Prelims Focus

Prelims Focus – 15th May 2024

Semal trees

In News: The disappearance of Semal trees in southern Rajasthan is causing negative effects on both the environment and the local population.

  • Semal, also known as kapuk or silk cotton tree, blooms beautifully in the spring and is native to India. 
  • It is recognized for its unique red flowers and fluffy seed pods that were once used for stuffing pillows and mattresses. 
  • The tree’s bark, leaves, and seeds are used in traditional medicine for various ailments, while its wood is utilised in construction and woodworking. 
  • The tree also produces a significant amount of biomass and has been used for land reclamation purposes.

Exercise SHAKTI

In News: The SHAKTI military exercise between India and France started its 7th edition in Umroi, Meghalaya.

  • This biennial training event alternates between India and France and aims to improve the joint military capabilities of both countries for multi-domain operations in a Sub-Conventional scenario. 
  • The focus of the exercise will be on operations in semi-urban and mountainous terrain, with objectives including physical fitness, tactical level drills, and sharing best practices. 
  • The Indian contingent, mainly from the Rajput Regiment, will participate alongside observers from the Indian Navy and Air Force, while the French contingent will be from the 13th Foreign Legion Half-Brigade.

Sahitya Akademi Fellowship

In News: Ruskin Bond, an author, has recently been awarded the ‘Sahitya Akademi Fellowship’, the highest honour given by the literary organisation.

  • It is one of the highest literary honours in India, conferred via the Sahitya Akademi (India’s National Academy of Letters) New Delhi.
  • It is an honour bestowed upon writers who have made high-quality and lasting contributions to Indian literature.
  • It is reserved for ‘the immortals of literature’ and is restrained to 20-one recipients at any given time.
  • Sahitya Akademi
    • It was formally inaugurated on 12 March 1954 as an independent employer and was registered as a society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
    • It is a countrywide employer installation to paintings actively for the development of Indian letters and to set excessive literary standards, to foster and co-ordinate literary activities in 24 Indian languages and to promote through them all of the cultural team spirit of the country. 
  • Other Fellowship through Sahitya Academy
    • Premchand Fellowship: It was instituted after the popular Hindi author Munshi Premchand that’s given to pupils doing studies on Indian literature or to creative writers from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) international locations apart from India.

Sailfin Catfish

In News: Recently, the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) found that the sailfin catfish has spread to nearly 60% in the water bodies of Eastern Ghats using eDNA method.

  • It is native fish species of South America, and has mounted stable populations in various freshwater ecosystems out of their native variety because of its invasive nature.
  • It became as soon as introduced in Eastern Ghats of India for its precise look and its capacity to clean algal growth in tanks and aquaria, but its population has grown exponentially.
  • The speedy increase of this species and their capacity to stay for more than 10 years, makes them a huge concern for biodiversity.
  • IUCN Red List: Least Concern
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