Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you-Walt Whitman


ORANGE COLOUR: Important for Prelims.

RED COLOUR: Important for Mains.


BLUE COLOUR : Important Links/Survey.

PINK COLOUR: Reports/Themes/Summits.

Improve fuel efficiency of internal combustion engines


ARCI develops technology to improve fuel efficiency of internal combustion engines

      WHY IN NEWS:

Hot from PIB!

MINISTRY?Ministry of Science & Technology
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Science and Technology:Recent Innovations


For PRELIMS it is important to understand this new technology and its working . Watch the Video for understanding more in depth !

For MAINS nothing much here !


International Advanced Centre for Powder Metallurgy & New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous R&D Centre of Department of Science and Technology (DST), has developed ultrafast laser surface texturing technology, which can improve the fuel efficiency of internal combustion engines.

Fig. 1Femtosecond laser surface texturing (a) dimples, (b) grooves and (c) cross-hatches


Fig. 2: (a) Ball-on-disk test of different textured samples and (b) Engine test of textured piston rings


Laser surface micro-texturing, which offers precise control of the size, shape and density of micro-surface texture features has gained momentum as a way to control friction and wear.

  • In this technology, a pulsating laser beam creates micro-dimples or grooves on the surface of materials in a very controlled manner.
  • Such textures can trap wear debris when operating under dry sliding conditions and sometimes provide effects like enhancing oil supply (lubricant reservoir) which can lower friction coefficients and may enable reduced wear rate.
  • The texture surfaces were created on automotive internal combustion engine components, piston rings and cylinder liners using 100 fs pulse duration laser.


  • The micro dimples of 10-20 μm diameter and about 5-10 μm deep which have been created with laser beams had a regular pattern.
  • The created textures were tested in an engine test rig under different speeds and temperatures of coolant and lubrication oil, and it was observed that there was a 16% reduction in the lube oil consumption with the use of texture on the piston rings.
  • The 10-hour lube oil consumption test shows that the blow by substantially reduced with textured rings.
  • Fabrication of a pattern of micro dimples or grooves on the surface of materials results in a change in surface topography which generates additional hydrodynamic pressure, thereby increasing the load-carrying capacity of the surfaces.
Hence these become useful for trapping wear debris when operating under dry sliding conditions and sometimes provide effects like enhancing oil supply (lubricant reservoir) which can lower friction coefficients and may enable reduced wear rate.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

In order to control the friction, it is important to understand the mechanisms which occur during the conformal or non-conformal contact in dry and lubricated conditions.

Ultrafast lasers create micro or nano features without vacuum conditions.

These features are smaller than the diffraction-limited laser focal spot diameter – a unique property of ultrashort duration laser-matter interaction.

The process is a thermal, and pulse durations are orders of magnitude smaller than thermal diffusion times.


Glaciers in Sikkim are losing mass faster


Glaciers in Sikkim are losing mass faster than other parts of the Himalaya

      WHY IN NEWS:

Hot from PIB!

MINISTRY?Ministry of Science & Technology
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1:3:Earth:Science and Technology


For PRELIMS three things are important here:

  • Formation of glaciers
  • Reasons for losing mass more faster than Himalayan glaciers.
  • A little about WIHG institute if you are a newbie.

For MAINS you need to see this aspect as a global issue . Compare with the best Glaciers loosing its peak height !

Ponder some of your thoughts on the effects of Global warming vs size of glacial lakes.


Scientists from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Dehradun an autonomous research institute for the study of Geology of the Himalaya under the Department of Science and Technology, have found that glaciers in Sikkim are melting at a higher magnitude as compared to other Himalayan regions.

Figure- Example of lake changes on two glaciers in the Sikkim during 1991–2015.


The study published in Science of the Total Environment assessed the response of 23 glaciers of Sikkim to climate change for the period of 1991-2015 and revealed that glaciers in Sikkim have retreated and deglaciated significantly from 1991 to 2015.

Small-sized glaciers in Sikkim are retreating while larger glaciers are thinning due to climate change.

Compared to other Himalayan regions, the magnitude of dimensional changes and debris growth are higher in the Sikkim.

A major shift in glacier behavior has occurred around 2000.


Contrary to the western and central Himalaya, where glaciers are reported to have slowed down in recent decades, the Sikkim glaciers have shown negligible deceleration after 2000.

  • Summer temperature rise has been prime driver of glacier changes.
  • Glaciers well spread over the study area were selected based on multiple criteria such as size, length, debris cover, slope, aspect, and so on.
  • The multi-temporal and multi-sensor satellite data covering selected glaciers was procured.
  • The behavior of glaciers in the region is heterogeneous and found to be primarily determined by glacier size, debris cover, and glacial lakes.
  • Though a generalized mass loss is observed for both small (less than 3 km square) and large-sized glaciers (greater than 10 km square), they seem to adopt different mechanisms to cope with the ongoing climatic changes.
  • While the first adjust mostly by deglaciation, the latter lose mass through downwasting or thinning.
The Sikkim glaciers have been poorly studied till now, and field-based mass balance measurements have been limited to only one glacier (ChangmeKhangpu) and for a short period (1980-1987).

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

The studies are regional in nature and do no give emphasis on individual glacier behavior.

Velocity estimations have also been extremely rare.

This study, for the first time, studied multiple glacier parameters, namely length, area, debris cover, snowline altitude (SLA), glacial lakes, velocity, and downwasting, and explored interlinkage among them to present a clear picture about status and behavior of glaciers in the Sikkim.

Accurate knowledge of magnitude as well as the direction of glacier changes, as highlighted in the present study, can lead to awareness among common people regarding water supplies and possible glacier hazards, particularly to those communities that are living in close proximity.

The study can provide ample baseline data on glacier changes and systematically explore the causal relationship between glacier parameters and various influencing factors.

A clear understanding of glacier state will help orienting future studies as well as taking necessary measures.


CCMB may soon come up with diagnostic kits


CCMB may soon come up with diagnostic kits for Covid-19

      WHY IN NEWS:

CCMB is also planning to culture the covid-19 virus

MINISTRY?Ministry of Science & Technology


For PRELIMS you have to understand role of CCMB and the kits facility for COVID-19.


If the kits give 100 percent results, then only they will be approved.


To combat Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) insists that widescale “testing, testing, and testing” is the key as early diagnosis may help save lives.

Aligning with the call of WHO, the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) is working overtime on the development of cost-effective and accurate diagnostic kits for wide distribution.

We are testing and validating the diagnostic kits proposed by them. We may come up with some good kits and it may take at least 2-3 weeks if everything goes well.

Quality and accuracy of the kits are the most important things.


The organisation is also keeping in mind the cost. “Our estimate is that the test should be less than 1000 rupees.

We are also thinking of kits which are as cheap as 400-500 rupees, but at present we cannot assure that, as it is a different route and all this needs more standardisation”,.

Further, CCMB is also planning to culture the covid-19 virus. Dr Mishra said that the institution has facilities for this and they have got the approvals from the government too, they are yet to receive sample and kits to initiate the culture.


  • To conduct research in frontier and multi-disciplinary areas of modern biology and to seek potential applications of this work.
  • To train people in the advanced areas of biology to serve the needs of development in these areas, with special provision for short-term training of staff from other institutions in techniques for which adequate facilities may not exist elsewhere.
To provide centralized facilities in the country for new and modern techniques in the inter-disciplinary areas of biology, and to ensure that these facilities are so organized, maintained and administered that they can be put to maximal use by research workers from other laboratories and institutions in the country.


CCMB was set up initially as a semi-autonomous Centre on April 1, 1977 with the Biochemistry Division of the then Regional Research Laboratory (presently, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, IICT) Hyderabad.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Vaccine and drug development are another aspect of fighting the virus.

But as of now CCMB is neither working on the vaccine nor on the drug development.

“We have no expertise for working on this.

However, when the virus is being cultured, we will try to set up a system as it can be used for screening” said Dr Mishra.

He told that may be CCMB’s sister organisation Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) is working for repurposing of drugs as making a new drug is a long-term process.

SUGGESTED READING : chttps://www.ccmb.res.in/index.php?view=profile&mid=100&id=15

 Biofortified, high protein wheat variety


Scientists of ARI, Pune develop biofortified, high protein wheat variety

      WHY IN NEWS:

Hot from PIB!

MINISTRY?Ministry of Science & Technology


For PRELIMS go through following concepts:

  • What is MACS 4028?
  • Why it is more favorable than normal wheat?
  • Where can be this cultivated?

For MAINS go through Pros and Cons of Bio Fortification.


Scientists from Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, have developed a biofortified durum wheat variety MACS 4028, which shows high protein content.

Description: ARI MACS

Smt. Jayshri Govind Jadhav, a woman farmer, ensuring the nutritional security of her family through the cultivation of biofortified wheat variety MACS 4028, in  Morgaon, District Pune, Maharashtra.

MACS 4028

  • MACS 4028, a semi-dwarf variety, has shown the superior and stable yielding ability
  • It is resistant to stem rust, leaf rust, foliar aphids, root aphids, and brown wheat mite.
  • MACS 4028 shows high protein content of about 14.7%, better nutritional quality having zinc 40.3 ppm, and iron content of 40.3ppm and 46.1ppm respectively, good milling quality and overall acceptability.
MACS 4028, the development of which was published in the Indian Journal of Genetics and Plant Breeding, is a semi-dwarf variety, which matures in 102 days and has shown the superior and stable yielding ability of 19.3 quintals per hectare.


  • The MACS 4028 variety is also included by the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) programme for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to alleviate malnutrition in a sustainable way
  • This can boost the Vision 2022 “Kuposhan Mukt Bharat”, the National Nutrition Strategy.
  • An endeavor to tackle the hidden hunger in the rural areas of India is being continued using traditional plant breeding approach to achieve “Kuposhan Mukt Bharat.”

The wheat variety MACS 4028 has been notified by the Central Sub-Committee on Crop Standards, Notification and Release of Varieties for Agricultural Crops (CVRC) for timely sown, rainfed condition of Peninsular Zone, comprising Maharashtra and Karnataka.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Wheat crop in India is grown under six diverse agroclimatic zones.

In the peninsular zone of India (Maharashtra and Karnataka states), wheat cultivation is majorly done under rainfed and limited irrigation conditions.

Under such conditions, the crop experiences moisture stress.

Hence, there is a high demand for drought-tolerant varieties.


Undisturbed mass nesting


Undisturbed mass nesting of Olive Ridleys at Rushikulya

      WHY IN NEWS:

Turtles are safe as tourists and locals stay away from Odisha coast due to the COVID-19 lockdown

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Conservation of Biodiversity


For PRELIMS let us go in detail the nesting process and why such a level of protection is been given.

For MAINS give your thoughts about effect of cyclones on nesting cycle ? Let us know in the comment section


Restrictions in place for the COVID-19 threat are saving lakhs of Olive Ridley turtles from possible disturbance by humans, especially tourists, while they are continuing mass nesting at Odisha’s Rushikulya rookery.


Safe landing: Olive Ridleys began mass nesting at the Rushikulya rookery on March 21.
  • According to the Forest Department’s enumeration, over 2,78,502 turtles nested at this coast till Wednesday morning. Since Tuesday evening, over 72,142 Olive Ridleys have arrived at the beach to dig nests and lay eggs.


As a large number of turtles are still in the sea near this coast, mass nesting is expected to continue for some more nights.

This event normally attracts hundreds of people to the spot, with Forest Department personnel spending considerable time and effort in controlling the crowd.

But this year, the COVID-19 lockdown has ensured no such disturbance occurs for the turtles.

Proper maintenance of cleanliness and provision of protection to the turtles at sea since November 2019.

Two trawlers, two speed boats and a country boat are being used by the Forest Department to patrol the sea, in order to prevent fishing trawlers from plying along the coast.

In 2019, mass nesting of Olive Ridleys did not occur in Rushikulya, in contrast to 2018, when “double mass nesting” occurred in February and April, with nesting figures rising above 4,73,000.


Cyclone Titli in October 2018, and the floods that followed, left huge piles of waste over about 8 km of the Rushikulya coast, which had to be cleaned with excavators. It has been estimated that minute particles of waste remained, keeping Olive Ridleys away in 2019.

This year, the beach received a thorough cleaning long before the mass nesting commenced.


Olive ridleys occur globally and are found mainly in tropical regions of the Pacific, Indian, and Southern Atlantic Oceans.

They are primarily pelagic, spending much of their life in the open ocean, but may also inhabit continental shelf areas and venture into bays and estuaries.


Threats to olive ridleys include the :

  • Direct harvest of turtles and eggs for human consumption,
  • Entanglement of turtles in commercial fishing gear,
  • and coastal development.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

The Forest Department also set up 11 off-shore camps early this year to monitor the beach.


Indelible ink to be used to mark the quarantined


Indelible ink to be used to mark the quarantined

      WHY IN NEWS:

EC cites ‘extraordinary’ circumstances

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2:Election Commision


For PRELIMS it is important to understand a little history and the potential compositions of this ink.


The Election Commission of India on Wednesday said it had allowed the government to use indelible ink, which is used to mark voters, to mark people ordered quarantine themselves at home in view of the “extraordinary circumstances” due to the coronavirus pandemic.


The ink should not be used on any finger of the left hand.


In a letter to the Health and Family Welfare Ministry, the EC wrote that it had taken the suo motu decision to allow the use of indelible ink with certain conditions.

The EC wrote that according to Rule 49 K of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, an elector is supposed to be marked on the forefinger of his left hand before casting the vote.

In case the elector does not have a forefinger on the left hand, any other finger of the left hand can be marked and in case the elector does not have any finger on the left hand, the forefinger of the right hand can be marked.


Indelible ink typically contain Silver Nitrate which stains the skin on exposure of ultraviolet light, leaving a mark that is impossible to wash off and is only removed on external skin cells are replaced.


In 1962, the Election Commission in collaboration with the Law Ministry, the National Physical Laboratory of India and the National Research Development Corporation made an agreement with Mysore Paints and Varnish Ltd. to manufacture ink that couldn’t be wiped off easily. 

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

The EC said the authorities should be directed not to use the ink on any finger of the left hand.


G20 virtual summit


Saudi King to chair G20 virtual summit

      WHY IN NEWS:

For Modi, this will be the second leadership summit after SAARC video meet

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2:IR:International Summit


Leaders of the G20 (Group of Twenty) nations will hold a video conference on Thursday.


The virtual summit will be led by King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia, which is the current president of the economic grouping.


“G20 members will be joined by leaders from invited countries, Spain, Jordan, Singapore, and Switzerland as well as international organisations the United Nations, the World Bank Group, the World Health Organisation and the World Trade Organisation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development,” .

Apart from 19 of the biggest economies of the world, G20 also includes the European Union. For 2020, Spain, Jordan, Singapore and Switzerland are the invited countries.


For Prime Minister Narendra Modi, this will be the second virtual leadership summit after the video meet of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), which he initiated on March 15 and led to the creation of the SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund.

It is expected that the G20 virtual summit will yield a detailed plan for confronting the pandemic caused by COVID-19.

Leaders of the grouping had been in contact over the last few weeks and held preparatory consultations.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

“Global challenges require global cooperation,”!



 Let us ‘Discuss’

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Let us know what you think about this in the comment section.



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