Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 25 December 2022

Cabinet approves revision of OROP

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

The Union Cabinet approved the revision of the pension for family pensioners of armed forces under One Rank One Pension (OROP) from 1 July 2019. It will lead to enhanced pension according to the OROP proposal, said the information and Broadcasting Minister.

More about the decision

  1. The decision will lead to enhanced pension as per the OROP proposal. The cabinet meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister. The decision has been taken with the aim to attract youth to join armed forces.
  2. The benefit would also be extended to family pensioners including war widows and disabled pensioners. The benefits will be extended to about 25.13 lakh armed forces pensioners and family pensioners.
  3. Armed forces personnel retired up to 30 June 2019 to be covered under this revision. The revision will entail an estimated annual expenditure of Rs 8450 crore. The arrears will be with effect from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2022.


  1. The decision to implement OROP was taken by the Narendra Modi government on 7 November 2015 with benefits effective from 1 July 2014.
  2. OROP was a long-standing demand of the armed forces and implies that retired soldiers of the same rank, who have retired after serving for the same length of service, will receive the same pension, irrespective of the date and year of their retirement.


Perseverance Deposits First Sample on Mars

GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

A titanium tube containing a rock sample is resting on the Red Planet’s surface after being placed there by NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. Over the next two months, the rover will deposit a total of 10 tubes at the location, called “Three Forks,” building humanity’s first sample depot on another planet. The depot marks a historic early step in the Mars Sample Return campaignPerseverance has been taking duplicate samples from rock targets the mission selects.

More about Rover

  1. The rover currently has the other 17 samples (including one atmospheric sample) taken so far in its belly.
  2. Based on the architecture of the Mars Sample Return campaign, the rover would deliver samples to a future robotic lander.
  3. The lander would, in turn, use a robotic arm to place the samples in a containment capsule aboard a small rocket that would blast off to Mars orbit, where another spacecraft would capture the sample container and return it safely to Earth.
  4. The depot will serve as a backup if Perseverance can’t deliver its samples. In that case, a pair of Sample Recovery Helicopters would be called upon to finish the job.
  5. The first sample to drop was a chalk-size core of igneous rock informally named “Malay,” which was collected on 31 Jan. 2022, in a region of Mars’ Jezero Crater called “South Séítah.”
  6. Perseverance’s complex Sampling and Caching System took almost an hour to retrieve the metal tube from inside the rover’s belly, view it one last time with its internal CacheCam, and drop the sample roughly 3 feet (89 centimeters) onto a carefully selected patch of Martian surface.
  7. Engineers use OPTIMISM, a full-size replica of NASA’s Perseverance rover, to test how it will deposit its first sample tube on the Martian surface.


  1. key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life.
  2. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).
  3. Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.
  4. The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.


India is developing GM seeds for 13 crops

GS Paper - 3 (Biotechnology)

Indian institutions are "deeply engaged" in the development Of genetically modified seeds for 13 crops, including ricewheat and sugarcane to improve their yield and quality, the government said. The environment ministry in October granted clearance for indigenously developed GM mustard seeds, potentially paving the way for a commercial release of the country's first food crop in about two yearsCotton is the only GM crop currently allowed for cultivation in India.


  1. Research is also being done by the state-run Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and other organisations to develop GM seeds for potatopigeon pea lentilschickpeas and banana, the agricultural ministry said.
  2. ICAR institutions and universities are deeply engaged in the development of GM crops for different traits such as biotic and abiotic stress tolerance, yield and quality improvement in 13 crops.
  3. India is keen to adopt farming technologies like GM crops to ensure food security and cut a reliance on imports, as it tries to boost the output of items like edible oils for its nearly 1.4 billion people, the most in the world after China.
  4. India spent a record $19 billion importing vegetable oils last fiscal year that ended on 31 March 2022. Russia's invasion of Ukraine also disrupted imports and raised prices, before supplies improved.
  5. The government statement warned "administrative procedures required in public interest" against any former or current ICAR officials speaking against GM mustard.
  6. India's Supreme Court is hearing a challenge to the decision to allow an environmental release of mustard hybrid "DMH-11" for seed production and other tests before commercial release.
  7. Indiaset to overtake China's population next year, in 2010 blocked the release of a GM eggplant variety following opposition from environmentalists and some farmers.


COP15 with 2030 vision released

GS Paper - 3 (Environment)

After two days of agreeing the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework by 196 parties at the 15th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which contains a mission to halt and reverse nature loss, the final text of the historic framework has been released. The framework, released in this second-most populous city in Canada, includes four goals and 23 targets to be achieved by 2030.


  1. Responding to final Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity FrameworkWWF International Director General Marco Lambertini said: "Agreeing a shared global goal that will guide collective and immediate action to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030 is an exceptional feat for those that have been negotiating the Global Biodiversity Framework and a win for people and planet.”
  2. It sends a clear signal and must be the launchpad for action from governments, business and society to transition towards a nature-positive world, in support of climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  3. The framework has four long-term goals for 2050 related to the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity.

Goal A

  1. The integrityconnectivity and resilience of all ecosystems are maintained, enhanced, or restored, substantially increasing the area of natural ecosystems by 2050;
  2. Human induced extinction of known threatened species is halted, and, by 2050, extinction rate and risk of all species are reduced tenfold and the abundance of native wild species is increased to healthy and resilient levels;
  3. The genetic diversity within the population of wild and domesticated species is maintained, safeguarding their adaptive potential.

Goal B

  1. Biodiversity is sustainably used and managed and nature's contribution to people, including ecosystem functions and services, are valued, maintained and enhanced, with those currently in decline being restored, supporting the achievement of sustainable development for the benefit of present and future generations by 2050.

Goal C

  1. The monetary and non-monetary benefits from the utilisation of genetic resources, and digital sequence information on genetic resources, and of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources, as applicable, are shared fairly and equitably, including, as appropriate with indigenous peoples and local communities, and substantially increased by 2050.
  2. While ensuring traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources is appropriately protected, thereby contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, in accordance with internationally agreed access and benefit-sharing instruments.

Goal D

  1. The framework has 23 action-oriented global targets for urgent action over the decade to 2030. The actions set out in each target need to be initiated immediately and completed by 2030.
  2. Together, the results will enable achievement towards the outcome-oriented goals for 2050.
  3. Actions to reach these targets should be implemented consistently and in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity and its protocols and other relevant international obligations, taking into account national circumstancespriorities and socio-economic conditions.
  4. Countries will now have to update their national biodiversity strategies and action plans to reflect the global biodiversity framework and how they will contribute to achieving it.
  5. This must happen as soon as possible and before COP16 (Antalya in Turkey in 2024), when a first assessment of the level of global ambition will take place.
  6. The development and implementation of these plans opens up formidable opportunities for people to mobilise in all countries.
  7. There is a funding need of nearly $1 trillion a year to implement the global biodiversity framework.
  8. With 196 nations, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity has near universal participation among countries. The convention seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services.

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