Essential Facts (Prelims): 6 Feb, 2019


LPG schemes

Category: Social sector

  • The government has two major schemes in the LPG sector.
  • PAHAL scheme, the first, involves direct cash transfers to LPG consumers for 12 numbers of 14.2 kg cylinders per year.
  • The second scheme, the Ujjwala Yojana, seeks to give free LPG connections to poor households.

 Magnetic North Pole

Category: Physical Geography

  • Earth’s north magnetic pole has been drifting so fast that scientists that past estimates are no longer accurate enough for precise navigation.
  • The magnetic north pole is wandering about 55km a year.
  • It crossed the international date line in 2017, and is leaving the Canadian Arctic on its way to Siberia.
  • The constant shift is a problem for compasses in smartphones and some consumer electronics.
  • The US and UK tend to update the location of the magnetic north pole every five years in December, but this update came early because of the pole’s faster movement.
  • The movement of the magnetic north pole is pretty fast. Since 1831, it has moved about 2300km toward Siberia. Its speed jumped from about 15kph to 55kph since 2000.
  • The reason is turbulence in Earth’s liquid outer core. There is a hot liquid ocean of iron and nickel in the planet’s core where the motion generates an electric field.
  • The magnetic south pole is moving far slower than the north.
  • Earth’s magnetic field is getting weaker, leading scientists to say that it will eventually flip, where north and south pole changes polarity. It has happened numerous times in Earth’s past, but not in the last 780,000 years.

GI Tag

Category: Human Geography

  • The right to enforce a geographical indication (GI) tag has had a new twist.
  • The Calcutta high court has ruled that Darjeeling Tea as a GI — owned by the government-run Tea Board — for tea originating from the region cannot be claimed for unrelated goods or services.
  • The order came on a case filed by the Tea Board against hotels-to-tobacco conglomerate ITC in 2010 for operating a premier lounge — ‘Darjeeling Lounge’ — at its ITC Sonar Hotel in Kolkata.
  • The plea was dismissed as the court ruled that the GI held by Tea Board is restricted to only goods (tea), and not to services such as lounges.
  • Simply put, GI are names, geographical or figurative representation conveying or suggesting the ‘geographical’ origin of the products.
  • The HC order is one of the first interpreting rights available to a GI holder, which legal experts say will help in defining the ambit of protection provided by GI law in India.
  • GIs registered in India include Darjeeling Tea, Mysore Sandal Soap, Alphonso mango and Surat Zari Craft.
  • The Tea Board was attempting to monopolise the name Darjeeling for itself for all goods and services, even though they have a registration for only tea. Such claim has been denied by court.

 Categorisation of Farmers

Category: Agriculture

  • Marginal : Below 1.00 hectare
  • Small : 1.00-2.00 hectare
  • Semi- Medium : 2.00-4.00 hectare
  • Medium : 4.00-10.00 hectare
  • Large : 10.00 hectare and above
  • The operational holdings are also classified in three social groups, viz., Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Others.

 New Scientific Standard of Kg

Category: Science & Tech

  • The previous definition of kilogram was based on the mass of the international prototype ‘kilogram’ which is an artefact, however, the new definition is based on physical constants of nature.
  • The change is in the definition of kilogram and will not have any practical implications.

Nikshay Poshan Yojana

Category: Social Sector

  • Nikshay Poshan Yojana for TB patients has been launched by the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, for distribution of incentives for nutritional support to TB patients.
  • Benefits under this scheme will be delivered through Direct Benefit Transfer to the bank account of the beneficiary.
  • It is with this objective that the scheme to provide nutritional support to every TB patient at the rate of Rs 500 per month for the duration of their treatment has been initiated from April 1, 2018

Siamese Fish

Category: Miscellaneous

  • The Siamese fighting fish was named Thailand’s national aquatic animal.
  • It is known in the West as a betta fish.

 

Essential Facts (Prelims): 3 – 5 Feb, 2019


Emissions

  • Urbanisation is accelerating greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles in India at a faster than in China.
  • On an average, an Indian emitted about 20 kg per capita while commuting for work, with the highest (140 kg CO2) in Gurugram district (Haryana) and the lowest (1.8 kg CO2) in Shrawasti district (Uttar Pradesh).
  • The experience in most developed countries was that urbanisation led to a reduction in emissions — more urbanisation meant shorter distances between the workplace and home and thereby, a preference for public transport. However this didn’t effectively apply to developing countries.
  • In China a 1% increase in urbanisation was linked with a 0.12% increase in CO2 emissions whereas, in India, it translated into 0.24% increase in emissions.
  • India’s CO2 emission grew by an estimated 4.6% in 2017 and its per-capita emission was about 1.8 tonnes.
  • In spite of being the 4th largest emitter, India’s per capita emissions are much lower than the world average of 4.2 tonnes.

Angel Tax

  • The ‘angel tax’, as it is commonly called, is a tax on the excess capital raised by an unlisted company through the issue of shares over and above the fair market value of those shares.
  • This excess capital is treated as income and taxed accordingly.
  • This tax most commonly affects start-ups and the angel investors who back them.

Fiscal Deficit

  • Fiscal deficit is the gap between income and expenditure of the government.
  • Initially, the government pegged the deficit at 3.3 per cent of the GDP for the current fiscal.
  • This has been revised to 3.4 per cent of GDP in the Interim Budget presented on February 1.

Ocean Colour

  • More than 50% of the world’s oceans will shift in colour due to climate change by the year 2100.
  • Climate change is causing significant changes to phytoplankton in the world’s oceans, and over the coming decades these changes will affect the ocean’s colour, intensifying its blue regions and its green ones.
  • The study suggests that blue regions, such as the subtropics, will become even more blue, reflecting even less phytoplankton — and life in general — in those waters, compared with today.
  • Some regions that are greener today, such as near the poles, may turn even deeper green, as warmer temperatures brew up larger blooms of more diverse phytoplankton.
  • The ocean’s colour depends on how sunlight interacts with whatever is in the water.
  • Water molecules alone absorb almost all sunlight except for the blue part of the spectrum, which is reflected back out.
  • Relatively barren open-ocean regions appear as deep blue from space. If there are any organisms in the ocean, they can absorb and reflect different wavelengths of light, depending on their individual properties.
  • Phytoplankton, for instance, contain chlorophyll, a pigment which absorbs mostly in the blue portions of sunlight to produce carbon for photosynthesis, and less in the green portions.
  • As a result, more green light is reflected back out of the ocean, giving algae-rich regions a greenish hue, researchers said.

PMEGP

  • The maximum cost of the project under PMEGP scheme is Rs.25.00 lakhs for manufacturing sector units and Rs.10.00 lakhs for units under service sector.
  • Under the scheme, women entrepreneurs are covered under Special Category and are entitled to 25% and 35% subsidies for the project set up in urban and rural areas respectively.
  • PMEGP is implemented through Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).

INF Treaty

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Asian Elephant Alliance

  • The Asian Elephant Alliance, an umbrella initiative by five NGOs, has come together to secure 96 out of the 101 existing corridors used by elephants across 12 States in India.
  • NGOs Elephant Family, International Fund for Animal Welfare, IUCN Netherlands and World Land Trust have teamed up with Wildlife Trust of India’s (WTI) in the alliance.

Third Pole

  • Two-thirds of Himalayan glaciers, the world’s “Third Pole”, could melt by 2100 if global emissions are not reduced.
  • Even if the “most ambitious” Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5° C is achieved, one-third of the glaciers would go.

Obesity

  • The risk of developing obesity-related cancer is increasing in successive generations.
  • For six of the 12 obesity-related cancers (multiple myeloma, colorectal, uterine, gallbladder, kidney and pancreatic) the risk for disease increased in adults in the 25- 49 age bracket, with the magnitude of the increases steeper with younger age.

Infertility

Rising temperatures could drive some species to become sterile, making them succumb to the effects of climate change.


HPV vaccination

The vaccine prevents cervical cancer, which kills over 3 lakh women every year.


Perovskites

Inkjet processing method for perovskites — a new generation of cheaper solar cells — makes it possible to produce solar panels under lower temperatures, thus sharply reducing costs.