has strengthened in the lower levels (up to 25 knots) and deepened (up to 6 km) over the southern Latitudes covering south Andaman Sea, Nicobar Islands and southern parts of south Bay of Bengal.

The Satellite (INSAT-3D) derived Outgoing Long wave Radiation over the region is less than 200 W/m2.

Click Here to read more about Monsoon and Indian Ocean Dipole


  • INSAT-3D is a meteorological, data relay and satellite aided search and rescue satellite developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and was launched successfully on 26 July 2013.
  • The mission goal is stated as “to provide an operational, environmental & storm warning system to protect life & property and also to monitor earth’s surface and carryout oceanic observations and also provide data dissemination capabilities.”


Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

Why in news?

  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued notification for  amendment in the  National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008 which provide  that if a vehicle which is not fitted with FASTag or the vehicle  is without a valid or functional FASTag, enters into “FASTag lane” of the Fee plazas, then they  shall pay a fee equivalent to two times of the fee applicable to that category of vehicles.
  • Before this amendment, the user of vehicle was to pay twice on the fee plaza only if the vehicle didn’t carry the FASTag and entered in dedicated FASTag lane.


  • FASTag is an electronic toll collection system in India, operated by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
  • It employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it or directly toll owner.
  • As per NHAI, FASTag has unlimited validity. 7.5% cashback offers were also provided to promote the use of FASTag.
  • Dedicated Lanes at some Toll plazas have been built for FASTag.
  • On 15 December 2019, FASTag became mandatory throughout India.

Advantages of Using FASTag

  • Digital transaction makes it easier to collect toll fees.
  • Congestion in Toll plazas will reduce.
  • Non-stop movement at the highways will reduce Fuel consumption and even pollution.
  • The Effort in Managing toll gates is reduced as the system is more automated.
  • There will also be reduced paper wastage (in the form of tokens/receipts)
  • This will be a unifying system as FASTags are not specific to the state or region and work all over India.

Problems with FASTag

  • Technical issues and glitches are possible which makes the system susceptible to false charges or other such issues.
  • All the toll booths are yet to be made FASTag compatible and this has not necessarily reduced the congestion issue yet.
  • The RFID technology is not failproof and can be misused by duplication or other “hacks”.
  • The FASTags sold by banks have to be recharged from the same bank, as they are not Bank Neutral (unless you buy it directly from NHAI).


Focus: GS-III Science and Technology, Prelims

Why in news?

  • The National Innovation Foundation – India (NIF), an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has identified several S&T based innovative solutions through the Challenge COVID-19 Competition (C3), a campaign which was running from 31st March to 10th May 2020 for engaging innovative citizens to come up with ideas and innovations to tackle the pandemic.
  • NIF is providing incubation and mentoring support for further dissemination to the generator of the ideas.
  • A foot-operated device for hand sanitization and washing and an innovative sprayer for sanitizationare the two recently supported innovations under the campaign.

Click Here to read more about the NIF C3 Competition

December 2023