GS  II Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 Exim Bank’s signed an MoU with New Development Bank


The Union Cabinet has given its nod to Exim Bank of India for entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on general cooperation with the New Development Bank (NDB), a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS nations.

  • The MoU is a non-binding umbrella agreement aimed at establishing a cooperation framework in accordance with the national laws and regulations, besides skills transfer and knowledge sharing amongst the signatories.


The New Development Bank (NDB), formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, is a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). According to the Agreement on the NDB, “the Bank shall support public or private projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments.”

  • The idea for setting up the bank was proposed by India at the 4th BRICS summit in 2012 held in Delhi. The creation of a new development bank was the main theme of the meeting. BRICS leaders agreed to set up a Development bank at the 5th BRICS summit held in Durban, South Africa on 27 March 201
  • The bank is headquartered in Shanghai, China.
  • The initial authorized capital of the bank is $100 bn.’
  • All the members have equal share holding and equal voting rights i.e 20 %.
  • The board of governors is represented by the finance minister of the member countries.


The bank aims to contribute to development plans established nationally through projects that are socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. Taking this into account, the main objectives of the NDB can be summarized as follows:

  • Promote infrastructure and sustainable development projects with a significant development impact in member countries.
  • Establish an extensive network of global partnerships with other multilateral development institutions and national development banks.
  • Build a balanced project portfolio giving a proper respect to their geographic location, financing requirements and other factors.

About EXIM bank:

Export–Import Bank of India was established in 1982 under the Export-Import Bank of India Act 1981. Since its inception, Exim Bank of India has been both a catalyst and a key player in the promotion of cross border trade and investment. Over the period, it has evolved into an institution that plays a major role in partnering Indian industries, particularly the Small and Medium Enterprises, in their globalisation efforts, through a wide range of products and services offered at all stages of the business cycle, starting from import of technology and export product development to export production, export marketing, pre-shipment and post-shipment and overseas investment.

GS III Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

India announced to eliminate use of HFC-23 by 2030 at Kigali summit


The announcement came at a meeting of parties to the Montreal Protocol at Kigali in Rwanda where final negotiations are taking place to substantially reduce the use of HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) by 2030. The Montreal Protocol, which came into force in 1989, is aimed at reducing the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances in order to protect the earth’s fragile ozone layer.

Reduction stratergies-


  • As per Delhi-based think tank Centre for Science and Environment, the move will potentially check emissions of HFC-23 equivalent to 100 million tonnes of CO2 over the next 15 years.
  • Companies have been asked to internalize the cost of this environmental externality and create sufficient storage facility to take care of down time and run the incinerators to ensure that HFC-23 is not released in the atmosphere.
  • With this domestic legislation to control the emissions of HFC-23, India is also sending a strong signal to the world that it is serious about the climate change issue.

About HFC 23 and global warming potential :

HFC-23 is a potent greenhouse gas with global warming potential of 14,800 times more than that of CO2. It is a by-product of HCFC-22, which is used in industrial refrigeration.

The substances subject to restrictions under the Kyoto protocol either are rapidly increasing their concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere or have a large GWP.

Global warming potential

Global warming potential (GWP) is a relative measure of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere. GWP is expressed as a factor of carbon dioxide (whose GWP is standardized to 1). It compares the amount of heat trapped by a certain mass of the gas in question to the amount of heat trapped by a similar mass of carbon dioxide. A GWP is calculated over a specific time interval, commonly 20, 100 or 500 years.

The GWP depends on the following factors:

  • the absorption of infrared radiation by a given species
  • the spectral location of its absorbing wavelengths
  • the atmospheric lifetime of the species

Thus, a high GWP correlates with a large infrared absorption and a long atmospheric lifetime. The dependence of GWP on the wavelength of absorption is more complicated.

Species Chemical formula Lifetime (years) Global Warming Potential (Time Horizon)
20 years 100 years 500 years
CO2 CO2 variable 1 1 1
Methane * CH4 12±3 56 21 6.5
Nitrous oxide N2O 120 280 310 170
HFC-23 CHF3 264 9100 11700 9800
Sulphur hexafluoride SF6 3200 16300 23900 34900


GS II Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

India, Russia to set up agro irradiation centers

India and Russia have signed a pact to set up 25 integrated infrastructure centers for irradiation treatment of perishable food items to improve shelf life and cut post-harvest losses.

  • At least 7 centers will be set up in Maharashtra, with the first centre near Shirdi to be ready next year.
  • Perishable items ranging from flowers to fish will be treated there on a commercial scale.
  • The agreement was signed between Russia’s United Innovation Corporation (UIC) — a subsidiary of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation — and Hindustan Agro Co-op Ltd on the sidelines of the BRICS Business Forum.
  • As part of the agreement, a JV will be formed for this purpose.
  • These irradiation centres will use the technology and technical solution based on gamma-facility and/or electron accelerator.


In irradiation, food products are subjected to a low dosage of radiation to treat them for germs and insects, increasing their longevity and shelf life.

Radiation treatment is carried out in dosage recommended by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and it neither reduces the nutritional value of food nor spoils their taste and appearance.

Benefits to India

In India, according to estimates, post-harvest losses in food and food grains are around 40-50%, primarily due to insect infestation, microbiological contamination, physiological changes due to sprouting and ripening, and poor shelf life.

  • The wastage of fruits and vegetables alone is about Rs. 60,000 crore annually. Including cereals, meat, pulses and flowers, the annual loss is estimated to be Rs. 2,50,000 crores. Besides, there are a few low level irradiation plants in the country, which are not adequate.
  • With the proposed centres, it is possible to reduce these losses.

GS III  Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, have developed a self-powered UV photodetector

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, have developed a cost-effective, high-performance, self-powered UV photodetector that can use the harvested optical energy for direct self-charging of energy storage devices such as supercapacitor.

The researchers developed the photodetector by integrating semiconducting vanadium doped zinc oxide (VZnO) nanoflakes with a conducting polymer.

  • Zinc oxide (ZnO), the base material for UV detection, can be doped with vanadium to produce photodetectors that are self-powered. When doped with vanadium, the microstructure of ZnO changes from nanorods to closely-packed nanoflakes, causing an increase in the surface area to the volume of the material.
  • The nanoflakes are 80% more porous than nanorods. The UV light that gets into the pores undergoes multiple reflections and finally gets absorbed.
  • The photodetector has superior performance in terms of faster detection of photo signals in the order of milliseconds even when UV light intensity is low.
  • It can be used for operating electronic devices in the absence of external power source.

UN got its  New Secretary-General :

  • The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has formally elected Antonio Guterresas the new Secretary-General of the United Nations.
  • He will serve for five years starting from January 1, 2017.
  • The UN Secretary-General is the head of the United Nations Secretariat and is de facto spokesperson and leader of the UN.

Women of India Festival 2016:


  • ‘Women of India Festival 2016’ of organic products by women was recently inaugurated in New Delhi.
  • The Festival will offer on sale the biggest selection of organic products ranging from food, fabrics and furniture to wellness, personal care and solar products.
  • It is being organised and sponsored by the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development.
  • This initiative is a move to benefit women entrepreneurs, and also actively promote organic food and products.
  • The Women of India Festival is also intended to highlight the health and environmental advantages of organic goods, provide a platform for women engaged in this economy and encourage the development of sustainable and easily accessible sales outlets for organic producers from remote areas.

Nobel Prize for Literature:


  • The American singer songwriter Bob Dylan has won the 2016 Nobel prize for literature.
  • He is the first musician to win the award.


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