Prelims inFocus-August 2019

  1. Thumri- Thumri is a common style of light classical music. The text is romantic and devotional in nature, and usually revolves around a girl’s love for Krishna. The language is a dialect of Hindi called Brij bhasha. Thethumri is very lyrical in its structure and presentation. These forms are termed as ‘semi’ or ‘light’ classical. Thumri is a love song and hence the textual beauty is very important. This is closely coordinated with the musical rendition. And keeping in mind its mood a thumri is usually set to ragas like Khamaj, Kaphi, Bhairavi and so on and the musical grammar is not strictly adered to. There are two styles of thumri singing: the Poorab or Banaras which is fairly slow and staid and the Punjab style which is more mercurial.
  2. Scientists have found the oldest parasite DNA ever recorded. The discovery was made in the “coprolite” of a prehistoric puma in Argentina. Coprolites are fossilised faeces belonging to animals that lived millions of years ago. Scientists can analyse and study their shape and size and depending on the location they were found in, they can figure out the animal from which they came as well as uncover what those animals ate For example if there are bone fragments in the faeces, it tells scientists that the animal might have been a carnivore. Tooth marks can reveal how the animal ate.
  3. A two plus two dialogue’ is a term — adopted in foreign parleys — used for installation of a dialogue mechanism between two countries’ defence and external affairs ministries.
  4. Harmony is a new operating system developed by Huawei
  5. The equalisation levy, introduced in 2016, is a direct tax on payments made by residents to non-resident companies for online advertisement, provision of digital and advertising space or any other facility or service for online advertisement.
  6. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60% of the rainforest, followed by Peru with 13%, Colombia with 10%, and with minor amounts in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. 
  7. BRAHMOS is the first supersonic cruise missile known to be in service. BRAHMOS is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine as its first stage which brings it to supersonic speed and then gets separated. The liquid ramjet or the second stage then takes the missile closer to 3 Mach speed in cruise phase. Stealth technology and guidance system with advanced embedded software provides the missile with special features. The missile has flight range of up to 290-km with supersonic speed all through the flight, leading to shorter flight time, consequently ensuring lower dispersion of targets, quicker engagement time and non-interception by any known weapon system in the world. It operates on ‘Fire and Forget Principle’, adopting varieties of flights on its way to the target. Its destructive power is enhanced due to large kinetic energy on impact. The missile has identical configuration for land, sea and subsea platforms and uses a Transport Launch Canister (TLC) for transportation, storage and laun.
  8. Established in 1945 under the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly occupies a central position as the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. Comprising all 193 Members of the United Nations, it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter. It also plays a significant role in the process of standard-setting and the codification of international law.
  9. Mohiniyattam is one of the eight classical dances of India that developed and remained popular in the state of Kerala. Mohiniyattam literally interpreted as the dance ofMohini’, the celestial enchantress of the Hindu mythology. According to a Puranic story, Lord Vishnu took on the guise of a ‘Mohini’ to seduce the Asuras, both in connection with churning of the ocean and episode of the slaying of Bhasmasura. References of Mohiniyattam can be found in the texts Vyavaharamala written in 1709 by Mazhamagalam Narayanan Namputiri and in Ghoshayatra, written later by great poet Kunjan Nambiar.  Mohiniyattam is characterized by graceful, swaying body movements with no abrupt jerks or sudden leaps. It belongs to the lasya style which is feminine, tender and graceful. 
  10. Indian journalist Ravish Kumar has been awarded the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award for “harnessing journalism to give voice to the voiceless”. The other winners of the award, dubbed ‘Asia’s premier prize and highest honour’, include Myanmar’s Ko Swe Win, also a journalist; Thailand’s Angkhana Neelapajit, human rights activist; Philippines’ Raymundo Pujante Cayabyab, musician; and South Korea’s Kim Jong-Ki, an activist working with violence and mental health issues in youth. Ramon del Fierro Magsaysay was the third president of the Republic of the Philippines after World War II. His life had great impact not only in his country but on many people in many lands. He was one of the outstanding leaders of his time. Ramon Magsaysay Awardis an annual award established to perpetuate former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay’s example of integrity in governance, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society The Ramon Magsaysay Award, is Asia’s premier prize and highest honor, celebrates greatness of spirit and transformative leadership in Asia. In 1958 Vinobha bhave was the first Indian to be conferred the award for community leadership.
  11. Termination of a sitting of the House without any definite date being fixed for the next sitting is known as Adjournment sine die.
  12. Owen Dixon, an Australian jurist chosen by the United Nations to mediate between India and Pakistan on the J&K issue, in his report of September 1950, suggested a package, which did not find acceptance from India. It assigned Ladakh to India, the Northern Areas and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) to Pakistan, split Jammu between the two, and envisaged a plebiscite in the Kashmir Valley. Pakistan demurred at first, but agreed. It fell through because Nehru did not accept the conditions in which the plebiscite could be held; precisely the issue on which the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) and Graham failed. They, because of their ineptness; Dixon because he lost patience.
  13. The remains of a super-sized parrot that stood more than half the height of an average human and roamed the Earth 19 million years ago have been discovered in New Zealand. The parrot has been named Heracles inexpectatus to reflect its Herculean size and strength — and the unexpected nature of the discovery. Judging by the size of the leg bones, the bird would have stood about one metre tall and weighed up to seven kg. Evidence of the parrot was unearthed in fossils near St. Bathans in southern New Zealand, an area that has proved a rich source of fossils from the Miocene period which extends from about five million to 23 million years ago. New Zealand, home to the now-extinct flightless bird moa which was up to 3.6 metres tall with neck outstretched, is well known for its giant birds.
  14. The marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) refers to the minimum interest rate of a bank below which it cannot lend, except in some cases allowed by the RBI. It is an internal benchmark or reference rate for the bank. MCLR actually describes the method by which the minimum interest rate for loans is determined by a bank – on the basis of marginal cost or the additional or incremental cost of arranging one more rupee to the prospective borrower. The MCLR methodology for fixing interest rates for advances was introduced by the Reserve Bank of India with effect from April 1, 2016. This methodology replaced the base rate system
  15. Uber for tractors’: Government to launch app to aid farmers.
  16. A newly-discovered lake in Nepal is likely to set a new record of being the world’s highest lake replacing Tilicho, which is situated at an altitude of 4,919 metres in the Himalayan nation and currently holding the title. The Kajin Sara lake in Manang district was discovered about a few months ago by a team of mountaineers, the Himalayan Times reported. It is located at Singarkharka area of Chame rural municipality.
  17. According to the World Health Organisation, the rate of mortality due to cancer in India is high, with cancer the second-most common disease in India, responsible for maximum mortality, with about 0.3 million deaths per year. Government figures note that the estimated number of people living with the disease stands at around 2.25 million, with over 11 lakh new cancer patients registered each year. “In India, the risk of developing cancer before the age of 75 years for males stands at 9.81% and females at 9.42%. Total deaths due to cancer in 2018 was 7,84,821 (Men: 4,13,519; Women: 3,71,302). The risk of dying from cancer before the age of 75 years stood at 7.34% in males and 6.28% in females. Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer in India, followed by breast cancer and oral cancers.
  18. Krishna Wildlife Sanctuaryis a wildlife sanctuary and estuary located in Andhra Pradesh, India. It is one of the rarest eco-regions of the world because it harbors vast tracts of pristine mangrove forests. It is believed by conservationists to be one of the last remaining tracts of thick primary mangrove forests of South India.
  19. Land subsidence is the lowering of the land-surface elevation due to changes that take place underground. It is the sinking of the sub surface soil caused by sub surface erosion, often triggered by unscientific land use and drainage.
  20. Lateral spread occurs when soil on a gentle slope start moving downhill. It is caused by a process called as liquefaction. When soil looses strength due to saturation it behaves like fluid triggering a flow. Lateral spread is progressive and spreads rapidly, often culminating in a complex landslip
  21. Eggshells are made of largely of minerals (95.1%) along with small amounts of proteins and water. Calcium is the main mineral component. Tonnes of eggshells are dumped as waste across the world but bioceramics made from them exhibit greater biocompatibility than other synthetic powders due to the presence of additional bioactive elemental ions. Eggshells are inexpensive and can be obtained in unlimited quantities.
  22. New treatment is a three-drug combination. The three-drug regimen consists of bedaquiline, pretomanid and linezolid — collectively known as the BPaL regimen. The treatment regimen was studied at three sites in South Africa involving 109 patients and achieved a 90% success rate after six months of treatment and six months of post-treatment follow-ups. With the treatment involving five pills of the three drugs daily taken over just six months, it is easier to administer. This compares to between 30 and 40 drugs that multiple-drug resistant TB patients take each day for up to two years. “Usually and in many places in the world the treatment for (multiple) … drug resistant TB would take anything between 18 to 24 months. The new treatment which cures highly drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis will drastically shorten the treatment period.
  23. Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territorylocated at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. Strait of Gibraltar is a narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Gibraltar and Peninsular Spain in Europe from Morocco and Ceuta (Spain) in Africa. The Rock of Gibraltar was one of the two Pillars of Hercules and was known to the Romans as Mons Calpe, the other pillar being Mons Abyla or Jebel Musa on the African side of the Strait. In ancient times, the two points marked the limit to the known world. Gibraltar is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea.
  24. Differential Voting Rights (DVRs), which do not follow the common rule of one share-one vote, enable promoters to retain control over the company even after many new investors come in, by allowing shares with superior voting rights or lower or fractional voting rights to public investors. But the issuance of DVRs with superior voting rights was prohibited by the SEBI. This was to prevent the possible misuse of power by the promoters detrimental to the interests of small shareholders. To make capital available to Indian start-ups and to encourage listing on the country’s exchanges, SEBI recently permitted Initial Public Offering (IPO) of unlisted companies with shares of superior rights. Prior to the amendment, the Companies (Share Capital and Debentures) Rules of 2014 allowed the issue of shares with differential voting rights, subject to riders—the business should have distributable profits for the previous three years, and the capital raised through shares with differential voting rights must not exceed 26% of the post issue capital.
  25. Four pilgrim-destinations namely Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath, collectively known as Char Dham.
  26. A repo rate-linked home loan is one way to speed up this process of transmission so that the end user can benefit from the RBI action. The interest on the repo rate linked loans is not the repo rate itself, but is simply based on it. For example, the SBI repo-linked lending rate (RLLR) will have a base spread of 2.25 percentage points over the repo rate. The repo rate at the time of launching the product was 5.75%, which meant the effective RLLR would have been 8%. On top of this, the bank will add a risk-based spread of 40-55 basis points, depending on the risk assigned to the borrower. Taking this into account, the effective interest rate on the loans would have been 8.4-8.55% at a time when home loans based on the MCLR were anywhere between 8.55% to 9.10%.
  27. Juno is a NASA space probe orbiting the planet Jupiter. It was built by Lockheed Martin and is operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Juno’s mission is to measure Jupiter’s composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere. It will also search for clues about how the planet formed, including whether it has a rocky core, the amount of water present within the deep atmosphere, mass distribution, and its deep winds. Juno is the second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter, after the nuclear powered Galileo orbiter, which orbited from 1995 to 2003.
  28. Ansupa is Odisha’s largest freshwater lake. Ansupa is famous for its sweet water fish, especially labeo bata locally known as pohala.
  29. Panglossian way of life is one of extreme optimism, in which you are convinced whatever happens is for the best, and hence make no effort to change it. Voltaire created the exaggerated character of Pangloss to mock the extreme optimism advocated by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, a German philosopher a few years his senior. (Leibniz also designed a calculating machine that was the predecessor of the modern calculator.) Leibniz’s theory was that a benevolent God created this world, the best possible one that He could have created. Voltaire on the other hand, believed that if this were indeed the case, earthquakes, famines and other non-benevolent things wouldn’t occur with the regularity that they did. He, thus, placed more importance on human effort and intent, something Candide finally tells Pangloss — that the world may be what it is, but “we must cultivate our garden”.
  30. A polygraph test is based on the assumption that physiological responses that are triggered when a person is lying are different from what they would be otherwise. Instruments like cardio-cuffs or sensitive electrodes are attached to the person, and variables such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, change in sweat gland activity, blood flow, etc., are measured as questions are put to them. A numerical value is assigned to each response to conclude whether the person is telling the truth, is deceiving, or is uncertain.
  31. Narcoanalysis, by contrast, involves the injection of a drug, sodium pentothal, which induces a hypnotic or sedated state in which the subject’s imagination is neutralised, and they are expected to divulge true information. The drug, referred to as “truth serum” in this context, was used in larger doses as anaesthesia during surgery, and is said to have been used during World War II for intelligence operations.
  32. Extended Producer Liability makes the producers responsible for the environmental impacts throughout the life-cycle of products. EPR is based on the polluter-pays principle (PPP’), but emphasises life-cycle impact of the products. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (‘OECD’) defines EPR as ‘an environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle including its final disposa EPR is not part of corporate social responsibility (‘CSR’), instead it is part of sustainable business practice. In India, the concept of PRO is recognized in two sectors namely, plastic waste management2and e-waste management. The E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016, and Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, imposes primary burden on the producer for collection of waste plastic electronic products. They need to establish a system for collecting back the waste generated due to their products. PRO is defined as a professional organization authorized or financed collectively or individually by producers, which can take the responsibility for collection and channelization of e-waste generated from the ‘end-of-life’ of their products to ensure environmentally sound management of such e-waste
  33. Scientists have described a new species of stegosaurus and dated it to 168 million years ago, which makes it the oldest known member of that group of dinosaurs ever known as Adratiklit boulahfa. It is also the first stegosaurus to be found in North Africa. Its remains were discovered in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
  34. Under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change every signatory country is supposed to declare and implement a climate action plan, called Nationally Determined Commitments (NDCs). All other signatories to the Paris Agreement have declared similar action plans. NDCs have to be updated every five years. The first set of NDCs were declared in 2015 ahead of the climate change conference in Paris. Countries will have to update these next year. The Paris Agreement asks all signatories to ensure that successive NDCs represent a progression from their current targets. Countries have also been asked to evolve a common time-frame for their action plans. Successive NDCs, therefore, would all be five-year or ten-year action plans.
  35. The clouded leopard(Neofelis nebulosa) is a wild cat occurring from the himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China. Clouded leopards are intermediate in size between large and small cats. Clouded leopards occupy tropical forests at elevations of up to 3000 meters. They are highly arboreal, using trees for resting and hunting. However, they also hunt on the ground. Clouded leopards inhabit primarily evergreen tropical forest but they are also reported from other habitats, such as secondary forest, logged forest, mangrove swamp, grassland, scrub land, dry tropical forest. The species range extends from the Himalayan foothills in Nepal through mainland south-east Asia to China. It inhabits mixed evergreen forests in its area of occurrence. The island populations of Sumatra and Borneo have been identified as a separate species Neofelis diardi . In India the species Neofelis nebulosa occurs in the states of Sikkim, West-Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura. The species prefers closed dense forests which are declining at a rapid rate. Habitat destruction and associated loss of cover and prey base has resulted in a rapid decline in population of clouded leopards in the wild. Besides this the species is extensively hunted for the illicit wildlife trade in skins, bones for medicines and meat for exotic dishes. Due to the various threats to the survival of the species in the wild the species has been ranked as Vulnerableof IUCN Red list of Threatened species and Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act; Govt. of India it is also included in CITES Appendix I due to the extensive illicit trade. It is the state animal of the Indian state of Meghalaya
  36. The Blue Whale is the largest animalever to have lived on earth. Despite being so massive, this giant of the ocean feeds on some of the smallest marine life – tiny shrimp like animals called krill. A single adult blue whale can consume 36,000 kg of krill a day. Blue whales have few predators but are known to fall victim to attacks by sharks and killer whales, and many are injured or die each year from impacts with large ships. Intensive hunting in the 1900s by whalers seeking whale oil drove them to the brink of extinction. Hundreds of thousands of whales were killed. The 1966 International Whaling Commission finally gave Blue Whales protection, although they have only recovered slightly since then. Blue whales are currently classified as endangered on the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List.
  37. Microchipping is mandatory for dogs that are members of the Kennel Club of India (KCI) and the initiative of the Tirunelveli College has gained Chippiparai a status on a par with elite exotic dog breeds in the country. Microchip with unique identification number will help establish the ownership. Chippiparai, the native breed of Southern Tamil Nadu, is an ace runner and hunter.
  38. Werewolf syndrome,” also known as hypertrichosis, is the excess production of hair, either in one specific area or all over the body. Recently, at least 17 children developed so-called “werewolf syndrome” in a major medicine mix-up in Spain, the health ministry.
  39. Nigeria has become the first country to approve open cultivation of genetically modified (GM) Bt cowpea.
  40. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association(CPA), previously known as the Empire Parliamentary Association, is an organisation which works to support good governance, democracy and human rights. India is a member of CPA and consists of State legislatures as well as Parliament of India.
  41. Two well-known products from Tamil Nadu — Dindigul lock and Kandangi saree — have been given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag by The Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai. The application for the lock was made by the Dindigul Lock, Hardware and Steel Furniture Workers Industrial Co-operative Society Limited. The Amarar Rajeev Gandhi Handloom Weavers Co-operative Production and Sales Society Limited filed the application for the Kandangi saree. The Dindigul locks are known throughout the world for their superior quality and durability, so much so that even the city is called Lock City. Government institutions such as prisons, godowns, hospitals, and even temples use these locks instead of other machine-made ones. The abundance of iron in this region is the reason for the growth of the industry. The Kandangi sarees are manufactured in the entire Karaikudi taluk in Sivaganga district. They are characterised by large contrast borders and some are known to have borders covering as far as two-thirds of the saree which is usually around 5.10 m-5.60 m in length. Worn in summer, these cotton sarees are usually bought by customers in bulk.
  42. The Great Barrier Reef’s long-term outlook has been dropped from “poor” to “very poor” in a new report that calls for urgent action on climate change and other threats to the natural wonder. Rising sea temperatures and marine heat waves are doing the most damage to the reef’s health. The Great Barrier Reef is a site of remarkable variety and beauty on the north-east coast of Australia. It contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc. It also holds great scientific interest as the habitat of species such as the dugong (‘sea cow’) and the large green turtle, which are threatened with extinction.
  43. India is the largest producer of sugar including traditional cane sugar sweeteners, khandsari and Gur equivalent followed by Brazil.
  44. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India was the largest importer of military equipment in the world, accounting for 13% of the total global arms import between 2012–16. It is more than both China and Pakistan.
  45. Mechi is an important tributary of Mahananda river. Its basin however remains mostly deficient in providing adequate water for irrigation. Recently, the Union Government has approved the Kosi-Mechi river-interlinking project. It is the country’s second major river interlinking project after Ken-Betwa of Madhya Pradesh.
  46. Badarayana is regarded as having written the basic text of the Vedanta system, the Vedāntasūtra k.a. Brahmasūtra. He is thus considered the founder of the Vedānta system of philosophy. Brahma Sutras-The text systematizes and summarizes the philosophical and spiritual ideas in the Upanishads. It is one of the foundational texts of the Vedānta school of Hindu philosophy.
  47. The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the extension of the term of the commission constituted under Article 340 of the constitution to examine the issue of Sub-categorization within other Backward Classes in the Central List.
  48. Nigeria becomes fourth African nation to join global coalition to protect pollinators. While Morroco became a member of this group in May this year, Ethiopia was the first African nation to be part of this global coalition in 2017. Burundi was the second African country to join this global group. About 16.5 per cent of vertebrate pollinators are threatened with global extinction, say the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assessments.
  49. Newly discovered Kajin Sara lake in Nepal is likely to set a new record of being the world’s highest lake. It is located in Nepal.
  50. The term creamy layer and non-creamy layer was first used in the recommendation of the Sattanathan Commission in 1971.
  51. Mandal Commission report which categorised many castes as constituting backward classes deserving quotas, was implemented in August 1990 by then VP Singh government which changed political scene in India like never before.
  52. Article 371 of the Constitution includes “special provisions” for 11 states, including six states of the Northeast. Articles 370 and 371 were part of the Constitution at the time of its commencement on January 26, 1950; Articles 371A through 371J were incorporated subsequently.
  53. Article 323-A, which came by way of 42nd constitutional amendment in 1976, enabled the Centre to enact The Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 for setting-up the Tribunals for adjudication over “disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons”. The Centre under the Act can establish the Tribunal for its own employees and also has the power to establish one for a state after receiving a request from the state government. Two or more states can also agree for a single tribunal.
  54. The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare has released the National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB) report in the public domain for inputs from various stakeholders. Citizen centricity, quality of care, better access, universal health coverage, and inclusiveness are some of the key principles of a robust healthcare system. All these aspirations can be realized principally by leveraging the power of the digital technologies. In the context of India, with its size and diversity, this mammoth task requires that a holistic, comprehensive and interoperable digital architecture is crafted and adopted by all the stakeholders, and therefore the need of a blueprint.
  55. The initiative, ‘IMPRINT India’, is a pan-IIT and IISc joint collaboration to develop a blueprint for research of immediate relevance to society requiring innovation, direct scientific research into identified areas, ensure higher funding support for research into these areas and measure outcomes of the research efforts with reference to the impact on the standard of living in rural/urban areas. IMPRINT scheme was launched in November, 2015 with a view to providing solutions to the most relevant engineering challenges by translating knowledge into viable technology (products or processes) in 10 selected technology domains, namely health care, energy, sustainable habitat, nano-technology hardware, water resources and river systems, advanced materials, Information and Communication Technology, manufacturing, security and defence, and environmental science and climate change.
  56. The tardigrade, also known as water bear, is among the toughest and most resilient creatures on Earth. The tardigrade can only be seen under a microscope. Half a millimetre long, it is essentially a water-dweller but also inhabits land and, a 2008 study found, can survive in the cold vacuum of outer space. The tardigrade can endure extreme hot and cold temperature levels. They themselves expel water from their bodies and set off a mechanism to protect their cells, and can still revive if placed in water later. The organism is known to “come back to life” on rehydration. The tardigrade derives its name from the fact that it looks like an eight-legged bear, with a mouth that can project out like a tongue. A tardigrade typically eats fluids, using its claws and mouth to tear open plant and animal cells, so that it can suck nutrients out of them. It is also known to feast on bacteria and, in some cases, to kill and eat other tardigrades.
  57. India has got its first National Essential Diagnostics List (NEDL) finalised by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). NEDL aims to bridge the current regulatory system’s gap that does not cover all the medical devices and in-vitro diagnostic device (IVD). With this, India has become the first country to compile such a list that would provide guidance to the government for deciding the kind of diagnostic tests that different healthcare facilities in villages and remote areas require.
  58. The Special Purpose Trust Fund (SPTF) is a specific fund housed within the UN Secretariat. It has been established to receive, consolidate, manage and account for all contributions and financial transactions of the new Resident Coordinator (RC) system, in a transparent and effective way. India has contributed $1 million to the UN Special Purpose Trust Fund for the Resident Coordinator System.
  59. Under the Special Data Dissemination Standards (SDDS) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), central banks undertake the responsibility of disseminating information under certain data categories, such as, analytical accounts of the banking sector, analytical accounts of the central bank, balance of payments, international reserves and exchange rates. The IMF requires that these data should be available at regular intervals in public domain. The IMF as well as central banks also provides a National Summary Data Page (NSDP) on their websites to provide quick access to a single comprehensive source of economic and financial data consistent with the data categories and components described in the subscriber’s metadata. Additionally, many of the NSDPs include further links to additional data or information on other national Internet data sites. The Reserve Bank of India is one of the earliest central bank signatories of SDDS. This section provides the data released by the Reserve Bank of India under SDDS requirements.
  60. The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has constituted an ‘Advisory Board for Banking Frauds (ABBF)’ to examine bank fraud of over ₹50 crore and recommend action. Headquartered in Delhi, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will provide required secretarial services, logistic and analytical support along with the necessary funding to the board.
  61. India successfully tested its anti-satellite (ASAT) capabilities, experts tracking the debris created by the event have reported that 40% of it has still not decayed. India had claimed after the test that the debris would decay within 45 days after the event. Mission Shakti is a joint programme of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). As part of the mission, an anti-satellite (A-SAT) weapon was launched and targeted an Indian satellite which had been decommissioned. Mission Shakti was carried out from DRDO’s testing range in Odisha’s Balasore. India is only the 4th country to acquire such a specialised and modern capability, and Entire effort is indigenous. Till now, only the US, Russia and China had the capability to hit a live target in space.
  62. The Magnetospheric Multiscale mission (MMS) recently made the first precise measurements of an interplanetary shock using high-resolution instruments. NASA’s MMS investigates how the Sun’s and Earth’s magnetic fields connect and disconnect, explosively transferring energy from one to the other in a process that is important at the Sun, other planets, and everywhere in the universe, known as magnetic reconnection.
  63. India is the largest emitter of anthropogenic sulphur dioxide in the world, as per the data released by environmental NGO Greenpeace on August 19, 2019. Anthropogenic sulphur dioxide is produced from burning of coal and it is known to largely contribute to air pollution. India has over 15 percent of all anthropogenic sulphur dioxide (SO2) hotspots in the world. Norilsk smelter complex in Russia is the largest SO2 emission hotspot in the world, followed by Kriel in Mpumalanga province in South Africa and Zagroz in Iran.
  64. India has become the first country in the world to issue Biometric Seafarer Identity Document (BSID), capturing the facial bio-metric data of seafarers.
  65. The English Channel is a part of the Atlantic Ocean. It separates the island of Britain (part of the UK) from northern France and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. It’s approximately 350 miles long, and at its narrowest in the Strait of Dover.
  66. Elbrus is the highest peak in European Continent. It is a dormant volcano in the Caucasus Mountains in Southern Russia, near the border with Georgia.
  67. Glyptothorax gopii is a new species of catfish. It was found in Mizoram’s Kaladan river. It is dark brown on its dorsal surface, and its ventral surface is of a yellowish-light brown.