Facts Corner-Part-142

Global talent ranking

  • India has slipped two places to rank 53rd on a global annual talent ranking released by IMD Business School Switzerland.
  • Switzerland has topped the global ranking for the fifth year in a row, it is followed by Denmark, Norway, Austria and the Netherlands in the top-five.
  • Within Asia, Singapore has topped the charts with a global 13th place on the list that ranks 63 countries in developing, attracting and retaining talent.
  • China is ranked lower at 39th “because of its difficulties in attracting foreign skilled workers paired with a level of public expenditure on education that is below the average of other advanced economies.
  • The rankings are based on three factors: Investment and Development, Appeal, and Readiness.
  • Its position has declined from 55th in 2017 to 53rd this year.
  • The country performs above the average in terms of the quality of its talent pool (Readiness factor, 30th position).
  • On the other, the quality of its educational system and the lack of investments in public education heavily penalise the talent potential of the country (Investment and Development factor, 63rd).

Invasive Species

  • An invasive species is a species that is not native to a specific location (an introduced species), and that has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy or human health.
  • Invasive species generally have a high sexual reproductive capacity.
  • Ability to reproduce asexually
  • A great dispersal and colonization efficiency
  • a high tolerance to environmental heterogeneity and disturbances
  • A high adaptation to environmental stress (phenotypic plasticity) and a greater competitive capacity than native species.

Three more invasive alien plants

  • Kerala Forest Research Institute reveals that more plants have started to show its invasive nature in the forest areas of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, including Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • These are the major habitat of Asiatic elephants and tigers in the country.
  • The invasive species include-

(a) Lemon basil or Tea bush (Ocimum gratissimum)

  • The Lemon basil is an aromatic perennial herb.
  • It is native to Africa and Madagascar.

(b) Red-flower rag leaf (Crassocephalum crepidioides)

  • Red- flower rag leaf, a succulent herb.
  • It is classified as one of the most aggressive weeds occurring in tropical and subtropical regions.

(c) Blue snakeweed or cayenne snakeweed (Stachytarpheta cayennensis)

  • “Cayenne snakeweed is a perennial evergreen herb.
  • It is native to South and Central America and Caribbean.

Ease of Doing Business grand challenge

  • Prime Minister unveiled the Ease of Doing Business grand challenge.
  • The objective of this challenge is to tap the potential of young Indians, startups and other private enterprises to provide solutions to complex problems using current technology.
  • It is in pursuance of Government’s resolve to make India one of the easiest places to conduct business in the world.
  • This challenge is aimed at attracting innovative ideas on artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things, big data analytics, blockchain and other cutting-edge technology to reform government processes.
  • The platform for this grand challenge will be on Start Up India portal.
  • In the World Bank’s Doing Business Report (DBR, 2019) released on 31st October 2018 India has recorded a jump of 23 positions against its rank of 100 in 2017 to be placed at 77th rank among 190 countries assessed by the World Bank. As a result of continued efforts by the Government, India has improved its rank by 53 positions in the last two years and 65 positions in the last four years [2014-18].

Global Education Monitoring Report

  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have released the ‘Global Education Monitoring Report 2019’.
  • The Report highlights countries achievements and shortcomings in ensuring the right of migrant and refugee children to benefit from quality education.
  • The report shows that the number of migrant and refugee school-age children around the world today has grown by 26% since 2000 and could fill half a million classrooms.
  • It observes that the literacy levels in rural households of India dip with seasonal migration.
  • It says that 80% of seasonal migrant children lack the access to education and 40% likely to end up in work.
  • The report says that the construction sector absorbs the majority of short-term migrants.
  • However, the report acknowledges the steps taken by India to address the issues associated with children who engaged in seasonal migration.

AirSewa 2.0

  • Civil Aviation Ministry launched the upgraded version of AirSewa 2.0 web portal and mobile app in New Delhi.
  • The major improvements in an upgraded version of web portal include features such as secure sign-up and log-in with social media, chatbot for travellers support, improved grievance management including social media grievances.
  • It will offer passengers convenient and hassle-free air travel experience.
  • It will allow years to register their complaints through social media using the hashtag (#) AirSewa.
  • It will provide all required information about flights operating from various airports across the country including real-time fight status and details of flight schedule.
  • It will provide all facilities and services including assistance to the disabled or unaccompanied minor that is available at airports across India.


  • The coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi (Karnataka) are all set for the Kambala (a traditional slush-track buffalo race) would be held under the auspices of the District Kambala Committee.
  • Kambala is traditionally a simple sport which entertains rural people of the area.
  • The Kambala racetrack is a slushy paddy field.
  • It is also considered a thanksgiving to the Gods for protecting the animals from diseases.
  • Karnataka government had promulgated Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance, 2017.
  • The President gave his assent to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill making Kambala a legal rural sport in Karnataka.
  • The Bill seeks to exempt Kambala and bullock-cart racing from the ambit of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960.


  • Indian Army has picked Russia’s Igla-S missile system as a choice for its multibillion-dollar contract for man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS).
  • It is the latest model of Russian MANPADS (Man-portable air-defense system) technology.
  • It offers superior performance over earlier supplied SA-18 missiles to India.
  • It is designed for use against visible aerial targets at short range such as tactical aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs), cruise missile, head-on or receding, in presence of natural (background) clutter and countermeasures.
  • The missile is developed by Rosoboronexport Corporation of Russia.
  • Man-portable air-defence systems are shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles.
  • They have typically guided weapons and are a threat to low-flying aircraft, especially helicopters.

Vajra Prahar

  • India, US Joint Special Forces Exercise 2018 named Vajra Prahar commenced Bikaner in Rajasthan.
  • The exercise was called between Special Forces of both countries to deal with operations for counter-terrorism and is being done at the unit as well as sub-unit levels.

‘Bhudaar’ portal

  • Andhra Pradesh launched a web portal which makes land records available to people with unique identification numbers just like Aadhar number.
  • The “Bhudaar’’ is an 11-digit unique identification code assigned to each agriculture land holding and rural and urban properties in the state.
  • There are two types of Bhudaar cards are available including e-Bhudaar an M-Bhudaar.
  • The Bhudaar unique identification code to be assigned to each agriculture land holding and rural and urban properties in the state.
  • The temporary Bhudhaar is assigned based on valid textual data of an agriculture landholding or rural or urban property starting with 99 which indicates it is temporary Bhudaar.
  • Temporary Bhudaar numbers are issued to lands under dispute or litigation or in the process of re-registration.

Rani Lakshmibai

  • Rani Lakshmibai, one of the warriors of India’s struggle for Independence, was born as Manikarnika Tambe in 1828 in Varanasi.
  • In 1842, Lakshmibai got married to Gangadhar Rao Newalkar, the Maharaja of Jhansi and got the name of Rani Lakshmibai. Few years after marriage, in 1851, Manikarnika gave birth to a boy but he couldn’t survive and died after four months.
  • Then Lakshmibai and Gangadhar Rao adopted Rao’s cousin’s son, Anand Rao, who was later renamed as Damodar.
  • Soon after they adopted Anand, Maharaja died due to an illness in 1853. Rani Lakshmibai was just 18 at that time.
  • The East India Company took advantage of the Maharaja’s death and applied the Doctrine of Lapse. The British rulers did not accept little Damodar Rao, as the legal heir of late Maharaja Gangadhar Rao and Rani Lakshmi Bai. Their plan was to annex Jhansi on the ground that it did not have any legal heir.
  • In March 1854, Rani of Jhansi was granted an annual pension of 60,000 and was ordered to leave the Jhansi fort. She was firm on the decision not to give up the dominion of Jhansi to the British. She died on June 17, 1958, martyring her life for India’s freedom.

Trans fats

  • Trans fatty acids (TFAs) or Trans fats are the most harmful type of fats which can have much more adverse effects on our body than any other dietary constituent. These fats are largely produced artificially but a small amount also occurs naturally. Thus in our diet, these may be present as Artificial TFAs and/ or Natural TFAs.
  • Artificial TFAs are formed when hydrogen is made to react with the oil to produce fats resembling pure ghee/butter.
  • In our diet the major sources of artificial TFAs are the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (PHVO)/vanaspati/ margarine while the natural TFAs are present in meats and dairy products, though in small amounts.
  • WHO recommends that trans fat intake be limited to less than 1% of total energy intake and has called for the total elimination of TFAs in global food supply by 2023. FSSAI has proposed to limit TFA limit in foods to 2% and eliminate trans fats from foods by 2022.
  • Recently Kerala is planning to launch an initiative to enforce dietary guidelines, involving the reduction of trans fatty acids (TFAs), salt and sugar in commercially available foods in the State.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

  • The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. APEC has 21 members.
  • The aim of APEC is to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.
  • APEC works to help all residents of the Asia-Pacific participate in the growing economy. APEC projects provide digital skills training for rural communities and help indigenous women export their products abroad.
  • Recognizing the impacts of climate change, APEC members also implement initiatives to increase energy efficiency and promote sustainable management of forest and marine resources.
  • The forum adapts to allow members to deal with important new challenges to the region’s economic well-being. This includes ensuring disaster resilience, planning for pandemics, and addressing terrorism.
  • APEC’s 21 member economies are Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Philippines; The Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America; Viet Nam.
  • APEC Members account for approximately 40% of the world’s population, approximately 54% of the world’s gross domestic product and about 44% of world trade.

GROWTH-India Telescope

  • The GROWTH-India telescope is part of a multi-country collaborative initiative –known as the Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH) – to observe transient events in the universe. 
  • The fully robotic telescope is designed to capture cosmic events occurring over relatively shorter periods of the cosmological timescale: years, days and even hours.
  • Universities and research institutes from the US, the UK, Japan, India, Germany, Taiwan and Israel are part of the initiative.
  • Their primary research objective is time-domain astronomy, which entails the study of explosive transients and variable sources (of light and other radiation) in the universe.
  • Novae are explosive events involving violent eruptions on the surface of white dwarf stars, leading to temporary increase in brightness of the star. Unlike a supernova, the star does not go on to die but returns to its earlier state after the explosion.
  • The recurrent nova, named M31N-2008, has been observed to erupt several times, the most recent eruption happening in November 2018.
  • Recently the 0.7 m GROWTH-India telescope at the Indian Astronomical Observatory located in Hanle, Ladakh, has made its first science observation which is a follow-up study of a nova explosion.

Eco-sensitive zones

  • The Environment Protection Act, 1986 does not mention the word “Eco-sensitive Zones”.
  • The section 3(2)(v) of the Act, says that Central Government can restrict areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries, operations or processes shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards
  • Besides the section 5 (1) of this act says that central government can prohibit or restrict the location of industries and carrying on certain operations or processes on the basis of considerations like the biological diversity of an area, maximum allowable limits of concentration of pollutants for an area, environmentally compatible land use, and proximity to protected areas.
  • The above two clauses have been effectively used by the government to declare Eco-Sensitive Zones or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFA). The same criteria have been used by the government to declare No Development Zones.

Leave a Reply