1st Dec, 2020

India-Vietnam Talks held

Recently, Defence Ministers of India and Vietnam discussed collaboration in defence industry capability building, training and cooperation in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations, etc.

Both countries reaffirmed the strong India-Vietnam Defence cooperation which is a key pillar of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (2016).

India emphasised on closer defence industry cooperation by concluding an institutionalised framework agreement in the near future.

Vietnam thanked India for the assistance by Indian Armed Forces in capacity building of

Vietnamese Defence Forces especially in the field of Human Resource development.

India is also willing to enhance the scope and level of training for all three services of Vietnam Defence forces in Indian Defence Institutes.

The two nations Discussed cooperation in UN peacekeeping operations. 

They discussed cooperation in the field of Hydrography which will enable sharing of Hydrographic data and assist in production of navigational charts.

Vietnam has also invited India for ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM Plus) being hosted by Vietnam in December 2020.

The ADMM-Plus is a platform for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its eight Dialogue Partners – Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea,

Russia and the USA – to strengthen security and defence cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region.


Pilibhit Tiger Reserve bags international award TX2 

The Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR – Uttar Pradesh) recently bagged international award TX2 for doubling the number of tigers in the past four years.

TX2 Award goes to one site that has achieved remarkable and measurable increase in its tiger population since 2010.

Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR)

PTR is located in Uttar Pradesh.

The northern edge of the reserve lies along the Indo-Nepal border while the southern boundary is marked by the river Sharada and Khakra.

PTR is one of the finest examples of the exceedingly diverse and productive Terai ecosystems.

It is home to a habitat for over 127 animals, 326 bird species and 2,100 flowering plants.

Wild animals include tiger, swamp deer, Bengal florican, hog deer, leopard, etc.

It has high sal forests, plantation and grasslands with several water bodies.

TX2 Goal

The TX2 goal is a global commitment to double the world’s wild tigers by 2022.

The goal has been set by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) through the Global Tiger Initiative, Global Tiger Forum and other critical platforms.

Tiger Range Countries: India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

IUCN Red List Status of Tiger (Panthera Tigris): Endangered

It is listed under Appendix I of CITES.

It has been listed under ‘Schedule I’ of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.


The Transboundary Manas Conservation Area receives the Conservation Excellence Award, 2020

Recently, The Transboundary Manas Conservation Area receives the Conservation Excellence Award, 2020.

Conservation Excellence Award recognises one site that has achieved excellence in two or more of these five themes:

(1) Tiger and prey population monitoring and research;

(2) Effective site management;

(3) Enhanced law enforcement & protection & ranger welfare improvement;

(4) Community based conservation, benefits and human-wildlife conflict mitigation;

(5) Habitat and prey management.

Transboundary Manas Conservation Area (TraMCA)

It was established in 2011. 

Vision: To jointly develop and manage a transboundary conservation area between Bhutan and India, for the benefit of people and wildlife.

The TraMCA landscape forms a vital mosaic of conservation spaces across the Eastern Himalayas.

It covers the entire Manas Tiger Reserve in India, four protected areas in Bhutan and also two biological corridors.

The Manas Tiger Reserve in India and Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan form the core of this biologically outstanding trans-boundary region. 

It is home to tigers, elephants, rhinos and more than 1,500 species of mammals, birds and vascular plants.

The Manas River also flows through them. 

The number of Tigers in the Indian Manas increased from 9 in 2010 to 25 in 2018 

In the Bhutan Manas, the number more than doubled from 12 in 2008 to 26 in 2018.


Honey FPO Programme inauguarated under NAFED

Recently, the Honey Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) Programme of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) was virtually inaugurated.

Inauguarted by: Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.

The programme has been launched under the Formation and Promotion of FPOs.

It is a new Central Sector Scheme for the promotion of 10,000 new FPOs.

Under it, the National Level Project Management Advisory and Fund Sanctioning Committee (N-PMAFSC) had allocated FPO clusters for 2020-21 to all implementing agencies.

FPOs will be developed by specialist Cluster Based Business Organizations (CBBOs) engaged by implementing agencies.

NAFED has initiated the formation and promotion of FPOs of beekeepers and honey collectors in 5 states of India.

5 locations: East Champaran (Bihar), Morena (Madhya Pradesh), Bharatpur (Rajasthan), Mathura (Uttar Pradesh) and Sunderbans (West Bengal).

The first Honey FPO has been registered in the state of Madhya Pradesh.


(1) Skill Upgradation in scientific beekeeping;

(2) State of the art infrastructural facilities for processing honey and allied beekeeping products; (3) Quality upgradation by quality control laboratories;

(4) Better supply chain management 

National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED)

It is an apex organization of marketing cooperatives for agricultural produce in India.

It was founded on 2nd October 1958.

It is registered under the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 2002.

NAFED is now one of the largest procurement as well as marketing agencies for agricultural products in India.


(1) To organize, promote and develop marketing, processing and storage of agricultural, horticultural and forest produce;

(2) To distribute agricultural machinery, implements and other inputs;

(3) To act and assist for technical advice in agricultural production

Apiculture or beekeeping is the care and management of honey bees for the production of honey and wax.

In this method, bees are bred commercially in apiaries, an area where a lot of beehives can be placed.


CSIR-CCMB gets permission for Dry Swab RT-PCR Covid-19 Test

Recently, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB) has got the permission of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to commercially use the dry swab RNA-extraction free testing method for the Covid-19.

Dry swab method has a consistency of 96.9%.

Dry swabs eluted directly into a simple buffered solution can support molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2 via endpoint RT-PCR without substantially compromising sensitivity.

Dry swab technique does not require VTM and RNA extraction process. 

It can be directly used for RT-PCR testing.

It has the potential of bringing down the costs and time of testing by 40-50%.

The screening can also be enhanced several-fold with immediate effect 

The whole process is safer as well.

It is easy to implement with no requirement of new kits.

Existing manpower can perform this with no additional training.


Kary Mullis, the American biochemist invented the PCR technique. 

He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1993.

Under the test, copies of a segment of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) are created using an enzyme called Polymerase.

The ‘chain reaction’ signifies how the DNA fragments are copied exponentially, where one is copied into two, the two are copied into four, and so on.

A fluorescent DNA binding dye called the “probe” is added to DNA, which shows the presence of the virus on a fluorometer.

Covid-19 is made of RNA (ribonucleic acid). 

In order to detect it, RNA is converted into DNA using a technique called reverse transcription.

The copies of the DNA are then made and amplified.