Prelims 2020

17th September 2020 Daily Current Flash Cards

Orion spacecraft; Global Social Mobility Index; Vedanta Desikan; Sri Vaishnavism; Migrant caravan; Artemis Program; Polavaram Multipurpose Project;
By IASToppers
September 17, 2020




The Polavaram Multipurpose Project is irrigation national project is being built on which river?

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The Polavaram Multipurpose Project is irrigation national project is being built on Godavari River.

Enrich Your Learning:

Polavaram Multipurpose Project

  • The Polavaram Project is an under construction multi-purpose irrigation national project on the Godavari River in the West Godavari District and East Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh.
  • The Polavaram project aims to build an earth-cum-rock filled dam across river Godavari. The maximum height of the dam is 48 m.
  • Main dam was expected to be completed by December 2018.
  • The project was expected to be completed to a large extent by June 2019. However, the project deadline was revised to June 2020.
  • In June 2020, considering the immense importance of the project, Ministry is keeping the ‘stop work order’ in abeyance to allow the construction for two years without permission to impound water.

Why Important?

  • Irrigate nearly 3 lakh hectare of land
  • Generate hydro power with installed capacity of 960 MW
  • Provide drinking water to villages covering a population of 25 lakhs in Visakhapatnam, East Godavari and West Godavari and Krishna districts.


  • In 2011, the then Union government had asked the Andhra Pradesh government to stop Polavaram construction.
  • In 2014, Polavaram declared as national project and the ministry kept the ‘stop work order’ in abeyance to allow construction work.
  • The ‘Stop Work Order’ was kept in abeyance six times for a year each time.




What do you know about the Orion spacecraft?

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  • Orion is a new NASA spacecraft for astronauts. The spacecraft is an important part of NASA’s Artemis program that includes sending the first woman and the next man to the Moon by 2024.

Enrich Your Learning:

Orion spacecraft:

  • Orion will carry astronauts into deep space, and then return them home safely to Earth.
  • This spacecraft will take a crew to the Gateway in lunar orbit.
  • The Gateway is a new spaceship that will serve as a place for astronauts to prepare before missions to the surface of the Moon and, ultimately, Mars.
  • Orion will take astronauts farther than they have ever gone. Orion will do several things:
  • Carry the crew safely to space. 
  • Serve as a home while the crew is traveling.
  • Allow the crew to return to Earth safely from speeds as fast as 20,000 mph.
  • Be a “lifeboat” if the crew has to return to Earth in an emergency.
  • Orion will launch on NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS).
  • Orion will fly past the Moon and return to Earth during Artemis I.

What Is the Artemis Program?

  • Artemis is NASA’s new lunar exploration program, which includes sending the first woman and the next man on the Moon.
  • Through the Artemis program, NASA will use new technology to study the Moon in new and better ways, and prepare for human missions to Mars.
  • Space Launch System (SLS) will carry the Orion spacecraft with up to four astronauts riding aboard to lunar orbit.
  • Artemis will send a crew with the first woman and the next man to land on the Moon by 2024.

Through this mission, at the Moon, astronauts will:

  • Search for the Moon’s water and use it.
  • Study the Moon to discover its
  • Learn how to live and work on the surface of another celestial body where astronauts are just three days from home.
  • Test the technologies we need before sending astronauts on missions to Mars.




Name the countries from where the Migrant caravans who recently travelled to United States-Mexico border.

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Answer: Honduras, EL Salvador and Guatemala.

Enrich Your Learning:

Migrant caravan:

  • The term ‘migrant caravans’ emerged as a way to describe the large groups of people moving by land across international borders.
  • Central American migrant caravans are migrant caravans that travel from the Guatemala–Mexico border to the Mexico–United States border.
  • They are largely from Honduras, EL Salvador and Guatemala.
  • The largest and best known of these were organized by Pueblo Sin Fronteras (Village without Borders) that set off during Holy Week in 2017 from the Northern Triangle of Central America.
  • Drought and crop failure in the Central American dry corridor and Climate change in Honduras has been a factor in the formation of the caravans.
  • Many people who were part of the caravans were previously engaged in activities such as agriculture, forestry, cattle raising and fishing, and thus more vulnerable to food and economic insecurity as a result of droughts associated with rising global temperatures. 

Why did they form a caravan?

  • Migrants are often kidnapped by people traffickers and drugs gangs which force them to work for them.
  • A large group such as this one is harder to target and therefore offers more protection.




The postal stamp of Shri Vedanta Desikan was unveiled by the government. He was the proponent of which religious tradition?

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Srivaishnava tradition (Vaishnavism)

Enrich Your Learning:

Postal stamps of Vedanta Desikan unveiled

  • Vice-President unveiled commemorative postage stamps on the 750th birth anniversary of ‘Vedanta Desikan’.
  • Vedanta Desikan was a religious philosopher.
  • Naidu praised the postal department for the initiative saying the release of the stamp was “to give inspiration to the new generation to follow the footsteps of great people and do something good for the society.”

Vedanta Desikan

  • Sri Vedanta Desikan is one of the most prominent preceptors in the Srivaishnava tradition and one of the most effulgent luminaries to have graced this land.
  • He had authored brilliant poems, prose, drama, epics, commentaries, scientific texts and philosophical treatises in Sanskrit, Tamil, Prakrit and Manipravalam.
  • His magnum opus, the Rahasya Traya Sara, is a masterly treatise on Prapatti or surrendering oneself to the divine.
  • He was celebrated as sarva-tantra-svatantra’ or master of all arts and crafts; awarded the title ‘kavi tarkika-kesari’, the lion amongst poets and logicians; and glorified as ‘ramanuja-daya-patram’, the recipient of Ramanuja’s blessings.
  • He was remarkable for his humility and genuine non-attachment to worldly honours.
  • Vedanta Desikan was much more than a spiritual teacher and he was a multi-faceted personality– a scientist, a logician, a mathematician, a literary genius, a linguist, a military strategist and much more.
  • The essential features of Sri Vedant Desikan’s philosophy was the aspect of inclusion. He has shaped Bharat into a “Jnana Bhoomi”.
  • His masterpiece, Paduka Sahasram, reveals his poetic eloquence and his mathematical ingenuity. In two verses in this collection, Sri Vedanta Desikann gave a solution to a mathematical problem that was solved five centuries later by another mathematician, Leonard Euler.
  • Desikanshowed his knowledge of the arts and sciences through other works such as Silpartha-saram, a treatise on sculpture, and Bhugola-nirnayam – a research text on geography.
  • Taking cues from the Vedic scriptures, Vedanta Desikan authored Aahaara Niyamam that detailed how different food items help in maintaining a healthy mind and a disease-free life.
  • His ‘Subhashita Neevi’ contains a fund of moral and ethical advice which is relevant and practical.

Sri Vaishnavism

  • Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya or Sri Vaishnavism is a denomination within the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism.
  • The name is derived from Sri referring to goddess Lakshmi as well as a prefix that means “sacred, revered”, and god Vishnu who are together revered in this tradition.
  • The tradition traces its roots to the ancient Vedas and Pancaratra texts and popularized by the Alvars with their Divya Prabandhams.
  • The founder of Sri Vaishnavism is traditionally attributed as Nathamuni of the 10th century CE, its central philosopher has been Ramanuja of the 11th century who developed the Vishishtadvaita (“qualified non-dualism”) Vedanta sub-school of Hindu philosophy.
  • Tradition is based on the Vishistadvaita vedanta philosophy derived from Vedas and Divya Prabandhams.
  • The tradition split into two sub-traditions around the 16th-century called the Vadakalai (sect giving Veda the first preference) and Thenkalai (sect giving Divya Prabandham the first preference).
  • The most striking difference between Srivaishnavas and other Vaishnava groups lies in their interpretation of Vedas.
  • While other Vaishnava groups interpret Vedic deities like Indra, Savitar, Bhaga, Rudra, etc. to be same as their Puranic counterparts, Srivaishnavas consider these to be different names/roles/forms of Lord Narayan citing solid reasons thus claiming that the entire Veda is dedicated for Vishnu worship alone.
  • Srivaishnavas have remodelled Pancharatra homas like Sudarshana homa, etc. to include Vedic Suktas like Rudram in them, thus giving them a Vedic outlook.




The ‘Global Social Mobility Index’ is published by which international Organization?

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World Economic Forum

Enrich Your Learning:

India ranks low at 76th place on global Social Mobility Index

  • India has been ranked very low at 76th place out of 82 countries on a new Social Mobility Index compiled by the World Economic Forum.
  • Denmark has topped the charts followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden (all above 83 points) and Iceland (82 points). 
  • The report, released ahead of the 50th Annual Meeting of the WEF, also lists India among the five countries that stand to gain the most from a better social mobility score that seeks to measure parameters necessary for creating societies where every person has the same opportunity to fulfil his potential in life irrespective of socioeconomic background.
  • Increasing social mobility, a key driver of income inequality, by 10% would benefit social cohesion and boost the world’s economies by nearly 5% by 2030, the WEF said.
  • Measuring countries across five key dimensions distributed over 10 pillars — health; education (access, quality and equity); technology; work (opportunities, wages, conditions); and protections and institutions (social protection and inclusive institutions) — shows that fair wages, social protection and lifelong learning are the biggest drags on social mobility globally.
  • The top five are all Scandinavian, while the five economies with the most to gain from boosting social mobility are China, the United States, India, Japan and Germany.
  • The most socially mobile societies in the world, according to the report’s Global Social Mobility Index, are all European.

India’s Highlight

  • India ranks 76th out of 82 economies.
  • It ranks 41st in lifelong learning and 53rd in working conditions.
  • The Areas of improvement for India include social protection (76th) and fair wage distribution (79th).

About Global Mobility Index

  • The Global Social Mobility Index focuses on those policies, practices and institutions that collectively determine the extent to which everyone in society has a fair chance to fulfil their potential, regardless of their socio-economic background, the origin of their parents, or the place where they were born. 
  • The launch of the report coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Forum’s Annual Meeting taking place this year under the theme “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World” and the start of a decade of delivery towards the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 development agenda.
Daily Current Flash Cards 2020 Prelims 2020

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