Essential Facts (Prelims): 19 January, 2019

Great Indian Bustards (GIB)

  • It is the country’s most critically endangered bird.
  • It is the State bird of Rajasthan.
  • The GIB’s last remnant wild population of about 50 in Jaisalmer district accounts for 95% of its total world population.
  • No progress has been made on the proposal for establishing a captive breeding centre in Kota district and a hatchery in Jaisalmer for conservation of the State bird of Rajasthan.

Young Scientist Scheme

  • It is ISRO’s project to reach out to students.
  • Under the YSP, three students, 8th standard pass, would be selected from each of the 29 States and seven Union Territories.
  • The students will spend one month at ISRO during which they will be given lectures, get access to research and development and will be given experience to build a satellite.

Saturn’s Rings

  • Saturn’s rings may be a relatively recent addition, according to data obtained from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.
  • The findings challenge the notion favoured by some astronomers that the rings developed soon after Saturn formed about 4.5 billion years ago along with the other planets, including the earth.
  • Others felt the rings were much younger, but lacked crucial data like their mass to estimate their age reliably.
  • The ring mass turned out to be 45% lower than previous estimates based on 1980s data from NASA’s Voyager spacecraft. Lower mass indicates a younger age.
  • Scientists suspect the rings formed perhaps when a large icy comet or moon ventured too close to Saturn and was shattered by gravitational forces or moons collided in orbit.

Artificial Intelligence

  • India ranks third in the world in terms of high quality research publications in artificial intelligence (AI).
  • China stands first.


  • Animal Welfare Board of India is a statutory advisory body on Animal Welfare Laws and promotes animal welfare in the country.
  • It was established in 1962 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
  • It ensures that animal welfare laws in the country are diligently followed, provide grants to Animal Welfare Organizations and advises the Government of India on animal welfare issues.
  • The Board consists of 28 Members. The term of office of Members is for a period of 3 years.

Essential Facts (Prelims): 18 January, 2019

Rupee pact with Iran

  • The Indian pharma industry now has an opportunity to increase exports to Iran, following a rupee payment mechanism agreed upon recently by India and the Persian Gulf nation.
  • Under the agreement, Indian refiners make payments in rupee for oil imports from Iran, to designated accounts maintained with UCO Bank.
  • A portion thus received is to be used by Iran to pay for imports from India, including pharmaceuticals.
  • The rupee payment agreement came within weeks of the sanctions to cover oil imports from Iran.
  • While imposing the sanctions again, the U.S. provided a time window of exemption under which India and a few other countries could continue to import oil for some time, but of relatively less quantity.
  • Constituting mostly APIs (bulk drugs), Indian pharma exports to Iran have been declining in recent years.

Young Scientists Programme

  • For the first time, ISRO has announced the ‘Young Scientists Programme’ to encourage the scientific talent and increase scientific pool in the country.
  • Under this programme 3 students from each state and UT will be selected for ISRO programme for one month during which they will visit ISRO centres, interact with senior scientists and will have access to Research and Development facilities.

Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY)

  • Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY), the flagship scheme of the Central Government for employment generation has crossed the milestone of one crore beneficiaries.
  • PMRPY was announced in 2016 and is being implemented by Ministry of Labour and Employment through the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO).
  • Under the scheme, Government is paying full employers’ contribution of 12% (towards Employees’ Provident Fund and Employees’ Pension Scheme both), for a period of 3 years in respect of new employees who have been registered with the EPFO on or after 1st April 2016, with salary up to Rs. 15,000 per month.
  • The entire system is online and AADHAR based with no human interface in the implementation of the scheme.


  • India to train experts from 45 countries India will train 45 countries in nano-satellite making through a new capacity building programme.
  • The programme is named Unispace Nanosatellite Assembly and Training(UNNATI).


ISRO has initiated ‘Samvad with students’ programme where ISRO chairman meets the students during his outstation visits and address their queries and quench the scientific thrust.


The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed Volkswagen India to deposit ₹100 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Essential Facts (Prelims): 16 and 17 January, 2019

Essential Facts for Prelims – CSE 2019. Daily Compilation of Important Factual Information from Relevant News Sources for Civil Services Prelims Exam (UPSC)


  • Around 35,000 Bru refugees living in relief camps in Tripura.
  • Thousands of Bru refugees from Mizoram had fled to Tripura during ethnic violence in 1997.

Police Chiefs

  • The Supreme Court rejected the pleas made by five States to implement their own local laws for selection and appointment of their State police chiefs.
  • .In July 2018, the Supreme Court restrained State governments from appointing DGPs without first consulting the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
  • The State government concerned has to send UPSC the names of the probables three months before the incumbent DGP is to retire.
  • The UPSC will prepare a panel of three officers fit to be DGP and send it back.
  • The State shall “immediately” appoint one of the persons shortlisted by the UPSC.


The National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREGA) scheme has been given an additional allocation of ₹6,084 crore to tide over the next three months. This lifts the total allocation to MGNREGA for 2018-19 to ₹61,084 crore, which is the highest ever allocation.


  • In a bid to improve ease of doing business, the Reserve Bank of India has decided to liberalise external commercial borrowing (ECB) norms, allowing all companies that are eligible for receiving foreign direct investment, to raise funds through the ECB route.
  • The RBI has decided to keep the minimum average maturity period at 3 years for all ECBs, irrespective of the amount of borrowing. Earlier, the minimum average maturity period was five years.
  • The ceiling for borrowing remains at $750 million.
  • RBI had capped funds raised via ECBs at 6.5% of GDP, at current market prices.

Exim Bank

  • The Cabinet o approved an infusion of ₹6,000 crore of capital in the Exim Bank of India.
  • The Cabinet also approved an increase in the authorised capital of Exim Bank from ₹10,000 crore to ₹20,000 crore.
  • The capital infusion would enable the bank to augment its capital adequacy and support Indian exports.

e commerce

  • The rules mandate that no entity in which an e-commerce company has stake can sell its wares on that e-commerce company’s portal.
  • Any vendor who receives 25% or more of its inputs from an e-commerce group company cannot sell on that e-commerce portal.

Gandhi Peace Prize

  • After a gap of four years, the Centre announced the awardees for the prestigious Gandhi Peace Prize for 2015 to 2018.
  • The Gandhi Peace Prize, which is given to individuals and institutions for their contribution towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian methods, was last conferred upon the Indian Space Research Organisation in 2014.
  • This is the first time that the awardees of four years have been announced together ever since the award was instituted in 1995.
  • As per the code of procedure on the Ministry of Culture’s website, the award should ideally be announced on Gandhi Jayanti, October 2, each year.
  • The award carries a cash prize of Rs 1 crore, a citation and a handicraft item.
  • The International Gandhi Peace Prize was instituted by the government on the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and is open to people of all nationalities.


  • Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is a composite indicator that measures changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products over a period of time, with respect to a chosen base period.
  • It is compiled and published monthly by the CSO with a time lag of six weeks from the reference month.
  • The all-India IIP provides a single representative figure to measure the general level of industrial activity in the economy on a monthly basis.
  • On the whole, the new series had 809 items from the manufacturing sector as against 620 from the old 2004-05 series.
  • ASI is the main source of long term industrial statistics while the IIP is a monthly indicator based on items and factories selected from ASI.
  • IIP is based on a fixed set of items and factories chosen in the base period whereas the ASI is a record-based survey of establishments registered under the Factories Act, 1948 in which the sampling frame and the sampled establishments undergo significant changes.
  • ASI captures information of new items and factories whereas the IIP does not.
  • Also, the IIP is based on a much smaller sample of factories as compared to that of ASI.
  • Growth rates in IIP are based on volume of production whereas growth rates in ASI are derived on the basis of Value Added (Output – Input).
  • Further, establishments selected in IIP are generally larger in size whereas ASI establishments cover both large and smaller units. So, the growth rates in IIP are lower as the smaller units that have a thinner base and hence show higher growth


  • The Odisha government has come up with a support scheme whose primary targets are small farmers, cultivators and landless agricultural labourers.
  • Called KALIA, the scheme involves payments to encourage cultivation and associated activities.


  • A small green shoot is growing on the moon in an out-of-this-world first after cotton seed germinated on board a Chinese lunar lander.
  • This is the first time humans have done biological growth experiments on the lunar surface.


‘Saksham’, an annual high intensity one-month long people-centric mega campaign of Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has been launched.


  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister, has given its approval to the project for capacity expansion of Numaligarh Refinery in Assam from 3 MMTPA (Million Metric Tonne Per Annum) to 9 MMTPA.
  • It involves setting up of crude oil pipeline from Paradip to Numaligarh and product pipeline from Numaligarh to Siliguri.