Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - April 6, 2018

Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas

International Energy Forum

  • India will host the 16thInternational Energy Forum (IEF) Ministerial Meeting from 10-12th April 2018 in New Delhi.

Organising Ministry

  • Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas
  • Petroleum Ministers from 42 countries would attend the Meeting.

Enlighten about IEF

  • The biennial IEF Ministerial Meetings are the world's largest gathering of Energy Ministers who engage in a dialogue on global energy issues.
  • The IEF Ministerial meetings are informal dialogues, at both the political and technical levels, aimed to improve policy and investment decisions, and through increased knowledge and experience sharing.
  • The International Energy Forum (IEF) is an inter-governmental arrangement set up in 1991,based in Riyadh which serves as a neutral facilitator of informal, open, informed and continuing global energy dialogue among its members comprising of energy producing and energy consuming states, including transit countries.

Executive Board (EB)

  • The Executive Board (EB) set up in 2002 comprising of 31 designated representatives of Ministers of the member states comprise the governing board of IEF.
  • It meets twice a year. International Energy Agency (IEA) and Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are non-voting members of the Executive Board.
  • The EB is chaired by the Host State of the next biennial Ministerial Meeting.
  • Currently, India is the Chair of the Executive Board of IEF.
  • India has been the Permanent Member of the Executive Board since its set-up in 2002. India had earlier hosted the 5th IEF Ministerial in 1996 at Goa.

Ministry of Coal

UTTAM APP for Coal Quality Monitoring Ensure Transparency and Efficiency in Coal Quality Monitoring Process to Bring Coal Governance Closer to People

  • UTTAM stands for – Unlocking Transparency by Third Party Assessment of Mined Coal (uttam.coalindia.in).
  • The Ministry of Coal and Coal India Limited (CIL) developed UTTAM,aims to provide an App for all citizens and coal consumers to monitor the process of Third Party Sampling of coal across CIL subsidiaries.

Enlighten about UTTAM App

  • It ensures accountability, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency in coal ecosystem.
  • It provides a platform for monitoring of sampling and coal dispatches.
  • The App is designed with an aim to make the citizens a stakeholder in the coal ecosystem.
  • UTTAM is an example of leveraging technology to facilitate a bidirectional channel between Coal India Limited and a common citizen.
  • It ensures transparency and efficiency in the coal quality monitoring process and brings coal governance closer to people.

Environment and Ecology

Fimbristylis agasthyamalaensis A new grass-like plant species discovered

  • Fimbristylis agasthyamalaensis in Ponmudi hills within the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve in the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot.
  • The new species of plant belongs to the Cyperaceae family.
  • Cyperaceae genus is represented by 122 species, of which 87 are reported from the Western Ghats.
  • Many of the known Cyperaceae species are medicinal plants or used as fodder.

Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve

  • ABR in situated at the southern-most end of the Western Ghats and spread over two southern states Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • It was established in 2001. It is named after Agastya Mala peak that rises up to almost 1868 metres above sea level, in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
  • In March 2016, it was included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of UNESCO.


Adopt a Heritage Project

Implementing Ministry

  • Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)

What it is

  • Selected public sector companies, private sector companies and individuals will develop tourist amenities at heritage sites.
  • They will be called as ‘Monument Mitra’ and adopt the sites essentially under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity.
  • The project primarily focuses on providing basic amenities that include cleanliness, public convenience, drinking water, ease of access for tourists, signage etc. and advanced amenities like Souvenir shop, Cafeteria, TFC etc.

Science and Technology

Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE)

  • NASA has successfully conducted Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) to test supersonic parachute that will help its space exploration missions to land on Mars.
  • It was tested in sky, mimicking conditions of entering red planet.
  • This test was meant to mimic conditions that spacecraft will experience during red planet entry, descent and landing (EDL).
  • NASA’s ambitious Mars rover mission is set to launch in 2020 to deploy six-wheeled vehicle on martiansurface to study rocks on site and cache samples for eventual return to Earth.
  • It will rely on special parachute to slow spacecraft down when it is entering Martian atmosphere


Human Resource Development Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan (RAA)

  • a convergent framework across School Education and Higher Education to encourage children towards learning Science and Mathematics through activities related to Science and Mathematics.
  • for promotion of science are strengthening of school Science and Mathematics laboratories, Science Fair/Exhibition and Talent Search at district level; provision of mathematics and science kits to schools, visit of students to higher educational institutions and learning enhancement of students.

NITI Aayog under the Atal Innovation Mission

  • establishing Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs) in schools across India.
  • The objective of this scheme is to foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young minds; and inculcate skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing etc.

Promotion of e-learning

  • The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has launched many schemes for promoting e-learning across students in schools & Universities.

The key e-learning initiatives run by MHRD are as follows:-


  • The ‘Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds' (SWAYAM) an integrated platform for online courses, using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and covering school (9th to 12th) to Post Graduate


  • SWAYAM Prabha is an initiative to provide 32 High Quality Educational Channels through DTH (Direct to Home) across the length and breadth of the country on 24X7 basis. It has curriculum based course content covering diverse disciplines.

National Digital Library (NDL)

  • The National Digital Library of India (NDL) is a project to develop a framework of virtual repository of learning resources with a single-window search facility.


  • E-books of the resources developed by National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) / State Institutes of Education (SIEs), State boards etc. SIEs in multiple languages and uploaded on e-pathshala website and disseminated through mobile app

National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER)

  • To make digital resources available for teachers and students as free and open source material. To enable the participation of the community in development and sharing of digital resources. To facilitate the adoption and creation of digital resources in different Indian languages.

Sources -PIB,The Hindu, Indian Express