Flash Cards

Day#41 Current Affairs Flash Cards [PRELIMS 2020]

Kathak; U.K. Sinha Committee; Amazon rainforest; Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD); NASA’s TEMPLATES programme;
By IASToppers
September 10, 2019



Three distinct ‘gharanas’- Jaipur, Banaras and Lucknow belong to which Indian classical dance of India?

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  • Kathak

Enrich Your Learning:

About Kathak

  • Kathak is the Hindustani name for one of the eight major forms of Indian classical dance.
  • The origin of Kathak is traditionally attributed to the traveling bards of ancient northern India known as Kathakars or storytellers
  • The term Kathak is derived from the Vedic Sanskrit word Katha which means “story”, and Kathakar which means “the one who tells a story.
  • Kathak dancers tell various stories through their hand movements and footwork, but most importantly through their facial expressions.
  • Kathak evolved during the Bhakti movement, particularly by incorporating the childhood and stories of the Hindu god Krishna, as well as independently in the courts of north Indian kingdoms.
  • Kathak is found in three distinct forms, called “gharanas”, named after the cities where the Kathak dance tradition evolved – Jaipur, Banaras and Lucknow
  • While the Jaipur gharana focuses more on the foot movements, the Banaras and Lucknow gharanas focus more on facial expressions and graceful hand movements.
  • the Kathak dance form emphasizes rhythmic foot movements, adorned with small bells (Ghungroo), and the movement harmonized to the music
  • The legs and torso are generally straight, and the story is told through a developed vocabulary based on the gestures of arms and upper body movement, facial expressions, stage movements, bends and turns.
  • The eyes work as a medium of communication of the story the dancer is trying to communicate
  • It transitioned, adapted and integrated the tastes of the Mughal courts in the 16th and 17th century particularly Akbar.



Recently, NASA’s TEMPLATES programme was in news. What is it all about?

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Answer & Enrich Your Learning:

‘TEMPLATES’ programme:

  • It’s an acronym for Targeting Extremely Magnified Panchromatic Lensed Arcs and Their Extended Star Formation.
  • Using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope as a sort of time machine, a team of researchers intends to look billions of years into the past.
  • The four galaxies will be studied under this programme. The gravitational lenses to study how those galaxies are forming their stars, and how that star formation is distributed across the galaxies.
  • These four galaxies were chosen is because they’re very bright, making them easy to study. Two of the galaxies are very dusty, and two of them are not dusty at all.
  • The two dusty galaxies are each lensed by another, single galaxy. The two galaxies that are not very dusty are lensed by galaxy clusters.
  • These large celestial objects will magnify the light from distant galaxies that are at or near the peak of star formation.
  • The phenomenon of gravitational lensing occurs when a huge amount of matter, such as a massive galaxy or cluster of galaxies, creates a gravitational field that distorts and magnifies the light from objects behind it, but in the same line of sight.
  • The TEMPLATES team will use three of the four instruments aboard Webb, as well as many of the telescope’s filters and settings, to get as much data as possible on these galaxies.

The TEMPLATES team has four main goals:

  • Measure how many new stars are forming, to determine how rapidly galaxies form stars
  • Map the star-formation rate in these galaxies.
  • Compare the young and old stellar populations
  • Measure the conditions of the gas within these galaxies



What do you understand by the phenomena called ‘Indian Ocean Dipole’?

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Answer & Enrich Your Learning:

Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD)

  • The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), also known as the Indian Nino, is an irregular oscillation of sea-surface temperatures in which the western Indian Oceanbecomes alternately warmer and then colder than the eastern part of the ocean.
  • The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is defined by the difference in sea surface temperature between two areas (or poles, hence a dipole) – a western pole in the Arabian Sea (western Indian Ocean) and an eastern pole in the eastern Indian Ocean south of Indonesia.
  • The IOD affects the climate of Australia and other countries that surround the Indian Ocean Basin, and is a significant contributor to rainfall variability in this region.
  • The IOD is a coupled ocean and atmosphere phenomenon, similar to ENSO but in the equatorial Indian Ocean.
  • When the IOD and ENSO are in phase the impacts of El Nino and La Nina events are often most extreme over Australia, while when they are out of phase the impacts of El Nino and La Nina events can be diminished.
  • The IOD involves a periodic oscillation of sea-surface temperatures (SST), between “positive”, “neutral” and “negative” phases. A positive phase sees greater-than-average sea-surface temperatures and greater precipitation in the western Indian Ocean region.
  • A positive phase sees greater-than-average sea-surface temperatures and greater precipitation in the western Indian Ocean region, with a corresponding cooling of waters in the eastern Indian Ocean—which tends to cause droughts in adjacent land areas of Indonesia and Australia.
  • The negative phase of the IOD brings about the opposite conditions, with warmer water and greater precipitation in the eastern Indian Ocean, and cooler and drier conditions in the west.
  • The IOD also affects the strength of monsoons over the Indian subcontinent.
  • An average of four each positive-negative IOD events occur during each 30-year period with each event lasting around six months.



Among the South American countries, which state has the largest share of Amazon rain forests?

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  • Brazil

Enrich Your Learning:

Amazon rainforest

  • It is a moist broadleaf tropical rainforestin the Amazon biome that covers most of the Amazon basin of South America.
  • This region includes territory belonging to nine nations.
  • The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil with 60% of the rainforest, followed by Peru with 13%, Colombia with 10%, and with minor amounts in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
  • The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests and comprises the largest and most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest in the world. 
  • The rainforest likely formed during theEocene era.
  • More than 56% of the dust fertilizing the Amazon rainforest comes from the Bodele depressionin Northern Chad in the Sahara desert which contains phosphorus excellent for plant growth.
  • The one in ten known species in the world lives in the Amazon rainforest

Amazon fire 2019

  • Wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforesthave hit a record number this year.
  • Brazil’s space research center INPE has said that 72,843 fires are detected so far by.
  • The surge in fire outbreak marks an 83% increase over the same period of 2018.
  • The deforestation and a practice called slash-and-burn are to blame for most of the flames. People cut down patches of forest, allow the area to dry out, then set the remains ablaze to make room for agriculture or other development.
  • They might also set fires to replenish the soil and encourage the growth of pastures for cattle.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron took toTwitter to call for action, pushing for emergency international talks on the Amazon at the G7 summit.
  • The concern grow over President Jair Bolsonaro’s environmental policy.



Which committee was recently constituted by the RBI to look into the matter of MSME problems?

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  • K. Sinha committee

Enrich Your Learning:

U.K. Sinha Committee

  • It was constituted by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in January 2019 to study the problems faced by MSMEs.

It suggested the following measures:

  • A ₹5,000 crore stressed asset fund for domestic micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in a relief to small businesses hurt by demonetization, the goods and services taxand an ongoing liquidity crunch.
  • Forming a government-sponsored Fund of Funds of Rs 10,000 crore to support venture capital and private equity firms investing in MSMEs.
  • The small industries face problems of delayed payments and hesitate to enforce legal provisions available to them under the MSME Development Act due to their weak bargaining power.
  • An amendment to the MSME Development Act, requiring all MSMEs to mandatorily upload from time to time all their invoices above an amount to be specified by the government to an information utility. 
  • Expand the role of the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). 
  • Introduction of adjusted priority sector lending guidelines for banks to specialize in lending to a specific sector.
  • the PSBLoansIn59Minutes.com portal also cater to new entrepreneurs, who may not necessarily have information like GSTIN, income-tax returns and bank statement.
  • Doubling of the collateral-free loan limit to Rs 20 lakh and providing insurance coverage to MSME employees by the government.
  • The group policies for death and accident cover for MSME entrepreneurs need to be developed with insurance cover significantly higher than the cover currently offered by the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana.
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