Prelims inFocus-December 2019

  1. The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka is amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka which created Provincial Councils in Sri Lanka. This amendment also made Sinhala and Tamil as the official languages of the country and English as the “link language”.
  2. Tibetan Gazelles are also known as Goa Antelope. They are native to the Tibetan plateau, and are widespread throughout the region, inhabiting terrain between 3,000 and 5,750 m in elevation. They are almost restricted to the Chinese provinces of Gansu, Xinjiang, Tibet, Qinghai, and Sichuan, with tiny populations in the Ladakh and Sikkim regions of India. IUCN Status: Near Threatened
  3. The mongoose is listed in Schedule II Part 2 of the Wildlife Protection Act and any smuggling or possession of its body part is a non-bailable offence. There hair is used to make painting brushes. “Operation Clean Art was the first pan India operation to crack down on the smuggling of mongoose hair in the country. There are six species of mongoose found in India and we have mostly recovered [in the raids] grey mongoose [hair]. Mongooses are one of four known mammalian taxa with mutations in the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor that protect against snake venom. Their modified receptors prevent the snake venom α-neurotoxin from binding.
  4. The narwhal (Monodon monoceros), or narwhale, is a medium-sized toothed whale that possesses a large “tusk” from a protruding canine tooth. It lives year-round in the Arctic waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. Narwhal (Monodon monoceros) is of medium size among the giant mammals. It’s the only whale that has a tusk; and the narwhal’s tusk is the only one in the animal kingdom that protrudes straight like a lance. The tusk has a spiral — the thread runs counter-clockwise along its length, and can be swivelled by the whale up to 12 degrees.
  5. Global Climate Risk Index, published by environmental think-tank German watch, rated Japan as the most-affected country in 2018, while Germany was in third position. Both of the industrialised nations were hit hard by heatwaves and drought. India ranked fifth for water shortages, crop failures and flooding.
  6. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is a committee of the Central Bank in India (Reserve Bank of India), headed by its Governor, which is entrusted with the task of fixing the benchmark policy interest rate (repo rate) to contain inflation within the specified target level. In short Fixing repo rates as well as inflation targeting are main functions. Under the amended RBI Act, the MPC is required to meet at least four times in a year. The decision of the Monetary Policy Committee is binding on the RBI and the RBI shall publish a document explaining the steps to be taken by it to implement the decisions of the Monetary Policy Committee
  7. National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, is an Indian-government backed entity established to provide long-term capital to the country’s infrastructure sector. The Indian government has 49 per cent stake in NIIF with the rest held by marquee foreign and domestic investors such as Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Temasek and HDFC Group. With the Centre’s significant stake, NIIF is considered India’s quasi sovereign wealth fund. Across its three funds — Master Fund, Fund of Funds, and Strategic Fund — NIIF manages $3 billion of capital.
  8. The Master Fund is an infrastructure fund focuses mainly on core infrastructure and operating assets. NIIF Fund of Funds invests in funds managed by third-party managers in the infrastructure and associated sectors. The objective of National Investment and Infrastructure Fund II (“Strategic Fund”) is to invest largely in equity and equity-linked instruments. The Strategic Fund will focus on green field and brown field investments in the core infrastructure sectors.
  9. Normally, an FIR is registered by a serial number in the police station having territorial jurisdiction to investigate the Crime. A Zero FIR can be registered in the Police station where the information about a Cognizable Offence is received, irrespective of whether it has got territorial jurisdiction or not. Zero FIR can only be registered but not numbered. Such unnumbered FIR is then forwarded to the concerned police station where it gets numbered and then proceeded for investigation. Justice Verma Committee Report recommended the provision of Zero FIR, after the December 2012 gang rape of a 23- year old girl in Delhi.
  10. The Adaptation Fund (AF) was established in 2001 to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. The Adaptation Fund is financed with a share of proceeds from the clean development mechanism (CDM) project activities and other sources of funding. The share of proceeds amounts to 2 per cent of certified emission reductions (CERs) issued for a CDM project activity. The Adaptation Fund is supervised and managed by the Adaptation Fund Board (AFB).  The AFB is composed of 16 members and 16 alternates and meets at least twice a year (Membership of the AFB). The World Bank serves as the interim trustee of the Adaptation Fund by invitation of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. On behalf of the Fund, the World Bank performs two core functions: it sells the Certified Emission Reduction certificates that help support the fund and manages the Adaptation Fund trust fund.
  11. A five-member panel comprising the Prime Minister, the Lok Sabha Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition, the Chief Justice of India and an eminent jurist nominated by the President, selects the Lokpal. The Lokpal will have the power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by the ombudsman. As per the Act, the Lokpal can summon or question any public servant if there exists a prima facie case against the person, even before an investigation agency (such as vigilance or CBI) has begun the probe. Any officer of the CBI investigating a case referred to it by the Lokpal, shall not be transferred without the approval of the Lokpal. An investigation must be completed within six months. However, the Lokpal or Lokayukta may allow extensions of six months at a time provided the reasons for the need of such extensions are given in writing. Special courts will be instituted to conduct trials on cases referred by Lokpal. The Lokpal can award fine up to Rs. 2 lakh for “false, frivolous or vexatious” complaints.
  12. Telangana is all set to organise a Bird Walk Fes­tival on December 14 and 15. The Bird Walk tour includes a visit to the scenic habitat of the Long­billed vultures in Penchikalpet range, the scavenger bird be­ing the flagship species. The habitat is located in a beauti­ful setting at a bend in the Peddavagu stream close to where it joins the Pranahita river on the Inter­ state bor­der with Maharashtra near Motlaguda village. The Indian vulture is an Old World vulture native to India, Pakistan and Nepal. It has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 2002, as the population severely declined.  The cause of this has been identified as poisoning caused by the veterinary drug diclofenac.
  13. In 2017 MHRD announced that Paika rebellion (Paika Bidroha) of 1817 will be named as First War of Independence against British Rule in history books from next academic session. Paikas were essentially the peasant militias of the Gajapati rulers of Odisha who rendered military service to the king during times of war while taking up cultivation during times of peace. They unfurled the banner of rebellion against the British under the leadership of BaxiJagandhu Bidyadhara as early as 1817 to throw off the British yoke. Rulers of Khurda were traditionally the custodians of Jagannath Temple and ruled as the deputy of lord Jagannath on earth. They symbolised the political and cultural freedom of the people of Odisha.
  14. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an irreversible lung congestion caused by long term exposure to organic dust. The disease is preventable, but not curable.As per the WHO Global Report on Tobacco Attributable Mortality, 2012, within non-communicable diseases group, 28% of deaths caused by COPD are due to tobacco use. Exposure to indoor air pollution caused by cooking and heating could aggravate the incidence especially among women.
  15. International technology company IBM plans to make a high-resolution weather forecast model that will also rely on user-generated data to improve the accuracy of forecasts available in India. IBM GRAF, as the forecast system is called, can generate forecasts at a resolution of 3 kilometres. This is a significantly higher resolution than the 12-kilometre models used by the India Meteorological Department to generate forecasts. These weather forecast techniques rely on dynamic modelling and collect a trove of atmospheric and ocean data, crunch it in supercomputers and generate forecasts over desired time-frames — three days, weekly or fortnightly. From the trial tests forecasts are 30% more accurate than those generated by 12-km resolution models
  16. Typhoid fever is caused by highly contagious Salmonella Typhi bacteria. The bacteria spread through contaminated food and water. A new typhoid vaccine (Typbar TCV) developed by the Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech has shown 81.6% efficacy in preventing typhoid fever at 12 months in a phase 3 clinical trial. The Typbar TCV typhoid vaccine is a conjugate vaccine. Conjugate vaccine is one in which the antigen (which is a polysaccharide in this case) is chemically linked to a carrier protein.
  17. The only viable population of the pygmy hog in the wild is in the Manas Tiger Reserve in Assam. The smallest member of the pig family, the pygmy hog (porcula salvania), is a critically endangered species. It is designated as a Schedule I species in India.
  18. Green Nobel Prize is an annual award established in 1989 by U.S. philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman. It is also known as Goldman Environmental Prize and awards Cash prize of $200,000. It is awarded by Goldman Environmental Foundation, headquartered in San Francisco, California. It honors grassroots environmentalists, who risk their lives to protect environment and empower those people who are most vulnerable to lose from industrial projects. It honors grassroots environmental heroes from world’s six inhabited continental regions of Europe, Asia, North America, Africa, Islands & Island Nations and South & Central America. Final winners are selected from nominations made by environmental organisations and others.
  19. In medicine, a stent is any device which is inserted into a blood vessel or other internal duct to expand it to prevent or alleviate a blockage. Traditionally, such devices are fabricated from metal mesh and remain in the body permanently or until removed through further surgical intervention. A bioresorbable stent (also called bioresorbable scaffoldbiodegradable stent or naturally-dissolving stent) serves the same purpose, but is manufactured from a material that may dissolve or be absorbed in the body.
  20. Constitution (126th amendment bill), 2019 was introduced seeking to extend by 10 years(January 25, 2030) reservation to the Scheduled Castes and Sche­duled Tribes in the Lok Sab­ha and the Assemblies and remove the provision of nominating two members of the Anglo­Indian communi­ty.
  21. The Autonomous Region of Bougainville, a chain of islands that lie 959 kilometres northwest of Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) capital, Port Moresby, has voted unequivocally for independence. Across the world, various territories are agitating for independence — Cataloniain Spain, Kurdistan in Iraq, Tibet in China. New countries are suddenly in high demand.
  22. Papikonda National Park is located in the Papi Hills in East Godavari and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh. The park lies on the left and right banks of the river Godavari and cuts through the Papikonda hill range of Eastern Ghats. The River Godavari enriches the Papikonda Park with its natural beauty.
  23. Lotus is printed on new passports, as a part of the enhanced security features to identify fake passports.
  24. Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana  (PMMVY) is a Maternity Benefit Programme that is implemented in all the districts of the country in accordance with the provision of the National Food Security Act, 2013.
  25. StrandHogg is a Malware. It allows real-time malware applications to pose as genuine applications and access user data of all kinds. It can listen to the conversations, access photo album, read/send messages, make calls, record conversations, get login credentials to various accounts, access private images, files, contact details, call logs and location information without being apparent to the affected users.
  26. OSIRIS-REx Mission will be NASA’s first mission to collect samples from an asteroid and return to Earth.  OSIRIS-REx will travel to a near-Earth asteroid called Bennu and bring a small sample back to Earth for study. The mission launched Sept. 8, 2016, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As planned, the spacecraft will reach Bennu in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023. It will touch down on one of two selected sites, give out a puff of nitrogen and gather the dirt sample that is raked up. The target area, known as the Nightingale site, is just 16 metres across and sits inside a large crater, 140­metre wide, in Bennu’s northern hemisphere.
  27. California became the first state in the US to make discrimination over natural hair illegal. New York followed suit and now New Jersey has become the latest US state to pass such a legislation, called Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act.
  28. Feni River is a river in southeastern Bangladesh. It is a trans-boundary river with an ongoing dispute about water rights. The Feni River originates in South Tripura district and flows through Sabroom town and then enters Bangladesh. The dispute over the sharing of the Feni River between India and Bangladesh has been long-standing. The dispute was first taken up between India and Pakistan (before the independence of Bangladesh) in 1958 during a Secretary-level meeting in New Delhi. In August 2019,India and Bangladesh held a water secretary-level meeting where it was agreed to collect data and prepare water-sharing agreements for seven rivers Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla, Dudhkumar and Feni.
  29. Recently, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has notified setting up of Tripura’s first ever Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are geographically delineated ‘enclaves’ in which regulations and practices related to business and trade differ from the rest of the country and therefore all the units therein enjoy special privileges.
  30. To calculate how unsafe the foods tested were, the organisation relied on the concept of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) — a daily ceiling on the amount of salt, fat, carbohydrates and transfats. The RDA is based on scientific consensus and has been agreed upon by expert bodies such as the World Health Organisation, and the National Institute of Nutrition in India. It says that, ideally, no more than 5 gm of salt, 60 gm of fat, 300 gm carbohydrate and 2.2 gm of transfat should be consumed by an adult every day. Further, the RDA from each breakfast, lunch and dinner should be no more than 25%, and that from snacks no more than 10%.
  31. SouthAfricahas three capitals: Cape Town (legislative capital or seat of the Parliament), Pretoria (administrative capital or seat of the government) and Bloemfontein (judicial capital).
  32. December 22 is celebrated as National Mathematics Day in the honour of late mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.
  33. Recently Bar-headed goose, a rare goose species was sighted in the wetlands of Karingali Puncha in Kerala. IUCN conservation status: Least Concern. Bar-headed goose (Anser Indicus) is found in central China and Mongolia and they breed there. They start migration to the Indian sub-continent during the winter and stay here till the end of the season. They return to their homes by crossing the Himalayan ranges. Their migration has been a fascination for birders as they cross the Himalayas on one of the most high-altitude migrations in the world.
  34. The Union Cabinet has decided to name the Rohtang Tunnel under Rohtang Pass after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as Atal Tunnel. It is a highway tunnel being built under the Rohtang pass in the eastern Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas on the Leh-Manali highway. 
  35. As part of its World Economic and Financial Surveys, the IMF publishes flagship reports on multilateral surveillance twice a year: World Economic Outlook (WEO), Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR), and Fiscal Monitor (FM).The WEO provides detailed analysis of the state of the world economy, addressing issues of pressing interest such as the protracted global financial turmoil and ongoing economic recovery from the global financial crisis. The GFSR provides an up-to-date assessment of global financial markets and prospects and highlights imbalances and vulnerabilities that could pose risks to financial market stability. The FM updates medium-term fiscal projections and assesses developments in public finances. The IMF also publishes Regional Economic Outlook (REO)reports as part of its World Economic and Financial Surveys.
  36. Saptamatrikas are a group of seven female deities worshipped in Hinduism as personifying the energy of their respective consorts. The inscription is in Sanskrit and in Brahmi characters and was issued by Satavahana king Vijaya in 207 A.D.
  37. The millimeter-wave band or extremely high-frequency frequency spectrum is mainly designed for usage in airport security scanners, closed-circuit television, scientific research, machine-to-machine communication, and military fire control. As your wavelength becomes smaller, the cell size becomes less, which is the footprint of the relay station. This will be used more by the industry. And where you already have fiber connection and you want to reach houses, this will be through millimeter bands. This new spectrum under the 5G band called the ‘millimeter-wave bands’ is separate from the 8,300 megahertz (MHz), which the government plans to auction between March and April. The DoT is likely to approach TRAI in January for seeking its views on the sale of these additional bands, DoT officials said.
  38. The Flamingo Festival is organised annually in Pulicat Lake Bird sanctuary and Nellapattu Bird Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh. Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary is located in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh  and Protected area in Thiruvallur District of Tamil Nadu state in South India. Pulicat Lake is the second largest brackish-water eco-system in India after Chilka lake in Orissa. The sanctuary is most noted for the many greater flamingos. It also attracts many migratory birds and also is a feeding and nesting ground for aquatic and terrestrial birds such as pelicans, storks, etc.
  39. Andhra Pradesh Government will be hosting the Belum Caves festival in January 2020 to popularise the Belum caves. The name  Kandanavolu Sambaralu has been proposed for the festival, Kandanavolu being the original name of Kurnool. Belum Caves are the largest cave system open to the public in the Indian subcontinent and is a protected monument. The longest natural cave in the Indian subcontinent is Krem Liat Prah caves in Meghalaya. The Belum Caves are more than a thousand-year-old, and was formed by the constant flow of underground water over a period of time. These caves are renowned for their speleothem structures (Speleothems are secondary mineral deposits formed in a cave), such as stalactite and stalagmite formations. The caves were occupied by Jain and Buddhist monks many centuries ago. The presence of 4500 years old vessels from the pre-Buddhism era ensures the same.
  40. The traditional 40-day period of harshest winter in Kashmir known in the local parlance as ‘Chillai-Kalan. Chillai-Kalan is followed by  a 20-day-long period called ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) that occurs between January 31 and February 19 and a 10-day-long period ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold) which is from February 20 to March 2.
  41. Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) is the cost paid by a merchant to a bank for accepting payment from their customers via digital means. The merchant discount rate is expressed in percentage of the transaction amount. Presently, it is applicable for online transactions and QR-based transactions. The amount that the merchant pays for every transaction gets distributed among three stakeholders–the bank that enables the transaction, vendor that installs the point of sale (PoS) machine and the card network provider such as Visa, MasterCard, RuPay.
  42. Nirmal for is a prominent town in Adilabad district of Telangana. The town has glorious past due to patronization of arts and culture by ruling nobility. The region was ruled by Kakatiyas, Chalukyas, the Qutubshahis and Nizams who have contributed immensely to the growth of cultural heritage. Nirmal Fort, also called as the Shamgarh fort, was built by the French. Nirmal is about 280 km north of Hyderabad. It is renowned for wooden toy industry and Nirmal Plates that depict miniature paintings and floral design.
  43. The Udasi mutt in Nirmal town was built around 1822 in the Deccan by Dewan Chandulal, who was the Prime Minister for Nizam, Asaf Jah III, a follower of the Udasi sect of ascetics which was based on the teachings of Guru Nanak’s elder son Sri Chand. Followers of Sri Chand established mutts at all the places visited by Guru Nanak. The mutt in Nirmal Town was built during Guru Nanak’s second Udasi between 1511 CE and 1513 CE.
  44. NITI Aayoghas released the second edition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index (SDG Index 2.0).
  45. Tropical CycloneSaraihit Fiji on December 28, 2019, causing widespread damage. Fiji is a country and archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean. It surrounds the Koro Sea about 1,300 miles north of Auckland, New Zealand. Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga (also called Friendly Islands), is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It lies east of Fiji.
  46. For the first time, Bandhavgarh Reserve forestlocated in Madhya Pradesh (MP), has a colony of elephants who migrated from Chhattisgarh in November 2018 and has stayed on. Bandhavgarh is a large reserve forestthat has plenty of food and water which is the possible reason for this migration and stay. Species Found: Asiatic Jackal, Bengal Fox, Sloth Bear, Striped Hyena, Leopard and Tiger, Wild Pigs, Nilgai, Chinkara and Gaur (a herbivore and the only coarse feeder).
  47. Eat Right Melais organised by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
  48. National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (NIMAS) is an advanced sports training institutelocated in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. The institute offers training across land, air and water, a first of its kind that allows civilians to experience challenges across a variety of outdoor surfaces as well as pursue a career in adventure sports. It provides structured training to defence personnel as well. It operates underthe control and superintendence of the Ministry of Defense.
  49. Kalaripayattu is a martial artbased on the ancient knowledge of the human It originated inKerala during 3nd century BC to the 2nd century AD. It is now practised in Kerala and in some parts of Tamil Nadu. It is considered to be one of the oldest fighting systems in existence. It is also considered as the father of modern Kung – Fu.
  50. Khond are people of the hills and jungles of Odisha state. They speak Kui and its southern dialect, Kuwi, of the Dravidian language family. Most Khond are now rice cultivators, but there are still groups, such as the Kuttia Khond, who practice slash-and-burn agriculture. Niyamgiri hills in Odisha are inhabited by the Dongria Khond, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group.
  51. In the Deccan, the Satavahanas established their independent rule after the decline of the Mauryas. Their rule lasted for about 450 years. They were also known as the Andhras. The Puranas and the Nasik and Nanaghad inscriptions remain important sources for the history of Satavahanas. The founder of the Satavahana dynasty was Simuka. The greatest ruler of the Satavahana dynasty was Gautamiputra Satakarni. There was remarkable progress in the fields of trade and industry during the Satavahana rule. The greatest port of the Satavahanas was Kalyani on the western Deccan and Gandakasela, Ganjam on the east coast were the other important seaports. The Satavahanas patronized Buddhism and Brahmanism. Brahmanism was revived by the Satavahanas along with the performance of asvamedha and rajasuya sacrifices. They also patronized the Prakrit language and literature.
  52. The ‘ring of fire’is acharacteristic of the annular solar eclipse. It causes the sun to look like a ring (annulus) and hence the name annular eclipse.
  53. Eclipse magnitude is the fraction of the Sun’s diameter which is covered by the Moon. It is strictly a ratio of diameters and should not be confused with eclipse obscuration, which is a measure of the Sun’s surface area covered by the Moon. Eclipse magnitude may be expressed as either a percentage or a decimal fraction (e.g., 50% or 0.50). By convention, its value is given at the instant of greatest eclipse.
  54. Amur falcons, the world’s longest travelling raptorsstart travelling with the onset of winters. They get their name from the Amur Riverthat forms the border between Russia and China. Doyang Lake in Nagaland is better known as a stopover for the Amur falcons during their annual migration from their breeding grounds to warmer South Africa. Thus, Nagaland is also known as the “Falcon Capital of the World,”. The birds are the least concern under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, but the species is protected under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and the Convention on Migratory Species, to which India is a signatory (which means it is mandatory to protect the birds).
  55. The Gujral Doctrine is a set offive principlesto guide the conduct of foreign relations with India’s immediate neighbours. These five principles arise from the belief that India’s stature and strength cannot be isolated from the quality of its relations with its neighbours. It, thus, recognises the supreme importance of friendly, cordial relations with neighbours.
  56. Konda Reddy Tribe is one of the most backward tribal groupsin the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. They inhabit on both the banks of the Godavari River (East and West Godavari districts), in the hilly-forest region of Khammam (Telangana) and Srikakulam (Andhra Pradesh). They live in theinterior forest areas largely cut-off from the mainstream. Traditionally, they were shifting cultivators and recently, some of them have adopted settled agriculture and horticulture. Konda Reddis have also been recognized as Primitive Tribal Group (now Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups).
  57. All Cabinet Committees except Cabinet Committee on Accommodation and Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs are headed by Prime Minister.
  58. Water hyacinth is a free-floating aquatic plant native toSouth America.It is considered as an invasive alien species. Single plant of water Hyacinth is capable of duplicating itself every nine It is also referred to as the terror of Bengal given its effect on the local ecology and lives of the people. It has an effect on irrigation, hydroelectric generation and navigation. It also leads to a drastic reduction in fish production, aquatic crops and an increase in diseases caused by mosquitoes.
  59. Spandana,an Andhra PradeshGovernment initiative to make police stations more approachable for the public, especially women, is winning accolades and awards.
  60. CST-100 Starlineris a space capsule of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)which failed its first test flight. Its objective was to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
  61. EChO Network is a collaborative effortof the Government of India, industry and academia. EChO Network is a national programto provide a template for cross-disciplinary leadership related to ecology and environment. EChO Network would develop a national network to catalyse a new generation of Indians who can synthesize interdisciplinary concepts and tackle real-world problems in medicine, agriculture, ecology, and technology.
  62. Recombinant Therapeutic Proteins are produced from recombinant DNA using biomolecular engineering, which involves inserting the gene encoding of a protein into expression systems such as bacteria, yeast or mammalian cells cultures. Recombinant therapeutic proteins have gained importance for clinical applications and they have replaced the original animal-derived version used in medicine. Therapeutic proteins are quite diverse in the application treatments such as human insulin for diabetes, erythropoietin for anemia and chronic renal failure, vaccines for Hepatitis B etc.
  63. Recently, the Uttarakhand State Wildlife Boardhas cleared a proposal by theWildlife Institute of India (WII) to introduce rhinoceroses in the Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR).
  64. Macau celebrated the 20thAnniversarysince the former Portuguese colony was returned to China. “One country, two systems” is a constitutional principle describing the governance of Hong Kong and Macau since they became regions of China in 1997 and 1999, respectively. Macau consists of the Macau peninsula and the two islands of Taipa and Coloane.
  65. Recently the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has developed a ‘Processing-grade White Onion (PWO-2)variety for commercial cultivation by farmers from the 2020-21 rabi cropping season.
  66. Telangana State government has requested the Centre to treat Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP) as a National Project. National Projectsare provided Central grant of 90% of the estimated costfor their completion in a time bound manner. It was initiated in 2016 on the Godavari River.
  67. Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary wasconstituted in 1987 under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1973for the purpose of Protecting, Propagating or developing Wildlife and its environment. Cauvery supports a diversified aquatic fauna, predominant species being Crocodiles (listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act)Otters and Hump-backed Mahseer Fish.
  68. Recently, the US Congress has consentedto designate India’s Navigation in Indian Constellation (NavIC)as its “allied” navigational satellite system along with the Galileo of the European Union and QZSS of Japan. At the same time, it has designated Russia’ GLONASS and Chinese Beidou as a “non-allied system”.
  69. Across the world, 37 sites are designated as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS),of which three are Indian — Kashmir (saffron), Koraput (traditional agriculture) and Kuttanad (below sea-level farming).
  70. The Jangubai Cave Temple and the Kaplai Cavesare considered as apilgrimage site by aboriginal tribes like Gond, Pradhan and Kolam. These caves are located at Maharashtra -Telangana border. The Kolam tribe (or in their own language, Kolavar) is a scheduled tribe of Maharashtra. They also live in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh. The Gonds tribe is spread over Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar, and West Bengal. The Pardhan is a subgroup of the tribal Gond people who live in central India. The large majority of the Pardhan live in the Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
  71. The Mullaperiyar dam is located on the confluenceof the Mullayar and Periyar riversin Kerala’s Idukki district. It is operated and maintained by the Tamil Nadu for meeting the drinking water and irrigation requirements of five of its southern districts. The Periyar River is the longest river in the state of Kerala with a length of 244 km. It is also known as ‘Lifeline of Kerala’ as it is one of the few perennial rivers in the state. Periyar River originates from Sivagiri hills of Western Ghats and flows through the Periyar National Park. The main tributaries of Periyar are Muthirapuzha, Mullayar, Cheruthoni, Perinjankutti.
  72. Kuchipudi is one of the 8 classical dance forms of India. The dance form has emerged from a popular theatrical art ‘Kuchipudi Yakshagana’named after the place of its origin, the village Kuchipudi in Andhra Pradesh. It is performed as dance dramae. performance in groups and also as solo items. Costumes, ornaments and jewellery occupy an important place.
  73. Stagflation means a situation characterized by simultaneous increase in prices and stagnation of economic growth. It is described as a situation in the economy where the growth rate slows down, the level of unemployment remains steadily high and yet the inflation or price level remains high at the same time.
  74. Shore Temple is one among a number of Hindu monuments at Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), on the Coromandel Coast of Tamil Nadu. It is considered the finest early example of medieval southern Indian temple architecture. It was built probably in the reign of Narasimhavarman II, also known as Rajasimha (Pallava ruler) who reigned from 700 to 728 CE. Unlike most of its neighbours at the site, it is built of cut stones rather than carved out of caves. It has two shrines, one dedicated to Shiva and the other to Vishnu. It has been built in Dravidian style. Its style is characterized by a pyramidal kutina-type tower that consists of stepped stories topped by a cupola and finial, a form quite different from the northern Indian sikhara. The Mamallapuram monuments and temples, including the Shore Temple complex, were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.
  75. Icicles typically form on days when the air temperature is subfreezing but sunshine warms and melts some snow or ice. As it drips off, a water droplet freezes when it loses its heat to the cold air. It starts with a few frozen droplets and after reaching a certain size drops begin to drip along the side of the structure turning into a pointy stick-like structure. Icicles formed in caves are also known as ice stalactites. Stalactite      is an icicle-shaped formation that hangs from the ceiling of a cave and is produced by the precipitation of minerals from water dripping through the cave ceiling. Most stalactites have pointed tips. Stalagmite is an upward-growing mound of mineral deposits that have precipitated from water dripping onto the floor of a cave. Most stalagmites have rounded or flattened tips. The dominant mineral in such deposits is calcite (calcium carbonate), and the largest displays are formed in caves of limestone and dolomite. Other minerals that may be deposited include other carbonates, opal, chalcedony, limonite, and some sulfides.
  76. Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is the third generation launch vehicleof India. It is afour-staged launch vehicle with first and third stage using solid rocket motors and second and fourth stages using liquid rocket engines. It is the first Indian launch vehicle to be equipped with liquid stages. The PSLV has helped take payloads into almost all the orbits in space including Geo-Stationary Transfer Orbit (GTO), the Moon, Mars and would soon be launching a mission to the Sun. It has a history of successful launches of payloads that include Chandrayaan-1Mars Orbiter Mission(MOM) and the space recovery mission, etc.
  77. Recently, Odishahas won the ‘World Habitat Award’for its ambitious initiative- Jaga Mission. It aims at transforming the slums into liveable habitat with all necessary civic infrastructure and services at par with the better off areas within the same urban local body and to continuously improve the standard of the infrastructure and services and access to livelihood opportunities. This award is given by World Habitat, in partnership with United Nations Habitatevery year, in recognition of innovative, outstanding, and revolutionary ideas, projects, and programmes from across the world in the field of housing.
  78. The 4thedition of International Seminar cum Exhibition on Naval Weapon Systems ‘NAVARMS-19’is scheduled to be held in New Delhi on 12-13 Dec 2019. This year’s theme is “Make in India – Fight Category: Opportunities and Imperatives”.
  79. White Island is New Zealand’s most active cone volcanowhich has been built up by continuous volcanic activity over the past 1,50,000 years. About 70% of the volcano lies under the sea and the Island forms the tip of the volcano. The volcano is located in the Bay of Plenty,about 48km (29 miles) from the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Including its underwater base, White Island is the largest volcanic structure in New Zealand. The island became a private scenic reserve in 1953. The island is also known by name 
  80. Indiawas ranked 129out of 189 countries on the 2019 Human Development Index (HDI) improving from the 130th position in  HDI is part of the Human Development Report that is published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  81. Tyre pyrolysisrefers to a technique of breaking down used tyres in the absence of oxygen. Shredded tyres, at temperatures between 250°C and 500°C, produce liquid oil and gases. It was considered a safer technique than burning tyres but pyrolysis leaves fine carbon matter, pyro-gas, oil as residue. Also, the inadequate management of these by-products poses health risks. Tyre pyrolysis technology is polluting and harmful to the healthof workers employed. The National Green Tribunal in 2014 prohibited used tyres from being burnt in the open or being used as fuel in brick kilns, because of the toxic emissions.
  82. Natyashastra,in full Bharata Natyashastra, is a detailed treatise and handbook on dramatic artthat deals with all aspects of classical Sanskrit theatre. It is believed to have been written by the mythic Brahman sage and priest Bharata (200 BC – 200 AD). Its many chapters contain detailed treatments of all the diverse arts that are embodied in the classical Indian concept of the drama, including dance, music, poetics, and general aesthetics. It is also known as the fifth veda as it has been evolved by taking words from the Rigveda, music from the Samaveda, gestures from the Yajurveda and emotions from the Atharvaveda.
  83. Macrophages(a type of white blood cell), when infected with pathogens(such as bacteria or virus), as a first-line of defence, reduce the pH range in the body, i.e. making pH acidic.
  84. Dance historian Dr. Sunil Kothari has recently been bestowed with the Madhabdev Award by the Government of Assam for popularising Sattriya dance. Sattriya originated in Sattra, monastery,as a part of neo-Vaishnavite movementstarted by Srimanta Sankardev in Assam, in the 15th He propagated the “ek sharan naama dharma” (chanting the name of one God devotedly). Sattriya was given the status of a classical dance in the year 2000 by the Sangeet Natak Akademi. Other classical dances of India are : Bharatnatyam (Tamil Nadu), Kathakali (Kerala), Kuchipudi (Andhra Pradesh), Kathak (North India), Mohiniyattam (Kerala), Manipuri (Manipur) and Odissi (Odisha). Sattriya dances differ from other dance forms in its basic stance. For male it is known as Purush Pak while for female, Prakriti Pak. The dance is based on mythological themes.
  85. Drake Passage is the body of water between South America’s Cape Horn and
    the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica.
    It connects the southwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean (Scotia Sea) with the southeastern part of the Pacific Ocean and extends into the Southern Ocean. It is the shortest crossing from Antarctica to any other landmass. There is no
    significant land anywhere around the world at the latitudes of Drake Passage,
    which is important to the unimpeded flow of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current which carries a huge volume of water through the Passage and around Antarctica.
  86. Stars like our sun fuse hydrogen in their cores into heliumthrough nuclear fusion reactions. White dwarfs are stars that have burned up all of the hydrogenthey once used as nuclear fuel. Such stars have very high density.  Fusion in a star’s core produces heat and outward pressure (they bloat up as enormous red giants), but this pressure is kept in balance by the inward push of gravity generated by a star’s mass. When the hydrogen, used as fuel, vanishes and fusion slows, gravity causes the star to collapse in on itself into white dwarfs. Eventually—over tens or even hundreds of billions of years—a white dwarf cools until it becomes a black dwarf, which emits no energy. Because the universe’s oldest stars are only 10 billion to 20 billion years old there are no known black dwarfs. It must be noted that not all white dwarfs cool and transform into black dwarfs. Those white dwarfs which have enough mass reach a level called the Chandrasekhar Limit. At this point the pressure at its center becomes so great that the star will detonate in a thermonuclear supernova. Chandrasekhar Limit is the maximum mass theoretically possible for a stable white dwarf star. A limit which mandates that no white dwarf (a collapsed, degenerate star) can be more massive than about 1.4 times the mass of the Sun. Any degenerate object more massive must inevitably collapse into a neutron star or black hole.
  87. The Dnyanganga Sanctuary is situated in theBuldhana district of Maharashtra. It is a part of the Melghat Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. It is located near the Dnyanganga Riverwhich is a tributary of the Tapti River.
  88. Tipeshwar Tiger Reserve is located inYawatmaldistrict of  The rivers such as Purna, Krishna, Bhima, and Tapti flow through the sanctuary. Due to the presence of a sufficient quantity of water, it is also popularly known as Green Oasis of Maharashtra.
  89. ‘Ekal School Abhiyan’aims to promote education among rural and tribal children.
  90. Exercise INDRA 2019, a joint, tri services exercise between India and Russiawill be conducted in India from 10th-19thDecember 2019 simultaneously at Babina (near Jhansi), Pune, and Goa.
  91. Mauritania is located on the Atlantic coast of Africaand is bounded to the northwest by Western Sahara, to the northeast by Algeria, to the east and southeast by Mali and to the southwest by Senegal. It is the eleventh largest country of the continentand consists of desert largely. The capital is Nouakchott and it got independence from France on 28 November 1960. It is a member of the United Nations and the African Union.
  92. Article 22of the Indian Constitution confers the following rights on a person who is arrested or detained under an ordinary law: Right to be informed of the grounds of arrest, Right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner, Right to be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, excluding the journey time, Right to be released after 24 hours unless the magistrate authorises further detention. It needs to be noted that the above safeguards are not available to an enemy alienor a person arrested or detained under a preventive detention law.
  93. Recently China and Russiahave inaugurated cross border gas pipeline named “Power of Siberia”. It is the firstcross-border gas pipeline between Russia and China. The pipeline will pass through the deltas of the Yangtze and Amur rivers of
  94. The World Health Organization (WHO)defines anaemia as a condition in which the number of red blood cells or their oxygen-carrying capacity is insufficient to meet physiological needs. Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anaemia, although other conditions, such as folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin A deficiencies, chronic inflammation, parasitic infections, and inherited disorders can all cause anaemia. In its severe form, it is associated with fatigue, weakness, dizziness and drowsiness. Pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable.
  95. A progressive farmer in Kerala is using Tanbo Art (a 3D art form)to depict the celebrated Guruvayur temple elephant that died in 1976. The farmer used several indigenous varieties of rice like Krishna Kamod, Gandhakasala and Jeerakasalato give shape to the image. Tanbo Art is a rice paddy art developed by the farmers of Inakadate village in Japan about three decades ago to beautify their paddy fields. They drew huge replicas of famous paintings, including Mona Lisa, by growing rice crops with fronds of different colours.
  96. The 8thIndia-China joint training exercise‘HAND-IN-HAND 2019’ with the theme of ‘Counter Terrorism’ under United Nations mandate is scheduled to be conduct at Umroi, Meghalaya from 7th to 20th December 2019.
  97. Recently,Sub Lieutenant Shivangi Swaroopbecame the first pilot in the Indian navy after qualifying as a Dornier pilot.
  98. Recently, Saudi Arabia became the first Arab nationto take over the G20 Presidency onDecember 1, 2019. The G20 is an informal group of 19 countries and the European Union, with representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
  99. Pathalgarhi Rebellion is a protestin which tribal people embed stone slabs (pathals) on the outskirts of a village or area, demarcating the limits of where their writ runs, prohibiting the entry of any institution connected to the state. It is mainly concentrated in the four districts in the State— namely Khunti, Gumla, Simdega and West Singhbhum. In Munda tribal custom, placement of a huge stone marks the death of a person. The Pathalgadi movement draws on this tradition of honouring the community’s ancestors.
  100. Subramaniya Bharathiyar became the first poet whose works were nationalised by the state government.
  101. Third battle of Panipat was fought between Maratha forces and invading armies of Afghan general Ahmed Shah Abdali of Durrani Empire in 1761.
  102. Article 81 of the Constitution defines the composition of the House of the People or Lok Sabha.
  103. Article 142 “provide(s) a unique power to the Supreme Court, to do “complete justice” between the parties, 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.
  104. Also known as the Convention on Cybercrime, it is the first international treaty seeking to address Internet and computer crime by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques, and increasing cooperation among nations. India did not participate in the negotiation of the Convention.
  105. Parliamentary committees draw their authority from Article 105 (on privileges of Parliament members) and Article 118 (on Parliament’s authority to make rules for regulating its procedure and conduct of business).
  106. As a signatory to Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA), India has the responsibility to formulate and implement public policy on population ageing.
  107. Rotavirus is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the Reoviridae family. Rotavirus is a leading cause of severe diarrhoea and death among children less than five years of age. It is responsible for around 10% of total child mortality every year.
  108. Yanomami shaman Davi Kopenawa, the “Dalai Lama of the Rainforest,” has received this year’s Right Livelihood Award, also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”.
  109. UNESCO has recognised the “Nuad” Thai massage as part of its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The form of massage is one among over 20 elements that have been chosen for inclusion in the list this year. The other elements include Irish harping, Portugal’s Carnival of Podence, traditional Turkish archery and Slovakia’s wire craft and art.
  110. The IUCN Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) is a global network of specialists (both scientists and nonscientists) concerned with the study, monitoring, management, and conservation of Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus). AsESG is an integral part of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Gajah is the bi-annual journal of the IUCN/SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG).
  111. Deposit insurance is providing insurance protection to the depositor’s money by receiving a premium. The government has set up Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) under RBI to protect depositors if a bank fails. Every insured bank pays premium amounting to 0.001% of its deposits to DICGC every year.
  112. DRDO has successfully test-fired indigenously developed Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air missiles (QRSAM) from a test range off the Odisha coast. It has been developed to replace the ‘Akash’ missile defence system, and has 360-degree coverage. It uses solid fuel propellant and has a strike range of 25-30 km with capability of hitting multiple targets. It is capable of hitting the low flying objects.
  113. The World Health Organization (WHO) prequalified its first biosimilar medicine – trastuzumab – in a move that could make this expensive, life-saving treatment more affordable and available to women globally. Trastuzumab – a monoclonal antibody – was included in the WHO Essential Medicines List in 2015 as an essential treatment for about 20% of breast cancers.
  114. Dolphins have been included in Schedule I of the Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972, in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), in Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and categorized as ‘Endangered’ on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.
  115. A National Maritime Heritage Museum will be established at Lothal in Gujarat.
  116. ‘Iron Union 12’ is a joint military exercise between the ground forces of the UAE and the United States.
  117. Article 368 deals with power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and procedure therefor.
  118. In pursuance of the recommendations of Rangarajan Commission, National Statistical Commission was set up as an interim measure by a Notification dated 1st June 2005.
  119. Eastern boundary upwelling systems (EBUS) are one of the ocean’s most productive biomes. These ecosystems are defined by ocean currents that bring nutrient rich but oxygen-poor water to the eastern edges of the world’s ocean basins. EBUS are key regions for the climate system due to the complex of oceanic and atmospheric processes that connect the open ocean, troposphere and land, and the fact that they host Oxygen Minimum Zones (OMZs), responsible for the world’s largest fraction of water column denitrification and for the largest estimated emission of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. As naturally oxygen poor systems, EBUS are especially vulnerable to further changes in global ocean deoxygenation and so what happens to the oxygen content of EBUS will ultimately ripple out and affect many hundreds of millions of people.
  120. Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALS)- One DALY is one lost year of “healthy” life. The sum of these DALYs across the population, or the burden of disease, is a measurement of the gap between current health status and an ideal health situation where the entire population lives to an advanced age, free of disease and disability. DALYs are calculated as the sum of the Years of Life Lost (YLL) due to premature mortality in the population and the Years Lived with Disability (YLD) for people living with the health condition or its consequences.
  121. Stem cells- are special human cells that have the ability to develop into many different cell types, from muscle cells to brain cells. Somatic cells are any body cells that are not involved in reproduction. Most cells in body are somatic cells. They include skin cells, bone cells, red blood cells, and many more. Germ cells are cells that create reproductive cells called gametes. They are found only in the reproductive
  122. Government Instant Messaging System (GIMS) is a prototype of an Indian equivalent of popular messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp and Telegram for secure internal use. It will be used by employees of Central and state government departments and organisations for secure intra and inter organisation communications. It employs end-to-end encryption for one-to-one messaging. The serverhosting GIMS is installed within the country and the information stored would be in the government-based cloud — NIC-operated data centres that are only meant for use by the government and its departments. GIMS Portal will administer and monitor the working of an app. Besides, one-to-one messaging and group messaging, it also provides for documents and media sharing in keeping with the hierarchies in the government system. GIMS is designed and developed by the Kerala unit of National Informatics Centre (NIC).
  123. GoldCoated Fungiis a naturally occurring strain of the Fusarium oxysporum (fungi), discovered recently in Australia.
  124. Recently, the National Florence Nightingale Award 2019 was awarded to 36 awardees. Lini Puthuserry was awarded posthumously who passed away while on duty caring for a NIPAH infected patient in Kerala.
  125. The WHO has also announced 2020 as the year of the nurse and mid-wife.