Facts Corner-Part-191

Bhuvan Portal

  • Bhuvan is ISRO’s internet portal and an app which provides visualization services and Earth observation data to users in public domain.
  • Besides, the portal also services several users for their remote sensing application needs.
  • The Government agencies use this platform to share and host their data as per their requirements, enabling specific applications of their choice.
  • Some Indian states are using Bhuvan platform for specific applications in Forestry, Tourism, Municipal GIS, Geo-tagging and so on. 
  • Recently ministry of AYUSH collaborated with Bhuvan portal for a Yoga related app.

Optoelectronics

  • Optoelectronics is the study and application of electronic devices and systems that source, detect and control light, usually considered a sub-field of photonics.
  • In this context, light often includes invisible forms of radiation such as gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet and infrared, in addition to visible light.
  • Materials such as tungsten diselenide (WSe2) and molybdenum diselenide are being studied keenly for their opto-electronic properties.
  • A key property of these materials is photoluminescence, in which the material absorbs light and re-emits it as a spectrum.
  • Photoluminescence properties can be used in various devices such as quantum LEDs which can be used in communication and computation.

Karikiyoor Rock Paintings

  • 5,000 year old rock paintings are found Karikiyoor at Kil Kotagiri in the Nilgiri forests.
  • The society that painted the symbols onto these rocks were contemporaneous with the Indus Valley civilisation.
  • The rock paintings in Karikiyoor contain analogous-Indus script, meaning they resemble the script found in Indus civilization sites of northern India.
  • Members of the Irula tribal community have an ancestral link to the site.
  • The rock paintings serve both, as a “historical record,” detailing the hunting habits and ways of life of the local communities, and also a ritualistic purpose.

RODRA Website

  • Manpower Planning (MP) Directorate has launched a website called Retired Officers Digital Records Archive (RODRA, rodra.gov.in)  to overcome lack of digitization and non-availability of latest address and contact details of veterans.
  • Manpower Planning (MP) Directorate is responsible for custody and maintenance of approximately 1.2 Lakh service records of serving and retired officers of the Indian Army.
  • Some of the facilities extended to veterans through website are updating of records, Registration and tracking of documents/ pension related grievances.

Ganga Praharis

  • Ganga Praharis are cadre of self-motivated volunteers from the local communities.
  • Ganga Praharis have been created by Wild Life Institute of India.
  • These Praharis are working for biodiversity conservation and cleanliness of the Ganga River.

Fiscal Deficit

  • A fiscal deficit occurs when a Government’s total expenditures exceed the revenue that it generates, excluding money from borrowings.
  • It is expressed both in absolute number and as a percentage of GDP in the General Budget.
  • Normally, the Government borrows from the market to fund the deficit.
  • If the problem of lesser tax revenue (from both direct and indirect) was there, then there was challenge to curb the expenditure.
  • There was more compression in capital expenditure than revenue expenditure.

Rare Earths

  • Rising tensions between the United States and China have sparked concerns that Beijing could use its dominant position as a supplier of rare earths for leverage in the trade war between the two global economic powers.
  • Rare earth metals are a group of 17 elements – lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, lutetium, scandium, yttrium – that appear in low concentrations in the ground.
  • Although they are more abundant than their name implies, they are difficult and costly to mine and process cleanly.
  • China hosts most of the world’s processing capacity and supplied 80% of the rare earths imported by the United States from 2014 to 2017.
  • In 2017, China accounted for 81% of the world’s rare earth production.
  • Rare earths are also mined in India, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Estonia, Malaysia and Brazil.
  • Rare earths are used in rechargeable batteries for electric and hybrid cars, advanced ceramics, computers, DVD players, wind turbines, catalysts in cars and oil refineries, monitors, televisions, lighting, lasers, fiber optics, superconductors and glass polishing.
  • Several rare earth elements, such as neodymium and dysprosium, are critical to the motors used in electric vehicles.
  • Some rare earth minerals are essential in military equipment such as jet engines, missile guidance systems, antimissile defense systems, satellites, as well as in lasers.
  • Lanthanum, for example, is needed to manufacture night vision devices.

Mount Etna

  • Mount Etna erupted spewing lava and volcanic ash into the sky.
  • Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, Italy.
  • It lies above the convergent plate margin between the African Plate and the Eurasian Plate.
  • It is the highest active volcano in Europe outside the Caucasus.
  • It is the tallest active volcano in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

RODRA

  • It is a website named Retired Officers Digital Records Archive (RODRA).
  • The aim was to establish an interface between the custodian of officers’ Records and veteran officers/Next of Kin (NOK) and to create a digital data repository in order to address documentation/pension related grievances and update on relevant policies.

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM)

  • It has become imperative that every pregnant woman be screened for high blood glucose even if no symptoms are exhibited.
  • It is essential to prevent children from becoming predisposed to diabetes or other non-communicable diseases (NCD).
  • The aim should be to target keeping the new born’s birth weight appropriate for the gestational age (2.5-3.5 kg) to prevent the offspring developing NCD in the future.
  • It is defined as any degree of glucose intolerance with onset or first recognition during pregnancy.
  • It increases the risk to pregnant women and newborns and leads to poor pregnancy outcomes.
  • It holds a longer-term risk of obesity and glucose intolerance in offspring.
  • Mothers with GDM have an excess of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy and a high risk of diabetes mellitus thereafter.
  • Higher glucose transfer to the foetus, when the mother has high blood sugar, stimulates the foetal pancreatic cells to start secreting insulin earlier and in higher quantities.
  • Once initiated, it becomes self-perpetuating.
  • Diagnosing and treating GDM can reduce perinatal complications.
  • Nutritional management is the cornerstone of treatment.
  • Insulin, glyburide and metformin can be used to intensify treatment.

Leverage ratio

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday relaxed the leverage ratio (LR) for banks in a bid to help them expand their lending activities.
  • The leverage ratio stands reduced to 4% for Domestic Systemically Important Banks (DSIBs) and 3.5% for other banks.
  • The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) has set the minimum requirement for leverage ratio at 3%.
  • A lowering of the ratio, with the capital as numerator staying fixed, would imply an expansion of the denominator, or the bank’s lending activity.
  • The leverage ratio, as defined under Basel-III norms, is Tier-I capital as a percentage of the bank’s exposures.
  • The framework is designed to capture leverage associated with both on- and off-balance sheet exposures.
  • Leverage ratio in simple terms is the relation between the amount of equity that a company has and the amount of debt that it is carrying in its books.
  • It is a measurement of the capacity of the company to meet its financial obligations.
  • Banks have been required to publicly disclose their Basel-III leverage ratio on a consolidated basis from 1 April, 2015.
  • The leverage ratio is considered an important supplement to the risk-based capital requirements.
  • Leverage ratio is also one the four indicators under the RBI’s prompt corrective action framework.

International Cospas-Sarsat Programme
  • ISRO being a party to International Cospas-Sarsat Programme still couldn’t find the missing An-32 aircraft.
  • The International Cospas-SARsat Programme is a satellite-based search and rescue (SAR) distress alert detection and information distribution system.
  • It is organized as a treaty-based, nonprofit, intergovernmental, humanitarian cooperative of 45 nations and agencies.
  • It is best known for detecting and locating emergency beacons activated by aircraft, ships and backcountry hikers in distress.
  • The Programme began as a joint effort of Canada, France, the United States, and the former Soviet Union in 1979.
  • It was formally constituted as an intergovernmental organisation in 1988 through the International Cospas-Sarsat Programme Agreement (the Agreement or ICSPA) signed by the four “Parties” to the Agreement: Canada, France, the USA and the former USSR.
  • The Russian Federation replaced the USSR as Party to the Agreement in January 1992.
  • To provide accurate, timely and reliable distress alert and location data to help Search and Rescue (SAR) authorities assist persons in distress.
  • To reduce delays in the provision of distress alerts to SAR services, and the time required to locate a person in distress at sea or on land and provide assistance to that person.
  • Maintain, co-ordinate and operate a satellite system capable of detecting distress alert transmissions from radio beacons that comply with Cospas-Sarsat specifications and performance standards, and of determining their position anywhere on the globe.

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
  • Use of plastics in India growing, but nearly 80% PET bottles recycled.
  • PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate.
  • It is a form of polyester (just like the clothing fabric).
  • It is extruded or molded into plastic bottles and containers for packaging foods and beverages, personal care products, and many other consumer products.
  • PET is a highly valued packaging material because it is strong yet lightweight, non-reactive, economical, and shatterproof.
  • Like glass, PET is hygienic, strong, resistant to attack by micro-organisms, does not react with foods or beverages, and will not biologically degrade.
  • PET does not contain dioxins, nor can it produce dioxins, and no dioxins are created in the manufacturing of PET.
  • PET contains no phthalates, which are sometimes used to soften other types of plastic.
  • PET’s safety for food, beverage, personal care, pharmaceutical and medical applications is recognized by health authorities around the world.
  • PET is a polymer of ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid.

Shortwave Radio Transmissions

  • Shortwave radio is radio transmission using shortwave radio frequencies, the range always includes all of the high frequency band (HF), and generally extends from 3-30 MHz (10 to 100 meters), above the medium frequency band (MF), to the end of the HF band.
  • Radio waves in the shortwave band can be reflected or refracted from a layer of electrically charged atoms in the atmosphere called the ionosphere.
  • Therefore, short waves directed at an angle into the sky can be reflected back to Earth at great distances, beyond the horizon.
  • This is called skywave or “skip” propagation, thus shortwave radio can be used for very long distance communication, in contrast to radio waves of higher frequency which travel in straight lines (line-of-sight propagation) and are limited by the visual horizon, about 64 km (40 miles).
  • Shortwave radio is used for broadcasting of voice and music to shortwave listeners over very large areas, sometimes entire continents or beyond.
  • It is also used for military over-the-horizon radar, diplomatic communication, and two-way international communication by amateur radio enthusiasts.

Chaukhandi Stupa

  • Chaukhandi Stupa is an ancient Buddhist site in Uttar Pradesh’s Sarnath.
  • Stupas have evolved from burial mounds and serve as a shrine for a relic of the Buddha.
  • The Chaukhandi Stupa was built as a terraced temple during the Gupta period between the 4th and 6th centuries to mark the site where Lord Buddha and his first disciples met traveling from Bodh Gaya to Sarnath.
  • Later King Govardhan, son of Raja todarmal modified the stupa by building an octagonal tower to commemorate the visit of Mughal ruler Humayun.
  • The monument has been declared to be “of national importance” by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Chromatography

  • Paper chromatography is an analytical method used to separate coloured chemicals or substances.
  • Indian researchers have found simple malaria detection method that uses an instrument when in the lab or a piece of chromatographic paper when in the field.
  • The kit can be used to detect Plasmodium parasite, which causes malaria and also specifically detect Plasmodium falciparum, a notorious species.
  • The blood sample with the antigen is introduced in the blue coloured strip if turns into pink then the presence of malaria is confirmed. 
  • This kit has high stability in hot and humid conditions and the paper-based method offers the result rapidly.