70 Days WAR Plan

Day#13 Current Affairs Flash Cards [70 Days WAR Plan]

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY); Construction of Lakhwar Multipurpose Project; Generations of Biofuels; ‘Aranmula Vallamkali’; Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH); Stubble burning; Pollutants are emitted in stubble burning; Outstanding Parliamentarian Award; NASA’s New Horizons Mission; Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN); Pingali Venkayya;
By IT's Core Team
April 04, 2019




In August 2018, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved continuation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) beyond 12th Five Year Plan period. What do you know about the PMGSY?

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  • Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) was launched in 2000 as a fully funded Centrally Sponsored Scheme to provide all weather road connectivity in rural areas of the country.
  • Union Ministry of Rural Development is nodal ministry for implementation of Scheme.
  • The programme envisages connecting all habitations with a population of 500 persons and above in the plain areas and 250 persons and above in hill States, the tribal and the desert areas.

Key features of the scheme:

  • For this scheme, 75 paise per litre has been earmarked out of cess levied on high speed diesel.
  • It considers habitation as unit for providing connectivity and not revenue village.
  • The scheme encourages use of green technologies and non-conventional materials (like waste plastic, geo-textiles, fly-ash, iron and copper slag etc) for constructing rural roads.




Recently, the 141st birth anniversary of Pingali Venkayya was observed on August 2, 2018. Who is he?

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  • Pingali Venkayya, a Gandhian contemporary, a great patriot, the designer of the Indian National Flag was also a linguist, a geologist and a writer.

Enrich Your Learning:

More about Pingali Venkayya:


  • Venkayya joined the British Army at a young age of 19 and took part in the Anglo-Boer war in Africa. During this time, he met Mahatma Gandhi and formed an association with the leader which lasted for more than 50 years.
  • His admirers used to call him with titles such as Japan Venkayya,Patti (cotton) Venkayya, Janada Venkayya etc for his valuable contribution to different fields.
  • The National Flag designed by Venkayya was unanimously agreed upon and considered in the presence of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi in the Congress Committee meeting held in Vijayawada on March 31st and April 1st 1921.
  • Decades after his death in 1963, Venkayya was also honoured with a postage stamp in 2009 for his contribution towards Indian freedom struggle.




Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) controls content on the Internet. Right OR Wrong?

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Right Statement:

  • ICANN doesn’t control content on the Internet.

Enrich Your Learning:

About the Internet Corporation Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN):

ICANN is the global body that oversees operation and administration of the Internet domain name system.

  • It was formed in 1998.
  • It is a not-for-profit partnership of people from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable.
  • It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers.
  • ICANN doesn’t control content on the Internet.
  • It cannot stop spam and it doesn’t deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet.
  • It is responsible for coordinating the maintenance and methodologies of several databases, with unique identifiers, related to the namespaces of the Internet – and thereby, ensuring the network’s stable and secure operation.

Functions of ICANN:

  • Approval of companies that can become accredited registrars for domain names.
  • Decision making regarding the addition of new Top Level Domains (TLDs) to the Root system.
  • Coordinating technical parameters to maintain universal connectivity.
  • Creating a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) for competing domain names.

Who governs ICANN?

  • ICANN is governed by an internationally diverse Board of Directors overseeing the policy development process.
  • ICANN’s President directs an international staff, working from three continents, who ensure that ICANN meets its operational commitment to the Internet community.




What do you know about NASA’s New Horizons Mission?

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  • New Horizons is an interplanetary space probe that was launched as a part of NASA’s New Frontiers program.
  • Launched in 2006, it has been travelling through space for the past nine years.
  • The primary mission is to perform a flyby study of the Pluto system. The secondary mission to fly by and study one or more other Kuiper belt objects (KBOs).
  • It is the first spacecraft which successfully fly by the dwarf planet Pluto, for its exploration in the Kuiper Belt along with its moon Charon and other dwarf planets in the belt.
  • Images sent by this mission would not only provide geological phenomena of the Pluto (mineral, oil and natural gas exploration) but also help in understanding the various new phenomenon that occurs over the Pluto and the Belt.




What is Outstanding Parliamentarian Award? It was instituted by whom?

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  • The Outstanding Parliamentarian Award is an award given by the Indian Parliamentary Group to an outstanding sitting Member of the Indian Parliament for overall contribution in the Indian Parliament.
  • It was instituted in 1992 by Shivraj Patil, who was the Speaker of Lok Sabha from 1991 to 1996.

Why in news?

President Ram Nath Kovind has conferred Outstanding Parliamentarian Awards on five Members of Parliament:

  • Dr Najma Heptulla (BJP leader) [award for 2013]
  • Hukumdev Narayan Yadav (BJP leader) [award for 2014]
  • Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress leader) [award for 2015]
  • Dinesh Trivedi (Trinamool Congress leader) [award for 2016]
  • Bhartruhari Mahatab (Biju Janata Dal leader) [award for 2017] 




What is stubble burning? Which pollutants are emitted in stubble burning?

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  • Stubble burning is the act of removing paddy crop residue from the field to sow wheat.
  • Open stubble burning emits large amount of toxic pollutants in the atmosphere which contain harmful gases like Methane (CH4), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Volatile organic compound (VOC) and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Enrich Your Learning:

  • Stubble burning is episodic and seasonal and depends on wind speed and direction; and though there are no clear estimates, it contributes significantly towards the air pollution in north India every winter.
  • Open-burning of rice straw residues pollutes the air and contributes to global warming through emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs).
  • Although burning of straw residues emits large amounts of CO2, this component of the smoke is not considered as net GHG emissions and only concludes the annual carbon cycle that has started with photosynthesis.
  • The black carbon and organic particulate matter released during stubble burning slowly permeates throughout the entire region.




An organization named ‘INTACH’ is frequently appeared in news. It is related to which field?

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  • Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is recognized as one of the world’s largest heritage organizations, with over 190 Chapters across the Country.

Enrich Your Learning:

Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH)

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) was founded in 1984 in New Delhi with the vision to spearhead heritage awareness and conservation in India.

  • On January 27, 1984 INTACH is establish as a Registered Society.
  • The INTACH Logo, based on the anthropomorphic copper figure from Shahabad, Uttar Pradesh, belonging to the enigmatic Copper Hoards of the Ganga Valley is the perceived brand image of INTACH.
  • The affairs of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage are carried out by the Governing council (GC) and the Executive committee (EC).
  • NTACH’s mission to conserve heritage is based on the belief that living in harmony with heritage enhances the quality of life, and it is the duty of every citizen of India as laid down in the Constitution of India.

Objectives of INTACH:

  • Sensitize the public about the pluralistic cultural legacy of India
  • Instil a sense of social responsibility towards preserving India’s common heritage
  • Protect and preserve India’s living, built, and natural heritage by undertaking necessary actions and measures
  • Document unprotected buildings of archaeological, architectural, historic and aesthetic significance, as well as the cultural resources, as this is the first step towards formulating conservation plans
  • Develop heritage policies and regulations, and make legal interventions to protect India’s heritage when necessary
  • Provide expertise in the field of conservation, restoration and preservation of specific works of art; and encourage capacity-building by developing skills through training programmes
  • Undertake emergency response measures during natural or man-made disasters and support the local administration whenever heritage is threatened
  • Foster collaborations, Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) and partnerships with government and other national and international agencies
  • Generate sponsorships for conservation and educational projects.

Key Facts:

  • United Nations Economic & Social Council granted INTACH special consultative status in 2007.
  • INTACH Pupul Jayakar Award and memorial lecture was delivered on World Heritage Day (18th April) for remembering her contribution to the preservation and promotion of India’s Heritage.




‘Aranmula Vallamkali’ is an annual traditional race of which Indian state?

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  • ‘Aranmula Vallamkali’ is an annual Boat race festival of Kerala.

Enrich Your Learning:

 ‘Aranmula Vallamkali’

The Aranmula Uthrittathi Vallamkali or Aranmula Boat Race is the most ancient and revered boat races of Kerala.

  • Aranmula is a heritage village lies in the banks of the river Pampa in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala.
  • Legend says that a devout Brahmin promised to provide all the requirements for the Thiruvona Sadya (feast held on the Thiruvonam asterism).
  • These were to be delivered to Aranmula Sree Parthasarathy Temple in a boat called the Thiruvona Thoni.
  • The boat was attacked by enemy factions during its voyage.
  • However, snake boats from the surrounding area came to its rescue and it is from here that the grand tradition of the special snake boat race in the area was born.
  • The snake boat race in itself is an offering to Lord Krishna of Sree Parthasarathy Temple.
  • The snake boats used for this race are called Palliyodams.
  • The credit for the design is given to Lord Krishna himself, the chief deity at the Aranmula Sree Parthasarathy Temple.
  • He is said to have appeared on these shores on a raft made of six bamboos, giving the village its name – Aranmula or Six Bamboos.




Give some brief information on various generations of Biofuels.

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Answer & Enrich Your Learning:

  • Biofuels are usually classified into three groups as 1st, 2nd and 3rd

Biofuels are usually classified as follows:

  • First-generation biofuels are directly related to a biomass that is generally edible.
  • Second-generation biofuels are defined as fuels produced from a wide array of different feedstock, ranging from lignocellulosic feedstock to municipal solid wastes.
  • Third-generation biofuels are, at this point, related to algal biomass but could to a certain extent be linked to utilization of CO2 as feedstock.

First-generation Biofuels

  • First-generation biofuels include ethanol and biodiesel and are directly related to a biomass that is more than often edible.
  • Ethanol is generally produced from the fermentation of C6 sugars (mostly glucose) using classical or GMO yeast strains such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
  • Only a few different feedstocks, mostly sugarcane or corn, are actually used for the production of first-generation bioethanol.
  • Other more marginal feedstocks that are used or considered to produce first-generation bioethanol include but are not limited to whey, barley, potato wastes, and sugarbeets.
  • Biodiesel is the only other biofuel produced on an industrial scale.
  • It uses biomass (oily plants and seeds), but the process itself relies on extracting the oils and converting them into biodiesel by breaking the bonds linking the long chain fatty acids to glycerol, replacing it with methanol in a process called transesterification.

Second-generation Biofuels

Second-generation biofuels are defined as fuels produced from a wide array of different feedstocks, especially but not limited to non-edible lignocellulosic biomass.

  • Biomass used for production of second-generation biofuels is usually separated in three main categories: homogeneous, such as white wood chips, homogeneous, such as agricultural and forest residues, and non-homogeneous, including low value feedstock as municipal solid wastes.
  • Such biomass is generally more complex to convert and its production is dependent on new technologies.

Third-generation Biofuels

The most accepted definition for third-generation biofuels is fuels that would be produced from algal biomass, which has a very distinctive growth yield as compared with classical lignocellulosic biomass.

  • Production of biofuels from algae usually relies on the lipid content of the microorganisms.
  • There are many challenges associated with algal biomass, some geographical and some technical.

Key facts and concerns:

  • First-generation biofuels are well implemented around the world, although they may come with certain restrictions such as energy consumption and utilization of arable lands, as well as the fuel versus food debate.
  • They remain a sure and economically viable approach for sustainability and reduction of fossil fuel consumption.
  • In all cases, feedstock is getting increasingly expensive, leading to a growing interest toward second-generation biofuels.
  • The latter is produced from a generally less expensive biomass such as forest, agricultural, animal, or municipal wastes.
  • Numerous techniques are being investigated around the world for the production of second-generation biofuels, but overall they rely on two distinctive pathways: either “thermo” or “bio”
  • The major difference between the second and third-generations is the feedstock.
  • Algae are known to produce biomass faster and on reduced land surface as compared with lignocellulosic biomass.
  • Nevertheless, production of algal biomass presents technical challenges such as lipid extraction and dewatering, as well as geographical challenges in areas where temperature is below freezing for a large part of the year.
  • The future of biofuels may not rely solely on one generation, but may be a combination of the three generations to cope with increased worldwide demand as a result of depletion in the world’s oil resources.



Which five states signed an MoU with the Centre for Construction of Lakhwar Multipurpose Project on river Yamuna?

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  • Chief ministers of five states – Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan – and Delhi have signed an MoU for Construction of Lakhwar Multipurpose Project on river Yamuna near Dehradun.

Enrich Your Learning:

About Lakhwar Multi- Purpose Project:

  • Lakhwar Project is a multipurpose scheme, primarily a peaking power station, on river Yamuna in the district of Dehradun in Uttarakhand.
  • The scheme envisages construction of 204 m high concrete dam on river Yamuna near Lohari village. The Multipurpose scheme also envisages construction of Vyasi HEP (2×60 MW) (Hathiari power station) downstream of Lakhwar HEP.
  • The scheme also includes construction of a barrage at Katapathar about 3 Km downstream of Hathiari power station (Vyasi HEP) on river Yamuna.
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