Facts in News



    ICGS Vigraha

    Syllabus: GS 3/Defence

    In News

    • Recently, the Indian Coast Guard Ship Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) ICGS Vigraha commissioned by Minister for Defence

    Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV)

    • OPVs are long-range surface ships, capable of operation in the maritime zones of India, including island territories with helicopter operation capabilities. 
    • Their roles include coastal and offshore patrolling, policing maritime zones of India, control and surveillance, anti-smuggling and anti-piracy operations with limited wartime roles.


    • The ICGS Vigraha is about 98 metres long, 15 metres wide, has a 3.6 metres draught, with 2,140 tonnes displacement and a range of 5,000 nautical miles.
    • It can attain a sustained speed of up to 26 knots. The entire design and construction process has been certified by the American Bureau of Shipping as well as the Indian Registrar of Shipping and overseen by the Indian Coast Guard’s resident team at Kattupalli
    • ICGS Vigraha is the last vessel in the series of seven OPVs built by Larsen & Toubro Shipbuilding Ltd. under a Ministry of Defence contract signed in 2015. 
    • Features 
      • It is fitted with advanced technology Radars, Navigation and Communication Equipment, Sensor and Machinery capable of operating in tropical sea conditions. 
      • The ship is also equipped with Integrated Bridge System (IBS), Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), Automated Power Management System (APMS) and High-Power External Firefighting (EFF) system. 
      • The ship is designed to carry one twin Engine Helicopter and four high-speed boats for Boarding Operation, Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement and Maritime Patrol. 
      • The ship is also capable of carrying limited pollution response equipment to contain oil spills at sea. 
      • The vessel is armed with a 40/60 Bofors gun and fitted with two 12.7 mm Stabilised Remote Control Gun with the fire control system.

    Indian Coast Guard (ICG)

    • Established on 18 August 1978 by the Coast Guard Act, 1978 as an independent Armed force of India. 
    • Headquarters: New Delhi 
    • Nodal Ministry: The Ministry of Defence. 
    • Roles: It has jurisdiction over the territorial waters of India including contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and is tasked with the protection of  India’s maritime interests and enforcement of maritime law. 
      • It is responsible for marine environment protection in maritime zones of India and is coordinating authority for response to oil spills in Indian waters.
      • It works in close cooperation with the Indian Navy, the Department of Fisheries, the Department of Revenue (Customs) and the Central and State police forces. 



    BCG vaccine

    Syllabus: GS 2/Health

    In News

    • Recently , The centenary celebration of the discovery of the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine was observed.
      • It was first used in humans in 1921.


    • The Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine is a live attenuated strain derived from an isolate of Mycobacterium Bovis.
      • A live attenuated vaccine means that it uses a pathogen whose potency as a disease producer has been artificially disabled, but whose essential identifying characteristics which help the body to increase an immune response to it have been left unchanged.
    •  It has been used widely across the world as a vaccine for Tuberculosis.
    • It was developed by two Frenchmen, Albert Calmette and Camille Guerin. 
    • Currently, BCG is the only licensed vaccine available for the prevention of TB.
      •  It is the world’s most widely used vaccine with about 120 million doses every year and has an excellent safety record. 
    • In India, BCG was first introduced on a limited scale in 1948 and became a part of the National TB Control Programme in 1962.
    • Efficacy: 
      • It has high efficacy in the UK, Norway, Sweden and Denmark; and little or no efficacy in countries on or near the equator like India, Kenya and Malawi, where the burden of TB is higher. 
      • These regions also have a higher prevalence of environmental mycobacteria. It is believed that these may interfere with the protective effect against TB. 
      • However, in children, BCG provides strong protection against severe forms of TB. 
      • Interestingly, it has been observed that in some countries that have had BCG vaccination as a national policy, the burden of SARS CoV-2 morbidity and mortality was significantly less compared to countries that did not. 
        • Clinical trials to know if this is indeed true, are underway, including in India.

    About Tuberculosis

    • It is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (bacteria) and it most often affects the lungs.
    • TB is spread through the air when people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit. A person needs to inhale only a few germs to become infected.
    • Directly observed treatment (DOTs): Short-course (DOTS, also known as TB-DOTS) is the name given to tuberculosis (TB) control strategy recommended by the World Health Organization.
    • It was also deployed by India to curb the menace of TB.


    Indian Economy

    Pashmina Shawls

    Syllabus: GS3/ Indian Economy & related issues

    In News

    • A Centre For Excellence (CFE) has been set up in J&K to restore the lost hand-driven processes involved in the intricate shawl weaving industry.


    • Over the years, women employment in this sector has reduced due to poor wages, old techniques of weaving and the emergence of machines.
    • Spinning on a traditional Kashmiri charkha allows longer threads of Pashmina wool with fine hair-like size, unlike machines, and adds to the softness and warmth of the product.
    • In the backdrop of this trend, the Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom, Kashmir, has announced a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for geographical indication (GI)-certified hand-made Pashmina shawls “to sustain the old techniques”.

    Pashmina Shawl

    • They are a fine variant of shawls spun from cashmere wools. Cashmere wool itself is obtained from the Changthangi goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) native to the high plateau of Ladakh.
    • Goats used for pashmina shed their winter coat every spring. One goat sheds approximately 80–170 grams of the fibre. In the spring (the moulting season), the goats naturally shed their undercoat, which regrows in winter. This undercoat is collected by combing the goat, not by shearing, as in other fine wool. 
    • The shawl made up of pashmina wool was promoted as an alternative to Shahtoosh shawl. The reason being that Shahtoosh Shawls are made from the Tibetan Antelope. 


    Biodiversity and Environment

    Species in News: Latham’s Snipe

    Syllabus: GS3/Species in News 

    In News

    • Urban development continues to threaten Latham’s Snipe habitats. Several snipe sites in eastern Australia are at risk from housing developments and large infrastructure projects.

    Key Points

    • About
      • Latham’s Snipe, formerly known as the Japanese Snipe, was once a popular game bird.
      • Latham’s Snipe is the largest snipe in Australia, with cryptic, mainly brown, plumage.
      • It has incredible endurance, undertaking a non-stop, over-ocean flight between its breeding and non-breeding grounds.
      • Their brown mottled feathers help them hide in wetlands.
    • Distribution:
      • Latham’s Snipe breed in Japan and on the east Asian mainland.
      • Latham’s Snipe is a non-breeding migrant to the south east of Australia including Tasmania, passing through the north and New Guinea on passage. 
    • Habitat:
      • They are seen in small groups or singly in freshwater wetlands on or near the coast, generally among dense cover. They are found in any vegetation around wetlands.
    • Threats:
      • Hunting and wetland loss
    • Protection Status:
      • IUCN Red List: Least Concern

    Image Courtesy: theconservation.com