1) National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2023: Released by Ministry of Education, it is an effort to rank Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Launched in 2015 it was initially voluntary. It became obligatory for all government-run educational institutions in 2018.
- IIT Madras retains its 1st position in Overall Category and Engineering. IISC Bengaluru tops the Universities Category and stood first in Research Institutions Category.
- Three distinct additions to the 2023 edition of India Rankings are as follows:
- Introduction of a new subject namely Agriculture & Allied Sectors.
- Integration of the “Innovation” ranking previously executed by the Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) into the India Rankings.
- Expansion of scope of “Architecture” to “Architecture and Planning” to include institutions imparting courses in Urban and Town Planning.
- Five broad categories of parameters are identified in the NIRF: Teaching, learning and resources (TLR); research and professional practice; graduation outcome; outreach; and inclusivity and perception.
2) Electronic interlocking (EI) System in Railways: It is an advanced signalling, computer-based system that uses electronic components to manage the movement of trains and the configuration of tracks.
- The EI, which is based on software, is designed to prevent 2 trains from running on the same track at the same time. It ensures that a train gets a go-ahead only when the route is clear.
- The system is an alternative to the conventional Relay Interlocking system.
- All activities in the signalling system are recorded in a microprocessor-based system called a data logger. It acts like the black box of an aircraft and can store and process signal data to generate reports.
3) Bitumen: It is a dense, highly viscous, petroleum-based hydrocarbon.
- It is found in deposits such as oil sands and pitch lakes(natural bitumen) or is obtained as a residue of the distillation of crude oil.
- At the temperatures normally encountered in natural deposits, bitumen will not flow. In order to be moved through a pipe, it must be heated and, in some cases, diluted with a lighter oil. Bitumen can deform permanently under heavy loads. Continued stress on the material can result in cracking.
- Bitumen is known for its waterproofing and adhesive properties and is commonly used in the construction industry, notably for roads and highways.
4) Exercise Ekatha: Indian Navy and Marine Commandos of Maldives will conduct the sixth edition of India-Maldives Exercise Ekantha
- It is an exercise to ensure interoperability in diving and special operations between navies of two countries. It is held annually.
- Armies of India and Maldives also conducts Exercise EKUVERIN
5) Trimbakeshwar Temple: located in Nashik City, Maharastra, it is surrounded by 3 hills – Brahmagiri, Nilagiri and Kalagiri.
- It was constructed by 3rd Peshwa Balaji Bajirao also known as Nana Saheb, in the mid-18th century (1740-1760). The entire temple is built with black stone.
- Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga is only one of the 12 jyotirlingas in India.
- It not only honors Lord Shiva but the other two gods in the Holy Trinity – Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma as well.
- The temple has a well called Amritavarshini, believed to be the source of the Godavari.