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Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA)

Why in news?

TAFE (Tractors and Farm Equipment Ltd.) has signed a pact with Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) to aid efficient utilisation of energy in agriculture.

About PCRA

  • PCRA is a national government agency engaged in promoting energy efficiency in various sectors of economy.
  • It is a registered society under the aegis of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
  • It was established as a non-profit organisation in 1978.
  • It helps government in proposing policies and strategies aimed at reducing India’s dependency on oil, in order to save money, reduce environmental impact of oil use and also conserve fossil fuel.
  • PCRA aims at making oil conservation a national movement.
  • As part of its mandate, PCRA is entrusted with the task of creating awareness amongst the masses about the importance, methods and benefits of conserving petroleum products & emission reduction.
Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY)

Why in news?

Discom debt to swing back to pre-UDAY level of ₹2.6 lakh crore in FY20, says Crisil.

About UDAY

  • It is a central scheme for the financial revival of State electricity distribution utilities.
  • It was launched in November 2015 to help loss-making discoms turn around financially, with support from their State governments.

How it will work?

  • The Memorandum of Understanding of UDAY is a tri-partite agreement between union ministry of power, state governments and their respective discom(s).
  • Under this scheme, States shall take over 75% of DISCOM debt as on 30 September 2015 over two years.
  • The governments will then issue ‘UDAY bonds’ to banks and other financial institutions to raise money to pay off the banks.
  • The remaining 25 per cent of the discom debt will be dealt within one of the two ways
  • Conversion into lower interest rate loans by the lending banks
  • Funded by money raised through discom bonds backed by State guarantee
  • In return for the bailout, the discoms have been given target dates to meet efficiency parameters such as
  • Reduction in power lost through transmission, theft and faulty metering
  • Installing smart meters
  • Implementing GIS (geographic information system)
  • Mapping of loss making areas

Why in news?

The Supreme Court dismissed a plea of Opposition parties to review its judgment rejecting 50% random physical verification of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) using Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).

About EVM

  • Electronic Voting Machine (also known as EVM) is voting using electronic means.
  • An EVM is designed with two units
  1. The control unit
  2. The balloting unit
  • These units are joined together by a cable.
  • The control unit of the EVM is kept with the presiding officer or the polling officer.
  • The balloting unit is kept within the voting compartment for electors to cast their votes.
  • This is done to ensure that the polling officer verifies your identity.
  • With the EVM, instead of issuing a ballot paper, the polling officer will press the Ballot Button which enables the voter to cast their vote.
  • A list of candidate’s names and/or symbols will be available on the machine with a blue button next to it.
  • The voter can press the button next to the candidate’s name they wish to vote for.

About VVPATs

  • The Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is an independent verification printer machine that is attached to electronic voting machines.
  • It allows voters to verify if their vote has gone to the intended candidate.

How do VVPAT machines work?

  • When the voter presses the button against the name of the candidate of her/his choice on the EVM unit, the VVPAT unit generates a paper slip, also called ‘ballot slip’.
  • This paper slip contains the name, serial number, and symbol of the chosen candidate.
  • It allows the voter to verify his/her choice.
  • After being visible to the voter from a glass case in the VVPAT for seven seconds, the ballot slip will be cut and dropped into the drop box in the VVPAT machine and a beep will be heard.
  • Thus, the ballot slip neither goes into the hands of the voter nor others get to see it.
  • The Ballot Slip can only be accessed by the polling officers in the rarest of the rare cases.

World Affairs

Brasilia Declaration

Why in news?

Road accidents are the leading cause of death among people in the 5-29 age-group worldwide with more than 1.35 million lives lost each year and 50 million sustaining injuries, according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report.

About the declaration

  • The Brasilia Declaration lays down recommendations on strengthening existing legislations, adopting sustainable transport and strengthening post-crash response.
  • It was adopted at the second global high-level conference on road safety held in Brazil in 2015 at the mid- point of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.
  • It is developed through an intergovernmental process involving consultation with other stakeholders.
  • India is a signatory to this declaration.


  • Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety agreed upon ways to halve road traffic deaths by the end of this decade. (by 2020)
  • It is a key milestone within the new 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 3.6.


  • It highlights strategies to ensure the safety of all road users by
  • Improving laws and enforcement
  • Making roads safer through infrastructural modifications
  • Ensuring that vehicles are equipped with life-saving technologies
  • Enhancing emergency trauma care systems
  • It encourages WHO and partners to facilitate the development of targets to reduce road traffic crashes and fatalities, and support the definition and use of indicators linked to the SDG targets related to road safety.
  • The declaration promotes sustainable commuting ways and prioritises pedestrians, cyclists and motorists citing importance for traffic safety.
  • The declaration further urges states to adapt road safety policies for the benefit of the vulnerable road users, children, youth, older persons and persons with disabilities.

Current Affair Capsules

Balukhand Wildlife Sanctuary
  • The Balukhand - Konark Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary in Odisha and is located along the Bay of Bengal coast, between the towns of Puri and Konark.
  • It was ravaged by the recent cyclone, Fani.

Map Aided Programme

Sea of Japan

Why in news?

  • North Korea launches 'barrage' of short-range projectiles into the Sea of Japan.
  • Location
  • Marginal sea between the Japanese archipelago, Sakhalin, the Korean Peninsula and Russia.
  • The Japanese archipelago separates the sea from the Pacific Ocean.
  • It is bordered by Japan, Korea (North and South) and Russia.
  • Like the Mediterranean Sea, it has almost no tides due to its nearly complete enclosure from the Pacific Ocean.
  • This isolation also reflects in the fauna species and in the water salinity.

Previous Year Questions Revision Series (Pqrs)-(2013)

  1. In the context of food and nutritional security of India, enhancing the ‘Seed Replacement Rates’ of various crops helps in achieving the food production targets of the future. But what is / are the constraint / constraints in its wider/ greater implementation?
  2. There is no National Seeds Policy in place.
  3. There is no participation of private sector seed companies in the supply of quality seeds of vegetables and planting materials of horticultural crops.
  4. There is a demand-supply gap regarding quality seeds in case of low value and high volume crops.

Select the correct answer using the code give below.

(a) 1 and 2 only                 (b) 3 only                                

(c) 2 and 3 only                 (d) None