IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-January 2019 to April 2019
Grasslands are just as important for native ecology as tree species. Not only are they a source of fodder for large herbivores that populate the Western Ghats, they are also part of hugely complex biological processes that underpin the health of an entire ecosystem.
Once notified as protected area, the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 will have a greater impact. The proposal for re-designating them as part of the protected area will have to be moved at the State Wildlife Advisory Board.
The spread of the invasive species Lantana camara along the grasslands and fields of the reserve has evolved as a major biodiversity threat. The grasslands and fields are gradually being infested by the invasive woody species.
Shola forests (tropical montane forests found only in Southern India and Sri Lanka)
The latest estimate says that we have approximately 2,967 tigers in India, up from 2,226 as per the 2014 count. A couple of days before World Tiger Day (when the tiger report was released), a tigress was beaten to death in fields near the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve. Two days after the report’s release, a tigress and her cub were found dead near Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh. Shortly after, another cub was found dead in Umaria in the same State. Earlier in July, there were the poisoning-caused deaths of a tigress and her two cubs in Chandrapur, near the Tadoba Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. The report rated Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh as the best in terms of good management practices. The Ratapani Tiger Reserve, located in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh, in Vindhya Range in central India, is one of the finest teak forests in the state and is less than 50 km. away from the capital Bhopal. It has been a wildlife sanctuary since 1976.
A spider is not an insect. It belongs to an invertebrate class of animals known as Arachnids. A quick test to confirm if something is an insect is to look at its legs: six make it an insect. Spiders play a vital role in maintaining the health of an ecosystem. They are natural biological pest controllers. Clear spider webs at home, but let them spin a web of intrigue in your backyard.
Karnataka’s Ranganathittu bird sanctuary, one of the country’s most famous ones, home to over 200 species of birds. Many of them — white storks, northern shovellers, wagtails and warblers — are migrants from as far as Central Asia, Siberia and the Himalayas.
India is one of the world’s largest shark fishing nations and Maharashtra and Gujarat together contribute more than 50% of the harvest. Recent study published last year by researchers from over 15 countries added that about 50% of chondrichthyan species (sharks, rays and other cartilaginous fish) in the Arabian Sea were found to be in the threatened category of the IUCN.
The IUCN Red List of endangered species counts 79 endangered shark and 120 endangered ray species.Green turtles are one of the largest sea turtles, and are mainly found in tropical and subtropical waters. Classified as endangered, they are threatened by habitat loss as well as by poachers who hunt them for their meat and eggs.
A two-headed baby turtle has been born in Malaysia, captivating conversationists, but it only survived a few days after being discovered. It was found on Mabul island, off the Malaysian part of Borneo, in a nest alongside more than 90 other recently hatched green turtles.
A recent study on “prescribed burning” of large tracts of grassland for the conservation of threatened ungulates in the Eravikulam National Park (ENP), a biodiversity hotspot in the Western Ghats, reveals that such burning is detrimental to endemic invertebrates, including grasshoppers. Though prescribed burning was experimentally introduced in the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve (PKMTR) recently, another habitat of the Nilgiri tahr, it was practised on a smaller scale (10 m. × 10 m.).
There are three species of critically endangered resident Gyps vultures – white-backed vulture, long-billed vulture and slender-billed vulture – whose population as per the latest figures is 6,000, 12,000 and 1,000, respectively. There are eight identified vulture safe zones in India which include Pinjore in Haryana, Rajabhatkhawa in West Bengal, around Majuli Island in Assam, Bukswaha in Bundelkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Dudhwa National Park and Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh, Hazaribagh in Jharkhand, Central Gujarat and Saurashtra in Gujarat.
Members of a Nilgiris-based conservation group spotted two butterflies, usually found in the Devala-Nadugani belt, in the Kotagiri slopes, where they are rarely seen. Spotted the elusive Dark Pierrot (Tarucus ananda) and the Pointed Lineblue (Lonolyce helicon).
Ghaggar’s two tributaries — Tangri and Markanda
BRT Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in Karnataka.
‘Cool-spots’ are the world’s last refuges where high numbers of threatened species still persist. Cool-spots could be the result of protection or because of intact habitat that has not been cleared yet.
For the first time in the arecanut sector, ‘Sirsi Supari’ grown in Uttara Kannada has received the Geographic Indication (GI) tag. It is cultivated in Yellapura, Siddapura and Sirsi taluks. Totgars’ Cooperative Sale Society Ltd., Sirsi, is the registered proprietor of the GI.
A species of wood snake that wasn’t seen for 140 years has resurfaced in a survey conducted by scientists in the Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary. The species is endemic to the Meghamalai forests and the Periyar Tiger Reserve landscape.
The Marayoor Jaggery, the traditional and handmade product from Idukki district of Kerala, has received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag from the Central Government. The Jaggery is produced in Marayoor, a town in Idukki district of Kerala. It is made from sugarcane and no chemicals are added during the manufacturing process. It is not produced in modern factories or using modern equipment. It is prepared in sheds located on the sugarcane farm.
National Mission for Clean Ganga(NMCG) was registered as a society in 2011 under the Societies Registration Act 1860. It acted as implementation arm of National Ganga River Basin Authority(NGRBA) which was constituted under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA),1986.
Green Climate Fund (GCF) was established to limit or reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in developing countries and to help vulnerable societies adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
Adaptation Fund (AF) was established under the Kyoto Protocol in 2001 and has committed US$ 532 million to climate adaptation and resilience activities.
Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) are nationally binding targets adopted under UNFCCC. India has to reduce GHG emissions under this, which requires climate financing.
The two species of amphibious snakes, yellow-lipped and the blue-lipped Andaman sea krait, have been spotted on tree roots (especially of uprooted Manilkara littoralis, a mangrove tree) on the beaches in Andaman. Andaman sea Kraits are colourful and banded sea snakes endemic to Andaman islands.
Biketawa Declaration is a declaration agreed to by all the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum constituting a framework for coordinating response to regional crises.
The Pacific Islands Forum is the region’s premier political and economic policy organization which was founded in 1971. It comprises 18 members: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
The “Boe Declaration” of the “Pacific Islands Forum” reaffirmed that climate change remains the single greatest threatto the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific.
Valley of Flowers National Park is an Indian national park, located in North Chamoli, in the state of Uttarakhand and is known for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and the variety of flora. At 3352 to 3658 meters above sea level, the gentle landscape of the Valley of Flowers National Park complements the rugged mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi National Park to the east. Together, they encompass a unique transition zone between the mountain ranges of the Zanskar and Great Himalaya. Both parks are encompassed in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve(223,674 ha) which is further surrounded by a buffer zone. Nanda Devi National Park Reserve is in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
Markermeer is one of Europe’s largest Freshwater Lake and is located in the Netherlands
India is the only country that habitats the Great Indian Bustard. Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972, in the CMS Convention and in Appendix I of CITES, as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List and the National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016).
Protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, these endangered species are usually found along the Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts of Maharashtra. A stretch of the Indian Ocean between India and South Africa is known to be the Indian Humpback Dolphins’ natural habitat. These cetacean species prefer shallow waters which put them in the danger of swimming towards fished and polluted waters. This is also why the Indian Humpback Dolphins fall in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) “Endangered” category.
PM2.5 is the presence of particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres, while PM10 is the presence of particles in the air with, and both are considered the major atmospheric pollutants. PM2.5, in particular, poses greater harm as its fine particles can easily be inhaled into the respiratory tract. Burning of crop residues emits traces of carbon dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, sulphur dioxide and particulates which affect human health.
Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve (MHTR) is situated in Rajasthan after Ranthambore and Sariska.
Raptors come under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is at Kerala.
Chitwan National Park in Nepal.
Commercial development of the globe’s huge reserves of a frozen fossil fuel known as “combustible ice” has moved closer to reality after Japan and China successfully extracted the material from the sea floor off their coastlines. Methane hydrate has been found beneath seafloors and buried inside Arctic permafrost and beneath Antarctic ice. There are also environmental concerns. If methane hydrate leaks during the extraction process, it can increase greenhouse gas emissions. The fuel also could displace renewables such as solar and wind power.
Yearly loss of ice from Antarctica has increased by an alarming rate of 280% between 2001 and 2017.
Great Indian Bustards-Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan accounts for 95% of its total world population. It is also the state bird of Rajasthan. Critically endangered species.
A new study has found that 60% all coffee species are at the risk of extinction from disease, climate change, and the loss of suitable space to grow coffee. The species at risk include Arabica, the most widely consumed coffee variety in the world. There are 124 species of coffee. Researchers at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (UK), assessed all of them according to the standards of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Arabica alone accounts for 60% of world coffee trade, and Robusta for the remaining 40%.
The Alphonso mango from Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and other adjoining areas in Maharashtra have been accorded the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
Girardinia diversifolia (Himalayan nettle), a fibre-yielding plant, has become an important livelihood option for people living in the remote mountainous villages of the Hindu Kush Himalaya.
The first product to get a GI tag in India was Darjeeling tea in 2004. There are a total of 325 products from India that carry this indication.
Taking action as per recent orders of the Supreme Court of India to check it, Delhi Government is planning to push Hydrogen-enriched CNG buses on its roads. HCNG is a mixture of compressed natural gas (CNG) and some % Hydrogen by energy. HCNG which may be used as a fuel of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) is considered a cleaner source of fuel, more powerful and offers more mileage then even CNG. HCNG’s cost is more than CNG. HCNG reduces emissions of CO up to 70%.
A Geographical Indication or a GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. Such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to its origin in that defined geographical locality.
Jumemmej Declaration-Related to Climate Change, Outcome of UN Climate Change Conference at Katowice, COP24.
The Virtual Climate Summit organized by the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) snowballs the process for ramping up climate action, but countries still need to significantly step up and raise ambition by 2020 to keep global warming below 1.5C degrees.
The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) is the only place in Kerala where star tortoises are known to occur in the wild.
Indian Star Tortoises is categorised as ‘Vulnerable’ in the red list of endangered species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Recently a rare bird species ‘Sri Lankan Frogmouth’ was seen in the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala. Least Concern as per IUCN Status.
Virtual Climate Summit is an innovative climate summit which is an entirely online event to be a carbon neutral event.
The hog deer or Pada is an endangered species in the IUCN Red List and is protected under Schedule I of the Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
Researchers at Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun have reported presence of a small population of hog deer in Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP) in Manipur.
The Keibul Lamjao National is considered as a biodiversity hotspot on India-Myanmar border.
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve located in Kerala.
Red-disc Bushbrown (butterfly), a high-altitude species endemic to Western Ghats.
Buddha Peacock or Buddha Mayoori, which was recently declared as State butterfly of Kerala.
An innovative drying technology, Solar Bubble Dryer, developed jointly by International Rice Research Institute, Philippines; Grainpro, a leading post-harvest solution providing company; and University of Hohenheim, Germany, was introduced to farmers The technology was demonstrated for the first time in Odisha .
Vetiver, ‘the wonder grass’ of Tamil Nadu, which has a wide range of applications in the pharma and cosmetic industries, besides anti-soil erosion properties, is spreading roots in the State. The grass is popular for its quality to combat soil erosion and absorb carbon dioxide, thus erasing carbon footprints. The grass can be used to purify polluted water bodies, especially temple tanks, and to arrest soil erosion in ghat sections, especially in Kerala and Kodaikanal.
Microsat-R was placed in orbit 13 and-a-half minutes after lift-off. It is the first time an Indian satellite was being placed by ISRO in a low orbit at an altitude of 274 km.
Other than Manas National Park, Jaldapara National Park has about 50 rhinos and Dudhwa Tiger Reserve over 30 Rhinos.
Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve is the largest Tiger reserve in India. It is located Telangana.
Kawal and Amrabad Tiger Reserve are situated in Telangana state.
In Andhra Pradesh, Pulicat Lake is one of the biggest habitats for greater flamingos. Residents of west and sub-Saharan Africa, Mediterranean regions, south-west and south Asia, greater flamingos reside in mudflats and shallow coastal lagoons or freshwater marshlands. They feed on molluscs, blue-green algae and microscopic organisms.
The Asian Waterbird Census, an international programme that monitors the status of waterbirds and aims to increase awareness about wetlands and waterbird conservation, is conducted in 27 countries including India.
The Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is a protected area in Uttar Pradesh that stretches mainly across the Lakhimpur Kheri and Bahraich districts. It comprises of the Dudhwa National Park, Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary and Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary.
Kashmir Stag locally known as Hangul is a subspecies of the European red deer, found in Kashmir. It is the only subspecies of red deer in India and the state animal of Jammu and Kashmir. The animal is classified as ‘critically endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Dachigam National Park near Srinagar is considered the last undisturbed home of the Hangul.
Living Planet Report released by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature documents the state of the earth in terms of biodiversity and indicates the raising demand on natural resources and its impact on nature and wildlife. The report is said to reveal the health of the Earth.
The GI-tagged Pokkali is a saltwater-tolerant paddy grown in the coastal fields of Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Thrissur districts of Kerala.
Mongooses are listed under Schedule 2 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and their hunting, possession, transportation and trade are offences, punishable with imprisonment up to seven years. They are also protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is a statutory multi-disciplinary body under Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, to combat organized wildlife crime in the country.
A tsunami killed more than 200 people and injured hundreds on the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra following an underwater landslide believed to be caused by the erupting Anak Krakatau volcano. Earlier in September, 2018 more than 2,000 people died when a powerful earthquake struck just off the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi, setting off a tsunami.
A carbon credit is a permit or certificate allowing the holder to emit carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. Carbon trading involves trading of carbon one of the market-based mechanisms set up under Kyoto Protocol.
Market-based mechanisms provide flexible instruments reducing the costs of meeting emissions targets. Emissions trading systems, Joint Implementation (JI) mechanism and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) established under the Kyoto Protocol are market-based mechanisms.
The golden langur ( Trachypithecus geei ) is currently endangered. Funded by the Central Zoo Authority, an isolated and undisturbed site within the zoo was chosen to provide a natural habitat for the primates with a golden coat endemic to Assam.
The Chitwan National Park in Chitwan and Parsa Wildlife Reserve of Nepal are adjacent to the Balmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar. Likewise, Nepal’s Bardiya National Park adjoins India’s Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, while the Shuklaphant National Park in Nepal adjoins India’s Dudhwa Tiger Reserve.
Threatened bird species like the Malabar Pied Hornbills was also spotted in a couple of habitats in packed flocks.
The first record of the red-necked falcon, a ‘near threatened’ species in the IUCN avifauna checklist.
eBird is a global, internet-based platform for gathering observations of birds, and for birders to maintain records of their sightings. Housed in Cornell University’s Laboratory of Ornithology, the India chapter of eBird is managed by Bird Count India.
A lone duck named Trevor that lived on the tiny Pacific island nation of Niue. Niue, a tiny speck of land, lies around 2,400 km northeast of New Zealand. One of the world’s biggest coral islands, Niue does not have natural ponds or wetlands, so when Trevor turned up a year ago he was believed to have blown in from New Zealand with a storm.
Around three years after the Anupam Verma Committee submitted its recommendations, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has finally issued the Pesticides (Prohibition) Order, 2018, banning 18 pesticides. Of these 18, 12 pesticides have been banned from immediate effect (from August 9, 2018) and ban on another six will be implemented from December 31, 2020. The ban applies to registration, import, manufacture, formulation, transport, sale and use of all these pesticides. This order bans seven of the 18 Class I pesticides allowed in India, many of which are heavily used. However, there is scope for improvement, the list leaves out two heavily used Class I pesticides: Monocrotophos and Carbofuran.
Chilika, which lies in the Central Asian Flyway for birds, is a major stopover site for migratory birds from the Arctic and Sub-Arctic regions during their onward and return migration along the east coast. Habitats such as mudflats, floating and submerged vegetation, reed beds, open waters with varying depth and salinity attract a variety of migratory and resident bird species. Chilika Lake has been recognised as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
Canine Distemper Virus (CDV)-caused illness, a serious condition that generally affects dogs but which has also been seen in big cats. Laryngeal paralysis, a respiratory disease, has also been cited as a reason.
Studying the consumption and disposal patterns of electronic giants — since the first e-waste rules were notified in India in 2011 — is New Delhi-based environmental research organisation, Toxics Link. In their 2019 report, Time to Reboot III (the first part of the series was out in 2014), 54 electronic brands were ‘assessed and rated on their implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and did not find substantive change on ground’. The companies were rated on several criteria such as take back policy, RoHS compliance, e-waste collection target achieved, consumer awareness, and also their on-ground collection system.
Intel Corp on Tuesday launched its latest processor, its first using artificial intelligence (AI), designed for large computing centres. The chip, developed at its development facility in Haifa, Israel, is known as Nervana NNP-I or Springhill and is based on a 10 nanometre Ice Lake processor that will allow it to cope with high workloads using minimal amounts of energy, Intel said.
Schizophrenia-After 18 years of research, Indian and Australian scientists have identified a new gene directly linked to schizophrenia.
Aditya-L1 is meant to observe the Sun’s corona. It will image and study the sun from the First Lagrange point also known as L1 Lagrange point. L1 point is 1.5 million kilometres away from the Earth. It is a point where the gravitational forces of the Earth and the Sun cancel out allowing the spacecraft to hover. This will be India’s first solar probe. ISRO has planned to launch the mission during the first half of 2020.
Magnetospirillum magneticum are bacterium that collect iron, and make magnetite nanocrystals that are arranged in a straight line. This leads to the bacteria being naturally aligned by the action of Earth. The bacterium then follows this line up and down without getting lost, knowing exactly where it was.
Acidithiobacillus bacteria are usually found in mines and live off sulphur, iron and pyrite. They are responsible for the characteristic sparkle in caves. They digest these metals and excrete a liquid that dissolves limestone, creating tiny gypsum crystals in the process.
Anthrax bacteria cause black blisters and is spread by contact with the bacterium’s spores. Although the bacteria have killed thousands of people and animals, only recently has it kindled major interest after some countries developed it as a bioweapon. The bacteria also lends its name to the only band from the East Coast of the U.S. in the ‘Big Four’ of thrash metal bands.
Thiomargarita namibiensis is a coccoid Proteobacterium, found in the ocean sediments of the continental shelf of Namibia. They contain microscopi sulphur particles that scatter light. Unlike other bacteria which are usually 1.1 µm to 1.5 µm wide, this one is a staggering 0.75 mm (750 μm). It can be seen with the naked eye; microscope not needed makes T.namibiensis special.
Deinococcus radiodurans is a bacterium that can survive cold, dehydration, vacuum, and acid. It gets its name from its extraordinary ability to withstand extremely high doses (up to 2,500 times higher) of a certain process that is extremely fatal to human beings even in small doses. Its amazing ability is thanks to an incredible DNA repair mechanism it possesses.
Superbugs are resistant to antibiotics and a huge threat to medicine. One mechanism which contributes to antibiotic resistance involves an enzyme called NDM-1. NDM-1 was first observed in a Swedish man who fell sick after visiting the capital of a country. M-1 stands for metallo-beta-lactamase-1. ND stands for a place which is also referenced in a 2011 cult Bollywood film starring Imran Khan, the title of which refers to the after-effects of NDM-1.
NASA has planned to return to Saturn’s moon Titan with a nuclear-powered drone, Dragonfly. Dragonfly aims to search for signs of microbial alien life on Saturn’s moon Titan, while navigating its earth-like gravity and aerodynamics in the process. The mission will succeed NASA’s Cassini probe, which ended its 13-year mission orbiting Saturn in September 2017 by diving into Saturn’s atmosphere. Dragonfly mission is a part of NASA’s New Frontiers program, which includes a series of space exploration missions, which are being conducted with the purpose of researching several of the Solar System bodies, including the dwarf planet Pluto. The Dragonfly mission replaces a previously discontinued concept project called Titan Saturn System Mission (TSSM), which required a balloon probe to circumnavigate Titan.
In recognition of the notable contributions made by Late Professor Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis in the fields of statistics, statistical system and economic planning, Government of India in 2007, has designated 29th June as the “Statistics Day” in the category of Special Days to be celebrated every year at the National level.
The indigenously developed Pinaka Guided Weapons System was successfully test fired at Pokhran desert in Rajasthan. Pinaka rocket systems are developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The rocket system was named after Pinaka, the bow of Lord Shiva. It was initially a 30 to 40 km range rocket. Its range was increased 70 to 80 km with Pinaka Mark II.
Globular clusters are collections of thousands to millions of stars, moving as one unit. These stars are tightly held together by gravity of the cluster itself, and are believed to have formed together at roughly the same time. Some globular clusters could be among the oldest objects in our Milky Way, which hosts over 150 of them.
As part of the ongoing India Bangladesh defence cooperation, a joint military exercise Sampriti-2019 will be conducted at Tangail, Bangladesh.
In a bid to promote digital transactions, the Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has launched its much awaited payment aggregator system ‘IRCTC iPay’. The exclusive digital payment gateway will provide better digital experience and improved online digital payment convenience to rail passengers availing online travel-related services through the website. With the launch of IRCTC iPay, the passengers will not need any third-party platforms.
Scientists have found microplastics contaminating a groundwater source that accounts for 25% of the global drinking water supply.
Fractured limestone aquifers are a groundwater source that accounts for 25% of the global drinking water supply.
Groundwater flows through the cracks and voids in limestone, sometimes carrying sewage and runoff from roads, landfills and agricultural areas into the aquifers below.
Cope India 2018, which was first held in 2004, is the fourth edition in the series of bilateral joint exercises held between the Indian Air Force and the US Air Force, which is conducted in India.
Shinyuu Maitree is a bilateral air exercise between the Japanese Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) and Indian Air Force is being held in Agra, India.
Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), a polio-like disease affecting children has come into public focus. Enteroviruses (a group of viruses such as poliovirus and enterovirus A71, and West Nile virus. ) are the main cause of the disease in children.
US space agency SpaceX launched India’s first privately built satellite ExseedSAT 1 along with 63 other satellites from 17 countries.
India became the first country to perform a telerobotic coronary surgery on human.
‘AI 4 All Global Hackathon’-NITI Aayog in partnership with Perlin, a Singapore-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) startup has launched the ‘AI 4 All Global Hackathon’.
NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) mission objective is to discover the nature of the interactions between the solar wind and the interstellar medium at the edge of our solar system.
PARAM 8000, considered to be India’s first supercomputer was indigenously built in 1991 by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).
The IFC has been established at the Indian Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram, Haryana.
Microsat-R and Kalamsat-an imaging satellite BY ISRO-the four-stage launch vehicle which has alternating solid and liquid stages, with two strap-on configuration.
Founded in the 1930s, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is currently owned by NASA.
Operation IceBridge is a ongoing NASA mission to monitor changes in polar ice. It is an airborne follow-on mission to the ICESat satellite, continuing until after the ICESat-2 mission launches in 2018.
The Bandar Poonch massif in the Garhwal Himalaya consists of three peaks — Bandar Poonch I, (6,316 m), Bandar Poonch II (6,102m.) and the Kala Nag, Black Cobra or Black Peak (6,387m). The River Yamuna originates on the West end of the Bandarpoonch cirque Glacier.
UNNATI-India will train 45 countries in nano-satellite making through a new capacity building programme named Unispace Nanosatellite Assembly and Training by ISRO (UNNATI) was flagged off in this space hub by state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The first batch of the initiative, which was kicked off, will have 30 participants from 17 countries, including Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico and Mongolia.
Cassini-A joint endeavor of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian space agency (ASI), Cassini was a sophisticated robotic spacecraft sent to study Saturn and its complex system of rings and moons in unprecedented detail. Cassini carried a probe called Huygens to the Saturn system.
Ultima Thule is a small lump of rock and dirty ice that orbits the sun in the Kuiper Belt. Ultima Thule received 900 times less sunlight than Earth.
Barnard-recently discovered cold super-Earth exoplanet orbiting around the red dwarf Barnard – the second closest star system to Earth – has the potential to harbour primitive life. Barnard b (or GJ 699 b) is a super-Earth with a minimum of 3.2 Earth masses. It orbits its red star every 233 days near the snow-line, a distance where water freezes.
DHARMA GUARDIAN is a first-ever joint military exercise between Armies of India and Japan.
JIMEX and MALABAR are the Naval exercises conducted by Indian and Japanese Navy.
India’s first private satellite “ExseedSAT 1” developed under the aegis by Hyderabad-based startup Exseed Space.
The Kordylewski clouds are always changing.
A nova is defined as “A star that suddenly becomes much brighter and then gradually returns to its original brightness over a period of weeks to years
Supernova is “a rare celestial phenomenon involving the explosion of most of the material in a star, resulting in an extremely bright, short-lived object that emits vast amounts of energy”.
There are 21 countries which border the Mediterranean Sea. They are Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
Recently Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has won 2018 Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development.
Recently, Air Quality Life Index (AQLI)has been produced by the Energy Policy Institute at the University Of Chicago (EPIC).
CRISPR – Cas9 is the most prominent genome editing technique .
First identified in 1993, hantaviruses cause severe and sometimes fatal respiratory infections and are known to infect lung cells.
Researchers from the UK and India, including a team from the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, have jointly developed a ‘smart’ vaccine which has the potential to help eradicate goat plague which is also called DIVA vaccine.
GSAT-29 is a multiband, multi-beam communication satellite, intended to serve as test bed for several new and critical technologies. Its Ku-band and Ka-band payloads are configured to cater to the communication requirements of users including those from remote areas especially from Jammu & Kashmir and North-Eastern regions of India.
Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council is chaired by government’s Principal Scientific Advisor.
Scientists at Coimbatore-based Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) have found that a plant growth promoting rhizobacteria called Bacillus amyloliquefaciens can be used to fight Tobacco Streak Virus (TSV) in cotton crop.
FASTag is a device that employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it.
The Hyper Spectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS), an earth observation satellite developed by ISRO, is the primary satellite of the PSLV-C43 mission.
The six countries bordering the Red Sea proper are: Eastern shore: Saudi Arabia. Yemen. Western shore: Egypt. Sudan. Eritrea. Djibouti.
India’s heaviest communication satellite with high throughput GSAT-11 will be put into orbit by Ariane-5 rocket of Arianespace from French Guiana. The satellite will support BharathNet connecting gram panchayat for e-governance and digital platforms; VSAT terminals and for enterprise network and consumer broadband applications.
The bilateral KONKAN exercise between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom started off at Goa.
EX-INDRA is Indo-Russian joint military exercise, which helps in a common understanding of transnational terrorism, interoperability between the participants.
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide but isn’t as prevalent in the atmosphere.
The Chang’e-4 probe has entered an elliptical lunar orbit, with the perilune at about 15 km and the apolune at about 100 km. Direct communication with the far side of the moon, however, is not possible, which is one of the many challenges for the Chang’e-4 lunar probe mission. China launched a relay satellite, named Queqiao, in May, to set up a communication link between the Earth and Chang’e-4 lunar probe.
“Sowa-Rigpa” commonly known as Tibetan system of medicine is one of the oldest, living and well documented medical tradition of the world. It was recognized by the Government in 2011.
Bara Shigri is the largest glacier located in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India, Bara-Sigri glacier which is the second longest glacier in Himalaya (Indian side) after Gangotri, both are around 30 km long. The glacier is located in the Chandra Valley of Lahaul. The glacier feeds the Chenab River. The name comes from the Lahaul dialect, where Bara means big and Shigri means glacier.
India successfully test-fired its nuclear-capable long-range ballistic missile Agni-IV, with a strike range of 4,000 km. The surface-to-surface missile was flight tested from launch complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range at Dr Abdul Kalam Island, earlier known as Wheeler Island. It is a two-stage solid-propelled missile, about 20 metres tall and weighs 17 tonnes. It is equipped with modern and advanced ring laser gyro-based Inertial Navigation system (RINS).
Small Satellite Launch Vehicle-SSLV or the ‘baby rocket’ will provide on-demand access to space, with the rocket assembly taking a mere 15 days and minimum personnel to do it.
The Black Sea is an inland sea located between far-southeastern Europe and the far-western edges of the continent of Asia and the country of Turkey. It’s bordered by Turkey, and by Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and Georgia.
Internet Of Things (IoT) is a computing concept that describes the idea of everyday physical objects being connected to the internet and being able to identify themselves to other devices.
The Data Protection framework submitted by the Justice Srikrishna Committee had provisions for personal data protection including a consumer’s right to information, consent, and right to request companies to erase their data if preferred.
The heliosheath is the outer region of the heliosphere, just beyond the termination shock, the point where the solar wind slows abruptly, becoming denser and hotter. The solar wind piles up as it presses outward against the approaching wind in interstellar space.
The five countries Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan and Iran share the natural heritage of the Caspian Sea.
The boundary between solar wind and the interstellar wind is the heliopause, where the pressure of the two winds are in balance. This balance in pressure causes the solar wind to turn back and flow down the tail of the heliosphere.
Oort Cloudis a collection of small objects that are still under the influence of the sun’s gravity. The boundary of the solar system is considered to be beyond the outer edge of the Oort Cloud.
The Deep Space Network (DSN) supports NASA and non-NASA missions that explore the furthest points of our solar system.
Exercise Aviaindra is an Air Force level exercise between India and Russia was conducted for the first time in 2014.
India, which is the world’s largest consumer of gold, has the 11th largest gold reserve, with the current holding pegged at 607 tonnes. International Monetary Fund (IMF) is third on the list with total gold reserves. Top slot is occupied by the U.S., which boasts of gold reserves.
The Odisha government has launched boat ambulance service for those living in the remote villages near Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara district. It is meant to ferry people to hospitals and clinics in case of emergency.
Google has launched a new application called ‘Bolo’ that aims to help children in primary school to read in Hindi and English.
Khurja Super Thermal Power Project- Uttar Pradesh, Buxar Thermal Power Project- Bihar, Teesta Hydro Power project- Sikkim, Kiru Hydro Electric (HE) Project- Jammu and Kashmir.
National Housing Bank (NHB) is an All India Financial Institution(AIFl), set up in 1988, under the National Housing Bank Act, 1987. It is an apex agency established to operate as a principal agency to promote housing finance institutions both at local and regional levels and to provide financial and other support incidental to such institutions and for matters connected therewith.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India has launched an online campaign Web- Wonder Women to discover and celebrate the exceptional achievements of women, who have been driving positive agenda of social change via social media.
Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project is a hydropower project in Bhutan.
E-NAM (e-National Agriculture Market) is an important initiative of GoI to use pan-India electronic trading portal for bidding and network the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) is a statutory market committee constituted by a State Government in respect of trade in certain notified agricultural or horticultural or livestock products, under the Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act issued by that state government.
Electoral Bond is a financial instrument (similar to a promissory note) for making donations to political parties. The bonds will be issued in multiples of ₹1,000, ₹10,000, ₹1 lakh, ₹10 lakh, and ₹1 crore and will be available at specified banks. These are issued by Scheduled Commercial banks upon authorization from the Central Government to intending donors, but only against cheque and digital payments (it cannot be purchased by paying cash).
FAO (specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger) Council approved India’s membership to the Executive Board of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) for 2020 and 2021.
A non performing asset (NPA) is a loan or advance for which the principal or interest payment remained overdue for a period of 90 days. Banks are required to classify NPAs further into Substandard, Doubtful and Loss assets.
The Logistics Performance Index, developed by the World Bank Group, is an interactive benchmarking tool created to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics and what they can do to improve their performance.
The Capital Adequacy Ratio is a measure of a bank’s available capital expressed as a percentage of a bank’s risk-weighted credit exposures. The Capital Adequacy Ratio, also known as capital-to-risk weighted assets ratio (CRAR), is used to protect depositors and promote the stability and efficiency of financial systems around the world.
As part of its commitment to create awareness about energy efficiency as a resource and also to develop an action plan for energy conservation initiatives, Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE), had released the ‘State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index’, which assesses state policies and programmes aimed at improving energy efficiency across various sectors.
The National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE) is one of the eight national missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).
Commodity Transaction Tax is introduced to tax commodity trading in India where both parties—buyer & seller of contract—will be taxed depending on the amount of the contract size. CCT is similar to the securities transaction tax (STT)-( a tax payable in India on the value of securities (excluding commodities and currency) transacted through a recognized stock exchange) levied on the purchase and sale of equities in the stock market.
Commodity derivatives are financial instruments whose value is based on underlying commodities, such as oil, gas, metals, agricultural products, and minerals.
The Central Government has approved the proposal of setting up of Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs) under Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
Seychelles became the first country in the world to launch sovereign Blue Bonds.
The National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) is anchored at the National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) and is being implemented through the National Skills Qualifications Committee (NSQC).
Founded in 1950, WorldSkills is the global hub for skills excellence and development and it has 75 Member countries and regions.
WorldSkills India is an initiative of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) under Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship which has been leading India’s participation at WorldSkills International competitions since 2011.
In 2016, the Government of India formed the Sharada Prasad Committee to rationalise the Sector Skill Councils (SSCs).
James Wilson, the Scotsman who created India’s first Budget, introduced the income tax act in 1860.
Budgetary deficit is the difference between all receipts and expenses in both revenue and capital account of the government.
Budgetary deficit is the sum of revenue account deficit and capital account deficit. If revenue expenses of the government exceed revenue receipts, it results in revenue account deficit. Similarly, if the capital disbursements of the government exceed capital receipts, it leads to capital account deficit. Budgetary deficit is usually expressed as a percentage of GDP.
A comprehensive measure used for estimation of price changes in a basket of goods and services representative of consumption expenditure in an economy is called consumer price index. Inflation is measured using CPI. The percentage change in this index over a period of time gives the amount of inflation over that specific period, i.e. the increase in prices of a representative basket of goods consumed.
Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) is an international recognized certification system for the green buildings. The LEED-India Green Building Rating System is an international benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.
The difference between total revenue and total expenditure of the government is termed as fiscal deficit. It is an indication of the total borrowings needed by the government. While calculating the total revenue, borrowings are not included.
The gross fiscal deficit (GFD) is the excess of total expenditure including loans net of recovery over revenue receipts (including external grants) and non-debt capital receipts. The net fiscal deficit is the gross fiscal deficit less net lending of the Central government.
Generally fiscal deficit takes place either due to revenue deficit or a major hike in capital expenditure. Capital expenditure is incurred to create long-term assets such as factories, buildings and other development.
Monetary policy is the macroeconomic policy laid down by the central bank. It involves management of money supply and interest rate and is the demand side economic policy used by the government of a country to achieve macroeconomic objectives like inflation, consumption, growth and liquidity.
Bureau of Energy Efficiency is a statutory body under Ministry of Power which was setup in 2002 under the provisions of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001. It is mandated to implement policy and programmes in the area of energy efficiency and conservation.
In India, monetary policy of the Reserve Bank of India is aimed at managing the quantity of money in order to meet the requirements of different sectors of the economy and to increase the pace of economic growth.
Non-Tax Revenue is the recurring income earned by the government from sources other than taxes. The most important receipts under this head are interest receipts (received on loans given by the government to states, railways and others) and dividends and profits received from public sector companies. Various services provided by the government — police and defence, social and community services such as medical services, and economic services such as power and railways — also yield revenue for the government. Though the Railways are a separate department, all their receipts and expenditure are routed through the Consolidated Fund.
Non-plan Expenditure is largely the revenue expenditure of the government, although it also includes capital expenditure. It covers all expenditure not included in the Plan Expenditure. A major part of the Non-Plan Expenditure is obligatory in nature, like interest payments, pensions, statutory transfers to States and Union Territories governments. It constitutes the biggest proportion of the of the government’s total expenditure. The biggest items of Non-Plan Expenditure are interest payments and debt servicing, defence expenditure and subsidies. For defence services, both revenue and capital expenditure are incurred.
A nation is a sovereign entity. Any risk arising on chances of a government failing to make debt repayments or not honouring a loan agreement is a sovereign risk.
Purchasing power parity is used worldwide to compare the income levels in different countries. PPP thus makes it easy to understand and interpret the data of each country.
Public debt receipts and public debt disbursals are borrowings and repayments during the year, respectively, by the government. The difference between receipts and disbursals is the net accretion to the public debt. Public debt can be split into internal (money borrowed within the country) and external (funds borrowed from non-Indian sources). Internal debt comprises treasury bills, market stabilisation schemes, ways and means advance, and securities against small savings.
A Budget plan is essentially a statement with the estimates of the expenditure to be incurred and the revenue to be generated during a certain period of time.
Prime Minister of India launched the APIX (Application Programming Interface Exchange), a banking technology platform designed to reach nearly two billion people worldwide who are still without bank accounts. The APIX will support banks to reach out to those without bank accounts in 23 countries including the 10 ASEAN members as well as major markets such as India, and small nations including Fiji.
India will chair the Kimberley System Certification Scheme (KPCS) which is also known as Kimberley Process (KP) from January 2019. The Kimberley Process (KP) is a commitment to remove conflict diamonds from the global supply chain.
The Kimberley Process is also described in the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions.
India is the founding member of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).
Gross Value Added (GVA) is a measure of total output and income in the economy. It provides the rupee value for the amount of goods and services produced in an economy after deducting the cost of inputs and raw materials that have gone into the production of those goods and services. It also gives sector-specific picture like what is the growth in an area, industry or sector of an economy. At the macro level, from national accounting perspective, GVA is the sum of a country’s GDP and net of subsidies and taxes in the economy.
GDP gives the economic output from the consumers’ side. It is the sum of private consumption, gross investment in the economy, government investment, government spending and net foreign trade (difference between exports and imports).
The dependency ratio is a measure showing the ratio of the number of dependents aged zero to 14 and over the age of 65 to the total population aged 15 to 64.
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) e-Box launched in 2016 is an online complaint box for reporting child sexual abuse.
The Aspirational Districts programme aims to rapidly transform districts that have been showing relatively less progress in key social areas, and have emerged as pockets of under-development, thereby posing a challenge to balanced regional development.
The Sustainable Development goals were adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in September, 2015. They came into force from January 1st, 2016 and have 2030 as deadline for achieving the targets.
First of its kind ‘SDG India Index’ has been developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI), Global Green Growth Institute, United Nations in India, and NITI Aayog.
Launched in 2013, the Kanyashree scheme has two categories of benefits. Under the first category or K1 category, ₹750 is paid annually to the girls in the age group of 13 to 18; under the K2 group, a one-time grant of ₹25,000 is paid after a girl turns 18, provided that she was engaged in an academic or occupational pursuit and was unmarried.
Vidyut Pravah – The Mobile/Web App provides real-time information of current demand met, shortages if any, surplus power available and the prices in Power Exchange.
UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All) – App provides real-time updates on the LED distribution happening across the country.
URJA (Urban Jyoti Abhiyaan) – It is an informative App for Urban Distribution Sector. It captures Consumer-centric parameters from the IT systems created under IPDS.
TARANG (Transmission App for real-time monitoring & Growth) – It is an IT Web/mobile-based platform to provide the status of both inter and intrastate Transmission Projects in the country. This platform also shows the prospective interstate as well as intrastate Transmission Projects.
Rythu Bandhu scheme also known as Agriculture Investment Support Scheme, is a welfare program to support farmer’s investment for two crops a year by the Government of Telangana.
Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana- Department of Posts, under Ministry of Communications, has presented scholarship to students under Deen Dayal SPARSH (Scholarship for Promotion of Aptitude & Research in Stamps as a Hobby) Yojana. Deen Dayal SPARSH yojana was launched to promote philately. Under this annual scholarships is awarded to children of Standard VI to IX having good academic record and also pursuing Philately as a hobby through a competitive selection process in all postal circles.
Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) is a three weeks Flagship leadership development training programme (2 weeks domestic and one week foreign training) for second level academic functionaries in public funded higher education institutions.
Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT) is a major and unique initiative of online professional development of 15 lakh higher education faculty using the MOOCs platform SWAYAM.
Indian Health Fund (IHF) was launched in 2016 by Tata Trusts in collaboration with The Global Fund, to drive innovations towards key infectious disease challenges in India.
A new initiative called ‘Project Sunrise’ was launched by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2016, to tackle the rising HIV prevalence in north-eastern states in India, especially among people injecting drugs
AMRUT is aimed at transforming 500 cities and towns into efficient urban living spaces over a period of five years. AMRUT is a centrally sponsored scheme with 80% budgetary support from the Centre.
The government has launched the ‘Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY)’ to provide social security during old age and to protect elderly persons aged 60 and above against a future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions.
The Mangdechhu hydroelectric project is a 720MW run-of-river power plant built on the Mangdechhu River in Trongsa Dzongkhag District of central Bhutan. Mangdechhu is one of the ten hydroelectric projects planned under the Royal Government of Bhutan’s initiative to generate 10,000MW hydropower by 2020 with support from the Indian Government.
India is one of two countries — China being the other — that adheres to a doctrine of No First Use (NFU).
Demilitarized Zone, which runs across the Korean Peninsula, is 248 kilometres long and the 4 kilometres wide. Created as a buffer at the close of the 1950-53 Korean War, it’s jointly overseen by the American-led UN Command and North Korea.
India has signed a deal with Russia for acquiring Strum Ataka anti-tank missile for its fleet of Mi-35 attack choppers of Indian Air Force (IAF).
Indo Oman Joint Exercise Al Nagah III 2019, a joint military exercise between Indian and Royal Army of Oman (RAO), commenced at HQ Jabel Regiment, Nizwa, Oman. Ex Al Nagah 2019 will contribute immensely in developing mutual understanding and respect for each other’s military as also facilitate in tackling the worldwide phenomenon of terrorism.
Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) recently concluded a three-day ‘Mainamati Maitree Exercise 2019’ as a part of ‘Confidence Building Measures’ between the two border guards. The exercise was named after Mainamati hill range situated 8 km west of Comilla Township in Bangladesh, which is home to an ancient Buddhist archaeological site in the region.
Bengaluru is the world’s most dynamic city among 131 major established and emerging business hubs globally, according to the sixth City Momentum Index published by JLL.
Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is an umbrella that comprises the bulk of preferential schemes granted by industrialized nations to developing countries. It involves reduced Most Favored Nations (MFN) Tariffs or duty-free entry of eligible products exported by beneficiary countries to the markets of donor countries. The GSP was adopted at UNCTAD in New Delhi in 1968 and was instituted in 1971.
Qatar has decided to withdraw its membership from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) effective from January 2019 to focus on Liquefied Natural Gas (gas isn’t part of OPEC’s mandate) production.
Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety was signed at the Second Global High-Level conference on Road Safety held in Brazil.
France has witnessed four consecutive weekends of demonstrations against fuel tax rises, high living costs and other issues. The protest became known as the “yellow vest” or “gilets jaunes” movement because protesters took to the streets wearing the high-visibility yellow jackets that are required to be carried in every vehicle by French law.
Partners’ Forum is a global health partnership launched in September 2005 to accelerate efforts to reduce child and maternal mortality, improve adolescent, child, newborn and maternal health. Partners’ Forum is short for the meeting of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (The Partnership, PMNCH). This is the second time India is hosting the Partners’ Forum. The previous conference was held in Johannesburg, South Africa (2014), New Delhi, India (2010) and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (2007).
India has been ranked 108th out of 149 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index 2018, the same as 2017.
Recently the Australian government has recently decided to withdraw from the UN’s Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.The pact is not binding on member countries.
Vanuatu is a Pacific island country located in the South Pacific Ocean.
The second United Nations World Data Forum launched a Dubai Declaration to increase financing for better data and statistics for sustainable development.
Tehran, which sits 1,200m (3,900 feet) above sea level against the Alborz Mountains on a plateau, has rapidly grown over the last 100 years to a sprawling city of 13 million people in its metropolitan area.
Launched with the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA), the WWF-India report ‘Hidden Risks and Untapped Opportunities: Water and the Indian Banking Sector’ provides evidence for why water presents a material risk for banks in India, particularly how water risks could lead to stranded assets in the power and agriculture sectors, two sectors that account for the highest gross credit exposure of Indian banks.
India has signed an agreement to join the Trans Regional Maritime Network (T-RMN), aimed at exchange of information on the movement of commercial traffic on the high seas. The network is composed of 30 countries and is steered by Italy.
The defence Minister inaugurated the Diffo Bridge. It is built over the Diffo River in Lower Dibang Valley District in Arunanchal Pradesh. Dedicating the bridge to the nation, she also appreciated the commendable work done by project Udayak, BRO(Border Roads Organisation) in the region. Apart from the ease of people residing in the border areas. It is also important for India from a strategic point of view.
The Laureus World Sports Awards is an annual award ceremony honouring individuals and teams from the world of sports along with sporting achievements throughout the year. Swiss tennis player Roger Federer holds the record for the most awards with six, five for Sportsman of the Year and one for Comeback of the Year. A number of awards have been rescinded, namely those presented to American cyclist Lance Armstrong, American sprinter Marion Jones and Canadian amputee sprinter Earle Connor, each of whom were subsequently found to have illegally used drugs to achieve their records.
Operation Rahat-India launched a rescue operation in Yemen to ensure safe passage to Indian citizens and other foreign nationals who were stuck in Yemen after Saudi Led ccoalition intervened.
Despite a ban, rat-hole mining remains a prevalent practice for coal mining in Meghalaya, where a mine has recently collapsed.
Internationally, the outer space activities are governed by treaties and principles evolved under UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS). The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) was set up by the UN General Assembly in 1959 to govern the exploration and use of space for the benefit of all humanity: for peace, security and development. India is also a party to the Outer Space Treaty, 1967.
According to NITI Aayog data, Sikkim’s infant mortality rate is 16 per 1,000 live births (2016) compared to the national IMR of 34. Sikkim was also the first state to be declared open-defecation free.
Constitution benches normally have five judges, but there have been benches with seven, nine and even 13 judges. Article 145(3) says at least five judges need to hear cases that involve “a substantial question of law as to the interpretation” of the Constitution, or any reference under Article 143, which deals with the power of the President of India to consult the Supreme Court.
Securities Appellate Tribunal is a statutory body established under the provisions of Section 15K of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992.
Article 35A is a provision incorporated in the Constitution giving the Jammu and Kashmir Legislature a carte blanche to decide who all are ‘permanent residents’ of the State and confer on them special rightsand privileges in public sector jobs, acquisition of property in the State, scholarships and other public aid and welfare. The provision mandates that no act of the legislature coming under it can be challenged for violating the Constitution or any other law of the land.
The Tenth Schedule was inserted in the Constitution in 1985 by the 52nd Amendment Act. It lays down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection by the Presiding Officer of a legislature based on a petition by any other member of the House.
Article 124 of Constitution makes the CJI head of the Supreme Court and also provides for the manner of his removal. A person appointed as the CJI or any other judge of the Supreme Court can only be removed on the ground of “proved misbehavriour or incapacity” before retirement due to age or resignation or death. A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity. This provision of Constitution paved the way for the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968 and the Judges (Inquiry) Rules, 1969 which have laid down the entire process of removal of a Supreme Court judge. The process is formally called Impeachment. Impeachment of CJI or any other Supreme Court judge can be initiated in either House of Parliament. It requires a notice of motion issued by 100 MPs from the Lok Sabha or 50 MPs from the Rajya Sabha. The notice can be presented to the Speaker or the Chairman of the House (Vice President) as the case may be. The Congress and six other Opposition parties approached Vice President with signatures of 64 sitting Rajya Sabha MPs. The Speaker or the Chairman can accept or reject the notice of the motion for Impeachment of the CJI or any other Supreme Court judge. When the notice of the motion for Impeachment is accepted the Speaker or the Chairman forms a three-member committee to investigate the charges.
Article 112 of the Constitution requires the government to present to Parliament a statement of estimated receipts and expenditure in respect of every financial year, from April 1 to March 31. This statement is called the annual financial statement.
It is divided into three parts, Consolidated Fund, Contingency Fund and Public Account. For each of these funds, the government has to present a statement of receipts and expenditure.
In 1987, Goa became India’s 25th state. Konkani was included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution in 1992. Daman and Diu continues to be a Union Territory.
Tamil Nadu announced the creation of the state’s 33rd district — Kallakurichi.
By 2050, the earth’s population is projected to reach 9.8 billion (World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs).
The state should secure a social order for the promotion of the welfare of the people under Article 38 in The Constitution Of India.
Right to dignity, health, and shelter are statutory rights of elderly. All the three are components of the right to life under Article 21.
Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA) the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama will launch the second phase of the Web Campaign ‘SANJHI-MUJH MEIN KALAKAR’. It is an initiative to document and promote the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) and diverse cultural traditions of the country by direct public-participation.
The provincial Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in northwest Pakistan has declared the ancient Hindu religious site of Panj Tirath in Peshawar as national heritage.
The UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has named the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro as the World Capital of Architecture for 2020. The city is also home to works of renowned architects such as Oscar Niemeyer, who also designed the capital city of Brasilia.
Andhra Pradesh State Art Forms-Etikoppaka, Budithi brassware, tholu bommalata (leather puppetry) and kalamkari.
Pekiti Tirsia Kali is an indigenous Filipino martial art based on the use of the blade. It is the fighting style of the Tortal family from the Philippines.
Tapati Samvaranam is a pivotal play in Koodiyattam. It is among the top five plays that have traditionally found a stage in a clutch of Kerala temples, where the ancient Sanskrit theatre is an annual feature.
Traditional Chinese paper-cutting technique called Jianzhi. It is the only one listed in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list of 2009.
Mian Tansen was born as Ramatanu and later came to be known as Tanna. There are many legends woven around his life. It is said that he could produce any sound. The story goes that once when the sadhus were crossing a field they heard a lion’s roar and located it to a young boy sitting on a tree. They advised his father to send him to Swami Haridas for training. Tansen was the title given to him by Raja Vikramjit of Gwalior. Tansen was a court musician in the darbar of Raja Ramachandra of Bandavagarh (Rewa). Abul Fazl records in his Ain-i-Akbari that Akbar gave Rs 2 lakhs to Tansen for his first performance in the court. He composed many dhrupads on Ganesha, Shiva, Parvati and Rama. He also composed songs on his patrons. Kalpadruma is a compliation of 300 of his dhrupads that were in Gauhar Bani. Tansen composed in his favourite ragas — Multani, Bhairavi and Todi . He invented the night raga Darbari Kanhra, morning raga Mian Ki Todi, mid-day raga, Mian ki Sarang, seasonal raga Mian ki Malhar. His descendants and disciples are called Seniyas.
Patachitra is an indigenous form of scroll painting popular in West Bengal.
Aipan, the traditional terracotta and white motifs drawn on floors and walls on ceremonial occasions. It is a traditional folk art of Uttarakhand.
In Kerala, the traditional glove puppet play is called Pavakoothu.
Lalitgiri is believed to be the most sacred among the three sites as it unearthed a massive stupa where a relic of Buddha was discovered inside a stone casket. Lalitgiri is one of the earliest Buddhist sites of Orissa shows the cultural continuity right from the post Mauryan period to 13th century A.D without any break.
Three sites – Lalitgiri (the red hill), Ratnagiri (hill of precious gems), Udayagiri (the hill of the rising sun) are known as the diamond triangle of Odisha.
Udayagiri known as Madhavapura Mahavihara was a prominent centre of Buddhism between the 7th and 12th centuries.
Pre-dating what has been popularly regarded as the first war of independence in 1857, the Paika Bidroha (Paika Rebellion) of 1817 in Odisha briefly shook the foundations of British rule in the eastern part of India. Paikas under the leadership of Baxi Jagabandhu, the hereditary chief of the militia army of the Gajapati King of Khurda (a kingdom near Puri), rose in rebellion in March 1817, taking support of tribals and other sections of societyPaikas under the leadership of Baxi Jagabandhu, the hereditary chief of the militia army of the Gajapati King of Khurda (a kingdom near Puri), rose in rebellion in March 1817, taking support of tribals and other sections of society.
Basaveshwara was a 12th century spiritual master in Karnataka. Popularly known as Basavanna, he propagated moral, ethical and spiritual values for a peaceful and purposeful life. He formed a new spiritual institution which was based on democratic principles to spread universal love and brotherhood. Anyone, irrespective of caste, could become a member as long as they were pious and of good character.
Vrischikolsavam is an eight-day annual festival of Sree Poornathrayeesa temple, Tripunithura situated in Kochi (Kerala).
Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple is the only temple in South India where an odd pose of Lord Vishnu can be seen, sitting under the shade of five royal hoods of the divine serpant, Ananthan, whose folded body itself acts as the throne for the God.
The Saharia or Sahariya Tribe, one of the most backward tribes in the country, resides in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. They have been classified as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) because of low development indices.
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