Essential Facts (Prelims): 23rd and 24th December, 2018

Pakal Dul

  • It is a Hydroelectric Project in Kashmir.
  • It is a 1000 MW project.
  • It is on Chenab river.
  • It is the biggest hydroelectric project under construction in J&K
  • The project is part of the Prime Minister’s Development Package for Jammu and Kashmir.


  • At the moment, each State has an Advance Ruling Authority (ARAs) that can issue a ruling on any issue pertaining to GST rates and their applicability.
  • Often, different ARAs deliver conflicting judgements.
  • The GST Council has decided to create a Centralised ARA that will provide a ruling in such cases.


  • India inaugurated an Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) which will work closely with countries in the region and will be manned by the Indian Navy.
  • The IFC has been established at at Gurugram, the single point centre interlinking all the coastal radar chains to generate a seamless real-time picture of the nearly 7,500-km long coastline.
  • The IFC aims to bring various countries in the region and pool in best practices to jointly monitor the vast IOR.
  • All countries — about 21 — that have already signed White Shipping Information Exchange agreements with India are IFC partners and can post International Liaison Officers (ILOs) at the centre.
  • The centre will be tracking and monitoring 75,000 to 1.5 lakh shipping traffic in the IOR in real time, round-the-clock.
  • The Indian Ocean Region is vital to world trade and economic prosperity of many nations as more than 75% of the world’s maritime trade and 50% of global oil consumption passes through the IOR.


  • The cold climes on high-altitude mountain tops make it usually difficult for trees to grow above the timberline (the last canopy forests on the mountains).
  • Though global warming is changing this in many of the world’s high mountains and causing timberlines to move upward, the eastern Himalaya may be an exception.
  • The zone of uppermost canopy forests here are unlikely to shift upwards but will get denser.
  • Timberlines, the uppermost limit of canopy forests that gradually gives way to the treeline (beyond which trees do not grow) are limited by climate: factors including low temperatures and high winds on mountain tops prevent woody tree growth higher up. Timberlines, therefore, serve as indicators of climate change.

Remote islands

  • A recent study has pointed out that being isolated does not protect islands from alien species.
  • Rather, remote islands are more susceptible to alien invasion, be it from plants or mammals.
  • The isolation of an island had the opposite effects on native and non-native species richness. Native species declined whereas non-native species numbers increased.
  • With the increase in anthropogenic activities like trade and transport, the biogeographical borders are broken down and the human-aided introduction of alien species has been on the rise.
  • With increasing geographical isolation there was a decrease in the resistance of the resident species. In the absence of competitor species from the mainland, these [island] species do not need to sustain their defence mechanisms and can reallocate the energy into other characteristics that they benefit from. Hence, many island species lose their defence mechanisms or become less competitive.
  • Alien species bring in traits that native species lack. Alien species have advantages compared to native island species due to their evolutionary history and the fact that they have evolved in a context where competition for resources is stronger and where other threats are more prominent.


  • One of the earliest Buddhist settlements in Odisha, Lalitgiri, where excavations have yielded ancient seals and inscriptions, has been converted into a museum.
  • Excavations at Lalitgiri have yielded the remains of four monasteries, showing cultural continuity from the post-Mauryan period till the 13th century CE.
  • The centre of attraction is a relic casket containing corporal remains found inside the ‘Mahastupa’.


  • Bangladesh is to open a new Deputy High Commission (DHC) office in Chennai.
  • It will be the first of Bangladesh missions in South India and the sixth diplomatic office of the country in India.

New award

  • Govt has announced the institution of a national unity award on the lines of the Padma awards.
  • The annual award would be given to any Indian who has contributed to national unity in any manner.


  • Agni-IV ballistic missile has a strike range of 4,000 km.
  • Agni-V ballistic missile has a strike range of more than 5,000 km.
  • Agni-I- 700 km
  • Agni-II- 2,000 km
  • Agni-III-3,000 km