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Prelims Specific

  • NIRVIK – Export Credit Insurance Scheme (ECIS) implemented through Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC). Enhanced cover will ensure that Foreign and Rupee export credit interest rates will be below 4%and 8% respectively for exporters. Under ECIS, insurance cover percentage has also been enhanced to 90% from the present average of 60% for both Principal and Interest.
  • IN-RSN-RTN Trilateral Exercise: A five-day-long naval exercise aimed at bolstering the maritime inter-relationships amongst Singapore, Thailand and India, and contribute significantly to enhancing the overall maritime security in the region. This would also strengthen the mutual confidence amongst three navies in terms of interoperability and development of a common understanding of procedures. This is the first time this exercise is being held.
  • Maitree 2019: An annual bilateral joint exercise between Indian Army (IA) and Royal Thailand Army (RTA). The aim of exercise is joint training of troops in counter terrorism operations in both jungle terrain and urban scenario. Exercise MAITREE-2019 has been the face of long standing bilateral ties between India and Thailand since 2006.


India Cooling Action Plan

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Why in News?

  • On World Ozone Day, India’s Cooling Action Plan gets UN applaud
  • India became one of the first countries in the world to launch a comprehensive Cooling Action plan in March, 2019

India Cooling Action Plan:

  • Has a long term vision to address the cooling requirement across sectors such as residential and commercial buildings, cold-chain, refrigeration, transport and industries
  • lists out actions which can help reduce the cooling demand, which will also help in reducing both direct and indirect emissions
  • CFCs in refrigerants are the major cause of ozone layer depletion, thus a shift towards lesser and more efficient cooling, with CFC free refrigerants is required for stopping ozone layer depletion
  • The India Cooling Action seeks to
    • Reduce cooling demand across sectors by 20% to 25% by 2037-38
    • Reduce refrigerant demand by 25% to 30% by 2037-38
    • Reduce cooling energy requirements by 25% to 40% by 2037-38
    • Recognize “cooling and related areas” as a thrust area of research under national S&T Programme
    • Training and certification of 100,000 servicing sector technicians by 2022-23, synergizing with Skill India Mission.
  • The plan, in addition to environmental benefits, will have the following major socio-economic impact:
    • Thermal comfort for all – provision for cooling for EWS and LIG housing
    • Sustainable cooling – low GHG emissions related to cooling
    • Doubling Farmers Income – better cold chain infrastructure – better value of produce to farmers, less wastage of produce
    • Skilled workforce for better livelihoods and environmental protection
    • Make in India – domestic manufacturing of air-conditioning and related cooling equipment
    • Robust R&D on alternative cooling technologies – to provide push to innovation in cooling sector


LEAP and ARPIT 2019 launched

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,
Education, Human Resources

Why in News?

  • Union Human Resource Development Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ launched Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) – 2019 and Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT) – 2019 under Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT)


  • Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) is a fully-funded three weeks leadership development training programme, organised in collaboration with Ministry of Human Resource Development, for second level academic functionaries in public funded higher education institutions.
  • Designed as a training programme with two weeks domestic and one week foreign training, the main objective of the programme is to prepare second tier academic heads who are likely to assume leadership roles in the future.


  • A Ministry of Human Resource Development initiative of online professional development of 15 lakhs higher education faculty using the MOOCs platform SWAYAM
  • ARPIT will be an ongoing exercise, so that every year National Resource Centres will continuously develop new refresher module in their earmarked discipline each year. The training materials will be uploaded and made available through SWAYAM
  • NRC will also host list of certified professionals


Vector Borne Diseases

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,
Education, Human Resources;

Why in News?

New Delhi is witnessing record number of cases of vector borne diseases such as Malaria, Dengue and Chikungunya

What are Vector Borne Diseases?

  • Vector-borne diseases are human illnesses caused by parasites, viruses and bacteria that are transmitted by mosquitoes, sandflies, triatomine bugs, blackflies, ticks, tsetse flies, mites, snails and lice
  • The major vector-borne diseases, together, account for around 17% of all infectious diseases. The burden of these diseases is highest in tropical and subtropical areas and they disproportionately affect the poorest populations
  • Vectors are living organisms that can transmit infectious diseases between humans or from animals to humans. Many of these vectors are bloodsucking insects, which ingest disease-producing microorganisms during a blood meal from an infected host (human or animal) and later inject it into a new host during their subsequent blood meal
  • E.g. Malaria, Dengue, Zika, Japanese encephalitis etc.
  • Malaria is spread through female anopheles mosquito, while Zika,Dengue and Chikungunya are transmitted by aedes aegypti mosquito

Status in India:

  • India has tropical, subtropical climate which is conducive for the spread of Vector Borne Diseases(VBDs)
  • In India, the challenge VBDs pose is serious because the increase in geographic distribution of vectors and VBDs have the potential to affect 90% of the population
  • Major VBDs in India in terms of population affected are:
    • Malaria,
    • Dengue,
    • Kala-azar,
    • Lymphatic filariasis,
    • Chikungunya, and
    • Japanese encephalitis
  • As global warming and land use change increases, the risk of acquiring vector-borne pathogens also increases

Steps taken:

  • National Vector borne Disease Control programme launched in 2003-04 by merging National anti-malaria control programme, National Filaria Control Programme and Kala Azar Control programmes. Japanese B Encephalitis and Dengue/DHF have also been included in this Program. Directorate of NAMP is the nodal agency for prevention and control of major Vector Borne Diseases
  • Initiatives such as “Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan” will have a positive impact on controlling vector population, thus having positive health outcomes in relation to VBDs
  • Under the National strategic plan for the elimination of malaria, India has pledged to eradicate the vector-borne disease by 2027