UPSC Daily Current Affairs | Prelim Bits 14-06-2024

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June 14, 2024

Naming of Craters on Mars

Recently, scientists at the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) discovered three craters on Mars.

  • The 3 craters situated in the Tharsis volcanic region have been named for
    • Renowned cosmic ray physicist late Devendra Lal
    • The towns of Mursan, Uttar Pradesh and
    • Hilsa, Bihar.

Tharsis is a vast volcanic plateau centered near the equator in the western hemisphere of Mars. The region is home to the largest volcanoes in the Solar System.

  • The naming is approved by International Astronomical Union (IAU).
  • The discovery was made within the Mangala crater of Mars using SHARAD (Mars SHAllow RADar sounder).

SHARAD is a subsurface sounding radar mounted on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) probe. 

  • The discovery of the craters provided compelling evidence that water moved large volumes of sediment into the newly discovered Lal crater.
  • It also confirmed that Mars was once wet and water has flown on its surface.
  • Lal crater – It is the biggest among the 3 craters, entire area is covered with lava.
  • Mursan crater- It is superimposed on the eastern side of the rim of the Lal crater.
  • Hilsa crater- It is superimposed on the western side of the rim of the Lal crater.

International Astronomical Union (IAU)

  • The IAU is an apex governing international professional astronomical activities worldwide.
  • Established- 1919.
  • Headquarters- Paris, France.
  • Objective- To promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects (including research, communication, education and development) through international cooperation.
  • Member- IAU membership spans 92 countries, India is a member of the International Astronomical Union.


  1. The Indian Express | Craters on Mars
  2. IAU | About


Nagarhole Tiger Reserve

Recently, Ashwatthama, a Dasara elephant, died due to alleged electrocution in Karnataka.

  • Location - Nagarahole is an important Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, supporting the highest number of wild tigers in India and single largest Asiatic elephant population in the world.
  • It is previously known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park.
  • Nagarahole is contiguous with Wayanad wildlife sanctuary (Kerala) to the south and Bandipur Tiger Reserve to its south eastern parts.
  • Established in – It is established as a wildlife sanctuary in 1955 and was upgraded into a national park in 1988.
  • Reservoirs - The Kabini and Taraka reservoirs are large waterbodies in the park.
  • River Kabini separates the Nagarahole & Bandipur tiger reserve.
  • Tiger population- Nagarahole is acclaimed as one of the high-density tiger populations in the country after Corbett & Kaziranga tiger reserves respectively.
  • It is part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, one of the oldest and largest conservation areas in the world.
  • It was declared as the 37th Tiger reserve under Project Tiger in 1999.
  • Flora - The forests are interspersed with Marshy Swamps called ‘Hadlu’, characetrised by open grassy lands with scattered presence of stunted specimens.
  • Fauna –Leopard,  Asiatic Wild Dog, Sloth Bear, Asiatic Elephant Gaur, Sambar,  Chital, Muntjac, Four Horned Antelope, Wild Pig Mouse Deer and South-western langur.


  1. The Indian Express| Nagarhole Tiger Reserve
  2. NTCA | Nagarahole Tiger Reserve



Scientists at the CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) have identified microalgae as a potential protein supplement.

  • About- Microalgae are microscopic, single-celled organisms that belong to a diverse group of microorganisms called algae.
  • Size - It can range from a few micrometers (µm) to a few hundreds of micrometers, they don’t have roots or stems.
  • Diversity and Types-
  • Green Algae- Such as Chlorella and Spirulina.
  • Diatoms- Have intricate silica shells.
  • Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria) - Like Spirulina.
  • Red Algae- Used in agar production.
  • Golden Algae- Such as Chrysophytes.
  • Photosynthetic Nature - Algae are mostly photosynthetic in nature. They are also important for carbon sequestration, as they can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis.
  • Habitat- Microalgae are found in diverse habitats including freshwater, marine environments, soil, and even extreme environments like hot springs and polar regions.
  • Significance - Microalgae play a crucial role in the ecosystem as they form the base of the food chain, providing nutrients for various organisms.
  • Nutrition- Rich source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Nutritional Supplements- Spirulina and Chlorella are consumed as dietary supplements due to their high nutritional value.

Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF)

  • Scientists at CSIR-IICT have identified Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF), extracted from Chlorella sorokiniana microalgae, as a valuable ingredient for food and feed.
  • Chlorella's nucleus contains a unique substance produced during photosynthesis, packed with peptides, amino acids, nucleotides, polysaccharides, vitamins, and minerals.
  • CGF, rich in amino acids and high-quality protein, shows great potential as an alternative protein source for both humans and animals.


The Hindu | Microalgae


Global Gender Gap Report 2024

Recently, the Global Gender Gap Report 2024 was released by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

  • About- The Global Gender Gap Index annually benchmarks the current state and evolution of gender parity.
  • Released by - World Economic Forum (WEF).
  • Adoption - Adopted in 2006.
  • It benchmarks gender parity across 146 countries.
  • Four Parameters

Global Gender Gap Parameters

  • It measures scores on a 0 to 100 scale and scores can be interpreted as the distance covered towards parity (i.e. the percentage of the gender gap that has been closed).

Highlights of the report, 2024


  • The 2024 Global Gender Gap Index highlights that while no country has achieved full gender parity.
  • Iceland is ranked 1st, most gender equal country and has been leading the index for a decade and a half.
  • European economies occupy 7 spots out of the global top 10.
  • Bangladesh is the 1st country in the Southern Asia to get a double-digit rank of 99.
  • The world has closed 68.5% of the gender gap, indicating progress toward gender equality, but underlining the need for ongoing efforts.
  • Political disparityIt is high in entire South Asia although the region has moved 4% points towards political parity since 2006.
  • Health and Survival gap- It has closed by 96%.


India’s status in 2024

  • Rank- India has been ranked 129th out of 146 countries, a decline from its previous position of 127th in 2023.
  • India ranked is the 3rd-lowest among the South Asian economies, lower than Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan.


  • Political Empowerment- India has better representation of women as heads of state compared to ministerial positions and parliament.
  • Women hold 40.7% of head-of-state positions but only 6.9% in ministerial positions and 17.2% in parliament.
  • Only 2 out of 30 Union ministers in the newly formed Indian cabinet are women.
  • The number of female ministers in the Central Council of Ministers has decreased from 10 to 7.
  • Economic Participation- India has made progress in economic participation and opportunity but still ranks low at 142nd place.
  • Education- Although women in India have high enrolment rates in primary, secondary, and tertiary education, there's still a significant gender gap in literacy rate (17.2% points).
  • India ranks 124th globally in this indicator.


  1. Down to Earth | Global Gender Gap Report 2024
  2. Weforum | Global Gender Gap Report 2024


Renaming of sites in Uttarakhand

The Centre approved the Uttarakhand government’s proposal for renaming the Joshimath and Kosiyakutoli.

  • New name-
    • Joshimath tehsil to Jyotirmath in Chamoli district
    • Kosiyakutoli tehsil to Pargana Shri Kainchi Dham in Nainital district
  • Objective- To enhance the religious and cultural significance of these areas, in a state that is already a major destination for religious tourism.
  • Approved by- The Union Ministry of Science and Technology with No Objection Certificate.
  • Constitutional provision- Article 3 of the Indian Constitution deals with the formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States.
  • Joshimath tehsil- The name “Jyotirmath” comes from the divine light of knowledge he is said to have attained, with ‘jyoti’ meaning divine light.
  • Jyotirmath is one of the 4 cardinal mathas (monasteries) that 8th-century philosopher Adi Shankaracharya is believed to have established across India to promote the Advaita Vedanta philosophy.
  • The Jyotirmath was established for the preservation and dissemination of spiritual knowledge and practices.
  • Kosiyakutoli tehsil-Kosiyakutoli came to be known for its association with Neem Karoli Baba and the Kainchi Dham Ashram he founded in 1962.
  • In the name “Kosiyakutoli”, “Kosi” refers to the river of the same name which flows through the Nainital district and is important for the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand.


The Indian Express | Renaming of sites in Uttarakhand

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