Flash Card

LAKSHYA-75 [Day-11] Current Flash Cards for IAS Prelims 2020

Gilgit-Baltistan; Underground coal gasification; Kurumba painting; Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana; Global Nutrition Report; Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat; Astra Missile; Export Credit Guarantee Corporation; Commodities and Development Report 2019; Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation?
By IASToppers
March 17, 2020



What is Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation?

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Solution: AMOC is a large system of ocean currents that carry warm water from the tropics northwards into the North Atlantic.

Enrich Your Learning:

Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation:

  • The AMOC is a large system of ocean currents that carry warm water from the tropics northwards into the North Atlantic.

How does the AMOC work?

  • The AMOC is a large system of ocean currents, like a conveyor belt, driven by differences in temperature and salt content – the water’s density.
  • As warm water flows northwards it cools and some evaporation occurs, which increases the amount of salt.
  • Low temperature and a high salt content make the water denser, and this dense water sinks deep into the ocean.
  • The cold, dense water slowly spreads southwards, several kilometres below the surface. Eventually, it gets pulled back to the surface and warms in a process called “upwelling” and the circulation is complete.
  • This global process makes sure that the world’s oceans are continually mixed, and that heat and energy are distributed around the earth. This, in turn, contributes to the climate we experience today.

Has the AMOC been changing?

  • Oceanographers have been measuring the AMOC continuously since 2004.
  • It seems likely that there have been some large, rapid changes in the AMOC in the past (for example around the end of the last ice age).

Effect of climate change on the AMOC:

  • Climate models suggest that the AMOC will weaken over the 21st Century as greenhouse gases increase
  • This is because as the atmosphere warms, the surface ocean beneath it retains more of its heat.
  • Meanwhile increases in rainfall and ice melt mean it gets fresher too.
  • All these changes make the ocean water lighter and so reduce the sinking in the ‘conveyor belt’, leading to a weaker AMOC.
  • So the AMOC is very likely to weaken, but it’s considered very unlikely that large, rapid changes in the AMOC, as seen in past times, will happen in the 21st Century.
  • A weaker AMOC will bring less warm water northwards, and this will partly offset the warming effect of the greenhouse gases over western Europe.
  • For the gradual weakening that is likely over the 21st Century, the overall effect is still a warming.



Commodities and Development Report 2019 has been released by?

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Solution: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

Enrich Your Learning:

Commodities and Development Report 2019:

  • The Commodities and Development Report 2019 has been released by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
  • The 2019 edition of the Commodities and Development Report is titled “Commodity Dependence, Climate Change and the Paris Agreement”.


  • It seeks to further the understanding of the interactions between climate change and the commodity sectors.

Major Highlights:

  • The report highlights the challenges that commodity dependent developing countries (CDDCs) face as they manage their natural resource sectors in the context of the Paris Agreement.
  • It also explores some potential benefits that might arise from climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • The report recommends that CDDCs should reduce their strong economic dependence on natural resources through economic and export diversification.
  • Acknowledgement of the limited capabilities of CDDCs to cope with mitigation and adaptation challenges implies that CDDCs require a unique set of incentives as well as financial, technical and institutional assistance to cope with the challenges associated with the climate crisis.



Export Credit Guarantee Corporation functions under which Ministry?

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Solution: Ministry of Commerce & Industry

Enrich Your Learning:

Export Credit Guarantee Corporation:

  • The ECGC Limited is a company wholly owned by the Government of India based in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • It provides export credit insurance support to Indian exporters.
  • ECGC Ltd, was established in July, 1957 to strengthen the export promotion by covering the risk of exporting on credit.
  • It functions under the administrative control of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Department of Commerce, Government of India.

What does ECGC do?

  • Provides a range of credit risk insurance covers to exporters against loss in export of goods and services.
  • Offers Export Credit Insurance covers to banks and financial institutions to enable exporters to obtain better facilities from them.
  • Provides Overseas Investment Insurance to Indian companies investing in joint ventures abroad in the form of equity or loan.

How does ECGC help exporters?

  • Offers insurance protection to exporters against payment risks.
  • Provides guidance in export-related activities.
  • Makes available information on different countries with its own credit ratings.
  • Makes it easy to obtain export finance from banks/financial institutions.
  • Assists exporters in recovering bad debts.
  • Provides information on credit-worthiness of overseas buyers.



Astra Missile is a) Surface-to-Air missile b) Air-to-Air missile?

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Solution: Astra is an indigenous Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air missile.

Enrich Your Learning:

Astra Missile:

  • Astra is an indigenous Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air missile (BVRAAM) with a range of over 70 km.
  • It was developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation along with 50 other public and private organisations.
  • It is capable of engaging different targets at different altitudes.
  • The missile has a 15-kg high-explosive pre-fragmented warhead.
  • The missile can fly towards its target at a speed of over 5,555 km/h.
  • The system designed to be mounted on fighter aircraft and is designed to engage and destroy highly manoeuvring supersonic aircraft.
  • The ASTRA Mk-I Weapon System integrated with SU-30 Mk-I aircraft is being inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF).



Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat programme is aimed to?

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Solution: Reinforce the concept of ‘unity in diversity’ and ‘national integration’.

Enrich Your Learning:

Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat programme:

  • Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat was announced by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 31st October, 2015 on the occasion of the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
  • Subsequently, the Finance Minister announced the initiative in his Budget Speech for 2016-17.
  • Through this innovative measure, the knowledge of the culture, traditions and practices of different States & UTs will lead to an enhanced understanding and bonding between the States, thereby strengthening the unity and integrity of India.
  • All States and UTs will be covered under the programme.
  • There will be pairing of States/UTs at national level and these pairings will be in effect for one year, or till the next round of pairings.
  • The State/UT level pairings would be utilized for state level activities.
  • The activity will be very useful to link various States and Districts in annual programmes that will connect people through exchanges in areas of culture, tourism, language, education trade etc. and citizens will be able to experience the cultural diversity of a much larger number of States/UTs while realising that India is one.


The broad objectives of the initiative are as follows:

  • To celebrate the Unity in Diversity of our Nation and to maintain and strengthen the fabric of traditionally existing emotional bonds between the people of our Country;
  • Promote the spirit of national integration through a deep and structured engagement between all Indian States and Union Territories through a year-long planned engagement between States;
  • To showcase the rich heritage and culture, customs and traditions of either State for enabling people to understand and appreciate the diversity that is India, thus fostering a sense of common identity;
  • To establish long-term engagements and
  • To create an environment which promotes learning between States by sharing best practices and experiences.



Global Nutrition Report 2018 focuses on which burden of the World?

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Solution: Malnutrition

Enrich Your Learning:

Global Nutrition Report (GNR) 2018:

  • The Global Nutrition Report is published by an Independent Expert Group of the Global Nutrition Report, supported by the Global Nutrition Report Stakeholder Group.



  • The report tracks global nutrition targets on maternal, infant and young child nutrition and on diet related Non-Communicable Diseases adopted by member states of the World Health Organization as well as governments’ delivery against their commitments.


  • To make easier for governments and other stakeholders to deliver on high impact commitments to end malnutrition in all its forms.
  • The 2018 Global Nutrition Report shares insights into the current state of global nutrition, highlighting the unacceptably high burden of malnutrition in the world.

Key findings:

  • About one-thirds of the world’s children suffer some form of malnutrition.
  • Stunting in children under five years of age is declining at a global level but numbers in Africa are increasing, and there are significant disparities in progress at the subnational level.
  • At global level, progress in addressing underweight and anaemia among women has been extremely slow.
  • Overweight and obesity among adults is getting worse, with higher rates of obesity among women than men.
  • Several countries are on course to meet at least one of the globally adopted nutrition targets set for 2025, but most are off-track and none are making progress on the full suite of targets.

Critical steps to speed up progress:

  • Eradication of malnutrition in all its forms.
  • Prioritise and invest in the data needed and capacity to use it.
  • Scale up financing for nutrition – diversify and innovate to build on past progress
  • Galvanise action on healthy diets – engage across countries to address this universal problem
  • Make and deliver better commitments to end malnutrition in all its forms – an ambitious, transformative approach will be required to meet global nutrition targets.

India’s profile:

  • Anaemia and Stunting are the two forms of malnutrition burdens being experienced by the country.
  • India still holds almost a third of the world’s burden for stunting.
  • 9% of children under-5 are affected by stunting and 20.81% of under-5s are defined as ‘wasted’.
  • In India, 17.8 % of adult men and 21.6 % of adult women are overweight.
  • 4 of Women in reproductive age were affected by anaemia.



Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana is an initiative of which of the Indian ministries?

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Solution: Ministry of Women and Child Development

Enrich Your Learning:

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana:

  • The PMMVY is a maternity benefit programme being implemented in all districts of the country from 01.01.2017.


  • Promoting appropriate practice, care and institutional service utilization during pregnancy, delivery and lactation.
  • Encouraging the women to follow (optimal) nutrition and feeding practices, including early and Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months; and
  • Providing cash incentives for improved health and nutrition to pregnant and lactating mothers.


  • PMMVY is implemented using the platform of Anganwadi Services Scheme of Integrated Child Development Scheme under the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

Cash incentive:

  • Under PMMVY a cash incentive of Rs. 5000 is provided directly to the bank/ post office account of Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM) for the first living child of the family subject to fulfilling specific conditions relating to maternal and child health.
  • The remaining cash incentive of up to ₹1,000 is to be given under a separate scheme called the Janani Suraksha Yojana so that on an “average” women get a total sum of ₹6,000.


  • It is a conditional cash transfer scheme for pregnant and lactating women of 19 years of age or above for the first live birth.
  • It provides a partial wage compensation to women for wage-loss during childbirth and childcare and to provide conditions for safe delivery and good nutrition and feeding practices.

Conditional cash Transfer:

The cash transfers under the Scheme are subject to the following conditions:

  1. The first transfer of ₹1,000 requires the mother to:
  • Register pregnancy at the Anganwadi centre (AWC) whenever she comes to know about her conception.
  • Attend at least one prenatal care session and taking Iron-folic acid tablets and TT1 (tetanus toxoid injection), and
  • Attend at least one counselling session at the AWC or healthcare centre.
  1. The second transfer (six months of conception) of ₹2,000 requires the mother to:
  • Attend at least one prenatal care session and TT2.
  1. The third transfer (three and a half months after delivery) of ₹2,000 requires the mother to:
  • Register the birth.
  • Immunize the child with OPV and BCG at birth, at six weeks and at 10 weeks
  • Attend at least two growth monitoring sessions within three months of delivery.


  • The registration for the scheme requires an applicant to provide her husband’s Aadhaar details along with her own, affecting single women which include unwed mothers, deserted wives and widows.
  • Moreover, a mother seeking benefits needs to provide proof of address of her marital home, which proves challenging for a newlywed expecting a child and often residing in her natal home during pregnancy.
  • The applicant has to be at least 19 years old also leaves out younger brides, who hesitate in getting their marriages registered as the legal age of marriage is 18 years.
  • The benefit is only meant for the first living child of a couple.



Kurumba painting is practiced in which region of India?

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Solution: Mid-ranges of the Nilgiris or “blue-mountains” in Southern India.

Enrich Your Learning:


  • The Kurumbas are the tribals that live in the mid-ranges of the Nilgiris or “blue-mountains” in Southern India.
  • The Tribe is found in the adjoining states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala.
  • They are generally believed to be the descendants of the Pallavas whose rule was at its grandest in the 7th century.
  • Losing power to the Kongus and the Chalukyas, the Pallavas were finally driven out and dispersed by the Chola king Adondai.

Kurumba Painting:

  • The Kurumba art is an expression of its socio-religious fabric.
  • The art is traditionally practiced by the male members of the temple caretakers, or priest to the Kurumba village.
  • The women of the family contribute to the decorations at home in the form of borders around the door and windows and kolams on the floor.
  • The figures are made up of lines and are minimal in style and mainly consists of the depiction of the natural environment.
  • The figures are flat and similar to Warli, with rectangular bodies.
  • However, in spite of the 2-dimensional nature of the stick figures, the Kurumba artists are able to create lines of simple and fluids movements.



Gilgit-Baltistan lies in the a) Trans Himalayan range b) Greater Himalayan range?

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Solution: Trans Himalayan range

Enrich Your Learning:


  • Gilgit-Baltistan is a region presently administered by Pakistan as an administrative territory.
  • It constitutes the northern portion of the larger Kashmir region which has been the subject of a dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947, and between India and China from somewhat later.


  • It borders Indian UT Jammu and Kashmir to the South and Southeast, the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the West, the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan to the North, the Xinjiang region of China to the East and Northeast.
  • Gilgit-Baltistan is situated in the trans-Himalayan region on the north-western corner of the Kashmir Valley.
  • Gilgit-Baltistan covers an area of over 72,971 km² and has a highly mountainous terrain.

Indian stand:

  • Gilgit-Baltistan belongs to India as an integral part of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir after it legally acceded to the Union in 1947 and has been illegally occupied by Pakistan since 1947.

How Gilgit fell to Pakistan?

  • Gilgit-Baltistan was part of the formerly princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • After independence, both India and Pakistan went for territorial consolidation.
  • The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir decided not to accede to either India or Pakistan.
  • But, the situation soon changed as Pakistan invaded the princely state in October 1947.
  • Pakistan captured a part of Kashmir by means of invasion and the entire Gilgit region – generally called Gilgit-Baltistan -by the treachery of British military officer of the Maharaja.
  • Under lease, Gilgit-Baltistan was protected by a British-controlled force called the Gilgit Scouts.
  • After the British terminated the lease, they loaned two of their officers – Major W A Brown and Captain A S Mathieson – to the Maharaja for the purpose of looking after the defence of Gilgit-Baltistan till an alternative arrangement was found.
  • But as Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession on October 31 in 1947, Major Brown revolted and captured King’s governor Brigadier Ghansara Singh.
  • Major Brown then informed this former British boss stationed at Peshawar about his decision to accede to Pakistan.
  • The British decision was influenced by their understanding of the reactions of the Arab nations with regard to formation of Pakistan.
  • The British did not want to antagonise the oil-rich nations by apparently taking an anti-Muslim stand at a time when the fears of Soviet communism dominated the West.
  • Major Brown defected on November 1 and the Pakistani forces occupied Gilgit-Baltistan on November 4, 1947.
  • Since then, Gilgit-Baltistan has been under Pakistan’s administrative control.



What are the by-products of Underground coal gasification?

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Solution: Methane (CH4), Hydrogen (H2), Carbon monoxide (CO) and Carbon dioxide (CO2).

Enrich Your Learning:

Underground coal gasification:

  • Underground coal gasification (UCG) is an industrial process which converts Coal into product gas.
  • UCG is an in-situ gasification process, carried out in non-mined coal seams using injection of oxidants and steam.
  • The product gas is brought to the surface through production wells drilled from the surface.


  • The predominant product gases are Methane (CH4), Hydrogen (H2), Carbon monoxide (CO) and Carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • Ratios vary depending upon formation pressure, depth of coal and oxidant balance.
  • Gas output may be combusted for electricity production or to produce synthetic natural gas.
  • The technique can be applied to coal resources that are otherwise unprofitable or technically complicated to extract by traditional mining methods.

UCG offers an alternative to conventional coal mining methods for some resources

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