IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus – November 2020

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  1. The Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT) gathers countries and companies that are committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions from industry by 2050. SEI serves as LeadIT’s Secretariat. A new initiative was launched on 23rd September at the UN Climate Action Summit to help guide the world’s heaviest greenhouse gas emitting industries toward the low-carbon economy. India and Sweden together with Argentina, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, South Korea and the UK, as well as a group of companies including Dalmia Cement, DSM, Heathrow Airport, LKAB, Mahindra Group, Royal Schiphol Group, Scania, SpiceJet, SSAB, ThyssenKrupp and Vattenfall, announced a new Leadership Group for Industry Transition that will drive transformation in hard-to-decarbonize and energy-intensive sectors. This global initiative will be supported by the World Economic Forum, the Energy Transitions Commission, Mission Innovation, Stockholm Environment Institute, and the European Climate Foundation among many others in an ambitious, public-private effort, to ensure heavy industries and mobility companies can find a workable pathway to deliver on the Paris Agreement.
  2. Recently the defence minister virtually laid the foundation of a tunnel at Nechiphu in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. It will shorten travel time for troops till the LAC through Tawang, which China claims to be its territory.
  3. The Defence Acquisition Council is the highest decision-making body in the Defence Ministry for deciding on new policies and capital acquisitions for the three services (Army, Navy and Air Force) and the Indian Coast Guard.
  4. Team Halo is an initiative undertaken by the United Nations (UN) in collaboration with The Vaccine Confidence Project at the University of London to tackle misinformation by sharing information on the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines via social media.
  5. World Cancer Day is observed on 4th February every year.
  6. The National Legal Services Day is celebrated on 9th November every year to spread awareness for ensuring reasonably fair and justice procedure for all citizens.
  7. National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) regulates the prices of all Drugs as per the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) 2013. It fixes the Ceiling Price of scheduled formulations as per the list of medicines specified in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) which are included in the First Schedule of Drug Pricing Control Order (DPCO), 2013. By regulating prices of Scheduled Drugs, NPPA roughly covers only 16-17% of the Pharma sector universe.
  8. Hydroponics and aeroponics are both methods of growing plants. The latter, aeroponics, is a method used to grow plants in the air – without the use of soil. Hydroponics is also a method that does not use soil, but instead, uses only a nutrient solution in a water solvent.
  9. Tenor premium: It is the premium charged by the banks for the risk associated with lending for higher tenors. Tenor is the amount of time left for repayment of the loan. Higher the duration of the loan, higher will be the risk.
  10. Basel Institute on Governance is a not-for-profit Swiss foundation dedicated to working with public and private partners around the world to prevent and combat corruption.
  11. The Cool Coalition is a unified front that links action across the Kigali Amendment, Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. It will inspire ambition, identify solutions and mobilize action to accelerate progress toward clean and efficient cooling. The Cool Coalition is a global effort led by UN Environment, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program, and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). Launched at the First Global Conference on Synergies between the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement, the Cool Coalition was assembled by UNEP with the belief that a unified effort of governments, cities, businesses, and civil society that share the objective of advancing efficient, climate-friendly cooling will be more effective in bringing about change than any of us acting alone.
  12. Recently, Hurricane Etahas hit northeastern Nicaragua with life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds and flash flooding occurring over portions of Central America. It is categorized as a Category 4 hurricane. A Category 4 storm has wind speeds between 130-156 mph and can uproot trees and bring down power lines. Tropical cyclones or hurricanes use warm, moist air as fuel, and therefore form over warm Equatorial water.
  13. Recently, Hurricane Iota made landfall in Nicaragua in Central America and has developed into a category 5 storm. It is believed to be the strongest Atlantic hurricane of 2020.
  14. The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration runs from 2021 through 2030, which is also the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals and the timeline scientists have identified as the last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change. Led by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, The UN Decade is building a strong, broad-based global movement to ramp up restoration and put the world on track for a sustainable future. That will include building political momentum for restoration as well as thousands of initiatives on the ground.
  15. Eat.Save of the Save Food Initiative, is a partnership between UNEP and FAO contributing to the Sustainable Food Systems Programme of the 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP), also known as the One Planet Network. Sustainable Development Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, contains a wide range of targets, one of which is closely related to Think.Eat.Save. SDG Target 12.3 seeks to halve global food waste at retail and consumer levels, as well as to reduce food loss during production and supply. In order to measure food waste and losses, two indices have been proposed: A Food Waste Index (FWI) and a Food Loss Index (FLI). Building on the work from the Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard (FLW Standard), the Food Waste Index is currently in development at UN Environment. The FWI will measure tons of wasted food per capita, considering a mixed stream of products from processing through to consumption. The Food Loss Index has already been created by FAO, examining food loss along supply activities such as production, handling & storage, and processing.
  16. The World Environment Situation Room (WESR)is the new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) data, information and knowledge platform. It will enable users to access, visualize, share and download data, information and knowledge services regarding the world environment situation in near real-time.
  17. Guru Nanak Jayanti is a sacred festival of the Sikh community and is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, who is believed to be born onPoornima (full moon) of the Kartika (8th month of Hindu calendar), which falls on 30th of November in 2020. Guru Nanak Dev advocated the ‘Nirguna’ (devotion to and worship of formless divine) form of bhakti. He gave the basic mantra of ‘Ek Onkar’ to his followers and insisted on treating all human beings equally, without discriminating on the basis of caste, creed and gender. He placed the motto of “kirat karo, naam japo and vand chhako” (work, worship and share) before his disciples. In 2019, the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev was celebrated and the Kartarpur corridor was inaugurated, which is an important step towards easing the tensions between India and Pakistan.
  18. India became a full Associate Member of world’s largest particle Physics laboratory CERN in 2017, thereby getting full access to data generated there.
  19. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on 19 November, 2015, notified the decision of the Government of India to celebrate 26 November as ‘Constitution Day’. Every year, Constitution Day or Samvidhan Diwas is celebrated on 26th This day is also known as National Law Day. The day commemorates the adoption of the Constitution in India. On this day in 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India formally adopted the Constitution of India that came into force on 26 January 1950.
  20. Pangda is east of the India-Bhutan-China trijunction on the Doklam plateau,which was the site of a 72-day stand-off in 2017 triggered by China’s road-building up to where it sees its border. The village of Pangda has been newly built and authorities in Yadong county (an administrative region) of Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region have confirmed that 27 households with 124 people voluntarily moved from Shangdui village to Pangda village in September 2020.
  21. The Sisseri River Bridgelocated at lower Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh connecting Dibang Valley and Siang.
  22. The representative body for Internet companies has developed a self-regulatory Digital Curated Content Complaint Council (DCCC) to receive complaints on online content such as video streaming. The DCCC is a nine-member body with a retired Supreme Court or High court judge as the chairperson, three experienced industry members, three signatory members, and three members from National level Statutory Commissions (such as the National Commission for Women or Schedule Caste or Human Rights Commission).
  23. Unamendability of the constitution under the basic structure doctrinepronounced by the Supreme Court in Kesavananda Bharati Case 1973.
  24. Saora paintings, lately sought by art lovers for living rooms around the world, have their origin in the mud walls of aboriginal Lanjia Saora tribal homes in Odisha. It is a remarkable transformation for the sacred art of a little-known community. Also called the hill Saoras, the community inhabits the remote ranges flanking the great Bansadhara river in southern Odisha. A Saora painting is called Idital and the person who creates it is known as the iditalmar. Before the painting is made, the wall is cleaned and smeared with locally available red soil, then rice paste is prepared as white colour for painting with bamboo sticks [instead of brushes]. Each painting has a rectangular frame, and features icons of deities, or those drawn from nature. It’s said that there are 64 artistic motifs that are drawn by the iditalmars in a painting. Some frequently featured motifs include Labasum (the earth god), Jodisum (the village deity), Manduasum (the sun god) and Jananglosum (the wind deity).
  25. National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO) is a National level organization set up under Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. National Human Organ and Tissue Removal and Storage Network has been mandated as per the Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Act 2011. The Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Act 2011 has included the component of tissue donation and registration of tissue Banks. It becomes imperative under the changed circumstances to establish National level Tissue Bank to fulfill the demands of tissue transplantation including activities for procurement, storage and fulfil distribution of biomaterials. National Organ Donation Daywas celebrated on 27th November by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  26. The first Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Regionhas been published by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
  27. The year 2019 was celebrated as the ASEAN-India Year of Tourism.
  28. As part of 150thBirth Anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi, the ‘India for Humanity’ initiative was launched in 2018 in honour of Gandhiji’s service to humanity. “India For Humanity” initiative was launched by the Ministry of External Affairs. It features a year-long series of artificial limb fitment camps in a number of countries spanning the globe.
  29. Birsa Munda started the faith of ‘Birsait’ sect. Members of the Munda and Oraon community joined the Birsait sect and it turned into a challenge to British conversion activities. The Munda Rebellion was led by Birsa Munda in the south of Ranchi in 1899-1900.
  30. The notable British technique called the Doctrine of Lapse was first perpetrated by Lord Dalhousie in the late 1840s. It involved the British prohibiting a Hindu ruler without a natural heir from adopting a successor and, after the ruler died or abdicated, annexing his land.
  31. Cruise missiles are defined as “an unmanned self-propelled guided vehicle that sustains flight through aerodynamic lift for most of its flight path and whose primary mission is to place an ordnance or special payload on a target.” Depending upon the speed, such missiles are classified as Subsonic (around 0.8 Mach), Supersonic (2-3 Mach) and Hypersonic cruise missiles (more than 5 Mach). India’s Cruise Missile: Nirbhay. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high precision. The name BrahMos is a portmanteau formed from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia. It is the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile in operation.
  32. Article 25 of the Indian constitution provides the freedom to practice any religion of one’s choice and personal laws of the religions have specified various laws relating to marriage for the followers of that religion. Hence, in India inter-faith marriages are allowed as the constitution allows one to convert to a different religion from what one was born with and further the personal laws of the religion have provisions.
  33. A ballistic missile is one that has a ballistic trajectoryover most of its flight path. What that means is that once the missile burns up the fuel that propels it, the missile keeps moving, the same way that a bullet does after it’s been fired out of a gun. Once the fuel is gone, the missile’s direction can’t be altered. It follows a path determined by the speed of its launch and the force of gravity trying to pull it back toward the Earth’s surface. Eventually, gravity guides the missile — and its payload, which might be an explosive, a chemical or biological weapon, or a nuclear device — down toward its target. Can be launched from ships and land-based facilities. For E.g.-Prithvi I/II, Agni I/II and Dhanush.
  34. Cerberus is aBanking Trojan. It is primarily used to steal financial data, such as credit card numbers. It takes advantage by sending SMS to lure a user to download the link containing the malicious software. It deploys its malicious application usually spread via phishing campaigns to trick users into installing it on their smartphones.
  35. Recession is a macroeconomic term that refers to a slowdown or a massive contractionin economic activities for a long enough period, or it can be said that when a recessionary phase sustains for long enough, it is called a recession.
  36. The First Battle of Panipat (21 April 1526) fought near a small village of Panipat (Haryana), this marked the beginning of Mughal Empire in India. The battle was fought between the invading forces of Zahir-ud-din Babur and the last empire of the Delhi Sultanate, Lodi Empire during the rule of Ibrahim Lodi. It was Babur’s tactics of Tulughma and Arabathat led him to victory. Tulughma means dividing the whole army into various units, viz. the Left, the Right and the Centre. Araba the centre forward division was then provided with carts (araba) which were placed in rows facing the enemy and tied to each other with animal hide ropes. The Second Battle of Panipat was fought between the forces of Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, popularly called Hemu, the Hindu king who was ruling North India from Delhi, and the army of Akbar, on November 5, 1556. It was a decisive victory for Akbar’s generals Khan Zaman I and Bairam Khan. The Third Battle of Panipat took place on 14 January 1761, at Panipat, about 60 miles (95.5 km) north of Delhi between a northern expeditionary force of the Maratha Empire and the King of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Durrani with two Indian Muslim allies— the Rohilla Afghans of the Doab, and Shuja-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Oudh.
  37. Free publication of news flows fromArticle 19 of the Constitution guaranteeing Freedom of Speech.
  38. The Honey FPO Programme of National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited. (NAFED) was inaugurated by Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited. (NAFED) has been appointed as the 4th National Implementing Agency other than SFAC, NABARD and NCDC for the creation of 10,000 FPOs by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare (DAC&FW). NAFED has recently taken over the national level Federation of Indian FPOs and Aggregators (FIFA)with the aim of creating sustainable small holder institutions to enhance collective capacities, shortening of agri produce value chains for equitable returns to all stakeholders and leveraging technology for enhanced transparency, scale and seamless agri. produce trading. Creation of Honey FPOs is one of the thrust areas of FIFA’s business plan.
  39. Apiary on Wheels’ is a unique concept designed by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for the easy upkeep and migration of Bee Boxes having live Bee colonies.
  40. Amicus curiae, (Latin: “friend of the court”), one who assists the court by furnishing information or advice regarding questions of law or fact. He is not a party to a lawsuit and thus differs from an intervenor, who has a direct interest in the outcome of the lawsuit and is therefore permitted to participate as a party to the suit.
  41. 26 November is a historical date in India’s democratic history, as this day is celebrated as Constitution Day. Also, this year is being celebrated as the centenary year of the Presiding Officers’ Conference. The All India Presiding Officers’ Conference began in 1921. 
  42. The UAE currently chairs the Indian Ocean Rim Association(IORA).
  43. The scheme for Creation of Infrastructure for Agro-Processing Cluster (APC) has been approved on 03.05.2017 under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana to incentivize the setting up of agro processing clusters in the country.  This scheme aims at development of modern infrastructure to encourage entrepreneurs to set up food processing units based on cluster approach. These clusters will help in reducing the wastage of the surplus produce and add value to the horticultural / agricultural produce which will result in increase of income of the farmers and create employment at the local level.
  44. Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) can be defined as an eastward moving ‘pulse’ of clouds, rainfall, winds and pressure near the equator that typically recurs every 30 to 60 days.
  45. The Northeast monsoon, on the other hand, occurs during October to December, and is a comparatively small-scale monsoon, which is confined to the Southern peninsula.
  46. In India, the eight socioeconomically backward states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh, referred to as the Empowered Action Group (EAG) states, These EAG States lag behind in the demographic transition and have the highest infant mortality rates in the country.
  47. The Lunar Polar Exploration Mission(LUPEX) is a robotic lunar mission concept by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) that would send a lunar rover and lander to explore the south pole region of the Moon in 2024. In 1966, the Soviet spacecraft Luna 9 became the first vehicle to land safely on the lunar surface. 
  48. India has become the fourth (4th) country in the world to have its independent regional navigation satellite system recognised by the IMO as a part of the World-Wide Radio Navigation System (WWRNS). The other three countries that have its navigation systems recognised by the IMO are the USA, Russia and China. The IMO has accepted IRNSS as an alternative navigation module in Indian waters. It was in use only on a pilot basis earlier but now all merchant vessels are authorized to use it, even small fishing vessels. The navigation system can now replace GPS in the Indian Ocean waters up to 1500 km from the Indian boundary.
  49. Bhutan is the second country to accept the RuPay card after Singapore.
  50. The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) is an intergovernmental organization that helps coordinate the police force of 194 member countries. Each of the member countries hosts an INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB). This connects their national law enforcement with other countries and with the General Secretariat. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is designated as the National Central Bureau of India. It is headquartered in Lyon, France.
  51. The government has set up a 22-member Arun Goel inter-ministerial committee in strengthening the Capital Goods (CG) Sector. The Committee will look into on all such issues pertaining to the Capital Goods Sector including technology development, global value chains, skill training, global standards, reciprocity issues etc.
  52. ShareTheMeal is an initiative of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
  53. Farzad-B Gas Field is located in Persian Gulf (Iran) and the contract for exploration of the field was signed in 2002 by Indian consortium comprising Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) Videsh, Indian Oil Corporation and Oil India.
  54. The government had changed legal age of marriage for women in 1978 when it was increased from 15 to 18 by amending the erstwhile Sharda Act of 1929.
  55. World Wide Fund for Nature recently launched Water Risk Filter.
  56. Ganymede is the largest moon in the solar system (larger than the planet Mercury), and is the only moon known to have its own internally generated magnetic field.
  57. The ‘Ulgulan’or the ‘Great Tumult’ as the movement came to be called, aimed at establishing Munda Raj by driving out the British.
  58. The 2nd (Second) edition of the India, Thailand and Singapore trilateral Naval exercise SITMEX-20concluded in the Andaman Sea. The exercise is in line with India’s SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) vision.
  59. Recently, the Union Minister of Education virtually launched the Lilavati Award-2020. The award has been named after the 12thcentury book called “Lilavati”. The book was written by the mathematician Bhaskara II. It is AICTE’s (All India Council for Technical Education) Innovative education program to empower women.
  60. Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. It is a form of chemiluminescence. Bioluminescence occurs widely in marine vertebrates and invertebrates, as well as in some fungi, microorganisms including some bioluminescent bacteria, and terrestrial arthropods such as fireflies. Animals, plants, fungi and bacteria show bioluminescence.
  61. World Fisheries Day is celebrated on 21st November every year to demonstrate solidarity with all fisherfolk, fish farmers and concerned stakeholders throughout the world. It started in 1997 where “World Forum of Fish Harvesters & Fish Workers” met at New Delhi leading to formation of “World Fisheries Forum” with representatives from 18 countries and signed a declaration advocating for a global mandate of sustainable fishing practices and policies.
  62. The Government has also extended to facilities of Kissan Credit Cards (KCC) to fishers and fish farmers to help them in meeting their working capital needs.
  63. The committee, headed by PK Mohanty, has said “large corporates and industrial houses may be allowed as promoters of banks only after necessary amendments to the Banking Regulation Act, 1949” and strengthening of the supervisory mechanism for large conglomerates, including consolidated supervision.
  64. Internal Working Group (IWG) was constituted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to examine and review the extant licensing and regulatory guidelines relating to ownership and control, corporate structure and other related issues.
  65. The minimum initial capital requirement for licensing new banks should be enhanced from Rs. 500 crores to Rs. 1,000 crores for universal banksand from  200 crores to Rs. 300 crores for small finance banks.
  66. Scottish author Douglas Stuart has been awarded the 2020 Booker Prize for his acclaimed debut novel Shuggie Bain, set in his home city of Glasgow
  67. India and Oman hold annual bilateral exercises across all three wings of the armed forces (Army Exercise ‘Al Najah’, Air Force Exercise ‘Eastern Bridge’, Naval Exercise ‘Naseem al Bahr’). Further, Oman has provided the Indian Navy access to the Port of Duqm SEZ which is one of Indian Ocean’s largest deep-sea ports.
  68. For payments banksintending to convert to a Small Finance Bank (SFB), a track record of 3 years of experience as payments bank may be considered as sufficient.
  69. APEC leaders adopted the Putrajaya Vision 2040, a new 20-year growth vision to replace the Bogor Goals named after the Indonesian town where leaders agreed in 1994 to free and open trade and investment.
  70. Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme is an outcome- and output-oriented scheme where incentives will be paid only if the manufacturers make the goods. The PLI scheme will be implemented by the concerned ministries/departments and will be within the overall financial limits prescribed. It offers a production linked incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in mobile phone manufacturing and specified electronic components, including Assembly, Testing, Marking and Packaging (ATMP) units. The scheme envisages to boost local handset production will help meet the targets under National Policy on Electronics (NPE) 2019.
  71. Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles along with La Réunion are part of Indian Ocean Commission. India has recently become an observer to the Commission.
  72. Permanent Court of Arbitration is the oldest global institution for the settlement of international disputes. It is established by a treaty at the First Hague Peace Conference in 1899 to facilitate arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution between states. It has a Financial Assistance Fund for helping developing countries meet part of the costs involved in international arbitration or other means of dispute settlement offered by the PCA. It is not part of the UN system, although it does have observer status in the UN General Assembly since 1993. Unlike the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration has no sitting judges: the parties themselves select the arbitrators. Sessions of the Permanent Court of Arbitration are held in private and are confidential.
  73. CEPA stands for Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and CECA stands for Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement. Recently India signed a CEPA with Japan and CECA with Malaysia. India had also signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with South Korea. With Singapore signed CECA. The terms that make difference are “Cooperation” and “partnership”. Both these terms are synonymous with each other but the major “technical” difference between a CECA and CEPA is that CECA involves only “tariff reduction/elimination in a phased manner on listed / all items except the negative list and tariff rate quota (TRQ) items” , CEPA also covers the trade in services and investment, and other areas of economic partnershi So CEPA is a wider term that CECA and has the widest coverage. Please note that usually CECA is signed first with a country and after that negotiations may start for a CEPA. For example, India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (CECA) was signed in December, 1998 and came into operation since March, 2000. India completed the tariff elimination programme in March 2003, Sri Lanka scheduled to reach zero duty by 2008. After that the two countries have since initiated negotiations in August 2004 on comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) which covers trade in services and investment.
  74. The 30thedition of India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (Indo-Thai CORPAT) between the Indian Navy and the Royal Thai Navy was concluded in November-2020.  Indian Naval Ship (INS) Karmuk, an indigenously built Missile Corvette and His Majesty’s Thailand Ship (HTMS) Kraburi, a Chao Phraya Class Frigate along with Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft from both the navies are participating in the CORPAT. Other Military Exercise between India and Thailand: Exercise MAITREE (Army) and Exercise SIAM BHARAT (Air Force)
  75. Palearctic ecozone is one the Earth’s 8 ecozones and covers Asia north of the Himalayas, with parts of western Asia and most of East Asia and Africa north of the Sahara.
  76. New Development Bank is a multilateral development bank jointly founded by the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) at the 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil in 2014. It was formed to support infrastructure and sustainable development efforts in BRICS and other underserved, emerging economies for faster development through innovation and cutting-edge technology. It is headquartered at Shanghai, China. In 2018, the NDB received observer status in the United Nations General Assembly, establishing a firm basis for active and fruitful cooperation with the United Nations.
  77. Campylobacteriosis is an infection by the Campylobacter bacteria. It is more commonly known as C. jejuni. It is among the most common bacterial infections of humans, often a foodborne illness. It produces bloody diarrhea or dysentery syndrome, mostly including cramps, fever and pain.
  78. The “Mission Sampark” was launched to bring back People Living with HIV who have left treatment after starting Anti Retro Viral Treatment (ART). A new initiative called ‘Project Sunrise’ was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2016, to tackle the rising HIV prevalence in north-eastern states in India, especially among people injecting drugs.
  79. Brain Electrical Oscillation Signature Profiling (BEOSP) is a neuro psychological method of interrogation. It is also known as brain fingerprinting. In this, accused’s participation in the crime is investigated by studying their brain’s response.
  80. The Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) replacing the erstwhile New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) was approved in March 2016 and the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) along with the National Data Repository (NDR) were launched in June 2017 as the key drivers to accelerate the Exploration and Production (E&P) activities in India. Under OALP, companies are allowed to carve out areas they want to explore oil and gas in.  The OALP has helped in removing red-tapism and brought in a quantum jump in the Exploration & Production sector.
  81. Biomineralization, or biomineralisation is the process by which living organisms produce minerals, often to harden or stiffen existing tissues. Such tissues are called mineralized tissues.
  82. Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a form of TB caused by bacteria that do not respond to isoniazid and rifampicin, the 2 most powerful, first-line anti-TB drugs. MDR-TB is treatable and curable by using second-line drugs.
  83. The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) also established the Vulture Conservation Breeding Programme, which has been successful and had three critically-endangered species bred in captivity for the first time.
  84. Recently, Typhoon Goni has made landfall in the eastern Philippines. Tropical cyclones are known as ‘typhoons’ in the northwest Pacific Ocean, hurricanes in the North Atlantic Ocean, Willy-willies in north-western Australia and Tropical Cyclones in the Indian Ocean Region. Tropical cyclones rotate counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere. The name ‘Goni’ is contributed by South Korea.
  85. The Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed has vowed to continue the military operation in the Tigray region amid concerns it could descend into civil conflict.
  86. Wholesale Price Index measures the changes in the prices of goods sold and traded in bulk by wholesale businesses to other businesses. It is published by the Office of Economic Adviser, Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The base year of All-India WPI has been revised from 2004-05 to 2011-12 in 2017. But now India has adopted new CPI to measure inflation. The Wholesale Price Index focuses on the price of goods traded between corporations, rather than the goods bought by consumers, which is measured by the Consumer Price Index. The purpose of the WPI is to monitor price movements that reflect supply and demand in industry, manufacturing and construction. This helps in analyzing both macroeconomic and microeconomic conditions.
  87. Ethiopia is located on the Horn of Africa. Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan and Sudan are the border countries of Ethopia. The capital is Addis Ababa (“New Flower”).
  88. Producer Price Index (PPI) measures the average change in the price of goods and services either as they leave the place of production, called output PPI or as they enter the production process, called input PPI. PPI estimates the change in average prices that a producer receives. The PPI measures price movements from the seller’s point of view.  In India PPI haven’t been in use yet, NITI Aayog have created a roadmap to introduce PPI soon. The government has set up a working group under Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand to revise the current series of Wholesale Price Index (WPI) with base 2011-12 and devise a new Producer Price Index (PPI). The 18-member group may recommend a roadmap for switch over from WPI to PPI.
  89. Article 32 of the Constitution is a fundamental right, which states that individuals have the right to approach the Supreme Court seeking enforcement of other fundamental rights recognised by the Constitution. Similar powers to enforce the fundamental rights of citizens are also conferred on high courts under Article 226 of the Constitution. The two provisions are not mutually exclusive and allow a citizen to either approach the high court that has jurisdiction over the case or the Supreme Court. Article 226 of the Constitution empowers a high court to issue writs including habeas corpus, mandamus, certiorari, prohibition and quo warranto for the enforcement of the fundamental rights of the citizens and for any other purpose.
  90. The “Golden Card” programme unveiled by UAE is open to investors and “exceptional talents” such as doctors, engineers, scientists, students and artists. The visa grants 10-year residency to the holders and their families as well. Apart from the professionals, the other eligible candidates to obtain the visa are persons with specialised degrees in Artificial Intelligence, Epidemiology and Big Data. Also, students who rank top in the country (both school and university level) are also eligible to obtain the visa.
  91. UAE became the first gulf country to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.
  92. In 2014, India launched the Integrated Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (IAPPD) to undertake collaborative efforts towards prevention of diarrhoea and pneumonia-related under-five deaths.
  93. Bogibeel bridge, is India’s longest road-rail bridge connecting Dibrugarh in Assam to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh was inaugurated in 2018.
  94. Hualong One is China’s first domestically developed nuclear reactor.
  95. Social Awareness and Action to Neutralise Pneumonia Successfully (SAANS) Campaign to reduce child mortality due to pneumonia, which contributes to around 15% of deaths of children under the age of five annually.
  96. The Forest Rights Act recognizes and vest the forest rights and occupation in Forest land in Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDST) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFD) who have been residing in such forests for generations. The Gram Sabha is the authority to initiate the process for determining the nature and extent of Individual Forest Rights (IFR) or Community Forest Rights (CFR) or both that may be given to FDST and OTFD.
  97. Jharkhand shares its border with the states of Bihar to the north, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the west, Odisha to the south, and West Bengal to the east.
  98. The Swarna Jayanti Fellowships scheme was instituted by the Government of India to commemorate India’s fiftieth year of Independence. It provides special assistance and support to a selected number of young scientists with a proven track record to enable them to pursue basic research in frontier areas of science and technology.
  99. Project UNNATI was started by the Government of India to identify opportunities for improvement in the operations of major ports. Under the project, 116 initiatives were identified, out of which 91 initiatives were implemented as of November 2018.
  100. Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) is a not-for-profit industry body registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. Its mandate is to expand and enhance the online and mobile value-added services sectors.
  101. 2020 Physics Nobel Laureate Prof. Andrea Ghez had worked closely with Indian astronomers on the design of back-end instruments and possible science prospects of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project being installed at Maunakea in Hawaii, which can revolutionize the understanding of the universe and the enigmas in it. The Thirty-meter telescope (TMT) project is an international partnership between CalTech, Universities of California, Canada, Japan, China, and India; through the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). It had resulted in two significant papers, among many others. The scientific prospects and simulations by the first-generation instrument for the TMT called the Infrared Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS), were described in one of the SPIE proceedings in 2016.  The Thirty Meter Telescope, which seeks to advance scientific knowledge while fostering connection among the partner countries and their citizens, and in which Indian astronomers worked closely with Prof. Andrez Ghez, is expected to provide facilities with even greater capabilities to gather the observations needed to answer new and emerging questions in astronomy and physics in general.
  102. India has joined nine other countries to build the world’s largest and most sophisticated radio telescope called Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The core of the telescope will be based in Karoo desert in South Africa. Since the total detection area of the receiver dishes would exceed 1 square kilometer, it is called Square Kilometre Array.
  103. Recently, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has formed Shashi S. Vempati committee to review “Guidelines on Television Rating Agencies in India” notified by the Ministry in 2014.
  104. Puerto Rico is a Spanish-speaking island located in the Caribbean Sea.
  105. A new mineral called, petrovit, was found atop the Tolbachik volcano in the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia. Petrovite can be used to invent new ways of developing cathodes for use in batteries and electrical devices. Petrovit bears resemblance to another mineral called the saranchinaite, which was also found at Tolbachik a few years ago. Tolbachik volcano is popular because of its volatile history.
  106. Egypt announced the discovery of more than 100 intact sarcophagi at Saqqara, dating back more than 2,500 years ago. Saqqara, home to more than a dozen pyramids, ancient monasteries, and animals’ burial sites, is a vast necropolis of the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  107. Russia brokered a new peace deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the two countries that have been in a military conflict for over six weeks over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh in the South Caucasus. Under this agreement, all military operations are suspended, Russian peacekeepers will be deployed along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor that connects the region to Armenia. Russia’s role in the conflict has been somewhat opaque since it supplies arms to both countries and is in a military alliance with Armenia called the Collective Security Treaty Organisation. Nagorno-Karabakh has been part of Azerbaijan territory since the Soviet era. 
  108. Collective Security Treaty Organization is an intergovernmental military alliance that was signed on 15 May 1992. In 1992, six post-Soviet states belonging to the Commonwealth of Independent States—Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan—signed the Collective Security Treaty. This is also referred to as the “Tashkent Pact” or “Tashkent Treaty”.
  109. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group, chaired by France, Russia and the USA, has also tried to get the two countries to reach a peace agreement for several years. OSCE is the world’s largest security-oriented intergovernmental organisation. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, promotion of human rights, freedom of the press, and fair elections. OSCE Minsk Group was created in 1992 by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) to encourage a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.
  110. The International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is a multi-modal connectivity project to establish transport networks (ship, rail, and road route) for moving freight between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.
  111. Travancore tortoise is a large forest tortoise growing up to 330 millimetres in length. Restricted to the Western Ghats in Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. IUCN- Vulnerable, Indian Wildlife Act 1972- Schedule IV.
  112. National Education Day has been observed every year on 11th November, since 2008 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
  113. Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tigers in the country followed by Karnataka and Uttarakhand.
  114. Ken River which is one of the least polluted tributaries of the Yamuna River flows through the Panna Biosphere Reserve (PBR) and the Ken-Betwa river interlinking project will also be located in the PBR.
  115. The Indus Valley was home to the largest of the four ancient urban civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China.
  116. Chabahar Port serves as the only oceanic port of Iran and consists of two separate ports named Shahid Beheshti and Shahid Kalantari.
  117. Recently, American pharma company Pfizer has claimed that its vaccine candidate BNT162b2 is more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 in participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. BNT162b2 is a single nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (modRNA) vaccine, which is made of a short segment of genetic material (the messenger RNA/mRNA) which provides instructions for a human cell to make a harmless version of a target protein, in this case the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, in order to activate an immune response. Pfizer has become the first firm to release promising late-stage trial data of a potential vaccine for Covid-19, even though the announcement does not have scientifically conclusive evidence on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine candidate.
  118. Ananda mobile app is a mobile application launched by Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) to enable an LIC agent to complete a policy without physically meeting the customer.
  119. Scientists at Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology have unearthed large concentrations of micro and moderate magnitude earthquakes in the Dharchula region and adjoining areas of Kumaon Himalaya due to stress in the region and explored the geological structure behind it. The region is known as the Central Seismic Gap (CSG) region. A gap is a term used to denote an area with little tectonic activity. This, despite the Himalayas being one of the most tectonically active regions in the country. However, the Kumaon Central Himalayan, which belongs to this CSG region, is one of the most seismically active regions of the Himalayan belt that experienced a considerable number of moderate and strong earthquakes in the recent past. The Dharchula region falls between two knee-like structures, which traps the stress in this region. This is the reason why there have been crowded earthquakes here within a span of years, numerous smaller earthquakes have occurred here and the stress keeps building up.
  120. Recently, South Sikkim produced its first crop of saffron. So far, the cultivation of saffron – the most expensive spice – in India has been limited to a few areas in Jammu and Kashmir. Saffron needs to remain underground for about 45 days at sub-zero temperatures. It also requires adequate rain, especially once sown in August.  Saffron grows well at an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level. It needs a photoperiod (sunlight) of 12 hours. It grows in many different soil types but thrives best in calcareous (soil that has calcium carbonate in abundance), humus-rich and well-drained soil with a pH between 6 and 8. For saffron cultivation, we need an explicit climatological summer and winter with temperatures ranging from no more than 35 or 40 degree Celsius in summer to about –15 or –20 degree Celsius in winter.  It also requires adequate rainfall that is 1000-1500 mm per annum.
  121. Pampore Saffron Heritage of Kashmir is one of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage systems (GIAHS) recognised sites in India.
  122. India’s Biological Diversity Act 2002 (BD Act), is in close synergy with the Nagoya Protocol. The Nagoya Protocol — in its simplest interpretation — sought to ensure commercial and research utilisation of genetic resources led to sharing its benefits with the government and the community that conserved such resources.
  123. Access to genetic resources rested with the national government and was subject to national legislation, according to Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).
  124. Under the Biological Diversity Act 2002 (BD Act), an important regulatory mechanism was the emphasis on access and benefit sharing (ABS) to local populations.
  125. The Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) are statutory bodies that are formed by the local bodies under Biological Diversity Act 2002. The committee prepare People’s Biodiversity Register in consultation with the local people and advice on any matter referred to it by the State Biodiversity Board or Authority for granting approval.
  126. Eco-Sensitive Zones or Ecologically Fragile Areas are located within 10 km of Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. ESAs are notified by the MoEFCC under Environment (Protection) Act 1986.
  127. North East Centre for Technology Application & Reach (NECTAR) is an autonomous society, set up under Department of Science & Technology, Government of India with its headquarter at Shillong, Meghalaya.
  128. The Western Ghats, spread across Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, are recognised by UNESCO as one of the world’s eight most important biodiversity hotspots.
  129. Mission COVID Suraksha is led by Department of Biotechnology and will be implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).
  130. Char-chaporis are shifting riverine islands of the Brahmaputra and are primarily inhabited by the Muslims of Bengali-origin (pejoratively referred to as ‘Miyas’). A char is a floating island while chaporis are low-lying flood-prone riverbanks. “They are used interchangeably or with a hyphen… They keep changing shapes — a char can become a chapori, or vice versa, depending on the push and pull of the Brahmaputra.
  131. The ‘Miya’ community comprises descendants of Muslim migrants from East Bengal (now Bangladesh) to Assam. They came to be referred to as ‘Miyas’, often in a derogatory manner. The community migrated in several waves — starting with the British annexation of Assam in 1826, and continuing into Partition and the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War — and have resulted in changes in demographic composition of the region. Years of discontent among the indigenous people led to the six-year-long (1979-85) anti-foreigner Assam Agitation to weed out the “illegal immigrant”, who was perceived as trying to take over jobs, language and culture of the indigenous population.
  132. Recently, Uttarakhand CM inaugurates Dobra-Chanthi suspension bridge in Tehri-Garhwal district. This is the longest motorable (725 metre) single lane suspension bridge in India. The Dobra-Chanthi bridge and the Tehri lake will become a major tourist destination in the coming years. Tehri Dam is the highest dam in India and fourth highest dam in the world. It is part of the Tehri Dam & Hydro Power Project (the multi-purpose river valley project) taken up for construction on River Bhagirathi to tap its vast potential for irrigation and hydro-electric purposes. River Bhagirathi originates in the Garhwal Himalaya. The river after reaching Devprayag meets another head stream, the Alaknanda, forming river Ganga.
  133. Warli painting is a form of tribal art mostly created by the tribal people from the North Sahyadri Range in Maharashtra, India. These rudimentary wall paintings use a set of basic geometric shapes: a circle, a triangle, and a square. These shapes are symbolic of different elements of nature. The circle and the triangle come from their observation of nature. The circle represents the sun and the moon, while the triangle depicts mountains and conical trees.
  134. Kalamezhuthu, art form is a harmonious blend of Aryan, Dravidian and Tribal traditions. Unique form of this art found in Kerala. Essentially a ritualistic art practiced in temples and sacred groves of Kerala where the representation of deities like Kali and Lord Ayyappa, are made on the floor. Practiced using natural pigments and powders, usually in five colours. Drawing is done with bare hands without the use of tools. Kalamezhuthu artists are generally members of communities like the Kurups, Theyyampadi Nambiars, Theeyadi Nambiars and Theeyadi Unnis. The ‘Kalams’ drawn by these people vary in certain characteristics.
  135. Hurricanes are categorized on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which rates them on a scale of 1 to 5 based on wind speed. Hurricanes that reach category three or higher are classified as major hurricanes.
  136. News Broadcasting Standard Authority (NBSA) is a non-governmental body, it oversees the news channels. It is headed by a retired Supreme Court judge and its other members comprise well-known people belonging to civil society and editors of TV news channels. It receives complaints of violation of technical norms against member TV news channels and decides after hearing all the sides. Additionally, it has the power of imposing a fine that can go up to Rs. one lakh against an errant channel.
  137. The US President is both the head of the State and head of the Government. The law making is done by the legislature (called the Congress in the US), but the President can veto any law. S/he has a fixed tenure of four years and completes it even if her/his party does not have a majority in the Congress. The President and the Vice President are chosen by ‘electors’ through a process called the Electoral College. The President can be removed for conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanor.
  138. Tinnitus is a common condition that causes the perception of noise or ringing in the ears and head. New research has found that tinnitus is being exacerbated by Covid-19 — and also by the measures against the infection.
  139. Pakke or Pakhui Tiger Reserve (PTR) lies in the foothills of the eastern Himalaya in the East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.  It falls within the Eastern Himalaya Biodiversity Hotspot. It is known for its amazing sightings of four resident hornbill species. This Tiger Reserve has won India Biodiversity Award 2016 in the category of ‘Conservation of threatened species’ for its Hornbill Nest Adoption Programme. Towards the south and south-east, the sanctuary adjoins reserve forests and Assam’s Nameri National Park. 
  140. Eaglenest or Eagle’s Nest Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area of India in the Himalayan foothills of West Kameng District, Arunachal Pradesh. It conjoins Sessa Orchid Sanctuary to the northeast and Pakhui Tiger Reserve across the Kameng river to the east.
  141. Body Mass Index (BMI) is measured as the weight in kg divided by the square of the height in metres. World Health Organization guidelines define a normal BMI range as 18.5 to 24.9, overweight as 25 or higher, and obesity as 30 or higher.
  142. Metro Neo is a mass rapid transit system providing low-cost, energy-efficient and eco-friendly urban transport solutions for tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Metro Neo systems are lighter and smaller than conventional Metro trains.
  143. Mount Ili Lewotolok, which is located on Lembata island of East Nusa Tenggara province in Indonesia recently erupted. The 5,423-meter (17,790-foot) mountain is one of the three currently erupting in Indonesia along with Merapi on Java island and Sinabung on Sumatra island. There are more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines around the Pacific Ocean.
  144. Tele-Law programme was launched by the Ministry of Law and Justice in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) launched in 2017 to address cases at pre–litigation stage. Tele Law service enables anyone to seek legal advice without wasting precious time and money. The service is free for those who are eligible for free legal Aid as mentioned under Section 12 of the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987. For all others a nominal fee is charged.
  145. Leishmaniasis is a neglected tropical disease affecting almost 100 countries including India. It is caused by a parasite called Leishmania, which is transmitted through the bite of sand flies. Visceral leishmaniasis, which is commonly known as Kala-azar in India, is fatal in over 95% of the cases, if left untreated. Leishmania Donovani is a protozoan parasite that infects macrophages and is a causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis (Kala Azar), a lethal infectious disease affecting millions worldwide.
  146. Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the investment for 210 MW Luhri Stage-I Hydro Electric Project. It is located on River Satluj in Shimla and Kullu districts of Himachal Pradesh.
  147. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem (IPBES) was established by the United Nations, but functions independently.
  148. Recently, Scientists have identified a new species of primate- The Popa langur (Trachypithecus popa) living in the forests of central Myanmar. The Popa langur named after its home on Mount Popa. IUCN-Critically endangered
  149. Milk Fortification Project was launched by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in collaboration with the World Bank and Tata Trusts, as a pilot project in 2017. It is intended to address vitamin deficiency in consumers.
  150. National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) is an independent, not-for-profit, economic policy research think tank based in the national capital.
  151. National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has implemented “National Automated Clearing House (NACH)” for Banks, Financial Institutions, Corporates and Government a web based solution to facilitate interbank, high volume, electronic transactions which are repetitive and periodic in nature. NACH System can be used for making bulk transactions towards distribution of subsidies, dividends, interest, salary, pension etc. and also for bulk transactions towards collection of payments pertaining to telephone, electricity, water, loans, investments in mutual funds, insurance premium etc.
  152. The Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness for Innovation (CEPI), a global initiative, has named Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad as one of the six laboratories for assessing Covid-19 vaccine candidates that are under development
  153. As part of Mission Sagar-II, Indian Naval Ship Airavat will deliver food aid to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea. Mission Sagar-II, is in line with the Prime Minister’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region ‘SAGAR’ and highlights the importance accorded by India to relations with her maritime neighbours and further strengthens the existing bond. 
  154. The Council of Europe’s (CoE) Cybercrime Convention, also known as the Budapest Convention is the sole legally binding international multilateral treaty on cybercrime. It coordinates cybercrime investigations between nation-states and criminalizes certain cybercrime conduct. India is not a party to it. India recently voted in favour of a Russian-led UN resolutionto set up a separate convention. The resolution seeks to set up new cyber norms considered as a counter alternative to the US backed Budapest Accord.
  155. Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme is meant to help students of minority communities: Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists from families with annual income below Rs 1 lakh. To be eligible, students need to score at least 50 per cent in their class exams. The scholarship is given in two tiers every year: students in class 1 to 5 receive Rs 1,000 per year and students of class 6 to 10 receive Rs 10,700 if a hosteller or Rs 5,700 if a day scholar.
  156. National Scholarship Portal (NSP) is a “one-stop” solution through which various services, starting from student application, application receipt, verification, processing, and disbursal of various scholarships to students are facilitated. The website defines: “National Scholarship Portal is taken as Mission Mode Project (MMP) under Digital India. This initiative aims at providing a Simplified, Mission-oriented, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent ‘SMART’ System for faster and effective disbursal of Scholarship to eligible applicants directly into their account through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) without any leakages.”
  157. Researchers at the University of Helsinki in Finland have found that the Siberian primrose, a plant endemic to the Nordic countries, could become extinct due to global warming. The plant originated in southern Finland. From there, it spread northwards to the Gulf of Bothnia, an arm of the Baltic Sea and even farther north, to Norway on the Arctic Circle during the last Ice Age, according to a statement by the university.  The primrose specialised in growing on seashore meadows with low vegetation, which in Finland, were formed by the post-glacial isostatic rebound.
  158. Article 363-A was inserted in the Constitution by 26th Amendment Act, 1971 (Twenty-Sixth). This amendment is best known for abolition of Privy Purse.
  159. The well-preserved remains of two men who perished during the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD has been discovered by the Italian Culture Ministry. Mount Vesuvius is located in southern Italy near the coastal city of Naples. Vesuvius is the only active volcano in mainland Europe. It has been classified as a complex volcano (also called a compound volcano), one that consists of a complex of two or more vents. It typically has explosive eruptions and pyroclastic flows (a high-density mix of hot lava blocks, pumice, ash and volcanic gas). Mt. Vesuvius is located at the bank of Sarno river.
  160. Blue Belt Programis an initiative of the United Kingdom to support UK Overseas Territories with the protection and sustainable management of their marine environments.
  161. Sustainably managing peatlands — peat-swamp forests found around the tropics — can protect humans from future pandemics, according to a new study. Peatlands were rich in biodiversity, including many potential vertebrate and invertebrate vectors, or carriers of disease.
  162. Widespread and heavy rains due to Cyclone Gati in Somalia have spurred a threat of a widespread locust outbreak in the east African country. Gati, the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded Somalia, made landfall on November 22, 2020, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast System.
  163. The whole of Chennai remained in a shutdown mode as Cyclone Nivar made a late-night landfall near Puducherry.
  164. World Organisation for Animal Health formerly the Office International des Epizooties(OIE) is an intergovernmental organization coordinating, supporting and promoting animal disease control. The main objective of the OIE is to control epizootic diseases and thus to prevent their spread. It is recognized as a reference organisation by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and in 2018 had a total of 182 member states. The OIE does not depend on the UN system; its autonomy is both institutional and financial and its activities are governed by its own constitutional texts.
  165. The Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) was adopted in 2015 by all countries through decisions in the World Health Assembly, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Governing Conference and the World Assembly of World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Delegates. Countries agreed to have a national action plan on AMR that is consistent with the Global Action Plan, and to implement relevant policies and plans to prevent, control and monitor AMR. To monitor country progress in the implementation of the national actions plans, an annual Tripartite AMR country self-assessment survey (TrACSS) has been jointly administered by FAO, OIE and WHO since 2016.
  166. ‘BHUVAN’, India’s national geo-portal developed and hosted by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  167. Geospatial Practices for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific 2020was released virtually, by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).
  168. The United Nations launched the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund to provide accelerated funding to countries with the heaviest burden of diseases stemming from lack of sanitation services and have the least ability to respond to them. The fund is hosted by the UN Office for Project Services, which provides technical advice and project implementation to the UN and its partners.
  169. Micro Irrigation Fund (MIF) was created with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in 2019-20.
  170. The tree tomato (tamarillo) or Solanum betaceum is so popular in Nagaland that the state government got a certificate for Geographical Indication (GI) for it in 2015. The tamarillo tree is found abundantly in kitchen gardens in all districts of the Naga hills, including Kohima, Wokha, Zunheboto, Kiphire, Tuensang, Mon and Phek. It is a small, evergreen tree with heart-shaped leaves and grows to about 3 metres. The tree tomato is locally known as sei bangenuoor khwüdi. Other than the tree tomato, Nagaland also has the GI tag for Naga King Chilli (raja mircha).
  171. In the wake of rising antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a global group called ‘One Health Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance’ was launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The heads of FAO, OIE and WHO are ex-officio members of the group. The group was created in response to a recommendation from the Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (IACG) that submitted its report to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in April 2019. The IACG was convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations after the UN high-level meeting on AMR in 2017. 
  172. Sunita Narain, director-general of New Delhi-based think tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), has won this year’s Edinburgh Medal 2020, instituted by the City of Edinburgh Council. The Edinburgh Medal is an award given each year to women and men who have made significant contributions to science and technology and the understanding and well-being of humanity. Narain has also been named the ‘national climate leader’ from India for 2019 in the first National Climate Leader Awards published in the Global Spotlight Report #22 by Climate Scorecard.
  173. Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and Sirius, Russia launched ‘AIM–Sirius Innovation Programme 3.0’. It is Indo-Russian bilateral youth innovation initiative that was launched in 2018 to develop technological solutions(both web- and mobile-based) for the two countries.
  174. EOS-01 is a Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT) that will work together with RISAT-2B and RISAT-2BR1. EOS-01, RISAT-2B and RISAT-2BR1 use synthetic aperture radars to produce high-resolution images of the land.
  175. special tri-Service combat exercisecalled Bull Strike, with Special Forces and amphibious operations was conducted by the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) It was conducted at the remotely-located Teressa Island in the Nicobar group of islands. Andaman and Nicobar Command is the only joint services operational (theatre) command of India.
  176. Surface winds are west-southwesterly and energetic, very favourable for pollutant dispersion. Rainfall, along with stronger winds under the influence of a western disturbance helped to clean the build-up of pollution in the Indo-Gangetic Plain,” an analysis by SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research), a body under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, said.
  177. Under the Schedule Tribe and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act (FRA) 2006, there is a provision for recognising grazing rights.
  178. The Union Minister for External Affairs announced that India will be constructing the Shahtoot Dam on Kabul river in Afghanistan. The dam would come upon the Maidan river tributary of Kabul river.
  179. The national Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS) or the National Automated Facial Recognition System (NAFRS) is a facial recognition systemdesigned to identify, track, and capture criminals in India. The system is developed by the National Crime Records Bureau that comes under the Union Home Minister.
  180. While hearing the Justice K S Puttaswamy (Retd) and Anr v Union of India and Orscase, the Supreme Court had said that privacy constitutes a fundamental right under the Article 21 of Indian Constitution which ensures ‘right to life and personal liberty’.
  181. The right to protest, to publicly question and force the government to answer, is a fundamental right that flows directly from the Article 19 of the Constitution that ensures the right to freedom of speech and expression.
  182. World Animal Protection, formerly The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is an international non-profitanimal welfare organization that has been in operation for over 30 years. The charity describes its vision as: A world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty has ended.  Its headquarters is in London. The organization was known previously as the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). This resulted from the merger of two animal welfare organizations in 1981, the World Federation for the Protection of Animals (WFPA) founded in 1950 and the International Society for the Protection of Animals (ISPA) founded in 1959. In June 2014, the charity became World Animal Protection.
  183. Diseases such as HIV-AIDS, Ebola, Lyme Disease, malaria, rabies, West Nile fever and the current COVID-19 are zoonotic diseases— that passed into the human population from an animal source directly or through an intermediary species.
  184. Vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) are caused by the virus strains used in the polio vaccines regaining their ability to cause polio. Recently, the WHO approval is the first of its kind amid outbreaks, primarily in African and East Mediterranean countries. Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) occurs if a population is poorly vaccinated and there are enough susceptible children for the excreted vaccine-derived polioviruses to begin circulating in the community.
  185. Researchers have been working hard to find effective HIV prevention Most notable is the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) pill known as Truvada. This is a combination of two antiretroviral drugs – tenofovir and emtricitabine. This can be effective in preventing HIV acquisition. But taking a pill every day is not practical for many people.
  186. Many countries have not done enough to inform the World Health Organization (WHO) about outbreaks that have led, or could lead, to global health emergencies. This was stated in the report by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR).  The IHR came into existence in 1969, but the amendment was introduced in 2005, following the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in China in 2003.
  187. In line with WHO’s Global Action Plan (2013-2020) to prevent and control NCDs, India was the first country to develop specific national targets and indicators aimed to reduce the number of premature deaths from NCDs by 25 per cent by 2025.
  188. The brown treesnake, an invasive species, has been discovered on Cocos Island, a small atoll near the United States territory of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. Cocos Island is home to a large number of endemic bird, reptile and other species. The snakes could threaten their existence.
  189. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has captured flooding on the Songhua river in northeast China. The images captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite, captured the Songhua in the Heilongjiang province of northeast China. The Songhua, along with 14 other rivers in the area, started rising in September after Typhoon Maysak brought persistent rainfall to the Heilongjiang province.
  190. The Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) is an informal alliance of more than 400 organisations from across India working on sustainable agriculture and safe, diverse, sufficient and nutritious food for all citizens.
  191. The Union government on October 17, 2020, amended the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Raj Act, 1989 and the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Raj Rules 1996 to create a new tier of ‘grassroots governance’, the District Development Councils (DDCs). Its members will be directly elected by the voters in the district. Every district will be divided into 14 territorial constituencies that will elect the members for the DDCs. These members will then elect the chairperson and vice-chairperson of the DDC, who will then administer the district. The DDCs will have complete jurisdiction of the district except over the areas controlled by a municipality and municipal corporation. The Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) and chairpersons of Block Development Councils (BDC) will also be members of the DDCs. But only 14 elected members will have the power to elect or remove the chairperson and vice chairperson.
  192. The Mishings, one of the earliest tribal communities of Assam, are a rare population group that escaped the stifling economic impacts of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
  193. The US administration announced October 29, 2020, that it was removing the gray wolf from under the Endangered Species Act and removing all protections that the category carried.  The gray wolf was first put in the ‘Endangered’ category in 1974. Having been removed from it now means the species can become a target of hunters and trappers all over the United States.
  194. The bio-diversity hotspot Sundaland, Indo-Burma and Mesoamerica are all in the tropics. A ‘biodiversity hotspot’ was defined as an area that contained “exceptional concentrations of endemic species that were undergoing exceptional loss of habitat”.
  195. RT-LAMP (Reverse Transcriptase loop-mediated isothermal amplification) technology is a superior technique. It is a one-step nucleic acid amplification method to multiply specific sequences of RNA (Ribonucleic acid) of the coronavirus. The RT-PCR test needs different temperaturesin one cycle. The RT-PCR test needs different temperatures in one cycle. 
  196. Fusarium is a root pathogen infectionin that causes wilting of the fruit crop (Panama disease of banana). Fusarium dwells in soil as a saprophyte and shifts to the parasitic mode in presence of host roots. 
  197. Global Innovation and Technology Alliance(GITA) is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between Technology Development Board (TDB), Government of India (GoI) and India’ s apex industry association Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
  198. India is ranked 34th on the world travel and tourism index driven by rich natural and cultural resources.
  199. The World Economic Forum ranked India as the 5th best destination on the Natural Heritage Index in the world.
  200. Himalaya is the youngest fold mountain range of the world and 73% repository is in India. Aravalli is one of the oldest fold mountain range. 
  201. Largest lake in the Himalaya is Pangong Tso (4238 m) and highest lake is Gurudongmar Lake (5148 m) in Sikkim.
  202. State Rooftop Solar Attractiveness Index (SARAL) is an initiative of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). It is a measuring scale or an index to evaluate and rank all states according to their performance, growth, level of maturity, policy framework, and implementation environment in the rooftop solar sector.
  203. The Solar Charkha Mission is a Ministry of Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) initiativelaunched during June 2018. Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) would implement the programme.
  204. The Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) is one of the largest and most sensitive low-frequency radio observatories in the world, set up in Pune, Maharashtra.
  205. PM Kisan SAMPADA Yojana is a Central Sector Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters. It will result in creation of modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlet. The scheme will be implemented by Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI).
  206. PUSA decomposer is a fungi-based liquid solution that can soften hard stubble to the extent that it can be easily mixed with soil in the field to act as compost. The solution has been developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa. The decomposer is basically a “microbial consortia of eight types of micro-organisms” which can be used for rapid decomposing of farm residue, so that farmers can avoid stubble burning.
  207. Nameri National Park is located in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas in the Sonitpur District of Assam. The Pakhui (Pakke) Sanctuary of Arunachal Pradesh adjoins the Park on its North-Eastern point. Nameri is also declared as Tiger Reserve in the year 1999-2000, which is the 2nd Tiger reserve of Assam after Manas Tiger Reserve. It has 2 core areas: Nameri National Park & Sonai- Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary (Satellite Core of the Nameri Tiger Reserve). The main Rivers are Jia- Bhoroli and Bor Dikorai.
  208. Agriculture Minister unveils ‘Sahakar Pragya’ to impart training to primary cooperative societies in rural areas. Sahakar Pragya is part of a series of initiatives taken up by National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) to strengthen India’s cooperative societies.
  209. A Hindu temple of Lord Vishnu has been discovered at Barikot Ghundai in northwest Pakistan’s Swat district. It was built by the Hindus 1,300 years ago during the Hindu Shahi period.
  210. The remains of two victims of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius almost 2,000 years ago have been unearthed in Pompeii. It is located at the base of Mount Vesuvius.
  211. Kumbh Mela comes under the UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
  212. Mangroves are the only species of trees in the world that can tolerate saltwater. They excrete toxic levels of salt through their waxy leaves. The largest amount of mangrove coverage can be found in Indonesia.
  213. Chalakudy river originates in the Anamalai region of Tamil Nadu and is joined by its major tributaries Parambikulam, Kuriyarkutti, Sholayar, Karapara and Anakayam in Kerala.
  214. The followers of Sarna faith believe pray to nature. The holy grail of the faith is “Jal, Jungle, Zameen” and its followers pray to the trees and hills while believing in protecting the forest areas. Jharkhand has 32 tribal groups of which eight are from Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups. While many follow Hindu religion, some have converted to Christianity — this has become one of the planks of demanding a separate code “to save religious identity”— as various tribal organisations put it. It is believed that 50 lakhs tribal in the entire country put their religion as ‘Sarna’ in the 2011 census, although it was not a code.
  215. The CBI is governed by the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (DPSEA). This law makes the CBI a special wing of Delhi Police and thus its original jurisdiction is limited to Delhi. The Supreme Court and High Courts can order CBI to investigate such a crime anywhere in the country without the consent of the state. When the CBI does not have a general consent, it can approach a local court for a search warrant and conduct investigation.
  216. Viability Gap Finance means a grant to support projects that are economically justified but not financially viable. The VGF scheme was launched in 2004 to support projects that come under Public-Private Partnerships. The VGF scheme aims for encouraging investment in social as well as economic infrastructure projects.
  217. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has found that one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, glows in the dark because of relentless attack by radiation. As the icy, ocean-filled moon Europa orbits Jupiter, it withstands a relentless pummeling of radiation. Jupiter zaps Europa’s surface night and day with electrons and other particles, bathing it in high-energy radiation. But as these particles pound the moon’s surface, they may also be doing something otherworldly: making Europa glow in the dark. The discovery assumes significance in the context of Nasa planning a mission to Europa called Europa Clipper provisionally in 2024 which will contribute to the field of astrobiology.
  218. The Fifteenth Finance Commission (XVFC) led by Chairman Sh N K Singh, submitted its Report for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26 to the Hon’ble President of India.
  219. Indian diplomat Vidisha Maitra was elected to the U.N. Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ). U.N. Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions is a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly.
  220. Sutlej River is the longest of the five rivers (Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Beas) that flow through the historic region of Punjab in northern India and Pakistan. It rises on the north slope of the Himalayas in Lake La’nga in southwestern Tibet (Kailash Mountain). It is also known as Satadree. It is the easternmost tributary of the Indus River. The waters of the Sutlej are allocated to India under the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan. Tributaries: Baspa, Spiti, Beas, Ungti Chu and Pare Chu rivers Flowing through Himalayan gorges, it enters the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Haryana. It has several major hydroelectric points: Bhakra Dam, Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Plant, Nathpa Jhakri Dam.
  221. Rajasthan Government has launched a maternity benefit scheme for four districts under which mothers will get ₹6,000 for the second child. This Scheme will be called Indira Gandhi Matritva Poshan Yojana.
  222. Under Article 102 (1) and Article 191 (1) of the Constitution, an MP or an MLA (or an MLC) is barred from holding any office of profit under the Central or State government.  Provisions of Articles 102 and 191 also protect a legislator occupying a government position if the office in question has been made immune to disqualification by law. 
  223. The Constitution specifies that the number of ministers including the Chief Minister has to be within 15% of the total number of members of the assembly (10% in the case of Delhi, which is a union territory with legislature).
  224. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Girish Chandra Murmu, has been elected External Auditor of Inter Parliamentary Union, Geneva, for a three-year term.
  225. The summoning of Parliament is specified in Article 85 of the Constitution. Like many other articles, it is based on a provision of The Government of India Act, 1935. This provision specified that the central legislature had to be summoned to meet at least once a year, and that not more than 12 months could elapse between two sessions.
  226. Articles 129 and 215 of the Constitution of India empowers the Supreme Court and High Court respectively to punish people for their respective contempt. Section 10 of The Contempt of Courts Act of 1971 defines the power of the High Court to punish contempts of its subordinate courts.
  227. National Population Register is a database containing a list of all usual residents of the country. Its objective is to have a comprehensive identity database of people residing in the country. It is generated through house-to-house enumeration during the “house-listing” phase of the census, which is held once in 10 years. NPR collects basic demographic data and biometric particulars. The NPR is a mechanism outlined in a set of rules framed under the Citizenship Act, 1955. The Registrar General India shall act as the “National Registration Authority” (and will function as the Registrar General of Citizen Registration). The Registrar General is also the country’s Census Commissioner. During the NPR, a respondent will not require to produce any document. NPR will be conducted across India, except Assam as the state has already gone through the National Register of Citizens.  While the process of NPR and Census will begin simultaneously, the two databases are not same. National Population Register is a database of people living in India, citizens or not, but National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a database of Indian citizens. The NRC process demands proof of citizenship from the respondents. The NPR is a list of “usual residents” of the country. A “usual resident” is defined for the purposes of NPR as a person who has resided in a local area for the past six months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next six months or more. It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
  228. The Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) is an act of Parliament of India which was established to ensure the delivery of certain services, which if obstructed would affect the normal life of the people.
  229. An “Arria formula” meeting is an informal meeting of members of the United Nations Security Council, which must be convened by a member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in order for the meeting to take place. Notably, Arria formula meetings are presided over by a member of the UNSC, who acts as a facilitator of discussion, rather than the President of the Security Council.
  230. West Bank is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan to the east and by the Green Line separating it and Israel on the south, west and north. The West Bank also contains a significant section of the western Dead Sea shore.
  231. Ethiopia has also been engaged in a long-standing conflict with Egypt over the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam over the Blue Nile, with Sudan having been inadvertently drawn into this conflict over the course of the dam’s development.
  232. The UK said China is in breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration after four Hong Kong legislators were disqualified from membership of the country’s legislative council.  The Sino-British Joint Declaration is an agreement signed by Britain and China in 1984 to settle the future of Hong Kong.
  233. Odisha has become the first state in the country to receive ISO certification for hostels meant for tribal students. The ST & SC Welfare Department has launched the ‘Mission Suvidya’ project to provide all the tribal hostels of the state uniform standards of infrastructure, amenities and human resources.
  234. Japanese Hayabusa2 spacecraft left the asteroid Ryugu, about 300 million kilometers (180 million miles) from Earth, a year ago and is expected to reach Earth and drop a capsule containing the precious samples in southern Australia on December 6. Ryugu in Japanese means “Dragon Palace,” the name of a sea-bottom castle in a Japanese folk tale.
  235. Butterfly species in news: The Branded Royal, rarely seen in India, made news when it fluttered through the Nilgiris after a gap of over 130 years. Common Onyx showed up in the Western Ghats. Species like Common Birdwing, Common Jester, Painted Jezebel and Vagrant have made an appearance at Telangana in the Eastern Ghats. African Marbled Skipper, the Tree Flitter and the Double-branded Crow recently, recorded in the Eastern Ghats in Visakhapatnam district for the first time. Orange-tailed Awl spotted it at Kambalakonda forests. Another special sighting was the Large Guava Blue in Tamil Nadu. Northern Jungle Queen in Sikkim and the endangered Bhutan Glory in Arunachal Pradesh. The Bhutan Glory is endangered and protected under Wildlife Protection Act like tigers and elephants. The Southern Birdwing, can only be seen in South India. It comes up to the southern tip of Maharashtra.