Essential Facts (Prelims): 30th and 31st December, 2018


  • It is a scheme of West Bengal that provides for complaint boxes in schools to combat trafficking. Girls can report harassment faced by them or their friends.


  • ISRO will try out a unique experiment to re-control and rework the fourth and last stage of the PSLV-C44 rocket after it completes its job in space.
  • C-44 is slated to carry the 150/200-kg special purpose Microsat-R to a low-Earth polar orbit.
  • Stage 4 or PS4 takes the satellite to the last lap of desired height (anywhere between 400 km and 700 km.) Job done, it floats there for several years as space junk.
  • The trial with the expired fourth rocket stage would easily be the first of its kind by any space agency. It would show PS4 as a unique cost-saving test bed for new technologies.
  • Stage 4 of the PSLV rocket usually goes into orbit as debris once the satellite is released. ISRO wants to see if it can use it as a low-cost experimental platform for students working in space-related areas.

EGRL – winds

  • Equatorial Geophysical Research Laboratory (EGRL) helps study the winds at heights between 70 km and 100 km above the Earth.
  • It is located in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu.
  • The facility has been continuously monitoring the Earth’s near-space environment for over 25 years now.
  • Tirunelveli is in close proximity to both the geomagnetic and geographic equator.
  • When winds blow, electric currents are expected to be produced in the electrically charged upper layers of the atmosphere across the geomagnetic field.
  • Over Tirunelveli and the adjoining regions, where the geomagnetic field is horizontal the current flowing primarily in the east–west direction would be enhanced. Scientists call this current ‘Equatorial Electrojet’ and probing this helps scientists understand the Sun–Earth connection.

EGRL – secondary cosmic rays

  • Another major experimental facility recently set up at EGRL is meant to monitor secondary cosmic rays.
  • When the cosmic rays — from supernovae, colliding galaxies and spinning black holes — enter the Earth’s atmosphere, they lose their energies through collisions with our atmospheric molecules and produce a cascade of subatomic particles known as secondary cosmic rays.

Stations at Antarctica

  • Indian stations in Antarctica, namely, Maitri and Bharati. The importance of monitoring the geomagnetic field over Antarctica is that it is the polar region where the magnetic fluxes are dense and where the Sun’s particle effects are first felt on Earth.
  • Whenever the Sun’s activity becomes violent — for example, during a solar flare or during episodes of coronal mass ejections — the Earth’s magnetic field would readily encounter energetic particles.
  • A chain of events takes place in the Earth’s electromagnetic environment following a solar event resulting in electrical currents at high altitudes and heating of the upper layers of the atmosphere over Antarctica.
  • Such intense overhead currents are responsible for ground-induced currents that can create havoc for the underground telecommunication lines and electrical power grids.
  • Antarctic continent is free from local or regional lightning activity. The Indian Antarctic stations are thus ideal sites to monitor global fluctuations in lightning activity.
  • Monitoring the electromagnetic signatures simultaneously from Indian continental landmass and the Antarctic enables the scientists to understand the hidden teleconnections between the polar and equatorial regions.
  • Moreover, such studies throw light on space weather, a scientific and technological domain affecting the very many man-made satellites orbiting the Earth and the instruments on board used for a variety of purposes.


  • Helium – the second most abundant element in the universe – is hard to come by on Earth in its gaseous state, because it is so light that it can escape easily.
  • But one of the places where it is found is in volcanic lava plumes, such as seen in Iceland and Hawaii, originating from the Earth’s mantle.
  • This is ancient helium from when the Earth was formed. It is believed to be trapped in compounds deep within the earth. However, the nature of these compounds have so far remained a mystery.
  • Now a group of researchers has come up with a striking possibility that the mantle helium must exist as the compound FeO2He which is stable and solid under the pressure and temperature conditions prevailing at those depths.

Katarniaghat sanctuary

  • It is located in the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve


  • It is a mobile app used for surveillance and patrolling of tiger-populated areas.
  • It is built by the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Wildlife Institute of India.
  • It allows patrol teams to keep a better tab on suspicious activity while also mapping their own patrolling, location, routes and timings for better accountability.

Andaman islands

  • The Ross Island was renamed Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep, the Neil Island as Shaheed Dweep and the Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep.

Shadow banks

  • Non-banking financial companies(NBFCs) are also referred to as shadow banks.
  • There are around 10,000 NBFCs registered with the RBI.
  • There are only 108 deposit-taking NBFCs.


  • Kashmir stag or hangul is the state animal of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • It is an endangered species.
  • There has been a recent discovery that the animal, long thought to be confined to the Dachigam National Park, has begun using an old migratory route.
  • The Dachigam National Park is considered the last undisturbed home of the hangul.
  • Hangul is a sub-species of the European red deer. But unlike its European cousin, its coat is not red, but dark grey and dark brown.
  • The animal was classified as ‘critically endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • The hangul is known to favour ridges facing south, and which receive maximum sunlight, as resting places.

Basmati rice

  • India is the largest exporter of Basmati rice, which is one of the major varieties of aromatic or scented rice.
  • The major export destination for basmati Rice are Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UAE, Kuwait, Yemen Republic, USA, and UK.
  • The Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), an autonomous organisation under the administrative control of Department of Commerce, has been mandated with the export promotion of Basmati rice.
  • APEDA has been able to register Basmati Rice as a Geographical Indication (GI) in 2016.

Kala Utsav

  • The Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD launched the national level Kala Utsav in the year 2015, to promote arts in education, by nurturing and showcasing the artistic talent of school students, in the country.