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Prelims bits

Prelims Bits (3rd Week)

Environment and Ecology:

India’s 51st Tiger Reserve to come up in Meghamalai – Know all about it 

  • Context: The 51st Tiger Reserve in the country will come up in Meghamalai on Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. This forest region is the continuation of Periyar Tiger
  • About: The new tiger reserve is formed by combining the Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary and Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary. The forest department has found presence of 14 tigers in the area. With the opening of the new tiger reserve, Tamil Nadu will get a new opportunity in wildlife tourism.
  • The Meghamalai is located in Theni and Madurai districts the new Tiger Reserve is situated in an area of 1016.57 square kilometres which shares borders with Kerala. Among this, 641.86 square kilometres is core area of the reserve and 374.70 square kilometres is its buffer zone

One Horned Rhino Conservation efforts in India explained – Facts about Greater One Horned Rhino

  • Context: One Horned Rhino Conservation efforts in India
  • About: The biggest threat that Greater one-horned rhinos face is human harassment and encroachment.
  • For centuries, rhinos have been hunted for sport and for their horn. In the early 19th century, the Greater one-horned rhino was almost hunted to extinction.
  • The remaining animals were only found in protected reserves, where, under the monitoring of certain organisations, populations are currently being brought back from the edge of extinction.
  • With strict protection from Indian and Nepalese wildlife authorities, Greater one-horned rhino numbers have recovered from under 200 last century to around 3,580 today. However, poaching has remained high, and the success is precarious without continued and increased support for conservation efforts in India and Nepal.


Types of Motions in Indian Parliament – Substantive Motion, Substitute Motion, Subsidiary Motion

  • Context: Motions in Parliament
  • About: Motions and resolutions are procedural devices to raise a discussion in the House on a matter of general public interest. Motions can be classified under the following categories, namely:
  • Substantive Motions- A substantive motion is a self-contained, independent proposal submitted for the approval of the House and drafted in such a way as to be capable of expressing a decision of the House, e.g. all resolutions are substantive motions.
  • Substitute Motions- Motions moved in substitution of the original motion for taking into consideration a policy or situation or statement or any other matter are called substitute motions.
  • Subsidiary Motions- They depend upon or relate to other motion or follow upon some proceedings in the House. They by themselves have no meaning and are not capable of stating the decision of the House without reference to the original motion or proceedings of the House


RBI Currency Strategy explained – Why India is flooded with foreign funds? 

  • Context: RBI’s currency strategy
  • About: The Reserve Bank of India’s strategy to shift some of its currency intervention to the forwards market is adding to its problems.
  • Its balancing act to keep the rupee stable amid heavy foreign inflows while also keeping excess liquidity in check is flooding the market with more foreign funds, prompting a vicious cycle of interventions
  • The RBI’s outstanding forwards book grew to $28.3 billion as of November from a negative $4.9 billion in the fiscal year 2019-20, highlighting the extent of its operations.
  • That’s pushed the 12-month implied yields, which typically reflect the interest rate differential between India and U.S., to the highest in more than four years, fueling further inflows.
  • The RBI’s currency intervention works like this — it buys dollars in the spot market to prevent sharp gains in the rupee.
  • It then sells these dollars in the forwards market to offset the liquidity impact.
  • In currency markets, the spot rate, as in most markets, refers to the immediate exchange rate.
  • The forward rate, on the other hand, refers to the future exchange rate agreed upon in forward contracts.
  • For example, if an Indian electronics manufacturer has a large order to be shipped to America in one year, and expects the U.S. dollar to be much weaker by that time, it might be able to transact a currency forward to lock in a more favorable exchange rate.
  • What is the problem if more funds are coming?
  • First of all these are not productive funds and are here for short term.
  • Second, the increase in yield will lead to increase in interest rate which is not good for growth.


Andhra Pradesh Odisha Border Dispute – History of Andhra Odisha inter-state border demarcation

  • Context: The Andhra Pradesh-Odisha dispute over 21 border villages
  • About: Andhra Pradesh held panchayat elections in three villages in the Kotia cluster, which is at the centre of a dispute between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
  • Odisha was carved out of the Bengal-Bihar-Odisha province on 1st April, 1936, but the inter-state border disputes continue even today.
  • Odisha continues to have unresolved border disputes with four neighbouring States in its 8 out of 30 districts.
  • 14 of the 30 districts share borders with Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. However, the disputes over Kotia villages in Koraput district bordering Andhra Pradesh is the only major border conflict.

Science and Technology:

Hope Mars Mission – UAE becomes 5th nation in the world to enter Mars orbit – Know all about HOPE

  • Context: UAE makes history hope probe enters Mars orbit
  • About: The United Arab Emirates is celebrating its first mission at Mars.
  • It has put a probe called Hope in orbit around the planet, making it only the fifth spacefaring entity to do so after the US, the Soviet Union, Europe and India.
  • What is the hope probe?
  • Hope was developed by UAE scientists in the US.
  • It was launched in July 2020 from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan aboard, a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ H-II A rocket and its launch became the 45th for H-II A.
  • Carrying three instruments, including a high-resolution camera and a spectrometer the spacecraft is on an orbital mission to collect data on, martian climate dynamics and help scientists understand why Mars’s atmosphere is decaying into space.
  • Hope is the UAE’s fourth space mission and first interplanetary. The previous three were all Earth-observation satellites.
  • Once it is successfully able to reach the planet, it will start orbiting the planet. Its overall mission life is one Martian year, which is about 687 days on Earth.
  • The mission is one of three launched to Mars from Earth in July. The other two — China’s Tianwen-1 dual orbiter-rover and Perseverance from NASA.
  • What is the objective of the mission?
  • The primary objective of the mission is to study Martian weather dynamics.
  • By correlating the lower atmosphere and upper atmosphere conditions, the probe will look into how weather changes the escape of hydrogen and oxygen into space.
  • By measuring how much hydrogen and oxygen is spilling into space, scientists will be able to look into why Mars lost so much of its early atmosphere and liquid water.
  • To set foot on mars
  • No human has set foot on Mars yet because the atmosphere on Mars is very thin, consisting of mostly carbon dioxide with no breathable oxygen, making it difficult for astronauts to survive there.
  • Further, the landscape of Mars is freezing, with no protection from the Sun’s radiation or passing dust storms.
  • Therefore, more research, technology and testing is required to be able to send humans to Mars. NASA plans to do so by the 2030s.

ISRO MapmyIndia join hands to provide Atmanirbhar mapping service – Google Earth to face tough rival:

  • Context: ISRO, MapmyIndia join hands to take on Google Earth
  • About: Indian Space Research Organisation and location and navigation technology solutions provider MapmyIndia announced an initiative to partner together, to offer India’s best, and fully indigenous, mapping portal and geospatial services.
  • It combines the power of MapmyIndia’s digital maps and technologies with ISRO’s catalogue of satellite imagery and earth observation data,
  • The Department of Space signed a memorandum of understanding MaymyIndia parent CEO Info Systems Pvt. Ltd.
  • Under the partnership, the combined geospatial expertise of the DoS and CE Info Systems would be leveraged through their respective Geoportals, according to Bengaluru headquartered ISRO.
  • The collaboration will enable them to jointly identify and build holistic geospatial solutions utilizing, the earth observation datasets, ‘NavIC’, Web Services and APIs (application programming interface) available in MapmyIndia, ‘Bhuvan’, ‘VEDAS’ and ‘MOSDAC’ geoportals.

International Relations:

Nord Stream 2 Pipeline between Russia and Germany – Why Nord Stream 2 is controversial? 

  • Context: In 2015, Gazprom and 5 other European energy firms decided to build Nord Stream 2, valued at around $11 billion.
  • About: The 1,200 km pipeline will run from Ust-Luga in Russia to Greifswald in Germany, and will carry 55 billion cubic metres of gas per year.
  • The under-construction pipeline will run along the already-completed Nord Stream 1 system, and the two together will supply an aggregate of 110 billion cubic metres of gas to Germany per year.
  • Nord Stream 2 has drawn criticism from the US, where both the Democratic and Republican parties believe that the project would increase Europe’s dependence on Russia for natural gas, thus boldening its President Vladimir Putin.
  • Currently, EU countries already rely on Russia for 40% of their gas needs. There is an existing land pipeline between Russia and Europe that runs through Ukraine, which feels that once Nord Storm 2 is completed, Russia could bypass the Ukrainian pipeline, and deprive the country of lucrative transit fees.


Cyber Crime Volunteers to fight Anti National Posts, Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre Project

  • Context: Govt starts cyber volunteer for ‘anti-national’ posts
  • About: IN A controversial move, the cybercrime cell of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has started a new programme under which, Citizens can participate as volunteers to identify, flag and report to the Government illegal and unlawful content, Including child pornography, rape, terrorism, radicalization and anti-national activities
  • Under this programme, the MHA’s Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) will act as a nodal point While volunteers can register themselves with their states or union territories to act as cyber volunteers.
  • The volunteers will be required to furnish personal details, including name, father’s name, mobile number and email address, although these will not be verified separately.
  • The MHA’s portal, where one can register as a cybercrime volunteer, specifies that, those who register cannot use this programme for any commercial gain or issue any public statement about their association.
  • Volunteers are also “prohibited from using the name or claiming association” with MHA on any public platform.
  • Citizens can register as cyber awareness promoters, too, to spread information about cybercrime in “vulnerable” groups such as women, children, elderly and those residing in rural areas.
  • The cybercrime division is also seeking applications on a voluntary basis from cyber experts, who can help the government with malware and memory analysis as well as cryptography.
  • The Government does not yet have any clear legal framework on what constitutes anti-national content or activity, and often uses provisions under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) to either detain or jail those accused of “anti-national” activities.
  • Cybercrime Experts
  • “There are multiple aspects to this notification.
  • Firstly, there are no legal definitions of anti-national content or activity, either by the government or the judiciary. That is one big grey area.
  • Secondly, giving people the option to report fellow citizens gives too much power without adequate checks and balances.
  • J&K and Tripura: The programme will be piloted on a trial basis in Jammu and Kashmir, and Tripura.

PM Modi dedicates Made in India Arjun Battle Tank to Army – Facts about Arjun Mark1A Tank

  • Context: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday handed over the indigenously developed Arjun Main Battle Tank (MK-1A) to the Indian Army at a ceremony in Chennai
  • About: The army will get 118 units of the Main Battle Tank, indigenously designed, developed and manufactured by CVRDE and DRDO, along with 15 academic institutions, eight labs and several MSMEs.
  • The Arjun Main Battle Tank project was initiated by DRDO in 1972 with the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) as its lead laboratory.
  • The objective was to create a “state-of-the-art tank with superior fire power, high mobility, and excellent protection”.
  • During the development, the CVRDE achieved breakthroughs in the engine, transmission, hydropneumatic suspension, hull and turret as well as the gun control system.
  • Mass production began in 1996 at the Indian Ordnance Factory’s production facility in Avadi, Tamil Nadu.
  • The Arjun tanks stand out for their ‘Fin Stabilised Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot (FSAPDS)’ ammunition and 120-mm calibre rifled gun.
  • It also has a computer-controlled integrated fire control system with stabilised sighting that works in all lighting conditions.
  • The secondary weapons include a co-axial 7.62-mm machine gun for anti-personnel and a 12.7-mm machine gun for anti-aircraft and ground targets.
  • The Arjun MBT outperformed Russian T-90s during a desert trial conducted by the Army in 2010.
  • With this India joined the league of 10 countries worldwide that have designed and developed their own MBT.
  • The other countries that have designed and developed their own MBT are the UK, France, Germany, USA, Israel, South Korea, Russia, Japan and China.
  • The Mk-1A version has 14 major upgrades on the earlier version.
  • It is also supposed to have missile firing capability as per the design, but this feature will be added later as final testing of the capability is still on.

Indian Navy and Coast Guard gets ALH Dhruv Mk III delivery from HAL – Facts about ALH Dhruv Mk III

  • Context: The HAL Dhruv is a utility helicopter. AKA Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) the name comes from a Sanskrit origin word dhruv meaning unshakeable or firm.
  • 12 % Higher power than TM 333 2B2 engine dual centrifugal compressor assembly single crystal blades dual channel FADEC (full authority digital engine control)
  • More than 200 Dhruvs are operating with Indian Defence Forces. Dhruv has also been supplied to Nepal Army & Mauritius Police, Maldives.
  • Dhruv is also being operated by Civil customers such as ONGC, GSI, Government of Jharkhand and Para-Military force (BSF).
  • Hal And Navy Contract
  • HAL is under contract to deliver 16 ALH Mk III to Navy.
  • HAL has handed over three Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH Mk III) to Indian Navy and two ALHs to Indian Coast Guard as part of its 16 ALHs contract at the ongoing Aero India 2021.

Government scheme and Initiative:

What are One Person Companies? Government eases norms for One Person Companies

  • Context: What are 1-person companies? Govt eases norms
  • About: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced measures to ease norms on setting up one-person companies (OPCs)
  • FM said the step — allowing OPCs to grow without any restrictions on paid-up capital and turnover —would directly benefit start-ups and innovators.
  • What is a one-person company?
  • As the name suggests, one-person company is a company that can be formed by just one person as a shareholder. These companies can be contrasted with private companies, which require a minimum of two members to get going.
  • However, for all practical purposes, these are like private companies. It is not as if there was no scope for an individual with aspirations in business prior to the introduction of OPC as a concept
  • As an individual, a person could get into business through a sole proprietorship mode, and this is a path that is still available.
  • Why do we need such companies?
  • A single-person company and sole proprietorship differ significantly in how they are perceived in the eyes of law.
  • For the former, the person and the company are considered separate legal entities. In sole proprietorship, the owner and the business are considered the same.


INS Viraat’s dismantling paused by Supreme Court – Impact on Alang Ship Breaking Yard 

  • Context: INS Viraat and convert it into a museum
  • About: Issuing notice on a petition filed by M/s Envitech Marine Consultants Pvt Ltd, which wants to buy INS Viraat and convert it into a museum, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said, “In the meantime, parties are directed to maintain status quo with regard to dismantling/breaking of the subject ship, known as INS Viraat, as on date.
  • According to Shree Ram Group, 40 percent of the aircraft carrier had already been dismantled. INS Viraat arrived at Alang on September 28, 2020 from Mumbai.
  • At a formal ceremony organised on the same plot (Number 9) where the aircraft carrier would be broken, Union minister for shipping Mansukh Mandaviya and Rear Admiral Puruvir Das, Flag Officer Commanding, Gujarat Naval Area had bid adieu to the vessel.