Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System


  • The user trials of indigenously built Advanced Towed Artillery Gun system (ATAGS) is to be continued by December 2020. The trials of ATAGS were stopped in September 2020 as the gun grieved a barrel burst. After the barrel burst, a committee was set up with Indian Army representatives, DRDO scientists and Ordnance Factory Board officials to determine the cause of the burst. The guns are to be moved to Balasore testing range for winter trials.
  • Presently the Government of India is to import 1,580 ATAGS from Israel.

About Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System

  • The Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) is a towed howitzer, which is being developed for the Indian Army by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • The 155 mm/52 calibre artillery gun is cooperatively developed by the DRDO in partnership with the private players Bharat Forge (Kalyani Group) and the Tata Power SED.
  • The ATAGS project was started in the year 2013 by DRDO, to swap older guns in service in the Indian Army with modern 155mm artillery guns.
  • In the year 2017, the gun made a world record by firing the round to a distance of 47.2 kilometres.

Controversies related to ATAGS

In August 2020, the Ministry of Defence banned the import of artillery guns from December 2020 citing Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative. However, after twelve days of the announcement the Defence Ministry permitted imports for an extra year. This cleared the decks to import 1,580 guns from the Israeli firm Elbit Systems.


  • The Defence Ministry had made a list of 101 items whose imports were to be banned. It included 155-mm, 52 calibre artillery guns. While this was to be implemented by December 2020, it had been postponed to December 2021.
  • In August 2018, the Defence Acquisition Council permitted the purchase of 150 of these guns at a cost of Rs 3,365 crores.

Why is the ATAGS being imported?

Now, the Indian Army is in need of 1,580 of these guns. These guns are comparatively of less weight than those produced indigenously and are ideal to carry in the mountains. With the current stand-off with China and border scenarios along LoC, it is important to train the Indian soldiers with the right artillery to help them during the winters. The guns are being imported to make the weapons available to the soldiers at the earliest.



Amma Mini Clinics


The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Edapadi K Palaniswami newly inaugurated 2000 Amma Mini covid-19 clinic in Tamil Nadu. The state of Tamil Nadu is the fourth most pretentious in the country with more than 8 lakh people infected with covid-19.

Key features

  • The clinic has been titled after late Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalitha.
  • Each Amma clinic will have a doctor, an assistant, a nurse and it will help in basic investigation and public consultation.
  • Around hundred patients are to visit the clinic every day.
  • The state government is to sanction 20 crores of rupees firstly. Each clinic is to be provided with 1 lakh rupees. Also, the fund from National Health Mission is to be used in establishing the clinics.
  • The clinics are to open from 8 a.m. to noon and from 4 p.m. To 7 p.m.
  • The drugs for the clinics are to be acquired from the state run Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation.
  • The clinics are to be situated in clusters of construction labourers. This includes guest worker areas that are without government hospitals. The clinics are also to be located in areas from where time taken to reach government health facility is more than one hour.
  • The clinics are to be set up in both rural and urban areas to provide quick and easy access to Primary Healthcare services to the poor.
  • Out of these 2000 Amma Mini clinics, 200 are to be located in Chennai, 1500 to be located in villages and 200 are mobile clinics.
  • The Amma clinics have been demonstrated by that of the Mohalla clinics launched by the Aam Aadmi government of New Delhi in 2015.

Mohalla Clinic

They are Primary Health centres in New Delhi that offer basic package of vital health services. This consist of diagnostics, medicines and consultation free of cost. As of now in 2020, there are 450 Mohalla clinics in New Delhi. These clinics have aided more than 16 million residents after national capital.

Significance of these initiatives

According to the World Health Organisation, more than 65% of Indian population pay out of pocket withdrawals for health. These initiatives build confidence that India being one of the largest out of pocket health expenditure can offer free Health Services to reduce financial burden on low-income households.

UNESCO Prize on Creative Economy


UNESCO is to launch an international prize in the creative economy field in the name of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The UNESCO-Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International prize is to be launched from November 2021. 2021 has been professed as ‘International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development’ by UNESCO. Presently there are only twenty-three UNESCO International Awards in the name of international celebrities and organizations. For the age of the organizations, the numbers are very insufficient. Thus, the UNESCO-Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International prize has its own meaning.

About UNESCO Prize on Creative Economy

  • The prize will generate knowledge sharing mechanism by capturing, celebrating and communicating the best practice in developing creative entrepreneurship. The prize will be fifty thousand USD and is to be given once in every two years.
  • The award will recognize exceptional advantages taken by cultural workers and organizations in the development of creative economy. Also, the prize will create a chance to spread the ideology of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and will stimulate the cultural workers to develop creative economy.

What is Creative Economy?

Creative economy is an economic system in which value is grounded on use of creative imagination rather than the traditional factors of land, capital and labor. The idea was specified by John Howkins in 2001. This form of economy occurs only when the creativeness of the person becomes a major source of value and main cause of transaction.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

He is also called the “Father of Bangladesh”. He was the first President of Bangladesh. He also functioned as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh from April 17, 1971 till his assassination on August 15, 1975. Bangabandhu was a leading figure in the Awami League that was founded in 1949. Awami League was a political party in the then East-Pakistan (now Bangladesh). He became the central figure leading the Bangladesh Liberation Movement and the Bangladesh Liberation war in 1971.



Offshore Patrol Vessel: Saksham


The Goa Shipyard Limited freshly launched the fifth and final Offshore Patrol Vessel ICGS (Indian Coast Guard Ship) Saksham. It is to be commissioned by October 2021.

About the Offshore Patrol Vessels

  • These Patrol Vessels are armed with 30-mm guns.
  • They weigh 2,350 tonnes.
  • The exterior of these vessels is designed to make available high fuel efficiency, sea-keeping qualities and crew comfort.
  • They are equipped to handle emergencies.
  • The OPVs are to be equipped with Quick Response Boats for anti-piracy and rescue operations
  • The ICGS Saksham was built under the Indigenous Offshore Patrol Project.
  • These ICGS are to be organized in protecting the Exclusive Economic Zone of India.

Indigenous Off Shore Patrol Project

  • The Project was launched by PM Narendra Modi in 2016. Under the project, five Indian Coast Guard Ships are to be launched. Two Offshore Patrol Vessels have already been commissioned namely ICGS Sachet and ICGS Sujeet. These OPVs are to be organized in protecting the Exclusive Economic Zone of the territorial waters.
  • In August 2020, the Indian Coast Guard Ship Sarthak was launched. It was the fourth in the series. The third in the series called ICGS Sajag was hurled in November 2019.

 Vikram Class Coast Guard Ship

  • The Vikram Class Offshore Patrol Vessels are being built at Katupalli Shipyard by L&T. They are long range surface ships. They are to be deployed for coastal and offshore patrolling. Around seven offshore patrol vessels are being built. It includes ICGS Vikram, ICGS Veera, ICGS Varaha, ICGS Vigraha, ICGS Vajra, ICGS Veera, ICGS Vijaya.
  • The Vikram class is to be armed with 30-mm Naval guns, two 12.7 mm heavy machine guns. The Vikram-class was headed by Samarth class Offshore Patrol Vessels.

Postal Dept. launches digital payment service


The Department of Posts and the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) unveiled a new digital payment application “DakPay”. Union Minister for Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad said it added to the legacy of India Post, which was reaching out to every household.



9th Sustainable Mountain Development Summit 2020 organized by IMI held virtually in Dehradun


The 9th Sustainable Mountain Development Summit 2020 (SMDS IX) organized by Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI) and hosted by Sustainable Development Forum Uttaranchal (SDFU), Dehradun took place virtually in Dehradun from December 11-14 2020. The Summit was held on occasion of the United Nations (UN) International Mountain Day 2020.

  • Theme for 2020 SMDS IX – ‘Emerging Pathways for Building a Resilient Post COVID-19 Mountain Economy, Adaptation, Innovation & Acceleration’.
  • Trivendra Singh Rawat, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand was the Chief Guest of the event, and Conrad K. Sanga, Chief Minister of Meghalaya was the Guest of Honour of the event.
  • SMDS is an Annual summit organized by IMI to discuss issues regarding Mountains and Hills.

Objective of 2020 Summit:

One of the main aim of the 2020 Summit was to build pathways for a strong and sustainable mountain economy in Post COVID-19 scenario and climate change.

Key Points:

  • During the summit, matters such as Migration, water security, climate resilience and innovation solutions for the farm sector and Disaster risk reduction in Indian Himalayas were discussed.
  • Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Trivendra Singh Rawat underscored the need for ‘Himalayan Vision’ for sustainable development in the Indian Himalayan Region.
  • Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma stated that Governments and communities should work collectively to conserve rich natural resources of the Himalayan Region.
  • During the summit, knowledge sharing through Indian Himalayan Youth Network/Alliance Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Indian Himalayan University was projected to provide compensation for ecosystem services.
  • SMDS-X will be organized by Darjeeling Hill Initiative (DHI) in the Darjeeling-Kalimpong Hills of West Bengal in 2021

Ajay Rawat won R.S. Tolia Memorial Award 2020:

Ajay Rawat, Scholar and Environmental Activist was conferred Dr R.S. Tolia Memorial Award 2020 by IMI for his efforts in forest conservation in the Indian.

Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI):

IMI was shaped in 2011 to mainstream the concerns of the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) and the people in the development dialogue of India.

Indian Himalayan Region:

  • The Indian Himalayan Region spans 11 Indian States (Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam and West Bengal) and 2 Union Territories (Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh).
  • It is the main source of many major rivers of India such as Ganga, Indus & Brahmaputra

 Recent Related News:

  • Himalaya Diwas or Himalaya Day is annually celebrated across India specifically in Uttarakhand on 9th September to create and spread awareness on the conservation of the Himalayan Ecosystem.
  • On April 30, 2020 Scientists and students from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), in the study published in the Global and Planetary Changes. The journal publicized a 35-thousand-year history of river erosion and identified hotspots of erosion and wide valleys that act as buffer zones in Ladakh Himalayas.