Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Feb 13, 2021

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List of Today’s Factly Articles

  1. “Tholpavakoothu” the shadow leather puppetry to be Performed using Robots
  2. 175% rise in waterfowls in “Kaziranga National Park”
  3. India to formulate policy for “new battery technologies for EVs”
  4. Inter-caste marriages can reduce caste tensions: Supreme Court
  5. Study finds irreversible changes to DNA can be caused by excessive Alcohol
  6. “Samarth Scheme” for Capacity Building in Textile Sector
  7. Six years of “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao”

“Tholpavakoothu” the shadow leather puppetry to be Performed using Robots

What is the News?

For the first time, Tholpavakkoothu, the famous shadow leather puppetry will tell the stories of the Ramayana with the help of robots.


  • Tholpavakoothu is a form of shadow leather puppetry that is practiced in Kerala. It is also known as Nizhalkkoothu and Olakkoothu.
  • Temple art form: It is a traditional temple art. It has roots in Palakkad and neighboring regions in Kerala. It used to be performed in the Bhadrakali temples of Palakkad for telling tales from the Ramayana.
  • Origin: It is believed to have originated in the ninth century AD and uses Kamba Ramayana as its basic text.
  • Made up of: The puppets used to be made out of deerskin but are now typically made from goatskin. The puppets are painted in vegetable dyes, as these dyes last long.
  • Instruments used: The instruments used for the art form include Ezhupara, Chenda, and Maddalam.
  • Puppeteer: The lead puppeteer is usually called a pulavar. It is an honorific given to a puppeteer who is also a scholar.

Source: The Hindu

175% rise in waterfowls in “Kaziranga National Park”

What is the News?

The third annual census of birds in the Kaziranga National Park has been released. The main objective of the census was to record and estimate waterfowls and winter migratory birds. It also monitors and assesses the health of wetlands in the Park.

Water fowls and Winter Migratory Birds:

  • The Park has recorded a 175% increase in the number of waterfowl and winter migratory birds.
    • Waterfowl are birds that are strong swimmers with waterproof feathers and webbed feet. They use their webbed feet as flippers to push through the water. Ducks, geese, and swans are waterfowl.
  • Reason: Better conservation of water bodies, improved habitat management, and lesser human interference within the core area of the park and sensitive areas are the reasons for an increase in their numbers.
  • The highest number of these bird species was from the family Anatidae comprising ducks and geese.
  • The maximum increase was witnessed in Laokhowa-Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary
  • The top three species counted by the number are Eurasian Coot, Bar Headed Geese, and Common Teal.

Kaziranga National Park:

  • It is located in the State of Assam. It is the single largest undisturbed and representative area in the Brahmaputra Valley floodplain.
  • The park was declared as a National Park in 1974 and was also declared as a Tiger Reserve in 2006. In 1985, the park was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
  • It is also recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for the conservation of avifaunal species.
  • It also houses the world’s largest population of Great One-horned Rhinoceros (IUCN Status- Vulnerable).
  • Area Under Wetland: The area under wetlands in Kaziranga has reduced from 8.5% of the total area to 6.7% over a period of 30 years till 1977.
    • However, efforts to check siltation, erosion, and fragmentation of the beels (wetlands) and removal of invasive species have breathed fresh life into the park’s ecosystem.

Source: The Hindu

India to formulate policy for “new battery technologies for EVs”

What is the News?

The Union Minister has said that India will soon come out with a policy for the next generation of battery technologies for Electric Vehicles(EVs).

What will be the focus of the upcoming Policy?

  • The policy will look for alternative battery technologies for electric vehicles like metal-ion, metal-air, hydrogen fuel cells to replace lithium-ion batteries. It will reduce India’s dependence on other countries for its import within this decade.

Why will this policy be crucial?

  • China is currently the leader in supplying lithium-ion batteries to the world. India’s EV industry is heavily dependent on the import of batteries. China also has stakes in strategic reserves of lithium mines in other countries. Hence, the policy to boost R&D on battery technology will be significant.

Lithium-Ion Batteries:

  • Lithium-Ion is a type of rechargeable battery. These batteries are commonly used for portable electronics and electric vehicles. These batteries are growing in popularity for military and aerospace applications.

Shortcomings of Lithium-Ion Batteries:

  • Protection required: Lithium-ion cells and batteries are not as robust as some other rechargeable technologies. They require protection from being overcharged and discharged too far.
  • Higher Cost: A major lithium-ion battery disadvantage is their cost. Typically, they are around 40% more costly to manufacture than Nickel-cadmium cells.
  • Transportation: A lot of restrictions are in place for the transportation of Lithium-ion batteries especially large quantities by air.
  • Ageing: Lithium-ion batteries naturally degrade, as they suffer from ageing. Normally Lithium-ion batteries are able to withstand 500 – 1000 charge and discharge cycles before their capacity falls to 50%.
  • Sensitivity to a high temperature – Lithium-ion batteries are susceptible to the too much heat caused by overheating of the device or overcharging. Heat causes the cells or packs of this battery to degrade faster than they normally would.

Possible Alternatives to Lithium-Ion Batteries:

  • Aluminum-ion Batteries: Aluminum-ion batteries provide increased safety and faster charging time at a lower cost than lithium-ion batteries. However, there are still issues with these batteries. Stanford University is a leading developer of aluminum-ion batteries.
  • Solid-state Batteries: Solid-state batteries have solid elements. It provides several advantages: less fire-related safety issues, extended lifetime, decreased need for expensive cooling systems, and operability in an extended temperature range.

Click here to read about Lithium

 Source: Indian Express

Inter-caste marriages can reduce caste tensions: Supreme Court

What is the news?

The Supreme Court in a judgement has said that Inter-caste marriages will possibly reduce caste and community tensions.


  • This judgement came on a petition filed by a girl who fled from Bengaluru to Delhi to marry a man who was from a different caste.
  • The police officer on a complaint filed by her relatives directed the girl to leave her husband. However, she refused to comply with the statement that they were legally married by her choice.

Key Observations made by the Supreme Court:

  • The consent of the family or community is not necessary, once the two adult individuals agree to enter into a marriage. Their consent has to be given primacy.
  • Educated youngsters are showing the way forward by tying the knot in inter-Caste-marriages. It will reduce caste and community tensions in India. Possibly, this is the way forward where caste and community tensions will reduce.
  • The court also emphasized the need for specific guidelines and a training module for the police personnel. It will train them to handle cases of inter-caste marriage.

The court quoted B.R. Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste in which he said, “I am convinced that the real remedy is intermarriage. The fusion of blood can alone create the feeling of being kith and kin, and unless this feeling of kinship, of being kindred, becomes paramount, the separatist feeling — the feeling of being aliens — created by caste will not vanish.”

Dr. Ambedkar Scheme for Social Integration through Inter-Caste Marriages

  • The scheme was launched in 2013 by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • Objective: This scheme was launched to extend the financial incentive to the intermarriage couples. It will enable them to settle down in the initial phase of their married life.
  • Incentives: Every such couple that involves a Schedule Caste is eligible to get a one-time incentive of Rs 2.5 lakh from the Centre. It is Irrespective of their total annual income.

Source: The Hindu

Study finds irreversible changes to DNA can be caused by excessive Alcohol

What is the News?

A study by NIMHANS, Bengaluru has rejected the assumption that if one stops drinking, the damage to health from excessive consumption of alcohol can be reversed.

About the study:

  • The study has been published online in the American Journal of Medical Genetics.
  • It tracked patients at NIMHANS Centre for Addiction Medicine outpatient clinic from March 2015 to April 2016.
  • It analysed the DNA chemistry of the individuals who had been drinking on an average of 10 drinks/day.

Key Findings of the study:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption can cause irreversible changes to the DNA. It will continue even when alcohol is no longer consumed.
  • The effects of alcohol are more noticeable in those who had started drinking at an early age. This suggests that starting to drink early may physically alter many genes including those of the brain.

Source: The Hindu

“Samarth Scheme” for Capacity Building in Textile Sector

What is the News?

The Ministry of Textiles has informed Rajya Sabha about the Samarth Scheme.

Samarth Scheme:

  • It was launched by the Ministry of Textiles.
  • Aim: It will address the skill gap in the textile sector. It will supplement the efforts of the textile industry in providing gainful and sustainable employment to the youth.
  • Objectives: Following are the objectives of Samarth Scheme:
    • It will provide a program which demand-driven, placement oriented and National Skills Qualifications Framework(NSQF) compliant.
    • It will supplement the efforts of the industry in creating jobs in the organized textile and related sectors, covering the entire value chain of textile. It excludes Spinning and Weaving.
    • Likewise, it will provide for skilling and skill up-gradation in the traditional sectors of handlooms, handicrafts, sericulture, and jute.
  • Target: The Scheme targets to train 10 lakh persons (9 lakhs in organised & 1 lakh in traditional sector).
  • Implementing agencies: The programmes would be implemented through the Textile industry, government institutions and Reputed training institutions/ NGOs/ Societies active in the textile sector.
  • Monitoring and Management Information System(MIS): It is a centralized web-based Information System that has been put in place for monitoring and implementation of the scheme.

Source: PIB

Six years of “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao”

Why in News?
During the last six years, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme has increased awareness and sensitized the masses on Gender Equality.


  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme: It was launched by the Prime Minister in 2015 at Panipat in Haryana.
  • Aim: To bring behavioural change in the society towards birth and rights of a girl child.
  • The Scheme has two major components such as mass communication campaign and multi-sectoral action covering all States and UTs.
  • The scheme is being implemented by a coordinated effort by the Ministry of WCD, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of HRD.

Achievements of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao so far

 Achievement in monitorable targets:

  • Sex Ratio at Birth: During the last 6 years the Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) has improved by 16 points from 918 in 2014-15 to 934 in 2019-20.
  • Health:
    • Percentage of Institutional Deliveries has shown an improving trend from 87% in 2014-15 to 94% in 2019-20.
  • Education:
    • The Gross Enrolment Ratio of girls in the schools at the secondary level has improved from 77.45% (2014-15) to 81.32% (2018-19).
    • The percentage of schools with functional separate toilets for girls has shown improvement from 92.1% in 2014-15 to 95.1% in 2018-19 (2018-19).

Achievement in bringing attitudinal change:

  • Social Change: The BBBP scheme has been able to bring the focus on the important issues of female infanticide, lack of education amongst girls, and deprivation of their rights on a life cycle continuum.
  • BBBP Logo: People are using the BBBP logo on their own at various places such as school buses, buildings, and popular festivals to affirm their commitment to the cause.
  • Community and Administration Level:
    • The frontline government employees have been successfully collaborating at the local level for observing the son-centric rituals and also observed celebrating the birth of a girl child i.e. Kuwapoojan, Thali Bajana, etc.
    • Mothers and girl children are being hailed by the local administration to establish the relevance of the girl child. Beti Janmotsav is one of the key programmes celebrated in each district.

Source: Indian Express

9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – February 13, 2021

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