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Why in news?

UGC announces new Initiative, STRIDE to boost research culture in India.

About the scheme

  • It is a scheme to strengthen the research culture and innovation in colleges and Universities.
  • STRIDE stands for ‘Scheme for Trans-disciplinary Research for India’s Developing Economy’’.
  • It is an initiative of the University Grants Commission of India, a statutory body set up by the Government of India in accordance to the UGC Act 1956 under Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  • STRIDE will provide support to research projects that are socially relevant, locally need-based, nationally important and globally significant.
  • STRIDE shall support research capacity building as well as basic, applied and transformational action research that can contribute to national priorities with focus on inclusive human development.
  • STRIDE shall support creation, development and integration of new ideas, concepts and practices for public good and strengthening civil society.

STRIDE Objectives

  • To identify young talent, strengthen research culture, build capacity, promote innovation and support trans-disciplinary research for India’s developing economy and national development.
  • To fund multi institutional network high-impact research projects in humanities and human sciences.

STRIDE components


  • It will endeavour to identify the motivated young talents with research and innovation aptitude in universities and colleges.
  • This component is open to all disciplines for grant upto 1 crore.


  • It will be mainly to enhance problem solving skills with help of social innovation and action research to improve wellbeing of people and contribute for India’s developing economy.
  • This component is open to all disciplines for grant upto 50 lakh – 1 crore.


  • It will fund high impact research projects in the identified thrust areas inhumanities and human sciences through national network of eminent scientists from leading institutions.
  • Grant available for this component is up to 1 crore for one HEI and up to 5 crores for multi institutional network.
National Common Mobility Card

Why in news?

The National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) has been launched in India with the tagline of ‘One Nation One Card’ on March 04, 2019.

About the card

  • It is the Indigenous Automatic Fare Collection System based on One Nation One Card Model i.e. National Common Mobility Card (NCMC).
  • It is the first of its kind in India.
  • It is an open loop card, which can be used for all local travel needs in the country.
  • India’s First Indigenously Developed Payment Eco-system for transport consisting of NCMC Card, SWEEKAR (SwachalitKiraya: Automatic Fare Collection System) and SWAGAT (Swachalit Gate) is based on NCMC Standards.
  • The NCMC card has 2 instruments on it
  1. A regular debit card which can be used at an ATM.
  2. A local wallet (stored value account), which can be used for contactless payments, without the need to go back to the server or additional authentication.

More about the card

  • Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs brought to the fore the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) to enable seamless travel by different metros and other transport systems across the country besides retail shopping and purchases.
  • NPCI was given the mandate to develop the specifications for card & terminal to support the NCMC ecosystem.
  • These are bank issued cards on Debit/Credit/Prepaid card product platform.
  • The customer may use this single card for payments across all segments including metro, bus, suburban railways, toll, parking, smart city and retail.
  • CDAC was entrusted the task of finalization of NCMC specification for Automatic Fare Collection system including the interface with Bank server.
  • The Gate & Reader prototype has been made by BEL.
  • This is the first gate and the reader which has been manufactured by an Indian company.
  • This is also the first indigenous payment reader which has been certified as per International standards.

World Affairs


Why in news?

The United States has decided to effect a steep increase in the application fee for its Immigrant Investor Visa Programme, EB-5.

About the news

  • Under the revised scheme, the application fee for projects under Targeted Employment Areas, will go up to $1.35 million from the current $500,000.
  • The standard minimum investment will also rise to $1.8 million from the existing $1 million.
  • India has reached retrogression for its investor visa EB-5, with the country utilising the existing cap of 700 visas offered by the US government to every country for the US fiscal year 2018 (October-September).

What is Visa Retrogression?

  • Visa retrogression occurs when the demand for a particular immigrant visa for a nation exceeds its availability.

About the VISA

  • It is an employment-based fifth preference category or EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program of United States.
  • It was created in 1990 by the Immigration Act of 1990.
  • It provides a method for eligible Immigrant Investors to become lawful permanent residents informally known as "green card" holders.
  • An EB-5 visa holder, who gets a green card, can choose any kind of work in the US.
  • Earlier, it was by investing at least $1,000,000 to finance a business in the United States that will employ at least 10 American workers.
  • Now, the standard minimum investment will also rise to $1.8 million from the existing $1 million.
  • Under the revised scheme, the application fee for projects under Targeted Employment Areas, will go up to $1.35 million from the current $500,000.
  • The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program is one of five employment-based (EB) preference programs in the United States.
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

Why in news?

Iran acknowledged that it had broken the limit set on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by the 2015 nuclear deal, marking its first major departure from the unraveling agreement a year after the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the accord.

About the news

  • Under terms of the nuclear deal, Iran agreed to have less than 300 kilograms of uranium enriched to a maximum of 3.67%.
  • Iran breached the limit.


  • It is an agreement on the nuclear programme of Iran between Iran, the P5+1 ((the five permanent members of UN security council, i.e., USA, UK, France, Russia, China) plus Germany) and the European Union.
  • It is commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.
  • It was signed in Vienna on 14th July 2015.
  • Under the agreement
  • Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium enriched Uranium.
  • Iran agreed to cut its stockpile of low enriched Uranium by 98%.
  • Iran agreed to reduce by about 2/3rdthe number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years.
  • Iran also agreed not to build any new heavy water facilities for the next 15 years.
  • For the next 15 years, Iran will only enrich Uranium up to 3.67%.
  • Uranium enrichment activities will be limited to a single facility using first generation centrifuges for 10 years.
  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities.
  • In return, Iran will receive relief from US, EU, and UN Security Council nuclear related economic sanctions.

Related Information (PLUS)

  • INSTEX stands “Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges“.
  • It is a payment channel set up by Germany, France and the UK with Iran to help continue trade and circumvent US sanctions.
  • It will be affected following the breaching event.

About International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

  • IAEA is the World’s central intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the nuclear field.
  • It is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.
  • It reports to the UNGA and the UNSC.
  • The IAEA was created in 1957 in response to the deep fears and expectations generated by the discoveries and diverse uses of nuclear technology.
  • The Agency was set up as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization within the United Nations family.
  • It Works for the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology,
  • It is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.

IAEA Safeguards

  • Safeguards are a set of technical measures applied by the IAEA on nuclear material and activities, through which the Agency seeks to independently verify that nuclear facilities are not misused and nuclear material not diverted from peaceful uses.
  • States accept these measures through the conclusion of safeguards agreements.
  • These legal agreements are of three types:
  1. Comprehensive safeguards agreements (CSAs) with non-nuclear-weapon States (NNWSs) parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and to regional nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) treaties;
  2. Voluntary offer safeguards agreements (VOAs) with the nuclear-weapon States (NWSs) parties to the NPT;
  3. Item-specific safeguards agreements that are currently implemented in States that are not a party to the NPT.
  • The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the centrepiece of global efforts to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons.
  • Under the Treaty’s Article 3, each Non-Nuclear Weapon State is required to conclude a safeguards agreement with the IAEA.
  • States accept IAEA safeguards through the conclusion of agreements with the IAEA.


Index of Industrial Production and Eight core industries

Why in news?

Growth in the eight core sectors of the economy fell marginally to 5.1 per cent in May, down from a revised 6.3 per cent in April.

About Index of Eight Core Industries

  • It is monthly production volume index considered as lead indicator of monthly industrial performance.
  • It is calculated by using Laspeyre’s formula of weighted arithmetic mean of quantity relatives.
  • It is compiled and released by Office of Economic Adviser (OEA), Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
  • The eight infrastructure sectors, constitute 40.27% of total index of industrial production (IIP).
  • These eight core industries have impact on general economic activities as well as industrial activities.
  • Base year for ICI is 2011-12.
  • The Eight Core Industries comprise 27 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
  • The Eight Core Industries include (along with their weightage)
  1. Coal (10.33%)
  2. Crude oil (8.98%)
  3. Natural gas (6.88%)
  4. Refinery products (28.04%)
  5. Fertilizers (2.63%)
  6. Steel (17.92%)
  7. Cement (5.37%)
  8. Electricity (19.85%)
  • The decreasing order of core industries weightage among them is as: Refinery Products>Electricity> Steel> Coal> Crude Oil> Natural Gas>Cement> Fertilizers

About Index of Industrial Production (IIP)

  • Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index which helps us understand the growth of various sectors in the Indian economy such as mining, electricity and manufacturing.
  • It is a short term indicator of industrial growth.
  • Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • IIP is published monthly, with six weeks delay.
  • It covers 865 items comprising:
  1. Manufacturing (809 items) with weightage 63%
  2. Mining (55 items) with weightage 37%
  3. Electricity (1 item) with weightage 99%
  • Base year for IIP is 2011-2012 (Earlier 2004-05) i.e. it is calculated on the basis of their share of GDP at factor cost during 2011-12.

Map Aided Programme     



  • It grows well on well-drained fertile soils in the flood plains where soils are renewed every year.
  • High temperature is required during the time of growth.
  • Varieties : Tossa Jute and White Jute
  • Due to its high cost, it is losing market to synthetic fibres and packing materials, particularly the nylon.
  • West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Meghalaya are the major jute producing states.

Previous Year Questions Revision Series (Pqrs)

  1. Consider the following rivers:
  2. Vamsadhara
  3. Indravati
  4. Pranahita
  5. Pennar

Which of the above are tributaries of Godavari?

(a) 1, 2 and 3 only                (b) 2, 3 and 4 only      

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