- Miyawaki forests
- Central Bureau of Investigation
- Stock Limits on Wheat and Pulses
- Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT)
- National Time Release Study (NTRS) 2023 report
PM Modi during his latest ‘Mann ki baat’ episode spoke about Miyawaki plantation, the Japanese method of creating dense urban forests in a small area.
- The PM also cited the example of a Kerala-based teacher, Raafi Ramnath, who used the Miyawaki technique to transform a barren land into a mini forest called Vidyavanam by planting 115 varieties of trees.
GS III: Agriculture
Dimensions of the Article:
- Miyawaki Forests: A Unique Approach to Afforestation
- Key Principles of the Miyawaki Method
- Benefits of Miyawaki Forests
Miyawaki Forests: A Unique Approach to Afforestation
- Miyawaki forests or Miyawaki technique developed by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki.
- Originated in the 1970s with the aim to increase green cover within small areas.
Dense and Multi-layered Forests:
- Method involves creating dense forests with multiple layers of vegetation.
- Emphasizes rapid growth and mimicking the biodiversity of native forests.
- Two to four different types of indigenous trees are planted within each square meter.
- Promotes a diverse and thriving ecosystem.
- Plants used in Miyawaki method are mostly self-sustaining.
- Requires minimal maintenance such as manuring and watering.
Self-sustainability and Rapid Growth:
- Trees in Miyawaki forests become self-sustaining over time.
- They reach their full height within three years of planting.
Key Principles of the Miyawaki Method:
Plant Diversity and Proximity:
- Planting numerous native species in close proximity encourages natural competition and symbiotic relationships.
- Creates a self-sustaining ecosystem with a diverse range of species.
- Trees are planted in high density to ensure quick canopy closure.
- Minimizes sunlight reaching the ground, reducing weed growth and enhancing sapling growth.
- The soil is carefully prepared by adding organic matter, nutrients, and microorganisms.
- Creates a fertile and conducive environment for tree growth.
- Mulch is applied to the forest floor.
- Helps retain moisture, suppress weed growth, and enhance soil fertility.
Care and Maintenance:
- Proper care and maintenance, including watering, weeding, and monitoring, are crucial during the initial years.
- Ensures the successful establishment of the forest and supports healthy growth.
Benefits of Miyawaki Forests:
Rapid Growth and High Density:
- Miyawaki forests have a remarkable growth rate, reaching maturity in a shorter time compared to traditional plantations.
- They grow 10 times faster, are 30 times denser, and contain 100 times more biodiversity.
Thriving Habitat and Biodiversity:
- Miyawaki forests become thriving habitats for birds, insects, and wildlife, contributing to overall ecosystem health and resilience.
Carbon Absorption and Climate Change Mitigation:
- The dense vegetation and rapid growth of Miyawaki forests enable efficient carbon absorption.
- They help mitigate climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Careful soil preparation enriches soil fertility and structure, promoting healthier tree growth and ecosystem development.
Noise and Air Pollution Reduction:
- Miyawaki forests in urban areas act as sound barriers, helping to mitigate noise pollution.
- They contribute to improving air quality by absorbing pollutants and reducing air pollution levels.
Water Retention and Prevention of Water Pollution:
- The dense vegetation of Miyawaki forests absorbs rainfall and reduces runoff, leading to better water retention.
- They help prevent water pollution by filtering out pollutants and sediments.
Regulation of Surface Temperatures:
- Miyawaki forests can help regulate surface temperatures, particularly in urban areas affected by the urban heat island effect.
- They provide shade and cooling effects, reducing the impact of high temperatures in urban environments.
-Source: Indian Express
Recently, the Tamil Nadu government has announced that it has withdrawn the general consent given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), under Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946.
GS-II: Polity and Constitution, Governance
Dimensions of the Article:
- Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
- Functions of CBI
- Challenges of CBI
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
- The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was set up in 1963 after the recommendation of Santhanam committee under Ministry of Home affairs and was later transferred to the Ministry of Personnel and now it enjoys the status of an attached office.
- Now, the CBI comes under the administrative control of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
- The CBI derives its powers from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, however, it is NOT a Statutory Body.
- CBI is the apex anti-corruption body in the country – Along with being the main investigating agency of the Central Government it also provides assistance to the Central Vigilance Commission and Lokpal.
- The CBI is required to obtain the prior approval of the Central Government before conducting any inquiry or investigation.
- The CBI is also the nodal police agency in India which coordinates investigations on behalf of Interpol Member countries.
- The CBI’s conviction rate is as high as 65 to 70% and it is comparable to the best investigation agencies in the world.
- The CBI is headed by a Director and he is assisted by a special director or an additional director. It has joint directors, deputy inspector generals, superintendents of police.
CBI has following divisions
- Anti-Corruption Division
- Economic Offences Division
- Special Crimes Division
- Policy and International Police Cooperation Division
- Administration Division
- Directorate of Prosecution
- Central Forensic Science Laboratory
How does the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) function in India?
Provision of Prior Permission:
- The CBI is required to obtain prior approval from the Central Government before conducting an inquiry or investigation into an offense committed by officers of the rank of joint secretary and above in the Central Government and its authorities.
- The Supreme Court, in 2014, declared Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, which provided protection to joint secretary and above officers from facing preliminary inquiries by the CBI in corruption cases, as invalid and violative of Article 14.
General Consent Principle for CBI:
- The state government can grant consent to the CBI on a case-specific basis or through a “general” consent.
- General consent is usually given by states to facilitate seamless investigation of corruption cases involving central government employees within their states.
- This consent is considered implicit, allowing the CBI to initiate investigations assuming consent has already been given.
- Without general consent, the CBI would need to seek permission from the state government for each individual case, even for minor actions.
Challenges of CBI
- The CBI has been dubbed a “caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice” by the Supreme Court of India due to excessive political influence in its operations. It has frequently been utilised by the government to conceal misdeeds, keep coalition allies in line, and keep political opponents at away. It has been accused of massive delays in concluding investigations, such as in its investigation into high-ranking Jain dignitaries in the Jain hawala diaries case [in the 1990s].
- Loss of Credibility: Improving the agency’s image has been one of the most difficult challenges so far, as the agency has been chastised for its mishandling of several high-profile cases, including the Bofors scandal, the Hawala scandal, the Sant Singh Chatwal case, the Bhopal gas tragedy, and the 2008 Noida double murder case (Aarushi Talwar).
- Lack of Accountability: CBI is exempt from the Right to Information Act, which means it is not accountable to the public.
- Acute staff shortage: One of the key causes of the shortfall is the government’s mishandling of the CBI’s employees, which includes an inefficient and inexplicably biassed recruitment policy that was utilised to bring in favoured officials, possibly to the organization’s damage.
- Limited Authority: Members of the CBI’s investigative powers and jurisdiction are subject to the consent of the State Government, restricting the scope of the CBI’s inquiry.
- Restricted Access: Obtaining prior authorisation from the Central Government to initiate an inquiry or probe into Central Government workers at the level of Joint Secretary and above is a major impediment to tackling corruption at the highest levels of government.
-Source: The Hindu
Recently, there has been an increase in reported cases of Monkeypox from some countries, particularly in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific Region.
Dimensions of the Article:
- About Monkeypox virus
- Zoonotic disease
- Symptoms and treatment
About Monkeypox virus
- The monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus, which is a genus of viruses that also includes the variola virus, which causes smallpox, and vaccinia virus, which was used in the smallpox vaccine.
- Monkeypox causes symptoms similar to smallpox, although they are less severe.
- While vaccination eradicated smallpox worldwide in 1980, monkeypox continues to occur in a swathe of countries in Central and West Africa, and has on occasion showed up elsewhere.
- According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), two distinct clade are identified: the West African clade and the Congo Basin clade, also known as the Central African clade.
- Monkeypox is a zoonosis, that is, a disease that is transmitted from infected animals to humans.
- According to the WHO, cases occur close to tropical rainforests inhabited by animals that carry the virus.
- Monkeypox virus infection has been detected in squirrels, Gambian poached rats, dormice, and some species of monkeys.
- Human-to-human transmission is, however, limited — the longest documented chain of transmission is six generations, meaning the last person to be infected in this chain was six links away from the original sick person, the WHO says.
- Transmission, when it occurs, can be through contact with bodily fluids, lesions on the skin or on internal mucosal surfaces, such as in the mouth or throat, respiratory droplets and contaminated objects.
Symptoms and treatment
- According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), monkeypox begins with a fever, headache, muscle aches, back ache, and exhaustion.
- It also causes the lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy), which smallpox does not.
- The WHO underlines that it is important to not confuse monkeypox with chickenpox, measles, bacterial skin infections, scabies, syphilis and medication-associated allergies.
- The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days.
- Usually within a day to 3 days of the onset of fever, the patient develops a rash that begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body.
- The skin eruption stage can last between 2 and 4 weeks, during which the lesions harden and become painful, fill up first with a clear fluid and then pus, and then develop scabs or crusts.
- According to the WHO, the proportion of patients who die has varied between 0 and 11% in documented cases, and has been higher among young children.
- There is no safe, proven treatment for monkeypox yet.
- The WHO recommends supportive treatment depending on the symptoms.
- Awareness is important for prevention and control of the infection.
-Source: The Hindu
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution has recently implemented restrictions on the quantity of wheat that traders, wholesalers, retailers, big chain retailers, and processors can stock. These measures aim to ensure food security and prevent hoarding and unfair speculation. Additionally, the ministry has invoked the Essential Commodities Act (ECA), 1955 to impose stock limits on Tur and Urad for similar reasons.
GS III: Indian Economy
Dimensions of the Article:
- Why are stock limits being imposed?
- Government orders regarding wheat stock limits
- Government seeks several outcomes through the imposed orders
- Essential Commodities Act (ECA) 1955
Why are stock limits being imposed?
Concerns over wheat production:
- Unseasonal rains, hailstorms, and higher temperatures in February 2023 have raised concerns about the overall wheat output.
- This lower production can lead to higher prices that may surpass the government’s purchase prices and affect supply stability.
- Initial estimates indicate a potential 20% decrease in wheat procurement.
- Approximately 5.23 lakh hectares of wheat crop in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh were estimated to be damaged due to hailstorms.
- The India Meteorological Department had issued warnings about adverse effects on wheat crops due to higher temperatures during the reproductive growth period.
Price rise in pulses:
- Tur prices have been rising since mid-July 2022 due to slow progress in Kharif sowing compared to the previous year.
- Excess rainfall and waterlogging conditions in major tur-growing states like Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh have contributed to this situation.
Preventing price rise and ensuring availability:
- To control any unwarranted price rise, the government is taking pre-emptive steps to ensure overall availability and controlled prices of pulses in both domestic and overseas markets.
Government orders regarding wheat stock limits:
- Permissible stock limits have been set as follows:
- Traders/wholesalers: 3,000 metric tonnes
- Retailers: 10 metric tonnes at each outlet
- Big chain retailers: 3,000 metric tonnes at all depots (combined)
- Processors are allowed to stock up to 75% of their annual installed capacity.
- Entities are required to declare their stock positions regularly on the Department of Food and Public Distribution’s portal.
- If stocks held exceed the prescribed limits, entities have 30 days from the day of issuing the notification to bring them under the prescribed limits.
Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) for wheat:
- The government has decided to sell 15 lakh tonnes of wheat from the central pool through the OMSS.
- Wheat will be sold via e-auction to flour mills, private traders, bulk buyers, and manufacturers of wheat products.
- The sale will be conducted in lot sizes of 10 to 100 metric tonnes, and additional batches may be released based on prices and demand.
Similar plan for rice:
- A similar plan is being considered for offloading rice to help moderate its prices.
Government seeks several outcomes through the imposed orders
- Stabilize Wheat Prices: The government aims to stabilize wheat prices in the market by preventing hoarding and speculation. The imposition of stock limits on traders, wholesalers, and retailers helps maintain a steady supply of wheat and avoids price volatility.
- Affordable Wheat for Consumers: By stabilizing prices, the government intends to make wheat more affordable for consumers. This ensures that the essential food commodity remains accessible to the public at reasonable rates.
- Prevent Supply Shortages: The government’s focus on monitoring and managing stock limits helps prevent supply shortages of wheat in the market. This ensures an adequate supply to meet the demand, especially for vulnerable sections of society who rely on government schemes like the Public Distribution System for food security.
- Maintain Food Security: Ensuring a consistent supply of wheat and avoiding price fluctuations contributes to maintaining food security in the country. By implementing measures to control the wheat market, the government aims to ensure that essential commodities are available to all sections of the population.
Essential Commodities Act (ECA) 1955
The Essential Commodities Act (ECA) of 1955 was enacted during a time when India faced food scarcity and relied on imports to feed its population. The act was introduced to prevent hoarding and black marketing of foodstuffs. Here are some key points about the Essential Commodities Act of 1955:
- The act was enacted to address the scarcity of foodstuffs in the country and to prevent hoarding and black marketing.
- It was introduced when India depended on imports and assistance to meet its food requirements.
Control of Essential Commodities:
- The act allows the central government to exercise control over the trade of a wide range of commodities deemed essential.
- The specific commodities considered essential are listed in the Schedule of the Act.
- The central government has the power to add or remove commodities from the Schedule.
- The central government has the authority to notify a commodity as essential, in consultation with state governments.
- If the central government deems it necessary in the public interest, it can declare an item as essential.
Impact and Powers:
- When a commodity is declared essential, the government can regulate its production, supply, and distribution.
- The government has the power to impose stock limits on essential commodities.
- The act provides mechanisms for controlling prices and preventing artificial scarcity.
-Source: The Hindu
Recently, the Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT), a unique space telescope developed by Pune’s Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) has been delivered to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
GS III: Science and Technology
Dimensions of the Article:
- Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope
- About Aditya-L1 mission
Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope
The SUIT (Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope) is an instrument on-board the Aditya-L1 mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is designed to measure and monitor solar radiation in the near ultraviolet wavelength range (200-400 nm) emitted by the Sun.
Here are some key features and significance of the SUIT instrument:
- Solar Radiation Mapping: SUIT will map the photosphere and chromosphere of the Sun using 11 filters that are sensitive to different wavelengths. These filters cover different heights in the solar atmosphere and provide valuable data for understanding the processes involved in the transfer of mass and energy between different layers.
- Sun-Climate Relationship: By measuring and monitoring the solar spectral irradiance, SUIT will contribute to the understanding of the Sun’s influence on the Earth’s atmosphere. It will help in studying the chemistry of oxygen and ozone in the stratosphere, which is crucial for understanding the Sun-climate relationship.
- Seamless Measurement of Solar Radiation: SUIT will provide a comprehensive measurement of solar radiation across a wide range of wavelengths, from hard X-ray to infrared. It will also perform in-situ measurements of particles in the solar wind, including the Sun’s magnetic field, at the Lagrangian point L1.
- Health Hazard Monitoring: The SUIT instrument will also measure the ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted by the Sun, which is hazardous to human health and can contribute to skin cancer. This information is important for assessing the potential risks of UV exposure.
- Addressing Fundamental Questions: The SUIT telescope will help address fundamental questions related to the Sun, such as the existence of a higher temperature atmosphere above the cooler surface and the origin and variation of near-ultraviolet radiation and high-energy solar flares.
About Aditya-L1 mission
The Aditya-L1 mission is an upcoming spacecraft mission developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and several Indian research institutes. Aditya, which means “Sun” in Sanskrit, aims to study the solar atmosphere, particularly the solar corona (the outermost part).
Some key details about the Aditya-L1 mission:
- Objectives: The mission’s primary objective is to observe and study the solar corona, including its dynamics, magnetic field variations, and other physical processes. It will also investigate the origin of solar wind, which affects space weather and its impact on Earth’s magnetosphere.
- Launch Vehicle: Aditya-L1 will be launched aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-XL), a reliable and versatile launch vehicle developed by ISRO.
- Comprehensive Observations: Over time, the mission’s objectives have been expanded, and it is now intended to be a comprehensive observatory of the Sun and space environment. It will provide valuable data for understanding various aspects of solar activity and its effects on space weather.
- Orbit: Aditya-L1 will be placed in an orbit around the Lagrange point L1, which is located approximately 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. Lagrange points are positions in space where the gravitational pull of two large masses (in this case, the Sun and Earth) precisely balances the centripetal force required for a small object to move with them. This unique orbit will allow Aditya-L1 to have continuous views of the Sun without interruptions.
- Scientific Instruments: The spacecraft will carry multiple instruments to observe the Sun, including a coronagraph to study the solar corona, ultraviolet imaging telescopes, and other sensors to measure various parameters of solar activity.
-Source: Indian Express
Recently, the chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) along with other Members of the Board released the National Time Release Study (NTRS) 2023 report.
GS III: Indian Economy
Dimensions of the Article:
- National Time Release Study (NTRS) 2023
- Some highlights from the report
National Time Release Study (NTRS) 2023
- National Time Release Study (NTRS) 2023 report is a performance measurement tool that focuses on measuring the time it takes for cargo release at Customs stations in India.
- It provides a quantitative measure of the time taken for domestic clearance in imports and the arrival and departure of cargo in exports.
- The study covers various key points of entry, including seaports, air cargo complexes (ACCs), inland container depots (ICDs), and integrated check posts (ICPs), which handle a significant percentage of bills of entry in the country.
Some highlights from the report:
- Emphasis on Promptness: The report reaffirms the importance of promptness in cargo release. It highlights the benefits of practices such as advance filing of import documents for pre-arrival processing, risk-based facilitation of cargo, and trusted client programs. Combining these features helps achieve the release time targets set by the National Trade Facilitation Action Plan (NTFAP) across all port categories.
- Focus on Export Release Time: The report places a greater focus on measuring the time it takes for export release. It recognizes the distinction between regulatory clearance, which is completed with the grant of Let Export Order (LEO), and the broader aspect of physical clearance, which occurs when the carrier departs with the goods after completing logistics processes.
-Source: The Hindu