Flash Card

LAKSHYA-75 [Day-10] Current Flash Cards for IAS Prelims 2020

Global Consortium for Digital Currency Governance; Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations; Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization; Operation Vanilla; Acceptance of payment in electronic modes; Duchifat 3; Bodo Accord; New and Emerging Strategic technologies; Natrialba swarupiae (Archaeon); Project NETRA
By IASToppers
March 16, 2020



What is the objective of ISRO’s Project NETRA?

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Answer: Project NETRA is an early warning system in space to detect debris and other hazards to Indian satellites.

Enrich Your Learning:

ISRO’s Project NETRA:

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has initiated ‘Project NETRA’ (Network for space object Tracking and Analysis) which is an early warning system in space to detect debris and other hazards to Indian satellites.


  • It will give India its own capability in Space Situational Awareness (SSA) which is used to predict threats from debris to Indian satellites.
  • It will also give warning against missile or space attack.
  • Through this project, SSA will done first for low-earth orbits (LEO) which have remote-sensing spacecraft.
  • Then, it will aim for Geostationary orbit (GEO) at 36,000 km where communication satellites are placed.
  • The project includes high-precision telescope in Leh, the Multi-Object Tracking Radar (MOTR) and the telescopes at Ponmudi and Mount Abu will be used to get broader SSA picture.


  • Currently, India depends on data from North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) and others available information in the public domain. However, this information is not accurate.
  • NORAD is an initiative of the U.S. and Canada that shares selective debris data with many countries.

What is Space Debris?

  • Space debris is defined as all non-functional, human-made objects, including fragments and elements, in Earth orbit or re-entering into Earth’s atmosphere.
  • It includes floating particles from non-functional satellites or rocket parts that stay in orbit for many years.


  • Space debris can disable the satellite worth several hundred crore rupees besides many services that run on it.
  • Hence, Space Agencies constantly look for debris at the time of a launch and through the life of a satellite to avoid Collison with debris.

Key Fact:

  • Currently there are 15 functional Indian communication satellites in the geostationary orbit of 36,000 km; 13 remote sensing satellites in LEO of up to 2,000 km; and eight navigation satellites in medium earth orbits.



Natrialba swarupiae, a newly discovered archaeon has been found in which lakes of India?

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Answer: Sambhar Lake

Enrich Your Learning:


  • Scientists at the National Centre for Microbial Resource — National Centre for Cell Science (NCMR-NCCS) in Pune have reported a new archaeon (a kind of microorganism), which they discovered in Sambhar Salt Lake in Rajasthan.
  • It has been named Natrialba swarupiae, after Dr Renu Swarup, secretary, Department of Biotechnology.

What are Archaea?

  • Archaea (singular archaeon) are a primitive group of microorganisms that thrive in extreme habitats such as hot springs, cold deserts and hypersaline lakes.
  • These slow-growing organisms are also present in the human gut, and have a potential relationship with human health.
  • Known for producing antimicrobial molecules, or anti-oxidant activity with applications in eco-friendly waste-water treatment and are extremely difficult to culture in laboratory settings.


  • Sambhar Lake has been poorly studied for microbial ecology studies.
  • With a salt production of 0.2 million tonnes per annum, it is a hypersaline ecosystem which provides an opportunity for microbial ecologists to understand organisms that thrive in such concentrations.
  • Based on a mandatory genome analysis, researchers found that the organism has potential gene clusters that helps maintain the metabolism of the archaea to survive in extreme harsh conditions.
  • This particular organism also harbours specific pathways for DNA replication, recombination and repair.
  • As archaea are relatively poorly studied, very little is known about how archaea behave in the human body.

Sambhar Lake:

  • It is India’s largest inland saltwater body located near Jaipur in Rajasthan.
  • Sambhar has been recognized wetland of international importance or a Ramsar site.
  • The lake is surrounded on all sides by the Aravalli hills and is the major source of Rajasthan’s salt production.



New and Emerging Strategic technologies (NEST) is an initiative of which of the ministries of Indian government?

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Answer: Ministry of External Affairs

Enrich Your Learning:

NEST (New and Emerging Strategic technologies):

  • Ministry of External Affairs has announced the setting up of a new division on New and Emerging Strategic Technologies (NEST) amidst looming security concerns due to the introduction of 5G and artificial intelligence.
  • The development comes as the government has allowed all telecom equipment makers, including Chinese Huawei, to participate in the 5G trials.
  • The new division will be a specialized desk specifically created to deal with emerging challenges and scenarios.


  • The NEST division will act as the nodal point in India’s foreign ministry for all matters connected to new and emerging technologies including exchange of views with foreign governments and coordination with domestic ministries and departments.
  • It will also help assess foreign policy and international legal implications of emerging technology and technology-based resources.
  • NEST will negotiate technology governance rules, standards and architecture, suited to India’s conditions.
  • The desk will also be involved in negotiations to safeguard Indian interests at multilateral forums like the United Nations or the G20 where rules governing the use and access to such technologies could be decided.
  • NEST will also undertake the creation of HR capacity within the ministry for technology diplomacy work by utilising the existing talent-pool and facilitating functional specialisation of Foreign Service officers in various technology domains.



Bodo Accord has been signed between?

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Answer: Bodo accord was signed between Ministry of Home Affairs, Assam government and Bodo groups including All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), United Bodo People’s Organisation and all the four factions of the insurgent outfit- National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).

Enrich Your Learning:

Bodo Accord:

  • Bodo peace accord was signed on 27 January 2020 between the Ministry of Home Affairs, Assam government and Bodo groups including the All Bodo Students’ Union and militant outfits.
  • It was India’s third attempt at conflict resolution after the 1993 and 2003 accords.

Who are Bodos?

  • Bodos are the single largest tribal community in Assam. They have controlled large parts of Assam in the past.
  • The constitute the Bodo Territorial Area District (BTAD) and constitute four districts in Assam — Kokrajhar, Baksa, Udalguri and Chirang.

Bodo Peace Accord:

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Assam government and the Bodo groups have signed an agreement to redraw and rename the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD) in Assam.
  • The new Accord signed by the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), United Bodo People’s Organisation and all the four factions of the insurgent outfit- National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) with Delhi and Dispur promises more legislative, executive and administrative autonomy under the Sixth Schedule to Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) and expansion of the BTC territory in lieu of statehood.
  • The Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD), the autonomous region governed by BTC, will be known as Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) after demarcation of the augmented territory.
  • As of now the agreement has not addressed the issue of “citizenship or work permit” for non-domiciles in the BTAD, to be renamed as the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR).

Key features of the agreement:

  • As per the agreement, villages dominated by Bodos that were presently outside the BTAD would be included and those with non-Bodo population would be excluded.
  • The memorandum of settlement says that the criminal cases registered against members of the NDFB factions for “non-heinous” crimes shall be withdrawn by the Assam government and in cases of heinous crimes it will be reviewed.
  • The families of those killed during the Bodo movement would get Rs. 5 lakhs each.
  • A Special Development Package of Rs. 1500 Crores would be given by the Centre to undertake specific projects for the development of Bodo areas.
  • A committee will decide the exclusion and inclusion of new areas in the BTAD. Subsequent to this alteration, the total number of Assembly seats will go up to 60, from the existing 40.

Significance of the agreement:

  • The signing of the agreement is expected to end the 50-year-old Bodo crisis.
  • Around 1500 cadres of NDFB(P), NDFB(RD) and NDFB(S) will be rehabilitated by Centre and Assam Government. They will be assimilated in the mainstream now.
  • After the agreement, the NDFB factions are speculated to leave the path of violence, surrender their weapons and disband their armed organisations within a month of signing the deal.



Global Consortium for Digital Currency Governance for the governance of digital currencies has been announced by?

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Answer: World Economic Forum

Enrich Your Learning:

Global Consortium for Digital Currency Governance:

  • The World Economic Forum has announced in January 2020, the first global consortium focused on designing a framework for the governance of digital currencies, including stable coins.


  • The Global Consortium for Digital Currency Governance will aim to increase access to the financial system through innovative policy solutions that are inclusive and interoperable.


  • Digital currencies are often cited as a tool for financial inclusion, but this opportunity can only be realized when paired with good governance.
  • This is the first initiative to bring together leading companies, financial institutions, government representatives, technical experts, academics, international organizations, NGOs and members of the Forum’s communities on a global level.
  • To tackle the challenge ahead, an international, multi-stakeholder approach with the public and private sectors working alongside civil society is needed.
  • This consortium will focus on solutions for a fragmented regulatory system.
  • Efficiency, speed, interoperability, inclusivity and transparency will be at the heart of this initiative.
  • It will call for innovative regulatory approaches to achieve these goals and build trust.
  • A set of guiding principles will be co-designed to support public and private actors exploring the opportunities that digital currencies present.
  • Properly regulated digital currency can be used for cheaper and faster cross-border payments, financial inclusion, and rooting out illicit finance.
  • This initiative builds on work done by the Forum over the past year, convening a global community of central banks to co-design a policy framework for the adoption of digital currencies.



Duchifat 3, a small remote sensing satellite launched by ISRO has been built by which country?

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Answer: Israel

Enrich Your Learning:

Duchifat 3:

Duchifat 3, a small remote sensing satellite built by students from Sha’ar HaNegev High School and few other schools in collaboration with Herzliya Space Center (HSC) in Israel, was part of the nine commercial satellites launched by ISRO on 11 December 2019, along with its own earth observation satellite.

About Duchifat 3:

  • Duchifat 3 is the third in the series of Israeli student-made satellites.
  • The satellite is designed to serve children from across the country to “observe the Earth”.
  • Duchifat 3 is a remote sensing satellite through which students from all schools in the country will be able to experiment and carry through earth observation.
  • It is a photo satellite used for ecological research of Earth from space.
  • The size of the satellite is 10x10x30 cm (3U) and weighs 2.3 kg.
  • The students worked for almost two and a half years to build it.
  • The satellite will be of good help to agriculturists.


Duchifat-3 has three missions which will operate in parallel:

  • High-school students educational satellite.
  • On-board camera for earth imaging.
  • Amateur radio transponder and Automated Packet Reporting System (APRS) digipeater.



Centre has made mandatory for business entities to provide facilities for accepting payments via electronic modes, over turnovers of?

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Answer: For the business entities having a turnover of over ₹50 crores, Centre has made it mandatory to provide facilities for accepting payments via the prescribed electronic modes.

Enrich Your Learning:

  • With effect from January 1, 2020, the Centre has made it mandatory for business entities having a turnover of over ₹50 crores to provide facilities for accepting payments via the prescribed electronic modes.
  • Non-adherence will attract a penalty of ₹5,000 per day from February 1, 2020.

Prescribed modes:

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has notified the modes of payment, in addition to the facility for other electronic modes, as:

(i) Debit Card powered by RuPay

(ii) Unified Payments Interface (UPI) (BHIM-UPI);

(iii) Unified Payments Interface Quick Response Code (UPI QR Code).

Purpose of the order:

  • The directive is meant to encourage digital economy and move towards a less-cash economy, for which a new provision was inserted in the Income-Tax Act earlier this year.

No charge on payer/recipient:

  • As directed by the government, banks or system providers will not impose any charge on anyone making or receiving payment through the prescribed electronic modes.
  • Therefore, any charge — including the Merchant Discount Rate — will not be applicable on or after January 1, 2020, on such transactions.



Operation Vanilla, in news recently is related to?

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Answer: Flood relief operation in Madagascar affected by Cyclone Diane.

Enrich Your Learning:

Operation Vanilla:

  • Indian Navy launched Operation Vanilla in the Southern Indian Ocean based on the request received from Madagascar.
  • The Operation has been launched to assist the population of Madagascar that were affected by Cyclone Diane.
  • Indian Navy Ship Airavat, which was diverted to Madagascar for rendering assistance after the island nation was lashed with cyclone causing heavy flooding and landslides leading to massive loss of life and property.
  • Indian Navy was the first international respondent to this evolving humanitarian crisis in Madagascar.
  • India’s assistance to Madagascar is in consonance with Indian Navy’s Foreign Cooperation initiatives in line with India’s vision of ‘Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR)’.


  • Madagascar is an island country in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa.
  • It is the world’s 4th largest island country after Greenland (1st), New Guinea (2nd) and Borneo (3rd).
  • It is a biodiversity hotspot; over 90% of its wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth.
  • Madagascar is also a member of inter-governmental organisation Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).



What is the number of members at the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization?

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Answer: The Appellate Body of WTO is composed of seven Members who are appointed by the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) to serve for four-year terms.

Enrich Your Learning:

Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization:


  • The Appellate Body of WTO is composed of seven Members who are appointed by the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) to serve for four-year terms.
  • Each person may be reappointed for another four-year term.
  • Terms are staggered, ensuring that not all Members begin and complete their terms at the same time.
  • Each Member of the Appellate Body is required to be a person of recognized authority, with demonstrated expertise in law, international trade and the subject-matter of the covered agreements generally.
  • They are also required to be unaffiliated with any government and are to be broadly representative of the Membership of the WTO.
  • A Chairman is elected among the Members to serve a one-year term, which can be extended for an additional period of one year and is responsible for the overall direction of Appellate Body business.
  • A Division of three Members is selected to hear each appeal; each Division elects a Presiding Member.
  • To ensure consistency and coherence in decision-making, Divisions exchange views with the other Members of the Appellate Body before finalizing Appellate Body Reports.


  • For proper enforcement of trade rules, a binding, two-stage dispute settlement system was established at the World Trade Organization in the 1990s.
  • The Appellate Body is the scaffolding of the dispute settlement system, with seven standing members.
  • In the first stage for adjudicating trade disputes, a panel would decide cases brought before it by the members.
  • Rulings issued by the panels can be appealed at the Appellate Body.
  • As part of the second-stage of adjudication, the Appellate Body can uphold, modify or reverse the legal findings and conclusions of a panel.
  • Therefore, the Appellate Body’s decisions are final and adopted within 30 days by the dispute settlement body.
  • Sanctions can be imposed on a member in case of its failure to comply with the Appellate Body’s rulings.


  • US has paralysed the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body, which acts as a supreme court for international trade.
  • In December 2019, the U.S. chose to spike the Appellate Body by starving funds for its functioning.
  • It also blocked the selection process for filling six vacancies at the Appellate Body.
  • Consequently, the Appellate Body is left with only one member, who will not be able to deliver any rulings on pending trade disputes — a minimum of three members is required to adjudicate any dispute.



The Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations was signed between India and which country?

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Answer: Pakistan

Enrich Your Learning:

Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations:

The Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack Against Nuclear Installations and Facilities was signed between India and Pakistan on December 31, 1988 (Islamabad) and came into force from December 1990.

The two countries reaffirmed their commitment to durable peace and the development of friendly and harmonious bilateral relations; conscious of the role of confidence building measures in promoting such bilateral relations based on mutual trust and goodwill; and have agreed as follows:

  1. Each party shall refrain from undertaking, encouraging or participating in, directly or indirectly, any action aimed at causing the destruction of, or damage to, any nuclear installation or facility in the other country.
  2. The term “nuclear installation or facility” includes nuclear power and research reactors, fuel fabrication, uranium enrichment, isotopes separation and reprocessing facilities as well as any other installations with fresh or irradiated nuclear fuel and materials in any form and establishments storing significant quantities of radio-active materials.
  3. Each Contracting Party shall inform the other on 1st January of each calendar year of the latitude and longitude of its nuclear installations and facilities and whenever there is any change.
  4. This Agreement is subject to ratification. It shall come into force with effect from the date on which the Instruments of Ratification are exchanged (December 1990).
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