Current Affairs English: 21-Mar-2018 (English Medium)

Current Affairs English: 21-Mar-2018 (English Medium)

Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BRIAC)

  • BIRAC celebrated its 6th Foundation Day recently with the theme as ‘Sustaining Innovation – A Market Driven Pathway’.
  • It is a not-for-profit Public Sector Enterprise, set up by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology Government of India.
  • Its aim is to empower the emerging biotech industry to undertake strategic research and innovation.
  • It is a new industry academia interface and implements its mandate through a wide range of impact initiatives.
  • BIRAC had launched the National Biopharma Mission.
  • In addition, Grand Challenges India (GCI) program is the flagship program managed by the Program Managing Unit at BIRAC for the Department of Biotechnology and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation partnership.

National Cultural Audiovisual Archives (NCAA)

  • NCAA has been certified recently, as the world’s first Trusted Digital Repository as per ISO standard, granted by Primary Trustworthy Digital Repository Authorization Body Ltd. (PTAB), U.K.
  • It is a project of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, implemented by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA).

  • NCAA’s primary objective is to identify and preserve the cultural heritage of India available in audiovisual form through a process of digitization and making it accessible to the people.
  • NCAA digital repository is established with and powered by DIGITALAYA which is developed by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC),Pune.
  • IGNCA is set up by the Government of India, as a premier research institute dedicated to holistic understanding and expression of Indian arts in their inter and multi-disciplinary nature.

Dargha Ajmer

  • The dargha is a sufi shrine of sufi saint Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty at Ajmer, Rajasthan.
  • Khwaja Chishti is also known by different names as, Khawaja Gharib Nawaz, “Sultan-Ul-Hind”.


  • Khwaja Chisti established the Chishti order of ‘fakirs’ in India.
  • The Dargah Khawaja Gharibnawaz has several tombs, buildings, Daalaans and courtyards are of Mughal architecture.
  • The annual Urs festival is celebrated to mark the death anniversary of the Sufi saint, his symbolic union with God.

Lingayat and Veerashaiva

  • Recently,Karnataka government decided to recommend religious minority status to the Lingayat and Veerashaiva community.
  • The tradition of Lingayatism has been founded by social reformer and philosopher Basavanna in 12th century Karnataka.
  • Basavanna’s vision of a societal order was based on human freedom, equality, rationality, and brotherhood.
  • Emergence of the Lingayat sect can be located within Bhakti movements that had swept across South India from the 8th century AD onwards.
  • Veerashaivism is a Shaiva sect within Hinduism and is predominantly located in Karnataka.
  • Veerashaivas claim that Basavanna was not the founder of the Lingayat tradition, but rather a reformer of an already existing religious tradition which they call Veerashaivism.

Totten Glacier

  • A recent research by the Australia’s Antarctica Program revealed that more of Totten Glacier is floating.
  • As the glacier is in direct contact with warming ocean temperatures it could have a significant impact on the rise of global sea levels(about 3 meters if this glacier  melts).
  • Totten glacier is one of the fastest-flowing and largest glaciers in Antarctica east


  • NASA found that between 2002 and 2016, Antarctica lost 125 giga tons of ice annually, causing global sea levels to rise by 0.35mm a year.
  • The amount of ice sitting behind the Totten is comparable to that which is contained within the whole West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS).

Dog-faced Bat Species

  • International team of scientists has succeeded in recognizing two more species of dog-faced bats.
  • The dog-faced bats are a fast-flying, insectivorous species.
Species Location
Cynomops freemani Canal Zone region of Panama.
Cynomops tonkigui Eastern Andes of Ecuador and Colombia.
  • The freemani species was named in honour of scientist Patricia W. Freeman.


  • In the case of tonkigui species, the word ‘tonkigui’ means bat in Waorani, a language spoken in Ecuador, where the species is found.

Map of the day

Africa –Physical Features

  • Okavango Delta is a large low gradient alluvial fan or ‘Inland Delta’ located in north-western Botswana.
  • Okavango Delta became the 1000th site to be officially inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  • The system consists of two branches- the main branch, the Eastern Rift (or Albertine) Valley and the western branch of the system, the Western Rift Valley.
  • Lake Victoria is not a part of the Rift valley system.
  • Lakes such as Tannayaka, Nayasa, Albert are part of the rift valley system.

Source: PIB, The Hindu, Business Standard

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