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Artificial Intelligence – In Brief

Artificial Intelligence - Categories and Dimensions
Artificial Intelligence - Categories and Dimensions

Artificial intelligence is use of computers to mimic human cognitive process for decision making or to perform functions that normally require human intelligence. These functions include the ability to learn, reason, analyse, take decisions, recognise speech and visual perception among others. In simple terms, AI is the ability of software to develop and apply intelligence like humans.
AI is not a new phenomenon, with much of its theoretical and technological underpinning developed over the past 70 years by computer scientists such as Alan Turing, Marvin Minsky and John McCarthy. AI has already existed to some degree in many industries and governments. Now, thanks to virtually unlimited computing power and the decreasing costs of data storage, we are on the cusp of the exponential age of AI as organisations learn to unlock the value trapped in vast volumes of data.
The scope of AI is disputed as machines become increasingly capable, tasks considered as requiring “intelligence” are often removed from the definition, a phenomenon known as the AI effect. For instance, optical character recognition is frequently excluded from “artificial intelligence” since it has become a routine technology.

Categories of AI

AI gets categorised in different ways and it may be useful to understand the various categories, their rationale and the implications.

a) Weak AI vs. Strong AI:

Weak AI describes “simulated” thinking. That is, a system which appears to behave intelligently, but doesn’t have any kind of consciousness about what it’s doing. For example, a chatbot might appear to hold a natural conversation, but it has no sense of who it is or why it’s talking to you.
Strong AI describes “actual” thinking. That is, behaving intelligently, thinking as human does, with a conscious, subjective mind. For example, when two humans converse, they most likely know exactly who they are, what they’re doing, and why.

b) Narrow AI vs. General AI:

Narrow AI describes an AI that is limited to a single task or a set number of tasks.
For example, the capabilities of IBM’s Deep Blue, the chess playing computer that beat world champion Gary Kasparov in 1997, were limited to playing chess. It wouldn’t have been able to win a game of tic-tac-toe – or even know how to play.
General AI describes an AI which can be used to complete a wide range of tasks in a wide range of environments. As such, it’s much closer to human intelligence.

c) Superintelligence:

The term “superintelligence” is often used to refer to general and strong AI at the point at which it surpasses human intelligence, if it ever does.

Machine Learning & Deep Learning Source: NITI Ayog
Machine Learning & Deep Learning                                                                Source: NITI Ayog

Dimensions of Artificial Intelligence

  • Machine Learning, a term coined by Artur Samuel in 1959, meant “the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.” Machine Learning involves the use of algorithms to parse data and learn from it, and making a determination or prediction as a result. Instead of hand coding software libraries with well-defined specific instructions for a particular task, the machine gets “trained” using large amounts of data and algorithms, and in turn gains the capability to perform specific tasks.
  • Deep Learning is a technique for implementing Machine Learning. Deep Learning was inspired by the structure and function of the brain, specifically the interconnecting of many neurons. Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) are algorithms that are based on the biological structure of the brain. In ANNs, there are ‘neurons’ which have discrete layers and connections to other “neurons”. Each layer picks out a specific feature to learn. It’s this layering that gives deep learning its name, depth is created by using multiple layers as opposed to a single layer
  • Robotic Process Automation: Automation is the process of making a system or processes function automatically. Robots can be programmed to perform high-volume, repeatable tasks normally performed by humans and further it is different from IT automation because of its agility and adaptability to the changing circumstances.
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP) is the processing of human language and not computer language by a computer program. For Example, spam detection, which looks at the subject line and the text of an email and decides if it’s junk.
  • Voice /Speech Recognition is the inter-disciplinary sub-field of computational linguistics that develops methodologies and technologies that enables the recognition and translation of spoken language into text by computers. It is also known as automatic speech recognition (ASR), computer speech recognition or speech to text (STT). It incorporates knowledge and research in the linguistics, computer science, and electrical engineering fields.
  • Pattern recognition is a branch of machine learning that focuses on identifying patterns in data.
  • Machine vision is the science of making computers visualize by capturing and analysing visual information using a camera, analog-to-digital conversion, and digital signal processing. It is often compared to human eyesight, but machine vision isn’t bound by biology and can be programmed to see through walls. It is used in a range of applications from signature identification to medical image analysis.
  • Robotics is a field of engineering focused on the design and manufacturing of robots. Robots are often used to perform tasks that are difficult for humans to perform or perform consistently.
Further Read
Artificial Intelligence - Applications and Challenges

British Type or Cool Temperate Western Margin Climate – A Kingmakers IAS Infographic

This Infographic shows the Characteristics of British Type or Cool Temperate Western Margin  Climate.
This Infographic shows the Characteristics of British Type or Cool Temperate Western Margin  Climate.

This Infographic shows the Characteristics of British Type or Cool Temperate Western Margin  Climate.
Part 2 of Goh Cheng Leong made simple!

China Type or Warm Temperate Eastern Margin Climate – A KingmakersIAS Infographic

China Type or Warm Temperate Eastern Margin Climate
China Type or Warm Temperate Eastern Margin Climate

This Infographic shows the Characteristics of China Type or Warm Temperate Eastern Margin  Climate.
Part 2 of Goh Cheng Leong made simple!

Article 35A – In Brief

Article 35A
Article 35A

What is Article 35A?

Article 35A is a provision incorporated in the Constitution giving the Jammu and Kashmir Legislature a carte blanche (complete freedom to do something) to decide the ‘permanent residents’ of the State and confer on them special rights and privileges in public sector jobs, acquisition of property in the State, scholarships and other public aid and welfare.
The provision mandates that no act of the legislature coming under it can be challenged for violating the Constitution or any other law of the land.

How did it come about?

Article 35A was incorporated into the Constitution in 1954 by an order of the then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet.
The controversial Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order of 1954 followed the 1952 Delhi Agreement entered into between Nehru and the then Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah, which extended Indian citizenship to the “State subjects” of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Presidential Order was issued under Article 370 (1)(d) of the Constitution. This provision allows the President to make certain “exceptions and modifications” to the Constitution for the benefit of ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir.
So Article 35A was added to the Constitution as a testimony of the special consideration the Indian government accorded to the ‘permanent residents’ of Jammu and Kashmir.

Why does it matter?

  • The parliamentary route of lawmaking was bypassed when the President incorporated Article 35A into the Constitution.
  • Article 368 (i) of the Constitution empowers only Parliament to amend the Constitution.
  • So did the President act outside his jurisdiction? Is Article 35A void because the Nehru government did not place it before Parliament for discussion?
  • A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in its March 1961 judgment in Puranlal Lakhanpal vs The President of India discusses the President’s powers under Article 370 to ‘modify’ the Constitution.
  • Though the court observes that the President may modify an existing provision in the Constitution under Article 370, the judgment is silent as to whether the President can, without the Parliament’s knowledge, introduce a new Article. This question remains open.
  • A writ petition filed by NGO ‘We the Citizens’ challenges the validity of both Article 35A and Article 370.
  • It argues that four representatives from Kashmir were part of the Constituent Assembly involved in the drafting of the Constitution and the State of Jammu and Kashmir was never accorded any special status in the Constitution.
  • Article 370 was only a ‘temporary provision’ to help bring normality in Jammu and Kashmir and strengthen democracy in that State, it contends.
  • The Constitution-makers did not intend Article 370 to be a tool to bring permanent amendments, like Article 35A, in the Constitution.

Why is it opposed?

  • The petition said Article 35 A is against the “very spirit of oneness of India” as it creates a “class within a class of Indian citizens”.
  • Restricting citizens from other States from getting employment or buying property within Jammu and Kashmir is a violation of fundamental rights under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
  • A second petition filed by Jammu and Kashmir native Charu Wali Khanna has challenged Article 35A for protecting certain provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution, which restrict the basic right to property if a native woman marries a man not holding a permanent resident certificate.“Her children are denied a permanent resident certificate, thereby considering them illegitimate,” the petition said.
  • It facilitates the free and unrestrained violation of fundamental rights of those workers and settlers like Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe people who have lived there for generations. The Valmikis who were brought to the state during 1957 were given Permanent Resident Certificates on the condition that they and their future generations could stay in the state only if they continued to be safai-karmacharis(scavengers). And even after six decades of service in the state, their children are safai-karmacharis and they have been denied the right to quit scavenging and choose any other profession.
  • The industrial sector & whole private sector suffers due to the property ownership restrictions.
  • Children of non-state subjects do not get admission to state colleges
  • It ruins the status of West Pakistani refugees. Being citizens of India they are not stateless persons, but being non-permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir, they cannot enjoy the basic rights and privileges as being enjoyed by permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

Hence, both the will of the locals and the rights of the outsiders must be given equal weightage and a balance must be struck while taking a call on 35A through a transparent democratic process.

Unprecedented Rainfall in Kerala : The Background

State of Kerala - Before & After deluge
State of Kerala - Before & After the deluge

GS I – Important Geophysical Phenomena 

GS III – Disaster and Disaster Management

Kerala has just witnessed one of the worst floods in its history. Over 445 people died and upto 1.5 million people were displaced. Initial estimates of damage put the loss at ₹20,000 crore. The significant part of destruction due to floods happened to private assets. The floods caused widespread damage to houses and property. According to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, 7,000 houses have been destroyed and 50,000 damaged in the floods. The preliminary estimate of the crop loss is pegged at ₹1,345 crore. More than 3,00,000 farmers suffered damage to various crops spread over 56,439 hectares.  The reconstruction of damaged infrastructure and restoration of livelihoods pose a daunting challenge for the State government.
At this juncture all the debates are focussing on the causes of the floods and alleged dam mismanagement.

 But what caused such an unprecedented rainfall? 
Why South West monsoon was over and above the surplus?

Reasoning out the Causes of Unprecedented Rainfall

Events of heavy downpour over a short span of time have become a regular occurrence leading to frequent floods in many Indian cities, as it happened in Chennai (2015) and Kerala (2018). An analysis of historical rainfall and climate data has shown that widespread extreme rain events — which cover a large enough area to cause largescale floods — have increased threefold over central India from 1950 to 2015.
A new study has not only established that such events are definitely on the rise but has also found that increasing temperature of the Arabian sea is a major cause.
According to the meteorologists of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology Pune, Rapid warming in the Arabian Sea and nearby landmass causes monsoon winds to fluctuate and intensify for short spans of three-to-four days. During these periods, moisture from the Arabian Sea is dumped inland leading to unprecedented cloud bursts. Researchers used a dynamic recycling model to decipher factors responsible for the rainfall and found that extra moisture is transported to land from the Arabian Sea.
Over the last decade, due to global warming and climate change, the overheating of landmass has led to the intensification of monsoon rainfalls in central and southern India. The changes observed so far have occurred after an increase in Earth’s average surface temperature of only one degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Causes of Unprecedented Rainfall in recent times.

According to a World Bank report entitled “South Asia’s Hotspots“, on current trends, India’s average annual temperatures are set to rise 1.5 C to 3 C compared to that benchmark by mid-century. These hotspots cause major disruptions in monsoon cycle and lead to unprecedented rainfall and eventually leading to flash floods.
Flash floods occur when a sudden downpour proves so heavy that the underlying ground cannot cope with the sheer amount of water it is exposed to and becomes saturated before it has a chance to drain away. Common in low-lying areas, flash floods can also be caused by an intense concentration of rain from thunderstorms on dry soil, unaccustomed to ready absorption.
Mitigation of global warming is a global effort. Hence government of the day must focus on adaptations by learning the lessons from the instances of Kerala and Chennai floods and device a proper Flood Management Plan to tackle the vagaries of nature. The flood management of guidelines of National Disaster Management Authority can provide the helping hand.

Related Article:
NDMA: Flood Management Guidelines 

Mediterranean Climate – A KingmakersIAS Infographic

This Infographic shows the Characteristics of Mediterranean or Warm temperate western margin Climate.
This Infographic shows the Characteristics of Mediterranean or Warm temperate western margin Climate.

This Infographic shows the Characteristics of Mediterranean or Warm Temperate Western Margin  Climate.
Part 2 of Goh Cheng Leong made simple!

Flood Management Guidelines – National Disaster Management Authority

NDMA : Guidelines for Flood Management
NDMA : Guidelines for Flood Management

GS III – Disaster and Disaster Management.

Floods have been a recurrent phenomenon in India and cause huge losses to lives, properties, livelihood systems, infrastructure and public utilities.

  • India’s high risk and vulnerability is highlighted by the fact that 40 million hectares out of a geographical area of 3290 lakh hectares is prone to floods.
  • On an average every year, 75 lakh hectares of land is affected, 1600 lives are lost and the damage caused to crops, houses and public utilities is Rs.1805 crores due to floods.
  • The maximum number of lives (11,316) were lost in the year 1977.
  • The frequency of major floods is more than once in five years. Floods have also occurred in areas, which were earlier not considered flood prone. An effort has been made in these Guidelines to cover the entire gamut of Flood management.

India’s Vulnerability to Floods

  • Eighty per cent of the precipitation takes place in the monsoon months from June to September.
  • Lack of effective dredging and sediment management.
  • The rivers bring heavy sediment load from the catchments. These, coupled with inadequate carrying capacity of the rivers are responsible for causing floods, drainage congestion and erosion of river-banks.
  • Land reclamation and encroachment of flood plains and ponds in dry season obstructs the course of drainage during wet seasons.
  • Cyclones, cyclonic circulations and cloud bursts cause flash floods and lead to huge losses.
  • The fact that some of the rivers causing damage in India originate in neighbouring countries, adds another complex dimension to the problem.

Continuing and largescale loss of lives and damage to public and private property due to floods indicate that we are still to develop an effective response to floods.
These Guidelines have been prepared to enable the various implementers and stakeholder agencies to address effectively the critical areas for minimising flood damages.

NDRF in Action : Kerala Floods, 2018
NDRF in Action : Kerala Floods, 2018

Urban Flooding

Flooding in the cities and the towns is a recent phenomenon caused by increasing incidence of heavy rainfall in a short period of time, indiscriminate encroachment of waterways, inadequate capacity of drains and lack of maintenance of the drainage infrastructure.
Keeping in view the fact that the problem is becoming more severe and losses are mounting every year, the subject of urban flooding has been recognised by the NDMA as one meriting exclusive attention and separate guidelines for its management are being prepared and will be issued soon.

Action Plans at Various Levels

These Guidelines have been drawn up in the context of a rigorous risk management framework to ensure the effectiveness of action plans that are developed by various agencies.

  • All key agencies, including the central ministries, and departments, state governments, local bodies including Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) like metropolitan development authorities, municipal corporations, municipal councils and district authorities will develop detailed Flood Management Plans (FMPs) based on these Guidelines.
  • State governments and local authorities will play an important role in the formulation and effective implementation of such action plans.
  • The communities and other stakeholders will play an important part in ensuring compliance to the regulations and their effective enforcement.
  • The State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) will be responsible for reviewing and monitoring the implementation of the action plans at the state-level.

Flood Management Guidelines


These Guidelines rest on the following objectives aimed at increasing the efficacy of the FMPs, which will be prepared at various levels:

  1. Shifting the focus to preparedness by implementing, in a time-bound manner, an optimal combination of techno-economically viable, socially acceptable and eco-friendly structural and non-structural measures of FM.
  2. Ensuring regular monitoring of the effectiveness and sustainability of various structures and taking appropriate measures for their restoration and strengthening.
  3. Continuous modernisation of flood forecasting, early warning and decision support systems.
  4. Ensuring the incorporation of flood resistant features in the design and construction of new ructures in the flood prone areas.
  5. Drawing up time-bound plans for the flood proofing of strategic and public utility structures in flood prone areas.
  6. Improving the awareness and preparedness of all stakeholders in the flood prone areas.
  7. Introducing appropriate capacity development interventions for effective FM (including education, training, capacity building, research and development, and documentation.)
  8. Improving the compliance regime through appropriate mechanisms.
  9. Strengthening the emergency response capabilities.
Flood Prevention, Preparedness and Mitigation

Floods being the most common natural disaster, people have, out of experience, devised many ways of coping with them. However, encroachments into the flood plains over the years has aggravated the flood problem and a need to take effective and sustained FM measures has been felt.
Various measures, structural and nonstructural,have been taken by the central and state governments and as a result, considerable protection has been provided to the people. However, more efforts are required in this direction and there is a need to put in place a techno-legal regime to make structures flood-proof and regulate the activities in the flood plains of the rivers. Flood forecasting and warning and Decision Support System (DSS) will be established on a scientific basis taking into account the latest technological developments in the world.

Capacity Development and Flood Response

The central government and the state governments are required to take steps for capacity development for taking effective and sustainable preventive, preparatory and mitigative measures in pre-floods stage and effective and prompt response during- and post-floods stages. Appropriate recommendations have been made in this regard.

Activities for Minimising Flood Risk and Losses

The activities proposed to be undertaken aim at minimising the flood risk and losses and are to be implemented in three phases in addition to recurring activities.

  • These activities include identification and marking of flood prone areas on maps,
  • Preparation of close contour and flood vulnerability maps,
  • Formulating plans for expansion and modernisation of flood forecasting and warning systems,
  • Identification of priority flood protection and drainage improvement works, identification of reservoirs for review and modification of operation manuals and rule curves and undertaking special studies on problems of river erosion.

These will be initiated immediately and efforts will be made to complete them in a phased manner with the last of these activities scheduled for completion by January 2010.

  • These include implementation of the schemes for expansion and modernisation of the flood forecasting and warning network,
  • Execution of flood protection and drainage improvement schemes, modification and adoption of revised reservoir operation manuals, enactment and enforcement of flood plain zoning regulations and planning and preparation of Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for storage reservoirs and implementation of the schemes for real-time collection of hydrometeorological data on rivers in Nepal, Bhutan and China.

These activities, which aim at implementationof FMPs, will commence immediately after the completion of the link activities of Phase-I and will be completed by March 2012.


Implementation of activities, which include construction of dams and catchment area treatment (CAT) works in India as well as neighboring countries, is likely to take considerable time as they entail major environmental, social, inter-state and international implications. These need careful study and interaction with the stakeholders. It is envisaged that all feasible schemes will be completed by the year 2025.

Recurring Activities
  • These activities which include inspection of dams, embankments and other structural measures,
  • Execution of restoration and strengthening works and expansion and modernisation of flood forecasting and warning systems, are to be taken on a regular basis for ensuring the effectiveness and sustainability of various measures for minimising flood risk.

The relevance and status of various activities will be continuously monitored and reviewed. The activities will be modified, if felt necessary. The preparedness of the central ministries and departments concerned and the state governments will be reviewed in April/May every year and appropriate corrective measures will be taken before the commencement of the monsoon. A post-monsoon review will be held every year in November/December so as to finalise the action plan for preparatory measures to be implemented before the onset of the next monsoon.

Flood Management Plans

It is expected that based on these guidelines the central ministries and departments concerned and the state governments will prepare their FMPs which will be holistic, participatory, inclusive, eco-friendly and gender-sensitive in nature and the implementation of which will result in a flood- resilient India. The plans will focus on the community and the collective efforts of the government and NGOs.

Important Aspects of the Guidelines

While all the activities under the Guidelines are important for minimising flood risk and loss of lives and properties, the issues which need special attention are the following:

  • Indiscriminate encroachment of the flood plains of the rivers and waterways of natural and man-made drainage channels and reclamation of ponds, chaurs, lakes and depressions have led to increased flood risk to lives and properties. The regulation of developmental activities in these areas and an appropriate techno-legal regime based on the model bill circulated by the CWC, is an urgent necessity.
  • The change in priority in use of storage space of the multi-purpose reservoirs for irrigation, hydropower, drinking and industrial water supply by ignoring flood moderation has led to large scale flooding. The operation manuals and rule curves of all the reservoirs will be reviewed and modified to give priority to flood moderation.
  • Flood forecasting and warning is a non-structural measure, which aims at minimising losses and enabling the agencies concerned to plan rescue and relief measures. The efforts of the CWC, IMD, NRSA and the state governments will be integrated and a mechanism developed wherein during the monsoon, the representatives of all these organisations and the basin states work together in formulation and dissemination of reliable forecasts and warning.

Floods and famines have ravaged mankind from time immemorial and a vast store of knowledge and experience is available on handling these disasters.
An attempt has been made in these Guidelines to build on this precious heritage while, simultaneously, factoring in the benefits of modern technology and scientific advantages apart from emphasising the value of concerted action and sustained efforts at mitigation.

Highlights of Prime Minister’s Address to Nation on 72nd Independence Day

Prime Minister from Red Fort
Prime Minister Shri.Narendra Modi from Red Fort

Words of Prime Minister is the Syllabi for UPSC Aspirant! Hence focus the key areas mentioned in speech and do a background study on it.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today addressed the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort, on the occasion of the 72nd Independence Day.

  • Asserting that India is today brimming with self-confidence, the Prime Minister mentioned developments such as the success of Navika Sagar Parikrama by six young women naval officers, and the achievements of young Indian sportspersons from humble backgrounds.
  • He mentioned the blooming of Neelakurinji flowers in the Nilgiri hills, a phenomenon that occurs once every 12 years.
  • He said that the recently concluded session of Parliament, was one dedicated to the cause of social justice.
  • He noted that India is now the world’s sixth largest economy.
  • The Prime Minister paid homage to the freedom fighters and martyrs. He saluted the jawans of the security forces and police forces. He recalled in particular, the martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, which happened on Baisakhi day in 1919. He offered condolences to people affected by floods in some parts of the country.
  • He quoted poet Subramaniam Bharti to say that India will show the world the path to freedom from all kinds of shackles. He said such dreams were shared by countless freedom fighters.
  • An inclusive Constitution was drafted by Babasaheb Ambedkar to achieve this dream of a nation where there is justice for the poor, and equal opportunities for all to move forward. He said that Indians are now coming together to build the nation. He gave examples of the pace of development in various fields such as toilet construction, electricity reaching villages, LPG gas connections, house construction etc.
  • He said that the Union Government had taken decisions which had been pending for long, including higher MSP for farmers, GST, and One Rank – One Pension. He said this has become possible because the Union Government has kept national interest supreme.
  • The Prime Minister mentioned how international organizations and agencies were looking at India very differently today, as compared to 2013. He said that from a time of “policy paralysis”, India had moved to “Reform, Perform, Transform.”
  • He said India is now a member of several important multilateral organizations, and is leading the International Solar Alliance.
  • The Prime Minister said that the North-East is today in the news for achievements in sports, for connecting the last unconnected villages with electricity, and for becoming a hub of organic farming. News of highway, railway, airways, waterways, and information-based highways are coming in from the North-East.
  • The Prime Minister mentioned 13 crore loans being disbursed under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, and four crore loans out of this number, being disbursed to first time beneficiaries of such loans.
  • The Prime Minister said that India is proud of its scientists. He announced “Gagan-Yaan” a manned space mission, to be undertaken by India by 2022, using its own capabilities. He said India would become the fourth nation in the world to do so.
  • Reiterating the vision to double farmers’ incomes by 2022, the Prime Minister asserted that the aim is to accomplish tasks which seem extremely difficult. With a ‘Beej Se Bazar Tak’ approach (From Seed to Market approach), we are bringing remarkable changes in the agriculture sector.
  • He said initiatives such as Ujjwala Yojana and Saubhagya Yojana are providing dignity to the people.
  • He said organizations such as the WHO have appreciated the progress made in the Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • Shri Narendra Modi announced the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan on 25th September this year – the anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. It is high time we ensure that the poor of India get access to good quality and affordable healthcare, he asserted. He said this scheme would positively impact 50 crore people.
  • The Prime Minister explained how better targeting of government benefits has been achieved by weeding out about 6 crore fake beneficiaries. The honest taxpayer of India has a major role in the progress of the nation, he said, adding that it is due to them that so many people are fed, and the lives of the poor are transformed.
  • The Prime Minister asserted that the corrupt, and those who have black money would not be forgiven.
  • He said that Delhi’s streets are now free from power brokers, and the voice of the poor is heard.
  • The Prime Minister announced that women officers of Short Service Commission in the Indian Armed Forces would now be eligible for permanent commission through a transparent selection process.
  • Noting that the practice of Triple Talaq has caused great injustice among Muslim women the Prime Minister assured Muslim women that he will work to ensure that justice is done to them.
  • The Prime Minister spoke of the decline in Left Wing Extremism in the country. He reiterated former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s vision of “Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat, Kashmiriyat,” for the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Tripura, Meghalaya and many parts of Arunachal Pradesh are seeing historic peace. From 126, Left Wing Extremism is restricted to 90 districts. We are working to ensure peace across the nation
  • He emphasized on the vision of
Housing for All,
Power for All,
Clean Cooking for All,
Water for All,
Sanitation for All,
Skill for All, Health for All,
Insurance for All,
Connectivity for All.
  • We are proud of what we have achieved and at the same time, we also have to look at where we have come from. That is when we will realised the remarkable strides the nation has made.
  • He said that he is impatient, anxious and keen to see India progress, eliminate malnutrition, and to see Indians get a better quality of life.

Prime Minister Address: A Brief History

  • On 15 August 1947, the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi. On each subsequent Independence Day, the incumbent Prime Minister customarily raises the flag and gives an address to the nation.
  • On the eve of Independence Day, the President of India delivers the “Address to the Nation”.
Jawaharlal Nehru, as he delivered his famous speech on the midnight of August 14-15, 1947. Tryst with destiny.
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, as he delivered his famous speech on the midnight of August 14-15, 1947. Tryst with destiny.
  • On 15 August, the Prime Minister hoists the Indian flag on the ramparts of the historical site of Red Fort in Delhi. Twenty-one gun shots are fired in honour of the solemn occasion.
  • In his speech, the Prime Minister highlights the past year’s achievements, raises important issues and calls for further development.
  • He pays tribute to the leaders of the Indian independence movement.
  • The Indian national anthem, “Jana Gana Mana”, is sung.
  • The speech is followed by march past of divisions of the Indian Armed Forces and paramilitary forces.
  • Parades and pageants showcase scenes from the independence struggle and India’s diverse cultural traditions.
  • Similar events take place in state capitals where the Chief Ministers of individual states unfurl the national flag, followed by parades and pageants. Until 1973, the Governor of the State hoisted the National Flag at the State capital. In February 1974, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Karunanidhi took up the issue with then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi that the Chief Ministers should be allowed to hoist National flag on Independence Day just like how Prime Minister hoists National flag on Independence.


Solar Flares, Coronal Mass Ejections & Sunspots – Science & Technology

Coronal Mass Ejection Loop
Coronal Mass Ejection Loop

GS 3 -Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology andissues relating to intellectual property rights.

Dynamics of Sun

When hydrogen fuses into helium in the Sun’s core, the energy is released in the form of light. This light immediately smacks into a subatomic particle in the sun, which absorbs it, converts a little bit of the energy into motion, and re-emits the light with a little bit less energy. The light works its way out of the Sun this way, losing energy every time it encounters a particle, until eventually it gets to the surface, and is free to fly away into the Universe as a much lower-energy photon of visible light. Modern calculations show that it takes closer to 1 or 200,000 years for the energy to work its way out.
“The light from Sun that is hitting the Earth now, now got its start in the Sun’s core around the time Homo sapiens first appeared in Africa!”
It’s so hot inside the Sun that electrons are stripped from their parent atoms in the gas, creating a plasma, a gaseous soup of charged particles. It is the fact that a moving electric charge generates a magnetic field. The interior of the Sun is essentially all charged particles in motion. Convection, coupled with the Sun’s rotation, sets up rivers or streams of plasma inside the Sun, each generating and carrying its own magnetic field.
This plasma reaches the Sun’s surface, along with its magnetic field.  The solar magnetic fields are same as looping arcs of iron filings around a bar magnet, except there can be zillions of them all over the Sun’s surface, where they can interact and even get tangled up.

Solar Flare, Coronal Mass ejections, Sunspots explained. Source: Futurism
Solar Flare, Coronal Mass ejections, Sunspots explained.
Source: Futurism


  • When the plasma reaches the surface, it cools. But if the magnetic loops tangle up, they prevent the plasma from sinking back down into the Sun, like a knot in a shoelace prevents it from going through the eyelet on your shoe.
  • Plasma shines because it’s hot, but as it cools it dims. It sits on the surface, dimming, producing a dark spot on the surface of the Sun, this is called a sunspot.
  • Sunspots can be huge; they commonly dwarf the entire Earth. Around the edges of sunspots, the magnetic field lines are concentrated. This can energize the plasma even further, heating it up. This creates a bright rim around sunspots called faculae (Latin for “little torch”). The dark parts of sunspots dim the overall light from the Sun, but faculae can be so intense they compensate for that, and even add more light. Ironically, sunspots actually increase the energy output of the Sun.
  • Plasma on the Sun’s surface can flow along these magnetic loops, too. This can create huge arcs of material called prominences or filaments, stretching for hundreds of thousands of kilometres across the Sun, looking like fiery arches.

Solar Flares

Magnetic fields on the Sun also have a huge amount of energy stored in them. They are tightly wound like stiff springs. But these magnetic field lines get tangled up. If conditions are right, they can actually snap, in essence creating a gigantic short circuit. When this happens, all that vast energy stored in the lines explodes outwards all at once in an event we call a solar flare.
Even an average solar flare is very powerful; a big one can release as much as 10% of the entire Sun energy output. This explosion blasts out high-energy light and launches material off the surface of the Sun at high speeds, sending it into interplanetary space.

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Coronal Mass Ejection

  • Another type of solar eruption is called a coronal mass ejection, or CME. It’s similar to a flare, but if a flare is like a tornado — intense and localized — a CME is like a hurricane, huge and strong. Like flares, they form when tangled magnetic field lines erupt, blasting out energy, but they occur higher off the Sun’s surface.
  • One can think of the explosions using the physics of a cannon. The CME is like the cannonball, propelled forward in a single, preferential direction, this mass ejected from the barrel only affecting a targeted area. This is the CME—an immense cloud of magnetized particles hurled into space. Traveling over a million miles per hour, the hot material called plasma takes up to three days to reach Earth.
  • The differences between the two types of explosions can be seen through solar telescopes, with flares appearing as a bright light and CMEs appearing as enormous fans of gas swelling into space.
  • Flares and CMEs have different effects at Earth as well. The energy from a flare can disrupt the area of the atmosphere through which radio waves travel. This can lead to degradation and, at worst, temporary blackouts in navigation and communications signals.
  • On the other hand, CMEs can funnel particles into near-Earth space. A CME can jostle Earth’s magnetic fields creating currents that drive particles down toward Earth’s poles. When these react with oxygen and nitrogen, they help create the aurora, also known as the Northern and Southern Lights. Additionally, the magnetic changes can affect a variety of human technologies. High frequency radio waves can be degraded: Radios transmit static, and GPS coordinates stray by a few yards. The magnetic oscillations can also create electrical currents in utility grids on Earth that can overload electrical systems when power companies are not prepared.
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Layers of the SUN – Science & Technology

Layers of SUN - NASA
Layers of SUN; Source: NASA

GS 1 – Salient features of World’s Physical Geography.

GS 3 -Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology andissues relating to intellectual property rights.

What is Sun?

The Sun is a star. That’s a profound statement. Though the Twinkle twinkle little stars don’t stand near the Sun’s hot and blazing surface, it is a fact that Sun and the stars are just different flavours of the same kind of object. The only difference is that the Sun is very close and the stars are far away, so they’re fainter.
By size and number, the Sun ranks in the top 10% of stars in the galaxy! In our solar system, it’s clearly the dominant object: brighter, more massive, and more influential than anything else.
But, what is it?
The Sun is a big hot ball of mostly hydrogen gas. It’s 1.4 million kilometres across — more than 100 times the Earth’s diameter, and big enough that well over a million Earths could fit inside of it. It is 300,000 times more massive than the Earth, a staggering two octillion tons of gas. (1 Octillion = 1027 )

Layers of Sun

The Sun is divided in to two layers, Outer layer and inner layer, as shown in figure below. The inner layers are the Core, Radiative Zone and Convection Zone. The outer layers are the Photosphere, the Chromosphere, the Transition Region and the Corona.

The Core

At the very core of the Sun, the pressure is a crushing 260 billion times the Earth’s atmospheric pressure, and it’s a searing 15 million degrees Celsius. Under those conditions, hydrogen is completely ionized, which means the electrons in the atoms are stripped from their protons. This makes the core a thick soup of ultra-hot subatomic particles. In fact, the protons are squeezed together so hard by the octillions of tons of mass lying on top of them that they fuse together. Through a complicated series of steps of Nuclear Fusion, the hydrogen atoms fuse together to form the heavier element Helium. Along the way, some of the nuclear energy stored in those atoms is released. That amount of energy is described by Einstein’s famous equation E=MC2, which states that mass can be converted into energy, and vice-versa.
Atoms are pretty small, so each helium atom made in the Sun’s core generates only a tiny bit of energy, but Sun contains Billions of helium atoms. Every second of every day, the Sun converts 700 million tons of hydrogen into 695 million tons of helium. The missing 5 million tons is converted into energy. It’s equivalent to detonating 400 billion one megaton nuclear bombs every single second. That’s millions of times the entire nuclear arsenal of our planet. Every second. Hence, even from a distance of 150 million kilometres, the Sun is so bright that it cannot be seen through naked eyes.

Radiative zone

Convection cannot occur until much nearer the surface of the Sun. Therefore, between about 20-25% of the radius, and 70% of the radius, there is a “radiative zone” in which energy transfer occurs by means of radiation (photons) rather than by convection.
The radiative zone and the convective zone are separated by a transition layer, the tacholine. This is a region where the sharp regime change between the uniform rotation of the radiative zone and the differential rotation of the convection zone results in a large shear between the two—a condition where successive horizontal layers slide past one another.

Convection Zone

Hydrogen fusion occurs in the core of the Sun. The energy released heats the gas above the core, but not quite enough to fuse hydrogen into helium. Further from the Sun’s centre the gas becomes less dense, and at some point the heat pouring up from below makes the gas buoyant, it rises, in the same way a hot air balloon on Earth rises. This process is called convection, and it’s an efficient way of transferring heat. Huge columns of rising hot gas stretch hundreds of thousands of kilometers high, bringing the Sun’s internal heat to the surface. The gas then cools and sinks back down into the interior.


The photosphere or literally the sphere of light, is the deepest layer of the Sun that we can observe directly. It reaches from the surface visible at the centre of the solar disk to about 250 miles (400 km) above that. The temperature in the photosphere varies between about 6500 K at the bottom and 4000 K at the top (11,000 and 6700 degrees F, 6200 and 3700 degrees C). Most of the photosphere is covered by granulation. At this point, the energy from inside the Sun is free to travel into space. This is the light of the Sun.


The chromosphere is a layer in the Sun between about 250 miles (400 km) and 1300 miles (2100 km) above the solar surface (the photosphere). The temperature in the chromosphere varies between about 4000 K at the bottom (the so-called temperature minimum) and 8000 K at the top (6700 and 14,000 degrees F, 3700 and 7700 degrees C), so in this layer (and higher layers) it actually gets hotter if you go further away from the Sun, unlike in the lower layers, where it gets hotter if you go closer to the center of the Sun.
Transition Region
The transition region is a very narrow (60 miles / 100 km) layer between the chromosphere and the corona where the temperature rises abruptly from about 8000 to about 500,000 K (14,000 to 900,000 degrees F, 7700 to 500,000 degrees C).


And there’s one final layer above that: The ethereally thin corona, is the Sun’s atmosphere. It’s less than 1% as dense as the photosphere, but actually much hotter; temperatures there can reach over a million degrees! However, it’s so thinly dispersed that it’s incredibly faint, and can only be seen during a total eclipse, or using special telescopes that block the intense light from the Sun itself. The corona extends for millions of kilometres and merges into the solar wind, a stream of subatomic particles moving away from the Sun. It blows out in all directions, though mostly along the Sun’s equator. The speed of the wind is usually about a million kilometers per hour.
The corona is the outermost layer of the Sun, starting at about 1300 miles (2100 km) above the solar surface (the photosphere). The temperature in the corona is 500,000 K (900,000 degrees F, 500,000 degrees C) or more, up to a few million K.

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