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  • Published
    6th Jan, 2023

Art and Culture

‘Sammed Shikharji’: The Jain pilgrimage site in Jharkhand 



Members of the Jain community have been protesting in many parts of the country amid the step of Jharkhand government notifying the pilgrimage site is a tourist destination.


  • Shikharji also known as Sammed Shikharji is a pilgrimage site in Giridih district, Jharkhand, India.
  • It is located on Parasnath hill, the highest mountain in the state of Jharkhand.
  • It is the most important Jain Tirtha (pilgrimage site) by both Digambara and Shewtambara, for it is the place where twenty of the twenty-four Jain tirthankaras along with many other monks attained Moksha.


  • The reason that Sammed Shikharji is so important to the community, as it is considered to be the biggest pilgrimage site by both the Digambaras and the Svetambaras.
  • It is believed that it is the place where 20 of the 24 Jain tirthankaras, who are Jain spiritual leaders, along with many other monks attained ‘moksha‘or salvation after meditating

Art & Culture

Sammakka Saralamma Janjati Pujari Sammelan

The President attended the Sammakka Saralamma Janjati Pujari Sammelan, organised by the Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad, Telangana.


  • Sammakka Saralamma Jatara also known as Medaram Jatara is a biennial tribal festival celebrated in the memory and honour of goddesses Sammakka and Saralamma in the State of Telangana, India.
  • The Jatara begins at Medaram in Tadvai Mandal in Mulugu District.
  • It commemorates the valiant fight of the mother and daughter duo i.e. Sammakka and Saralamma against the then Kakatiya dynasty rulers protesting exaction of land tribute even at the time of severe drought.
  • After Kumbha Mela, the Medaram jatara is said to attract the largest number of devotees in the country.

International Relations

India to take over leadership of Asian Pacific Postal Union (APPU)







India will take over the leadership of the APPU having its Headquarters in Bangkok.

  • Vinaya Prakash Singh, erstwhile Member (Personnel), Postal Services Board, will take over the charge of Secretary General of the Union for tenure of four years.
  • The elections held during the 13th APPU Congress held in Bangkok during August-September 2022.
  • Role: The Secretary General leads the activities of the Union and is also the Director of the Asian Pacific Postal College (APPC) which is the largest intergovernmental postal training institute in the region.

The Asian Pacific Postal Union:

  • Asian Pacific Postal Union (APPU) is an intergovernmental organisation of 32-member countries of the Asian-Pacific region.
  • APPU is the only Restricted Union of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in the region, which is a specialised agency of the United Nations.
  • Objective: The goal of APPU is to extend, facilitate and improve postal relations between member countries and promote cooperation in the field of postal services.

Polity & Governance

Centre gives nod for DPR of Kalasa Banduri Nala project

The Center has given its nod for the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Kalasa Banduri Nala Project.


  • The project proposes to divert water from two tributaries of the Mahadayi river (also known as Mandovi) – Kalasa and Banduri – to the Malaprabha river, providing much needed drinking water to regions in Dharwad, Belagavi, Bagalkote and Gadag among others.
  • These areas together make up the country’s second most arid region after Rajasthan.
  • The approval would help Karnataka to get 1.5 tmc ft for drinking and irrigation purposes and can divert 2.18 tmc ft to Bhandura and 1.72 tmc ft to Kalasa dams.

Polity & Governance

Government launches ‘Prahari’ app for BSF Jawans

The government launched the Border Security Force (BSF) mobile app 'Prahari'. This app is a great example of proactive governance.


  • With the app, BSF soldiers can get personal and service related information, housing, Ayushman-CAPF and leave related information on their mobiles.
  • Soldiers can also get information on various welfare schemes through this app.

Science and Technology

XBB.1.5: New Varient

India’s first case of the ‘XBB.1.5’sub-variant of Omicron was confirmed in Gujarat by the national genome sequencing consortium.


  • XBB.1.5 is a recombinant, which means its genome is the product of the genomes of two different strains spliced together.
  • This can happen when two strains infect a person at the same time; a recombinant variant is produced as they replicate together.
  • Recombinant strains also arise when existing recombinant strains mutate.
  • The recombinants include XD (Delta + Omicron), XE (BA.1 + BA.2), and XBB (BA.2.10.1 + BA.2.75).
  • The XBB strain is descended from BA. and BA.
  • It mutated further and became XBB.1.5. XBB.1.
  • The defining mutation of XBB.1.5 is ‘F486P’.
    • F486 is a part of the virus’s receptor-binding domain (the part of the spike protein that attaches the virus to a cell) and an important site that antibodies against the Omicron variant target. 

Science and Technology

108th Indian Science Congress

The Prime Minister addressed the 108th Indian Science Congress (ISC) via video conferencing.


  • Theme:  “Science and Technology for Sustainable Development with Women Empowerment”
  • Aim: The event will witness discussions on issues of sustainable development, women empowerment and the role of science & technology in achieving this.

Points discussed:

  • Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister highlighted the role of India’s scientific strength in India’s story of development over the next 25 years.
  • The Prime Minister mentioned the importance of gathering data and analysing results.
  • He highlighted the abundant availability of data and technology in 21st-century India and said that it has the potential to take Indian Science to new heights.
  • He also emphasised the need to strengthen the scientific processes by applying various techniques of research-led development.

Science & Technology

Ethylene glycol and the controversy behind it

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) initiated a probe into the claims of Uzbekistan that at least 18 children died after consuming cough syrup manufactured by an Indian firm.

What is Ethylene glycol?

  • Ethylene glycol is an organic compound with the formula (CH?OH)?.
  • It is an odourless, colourless, flammable, viscous liquid. It is mainly used for two purposes
    • as a raw material in the manufacture of polyester fibres
    • for antifreeze formulations
  • In addition to its use in antifreeze, ethylene glycol is used as an ingredient in hydraulic fluids, printing inks, and paint solvents.
  • It is also used as a reagent in making polyesters, explosives, alkyd resins, and synthetic waxes.


  • According to the WHO, diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are toxic to humans and can be fatal if consumed.


Vande Metro train

India will be getting its first-ever domestically constructed hydrogen-powered train by December 2023. 


  • The hydrogen-powered train in India will be known as the “Vande Metro”
  • Germany was the first country to introduce hydrogen-powered trains
    • These trains emit no pollution and produce little noise, emitting just steam and evaporated water.


India’s oldest botanical garden

A West Bengal-based environmentalist has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him to take immediate action for saving the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Botanic Garden in Howrah.

 What is Botanical Garden?

  • A botanical garden or botanic garden is a garden with a documented collection of living plants for the purpose of scientific research, conservation, display, and education.
    • Typically, plants are labelled with their botanical names.

Acharya Jagadish Chandra (AJC) Bose Indian Botanic Garden

  • It is India’s largest botanical garden and is spread over 270 acres.
  • The gardens were founded in 1787 by Colonel Robert Kyd, an army officer of the East India Company.
  • It has about 12,000 specimens of as many as 1,000 species.
  • It is considered the ‘largest man-made plant kingdom’.
  • The garden is under the jurisdiction of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) and the Kolkata Port Trust (KPT) has the jurisdictional command over the length of the river from Farakka to Ganga Sagar.
  • Some of its Plant collections:
    • ‘Great Banyan Tree’, a living wonder in the plant kingdom;
    • Branching palm (Hyphane thebaica) was introduced in Egypt;
    • Giant Water Lily (Victoria amazonica) brought from the Amazon river
    • Mountain rose or Venezuelan rose.


Emperor penguins, reindeer among threatened species: WWF

Emperor penguins and reindeer were among the species highlighted in a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report as severely threatened by the cascading impacts of climate change.

Emperor penguins

  • Scientific name: Aptenodytes forsteri
  • Emperor penguins spend their entire lives on Antarctic ice and in its waters. They survive—breeding, raising young, and eating—by relying on a number of clever adaptations.

Reindeer (Caribou)

  • Scientific name: Rangifer tarandus
  • They are built for staying warm in freezing temperatures. 
  • They originally inhabited the tundra and forests of Scandinavia and northern Russia, and were then introduced into Iceland, Greenland, Alaska, and Canada.
  • They are covered in hair from their nose to the bottom of their feet.

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