Prelim Bits 10-05-2024 | UPSC Daily Current Affairs

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May 10, 2024

Share of Religious Minorities (1950-2015)

A recent working paper by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) pointed out that India witnessed a reduction in the share of the majority religious denomination by 7.82%.

  • About - The paper is a cross-country descriptive analysis of the status of minorities around the world measured in terms of their changing share in a country’s population over 65 years between 1950 and 2015.
  • Baseline year - For the 167 countries analysed, the average value for the share of the majority religious denomination in the baseline year of 1950 is 75%.

Key findings


% of population in 1950

% of population in 2015





Decrease in population




Decrease in population




Decrease in population




Increase in population




Increase in population




Increase in population

  • Global trends - In keeping with the global trends of declining majority, India too has witnessed a reduction in the share of the majority religious denomination by 7.82%.
  • Trends in South Asian Countries - The share of the majority religious denomination has increased and minority populations have shrunk alarmingly across countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Afghanistan.



The Hindu | Share of Religious Minorities: A Cross-Country Analysis (1950-2015)


The Dietary Guidelines for Indians

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) released 17 dietary guidelines to meet the requirements of essential nutrients and prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as obesity and diabetes.

  • Issued by - National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad, which works under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
  • The guidelines has been drafted by a multi-disciplinary committee of experts led by Dr Hemalatha R (Director of ICMR-NIN).
  • 17 guidelines have been listed in the DGI.
  • Balanced diet - A balanced diet should provide not more than 45% calories from cereals and millets and up to 15% of calories from pulses, beans and meat.
  • Rest of the calories should come from nuts, vegetables, fruits and milk.


Disease burden in India

  • Estimates show that 56.4% of the total disease burden in India is due to unhealthy diets.
  • Healthy diets and physical activity can reduce a substantial proportion of coronary heart disease (CHD) and hypertension (HTN) and prevent up to 80% of type 2 diabetes.




  1. The Hindu | ICMR releases 17 dietary guidelines
  2. ICMR | Dietary Guidelines


Trichoderma asperellum

Punjab Agricultural University has developed a biocontrol agent Trichoderma asperellum to manage ‘foot rot’ disease, in Basmati rice crops.

  • Biocontrol agent- Ludhiana Punjab Agricultural University has developed Trichoderma asperellum and registered it with the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIBRC).
  • Purpose- To manage foot rot disease in Basmati rice crops.
  • Foot rot disease- It is caused by  Fusarium verticillioides, a soil-seed borne pathogen which spreads the infection through the root of the plant, and eventually leads to the colonisation of the stem base.
  • Occurrence- It affects basmati rice at the seedling stage and can lead to crop rejection. The infected seedlings first turn pale yellow, then elongate and dry up, and eventually (usually) die.
  • Eco-friendly- The new agent offers a non-chemical alternative to pesticides, reducing environmental harm and avoiding toxic residues.
  • Trichoderma asperellum- It is a species of fungus that belongs to the genus Trichoderma, which is well-known for its biocontrol properties against plant pathogens.
  • ACCD enzyme- ACC deaminase enzyme produced by Trichoderma asperellum influences plant defense mechanisms and development.

Quick facts

Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee

  • About-It is an Indian regulatory authority responsible for the registration and regulation of insecticides in the country.
  • Admintration- Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India.
  • Governance- Insecticide Act, 1968
  • Objective- To ensure the safety and efficacy of insecticides used in agriculture, public health, and other sectors, while also promoting the sustainable use of these chemicals.



  1.  Indian Express- A new biocontrol agent
  2. Science Direct- Trichoderma asperellum



New COVD-19 strains KP.2 and KP1.1 known as FLiRT variants causing a surge in cases in the U.S., U.K., South Korea and New Zealand.

  • FLiRT group of variants- KP.2 and KP1.1 are recent descendants of the JN.1 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These mutations confer greater invasive properties to the virus.
  • Symptoms- It is similar to other Omicron subvariants, including sore throat, cough, nausea, congestion, fatigue, headache, muscle or body ache, loss of taste or smell.’
  • KP.2- It is considered the ‘great-grandson’ of JN.1 and is more prevalent across countries which accounts for about 25% of new cases in the U.S. and U.K.
  • JN.1- It is a descendant of the Pirola variant (BA.2.86), which itself stems from the Omicron sub-variant. It was classified as Variant of Interest.
  • Immunity evasion- Research indicates that the FLiRT variants, especially KP.2, can evade immunity from vaccines and previous infections, posing challenges for COVID-19 management.
  • India’s status- INSACOG has detected cases of FLiRT variants in India with a rise in COVID-19 cases, emphasizing the need for updated vaccinations and continued precautions.

INSACOG is an Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium, a network of genomic laboratories.

  • Cyclical disease- COVID-19 is described as a cyclical disease with periodic spikes, rather than an endemic one, necessitating sustained surveillance and universal protection measures.



   Indian Express- All about FLiRT

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