9 PM Current Affairs Brief – February 25th, 2020

Biodiversity management committees(BMC)

News: The National Biodiversity Authority(NBA) has told the National Green Tribunal(NGT) that it has created around 2.4 lakh biodiversity management committees(BMC) as of January 2020.


About Biodiversity management committees(BMC):

  • The Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) are statutory bodies that are formed by the local bodies under Biological Diversity Act 2002.


  • The BMC consists of a Chairperson and six persons nominated by local bodies, including 1/3rd women and 18% SC/ST.


  • Prepare People’s Biodiversity Register in consultation with the local people. 
  • Conservation and sustainable utilization of biological resources.
  • Advice on any matter referred to it by the State Biodiversity Board or Authority for granting approval.
  • Biodiversity education and awareness building.
  • Maintain a Register giving information about the details of access to biological resources and related traditional knowledge among others.

Additional information:

About Biological Diversity Act,2002:

  • The Biological Diversity Act,2002 is an Act of the Parliament for preservation of biological diversity in India.
  • It provides for a mechanism for equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of traditional biological resources and knowledge.
  • The Act was enacted to meet the obligations under Convention on Biological Diversity(CBD) to which India is a part in 2002.

Rarely seen strawberry finch spotted at Akkulam Lake

News: Recently, the strawberry finch, a bird has been spotted in the vicinity of Akkulam Lake in Kerala.


About Strawberry Finch:

  • Strawberry finch is also known as red avadavat (Amandava amandava) or red munia.
  • It is a sparrow-sized bird of the family Estrildidae.It is listed as Least Concern by IUCN.
  • It is usually found in the open fields and grasslands of tropical Asia and is popular as a cage bird in their breeding season. 
  • The species name of amandava or avadavat has been derived from the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat from where these birds were exported into the pet trade in former times.

Additional information:

About Akkulam Lake:

  • Akkulam Lake is situated in the Trivandrum of Kerala.It is an extension of the Veli Lake.

Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary

News: The Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary will soon be declared as a tiger reserve.


About Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary:

    • Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary is a part of Eastern Ghats and is located in the state of Karnataka.It was declared as Wildlife Sanctuary in 2013.
    • The sanctuary is part of a contiguous tiger habitat located very close to the tri-junction of the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.


  • Vegetation:The predominant forest type of the sanctuary is dry and moist deciduous forests.


  • The animals including tiger, elephant, leopard, wild dog, bison, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, sloth bear, wild boar, four-horned antelope among others are found in the sanctuary.

Additional information:

Tiger Reserves in Karnataka:

  • Bandipur Tiger Reserve
  • Bhadra Tiger Reserve
  • Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve
  • Nagarahole Tiger Reserve
  • Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Tiger Reserve(BRT).

SERB Women Excellence Award-2020

News: Recently, Dr. Niti Kumar, Senior Scientist of Molecular Parasitology and Immunology Division, CSIR-CDRI has received the SERB Women’s Excellence Award-2020.


About the award:

  • The award is presented to women scientists below 40 years of age who have received recognition from national academies. 
  • The winner will be supported by a research grant of Rs.5 lakhs per annum for 3 years by the Science and Engineering Research Board, Department of Science & Technology,Government of India(SERB-DST).

About SERB:

  • The Science and Engineering Research Board(SERB) is a statutory body established through an Act of Parliament in 2008.
  • The Board is chaired by the Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Science and Technology and has other senior government officials and eminent scientists as members. 
  • It aims to promote basic research in science and engineering and to provide financial assistance to scientists, academic institutions and other agencies for such research.

Chatra Vishwakarma Awards



About the award:

    • Started by the All India Council of Technical Education(AICTE) in 2017.
    • It is named after the spirit of engineering and creation patronized by Lord Vishwakarma,the Hindu deity of construction practices in India.


  • Aim: To motivate young individuals, inspire leaders and institutions/ organizations to raise their performance in their specific domains. 
  • The 2019 awards are organized by AICTE in association with Indian Society of Technical Education (ISTE) and Atal Innovation Mission of NITI Ayog.


  • Theme: How to enhance the income of the Village

Additional information:

About AICTE:

  • The All India Council for Technical Education(AICTE) is the statutory body and a national-level council for technical education.
  • It works under the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  • It is responsible for proper planning and coordinated development of the technical education and management education system in India.

Saudi Arabia hosts G20 financial leaders meet

News: Recently, the finance ministers from the G20 countries participated in the financial leaders meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia ahead of the G20 summit in November 2020.


About G20:

  • G20 is an international group initially founded in 1999 after the Asian financial crisis as a forum for finance ministers and central bank governors of 19 countries and the European Union.
  • It has no permanent staff of its own and its chairmanship rotates annually between nations divided into regional groupings.

About G20 Summit,2020:

  • Saudi Arabia will be the first Arab nation to hold the G20 presidency in its capital,Riyadh.
  • The theme of Summit- “Realising Opportunities of the 21st Century for All”.

Key takeaways from the G20 financial leaders meet:

  • Global economic growth remains slow due to geopolitical, trade tensions, and policy uncertainty.However, it is expected to improve in 2020 and 2021 due to loose monetary policy and an easing of trade tension.
  • The countries have projected a V-shaped, rapid recovery for the global economy.But it has warned about the uncertainty around the spread of the coronavirus, rising debt levels and climate change.
  • Further, India has also demanded closer collaboration between international revenue agencies to investigate tax details of offenders who cross borders to escape tax investigation.

Additional information:

About V-Shaped Recovery:

  • A V-shaped recovery is characterized by a sharp economic decline followed by a quick and sustained recovery. The recession of 1953 is an example of a V-shaped recovery.

US-India bilateral trade and investment

News: The US President who is on a visit to India has said that India and the United States will sign an incredible trade agreement to reduce barriers of investment.


Trade between India and US:

  • United States goods and services trade with India in 2018 was around $142.6 billion.
  • The current balance of trade is tilted in India’s favour as the US has $25.2 billion trade deficit with India in 2018.
  • India is the United States ninth largest goods trading partner. On the other hand, recently the United States has become India’s top trading partner surpassing China.


  • India is the United States 12th largest goods export market in 2018 while the United States of America(USA) is India’s largest export destination.


  • India is the US’s 10th largest supplier of goods imports in 2018. On the other hand, the United States is India’s second-largest supplier of goods imports.


  • The US is the sixth-largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) to India. 
  • Cumulative FDI inflows to India from the US for the period 2000-2019 stood at around US$ 27 billion constituting more than 6% of total FDI inflows to India.

Carbon as old as 8,000 years found in the deepest blue hole

News: Carbon more than 8,000 years old has been found inside the Yongle Blue Hole


Yongle Blue Hole:

  • it is the world’s deepest blue hole with a depth of 300 metres
  • It is located in the South China Sea.

Blue Hole: 

  • Blue holes are marine caverns filled with water and are formed following dissolution of carbonate rocks, usually under the influence of global sea level rise or fall. 
  • They are isolated from the ocean and don’t receive fresh rainwater.
  • They are generally circular, steep-walled and open to the surface.

Explained: What is biojet fuel, which powered the IAF aircraft mentioned by PM Modi in his Mann ki Baat?

News:In his monthly Mann ki Baat radio address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the use of biofuel in Indian Air Force’s(IAF’s) AN-32 aircraft.It was formally fleet certified to fly on blended aviation fuel containing up to 10% of indigenous bio-jet fuel in May 2019..


  • The fuel is made from Jatropha oil sourced from Chattisgarh Biodiesel Development Authority (CBDA) and then processed at CSIR-IIP, Dehradun.
  • Biofuel: Biofuel is a fuel that is produced from biomass—i.e. plant or algae material or animal waste. It is considered to be a source of renewable energy.
  • Bio-ATF: Biofuel used for aircraft. It is blended with conventional ATF.

Additional Information:

  • In 2018, SpiceJet had operated a Bombardier Q-400 aircraft powered by a blend of bio-jet fuel and conventional ATF on a flight between Dehradun and Delhi. This was India’s first ever bio-jet fuel flight.

Himachal Pradesh: First to achieve 100% LPG coverage

News: Himachal Pradesh announced that it had become the first state in India to have “100% LPG gas coverage”.


Himachal Grihini Suvidha Yojana

  • Launched in 2018, it aimed to cover households left out under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana
  • Except families having a pensioner, income taxpayer or any member employed with the government, board, corporation etc, all households of the state without an LPG connection were eligible.

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)

  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna is a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
  • Aim:To replace unclean cooking fuels used in the most underprivileged households with clean and more efficient LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas).
  • Objective of the scheme:
    • Empower women and protect their health 
    • Reduce the serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuel 
    • Reduce the number of deaths in India due to unclean cooking fuel 
    • To prevent young children from significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused due to indoor air pollution.
  • Beneficiaries:Under the scheme,an adult woman member of a below poverty line family identified through the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) is given a deposit-free LPG connection with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.

PM Kisan Mobile App launched to succeed “Doubling Farmer Income by 2022”

News:On the first anniversary of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, Agriculture Minister launched PM KISAN mobile application


PM KISAN mobile application

  • It is aimed at broadening the reach of the scheme further.
  • The application will help farmers to learn about their payment status, their eligibility towards the scheme and other information. 
  • It will also help the government to reach farmers easily.

PM KISAN Scheme:

  • It is a Central Sector Scheme with 100% funding from the Government of India. 
  • Under the Scheme, income support of Rs.6000/- per year is provided to all farmer families across the country in three equal instalments of Rs.2000/- each every four months.
  • The scheme is implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
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