National Statistics Day
This year, Statistics Day (29th June) will be celebrated virtually, in view of the travel and safety advisories on account of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Every year, Statistics Day is celebrated on 29th June, the birth anniversary of Prof. Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, to recognise his invaluable contribution to establishing the National Statistical System.
To popularise the use of s
Recently, a rare biological phenomenon i.e. Gynandromorphism has been spotted in a dragonfly, the Scarlet Skimmer (Crocothemis service), which is found in the Kole wetlands, Kerala. The dragonfly had both male and female characteristics.
Gynandromorphism is a characteristic of an organism that contains both male and female tissues and characteristics. Such organisms are also called gynandromorphs.
The term is d
China Study Group (CSG)
CSG is a government body in which cabinet secretaries and secretaries of the Home, external affairs, Defence and representatives of the Army are members.
In the wake of heightened road and track construction work undertaken by China along India’s Northern and Eastern frontiers in 1997, India constituted a China Study Group (CSG) to study the requirement of road communication along the China border for the brisk movement of troops in case of any aggression.
The rare biological phenomenon in dragonflies sighted at Kole wetlands
When Renjith R.V and Vivek Chandran spotted a peculiar dragonfly, the Scarlet Skimmer (Crocothemis servilia), in the Puzhakkal area of the Kole wetlands in Thrissur last year, little did they know that they were documenting a very rare biological phenomenon.
The male dragonflies typically have prominent blood red colouraton in almost all their body parts, including the head, thorax, abdomen and legs, and the female is
Theme: SDG- 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) & SDG- 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls)
The Government has been celebrating Statistics Day, to popularise the use of Statistics in everyday life and sensitise the public as to how Statistics helps in shaping and framing policies.
It has been designated as one of the Special Days to be celebrated at the national level and is celebrated on the birth anniversary
Recently, a team of researchers from the National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune have found new biomolecules to fight drug resistance in Kala-azar (visceral leishmaniasis). NCCS is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. It was established to facilitate cell biology research in the country.
It is a neglected tropical disease affecting almost 100 countries including India.
National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research- Coccolithophores
Recently, the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) carried out the study of Coccolithophores (microscopic ancient marine algae) and found that there is a decrease in the concentration of oceanic calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the southern Indian ocean.
Coccolithophores are single-celled algae living in the upper layers of the world’s oceans.
Dolphins use the technique called shelling to capture the tiny fishes into empty shells.
This method of tool use has been learnt from their peer groups and not from their mothers. This shows how dolphins adapt to the changing environment.
The four freshwater dolphins in the world are:
The ‘Baiji’ is now likely extinct from the Yangtze River in China,
The ‘Bhutan’ of the Indus in Pakistan, and
The ‘Boto’ of
Novel coronavirus infection might trigger type-1 diabetes
Diabetes poses one of the key risk factors for developing severe COVID-19, and the chances of dying are elevated in people with diabetes.
Now, there is growing evidence that a novel coronavirus might actually be triggering diabetes in some people who have so far remained free of it.
These patients typically develop type-1 diabetes. The virus seems to be causing diabetes spontaneously in people.
Indian Ocean Dipole- New phenomenon to emerge
When the Indian Ocean’s ancient climate patterns return
About 19,000-21,000 years ago, ice sheets covered North America and Eurasia, and sea levels were much lower, with Adam’s Bridge exposed so that the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka were contiguous.
This period, the peak of ice age conditions, is called the Last Glacial Maximum.
Researchers analysed simulations of this past climate and predicted th
Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary
Why Eco Sensitive zone tag to Asola Wildlife sanctuary?
The Asola wildlife sanctuary has both floral and faunal diversity in the form of
Wide variety of trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses.
The large number of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies and dragonflies.
Sanctuary comprises of Around 200 species of resident and migratory birds.
Wildlife habitats inside the sanctuary act as water recharge zone for Delhi, Faridabad and Gurugram.
Sustainable Alternative towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT)
The Sustainable Alternative towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) scheme on Compressed Bio Gas was launched in 2018. It envisages targeting the production of 15 MMT of CBG from 5000 plants by 2023. The Government of India has taken various enabling steps to ensure the success of the SATAT scheme.
Oil Marketing Companies have offered long-term pricing on CBG to make projects bankable and have agreed
Supreme Court ruling- disqualification petitions
In January 2020, a three-judge bench of the SC expressed its displeasure with the Speaker’s lack of urgency in deciding the disqualification petitions. It ruled that Speakers of assemblies and the Parliament must decide disqualification pleas within a period of 3 months. Extraordinary circumstances are exceptions to this.
The ruling settled the law for situations where the timing of the disqualification is misused to manipulate fl
Recently, a commemorative declaration marking the 75th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations (UN) Charter was delayed as member states could not reach an agreement on phraseology.
The Five Eyes (FVEY)— Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States— along with India, objected to the use of the phrase “shared vision of a common future”, which is associated with Ch
Amendments to Postal Ballot System
Recently, the Law Ministry has reduced the age limit for senior citizens who opt for the postal ballot in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
Now, the voters aged above 65 years or a Covid-19 suspect can opt for postal ballot.
Earlier, in 2019, the Law Ministry had amended the Conduct of Election Rules to allow persons with disabilities and those who are 80 years of age or above to opt for
Torpedo Decoy System: Maareech
The Indian Navy has inducted an Advanced Torpedo Defence System (ATDS) called ‘Maareech’ that is capable of being fired from all frontline ships.
Torpedoes are self-propelled weapons with a warhead and can be used under or on the water surface. They are one of the mainstays of sea-warfare attack systems.
‘Maareech’ has been designed and developed indigenously by the Defence Research and
Hardship may push people into making drugs for a living: UNODC
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in its 2020 World Drug Report, has highlighted a wide range of possible consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on illegal drug production, supply and consumption.
The report, released on Friday, expressed concern over the adverse impact of the economic hardship caused by the pandemic.
This could lead to an increase in the number of people resorting to illicit activities
Centre rolls out anti-drug plan in 272 vulnerable districts
An annual anti-drug action plan for 272 vulnerable districts was launched by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on Friday, the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
The ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat’, or drug-free India campaign will focus not just on institutional support but also on community outreach programmes in the districts identified in coordination with the Narcotics Control Bureau,
World Economic Outlook
WEO is a survey by the IMF that is usually published twice a year in the months of April and October. It analyzes and predicts global economic developments during the near and medium term. In response to the growing demand for more frequent forecast updates, the WEO Update is published in January and July between the two main WEO publications released usually in April and October.
WEO update has projected a sharp contraction of 4.5 % in FY21, a st
Union Government has given approval to Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe). It will be the nodal national entity under the Department of Space to drive the building of satellites, rockets, or launch services through the Indian industry. It will provide a level playing field for private companies to use Indian space infrastructure. It will also hand-hold, promote and guide the private industries in space activities through encouraging policies and a fri
Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its nod to set up an Rs.15,000 crore Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund. The fund had been proposed as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat. Eligible beneficiaries under the scheme include the following with a minimum 10% margin money contribution by them,
Farmer producer organisations,
Section 8 companies,
Private companies and
Co-operative Banks under RBI
Recently, the Central government approved an ordinance to bring all urban and multi-state co-operative banks under the direct supervision of the RBI (PT). The decision comes after several instances of fraud and serious financial irregularities, including the major scam at the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank in 2019.
Till now, all the co-operative banks came under dual regulation of the RBI and the Registrar of Co-operative Societies.
Central Vista Project
Central Vista Committee is chaired by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) additional director general (works) under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. Central Vista's proposal for the CPWD is to construct a triangular Parliament building on the 10.5-acre plot adjacent to the existing heritage structure built in the 1920s. The project is estimated to cost? 922 crore.
It is a part of the larger revamps of the entire 3-km Central Vista f
Atma Nirbhar Uttar Pradesh Rojgar Abhiyan
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse impact on the workforce in general and migrant workers in particular.
A large number of migrant workers returned to several states. The challenge of containing Covid-19 was compounded by the need to provide basic amenities and means of livelihood to migrants and rural workers.
In order to generate employment with a thrust toward creating infrastructure in backward regions of the country, Garib Ka
eBloodServices Mobile App
Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare launched the ‘eBloodServices’ mobile App developed by The Indian Red Cross Society (ICRS), here today, through video conferencing.
The Union Health Minister is also the Chairman of the Indian Red Cross Society.
This application is developed by the E-Raktkosh team of the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) under the Digital India scheme launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi
KVIC launches Sandalwood and Bamboo plantation, a new initiative to spur monetization of its assets
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), in a first-of-its-kind initiative has begun exploring the untapped but highly profitable venture of sandalwood and bamboo tree plantation for monetization of its assets.
Seeking to encourage commercial plantation of sandalwood and bamboo, the KVIC has begun a drive with the plantation of 500 saplings each of sandalwood and bamboo at its
Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan
Through this scheme, Union Government plans to provide employment to migrant workers and create rural infrastructure. The scheme will be launched through video-conferencing from the village Telihar in the Khagaria district of Bihar.
Aim: The scheme will empower and provide livelihood opportunities to the returnee migrant workers and rural citizens who have returned to their home states due to the Covid-19 induced lockdown. This campaign will work in mission mod
A megalith is a large prehistoric stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. Cairn-circles are the prehistoric stone row which is a linear arrangement of parallel megalithic standing stones.
Recently, the State Department of Archaeology, Chennai has identified 250 cairn circles from the Kodumanal excavation site in Tamil Nadu. This is for the first time that 10 pots and bowls were discovered from the site, in
PM SVANidhi was launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, on June 01, 2020. Its objective is to provide affordable Working Capital loans to street vendors to resume their livelihoods that have been adversely affected due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Under the Scheme, the vendors can avail of a working capital loan of up to Rs. 10,000, which is repayable in monthly instalments over the tenure of one year. On timely/ early repayment of the loan, an interest subsidy @ 7%
Gee’s Golden Langur
Golden langurs can be most easily recognized by the colour of their fur, after which they are named. It has been noted that their fur changes colours according to the seasons as well as geography. The colour of the young also differs from adults in that they are almost pure white.
They are highly dependent on trees, living in the upper canopy of forests, they are also known as leaf monkeys. It is endemic to western Assam, India, and southern Bhutan.
Horse Shoe Crab
Horse Shoe Crab is a marine chelicerate arthropod living in shallow coastal waters on soft sandy or muddy bottom and spawns (release or deposit eggs) mostly on intertidal beaches at summer spring high tides. They have existed since the time of the dinosaurs and are important ecosystem engineers and predators of small organisms.
Their ecological function is to lay millions of eggs on beaches to feed shorebirds, fish and other wildlife. Their large hard shell serves as a
Product Application & Development Centre (PADC)
Product Application & Development Centre (PADC) is set up by Indian Oil at Paradip, Odisha.
PADC has been set up by IndianOil at Paradip with a CAPEX of Rs 43 crores, adjacent to its Refinery and Petrochemicals complex.
There are 4 laboratories in PADC namely Polymer Processing Lab, Analytical Testing Lab, Chemical Analysis Lab and Characterisation Lab.
The Technical centre is equipped with 50 latest sophisticated polymer testi
Kumbhar Sashaktikaran Yojana
It is an initiative of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for the empowerment of the potter community in the remotest of locations in the country. 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.
It provides the following support -
Training for advanced pottery products.
Latest, new technology pottery equipme
Rule of Law Index
It is released by the World Justice Project, an independent organisation.It is a quantitative assessment tool designed to offer a detailed and comprehensive picture of the extent to which countries adhere to the rule of law in practice. The World Justice Project defines the rule of law system as one in which the following four universal principles are upheld:
The government and its officials and agents are accountable under the law.
The laws are clear, publicized, st
Global Education Monitoring Report
It is an editorially independent, authoritative and evidence-based annual report published by UNESCO. Formerly known as the Education for All Global Monitoring Report. Its mandate is to monitor progress towards the education targets in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework.
It has also developed the World Inequality Database on Education (WIDE) to draw attention to the extremely high levels of education inequality across countri
Assam: Ambubachi Mela - Kamakhya temple
The annual Ambubachi Mela at the historic Kamakhya temple in Guwahati began. This year, however, the fair is being observed without devotees as only rituals will be performed in the temple till June 25. Kamakhya temple located atop of Nilachal Hills is one of 51 Shakti Peeths in the country.
The Ambubachi Mela, an annual fair held at Kamakhya temple, is the celebration of the annual menstruation course of goddess Maa Kamakhya. The meal usually st
Asian Development Outlook (ADO)
Asian Development Outlook (ADO) is a report released by Asian Development Bank. The ADO analyses economic and development issues in developing countries in Asia. This includes forecasting the inflation and growth rates of countries throughout the region, including China and India.
Highlights of the recent report are as follows
According to report the Indian economy is expected to contract by 4% during the current financial year (2020-21).
Krishi Vigyan Kendras
It is an integral part of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS).
It consists of scientists, technical staff, administrative support staff and auxiliary staff.
The first KVK was established in 1974 at Puducherry.
KVKs also produce quality technological products (seed, planting material, bio-agents, and livestock) and make it available to farmers.
The KVK scheme is 100% financed by the Government of India.
China’s Tariff Exemption to Bangladesh
Recently, China has announced tariff exemption for 97% of exports from Bangladesh. Bangladesh had requested China to exempt its export items from tariffs in the background of the economic hardship triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
China considered Bangladesh's request and has granted the tariff exemption to Bangladesh on account of its Least Developed Countries (LDCs) status. The move will help Bangladesh to remove the economic impact of t
Union Ministry of Mines has launched a portal "SATYABHAMA (Science and Technology Yojana for Atmanirbhar Bharat in Mining Advancement)".
Its aim is to promote research and development in the mining and minerals sector.
It has been launched to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the Science and Technology Programme Scheme.
Under the Science and Technology Programme Scheme, the Ministry of Mines promotes research in applied geosciences, mi
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a multilateral development bank with a mission to improve social and economic outcomes in Asia. Its HQ is in Beijing, China.
It is established by a multilateral treaty - AIIB Articles of Agreement. India joined AIIB in 2016 as a regional member of the Bank. Further, 14 of the G-20 nations are AIIB members including France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.
China is the largest shareholder i
ULV sprayer through drones
To overcome the limitation of importing equipment, the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare (DAC&FW), under the Make in India initiative, has taken up the challenge to indigenously develop a vehicle-mounted ULV sprayer for locust control.
What is ULV(Ultra-Low volume) sprayer?
Ultra-low volume application of pesticides has been defined as spraying at a Volume Application Rate (VAR) of less th
Government declares Minimum Support Price for Mature Dehusked Coconut
The government of India has declared Minimum Support Price for mature dehusked coconut for the season 2020 at Rs. 2700/- per quintal, thus hiking the MSP by 5.02% from Rs. 2571/- per quintal during the season 2019.
This decision has given utmost importance to the interests of farmers growing all kinds of crops throughout the country.
The hike in the MSP for mature dehusked coc
About YUKTI 1.0
Union Minister for HRD Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” has launched a web-portal YUKTI (Young India Combating COVID with Knowledge, Technology and Innovation) .
It’s a unique portal and dashboard to monitor and record the efforts and initiatives of MHRD.
The portal intends to cover the different dimensions of COVID-19 challenges in a very holistic and comprehensive way.
In the wake of COVID-19 threat, our primary aim is to keep o
International Comparison Program,2017
Purchasing Power Parities and the size of Indian Economy: Results from the 2017 International Comparison Program
The World Bank has released new Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs) for the reference year 2017, under the International Comparison Program (ICP), that adjusts for differences in the cost of living across economies of the World.
Globally 176 economies participated in the 2017 cycle of ICP.
International Comparison Program (ICP)
The NDRF was set up in accordance with Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. It is meant to “meet the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation” for any threatening disaster situation. Although Section 46 includes a clause regarding grants made by any person or institution, provisions for such donations had not been made.
Contribution to NDRF
Recently the Supreme Court sought a response from the Centre to a plea that contributions made to
Decarbonising Transport project by NITI Aayog
Decarbonising Transport: International Project to Develop Pathway to Low-CO2 Mobility for India
NITI Aayog in collaboration with International Transport Forum (ITF) will launch the “Decarbonising Transport in India” project on 24 June, with the intention to develop a pathway towards a low-carbon transport system for India.
India has been a member of ITF, an intergovernmental organisation for transport policy, since 2008.
Foldscope could be a better alternative to the clinical microscope
Foldscope is an affordable origami-based microscopy device composed of a series of paper clippings.
(Origami is the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures)
Upon assembly, the device can hold a specimen slide for observation, and this specimen can be viewed via a mobile phone camera attached to it.
Dr. Alka Rao‘s group at the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh, i
Study of optical properties of super-massive black-hole can provide a clue to emission mechanism from its close vicinity
Through 153 nights, 17 scientists from 9 countries in Europe and Asia including researchers from Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital, an autonomous institution of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India took 2263 image frames and observed the changes in a very high energy gamma-ray
Bum La Pass
The Bum La Pass is a mountain pass located at the Indo-China border above 15,200 ft above sea level, it is about 37 km away from Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. The road to Bum La is also a historical route, the People's Liberation Army of China invaded India during the 1962 Sino-Indian War.
In 2006, Bumla pass was re-opened to traders for the first time in 44 years. Traders from both sides of the pass were permitted to enter each other's territories, in addition to postal
Sharavathi Monkey Park
The Karnataka government has decided to develop a monkey park in the Shivamogga district. The monkey park will be established on the uninhabited islands in the Sharavathi backwaters region. The park will be the first such in the state and will be set up on 100 acres of land at the Nagavalli forest in Hosanagara taluk, Shivamogga district.
The proposed 100-acre monkey park will have fruit-bearing trees, water sources, and solar fence will be put up around the area to
The Indian Gaur or Bison (Bos gaurus) is the largest and the tallest in the family of wild cattle and is a grazing animal. It is categorized as vulnerable under IUCN Red List and protected under Wild Life Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I.
It is kept well and protected in some of the famous national parks of India like Nagarhole, Bandipur, Kabini and Masinagudi (Mudumalai). The destruction of the grasslands has led to the decline in the availability of food for these animals
Malabar Gliding Frog
Recently, a rare amphibian, Malabar Gliding Frog (Rhacophorus malabaricus) was spotted in Pullad, Kerala. In the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List it is placed in the Least Concern category. The amphibian is endemic to the rainforest of western ghats.
Endemic species are those plants and animals that exist only in one geographical region. It is a green frog with a slender body, webbed feet, unusual body positions and is very well camouf
Minks are small semi-aquatic mammals raised for their fur. Mink oil is used in some medical products and cosmetics, as well as to treat, preserve and waterproof leather.
There are two extant species referred to as "mink" - the American mink and the European mink. All European mink has a large white patch on their upper lip, whereas only some American mink have this marking, therefore, any mink without the patch is certainly of the American species.
Zoonosis is an infectious disease caused by a pathogen that has jumped from an animal to a human. When the pathogen is transmitted from humans to animals, it is known as reverse zoonosis.
The animal infected through the process may in turn re-transmit the infection to humans under some circumstances. Recently novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has begun infecting minks farms in the Netherlands.
It could largely have been transmitted through indirect routes such as through fee
National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP)
NIPFP is India’s premier economic think tank - a centre for research in public economics and policies, located in Delhi.
It is an autonomous body set up jointly by the Ministry of Finance, the erstwhile Planning Commission, and several state governments.
It was founded in 1976 and registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
It undertakes research, policy advocacy and capacity building in areas related to public
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 s
SCHEME FOR VOLUNTARY CERTIFICATION OF YOGA PROFESSIONALS
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, ide
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
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.
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.
Training for advanced pottery products
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
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 sta
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 Odis
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 re
IIT-Palakkad develops ultrasound for COVID-19 screening
The IIT, Palakkad, has developed an automated lung ultrasound (LUS) for COVID-19 screening and monitoring through a cloud-based image analysis and scoring system.
The app, the first of its kind in India, is now available for clinicians to perform automated analysis by just uploading the ultrasound video.
Motivated by the promising results that showed the relevance and importance of LUS in COVID-19 patients, the IIT team c
Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched massive employment -cum- rural public works Campaign named ‘Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan’ to empower and provide livelihood opportunities in areas/ villages witnessing a large number of returnee migrant workers affected by the devastating COVID-19.
Need for Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan
The Abhiyaan was flagged off from village Telihar, Block Beldaur, district Khagaria, Bihar on J
Antibodies against coronavirus start to decrease in 2-3 months, study finds
A few countries, including the U.K., were toying with the idea of issuing some form of a certificate to people who have been infected with novel coronavirus and recovered subsequently, as such people were assumed to be resistant to reinfection.
Now, a study published in Nature Medicine suggests that antibodies formed against SARS-CoV-2 begin to decrease in number, just two-three
Saturn’s moon Enceladus and Jupiter’s moon Europa are still interesting as candidates that may support life because scientists have spotted water plumes bursting from their icy shells.
NASA guesses that more than many exoplanets could be ‘water worlds’.
This includes some members of the Trappist-1 system which is 40 light years away.
Wild animals in urban clusters
During these days of lockdown across various parts of India, we see reports of ‘wild’ animals coming over to the cities, towns and urban clusters.
In Uttarakhand, an elephant was reported to come down unusually near Hari ki Pauri in Haridwar. A leopard was sighted in Almora. In Karnataka, elephants, spotted deer and sambar deer had transgressed into towns, while in Maharashtra, people spotted scores of civet cats, mongooses and porcu
Antibodies from convalescent plasma protect against COVID-19
A team of scientists led by Dennis R. Burton from the Scripps Research Institute has discovered that neutralising antibodies present in the blood of COVID-19 infected who have recovered offers powerful protection against novel coronavirus in animals.
Role for antibodies
The small animals that received high dose of antibodies did not lose weight and the amount of virus in the lungs was low compared with those that rece
A struggle to co-exist with humans
Today, the whopping 750 crores human population has made an impact on most flora and fauna.
Taking into consideration this lack of abatement in human population growth, an international team of researchers observes how these ecological disruptions affect the life of ungulates (hoofed large mammals).
The team notes that humans have brought about changes in the Himalayan realm – there is an increase in cashmere goats, and also, stray dogs have s
Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States.
Originating in Texas, it is now celebrated annually on the 19th of June throughout the United States, with varying official recognition.
Specifically, it commemorates Union army general Gordon Granger announcing federal orders in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, proclaiming that all slav
Acharya Shri Mahapragyaji
The Prime Minister paid tribute to Acharya Shri Mahapragyaji on the occasion of the seer’s birth centenary today.
About Shri Mahapragyaji
Acharya Shri Mahapragya(14 June 1920 – 9 May 2010) was the tenth head of the Svetambar Terapanth order of Jainism.
Mahapragya was a saint, yogi, spiritual leader, philosopher, author, orator, and poet.
He began his life of religious reflection and development as a Jain monk at the age of ten.
PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi)
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs and the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), in order to engage SIDBI as the Implementation Agency for PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) - a Special Micro-Credit Facility for Street Vendors.
SIDBI will implement the PM SVANidhi Scheme under the guidance of MoHUA.
It will also manage the credit
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati, in association with RR Animal Healthcare Ltd and Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), has developed low-cost diagnostic kits.
These are Viral Transport Media (VTM) kits, RT-PCR kits, and RNA isolation kits.
The VTM kits are the first-stop source used to collect nasal and oral swab specimens from an individual source to a laboratory safely for culture and testing.
During this period, the virus, if present, in the sampl
Sickle cell disease
Sickle cell disease is a group of disorders that affects haemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body.
People with this disorder have atypical haemoglobin molecules called haemoglobin S, which can distort red blood cells into a sickle, or crescent, shape.
Signs and symptoms of sickle cell disease usually begin in early childhood.
Characteristic features of this disorder include a low number of red blood cells (an
Skeletal remains of a child found in Tamil Nadu’s Keeladi
The skeletal remains of a child were excavated from Konthagai village, part of the sixth phase of ongoing excavations in the ancient site of Keeladi here on Friday.
The skeleton was found buried between two terracotta urns that were also found on the same day. It was 75 cm in height and was found 0.5 m below surface level.
Excavations are currently taking place at Keeladi, Konthagai, Manalur and Agaram villages in the
Glenmark gets nod for favipiravir
Mumbai-based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals said it has received approval from India’s drug regulator(CDSO) to manufacture and sell oral antiviral drug favipiravir (FabiFlu) for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients in India.
Favipiravir is the generic version of Japanese firm Fujifilm Toyoma Chemical Co’s Avigan.
Global Influenza Data Initiative (GISAID)
GISAID is a global science initiative and primary source for genomic data of influenza viruses and the novel coronavirus responsible for COVID-19.
It is headquartered in Munich, Germany.
It is a not-for-profit organisation.
Since its establishment in 2008, as an alternative to sharing avian influenza data via conventional public-domain archives.
GISAID differs from other genetic sequence databases like GenBank and EMBL primarily in that use
National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF)
National Disaster Response Fund is defined in Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (DM Act) as a fund managed by the Central Government to meet the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation due to any threatening disaster situation or disaster.
NDRF is constituted to supplement the funds of the State Disaster Response Funds (SDRF) of the states to facilitate immediate relief in case of calamities of a severe nature.
Eurasian Group (EAG)
The Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and financing of terrorism is a FATF-style regional body.
The EAG was established in 2004 and is currently an associate member of the FATF.
The EAG was created for the countries of the Eurasian region not included in the existing FATF-style regional groups and is intended to play an important role in reducing the threat of international terrorism and ensure the transparency, reliability and security of the financial
National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP)
The National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) is a centre for research in public economics and policies.
It is India’s premier economic think thank.
It is presently headed by Urjit Patel.
Founded in 1976, the institute undertakes research, policy advocacy and capacity building in areas related to public economics.
One of the major mandates of the institute is to assist the Central, State and Local governm
Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan
The government of India has decided to launch a massive rural public works scheme ‘Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan’to empower and provide livelihood opportunities to the returnee migrant workers and rural citizens.
PM Modi will launch this Abhiyaan on 20th June 2020.
The Abhiyaan will be launched from Village – Telihar, Khagaria District of Bihar.
The villages across 116 districts in the six States will join this programme through the Co
The Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurated and flagged off India’s first I-Lab (Infectious disease diagnostic lab) for Covid testing in rural and inaccessible areas of India.
Expressing his happiness to launch the I-Lab, an infectious disease diagnostic laboratory- a mobile testing facility, Dr Harsh Vardhan dedicated this facility to providing Covid testing access to ru
SERB-supported study shows that collapse of the respiratory center in the brain may cause the breakdown of COVID-19 patients
The team of researchers at CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB), Kolkata has explored the neuro-invasive potential of SARS-CoV-2 and suggested that the virus may infect respiratory centre of the brain and attention should be focused on the respiratory centre of the central nervous system to search for mortality due to COVID 19.
CSIR constituent lab CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute(CDRI) Lucknow, has received permission for carrying out Phase III randomised, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled trial of the efficacy, safety and tolerability of antiviral drug Umifenovir.
This drug has a good safety profile and acts by preventing the entry of viruses into human cells and also by priming the immune system.
Umifenovir is mainly used for the treatment of influenza an
An enterprise of DSIR, Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, NRDC Licenses NavRakshak PPE Suit Manufacturing Know-how to Five MSMEs Developed by Indian Navy
National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) has licensed the manufacturing know-how of a PPE Suit named as NavRakshak to five MSMEs to meet the ongoing country-wide demand for quality PPE kits.
These five manufacturers put together are planning to mass produce more than 10 million PPEs per year.
Tala Maddale, Tulu Yakshagana in Udupi
Tala-Maddale is an ancient form of performance dialogue or debate performance in Southern India in the Karavali and Malnad regions of Karnataka and Kerala.
The plot and content of the conversation are drawn from popular mythology but the performance mainly consists of an impromptu debate between characters involving sarcasm, puns, philosophical positions and humour.
The main plot is sung from the same oral texts used for the Yakshgana form of da
Yakshagana is a traditional theatre form that combines dance, music, dialogue, costume, make-up, and stage techniques with a unique style and form.
Yakshagana literally means the song (gana) of the yaksha (nature spirits).
It developed in Udupi, in the state of Karnataka. It is popular in the Karnataka districts of Dakshina Kannada, Kasaragod, Udupi, Uttara Kannada and Shimoga.
This folk art is believed to have originated somewhere between the 10th and 16th cent
Kodumanal reveals a megalithic belief in the afterlife
The Kodumanal excavation of 10 pots and bowls, instead of the usual three or four pots, placed outside three-chambered burial cists and inside the cairn circle, threw light on burial rituals and the concept of an afterlife in megalithic culture.
A team from the State Department of Archaeology, Chennai, led by J. Ranjith, Archaeology Officer and Project Director for the Kodumanal excavation, has identified 250 cairn c
While “megalith” is often used to describe a single piece of stone, it also can be used to denote one or more rocks hewn in definite shapes for special purposes.
It has been used to describe structures built by people from many parts of the world living in many different periods.
Types of Megalith structures
Menhir: Menhir is the name used in Western Europe for a single upright stone erected in prehistoric times; sometimes called a “stan
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) established in 1966 is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Based in Stockholm the Institute provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public.
Eight sovereign states have publ
New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation with the formal name of Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. It was signed in 2010 in Prague, and, after ratification entered into force in 2011, it is expected to last at least until 2021.
New START replaced the Treaty of Moscow (SORT), which was to expire in December 2012. It follows the START I treaty, whic
Committee to oversee Ownership of Private Banks
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted an internal working group to review the existing guidelines on ownership and corporate structure of private sector banks. The group will be headed by RBI executive director P.K. Mohanty.
The bank licensing rules mandated that a private bank’s promoter will need to pare holding to 40% within three years, 20% in 10 years and to 15% in 15 years.
The rules on promoter holding have changed ove
In April Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a notification which put on hold the implementation of certain rules of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex-Selection Rules) of 1996 till June 30, 2020.
One of the suspended provisions, Rule 8, is intrinsically connected with the statute’s provisions dealing with the mandatory registration of genetic counselling centres, laboratories and clinics, Non-compliance leads t
Guwahati - Urban Jungle
Assam State Zoo occupies 30 hectares of the 620-hectare Hengerabari Reserve Forest referred to as the city’s lungs. It has diverse fauna like the Chinese pangolin, Nepal cricket frog, Bengal monitor lizard, Assamese cat snake, Eurasian moorhen, Asian elephant, Terai cricket frog and Ganges river dolphin. By this Guwahati redefines the term “urban jungle” with 334 and counting free-ranging faunal species living in the green spaces within concrete struc
Mobile Payments Market Report
S&P Global Market Intelligence has launched the 2020 India Mobile Payments Market Report. According to the report, mobile payments and card transactions exceeded cash withdrawals from automated teller machines (ATMs) for the first time in 2019, indicating that the country’s push toward digital payments was bearing fruit.
The highlights of the report are as follows
Mobile payments, initiated by payment apps comprising account-to-account transfer
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Charter established six main organs of the United Nations, including the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Article 23 of the UN Charter concerns the composition of the UNSC. The UNSC has been given primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security to the Security Council, which may meet whenever peace is threatened. While other organs of the United Nations make recommendations to member states, only the Security Co
Nepal-Bharat Maitri is a development partnership initiated by India as a high-impact community development scheme.
This initiative is another milestone in strengthening cultural ties and people-to-people contacts between the two countries.
In 2018, Nepal-Bharat Maitri - Pashupati Dharmashala was inaugurated in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Recently, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed under Nepal-Bharat Maitri: Development Partnership, for the construction of a sa
Maramon Convention is Asia’s largest weeklong annual Christian meet. The convention is organized in the vast river bed of Pampa near the Kozhencherry Bridge.
The ongoing 123rd convention at Maramon, Pathanamthitta, Kerala began with a call to conserve the river Pampa and the environment.
Mudumalai Tiger Reserve
Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) is situated at the tri-junction of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.
The reserve straddles the Ooty -Mysore interstate national highway.
It is contiguous with Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary on the west, and Bandipur Tiger Reserve on the north.
The Moyar river flows downstream into the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and is the natural line of division between Mu
Wetlands International coordinates the International Waterbird census of which the Asian Waterbird census is an integral part. It is a global not-for-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of wetlands.
It is one of the International Partner Organizations of the Ramsar Convention. It was formerly known as International Waterfowl & Wetlands Research Bureau (IWRB) and its scope included the protection of wetland areas.
Senior Citizen’s Welfare Fund
Insurance regulator IRDA has asked all insurers to transfer the deposits of policyholders that have been laying unclaimed for over 10 years to the Senior citizen’s welfare fund. The corpus of the Senior Citizens Welfare Fund comprises any credit balance in any of the accounts under the small savings like Post Office Saving Schemes, Banks, etc. remaining unclaimed for 7 years from the date of declaration as an inoperative account. The nodal Ministry fo
Strategic Petroleum Reserves
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) will send ships carrying crude oil to fill half of the 1.5 million tonne strategic oil reserves India has built at Mangaluru. Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd has built 5.33 million tonnes of strategic crude oil storage at three locations — Padur (Kerala) and Mangaluru on the western coast and Visakhapatnam on the eastern coast The oil stored in the underground rock caverns at the three locati
School children in the United States experience exotic field trips through virtual reality headsets. The definition of ‘virtual’ is near and reality is what we experience as human beings. So the term ‘virtual reality basically means ‘near-reality’.
Assessment of OIL well blowout impact on the environment begins
A team of The Energy and Research Institute (TERI) and an accredited private agency have begun assessing the impact on the environment around the Baghjan natural gas well that caught fire after a blowout, Oil India Limited (OIL) officials said on Wednesday.
The well in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district adjoins the sensitive Maguri-Motapung wetland and is close to the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park that houses some wild h
ICMR RECOMMENDS THE USE OF A RAPID ANTIGEN TEST KIT ALONG WITH AN RT-PCR TEST FOR THE DIAGNOSIS OF COVID TEST
Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR has recommended the use of rapid antigen test kits for diagnosis of COVID-19 in containment zones and healthcare settings in combination with the RT-PCR test.
The kits will allow faster diagnosis without laboratory examination. The rapid antigen test kit is a rapid chromatographic immunoassay for the qualitative detection of specific an
Fit INDIA TO launch special films promoting 10 indigenous sports of India under the Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat program
Sports Ministry’s flagship programme Fit India is joining hands with the Department of School Education and Literacy, to launch a series of special films promoting 10 indigenous sports of India under the Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat initiative.
The series is aimed at creating awareness about not just the indigenous games but also the culture and heritage of t
The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes the initial clinical trial results from the United Kingdom (UK) that show dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, can be lifesaving for patients who are critically ill with COVID-19.
For patients on ventilators, the treatment was shown to reduce mortality by about one-third, and for patients requiring only oxygen, mortality was cut by about one-fifth, according to preliminary findings shared with WHO.
National Productivity Day
The National Productivity Council is observed 12th of February as National Productivity Day and till the 18th of February as National Productivity Week. "Industry 4.0 Leapfrog Opportunity for India” is the theme of the National Productivity Week -2018. Industry 4.0 is characterized by the increasing digitization and interconnection of products, value chains and business models.
National Productivity Council (NPC)
NPC is a mission-oriented a
Wakhan corridor is a narrow strip of inhospitable and barely accessible land in Afghanistan bordered by the mountains of Tajikistan and Pakistan, and extending all the way to China.
The corridor is also known by its Persian name Bam-e-Dunya, or “roof of the world”
The area is populated by the Wakhins who are the members of a nomadic tribe in the region.
Created in the 19th century as a Great Game buffe
Pradhan Mantri LPG Panchayat
The LPG Panchayat, which was launched in Gandhinagar last year, is aimed at driving rural households to adopt Liquefied Petroleum Gas. Now, the President is planning to conduct one in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
As a part of it, over 100 beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), from 20 states will share their experiences of how the clean cooking fuel has changed their lives, in the presence of the President. After the launch of the PMUY, LPG consumpti
Russian authorities have demanded over $20 million for rectifying the damage suffered by the nuclear submarine INS Chakra. INS Chakra is a Russia-made, nuclear-propelled, hunter-killer Akula class submarine.
INS Chakra is one of the quietest nuclear submarines around, with noise levels next to zero. INS Chakra has been taken on lease from Russia for 10 years and would provide the Navy the opportunity to train personnel and operate such nuclear-powered vessels. The INS Chakra joi
India Health Fund
The India Health Fund (IHF) is an initiative by Tata Trusts, in collaboration with the Global Fund. It is to financially support innovations and technologies designed to combat tuberculosis and malaria. The IHF aims to support new products and strategies that impact the entire lifecycle of TB and malaria, from prevention to post-cure recovery.
The funds will support the long-term exercise aligned with the country’s goal of eliminating TB by 2025 and malaria by
Human Egg has grown to maturity in lab
Scientists have succeeded for the first time in growing human eggs in a laboratory from the earliest stages in ovarian tissue all the way to full maturity. It is the first-time human egg that was developed outside the human body.
If the success rate and safety measures are improved, the process may help in preserving the fertility of cancer patients, improve fertility treatments, and deepening scientific understanding of the biology of the e
Changing the definition of MSME
The government is changing the criteria to define micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), to make these in sync with the goods and services tax (GST) regime. The earlier classification was based on the investment in plant and machinery in the case of goods companies and in equipment in the case of service companies.
The new classification is based on annual turnover.
Panel on Cryptocurrency
The panel on cryptocurrency, headed by Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Garg, is expected to submit its report. The panel was set up in 2017 to study the impact of cryptocurrencies and come up with recommendations to regulate them. In his budget speech Finance minister said that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender. However, the Centre will explore the uses of blockchain technology, the encrypted data structure on which cryptocurrencies are built.
Microsoft HoloLens-Augmented Reality
Augmented reality headsets -HoloLens can help doctors ‘see through’ organs and tissues in the operating theatre. The advancement improves the outcome of reconstructive surgery for patients.
The approach can help surgeons locate and reconnect key blood vessels during reconstructive surgery, which could improve outcomes for patients. Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment
Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) launched the e-Office application in over 500 CGST and Customs offices across India here today.
Over 50,000 officers and staff will use this application making CBIC one of the largest Government departments to automate its internal office procedures.
The launch of e-Office marks a fundamental change in internal office procedures which is so far based on manual handling of files and paper movement.
The CBIC expects e-Office
Indian Gas Exchange (IGX)
Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan launched the Indian Gas Exchange (IGX), the first nationwide online delivery-based gas trading platform, in an e-ceremony today.
About Indian Gas Exchange (IGX)
IGX will be a delivery-based trading platform for the delivery of natural Gas.
Incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary of IEX - India’s energy market platform, IGX will enable m
HIL (India) Limited, a PSU under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and one of the leading manufacturers of insecticides in the country has supplied 25MT Malathion 95% ULV to Iran under the Government-to-Government initiative for Locust Control Programme.
As per the reports of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the hopper stage population of locust is building up in Sistan-Baluchistan Region of Iran, which shall migrate to India in the coming m
The Marginal Cost of Funds-based Lending Rate (MCLR) refers to the minimum interest rate of a bank below which it cannot lend. The MCLR was introduced in April 2016, replacing the existing base rate system.
Reserve Bank of India will link the base rate with the Marginal Cost of Funds based on Lending Rates (MCLR). RBI decided to shift from base rate to MCLR because the rates based on marginal cost of funds are more sensitive to changes in the policy rates.
Railway development Authority
Rail Development Authority will help the Indian Railways take decisions on pricing of services, consumer interests, generating revenue and competition. The government has approved the formation of a Rail Development Authority (RDA) comprising a Chairman and three Members.
The objective underlying RDA is to get expert advice/make an informed decision on
Pricing of services commensurate with costs.
Suggest measures for enhancement of Non-Fare Revenue.
Minamata Convention on mercury
The Union Cabinet approved the proposal for ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury in 2018. The Convention protects the most vulnerable from the harmful effects of mercury and also protects the developmental space of developing countries. The objective of the convention’s implementation is to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. The Convention is named after the Jap
Falcon Heavy is a reusable super heavy-lift launch vehicle designed and manufactured by SpaceX, a private American aerospace manufacturer. Its first test flight carrying a red sports car was successfully launched from a Florida pad used by NASA.
It is the most powerful operational rocket in the world. It can lift about twice the payload at one-third of the cost of the Delta 4 rocket which was the most powerful rocket till now. This lifting ca
The rising tourist arrival to Galapagos Island puts pressure on the fragile volcanic archipelago. The Galapagos Islands, part of the Republic of Ecuador, are distributed on either side of the Equator in the Pacific Ocean surrounding the centre of the Western Hemisphere.
The island-inspired Charles Darwin’s Theory of evolution and was his field of study. The Islands and their surrounding waters form the Galapagos Province of Ecuador, the Galapagos
Prime Minister’s Research fellow scheme
‘Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF)’ scheme aims to improve the quality of research by attracting the best talents across the country. Under this scheme, the best students who have completed or are in the final year of B.Tech or integrated M.Tech or M.Sc in science and technology streams in the IISc/IITs/NITs/IISERs/IIITs will be offered direct admission in the PhD programme in the IITs/IISc.
The fellowship scheme
Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme- DHRUV
Recently, the Union Human Resource Development Minister launched the Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme named ‘DHRUV’.
The objective of the Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme is to encourage talented students to realize their full potential and henceforth, contribute to society.
The programme is named DHRUV after the Pole Star with the same name. Every student selected under th
It is an extremely rare fish species, recently discovered by a team of experienced divers and diving instructors near Vizag. It is recognised as a critically endangered species by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).
It is considered to be the keystone species of an ecosystem and is entirely protected from harvest in the U.S. It is usually found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It is regionally abundant near Vish
International Yoga day is to be celebrated through a digital platform this time
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's International Yoga Day on the 21st of June will be celebrated on digital media platforms and there would be no mass gatherings. This year's theme is 'Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family'.
Ministry of Ayush has also appealed to the people to join the world for the Yoga performance on the occasion of the 6th International Day of Yoga on 21st J
Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region
The Indian Navy set up the IFC-IOR in December 2018 within the premises of the Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram to track maritime movements in the region. IMAC is located in Gurugram and is the main centre of the Indian Navy for coastal surveillance and monitoring. IMAC is a joint initiative of the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Bharat Electronics Ltd and functio
Great Oxidation Event (GOE)
The atmosphere of early Earth contained little molecular oxygen. A significant increase in oxygen occurred ca. 2.4–2.0 billion years ago in what is called the Great Oxidation Event (GOE).
A large positive excursion in carbon isotopic composition in sedimentary carbonates is known to have occurred 2.2–2.0 billion years ago (the Lomagundi-Jatuli event), which provides evidence for an enhanced rate of organic carbon burial, i.e., enhanced net product
2 rare aquatic creatures officially called proteus or olms, also known as baby dragons, are going on display in the aquarium at Slovenia’s Postojna Cave.
The Olms have pale pink skin, no eyesight, a long thin body and 4 legs.
They live only in the waters of dark caves of the Southern European Karst region.
National Adaptation fund for climate change
The National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) is a Central Sector Scheme setup in 2015-16. The overall aim of NAFCC is to support concrete adaptation activities which mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is the National Implementing Entity (NIE). The Scheme has been designed to fulfill objectives of National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and operationalize S
Digital Gender Atlas
Digital Gender Atlas has been developed to identify the low-performing geographic pockets for girls, on specific gender-related education indicators. The Pockets are particularly from marginalized groups such as scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and Muslim minorities.
The Atlas is placed on the MHRD website and is available and ready to use by States/Districts/Blocks education administrators.
The Atlas is designed around the two broad areas of performance of girls&
Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched the ‘RashtriyaVayoshri Yojana (RVY)'. Its objective is to provide senior citizens belonging to the BPL category, who suffer from age-related disabilities, with physical aids and assisted living devices which can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions. The Scheme is entirely funded by the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund (SCWF). Under the Scheme, assisted living devices such as walk
Pradhan Mantri VayaVandhanaYojana
This scheme deals with a senior citizen insurance scheme which promises the assured annual return of 8% for 10 years. The insurance is sold by Life Insurance of India for the citizens. The Minimum age of entry is 60 years of age with no maximum limit.
The Union Cabinet has extended Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) for a period of three years. This social security scheme for senior citizens will now be valid till
Gujarat and the Centre are jointly developing the historical and ancient town of Vadnagar as a major tourist hub. The projects cover Vadnagar’s famous Kirti Toran, Sharmishtha lake, Hatkeshwar Temple and archaeological sites.
The town full is of sites that are related to Hinduism and Buddhism. The famous Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang visited the place around AD 640 and referred to it as Anandpur. It is also the birthplace of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Udayagiri caves, in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, contain some of the oldest Hindu temples and iconography, related to Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Shaktism. They were built during the Gupta period (350-550 CE). Though it is present north of the Tropic of Cancer, it is believed that historically, on the day of the summer solstice, the sun was directly overhead in this place, making Udhyagiri (Mount of sunrise) a place of worship.
It also houses some important Gupta age inscript
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) is a public interest research and advocacy organization based in New Delhi. The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has been ranked the top environment policy think tank in India and 16th at the global level. The rank was given by The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) of the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. CSE publishes the fortnightly Magazine ‘Down to Earth
World ocean day
In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly decided to designate 8 June as World Oceans Day.
Many countries have celebrated World Oceans Day following the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, which was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
The theme of World Oceans Day 2020 is “Innovation for a sustainable ocean”
In his message on World Ocean Day, Minister for Environment and Forest Prakash Javadekar said, land divides you and Ocean unites yo
Global Terrorism Index
The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) is a report published annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). Two third of the countries experienced a terrorist attack in 2016.
India is one of the ten most impacted countries by terrorism. Five countries account for three-quarters of all deaths from terrorism: Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria and Pakistan. The major reason for terrorism in most impacted countries is internal conflict.
Task force on artificial intelligence
The Department of Defence Production constituted a task force headed by Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran to study the use of artificial intelligence.
It has the potential to provide military superiority apart from driving technology-driven economic growth. Similarly, in 2017, the then Commerce and Industry minister constituted the ‘Taskforce on AI for India’s Economic Transformation’ chaired by V. Kamakoti of IIT Madras.
National River Conservation Plan
Under the National River Conservation Plan the river Sal project in Goa was sanctioned by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change. The aim of the plan is to prevent the pollution of rivers and improving water quality.
The activities under the National River Conservation Plan include following
Sewage treatment plants for treating the diverted sewage.
Low-cost sanitation works to prevent open defecation on riverbanks.
Sheen Khalai (Blue Skin)
It is an Afghan community in India who fled with their families from the tribal areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan during the Partition in 1947. The women are part of a community of Pushtun Hindus that lived in the Baloch areas and belong to the Kakari tribes still living in afghan.
Pashtuns are an Iranic ethnic group that mainly lives in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They speak the Pashto language and adhere to Pashtunwali, which is a traditional set of
India’s first sentiment index for micro and small enterprises ( MSEs) was developed jointly by CRISIL & SIDBI here today. CriSidEx is a composite index measuring MSE business sentiment. Its readings will flag potential headwinds and changes in production cycles and thus help improve market efficiencies.
Rabi Crops Sowing
The area under the sowing reached 324 lakh hectares. The word ‘rabi’ in Arabic means winter. Rabi crops are sown in winter from October to December and harvested in summer from April to June.
Some of the important rabi crops are wheat, barley, peas, gram and mustard. Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh are important for the production of rabi crops. Western temperate cyclones during winter provide the precip
FSSAI for Nutritional and Safe Food
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has developed science-based standards for various categories of food products to ensure the availability of safe and wholesome food in the country.
FSSAI has introduced +F Logo for fortified foods.
To promote awareness among consumers on Nutrition, mandatory labelling requirements for pre-packaged foods are prescribed. FSSAI has also undertaken the ‘Safe and Nutritious Food
Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI)
IWAI signed a project agreement with the world bank for the Jal Marg Vikas on Ganga (NW1). They IWAIcame into existence for the development and regulation of inland waterways for shipping and navigation.
Functions of IWAI with respect to National Waterways
Navigation, Infrastructure and Regulations
Coordination of IWT with other modes
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World Wetlands Day
February 2nd of every year is celebrated as world wetlands day, marking the adoption of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The MoEF&CC in collaboration with the Department of Forests, Assam government is organizing the national-level celebration of World Wetlands Day (WWD) at DeeporBeel, a Ramsar Site in Guwahati, Assam. The theme ‘Wetlands for a sustainable urban future’ marks the role of healthy wetlands play in making cities and towns liveable.
Shigmo is the traditional spring festival celebrated by farmers in rural Goa. It is an annual float parade held in major cities of the state.
The Goan folk art such as GhodeModni, Goff, and Fugdi is performed. It was traditionally celebrated as the homecoming of the warriors who had left their homes and families at the end of Dusshera to fight invaders.
The study of over 7,200 stone artefacts collected from the archaeological site at Attirampakkam in the Kortallayar river basin (Tamilnadu) throws light on the transition period from the lower to middle Paleolithic period
The Paleolithic/Old stone age period extends from 2.6 million years ago to 10000 BC. The period is divided into Lower, Middle and Upper phases
Medaram Jatara is a festival of tribal origin in Telangana. It is a festival of honouring the goddesses Sarakka celebrated in the state of Telangana.
The festival is held every two years in Medaram Village in the heart of the thick forests of Jayashankar Bhupalpally district.
The festival honours tribal folk goddesses Sammakka and Saralamma. It has become a major pilgrimage in the recent decade and is believed to attract the largest number of devotees in the country after
Scientists at The Institute of Mathematical Sciences have figured out a way to computationally estimate whether a language is written from left to right or otherwise.
As a part of the study, they found that the Indus script was written from right to left. However, in some long seals, the Boustrophedon method of writing was adopted. Boustrophedon writing is the way of writing in the reverse direction in alternate lines.
Res extra commercium
It is a Latin phrase meaning ‘outside commerce’. The doctrine dates back to the Roman period. If applied, the doctrine gives authorities more leeway to impose restrictions. e.g The Supreme Court’s application of the doctrine to alcohol in the 1970s paved the way for at least two Indian states to ban it completely and allowed courts to take a stricter stance while regulating liquor.
The Indian government is now pushing the Supreme Court to use this doc
Super Blood Blue Moon
“Super Blood Blue Moon” is a rare cosmic event that combines an extra big Super moon, a Blue moon and a total lunar eclipse.
Super moon – It occurs when the full moon coincides with the Moon’s closest orbit point (perigee) to Earth. During a super moon, the moon appears 14% larger and 30% brighter. The farthest distance between the moon and the Earth is termed ‘apogee’, while the perigee is the nearest point.
Meghadootam (meaning cloud messenger) is a lyric love poem composed by Kalidasa in the 5th century AD. The poem recounts the expression of love by Yaksha to his wife at Alaska, Mt. Kailash through the cloud as a messenger.
Most of the poem consists of a description of the landmarks, cities, and sights on the cloud’s journey to Alaska. Chhattisgarh state artists performing dance based on Meghadootam on Republic day won a prize in the best tableau category.
VINBAX is the military exercise between the armies of India and Vietnam. It is the first-ever such exercise boosting defence ties between the two countries.
It is going to be held in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. The joint exercise has been specially designed to enable and train officers from Vietnam in United Nations Peace Keeping Operations.
India – Vietnam relations
India and Vietnam signed a protocol on defence cooperation in 1994.
The partnership was therea
Udangudi Power Project
Coal-based supercritical Udangudi thermal power project is set to come up in the Thoothukudi district of southern Tamil Nadu. BHEL and the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) signed an MoU to develop this power project in 2007. The estimated Rs.100-billion project is to be funded by Rural Electrification Corporation (REC).
Asia’s largest drip irrigation project
Ramphal Marola project in Karnataka is Asia’s largest drip irrigation project implemented with the help of technology from Israeli firm. As a part of this drip irrigation scheme, every farmer will receive water through a cylinder installed in their respective farmlands.
It also enables them to mix fertilisers and pesticides in the cylinder. The technology used in this project will also purify the wastage that flows in the backwaters of Riv
Mihir (meaning ‘Sun’), a High-Performance Computer (HPC) System has been installed at the National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF). This HPC facility will be India’s largest HPC facility in terms of peak capacity and performance.
The new HPC facility is expected to improve the following services:
Weather forecasts for predicting extreme weather events.
High-resolution seasonal/extended range forecasts of active/break spells of Monsoon.
It is a vulnerable and little-known carnivorous animal which is endemic to the Western Ghats. Nilgiri Marten looks like a civet or a mongoose and it prefers higher altitudes. The present global population of the Nilgiri Marten is estimated below 1000.
The animal is placed in schedule 2 of part 2 of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. Recent studies show that Nilgiri marten is thriving in the Pampadum Shola National Park located on the southern portion of Western Ghats
Zero budget natural farming project
To promote organic farming Himachal Pradesh has launched the Zero Budget Natural Farming project. Zero-budget farming is a natural farming technique that uses biological pesticides instead of chemical-based fertilizers. In this method, the cost of growing and harvesting plants is zero, which makes it highly beneficial for farmers.
Prevention of Atrocities acts
Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 is an act of parliament. It falls within the provisions of Article 17 of the constitution, enacted for preventing atrocities against members of SC/ST
It also provides special courts for the trial of such offences as well as relief and rehabilitation of the victims of atrocities. The PoA Act extends to the whole of India except Jammu & Kashmir, and responsibility for its im
Guru Ravidas was a North Indian mystic poet-saint of the bhakti movement believed to be born in Varanasi. He taught the removal of social divisions of caste and gender and promoted unity in the pursuit of personal spiritual freedoms.
He founded the 21st-century Ravidassia religion, by a group who previously were associated with Sikhism. He is devoted as a guru in the regions of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
Prime Minister Addresses the virtual Global Vaccine Summit 2020. India has today pledged 15 Million US Dollars to Gavi, the international vaccine alliance.
GAVI(Global Vaccine Summit)
The virtual Global Vaccine Summit was hosted by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in which over 50? countries - business leaders, UN agencies, civil society, government ministers, Heads of State and country leaders participated.
India’s civilization teaches us to see the
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships
MARPOL is one of the most significant international marine environmental conventions.
The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is the main international convention covering the prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.
The MARPOL Convention was adopted on 2 November 1973 at IMO. The Protocol of 1978 was adop
World Environment Day
World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5 every year to spread awareness, and encourage people to take steps to protect the environment across more than 150 countries.
This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this day will be celebrated via its first-ever online campaign. Even though the day might be subtle in exposure as compared to previous years, digital celebrations will not lessen its significance.
World Environment Day 2020 theme
The theme f
The Urban Learning Internship Program (TULIP)
Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have jointly launched an online portal for `The Urban Learning Internship Program (TULIP)’ - A program for providing internship opportunities to fresh graduates in all Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and Smart Cities across the country.
About The Urban Learning Internship Program (TULIP)
Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port
Kolkata Port is renamed Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port.
The Board of Trustees of Kolkata Port Trust in its Meeting held on 25th February 2020 has also passed a Resolution to rename Kolkata Port as Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port.
The Kolkata Port is the first Major Port as well as the only riverine port of the country.
It came to be governed by a Trust on 17th October, 1870 on appointment of the Commissioners for Improvement of the Port
SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support)
With the aim of making the best of our skilled workforce returning to the country due to the ongoing pandemic, the Government of India has launched a new initiative SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support) to conduct a skill mapping exercise for the returning citizens under the Vande Bharat Mission.
This is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, the Ministry
Expansion of Ameri Ice Shelf (AIS)
The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) predicts that there would be a 24% increase in the expansion of Ameri Ice Shelf (AIS) boundaries by 2021 and another 24% expansion by 2026 from its 2016 positions.
The floating sheets of ice called the ice shelves play a multi-faceted role in maintaining the stability of a glacier.
Ice shelves connect a glacier to the landmass.
The ice sheet mass balance, sea stratification, and bottom
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today launched the technology platform CHAMPIONS which stands for Creation and Harmonious Application of Modern Processes for Increasing the Output and National Strength.
As the name suggests, the portal is basically for making the smaller units big by solving their grievances, encouraging, supporting, helping and handholding.
It is a real one-stop-shop solution for the MSME Ministry.
This ICT-based system is set up to help the
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a disinfection unit named Ultra Swachh to disinfect a wide range of materials, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), electronics items, fabrics, etc.
Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences (INMAS), the Delhi-based laboratory of DRDO has developed this product with industry partner M/s Gel Craft Healthcare Private Ltd, Ghaziabad.
The system uses an advanced oxidative process comp
Section 153 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951
The Election Commission of India announced elections to the Council of States to fill 55 seats of Members from 17 States, retiring in the month of April 2020.
Section 153 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 specifies that the Election Commission for reasons which it considers sufficient may extend the time for the completion of any election by making necessary amendments in the notification issued by it under secti
Pradhan Mantri Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi Scheme
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs launched a micro-credit scheme for street vendors, which was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on May 14 as a part of the economic package for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
The Pradhan Mantri Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi Scheme is aimed at benefiting over 50 lakh vendors who had their businesses operational on or before March 24.
Russia will start giving its first drug approved to treat COVID-19 to patients next week, its state financial backer said, a move it hopes will ease strains on the health system.
Russian hospitals can begin giving the antiviral drug, which is registered under the name Avifavir, to patients from June 11.
Avifavir, known generically as favipiravir, was first developed in the late 1990s by a Japanese company later bought by Fujifilm as it moved into healthcare.
RDIF head Kirill
Social stock exchange (SSE)
A working group constituted by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on social stock exchanges has recommended allowing non-profit organisations to directly list on such platforms while allowing certain tax incentives to encourage participation on the platform.
The idea of a social stock exchange (SSE) for a listing of social enterprises and voluntary organisations was mooted by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the Union B
Operation Parakram, launched in the wake of December 13, 2001, terrorist attack on Parliament, was the first full-scale mobilisation since the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
It began on December 15, 2001 after the Cabinet Committee on Security's (CCS) decision and was completed on January 3, 2002.
Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM)
Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) is a military award of India.
It was constituted in 1960 and since then till date, it is awarded in recognition to peace-time service of the most exceptional order and may be awarded posthumously.
All ranks of the Indian Armed Forces including Territorial Army, Auxiliary and Reserve Forces, Nursing officers and other members of the Nursing services and other lawfully constituted Armed Forces are eligible for the award.
Stree Swabhiman is an initiative under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for women’s health and hygiene.
It aims to create a sustainable model for providing adolescent girls and women access to affordable sanitary products by leveraging Common Service Centres (CSCs) established under digital India. The initiative is driven by awareness and personalised outreach by women entrepreneurs who produce and market sanitary napkins themselves.
Indian Tsunami Early Warning System (ITEWS) is established by Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), under the ministry of earth sciences. The ITEWS comprises a real-time network of seismic stations, tsunami buoys and tide gauges to detect tsunami genic earthquakes and to monitor tsunamis.
It detects globally occurring earthquakes of 5 magnitudes and above within 5-10 minutes of the event. The system is capable of displaying ticket messages related to tsunami
Project Sunrise was launched in 2015, by the union government to tackle the increasing HIV prevalence in the North-Eastern states. It aims to provide treatment and care facilities free of cost for people living with HIV/AIDS and create more awareness about the disease in these N-E states.
The project is a five-year programme (2015-2020) aimed at complementing the ongoing National AIDS Control Programme (NACP). The project has been sponsored by the US-based Centre for Diseas