UPSC CA: 3rd November 2020

India’s First Solar Powered Miniature Train


  • India’s first solar energy powered miniature train was inaugurated by the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at the Veli Tourist Village in Kerala.

More about news:

  • The train was part of a string of projects and around Rs 60 crore were taken up in order to elevate the facilities at the panoramic destination to international standards.
  • On the same day, the Chief Minister also dedicated an “Urban Park” and a swimming pool at the eco-friendly tourist village.
  • The tourist village is located on the outskirts where the Veli Lake meets up with the Arabian Sea.

About the miniature rail:

  • The miniature rail comprises all the features that a fully- equipped rail system had. It includes a tunnel, station, and a ticket office. It has three bogies which can accommodate around 45 people at a time. 
  • The train is eco-friendly and solar-powered. The 2.5 km miniature railway will enable visitors to enjoy the beauty of nature. 
  • Total cost of this first of its kind project in India is Rs ten crore.  The train will generate solar energy. 
  • The surplus energy generated by the system will be transferred to the Kerala State Electricity Board’s grid.

Solar powered Train in India:

  • Indian Railways had launched its first solar-powered DEMU (diesel electrical multiple unit) train from the Safdarjung railway station in Delhi on July 14, 2017. The train ran from Sarai Rohilla in Delhi to Farukh Nagar in Haryana. 
  • The train had a total of 16 solar panels producing 300 Wp. The solar panels were manufactured under the ‘Make in India’ initiative
  • This was the first time in the world that solar panels were used as grid in railways.




  • Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has declared that part of the contested Kashmir region will provisionally become a full province of Pakistan.

Key points:

  • Pakistan has administered the area now known as Gilgit-Baltistan since shortly after the country’s birth in 1947.
  • However, India asserts it as an integral part of Kashmir.
  • The Constitutional Amendment is necessary for any changes to be made. If finalised, it would make Gilgit-Baltistan Pakistan’s fifth province.

India’s Reaction:

  • New Delhi has condemned the announcement, saying it would bring material changes to a part of Indian territory.
  • Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson made it clear that India firmly rejects the attempt by Pakistan to bring material changes to a part of Indian territory which is under Islamabad’s illegal and forcible occupation and asked Pakistan to immediately vacate such areas.

About Gilgit-Baltistan:

  • Gilgit-Baltistan borders China in the North and Kashmir and Ladakh to the southeast.
  • It shares a geographical boundary with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and India considers it as part of the undivided Jammu and Kashmir, while Pakistan sees it as separate from PoK.
  • The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) also passes through this region.
  • The main reason behind India’s opposition towards China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) policy is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a part of OBOR.
  • Three of the world’s longest glaciers outside the Polar regions are found in Gilgit-Baltistan.


Aero India


  • Aero India is a biennial international military and civil air show.

Key points:

  • In 2019, it was organised by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) and in 2021, it will be organised by the Defence Exhibition Organisation, Ministry of Defence.
  • It is a premier event that draws international and Indian military and civil aircraft makers, their support industries, military brass and government dignitaries and business visitors.
  • It provides a unique opportunity for the exchange of information, ideas and new developments in the aviation industry, in addition to giving a fillip to the domestic aviation industry furthering the cause of Make in India.
  • The Yelahanka air base, about 30 km from the city centre Bengaluru, has been hosting the air show in February since it was started in 1996.

About Defence Exhibition Organisation:

  • DEO is an autonomous organisation of the Indian Government established in 1981, to promote the export potential of the Indian defence industry.
  • It is responsible for organising international exhibitions such as DefExpo and Indian participation at overseas exhibitions.


Mission Sagar II


  • The Indian Naval Ship (INS) Airavat reached Port Sudan on November 2 under Phase II of the Mission Sagar.

Key Highlights:

  • INS Airavat carried a consignment of 100 tonnes of food aid to Sudan.
  • This was the part of India’s assistance program under Mission Sagar.
  • Under the Mission Sagar, India has been providing assistance to its friendly foreign countries in order to help them overcome COVID-19 pandemic and other natural calamities.
  • In phase II of Mission Sagar, INS Ship Airavat will be delivering food aid to Djibouti, South Sudan and Eritrea apart from Sudan.
  • This mission is being implemented in joint coordination with the Ministries of External Affairs and Ministry of Defence.
  • Under the first phase of Mission Sagar India deployed INS Kesari. The Ship carried food aid and medicines to countries including Comoros, Madagascar,  Seychelles, Mauritius and Maldives.

About Mission SAGAR:

  • The Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) mission was launched in 2015 under the strategic vision of Indian Ocean Region. 
  • Under this doctrine, India is aimed at strengthening its economic and security cooperation with its maritime neighbours. 
  • India seeks to safeguard national interests in the Indian Ocean Region. Under this doctrine, India wants to ensure that the Indian Ocean Region becomes collaborative, inclusive and comply with the international laws. 
  • Mission SAGAR became more significant because it further comply with the other policies of India including Project Sagarmala, Project Mausam, Act East Policy, focus on Blue Economy and India as a net security provider.


Tamil Nadu grants 100% vehicle tax waiver to EVs


  • Tamil Nadu Government has notified that it will grant 100 percent motor vehicle tax exemption for battery-operated vehicles or the Electric Vehicles (EVs).

More about news:

  • The State Government’s order came after careful examination.
  • State will grant a 100 percent tax exemption on all the transport and non-transport vehicles.
  • It further included the incentives such as 100 percent GST reimbursement and 50 per cent capital subsidy in order to attract investments.
  • This step was taken by the government in order to boost the EV system in Tamil Nadu.
  • Apart from that, Tamil Nadu has also planned to set up the country’s first park exclusively for the electric vehicle production ecosystem.
  • The state has targeted to invest about Rs 50,000 crore in the EV segment.
  • With this move, the state government seeks to attract Rs 50,000 crore investment. It will further create 150,000 jobs in the state.
  • The state of Tamil Nadu accounts for 35 percent of the country’s auto component production. It accounts for around 30 percent of four-wheeler manufacturing. Further, the state is home for 20 OEMs that cover all auto segments.  
  • The state has a total installed production capacity to produce 1.71 million passenger vehicles and 4.82 million two-wheelers yearly.