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22 Jun, 2020

49 Min Read

Online Yoga Quiz Competition


Online Yoga Quiz Competition

  • Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) through National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has undertaken multi-dimensional initiatives to promote integration of Yoga in school curriculum.
  • NCERT has developed textual materials on Yoga for Healthy Living for Upper Primary to Secondary Stages and also has been organising Yoga Olympiad since 2016.
  • Due to the outbreak of Corona pandemic, it is difficult to organise Yoga Olympiad this year. To enable students to learn at home and be safe, Union Human Resource Development Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' through social media launched an Online Yoga Quiz Competition organised by NCERT.
  • The objective of this Competition is to create awareness and to motivate children to acquire comprehensive information from authentic sources on different yogic practices.
  • The Competition will also help children to develop healthy habits and lifestyle and thereby promote a sound emotional and mental wellbeing.
  • The competition, is open for all students of classes 6 to 12 across the country.
  • These will be available to children both in Hindi and English language.
  • Certificate of merit shall be issued to 100 top scorers.

Source: PIB

Artic Sea


Artic Sea

It is located mostly in the Arctic North Polar Region in the middle of the Northern Hemisphere, besides its surrounding waters the Arctic Ocean is surrounded by Eurasia and North America. It is partly covered by sea ice throughout the year and almost completely in winter.

The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceans and it is also known as the coldest of all the oceans. The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) recognizes it as an ocean, although some oceanographers call it the Arctic Sea.

It is sometimes classified as an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, and it is also seen as the northernmost part of the all-encompassing World Ocean. The Arctic Ocean's surface temperature and salinity vary seasonally as the ice cover melts and freezes. Its salinity is the lowest on average of the five major oceans, due to low evaporation, heavy fresh water inflow from rivers and streams, and limited connection and outflow to surrounding oceanic waters with higher salinities.

Decline in Artic Sea Ice

  • Sea ice arises as seawater freezes, because ice is less dense than water, it floats on the ocean's surface.
  • Sea ice covers about 7% of the Earth's surface and about 12% of the world's oceans.
  • Recently, National Centre of Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) have observed the largest decline in the Arctic Sea ice in the last 41 years.
  • According to recent observations in the last 40 years (1979-2018), the sea ice has been declining at 4.7% per decade, while the current declining rate was found to be 13% in July 2019.
  • Thus, it has been noted that the volume of ice formation during winters is unable to keep pace with the volume of ice loss during summers.
  • Additionally, it has been predicted that if this trend continues, there would be no ice left in the Arctic Sea by 2050.
  • The decrease of the Arctic Sea ice area and the increase in the duration of summer and autumn seasons affected the local weather and climate over the Arctic Ocean and its marginal seas.
  • It may affect other components of the climate system such as reduction of heat, water vapor, and other material exchange between the atmosphere and the sea.
  • The northern hemisphere experienced record high-temperature rise, especially during the spring and summer months.

National Centre of Polar and Ocean Research

  • It was established as an autonomous Research and Development Institution of the Ministry of Earth Sciences in 1998.
  • It is located in Goa.
  • Earlier known as National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), NCPOR is India’s premier R&D institution responsible for the country’s research activities in the Polar and Southern Ocean realms.
  • It is the nodal agency for planning, promotion, coordination and execution of the entire gamut of polar and southern ocean scientific research in the country as well as for the associated logistics activities.

For arctic council read: https://www.aspireias.com/daily-news-analysis-current-affairs/Arctic-Council

For ANITA: https://www.aspireias.com/daily-news-analysis-current-affairs/ANITA-Antarctic-Impulsive-Transient-Antenna

Source: TH

UNICEF Kid Power


UNICEF Kid Power

  • UNICEF Kid Power is a philanthropic initiative that was launched in 2015 as a division of the US Fund for UNICEF.
  • It marks UNICEF's first foray into the hardware space.
  • UNICEF Kid Power, with the help of California-based technology firm Calorie Cloud and design studio Ammunition, developed the world's first "Wearable for Good" activity tracker called Kid Power Bands.
  • These bands act as kids’ fitness tracker bracelet that connects to a smartphone app.
  • The app lets users complete missions, which counts total steps and awards points. The points then unlock funding from partners, which is then used by UNICEF to deliver packets of therapeutic food to severely malnourished children around the world.
  • ‘UNICEF Kid Power’ has listed 13 Yoga stretches and poses for children

Source: PIB




  • At the behest of the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, a Scheme for Voluntary Certification of Yoga Professionals has been launched by the Ministry of AYUSH to spread India’s traditional knowledge worldwide and to provide India's leadership in assuring the quality of yoga practices across the World.
  • The Ministry of AYUSH, in pursuance of the above and in the wake of the declaration of the International Day of Yoga, identified the Quality Council of India (QCI) to develop a Scheme for Voluntary Certification of Yoga Professionals recognising that QCI has expertise in developing such quality frameworks based on international best practices.
  • The Scheme for voluntary certification of yoga professionals has been developed by adopting the principles and requirements laid down in the international standard, ISO/IEC 17024:2072 (E) General Requirements for Bodies Operating Certification of Persons especially clause 8 that describes the elements of the Scheme.

The Scheme aims to certify Yoga professionals using the principles of third-party assessment through the following process:

  1. Defining the competence requirements in terms of knowledge and skills to be complied with by &e Yoga professionals in the form of Competence Standard.
  2. Defining the process of evaluation and certification in the form of the Certification Process.
  3. Laying down requirements for competence and operation of assessment bodies through Accreditation.
  • The Scheme, for Yoga Professionals, as of now, will evaluate four levels of competence, namely, Yoga Instructor, Yoga Teacher, Yoga Master and Yoga Acharya (being the advanced level).
  • The scheme is launched by the Ministry of AYUSH and implemented by the Quality Council of India.

Source: PIB

KVIC starts reviving ancient glory of Pokhran potteries


KVIC starts reviving the ancient glory of Pokhran potteries

  • Seeking to restore the lost glory of the once-most famous pottery of Pokhran, a small town in the Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan where India conducted its 1st nuclear test, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) today distributed 80 electric potter wheels to 80 potter families in Pokhran which has a rich heritage in terracotta products.
  • Pokhran has over 300 potters’ families that are engaged with pottery for several decades, but potters started looking for other avenues due to heavy drudgery in the work and no market support.
  • Apart from the electric wheels, the KVIC also distributed 8 blunger machines in a group of 10 potters, used for mixing the clay which can produce 800 kg clay in just 8 hours.
  • Manually it takes 5 days to prepare 800 kg of mud for pottery making.
  • KVIC has created 350 direct employment in the village.
  • All 80 potters who were given 15 days of training by KVIC came up with some exquisite pottery.
  • This exercise is aligned with the Prime Minister’s call for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” and the strengthening of potters aimed at creating self-employment while also reviving the dying art of pottery.
  • The main objective of Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana is to bring back the potters’ community to the mainstream. By providing potters with modern equipment and training, we are trying to reconnect them with the society and revive their art.
  • Pokhran is one of the aspirational districts identified by the Niti Ayog.
  • Notably, the KVIC has launched Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana in several remote areas in states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, J&K, Haryana, West Bengal, Assam, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Telangana and Bihar.
  • In Rajasthan, more than a dozen districts including Jaipur, Kota, Jhalawar and Sri Ganganagar have benefited from the program.
  • Under the scheme, the KVIC also provides equipment like blunger and pug mills for mixing clay for making pottery products.
  • The machines have eliminated drudgery from the process of pottery making and resulted in a higher income for potters by 7 to 8 times.

Source: PIB

Kumbhar Sashaktikaran Program


Kumbhar Sashaktikaran Program

  • Kumbhar Sashaktikaran Program is an initiative of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission(KVIC) for the empowerment of the potters community in the remotest of locations in the country.

Target beneficiaries

  • The program reaches out to the potters in : U.P., M.P., Maharashtra, J&K, Haryana, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Assam, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Telangana and Bihar.

Benefits provided

  • Training for advanced pottery products
  • Latest, new technology pottery equipment like the electric Chaak
  • Market linkages and visibility through KVIC exhibitions


Due to the supply of electric chaaks, the potters have reaped the following benefits.

  • More production with less hours of work.
  • Less noise and better health benefits
  • Less power consumption with smooth transition to higher speeds

Source: PIB

Star Clusters

GS-I : Human Geography Universe and Solar System

Star Clusters

Study showing stars of varied ages can co-exist in open clusters, provides a clue to stellar evolution in the Milky Way Galaxy


  • Stars in our Galaxy are formed from the molecular clouds present in the Galaxy.
  • It is believed that the majority of stars in our Galaxy are formed in star clusters making them important clues to understanding the star formation mechanism.
  • Open star clusters are a system of stars bound by gravity in which stars are born from the same molecular clouds.
  • All the stars in a cluster follow the evolutionary sequence as per their initial masses at the time of formation of these stars.

Star clusters in the Milky way galaxy

  • Open clusters are also important in probing the formation and evolution of the Milky Way Galaxy as they are distributed throughout the Galactic disk.
  • Astronomers at the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), an autonomous science institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST) Govt. of India, have found that stars of varied ages can co-exist in open clusters.
  • This challenges earlier understanding that stars in an open cluster have the same age.
  • The scientists measured the light from three poorly studied open clusters NGC 381, NGC 2360, and Berkeley 68 observed using the 1.3-m telescope at Devasthal situated in the lap of the Himalayas for studying the evolution of stars in these clusters.
  • They found two different stellar evolutionary sequences in the cluster NGC 2360, which has been observed in very few open clusters in the Milky Way Galaxy until now.
  • The astronomer Dr. Yogesh Joshi and his research student Jayanand Maurya observed thousands of stars in three open clusters NGC 381, NGC 2360, and Berkeley 68. The clusters are found to be relatively older, having ages between 446 Million years to 1778 million years.
  • Other than the stellar evolution, the researchers also studied the dynamical evolution of these clusters for the first time.
  • The mass distributions of stars belonging to the clusters have shown the preferential distribution of massive stars in the inner part of the clusters while low mass stars are found in the outer region of the clusters.
  • It is believed that some of the very low mass stars have in fact, left their parent clusters and may be roaming as a free stars like our own Sun.
  • Their study lent important insight into the stellar and dynamic evolution of these clusters.

Their study has been recently published in 'Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society,' a leading journal in the field of astronomy and astrophysics published by the OXFORD University Press in the UK.

Source: PIB

Extreme Helium Stars (EHe)

GS-I : Human Geography Universe and Solar System

Extreme Helium Stars (EHe)

  • An extreme helium star or EHe is a low-mass supergiant that is almost devoid of hydrogen, the most common chemical element of the universe.
  • There are 21 of them detected so far in our galaxy.

Mystery of EHe resolved

  • The origin and evolution of these Hydrogen deficient objects have been shrouded in mystery.
  • Their severe chemical peculiarities challenge the theory of well-accepted stellar evolution as the observed chemical composition of these stars do not match with that predicted for low mass evolved stars.
  • A study by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology which detected the presence of singly ionised ?urine for the first time in the atmospheres of hot Extreme Helium Stars makes a strong case that the main form of these objects involves a merger of a carbon-oxygen (CO) and a Helium (He) white dwarf.

Evolution of EHe

  • The ?uorine abundances determined from singly ionized fluorine (F II) lines suggest a very high enrichment of uorine, about a factor of 100 to 10000 times higher than normal stars.
  • Clues to the evolution of extreme helium stars require accurate determinations of their chemical composition, and the peculiarities, if any, become very important.
  • Fluorine plays a very crucial role in this regard to determine the actual evolutionary sequence of these hydrogen de-client objects.
  • Severe uorine enrichment w.r.t normal stars (of the order of 800 − 8000) was observed in the cool EHes along-with the cooler classical hydrogen de?cient stars, the RCB variables (R Coronae Borealis Stars) hinting at close evolutionary connection between them.
  • The scientists explored the relationship of hot EHes (EHes having e?ective temperature ≥ 14000K), with the cooler EHes, based on their ?uorine abundance and spotted it in the former, thus establishing an evolutionary connection across a wide range of active temperatures.
  • High-resolution echelle spectra of 10 hot EHes were obtained from Hanle Echelle Spectrograph (HESP) mounted on the 2-m Himalayan Chandra Telescope at the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) in Hanle, Ladakh, (remotely operated by IIA) including data from McDonald Observatory, USA, and ESO archives.
  • The varied range of observed urine abundance across stars having similar atmospheric parameters points out the difference in the individual star’s evolution and the ensuing nucleosynthesis.
  • Particularly, the enrichment of uorine in the atmospheres of carbon-rich EHes and absence of the same in carbon-poor EHes suggest that uorine is profusely produced during the merger of a He-CO WD resulting in a carbon-rich EHe, whereas He-He WD merger that results in carbon-poor EHes does not account for uorine overabundance.
  • The detection of enhanced uorine abundances in the atmospheres of hot EHes solves a decade-old mystery about their formation.
  • It rmly places hot EHes in an evolutionary sequence with cool EHes and other hydrogen-deficient stars and zeros in on the evolutionary scenario, which involves the merger of two double degenerate white dwarfs (WDs).

Source: PIB

World Crocodile Day


World Crocodile Day

World Crocodile Day is celebrated on 17th June. The day is a global awareness campaign to highlight the plight of endangered crocodiles and alligators around the world.

Crocodile spices found in India include

  • A mugger or Marsh Crocodile
  • Estuarine or Saltwater Crocodile
  • Gharial or River water Crocodile

Human-crocodile conflict Hotspots in India include

  • Vadodara in Gujarat (in Vishwamitri river)
  • Kota in Rajasthan,
  • Bhitarkanika in Odisha
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Culling had been recommended a few years back in the Andaman and Nicobar islands by the forest department to the MoEFCC)

Indian Crocodile Conservation Project

The Crocodile Conservation Project was launched in 1975 in different States. The Gharial and Saltwater crocodile conservation programme was first implemented in Odisha in early 1975 and subsequently, the Mugger conservation programme was initiated.

  • The gharial crocodile project started in Tikarpada (1975) aims to increase the sighting to five crocodiles per kilometre length of water.
  • As a result of the programme, the estimated number of saltwater crocodiles increased from 96 in 1976 to 1,640 in 2012 in India.


CrocBITE is an online database of crocodile attacks reported on humans. The non-profit online research tool helps to scientifically analyze crocodile behavior via complex models.

  • Users are encouraged to feed information in a crowdsourcing manner, the uploaded information needs to be verifiable.
  • The database provides key insights into crocodile attack patterns and draws inferences to save human lives.
  • The information is vital for Australia and Africa where such attacks are more likely than in other parts of the world.
  • This is the only database of its kind with such a comprehensive collection of information made available online.

Source: IE

Nature Index 2020: Index of Scientific Research


Council of Scientific & Industrial Research

It was established by the Government of India in September 1942 as an autonomous body. It comes under the Ministry of Science & Technology. It is known for its cutting-edge research and development knowledge base in diverse science and technology areas. It has been ranked first in the Nature Ranking Index-2020.

Nature Index 2020: Index of Scientific Research

Recently, a journal of science i.e. the Nature Research, has released the Nature Index 2020.

  • The Nature Index provides a database of high-quality research output and collaboration at the institutional, national and regional level of institutions from different countries.
  • The top three countries in the index are US, China and Germany respectively.
  • Criteria for the Ranking
    • Sectors: Academic and Corporate.
    • Subjects: Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences.
    • Journal Group: Nature and Science.
  • The overall ranking of India is 12th in the index.
  • Top 3 Ranking of Institutions from india:
    • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
    • Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc)
    • Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR)

The Nature Index

  • The Nature Index is a database of author affiliation information collated from research articles published in an independently selected group of 82 high-quality science journals.
  • The database is compiled by Nature Research.
  • Nature research is a part of Springer Nature which is an American German academic publishing company based in Germany.
  • The Index is updated monthly and also releases annual tables of countries.

Source: PIB

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