Flash Card

LAKSHYA-75 [Day-4] Current Flash Cards for IAS Prelims 2020

Natural Gas;Sukinda Valley; Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE); Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT); New Colombo Plan Mobility Program; Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS); Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) – 2019; Wastelands Atlas-2019; Location of Jordan; Maritime Unmanned Anti-Submarine System (MUSAS).
By IASToppers
March 09, 2020



Maritime Unmanned Anti-Submarine System (MUSAS) is a joint project of which countries?

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MUSAS is a joint project between Portugal, France, Spain and Sweden.

Enrich Your Learning:

What is Maritime Unmanned Anti-Submarine System (MUSAS) and its benefits?

The Maritime Unmanned Anti-Submarine System (MUSAS) is a joint project between Portugal, France, Spain and Sweden, which all have large coastlines. The autonomous system will provide command, control and communications (C3) for underwater anti-submarine warfare. It will enhance the protection of underwater high-value infrastructures as well as sea-based energy systems, providing quick response with appropriate levels of force to intrusion or threat to sea lines of communication.



Which among these countries is one of the neighbours of Jordan? a) Iraq b) Iran c) Turkey d) Lebanon

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  • Iraq is one of the neighbours of Jordan.

Enrich Your Learning:


  • Neighbours of Jordan are Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
  • Jordan has a coast with the Gulf of Aqaba.



According to Wasteland Atlas-2019, in which state the wastelands witnessed the greatest positive change (in terms of area)?

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According to Wasteland Atlas-2019, the wastelands underwent greatest positive change in the state of Rajasthan.

Enrich Your Learning:

What is Wastelands Atlas-2019?

  • The Wastelands Atlas-2019 provides a database on the wastelands of the country. It was released by the Ministry of Rural Development.
  • The exercise of mapping wastelands was carried out by National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) using the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite data.
  • The spatial extent of wastelands in India is 55.76 Mha (16.96 % of geographical area of the Country i.e. 328.72 Mha) for the year 2015-16 as compared to 56.60 Mha (17.21%) in the year 2008-09.

What are the insights provided by the Wasteland Atlas 2019?

The Wastelands Atlas-2019 provided the district and state wise distribution of different categories of wastelands area. It has mapped 12.08 Mha hitherto unmapped area of Jammu & Kashmir.

Changes in Wasteland

  • Between 2008-09 and 2015-16, 1.45 Mha of wastelands was converted into non wastelands categories.
  • A reduction in wasteland area was observed in the categories of land with dense scrub, waterlogged and marshy land, sandy areas, degraded pastures / grazing land and gullied and / or ravinous land.

States in which wastelands have undergone positive change.


Area changed


0.48 Mha


0.11 Mha

Uttar Pradesh

0.10 Mha

Andhra Pradesh

0.08 Mha


0.057 Mha

Madhya Pradesh

0.039 Mha

Jammu & Kashmir

0.038 Mha

West Bengal

0.032 Mha


Wastelands changed into:



What are the differences between Compressed natural gas (CNG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LPG)?

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Answer & Enrich Your Learning:

What is Natural Gas?

  • Natural gas (also called fossil gas) is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, but commonly including varying amounts of other higher alkanes, and sometimes a small percentage of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen sulfide, or helium.
  • Natural gas is abundant, relatively easy to transport fuel. Natural gas burns more cleanly than other hydrocarbons and, unlike other fossil fuels, vehicles utilizing natural gas can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30%.
  • Natural gas can be a vital source of reliable power while simultaneously helping to reduce emissions.

What are the differences between CNG and LPG?


Compressed Natural Gas

Liquefied Natural Gas


·         CNG is obtained by compressing natural gas under high pressure. Thus reducing its volume and allows it to be stored in bottles. 


·         Liquefied natural gas is produced by cooling natural gas to -162°C.

·         It is only kept in liquid form to increase the quantities of natural gas that can be stored in the tanks.

·         Approximately 60% is recovered during the extraction of natural gas and oil from the earth, and the remaining 40% is produced during the refining of crude oil.

·         But can also be produced from renewable sources




·         CNG is a viable alternative fuel.

·         Is cheaper and helps to eliminate emissions

·         Is versatile and low storage costs.

·         And a cleaner solution from diesel

·         Easier to transport via modes like pipelines, ships, tankers.

·         Helps provide access to fuel source.

·         Helps in electrification.

·         LPG is a clean burning fuel that provides smoke free indoor cooking and can also help reduce outdoor and urban air pollution.

·         Using LPG produces less CO2 than coal.

·         Emits no black carbon or other particulates.

·         LPG also plays a major role in reducing deforestation and desertification.



·         Adequate infrastructure required to support.

·         Risk of explosions.

·         Needs expensive and energy-intensive infrastructure to compress, cool, ship and store.

·         Requires skilled labour to operate.


·         Fuel type mostly used for buses and trucks

·         CNG is an adequate alternative fuel

·         Has diverse applications in commercial business, industry, transportation, farming, power generation, cooking, heating and for recreational purposes.



Which two countries participated in the recently concluded Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) – 2019 exercise?

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CARAT is a US- Bangladesh Naval exercise.

Enrich Your Learning:

What is Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) – 2019?

CARAT is a US- Bangladesh Naval exercise. The 2nd edition was held in Chattogram, Bangladesh.

The exercise has two objectives. 1. An opportunity to gain a better understanding of the operational activities of the Navies of two countries.  2. To get acquainted with advanced technology through various theoretical and practical trainings.



Who chairs the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS)? a) The Prime Minister OR b) Minister of Defence

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The Prime Minister

Enrich Your Learning:

Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS):

  • In a parliamentary democracy, a cabinet minister with the title of prime minister is the executive head of the government, while the head of state is a largely ceremonial monarch or president.
  • In most cases, the prime minister sets up different cabinet committees with select members of the cabinet and assigns specific functions to such committees for smooth and convenient functioning of the government.
  • Major decisions with respect to the significant appointments, issues of national security, defence expenditure of India, are taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in India.
  • The Prime Minister chairs the CCS which comprises the minister of external affairs, the home minister, finance minister, and the defence minister.
  • Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has approved the creation of a chief of defence staff (CDS) who will be the single-point military adviser to the government.

Functions of Cabinet Committee on Security:

  • To deal with all defense related issues.
  • To deal with issues relating to law and order and internal security.
  • To deal with policy matters concerning foreign affairs that have internal or
    external security implications, including cases relating to agreements with other
    countries on security-related issues.
  • To deal with economic and political issues impinging on national security.
  • To review the manpower requirements relating to national security and setting up new structures to deal with security-related issues.
  • To consider all cases involving capital expenditure of more than rupees one thousand crore in respect of:
  • Department of Defense Production
  • Department of Defense Research and Development
  • All matters relating to atomic energy.
  • To consider cases of increase in the firmed up cost estimates or revised cost estimates.



New Colombo Plan Mobility Program is an initiative of which country?

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New Colombo Plan Mobility Program is an initiative of Australia.

Enrich Your Learning:

What is New Colombo Plan Mobility Program?

  • The New Colombo Plan Mobility Program is an initiative of the Australian Government. The initiative provides funding to Australian universities and consortia to support Australian undergraduate students to participate in semester-based or short-term study, internships, mentorships among others in 40 host locations across the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The programme aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study in the host nations.

The New Colombo Plan Mobility Program in India

  • Several universities have signed MoUs with their Australian counterparts. Australian government will bear half of the funding for this programme, while the University Grants Commission (UGC) will pay the rest.



What is common between Karimganj, Pandu and Shilghat?

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  • Karimganj, Pandu and Shilghat are sites which are designated as ports of call between India and Bangladesh. A port of call is a place where a ship stops during a journey.

Enrich Your Learning:

What is Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT)?

  • The PIWTT is a transit and trade protocol between India and Bangladesh under which inland vessels of one country can transit through the specified routes of the other country. Under the protocol, 50:50 cargo sharing by Indian and Bangladeshi vessels is permitted both for transit and inter country trade.
  • Currently there are four routes (i) Kolkata-Pandu-Kolkata, (ii) Kolkata-Karimganj – Kolkata, (iii) Rajshahi-Dhulian-Rajshahi and (iv) Pandu-Karimganj-Pandu.
  • A port of call is a place where a ship stops during a journey. The following are Ports of Call between the two countries.

Key Provisions in the Protocol:

  • For evaluation and reviewing the working of this Protocol and for the purpose of improvement of inland water transportation between the two countries, there shall be a Standing Committee. The Standing Committee shall meet at least once in six months.
  • The vessels of one country before using the waterways of the other country will obtain the permission of the other country for entry.
  • There are provisions in the protocol to amend the list of Ports of Call, routes etc.
  • Vessels of either country calling for urgent repairs on route will be allowed to have repairs done at the Government-owned or any reputed marine workshop in either country with the prior permission of the respective Competent Authority.

How will it benefit?

PIWTT would facilitate the movement of fly ash, cement, construction materials, food grains etc. There would be a significant reduction in logistics cost. Also could lead to faster delivery of cargo compared to roadways or railways which have to go through difficult terrain and have to take a circuitous route.



The Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer was setup by which International organisation? European Southern Observatory OR National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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The Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer was setup by the European Southern Observatory.

Enrich Your Learning:

What is Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE)?

The Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) is a Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), operating in the visible wavelength range. Currently mounted at Paranal Observatory in Chile. MUSE was devised to provide both high spatial resolution as well as a good spectral coverage. In simple words, MUSE gives astronomers both the picture as well as the spectrum for each pixel in the frame.

What are the benefits of MUSE?

  • Help studying nearby galaxies and their formation, stars and stellar populations and the Solar System.
  • Also help map the dark matter distribution in clusters of galaxies using the gravitational microlensing effect on background galaxies.

Recent Findings of MUSE:

  • Detected the First light observed from gravitational wave source, observed a new type of star formation and among others.

What is European Southern Observatory (ESO)?

  • The European Southern Observatory is an intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe. ESO provides state-of-the-art research facilities to astronomers.



Sukinda Valley is located in? (a) Jharkand (b) Odisha (c) West Bengal (d) Chhattisgarh

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  • Sukinda Valley is located in Odisha.

Enrich Your Learning:

Sukinda Valley

  • Sukinda valley has 90% of India`s chromite reserves. Chromite is the base metal used for manufacturing stainless steel. The river Damsala which is a tributary of River Brahmani flows through this valley.
  • On the other hand, the mining activity has led to severe water pollution of the groundwater and surface water bodies. In 2007, the Blacksmith Institute rated Sukinda as one of the 10 most polluted places in the world.

Key Fact

  • Chromium pollution results in adverse health effects in people. It can cause ulcers, allergies, brain damage, liver and kidney ailment, and premature deaths.
Daily Current Flash Cards 2020 Prelims 2020

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