Gist of The Hindu : NOVEMBER 2023

Gist of The Hindu: NOVEMBER 2023

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Technology Development Board

  • Recently, to bolster the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector in India, the Technology Development Board (TDB) and the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) have formalized a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

About the Technology Development Board:

  • It is a statutory body constituted under the Technology Development Board Act, 1995.
  • It aims to promote the development and commercialization of indigenous technology and the adaptation of imported technology for wider application.
  • The board consists of 11 Board members.
  • It provides equity capital or loans to industrial concerns and financial assistance to research and development institutions. 
  • The Fund has been receiving grants from the Government of India out of the cess collections from the industrial concerns under the provisions of the Research and Development Cess Act, 1986, as amended in 1995.

Key Facts about Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)

  • It was established under an Act of Parliament in 1990.
  • It is the Principal Financial Institution engaged in the promotion, financing & development of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector and the coordination of the functions of the various institutions engaged in similar activities.
  • Objective: To offer loans (both direct and indirect) to MSMEs to help in addressing the development and financial gaps in the ecosystem of MSMEs. 
  • It helps MSMEs in acquiring the funds they require to grow the market, develop and commercialize their technologies and innovative products. 
  • It was made responsible for administering the Small Industries Development Fund and National Equity Fund.

Pradhan Mantri Schools for Rising India (PM SHRI) scheme

  • The Union Education Minister recently launched the Pradhan Mantri Schools for Rising India (PM SHRI) scheme in Odisha.

About the Pradhan Mantri Schools for Rising India (PM SHRI) scheme:

  • It is a centrally sponsored scheme by the Government of India, announced in 2022.
  • Objective: Development of more than 14,500 schools across the country by strengthening the existing schools among those managed by the Central Government/State/UT Government/local bodies.
  • It will nurture students in such a way that they become engaged, productive, and contributing citizens, building an equitable, inclusive, and plural society as envisaged by the National Education Policy 2020.
  • The duration of the scheme is from 2022-23 to 2026-27, after which it shall be the responsibility of the States/UTs to continue to maintain the benchmarks achieved by these schools.
  • The total cost of the project will be Rs 27360 crore spread over a period of 5 years, which includes the central share of Rs 18128 crore.
  • The selection of PM SHRI schools will be done through Challenge Mode, wherein schools compete for support to become exemplary schools.


  • The selected schools will act as exemplary schools, showcasing all components of the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) and offering mentorship to other schools in their vicinity.
  • The PM SHRI Schools will be developed as Green Schools, incorporating environment-friendly aspects.
  • The pedagogy adopted in these schools will be more experiential, holistic, integrated, play/toy-based (particularly in the foundational years), inquiry-driven, discovery-oriented, learner-centric, discussion-based, flexible, and enjoyable.
  • The focus will be on the learning outcomes of every child in every grade.
  • Assessment at all levels will be based on conceptual understanding and application of knowledge to real-life situations and will be competency-based.
  • Linkage with Sector Skill Councils and local industry for enhancing employability and providing better employment opportunities will be explored.
  • A School Quality Assessment Framework (SQAF) is being developed, specifying the key performance indicators to measure outcomes. A quality evaluation of these schools at regular intervals will be undertaken to ensure the desired standards.

Southern Annular Mode SAM

  • Recently, the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) discovered that the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), an important climate pattern, plays a pivotal role in shaping sea conditions across the Indian Ocean.

About Southern Annular Mode:It is the north-south movement of Southern Westerly Winds over timescales of 10s to 100s of years. 

  • It is also known as the Antarctic Oscillation.
  • They blow almost continuously in the mid- to high-latitudes of the southern hemisphere.
  • It is usually defined as the difference in the zonal mean sea level pressure at 40°S (mid-latitudes) and 65°S (Antarctica).
  • Positive Southern Annular Mode
  • In this mode, there is lower anomalous air pressure over Antarctica and higher anomalous air pressure over the mid-latitudes.
  • The belt of strong westerly winds strengthens and contracts towards Antarctica.

Negative Southern Annular Mode

  • In this mode, the belt of strong Southern Westerly Winds expands northwards towards the equator, bringing cold, wet weather to Patagonia, glacier advance, and decreased Circumpolar Deep Water upwelling on the Antarctic Continental Shelf. 


  • The study contributes to advancing the accuracy of wave predictions and can help identify fair-weather windows.
  • It will benefit the fishing community and blue economy stakeholders such as shipping, maritime boards and the oil industry for their multi-million dollar operations at sea.

Deepor Beel

  • The Assam Environment and Forest Minister recently said the state government will simplify rules to allow water sports and tourism-related activities in ‘Deepor Beel.

About Deepor Beel:

  • It is a perennial freshwater lake located 10 km southwest of Guwahati city, Assam.
  • It is a permanent freshwater wetland in a former channel of the Brahmaputra River.
  • It covers an area of 40.14 sq. km and varies in depth from approximately 4 m to 1 m depending on the season (monsoon or dry season).
  • Its basin is drained by a system of rivulets and hill streams that connect the neighbouring hills and the forests to the river Brahmaputra through an outlet called the Khanajan.
  • It was recognised as a Ramsar Site in 2002 and as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) in 2004. It is the only Ramsar site in the state of Assam.
  • It is a staging site on migratory flyways, and some of the largest concentrations of aquatic birds in Assam can be seen, especially in winter.
  • Some globally threatened birds are supported, including the Spot-billed Pelican, Lesser and Greater Adjutant Stork, and Baer's Pochard.
  • About 50 fish species and aquatic resources provide livelihood support to about 1,200 households residing in about 12 villages on the fringes of the wetland.
  • The Rani and Garbhanga hills, the habitat of the Asiatic elephants on the southern side of the beel, are part of this ecosystem.

AGNI Initiative

  • Recently, the Central Council for Research in Ayurveda Sciences (CCRAS), Ministry of Ayush, launched the “Ayurveda Gyan Naipunya Initiative” (AGNI) for physicians practising in the field of Ayurveda.

About the AGNI Initiative:

  • Aim: To provide a platform for Ayurveda practitioners to report their innovative practises and experiences in various disease conditions, along with promoting the culture of evidence-based practise among Ayurveda practitioners.

Objectives of the Initiative

  • To promote the culture of reporting evidence-based practise among Ayurveda practitioners.
  • To document the reported successful therapeutic regimens for various disease conditions involving single drug/ Formulation/ Procedures for the purpose of education and academics.
  • To identify interested Ayurveda practitioners for collaboration in the creation of a database through applications and capacity building through training in research methods and good clinical practises.
  • To undertake research for mainstreaming pragmatic practises through scientific validation and evidence-based appraisal    

Key Facts about Central Council for Research in Ayurveda Sciences

  • It is an autonomous body under the Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India.
  • It is an apex body in India for undertaking, coordinating, formulating, developing, and promoting research on scientific lines in Ayurvedic sciences.
  • The research activities of the Council include Medicinal Plant Research (Medico-Ethno Botanical Survey, Pharmacognosy, and Tissue Culture), Drug Standardization, Pharmacological Research, Clinical Research, Literary Research & Documentation and Tribal Health Care Research Programme.
  • Headquarter: New Delhi


  • NASA recently shared a picture taken from the International Space Station showing the Earth's airglow outlining the planet's horizon with the Moon above.

About Airglow:

  • Airglow is the natural “glowing” of the Earth’s atmosphere. 
  • It happens all the time and across the whole globe.
  • The phenomenon is similar to auroras, but where auroras are driven by high-energy particles originating from the solar wind, airglow is energized by ordinary, day-to-day solar radiation.
  • Unlike the aurora, airglow does not exhibit structures such as arcs and is emitted from the entire sky at all latitudes at all times. 
  • There are three types of airglow: dayglow, twilightglow, and nightglow.
  • Each is the result of sunlight interacting with the molecules in the atmosphere, but they have their own special way of forming.
  • The most common airglow colors are green, red, and blue. However, other colors also occur.

Qianlong Shouhu

  • Researchers in China recently discovered a previously unknown dinosaur species named ‘Qianlong shouhu’ alongside dozens of its unhatched eggs.
  • Alongside the adult specimens, the Chinese researchers also uncovered around 50 fossilised eggs of the same species, spread out across five different nests that contained the skeletal remains of the embryos inside them.
  • The discoveries may represent the earliest known fossil record of adult dinosaurs and their associated egg nests.

About Qianlong Shouhu:

  • It belongs to a group of dinosaurs known as sauropodomorphs, which contains sauropods and their ancestors. 
  • It lived in what is now China during the Early Jurassic epoch, between 200 and 193 million years ago.
  • The name of the new species roughly translates to "a dragon in Guizhou that protects its embryos."
  • It was a medium-sized sauropodomorph that measured roughly 20 feet in length and likely weighed 1 tonne.
  • Their eggs were elliptical in shape and relatively small. The eggshells may have had a texture similar to leather. It provides "strong evidence" for the earliest known "leathery" eggs.


  • The Ministry of Education (MoE) recently said they would write to all states to encourage aspirants to utilise the newly launched portal for exam preparation, SATHEE (Self Assessment Test and Help for Entrance Exams).

About the SATHEE (Self Assessment Test and Help for Entrance Exams) Portal:

  • It is a new initiative by the Ministry of Education to provide a free learning and assessment platform for students. 
  • It will help students gain access to training and coaching for competitive examinations for free.
  • The platform aims to bridge the gap for students in society who are not able to afford the costly entrance exam guidance and coaching.
  • It will have preparation materials for students in English, Hindi, and other regional languages of India so that students can prepare for exams like JEE and NEET.
  • It will be useful for candidates who will be preparing for CAT, GATE, UPSC, etc. It will also allow candidates to gain experience in coaching centres.
  • The platform will have videos made by the faculty members of IITs and IISC to help students prepare for the competitive examinations. The videos would also help students learn concepts and revise topics they are weak at.
  • It makes use of an indigenously developed AI programme called Prutor, which was developed by IIT-Kanpur.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora 

  • Trade in precious timber and sharks and conservation of elephants and big cats were among the many critical matters reviewed during the 77th Meeting of the Standing Committee (SC77) of the CITES in Geneva recently.

About the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES):

  • It is an international agreement between governments that aims to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
  • CITES was adopted in 1973 and entered into force in 1975.
  • There are 184 member parties, and trade is regulated in more than 38,000 species.
  • Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties– in other words, they have to implement the Convention–it does not take the place of national laws.
  • The CITES Secretariat is administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and is located in Geneva, Switzerland. 
  • Representatives of CITES nations meet every two to three years at a Conference of the Parties (or COP) to review progress and adjust the lists of protected species, which are grouped into three categories with different levels of protection

Atmospheric Waves Experiment

  • NASA is set to launch the Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE) to study ‘airglow’ to understand space weather.

About the Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE):

  • It is a first-of-its-kind NASA experimental attempt aimed at studying the interactions between terrestrial and space weather.
  • It is planned under NASA’s Heliophysics Explorers Programme. This mission will study the links between how waves in the lower layers of the atmosphere impact the upper atmosphere and, thus, space weather.
  • It will be launched and mounted on the exterior of the Earth-orbiting International Space Station (ISS).
  • From the vantage point, it will look down at the Earth and record the colourful light bands, commonly known as airglow.
  • The new NASA mission will try to understand the combination of forces that drive the Space weather in the upper atmosphere.
  • It will measure the airglow at mesopause (about 85 to 87 km above the Earth’s surface), where the atmospheric temperatures dip to minus 100 degrees Celsius.
  • At this altitude, it is possible to capture the faint airglow in the infrared bandwidth, which appears to be the brightest, enabling easy detection.
  • It will be able to resolve waves at finer horizontal scales than what satellites can usually see at those altitudes, which is part of what makes the mission unique.
  • The health of the ionosphere, whose lower layers sit at the edge of space, is important for maintaining seamless communication.

Equity funds

  • According to a recent study, during the July-September quarter (Q2), active equity funds witnessed net inflows of about Rs 74,000 crore with fund managers, while passive equity funds saw Rs 9,000 crore of inflows.

About Equity Funds:

  • An equity fund is a mutual fund that invests principally in stocks.
  • It can be actively or passively (index fund) managed. Equity funds are also known as stock funds.
  • Stock mutual funds are principally categorised according to company size, the investment style of the holdings in the portfolio, and geography.

What are Active equity funds?

  • In this fund, the fund manager is ‘Active’ in deciding whether to buy, hold, or sell the underlying securities and in-stock selection.
  • This fund relies on professional fund managers who manage investments.
  • Active funds adopt different strategies and styles to create and manage the portfolio.
  • They are expected to generate better returns (alpha) than the benchmark index.
  • The risk and return in the fund will depend upon the strategy adopted.

What are Passive equity funds?

  • These funds hold a portfolio that replicates a stated index or benchmark.
  • In a passive fund, the fund manager has a passive role in the stock selection.
  • Buy, hold, or sell decisions are driven by the benchmark index and the fund manager/dealer merely needs to replicate the same with minimal tracking error.


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Courtesy: The Hindu