Current Affairs Analysis

16th July 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Ladybird beetles; India-EU summit; Sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade (SPS-TBT); Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA); Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS); Total Fertility Rate; Replacement level fertility; Gangetic Dolphin; Conservation Action Plan for the Gangetic Dolphin; National Chambal Sanctuary; China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC); Jhelum River; Azad Pattan; Karot project; Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services; Anabin; National Institutes of Design (NID); Corosure; Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate vaccine; Pneumococcal disease; T cells; First trans-shipment port of India; Trans-Shipment Hub; Vallarpadam Terminal; Woolly Whitefly; India’s Trade Surplus; Tatya Tope; Magnetic minerals; etc.
By IASToppers
July 18, 2020

Contents

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Anabin
  • Corosure
  • Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate vaccine
  • COVID-19-specific memory T cells

Social Issues

  • India’s population may peak by 2047

Economy

  • First trans-shipment port of India
  • India’s Trade Surplus

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Dolphin number dips in Chambal River
  • Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services
  • Ladybird beetles

Bilateral & International Relations

  • India and E.U. push trade talks
  • PoK hydel project

Indian History

  • Tatya Tope monument

Geophysical Phenomena

  • Magnetic minerals can forecast climatic changes faster

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Issues related to Health & Education

Anabin

National Institutes of Design students will be able to easily apply for work permits in Germany now, as NIDs have been included in the Anabin database, Germany.

About Anabin:

  • Anabin is a German database that lists foreign degrees and higher education qualifications in relation to German diplomas and degrees.
  • Recognition of foreign university-level qualifications in Germany is often an essential prerequisite for securing a German Work Visa, Job Seekers Visa or German Blue Card.
  • NID Ahmedabad was included in the Anabin list in 2015 and the other new NIDs have also now been incorporated in this database recently.

National Institutes of Design (NID)

  • Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India has established five National Institutes of Design (NID) in India for imparting world-class design education.
  • NID Ahmedabad (with campuses in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar & Bengaluru) commenced its activities in 1961. Four new NID’s namely – NID Andhra Pradesh, NID Haryana, NID Assam, and NID Madhya Pradesh came up in the last few years.
  • NIDs are declared as Institutions of National Importance by virtue of the Act of Parliament and are internationally acclaimed premier design institutes.
[Ref: PIB]

Corosure

The Government launched World’s Most Affordable COVID-19 Diagnostic Kit, Corosure.

  • It was developed by IIT Delhi and will be manufactured by Newtech Medical Devices.   
  • The kit is based on RT-PCR.
  • It was developed indigenously and is much cheaper than other kits.
  • It is a probe-free diagnostic kit.
  • The kit has received ICMR approval with the highest score and DCGI approved with a very high sensitivity and specificity.

Expected Benefits:

  • Provide affordable detection kit helping the country.
[Ref: PIB]

Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate vaccine

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the first fully indigenously developed conjugate vaccine for pneumonia developed by the Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd, Pune.

  • This vaccine is used for active immunisation against invasive disease and pneumonia caused by streptococcus pneumonia in infants.
  • The vaccine is administered intramuscularly.

Pneumococcal disease

  • Pneumococcal disease is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus).
  • Can spread the bacteria to others when they cough or sneeze
  • Pneumococcus bacteria can cause infections in many parts of the body, including
    • Lungs
    • Ears
    • Sinuses
    • Brain and spinal cord tissue
    • Blood
  • Symptoms of pneumococcal infection depend on the part of the body affected. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, stiff neck etc.
  • In severe cases, pneumococcal disease can cause hearing loss, brain damage, and death.
[Ref: The Hindu]

COVID-19-specific memory T cells

Recently studies have shown that people unexposed to and not infected with novel coronavirus may still exhibit T cell responses specific to this virus.

  • It is thought that SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses seen in healthy people might arise from memory T cells derived from exposure to common cold coronaviruses.

Benefits:

  • People with a high level of pre-existing memory T cells could mount a faster and stronger immune response upon exposure to the virus and thereby limit disease severity.

Concerns:

  • Pre-existing immunity could be mistaken as enhanced efficacy of the vaccine in eliciting immune responses.
  • The pre-existing immunity can reduce the immune responses that the vaccine causes through a mechanism called the ‘original antigenic sin’. Itrefers to the propensity of the body’s immune system to preferentially utilize immunological memory based on a previous infection when a second slightly different version of that foreign entity is encountered. It also known as Hoskins effect.
  • It can also lead to antibody-mediated disease enhancement, where antibodies present at sub-neutralising concentrations can actually augment virus infection and cause more severe disease. This is seen in chikungunya and dengue.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Social Issue

India’s population may peak by 2047

Recently, a report named “Fertility, mortality, migration, and population scenarios for 195 countries and territories from 2017 to 2100” was launched by lancet.

  • The report used data from the Lancet Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 to model future population in various scenarios as a function of fertility, migration, and mortality rates.

Key Highlights of the report

Global Highlights

  • World population will peak at 9.73 billion in 2064.
    • The UN report World Population Prospects 2019 estimated that world population will peak in 2100 with 11 billion people.
  • In 2100, the world population will fall to 8.79 billion from the 2064 peak.
    • Reason for decline: Increased female educational attainment and access to contraception will hasten declines in fertility and slow population growth.
  • The five largest countries in 2100: India, Nigeria, China, the U.S. and Pakistan.
  • In 2100, 2.37 billion will be older than 65 years and 1.70 billion will be younger than 20 years.
  • In 23 countries including Japan, Thailand, Italy and Spain, population is projected to shrink by more than 50%.

Total Fertility Rate

  • Global TFR is predicted to steadily decline from 2.37 in 2017 to 1.66 in 2100.
    • TFR – children who would be born per woman over her childbearing years (i.e. age 15-49).
  • By 2050, 151 countries were forecasted to have a TFR lower than the replacement level (TFR<2.1), and 183 were forecasted to have a TFR lower than replacement by 2100.
    • Replacement level fertility is the average number of children born per woman, at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next, without migration.

India related highlights

  • For India, the report projects a peak population of 1.6 billion in 2048, up from 1.38 billion in 2017.
    • As per Census 2011, India’s population is 1.2 billion.
  • By 2100, the population is projected to decline by 32% to 1.09 billion.
  • India’s TFR was 2.2 in 2019. TFR will reach 1.29 in 2100.
  • The number of working-age adults (20–64 years) will fall from 748 million in 2017 to 578 million in 2100.
    • However, this will be the largest working-age population in the world by 2100. In the mid-2020s.
  • From 2017 to 2100, India is projected to rise up the list of countries with the largest GDP, from 7th to 3rd.
  • India is projected to have the second largest net immigration in 2100, with an estimated half a million more people immigrating to India in 2100 than emigrating out.
  • Among the 10 countries with the largest populations, India is projected to have one of the lowest life expectancies (79.3 years in 2100, up from 69.1 in 2017).

Suggestions

  • There is need for countries to address the potential catastrophic impact of a shrinking working-age population, and countries should give incentives to increase TFR, and using artificial intelligence as a path towards self-sufficiency.
  • Wealthy countries such as the UK and the USA could counteract the impact of these changes through net migration of working-age adults from the countries with growing populations.
  • There is need to invest in technological advancements that can compensate for the human shortages. For example, Japan has managed the needs of its greying population with virtually no emphasis on migration.
[Ref: Indian Express, the Hindu]

Economy

First trans-shipment port of India

The Kochi International Container Trans-shipment Terminal (ICTT), locally known as the Vallarpadam Terminal is located strategically on the Indian coastline is India’s first trans-shipment hub.

  • It would be managed by DP World.

What is Trans-Shipment Hub?

Trans-shipment Hub is the terminal at the port which handles containers, stores them temporarily and transfers them to other ships for the onward destination.

It successfully fulfills all the criteria which are needed to develop it as trans-shipment hub which include:

  • It is best positioned Indian port with regard to proximity to International sea routes.
  • It is located at least average nautical distance from all Indian feeder ports.
  • It entails a connectivity which has multiple weekly feeder connections to all ports on West & East Coast of India, From Mundra to Kolkata.
  • It has proximity to key hinterland markets of India.
  • It has the infrastructure to manage large ships and capacity to scale it up as per requirement.

Vallarpadam Terminal of Cochin Port is proposed to be developed as most preferred gateway for South India and leading trans-shipment hub of South Asia.

[Ref: PIB]

India’s Trade Surplus

For the first time in a decade, India experienced a surplus in its merchandise trade.

India exported $0.79 billion more than it had imported in June.

Exports Data:

  • India’s goods exports declined 12.41 per cent to $21.91 billion in June from $25.01 billion in June last year. Mainly due to a drop in shipments of major commodities like engineering goods and gems and jewellery.
  • Exports of commodities like gems and jewellery dropped 50.06 per cent, and readymade garments of all textiles around 34.84 per cent.

Imports:

  • Imports declined 47.59 per cent to $21.11 billion from $40.29 billion over the same period.
  • Imports of petroleum, crude and their products dropped 55.29 per cent to $4.93 billion from $11.03 billion.

Implications:

  • The decline in imports can affect industrial activity.
[Ref: Indian Express]

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Dolphin number dips in Chambal River

According to a census report prepared by Madhya Pradesh, dolphins’ number in Chambal River has been reduced by 13 % in four years.

National Chambal Sanctuary

  • It was set up in 1979 as a riverine sanctuary along Chambal River near the tripoint of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
  • In March, 2020, the Government of India declared National Chambal Sanctuary as Eco-Sensitive Zone.
    • Hence, construction of resorts, hotels or other residential and industrial activities are prohibited.
    • Eco-Sensitive Zones are regulated with guidelines framed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate change.
  • It is a protected area for the protection of the Critically Endangered gharial, the red-crowned roof turtle and the Endangered Ganges river dolphin.
  • Chambal supports 8 of the 26 rare turtle species found in India, including Indian narrow-headed softshell turtle, three-striped roof turtle and crowned river turtle.
  • It is the only known place where nesting of Indian Skimmers is recorded in large numbers.
  • Migratory birds from Siberia, Vulnerable bird species such as Indian skimmer, sarus crane etc. are found here. It is listed as an important bird area (IBA) of BirdLife International.
  • It is a proposed Ramsar site.

Highlights of the report                                

  • There are just 68 dolphins left in 435-kilometre-long Chambal river sanctuary. (There were 78 dolphins in 2016).
  • The maximum carrying capacity of dolphins in Chambal is 125.
    • The carrying capacity of an environment is the maximum population size of a species that can be sustained in that specific environment, given the resources are available.

Reasons for decrease in population of dolphins

Sand Mining: Illegal extraction of sand from the river bed.

  • In 2006, the Supreme Court’s Central Empowered Committee (CEC) ordered a ban on mining in the sanctuary area to save the flora and fauna of the river. But illegal sand mining is still happening.
  • Forest teams face so many life threatening attacks while taking actions against illegal sand mafia.

Water level: Water consuming projects in Morena, Dholpur and Kota are decreasing the water level and flow.

  • It requires at least 3 metre depth for sustainable habitat.
  • Chambal is a lifeline for three states i.e. MP, UP and Rajasthan and the locals are withdrawing water daily.

Unfavourable habitat:

  • The dolphins were spotted for the first time in 1985 in Chambal River near Etawah. That time, the number was more than 110 but poaching reduced the number.
  • Now poaching is not at all a problem but unfavourable habitat is. Not only dolphins, but population of ghariyals has also been affected.

Lack of studies:

  • There are not many studies for safeguarding and increasing the population of dolphins in Chambal.

About Gangetic Dolphin

  • The Gangetic river dolphin (platanista gangetica) is one of the four freshwater dolphin species in the world.
  • The other three are: Baiji from Yangtze River in China (now extinct), Bhulan from Indus River in Pakistan and Boto from Amazon River in South America.
  • Habitat: Found in parts of the Ganges-Meghna-Brahmaputra and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.
  • They live in a zone where there is little or no current, helping them save energy. If they sense danger, they can dive into deep waters.

Characteristics

  • Being a freshwater mammal, it cannot breathe in the water and must surface every 30–120 seconds. Because of the sound it produces when breathing, the animal is popularly referred to as the “susu.”
  • It is blind and finds its way and prey in the river waters through echoes using ultrasound method.
  • Females are larger than males and give birth once every two to three years to only one calf.

Conservation Status

  • Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act: Schedule I (which means they have the highest degree of protection against hunting)
  • IUCN status: Endangered
  • It is among the 21 species identified under the centrally sponsored scheme, “Development of Wildlife Habitat”.
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES): Appendix I (species threatened with extinction)
  • Convention on Migratory Species (CMS): Appendix II (migratory species that have an unfavourable conservation status and require international agreements for their conservation)
  • India’s only sanctuary for dolphins: Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS) in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district

Conservation Action Plan for the Gangetic Dolphin

  • Conservation Action Plan for the Gangetic Dolphin (2010-2020) was prepared under the auspices of the National Ganga River Basin Authority. (In 2016, this authority was replaced by National Ganga Council).
  • This action plan proposes a set of detailed surveys to assess the population of the dolphin and the threats it faces.

 [Ref: Hindustan Times]

Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services

Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, Hyderabad observes Swachhata Pakhwada.

About Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS):

  • The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad is a globally recognized autonomous institution under Ministry of Earth Sciences, Govt. of India.
  • It was established in 1999.
  • The three primary services provided are the Tsunami Early Warning Service, Ocean State Forecast Service and Potential Fishing Zone Advisory Service.​

Swachhata Pakhwada:

  • It was held at the INCOIS untill 15 July.
  • Several activities were conducted towards awareness generation of the mission objectives to eradicate open defecation, efficient management of solid and liquid waste, encourage cost effective and appropriate technologies for ecologically safe and sustainable sanitation, overall cleanliness etc.
[Ref: PIB]

Ladybird beetles

Two types of ladybird beetles are among the three indigenous bugs found to be the biological weapons against a Caribbean-origin enemy of Indian fruit farmers — the woolly whitefly.

Woolly Whitefly

  • This Whitefly (Aleurothrixus floccosus) is invasive and polyphagous (a creature that feeds on various kinds of food). It is also called citrus whitefly.And is found across the warmer parts of the world.
  • Woolly whitefly first described from Jamaica in 1896 and noticed in Florida, U.S. in 1909.
  • ICAR’s National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources in Bengaluru reported about in 2019.
  • It spread from the Caribbean island through transportation of infested seedlings.
  • The woolly whitefly, according to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), pests damage 30-35% of crops in the country annually.
  • It has been found to attack some 20 plant families in India, exhibiting a strong preference for guava. It affected guava plantations in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Ladybird beetles

  • A team of entomologists from the Centre for Plant Protection Studies at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University have published findings in the latest edition of Bionotes. 
  • According to them, three indigenous bugs can control the pest by devouring them. Two of these indigenous predators were ladybird beetles of the Coccinellidae family and one was the green lacewing fly from the Neuroptera order.
  • These insects having four life stages — egg, grub, pupa and adult — complete their life cycle in 30-40 days. The bugs fed on the woolly whiteflies during the active grub stage for 10-12 days.
  • These can eat 200-300 woolly whiteflies throughout its growing stage.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Bilateral & International Relations

India and E.U. push trade talks

Recently, the 15th summit between India and the European Union (EU) was held via video conference.

  • EU is India’s largest trading partner, accounting for nearly 13% of total Indian trade in 2018 ahead of China (10.9%) and the USA (10.1%). On the other hand, India is the EU’s 9th largest trading partner.
  • EU is India’s biggest foreign investor, with €67.7 billion worth of investments made in 2018, equal to 22% of total FDI inflows.

Key Highlights of India-EU summit

Launch of “India-EU Strategic Partnership: A Roadmap to 2025” to further strengthen the India-EU Strategic Partnership over the next five years.

Trade

  • Agreed to revive talks on a free trade agreement that have been suspended since 2013, the two sides announced a high level dialogue to try and take the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) forward.
  • Cooperate in the India-EU Joint Working Group on sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade (SPS-TBT) to facilitate trade and the removal of obstacles.
  • Optimally use the Investment Facilitation Mechanism (IFM) established in 2017 to promote and facilitate EU investment flows into India.

Environment

  • Strengthen cooperation on water related matters through the Joint Working Group on Water and the EU-India Water Forum, as well as in the context of the India-EU Water Partnership (IEWP). (Launched in 2016 to enhance cooperation on water issues, including ‘Clean Ganga’ programme).

Research & Innovation

  • Civil nuclear research and development cooperation agreement between EURATOM and the Department of Atomic Energy,
  • Renewal of their science and technology agreement (2001) for another five years.
  • Agreed to widen the scale and impact under the next EU research and innovation programme, ‘Horizon Europe’ (2021-2027). Cooperation will take place on climate change & energy, in line with Mission Innovation.
  • On bioeconmy (economic activity involving the use of biotechnology), cooperation will focus on circular bioeconomy, next generation fuels, animal biotechnology and strengthen cooperation under multilateral fora, such as the International Bioeconomy Forum (IBF).

Security

  • Agreed to ensure a high level of protection of personal data and privacy. The reference is important in view of concerns over China’s state-sponsored data theft.
  • Implement a working arrangement between Europol and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Migration

  • Focus on full implementation of the Joint Declaration on Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM).
    • In 2016, India-EU established the India-EU Common Agenda for Migration and Mobility (CAMM) for cooperation on migration management. It outlines actions for legal migration, preventing and combatting irregular migration and addressing trafficking in human beings.

India-EU Relations

  • The diplomatic relations between India and EU were established in the 1960s, however, the 1994 Cooperation Agreement opened the door for larger political interactions between the two.
  • EU-India Strategic Partnership was signed in 2004 to enable the partners to better address complex international issues. For this objective, at the 2005 Summit, EU-India Joint Action Plan was adopted under which a comprehensive free trade agreement – called Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) was signed. BTIA was formally launched in 2007 in Brussels, Belgium.

Initial negotiations

  • The negotiations in their initial stages included: i) trade in goods with elimination of duties on 90 percent of the tariff lines within 7 years of the entry into force; ii) trade-in services so as to ensure maximum sectoral coverage; and iii) improving the market access and providing non-discriminatory treatment to foreign investors.
  • However, a deadlock has been in place since 2013.

Point of contentions in India-EU FTA pact

Trade in goods

  • EU demand: India should lower its tariffs on automobiles, wines and spirits. India has highlighted its concerns that while lowering the tariffs may result in increasing trade volume but could also lead to the European imports flooding the market.
  • India’s demand: EU should lower non-tariff barriers such as sanitary and phyto-sanitary barriers along with the strict technical barriers to trade which EU has imposed which have led to the reduction of Indian exports to the EU market.

Trade-in services

  • EU wants further liberalisation of the FDI in multi-retail brands like insurance, banking sector. This is where India has not given unlimited access to EU banks and companies.
  • Also, India wants to allow skilled Indian professionals to temporarily reside and work in EU member states so that Indian businesses would benefit from increased access to the EU services market. However, the EU says work permits and visas are under the remit of individual member states.

Intellectual property protection standards

  • The EU wants India to strengthen its intellectual property rights regime, for instance, with regard to pharmaceuticals.
  • Indian legislation bans both ‘ever-greening’ of patents they jeopardise the sale of low-priced generic drugs.

Bilateral investment treaties (BITs)

  • In 2016, India implemented the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BITs) in place of BTIA. Under the BITs, there is a provision of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) which seek a foreign company to go through the domestic jurisdiction process for at least five years before going to international arbitration in case of any dispute, however, the EU is against this provision.

Other issues

  • At present, India is not considered data-secure under EU legislation, despite India issuing new Information Technology Rules in 2011, in line with the “safe harbour” principles adopted by the United States. This hampers the flow of sensitive data such as information on patients, and means that Indian firms are unable to gain market access in the EU, increasing operating costs.
  • Along with these, on the Indian side, there remain several apprehensions including, legally binding clauses on Human Rights, social and environment, as well as labour standards, where India as a developing country has difficulty in complying.
[Ref: The Hindu]

PoK hydel project

Recently, Pakistan and China signed an agreement of $1.5 billion for the 700 MW Azad Pattan hydel power project.

  • In May 2020, Pakistan awarded the construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam to China, on the River Indus between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Diamer district in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan administered Kashmir. 

About the Azad Pattan project

  • It is located on the Jhelum River in Sudhoti district of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
  • It is a Run-of-the-river hydroelectricity project. (The natural flow and elevation drop of a river are used to generate electricity).
  • It is the second biggest power project of china in Pakistan under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
    • The first agreement, for the 1,124 MW Kohala project on Jhelum near Muzaffarabad, was signed in June 2020. This project is one of the biggest investments by China in PoK. Construction is expected to be complete by 2026.
    • Residents of Muzaffarabad had protested against the dam in 2018 due to concerns that it would reduce the flow of the Jhelum.

Other projects

  • The Azad Pattan project is one of five hydropower schemes on the Jhelum. Upstream from Azad Pattan are the Mahl, Kohala, and Chakothi Hattian projects; Karot is downstream.
  • The Karot project, executed by China on the Jhelum, is on the boundaries of Kotli district in PoK and Rawalpindi district in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

  • China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a collection of infrastructure projects that are currently under construction throughout Pakistan.
  • The CPEC is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China’s resource-rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.
  • It was launched in 2015 and passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Baluchistan. Hence, India opposed CPEC.
  • It is among the six economic corridors conceived under China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.
  • It is intended to rapidly expand Pakistani infrastructure as well as deepen economic links between Pakistan and China.

About Jhelum River

  • The Jhelum River (725 km) is the westernmost of the five rivers (Beas, Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi, and Sutlej) of the Punjab region that merge with the Indus River in eastern Pakistan.
  • It flows into northern India and eastern Pakistan.
  • It is a tributary of the Chenab River.
  • The river Jhelum is called Vitasta in the Rigveda.
  • Alexander the Great and his army crossed the Jhelum in BC 326 at the Battle of the Hydaspes where he defeated the Indian king, Porus.

Origin and flow path

  • Origin: rises from Verinag Spring situated at the foot of the Pir Panjal in Kashmir Valley.
  • Then it flows through Srinagar and Wular Lake before entering Pakistan. At Muzaffarabad, the Kishenganga Neelum River, the largest tributary of the Jhelum, joins it. Then it forms part of the border between Azad Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan.
  • The river then flows southward into Jhelum district Punjab province in Pakistan. There it join with the Chenab River. The Chenab merges with the Sutlej to form the Panjnad River, which joins the Indus River.
[Ref: Indian Express]

Indian History

Tatya Tope monument

The Maharasthra State government informed the Bombay High Court that more than ₹2.5 crore had already been spent on the construction of a national monument of the general Tatya Tope at Yeola in Nashik district.

  • A PIL sought a direction to change the place sanctioned for the monument from Yeola taluka to a plot in Angangaon village in Yevla tehsil of the same district.

About Tatya Tope:

  • Tantia Tope (1814-1859) and was born as Ramachandra Panduranga Yawalkar, in Nashik, Maharashtra.
  • He fought 150 battles against the British during his life span and demolished 10,000 British soldiers. He was known for his guerilla tactics.
  • Tantia Tope was defeated by Sir Colin Campbell (later Baron Clyde) on December 6, 1857.
  • Man Singh, a former Sardar in the Gwalior army, betrayed Tatia Tope’s trust by falling prey to the Jagir and the proposals offered by the Englishmen.
  • Tantia Tope was executed by the British Government at Shivpuri on 18 April 1859.

Contributions:

  • Tantia Tope was an intimate friend and the right hand of Nana Sahib, the adopted son of Peshwa.
  • In May 1857, Tantia Tope won the battle over the Indian troops of the East India Company at Kanpur.
  • He was the Indian leader in the Rebellion of 1857.
  • He forced General Windham to retreat from the city of Gwalior
  • He collaborated with Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi to seize Gwalior
[Ref: The Hindu, India Today]

Geophysical Phenomena

Magnetic minerals can forecast climatic changes faster

Scientists from the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, have tracked Climate change by following the Paleomonsoonal pattern of the subcontinent by harnessing magnetic mineralogy.

The magnetic minerals are sensitive to physical and chemical environment that they are embedded in. These external changes bring about modifications in the innate structure of these magnetic minerals, transitioning them from one magnetic phase to another. In this process, the magnetic mineralogy also changes, for example, from magnetite to hematite and vice versa.

The study was published in the Sage Journal.

Issues with Current methods:

  • Take lot of time
  • Instruments are costly.

Expected Benefits:

  • The study of these changes helps understand the physicochemical regime operative in the past.
  • The research will help forecast climatic changes with more accuracy and speed.

Additional Information:

  • The mineral magnetic studies have unraveled 4 regional climatic features encompassing the entire Indian subcontinent and 1 localized climatic event:
  • Higher monsoon precipitation in the western part of India between 25-60 ka (thousand years) was shown to be analogous with glacial melt in the Himalayas between 29 and 18 ka.
  • Later, the weakening of monsoon was inferred in the Himalayas, and the hinterland of Arabian sea between 20 and 15 ka, analogically cold, and dry conditions were prevalent at Dhakuri, which led to the formation of loess deposits starting from 20 ka.
  • The monsoon intensification is deciphered in the western and eastern part of India between 13 and 10 ka with major implications in the hinterlands of the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal.
  • Between 4 and 2.5 ka, Holocene aridity and weakened monsoon was inferred to be prevalent across the subcontinent. The localized feature of Younger Dryas cooling seems to be confined to just the upper reaches of the Himalaya.

Climatic changes seen across the Himalayan region reveal episodes of monsoonal fluctuations and temperature changes (depiction of temporal changes).

Holocene climate fluctuations are prominent in the Central India region (depiction of temporal changes).

Precipitational and temperature changes in South India are seen to alternate between high and low, and warm and cool (depiction of temporal changes).

Environmental changes from the Indian Ocean and contiguous region having a bearing on the subcontinental climate (depiction of temporal changes).

[Ref: PIB]
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