Facts Corner-Part-107

K9 Vajra-T

  • K9 Vajra-T is a 155-mm, 52-calibre self-propelled artillery gun with a maximum range of 40 km, customised from the original K9 Thunder gun. The fire control system has been customised for desert conditions to the requirements of the Army.
  • The M777 is a 155-mm, 39-calibre towed artillery gun and weighs just four tonnes, making it transportable underslung from helicopters.

Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT)

MLAT is an agreement between nations to exchange information or provide legal assistance for enforcing laws.


  • Pangolin is the most illegally traded vertebrate within its class of mammals.
  • Of the eight species of pangolin across Africa and Asia, two are found in India:
  1. Chinese pangolin- “critically endangered” by IUCN Red List.
  2. Indian pangolin- “endangered” in IUCN Red List.
  • They are typically elusive, shy creatures whose bodies are covered in hard, keratin scales.
  • The Wildlife Protection Act (1972) categories it under Schedule 1.

Remote Sensing Toolkit

  • It is an online toolkit launched with an aim to make it easier for users to find, analyse and utilise the relevant satellite data for their research, business projects or conservation efforts. The toolkit provides a simple system that quickly identifies relevant sources based on user input.

Alien species

  • An invasive alien species is a species that is not native to a specific location, and that has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy or human health.
  • An alien species is a species introduced by humans – either intentionally or accidentally – outside of its natural past or present distribution, however not all alien species have negative impacts.
  • Notable examples of alien invasive species :
  1. Water hyacinth
  2. Zebra mussels 
  3. Ship rat
  4. Small Indian mongoose
  5. Yellow crazy ant
  6. American Bull FrogComb jellyfish and Zebra mussel

Global Slavery Index 2018

  • In India, the 2018 index estimates that there were around 8 million people living in modern slavery in the country in 2016.
  • In terms of prevalence, there were 6.1 victims for every thousand people.
  • Among 167 countries, India ranked 53 in terms of prevalence.
  • The 10 countries with the largest number of absolute numbers of people in modern slavery include India, China, Pakistan, North Korea, Nigeria, Iran, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Russia and the Philippines.
  • The 2018 Global Slavery Index provides a country by the country ranking of the number of people in modern slavery, as well as an analysis of the actions governments are taking to respond, and the factors that make people vulnerable.
  • Published by the Walk Free Foundation.

Air Quality Index

  • Air Quality Index (AQI) is one such tool for effective dissemination of air quality information to people.
  • There are six AQI categories, namely Good, Satisfactory, Moderately polluted, Poor, Very Poor, and Severe.
  • The AQI considers eight pollutants (PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, O3, NH3, and Pb) for which short-term (up to 24-hourly averaging period) National Ambient Air Quality Standards are prescribed.


  • State-of-the-art Air Quality and Weather Forecast System– SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting) was unveiled at Chandni Chowk
  • The giant true colour LED display gives out real-time air quality index on 24×7 basis with colour coding along with 72-hour advance forecast.
  • The air quality station will also measure the sun’s UV-Index and will provide the measurement of online automatic ultrafine particles PM1 and Mercury, both of which have direct relevance to human health. Based on UVI, skin advisories will be issued on display.
  • SAFAR will accelerate public awareness and preparedness of air pollution and weather extremes.
  • It will monitor all weather parameters like temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed and wind direction.
  • In addition to regular air quality parameters like PM2.5, PM10, Sulfur Dioxide, Ozone, Nitrogen Oxides, Carbon Monoxide, the system will also monitor the existence of Benzene, Toluene and Xylene.

Delhi Dialogue 

  • The Delhi Dialogue is a premier annual track 1.5 event to discuss politico-security, economic and socio-cultural engagement between India and ASEAN.
  • Since 2009, it is held annually and political leaders, policy makers, senior officials, diplomats, think tanks and academicians from both sides participate in the discussions pertaining to ASEAN-India relations.
  • It is aimed at finding a common ground and expanding the scope of cooperation between India and ASEAN nations.
  • Union Urban Development and Housing Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said the bilateral trade between ASEAN and India has crossed USD 80-billion mark, which not only shows growing confidence but also constitutes the highest volume of trade in goods that ASEAN and India have witnessed since the signing of the FTA in 2010. If this double-digit trade growth continues, ASEAN-India trade is likely to touch USD 100 billion by 2020.

No- Confidence Motion

  • A motion of no-confidence is a statement or vote which states that a person(s) in a position of responsibility (government, managerial, etc.) is no longer deemed fit to hold that position.
  • Article 75(3) of our Constitution of India embodies this rule by specifying that Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to Lok Sabha. But there is no mention of a no-confidence motion in the constitution.
  • As a Parliamentary Motion, it demonstrates to the Head of the state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in (one or more members of) the appointed Government.

Privilege motion

  • As per the Constitution, all members of the Parliament enjoy certain rights and immunities – this is also referred to as Parliamentary Privilege which is enjoyed both by the Parliament and the members in their individual capacity.
  • Privilege motion refers to a notice by any member of either House of a state legislature or Parliament, against anyone members who are accused of breach of privilege.

Rani-ki-Vav on 100 Rupees Note

  • The Reserve Bank of India will soon issue a new Rs 100 note in lavender colour having a motif of ‘Rani Ki Vav’ on the reverse.
  • Rani-ki-Vav is an 11th-century old heritage site in Patan, Gujarat, on the banks of the Saraswati River, and is a UNESCO heritage site. The Heritage site was awarded as the cleanest iconic place in India.
  • It is believed that the stepwell (Vav) was built in memory of Bhima by his widowed queen Udayamati.
  • The structure is designed as an inverted temple highlighting the sanctity of water.
New CurrencyMotif
Rs. 10Konark Sun Temple
Rs. 50Hampi with Chariot
Rs. 100Rani ki vav
Rs. 200Sanchi Stupa
Rs. 500Red Fort
Rs. 2000Mangalyaan

Udyog Aadhaar

  • Udyog Aadhaar is 12-digit National Portal for Registration of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises.
  • By Ministry of MSME/SSI.
  • It is a government registration provided with recognition certification and a unique number, for certifying small/medium business or enterprise.

National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research

  • Recently India has renamed the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) as the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research.


  • Since 1998, charged with conducting expeditions to India’s base stations to the continent.
  • It’s also in talks with Canada and Russia, key countries with the presence in the Arctic circle, to establish new observation systems, according to a source.
  • Now, India only has one Arctic observation station near Norway.
  • India is already an observer at the Arctic Council.

Arctic Council

  • It is a forum of countries that decide on managing the region’s resources and popular livelihood.
  • In 2015, India set up an underground observatory, called IndARC, at the Kongsfjorden fjord, halfway between Norway and the North Pole.

Research Stations in the Arctic

  • Himadri

Research Stations in Antarctica

  • Maitri
  • Bharati

Myanmar joins International Solar Alliance

  • Myanmar recently joined the India-initiated International Solar Alliance (ISA), becoming the 68th member of the grouping that is aiming at optimum utilisation of solar energy.
  • India is a key development aid partner for Myanmar and is implementing a number of infrastructure projects in that country.
  • These include-
    (a) The Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project connecting Mizoram with Sittwe port in Myanmar
    (b) The Trilateral Highway Project connecting India with Myanmar and Thailand and the Rhi-Tiddim road etc.

Mission 2020: The target of 90:90:90

  • The UN goal is for 90% of all HIV-positive people to know their status by 2020. Of these, at least 90% must receive ART, and the HIV virus be suppressed in 90% of those.
  • Assessing progress towards the target, UNAIDS said 1.8 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2017.
  • This was down from about 1.9 million the year before, and 3.4 million at the peak of the epidemic in 1996.

Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan

  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is running “Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan” in five main stem Ganga basin states – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
  • The campaign, which has been initiated as part of the Forest Interventions in Ganga (FIG) component of Namami Gange programme, is significant as it aims to bring greater awareness among people and other stakeholders regarding the importance of afforestation for the task of Ganga Rejuvenation.
  • A number of schools, colleges and departments have been requested to “Adopt a Plant” for turning this campaign into a people’s movement.

National Resource Centres

  • The Government has proposed to set up National Resource Centres (NRCs) to prepare online training material.
  • The resource centres will focus on latest developments in the discipline, new & emerging trends, pedagogical improvements and methodologies for transacting revised curriculum.
  • Under this initiative, all in-service teachers, irrespective of their subject and seniority have an enabling opportunity to keep update of the latest developments in their disciplines through the technology based online refresher course, through SWAYAM platform.

Small Finance Banks and Payment Banks

Small Finance Banks (SFBs) 

  • Niche banks that focus and serve the needs of a certain demographic segment of the population.
  • Can give loans and advances
  • Can offer credit cards
  • Mainly for the growth of agriculture and Micro, Small and Medium industries.

Payment Banks 

  • A payments bank is like any other bank, but operating on a smaller scale without involving any credit risk.
  • Cannot offer loans or advances
  • Cannot offer credit cards
  • Mainly for the growth of individual/weaker section and etc.


  • DRDO and the Indian Army have test fired a supersonic BrahMos cruise missile under “extreme weather conditions” from Integrated Test Range at Balasore,Odisha.
  • The test was under extreme weather conditions with sea state 7 (waves as high as 9 m).
  • Sea state is the degree of turbulence at sea, generally measured on a scale of 0 to 9 according to average wave height.
  • BrahMos is the supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from land, sea, sub-sea and air based platforms.
  • It is considered one of the world’s fastest cruise missile currently in operational use.
  • The missile’s range is estimated at around 300 to 400 kilometers with speeds of up to Mach 2.8 to 3.
  • The land-launched and sea-launched variants of the BrahMos are already in service with the Indian Army and Navy.
  • Recently, a new production line for BrahMos transport launch canisters in Vadodara in the western state of Gujarat,
  • DRDO is also working on an indigenous missile booster for the BrahMos.

Ex Pitch Black

  • Ex Pitch Black is a biennial multi-national large force employment warfare exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
  • The aim of the exercise is to practice Offensive Counter Air (OCA) and Defensive Counter Air (DCA) combat, in a simulated war environment.
  • The first Pitch Black exercises took place on 15-16 June 1981.

Fair Remunarative Price

  • Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane for sugar season 2018-19.
  • The FRP so approved shall be applicable for purchase of sugarcane from the farmers in the sugar season by the sugar mills.
  • The FRP has been determined on the basis of recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and after consultation with State Governments and other stake-holders.
  • Recommended FRP has been arrived at by taking into account various factors such as cost of production, overall demand-supply situations.
  • FRP also takes domestic and international prices, inter-crop price parity, terms of trade prices of primary by-products, and likely impact of FRP on general price level and resource use efficiency into account.

Shekatkar Committee

  • The committee was formed by Ministry of Defence in the year 2016.
  • It focussed on enhancing combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure.
  • The Report was taken up by the ministry to frame key action points and roadmap for implementation. 
  • Some of the recommendations taken by the ministry include
    • Better utilization of Supply and Transportation echelons and Animal Transport Units.
    • Closure of Military Farms and Army Postal Establishments in peace locations.
    • Enhancement in standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army.
    • Improving the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps.


  • Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is a remote sensing instrument.
  • It is used as a monitoring system for mapping and modelling in -micro-topography, forestry, agriculture, meteorology and environmental pollution.
  • LiDAR has been recently deployed at Gulf of Khambat, off the Gujarat Coast by National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE).
  • The objective of the installation is to assess offshore wind resource.

Regional Aviation Partnership Cooperation

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) amongst BRICS Nations on the Regional Aviation Partnership Cooperation viz. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • The MoU signifies an important landmark in the civil aviation relations between India and other BRICS Member States and has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges amongst the BRICS Nations.

Salient features:

The objective is that BRICS countries would benefit from the establishing of an institutional framework to cooperate in the field of civil aviation. Among the areas of cooperation, following areas have been identified:

  • Public Policies and best practices in regional services;
  • Regional Airports;
  • Airport infrastructure management and air navigation services;
  • Technical cooperation between regulatory agencies;
  • Innovation;
  • Environment Sustainability; including deliberation of global initiatives;
  • Qualification and Training;
  • Other fields as mutually determined

Vikas Engine

  • Vikas is a family of liquid fuelled rocket engines that powers India’s launch vehicles PSLV and GSLV.
  • It is aimed at improving the payload capability of PSLV, GSLV and GSLV Mk-III launch vehicles.
  • It is used in second stage of PSLV which consists of four stages in its operation (Solid-Liquid-Solid-Liquid).
  • It is used in second stage and four strap-on stages of GSLV.
  • GSLV is a three stage vehicle (Solid-Liquid-Cryogenic Engine) with four liquid strap-on boosters.
  • ISRO has recently improved the thrust of the Vikas engine which is expected to boost the rocket engine.
  • The main beneficiary of the high-thrust Vikas engine is GSLV-Mark III launcher, which is expected to lift 4,000-kg satellites to space.
  • GSLV-Mark III uses twin engine core liquid stage (L110).
  • GSLV – Mark III with upgraded Vikas engine would be the third Mk-III and the first working one to be designated MkIII Mission-1 or M1.

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