Facts Corner-Part-24

White -naped tit bird

  • White-naped tit was the centre of attention at the 21st Indian Birding Fair, Jaipur.
  • White-Naped is a robust, strongly patterned, mainly black-and-white coloured bird with yellow in the flanks and sides of the breast
  • The white-naped tit (Machlolophus nuchalis) is endemic to India where it is found in dry thorn scrub forest in two disjunct populations, in western India and southern India.
  • International Union For conservation of nature (IUCN) classifies the bird as vulnerable.
  • The Bird is considered vulnerable to extinction because of the scarcity of suitable habitats.

Pelican Bird Festival:

  • ‘Pelican Bird Festival-2018’ was recently organized at Kolleru lake. It was jointly organised by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Authority (APTA) and Krishna district administration.
  • The Grey Pelican also called the Spot Billed Pelican is listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act and in the Red Data Book. It is also considered a “globally threatened species” under the “Near Threatened” category.

Pradhan Mantri VayaVandhanaYojana

  • This scheme deals with senior citizen insurance scheme which promises assured annual return of 8% for 10 years.
  • The insurance is sold by Life Insurance of India for the citizens.
  • The Minimum age of entry is 60 years of age with no maximum limit.

Udhyagiri Caves

  • The Udayagiri caves, in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, contain some of the oldest Hindu temples and iconography, related to Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Shaktism.
  • They were built during the Gupta period (350-550 CE)
  • Though it is present north of Tropic of Cancer, it is believed that historically, on the day of summer solstice, the sun was directly overhead in this place, making Udhyagiri (Mount of sunrise) a place of worship.
  • It also houses some important Gupta age inscriptions.
  • Iconic Varaha Scultpure rescuing the earth symbolically represented by Bhudevi clinging to the boar’s tusk as described in Hindu mythology is a salient feature of the place.

Prachi Valley

  • Prachi Valley civilisation is believed to be earlier than that of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro flourished on the banks of Prachi river. Prachi Valley civilisation has contributed a lot towards amalgamation, assimilation and proliferation of different religious faiths and cults.
  • The Prachi river, a tributary of Mahanadi, originates about 10 km away from Bhubaneswar.
  • The river flows through Puri, Khurda, Cuttack and Jagatsinghpur districts and it is this region that is called the Prachi Valley.

South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference

  • 5th South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference is being held at New Delhi. The Government of India (GOI), through the Public Procurement Division (PPD) of the Ministry of Finance and All India Management Association (AIMA) are hosting the Conference.
  • The objective of the Conference is to enable the Heads of Public Procurement and other key stakeholders in the eight South Asian countries to meet and learn from one another and from experts in the field of public procurement.
  • The knowledge thus acquired would help various South Asian Governments to consider enhancements and innovations in their public procurement systems, enabling efficient utilization of public resources, ensuring quality and timeliness in delivery of services.
  • The Conference is held under the auspices of the South Asia Region Public Procurement Network (SARPPN), which is sponsored and facilitated by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Islamic Development Bank.
  • The First Conference was held in Kathmandu in 2010, the second in Islamabad in 2014, the third in Dhaka 2015 and the fourth in Sri Lanka 2017.

Inverted duty structure

  • An IDS means higher duty on intermediate as opposed to final/finished goods, with the latter often enjoying concessional custom duty under some schemes.
  • Inverted duty structure is a situation where import duty on finished goods is low compared to the import duty on raw materials that are used in the production of such finished goods.
  • For example, suppose the tariff (import tax) on the import of tyres is 10% and the tariff on the imports of natural rubber which is used in the production of tyres is 20%; this is a case of inverted duty structure.

Agni 1 missile

  • Agni-1 is an indigenously developed surface-to-surface, single-stage nuclear capable missile.
  • It was developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory or ASL in collaboration with the Defence Research Development Laboratory (DRDL) and the Research Centre Imarat (RCI).
  • The missile was integrated by the Bharat Dynamics Limited, Hyderabad.
  • Weighing around 12 tonnes, the 15-metre-long Agni-I can carry payloads up to 1,000 kg and is capable of hitting a target beyond 700 km.
  • The missile is also capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
  • The sophisticated Agni-I missile is propelled by a solid rocket propellant system and is equipped with a specialised navigation system that ensures it reaches the target with a high degree of precision.
  • The missile was inducted into service in 2004.

Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN):

  • It was set up as a registered society to provide financial medical assistance to poor patients receiving treatment in designated central government hospitals.
  • An advance is placed with the Medical Superintendents of such hospitals who then provide assistance on a case to case basis.
  • Since the DoHFW provides funds to the hospitals, the grants can be given from the Department to the hospital directly.
  • RAN functions can, therefore, be vested in DoHFW.
  • Managing Committee of RAN Society will meet to dissolve the Autonomous Body (AB) as per provisions of Societies Registration Act, 1860 (SRA). In addition to this, Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund (HMCPF) shall also be transferred to the Department.
  • The timeline required for this is one year.

Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK):

  • It was set up with a corpus grant of Rs.100 crores in the year 2003 to raise awareness for population stabilization strategies. JSK organizes various activities with target populations as a part of its mandate.
  • There has been no continuous funding to JSK from the Ministry.
  • Population stabilization strategies require private and corporate funding, which can be accessed through JSK.
  • Although, JSK will continue to play a significant role in population stabilization strategies, its existence as an Autonomous Body is not necessary.
  • Hence, JSK as an Autonomous Body can be closed as it can be administered by the Department as a fund.

Mansarovar Lake

  • located at an altitude of 14,950 ft (4,558 m) is said to be the highest freshwater lake in the world.
  • It is located in the Tibet Autonomous Region, China, 940 kilometres from Lhasa.
  • To the west of it is Lake Rakshastal and to the north is Mount Kailash.

Nathu La

  • a mountain pass in the Himalayas.
  • It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.
  • It is also one of the four officially agreed BPM (Border Personnel Meeting) points between the Indian Army and People’s Liberation Army of China for regular consultations and interactions between the two armies, which helps in defusing stand-offs.
  • The four BPM are: Chushul in Ladakh, Nathu La in Sikkim, Bum La Pass in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh, and Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand.


  • Maldives is a South Asian island country, located in the Indian Ocean, situated in the Arabian Sea. It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India. The chain of 26 atolls stretches from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to the Addu City in the south.
  • Maldives is one of the world’s most geographically dispersed countries, as well as the smallest Asian country by both land area and population. It is the world’s lowest country, with even its highest natural point being the lowest in the world.
  • The Maldives archipelago is located atop the Chagos-Maldives-Laccadive Ridge, a vast submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean, which also forms a terrestrial ecoregion, together with the Chagos and the Lakshadweep.
  • The Maldives is a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). It is also a member of the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Non Aligned Movement. The World Bank classifies the Maldives as having an upper middle income economy.
  • Along with Sri Lanka, it is one of only two South Asian countries rated “high” on the Human Development Index with its per capita income one of the highest among SAARC nations.

Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate

  • The Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR) system was introduced by the Reserve Bank to provide loans on minimal rates as well as market rate fluctuation benefit to customers.
  • This system has modified the existing base rate system of providing home loans.
  • In this system, banks have to set various benchmark rates for specific time periods starting from an overnight to one month, quarterly, semi-annually and annually.
  • MCLR is based on the risk taking capacity of borrowers, where banks prepare marginal cost of funds lending rates.
  • Unlike base rate regime, these rates are expected to get revised on monthly basis along with the repo rate including other borrowing rates.
  • Banks decide the actual lending rate based on the floating rate by adding the component of spread to MCLR which becomes the final lending rate.

Rhododendron park:

  • In a bid to conserve the dwindling rhododendron species of Tawang, a rhododendron park is being established in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Over 30 species of rhododendron will be planted and conserved in the park.
  • It will also have a modern nursery, an information centre, resting sheds, and a parking facility, among other things.
  • Found in varied habitats from subtropical forest to alpine shrubs, rhododendrons range from dwarf shrubs to large trees. The smallest are R. nivale and R. pumilum at just 10 to 50 cm while the tallest species, R. arboretum grows over 40 metres tall.
  • The cold, moist slopes and deep valleys of the eastern Himalayas form a conducive habitat for the luxuriant growth of Rhododendron species. Arunachal Pradesh is home to the highest number with 119 taxa (74 species, 21 sub species and 24 varieties) of the Rhododendron. The small State of Sikkim is home to 42 taxa (25 species, 11 sub-species and six varieties) while 10 taxa are found in Manipur, four in Mizoram and 11 in Nagaland.

Swadhar Greh Scheme

  • The Swadhar scheme was launched by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2002 for rehabilitation of women in difficult circumstances.
  • The scheme provides shelter, food, clothing and care to the marginalized women/girls who are in need.
  • The beneficiaries include widows deserted by their families and relatives, women prisoners released from jail and without family support, women survivors of natural disasters, women victims of terrorist/extremist violence etc.
  • The implementing agencies are mainly NGOs.
  • An Evaluation Study conducted through Centre for Market Research and Social Development to assess the performance of the scheme observed that the scheme is successful for which it was formulated/implemented.

Integrated Automatic Aviation Meteorological System

  • ‘Integrated Automatic Aviation Meteorological System (IAAMS)’ was recently inaugurated at INS Garuda. INS Garuda is the fourth air station to have been installed with this integrated system.
  • IAAMS is an ambitious project of the Indian Navy to modernise the Meteorological infrastructure of the nine Naval Air Stations. The IAAMS project at INS Garuda will give a major fillip to aviation safety through automation of weather monitoring process.

Global Terrorism Index

  • The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) is a report published annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP)
  • Two third of the countries experienced a terrorist attack in 2016
  • India is one among the ten most impacted countries by terrorism
  • Five countries account for three quarters of all deaths from terrorism: Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria and Pakistan.
  • The major reason for terrorism in most impacted countries is internal conflict.

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