Facts in News


    Facts in News

    Gelatin Sticks

    Recently, the police has seized about 96 gelatin sticks from an isolated property along the forest fringes of Konni in the district.

    • Gelatin sticks are cheap explosive materials used by industries for the purpose of mining and construction related work, like building structures, roads, rails and tunnels etc. 
    • They cannot be used without a detonator.
    • Only licensed explosive manufacturers can make gelatin sticks. 
    • The manufacture is regulated by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO), formerly known as the Department of Explosives.
      • It has been the nodal agency for regulating safety of hazardous substances such as explosives, compressed gas and petroleum since its inception on September 5, 1898.
        •  These substances include gelatin sticks.
      • The PESO comes under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and carries out administration work of the Explosive Act 1884 and Explosives Rules 2008 etc
      • The body looks after the approval, grant, amendment and renewal etc. of various licenses and permits regarding manufacture, testing, authorisation, storage, transportation, use, import, and export of explosives.

    Jalgaon Banana


    Recently, a consignment of Geographical Indication (GI) certified ‘Jalgaon banana’ has been exported to Dubai.

    • According to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, 22 tonnes of GI certified Jalgaon banana were sourced from progressive farmers of Tandalwadi village in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra, which is a banana cluster identified under Agri Export Policy. 
    • In 2016, Jalgaon Banana got GI certification, which was registered with Nisargraja Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Jalgaon.
    • Maharashtra, accounts for about 50 per cent of the State’s 90,000 hectares of banana plantation. 
    • India is the world’s leading producer of bananas, accounting for 25 per cent of global output.
      • Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh contribute more than 70 per cent to the country’s banana production.
    • The bananas will attract customers in the Gulf and help farmers to recover losses incurred in the last one-and-a-half years.


    • Jalgaon District is located in the north-west region of the state of Maharashtra. 
    • It is bounded by Satpura mountain ranges in the north, Ajanta mountain ranges in the south.
    • Jalgaon is rich in volcanic soil which is well suited for cotton production.
    • It is a major business center for tea, gold, pulses, cotton and bananas
    • The principal natural feature is the Tapti River
      • Unlike the rest of the Deccan, whose rivers rise in the Western Ghats and flow eastward to the Bay of Bengal, the Tapti flows westward from headwaters in eastern Maharashtra to empty into the Arabian Sea. 
      • The Tapti receives thirteen principal tributaries in its course .

    Geographical Indication Tag

    • It is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
    • It is a part of the intellectual property rights that comes under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
    • In India, GI registration is administered by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999
    • Items Covered: Agricultural products, foodstuffs, wine and spirit drinks, handicrafts, and industrial products.

    BRICS Network Universities Conference

    Recently, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay has hosted a three-day virtual conference of BRICS Network Universities on electric mobility. 

    • As many as 18 experts from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa talked about various aspects of electric mobility such as traffic management, hydrogen technology, hybrid vehicles, lithium-ion batteries, and linkage between e-mobility and livelihoods .
    • BRICS Network University is a union of higher education institutions of the five BRICS member countries.
    • It was formed with the objective of enhancing educational cooperation, especially in the field of research and innovation.
      • IIT-Bombay is the leading institution of India for the BRICS Network University.

    WISA Woodsat

    Recently, the European Space Agency (ESA) has planned to put the world’s first wooden satellite, WISA Woodsat, on Earth’s orbit by the end of this year. 

    • The mission of the satellite is to test the applicability of wooden materials like plywood in spacecraft structures and expose it to extreme space conditions, such as heat, cold, vacuum and radiation, for an extended period of time.
    • It will be launched to space by the end of 2021 with a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from the Mahia Peninsula launch complex in New Zealand..
    • The satellite, designed and built in Finland, will orbit at around 500-600 km altitude in a roughly polar Sun-synchronous orbit. 
    • WISA Woodsat is a 10x10x10 cm nano satellite built up from standardised boxes and surface panels made from plywood, the same material that is found in a hardware store or to make furniture.
      • Designers have placed the wood in a thermal vacuum chamber to keep dry when it’s in space. 
      • They have also added a very thin aluminium oxide layer to minimise vapour coming from the wood and to protect it from erosive effects of atomic oxygen.

    Devendra Kula Vellalar Community

    Recently, the Madras High Court has directed the Centre and the State government to explain the rationale behind using the common nomenclature Devendra Kula Vellalar to refer to seven different Scheduled Castes (SCs) in Tamil Nadu.

    • The Hindu Pallars, a Dalit community who comprise 17 per cent of the state’s population, had been looking to be renamed as the Devendra Kula Vellalars.
    • In March 2019, the State government constituted a committee to group Kudumban, Pallan, Devendrakulathan, Kadaiyan, Pannadi and Kalladi under a common nomenclature.
    • The committee submitted a report in November 2020 and recommended that seven SCs, including Vathiriyan, residing in certain districts, could be called Devendra Kula Vellalar.
      • The seven communities combined have a presence in 28 of Tamil Nadu’s 33 districts. 
      • They are largely concentrated in southern Tamil Nadu, particularly Madurai.
    • The State accepted the report and forwarded it to the Centre and the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Act of 2021 was passed by Parliament.
      • It replaced the entry for the Devendrakulathan community, with Devendra Kula Vellalars.
      • The amendment was done to give respect to the members of these communities.
    • The legislation received the President’s assent in April and was brought into force from May.
    • In June, the World Vellalar Association filed a writ petition challenging a government order.
      • It held that about 2.7 crore people in the State belonged to the Vellalar community, and they did not like the name being used by any other community.
      • The Vellalar community comprises Mudaliars, Gounders, Pillaimars and Saiva Chettiyars.

    Ekambaranathar Temple

    Recently, the Ekambaranathar temple in Kancheepuram (Tamil Nadu) has taken control of the Seetha Kingston School, located on the temple’s property in Poonamallee High Road.

    • It is a Hindu temple dedicated to the deity Shiva, located in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu.
    • It is significant to the Hindu sect of Saivism as one of the temples associated with the five elements, the Pancha Bhoota Stalas, and specifically the element of Earth, or Prithvi.
    • Shiva is worshiped as Ekambareswarar or Ekambaranathar, and is represented by the lingam, with his idol referred to as Prithvi lingam
    • The present masonry structure was built during the Chola dynasty in the 9th century, while later expansions are attributed to Vijayanagar rulers.
    • It is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

    (Image Courtesy: wikipedia)

    Spider Ballooning

    Recently, the Gippsland region of Victoria state (Australia) has witnessed spiders spin webs stretching across trees, road signs and paddocks.

    • Heavy rains and floods have caused spiders to climb to higher ground using a survival tactic called “ballooning”.
    • Under the tactic, the insects throw out silk that latches on to vegetation, allowing them to escape.
    • Spiders, which can produce a wide variety of silks, produce this kind of web which is very thin and delicate, and allows them to fly away with the breeze, sometimes as far as 100 km.
    • Because this ballooning silk is lighter than air, it latches on to objects such as tree tops, tall grass and road signs, allowing the spiders to climb up.
    • Lakhs of spiders do this at the same time, creating “gossamer” sheets covering the wetlands.
    • The webs are expected to fade away towards the end of the week.
    • Victoria state generally sees this natural phenomenon during the winter, when it receives most of its rain.
    • The spiders which lay such webs are called “vagrant hunters”, which typically live on the ground and do not build a web.
      • Even while ballooning after a flood, each spider throws up only one thread.

    (Image Courtesy: BBC)