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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

India Rankings 2020 for Higher Educational Institutions

13th June, 2020

Why in News?

Recently, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MoHRD),  released National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) rankings in which the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Madras retained its position as country’s best in the field of higher education.

More facts:

  • This is the fifth consecutive edition of India Rankings of the institutions of higher education in India.
  • In 2020, an addition to nine rankings ie one domain “Dental” has been introduced for the first time bringing the total tally to 10 categories/subject domains.

Data collection:

  • Besides, sourcing data on various parameters from applicant institutions, third party sources of data have also been used, wherever possible.
  • A total number of 3771 unique institutions offered themselves for ranking under “Overall”, category-specific and/or domain-specific rankings for India Rankings 2020.
  • These rankings come after the QS World University Rankings showed that India’s best including the IISc and most IITs have slipped in the global lists.

Key Findings:

  • IIT Madras retained 1st Position in Overall Ranking as well as in Engineering,
  • The IITs dominated the engineering category by occupying nine out of the top 10 spots.
  • Among universities, improvements were made by Amrita Vidya Vishwapeetham (Rank 8 to 4), BITS-Pilani (from 23 to 15) and Jadavpur University (from 6 to 5).
  • Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) slipped six spots to Rank 17.
  • There was a bit of a reshuffle in the college category.
  • While Miranda College retained the top position, Lady Shri Ram College emerged as the second-best from Rank 5 last year and Hindu College dropped from Rank 2 to 3 this year.
  • AIIMS-Delhi is the country’s top medical institute followed by PGI, Chandigarh and Christian Medical College in Vellore.

About the NIRF:

The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) was approved by the MHRD and launched on 29th September 2015.

  • This framework outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country.
  • The methodology draws from the overall recommendations broad understanding arrived at by a Core Committee set up by MHRD, to identify the broad parameters for ranking various universities and institutions.
  • The parameters broadly cover
    • “Teaching, Learning and Resources,”
    • “Research and Professional Practices,”
    • “Graduation Outcomes,”
    • “Outreach and Inclusivity,” and
    • “Perception”
  • This ranking exercise has also created a habit of organizing the data by the institutions and most of all these institutions attempt themselves to become more competitive.
  • Aside from the overall rankings, NIRF also lists out best institutions across another nine categories — college, university, medical, engineering, management, pharmacy, law, architecture, and dental.

Significance of the ranking:

  • These rankings act as a guide to students for selection of universities based on a set of criteria and help universities to improve their performance on various ranking parameters and identify gaps in research and areas of improvement.
  • These rankings of Institutions at the national level instill a competitive spirit amongst institutions to perform better and secure a higher rank in the international ranking.

World Food Prize – 2020

Why in News?

The Indian-American soil scientist Dr Rattan Lal has been named as this year’s recipient of the World Food Prize for developing and mainstreaming a soil-centric approach to increasing food production that conserves natural resources and mitigates climate change.


  • The World Food Prize is considered equivalent to the Nobel Prize in the field of agriculture, and the recipient is awarded $250,000 for improving the quality and availability of food.

About his Research & contributions:

  • The soil scientist’s research led to improved food production along with a better understanding of how atmospheric carbon can be held in the soil to help combat climate change.
  • Dr Lal’s model indicates that restoring soil health can lead to multiple benefits by the year 2100, including more than doubling the global annual grain yield to feed the growing world population, while decreasing the land area under grain cultivation by 30 per cent and decreasing fertiliser use by half.
  • Dr Lal is a trailblazer in soil science with a prodigious passion for research that improves soil health, enhances agricultural production, improves the nutritional quality of food, restores the environment and mitigates climate change.

About the World Food Prize:

The World Food Prize was established by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Norman Borlaug in 1986.

The foundation is based in Des Moines, Iowa in US and the first recipient of this award was Indian agricultural scientist Dr M.S. Swaminathan in 1987, regarded as the father of India’s Green Revolution.

The Vamsadhara Water Dispute

Why in News?

Andhra Pradesh Government is planning to build Neradi bridge across the Vamsadhara river which will be possible only after Odisha’s consent.

More Facts:

  • The dispute is between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
  • Vamsadhara river or Bansadhara river is an east flowing river which originates in Odisha and joins the Bay of Bengal in Andhra Pradesh.
  • It lies between Rushikulya and Godavari.
  • Vansadhara Water Dispute Tribunal (VWDT) wasset up in 2010 to look into the dispute between the two states.

 Facts  For Prelims

Baghjan Oil Field:

  • A gas well at Baghjan in Tinsukia district of Assam was recently caught fire.
  • The Baghjan oilfield is owned by the Oil India Limited (OIL).
  • It is a part of the Greater Chandmari Fields.
  • It is engaged in in active oil production since 2003.

Major incidents:

  • 1984: Bhopal Gas Tragedy caused by accidental release of toxic gas Methyl Iso Cyanate (MIC).
  • 2011- Chlorine Gas Leak in an effluent treatment plant in Chinchwad, Pune
  • 2014: Poisonous Gas Leak from Bhilai Steel Plant in Durg, Chhattisgarh
  • 2017- blast in the boiler area of state-run NTPC Ltd’s Unchahar power plant in Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh
  • 2018: Ammonia Gas link from a plant in Ratnagiri, Mumbai
  • 2020- Styrene Gas Leak, Visakhapatnam

India Gaur:

Recently, the first population estimation exercise of the Indian Gaur (Bison) was carried out in the Nilgiris Forest Division, Tamil Nadu.

  • World Wide Fund for Nature Indiaassisted the exercise and highlighted that there are estimated 2,000 Indian gaurs across the division.

More Facts :

  • Indian Gaur also called as Indian Bison is the world’s largest and tallest wild bovines.
  • IUCN Status:Vulnerable
  • Wildlife Protection Act,1972: Schedule I
  • Geographic range: Native to South and South-East Asia.
  • Significance: It is the State animal of Goa.
  • Threatsa)Habitat Fragmentation b) Hunting for consumption and c) contract diseases transmitted by domestic cattle.

Operation Desert Chase:

  • Operation Desert Chase was the name of the Anti-espionage operation started by Military Intelligence(MI) in early 2019.
  • It successfully culminated in 2020 with the arrest of two civil defence employees that they had been passing on sensitive information to Pakistan’s spy agency ISI.



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