Daily Prelims Newsletter for UPSC 17 Dec 2021

Daily Prelims Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

17 Dec 2021-Friday

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents

Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity – Durga Puja in Kolkata

Why in News

Recently, Durga Puja in Kolkata has been inscribed on the UNESCOs Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity.
  • It is the first festival in Asia to achieve recognition as UNESCO ICH of Humanity before that Dholavira in Gujarat was declared as India’s 40th world heritage site.
  • With this India now has 14 intangible cultural heritage elements in UNESCO ICH.

Key Points

  • Durga Puja is a five-day festival that begins on the fifth night of the nine-day Navratri festival and ends on the tenth day, which is Dashami.
  • During this time, people collectively worship and invoke intricately-designed clay models of Goddess Durga, who is regarded as the feminine energy of the cosmos, also known as ‘Shakti’.
  • It is one of the largest cultural carnivals and street art festivals of the country and


    • This festival contributes in sustaining and safeguarding a multitude of traditional arts and crafts.
      • British Council in India had mapped the creative economy of Durga Puja to over Rs. 32,000 crores for the year 2019, which is almost 2.58% of West Bengal’s GDP.

UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage:

    • This coveted list is made up of those intangible heritage elements that help demonstrate diversity of cultural heritage and raise awareness about its importance and it was established in 2008.
    • According to UNESCO cultural heritage does not end at monuments and collections of objects.
      • It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals etc.
  • The Ministry of Culture (India) has also launched the draft National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of India which is also a part of the Vision 2024 of the Ministry of Culture.
    • India is a signatory of the 2003 UNESCO Convention which aims for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage along with traditions and living expression.


    • UNESCO headquartered in Paris, France seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, Sciences, and Culture.
    • It has 193 Members and 11 Associate Members. India joined UNESCO in 1946. In 2019, the USA and Israel formally quit UNESCO.

First Green Hydrogen Microgrid Project: Andhra Pradesh

Why in News

National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd has awarded the country’s first green hydrogen microgrid project at its Simhadri (near Visakhapatnam) plant in Andhra Pradesh.

Key Points

  • This unique project configuration is designed in-house by NTPC. It would be a precursor to large-scale hydrogen energy storage projects.
  • It is in line with India’s vision to become carbon neutral by 2070.
  • The hydrogen would be produced using the advanced 240 kW Solid Oxide Electrolyser by taking input power from the nearby Floating Solar project in Telangana’s Ramagundam.
  • The hydrogen produced would be stored at high pressure.


  • Helpful in Deploying Multiple Microgrids at strategic locations and developing clean energy which is an important weapon against climate change.
  • It will open prospects for decarbonizing (removing carbon) the far-off regions of the country such as Ladakh, J&K, etc., which are dependent on diesel generators.
  • Energy Security: Hydrogen fuel can be a game-changer for the energy security of India because India imports 85% of its oil and 53% of gas requirements.

Related Initiatives:

  • Country’s first experiment of a hydrogen-fuel cell technology-based train
  • National Hydrogen Energy Mission (NHM):
  • INDCstargets of installing 100 GW grid-connected solar power plants by the year 2022.
  • National Action Plan on Climate Change
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA)

Green Hydrogen:

  • It is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using an electrolyzer powered by renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

Brown hydrogen:

  • It is produced using coal where the emissions are released into the air.

Grey hydrogen:

  • It is produced from natural gas where the associated emissions are released into the air.

Blue hydrogen:

  • It is produced from natural gas, where the emissions are captured using carbon capture and storage.

National Thermal Power Corporation Limited

  • NTPC Ltd. (Maharatna company)is a Central Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Ministry of Power, is located in New Delhi.

Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY)

Why in News

Maharashtra has topped the list of states with a maximum number of beneficiaries under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY), followed by Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.

Key Points

  • It was launched in November 2020 to boost employment in the formal sector and incentivize the creation of new employment opportunities during the Covid-19 recovery phase under Atmanirbhar Bharat Package 3.0.

Government Contribution:

  • It provides subsidies for provident fund contribution for adding new employees to establishments registered with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO).
  • The organizations of up to 1000 employees would receive employee’s contribution (12% of wages) & employer’s contributions (12% of wages), totaling 24% of wages, for two years.
  • Employers with over 1,000 employees will get employees’ contribution of 12%, for two years.

Eligibility Criteria for Establishments:

  • Establishments registered with EPFO will be eligible for the benefits if they add new employees compared to the reference base of employees as in September 2020.
  • Establishments, with up to 50 employees, would have to add a minimum of two new employees and with more than 50 employees, at least five employees should be added.

Target Beneficiaries:

  • Any new employee joining employment in EPFO registered establishments on monthly wages less than Rs. 15,000.
  • Those who left their job between 1st March to 30th September 2020 and are employed on or after 1st October 2020.

Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund

  • This Fund has been set up by the Government as MSMEs & Private companies need to be promoted and incentivized for their involvement in processing and value addition infrastructure.
  • The fund is Central Sector Scheme that had been proposed as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
  • Beneficiaries – Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), MSMEs, Section 8 Companies, Private Companies and individual entrepreneurs.
  • Benefits – The beneficiaries are to contribute a minimum of 10% margin money as investment.
  • The balance 90% would be the loan component to be made available by scheduled banks.
  • The Government of India will provide 3% interest subvention to eligible beneficiaries.
  • There will be 2 years moratorium period for principal loan amount and 6 years repayment period thereafter.
  • Guarantee Coverage would be upto 25% of Credit facility of borrower.

Black Box of the Earth

Why in News?

A steel vault that will record the Earth’s warming weather patterns is being built in Tasmania Australia, an Australian island state off the south coast.
  • This vault is dubbed as the ‘Black Box of the Earth’, is a 33-foot-long box made of 3-inch-thick steel.
  • The Earth’s Black Box will operate much like a plane’s Black Box, it will listen to what we say and do.
  • It will create an archive that could be critical to piecing together the missteps that should humanity be destroyed by climate change.
  • The box will record leaders’ actions (or inaction) by scraping the internet for keywords relating to climate change from newspapers, social media and peer-reviewed journals.
  • It will collect daily metrics – average oceanic and land temperatures, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and biodiversity loss.
  • Eventually, the data will be stored on a giant, automated, solar-powered hard drive with a capacity to collect information for about 50 years.
  • Tasmania was chosen for its relative geopolitical and environmental safety.

RBI permits payments banks and SFBs to conduct Government agency business.

Why in News?

RBI allows Payments Banks, Small Finance Banks to conduct Govt agency business like tax collection, etc. but the concerned bank should not be under the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework or moratorium.

Power of accrediting an agency bank:

The choice of accrediting an agency bank (including scheduled private sector agency bank) for any particular government agency business rests solely with the concerned Central Government Departments /State Governments.


  • The Bank can now participate in government and other large corporations issued Request for Proposals (RFP), primary auctions, fixed-rate and variable rate repos, and reverse repos, along with participation in Marginal Standing Facility.
  • Also, the bank would now also be eligible to partner in government-run financial inclusion schemes.

What are Small Finance Banks?

  • Small finance banks are financial institutions that provide financial services to the country’s underserved and unbanked areas and They are registered as a public limited company under the Companies Act, 2013.
  • These banks, like other commercial banks, can engage in all basic banking activities, such as lending and accepting deposits.
  • Small Finance Banks can’t extend big loans and can not float subsidiaries or trade-in high-tech products. The Nachiket Mor committee on financial inclusion suggested SFBs.

Parker Solar Probe of NASA:

The Parker Solar Probe, launched by NASA, has become the first spacecraft to fly through the outer atmosphere of the Sun- ‘Corona’ and sampled magnetic fields and particles.


The achievement would help scientists discover critical information about the sun and its influence on our solar system. 

About the mission:

Launched in 2018, Parker Solar Probe will travel through the sun’s atmosphere, closer to the surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions — and ultimately providing humanity with the closest-ever observations of a star.


  • Parker Solar Probe will use Venus’s gravity during seven flybys over nearly seven years to gradually bring its orbit closer to the sun.
  • The spacecraft will fly through the sun’s atmosphere as close as 3.9 million miles to our star’s surface, well within the orbit of Mercury and more than seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before.

Parker Solar Probe’s 3 detailed science objectives:

  • Trace the flow of energy that heats and accelerates the solar corona and solar wind.
  • Determine the structure and dynamics of the plasma and magnetic fields at the sources of the solar wind.
  • Explore mechanisms that accelerate and transport energetic particles.

Why study Sun’s corona?

  • The corona gives rise to the solar wind, a continuous flow of charged particles that permeates the solar system.
  • Unpredictable solar winds cause disturbances in our planet’s magnetic field and can play havoc with communications technology on Earth.
  • NASA hopes the findings will enable scientists to forecast changes in Earth’s space environment.

SGTF Test Kits:

  • Formally known as the S-gene Target Failure (SGTF) test,this proxy test can be used for early detection of Omicron.
  • The test detects the absence of the S-gene,which is an indicator of the presence of Omicron variant in a Covid positive patient.
  • S gene is not present in the Omicron variant. This is the result of the multiple mutations that the variant has undergone and is a marker to identify the variant.

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