IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-May 2022

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IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-September 2021

IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-May 2022

  1. Thanjavur bani describes the practice of dance in the Thanjavur Royal Court, propagated by the Thanjavur nattuvanar family, descendants of the Thanjavur Quartet. The Thanjavur Quartet were four brothers who worked in the early 19th century Thanjavur Royal Court as musicians and dance composers. They created the current structure of the margam which is used by all styles of Bharatanatyam. Both Pandanallur and Thanjavur styles draw from their repertoire, maintaining some of the oldest compositions in Bharatanatyam. In Thanjavur, the artistes were classified as belonging to ‘thattu’ (nattuvangam), ‘muttu’ (playing mridangam), and ‘aattu’ (dancing) families.
  2. The Nanjarayan Tank, a biodiversity hotspot, has just been declared as the 17th bird sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. The Nanjarayan Tank also known as Sarkar Periyapalayam Reservoir, is located on the outskirts of Tiruppur city near Koolipalayam, about 60 kilometres from Coimbatore.
  3. Foxtail orchids or Kopou phool (Rhynchostlis retusa), the State flower of Assam.  Orchid breeds such as Rhynchostlis retusa white, Dendrobium lituiflorum yellow, V anda ampullacea, to name a few. Orchids need a moist climate for the roots to grow. Caring for them is like nurturing a child.
  4. A team of Australian researchers have identified a biochemical marker in the blood that could help identify newborn babies at risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), a breakthrough they said creates an avenue to future tragedy-preventing interventions. In their study, babies who died of SIDS had lower levels of an enzyme called butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) shortly after birth, the researchers said. BChE plays a major role in the brain’s arousal pathway, and low levels would reduce a sleeping infant’s ability to wake up or respond to its environment.
  5. Blood types are determined by the presence (or absence) of certain antigens (molecules that can trigger an immune response), if they are foreign to the body of the recipient. Blood in a healthy human body is about 7% of the total body weight (the average body weight being 55-65 kg), or 4.7 to 5.5 litres (1.2 to 1.5 gallons).
  6. Vallalar, the 19th century saint of Tamil Nadu, gave the world a simple and practical philosophy. He advocated compassion towards all living things. He said love is God. 
  7. Ultraviolet light, or UV light, is light of wavelengths sorter than we can see as humans (10 nanometres to 400 nanometres). UV light is further subdivided based on its properties as we humans experiences it into several types. Among these are UV-A light whose wavelength spans the range 315-400 nanometres; UV-B light, spanning 280-315 nanometres; and UV-C, spanning 100-280 nanometres. Among these UV-B light is interesting because it is in the range that our bodies are sensitive to. As the light from the Sun passes through the atmosphere, the mixture of ozone, water vapour, oxygen and carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere absorbs all of UV-C and most of UV-B light. UV-A filters through. Fortunately, or perhaps of the way we have evolved, UV-A is the least harmful of these types of radiation. UV-C is quite harmful but is entirely filtered out by the ozone layer. UV-B penetrates the skin to a short extent, causes delayed sunburn and also helps in synthesis of vitamin D. 
  8. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is quite similar to the RATG13 coronavirus found in horseshoe bats, the genome of the two viruses have only 96% similarity.
  9. Skyroot Aerospace, the national-award winning startup building India’s first privately built space launch vehicles has announced the successful completion of a full duration test-firing of its ‘Vikram-1’ rocket stage, representing a major milestone for the company on Thursday. Named ‘Kalam-100’ after former President and the renowned Indian rocket scientist A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the third stage of ‘Vikram-1’ produces a peak vacuum thrust of 100 kN (or ~10Tons) and has a burn time of 108 sec.
  10. World No Tobacco Day is observed on May 31 every year since 1987. This year, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) theme for the Day is “Tobacco: Threat to our environment.”
  11. The Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group is a coalition of 46 low-income countries, and a key negotiating bloc, representing the Global South in UN climate change negotiations. They are at the most economic disadvantage and simultaneously face some of the worst impacts of climate change despite contributing little to the crisis. The members include India’s neighbours like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Nepal.
  12. China had flight-tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile that circumnavigated the globe before speeding toward its target. the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) is not a Chinese discovery. In the 1960s, the Soviet Uniondeveloped an orbital bombardment system that could carry a nuclear weapon into orbit at a lower trajectory than a traditional fixed-trajectory ballistic missile.
  13. The communities’ grazing rights in forest areas are already protected under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition Of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 or FRA.
  14. The Glasgow Climate Pact, an agreement signed during the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (CoP26), recognised the need to consider further actions to reduce non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, by 2030.
  15. A vaccinia virus (VACV) belongs to the orthopoxvirus family of which buffalopox is a close variant. Zika virus, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, rubella and chickenpox are other diseases classified in the same group.
  16. India is the second-largest exporter of sugar, after Brazil.
  17. Monkeypox: The virus can be spread by direct contact with body fluids of an infected person or with virus-contaminated objects, such as bedding or clothing. In addition, it can be transmitted by respiratory droplets during direct and prolonged face-to-face contact. It is not easily spread as SARS-CoV-2.  The first human case of monkeypox was detected in 1970 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Monkeypox is similar to smallpox in terms of its clinical manifestations. There is no widely available vaccine against it. But studies have shown that the smallpox vaccine is 85 per cent effective against it.
  18. Temperate Mesophotic Ecosystems (TME) typically occur at depths of between 30 and 150 metres — the twilight zone of our oceans, where little sunlight remains. Unlike the shallow seas, which are generally dominated by habitat-forming fleshy seaweeds, TMEs are dominated by animals. At their shallowest, they support a mixture of seaweeds and animals, but as you descend deeper into low light conditions, encrusting algae and unique animal species begin to dominate. The sponges that dominate TMEs filter large volumes of water and are able to capture dissolved carbon and transform it into detritus. TMEs could also be important in the mitigation of climate change impacts, particularly marine heat waves that drive extremes in sea water temperature. While TMEs are likely to be affected by the same anthropogenic factors as surface waters, some specific stressors may have a greater impact.
  19. Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of Scheduled Tribe (ST) population in India but the lowest life expectancy among nine Indian states that make up half of the country’s population, according to a study.
  20. Kolkata became the first major metropolitan city in India to prepare a detailed register of biodiversity. The People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR), which details flora and fauna forms within the city as well as its land uses and human activities. Kolkata is definitely the first major metro to prepare a PBR. Chandigarh and Indore are other important cities to have prepared the document.
  21. The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) administers an international system of intellectual property (IP) rights that protect plant breeders’ rights and encourage innovation in agriculture through the development of new varieties of plants. UPOV is an intergovernmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. To date, it has 75 members covering 94 countries). It was ratified in 1968 and its objective is to protect new varieties of plants by IP rights. It does not recognise farmers’ rights but gives primacy to those of commercial breeders. India is not a member of UPOV. UPOV is not part of the UN.
  22. The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (also known as ITPGRFA, International Seed Treaty or Plant Treaty), is a comprehensive international agreement in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity, which aims at guaranteeing food security through the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of the world’s plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA), the fair and equitable benefit sharing arising from its use, as well as the recognition of farmers’ rights.
  23. The sex of the Olive Ridley turtles is determined by the temperature at which they are hatched. A male turtle is born if the egg hatches at a temperature below 29 degrees Celsius. Above that, the hatchling is a female. The turtles lay eggs in layers to ensure temperature difference among eggs, so that the gender ratio is healthy. In India, they congregate on the beaches of Odisha and Maharashtra to lay eggs — a phenomenon called ‘arribada’, which means ‘arrival by the sea’ in Spanish. Odisha hosts the highest number of nesting turtles. They feed mainly on shrimp, crab, molluscs, fish and crabs.
  24. Obesogens are a subset of environmental chemicals that act as endocrine disruptors, affecting metabolic endpoints. Obesogens work by upsetting the body’s metabolic thermostat. The body’s balance of energy intake and expenditure through activity relies on the interplay of various hormones from fat tissue, gut, pancreas, liver and brain. Other obesogens are pesticides, perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs) compounds which are present in meals packaging, cookware and furnishings.  Bisphenol A, phthalates, which are broadly added to plastics. 
  25. Dust storms can travel over thousands of kilometres from west Asia and enter India either through land or the Arabian sea. The Arabian Peninsula is one of India’s major sources of dust storms. The other sources are local, from the Thar desert and the Rann of Kutch. Dust from the Arabian Peninsula reaches over the western parts of India, in Rajasthan after passing through Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the expert said. “It can also enter Gujarat through the Arabian Sea.”
  26. The 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), concluded May 20, 2022 in Abidjan with a global pledge to boost drought resilience and invest in land restoration for future prosperity. UNCCD’s COP15 is the first Conference of the Parties of the three Rio Conventions taking place in 2022, ahead of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change COP27 and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity COP15.
  27. UNCCD is the only legally binding international agreement that mandates the member parties to “take various actions; including reporting on measures they have taken to implement the Convention.” Perhaps, this is the first convention under the UN related to human and environment that has dedicated a day for food systems. This day will focus on “the interdependence of demand-side drivers and supply chains and help place food systems considerations at the centre of debates on land degradation, climate change and biodiversity loss.”
  28. Other significant outcomes of the COP 15  included three key declarations: Abidjan Call issued by the Heads of State and Government to boost long-term environmental sustainability, Abidjan Declaration on achieving gender equality for successful land restoration and the COP15 “Land, Life and Legacy” Declaration, which responds to the findings of the UNCCD’s flagship report, Global Land Outlook 2.
  29. The settlement of Lahbera basti, surrounded by coal mines, has 50 shanties that are home to almost 500 people. It is the last stronghold of the Santhal tribe in Jharkhand’s Dhanbad district. The district of Dhanbad was a part of the region of Manbhum in the province of Bengal during the British Raj and home to the Santhals and Mundas. A temple dedicated to Marang buru, the Santhal god of forests.
  30. Ocean acidification, which happens due to the direct absorption of CO2 by the oceans, changes the chemical composition of oceanic water. As the acidification increases, the ability of oceans to absorb CO2 also decreases. Both, ocean heat and ocean acidification, have a major impact on marine biodiversity, disrupting their feeding, breeding and migrating behaviour.
  31. Sahariya Adivasis, who are classified as a ‘Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group’ by the government live in around eight districts of MP, including Shivpuri.
  32. Long-term exposure to relatively low (0.13 µg/m3) benzene levels can contribute to health effects like blood disorders, a weakened immune system and elevated risk of cancer, the national agency said. Exposure to higher benzene concentrations over a short period of time can trigger acute neurological symptoms like dizziness and headaches. It can also reduce blood cell counts, including during prenatal development and weaken the immune system, increasing susceptibility to diseases. Benzene is a chemical that is a colorless or light yellow liquid at room temperature. It has a sweet odor and is highly flammable. Benzene evaporates into the air very quickly. Its vapor is heavier than air and may sink into low-lying areas. Benzene dissolves only slightly in water and will float on top of water.
  33. Ramgarh Vishdhari Wildlife Sanctuary is now India’s 52nd tiger reserve and Rajasthan’s fourth, after Ranthambore, Sariska and Mukundra. Ramgarh Vishadhri, located mostly in Bundi district and in part in Bhilwara and Kota districts, is also home to the Indian wolf, leopard, striped hyena, chinkara, antelope and foxes among other animals. The newly notified tiger reserve includes the tiger habitat between Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in the northeast and Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve on the southern side and facilitates dispersal of tigers from Ranthambore Tiger Reserve.
  34. The 15th World Forestry Congress concluded in Seoul and the Seoul Forest Declaration was adopted. Vast areas of degraded land across the globe require restoration. For this, the investment in forest and landscape restoration globally must be tripled by 2030 to implement global commitments and meet internationally agreed goals and targets, according to the recently adopted Seoul Declaration. It was adopted May 5, 2022, at the XV World Forestry Congress, held in Seoul, South Korea. The Seoul Forest Declaration sends a powerful message that forests, forestry and forest stakeholders offer major solutions to the challenges the world currently faces, but action is needed now.  Close cooperation among nations is needed to address challenges that transcend political boundaries. This was strengthened at the Congress by the launch of new partnerships such as the Assuring the Future of Forests with Integrated Risk Management (AFFIRM) Mechanism, and the Sustaining an Abundance of Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) initiative.
  35. The World Forestry Congress is held every six years. Under the theme Building a Green, Healthy and Resilient Future, this year’s event, hosted by the Republic of Korea and co-organized with FAO, was the second congress held in Asia, with Indonesia hosting the first Congress in Asia in 1978.
  36. T parvispinusis, a member of the thrips group of sucking pests, is an invasive species from Southeast Asia that has been documented in different countries including Australia, Thailand and Greece. It causes more damage than S dorsalis, the thrips pest native to India. By attacking the flowers and not just leaves, T parvispinusis removes any hope of the crop growing from it. T parvispinusis is also polyphagous, which means it spreads to other crops.
  37. Madhya Pradesh is one of the biggest exporters of wheat in India. Demand for wheat varieties like Sharbati and Kathia (durum), which are grown exclusively in the state, has risen in the international market after the ongoing crisis.
  38. World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. Every year people around the world take action and organize public events such as bird festivals, education programmes, exhibitions and bird-watching excursions to celebrate WMBD. All these activities can also be undertaken at any time on the year because that countries or regions observing the peak of migrations at different times, but the main days for the international celebrations on the second Saturday in May and in October.
  39. Tomato flu, a rare viral disease, and a virulent variant of Shigella bacteria that attacks the intestine has been causing infections. The bacteria can spread on close contact with infected individuals and consuming food prepared by them. The disease is also transmitted quickly through direct or indirect contact with the patient’s excrement. The infection worsens in pregnant women, children under five years and those with weakened immune systems.
  40. Glacial Lake Outburst Flooding (GLOF) occurs when ice holding glacial lakes in one place melts due to extreme heat, sending out a massive volume of water in a violent and sudden gush downstream.
  41. Over 300 scientists from across the globe have captured the image of Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the supermassive black hole sitting in the heart of the Milky Way galaxy — about 27,000 light-years away from the Earth.
  42. Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index is a program of the University of Notre Dame’s Environmental Change Initiative. The Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index, or ND-GAIN, ranks the climate adaptation performance for 177 countries over the last 17 years
  43. Pruning is the practice of removing a specific part of a tree or shrub drying or dying due to pests, diseases and lack of sunlight. Several tree species self-prune; it is a part of their biological process. Pruning limits the height of the branches and ensures easy access to leaves, flowers and fruits. The removed limbs, if healthy, can then be replanted.
  44. The world’s largest wetland, the Pantanal in South America, is at the risk of collapse due to a series of local and seemingly minor decisions that fail to account for their cumulative impact on one of Earth’s most biodiverse ecosystems, according to a team of scientists. The Pantanal spans over 179,000 sq km in Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia and boasts one of the highest concentration of flora and fauna in South America.
  45. Mahindra & Mahindra becomes first company to join EP100 campaign led by The Climate Group. The campaign is led by  The Climate Group and is an action of the  We Mean Business coalition. EP100 also operates in collaboration and alignment with The Global Alliance for Energy Productivity and the United Nations “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative. The Climate Group is an award-winning, international non-profit with  offices in Greater China, North America, India and Europe. Our goal is to help leaders transition to a prosperous low carbon economy, driven by the rapid scale-up of clean and renewable energy.
  46. Land-based pathogens may piggyback on microplastics flowing into the sea, potentially posing a threat to marine life. The pathogens in question include Toxoplasma gondii, Cryptosporidium (Crypto) and Giardia, known to infect humans and animals. Toxoplasma gondii, for instance, is found in cat poop. This pathogen is linked to deaths of sea otters and other critically endangered wildlife such as Hector’s dolphins and Hawaiian monk seals.
  47. The Palme d’Or is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the film industry. It is awarded to the film adjudged the best among those contending at the Cannes Film Festival. Cannes is one of the “big five” international film festivals — the other four being the Venice Film Festival, the Berlin International Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival. Palme d’Or translates to ‘The Golden Palm’. But this honour at Cannes went through multiple iterations before taking its present form.
  48. Tomb of Sand made history recently by becoming the first Hindi novel to win the 2022 International Booker Prize. Written by Geetanjali Shree, it was translated into English by Daisy Rockwell, with both sharing the prize.
  49. The Russian Orthdox Church (ROC), also known as the Moscow Patriarchate, is the largest of more than a dozen autocephalous (self-governing) Eastern Orthodox Christian churches, with an estimated 100 million members. Patriarch Kirill is the leader of the Moscow-based church that asserts exclusive canonical jurisdiction over all Eastern Orthodox Christians that live in the erstwhile republics of the Soviet Union, apart from Georgia, and more recently Ukraine.
  50. Bhil social reformer and spiritual leader Govind Guru first raised the demand for a separate state for tribals back in 1913 after the Mangarh massacre. The massacre, which took place six years before Jallianwalla Bagh and is sometimes referred to as the “Adivasi Jallianwala”, saw hundreds of Bhil tribals being killed by British forces on November 17, 1913 in the hills of Mangarh on the border of Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  51. Konaseema region is a scenic delta with a group of small islands nestled between the Godavari river’s four tributaries just before they enter the Bay of Bengal. It is often compared with Kerala’s backwaters due to the coconut groves, lush green fields, small lakes, and the canals dotting the region. It has its own cuisine, and the resorts along the Godavari and its tributaries offer houseboat accommodation along with watersports on the placid waters.
  52. India does not allow dual citizenship. According to Section 9 of the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955, any Indian citizen who acquires foreign citizenship ceases to be an Indian citizen.
  53. Mozambique identified its first case of wild poliovirus Type 1 this week after a child contracted the disease. It is the country’s first such case since 1992 and the second imported case of wild poliovirus in Southern Africa this year. Mozambique is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate disasters and ranks 154 out of 181 countries in the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (2016) that measures vulnerability to climate change. 
  54. As of today, wild poliovirus is endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  55. The Cotton Corporation of India Limited or CCI is a Government of Indiaagency, engaged in diverse activities related to trade, procurement, and export of cotton. CCI is a public sector agency responsible for equitable distribution of cotton among the different constituents of the industry and aid imports of cotton. It was incorporated on 31 July 1970 under the Companies Act 1956. CCI is governed by Textile Policy 1985 issued by the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.
  56. The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), headquartered at Ballabhgarh in Haryana state, is a statutory advisory body advising the Government of India’s Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying (Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying).The AWBI headquarters were previously situated in Chennai. The board was initially within the jurisdiction of the Government of India’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture. In 1990, the subject of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was transferred to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate change, where it now resides.
  57. GST is paid by the supplier, but if the shipping line is located in a non-taxable territory, then GST is payable by the importer, the recipient of service. Ocean freight is a method of transport by which goods and cargo is transported by ships through shipping lines.
  58. The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has declared the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron as ‘variants of concern’. Being sub-variant of Omicron, the World Health Organisation (WHO) already considers both to be ‘variants of concern’.
  59. Scientists have long assumed that Southeast Asia was once home to Denisovans, those ancient cousins of modern humans about whom much remains to be known. They lived lakhs of years ago, coexisting with Neanderthals in some regions, and interbreeding with early modern humans in some cases.  One reason why Denisovan fossils are so rare is that their population was smaller than that of Neanderthals — “plus the fact that they are certainly a number of fossils attributed to the ‘archaic humans’, a group we put fossils into when we don’t really know where to put them”
  60. It is “well-settled that the advice of the State Cabinet is binding on the Governor in the exercise of his powers (to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions) under Article 161 of the Constitution”, and that the “non-exercise of the power under Article 161 or inexplicable delay in exercise of such power not attributable to the prisoner is subject to judicial review”.
  61. The strategically-significant Sela Tunnel project in Arunachal Pradesh is nearing completion. Located in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, the tunnel project will provide an alternate axis to the Sela pass, which is at 13,700 feet. It will be on the BCT Road – the Balipara, Charduar and Tawang axis, which is more than 300 km long. 
  62. In keeping with the belief that museums have the power to transform, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) announced May 18 as International Museum Day (IMD) in 1977.  The theme for 2022 is “The Power of Museums”, elucidating that “museums have the power to transform the world around us. 
  63. It was on May 16, 1975 that Sikkim became 22nd state of the Union of India. While in many modern narratives, the tale of the former kingdom under the Namgyal dynasty acquiring Indian statehood begins in decades close to the 1970s, the real story, according to experts, can only be understood by tracing the events back to 1640s when Namgyal rule was first established.
  64. According to FCI, fair and average quality (FAQ) wheat is one that meets all all-down specifications. FAQ wheat is fully developed, and has a proper shine or lustre. The main varieties are golden or pale yellow in colour, the grain is not dark, and does not have any streaks. It is properly dry, and meets all nutritional conditions, the values of which are tested in the lab in case of doubt.
  65. Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that the 21st Amendment to the Constitution to curb the presidential powers will be discussed with the Attorney General’s Department so that it can be submitted to the Cabinet for approval. The 21st Amendment is expected to annul the 20th Amendment, which gave unfettered powers to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa after abolishing the 19th Amendment, a provision that had made the Parliament powerful over the president.
  66. Devasahayam Pillai, who was born a Hindu in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu and converted to Christianity in the 18th century, became the first Indian layman to be declared a saint by the Vatican. Devasahayam was born on April 23, 1712 in Nattalam village in Kanyakumari district, and went on to serve in the court of Marthanda Varma of Travancore. After meeting a Dutch naval commander at the court, Devasahayam was baptised  in 1745, and assumed the name ‘Lazarus’, meaning ‘God is my help’.
  67. Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC) was adopted on 12 September 1997, together with the Protocol to Amend the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, and entered into force on 15 April 2015. It aims at increasing the amount of compensation available in the event of a nuclear incident through public funds to be made available by the Contracting Parties on the basis of their installed nuclear capacity and UN rate of assessment. It also aims at establishing treaty relations among States that belong to the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy or neither of them, while leaving intact the 1988 Joint Protocol that establishes treaty relations among States that belong to the Vienna Convention or the Paris Convention. India ratified the convention during 2016.
  68. INSACOG was established in December 2020 as a joint initiative of the Union Health Ministry of Health and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) (under the Ministry of Science and Technology) with the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to expand the whole-genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 disease, across India with the aim of understanding how the virus spreads and evolves. INSACOG started out with the participation of 10 national research laboratories of the central government, and gradually expanded to a network of 38 labs, including private labs, operating on a hub-and-spoke model.
  69. In 2018, Canada became the first G20 country to legalise the recreational use of cannabis. Meanwhile, Uruguay legalised the recreational use of marijuana for all adults above the age of 18 in 2013. Here, you can purchase weed at pharmacies. Several European countries — including the Netherlands, Spain and the Czech Republic — permit smoking marijuana in public places.
  70. In March 1922, Gandhi was charged with sedition for writing three articles in his weekly journal Young India. Shankarlal Banker, the proprietor of the newspaper, was also charged under Section 124A of the IPC.
  71. The choker was originally part of a collection of five chains and a neck collar, collectively known as the Patiala necklace. It was created for the Maharaja of Patiala Bhupinder Singh in 1928 and comprised around 2,900 diamonds, including the De Beers — which at the time, was the world’s seventh-largest diamond.
  72. On Earth, quakes are caused by shifts in tectonic plates. Mars, however, does not have tectonic plates, and its crust is a giant plate. Therefore, NASA notes, ‘marsquakes’ are caused due to stresses that cause rock fractures or faults in its crust. Some missions studying the possibility of life on Mars include UAE’s Hope, China’s Tianwen-1, and NASA’s Perseverance.
  73. The Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) was founded in 1958 by overseas correspondents posted in India to cover the country and the region — including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, etc — for their publications.
  74. The Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC) is India’s first association of women journalists. It came up on 5 Windsor Place in 1994 after 18 women journalists pooled in Rs 1,000 each, set up a trust and organised themselves as a support group to help their colleagues meet challenges that were unique to women, and ensure women’s bylines were respected and heard.
  75. Recognised as a wetland, the man-made Powai Lake in the eastern suburbs of Mumbai was constructed in 1891. As its water was declared unfit for drinking, it is being used for industrial purposes.
  76. In the erstwhile state, delimitation of parliamentary constituencies was governed by the Constitution of India and that of Assembly seats was carried out by the then state government under the Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act, 1957. After abrogation of J&K’s special status in 2019, the delimitation of both Assembly and parliamentary seats is governed by the Constitution.
  77. A leaked US Supreme Court opinionsuggesting justices are poised to overturn abortion rights has left LGBTQ+ advocacy groups fearful that same-sex marriage could also be at risk. If finalized, the opinion would strike down the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that established the right to abortion.
  78. Civil Registration System (CRS) presents a count of registered births and deaths, while Sample Registration System (SRS) provides an estimate of the total number births and deaths. The CRS data, therefore, is a subset of the SRS numbers.
  79. Nechiphu tunnel is located along the Balipara-Charduar-Tawang Road, which connects Balipara in Assam to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh bordering China.
  80. Article 22 (2) of the Constitution states that “Every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the magistrate, and no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate.” Ordinarily, the “nearest magistrate” is assumed to be the magistrate in whose jurisdiction the FIR is registered if the individual can be produced within 24 hours. The crucial 24-hour rule allows police to skip obtaining a transit remand from a local magistrate where the arrest is being made.
  81. You may or may not believe that ‘age is just a number’, but in South Korea, age is three numbers. The country has three valid ways to determine a person’s age, something the new government, under President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, is trying to change. The first method is the international method, when a baby is born aged zero and grows a year older on each birthday. This method has been used to determine a person’s age for most legal and administrative purposes since 1962. The second is the ‘Korean age’, the method most popularly used in society, where a baby is born aged one, and turns a year older on January 1, regardless of its date of birth. Thus, a child born on December 31, 2021 will have turned two years old by January 2, 2022. The third method is the ‘year age’, where a baby is born zero years old, and turns a year older every January 1. This method is again used for some legal and official purposes, most notably for compulsory military conscription, to determine when a child can start school, and to determine when a juvenile needs legal protection from abuse. Thus, South Koreans can have three perfectly valid ages, with more dramatic diversions from the international age for those born later in the year. 
  82. An anchor investor in an IPOis a qualified institutional buyer (QIB) like a foreign portfolio investor or mutual fund or insurance company which invests before the IPO is made available to the public as per Sebi regulations. As initial investors, they make the IPO process more attractive for investors, and instil confidence in them. Anchor investors also aid in price discovery of the IPO. Anchor investors who get guaranteed allotment a day before the IPO opens to the public are normally allocated 60 per cent of the QIB quota. Companies with a profitable track record can allocate 50 per cent of the IPO to QIBs. The demand in the anchor category is an indication of the success of the IPO, according to analysts.
  83. Researchers were due to begin on Monday a 10-day evaluation of the submerged wreck of the Clotilda, believed to be the most complete remains of a slave ship ever discovered. The Clotilda, the last known slave ship to arrive in the United States from Africa, was scuttled in the Gulf of Mexico close to the mouth of the Mobile river in Alabama after it had offloaded its cargo of 110 captive men, women, and children in July 1860, 53 years after Congress had outlawed international slave trade.
  84. The first country in the world to ban menthol cigarettes was Brazil, in 2012. Canada banned these cigarettes in 2017, and the European Union in May 2020. Though the UK had left the EU by then, it too adopted the ban. Turkey, Moldova, and Ethiopia have also banned menthol cigarettes. India has not banned the sale of menthol cigarettes.
  85. Article 239 AA was inserted in the Constitution by The Constitution (69th Amendment) Act, 1991 to give Special Status to Delhi following the recommendations of the S Balakrishnan Committee that was set up to look into demands for statehood for Delhi. It says that the NCT of Delhi will have an Administrator and a Legislative Assembly. Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, the Legislative Assembly “shall have power to make laws for the whole or any part of the NCT with respect to any of the matters in the State List or Concurrent List in so far as any such matter is applicable to Union territories” except on the subject of police, public order, and land.
  86. The Coast Guard’s role, he said, is not only limited to coastal areas, and called it the protector of India’s national interests and sovereign rights in the territorial seas and Exclusive Economic Zone.
  87. Jagannath Puri temple is called ‘Yamanika Tirtha’ where, according to the Hindu beliefs, the power of ‘Yama’, the god of death has been nullified in Puri due to the presence of Lord Jagannath, popularly known as Lord Krishna, and his siblings – lord Balbhadra and deity Shubhadra – in the Jagannath Puri temple.
  88. A sweet revolution is underway in Maharashtra, which has seen the state race past Uttar Pradesh and become the largest producer of sugar in the country. During the current season of 2021-22, the state is crushing the highest amount of cane and producing the highest ever amount of sugar. This will be the second consecutive season when Maharashtra has produced more sugar than Uttar Pradesh.
  89. In ‘TMA Pai’, an 11-judge bench of the Supreme Court dealt with the question of the scope of right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice under the Constitution.
  90. Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. The ASI data relates to factories employing 10 or more workers using power and those employing 20 or more workers without using power, and is the principal source of industrial statistics and data for organised manufacturing.
  91. The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss nonprofit foundation established in 1971, based in Geneva, Switzerland. It is recognised by the Swiss authorities as an international institution for public-private cooperation. The Founder and Executive Chairman of WEF is Klaus Schwab. WEF is committed to improving the situation of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas. Major Report: Energy Transition Index, Global Competitiveness Report, Global IT Report (WEF along with INSEAD, and Cornell University publishes this report), Global Gender Gap Report, Global Risk Report, Global Travel and Tourism Report. This year, the WEF’s annual meeting will take place under the theme of ‘Working Together, Restoring Trust’.
  92. India’s men’s badminton team won the Thomas Cup title for the first time ever. India has defeated the 14-time champions Indonesia. The tournament was held in Bangkok (Thailand). Former winners of this cup were China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, and Denmark. India became only the sixth country ever to break into this elite club of badminton champions. Thomas Cup is related to the sport of badminton. It is a 16-nation team event. Thomas and Uber Cup is the biennial international badminton championship contested by the men’s and women’s national teams. The Indian team comprised Kidambi Srikant, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty and HS Prannoy.
  93. Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) are non-durable products that sell quickly at a relatively low cost. They are categorized by low-profit margins and high-volume sales. Examples of FMCGs include milk, gum, fruit and vegetables, toilet paper, soda, beer, and over-the-counter drugs like aspirin.
  94. The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission is a robotic lander designed to study the deep interior of the planet Mars.
  95. Both Lumbini and the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya are UNESCO World Heritage sites. The first foreign monastery in Lumbini was built by a Vietnamese monk, Thay Huyen Dieu.
  96. The World Bank’s World Governance Indicators provide a ranking of 215 countries territories based on six dimensions of governance: ‘Voice and Accountability’; ‘Political Stability and Absence of Violence’; ‘Government Effectiveness’; ‘Regulatory Quality’; ‘Rule of Law’ and ‘Control of Corruption.’ India’s WGI score is much below the BBB Median on all six indicators. While BBB is an investment-grade rating issued by global rating agencies such as S&P and Fitch, a WGI score below BBB Median would suggest that India falls below the middle when the scores of countries are arranged in a descending order. A sovereign credit rating is an independent assessment of the creditworthiness of a country or sovereign entity. It can give investors insights into the level of risk associated with investing in the debt of a particular country, including any political risk.
  97. The Bertelsmann Transformation Index(BTI) is a measure of the development status and governance of political and economic transformation processes in developing and transition countries around the world. The BTI has been published biennially by the Bertelsmann Stiftung since 2006, most recently in 2018 on 129 countries. The index measures and compares the quality of government action in a ranking list based on self-recorded data and analyzes successes and setbacks on the path to constitutional democracy and a market economy accompanied by sociopolitical support.
  98. CITES is legally binding on its members. However, it cannot take place of national laws. It is in fact a framework for all its members to adopt in their own domestic legislation. The domestic legislation should ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level. The CITES Secretariat is administered by UNEP (The United Nations Environment Programme) and is located in Geneva, Switzerland. The Conference of the Parties to CITES is the supreme decision-making body of the Convention and comprises all its parties.
  99. Diplomatic missions are also sent to international organisations and conferences, with similar roles. Embassies are diplomatic missions sent to non-Commonwealth countries. High Commissions are diplomatic missions sent to Commonwealth countries. The “head of mission” at an embassy is called an Ambassadors.  At a High Commission, the head of mission is called a High Commissioner. As well as referring to diplomatic missions themselves, the terms “Embassy” and “High Commission” refer to the buildings in which those missions are based. One of the functions of diplomatic missions is to look after the interests of British citizens in their host countries. This work is carried out by the “Consular Section” of the mission, which is usually headed by a Consul-General. Consular posts are located in the host country’s capital city (usually at the Embassy or High Commission) and also in other major cities. Depending on whether the post is headed by a Consul-General, Consul, Vice-Consul, or Consular Agent, they are known as Consulates-General, Consulates, Vice-Consulates and Consular Agencies, respectively.
  100. Buddhist Mudras-Dhyani Mudra, (gesture of meditation), Vitarka Mudra, (teaching gesture), Dharmachakra Mudra, (gesture of turning the wheel of the teaching), Bhumisparsha Mudra, (gesture of touching the earth), Abhaya Mudra, (gesture of fearlessness and granting protection), Varada Mudra, (gesture of granting wishes), Uttarabodhi Mudra, (gesture of supreme enlightenment), Anjali Mudra, (gesture of greeting and veneration) and Vijrapradama Mudra, (gesture of unshakable confidence).
  101. Currency depreciation is a fall in the value of a currency in a floating exchange rate system. Economic fundamentals, interest rate differentials, political instability, or risk aversion can cause currency depreciation. Orderly currency depreciation can increase a country’s export activity as its products and services become cheaper to buy. The Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing programs used to stimulate the economy in the aftermath of the 2007-2008 financial crisis caused U.S. dollar depreciation. Currency depreciation in one country can spread to other countries.
  102. Total fertility rate (TFR) refers to the total number of children born or likely to be born to a woman in her lifetime if she were subject to the prevailing rate of age-specific fertility in the population. TFR of about 2.1 children per woman is called replacement-level fertility. TFR lower than 2.1 children per woman indicates that a generation is not producing enough children to replace itself, eventually leading to an outright reduction in population.
  103. Foreign portfolio investment(FPI) is one of the common ways to invest in overseas economies. It includes securities and financial assets held by investors in another country. It also includes bonds or other debt issued by these companies or foreign governments, mutual funds, or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that invest in assets abroad or overseas. Foreign portfolio investment is part of a country’s capital account. It is important to note that it is shown on its balance of payments (BOP). The BOP measures the amount of money flowing from one country to another country over one monetary year. The investor does not actively manage the investments through FPIs, he does not have control over the securities or the business. The investor’s goal is to create a quick return on his money. The FPI is often referred to as “hot money” because of its tendency to flee at the first signs of trouble in an economy. The FPI is relatively liquid depending on market volatility.
  104. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is a statutory authority established on July 12, 2016, by the Government of India under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, following the provisions of the AadhaarAct, 2016. The UIDAI is mandated to assign a 12-digit unique identification (UID) number (Aadhaar) to all residents of India. The UIDAI was initially set up by the Government of India in January 2009, as an attached office under the aegis of the Planning Commission.
  105. Ethanol is one of the principal biofuels, which is naturally produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts or via petrochemical processes such as ethylene hydration. The Government of India has advanced the target for 20 per cent ethanol blending in petrol (also called E20) to 2025 from 2030. Currently, 9.99 per cent of ethanol is blended with petrol in India. Increased use of ethanol can help reduce the oil import bill. Ethanol blending provides incentives to farmers as the oil companies primarily procure ethanol from sugarcane farmers. The government’s plan is to encourage use of water-saving crops to produce ethanol. Use of ethanol-blended petrol decreases emissions such as carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx).
  106. The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act(FCRA) was enacted during the Emergency in 1976 in an atmosphere of apprehension that foreign powers were interfering in India’s affairs by pumping in funds through international organizations. These concerns had been expressed in Parliament as early as 1969. Broadly, the FCRA requires every person or NGO wishing to receive foreign donations to be registered under the Act, to open a bank account for the receipt of the foreign funds in State Bank of India, Delhi, and to utilise those funds only for the purpose for which they have been received and as stipulated in the Act. They are also required to file annual returns, and they must not transfer the funds to another NGO. The Act prohibits the receipt of foreign funds by candidates for elections, journalists or newspaper and media broadcast companies, judges and government servants, members of the legislature and political parties or their office-bearers, and organizations of a political nature.
  107. Inflation refers to the rise in the prices of most goods and services of daily or common use, such as food, clothing, housing, recreation, transport, consumer staples, etc. It measures the average price change in a basket of commodities and services over time. Inflation is indicative of the decrease in the purchasing power of a unit of a country’s currency. This could ultimately lead to a deceleration in economic growth. The NSO under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation measures inflation. Inflation in India is primarily measured by two main indices — WPI(Wholesale Price Index) and CPI (Consumer Price Index) which measure wholesale and retail-level price changes, respectively. Retail inflation is measured by the consumer price index (CPI). It is a weighted average of the prices of a basket of consumer goods and services. Therefore, retail inflation is also termed CPI-based inflation.
  108. Montreal Protocol is officially known as the Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer treaty. It was signed on Sept. 16, 1987, in Montreal by 25 nations; 197 nations are now parties to the accord. It sets a limit on the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, and other related substances that release chlorine or bromine to the ozone layer of the atmosphere. e ozone-depleting potential, or ODP, of any substance, is measured concerning an equal mass of CCl3F, or CFC-11, which is assigned a value of 1.0. Most other CFCs have ODPs that range from about 0.5 to about 1.3. It is essential to know that hydrochlorofluorocarbons, which are being used as transitional replacements for CFCs in refrigeration, have ODPs that are generally less than 0.5. Also, hydrofluorocarbons, which are also replacing CFCs as refrigerants, have ODPs of zero. The concern is that they are greenhouse gases.
  109. The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women(CEDAW) is an international treaty adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly. Described as an international bill of rights for women, it was instituted on 3 September 1981 and has been ratified by 189 states. Over fifty countries that have ratified the Convention have done so subject to certain declarations, reservations, and objections, including 38 countries who rejected the enforcement article 29, which addresses means of settlement for disputes concerning the interpretation or application of the convention. Australia’s declaration noted the limitations on central government power resulting from its federal constitutional system. The United States and Palau have signed, but not ratified the treaty. The Holy See, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, and Tonga are not signatories to CEDAW.
  110. The Mizo language or Mizo Tawng belongs to the Sino-Tibetan family. During colonial rule, Christian missionaries Reverends J H Lorrain and F W Savidge visited the Lushai Hills (now Mizoram) and introduced the Mizo alphabet in 1894, based on the Roman script. The Mizo script is called ‘A Aw B’.
  111. The Government of India established the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser in November The PSA’s office aims to provide pragmatic and objective advice to the Prime Minister and the cabinet in matters of Science and Technology. Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam served as the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, in the rank of Cabinet Minister. Dr. Rajagopala Chidambaram served as the Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the Government of India and as the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet (SAC-C).
  112. The first National Women Legislators’ Conference in Kerala concluded with the adoption of Thiruvananthapuram Declaration. The Thiruvananthapuram Declaration laments the long-pending Women’s Reservation Bill (since 1996) for 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and State Legislatures.
  113. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is the oldest Parliamentary Committee, and is tasked with scrutinising the appropriation accounts of the Government of India and the reports of the CAG thereon.
  114. Inquilab (Revolution) is one of them. It was used for the first time in a slogan Inquilab Zindabad (Long Live Revolution) by Maulana Hasrat Mohani in 1921 and soon became a rallying cry of our freedom struggle.
  115. Pseudomonas Bacteria is one of the predominant bacteria groups in the Antarctic Peninsula with genes having natural antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance.
  116. The Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) on Forest Landscape Restoration between India and Germany was signed virtually.
  117. Centre for Development of Telematics(C-DOT), the premier R&D centre of the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications, Government of India and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing(C-DAC), an autonomous Scientific Society of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the SemiconIndia 2022 event at Bangalore.
  118. National Open Access Registry (NOAR) is part of the Ministry of Power, Government of India’s initiative and the required regulatory framework has been notified by the CERC through operationalization of the 5th Amendment Regulation of Open Access in inter- State Transmission.
  119. The National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) is releasing All India Consumer Price Index (CPI) on Base 2012=100 and corresponding Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) for Rural (R), Urban (U) and Combined (C).
  120. Scientists have reported spotting of the fossil of a Madtsoiidae snake from the molasse deposits of Ladakh Himalaya for the first time indicating their prevalence in the subcontinent for much longer time than previously thought. Madtsoiidae is an extinct group of medium-sized to gigantic snakes, firstly appeared during the late Cretaceous and mostly distributed in the Gondwanan landmasses, although, their Cenozoic record is extremely scarce. From the fossil record, the whole group disappeared in the mid-Paleogene across most Gondwanan continents except for Australia where it survived with its last known taxon Wonambi till late Pleistocene. The occurrence of Madtsoiidae from the Oligocene of Ladakh indicates their continuity at least to the end of the Paleogene (geologic period and system that spans 43 million years from the end of the Cretaceous Period 66 million years ago). The research published in Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology shows that the members of this group were successful in this subcontinent for much longer time than previously thought. The global climatic shifts and the prominent biotic reorganization across the Eocene-Oligocene boundary (which correlates to the European Grande Coupure), did not cause the extinction of this important group of snakes in India.
  121. Article 246-A inserted after the 122nd constitutional amendment states, “Notwithstanding anything contained in articles 246 and 254, Parliament, and, subject to clause (2), the Legislature of every state, have the power to make laws with respect to the GST imposed by the Union or by such state.” Thus, the power to levy the central GST (CGST) vests with Parliament, the power to levy state GST (SGST) vests with state legislatures and Parliament has exclusive power to make laws with respect to the GST on items that are part of inter-state trade or commerce. Thus, the GST Council is only an advisory body and the actual decisions regarding model GST levies, principles of levy, apportionment of GST levied on inter-state supplies, principles relating to place of supply, exemptions and rate structure and any special provisions will have to be taken by either Parliament in the case of CGST and IGST or the states in the case of SGST.
  122. The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) which covers fair trade, supply chain resilience, infrastructure, clean energy, and decarbonisation, among others — is likely to complement the other Indo-Pacific projects like the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI, founded by the three Quad states, Japan, Australia, and India) that also seeks to build resilient and secure trade linkages by reducing dependence on China.
  123. PARAM PORUL is a state-of the art Supercomputer at NIT Tiruchirappalli under Phase 2 of National Supercomputing Mission (NSM).
  124. In the Constitution, entry 14 of the Union list contains the following item — “entering into treaties and agreements with foreign countries and implementing of treaties, agreements and conventions with foreign countries”. According to Article 246, Parliament has the legislative competence on all matters given in the Union list. Article 253 elucidates that the power of Parliament to implement treaties by enacting domestic laws also extends to topics that are part of the state list. Parliament exercises control over the executive’s treaty-making power at the stage of transforming a treaty into the domestic legal regime. 
  125. The Cholas occupied the Indo Pacific regions called the Srivijaya and Suvarnabhumi. They defeated the Chinese and it is the image of Lord Shiva that was their ruling symbol.
  126. Climate 200is an Australian fund that aims to donate money to election candidates who want to advance climate policy, to more effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the country and limit climate change in Australia.
  127. NITI Aayog’s initiatives such as launching sector-specific indices like the School Education Quality Index, Sustainable Development Goals Index, State Health Index, India Innovation Index, Composite Water Management Index, Export Competitiveness Index.
  128. The Registrar General of India (RGI) is responsible for the Civil Registration System (CRS). The responsibilities for reporting and registering births and deaths are enunciated in the Registration of Births and Deaths (RBD)Act, 1969, which draws its strength from the Concurrent List of the Constitution. The RGI has a statutory duty to declare births and deaths.
  129. A major issue of contention in Project 75-Iappears to be the installation of an air independent propulsion system (AIP) on these vessels. Since conventional submarines are propelled underwater by electric-power, battery endurance remains a major limitation. The submarine has to periodically expose itself to draw air for running generators that charge their battery-banks.
  130. Under the Constitution, family and succession laws are in the concurrent jurisdiction of the Centre and states, but a law to be equally applicable in the entire country can be enacted by Parliament alone.
  131. Police is, indeed, in the State List — largely so. The Union List mentions the armed forces of the Union, CBI and some reasons for preventive detention. The State List has public order and police. The Concurrent List has criminal law and procedure and some reasons for preventive detention.
  132. Total Fertility Rate is the total number of children a woman will bear in her lifetime.
  133. Zero Plastic Waste City project was initiated as a collaboration between The Grameen Creative Lab and The Alliance to End Plastic Waste. Consisting of a modular social business approach, the programme aims to increase the waste collection rates of currently unconsidered waste types and increase the amount of waste being reused for new purposes, while simultaneously empowering local waste pickers.
  134. The Global Basic Observing Network (GBON) paves the way for a radical overhaul of the international exchange of observational data, which underpin all weather, climate and water services and products.
  135. The Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) on Forest Landscape Restoration between India and Germany. It is one of the deliverables of the 6th India-Germany Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC).
  136. Land-based carbon storage is a part of nature-based solutions to climate crisis, one of the focus areas at the 26th Conference of Parties (CoP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  137. Agriculture Expenditure Ration (AER) is an estimate of the public spending on various sub-sectors within agriculture as a proportion of the total output generated in agriculture. The expenditure on food storage has stagnated, and on agricultural research has marginally declined. 
  138. World No Tobacco Day is observed on May 31 every year since 1987. This year, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) theme for the Day is “Tobacco: Threat to our environment.”
  139. Tobacco farmers are prone to suffer from a work-related ailment known as “Green Tobacco Sickness” (GTS), which is caused mainly by nicotine absorption via the skin. Nicotine is an addictive chemical found in tobacco. Today, India is the second-largest crop producer in the world after China. Tobacco is one of the important cash crops. 
  140. The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiativeis a civil society campaign for an international treaty to prevent fossil fuel exploration and expansion, and ensure a managed phase out of fossil fuel production to limit global warming. The treaty aims to complement the Paris Agreement and ensure a fair and just transition to renewable energy. As of September 14, 2021, the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative has received the endorsement of 2,185 scientists and researchers from 81 countries.
  141. The Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA)is a group of 166 countries, cities, regions and organisations aiming to accelerate the fossil-fuel phase out of coal-fired power stations, except the very few which have carbon capture and storage. It has been described as a “non-proliferation treaty” for fossil fuels. The Alliance was launched by Canada and the UK at the COP23 climate summit in November 2017. 
  142. Several cases have been reported of COVID-19 patients complaining of a relapse of symptoms a week after ‘recovering’ at the end of a five-day course of Paxlovid, an antiviral drug by Pfizer Inc. The reason for such ‘Paxlovid relapse’ is unclear. The pill, also known as nirmatrelvir-ritonavir, reduces risk of hospitalisations or death from COVID-19 by 89 per cent, the company had claimed citing data from studies involving those who were not vaccinated and were infected by the Delta variant.
  143. The Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group is a coalition of 46 low-income countries, and a key negotiating bloc, representing the Global South in UN climate change negotiations. They are at the most economic disadvantage and simultaneously face some of the worst impacts of climate change despite contributing little to the crisis. The members include India’s neighbours like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Nepal.
  144. Grazing cattle, particularly the native malaimadu species, has traditionally been a major source of earning for forest dwelling communities in and around Theni district of Tamil Nadu.
  145. As for the classification of domestic support measures in the so-called amber, green and blue boxes. The green box lists the domestic measures which may be maintained or introduced by WTO members without any limits or reduction commitments as long as they have no, or at most minimal, trade-distorting effects or effects on production.
  146. The Black Sea region, which includes Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, is one of the world’s six food baskets. Russia is the world’s largest wheat exporter while Ukraine is sixth on the list.
  147. Russia is also the world’s top exporter of nitrogen fertilisers, the second-leading supplier of potassium fertilisers and the third-largest exporter of phosphorus fertilisers.
  148. A vaccinia virus (VACV) belongs to the orthopoxvirus family of which buffalopox is a close variant. Zika virus, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, rubella and chickenpox are other diseases classified in the same group. India’s increasing buffalopox infections underline the urgency to understand the evolutionary biology of orthopoxviruses.
  149. The World Weather Attribution (WWA) initiative, a collaboration between climate scientists at Imperial College London in the UK, KNMI in the Netherlands, IPSL/LSCE in France, Princeton University and NCAR in the US, ETH Zurich in Switzerland, IIT Delhi in India and climate impact specialists at the Red Cross / Red Crescent Climate Centre (RCCC) around the world, has been founded to change this, and provide robust assessments on the role of climate change in the aftermath of the event.
  150. The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants or UPOV (French: Union internationale pour la protection des obtentions végétales) is a treaty body(non-United Nations intergovernmental organization) with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Its objective is to provide an effective system for plant variety protection. It does so by defining a blueprint regulation to be implemented by its members in national law.
  151. “Only small and marginal farmers involved in subsistence farming” are eligible to claim rights under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001. These rights are not for “commercial farmers” and are only meant for “small scale” use. The PPV&FR Act allows a farmer to “save, use, sow, resow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under this Act”. The legislation itself does not include any stipulation that only small and marginal farmers will be protected, or mention the scale of use.
  152. A team at the Department of Electrical Communication Engineering (ECE), Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has developed a true random number generator (TRNG), which, the team says, can improve data encryption and provide improved security for sensitive digital data such as credit card details, passwords, and other personal information. 
  153. Gond art often depicts man and nature as one. Portraying the five elements — including fire as black, air in green, water in red — the work emphasizes how earth is the giver that provides. The thin white edges of the canvas represent the immortal soul and the figure of the young boy within whom the elements are painted, depicts how Mother Earth treats everyone as its child whom it nourishes.
  154. In 1994, India signed the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In 2002, India also joined the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) Convention. Both TRIPS and UPOV led to the introduction of some form of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) over plant varieties. Member countries had to introduce restrictions on the free use and exchange of seeds by farmers unless the “breeders” were remunerated.
  155. In 1992, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) provided for “prior informed consent” of farmers before the use of genetic resources and “fair and equitable sharing of benefits” arising out of their use. In 2001, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) recognised farmers’ rights as the rights to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seeds. National governments had the responsibility to protect such farmers’ rights. As India was a signatory to TRIPS and UPOV (that gave priority to breeders’ rights) as well as CBD and ITPGRFA (that emphasised farmers’ rights), any Indian legislation had to be in line with all. 
  156. The La Niña is the cooler-than-normal phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation phenomenon in the equatorial Pacific Ocean that usually dissipates after the winter season in the northern hemisphere but has been quite adamant this year. A pressure pattern associated with La Niña and its interaction with warm Arctic waves that resulted in the formation of anticyclones, was one of the reasons for the early onset and spread of heatwaves in March all across India. Anticyclones cause hot and dry weather by sinking winds around high pressure systems in the atmosphere.
  157. Cumulonimbus clouds, known to produce hail, thunder and lightning, are forming on the Western Coast due to the warming sea.
  158. Storm surge is the increase in the height and energy of sea waves during a cyclone which depends on the wind speeds of the cyclone. The higher the wind speeds of a cyclone, the more is their ability to pile up water towards the centre of the cyclone; hence a stronger storm surge. Storm surges may also get intensified if there is a high tide during the time of the cyclone. The combined effect of a storm surge and a high tide is known as a storm tide. Storm surges and tides bring saline water into agricultural fields and people’s homes, leading to long-term damage, including a decrease in soil quality.
  159. The Keeling Curve is a graph of the longest uninterrupted record of atmospheric CO2 levels on Earth.
  160. The Sahar, Sehariya, or Sahariyaare an ethnic group in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. The Sahariya community considers every adult member part of a governing council which is headed by a patel. The Sahariyas are expert woodsmen and forest product gatherers. They are particularly skilled in making catechu from Khair trees. They are classified as a ‘Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group’.
  161. Africa Green Growth Readiness Assessmentwas launched, during a side-event at the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, underway in Abidjan.
  162. Exposure to higher benzene concentrations over a short period of time can trigger acute neurological symptoms like dizziness and headaches. It can also reduce blood cell counts, including during prenatal development and weaken the immune system, increasing susceptibility to diseases.
  163. Kundapur, a town in coastal Karnataka’s Udupi district, is ready to welcome Olive Ridley turtles after six years, having cleaned up its beaches that had been clogged with waste. The stretch from Kodi to Beejadi is one of the few places on India’s west coast that hosts Olive Ridleys during their nesting season from November to April. The animals also visit sites on the east coast, such as Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and the Gahiramatha and Rushikulya rookeries in Odisha’s Kendrapara and Ganjam districts. Recently, the three organisations have synergised their efforts to hold Aame Habbaor ‘Turtle Festival’ at Kodi beach. Olive Ridley turtles are notified under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, which ensures maximum legal protection for the animals.
  164. Major malaria vectors Anopheles gambiae, Anopheles coluzzii, Anopheles funestus andAnopheles pharoensis.
  165. 3rd edition of Indian Navy – Bangladesh Navy Bilateral Exercise ‘Bongosagar’ commenced at Port Mongla in Bangladesh.
  166. Radio frequency energy harvesting (RF-EH) and backscatter communication are two options. In RF-EH, energy is transmitted to the IoT device through radio waves by a dedicated transmitter. In backscatter communication also, power is transmitted via radio waves. But, with or without the need for a dedicated transmitter. Instead, radiofrequency signals available in the vicinity, such as WiFi, and cell phone signals, are harnessed through reflection and backscatter. The RF-EH and backscatter devices have their strengths and drawbacks. For example, while the latter is associated with considerable energy savings compared to the former, it suffers from a reduced data rate and a shorter transmission range. The potential of the proposed system is vast and includes applications such as battery-free wireless cameras, wireless monitors, sensors, skin-attachable sensing platforms, contact lenses, machine-to-machine communication and human-to-machine interactions, among others.
  167. State of Biofertilizers and Organic Fertilizers in India report by Delhi-based think-tank the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
  168. Climate change is causing the pine pest Panolis flammea, or pine beauty moth, to shift its range northward 50 years ahead of predictions, according to a new study.
  169. The Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update is a publication of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
  170. The Global Network Against Food Crises (GNAFC) is an international alliance of the United Nations, the European Union, governmental and non-governmental agencies working to tackle food crises together.
  171. Saturn’s moon Titan holds liquid lakes, rivers and fields of sand dunes, much like Earth. Titan is one of the 82 moons orbiting Saturn.
  172. The members of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a regional, political and economic union of west African countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
  173. Marayoor Sandalwood Reserve (Kerala), the largest source of high-quality sandalwood in India. Located close to the famous hill station Munnar. Marayoor is also an inter-connecting national park for Chinnar, Kurinjimala, Eravikulam, Pambadum Sholai and Anamudi.
  174. Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) mission is a collaboration between NASA and the German Space Agency (DLR). It’s the second-most expensive astrophysics mission. It has also been keeping a close eye on planets, comets and asteroids in our solar system, nebulas and galaxies, celestial magnetic fields and black holes at the centre of galaxies. SOFIA was designed to observe cosmic objects in far-infrared wavelengths. 
  175. The cheetah or Acinonyx Jubatus, the fastest terrestrial animal on earth was once found in Africa, Iran and India. The cheetahs found in Iran and India are classified as the ‘Asiatic’ (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) subspecies, different from the African. India is now waiting for cheetahs from South Africa and Namibia, which will first be taken to Kuno-Palpur National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.
  176. Sunflower cultivation in India has dropped by 90 per cent in the last three decades. India relies on imports for sunflower oil like other edible oils. Seventy per cent of the sunflower oil imported by India comes from Ukraine, while 20 per cent comes from Russia. Sunflower is also grown in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
  177. The new FAST telescope in China is the largest radio telescope ever built and will be used to send a message toward the center of the galaxy.
  178. Astronomers and sky enthusiasts marked the 2022 International Dark Sky Week from April 22-30.  The International Dark Sky Week is an annual event hosted by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).
  179. India is the second-largest producer of wheat in the world, with China being the top producer and Russia the third-largest — Ukraine is the world’s eighth-largest producer of wheat.
  180. Wheat procurement is undertaken by the state-owned Food Corporation of India (FCI) and other agencies at MSP to meet the requirements under the Public Distribution System (PDS) and other welfare schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) introduced during the pandemic.
  181. India has committed to a “25 by 25” goal, which aims to reduce premature mortality due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25% by 2025. One of the nine voluntary targets includes reducing the prevalence of high blood pressure by 25% by 2025.
  182. The Central African Republic (CAR) became the second country after El Salvador to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.
  183. El Salvador uses U.S. dollar and CAR’s franc is the mutual currency for 14 African nations—Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Chad. Together these countries—most of which were once French colonies—constitute the ‘Franc Zone’. Convertibility, that is the ability of a currency to be exchanged with other global currencies, is guaranteed by France. In other words, franc can be exchanged into foreign currencies via the exchange market of Paris, creating a dependency on the European country.
  184. Mizoram is keen on bridges across the Khawthlangtuipui river (Karnaphuli in Bangladesh) for faster access to the Chittagong port. Apart from the India-Bangladesh Protocol Route involving the Brahmaputra, cargo ships from Bangladesh have reached Tripura through the Gomati River and Assam’s Karimganj via the Kushiara River.
  185. The EU’s 2030 Biodiversity Strategy lists restoring 25,000 km of rivers across the bloc to a “free-flowing state” as one of the key steps to improve degraded ecosystems. The Biodiversity Strategy is a core part of the European Green Deal.
  186. The NRC was born out of independent India’s first census in 1951, entailing the transfer of data from the Census slips. All States were mandated to compile an NRC but it was done only in Assam. According to the State Coordinator, only the office of the Registrar General of India has the authority to publish the final NRC and a notification in this regard is yet to be issued. 
  187. Lebanon is a country in the eastern Mediterranean, with Israel bordering its south and Syria on its northern and eastern border. It has a 1.5-million refugee population from Syria, besides a permanent Palestinian presence.
  188. Hezbollah is a Shia Muslim militia largely based in Lebanon and backed by Iran. It emerged during the Lebanese civil war with the aim of driving out the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) from Lebanon and countering Western influences. It was inspired by Iran’s Shia theocratic leadership and adopted the name Hezbollah, meaning “The Party of God”. Iran, meanwhile, wanting to propagate its Shia influence in the Arab world, provided funding, arms, and training to the militia.
  189. WeProtect Global Alliance(also known as the Alliance) is a global alliance that brings together experts from government, the private sector and civil society to protect children from sexual abuse online.
  190. The “Great Replacement” theory is related to ecofascism as well and propagates that non-White populations are replacing Whites from their rightful lands as a result of globalisation and industrialisation.
  191. Stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency that seek to hold their value steady, even if the Bitcoins of the world have a rocky journey. 
  192. Article 311 of the Constitution of India safeguards civil servants against any arbitrary dismissal from their posts and helps them respond to charges in an inquiry against them. Disciplinary action against an officer found errant may include demotion, suspension or transfer. 
  193. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) is the agency of the Ministry of Commerce and Industryof the Government of India responsible for administering laws regarding foreign trade. DGFT provides a complete searchable database of all exporters and importers of India. The search can be completed only if full IEC code and first three letters of company name are entered. The Central Government appoints any person to be the Directorate General of Foreign Trade. Normally a member of the Indian Administrative Service having rendered 30 or more years is appointed to the post of the Director-General of Foreign Trade. The Director-General heads an attached office under the administrative control of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the Government of India. The Director-General is an Ex-Officio Additional Secretary to the Government of India. The Director-General advises the central Government in the formulation of Foreign Trade Policy and is responsible for carrying out that Policy.
  194. India’s First Greenfield Grain-Based Ethanol Plant Launched in Bihar. The Purnea plant, built with latest technology using zero waste discharge, has been set up on about 15 acres of land and will buy 130 tons of rice husk and 145-150 tons of maize or rice from farmers every day, according to information provided.
  195. India is also not a signatory to the World Trade Organisations Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), but has been an observer since 2010.
  196. The Post Devolution Revenue Deficit Grants are provided to the States under Article 275 of the Constitution.  The grants are released to the States as per the recommendations of the successive Finance Commissions to meet the gap in Revenue Accounts of the States post devolution.
  197. In Juanga community in Keonjhar district of Odisha, there is a social tradition called ‘Samuduni Dekha’, in which the mother goes to stay with her married daughter and the entire community comes out in celebration to welcome her often with song and dance. This ceremonial practice involving song and dance at community level too received a jolt during the pandemic.
  198. Dhap Dance also called Sambalpuri folk dance is mostly performed by the Kandha tribe of Kosal region in Orissa. Both men and women participate in the dance. The dance is performed during marriage ceremony and during the ‘Nuakhai’ – the main festival of the Oriyas. The dance is named so because of the accompanying instrument called ‘Dhap.’
  199. Bhojshala is an ASI protected 11th century monument, which Hindus claim is a temple of Vagdevi (Goddess Saraswati), while the Muslim community treats it as Kamal Maula Mosque.
  200. Recently, the Ministry for Housing and Urban Affairs & Petroleum and Natural Gas has launched the BHARAT TAP initiative at the ‘Plumbex India’ exhibition. It is an initiative for awareness creation for promotion of BIS Certified Water Efficient Plumbing Fixtures. It comprises of Low Flow Sanitaryware and Sanitary Fittings which reduce the water dispensation at source, leading to a water saving of minimum 40%. It will result into water saving and energy saving because due to less water required less energy will be required for pumping, transporting and purification.
  201. The Centre recently reviewed the progress of Ujh Multipurpose Project in Kathua region of Jammu and Kashmir. Ujh is a tributary of Ravi River.
  202. Under the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and broader maritime cooperation, the Indian Navy undertakes joint exclusive economic zone (EEZ) surveillance with Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius and coordinated patrols (CORPAT) with Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia.
  203. ONGC has become the first Exploration and Production (E&P) company in India to trade domestic gas on IGX. IGX, a subsidiary of Indian Energy Exchange (IEX), is a trading platform for natural gas. Trading is allowed across three hubs —Dahej and Hazira in Gujarat, and Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. It operates under the regulatory framework of Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB). It allows buyers and sellers of natural gas to trade both in spot market and in forward market for imported Natural gas.
  204. The India-US Comprehensive Strategic Global Partnership is underpinned by a shared commitment to democratic values, rule of law, and a commitment to uphold a rules based international order. The Leaders expressed happiness with progress made across sectors in the bilateral agenda. Both sides launched an India-U.S. Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) to facilitate outcome-oriented cooperation. Co-led by the National Security Council Secretariat in India and the U.S. National Security Council, iCET would forge closer linkages between government, academia and industry of the two countries in areas such as AI, quantum computing, 5G/6G, biotech, space and semiconductors.
  205. Recently, the Indian Government representative has been made the chair of WTO’s committee on Technical Barriers on Trade (TBT). TBT refers to mandatory technical regulations and voluntary solutions that define specific characteristics that a product should have such as its shape, size, design, packaging etc. WTO’s agreement on TBT is a preventive instrument which aims to ensure that such measures are non-discriminatory and do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade. TBT Committee work involves two broad areas: Review of specific measures and strengthening implementation of the TBT Agreement.

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