Facts in News

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    Facts in News

    Inflation

    After touching a six-month high in May, India’s retail inflation remained unchanged in June at about 6.3 per cent.

    • Inflation refers to the rise in the prices of most goods and services of daily or common use, such as food, clothing, housing, etc.
    • It measures the average price change in a basket of commodities and services over time.
    • The opposite and rare fall in the price index of this basket of items is called ‘deflation’.
    • It is indicative of the decrease in the purchasing power of a unit of a country’s currency.
    • This is measured in percentage.
    • In India, inflation is primarily measured by two main indices, Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measure wholesale and retail-level price changes, respectively.
      • The goods or services sold by businesses to smaller businesses for selling further are captured by the WPI.
      • The CPI calculates the difference in the price of commodities and services such as food, medical care, education, electronics etc, which Indian consumers buy for use.
    • Data Highlights
      • Growth impulses remained fragile with the second Covid-19 wave hurting the recovery momentum.
      • Persistently sticky retail prices for fuel and food translated into little respite for citizens, as inflation measured by the CPI declined by just four basis points from May’s 6.30 per cent print.
        • One basis point equals 0.01 per cent.
      • Beyond the monthly swings, inflation continues to stay above the midpoint (4 per cent) of the inflation target since late 2019.
    • Economists expect the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to revisit its inflation estimate of 5.1 per cent for 2021-22.
      • They have stressed that lack of fiscal policy action to cool prices could precipitate a faster unwinding of RBI’s growth-supporting approach to interest rates.

    Planetary Conjunction

    Sky gazers are in for a celestial treat as Mars, Venus and the Moon are set to line up for a “planetary conjunction” that can be viewed with the naked eyes, after the sunset in the western sky.

    • All three will appear as a line of sight illusion since the planets are millions of miles apart, but they will seem to be close together for a few nights.
      • Mars and Venus will appear to be just 0.5º from each other from Earth.
      • However, while the two planets on either side of Earth’s orbit will appear to be closest on 13th July, they will look almost as close in a few nights before and after with the added bonus of a super slim crescent Moon in presence, making it a triple conjunction.
    • The unique phenomenon called planetary conjunction, which takes place when two planets appear to have come closer, while in reality they remain far away.
    • According to experts, this would be the first of three conjunctions of Venus and Mars.
      • The next two are slated to happen on 12th February 2022 and 12th March 2022.
    • A triple conjunction is an astronomical event where two planets or a planet and a star meet each other three times in a short period, either in opposition or at the time of inferior conjunction, if an inferior planet is involved.

    (Image Courtesy: KO)

    Kongu Nadu

    Recently, the new list of Union Cabinet ministers has mentioned the name of ‘Kongu Nadu’, the informal name for a region in the western part of Tamil Nadu.

    About

    • Kongu Nadu is neither a place with a PIN code nor a name given formally to any region. It is a commonly used name for part of western Tamil Nadu.
    • In Tamil literature, it was referred to as one of the five regions of ancient Tamil Nadu. There were mentions of ‘Kongu Nadu’ in Sangam literature as a separate territory.
    • In the present state of Tamil Nadu, the term is informally used to refer to a region that includes the districts of Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Karur, Namakkal and Salem, as well as Oddanchatram and Vedasandur in Dindigul district, and Pappireddipatti in Dharmapuri district.
    • The name derives from Kongu Vellala Gounder, an Other Backward Caste (OBC) community with a significant presence in these districts.
    • The region includes prominent businesses and industrial hubs at Namakkal, Salem, Tirupur and Coimbatore.

    (Image Courtesy: IE)

    Demand for separate statehood

    • BJP’s Coimbatore north district unit has batted for a separate statehood for ‘Kongu Nadu’, comprising the districts from western Tamil Nadu, triggering a heated debate in political circles.

    Constitutional Provisions for Creation of New States

    • Article 3 assigns to Parliament the power to enact legislation for the formation of new States.
    • The Parliament may create new States in a number of ways, namely by:
      • Separating territory from any State,
      • Uniting two or more States,
      • Uniting parts of States and
      • Uniting any territory to a part of any State
    • The Parliament’s power under Article 3 extends to increasing or diminishing the area of any State and altering the boundaries or name of any State.
    • A bill calling for formation of new States may be introduced in either House of Parliament only on the recommendation of the President.
    • A bill must be referred by the President to the concerned State Legislature for expressing its views to Parliament if it contains provisions which affect the areas, boundaries or name of that State.

    India’s First Cryptogamic Garden

    India’s first cryptogamic garden housing nearly 50 species of lichens, ferns and fungi was inaugurated in Uttarakhand’s Dehradun district.

    About

    • Around 50 species have been grown in the garden at a commanding height of 9,000 ft.
    • Cryptogams: Cryptogamae means “hidden reproduction” referring to the fact that no seed, no flowers are produced. Thus, cryptogams represent the non-seed bearing plants.
      • Algae, bryophytes (moss, liverworts), lichens, ferns and fungi are the best-known groups of cryptogams that require moist conditions to survive.
    • Bryophytes: They are the simplest and primitive land plants that occupy an intermediate position between algae and pteridophytes. 
    • Lichens: They are a complex life form that is a symbiotic partnership of two separate organisms, a fungus and algae.
    • Ferns: They are the largest living group of primitive vascular plants while fungi is a kingdom of usually multicellular eukaryotic organisms that are heterotrophs.

    Lok Adalats

    More than 7,500 cases were disposed of at the Lok Adalats held in Gurugram as part of the second National Lok Adalat in 2021.

    About Lok Adalats

    • Lok Adalats are another form of alternate dispute settlement mechanism that gave statutory status under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.
    • It comprises an informal setting that facilitates negotiations in the presence of a judicial officer wherein cases are dispensed without undue emphasis on legal technicalities.
    • Its order is final and shall be deemed to be a decree of a civil court and shall be binding on the parties to the dispute.
    • Also, its order is not appealable in a court of law.
    • There is no court fee payable when a dispute is filed in a Lok Adalat.
    • Composition:  Chairman, two members, and one social worker.
      • Chairman must be a sitting or retired judicial officer.
      •  Other two members should be lawyers.

    Bryum Bharatiensis

    • Indian scientists have discovered a new plant species in Antarctica.
    • Discovered at: Larsemann Hills, overlooking the Southern Ocean, in January 2017. 
      • This is located near Bharati, one of the remotest research stations in the world.
      • This is the first time India has discovered a plant species in the past four decades.
    • It is a dark green plant species.
    • Named as a tribute to goddess Saraswati, who is also known as ‘Bharati’.
    • This moss mainly grew in areas where penguins breed in large numbers.
    • Penguin poop has nitrogen and plants need nitrogen along with potassium, phosphorus, sunlight and water to survive.
    • Importance:
      • The discovery is significant for the Indian Antarctic Mission as it is the first and only plant species that the mission discovered since 1981.
      • The plants survive under thick snow during the six winter months with no sunlight and temperatures dropping to as low as -76C.

     

    Research Station of India

    • The first station was set up in 1984, and was abandoned in 1990 after it submerged under ice. 
    • Two stations – Maitri and Bharati – were commissioned in 1989 and 2012, and remain operational through the year.