Essential Facts (Prelims): 5 December, 2018

Swachhta Doots

  • About 3 lakh postmen and GraminDakSevaks of the Department have been declared as “Ambassadors of cleanliness”.
  • As “SwachhtaDoots” they have spread the message of cleanliness, zero tolerance to open defecation and use of plastic among the masses.

Climate change

  • At Katowice, Poland, countries have gathered to agree upon a ‘Rule Book’ to implement the Paris Agreement of 2015.
  • The Paris Agreement commits countries to ensure the earth doesn’t warm 2C beyond pre-industrial levels.
  • In 2019, developed countries are expected to make available $100 billion annually to developing countries, according to a 2010 agreement in Cancun.
  • Most of the total climate finance has flowed into mitigation (a reference to preventing carbon dioxide from being emitted).


  • India is expected to commission a major hydropower project in Bhutan in the coming weeks.
  • The project is 750 megawatt Mangdechhu hydropower project.
  • The Mangdechhu project was bagged by the Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL).


  • SEBI has recommended allowing unlisted Indian companies to directly list their shares on overseas exchanges in at least 10 countries.
  • It also suggested allowing unlisted companies from such countries to list their shares on Indian bourses.
  • This is a major shift from the current regulatory regime that does not allow unlisted Indian companies to have a direct overseas equity listing.
  • Such listing would only be possible after changes in two key laws — FEMA and Companies Act.
  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) can amend FEMA while and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) can amend the Companies Act.


  • Scientists have discovered a cache over 100 new exoplanets using data from NASA’s Kepler Space telescope as well as ground-based observatories.
  • Exoplanets revolve around stars other than the sun.
  • If a planet crosses in front of its parent star, then the observed brightness of the star drops by a small amount. The Kepler Space Telescope detected many exoplanets using this method

Extreme weather

  • Extreme weather events killed over 70,000 people in India, 5.2 lakh across world in 20 years.
  • Just in 2017 alone, 2,736 people in India died in extreme weather events like floods, excessive rain or cyclones, the report by Germanwatch, an independent development organisation, said.
  • In the last twenty years, India accounted for the second highest number of these casualties after Myanmar, topped only by Puerto Rico.
  • Deaths caused by natural calamities like earthquakes, tsunamis or volcanoes are not included in the data because these are not caused by climate change.
  • The report put India 14th on the list of countries at maximum risk to climate change.


  • OPEC, a cartel of 15 countries that produce about 45% of the world’s oil and contain over 80% of its “proven” reserves.
  • OPEC was founded in 1960 by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, and Venezuela. Qatar joined in 1961.

Why has Qatar left OPEC?

  • Qatar wanted to focus on its gas industry rather than on oil, in which it was in any case a small player.
  • Qatar’s riches are due to its natural gas reserves, and it is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
  • Qatar is one of India’s oldest LNG suppliers. But LNG pricing is not in OPEC’s domain, so Qatar’s decision is unlikely to impact India.


  • Cataract surgery has emerged the procedure for which the highest number of claims have been made under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY).
  • Cataract refers to a clouding of the lens of the eye causing gradual loss of vision. It is common in old age but can also be triggered by injuries to the eye.
  • Diabetes, of which India has a very high burden (approximately 6.92 crore) is also known to hasten cataract formation.