Facts Corner-Part-168

International Union of Pure Applied Chemistry (IUPAC)

  • The International Union of Pure Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) is responsible for maintaining the periodic table.
  • IUPAC is an international federation of National Adhering Organizations that represents chemists in individual countries. It is a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU).
  • Headquarters of IUPAC is in Zürich, Switzerland.
  • Established in 1919 as the successor of the International Congress of Applied Chemistry for the advancement of chemistry.
  • Its members, the National Adhering Organizations, can be national chemistry societies, national academies of sciences, or other bodies representing chemists.
  • The IUPAC’s Inter-divisional Committee on Nomenclature and Symbols (IUPAC nomenclature) is the recognized world authority in developing standards for the naming of the chemical elements and compounds.
  • UNESCO has also launched its educational initiative, 1001 Inventions: Journeys from Alchemy to Chemistry. Consisting of educational material and science experiments to help young people improve their understanding of chemistry and its numerous uses, the initiative will be brought to schools around the world during 2019.

Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC)

  • It is a collaborative Industry Company founded in 2010 by stakeholder bodies that represent Broadcasters, Advertisers, and Advertising and Media Agencies.
  • BARC India was set up as per guidelines of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India.
  • Promoters of BARC India are Indian Broadcasting Foundation, Indian Society of Advertisers and Advertising Agencies Association of India.
  • BARC India has evolved a transparent, accurate, and inclusive TV audience measurement system on the foundation of robust and future-ready technology backbone. Together with the audience measurement system, BARC India provides a suite of Insight products designed for Broadcasters, Advertisers and Agencies. The data generated and the insights provided by BARC India aids in making efficient decision making by the stakeholders.

Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)

  • It is an international assessment that measures 15-year-old students’ reading, mathematics, and science literacy every three years.
  • First conducted in 2000, the major domain of study rotates between reading, mathematics, and science in each cycle. PISA also includes measures of general or cross-curricular competencies, such as collaborative problem solving.
  • By design, PISA emphasizes functional skills that students have acquired as they near the end of compulsory schooling.
  • PISA is coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization of industrialized countries, and is conducted in the United States by NCES. Data collection for the most recent assessment was completed in Fall 2015.
  • In 2012 PISA test, schools of Shanghai in China topped reading, mathematics and science test, followed closely by Singapore. In 2015, Singapore, Japan and Estonia were ranked as top three countries, in that order.


  • Zearalenone is a fungal toxin infesting cereals such as wheat, maize and barley. It attacks crops while they are growing, but can also develop when cereals are stored without being dried fully.
  • While numerous studies document this toxin in cereals across the world, no data existed for India until now. This month, a Journal of Food Science study detected zearalenone in wheat, rice, corn and oats from markets in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India does not impose maximum limits for zearalenone, though the European Union (EU) does.
  • 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.
  • For example, in 1974, a hepatitis outbreak in Rajasthan and Gujarat, which made 398 people sick and killed 106, was linked to aflatoxin in maize. Meanwhile, chronic aflatoxin consumption has been shown to cause liver cancer.
  • Given this, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies aflatoxin as a Group 1 carcinogen, meaning there is enough evidence for its carcinogenicity.
  • In zearalenone’s case, there is no strong evidence of toxicity in humans so far, though several research groups are investigating. As a result, the IARC classifies it as a Group 3 carcinogen, which means evidence is not sufficient for an evaluation yet.
  • Zearalenone behaves like oestrogen, the female sex hormone, and could cause endocrine disturbances in humans. Its nasty effects in animals, such as pigs, are documented. When fed with mouldy corn, pigs develop inflamed vaginas, infertility and other symptoms. This is why countries like Brazil regulate zearalenone levels in animal feed. In humans, the data are fuzzier.

Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSS) 

  • The government has unveiled new guidelines for Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSS) aligning them to the National Skills Qualification Framework with an aim to providing standardised training across sectors.
  • Formerly under the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Jan Shikshan Sansthan was transferred to the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship in 2018.
  • Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSS) were established to provide vocational training to non-literate, neo-literate, as well as school dropouts by identifying skills as would have a market in the region of their establishment.

Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO)

  • SFIO comes under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA).
  • It is a multi-disciplinary organisation that investigates and guides prosecution in white-collar fraud requiring expertise in forensic auditing, corporate law, information technology, capital markets, taxation, and other allied fields.
  • It was established in 2003, based on recommendations by the Naresh Chandra Committee on Corporate Audit and Governance.
  • It received statutory powers under the Companies Act, 2013.
  • The rules giving it the power to make arrests came into effect in 2017.
  • Since its inception, the SFIO was understood to be a specialized organisation that would require a wide spectrum of expertise, and recruitment would be in large part deputation-based, drawing on expertise from various civil services cadres, and on consultants with the required expertise.
  • Cases are assigned to the SFIO based on the scale of financial misappropriation or extent of public interest that is at stake.

Sanjhi-Mujh Mein Kalakar

  • Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA) the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama will launch the second phase of the Web Campaign ‘SANJHI –MUJH MEIN KALAKAR’.
  • It is an initiative to document and promote the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) and diverse cultural traditions of the country by direct public-participation.
  • The second phase of this campaign has its main focus area- the folk, traditional, customary, socially events and ritualistic art forms- woven as a cultural fabric around the harvest festival season of January
  • The first phase of this campaign was earlier initiated in the month of November 2018 during the festival season of Diwali.
  • This is a unique talent search where the participant will showcase their talent in the fields of music, dance, drama, puppetry, folk and tribal arts, culinary skills, painting, sculpture etc.
  • The literal meaning of the term SANJHI is “to share” and “to partner”, and the cultural traditions of our country has developed and prospered on the notions of harmony.

Budithi Brass Craft

  • Budithi Brass Craft are the products made out of alloy like brass at Budithi, a village in Srikakulam district of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
  • It was registered as one of the geographical indication handicraft from Andhra Pradesh as per Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
  • The art form expresses itself as traditional cooking utensils and also in forms that suit contemporary needs – like flower pots and planters.
  • Usually made of brass, the objects have patterns that are geometric, with straight lines and curves forming simple and striking presentations.

Etikoppaka Bommalu

  • Etikoppaka is a small village located on the banks of the river Varaha in Vishakhapatnam district of AP.
  • Etikoppaka toys or Etikoppaka Bommalu are made in the Etikoppaka region of Andhra Pradesh.
  • The village is very famous for its toys made of wood.
  • The toys are also called as lacquer toys because of application of lacquer coating.
  • These are well known for canon toys, lord Ganesha form and bullock etc.
  • The toys are made out of wood and are coloured with natural dyes derived from seeds, lacquer, bark, roots and leaves.
  • The wood used to make the toys is soft in nature and the art of toy making is also known as Turned wood Lacquer craft.
  • The lac dye is used for decorating the Etikoppaka toys, which are exported all over the world.

Lithium Ion Giga Factory

  • Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and Libcoin are in dialogue to form a world class consortium to initially build 1GWh lithium ion battery plant in India.
  • With this, India has finally taken steps into its energy security and clean energy commitment to the world.
  • This project will bring energy independence by replacing oil imports with abundant renewable.
  • This project also includes “Made by India, for India”, with focus on core-cost components manufactured domestically.
  • It will also create integrated manufacturing ecosystem resulting in self-reliance and lower cost.

Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI)

  • It is a report released by INSEAD business school in partnership with Tata Communications and Adecco Group.
  • It is an annual benchmark measuring how countries and cities grow, attract and retain talent, providing a unique resource for decision makers to understand the global talent competitiveness picture and develop strategies for boosting their competitiveness.
  • It looks at 68 variables such as ease of ease of hiring, gender earnings gap, and prevalence of training in firms.
  • GTCI 2019 addresses the topic of entrepreneurial talent and global competitiveness.
  • According to thereport, Switzerland followed by Singapore, the US, Norway and Denmark were the top five on the list of countries.
  • China emerged as the best performer among the BRICS countries, with an overall position of 45th.
  • India has moved up one position to 80th rank.
  • According to the report, India’s biggest challenge is to improve its ability to attract and retain talent.

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