DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 11th July 2022

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  • July 11, 2022
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Zonal Council

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  • Prelims – Polity
  • Mains – GS 2 (Polity – Co-operative Federalism)

In News: Northern Zonal Council was held recently.

  • Three states and as many Union Territories discussed issues of river water sharing, safety of women, setting up fast-track courts, cyber security and the issue of strengthening rural banking with union Home Minister during a meeting of the Northern Zonal Council in Jaipur.

Issues discussed

  • Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) asked the states to resolve the issues amicably and through discussion.
  • Ministry stressed to take a cordial approach to the issue and find a time-bound solution.
  • Discussion stressed that all stakeholders should come together to establish a strong cooperative mechanism for development, for which purpose the regional councils were created
  • Meeting also stressed upon the States and Union Territories to conduct awareness campaigns on cyber-vigilance through various mediums
  • It was also decided in the meeting that a committee chaired by the Union Home Secretary, along with all departments concerned and state governments, will prepare a strategy to deal with growing menace of cybercrime.

Zonal Council

  • Zonal Councils are the statutory bodies.
  • They are established by an Act of the Parliament – States Reorganisation Act of 1956.
  • The act divided the country into five zones– Northern, Central, Eastern, Western and Southern and provided a zonal council for each zone.

While forming these zones, several factors have been taken into account which includes:

  • The natural divisions of the country
  • The river systems and means of communication
  • The cultural and linguistic affinity
  • The requirements of economic development, security and law and order
  • In addition to the above mentioned Zonal Councils, a North-Eastern Council was created by a separate Act of Parliament, the North-Eastern Council Act of 1971.
  • Its members include Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura and Sikkim.
  • These are advisory bodies that make recommendations with regard to any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning between the Centre and States border disputes, linguistic minorities, inter-State transport or matters connected with the reorganisation of States.

Organizational Structure:

  • Chairman: The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of each of these Councils.
  • Vice Chairman: The Chief Ministers of the States included in each zone act as Vice-Chairman of the Zonal Council for that zone by rotation, each holding office for a period of one year at a time.
  • Members: Chief Minister and two other Ministers as nominated by the Governor from each of the States and two members from Union Territories included in the zone.
  • Advisers: One person nominated by the NITI Aayog for each of the Zonal Councils, Chief Secretaries and another officer/Development Commissioner nominated by each of the States included in the Zone.

Functions of the Councils:

  • Any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning,
  • Any matter concerning border disputes, linguistic minorities or inter-State transport,
  • Any matter connected with or arising out of, the reorganization of the States under the States Reorganisation Act.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which of the following bodies does not/do not find mention in the Constitution? (2013)

  1. National Development Council
  2. Planning Commission
  3. Zonal Councils

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Re-wilding programme of red pandas

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  • Prelims – Environment

In New: Singalila National Park launches programme that aims to release about 20 red pandas in a period of five years

  • The number of red pandas has been declining in the wild, even in the Singalila and Neora Valley National Parks, the two protected areas where the endangered mammal is found in the wild in West Bengal.
  • Recent studies estimate that there are 38 of them in Singalila and 32 in Neora.

Red Panda

  • Scientific Name: Ailurus fulgens
  • Geographic habitat: Sikkim, West Bengal, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh
  • IUCN Status: Endangered
  • The red panda is a small arboreal mammal found in the forests of India, Nepal, Bhutan and the northern mountains of Myanmar and southern China.
  • It is a state animal of Sikkim.
  • Red pandas are shy and solitary and considered an indicator species for ecological change.
  • It thrives best at 2,200-4,800m, in mixed deciduous and conifer forests with dense under stories of bamboo.
  • The recent studies have concluded that India is home to both the (sub) species — Himalayan red panda (Ailurus fulgens) and the Chinese red panda (Ailurus styani) and the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh splits the two phylogenetic species.

Singalila National Park

  • Singalila National Park is a National park of India located on the Singalila Ridge at an altitude of more than 7000 feet above sea level, in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal.
  • The park was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1986, and was made an Indian national park in 1992.
  • The park is part of the Eastern Himalayas.
  • The Singalila Ridge, which runs roughly North to South and separates Himalayan West Bengal from the other Eastern Himalayan ranges to the west of it.
  • The two highest peaks of West Bengal, Sandakphu (3630 m) and Phalut (3600 m), are located on the ridge and inside the park.
  • Rammam river and Srikhola River flow through the park.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to Indian elephants, consider the following statements: (2020)

  1. The leader of an elephant group is a female.
  2. The maximum gestation period can be 22 months.
  3. An elephant can normally go on calving till the age of 40 years only.
  4. Among the States in India, the highest elephant population is in Kerala.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 4 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 3 and 4 only

Artificial diet and feeding device for mosquitoes

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  • Prelims – Science and Technology

In News: The ICMR-Vector Control Research Centre (VCRC), Puducherry, has filed patent applications for two of its unique products — an artificial diet and feeding device for mosquitoes reared in laboratory — with the Indian Patent Office recently.

  • The team has also planned to approach to patent it at global level.
  • The two products allow efficient and cost-effective mass-rearing of mosquitoes in laboratory as it is important to keep these mosquitoes healthy to investigate basic facets of their biology and to study vector-borne disease and measures to control it.
  • It is quite challenging to keep regular supply of blood from blood banks and to obtain animal ethical clearance to ensure regular supply of blood for rearing mosquitoes for research purposes
  • Hence the Institute have zeroed in on four artificial diets for feeding.
  • These four diets prepared for female mosquitoes are like a baby formula food and has all the essential nutrients, which are present in the blood.
  • These diets would attract hungry female mosquitoes to accept the meal, taste it like blood, produce healthy and viable eggs which should hatch like normal eggs, form healthy useful for laboratory research and mass production whenever necessary.
  • It was very difficult to maintain the feed temperature to the optimum level of 37 C, which is human body temperature, by usual water circulation or by using the melted wax.
  • Hence a device with controlled temperature was invented, a prototype made and also evaluated for mosquito feeding capability. This could easily replace the conventional hot water circulator-based feeding device


  • These products are commercially viable and technically sound and has great potential in rearing mosquitoes for research purposes and also for the mass production of mosquitoes for their control based on sterile insect technology, population replacement, or population reduction study and Wolbachia endosymbiont bacteria-based control operations.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Bollgard I and Bollgard II technologies are mentioned in the context of (2021)

  1. clonal propagation of crop plants.
  2. developing genetically modified crop plants.
  3. production of plant growth substances.
  4. production of biofertilizers.

New species of Miliusa – Miliusa Agasthyamala

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  • Prelims – Geography

In News: New species of Miliusa spotted in Agasthyamala

  • Researchers have identified a new species of evergreen tree belonging to the genus Miliusa from the Agasthyamala biosphere reserve in the southern arm of the Western Ghats in the Thiruvananthapuram district.
  • What makes the discovery special is that only two mature trees have been spotted so far in its natural habitat
  • The tree, which grows to a height of about six to nine metres with drooping branches, has been named Miliusa agasthyamalana after the location where it was found.
  • The identification of the new species has also taken the total number of species of Miliusa found in India to 25.
  • Spotted during a floristic survey in the Athirumala range of the Agasthyamala biosphere, the new species is morphologically similar to Miliusa paithalmalayana and Miliusa wightiana.
  • The researchers came across the new Miliusa species at elevations ranging between 1000-1250 metres.
  • Miliusa agasthyamalana has brown bark, and solitary flowers which are yellowish-pink in colour.

  • Flowering and fruiting occur during April-July.
  • Given the small number of mature individuals that have been found, researchers have recommended that the species be categorised as critically endangered (CR).

Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve (ABR)

  • ABR in situated at the southern-most end of the Western Ghats and spread over two southern states Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • It was established in 2001.
  • It is named after Agastya Mala peak that rises up to almost 1868 metres above sea level, in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
  • In March 2016, it was included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of UNESCO.

  • ABR covers an area of 3,500 sq km at an altitude ranging from 100 metres to 1,868 metres above the Mean Sea Level.
  • It covers Peppara and Shendurney wildlife sanctuaries and parts of the Neyyar sanctuary in Kerala and the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve of Tamil Nadu.
  • Its flora mostly consists of tropical forests and is home to 2,254 species of higher plants including about 400 that are endemic.
  • About 400 Red Listed Plants, 125 species of orchids and rare, endemic and threatened plants have been recorded from the reserve.
  • A number of tribal settlements comprising a total population of 3,000 inhabit the biosphere reserve. They rely largely on biological resources for their sustenance, although recent projects have been set up to reduce their dependence on the forests.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which one of the following are Agasthyamala biosphere reserve? (2019)

  1. Neyyar, peppara and shendurney wildlife sanctuaries and kalakad mundanthurai tiger reserve
  2. Mudumalai sathayamangalam and Wayanad wildlife sanctuaries and silent valley national park
  3. Kaundinya gundla bhrameshwaram and papikonda wildlife sanctuaries and mukurthi national park
  4. Kawal and Shree Venkateshwara wildlife sanctuaries; and Nagarjunasagar-srisailam tiger.

Ancient jawbone dug up in Spain’s Burgos city

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  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: Atapuerca Foundation in Spain dug up an ancient jawbone that could help understand Europe’s earliest human civilisation

  • The surprise find, which could be about 1.4 million years old, could also give vital clues to the evolution of the human face over the millennia
  • The fossilised fragment of an upper jaw and cheekbone was found near caves in the Atapuerca Mountains in northern Spain’s Burgos province, the site of other ancient remains.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) The word ‘Denisovan’ is sometimes mentioned in media in reference to (2019)

  1. fossils of a kind of dinosaurs
  2. an early human species
  3. a cave system found in North-East India
  4. a geological period in the history of Indian subcontinent

Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022

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  • Prelims – Environment

In News: New forest rules dilute tribal rights.

  • Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has issued the Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022.

Key Provisions

Formation of Committees:

  • It constituted an Advisory Committee, a regional empowered committee at each of the integrated regional offices and a screening committee at State/Union Territory (UT) government-level.

Advisory Committee:

  • The role of the Advisory Committee is restricted to advise or recommend with regards to grant of approval under relevant sections in respect of proposals referred to it and any matter connected with the conservation of forests referred to it by the Central government.

Project Screening Committee:

  • The MoEFCC has directed the constitution of a project screening committee in each state/UT for an initial review of proposals involving diversion of forest land.
  • The five-member committee will meet at least twice every month and will advise the state governments on projects in a time bound manner.

Regional Empowered Committees:

  • All linear projects (roads, highways, etc), projects involving forest land up to 40 hectares and those that have projected a use of forest land having a canopy density up to 0.7 — irrespective of their extent for the purpose of survey — shall be examined in the Integrated Regional Office.

Responsibility to states:

  • States are given the responsibility of settling forest rights of forest dwellers (Forest Rights Act, 2006) and allowing diversion of forest land.

Allows compensatory afforestation (CA) in other states:

  • If the state already has over two-thirds area under green cover or over one-third area under forest cover, then CA could be taken in other states/UTs where the cover is less than 20%


  • The new Forest Conservation Rules do not mention the earlier requirement of attaining a gram sabha NOC before diverting forest land for a project.
  • They also allow forest rights to be settled after the final approval for forest clearances has been granted by the Centre
  • Since forest rights now needs to be carried out by the state government, state governments will be under even greater pressure from the Centre to accelerate the process of diversion of forest land

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements: (2019)

  1. As per recent amendment to the Indian Forest Act, 1927, forest dwellers have the right to fell the bamboos grown on forest areas.
  2. As per the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, bamboo is a minor forest produce.
  3. The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 allows ownership of minor forest produce to forest dwellers.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3


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  • Prelims – Geography
  • Mains – GS 1 (Geography); GS 3 (Disaster Management)

In News: Highly-localised rains in Amarnath, J&K, caused flooding and loss of lives.

What is a cloudburst?

  • A cloudburst refers to an extreme amount of rain that happens in a short period, sometimes accompanied by hail and thunder.
  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) defines it as unexpected precipitation exceeding 100mm (or 10 cm) per hour over a geographical region of approximately 20 to 30 square km.
  • Basically, all instances of cloudbursts involve heavy rain in a short period, but all instances of heavy rain in a short period are not cloudbursts if they do not fit this criterion.

Why do cloudbursts occur in hilly areas?

  • Due to their definition dealing with a very small area, it is difficult to accurately predict and identify cloudbursts immediately.
  • However, they are more likely to occur in mountainous zones mainly because of terrain and elevation.
  • This is because, in hilly areas, sometimes saturated clouds ready to condense into rain cannot produce rain, due to the upward movement of the very warm current of air.
  • Instead of falling downwards, raindrops are carried upwards by the air current. New drops are formed and existing raindrops increase in size.
  • After a point, the raindrops become too heavy for the cloud to hold on to, and they drop down together in a quick flash.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements: (2020)

  1. Jet streams occur in the Northern Hemisphere only.
  2. Only some cyclones develop an eye.
  3. The temperature inside the eye of a cyclone is nearly 10°C lesser than that of the surroundings.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 2 only
  4. 1 and 3 only

Transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy

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  • Prelims – Current Affairs
  • Mains – GS 3 (Economy)

In News: The global transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources could trigger financial challenges for India and major developing countries because of their high dependence on revenues from fossil fuel, according to a study by the International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD)

  • Though India is a net importer of petroleum products, it earns substantial revenues — via cesses and taxes — from the consumption of petrol, diesel and oil.
  • The study finds that by 2050, overall fossil fuel revenues in Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, India and China could be as much as $570 billion lower than a business-as-usual scenario where governments fail to phase down fossil fuels enough to avoid the worst climate impacts.
  • The widest gaps are expected to occur in India ($178 billion), China ($140 billion), and Russia ($134 billion).
  • Public revenues from fossil fuel production and consumption currently account for 34% of general government revenue in Russia, 18% in India, and 16% in Indonesia.
  • This includes only direct, first-order, government financial revenues — fossil fuel dependence would be much larger if private incomes and flow-on effects in these economies were added.
  • Fossil fuel revenue streams, were unreliable and erratic and undermined by the negative economic impacts of fossil fuel use such as health costs due to air pollution and damage from climate change.

Emerging economies have an enormous opportunity to build more resilient and economically sustainable energy systems as they decarbonise — but they must plan ahead to avoid shortfalls in public revenues that could reverse progress on poverty eradication and economic development

International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD)

  • The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an independent think tank working to fulfill a bold commitment: to create a world where people and the planet thrive.

Source: The Hindu


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  • Prelims – History

In News: Hardly paid attention to for two decades, Archaeological Survey of India has now taken up conservation work at this important Buddhist site near Kalaburagi.

  • The ancient Buddhist site on the bank of Bhima river near Kanaganahalli (forming part of Sannati site) in Kalaburagi district, has finally got some attention.
  • The conservation project taken up now envisages the resetting of the remains of Maha Stupa retrieved in the excavation
  • The stupa was built with locally available limestone.

About the place

  • Sannati and Kanaganahalli were small and ordinary villages on the bank of Bhima till 1986 when the Kali temple at the Chandralamba temple complex in Sannati collapsed.
  • In the process of clearing the debris, they discovered an Ashokan edict which put the villages on the world map and opened new avenues of historical research on Mauryan Emperor Ashoka and Buddhism in its early years.
  • It prompted the ASI excavations at Sannati and nearby Kanaganahalli and attracted historians across India and beyond.

Kanaganahalli excavation

  • An ‘abandoned well’ in the eyes of local villagers turned out to be the magnificent Maha Stupa, which was referred to as Adholoka Maha Chaitya in the inscriptions.
  • More significantly, the stone-portrait of Emperor Ashoka, surrounded by his queens and female attendants was also found
  • While the Stupa is believed to be one of the largest of its time, the stone-portrait is considered to be the only surviving image of the Mauryan Emperor which had the inscription ‘Raya Asoko’ in Brahmi on it.
  • The Maha Stupa is believed to have been developed in three constructional phasesMaurya, Early Satavahana and Later Satavahana periods stretching from 3rd Century B.C. to 3rd Century A.D. The Stupa is believed to have been destroyed in an earthquake.

The recoveries included

  • around 60 dome slabs with the sculptural rendering of Jataka stories, Portrait of Ashoka, Shatavahana monarchs and certain unique depictions of Buddhist missionaries sent by Ashoka to different parts;
  • 72 drum-slabs decorated with a variety of Dharma-Chakras, Stupas, the first sermon, Bodhi-tree, Naga Muchulinda, Viihara complexes;
  • Over 10 inscribed sculptures of the Buddha, over a dozen Buddha-Padas;
  • Fragments of Ayaka pillars, umbrella stones and shafts, parts of sculptures of Yakshas and lion and 250 Brahmi inscriptions with varied paleographical features.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Site of Ashoka’s major rock edicts                     Location in the State of (2022)

  1. Dhauli —                                                                      Odisha
  2. Erragudi —                                                         Andhra Pradesh
  3. Jaugada —                                                            Madhya Pradesh
  4. Kalsi             —                                                          Karnataka

How many pairs given above are correctly matched?

  1. Only one pair
  2. Only two pairs
  3. Only three pairs
  4. All four pairs

Start Up

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  • Mains – GS 3 (Economy)

In News: With funding starting to dry up, the startup ecosystem in India is bracing itself for a “long and bitter winter”.

  • Potential mass lay-offs in the next 12-18 months, particularly in sectors such as ed-tech and gaming that got a significant push during the pandemic
  • Industry estimates peg the cumulative job losses in startups at over 10,000 so far this year
  • A slew of factors have led start ups here, including the Russia-Ukraine conflict, supply chain disruptions, consequent inflationary pressures, and rising cost of capital, amongst others.
  • Central Banks around the globe are raising interest rates curbing excessive liquidity in the economy, which is squeezing out funds for the start-ups.

Challenges in fund-raising

  • The global slowdown and tightening monetary conditions will likely add to investors’ uncertainty and situation may not improve till the US economy revives.
  • However, India-focused start-ups may have a better value and revival will be higher in the days to come as India is expected to bounce back shortly.
  • All these challenges may succumb to a sharp correction in valuations, forced mergers and acquisitions, and a decrease in venture capitalist funding.
  • However, this may also help stronger companies and genuine start-ups with a better product to emerge from the crisis.

Source: The Hindu

Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following statements about Zonal Council

  1. Zonal Councils are the statutory bodies established under States Reorganisation Act of 1956
  2. The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of the council
  3. It’s recommendations are binding on the Centre and State Government

Choose the correct statements:

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2
  3. 2 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.2) Consider the following statements

  1. India is home to both the Himalayan red panda and the Chinese red panda
  2. In India red panda is found only in the states of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh
  3. It is listed as critically endangered species under IUCN Red list

Choose the incorrect statements:

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 1, 2 and 3
  3. 2 and 3
  4. 3 only

Q.3) Sannati and Kanaganahalli, region recently in news is related to?

  1. Ancient Buddhist sites
  2. Lithium reserves of India
  3. Places of western India mentioned in Sangam literature
  4. World’s largest floating solar power plant

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’11th JULY 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.

ANSWERS FOR 10th JULY 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – b

Q.2) – d

Q.3) – c

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