Prelims inFocus-April 2020

  1. The term ‘minority’ has not been defined anywhere in the Constitution. Article 30 grants the following rights to minorities, whether religious or linguistic: All minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice, the compensation amount fixed by the State for the compulsory acquisition of any property of a minority educational institution shall not restrict or abrogate the right guaranteed to them. (added by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978), in granting aid, the State shall not discriminate against any educational institution managed by a minority.
  2. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to waste away (degenerate) and die. It is the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder and accounts for more than 70% of all dementia.
  3. The Mekong River Commission comprises of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. The Lower Mekong Initiative is a US partnership with all the downstream countries of Mekong besides Myanmar. The Mekong flows from China to Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
  4. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) jointly established the Panel on Tropical Cyclones (PTC)in 1972 as an intergovernmental body. Its membership comprises countries affected by tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. The main objective of the WMO/ESCAP Panel on Tropical Cyclones is to promote measures to improve tropical cyclone warning systems in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.
  5. Nearly five million people were displaced in India in 2019 — the highest in the world so far — according to a recent report from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), titled ‘The Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID 2020)’.
  6. The first IFSC in India has been set up at the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) in Gandhinagar.
  7. The Special 301 Report identifies trading partners that do not adequately or effectively protect and enforce Intellectual Property (IP) rights or otherwise deny market access to U.S. innovators and creators that rely on protection of their IP rights. The report is released annually by the United States Trade Representative (USTR).
  8. The government of India has launched Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan Yojanaas a social security for the unorganised workers. It is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme.
  9. Tablighi Jamaat means a society for spreading the faith. It is a conservative Muslim organisation. It is a Sunni Islamic missionary movement. Its roots lie in the Deobandi version of the Hanafi school of jurisprudence.
  10. Asian Development Bank (ADB) is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.
  11. South Asia Seasonal Climate Outlook Forum South Asian nations, supported by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), have been conducting the SASCOF since 2010. SASCOF is a consortium of meteorologists and hydrological experts from South Asian countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives and Myanmar.
  12. Dissolved Oxygen is a measure of the amount of free oxygen available in river systems. Presence of organic and inorganic wastesin water decreases the dissolved oxygen content of the water.
  13. In 1904, the British colonial government awarded Raja Ravi Varma with the Kaiser-i-Hind Gold Medal. In 2013, a crater on the planet Mercury was named in his honour. His most famous works include Damayanti Talking to a Swan, Shakuntala Looking for Dushyanta, Nair Lady Adorning Her Hair, and Shantanu and Matsyagandha.
  14. Global Network against Food Crises was launched by the European Union, FAO and WFP during the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) to respond to the WHS’s call for new approaches to tackle protracted crises and recurrent disasters, reduce vulnerability, and manage risk, by bridging the divide between development and humanitarian partners.
  15. Ordinance is a decree or law promulgated by a state or national government without the consent of the legislature. Article 123 of the Constitution of India grants the President certain law-making powers to promulgate ordinances when either of the two Houses of Parliament is not in session. Similar powers are given to the Governor of a state to issue ordinances under Article 213 of the Constitution.
  16. Exercise Pitch Blackis a biennial three-week multilateral air combat training exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
  17. Recently, Saudi Arabia has abolished flogging (whipping or lashing) as a form of punishment and the death sentence for minors.
  18. A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light can not get out. The gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space.
  19. Fiscal deficit is thetotal amount of borrowings required to bridge the gap between government’s spending and revenues. The borrowings can be from the internal sources (public, commercial banks, central bank etc.) or the external sources (foreign governments, international organisations etc.).
  20. Aerosols are defined as a combination of liquid or solid particles suspended in a gaseous or liquid environment. In the atmosphere, these particles are mainly situated in the low layers of the atmosphere (< 1.5 km) since aerosol sources are located on the terrestrial surface. However, certain aerosols can still be found in the stratosphere, especially volcanic aerosols ejected into the high altitude layers.
  21. The Godavari is India’s second longest river after the Ganga. It flows east for 1,465 kilometres, draining the states of Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Karnataka, ultimately emptying into the Bay of Bengal through its extensive network of tributaries. The major tributaries of the river are classified as the left bank tributaries which include the Purna, Pranhita, Indravati and Sabari river and the right bank tributaries are Pravara, Manjira, Manair. Pranahita river is the largest tributary of the Godavari river covering about 34% of its drainage basin.
  22. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the annual Ambubachi Mela in Assam will not be organised this year. The festival marks the annual menstruation of the presiding Goddess in the Kamakhya Temple, Guwahati, Assam.
  23. In geology, seismic noise refers to the relatively persistent vibration of the ground due to a multitude of causes. It is the unwanted component of signals recorded by a seismometer– the scientific instrument that records ground motions, such as those caused by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and explosions.
  24. Open Market Operations (OMO) is one of the quantitative monetary policy tools which is employed by the central bank of a country to control the money supply in the economy. OMOs are conducted by the RBI by way of sale or purchase of government securities (g-secs) to adjust money supply conditions. RBI carries out the OMO through commercial banks and does not directly deal with the public.
  25. Commodity Markets Outlook is published by the World Bank in April and October.
  26. Recently the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has constructed a permanent bridge on the Ravi river to connect Kasowal enclave in Punjab along the India – Pakistan border to the rest of the country. Project Chetak of the BRO was raised in June 1962 at Dehradun for construction of Joshimath-Malari-Rinkin road.
  27. Iran has launched its first military satellite called Noor (meaning light) into orbit. Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles  are land-based, generally nuclear-armed ballistic missiles with a range of more than 5,500 km. E.g. India’s Agni V. There are also Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBM). E.g. India’s Dhanush Ballistic missiles are initially powered by rockets after which they follow an unpowered, free-falling trajectory toward their targets.
  28. World Press Freedom Index has been published every year since 2002 by Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) or Reporters Without Borders. It is based in Paris, RSF is an independent NGO with consultative status with the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF).
  29. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs(CCEA) which is chaired by the Prime Minister lays down the priorities for public sector investment and considers specific proposals for investment of not less than specific levels as revised from time to time. It has a mandate to review economic trends on a continuous basis, as well as the problems and prospects, with a view to evolving a consistent and integrated economic policy framework for the country. It also directs and coordinates all policies and activities in the economic field including foreign investment that require policy decisions at the highest level.
  30. A remittance ismoney sent to another party, usually one in another country. The sender is typically an immigrant and the recipient a relative back home. Remittances represent one of the largest sources of income for people in low-income and developing nations. It often exceeds the amount of direct investment and official development assistance. India is the world’s biggest recipient of remittances. Remittances bolsters India’s foreign exchange reserves and helps fund its current account deficit.
  31. Anthurium is domestic flowering plant known for purifying surrounding air and remove harmful airborne chemicals like formaldehyde, ammonia, toluene, xylene, and allergens. Anthurium has economic importance because of its eye-catching and beautiful inflorescence. NASA has also placed it in the list of air purifier plants.
  32. In cognisable offences, an officer can take cognizance of and arrest a suspect without seeking a court’s warrant to do so, if she has “reason to believe” that the person has committed the offence and is satisfied that the arrest is necessary on certain enumerated bases. According to the 177th Law Commission Report, cognisable offences are those that require an immediate arrest. Cognizable offences are generally heinous or serious in nature such as murder, rape, kidnapping, theft, dowry death etc. The first information report (FIR) is registered only in cognizable crimes.
  33. In case of a non-cognizable offence, the police cannot arrest the accused without a warrant as well as cannot start an investigation without the permission of the court. The crimes of forgery, cheating, defamation, public nuisance, etc., fall in the category of non-cognizable crimes.
  34. The Inter-State Council, set up under Article 263 of the Constitution, may be a more appropriate forum to effectively and comprehensively deal with larger issues related to migrant workmen.
  35. Sepsisis a serious life-threatening condition caused when the body’s response to any kind of infection goes out of balance, triggering changes that can lead to multi-organ failure. Gram negative bacteremia (presence of bacteria in the bloodstream) in the critically ill patient is synonymous with gram negative sepsis. Gram-negative bacteria have built-in abilities to find new ways to be resistant and can pass along genetic materials that allow other bacteria to become drug-resistant as well.
  36. The Border Roads Organisation (BRO)constructed the Daporijo bridge over Subansiri river in Arunachal Pradesh in a record span of just 27 days. The bridge is of utmost importance in strategic connectivity as it links roads leading upto the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China. Subansiri River (gold river), originates in the Tibet Plateau and enters India through Miri hills in Arunachal Pradesh. It is the largest tributary of Brahmaputra River.
  37. The Integrated Disease Surveillance Projectwas launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in assistance with the World Bank, in  It continued as the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) during 12th Plan (2012–17) under the National Health Mission with a domestic budget.
  38. Scientists define the beginning of Interstellar Space as the region where the Sun’s constant flow of material and magnetic field from Sun stops affecting its surroundings.  In interstellar space, there would be an increase in “cold” particles.
  39. Recently Cytokine storm syndrome are seen in some cases of COVID-19 leading to higher mortality. CSS is seen as major cause of mortality in 1918-20 Spanish Flu, H1N1 (swine flu) and H5N1 (bird flu) outbreaks in recent years. Cytokines are small proteins released by many different cells in the body, including those of the immune system to coordinate the body’s response against infection and trigger inflammation.
  40. Anak Krakatau is a volcanic island in the Sunda Strait between the Java and Sumatra islands in Indonesia.
  41. Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti is observed to celebrate the birth of Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1539), who is first of the 10 Sikh Gurus and the founder of Sikhism. He advocated the ‘Nirguna’ (devotion to and worship of formless divine) form of bhakti.
  42. Bangalore Blue, characterized by its foxy flavour (effect of a flavor substance called methyl anthranilate), is exclusively grown in Bangalore Urban, Chikkaballapur and Kolar districts. It is grown in red sandy loam soil at a day temperature of about 35-37 degrees Celsius and night temperature of 12-15 degree Celsius which is unique to Bangalore and its surrounding areas. The grapes develop their typical dark purple colorat this temperature. In 2013, the variety was given the Geographical Indication (GI) status.
  43. In 2019, Global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Security identified three prominent ransomwares Ryuk, Purga and Stop. India was attacked by all three groups of ransomwares. A ransomware attack infects computers in a network and encrypts files on these computers and then demands a ransom to recover the files.
  44. The Ways and Means Advances (WMA) areshort-term loan facilities which allow the Centre and states to borrow funds from the RBI to bridge their temporary mismatch between expenditure and receipts. The interest rate on WMA is the RBI’s repo rate. The WMA loans have a three-month tenure. States are allowed an overdraft facility to borrow in excess of WMA limit of 21 days.
  45. Puthandu festival is celebrated in Tamil Nadu. It is also mentioned in Sangam literature.
  46. International Council on Monuments and Sites is aglobal non-governmental organization associated with  Its mission is to promote the conservation, protection, use and enhancement of monuments, building complexes and sites. It is an Advisory Body of the World Heritage Committee for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention of UNESCO. India has 38 world heritage sites that include 30 Cultural properties, 7 Natural properties and 1 mixed site.
  47. Sodium hypochlorite, commonly known as bleach, is most frequently used as a disinfecting agent. It is a broad-spectrum disinfectant that is effective for the disinfection of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and mycobacterium.
  48. Bihu is the main festival of Assam.It is celebrated three times a year. Rongali or Bohag Bihu is the Assamese new year and spring festival. The Rongali Bihu coincides with Sikh New Year- Baisakhi. It is a harvest or sowing festival. It marks the first day of the Hindu solar calendar and is also observed in Bengal, Manipur, Mithila, Nepal, Orissa, Punjab, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  49. The Rights and Risks Analysis Group has sought Indian Prime Minister’s intervention in ensuring food for the Chakma and Hajong communities in Arunachal Pradesh. Chakmas are predominantly Buddhists while Hajongs are Hindus. They were originally the residents of the Chittagong Hill Tracts of East Pakistan(Bangladesh). They entered India through the then Lushai Hills district of Assam (now Mizoram).The Centre moved the majority of them to the North East Frontier Agency(NEFA) which is now Arunachal Pradesh.
  50. In a bid to revive and conserve ‘Devanahalli Pomelo’, an endangered citrus fruit, the operators of Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru have started a plantation drive in the region as part of their flagship CSR Programme ‘Namma Ooru’. Devanahalli Pomelo has a Geographical Indication (GI) tag as it is known for its sweet taste. It is also known by its scientific name Citrus Maxima, the tree’s fruit is rich in Vitamin C.
  51. Matterhorn is a mountain of the Alps. It is situated in the Pennine Alps on the border between Switzerland and Italy. Sometimes referred to as the Mountain of Mountains, the Matterhorn has become an iconic emblem of the Alps in general.
  52. Reverse Transcription-based Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification (RT-LAMP) is a simple quantitative detection method. In this method, a DNA copy of the viral RNA is generated by reverse transcriptase, and then isothermal amplification is carried out to increase the amount of total DNA.
  53. Special Drawing Rights (SDR) is neither a currency nor a claim on the IMF.Rather, it is a potential claim on the freely usable currencies of IMF members. SDRs can be exchanged for these currencies. The SDR serves as the unit of account of the IMF and some other international organizations. The currency value of the SDR is determined by summing the values in U.S. dollars, based on market exchange rates, of a SDR basket of currencies. The SDR basket of currencies includes the S. dollar, Euro, Japanese yen, pound sterling and the Chinese renminbi (included in 2016). The SDR currency value is calculated daily (except on IMF holidays or whenever the IMF is closed for business) and the valuation basket is reviewed and adjusted every five years. India’s Foreign exchange reserves also incorporate SDR.
  54. Konda reddis,Koyas and Kolam are the popular tribes living in godavari valley. Konda reddis and Kolam are part of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG).
  55. Fluorescence is theemission of light by a substance that has absorbed light or other electromagnetic radiation.
  56. Jude Sheetal is celebrated in Bihar. It is also called Maithili New Year.
  57. Sovereign gold bonds are listed on exchange but the trading volumes are not high, therefore it will be difficult to exit before maturity. This is a long term investment unlike physical gold which can be sold immediately.
  58. World Economic Outlook is a survey by the IMF that is usually published twice a year in the months of April and October. It analyzes and predicts global economic developments during the near and medium term.
  59. Nihang is an order of Sikh warriors, characterized by blue robes, arms such as swords and spears, and decorated turbans surmounted by steel quoits. The Nihangs can be traced back to the creation of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. Many claim the sect to be “guru di laadli fauj”. Nihangs today constitute a small community and observe the Khalsa code of conduct in its strictest sense.
  60. Indian Council of Medical Research is the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research. Its mandate is to conduct, coordinate and implement medical research for the benefit of the society, translating medical innovations into products/processes and introducing them into the public health system. It is funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
  61. Crowdfunding is a method of raising capital through the collective effort of a large number of individual investors. This approach taps into the collective efforts of a large pool of individuals, primarily online via social media and crowdfunding platforms and leverages their networks for greater reach and exposure.
  62. Fomalhaut b, located 25 light-years from Earth was one of the first exoplanets ever discovered in visible light by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 2004. Recently, researchers have confirmed that the earlier discovered exoplanet Fomalhaut b is not an exoplanet but a giant cloud of dust left over from the collision of two planetesimals that dispersed over time.
  63. In 1932, R. Ambedkar negotiated the Poona Pact with Mahatma Gandhi. The background to the Poona Pact was the Communal Award of August 1932 which provided a separate electorate for depressed classes. Madan Mohan Malaviya signed it on behalf of Gandhi. The Communal Award was based on the findings of the Indian Franchise Committee, called the Lothian Committee.
  64. Bihu dance is Assam’s most popular folk dance.
  65. The Reserve Bank of India has launched latest round of quarterly order books, inventories and capacity utilisation survey (OBICUS) of manufacturing sector. The survey provides valuable input for monetary policy formulation. The RBI has been conducting the OBICUS of the manufacturing sector on a quarterly basis since 2008.
  66. The Food and Agriculture Organisation(FAO) has launched a Global Action for FAW Control as a response to the international threat posed by the armyworms.
  67. Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) allows the IMF to provide grants for debt relief for the poorest and most vulnerable countries hit by catastrophic natural disasters orpublic health disasters. It was established in February 2015 during the Ebola outbreak and modified in March 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  68. Located inKerala, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. It was established in 1 Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is contiguous to the tiger reserves of Nagerhole and Bandipur of Karnataka and Mudumalai of Tamilnadu. Kabini river (a tributary of Cauvery river) flows through the sanctuary.
  69. Diksha platform was launched in 2017, by MHRD to provide supplementary learning material for students and for upgrading the skills of teachers. The high-quality e-learning material both for students and teachers are available on this portal.
  70. Feluda Test is a paper-based test strip developed by CSIR scientists to detect the new coronavirus within an hour. The test uses the cutting-edge gene-editing tool- Crispr-Cas9 to target and identify the genomic sequences of the novel coronavirus in the samples of suspected individuals.
  71. The Southern Annular Mode (SAM), also known as the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO), refers to the (non-seasonal) north-south movement of the strong westerly winds that blow almost continuously in the mid- to highlatitudes of the southern hemisphere.
  72. The Indian Government has set up Panchteerath in the memory of Dr BR Ambedkar. Panchteerath include: Amedbkar’s birthplace in Mhow, the place in London where he stayed while studying in the UK, Deeksha Bhoomi in Nagpur, where he took education, Mahaparinirvan Sthal in Delhi, and Chaitya Bhoomi in Mumbai.
  73. The World Bankhas released the South Asia Economic Focus report. The report saw India’s growth at 1.5-2.8% in 2020-21 which is the slowest since 1991 economic reforms.
  74. ‘Ekuverin’is a joint military exercise between India and Maldives.
  75. Yanomami Tribe also called South American Indians,live in the remote forest of the Orinoco River basin in southern Venezuela and the northernmost reaches of the Amazon River basin in northern Brazil. They practice hunting and slash-and-burn agriculture.
  76. West Texas intermediate (WTI), also known as Texas light sweet, is a grade of crude oil used as a benchmark in oil pricing. This grade is described as light crude oil because of its relatively low density, and sweet because of its low sulfur content. It is the underlying commodity of New York Mercantile Exchange’s oil futures contracts.
  77. An experimental Ebola vaccine, called rVSV-ZEBOV proved highly protective against EVD in a major trial in Guinea in 2015. The rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine is being used in the ongoing 2018-2019 Ebola outbreak in DRC. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should have access to the vaccine under the same conditions as for the general population.
  78. Durbar Moveacts as a bridge between two diverse cultures of the Kashmir Valley and the Jammu region. The tradition was started during Dogra ruler Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1872.
  79. Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary is the only sanctuary inAndhra Pradesh with a population of Asian elephants. The sanctuary is covered by southern tropical dry deciduous and thorn forests. Some of the important flora consists of Albizia amara, Acacia, Lagerstroemia, Ficus, bamboo, and a species which is a regeneration of Santalum album.
  80. Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray also Known as “Father of Indian Chemistry”, Prafulla Chandra Ray (1861-1944) was a well-known Indian scientist and teacher and one of the first “modern” Indian chemical researchers. He discovered the stable compound mercurous nitrite in 1896.
  81. The Festival of Innovation & Entrepreneurship (FINE) {previously known as Festival of Innovation FOIN)} is a unique initiative of the Office of the President of India to recognise, respect and reward grassroots innovations and foster a supportive ecosystem.
  82. India International Exchange Limited (India INX) is India’s first international exchange located at the Gujarat International Finance-Tech City (GIFT City). It is Asia’s first Stock Exchange. It was established in 1875. India’s First Green Bond was issued by Yes Bank Ltd in 2015. India’s first listed Green Bond on ‘India INX’ issued by Indian Railway Finance Corporation.
  83. Recently, the World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO) has highlighted that China has become the biggest source of applications for international patents in the world.
  84. Wormivet is an indigenous herbal medication. It was recently brought out by National Innovation Foundation India (NIF) in form of commercial product for livestock owners as an alternate to chemical method of treatment of worm.
  85. Agasthyavanam Biological Park is a wildlife sanctuary in Kerala. The park is located near Thiruvananthapuram/Trivandrum,the capital city of Kerala. It is contiguous to Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary and Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary.
  86. Lopinavir and ritonavir have been used to treat patients with COVID-19 in some countries.
  87. Recently, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced SunRISE Mission. The Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE) will explore how Sun generates and releases the giant weather storms, known as the solar particle storms, into space.
  88. The Central Administrative Tribunal was established by an Act of Parliament namely Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 as sequel to the 42nd amendment of the Constitution of India inserting Article 323 A. The Chairman is normally a retired Chief Justice of a High Court.
  89. Svamitva Scheme provides for an integrated propertyvalidation solution for rural India; the demarcation ofinhabited land in rural areas would be done by the useof latest surveying methods – Drone’s technologywith the collaborated efforts of the Ministry ofPanchayati Raj, State Panchayati Raj Department,State Revenue Department and Survey of India.
  90. The Fifth Schedule under Article 244 of the Constitution contains provisions regarding administration of Scheduled Areas other than in Northeast India. Scheduled Area in a State is notified by order of the President, after consultation with the Governor of that State. The Governor is empowered to direct that any particular law of parliament and state assembly is either not applicable or can be applied with certain ‘modifications and exceptions’ to scheduled areas.
  91. Medical Diplomacy is an emerging field that addresses the dual goals of improving global health and bettering international relations. It mainly a component of soft power which involves winning hearts and minds of people in countries by exporting medical care, expertise and personnel to help those who need it most. It is concerned not only with the economic effect of poor health on development or of pandemic outbreaks on the global market place but also the gain from the growing global market in health goods and services. It also reinforces health as a social value and human right, supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
  92. Virosomes are enveloped virus like particles. They are lipid-based carriers (envelopes) containing the functional fusion viral proteins and natural membrane proteins of the natural virus. Virosomes based vaccines are designed to maintain the immunogenicity of a live-attenuated virus but with the safety of a killed virus. The virosomes are devoid of the nucleocapsid and without the genetic material of the source virus, they are unable to replicate, cause an infection or a disease.
  93. The Global Risk Report identified the water scarcity as one and at the top of the biggest societal and economic risk to the world which could put 6% of GDP by 2050 in jeopardy.
  94. Ozone holes developing over the Antarctic every year are common during Southern Hemisphere spring, the conditions needed for such strong ozone depletion are not normally found in the Northern Hemisphere. The Arctic stratosphere is usually less isolated than its Antarctic counterpart because the presence of nearby land masses and mountain ranges disturbs the weather patterns more than in the Southern Hemisphere. Arctic ozone hole is thus unusual in that we only have events like this about once per decade. On the contrary, the Antarctic ozone hole is being recorded annually over the last 35 years.
  95. District Mineral Foundation is a trust set up as a non-profit body by state governments, in those districts affected by the mining works, to work for the interest and benefit of persons and areas affected by mining related operations. It was mandated through the Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Amendment Act, (MMDRA) 2015 and is funded through the contributions from miners. DMF funds are non-lapsable funds and can be used for both immediate and long term investments. They are treated as extra-budgetary resources for the State Plan.
  96. An Indian Air Force (IAF) C-130J transport aircraft recently delivered 6.2 tonne of essential medicines and hospital consumables to Maldives under Operation Sanjeevani.
  97. Article 171 of the Constitution says the governor can nominate eminent persons from the field for literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service.
  98. India and Nepal have traditionally disagreed over the interpretation of the Sugauli Treaty signed in 1816 between the British East India Company and Nepal, which delimited the boundary along the MahaKali River in Nepal.
  99. India has an estimated 812 million poor people, which could increase to 915 million, due to the impact of COVID pandemic, as per the United Nations University released the report titled, ‘Estimates of the impact of COVID-19 on global poverty’.
  100. SARS-CoV on the other hand, was identified after the 2003 outbreaks in China. It is thought to have come from an as yet unknown animal source, probably bats. Symptoms of SARS include cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea. In severe cases, the symptoms can progress to respiratory distress, which may require intensive care. MERS is another viral respiratory disease caused by a human coronavirus, which was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Typical symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. while SARS-CoV-2 is considered to be milder than SARS-CoV and MERS, it is especially difficult to control its outbreak, given its high infectiousness.
  101. In 1897, the year the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 was enforced, freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak was punished with 18 months’ rigorous imprisonment after his newspapers Kesari and Mahratta admonished imperial authorities for their handling of the plague epidemic.
  102. National Board for Wildlife is a “Statutory Organization” constituted under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Its role is “advisory” in nature and advises the Central Government on framing policies and measures for conservation of wildlife in the country. No alternation of boundaries in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries can be done without approval of the NBWL. The NBWL is chaired by the Prime Minister.
  103. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines contact tracing as the process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a disease to prevent onward transmission.
  104. Multi-Donor Trust Fund established by the United Nations for COVID19 Response and Recovery to support low- and middle-income countries. The Fund will complement the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)’s Consolidated Global Humanitarian Appeal for COVID-19. The Fund has three aims:‘Enable governments and communities to tackle the emergency,’, ‘Reduce social impact and promote economic response,’, ‘Recover better,’
  105. India is the world’s third-largest consumer of oil, fourth-largest oil refiner and net exporter of refined products. 70 per cent of India’s imported energy needs come from West Asia The top 5 crude oil exporters to India (by import bill) are Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria and UAE in decreasing magnitude of exports.
  106. For treating severe and critical cases of COVID-19, Chinese government has recommended an injection of Tan Re Qing, which contains bear bile. Bile is secreted by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. Bile from bears tends to be high in ursodeoxycholic acid, also known as ursodiol, which is helpful in dissolving gallstones and treating liver disease.
  107. Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides that State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability.
  108. Article 164 of the Constitution allows a non-legislator to occupy a post in the council of ministers, including the office of the chief minister for six months.
  109. Global stocktake’ refers to a proposed review of the impact of countries’ climate change actions.
  110. The peace clause protects a developing country’s food procurement programmes against action from WTO members in case subsidy ceilings are breached. It also provides that Green Box domestic support measures cannot be the subject of countervailing duty action or other subsidy action under the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. Under the present ‘Peace Clause’, developing countries can provide WTO-prohibited subsidies to farmers without inviting any dispute under the Agreement on Agriculture.
  111. Demo-2 Mission is a NASA’s mission to send astronauts to International Space Station (ISS) on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft.
  112. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7. It is a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas. The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.
  113. Under Article 246, the Indian Constitution allocates responsibilities of the States and the Centre into three lists– Union List, State List, and Concurrent List.
  114. Dobson Unit is the most common unit formeasuring ozone concentration. OneDobson Unit is the number of molecules ofozone that would be required to create alayer of pure ozone 0.01 millimeters thickat a temperature of 0 degrees Celsius anda pressure of 1 atmosphere.
  115. Corona bonds could be a possible resolution to alleviate Eurozone financial struggles amid the coronavirus crisis. However, the idea has received mixed responses amongst the EU.
  116. Mekong River runs through six countries. Starting from China — where it is called the Lancang River — it flows past countries like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, before emptying into the South China Sea via Vietnam.
  117. Artemis– Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of Moon’s Interaction with the Sun. It is NASA’s next mission to the Moon. The mission’s objective is to measure what happens when the Sun’s radiation hits our rocky moon, where there is no magnetic field to protect it.
  118. Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) refers to selling of foodgrains by Government / Government agencies at predetermined prices in the open market from time to time to enhance the supply of grains especially during the lean season and thereby to moderate the general open market prices especially in the deficit regions.
  119. Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) is a Financing method used by IMF which provides rapid concessional financial assistance with limited conditionality to low-income countries (LICs) facing an urgent balance of payments need. It was created under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT). It places emphasis on the country’s poverty reduction and growth objectives.
  120. Tianwen-1 is China’s first Mars exploration mission to be launched later this year.
  121. Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) is a Financing method used by IMF which provides support to meet a broad range of urgent needs, including those arising from commodity price shocks, natural disasters, conflict and post-conflict situations, and emergencies resulting from fragility.
  122. Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) allows the IMF to provide grants for debt relief for the poorest and most vulnerable countries hit by catastrophic natural disasters or public health disasters.
  123. The State’s Governor is the constitutional head of the BTAD that falls under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and is administered by the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).
  124. Green bonds are debt instruments issued by financial, non-financial or public entities where the proceeds are ‘ear-marked’ for use towards financing ‘green’ projects.
  125. Petcoke is a by-product (carbonaceous solid) of the oil refinery process mainly “the bottom of the barrel.” It is characterised as a high grade fuel with high calorific value of more than 8,000 Kcal per kg, having low ash content and low volatile matter but high sulphur content, up to 7%.
  126. Calcined pet coke (CPC) is obtained by processing of raw pet coke by calcining in a rotary kiln that removes residual volatile hydrocarbons. Calcined petcoke has the following industrial uses: smelting of Aluminium and is the only commercially viable method to do so. production of titanium dioxide. As partial replacement for coal as a feedstock in blast furnaces for making steel from iron ore. brick and glass manufacturing ▪ production of ammonia and urea ammonium nitrate.
  127. The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on (GRACE-FO) mission is a partnership between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ). The GRACE missions measure variations in gravity over Earth’s surface, producing a new map of the gravity field every 30 days.
  128. Chitra GeneLAMP-N is a diagnostic test kit that can confirm COVID-19 in 2 hours at low cost. It has been developed by Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum under the Department of Science and Technology (DST). It detects the N Gene of SARS- COV2 using reverse transcriptase loop-mediated amplification of viral nucleic acid (RT-LAMP) technology, and can detect two regions of the gene, which will ensure that the test does not fail even if one region of the viral gene undergoes mutation during its current spread.
  129. Article 142 “provide(s) a unique power to the Supreme Court, to do “complete justice” between the parties, i.e., where at times law or statute may not provide a remedy, the Court can extend itself to put a quietus to a dispute in a manner which would befit the facts of the case.
  130. Eukaryotic organisms are those whose cells contain a nucleusand organelles, and are enclosed by a plasma membrane. It includes protozoa, fungi, plants and animals. Prokaryotic cells are cells that do not have a true nucleus ormembrane-bound organelles. E.g. Bacteria.
  131. Snow leopards are classified as Vulnerable by IUCN and is under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. They are listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).
  132. A polar vortex is described as a whirling cone of low pressure over the poles that is strongest in the winter months due to the increased temperature contrast between the polar regions and the mid-latitudes, such as the US and Europe. The polar vortex spins in the stratosphere. Usually, when the vortex is strongest, cold air is less-likely to plunge deep into North America or Europe.
  133. Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi is implemented as a central sector scheme by the Government of India. This scheme was introduced to augment the source of income of many small and marginal farmers. Under the Scheme an amount of Rs.6000/- per year is transferred directly into the bank accounts of the farmers, subject to certain exclusion criteria relating to higher income status. The entire responsibility of identification of beneficiaries rests with the State / UT Governments. The Scheme initially provided income support to all Small and Marginal Farmers’ families across the country, holding cultivable land upto 2 hectares. Its ambit was later expanded w.e.f. 01.06.2019 to cover all farmer families in the country irrespective of the size of their land holdings.
  134. Monetary policy instruments are of two types namely qualitative instruments and quantitative instruments. The list of quantitative instruments includes Open Market Operations, Bank Rate, Repo Rate, Reverse Repo Rate, Cash Reserve Ratio, Statutory Liquidity Ratio, Marginal standing facility and Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF). Qualitative Instruments refer to direct action, change in the margin money and moral suasion.
  135. India has appointed diplomat T S Tirumurti, currently serving as Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, as its Permanent Representative to the United Nations. The Permanent Mission is the diplomatic mission that every member state deputes to the United Nations. It is headed by a Permanent Representative, who is also referred to as the “UN ambassador”.
  136. Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) is a public platform started by the WHO in 2008 for countries to share genome sequences. Genomic sequencing is a technique that allows us to read and interpret genetic information found within DNA or RNA.
  137. ASEAN Facts- 3rd largest market in the world – larger than EU and North American markets. It is 6th largest economy in the world, 3rd in Asia. Free-trade agreements (FTAs) with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. It is 4th most popular investment destination globally.
  138. Helicopter money is an unconventional monetary policy tool aimed at bringing a flagging economy back on track. It involves printing large sums of money and distributing it to the public. American economist Milton Friedman coined this term.