Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Jul 27, 2020

Current Affair 1:
Seismicity Study of Arunachal Himalaya

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It was in news in PIB.

Recently, a study by the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), pertaining to the exploration of the elastic properties of rocks and seismicity in Arunachal Himalaya, has revealed that the area is generating moderate earthquakes at two different crustal depths.

Why it is important to study Himalayas?

The exhumation and growth of the Himalaya is a continuous process that results predominantly from reverse faults in which the rocks on the lower surface of a fault plane move under relatively static rocks on the upper surface, a process called under thrusting of the Indian plate beneath its Eurasian counterpart. This process keeps modifying the drainage patterns and landforms and is the pivotal reason for causing an immense seismic hazard in the Himalayan mountain belt and adjoining regions, necessitating assessment and characterization of earthquakes in terms of cause, depth and intensity before construction activities are initiated.

Which part of Himalayas was studied?

The Tuting-Tidding Suture Zone (TTSZ) is a major part of the Eastern Himalaya, where the Himalaya takes a sharp southward bend and connects with the Indo-Burma Range. This part of the Arunachal Himalaya has gained significant importance in recent times due to the growing need of constructing roads and hydropower projects, making the need for understanding the pattern of seismicity in this region critical.

Who conducted study?

A study by the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, exploring the elastic properties of rocks and seismicity in this easternmost part of India revealed that the area is generating moderate earthquakes at two different depths.

  1. Low magnitude earthquakes are concentrated at 1-15 km depth, and slightly higher greater than 4.0 magnitude earthquakes are mostly generated from 25-35 km depth.
  2. The intermediate depth is devoid of seismicity and coincides with the zone of fluid/partial melts.

What study reveals?

It reveals the under-thrusting mechanism of Indian plate in the Tuting-Tidding Suture Zone. Extremely high Poisson’s ratio was also obtained in the higher parts of the Lohit Valley, indicating the presence of fluid or partial melt at crustal depths. This detailed assessment of seismicity in this region will be helpful for planning any largescale construction in this region in the future.

For prelims, remember the name of zones mentioned. It is from PIB, so don’t miss. They won’t go in deep, just any term they can put in question.

Current Affair 2:
India’s millets policy: is it headed in the right direction?

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The year 2023 will be observed as the International Year of Millets, following India’s proposal to the Food and Agriculture Organization, which was approved in at the 160th session of the FAO Council in December 2018. Through decades, the country has enjoyed a rich association with millets, though the Green Revolution favoured rice and wheat. Millets survived, thanks to cultural traditions, but came to be known as “coarse grains.”

Why Millets are important?

  1. Millets are found in diverse parts of the world and form the earliest family of cereals cultivated by humans. “What is exciting about them is their genetic diversity. They have a huge potential for meeting our food needs in the future.
  2. Millets are suitable for harsh, hot and dry environments. They can grow in arid regions, requiring only 350-400 mm of annual rainfall. Some varieties of pearl millet survive at temperatures up to 46 degrees Celsius. Besides, they require minimal inputs.
  3. In order to ensure that soil health is retained, we should focus on growing less extractive crops like millets. They are good for holding water and adding a lot of organic matter for soil health revival.

Millet production in India

In the past six decades, India has witnessed a decrease in the area under millets. However, the productivity (yield in kg/ha) of these crops has gone up due to the adoption of high-yielding varieties and improved production technologies. See the trend.

Among the states, the maximum area under millets was in Rajasthan.

Why decrease in area?

The main reasons behind the decline are low remuneration, lack of input subsidies and price incentives, subsidised supply of fine cereals through the public distribution system (PDS) and change in consumer preferences. These factors led to a shift from the production of millets (jowar in particular) to soybean, maize, cotton, sugarcane and sunflower.

India’s millet mission

  1. India is the largest producer of millets in the world. The Centre declared 2018 as the year of millets.
  2. The Government of India’s Millet Mission comes under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM), launched in October 2007.
  3. NFSM-Coarse Cereals is divided into two parts and one of them is the sub-mission on nutri cereals to be implemented in 202 districts of 14 states. Before this, millets were being promoted under INSIMP (Nutritional Security through Intensive Millets Promotion) during 2011-12 to 2013-14.
  4. Currently, millets are being promoted through technology dissemination, quality seeds through millet seed hubs, awareness generation, minimum support price and inclusion in PDS.
  5. Odisha Millets Mission (OMM) has been facilitating production, processing, marketing and consumption of all millets.
  6. Madhya Pradesh is also promoting millets, especially kodo and kutki, under the Centre’s nutri cereal scheme.
  7. Telangana launched a mini mission on millets in 2018 for a period of five years in six districts. The four main components of the project are promotion, consumption, processing and marketing of millets.

Problems on ground and way forward:

  1. There needs to be a strong integration of the sub-mission on nutri cereals with the flagship Poshan Abhiyaan of the Union government
  2. Apart from ragi and jowar, other types of millets have tough seed coats and need more processing. While little millets are difficult to process, this does not imply that they will be lost. There should be more focus on the modification of current processing machines to ensure the conversion of millet seeds into flour.
  3. There are current innovation centres in numerous institutions that are designing appropriate processors. These initiatives need to be scaled up and made available at reasonable prices to farmers to ensure that little millets can be produced commercially.
  4. Traditional varieties of millets cultivated in semi-arid conditions, and which do not use irrigation, are resistant to pest infestations. However, if there is a move to creation of improved varieties that have higher sugar or carbohydrate levels largely as a consequence of irrigating millets to increase yields, locusts may become attracted to the plants. Thus, there is a need to ensure that only semi-arid methods rather than irrigated cultivation ones are promoted.

The promotion of ragi in Odisha, ragi and jowar in Karnataka and kodo and kutki in Madhya Pradesh need not be at the cost small millets.

Current Affair 3:
Law and Regulations on Issuance/Grant of Degrees in India

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The problem of timely issuance of degrees is a major cause of concern for various students across India. Many students are compelled to file cases against their own universities for timely issuance and grant of their own degrees. Many students have lost out on wonderful opportunities due to this non-issuance of degrees while applying abroad for further studies. In order to reduce and solve these problems for students and universities alike, University Grant Commission drafted regulations in 2008 under the exercise of the power conferred by clause (f) of Sub-Section (1) of Section 26 of the UGC Act, 1956.

The Regulations are titled "UGC Regulation, 2008 for Grant of degrees and other awards by Universities". These regulations govern the manner and issuance of degrees all across India.

Which all universities the above regulation is applicable?

These extant regulations are applicable to every University established or incorporated under a Central Act, a Provincial Act, or a State/Union Territory Act. It is also applicable to all the institutions deemed to be Universities under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956.

Provision in UGC Regulation, 2008 for Grant of degrees and other awards by Universities" related to issuing degrees.

The UGC Regulation, 2008 provides the definition of "Convocation" and "Graduation Ceremony" in Clause 2.5 and Clause 2.7 respectively.

The context of other awards has been referred to as "Academic Awards" that is certificates, diplomas, degrees, mark-sheets.

Objectives of the Regulations

  1. The objective of this regulation is to streamline the manner in which degree shall be awarded to students. It also provides a time limit for universities in which a degree award to an eligible student shall be awarded.
  2. The Clause 3.1 makes it mandatory on each University to grant Degrees and other awards regularly every academic year.

  1. The Clause 3.2 stipulates timely holding of a convocation for conferring the Degrees to each eligible student.

  1. The onus of conferring timely degree awards to students is on the Universities.

Procedure to be followed by the Universities: Read once.

  1. The procedure of awarding of the degree is laid down in Clause 4 of the UGC Regulations, 2008. This clause has 12 sub clauses from 4.1 to 4.12
  2. It provides for announcement of academic calendar providing the schedule of all activities including mandatory date/s for award of Degree.
  3. It stipulates that the University may schedule "Degree awards" more than once a year. The context of "Degree awards" in this clause means convocation or graduation ceremony.
  4. It provides that the Degree award date shall be within 180 days of the date/s by which the students are expected to qualify and become eligible for them.
  5. It makes it mandatory on the university to notify a programme for Degree awards at least 30 days before the date/s so fixed, so that the candidates can apply for the same.
  6. It provides for the holding of convocation to confer degree, ceremonial aspects of it, provision in case the convocation is not held.
  7. It provides the Universities the power to assign conduction of the graduation ceremony to selected colleges and such colleges are bound by directions of the University for conducting the ceremony.

Penalty for violation of these regulations

  1. These regulations also provide a penalty clause in case the University does not comply with any of the provisions of these Regulations.
  2. It provides that the Commission shall have the power to impose penalty on the University in the form of fine and take such other action as it may deem fit.

Current Affair 4:
Istanbul Convention

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Poland is to withdraw from a European treaty aimed at preventing violence against women. Just read what we have mentioned. Nothing more is needed. It is also called as the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence is based on the understanding that violence against women is a form of gender-based violence that is committed against women because they are women. It is the obligation of the state to fully address it in all its forms and to take measures to prevent violence against women, protect its victims and prosecute the perpetrators.

When a government ratifies the Convention, they are legally bound to follow it.

Along with members, non-members of European Union can also join this Convention. So, India have joined? NO. List of non-members:

Once look at the map also,


Current Affair 5:
Off-season flowering in poplar (Populus deltoides) Trees

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A researcher spotted off-season flowering in poplar (Populus deltoides) trees in Kapurthala, Punjab in 2019. Digging into the weather data, the research team found unusually high rainfall in May 2019 in Kapurthala indicating that there might be a correlation between the unusual rainfall and off-season flowering and that their observations provide early clues of changing climate conditions.

The researchers have published their findings in the International Journal of Biometeorology where they say, their observations provide “early clues of changing climatic conditions that have altered the flowering pattern of Populus deltoides.”

Weather patterns and flowering

Plants usually bear flowers only when the season is right. They have finely tuned internal mechanisms to sense the change in temperature, humidity and other external factors. “Our measurement devices, (thermometer, hygrometer) can go wrong but not plants. They are very-well attuned to changes in weather. This sort of off-season flowering is an “open example” of changing weather patterns.

Other such example:

  1. A 2014 study reported that Rhododendron – a key plant in the central Himalayan region – is now flowering months earlier than it used to a hundred-years-ago.
  2. A recent news report from southern India says important fruit-bearing trees, like mango, jackfruit, nutmeg, and cashew are experiencing a change in the flowering season.
  3. Another 2019 study from Mizoram in eastern India, reports phenological shifts in as many as six species of trees growing in the semi-evergreen forest of Mizoram University Campus in Aizawl.

Though several reports of changing phenological (defined below) behaviour in plants exist in the scientific literature, a nation-wide effort to study such changes over a long period of time is much needed.

Phenology refers to the timing of important events – flowering, fruiting, shedding and emergence of leaves – in a plant’s life cycle. It is closely tied with the weather and climate conditions. When phenological shifts happen, there are consequences, not just for the affected plant but also for organisms that depend on that plant.

Current Affair 6:
New study provides valuable historical dataset for Yellow River water management

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Ok, here my purpose is more to make you learn map of Yellow Sea. But we will see news in brief. Don’t worry about such news that it is not published in the Hindu.. Due to COVID-19, very a smaller number of important news are published. So, we are going through different magazines to find something important.

News details:

  1. The Yellow River (YR) is the fifth-longest and the most sediment-laden river in the world. Although the YR accounts for only 3% of China's water resources, it irrigates 13% of its cropland.
  2. Since the 1960s, an increasing number of large-scale dams and reservoirs have been built in the main YR channel, and water consumption by agricultural irrigation along the YR middle course has risen sharply. In recent decades, YR runoff and sediment load have fallen sharply.
  3. This reduced runoff has resulted in an estimated 58% reduction of the sediment load in the upper reach of the YR and 29% reduction in the middle reach.
  4. Human activities, mainly expansive agricultural irrigation in the upper course, have contributed to reduced runoff and sediment load in the upper-middle course of the YR.
  5. If these human activities continue to intensify, future YR runoff will be further reduced, and this will negatively impact agriculture, human lives, and socioeconomic development in the middle and lower basins of the YR.
  6. To reduce the risk of recurring cutoff of stream flow in the YR lower basin, water should be allocated judiciously. Policies should balance water allocation among the needs of agriculture, industry and ecosystems.

Now map,

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