- It is a prestigious arts award presented annually by the government of Madhya Pradesh in India.
- The award is named after Kālidāsa, a renowned Classical Sanskrit writer of ancient India. The Kalidas Samman was first awarded in 1980.
- It was initially conferred in alternate years in the fields of Classical Music, Classical Dance, Theatre and Plastic Arts. From 1986-87 onwards, the awards were presented in all four fields every year.
- NASA has launched Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission recently.
- It will map changes in water and ice around the world by detecting variations in Earth’s gravity.
- It involves two identical spacecraft that will orbit the Earth in tandem.
- It is a follow-on mission to the original GRACE mission, which mapped Earth’s gravity field from 2002 to 2017.
- Both missions are joint projects between NASA and the GFZ German Research.
- To detect these gravitational changes, the twin spacecraft will fly about 220 km apart and send microwave signals back and forth.
- When they pass over a region where gravity increases or decreases, the distance between the two spacecraft will change slightly, allowing the satellites to map Earth’s gravity field.
- Scientists have discovered the world’s oldest colours in the geological record.
- Bright pink pigments taken from marine black shales of the Taoudeni Basin in Mauritania, West Africa, were more than half a billion years older than the previous pigment discoveries.
- The fossils range from blood red to deep purple in their concentrated form, and bright pink when diluted.
- The bright pink pigments are the molecular fossils of chlorophyll that were produced by ancient photosynthetic organisms inhabiting an ancient ocean that has long since vanished.
Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)
- Under ZBNF, neither fertilizer nor pesticide is used and only 10 per cent of water is to be used for irrigation as compared to traditional farming technique.
- Farmers use only local seeds and produce their own seeds.
- The cost of biological pesticides and fertilizers is almost negligible compared to chemical fertilizers. So, this method of natural farming also called Zero Budget Farming.
- These biological pesticides and fertilizers include earthworms, cow dung, urine, plants, human excreta etc.
- The states can promote ZBNF under the two farm sector schemes- Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.
National Register of Citizens & Assam
- The NRC was introduced to identify illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and recognise the Indian citizens in Assam. It was first prepared in 1951 and Assam is the only state having this arrangement.
- Assam, which has faced influx of people from Bangladesh for over many years now, is the only state having an NRC.
- The NRC will be updated as per the provisions of The Citizenship Act, 1955 and The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
Great Indian Bustards
- Found mostly in India and some regions of Pakistan, the GIB is considered a “critically endangered” bird in the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
- Currently, it is found in only six states in the country — Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka.
- Rajasthan has the maximum number of GIBs and the bird is found in Jaisalmer, Barmer and Bikaner districts.
- The GIB plays a role in the germination of seeds in grasslands, and it is also a friend to farmers as it keeps a check on insects that destroy standing crops.”
- GIB was found only in the Indian subcontinent. Hence, once the species is lost, there will be no other species to replace it, and that will destabilise the ecosystem of the grassland and affect critical bio-diversities, as well as blackbucks and wolves, who share their habitat with the GIB.
Eat Right Movement
- Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) recently unveiled ‘The Eat Right Movement’.
- The programme aims to engage and enable citizens to improve their health and well-being by making the right food choices.
- It is built on two broad pillars of ‘Eat Healthy’ and ‘Eat Safe’.
- FSSAI has also undertaken ‘Safe and Nutritious Food (SNF)’initiative to promote awareness towards consumption of safe and nutritious food.
- FSSAI has been established under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
- Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is the administrative Ministry for the implementation of FSSAI.
- A clear aqueous solution of formaldehyde and methanol used especially as a preservative.
- Formalin causes irritation in the eyes, throat, skin and stomach.
- In the long run, continued exposure causes harm to the kidneys, liver and can even cause cancers.
- Son River of central India is the second largest of the Ganges’ southern tributaries after Yamuna River.
- The Son originates near Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh.
- The Son parallels the Kaimur hills, flowing east-northeast through Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar states to join the Ganges just west of Patna.
- Its chief tributaries are the Rihand and the North Koel.
- Scientists have found that a natural ‘tree glue’ which stiffens plant cells can be turned into a strong, biodegradable plastic.
- The natural glue called lignin holds cellulose fibres together.
- Researchers from the University of Warwick in the UK genetically modified some bacteria called Rhodococcus Jostii to turn lignin into useful chemicals.
- There are only a small number of organisms that can break down lignin.
- Plastic is notoriously difficult to recycle – and only 12 Percent of household waste is reprocessed.
- The rest is either burnt or goes to landfill.
- Lignin is a by-product of the papermaking process.
- Astronomers have discovered an ancient cosmic collision with an object, dubbed the “Sausage” galaxy, that reshaped the structure of the Milky Way galaxy.
- It is observed using data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite.
- Scientists propose that around 8 billion to 10 billion years ago, an unknown dwarf galaxy smashed into our own Milky Way.
- Sausage debris was scattered all around the inner parts of the Milky Way, creating the ‘bulge’ at the galaxy’s centre and the surrounding ‘stellar halo.’
- The orbits are further elongated by the growing Milky Way disk, which swells and becomes thicker following the collision.
- The Milky Way continues to collide with other galaxies, such as the puny Sagittarius dwarf galaxy.
- However, the Sausage galaxy was much more massive. Its total mass in gas, stars and dark matter was more than 10 billion times the mass of our Sun.
Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP)
- Recently the Election Commission of India has launched a dedicated portal for the ECI’s ‘Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation’ (SVEEP).
- SVEEP is a programme of multi interventions through different modes and media designed to educate citizens, electors and voters about the electoral process in order to increase their awareness and participation in the electoral processes.
- SVEEP is designed according to the socio-economic, cultural and demographic profile of the state as well as the history of electoral participation in previous rounds of elections and learning thereof.
- Now it includes enhanced interaction with the citizens through social media, online contests and voters’ festivals; awareness about new initiatives of linking EPIC with AADHAAR and National Voters’ Service Portal and a regularised yearly plan of activities.
- In addition to target groups of women, youth, urban voters and the marginalized sections, the inclusion of groups like service voters, NRIs, persons with disabilities, prospective voters/ students is of primary focus.
Mumbai UNSECO Status
- Mumbai’s Art Deco buildings and Victorian Gothic Architectures were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
- This makes Mumbai city the second city in India after Ahmedabad to be inscribed on the World Heritage List.
- This is the third such honour for the metropolis after the Elephanta Caves and the majestic Victoria Terminus rechristened ChhatrapatiShivaji Terminus railway station railway station which earned the coveted tag in 1987 and 2004 respectively.
- There are more than 200 Art Deco buildings in Mumbai, majority of them, built between the early 1930s and early 1950s.
- Such buildings are clustered together in the south of the coastal city along the marine drive area.
- These are sleeker buildings boasting curved corners, balconies, vertical lines and exotic motifs.
- They were built by wealthy Indians who sent their architects to Europe to come up with modern designs different to those of their colonial rulers.
- ‘Mission Shaurya’ is an initiative of the Tribal department of the Maharashtra State Government.
- It aims to train tribal students to scale Mt. Everest.
- Recently, 10 tribal students from residential schools in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra conquered Everest.
- Other State Govt Mission to train Tribal Students :- Maharashtra government has also announced this mission to impart special training and prepare tribal students for the Olympics 2024.
- RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific Exercise) is the world’s largest international maritime exercise.
- The 26th edition of RIMPAC was hosted by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) recently.
- It commenced off the Hawaii coast with the participation from 25 countries.
- It is aimed at increased inter-operability and development of common understanding of procedures for maritime security operations.
- It provides a platform for multilateral operational interactions.
- India has participated in this edition and represented by INS Sahyadri.
- Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnam joined RIMPAC for the first time.
- China is absent this year as it was dis-invited from participating by the U.S., citing China’s military actions in the South China Sea.
- China participated in the exercise in 2014 and 2016.
Kudankulam power plant
- Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is situated in Koodankulam in the Tirunelveli district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
- It is the single largest nuclear power station in India.
- The reactors are pressurised water reactor of Russian design.
- KKNPP is scheduled to have six VVER-1000 reactors with an installed capacity of 6,000 MW of electricity.
Pressurized water reactors (PWRs)
- They are one of three types of light water reactor (LWR), the other types being boiling water reactors (BWRs) and supercritical water reactors (SCWRs).
- In a PWR, the primary coolant (water) is pumped under high pressure to the reactor core where it is heated by the energy released by the fission of atoms.
- The heated water then flows to a steam generator where it transfers its thermal energy to a secondary system where steam is generated and flows to turbines which, in turn, spin an electric generator.
- In contrast to a boiling water reactor, pressure in the primary coolant loop prevents the water from boiling within the reactor.
- All LWRs use ordinary water as both coolant and neutron moderator.
- Lake Turkana is the world’s largest desert lake- located in Kenya’s remote northern arid lands and is the most saline of Africa’s great lakes.
- Its ecology supports a host of local and migratory bird and wildlife populations.
- It’s also home to unique fossil and archaeological discoveries.
- In 1973, Sibiloi National Park was created on the north-eastern lakeshore to conserve these remarkable discoveries that have contributed so much to our understanding of human evolution.
- And in 1983 and 1985, the lake’s South and Central Islands were designated national parks because of their outstanding wildlife breeding habitats, notably for the Nile crocodile.
- These three national parks were inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1997 for their “geological and fossil records” and “diverse aquatic and terrestrial habitats”.