Hornbill Watch initiative
- The Hornbill Watch initiative (www.hornbills.in) is an interactive web interface that allows a person to report on hornbills anywhere in India. People can record the observation of a live hornbill, note its call or report a dead, hunted or captive bird.
- It was launched by Scientists from Nature Conservation Foundation and Conservation India.
- Hornbills play essential roles in forest ecosystems as dispersers of seeds of forest plants.
- There are nine hornbill species in India out of which four are found in the Western Ghats. They are,
- Indian Grey Hornbill (endemic to India),
- the Malabar Grey Hornbill (endemic to the Western Ghats),
- Malabar Pied Hornbill (endemic to India and Sri Lanka) and
- Widely distributed but endangered Great Hornbill.
- India also has one species that has one of the smallest ranges of any hornbill, the Narcondam Hornbill, found only on the island of Narcondam.
- The hornbills were reported from 70 protected areas in the country.
Central Adoption Resource Authority
- Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory autonomous body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
- It functions as the nodal body for the adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
- CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.
- CARA primarily deals with the adoption of the orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated /recognised adoption agencies.
Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)
- Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an important management tool for ensuring optimal use of natural resources for sustainable development.
- EIA has now been made mandatory under the Environmental (Protection Act, 1986 for 29 categories of developmental activities involving investments of Rs. 50 crores and above.
- With a view to ensure multi-disciplinary input required for environmental appraisal of development projects, Expert Committees have been constituted for the following sectors:
- Mining Projects
- Industrial Projects
- Thermal Power Projects
- River Valley, Multipurpose, Irrigation and H.E. Projects
- Infrastructure Development and Miscellaneous Projects
- Nuclear Power Projects
National Rural Livelihoods Mission
- The Union cabinet has recently approved extension of special financial package for implementation of the National Rural Livelihoods Mission for Jammu and Kashmir for one year (2018-19).
- Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) is assisted by investments from World Bank.
- It aims at enabling rural poor to increase household income through sustainable livelihood enhancements and improved access to financial services.
- At least one woman member from each identified rural poor household, is to be brought under the Self Help Group (SHG) network.
- Target Group is identified through the Participatory Identification of Poor (PIP) method and it is delinked from BPL.
- The responsibility of identification of poor must be vetted by the Gram Sabha and approved by the Gram Panchayat.
- NRLM provides Revolving Fund (RF) and Community Investment Fund (CIF) as resources in perpetuity to the institutions of the poor to strengthen their institutional and financial management capacity.
- It promotes financial literacy among the poor.
- Partnerships with NGOs and linkages with Panchayat Raj Institutions.
Small Satellite Launch Vehicles (SSLV)
- ISRO is developing the SSLV to offer affordable launch options for smaller satellites through Antrix, the space agency’s commercial arm.
- ISRO currently piggybacks smaller satellites on the PSLV and GSLV along with bigger satellites.
- The SSLV is expected to reduce the launch time as well as cost less to launch small satellites, which are much in demand.
- ISRO have evaluated several locations of which the first two SSLV launches will take place from Sriharikota. After that they will move to the new location.
National Board of Examination
- National Board of Examinations (NBE) is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (India).
- It was established in 1975 at New Delhi as a Society under Delhi Society registration act, to standardizing postgraduate medical education and examination in India.
- The postgraduate degree awarded by the National Board of Examinations is called the Diplomate of National Board (DNB).
- The list of recognised qualifications awarded by the Board in various specialties and super-specialties are approved by the Government of India and are included in the First Schedule of Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.
- The National Board of Examinations conducts the largest portfolio of examinations in the field of medicine in India and perhaps at a Global level
- It provides trained manpower in the form of medical specialists to the country.
- NBE is credited with conducting maximum and largest number of examinations for Graduate and Post Graduate Doctors.
- NBE has been entrusted with task of conducting National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test – Post Graduate (NEET-PG) and NEET-SS which are the only examinations for admission to Broad and Super Specialty Medical courses respectively.
- NBE is also a nodal agency for conducting the licensing examination for Indian Citizens who have obtained their MBBS equivalent outside India.
- NBE has been providing more than 8000 specialists in modern medicine every year utilizing the existing infrastructure of Private and Government Hospitals.
- NBE has pioneered starting of Post Graduate courses in district hospitals of the country.
- These are bonds issued by the Reserve Bank of India to non-resident Indians who are interested in investing their money in India
- Since these bonds offer higher returns than other similar investments, they can be used as a tool to attract capital during times when other domestic assets fail to attract the interest of foreign investors.
- NRI bonds could theoretically help increase demand for the rupee and stabilise its value against the dollar
- In 2013, when the rupee witnessed a fall of about 25% in just four months following the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to taper down its bond-purchase programme, the RBI was able to collect more than $30 billion worth of foreign capital
NASA Balloon Mission
- NASA has launched a balloon mission to improve weather forecasting.
- The NASA long-duration balloon mission will observe clouds over the course of five days in the mesosphere.
- The images of a thin group of seasonal electric blue clouds on the cusp of our atmosphere captured by a new NASA balloon mission may lead to improved weather forecasting.
- Data from these clouds, known as noctilucent clouds or polar mesospheric clouds (PMCs), may help scientists better understand turbulence in the atmosphere, as well as in oceans, lakes and other planetary atmospheres.
National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO)
- India became the ninth country in the world to have a National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO), accessible only to law enforcement agencies for the purpose of “investigation and monitoring”.
- The proposal to set up a registry was mooted by the government after the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape case in New Delhi.
- The database will be maintained by the National Crime Records Bureau which will also track whether the State police were updating the records on time.
- The database will include offenders convicted under charges of rape, gang rape, Protection of Children from Sexual Offenders Act (POCSO) and eve teasing.
Space Technology Incubation Centre
- ISRO has recently launched a space technology incubation centre in Tripura capital Agartala.
- It is the first of six such centres planned nationally to build capacity in new locations.
- The Centre was launched at the first edition of ‘Spacetronics’ organised by the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA).
- The centre will incubate start-ups which would build applications, offer services and products which can be used internally and expolit global opportunities.
Integrated Control Room for Emergency Response (ICR-ER)
- ISRO will render its technical expertise for setting up of proposed ICR-ER whereas the project will be executed under overall supervision of MHA.
- The ICR-ER will cater to the requirement of Disaster Management as well as Internal Security.
- ICR-ER will address the requirement of receipt of information on near real-time basis, strategic level monitoring, situation awareness, command and control.
- This will improve preparedness and response in the diverse internal security situation and disaster related emergencies.
- Resultantly, it will increase the operational effectiveness and will be helpful in rendering timely response and assistance during various emergency situations.
- The MHA and ISRO signed a MoU for setting up of an state-of-the-art Integrated Control Room for Emergency Response (ICR-ER) in Ministry of Home Affairs.
- Akash is an indigenously developed medium-range, surface-to-air missile defence system.
- DRDO developed Akash as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme initiated in 1984.
- It can target aircraft up to 30 km away, at altitudes up to 18,000 m.
- It consists of Rohini radar that detects incoming aircraft with a range of 120 km.
- It can intercept fighter jets, cruise missiles as well as ballistic missiles.
- It soon will get an upgraded variant and Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) gave its procedural approval to the variant.
- Recently, it was test fired with an indigenous radio frequency seeker.
- This is the first surface-to-air missile with indigenous seeker that has been test fired.
- With this success, India has achieved the capability of making any type of surface-to-air missile.
- Eyerovtuna is India’s first commercial remotely operated vehicle (ROV) underwater robotic drone.
- The robotic drone,can be navigated up to a depth of 50 meters to take real-time HD video images.
- It will be helpful to examine ship hulls or undersea cables or bridge moorings, eliminating the need for costlier and riskier manual inspection by divers.
- It was tested for the first time in India’s first solar ferry in Kerala’s Vaikom.
- It can be put to uses ranging from inspections of ship hulls, ports, dams and nuclear power plants, to search and rescue, naval mine detection and ocean studies.
- It will be used by the laboratory of DRDO.
Prithvi Defence Vehicle:
- India successfully conducted an interceptor missile (Prithvi Defence Vehicle) test off the Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha Coast.
- The Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) is being developed by DRDO which is set to replace the existing PAD.
- PDV mission is for engaging the targets in the exo-atmosphere region at an altitude above 50 km of the earth’s atmosphere.
- PDV is guided by high-accuracy Inertial Navigation System (INS).
- AAD mission is for engaging the targets in the endo-atmosphere at an lower altitude of 15-30 km.
- History was created as Japan became the world’s country to successfully land two robotic rovers on an asteroid. This is the first time that the world will observe the surface of an asteroid via moving robots.
- The information was provided by Japanese space agency JAXA, who also shared images captured by the probes.
- MIcro Nano Experimental Robot Vehicle for Asteroid (MINERVA) is the second generation rover deployed by Hayabusa2 spacecraft.
- It recently landed on Asteroid Ryugu and the world’s first rover to land on the surface of an Asteroid.
- This is also the first time for autonomous movement and picture capture on an asteroid surface.
- It will collect a sample of the primitive world during its stay at Ryugu, to bring to Earth for laboratory analysis.
The Chiller Star Labelling Program
- The Chiller Star Labelling Program has been formulated by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). The program envisages providing star rating in terms of its energy performance. Initially, the program is launched on voluntary basis and will be valid upto 31st December 2020.
- Its mission is to assist in developing policies with the primary objective of reducing energy intensity of the Indian Economy.
- Energy Conservation Act provides for regulatory and promotional functions of BEE.
- BEE is responsible for
- Create awareness and disseminate information on energy efficiency and conservation
- Promote innovative financing of energy efficiency projects
- Give financial assistance to institutions for promoting efficient use of energy and its conservation
- Prepare educational curriculum on efficient use of energy and its conservation
- Implement international co-operation programmes relating to efficient use of energy and its conservation.
Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite
- NASA’s newest planet hunter telescope, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), has recently shared the first science image capturing exoplanets.
- The principal goal of the TESS mission is to detect small planets with bright host stars in the solar neighborhood
- It will survey 200,000 of the brightest stars near the sun to search for transiting exoplanets.
- The spacecraft will be looking for a phenomenon known as a transit, where a planet passes in front of its star, causing a periodic and regular dip in the star’s brightness.
- It will do an all-sky survey from an orbit between the Earth and the moon.
- It is the next step in the search for planets outside of our solar system, including those that could support life.
Scientists grow human esophagus in lab
- In a first, US scientists have used stem cells to grow human oesophagus — known as the food pipe — in the laboratory, an advance that will enable personalised disease diagnosis, regenerative therapies.
- Oesophageal organoids are miniature, functional versions of the human food pipe.
- The oesophagus is a muscular tube that actively passes food from the mouth to the stomach.
- The organ can be affected by congenital diseases called oesophageal atresia – a narrowing or malformation of the oesophagus caused by genetic mutations.
- The production of organoids using stem cells paves new ways to study and test drugs against gut disorders.
- It was grown entirely from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), which can form any tissue type in the body.
The Pakyong Airport
- Flying straight to Sikkim is soon going to be a reality as the Himalayan state has got its first ever airport, The Pakyong Airport.
- The Greenfield airport is situated at a distance of 30 km from the state capital of Gangtok
- The airport will finally put Sikkim on the aviation map of the country as it was the only state without a functional airport
- The Pakyong airport is Sikkim’s first airport, located at a height of 4500 ft from the sea level
- The runway that is built on the mountainous terrain has a span of 1.7 kilometres and is 30 metres wide
- The airport is also Northeast’s first Greenfield airport and the country’s 100th functional airport
- There is a taxiway, an apron, and a fire station-cum-air traffic control tower at the newly constructed airport
- The Pakyong airport was approved by the Centre in 2008 and was constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 350 crore
- Low-cost airline Spice Jet has been granted permission to fly to Pakyong from Kolkata under the Civil Aviation Ministry’s regional connectivity scheme.
Greenfield & Brownfield Project
- Greenfield project means a work which is started from scratch on the unused lands where there is no need to remodel or demolish an existing structure.
- Brownfield projects are built over Brownfield land or Brownfield site. A Brownfield land or Brownfield site means a land which was operational in the past but now is in idle condition.
- It becomes a Brownfield project when a parent company invests in such land or infrastructure for their project.
- Greenfield Project lacks constraints of prior work as there’s no existing building or infrastructure.
- As per the Government of India’s Policy on Airport Infrastructures issued in December 1999, no Greenfield airport will normally be allowed within a distance of 150 kms from the nearest existing airport.
- The government, in 2017, gave ‘in- principle’ approval for 19 Greenfield airports, some of which would be developed through Public Private Partnership (PPP).
- The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport is the country’s first Greenfield airport developed under the PPP initiative and spread over 5,400 acres
Nahargarh Biological Park
- Residents of Pink City can enjoy lion safari at Nahargarh Biological Park in Jaipur from October first week.
- It is located in the foot hills of Aravalli.
- The park is known for breeding centre of lions.
- State’s first lion safari was recently inaugrated in this park.