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Status of Pluto (Relevant for GS Prelims, GS Mains Paper I; Geography)

After years of arguing over whether Pluto is a planet, in 2006 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) voted to remove Pluto’s planetary status. Now some researchers are challenging this decision, citing the manner in which scientific tradition has dealt with the taxonomy of planets. What was the decision of IAU? The IAU, in 2006, designated … Continued

Punjab-J&K dam agreement promises win-win, full gains from the Ravi river (Relevant for GS Prelims, GS Mains Paper I; Geography)

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh tweeted over the weekend that Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir had signed a “historic” agreement on the Shahpur Kandi project, which would be completed in three years and would generate 207 MW power and irrigate 95,000 acres of land “for our farmers”. Power Minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar subsequently said … Continued

Back to PISA after 2009 poor show: how does it assess 15-year-olds? (Relevant for GS Prelims, GS Mains Paper I; Social Issues)

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has decided to participate in PISA, an international assessment of student ability, after a gap of almost 10 years. How does this programme evaluate students, and why was India out of it for 10 years? Origin & purpose PISA, short for Program for International Student Assessment, was first administered … Continued

Nutrition norms cleared (Relevant for GS Prelims, GS Mains Paper I; Social Issues)

After PMO intervention, NITI Aayog approves guidelines The NITI Aayog has approved the supplementary nutrition guidelines, prepared by the Ministry for Women and Child Development, following intervention by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The PMO had stepped in to end a more than yearlong stand-off between Ms. Gandhi and the Ministry’s officials in the wake … Continued

Use of dalit term (Relevant for GS Prelims, GS Mains Paper I; Social Issues)

Different nomenclature used for Scheduled castes Of course, the debate over the appropriateness of using the term ‘Dalit’ to refer to members of the Scheduled Castes is far from new. A decade ago, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes disfavoured the use of ‘Dalit’, which it felt was unconstitutional. This is because belonging to a … Continued

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