Factly articles for 31st July 2020

1.Aerial seeding to increase green cover in Aravallis

News: Haryana Forest Department has employed aerial seeding technique to improve green cover in the Aravalli area of Faridabad.


  • Aerial Seeding: It is a plantation technique wherein seed balls — seeds covered with a mixture of clay, compost, char and other components — are sprayed using aerial devices, including planes, helicopters or drones.
  • How does it work?
    • Seeds balls/pellets are dispersed in a targeted area by low-flying drones with the coating providing the required weight for seeds to airdrop on a predetermined location rather than getting deterred by the wind.
    • These pellets sprout when there is enough rain with nutrients present within them helping in initial growth.
  • Species to be Used for Aerial Seeding: The plant species which are native to the area and hardy, with seeds that are of an appropriate size for preparing seedballs are usually used for aerial seeding with a higher survival percentage.
  • Advantages:
    • Areas that are inaccessible having steep slopes or no forest routes can be targeted using this method.
    • The process of the seed’s germination and growth is such that it requires no attention after it is dispersed and thus seed pellets are known as the fire and forget way of plantation.
    • They eliminate any need for ploughing and do not need to be planted since they are already surrounded by soil, nutrients, and microorganisms.The clay shell also protects them from birds, ants and rats.

2.HRD Minister launches India Report on Digital Education,2020

News: Ministry of Human Resources and Development(MHRD) has launched India Report on Digital Education,2020.Recently,the Ministry of HRD has been renamed as Ministry of Education.


  • The report has been prepared by the Digital Education Division of the Ministry of HRD in consultation with Education Departments of States and UTs.
  • Aim: To elaborate on the innovative methods adopted by the Ministry of HRD, Education Departments of States/UTs for ensuring education to children at home.

Digital Education Initiatives launched by Government:

  • DIKSHA platform: It offers teachers, students and parents engaging learning material relevant to the prescribed school curriculum.
  • VidyaDaan 2.0: The programme brings together academicians and organisations to develop and contribute fun and engaging e-learning content aligned to the curriculum.
    • The content will be monitored by a panel of academic experts and released for use on the DIKSHA app.
  • Digitally Accessible Information System(DAISY): The study material for the differently abled has been developed on DAISY platform.
  • SWAYAM: Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM) is an integrated platform for offering online courses, covering school (9th to 12th) to Postgraduate Level.
  • e-PATHSHALA: It is a joint initiative of Ministry of HRD and NCERT to showcase and disseminate all educational e-resources including textbooks, audio, video, periodicals and a variety of other digital resources.

Initiatives launched by States:

  • SMILE(Social Media Interface for Learning Engagement) in Rajasthan,
  • Mission Buniyaad in the State of Delhi
  • Project Home Classes in Jammu.
  • Padhai Tunhar Duvaar(Education at your doorstep) in Chhattisgarh
  • Mera Mobile Mera Vidyalaya launched by Bihar for Students among others.

3.NASA launches Mars rover Perseverance to look for signs of ancient life

News: National Aeronautics and Space Administration(NASA) has launched Mars 2020 rover ‘Perseverance.’


  • Mars Perseverance rover mission: It is a part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the Red Planet.
  • Objectives:
    • Explore a geologically diverse landing site
    • Assess ancient habitability
    • Seek signs of ancient life, particularly in special rocks known to preserve signs of life over time
    • Gather rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth by a future NASA mission
    • Demonstrate technology for future robotic and human exploration

Additional Facts:

  • HOPE Spacecraft or Emirates Mars Mission: It is a Mars mission launched by the United Arab Emirates.
  • Tianwen-1 mission: It is China’s first Mars exploration mission.

4.Atal Innovation Mission launches AIM iCREST to enable incubation ecosystem

News: Atal Innovation Mission(AIM) has launched ‘AIM-iCREST’ in partnership with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wadhwani Foundation.


  • AIM’s iCREST stands for Incubator Capabilities enhancement program for a Robust Ecosystem focused on creating high performing Startups.
  • Purpose: It has been designed to enable the incubation ecosystem and to support the growth of AIM’s established incubators across India.

Additional Facts:

  • Business incubators: These are institutions that support entrepreneurs in developing their businesses especially in initial stages.
  • Atal innovation mission(AIM): It was set up by NITI Aayog in 2016 to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship by creating institutions and programs that enhance innovation in schools, colleges, and entrepreneurs in general.

5.Operation Muskaan’ brings a smile on their faces

News: Operation Muskaan, a special drive being taken by the police to trace the missing children in Andhra Pradesh has reunited many children who separated from their parents.


  • Operation Muskaan also called Operation Smile is an initiative of the Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) to rescue/rehabilitate missing children.
  • It is a dedicated campaign where several activities are taken up by the State Police personnel to trace and rescue the missing children and reunite them with their families.

6.Is SARS-CoV-2 a latent virus which can recur?

News: Scientists have said that COVID-19 could be a latent virus as a Delhi policeman tested positive from Covid-19 within one and a half months of having recovered.


  • What is Latent Viral Infection? It is an infection that is inactive or dormant and does not replicate within the host.However,it possesses the capacity to be reactivated at some point causing a flare-up of the disease much later.
  • Is it similar to active infection? It is opposite to active infections as the virus in active infections are actively replicating and potentially causing symptoms.
  • Does it spread? Latent viral infections can be reactivated into a lytic form (the replication of a viral genome).The ability to move back and forth from latent to lytic infections helps the virus spread from infected individuals to uninfected individuals
  • Examples of LVI: Herpes simplex viruses type 1 and 2, varicella-zoster virus,HIV, Epstein-Barr virus(human herpesvirus 4) and cytomegalovirus.

7.International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor(ITER)

News: The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor(ITER) has entered its years-long assembly phase.


  • What is ITER? It is a major International scientific experiment intended to prove the viability of fusion as an energy source.
  • Where is it being constructed? An experimental tokamak nuclear fusion reactor is currently under construction in the south of France.
  • Funding: The project is funded and run by seven member entities: European Union, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.
  • What will ITER do?
    • It will produce 500 MW of fusion power from 50 MW of thermal power injected into the tokamak resulting in a ten-fold gain of plasma heating power.
    • Demonstrate the integrated operation of technologies for a fusion power plant
    • Test components required for a fusion power plant among others.
  • Significance of the project:
    • It will be the first fusion device to produce net energy and maintain fusion for long periods of time.
    • It will also be the first fusion device to test the integrated technologies, materials and physics regimes necessary for the commercial production of fusion-based electricity.

Additional Facts:

  • Fusion: It is the energy source of the Sun and stars.In this, tremendous heat and gravity at the core of these stellar bodies, hydrogen nuclei collide and fuse into heavier helium atoms and release tremendous amounts of energy in the process.
  • Difference between Fusion and Fission: The main difference between fusion and fission reactions is that fission is the splitting of an atom into two or more smaller ones while fusion is the fusing of two or more smaller atoms into a larger one.
  • Tokamak: It is an experimental machine designed to harness the energy of fusion.Inside a tokamak, the energy produced through the fusion of atoms is absorbed as heat in the walls of the vessel.
    • Just like a conventional power plant, a fusion power plant will use this heat to produce steam and then electricity by way of turbines and generators.