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IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-December 2020

  1. The World AIDS Dayis observed on 1st December every year all over the world.  The theme of World AIDS Day 2020 is Ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic: resilience and impact.
  2. Recently, the International Day of Disabled Persons was celebrated, with the theme “Building Back Better” on December 3.
  3. The International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development or International Volunteer Day is celebrated on 5 December annually.
  4. Every year December 5 is celebrated as World Soil Day to bring people’s focus and attention on the importance of healthy soil as well as stress on the importance of sustainable management of soil resources.
  5. The American Supreme Court began hearing a 12-year-old dispute over a collection of medieval eccelestiacal art, known as the Guelph Treasure, which is on display at the Bode Museum in Berlin.
  6. France and Canada launched the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to promote responsible development and use of AI. India was among the 15 founding members.
  7. Ranjitsinh Disale,a primary teacher from Maharashtra’s Solapur, has won the Global Teacher Prize 2020. The Global Teacher Prize is an annual award instituted by the Varkey Foundation. It is awarded to a teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession. Launched in 2014, nominations are open worldwide to teachers. 
  8. A nanobody is a special type of antibody naturally produced by the immune systems of camelids, a group of animals that includes camels, llamas, and alpacas. They are called nanobodies because they are tiny, about a tenth the weight of most human antibodies.
  9. Leprosy is also known as Hansen’s disease. It is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, a rod-shaped bacillus that is an obligate intracellular (only grows inside of certain human and animal cells) bacterium.
  10. Baisipalli Sanctuary gets its name from the 22 settlements existing within its span. It was given the status of sanctuary in May 1981. It is located where the Mahanadi River passes through a gorge in the Eastern Ghats mountains in Nayagarh District. The whole area is a part of the Deccan Peninsula Biogeographic Zone, Eastern Plateau province and Eastern Ghat sub-division. It is a sal dominated forest with a significant number of tigers, leopards, elephants, herbivores like Chousingha and water birds, reptilians, etc.
  11. The “Digital Nations” that was founded in 2014 by Britain, Estonia, Israel, South Korea and New Zealand. India is not part of this group. The group wants to mobilise digital technologies to enhance the quality of life for their citizens.
  12. The Yuelu Proclamation made by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at Changsha, China, in 2018 plays a central role in guiding the efforts of countries and regions around the world to protect linguistic resources and diversity.
  13. India is also not part of the “Artemis Accords” that were launched in October by the Trump administration. These agreements outline a set of principles for the cooperative and transparent exploration of outer space. The founding members of the Artemis Accords are Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the US.
  14. India is also now a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement that regulates the flow of dual-use technologies and the Missile Technology Control Regime.
  15. The Global Commission on Adaptation was launched in The Hague on 16th October 2018 by the 8th Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon. Established by Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands and the leaders of 22 other convening countries, the Commission launched with the mandate to accelerate adaptation by elevating the political visibility of adaptation and focusing on concrete solutions. The Commission’s mandate came to an end following its Year of Action in 2020, with its work showcased at the Climate Adaptation Summit hosted by the Netherlands on 25th January 2021. The Global Center on Adaptation is proud to be taking forward its work through its Programs.
  16. International Mathematical Union (IMU) isan international non-governmental and non-profit scientific organization, with the purpose of promoting international cooperation in mathematics. It is a member of the International Science Council (ISC). India is a member country.
  17. Tal Chhapar Sanctuary is known as the home of blackbuck and a variety of birds in Rajasthan. The sanctuary is flanked by the Great India Desert, Thar and boasts a unique ecosystem and is an important birdwatching destination in India It has tall grasses and is dotted with numerous small ponds where the rain water accumulates. Tal Chhapar Sanctuary is one of the top halting places for migratory birds such as harriers. The migratory birds pass through Tal Chhapar Sanctuary during September. The commonly seen migratory birds in the sanctuary are harriers, eastern imperial eagle, tawny eagle, short-toed eagle, sparrow, and little green bee-eaters, black ibis and demoiselle cranes, whereas skylarks, crested larks, ring doves, and brown doves are seen round the year. Apart from birds, desert fox and desert cat can be spotted in the sanctuary.
  18. India is considered as a preferred wintering destination for several species of migratory birds like Bar headed Geese, Amur Falcons, Black necked cranes, Demoiselle cranes, etc.
  19. Rare and endangered species of birds including migratory birds are included in Schedule-I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 thereby according them highest degree of protection.
  20. Important habitats of birds, including migratory birds have been notified as protected Areas under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 for better conservation and protection of birds and their habitats.
  21. Satkosia Tiger Reserve lying in a transitional zoneextending between the Chhota Nagpur Plateau and the Deccan Plateau, the tiger reserve exhibits endemic life forms of both biotic provinces. Satkosia Tiger Reserve, Bhubaneswar comprises two adjoining sanctuaries of central Odisha named as Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary and Baisipalli Sanctuary.
  22. Vulture species have been identified as one of the species for recovery programme for critically endangered species under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats.
  23. Laccariais a genus of mycorrhizal fungi that forms an association with host trees. Previously, only nine species of Laccaria have been found in India and four of them have been described from Kerala.
  24. Aadi Mahotsav is a national tribal festivaland a joint initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED). It commenced in 2017 and is held annually.
  25. The Myristicaswamps are dominated by evergreen trees of the Myristica genus belonging to the Myristicaceae family, one of the most primitive families of flowering plants found in the tropics and renowned for the nutmeg tree species.
  26. The marvels of Buddhist art from ancient Termez, Karatepa, Fayaztepa heritage sites can be seen in the Uzbekistan hall. 
  27. Pneumococcal infections are the most common cause of community-acquired pneumonia and a leading global cause of death. A prior influenza virus infection is often followed by a pneumococcal infection.  Influenza is caused by a virus, but the most common cause of death in influenza patients is secondary pneumonia caused by bacteria, rather than the influenza virus itself. While this is well known, what is largely unknown is why influenza infections lead to an increased risk of bacterial pneumonia.
  28. Maitri is India’s second permanent research station in Antarctica. It was built and finished in 1989. Maitri is situated on the rocky mountainous region called Schirmacher Oasis. India also built a freshwater lake around Maitri known as Lake Priyadarshini. Other research station in Antarctica are Dakshin Gangotri, Bharti
  29. The morphological phenotypic plasticity (MPP) is the ability of an organism to show drastic morphological (physical features) variations in response to natural environmental variations or stimuli.
  30. Operation Blackface is a part of the actions taken by the Maharashtra State Police against Child Sexual Abuse Material. The operation is to use the Crawler software and to deploy the TRACE team.
  31. The land tenure prevailing in the erstwhile Central Provinces was known as Malguzari system in which the Malguzar was merely a revenue farmer under the Marathas. Under the Malguzari system, the Lambardar/Sadar Lambardar appointed from among the Malguzars, was the revenue engager.
  32. Government of India has launched ‘Co-WIN’ mobile app for Covid-19 vaccine delivery. It is a digital platform that will allow people to register for the vaccine.
  33. There are 159 species of freshwater fish threatened by extinction in India, but none of them are listed under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Even the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 that accords protection to all forms of biodiversity has been negligent of freshwater fish and marine species—in its original form, it focused largely on terrestrial species. It was only in 2001 through a gazette notification that species such as marine sharks, rays and 15 kinds of molluscs were included, after active campaigning by biodiversity experts. But hundreds of fish species still need protection from over-exploitation. Under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, flora and fauna are catalogued under six schedules – from I to VI and wildlife crimes against top-schedule species (especially schedules I and II) are dealt stiffer punishments.
  34. Shahtoosh is obtained by shearing the endangered Tibetan antelope (Pantholops hodgsoni) or chiru. In all other states in India, chiru is listed under schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, which prohibits trade in any of its products. But in Jammu and Kashmir it had so far remained under schedule II. The ungulate is also included in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to which India is a signatory. Its name figures in the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) red list of endangered animals as well.
  35. The Ladakh urial, locally calledshapo, is one of the smallest varieties of wild mountain sheep found in the trans-Himalayan valley of Indus and its tributary Shyok.  Urials are commonly viewed as the ancestor of the domesticated sheep. The male has a black ruff stretching from the neck to the chest. Different species of urials are found across Central Asia. The double-humped Bactrian camel, originally from Central Asia, are found in the high-altitude cold desert of Ladakh’s Nubra Valley. Himalayan marmots abound in the grasslands of the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary, nestled between the two mountain lakes Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri in Ladakh.
  36. Archaea (singular archaeon) are a primitive group of microorganisms that thrive in extreme habitats such as hot springs, cold deserts and hypersaline lakes. These slow-growing organisms are also present in the human gut, and have a potential relationship with human health.
  37. The world honours Human Rights Day every year on December 10to commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. Civil and political rights today are set out in detail in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
  38. Tally Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
  39. The Swietokrzyskie Mountains are a mountain range in central Poland.
  40. Sentinel species are organisms, often animals, used to detect risks to humans by providing advance warning of a danger. The terms primarily apply in the context of environmental hazards rather than those from other sources. Some animals can act as sentinels because they may be more susceptible or have greater exposure to a particular hazard than humans in the same environment.
  41. The Steppe Eagle, Slender-billed Vulture, Cheer Pheasant, West Himalayan Bush Warbler and Himachal’s state bird Western Tragopan are five species of birds from the state which were listed under species of a high conservation.
  42. Vicuna is a camelid species found in the high Andes and is a relative of the camel, the llama, the alpaca and the guanaco.
  43. The United Nations on 18th December, 1992 adopted the Statement on the individual’s Rights belonging to religious or Linguistic National or Ethnic Minorities. In this connection, recently, the National Commission for Minorities celebrated World Minorities Rights Day on 18th December 2020.
  44. A recent report published by the Centre for Economics and Business Research(CBER) has predicted that India will again overtake the UK to become the fifth largest economy in 2025 and race to the third spot by 2030. China in 2028 will overtake the USA to become the world’s biggest economy, five years earlier than previously estimated due to the contrasting recoveries of the two countries from the Covid-19 pandemic. Japan would remain the world’s third-biggest economy, until the early 2030s when it would be overtaken by India, pushing Germany down from fourth to fifth.
  45. Recently cyclone Burevihas made a landfall on Sri Lanka’s Northern and Eastern provinces, before heading towards south India. The Burevi will be the fifth cyclonic storm to take shape into the North Indian Ocean this year. Earlier, Cyclone Nivar, made its landfall in Puducherry. Cyclone Gati, which made its landfall in Somalia, Cyclone Nisarga in Maharashtra and Cyclone Amphan, which hit eastern India. Cyclone Burevi is Suggested by the Maldives.
  46. The river Yamuna, a major tributary of river Ganges, originates from the Yamunotri glacier near Bandarpoonch peaks in the Mussoorie range of the lower Himalayas in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. It meets the Ganges at the Sangam in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh after flowing through Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi. Chambal, Sindh, Betwa, Ken, Tons, Hindon are its important tributaries.
  47. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple are a few notable examples of cryptocurrencies. Satoshi is the smallest fraction of a Bitcoin.
  48. Tiger moths are a group of moths belonging to the family Erebidae and subfamily Arctiinae with around 11,000 species. 
  49. The recently rediscovered Forest Owlet is listed under Schedule I of the Act while all other owl species are covered under Schedule IV.  The Forest Owlet is in Appendix I and all other Indian species in Appendix II of the CITES.
  50. Recently, DRDO Lifetime Achievement Award – 2018 has been conferred to Shri N V Kadam for his contributions for developing control and guidance schemes for missiles.
  51. National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research(NCPOR), India’s premier research institution responsible for the country’s research activities in the polar (Arctic, Antarctica, Himalayas) and Southern Ocean realms.
  52. India has two of the world’s 25 most threatened freshwater turtle species – Northern River Terrapin (Batagur baska) found in the Sudarbans, West Bengal, and the Red-Crowned Roof Turtle (Batagur kachuga), found only within the riverine National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary (NCGWS) in Madhya Pradesh.
  53. In India, the five turtle priority areas are the Chambal and Yamuna landscapes, the Indo Nepal Himalayan Terai, Eastern India (Sundarbans and Odisha), the Brahmaputra river system landscape and the Western Ghats.
  54. Thudumbattam, the folk-art form, is prevalent in villages around Karamadai, a small town from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.
  55. ADMM Plus is an annual meeting of Defence Ministers of 10 ASEAN Countries and eight partner countries. This year marks the 10thyear of inception of ADMM Plus forum. The ADMM-Plus countries include ten ASEAN Member States and eight Plus countries, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, and the United States.
  56. Recently, HelpAge India has been presented the UN Population Award for 2020 in the institutional category. Bhutan’s Queen Mother Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck has been awarded the United Nations Population Award in the individual category for 2020 for her work on sexual health and ending gender violence.
  57. The IUCN World Declaration on the Environmental Rule of Law was drafted by a team of World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL) members at the 1st IUCN World Environmental Law Congress in April 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on the basis of a wide range of consultations prior to and during the Congress.
  58. Vijay Diwas is observed on 16th December every year to mark India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war.
  59. Partners in Population and Development is intergovernmental initiative created specifically for the purpose of expanding and improving South-South Cooperation in the fields of reproductive health, population, and development.  Launched at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), when ten developing countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America formed an intergovernmental alliance to help implement the Cairo Program of Action (POA). India is a member country.
  60. The Digital India Awards is an initiative of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to honour exemplary initiatives/practices in Digital-Governance.
  61. The Empowerment and Equity Opportunities for Excellence in Science (EMEQ) scheme is aimed at providing research support to researchers belonging to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe in undertaking research in frontier areas of science and engineering.
  62. Ammonia is used as an industrial chemical in the production of fertilisers, plastics, dyes and other products. It also occurs naturally in the environment from the breakdown of organic waste matter, including sewage.
  63. Prime Minister has flagged off the 100th“Kisan Rail” service from Sangola in Solapur district of Maharashtra to Shalimar in West Bengal.
  64. Krishi Udaanwas launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on international and national routes to assist farmers in transporting agricultural products so that it improves their value realisation.
  65. The National Energy Conservation Day is organized on 14thDecember every year by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) with an aim to showcase India’s achievements in energy efficiency and conservation.
  66. The Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) scheme launched in October 2018 aims to establish an ecosystem for production of compressed biogas (CBG) from various waste biomass sources in the country. Under SATAT, 5000 CBG plants with a total production capacity of 15 million metric tonne per annum (MMTPA), which is equivalent to 54 MMSCMD of gas by 2023, has been planned. This initiative offers a potential for investment of about Rs 1.75 lakh crore, generating about 75,000 direct employment opportunities. The SATAT scheme will not only stanch greenhouse gas emissions, but will reduce burning of agricultural residue, which results in significant air pollution in cities like Delhi, generate employment in rural and waste management sectors, and boost income for farmers from their unutilised organic waste. One of the byproducts of CBG plants is biomanure, which can be used in farming.
  67. Recently, the Prime Minister has inaugurated thecountry’s first fully automated Metro, Driverless Metro on Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line. With this achievement, DMRC has entered the elite league of 7% of the world’s Metro networks where such a facility is available.
  68. National Common Mobility Card will give access to all modes of transportation and will do away with commuters having to wait in long queues for tokens. It allows users to pay for travel, toll charges and retail shopping, and permits them to withdraw money at the same time. It will enable anyone carrying a RuPay-Debit Card issued in any part of the country to travel on the route. This will not only help provide a common platform for people but will also allow better research data. Researchers will be able to better assess the travelling patterns of people and accordingly suggest the best plan for development
  69. Recently, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs(CBIC) has made it mandatory for businesses with a monthly turnover of more than Rs. 50 lakh to pay at least 1% of their Goods and Services Tax (GST) liability in cash.
  70. The writ Habeas Corpus is a bulwark of individual liberty against arbitrary detentionand can be issued against both public authorities as well as private individuals.
  71. Bariatric surgeryis an operation that helps lose weight by making changes to the digestive system. Recently, India became the first country to perform a telerobotic coronary surgery on humans.
  72. Sattriya dance is traditional dance of Assam. It’s performed by Bhokotsk who are monk (male), in monastery as part of daily rituals. Mythological stories are in the performance. Which is performed by males and also by females. Sattriya dance is recognise as Indian classical dance in 2000. Use of devotional songs which are also call as Borgeet, For dancing. In this dance form first position is known as Ora. Sattriya includes both tandav and lasya aspect in the dancing. This dance was performed by Bhakti saint whose name was Shankar Dev. In this dance many instruments use is there viz. Khol (drum), Taal (cymbals), also the use of flute.
  73. A team of scientists has created ananomicelle that can be used for effective drug delivery to treat various cancers including breast, colon and lung cancer. Nanomicelles are formed when amphiphilic molecules assemble themselves to create a globular structure that is only around 5 to 100nm in diameter. Different agents are used to create nanomicelles, however, they are usually made through surfactant molecules that may be non-ionic, ionic, and cationic detergents. Some nanomicelles may also be developed from a mixture of lipids and detergents. They are amphiphilic, i.e. have a hydrophilic outer shell and a hydrophobic interior. This dual property makes them a perfect carrier for delivering drug molecules.
  74. The Kamath Committee set up by the RBI has recommended financial parameters for debt restructuring of 26 sectors affected by Covid-19.
  75. Kuhsiyara river which is also known as Barak river in India is one of the transboundary rivers between India-Bangladesh.
  76. SAARC Charter Day is observed annually on 8th December. This day marks the signing of the SAARC Charter in 1985 by the leaders of SAARC Countries at the First SAARC Summit held in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  77. The Movimiento San Isidro, or the San Isidro Movement (MSI), started two years ago to protest state censorship of artistic works, and has now become a platform for Cuban dissidents both within and outside the Caribbean nation. The movement started in September 2018, when the Cuban government sought to enforce Decree 349, a law that would have given powers to the nation’s Culture Ministry to restrict cultural activity it did not approve of. To protest against the decree, artists, poets, journalists and activists gathered in San Isidro, a Black-majority locality that is among Havana’s poorest yet most culturally active wards, and which also forms part of the Old Havana UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  78. The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is a regional trade organization and free trade area consisting of four European statesIcelandLiechtensteinNorway, and Switzerland. The organization operates in parallel with the European Union (EU), and all four member states participate in the European Single Market and are part of the Schengen Area. They are not, however, party to the European Union Customs Union. Whilst the EFTA is not a customs union and member states have full rights to enter into bilateral third-country trade arrangements, it does have a coordinated trade policy.
  79. A capsule from the unmanned Hayabusa2, carrying the first extensive samples of dust from an asteroid, was flown by helicopter from the outback to a domestic research facility of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The craft’s mission seeks to answer some fundamental questions about the origins of the solar system and where molecules like water came from.
  80. The Ayushman Bharat program, with its two pillars – Health and Wellness Centres and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna – is envisaged to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
  81. Hydrofracturing is a well development process that involves injecting water under high pressure into a bedrock formation via the well. Hydrofracturing is a water well development process that involves injecting high pressure water via the well into the bedrock formation immediately surrounding it.
  82. Recently, the 35thedition of India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (IND-INDO CORPAT) between the Indian Navy and the Indonesian Navy has been conducted.
  83. 3D printing or additive manufacturing uses computer-aided designing to make prototypes or working models of objects by laying down successive layers of materials such as plastic, resin, thermoplastic, metal, fiber or ceramic. With the help of software, the model to be printed is first developed by the computer, which then gives instructions to the 3D printer.
  84. The Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) are statutory bodies that are formed by the local bodies under Biological Diversity Act 2002. The committee Prepare People’s Biodiversity Register in consultation with the local people. 
  85. Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary owes its name to the narrow stretch of River Mahanadi i.e. “Sat-Kosh” or seven miles long near Tikarpada, 60 km south of Angul. The area was made a sanctuary in 1976 and spreads out in four districts of Odisha namely Angul, Budh, Cuttack and Nayagarh. The Satkosia Gorge is a unique feature in geomorphology of India because here Mahanadi cuts right across the Eastern Ghats and has formed a magnificent gorge. It is known for Gharials, Mugger crocodile and rare freshwater turtles like Chitra indica and Indian softshell turtle.
  86. There are two branches of surgery in Ayurveda — Shalya Tantra, which refers to general surgery, and Shalakya Tantra which pertains to surgeries related to the eyes, ears, nose, throat and teeth. All postgraduate students of Ayurveda have to study these courses, and some go on to specialise in these, and become Ayurveda surgeons.
  87. The Rigveda is the earliest account of ancient Indian civilization which mentions that Ashwini Kumaras known as Dev Vaidya were the chief surgeons of Vedic periods, who had performed rare legendary surgical operations. Charak Samhita and Ashtanga Samhita mainly deal with medicine knowledge while Sushrutaa Samhita deals mainly with surgical knowledge.
  88. The United Nations (UNCTAD) has declared Invest India- the National Investment Promotion Agency of India- as a winner of the 2020 United Nations Investment Promotion Award. The award ceremony took place on 7th December 2020 at UNCTAD Headquarters in Geneva. The award recognizes and celebrates the outstanding achievements and best practices of Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) across the globe. The evaluation was based on UNCTAD’s assessment of work undertaken by 180 Investment Promotion Agencies. This United Nations Investment Promotion Award is the most coveted award for Investment Promotion Agencies. UNCTAD is a central agency that monitors performance of IPAs and identifies global best practices. Germany, South Korea and Singapore have been some of the past winners of the award.
  89. Good governance day is celebrated annually on 25th December to mark the birth anniversary of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  90. Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF) is a tool used in monetary policy by the RBI, that allows banks to borrow money through repurchase agreements (repos) or for banks to make loans to the RBI through reverse repo agreements.
  91. The Union Cabinet approved revised guidelines for Direct-to-Home (DTH) broadcasting services, allowing 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) as well as increasing the licence period to 20 years.
  92. The World Bank defines “extreme poverty” as living on less than 1.90 USD per person per day.
  93. The Indian Antarctic Programme is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional programme under the control of the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Ministry of Earth Sciences. India officially acceded to the Antarctic Treaty System in August 1983.
  94. Mukti Bahini refers to the armed organizations that fought against the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War. It was a guerrilla resistance movement.
  95. Post Matric Scholarship for Scheduled Castes is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme and implemented through State Government and UT administration. It provides financial assistance to the SC students studying at post matriculation or post-secondary stage to enable them to complete their education. These scholarships are available for studies in India only and are awarded by the government of the State/Union Territory to which the applicant actually belongs i.e. permanently settled. Scholarships are paid to the students whose parents/guardians’ income from all sources does not exceed Rs. 2,50,000 per annum.
  96. The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) is a measure of the prevailing direction of economic trends in manufacturing. The PMI is based on a monthly survey of supply chain managers across 19 industries, covering both upstream and downstream activity. It is calculated separately for the manufacturing and services sectors and then a composite index is constructed. A figure above 50 denotes expansion in business activity. Anything below 50 denotes contraction. Higher the difference from this mid-point greater the expansion or contraction. The rate of expansion can also be judged by comparing the PMI with that of the previous month data. If the figure is higher than the previous month’s then the econ-omy is expanding at a faster rate. If it is lower than the previous month then it is growing at a lower rate. The most followed PMI readings come from Markit and Institute of Supply Management. If PMI of the previous month is higher than the PMI of the current month (as is the case mentioned above), it represents that the economy is contracting. It is usually released at the start of every month. It is, therefore, considered a good leading indicator of economic activity.
  97. Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is inspired by the vision of transformational change in rural development processes by leveraging knowledge institutions to help build the architecture of an Inclusive India. The Mission of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is to enable higher educational institutions to work with the people of rural India in identifying development challenges and evolving appropriate solutions for accelerating sustainable growth. It is a flagship program of the Ministry of Education. It was launched in 2014. The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT, Delhi) has been designated as the National Coordinating Institute (NCI) for the UBA scheme.
  98. diffusion index is a statistical measure often used to detect economic turning points. It aggregates multiple indicators by examining whether they are trending upward or downward, but ignores the magnitude of the movement.
  99. Coal Beneficiation is a process by which the quality of raw coal is improved by either reducing the extraneous matter that gets extracted along with the mined coal or reducing the associated ash or both.
  100. Compensation cess is levied on products considered to be sin or luxury goods.
  101. Aihole has been called one of the cradles of Temple Architecture. A huge school of architecture was setup here, and typical features of the temple include mortar-less assembly of stones, flat roofs and richly carved ceilings. Aihole was earlier called Aryavaram, or the land of the Aryas. It was the first capital of the Chalukya empire, but reached its peak under Pulakeshi II.
  102. “Shaheen-IX” or Eagle-IX exercise, is an exercise between the Pakistan Air Force and the People’s Liberation Army Air Force.
  103. A caldera is a depression created after a volcano partially collapses after releasing the majority of its magma chamber in an explosive eruption.
  104. Recently, the USA has awarded the ‘Legion of Merit’ to the Prime Ministers of India, Japan and Australia. Legion of Merit is one of the USA’s highest military decorations, the award was instituted in 1942 by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is awarded to members of the USA armed forces and also members of foreign (i.e. non-USA) armed forces and sometimes heads of state or government. The award is presented to foreign recipients in four categories: Chief Commander, Commander, Officer and Legionnaire. There have been two Indian recipients of the honour in the past: Field Marshal K M Cariappa in 1950, and Gen S M Srinagesh in 1955.
  105. Mahaparinirvan Diwas is observed every year on 6th December to commemorate the death anniversary of Dr. B R Ambedkar. Parinirvana, regarded as one of the major principles as well as goals of Buddhism, is a Sanskrit term which means release or freedom after death. 
  106. The innovation of plant-based mock egg by Prof Kavya Dashora, Centre for Rural Development and Technology, IIT Delhi has secured first prize at Innovate4SDG contest by ‘UNDP (United Nation Development Program) Accelerator Lab India’. According to the UNDP, the mock egg innovation will help in accelerating progress towards the SDGs. The development of the mock egg meets the protein needs of the diet-specific, health conscious, vegan and vegetarian people, claims IIT-Delhi. This innovation addresses SDG 2 and 3 (zero hunger and good health and well-being). Apart from the egg, the IIT Delhi scientist has also developed the meat analogues for chicken and fish from plant sources using fruits and vegetables.
  107. The Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) is a “Track Two” inter-governmental security forum held annually by an independent think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) which is attended by defense ministers, permanent heads of ministries and military chiefs of 28 Asia-Pacific states. The forum gets its name from the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore where it has been held since 2002. India is one of the participant states.
  108. India marks its National Mathematics Day on December 22 on the birth anniversary of Srinivasa Ramanujan.
  109. The Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP) recommends MSPs for 22 mandated crops and fair and remunerative price (FRP) for sugarcane. CACP is an attached office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India. It is an advisory body whose recommendations are not binding on the Government.
  110. The Central government is free to construct/build a new national highway keeping in mind the obligations it has to discharge under Part IV of the Constitution (Directive Principles of State Policy) for securing a social order and promotion of welfare of the people in the concerned region.
  111. Ozonation is a chemical water treatment technique based on the infusion of ozone into water. Ozone is a gas composed of three oxygen atoms (O3), which is one of the most powerful oxidants. Ozonation is a type of advanced oxidation process, involving the production of very reactive oxygen species able to attack a wide range of organic compounds and all microorganisms. The treatment of water with ozone is efficient for disinfection as well as for the degradation of organic and inorganic pollutants.
  112. The 7th (Seventh) Schedule to the Constitution of India defines and specifies allocation of powers and functions between Union & States. The 7th schedule of the Constitution based on Art 246 of the Constitution clearly lays down the subjects for the Union List, the concurrent list and the State List with the exception that each will respect so to say the territorial limits of the other.
  113. Myanmar is the world’s second largest producer of illicit opium, after Afghanistan.
  114. Article 282 of the Constitution of India is not intended to enable the Union to make such grants as fall properly under Art. 275. Art. 282 embodies merely a residuary power which enables the Union or a State to make any grant for any purpose, irrespective of the question whether the purpose is one over which the grantor has legislative power.
  115. Later on, Brahmagupta invented the Fibonacci identity and also discovered the first general formula for solving quadratic equations. He also tabulated the sine table as well as the Pythagorean Triples. Similarly, mathematician and astronomer Bhaskara (or Bhaskaracharya) was a pioneer in discovering calculus and an expert in arithmetic, algebra, the mathematics of planets and spheres. Not to forget, famous Jain philosopher Hemchandra worked with the cadences of length ‘n’ and described the Fibonacci sequence even before Fibonacci himself.
  116. Besides Ramanujan, our great land has produced several gems in the field of mathematics – including Satyendra Nath Bose, CR Rao, PC Mahalanobis, Shakuntala Devi, and the young Manjul Bhargava who is the first person of Indian origin to win a Fields Medal.
  117. International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is a collaboration of 35 nations launched in 1985. It aims to build the world’s largest tokamak to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy.
  118. The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is developing an ‘Early Health Warning System’ which is expected to forecast the possibility of disease outbreaks in the country.
  119. As per the Mine and Minerals Development Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2015, in every district affected by mining-related operations, the state government shall, by notification, establish a trust as a non-profit body to be called the District Mineral Foundation.
  120. Monoculture is the agricultural practice of growing a single crop, plant, or livestock species, variety, or breed in a field or farming system at a time.
  121. The 40-day intense winter period “chillai kalan” started in Kashmir valley with sub-zero night temperatures across the region. Dal Lake in Srinagar was frozen in parts. Kashmir’s winter pans out in three stages, starting with the 40-day intense period from December 21(chillai kalan) followed by 20 days that are less intense (chillai khurd) and then 10 days of mild cold (chille bache).
  122. Ministry of Textiles has invited proposals for constitution of a dedicated Export Promotion Council (EPC) for Technical Textiles. The Exporter Association and Trade bodies registered under Companies Act or Society Registration Act have been asked to submit proposal for constitution of a dedicated EPC for Technical Textiles. Constitution of an Export Promotion Council for Technical Textiles is part of one of the components of the National Technical Textiles Mission. Technical Textiles are futuristic and nice segment of textiles, which are used for various applications ranging from agriculture, roads, railway tracks, sportswear, health on one end to bullet proof jackets, fire proof jackets, high altitude combat gear and space applications on other end of spectrum. Technical textiles are textiles materials and products manufactured primarily for technical performance and functional properties rather than aesthetic characteristics. Technical Textiles products are divided into 12 broad categories (Agrotech, Buildtech, Clothtech, Geotech, Hometech, Indutech, Mobiltech, Meditech, Protech, Sportstech, Oekotech, Packtech) depending upon their application areas.
  123. India is a signatory of Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety which seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by Living Modified Organisms resulting from modern biotechnology.
  124. The Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979, required all establishments who hired inter-state migrants to be registered, as well as all contractors who recruited these workers to be licensed.
  125. Sone river is the second largest of the Ganga’s southern tributaries after Yamuna River. It flows through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar.
  126. The Sixth Schedule discriminates against the non-tribal residents in various ways and infringes upon their fundamental rights, like the right to equality before the law (Article 14), right against discrimination (Article 15), and the right to settle anywhere in India (Article 19).
  127. Biomass co-firing is a globally accepted cost-effective method for decarbonising a coal fleet. Only one plant currently co-fires biomass in India.
  128. TRIFOOD Scheme is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Food Processing Industry, Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED and it promotes value addition to Minor Forest Produce (MFP).
  129. The Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians 2020 has been awarded to Dr. Carolina Araujo, Mathematician from the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IMPA), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians from developing countries has been awarded annually since 2005. It was originally instituted by the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the Niels Henrik Abel Memorial Fund, and the International Mathematical Union (IMU).
  130. The summoning of Parliament is specified in Article 85 of the Constitution. Like many other articles, it is based on a provision of The Government of India Act, 1935. This provision specified that the central legislature had to be summoned to meet at least once a year, and that not more than 12 months could elapse between two sessions.
  131. The U.S. Treasury labeled Switzerland and Vietnam as currency manipulators and added three new names to a watch list of countries it suspects of taking measures to devalue their currencies against the dollar.  To be labeled a manipulator, countries must at least have a $20 billion-plus bilateral trade surplus with the United States, foreign currency intervention exceeding 2% of gross domestic product and a global current account surplus exceeding 2% of GDP. The U.S. Treasury also said its “monitoring list” of countries that meet some of the criteria has grown to 10 with the additions of Taiwan, Thailand and India. Others on the list include China, Japan, Korea, Germany, Italy, Singapore and Malaysia.
  132. Golden Peacock Awards, instituted by the Institute of Directors (IOD), India in 1991, are now regarded as a benchmark of Corporate Excellence worldwide. Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has been awarded with the prestigious Golden Peacock Environment Management Award for the year 2020 for the Steel Sector.
  133. VAJRA Faculty Scheme is to bring a strong international connect to the R&D ecosystem of India. The scheme offers adjunct / visiting faculty assignments to overseas scientists, faculty members and R&D professionals including Non-resident Indians (NRI) and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) to undertake high quality collaborative research in Public funded academic and research Institutions of India. VAJRA Faculty will engage in collaborative research in cutting edge areas of science and technology including interdisciplinary areas of priority such as energy, water, health, security, nutrition, materials and manufacturing, etc. with one or more Indian Collaborators. VAJRA Faculty is expected to co-guide research students and may also be involved in technology development, innovation, startups, etc.
  134. Rule 222 in Chapter 20 of the Lok Sabha Rule Book and correspondingly Rule 187 in Chapter 16 of the Rajya Sabha Rule Book governs privilege.
  135. The Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017 prohibit any permanent constructions within 50 meters of the Wetlands.
  136. BhoomiRashi portal was launched in 2018, to fully digitize and automate the entire process of land acquisition.
  137. The commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing+25) provides an opportunity to reassess the path to gender equality and adjust actions to close gender gaps.
  138. Isotretinoin is an oral drug, which is used in the treatment of severe acne.
  139.  Gender Social Norms Index is a publication of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Other publications of UNDP are Gender Inequality Index, Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), Human Development Index
  140. Rupi Bhaba Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the lap of Shrikhand mountains of the Dhauladhar range of Himalayas in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The Sanctuary is locally well known for its extensive alpine pastures as well as the numerous treks, trails and passes that connect it with the neighboring Great Himalayan National Park and Pin Valley National Park.
  141. India Water Impact 2020 is a five-day long summit, hosting experts and academicians from all over the world to discuss and debate issues related to water conservation, water security and river rejuvenation. The event is co-organised by National Mission for Clean Ganga and Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies.
  142. The Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) scheme would provide additional income to farmers, by giving them the option to sell additional power to the grid, through solar power projects set up on their barren lands.
  143. Morocco became the fourth Arab country — after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan — to settle differences with Israel in recent months.
  144. The Brasilia Declaration, adopted at the second global high-level conference on road safety held in Brazil, lays down recommendations on strengthening existing legislations, adopting sustainable transport and strengthening post-crash response.
  145. Perform Achieve and Trade Scheme (PAT) is a market-based mechanism to enhance the cost effectiveness in improving the Energy Efficiency in Energy Intensive industries through certification of energy saving which can be traded. It is a part of the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE), which is one of the eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).
  146. Waves in the ocean come in many different shapes and sizes. Slow-moving oceanic Rossby waves are fundamentally different from ocean surface waves. Unlike waves that break along the shore, Rossby waves are huge, undulating movements of the ocean that stretch horizontally across the planet for hundreds of kilometers in a westward direction. They are so large and massive that they can change Earth’s climate conditions. Along with rising sea levels, King Tides, and the effects of El Niño, oceanic Rossby waves contribute to high tides and coastal flooding in some regions of the world. 
  147. Recently, the US State Department has designated Pakistan and China among eight other countries that are of particular concern for violation of religious freedom. Nigeria is the first secular democracy that has been named a CPC. Designation of Country of Particular Concern (CPC) is the top tier recommendation by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) when it comes to violation of international religious freedom. It is followed by Special Watch List Countries for severe violations. This is in line with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 which was passed to promote religious freedom as a foreign policy of the United States.
  148. NTPC Ltd., one of India’s largest integrated energy company and a PSU under Ministry of Power, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal, to implement the Narmada Landscape Restoration Project. The program is in partnership with a grant in aid from NTPC Ltd and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in equal proportions.
  149. Global Green Growth Institute was established as an international intergovernmental organization in 2012 at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Its vision is a low-carbon, resilient world of strong, inclusive, and sustainable growth and its mission to support Members in the transformation of their economies into a green growth economic model. India is not a member country but a partner country.
  150. European bison has moved from ‘Vulnerable’ to ‘Near Threatened’, due to conservation efforts.
  151. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy on its website also hosts Akshay Urja Portal and India Renewable Idea Exchange (IRIX) Portal.
  152. Bhasan Char also known as Char Piya, is an island in Hatiya Upazila, Bangladesh. It is located in the Bay of Bengal. Located 34 kilometres (21 miles) from the mainland, its name in Bengali means “floating island.” It is a flood prone island that emerged from the sea 20 years ago.
  153. 2nd Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) is a landmark cancer genomics program that molecularly characterized over 20,000 primary cancer and matched normal samples spanning 33 cancer types. This joint effort between the US- National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute began in 2006, bringing together researchers from diverse disciplines and multiple institutions. 
  154. IndiGen Genome Project was implemented by the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi and CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad. The IndiGen programme aims to undertake whole genome sequencing of thousands of individuals representing diverse ethnic groups from India.
  155. The Supreme Court had in the D K Basu vs State of West Bengal case in 2015 directed that CCTVs be installed in all police stations and prisons to check human rights abuses.
  156. The Indo-Pacific is replete with maritime territorial disputes, from the Persian Gulf to the mid-Indian Ocean Chagos archipelago, to the Southwest Pacific. The most noteworthy of these disputes include the Senkakus/Diaoyutai (Japan- China); the Pratas Islands (Taiwan-China); the Paracels (China-Vietnam); Scarborough Shoal (China-Philippines); and the Spratly archipelago (China-Vietnam-Philippines-Malaysia-Brunei) and Kenya-Somalia territorial dispute.
  157. MIKTA is an informal consultation and coordination platform among Mexico, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Turkey and Australia. MIKTA was initiated by the Foreign Ministers of the MIKTA member countries on 25 September 2013 on the margins of the 68th UN General Assembly.
  158. The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 is an international treaty to prohibit production and supply of specific (nominally narcotic) drugs and of drugs with similar effects except under license for specific purposes, such as medical treatment and research. The Single Convention has 186 state parties.
  159. The United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988 is one of three major drug control treaties currently in force. It provides additional legal mechanisms for enforcing the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The Convention entered into force on November 11, 1990. As of June 2020, there are 191 Parties to the Convention.
  160. The Government of Thailand is putting emphasis in stepping up the infrastructure on the Ranong port, which is near South Asia. Thailand plans to develop Ranong as an international port, increase its connectivity with the Andaman coast, and link it with the multimodal transport of the BIMSTEC and Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). The Trilateral Highway Project with India and Myanmar will be an important development for Ranong in terms of multimodal links with Myanmar and the Kolkata Port in India and India’s northeast.
  161. Mount Vesuvius is a volcano located on the Gulf of Naples in Campania, Italy. The volcano is classed as a complex stratovolcano because its eruptions typically involve explosive eruptions as well as pyroclastic flows. Recently, researchers have unearthed an ancient site in the town of Pompeii. Pompeii was a Roman town which was completely buried by volcanic ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
  162. The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) obtained membership of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS). It is the only second organisation of India, after the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), to get the membership of IAIS.
  163. Recently, the Kilauea volcano erupted in the Hawaii’s Big Island which was followed by an earthquake of magnitude 4.4. Kilauea is an active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands.
  164. The sea of Galilee is a fresh water lake in Israel. It is also known as Lake Tiberias. It is the lowest freshwater lake in the world. It lies between the occupied Golan Heights and the Galilee region. The lake is fed partly by underground springs but its main source is the Jordan River. The lake, also known as Lake Tiberias or Kinneret. The Jordan flows into the lake, Israel’s largest freshwater body and then exits it before ending in the Dead Sea, the saltiest and the lowest point on the planet.
  165. The Levant is a geographic term that refers to the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the nearby islands. The term is often used in reference to the ancient lands in the Old Testament of the Bible of the Bronze Age.
  166. Malayali is a tribal group from the Eastern Ghats in North Tamil Nadu. The tribals are usually hill farmers and they cultivate different types of millet. Among the other products sourced include micro-beaded jewelry (mainly neckpieces) from the Patelia tribe from Madhya Pradesh.
  167. Recently, Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Bulbul took a sailing expedition from Kochi to Androth Island.  It is a small inhabited island in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. It is among a group of 36 coral islands scattered in the Arabian Sea off the western coast of India. The climate of Andrott is similar to the climatic conditions of Kerala.  Andrott is the nearest island to the mainland and is the largest island in the Lakshadweep. It has thick vegetation comprising mainly coconut groves.
  168. India was ranked 3rd in Artificial Intelligence research by Nature AI Index supplement. The Nature Index is a database of author affiliation information collated from research articles published in an independently selected group of 82 high-quality science journals. The database is compiled by Nature Research.
  169. Recently, the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment launched a mobile application named ‘Swachhata Abhiyan’ to identify and geotag the data of insanitary latrines and manual scavengers so that the insanitary latrines can be replaced with sanitary latrines and rehabilitate all the manual scavengers to provide dignity of life to them.
  170. For the first time in the country, Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad, with its standard working procedures, has acquired ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Standards Certification. It is accredited by Accreditation Service for Certifying Bodies (ASCB), United Kingdom (UK).
  171. The ‘Him Suraksha Abhiyan’ was launched in November 2020 to screen the population for COVID-19, tuberculosis and leprosy. 
  172. Dhokra is a non-ferrous metal casting style which uses the lost-wax technique. This style of metal casting has been in vogue in all parts of India for centuries. The Dhokra products reflect the simplicity and motifs of tribal and folk life. This art-form is mainly carried out by Dhokra Damar tribes who are the main traditional metalsmiths of West Bengal and Odisha. They are now found all across India.
  173. Recently, Indian PM has greeted the people of Israel and Jewish friends all over the world on Hanukkah festival. Hanukkah is a Jewish festival. It is also spelled as Ḥanukka, Chanukah, or Chanukkah. It reaffirms the ideals of Judaism and commemorates in particular the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem by the lighting of candles on each day of the festival.
  174. The ‘SolarWinds hack’, a cyberattack recently discovered in the United States, has emerged as one of the biggest ever targeted against the US government, its agencies and several other private companies. In fact, it is likely a global cyberattack.
  175. As part of the National Rail PlanVision 2024 has been launched for accelerated implementation of certain critical projects by 2024.
  176. NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) released a white paper: Vision 2035: Public Health Surveillance in India recently.
  177. Alimony refers to court-ordered payments awarded to a spouse or former spouse within a separation or divorce agreement. The reason behind it is to provide financial support to the spouse who makes a lower income, or in some cases, no income at all.
  178. Under the present statutory scheme, a person convicted for the criminal contempt has the right to file review petition against the judgement and that plea is decided in chambers by the bench usually without hearing the contemnor. As per the Civil Procedure Code and the Supreme Court Rules, any person aggrieved by a ruling can seek a review and not necessarily only parties to a case.
  179. Under Article 137 of the Constitution of India, the Supreme Court has the power to review any of its judgments or orders. 
  180. Rahim Khan, the commander-in-chief of the Mughal army, in Nizamuddin. Rahim was also a poet par excellence and his poetry and dohas are compared with those by Bhakti poets Surdas, Tulsidas and Kabir. Interestingly, it is the mausoleum he built in 1598 for his wife, Mah Banu, inspired by the neighbouring Humayun’s Tomb, that inspired the architecture of the Taj Mahal half a century later. Upon his death, Rahim was also buried in this mausoleum. It is said that the monument’s double dome was originally clad with marble, which is said to have been quarried from here for use in Safdarjung’s tomb in the mid-18th century.
  181. Apple Scab is the most common disease affecting Apple production. It is caused by a fungus that infects both leaves and fruit. It generally does not kill trees but can cause defoliation.
  182. Divers scouring the depths of the Baltic Sea, the arm of the North Atlantic Ocean between the Scandinavian peninsula and the countries of mainland northern and central Europe, have discovered an ‘Enigma’ encryption machine that was used by Nazi Germany to encode secret messages during World War II. The Enigma machine was invented by the German engineer Arthur Scherbius towards the end of World War I. While several different Enigma models were produced, the German military models that had a plugboard are believed to have been the most complex.
  183. Mahasharad portal recently launched by Maharashra government is a Digital platform, that will provide for free the tools required by differently-abled people.
  184. Auroras are shafts or curtains of colored light visible on occasion in the night sky. The aurora often appears as curtains of lights, but they can also be arcs or spirals, often following lines of force in Earth’s magnetic field. In the northern part, the polar lights are called aurora borealis or Northern Lights, and are seen from the US (Alaska), Canada, Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Sweden and Finland. In the south, they are called aurora australis or southern lights, and are visible from high latitudes in Antarctica, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia.
  185. Assam’s Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, referred to as ‘Mini Kaziranga’ is a wildlife sanctuary on the southern bank of the Brahmaputra river. It is the dwelling place of the Greater Indian One-Horned Rhinoceroses with its highest population in the whole world.
  186. The Lebanon Reform, Recovery and Reconstruction Framework (3RF) is part of a comprehensive response to the massive explosion on the Port of Beirut in August, 2020. It is a joint initiative launched by three organizations: European Union, United Nations & World Bank. It is a people-centered recovery and reconstruction framework focusing on a period of 18 months. It will bridge the immediate humanitarian response and the medium-term recovery and reconstruction efforts to put Lebanon on a path of sustainable development.
  187. India Mobile Congress is the largest digital technology forum in South Asia. IMC 2020 is jointly organized by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Cellular Operator Association of India (COAI). It comprises of India’s biggest technology exhibition, an international conference on digital technology and B2B/B2G networking meets.
  188. The jaguar is the apex predator in central and South America and is classified as ‘Near Threatened’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Habitat of jaguar is tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest, swamps, and wooded regions. It is the keystone species.
  189. Bihar government is setting up India’s first observatory for the mammals in Bhagalpur district. Construction at the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS) in the state’s Bhagalpur district.
  190. Lions are considered top predators of grassland and shrubland ecosystems. Jasdan, Vinchhiya and Chotila talukas have grasslands, both private as well as in protected forest areas.  Dispersing from the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (NGPWLS), lions have dispersed and have since settled and created meta-populations in Girnar Widlife Sanctuary, Paniya Sanctuary, Mitiyala Sanctuary, revenue area of Krakach in Liliya taluka and coastal Rajula and Jafrabad talukas of Amreli, Sutrapada-Kodinar coast in Gir Somnath district, Ranigala-Jesar in Bhavnagar district and Mangrol coast of Junagadh.
  191. South Asia Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a regional subgrouping of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD). Member countries of South Asia Forum on SDG are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  192. According to the Union environment ministry, conservation reserves are protected areas that act as buffer zones or connectors and migration corridors between established national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserved and protected forests. These protected areas were first introduced in the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act, 2002, because of reduced protection in and around existing or proposed protected areas as a result of private ownership of land and change in land use. If all the 11 proposed conservation reserves are approved by the State Board of Wildlife, Maharashtra will have 19 conservation reserves. Currently, there are 92 conservation reserves across the country. Jammu and Kashmir has the maximum reserves (34), followed by Karnataka (15) and Rajasthan (11).
  193. Sabhibganj Terminal is in Jharkhand.
  194. Neom is a planned cross-border city in the Tabuk Province of Saudi Arabia. The planned city will be located along the Red Sea coast.
  195. Whale sharks are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act and an ‘endangered’ species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature. 
  196. Katherine Johnson was a mathematician with the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Her work was instrumental in helping the US make the first manned space flights. She also broke racial barriers due to her being an African-American woman in a field dominated largely by white men.
  197. The world’s largest, fully habituated river island Majuli is situated in the middle of Brahamputra, with the Kaziranga National Park touching Jorhat and Nagaon
  198. Cleanest cities of the world: Calgary, Honululu, Helsinki, Kobe, Oslo, Adelaide, Brisbane, Wellington. They figure in the top 20 least corrupt cities of the world.
  199. Section 62 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 gives the central government power to declare any wild animal — apart from those species mentioned in the Schedule I and II of the act — for a particular period of time in the state requesting it. The species declared as vermin, are then categorised under Schedule V of the Wild Life (Protection) Act. The declaration of a species as vermin means it can be culled without attracting the penal provisions of the law. There are some species that are permanently present in Schedule V. These are common crows, fruit bats, mice and rats.
  200. Low pressure systems (LPS) are tropical disturbances formed in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea and over land points in central India. Studies have found that these low pressure systems significantly affect the seasonal monsoon rainfall over India. A trough is an elongated region of relatively low atmospheric pressure.
  201. Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) technology is designed to capture CO2 emissions from combustion of fossil fuels. It can absorb 85-95 per cent of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. The process starts with the capture of generated CO2, which undergoes a compression process to form a dense fluid. This eases the transport and storage of the captured CO2. The dense fluid is transported via pipelines and then injected into an underground storage facility. Captured CO2 can also be used as a raw material in other industrial processes such as bicarbonates.
  202. Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction is a global platform for governments, private sector, civil society and intergovernmental and international organizations to increase action towards a zero-emission, efficient and resilient buildings and construction sector.
  203. Nitrous oxide is a dangerous gas for the sustainable existence of humans on Earth. It has the third-highest concentration — after CO2 and methane — in our atmosphere among greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. N2O can live in the atmosphere for up to 125 years. Its global concentration levels increased from 270 parts per billion (ppb) in 1750 to 331 ppb in 2018 — a jump of 20 per cent. The growth has been the quickest in the past five decades because of human emissions.
  204. Ocean heat content (OHC) is one of the most crucial indicators of global warming as 90 per cent of excess heat in the atmosphere is taken up by the seas and oceans. The heat content of oceans in the depth from 0-2000 metres was at a peak in 2019.
  205. Cabomba is a submerged perennial aquatic plant that grows in stagnant to slow-flowing freshwater. It dominantly belongs to Central and South America.  It is a common aquarium plant and its widespread trade in the industry has led to its proliferation to areas outside of its native range.
  206. Terrestrial invasive alien plants such as Chromoleanaodorata, Lantana Camara, Mikaniamicrantha, Mimosa diplotricha, and Sphagenticolatrilobata, and invasive fauna such as the giant African snail Achatinafulica, papaya mealybug Paracoccusmarginatus, etc have affected the biodiversity of rural and urban spaces in Kerala.
  207. If a dead Schedule I animal like a Gangetic dolphin is found, it is the duty of the forest department to take possession of the carcass for conducting a post mortem examination to find out the cause of death. The Gangetic river dolphin is India’s national aquatic animal. It is a Schedule I animal under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. It has been declared an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The dolphin is found in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. It is blind and finds its way and prey in river waters through echolocation. Bihar is home to around half of the estimated 3,000 Gangetic dolphins in India. Gangetic dolphins live in a zone where there is little or no current, helping them save energy. If they sense danger, they can dive into deep waters. The dolphins swim from the no-current zone to the edges to hunt for fish and return.
  208. Production Gap Report is modelled after the UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report series — and conceived as a complementary analysis — this report conveys the large discrepancy between countries’ planned fossil fuel production and the global production levels necessary to limit warming to 1.5°C and 2°C.
  209. Least Developed Countries Report is a publication of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
  210. Global Wage Report is a publication of International Labour Organization.
  211. The main attractions for migratory birds in the eastern part of the country were plenty of water bodies, such as Vikramshila Dolphin Sanctuary on the Ganga river, Jagatpur lake and Kanwar lake.

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