28th Nov, 2020

India’s GDP contracts 7.5% in second quarter

As per estimates released by the National Statistical Office, India’s GDP contracted 7.5% in the second quarter of 2020-21.

In the first quarter, India had recorded 23.9% decline. 

India has now entered a technical recession with two successive quarters of negative growth.

Agriculture, which was the only sector to record growth between April and June this year, grew at the same pace of 3.4% in the second quarter.

Manufacturing gross value-added (GVA) showed a sharp recovery to record 0.6% growth between July and September after collapsing 39.3% in the first quarter.

Electricity, gas, water supply and other utility services also recorded 4.4% growth in the second quarter, recovering from a 7% contraction in Q1.

But it remained a weak quarter for several sectors, including mining, services such as retail trade and hotels, construction and financial services.

While the 7.5% contraction in GDP came as a positive surprise, there are concerns about a decline in government spending and the worsening fate of two key sectors compared to the first quarter.

India Climate Change Knowledge Portal launched

India Climate Change Knowledge Portal was recently launched.

Launched by: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

The portal will have all the major steps the Government is taking at both national and international levels to address the climate change issues.

It will be a single-point information resource that provides information on the different climate initiatives taken by various Ministries enabling users to access updated status on these initiatives.

According to the Central government, India has practically achieved its pre-2020 climate action targets.

Brain Fingerprinting

The accused in Hathras rape case will undergo brain fingerprinting.

Brain Electrical Oscillation Signature Profiling (BEOSP) is also known as brain fingerprinting.

It is a neuro psychological method of interrogation in which the accused’s participation in the crime is investigated by studying their brain’s response.

The BEOSP test is carried out via a process known as electroencephalogram, conducted to study the electrical behaviour of the human brain.

Under this test, the consent of the accused is first taken and they are then made to wear caps with dozens of electrodes attached to them.

The accused are then shown visuals or played audio clips related to the crime to check if there is any triggering of neurons in their brains which then generate brainwaves. 

The test results are then studied to determine the participation of the accused in a crime.

Blue Tide phenomenon observed in Maharashtra

Over the last few days, visitors to beaches in Maharashtra have witnessed the fluorescent bluish glow when the waves hit the shoreline.

The phenomenon is called ‘blue tide’.

It appears when luminescent marine life makes the sea appear a deep shade of blue.

It occurs when phytoplankton (microscopic marine plants), commonly known as dinoflagellates, produce light through chemical reactions in proteins. 

Waves disturb these unicellular microorganisms and make them release blue light.

Bioluminescence is the property of a living organism to produce and emit light.

Animals, plants, fungi and bacteria show bioluminescence.

A remarkable diversity of marine animals and microbes are able to produce their own light. 

It is found in many marine organisms such as bacteria, algae, jellyfish, worms, crustaceans, sea stars, fish and sharks.

Luminescence is generally higher in deep-living and planktonic organisms than in shallow species.

It is an anti-predatory response. 

Bioluminescence is assumed to startle predators, causing them to hesitate.

Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill

The Scottish parliament passed a landmark legislation that has made period products such as sanitary pads and tampons free of cost to those people who need them.

The bill is titled, “Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill”.

Scotland is the first country to take such a step.

The bill was passed with the aim of tackling “period poverty”, which is when some people who need period products struggle to afford them.

Central objective: To end the silence and stigma that surrounds menstruation.


(1) To remove gendered barriers;

(2) To ensure that those who menstruate have reasonably convenient access to period products free of charge.

What is ‘period poverty’?

Certain circumstances make access to sanitary products difficult for women and trans people.

These include homelessness, coercive, controlling and violent relationships and health conditions such as endometriosis.

SDGs Investor Map For India launched 

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Invest India have launched the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Investor Map for India.

It laid out 18 Investment Opportunities Areas (IOAs) in six critical SDG enabling sectors, that can help the country push forward on the trajectory of Sustainable Development.

The six focus sectors: Education, healthcare, agriculture and allied activities, financial services, renewable energy and alternatives and sustainable environment.

Of the 18 IOAs identified, 10 are already mature investable areas that have seen robust Private Equity and Venture Capital activity. 

The remaining eight IOAs are emerging opportunities, which have seen traction from early-stage investors.

The map has also identified eight ‘white spaces’, which have seen investor interest and have the potential to grow into IOAs in five to six years with policy support and private sector participation.

Invest India is the national investment promotion agency under the Commerce & Industry Ministry.

Agreements Between India-Bahrain

Recently, India and Bahrain have agreed to further strengthen their ties, including in areas of defence and maritime security.

The bilateral issues, and regional and global matters of mutual interest, included areas of defence and maritime security, space technology, trade and investment, infrastructure, IT, FinTech, health, hydrocarbon and renewable energy.

Both countries affirmed to further strengthen their Covid-19 related cooperation.

Bahrain appreciated the assistance provided by India during the pandemic through the supply of medicines, medical equipment and medical professionals.

They expressed satisfaction on the operationalisation of the Air Bubble arrangement between the two countries.

India renewed invitation to Bahrain for visiting India for the 3rd India-Bahrain High Joint Commission meeting to be held in the upcoming months.

Air bubbles (travel corridors or travel bubbles) are systems established between two countries that perceive each other to be safe and allow carriers of both the countries to fly passengers either way without any restrictions.