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IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-July 2021
- Odisha government has declared Puri as the first city in the country to have city-wide safe drinking tap water that can be used directly for drinking and cooking without further filtration or boiling.
- The largest reserves of gold ores are located in Bihar (44 per cent), followed by Rajasthan (25 per cent), Karnataka (21 per cent), West Bengal (3 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (3 per cent), Jharkhand (2 per cent). The remaining 2 per cent reserves are in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
- The Indian government announced plans to launch Biotech-PRIDE (Promotion of Research and Innovation through Data Exchange) to deposit biological data in the country’s national repository.
- Scientists from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre For Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India have modified the structure of Berberine, a natural and cheap product similar to curcumin, available commercially, into Ber-D to use as a Alzheimer’s inhibitor.
- D Vasini Bai, a women innovator from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, has developed ten varieties of Anthurium, a flower with high market value, by cross-pollination. Anthurium(Anthurium spp.) is a vast group of beautiful blooming plants available in a wide range of colors. The plants of the varieties are having high demands due to its use as indoor decorative plants. The National Innovation Foundation-India has facilitated mass multiplication and large-scale production of four highly demanded varieties through tissue culture technique at the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR), Bangalore, for the diffusion of the varieties in similar agroclimatic zones of the country. Anthurium is one of the best domestic flowering plants in the world. They are beautiful but also purify the surrounding air and remove harmful airborne chemicals like formaldehyde, ammonia, toluene, xylene, and allergens. Its importance of removing toxic substances from the air, NASA has placed it in the list of air purifier plants. Anthurium has larger economic importance because of its eye-catching and beautiful inflorescence and fetches a good market price.
- Kadambini Ganguly was the first woman to get admission to the Calcutta Medical College in 1884and first Indian female doctor of India.
- Indian Naval Ship Talwarparticipated in a multinational training exercise Cutlass Express 2021, being conducted along the East Coast of Africa. The exercise is an annual maritime exercise conducted to promote national and regional maritime security in East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean. The Western Indian Ocean is where the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea meet. It connects North America, Europe and Asia, and as such is of global strategic importance.
- A couple of recent scientific publications by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have resolved the mystery on the demography and speciation in red panda (Ailurus fulgens), one of the most iconic species in terms of its importance relating to global conservation. Scientists from the ZSI have concluded that India is home to both the (sub) species — Himalayan red panda (Ailurus fulgens) and the Chinese red panda (Ailurus styani) and the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh splits the red panda into these two phylogenetic species. The clade 1 represented the Himalayan red panda which was formed by the samples originated from the north West Bengal, Sikkim and central and western Arunachal Pradesh and South Tibet, located in the west of the Siang river. Clade 2 represented the Chinese red panda with samples originated from the Dibang valley of eastern Arunachal Pradesh, India and southwest China, in the east of the Siang.
- Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) was launched as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package announced in May 2020 to mitigate the distress caused by coronavirus-induced lockdown, by providing credit to different sectors, especially MSMEs.
- The WHO Emergency Use Listing Procedure (EUL) is a risk-based procedure for assessing and listing unlicensed vaccines, therapeutics and in vitro diagnostics with the ultimate aim of expediting the availability of these products to people affected by a public health emergency.
- Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease (transmission from animals to humans) and is identified as a pox-like disease among monkeys hence it is named Monkeypox. It is endemic to Nigeria. It is caused by monkeypox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. Human-to-human transmission can result from close contact with infected respiratory tract secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or objects recently contaminated by patient fluids or lesion materials. There is no specific treatment or vaccine available for Monkeypox infection. The natural host of the virus remains undefined.
- The Siachen Glacier is located in the Eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas, just northeast of Point NJ9842 where the Line of Control between India and Pakistan ends. It is the Second-Longest glacier in the World’s Non-Polar areas. Fedchenko Glacier, located in Yazgulem Range, Tajikistan is the Longest glacier in the World’s Non-Polar areas.
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines ‘severe acute malnutrition’ (SAM) by very low weight-for-height or a mid-upper arm circumference less than 115 mm, or by the presence of nutritional oedema. Children suffering from SAM have very low weight for their height, and are nine times more likely to die in case of diseases due to their weakened immune system.
- Biotech-PRIDE (Promotion of Research and Innovation through Data Exchange) Guidelines was released by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology. These guidelines envisage to bridge other existing biological datasets/data centres with the IBDC, which will be called Bio-Grid. These guidelines will be implemented through Indian Biological Data Centre (IBDC).
- Kendu leaf is called the green gold of Odisha. It is a nationalised product like bamboo and sal seed. It is one of the most important non-wood forest products in Odisha. Odisha is the third-largest producer of kendu leaf, after Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
- The Indira Gandhi Canal is the longest canal in the country. It starts from Harike Barrage, a few kilometres below the confluence of the Satluj and Beas rivers in Punjab, flows through Ludhiana and terminates in the Thar Desert in northwest Rajasthan. Buddha Nullah and East Bein (a rivulet in Doaba in Punjab) are major point sources discharging treated / untreated wastewater into the Sutlej.
- For digitisation of pan-India drug seizure data, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has launched an e-portal called ‘SIMS’ (Seizure Information Management System) in 2019 for all the drug law enforcement agencies under the mandate of Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS).
- Cabo Delgado is the northernmost province of Mozambique. It is bordering the neighbouring country of Tanzania, and the provinces of Nampula and Niassa. The region is an ethnic stronghold of the Makonde tribe, with the Makua and Mwani as leading ethnic minorities.
- Chemotaxis in microbiology refers to the migration of cells toward attractant chemicals or away from repellents. In multicellular organisms, chemotaxis is critical to early development (e.g., movement of sperm towards the egg during fertilization) and subsequent phases of development (e.g., migration of neurons or lymphocytes) as well as in normal function and health (e.g., migration of leukocytes during injury or infection).
- The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) is an independent body responsible for monitoring the control of substances pursuant to the three United Nations drug control conventions, and assisting Member States in their efforts to implement those conventions. It plays an important role in monitoring the production and trade of narcotics and psychotropics, as well as their availability for medical and scientific purposes, and in deciding which precursors should be regulated. INCB has 13 members, each elected by the Economic and Social Council for a period of five years. INCB members may be re-elected. Ten of the members are elected from a list of persons nominated by Governments. The remaining three members are elected from a list of persons nominated by the World Health Organization (WHO) for their medical, pharmacological or pharmaceutical experience. Members of the Board shall be persons who, by their expertise, competence, impartiality and disinterestedness, will command general confidence. Once they have been elected, INCB members serve impartially in their personal capacity, independently of Governments.
- Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS) has been agreed upon as accreditation tool by the global coalition of Tiger Range Countries (TRCs) and has been developed by tiger and protected area experts. Officially launched in 2013, it sets minimum standards for effective management of target species and encourages assessment of these standards in relevant conservation areas. CA|TS is a set of criteria which allows tiger sites to check if their management will lead to successful tiger conservation.
- The Mumbai Metropolitan Region is likely to get its first Ramsar site at the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary, with the Maharashtra Mangrove Cell submitting the proposal for approval to the State Wetland Authority. It is Maharashtra’s second marine sanctuary after the Malvan sanctuary. It is recognized as an “Important Bird Area” by the Bombay Natural History Society.
- The Programme to Promote Regional Maritime Security (MASE) Programme was adopted in 2010 in Mauritius, and is jointly run by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The programme’s primary objective is to strengthen the maritime security capacity of Eastern and Southern Africa and the WIO region in order to implement the Regional Strategy and Action Plan against Piracy. Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) is a part of it.
- System for Pension Administration (RAKSHA) (SPARSH) is being implemented for meeting the pension sanction and disbursement requirements for Armed Forces viz. Army, Navy, Air Force and Defence Civilians. Pensioner Portal provides a single window for the pensioners to avail the pension related services such as facility to view the pension details, pension entitlements, pensioner profile details, Income Tax forms etc.
- Biocentrism often comes into conflict with its contrarian philosophy, namely anthropocentrism. Anthropocentrism argues that of all the species on earth humans are the most significant and that all other resources on earth may be justifiably exploited for the benefit of human beings.
- Rule No 222 in Chapter 20 of the Lok Sabha Rule Book and correspondingly Rule 187 in Chapter 16 of the Rajya Sabha rulebook governs privilege. The Speaker/RS chairperson is the first level of scrutiny of a privilege motion. The Speaker/Chair can decide on the privilege motion himself or herself or refer it to the privileges committee of Parliament.
- The European Union introduced new legislation, Fit for 55, to cut its GHG emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 and to net-zero by 2050.
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to allow non-bank payment system providers (PSPs), including prepaid payment instruments (PPI) issuers like mobile wallets, card networks and white label ATM operators to participate in the Centralised Processing System (CPS) as direct members. CPS includes Real Time Gross Settlement and National Electronic Funds Transfer systems, owned and operated by the RBI.
- Global Footprint Network, founded in 2003, is an independent think tank originally based in the United States, Belgium and Switzerland. It was established as a charitable not-for-profit organization in each of those three countries. Global Footprint Network develops and promotes tools for advancing sustainability, including the ecological footprint and biocapacity, which measure the number of resources we use and how much we have. These tools aim at bringing ecological limits to the center of decision-making.
- Pneumonia is an acute respiratory infection of the lungs. It is also a Pneumococcal disease caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcus. Pneumonia caused by bacteria is easily preventable with vaccines. In order to accelerate actions for reducing deaths due to childhood Pneumonia, an initiative named “Social Awareness and Actions to Neutralize Pneumonia Successfully (SAANS)” has been launched in 2019.
- The word ‘forest’ is not defined in any Central Forest Act, namely the Indian Forest Act (1927), or the Forest Conservation Act (1980). The Central government has not laid down any criterion to define forest. However, as far the FRA 2006 is concerned it grants forest rights to tribals and other traditional forest dwellers on all types of classified and unclassified and deemed forests as well.
- The Supreme Court in the Godhvarman case post 1996 ordered for bringing under purview of the Forest Conservation Act 1980 those forests which fall under the dictionary meaning of ‘forests’ irrespective of the legal category.
- Wasteland is defined not as desertified land, but land that not used for agriculture, commercial use or as forest land. For instance, it could use grasslands, that are used by communities for grazing.
- Maulana Azad Education Foundation an autonomous body under the aegis of Ministry of Minority Affairs implements Gharib Nawaz Employment Scheme to provide short term job-oriented skill development courses to minorities’ youth in order to enable them for skill-based employment through the empanelled Program Implementation Agencies (PIAs) as per common norms of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSD&E).
- Kandla Special Economic Zone (KASEZ), the oldest export zone in the country, has become the “first green industrial city” in India to receive a platinum rating under IGBC Green Cities Rating for existing cities in the industrial cities category.
- ‘Kongu Nadu’ is neither a place with a PIN code nor a name given formally to any region. It is a commonly used name for part of western Tamil Nadu. In Tamil literature, it was referred to as one of the five regions of ancient Tamil Nadu. There were mentions of ‘Kongu Nadu’ in Sangam literature as a separate territory. In the present state of Tamil Nadu, the term is informally used to refer to a region that includes the districts of Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Karur, Namakkal and Salem, as well as Oddanchatram and Vedasandur in Dindgul district, and Pappireddipatti in Dharmapuri district. The name derives from Kongu Vellala Gounder, an OBC community with a significant presence in these districts.
- The spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) is a small dolphin found in off-shore tropical waters around the world. It is famous for its acrobatic displays in which it spins along its longitudinal axis as it leaps through the air. They are included in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and in Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species. They are categorised as ‘Endangered’ on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. They were included in Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
- Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) is a principle within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ evolved from the notion of the ‘common heritage of mankind’. The principle of CBDR is enshrined in Earth Summit 1992, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- The 2020 Millennium Technology Prize, announced in May, has been awarded to Shankar Balasubramanian and David Klenerman, “for their development of revolutionary DNA sequencing techniques.” Their work is a perfect blend of science and innovation, and very apt as we have all heard a great deal about genome sequencing in the context of the ongoing pandemic.
- Nord Stream 2 Pipeline is a system of offshore natural gas pipelines running under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.
- India’s commitments include establishing a 450 GW (giga watt) of renewable energy by 2030, enhanced ambition in bio-fuels, India’s NDCs (nationally determined contributions), and initiatives taken on Urban Climate Action.
- July 30 is United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Persons.
- Article 252 of the Constitution gives Parliament the power to legislate for two or more states by consent and it lays down that such an Act shall apply to the consenting states and to any other states by which it is adopted through a resolution passed on that behalf by the House or, where there are two Houses, by each of the Houses of the legislature of that state.
- The Police Commission appointed by Lord Curzon in 1902 found that the Act V of 1861 was not applicable in the provinces of Madras and Bombay — it, therefore, recommended that the Act be enforced in these provinces as well.
- China has harvested the first batch of Space rice from seeds that went to a 23-day lunar voyage with China’s Chang’e-5.
- Geo-imaging satellite for earth observation EOS-03, which would enable near real-time monitoring of natural disasters like floods and cyclones, is scheduled for launch in the third quarter of 2021. EOS-03 is capable of imaging the whole country four-five times daily. EOS-03 would also enable monitoring of water bodies, crops, vegetation condition, forest cover changes.
- Bhumi Panduga is a festival traditionally celebrated in every village for three days at the beginning of Tolakari. The importance of this festival is to pay homage to the seeds and the earth along with the caste deities, wishing that this year’s rains would be plentiful and that their lands would flourish. Recently, the hamlets of Koya tribes in the Chintoor Agency of East Godavari district have been abuzz since the past few weeks as the residents get ready with their bows and arrows every morning for hunting in the forests.
- Gwalior and Orchha in Madhya Pradesh were included in the list of UNESCOs world heritage cities under its urban landscape city programme in December 2020. Only eight cities in the entire South Asian region have been recognised under the UNESCO’s Historic Urban Landscape Project and Varanasi and Ajmer are the other two Indian cities recognised by UNESCO under the project.
- The first developmental flight of the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2021 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. ISRO’s vast experience in solid propulsion and heritage of proven design practices has enabled the SSLV to be developed as a cost-effective, three stage and all-solid launch vehicle with a payload capability of 500 kg to 500 km planar orbit or 300 kg to Sun Synchronous Polar Orbit. The SSLV is ideal for the on-demand, quick turn-around launch of small satellites. The major technologies developed as part of the realisation of the SSLV are flexible nozzle control with electro-mechanical actuators for all stages, miniaturised avionics and a velocity trimming module in the upper stage for precise satellite injection.
- The Committee of Experts (CoE) constituted by the Ministry of Defence under the chairmanship of Lt Gen (Retd) DB Shekatkar to recommend measures to enhance combat compatibility and rebalance defence expenditure of the armed forces.
- e-Mulakat was an online platform enabling relatives/friends/ advocates of prisoners to book prior appointments for interviewing prisoners through the National Prisons Information Portal.
- Hyderabad-based technology R&D firm Grene Robotics has designed and developed India’s first indigenous drone defence dome called “Indrajaal”.
- Green House Gas (GHG) Emission Calculator is an efficient, user-friendly tool and provides for calculating and comparing GHG emissions across different modes. It allows for a commodity-wise comparison of GHG emissions and total cost of transportation, including their environmental cost, between movement by road and rail. The tool is intended to facilitate appropriate modal choice for all concerned.
- The new species of Hemiphyllodactylus minimus is the smallest member of the genus with a maximum body size of little of over six cm has discovered in a sacred grove near Humma in Ganjam district of Odisha. It is a new species of gecko, commonly known as lizards.
- As per the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, compensation on account of the implementation of GST will be available for a period of five years. Compensation beyond five years requires a constitutional amendment. The GST Act says it is a law to provide for compensation to the States for the loss of revenue arising on account of the implementation of the GST for a period of five years or for such period as may be prescribed on the recommendation of the GST Council. Article 279A was inserted through the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act.
- The King chili from Nagaland is also referred to as Bhoot Jolokia and Ghost pepper. It got GI certification in 2008. Raja Mircha contains Scoville Heat Units (SHUs) which makes it the world’s hottest chili.
- Kappa and Lambda variants have been labelled as Variants of Interest (VoI) by WHO. The designation of a variant as VOI or VOC is an important part of the global response to the pandemic. However, no matter which variant it is, there is no change in the recommended measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2.
- Gross value added (GVA) is an economic productivity metric that measures the contribution of a corporate subsidiary, company, or municipality to an economy, producer, sector, or region. GVA is essentially a measure of the “net” value of output — deducting the cost of any input that went into its production from its total value. GVA thus adjusts gross domestic product (GDP) by the impact of subsidies and taxes (tariffs) on products.
- Climate change has dramatically altered the Swiss Alp landscape — at a quicker pace than expected — as melting glaciers have created more than 1,000 new lakes across the mountains, a study published on Monday showed. The inventory of Swiss Glacial lakes showed that almost 1,200 new lakes have formed in formerly glaciated regions of the Swiss Alps since the end of the Little Ice Age around 1850. The Alpine region of Switzerland, conventionally referred to as the Swiss Alps.
- In a bid to prevent suicides triggered by mental health issues in prisons across the country, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, has recommended the “Gatekeeper Model” where selected inmates, trained to identify prisoners at risk of suicide, would refer them to treatment or supportive services.
- In September 2008, Ecuador became the first country in the world to recognise “Rights of Nature” in its Constitution. Bolivia has also joined the movement by establishing Rights of Nature laws too. In November 2010, the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania became the first major municipality in the United States to recognise the Rights of Nature.
- The Supreme Court recently held that in any election, be it to Parliament or State legislature, the maintenance of secrecy of voting is “a must”. Secrecy is a part of the fundamental right of freedom of expression. The confidentiality of choice strengthened democracy. Democracy and free elections were a part of the Basic Structure of the Constitution.
- Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) is a modified version of vehicles that could run both on gasoline and doped petrol with different levels of ethanol blends. The concept of FFV has been proposed in view of the rising ethanol percent in petrol. According to the NITI Aayog report, FFVs have compatible engines to run on more than 84 per cent ethanol blended petrol. Flex fuels are cheaper than petrol.
- Cherrapunji or Sohra is a subdivisional town in the East Khasi Hills district in Meghalaya. It is the traditional capital of ka hima Sohra known as Khasi tribal kingdom. It is often been credited as being the wettest place on Earth.
- Pegasus spyware is upgraded to the ‘Zero-click’ attack making it the most powerful spyware out there, more potent and almost impossible to detect or stop. A zero-click attack helps spyware like Pegasus to gain control over a device without human interaction or human error. It does not require any action from the phone’s user.
- Great Indian Bustards (GIB) are the largest among the four bustard species found in India, the other three being MacQueen’s bustard, lesser florican, and the Bengal florican. GIBs are considered the flagship bird species of grassland. The bird is uplisted from Endangered to Critically Endangered, Appendix I, Critically Endangered and Schedule I by the Birdlife International, CITES, IUCN and Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 respectively.
- The Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation is conducted every two years by UNESCAP.
- Harela, the festival commemorating the new harvest in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, was celebrated in several areas. Harela is celebrated as the monsoon starts and is considered one of the most important festivals in the entire Kumaon region. Uttarakhand, which is believed to be the mythological abode of the Hindu deity Lord Shiva, celebrates Harela with much pomp and show as it falls on Lord Shiva’s favourite month. Locals of Garhwal said Harela is also linked to the Barahnaza system (12 types of crops), a crop diversification technique followed in the region.
- The price-to-earnings ratio (P/E ratio) is the ratio for valuing a company that measures its current share price relative to its per-share earnings (EPS). The price-to-earnings ratio is also sometimes known as the price multiple or the earnings multiple.
- Monkey B virus (BV) is an alphaherpesvirus enzootic in macaques of the genus Macaca. B virus is the only identified old-world-monkey herpes virus that displays severe pathogenicity in humans. The infection can be transmitted via direct contact and exchange of bodily secretions of monkeys and has a fatality rate of 70 per cent to 80 per cent. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Macaque monkeys commonly have this virus, and it can be found in their saliva, feces, urine, or brain or spinal cord tissue. The virus may also be found in cells coming from an infected monkey in a lab. B virus can survive for hours on surfaces, particularly when moist. Humans can get infected if they are bitten or scratched by an infected monkey. Currently, there are no vaccines that can protect against B virus infection.
- MESSENGER was a NASA robotic space probe that orbited the planet Mercury between 2011 and 2015, studying Mercury’s chemical composition, geology, and magnetic field.
- Article 340 of the Indian Constitution lays down conditions for the appointment of a Commission to investigate the conditions of the backward classes. The President may by order appoint a Commission consisting of such persons as he thinks fit to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes within the territory of India.
- Business confidence index (BCI) survey is done by the industry body FICCI.
- Bhutan becomes the first country, in India’s immediate neighbourhood, to use the BHIM app for mobile-based payments and “to adopt UPI standards for its QR deployment”.
- The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market is a European Union (EU) directive which has been adopted and came into force on 7 June 2019. It is designed to limit how copyrighted content is shared on online platforms. EU directives are a form of legislation that set an objective for member states to achieve.
- NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd (NTPC REL) will set up the country’s first green Hydrogen Mobility project in Ladakh. This will put Leh as the first city in the country to implement a green hydrogen-based mobility project. Recently, NTPC has commissioned India’s largest floating solar project of 10 MW at Visakhapatnam.
- dbGENVOC is a browsable online database of GENomic Variants of Oral Cancer and is a free resource.
- Ultraviolet (UV) is a type of light or radiation naturally emitted by the Sun. It covers a wavelength range of 100-400 nm. The human visible light ranges from 380–700 nm. UV is divided into three bands: UV-C (100-280 nm), UV-B (280-315 nm) and UV-A (315-400 nm). UV-A and UV-B rays from the Sun are transmitted through our atmosphere and all UV-C is filtered by the ozone layer. UV-B rays can only reach the outer layer of our skin or epidermis and can cause sunburns and are also associated with skin cancer. UV-A rays can penetrate the middle layer of your skin or the dermis and can cause aging of skin cells and indirect damage to cells’ DNA. UV-C radiation from man-made sources has been known to cause skin burns and eye injuries.
- In Malaysia, some residents of low-income families have started waving white flags as part of the so-called “White Flag Campaign”, or the #benderaputi (white flag) movement. The idea is that by spotting the white flag, neighbours and good samaritans can reach them.
- Suborbital Flight: When an object travels at a horizontal speed of about 28,000 km/hr or more, it goes into orbit once it is above the atmosphere. Satellites need to reach that threshold speed in order to orbit Earth. Such a satellite would be accelerating towards the Earth due to gravity, but its horizontal movement is fast enough to offset the downward motion so that it moves along a circular path. Any object travelling slower than 28,000 km/hr must eventually return to Earth. However, Branson’s spacecraft travelled far enough, as Bezos’s will, to reach the “edge of space”. These are suborbital flights, because they will not be travelling fast enough to orbit Earth once they reach there. Such a trip allows space travellers to experience a few minutes of “weightlessness”.
- A “Gilt Account” means an account opened and maintained for holding Government securities, by an entity or a person including ‘a person resident outside India’ with a “Custodian” permitted by the RBI.
- Kapu community is found primarily in Andhra Pradesh. The community constitute 27 percent of about five crore population of Andhra Pradesh. They are primarily an agrarian community, forming a heterogeneous peasant caste. Kapu literally means cultivator or agriculturist in Telugu. The Munnuru Kapu are found primarily in Telangana, the Turpu Kapu in the areas of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam, and the Balija in Rayalaseema.
- The State legislature can use its powers under Entry 8 of List III in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution to enact an anti-discrimination law that attracts civil penalties for those who engage in discriminatory practices.
- India is a signatory to National Framework for Malaria Elimination (NFME) 2016-2030 aiming for malaria elimination by 2030. This framework has been outlined with a vision to eliminate the disease from the country which would contribute to improved health with quality of life and poverty alleviation.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) Good Manufacturing Practice certificate is mandatory in most global markets for pharmaceutical companies to be able to sell medicines. It is valid for 3 years from the date of issue and companies can apply for renewal after that.
- St. Queen Ketevan was a 17th century Georgian Queen. Her relics were found in 2005 at the St. Augustine Convent in Old Goa, on the basis of medieval Portuguese records, people aware of the matter said.
- Sikkim borders China, Bhutan and Nepal, and the Darjeeling hills of West Bengal.
- Article 25 lays down an individual’s fundamental right to religion; Article 26(b) upholds the right of each religious denomination or any section thereof to “manage its own affairs in matters of religion”; Article 29 defines the right to conserve distinctive culture. An individual’s freedom of religion under Article 25 is subject to “public order, health, morality” and other provisions relating to fundamental rights, but a group’s freedom under Article 26 has not been subjected to other fundamental rights.
- Scientists at the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) have reported for the first time a reference-grade whole genome sequence of a highly salt-tolerant and salt-secreting true-mangrove species Avicennia Marina. Avicennia marina is one of the most prominent mangroves species found in all mangrove formations in India. It is a salt-secreting and extraordinarily salt-tolerant mangrove species that grows optimally in 75% seawater and tolerates >250% seawater. It is among the rare plant species, which can excrete 40% of the salt through the salt glands in the leaves, besides its extraordinary capacity to exclude salt entry to the roots.
- In a major boost to wheat exports, the first shipment of Geographical Indication (GI) certified Bhalia variety of wheat was exported to Kenya and Sri Lanka from Gujarat.
- The non-OPEC countries which export crude oil along with the 14 OPECs are termed as OPEC plus countries. OPEC plus countries include Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, South Sudan, and Sudan.
- Bryum bharatiensis a native moss species recently discovered by India in Antarctica. This is the first time a plant species has been discovered in the four decades of the Indian Antarctic mission.
- In June 2005 the World Customs Organization (WCO) Council adopted the SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade (SAFE Framework) that would act as a deterrent to international terrorism, to secure revenue collections and to promote trade facilitation worldwide.
- The net stable funding ratio is a liquidity standard requiring banks to hold enough stable funding to cover the duration of their long-term assets.
- Leh and Kargil have separate Autonomous Hill Development Councils, set up under the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils Act, 1997.
- Khadi Prakritik is India’s first paint made from Cow Dung. The Paint has been launched with the twin objectives of increasing farmers’ income and creating self-employment across the country.
- Ladakh is a part of the Trans-Himalaya, shares more geographical and geological similarities with Tibet and Baltistan than with the rest of the country. Changthang, the geographical location where the pashmina goats are reared.
- Typhoon In-fa, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Fabian, is an active and very large tropical cyclone in the Hangzhou Bay, that recently made landfall in northeastern China.
- Autonomous Hill Development Councils have no legislative powers. The councils are elected and have executive powers over the allotment, use and occupation of land vested in them by the Centre, and the powers to collect some local taxes, such as parking fees, taxes on shops etc. But the real powers are now wielded by the UT administration, which is seen as even more remote than the erstwhile state government of J&K.
- The Union Education Minister has released the Report on United Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) 2019-20 for School Education in India. UDISE+ is one of the largest Management Information Systems on school education.
- There have been several meetings referred to as a Parliament of the World’s Religions, the first being the World’s Parliament of Religions of 1893, which was an attempt to create a global dialogue of faiths. The event was celebrated by another conference on its centenary in 1993. This led to a new series of conferences under the official title Parliament of the World’s Religions with the same goal of trying to create a global dialogue of faiths.
- The Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchan is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Survey of India, under which government invites entities, including public sector companies, private sector firms and individuals, to develop selected monuments and heritage and tourist sites by providing and maintaining basic amenities like drinking water, ease of access for the differently-abled and senior citizens, standardised signage, cleanliness, public convenience and illumination, besides facilities such as surveillance system and night-viewing facilities.
- In the northern part of our globe, the polar lights are called aurora borealis or Northern Lights. In the south, they are called aurora australis or southern lights, and are visible from high latitudes in Antarctica, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia.
- The modern term “Union” was first officially used in 1946 by the Cabinet Mission Plan, a British scheme to keep India united after transfer of power. “There should be a Union of India, embracing both British India and the States,” read the first line of the delegation’s constitutional recommendation, representing the last chance to avoid partition.
- Expatriates are people who are staying in a country other than their country of origin, either temporarily or permanently. They are those employees who are transferred to their foreign offices for work. In India, the income earned by foreign expatriates is deemed to be received in India for services rendered by him as per section 9(1)(ii) of Income Tax Act. It is assessable under the Income head ‘salaries’. It is clarified by the explanation to the said section that salary income payable for services provided in India is considered as income earned in India.
- Article 105 of the Constitution expressly mentions two privileges, that is, freedom of speech in Parliament and right of publication of its proceedings.
- Tillari Conservation Reserve is located in the Dodamarg and Sawantwadi range in coastal Sindhudurg district. It is located near the border of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka, connecting Mhadei sanctuary in Goa and Bhimgad in Karnataka. It is the 13th such reserve in the western ghats.
- Specialty steel is value-added steel wherein normal finished steel is worked upon by way of coating, plating, heat treatment, etc. to convert it into high-value-added steel. This steel can be used in various strategic applications like Defense, Space, Power, apart from the automobile sector, specialized capital goods among others.
- The “Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana” (MKSP) is a sub component of the Deendayal Antodaya Yojana-NRLM (DAY-NRLM). It seeks to improve the present status of women in Agriculture, and to enhance the opportunities available to empower her.
- UNESCO has voted to remove Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City from its world heritage list.
- Garnishment, or wage garnishment, is when money is legally withheld from your paycheck and sent to another party. It refers to a legal process that instructs a third party to deduct payments directly from a debtor’s wage or bank account. A garnishment is an order directing a third party to seize assets, usually wages from employment or money in a bank account, to settle an unpaid debt.
- Africa has become the first continent in the world to complete the collection of accurate, comprehensive and harmonised digital land use and land use change data under the Africa Open DEAL initiative. DEAL stands for Data for the Environment, Agriculture and Land Initiative. The data collection and analysis initiative is led by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the African Union Commission (AUC). This open data initiative that covered the period between 2018 and 2020, disclosed more forests and arable lands than were previously detected. Collect Earth, a free and open-source software developed by FAO, was used to collect data through Google Earth.
- The United Nations Secretary General has called for the first ever UN Food Systems Summit to be held in September 2021 to strategize the actions for positive change in Agri-food systems in the Worldto realize the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Summit will focus on levers and pathways to shape food systems nationally and globally to accelerate progress in the SDGs.
- India’s first cryptogamic garden opens in Dehradun. Cryptogam are plants or plant-like organisms that reproduce by spores, without producing flowers or seeds.
- “Unity 22” will be Virgin Galactic’s next rocket-powered test flight of its SpaceShip VSS Unity. It will also be the first to carry a full crew of two pilots and four mission specialists in the cabin,including Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson, who will be testing out the private astronaut experience.
- The IOTA Tangle is an innovative type of distributed ledger technology (DLT) that is specifically designed for the Internet of Things (IoT) environment. The IOTA technology is based on a new type of DLT, not the traditional blockchain model. IOTA is a cryptocurrency; its architecture is called the IOTA Tangle. Tangle uses a proof-of-work (PoW) system for authenticating transactions on a distributed ledger.
- Global Food Policy Report is a publication by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) whereas State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report is a publication of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
- Worms is disseminated through computer networks, unlike viruses, computer worms are malicious programs that copy themselves from system to system, rather than infiltrating legitimate files.
- Goan Burah is an army of wise old men and women in some hill States in the northeast. They came in news recently when they came forward to put up barricades outside their villages to keep out the coronavirus. They are distinguished by their red coats provided by the government, along with a stipend of Rs. 1,500. Goan Burahs and Goan Burihs are the representatives of the Government in the village and hence are bound by all the Government instructions issued time to time. They are responsible for all the developmental duties and maintaining law and order. They take care of the villages in times of crisis as well as happiness and command high respect in the tribal society of Arunachal Pradesh. They have powers to try criminal cases involving theft, mischief, simple hurt, criminal trespass or house trespass or assault or using criminal force as per the customary law. Gaon Burahs are appointed under the Assam Frontier (Administration of Justice) Regulation of 1945. Although the Regulation prescribes the 35-60 age slab, majority of Arunachal Pradesh’s estimated 9,500 GBs are 60 or more. In Nagaland, the Gaon Burha are assisted by the dobashi – the custodians of Naga customary laws who also wear red coats. They have been salaried government employees since 1842 when the British appointed the first dobashis for interpreting Naga dialects into Assamese or Hindi. In Assam, the government decided to reduce the minimum age for appointment of Gaon Burhas from 35 to 25 years and any person having more than 2 children will not be eligible to apply for the post of Gaon Burha.
- The United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) is a resource project-based and principles-based classification system for defining the environmental-socio-economic viability and technical feasibility of projects to develop resources. UNFC provides a consistent framework to describe the level of confidence of the future quantities produced by the project. It is a universally applicable scheme for classifying/evaluating energy and mineral reserves/resources.
- Phosphorus rocks or phosphate rocks are unprocessed ores. Phosphate rock deposits can be sedimentary (formed from sediment deposited by water or air) or igneous (having solidified from lava or magma). The easiest way to obtain phosphorus is by way of mining and concentrating phosphate rock from the phosphate deposits. Phosphorus cannot be substituted by any other mineral, as it is vital for a number of reasons in agriculture. It plays a major role in photosynthesis and energy transfer in plants. Further, it is essential for the production of seed and root formation. It promotes early plant maturity and stalks strength. It is also resistant to plant root diseases. Phosphate rocks are majorly produced only from two States in India, namely Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
- The Kaman Aman Setu post has served as a transit point for cross-LoC trade and travel between. It connects North Kashmir to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. The setu is built on Kishanganga River.
- Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. It is bordered to the north, west, and south by South Africa and to the east by Mozambique.
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