Facts Corner-Part-164

Kondaveedu fort

  • The Department of Archaeology and Museums has found Buddhist remains under the ‘garbhagriha’ (sanctum sanctorum) of Sivalayam at Kondaveedu fort (Guntur, Andhra Pradesh).
  • The remains date back to later Satavahana period–1st to 2nd century A.D.


  • The scientific space project Cosmic Microwave Background-Bharat has been presented as a proposal to the ISRO.
  • The project is developed by the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune.
  • The project is expected to reveal the first clear sign of quantum gravity and ultrahigh energy physics in the very early universe.
  • It proposes near-ultimate survey polarisation that would exhaust the primordial information in the Gold-mine for cosmology.
  • The project aims to map all dark matter and most baryons in the observable universe.

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)

  • The PVTGs are the marginalized section of the Scheduled tribes of India.
  • This section who are relatively isolated, educationally and socio-economically backwards, living in a habitat far away from amenities.
  • PVTG is not a Constitutional category, nor are these constitutionally recognized communities.
  • It is a government of India classification, created with the purpose of enabling improvement in the conditions of certain communities with, particularly low development.
  • The criteria followed for determination of PVTGs are as under:
    (a) A pre-agriculture level of technology
    (b) A stagnant or declining population
    (c) Extremely low literacy
    (d) A subsistence level of the economy

Sub-glacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA)

  • An international team of scientists will begin hunting for microbes and other living specimens in an unexplored lake far beneath the surface of the Antarctic ice sheet.
  • The place of exploration is bottom of the ice sheet that covers Mercer Sub-glacial Lake about 370 miles from the South Pole.
  • SALSA (Sub-glacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access) is an expedition that will shed light on what kind of life can survive in such remote regions.
  • It will also serve as an on-Earth comparison for habitats deep inside Mars or on the ice-covered moons of Jupiter and Saturn.
  • Mercer will be the second sub-glacial lake that humans have sampled directly.
  • An ROV will be deployed to make 3-D measurements of lake physical and chemical properties.
  • It will also characterize sediments and basal ice and to obtain high resolution images of potential higher life forms.

Galapagos Islands

  • Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed on either side of the equator in the Pacific Ocean.
  • It is a World Heritage Site that comes under the jurisdiction of Ecuador.
  • The islands are known for their large number of endemic species and were studied by Charles Darwin
  • Ecosystems are very sensitive in the islands and its fauna that is so unique that they are easily affected by even fireworks.
  • .Animals have suffered from elevated heart rates, nervous stress and anxiety, which have “notably” changed their behaviour and affected the survival of species
  • So the local government has recently banned fireworks on the Islands to protect the its unique fauna
  • T.hose fireworks that produce light but no noise have been excluded from the ban.
  • It is also to avoid any potential deterioration in air quality or pollution of water sources.

Zearalenone Toxin

  • Zearalenone is a fungal toxin infesting cereals such as wheat, maize and barley.
  • The recent numerous studies detected zearalenone in wheat, rice, corn and oats from markets in Uttar Pradesh. 
  • It attacks crops while they are growing, but can also develop when cereals are stored without being dried fully.
  • Fungal toxins are commonly found in food and can be a public health concern.
  • India regulates the levels of some of these, including aflatoxin, deoxynivalenol, ergot and patulin.
  • The first three infest cereals, while patulin is found in apples.
  • Each of these toxins has been associated with disease outbreaks.
  • Chronic aflatoxin consumption has been shown to cause liver cancer.
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies aflatoxin as a Group 1 carcinogen, meaning there is enough evidence for its carcinogenicity.

Vote on Account (VoA)

  • The Union Budget is nothing but a projected income and expenditure statement for the coming year.
  • As per the Constitution, all the revenue received and the loans raised by the Union government are parked in the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI).
  • Article 266 mandates that Parliamentary approval is required to draw money from the CFI
  • So the Budget has to be approved by Parliament before the commencement of the new financial year.
  • But the discussion and passing of Budget generally goes beyond the current financial year.
  • So a special provision called “Vote on Account” is used, where the government obtains the vote of Lok Sabha to withdraw money from CFI to keep the money flowing for the government’s day to day functions, until the Budget is passed. (Article 116).
  • e.g Salary to government employees, loan interest payments, subsidies, pension payments etc.
  • It is also used in the years where Lok Sabha elections are due.
  • But here vote on account is also presented along with minor policy changes, as it would be improper for the outgoing government to impose major budgetary constraints on its successor.
  • Such a measure that includes both short term expenditure and income part is called an Interim Budget.
  • The vote-on-account is normally valid for 2 months and is in operation till the full Budget is passed.
  • But during an election year, it may be extended for more than 2 months.
  • VoA is usually passed without much discussion as it typically does not seek funds for major projects or new initiatives.
  • It usually does not contain any direct tax proposals, as that requires amendments to the Finance Bill.
  • On indirect taxes though, there could be clarifications or minor tweaks.
  • On the downside, the country may lose crucial time on developmental projects during the hiatus after the vote on account.

Mandovi River

  • Mandovi, also known as the Mahadayi river is regarded as the lifeline of Goa.
  • The river originates from Bhimgad in the Western Ghats in the Belagavi district of Karnataka.
  • The catchment area in Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra respectively.
  • Owing to the differences over the sharing of the river water among the states of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, the union government has constituted Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal to examine the claims made by the states.

Pahari Community

  • Pahari is a linguistic group, comprising both Muslims and Hindus, and is mainly located in Poonch, Rajouri, Kupwara and Baramulla districts.
  • Because of the remoteness and inaccessibility of the areas of their residence, the Pahari community has historically faced considerable economic distress leading to overall socio-economic backwardness.


  • The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) decided to allow card payment providers to offer tokenization services.
  • This will ensure the safety of digital transactions and reduce chances of fraud.
  • Tokenisation is expected to increase digital transactions in India.
  • Tokenisation involves a process in which a unique token masks sensitive card details like card and CVV number.
  • The token is used to perform card transactions in contactless mode at Point Of Sale (POS) terminals, Quick Response (QR) code payments, etc.
  • Tokenisation is the foundational aspect of taking payment security and safety to the next level by devaluing data and replacing payment credentials with tokens.
  • The way the token will work is like this — the debit or credit card holder will create a code for a particular amount, say Rs. 500, through an app in the form of a number.
  • That number will have the amount that can be spent, the merchant type where it can be spent as well as time within which the transaction needs to be completed.
  • Then the number can be shared with the merchant who will enter it in the mobile, to get the payment for the items sold.

Satkosia Tiger Reserve

  • It is a tiger reserve located in the Angul district of Odisha.
  • It is located where the Mahanadi River passes through a 22 km long gorge in the Eastern Ghats mountains.
  • The tiger reserve is located in the Eastern Highlands moist deciduous forests ecoregion.
  • Saktosia Tiger Reserve was designated in 2007 and comprises the Satkosia Gorge Wildlife Sanctuary and the adjacent Baisipalli Wildlife Sanctuary.

Bharat Ratna

  • Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of the Republic of India.
  • The provision of Bharat Ratna was introduced in 1954.
  • There is no written provision that Bharat Ratna should be awarded to Indian citizens only.
  • It is awarded in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavor.
  • The award was originally limited to achievements in the arts, literature, science and public services but the government expanded the criteria to include “any field of human endeavor” in December 2011.
  • Under Article 18 (1) of the Constitution said that ‘the award cannot be used as a prefix or suffix to the recipient’s name.
  • However, should an award winner consider it necessary, he/she may use the expression in their biodata/letterhead/visiting card etc. to indicate that he/she is a recipient of the award.

Crocodylus palustris

  • The mugger crocodile also called marsh crocodile or broad-snouted crocodile is a species (Crocodylus palustris) native to freshwater habitats from southern Iran and Pakistan to the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka.
  • Gujarat Forest Department has started evacuating muggers from two ponds on the Sardar Sarovar Dam premises on the Narmada, to facilitate a seaplane service at the Statue of Unity.
  • Already extinct in Bhutan and Myanmar, the mugger has been listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1982.
  • In India, it is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • Among the six schedules in the Act, Schedule I and part II of Schedule II provide the highest degrees of protection to listed species, with the most stringent penalties for offenders. So its relocation or capture is definitely illegal without permission.

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