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Daily Current Affairs : 29-Jan-2020

Major Topics Covered :




  4. (HCFC)-141 B




  8. SIS-DP




Part of GS- 3 S&T

Why in news?

  • Scientists have discovered the oldest solid material ever found on the Earth, in the form of stardust trapped inside a meteorite that crashed into Australia 50 years ago and predates the formation of our solar system.


  • This stardust provides evidence for a ‘baby boom’ of new stars that formed 7 billion years ago, contrary to the theory that star formation happens at a steady, constant rate, according to the study published in the journal PNAS.

  • “These are the oldest solid materials ever found, and they tell us about how stars formed in our galaxy,” said Philipp Heck, an associate professor at the University of Chicago in the US.

  • Presolar grains are interstellar solid matter in the form of tiny solid grains that originated at a time before the Sun was formed.

  • Presolar stardust grains formed within out flowing and cooling gases from earlier presolar stars.

  • These bits of stardust became trapped in meteorites where they remained unchanged for billions of years, making them capsules of the cosmic time before the solar system.

  • However, presolar grains are very tiny and rare, found only in about five per cent of meteorites that have fallen to the Earth.

  • Since presolar grains are formed when a star dies, they can tell us about the history of stars.

Source : Indian Express



Part of GS- 3 Enviroment

Why in news?

  • India has added 10 more wetlands to sites protected by the Ramsar Convention, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar announced on 28th January, 2020.


The 10 new ones are

  • Nandur Madhameshwar, a first for Maharashtra;

  • Keshopur-Miani, Beas Conservation Reserve and Nangal in Punjab; and

  • Nawabganj, Parvati Agra, Saman, Samaspur, Sandi and Sarsai Nawar in Uttar Pradesh.

  • The other Ramsar sites are in Rajasthan, Kerala, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Tripura.


  • The Convention, signed in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar, is one of the oldest inter-governmental accords for preserving the ecological character of wetlands.

  • Also known as the Convention on Wetlands, it aims to develop a global network of wetlands for conservation of biological diversity and for sustaining human life.

Source: The Hindu



Part of GS- 3 Environment

Why in news?

  • The Supreme Court 28th January, 2020, allowed the Centre to introduce the African cheetah to suitable habitat in India.


  • The apex Court's decision followed a petition filed by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) seeking permission for the introduction of the African cheetah from Namibia as rare Indian cheetah is almost extinct in the country.

  • The apex court will monitor the project and the committee will submit its report before it every four months.

Cheetah reintroduction programme in India

  • The Wildlife Institute of India at Dehradun had prepared a Rs. 260-crore cheetah re-introduction project six years ago.

  • It was estimated that an amount of Rs. 25 crore to Rs. 30 crore would be needed to build an enclosure in an area of 150 sq km for the cheetahs in Nauradehi in Madhya Pradesh.

  • The proposal was to put the felines in the enclosure with huge boundary walls before being released in the wild.

  • Nauradehi was found to be the most suitable area for the cheetahs as its forests are not very dense to restrict the fast movement of the spotted cat.

About Cheetah:

  • Habitat: It inhabits a variety of mostly arid habitats like dry forests, scrub forests, and savannahs.

  • Conversation Status:

  • IUCN: Endangered and

  • CITES : Appendix I

  • COMMON NAME: Cheetah

  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Acinonyx jubatus

  • TYPE: Mammals

  • DIET: Carnivore

  • AVERAGE LIFE SPAN IN THE WILD: 10 to 12 years

  • WEIGHT: 77 to 143 pounds

  • The cheetah is the world's fastest land mammal.

  • The 4 subspecies are: Southeast African cheetah, Asiatic cheetah, Northeast African cheetah and Northwest African cheetah.

  • Distribution: it is found in North, Southern and East Africa, and a few localities in Iran.

Asiatic Cheetah:

  • By the beginning of the twentieth century, the species was already heading for extinction in many areas.

  • The Indian reserves were not very thoughtful when creating habitat loss for these oversized cats.

  • The last physical evidence of the Asiatic cheetah in India was thought to be three, all shot by the Maharajah Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of Surguja State in 1947, in eastern Madhya Pradesh or northern Chhattisgarh, but a female was sighted in Koriya district, in what is now Chhattisgarh, in 1951.

Source: The Hindu


(HCFC)-141 B

Part of GS-3 Environment

Why in news?

  • India has successfully achieved the complete phase out of Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141 b, which is a chemical used by foam manufacturing enterprises and one of the most potent ozone depleting chemical after Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)


  • (HCFC)-141 b is used mainly as a blowing agent in the production of rigid polyurethane (PU) foams.

  • India has consciously chosen a path for environment friendly and energy efficient technologies while phasing out Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs).

  • Importantly, India is one among the few countries globally and a pioneer in some cases in the use of technologies, which are non-Ozone Depleting and have a low Global Warming Potential (GWP).

  • India had proactively and successfully taken the challenge of complete phase out of Hydro chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141 b, which is a chemical used by foam manufacturing enterprises by 1.1.2020.

  • On 31 December, 2019, as part of the Government’s commitment for moving towards environment friendly technologies, in a significant first, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) brought out a notification.

  • In the Gazette of India through which the issuance of import license for HCFC-141b is prohibited from 1st January, 2020 under Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Amendment Rules, 2019 issued under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

  • HCFC)-141 b in India

  • HCFC-141b is not produced in the country and all the domestic requirements are met through imports.

  • With this notification, prohibiting the import of HCFC-141 b, the country has completely phased out the important ozone depleting chemical.

  • Simultaneously, the use of HCFC-141 b by foam manufacturing industry has also been closed as on 1st January, 2020 under the Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Amendment Rules, 2014.

Source: PIB



Part of GS- 3 Economy

Why in news?

  • Government eMarketplace (GeM), under the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry and Government of Uttar Pradesh, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up a GeM Organizational Transformation Team (GOTT) Project Management Unit (PMU) in the State.


  • The MoU aims to expedite the harmonization of the procurement guidelines of the two entities and integration of systems, enabling seamless procuring experience.

  • The PMU to be setup under the MoU will make it easier for MSMEs of U.P. to onboard and transact on GeM.

  • Ministry of Finance, Government of India, has advised Ministries and Departments of Central and State Governments to consider services of GOTT on an outcome based self-sustenance model.

  • GOTT will assist the buyer agency to redesign the procurement processes and enhance competencies to derive maximum benefit from the online marketplace.

  • The Government of Uttar Pradesh is the second State after Punjab to establish a GOTT-PMU for effectively utilizing this transformational initiative towards inclusive, efficient and transparent procurement.

Source: PIB



Part of GS- 3 S&T

Why in news?

  • On 28th January, 2020, NASA’s Spitzer Mission, which studied the universe in infrared light for more than 16 years, will come to an end since it is low on fuel and has been drifting away from Earth for a few years now.


  • The Spitzer Space Telescope is a space-borne observatory, one of the elements of NASA’s Great Observatories that include the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-Ray.

  • Using different infrared wavelengths, Spitzer was able to see and reveal features of the universe including objects that were too cold to emit visible light.

  • Apart from enabling researchers to see distant cold objects, Spitzer could also see through large amounts of gas using infrared wavelengths to find objects that may otherwise have been invisible to human beings.

  • These included exoplanets, brown dwarfs and cold matter found in the space between stars.

  • Using these two telescopes, scientists were able to see a bright infant galaxy as it was over 13.4 billion years ago, roughly 400 million years after the Big Bang, when the universe was less than 5% of its current age.

Source: Indian Express



Part of GS-3 Environment

Why in news?

  • All these species are now extinct. Now, an international study in Quaternary Science Reviews has sought to bring some order into our understanding of these species.


  • One key point of confusion was the different sizes of skull crests in fossils found in Europe.

  • For a long time, it was thought that the European species had a rather slenderly built skull roof crest, whereas the Indian species was characterised by an extremely robust skull crest that extended near to the base of the trunk from the top of the skull.

  • But some skulls, found in Italy and Germany, with almost the same exaggerated skull crest as the Indian form, raised confusion whether these were the same as the Indian species.

Source: Indian Express



Part of GS- 3 S&T

Why in news?

  • Space based Information Support for Decentralised Planning at Panchyayat level (SIS-DP) is a national initiative of preparing basic spatial layers useful in planning process at grassroot levels as per 73rd, 74th constitutional amendment of local self governance.


  • NRSC (National Remote Sensing Centre) is the lead centre to execute the project in collaboration with various State Remote Sensing Centres.

  • For the first time an all India mosaic of high resolution ortho products and DEM from Cartosat-1 and Resourcesat data was prepared and basic thematic layers at 1:10K scale viz. LU/LC, drainage, settlements, transportation network, slope and aspect were prepared and relevant collateral data useful in planning exercise was also integrated.

  • Under Phase II, this project shall be implemented shortly with a enhanced scope of updating geo-database with latest high resolution remote sensing data and spatial data analytics to generate simple & ready to use geospatial products and services at Gram panchayats.

  • The geo-database, products and services prepared under this project are expected to be disseminated through Bhuvan geoportal.

  • Bhuvan geoportal

  • Bhuvan, is a web mapping service which allows users to explore a 2D/3D representation of the surface of the Earth.

  • The browser is specifically tailored to view India, offering the highest resolution in this region and providing content in four local languages.

Source: ISRO



Part of GS- 3 Economy

Why in news?

  • Indian Railways has commissioned country’s first governmental Waste to Energy Plant, having capacity of 500 Kg waste per day, in Mancheswar Carriage Repair Workshop at Bhubaneswar in East Coast Railway.


  • This Waste to Energy Plant, a patented technology called POLYCRACK, is first-of-its-kind in Indian Railways and fourth in India.

  • It is world’s first patented heterogeneous catalytic process which converts multiple feed stocks into hydrocarbon liquid fuels, gas, carbon and water.

  • Polycrack Plant can be fed with all types of Plastic, Petroleum sludge, Un-segregated MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) with moisture up to 50%, E–Waste, Automobile fluff, Organic waste including bamboo, garden waste etc., and Jatropha fruit and palm bunch.

  • Waste generated from Mancheswar Carriage Repair Workshop, Coaching Depot and Bhubaneswar Railway Station will be feeder material for this plant.

  • The process is a closed loop system and does not emit any hazardous pollutants into the atmosphere.

  • The combustible, non-condensed gases are re-used for providing energy to the entire system and thus, the only emission comes from the combustion of gaseous fuels.

  • The emissions from the combustion are found to be much less than prescribed environmental norms.

  • This process will produce energy in the form of Light Diesel Oil which is used to light furnaces.

Source: PIB



Part of GS- 1 A&C

Why in news?

  • During the Republic Day celebrations of 2020, the tableau of Odisha displayed the famous Rukuna Ratha Yatra of Lord Lingaraja worshipped as both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu in a sixth century built temple named 'Lingaraj Temple' at Bhubaneswar.


  • "The tableau of Odisha displayed the famous Rukuna Ratha Yatra of Lord Lingaraja worshipped as both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu in a sixth century built temple named ''Lingaraj Temple'' at Bhubaneswar.

  • The tableau of Uttar Pradesh mirrored the cultural and religious tourism of the state with the theme ''Sarva Dharma Sama Bhav''," the release added.

  • Among the six tableaux from different ministries and departments, Ministry of Jal Shakti and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) won the joint best award.

  • Its tableau showcased the government''s new initiative ''Jal Jeevan Mission'' that aims to provide functional household tap connection to every rural household by 2024 - Har Ghar Jal.

  • On the day of Ashokastami 3 deities i.e. Chandrasekhar – the representative of lord Lingaraja, Rukmini & Basudeva are ceremonially brought to ascend chariot.

  • After that, the chariot is drawn to Rameswara temple and remained there for four days called Gundicha Gharand on the fifth day the three deities start the return journey called Bahuda.

Source: Outlook

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