IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-April 2023

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IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-September 2021

IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-April 2023

  1. Raman Research Institute (RRI), Bangalore – founded in 1948 by Sir C.V. Raman and among the country’s top institutes for research into theoretical and high-energy physics, as well as the S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences and the Bose Institute, both in Kolkata. RRI is proposed to be merged with the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, and the latter two Kolkata institutes with the Indian Association for Cultivation of Sciences, also located at Kolkata. Two science academies – the Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi, and the National Academy of Sciences (NASI), Allahabad, will be merged into the Indian Association of Science (sic). (While India doesn’t have a science academy by that name, there is the Bangalore-based Indian Academy of Sciences. The Hindu could not establish if this was a typographical error). The Technology Information and Forecasting Council (TIFAC), New Delhi, the Indian National Academy of Engineering and the Indian Science Congress Association, which organises the annual Indian Science Congress with Prime Ministers in attendance since the times of Jawaharlal Nehru, have been recommended to become “corporatised” and Section-8 companies.
  2. Scientists observed seismic waves traveling through Mars’ core for the first time and confirmed model predictions of the core’s composition. The researchers used seismic data acquired by the NASA InSight lander to directly measure properties of Mars’s core, finding a completely liquid iron-alloy core with high percentages of sulphur and oxygen.
  3. The Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey(CNNS) of Indian children aged 1-19 years measured haemoglobin and other markers such as ferritin for iron, and serum B12 and folate levels.
  4. Although avian influenza has different subtypes, H5N1 is a highly pathogenic subtype that causes mortality in birds. The transmission of H5N1 from birds to mammals is rare, but when it does occur, it can be a cause for concern, as the virus could accumulate mutations and acquire the ability to potentially initiate human outbreaks. H5N1 has a high mortality rate of over 60% in humans and is primarily transmitted to humans through close contact with infected birds or animals, either through handling infected poultry or exposure to contaminated environments.
  5. Launched in 2020, the six-wheeled Zhurong — named after a fire god in Chinese mythology — arrived on Mars in 2021 and spent a year roaming around before going into hibernation last May. The rover operated longer than intended, traveling more than a mile (1,921 meters).
  6. UAE astronaut Sultan Al-Neyadi has become the first Arab to undertake a spacewalk during Expedition 69 venturing out of the International Space Station (ISS) and completing his spacewalk. These cable works were completed as a precursor to the installation of the Space Station’s fourth roll-out solar array, known as the International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA), which is scheduled to be delivered on the upcoming SpaceX Dragon cargo mission. 
  7. The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project has yielded the images of the two supermassive black holes. The second one – released last year – shows the one inhabiting the Milky Way’s center, called Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A*. The supermassive black hole pictured resides at the center of a relatively nearby galaxy called Messier 87, or M87, about 54 million light-years from Earth.
  8. Hydrogen is a crucial part of the world’s plans to greenify its manufacturing and automobile industries as a fuel whose production and use needn’t emit carbon. But in the steelmaking industry, hydrogen can also be used instead of carbon in an important chemical reaction that contributes to 5-7% of the global greenhouse-gas emissions and 11% of carbon dioxide emissions.
  9. Popular house plants that efficiently remove carbon dioxide include the blue star fern (Phlebodium aureum), weeping figs (Ficus benjamina), spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) and Anthurium species (such as the flamingo flower).
  10. Regular water is H2O; in heavy water, the hydrogen is replaced by its heavier isotope, deuterium.
  11. Two million years ago, a shallow inland sea could have had the right conditions for photosynthetic algae, dolomite deposits from Andhra Pradesh‘s Vempalli, in Cuddapah district. Cuddapah district in Andhra Pradesh where the dolomite deposits were found. Dolomite is a direct precipitate from seawater. It provides a signal not only of seawater chemistry but also of seawater temperature.
  12. The Lyrids are bright and, at their peak, produce about 20 meteors per hour. The ideal observation time is between 12am to 5.30am. Apart from the participants at Anamalai, others can also observe the Lyrids from their homes. But they should be away from light pollution.
  13. A new HPV vaccine, called CERVAVAC is to be rolled out by mid-2023 and will be manufactured in India.
  14. The Large Hadron Collider(LHC) is three things. First, it is large – so large that it’s the world’s largest science experiment. Second, it’s a collider. It accelerates two beams of particles in opposite directions and smashes them head on. Third, these particles are hadrons. The LHC, built by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), is on the energy frontier of physics research, conducting experiments with highly energised particles.
  15. In 2021, the Telomere-to-Telomere (T2T) Consortium, an international consortium of scientists working to complete a human genome assembly from end to end, announced that all remaining gaps were finally filled.
  16. The Indian-American statistician Calyampudi Radhakrishna Raohas been awarded the 2023 International Prize in Statistics, which is statistics’ equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Rao will receive the prize, which comes with an $80,000 award, in July at the biennial International Statistical Institute World Statistics Congress at Ottawa in Canada.  The International Prize in Statistics is awarded every two years by a collaboration among five leading international statistics organisations. The prize recognises a major achievement by an individual or team in the statistics field, particularly an achievement of powerful and original ideas that have led to practical applications and breakthroughs in other disciplines. The prize is modelled after the Nobel prizes, Abel Prize, Fields Medal and Turing Award. The first International Prize in Statistics was awarded in 2017 to David R Cox for the development of the Cox proportional hazards model, which allows researchers to investigate patient survival rates in complex studies. Bradley Efron received the award in 2019 for a statistical method known as the bootstrap, a clever computational method for assessing uncertainty in applied statistics. Nan Laird received the award in 2021 for the development of powerful methods that have made possible the analysis of complex longitudinal studies.
  17. The dominant immune selection pressure has led to the emergence of a unique Indian dengue lineage (DENV-4-Id) belonging to serotype 4 (DENV-4). “The DENV-4-Id lineage has diverged away from global sequences. The DENV-4-Id lineage is dominant in South India, and about 50% of infections in South India are due to this India-unique lineage. The E gene, which is seen across the dengue virus exterior, plays an important role in binding to the cell receptors. The substitution rate for the E gene was highest at 44% in genotype I of DENV-4 compared with the whole genome, suggesting high immunological pressure driving the divergence of the DENV-4 E gene. “Most of dengue virus evolution happens in the E gene. Indian variants of DENV-1 and DENV-4 are distinct from all the vaccines compared to DENV-2 and DENV-3.
  18. The Adiopodoumé strain of the fungus Neurospora crassa suppresses a biological process called RIP. RIP is a mutational process that peppers multiple mutations into all copies of any DNA sequence that appears more than once in the genome. RIP typically occurs during a sexual mating between two fungal strains. Yet of the hundreds of Neurospora strains isolated from around the world, only the Adiopodoumé strain from Côte d’Ivoire, Africa, contains a DNA sequence that appears in several copies in the genome, without being disrupted by RIP’s effects.
  19. Pumped hydropower, or even Green Gravity’s approach, may use more energy than produced but when accounting for being able to make renewable energy available at off-peak hours, can mean less reliance on coal-produced power and access to reliable power. Currently, India has installed about 4,746 MW of pumped-storage, according to figures from India’s Central Electricity Authority.
  20. The Chang’e-5 mission, named after the ancient Chinese moon goddess, was the first from any country to retrieve lunar surface samples since the Soviet Union brought back about 6 ounces (170 grams) in 1976. The United States brought back 842 pounds (382 kg) of surface samples during the Apollo program from 1969 to 1972.
  21. ISRO’s heaviest payload rocket, LVM3 carrying 36 OneWeb satellites onboard took off on Sunday from the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre SDSC-SHAR, Sriharikota. The 43.5 metre-tall vehicle weighs 643 tonne. This is the second mission for Network Access Associates Limited, United Kingdom (OneWeb Group Company) under a commercial agreement with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) to launch 72 satellites to Low-Earth Orbits.
  22. Observations of open water in the Lincoln Sea raise concerns about the stability of the final stronghold of perennial Arctic sea-ice. Proxy evidence supports modelling studies that indicate a transition from perennial to seasonal sea-ice in the Arctic during the Early Holocene. Anthropogenic warming and Arctic amplification suggest an imminent transition to seasonal sea-ice in the southern Lincoln Sea, regardless of efforts to limit global temperature rise.
  23. Spent fuel from boiling water reactors (BWRs) is hard to differentiate from that from pressurised water reactors (PWRs). This is because both “use water as moderator and have similar thermal neutron spectra, so they are quite similar in neutron reaction mechanism. In BWRs, the fuel rods are submerged in water. When nuclear fuel undergoes fission, it releases heat, boiling the water. The resulting steam drives a turbine. In PWRs, the fuel rods aren’t exposed to the water; only the heat is exchanged. A material called the moderator slows neutrons down so that they have just the right energy to trigger fission. Such neutrons are called thermal neutrons.
  24. Indian Space Research Organisation’s heaviest payload rocket, LVM3 carrying 36 OneWeb satellites OneWeb is a global communication network powered from space, enabling connectivity for governments, businesses, and communities. It is implementing a constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. India’s Bharti Enterprises serves as a major investor and shareholder in OneWeb. This is OneWeb’s 18th launch, its third this year, bringing the total of OneWeb’s constellation to 618 satellites. This launch is a major milestone for the company, with the number of satellites now in-orbit enabling global service, the first LEO operator to reach this milestone.
  25. Astonishingly, honeybees possess one of the most complicated examples of nonhuman communication. They can tell each other where to find resources such as food, water, or nest sites with a physical “waggle dance.” This dance conveys the direction, distance and quality of a resource to the bee’s nestmates. Essentially, the dancer points recruits in the correct direction and tells them how far to go by repeatedly circling around in a figure eight pattern centered around a waggle run, in which the bee waggles its abdomen as it moves forward. Dancers are pursued by potential recruits, bees that closely follow the dancer, to learn where to go to find the communicated resource.
  26. An international team of researchers, from Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, the U.K. and the U.S., combined freely available digital elevation models for continental and remote island beaches across different ocean basins, with projections of field data and sea-level rise, to examine the possible impact on five of the world’s seven living sea-turtle species. These are the leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta), hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea), and green turtles (Chelonia mydas). Of these, on the IUCN Red List, the leatherback, loggerhead, and olive ridley turtles are classified as ‘vulnerable’, the green turtles as ‘endangered’, and the hawksbill turtles as ‘critically endangered‘.
  27. According to Rule 6(3)(e) of Forest Conservation Rules-2017 (FCR), any diversion of forest land would first require the District Collector to recognise and vest rights to locals under the FRA. Only then do the rules permit authorities to seek consent of the now-rights-holding gram panchayats for the diversion of this land – a provision envisioned to give primacy to rights of indigenous forest-dwelling communities. 
  28. Humidity is the amount of moisture in the air around us, and there are three ways to track it. The most common of them is absolute humidity: the mass of water vapour in a given volume of the air and water vapour mixture, expressed as kg/m3. The second is specific humidity, equal to the mass of the moisture divided by the mass of air. It is expressed as a dimensionless number (but sometimes also as grams per kilogram, among other similar units.).
  29. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is the only international funding mechanism that has been able to cover more than 300 watersheds and an even greater number of aquifers across the political boundaries of two or more states with its grant and concessional loan.
  30. Over 30 Indian cities are set to participate in the City Nature Challenge, an app-based competition that records observations of nature. The Bombay Natural History Society, World Wide Fund for Nature-India, and The Naturalist School have partnered to lead the event in cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Delhi.
  31. The Anthropocene epoch” – some scientists have proposed this name for a new period in the history of the earth characterised by the influence of one species on the planet’s geology, ecosystems, even its fate: Homo sapiens. 
  32. Most of China’s Yangtze River basin last summer was struck by a flash drought that developed within only a month due to high temperatures, which also triggered wildfires.
  33. The tiger was considered an “umbrella species”. Saving the tiger meant saving the entire ecosystem. Tigers in India occur in a wide range of habitat types, from the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats to the terai grasslands of the Himalayan foothills, and from the tropical dry forests of Rajasthan to the mangroves of the Sundarbans.
  34. The population of lions,leopards, elephants and single-horned rhinos has also increased with India having the largest number of Asiatic elephants and single-horned rhinos in the world, and being the only country where the Asiatic lion is found.
  35. Tucked away in the Himalayan foothills of northeast India and frequently battered by strong winds and landslides, the isolated village of Hengbung is well-accustomed to prolonged power cuts.
  36. India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) is a leading industry alliance focused on the development of advanced energy storage, green hydrogen, and e-mobility technologies in India. Founded in 2012, by Customized Energy Solutions (CES), IESA’s visionis to make India a global hub for R&D, manufacturing, and adoption of advanced energy storage, e-mobility, and green hydrogen technologies. IESA launched India Battery Supply Chain Council in Dec. 2021 aimed at developing a holistic ecosystem for the supply chain of batteries in the country. IESA was instrumental in shaping the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) battery which was approved by the Union Cabinet in May 2021.
  37. Bandipur completed 50 years as a Project Tiger Reserve as it was on April 1, 1973, that the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi launched the flagship conservation programme to arrest the big cat’s dwindling population.
  38. Under the Plant Variety Protection and Farmers’ Rights Act (PPVFRA) 2001, farmers can register varieties as ‘farmer varieties’ if they meet certain conditions, and have the right to reuse, replant, and exchange seeds. However, they can’t breed and trade in varieties protected under the Act for commercial purposes. 
  39. The W12+ Blueprint is an informational database for solutions to urban water challenges. W12+ aims to create a tool that provides insight on how to address common urban water challenges through easy to read case studies. a UNESCO platform that hosts city profiles and case studies of programs, technologies, policies that addresses common water security challenges.
  40. Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) is used to quantify vegetation greenness and accounts for sensitivity to factors like biomass, atmospheric background, and soil condition. According to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, SiF is a measure that serves as a proxy of photosynthetic activity in plants.
  41. India’s solar photovoltaic installations are dominated by crystalline silicon (c-Si) technology. A typical photovoltaic panel is made up of 93% of c-Si modules and 7% of cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film modules. A c-Si module mainly consists of a glass sheet, an aluminium frame, an encapsulant, a backsheet, copper wires, and silicon wafers. The metals used to manufacture c-Si modules are silver, tin, and lead. The CdTe thin film module is made of glass, encapsulant, and compound semiconductor.
  42. Shompen tribe, is classified as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG). 
  43. India’s response to the “stray dog menace” has relied upon the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme, through which municipal bodies trap, sterilise and release dogs to slow down the dog population. 
  44. Abhilash Tomy, former Commander in the Indian Navy who became the first Indian to go around the world on a sailboat solo and unassisted back in 2013, has now attained another record of completing a solo circumnavigation when he made podium finish at the Golden Globe Race (GGR), 2022.
  45. Stablecoins are digital tokens that aim to stay pegged in value with a more stable asset — a fiat currency like the U.S. dollar or other stable cryptocurrencies. MiCA will establish new rules for three types of stablecoins — asset-referenced tokens, which are linked to multiple currencies, commodities, or cryptocurrencies, e-money Tokens, which are linked to a single currency and utility tokens, which are intended to provide access to a good or service that will be supplied by the issuer of that token.
  46. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed two new rules – Multi-Pollutant Emissions Standards for Model Years 2027 and Later Light-Duty and Medium-Duty Vehicles; and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles – Phase 3.
  47. A year is an ‘El Niño year’ if warmer water spreads in a band from west to east over the equatorial Pacific Ocean. In a ‘La Niña year’, cooler water spreads east to west in the same region. Both phenomena have distinct and significant effects on the global climate.
  48. Article 371A of the Constitution to Nagaland: The Article states that no Act of Parliament would apply to the religious or social practices of the Nagas, Naga customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law, and ownership and transfer of land and its resources. 
  49. Nagaland is arguably the only State where ULB seats are not reserved for women as mandated by clause IV of the 74th Amendment to the Constitution of India.
  50. From nine reserves covering 18,278 square km in 1973, India now has 53 reserves covering 75,796 sq. km, which is roughly 2.3% of India’s land area. At present there are five major ’tiger-landscapes’ that have evolved:  Shivalik-Gangetic plains; Central India and Eastern Ghats; Western Ghats, North Eastern Hills and Brahmaputra Flood Plains and, the Sundarbans. 
  51. Cambodia, was  enthusiastic in getting tigers from India and rehabilitating them in in their Cardamom Hills and in their Sripok Wildlife Sanctuary.
  52. The Andaman and Nicobar Command(ANC) is the only tri-service theater command of the Indian Armed Forces, based at Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a Union Territory of India. It was created in 2001 to safeguard India’s strategic interests in Southeast Asia and the Strait of Malacca by increasing rapid deployment of military assets in the region. It provides logistical and administrative support to naval ships which are sent on deployment to East Asia and the Pacific Ocean.
  53. Endometriosis is a painful chronic disease in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus, or endometrium, grows outside of it. Despite its prevalence, popular awareness of endometriosis remains low even as its diagnosis is marred by experiences of medical misogyny and gaslighting.
  54. In an electrolyser, the nitrogen atoms drew electron clouds towards themselves, encouraging nearby carbon atoms to bond with atoms or molecules containing electron pairs. So, the location of these atoms became active sites for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER). The OER is a stumbling block in electrolysis because it has many intermediate steps and proceeds slower than the rest of the reaction cycle, thus reducing the energy efficiency. Laser carbon intervenes by reducing the OER overpotential: the difference between the voltage at which the OER takes place in reality and the minimum voltage at which it can take place. Lowering the overpotential allows OER to proceed vigorously.
  55. In April 2022, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) launched a website, called the India Alumni Portal, as a platform to connect with the foreign students around the world who have studied in India. The portal is envisaged to be a single platform for all foreign scholars to register, interact, and maintain their Indian links.
  56. “Japan’s New Plan for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP) and exchanged views about deepening the “Japan-India Special Strategic and Global Partnership”.
  57. Marriages in India are administered through a complex legal structure with a religious genesis. They are consequently governed by the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955; the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936; the Christian Marriage and Divorce Act, 1957; and Muslim Personal Laws which do not have any strict legislative framework. All marriage laws, except for the Special Marriage Act (SMA) of 1954, recognise marriages between a man and a woman. Parliament enacted SMA to facilitate inter-religious marriages. 
  58. World Autism Awareness Day celebrated every year on April 2. 
  59. The World Bank has forecast a 6.3% economic growth rate for India in the current fiscal year, which ends on March 31, 2024, a downgrade of 0.7 percentage points since its October forecast. The primary reasons for this are high borrowing costs and slower income growth causing weaker consumption, as well as the government tightening fiscal expenditure, the World Bank said in its South Asia Economic Focus: Expanding Opportunities: Toward Inclusive Growthreport, released ahead of next week’s Spring Meetings in Washington DC.
  60. The Netherlands House of Representatives, for instance, has implemented the “Speech2Write” system which converts voice to text and also “translates” voice into written reports.
  61. The Earth4All report is entitled ‘People and Planet, 21st Century Sustainable Population Scenarios and Possible Living Standards Within Planetary Boundaries’.
  62. NATO granted tailor-made “enhanced opportunities” for deeper cooperation with selected partner countries. The Enhanced Opportunities Partners currently are: Australia, Georgia, Jordan, Sweden and Ukraine.
  63. Nadabetis located in Rann of Kutch region which was inaugurated as an Indo-Pakistan border viewing point as a part of seema darshan project. It is also known as Wagah of Gujarat.
  64. The Partnership for Peace (PfP; French: Partenariat pour la paix) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) program aimed at creating trust between the member states of NATO and other states mostly in Europe, including post-Soviet states; 19 states are members.
  65. For nearly 200 years, the ‘relationship between Finland and Russia has been a combination of struggle and compromise. In 1809, the Russian Tsar Alexander I defeated Sweden, acquired Finland, and made it an autonomous Grand Duchy of the Russian empire. In 1917, the collapse of the Tsarist regime and the Bolshevik Revolution paved the way for the full independence of Finland’.
  66. Finland is certainly not the first and will not be the last neighbour of Russia to join the alliance. Before Finland’s accession, countries such as Norway (1949, and a founding member), Latvia (2004), Estonia (2004), Poland (1999) and Lithuania (2004) were already a part of NATO. 
  67. According to the NFHS, BP is considered normal if systolic pressure is lower than 120 mmHg and diastolic pressure is lower than 80 mmHg. 
  68. After the Second World War, Paasikivi’s line emerged and began to morph into what would eventually become Finland’s foreign policy strategy. Named after Juho Kusti Paasikivi, the president of Finland between 1946 and 1956, Paasikivi’s line was based on the idea of peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union with neutrality being its cornerstone. It helped Finland navigate complex international relations after the turbulent time of the Second World War.
  69. Finland has been an active participant in European security initiatives such as the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and the Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO). 
  70. Mediation is rarely a spontaneous act; more often than not it is preceded by quiet efforts to seek a meeting point between differing viewpoints of individuals or organisations. It figures in Article 33 of the United Nations Charter among means of ‘Pacific Settlement of Disputes’. but in legal terms is different from Good Offices and Arbitration.
  71. Just over a month after the Beijing Accord restored ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the regional landscape is witnessing not war, death and destruction but ministers and diplomats dashing from one capital to another to discuss initiatives to promote political and economic cooperation.
  72. Botanic Garden of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh), the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE)-Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute in Palode (Kerala), the AJC Indian Botanic Garden, and, more recently, the KSCSTE-Malabar Botanical Garden and Institute for Plant Sciences, Kozhikode (Kerala) have plant exploration and education programmes.
  73. The story of how the Hakki Pikki — or bird catchers of Karnataka — got caught in a civil war in Sudan is a contemporary tale of migration, development, and the human desire to thrive.
  74. The Constitution of India was drafted by the Constituent Assembly. The idea was initially proposed in December 1934 by M.N. Roy, a pioneer of the Communist movement in India and an advocate of radical democracy. It became an official demand of the Indian National Congress in 1935 and was officially adopted in the Lucknow session in April 1936 presided by Jawaharlal Nehru, who also drafted the Objectives Resolution. The proceedings of the Constituent Assembly show the richness of ideas that characterised it. The Drafting Committee was presided over by B.R. Ambedkar.
  75. India’s National Blockchain Strategy 2021 proposes to explore tokenisation and apply blockchains solutions for development programmes. It will be a natural progression for India to craft a third-gen web strategy that optimises public interest.
  76. Mysore Elephant Reserve in Karnataka is the largest while the Singphan Elephant Reserve in Nagaland is the smallest in India.
  77. Section 38 of the Copyright Act, 1957, as amended in 2012, recognises “Performer’s Rights” where the performer engages in any performance including, literary work, song, movie and same subsists in the concerned person for 50 years from the “beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the performance is made”. This amendment was brought in 2012 to protect artists For example, if copyright of a song is licensed, it would not just be the producer who would get a royalty but the singer and lyricist would also be entitled for a share. Crucially, the rights under this provision cannot be waived off or diluted through a contract, which means performers’ rights cannot be transferred or sold through an agreement. This was done to ensure production houses cannot simply buy out an artist and her work remains with her.
  78. Centre’s announcement providing full exemption from basic customs duty for all drugs and food imported for treatment of rare diseases listed under the National Policy for Rare Diseases (and anti-cancer drug Pembrolizumab).
  79. While rare diseases are defined by their infrequent occurrence in the population, the sheer number of diseases (estimated between 7,000-8,000 conditions; 450 of them have been reported from hospitals in India), and the number of people with some form of rare diseases in India (an estimated 100 million) make it a problem that cannot be ignored.
  80. Ladakh’s wood carving has been granted the Geographical Indication (GI) Tag. Last year, the government granted GI Tag for Raktsey Karpo apricot of Ladakh, first ever GI tag for Ladakh.
  81. Under Mera Gaon Meri Dharohar survey, map rural India’s cultural assets covers over one lakh villages. The mapping was carried out under the ‘Mera Gaon Meri Dharohar’ (My Village My Heritage) programme of the National Mission for Cultural Mapping(NMCM). The survey is conducted in partnership with the Common Services Centres (CSC).
  82. India is a signatory to important international treaties i.e., the United Nations Convention on Rights of Child and the Hague convention on Adoption of children which mandate systemic development and strengthening of juvenile justice system in the country.
  83. The Prime Minister also launched Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Urvarak Pariyojana – One Nation One Fertiliser. Under the scheme, Prime Minister launched Bharat Urea Bags, which will help companies market fertilisers under the single brand name ‘Bharat’.
  84. Support for Irrigation Modernization Program’ (SIMP) is a new initiative to modernize Major / Medium Irrigation (MMI) projects in the country. The Asian Development Bank(ADB) is providing technical assistance for SIMP
  85. National Hydrology Project (NHP) is being taken up from Ministry of Jal Shakti, Govt. of India with financial aid from World Bank. The objective of project is to improve the extent and accessibility of water resources information and strengthen institutional capacity to enable improved water resources planning and management across India.
  86. The Black Sea is bounded by Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Tukey, Bulgaria, and Romania.
  87. After China and USA, India is the 3rd largest dam-owning nation in the world. There are around 5,700 large dams in the country, of which about 80% are already over 25 years old. Nearly 227 dams that are over 100 years old are still functional. Although India’s track record of dam safety is at par with that of the developed nations, there have been instances of unwarranted dam failures and of poor maintenance issues.
  88. The North Eastern Council, in collaboration with B-School Incubator IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, has launched a first-of-its-kind North East Entrepreneurship Development Programme (NEEDP) today here at NEC Secretariat, Nongrim Hills in Shillong.
  89. According to production data of Food and Agriculture Organization Corporate Statistical Database (FAOSTAT), India is the highest milk producer i.e., rank first position in the world contributing twenty-four percent of global milk production in the year 2021-22.
  90. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval for the revised Model Text for the Indian Bilateral Investment Treaty. The revised Indian model text for Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) will replace the existing Indian Model BIT.  The revised model BIT will be used for re-negotiation of existing BITs and negotiation of future BITs and investment chapters in Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreements (CECAs)/ Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs) / Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). The first BIT was signed by India on March 14, 1994. Since then, till date, the Government of India has signed BITs with 83 countries. These BITs were largely negotiated on the basis of the Indian Model BIT of 1993.
  91. Kuttamperoor is a west-flowing river originating in the western ghats. It is a tributary of both the Pamba and the Achankovil rivers in Kerala. It forms a link between the two rivers. The river has its northern end in the Pamba and the southern end in the Achenkovil river.
  92. Uganda was endorsed to chair the Non-Aligned Movement on behalf of Africa for the period from 2022 to 2025.
  93. Paclitaxel, a drug used to treat cancer, for example, is derived from the bark of the Pacific yew tree, and ziconotide, a drug that is used to treat severe pain comes from cone snails. The Pacific yew tree — the source of the paclitaxel, the chemotherapy drug, is now classified as near threatened under the IUCN Red List, which tracks the status of different species.
  94. Many personal use medical technology devices — including oximeters, hearing aids, glucometers, medical monitoring watches, and implants such as pacemakers and insertable loop recorders meant for long-term monitoring and recording of electrical activity of the heart — all contain software as medical device (SaMD) and software in medical devices (SiMD) and are usually connected to the internet, mobile phones, servers, and the cloud.
  95. The Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, launched ‘A-HELP’ (Accredited Agent for Health and Extension of Livestock Production) programme in the State of Uttarakhand. Under this program trained A-HELPs will give their vital contribution in preventing various infectious diseases of animals, artificial insemination under Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM), tagging of animals and animal insurance.
  96. The Kudmis of the Chota Nagpur plateau were counted among Scheduled Tribes under the British, but were excluded from the list in independent India. Kudmis are a peasant community, concentrated in the Chota Nagpur plateau of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha and are also found in Assam and northern West Bengal. During the British rule, they were in the Scheduled Tribe list, and were regarded as a primitive tribe, like the Munda, Oraon, Bhumij, Kharia, Santhal, and others.
  97. World Heritage Day, also known as the International Day for Monuments and Sites, is an annual observance held on April 18th to raise awareness about the importance of cultural heritage and to celebrate the diversity of our shared human history. The day was established by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in 1982 during a seminar in Tunisia and was later approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 1983 at the 22nd session of the UNESCO Conference. The ICOMOS organization was established on the principles put down in the Venice Charter, also known as the 1964 International Charter on the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites. The World Heritage Day 2023 theme is “Heritage Changes”.
  98. The Government of Japan announced the “Asia Energy Transition Initiative (AETI)”, which includes various support for realising energy transitions in Asia. It will help to achieve both sustainable growth and carbon neutrality in Asia, where energy demand will continue to grow, various and pragmatic energy transitions, that reflect different circumstances of each country, and utilise all energy sources and all technologies, are essential.
  99. The Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence or GPAI is an international and multistakeholder initiative launched in 2020 to guide the responsible development and use of artificial intelligence consistent with human rights, fundamental freedoms, and shared democratic values, as reflected in the OECD Recommendation on AI. The founding members of GPAI include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the European Union. India took over the Chair of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence, GPAI from France in November 2022.
  100. Scientists have warned that the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, which is destroying South American wheat crops, could spread worldwide. The pathogen affects the crop in a disease known as ‘wheat blast’. Magnaporthe oryzae originated in South America, but cases of infection have also been reported in Asia in 2016 and Africa in 2018. Magnaporthe oryzaeinfects wild and cultivated grasses, most notably rice and wheat.
  101. Minerals such as antimony, cobalt, gallium, graphite, lithium, nickel, niobium, and strontium are among the 22 assessed to be critical for India. 
  102. Developed countries have jointly drawn up partnership strategies, including the Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) and G7’s Sustainable Critical Minerals Alliance, while developing countries have missed out.
  103. India has started ‘Operation Kaveri’ to evacuate its nationals from conflict-torn Sudan.
  104. Munduruku leader Alessandra Korap has been awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for her work fighting against illegal mining and large-scale projects aimed at facilitating soybean exports in the Tapajos River Basin.
  105. The World Development Report 2023 was recently released by World Bank.
  106. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Pharma has announced the launch of Shingrix vaccine in India for the prevention of shingles (herpes zoster) and post-herpetic neuralgia in adults aged 50 years and above. Shingrix is the world’s first non-live, recombinant subunit vaccine to be intramuscularly in two doses. Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (VZV), same virus that causeschickenpox. Those suffering from diabetes, heart disease and kidney diseases are at an increased risk of developing shingles because of weakened immunity.
  107. In the 15-nation Security Council, only the five permanent members — China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. — have veto powers. The remaining 10 members are elected as non-permanent members for two-year terms and do not have veto powers. The exercise of veto is driven by political considerations, not by moral obligations. In April last year, the UN General Assembly had adopted by consensus, without a vote, the resolution ‘Standing mandate for a General Assembly debate when a veto is cast in the Security Council’, also known as the ‘Veto Initiative’. Following the adoption of the resolution, the use of the veto in the Council by a permanent member now triggers a General Assembly meeting, where all UN members can scrutinise and comment on the veto.
  108. India’s forests were divided into three categories as per the 1878 amendement of the Forest Act authorised in 1865 under colonial British rule: Reserved, protected and village forests.
  109. The G20was formed in 1999 in the backdrop of the financial crisis of the late 1990s that hit East Asia and Southeast Asia in particular. Its aim was to secure global financial stability by involving middle-income countries.
  110. International Conservation Translocation Conference (ICTC) is a premier conservation translocation science event, linked to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Conservation Translocation Specialist Group (previously the Reintroduction Specialist Group), part of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.
  111. The global health body marked this year’s African Vaccination Week and World Immunization Week, from April 24-30, under the theme ‘The Big Catch-Up’. The Big Catch-up aims to protect populations from vaccine-preventable outbreaks, save children’s lives and strengthen national health systems.
  112. Nigeria is home to the second-largest number of zero-dose children (2.2 million) in the world, according to a UNICEF report.
  113. ASTM D7566 certification allows international airframe manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus to issue Service Letters permitting the use of the specified approved fuel on all aircraft.
  114. Soniferous fish represent a group of vocal vertebrates that produce sounds during various social interactions. Most fish vocalise in the frequency range of 100 Hertz (Hz) to 2,000 Hz, while shrimp use the 2,000-20,000 Hz range. Hydrophones also pick up the sounds of wind (50-20,000 Hz) and oceanic traffic (10-10,000 Hz). Planktivorous (predators of microscopic organisms called plankton), for example, produce sounds while feeding.
  115. The 1977 conference was touted as the first attempt to avoid a water crisis by the end of the 20th century. Notably, it declared that “all people have the right to have access to drinking water equal to their basic needs.” Its outcome, known as the Mar del Plata Action Plan, mostly revolved around countries’ efforts to better assess the state of water resources, development of mechanisms and technology to manage water for sustainable human and biodiversity use, and international cooperation to tackle challenges.
  116. The expansion of the Azores High is associated with drier-than-normal conditions in the Mediterranean region, especially in the Iberian Peninsula of Spain. The expansion of the Azores High began with industrialisation around 1850 and is unprecedented in the last 1,200 years. 
  117. Italian bees, also known as Apis mellifera, were first brought to India in 1962 and reared in Nagrota, Himachal Pradesh.
  118. Earth Energy Imbalance or EEI: EEI is the difference between incoming and outgoing solar radiation. It is an indicator of climate change that provides an estimate of how much, how fast, and where the Earth’s climate is warming, as well as how this will evolve in the future.
  119. National Climate Vulnerability Index (CVI) developed by the Department of Science and Technology is a composite index that uses various indicators to evaluate climate impact on India’s socio-economic features and livelihood, biophysical, institutional and infrastructural characteristics.
  120. Biomass pellets are of two kinds — torrefied and non-torrefied. Biomass, if processed at 250-350°C in the absence of oxygen, leads to the formation of torrefied biomass. Whereas, in the case of non-torrefied pellets, biomass is shredded, grinded and sent to a pellet reactor, where it is compressed into pellet form with the help of binders such as sawdust, bagasse, molasses, starch and others.
  121. Nigeria’s food and drug regulator has granted provisional approval to Oxford University’s R21 malaria vaccine. It is the second country to do so after Ghana.  
  122. The Group of Seven (G7) Ministers’ Meeting on Climate, Energy and Environment was held in Sapporo, Japan.
  123. The Integrity Council for Voluntary Carbon Markets (ICVCM), an independent governance body that aims to set and maintain a global standard for quality in the voluntary carbon market, announced the launch of its Core Carbon Principles. The Core Carbon Principles (CCPs) are intended to establish fundamental principles for high-quality carbon credits that create a verifiable climate impact, based on the latest science and best practice.
  124. The G7 countries committed themselves to the forum of ‘Climate Club’ proposed last year and established in December 2022 for ‘transitioning industries to climate-friendly processes and technologies’. However, the present meeting did not discuss an action agenda for the club. 
  125. Methane, the primary component of natural gas and a byproduct of fossil fuel exploration, is 86 times more efficient at trapping heat over a 20-year-period than carbon dioxide. It is released from a range of sources, including wetlands, agriculture (livestock, rice), waste (landfills, wastewater) and fossil fuel drilling (coal, oil, gas).
  126. Arabidopsis, a type of cress (a plant of the cabbage family) that is easy and inexpensive to grow and produces many seeds, will be tested for drought, salt and heat tolerance.
  127. Sorghum, a nutrient-rich cereal grain, can thrive on parched terrains.
  128. The World Health Organization (WHO) is observing World Chagas Disease Day April 14, 2023 to raise awareness about this little-known disease that affects millions every year, especially the poor population and people in Latin America. In 2019, the 72nd World Health Assembly dedicated this day to the disease. This year’s theme is “time to integrate Chagas disease into primary health care”. 
  129. India has 75 listed PVTGs with the highest number found in Odisha. Odisha has 13 PVTGs, with a population of 240,000 spread across 11 districts.
  130. China recorded the first human death caused by H3N8, a strain of the avian influenza virus, in the third human case ever recorded globally.
  131. The gene with links to bacteria contained instructions to make the interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (IBRP). Its protein sequence is most similar to a bacterial protein called peptidases, which are known to break down proteins and recycle them. IBRP has a key role in vision. In humans, mutated versions of the gene lead to various retinal diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa (an eye disorder that causes loss of sight) and retinal dystrophy (a degenerative disorder that causes colour blindness or night blindness and complete blindness in progressive conditions).
  132. In Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi district, for the first time in the last eight years, around 150 pastoralist families returned to their pasture lands in the upper region of the Tons valley in 2022, after the forest department lifted a ban on grazing livestock in the area.
  133. Hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer.
  134. Debt Relief for a Green and Inclusive Recovery (DRGR) Project is a collaboration between the Boston University Global Development Policy Center, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung and the Centre for Sustainable Finance at SOAS University of London. The “Common Framework” was established by the G20 countries in November 2020 to provide relief to debtors facing insolvency or liquidity problems.
  135. Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) is implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on behalf of the European Commission. The monthly climate bulletins report the changes observed in global surface air temperature, sea ice cover and hydrological variables. WMO uses Copernicus data as one of the six leading global datasets to compile its own State of the Global Climate reports. 
  136. During an El Nino event, the sea surface temperatures (SST) in the equatorial Pacific Ocean off the northern coast of South America become at least 0.5 degrees Celsius warmer than the long-term average (1980-2010).
  137. Frameworks, such as biodiversity heritage sites under the Indian Biological Diversity Act (2002) or community reserves under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act (1972), facilitate the maintenance of socio-ecological systems by fostering local stewardship and ultimately democratising carnivore research.
  138. The International Conference on Human-Wildlife Conflict and Coexistence being held in Oxford, the United Kingdom from March 30-April 1, 2023 has brought together hundreds of representatives from conservation organisations, academia, governments, businesses and indigenous as well as local communities from six continents and 70 countries to discuss solutions. The first conference of this scale is being organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the UN Development Programme and several more.
  139. The world marked the first-ever International Day of Zero Waste on March 30, 2023, encouraging everyone to prevent and minimise waste and promoting a societal shift towards a circular economy. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) established the day in response to the worsening impacts of waste on human health, the economy and the environment.
  140. The Emission Trading System is a cornerstone of the EU’s policy to combat climate change and its key tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively. It is the world’s first major carbon market and remains the biggest one. It is also known as the bloc’s carbon market. The 27 member states in the European Union approved a revamp to the carbon market.
  141. Spheroidal carbonaceous particles (SCPs) are a component of fly ash that has been identified in an Antarctic ice core. They have no natural sources, and unlike other combustion-derived components of black carbon are not produced by any other anthropogenic sources. They are primarily composed of elemental carbon making them resistant to chemical attack and are morphologically distinct under light and scanning electron microscopy.
  142. As we marked World Malaria Day on 25th April – the WHO’s guiding theme this year was “Time to deliver zero malaria: invest, innovate, implement” – there are reasons to be hopeful in our quest to control and finally eradicate malaria, in the form of two first generation vaccines that have recently been developed and may soon be rolled out.
  143. The South China Sealies just south of the Chinese mainland and is bordered by the countries of Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. As early as the 1970s, these countries began to claim islands (mostly uninhabited) throughout the sea to lay control over the various resources that the region possessed, such as untapped oil reserves, natural gas, and fishing areas. It also has some of the most active shipping lanes on the planet.
  144. Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigationis a multidisciplinary initiative of the Ministry of Science and Technology, which aims at making India a global player in the futuristic and next-generation “Smart Mobility” technology. The multi-departmental initiative includes researchers from electrical, computer science, mechanical and aerospace, civil, mathematics, and design at IIT-Hyderabad. It will focus on solving various challenges hindering the real-time adoption of unmanned autonomous vehicles for both terrestrial and aerial applications. It will facilitate research grounds to investigate the functioning of unmanned and connected vehicles in a controlled environment by replicating different situations. It should be noted that there is no such testbed facility in India to evaluate the autonomous navigation of vehicles. It aims to fill this gap by developing a fully functional and exemplary testbed facility dedicated to connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs).
  145. Munroe Thuruthu island in Kerala is witnessing steady deterioration. The island is ravaged by constant tidal flooding and ground subsidence. The once-fertile island now resembles a saline swamp and agriculture is nearly impossible.
  146. Ghoramara is located at the southernmost part of West Bengal. The tall palm trees on the edge of the island struggle to hold on to the depleting soil. One of the sources of income in this island was betel leaf cultivation.
  147. Vaan Island is located 6 kms from Thoothukudi coast, Tamil Nadu. This island in the Gulf of Mannar almost vanished from the map, about a decade ago. But now the Vaan island has had a rebirth.  

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