UPSC Daily Current Affairs | Prelim Bits 05-07-2024

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July 05, 2024

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

India’s External Affairs Minister attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit 2024.

  • Background- It is world’s largest regional organisation for international security and defence.
  • It is a permanent intergovernmental international organization formed in 2001.
  • Origin- It is basically an extension of the Shanghai Five Group (China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan), created in 1996.
  • Headquarters- Beijing (China)
  • Founding nations- Kazakhstan, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • The SCO now has 10 members, including India, Iran, and Pakistan, Belarus in addition to the founding members.
  • Observer statesAfghanistan, and Mongolia (2 members).
  • Dialogue Partners - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Turkey and more (14 members).
  • Significance- The SCO consists of 40% of the world’s population and 30% of global gross domestic product (GDP).
  • The SCO has been an observer in the UN General Assembly since 2005.
  • Goals of the SCO
    • To strengthen mutual trust, friendship, and good-neighbourliness between the Member States.
    • To encourage the effective cooperation between the Member States in such spheres as politics, trade, economy, science and technology, culture, education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, etc.
    • To jointly ensure and maintain peace, security and stability in the region and
    • To promote a new democratic, fair and rational international political and economic international order.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, 2024

  • Venue- Astana, Kazakhstan.
  • Theme- Strengthening Multilateral Dialogue—Striving Towards a Sustainable Peace and Prosperity.
  • Objective- Addressing key regional issues and providing a platform to advocate for dialogue and diplomacy once again.
  • New SCO member- Belarus recently upgraded to member state from Observer status in (SCO), becoming its 10th member state.

Belarus, officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe.


  1. Indian Express | Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit
  2. SCO | General information


Indian Gaur & Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR)

The Indian gaur, previously locally extinct, has been spotted in the Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) after decades.

Indian Gaur

  • The Gaur also called Indian Bison, is the largest extant bovine, native to South Asia and Southeast Asia.
  • Scientific Name- Bos gaurus
  • Diet- Herbivore, primarily grazing on grasses, leaves, and fruits.
  • Distribution – It is prevalent in Western Ghats and also found in north east India and Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh.
  • Habitat- They are largely confined to evergreen forests or semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests, but also occur in deciduous forest areas at the periphery of their range.
  • Population diversity- Mainland South and Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Myanmar, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and Nepal.
  • Threat - Gaur is highly threatened by poaching for trade to supply international markets.
  • Conservation Status
    • IUCN Red List- Vulnerable
    • CITES- Appendix I.
    • Wild Life Protection Act, 1972- Schedule I

Indian Gaur

Nagarajunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR)

  • Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve is the largest tiger reserve in India.
  • Location- Nallamala hill ranges of Andhra Pradesh.
  • Geographical sperad- The reserve spreads over 5 districts, Nandyal District, Prakasam District, Palnadu District, Nalgonda District and Mahabub Nagar district.
  • Tiger Reserve Status- It attained the status of a Tiger Reserve in 1983.
  • Area- The total area of the reserve including core and buffer is 3727.82 Square Kilo meters and it is India’s largest Tiger Reserve.
  • Two wildlife Sanctuaries, namely Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and Gundla Brahmeswaram Wildlife Sanctuary (GBM) constitute the Tiger Reserve.
  • Vegetation- Features tropical, dry, moist, deciduous vegetation with diverse flora and fauna.
  • River- The Krishna River flows through the reserve for about 270 kilometers.

The Krishna River in the Deccan plateau is the third-longest river in India, after the Ganges and Godavari.

Nagarajunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR)


  1. Times of India | Indian Gaur
  2. Tigerreservesinindia | Indian Bison
  3. Nstr | About us

International Cooperative Day

The Union Minister of Cooperation recently addressed the conference on the occasion of the 102nd International Day of Cooperatives.

Co-operatives are people-centred enterprises owned, controlled, and operated by their members to meet their shared economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations.

  • Background- The International Day of Cooperatives, established by the UN on December 16, 1992, is celebrated on the 1st Saturday of July.
  • Aim- It aims to raise awareness of cooperatives and further the values of the movement, which includes:
    • International solidarity
    • Economic efficiency
    • Equality
    • Global peace
  • Nodal ministry - Ministry of Cooperation.
  • Objective- Its goal is to promote and expand cooperatives globally, highlighting their role in addressing major UN issues and strengthening international partnerships.
  • 3rd Foundation Day- The day also marks the 3rd foundation day of the Union Ministry of Cooperation, which came into being on July 6, 2021.

Recent Highlights, 2024

  • Recognition by UN- The year 2025 has been declared the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC2025) by the United Nations General Assembly recently.
  • Theme, 2024 - Cooperatives Build a Better Future for All.
  • New Initiatives in India - The Ministry of Cooperation has launched over 54 initiatives in the cooperative sector recently.
  • The ministry will also inaugurate launch of ‘Bharat Organic Atta’ produced by the National Cooperative Organics Limited (NCOL).
  • The ministry will launch the scheme for 50% assistance on the purchase of nano-fertilizer by the farmers for the FY 2024-25.


PIB | International Cooperative Day


Money mule

The Reserve Bank of India has warned banks about mule accounts and urged them to strengthen their security measures to curb digital fraud.

  • A money mule is someone who receives and moves money that came from victims of fraud.
  • A person may become a money mule intentionally or unintentionally and receive illegally acquired funds and help in its transfer to others.
  • The Money mules are frequently innocent individuals who are drawn into the plan by a variety of tactics, such as job offers, online classified ads, or social media postings.
  • Financial Frauds- Money Mule Actions are commonly associated with various types of financial crimes, such as money laundering, fraud, and cybercrime.
  • Types of Money Mules- The FBI categorizes money mules into 3 categories based on their goals and degree of involvement:
    • Unknowing/unwitting money mules
    • Witting money mules
    • Complicit money mules
  • Process - Fraudsters contact customers via e-mails, chat rooms, job websites or blogs and convince them to receive money into their bank accounts, in exchange of attractive commissions.
  • The fraudsters then transfer the illegal money into the money mule’s account.
  • The money mule is then directed to transfer the money to another money mule’s account starting a chain that ultimately results in the money getting transferred to the fraudster’s account.
  • When such frauds are reported, the money mule becomes the target of police investigations.
  • Mule Accounts - It is a bank account used to receive/transfer funds acquired illegally on behalf of others.
  • These accounts are often used for money laundering and tax evasion.
  • Mule accounts are in violation of several rules and individual involved in it can be prosecuted under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).


  1. Newindianexpress | Money Mule
  2. Sanctionscanner | Money Mule


Limestone cave, Leang Karampuang

A team of Indonesian and Australian researchers discovered the cave painting inside the Leang Karampuang cave.


  • Location- South Sulawesi, Indonesia.
  • These caves on Sulawesi have revealed the world's oldest hunting scene, now dated to at least 48,000 years.
  • It is famous for its prehistoric rock art, specifically hand stencils and animal paintings, which are estimated to be around 35,000 to 40,000 years old.
  • Evidence- Prehistoric people painted 3 human figures and a wild pig on a limestone cave ceiling using red pigment.
  • Flickering torchlight in the dark cave would have brought this art work to life.
  • This innovative method is poised to revolutionize rock art dating globally.

Limestone cave, Leang Karampuang

Limestone caves

  • Limestone caves are formed when rainwater seeps through cracks in limestone rock and dissolves it.
  • Limestone is generally formed in a warm shallow sea where plants and animals thrive.
  • Speleogenesis - Limestone caves are primarily formed through the process of chemical weathering. The process of cave formation is known as speleogenesis.


  1. The Hindu | Discovery of Limestone cave
  2. Nypost | Limestone cave
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