Flash Card

LAKSHYA-75 [Day-15] Current Flash Cards for IAS Prelims 2020

Mouling National Park ;African Union (AU); Measles; Fiscal Monitor Report; Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) technology; Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); Drought; Van Dhan Scheme; The International Court of Justice (ICJ); GPS-aided Geo augmented navigation (GAGAN);
By IASToppers
March 21, 2020



India’s successful payloads of GPS-aided Geo augmented navigation (GAGAN) is currently operational through which satellites?

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GPS-aided Geo augmented navigation (GAGAN) Payload is operational through GSAT-8, GSAT-10 and GSAT-15 satellites.

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GPS-aided Geo augmented navigation (GAGAN)

  • GAGAN is a step by the Indian Government towards initial Satellite-based Navigation Services in India.
  • It is a system to improve the accuracy of a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver by providing reference signals.
  • The Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) have collaborated to develop the GAGAN as a regional Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS).
  • The GAGAN’s goal is to provide a navigation system to assist aircraft in accurate landing over the Indian airspace and in the adjoining area and applicable to safety-to-life civil operations.
  • The system is inter-operable with other international SBAS systems like US-WAAS, European EGNOS, and Japanese MSAS etc.
  • GAGAN GEO footprint extends from Africa to Australia and has expansion capability for seamless navigation services across the region.
  • GAGAN provides the additional accuracy, availability, and integrity necessary for all phases of flight, from enroute through approach for all qualified airports within the GAGAN service volume.
  • GAGAN is the first Satellite-Based Augmentation System in the world which has been certified for approach with vertical guidance operating in the equatorial ionospheric region.
  • One essential component of the GAGAN project is the study of the ionospheric behaviour over the Indian region. This makes India the third country in the world which has such precision approach capabilities.
  • GAGAN has been developed for aviation but it will provide benefits to other sectors as well like transportation, railways, surveying, maritime, highways, telecom industry, and security agencies.



Name the official languages of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

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The official languages of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) are English and French.

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The International Court of Justice (ICJ):

  • It is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946.
  • The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands). Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York (United States of America).
  • The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.
  • The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. It is assisted by a Registry, its administrative organ.



What is the main objective of the Van Dhan Scheme?

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Answer: Van Dhan Scheme is aimed to improve tribal incomes through value addition of tribal products.

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Van Dhan Scheme:

  • The Van Dhan Scheme is an initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED).
  • It was launched on April, 2018 and seeks to improve tribal incomes through value addition of tribal products.


  • The scheme will be implemented through Ministry of Tribal Affairs as Nodal Department at the Central Level and TRIFED as Nodal Agency at the National Level.
  • At State level, the State Nodal Agency for MFPs and the District collectors are envisaged to play a pivot role in scheme implementation at grassroots level.

Minor Forest Produce and tribal livelihoods:

  • Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is a major source of livelihood for tribals living in forest areas.
  • The importance of MFPs for this section of the society can be gauged from the fact that around 100 million forest dwellers depend on MFPs for food, shelter, medicines and cash income.
  • It provides them critical subsistence during the lean seasons, particularly for primitive tribal groups such as hunter gatherers, and the landless.
  • Tribals derive 20-40% of their annual income from MFP on which they spend major portion of their time.
  • This activity has strong linkage to women’s financial empowerment as most of the MFPs are collected and used/sold by women.

Key Highlights of Van Dhan Initiative:

  • At unit level, aggregation of produce would be done by SHGs having about 30 members each forming Van Dhan Vikas ‘Samuh’.
  • Provision for required building/ infrastructure support to be established in one of the beneficiary’s house/ part of house or Government/ gram panchayat building.
  • Equipment/ Tool Kit comprising of equipment such as small cutting and sieving tools, decorticator, dryer, packaging tool etc. based on MFPs available in the area.
  • Provisioning of working capital for the SHGs through tie up with financial institutions, banks, NSTFDC etc.
  • A cluster of ten such SHGs within the same village shall form a Van Dhan Vikas Kendra.
  • Subject to successful operations of the samuhs in a Kendra, common infrastructure facilities may be provided to the Kendra in the next phase in terms of building, warehouse, etc. for use of the samuh members.

Implementation of the scheme:

  • Under Van Dhan, 10 Self Help Groups of 30 Tribal gatherers is constituted.
  • The establishment of “Van Dhan Vikas Kendra” is for providing skill upgradation and capacity building training and setting up of primary processing and value addition facility.
  • They are then trained and provided with working capital to add value to the products, which they collect from the jungle.
  • Working under the leadership of Collector these groups can then market their products not only within the States but also outside the States.
  • Training and technical support is provided by TRIFED. It is proposed to develop 3,000 such centres in the country.
  • The Van Dhan Vikas Kendras will be important milestone in economic development of tribals involved in collection of MFPs by helping them in optimum utilization of natural resources and provide sustainable MFP-based livelihood in MFP-rich districts.



Mouling National Park is located in which Indian state?

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Mouling National Park is located in the Upper Siang district of the state of Arunachal Pradesh.

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Mouling National Park

  • The national park is located in the Upper Siang district of the state of Arunachal Pradesh. The national park was created in 1986.
  • The name Mouling has been derived from highest peak named Mouling as per local faith and belief. The word Mouling has got a lot of curiosity among the people.
  • ‘Mouling’ literally means ‘red poison or red blood’, which is actually the red extract of a species of tree that is found there.
  • The national park has richness and varieties of flora and fauna. Mouling Park is also known for Red Pandas, Deers, Hoolock Gibbons and Tigers.
  • The area of Mouling National park and its surroundings are referred to as ‘the state’s cradle of biodiversity’ for the colligation of remote natural beauty and the flora and fauna.
  • Ornamental plants like foxtail, orchids are abundant in this area.



State Government is the final authority when it comes to declaring a region as drought affected. True OR False.

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Answer: True.

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  • Drought is generally considered as a deficiency in rainfall /precipitation over an extended period, usually a season or more, resulting in a water shortage causing adverse impacts on vegetation, animals, and/or people.
  • The Supreme Court of India in its verdict (2016) in the matter of Swaraj Abhiyan Vs Union of India stated that drought would certainly fall within the definition of “disaster” as defined under Section 2(d) of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005.
  • Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005 defines “disaster” to mean ‘a catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area, arising from natural or man-made causes, or by accident or negligence which results in substantial loss of life or human suffering or damage to, and destruction of, property, or damage to, or degradation of, environment, and is of such a nature or magnitude as to be beyond the coping capacity of the community of the affected area.’
  • Since drought is a disaster, risk assessment and risk management as well as crisis management of a drought falls completely within the purview of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
  • Supreme Court directed the National Disaster Management Authority to be the agency responsible for drought management particularly with respect to chalking out long term preventive and mitigation measures.
  • It is not as if a drought is required to be declared in the entire State or even in an entire district. If a drought-like situation or a drought exists in some village in a district or a taluka or tehsil or block, it should be so declared.

Classification of drought in India:

  • The 2009 Manual of Drought Management issued by Ministry of Agriculture, Union of India (prepared for Ministry by National Institute of Disaster Management) classifies droughts into three categories:
  • Meteorological droughtis defined as the deficiency of precipitation from expected or normal levels over an extended period of time.
  • It is said to occur when the seasonal rainfall received over an area is less than 25% of its long-term average value.
  • It is classified as moderate drought if the rainfall deficit is 26-50% and severe drought when the deficit exceeds 50% of the normal.
  • Hydrological droughtis best defined as deficiencies in surface and sub-surface water supplies leading to a lack of water for normal and specific needs.
  • Such conditions arise, even in times of average (or above average) precipitation when increased usage of water diminishes the existing reserves.
  • Agricultural droughtis usually triggered by meteorological and hydrological droughts and occurs when soil moisture and rainfall are inadequate during the crop growing season causing extreme crop stress and wilting. 
  • In India, it is defined as a period of four consecutive weeks (of severe meteorological drought) with a rainfall deficiency of more than 50 % of the long-term average or with a weekly rainfall of 5 cm or less from mid-May to mid-October (the kharif season) when 80% of India’s total crop is planted or six such consecutive weeks during the rest of the year.



Convention on Biological Diversity is aimed at?

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Answer: CBD or the Biodiversity Convention is a multilateral treaty with an objective to develop national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.

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Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD):

  • CBD or the Biodiversity Convention is a multilateral treaty with an objective to develop national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.
  • The Convention has three main goals including:
    • the conservation of biological diversity (or biodiversity);
    • the sustainable use of its components; and
    • the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources.
  • It is often seen as the key document regarding sustainable development.
  • The Convention was opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992 and entered into force on 29 December 1993.
  • The convention is legally binding and the countries that have joint it are obliged to implement its provisions.
  • India enacted Biological Diversity Act in 2002 for giving effect to the provisions of the CBD.

Supplementary agreements:

  • CBD has two supplementary agreements – Cartagena Protocol and Nagoya Protocol.
  1. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity:
  • It is an international treaty governing the movements of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology from one country to another.
  • It was adopted on 29 January 2000 as a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity and entered into force on 11 September 2003.
  1. Nagoya Protocol:
  • The Nagoya Protocol provides a transparent legal framework for the effective implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
  • The Nagoya Protocol on ABS was adopted on 29 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan and entered into force on 12 October 2014.
  • Objective: Fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, thereby contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.



Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) technology works on the basis of which principle?

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Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) technology works on the basic principle of temperature gradient between two water bodies.

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Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) technology

  • Low temperature thermal desalination (LTTD) is one process that uses the availability of a temperature gradient between two water bodies or flows.
  • The LTTD is a process under which the warm surface sea water is flash evaporated at low pressure and the vapour is condensed with cold deep sea water.
  • The LTTD technology does not require any chemical pre and post-treatment of seawater and thus the pollution problems are minimal and suitable for island territories.
  • The LTTD technology is completely indigenous, robust and environment friendly. It gives less operational maintenance problems compared to other desalination processes.
  • The technology has been developed by the Ministry of Earth Sciences in India, through the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT).
  • Three water treatment plants using LTTD technology have been successfully opened in India at Kavaratti, Minicoy and Agatti islands in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep.
  • The 12-13oC cold water available at about 400m depth within 600m from the island is used along with the surface water at about 28oC to produce potable water in the Lakshadweep Islands.
  • Each LTTD plant will be able to produce 100,000 lts of drinking water per day, which is supplied via the local pipe network.
  • Six more of the plants at Amini, Androth, Chetlat, Kadamat, Kalpeni and Kiltan Islands and LTTD plant based on Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion at Kavaratti has also been approved.



The Fiscal Monitor Report’ is published by__________.  a) International Monetary Fund OR b) World Trade Organisation.

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Answer: International Monetary Fund

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Fiscal Monitor Report:

  • The Fiscal Monitor surveys and analyzes the latest public finance developments.
  • It updates fiscal implications of the crisis and medium-term fiscal projections, and assesses policies to put public finances on a sustainable footing.
  • The country classification in the Fiscal Monitor divides the world into three major groups:
  • 35 advanced economies,
  • 40 emerging market and middle-income economies, and
  • 40 low-income developing countries.
  • The Fiscal Monitor is prepared twice a year by the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department.
  • Its projections are based on the same database used for the World Economic Outlook (WEO) and the Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR).

8 fiscal Indicators used:

  • Net lending/borrowing (also referred as overall balance) % of GDP
  • Primary net lending/borrowing (also referred as primary balance) % of GDP
  • Cyclically adjusted balance % of Potential GDP
  • Cyclically adjusted primary balance % of Potential GDP
  • Revenue % of GDP
  • Expenditure % of GDP
  • Gross debt position % of GDP

Net debt % of GDP



Global Vaccine Action Plan aims to eliminate Measles globally till which year?

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Answer: Global Vaccine Action Plan aims to eliminate Measles globally till 2020.

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  • Measles is a highly contagious viral disease.


  • Measles is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons.
  • Symptoms include high fever, a runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth and red rashes throughout the body.


  • Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.
  • It remains an important cause of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine.
  • Routine measles vaccination for children, combined with mass immunization campaigns in countries with low routine coverage, are key public health strategies to reduce global measles deaths.


  • The measles vaccine has been in use since the 1960s.
  • It is safe, effective and inexpensive.
  • WHO recommends immunization for all susceptible children and adults for whom measles vaccination is not contraindicated.

Global Vaccine Action Plan:

  • The Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) ― endorsed by the 194 Member States of the World Health Assembly in May 2012 ― is a framework to prevent millions of deaths by 2020 through more equitable access to existing vaccines for people in all communities.
  • Under the Global Vaccine Action Plan, measles and rubella are targeted for elimination in five WHO Regions by 2020.
  • WHO is the lead technical agency responsible for coordination of immunization and surveillance activities supporting all countries to achieve this goal.


  • While vaccination has drastically reduced global measles deaths — a 73% drop between 2000-2018 worldwide — measles is still common in many developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia.
  • More than 140,000 people died from measles in 2018.
  • The overwhelming majority (more than 95%) of measles deaths occur in countries with low per capita incomes and weak health infrastructures.



Before the African Union (AU) launched, the activities of this body were carried out by whom?

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Until the launch of a new body named African Union (AU), the Organisation of African Unity (1963-1999) carried out all the activities related to the peace, security, and stability of the continent.

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African Union (AU)

  • The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent.
  • It was officially launched in 2002 in Durban, South Africa as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (1963-1999).
  • The objective of AU is towards an Integrated, Prosperous and Peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.
  • It inaugurated as a pan-African parliament in March 2004 – one of a number of proposed institutions. The body debates continent-wide issues and advises AU heads of state.
  • The AU believes that conflicts must be settled before there can be a chance of achieving prosperity. To this end, it set up a Peace and Security Council in 2004. The council can deploy military forces in situations which include genocide and crimes against humanity.
  • The AU oversees the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad), an anti-poverty blueprint which offers a bargain with the West: the promotion of good political and economic practice in return for more aid and investment.


  • The OAU was established on May 25, 1963, and its activities included diplomacy (especially in support of African liberation movements), mediation of boundary conflicts and regional and civil wars, and research in economics and communications.
  • The OAU was instrumental in bringing about the joint cooperation of African states in the work of the Group of 77.

Organisational structure:

  • Chairman: rotate on annual basis
  • Assembly: heads of state of member countries, meet at least once a year.
  • It is the AU’s main decision-making body. Members of the assembly elect an AU chairperson.
  • Executive Council: the foreign ministers of member states, who advise the assembly members.
  • Commission: The administrative branch comprises 10 commissioners, who hold individual portfolios. The commission elects its chairperson to a four-year term.
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