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(VIDEO) Special Status: Andhra’s Demands, Larger Issues - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) Special Status: Andhra’s Demands, Larger Issues -

Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: Special Status: Andhra’s Demands, Larger Issues - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate
Expert Panel Name : K.A. Badarinath, Policy Editor, Financial Chronicle ; Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr, Senior Journalist ; C.N. Rao, Political Analyst ; Gopal Krishna Agarwal, National Spokesperson, BJP; Frank Rausan Pereira (Anchor)

Courtesy: Rajya Sabha TV

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(VIDEO) Nepal: Changing Equations - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) Nepal: Changing Equations - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: Nepal: Changing Equations - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate
Expert Panel Name : Virendra Gupta, Former Ambassador ; Prof. S.D. Muni, Foreign Affairs Expert ; Alok Bansal, Director, India Foundation; Frank Rausan Pereira (Anchor)

Courtesy: Rajya Sabha TV

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(VIDEO) BJP’s Surge in Northeast: Why & How? - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) BJP’s Surge in Northeast: Why & How? -

Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: BJP’s Surge in Northeast: Why & How? - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate
Expert Panel Name : Deepak Diwan,Editor ,North East SunTopic: BJP’s Surge in Northeast: Why & How?; Gopal Krishna Agarwal ,National Spokesperson BJP; Neerja Chowdhury, Senior Journalist; Frank Rausan Pereira (Anchor)

Courtesy: Rajya Sabha TV

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Weekly Current Affairs 2017 Yearly PDF Set "Jan to Dec 2017" - Only 299/-

Weekly Current Affairs 2017 Yearly PDF Set "Jan to Dec 2017"

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Highway Liquor Prohibition : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Highway Liquor Prohibition : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Why in News?

In its recent judgement, the Supreme Court gave the State governments the discretion to decide, on facts, whether areas proximate to municipal pockets or areas covered by local self-governing bodies should be exempted from the court’s December 2016 judgement on prohibition on sale of liquor within 500 metres along the highways.

Supreme Court Judgement

  • In its December 2016 Judgement, the Supreme Court mandated the States and UTs to shut down all liquor vends like Bars, restaurants, shops etc. which are situated within 500 meters of the outer edge of National/ State Highways and the ban extended to highways passing through city/ town. Along with it the states were barred from granting the fresh licenses.

  • The ban order was based on a Supreme Court judgment on the petition in the State of Tamil Nadu vs K. Balu case (15 December 2016) and the Supreme Court had pointed out that the sale and consumption of alcohol was not a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution.

  • The court exempted municipal areas from the prohibition on its another July 11, 2017 judgement and mentioned that ban mainly targeted busy national and State highways inter-connecting cities, towns and villages along.

Analysis

  • The main aim of the liquor prohibition, imposed in December 2016 judgment, was to prevent drunk driving along the National and State highways and SC had further mentioned that the order does not prohibit licensed establishments within municipal areas.

  • The July 11 order led to more confusion and states like Tamil Nadu sought for more clarification, on whether panchayats would also come under the definition of “municipal areas” mentioned in the order and further Tamil Nadu’s point was, “municipal areas” were not intended to exclude areas within the jurisdiction of local self-governing bodies and the States reasoned that in future, these panchayats might be developed in a manner similar to municipalities, or some of them might be geographically proximate to an urban agglomeration.

  • In a response to the objection laid on the July 11 order SC said that it is left to the States to take a decision after examining whether an area covered by a local self-governing body is proximate to a municipal agglomeration or is sufficiently developed and in deciding whether the principle which has been set down in the July order should be extended to a local self-governing body, the State governments would take recourse to all relevant circumstances, including the nature and extent of development in the area and the object underlying the direction prohibiting the sale of liquor on highways.

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Increasing Demand for other backward caste (OBC) status : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Increasing Demand for other backward caste (OBC) status : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Introduction

  • In recent times demand for other backward caste (OBC) status by various communities such as Patidars, Kapus, Jats, and Marathas have increased.

  • This demand reflects the challenges they are facing in getting job.

  • The rationale behind introduction of reservation system in India was to address historical injustice & inequalities and bring the socially and educationally backward classes into mainstream.

  • States are empowered under Article 15 and 16 for advancement of socially and educationally backward classes.

Why the demand is increasing reservation

  • Communities such as Patidars, Jats, Marathas claims for Reservation on ground of inadequate representation in Government Jobs

  • These demanding communities such as Patidars and Jats are traditionally agricultural community

  • But with decline in the probability of owning or cultivating land increasing uncertainty in the agrarian sector, they are seeking non-agricultural jobs, especially government jobs for which they demand OBC status.

  • The Indian economy is not creating many jobs which in creating tough competition in job market

  • Wages in the private sector are much lower than in the public sector.

  • Salaries of government jobs are mostly attractive at entry-level.

  • Unskilled population and increasing attrition in private sector.

Arguments for reservation

  • Promotes equality :Due to historical negligence caste based reservation are necessary in India. Reservation is a policy tool that promotes equality rather than undermines it.

  • Level playing field :Reservation helps in level playing field because we cannot expect groups who are historically deprived of education, skills, and economic mobility to suddenly start competing with those who had access to these means for centuries

  • Access to their fair share of society's resources:When people from all social groups are represented in government, higher education etc, it is less likely that marginalized groups will be denied fundamental rights and access to their fair share of society's resources.

  • Reduced the gap between upper and lower castes :Though Meritocracy is an important aspect, it has no meaning without equality. To a great extent caste based reservation reduced the gap between upper and lower castes.

Arguments against reservation

  • Equal footing: On one hand many people from lower castes have stepped up the social ladder and are now on an equal footing with the ‘general' population and on other hand, many upper castes are still suffering from poverty and illiteracy.

  • Harmful to economic structure :Reservation system can harm the economic structure of the country as it could bring down the efficiency of its labour.

  • Communal riots :Caste based reservation may develop into communal riot as a result of frustration of general population on lower caste.

  • Needy people not getting benefit of reservation: it is found that many times economically well off people enjoy the benefits of reservation, leaving aside real needy people.

  • Court argument: In Ashok Kumar Thakur v. Union of India, Justice Ravindran opined that when more people aspire for backwardness instead of forwardness, the Country itself stagnates.

  • Misused by Political parties : political parties have misused the tool of reservation for their vested interests which has hampered the real objective of granting reservation

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(VIDEO) BJP Conquers Northeast - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) BJP Conquers Northeast - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: (VIDEO) BJP Conquers Northeast - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate
Expert Panel Name : Balmiki Prasad Singh, Former Governor of Sikkim and Former Union Home Secretary, Deepk Dewan, Senior Journalist, Dr. Jaya Kumar, Secretary In-charge, Nagaland Congress, Jitendra Chaudhury, MP, Lok Sabha, CPM, Nalin Kohli, National spokesperson, BJP; Frank Rausan Pereira (Anchor)

Courtesy: Rajya Sabha TV

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(VIDEO) Growth story on track - Lok Sabha TV Insight Discussion

(VIDEO) Growth story on track - Lok Sabha TV Insight Discussion

Topic of Discussion: Growth story on track - Lok Sabha TV Insight Discussion

Expert Panel Name : Natasha Jha Bhaskar (Studio,Anchor)

Courtesy: Lok Sabha TV

The silent LPG revolution - Ujjwala Yojana : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


The silent LPG revolution - Ujjwala Yojana : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Why in News?

  • The LPG Panchayat was organised by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas as an awareness drive with an aim to provide a platform for LPG consumers to interact with each other, promote mutual learning and share experiences and the Ministry intends to conduct 1 lakh such Panchayats across India before March 31, 2019; each LPG Panchayat will have around 100 members. 

  • On February 7, 2018 the Centre has decided to ramp up the target of 5 crore to eight crore and allocated an additional ₹4,800 crore to this end after setting aside ₹8,000 crore during the inception of the scheme.

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Scheme (PMUY)

  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Scheme (PMUY) – the scheme for providing LPG connections to the women of Below Poverty Line (BPL) households.

  • Scheme was launched in May 2016.

Importance of Ujjwala Scheme & LPG

  • Ujjawala Yojana is strengthening women’s empowerment and also enabling rural women to escape the drudgery and negative health effects of using firewood and PMUY is rightly seen as one that lifts the health and quality of life of rural women.

  • The Economic Survey mentions that on an average, women spend around 374 hours every year for collection of firewood, thus LPG saves cooking time and this extra time can be utilised in some income generating activity.

  • Factors such as the difference in the taste of food when prepared on chulhas (wood-fired stoves) and the ease of using cook-stoves, were key in determining the popularity of cook-stoves over traditional methods.

  • LPG as cooking fuel has its advantages, those who have access to alternative cooking fuels – wood, cowdung cakes – continue to use it as well

How Ujjawala Scheme works

  • The customer, however, has to pay for the LPG stove and first refill charges. She can make an upfront payment or get into an EMI with the oil marketing company to pay for the LPG stove, or the first refill.

https://iasexamportal.com/sites/default/files/the-silent-lpg-revolution-ujjwala-yojana-how.jpg

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Election funding : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Election funding : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


In his 2017 Budget speech, while emphasising the absence of transparency in funding, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley noted that even 70 years after Independence we don’t have a transparent method of funding political parties which is important to ensure free and fair elections. According to a report by Association for Democratic Reforms nearly 70% of political funding came from unknown sources during 11 years of study.

How Election funding is done in India?

Corporate donations are the main source of election funding in India which are flooded with black money.

Public Disclosure Mechanism in India

  • It is very limited in India.

  • In 2008, under Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Central Information Commission (CIC) allowed disclosure of income tax returns of political parties. Although it is well known that actual expenditure is much higher than what is disclosed.

Transparency in Electoral Funding Vs Electoral Bonds

  • Anybody can buy the Electoral Bond and can donate it anonymously, and party will have to encash it within 14 days.

  • All donations to the party will be accounted in balance sheets but the donor name won’t be exposed. This is to ensure that donor could face serious consequences from the political opponents. But through this move Voter, Election Commission of India, Income Tax department would remain in dark.

  • Electoral Bonds will allow corporate houses to make anonymous donations via banking channels. And thus, Electoral Bond has not addressed the issue of corporate funding of election. Anonymous donations by corporate houses would further limit the oversight and accountability.

Other steps which may affect Transparency in the system

  1. Maximum limit of 7.5% of the profits a company can donate to a political party has been removed, this may lead to funding of Political Parties by the shell Companies.

  2. Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) was amended. This may lead to outwash of Foreign money to the funding of Political parties.

  3. Political Parties are not covered under RTI. This hides their source of funding.

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(VIDEO) Mainstreaming Afghan Taliban - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) Mainstreaming Afghan Taliban -

Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: Mainstreaming Afghan Taliban - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate
Expert Panel Name : Prof. A.K. Pasha, Centre for West Asian Studies, JNU ; Vivek Katju, Former Ambassador ; Alok Bansal, Director, India Foundation ; Prof. Harsh V Pant, Head, Strategic Studies, ORF; Frank Rausan Pereira (Anchor)

Courtesy: Rajya Sabha TV

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(VIDEO) Fight Against Corruption - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) Fight Against Corruption - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: Fight Against Corruption - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate
Expert Panel Name : A.K. Bhattacharya, Editorial Director, Business Standard ; Arun Kumar, Economist & Retd. Professor, JNU ; Vipul Mudgal, Director, Common Cause ; Justice B.A. Khan, Former Chief Justice, J&K High Court; Frank Rausan Pereira (Anchor)

Courtesy: Rajya Sabha TV

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India and WTO : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


India and WTO : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Mandate of WTO:

WTO came into existence after the conclusion of the Uruguay round in 1995 replacing the post WWII General Agreement on trade and tariff (GATT). It was an improvement over GATT in the following ways:

  • Providing an institutional backbone to GATT

  • Provision of a dispute settlement body

  • Representation to the developing nations in its formation and negotiations

  • Covering other trade related aspects such as services, IPR, investments etc.

  • It included safeguards against non-tariff barriers as well

The objective of WTO is to establish a rule based global trade regime providing equitable opportunity to every nation for reaping the benefits of globalization. WTO works on the following principles:

  • Non Discrimination

    • Most Favored Nation: No special favors can be granted to any trading partner

    • National Treatment : No discrimination between the imported and domestic products once they enter the market (which allows imposition of custom duty)

  • Freer Trade: removal of the tariff and non-tariff barriers gradually through negotiations

  • Predictability: providing predictability in the trade policy through binding rules and transparency

  • Promoting fair competition: providing a system of rules dedicated to open, fair and undistorted competition such as allowing for imposition of anti-dumping duty

  • Encouraging Development and Economic Reforms: nudging the countries towards an open market and allow for special assistance and trade concessions for developing countries

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(VIDEO) Education Reforms - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) Education Reforms - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: Education Reforms - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate
Expert Panel Name : Jyoti Gupta, Principal, DPS Ghaziabad ; Prof. Manisha Priyam, Academic ; Anita Rampal, Professor, Department of Education, Delhi University; Frank Rausan Pereira (Anchor)

Courtesy: Rajya Sabha TV

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(VIDEO) Milan Navy Exercise - Lok Sabha TV Insight Discussion

(VIDEO) Milan Navy Exercise - Lok Sabha TV Insight Discussion

Topic of Discussion: Milan Navy Exercise - Lok Sabha TV Insight Discussion

Expert Panel Name : Natasha Jha Bhaskar (Studio,Anchor)

Courtesy: Lok Sabha TV

Air pollution crisis in India : Important Topics for UPSC Exams



Air pollution crisis in India : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


With every winter comes the news of elevated pollution levels in the national capital. The problem of pollution disrupts not only the NCR area but many other prominent urbane areas like Allahabad and Ludhiana which figure above Delhi in the pollution ranking across the world. This articles deals with the various aspects of the problem and propose solutions for it resolution.

Reasons of air pollution in India:

  • High dependence on coal for power: share of coal in power generation in India continue to be around 80%. Power plants with poor technology and efficiency continue to be the major source of pollutants like CO and oxides of nitrogen and sulfur

  • High levels of poverty

    • Dependence on fuelwood and  kerosene for the purpose of lighting and cooking leads to high level of pollutants being released in rural and urban periphery

    • Over exploitation of commons like forests, grazing lands and mindless deforestation reduces the natural capacity to absorb pollutants

  • Poor governance: the issue of environment and pollution is still to get the policy priority it deserves. While agencies liked CPCB and SPCBs continue to be under-resourced and under-staffed, multiplicity of the state authorities at the ground level leads to poor coordination, lax enforcement of rules and lack of accountability as seen in Delhi. Absence of environmental governance continues to be a major challenge

  • Access to technology: India's industrial landscape continues to be dominated by MSMEs which lack access to cleaner technologies. Agricultural waste burning is also the result of poor access to farm technologies

  • Unplanned urbanization: haphazard growth of urban areas has led to proliferation of slums and poor public transport has increased the burden of personal vehicles on the road. Landfills used for waste management also releases pollutants in the air. The rapid urbanization of the recent years if left unmanaged will further exacerbate the problem

  • Continentality: problem of pollution in the landlocked northern states gets exacerbated due to unfavorable winds and phenomenon of temperature inversion during winters

Impacts of air pollution:

  • Health: increased burden of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, cardiac diseases, COPD etc. is the direct consequence of rise in air pollution. According to Lancet estimates on 2015 there were 2.51 million pollution related deaths in India. It reduces the overall productivity of nation and increases the healthcare burden especially on the poor

Image Source: The Hindu

  • Environment: pollution affects not only health of humans but of environment too. Birds and plants are affected by air pollution and phenomenon like urban heat island resulting from it

  • Economy: increased healthcare costs, reduced productivity, diversion of resources towards responding to air pollution are some of the economic costs. According to WB estimate, air pollution might have cost India 8.5% of GDP

  • Politics: air pollution has caused major political conflict in last few years, most prominent of which is the recurring conflict among Punjab, Haryana and Delhi

Sources of air pollution:

Initiatives by governments to curb pollution

  • Early implementation of BS-VI norm in 2020 to reduce emission from vehicles (as much as 75pc in case of NOx in diesel engine)

  • Green India mission: part of NAPCC it aims at protecting, restoring and enhancing India’s diminishing forest cover which is crucial to reduce pollution

  • Electric vehicle: the govt is pushing for EVs as a cleaner alternative to vehicles run on fossil fuels with schemes like FAME to incentivizing purchase of EVs

  • GRAP Delhi: Graded response action plan as mandated by SC for Delhi NCR to combat pollution aims to institutionalize coordination among all the concerned authorities to respond according to the severity of pollution

  • Ban on Diesel vehicle and crackers: Courts in the recent time have cracked down upon Diesel vehicles and crackers to reduce pollutant emissions

  • UJJWALA Yojana: the scheme providing subsidized LPG connections to BPL families will curb emissions from fuelwood used for cooking

  • Odd even policy: the initiative by reducing the load of personal vehicle on road has helped in slight reduction in PM levels in Delhi

  • Renewable energy plans: the aim of government to increase RE capacity by 175GW by 2022 and share of RE in total power generation to 40% by 2030 will be crucial in reducing pollution from power generation

  • Smart city, AMRUT: the urban development scheme which seek to ensure planned urban growth including public transport and waste management will address emission from urban areas

  • National Air Quality index that measures and monitors the levels of eight pollutants (PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, O3, NH3, and Pb)

Solution for the problem of pollution:

  • Green cover: increasing green cover especially in the urban areas must be an indispensable part of urban planning. Other initiatives such as afforestation, greening of highways etc. must also pick up

  • Push to renewables: addressing the problem of intermittence by adopting smart grid technology, incentives for decentralised power production via biogas, rooftop solar and push to EVs  as has been done in Norway (exemptions on tax, toll, parking fee, environment tax on other vehicles, charging stations powered by renewable)

  • Urban governance: better urban planning based on models like transit oriented development (TOD), integrated and accountable transport authority, empowered local bodies, scientific waste management etc. can help bring down pollution footprints of urban areas

  • Market for agricultural waste: the problem of crop burning can be resolved only through financial and technological support and incentives for farmers. Access to technologies like super seeder machines and development of market for crop stubble will push farmers to a cleaner method of waste disposal

  • Better planning and coordination: a single body on the lines of EPCA as mandated by SC with clear targets and accountability mechanisms is necessary for effective environmental governance

  • Forecasting systems for better response: China has shown the way in controlling the pollution by an effective pollution forecasting (2-3 days in advance) and monitoring systems. Its permanent odd-even policy during severe pollution levels, early warning systems, strict enforcement of GRAP like action plan has significantly brought down the pollution levels in Beijing

  • Healthcare for pollution related diseases: pollution and its health burden are inevitable in the near future. Therefore it is necessary to equip public healthcare systems with adequate resources for facing this emerging challenge and shield poor from catastrophic healthcare expenditures

  • Coherent environmental policies: since air pollution knows no boundaries, states and center have to harmonize their strategy to deal with it. Platforms like inter-state council apart from serving this objective can also help resolve pollution related disputes among states

Previous year mains questions:

  • Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata are the three mega cities of the country but the air pollution is much more serious problem in Delhi as compared to the other two. Why is this so? (2015)

MCQ

In the cities of our country, which among the following atmospheric gases are normally considered in calculating the value of Air Quality Index?

1.  Carbon dioxide

2.  Carbon monoxide

3.  Nitrogen dioxide

4.  Sulfur dioxide

5.  Methane

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1, 2 and 3 only

(b) 2, 3 and 4 only

(c) 1, 4 and 5 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

In the context of solving pollution problems, what is/are the advantage/advantages of bioremediation technique?

1.  It is a technique for cleaning up pollution by enhancing the same biodegradation process that occurs in nature.

2.  Any contaminant with heavy metals such as cadmium and lead can be readily and completely treated by bioremediation using microorganisms.

3.  Genetic engineering can be used to create microorganisms specifically designed for bioremediation.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Which of the following best describes/ describe the aim of ‘Green India Mission’ of the Government of India?

1.  Incorporating environmental benefits and costs into the Union and State Budgets thereby implementing the `green accounting’

2.  Launching the second green revolution to enhance agricultural output so as to ensure food security to one and all in the future

3.  Restoring and enhancing forest cover and responding to climate change by a combination of adaptation and mitigation measures

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

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Parker: Solar probe by NASA : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Parker: Solar probe by NASA : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Nasa is set to announce its ambitious plans to launch a probe mission directly into the atmosphere of the sun in a world first. Parker Solar Probe will plunge through the Sun’s atmosphere, closer to the surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions; and ultimately providing humanity with the first-ever close-up view of a star. The mission will launch a spacecraft from Earth in the summer of 2018. It will reach an orbit within four million miles (6.5 million km) of the sun and will measure activity at its outer surface, known as the 'corona'. It is named after Professor Eugene Parker, who first discovered solar winds 60 years ago.

Objectives/Benefits:

Travelling at speeds of up to 430,000mph (692,000kmh),

  • The sun is the only star we can study up close. By studying this star we live with, we learn more about stars throughout the universe.

  • The craft will collect vital information about the life of stars and their weather events, and will help scientists improve how we predict dangerous solar flares..

  • Scientists also hope to unlock the mysteries of the sun’s corona, an aura of plasma around the star.

  • To protect a society that is increasingly dependent on technology from the threats of space weather.

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(VIDEO) Xi Jinping: President for Life - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) Xi Jinping: President for Life - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: Xi Jinping: President for Life - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate
Expert Panel Name : Prof. B.R. Deepak, Centre for Chinese Studies, JNU ; Prof. M.D. Nalapat, Editorial Director, ITV MEDIA ; Suresh K Goel, Former Ambassador ; Jabin Jacob, Senoir Researcher, Institute of Chinese Studies; Frank Rausan Pereira (Anchor)

Courtesy: Rajya Sabha TV

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