IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-January 2022

IAS Abhiyan is now on Telegram:

IAS Abhiyan Official Telegram Channel: Click Here to Join

For Mains Value Edition (Facts, Quotes, Best Practices, Case Studies): Click Here to Join

IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-September 2021

IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-January 2022

  1. When the body is infected, say with a virus, it responds by producing white blood cells called lymphocytes. The main types are B cells, which make antibodies, and T cells, which either support B cell antibody production or act as killer cells to destroy the virus.

  2. Indonesia passed a bill replacing its capital Jakarta with East Kalimantan, situated to the east of Borneo island. The new capital city of the country will be called Nusantara. East Kalimantan is 2,300 kilometres from Jakarta on the eastern side of Borneo island, shared by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. The new capital will be located in the North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara regions. East Kalimantan is an area with immense water resources and habitable terrain.
  3. Ground-based measurements of surface temperature recorded by weather stations, ships, and ocean buoys around the globe are validated with satellite data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite.
  4. India’s Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), which is part of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), has announced a hackathon to fight the coronavirus. Christened SAMHAR-Covid-19. (SAMHAR stands for ‘Supercomputing using AI, ML, Healthcare Analytics based Research, and means ‘to vanquish’ in Sanskrit.)
  5. Disinvestment proceeds are mostly used to finance fiscal deficit, finance large-scale infrastructure development, for investing in the economy, for retiring government debt, and for social programmes like health and education. Successful divestment of a loss-making unit also means that the government does not have to fund its losses going forward. They are useful in part-funding the deficit. The decision to disinvest is mainly to reduce the fiscal burden and bridge the revenue shortfall of the government. 
  6. Revenue expenditure is one that does not create assets for the future or reduces any liability of the government. Salaries of government employees, interest payment on past debt, subsidies, pension etc are expenses that are categorised as revenue expenditure. These expenses are recurring in nature.
  7. Fiscal deficit is the excess of total disbursements from the consolidated fund of India, excluding repayment of debt, over total receipts into the fund (excluding debt receipts) during a financial year. Simply put, it is the amount the government spent beyond its income and is measured as a percentage of the GDP. Fiscal consolidation refers to the ways and means of narrowing the fiscal deficit. A government typically borrows to bridge the deficit. It will then have to allocate a part of its earnings to service the debt.
  8. Flex fuel vehicles (FFV) are capable of running on 100 per cent petrol or 100 per cent bio-ethanol or a combination of both.
  9. Bio-ethanol contains less energy per litre than petrol but the calorific value (energy contained in the fuel) of bio-ethanol will become on par with petrol with use of advanced technology. 
  10. The rupee is impacted by three factors. One, the US dollar will strengthen further as interest rates of dollar denominated securities begin moving higher. This will make rupee decline. Two, if FPIs continue to pull money out of stock and bond markets that will weaken the rupee too. Three, if global risk aversion increases, money is typically pulled out of riskier assets such as emerging market assets in to safe havens such as gold and US treasury instruments. This will impact rupee too. If interest rates in US increase, the spread between US and Indian government bonds will narrow causing global funds to pull money out of Indian G-secs. RBI will therefore have to raise interest rates in India to prevent FPI outflows from Indian bond market.
  11. NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. There is no substitute to the original. If you extrapolate that to the digital world with the help of blockchain, you would have an NFT. It is like a digital world collectible, a digital asset, which is available to be bought and sold online, with digital proof of ownership through blockchain. Most NFTs are part of Ethereum blockchain. Ehtereum is a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Shiba Inu or a Dogecoin. Other cryptocurrencies, too, can and indeed, are offering NFTs, but the most popular one right now is the Ethereum blockchain and transactions happen using ETH coins. NFT, is thus, any digital asset such as a piece of music, image, photograph, painting, GIF, meme an audio or video file or game that can exist in a digital format.
  12. The Crops Diversification Programme (CDP) is being implemented as a sub scheme of the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana since 2013-14 to shift area under paddy cultivation towards less water guzzling crops such as oilseeds, pulses, coarse cereals, nutri cereals, cotton, etc.
  13. The Thrissur Corporation and the Nilambur municipality have been recommended for inclusion among the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC). UNESCO GNLC plays a vital role in forging links between cities, fostering partnerships and capacity development in improving learning facilities. The United Nations Sustainable Group (UNSDG) will be approached to designate the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation as a city of peace, while efforts are being made to make the Kollam Corporation a ‘biodiverse city’ in association with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  14. One of the largest vehicles for climate finance connected to the UNFCCC is GCF, which was born out of the Copenhagen Accord of 2009. It offers financing through “a flexible combination of grants, concessional debt, guarantees or equity instruments”. 
  15. Grey pelicans fall in the ‘Near Threatened’ category of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. Grey pelicans and painted storks come to various parts of Andhra Pradesh from Siberia during winters for breeding.
  16. Russia, the world’s largest exporter of wheat, also harvested less and has now imposed a tax on wheat export to ensure ample stock for domestic consumption. 
  17. The massacre, dubbed ‘Gujarat’s Jallianwalla Bagh’, happened March 7, 1922. Bhil residents of Pal Dadhvaav and Chitariya villages in what is today’s Sabarkantha district, gathered on the banks of the Her, a local river, to protest taxes imposed by the British.
  18. The Nile, the longest river in the world, is one of the frontlines of conflict over its water as climate change sweeps Africa and the world. The river’s precious waters have been valued since antiquity but have been in the news since the last decade over Ethiopia building a huge dam upstream, much to Egypt and Sudan’s chagrin. The Nile is the longest river in the world and brings together 11 riparian countries. These are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda, Tanzania, Sudan and Egypt. The Nile is made up of two main tributaries. There is no consensus on what is the most distant source of the White Nile. But its journey northwards starts at Jinja on the northern shore of Lake Victoria in Uganda. The White Nile meets the Blue Nile at Khartoum, the Sudanese capital. The Blue Nile originates from Lake Tana in Ethiopia. The unified stream from Khartoum continues north, passing through Egypt, before emptying into the Mediterranean near Alexandria.
  19. Madagascar, the world’s fourth-largest island, located just across the Mozambique Channel from the coast of mainland Africa, became notorious late last year after water became more expensive than food in the country. Many in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo and its suburbs risk their lives to access water for basic human needs.
  20. The United Kingdom declared BA.2 a variant under investigation amid an increase in the number of patients infected by the that sub-lineage of the omicron variant of the novel coronavirus.
  21. Kaza is the gateway to the Himalayan cold desert that spans Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts of Himachal Pradesh in the south to Ladakh in the north.
  22. The Pensilungpa glacier in the Zanskar Valley Ladakh’s Kargil district had shrunk by 36 per cent between 1962 and 2012.
  23. Pumas, found throughout the Americas, maintain relationships with an astounding 485 living species and play a critical role in holding ecosystems together throughout the Western Hemisphere. The species is elusive and often mischaracterised as a vicious, solitary predator, leading to persecution and fuelling human-puma conflict.
  24. TB is an endemic disease in India, home to a quarter of the world’s total cases. Every third person has latent TB bacteria in their body.
  25. An investigation by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) has shown that Unilever Plc’s claims about the recyclability of sachets using a controversial method called ‘chemical recycling’ has largely been a failure in Indonesia.
  26. Giant pandas are herbivores. Their diet mainly consists of bamboo leaves and shoots. From late August to April, they chew on fibrous leaves containing large amounts of hemicellulose and cellulose.
  27. butyricum(Clostridium butyricum) produces a compound called butyrate. This metabolic by-product increased the levels of a gene Per2, which further accelerates lipid synthesis and storage. 
  28. Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Urjit Patel has been appointed vice-president of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Mr. Patel will serve a three-year term as one of the multilateral development bank’s five vice presidents.
  29. The protective Neanderthal-derived haplotype confers approximately 23 per cent reduced risk of becoming critically ill on infection with SARS-CoV-2. A haplotype is defined as a group of DNA variants inherited together because of how similar they are. These are variations in the DNA that are so close together that they tend not to recombine and therefore tend to be passed down through the generations together.
  30. Domestic hazardous waste does find a mention in the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, which define it as “discarded paint drums, pesticide cans, compact fluorescent lightbulbs, tube lights, expired medicines, broken mercury thermometers, used batteries, used needles and syringes and contaminated gauge, etc generated at household levels”.
  31. Sistan-Baluchestan is considered among the poorest and most under-developed regions in Iran. The province is home to the Baloch people, who make up the majority and overlap into the neighbouring Balochistan province of Pakistan. The province is also home to Chabahar on the Persian Gulf, where India is building a huge port. The Sunni Baloch population in the province has often complained of discrimination by the Shia Persian regime in Tehran. 
  32. Chile is world’s second largest producer of lithiumand has third largest lithium reserve. Chile’s central valley, also known as Pampas, lies between Andes and the Pacific Ocean.
  33. Article 129 of the Constitutiongives the Supreme Court the power to initiate contempt cases on its own, independent of the motion brought before it by the AG or with the consent of the AG.
  34. The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted recently. It lies along the Pacific ‘Ring of fire’, and is just over 60 kilometres from the island nation of Tonga. Its length is over 40,000 kilometres and traces from New Zealand clockwise in an almost circular arc covering Tonga, Kermadec Islands, Indonesia, moving up to the Philippines, Japan, and stretching eastward to the Aleutian Islands, then southward along the western coast of North America and South America.
  35. The crocodile found in Iran is the same species that is present throughout the Indian subcontinent, the mugger crocodile or Crocodylus palustris. The Iran muggers represent the westernmost population of mugger crocodiles and the westernmost population of crocodiles before you reach the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) in Africa. Crocodiles in Sistan-Baluchestan are known by the Balochi term ‘Gando’, meaning ‘moving on a belly. They occupy ponds along two large rivers, namely Bahu-Kalat and Kaju, two dam reservoirs (Pishin and Zirdan).
  36. India is among the six Indo-Pacific nations participating in Sea Dragon Exercise– a multi-lateral anti-submarine warfare exercise in the Pacific Ocean. Navies of the US, India, Australia, Canada, Japan and South Korea were the participants of the exercise.
  37. India’s State of Forest Reporthas classified India’s forests into four categories. Very Dense Forest (with tree canopy density of 70 per cent or above). Moderately Dense Forest (tree canopy density of 40 per cent or above but less than 70 per cent). Open Forest (tree canopy density of 10 per cent or above but less than 40 per cent). Scrub (tree canopy density less than 10 per cent).
  38. During El Niño, the oceans release some amount of heat, contributing to a mini global warming. So, the warmest years in terms of surface temperature are El Niño years. During La Niña, oceans take up heat and bury it at depths away from the surface. Melting ice accelerates sea-level rise. Another contributor is the thermal expansion of water. It means that as oceans heat up, water expands. This leads to an increase in the volume of water.
  39. Heparin is an anticoagulant that keeps blood clots from forming during surgery. It also finds use in certain medical conditions. This compound is sourced from pigs. 
  40. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. People with type 1 diabetes make little to no insulin. This is because their immune system attacks this hormone.
  41. Betacoronavirus is one of the four genera of coronaviruses to which SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 belong. The other three are alpha, gamma and delta. 
  42. The Maya civilisation originated in the Yucatan Peninsula. Known for its monumental architecture and an advanced understanding of mathematics and astronomy, it flourished between 600 and 800 AD. But then, suddenly, between 800 and 950 AD, many of the southern cities were abandoned. This period is called the collapse of the Classic Maya civilisations, puzzling modern-day scientists.
  43. A creeper that once gave a monk’s robe its saffron hue has made a Buddhist village in eastern Assam’s Charaideo district adopt a forest. Five years ago, the bhikkhu s of a Buddhist monastery in the 152-year-old Chalapather Shyamgaon had bemoaned the near-extinction of bhungloti , a creeper that in combination with the pith of the roots of a jackfruit tree yielded a saffron dye for their robes. The women of the village too lamented how getting vital ingredients from four indigenous plants for dyeing their mekhela , a traditional garment, indigo blue was getting increasingly difficult.
  44. Animals shed DNA through their breath, saliva, fur or faeces into the environment. These samples are called e-DNA.
  45. Omisure — India’s first home-grown testing kit — can differentiate the omicron strain of the novel coronavirus from the delta, alpha and the other variants in under four hours.
  46. Union Home Minister recently launched the District Good Governance Index (DGGI) in Jammu and Kashmir, which is the first Union Territory to have such an index.
  47. Resolution 2334 was adopted by the UN Security Council to reaffirm the international community’s firm commitment to preventing the erosion of the two-state solution.
  48. India has said that it is willing to engage in talks with Pakistan on upgrading the 1974 protocol to allow air travel as well as increase the number of shrines pilgrims from both countries could visit. The Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines 1974 is a bilateral agreement between India and Pakistan facilitating Indian and Pakistani nationals to visit certain religious shrines in both countries.
  49. The Vande Bharat Express is also known as Train 18. It is an India’s first semi-high-speed train. It is an EMU (Electric multiple unit) train which was designed and manufactured by Integral Coach Factory (ICF) at Perambur, Chennai.
  50. Article 27 provides for Freedom from payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion. But under Article 25(2), government can charge fees for providing economic, administrative, financial, political or other secular services.
  51. In 2018, the Quito Adjustment is the adjustment made to the Montreal Protocol. It aims high to avoid 1ºC of future warming.
  52. Lithuania is one of three Baltic states and lies on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. Lithuania shares land borders with Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia to the southwest.
  53. Union Minister of State for Culture released a pictorial book on India’s Women Unsung Heroes of Freedom Struggle as part of Azadi ka Mahotsav, in New Delhi. Rani Abakka, the Queen of Ullal, Karnataka fought and defeated the mighty Portuguese in the 16th century.  Velu Nachiyar, the queen of Sivaganga was the first Indian queen to wage war against the British East India Company.  Jhalkari Bai, was a woman soldier who grew to become one of the key advisors to the Rani of Jhansi and a prominent figure in the First War of Indian Independence, 1857.
  54. GitHub is the world’s largest open-source developer community platform where users upload their projects and code for others to view, edit, and tweak. The idea of GitHub is this: any developer can upload whatever software code or app code or software idea they have on the platform, and have others collaborate with them to help improve it, find errors, and fix problems.
  55. The Port of Duqm is situated on the southeastern seaboard of Oman, overlooking the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. It is strategically located, in close proximity to the Chabahar port in Iran. With the Assumption Island being developed in Seychelles and Agalega in Mauritius, Duqm fits into India’s proactive maritime security roadmap.
  56. The Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) can carry satellites weighing up to 500 kg to a low earth orbit while the tried and tested PSLV can launch satellites weighing in the range of 1000 kg. The SSLV is the smallest vehicle at 110-ton mass at ISRO. It will take only 72 hours to integrate, unlike the 70 days taken now for a launch vehicle. 
  57. In a historic moment for Pakistan’s judiciary, Lahore High Court’s Justice Ayesha Malik was sworn in as the Supreme Court’s first female judge. India’s first female judge Justice Fathima Beevi was appointed in 1989, just eight years after Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman to serve on the US Supreme Court. In 1981, O’Connor was appointed associate justice of the highest court by President Ronald Reagan.
  58. The Bhandari community’s traditional occupation was toddy-tapping and distilling, farm tilling and working in orchards. It is placed in the Other Backward Class (OBC) category in Goa. The community is spread across Goa and Maharashtra’s Konkan belt including parts of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.
  59. In 2020, resignation rates across the US plummeted due to the fear and uncertainty caused by the pandemic. However, one year later, as the workforce experienced a collective burnout, individuals left their jobs at unprecedented rates, leading some to describe the phenomenon as the Great Resignation.
  60. The Supreme Court has appointed an inquiry committee under its former judge Justice Indu Malhotra to probe the security breach during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Punjab.
  61. The total funds disbursed under Rythu Bandhu, Telangana government’s direct benefit transfer scheme for farmers, will soon touch Rs 50,000 crore in the coming days. Rythu Bandhu is a scheme under which the state government extends financial support to land-owning farmers at the beginning of the crop season through direct benefit transfer so that they can take care of the initial investment needs and do not fall into a debt trap. Each farmer gets Rs 5,000 per acre per crop season without any ceiling on the number of acres held. So, a farmer who owns two acres of land would receive Rs 20,000 a year, whereas a farmer who owns 10 acres would receive Rs 1 lakh a year from the government.
  62. Article 212 (1) states that “The validity of any proceedings in the Legislature of a State shall not be called in question on the ground of any alleged irregularity of procedure”.
  63. Under Section 151 (A) of The Representation of the People Act, 1951, “a bye-election for filling any vacancy… [in the House] shall be held within a period of six months from the date of the occurrence of the vacancy”. This means that barring exceptions specified under this section, no constituency can remain without a representative for more than six months.
  64. Rules 373, 374, and 374A of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha provide for the withdrawal of a member whose conduct is “grossly disorderly”, and suspension of one who abuses the rules of the House or willfully obstructs its business. The maximum suspension as per these Rules is “for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less”. The maximum suspension for Rajya Sabha under Rules 255 and 256 also does not exceed the remainder of the session. Several recent suspensions of members have not continued beyond the session.
  65. IndiGau chip India’s first Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) based chip for the conservation of pure varieties of indigenous cattle breeds like, Gir, Kankrej, Sahiwal, Ongole, etc. was developed. IndiGauis the largest cattle chip of the world with 11,496 markers (SNPs) more than that placed on 777K Illumina chip of US & UK breeds. This indigenous chip was developed by the concerted efforts of scientists of National Institute of Animal Biotechnology (NAIB), Hyderabad, an autonomous institution under the aegis of the Department of Biotechnology.
  66. The difference between a meteor, meteorite and meteoroid is nothing but where the object is. Meteoroids are objects in space that range in size from dust grains to small asteroids. “Think of them as “space rocks,” NASA says. But when meteoroids enter the Earth’s atmosphere they are called meteors. But if a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere and hits the ground, it is called a meteorite.
  67. The National Education Alliance for Technology (NEAT), which is being implemented by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), aims to act as a bridge between edtech companies, academic institutions and students. The initiative was taken after a Ministry of Education review noted that learning tools developed by edtech platforms that can supplement classroom teaching need to be made more accessible. Accordingly, it was proposed that a portal be created where edtech platforms can be roped in to display their products after a shortlisting process.
  68. The Government of India has appointed Anantha Nageswaran as the new Chief Economic Advisor. He is a former member of Prime Minister Economic Advisory Council. The CEA is the head of the Department of Economic Affairs that operates under Ministry of Finance.
  69. The period 1987-97 is significant in Indian maritime/Naval history, because for these 10 years, India was the only developing country to have a multi-carrier force, comprising the INS Vikrant and Viraat, until the former was decommissioned on January 31, 1997.
  70. This year, tentatively in August, on the eve of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, we will witness such a breakthrough coming to fruition, when the Indian Navy (IN hereafter) commissions its first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, the IAC-1, or the Vikrant. With IAC-1 out on its latest phase of sea trials, it is relevant to reconstruct IN’s long journey towards fulfilling its 60-year old aspiration of operating an indigenous Aircraft Carrier, and celebrate the exemplary perseverance of Naval policy-makers and leaders, both past and present, responsible for bringing us to where we are today.
  71. Veer Baal Diwas — a tribute to the bravery of children — is dedicated to the Chhote Sahibzaade, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh, the two youngest sons of Guru Gobind Singh, who were bricked alive on the orders of Wazir Khan, the Mughal faujdar of Sirhind, for refusing to renounce their faith and become Muslim.
  72. Aquamation, or alkaline hydrolysis, is a process in which the body of the deceased is immersed for a few hours in a mixture of water and a strong alkali in a pressurized metal cylinder and heated to around 150 degree centigrade. The combination of gentle water flow, temperature and alkalinity accentuate the breakdown of the organic materials.
  73. As part of the Financial Stability Report(FSR), which is published twice each year, the RBI also conducts a Systemic Risk Survey (SRS), wherein it asks experts and market participants to assess the financial system on five different types of risks — global, financial, macroeconomic, institutional and general.
  74. S Somanath was recently appointed the 10th chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He will assume the charge as the Secretary of the Department of Space and the Chairman, Space Commission, upon the superannuation of K Sivan.
  75. China and India share a disputed 3,488-km boundary, the third longest among China’s 22,457-km land boundaries with 14 countries, after the borders with Mongolia and Russia. Besides India, Bhutan (477 km) is the only other country with which China has a disputed land border.
  76. The Ladakh bridge has now become the world’s highest motorable road, passing through a pass situated at an elevation of 19,000 feet. The road is in south Ladakh, connecting Chisumle and Demchok. It passes through a pass known as Umling La, which is at a height of over 19,000 feet. The Chisumle-Demchok road is also higher than the Siachen Glacier, which is situated at 17,700 feet. Khardung La in Leh, which at one time was among the highest roads in the world, is at an altitude of 17,582 feet.
  77. Desh ke Mentor programme was launched in October 2021 and is aimed at connecting students in classes IX to XII with voluntary mentors. People between the ages of 18 and 35 can sign up to be mentors through an app created by a team at the Delhi Technological University and will be connected with students based on mutual interests. The mentorship entails regular phone calls for a minimum of two months, which can optionally be carried on for another four months. The idea is for the young mentors to guide students through higher education and career options, preparation for higher education entrance exams, and dealing with the pressure of it all.
  78. Sir Creek is a 96-km strip of water disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch Originally named Ban Ganga, Sir Creek is named after a British representative. The Creek opens up in the Arabian Sea and roughly divides the Kutch region of Gujarat from the Sindh Province of Pakistan. Sir Creek is considered to be among the largest fishing grounds in Asia.
  79. The Houthi rebels of Yemen have claimed responsibility for the suspected drone attack in Abu Dhabi recently, which killed three people, including two Indians.
  80. The first supercomputer assembled indigenously, called Param Shivay, was installed in IIT (BHU). Similar systems Param Shakti and Param Brahma were installed at IIT-Kharagpur and IISER, Pune. India has developed an indigenous server (Rudra), which can meet the High-Performance Computing (HPC) requirements of all governments and PSUs. This is the first time that a server system was made in India, along with the full software stack developed by C-DAC.
  81. Of the 23 pathogens studied, drug resistance in six (E coli, S aureus, K pneumoniae, S pneumoniae, A baumannii, and P aeruginosa) led directly to 9.29 lakh deaths and was associated with 3.57 million. One pathogen-drug combination – methicillin-resistant S aureus, or MRSA – directly caused more than 1 lakh deaths. Resistance to two classes of antibiotics often considered the first line of defence against severe infections – fluoroquinolones and beta-lactam antibiotics – accounted for more than 70% of deaths caused by AMR.
  82. The term ‘gain of function research’ has recently cropped up in the debate about the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed over 34 lakh people worldwide. ‘Gain of function’ is a field of research focused on growing generations of microorganisms, under conditions that cause mutations in a virus. These experiments are termed ‘gain of function’ because they involve manipulating pathogens in a way that they gain an advantage in or through a function, such as increased transmissibility.
  83. India has plans to reintroduce cheetahs at the Kuno National Park in Sheopur and Morena districts of Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior-Chambal region, 70 years after the animal was officially declared extinct in India, in what could be the world’s first inter-continental cheetah translocation project. The country will get 12 to 15 cheetahs from South Africa and Namibia by the end of this year.
  84. The Van Gujjars are a semi-nomadic pastoral community, which continues to practice seasonal migration across forests in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh in pursuit of their pastoral livelihood.
  85. Andhra Pradesh recently found that ‘Mud Crab Reovirus (MCRV)’ has been the reason for mass mortality of wild crab (Scylla serrata). Mud Crab Reovirus belongs the “Reoviridae” family. It is responsible for the mass mortality of wild crabs. The virus mainly affects the connective tissue of hepatopancreas, intestine and gills. It is also known as Sleeping Disease. It mainly affects the connective tissue of hepatopancreas, gills, and intestine.
  86. Recently, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has launched Smart cities and Academia Towards Action & Research (SAAR), which is a joint initiative of MoHUA, National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) and leading Indian academic institutions of the country. Under the program, 15 premier architecture & planning institutes of the country will be working with Smart Cities to document landmark projects undertaken by the Smart Cities Mission.
  87. The United Kingdom-based Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) has listed five sites with unusual features. These sites are associated with World War I and World War II. Among them is Nagaland’s Kohima War Cemetery. CWGC is an intergovernmental organisation of six member-states who ensure the men and women who died in the wars will never be forgotten.
  88. India has emerged as the largest exporter of gherkins in the world. India has crossed the USD 200 million mark of export of agricultural processed product- pickling cucumber, which is globally referred as gherkins or cornichons, in the last financial year. Gherkins are exported under two categories — cucumbers and gherkins, which are prepared and preserved by vinegar or acetic acid and cucumbers and gherkins, which are provisionally preserved.
  89. The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Nepal for construction of bridge over Mahakali River at Dharchula (India)- Dharchula (Nepal). River Mahakali is a trans-boundary/ international river between India and Nepal.
  90. Bridgmanite is the most volumetrically abundant mineral commonly found between Earth’s core and mantle. Also known as Silicate perovskite, it makes up 70% of lower mantle. Bridgmanite consists of magnesium, iron, calcium aluminum oxide and has a perovskite structure.
  91. Solatium, which first appeared in English in the early 19th century, is from Latin sōlātium or sōlācium. It means “solace” or “to console”. Solatium is a form of compensation for emotional rather than physical or financial harm. It is a payment made to a victim as compensation for injured feelings or emotional pain and suffering (such as the trauma following the wrongful death of a relative).
  92. Prion-like proteins (PrLPs) have been widely demonstrated to be present in plants, but their role in plant stress and memory remains unexplored. The rice prionome was found to be significantly enriched in transposons /retrotransposons (Ts/RTRs) and over 60 rice PrLPs that were differentially regulated in stress and developmental responses were identified.
  93. Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus (ToLCNDV) infection causes severe losses in tomato yield worldwide. Lack of information on resistance (R) genes against ToLCNDV has considerably retarded the pace of crop improvement against this rapidly spreading pathogen. An effective defense strategy deployed by a resistant tomato cultivar against ToLCNDV was reported. It employs Sw5a (R gene) that recognizes AC4 protein (viral effector) of ToLCNDV to restrict virus spread.
  94. Rice pan-genome genotyping array (RPGA), a 90K SNP genotyping array based on 3K rice pan-genome had been developed for genomics-assisted breeding and accelerated crop improvement. Contrary to conventional SNP genotyping arrays that relies on single reference genome RPGA assays variants from entire 3K rice pan-genome. This enables RPGA to tag haplotype variation present in entire pan-genome, which include both core (genes shared by all accessions) as well as dispensable (subpopulation/cultivar specific genes) genome. The usefulness of RPGA for large-scale pan-genome based genotyping applications was demonstrated by their high-throughput genotyping in the natural germplasm accessions and RIL mapping population of rice.
  95. An endorheic lake (or a sink lake or terminal lake) is a collection of water within an endorheic basin, or sink, with no evident outlet. The largest endorheic lake is the Caspian Sea. It also happens to be the largest overall lake in the world. The two main ways that endorheic lakes accumulate water are through river flow into the lake (discharge) and precipitation falling into the lake. The collected water of the lake, instead of discharging, can only be lost due to either evapotranspiration or percolation. Endorheic lakes are generally saline as a result of being unable to get rid of solutes left in the lake by evaporation.
  96. The Ernakulam Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) has stepped in to create awareness on water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) invasion of waterbodies, which is increasingly posing a threat to cage fish farming enterprises in the backwaters. Water hyacinth also acts as a breeding ground for parasites and other hazardous organisms that spread diseases among fish. The plant emerges as a threat mostly to cage aquaculture as it considerably reduces water flow in fish cages installed in the backwaters.
  97. ICAR – Sugarcane Breeding Institute (ICAR-SBI), Coimbatore in collaboration with Anamalai Tiger Reserve, conducted a campaign on “Knowledge empowerment of tribals’ and launched its STC (Scheduled Tribe Component) project at Attagatti in Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR). Referring to the ‘Malasar’ tribes who are of great help to  the Forest Department in training the elephants with their profound knowledge and skill on handling Asian elephants.
  98. Ruminal Acidosis was caused by excessive feeding of Pongal, rice and other sweets on the day of ‘Maattu Pongal’. Every year, a day after ‘Maattu Pongal’, the Madras Veterinary College at Vepery would witness a strange phenomenon. Cows, bulls, goats and sheep that appear tired and unable to walk would be brought in by their owners. This means they are extremely sick owing to SARA — Subacute Ruminal Acidosis — and if such animals are not treated immediately, they may die. In severe cases, it is called Ruminal Acidosis. If too much acid is produced owing to excessive sugary items in the stomach, it may even turn fatal. Festival-related Ruminal Acidosis, however, is mostly found in cattle in urban areas where people cross the limit while feeding the animals with sweet. Animals become sick because Ruminal Acidosis destroys millions of microbes, consisting of a variety of tiny organisms called protozoa, bacteria and other microbial organisms, that reside in their stomach. These microbes help the cattle digest hay, grass and other feed and enable them to produce the tasty milk.
  99. Frontrunning is when a person, mainly a broker or an advisor, takes a buy or sell position in any stock based on exclusive knowledge that the recommendations being issued by them will certainly lead to price variation in the particular stock in the near future.
  100. Strangely, ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine and convalescent plasma therapy were included by ICMR in the recommended treatment guidelines even in the absence of data. Hydroxychloroquine was approved in end-March 2020 primarily for ICMR to carry out studies.
  101. To make the mutant fish with gjd2b protein knocked out, the genome editing tool TALEN (Transcription Activator-Like Effector Nuclease) was used. It is possible to do such exciting research using the latest and most advanced tools and techniques in India today.
  102. The ocean living microbe Nitrosopumilus maritimus and its cousins, called ammonia oxidising archaea play an important role in the nitrogen cycle. For this, they need oxygen. So it has been a long-standing puzzle why they are also very abundant in waters where there is no oxygen. The researchers found that these micro-organisms make their own oxygen. N. maritimus was using the oxygen present in water but the oxygen levels started increasing again in water. They micro-organisms were able to make oxygen even in a dark environment. Not sufficiently high to influence oxygen levels on Earth, but enough to keep itself going. N. maritimus couples the oxygen production to the production of gaseous nitrogen. By doing so they remove bioavailable nitrogen from the environment.
  103. Factors that induce itch are called pruritogens. Tissues that are sensitive to itch include the skin, mucus membranes and the cornea of the eye. Some nerve fibres in these tissues (pruriceptors) are stimulated by pruritogens and the resulting signals are carried, via itch-signaling neurons in the spinal cord, to the brain. There are several different receptors and channels that respond to pruritogens. A common example of chronic itch is atopic dermatitis, an inflammatory condition showing cracked, itchy skin, which is often caused by allergens. 
  104. In “Radiation Protection and Safety of radiation Sources: International Basic Safety Standards” (2014), the IAEA considers that the frivolous use of radiation or radioactive substances in toys and personal jewellery or adornments, which result in an increase in activity, is unjustified.
  105. Naturally occurring radiative material (NORM) is material found in the environment that contains radioactive elements of natural origin. NORM primarily contains uranium and thorium (elements that also release radium and radon gas once they begin to decay) and potassium. These elements are naturally decaying and are considered a primary contributor to an individual’s yearly background radiation dose. NORM is often found in its natural state in rocks or sand. It can also be associated with oil and gas production residue (such as mineral scale in pipes, sludge and contaminated equipment), coal ash (produced from burning coal for energy production) and on filter media (such as the used filters from municipal drinking water treatment equipment). NORM can also be present in consumer products, including common building products (like brick and cement blocks), granite counter tops, glazed tiles, phosphate fertilizers and tobacco products.
  106. A team of researchers from North Carolina State University’s Plant Disease and Insect Clinic has discovered a jumping behaviour that is entirely new to insect larvae, and there is evidence that it is occurring in a range of species. The previously unrecorded behaviour occurs in the larvae of a species of lined flat bark beetle (Laemophloeus biguttatus). What makes the L. biguttatus so remarkable is that it makes these leaps without latching two parts of its body together. It uses claws on its legs to grip the ground while it builds up that potential energy — and once those claws release their hold on the ground, that potential energy is converted into kinetic energy, launching it skyward.
  107. Asafoetida (Hing0 is believed to be one of the best spices to balance the Vata Dosha. Hing in Hindi, perungayam in Tamil, inguva in Telugu, ingu in Kannada) and how this smelly spice has been of use in our cuisine and also in traditional medicine. The cold desert climatic conditions in the Lahaul–Spiti area in Himachal Pradesh are remarkably similar to those in the Iran and Afghanistan, and wondered whether asafoetida cannot be grown in India too.
  108. Recently, a study, conducted by researchers from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune. The group studied two species of frog – Humayun’s Night Frog (Nyctibatrachus humayuni) and Amboli Bush Frog (Pseudophilautus amboli). Frogs have different types of call to suit different occasions, a new study finds. Both species of anurans are endemic to the Western Ghats. The two species were chosen intentionally because they were common where they are found and belong to two distantly related lineages of anurans.
  109. Kochi, Kerala has become India’s first city to have a Water Metro Project after the launch of its first boat, namely ‘Muziris,’ among the 23 battery-powered electric boats being manufactured by Cochin Shipyard Limited.
  110. Union Minister of State for Science & Technology inaugurated India’s first open rock museum at CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Hyderabad.
  111. France reported new variant of CoVID – called IHU. It can be detected a polymerase chain reaction analysis, hence lesser need of genome sequencing for its identification. The IHU variant that the researchers mention is B.1.640 which, according to global databases, was first discovered way back in January last year.
  112. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Nature and Business Report, a nature-positive pathway in the infrastructure and built environment could create over $3 trillion in business opportunities and create 117 million jobs by 2030. 
  113. India is one of the Founding members of the intergovernmental platform of Tiger Range Countries – Global Tiger Forum, and over the years, GTF has expanded its programme on multiple thematic areas, while working closely with the Government of India, tiger states in India and tiger range countries. Recently, the Government of Malaysia and Global Tiger Forum (GTF) organized the 4th Asia Ministerial Conference on tiger conservation and appreciated the efforts of the Government of Malaysia in creating a role model for mitigation measures with respect to linear infrastructure in tiger habitat, in the form of “Central Spine and landscape level planning.”

To Read Previous Months Monthly Prelims inFocus: Click here

To Download our Monthly Current Affairs Digest (Free Prelims inFocus): Click here