PRELIMS REVISION-45

  1. The 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, brokered by the World Bank and signed by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and former Pakistan President Ayub Khan, administers how the waters of the Indus River and its tributaries that flow in both the countries will be utilised.
  2. Drones, their operators and pilots will have to be mandatorily registered on aviation regulator DGCA’s online portal, effective December 1, 2018. The use of remotely piloted aircraft, a kind of drone, is allowed for taking photographs, conducting surveys such as for laying of pipelines and agricultural purposes and surveillance, as per the regulations on remotely piloted aircraft system unveiled by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The rules bar use of drones for delivery of items. They can be deployed for spraying of pesticides and delivery of relief material during a natural disaster only on a case-by-case basis. Remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) have been divided into five categories – nano (less than 250gm), micro (between 250 gm and 2kg), small (between 2 and 25 kg) and large (more than 150 kg). Users will have to go online to seek a unique identification number for each drone as well as an operator’s permit licence. They will have to provide details of flight path to be undertaken for every flight. However, nano drones are exempt from all these pre-requisites. Operations are allowed in daylight and within the visual range or a range of 450 m. Wedding photographers are allowed to use micro drones during night, if they are taking pictures in an enclosed premises which is also well-lit. Drones are barred from being flown near airports, international border, coastline, Parliament, Secretariat complex in State capitals, military installations and eco sensitive zones. Small and large drones can fly up to a maximum height of 400 feet. Nano drones must not fly beyond 50 feet and micro drones must be within 200 feet from ground level. The DGCA will also be connected to district police officers and will inform them about drone flights cleared by it. Drone users are also advised to keep the local police informed of flights planned by them.
  3. Bagwal festival is a popular attraction of Raksha Bandhan day in Champawat district of Uttarakhand. The festival is famous for its annual rituall of ‘stone pelting’. However, after the intervention of Uttarakhand High Court in 2013, the stones were replaced with fruits and flowers.
  4. Strategic Partnership model in Defence – Strategic  Partnership Model  aims to  revitalise defence industrial ecosystem and progressively build indigenous capabilities in the private sector to design, develop and manufacture complex weapon systems for the future needs of the Armed Forces. The model lays emphasis on incentivisation of transfer of niche technology and higher indigenous content Global Majors, who in collaboration with Indian Partners are ready to make India a Regional / Global manufacturing hub for the platform will also be incentivized. This will give a major fillip towards encouraging self-reliance and aligning the defence sector with the ‘Make in India ‘ initiative of the Government.
  5. The Madhya Pradesh government intends to revive the plan to reintroduce cheetahs in the State’s Nauradehi sanctuary. The ambitious project, conceived in 2009, had hit a roadblock for want of funds. The country’s last Cheetah died in Chhattisgarh in 1947. Later, the cheetah — which is the fastest land animal — was declared extinct in India in 1952.
  6. India has had six referendums so far – Of the six, three were held during Independence. Sylhet, then a small Bengali speaking Muslim-majority city surrounded by a Hindu-majority Assam opted to join Bangladesh in 1947. Similarly, the North Western Frontier Province, what is today known as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, too opted to join Pakistan. Junagadh, on the other hand, was a Hindu-majority princely state surrounded by India on all sides, headed by a nawab who wanted to secede to Pakistan. Pakistan even accepted the secession at one point, but after an outcry from the people, the province was annexed to India and a plebiscite held — in which a majority wanted to join India. Pondicherry joined India without much fuss on the referendum front in 1954.  Once Portugal decided to pack up, a Goa with a strong Konkan majority was given the option of either being absorbed into Maharashtra or becoming an union territory. Faced with being assimilated into a strong Marathi community, Goa chose the latter in a referendum in January 1967. The final referendum in 1975 brought Sikkim into India’s fold. 
  7. The lesser florican, Sypheotides indicus, is the smallest bustard in the world, weighing 500 to 750 grams, and is found only in India. The country’s other two resident bustard species, the great Indian bustard and the Bengal florican, are equally imperilled, classified as ‘Critically Endangered’ in IUCN’s Red List. Historically, the lesser florican’s habitat spanned from Gujarat and Rajasthan to West Bengal and Odisha, from eastern Uttar Pradesh to Kerala. Today, its viable population is restricted mainly to just two states: Gujarat and Rajasthan.
  8. NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) will measure the average annual elevation change of land ice covering Greenland and Antarctica to within the width of a pencil, capturing 60,000 measurements every second.
  9. The Centre announced another annual ranking of higher educational institutions, based on how they fare in terms of innovation. The new ranking – named Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) – will work parallel to the overall ranking of institutions captured by the annual National Institutional Ranking Framework. There is a slight distinction between research – which is crucial in the NIRF framework – and innovation: research produces new knowledge while innovation puts that knowledge to use. ARIIA – named after Atal Bihari Vajpayee – will focus on: budget expenses and revenues generated; facilitating access to advance centres; ideas of entrepreneurship; innovation ecosystems supported through teaching and learning; and innovative solutions to improve governance of the institution.
  10. The Nilgiri tahr (an endangered mountain goat) known locally as the Nilgiri ibex or simply ibex, is an ungulate that is endemic to the Nilgiri Hills and the southern portion of the Western Ghats in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in Southern India. It is the state animal of Tamil Nadu. A recent census has revealed that the population of the Nilgiri tahr at the Mukurthi National Park, Tamil Nadu has grown by an impressive 18% in the last two years, from 480 to 568. However, invasive species of flora, such as wattle and pine, and exotic weeds like scotch broom (Cystisus scoparius) and gorse, end up diminishing grazing land.