900 319 0030

Prelim Bits 21-06-2023 | UPSC Daily Current Affairs

iasparliament Logo
June 21, 2023

Hindu Kush Himalayan Mountain Ranges

A recent study shows that if global warming isn’t controlled Himalayan glaciers could lose 80% of their volume.

  • Location - It is the great mountain system of Central Asia.
  • It spreads across 8 countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Myanmar and Pakistan.
  • Boundaries - It runs northeast to southwest and divides the valley of the Amu Darya to the north from the Indus River valley to the south.
  • To the east the Hindu Kush supports the Pamir range near the point where the borders of China, Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, and Afghanistan meet.
  • The eastern end of the Hindu Kush in the north merges with the Karakoram Range.
  • It runs southwest through Pakistan and into Afghanistan, finally merging into minor ranges in western Afghanistan.
  • Peaks and ranges - The highest peak is Mount Tirich Mir, which rises near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
  • Towards its southern end, it connects with the Spin Ghar Range near the Kabul River.
  • Water source - Hindu Kush Himalayas are the world’s most important ‘water tower’, being the source of 10 of Asia’s largest rivers.
  • It is the Earth's 3rd Pole as it's the storehouse of the 3rd largest body of snow on our planet after the Antarctic and the Arctic.
  • Other significance - The Hindu Kush Mountains were centers of Buddhism, including the Bamyan Buddha.
  • It has also been a gateway for invasions into the Indian subcontinent, a growing region for the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and a theater of modern warfare in Afghanistan.



The Indian Express | Himalayan glaciers could lose 80% of their volume

Down to Earth | Climate change affecting biodiversity in Hindu Kush

Down to Earth | ICIMOD report warning for rivers of East, Northeast India



India’s first indigenous mRNA vaccine (GEMCOVAC-OM) for the Omicron variant, was approved under emergency use guidelines by the Drug Controller General of India.

  • Developed by - Pune-based Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd.
  • Features – It is India's first mRNA vaccine developed to address the problems in the earlier approved mRNA vaccines.
  • This mRNA-based vaccine uses spike protein of the omicron variant (BA.1) of the SARS- CoV-2 as an antigen.
  • It was stable in a 2-8 °C range and could therefore be stored in ordinary refrigerators.
  • The vaccines could be administered as an intradermal (ID) injection only (into the skin) via a “needle-free” PharmaJet system.
  • It is tested at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) against the newest (Omicron subvariant), XBB 1.16, and it is shown to be effective.
  • It is indicated as a single booster dose in individuals aged more than 18 years administered at least 4 months after completion of primary vaccination with either Covishied or Covaxin.

mRNA is a molecule that contains the instructions or recipe that directs the cells to make a protein using its natural machinery.

m-RNA based vaccine technology

  • mRNA vaccines work by introducing a piece of mRNA that instructs the cells to produce the viral protein.
  • As part of a normal immune response, the immune system recognizes that the protein is foreign and produces specialized proteins called antibodies.
  • Antibodies protect the body against infection by recognizing individual viruses or other pathogens, attaching to them, and marking the pathogens for destruction.
  • Once produced, antibodies remain in the body, even after the body has rid itself of the pathogen.
  • If a person is exposed to a virus after receiving mRNA vaccination for it, antibodies can quickly recognize it, attach to it, and mark it for destruction before it can cause serious illness.
  • Individuals who get an mRNA vaccine are not exposed to the virus, nor can they become infected with the virus by the vaccine.

mRNA based vaccines

Developed by





Moderna COVID-19


mrna vaccines


The Hindu | Regulator approves first Omicron-specific mRNA vaccine

The Indian Express | India’s first mRNA-based Omicron-specific booster vaccine


Submersible vs Submarine

The Titan, one of the crewed submersibles operated by OceanGate, went missing in the area of the Titanic wreck in the North Atlantic.


  • Titan is the only crewed submersible in the world that can take 5 people as deep as 4,000 meters enabling it to reach almost 50% of the world’s oceans.
  • It is made of carbon fiber and titanium.
  • The submersible was part of an 8-day journey conducted by OceanGate Expeditions to reach the Titanic wreck site.
  • The wreck site is about 900 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
  • Once submerged, the platform uses a patented motion-dampening flotation system to remain coupled to the surface that provide a stable underwater platform.
  • At the conclusion of each dive, the sub lands on the submerged platform and the entire system is brought to the surface in approximately 2 minutes by filling the ballast tanks with air.



  • A submersible is a small boat or other craft, designed especially for research and exploration.
  • It does not function as an autonomous craft and needs a mother ship that can launch and recover it.
  • The submersibles have a top speed of 3 knots (5.5 kmph).
  • It can’t stay underwater for as long compared to submarines.
  • Since there is no GPS underwater, the submersible is only guided by text messages from the surface ship.
  • The pilot steers the sub using a video game controller but if that fails, a hard-wired system can control the propellers.


  • A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater.
  • It refers to any naval vessel that is capable of propelling itself beneath the water as well as on the water’s surface.
  • When submarine is to dive, water is filled in water tanks and it is made heavier.
  • Since the average density of submarine becomes greater than the density of sea water, it sinks.
  • To make the submarine rise to the surface of water, water tanks are emptied.


The Indian Express | Titanic tourist submersible missing


Lake Victoria Basin

A recent report shows that heavy rains, wind storms, and floods threaten the survival and water access of the communities living in the Lake Victoria Basin (LVB), East Africa.

  • Location - Lake Victoria Basin is situated at East Africa.
  • Features - Lake Victoria is the
    • Largest freshwater lake in Africa
    • World’s largest tropical lake
    • Second largest freshwater lake in the world, after Lake Superior in North America
    • Largest inland water fishery sanctuary in East Africa
  • Climate - It has modified equatorial climate, regional rainfall regulates the water levels in the lake.
  • Most of the lake’s water comes from rainfall, while almost the same amount of water is lost through evaporation and carried out by the Nile.
  • Associated countries - The basin’s catchment area traverses through 5 East African Countries - Tanzania (44%), Kenya (22%), Uganda (16%), Rwanda (11%) and Burundi (7%).
  • This trans-boundary asset is shared by Tanzania (51%), Uganda (43%) and Kenya (6%).
  • Rivers - A number of important rivers flow into Lake Victoria including the River Mara, Kagera, Yala, Nyando, Bukora and Katonga.
  • The White Nile is the only river flowing out of the Lake.
  • The Kagera (Akagera) River, which drains the mountains of Burundi and Rwanda, is considered as the source of the Nile.

lake victoria


Down to Earth | Measures needed to minimise disaster impact in Lake Victoria Basin


Multi-cap Funds

Multi-cap funds with equity exposure of 25% each in the large-, mid- and small-caps have delivered better returns in the last few years.

  • Multi Cap Funds invest their corpus in a portfolio of equity and equity-related stocks of companies with varying market capitalizations.
  • Their portfolio comprises of large cap, midcap and small cap stocks.
  • Multi-cap funds allocate 75% of the fund assets to equities and related instruments, with at least 25% in each of the large, medium, and small capitalizations as per the SEBI mandate.
  • They are relatively less risky compared to a pure mid cap or a small cap fund but are riskier than those of large cap funds.
  • Types of Multi-Cap Funds      
  • Large cap – It refers to the top 100 publicly listed companies in India by full market capitalization
  • Mid cap – It refers to the 101st to 250th company in terms of full market capitalization
  • Small caps - 251st company onwards in terms of full market capitalization.

Market capitalization = No. of publicly listed shares x Price of each share

Advantages of Multi Cap Funds

  • Exposure to all key sectors driving the Indian economy forward
  • Ideal for an investment horizon of 5+ year
  • Eliminates the need for buying different funds for comprehensive market coverage
  • Provide a perfect blend of all capital markets that allows to earn good interest balancing the risks and returns.


The Hindu Businessline|multi-cap-funds-deliver-better-returns-in-volatile-times


Login or Register to Post Comments
There are no reviews yet. Be the first one to review.



Free UPSC Interview Guidance Programme