Daily Current Affairs: 12th & 13th December 2021

Topics covered

  1. Wildlife Crime Control Bureau 
  2. Pinaka extended range rocket system
  3. Facts for Prelims
  4. Places in News

1. Wildlife Crime Control Bureau 

Context: Between 2018 and 2020, about 2,054 cases were registered for killing or illegal trafficking of wild animals in India, Central Government statistics say. In the three years, about 3,836 accused were arrested for the crime. The number of cases registered in the year 2018 was 648 and 1,099 persons were arrested; followed by 805 cases and 1,506 arrests in 2019; and 601 cases and 1,231 arrests in 2020. The data was made available on the basis of cases registered by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and State Forest and Police Authorities in the past three years.

About WCCB

  • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is a statutory multi-disciplinary body established by the Government of India under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, to combat organized wildlife crime in the country.
  • The Bureau has its headquarter in New Delhi and five regional offices at Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Jabalpur; three sub-regional offices at Guwahati, Amritsar and Cochin; and five border units at Ramanathapuram, Gorakhpur, Motihari, Nathula and Moreh.


  • The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau envisages attaining excellence as intelligence and enforcement agency, matching international standards in the field of wildlife crime intelligence in its core capabilities, functioning as one team integrated into the intelligence community.
  • It aims to conserve the wildlife wealth by proper and effective intervention into matters related to capacity building of enforcement agencies in the field of wildlife crime enforcement and by providing professional assistance to create deterrence to the organized wildlife crime nexus.


  • Under Section 38 (Z) of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, it is mandated:
    • to collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime activities and to disseminate the same to State and other enforcement agencies for immediate action so as to apprehend the criminals;
    • to establish a centralized wildlife crime data bank; co-ordinate actions by various agencies in connection with the enforcement of the provisions of the Act;
    • to assist foreign authorities and international organization concerned to facilitate co-ordination and universal action for wildlife crime control;
    • to capacity building of the wildlife crime enforcement agencies for scientific and professional investigation into wildlife crimes and assist State Governments to ensure success in prosecutions related to wildlife crimes;
    • to advise the Government of India on issues relating to wildlife crimes having national and international ramifications, relevant policy and laws.
    • It also assists and advises the Customs authorities in inspection of the consignments of flora & fauna as per the provisions of Wild Life Protection Act, CITES and EXIM Policy governing such an item.

2. Pinaka extended range rocket system

Context: Successful tests of the Pinaka Extended Range (ER) multi-barrel rocket launcher system, Area Denial Munitions (ADM) and indigenously developed fuses have been carried out at various test ranges, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said on Saturday.


  • Pinaka is a multibarrel rocket launch (MBRL) system used by the Indian Army.
  • Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Pinaka integrates state-of-the-art technologies for delivering superior combat performance.
  • Pinaka is produced at an average rate of 1,000 rockets a year at the Ordnance Factory in Chanda, Maharashtra.
  • The Ministry of Defence increased the output of the rocket by commencing production at the Ordnance Factory in Badmal, Orissa.

Pinaka MBRL design

  • Pinaka was designed to replace the BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher systems of the Indian Army.
  • It is a multifaceted system integrating high energy propulsion, sub-munition warheads, servo-controlled launcher configuration and fire control computer.
  • The Pinaka system is based on the 8×8 vehicle.
  • Each battery is composed of six launcher vehicles, six loader-cum replenishment vehicles and two command post vehicles.
  • Each launcher vehicle carries two pods, housing a total of 12 rockets.
  • Each Pinaka rocket can carry a 100kg payload for a range of 40km.
  • The new Pinaka ER gives it a range of around 70 km, over the 45 km existing range of the missile which has been with the Indian forces for nearly a decade.
  • A single Pinaka battery can neutralise a surface area of 700m x 500m.
  • The system can engage targets with a circular error probability (CEP) of one to two percent of range.

Warhead variations

  • The rockets can be fitted with wide range of warheads including pre-fragmented high explosive, anti-tank bomblet, anti-tank minelet warhead, anti-personnel mines, incendiary practice and pilot shot.
  • The pre-fragmented warhead delivers 25% to 30% more destructive power than the conventional warhead.
  • The HMX-based composition is used in anti-tank bomblets / minelets to achieve 150mm armour penetration.

MBRL system navigation and propulsion

  • The propulsion is provided by High-Energy Composite (HEC) propellants.
  • The motor tubes made of high intensity steel are seamed with silica-phenolic materials for resisting higher flame temperatures.
  • The optimised nozzle design ensures a very high thrust.

Pinaka launch vehicle

  • The Pinaka launcher system is mounted on the indigenously built TATRA/BEML 8×8 vehicle.
  • The vehicle can carry a payload of 12t.
  • It is equipped with an on-board generator supplying primary power for launcher operations.
  • Other equipment aboard the vehicle includes a microprocessor-based thyristor power unit, a joystick controller and a manual back-up.

3. Facts for Prelims


  • The Chakmas and Hajongs, originally residents of the Chittagong Hill Tracts of the former East Pakistan, had to flee when their land was submerged by the Kaptai dam project in the 1960s.
  • Buddhists by faith, the Chakmas faced religious persecution in East Pakistan along with the Hajongs, who are Hindus.
  • Out of those who reached India, most of them were Chakmas and only 2,000 were Hajong.
  • The groups entered India through what was then the Lushai Hills district of Assam (today’s Mizoram).
  • While some stayed back with Chakmas already living in the Lushai Hills, the Indian government moved a majority of the refugees to present-day Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The Chakma and Hajong refugees did not have citizenship and land rights.
  • They were provided basic amenities by the state government. 
  • Tribal groups in Arunachal Pradesh have been agitating for years against their settlement. The issue had also triggered tension and violence in Arunachal Pradesh several times.


  • The Group of Seven (G7) is an inter-governmental political forum consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • Its members are the world’s largest IMF advanced economies and wealthiest liberal democracies;
  • The group is officially organized around shared values of pluralism and representative government.
  • The G-7 was, for a while, known as the Group of Eight (G-8), until 2014 when former member Russia was removed after annexing the region of Crimea illegally from Ukraine.
  • The European Union (EU) is sometimes considered to be a de-facto eighth member of the G-7 since it holds all the rights and responsibilities of full members except to chair or host meetings.
  • The major purpose of the G-7 is to discuss and sometimes act in concert to help resolve global problems, with a special focus on economic issues.
  • Since its inception in the early 1970s, the group has discussed financial crises, monetary systems, and major world crises, such as oil shortages.
  • The G-7 has also launched initiatives to fund issues and relieve crises where it sees an opportunity for joint action. Those efforts include several aimed at debt relief for developing nations.

Galaxy AGC 114905

  • It is a Galaxy located 250 million light-years away where, astronomers could find no trace of the mysterious stuff, even after 40 hours of detailed observation and subsequent analysis.
  • AGC 114905 is what we call an ultra diffuse dwarf galaxy.
  • It’s about the size of the Milky Way, but much, much less luminous, containing far fewer stars – around a thousand times fewer. Because they have so little normal matter, it’s thought that these galaxies ought to be held together by dark matter.
  • Dark matter is one of the big mysteries of the Universe.
  • We don’t know what it is because we can’t detect it directly, but we know there’s some mass out there causing a range of effects in the Universe that can’t be explained by normal matter alone.
  • Astronomers believe that dark matter helps galaxies form.
  • There’s an invisible dark matter web spanning the Universe, and the gravity it generates helps normal matter come together into galaxies.

Stand-off Anti-Tank Missile (SANT)

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Air Force (IAF) flight tested helicopter-launched Stand-off Anti-Tank (SANT) missile from Pokhran ranges .
  • Equipped with a state-of-the-art millimetre wave (MMW) seeker, which provides high precision strike capability from a safe distance, the weapon can neutralise targets in a range upto 10 km.
  • The missile has been designed and developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad in coordination with other DRDO labs.
  • This is the third in the series of indigenous stand off weapons to be tested in recent times after long range bomb and smart anti airfield weapon for strengthening the arsenal of IAF.
  • SANT is one of the best airborne anti-armour guided missiles in the world. The missile has both lock-on before launch and lock-on after launch capability.
  • The missile will be inducted after a couple of similar tests from on-board light combat helicopters and advanced light helicopters.

Molecular chaperones

  • DNA is a linear chain of nucleotides, portions of which are faithfully transcribed into linear messenger RNA.
  • The message in this RNA is translated into strings of amino acids – proteins.
  • Proteins need to take a precise three-dimensional shape to become functional entities.
  • This protein folding does not happen all by itself, at least most of the time. A special bunch of proteins called molecular chaperones assist in correctly folding the protein.
  • Chaperones are a family of proteins that play a vital role in the stabilization of unfolded proteins. This stabilization aids in many processes such as translocation, degradation, and folding.
  • There are several families of chaperones and each possesses different functions. Example of chaperon proteins are the “heat shock proteins” (Hsps).
  • The name Hsp was given after these proteins were discovered in bacterium.
  • These bacteria produced more of these proteins in stressful conditions, such as higher temperatures, pH variation and hypoxic conditions.
  • Two examples of Hsps are Hsp70 and Hsp60.

Beads of glass in Meteorites

  • Most meteorites contain tiny beads of glass that date back to the earliest days of the solar system, before planets formed. Now, scientists with Chicago University have published an analysis of how these beads came to be, and what they can tell us about the early solar system.
  • The beads of glass inside these meteorites are called chondrules. But what exactly caused the formation of these chondrules remains unclear.
  • Scientists can find clues about the early days of the solar system by looking at the types of a given element in a rock. Elements can come in several different forms, called isotopes, and the proportion in each rock varies according to what happened when that rock was born, how hot it was, whether it cooled slowly or was flash-frozen. From there, scientists can piece together a history of likely events.
  • Scientists at the University of Chicago measured the concentrations and isotopes of two elements that are depleted in meteorites, potassium and rubidium.
  • The team pieced together what must have been happening as the chondrules formed. The elements would have been part of a clump of dust that got hot enough to melt, and then to vapourize. Then, as the material cooled at a rate of around 500 degrees C per hour, some of that vapour coalesced back into chondrules.
  • They theorise that massive shockwaves passing through the early nebula could have been sudden and violent enough to cause this extreme heating and cooling, says a University of Chicago release.

4. Places in News

Buxa Tiger Reserve

  • Buxa Tiger Reserve is situated in the Alipurduar Sub-division of Jalpaiguri District, West Bengal
  • The forests of the reserve can be broadly classified as the ‘Moist Tropical Forest’.
  • Buxa Tiger Reserve or Buxa National Park set up at the north-eastern corner of West Bengal bordering Bhutan and Assam in the Alipurduar District is a protected Forest Reserve of Dooars. Buxa Tiger Reserve was created in 1983 as the 15th tiger reserve in India.
  • Before getting the status of National Park, the dense forest of Buxa was once well-known for dolomite mining in the North Bengal Region.
  • Buxa derived its name from the famous Buxa Fort.
  • Buxa Fort is a historic fort sited midst the dense forest used by the British rulers of India as a high security prison and detention camp in the 1930s.
  • Buxa National Park has a great collection of rare orchids and medicinal plants making it a must visit places in Dooars for the botany enthusiast traveling in North Bengal region.
  • The diversity of mammals in Buxa Tiger Reserve ranks second highest among all the Tiger Reserves of India. Apart from Bengal Tiger, there many exquisite wild animals like leopard, Wild Dogs, Malayan Giant Squirrels, Mongooses, Asian Elephant, Gaur, Hog Deer, Wild Buffalo, 3 varieties of Pythons, Monitor Lizard and different species of land tortoises in Buxa National Park.

Kashi Vishwanath Corridor

  • The Kashi Vishwanath Temple Corridor project in Varanasi is aimed at transforming pilgrims’ experience of the temple town. 
  • The Kashi Vishwanath Temple Corridor project in Varanasi connects the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple and the ghats along the river Ganga.
  • The project is aimed at ensuring easy movement of pilgrims and devotees between the ghats and the temple.
  • Earlier, they had to pass through congested streets to reach the temple.
  • More than 40 ancient temples were rediscovered during the work on the project.
  • They were restored while ensuring there is no change in the original structure.
  • In Varanasi, “smart signages” have been erected to provide information on the cultural importance of heritage sites and the city’s 84 ghats, which are known for their antiquity and architectural significance.

New Caledonia

  • New Caledonia is a French territory comprising dozens of islands in the South Pacific.
  • It’s known for its palm-lined beaches and marine-life-rich lagoon, which, at 24,000-sq.-km, is among the world’s largest.
  • A massive barrier reef surrounds the main island, Grand Terre, a major scuba-diving destination.
  • The capital, Nouméa, is home to French-influenced restaurants and luxury boutiques selling Parisian fashions.

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