Daily Current Affairs For UPSC 19 January 2023: We bring to you ”Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Exam” based on the principle of updating UPSC CSE aspirants with Most Important Daily UPSC Prelims Specific Current Affairs. These Daily Current Affairs are prepared by our team in Bit Form/Abridged Form to save the precious time of UPSC Aspirants. In Today’s Prelims Bits we are covering Daily Current Affairs Bits for the below mentioned topics: Thaipusam, Spot-bellied eagle owl, Plankton, and ASER Report.
What Is Thaipusam?
- Thaipusam is celebrated annually during the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai in January or February and takes place on February 5 this year.
Thaipusam is a famous auspicious festival among all the people of Tamil origin.
- This day was declared Public Holiday in the year 2021 in Tamil Nadu.
Prelims Bits On Thaipusam Festival
- Thaipusam festival is related to Lord Murugan or Kartikeya.
- On this day people celebrate the victory of Lord Murugan and perform religious rituals like Kavadi Attam and also offer the god prayers and offerings.
The Story Behind Thaipusam
- According to Puranas, once an evil asur called Soorpadaman conquered heaven and took all the devas or gods as his hostage.
- The gods prayed to Lord Shiva in Goddess Parvati to get them rescued. It is believed that the devas fell because they did not have any capable leader.
- Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati gave birth to their son Murugan who was believed to be the slayer of Soorpadaman.
- Lord Murugan was given a sacred veil infused with the power of goddess Parvati.
- Murugan fought with the asuras and killed Soorpadaman with that holy spear.
What Is Kavadi Attam?
- The festival of Kavadi Attam is a religious folk dance which is celebrated by the Hindus of Tamil Nadu.
- The name Kavadi Attam, literally means ‘Burden dance’. In this festival, Lord Murugan, the God of War is worshipped.
- The word, ‘Kavadi’ means ‘burden’. Lord Murugan is worshipped by making ceremonial sacrifices and offerings to pray to him to help them ward off their debts and to be saved from any kind of calamity.
- The Kavadi may vary in shape and size and it has rice, milk or anything that the devotee would like to offer to Lord Murugan.
What Is Spot-bellied eagle owl?
- The ‘Spot Bellied Eagle Owl’ (Bubo Nipalensis) sighted for the first time in Seshachalam forest range by a team of wildlife researchers.
- Earlier it was sighted at Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve(NSTR).
Prelims Bits For Spot-Bellied Eagle Owl
- The spot-bellied eagle owl (Bubo nipalensis) is a large bird, measuring 20-25 inches in length and weighing between 1.5 kg and 2 kg, feeds on small rodents and lizards.
- The bird makes a strange scream similar to humans and it is hence called the ‘Ghost of the Forest’ in India and ‘Devil Bird’ in Sri Lanka.
- These spot-bellied eagle owl species are distributed in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
- IUCN Status: Least Concern(LC)
Protected areas: National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Biosphere Reserves
What are Plankton?
Plankton In News
Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have reported that a particular genus of plankton, namely Halteria, can ‘grow and divide given only viruses to eat’. This could be significant for the marine food chain.
Prelims Bits For Plankton
- Plankton are microscopic organisms that can only move with a current.
- They don’t have any facilities to actively propel themselves.
- Halteria Plankton: Halteria plankton are ciliates, meaning they have hair-like structures called cilia on their surface. Sometimes they can beat some of these cilia to jump short distances, but not often as it requires too much energy.
- Phytoplankton: A type of plankton — the phytoplankton — is found nearer the surface of many water bodies. It is an autotroph, which means it can make its own food by consuming carbon dioxide, among other compounds, through photosynthesis.
- Zooplankton: Small fish and larger plankton called zooplankton eat phytoplankton for their nutrition; they are in turn eaten by larger fish, and so forth.
How Phytoplankton help replenish the food chain?
- When phytoplankton die, they drift around where they are, becoming part of a coastal nutrient cycle, or they drift down towards the seafloor, where they decompose. Their constituents then become available for microbes or are sequestered into the seafloor.
- So, phytoplankton bring carbon and other nutrients from the atmosphere and sea surface down to the seafloor and help replenish the food chain (and also ‘trap’ carbon into their own bodies and as sediments).
- They are joined by bacteria that make their own food by oxidising sulphur, iron or hydrogen, in a process called chemosynthesis.
What Is ASER Report?
ASER Report In News
The 17th ASER report released in New Delhi on Wednesday(January 19, 2023).
Prelims Bits For ASER Report
- The Annual Status of Education Report, or ASER, is an annual, citizen-led household survey that aims to understand whether children in rural India are enrolled in school and whether they are learning.
- ASER is conducted by Pratham, a non-government organization.
- Unlike most other large-scale learning assessments, ASER is a household-based rather than school-based survey.
- This design enables all children to be included – those who have never been to school or have dropped out, as well as those who are in government schools, private schools, religious schools or anywhere else.
- From 2005 to 2014, and then every alternate year till 2018, large-scale, nation-wide ASER surveys provided representative estimates of the enrolment status of children aged 3-16 and the basic reading and arithmetic levels of children aged 5-16 at the national, state and district level.
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