Facts Corner-Part-85

GRACE mission:

  • The GRACE mission was selected as the second mission under the NASA Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) Program in May 1997. Launched in March of 2002, the GRACE mission mapped variations in Earth’s gravity field. Designed for a nominal mission lifetime of five years, GRACE operated in an extended mission phase till 2017.
  • GRACE is a joint partnership between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States and Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Luft und Raumfahrt (DLR) in Germany.
  • GRACE consists of two identical spacecraft that fly about 220 kilometers (137 miles) apart in a polar orbit 500 kilometers (310 miles) above Earth. GRACE maps Earth’s gravity field by making accurate measurements of the distance between the two satellites, using GPS and a microwave ranging system.

National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR) at Bhopal

  • The Union Cabinet approved the establishment of NIMHR at Bhopal as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the aegis of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
  • The main objectives of the NIMHR are:
    (a) To provide rehabilitation services to the persons with mental illness;
    (b) Capacity development in the area of mental health rehabilitation;
    (c) Policy framing and advanced research in mental health rehabilitation.
  • NIMHR will be the first of its kind in the country in the area of mental health rehabilitation. 
  • It will serve as an institution of excellence to develop capacity building in the area of mental health rehabilitation.


  • Scientists at the Zoological Survey of India in Odisha have discovered a new species of moray eel from the Bay of Bengal and named it “Odishi”, after the state in which it was first found.
  • Eels, which are long and slender fishes, are important components of aquatic ecosystems.
  • They prey on smaller organisms like snails and crabs and become food for larger fishes, making them important links in the food chain.
  • It differed from other species of short unpatterned eels in having a black spot behind the eye, more number of vertebrae and fins, white rims to jaw pores and larger eyes, the authors note in their paper.
  • Before we found the Odishi eel, there was only a single species of brown short unpatterned eel – Gymnothorax mishrai known from India.

Nipah virus

  • Recently, the presence of Nipah virus was confirmed in Kerala.
  • Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans.
  • The natural host of the virus is fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.
  • NiV was first identified during an outbreak of disease that took place in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia in 1998.
  • NiV infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis.
  • NiV is also capable of causing disease in pigs and other domestic animals.
  • There is no vaccine for either humans or animals.
  • The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care.

Cyclone Sagar

  • Indian Meteorological Department has issued an advisory to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and the Lakshadweep archipelago over cyclonic storm ‘Sagar’.
  • The cyclonic storm lay centred over the Gulf of Aden, about 390 km east-northeast of Yemen’s Aden city and 560 km west-northwest of Socotra Islands.

Socotra Islands

  • It is located between the Socotra Passage and the Arabian Sea, is the largest of four islands of the Socotra archipelago.
  • It lies some 240 kilometres east of the Horn of Africa and 380 kilometres south of the Arabian Peninsula.

Arab League

  • The Arab League is a regional organization of Arab countries in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Arabia.
  • Currently, the League has 22 members, but Syria’s (which was the founding member) participation has been suspended since November 2011, as a consequence of government repression during the Syrian Civil War.

Horn of Africa

  • The Horn of Africa denotes the region containing the countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

Micro Irrigation Fund

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved for setting up of a dedicated “Micro Irrigation Fund” (MIF) with NABARD under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).
  • The lending rate under MIF has been proposed at 3% lower than the cost of raising the fund by NABARD.
  • The dedicated Micro Irrigation Fund would supplement the efforts of Per Drop More Crop Component (PDMC) of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana in an effective and timely manner.
  • The Fund will facilitate States to mobilise resources for their initiatives, including additional (top up subsidy) in an implementation of PMKSY-PDMC to achieve the annual target.


  • NASA is planning to deliver RainCube to the ISS on the OA-9 resupply mission.
  • RainCube (Radar in a CubeSat) is a technology demonstration mission to enable Ka-band precipitation radar technologies on a low-cost, quick-turnaround platform. RainCube will demonstrate the feasibility of a radar payload on a CubeSat platform.
  • Sponsored by NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office (ESTO) through the InVEST-15 program, RainCube developed a 35.75 GHz radar payload to operate within the 6U CubeSat form factor.

Himalayan trillium

  • The Himalayan trillium is a common herb of the Himalayas.
  • It is a natural source of steroidal saponins which are important components of steroidal drugs
  • It could soon go locally extinct in many parts of its range in India due to its excessive harvest.
  • It is found across India, Bhutan, Nepal and China.
  • Increased demands over the last decade have made its illegal collection from the wild a rather lucrative business in India.
  • Mature plants (which can live to 30 years or more) usually produce only one flower per year and vegetative reproduction through tubers occurs only in very old plants.

Kishanganga Hydropower Station

  • Prime Minister of India inaugurated Kishanganga hydroelectric power plant in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The 330 megawatt Kishanganga hydropower station work was started in 2009.
  • It is built on  the river Kishanganga, a tributary of Jhelum.
  • It is one of the projects that India has fast-tracked in the volatile state amid frosty ties between the nuclear-armed countries.
  • The Kishanganga project was delayed for several years as Pakistan dragged India to the International Court of Arbitration, which ruled in India’s favor in 2013.
  • The prohect will provide 13% free power to Jammu and Kashmir including 1% for local area development fund.

Zojila tunnel

  • Prime Minister inaugurated the Zojila tunnel project recently in New Delhi.
  • It will provide all-weather connectivity to Srinagar, Kargil and Leh.
  • The 14 km long Zojila tunnel will be India’s longest road tunnel and Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel.
  • The tunnel will have a transverse ventilation system, uninterrupted power supply, emergency lighting, CCTV monitoring, pedestrian cross passages at every 250 metres and emergency telephones and fire-fighting cabinets at every 125 metres.
  • The Zoji la pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 ft on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway.
  • The pass remains closed during winter because of heavy snowfall, cutting off the Ladakh region from Kashmir.

Sadharan Brahmo Samaj

  • The Sadharan Brahmo Samaj was formed in May 1878. Mr. Anandamohan Bose was appointed the first President Mr. Shib Chandra Deb the first Secretary and Mr. Umesh Chandra Dutta the Assistant Secretary. It was formed as a result of schisms in the Brahmo Samaj.
  • Debendranath Tagore, father of Rabindranath Tagore was actively involved with the organisation.
  • The Samaj had faith in a Supreme Being and believed that existence after Death is natural to man. It regarded the relation between God and men to be direct and immediate. It did not believe in the infallibility of any man or any scripture.

Advance Ruling

  • “Advance ruling” means a decision provided by the Authority or the Appellate Authority to an applicant on matters or on questions specified in sub-section (2) of section 97 or subsection (1) of section 100 of the CGST Act, 2017, in relation to the supply of goods or services or both being undertaken or proposed to be undertaken by the applicant.

Objectives for setting up a mechanism of Advance Ruling are:

  • Provide certainty in tax liability in advance in relation to an activity proposed to be undertaken by the applicant.
  • Attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
  • Reduce litigation.
  • Pronounce ruling expeditiously in a transparent and inexpensive manner.

‘Authority for advance ruling’ (AAR) and ‘Appellate authority for advance ruling’ (AAAR):

  • The Authority for advance ruling constituted under the provisions of State Goods and Services Tax Act or Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Act shall be deemed to be the Authority for advance ruling in respect of that State or Union territory under the CGST Act, 2017 also.
  • The Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling constituted under the provisions of a State Goods and Services Tax Act or a Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Act shall be deemed to be the Appellate Authority in respect of that State or Union territory under the CGST Act, 2017 also.
  • Thus it can be seen that both the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) & the Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling (AAAR) is constituted under the respective State/Union Territory Act and not the Central Act. This would mean that the ruling given by the AAR & AAAR will be applicable only within the jurisdiction of the concerned state or union territory. It is also for this reason that questions on determination of place of supply cannot be raised with the AAR or AAAR.

Cauvery River 

  • Cauvery River rises on Brahmagiri Hill of the Western Ghats in south-western Karnataka state. It flows in a south-easterly direction for 475 miles through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • Before emptying into the Bay of Bengal south of Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, the river breaks into a large number of distributaries forming a wide delta called the “garden of southern India.” The river is important for its irrigation canal projects.
  • In the upper course, at the Krishnaraja Sagara, the Kaveri is joined by two tributaries, the Hemavati and Lakshmantirtha, where a dam was constructed for irrigation.
  • Upon entering Tamil Nadu, the Kaveri continues through a series of twisted wild gorges until it reaches Hogenakal Falls. There the Mettur Dam was construted for irrigation and hydel power.
  • The Kaveri’s main tributaries are the Kabani (Kabbani), Amaravati, Noyil, and Bhavani rivers.

Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology

  • The Commission for Scientific & Technical Terminology (CSTT) was set up on December 21, 1960 by a resolution of Government of India under the proviso to Clause (4) of Article 344 of the Constitution with the objective to evolve and define scientific and technical terms in Hindi and all Indian languages; publish glossaries, definitional dictionaries, encyclopaedia.

International Classification of Diseases (ICD)

  • The International Classification of Diseases is the standard diagnostic tool for epidemiology, health management, and clinical purposes. This includes the analysis of the general health situation of population groups. It is used to monitor the incidence and prevalence of diseases and other health problems, providing a picture of the general health situation of countries and populations.
  • The first international classification edition, known as the International List of Causes of Death, was adopted by the International Statistical Institute in 1893. WHO was entrusted with the ICD at its creation in 1948. The ICD is revised periodically and is currently in its 10th revision.

Gilgit Baltistan

  • It is located in the northern Pakistan. It borders China in the North, Afghanistan in the west, Tajikistan in the north west and Kashmir in the south east. Gilgit-Baltistan is treated as a separate geographical entity by Pakistan.
  • It has a regional Assembly and an elected Chief Minister.
  • Gilgit-Baltistan shares a geographical boundary with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and India considers it as part of the undivided Jammu and Kashmir, while Pakistan sees it as a separate from PoK.
  • The USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) also passes through this region.


  • ToneTag, a Bengaluru-based financial technology company, is set to introduce sound-based data transfer technology named Tonetag.
  • ToneTag is a technology which is a communication protocol that will enable data transfer using sound waves. It is not hardware dependent and works with the devices that do not have a microphone or speaker.
  • ToneTag sound-wave communication platform enables highly secure proximity payments, customer engagement services and on-the-go mobility solutions.
  • The approach in this technology makes the entire process device agnostic and completely frictionless, making the user experience intuitive and highly adaptable.


  • Sherpas are the people living in the high-altitude regions of the Himalayas who support climbing teams as porters, guides, rope-fixers, cooks and cleaners.
  • Sherpas have been helping Everest climbers since the first British teams set their sights on the summit in the 1920s.
  • Their unique physiology, adapted over thousands of years of living at high altitudes, has made them essential since. A recent British study found that Sherpas use oxygen more efficiently than lowlanders.
  • Regions with significant Sherpa populations: Nepal, China (Tibet), Bhutan and India.

Leave a Reply