Environment & Ecology
- Pink bollworm develops resistance to Bt cotton
- ‘Don’t blame nature, bolster disaster preparedness,’ says parliamentary panel on Chennai deluge
Bilateral & International Relations
- BRICS Women Parliamentarians’ Forum adopts Jaipur Declaration
- Myanmar to support Silk Road, BCIM
Key Facts for Prelims
- Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
- Urjit Patel- new Governor of RBI
- OSIRIS Rex Mission
- Assocham study
- L’Ordre Arts et Lettres
- Highest and Longest glass-bottomed bridge
- Bavar 373
Environment & Ecology
Pink bollworm develops resistance to Bt cotton
The Centre has acknowledged that the pink bollworm (Pectinophora gossypiella), known as gulabi rangu purugu in Telugu, has developed resistance to Bt cotton, the genetically modified crop that was to fight Bacillus thuringiensis.
- During kharif 2015, pink bollworm attack was reported from Saurashtra region of Gujarat, parts of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
- Pink bollworm generally affects the crop after 120 days of planting. Crops with a duration of less than 150 days were available in the market.
- The pest could survive even in the dried waste of cotton.
- The pest would die on exposure to heat and the sun.
Suggestions to control the pink bollworm:
Scientists have suggested that
- As the pest would die on exposure to heat and the sun, the farmers should till the land in summer.
- The farmers would have to use pesticides to control the pink bollworm.
- The farmers should opt for small duration crop varieties to minimise damage from pink bollworm attacks.
‘Don’t blame nature, bolster disaster preparedness,’ says parliamentary panel on Chennai deluge
A Parliamentary panel has rejected Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi’s contention that there cannot be preparation for a disaster like the Chennai floods which “occurs once in 100 years”.
- The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs submitted to the Rajya Sabha its report on ‘Disaster in Chennai caused by torrential rainfall and consequent flooding’.
- In its report, the committee strongly recommended that the Ministry of Home Affairs, through its subordinate concerned agencies, bolster its disaster preparedness.
- The committee has rejected the Home Secretary’s argument that there can be no preparation for a disaster that occurs once in hundred years because the cost of preparing for the disaster would be disproportionately high.
- The committee does not quite accept the argument that since the rainfall was unprecedented and was more than the hundred years’ average the damage was also huge.
- In the opinion of the committee, any natural disaster of bigger intensity has the propensity to cause damage. Thus instead of putting the blame on the forces of nature, advanced technology should be used to fight it.
Various suggestions made by the committee:
- Separate action should be taken to prepare calamity map of all important cities by developing standard vulnerability indices so as to minimise loss of life, loss of private and public property and vital installations.
- The administration of both centre and state should work together and remain vigilant to tackle the situation.
- Natural disaster of high magnitude will always adversely affect people in large numbers and the administration has to respond in a fastest possible manner.
- Accordingly, the National Disaster Management Authority and all concerned bodies of central and state governments should have established procedures so that vital time is not lost in wriggling out procedural delays.
- The guidelines prepared by NDMA should be scrupulously followed and they should also review town planning of each city by giving due importance to clear flood channels, proper drainage, safe passage to excess water in lakes, other water bodies, de-siltation of river bed, removal of illegal encroachment
Bilateral & International Relations
BRICS Women Parliamentarians’ Forum adopts Jaipur Declaration
Women Parliamentarians from BRICS nations has unanimously adopted the ‘Jaipur Declaration’ on the concluding day of the Forum’s meeting held at Jaipur.
- Heads and members of delegation from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa were present in the two-day meeting.
Key points of the ‘Jaipur Declaration’:
- Women Parliamentarians from BRICS nations expressed commitment to work together in the field of economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection in the declaration.
- The Declaration also called upon international financial institutions to extend support to developing and least developed countries and help them gain easier access to new and affordable technologies as envisaged under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.
- The Declaration mentions the need to address climate change and protection of ecological system and forest as well as food security, expeditious parliamentary approval of SDG related legislation and adequate budgetary resources.
- It also emphasises on plans for incorporating gender concerns and greater involvement of women parliamentarians in integrating citizens in the development process.
- The need to inform and educate citizens about the developmental schemes and institutionalisation of the BRICS Women Parliamentarians’ Forum were also taken up in the declaration.
Myanmar to support Silk Road, BCIM
Myanmar has officially declared to support for China’s ‘Belt and Road’ connectivity initiative along the ancient Silk Road.
- It was announced in the joint statement released by both countries during official state visit of Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi to China.
- Myanmar has also supported the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor.
- The Bangladesh–China–India–Myanmar Forum for Regional Cooperation (BCIM) is a sub-regional organisation of four Asian nations.
- It aims at greater integration of trade and investment between the four countries.
- The Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor meant to industrialise a stretch — spanning more than 2,000-km — linking Kunming in China with Mandalay in Myanmar, passing through Bangladesh, and ending at Kolkata in India.
- The multi-modal corridor will be the first expressway between India and China and will pass through Myanmar and Bangladesh.
- The economic advantages of the BCIM trade corridor are considerable, most notably include access to numerous markets in Southeast Asia, improvement of transportation infrastructure and creation of industrial zones.
Key Facts for Prelims
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) (formerly Organization of the Islamic Conference) has membership of 57 states spread over four continents. Established in 1969. Its headquarters are at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. OIC has permanent delegations to United Nations and the European Union.
Its objectives are to raise collective voice of the Muslim world and to ensure the safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.
In this organisation, India is a blocked country, though it has about 12% of the world’s Muslim population. India has been blocked by Pakistan from joining the OIC over Kashmir issue. OIC regard parts of Kashmir as “occupied by India”.
Recently, the OIC has voiced its concern over alleged excesses of the Indian military and the paramilitary forces in Kashmir.
Urjit Patel- new Governor of RBI
Union Government has appointed Urjit Patel as new Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
He will be 24th Governor of RBI. Prior to this appointment, he was Deputy Governor of RBI. He will be the eighth Deputy Governor to be elevated as Governor at RBI. He will have tenure of three years and shall succeed Raghuram Rajan.
The Appointment Committee of Cabinet (ACC) has appointed Urjit Patel based on the recommendation of the Financial Sector Regulatory Appointments Search Committee (FSRASC), headed by the Cabinet Secretary. The Committee undertook an extensive exercise to suggest a panel of names to the ACC.
OSIRIS Rex Mission
The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS REx) is a planned NASA asteroid study and sample return mission.
The launch is planned for September 8 2016.
The mission is to study asteroid 101955 Bennu, a carbonaceous asteroid (formerly designated 1999 RQ36) and in 2023 to return to Earth a sample for detailed analysis.
Material returned is expected to enable scientists to learn more about the time before the formation and evolution of the Solar System, initial stages of planet formation, and the source of organic compounds which led to the formation of life.
According to a latest study, done by Assocham with Thought Arbitrage Research Institute, India is home to the third largest number of technology-driven start-ups in the world, with the U.S. and the U.K. occupying the top two positions. The study also revealed that Bengaluru is host to the largest share of technology start-ups in the country, followed by Delhi NCR and Mumbai, while Hyderabad and Chennai are also quite popular.
L’Ordre Arts et Lettres
Actor Kamal Haasan will be awarded the Chevalier de L’Ordre Arts et Lettres (The Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French government. The Order is part of France’s premier award, the Legion of Honor. He is only the second Tamil actor after the legendary Sivaji Ganesan to be chosen for the honour.
The order of merit is awarded “to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.” The Order has three ranks – chevalier (knight), officier (officer), commandeur (commander) – and two high offices.
Other Indians who have been conferred the Chevalier Order include veteran musician Balamuralikrishna, and actors like Sivaji Ganesan, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Nandita Das and Shah Rukh Khan.
Highest and Longest glass-bottomed bridge
China opens “world’s highest and longest” glass-bottomed bridge. It connects two mountain cliffs known as the Avatar mountains in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province.
Bavar 373 is an Iranian long-range mobile air defense system currently under development. Development of the system began as a response to the Russian ban on the exportation of its advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Iran. The system was designed to intercept cruise missiles, drones, combat aircraft and ballistic missiles