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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.

References

  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.

References

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

 

Microalgae

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.

Reference

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

Global

  • 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%.

GGP 1

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.

GGP 2

  • 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.

References

  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.

Reference

The Indian Express | Renaming of sites in Uttarakhand

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