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PIB 4th November 2020


  1. PINAKA Rocket System
  2. Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD)
  3. Kala Azar
  4. Fly Ash
  5. The Namami Gange Mission
  6. Paris Agreement


Focus:  GS 3; Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

Why in News?

Enhanced PINAKA rocket, developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been successfully flight tested from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur off the coast of Odisha.

About Pinaka Rocket System

  • Pinaka is an indigenous Multi-Barrel Rocket Launch System, which has been developed by the Defense Reasearch and Development Organization (DRDO) for the Indian Army.
  • The development of the Pinaka was started by the DRDO in 1980s.
  • Pinaka Rocket System was developed as an alternative to the Multi-Barrel Rocket Launching systems of Russian make, called the ‘Grad’.
  • The Pinaka Mark-1 was first used in the battlefield during the Kargil War of 1999, quite successfully.
  • The subsequently multiple regiments of the system came up over the 2000s.
The Pinaka 214 MM Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher System passes through the Rajpath during the full dress rehearsal for the Republic Day Parade-2011, in New Delhi on January 23, 2011.

Above image of Pinaka Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL).

  • The initial version of weapon system was called Mark I, which had a range of 40 km. The upgraded version or Pinaka Mark II has an extended range of 70 to 80 km.
  • The Development of Enhanced Pinaka system was taken up to achieve longer range performance compared to earlier design with reduced length.
  • The Enhanced version of the Pinaka rocket would replace the existing Pinaka Mk-I rockets which are currently under production.
  • The design and development has been carried out by Pune based DRDO laboratories, namely Armament Research and Development Establishment, ARDE and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory, HEMRL.
  • Its weapon system has a state of the art guidance kit bolstered by an advanced navigation and control system.
  • The Pinaka Mark II Rocket is modified as a missile by integrating with the navigation, control and guidance system to improve the accuracy and enhance the range.
  • The navigation system of the missile is aided by the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).

Above image of Pinaka MBRL.(Enhanced View)

Significance of Developing the Pinaka MBRL

  • India is having hostile border’s both from Pakistan and China.
  • The Enhancing the long range artillery capabilities can be looked as a strong signal to the adversaries.
  • It helps in ‘Make in India’ Boost of Self Reliance in MBRL system.
  • This Flagship project showcases public private partnership under the aegis of Government of India (DRDO and Ministry of Defense).

Above image of The Enhanced Variant of Pinaka rocket system being test-fired form Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur, off the coast of Odisha.

  • In comparison to Artillery Guns, Rockets are less accurate, but with addition of guidance and navigation systems, this aspect is taken care of.
  • The Pinaka with its upgrades, the Pinaka Mark-II can be a key element in the “Network Centric Warfare”.
  • The rocket system can operate various modes.
  • They can carry different types of warheads.

Extra Info

About DRDO

  • DRDO is the Reasearch and Development wing of Ministry of Defence, Govt of India.
Defence Research and Development Organisation Logo.png
  • DRDO with a vision to empower India with cutting-edge defence technologies and a mission to achieve self-reliance in critical defence technologies and systems, while equipping our armed forces with state-of-the-art weapon systems and equipment in accordance with requirements laid down by the three Services. 
  • DRDO was formed in 1958 by the merger of the Technical Development Establishment and the Directorate of Technical Development and Production of the Indian Ordnance Factories with the Defence Science Organisation.
  • DRDO’s motto is “Strength’s Origin is in Knowledge” (in Sanskrit बलस्य मूलं विज्ञानम्).
  • DRDO Hq is in New Delhi.

      About Network Centric Warfare

  • Networkcentric warfare, also called networkcentric operations or netcentric warfare, is a military doctrine or theory of war that seeks to translate an information advantage, enabled in part by information technology, into a competitive advantage through the robust computer networking of well informed geographically dispersed forces. It was pioneered by the United States Department of Defense in 1990’s.

Above image of Network Centric Warfare Depiction.


Focus:  GS 1; Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Why in News?

Union Minister of State (IC) for Tourism & Culture Shri Prahlad Singh Patel virtually inaugurates “Tourist Facilitation Centre” facility at Guruvayur, Kerala under PRASHAD Scheme.

About PRASAD SCHEME  i.e. National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD)

  • The ‘National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive’ (PRASAD) was launched by the Ministry of Tourism in the year 2014-15 with the objective of holistic development of identified pilgrimage destinations.
  • The name of the scheme was changed from PRASAD to “National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD)” in October 2017.
  • After the discontinuation of the HRIDAY scheme of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the development of Heritage destinations was included in the PRASAD Scheme, changing it to PRASHAD.
  • Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) is a Central Sector Scheme that focuses on identifying and developing the pilgrim sites across the country to enrich the religious tourism experience. It was launched by the Ministry of Tourism.
  • The Ministry of Tourism provides Central Financial Assistance (CFA) to State Governments for promoting tourism at identified destinations. For components within public funding under this scheme, Central Government will provide 100% fund.
Pradhan Mantri Yojana-प्रसाद योजना के बारे मे विस्तृत जानकारी प्राप्त करे  Pilgrimage Rejuvenation And Spiritual Augmentation Drive… in 2020 | List of  cities, Schemes, Hindi
  • For improved sustainability of project, it also seeks to involve Public Private Partnership (PPP) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as well.

Objectives of PRASHAD Scheme

  • It wants to Harness pilgrimage tourism for its direct and multiplier effect upon employment generation and economic development.
  • It Enhances tourist attractiveness in sustainable manner by developing world class infrastructure in the religious destinations.
  • It also seeks to promote local art, culture, handicraft, cuisine, etc.
  • It Strengthen the mechanism for bridging the infrastructural gaps.
  • It follow community based development and create awareness among the local communities.
12 Cities identified under PRASAD Scheme by 
the Ministry of Tourism are: 
Ministry of Tourism 
Government of India

Above image of 12 cities initial chosen under PRASHAD Scheme when launched.

Below are the 12 cities initial chosen under PRASHAD Scheme

  • Kamakhya (Assam),
  • Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh)
  • Dwaraka (Gujarat), 
  • Gaya (Bihar),
  • Amritsar (Punjab),
  • Ajmer (Rajasthan),
  • Puri (Odisha), 
  • Kedarnath (Uttarakhand)
  • Kanchipuram(Tamil Nadu)
  • Velankanni (Tamil Nadu),
  • Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), 
  • Mathura (Uttar Pradesh).


Focus:  GS 3; Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Why in News?

To recognize the significant contributions towards defining the survival tactics of Leishmania donovani, Society of Biological Chemists (India) has chosen Dr Susanta Kar,Senior Scientist, Molecular Parasitology and Immunology, CSIR-CDRI, Lucknow for this year’s Prof.A N Bhaduri Memorial Lecture Award.

About Kala Azar

  • Kala-azar is a slow progressing indigenous disease caused by a protozoan parasite of genus Leishmania.
  • In India Leishmania donovani is the only parasite causing this disease.
  • The Kala-azar is endemic to the Indian subcontinent in 119 districts in four countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal).
  • This disease is the second-largest parasitic killer in the worldElimination is defined as reducing the annual incidence of Kala Azar (KA) to less than 1 case per 10,000 people at the sub-district level.
• A slow progressing indigenous 
Caused by protozoan parasite of 
genus Leishmania 
• In India, Leishmania donovani is 
Signs & Symptoms 
Recurrent fever 
Loss of appetite 
the only parasite causing the disease 
• The parasite primarily infects 
reticuloendothelial system 
• Sandfly of genus Phlebotomus argentipes only known 
vector of kala-azar in India 
• Indian kala-azar has • Female snadflies 
a unique epidemiological pick up parasite 
feature of being 
while feeding on 
infected human host 
• Development and multiplication in the gut 
of sandflies and move to mouthparts 
Parasite undergoes 
change to 
become flagellate 
• Healthy human hosts get 
infection when an infective sandfly 
vector bites them

About Kala-Azar in the above attached image.

  • It is a neglected tropical disease affecting almost 100 countries.
  • Neglected tropical diseases are a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries.
  • It is caused by a parasite called Leishmania, which is transmitted through the bite of sand flies.
  • According to WHO, if the disease is not treated, the fatality rate in developing countries can be as high as 100% within 2 years.

There are three types of leishmaniasis

  • Visceral leishmaniasis, which affects multiple organs and is the most serious form of the disease.
  • Cutaneous leishmaniasis, which causes skin sores and is the most common form.
  • Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, which causes skin and mucosal lesions.
  • The Visceral leishmaniasis, which is commonly known as Kala-azar in India, is fatal in over 95% of the cases, if left untreated.

Symptoms of Kala azar

  • It is associated with fever, loss of appetite (anorexia), fatigue, enlargement of the liver, spleen and nodes and suppression of the bone marrow.
  • It also increases the risk of other secondary infections.

Diagnosing Kala azar

  • The first oral drug found to be effective for treating kala-azar is miltefosine.
  • The most common method of diagnosing kala azar is by dipstick testing. However, this method is highly problematic.


Focus:  GS 3; Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Why in News?

NTPC Mauda becomes first power plant of NTPC in Maharashtra to send a massive amount of dry fly ash through rail.

About Fly Ash

  •  Fly Ash is a byproduct from burning of Coal in electric power generating plants.
  • It is called fly ash because it is transported from the combustion chamber by exhaust gases.
  • It is collected from the exhaust gases by electrostatic precipitators or bag filters.
  • Fly ash includes substantial amounts of silicon dioxide (SiO2), aluminium oxide (Al2O3), ferric oxide (Fe2O3) and calcium oxide (CaO).

Advantages of Fly Ash

  • Admixture for Portland Cement.
  • Used as Soil Stabilization Purposes.
  • Helps in making FlyAsh Bricks.
  • Used in Asphalt Concrete.
  • Used in Embankments.
  • Used in Geopolymers.
  • Helps as a Catalyst.
  • Helps in Waste Treatment.
  • FlyAsh can be used in road base, metal recovery, and mineral filler among others.

Disadvantages of Fly Ash

  • Groundwater Contamination.
  • It cannot be used for structure which requires shorter setting time.
  • It is very difficult to use in winters due to longer setting time.
  • Difficult to control colour of cement having Fly Ash, in this scenario cosmetic quality play a role.
  • Fly ash particles are toxic air pollutants. They can trigger heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases and stroke.
  • When combined with water they cause leaching of heavy metals in ground water.
  • It also pollutes the soil, and affects the root development system of trees.

About National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC)

  • The NTPC Ltd. is a central Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Ministry of Power.
  • The NTPC founded in 7th Nov 1975.
National Thermal Power logo.svg
  • Aim: To provide reliable power and related solutions in an economical, efficient and environment-friendly manner, driven by innovation and agility.
  • It became a Maharatna Company in May 2010.
  • It is located in New Delhi.


Focus:  GS 3; Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Why in News?

Ganga rejuvenation is a continuous task which needs public participation: Union Jal Shakti Minister at Ganga Utsav 2020

About Namami Gange Programme

  • The Namami Gange Programme is an Integrated Conservation Mission, approved as a ‘Flagship Programme’ by the Union Government in June 2014 to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution and conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.
  • It is being operated under the Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti.
World Support to Namami Gange programme 'EMPOWER IAS" | Empower IAS
  • The program is being implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organizations i.e., State Program Management Groups (SPMGs).
  • The NMCG is the implementation wing of National Ganga Council (set in 2016 which replaced the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NRGBA).
  • It has a Rs. 20,000-crore, centrally-funded, non-lapsable corpus and consists of nearly 288 projects.

The main pillars of the Namami Gange programme are as shown in the below attached image:

Namami Gange Programme - 99marks
Namami Gange | #IndiaFightsCorona on Twitter: "Let us ensure that no waste  is dumped in river Ganga. #NamamiGange…

Note : Please Click on this link and Refer More detailed about the National Ganga Counil, National Mission for clean Ganga, National Ganga River Basin Authority etc.,

Extra Info

About Ganga Utsav 2020

  • The Ganga Utsav is being organised by the National Mission for Clean Ganga and the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  • The Ganga Utsav is being celebrated and observed in the light of the 12th anniversary of declaring River Ganges as a National river.
  • The River Ganges was declared as a National river in 2008.
  • The three-day festival aims to promote stakeholder engagement and ensure public participation.
  • It celebrates mystical river Ganga through storytelling, folklores, dialogues with eminent personalities, quizzes, displaying traditional art forms, dance and music performance by renowned artists, exhibitions etc.,
  • As a part of the celebration, the Ganga Task Force conducted afforestation drives with NCC cadets.
  • The Swachhata Abhiyans, plantation drives, drawing & painting competitions and quiz competitions were conducted across the country.
  • At Varanasi a Ganga Cleanliness Campaign and Ganga Shapath was organised along with a ‘Walk for Ganga’.
OdQk 60 

Above image of Ganga and its Tributaries.


Focus:  GS 3; Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Why in News?

Key Declaration on Climate Change to be signed at the India CEO Forum on Climate Change.

About Paris Agreement

  • The Paris Agreement is a landmark environmental accord that was adopted by nearly every nation in 2015 to address climate change and its negative impacts.
  • The agreement includes commitments from all major emitting countries to cut their climate altering pollution and to strengthen those commitments over time.
  • At COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015, Parties to the UNFCCC reached a landmark agreement to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future.
  • The Paris Agreement builds upon the convention and for the first time  brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so. As such, it charts a new course in the global climate effort.
  • The decision adopting the Paris Agreement reasserted the developed countries goal of mobilizing US$ 100 billion per year from 2020 through 2025 for climate initiatives in favor of developing countries.

 Above image attached about Paris Climate Agreement key Points.

Aims of Paris Agreement as follows

  • As countries around the world recognized that climate change is a reality, they came together to sign a historic deal to combat climate change.
  • The aims of Paris Agreement is as below:
    1. Keep the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level.
    2. Pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
    3. Strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.
  • The Paris Agreement comes under the broad umbrella of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • The UNFCCC is a convention held in 1992 to combat climate change. Kyoto Protocol (1997) was another major international commitment under UNFCCC.

Problems with Paris Agreement as Follows

  • The Inequality w.r.t the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR).
  • The Previous Unfulfilled Commitments.
  • The Sidelining the UNFCCC.
  • The Article 6 of the Paris Deal not finalized yet.
  • The Lack of Funding and its usage and issue with technology transfer from Developed countries to devloping countries.

About India’s Commitment to the Paris Agreement.

  • India is a signatory to the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Above image attached shown Targets of Paris Agreement of 4 Big Polluter’s of World.

As part of its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), India has three quantitative climate change goals they are as follows

  1. Reduction in the Emissions Intensity of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level.
  1. Achieving about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 and
  1. Creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through additional Forest and Tree cover by 2030.
Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols  – Civilsdaily

Above image of Timeline of India’s Climate Change Actions.

Extra Info

About Common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR)

  • Common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), principle of international environmental law establishing that all states are responsible for addressing global environmental destruction yet not equally responsible.
  • The principle balances, on the one hand, the need for all states to take responsibility for global environmental problems and, on the other hand, the need to recognize the wide differences in levels of economic development between states.
Climate Change and Equity: Understanding Common but Differentiated  Responsibility (CBDR) | co2balance
  • These differences in turn are linked to the states’ contributions to, as well as their abilities to address, these problems.
  • CBDR was formalized in international law at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.

About Article 6 of UNFCCC

  • The Article 6 of the Paris Agreement aims at promoting integrated, holistic and balanced approaches that will assist governments in implementing their Nationally Determined Contribution’s(NDCs) through voluntary international cooperation.
  • In other words, by paying a price on carbon, states exceeding their NDCs would bear the costs of global warming.
October 2023