Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 14 June, 2021

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“EnVision Mission” to Venus by ESA

What is the News? 

European Space Agency(ESA) has announced a new mission with the name EnVision mission.

About EnVision Mission:

  • EnVision is a European Space Agency(ESA)-led mission. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is working as a contributor.
  • Aim: The mission will carry instruments to study the Venus atmosphere and surface. Also, to monitor trace gases in the atmosphere, and analyze the surface composition of Venus.
  • Launch Year: The mission is likely to be launched sometime in the 2030s. It will be launched on an Ariane 6 rocket. The rocket will take about 15 months to reach Venus and will take 16 more months to achieve orbit circularization.

Other Venus Missions:

  • Venus Express(2005-2014): It is an ESA-led mission to Venus that focussed on atmospheric research and pointed to volcanic hotspots on the planet’s surface.
  • Akatsuki spacecraft: It is a Japanese Spacecraft that has been studying the planet’s atmosphere since 2015.
  • DAVINCI+ and VERITAS Mission: These are two robotic missions announced by NASA to Venus. It will be launched between 2028-2030.
  • Shukrayaan-1: It is a proposed mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to Venus. It aims to study the surface and atmosphere of Venus. It is expected to be launched in 2023.

About Venus:

  • Venus is the second-brightest object in the sky after the moon.
  • It appears bright because of its thick cloud cover that reflects and scatters light.

Click Here to Read more about Venus

Why study Venus?

  • To understand how Earth and Venus evolved so differently from each other. Whereas both planets are, roughly, of the same size and composition.
  • To understand more about the Venus thick cloud cover and the volcanoes on its surface.
  • To understand about the existence of life on Venus in its distant past and the possibility that life may exist in the top layers of its clouds where temperatures are less extreme.
    • In 2020, a team of scientists reported that they had found phosphine gas in the atmosphere of Venus that triggered excitement in the scientific community that some life forms might be supported by the planet.

Source: Indian Express  

“PENCIL Portal” to Report Instances of Child Labour

What is the News? 

Union Minister of Women and Child Development appealed to citizens to report the instances of Child Labour on the PENCIL Portal or by calling on Childline-1098. This appeal came on World Day Against Child Labour.

About PENCIL Portal:

  • PENCIL Portal stands for Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour.
  • Purpose: It is an electronic platform that aims at achieving the target of a child labour free society. For this aim, it coordinates actions of the Centre, State, District, Governments, civil society, and the public.
  • Nodal Ministry: The portal is administered by the Ministry of Labour & Employment.
  • Components: PENCIL Portal has five components- Child Tracking System, Complaint Corner, State Government, National Child Labour Project, and Convergence.
  • Significance: The portal has been launched for the effective implementation of the Child Labour Act and the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme.
    • NCLP aims to eliminate all forms of child labour and rehabilitate them through education in Special Training Centres.

About CHILDLINE 1098:

  • CHILDLINE 1098 is a free, emergency phone service for children in need of aid and assistance.
  • The helpline responds to the emergency needs of children. Further, it also links them to relevant services for their long-term care and rehabilitation.
  • The helpline is managed and monitored by the CHILDLINE India Foundation(CIF).

About World Day Against Child Labour:

  • World Day Against Child Labour is observed on 12 June every year.
  • It was started in 2002 by International Labour Organization(ILO) to raise awareness and prevent child labour.
  • Theme: “Act now: End child labour”.

About CHILDLINE India Foundation(CIF):

  • CHILDLINE India Foundation(CIF) is the nodal agency of the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • Purpose: It acts as the parent organisation for setting up, managing, and monitoring the childline 1098 service all over the country.
  • It is also the sole agency responsible for monitoring childline service delivery and finance, training, research, and documentation, creating awareness, advocacy as well as resource generation for the service.

Read Also :-Judicial Governance during Pandemic

Source: PIB

“iDEX-DIO” – Defence Minister Approves Budgetary Support

What is the News?

The Defence Minister has approved the budgetary support of Rs 498.8 crore for iDEX-DIO (Innovations for  Defence Excellence – Defence Innovation Organisation) for the next five years.

About IDEX Framework:

  • Innovations for Defence Excellence(iDEX) was launched by the Government of India in 2018.
  • Aim: It aims to create an ecosystem to promote innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace. For that, it will attract industries including MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes & academia.
    • It will also provide grants/funding and other support to them to carry out R&D. However, R&D should have a good potential for future adoption for Indian defence and aerospace needs.
  • Objectives of IDEX:
    • Facilitate rapid development of new, indigenized, and innovative technologies for the Indian defence and aerospace sector in shorter timelines.
    • Create a culture of engagement with innovative startups, to encourage co-creation for defence and aerospace sectors.
    • Empower a culture of technology co-creation and co-innovation within the defence and aerospace sectors.
  • Nodal Body: iDEX will be funded and managed by Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO).

About Defence Innovation Organization (DIO):

  • Defence Innovation Organisation(DIO) is a not-for-profit Organisation, incorporated under Section 8 of the Companies Act.
  • Founding Members: Its two founding members are Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) & Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) – Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).
  • DIO will provide high-level policy guidance to iDEX. However, iDEX will be functionally autonomous. The CEO of both DIO and iDEX will be the same. It will facilitate coordination and separation of functions also without any conflicts.

Source: PIB

“Pyrostria laljii” – A New Species Discovered in Andaman and Nicobar

What is the News? 

A team of researchers from India and the Philippines has discovered a new species named Pyrostria laljii in the Andaman Islands.

About Pyrostria laljii:

  • Pyrostria laljii is a 15-meter-tall tree that belongs to the genus of the coffee family. It is the first species of the genus Pyrostria in India.
    • The genus Pyrostria plants are usually found in Madagascar.
      Source: – The Hindu

      The recently discovered species is new to science.

  • Features: The tree is distinguished by a long stem with a whitish coating on the trunk. It has oblong-ovate leaves with a cuneate base.
    • Another physical feature that distinguishes the tree from other species of the genus is its umbellate inflorescence with eight to 12 flowers.
  • Where was the tree found? The tree was first reported from the Wandoor forest in South Andaman. The other places in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands where the tree could be located are the Tirur forest near the Jarawa Reserve Forest and the Chidiya Tapu (Munda Pahar) forest.
  • Conservation Status: Pyrostria laljii has been listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List criteria.
  • Named after: The tree has been named Pyrostria laljii after Lal Ji Singh, Joint Director, Andaman and Nicobar Regional Centre, Botanical Survey of India.

Note: The trees from the genus Pyrostria are usually not found in India. But there are several genera from the family Rubiaceae that are common in India. These plants include cinchona, coffee, adina, hamelia, ixora, gallium, gardenia, mussaenda, rubia, morinda. These trees have a high economic value.

Also ReadSpecies in News

Other New Tree Species Discovered:

  • Researchers have also discovered a new species of a tree named Rivina andamanensis.
  • The tree belongs to the pokeweed family Petiveriaceae. It is the first time that it was found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • The tree was found growing under large trees, shaded and rocky areas, along with herbs and shrubby plants.

Source: The Hindu

Defence Minister Approves New Policy for Declassification of War History

What is the News?

The Defence Minister has approved a policy on archiving, declassification, compilation, and publication of war and operations histories.

Why do war histories matter?

  • War Histories give an accurate account of events, authentic material for academic research, and help counter rumours. Earlier, reports on wars and operations were never made public.

Committees on war history: The Committees that recommended on archiving and declassification of war history includes:

  • Kargil Review Committee: It was headed by K Subrahmanyam. It recommended the requirement of having war histories written with a clear-cut policy on declassification of war records.
  • N N Vohra Committee: It had said war histories should be declassified in order to analyze lessons learned and prevent future mistakes.

Policy on declassification of war histories:

Period of Declassification of War History:

  • According to the policy, records should ordinarily be declassified in 25 years.
  • Records older than 25 years should be transferred to the National Archives of India once the war/operations histories have been compiled. However, first, it should be evaluated by archival experts.
  • However, declassification of older wars like the Henderson Brooks report on the 1962 war with China and the Operation Bluestar of 1984 is not automatic. It is taken up on a case-by-case basis by a committee to be constituted under the policy.

 Nodal Body:

  • The History Division will coordinate with various departments for compiling, seeking approval, and publishing war/operations histories.
  • Each organisation under the MoD will transfer the records including war diaries to the History Division for proper upkeep, archival, and writing the histories.

Committee to be constituted under the Policy

  • The policy mandates the formation of the committee within two years of completion of war/operations.
  • The committee will be headed by the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Defence (MoD). It will also have representatives of the Services, Ministry of External Affairs, Home Ministry along with prominent military historians for the compilation of war/operation histories.
  • Thereafter, the collection of records and compilation will be completed by the committee in three years and disseminated to all concerned.
  • The war histories will be for internal use first. Later the committee may decide to publicly release whole or parts of it, considering the sensitivity of the subject.

Source: The Hindu

Madras High Court guidelines for mainstreaming LGBTIQA+ community

What is the News?

The Madras High Court has issued guidelines aimed at mainstreaming LGBTIQA+(Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Asexual) persons.

What was the case?

  • A petition has been filed in the Madras High Court by a lesbian couple whose relationship was being opposed by their parents.
  • They have asked the Court to provide protection against police harassment and from any threat or danger to their safety and security.

Madras High Court guidelines for mainstreaming LGBTIQA+:

  • The Madras High Court has issued guidelines aimed at mainstreaming LGBTIQA+ persons.
  • The court said that LGBTQIA+ persons are entitled to their privacy and have a right to lead a dignified existence. This includes their choice of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender presentation, gender expression and choice of partner thereof.
    • This right and the manner of its exercise are constitutionally protected under Article 21 of the Constitution.

What are the Madras High Court guidelines for mainstreaming LGBTIQA+?

Educational Institutions:

  • Parent Teachers Association(PTA) meetings should be used to sensitize parents on issues of the LGBTQIA+ community and gender-nonconforming students. This is to ensure supportive families for the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • Necessary amendments should be made to policies and resources to include students belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community in all spheres of school and college life.
  • Educational institutions should have the availability of gender-neutral restrooms. Apart from that, the educational institutions should provide the inclusion of ‘transgender’ in addition to M and F in the gender columns of application forms.


  • Judiciary should conduct awareness programmes for Judicial Officers at all levels in coordination with the enlisted NGOs and community support.

Police and Prison authorities:

  • Conducting awareness programmes for police and prison officials for protection from and prevention of offences against the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • Conduct sensitization about the legal rights of the LGBTQIA+ community at regular intervals.
  • Outreach programs should be conducted by the NGOs with community support to put forth first-hand problems faced by the LGBTQIA+ Community in the hands of law enforcement agencies and to train them in providing effective assistance.

Physical and Mental Health Professionals

  • Mental health camps and awareness programs should be conducted to understand gender, sexuality, sexual orientation and promote acceptance of diversity.
  • Any attempts to medically “cure” or change the sexual orientation of LGBTIQA+ people to heterosexual or the gender identity of transgender people to cisgender should be prohibited.
  • Action should be initiated against the concerned professional involving themselves in any form or method of conversion “therapy” including withdrawal of licence to practice.
    • Conversion therapy or Cure therapy is the pseudoscientific practice of trying to change an individual’s sexual orientation.
    • In this therapy, psychological, physical, or spiritual interventions will be carried out for the members of the LGBTQIA+ community to change them heterosexual.

Note: Tamil Nadu is set to be the first state to ban ‘conversion therapy’ in India.

Source: Indian Express

“Small Island Developing States” faced most GDP loss in 2020: UN report

What is the News? 

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development(UNCTAD) has released a report titled “Development and Globalization: Facts and Figures”. The report highlights the numerous challenges faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Key Findings of the Development and Globalization: Facts and Figures Report:

  • Small island developing states(SIDS) faced thrice as much fall in Gross Domestic Product(GDP) in 2020 as other developing countries.
    • SIDS GDP is expected to decline by 9% in 2020 compared to 3.3% for developing countries.
  • The SIDS countries were also 35% more vulnerable to external economic and financial shocks than other developing countries.
  • Moreover, COVID-19 has affected all spheres of life in SIDS including health, the economy, and trade.
    • For instance, COVID-19 has affected tourism services across the world. This has had a huge impact on SIDS as most of them are heavily reliant on tourism.

What is Small island developing states(SIDS)?

  • Small Island Developing States(SIDS) are a distinct group of 38 UN Member States and 20 Non-UN Members/Associate Members of UN regional commissions that face unique social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities.
    • Maldives is one of the Small Island Developing States(SIDS).
  • They were recognized as a distinct group of developing countries in June 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development.
  • The geographical regions in which SIDS are located are the Caribbean, the Pacific, and the AIS (Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea).
  • The Barbados Programme of Action was produced in 1994 in order to assist the SIDS in their sustainable development efforts.
  • The United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) represent this group of states.

Why are Small Island Developing States are unique?

  • SIDS countries are unique as most of them hardly emit greenhouse emissions but are the first to suffer the impacts of climate change.
  • Many of them are low-lying, situated just five metres above sea level. This makes them vulnerable to sea-level rise, storm surges and coastal destruction.
    • According to the 2020 Environmental Vulnerability Index, 4 of the top 10 most environmentally vulnerable countries in the world are SIDS.
  • According to the United Nations report on World Population Prospects 2019, many SIDS countries would not be able to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 because of increasing populations and climate risks.

Source: Down To Earth


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