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IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-February 2021

  1. Migratory birds in and around Chilika lake and Bhitarkanika National Park have started their homeward journey. They flew in from places as far off as Siberia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, the Himalayan region and central Europe. Though breeds like shoveler, pintail, gadwall, wigeon, common pochard, garganey, tuffed duck, common teal, coot and other avian species have started leaving, some wader species like curlew, pipit, white eye and other birds have not shown any urgency to leave. Water birds like ducks can live in shallow water.
  2. The Ministry of Education’s Innovation Cell and the All-India Council for Technical Education in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and ASEAN countries organized the first ASEAN-India Hackathon. The ASEAN-India Hackathon-2021 aims at enhancing the cooperation between India and ASEAN countries in science, tech and education. All the ASEAN countries participated in this unique initiative of providing innovative solutions to overcome the challenges under two broad themes of Blue Economy and Education. Student teams from all the 10 ASEAN countries as well as India participated in this ASEAN-INDIA Hackathon. The ASEAN – India Hackathon is well aligned with the vision of ASEAN – plan of action on science, technology and innovation (APASTI) 2016-2025”.
  3. The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is observed on February 11 every year. It is implemented by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and UN-Women in collaboration institutions and civil society partners. Theme: ‘Women Scientists at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19’.
  4. In India, the practice of the President addressing Parliament can be traced back to the Government of India Act of 1919. This law gave the Governor-General the right of addressing the Legislative Assembly and the Council of State. The law did not have a provision for a joint address but the Governor-General did address the Assembly and the Council together on multiple occasions. There was no address by him to the Constituent Assembly (Legislative) from 1947 to 1950. And after the Constitution came into force, President Rajendra Prasad addressed members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for the first time on January 31, 1950. Such an Address is called ‘special address’, and it is also an annual feature. No other business is transacted till the President has addressed both Houses of Parliament assembled together.
  5. Controller General of Accounts comes under the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance. It is the Principal Accounting Adviser to the Government of India and is responsible for establishing and maintaining a technically sound Management Accounting System. The Office of CGA prepares monthly and annual analysis of expenditure, revenues, borrowings and various fiscal indicators for the Union Government.
  6. El Salvador has become the first country in central Americato get malaria-free certificate from World Health Organization (WHO). The only other countries in the WHO Regions of Americas to have eliminated malaria in recent years are Paraguay (2018) and Argentina (2019). The other countries that eliminated malaria in the last decade are Morocco and Turkmenistan in 2010, Armenia in 2011, Maldives in 2015, Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan in 2016 and Uzbekistan in 2018. El Salvador is among 21 countries identified in 2016 as having the potential to eliminate the mosquito-borne disease by 2020 in a WHO initiative called ‘E-2020’.  
  7. The Madras hedgehog, also known as the bare-bellied hedgehog, was discovered in 1851 in what was then known as the Madras Presidency, says Brawin, over phone from Nagercoil.  This animal, not being endangered, is not listed in the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act. 
  8. In 2009, the Central Pollution Control Board had developed the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI), which characterizes the environmental quality of a location and identifies severely polluted industrial areas. 
  9. State of India’s Environment (SoE) report is an annual publication brought out by Down To Earthin association with Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a Delhi-based non-profit. 
  10. Wastelands are considered economically unproductive, ecologically unsuitable and subject to environmental deterioration. Wastelands are formed by both natural and man-made reasons. The wastelands have the problems of nitrogen and phosphorus deficiency.
  11. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has launched an enrolment module for TECHNOGRAHIS. TECHNOGRAHIS are students from IITs, NITs, engineering, planning and architecture colleges, faculty members, academicians, and stakeholders.
  12. There is no set format for the President’s speech. The Constitution states that the President shall “inform Parliament of the cause of the summons”. 
  13. The process of snow compacting into glacial firn (dense, grainy ice) is called firnification.
  14. Raika-Bahu is an eco-sensitive area under the Bahu Conservation Reserve in Jammu. It is home to species like rock pigeon, Asian koel, barn owl, red-vented bulbul, jackal, wild boar and rhesus monkey.   It is located just 3.75 km from Ramnagar Wildlife Sanctuary. Raika-Bahu forest area, situated in the middle of the reserve along river Tawi, also supports the Gujjar community which rears goats, cows and buffaloes.
  15. The Managing Aquifer Recharge and Sustaining Groundwater Use through Village-level Intervention (MARVI) project has developed a village-level participatory approach for measuring groundwater levels and improving water-use efficiency in groundwater-stressed regions of India.
  16. Myanmar is the only Southeast Asian country that shares a land border with northeastern India, stretching some 1,624 kilometers. India and Myanmar share a 725-km maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal.
  17. Airborne Laser Terrain Mapping (ALTM) is an active remote sensing technology that employs Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR)to measure topography at high spatial resolution over large areas. ALTM pulses a laser to measure the range between an airborne platform and the Earth’s surface at many thousands of times per second. Using a rotating mirror or other scanning mechanism inside the laser transmitter, the laser pulses can be made to sweep through an angle, tracing out a line or other patterns on the reflecting surface.
  18. Delft, the largest of the three islands, is the closest to Tamil Nadu, which lies to the island’s south west.
  19. Every year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)celebrates 21st February as International Mother Language Day to promote mother tongue-based multilingual education.
  20. The fundamental right under Article 21is subject to the procedure established by law and it cannot be expanded to include the fundamental right for same sex marriage to be recognised under the laws which in fact mandate the contrary.
  21. Guru Ravidas was a great saint and a religious reformer, who devoted his life to serve humanity. Through his teachings, he delivered the message of equality, justice, peace and harmony to the mankind. He worked for promoting the principles of social harmony and brotherhood throughout his life. He was a 14thcentury saint and proponent of the Bhakti movement in North India which was reflected in the emotional poems of the Nayanars (devotees of Shiva) and Alvars (devotees of Vishnu).
  22. The Yuelu Proclamation, made by 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.
  23. Salami Slicing is a divide-and-conquer tactic used to dominate opposition territory piece by piece.
  24. Saras Aajeevika Mela is a programme totransform rural India in general and the lives of rural women in particular. It is an initiative by the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) under the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) organised by the Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART).
  25. Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) is an autonomous bodyset up by the Ministry of Rural Development to interface between the government and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) that seek to improve the quality of life in India’s rural areas.
  26. Mahila E-Haats has been set up by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, under Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) in 2016. It is an online marketing platform for meeting aspirations and needs of women entrepreneurs.
  27. International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) is an international non-governmental organization dedicated to the sharing of professional information and knowledge of the design, construction, maintenance, and impact of large dams. Symposium on “Sustainable Development of Dams and River Basins” under the aegis of ICOLD at New Delhi as Hybrid event from 24th – 27th February 2021.
  28. Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) generally covers negotiation on trade tariff and TRQ (Tariff Rate Quotas) rates It is not as comprehensive as CEPA.India has signed CECA with Malaysia.
  29. Cirrhosis is a complication of liver disease that involves loss of liver cells and irreversible scarring of the liver.
  30. The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has constructed the Daporijo bridge over Subansiri river in Arunachal Pradesh.
  31. The gradual melting away of a glacier from the surface of a landmass is known as Deglaciation.
  32. With the successful Mars orbit insertion, the UAE becomes the fifth entity to reach the Red Planet, joining NASA, the Soviet Union, the European Space Agency and India.
  33. The processes that remove snow, ice, and moraine from a glacier or ice sheet are called Ablation. It includes melting, evaporation, erosion, and calving.
  34. Recently, Vijay Samplahas been appointed as the chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC). NCSC is a constitutional body that works to safeguard the interests of the scheduled castes (SC) in India. Article 338 of the constitution of India provides for a National Commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes with duties to investigate and monitor all matters relating to safeguards provided for them, to inquire into specific complaints and to participate and advise on the planning process of their socio-economic development etc. By 89th Amendment, 2003 the erstwhile National Commission for SC and ST was replaced by two separate Commissions from the year 2004 which were: National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)– under Article 338-A.
  35. India is the only countryin the world which produces all the four major varieties of silke. Mulberry, Eri, Tassar, and Muga. Karnataka accounts for more than 70% of the country’s total silk production. India has around 11 Geographical Indications (GI) such as Pochampally Ikat, Chanderpaul Silk, Mysore Silk, Kanchipuram Silk, Muga Silk, Salem Silk, Arni Silk,Champa Silk, Bhagalpur Silk, Banaras Brocade and Sarees etc.
  36. The Matua community has members on either side of the Bengal border. It is associated with a religious movement begun in the 1870s by Harichand Thakur of a Namasudra (SC) family, who hailed from Safaldanga in East Bengal. In the early 20th century, his son Guruchand organised the movement socially and politically. In 1915, the Matua Federation was established; Guruchand’s grandson barrister Pramath Ranjan Thakur led it in the 1930s. Today, Matuas constitute the second largest SC population of West Bengal. Mostly concentrated in North and South 24-Parganas, they also have a presence in other border districts such as Nadia, Howrah, Cooch Behar, and Malda.
  37. UNATI Atal Jai Anusandhan Mission has implemented by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology. Atal Jai Anusandhan Biotech Mission – Undertaking Nationally Relevant Technology Innovation (UNaTI), which is expected to transform Health, Agriculture and Energy sectors during the next 5 years. 
  38. The Washington Consensus is a set of ten economic policy prescriptions considered to constitute the “standard” reform package promoted for crisis-wracked developing countries by Washington, D.C.-based institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and United States Department of the Treasury.
  39. India is obliged to end modern slavery by 2030 under the Sustainable Development Goal (Target 8.7) of ending forced labour, human trafficking and child labour.
  40. The Technology Development Board is a statutory body of the Government of India functioning under the Department of Science of Technology. It was established in 1996. It provides financial assistance to companies working for commercialization of indigenous technologies and adaptation of imported technologies for domestic applications.
  41. Carotenes are carotenoid pigments that are oxygen-free. Mostly they are unsaturated hydrocarbons that contain only carbon and hydrogen. Their color varies from yellow to orange to red. The color is attributed to the chain of alternating single and double bonds. Carotene is used in the pharmaceutical sector, there is always a high demand for it.
  42. The UN has designated the period between 2022 and 2032 as the International Decade of Indigenous Languages.
  43. Appe midisare varieties of mangoes which are very popular in Malnad region of Karnataka.
  44. Recently, the World Sustainable Development Summit,the annual flagship event of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) was held. The theme of the 2021 Summit was ‘Redefining our common future: Safe and secure environment for all’.
  45. The debt-to-GDP ratio, commonly used in economics, is the ratio of a country’s debt to its gross domestic product (GDP). Expressed as a percentage, the ratio is used to gauge a country’s ability to repay its debt. In other words, the debt-to-GDP ratio compares a country’s public debtto its annual economic output.
  46. The human spaceflight module of Gaganyaan will be launched after the second unmanned mission planned in 2022-23. Gaganyaan mission aims to send a three-member crew to space for five to seven days by 2022 when India completes 75 years of independence.
  47. GSLV Mk III, also called the LVM-3 (Launch Vehicle Mark-3,) the three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle, will be used to launch Gaganyaan as it has the necessary payload capability.
  48. Satna and Maihar in Madhya Pradesh, and Mysuru in Karnataka, are the cleanest cities in the country.
  49. Recently, the Prime Minister paid homage to Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, the classical music vocalist, on his centenary birth anniversary. He belonged to the Kirana Gharana. Kirana Gharana got its name from a small town called Kerana in Uttar Pradesh. It was founded by Ustad Abdul Karim Khan. Famous artists such as Abdul Wahid Khan, Suresh Babu Mane, Hira Bai Badodekar and Roshanara Begum belong to this Gharana. He belonged to the school of Hindustani classical music.
  50. The Supreme Court (SC) has power under Article 139A to transfer to itself, cases involving the same or substantially the same questions of law pending before two or more high courts.
  51. Monpas, Nyishis, Apatanis, Noctes and Sherdukpens are tribal groups of Arunachal Pradesh.
  52. moraine is materials, mainly soil and rock, left behind by a moving glacier. Glaciers transport all sorts of dirt and boulders that build up to form moraines.
  53. A new dwarf variety of cashew “Netra Vaman” has been released at the Cashew Day celebrations on 17th of February by Directorate of Cashew Research (DCR)- Karnataka.
  54. Halasuru Someshwara Temple is located in the neighborhood of Halasuru (also known as Ulsoor) in Bangalore, India. It is one of the old temples in the city dating back to the Chola period, it is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Major additions or modifications were made during the late Vijayanagara Empire period under the rule of Hiriya Kempe Gowda II.
  55. The Scarborough Shoal standoff refers to the tensions between the People’s Republic of China and the Philippines over the disputed Scarborough Shoal.
  56. Lushei, Ralte, Hmar, Paihte and Pawi are major tribal groups of Mizoram.
  57. The pathogens like Acinetobacter baumannii, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, Streptococcus pneumoniae have been found to be causative agents of healthcare associated infections because of their ability to develop resistance to antibiotics.
  58. A blank-cheque company or a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) is an entity specifically set up with the objective of acquiring a firm in a particular sector. The aim of this SPAC is to raise money in an initial public offering (IPO), and at this point in time, it does not have any operations or revenues. Once the money is raised from the public, it is kept in an escrow account, which can be accessed while making the acquisition. If the acquisition is not made within two years of the IPO, the SPAC is delisted and the money is returned to the investors. What makes SPACs attractive to investors, despite them essentially being shell companies, are the people sponsoring the blank-cheque company.
  59. Recently, the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)have jointly launched an online portal called The Urban Learning Internship Program (TULIP).
  60. Guinea has officially declared that it is dealing with an Ebola epidemic after the deaths of at least three people from the virus.
  61. Intifada is the two popular uprisings of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip aimed at ending Israel’s occupation of those territories and creating an independent Palestinian state.
  62. DBT-National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (DBT-NABI) has developed a wheat straw polysaccharide derived novel edible coating formulation to prevent the post-harvest shelf-life of perishable fruit crops such as Apple, Peach and Banana.
  63. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a range of conditions characterised by some degree of impaired social behaviour, communication and language, and a narrow range of interests and activities that are both unique to the individual and carried out repetitively. It is not mental retardation as people with autism may show excellent skills in spheres like art,music, writing etc. The level of intellectual functioning in individuals with ASDs is extremely variable, extending from profound impairment to superior levels.
  64. Nature-based solutions (NBS) refer to the sustainable management and use of nature for tackling socio-environmental challenges.
  65. Little Andaman Island is the fourth largest island in Andamans. It is famous by the name of its main village and the largest settlement –Hut Bay (rarely known by its other name Kwate-tu-kwage). The island is home to the Onge Tribes, even though there are multilingual settlers of Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, and Ranchi communities.
  66. Government Securities (G-Sec) is a tradable instrument issued by the Central Government or the State Governments and is considered to be the safest form of investment. It acknowledges the Government’s debt obligation. G-Secs carry practically no risk of default and, hence, are called risk-free gilt-edged instruments.
  67. The Urs festival is an annual festival held at Ajmer in Rajasthan which commemorates the death anniversary of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti.
  68. Resolution 2532 (2020) of UN Security Council notes the impact of COVID-19 globally and calling for the cessation of hostilities around the world to help combat the pandemic. 
  69. Endangered marine species like the Olive Ridleys are to be protected under Scheduled 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The state’s Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary is known as the world’s largest rookery of sea turtles.
  70. The Kutia Kondhs are a particularly vulnerable tribal groups in Kalahandi district, Odisha. Shifting cultivation, or slash-and-burn agriculture, is the primary source of food for the tribal communities in the area. The Kondhs call it dongar chaasor podu chaas. The major crops cultivated in the shifting cultivation system are minor millets like ragi (finger millet), kosala, kangu with arhar as an intercrop.
  71. In Ramlila Maidan Incident v. Home Secretary, Union Of India & Ors. case (2012), the Supreme Court had stated, “Citizens have a fundamental right to assembly and peaceful protest which cannot be taken away by an arbitrary executive or legislative action.”
  72. Under a comprehensive safeguard’s agreement, the IAEA has the right and obligation to ensure that safeguards are applied on all nuclear material in the territory, jurisdiction or control of the State for the exclusive purpose of verifying that such material is not diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
  73. Article 342 says that only those communities who have been declared as such by the President through an initial public notification or through a subsequent amending Act of Parliament will be considered to be Scheduled Tribes. The list of Scheduled Tribes is State/UT specific and a community declared as a Scheduled Tribe in a State need not be so in another State.
  74. A conch shell found during the excavation of a cave with prehistoric wall paintings in France is believed to be the oldest known seashell instrument. The Marsoulas Cave are in Southwestern France, near Marsoulas is a small cave notable for its archaeological wealth, including Paleolithic cave paintings and ornaments from the Magdalenian.
  75. Chui or Piper chaba is a flowering vine that is native to South and Southeast Asia. It grows profusely in West Bengal and Bangladesh. It is a creeper plant that spreads on the ground or grow around large trees.
  76. Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iwealawas appointed as Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the leading international trade body. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the first African official and the first woman to hold the position.
  77. The Nationwide Artificial Insemination Programme (N.A.I.P) which was launched by PM covering 600 chosen districts including aspirational districts as identified by NITI Aayog. The NAIP is a campaign mode genetic upgradation program covering all breeds of bovines to enhance the milk production using low-cost breeding technology. It aims for improving genetic merit of milch animals with high quality seed. The gestation period for getting the benefits from the AI bovine is approximately 3 years. The NAIP also aims to ear-tag them with ‘PashuAadhaar’ which is a unique identification provided to the animals. This will enable the Government to identify and track the animals uniquely with all details such as the breed, age, gender and owner details. Every cow and buffalo under AI will be tagged and can be tracked through the Information Network on Animal Productivity and Health (INAPH) Database.
  78. Run of the River (ROR) projects are seen as a “green” alternative to high-dam hydropower projects such as the Tehri Hydropower Project. This is because an ROR dam diverts the river flow in a controlled environment to generate electricity and sends the water back to the river, whereas a high-dam project stores river water in a reservoir.
  79. A Scheme for Promoting Innovation, Rural Industry and Entrepreneurship (ASPIRE) promotes innovation & rural entrepreneurship through rural Livelihood Business Incubator (LBI), Technology Business Incubator (TBI) and Fund of Funds for startup creation in the agro-based industry.
  80. Called the House of One or, colloquially, Churmosquagogue, it incorporates a church, a mosque and a synagogue. It aims of bringing Christians, Jews and Muslims to a single place of worship. 
  81. International Commission on Large Dams (INCOLD) organized Symposium on Sustainable Development of Damsand River Basins under the aegis of ICOLD. It was organized in collaboration with Central Water Commission (CWC), Dam Rehabilitation Improvement Project (DRIP) and National Hydrology Project (NHP). The International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) is a non-governmental International Organization which provides a forum for the exchange of knowledge and experience in dam engineering.
  82. Voluntary Provident Fund (VPF) is the contributions made by the employees that are over and above the minimum contribution set by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). Many employees opt for VPF as they don’t have to make any other investments and its easy as the amount is directly deducted from their salary.
  83. American and Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed what could be the oldest known beer factory at one of the most prominent archaeological sites of ancient Egypt.
  84. Steatohepatitis is characterized by inflammation of the liver with concurrent fat accumulation in the liver. Mere deposition of fat in the liver is termed steatosis.
  85. The Karbi tribe or the Mikir tribe is the aboriginal tribe in the northern India. It mainly lives in the Karbi Anglong district of Assam or Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council. Racially, the Karbis belong to the Mongoloid group and linguistically they belong to the Tibeto-Burman group. They are cultivators and follow the Jhum method as their main cultivation method.
  86. Google’s Project Navlekha uses technology to protect mother language. The project is aimed at increasing the online content in Indian local languages.
  87. Chandigarh became the first state or Union Territory in India to launch Carbon Watch, a mobile application to assess the carbon footprint of an individual.
  88. Advanced Chemistry Cells (ACCs) are the new generation advanced storage technologies that can store electric energy either as electrochemical or as chemical energy and convert it back to electric energy as and when required.
  89. Various government initiatives for a multilingual society such as the National Translation Mission, the Bharatavani project and the proposed setting up of a Bharatiya Bhasha Vishwavidyalaya (BBV) and Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITT).
  90. Thwaites Glacier also called Doomsday Glacier; it is a 120 km wide, fast-moving glacier located in Antarctica.
  91. Recently, a major drugmaker has developed the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) and the finished dosage formulation of Brivanext, a drug for epilepsy. Epilepsy is a central nervous system (neurological) disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness. Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder and affects people of all ages. Anyone can develop epilepsy, but it’s more common in young children and older adults. It occurs slightly more in males than in females. There’s no cure for epilepsy, but the disorder can be managed with medications and other strategies.
  92. Nathu La, one of the highest motorable roads in the world, is a mountain pass in the Himalayan peaks situated on the Indo-Tibetan border. Nathu means ‘listening ears’, and La means ‘pass’. It is an open trading border post between India and China. The other passes located in the state of Sikkim are Jelep La Pass, Donkia Pass, Chiwabhanjang Pass.
  93. Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Product (RoDTEP) has been implemented from 1st January 2020 replacing Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and create a fully automated route for Input Tax Credit (ITC) in the GST to help increase exports in India. By adopting to RoDTEP scheme, Indian exporters will be able to meet the international standards for exports as affordable testing and certification will be made available to exporters within the country instead of relying on international organizations.
  94. The Sisseri River Bridge is located at lower Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh, connecting Dibang Valley and Siang.
  95. Astrocytes are a sub-type of glial cells in the central nervous system. It looks like the end of a frayed rope. These cells were considered to be simply helper cells that provide nutrition and structural support to the neurons. Astrocytes, which look like the end of a frayed rope, belong to a category of cells called glial cells. 
  96. Makhana is a perennial plant native to eastern Asia and southern Asia, and is found from India – Bihar in nine districts of Mithila and some hilly areas of Manipur to Korea and Japan, as well as parts of eastern Russia. In India, Makhana normally grows in ponds, wetlands etc. Makhanas are low in cholesterol, sodium and saturated fats and are good for heart. They are a good source of magnesium, potassium, manganese, phosphorous and protein.
  97. Britain was the first G7 country to set in law a net-zero emissions target by 2050.
  98. The Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, announced twenty-five (25) shortlisted cities for the ‘Nurturing Neighborhoods Challenge’ cohort, in collaboration with the Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF) and technical partner WRI India. The Challenge is a 3-year initiative aimed at supporting early childhood-friendly neighborhoods under the government’s Smart Cities Mission. The following cities have been selected for the ‘Nurturing Neighborhoods Challenge’ cohort: Agartala, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Dharamshala, Erode, Hubballi-Dharwad, Hyderabad, Indore, Jabalpur, Kakinada, Kochi, Kohima, Kota, Nagpur, Rajkot, Ranchi, Rohtak, Rourkela, Salem, Surat, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruppur, Ujjain, Vadodara, and Warangal.
  99. The Karakoram Range ends on the northern side of the Pangong Tso. The Kailash Range originates from the southern bank and runs northwest to southeast for over 60 km. The Kailash Ridge is characterised by rugged, broken terrain with heights varying between 4,000-5,500m, and its key features include Helmet Top, Gurung Hill, Spanggur Gap, Muggar Hill, Mukhpari, Rezang La and Rechin La. The Ridge dominates Chushul Bowl; an important communications centre. The range lies to the north of a trough drained in the west by the Langqen River—which is known as the Sutlej River in India—and in the east by the Damqog River, headwater of the Brahmaputra River. Mount Kailas is an important holy site, both to the Hindus, who identify it with the paradise of Shiva, and to the Tibetan Buddhists, who identify it as Mount Sumeru, cosmic centre of the universe.
  100. The Pakistan Army is holding a month-long exercise code-named ‘Jidar-ul-Hadeed’ in the Thar Desert. The aim is to prepare for conflict in extreme desert environments.
  101. Scientists have found the first geological evidence of an earthquake at Himebasti Village on the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, documented by historians as Sadiya earthquake in history, which is recorded to have caused massive destruction in the region and almost destroyed the town in 1697 CE.
  102. The government effectiveness index is an index elaborated by the World Bank Group which measures the quality of public services, civil service, policy formulation, policy implementation and credibility of the government’s commitment to raise these qualities or keeping them high. This index includes 193 countries ranked from -2.5 (less effective) to 2.5 (more effective).
  103. As per the Supreme Court, the right to reputation is an integral part of Article 21 of the Constitution.
  104. Recently, an alternative Smart Wall has been proposed to replace the physical and armed patrolling with advanced surveillance technology at the USA-Mexico border.
  105. The net neutrality principles prohibit service providers from discriminating against Internet content and services by blocking, throttling or according preferential higher speeds.
  106. Liquidity Buffer refers to the stock of liquid assets that a banking organization manages to enable it to meet expected and unexpected cash flows and collateral needs without adversely affecting the banking organization’s daily operations.
  107. A chameleon discovered in the island country of Madagascar by scientists from Germany and Madagascar may be the world’s smallest adult reptile. The discovery has been reported in the journal Scientific Reports. Previously, the chameleon species Brookesia micra was thought to be the smallest. On the smaller size, the gecko Sphaerodactylus ariasae of the Caribbean is almost as small as the Brookesia micra, or about 20-25% longer than the Brookesia nana. The gopher tortoise is equivalent to 12 Brookesia nanas, and the veiled chameleon to about 18 specimens of the newly reported Madagascar species. Scientists recommended that the chameleon be listed as Critically endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species to help protect it and its habitat.
  108. Russia (world’s largest wheat exporter) and Argentina (No. 1 in soyabean meal and No. 3 in maize) have even announced temporary suspension or taxes on grain shipments in response to high domestic food inflation.
  109. Credit default swaps (CDS) are a type of insurance against default risk by a particular company. The CDS refers to credit derivative contract in which protection seller commits to compensate the protection buyer for the loss in the value of an underlying debt instrument resulting from a credit event.
  110. India joined the Global Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Research and Development (R&D) Hub. This expands the global partnership working to address challenges and improve coordination and collaboration in global AMR R&D to 16 countries, the European Commission, two philanthropic foundations and four international organisations (as observers).
  111. Beema or Bheema bamboo is a type of bamboo engineered to be a stronger, fast-growing and tall clone of the traditional bamboo found in the Indian subcontinent, especially the North-East. This variety grows well in southern India. Crash barriers made of Beema bamboo and coir are being developed as a low-cost solution as the Centre looks for innovative, newer ways to bring down fatalities and mishaps on roads.
  112. White-winged wood duck, an extremely rare and endangered duck species found primarily in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
  113. Farakka Barrage is across the Ganga river located in Murshidabad district of West Bengal.
  114. People in hundreds joined the ‘Losar’ festival celebration with much fanfare and enthusiasm held at Thubchog Gatselling Monastery and Gontse Gaden Rabgyeling Monastery. Losar Festival is a New Year celebration for the Monpa tribe. It is also considered as the Year of the Metal Ox New Year.
  115. Ministry of Defence recently launched E-Chhawani portal and mobile app. The portal has been created to provide online civic services to over 20 lakh residents of 62 Cantonment Boards across the country. The portal, jointly developed by e-Gov Foundation, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Directorate General Defence Estates (DGDE) and National Informatics Centre (NIC).
  116. A glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) is a type of outburst flood caused by the failure of a dam containing a glacial lake. An event similar to a GLOF, where a body of water contained by a glacier melts or overflows the glacier, is called a jökulhlaup. The dam can consist of glacier ice or a terminal moraine.
  117. In India, all major radioisotopes are produced by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). Some radioisotopes are imported from Europe, Australia and other Asian countries. Radioisotopes in India can be procured and handled only by the users duly authorized by the radiological safety division (RSD), atomic energy regulatory board (AERB).
  118. Recently, Denmark has approved plans to construct an artificial island in the North Sea and use it as clean energy hub. Denmark wants to become the first country in the world to begin working on such energy islands.
  119. Seismic Hazard Analysis Information System (SHAISYS) is a web based interactive application toolbeing developed in CWC under Dam Safety Organisation (DSO) to estimate the seismic hazard at any point in Indian region. The SHAISYS shall be capable of estimating seismic hazard using the deterministic as well as probabilistic approach. This application based tool is being developed in two phases.
  120. Ethylene glycol is an industrial compound found in consumer products including automotive antifreeze, hydraulic brake fluids, some stamp pad inks, ballpoint pens, solvents, paints, plastics, films, and cosmetics and is also used as a pharmaceutical vehicle. It is a synthetic liquid, odourless and is used to make antifreeze and de-icing solutions for cars, airplanes and boats. It has a sweet taste and is often accidentally or intentionally ingested. Ethylene glycol can be disseminated through indoor air, water, food, outdoor air and agricultural products.
  121. Maguri Motapung is a critical part of the Dibru-Saikhowa Biosphere Reserve, an ecological corridor to Namdhapa National Park & sustains the ecological integrity of the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot.
  122. Securities Appellate Tribu­nal (SAT) is a statutory body established under the provisions of Section 15K of the SEBI Act, 1992. The Presiding officer of SAT shall be appointed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India or his nominee. It has the same powers as vested in a civil court. Further, if any person feels aggrieved by SAT’s decision or order can appeal to the Supreme Court. SAT  hear and dispose of appeals against orders passed by the SEBI or by an adjudicating officer under the SEBI Act,1992, hear and dispose of appeals against orders passed by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) and by the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI).
  123. Carbon-Capture Storage (CCUS) is the process of capturing waste carbon dioxide, transporting it to a storage site and depositing it where it will not enter the atmosphere.
  124. Palaeontologists from University of Portsmouth claimed they have discovered fossils of coelacanth, a giant fish that have been even around before the dinosaurs. They pegged the fossil to be 66 million years old — putting it in the Cretaceous era. Coelacanths, which can grow as big as white sharks, were thought to be extinct.  Coelacanths first evolved 400 million years ago — 200 million years before the first dinosaurs. It had long been believed to be extinct, but in 1938, a living coelacanth was found off South Africa. Other than Coelacanth, Horseshoe crab and ginkgo trees are examples of living fossils.
  125. Tylototriton himalayanus, a rare salamander species from the hill district of Darjeeling in West Bengal is capable of vocalising. The species is also known as Himalayan crocodile newt or the Orange warted Salamander. Usually found in temporary water pools, marshes and slow-moving drainage.
  126. Benchmark disability refers to having at least 40% disability of any type recognized under the RPwD Act 2016.
  127. Foreign portfolio investment (FPI) is often referred to as “hot money” because of its tendency to flee at the first signs of trouble in an economy. FPI is more liquid and less risky than FDI.
  128. The name, Thar is derived from thul, the general term for the region’s sand ridges.
  129. The Depsang plains represent a high-altitude gravelly plain at the northwest portion of the disputed Aksai Chin region of Union Territory of Ladakh, divided through Line of Actual Control (LAC) into Indian and Chinese administered portions. India controls the western portion of the plains as part of Ladakh, whereas the eastern portion is controlled by China. They are bounded on the north by the valley of the Chip Chap River and on the west by the Shyok River.
  130. Water pockets are lakes inside the glaciers, which may have erupted leading to this event.
  131. Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is an international and intergovernmental platform for stakeholders to work towards ensuring food security and nutrition for all. It is hosted and co-funded by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. CFS receives its core funding equally from the FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP). The Committee reports to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Conference.
  132. Australian scientists have recently discovered the country’s oldest known rock art – a 17,300-year-old painting of a kangaroo. It was found in Western Australia’s Kimberley region, known for its Aboriginal rock paintings. The Kimberley is bordered on the West by the Indian Ocean, on the North by the Timor Sea, on the South by the Great Sandy and Tanami deserts in the region of the Pilbara, and on the East by the Northern Territory.
  133. AGNIi (Accelerating Growth of New India’s Innovations) is a National Technology Commercialization Program of the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India. It is a Mission under the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC). It is executed at Invest India, India’s National Investment Promotion Agency, which houses our professional team. It helps to commercialize the Indian technological innovation.
  134. Interest Rate-Growth Differential (IRGD) is the difference between the interest rate paid on government debt and the growth rate of GDP and drives the inertial or “snowball” dynamics of the debt ratio.
  135. Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) is an autonomous organization set up in 1988 under the Department of Science & Technology to look ahead in the technology domain, assess the technology trajectories, and support innovation by networked actions in select areas of national importance.
  136. A currency swap is a transaction in which two parties exchange an equivalent amount of money with each other but in different currencies. Currency swaps are used to obtain foreign currency loans at a better interest rate than could be got by borrowing directly in a foreign market.
  137. Section 79 of the IT Act 2000 makes it clear that “an intermediary shall not be liable for any third-party information, data, or communication link made available or hosted by him” whereas Section 69A, for similar reasons and grounds (as stated above), enables the Centre to ask any agency of the government, or any intermediary, to block access to the public of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored or hosted on any computer resource.
  138. Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is the official agency for publishing the seismic hazard maps and codes.
  139. GARBH-ini aims to discover molecular risk-markers and generate a risk-prediction algorithm for preterm birth which will facilitate timely referral and care for at-risk mothers, thus saving children’s lives and reducing morbidity. The GARBH-ini platform comprises a bio-repository (Rakshita) of well characterized clinical phenotypes.
  140. The Hindukush Karakoram ranges, along with the Tibetan Plateau, are the main drivers of the world’s strongest monsoon systems — the Indian Summer Monsoon. These ranges form the source to 10 major river systems in Asia, supporting drinking water, irrigation and power supply to 1.3 billion people in the continent. Major Indian rivers which replenish due to the melted snow are Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra. After the North and the South poles, the Hindukush – Karakoram ranges, along with the Tibetan Plateau, hold the largest reserves of fresh water and are known as the ‘Third Pole’.
  141. Indian Bio resource Information Network(IBIN) is a larger project of Department of Biotechnology (DBT). IBIN is proposed to be uniquely placed as a single portal data provider on India’s bio resource – plant, animal, marine, spatial distribution and microbial resources.
  142. The Kurubas of Karnataka are a traditional sheep rearing community. Kurubas are the fourth largest caste in Karnataka after the Lingayats, Vokkaligas and Muslims. Kurubas in other states are known by different names – as Dhangars in Maharashtra, Rabaris or Raikas in Gujarat, Dewasis in Rajasthan and Gadarias in Haryana.
  143. In 1979, India ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which sets forth internationally recognized standards for the protection of freedom of expression. However, misuse of sedition and arbitrary slapping of charges are inconsistent with India’s international commitments.
  144. The Haryana state forest department plans to recommend the Sultanpur National Park in Gurugram and the Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary in Jhajjar district for declaration as Ramsar sites. Both are popular birding destinations, providing habitat for a large variety of resident and migratory species, and happen to be the only two such water bodies in Haryana with legal protection under the MoEFCC’s Wetland Rules (2017).
  145. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is located in the state of Kerala. It is contiguous to the tiger reserves of Nagerhole and Bandipur of Karnataka and Mudumalai of Tamil Nadu. Kabini river (a tributary of Cauvery river) flows through the sanctuary. The forest types include South Indian Moist Deciduous forests, West coast semi-evergreen forests and plantations of teak, eucalyptus and Grewelia. Elephant, Gaur, Tiger, Panther, Sambar, Spotted deer, Barking deer, Wild boar, Sloth bear, Nilgiri langur, Bonnet macaque, Common langur, Wild dog, common otter, Malabar giant squirrel etc. are the major mammals.
  146.  Phuktal is a tributary to Zanskar river.
  147. Phugtal Monastery or Phugtal Gompa (often transliterated as Phuktal) is a Buddhist monastery located in the remote Lungnak Valley in south-eastern Zanskar, in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, in Northern India. It is one of the only Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh that can still be reached only by foot.
  148. A supraglacial lake is any pond of liquid water on the top of a glacier. Although these pools are ephemeral, they may reach kilometers in diameter and be several meters deep. They may last for months or even decades at a time, but can empty in the course of hours.
  149. In geology, a proglacial lake is a lake formed either by the damming action of a moraine during the retreat of a melting glacier, a glacial ice dam, or by meltwater trapped against an ice sheet due to isostatic depression of the crust around the ice.
  150. subglacial lake is a lake that is found under a glacier, typically beneath an ice cap or ice sheet. Subglacial lakes form at the boundary between ice and the underlying bedrock, where gravitational pressure decreases the pressure melting point of ice.
  151. Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institution (GANHRI) was formerly known as the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of National Human Rights Institutions. It was established in the year 1993. GANHRI promotes the role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI’s) worldwide, providing a forum for its members to interact and exchange, as well as facilitating their engagement with international organisations.
  152. South China Sea is connected by Taiwan Strait with the East China Sea and by Luzon Strait with the Philippine Sea.
  153. The Clean Energy International Incubation Centre (CEIIC), which is Social Alpha’s Energy Lab, is a joint initiative of Tata Trusts and the Government of India supported by Department of Biotechnology, BIRAC, Tata Power and Tata Power – Delhi Distribution Limited.
  154. Unsolicited Commercial Communications (UCC) means any Commercial Communication which a subscriber opts not to receive, but does not include– any transactional message or any message transmitted on the directions of the Central Government or State Government or agencies authorized by it.
  155. Mission Innovation was announced on 30th November 2015, as world leaders came together in Paris to undertake ambitious measures to combat climate changes.Mission Innovation (MI) is a global initiative of 24 countries and the European Union to accelerate global clean energy innovation dramatically. The first phase has shown that work done under Innovation Challenges (ICs) have mobilized in a relatively short period, relying on members’ leadership and voluntary efforts to advance IC objectives. These resources have dramatically accelerated the availability of the advanced technologies that will define a future global energy mix which is clean, affordable, and reliable.
  156. The 24/7 toll-free helpline ‘Kiran’ provides support to people facing anxiety, stress, depression, suicidal thoughts and other mental health concerns.
  157. The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme was launched by the Government of India on 15th September 1964 as a programme of bilateral cooperation and technical assistance. The ITEC programme provides for organizing training courses in India, deputation of Indian experts abroad, aid for disaster relief, gifting of equipment, study tours and feasibility studies/consultancy services. Under ITEC and its sister programme SCAAP (Special Commonwealth African Assistance Programme), 161 countries in Asia, Africa, East Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean as well as Pacific and Small Island countries are invited to share in the Indian developmental experience acquired over six decades of India’s existence as a free nation.
  158. The Year of the Ox will replace the Year of the Rat (2020) that is traditionally filled with turbulence. The Chinese or the Lunar New Year is commonly referred to as the “Spring Festival” and is based on the lunar calendar.
  159. The Vaghai-Billimora train, which started in 1913, was a vestige of Gaekwad dynasty who ruled the princely state of Baroda.
  160. Partnerships for Accelerating Clinical Trials (PACT) programme has been launched for supporting COVID-19 vaccine development activities in partnering countries. The initiative is being implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and Clinical Development Services Agency (CDSA) under the aegis of the National Biopharma Mission and Ind-CEPI Mission of DBT.
  161. Earthquake zone V is the most vulnerable to earthquakes.
  162. Panchamasalis, a sub-sect of the dominant Veerashaiva-Lingayat community, wants to be included in category 2A of the OBC reservation matrix. They are currently included under 3B.
  163. The Partnership Interoperability Initiative (PII) was launched at the Wales Summit in 2014 to ensure that the deep connections built up between NATO and partner forces over years of operations will be maintained and deepened. In this way, partners can contribute to future crisis management, including NATO-led operations and, where applicable, to the NATO Response Force. Ukraine became ‘Enhanced Opportunity Partners’ under the Partnership Interoperability Initiative of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  164. Dhauliganga is one of the important tributaries of Alaknanda, the other being the Nandakini, Pindar, Mandakini and Bhagirathi. It originates from Vasudhara Tal, perhaps the largest glacial lake in Uttarakhand. The river is joined by the Rishiganga river at Raini. It merges with the Alaknanda at Vishnuprayag.
  165. The Ring of Fire’s eastern half also has a number of active volcanic areas, including the Aleutian Islands, the Cascade Mountains in the western U.S., the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, and the Andes Mountains. Popocatépetl is an active stratovolcano located in the states of Puebla, Morelos, and Mexico in central Mexico. It lies in the eastern half of the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt. It is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the Ring of Fire. Major volcanic events that have occurred within the Ring of Fire since 1800 including the eruptions of Mount Tambora in Indonesia, Mount Ruiz in Columbia, Mount Pinatubo in Philippines, Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand, Krakatoa an island volcano, Mount Fuji of Japan and Mount St. Helens of US are active volcanoes.
  166. NETRA (NEtwork TRaffic Analysis) is a software network developed by India’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory, and is used by the Intelligence Bureau, India’s domestic intelligence agency, and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the country’s external intelligence agency to intercept and analyse internet traffic using pre-defined filters.
  167. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) initiated ‘Project NETRA’ – an early warning system in space to detect debris and other hazards to Indian satellites. NETRA’s eventual goal is to capture the GEO, or geostationary orbit, scene at 36,000 km where communication satellites operate.
  168. NORAD, or the North American Aerospace Defense Command, is an initiative of the U.S. and Canada that shares selective debris data with many countries. NORAD, too, uses satellites, ground and air radars to secure its two countries against attacks from air, space or sea.
  169. Currently there are 15 functional Indian communication satellites in the geostationary orbit of 36,000 km; 13 remote sensing satellites in LEO of up to 2,000 km; and eight navigation satellites in medium earth orbits.
  170. Orobanche is a serious hidden parasitic weed in mustard plant. It causes severe yield loss to the extent of up to 50%. Orobanche is a root parasite of legumes, sunflower tobacco, tomato, etc. They have no chlorophyll to produce food for own and are totally dependent on other plants for nutrients. There are no absolute control measures developed so far.
  171. Silbo Gomero is only recognised whistled language by UNESCO adapted to Catalian Spanish language. On one of the Canary Islands, the Silbo Gomero language or the traditional Whistle language is still in use. The Canary Islands are Spanish archipelago. The Island is located in east Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Morocco.
  172. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) recently organized KRITAGYA. It is a hackathon to promote potential technology solutions for enhancing farm mechanization with special emphasis on women friendly equipments. KRI-TA-GYA explains, KRI for Krishi (Agriculture), TA for Taknik (Technology) and GYA for Gyan (Knowledge).
  173. In a boost for the country’s surveillance capabilities to monitor activities of both military warships and merchant shipping in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), the ‘Sindhu Netra’ satellite developed by a team of young scientists from Research and Development Organization (DRDO) was successfully deployed in space.
  174. Pradhan Mantri Jaiv lndhan- Vatavaran Anukool fasal awashesh Nivaran (PM JI-VAN) Yojana, 2019 aims to incentivize 2G Ethanol sectorand support this industry by creating a suitable ecosystem for setting up commercial projects and increasing Research & Development.
  175. Gilt-edged securities are high-grade investment bonds offered by governments and large corporations as a means of borrowing funds.
  176. AMCA (Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft), which is fifth generation aircraft. It is a stealth aircraft so it is designed for stealth and unlike the LCA, which is designed for maneuverability, the AMCA has a unique shape to achieve low radar cross-section and has got internal carriage of weapons. This aircraft has enough fuel and weapons inside to do a very capable operational role in the stealth mode. It will have a range from over 1,000 km up to 3,000 km in different modes.
  177. Twin-Engine Deck-Based Fighter (TEDBF) will be thefirst twin engine aircraft project in India that too for dedicated carrier-based operations which will operate from the INS Vikramaditya and the upcoming indigenous aircraft carrier. It will replace the Navy’s MiG-29 K.
  178. Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)is a genetic disorder in which one defective gene causes muscles weakness and degenerates its normal functions. This rare disorder is found in one of every 10,000 babies with most unable to survive beyond a few years. The Zolgensma gene therapy is a one-time injection that replaces the defective gene with normal gene and rectifies the disorder.
  179. Fortified Wheat Nutritional ImprovementAnthocyanin rich biofortified coloured wheat lines have been developed by National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI), Mohali.
  180. Notified in November 1989 under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Sessa Orchid Sanctuary of Arunachal Pradesh is a natural home to more than 236 species of orchids, as well as a wealthy diversity of mushrooms and other medicinal plants. Orchid growth depends on its own micro-climate. This basically means a specific kind of orchid grows in a climate unique to itself — a local set of conditions that differ from those in the surrounding areas. Sessa Orchid Sanctuary is bordered with Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in its Southwest.
  181. Pakistan recently successfully tests fired surface-to-surface missile-Babar. It is a short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile.
  182. The Government of India launched the Flood Management Programme during Eleventh Plan period for providing central assistance to the state governments for taking up works related to river management, flood control, anti-erosion, drainage development, restoration of damaged flood management works and anti-sea erosion works that was continued during the Twelfth Plan.
  183. The Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare launched UMMID (Unique Methods of Management and treatment of Inherited Disorders) initiative and inaugurated NIDAN (National Inherited Diseases Administration) Kendras.  UMMID initiative is meeting the hopes of large number of persons with inherited diseases. UMMID initiative shall work towards achieving wellness by promoting prevention of genetic diseases in newborns.
  184. The WHO indeed does not “approve or disapprove” drugsAccording to the UNO body, the “role of WHO in the area of medicines regulatory support is two-fold. One aspect relates to the development of internationally recognised norms, standards and guidelines. The second aspect relates to providing guidance, technical assistance and training in order to enable countries to implement global guidelines to meet their specific medicines regulatory environment and needs.” Its certification scheme is for finished pharmaceutical products, and is a voluntary agreement among various countries. According to the WHO, the scheme is an “administrative instrument that requires a participating Member State (a certifying country), upon application by a commercially interested party (the applicant company), to certify/attest to the competent authority of another participating Member State (the recipient country) that: A specific pharmaceutical product is authorized for marketing in the certifying country, or if not, the reason why authorization has not been accorded; The manufacturing facilities and operations conform to good manufacturing practices (GMP) as recommended by WHO.”
  185. Blue worms are sometimes called the Malaysian blue or Indian blue and are already in use by vermi composters in Asia, Australia, and other tropical regions. The worm can be identified by its blue sheen, visible when brought into the light. They can reach a maximum length of 3 to 4 inches. They are epigeic, surface-feeding worms who process organic waste above the topsoil and in very loosely-packed material like leaf litter and manure. They are tropical worm and prefers warmer temperatures.
  186. Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer was launched by World Health Organization in 2018 to achieve at least 60% survival for all children with cancer and reduce suffering, globally, by 2030.
  187. The Pallar, prefer to be called Mallar, is a Tamil sub-caste of Peasant found in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. They own small bits of dry lands and do cultivation but to supplement their income they work as tenant agriculturists. They traditionally inhabited the fertile wetland area referred to as Marutham in the literary devices of the Sangam landscape. The Pallar name may be derived from pallam, which means a pit or low-lying area. This aligns with their traditional occupation of cultivators of the low wetlands. Pallars were traditional farmers who produced large quantities of food grains, and that some were probably rulers in the Tamil region.
  188. The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) recently adopted next generation Blockchain and Cloud migration enabled GrapeNet System. It is a web-based certification and traceability software system for monitoring fresh grapes exported from India to the European Union.
  189. The Wancho are a tribal people inhabiting the Patkai hills of Longding District in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, India. The Wancho language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman family under Northern Naga languages
  190. The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.
  191. The Government of India had launched an initiative called SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support) to conduct a skill mapping exercise of those migrants who had returned to India under the Vande Bharat Mission (VBM).
  192. Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) is an alliance of more than 800 grassroots groups, non-profits and individuals whose vision is to create a toxic-free world without incineration, according to its website. 
  193. Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (LASI) is a national survey of scientific investigation of the health, economic, and social determinants and consequences of population aging in India.
  194. The Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) is the first binding international agreement of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to specifically target illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Its objective is to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing by preventing vessels engaged in IUU fishing from using ports and landing their catches. In this way, the PSMA reduces the incentive of such vessels to continue to operate while it also blocks fishery products derived from IUU fishing from reaching national and international markets. The effective implementation of the PSMA ultimately contributes to the long-term conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources and marine ecosystems. The provisions of the PSMA apply to fishing vessels seeking entry into a designated port of a State which is different to their flag State.
  195. Cape Town Agreement seeks to introduce mandatory safety measures for fishing vessels of 24 metres and over in length. The Cape Town Agreement was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2012 to help combat illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. The Cape Town Agreement includes mandatory international requirements for stability and associated seaworthiness, machinery and electrical installations, life-saving appliances, communications equipment and fire protection, as well as fishing vessel construction. It is aimed at facilitating better control of fishing vessel safety by flag, port and coastal states. India, ranked third in fisheries, is yet to ratify a global regulatory regime adopted by the IMO for safety of fishing vessels.
  196. The Torremolinos Declaration on fishing vessel safety and combating IUU fishing has now reached 51 signatories. It is a non-legally binding political instrument, to publicly indicate their determination to ensure the Cape Town Agreement reaches entry into force criteria by the tenth anniversary of its adoption (October 11, 2022).
  197. Chui or Piper chaba grows profusely in West Bengal and Bangladesh and belongs to the same genus as the historically and economically important Piper nigrum or black pepper. Chui grows in areca palm and coconut orchards, where the trees support the vine. The spicy stems are available throughout the year.
  198. All rural households in India are entitled to 55 litres of drinking water per person per day under the Jal Jeevan Mission.
  199. Recently, tropical cyclone Eloisa struck Mozambique’s port city Beira.
  200. Out of the 13 flyways used by migratory species across the globe, two i.e. Central Asian Flyways and East Asian Flyways — pass through Bihar. 
  201. Tropical forest absorbed more carbon than other forest types and released more carbon into the atmosphere due to deforestation and degradation.
  202. NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System is an initiative which is working to develop scientific products quantifying carbon in trees (biomass) and atmosphere (CO2 flux) that will be of known accuracy and will be available for scientific inquiry, inventory processes, policy and business decision-making, resource management, philanthropic projects and other decision-support systems.
  203. Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI), a laser-equipped instrument aboard the International Space Station that records the three-dimensional structures of the world’s temperate and tropical forests
  204. Anthrax is a life-threatening disease that can spread from animals to humans. If the bacterium Bacillus anthracis or its spores that cause anthrax were present, the animals endured a slow, agonising death.
  205. Nylon is not a natural fibre, unlike the traditional ones. Nylon is a polymer — a plastic with super-long, heavy molecules made of short, repetitive units of diamines and dicarboxylic acids. Compared to other plastic-based fibres, manufacturing and processing of nylon is energy-intensive, which causes emission of greenhouse gases leading to global warming. Contemporary nylon is made from petrochemical monomers (the chemical building blocks making up polymers), combined to form a long chain through a condensation polymerisation reaction. Conventional nylon is non-biodegradable; it remains on the earth for hundreds of years, either in a landfill or an ocean. Polymers such as nylon and polyester can be depolymerised to extract monomers from which they have been produced. These can then be used as building blocks for the production of new polymers. Also known as polyamide, nylon has a variety of pharmaceutical and industrial applications. Improper disposal of nylon products also leads to accumulation of microplastic in the aquatic ecosystem. Even if properly disposed, microscopic pieces of fiber slowly break down and contribute to marine pollution.
  206. Snakebites fall in the category of Neglected Tropical Diseases, according to the World Health Organization. The existing Indian antivenoms, however, are produced exclusively against the so-called ‘big four’ Indian snakes: the spectacled cobra (Naja naja), common krait (Bungarus caeruleus), russell’s viper (Daboia russelii) and saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus).
  207. Gas hydrates are ice-like crystalline minerals that form when low molecular weight gas (such as methane, ethane, or carbon dioxide) combines with water and freezes into a solid under low temperature and moderate pressure conditions. Most gas hydrates are formed from methane (CH4). Gas hydrates could also be dangerous as their decomposition can release large amounts of methane, which is a greenhouse gas that could impact Earth’s climate.
  208. PRAAPTI (payment ratification and analysis in power procurement for bringing transparency in invoicing of generators), a platform aimed at enhancing transparency and encouraging best practices in power purchase transactions.

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