- PM greets people on first day of Navratri
- Well-marked low pressure arealies centered over East Central & adjoining Northeast Arabian Sea
- Buldhana Pattern of water conservation gets national recognition
- Research by scientists of JNCASR opens up prospects of bio-inspired materials for energy & biotechnology sector
- Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar awardee’s demystification of transformation of glass to crystal can help dispose liquid nuclear waste safely
PM greets people on first day of Navratri
Focus: GS 1: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
Why in News?
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has extended his greetings to people on the beginning of Navratri.
“Pranams to Maa Shailputri on Day 1 of Navratri. With her blessings, may our planet be safe, healthy and prosperous. May her blessings give us strength to bring a positive change in the lives of the poor and downtrodden”, the Prime Minister said.
- Navratri translates to Nav meaning nine and ratri meaning nights and honours the divine Goddess Durga who defeated the demon king Mahishasura in a battle.
- The significance of the Navratri can be observed across India. The Navratri festival is celebrated in India in several regions with the most zeal.
- In West Bengal, it is celebrated as Durga Puja. In Gujarat, Navratri is the representation of nightlife. People wear colorful costumes, there are loudspeakers and packed stadiums of people with full of excitement performing Garba. Every street is lit up.
- We can say that Navratri is translated into nine nights which is a celebration of nine forms of goddesses, the supreme being, creator, and destroyer of elements. Among the deities, she represents feminity.
- According to the Hindu Calendar, Navratri falls in the month of Ashwin in the Ritu season of Sharad and so is named as Sharad Navratri or Sharadiya Navratri.
9 Forms of Goddess Durga in below image:-
Legend has it that the demon king Mahishasura was granted immortality by Lord Brahma, with the condition being that he could only be defeated by a woman.
Mahishasura attacked all the three spheres, Trilok, which includes Earth, Heaven and Hell, and nobody could defeat him. Then Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva combined their powers to create Goddess Durga.
Well-marked low pressure arealies centered over East Central & adjoining Northeast Arabian Sea
Focus: GS1: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
Why in News?
According to the Cyclone Warning Division of the India Meteorological Department (IMD):
The well-marked low pressure area over East Central & adjoining Northeast Arabian off South Gujarat coast moved west-northwestwards and lay centered over East Central & adjoining Northeast Arabian Sea at 0530 hrs. IST of today, the 17th October 2020.
About Tropical Cyclone :-
Tropical cyclones are violent storms that originate over oceans in tropical areas and move over to the coastal areas bringing about large scale destruction caused by violent winds, very heavy rainfall and storm surges.
Tropical Cyclones are one of the most devastating natural calamities in the world.
Tropical cyclones originate and intensify over warm tropical oceans.
The conditions favorable for the formation and intensification of tropical storms are:
- Large sea surface with temperature higher than 27° C.
- Presence of the Coriolis force.
- Small variations in the vertical wind speed.
- A pre-existing weak low- pressure area or low-level-cyclonic circulation.
- Upper divergence above the sea level system.
Below image vertical section of Tropical Cyclone:-
Nomenclature of Tropical Cyclones:-
The naming of tropical cyclones is a recent phenomenon. The process of naming cyclones involves several countries in the region and is done under the aegis of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
For the Indian Ocean region, a formula for naming cyclones was agreed upon in 2004. Eight countries in the region – Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand – all contributed a set of names which are assigned sequentially whenever a cyclonic storm develops.
Hudhud, Titli, Phethai, Fani, Vayu and Amphan are among the names of cyclones in the Indian Ocean region.
Worldwide Terminology of Tropical Cyclones:-
They are given many names in different regions of the world – eg.they are known as Typhoons in the China Sea and Pacific Ocean; Hurricanes in the West Indian islands in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean; Tornados in the Guinea lands of West Africa and southern USA.; Willy-willies in north-western Australia and Tropical Cyclones in the Indian Ocean.
There are three elements associated with cyclones which cause destruction during its occurrence. These are-
Strong Winds/Squall: It damages installations, dwellings, communications systems, trees etc., resulting in loss of life and property.
Torrential rains and inland flooding: Rain is a serious problem for the people who become shelter less due to the cyclone. Heavy rainfall is usually spread over a wide area and causes large scale soil erosion and weakening of embankments.
Storm Surge: It is an abnormal rise of sea level near the coast caused by a severe tropical cyclone. Due to storm surge sea water inundates low lying areas of coastal regions drowning human beings and livestock, causes eroding beaches and embankments, destroys vegetation and leads to reduction of soil fertility.
Extra Info :-
About World Meteorological Organization (WMO);-
Established in 1950, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) is an intergovernmental organization that originated from the International Meteorological Organisation (IMO).
- The International Meteorological Organisation (IMO) had its roots from the Vienna International Meteorological Congress of 1873.
- It became a specialized agency of the UN in 1951.
- The United Nations Economic and Social Council is the parent organization of the UN’s WMO.
- WMO celebrated its 70th Anniversary in 2020.
- WMO Hq in Geneva Switzerland, the WMO is governed by the World Meteorological Congress, composed of member states, which meets every four years to set policies and priorities.
Reports published by the WMO are:
- Status of World Climate
- Greenhouse Gas Bulletin
About Indian Meteorological Organization (IMD);–
- Formed in 1875, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) is the national meteorological service of the country and it is the chief government agency dealing in everything related to meteorology, seismology, and associated subjects.
- The administrative responsibilities of the Department are under the supervision of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Indian Government. The IMD is headquartered in New Delhi.
Buldhana Pattern of water conservation gets national recognition:-
Focus: GS 3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
Why in News?
- Union Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari has said that Maharashtra’s ‘Buldhana Pattern’ of water conservation’ has won national recognition and the NITI Aayog is in the process of formulating National Policy on water conversation based on it.
- Shri Gadkari has urged the Maharashtra Government also to adopt the ‘Buldhana Pattern’ for water conservation in the state.
- “With this activity in Maharashtra, 225 lakh cubic metre of soil was used in National Highway construction and the resultant widening / deepening resulted in increase of 22,500 Thousand Cubic Metre (TMC) of water storage capacity with no cost to state government” Shri Gadkari added.
About Buldhana Pattern of Water Conservation:-
- The Synchronization of national highway construction and water conservation was achieved for the first time in Buldhana district, by using soil from the water bodies, nallas and rivers. This consequently lead to the increase in capacity of water storage across the water-bodies in Buldana district and it came to be known as ‘Buldhana Pattern’.
- The cost efficient ‘Buldhana pattern’ of road-construction nation-wide, especially in the regions which are facing problem of water scarcity.
- Another ‘Tamswada Pattern’ of water conservation project taken up in Nagpur and Wardha district in which rain water harvesting, conservation and groundwater recharge works were done in order to increase the water storage capacity of natural water bodies situated in these two districts of Eastern Vidarbha.
- Creation of State Water Grid and adopting water Conservations works under ‘Buldana Pattern’ will increase the agriculture production and bring prosperity in farmer’s economic life in Vidarbha.
Traditional Water Conservation Systems;-
Phad – It is a community-managed irrigation system in the tapi river basin in Maharashtra. It starts with check dam built across a river and canals to carry water to agricultural blocks with outlets to ensure excess water is removed from the canals.
Zing – It is found in Ladakh, are small tanks that collect melting glacier water. A network of guiding channels brings water from the glacier to the tank.
Kuhls – They are surface water channels found in the mountainous regions of Himachal Pradesh. The channels carry glacial waters from rivers and streams into the fields.
Zabo or Ruza System– It is practiced in Nagaland. Rainwater that falls on forested hilltops is collected by channels that deposit the run-off water in pond-like structures created on the terraced hillsides.
Jackwells – The Shompen tribe of the Great Nicobar Islands uses this system, in which bamboos are placed under trees to collect runoff water from leaves and carries it to jackwells which are pits encircled by bunds made from logs of hard wood.
Pat system – It is developed in Madhya Pradesh, in which the water is diverted from hill streams into irrigation channels by diversion bunds. They are made across the stream by piling up stones and teak leaves and mud.
Eri – It is tank system, widely used in Tamil Nadu which acts as flood-control systems, prevent soil erosion and wastage of runoff during periods of heavy rainfall, and also recharge the groundwater.
Johads – They are small earthern check dams used to conserve and recharge ground water, mainly constructed in an area with naturally high elevation.
Panam keni – The Kuruma tribe (a native tribe of Wayanad) uses wooden cylinders as a special type of well, which are made by soaking the stems of toddy palms and immersed in groundwater springs.
Ahar Pynes – They are traditional floodwater harvesting systems indigenous to South Bihar. Ahars are reservoirs with embankments on three sides and Pynes are artificial rivulets led off from rivers to collect water in the ahars for irrigation in the dry months.
Jhalara – Jhalaras are typically rectangular-shaped stepwells that have tiered steps on three or four sides in the city of Jodhpur.
Bawari – Bawaris are unique stepwells that were once a part of the ancient networks of water storage in the cities of Rajasthan.
Taanka – It is a cylindrical paved underground pit into which rainwater from rooftops, courtyards or artificially prepared catchments flows. It is indigenous to the Thar Desert region of Rajasthan.
Khadin – Also called dhora, is a long earthen embankment that is built across the hill slopes of gravelly uplands. It is indigenous to Jaisalmer region and similar to the irrigation methods of Ur region (Present Iraq).
Kund – It is a saucer-shaped catchment area that gently slopes towards the central circular underground well. It is found in the sandier tracts of western Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Why Fresh Water is Important and urgent need to save it?
Although approximately 70% of the earth is covered in water, a very small percentage is drinkable.
The 97% of earth’s water is salt-water. The remaining 3% is fresh water. However, large percentages of the earth’s fresh water is locked in glaciers.
Although most is not readily drinkable, in actuality 100% of the water on Earth is drinkable. Water evaporates from oceans and falls as fresh water, and we know how to desalinate water. Ice can melt and that produces drinkable water. Ground water is what we drill for if you have a well.
About NITI Aayog;-
The NITI Aayog was formed on January 1, 2015. In Sanskrit, the word “NITI” means morality, behavior, guidance, etc. But, in the present context, it means policy and the NITI stands for “National Institution for Transforming India”. It is the country’s premier policy-making institution that is expected to bolster the economic growth of the country. It aims to construct a strong state that will help to create a dynamic and strong nation. This helps India to emerge as a major economy in the world. The NITI Aayog’s creation has two hubs called “Team India Hub” and “Knowledge and Innovation Hub”.
- Team India: It leads to the participation of Indian states with the central government.
- The Knowledge and Innovation Hub: it builds the institution’s think tank capabilities
The National Institution for Transforming India, also called NITI Aayog, was formed via a resolution of the union cabinet on JAN 1 2015. NITI Aayog is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Government of India, providing both directional and policy inputs. While designing strategic and long term policies and programmes for the Government of India, NITI Aayog also provides relevant technical advice to the Centre and States.
- The Governing Council of NITI, with The Prime Minister as its Chairman, comprises Chief Ministers of all States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories (UTs).
- The Government of India, in keeping with its reform agenda, constituted the NITI Aayog to replace the Planning Commission instituted in 1950. This was done in order to better serve the needs and aspirations of the people of India. An important evolutionary change from the past, NITI Aayog acts as the quintessential platform of the Government of India to bring States to act together in national interest, and thereby fosters Cooperative Federalism.
- On 7 June 2018, the Prime Minister approved the reconstitution of NITI Aayog to include Ex-officio members and special invitees.
Difference between NITI Aayog and Planning Commission :-
Research by scientists of JNCASR opens up prospects of bio-inspired materials for energy & biotechnology sector:-
Focus: GS 3: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
Why in News?
- Scientists have developed a synthetic material that mimics the dynamic capability of living organisms to adapt to new environments by utilizing simple natural design principles to create complex networks. The new materials developed opens new avenues for smart materials because of their dynamic and adaptive nature. Hence, they would be useful as recyclable polymers for the energy and biotechnology sector.
- Scientists from the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Science and Research (JNCASR), an autonomous institution of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), have developed a synthetic mimic of such redox-active biological assemblies, with precise structure and dynamics that can be manipulated.
About Bio-Inspired Structures:-
- Bioinspiration is the development of novel materials, devices, and structures inspired by solutions found in biological systems and biological evolution and refinement which has occurred over millions of years.
- Bioinspired materials are synthetic materials whose structure, properties or function mimic those of natural materials or living matter.
- Bio-inspired structures are formed by assembling transient dormant monomeric molecules (basic units of polymers) by coupling them to a reduction-oxidation reaction network. They form a chemical entity called supramolecular polymers with strikingly dynamic properties. The properties arise because they are connected by non-covalent bonds, which are reversible bonds that hold their chains together. These dynamic properties open up prospects of many new applications of these materials.
Typical characteristics of bioinspiration;-
Bio-inspired research is quite different from chemistry research. This research does not focus on complexity and microscopic things like molecular structure. It is based on observing and understanding the functions from the products of biological evolution.
A limitless source of ideas
There are various kinds of organisms and many different strategies that have proved successful in biology at solving some functional problem. Some kinds of high-level bio functions may seem simple, but they are supported by many layers of underlying structures, processes, molecules and their elaborate interaction. There is no chance to run out of phenomena for bio-inspired research.
Often, bio-inspired research about something can be much easier than precisely replicating the source of inspiration. For example, researchers do not have to know how a bird flies to make an airplane.
Bio-inspiration returns to observation of nature as a source of inspiration for problem-solving and make it part of a grand tradition. The simplicity of many solutions emerge from a bio-inspired strategy, combined with the fact that different geographical and cultural regions have different types of contact with animals, fish, plants, birds and even microorganisms. This means different regions will have intrinsic advantages in areas in which their natural landscape is rich. So bio-inspired research is trans-cultural field.
Technical Applications areas of Bio-Inspired Materials are as below ;-
- There are many technical applications available nowadays that are bioinspired. However, this term should not be mixed up with Biomimicry.
- For example, an airplane in general is bioinspired by birds. The wing tips of an airplane are biomimetic because its original function of minimizing turbulence and therefore needing less energy to fly, is not changed or improved compared to nature’s original.
- Also, Nano 3D printing method is also one of the novel method for bioinspiration. Plants and animals have particular properties which are often related to their composition of nano- and micro surface structures.
- Many research have already been tried to mimic Salvinia molesta leaves for superhydrophobicity, gecko’s toes which increase the amount of attractive Van der waals force that lead to adhesiveness even on slippery surfaces, and moth antennae which inspire a new approach to detect chemical leaks, drugs and explosives
Bio Inspiration and Biomimicry are Different ,biomimicry is where you copy directly from nature. Bio-inspiration, on the other hand, is where you take an idea from nature and find a way to improve on it for your own purposes.
Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar awardee’s demystification of transformation of glass to crystal can help dispose liquid nuclear waste safely:-
Focus: GS 3: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology
Why in News?
A team of researchers led by Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize recipient in Physical Sciences (2020) category Prof. Rajesh Ganapathy from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of Indiain collaboration with Prof. Ajay Sood (IISC) and their graduate student Ms. DivyaGanapathi (IISC) observed glass made of colloidal particles and monitored their dynamics over several days.
Process of Devitrification and how it helps in dispose of Nuclear Waste Safely;-
- Glass is a non-crystalline, often transparent amorphous solid which is mostly formed by rapid cooling of its molten form. However, under certain conditions, during its formation, molten glass may rebel and transform to a crystal – the more stable state, an avoidable process called devitrification.
- However, the process of devitrification remains poorly understood as this process can be extremely slow, and this makes it difficult to study it. Scientists have now visualized devitrification in an experiment, thus taking a step closer to understanding it.
- This could help avoid devitrification in processes of pharma industries – a sector in which dodging this is of paramount importance. This is because an amorphous drug dissolves faster than after devitrification,and ensuring that it remains amorphous is therefore essential during storage.
- Using real-time monitoring of the particles with an optical microscope and machine learning methods to determine subtle structural features hidden in the glass, they identified a parameter called ‘softness’, which determines the extent of devitrification. They found that regions in the glass which had particle clusters with large “softness” values were the ones that crystallized and that “softness” was also sensitive to the crystallization route.
- The authors fed their machine learning model pictures a colloidal glass, and the model accurately predicted the regions that crystallized days in advance. The authors suggest that techniques to tune “softness” by introducing impurities may help realize long-lived glass states, which has numerous technological applications.
- The research published in the journal Nature Physics can also help in vitrification of liquid nuclear waste as a solid in a glass matrix to safely dispose it deep underground and prevent hazardous materials from leaking into the environment