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Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – March 07, 2024

{GS2 – Polity – Bodies – Statutory} National Company Law Tribunal

  • Context (IE): Byju’s parent company, Think & Learn Pvt Ltd, once valued at $22 billion, now faces financial distress, legal challenges, and investor discontent.
  • This month, CEO of Byju’s, informed employees about delayed salaries, attributing it to investors.
  • Based on the Investors’ plea the National Company Law Tribunal has blocked access to $200 million raised through a rights issue in January.
  • Further, Byju’s is facing inquiries into the whereabouts of $533 million which was parked with a Florida-based wealth manager.
    • Allegations of fund diversion are refuted by Byju’s, claiming the money was transferred to a subsidiary.
  • The valuation dropped below $1 billion, leading to calls for the removal of CEO Byju Raveendran and his family members from the company.

National Company Law Tribunal

  • It is a quasi-judicial body in India that adjudicates matters related to corporate law.
  • NCLT was set up to replace the erstwhile Company Law Board and the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR).
  • The Eradi Committee (2000) first recommended the constitution of an NCLT.
  • Constituted by the Central Government under Section 408 of the Companies Act, 2013 with effect from 1st June 2016.
  • Objective to provide a specialized forum for the resolution of disputes and matters pertaining to company law and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Act, 2016 (IBC).
  • Composition: It shall consist of a President and such number of Judicial and Technical Members as may be required.
    • The President appointed by the Central Government after consultation with CJI.
    • Criteria for President: A person who is or has been judge of a High Court for five years.
    • The Members appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of a Selection Committee.
  • Term of Members
    • President of Tribunal: Initial term of 5 years or till attainment of 67 years.
    • Other Members: 5 years or till attainment of 65 years.
    • Can be renewed for next 5 years.
    • No person shall be appointed as a Member unless he has completed 50 years.
  • Structure: The NCLT has eleven benches, two at New Delhi (one being the principal bench) and one each at Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai.
  • Appeal-Decisions of the NCLT may be appealed to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), the decisions of which may further be appealed to the Supreme Court of India.

Powers of NCLT

  • It has been given wide powers under the Companies Act, 2013 to adjudicate,
    • Cases initiated before the Company Law Board under the previous act (Companies Act, 1956)
    • All proceedings pending before any District court or High Court under the Old Act.
    • Cases pending before the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR), including those pending under the Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions) Act, 1985.
    • Appeals or any other proceedings pending before the Appellate Authority for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (AAIFR)
    • Fresh proceedings pertaining to claims of oppression and mismanagement of a company, winding up of companies and all other powers prescribed under the Companies Act.
    • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, also provides wide powers to the NCLT to adjudicate upon the insolvency resolution process and liquidation of corporate debtors.

Rights issue

  • It is an offer made by a company to its shareholders to purchase additional shares of their stock by a certain date at a specific price.
  • Unlike IPO, the rights issue is not offered to the general public but only to the existing shareholders in proportion of their existing holdings.
  • These are typically offered at prices that are lower than the typical share price.
  • Rights issues can lower a stock’s value and decrease trading volume, both of which have an impact on the share price.

{GS2 – Social Sector – Health} Rise in HIV Drug Resistance to Dolutegravir

  • Context (DTE): World Health Organization reports increasing resistance to the antiretroviral drug dolutegravir (DTG) among HIV patients, posing challenges to treatment effectiveness.

Dolutegravir (DTG)

  • DTG is an antiretroviral medication used, together with other medication, to treat HIV/AIDS.
  • DTG has been recommended by WHO since 2018 as a preferred first- and second-line HIV treatment due to its effectiveness, ease of use, and minimal side effects.
  • Survey data indicates resistance levels ranging from 3.9-8.6%, with higher rates observed among individuals with high viral loads transitioning to DTG-containing antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Antiretroviral therapy (ART)

  • The standard ART regimen typically consists of a combination of at least three antiretroviral drugs to suppress HIV and halt the disease’s progression.


  • Despite high levels of viral load suppression in populations receiving DTG, challenges persist in meeting Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets for HIV treatment and care.
  • Routine surveillance of HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) is recommended to track prevalence and patterns of resistance, crucial for shaping treatment guidelines and improving program quality.

{GS3 – Envi – CC Impacts} Declining Ice Levels in Great Lakes

  • Context (DTE): For the second consecutive year, the Great Lakes, Earth’s largest freshwater ecosystem, have experienced historically low ice levels.
  • Above-average temperatures and reduced Arctic air blasts contribute to diminishing ice cover.
  • Great Lakes of North America are a series of large interconnected freshwater lakes in North America that connect to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence River.

Great lakes of North America

  • The five lakes are Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, and they are generally on or near the Canada–United States border.
  • Hydrologically, Michigan and Huron are a single body of water joined at the Straits of Mackinac.
  • The Great Lakes are the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total area and are second-largest by total volume, containing 21% of the world’s surface freshwater by volume.
  • Because of their sea-like characteristics, such as rolling waves, sustained winds, strong currents, great depths, and distant horizons, the five Great Lakes have long been called inland seas.
  • Lake Michigan is the largest lake in the entire country.

{GS3 – Envi – Conservation} Rajasthan’s Sacred Groves

  • Context (DTE): Villagers in Rajasthan oppose declaring orans as deemed forests, fearing loss of access and livelihood.
  • Communities believe that once the oran is declared as deemed forest, they will be deprived of forest produce and access for herds and sheep in the forest area.

About Orans

  • Orans are sacred spaces, which are rich in biodiversity and usually include a water body.
  • These are community forests, preserved and managed by rural communities through institutions.
  • Orans also sustain traditional water resources found in village forests in the form of johad, nadi, talab, baori etc.
  • Orans are also spaces where herders take their livestock for grazing and are places for communal congregations, festivals, and other social events.
  • The villagers use gum, timber, forest produce and wild vegetables from orans for their daily use.
  • Godavarman judgment (1996): The SC eld that the power of the central government under the Forest Conservation Act was not only limited to the declared reserved forests or protected forests. Rather, it extends to all forests in India, whether on public or private land.

{GS3 – Envi – Conservation} SC restriction on Tiger Safaris

  • Context (ET | DTE | TH): The Supreme Court strongly criticized the illicit cutting down of 6,000 trees for constructing buildings, supposedly for ecotourism in Jim Corbett National Park.
  • It described the incident as a classic case revealing a corrupt alliance between politicians and officials exploiting the environment for immediate commercial gains.
  • The SC directed the formation of a committee comprising of representatives from Central Empowered Committee, NTCA, WII and UNF&CC.
  • The committee will consider and submit recommendations on whether tiger safaris can be permitted in the fringe area of the forests.
  • The state shall recover the quantified cost from the people and delinquent officers responsible for the damage.
  • The committee was also tasked with specifying the utilisation of the collected funds for active restoration of the ecological damage.

Central Empowered Committee (CEC)

  • It is a panel of experts, created by the Indian Supreme Court in 2002.
  • It was constituted in the famous T.N. Godavarman case to monitor SC’s orders in forest and wildlife cases since 2002.
  • The passage of the Forest Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 has restructured the Composition of Central Empowered Committee (CEC).

Composition of the newly restructured Central Empowered Committee (CEC)

  • Members: chairperson, a member secretary and three expert members.
  • Selected by All the members are selected by the Union government (MoEFCC).
  • Chairperson criteria: minimum of 25 years of experience in environmental, forestry, or wildlife fields or substantial administrative expertise in government.
    • Maximum term of chairperson: three years.
  • Member secretary criteria: must hold a rank not lower than deputy inspector general or director in the government and possess at least 12 years of experience in environmental, forestry, or wildlife matters.
  • Experts criteria: The three expert members, one each from the environment, forest, and wildlife sectors, should have a minimum of 20 years of expertise.
  • Non-governmental members: Not a part of the committee.

{GS3 – S&T – Defence} Project Seabird

  • Context (PIB): The Defence Minister inaugurated two major piers and seven residential towers, comprising 320 houses, to accommodate Project Seabird at Naval Base Karwar.

Project Seabird

  • It is the biggest naval project in India aiming to enhance naval capabilities and provide modern residential accommodations.
  • The Naval Base, renamed INS Kadamba, was commissioned in 2005.
  • The base also has the country’s first sealift facility, a unique “ship lift” and transfer system for docking and undocking ships and submarines.

Phase I (Operation Seabird)

  • Project Seabird’s Phase I finished in 2011, costing ₹2,629 crore.
  • After Phase I, the base could accommodate 11 front-line warships and 10 smaller FIC-type boats.
  • The infrastructure comprised a breakwater, a pier capable of berthing 10 ships, a 10,000-ton ship lift and dry berth, a Naval Ship Repair Yard, logistics and armament storage facilities, accommodation for 1000 personnel, a Headquarters/Depot Organisation, and a 141-bed Naval Hospital.

Phase II-A

  • Initiated in 2014, it was aimed at expanding the base and adding more facilities.
  • It also aims to construct buildings and structures that adhere to the current guidelines set by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change & Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).

Phase II-B

  • This phase is currently in progress.
  • Once finished, the Naval Base will have the capacity to house 50 front-line warships.

INS Kadamba

  • It is a Naval Base situated on the Western Coast of India in Karwar, Karnataka.
  • It ranks as the 3rd largest Naval Base in India, following those in Mumbai and Visakhapatnam.
  • It serves as the home base for INS Vikramaditya.
  • Upon completion, INS Kadamba is slated to become the largest Naval Base in Asia and the largest one east of the Suez Canal.
  • Named after the Kadamba Dynasty, the first Kannada royal dynasty, it traces its roots back to Banavasi in Uttara Kannada district.

{GS3 – S&T – IPR} GI Tag given to 10 Products

Products from Andhra Pradesh

Products Description
Narasapur Crochet Lace Craft

  • The lace product is geographically limited to West Godavari and Konaseema districts within the Godavari region, Andhra Pradesh.
  • The crochet lace craft produces three categories of lace products: Garments, Home furnishings, and Accessories.

Products from Odisha

Products Description
Cuttack Rupa Tarakasi (Silver Filigree)

A sculpture of a ship
Description automatically generated

  • Cuttack Rupa Tarakasi produces exquisite silver filigree jewellery and decorative items.
  • The craft involves delicate silver wires twisted and shaped into intricate patterns, often resembling lacework.

Products from West Bengal

Products Description
Banglar Muslin

A close up of a white fabric
Description automatically generated

  • Banglar muslin is a traditional handloom craft from Bengal.
  • This muslin fabric is made of cotton, spun to create threads with exceptional tensile strength (above 300 counts and up to 600 counts), surpassing other cotton products.

Products from Gujarat

Products Description
Kutch Rogan Craft

  • Kutch, in the Gujarat, is famous for its Rogan art.
  • Rogan involves painting on fabric using castor oil-based colours, creating vibrant and intricate designs.
Ambaji White Marble

  • This exquisite marble is highly calcic and is extracted from the town of Ambaji, Gujarat.
  • Formed when limestone is re-crystallised under the earth’s crust due to intense pressure and heat.
  • The marble possesses a soft and waxy appearance.
  • It is widely used in creating sculptures and architectural elements.

Products from Madhya Pradesh

Products Description
Ratlam Riyawan Lahsun (Garlic)

  • This garlic is cultivated in Riyawan village of Ratlam district, Madhya Pradesh.
  • It has a higher oil content and bold flavours than the other varieties.
  • Each bulb of Riyawan garlic consists of five to six cloves, which are known to possess a pungent taste and medicinal value.

Products from Tripura

Products Description
Tripura Risa Textile

  • It is common in almost all 19 indigenous tribal communities of Tripura.
  • It is a handwoven cloth used as a female upper garment, as headgear, a stole, or a present to express respect.
  • Handloom remains an integral part of the Tripuri household, even with the advent of powerloom-manufactured garments.

Products from Telangana

Products Description
Hyderabad Lac Bangles

A group of colorful bracelets
Description automatically generated

  • It will be the 17th product from Telangana to receive GI tag.
  • Lac bangles are made of resin that is malleable to heat.
  • The lac that looks like a rolling pin is melted into a soft dough.
  • The melted lac is fitted on various sizes of metal bangle rings and then pressed and rolled to give the shape and look of a bangle.
  • They are then embellished with crystals, beads, or mirrors.

Products from Assam

Products Description
Mask-Making (Mukha Shilpa)

  • The craft dates back to the medieval ages when Saint Sankardeva introduced Neo-Vaisnavism and used various art forms, including mask-making, to spread his teachings.
  • These masks represent a range of images and emotions, embodying the region’s unique socio-religious culture.
  • They demonstrate the versatility of local materials.
Manuscript Painting

  • Manuscript paintings in Majuli primarily depict stories from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the Bhagavata Purana.
  • These paintings often focus on events related to Lord Krishna.
  • The 3 popular manuscript writing styles in the region are Gargayan script, Kaithall, and Bamunia.

{GS3 – S&T – ISRO} Kulasekarapattinam Spaceport in Tamil Nadu

  • Context (IE): On February 28, Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for ISRO’s second rocket launchport in Kulasekarapattinam, Thoothukudi district, Tamil Nadu.
  • It will be exclusively used for commercial, on-demand, and small satellite launches in the future.

Why does India need a new launchport?

  • To handle the expected increase in commercial launches due to the new space sector policy, ISRO is building a second rocket launchport.
  • It will ensure that the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR is not overburdened.
  • SHAR will be only used for launching bigger and heavy-lift-off missions like those to the Moon, Venus, and the Gaganyaan human-flight mission.
  • Whereas the new launchport will handle smaller payloads and accommodate private players for satellite building and facilitate dedicated launch infrastructure for commercial launches.

Why is the new launchport located in Tamil Nadu?

To avoid Dogleg manoeuvre


  • Currently, the trajectory followed by all launches from SHAR are longer as they follow a path which requires the vehicle to skirt eastwards around Sri Lanka before taking the actual southward flight.
    • The rule is that you cannot fly over a land mass when you are not in orbit. This consumes additional fuel.
  • Future launches from Kulasekarapattinam, positioned west of Colombo, will have a more direct southward flight path, avoiding the eastward route around Sri Lanka.

Geographic advantage of being more closer to the equator

  • The surface velocity of rotation varies from point to point on the Earth.
  • It is about 1600 km per hour or about 460 meters in a second near the equator.
  • The velocity gradually reduces as we move to the poles and it is practically zero there.
  • A satellite launched from the sites near the equator towards the east direction will get an initial boost (approximately 460 m/s) equal to the velocity of Earth surface.
    • Why East? The Earth rotates from west to east (anti-clockwise).
  • The initial boost helps in cutting down the cost of rockets used to launch the satellites. This is the major reason for launching satellites in the east ward direction.
  • The above benefit can be taken only for such satellites which are placed in geo-stationary orbit or which circle the Earth parallel to the equator.
  • Such satellites are usually communication satellites or satellites used for scientific research.
  • There are other satellites which are placed in polar orbits moving across the equator in a north south direction.
  • Such satellites are generally launched in a south ward or north ward direction and therefore cannot take advantage of the Earth’s rotation. They are used mainly for mapping or spying.
  • Escape velocity is the speed that an object needs to be traveling to break free of a planet or moon’s gravity well and leave it without further propulsion. For example, a spacecraft leaving the surface of Earth needs to be going 7 miles per second, or nearly 25,000 miles per hour to leave without falling back to the surface or falling into orbit.

Small satellite launch vehicle

  • SSLV is a recent addition to ISRO’s launch capabilities.
  • It is a three-stage launch vehicle (3 solid propulsion stages & a liquid propulsion terminal stage).
  • It’s specifically designed to launch small satellites, ranging from 10 to 500kg, into Low Earth Orbit.
  • These satellites are often referred to as mini, micro, or nano satellites.
  • SSLV missions are cost-effective, and they enable quicker satellite insertion into orbit.
  • SSLV are best suited for commercial and on-demand launches.
  • SSLV mission so far
    • First mission (SSLV-D1) in August 2022, carrying EOS-02 and AzaadiSat, was unsuccessful due to a deviation in the satellite insertion orbit.
    • Second mission (SSLV-D2) in February 2023, successfully inserted three satellites into the intended orbit. Both launches occurred at SHAR.

A screenshot of a computer
Description automatically generated

Sriharikota Range (SHAR)

  • SHAR is located 80 km off Chennai on the east coast of Andhra Pradesh.
  • It serves as the primary launch infrastructure for all ISRO missions.
  • SHAR features facilities for solid propellant processing, static testing, and launch vehicle integration.
  • The center includes telemetry services, a mission control center, and a tracking and command network for launch oversight.
  • SHAR has two launch complexes, the First Launch Pad operational since September 1993, and the Second Launch Pad operational since May 2005.
  • It is used for launching various ISRO vehicles, including PSLV, GSLV, and LVM3.

{Prelims – Awards} Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards

  • Context (PIB): The President recently presented the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards for the years 2022 and 2023.
  • A total of 94 artists from various fields of performing arts received these prestigious accolades.

Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards

  • The Akademi Awards have been conferred since 1952.
  • The Awards in Hindustani and Carnatic music were instituted as early as in 1951, even before the Akademi was set up and these were known as Presidential Awards.
  • With the formation of the Akademi, the Awards came to be known as Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards and the investiture became the responsibility of the Akademi.
  • The Presidential Awards for 1952 and 1953 were subsequently incorporated in the list of Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards.

Sangeet Natak Akademi

  • The Sangeet Natak Akademi was set up in 1953 for the promotion of performing arts.
  • The Sangeet Natak Akademi is an Autonomous Body under the Ministry of Culture.
  • It acts at the national level for the:
    • Promotion and growth of Indian music, dance and drama,
    • Maintenance of standards of training in the performing arts,
    • Revival, preservation, documentation and dissemination of materials as well as instruments relating to various forms of music, dance and drama,
    • Recognition of outstanding artists.
  • The Akademi is also responsible for the establishment and maintenance of institutions and projects of national importance in the field of performing arts.

{Prelims – In News} Crops in News

  • Context (TH): The National Horticulture Fair at the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) features innovative varieties of vegetables and fruits.

Purple Lady’s Finger

  • A new purple variety of lady’s finger was developed by scientists at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)—IIHR.
  • It was developed to meet changing consumer preferences, and this purple hybrid resembles the traditional green lady’s finger.

  • Rich in anthocyanin and polyphenols, it offers antioxidant properties and is also anti-cancerous and anti-diabetic.
  • Boasts a high yield capacity of 15 tonnes per hectare and is resistant to root wilt disease, suitable for both traditional cultivation and as potted plants.

Popoulu Banana

  • University of Horticultural Sciences, Bagalkot, introduced the Popoulu banana variant as a substitute for Nendran banana in chip-making.
  • Popoulu bananas have a shorter cultivation period, larger size, and lower starch content, making them ideal for crisper chips with less oil consumption.

{Prelims – In News} Dry Ice

  • Context (DTE): A group of diners at a cafe in Gurugram mistakenly ingested dry ice offered as a mouth freshener.
  • Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide (CO2) commonly used as a cooling agent, particularly in food products like ice cream and frozen desserts.
  • Dry ice consists of a single carbon atom bonded to two oxygen atoms (CO₂).
  • It is colourless, odourless, and non-flammable.
  • When dissolved in water, it forms carbonic acid (H₂CO₃), which can lower the pH of a solution.
  • At pressures below 5.13 atm and temperatures below −56.4°C (−69.5°F) (the triple point), CO₂ changes directly from a solid to a gas without an intervening liquid phase.
  • Dry ice density increases with decreasing temperature, ranging between approximately 1.55 and 1.7 g/cm³ below 195 K (−78°C; −109°F).
  • It is an effective coolant because it is colder than water ice.
  • It sublimes into large quantities of carbon dioxide gas, posing risks to human health if mishandled or ingested.
  • Applications: Food preservation, cleaning and blasting, cryopreservation of biological samples, preserving perishables with temporary refrigeration, etc.

{Prelims – In News} India’s first underwater metro in Kolkata

  • Context (NDTV): India’s first underwater metro in Kolkata was inaugurated by PM.
  • It boasts the country’s deepest metro station, known as the Howrah Metro Station.
  • This addition spans 16.6 km beneath the Hooghly River.
  • The tunnel navigates a depth of 32 meters below the water level.
  • The concept of an underwater transportation system similar to London’s was initially proposed by the British in 1921.

{Prelims – S&T – Defence} Pars-I Satellite

  • Context (TOI): Iran successfully deployed “Pars-I” remote sensing and imaging satellite into orbit.
  • The Russian Soyuz-2.1b launcher facilitated the launch.
  • The satellite took off from Russia’s Vostochny launch base, located approximately 8,000 km (5,000 miles) east of Moscow.
  • Pars-I Satellite is a domestically developed satellite aimed at remote sensing and imaging of Iran’s topography.
  • It capable of sending high-resolution images from its orbit 500 km above Earth.
  • The launch highlights the use of the X-band link for enhanced data transmission.

{Prelims – S&T – Defence} Yars Missile

  • Context (HT): Russian military personnel conducted large-scale drills involving the Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system.
  • The Yars, also known as RS-24 or SS-29, is a Russian intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
  • It is a 3-stage solid-fuel missile that can launch from either a silo or a mobile launcher.
  • Weighing about 49,000 kg and measuring 20.9 meters long, it has a range of 12,000 km.
  • Equipped with Multiple Independently-targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs), it can carry at least six independently targetable nuclear warheads.
  • It is capable of manoeuvring mid-flight and deploying both active and passive decoys, giving it an edge against modern missile defense systems.

What is an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)?

  • ICBMs are guided missiles designed to deliver nuclear warheads, though they can carry other payloads.
  • They travel on a trajectory powered by rockets, reaching high altitudes before descending onto their target.
  • ICBMs have a minimum range of 5,500 km (3,400 miles) and maximum ranges varying from 7,000 to 16,000 km.
  • They are faster and have a greater range compared to other types of ballistic missiles.
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