Prelim Snippets – 16.05.2020

1.Diamer-Bhasha Dam

Why in News?
  • Pakistan has recently signed a contract with a joint venture of a China Power (Chinese state-run firm) and the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO-a commercial arm of Pakistan’s military) for the construction of the Diamer-Bhasha dam.
About Diamer-Bhasha Dam:


  • It is located on the Indus River in northern Pakistan between Kohistan district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Diamer district in Gilgit Baltistan.
  • It covers construction of a diversion system, main dam, access bridge and the 21MW Tangir hydropower project.
  • It will have a gross storage capacity of 8.1 Million Acre Feet (MAF) and power generation capacity of 4500 MW.
  • It will be the tallest Roller Compact Concrete (RCC) dam in the world, with the height of 272 meters
  • It serves as the main storage dam of the country, besides Mangla and Tarbela dams.
  • It helps alleviate acute irrigation shortage in the Indus basin irrigation system.
  • It was approved in 2010, but it suffered delays because international lending agencies backtracked due to the opposition from India as a major part of the dam is located in Gilgit-Baltistan (one of the disputed territories of India) and it will cause unrest in the Region.
India’s Opposition:
  • Because the Gilgit-Baltistan region is part of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir that was illegally occupied by Pakistan.
  • It has consistently conveyed her protest and shared concerns with both China and Pakistan on all such projects in the Indian territories under Pakistan’s illegal occupation.

2.COBAS 6800 Testing Machine

Why in News?
  • Recently the Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare dedicated the COBAS 6800 testing machine to the nation
  • This is the first such testing machine that has been procured by the Government for testing of COVID-19 cases and is installed at the National Centre for Disease Control.
  • Our country has now developed a capacity to conduct 1,00,000 tests per day and has tested nearly 20 lakh tests for COVID-19 mark at more than 500 laboratories.
COBAS 6800:
  • It is a fully automated, high end machine for performing real time PCR testing COVID-19 in the service of the nation.
  • It is a sophisticated machine enabled with robotics that minimizes the chance of contamination as well as the risk of infection to the health care workers since it can be operated remotely with limited human intervention.
  • As the machine requires a minimum BSL2+ ( Biosafety level) containment level for testing, it cannot be placed at just any facility.
  • It will provide quality, high-volume testing with a high throughput of around 1200 samples in 24 hours. It will largely increase the testing capacity with reduction in pendency.
  • COBAS 6800 can also detect other pathogens like Viral Hepatitis B & C, HIV, MTb (both rifampicin and isoniazid resistance), Papilloma, CMV, Chlamydia, Neisseria etc.
Way Ahead:
  • The success of these machines is also dependent on the nation’s attitude towards the corona warriors i.e the country needs to shun stigma and applaud the contribution of these frontline healthcare providers.
  • Further emphasises needs to be placed on the quality and sturdiness of the community surveillance and contact tracing.
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR):
  • It is done after taking nasal or throat swabs of the patient, from which RNA is extracted and converted to DNA, which is then amplified before being checked for confirmation of the virus.
  • Report comes after 9 hours.
  • Early detection of disease is possible as it is a standard test for COVID -19 identification and not dependent on antibodies formation.
  • More efficient as it ensures certainty of disease.

3.Dekho Apna Desh

Why in News?
  • In a bid to boost tourism in the country, the government has come out with a very creative approach which might cheer travel enthusiasts.
  • The Ministry of Tourism has stated that it would reward people who visit at least 15 tourist spots in the country in a year.
  • The tourism ministry will fund the travel expenses of tourists who visit 15 destinations in the country in a year and submit the photos on the department’s website.
  • One needs to travel outside their home state to be Eligible
  • Ministry of Tourism brings centuries-old crafts of Mysuru through webinar titled ‘Mysuru: Craft Caravan of Karnataka’  under “Dekho Apna Desh” series.
  • It offered an immersive tour of crafts forms namely Channapatna Toys, Rosewood inlay craft that have been thriving for centuries around the city of Mysuru.
Channapatna Toys:
  • Channapattana is a city and taluk headquarter in Ramanagara District in Karnataka.
  • It is noted for its famous handmade lacquer wooden toys all over the world and hence popularly known as “Gombegala Ooru” or the “Toy-City” of Karnataka.
  • Made of aale mara or ivory wood, which is coloured with vegetable dyes, these environment-friendly toys line the streets of the Town.
  • This traditional craft is protected as a Geographical Indication (GI)
  • The origin of the wooden toys dates back to the period of Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore who was a great admirer of wooden toys. He took the initiative to invite artisans from Persia and train the local artists to earn the process of making the wooden toys.
Rosewood Inlay:
  • The wooden inlay is the process of decorating the surface of wood by setting in pieces of material such as ivory, bone, plastic, or wood of different colours whose history goes back to the time of Tipu Sultan.
  • It is a GI-tagged craft


Why in News:
  • The Uttar Pradesh Government has recently released Gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) in the Ghaghara river for the conservation and protection in Natural Habitat.
About Gharials (Gavialis Gangeticus):

  • Its natural habitat is fresh waters of the northern part of India. Its primary habitat is Chambal river.
  • It is sometimes called as gavials, are a type of Asian crocodilian distinguished by their long, thin snouts which resembles a pot (ghara in Hindi).
  • Its population of Gharials are a good indicator of clean river water.
  • In India there are Three species of Crocodilians. They are
    • Gharial (Gavialis Gangeticus): International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)- Critically Endangered.
    • Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris): IUCN- Vulnerable
    • Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus): IUCN- Least Concern
  • It is listed under Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • It is listed on Appendix I of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
About Chambal River:
  • It originates at the Singar Chouri peak in the northern slopes of the Vindhya mountains (Indore, Madhya Pradesh).
  • It joins the Yamuna River in Etawah District of UP.
  • Its tributaries are Banas, Kali Sindh, Parbati.
  • The National Chambal Sanctuary is located along river Chambal. It is the tri-junction of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. It is known for critically endangered gharials, the red-crowned roof turtle, and the endangered Ganges river dolphin.
About Ghaghara River:
  • It acts as an important aquatic corridor for gharials in Uttar Pradesh.
  • It is near Gurla Mandhata peak, south of Mansarovar in Tibet.
  • It is known as the Karnaili in Western Nepal.
  • Its important tributaries are the Sarda, the Sarju (Ayodhya is located on its bank) and the Rapti.It joins the Ganga a few kilometres downstream of Chhapra in Bihar.
  • After reaching the plain area, its stream gets divided into many branches of which, Koriyab and Garwa are important.
  • Its river bed is sandy and sudden bends start occurring in the stream.

5.International Day of Families

Why in News?
  • The International Day of Families is observed on 15 May every year.
Key Points:
  • In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution that 15 May of every year should be observed as the International Day of Families.
  • Objectives: It provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase the knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.
  • Theme:The theme for 2020 is Families in Development: Copenhagen & Beijing+25.
  • The theme changes every year depending on the developmental endeavours ahead of the organisations working towards the welfare of families.
Copenhagen & Beijing+25:
  • Copenhagen & Beijing+25 signifies the World Conferences on Women (WCW) organised by the United Nations.
  • The United Nations has organized four world conferences on women.
  • These took place in Mexico City in 1975, Copenhagen in 1980, Nairobi in 1985 and Beijing in 1995.
  • 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the 4th World Conference on Women (WCW) and adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995). Hence, it is referred to as Beijing + 25.
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