23 APR | UPSC Current Affairs | UPSC Prep: Key Current Affairs (Nagorno-Karabakh & More)

GS Paper 1

Nagorno-Karabakh Region

  • News: Russian peacekeepers have begun withdrawing from Nagorno-Karabakh following Azerbaijan’s recapture of the disputed territory from Armenian separatists in 2023. 
  • Nagorno-Karabakh, known as Artsakh by Armenians, is a landlocked mountainous area in the South Caucasus.

Nagorno-Karabakh Region

  • It was claimed by both Azerbaijan and Armenia after the fall of the Russian Empire in 1917 and has remained a point of tension ever since.
  • It is internationally recognised as part of oil-rich Azerbaijan, but its inhabitants are predominantly ethnic Armenians.
  • Azerbaijan, whose inhabitants are mostly Muslim, links its historical identity to the territory too.
  • Azerbaijan wants to establish full sovereignty over this territory. 

GS Paper 2

National Curriculum for Early Childhood Care and Education 2024

  • News: The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) has released the National Curriculum for Early Childhood Care and Education 2024 titled ‘Aadharshila’. 
  • Introduction to Aadharshila Curriculum:
      • The Aadharshila curriculum targets at least 48 weeks of learning in the duration of three years. 
      • Children from age three to six attend anganwadi in what is a mixed crowd. 
      • The framework document has been finalised by an internal committee comprising representatives from the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Department of School Education and Literacy, the Ministry of Education, NCERT, Institute of Home Economics, Delhi University and civil society organisations. 
    • Aim: Development of essential skills like listening, vocabulary, imagination, narration, following instructions, creativity, social interaction, self-expression, and self-esteem. 
      • Development of these skills will facilitate a child easy transition into Grade 1.
  • Features: 
    • Tailored Activities and Timetable:
      • Activities and timetable are customized according to age groups.
      • Detailed material requirements and age-specific specifications are provided.
      • Teacher guidance notes ensure effective implementation.
    • Initiation Phase (4 Weeks):
      • Introduction to academic activities aiding transition from home to anganwadi.
    • Exploration Phase (36 Weeks):
      • Focus on exploring, free play, conversation, creation, and appreciation.
      • Includes storytelling, singing rhymes, and engaging in art and craft.
    • Learning Focus:
      • Covers colors, shapes, numbers, senses, body parts, family dynamics, and social skills.
      • Emphasis on listening, following instructions, basic counting, and sound recognition.
    • Recap and Reinforcement (8 Weeks):
      • Review and reinforcement of previous learnings.
      • Utilization of worksheets and performance observation for consolidation.

Artemis Accord

  • News: Sweden and Slovenia have recently joined the Artemis Accords, bringing the total number of participating countries to 39.
  • Definition: The Artemis Accords were established by the US and seven partner countries in October 2020. 
  • Aim:  They are a set of 13 principles that seek to promote peaceful and cooperative exploration of space. 
    • These principles are grounded in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967
      • The 1967 Outer Space Treaty bans the stationing of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in outer space, prohibits military activities on celestial bodies, and details legally binding rules governing the peaceful exploration and use of space.
  • Principles: 
    •  Commitment not to use space for military purposes,
    •  A promise to cooperate on matters of safety of space assets and astronauts, and
    •  A willingness to share scientific data from space missions.
  • Legal Nature: The Artemis Accords are a nonbinding set of principles.
  • Members: As of April 2024, 39 countries have signed the Accord (India signed in June 2023).

Artemis Accord

World Crafts Council International

  • News: The World Crafts Council International (WCCI) has picked Srinagar for mapping its craft clusters before its final nomination as the World Craft City (WCC) from India in 2024.
  • Definition: WCCI is a Kuwait-based organisation working on recognition and preservation of traditional crafts across the globe.
  • Establishment: It was founded in 1964 at the 1st World Crafts Council General Assembly in New York.
  • Aim: To strengthen the status of crafts in cultural and economic life.
  • Functions:
    •  It promotes fellowship among craftspersons by offering them encouragement, help, and advice.
    •  It fosters and assists cultural exchange through conferences, international visits, research study, lectures, workshops, exhibitions, and other activities.
  • Status with UNESCO: Since its inception, it has been affiliated with UNESCO under Consultative Status for many years.
  • World Craft City Programme Overview:
      • Launched in 2014 by the World Crafts Council AISBL (WCC-International), the World Craft City Programme is a pioneering initiative.
      • Objective: Aimed at recognizing the significant contribution of local authorities, craftspeople, and communities to cultural, economic, and social development globally.
      • Indian Cities in the Programme: Jaipur (Rajasthan), Mamallapuram (Tamil Nadu), and Mysore have been designated as craft cities under this initiative.
      • Significance for Srinagar: Inclusion in the WCC will spotlight Srinagar’s crafts and showcase its ancient techniques to a global audience.
      • The crafts of Kashmir are heavily influenced by Central Asian countries, several of which are also included in the WCC.

GS Paper 3

Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile (ITCM)

  • News: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) recently conducted a successful flight test of Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile (ITCM).
  • Features: 
      • It is a long range subsonic indigenously developed cruise missile. 
      • It is equipped with an indigenous propulsion system and the Manik turbofan engine. 
      • The missile is also equipped with advanced avionics and software to ensure better and reliable performance.
  • Made by: The missile is developed by Bengaluru-based DRDO laboratory Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE).
  • Ballistic Missile: Follows a high-altitude, parabolic trajectory, traveling outside the atmosphere before re-entering to strike its target.
  • Cruise Missile: Flies at low altitudes, using GPS, wings and propulsion to navigate towards its target. Flies at low altitudes, hugging the terrain to evade detection.
  • Subsonic cruise missile flies at a speed lesser than that of sound. It travels at a speed of around 0.8 Mach.
  • Why Are All Satellites And Missiles Launched From The East Coast?
      • Earth’s rotation provides an initial boost for satellites launched eastward.
      • Surface velocity at the equator is about 1600 km per hour, gradually decreasing towards the poles.
      • Satellites launched eastward from equatorial sites gain additional velocity from Earth’s rotation, reducing launch costs.
      • Satellites in geostationary orbit or orbiting parallel to the equator benefit most from Earth’s rotation.
      • Satellites in polar orbits, moving north-south across the equator, are typically launched in southward or northward directions and cannot utilize Earth’s rotation for a velocity boost.
      • Launching stations are often located near eastern coastlines to minimize risk to populated areas in case of launch failures.

Vasuki Indicus

  • News: Scientists have unearthed the fossils of Vasuki Indicus from Gujarat, one of the largest snakes ever known to have existed.
  • Discovery Location: The fossils of Vasuki Indicus were discovered in Kutch, Gujarat, India.
  • Name and Mythological Reference: Named after Vasuki, the mythical snake often depicted around the neck of the Hindu god Shiva.

Vasuki Indicus

  • Time Period and Environmental Conditions: Vasuki Indicus lived during the Middle Eocene period, approximately 47 million years ago, in India.
    • Flourished in relatively warm temperatures, around 28 °C.
  • Taxonomic Classification:
      • Belonged to the now-extinct Madtsoiidae snake family, representing a unique lineage from India.
      • Madtsoiidae snakes were terrestrial and originated from the Gondwanan landmass, spanning from the Upper Cretaceous to the Late Pleistocene.
  • Habitat and Distribution:
      • Originating in India, these snakes migrated across southern Eurasia and into North Africa following the collision of the Indian subcontinent with Eurasia around 50 million years ago.
  • Distinctive Features:
      • Vasuki Indicus reached lengths ranging between 10 and 15 meters and weighed approximately 1 tonne.
      • Likely possessed a broad and cylindrical body, indicative of a powerful physique similar to Titanoboa, one of the largest snakes ever discovered.
      • Adapted as a slow-moving predator that captured prey by constriction, reminiscent of anacondas and pythons.


  • News: India’s imports of pulses in fiscal 2024 rose by 84% compared to the previous year, reaching their highest level in six years.
  • Introduction to Pulses: Pulses are leguminous crops harvested for dry seeds like beans, lentils, and peas.
  • Seasonal Cultivation: Grown in both Kharif and Rabi seasons, with Rabi pulses contributing over 60% of total production.
  • Nutritional Significance: Rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, crucial for dietary balance.
  • Soil Fertility Enhancement: Pulses possess nitrogen-fixing properties, improving soil fertility and agricultural productivity.
  • Adaptability to Environmental Conditions: Many pulse varieties are drought-tolerant, suitable for cultivation in regions with low rainfall.
  • India’s Pulse Production Status:
      • India is the largest producer (25% of global production), consumer (27% of world consumption) and importer (14%) of pulses in the world.
  • Geographical Distribution: Major pulse-producing states include Punjab, Haryana, and Western Uttar Pradesh.
  • Import Trends: India imported 4.65 million metric tons of pulses in FY2023-24.
      • Major import nations: Canada, Australia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Brazil, etc.


  • News:  Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has prequalified a new oral vaccine for Cholera called Euvichol-S.
  • Euvichol-S:
    • It is an inactivated oral vaccine.
    • It is the third product of the same family of vaccines for cholera in WHO prequalification list.
      •  WHO prequalification list already includes Euvichol and Euvichol-Plus inactivated oral cholera vaccine.
  • Cholera
    • It is an acute diarrhoeal disease that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.
    • Symptoms: Profuse watery diarrhoea, vomiting, leg cramps etc.
    • Spread: It can spread rapidly in areas with inadequate sewage and drinking water treatment.

Facts for Prelims 

World Heritage Day

  • News:   Recently observed on April 18th.
  • International Day for Monuments and Sites: Also known as World Heritage Day, observed annually on April 18th.
  • Objective: The primary aim is to raise awareness about the significance of monuments and other cultural sites, integral to our history and heritage.
  • Historical Background: In 1982, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) proposed the concept of observing World Heritage Day on April 18th.
      • The proposal gained approval the subsequent year during UNESCO’s General Conference.
  • International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS):
      • Established in 1965 in France, ICOMOS is a non-governmental organization committed to the preservation of cultural heritage sites worldwide.
      • Its functions include advising UNESCO on matters related to World Heritage Sites and formulating standards and guidelines for cultural heritage conservation.
  • Theme for 2024:
    • The theme designated for the 2024 World Heritage Day is “Discover and experience diversity,” emphasizing the exploration and appreciation of cultural diversity.

Indelible Ink Used In Elections

  • News:  Used in Lok Sabha elections. 
  • Composition of Indelible Ink: Contains silver nitrate, a colorless compound that becomes visible under ultraviolet light, including sunlight.
      • Higher concentration of silver nitrate leads to higher quality ink.
  • Properties of Indelible Ink:
      • Resistant to soap, liquids, home-cleansing agents, and detergents for up to 72 hours post application.
      • Water-based ink with added solvent like alcohol for faster drying.
  • Manufacturing:
      • Precise protocol for making the ink, including chemical composition and constituent quantities, is not widely known.
      • Initially manufactured by the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) at the request of the Election Commission of India.
      • Mysore Paints & Varnish Ltd. licensed to manufacture the ink since 1962.
  • Global Distribution:
      • Exported to over 25 countries, including Canada, Ghana, Nigeria, Mongolia, Malaysia, Nepal, South Africa, and the Maldives.
  • Legislative Mention:
    • The Representation of the People Act (RoPA) of 1951 references the use of indelible ink.
    • Section 61 of RoPA allows for the marking of voters with indelible ink to prevent multiple voting at polling stations.
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