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[Mission 2024] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 29 September 2023

InstaLinks :  help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions ina your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 3:

  1. Dr M S Swaminathan: Father of India’s Green Revolution
  2. Green Revolution: M S Swaminathan

 

GS Paper 4:

  1. Lessons from the life of M S Swaminathan

 

Content for Mains Enrichment

  1. Iyal Vaagai farmer’s market in Coimbatore
  2. Using Goats to Prevent Wildfire

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Sarna religious code 
  2. Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) 
  3. Qubit circuit
  4. HIV Act
  5. Green Ammonia
  6. Lithium-ion battery fires
  7. Conocarpus trees

 

Mapping

  1. Sundarbans

 


 

Dr M S  Swaminathan: Father of India’s Green Revolution

GS1/GS3 Paper 

 Syllabus: Post-Independent India, Agriculture

  

Source: IE, TH, DTE

 Context: Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan (MS Swaminathan) (1925 to 2023) who passed away recently, played a crucial role in heralding the Green Revolution that helped India combat food insecurity

 

Timeline of Dr M S  Swaminathan’s life:

YearMilestones
1925Born in Kumbakonam, Madras Presidency
1940sPursued higher education in zoology and agriculture
1947-1949Joined Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI)
1954Collaborated with Dr Norman Borlaug on wheat
1979-1982Appointed director-general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)
1982Became Director General of the International Rice Research Institute
1987Awarded the first World Food Prize
1988Established M S Swaminathan Research Foundation
2002Elected President of Pugwash Conferences
2004Chair of the National Commission on Farmers
2007-2013Served in Rajya Sabha, introduced Women Farmers’ Bill

 

Key contributions of M S Swaminathan:

AspectsContributions
Led India out of ‘Hunger Trap’Played a major role in introducing the Green Revolution in India, significantly increasing food production and ensuring food security.
Research on CropsEnhanced crop productivity: Conducted research on transferring genes for fertilizer response from Japonica varieties to Indica varieties, enhancing crop productivity.
Dwarf variety of Wheat: Collaborated with Norman Borlaug to develop high-yielding dwarf wheat varieties suitable for Indian conditions.
Developing high-yielding Basmati rice varieties, innovative use of mutation technology for various crops
Raised awareness about the importance of sustainable agriculture, genetics, and breeding in improving crop varieties.
Launched programs like “lab to land”
Fair Minimum Support for FarmersServed as the head of the National Commission on Farmers and recommended fair minimum support prices for farmers’ crops.
Focus on nutrition, biofortification, funding for agriculture, precision farming, and promoting women in agriculture
LeadershipHis leadership at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) led to advancements in rice cultivation, including C4 carbon fixation capabilities and high-yielding Basmati rice
Swaminathan is hailed as a true visionary and pioneer in agriculture and sustainable development

 

Contributions to Kuttanad and Kerala’s biodiversity:

  • Kuttanad Package: The over ₹1,800-crore Kuttanad Package, recommended by the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), recommended declaring the wetland system a ‘Special Agricultural Zone,‘ protecting water spread areas, modernizing infrastructure, and encouraging short-duration paddy varieties.
  • Biodiversity Conservation: The MSSRF’s 2008 report on the Idukki District (the Idukki Package) and the establishment of the ‘Community Agrobiodiversity Centre’ in Wayanad reflected his commitment to biodiversity conservation.
  • He advocated public awareness, community participation, and economic incentives for in situ and on-farm conservation traditions.

  

Key scientific terms associated with Dr M S Swaminathan’s research and the Green Revolution

TermDescription
Green RevolutionA period of rapid, scientific agricultural advancement in the mid-1960s that involved growing high-yielding, disease-resistant varieties of crops, primarily in Punjab, India. Dr. Swaminathan played a key role in this movement.
High-Yielding Varieties of Crops (HYVs)These crops produce a higher yield per hectare compared to traditional variants. They are often disease-resistant and have increased tolerance to conditions like drought. Examples include IR8 rice and Kalyan Sona wheat.
Yield GapThe difference between the potential maximum yield of a crop and the actual realized yield for a given area. Addressing this gap was a focus of the Green Revolution to increase productivity.
CytogeneticsThe study of chromosomes and their relation to hereditary characteristics and traits, including identifying traits like disease resistance and drought tolerance in crops.
Hexaploid WheatScientifically known as Triticum aestivum, it contains six sets of chromosomes and is widely cultivated. Dr. Swaminathan conducted research on the cytogenetics of hexaploid wheat.
Carbon FixationThe process by which crops capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into organic compounds through photosynthesis. It’s important for plant growth and productivity.
C3 and C4 Photosynthetic PathwaysTwo different pathways for carbon fixation. C3 (Calvin cycle) is slower and occurs when leaf pores are open. C4 is more efficient and occurs in both mesophyll and bundle sheath cells. Research on C4 rice was conducted during Dr Swaminathan’s tenure.

 

Conclusion:

His passing marks the end of an era of disruptive innovation in agricultural research, education, and extension, and he is regarded as a figure worthy of admiration and respect by all citizens, particularly those who benefit from his contributions to food security and agriculture.

 

Insta Links:

Delhi To Introduce MSP based on Swaminathan Commission Report

 

Mains Links:

How has India benefited from the contributions of Sir M Visvesvaraya and Dr M S Swaminathan in the fields of water engineering and agricultural science respectively? (UPSC 2019)

Green Revolution: M S Swaminathan

GS3/GS1 Paper 

 Syllabus: Agriculture/ Post Independence

 

Source: HT

 Context: The Green Revolution, led by Norman Borlaug (Father of Green Revolution in the World) and M S  Swaminathan, introduced high-yield variety seeds in the 1960s, boosting food grain production, especially wheat and rice.

  • Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for this.

 

Need for Green Revolution in India:

The Bengal Famine of 1943 caused a massive food crisis, leading to 4 million deaths. Post-independence, India focused on expanding farming, but population growth outpaced food production. Despite the creditable growth of agricultural output between 1949 and 1965, India has been facing food shortages since the mid-1950s. India was dependent on food imports from Western countries at a subsidised rate

 

Elements of Green Revolution in India:

ElementDescription
Expansion of Farming AreasThe Green Revolution supported the quantitative expansion of farmlands to meet rising agricultural demands.
Double-cropping SystemIntroduced two crop seasons annually instead of one, with the help of irrigation projects and dam construction.
Using seeds with improved geneticsUtilized high-yield variety seeds, mainly for wheat and rice, developed by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research.
Important Crops in the RevolutionMain crops included Wheat, Rice, Jowar, Bajra, and Maize, with a focus on food grains, particularly wheat.

 

Positive Impact of Green Revolution:

Positive ImpactDescription
Crop YieldsCrop yields per acre grew at 2.5% per year between 1967-68 and 1989-90
Food ProductionFoodgrain production increased by 35% between 1967-68 and 1970-71
India achieved self-sufficiency in food production and built buffer food stocks.
Exported food to pay back loans and provide assistance to food-deficit countries.
Generated a rapid increase in the marketable surplus of food grains.
It primarily boosted wheat production, increasing it over threefold from 1967-68 to 2003-04, while overall cereal production doubled
Private InvestmentPublic investment, credit, and new technology boosted profitability for private farmers.
Total gross capital formation in agriculture increased, leading to more investments.
Growth in the gross irrigated area increased significantly.
Agricultural Growth RateGreen Revolution contributed to India’s sustained high rate of agricultural growth.
Shifted growth from increasing land area to improving yields.
Crop Area ExpansionSignificant growth in the area under high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice
Rural EmploymentGenerated jobs for agricultural and industrial workers due to multiple cropping and fertilizers
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Negative Impacts of the Green Revolution:

ImpactDescription
Non-Food Grains NeglectedFocus on wheat, rice, and limited crops, neglecting coarse cereals, pulses, and oilseeds.
Regional DisparitiesUneven adoption, affecting only certain areas, worsening regional disparities in development.
Excessive Chemical UsageWidespread use of pesticides and fertilizers without proper education or precautions.
Water ConsumptionIntroduction of water-intensive crops depleting groundwater, particularly in regions like Punjab.
Soil and Crop ProductionDepletion of soil nutrients, increased fertilizer usage, pH level changes, and yield decline.
UnemploymentFarm mechanization causes rural unemployment, particularly affecting poor labourers.
Health HazardsThe use of toxic chemicals leads to health issues, including cancer, birth defects, and more.

 

Negative Impact of Green Revolution on the agrarian society:

ImpactDetails
Rising InequalityIn Green Revolution areas, medium and large farmers benefited the most while Small and marginal farmers couldn’t afford expensive inputs, exacerbating inequality.
Commercialization of agriculture favoured farmers with resources
Increased Poverty ConditionsRich farmers benefited while landless and marginal holders faced worsened poverty.
Displacement of tenant cultivators as landowners took back land for cultivation.
Rising Class DifferencesThe introduction of machinery led to the displacement of service caste groups, thereby resulting in increasing differences in terms of class and caste
Social ViolenceThe Green Revolution altered social interactions, highlighting caste and class inequalities.
Exploitative labour relations and disparities contributed to social violence, including inter-caste conflicts.

 

Government Initiatives for Green Revolution:

 

Green Revolution Krishonnati Yojana:

Introduced by the Indian government in 2005
Aims to develop agriculture and allied sectors scientifically to increase farmer income.
Comprises 11 schemes and missions under a single umbrella:Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH)
National Food Security Mission (NFSM)
National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA)
Sub-Mission on Agriculture Extension (SMAE)
Sub-Mission on Seeds and Planting Material (SMSP)
Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM)
Sub-Mission on Plant Protection and Plant Quarantine (SMPPQ)
Integrated Scheme on Agriculture Census, Economics, and Statistics (ISACES)
Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Cooperation (ISAC)
Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Marketing (ISAM)
National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture (NeGP-A)

 

 

The Evergreen Revolution:

Proposed by Dr M S Swaminathan
A response to the adverse environmental effects of intensive farming during the Green Revolution.
Aims to increase productivity in an environmentally safe, economically viable, and socially sustainable way.
Involves integrating ecological principles into technology development and dissemination.

 

Conclusion

In all, despite the gaps in the Green Revolution (which are now being balanced with sustainable agricultural patterns), it was a necessary step to meet the challenges of the Indian economy, population and agriculture in the post-independence growth years.

 

 Insta Links:

Delhi To Introduce MSP based on Swaminathan Commission Report

 

Mains Links:

How has India benefited from the contributions of Sir M Visvesvaraya and Dr M S Swaminathan in the fields of water engineering and agricultural science respectively? (UPSC 2019)

Lessons from the life of M S Swaminathan

GS Paper 4

 Syllabus: Ethical lessons from the life of great personalities

 

Source: TH

 Life lessons and ethical values that can be gleaned from the life of M S  Swaminathan: 

LessonsExplanation
1. Dedication to a CauseSwaminathan’s unwavering dedication to improving Indian agriculture and ensuring food security
2. Commitment to ResearchSwaminathan’s commitment to scientific research and innovation underscores the value of persistent effort and continuous learning.
3. PhilanthropyHis generous donations of award money and land for the betterment of society (e.g., Kuttanda Package) demonstrate the importance of giving back and supporting charitable causes.
4. Gender EqualitySwaminathan’s focus on the role of women in agriculture highlights the need for gender equality and the recognition of women’s contributions in all fields.
5. Environmental StewardshipHis early work on climate change and agriculture reminds us of the ethical responsibility to protect the environment and address climate-related challenges.
6. CollaborationSwaminathan’s collaboration with experts and policymakers emphasizes the value of working together to achieve significant goals.
7. Practical ApplicationHis practical approach to scientific knowledge encourages us to apply what we learn for the benefit of society and the environment.
8. Persistence in the Face of ChallengesSwaminathan’s dedication to his mission, even in the face of obstacles, teaches us the importance of persistence and resilience.
9. Integrity and EthicsHis ethical conduct and integrity in scientific research and public life serve as a model for ethical behaviour and professionalism.
10. SelflessnessSwaminathan’s selfless dedication to the well-being of others highlights the value of prioritizing the greater good over personal gain.
Visionary contributions and forward-thinking approach

 

These life lessons and ethical values from M.S. Swaminathan’s life can inspire individuals to make positive contributions to society and uphold ethical principles in their own endeavours.

Iyal Vaagai farmer’s market in Coimbatore

Content for Mains Enrichment

Source: TH

Iyal Vaagai farmer’s market in Coimbatore is an initiative promoting sustainability and organic farming. It provides a platform for farmers to sell their produce directly to consumers (farm-to-table market), avoiding middlemen, and offers a wide range of organic products.

Founded by Alageswari S as a 10-year-old environmental movement, the market encourages organic farming and sustainable living. It offers a wide range of organic products such as cold-pressed oil, country chicken, millets, fruits, vegetables, and greens, all sourced directly from farmers, making prices affordable.

The market encourages eco-friendly practices, reduces plastic usage, and educates the public, especially children, about sustainable living through various activities and workshops. It also fosters entrepreneurship in the organic food sector and serves as a hub for community engagement and cultural activities.

Usage: The example can be used in Agriculture/ Environment Mains Questions

Using Goats to Prevent Wildfire

Content for Mains Enrichment

Source: BBC

Grazing goats are being used as a wildfire prevention strategy in California, particularly in areas prone to wildfires. Goat herders lease goats to city agencies and private clients to clear brush and dry vegetation that can fuel fires.

Goats are well-suited for this task because of their ability to eat woody shrubs, their dexterous tongues and lips, and their capacity to detoxify compounds, allowing them to consume poisonous plants.

This environmentally friendly approach is gaining popularity as a sustainable and cost-effective method for reducing fire risk in regions vulnerable to wildfires. It has been particularly effective in creating buffer zones between homes and open spaces to slow down or prevent fires from spreading to residential areas.

Usage: The example can be used in Disaster Management/ Environment Mains Questions.

Sarna religious code

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 Source: HT

 Context: The Jharkhand Chief Minister has written to the Prime Minister, urging the recognition of the ‘Sarna’ religious code for tribal communities in the state.

  • The request for the Sarna code as a separate religious code in the next Census has been a long-standing demand of tribal groups, and the Jharkhand Assembly passed a resolution for the ‘Sarna’ code on November 11, 2021.
  • Protecting the traditional religious practices of tribals is crucial, and the demand for a ‘Tribal/Sarna Religious Code’ is being raised to ensure the confidence and identity of the nature-worshipping tribal community

  

About Sarna Religion:

The Sarna religion is a nature-worshipping faith that is also known as “Sarna Dharma” or “Religion of the Holy Woods”. Followers of the Sarna religion pray to trees and hills and believe in protecting forest areas. Their holy grail is “Jal (water), Jungle (forest), Zameen (land)”.

The Sarna religion is practised by a majority of the tribal community in Jharkhand. The tribal community celebrates the Sarhul festival, which is the New Year festival, as part of the Sarna religion. 

Qubit circuit

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: Science Daily

 Context: Researchers at MIT have made significant progress in developing a novel superconducting qubit architecture that can perform operations between qubits with much greater accuracy than previously achieved.

  • They used a relatively new type of superconducting qubit called fluxonium, which has a longer lifespan than traditional superconducting qubits.
  • This allowed them to achieve single-qubit gates with 99.99% accuracy and two-qubit gates with 99.9% accuracy, well above the threshold needed for certain error-correcting codes.

 

Fluxonium is a type of qubit (quantum bit) that is based on operations at important junctions in a superconducting circuit

Quantum computing is a multidisciplinary field that utilizes quantum mechanics to solve complex problems faster than classical computers. A qubit is the basic unit of information in quantum computing

HIV Act

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: India Today

 Context: The Supreme Court of India has directed the central and state governments to ensure the effective implementation of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017, also known as the HIV Act.

  • The court also instructed all courts, tribunals, and quasi-judicial bodies to prioritize cases related to HIV-infected individuals for early disposal as per the mandate of Section 34(2) of the HIV Act and maintain the anonymity of HIV-infected individuals.
  • It emphasized the protection of the property of children, their parents, or guardians affected by HIV/AIDS and the care and support of children infected with HIV or AIDS.

 

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. It can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) if it’s not treated. There is currently no effective cure, but with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled

 

HIV is spread by contact with certain bodily fluids of a person with HIV

HIV attacks the white blood cells called CD4 cells. This makes a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases. As the immune system weakens, the person is at risk of getting life-threatening infections and cancers

Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: Business Standard

 Context: The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has requested the government to increase the guaranteed pension amount under the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) due to concerns that the current amount may not be attractive enough for potential subscribers

 

About Atal Pension Yojana (APY):

 APY is a contributory scheme aimed at establishing a universal social security system for workers in the unorganised sector. Currently, subscribers aged 18 to 40 contribute and receive a fixed pension amount ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 after reaching 60.

 

About Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA):

The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is a statutory body that regulates India’s pension sector. It was established in 2013 by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Act

Green Ammonia

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

 

Context: Recently, the V.O. Chidambaranar Port Authority in Tamil Nadu, India, successfully received and handled Green Ammonia Containers from Egypt.

  • Green ammonia is ammonia that is produced using renewable energy and hydrogen from water electrolysis. This makes green ammonia production virtually carbon dioxide-free.

Lithium-ion battery fires

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: DTE

 Context: Lithium-ion battery fires, although relatively rare, can be intense and long-lasting.

  • They are mainly caused by a phenomenon called “thermal runaway,” triggered by factors like internal failures (such as short circuits) or external damage. This can lead to a battery catching fire or even exploding.
  • Using water to extinguish lithium-ion battery fires is counterproductive as it can fuel the fire by reacting with lithium, producing flammable hydrogen ga Water also conducts electricity, posing additional risks of electrical shocks or short-circuits.
  • To combat these fires, experts recommend using specialized fire extinguishers, such as Class D fire extinguishers designed for lithium-metal fires or dry chemical fire extinguishers suitable for electrical fires.

Aftermath of these fires includes the release of toxic gases like carbon monoxide, hydrogen fluoride, and hydrogen chloride, which can be hazardous when inhaled in significant quantities, especially in confined spaces.

Conocarpus trees

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE

 Context: The state government of Gujarat in India has imposed a ban on the plantation of Conocarpus trees in both forest and non-forest areas due to their adverse impacts on the environment and human health.

  • The decision to ban Conocarpus comes after research reports highlighted its adverse effects, including spreading pollen that can lead to diseases like cold, cough, asthma, and allergies.
  • Conocarpus trees have deep roots that can damage telecommunication lines, drainage systems, and freshwater systems

 

Conocarpus erectus, commonly called buttonwood or button mangrove, is a mangrove shrub that grows on shorelines in tropical and subtropical regions around the world

Sundarbans

Mapping

 

Source: DTE

India and Bangladesh have signed an agreement to address climate-related loss and damage in the Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site shared between the two countries.

This consensus calls for a joint stakeholder initiative to raise awareness of the Sundarbans’ climate challenges on the global stage.

Despite contributing minimally to carbon emissions, the Sundarbans face significant climate impacts, including cyclones, sea-level rise, and forced migration.

Sundarbans is a mangrove area in the delta formed by the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers in the Bay of Bengal.

 

Features:

  • Sundarban in India is its largest mangrove ecosystem.
  • Sundarban Reserve Forest of Bangladesh is the largest mangrove forest in the world.
  • It contains Sundarbans Tiger Reserve, Sundarban Wetland, Sundarbans National Park and Biosphere Reserve.
  • It is the only mangrove forest in the world inhabited by tigers

 

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