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Current Affairs 27th December 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Lantana Camara

Context: A decade-long initiative in Madhya Pradesh to reclaim land overrun by Lantana helps residents restart agriculture and restore native biodiversity

About Lantana Camara

  • Origin and Family: Lantana camara is a perennial shrub, originating from the American tropics (Central and South America) , and is part of the Verbenaceae family.
  • Climate Adaptability: It has the capability to adapt to varying climates, tolerating high temperatures and moisture levels.
  • Invasive Species Status: Recognized as one of the top ten most invasive species globally, it poses significant concerns in India.
  • Introduction to India: Initially brought to India as an ornamental plant during the British colonial era, it rapidly became invasive, disrupting local ecosystems.

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Context: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Industry recommends extension of the deadline of the Faster Adoption & Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles/FAME India schemePhase II by  three more years (current deadline  is March 31, 2024).

About FAME- II Scheme

  • About: Part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP), the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid & Electric Vehicles) or FAME India Scheme aims to boost electric vehicle usage.
  • Started from: April 2019
  • Responsible Ministry: The Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprise is the nodal agency for this scheme.
  • Key Features of FAME India Scheme:
    • Focuses on electrifying public and shared transportation.
    • Targets to incentivize the purchase of around 5 lakh three-wheelers, 7000 electric buses, and 35,000 four-wheelers.
    • Plans to set up 2700 charging stations in metropolitan cities, smart cities, and hilly states, ensuring highway coverage.

Environmental DNA

Context: The Zoological Survey of India is testing new technology to assess biodiversity using environmental DNA (eDNA).

Understanding Environmental DNA (eDNA)

  • Environmental DNA refers to genetic material naturally left by organisms in their environment, found in mediums like soil, water, or air.
  • This DNA comes from sources like skin cells, mucus, urine, or faeces.
  • As a tool, eDNA is invaluable in environmental monitoring and biodiversity studies because it allows for the indirect detection of various species, offering a window into ecological dynamics without necessitating direct observation.

Role and Significance of LaCONES

  • Established in 1998 as part of CSIR’s Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), LaCONES is India’s exclusive research centre dedicated to wildlife conservation and resource preservation.
  • It gained prominence with the establishment of the National Wildlife Genetic Resource Bank (NWGRB) in 2018, India’s first genetic bank for wildlife conservation.
  • Beyond this, LaCONES engages in critical research in animal genetics, reproductive biotechnology, and wildlife forensics.
  • Collaborating with numerous national and international organisations, the laboratory contributes significantly to various conservation projects.
  • Its state-of-the-art facilities and dedication to educational and outreach activities further solidify its pivotal role in wildlife conservation research.

Sushil Kumar Rudra

Context: PM Modi hosted a special Christmas program at his residence in the national capital and underlined that the Non-Cooperation Movement was conceived under the patronage of Sushil Kumar Rudra, Principal of St. Stephen’s College.

About Sushil Kumkar Rudra

Sushil Kumar Rudra (1861-1925) was an influential figure in Indian history, known for his contributions to education and the national movement.

  • Position: He was the first Indian principal of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi.
  • Contribution to Nationalism: Rudra played a significant role in fostering nationalism among students.
  • Relationship with Gandhi: Mahatma Gandhi referred to Rudra as a “silent servant,” indicating his supportive yet unobtrusive style of leadership.
  • Sacrifice: He risked his good standing with the British authorities to support Gandhi, including providing shelter to him in Delhi.
  • Role in Independence Movement: Rudra’s residence was used to draft the Non-cooperation Movement, a significant campaign of resistance against British rule.
  • Influence on C.F. Andrews: He was instrumental in motivating C.F. Andrews, a well-known social and religious reformer, to join Gandhi in South Africa. Rudra, Andrews, and Gandhi shared a close friendship.

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