Current Affairs Analysis

3rd March 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Eurasian Otter; Water scarcity in Himalayan region; Nominations for World Heritage List; Dholavira; Monuments and Forts of Deccan Sultanate; Increasing black carbon concentration in Himalayas; Black Carbon; Gangotri Glacier; Dwar Praday Yojana; RaIDer-X; National Workshop on Explosive Detection; Globally endangered species found in Chilika lake; Fishing Cat; Chilika lake; International Women’s Day; Gir National Park; Asiatic Lion; Asiatic Lion Census; Chairs in the name of eminent Indian women scientists; Aegean sea; Bosphorus strait; Dardanelles strait; Turkey
By IASToppers
March 04, 2020

Contents

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Dwar Praday Yojana

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Chairs in the name of eminent Indian women scientists

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Water scarcity in Himalayan region
  • Increasing black carbon concentration in Himalayas
  • Globally endangered species found in Chilika lake
  • Gir National Park
  • Aegean Sea

Defence & Security Issues

  • RaIDer-X

Art & Culture

  • Nominations for World Heritage List

Also in News

  • International Women’s Day

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Government Schemes & Policies

Dwar Praday Yojana

Dwar Praday Yojana 2020 is a scheme for doorstep delivery of certain documents started on a pilot basis in Indore Municipal Corporation, Madhya Pradesh recently.

Features of the scheme:

  • Applicants living within the boundaries of Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) get five types of documents — domicile certificate, income certificate, birth certificate, death certificate and copy of Khasra-Khatauni (a land ownership document) — delivered at their home within 24 hours of applying.
  • They are required to pay just Rs 15 extra for the home delivery of the document.
  • The central idea of the scheme was to improve government’s service delivery.

How to avail benefit?

  • MP Dwar Praday Yojana 2020 would be introduced under the Public Services Delivery Guarantee Act.
  • All the applicants would be able to apply online for these services at the Lok Seva Kendra or its dedicated portal.
  • The certificate will reach home shortly after application.
[Ref: Indian Express]

Issues related to Health & Education

Chairs in the name of eminent Indian women scientists

The Government on the occasion of National Science day has announced 11 chairs in the name of eminent Indian women scientists in various fields to inspire, encourage, empower women and give due recognition to young women researchers excelling in various fields.

Key Features:

  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has announced several schemes for Women’s Empowerment and the proposal is in line with theme for this year’s National Science Day – ‘Women in Science’.
  • The 11 Chairs have been instituted in various areas of research including Agriculture, Biotechnology, Immunology, Phytomedicine, Biochemistry, Medicine, Social Sciences, Earth Science & Meteorology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Physics & Fundamental Research.
  • One of the chairs constituted is under the name of the noted anthropologist Dr Irawati Karve.

Details:

[Ref: PIB]

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Water scarcity in Himalayan region

A survey in the latest edition of the journal Water Policy has cited that eight towns in the Himalayan region of Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Pakistan are nearly 20%-70% deficient in their water supply.

Highlights of the report:

  • The researchers surveyed 13 towns across these countries to understand the challenges of the urban denizens of these regions.
  • Unplanned urbanisation and climate change are the key factors responsible for the state of affairs, the study underlines.
  • The places surveyed are extremely dependent on springs (ranging between 50% and 100%) for their water, and three-fourths were in urban areas.
  • Under current trends, the demand-supply gap may double by 2050.
  • Communities were coping through short-term strategies such as groundwater extraction, which is proving to be unsustainable.
  • Across the region, the encroachment and degradation of natural water bodies (springs, ponds, lakes, canals, and rivers) and the growing disappearance of traditional water systems (stone spouts, wells, and local water tanks) are evident.
  • Although only 3% of the total Hindu Kush Himalayan population lives in larger cities and 8% in smaller towns, projections show that over 50% of the population will be living in cities by 2050, placing “tremendous stress” on water availability.

Way Forward:

  • A holistic water management approach that includes spring-shed management and planned adaptation is therefore paramount.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Increasing black carbon concentration in Himalayas

Scientists from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, (WIHG), an autonomous institution under Department of Science & Technology, in a study conducted at Chirbasa station near Gangotri Glacier, for the Year 2016, have found that black carbon (BC) concentration in this region has changed drastically during summer.

Highlights of the report:

  • According to a study, the black carbon concentration in the region increases by 400 times during summer. This can trigger glacial melt because of the light-absorbing nature of black carbon.
  • It was revealed by investigating the occasional high values of black carbon extricated, that the seasonal cycle of increase was significantly influenced by:
  • the emissions resulting from agriculture burning (in western part of the country),
  • forest fires (along the Himalayan slopes) in summer, and
  • by the contribution from long-range transport of pollutants in winter, depending the prevailing meteorological conditions.
  • The Equivalent Black Carbon (EBC) aerosols contribute significantly towards global warming due to its light-absorbing nature.
  • Their presence in the eco-sensitive zone, such as the Himalayan glacier valleys, is a matter of serious concern and needs to be meticulously monitored. However, baseline data on BC is rarely available from most of the glaciated Himalayan region.
  • For the first time, the team of Scientists from WIHG carried out measurements on ambient EBC mass concentration at a high altitude site Chirbasa (3600 m), near Gangotri Glacier in the Indian Himalaya, during the year 2016.
  • The monthly mean concentration of EBC was found to be minimum in August and maximum in the month of May.
  • The observed seasonal mean concentrations of EBC indicated a pristine glacial source and absence of EBC sources in the locality.

Black Carbon:

  • Black carbon is a component of fine particulate matter.
  • Black carbon consists of pure carbon in several linked forms.
  • It is formed through the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuel, and biomass, and is emitted in both anthropogenic and naturally occurring soot.
  • It comprises a significant portion of particulate matter or PM, which is an air pollutant.
  • Black carbon warms the Earth by absorbing sunlight and heating the atmosphere and by reducing albedo when deposited on snow and ice and indirectly by interaction with clouds.

Gangotri Glacier:

  • Gangotri Glacier is located in Uttarkashi District, Uttarakhand, India in a region bordering Tibet.
  • This glacier, one of the primary sources of the Ganges, is one of the largest in the Himalayas with an estimated volume of over 27 cubic kilometres.
  • The glacier is about 30 kilometres long and 2 to 4 kms wide.
[Ref: PIB]

Globally endangered species found in Chilika lake

Researchers conducting a study in Odisha’s Chilika Lake have found the presence of a viable, breeding population of a fishing cat and Eurasian otter in the brackish water lagoon.

About the Project:

  • The project was a collaborative effort between The Fishing Cat Project, Chilika Development Authority, Wild Orissa, Mahavir Pakshi Suraksha Samity and Chilika Wildlife Division, Forest Department of Odisha.

Fishing Cat:

  • It is a globally endangered species that is elusive and found in very few places in South and South-east Asia.
  • Wild cat species usually hunt on ground but the fishing cat hunts in water.
  • It has specialised features like partially webbed feet and water-resistant fur that helps it to thrive in wetlands.
  • The flat-headed cat of south-east Asia is the only other feline that shares similar features.
  • IUCN: Endangered

Eurasian Otter:

  • Eurasian Otter is a semiaquatic mammal native to Eurasia but it is found in the waterways and coasts of Europe, many parts of Asia, and parts of northern Africa.
  • The Eurasian otter has a diet mainly of fish, and is strongly territorial.
  • IUCN: Endangered

Chilika Lake:

  • Chilika Lake is a brackish water lake in the Orissa state on the east coast of India.
  • It is Asia’s largest brackish water lake.
  • It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds in the Indian subcontinent.
  • The lake is home to a number of threatened species of plants and animals.
  • The lake is an ecosystem with large fishery resources.
  • The lagoon hosts over 160 species of birds in the peak migratory season.
  • Birds from as far as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral Sea and other remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Mongolia, Central and southeast Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas migrate here.

 [Ref: The Hindu]

Gir National Park

Gir National Park is located in Gujarat, India.

About the National Park:

  • It was established in 1965, with a total area of 1,412 sq. km of which 258 sq. km is fully protected as National park and 1,153 sq. km as wildlife sanctuary.
  • It is part of the Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forests ecoregion.
  • The 14th Asiatic Lion Census 2015 was conducted in May 2015.
  • In 2015, the population was 523 (27 % up compared to previous census in 2010).

Asiatic Lion:

  • Scientific name: Panthera leo leo
  • Region: Until the 19th century it occurred in Saudi Arabia, eastern Turkey, Iran, Mesopotamia, and from east of the Indus River to Bengal and Narmada River in Central India but now it is restricted to the Gir Forest National Park, Gujarat and surrounding areas.
  • The lions are listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List.
  • It is listed in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, and is listed on Appendix I of CITES.

Asiatic Lion Census:

  • The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is going to conduct Asiatic Lion Census in May 2020.
  • The census will be carried out using scientific methods laid out by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • The census is conducted after every 5 years and the 14th Asiatic Lion Census in 2015 counted 523 lions in Gujarat.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Aegean Sea

The Aegean Sea is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the Greek and Anatolian peninsulas.

  • The sea has an area of some 215,000 square kilometres.
  • In the north, the Aegean is connected to the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea by the straits of the Dardanelles and Bosphorus.
  • The Aegean Islands are located within the sea and some bound it on its southern periphery, including Crete and Rhodes.

Bosphorus strait:

  • The Bosporus (or the Strait of Istanbul) is a narrow, natural strait and an internationally significant waterway located in north-western Turkey.
  • It forms part of the continental boundary between Europe and Asia, and divides Turkey by separating Anatolia from Thrace.
  • It is the world’s narrowest strait used for international navigation, the Bosporus connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara.

Dardanelles strait:

  • The Dardanelles strait is a strategic strait that connects the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • It is a narrow, natural strait and internationally significant waterway in north-western Turkey that forms part of the continental boundary between Europe and Asia, and separates Asian Turkey from European Turkey.
  • The strait also allows passage to the Black Sea by extension via the Bosphorus strait.
  • Together with the Bosphorus strait, the Dardanelles strait forms the Turkish strait.

Turkey:

  • Turkey is a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolian peninsula in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan peninsula in South-eastern Europe.
  • Turkey is bordered by Greece and Bulgaria to its northwest, the Black Sea to its north, Georgia to its northeast, Armenia, the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan and Iran to its east, Iraq and Syria to its southeast, the Mediterranean Sea to its south, and the Aegean Sea to its west.
  • Approximately 70 to 80 % of the country’s citizens identify as Turkish, while Kurds are the largest minority at anywhere from 15 to 20 % of the population.
  • Capital: Ankara
  • Currency: Turkish lira

Defence & Security Issues

RaIDer-X

RaIDer-X, a new explosive detection device, was unveiled at the National Workshop on Explosive Detection (NWED-2020) in Pune recently.

Features of RaIDer-X:

  • RaIDer-X has the capability to detect explosives from a stand-off distance.
  • The data library can be built in the system to expand its capability to detect a number of explosives in pure form as well as with the contaminants.
  • Bulk explosive in concealed condition can also be detected by the device.
  • RaIDer-X has been co-developed by High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) Pune and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. 

National Workshop on Explosive Detection:

  • The NWED-2020 was inaugurated by Secretary, Department of Defence Research & Development and Chairman Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • The two-day workshop has been organised by HEMRL Pune, which is a premier laboratory of DRDO.
  • It provides a platform to scientists, technocrats and users to share knowledge, experience and updated information on the technological advancements made in the recent past.
  • The workshop will help in the further development of explosive detection devices and keep abreast on the recent development and advancements in the field of explosive detection.

Significance:

  • The detection of explosives is a compelling need of the hour and the security agencies are continuously monitoring vulnerable targets with the help of intelligence agencies to thwart the attempts of anti-social elements.
[Ref: PIB]

Art & Culture

Nominations for World Heritage List

The Ministry of Culture has submitted nominations of ‘Dholavira: A Harappan City’ and ‘Monuments and Forts of Deccan Sultanate’ for their inclusion in the World Heritage List for the year 2020.

What is the issue?

  • Government of India has submitted two nomination dossiers namely ‘Dholavira: A Harappan City’ and ‘Monuments and Forts of Deccan Sultanate’ for inclusion in the World Heritage List for the year 2020.
  • Govt. of Madhya Pradesh has submitted the proposal of ‘Group of Monuments at Mandu’ in the year 2019.
  • The dossier was further forwarded to World Heritage Centre (WHC) for completeness check.  Inputs received from WHC have been conveyed to the State Government for further incorporation.
  • A consultation workshop was organized by the Wild Life Institute of India and State Govt. of Madhya Pradesh to prioritize the potential World Heritage Sites of M.P.
  • The workshop has proposed Bhedaghat (Narmada Valley) as one of the recommended potential site subject to criteria set by UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Dholavira:

  • Dholavira was one of the largest cities of its time. It was also one of the oldest, in continuous occupation for over 1200 years.
  • It is located on Khadir bet island in the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary in the Great Rann of Kutch.
  • The site was discovered in 1967-68 by J. P. Joshi, of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and is the fifth largest of eight major Harappan sites.
  • Dholavira’s location is on the Tropic of Cancer.
  • Dholavira was occupied from 3rd millennium BCE to the middle of 2nd millennium BCE, which is from about 2650 BCE to 1450 BCE and has seven different stages which document the rise and fall of the Harappan Civilization.
  • The earliest phase of Dholavira between 2650 BCE and 2500 BCE shows evidence of a pre-Harappan culture of scattered settlements with a very rudimentary style of pottery.
  • Dholavira seems to have evolved into a sophisticated planned city, a trademark of the mature Harappan period, by 2500 BCE and it continued to be a great urban centre till 1900 BCE.
  • The city was constructed to a pre-existing geometrical plan consisting of three divisions – the citadel, the middle town, and the lower town.
  • The most striking feature of the city is that all of its buildings, at least in their present state of preservation, are built of stone, whereas most other Harappan sites, including Harappa itself and Mohenjodaro, are almost exclusively built of brick.
  • Archaeological evidence shows that it gradually deserted and it became a rural settlement in the last 50 years between 1500 BCE and 1450 BCE.

Monuments and Forts of Deccan Sultanate:

  • The Deccan sultanates were five dynasties that ruled late medieval kingdoms, namely, Bijapur, Golkonda, Ahmadnagar, Bidar, and Berar in south-western India.
  • The Deccan sultanates were located on the Deccan Plateau.
  • Their architecture was a regional variant of Indo-Islamic architecture, heavily influenced by the styles of the Delhi Sultanate and later Mughal architecture, but sometimes also directly from Persia and Central Asia.
  • The rulers of five Deccan sultanates had a number of cultural contributions to their credit in the fields of art, music, literature and architecture.
  • Deccan sultanates have constructed many grand and impregnable forts.
  • Bidar and Golconda forts are classic example of military planning of Deccan sultanates.
  • Apart from forts, they have constructed many tombs and mosques.
  • Gol Gumbaz (tomb of Mohammed Adil Shah) has a diameter of 124 feet and is the second largest dome in the world, next only to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
[Ref: PIB]

Also in News

International Women’s Day

The various Union Ministries are launching a week long campaign till 8th March, on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

The ministries include:

  • Ministries of Women and Child Development, Information & Broadcasting, Health & Family Welfare, Human Resource Development, Agriculture & Farmer’s Welfare, Rural Development, Housing and Urban Affairs, Finance, Defence and Home.

Themes:

  • The campaign has a theme for all the days beginning from 1st March, 2020.
  • The themes that are being observed are: education, health and nutrition, empowerment of women, skills &entrepreneurship and participation in sports, special circumstances, rural women & agriculture and urban women.

Highlights of the program:

  • A special program by celebrity chef, Sanjeev Kapoor will be telecast by Doordarshan from 1st-7th March,2020 highlighting special recipes of healthy and nutritious food for women during pregnancy and lactating period.
  • Fourteen women oriented Hindi movies will be telecast on Doordarshan from 1st-7thMarch, 2020.
  • Doordarshan is also organising special programmes to commemorate the contribution of women members of the Indian Constituent Assembly to honour their contribution in the foundation of the Indian Republic.
  • DD Kisan will telecast programs on women agriculturists, inventions in agriculture by women, the role of women in animal husbandry and food processing.
  • The regional units of the News Services Division of All India Radio will also conduct extensive programmes from Sunday, 1st March, like talk shows, features and exclusive programmes for women.
  • The M/o H&FW is organising camps for women on health and wellness and Anaemia.
  • The M/o HRD in collaboration with the University Grants Commission (UGC) is conducting round tables on women empowerment on the 7 themes in about 40 central universities around the country.
  • Women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) will be invited to interact and discuss various issues related to the Self-Help Groups with Minister and senior officials.

International Women’s Day:

  • International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on the 8th of March every year.
  • It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights.
  • It is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women, who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
  • International Women’s Day 2020 campaign theme is #EachforEqual.
[Ref: PIB]

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