Facts Corner-Part-31

International Commission on Stratigraphy

  • The International Commission on Stratigraphy is the largest and oldest constituent scientific body in the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS). 
  • Its primary objective is to precisely define global units (systems, series, and stages) of the International Chronostratigraphic Chart that, in turn, are the basis for the units (periods, epochs, and age) of the International Geologic Time Scale; thus setting global standards for the fundamental scale for expressing the history of the Earth.


  • originally meant “life”, “vital force” or “being”, “generation” or “a period of time”, though it tended to be translated as “age” in the sense of “ages”, “forever”, “timeless” or “for eternity“. 
  • Although the term aeon may be used in reference to a period of a billion years (especially in geologycosmology or astronomy), its more common usage is for any long, indefinite, period.
  • Aeon can also refer to the four aeons on the Geologic Time Scale that make up the Earth’s history, the HadeanArcheanProterozoic, and the current aeon Phanerozoic.


  • The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) — the body that decides epochs, aeons and eras to mark the earth’s geological history — recommended that humans should have their own epoch.
  • Anthropocene, as this proposed epoch is called, roughly means the ‘Recent Age of Man’ and was first proposed by Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen and atmospheric scientist Eugene Stoermer around 2000.
  • Today we live in the Holocene, a period that began roughly 12,000 years ago.
  • This corresponds to the beginning of agriculture, the earliest settlements in West Asia, and the multiplication of humanity to every part of the globe. Geologists mark out an age based on imprints in fossil records.
  • They have never marked out an age as belonging to an organism or species. ‘Jurassic’, for instance, has nothing to do with dinosaurs and refers to the Jura mountains in Europe.
  • Far from hubris, Anthropocene is a formal acknowledgement of guilt.
  • The triumphant march of Homo sapiens, chronicled through the ages as ‘civilization’, has over the past half a century begun to be replaced by a creeping shame: there is concrete enough to cover every square kilometre of the earth, ginormous amounts of plastic that outweigh this planet’s seven-billion inhabitants, and warheads primed to destroy all traces of the years it took to conceive them.
  • Armageddon is no longer the scary chapter that concludes religious texts but is now staid science. 

The Jurassic:

  • A geologic period and system that spanned 56 million years from the end of the Triassic Period 201.3 million years ago (Mya) to the beginning of the Cretaceous Period 145 Mya.
  • The Jurassic constituted the middle period of the Mesozoic Era, also known as the Age of Reptiles. The start of the period was marked by the major Triassic–Jurassic extinction event. Two other extinction events occurred during the period: the Pliensbachian/Toarcian event in the Early Jurassic, and the Tithonian event at the end; however, neither event ranks among the “Big Five” mass extinctions.
  • The Jurassic is named after the Jura Mountains within the European Alps, where limestone strata from the period were first identified. By the beginning of the Jurassic, the supercontinent Pangaea had begun rifting into two landmasses: Laurasia to the north, and Gondwana to the south. This created more coastlines and shifted the continental climate from dry to humid, and many of the ariddeserts of the Triassic were replaced by lush rainforests.


  • The current geological era, covering the period from 66 million years ago to the present day.
  • The Cenozoic is also known as the Age of Mammals, because of the large mammals that dominate it. The continents also moved into their current positions during this era.
  • The Cenozoic is divided into three periods: the Paleogene, Neogene, and Quaternary; and seven epochs: the Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene, and Holocene. 

National Crop Insurance Programme

  • The Scheme aims to provide insurance coverage and financial support to the farmers in the event of crops failure as a result of natural calamities, pests and diseases as also to encourage farmers to adopt progressive farming practices, high value inputs and higher technology in agriculture.
  • Ministry/Department : Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.

Neeranchal National Watershed Project

  • The project aims to fulfil the watershed component of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMSKY) to reduce surface runoff of rainwater, increase groundwater levels and better water availability in rain-fed areas.
  • It is a World Bank assisted project
  • It will be implemented across nine States – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan.
  • It can be considered as a new version of Integrated Watershed Management Programme.

Neeranchal is primarily designed to address the following concerns:

  1. bring about institutional changes in watershed and rainfed agricultural management practices in India,
  2. build systems that ensure watershed programmes and rainfed irrigation management practices are better focussed, and more coordinated, and have quantifiable results,
  3. devise strategies for the sustainability of improved watershed. management practices in programme areas, even after the withdrawal of project support,
  4. through the watershed plus approach, support improved equity, livelihoods, and incomes through forward linkages, on a platform of inclusiveness and local participation.

Financial Action Task Force

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions.
  • The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. The FATF is therefore a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.
  • The FATF has developed a series of Recommendations that are recognised as the international standard for combating of money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
  • They form the basis for a co-ordinated response to these threats to the integrity of the financial system and help ensure a level playing field. First issued in 1990, the FATF Recommendations were revised in 1996, 2001, 2003 and most recently in 2012 to ensure that they remain up to date and relevant, and they are intended to be of universal application.
  • The FATF monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally. In collaboration with other international stakeholders, the FATF works to identify national-level vulnerabilities with the aim of protecting the international financial system from misuse.
  • The FATF’s decision making body, the FATF Plenary, meets three times per year.

Electoral Bonds

  • These are interest-free bearer instruments (like Promissory Notes) that will be available for purchase from the State Bank of India within a designated window of 10 days in every quarter of the financial year.
  • An additional period of a month will be notified in the year of elections to Lok Sabha.
  • The life of the bond would be only 15 days. (It) can only be encashed in a predeclared account of a political party (which) will have to disclose the amout to the Election Commission.

Atal Doctrine:

  • The Vajpayee doctrine on Kashmir called for peace, progress and prosperity in the Valley by imbibing the spirit of Insaniyat (Humanity) , Jamhuriyat (Democracy) and Kashmiriyat (Identity of the people of Kashmir).
  • The doctrine was universally acclaimed by all segments across of political spectrum in the state, including the extremist elements in the Valley.
  • Vajpayee’s mantra included resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan, including that of Jammu and Kashmir issue in a peaceful manner through bilateral dialogue without any third party intervention.
  • He carried his message of peace to Pakistan during a bus journey to Lahore on February 19, 1999.
  • Vajpayee also signed a Lahore Declaration with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on February 21, 1999, wherein Pakistan agreed to resolve all bilateral issues between the two countries, including the issue of Jammu & Kashmir in a peaceful manner and through dialogue and to promote people to people contact.
  • The Delhi–Lahore Bus Service Sada-e-Sarhad (Call of the Frontier) was launched as a symbol of the efforts of the Vajpayee government to promote peaceful and friendly relations with Pakistan on the basis of reciprocity.

About Atal Bhoojal Yojana:

  • The scheme is aimed at efficient management of available water resources and strengthening of recharge mechanism through community participation.
  • The emphasis of the scheme will be on recharge of ground water sources and efficient use of water by involving people at the local level.
  • Half of the total cost of this central scheme will be supported by the World Bank as loan while the remaining half will be funded by the government through budgetary support.
  • Implementation: The government plans to give 50% of the money to states, including gram panchayats, as incentives for achieving targets in groundwater management.
  • That’s a first-ever move to encourage community participation and behavioural changes.
  • The remaining 50% of the funds will be given to states for strengthening institutional arrangements such as providing a strong database and scientific approach to help them accomplish sustainable management of groundwater.

Anti-Narcotics Scheme

  • The scheme aims to combat illicit trafficking in drugs and psychotropic substance.
  • The purpose of the scheme is to assist state governments and Union Territories which are contributing in controlling the inter-state and cross border drug trafficking.
  • Financial assistance will be provided to all the anti- narcotics agencies for strengthening their enforcement capabilities to combat illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
  • Financial assistance is also proposed to be provided for all capacity building activities, including training of personnel.
  • The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) being the national nodal agency for drug administration will process the requests from state governments and UTs for financial assistance for improving their enforcement capabilities in dealing with the supply side of the drug menace.

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