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UPSC Mains Books
Study Aids & Exams Preparation

New Addition: Check the column of essential books in Right Hand side bar under Essential books.
Updated on 29/10/2016.
New Links on Government of India sites.

Saturday, November 19, 2016


FSSAI: Full form:
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (Memory tag: resembles Sports Authority of India SAI, here it is Standards Authority of India which talks about Food Safety. Food is an important ingredient for a sport activity)
It was established by an act. The name of the Act was Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
Main feature and emphasis:
The act consolidated various acts & orders that have hitherto handled food related issues in various Ministries and Departments.
Various central Acts like
Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 ,
Fruit Products Order, 1955,
Meat Food Products Order, 1973,
Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947,
Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order 1988,
Solvent Extracted Oil,
De- Oiled Meal and Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967,
Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992 etc. were repealed after commencement of FSS Act, 2006.
The motive was to establish a single entry point about the standards of the food, production and related scientific issues. Finally, after the Act was passed, an independent statutory Authority – the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India was established. The head office as raised at Delhi. Now the main authority along with the state food safety authorities enforces the various provisions of the Act.
Dealing Ministry:
The Food authority which is FSSAI – Food Safety and Standards Authority works under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, of the Government of India.
The Food Authority is located in five regions. They are
Northern Region
Eastern Region
North Eastern Region
Western Region
Southern Region

Saturday, October 29, 2016

National Ayurveda Day 2016

National Ayurveda Day is celebrated on Dhanvantri Jayanti every year.

The theme for 2016 National Ayurveda Day is Prevention and Control of Diabetes through Ayurveda.

Description of the Logo as given on the site of the Ministry of Ayush:

  • The silhouette of lord Dhanwantari in the centre of the logo represents the lord of Medicine.
  • The five petals in logo symbolize Pancha Mahabhuta and three circles beneath signify Vata, Ptta, Kapha, the fundamental principles of Ayurveda.
  • An oval leaf encircling the elements depicts the essence of healing through Nature based on these fundamental principles.

  • In 2016, the National Ayurveda Day was celebrated on October 28, 2016.


    “Sowa-Rigpa” commonly known as Amchi system of medicine is one of the oldest, Living and well documented medical tradition of the world. It is commonly more popular as Tibetan Medical System. The literal meaning of this Tibetan System is Science of Healing. Gyud-Zi (four tantra) the fundamental text book of this medicine was first translated from India and enriched in Tibet with its own folklore and other medical tradition like Chinese and Persian etc. The impact of Sowa-Rigpa along with Buddhism and other Tibetan art and sciences were spread in neighboring Himalayan regions. In India this system has been practiced in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling (West Bangal), Lahoul & Spiti (Himanchal Pradesh) and Ladakh region of Jammu& Kashmir etc.

    Additional Source: Ministry of Ayush

    AYUSH: A Ministry of Government of India

    Ministry of AYUSH:
    The Ministry of AYUSH was formed on 9th November' 2014. Earlier it was known as the Department of Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM&H) which was created in March 1995 and renamed as Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) in November 2003, with a view to provide focused attention for the development of Education and Research in Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy.
  • A:Ayurveda
  • Y:Yoga and Naturopathy
  • U:Unani
  • S:Siddha
  • H:Homoeopathy
  • Source: The Ministry of AYUSH

  • Paris Agreement 2015

    The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. The contents of the agreement was framed by the representatives of the 195 nations at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC on December 12, 2015. It was opened for signature on April 22, 2016 in New York City. By October 2016, 192 members of UNFCCC have signed the treaty. India is a signatory to this agreement.

    Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer

    Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer
    Vienna Convention is a Multilateral Environmental Agreement. It was agreed upon in Vienna Conference in 1985 and came into force in 1988. It was ratified by 197 nations. It is one of the most successful treaties of the United Nations which produced this agreement. A Multilateral Environmental Agreement is legally binding.
    Vienna Convention was revised in the following order till 2016
  • Montreal Protocol 1987, an international treaty which aims at bringing the Ozone layer to the level of 1980
  • Helsinki 1989
  • London 1990
  • Nairobi 1991
  • Copenhagen 1992
  • Bangkok 1993
  • Vienna 1995
  • Montreal 1997
  • Australia 1998
  • Beijing 1999
  • Kigali 2016

  • Additional Source:
  • Wikipedia

  • United Nations Treaty Collections
  • Friday, October 28, 2016


    The Union Budget presented by the Hon’ble Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley, for FY 2015-16, announced the formation of MUDRA Bank. Accordingly MUDRA was registered as a Company in March 2015 under the Companies Act 2013 and as a Non Banking Finance Institution with the RBI on 07 April 2015. MUDRA was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 08 April 2015 at a function held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
    The Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency Ltd (MUDRA) was set up by the Government of India (GoI). MUDRA has been initially formed as a wholly owned subsidiary of Small Industries Development bank of India (SIDBI) with 100% capital being contributed by it. Presently, the authorized capital of MUDRA is 1000 crores and paid up capital is 750 crore, fully subscribed by SIDBI. More capital is expected to enhance the functioning of MUDRA.
    This Agency would be responsible for developing and refinancing all Micro-enterprises sector by supporting the finance Institutions which are in the business of lending to micro / small business entities engaged in manufacturing, trading and service activities. MUDRA would partner with Banks, MFIs and other lending institutions at state level / regional level to provide micro finance support to the micro enterprise sector in the country.
    Micro Finance is an economic development tool whose objective is to provide income generating opportunities to the people at the bottom of the pyramid. It covers a range of services which include, in addition to the provision of credit, many other credit plus services , financial literacy and other social support services.
    MUDRA has been formed with primary objective of developing the micro enterprise sector in the country by extending various support including financial support in the form of refinance, so as to achieve the goal of “funding the unfunded”.

    Contents from the site

    Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY)

    Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) is National Mission for Financial Inclusion to ensure access to financial services, namely, Banking/ Savings & Deposit Accounts, Remittance, Credit, Insurance, Pension in an affordable manner. (contents from the government site at

    What is RuPay Debit Card?

    What is RuPay Debit Card?
    Ans. Rupay Debit Card is an indigenous domestic debit card introduced by National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI). This card is accepted at all ATMs (for cash withdrawal) and at most of the PoS machines (for making cashless payment for purchases) in the country.

    (contents from the government site at

    What is a BSBDA Account?

    What is BSBDA Account?
    Ans. Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account (BSBDA) has been defined by RBI vide its circular dated 10.08.2012. Its salient features are: • There is no requirement of minimum balance. • The services available include deposit and withdrawal of cash at bank branch as well as ATMs; receipt/credit of money through electronic payment channels or by means of collection/deposit of cheques. • Maximum of 4 withdrawals a month including ATM withdrawal. No such limit for deposits. • Facility of ATM card or ATM-cum-Debit card. • These facilities are to be provided without any extracost.
    The accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana is a BSDA account.

    . (contents from the government site at

    Saturday, October 22, 2016

    Regional Connectivity Scheme UDAN

    The Civil Aviation Ministry has launched the Regional Connectivity Scheme on October 21, 2016. It is one of the objective of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NACP) 2016.

    External Source: PIB (Kindly note, after sometime the links to PIB becomes non functional.

    Vidyanjali (School Volunteer Programme)


    Vidyanjali - (School Volunteer Programme) is an initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of School Education & Literacy to enhance community and private sector involvement in Government run elementary schools across the country under the overall aegis of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
    External Source: Vidyanjali

    Scoville Scale

    Scoville Scale:
    It is the measurement of pungency of chili peppers and other spicy foods as reported in Scoville Heat Units (SHU). The measurement is done by Scoville Organoleptic Test.
    Other way of testing is High-performance liquid Chromatography.
    Relevance: This scale is news in case of the use of PAVA Shells use.
    Source of Content: Wikipedia: Scoville Scale (Click to Access).

    Friday, October 21, 2016

    Nobel Prize Winners 2016

    All the Nobel Prize Winners of 2016 can be noted from the site of the Nobel Prize Site itself. Click HERE to access the page.
    It is repeated here that other links of the site should also be explored. There are questions in Preliminary on this organization on regular basis.

    PAVA Shells: Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide Shells

    Full form of PAVA Shells: Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide (PAVA) The Riot Control device and munition has been developed by Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratory in Lucknow.
    It has come into news when the Government of India adopted it as an alternative to the pallet guns which were used in Kashmir Valley.
    Pelargonic Acid Vanillylamide is also called Pelargonic Acid Nonivamide is an organic compound found in natural chilli pepper. It is also used in self-protection sprays. It is biosafe. It temporarily incapacitates the target. It has a projected range of 4 to 5 meters.
    The PAVA Shell are manufactured by Tear Smoke Unit (TSU) of BSF Gwalior. This unit was established in 1976. Presently it is producing 75 varieties of munitions.
    Other Alternatives of Riot Control management are:
    Tear Gas
    Pellet Guns
    Dye Marker Grenade with irritant
    Tear Smoke Gas with Soft Nose (that melts after busting so that they can not be picked and thrown back)
    Stun Grenade

    Added and Supporting links: The Hindu and The Hindu (some additional points): Indiatimes:

    Monday, October 10, 2016

    Juan Manuel Santos Calderón

    Juan Manuel Santos Calderón:
    Juan Manuel Santos the President of Columbia. He is the sole winner of Nobel Peace Prize 2016. He was awarded the prize for negotiating a peace treaty with the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia Related wikipedia link Click) guerillas.
    Additional Comment: Generally a question on Nobel Prize is asked in the Preliminary

    Antonio Guterres

    Antonio Guterres:
    Antonio Guterres will be the next Secretary General of United Nations. He will take over from Ban Ki-moon on January 1, 2017.
    Antonio Guterres is a former Prime Minister of Portugal.
    Additional Comments: In Preliminary Examinations there are generally questions on the working of the Secretariat of the United Nations. It is also relevant to GS II. Keep Tap on UN Website (Click Here to access).
    External Sources:
    1. Business Standard
    2. Wikipedia

    Saturday, October 08, 2016


    Arthapedia: It is a portal maintained by the Indian Economic Services. It gives the explanation of the concepts used in India economy policy. Such concepts help to understand the Indian Economy and its governance. The General Studies Paper III is related to the India Economy. A study of the portal will definitely help the aspirants. One can reach it by Clicking Here. Some of the suggestive concepts given below may help to appreciate the relevance:
    1. Consumer Price Index
    2. Jan Aushadhi Scheme
    3. Kisan Credit Card
    4. National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF)
    5. Money Bill
    6. Finance Bill
    7. Appropriation Bill
    Presently there are approximately around 400 terms. Many of the terms are of recent origin and they are highly useful for the forthcoming Mains papers. There are equally useful for the Prelims 2017.

    Thursday, July 18, 2013

    Making Use of India Year Book

    S N Reddy on ITCSA blog has given a very useful post on How to use India Year Book (Click Here to access). It is a "You Must Read Category".

    Saturday, May 04, 2013

    RTGS System

    RTGS stands for Real Time Gross Settlement. For an authoritative FAQ check HERE a RBI FAQ.
    For Wikipedia article, which contains a wider perspective Check HERE.
    The Wikipedia Article contains points which makes it an important topic for preparation. Check here Economic Times article of this year.

    Wednesday, April 03, 2013

    Statistical Year Book 2013 at ITCSA

    Check this Book HERE.
    The book is available on Indian Telugu Civil Servants Association blog. The link will take you that site.
    The book is must for Civil Services Mains. With the changed structure, a good reading and notes will be highly rewarding.
    Just a side issue. Why do the government publication make Right Reserved fetish. On one hand, it is talking about RTI. On the other hand, It is promoting E-governance. However, while sharing basic data, they intend to exercise their intellectual Property right. Do these secretaries start feeling themselves as scholars and writers? Amusing.

    Thursday, February 28, 2013

    Double Weightage to GS Mains But When

    Kindly Check the Report HERE on Civil Services Examination Reforms. No comment for present.

    Wednesday, January 30, 2013

    Selecting the options: A suggestive Post by S N Reddy

    I recommend that the fresh aspirants must read the post by S N Reddy, IRS (Click Here for the Post). It is nicely written in a lucid English. I believe that it will be comprehensible to everyone. Secondly, the contents relate to such queries which every new aspirant asks even if he or she is the future topper.
    Mr. Reddy is quiet clear in telling that the criterion to be made basis for selection should be the interest in the subject. The different theories which are prevalent about the selection could not be easily pushed aside but even then, they are not the right basis of making selection.
    Another thing, which I feel he should have emphasized is that the candidate should develop the idea of obtaining 350 plus mark in at least two paper. I mean to say, that even the General Studies Main should also be tackled with that mind set. If you are able to choose two elective options in which you can work hard to make 300 plus marks, then the result is always positive. With this criteria as a premises, the selection of options need to be based on interest than on the popular theories which he has already discussed.
    Kindly Read the post of S N Reddy. It is worth reading.

    Thursday, October 18, 2012

    Man Booker Prize 2012: Hilary Mantel: Bring up the Bodies

    Hilary Mantel wins Man Booker Prize of her historic fiction "Bring up the Bodies". It is her second Booker Prize. She becomes the first women and the third person to win the Man Booker Prize twice.
    Check the Report here which is nicely written. Seek answers to the following questions from the news report.

    1. Who were the first two authors and the works to win Man Booker Prize earlier? 2. When did Hilary Mantel win her first Man Booker Award? 3. What is the nature of the contents of the novels of Hillary Mental? Also Check Wikipedia Article HERE.

    Tuesday, October 02, 2012

    Justice B. K. Shrikrishna Panel on Financial Sector Regulation

    Business studies are now important part of the General Studies Preliminary and Mains examinations. The suggested post here (Click to access) provide a list of Financial Sector regulators. It will be useful for uninitiated aspirants who are from non-commerce stream to write notes on Business Studies.
    Suggested terms:
    1. RBI: Reserve Bank of India
    2. SEBI: Security Exchange Board of India
    3. IRDA: Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority
    4. PFRDA: Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority
    5. FMC: Forward Markets Commission
    6. SAT: Securities Appellate Tribunal
    7. DICGC:
    8.FSDC: Financial Sector Development Council

    Saturday, September 29, 2012

    Justice Altamas Kabir: 39th CJI

    Justice Altamas Kabir has been sworn as the Chief Justice of India. He is the 39th chief justice of India. His predecessor was Justice S. H. Kapadia.
    Check the Hindu details here.

    What is GAGAN?

    GAGAN stands for GPS aided geo-augmented navigation. It is a technology which the Airport Authority of India would use with the help of ISRO for the navigation of the planes. The technology will be assisted by GSAT10 which is launched on September 29, 2012.
    For further details Check HERE (A Wikipedia Article).

    GSAT10 from Kourou

    GSAT10 has been launched on September 29, 2012 from Kourou at French Guiana in South America.
    Check here the Hindu Report which is note of a kind.
    Next Question:
    What is GAGAN?

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

    Sunday, August 05, 2012

    Basel Accords

    Check the following two links in order to understand the concept of Basel Accords. They are related to Banking. In light of the world economic crisis, an understanding of Basel Accords and especially Basel III which comes into force from 2013 to 2018.
    Wikipedia Article Further links within in the article can be explored for a wider perception especially Basel II and Basel III.
    Hindu Article.

    Thursday, August 02, 2012

    Sunday, April 29, 2012

    GAAR: What is it?

    GAAR stands for General Anti-Avoidance Rules. It is aimed at checking the tax avoidance by companies. The Economic Times article HERE discusses the different dimensions and actual thought behind it. It is good for reading and making relevant notes.

    Monday, April 02, 2012

    Demographic Data for 60 Plus

    India is a country which is growing young. In case of other countries, the old population is increasing more than young population. However, that does not mean that India would not be having the issue of old population. In coming years, the issue of the old age population would require attention of the government.

    Check the Report HERE and make notes on the contents.

    Sunday, March 25, 2012

    Demographic Data 2011

    Demographic data is very crucial. Rather Demographic studies are must. Such a data is crucial for every country and nation for planning. Secondly, it is needed by all such sciences which deal in human beings whether it is sociology, economy, history, political science, public administration. The latest data is equally important as remembering some core ratios. It is useful for GS prelims, GS Mains as well as elective subjects.

    Check the report HERE and study it attentively and make notes on change size of family over a decade. Along with that, there should be sensitization about the related problems like housing, child care and divorce rates.

    General Information

    UPSC has taken initiative to display Last Year Question Papers of CS, CDS, NDA, CMS, Engineering Service on its site. Check them out at The files are PDF.

    The Result of Civil Services Examination, Main 2009 has been announced on May 6, 2010.

    or go to and check what is new.


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