15 Nov 2023: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

15 Nov 2023 CNA
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A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
C. GS 3 Related
1. How does an electric battery work?
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
1. Search and seizure
F. Prelims Facts
1. Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar Awards
G. Tidbits
1. Mining Auction of Critical Minerals
3. Anti-Smog Guns
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
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F. Prelims Facts

1. Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar Awards

Syllabus: GS 3- Science and Technology

Prelims: About Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar Awards


  • The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (SSB) awards for 2022 were recently announced by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
  • The awards came amid the government’s plans to revamp science and medicine awards, introducing the ‘Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar’ (RVP) system. RVP is to replace the old awards, providing recognition to scientists, technologists, innovators, and teams.

Structure of Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar (RVP)

  • The RVP includes awards like Vigyan Shri, Vigyan Yuva-Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, Vigyan Team, and Vigyan Ratna.
  • Open to a diverse group, including those in government, private sector organisations, and individuals working outside any organisation.
  • Covers 13 scientific domains with a commitment to ensuring gender parity.

Key Differences from Older Awards

  1. Inclusivity: Open to innovators, technologists, and those in the industry with diverse affiliations.
  2. Expanded Eligibility: Includes technology-led innovations or products alongside discovery-based research.
  3. Team Awards: Acknowledges the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of scientific research.
  4. No Age Limit: Except for the Vigyan Yuva-SSB award, eliminating age barriers and ensuring gender representation.
  5. Global Recognition: Open to Persons of Indian Origin abroad, recognizing the global footprint of modern science.
  6. Elimination of Cash Prizes: Awards focus on certificates and medals.

Intent and Processes

  1. Notable Contributions: Emphasise that recognized contributions go beyond standard job descriptions.
  2. Comprehensive Citations: Include dedicated citations for teaching, mentoring, science communication, public engagement, leadership, and administration.
  3. Age Limit Considerations: Reconsider age limits for the Vigyan Yuva-SSB award to ensure gender parity and consider personal circumstances.
  4. Transparent Selection Process: Adhere to predetermined timelines, publicise shortlisted applicants, and ensure diverse selection committees.
  5. Diversity and Inclusivity: Pledge to ensure socioeconomic and demographic representation among awardees.
  6. Continuous Evaluation: Regularly assess the impact of the new award system on scientific work, diversity, and inclusivity.

G. Tidbits

1. Mining Auction of Critical Minerals

  • The government is to invite bids for 20 critical mineral blocks, including lithium and graphite mines, in the next two weeks.
  • The blocks include minerals like lithium and graphite, with 10-12 players in the country having the technology for production and processing.
  • After the auction notice, stakeholders will collaborate to develop a national-level strategy for mining and processing critical minerals.
  • In October 2023, the Central government sanctioned royalty rates of 3% for lithium and niobium, and 1% for Rare Earth Elements (REEs).
  • Critical minerals, especially lithium and REEs, are vital for India’s energy transition and commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.


  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is set to participate in the 10th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting­Plus (ADMM­Plus) in Jakarta, where discussions will focus on matters related to regional and global security.
  • ADMM is the highest defence consultative and cooperative mechanism in ASEAN.
  • ADMM-Plus comprises ASEAN member nations and dialogue partners, including India, the United States, China, Russia, Australia, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand.
  • India became an ASEAN dialogue partner in 1992, and the inaugural ADMM­Plus was in 2010.
  • The annual meetings aim to enhance cooperation among ASEAN and the Plus countries in security and defence.

3. Anti-Smog Guns

  • Delhi government launches 50 mobile ‘anti-smog guns’ to address the city’s severe air quality.
  • An anti-smog gun is a device designed to spray atomized water into the atmosphere, effectively absorbing dust and contaminants from the air in order to mitigate air pollution.
  • Mounted on a vehicle and linked to a water tank, the apparatus can be transported throughout the city to spray water and settle dust and other suspended particles.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following countries:
  1. Armenia
  2. Georgia
  3. Iran
  4. Kyrgyzstan
  5. Russia
  6. Uzbekistan

How many of the above-mentioned countries are part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)?

  1. Only two
  2. Only three
  3. Only four
  4. Only five

Answer: b

Explanation: CSTO is an intergovernmental military alliance in Eurasia consisting of six post-Soviet states: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan, formed in 2002.

Q2. Catalonia, a semi-autonomous region, is located in which of the following Peninsula?
  1. Scandinavian Peninsula
  2. Iberian Peninsula
  3. Balkan Peninsula
  4. Crimean Peninsula

Answer: b

Explanation: Iberian Peninsula. Catalonia is situated in the northeastern part of the Iberian Peninsula in Spain.

Q3. With reference to the anti-smog gun, consider the following statements:
  1. It spews nebulized water droplets into the atmosphere to absorb the smallest dust and polluted particles.
  2. It reduces air pollution by binding dust, PM2.5, and PM10, carrying them down along with water.
  3. The water tank connected to the gun is mounted on a vehicle.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two 
  3. All three
  4. None 

Answer: c

Explanation: All three statements are correct.


Q4. With reference to ADMM-Plus, which of the following statements is/are correct?
  1. The ADMM-Plus includes ASEAN member-states and their dialogue partners, focusing on security and defence cooperation.
  2. India became a dialogue partner of ASEAN in 2010 during the inaugural ADMM-Plus meeting.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 only  
  2. 2 only  
  3. Both 1 and 2  
  4. Neither 1 nor 2  

Answer: a

Explanation: India became an ASEAN dialogue partner in 1992.

Q5. With reference to Lithium, consider the following statements:
  1. It has wide applications in fields such as batteries, nuclear, and photovoltaic industries.
  2. India’s first-ever Lithium deposit was found in Karnataka.
  3. Australia is home to the world’s largest lithium reserves.

How many of the statements given above are incorrect?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two 
  3. All three
  4. None 

Answer: a

Explanation: Bolivia is home to the world’s biggest lithium reserves, followed by Argentina and Chile.


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