Flash Cards

Day#22 Current Affairs Flash Cards [PRELIMS 2020]

Shahtoosh wool; World Food Programme (WFP); ‘Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP)’; Production of Natural Rubber (NR) in India; Black Gold;
By IASToppers
August 19, 2019



A recently discovered new material is believed to perform artificial photosynthesis by capturing carbon dioxide and converting it into fuel. Which material is this?

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Artificial trees with leaves made out of a new discovered material ‘black gold’ can perform artificial photosynthesis, capturing carbon dioxide and converting it into fuel and other useful chemicals.

Enrich Your Learning:

Black Gold

  • Indian Scientists used gold nanoparticles and by rearranging size and gaps between them developed a new material which has unique properties such as capacity to absorb light and carbon dioxide.
  • The scientists are from Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR).
  • Although Gold does not have these properties; and the appearance of new material is black, hence the name ‘black gold.’
  • The new material was prepared by varying in inter-particle distance between gold nanoparticles using a cycle-by-cycle growth approach.


  • It is able to absorb the entire visible and near-infrared region of solar light.
  • It could also act as a catalyst and could convert carbon dioxide into methane at atmospheric pressure and temperature using solar energy. From this, it could be possible to covert carbon dioxide into fuel.
  • It is also able to harvest solar energy. The material can be used as a Nano-heater to covert seawater into potable water with good efficiency.




In India, which state is the highest producer of Natural Rubber?

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  • Kerala accounts for more than 90 percent of the total rubber production in the country. The total area under rubber cultivation in the state is 5.45 lakh hectares. Rest of the natural rubber is produced in Tamil Nadu and North East states.

Enrich Your Learning:

Production of Natural Rubber (NR)

  • Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, as initially produced, consists of polymers of the organic compound isoprene, with minor impurities of other organic compounds, plus water.
  • India today is the world’s 3rd largest producer and 4th largest consumer.
  • Malaysia and Indonesia are two of the leading rubber producers in the world. 
  • The prices of Natural Rubber have been at relatively at low levels during the past few years in domestic and international markets.
  • The Natural Rubber prices are determined by market forces like:
    • Trends in economic growth in major consuming countries
    • Oil/synthetic rubber prices
    • Weather conditions
    • Developments in future markets
  • The Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has imposed port restriction on the import of Natural Rubber by restricting the port of entry to Chennai and NhavaSheva (Jawaharlal Nehru Port) since January, 2016.

State-wise production of NR up to 2018-19 is given below:

  • Kerala became the highest NR producing state this year also with 490460 tons. It consecutively producing highest NR since three years.
  • Although Kerala produced less amount of NR as compare to last two years.
  • Amongst the total North East production of 94430 tons of NR, Tripura topped the list with 53050 tons.
  • From the rest NR producing states, Karnataka is the highest producer with 38200 tons. Maharashtra ranked second.
  • A&N Islands produced the least amount as 275 tons, however, there is an increase in the produce compare to its past two year’s production.
  • In state category, West Bengal produced the least such as 380 tons.
  • Total Traditional production of 2018-19 is 511960 tons. In traditional production Kerala and Tamil Nadu are included.
  • While total Non-Traditional production is less than half the amount of traditional production, 136040 tons.




What are the objectives of ‘Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP)’?

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Objectives of MKSP are:

  • Create sustainable agricultural livelihood opportunities for women in agriculture.
  • Ensure food and nutrition security at the household and the community level.
  • Improve the skills and capabilities of women in agriculture to support farm-based activities.
  • Enhance the managerial capacities of women in agriculture for better management of bio-diversity.

Enrich Your Learning:

‘Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP)’

  • ‘Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana’ (MKSP) is a sub component of the Deendayal Antodaya Yojana-NRLM (DAY-NRLM) aims to improve the present status of women in Agriculture.
  • It is launched by the Ministry of Rural Development.
  • The main focus of MKSP is to promote agriculture on sustainable basis where the inputs are localized, risks are mitigated, productivity is enhanced, food security is ensured and hence net income of family is increased.
  • MKSP recognizes the identity of “Mahila” as “Kisan” and strives to build the capacity of women in the domain of agro-ecologically sustainable practices.


  • MKSP is being implemented by DAY-NRLM in partnership with State Rural Livelihood Missions/ Community Based Organizations (CBOs)/NGOs.
  • Promotion of sustainable agriculture practices includes:
    • Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture (CMSA)
    • Non Pesticide Management (NPM)
    • Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)
    • Pashu-Sakhi model for doorstep animal care services
    • Sustainable regeneration and harvesting of Non-Timber Forest Produce

keyfact iastoppers


Key Facts:

  • In the economy of majority of the developing nations including India, Rural women form the most productive work force.
  • More than 80% of rural women are engaged in agriculture activities for their livelihood and about 20 per cent of farm livelihoods are female headed.



From where the Shahtoosh wool is procured?

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Shahtoosh wool is procured from the skin of the chiru, a Tibetan antelope found on the Tibetan plateau.

Enrich Your Learning:


  • Shahtoosh is the name given to the wool of the Tibetan chiru antelopes. Shahtoosh is popularly known as the “king of wool“.
  • The Shahtoosh shawl was made by poaching of chiru in the wild.
  • It is said that four-five chirus have to be slaughtered to make one shahtoosh shawl. One adult animal yields about 125-150g of wool.
  • The shawl is processed and woven from the super-fine soft wool, can pass through a ring.
  • Only a handful of weavers in Kashmir are known to have the skills to weave such a shawl.

Ban on Shahtoosh wool

  • In 1975, the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) banned all trade in Tibetan antelope wool.
  • Trade in shahtoosh was banned nationally in the early 1990s.
[specific kind of shawl]



World Food Programme is not associated with UN agency. True or False?

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The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations.

Enrich Your Learning:

World Food Programme (WFP)

  • World Food Programme is the UN agency focused on hunger alleviation and food security.
  • It delivers food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.
  • Globally, it responds to emergencies making sure, food reaches where it is needed, especially in times of civil strife and natural disasters.
  • As the international community, it has committed to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition by 2030.
  • In 1965, WFP is enshrined as a fully-fledged UN programme: it is to last for “as long as multilateral food aid is found feasible and desirable”.
  • WFP is governed by a 36-member Executive Board.
  • It works closely with its two Rome-based sister organizations:
    • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
    • International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • WFP relies entirely on voluntary contributions for its funding.
  • Its principal donors are governments, but the organization also receive donations from the private sector and individuals.

Are of Focus

  • WFP’s efforts focus on emergency assistance, relief and rehabilitation, development aid and special operations.
  • Two-thirds of our work is in conflict-affected countries where people are three times more likely to be undernourished than those living in countries without conflict.

WHP in India

  • WFP has been working in India since 1963.
  • In India, WFP has moved from providing direct food aid to providing technical assistance and capacity building services to the Government of India.
  • WFP is focusing on enabling the country’s food-based social safety nets to function more efficiently and effectively in providing food to their target population.

Key Fact

  • Goal No.2 of Goals for Sustainable Development – Zero Hunger – pledges to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture which is the priority of the World Food Programme.
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