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IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-April 2021

  1. Every year, 22nd April is celebrated as Earth Day to raise public awareness about the environment and inspire people to save and protect it. The theme for the year 2021 ‘Restore Our Earth’ examines natural processes, emerging green technologies and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems. According to the United Nations, International Mother Earth Day is celebrated to remind each of us that the Earth and its ecosystems provide us with life and sustenance. This Day also recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity.
  2. Every year, 21st April is celebrated as the Civil Services Day by the Government of India.
  1. The Spices Board India has inked a Memorandum of Understanding with UNDP India’s Accelerator Lab to build a blockchain-based traceability interface for Indian spices to enhance transparency in supply chain and trade. UNDP and Spices Board India are working towards integrating the Blockchain Traceability Interface with the e-spice Bazaar portal developed by Spices Board India for connecting spices farmers with markets.
  2. The first ever jackfruit collection and processing centre, organised under the aegis of the State government under the Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam (VFPCK), has launched sale of jackfruit, ready to eat, under the brand name ‘Thalir.’
  3. Thorny bamboo (Bamboosa Bambos) is a monocarpic (flowering only once) plant belonging to the Poaceae family (grass family), and its flowering cycle varies from 40 to 60 years.
  4. The Punjab Cabinet approved implementation of mission ‘Lal Lakir’ aimed at facilitating villagers to monetise property rights and availing benefits provided by government departments, institutions and banks in all villages across the state. Under the mission, the right of record of properties within ‘Lal Lakir’ in the villages of the state will be prepared with the cooperation of the government of India under the SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) scheme. This will enable mapping the land, households, habitation and all other areas falling within ‘Lal Lakir’. It will go a long way in improving the living standard of villagers and boosting their self-esteem.
  5. The Ganges dolphin is a Schedule I animal under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, and has been included in Annexure – I of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), so you cannot transfer any tissue or sample to foreign countries without getting CITES permission from the Competent Authority of Government of India. The Indus and Ganges River dolphins are both classified as ‘Endangered’ species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They are classified as two subspecies under Platanista gangetica.
  6. Pine Island is the largest island in the state of Florida in the United States. Located in Lee County, on the Gulf of Mexico coast of southwest Florida, it is also the 118th largest island in the United States.
  7. According to the Drug Prices Control Order 2013, List of Essential Medicines is placed under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM).
  8. The muon is also known as the ‘fat electron’. It is produced copiously in the Fermilab experiments and occurs naturally in cosmic ray showers. Like the electron, the muon has a magnetic moment because of which, when it is placed in a magnetic field, it spins and precesses, or wobbles slightly, like the axis of a spinning top. Its internal magnetic moment, the g factor, determines the extent of this wobble. As the muon spins, it also interacts with the surrounding environment, which consists of short-lived particles popping in and out of a vacuum.
  9. Penguins are known to contain more haemoglobin in their blood compared to other land-dwelling birds.
  10. The ocean floor of Amami Sankaku Basin near Japan has yielded a new type of rock. Studies on samples collected from 1.5 km into the ocean floor showed a new type of basalt that had a different mineral composition compared to those found so far on Earth and Mars.
  11. Russia put 38 foreign satellites into orbit after a succesful launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstanfollowing delays due to technical issues.
  12. Bandipur in Karnataka shares boundary with Mudumali in Tamil Nadu while Nagarahole shares borders with Wayanad in Kerala. The Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary abuts the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve and it was in this part of the landscape (Cauvery–Sathyamangalam) where poachers had a free run owing to lack of patrolling.
  13. Brain Electrical Oscillation Signature Profiling (BEOSP) also known as brain fingerprinting is a neuro psychological method of interrogation in which the accused’s participation in the crime is investigated by studying their brain’s response. The BEOSP test is carried out via a process known as electroencephalogram, conducted to study the electrical behaviour of the human brain. The BEOSP procedure does not involve a question answer session with the accused and is rather a neuro psychological study of their brain. In 2010, the Supreme Court passed a judgment in the Selvi versus State of Karnataka case where the bench observed that narco analysis, polygraph and brain mapping tests cannot be forced upon any individual without their consent and the test results cannot be admitted solely as evidence. However, any information or material discovered during the tests can be made part of the evidence, observed the bench.
  14. ISRO has developed a series of sounding rockets called Rohini series, important among them being RH-200, RH-300 and RH-560, number in the name indicating the diameter of the rocket in mm. Sounding rockets are one or two stage solid propellant rockets used for probing the upper atmospheric regions and for space research. They also serve as easily affordable platforms to test or prove prototypes of new components or subsystems intended for use in launch vehicles and satellites.
  15. Blacktip sharks, bull sharks, pelagic and big-eye thresher shark, smooth and scalloped hammerhead, and tiger sharks are the types of whale shark species. Of these, several species like smooth and scalloped hammerhead are classified as threatened species by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Scalloped hammerheads are categorised on the IUCN Red List as globally endangered. Whale sharks were included in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972, rendering the capture and killing of the fish a cognisable offence. It was the first-ever species to be protected under this Act, after which the Ganges shark (Glyphis gangeticus) and speartooth shark (Glyphis glyphis) were added to it.
  16. Udupi Ramachandra Rao, under whose guidance, the first Indian satellite ‘Aryabhata’ was launched in 1975. He boosted the development of rocket technology leading to the successful launch of the Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) and the operational Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Prof. Rao also initiated the development of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and the development of cryogenic technology in 1991.
  17. India’s GISAT-1 an earth observation satellite that will provide it near real-time images of its borders and also enable quick monitoring of natural disasters. GISAT-1 is slated to be lofted into space by GSLV-F10 rocket from Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh’s Nellore district. The rocket will place the spacecraft in a geosynchronous orbit. It will be subsequently positioned in geostationary orbit, about 36,000 kms above earth’s equator, using its onboard propulsion system. The satellite will allow the country to monitor the Indian land mass and the oceans, particularly its borders continuously. the satellite would provide near real-time imaging of the large area region of interest at frequent intervals. It would help in quick monitoring of natural disasters, episodic and any short-term events. The third objective is to obtain spectral signatures of agriculture, forestry, mineralogy, disaster warning, cloud properties, snow and glacier and oceanography. GISAT-1 will facilitate near real-time observation of the Indian sub-continent, under cloud-free condition, at frequent intervals.
  18. Living Himalayas Initiative (LHI) is established as one of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)’s global initiatives to bring about transformational conservation impact across the three Eastern Himalayan countries of Bhutan, India (North-East) and Nepal.
  19. Recognizing various environment and climate change issues and ongoing initiatives in the Indian Himalayan Region, IUCN launched its web-based network initiative known as ‘Himalayan Adaptation Network’ on 21 February 2020 in Sikkim. This platform has been established under the umbrella of the National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NHMS).
  20. Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP) is a project of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and is being implemented in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. The programme supports India’s National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE), a mission of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).
  21. The SECURE Himalaya project is a part of “Global Partnership on Wildlife Conservation and Crime Prevention for Sustainable Development” (Global Wildlife Program) funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). It contributes to the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP), a joint initiative of 12 range country governments, international agencies, civil society, and the private sector. It was launched by Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The SECURE – securing livelihoods, conservation, sustainable use and restoration of high range Himalayan ecosystems – is meant for specific landscapes. It includes Changthang (Jammu and Kasmir), Lahaul – Pangi and Kinnaur (Himachal Pradesh), Gangotri – Govind and Darma – Byans Valley in Pithoragarh (Uttarakhand) and Kanchenjunga – Upper Teesta Valley (Sikkim).
  22. The International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme(IGBP) was a research programme that ran from 1987 to 2015 dedicated to studying the phenomenon of global change. Its primary focus was coordinating “international research on global-scale and regional-scale interactions between Earth’s biological, chemical and physical processes and their interactions with human systems.”
  23. Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) was established by the European Union (EU) in 2007 to strengthen dialogue and cooperation with developing countries, in particular least developed countries (LDCs) and Small Island developing States (SIDS). The EU GCCA+ also supports these group of countries in implementing their commitments resulting from the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change (COP21), in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the new European Consensus on Development.
  24. Small Satellite Launch Vehicle: SSLV has been designed to meet “launch on demand” requirements in a cost-effective manner for small satellites in a dedicated and ride-share mode. It is a three-stage all solid vehicle with a capability to launch up to 500 kg satellite mass into 500 km low earth orbit (LEO) and 300 kg into Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). Instead of 60 days (for building a PSLV), it (SSLV) will be assembled in three days; instead of 600 people (needed to build a PSLV), it (SSLV) will be done by six people.
  25. An exotic and highly invasive earthworm — Amynthas alexandri of the Megascolecidae family — has been collected and reported for the first time from Karnataka. Its original home is believed to be Southeast Asia. It has been found to be distributed at four sites in the State — Hosabale and Hosanagara in Shivamogga district, Kaimara in Chikkamagaluru district, and Konaje in Dakshina Kannada. Their distribution in Asia earlier was in China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand, Europe and England. Their distribution in India earlier was in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Assam, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal.
  26. Russia launched its space satellite Arktika-M on a mission to monitor the climate and environment in the Arctic amid a push by the Kremlin to expand the country’s activities in the region. The satellite successfully reached its intended orbit after being launched from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur cosmodrome by a Soyuz rocket. The Arktika-M will have a highly elliptical orbit that passes high over northern latitudes allowing it to monitor northern regions for lengthy periods before it loops back down under Earth. The satellite will also be able to retransmit distress signals from ships, aircraft or people in remote areas as part of the international Cospas-Sarsat satellite-based search and rescue programme.
  27. Thor hainanensis and Ancylocaris brevicarpalis are high-value marine ornamental shrimps native to Lakshadweep.
  28. The Chipko Movement received the 1987 Right Livelihood Award, also referred to as the Alternative Nobel Prize.
  29. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions from La Soufriere volcano eruption in the Caribbean have reached all the way to India. La Soufrière volcano on St Vincent Island in the West Indies started erupting after spewing out lava into a dome and threatening to erupt since December 2020.
  30. It is said that lightning never strikes a place twice, but tall structure like the Qutub Minar have always been exceptions. There are several records of the tower being struck by lightning and other natural calamities have taken its toll on the highest stone tower in the world. But the string of disaster has left the minar unscathed except for a slight tilt, some two feet of the perpendicular. The prospect was so ridiculous and the cupola so out of place, that Lord Hardinge eventually had it taken down in 1848 and placed it on the outer lawns of the Qutub Complex, where it still lies, like an impure, adulterated crown that has fallen off the Minar’s head. It has been called Smith’s Folly ever since.
  31. Alkaloids are a huge group of naturally occurring organic compounds which contain nitrogen atom or atoms (amino or amido in some cases) in their structures.
  32. Hydrogen may be lighter than air, but it will take some heavy lifting to get the ecosystem in place. Currently, India consumes around 5.5 million tonnes of hydrogen, primarily produced from imported fossil fuels. Hydrogen is the ultimate green fuel. It is the most abundant element in the universe. It provides three times more energy than fossil fuels and releases pure water as the only byproduct. It is also one of the leading options for storing energy from renewables and looks promising to be the lowest-cost option for storing electricity over days, weeks or even months. Hydrogen does not occur naturally as a gas on the Earth — it is always combined with other elements such as water (H2O). An external energy source is required to isolate hydrogen.
  33. Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) is a collective investment scheme similar to a mutual fund, which enables direct investment of money from individual and institutional investors in infrastructure projects to earn a small portion of the income as return. The InvITs are regulated by the SEBI (Infrastructure Investment Trusts) Regulations, 2014.
  34. In December 2020, a consortium of seven biggest global green hydrogen project developers launched the Green Hydrogen Catapult Initiative to increase the production of green hydrogen 50-fold in the next six years. The initiative aims to cut the cost of green hydrogen to less than $2/kg, which is a potential tipping point that will make it competitive in multiple sectors including steel and fertiliser, power generation and shipping. The project will ramp up the annual green hydrogen production to 25GW by 2026.
  35. Data scraping, or web scraping, is the process of extracting data from a website. Scraper bots are designed to derive information from these websites. A user designing a bot to extract data is called a scraper.
  36. The Equator Principles(EPs) is a risk management framework, adopted by financial institutions, for determining, assessing and managing environmental and social risk in projects and is primarily intended to provide a minimum standard for due diligence and monitoring to support responsible risk decision-making.
  37. Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT): A web-based map and reporting tool that provides fast, easy and integration access to three of the world’s most authoritative global biodiversity datasets: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, World Database on Protected Areas, and World Database of Key Biodiversity Areas. It is a partnership among BirdLife International, Conservation International, International Union for Conservation of Nature, and UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
  38. Green Bonds: Debt instruments that can be used by governments and their entities, international organisations as well as the private sector to raise money for projects that demonstratively contribute to climate mitigation or adaptation. Government green bond issues are backed by those public assets that are either contributing to low-carbon development or building capacity to cope with and be resilient to climate change. In India, the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) introduced disclosure requirements for the issuance and listing of green bonds in 2017. India has become the second-largest issuer of green bonds (after China) among emerging markets with cumulative issues worth more than $10 billion by private companies and public sector entities such as the State Bank of India (SBI). However, there has been no green bond issuance yet by either the Central or state governments. Issue of green bonds must be considered by the Union government as well the states. Managed by Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  39. Article 137 of the Constitution of India, 1950, provides that subject to provisions of any law and rules made under Article 145, the Supreme Court has the power to review any judgment pronounced or order made by it. Under Supreme Court Rules, 1966 such a petition is to be filed within thirty days from the date of judgment or order and as far as practicable; it is to be circulated, without oral arguments, to the same Bench of Judges who delivered the judgment or order sought to be reviewed. Under Article 145(e), the Supreme Court is authorized to make rules as to the conditions subject to which the court may review any judgement or order.
  40. Bluetongue (BT) Virus: An insect-transmitted viral disease of domestic and wild ruminants that includes the camelid species. The disease is widespread among the sheep, goats, cattle, buffaloes and camels in the country.  With the help of the Kit “Bluetongue: Sandwich ELISA for detection of Antigen”, the Bluetongue Virus can be controlled with the vaccination of susceptible animals, vector control and quarantine of infected animals with the good management practices.  Apart from the vaccination, the early diagnosis and isolation of the infected animals are one of the commonly suggested preventive methods for controlling the spreading of the disease.
  41. Acute Lower Respiratory Tract Infection (ALRTI), which affects mostly children below the age of five years, has been known to infect approximately 3.40 crore people every year worldwide.
  42. Antimicrobial resistance is the resistance acquired by any microorganism bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasite, etc. against antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics) that are used to treat infections.
  43. Education for sustainable development(ESD) was a United Nations program that defined as education that encourages changes in knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to enable a more sustainable and just society for all. ESD aims to empower and equip current and future generations to meet their needs using a balanced and integrated approach to the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. ESD is the term most used internationally and by the United Nations. Agenda 21 was the first international document that identified education as an essential tool for achieving sustainable development and highlighted areas of action for education. It is a programme of UNESCO.
  44. According to Article II of the UN Convention on Genocide of December 1948, genocide has been described as carrying out acts intended “to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group”. India does not have any domestic law on genocide, even though it has ratified the United Nations Convention on Genocide.
  45. UNESCO offers important synergies with two led decades: UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) as well as with the International Decade for Indigenous Languages (2022-2032).
  46. UNESCO established the Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) in 1953 to encourage schools worldwide to educate students on issues related to UNESCO’s overarching goal of promoting peace and international understanding. The program now includes 9000 thousand educational institutions in over 180 countries. ASPnet schools work in four key areas: intercultural learning, peace and human rights, education for sustainable development, and the United Nations priorities. ASPnet schools integrate these priorities throughout their curriculum, celebrate internationally-recognized days (like World Water Day), participate in international exchanges, and join UNESCO-affiliated education programs (like Gigapan). Schools ranging from preschools and elementary schools to university education departments are eligible for ASPnet membership.
  47. The Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund was established by the WHO with the help of the UN Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation.
  48. At its twelfth meeting, in October 2014, in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted on ecosystem conservation and restoration. To this effect, Parties welcomed the Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiative (FERI) developed by the Korea Forest Service of the Republic of Korea. FERI directly supports developing country Parties as they operationalize national targets and plans for ecosystem conservation and restoration within the framework of the Strategic Plan and Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The Initiative will also build on the Hyderabad Call for a Concerted Effort on Ecosystem Restoration, issued at the margins of CBD COP 11. It is specifically intended to enhance the achievement of Aichi Targets 5 (reduced loss and fragmentation), 11 (protected areas), and 15 (ecosystem restoration).
  49. Glacier melt produces flash floods, landslips, soil erosion, and glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF), and in the short run, the higher volumes of melt water could replace receding groundwater downstream. But in the long run, decreased water availability would aggravate water shortage.
  50. In India, the National Chambal Sanctuary holds about 90% of the surviving gharials.
  51. The Gharial Conservation Alliance (GCA) is an international organization of individuals in a variety of disciplines, who are dedicated to saving gharials from extinction and ensuring the establishment of sustainable wild populations. Conservation efforts of the GCA range from scientific population surveys, captive breeding and wild restocking programs, to education, awareness, and government lobbying. Several international zoos have become major players in gharial conservation through public education, awareness activities, and fundraising campaigns.
  52. Recently, Indian Scientists have developed a high-yielding and pest-resistant variety of soybean, called MACS 1407. Scientists from MACS- Agharkar Research Institute, Pune, in collaboration with Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi have developed it. It is suitable for rain-fed conditions of north- east India.
  53. In India, the concept of “Corporate Social Responsibility” is governed by clause 135 of the Companies Act, 2013. India is the first country in the world to mandate CSR spending along with a framework to identify potential CSR activities. Companies with a minimum net worth of Rs 500 crore, turnover of Rs 1,000 crore, or net profit of Rs 5 crore are required to spend at least 2 per cent of their average profit for the previous three years on CSR activities every year.
  54. The Agriculture Infrastructure Fund is a medium – long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and credit guarantee. The duration of the scheme is from FY2020 to FY2029 (10 years). Under the scheme, Rs. 1 Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans with interest subvention of 3% per annum and credit guarantee coverage under CGTMSE for loans up to Rs. 2 Crores. Eligible beneficiaries include farmers, FPOs, PACS, Marketing Cooperative Societies, SHGs, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Agri-entrepreneurs, Start-ups, and Central/State agency or Local Body sponsored Public-Private Partnership Projects.
  55. VALUE-Dxis the first Innovative Medicines Initiative project initiated by 6 in vitro diagnostic companies who joined forces with 20 non-industry partners to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and improve patient outcomes.
  56. G C Murmu, who is India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), has been appointed as external auditor of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) at The Hague. He will be the auditor of the OPCW for a three-year term starting in 2021. As CAG, he has earlier been named as the auditor of UN’s panel of external auditors and is also auditor to the Inter-parliamentary union.
  57. Oxygen Enrichment Unit (OEU) is developed by scientists of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL), and will help reduce the requirement of ventilators and oxygen cylinders in homecare, villages and remote places.
  58. Smart Kitchen project of Kerala give soft loans to women from all walks of life for purchasing household gadgets or equipment. It is meant to modernise kitchens and ease the difficulty faced by homemakers in household chores. The government believes that for better participation of women in labour, the burden on household chores has to be reduced. The women participation in labour could be increased by enhancing mechanisation in kitchens.
  59. Niclosamide is an orally bioavailable chlorinated salicylanilide, with anthelmintic and potential antineoplastic activity. It is an antihelminthic used for the treatment of tapeworm infections. It has been extensively used in past for treatment of tapeworm’s infection in adults as well as children. It is also used as a molluscicide in the control of schistosomiasis. It appears to be minimally absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract because neither the drug nor its metabolites have been recovered from the blood or urine.
  60. Joint Logistics Nodes will provide integrated logistics cover to the Armed Forces for their small arms ammunition, rations, fuel, general stores, civil hired transport, aviation clothing, spares and also engineering support in an effort to synergise their operational efforts. It would accrue advantages in terms of saving of manpower, economical utilisation of resources, besides financial savings.
  61. Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is a large aquatic plant native to the Amazon basin. Its thick, waxy, oval-shaped leaves are 4-8 inches across and branch out from the center of the plant on modified stems that may rise as much as 1 meter above the water surface. Water hyacinth produces thousands of seeds each year, which can remain viable for up to 30 years. Water hyacinth is able to grow in a wide variety of water bodies from lakes, streams, ponds, waterways, ditches, and backwater areas, although it prefers, and grows most prolifically, in nutrient-enriched waters.
  62. Project DANTAK is commemorating its Diamond Jubilee in Bhutan. Project DANTAK was established on April 24, 1961 as a result of the visionary leadership of His Majesty the Third King and then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. Identifying the utmost importance of connectivity in spurring the socio-economic development and growth of Bhutan, DANTAK was tasked to construct the pioneering motorable roads in the Kingdom.
  63. Article 50 of the Constitution provides: “The State shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State.”
  64. Hot Springs is just north of the Chang Chenmo River and Gogra Post is east of the point where the river takes a hairpin bend coming southeast from Galwan Valley and turning southwest. The area is north of the Karakoram Range of mountains, which lies north of the Pangong Tso lake, and south east of Galwan Valley. The area lies close to Kongka Pass, one of the main passes, which, according to China marks the boundary between India and China. Hot Springs and Gogra Post are close to the boundary between two of the most historically disturbed provinces (Xinjiang and Tibet) of China.
  65. The North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC) is an autonomous organisation under Department of Space at Shillong and provides dedicated service to the North Eastern Region (NER) of India comprising of eight states viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura.
  66. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified 25 countries, including three from Africa, with the potential to eradicate malaria by 2025 under its ‘E-2025 Initiative’, ahead of World Malaria Day 2021. In 2017, WHO launched the E-2020 initiative to support a group of countries to achieve zero indigenous cases of malaria by 2020.
  67. Live-attenuated vaccines: Live vaccines use a weakened (or attenuated) form of the germ that causes a disease. Because these vaccines are so similar to the natural infection that they help prevent, they create a strong and long-lasting immune response. Just 1 or 2 doses of most live vaccines can give you a lifetime of protection against a germ and the disease it causes. But live vaccines also have some limitations. For example: Because they contain a small amount of the weakened live virus, some people should talk to their health care provider before receiving them, such as people with weakened immune systems, long-term health problems, or people who’ve had an organ transplant. They need to be kept cool, so they don’t travel well. That means they can’t be used in countries with limited access to refrigerators. Live vaccines are used to protect against: Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR combined vaccine) ▪️Rotavirus▪️Smallpox▪️Chickenpox ▪️Yellow fever
  68. Autosomal (that means inherited) Recessive Pattern is a way, where a genetic trait or condition can be passed down from parent to child. A genetic condition can occur when the child inherits one copy of a mutated (changed) gene from each parent. If an individual receives one normal gene and one abnormal gene for the disease, the person will be a carrier for the disease. The risk to have a child who is a carrier, like the parents, is 50% with each pregnancy. The chance for a child to receive normal genes from both parents is 25%. The risk is the same for males and females.
  69. Stylophora pistillata, a common stony coral in the Indo-Pacific. Stony corals have evolved over more than 400 million years, forming enormous reefs in shallow subtropical and tropical seas. They’ve been called the “rainforests of the sea.”
  70. Global Initiative to reduce Land Degradation and Coral Reef program and two documents on climate change related to managing emissions and climate change adaptations under the G20 during 2020 under the presidency of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Global Initiative on Reducing Land Degradation aims to strengthen the implementation of existing frameworks to prevent, halt, and reverse land degradation within G20 member states and globally, taking into account possible implications on the achievement of other SDGs and adhering to the principle of doing no harm. The Global Coral Reef R&D Accelerator Platform is an innovative action-oriented initiative aimed at creating a global research and development (R&D) program to advance research, innovation and capacity building in all facets of coral reef conservation, restoration, and adaptation, and strengthen ongoing efforts and commitments made to enhance coral reefs conservation and their further degradation.
  71. The International Coral Reef Initiative(ICRI) is an informal partnership among nations, international organisations and non-government organisations to help protect coral reefs It aims to implement Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, Aichi Target 10 of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 10-year Strategic Plan, and other relevant internationally agreed objectives and targets. It is the “only global entity solely devoted to coral reefs”. It was announced at the First Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in December 1994. ICRI now counts close to 90 members. India is a member country.
  72. Global Fund for Ecosystem-based Adaptation [2020-2024]: Joint Initiative of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It aims to provide targeted and rapid support mechanisms through seed capital for innovative approaches to ecosystem-based adaptation. Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) refers to the set of approaches that involve the management of ecosystems to reduce the vulnerability of human communities to climate change. The restoration of mangroves and coral reefs, for example, protects coastal areas from the impacts of rising sea levels. While planting and restoring vegetation on hillsides and mountains prevents erosion and landslides during extreme rainfall. The Fund will draw from established IUCN and UNEP networks and platforms, including the Friends of Ecosystem-based Adaptation (FEBA), supported by IUCN, and the Global Adaptation Network, supported by UNEP.
  73. Blue Flagis a globally recognised eco-label accorded by the Foundation for Environment Education, Denmark.
  74. Seven other beaches across the country have received Blue Flag certification on October 11, 2020 along with Puri. These include Shivrajpur in Gujarat, Ghoghla in Diu, Kasaragod, Kappad in Kerala and Padubidri in Karnataka, Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh, Radhanagar in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 
  75. Brucellosis is a zoonotic infectious disease caused by bacterial genus Brucella. People can get the disease when they are in contact with infected animals or animal products contaminated with the bacteria. Animals that are most commonly infected include sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, and dogs, among others. Brucellosis, also known as ‘contagious abortion’, spreads from the vaginal discharge of an infected cow or from an aborted foetus. It is usually treated with antibiotics, including rifampin and doxycycline.
  76. National Data Repository (NDR) is a government-sponsored E&P data bank with state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure for preservation, upkeep and dissemination of data to enable its systematic use for future exploration and development.
  77. From March 2018, a new so-called direct benefit transfer (DBT) system was introduced, wherein subsidy payment to the companies would happen only after actual sales to farmers by retailers. Each retailer — there are over 2.3 lakh of them across India — now has a point-of-sale (PoS) machine linked to the Department of Fertilisers’ e-Urvarak DBT portal. 
  78. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, and climate change activist Greta Thunberg launched the Global Youth Mobilization Local Solutions campaign.
  79. In a large region of the Siberian Arctic, temperatures in 2020 were more than 3°C above average, with a record temperature of 38°C in the town of Verkhoyansk.
  80. As greenhouse gas concentrations rise, so does global mean surface temperature (GMST). GMST is measured using a combination of air temperature two meters over land, and sea surface temperature in ocean areas from various databases, typically expressed as an anomaly from a baseline period.
  81. Ocean Heat Content (OHC) is a measure of this heat accumulation in the Earth system. It is measured at various ocean depths, up to 2000m deep.
  82. Recently, UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris hosted a Global Forum against Racism and Discriminationon 22nd March 2021, in partnership with the Republic of Korea.
  83. Chimeras are organisms that are made up of the cells of two distinct species, in this case humans and monkeys.
  84. A central bank digital currency (CBDC) uses an electronic record or digital token to represent the virtual form of a fiat currency of a particular nation (or region). A CBDC is centralized; it is issued and regulated by the competent monetary authority of the country. Each unit acts as a secure digital instrument equivalent to a paper bill and can be used as a mode of payment, a store of value, and an official unit of account.
  85. Currently, only the Bahamas has such a currency, though China is trialing it in several cities. Sweden has indicated it could have its own digital currency by 2026, while the European Central Bank has indicated an electronic euro might be created within four years.
  86. National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in India (NTAGI). The group fulfils a need for informing decision-making concerning the introduction of new vaccines and strengthening the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). Intended to provide technical advice to inform decision-making on both technical and operational matters pertaining to immunisation and choice and scheduling of existing and planned vaccines. Established by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) in 2001. Provide advice to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on the strategies to control the burden and appropriately evaluate the impact of immunization on Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs).
  87. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions from La Soufriere volcano eruption in the Caribbean have reached all the way to India. The La Soufrière volcano is situated on St Vincent Island in the West Indies.
  88. In Mohinder Singh Gill’s case (supra), the Court had made it abundantly clear that the ECI can draw power from Article 324 only when no law exists which governs a particular matter. It means that the ECI is bound to act in accordance with the law in force.
  89. An e-visa also called Electronic Visa is provided in five categories—tourist, business, conference, medical, and medical attendant. E-visas are not valid for foreign diplomats which are dealt separately.
  90. Transfer of officials, etc. is governed by rules made under Article 309 of the Constitution which cannot be bypassed by the ECI under the purported exercise of power conferred by Article 324. 
  91. Every year, the United Nations marks April 18 as the International Day for Monuments and Sites, in many countries also celebrated as World Heritage Day. The theme for this year is is “Complex Pasts: Diverse Futures”. Globally, the day is promoted by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).
  92. Seechewal Model is a new wastewater treatment plant opened recently in a village in Punjab’s Patiala district uses a unique method devised to treat, recycle and reuse wastewater.
  93. The disk-footed bat (Eudiscopus denticulus) was recorded in the north-eastern State’s Lailad area near the Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary, about 1,000 km west of its nearest known habitat in Myanmar.
  94. Japan’s Solar-C EUVST(Extreme Ultraviolet High-Throughput Spectroscopic Telescope Epsilon) would be studying the solar wind released by the solar atmosphere, as well as studying how this atmosphere drives solar material eruption.
  95. Recently, Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) have shoot in Pakistan’s Cholistan desert. The grassland habitat with adult grass cover in the Cholistan desert, where the GIBs were foraging, is very similar to the habitat in Rajasthan’s Desert National Park (DNP), where the GIB’s last remnant wild population is found. The DNP, situated near the towns of Jaisalmer and Barmer, forms a part of the mighty Thar desert.
  96. The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a Global Diabetes Compact to better fight the disease while marking the centenary of the discovery of insulin. The programme will focus on scaling up access to diagnostic tools and medicines in low- and middle-income countries. The programme, launched at the Global Diabetes Summit, will set standards for tackling the diseases in the form of ‘global coverage targets’ for ensuring a wider reach of diabetes care. The bodies will also release a ‘global price tag’ that will calculate the “costs and benefits of meeting these targets.
  97. The Reserve Bank of India was conceptualized from the Hilton Young Commission’s recommendation, which considered Ambedkar’s guidelines laid out in The Problem of the Rupee: Its Origin and Its Solution.
  98. RBI’s announcement of G-SAP programme to infuse liquidity has also put additional pressure on the Rupee. This is being read as a sort of quantitative easing policy the global central banks had followed, in which the RBI will support the government’s elevated borrowing programme through infusion of liquidity.
  99. Archaeological site museums under Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) have been digitized through JATAN software. JATAN is a virtual museum builder software, that enables creation of digital collection management system for Indian museums and is deployed in several national museums across India.
  100. In India, sugarcane is primarily grown and cultivated in Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Of these, Uttar Pradesh is the largest sugarcane producer and accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the cash crop grown in the country, followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka, which account for 21 per cent and 11 per cent of the total domestic production.
  101. Nagaland has 16 recognised tribes– Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Dimasa Kachari, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Kuki, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sumi, Yimchungrü and Zeliang.
  102. Laokhowa WLS, Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary and Dibru-Saikhowa National Park are situated in the state of Assam.
  103. A zoonosis is an infectious disease that jumps from a non-human animal to humans. Zoonotic pathogens may be bacterial, viral or parasitic. They can spread to humans through direct contact or through food, water and the environment. 
  104. PARAM 8000, considered to be India’s first supercomputer was indigenously built in 1991 by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).
  105. Danube is the second longest river in Europe after the Volga. It rises in the Black Forest mountains of western Germany and flows for some 2,850 km to its mouth on the Black Sea.
  106. Danube Sturgeons have existed since the time of dinosaurs, for about 200 million years. Some of the species can grow up to eight metre in length and live more than a century. They are called ‘living fossils’ because their appearance has altered very little over the years.
  107. At present, Rajasthan alone produces 40.82% of the total mustard in India, as the highest mustard production state.
  108. Exercise SHANTIR OGROSENA-2021, a 10 day long multinational military exercise. Troops from four countries i.e. India, Bhutan, Srilanka & Bangladesh participated in this exercise with observers from USA, UK, Russia, Turkey, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Singapore. 
  109. The ‘False Point’ island lighthouse is situated off the Kendrapara coast while the other four are situated in the mainland. The British-era False Point lighthouse, a 129-ft massive minaret-like structure of red-white bands with a huge embossed star, is visible from quite a distance from the Bay of Bengal.
  110. National Residue Control Plan (NRCP) is a statutory requirement for export to European Union countries. It is regulated and carried by Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA), under NRCP, definite sampling schedule and sampling strategies are drawn every year for monitoring the residues of substances like Antibacterial/Veterinary Medicinal Products and environmental contaminants.
  111. India has been one of the largest recipients of refugees in the world in spite of not being a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol.
  112. The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) is an inter-governmentally negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, that describes itself as covering “all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner”. The compact was formally endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly on 19 December 2018. As the Compact is not an international treaty, it will be non-binding under international law. 
  113. As per India’s Territorial Waters, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and Other Maritime Zones Act, 1976, the EEZ of India “is an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial waters, and the limit of such zone is two hundred nautical miles from the baseline”. India’s “limit of the territorial waters is the line every point of which is at a distance of twelve nautical miles from the nearest point of the appropriate baseline”. Under the 1976 law, “all foreign ships (other than warships including sub-marines and other underwater vehicles) shall enjoy the right of innocent passage through the territorial waters”, innocent passage being one that is “not prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of India”.
  114. The GISAID Initiative promotes the rapid sharing of data from all influenza viruses and the coronavirus causing COVID-19. This includes genetic sequence and related clinical and epidemiological data associated with human viruses, and geographical as well as species-specific data associated with avian and other animal viruses, to help researchers understand how viruses evolve and spread during epidemics and pandemics. The GISAID platform was launched on the occasion of the Sixty-first World Health Assembly in May 2008. Created as an alternative to the public domain sharing model, GISAID’s sharing mechanism took into account the concerns of Member States by providing a publicly accessible database designed by scientist for scientist, to improve the sharing of influenza data.
  115. International Quiet Ocean Experiment (IQOE) is an international scientific program to promote research, observations, and modelling to improve understanding of ocean soundscapes and effects of sound on marine organisms. IQOE is developing methods to make ocean acoustic data more comparable. These data will be compiled into a global dataset to establish trends in ocean sound and look for effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on ocean sound.
  116. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is a UN agency that supports the relief and human development of Palestinian refugees. UNRWA is the only UN agency dedicated to helping refugees from a specific region or conflict. UNRWA operates in five areas: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; aid for Palestinian refugees outside these five areas is provided by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
  117. E9 Partnershipwas first established in 1993, formed to achieve the goals of UNESCO’s Education For All (EFA). E9 Partnership is working for the achievement of SDG4 – Education 2030. Building on the established partnership of E9 countries allows Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan the opportunity to benefit from this global initiative and accelerate progress on digital learning and skills towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Quality Education.
  118. The Dakar Framework for Action is based on the most extensive evaluation of education ever undertaken, the Education for All (EFA) 2000 Assessment. Called for by the World Conference of Education for All, the Assessment produced a detailed analysis of the state of basic education around the world. “Dakar Framework for Action, Education for All: Meeting our Collective Commitments,” adopted at the World Education Forum held in Dakar, Senegal from 26-28 April 2000.
  119. Malaysia is the world’s second-largest palm oil producer.
  120. Bio-Circular-Green Economic Model is an eco-friendly policy of Thailand.
  121. The Red Sea is a semi-enclosed tropical basin, bounded by northeastern Africa, to the west, and the Arabian Peninsula, to the east. The elongated and narrow-shaped basin extends between the Mediterranean Sea, to the north-west, and the Indian Ocean, to the south-east. At the northern end, it separates into the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf of Suez, which is connected to the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal. At the southern end, it is connected to the Gulf of Aden, and the outer Indian Ocean, via the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb. It is surrounded by desert or semi-desert areas, with no major freshwater inflow.
  122. Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are the three traditional opium-growing States, where poppy cultivation is allowed based on licences issued annually by the Central Bureau of Narcotics.
  123. Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) is the first and largest energy exchange in India providing a nationwide, automated trading platform for physical delivery of electricity, Renewable Energy Certificates and Energy Saving Certificates. The exchange platform enables efficient price discovery and increases the accessibility and transparency of the power market in India while also enhancing the speed and efficiency of trade execution. The Exchange is a publicly listed company with NSE and BSE. IEX is approved and regulated by Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC).
  124. Energy Saving Certificates (ESCerts) are the tradable certificates under the Perform, Achieve, Trade (PAT) Scheme of Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), a market-based mechanism to incentivise energy efficiency in large energy-intensive industries. IEX became the first and only Power Exchange to commence trading in ESCerts.
  125. The La Pérouse exercise is being led by the French Navy. The first edition of the La Pérouse joint exercise, initiated by France in 2019, included ships from Australia, Japan and the USA. The Embassy of France in India had said in a statement in March that ‘this year, for the first time, India is also joining this initiative for a large-scale five-country naval exercise that will provide an opportunity for these five like-minded, high-end naval forces to develop closer links, sharpen their skills, and promote maritime cooperation throughout a free and open Indo-Pacific”.
  126. France and India will hold a large-scale Varuna bilateral exercise in the Western Arabian Sea which will involve the French aircraft carrier battle group.
  127. The International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities − ICCAR * is an initiative launched by UNESCO in March 2004 to establish a network of cities interested in sharing experiences in order to improve their policies to fight racism, discrimination, xenophobia and exclusion.
  128. Dust swarms from the desert when lifted by strong winds can absorb solar radiation and become hot. This can cause heating of the atmosphere, change the air pressure, wind circulation patterns, influence moisture transport and increase precipitation and rainfall. 
  129. Pompe disease is a rare (estimated at 1 in every 40,000 births), inherited and often fatal disorder that disables the heart and skeletal muscles. It is caused by mutations in a gene that makes an enzyme called acid alpha-glucosidase (GAA).
  130. Foreign Currency Assets (FCA) that is the most important component of the RBI’s foreign exchange reserve are the assets like US Treasury Bills bought by the RBI using foreign currencies. The FCA is the largest component of the forex reserve. India’s foreign exchange reserves comprises of: Foreign currency assets, Gold, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), Reserve tranche position (RTP) in the International Monetary Fund.
  131. A cofferdam is defined as a temporary barrier in or around a body of water which allows the process of de-watering, diversion, or damming of water within an enclosed area. The major purpose of any cofferdam type is to hold back overwhelming or inconvenient waters and create a dry work environment. This allows a project to proceed with as little resistance and as much safety as possible.
  132. India endorsed the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP) on Business and Human Rights more than a decade ago. Accordingly, it has to evolve a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP) detailing actions to ensure businesses do not violate human rights.
  133. The World Cities Culture Forum is a network of local governments and cultural sector leaders from 40 world cities. Each year, members of the World Cities Culture Forum meet at the three-day World Cities Culture Summit. The Summit is an opportunity for members to share best practice. All the cities ‘recognise the impact and importance of culture and creativity and seek to inculcate these values in public policy and city planning’. Mumbai is the member city from Indian side of the Forum.
  134. The first farm-based solar power plant under the Prime Minister’s Kisan Urja Suraksha Evum Utthan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) scheme has come up in Jaipur district’s Kotputli tehsil.
  135. Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) is a concept promoted by the Saudi government at international forums like the G20. It emphasises the use of technologies such as carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) and hydrogen. CCUS involves capturing carbon dioxide emissions from power stations or industrial processes and pumping it into underground storage – often helping to extract more oil from reservoirs in the process. Its proponents say it is a practical way to curb emissions, while critics say it is expensive and enables continued oil and gas production.
  136. Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) gave a restricted emergency use approval to the Zydus Cadila’s ‘Virafin’ for treating the patients showing moderate COVID-19 symptoms. Virafin is a pegylated interferon alpha-2b(PegIFN), which when subcutaneously injected to the patient in the early stages of infection, resulted in their faster recovery.
  137. A plasmid is a small, extrachromosomal DNA molecule within a cell that is physically separated from chromosomal DNA and can replicate independently. They are most commonly found as small circular, double-stranded DNA molecules in bacteria; however, plasmids are sometimes present in archaea and eukaryotic organisms.
  138. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) constituted a committee to evaluate the role of asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) in stressed debt resolution and review their business model headed by Sudarshan Sen.
  139. The Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is part of the Kali Tiger Reserve (earlier called the Dandeli Anshi Tiger Reserve).
  140. Under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, any diversion of forest land inside a tiger reserve or areas linking one PA to another, requires the approval of the NBWL based on the advice of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  141. The Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976, inserted Article 39A to ensure “equal justice and free legal aid”. To this end, the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, was enacted by Parliament and it came into force in 1995 “to provide free and competent legal services to weaker sections of the society” and to “organise Lok Adalats to secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity”.
  142. Jordan is a country in Western Asia. It is situated at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe, within the levant region, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan is bordered by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Israel and the West Bank of Palestine. The Dead Sea is located along its western borders, and the country has a 26-kilometre (16 mi) coastline on the Red Sea in its extreme south-west. Amman is the nation’s capital. 
  143. Tulu has a rich oral literature tradition with folk-song forms like paddana, and traditional folk theatre yakshagana. 
  144. The sanctuary, in Kendrapara district, is the world’s largest rookery of sea turtles.
  145. Researchers at Tufts University have developed robots from stem cells of frogs. These robots are named Xenobots and they can self-heal after damage, record memories and work together in groups. These biological robots can record information about their surroundings and move using cilia — minute hairlike particles present on their surface. The soft-body living machines can have several applications in biomedicine and the environment.
  146. The Alma-Ata Declaration of 1978 emerged as a major milestone of the twentieth century in the field of public health, and it identified primary health care as the key to the attainment of the goal of “Health For All” around the globe. The Alma-Ata declaration of the World Health Organization (1978) which outlined an integrated, local government-centric approach with simultaneous focus on access to water, sanitation, shelter and the like. 
  147. Astana Declaration vowed to strengthen primary healthcare as an essential step for achieving universal health coverage. India is also a signatory to the Astana declaration.

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