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National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2019

Why in news?

The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-Madras) beat Indian Institute of Science (IISc) to grab the top spot in the latest edition of National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2019.

About NIRF

  • National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) is a methodology to rank institutions across the country.
  • It provides credible official rankings of India’s higher educational institution on a set of parameters.
  • The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) was approved by the MHRD and launched by the Minister of Human Resource Development on September 29, 2015.
  • The methodology draws from the overall recommendations broad understanding arrived at by a core committee set up by MHRD, to identify the broad parameters for ranking various universities and institutions.

Parameters evaluated

  • The parameters are under the five broad headings:
  1. Teaching learning and resources
  2. Research, consulting and collaborative performance
  3. Graduation outcomes
  4. Outreach and inclusivity
  5. Perception

Why in news?

The new channel NaMo TV has been at the centre of controversy during the poll season, with the political parties submitting complaints against it with the Election Commission.

What is NaMo TV?

  • The channel is dedicated to speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • It emerged across major DTH platforms nationwide over the last fortnight.


  • Other parties sought to know how permission was granted to a party to launch its own TV channel after the Model Code of Conduct was enforced.
  • The channel is listed among Hindi News channels on some DTH platforms.
  • However, no such channel is mentioned in the list of channels permitted by the I&B Ministry.
  • All satellite-based channels require the ministry’s permission to be downlinked in the country irrespective of the content, or the platform it is available on.

How is this channel allowed, then?

  • NaMo TV has been approved as a ‘platform service’.
  • For such services, I&B permission is not necessary.
  • NaMo TV can’t be considered as a ‘platform service’ as it is found across different DTH platforms.

What is a platform service?

  • Platform services are certain channels that are provided by local cable operators and DTH operators, exclusively to their own viewers.
  • These are not offered by broadcasters (those that run satellite-based channels) and are outside the purview of regulations currently.
  • As defined by TRAI, Platform services (PS) are programs transmitted by Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs) exclusively to their own subscribers and does not include Doordarshan channels and registered TV channels.
  • PS shall not include foreign TV channels that are not registered in India.
  • On the other hand, satellite-based channels can only be broadcast if they are registered with the Government of India, which means these have the I&B permissions.


Dhanush artillery guns

Why in news?

The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) handed over the first batch of six Dhanush artillery guns to the Army.

About Dhanush artillery guns

  • Dhanush artillery guns is the indigenously upgraded gun of the Swedish Bofors gun procured in the 1980s.
  • Dhanush is a 155 mm, 45-calibre towed artillery gun.
  • It has a range of 36 km.
  • It is compatible with all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) 155 mm ammunition system.


  • They are equipped with inertial navigation-based sighting system, auto-laying facility, on-board ballistic computation and an advanced day and night direct firing system.
  • It is capable of firing projectiles at a relatively higher angle with a steep angle of descent.
  • It would be the third type of artillery gun to be inducted into the force after the K-9 Vajra and the M-777 ultra-light howitzers.
  • A howitzer / is a type of artillery piece characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small propellant charges to propel projectiles over relatively high trajectories, with a steep angle of descent.

Polity and Governance

Amicus Curiae

Why in news?

High Court-appointed amicus curiae has pointed out that lapses in dam management had aggravated the impact of August floods in Kerala.

About Amicus Curiae

  • Amicus curiae or amicus curiae is a legal Latin phrase, literally translated as friend of the court.
  • It refers to someone (not a party to a case) who volunteers to offer information on a point of law or some other aspect of the case to assist the court in deciding a matter before it.
  • Amicus Curiae is required in following situations:
  • Matters of Public importance: Court can also appoint amicus curiae in any matter of general public importance or in which the interest of the public at large is involved.
  • Doing Investigation: important questions of law are involved and both parties are represented but the court still wants a senior lawyer to assist it.
  • Defending the accused: amicus curiae can be asked to represent the accused if a petition is received from the jail or if the accused is unrepresented in a criminal case.


Currency Chest

Why in news?

The Reserve Bank of India came out with guidelines for banks to set up new currency chests.

New Guidelines

  • Area of the strong room/ vault of at least 1,500 sq ft.
  • For those situated in hilly/ inaccessible places, the strong room/ vault area of at least 600 sq ft.
  • The new chests should have a processing capacity of 6 lakh pieces of banknotes per day.
  • For those situated in the hilly/ inaccessible places, the capacity of 2.1 lakh pieces of banknotes per day.
  • The currency chests should have Chest Balance Limit (CBL) of Rs 1,000 crore, subject to ground realities and reasonable restrictions, at the discretion of the Reserve Bank.

What is Currency Chest?

  • Currency chests are branches of selected banks authorised by the RBI to stock rupee notes and coins.
  • It is the place where the RBI kept all the excess money of banks under custody.
  • Whenever, RBI prints new currency notes, first it delivers to currency chests and then currency chests deliver these new currency notes to banks.
  • A currency chest is a depositary of RBI.
  • The bank, however, must maintain separate account independently of the chest which is monitored by RBI.

Currency Management

  • The responsibility for managing the currency in circulation is vested in the RBI.
  • The central bank advises the Centre on the number of notes to be printed, the currency denominations, security features and so on.
  • The number of notes that need to be printed is determined using a statistical model that takes the pace of economic growth, rate of inflation and the replacement rate of soiled notes.
  • The Government has, however, reserved the right to determine the amount of coins that have to be minted.

Current Affair Capsules

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
  • The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is a branch of Iran's Armed Forces founded after 1979 Islamic Revolution to protect the country's Islamic Republic system.
  • US to formally designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

Map Aided Programme

Taurus Strait    North Channel
  • Join:Arafura Sea & Gulf of Papua
  • Location:Papua New Guinea — Australia
  • Join:Irish Sea & Atlantic Ocean
  • Location:Ireland-England

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

  1. Consider the following crops:
  2. Cotton
  3. Groundnut
  4. Rice
  5. Wheat

Which of these are Kharif crops?

  • 1 and 4 only             (b) 2 and 3 only

(c)  1, 2 and 3 only            (d) 2, 3 and 4 only