1st Oct, 2020

Guidelines to Support Artisans in Beekeeping & Pottery Activities released

The Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, MSME, has announced new guidelines to support artisans in Beekeeping and Pottery activity.

Beekeeping guidelines

Government will provide assistance with Bee boxes and Tool kits. 

Under this scheme, Bee boxes will also be distributed to Migrant workers in Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyaan districts.

Five-day beekeeping training will also be provided.


(1) To create sustainable employment;

(2) To create awareness about Honey and other Hive Products etc.

During 2020-21, the scheme proposes to cover a total of 2,050 Beekeepers, Entrepreneurs, Farmers, Unemployed Youth, Adivasis.

Additional amount of 50 crore rupees has also been kept for developing Beekeeping honey clusters under the ‘SFURTI‘scheme of the Ministry.

Pottery Guidelines

Government will provide assistance with pottery wheel, Clay Blunger, Granulator etc.

It will also provide Wheel Pottery Training for traditional pottery artisans and Press Pottery

training for pottery as well as non-pottery artisans in Self- Help Groups.

Jigger-Jolly training program shall also be provided.

A total of 6,075 Traditional and others non-traditional pottery artisans, Rural Unemployed youth, Migrant Laborers will get benefited.

JK-IGRAMS & National Generic Document Registration System (NGDRS)

Jammu & Kashmir Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) launched the Jammu and Kashmir Integrated Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (JK-IGRAMS) in order to create an interface with the public and focus on governance issues in the Union Territory.

The National Generic Document Registration System (NGDRS) was also launched.

Jammu and Kashmir Integrated Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (JK-IGRAMS)

The system is being launched on a pilot basis in three districts — Jammu, Srinagar, and Reasi. 

It will gradually be rolled out in the remaining districts by October 2. 

It will make the existing mechanism more robust and efficient.

Action will follow if any delay is found while addressing people’s grievances.

District Collectors and Deputy Commissioners will be the primary nodes for receiving, disposing and monitoring grievances.

National Generic Document Registration System (NGDRS)

J&K will be the 10th among States and UTs to become part of NGDRS.

NGDRS represents a major shift from the existing manual registration system to online registration of all transactions in sale-purchase and transfer of land.

Stamp papers have been replaced by e-stamps which have been incorporated in coordination with Stockholding Corporation of India.

Phytoplankton Biomass in Bay of Bengal

A team of scientists from the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) have discovered a way to measure the quantity of chlorophyll-a that indicates abundance of phytoplankton’s in the Bay of Bengal in real-time.

Study of phytoplankton biomass is done by analyzing chlorophyll-a. It is a dominant pigment found in phytoplankton cells.

The scientists closely tracked the long-term trends of chlorophyll-a in the northwestern Bay of Bengal.

Findings: There were two peaks of chlorophyll-a — the primary peak occurred during the pre-southwest monsoon due to the recurrent phytoplankton bloom in the coastal water and the secondary peak occurred during the end of the southwest monsoon, spreading to far offshore areas.


(1) Increase in phytoplankton;

(2) Physical forces such as upwelling, wind-induced vertical mixing, convective overturn and

chemicals from various sources including river runoff.


They are tiny microscopic floating plants found in water bodies.

Significance of Phytoplanktons:

(1) They contribute more than half of the oxygen in the environment;

(2) They reduce global warming by absorbing human-induced carbon dioxide;

(3) They also serve as the base of the ocean food chain;

(4) They are important bio indicators regulating life in oceans;

(5) Their abundance determines the overall health of the ocean ecosystem.

Morphological Phenotypic Plasticity in Kalinga Frog

Recently, Indian scientists from the Zoological Survey of India, Pune have reported a first-of-its-kind discovery of morphological phenotypic plasticity (MPP) in the Kalinga cricket frog.

Phenotypic plasticity refers to some of the changes in an organism’s behavior, morphology and physiology in response to a unique environment.

It was the only genetic analysis that helped prove that physically different-looking frogs from Eastern and Western Ghats were the same.

Significance of the Discovery

The behavioural studies of many anuran (frog or toad) species will help in generating information on the selection of breeding sites, courtship patterns and ecological adaptations.

The information will help to trace the distribution of these species along the peninsular region of India and can be used to evaluate the possible links with other species that were found in the Northeast region.

Kalinga Cricket Frog

Scientific Name: Fejervarya kalinga.

It is a recently identified species which was documented in 2018.

It was thought to be endemic only to the higher-elevation hill ranges of the Eastern Ghats in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

However, it has been reported from the central Western Ghats, with the evidence of considerable MPP.

Its physical characteristics are entirely different from the other known Fejervaraya/Minervarya species from the Western Ghats.

Cricket frogs are indicators of a healthy ecosystem and live in wide habitat ranges in agricultural fields, streams, swamps and wetlands.

India successfully test-fired BrahMos supersonic cruise missile

India successfully test-fired BrahMos supersonic cruise missile recently.

Carried out by: Defence Research and Development Organisation, DRDO from Balasore in Odisha.

BrahMos surface-to-surface supersonic cruise missile features indigenous Booster and Airframe Section along with many other ‘Made in India’ sub-systems.

The BrahMos Land-Attack Cruise Missile was cruising at a top speed of Mach 2.8. 

It is one more major step in enhancing the indigenous content.

This successful launch has paved the way for the serial production of the indigenous booster and other indigenous components of the powerful BrahMos Weapon System.

Initiatives for Farmers launched

Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers launched POS 3.1 software, SMS Gateway and Home Delivery facility of Fertilizers (RBK) for farmers in Andhra Pradesh.

Under POS 3.1 version: Contactless OTP based authentication option has been introduced. Farmers will be able to purchase fertilizers without touching finger print sensors.

SMS Gateway will periodically send SMS to farmers about availability of fertilizers at retail outlets from where he last purchased the fertilizer.

Under an initiative of Home delivery of Fertilizers in Andhra Pradesh through Rythu Bharosa Kendralu (RBK) state Government has launched 10,641 Rythu Bharosa Kendralu (RBKs) in all gram panchayats to provide farmers with quality inputs and allied services.

Under this system, farmers after biometric authentication can order fertilizers from RBK (Rythu Bharosa Kendra) in their village and fertilizer will be delivered at their door step.

Cat Que Virus (CQV)

In a study published in July, 2020 in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, scientists have noted the presence of antibodies against the Cat Que virus (CQV) in two human serum samples.

The presence of the Cat Que virus has been largely reported in Culex mosquitoes in China and in pigs in Vietnam.

For CQV, domestic pigs are considered to be the primary mammalian hosts. 

Antibodies against the virus have been reported in swine reared locally in China, which indicates that the virus has formed a “natural cycle” in the local area and has the ability to spread in pigs and other animal populations through mosquitoes.

CQV belongs to the Simbu serogroup and infects both humans and economically important livestock species.

SPICe+ Portal

SPICe+ Portal was recently in the news.

Ministry: Ministry for Finance & Ministry of Corporate Affairs 

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has notified and deployed a web-form namely ‘SPICe+’ (pronounced SPICe Plus) effective from February, 2020 as a part of Government of India’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) initiatives.

The web-form offers 10 services by three Central Government Ministries and Departments (Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Labour & Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance), one State Government (Maharashtra) and various Banks, thereby saving procedures, time and cost for Starting a Business in India.

Services include: Name reservation, incorporation, mandatory issue of PAN, mandatory issue of EPFO registration, etc.

Mekedatu Project

Mekedatu Project was recently in the news.

Mekedatu, meaning goat’s leap, is a deep gorge situated at the confluence of the rivers Cauvery and its tributary Arkavathi.

Ontigondlu is the proposed reservoir site, situated at Ramanagara district in Karnataka about 100 km away from Bengaluru. 

It is the midst of the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Rs. 9,000 crore project aims to store and supply water for drinking purposes for the Bengaluru city. 

Around 400 megawatts (MW) of power is also proposed to be generated through the project.

Serial Interval and Covid-19

China was able to contain Covid-19 due to its ability to manage the serial interval.

In simple terms, the serial interval is the gap between the onset of Covid-19 symptoms in Person A and Person B, who is infected by Person A.

It depends on epidemiological parameters such as the incubation period and the reproduction rate

or R nought.

It helps to gauge the effectiveness of infection control interventions besides indicating rising population immunity and forecast future incidence.

Thus, the more quickly people who contracted Covid-19 are identified and isolated, the shorter the serial interval becomes and cuts down opportunities for transmission of the virus.

Sawantwadi Toy

To mark the occasion of 151 years of postcards in India, Maharashtra Circle of India Post has released picture postcards on ‘Sawantwadi Toys’ (October 1). 

It refers to handmade works of art made of wood in Sawantwadi, a town in Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra.

These toys are made from the wood of the Indian Coral tree (Erythrina variegata).

Craftsmen who make these toys belong to the Chittari community.