DAILY TOPICS

PRADAN MANTRI AWAS YOJANA

The Government in the President’s address in the Joint Session of Parliament in May 2014 had announced that “By the time the nation completes 75 years of its Independence (by 2022), every family will have a pucca house with water connection, toilet facilities, 24×7 electricity supply and access”


In pursuance to this Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Housing for all was launched by Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi Ji on 1 June 2015. Under this scheme, affordable houses will be built in all cities and towns using eco-friendly construction methods for the benefit of the urban poor population in India.


A similar scheme, Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Gramin) was also launched, for rural population, later on in pursuance to the goal of Housing for all by 2022 .


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“spike protein” of 2019-nCoV”


Researchers in the United States have unveiled the structure of the “spike protein” of 2019-nCoV, the virus behind the current coronavirus disease outbreak.

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the virus a global health emergency. Also, the WHO announcedan official name for the disease- coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19.In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for the disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV.”


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Mars Insight Mission

NASA’s Mars Lander InSight has recorded its first ‘Marsquake.’ It has recorded a quake of 2 or 2.5 magnitude which is hard to predict on Earth’s surface.

InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program, managed by the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
It will be the first mission to peer deep beneath the Martian surface, studying the planet’s interior by measuring its heat output and listening for marsquakes, which are seismic events similar to earthquakes on Earth.

It will use the seismic waves generated by marsquakes to develop a map of the planet’s deep interior.


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SUTRA PIC


The government recently unveiled SUTRA PIC programme to research on ‘indigenous’ cows.

SUTRA PIC: It stands for Scientific Utilization Through Research Augmentation-Prime Products from Indigenous Cows.

Funding: The initiative is led by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). It is to be funded by multiple scientific ministries.

Partners: Department of Biotechnology, CSIR, the Ministry for AYUSH, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), among others.


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Voyager 2

Context
In an incredible feat of remote engineering, NASA has fixed one of the most intrepid explorers in human history. Voyager 2, currently some 11.5 billion miles from Earth, is back online and resuming its mission to collect scientific data on the solar system and the interstellar space beyond.

What is Voyager 2?

 Understanding Interstellar Space:
‘Inter’ means between. ‘Stellar’ refers to stars. Interstellar space is the part of space that exists between stars.
Scientists define the beginning of interstellar space as the place where the Sun’s constant flow of material and magnetic field stop affecting its surroundings.
This place is called the heliopause.

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National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA)

Context
The government in its budget 2020 has announced a National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA) with a total budget outlay of Rs 8000 Crore for a period of five years to be implemented by the Department of Science & Technology (DST).

About the mission:
The new mission will oversee the development of quantum technologies for communications, computing, materials development and cryptography.
It will coordinate the work of scientists, industry leaders and government departments
Implementing authority: The move will be implemented by the Department of Science & Technology (DST).
Focus area: The areas of focus for the Mission will be in fundamental science, translation, technology development, human and infrastructural resource generation, innovation and start-ups to address issues concerning national priorities.

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Genome India Project

Context
The government has cleared an ambitious gene-mapping project that is being described by those involved as the “first scratching of the surface of the vast genetic diversity of India”.

What is a genome?
Every organism’s genetic code is contained in its Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid (DNA), the building blocks of life.

A genome, simply put, is all the genetic matter in an organism. It is defined as “an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes.
Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism. In humans, a copy of the entire genome, more than 3 billion DNA base pairs, is contained in all cells that have a nucleus

The discovery that DNA is structured as a “double helix” by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953, for which they won a Nobel Prize in 1962, was the spark in the long, continuing quest for understanding how genes dictate life, its traits, and what causes diseases.

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GISAT-1 mission

Context
An ISRO GSLV-II rocket will launch the GISAT-1 mission. 

About:
GISAT-1 is an Indian earth observation satellite to be launched in geostationary orbit. It is tasked with continuous observation of Indian sub-continent and quick monitoring of natural hazards and disaster.
GISAT carries an imaging payload consisting of multi-spectral, multi-resolution from 50 m to 1.5 km.
It will operate in geostationary orbit above the Southern India region after being launched from Sriharikota, India.
The rocket consists of three stages and four liquid engine strap-on rocket motors that use UDMH and N2O4.

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Looming water crisis in India

Context
According to the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, India is among the 17 countries, facing “extremely high” water stress. It has more than three times the population of the other 16 countries in this category combined.

Background:
WRI report: WRI’s Aqueduct list ranked water stress, drought risk, and riverine flood risk across 189 countries and their sub-national regions, like states and provinces.
In the 17 countries facing extremely high water stress, agriculture, industry, and municipalities are drinking up 80 per cent of available surface and groundwater in an average year.
India ranked 13 on Aqueduct’s list of “extremely high” water-stressed countries, close to “Day Zero” conditions when the taps run dry. 
Northern India faces severe groundwater depletion. 

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Reading the new State of Forest Report 2019

Context
State of Forest Report 2019 has shown a 1,275 sq km gain in very dense forest, but what this statistic masks is the fact that the country continues to lose its best natural forests. A look at what was gained and lost

Background
The report is published by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) which has been mandated to assess the forest and tree resources of the country including wall-to-wall forest cover mapping in a biennial cycle.
Starting 1987, 16 assessments have been completed so far. ISFR 2019 is the 16th report in the series.
India is among few countries in the world where forest cover is consistently increasing.
The total forest and tree cover of the country is 80.73 million hectare which is 24.56 percent of the geographical area of the country.
Compared to the assessment of 2017, there is an increase of 5,188 sq. km in the total forest and tree cover of the country.
Out of this, the increase in the forest cover has been observed as 3,976 sq km and that in tree cover is 1,212 sq. km; Range increase in forest cover has been observed in open forest followed by very dense forest and moderately dense forest and the top three states showing increase in forest cover are Karnataka (1,025 sq. km) followed by Andhra Pradesh (990 sq km) and Kerala (823 sq km).”

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Antibiotics, river contamination and healthcare

Several rivers in the world, including those in India, have been reported to have high concentrations of antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, oxytetracycline and ofloxacin.
Hundreds of sites around the world, from Thames to Tigris, are awash with dangerously high levels of antibiotics.
Our rivers and water bodies are life-supporting assets. But river pollution has become a major cause of concern across the world in past few decades. High concentrations of chemicals, particularly drugs, in surface and ground water pose many risks.
In a global study researchers tested 711 sites in 72 countries and found antibiotics in 65% of them. In 111 of the sites, concentrations of antibiotics exceeded safe levels, with the worst cases more than 300 times over the safe limit. Most of the polluted sites were in Asia and Africa.

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World Elephant Day: India’s jumbos stare at a worrying future

Today only about 27,000 wild elephants remain in India, as opposed to a million a decade ago. There has been a 98 per cent nose-dive in their population, according to research.

India is one of the 17 mega diverse countries of the world.

It is home to 7-8 per cent of the world’s recorded species from top predators such as the Asiatic lions, Bengal tigers to large herbivores such as the Asian elephant and one-horned rhino.

This rich fauna has not just been an integral part of India’s environmental history but has also been instrumental in shaping several indigenous cultures. In fact, many religions in India stem from animism, which entails that soul exists in animals and plants.

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Heat Waves

In early June 2019, an intense heat wave scorched many parts of India which led to the death of 36 people in the country, mostly from Andhra Pradesh.

In 2019, sparse rainfall during the pre-monsoon season, along with a delayed monsoon, has made the heat more unbearable.

The NDMA official added that Churu (Rajasthan), where temperature crossed the 50 degrees Celsius mark, has not registered a single death whereas parts of Andhra Pradesh have witnessed most number of deaths, where the temperature was relatively lower.

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Sukhna Lake becomes a ‘living entity’

The Punjab and Haryana high court has declared Sukhna Lake a “living entity” or “legal person” with rights, duties and liabilities of a living person. It also declared all citizens of Chandigarh as loco parentis (in the place of a parent) to save the lake from extinction.

Sukhna Lake is situated at the foothill of Shivalik Hills in the city of Chandigarh. The famous Rock Garden of Chandigarh is located on the banks of this lake.

The Lake was created in 1958, by damming a seasonal stream Sukhna Choe, which cascade from the Shivalik Hills.

Sukhna Reservoir was also designed by Le Corbusier (Chief Architect of Chandigarh city) and the Chief Engineer P L Verma in the year 1974.
Several migratory birds like cranes, Siberian ducks, storks etc., can be seen during the season.

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“India’s nomination for 2020 World Heritage List”

Government of India has submitted two nomination dossiers namely ‘Dholavira: A Harappan City’ and ‘Monuments and Forts of Deccan Sultanate’ for inclusion in the World Heritage List for the year 2020.

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Various Military Exercises

indian Armed Forces conduct/participates in various bilateral and multilateral military exercises with foreign countries. The details of such exercise include the following


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