IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-September 2021

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IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-September 2021


IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-September 2021

  1. In the case of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General or the Solicitor General, and in the case of High Courts, the Advocate General, may bring in a motion before the court for initiating a case of criminal contempt. However, if the motion is brought by any other person, the consent in writingof the Attorney General or the Advocate General is required. The AG’s consent is mandatory when a private citizen wants to initiate a case of contempt of court against a person. Article 129 of the Constitution gives the Supreme Court the power to initiate contempt cases on its own, independent of the motion brought before it by the AG or with the consent of the AG.
  2. The privileges granted to the members of parliament like the freedom of speech in the House, immunity from any action for anything said or vote given in the House or its committees, and freedom from arrest and liability to court proceedings.
  3. To fight a viral infection, our bodies create proteins known as antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies are artificial antibodies that mimic the activity of our immune systems. They are produced through a process that involves extracting specific antibodies from human blood and then cloning them. These monoclonal antibodies are designed to target a virus or a specific part of one — for instance, REGEN-COV2 is a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies developed to target the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The monoclonal antibodies bind to specific parts of the spike protein, blocking its ability to infect healthy cells. The difference between monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma is (that) plasma has a lot of other things in it, which could lead to allergic and other reactions.
  4. African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious haemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs, which is responsible for serious economic and production losses. This transboundary animal disease (TAD) can be spread by live or dead pigs, domestic or wild, and pork products; furthermore, transmission can also occur via contaminated feed and fomites (non-living objects) such as shoes, clothes, vehicles, knives, equipment etc., due to the high environmental resistance of ASF virus. Currently there is no approved vaccine for ASF. The disease has a case fatality rate (CFR) of almost 100 per cent.
  5. Swine influenza or swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs, which is caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pig populations. Specific swine influenza vaccines are available for pigs. The swine flu viruses are spread among pigs through close contact and through contaminated objects moving between infected and uninfected pigs. Symptoms include fever, depression, coughing, discharge from the nose and eyes, eye redness or inflammation.
  6. Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated missions by China’s air force near the self-ruled island, often in the southwestern part of its air defence zone near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.
  7. Green hydrogen is created using renewable energy instead of fossil fuels. It has the potential to provide clean power for manufacturing, transportation, and the only byproduct is water.
  8. The G33 (or the Friends of Special Products in agriculture) is a coalition of developing countries, established prior to the 2003 Cancun ministerial conference, that have coordinated during the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations, specifically in regard to agriculture. There are currently 47 members in the G33. The group has “defensive” concerns regarding agriculture in relation to WTO negotiations, and seeks to limit the degree of market opening required of developing countries. The group has advocated the creation of a “special products” exemption, which would allow
    developing countries to exempt certain products from tariff reductions, and also a “special safeguard mechanism” which would permit tariff increases in response to import surges.
  9. The WHO Emergency Use Listing Procedure (EUL) is a risk-based procedure for assessing and listing unlicensed vaccines, therapeutics and in vitro diagnostics with the ultimate aim of expediting the availability of these products to people affected by a public health emergency.
  10. In order to achieve the “Sustainable Development” of India’s coastal regions, the Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM) launched the “BEAMS” initiative (Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services). This was done in order to achieve the coveted international eco-label “Blue flag” awarded by The Foundation for Environment Education (FEE) Denmark. BEAMS is an Indian program that focuses on the long-term development of India’s coastal regions. It’s part of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) effort. The primary goal of ICZM is to conserve and protect coastal and marine ecosystems by using a holistic approach to resource management.
  11. In India, the Adour engine is overhauled by the HAL under a licensed manufacturing agreement with the Original Equipment Manufacturer. Stating that in any aero engine, the HPC drum assembly has to be replaced after a specified number of operations or in case of damage, the DRDO added that the annual requirement of these HPC discs is quite large, warranting indigenisation.
  12. In a crucial technology development in aircraft engine components, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has established a forging technology to produce various stages of high-pressure compressor discs from titanium alloy. The near isothermal forging technology can produce all five stages of high-pressure compressor discs out of titanium alloy. With this development, India has joined the league of limited global engine developers to have the manufacturing capabilities of such critical aero engine components.
  13. Asian and Pacific Centre for the Development of Disaster Information Management (APDIM) is a regional institution of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). 
  14. Samvatsari is the annual festival marked by people of the Jain community. It is the last day of Paryushana Parva, marked for eight to ten days. Saṃvatsarī is the last day of Paryushana Shwetambar sect of Jainism. While Samvatsari and Kshamavaani are typically associated with Shwetambar sect and Digambara respectively, there is no major difference between the two days and both are observed as Forgiveness Days.
  15. At present, the Irrawaddy dolphins are only found between Chilika and Indonesia in Asia. Irrawaddy dolphins fall under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and mentioned in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Endangered Species. 
  16. The Annobon scops-owl, with an estimated population of fewer than 250 and restricted to Annobon Island off West Africa, was recently classified as ‘critically endangered’ because of rapid habitat loss and degradation.
  17. Pulicat Lake of Andhra Pradesh, the largest brackish water ecosystem in the country, next only Chilika in Odisha. It is also home for black-headed ibis, Asian openbill, black-crowned night heron, and little cormorant. In all, two lakh birds, including the rare ones, are expected to stay put in and around Pulicat as also Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary, which is endowed with Barringtonia and Acacia nilotica species, an ideal breeding site for spot-billed pelicans. The lake is the winter home for a variety of aquatic and terrestrial birds such as painted storks, large and little egrets, grey pelicans, grey herons and water birds such as northern pintails, black-winged stilts, northern shovellers, common teal, seagulls, terns, sandpipers, and the common coots.
  18. Migratory birds that visit the Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary include northern pintail, common teal, little grebe, northern shoveler, Eurasian coot, Indian spot-billed duck, grey heron, Oriental darter, black-winged stilt, garganey and gadwall.
  19. In its latest round of assessments on August 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified yet another SARS-CoV-2 variant — B.1.621 — as a variant of interest (VOI) and given it the label “Mu”. The WHO is monitoring the variant’s epidemiology in South America. A VOI is classified based on factors such as genetic changes that are predicted or known to affect virus characteristics such as transmissibility, disease severity, immune escape etc. A VOI represents a lower level of concern than a variant of concern (VOC) such as Alpha, Beta or Delta, which are associated with factors such as an increase in transmissibility or detrimental change in epidemiology, etc.
  20. The Ministry of Railways has announced the closure of the Indian Railways Organisation for Alternative Fuels (IROAF), an enterprise headquartered in New Delhi, that was exclusively formed to promote green energy by introducing alternative energy, fuel efficient and emission-control technologies across the railway network.
  21. Inter-sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP) is a community-driven climate-impacts modelling initiative that assess the differential impacts of climate change. The ISIMIP data were used alongside country-scale, life-expectancy data, population data and temperature trajectories from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
  22. ‘Offences against State’ includes cases booked under sedition, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Official Secrets Act, damage to public property, and imputation, assertions prejudicial to national integration.
  23. Climate Neutral Now Initiative: One of several initiatives launched by the UNFCCC secretariat to increase climate action by engaging non-Party stakeholders (sub-national governments, companies, organizations, individuals). Launched in 2015 based on a mandate to promote the voluntary use of carbon market mechanisms recognized under the Convention. Encourages and supports organizations and other interested stakeholders to act now in order to achieve a climate neutral world by 2050 as enshrined in the Paris Agreement. NOT a certification scheme for its participants. Offsetting is a part of the 3-step process under the Climate Neutral Now initiative of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat: Measure – Reduce- Offset.
  24. UN Watch is a Geneva-based non-governmental organization whose stated mission is “to monitor the performance of the United Nations by the yardstick of its own Charter”. It is an accredited NGO in Special Consultative Status to the UN Economic and Social Council and an Associate NGO to the UN Department of Public Information.
  25. The Ocean Decade: In 2017, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) (‘the Ocean Decade’). UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) is coordinating the Ocean Decade preparations on behalf of the UN system.
  26. UNCAC Coalition Transparency Pledge: UNCAC Coalition pledge embodies a voluntary commitment to meet minimum standards of transparency and civil society participation in the UNCAC. Till date only 29 country has pledged and India is not a member country of the transparency pledge. UNCAC Coalition is a global network of civil society organisations (CSOs) in over 100 countries. Committed to promoting the ratification, implementation and monitoring of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
  27. United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC): Only legally binding international anti-corruption multilateral treaty. Negotiated by member states of the United Nations (UN) it has been adopted by the UN General Assembly. Recognise the importance of both preventive and punitive measures, addresses the cross-border nature of corruption with provisions on international cooperation and on the return of the proceeds of corruption. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna serves as Secretariat for the UNCAC.
  28. Tax Justice Network (or TJN): An advocacy group consisting of a coalition of researchers and activists with a shared concern about tax avoidance, tax competition, and tax havens. Reported on the OECD Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) projects and conducted their own research. The Financial Secrecy Index and The Corporate Tax Haven Index are biennial publications of the TJN.
  29. International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ): An independent global network of investigative journalists and over media organizations spanning more than 100 countries. An initiative of the Center for Public Integrity, with the aim of exposing crime and corruption that transcended national boundaries. In 2017, it became a fully independent organization and was later granted nonprofit status. Investigates a broad range of matters concerning “cross-border crime, corruption, and the accountability of power. The Indian Trusts Act, 1882, gives legal basis to the concept of trusts. While Indian laws do not see trusts as a legal person/ entity, they do recognise the trust as an obligation of the trustee to manage and use the assets settled in the trust for the benefit of ‘beneficiaries’. India also recognises offshore trusts i.e., trusts set up in other tax jurisdictions. In News : Panama and Paradise Papers.
  30. The International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA) was established in 2008 as a non-profit organisation to represent the interests of service providers in promoting best practices in voluntary action on climate change. It unites businesses committed to establishing high standards of integrity in the market for climate solutions. It is a programme within the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA).
  31. Launched in 2004, the Global Methane Initiative (GMI) is an international public-private initiative that advances cost-effective, near-term methane abatement and recovery and use of methane as a clean energy source in three sectors: biogas (including agriculture, municipal solid waste, and wastewater), coal mines, and oil and gas systems. Working in collaboration with other international organizations, the Initiative has formed key alliances with partners such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) to reduce global methane emissions.
  32. Methane (CH4) is a hydrocarbon that is the primary component of natural gas and a very potent and important greenhouse gas (GHG). Unlike other GHGs, methane can be converted to usable energy. Capturing and using methane offers opportunities to generate new sources of clean energy and mitigate global climate change. Of the GHGs emitted as a result of human activities, methane is the second most important GHG after carbon dioxide (CO2), accounting for 14 percent of global GHG emissions in 2005. Though methane is emitted into the atmosphere in smaller quantities than CO2, its global warming potential (i.e., the ability of the gas to trap heat in the atmosphere) is 25 times that of CO2, resulting in methane’s stronger influence on warming during its 12-year atmospheric life time.
  33. In the context of Climate Change, Offsetting is a climate action that enables individuals and organizations to compensate for the emissions they cannot avoid, by supporting worthy projects that reduce emissions somewhere else. Offsetting is like crowdfunding for climate action: buying CERs is a direct financial contribution to the projects that allows them to continue reducing emissions and benefit the communities around them. Offsetting is a part of the 3-step process under the Climate Neutral Now initiative of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat. Offsetting matters because to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement, namely limit the global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius before the end of the century and re-balance the world to a climate neutral one, everyone and every entity needs to take urgent climate action. At present times, offsetting is a tool for pre-2020 action by countries and by Non-Party Stakeholders. UN coordinates action by Non-Party Stakeholders under the broader umbrella of the Global Climate Action Agenda and its many initiatives such as Climate Neutral Now. 
  34. The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduced through offsetting are measured in UN Certified Emission Reductions (CERs). The CERs are generated from Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. These projects, which are located in developing countries, earn 1 CER for each metric tonne of GHG emissions they reduce or avoid and are measured in CO2 equivalent (CO2-eq).
  35. Jatayu Conservation and Breeding Centre (JCBC) situated at the Bir Shikargah Wildlife Sanctuary in Shivalik ranges of the Himalayan foothills in Haryana’s Pinjore. 
  36. Once very common, vultures are on the verge of extinction in India. Uncontrolled veterinary usage of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), including Aceclofenac, Ketoprofen and Nimesulide, and the illegal use of the banned drug Diclofenac, are toxic to vultures if they feed on carcasses within 72 hours of the drugs’ administration to such livestock. Aceclofenac is a “prodrug” of Diclofenac, which rapidly metabolises into Diclofenac after it’s administered to livestock.  The vulture population in India was estimated at 40 million once. Populations of three species of vultures — the Oriental white-backed vulture, the Long-billed vulture and the Slender-billed vulture — have declined by over 97% since the 1990s, and that of the Oriental white-backed vultures by a drastic 99.9%. It has been established that the vulture population was decimated by the veterinary usage of Diclofenac in India.
  37. Submerged aquatic weeds have been posing a new threat to the paddy cultivation in various districts in the State. These weeds include aquatic plants like vallisneria, najasas well as utricularia.
  38. A project to conserve the endangered Anaimalai flying frog or false Malabar flying frog at a plantation in Munnar has triggered an organic movement to revive its habitat. In a corner of a sprawling cardamom plantation at Pothamedu in Munnar, a small but inspiring story unfolds. A critically endangered frog species, the Racophorus pseudomalabaricus or Anaimalai flying frog, is getting a new home.
  39. The Chausath Yogini Temple, Mitaoli, also known as Ekattarso Mahadeva Temple, is an 11th-century temple in Morena district in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the few well-preserved Yogini temples in India. The temple is formed by a circular wall with 65 chambers, apparently for 64 yoginis and the goddess Devi, and an open mandapa in the centre of a circular courtyard, sacred to Shiva. It is said that the temple was the venue of providing education in astrology and mathematics based on the transit of the Sun. The temple is in the Seismic Zone III region and has survived several earthquakes, seemingly without any serious damage. This fact was cited when the issue of safety from earthquake effect of the circular Parliament House, its design supposedly based on the Mitaoli temple, was debated in the Indian Parliament.
  40. UN Global Climate Action Awards: Financing for Climate Friendly Investment was launched in November 2012 to recognize successful financial innovations for adaptation and climate mitigation. It showcases climate activities promoting low-carbon growth and highly resilient communities through the use of innovative financing mechanisms.  UN Global Climate Action Awards:: Financing for Climate Friendly Investment is implemented in partnership with the World Economic Forum Global Project on Climate Change.
  41. Race To Zero is a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth. It mobilizes a coalition of leading net zero initiatives, representing 733 cities, 31 regions, 3,067 businesses, 173 of the biggest investors, and 622 Higher Education Institutions. These ‘real economy’ actors join 120 countries in the largest ever alliance committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. Collectively these actors now cover nearly 25% global CO2 emissions and over 50% GDP. The objective is to build momentum around the shift to a decarbonized economy ahead of COP26, where governments must strengthen their contributions to the Paris Agreement. This will send governments a resounding signal that business, cities, regions and investors are united in meeting the Paris goals and creating a more inclusive and resilient economy.
  42. The Daranghati Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Shimla District Rampur Bushahr, Himachal Pradesh, India. It has undisturbed forest areas. Monal, Tragopan, Koklas and Kalij are the pheasants found here. Some of the common animals found here are Musk deer, Goral and Thar.
  43. Common Risk Mitigation Mechanism (CRMM) formally announced at the COP24 under the International Solar Alliance (ISA). Objective: De-risking and reducing the financial cost of solar projects in ISA-member countries. CRMM will act as a pooled insurance with limited liability. Banks and multi-lateral institutions can contribute to the fund for a marginal premium.
  44. Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes: Founded in 2000 and restructured in September 2009. Consists of OECD member countries as well as other jurisdictions that have agreed to implement tax related transparency and information exchange. Works under the auspices of the OECD and G20. Its mission is to “implement the international standard through two phases of peer review process”. It addresses tax evasion, tax havens, offshore financial centres, tax information exchange agreements, double taxation and money laundering. Promotes the implementation of two internationally agreed standards on exchange of information for tax purposes: the standard on Exchange of Information on Request (EOIR) and the standard on Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI). Members commit to at least implement EOIR.
  45. The Financial Secrecy Index (FSI) is a report published by the advocacy organization Tax Justice Network which ranks countries by financial secrecy indicators, weighted by the economic flows of each country.
  46. Aarhus Convention: Also known as UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters. All of the ratifying states are in Europe and Central Asia. Multilateral environmental agreement through which the opportunities for citizens to access environmental information are increased and transparent and reliable regulation procedure is secured. Rights-based approach: the public, both in the present and in future generations, have the right to know and to live in a healthy environment. Three Pillars: Access to information, Public participation in decision making, Access to justice.
  47. Kyiv Protocol: Kyiv Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers to the Aarhus Convention. 34 states plus the European Union have ratified the Protocol. 1st legally binding international instrument on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTRs). PRTRs are inventories of pollution from industrial sites and other sources such as agriculture and transport. Parties to the Protocol need not be Parties to the Convention.
  48. Article 51-A (f) of the Constitution states that it is the fundamental duty of every citizen, and particularly the duty of the state “to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture”.
  49. Akhaura is the second largest trading point and checkpost between India and Bangladesh after Petrapole-Benapole trade centre and checkpost along West Bengal.
  50. India’s third international internet gateway, after Mumbai and Chennai, was situated in Agartala.
  51. Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) affects the global climate with a positive phase characterised by above normal sea surface temperature in the equatorial eastern Indian Ocean, and below normal temperatures in the western equatorial Indian Ocean.
  52. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, was enacted under Art. 253 of the Constitution to implement the decisions taken at the United Nations Conference on Human Environment held at Stockholm in June 1972, in which India participated. National Clean Air Programme tentative national level target of 20%–30% reduction of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by 2024 is proposed under the NCAP taking 2017 as the base year for the comparison of concentration.
  53. State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) is constituted under the section 48 of (1) (a) of DM act 2005 is a primary fund available with State Government for responses to notified disaster. Central Government contribute 75% of SDRF allocation for general category States/UTs and 90% for special category States (northeastern States, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir). SDRF shall be used only for meeting the expenditure for providing immediate relief to the victims. Note: Disaster(s) covered under SDRF: Cyclone, Drought, Earthquake, Floods, Tsunami, Hailstorm, Landslide, Avalanche, Cloud burst, Pest attack, Frost, Cold wave.
  54. The right of an institution, whether run by a majority or minority community, to get government aid is not a fundamental right. Whether it is an institution run by the majority or the minority, all conditions that have relevance to the proper utilisation of the grant-in-aid by an educational institution can be imposed. All that Article 30(2) states is that on the ground that an institution is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language, grant of aid to that educational institution cannot be discriminated against, if other educational institutions are entitled to receive aid.
  55. The Account Aggregator (AA) framework, which was first announced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) back in 2016, will now be open for users to access account aggregation services. According to the RBI, AAs are a new class of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) that offers account aggregation services — retrieving or collecting information of its customer pertaining to their financial assets and consolidating, organizing, presenting it to the customer or any other person as per the instructions of the customer — in exchange for a fee. AA system has the potential to revolutionise lending to MSMEs by allowing much faster access of financial data of businesses to lenders and reducing the loan application cycle to a few minutes.
  56. The Food Insecurity and Climate Change Vulnerability Index of World Food Programme (WFP) offers a window on our global future up to the 2080s, looking at how climate change may affect future vulnerability to food insecurity.
  57. The new Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI), released by global risks advisory firm Maplecroft, enables organisations to identify areas of risk within their operations, supply chains and investments. It evaluates 42 social, economic and environmental factors to assess national vulnerabilities across three core areas.
  58. The Global Climate Risk Index of Germanwatch analyses to what extent countries and regions have been affected by impacts of weather-related loss events (storms, floods, heat waves etc.).
  59. The National Emissions Inventory (NEI) covers all GHGs, but only considers “territorial” emissions produced inside the frontiers of the country. The NEI figures thus exclude the carbon footprint of imported goods, international aviation, and shipping. The Global Carbon Project (GCP) publishes country-specific carbon dioxide (CO2) data annually for “industrial” fossil fuel emissions, which includes energy and cement production.
  60. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the international body charged with proposals to mitigate climate change. The central goal of the proposed Global Carbon Incentive Fund (GCIF) is to create a UN-administered fund to which countries must contribute if their carbon emissions per capita surpass the global average and from which they would receive payments if their carbon emissions per capita are below the global average. 
  61. The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is the largest and the oldest of the ASEAN centrality institutions. Established in 1993, its first meeting was in 1994. It has 27 members, which includes the ASEAN 10, the 10 dialogue partners (DP) of ASEAN, and seven other countries. ARF was launched soon after the Cold War ended and included all countries who had engaged with ASEAN. This brought in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan from South Asia, ASEAN candidates Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste; Mongolia and North Korea (DPRK) are its members too. Other non-East Asian Summit members in ARF are Canada and the European Union (EU). The CLMV countries—Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam—became part of ASEAN after ARF was launched. The ARF was a foreign ministers-led forum which met alongside the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in August annually.
  62. Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. (IREDA), a PSU under the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) today launched a ‘Whistle-blower Portal’, as a part of ‘Vigilance Awareness Week 2021’. Through this portal, IREDA employees can raise concerns related to fraud, corruption, abuse of power etc.
  63. The AI Pe Charcha series has been initiated as a part of Responsible AI for Social Empowerment (RAISE), India’s first global AI summit, which was organised by MeitY in 2020. Such initiatives by the Government of India have commenced a much-needed discourse on AI and would lead to certain positive, tangible meaningful changes in the overall economic and the social sphere.
  64. The All-India Debt and Investment Surveys (AIDIS) is carried out by the National Statistical Office.
  65. The new CSIR-NEERI formulation for green crackers has NO barium nitrate — one of the key ingredients of traditional firecrackers. These crackers have been named “safe water releaser (SWAS)”, “safe minimal aluminium (SAFAL)” and “safe thermite cracker (STAR)”. The three crackers release water vapour or air as a dust suppressant and diluent for gaseous emissions. These products can only be manufactured by those who have signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with CSIR-NEERI. The green crackers are sold with a unique logo on the box, and will also have a QR code with production and emission details.
  66. India has termed the evacuation operation from Afghanistan in the backdrop of the Taliban’s takeover of the country last week as “Operation Devi Shakti”.
  67. There are five kinds of malarial parasites — Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax (the commonest ones), Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium knowlesi.
  68. In most malaria-endemic countries including India, Artemisinin-based antimalarial drugs are the first-line choice for malaria treatment especially against Plasmodium falciparum parasite which is responsible for almost all malaria-related deaths in the world.
  69. One Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) is treated as equivalent to 1 MWh.
  70. Low-pressure systems or LPSs originate in the northern Bay of Bengal and are three-10 times more in number during the active period of the monsoon.
  71. Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. It is predominantly caused by bacterial and viral infection. Meningitis caused by bacterial infection causes around 250,000 deaths a year and can lead to fast-spreading epidemics.
  72. The Z-Morh tunnel — being developed at Sonmarg — will provide it all-weather connectivity with Srinagar allowing it to remain open to tourists all year round.
  73. Zojila tunnel, is likely to be ready by September 2026. The 13.5-km tunnel will be Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel and will allow all-weather connectivity between Ladakh and Srinagar.
  74. India participated in the Nuclear Security Summit process and has regularly participated in the International Conferences on Nuclear Security organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). India is also a member of the Nuclear Security Contact Group.
  75. Days after heavy rainfall hit Kolkata, a low pressure-area began taking shape off the Odisha coast in west-central Bay of Bengal. Within a few days, the low-pressure area intensified to become Cyclone Gulab, which made landfall in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.
  76. Cyclones are less common during the June to September monsoon season, as there are limited or almost no favourable conditions for cyclogenesis due to strong monsoon currents. This is also the period when the wind shear — that is, the difference between wind speeds at lower and upper atmospheric levels — is very high. As a result, clouds do not grow vertically and monsoon depressions often fail to intensify into cyclones.
  77. The Green Campus Awards has been initiated to motivate the State and Central Agricultural Universities to develop or adopt such practices that will render their campuses greener and cleaner, and motivate students to get involved in ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’, ‘Waste to Wealth Mission’ and community connect as per the National Education Policy-2020.
  78. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Monday successfully tested a new version of Akash Surface to Air missile Akash Prime from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, Odisha. In comparison to the existing Akash System, Akash Prime is equipped with an indigenous active Radio Frequency (RF) seeker for improved accuracy. Other improvements also ensure more reliable performance under low temperature environment at higher altitudes.
  79. Situation Assessment Survey (SAS) of agricultural households conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO).
  80. Nepal’s three biggest river systems—Kosi, Gandaki and Karnali—originate in the high mountain glaciers, flow through the country and then enter India through the state of Bihar.
  81. The XENON1T experiment is the world’s most sensitive dark matter experiment and was operated deep underground at the INFN Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso in Italy.
  82. There are 26 types of feni, and only the cashew feni has been GI-tagged of Goa.
  83. A polynya is an area of open water surrounded by sea ice. It is now used as a geographical term for an area of unfrozen seawater within otherwise contiguous pack ice or fast ice. It refers to a natural ice hole and was adopted in the 19th century by polar explorers to describe navigable portions of the sea.
  84. The Earth’s albedo is the fraction of sunlight it reflects. With regard to the Arctic, this is a measurement of how well a surface, such as snow or ice, bounces sunlight back into space.
  85. The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) is a nationwide disease surveillance system in India incorporating both the state and central governments aimed at early detection and long-term monitoring of diseases for enabling efficient policy decisions. It was started in 2004 with the assistance of the World Bank. The project was undertaken to meet the World Health Organization Guidelines for South East Asian countries on disease surveillance to track the outbreak of diseases and its potential transboundary threats.
  86. The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) is a global partnership of countries that are disproportionately affected by the consequences of global warming. The CVF was founded by the Maldives government before the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, which sought to increase awareness of countries considered vulnerable. The Global Center on Adaptation is currently a managing partner of the CVF. India is an observer state of this Forum.
  87. “Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region” by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) reveals that India has warmed up 0.7° C during 1901-2018. 
  88. Brazil has been the first speaker at the UNGA annual general debate for over six decades now. While some assume that the order is determined alphabetically, this is not the case. This tradition dates back to the early years of the United Nations, following its formation soon after the end of World War II. In those days, most countries were reluctant to be the first to address the chamber. Brazil, at the time, was the only country that volunteered to speak first. In the list of speakers, the United States always goes second after Brazil as it is the host nation.
  89. NHPC’s 510 MW Teesta-V Power Station located in the Himalayan State of Sikkim has been conferred with the prestigious Blue Planet Prize by International Hydropower Association (IHA), a London based non-profit membership association operating in 120 countries.
  90. Judges to the Supreme Court are to be appointed by the President of India in consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and such other judges that he deems fit. Judges to the High Courts are to be appointed by the President in consultation with the CJI, the Governor of the State and the Chief Justice of that court. In the case of transfers, the President may move a judge from one High Court to another, after consulting the CJI.
  91. National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) was adopted in 1982 for the first time by the country and following that was revised in 1994 and 2009 making mentions of eight prime pollutants namely- particulate matter (PM 2.5 and PM 10), nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, benzene and ammonia.
  92. India’s own national air quality standards are much more lenient, even compared to WHO’s 2005 norms. For example, the recommended PM2.5 concentration over a 24-hour period is 60 micrograms per cubic metre, compared to 25 micrograms advised by WHO’s 2005 guidelines.
  93. According to FSSAI norms, 1 kg fortified rice will contain iron (28 mg-42.5 mg), folic acid (75-125 microgram) and Vitamin B-12 (0.75-1.25 microgram). In addition, rice may also be fortified with micronutrients, singly or in combination, with zinc(10 mg-15 mg), Vitamin A (500-750 microgram RE), Vitamin B1 (1 mg-1.5 mg), Vitamin B2 (1.25 mg-1.75 mg), Vitamin B3 (12.5 mg-20 mg) and Vitamin B6 (1.5 mg-2.5 mg) per kg.
  94. The Centre has started the process to revise school textbooks by appointing former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K. Kasturirangan as the head of a 12-member steering committee responsible for developing a new National Curriculum Framework (NCF).
  95. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)’s ambitious Directed Energy Weapon (DEWs) project is taking a big leap forward by making India a great military power through harnessing the power of lasers and microwaves.
  96. Assam will mark World Rhino Day — September 22 — with a special ceremony by burning a stockpile of nearly 2,500 horns of the one-horned rhinoceros.
  97. The one-horned rhino, which was earlier “endangered” as per the IUCN Red List, is now listed as “Vulnerable.” A March 2018 rhino census pegged the rhino population at 2,413 in KNP, 101 in Orang National Park, and 102 in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, and a more recent count said there were 43 in the Manas National Park.
  98. Between 12.5 million and 14 million years ago, members of a genus of otters called Vishnuonyx lived in the major rivers of southern Asia.
  99. National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) was constituted under Section 410 of the Companies Act, 2013 for hearing appeals against the orders of National Company Law Tribunal(s) (NCLT) in 2016. NCLAT is also the Appellate Tribunal to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction issued or decision made or order passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI). It is also the Appellate Tribunal to hear and dispose of appeals against the orders of the National Financial Reporting Authority.
  100. Currently, there are five dwarf planets: Ceres, Pluto, Eris, Makemake and Haumea.
  101. In the outer reaches of the Solar System, beyond Neptune, there is a region called the Kuiper belt, populated by icy debris.
  102. Dengue is caused by a virus of the Flaviviridae family and there are four distinct, but closely related, serotypes of the virus that cause dengue (DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3 and DENV-4).
  103. Two wildfires in California – one called the Colony fire and the other called Paradise – are burning through the Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada that is home to some of the largest trees in the world. Among these trees is the world’s largest tree popularly known as General Sherman, which firefighters are now trying to protect from the blaze. The General Sherman tree is the world’s largest in terms of volume and exists in the Giant Forest sequoia grove of the national park. 
  104. Shankhalipi or “shell-script” is a term used by scholars to describe ornate spiral characters assumed to be Brahmi derivatives that look like conch shells or shankhas. They are found in inscriptions across north-central India and date to between the 4th and 8th centuries. A similar inscription was found on the back of a stone horse sculpture from that period that is at present in the State Museum at Lucknow. Both Shankhalipi and Brahmi are stylised scripts used primarily for names and signatures. The inscriptions consist of a small number of characters, suggesting that the shell inscriptions are names or auspicious symbols or a combination of the two.
  105. Tarballs are dark-coloured, sticky balls of oil that form when crude oil floats on the ocean surface. Tarballs are formed by weathering of crude oil in marine environments. They are transported from the open sea to the shores by sea currents and waves. Tarballs can be hazardous to human life due to the presence of Vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria whose entry through wounds could be fatal.
  106. In a rare discovery, teeth of new species of hybodont sharkof Jurassic age have been reported for the first time from Jaisalmer region of Rajasthan. Hybodonts, an extinct group of sharks, was a dominant group of fishes in both marine and fluvial environments during the Triassic and early Jurassic time. However, hybodont sharks started to decline in marine environments from the Middle Jurassic onwards until they formed a relatively minor component of open-marine shark assemblages. Hybodonts finally became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous time 65 million years ago. Significantly, the newly discovered crushing teeth from Jaisalmer represent a new species named by the research team as Strophodusjaisalmerensis. The genus Strophodus has been identified for the first time from the Indian subcontinent and is only the third such record from Asia, the other two being from Japan and Thailand.
  107. Input Tax Credit refers to the tax already paid by a person at time  of purhase of goods ro services and which is available as deduction from tax payable. Input tax credit cannot be used for payment of interest, penalty, fees or any amount payable under the act other than the GST.
  108. The traditional folk instruments in news during 50th statehood day of Meghalaya-bom (single-headed large kettledrum), duitara, ksing (percussion instrument), chigring (a bamboo stump with strings).
  109. India has been predictably slow to respond to UNESCO’s ‘Memory of the World’ programme initiative. The Memory of the World (MoW) programme is a UNESCO initiative based on the fundamental premise that the world’s documented heritage belongs to all, and should be identified and preserved.
  110. The Tamil Nadu government appointed 24 trained archakas (priests) in temples across the State which come under the control of the Department of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE). On the same day, posts for odhuvar, poosari, mahout, garland stringers and an umbrella carrier were also filled.
  111. The Gulf of Mexico is an ocean basin and a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, largely surrounded by the North American continent. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States; on the southwest and south by the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo; and on the southeast by Cuba.
  112. The recent attempts to declare areas around Chivu of Manipur in the Indo-Myanmar border as a protected site and sacralise it by replacing one of the three controversial monoliths with that of Thangjing (a Meitei goddess), invoke the Forest Reserve Act, sacralise Koubru hills as a lai-pham (deity-place) and encourage ching-kaba (hill-climbing) to effectuate this are clear pointers.
  113. Defined as ground (soil, rock and any included ice or organic material) that remains at or below zero degree Celsius for at least two consecutive years, permafrost is spread across an area of over 23 million square kilometers, covering about 15% of the land area of the globe.
  114. Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh was an Indian freedom fighter, journalist, writer, revolutionary and social reformist. He was popularly known as “Aryan Peshwa”. He attended the 1906 Congress session in Kolkataand met several leaders involved in the Swadeshi movement, deciding to promote small industries with indigenous goods and local artisans.
  115. Blue stragglers, a class of stars on open or globular clusters that stand out as they are bigger and bluer than the rest of the stars, have intrigued scientists who have for long probed their origin.
  116. The first shipments on a newly-launched railway line from the Myanmar border to the key commercial hub of Chengdu in western China, that provides China a new road-rail transportation channel to the Indian Ocean, were delivered. The transport corridor involves a sea-road-rail link. Goods from Singapore reached Yangon Port, arriving by ship through the Andaman Sea of the northeastern Indian Ocean, and were then transported by road to Lincang on the Chinese side of the Myanmar-China border in Yunnan province. The new railway line that runs from the border town of Lincang to Chengdu, a key trade hub in western China, completes the corridor. China also has plans to develop another port in Kyaukphyu in the Rakhine state, including a proposed railway line from Yunnan directly to the port, but the progress there has been stalled by unrest in Myanmar. The route goes through Mandalay, Lashio and Hsenwi on the Myanmar side and “is expected to become the lifeblood of international trade for China and Myanmar
  117. According to traditional Sri Lankan chronicles (such as the Dipavamsa) Buddhism was introduced into Sri Lanka in the 4th century BCE by Venerable Mahinda, the son of Indian Emperor Ashoka, during the reign of Sri Lanka’s King Devanampiya Tissa.
  118. Article 16 of the Constitution guarantees equal treatment under the law in matters of public employment. It prohibits the state from discriminating on grounds of place of birth or residence.
  119. The wide range of crops that grow in the short season between Kharif and Rabi crop seasons are known as Zaid crops. These are the months of March till July. Examples: Pumpkin, cucumber, bitter gourd etc.
  120. Universal Declaration of the Rights of Rivers is a civil society initiative to define the basic rights to which all rivers are entitled. In the one year since the declaration, rights have been recognised or declared for the Boulder Creek watershed in the United States, the Magpie river in Canada, waterways in Orange County in the US, the Alpayacu river in Ecuador and the Paraná river and its wetlands in Argentina.
  121. A group of researchers who went out the coast of Greenland found themselves on a tiny, uninhabited and previously unknown island. It has now become the new northernmost piece of land on Earth. Before this, Oodaaq was marked as the Earth’s northernmost terrain. The new island is made up of seabed mud and moraine, i.e. soil, rock and other material left behind by moving glaciers, and has no vegetation. The group has suggested the discovery be named ‘Qeqertaq Avannarleq’, which is Greenlandic for “the northernmost island”. The new island would not change Denmark’s territorial claim north of Greenland.
  122. A new report from World Bank The Future of Manufacturing-Led Development, explains that the criteria for becoming a desirable manufacturing location are changing. Companies once influenced by the prospect of inexpensive labor costs are beginning to favor locations that can better take advantage of new technologies.
  123. While Italy holds the presidency of the G20 formation, India will be holding the presidency from December 1, 2022 and will convene the G20 Leaders’ Summit in 2023. India has been a member of the G20 since its inception in 1999. Apart from India, the G20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, the U.K., the U.S. and the European Union. Spain is invited as a permanent guest.
  124. The government has appointed Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textile Piyush Goyal as Sherpa for the G20. While Indian Prime Minister leads participation, the Sherpa is entrusted with steering negotiations with partner countries on policy issues on an ongoing basis while the leaders meet. Ministers of Economy and Finance are traditionally invited to attend the event.
  125. The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC), or the Venkatachaliah Commission, had recommended that individual and collective consultation with the States should be undertaken through the Inter-State Council established under Article 263 of the Constitution.
  126. The Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century, or PARIS21, was established in November 1999 by the United Nations, the European Commission, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bankas a response to the UN Economic and Social Council resolution on the goals of the UN International Conference on Financing for Development. PARIS21’s main objective is “to achieve national and international development goals and to reduce poverty in low- and middle-income countries”. The PARIS21 Secretariat is hosted within the Statistics and Data Directorate of the OECD in Boulogne-Billancourt, France.
  127. The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names(UNGEGN) is one of the nine expert groups of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and deals with the national and international standardization of geographical names. Every five years they hold the UNGEGN conference.
  128. The United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Namesis a periodic international conference organised by the United Nations Statistical Commission, the central purpose of which is to facilitate the standardization of national geographical names. The purpose of the Conference is not to settle political disputes between states on the use (or non-use) of particular geographical names.
  129. Bacteria that associate with roots are called rhizobacteria, and a very wide range of these species are plant growth promoters. Like the fungi, mutualism operates in these relationships too. In exchange for sugars, these bacteria offer plants a wide range of benefits. They may help plants ward off pathogens that cause diseases of the root. They may even trigger systemic resistance to a pathogen throughout the plant.
  130. Fossils of plants from about 400 million years ago show the first evidence of roots, and these roots are fungus associations – rhizoids – suggesting that roots co-evolved with fungi. One good example is species of Penicillium, the fungus from which Alexander Fleming isolated the antibiotic penicillin. Fungus–root associations, called mycorrhizae, appear at first glance to be simple mutualisms that are beneficial to both. The root-invading fungus gains nutrients made by the plant, and the plants get difficult-to-find minerals like phosphorus from the microbe.
  131. Vanniyars are one of the largest and most consolidated backward communities in the state of Tamil Nadu. Vanniyars were one of the largest and most consolidated backward communities that had a consistency in retaining political representation from 1940s and 1950s. Thevars and Gounders are largely seen as Tamil Nadu’s socially and politically powerful communities. Kallars and Nadars are seen as communities.
  132. The Main Central Thrust is a major geological fault where the Indian Plate has pushed under the Eurasian Plate along the Himalaya. The fault slopes down to the north and is exposed on the surface in a NW-SE direction (strike). It is a thrust fault that continues along 2200 km of the Himalaya mountain belt
  133. The Durand Line forms the Afghanistan–Pakistan border, a 2,670-kilometre international land border between the countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan in South Asia. The western end runs to the border with Iran and the eastern end to the border with China. The agreement demarcating what became known as the Durand Line was signed on November 12, 1893 between the British civil servant Sir Henry Mortimer Durand and Amir Abdur Rahman, then the Afghan ruler. In reality, the line cut through Pashtun tribal areas, leaving villages, families, and land divided between the two “spheres of influence”. It has been described as a “line of hatred”, arbitrary, illogical, cruel and a trickery on the Pashtuns. Some historians believe it was a ploy to divide the Pashtuns so that the British could keep control over them easily. It also put on the British side the strategic Khyber Pass.
  134. ‘Pashtunistan’ — an independent country of the Pashtuns — was a demand made by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan at the time of Partition, although he later resigned himself to the reality of Partition. The proximity of the ‘Frontier Gandhi’ to India was a point of tension between the two countries almost immediately.
  135. The South China Sea, which lies between China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, is of great economic importance globally. Nearly one-third of the world’s shipping passes through its lanes, and the waters house numerous important fisheries. Under a “nine-dash line” map,China claims most of the South China Sea as its sovereign territory. The South China Sea plays a vital role in facilitating India’s trade with Japan, South Korea and ASEAN countries, and assists in the efficient procurement of energy supplies.
  136. ZAPAD is one of the theatre-level exercises of Russian armed forces and will focus primarily on operations against terrorists. ZAPAD 2021 is one of the theatre level exercises of Russian armed forces and will focus primarily on operations against terrorists. In all, 17 countries have been invited by Russia for the exercise. Of these nine are Participating countries which include Mongolia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia, Russia, India and Belarus. The other eight countries are Observers which include Pakistan, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Uzbekistan and Sri Lanka.
  137. Mumbai joined C40 Cities group in December 2020. There are 97 cities across the world connected in C40 Cities, who are pushed to develop and implement climate action plans to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emission significantly.
  138. West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne disease. It spreads from birds to humans with the bite of an infected Culex mosquito. It has so far been detected in almost all kinds of mosquitoes, not just the common three — Anopheles, Culex and Aedes — but also in lesser-known types such as Culiseta, Mansonia and Psorophora. WNV can also spread through blood transfusion, from an infected mother to her child, or through exposure to the virus in laboratories. It is not known to spread by contact with infected humans or animals, or even when the infected animal is ingested, provided it has been adequately cooked. Unlike other mosquito-borne diseases, WNV does not cause symptoms in everybody that contracts the virus.  The virus is commonly found in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America and West Asia. Human infections attributable to WNV have been reported in many countries in the World for over 50 years. It is related to Zika, dengue and yellow fever viruses. More than 80% of Russia’s West Nile fever cases are recorded in its southwest region. There is no vaccine against the virus in humans although one exists for horses.
  139. Subramania Bharati’s status (1882–1921) as the pre-eminent cultural figure of modern Tamil Nadu rests primarily on his poetry. Unfortunately, the focus on his poetry has translated into the virtual neglect of his prose writings. As a working journalist, Bharati necessarily employed prose to communicate, and his writings in Swadesamitran and India made an important contribution to Tamil political vocabulary. Sometime in mid-1908, Bharati began to serialise Gnanaratham in his political weekly, India.
  140. South Korea’s fastest supercomputers, Aleph would take a single human 45 million years to complete the calculations that the supercomputer can perform in one second.
  141. A Bangladeshi vaccine scientist Dr. Firdausi Qadri  and a microfinance pioneer  Muhammad Amjad Saqib from Pakistan were among the five recipients of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award 2021 regarded as the Asian version of the Nobel Prize. The other winners are Filipino fisher and community environmentalist Roberto Ballon, American Steven Muncy for humanitarian work and refugee assistance and Indonesian torch bearer for investigative journalism, Watchdoc. Established in 1957, the award is Asia’s highest honour.

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