Prelims cum Mains

Prelims 2020 Addon#13

NEW EXOPLANET L 98-59b Discovered

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered a new planet named L 98-59b.


  • Size: L 98-59b is around 80% Earth’s size. It is between the sizes of Mars and Earth. It is the tiniest of Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) finds so far.
  • Location: It orbits a bright, cool, nearby star named L 98-59. The host star, is about one-third the mass of the Sun and lies about 35 light-years away.
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Important Info :
  1. Apart from L 98-59b, two other worlds orbit the L 98-59. L 98-59c and L 98-59d, are respectively around 1.4 and 1.6 times Earth’s size.
  2. While L 98-59b is a record for TESS, even smaller planets have been discovered in data collected by NASA’s Kepler satellite, including Kepler-37b, which is only 20% larger than the Moon.

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) 

  • NASA Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (with seed funding from Google) will look for planets orbiting the brightest stars in Earth’s sky.
  • TESS will survey 200,000 of the brightest stars near the sun to search for transiting exoplanets.
  • TESS was launched on April 18, 2018, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
  • TESS employs the transit method to detect exoplanets:
    • The transit method of detecting exoplanets looks for dips in the visible light of stars and requires that planets cross in front of stars along our line of sight to them.
    • Repetitive, periodic dips reveal a planet or planets orbiting a star.


While addressing the meeting of state food secretaries, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution announced that the government is moving towards One Nation One Ration Card.
  • The national portability of Ration cards will ensure all beneficiaries especially the migrants in getting access to Public Distribution System (PDS) across the nation from any PDS shop of their own choice.
  • This will provide freedom to the beneficiaries as they will not be tied to any one PDS shop and reduce their dependence on shop owners and curtail instances of corruption.

Present status:

  • Integrated Management of PDS (IMPDS) is a system that is already operational in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tripura wherein a beneficiary can avail his share of food grain from any district in the State.
  • In the recent meeting, other states also assured that IMPDS will be implemented at the earliest.
  • There will also be creation of a Central Repository of all Ration Cards to help national level de-duplication.


The Indian Technology Congress Association (ITCA) has a project titled Seventy-five by 75 to celebrate the nation’s 75th birthday.
  • Under its ‘75 Student Satellites Mission 2022’, Up to 75 tiny satellites built by students of Indian universities could fly to the skies between late next year and 2022 in batches.
  • Students of participating institutions would come from different disciplines and get to build nano satellites weighing between 3 and 12 kg. They may demonstrate a novel concept, science experiment, or technology in orbit.
  • The ITCA has roped in around 40 engineering colleges to form a consortium. It is also in the midst of discussing launch contracts with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Global Scenario of Student Satellites:

  • In the last three to five years, other countries launched about 3,500 student satellites that demonstrated innovative technologies; another 2,500 could be in the offing. Indian universities have so far built and launched only nine satellites of fleeting lifespans.
  • A student satellite, depending on its payload, can cost between ₹30 and ₹50 lakh and ₹5 and ₹6 crore.

Note- The Indian Technology Congress Association (ITCA) is a technology promotion body based in Bengaluru.


India has signed a loan agreement worth 400 million dollar with the World Bank to help treat and eliminate Tuberculosis from the country.

Features of Agreement: 

  • The World Bank supported program will support the government’s National Strategic Plan to end TB in India by 2025.
  • Coverage: It will cover 9 States of India.
  • Timeline: The $ 400 Million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a 19-year maturity which includes a 5-year grace period.
  • Strategy of the Program:
    • To provide financial incentives to private sector care providers for reporting cases of TB and ensuring that their patients complete the treatment regimen.
    • To provide Direct Benefit Transfers to patients for acquiring the critical nutrition needed during treatment.
    • To strengthen the detection, treatment and monitoring of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis and track progress in the detection of additional drug resistance.


The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways informed Lok Sabha about the use of Methanol to reduce Green House Emissions.


  • In May 2018, the Government of India notified mass emission standards for flex-fuel Methanol M15 or M100 and Methanol MD 95 vehicles.
  • M-15 is a blend of 15 % methanol and 85 % Gasoline.
  • Use of blended fuel M-15 in BS-IV cars can result in lowering down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by about 5 to 10 % thereby improving air quality.
  • M-15 fuel blending is available as an option and there is no proposal to make such blending mandatory in the near future.


The new Supreme Court roster allows top 5 judges to hear Public Interest Litigation (PIL) matters.


  • Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi has notified a new roster of work which said top five judges of the Supreme Court will be hearing Public Interest Litigation (PIL) matters.
  • Earlier, fresh PIL matters were notified to be heard only by the CJI and the second senior-most judge after the CJI.
  • According to the fresh roster uploaded on the apex court website, the CJI will deal with the PIL matters and it would be his discretion to assign PIL cases to other top four judges — S.A. Bobde, N.V. Ramana, Arun Mishra and R.F. Nariman.


  • According to experts, the change is significant since it undoes a move by former chief justice Dipak Misra, whose tenure was marked by a controversy related to assignment of cases.
  • After an unprecedented press conference by the next four top judges, Misra had in 2018 set in place the procedure of the Chief Justice hearing all PILs.



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