100 Important Current Affairs Topics of February, 2017 for UPSC Civil Services Prelims Examination:
We have compiled 100 most important current affairs related topics of February, 2017 especially for the UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exams. These topics cover all subjects of Prelims General Studies paper -1, which are Polity, Economics, Environment, Science and Technology and General science. These topics are very important for Civils prelims exams.
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1. World Wetlands Day
- World Wetlands Day is celebrated on February 2 to mark the Day of adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in the Iranian City of Ramsar in 1971.
- They help stabilize water supplies, cleanse polluted waters, protect shorelines, recharge groundwater aquifers, contain extensive food chain and biological diversity, help mitigate natural disasters and have special attributes as cultural heritage as they are deeply connected with our beliefs and practices.
- They are also called ‘kidneys of landscape’ or ‘biological supermarkets’
2. Help to Farmers by Indian Meteorological Department (IMD)
- The Agro-meteorological Advisory Services (AAS) under the Gramin Krishi Mausam Seva (GKMS) is operated to prepare biweekly weather based bulletins.
- The information is transmitted through multimedia channels and also through SMS to help farmers plan farm operations accordingly.
- Farmers are using the GKMS service products for critical farm operations like
- Management of sowing (During delayed onset of rains);
- Changing crop variety (During delay in rainfall);
- Spraying Pesticides for disease control (During rainfall);
- Managing Irrigation (During Heavy rainfall Forecast).
3. Third gender category in school exams
- Bihar allowed students to appear for the Board exams under the third-gender category.
- It is the first time such a measure is taken, since the Supreme Court recognised transgender people as a third gender in 2014.
- It is the joint military exercise conducted between India and Maldives.
- It is being conducted every year alternatively in India and Maldives. The latest exercise was conducted in Maldives in Dec 2016.
- The Objectives are to enhance defence cooperation and interoperability between the army of both countries with emphasis on Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorist operations under UN mandate.
5. Barak 8 Missile
- The Barak 8 Missile (Surface to Air) system is jointly developed by India and Israel and it is the upgraded version of Barak Missile system.
- Barak 8 Missile consists of Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LR-SAM) and Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MR-SAM).
- LR-SAM is the Ship Launch Version and Project MR-SAM is the Land Launch Version of Barak 8 Missile system.
- The MR-SAM detects the enemy aircraft over 100 km and destroys them at range up to 70 km.
- LR-SAM is capable to penetrate in deep water/land to intercept all types of aerial targets like Subsonic & Supersonic Missiles, Fighter Aircraft, Maritime Patrolling Aircraft (MPA), Helicopter and Sea Skimming Missiles.
6. Shifting from FM to Digital Radio
- Norway will become the first country in the world to begin shutting down its entire FM (Frequency Modulation) radio network and replacing it with digital radio,
- Digital Audio Broadcasting works by coding sound into digital signals, breaking them up, and then decoding and assembling them at the destination using digital radio receivers.
- In DAB, there is minimal loss of audio quality, and sound is reproduced in near CD-like quality. On the other hand, AM/FM suffers with loss of quality from interference caused by signals bouncing off buildings, towers and natural structures like mountains.
- Since Norway has many mountains, valleys and fjords, shifting to digital radio will give a steady signal in any topography.
- Though DAB has the potential to provide better sound quality than FM, filling up the DAB bandwidth which may divide the bit-rate i.e. the rate of data transfer among the broadcasts will result in drop in quality.
7. Northwest Africa 7635
- It is a meteorite discovered in Algeria, Africa in 2012.
- It has given insight into volcanic activity on Mars.
- The largest Volcano in the solar system, Olympus Mons, is found on Mars.
- But by analysing the chemical composition NA7635, scientists learnt that Mars had a single volcano that continuously erupted for 2 billion years.
- Martian volcanoes can grow to such enormous proportions because unlike Earth, Mars doesn’t have plate tectonics that constantly shuffle the surface.
- So the magma for the volcano in Mars gets hot magma from its interiors for billions of years continuously.
8. Model Contract Farming law
- Contract Farming involves production of selected crops by farmers under a buy back agreement with an agency engaged in trading or processing.
- At present, the model APMC act has a provision to allow contract farming and includes one or more commodities and only limited to marketing.
- The proposed model contract farming law in this year budget could cover all the agricultural commodities and cover farming right from distribution of seeds to marketing of final produce.
- The new model law will subsume contract farming from the purview of APMC act to ensure that APMC will not become arbitrators on contract farming.
9. e-Gov Awards
- The award is instituted by the computer society of India (CSI) and Nihilent Technologies.
- It helps recognize the efforts of eGovernance practitioners from across central and state departments and projects in district administration units.
- This year, Rajasthan and Telangana won the award under the state category and the award of Recognition went to Odisha and Nagaland.
- Pangolins are nocturnal mammals, often called “scaly anteaters,” are covered in tough, overlapping scales.
- These burrowing mammals eat ants and termites using an extraordinarily long tongue, and are able to quickly roll themselves up into a tight ball when threatened.
- There are eight different pangolin species can be found across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
- They are the most trafficked mammal in the world.
- They are hunted for the bush meat and their scales made of keratin used in traditional medicines.
- Recently, UN’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, known as CITES, placed the eight species of pangolin on the convention’s “Appendix I”.
- Thus adding pangolins under “Appendix I” will prohibits any cross-border movement in the animals or their body parts for commercial purposes.
- CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals.
- It is also known as the Washington Convention.
- Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild.
- It accords varying degrees of protection to more than 35,000 species of animals and plants.
- Participation is voluntary, and countries that have agreed to be bound by the Convention are known as Parties.
- Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties, it does not take the place of national laws. Rather it provides a framework respected by each Party, which must adopt their own domestic legislation to implement CITES at the national level.
- Recently, Pangolin and Barbary macaques, the only wild primate north of the Sahara, were given “Appendix I” protection.
12. New rail line in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
- A 240 – KM broad-gauge railway line connecting Port Blair with Diglipur in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- It is the first in the country that will bring the archipelago on the rail map.
- The project will connect the Union Territory’s capital city in the south with the largest town on the north Andaman island.
- It is will be of strategic importance to the defense forces because Diglipur is just 300 km by sea from the southern coast of Myanmar
- Among the major tourist attractions in Diglipur are the Ross and Smith islands.
13. The Blue Carbon Initiative
- The Blue Carbon Initiative is a global program working to mitigate climate change through the restoration and sustainable use of coastal and marine ecosystems.
- The Initiative is coordinated by Conservation International (CI), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (IOC-UNESCO).
- Blue carbon is the carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems.
- The Blue Carbon Initiative currently focuses on carbon in coastal ecosystems – mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses, which are found on every continent except Antarctica.
14. Application of geo-spatial technology in Education sector
- Under Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed a portal called “Bhuvan RUSA”.
- In this portal, geo-tagging of institution by a mobile application and associated details captured by the educational institutions are uploaded.
- The key stakeholders in Bhuvan RUSA are Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development; National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO); State Governments and institutions of the States/UTs funded under RUSA.
- RUSA is the centrally sponsored scheme aims at providing strategic funding to higher educational institutions throughout the country.
15. Char Dham Highway Project
- The Char Dham highway development project is an initiative to improve connectivity to the Char Dham pilgrimage centres in the Himalayas i.e Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath.
- This objective is to provide roads with paved shoulders, provision for landslide mitigation and other road safety measures, which will provide all weather road connectivity for pilgrims and for movement of defence forces.
- But generally the Char Dham pilgrimage centre four pilgrimage sites in India i.e Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameswaran but the Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath in Uttarkhand state were known as Chota Char Dham.
16. Employee’s Provident Fund
- Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF) is a retirement benefit scheme that is available to all salaried employees.
- Any company with over 20 employees is required by law to register with the EPFO.
- Both employees and employers contribute 12 per cent each of a worker’s salary.
- This fund is maintained and overseen by the Employees Provident Fund Organization of India (EPFO) which is under ministry of labour and employment.
- The EPFO is tasked to assist the Central Board of Trustees (CBT), a statutory body formed by the Employees’ Provident Fund Act, 1952.
- The CBT consists of representatives of Governments (Centre and State), Employers and Employees.
- The labour ministry has proposed amending the Employees Provident Funds Act, 1952 with provisions like
- Establishments with at least 10 workers might have to pay provident fund, with the employer contributing nine per cent of a worker’s salary.
- Government will have the power to reduce contribution of employers in factories with 10-20 workers from 12% to 9% towards EPFO
- In factories with up to 40 workers, penalty and recovery norms will be relaxed
- An appellate officer for employers so they don’t have to come to Delhi to file appeal against order
- Recently, to bring in more employees from public and private sector into the ambit of Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO), an Employees’ Enrolment Campaign, 2017 has been launched.
17. Rocket Force
- The Rocket Force is a special contingent to handle range of missiles in China’s military’s arsenal.
- China’s newly-formed Rocket Force has conducted an exercise with advanced DF-16 medium-range ballistic missile.
- The ballistic missile has a range of over 1,000 km and could target a number of countries in the neighborhood, including India.
- The missile can carry up to three nuclear warheads at a combined weight of one ton, and strike within five feet of a programmed target.
18. National Maritime Conference 2017
- The National Maritime Foundation (NMF) is conducting its Annual Maritime Power Conference-2017 with the theme ‘The Blue Economy: Concept, Constituents and Development’.
- The National Maritime Foundation, in New Delhi, India is a non-governmental, non-political maritime think-tank under the societies act and established in 2005.
- The Foundation conducts independent academic research and provides policy-relevant recommendations to advance the nation’s maritime goals.
- Maritime India Summit was organized by the Ministry of Shipping for the first time in Mumbai last year to attract investment in the shipping sector from all around the world.
19. Schemes for minority women
- Ministry of Minority affairs implements three specific schemes for women.
- “Nai – Roshni” for leadership development of Minority women with an aim to empower and instill confidence in women by providing knowledge, tool and techniques through selected Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
- Begum Hazrat Mahal National Scholarship for Meritorious Girls belonging to Minorities implemented through Maulana Azad Education Foundation.
- Mahila Samridhi Yojana – Skill development training in women friendly trades is provided along with stipend and formation of self help group during the training period followed by infusion of micro credit for income generation.
20. Rashtriya Yuva Sashaktikaran Karyakram (RYSK)
- It is a flagship programme of the Department for empowerment of the youth, Ministry of youth affairs and sports to enable youth to realise their potential.
- It is the new umbrella scheme which consolidates Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan NYKS), National Youth Corps (NYC), National Programme for Youth & Adolescent Development (NPYAD) and National Discipline Scheme (NDS), National Young Leaders Programme (NYLP).
21. South Asia Drought Monitoring System (SADMS)
- It is a comprehensive drought monitoring system developed by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).
- The system will provide information about locations under drought in map format and also information about drought’s effect on agriculture.
- It combines satellite images of vegetation with weather data, soil moisture levels and crop yield information and helps predict the severity of impending dry spells and duration of it.
- The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is a non-profit, scientific research organization headquartered in Colombo, Sri Lanka, with regional offices across Asia and Africa.
22. New Rule for Government staff in Assam State
- The Assam State government has announced a new legislation to deduct the salary of government employees who failed to take care of their elderly parents.
- If the Employees working in the government, state PSUs and companies failed to take care of their parents, then a certain portion of the salary of such employees would be deducted to be given to their respective parents.
23. Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA)
- It is the new scheme launched by the Ministry of Electronics and IT to make rural households digitally literate.
- This scheme is initiated under Digital India Programme and expected to be one of the largest digital literacy programs in the world.
- It would empower the citizens by providing them access to information, knowledge and skills for operating computers / digital access devices.
24. Dalhousie to Dara Shikoh
- The New Delhi Municipal Council has renamed Dalhousie Road as Dara Shikoh Road.
- As per rules, only names given to public facilities before the Independence can be changed.
- Lord Dalhousie, known for Doctrine of lapse, served as governor general of India from 1848-56. He is known for his reforms such as formation of separate public works department for the first time, construction of Ganges canal, first railway line, construction of electric telegraph and postal reforms etc.,
- Dara Shikoh, son of fifth Mughal initiated a new order in Sufism called as the “Qadiri order”.
- Though he was a favorite of Shah Jahan, he was defeated by Aurangzeb during the Battle of Samugarh.
- He had promoted the peace between the followers of Hinduism and Islam and wrote a book called Majma-ul Bahrain or the mingling of the two oceans which found commonalities between Islam and Hinduism.
- He himself translated 50 Upanishads from Sanskrit to Persian language.
25. Nilambur teak gets GI tag
- Nilambur teak is internationally known for its superior quality and elegant appearance.
- Nilambur in kerala is also known as “Mecca of Teak”. Its teak will soon be added to the list of Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
- Nilambur also has a Teak Museum.
- The teak plantation in Nilambur, the world’s first teak plantation was done around the year 1842 -1844.
- Other kerala products in GI tag are Pokkali rice, Vazhakulam Pineapple, Wayanadan rice varieties (Jeerakasala and Gandhakasala), Tirur Betel vine, Central Travancore Jaggery and Chengalikodan Nendran – a banana variety.
26. India rejects report of U.S. faith panel
- India rejected criticism from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report on challenges faced by religious minorities.
- In its report titled “Constitutional and Legal Challenges Faced by Religious Minorities in India”, it says that religious minorities in the country continued to face vigilantism and constitutional challenges.
- USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.
- USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the Congressional leadership of both political parties.
27. Intellectual property index
- The index is published by US Chamber of Commerce.
- The index evaluates the intellectual property (IP) environment and grades countries on patents, trademarks, copyright, trade secrets, enforcement, and international treaties.
- This year the index evaluates 45 countries and India with a score of 8.75 out of 35 occupies 43rd place followed by Pakistan (44th) and Venezuela (45th).
- The US, UK , Germany, Japan and Sweden were ranked the top five countries in the IP Index.
29. Key concerns about India’s IP environment (2017)
- National Intellectual Property Rights policy does not address fundamental weaknesses in the country’s IP framework
- Limited framework for protection of life sciences IP
- Patentability requirements outside international standards
- Challenges with the scope of patentability for computer-implemented inventions
- Delhi high court ruling in the case involving University of Delhi regarding photocopying of copyrighted content
30. Dead Sea Scrolls
- The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of ancient manuscripts that include the earliest existing copies of books from the Hebrew Bible, date from the 3rd century BC to the 1st century AD.
- Around 900 scrolls were discovered between 1947 and 1956 in the Qumran caves above the Dead Sea.
- Archaeologists have uncovered a new cave that once housed Dead Sea Scrolls.
- The cave discovered west of Qumran in the occupied West Bank contained no manuscripts, but there is ample evidence of their earlier presence.
31. Mission XI Million
- It is the biggest school sports outreach programme in the country launched in New Delhi.
- It aims to take football to at least 11 million boys and girls around the country
- The programme is to make football as the sport of choice in India, to encourage children gain healthy habits and learn important life lessons in teamwork and sportsman spirit.
32. Fairy Queen
- The ‘Fairy Queen’ is the oldest surviving functional steam engine in the world.
- The locomotive was constructed in England, in 1855, and reached Kolkata in the same year.
- It was certified by the Guinness Book of Records in 1998 as the world’s oldest steam locomotive in regular operation.
- It will once again run between Delhi and Rewari for a single day heritage trip.
33. Defence Procurement Organisation
- The government plans to set up a Defence Procurement Organisation (DPO).
- The Defence Procurement Process continues to be lengthy and complicated.
- DPO will simplify the defence purchase procedure by integrating procurement processes.
- The new agency will be established based on the recommendation of government appointed committee headed by Dr. Pritam Singh.
- The DPO will be under the Union Defence Ministry.
34. Exo-Atmospheric Interceptor Missile
- An indigenously developed exo-atmospheric interceptor missile, named Prithvi Defence Vehice (PVD) Interceptor Missile, successfully destroyed an incoming target missile mimicking an enemy ballistic missile at a height of over 50 km.
- The weapon systems radars have detected and tracked the target.
- The mission computer predicting the trajectory of the target has launched the interceptor missile from Dr. Abdul Kalam Island.
- The whole operation was without man in the loop.
- It demonstrates the capability of India’s Ballistic Missile Shield,
- Only 4 countries have this similar capability viz U.S, Russia, China & Israel.
35. Thor experiment
- Between 10 and 100 kilometres in the atmosphere, the interaction between charged particles produces a variety of dazzling electric phenomena like blue jets and red sprites.
- The Thor experiment investigates the electrical activity from thunderstorms by looking at them with a thundercloud imaging system from the vantage point of the International Space Station.
- The key aims of the study include understanding how these discharges influence water vapour levels, cloud formation, and eventually changes in climate.
- ‘Arc’ is a Green Building Performance Monitoring Platform developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC)
- The Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), Delhi has adopted first-of-its-kind ‘Arc’ for Terminal 3.
- It is already operational and the adoption of “Arc” is in line with the continued focus on Environment Sustainability and is aligned to make Delhi a Smart airport.
37. Pilot Whales
- Oceanic dolphins are a widely distributed family of dolphins that live in the sea of the order Cetaceans.
- Cetaceans consist of the whales, dolphins, and porpoises.
- Oceanic dolphins include several big species whose common names contain “whale” rather than “dolphin”, such as the killer whale and the pilot whales.
- Pilot whales grow to about 7.5m and are common around New Zealand’s waters.
- They were named “pilot whales” because the group of these animals are often “piloted” by a leader.
38. Stranding of Pilot whales
- Recently around 600 pilot whales were stranded in Farewell Spit.
- Farewell Spit is narrow sand spit at the northern end of the Golden Bay, South Island of New Zealand.
- It has been the site of previous mass strandings and sometimes is described as a whale trap.
- A splinter of sand that arches like a hook into the Tasman Sea, seems to confuse whales and the spit’s long coastline and gently sloping beaches seem to make it difficult for whales to navigate away from once they get close.
39. President Salary
- The Home Ministry had proposed an increase in the salary of the President from the current Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh per month. Similarly for the Vice-President, the proposal was to increase the salary from Rs. 1.1 lakh to Rs. 3.5 lakh per month.
- The boost in salary is commensurate with the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission, implemented in 2016.
- For over six months now, The President has been drawing less salary than a Joint Secretary in the Government of India.
- The Cabinet Secretary, the seniormost in the government hierarchy, gets Rs. 2.5 lakh currently.
- The recommendations were moved six months ago and it is stuck in the PMO.
- Once the PMO clears the files pertaining to the President’s salary, it will be sent to the Parliament for approval before getting a sanction from the union Cabinet.
- President is entitled to emoluments allowances and privileges as determined by the parliament. His emoluments and allowances cannot be diminished during his term of office.
40. Operation Clean Money
- The Income Tax Department (ITD) -had initiated ‘Operation Clean Money’ for the e-verification of large cash deposits made during the period from 9th November to 30th December, 2016.
- Email and SMS were sent to around 18 lakh taxpayers for submitting online response on the e-filing portal.
- The explanation of cash deposit submitted by the taxpayer is being analysed in the context of nature of business and business profile in the earlier returns of the taxpayer.
- Arunachal Pradesh became the first state in the northeast to implement e-Cabinet solution for the state cabinet members.
- Using this system, the cabinet members can access the cabinet notes before the meeting, prepare for cabinet meetings, conduct them and review minutes, entirely without paper.
- The entire business of the Cabinet can be conducted using the e-Cabinet solution.
- It is implemented by the department of Information Technology and Communication.
- The average length of the cabinet meetings will go down from 4-5 hours to just 30-90 minutes and the government can also eliminate the need to print and deliver thousands of pages of documents.
- IMF’s South Asia Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC) is an initiative of the Government of India and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and established in New Delhi.
- SARTTAC is a collaborative venture between the IMF, the member countries, and development partners.
- Its strategic goal is to help its member countries strengthen their institutional and human capacity to design and implement macroeconomic and financial policies that promote growth and reduce poverty.
- SARTTAC’s six South Asian member countries are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
- It the newest addition to the IMF’s global network of fourteen regional centers,
43. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Unnat Krishi Shiksha Scheme
- Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Unnat Krishi Shiksha Scheme was launched in the year 2016 to promote agricultural education.
- Under the scheme 100 centres being opened with a fund of Rs.5.35 crore.
- “Attracting and retaining youth in Agriculture (ARYA)” is a project sanctioned by the Indian Council of Agriculture (ICAR) and is being implemented at Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK).
- The main objective of the project was to provide complete knowledge and skill on processing, value addition and marketing of coconut and banana products through capacity building programmes involving research and development organizations.
- The IAF has formally inducted the first indigenously built Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) named Netra developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO.
- These airborne warning systems are capable of long range surveillance.
- Netra is based on Embraer aircraft and three systems are to be developed. This system gives a 240-degree coverage of airspace.
- The three aircraft would be based at Bhatinda, facing the Western border.
45. Composite floor testing
- If there is absolute majority i.e more than 50% of the seats won by a single political party then there is no questions in who forms the government.
- In situations where the majority can be questioned (e.g when there is a coalition government), the chief minister appointed by the governor can be asked to prove his majority in the lower house.
- The chief minister has to move a vote of confidence and win a majority among those present and voting. This is called Floor Testing.
- If there is more than one person staking claim to form the government and the majority is not clear the governor may call for a special session to see who has the majority. This type is called Composite Floor Testing.
- The majority is then counted based on those present and voting, including the opposition.
- The Speaker does not cast his vote on the first instance. He can vote in case of a tie.
- The Constitution does not spell out the manner in which the governor must satisfy himself about the claim of majority support in the Assembly by the ruling dispensation.
- It is the Supreme Court’s innovation – Normal floor testing in SR Bommai case and Composite floor testing in the Jagadambika Pal case.
46. Lagrange Points: Parking Places in Space
- A Lagrange point is a location in space where the combined gravitational forces of two large bodies, such as Earth and the sun or Earth and the moon, equal the centrifugal force felt by a much smaller third body.
- The interaction of the forces creates a point of equilibrium where a spacecraft may be “parked” to make observations.
- There are five Lagrange points around major bodies such as a planet or a star. Three of them lie along the line connecting the two large bodies
- The first point, L1, lies between Earth and the sun and gets an uninterrupted view of the sun and free from the occurrence of eclipses.
- India’s Aditya Satellite is placed at L1 point.
- L2 with the Earth, moon and sun behind it, a spacecraft can get a clear view of deep space and it has a protection for radiation field from sun.
- The James Webb Space Telescope will move into L2 point in 2018.
- The third Lagrange point, L3, lies behind the sun, opposite Earth’s orbit. For now, science has not found a use for this spot.
- Points L4 and L5 are stable and lie along Earth’s orbit at 60 degrees ahead of and behind Earth and dust and asteroids tend to accumulate in these regions due to its stability.
- Asteroids that surround the L4 and L5 points are called Trojans and Earth’s only known Trojan asteroid, 2010 TK7 is found in the region.
47. Benefits of Lagrange points
- The Spacecraft at this point would be more sensitive to the tiny infrared signals from asteroids.
- The location would allow for natural cooling and would need any additional coolant to stay cool. The James Webb Space Telescope will take advantage of the thermal environment at the sun-Earth L2 point to help keep cool.
- L1 and L2 also has enormous bandwidth over conventional Ka-band radio and the communication speeds are very high.
48. Kamov 226T
- Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Russian defence firms have finalized the Joint Venture agreement for collaboration in the production of light weight multi-role ‘Kamov 226T’ helicopters in India
- The Kamov 226T is a twin-engine light but multi-role chopper offers services for both military and civilian purposes.
- The helicopters will replace India’s ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak.
- The military version of 226T is capable of working in extreme and difficult weather conditions. This includes hot climate, marine areas and high mountains.
- The Kamov 226T can be used effectively for reconnaissance, targeting and monitoring of transportation.
- The helicopter has a maximum speed of 250 km/hour and a cruise speed of 220 km/hour.
- The maximum takeoff weight of the helicopter is 3,600 kg.
49. Hunar Haat
- Hunar Haat (Skill Haat) is an exhibition of handicrafts, embroidery etc made by the artisans from the Minority Communities organized by the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
- They will be provided free of cost stall, the arrangements for their transport and their daily expenses.
- Two such Haats has been conducted so far and the Ministry has been working to establish “Hunar Hub” in all the states where programmes such as “Hunar Haat” and other cultural events will be organized.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder of the neurodevelopmental type.
- It is characterized by problems paying attention, excessive activity, difficulty controlling behavior which is not appropriate for a person’s age.
- These symptoms begin by age six to twelve, are present for more than six months.
- The factors can contribute include Genes, Cigarette smoking, alcohol use, or drug use during pregnancy, Exposure to environmental toxins during pregnancy etc.
- Though there is no cure for ADHD, currently available treatments can help reduce symptoms and improve functioning.
51. Moscow Conference
- It is the conference of six nations i.e India, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and China that recently held in Moscow.
- The central theme of the conference was the stability and future of war-ravaged Afghanistan.
- Afghanistan made a strong pitch for the United States to be included as one of its most important partners.
- With U.S. troop levels down to their lowest of about 8,400 at the end of President Obama’s tenure, Afghanistan’s government has been hoping increased assistance from U.S.
52. Mars City
- The UAE has unveiled plans to build the first city on Mars by 2117.
- The country looks to transport people to the Red Planet over the next few decades.
- It announced the 100-year national project on which it would collaborate with specialised international organisations and scientific institutes.
- It will also try to find faster transportation methods for travelling to and from Mars.
- The plan will involve scientific research programmes to nurture national cadres specialised in space sciences at universities in the UAE.
- It will also entrench a passion for space in younger generations.
53. World Government Summit
- The World Government Summit is a UAE-based international organization that serves as a platform for global dialogue attempting to revolutionize how governments operate and how policies are made.
- It acts as a knowledge exchange hub between governments, futurism, technology and innovation.
- It aims to bring government, business and civil society together.
- The 2017 Summit announced Japan as the Annual Guest of Honor this year.
54. Appointments Committee
- The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) is composed of the Prime Minister of India and the Minister of Home Affairs.
- It decides appointments to several top posts under the Government of India.
- Originally the Minister in-charge of the concerned Ministry was also the part of the committee but now has been excluded from the committee.
55. National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM)
- NIDM is an institute for training and capacity development programs for managing natural disasters in India, on a national as well as regional basis.
- It was constituted under an Act of Parliament in 1995 & was re-designated to give the present name of NIDM by the Disaster Management Act 2005.
- NIDM also serves as international SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC) and works as focus for its operation and planning.
- It’s a new geological continent which was once a part of Australia.
- It broke off from Antarctica about 100 million years ago, and then from Australia about 80 million years ago.
- It meets all the criteria that are satisfied by the existing seven continents i.e it is elevated above the area that surrounds it, has its own distinctive geology, the area that it takes up is well defined and has a crust thicker & lighter continental crust than the regular ocean floor with dark volcanic rocks
- The new continent is 94% under water and made up of three major landmasses: New Zealand’s north and south islands, and New Caledonia to the north
- A piece of seafloor called the Cato Trough still separates Zealandia and Australia
- Graphene is a two-dimensional material which is an allotrope of carbon.
- It is about 200 times stronger than the strongest steel, efficiently conducts heat and electricity and is nearly transparent.
- It is diamagnetic i.e repelled by a magnetic field.
- In contrast, paramagnetic and ferromagnetic materials are attracted by a magnetic field.
- A passerine is any bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species.
- A notable feature of passerines compared to other orders of Aves is the arrangement of their toes, three pointing forward and one back, which facilitates perching.
- It includes sparrows and similar small birds.
59. INSV Tarini
- The Indian Navy’s second oceangoing sailboat Indian Naval Sailing Vessel Tarini was recently inducted.
- It is stated to be the platform for First Indian All Women Circumnavigation of the Globe expedition of the Indian Navy.
- Indian Navy will is operating four sailing vessels capable of open ocean deployments, that is, Tarangini, Sudarshini, Mhadei and Tarini, all four of which have been built in shipyards at Goa.
60. Middle Income Group Scheme
- It provides legal services to the middle income group citizens i.e. citizens whose gross income is not exceeding Rs.60,000/- p.m. or Rs. 7,50,00/- per annum.
- It was introduced by Supreme Court of India.
- The Scheme will be applicable for case intended to be filed in Supreme Court.
- A Society (Governing Body) will be created with Chief Justice of India as patron-in-chief, the Attorney General as ex-officio vice-president, the Solicitor General as honorary Secretary and other senior advocates as members.
61. Qila e Mubarak
- The Red fort was previously also known as ‘Qila–e– Mubarak‘ or the Blessed Fort as the fort was residence to the royal family.
- British East India Company rule demolished 80% of the Qila (fort) during Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.
- Whatever that is left today are the portions that were preserved and repaired by George Curzon.
- There is another historical monument named QilaMubarak in the city of Bathinda in Punjab.
- It has been in existence from 90-110 AD in its current place and is the oldest surviving fort in India.
- Razia Sultan was incarcerated on her defeat and dethroned here.
- Raja Dab, along with emperor Kanishka, is believed to have built the fort.
62. Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK)
- The Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram was launched -the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare for adolescents, in the age group of 10-19 years, that would target their nutrition, reproductive health and substance abuse, among other issues.
- The key principle of this programme is adolescent participation and leadership, Equity and inclusion, Gender Equity and strategic partnerships with other sectors and stakeholders.
- The objectives are improve nutrition, improve sexual and reproductive health, enhance mental health, prevent injuries and violence and to prevent substance misuse.
- It introduces community-based interventions through peer educators, and is underpinned by collaborations with other ministries and state governments.
- Peer Educators (Saathiyas) act as a catalyst for generating demand for the adolescent health services and imparting age appropriate knowledge on key adolescent health issues to their peer groups. In order to equip them ‘Saathiya Salah’ Mobile App has been launched.
63. National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC)
- NSFDC is an institution under Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment for financing, facilitating and mobilizing funds for the economic empowerment of persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes families living below Double the Poverty Line.
- It provides concessional finance for setting up of self-employment projects and skill-training grants to unemployed SC persons living below Double the Poverty Line.
- NSFDC finances income generation schemes for the target group through the State Channelising Agencies (SCAs) nominated by respective State/UT Governments.
- It is the first common quick response (QR) code developed jointly by the four prominent card payment companies in the country — MasterCard, Visa, American Express and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) that runs RuPay cards.
- It has been formed on the instructions of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
- A QR code essentially is a label that can be read or scanned by a machine to access account details of a merchant to make online payments.
- Apart from working as a common interface for the card platforms, BharatQR will also facilitate acceptance using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), and Aadhaar-enabled payments.
65. Tully Monster
- Tullimonstrum gregarium, commonly known as the Tully Monster, is an extinct soft-bodied that lived in shallow tropical coastal waters of muddy estuaries during the Pennsylvanian geological period i.e about 300 million years ago.
- It has been found only in the Mazon Creek fossil beds of Illinois, United States.
- Its classification has been the subject of continual controversy, and interpretations of the fossil likened it to molluscs, arthropods, conodonts, worms, and even possibly vertebrates.
- A new study found that it cannot be classified as a vertebrate.
66. The National Regulatory Authority (NRA)
- NRA of India comprises of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), State Drug Regulatory Authorities, Pharmaco-vigilance Programme of India (PvPI) and Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) structures at the Central and States levels.
- A fully functional NRA is a pre-requisite for WHO prequalification of vaccines.
- WHO Prequalification Programme facilitates access to vaccines that meet the unified standards of quality, safety and efficacy as well as programme needs.
- The vaccine manufacturers can only apply for WHO vaccine prequalification if the NRA meets the standards of the WHO NRA published indicators i.e. WHO Global benchmarking Tool on functional regulatory system for vaccines.
- WHO has completed the assessment of the status of the Indian vaccine regulatory system.
- The country’s NRA being declared “functional’ with a maturity level of 4, i.e., the highest level as per currently evolved definitions in respect of 5 functions, and maturity level 3 in respect of 4 functions.
- Indian Scientists have discovered seven new frog species belonging to the genus Nyctibatrachus, commonly known as Night Frogs in the Western Ghats.
- Four out of seven of the new species are miniature-sized frogs and they are among the smallest known frogs in the world.
- Unlike other frogs in the genus that are predominantly stream dwelling, the new miniature frogs were found under damp forest leaf litter or marsh vegetation.
- One-third of the Western Ghats frogs are already threatened with extinction. Out of the seven new species, five are facing considerable anthropogenic threats and require immediate conservation prioritization.
68. INS Betwa
- INS Betwa is a Brahmaputra-class-guided missile frigate was commissioned in the Indian Navy in 2004.
- The ship is named after the Betwa river in Madhya Pradesh.
- INS Betwa has participated in Operation Cactus in 1988 when India tried to restore the democratically elected government in Maldivia and participated in Operation Sukoon for evacuating stranded Indian nationals from Lebanon during the Israel-Lebanon conflict in 2006.
- It was capsized in December 2016.
- It is no being resurrected and would be operational by April 2018, the Navy said on Wednesday.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the investment for generation component of Arun-3 Hydro Electric Project (900 MW).
- The project is located on Arun River in Sankhuwasabha District of Eastern Nepal.
- The Run-of-River scheme envisages a high concrete gravity dam and a Head Race Tunnel (HRT) with underground Power House containing four generating units on Left Bank.
- It would generate employment for 3000 persons from both India and Nepal, will provide surplus power to India strengthening power availability in the country and will also strengthening economic linkages with Nepal.
70. Run-of-the-river hydroelectricity (ROR)
- ROR is a type of hydroelectric generation plant whereby little or no water storage is provided.
- Substantial flooding of the upper part of the river is not required for run-of-river projects as a large reservoir is not required. As a result, people living at or near the river don’t need to be relocated and natural habitats and productive farmlands are not wiped out.
- It does not require the formation of a reservoir thus eliminating the methane and carbon dioxide emissions generally caused by the decomposition of organic matter in the reservoir of a conventional hydro-electric dam.
71. Science City
- Haryana is about to be set up a Science City in Sonepat.
- The Haryana government has also requested the ministry to consider this as a project of the National Capital Region (NCR) as there is no Science City in NCR and the vicinity.
- Thematic galleries on climate change, biodiversity, cutting-edge science and technology, nanoscience, biotechnology and robotics will be created.
- It will also have a fun science gallery explaining various aspects of science and technology, interactive demonstrations, Laser Show, 3D/4D/5D science-show facilities, virtual reality exhibits, simulator, space theatre etc.
72. Pink Shirt Day
- Fighting against racism, bullying, hate crimes and discrimination, Sikhs across the United Kingdom and Canada observed ‘Pink Shirt Day’ coming out in pink shirts and turbans to give message of kindness and tolerance.
- This Pink Shirt Day movement basically started from Nova Scotia where two school children were bullied for wearing pink shirts on day one of their school.
- Since then, pink shirt has become a symbol against racism, bullying and discrimination.
- As Sikhs too have been facing these issues and have been victims of hate crimes due to turbans and beard, we decided to observe Pink Shirt Day for cause of Sikhs too.
- India has approved a deal to develop jointly a medium range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM) system for the Army in a Rs. 17,000-crore deal with Israel.
- This is the latest in a series of other variants of SAM systems for the Navy and the Air Force being jointly developed with Israeli.
- The deal is to be executed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI).
- The deal is for five regiments of the missile, which consists of 40 units and 200 missiles. It has a range of 50-70 km.
- The systems will be manufactured in India and would have an 80% indigenous content.
- The DRDO would play a crucial role in developing the target homing system.
- The two countries are also in an advanced stage of negotiations for the purchase of two more long-range Phalcon Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS).
- The Andromeda Galaxy also known as Messier 31, is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years from Earth.
- It is the nearest major galaxy to the Milky.
- It received its name from the area of the sky in which it appears i.e the constellation of Andromeda.
- It is the largest galaxy of the Local Group, which also contains the Milky Way, the Triangulum Galaxy, and other smaller galaxies.
- Despite earlier findings that suggested that the Milky Way contains more
- It is visible to the naked eye on moonless nights.
75. Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT)
- AFT is a military tribunal in India established under the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007.
- It has the power for the adjudication of disputes with respect to commission, appointments, enrolments and conditions of service in respect of persons subject to the Army Act, 1950, The Navy Act, 1957 and the Air Force Act, 1950, thus leaving paramilitary forces, even the Assam Rifles and Coast Guard, outside the tribunal’s purview.
- The Judicial Members are retired High Court Judges and Administrative Members are retired Members of the Armed Forces who have held rank of Major General for a period of three years or more or Judge Advocate General (JAG), who have held the appointment for at least one year.
- The post of JAG in India is held by a major general who is the legal and judicial chief of the Army.
76. Co-existence of Predators
- Usually, big cats and wild canids live in different locations to avoid each other.
- But in four relatively small reserves in Western Ghats region researchers have found that Tigers, leopards, and dholes (Asian wild dog) co-exist, despite competing for much of the same prey i.e sambar deer, chital, and pigs.
- Each species has remarkably different adaptations to prey on different prey sizes, use different habitat types and be active at different times.
- Because of small and isolated nature of these high prey densities in these reserves, such adaptions are helpful for conservationists trying to save all three
- Dhole is listed as Endangered by the IUCN.
77. Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region
- The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region is responsible for the matters relating to the planning, execution and monitoring of development schemes and projects in the North Eastern Region.
- It was established in 2001.
- It includes 8 states i.e Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim & Tripura.
- Constitutional Provisions about NER include
- Part IX – The Panchayats : Article 243M & Article 243ZC not to applicable to Certain Areas
- Part X – The Scheduled And Tribal Areas : Article 244 for administration of Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas & Article 244A for the formation of an autonomous State comprising certain tribal areas in Assam and creation of local Legislature or Council of Ministers or both therefore
- Part XXI – Temporary, Transitional And Special Provisions : Article 371 A, B, C, F, G, H i.e special provision for NE States Except Meghlaya and Tripura.
- Sixth Schedule : For the Administration of Tribal Areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram
78. Tortoise and Freshwater Turtles
- Freshwater Turtles form an important part of the riverine system, acting as scavengers in cleaning up water bodies and generally being indicators of river health.
- Gangetic Plains accounted for 46% of all seizures of Tortoise and Freshwater Turtles (TFT), with Lucknow and Kanpur being major hubs, given the diversity of TFT population along the river.
- While domestic consumption of turtle meat in West Bengal and Bangladesh continues, it is the international export to south-east Asian countries and China that rake in profits for smugglers.
- Before, it was primarily Star Tortoises. But now, the numbers of species such as Spotted Pond Turtle are on the rise. Both the species are Vulnerable according to IUCN.
- They are different from five species of sea turtles are known to inhabit Indian coastal waters and islands viz Olive Ridley, Green turtle, Hawksbill turtle, Loggerhead turtle and the Leatherback turtles.
- Except the Loggerhead, the remaining four species nest along the Indian coast.
79. Helicopter Money
- Helicopter Money/Helicopter Drop is a hypothetical, unconventional tool of monetary policy that involves printing large sums of money and distributing it to the public in order to stimulate the economy.
- It was first mentioned by noted economist Milton Friedman.
- Helicopter drop is now used for unconventional measures to jumpstart the economy during deflationary periods.
- A year before scientists announced the discovery of three planets orbiting the dwarf star.
- Recently the team found four more through intense searches using several ground-based telescopes including Spitzer Space Telescope.
- This is by far the largest collection of Earth-like planets in the habitable ‘Goldilocks’ zone of a star — neither too close nor too far from a star, which raises the possibility of liquid water being present on the surface.
- Unlike earlier discoveries of exoplanets, all seven planets could possibly have liquid water.
- Three of the planets have the greatest chance.
- Since the initial discovery of three planets was made using the Chile-based Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope, the exoplanet system is called TRAPPIST-1.
81. McGurk effect
- It is a powerful multisensory illusion whereby the brain can be deceived into hearing sounds that don’t exist.
- It involves showing a person’s lips making the shape of one sound — like “bah” — while the audio is actually the person saying “fah.”
- In that case our brain changes what we “hear” based on what we see.
- It demonstrates the overwhelming influence that sight exerts over the brain and how the latter reorders perception to give us a consistent picture of the world.
82. Solar Probe Plus mission
- NASA plans to send its first robotic spacecraft to the Sun which is about 149 million kilometres from the Earth.
- The mission is to study why the surface of the Sun, called the photosphere, is not as hot as its atmosphere, called the corona.
- The surface temperature of the Sun is only about 5,500°C but the atmosphere above it is a over two million degrees Celsius.
- The mission may also ascertain why the Sun occasionally emits high-energy particles that are a danger to unprotected astronauts and spacecraft.
- NASA has designed a 11.4 centimetres carbon-composite shield designed to withstand temperatures of 1,370°C outside the spacecraft.
- A nebula is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases.
- Astronomers have spotted an enormous, glowing blob of gas i.e Enormous Lyman-Alpha Nebula (ELAN) named Mammoth-1.
- It is in the middle of a region with an extraordinary concentration of galaxies called a “protocluster,”.
- It has no obvious source of power for the light it is emitting.
- It is the brightest and among the largest of these rare objects.
84. West Nile Virus (WNV) Forecast
- West Nile fever is a mosquito-borne infection by the West Nile virus.
- Most of those infected have no symptoms, but about one in five will develop a fever with other symptoms. Less than one per cent develops a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness.
- Scientists have for the first time developed a forecasting model to accurately predict the timing and intensity of West Nile Virus (WNV) outbreaks like weather forecasting.
- These WNV forecasts use a computer model to generate multiple simulations that mimic the behaviour of an outbreak to generate an overall prediction.
- This model system accurately forecast mosquito infection rates prior to the week of mosquito peak infection, and accurately predicted the seasonal total number of human WNV cases up to nine weeks prior to the last reported case.
- With weeks of advance notice, officials could better plan for spraying mosquito breeding grounds, alert the public, and determine if parks and camping grounds should be closed.
85. Urban Reform Incentive Fund
- The Urban Reform Incentive Fund (URIF) in India aims to provide States with incentives to undertake essential urban sector reforms.
- The Ministry of Urban Development has proposed to increase Reform Incentive Fund from Rs 500 crore during 2017-18 to over Rs 3,000 crore per year over the next three years.
- The reforms to be undertaken by the States to receive incentives under URIF improve the responsiveness of local real estate markets, increase resource mobilization in Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), provide rigorous accounting of the management of public funds.
- The incentives given to the states will be on a grant basis.
- URIF receive funds from International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and Government of India.
86. Transit Oriented Development (TOD)
- Urban Development Ministry has come out with a multi-pronged policy framework called Transit Oriented Development.
- The policy will enable people to live within the walking or cycling distance from transit corridors like the Metros, Monorail and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors which helps them in connecting with different public transport.
- It aims to address the challenges like haphazard urban growth and sprawl, mobility, rapidly rising private vehicles on roads, pollution, housing choices among others.
- It is being incentivized by the Ministry of Urban Development under two initiatives ‘Metro Policy’ and ‘Green Urban Mobility Scheme’.
- Thus city densification along the corridors, promotion of Non-motorized Transport, multi-modal integration, effective first and last mile connectivity through feeder services are the features of TOD.
87. Restructuring of CBEC
- Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) administers service tax, Customs duty and excise duty.
- Goods and Services Tax which is expected to be rolled out from July, will subsume service tax and excise duty, to be jointly administered with states.
- Thus with the limited administration role to CBEC, it aims to restructure itself by adding a new Customs divisions on dispute resolution, capacity building and compliance.
- CBEC is also working on setting up a National Targeting Centre to intercept consignments and do risk profiling.
88. Nyokum Yullo Festival
- It is festival celebrated by the Nyishi tribe in the State of Arunachal Pradesh.
- It is celebrated by the people from all class and walk of life for better productivity, prosperity and happiness of all human beings on earth.
89. Advance Pricing Agreement (APA)
- An APA is a contract, usually for multiple years, between a taxpayer and at least one tax authority specifying the pricing method that the taxpayer will apply to its related-company transactions.
- It was introduced in IT act, 2012.
- It helps taxpayers voluntarily resolve transfer pricing disputes in a cooperative manner reducing the incidence of double taxation.
- It also involves resolving both the future and existing transfer pricing audits and adjustments.
- It fosters a non-adversarial tax regime.
- The Indian APA programme has been appreciated nationally and internationally for being able to address complex transfer pricing issues in a fair and transparent manner.
- Unilateral APA – It involve agreements between only the taxpayer and one government.
- Bilateral APA – Tax payer enter into APA with more than one tax authority.
- Transfer Pricing – A transfer price is the price at which different divisions of a same company transact good or services with each other.
- Transfer pricing are used when individual entities of a large multi-entity firm are treated as separately run entities.
- It is the Scheme under the Ministry of Finance for the socio-economic empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young women.
- The project seeks to empower the adolescent girls with basic life skills and thereafter provide further opportunities to acquire market driven skill training or completion of secondary education.
- It has 3 main components – (i) Expanding social, educational and economic opportunities (ii) improve livelihood opportunities by developing participants’ skills (iii) Strengthens women’s participation in local governance.
- Recently, India signed financing agreement with World Bank (International Development Association) for funding of this scheme.
91. East-Coast Economic Corridor
- It is India’s first coastal corridor, covering 1,700 km of the country’s coastline.
- The project is funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB).
- The first phase of financing from ADB will fund Vishakapatnam to Chennai Industrial Corridor to build key infrastructure in the four main centers along the corridor – Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Amaravati, and Yerpedu-Srikalahasti in the State of Andhra Pradesh.
- Along with the ADB loans, the project also receives grant from the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund that is managed by ADB to build climate change resilient infrastructure.
92. Cattle Feed Knowledge Portal
- The National Dairy Development Board is an institution of national importance set up by an Act of Parliament of India.
- It was founded by Dr. Verghese Kurien to extend the success of the Amul to other parts of India.
- The major success of this mission was achieved through the World Bank financed Operation Flood, which was responsible for making India the world’s largest producer of milk.
- It has recently launched the cattle feed knowledge portal as an interactive knowledge platform on various aspects of compounded cattle feed production.
93. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)
- Pneumococcal vaccines are vaccines against the bacteria Streptococcus pneumonia and can prevent cases of pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis.
- Pneumonia caused by the pneumococcus bacteria is supposed to be the most common.
- It is spread from person to person through close contact.
- PCV is a mix of several bacteria of the pneumococci family, which are known to cause pneumonia — hence ‘conjugate’ in the name.
- Pneumonia is responsible for about 20% of under-5 child mortality in India, of which half are of pneumococcal origin.
- It estimated around 23% of the global pneumonia cases originate in India.
- PCV has been introduced in the Universal Immunisation Programme recently.
94. Prosopis Juliflora
- Prosopis Juliflora is a shrub or small tree in the family Fabaceae commonly known as Seemai Karuvelam.
- It is native to Mexico, South America and the Caribbean.
- It was initially introduced in India during colonial times.
- Later in 1960s it was Seed Bombed i.e aerially seeded by helicopter in Southern Tamilnadu to meet firewood demand.
- Since then it has become invasive species.
- It causes stomach poisoning in livestock by inducing a permanent impairment of its ability to digest cellulose.
- It causes drying up of water bodies and ground water as it absorbs more than 4 litres of water to obtain one kg of biomass.
- It cannot even shelter birds as it produces less oxygen and more carbon dioxide.
- It causes land erosion due to the loss of the grasslands that are habitats for native plants and animals.
- Dispersal of the species is mainly through animals by endozoochory (dispersal by vertebrate animals).
- Other modes of seed dispersal are –
- Autochory – Self dispersal
- Barochory – Dispersal by gravity
- Anemochory – Dispersal by air
- Hyderochory – Dispersal by water
- Chiropterochory – Dispersal by bats
- Epizoochory – Dispersal by Non-vertebrate animals
95. Ballistic Missile Defence
- Recently, Advanced Air Defence (AAD) is been successfully tested from Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha, intercepting the incoming enemy missile at the range of 15-30 km.
- Advanced Air Defence (AAD)/ Ashvin Advanced Defense interceptor is capable of destroying missiles at endo-atmosphere altitudes of 20-40 kilometers.
- It is part of India’s two tired ballistic missile defence.
- The other is the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) / Pradyumna Ballistic Missile Interceptor capable of destroying missiles at exo-atmospheric altitudes of 50–80 kilometers which was tested last month.
- The Ballistic Missile Defence shield is expected to be achieved by 2022.
96. National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF)
- The NIIF is a trust that raises debt to invest in the equity of infrastructure finance companies.
- Thus it acts like a bankers’ bank in infrastructure financing.
- Government owns 49% of NIIF.
- It provides equity support to NBFCs/ Financial Institutions (FIs) engaged in infrastructure financing.
- It also provides equity/ debt to commercially viable projects, both greenfield and brownfield, including stalled projects.
- NIIF will be established as one or more Alternative Investment Funds (AIF) under the SEBI regulations.
- A typical sovereign wealth fund (SWF) will be a state-owned investment company owned by governments and invests their own money in foreign countries.
- Though the NIIF acts like an SWF, it does not invest in assets such as stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities etc like an SMF do and therefore cannot be called so.
97. Kalvari Class Submarine
- Recently, Indian Navy test-fired an anti-ship missile for the first time from an indigenously built Kalvari class submarine.
- Kalvari, the first of India’s six Scorpene-class submarines which are being built under the Project 75. It is fitted with AIPs.
- Project 75 aims to deploy a class of Diesel- electric submarine with Air independent propulsion system.
- Conventional diesel-electric submarines have to surface every few days to get oxygen to recharge their batteries.
- With Air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems, they can stay submerged for much longer periods thereby improving its stealth capability, as it enables to recharge its batteries while being submerged.
98. Sarasvati River
- The Sarasvati River is one of the main rivers mentioned in the scripture Rig Veda and post-Vedic texts.
- Some scholars hold that the Saraswati existed only in myths.
- Others have identified the Sarasvati River with the present day Ghaggar-Hakra River system, which flows through northwestern India and Pakistan.
- The Yamuna and Sutlej were considered to be part of Saraswati.
- They were lost during the Pleistocene the river became fed entirely by monsoon rains rather than glacial streams, during the mid-late Holocene.
- When the monsoons migrated to the east, the river dried and as a result, the civilisation diminished and moved towards the Indo-Gangetic Plain.
- Last year, the Haryana government had released water into a dry channel that was excavated to recreate the river Sarasvati’s supposed path.
- Recently the government claimed that the demarcation of the river path is completed and it is no longer a myth.
- Apart from mythological investigation, the greater purpose of the findings will check if these ancient channels can be replenished and used to improve groundwater levels.
99. INS Viraat
- INS Viraat, the second aircraft carrier in the Indian naval fleet is soon to be decommissioned. INS Vikrant is India’s first aircraft carrier.
- INS Viraat is the second centaur class aircraft carrier in service.
- Earlier known as HMS Hermes, it served Royal Navy of UK from 1950 to 1980’s and later re-commissioned in Indian Navy in 1987.
- It holds the Guinness Record for being the oldest-serving warship.
- It played a pivotal role in the Indian peacekeeping operations in Sri Lanka and the 1999 Kargil War.
- It also took part in major operations like Op. Parakram – a India Pakistan in the LOC and Op. Pawan by IPKF to take control of Jaffna from the LTTE as part of the Indo-Sri Lankan accord.
- The latest deployment of Viraat was in the International Fleet Review (IFR-2016) at Visakhapatnam.
- The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN), NASA’s spacecraft, has been orbiting mars for the past two years.
- MAVEN is studying Mars’ upper atmosphere, ionosphere and its interactions with the sun and solar wind.
- An important aspect of the MAVEN mission is studying how early Mars lost much of its atmosphere.
- This atmospheric loss may have been partially responsible for Mars’ transition from a planet capable of supporting liquid surface water to the dry, desert world we know today.
- Recently, MAVEN has avoided its head-on collision with phobos, the natural satellite of Mars.
- The other one is Deimos. Phobos is the innermost and larger of the two.
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