Pangong lake

Recently, Indian and Chinese armies clashed along the Pangong lake in Ladakh. Consider the following statements regarding Pangong Lake:
1. It is a landlocked lake in the Ladakh Himalayas.
2. It is part of the Indus river basin area.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
1 only
2 only
Both 1 and 2
Neither 1 nor 2
Explanation :
• Pangong Tso is a long narrow, deep, landlocked lake located at a height of over 14,000-feet in the Ladakh Himalaya and around 1300- km west of Sikkim.
• It is a brackish water lake freezes over in winter, and becomes ideal for ice skating and polo.
• It is not a part of Indus river basin area.
• The lake is in the process of being identified under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance. This will be the first trans-boundary wetland in South Asia under the convention.

Tawny lark

This bird, found only in the arid grasslands and scrub lands of central and west-central India including Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, is known for its ability to mimic 34 other bird species. Which bird is this?

a       Rose-ringed parakeet
b       Common Minah
c       Tawny lark
d       Red-whiskered Bulbul

Solution (c)

Do you know?

Tawny lark: the dull brown-coloured bird that is small enough to fit in your palm can imitate calls of 34 other birds found in its habitat, and even shepherds’ whistles.

Many birds mimic the calls of other birds to impress females during territorial displays, to discourage competing species from using the area and to teach their young to associate the calls of other birds with danger. The diminutive crested Tawny lark – found only in the arid grasslands and scrub lands of central and west-central India including Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra – belongs to a family of larks well-known for their mimicking abilities.

Male Tawny larks imitate the calls of 34 other bird species, including babblers and lapwings, with varied accuracy.

Interestingly, they even mimicked a squirrel and whistles of local shepherds – indicating that the birds learn from their surroundings.

Birds often learn to mimic other birds and sounds they hear, like Australia’s Superb lyrebird which can imitate chainsaws and car alarms. Though mimicry is poorly-studied and its functions highly debated, it is thought to influence the behaviour of birds (of the same species and others) that are listening.

Blue Halo

A recent study shows that flowering plants have evolved to produce a ‘Blue Halo’ from there petals. Which of the following statements is correct regarding the Blue Halo?

a       It is invisible to humans but lure pollinating bees
b       It repels the harmful insects by triggering their panic centers.
c       It helps in repelling the harmful UV radiations coming from the sun.
d       None of the above

Solution (a)

Blue Halo

Hundreds of flower species have evolved the ability to project ethereal halos of blue light invisible to humans in order to lure pollinating bees.
In laboratory experiments, bumblebees were drawn to synthetic flowers designed to generate the same kind of ultraviolent rings.
The effect occurs in the ultraviolent part of the optical spectrum that we cannot see, but bees can.
Previous studies have shown that bees in search of nectar-giving plants are attracted to odours, but take most of their cues from colours and petal shapes. Bees are especially sensitive to the band of colours on the light spectrum where blue graduates into ultraviolent.

Many flowers lack the genetic and biochemical capability to manipulate pigment chemistry into the blue-to-ultraviolent spectrum.
So arranging the molecules in petals so that reflected sunlight will produce a blue halo emerged as an alternative evolutionary strategy to attract pollinators.
Remarkably, otherwise divergent species wound up with the same lure.
Findings suggest the petal ridges that produce ‘blue halos’ evolved many times across different flower lineages, all converging on this optical signal for pollinators.

Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY)

Consider the following statements about Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY)

1.      Government of India will be paying the 8.33% Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) contribution of the employer for the new employment

2.      The scheme is applicable to an employee earning less than (and including) Rs. 15000 per month

3.      It is under the aegis of Ministry of Labour & Employment

Select the correct statements

a       1 and 2
b       2 and 3
c       1 and 3
d       All of the above

Solution (d)

The PMRPY Scheme aims to incentivise employers for employment generation by the Government paying the employers’ EPS contribution of 8.33%, for the new employees, for the first three years of their employment and is proposed to be made applicable for unemployed persons that are semi-skilled and unskilled. The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Employment and is operational since August, 2016.

The PMRPY Scheme is targeted for employees earning wages less than Rs 15,000/- per month. Thus, new employees earning wages more than Rs 15,000/- per month will not be eligible.