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Prelims Capsule

Prelims bits

Prelims Bits (4th Week)

Environment and Ecology:

Raimona National Park declared by Assam Government:

  • Context: The Raimona National Park in the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) was notified as the sixth such park on the occasion of World Environment Day.
  • About: Raimona in Kokrajhar district has become Assam’s sixth national park.
  • Eastern Assam’s Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, under stress for unregulated coal mining in the vicinity is in the process of becoming the seventh national park, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said at a function to mark World Environment Day.
  • The five national parks that existed prior to the 422 sq. km Raimona are Kaziranga, Manas, Nameri, Orang and Dibru-Saikhowa.
  • Environment and Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya said a notification declaring Raimona as a national park was brought out. “Upgrading Dehing Patkai has been a long-felt need for the conservation of rainforest and elephant habitats.

Discovery of new coffee plant species Argostemma Quarantena from Kerala:

  • Context: A new plant species belonging to the coffee family spotted in the scenic Wagamon hills in Kerala has been named Argostemma quarantena to commemorate the millions who have died in the COVID-19 pandemic
  • About: A delicate herbaceous species from the family Rubiaceae, Argostemma quarantena was discovered along quick-flowing streams in an isolated evergreen patch along the Idukki-Kottayam border.
  • The specific epithet quarantena indicates the outbreak of coronavirus across the world in 2020,” the paper on the discovery noted.
  • The new species sports similarities with two south Indian endemics, Argostemma anupama and Argostemma courtallense but differs in many attributes, including the stem, leaves and stipules, according to the researchers.
  • The discovery underlines the need for urgent measures to protect the biodiversity of Wagamon,
  • Argostemma quarantena is in fact the fifth species discovered from Wagamon by research teams.

Art and Culture:

Raja Parba festival of Odisha for celebrating Womanhood:

  • Context: Odisha celebrating raja Parba festival to combat all the prejudices that surround the menstrual cycle and celebrates a girl’s womanhood.
  • About: The festival is natively pronounced as ‘raw-jaw’, while ‘raja’ is derived from the world ‘rajaswala’ which means menstruating women.
  • It is a three-day-long festival dedicated to Mother Earth (Bhuma Devi) and womanhood at large. It start with a day before Mithuna Sankranti and conclude two days after that.
  • During the first three days, mother earth the wife of lord Jagannath undergoes menstruation cycle and on the fourth day she is given a ceremonial bath.
  • The first day is called Pahili Rajo, second day is Mithuna Sankranti, third day is Bhu Daaha or Basi Raja and fourth day is called Vasumati Snana. It is also celebrated to welcome monsoon season.
  • Women set free from household works, indoor and outdoor games are played. People are abstain from walking barefoot, no construction works are done.
  • OTDC promoting festival to remove taboo associated with menstruation and promoting traditional pitha that are made, launched a special program called ‘Pitha on Wheels.


Pandav Leni Complex Nasik – ASI discovers 3 new caves:

  • Context: Almost two centuries after a British military officer documented the Trirashmi Buddhist caves also known as Pandav Leni in a hill in Nashik, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has found three more caves in the same area.
  • About: The antiquity of the caves which may have been dwellings of Buddhist monks is yet to be established, archaeologists studying them, however, believe they could be older than the Trirashmi caves.
  • The Trirashmi or Pandav Leni caves are a group of 25 caves that were carved out of Trirashmi Hill between the 2nd century BC and 6th century AD.
  • The caves complex was documented in 1823 by one Captain James Delamaine; it is now an ASI protected site and a tourist destination.
  • ASI officials said the first two caves were discovered during the annual premonsoon cleaning of a drainage line on the hill.
  • They were looking for a place to dump the soil, dry grass and dry wood that had been removed, when he spotted a cavity.
  • These caves are on the opposite side of the current complex, and 70-80 feet above the existing complex.
  • The caves have been carved out of a steep hill, and looking at the style of carving, it looks like these were monks’ dwellings, older than the current complex
  • Two of the caves, appear to have been shared dwellings; the third was perhaps occupied by just one monk.
  • All the caves have verandahs and the characteristic square stone platform for monks.
  • There are special arrangements for monks to meditate, similar to the Kanheri and Wai caves.
  • The Buddhist sculptures and caves (in Nashik) are a significant early example of Indian rock-cut architecture representing the Hinayana tradition of Buddhism,”
  • “The caves have images of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas, and sculptures with designs of Indo-Greek architecture.


India exports GI Certified JARDALU Mango to UK for 1st time:

  • Context: India exported the first commercial consignment of Geographical Indications (GI) certified ‘Jardalu’ mangoes from Bhagalpur, Bihar, to the United Kingdom giving a possible boost to the potential of farm exports from the eastern region.
  • About: APEDA, in collaboration with the Bihar government, Indian High Commission and Invest India, exported the mangoes which were packed and treated at APEDA packhouse in Lucknow, a Commerce Ministry release stated.
  • A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
  • GI certification establishes that a product possesses certain qualities that can be attributed to its geographic origin. Similar items from different geographic locations are legally not allowed to use the GI tag.


Buxwaha Diamond Mine Project Case – Madhya Pradesh HC issues notice to Centre & State:

  • Context: Madhya Pradesh’s Chhatarpur district has been making headlines for the past two months, for the mining project undertaken by the Aditya Birla Group’s Essel Mining & Industries Limited (EMIL) that would adversely impact the Buxwaha forest, which is located near the site, and would lead to felling of more than 2,00,000 trees.
  • About: The 55,000 crore project will be spread across 364 hectares of forest land. A total of 2,15,875 trees would have to be cut down for the proposed mining project. The area is estimated to have 34 million carats of rough diamonds.
  • According to the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), among India’s four diamond-reserve states – Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha – Madhya Pradesh alone accounts for about 90.18%.
  • National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) is actively pursuing prospective diamond blocks in these states.
  • In the past, the Madhya Pradesh government granted a prospecting licence to Australian mining giant Rio Tinto in 2006.
  • IBM had conditionally approved the mine plan over an area of 954 hectares in Buxwaha.
  • But the project faced stiff opposition and, in 2016, the government shelved its permission, saying that the plan endangered a rich forest area and a tiger corridor between the Panna Tiger Reserve and Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • The project is witnessing opposition and environmentalist have flagged serious implications on the biodiversity and the locals who are dependent on the forests.
  • Activist Neha Singh filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) with the Supreme Court to stay the project.
  • Several activists have also raised concerns about the existing water crisis in the region.

Science and Technology:

Massive Spider Webs cover Australian grassland after floods:

  • Context: After heavy rains and floods struck Australia’s southeastern state of Victoria, lakhs of spiders have spun webs stretching across trees, road signs and paddocks, creating huge “gossamer” sheets.
  • About: In the state’s Gippsland region, days of intense rainfall have caused spiders to climb to higher ground using a survival tactic called “ballooning”,
  • In which the insects throw out silk that latches on to vegetation, allowing them to escape.
  • Victoria received heavy rains along with strong winds, leading to flash flooding and major damage to property.
  • This led to ground-dwelling spiders throwing strands to nearby trees in an attempt to get off the ground fast.
  • Lakhs of spiders did this at the same time, creating “gossamer” sheets covering the wetlands between the towns of Sale and Langford,which are around 8 km apart.

International Relations:

UN Sustainable Development Report 2021 – India slips 3 spots to rank 120:

  • Context: Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has released the State of India’s Environment Report 2021.
  • About: The State of India’s Environment Report 2021 on June 6, 2021, released by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) revealed that India’s rank slipped two places from last year to rank 117th on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted as a part of the 2030 agenda by 193 United Nations Member States in 2015.
  • Last year, India ranked 115th and slipped by two places this year owing to major SDGs that remain unfulfilled in the country such as SDG 2: Ending hunger and achieving food security, SDG 5: Achieving gender equality, and SDG 9: Building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation.
  • The report further stated that India’s overall SDG score is 61.9 out of 100, and it ranks below four South Asian countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
  • India ranked 172 in the environmental health category of the EPI, which indicates how well the country is guarding its population against environmental health risks.
  • India’s rank was 148 while Pakistan’s rank was 127 in the biodiversity and habitat category, the indicator to assess actions taken by countries towards protecting biodiversity and retaining natural ecosystems.


Uttar Pradesh Government launches ELDERLINE helpline for Senior Citizens:

  • Context: Uttar Pradesh became the first state in the country to extend emotional care and support, health and legal assistance to the elderly through the call centers which remain functional from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • About: The helpline, 14567, now receives as many as 80 to 90 actionable calls on a daily basis from various districts of Uttar Pradesh ranging from Noida to Ballia.
  • The Yogi Adityanath government’s ‘Elderline’ project that is designed to extend emotional support, healthcare and legal aid to senior citizens in Uttar Pradesh, is now receiving overwhelming response from the target beneficiaries.
  • The toll-free helpline facility was made operational in Uttar Pradesh on May 14 to extend complete support to the elderly citizens across all 75 districts.
  • The state government in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, has effectively implemented the scheme throughout the state.
  • All queries pertaining to information on old age homes, physiotherapy units, health related, mental health related and legal issues are being addressed promptly, thereby ensuring quick redressal of grievances as directed by the state government.
  • The Elderline facility has been operationalized with the assistance of Tata Trusts and the NSE foundation.

Government scheme and Initiative:

In India, the Department of Consumer Affairs will issue a notification mandating the hallmarking of gold jewelry and antiques:

  • Context: Gold Hallmarking is a purity certification which started in 2000. Earlier, it was optional for the jewellers and thus only 40% of gold jewellery was getting hallmarked.
  • About: The notification will make hallmarking of gold jewellery mandatory from January, 2021.
  • The jewellers have been given one year time to register with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and clear their stocks if not hallmarked yet.
  • Hallmarked gold jewellery will be only in three grades – 14-carat, 18-carat and 22-carat instead of current availability of ten grades. It will contain four marks: BIS mark, purity in carat, assay centre’s name and jewellers’ identification mark.
  • The rule is applicable only on sales by retailers and not to consumers. However, it is available for consumers who want to get their old jewellery hallmarked.
  • Anybody found violating the provision, will have to pay a minimum fine of Rs 1 lakh or 5 times the price of the article.
  • The government had informed about these hallmarking norms to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which will help exporters get to know the changes in advance in importing country like India.
  • India is the world’s largest importer of gold, with annual imports of 700-800 tonne.
  • The mandatory hallmarking will protect the public against lower caratage and ensure consumers do not get cheated while buying gold ornaments.
  • It will also help to get the purity as marked on the ornaments. It will bring in transparency and assure the consumers of Quality.
  • The new system will weed out anomalies and corruption in the system of manufacturing of Jewellery.