IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-July 2019

  1. Cut money is the illegal commission which third party charges from people wishing to avail benefits from government schemes.
  2. A new species of pocket-sized pocket shark found recently in the Gulf of Mexico.
  3. Securitypedia is an online encyclopaedia launched by Central Industrial Security Force which incorporates a wide gamut of security-related practices across the globe.
  4. India has offered a USD 100 million line of credit to Benin for its development projects. It is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north.
  5. An assessment of compliance with Basel Norms was recently conducted by the Regulatory Consistency Assessment Programme (RCAP). RCAP is part of the Basel committee. Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) is the primary global standard setter for the prudential regulation of banks, has 45 members, comprising central banks and bank supervisors from 28 jurisdictions.
  6. Proahaetulla Antiqua a new species of vine snake discovered recently by researchers from the Western Ghats that dates back 26 million years.
  7. Based on new evidence assessing benefits and risks, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended the use of the HIV drug dolutegravir (DTG)as the preferred first-line and second-line treatment for all populations, including pregnant women and those of childbearing potential. ‘Dolutegravir is safe for pregnant women’.
  8. Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaii. Its peak is 4,207.3 m above sea level, making it the highest point in the state of Hawaii. Most of the volcano is underwater, and when measured from its underwater base, Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world, measuring over 10,000 m in height.
  9. Namdapha National Park is the largest protected area in the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot and is located in Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India. It is also the third largest national park in India in terms of area. It is located in the Eastern Himalayan sub-region and is recognized as one of the richest areas in biodiversity in India. The park harbours the northernmost lowland evergreen rainforests in the world at 27°N latitude. The area is also known for extensive Dipterocarp forests. The diverse vegetation and habitats of Namdapha grooms diverse species of animals and birds. It is only park in the World to have the four Feline species of big cat namely the Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard and Clouded Leopard and numbers of Lesser cats. A number of primate species are seen in the park, such as Assamese macaque, pig-tailed macaque, stump-tailed macaque and number of the distinctive Hoolock Gibbons (Hylobates Hoolock), highly endangered and only ‘ape’ species found in India dwells in this impenetrable virgin forest. 
  10. Under Article 341(1), the President of India, after consultation with the Governor, may specify, “the castes, races, tribes or parts of groups within castes or races, which shall be deemed to be Scheduled Castes”. Accordingly, the President has notified the Scheduled Castes in the order called ‘Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order-1950’ and the ‘Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes List (Modification) Order-1956. Under article 341(2), the Parliament of India by law can include or exclude the above-mentioned groups from the list of the Scheduled Castes.
  11. The International Waling Commission is the global body charged with the conservation of whales and the management of whaling. It is set up by the terms of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), which was signed in Washington, D.C., United States, on December 2, 1946 to “provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry. The IWC currently has 88 member governments from countries all over the world.  The Commission’s role has expanded since its establishment in 1946.  In addition to regulation of whaling, today’s IWC works to address a wide range of conservation issues including bycatch and entanglement, ocean noise, pollution and debris, collision between whales and ships, and sustainable whale watching. The Indian Ocean Whale Sanctuary and Southern Ocean whale sanctuary are the areas where the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has banned all types of commercial whaling.
  12. The U.S. Senate has passed a legislative provision that brings India at par with America’s NATO allies and countries like Israel and South Korea for increasing defence cooperation. The National Defense Authorisation Act or NDAA for the fiscal year 2020, that contained such a proposal was passed by the U.S. Senate The bill would be signed into law after both the chambers of the U.S. Congress — the House of Representatives and the Senate — passes it.
  13. The South Central Railway (SCR) has commissioned the longest electrified tunnel of 6.6 km built at a total cost of ₹460 crore between Cherlopalli and Rapuru stations. The tunnel is part of the recently completed Obulavaripalli-Venkatachalam new railway line.
  14. First Bamboo industrial Park – It will be set-up in Northeast, in Dima Hasao district of Assam
  15. Artemis is NASA’s ambitious lunar-exploration program, which aims to land astronauts near the moon’s south pole by 2024 and build up a long-term, sustainable presence on and around Earth’s nearest neighbor in the ensuing years.
  16. NASA’s Orion spacecraft will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability (can pull crew to safety in the unlikely event of an emergency during ascent), sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities. Orion will launch on NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket, the Space. NASA recently carried out a successful test of a launch-abort system for the Orion capsule designed to take U.S. astronauts to the Moon. 
  17. A total Solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes between sun and the earth and casts darkest part of its shadow on the earth. The darkest point of the eclipse is as dark as night. A total solar eclipse is only visible from a small area on Earth. The people who see the total eclipse are in the center of the moon’s shadow when it hits Earth.
  18. Partial solar eclipse happens when the moon comes between sun and the earth but they dont align in a perfect straight line. Because of this moon only covers partially of the Sun’s disc. The sun appears to have a dark shadow on only a small part of its surface.
  19. An annular eclipse happens when the moon is farthest from Earth. Because the moon is farther away from Earth, it seems smaller. It does not block the entire view of the sun. The moon in front of the sun looks like a dark disk on top of a larger sun-colored disk. This creates what looks like a ring around the moon.
  20. Borgeets (songs celestial) are a collection of lyrical songs that are set to specific ragas but not necessarily to any tala. These songs, composed by Srimanta Sankardeva and Madhavdeva in the 15th-16th centuries, are used to begin prayer services in monasteries associated with the Ekasarana Dharma; and they also belong to the repertoire of Music of Assam outside the religious context. They are a lyrical strain that express the religious sentiments of the poets reacting to different situations, and differ from other lyrics associated with the Ekasarana Dharma. Similar songs composed by others are not generally considered borgeets. The first Borgeet was composed by Srimanta Sankardeva during his first pilgrimage at Badrikashram in 1488, which is contemporaneous to the birth of Dhrupad in the court of Man Singh Tomar(1486-1518) of Gwalior. The borgeets are written in the pada form of verse. The first pada, marked as dhrung, works as a refrain and is repeated over the course of singing of the succeeding verses. In the last couplet, the name of the poet is generally mentioned. The structure of borgeets is said to model the songs of 8-10th century Charyapada.
  21. King Tutankhamen (or Tutankhamun) ruled Egypt as pharaoh for 10 years until his death at age 19, around 1324 B.C. Although his rule was notable for reversing the tumultuous religious reforms of his father, Pharaoh Akhenaten, Tutankhamen’s legacy was largely negated by his successors
  22. India’s first indigenously developed payment ecosystem for transport, based on National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) standards, launched in March 2019.
  23. Zero budget Natural farming is a set of farming methods that involves zero credit for agriculture and no use of chemical fertilisers. It means that for all the crops, the production cost will be zero. It doesn’t mean that the farmer is going to have no costs at all, but rather that any costs will be compensated for by income from inter-crops, making farming a close to zero budget activity.
  24. The dugong is the only herbivorous mammal that is strictly marine, and is the only extant species in the Family Dugongidae. It is listed as vulnerable to extinction at a global scale by The World Conservation Union (IUCN). The dugong has a large range that spans some 37 countries and territories and includes tropical and subtropical coastal and island waters from East Africa to Vanuatu, between about 26° north and south of the Equator.
  25. 301 probe is a probe undetaken before implementing actions as per Section 301 of the Trade Act of the US. Under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, the administration can take action, including tariffs, to counter another nation’s policies that restrict US commerce. Trump has invoked that previously little-used provision to impose or threaten tariffs on virtually all goods imported from China
  26. Train 18 is Indian Railways’ latest service that will replace India’s fastest Shatabdi Express train on the Delhi-Bhopal route from January 2019. Manufactured at Integral Coach Factory (ICF) Chennai, the ‘Make in India’ train set will be able to travel at speeds of 160 kmph, it will have modular European-style seats, automatic doors with sliding footsteps, fully-sealed gangways, continuous windows for panoramic experience etc. Train 18 will run without an engine
  27. Plan Bee, an amplifying system imitating the buzz of a swarm of honey bees to keep wild elephants away from railway tracks, on Tuesday earned the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) the best innovation award in Indian Railways for the 2018-19 fiscal.
  28. Entire orchid family is listed under appendix II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and hence any trade of wild orchid is banned globally.
  29. Merchant discount Rate is a fee charged from a merchant by a bank for accepting payments from customers through credit and debit cards in their establishments.
  30. Spektr-RG, developed with Germany, is a space observatory intended to replace the Spektr-R, known as the “Russian Hubble”, which Roskosmos lost control of in January. Spektr-R was launched in 2011 to observe black holes, neutron stars and magnetic fields. Its successor will take up similar duties.
  31. Cryogenics is the science relating to behaviour of materials at very low temperatures. Cryogenic technology is challenging to master, but essential for a rocket like GSLV Mk-III. Among all rocket fuels, hydrogen is known to provide the greatest thrust. But hydrogen in its natural gaseous form is difficult to handle, and therefore, not used in normal engines in rockets like PSLV. Hydrogen can be used in liquid form, but it turns liquid at a very low temperature — nearly 250°C below zero. To burn this fuel, oxygen too, needs to be in liquid form, and that happens at about 90°C below zero. Creating an atmosphere of such low temperatures in the rocket is difficult — it creates problems for other materials.
  32. Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) is the use of radio waves to read and capture information stored on a tag attached to an object for example car or a truck.  A tag can be read from up to several feet away and does not need to be within direct line-of-sight of the reader to be tracked. In India it is implemented as a part of Fastags an automatic toll collection method and in E-way bills in GST. In case of automatic toll collection, the tag is linked to a prepaid account from which the toll amount is deducted
  33. The Rajya Sabha passed the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2019, for establishing a Central University and Tribal University in Andhra Pradesh. The Tribal University will offer research facilities in the fields of art, culture and technology to the tribal population.
  34. LIGO India will come up in Maharashtra, near Aundha in Hingoli district. Most of the land has been acquired, and the small balance is going through a slightly longer acquisition procedure. The project is formally in the construction phase, with the building design conceptualised. Like the LIGO detectors, the one at LIGO India will also have two arms of 4 km length. But while there are similarities there will be differences too. Being an ultra-high precision large-scale apparatus, LIGO India is expected to show a unique “temperament” determined by the local site characteristics.
  35. The Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 was amended in 2015 with a provision allowing for Children in Conflict with Law (CCL) to be tried as adults under certain circumstances. The Act defines a child as someone who is under age 18. For a CCL, age on the date of the offence is the basis for determining whether he or she was a child or an adult. The amended Act distinguishes children in the age group 16-18 as a category which can be tried as adults if they are alleged to have committed a heinous offence — one that attracts a minimum punishment of seven years. The Act does not, however, make it mandatory for all children in this age group to be tried as adults.
  36. The Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa, are rugged volcanic isles known for their black- and white-sand beaches. Tenerife, the largest island, is dominated by the sometimes-snowy active volcano Mt. Teide, which has its own astronomical observatory and is part of Teide National Park. Tenerife hosts a huge pre-Lent Carnival in the capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
  37. Bhabha Kavach, billed is India’s lightest bullet-proof jacket. It is developed jointly by the Ordnance Factories Board and the public sector metals and metal alloys manufacturer MIDHANI, can withstand bullets from an AK-47 assault rifle (7.62 mm hard steel core bullets), and the 5.56 mm INSAS rifle. The Kavach weighs 9.2 kg, a half kilogram less than the weight for a bullet-proof jacket prescribed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)
  38. Tiangong-2 was a manned Chinese space station that was destroyed upon its controlled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. Tiangong-2 was retired from service after it had completed its experiments in space.
  39. Wombats are small marsupials. They are built for digging, with short legs, compact heads, short broad feet and strong claws. Like kangaroos, koalas and other marsupials, they have a pouch. But a wombat’s pouch is backwards. All wombats are nocturnal and spend their nights foraging for food or digging. Wombats are herbivores, which means they only eat vegetation. Some common meals for a wombat include roots, grasses, scrub, herbs and bark. All wombat species live in Australia and Tasmania in mountains, forests and grasslands. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), only one type of wombat is critically endangered. The Northern hairy-nosed wombat has gained this distinction because it can only be found in a very small location known as Epping Forest National Park.
  40. Section 11 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, empowers the EC to remove or reduce the period of disqualification.
  41. Agent Smith is a malware. Malware can replace apps on android phones with malicious versions without the user’s knowledge. Around 59% of those affected by Agent Smith are Indians.
  42. Ulhas River is a west flowing river in the state of Maharashtra.
  43. TRAFFIC, the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network, is the leading non-governmental organisation working globally on the trade of wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity and sustainable development. It was founded in 1976 as a strategic alliance of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). TRAFFIC helped establish wildlife sniffer dog units in countries around the world, including the first in South Korea in 2001, following feasibility studies. Since the 2008 establishment of the Wildlife Sniffer Dog unit in India, 43 dog squads have been trained, and the dogs, informally known as ‘Traffic’s super sniffers’, have been successful in leading to at least 150 wildlife seizures. TRAFFIC was also instrumental in the use of forensics to tackle wildlife crime, signing an MoU with TRACE (Technologies and Resources for Applied Conservation and Enforcement) in 2007.
  44. The rasagola, a popular dessert of Odisha, has received the geographical indication tag from the Registrar of Geographical Indication after years of controversy around the sweet.
  45. The Union Cabinet has already approved the building and development of the Kartarpur corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to the international border, in order to facilitate pilgrims from India to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur on the banks of the Ravi river, in Pakistan, where Shri Guru Nanak Devji spent eighteen years.
  46. India gets its 38th UNESCO World HERITAGE SITE as Pink City Jaipur. With Successful inscription of Jaipur City, India has 38 world heritage sites, that include 30 Cultural properties, 7 Natural properties and 1 mixed site.
  47. UNESCO designation as a World Heritage Site provides prima facie evidence that such culturally sensitive sites are legally protected pursuant to the Law of War, under the Geneva Convention, its articles, protocols and customs, together with other treaties including the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and international law.
  48. The Rs 1,000 crore Nirbhaya Fund was announced in Union Budget 2013. The corpus was to be utilised for upholding safety and dignity of women. Ministry of Women and Child Development apart from several other concerned ministries were authorised to work out details of structure, scope and application of this fund. The Fund is administered by Department of Economic Affairs of the finance ministry.
  49. The warming phase of ENSO is called El Nino, while the cooling phase is known as La Nina.
  50. The Finance Commission is constituted by the President under article 280 of the Constitution, mainly to give its recommendations on distribution of tax revenues between the Union and the States and amongst the States themselves.
  51. The LOP is leader of the largest party that has not less than one-tenth of the total strength of the house. It is a statutory post defined in the Salaries and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977. LoP is referred to as the ‘shadow Prime Minister’. Besides, the 10% formulation is inconsistent with the law ‘the salary and allowances of leaders of opposition in Parliament Act, 1977’ which only says that the largest opposition party should get the post.
  52. Defending India’s gender-specific rape law under which the perpetrator of the offence can only be a ‘man’, the Centre has told the Delhi High Court that “the existing definition of rape under Section 375 (rape) should be left untouched”.
  53. Government of India has launched “LaQshya” (Labour room Quality improvement Initiative) to improve quality of care in labour room and maternity operation theatres in public health facilities.
  54. The National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme under the Ministry of Rural Development. It came into effect from 15th August,1995.
  55. Kala-azar is endemic to the Indian subcontinent in 119 districts in four countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal). This disease is the second-largest parasitic killer in the world. Elimination is defined as reducing the annual incidence of Kala Azar (KA) to less than 1 case per 10,000 people at the sub-district level. Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), also known as kala-azar, black fever, and Dumdum fever, is the most severe form of leishmaniasis and, without proper diagnosis and treatment, is associated with high fatality. Caused by protozoan parasites of the Leishmania genus, migrates to the internal organs such as the liver, spleen (hence “visceral”), and bone marrow.
  56. Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) is a project initiated in June 2009 which aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of policing at the Police Station level. This will be done through adoption of principles of e-Governance, and creation of a nationwide networked infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled state-of-the-art tracking system around “investigation of crime and detection of criminals”. CCTNS is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) under the National e-Governance Plan of Govt. of India.
  57. Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) is a global business network of over 110 companies working to tackle corruption in the maritime industry.
  58. Palau has become 76th signatory country to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA). The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of more than 122 countries initiated by India, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, now extended to all members of UN.
  59. Core Investment Companies (CICs) are non-banking financial companies with asset size of ₹100 crore and above which carry on the business of acquisition of shares and securities, subject to certain conditions. CICs, which are allowed to accept public funds, hold not less than 90% of their net assets in the form of investment in equity shares, preference shares, bonds, debentures, debt or loans in group companies. Investments of CIC in the equity shares (including instruments compulsorily convertible into equity shares within a period not exceeding 10 years from the date of issue) in group companies constitutes not less than 60% of its net assets as mentioned in clause. CICs having asset size of below Rs 100 crore are exempted from registration and regulation from the RBI, except if they wish to make overseas investments in the financial sector.
  60. Public funds are not the same as public deposits. Public funds include public deposits, inter-corporate deposits, bank finance and all funds received whether directly or indirectly from outside sources such as funds raised by issue of Commercial Papers, debentures etc. However, even though public funds include public deposits in the general course, it may be noted that CICs/CICs-ND-SI cannot accept public deposits.
  61. 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.
  62. Spektr-RG is a Russian–German high-energy astrophysics space observatory launched recently. It follows on from the Spektr-R satellite telescope launched in 2011. The Spektrum-Röntgen-Gamma mission, also known as Spektr-RG, is a joint project between the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, and the German space agency, DLR. The observatory includes two X-ray mirror telescopes, called ART-XC and eROSITA. A key goal of Spektr-RG will be to investigate the mysterious cosmic components referred to as “dark matter” and “dark energy”.
  63. The National Centre for Coastal Research’s (NCCR) proposal of dropping ‘melted plastic rocks or slabs’ on the seabed for growing coral reefs and address the problem of disposal of plastic waste has drawn criticism from the Gulf of Mannar (GoM) Marine National Park, which has been implementing coral rehabilitation programme since 2002.
  64. Low-temperature thermal desalination (LTTD) technique works on the principle that water in the ocean 1,000 or 2,000 feet below is about 4º C to 8º C colder than surface water. So, salty surface water is collected in a tank and subject to high pressure (via an external power source). This pressured water vapourises and this is trapped in tubes or a chamber. Cold water plumbed from the ocean depths is passed over these tubes and the vapour condenses into fresh water and the resulting salt diverted away.
  65. Studies show that India’s road transport emissions are small in global comparison but increasing exponentially. In fact, the Global Carbon Project reports that India’s carbon emissions are rising more than two times as fast as the global rise in 2018. Globally, the transport sector accounts for a quarter of total emissions, out of which three quarters are from road transport.
  66. The Antarctic oscillation (AAO) is a low-frequency mode of atmospheric variability of the southern hemisphere. It is also known as the Southern Annular Mode (SAM). It is defined as a belt of westerly winds or low-pressure surrounding Antarctica which moves north or south as its mode of variability. In its positive phase, the westerly wind belt that drives the Antarctic Circumpolar Current intensifies and contracts towards Antarctica, while its negative phase involves this belt moving towards the Equator. Winds associated with the Southern Annular Mode cause oceanic upwelling of warm circumpolar deep water along the Antarctic continental shelf, which has been linked to ice shelf basal melt, representing a possible wind-driven mechanism that could destabilize large portions of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.
  67. Colistin is a valuable, last-resort antibiotic that saves human lives in critical care units. Indiscriminate use of colistin has led to rise of antimicrobial resistance in the country. If the use of colistin as a growth factor in animals is cut down and it is limited to therapeutic usage only, the chances of developing resistance to it goes down.
  68. A turnover ratio represents the amount of assets or liabilities that a company replaces in relation to its sales. The concept is useful for determining the efficiency with which a business utilizes its assets. Conversely, a low liability turnover ratio (usually in relation to accounts payable) is considered good, since it implies that a company is taking the longest possible amount of time in which to pay its suppliers, and so has use of its cash for a longer period of time.
  69. Recently it was found that Sargasso seaweed algae belt is increasingly growing in Sargosso Sea. It is named for a genus of free-floating seaweed called Sargassum. The Sargasso Sea lies within the Northern Atlantic Subtropical Gyre. While all other seas in the world are defined at least in part by land boundaries, the Sargasso Sea is defined only by ocean currents. The Gulf Stream establishes the Sargasso Sea’s western boundary, while the Sea is further defined to the north by the North Atlantic Current, to the east by the Canary Current, and to the south by the North Atlantic Equatorial Current.
  70. Red Mud is a solid waste generated during the aluminium production process.
  71. Shodhganga is a digital repository for research scholars across Universities and Institutes to deposit, re-use & share their Theses & Dissertations in digital formats including scanned documents. It is in open access to the world-wide academic community.
  72. GAFA Tax is a legislation — dubbed the GAFA tax — an acronym for Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon – passed recently by France Parliament. With this, France has become the first major economy to impose a tax on digital giants.
  73. The Mangdechhu hydroelectric project is a 720MW run-of-river power plant built on the Mangdechhu River in Trongsa Dzongkhag District of central Bhutan.
  74. Maharashtra has become the first state in the country to adopt automated multimodal biometric identification system (AMBIS).
  75. Chrysomallon squamiferum is found at three hydrothermal vents in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. It is a scaly- foot snail found at only three spots in the Indian Ocean. It has become the first species to be officially declared threatened due to deep-sea mining. It was added by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to its updated Red List of Endangered Species on July 18, 2019.
  76. World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended the use of the HIV drug dolutegravir (DTG) as the preferred first-line and second-line treatment for all populations, including pregnant women. Recent studies comparing DTG to another drug Efavirenz (EFV) found it to be more effective, easier to take and having fewer side effects. In the present scenario of rising drug resistance, it is important that DTG has a high genetic barrier to developing drug resistance.
  77. 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).
  78. 2019 is the United Nations’ International Year of Indigenous Languages. Papua New Guinea has the highest number of ‘living’ indigenous languages in the world (840), while India stands fourth with 453.
  79. The Non-pneumatic Anti-shock Garment (NASG) is a first-aid device used to stabilize women who are suffering from obstetric hemorrhage and shock.
  80. The annual “Kharchi Puja” and festival is meant to cleanse the sins of mortal souls. Originally a Hindu tribals’ festivity, it is now observed by all communities and religions.
  81. SAGAR MAITRI is a unique initiative of DRDO which aligns with the broad objective of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s policy declaration “Safety And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR)” to promote closer co-operation in socio-economic aspects as well as greater scientific interaction especially in ocean research among Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) countries.
  82. Border Security Force (BSF) has launched a massive exercise, code named as Sudarshan, to fortify Anti-Infiltration Grid along Pakistan border in Punjab and Jammu.
  83. Operation Thirst is an all- India drive launched by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) to curb menace of selling unauthorised packaged drinking water in railway stations.
  84. Tamil yeoman (Cirrochroa thais) butterfly species endemic to Western Ghats has been declared the state butterfly of Tamil Nadu.
  85. Recently, Centre granted “in-principle” clearance for uranium exploration in Amrabad Tiger Reserve in Telangana. The area proposed for mining falls under the Amrabad and Nudigal Reserved Forests of the ‘core area’ of the tiger reserve. This tiger reserve lies in Nallamala hill that stretch in Mahbubnagar and Nalgonda districts of Telangana. The area lies along a patch where the Nallavagu and Dindi rivers merge, forming a major tributary and catchment of the Krishna river. It is India’s second-largest tiger reserve, next only to the Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve, Andhra Pradesh.
  86. iSpace, a Chinese startup, has launched first commercial rocket of China- Hyperbola-1– into the Earth’s orbit. Hyperbola-1 is carrying the CAS-7B CubeSat (microsatellite). It is an amateur radio mission which is developed by the Beijing Institute of Technology. Hyperbola-1 is also carrying a satellite for Aerospace Science and Technology Space Engineering Development Co. Ltd.
  87. Markandeshwar group of temples-The Archaeological Survey of India is restoring the Markandeshwar group of temples in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. This group of temples were built between the 9th and 12th centuries and may have had up to 24 different temples. It gets its name from the main temple dedicated to Lord Shiva called Markandeshwar or Markandadeo temple, which lies in Markanda village on the banks of the Wainganga river. They are famously known as the ‘mini Khajuraho’ or ‘Khajuraho of Vidarbha’. They belong to saiva, vaishnava and sakti faith. The temples belong to the Nagara group of temples of North India. It is believed that a lightning strike about 200 years ago led to the partial collapse of the shikhara. Then a Gond ruler about 120 years ago tried to restore the temple.
  88. Kangra Miniature painting is one of the schools of Pahari paintings along with Guler, Basholi, Mandi, Chamba and Bilaspur. Miniatures are small-sized paintings, generally done in watercolor on cloth or paper. The name Kangra style is given to this group of painting for the reason that they are identical in style to the portraits of Raja Sansar Chand of Kangra.
  89. Nigeria became the fourth African country to join the Global Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators. The initiative to form a coalition was taken by the Netherlands in 2016 at the Conference of the Parties–Convention of Biological Diversity held in Mexico.
  90. The Golokpur tea estatein Unakotidistrict of Tripura set a record for selling maximum quantity of white tea. White tea (minimally processed) is harvested even before the plants leaves unfurl fully with the buds still covered by fine white hairs, hence, the name white. India accounts for 14% of global tea exports and nearly 20% of the tea produced in the country is exported, according to Tea Board India. India and Tea Production- The largest consumer of tea in the world, the second largest producer of tea in the world, the fourth largest exporter of tea in the world.
  91. Mount Etna is the highest Mediterranean island mountain and the most active stratovolcano in the world. It is about 3,326 metres high and is the highest peak in Italy South of the Alps.
  92. The Madhya Pradesh government hasdecided to declarethe Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary a tiger reserve. The state received an approval for the same from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) 11 years ago.
  93. Sahamati is a new platform developed by Aadhar architect Nandan Nilekani which aims to make bank account operations paperless. Sahamati is a Collective of Account Aggregator (AA) ecosystem being set up as a non-Government, private limited company. AA is a process by which information from all of an individual’s or household’s accounts are collected in one place. The architecture of AA is based on the Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA) framework.
  94. TheSarus Crane is the tallest flying birdin the world and was declared as the state bird of Uttar Pradesh (UP) in 2014. It is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list. The Sarus is listed under schedule IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Species listed in Schedule IV are protected, but the penalties are much lower. Sarus Cranes are known to live in association with humans and well-watered plains, marshland, ponds, and wetlands (like Dhanauri wetland in UP) which are suitable for their forage and nesting.
  95. Dachigam (stands for ‘ten villages’) National Park is located about 22 Kilometers from Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. The main animal species that Dachigam is most famous for is the hangul, or the Kashmir stag.
  96. Hope Island is tadpole shaped island formed 200 years ago by sand formation in the East Godavari district. It is situated 10 km from Coringa Wildlife Sanctuaryand Sri Kukkuteswara Swamy Temple.
  97. Leachate is the black, foul-smelling toxic liquidemanating from rotting garbage at landfills, which not just has fungus and bacteria in it but harmful chemicals as well. Leachate generation is a major problem for municipal solid waste (MSW) Leachate treatment options include recycling, on-site treatment, discharge to a municipal sewage treatment plant, or a combination of these approaches.
  98. Anshula Kant will be the first woman Chief Financial Officer of the World Bank.
  99. Intas Pharmaceuticals (Indian drug maker) has launched an affordable drug Romiplostim(Romy) at one-fifth of the price of the currently available drugs for the treatment of Immune Thrombocytopenia(a chronic autoimmune blood disorder). Romiplostim represents the standard of care but has been available only internationally since 2008.
  100. India’s first cow sanctuary,Kamdhenu Gau Abhayaranya, will be privatised soon. Located in Agar-Malwa district (Madhya Pradesh), the sanctuary was established in the year 2017 at a cost of Rs 32 crore and can house around 6,000 cows at full capacity.
  101. A locust is a large,mainly tropical grasshopper with strong powers of flight. They differ from ordinary grasshoppers in their ability to change behaviour (gregarize) and form swarms that can migrate over large distances. Locusts are generally seen during the months of June and July as the insects are active from summer to the rainy season. Locusts have a high capacity to multiply, form groups, migrate over relatively large distances (they can fly up to 150 km per day) and, if good rains fall and ecological conditions become favourable, rapidly reproduce and increase some 20-fold in three months. Four species Desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria), Migratory locust (Locusta migratoria), Bombay Locust ( Nomadacris succincta) and Tree locust (Anacridium sp.) are found in India.