Essential Facts (Prelims): 29 & 30 January, 2019


Category: Indian Economy

  • 11 of the 20 public sector banks in the country are under the RBI’s PCA framework. It
  • Under the PCA framework, the RBI has specified certain regulatory trigger points in terms of three parameters — capital to risk weighted assets ratio (CRAR), net non-performing assets (NPA) and Return on Assets (RoA), for initiation of certain structured and discretionary actions in respect of commercial banks hitting such trigger points.
  • Currently, banks having negative RoA for certain consecutive years are brought under PCA framework
  • The main objective of PCA is to alert the banking regulator (RBI) about a bank heading for trouble.
  • It helps RBI take corrective measures to restore financial health of a bank.


Category: General Science

  • Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) — mainly cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancer — continue to be the top killers in the South-East Asia Region.
  • The four ‘major’ NCDs are caused, to a large extent, by four modifiable behavioural risk factors: tobacco use, unhealthy diet, insufficient physical activity and harmful use of alcohol.
  • The NCDs disproportionately affect the poor, impoverish families, and place a growing burden on health care systems.
  • Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, are collectively responsible for over 70% of all deaths worldwide, or 41 million people.


Category: General Science

  • In a significant find in the global spread of multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria, scientists have found a “superbug” gene — first detected in over a decade back — in one of the last “pristine” places on Earth that is some 12,870 km away.
  • Soil samples taken in Svalbard — a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole — have now confirmed the spread of blaNDM-1 (called New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1) into the High Arctic.
  • Carried in the gut of animals and people, the new research said that blaNDM-1 was found in Arctic soils that were likely spread through the faecal matter of birds, other wildlife and human visitors to the area.

GM chickens

Category: Science &  Technology

  • Genetically modified chickens that produce human proteins in their eggs can offer a cost-effective method of manufacturing drugs widely used for treating cancer and other diseases.
  • High quantities of the proteins can be recovered from each egg using a simple purification system and there are no adverse effects on the chickens themselves, which lay eggs as normal.
  • Eggs are already used for growing viruses that are used as vaccines, such as the flu jab.
  • This new approach is different because the therapeutic proteins are encoded in the chicken’s DNA and produced as part of the egg white.


Category: Miscellaneous

  • A lone duck named Trevor that lived on the tiny Pacific island nation of Niue has died.
  • One of the world’s biggest coral islands, Niue does not have natural ponds or wetlands.


Category : Environment

  • There are 139 Indian cities that breach air pollution standards but are not included in the Centre’s National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).
  • The NCAP was launched by the government earlier this month and is a ₹300 crore initiative to reduce particulate matter (PM) pollution by 20-30% in at least 102 cities by 2024.

Suman Kumari

Category: Miscellaneous

  • Suman Kumari is Pakistan’s first Hindu woman judge.
  • The country’s first judge from the Hindu community was Justice Rana Bhagwandas.

Golden langur

Category: Biodiversity

  • Assam announced the success of the Golden Langur Conservation Breeding Programme in the State.
  • In April 2018, the zoo authorities shifted a pair of golden langurs — Bolin and Lovely — from the display enclosure to the isolated site.
  • The golden langur (Trachypithecus geei) is currently endangered.
  • Apart from a small area in north-western Assam, small populations are found in Bhutan and Tripura.

Price support scheme

Category: Indian Economy

  • The Centre has procured 52.83 lakh tonnes of pulses and oilseeds so far under the price support scheme (PSS).
  • The PSS is operationalised on the State governments’ request when the prices fall below the minimum support price (MSP).
  • The procurement is undertaken by nodal agencies such as Nafed at the MSP.
  • Only fair average quality commodities are purchased.

Elephant Survey

Category : Biodiversity

  • First captive elephant survey is in: 2,454 is official count
  • 58 per cent of all captive elephants is concentrated in two states: 905 in Assam and 518 in Kerala.


Category: Education, International Institutions

  • India ends PISA boycott, signs pact with OECD.
  • PISA — introduced in 2000 by OECD — tests the learning levels of 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics and science.
  • The test is conducted every three years.
  • India stayed away from PISA in 2012 and 2015 on account of its dismal performance in 2009, when it was placed 72nd among the 74 participating countries.
  • The then government had blamed “out of context” questions for the poor show in 2009.
  • The country, subsequently, chose to not participate in the 2012 and 2015 cycle