GS PAPER I NEWS

Cyclone ‘Yaas’

Why in News

The Cyclone ‘Yaas’ is expected to cross the coast in north Odisha, West Bengal between Paradip and the Sagar islands by the evening of May 26 as a very severe cyclonic storm.

Key Points


  • The Regional Meteorological Centre in Kolkata issued warnings that squally winds of 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph are very likely to prevail over North Bay of Bengal and along and off Odisha–West Bengal–Bangladesh coasts from the evening of May 24.
  • It would gradually increase further becoming 90­100 gusting to 110 kmph from 26th morning and increase thereafter becoming 155­165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph at the time of landfall till 26th afternoon.
  • The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary had also been setup to review the preparedness of Central and State/UT Governments and Agencies to deal with Cyclonic Storm ‘Yaas’ in the Bay of Bengal.
  • The weather office has issued an orange warning of extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places over Jhargram, Medinipur, North & south 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Kolkata in West Bengal and Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore in Odisha.
  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) has airlifted 950 NDRF personnel and 70 tonnes of load from Jamnagar, Varanasi, Patna and Arakonnam to Kolkata, Bhubaneswar and Port Blair in 15 transport aircraft.

About Yaas

  • The Cyclone Yaas has been named by Oman.
  • Yaas refers to a tree that has a good fragrance and in English, the word is similar to Jasmine.
  • The intensity of cyclonic storm Yaas is likely to be similar to that of Cyclone Amphan, which hit the Sunderbans in south Bengal in May 2020, killing over 100 people and causing widespread damage in the region.
  • The depression over East-central Bay of Bengal has intensified into a Deep Depression and is about 600 km north-northwest of Port Blair.

How Cyclone names

  • A group of nations called WMO/ESCAP (World Meteorological Organisation/United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) has been formed in 2000.
  • It comprised Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand, decided to start naming cyclones in the region.
  • After each country sent in suggestions, the WMO/ESCAP Panel on Tropical Cyclones (PTC) finalised the list.
  • In 2018, the WMO/ESCAP expanded to include five more countriesIran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
  • The list of 169 cyclone names released by IMD in April 2020 were provided by these countries — 13 suggestions from each of the 13 countries.

Importance of cyclone name

  • Naming cyclone makes it easier for people to remember, as opposed to numbers and technical terms.
  • It also helps the scientific community, the media, disaster managers to memorise particular cyclone.
  • With a name, it is easy to identify individual cyclones, create awareness of its development, rapidly disseminate warnings to increased community preparedness and remove confusion where there are multiple cyclonic systems over a region.

About Cyclone

  • Cyclones are caused by atmospheric disturbances around a low-pressure area distinguished by swift and often destructive air circulation.
  • It usually accompanied by violent storms and bad weather.
  • The air rotates inward in an anticlockwise direction in the Northern hemisphere and clockwise direction in the Southern hemisphere.
  • Cyclones are classified as:
  • Extra tropical cyclones:
  • It is also called wave cyclone or mid-latitude cyclone, a type of storm system formed in middle or high latitudes, in regions of large horizontal temperature variations called frontal zones.
  • Extratropical cyclones present a contrast to the more violent cyclones or hurricanes of the tropics, which form in regions of relatively uniform temperatures.
  • Tropical cyclones:
  • It is also called typhoon or hurricane, an intense circular storm that originates over warm tropical oceans.
  • It is characterized by low atmospheric pressure, high winds, and heavy rain.
  • In extreme cases winds may exceed 240 km (150 miles) per hour, and gusts may surpass 320 km (200 miles) per hour.

Formation of Cyclone

  • Tropical cyclones are formed over warm ocean water near the equator.
  • Warm moist air near the surface of the ocean rises upwards.
  • It creates a low-pressure area near the surface which results in the movement of cooler air from surrounding areas into the low-pressure area.
  • Now even this cool air becomes warm and moist and rises up and this cycle keeps continuing.
  • The warm moist air which rises up, cools the water in the air, resulting in the formation of clouds.
  • This whole system of clouds and winds spins and grows and entire cycle continues resulting in a cyclone.
  • When the winds reach a speed of 63 mph then it is called a tropical storm and when the winds reach a speed of 119 kmph it is called a tropical cyclone or hurricane.

GS PAPER II

Galwan Valley

Why in News

The Indian Army denies any “minor face­off” took place at the Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh.

Key Points

  • In the first week of May, the media disclosed that there was a minor face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in the no patrolling zone at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh.
  • But on 23rd May 2021, a statement released by the Indian Army stated that there was no such” minor face-off” took place at Galwan Valley.

No-patrolling Zone

  • A no patrolling zone extending to around 3 km, around 1.5 km each on either side of the clash site near the Y-junction of the Galwan Valley.
  • It was created after June 15, 2020, when 20 Indian Army personnel were killed in clashes with Chinese troops.
  • On 11th February, 2021, Defence Minister informed the House that India and China signed an agreement for disengagement in the Pangong Lake area to cease their forward deployments in a “phased, coordinated and verified manner”, which would “substantially” restore the pre­April 2020 status.

India and China in 2020-21


  • The story traced its root from 5th May 2020 when Chinese and Indian troops engaged in aggressive melee, face-offs and clash at the Sino-Indian border.
  • It includes an area near the disputed Pangong Lake in Ladakh and the Tibet Autonomous Region, and near the border between Sikkim and the Tibet Autonomous Region.
  • Clashes also took place at eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • In late May, Chinese forces objected to Indian road construction in the Galwan river valley.
  • Partial disengagement from Galwan, Hot Springs and Gogra occurred in June–July 2020 while complete disengagement from Pangong Lake north and south bank took place in February 2021.

Galwan Valley

  • The Galwan Valley is one of the ongoing stand-offs between the Indian and Chinese troops.
  • The Galwan River which runs 80 kilometres westward from its origins in Karokoram range through Aksai Chin and East Ladakh to join the Shyok river, is strategically significance in the region.
  • Galwan Valley was also a flashpoint during the Indo-China war of 1962.
  • It is named after Ghulam Rassul Galwan who was a Ladakhi adventurer who was part of the numerous expeditions into Tibet, Yarkand, Karakoram range and the Pamirs.
  • In 1962, a forward post set up by India in the upper reaches of the Galwan Valley caused an “apogee of tension” between the two countries.
  • China attacked and eliminated the post in the 1962 war, reaching its 1960 claim line.
  • In 2020, China again at the Galwan Valley leading to a bloody clash on 16 June 2020.

GS PAPER III

FASTag

Why in News

GST authorities will now be able to track real-time data of commercial vehicle (CV) movement on highways by integration of the e-way bill (EWB) system with FASTag and RFID.

E-way bill (EWB)

  • E-Way Bill is an Electronic Way bill for movement of goods to be generated on the e-Way Bill Portal.
  • Under the indirect tax regime, e-way bills have been made mandatory for inter-state transportation of goods valued over Rs 50,000 from April 2018, with exemption to precious item such as gold.
  • On an average, 25 lakh goods vehicle movements from more than 800 tolls are reported on a daily basis to the e-way bill system.
  • About 180 crore e-way bills were generated in three years till March 2021.
  • Of this, only 7 crore bills were verified by tax officers. In the 2020-21 fiscal, 61.68 crore e-way bills were generated, of which 2.27 crore were picked up for verification.
  • The top five states which generated the maximum number of e-way bills for inter-state movement of goods are Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
  • The top five sectors where maximum e-way bills were generated in the past three years are textiles, electrical machinery, machinery and mechanical appliances, iron and steel, and automobiles.

New System


  • From January 1, 2021, RFID/FASTag has been integrated with the e-way bill system and transporter is required to have a radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag in his vehicle.
  • The details of the e-way bill generated for goods being carried by the vehicles are uploaded into the RFID system.
  • The information is later used by revenue authorities to validate the supplies made by a GST registered person.

Advantages of new system

  • Tax officers can now access reports about vehicles that have passed the selected tolls without e-way bills in the past few minutes.
  • They can also view details of vehicles carrying critical commodities specific to the state that have passed the selected toll.
  • The tax authorities can view details of any suspicious vehicles and vehicles of e-way bills generated by suspicious taxpayer GST identification numbers (GSTINs) that have passed the selected toll on a near real-time basis.
  • Officers can use these reports while conducting vigilance and make the vigilance activity more effective.
  • The audit and enforcement officer can use these reports to identify fraudulent transactions like bill trading, recycling of e-way bills.

FASTag

  • FASTag is a sticker or a tag usually pasted on the windscreen of the car.
  • It uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to communicate with scanner installed at toll plazas.
  • Once the car crosses the toll plaza the requisite toll amount is automatically deducted from a bank account or a prepaid walled linked to the FASTag.
  • Vehicles can drive through plazas without stopping.
  • If the tag is linked to a prepaid account like a wallet, or a debit/credit card, then owners need to recharge/top up the tag.
  • If it is linked to a savings account, then the money will get deducted automatically after the balance goes below a pre-defined threshold.
  • Once a vehicle crosses the toll, the owner gets an SMS alert on the deduction.

INS Rajput

Why in News

INS Rajput, the first destroyer of the Indian Navy, recently decommissioned after over 41 years of service.

Key Points

  • The ship was decommissioned from service on 21 May 2021 at the Naval Dockyard in Visakhapatnam.
  • The event was attended only by in-station officers and sailors, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • As the sun sets on 21 May, 2021, the Naval Ensign and the Commissioning Pennant hauled down for the last time onboard INS Rajput, symbolising the decommissioning.
  • With the motto ‘Raj Karega Rajput’ firmly etched in their minds and indomitable spirit, the gallant crew of INS Rajput have remained ever vigilant and always ‘on call’ to protect the maritime interest and sovereignty of the nation.

About INS Rajput


  • INS Rajput was a guided-missile destroyer and the lead ship of the Rajput class of the Indian Navy.
  • It was commissioned on 4 May 1980 as the first destroyer of the Indian Navy.
  • It was built by the erstwhile USSR and Commodore Gulab Mohanlal Hiranandani was her first commanding officer.
  • It served as a trial platform for the BrahMos cruise missile.
  • Rajput tracked the Dhanush ballistic missile during a successful test in 2005.
  • The ship participated in various operations over four decades including Operation Aman off Sri Lanka to assist Indian Peace Keeping Force, Operation Pawan for patrolling duties off the coast of Sri Lanka, and Operation Cactus to resolve hostage situation off Maldives.