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Prelims Capsule

Prelims bits

Prelims Bits (2nd Week)

Environment and Ecology:

Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance Coalition:

  • Context: At the Leaders’ Summit on Climate in 2021, the LEAF (Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance) Coalition was announced.
  • About:It will be one of the largest ever public-private efforts to protect tropical forests.
  • It is made up of the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway.
  • It aims to raise at least $1 billion in funding for countries that are dedicated to preserving tropical forests.
  • Significance LEAF coalition are Increases carbon sink, solve development versus Ecological Commitment, Complements Other Global Goals,
  • Without the private sector’s decisive leadership, the objective of net-zero emissions will be impossible to achieve.
  • The LEAF coalition project is a step toward realising the REDD+ mechanism’s goals and objectives.
  • The goal of REDD+ is to mitigate climate change by promoting forest protection.
  • It was created by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • They are very wet places, receiving more than 200 cm of rainfall per year, either seasonally or throughout the year.
  • Tropical forests are closed-canopy forests growing within 28 degrees north or south of the equator.

Bamboo Oasis on Drought Lands (BOLD):

  • Context: The Khadi and Community Industries Commission (KVIC) recently inaugurated Bamboo Oasis on drought Lands (BOLD) project in the tribal village of NichlaMandwa in Udaipur, Rajasthan.
  • About:Project BOLD is launched by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and it aims to establish bamboo-based green patches in dry and semi-arid areas.
  • The initiative is a part of KVIC’s Khadi Bamboo Festival -a program to celebrate 75 years of independence.
  • It would help to minimise desertification while also providing a source of income and multi-disciplinary support for rural industries.
  • It will also serve as a safe sanctuary for long-term growth and food security.
  • It grows fairly quickly and can be harvested in about three years.
  • It’s also recognised for conserving water and lowering evaporation from the land surface, which is vital in arid and drought-prone areas.
  • KVIC is a statutory body established under the Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act, 1956.
  • It functions under the Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises.
  • It is responsible for developing, promoting, organising, and implementing programmes for Khadi development.

Kadavur Reserve Forest:

  • Context:Kadavur Reserve Forest To Become A Sanctuary For ‘Slender Loris’
  • About: A proposal has been sent to the State government to declare the Kadavur Reserve Forest in Karur district as a sanctuary for Slender Loris.
  • The slender lorises (Loris) are a genus of loris native to India and Sri Lanka. Slender lorises spend most of their life in trees, traveling along the tops of branches with slow and precise movements.
  • They are found in tropical rainforests, scrub forests, semi-deciduous forests, and swamps. The primates have lifespans of 15 years and are nocturnal. Slender lorises generally feed on insects, reptiles, plant shoots, and fruit.
  • According to forest officials, a conservation reserve for the mammal will be the first of its kind in India.
  • The grey slender loris are native to the southern peninsula and northern part of Sri Lanka. Slender lorises could be found till Palani hills but the thick vegetation in the 6,000 hectares Kadavur reserve forest offers it an ideal habitant and climate.
  • According to biologists, poaching activity has led to the steady decline of the species in Tamil Nadu.
  • Native people have always believed that all parts of the slender loris have some medicinal or magical powers.
  • This has contributed greatly to the decline of the slender loris. In addition, slender lorises are illegally smuggled to supply a growing exotic pet trade. Other threats include habitat loss, electrocution on live wires, and road accidents.
  • Along the western region of Tamil Nadu, there is a vigorous clampdown on illegal poaching of slender lorises.

Art and Culture:

Kalbeliya Dance:

  • Context: Due to the Covid-19-Pandemic, a new app called Chendavia is gaining popularity among kalbeliya dance students.
  • About: It is linked with the Rajasthani tribe and tribe are named as kalbelia.
  • Kalbeliya dances are a traditional way of life for the Kalbelia community.
  • In 2010, it was included to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO).
  • Swirling, elegant motions characterize this dance genre, making it a visual delight.
  • It is commonly performed for any happy occasion and is regarded an important component of Kalbeliya tradition.
  • The Kalbeliya dance is unique in that it is solely performed by women, with the males playing the instruments and providing the music.
  • Men play the “khanjari” instrument and the “poongi,” a woodwind instrument historically used to capture snakes, as women in flowing black skirts dance and swirl, imitating the motions of a serpent.
  • People from the Kalbeliya tribe were formerly professional snake handlers; today, they express themselves via music and dance, which is growing in new and innovative ways.
  • They belong to Schedule tribe and lives nomadic life.
  • Pali district has the highest population of Kalbeliyas, followed by Ajmer, Chittorgarh, and Udaipur (Rajasthan).

History:

4000-year-old settlement found in Durgadevi:

  • Context: Odisha Institute of Maritime and Southeast Asian Studies (OIMSEAS) has discovered a 4,000year-old settlement and ancient artifacts in Balasore district (Durgadevi village).
  • About: The site is located in between the river Sona on the south and the Burahabalang on its north-eastern margin.
  • Durgadevi village named after the presiding deity of the locality is located 20 km from Balasore town in Odisha.
  • The site has a circular mud fortification of about 4.9 km in circumference.
  • The site has two small nullasGangahara and Prassana which join the site on its north and south, forming a natural moat. This was an ancient water management system developed at least 4000 years ago.
  • Archaeologists have come across distinct traces of three cultural phases at the excavation site.
  • There were human settlements and artifacts were belonging to the Chalcolithic period.
  • The major discovery was the base of a circular hut, black on red painted pottery, black slipped ware, red slipped ware, and copper objects.
  • The people were mostly leading settled life and had started agriculture, domestication of animals, and fishing.
  • The discovered material that belongs to the Iron Age Period includes pottery remains of black burnished ware, black and redware, iron objects like nails, arrowheads, and slag of various kinds.
  • Early Historic Period cultural materials that were discovered include pottery specimens of redware, terracotta ear-studs, bangles, beads, and some conical objects.

Polity:

Darbar Move:

  • Context: The Government of Jammu and Kashmir has put an end to the 149-year-old practise of the ‘Darbar Move.
  • About: Darbar Move is a century-old practice in which the government functions for six months each in the two capitals of the State, Srinagar, and Jammu.
  • Darbar Move serves as a link between the Kashmir Valley and the Jammu region’s two distinct cultures.
  • Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in India, the Government of J&K chose to postpone the traditional summer Darbar Move for the first time in April 2021.
  • The practise began in 1872 under Dogra king Maharaja Ranbir Singh.
  • The Maharaja’s government was relocated to Jammu to avoid the harsh winters of the Kashmir Valley, which used to cut the Valley off from the rest of the world in the nineteenth century.
  • Hundreds of trucks are usually plied to carry furniture, office files, computers, and other records to the capital.
  • Darbar Move results in wastage of tremendous amount of time, effort, and energy on inefficient and unnecessary activity.
  • The secretariats in Jammu and Srinagar can now work from either Jammu or Kashmir throughout the year.
  • This will save the government Rs 200 crore every year, which will be put to better use for the poor.

Geography:

Taal Volcano:

  • Context: Philippines increased the alert level on Taal Volcano to level 3 on a five-level scale after a Phreatomagmatic Eruption (PE) occurred that generated a dark grayish plume.
  • About: Taal is a complex volcano, meaning it has several eruption sites that have varied through time, rather than just one vent or cone.
  • Taal, according to the president of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology is a volcano within a volcano is extremely dangerous.
  • It is located 50 kilometers from Manila, in Philippines, on the island of Luzon.
  • The Philippines is located at the intersection of two tectonic plates, the Philippines Sea Plate and the Eurasian Plate, making it vulnerable to earthquakes and volcanism.
  • Taal is classified as Complex Volcano. A complex volcano, known as a compound volcano, is one that has several eruption sites rather than just one primary vent or cone. Mount Vesuvius, on Italy’s west coast, is an example.
  • Taal has erupted more than 30 times in the last few centuries, the most recent was in 2020.
  • As it is complex volcano with complex feature so kind of eruption too have varied.

Krishna Water Dispute:

  • Context:Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are intensifying their feud over the Krishna River’s waters.
  • About: Andhra Pradesh claims Telangana has taken Krishna water for hydropower generation from four projects Jurala, Srisailam, NagarjunaSagar, and Pulichintala without permission from the Krishna River Management Board.
  • For decades, a battle over the sharing of Krishna waters has raged, beginning with the former Hyderabad and Mysore states and afterward their successors.
  • In 1969, Krishna Water Disputes Tribunalwas set up under the Inter-State River Water Dispute Act, 1956, and presented its report in 1973.
  • The report, which was published in 1976, divided the 2060 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of Krishna water, it was 560 TMC for Maharashtra, 700 TMC for Karnataka, and 800 TMC for Andhra Pradesh.
  • Krishna River Management Board is an autonomous body that was set up after the bifurcation of the state, to manage and regulate the waters in the Krishna basin.
  • It begins in Maharashtra and flows through Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.

Science and Technology:

ISRO Mega ground station at Vietnam:

  • Context: India has started work on establishing ISRO Mega ground station at Vietnam for ASEAN countries as part of space cooperation between India and ASEAN.
  • About: It will be built on a four-hectare land at, Binh Duong province, Vietnam will have an 11m antenna installed by Isro Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network.
  • It will provide a reliable operational space-based system for remote sensing over the ASEAN countries. Will cost 86 billion Vietnamese dong.
  • Project once operational, will also be useful for India, which has been working on enhancing its tracking network.
  • It can help India’s Gaganyaan mission as ISRO is looking to have its own coverage for at least 90% of the flight path and depend as little on other tracking stations as possible for the human flight
  • ISRO is pursuing a proposal to support ASEAN countries to receive and process data from Indian remote sensing satellites and also to provide training in space science, technology and applications.
  • ISRO is India’s space agency, which is based in Bengaluru, Karnataka, and is part of the Indian government’s Department of Space.
  • Its mission is to use space technology for national development while also conducting research into space science and planetary exploration.

India CTRI Portal:

  • Context: AYUSH Ministry launches Ayurveda dataset on Clinical Trials Registry
  • About: Launch of CTRI Portal marks a significant step towards worldwide visibility with respect to Ayurveda based clinical trials.
  • Ayurveda Dataset of CTRI was jointly developed by ICMR and CCRAS, Ministry of Ayush.
  • On the occasion, four more portals namely AMAR, SAHI, e-MEDHA and RMIS will be launched, all of them have been developed by Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS).
  • CTRI is primary register of Clinical Trials under the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) by World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • Creation of Ayurveda dataset in CTRI facilitates will make use of Ayurveda terminologies to record clinical study Meta data on the basis of Ayurveda interventions.
  • Till date, clinical trials in Ayurveda were dependent on terminology borrowed from modern medicine. With this portal and joint efforts of ICMR and CCRAS, Ayurvedic terminology has become part of CTRI.
  • Key feature of this digital platform is provision of selection of Ayurveda Health conditions from drop down of 3866 Ayurveda morbidity codes.
  • These codes have been incorporated from NAMASTE portal (developed by AYUSH Ministry). On NAMASTE portal, morbidity statistics pertaining to Ayurveda has been classified as per International Classification of Diseases standards.
  • Thus information & results of Ayurveda Clinical Trials will be available in Ayurvedic vocabulary in clinical trials registry of India.

International Relations:

OPEC Plus crisis deepens as Saudi Arabia and UAE clash over oil output:

  • Context:The OPEC+ oil cartel is facing its biggest crisis since a price war at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • About: The latest round of meetings among the OPEC+ group of oil-exporting countries has stalled, as the UAE has pushed back proposals making an increase in crude oil supply conditional on an extension to an output agreement.
  • Another round of discussions between OPEC+countries scheduled was reportedly called off as key players failed to make any progress in resolving key issues.
  • The OPEC+ group of countries had, in April 2020, entered into a two-year agreement, which entailed steep cuts in crude production to deal with a sharp fall in the price of oil as a result of the Covid-19.
  • The price of Brent crude hit an 18-year low of under $20 per barrel inApril 2020 as economic activity around the world crashed as countries dealt with the pandemic.
  • The initial production cut by OPEC+ was about 10 million barrels per day or about 22% of the reference production of OPEC+ nations.
  • With Saudi Arabia, notably, announcing a further cut in production of1 million barrels per day for the February-to-April period, which helped boost rising prices even further.
  • The OPEC+ group ran into sharp criticism from developing economies, including India, for deliberately maintaining low supply levels to raise prices.
  • The UAE agreed that there was a need to increase crude oil production from August, but did not agree to a condition by the OPEC Joint MinisterialMonitoring Committee (JMMC) that the two-year production agreement be extended by six months.
  • The UAE government said that it made “no sense to attach conditions to increase in August,” noting that the only option offered by the JMMC included an extension to the current agreement.
  • The UAE’s key objection to the existing agreement is the reference output used to calculate the total production apportioned to each oil-exporting country.
  • The UAE noted that the baseline production level reference used in the current agreement was not reflective of the UAE’s production capacity and, therefore, led to the UAE being apportioned a lower share of total production of crude oil.

Security:

Global Cybersecurity Index:

  • Context: India has risen 37 places to tenth place in the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Global Cybersecurity Index 2020.
  • About: The United States is placed at the top, with the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia tied for second place.
  • Legal measures, technical measures, organisational measures, talent development, and cooperation are the five parameters used to evaluate cybersecurity performance.
  • In the Asia Pacific area, India came in fourth place.
  • India is establishing itself as a worldwide IT giant, asserting its digital sovereignty through strong steps to protect citizens’ data privacy and online rights.
  • It is the specialised agency of the United Nations for information and communication technologies (ICTs).
  • India was re-elected to the ITU Council for a four-year term, from 2019 to 2022.
  • It is tasked with coordinating telecommunications operations and services around the world.

China’s nuclear weapons proliferation:

  • Context: China has begun construction of over 100 new silos for intercontinental ballistic missiles in a Gobi desert near its Yumen city.
  • About: The new missile silos being built could signal a major expansion of Beijing’s nuclear capabilities.
  • It contains features like launch facilities for China’s nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.
  • The construction sites spotted on satellite photos are arrayed in two swaths, covering parts of a desert basin stretching to the west and southwest of Yumen.
  • There are 100 silos are under construction, possesses a stockpile of 250 to 350 nuclear weapons.
  • Establishment of silos is much preferred as they cannot be detected or traced out by satellite.
  • It can carry multiple warheads and reach targets as far away as 9,300 miles.
  • The acquisition of more than 100 new missile silos represent a historic shift for China.
  • The development is a major effort to bolster the credibility of China’s nuclear deterrent.
  • China is expanding its nuclear forces in part to maintain a deterrent that can survive a U.S. first strike in sufficient numbers to defeat U.S. missile defenses.
  • Silos are probably intended for Chinese ICBMDF-41, can carry multiple warheads and reach targets as far away and could put the US mainland within its reach.

Government scheme and Initiative:

Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme:

  • Context: Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme was recently approved by the Union Cabinet. It is a reforms-based and results-linked scheme.
  • About: Objectives are reduction of AT&C losses (operational losses due to inefficient power system) to pan-India levels of 12-15% by 2024-25, reduction of the cost-revenue gap to zero by 2024-25 and developing Institutional Capabilities for Modern DISCOMs.
  • Nodal Agencies are Rural Electrification Corporation and Power Finance Corporation.
  • The assistance will be based on meeting pre-qualifying criteria as well as upon the achievement of basic minimum benchmarks by the DISCOM.
  • The scheme involves a compulsory smart metering ecosystem across the distribution sector—including in about 250 million households.
  • The Scheme has a major focus on improving electricity supply for the farmers and for providing daytime electricity to them through solarization of agricultural feeders.
  • The scheme envisages the provision of conditional financial assistance to DISCOMs for strengthening supply infrastructure.
  • It would be based on the action plan worked out for each state rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all approach.
  • It seeks to improve the operational efficiencies and financial sustainability of all DISCOMs/Power Departments excluding Private Sector DISCOMs.

NIPUN Bharat Mission:

  • Context: The Ministry of Education will launch the National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy(NIPUN Bharat) Mission.
  • About: NIPUN stands for “National Initiative for Proficiency in reading with Understanding and Numeracy”.
  • Initially, the policy had included a 2025 deadline to achieve this goal.
  • But the target has been extended to 2026-27, given that COVID-19 has already disrupted two academic years.
  • Implemented by department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL), the Ministry of Education.
  • A five-tier implementation mechanism will be set up at the national- state- district- block- school level in all states and UTs for the mission.
  • No additional funding is being allocated for the mission.
  • Instead, money is being allocated from the SamagraShiksha scheme, which saw a 20% drop in its budget in 2021.
  • This scheme would provide an enabling environment in a bid to ensure the universal acquisition of foundational literacy and numeracy.
  • It will ensure that every child achieves desired learning competencies in reading, writing, and numeracy by end of Grade 3, by the year 2026-27.

Miscellaneous:

Asia’s first CGR Plant:

  • Context: International Zinc Association (IZA) has launched Asia’s first-ever Continuous Galvanized Rebar (CGR) manufacturing facility in Punjab.
  • About: The factory will produce ZnCoatTempCore TMT bars under the brand name ‘Jyoti’ with an annual capacity of around 30,000 tons.
  • It will be the first brand in Asia to use CGR technology, extends the life of these rebars and lowers total maintenance costs.
  • Advantages of galvanized steel with standard quality of zinc coating will reduce the risk of cracking due to bending.
  • The technology developed will help to minimize damages due to corrosion.
  • The development and inauguration is a step forward towards making of an AatmaNirbhar Bharat.
  • CGRs are value added rebars for higher life and low maintenance of infrastructure to provide significant cost savings compared to other corrosion resistant rebar systems.
  • The CGR coating process is similar to galvanizing sheet steel. The zinc coating is tough and resistant to abrasion.
  • India has faced massive lose due to corrosion of iron bars, CGR system will enhance its supply without getting corroded and provide long lasting infrastructures.