Facts Corner-Part-46

Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC)

  • a not-for-profit Public Sector Enterprise, set up by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology Government of India, to empower the emerging biotech industry to undertake strategic research and innovation.
  • BIRAC is a new industry academia interface and implements its mandate through a wide range of impact initiatives, be it providing access to risk capital through targeted funding, technology transfer, IP management and handholding schemes that help bring innovation excellence to Indian biotech firms and make them globally competitive.
  • BIRAC has initiated several schemes, networks and platforms that help to bridge the existing gap between industry-academia research and facilitate novel, high quality and cost-effective affordable technologies.
  • BIRAC has initiated partnerships with several national and global partners to collaborate and deliver the salient features of its mandate.

Prompt Corrective Action

  • A prompt Corrective action is a qualitative tool introduced by the Reserve Bank of India under which direct action is taken on weak banks to ensure the financial health of a bank is maintained and it does not go bust.
  • It does so by putting some trigger points that will help in assessing, monitoring, controlling and taking corrective measures on troubled banks.

Saksham Scholarship Scheme

  • Saksham Scholarship Scheme was launched in 2014-15, with the objective of encouraging economically weaker differently abled students to pursue technical education at Diploma and Degree levels.
  • Scholarship amount of Rs. 30,000 is provided towards tuition fee reimbursement and Rs. 20000 as contingency allowance.
  • Under the scheme, 1000 scholarships per annum are available.

World Water Development Report

  • UN calculated that an estimated 3.6 billion people live in areas where water can be scarce at least one month per year in its World water Development Report 2018.
  • The WWDR is an annual and thematic report that focuses on different strategic water issues each year.
  • It aims to provide decision-makers with the tools to implement sustainable use of our water resources.
  • The WWDR is the UN-Water flagship report on water.
  • This year’s report ‘Nature Based Solutions for Water’ report that focuses on nature-based solutions, such as China’s rainwater recycling, India’s forest regeneration and Ukraine’s artificial wetlands to improve the quality and access of clean water.


  • A new study has found that the permafrost in the coldest northern Arctic is thawing at an unprecedented rate.
  • Its continuous thawing could mean massive release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.
  • Permafrost is soil that has remained frozen for years or centuries under topsoil that covers about 24% of the northern Hemisphere.
  • It is formed in a climate where the mean annual air temperature is 0 degree Celsius or lesser which is found in Siberia and a few other parts of Russia, the Tibetan Plateau, Alaska, Northern Canada, Greenland, and parts of Scandinavia.
  • It contains carbon-rich organic matter, including the remains of plants and animals that died and froze without decaying.
  • Scientists estimate that the world’s permafrost holds about 1,500 billion tons of carbon, almost double the amount of carbon that is currently in the atmosphere.

HAMMER Spacecraft

  • NASA has drawn up plans to build a huge nuclear spacecraft that is capable of shunting or blowing up dangerous space rocks and safeguarding life on Earth.
  • The spacecraft is named Hammer (Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response), an 8 ton spaceship.
  • The asteroid that is targeted is Bennu which is circling the sun at 63,000 mph. It is now at a comfortable 54 million miles from Earth.
  • NASA’s Osiris-Rex mission is en route to Bennu to take samples which is been monitored since its discovery in 1999.
  • Bennu’s impact over earth would release three times more energy than all nuclear weapons detonated throughout history.

Australian humpback dolphin

  • The S. sahulensis is a separate species within the Sousa (Humpback dolphin) family.
  • It is endemic to northern Australia and southern New Guinea.
  • They are referred to as an ‘inshore’ species because they mostly occur in shallow near shore waters, often at the mouths of estuaries and in tidal channels.
  • They are considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.

Financial Stability Board 

  • The FSB released its initial assessment of crypto-assets recently which states that they do not pose risk to global financial stability at present time.
  • It is an international body that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system.
  • In the G20 Leaders Summit of April 2009, the expanded Financial Stability Forum was re-established as the Financial Stability Board (FSB) with a broadened mandate to promote financial stability.
  • It coordinates financial regulation for the Group of 20 Economies.

Pobitora Wildlife sanctuary

  • Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the flood plains of River Brahmaputra in the district of Morigaon, Assam, India.
  • It harbors world’s highest density of rhinoceros.
  • In addition it has second highest concentration of Rhino in Assam after Kaziranga National Park.
  • In winter, Pobitora becomes a birder’s heaven, with thousands of waterfowl thronging the wetlands.
  • Pobitora can be divided into three distinct categories: forest, grassland and water bodies or beels.
  • The animals found in the region are one-horned rhino, leopard, wild boar, Barking deer, wild buffalo etc


  • The Indian Navy and the French Navy have conducted bilateral maritime exercises since May 1993.
  • Since 2001, the exercises have been named VARUNA and there have been fifteen editions of the same till date.
  • The last edition of VARUNA was conducted off the French Coast in April 2017
  • This year VARUNA-18 would be conducted in three sea areas, namely, the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and South Western Indian Ocean.

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