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September 18, 2023 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


Critical Raw Materials Act:

  • The European Union Parliament recently voted in favor of the Critical Raw Materials Act.
  • Critical raw materials (CRMs) are raw materials of high economic importance for the EU, with a high risk of supply disruption due to their concentration of sources and lack of good, affordable substitutes.
  • The CRM Act identifies a list of 30 critical raw materials, including lithium, cobalt, nickel, rare earths, and magnesium.

Objectives of the Act:

  • Increase and diversify the EU’s CRMs supply;
  • Strengthen circularity, including recycling;
  • Support research and innovation on resource efficiency and the development of substitutes;
  • Setting benchmarks by 2030 for domestic capacities:

The Act sets these benchmarks along the strategic raw materials value chain and for the diversification of EU supplies

  • at least 10% of the EU’s annual consumption for extraction;
  • at least 40% of the EU’s annual consumption for processing;
  • at least 15% of the EU’s annual consumption for recycling;
  • no more than 65% of the EU’s annual consumption from a single third country;
  • The Act will reduce the administrative burden, streamlining permitting procedures for critical raw materials projects in the EU.
  • To ensure supply chain resilience, the Act creates CRMs for supply chain monitoring and stress-testing, coordinates strategic stocks and sets risk preparedness obligations on large companies producing strategic technologies.
  • In addition to a list of CRMs for the whole EU economy, it lists strategic raw materials, which are those most crucial for strategic technologies used for green, digital, defense and space applications.


Samudra Prahari : Indian Coast Guard Ship

The Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Samudra Prahari is presently deployed on an overseas mission encompassing ASEAN nation.

  • Samudra Prahari is an Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) specially designed for pollution control.
  • It is the first pollution control vessel of its kind in Southeast Asia.
  • It is equipped with the most advanced pollution Response and Control equipment for mitigating oil spills in the Exclusive Economic Zone.
  • It has tanks and inflatable barges for storage of oil spills.
  • The ship is capable of unhindered oil recovery operations with a storage capacity of 500 KL.
  • The vessel is designed to operate a twin-engine Advanced Light Helicopter and to operate and embark Chetak helicopter.
  • Special features include an integrated platform management system, power management system, high power external fire fighting system and one indigenous gun mount with fire fighting system.
  • The ship has unmanned machinery operation capabilities.


  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional grouping which was established in 1967 with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration.
  • Founding members: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
  • Presently, ASEAN comprises 10 member states, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.
  • It promotes intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational, and sociocultural integration between its members and other countries in Asia.


Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • India is preparing to import a fresh batch of cheetahs from South Africa and introduce them into Madhya Pradesh’s Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on the northern boundary of the Mandsaur and Nimach districts in Madhya Pradesh.
  • It is spread over an area of 368.62 km2 (142.32 sq mi) adjoining Rajasthan state.
  • It lies in the Khathiar-Gir dry deciduous forest ecoregion.
  • It was notified in the year 1974 and added to the list of sanctuaries in 1984.
  • River Chambal flows through the sanctuary, dividing it into two parts.
  • The sanctuary is characterised by its diverse topography, which includes hills, plateaus, and the catchment area of the Gandhi Sagar Dam on the Chambal River.
  • The sanctuary has many places of historical, archaeological and religious importance, such as Chaurasigarh, Chaturbhujnath temple, Bhadkaji rock paintings, Narsinghjhar Hinglajgarh fort, Taxakeshwar temple etc.


Project Cheetah

The first batch of eight cheetahs from Namibia arrived on September 17, 2022, officially launching Project Cheetah, India’s cheetah introduction programme.

Why have African cheetahs been introduced in India?

The goal of the introduction of African cheetahs is to “establish viable cheetah metapopulation in India that allows the cheetah to perform its functional role as a top predator and provides space for the expansion of the cheetah within its historical range thereby contributing to its global conservation efforts.”

What is the status of the project?

  • In total, 20 adult African cheetahs have been imported so far.
  • The release of the cheetahs to run free in the wild was delayed with the first cheetah being released after more than 100 days in the larger enclosure. So far, only 12 of the 20 cheetahs were ever released into the wild.
  • Six of the cheetahs which came from Africa have died. Four while still in captivity and two in the wild. Four of the adult cheetahs are yet to be released to run free even for a single day.
  • The project authorities are talking of additional sites being prepared for releasing the cheetahs such as the Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary and Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary, both in Madhya Pradesh.

Why did the cheetahs die?

  • There have been a variety of reasons and causes attributed to the deaths of the six adults and three cubs. Radio collars are not the underlying reason for the deaths of any of these cats, at least that is the officially stated position. One needs to determine if the African cheetahs are susceptible to certain insects and parasites in India, and if the collars provide a micro-environment conducive for these to thrive.

What has been the impact of the project on the conservation of other endangered species?

  • Unfortunately, the very high-profile cheetah project has definitely distracted attention and probably also diverted financial resources from much needed conservation projects like the ones for the Great Indian Bustard and the translocation of Asiatic lions, to mention a few.
  • Project Cheetah has also been called upon as a means to save grasslands and other open natural ecosystems.
  • However, given the challenges that the cheetahs have faced in surviving even in captivity and the lack of sufficient suitable habitats for them, using African cheetahs to conserve grasslands and grassland-dependent species is clearly a faulty strategy.

What are the lessons to be learnt?

  • Without proper and adequate habitats, there is no point in importing more cheetahs. Creating more glorified safari parks won’t solve the issue.
  • The real strategy lies in learning from past mistakes and focusing on the establishment of high-quality habitats covering at least 5,000 square kilometres before bringing more cheetahs from Africa.
  • We cannot rely on simply importing more cheetahs to establish a viable population while neglecting its habitat requirements. The other weakness has been the lack of wider consultation and transparency. This definitely needs to improve.


Vishwakarma Yojana

  • On India’s 77th Independence Day, Prime Minister announced the upcoming launch of the ‘Vishwakarma Yojana’ which is set to be introduced on Vishwakarma Diwas (September 17). This scheme aims to benefit individuals skilled in traditional craftsmanship, especially from the Other Backward Classes (OBC) community.
  • Skilled artisans like weavers, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, laundry workers, and barbers, among others, will be empowered through this scheme.
  • The scheme will encompass various elements such as financial aid, modern and green technology training, brand promotion, market connectivity, digital payments, and social security.
  • The initiative is in line with other successful government schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana, PM SvaNidhi, and Ujjwala, and seeks to empower artisans and strengthen the Agri-tech sector, including women self-help groups, by providing them with 15,000 drones and necessary training.


Dhanush guns

 The Army which has ordered 114 Dhanush artillery guns, and has one regiment operational already, is expecting to receive all the guns by 2026, according to defence sources

  • The Pralay surface-to-surface quasi-ballistic missile too is in advanced stages of induction
  • Dhanush is a 155 mm, 45-calibre towed artillery gun with a range of 36 km, and it has demonstrated a range of 38 km with specialised ammunition. It is an upgrade of the existing 155 mm, 39-calibre Bofors FH 77 gun.
  • Smerch is the longest range rocket system in the Army’s inventory with a range of 90 km. Pinaka will eventually become the mainstay of multi-rocket systems.



The Culture Ministry, in its proposal to UNESCO for Santiniketan’s inclusion on the World Heritage List, emphasized that this place represents a significant exchange of human values.

It has played a pivotal role in the development of architecture, technology, monumental arts, town planning, and landscape design within a cultural area of global importance.

Efforts to secure Santiniketan’s place on the UNESCO World Heritage List have been ongoing since 2010.

The latest proposal for its nomination began in the financial year 2020-21.

ASI has been diligently working on the restoration of various structures in the vicinity of Santiniketan in recent years


  • Santiniketan was originally called Bhubandanga, after the name of the village where it was located.
  • The town of Santiniketan was founded by Maharshi Devendranath Tagore, the father of Rabindranath Tagore, who was a Bengali philosopher, polymath, and the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
  • Maharshi Devendranath Tagore was a follower of the Brahmo Samaj, a Hindu reform movement that emphasized the worship of one supreme God and the importance of education and social reform.
  • In 1863, Maharshi Devendranath Tagore purchased a large piece of land in Bhubandanga, which he renamed Santiniketan, meaning “abode of peace.” He established an ashram, or spiritual retreat, on the land and started to teach his students about the principles of the Brahmo Samaj, as well as the importance of nature and simplicity.
  • Debendranath built a 60-foot by 30-foot glass structure for Brahmo prayers, inspired by the Crystal Palace in London, under a chhatim tree where he used to meditate.
  • In 1888, Debendranath dedicated the property to establish a Brahmavidyalaya through a trust deed.
  • In 1901, Rabindranath started a Brahmacharyaashrama, which became known as Patha Bhavana in 1925.
  • In 1921, Rabindranath Tagore founded Visva Bharati. Visva-Bharati University was later expanded to include a wide range of disciplines, including arts, sciences, and humanities. It became a Central University and an Institution of National Importance in 1951, and is now one of the most prestigious universities in India.
  • Rabindranath Tagore also established several other cultural institutions in Santiniketan, including the Kala Bhavan, a school of fine arts, and the Sangit Bhavan, a music school.
  • Santiniketan became a hub of cultural and intellectual activity, attracting scholars and artists from around the world. It was also a centre of resistance during India’s struggle for independence, with many of its students and faculty participating in the freedom movement.

Why did Rabindranath Tagore establish Shantiniketan?

  • Vision: Creating an educational institution that would be in harmony with nature, allowing students to better understand the topics they were learning and to create a place of learning that transcended religious and regional barriers.
  • Principles: Ancient Indian Gurukul system, where education was provided in a natural setting, fostering a strong connection between students and their environment.
  • Santiniketan, derived from the Sanskrit words, “shanti” (meaning peace or tranquility) and “niketan” (meaning abode or residence), translates to “abode of peace



  • It seismic tremors or vibrations that occur on the Moon’s surface.
  • It is less intense than earthquakes on Earth. The strongest moonquakes can reach magnitudes of up to 5.5 on the Richter scale, but most are much weaker.
  • It is measured using seismometers placed on the Moon’s surface by Apollo missions. These instruments recorded data from 1969 to 1977.
  • Between 1972 and 1977, 28 shallow moonquakes were observed.
  • It has helped scientists learn about the Moon’s internal structure, composition, and history.

Places In news

Mali, Niger, Burkina

The military leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger on Saturday signed a mutual defence pact, ministerial delegations from the three Sahel countries announced in Mali’s capital Bamako.

The Liptako-Gourma region — where the Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger borders meet — has been ravaged by jihadism in recent years.

The West African regional bloc ECOWAS has threatened to intervene militarily in Niger over the coup.

The Sahel Region

  • The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic realm of transition in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian savanna to the south.
  • Having a semi-arid climate, it stretches across the south-central latitudes of Northern Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea.
  • The Sahel part of Africa includes from west to east parts of northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, the extreme south of Algeria, Niger, the extreme north of Nigeria, the extreme north of Cameroon and Central African Republic, central Chad, central and southern Sudan, the extreme north of South Sudan, Eritrea, and the extreme north of Ethiopia.


  • The ECOWAS, also known as CEDEAO in French, is a regional intergovernmental organization established in 1975.
  • Created through the Lagos Treaty, ECOWAS aims to foster economic integration, cooperation, and development among West African nations.
  • The Secretariat, headquartered in Abuja, Nigeria.
  • Member States:
  • ECOWAS consists of 15 member states: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’ Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Togo.


September 18, 2023
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category: