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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 13 July 2020

Contents

  1. Punjab farmers find a better way to grow paddy
  2. Mizoram quake zone
  3. China, Iran close to reaching trade and military partnership
  4. NCRB and NATGRID
  5. C/2020 F3 Neowise

Punjab farmers find a better way to grow paddy

Why in news?

Many farmers in Punjab chose the direct seeding method for the crop during COVID-19.

More about news

Farmers and agricultural experts say that large scale use of DSR to plant paddy could solve the staggering problem of stubble burning, a key cause of air pollution across the northern region.

What is ‘Direct Seeding of Rice’ (DSR)?

  • In transplanting, farmers prepare nurseries where the paddy seeds are first sown and raised into young plants.
  • These seedlings are then uprooted and replanted later in the main field.
  • In DSR, there is no nursery preparation or transplantation. The seeds are instead directly drilled into the field by a tractor-powered machine.

What is the main advantage of DSR?

  • The most important advantage is water saving. Unlike in transplanted paddy, where watering has to be done practically daily to ensure flooded conditions in the first three weeks.
  • The second savings, relevant in the present context, is that of labour. About three labourers are required to transplant one acre of paddy at almost Rs 2,400 per acre.
  • As against this, the cost of herbicides under DSR will not exceed Rs 2,000 per acre.

Limitations of DSR

  • The main issue is the availability of herbicides.
  • The seed requirement for DSR is also higher, at 8-10 kg/acre, compared to 4-5 kg in transplanting.
  • Further, laser land levelling, which is expensive is compulsory in DSR. Whereas it is not so in transplanting.
  • The yields are as good as from normal transplanting, but one need to sow by the first fortnight of June. The plants have to come out properly before the monsoon rains arrive.
  • There is no such problem in transplanting, where the saplings have already been raised in the nursery.

The kharif crops include rice, maize, sorghum, pearl millet/bajra, finger millet/ragi (cereals), arhar (pulses), soyabean, groundnut (oilseeds), cotton etc. 

The rabi crops include wheat, barley, oats (cereals), chickpea/gram (pulses), linseed, mustard (oilseeds) etc.  Kindly make a note of this.


Mizoram quake zone

Why in news?

  • Mizoram experienced at least eight moderate earthquakes between June 21 and July 9. The tremors ranged from 4.2 to 5.5 on the Richter scale
  • The epicentre of most of these quakes was beneath Champhai district bordering Myanmar,
  • Mizoram’s zone of “scary” earthquakes is caught between two subterranean faults, a geologist assigned to make a preliminary study
Mizoram, Legacy IAS

What are Earthquake swarms

  • It is a series of many (sometimes thousands) low magnitude earthquakes without a discernible main shock.
  • They occur in a localised region and over a period of time ranging from days, weeks to even months, without a clear sequence of foreshocks, main quakes and aftershocks.
  • When seismic energy piles up inside the Earth and is released in small amounts from certain points, such a series of earthquakes can occur

Do these small earthquakes foretell a bigger one?

  • Earthquakes of magnitude 4 or below hardly cause any damage anywhere and are mostly inconsequential for practical purposes.
  • Thousands of such earthquakes are recorded around the world every year, and most of them are uneventful.
  • They certainly do not signal any big upcoming even
  • When a big event happens, all the smaller earthquakes that have occurred in that region in the near past are classified as foreshocks.
  • The description does not exist before any big earthquake has happened.
  • So, the talk of these being foreshocks of a big earthquake in Delhi have no basis at all.
  • A big earthquake might still occur, which no can rule out. But they cannot be predicted. So to say that these small earthquakes are precursors to the big one is totally unscientific.

Earthquake

  •  An earthquake  is shaking of the earth. It is a natural event. It is caused due to release of energy, which generates waves that travel in all directions.
  • The release of energy occurs along a fault. Rocks along a fault tend to move in opposite directions. This causes a release of energy, and the energy waves travel in all directions.
  • The point where the energy is released is called the focus of an earthquake, alternatively, it is called the hypocentre.
  • The point on the surface, nearest to the focus, is called epicentre. It is the first one to experience the waves. It is a point directly above the focus.
Machine generated alternative text:
Seismic Waves Radiate from the 
Focus of an Earthquake 
Fault scarp 
Epicenter 
Focus 
Legacy IAS

Earthquake Waves

  • All natural earthquakes take place in the lithosphere.
  • Earthquake waves are basically of two types  body waves and surface waves
Legacy IAS,
  1. Body waves are generated due to the release of energy at the focus and move in all directions travelling through the body of the earth.
  • There are 2 types of body waves and they are, Primary waves [P] and Secondary [S] waves
Machine generated alternative text:
P -waves 
S-waves 
Arrival times 
Surface 
waves 
Legacy IAS
  1. Primary waves are the first to appear on the surface and hence the name P waves.
    • P-waves vibrate parallel to the direction of the wave. This exerts pressure on the material in the direction of the propagation
    • P waves can travel through gaseous, liquid and solid materials.
  2. Secondary waves

S waves appear after P waves.  The direction of vibrations of S-waves is perpendicular to the wave direction in the vertical plane. Hence, they create troughs and crests in the material through which they pass

  1. Surface waves
  • The body waves interact with the surface rocks and generate new set of waves called surface waves. These waves move along the surface.
  • The velocity of waves changes as they travel through materials with different densities. The denser the material, the higher is the velocity.
  • Their direction also changes as they reflect or refract when coming across materials with different densities.
  • Surface waves are considered to be the most damaging waves.

Contents

  1. Punjab farmers find a better way to grow paddy
  2. Mizoram quake zone
  3. China, Iran close to reaching trade and military partnership
  4. NCRB and NATGRID
  5. C/2020 F3 Neowise

Punjab farmers find a better way to grow paddy

Why in news?

Many farmers in Punjab chose the direct seeding method for the crop during COVID-19.

More about news

Farmers and agricultural experts say that large scale use of DSR to plant paddy could solve the staggering problem of stubble burning, a key cause of air pollution across the northern region.

What is ‘Direct Seeding of Rice’ (DSR)?

  • In transplanting, farmers prepare nurseries where the paddy seeds are first sown and raised into young plants.
  • These seedlings are then uprooted and replanted later in the main field.
  • In DSR, there is no nursery preparation or transplantation. The seeds are instead directly drilled into the field by a tractor-powered machine.

What is the main advantage of DSR?

  • The most important advantage is water saving. Unlike in transplanted paddy, where watering has to be done practically daily to ensure flooded conditions in the first three weeks.
  • The second savings, relevant in the present context, is that of labour. About three labourers are required to transplant one acre of paddy at almost Rs 2,400 per acre.
  • As against this, the cost of herbicides under DSR will not exceed Rs 2,000 per acre.

Limitations of DSR

  • The main issue is the availability of herbicides.
  • The seed requirement for DSR is also higher, at 8-10 kg/acre, compared to 4-5 kg in transplanting.
  • Further, laser land levelling, which is expensive is compulsory in DSR. Whereas it is not so in transplanting.
  • The yields are as good as from normal transplanting, but one need to sow by the first fortnight of June. The plants have to come out properly before the monsoon rains arrive.
  • There is no such problem in transplanting, where the saplings have already been raised in the nursery.

The kharif crops include rice, maize, sorghum, pearl millet/bajra, finger millet/ragi (cereals), arhar (pulses), soyabean, groundnut (oilseeds), cotton etc. 

The rabi crops include wheat, barley, oats (cereals), chickpea/gram (pulses), linseed, mustard (oilseeds) etc.  Kindly make a note of this.

Mizoram quake zone

Why in news?

  • Mizoram experienced at least eight moderate earthquakes between June 21 and July 9. The tremors ranged from 4.2 to 5.5 on the Richter scale
  • The epicentre of most of these quakes was beneath Champhai district bordering Myanmar,
  • Mizoram’s zone of “scary” earthquakes is caught between two subterranean faults, a geologist assigned to make a preliminary study

What are Earthquake swarms

  • It is a series of many (sometimes thousands) low magnitude earthquakes without a discernible main shock.
  • They occur in a localised region and over a period of time ranging from days, weeks to even months, without a clear sequence of foreshocks, main quakes and aftershocks.
  • When seismic energy piles up inside the Earth and is released in small amounts from certain points, such a series of earthquakes can occur

Do these small earthquakes foretell a bigger one?

  • Earthquakes of magnitude 4 or below hardly cause any damage anywhere and are mostly inconsequential for practical purposes.
  • Thousands of such earthquakes are recorded around the world every year, and most of them are uneventful.
  • They certainly do not signal any big upcoming even
  • When a big event happens, all the smaller earthquakes that have occurred in that region in the near past are classified as foreshocks.
  • The description does not exist before any big earthquake has happened.
  • So, the talk of these being foreshocks of a big earthquake in Delhi have no basis at all.
  • A big earthquake might still occur, which no can rule out. But they cannot be predicted. So to say that these small earthquakes are precursors to the big one is totally unscientific.

Earthquake

  •  An earthquake  is shaking of the earth. It is a natural event. It is caused due to release of energy, which generates waves that travel in all directions.
  • The release of energy occurs along a fault. Rocks along a fault tend to move in opposite directions. This causes a release of energy, and the energy waves travel in all directions.
  • The point where the energy is released is called the focus of an earthquake, alternatively, it is called the hypocentre.
  • The point on the surface, nearest to the focus, is called epicentre. It is the first one to experience the waves. It is a point directly above the focus.
Machine generated alternative text:
Seismic Waves Radiate from the 
Focus of an Earthquake 
Fault scarp 
Epicenter 
Focus 
Wave fr ontS 
Fault

Earthquake Waves

  • All natural earthquakes take place in the lithosphere.
  • Earthquake waves are basically of two types  body waves and surface waves
  1. Body waves are generated due to the release of energy at the focus and move in all directions travelling through the body of the earth.
  • There are 2 types of body waves and they are, Primary waves [P] and Secondary [S] waves
Machine generated alternative text:
P -waves 
S-waves 
Arrival times 
Surface 
waves 
plitude
  1. Primary waves are the first to appear on the surface and hence the name P waves.
    • P-waves vibrate parallel to the direction of the wave. This exerts pressure on the material in the direction of the propagation
    • P waves can travel through gaseous, liquid and solid materials.
  1. Secondary waves

S waves appear after P waves.  The direction of vibrations of S-waves is perpendicular to the wave direction in the vertical plane. Hence, they create troughs and crests in the material through which they pass

  1. Surface waves
  • The body waves interact with the surface rocks and generate new set of waves called surface waves. These waves move along the surface.
  • The velocity of waves changes as they travel through materials with different densities. The denser the material, the higher is the velocity.
  • Their direction also changes as they reflect or refract when coming across materials with different densities.
  • Surface waves are considered to be the most damaging waves.

China, Iran close to reaching trade and military partnership

Why in news?

Iran and China have quietly drafted a sweeping economic and security partnership that would clear the way for billions of dollars of Chinese investments in energy and other sectors

More about the deal

would vastly expand Chinese presence in banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects. In exchange, China would receive a regular — and, according to an Iranian official and an oil trader, heavily discounted  supply of Iranian oil over the next 25 years

deepening military cooperation, potentially giving China a foothold in a region that has been a strategic preoccupation of the United States for decades. It calls for joint training and military exercises between China and Iran

More about Chinese Dominance in geopolitics

  • China is not a littoral state in the Indian Ocean. Historically, Chinese naval activity was limited to the East China Sea, the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, and the South China Sea.
  • In today’s context, China is the second-largest economy and the world’s largest trading nation. The sea-lanes of communication in the Indian Ocean are vital to her economy and security.
  • Under international law, China should have equal access to the Indian ocean.

China’s “Malacca Dilemma”

  • China thinks that others would block the Malacca Straits to “contain” the Chinese. So, China has strategized to dominate not just the Malacca Straits, but the ocean beyond it.
  • The PLA Navy (PLAN) made its first operational deployment in the Gulf of Aden in 2008. In 2009 China planned for overseas base or facility. In 2010 a China State Oceanic Administration report alluded to plans to build aircraft carriers.

BRI: Overcoming the deficiencies China face in India Ocean

  • The US hegemony and India’s regional influence in the Indian Ocean are thought of as a challenge to China. So, China focused on 3 inherent deficiencies that they wanted to overcome.
    • China is not a littoral state.
    •  Its passage through key maritime straits could be easily blocked.
    • The possibility of US-India cooperation against China.

How to overcome these deficiencies?

  •  Carefully selecting sites to build ports. And Chinese have ports at Djibouti, Gwadar, Hambantota, Sittwe and Seychelles.
  • Conducting activities in a low-key manner to “reduce the military colour as much as possible”.
  • By not unnerving India and America by cooperating at first, then slowly penetrating into the Indian Ocean, beginning with detailed maritime surveys, ocean mapping, HADR, port construction and so on.

NCRB and NATGRID

Why in news?

The National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) has signed an MoU with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to access the centralised online database on FIRs and stolen vehicles.

About NATGRID

  • NATGRID initially started in 2009 is an online database for collating scattered pieces of information and putting them together on one platform.
  • It links at least 10 Central government Intelligence and investigation agencies, such as the Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing and others have access to the data on a secured platform.
  • NATGRID is exempted from the Right to Information Act, 2005 under sub-section (2) of Section 24.

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)

  • The NCRB is a government agency responsible for collecting and analysing crime data
  • NCRB is headquartered in New Delhi and is part of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
  • NCRB was set-up in 1986 to function as a repository of information on crime and criminals so as to assist the investigators in linking crime to the perpetrators.

Uses of NATGRID

  • The NATGRID enables multiple security and intelligence agencies to access a database related to immigration entry and exit, banking and telephone details, among others, from a common platform.
  • The 10 user agencies will be linked independently with certain databases which will be procured from 21 providing organisations including telecom, tax records, bank, immigration etc. to generate intelligence inputs.

Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems (CCTNS)

  • The CCTNS is a project for creating a comprehensive and integrated system for effective policing through e-Governance.
  • The concept was first conceived in the year 2008 by the then Home Minister in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
  • The system includes a nationwide online tracking system by integrating more than 14,000 police stations across the country.
  • The project is implemented by NCRB.

C/2020 F3 Neowise

What is it?

The C/2020 F3 is a comet and is also called as NEOWISE. It will be visible to the naked eye for 20 minutes every day for 20 days across India.

What are Comets?

  • Comets are “dirty snowballs” and are mostly made of dust, rocks and ice.
  • The word comet comes from the Latin word “Cometa” which means “long-haired” and the earliest known record of a comet sighting was made by an astrologer in 1059 BC.
  • Comets can range in their width from a few miles to tens of miles wide.
  • While there are millions of comets orbiting the sun, there are more than 3,650 known comets as of now, according to NASA.

Significance of the comets

  • NASA tracks all Near Earth Objects (NEOs) that includes comets and asteroids using telescopes placed all around the Earth, as part of its NEO Observation Program.
  • Comets hold important clues about the formation of the solar system and it is possible that comets brought water and other organic compounds, which are the building blocks of life to Earth.

Most famous comet

  • Halley’s Comet is the most famous comet.
  • It is a “periodic” comet and returns to Earth’s vicinity about every 75 years, making it possible for a human to see it twice in his or her lifetime.
  • The last time it was here was in 1986, and it is projected to return in 2061
  • The comet is named after English astronomer Edmond Halley, who examined reports of a comet approaching Earth in 1531, 1607 and 1682.
  • He concluded that these three comets were actually the same comet returning over and over again, and predicted the comet would come again in 1758
Comet
Legacy IAS

Read WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COMET, ASTEROID AND METEOR?

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