27th February – Prelims Booster

Declare Eastern Ghats UNESCO cultural heritage sites, say environmental groups

All the historically and culturally significant mountains of the Eastern Ghats should be declared UNESCO cultural heritage sites, and the five States that the Ghats encompass – Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Odisha — should prepare an action plan to protect and conserve their ecology and natural resources, the Greens’ Alliance for Conservation of Eastern Ghats (GRACE) and the Council for Green Revolution (CGR) have said.


A report titled ‘Eastern Ghats Environment Outlook’ said the degradation of the Eastern Ghats, which began a century ago, had accelerated since the 1970s, and the ecosystem of the hills had lost their natural species composition, forest structure, size, scale and character.

About Eastern Ghats –

  • Eastern Ghats run almost parallel to the east coast of India leaving broad plains between their base and the coast.
  • It is a chain of highly broken and detached hills starting from the Mahanadi in Odisha to the Vagai in Tamil Nadu. They almost disappear between the Godavari and the Krishna.
  • They neither have structural unity nor physiographic continuity. Therefore these hill groups are generally treated as independent units.
  • It is only in the northern part, between the Mahanadi and the Godavari that the Eastern Ghats exhibit true mountain character. This part comprises the Maliya and the Madugula Konda ranges.
  • The peaks and ridges of the Maliya range have a general elevation of 900-1,200 m and Mahendra Giri (1,501 m) is the tallest peak here.
  • The Madugula Konda range has higher elevations ranging from 1,100 m and 1,400 m with several peaks exceeding 1,600 m. Jindhagada Peak (1690 m) in Araku Valley Arma Konda (1,680 m), Gali Konda (1,643 m) and Sinkram Gutta (1,620 m) are important peaks.
  • Between the Godavari and the Krishna rivers, the Eastern Ghats lose their hilly character and are occupied by Gondwana formations (KG Basin is here).
  • The Eastern Ghats reappear as more or less a continuous hill range in Cuddapah and Kurnool districts of Andhra Pradesh where they are called as Nallamalai Range [Naxalite hideout in AP] with general elevation of 600-850 m.
  • The southern part of this range is called the Palkonda range.
  • To the south, the hills and plateaus attain very low altitudes; only Javadi Hills and the Shevroy-Kalrayan Hills form two distinct features of 1,000 m elevation.

Sahitya Akademi Award

K.V. Jeyasri, a teacher from Tiruvannamalai, has won the Sahitya Akademi Award 2019 for her translation of the Malayalam novel Nilam Poothu Malarnna Naal into Tamil as Nilam Poothu Malarntha Naal. The novel was written by Malayalam author Manoj Kuroor.

About Malarnna Naal –

Manoj Kuroor’s Nilam Poothu Malarnna Naal is a Dravidian saga that narrates the story of a land and its people before they were divided into states and languages.

About Sahitya Akademi Award –

  • Sahitya Akademi award established in 1954, is a literary honour that is conferred annually by Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of letters.
  • Award is presented to the most outstanding books of literary merit published in any of the twenty-four major Indian languages recognised by the Akademi (including English).
  • Sahitya Akademi award is the second highest literary honour by the Government of India, after Jananpith award.
  • The award is presented in the form of a casket containing an engraved copper-plaque, a shawl and a cheque of Rs 1 lakh.
  • Indian film-maker Satyajit Ray is the designer of the plaque awarded by the Sahitya Akademi.

Five Supreme Court judges infected with Swine Flu

Five judges of the Honourable Supreme Court of India have been affected from Swine Flue which is caused by the H1N1 virus.

About Swine Flu –

  • Swine flu is a highly contagious respiratory disease in pigs caused by one of several swine influenza A viruses.
  • It was first identified in Mexico in 2009
  • Transmission of swine influenza viruses to humans is uncommon. However, it can be transmitted to humans via contact with infected pigs or environments contaminated with swine influenza viruses. 

BS VI fuel cess may be on cards

Indian OMCs (oil marketing companies) have made a representation to the government to recover about ₹35,000 crore invested in upgrading their refineries to produce BS VI fuel. The OMCs plan to recover this money by imposing a cess ₹0.70 to ₹1 on every litre of petrol and diesel.

What are Bharat Stage norms?

  • Bharat Stage emission standards, introduced in 2000, are emission standards that have been set up the Central government to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles.
  • Bharat Emission Standards (BS) is standard set for automobile industry which quantifies the emission of pollutants like NO, PM etc. This concept is borrowed from European Standards which are currently undergoing Euro VI standards as against our BS IV.

Difference between BS-IV and BS-VI –

  • The major difference in standards between the existing BS-IV and the new BS-VI auto fuel norms is the presence of sulphur.
  • The newly introduced fuel is estimated to reduce the amount of sulphur released by 80 per cent, from 50 parts per million to 10 ppm.
  • As per the analysts, the emission of NOx (nitrogen oxides) from diesel cars is also expected to reduce by nearly 70 per cent and 25 per cent from cars with petrol engines.
  • Current rise of pollution and life threatening breathing air in metropolitan cities have pushed government to rethink and decided to follow better standards like BS VI by even skipping BS V.

National Technical Textiles Mission

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval to set up a National Technical Textiles Mission with a total outlay of Rs 1480 Crore, with a view to position the country as a global leader in Technical Textiles.The Mission would have a four year implementation period from FY 2020-21 to 2023-24.

What are technical textiles?

  • Technical textiles are material and products manufactured primarily for their technical properties and functional requirements rather than for aesthetic characteristics.
  • The scope of use of technical textiles encompasses a wide range of applications such as agro-textiles, medical textiles, geo-textiles, protection-textiles, industrial-textiles, sports-textiles and many other usages.
  • Use of technical textiles have benefits of increased productivity in agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture fields, better protection of military, para-military, police and security forces, stronger and sturdier transportation infrastructure for highways, railways, ports and airports and in improving hygiene and healthcare of general public.

About National Technical Textiles Mission –

The mission will have four components –

  1. Research, innovation and development
  2. Promotion and market development
  3. Export promotion
  4. Education, training and skill development
  • India shares nearly 6% of world market size of 250 Billion USD. However, the annual average growth of the segment is 12%, as compared to 4% world average growth.
  • Penetration level of technical textiles is low in India at 5-10%, against 30-70% in advanced countries. The Mission aims at improving penetration level of technical textiles in the country.

Indradhanush-V 2020

The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Royal Air Force (RAF) of the United Kingdom jointly commenced the fifth edition of Ex Indradhanush at Air Force Station Hindan recently.

Details –

  • The focus of this edition of the exercise is ‘Base Defence and Force Protection’.
  • This theme is of significance considering the recent threats to military establishments from terror elements.
  • Ex Indradhanush provides a platform for the IAF and RAF to share and jointly validate strategies and tactics to counter terror threats to their installations.

Daily MCQs

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