Essential Facts (Prelims): 26 November, 2018

Andaman & Nicobar Islands

  • There are 11000 faunal species found on the island.
  • The islands are home to more than 10% of the country’s fauna species.
  • The islands comprise only 0.25% of India’s geographical area.
  • The total area of the A&N islands is about 8,249 sq. km.
  • It comprises of 572 islands, islets and rocky outcrops.
  • The population of the islands is not more than 4 lakh.
  • The population of the islands includes six particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) — Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa, Sentinelese, Nicobarese and Shompens.
  • Recently, the Government of India relaxed the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) norms for some foreign nationalities notified under the Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order, 1963, to visit 29 of its inhabited islands.
  • Of the ten species of marine fauna found on the islands, the dugong/sea cow, and the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, are both classified as Vulnerable under the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species.
  • Among the 46 terrestrial mammalian species found, three species have been categorised as Critically Endangered — Andaman shrew, Jenkin’s shrew and Nicobar shrew.
  • Among birds, endemism is quite high, with 36 among 344 species of birds found only on the islands. Many of these bird species are placed in the IUCN Red List of threatened species under the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA).
  • Another unique feature of the islands’ ecosystem is its marine faunal diversity, which includes coral reefs and its associated fauna. In all, 555 species of scleractinian corals (hard or stony corals) are found in the island ecosystem, all which are placed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA).


  • Vetiver is known as ‘the wonder grass’ of Tamil Nadu,.
  • It has a wide range of applications in the pharma and cosmetic industries, besides anti-soil erosion properties.
  • The grass, which grows up to five feet and whose fragrant root reaches up to 10 feet, has huge global demand in the aromatic industry.
  • The grass is popular for its quality to combat soil erosion and absorb carbon dioxide, thus erasing carbon footprints.
  • Vetiver is ideal for the long coastline, as it is suited for sandy soil.
  • The grass can be used to purify polluted water bodies.
  • Its moisture retention property makes vetiver a natural choice for soil conservation and replenishment of ground water.
  • It is ideal for dry land cultivation using organic farming practice.
  • It is also used in ethanol extraction, as cattle feed and for making handicrafts.
  • Another quality of vetiver is that it is an anti-depressant


  • The Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) for Africa and Asia has termed ‘Titli’, the severe cyclonic storm that devastated Odisha in October, as ‘rarest cyclone’.
  • RIMES is a 45-nation international organisation on disaster warning.
  • It is a UN body.
  • Titli had had changed its path after landfall.
  • Titli cyclone is the rarest of rare in terms of its characteristics such as recurvature after landfall and retaining its destructive potential after landfall and recurvature away from the coastal areas for more than two days.

Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI)

  • IMI is one of 12 best practices from around the world to be featured in a special issue of the BMJ (British Medical Journal) next month.
  • It was launched in 2017.
  • IMI aims to reach each and every child under two years of age and all pregnant women who have been left uncovered under the routine immunisation programme.
  • It focuses on improving immunisation coverage in select districts and cities with particularly low immunisation rates to ensure full immunisation to more than 90 per cent by December 2018.
  • The achievement of full immunisation under Mission Indradhanush to at least 90 per cent coverage was to be achieved by 2020 earlier. With the launch of IMI, achievement of the target has now been advanced.
  • In all, IMI covers 173 districts and 17 cities.

Buddha statue

  • Bihar Chief Minister unveiled a 70-foot-tall statue of Lord Buddha at Rajgir in Nalanda district.
  • It is the second tallest statue of Buddha in the country. Making farmers do wonders with this grass

Textile sector

  • The textile sector employs both skilled and unskilled manpower and contributes over 10% of the total annual exports of the country.


  • Dudhwa Tiger Reserve and Sashastra Seema Bal have joined hands to provide security to Dudhwa forests and its rich wildlife.