- Buddha Purnima, Vesak Day
- Integrated soil nutrient management: Soil Health Card
- Nanomaterials for water pollution control
- India Reduces Energy Intensity of our Economy
BUDDHA PURNIMA, VESAK DAY
Focus: GS-I Art and Culture
Why in news?
Vesak is celebrated once a year. This year, it falls on Thursday 7th May.
The date of Vesak changes each year as it take places at the time of the first full moon of the ancient lunar month of Vesakha, which usually falls in May or early June.
It is a celebration of Buddha’s birthday and, for some Buddhists, marks his enlightenment (when he discovered life’s meaning).
About Gautam Buddha:
- He was born in Lumbi near Kavilvastu which is now in Nepal.
- He belongs to the Sakya clan. Suddodhana was his father and Mayadevi was mother.
- Prajapati Gautami was his foster mother who brought him up after his mother’s death.
- He married to Yasodhara at the age of 16. Rahul was his son.
- Three incidents compelled him away from worldly life. I.e. an Old Man; a Diseased Man; a Corpse; and an Ascetic.
- He left home in search of ‘Truth’ at the age of twenty nine but his seven years of wandering hadn’t given fruitful result.
- At the age of 35, he got enlightenment under a ‘Bodhi Tree’ after intense penance which called ‘Nirvana’.
- He delivered his first sermon at Sarnath.
- He died at Kushinagar when he was at the age of eighty.
- Sariputta, Moggallanna, Ananda, Kassapa and Upali was the disciples of Buddha.
- Prasenjit of Kosala, Bimbisara & Ajatasatru of Magadha accepted the Jainism.
Teachings of Buddha:
Buddhism was essentially a congregational religion and the reason for human misery is ignorance- a sort of cosmic ignorance which leads to the delusion of selfhood.
Four Noble Truths of Buddha:
- World is full of suffering;
- Desire causes suffering;
- When we get rid of Desire, suffering will be removed;
- Eightfold path will help to win over desire.
Eightfold Path consists of
- Right view,
- Right resolve,
- Right speech,
- Right conduct,
- Right livelihood,
- Right effort,
- Right mindfulness and
- Right concentration.
Condition of Human in their life depends upon their own deeds. Hence, he advocates law of Karma.
He laid great emphasis on the code of practical ethics and the principle of social equality.
INTEGRATED SOIL NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT: SOIL HEALTH CARD
Focus: GS-III Agriculture
Why in news?
Government has called for making integrated soil nutrient management a farmers’ movement. Reviewing the progress of the Soil Health Programme
- Major focus of the programme would be on mass awareness programme for farmers in over 1 lakh villages covering all districts of the country and setting up of village level Soil Testing Labs by youth having education in agriculture, Women Self Help Groups, FPOs etc.
- SHC scheme will focus on enabling employment generation after appropriate skill development.
- The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare will launch a comprehensive campaign on soil test based rational application of fertilisers and promotion of organic farming including Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Padhati (BPKP) for safe nutritious food in association with the Departments of Panchayat Raj, Rural Development and Drinking Water and Sanitation.
What is Integrated Soil Nutrient Management?
Integrated Nutrient Management refers to the maintenance of soil fertility and of plant nutrient supply at an optimum level for sustaining the desired productivity through optimization of the benefits from all possible sources of organic, inorganic and biological components in an integrated manner.
- Regulated nutrient supply for optimum crop growth and higher productivity.
- Improvement and maintenance of soil fertility.
- Zero adverse impact on agro – ecosystem quality by balanced fertilization of organic manures, inorganic fertilizers and bio- inoculant
- Nutrient requirement of cropping system as a whole.
- Soil fertility status and special management needs to overcome soil problems, if any
- Local availability of nutrients resources (organic, inorganic and biological sources)
- Economic conditions of farmers and profitability of proposed INM option.
- Social acceptability.
- Ecological considerations.
- Impact on the environment
- Enhances the availability of applied as well as native soil nutrients
- Synchronizes the nutrient demand of the crop with nutrient supply from native and applied sources.
- Provides balanced nutrition to crops and minimizes the antagonistic effects resulting from hidden deficiencies and nutrient imbalance.
- Improves and sustains the physical, chemical and biological functioning of soil.
- Minimizes the deterioration of soil, water and ecosystem by promoting carbon sequestration, reducing nutrient losses to ground and surface water bodies and to atmosphere
What is Soil Health Card Scheme?
The scheme aims at issuing soil health cards to farmers every two years so as to provide a basis to address nutritional deficiencies in soil. The scheme ensures additional income to farmers by increase in yields and it also promotes sustainable farming.
SHC is a printed report which contains nutrient status of soil with respect to 12 nutrients: pH, Electrical Conductivity (EC), Organic Carbon (OC), Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Sulphur (S), Zinc (Zn), Boron (B), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Copper (Cu) of farm holdings.
Soil health card is field-specific detailed report of soil fertility status and other important soil parameters that affect crop productivity.
Objectives of Soil Health Card Scheme:
- To improve soil quality and profitability of farmers.
- Employment generation for rural youth.
- To update information on soil analysis.
- To provide soil testing facilities to farmers at their doorstep.
Extra bytes on Soil Health Card Schemes:
- The country wide application of soil health card has led to a decline in the use of chemical fertiliser by 10%. A study conducted by the National Productivity Council (NPC) says the application of Soil Health Card recommendations has led to a decline of 8-10% in use of chemical fertilizers.
- In the current financial year, a pilot project “Development of Model Villages” is being implemented under which the sampling and testing of cultivable soil is being encouraged in partnership with the farmers. Under the project a Model Village has been selected for aggregation of soil samples and analysis of each agricultural holding.
- Under the scheme village youth and farmers up to 40 years of age are eligible to set up soil health laboratories and undertake testing. A laboratory costs up to Rs 5 lakhs, 75% of which can be funded by the central and state governments.
NANOMATERIALS FOR WATER POLLUTION CONTROL
Focus: GS-III Science and Tehcnology
Why in news?
DST INSPIRE Faculty develops nanomaterials having energy storage application & optical sensors for water pollution control.
- Increasing energy demand due to the growth of human population and technological advancement poses a great challenge for human society.
- High energy density of supercapacitors suggests that constant current can be withdrawn for longer duration without recharging.
- Hence automobiles can run longer distances without charging. Supercapacitors can be an alternative for such purposes.
- DST team developed a reduced graphene oxide (rGO) at a moderate temperature of 100°C with high capacitance performance.
- The production process is a cost-effective one, making it suitable for commercial purposes.
- The group which works on carbon (Carbon Nanotubes, Graphene) and metal dichalcogenides (MoS2, MoSe2, etc.) nanomaterials based supercapacitors to achieve high energy density and power density of supercapacitors, have also developed a novel green approach for synthesis of Iron-based nanocatalyst, which can be used for large scale production of Cabon Nanotubes.
- They are working on developing novel nanostructures of carbon and metal dichalcogenides semiconductors for photodetection and Surface-Enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS).
- Through this work, they have demonstrated excellent photodetection behaviour of different architectures of nanoscale MoS2 for the detection of visible light.
- The high photoresponsivity obtained in this work can be useful to develop ultrafast detectors for signalling purpose.
- The SERS can help detect harmful molecules present in water at ultra-low concentrations.
- This group has successfully demonstrated detection of Rhodamine 6G (R6G), an organic laser dye up to lowest limit of sub-nano-molar concentration using rGO and MoS2 nanomaterials.
- Their focus on energy and optoelectronics devices paves the way for the development of cost-effective and efficient devices, which can be used for energy storage application.
- Their findings make way for materials which can be used as advanced photodetectors and also be used as optical sensors for water pollution control.
What is photoresponsivity?
Responsivity measures the input–output gain of a detector system. In the specific case of a photodetector, responsivity measures the electrical output per optical input.
The responsivity of a photodetector is usually expressed in units of either amperes or volts per watt of incident radiant power. For a system that responds linearly to its input, there is a unique responsivity. For nonlinear systems, the responsivity is the local slope. Many common photodetectors respond linearly as a function of the incident power.
What is graphene?
Graphene is the name for an atom-thick honeycomb sheet of carbon atoms.
Harder than diamond yet more elastic than rubber; tougher than steel yet lighter than aluminium. Graphene is the strongest known material.
To put this in perspective: if a sheet of cling film (like kitchen wrap film) had the same strength as a pristine monolayer of graphene, it would require the force exerted by a mass of 2000 kg, or a large car, to puncture it with a pencil.
Graphene possesses other amazing characteristics:
- Its high electron mobility is 100x faster than silicon;
It conducts heat 2x better than diamond;
- Its electrical conductivity is 13x better than copper;
- It absorbs only 2.3% of reflecting light;
- It is impervious so that even the smallest atom (helium) can’t pass through a defect-free monolayer graphene sheet;
- Its high surface area of 2630 square meters per gram means that with less than 3 grams you could cover an entire soccer field (well, practically speaking you would need 6 grams, since 2630 m2/g is the surface area for both sides of a graphene sheet).
- Graphene is widely used in making solar cells, light-emitting diodes, touch panels and smart windows. Graphene supercapacitors serve as energy storage devices with a capacity for faster charging and longer life span than traditional electrolytic batteries.
- Other potential applications of graphene include water filtration and purification, renewable energy, sensors, personalised healthcare and medicine, to name a few.
INDIA REDUCES ENERGY INTENSITY OF OUR ECONOMY
Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology
Why in news?
India has pledged in COP-21 that we will bring down energy intensity of economy by 33 to 35% compared to 2005 levels by 2030. Now, with our energy efficiency initiatives India has already reduced the energy intensity of economy by 20% compared to 2005 levels
The findings of the report reflect that implementation of various energy efficiency schemes have led to total electricity savings to the tune of 113.16 Billion Units in 2018-19, which is 9.39% of the net electricity consumption.
Bureau of Energy Efficiency:
- Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) was established in March 2002, as a statutory body by the Government of India under the Energy Conservation Act 2001.
- It is responsible for spearheading the improvement of energy efficiency of the economy through various regulatory and promotional instruments.
- The primary goal of BEE is to reduce the energy intensity in the Indian economy.
BEE- Star Rating Programme
The Star Labelling Programs has been formulated by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) for improving energy efficiency and lowering energy cost of appliances/equipment for the consumers.
What is BEE Star Rating?
- Energy ‘labelling’ is one of the most cost effective policy tools for improving energy efficiency and lowering energy cost of appliances/equipment for the consumers.
- Star ratings are provided to all the major kind of appliances in the form of labels.
- These star ratings are given between 1- 5 and they provide a basic sense of how energy efficient each product is, just in a single glance.
- The manufacturers are officially required to put these labels as per the Standards and Labelling Program introduced in 2006.
- Appliances which need to have an energy rating label mandatorily: Frost-free refrigerator, Tubular Fluorescent Lamps, Room Air-Conditioners, Distribution Transformer, Colour TV, CST AC, Direct Cool Refrigerator and Electric Geyser.
- BEE expanded the coverage of its star labelling programme by including energy efficient Deep freezer and Light Commercial Air Conditioners (LCAC). With this inclusion BEE will cover 26 appliances.
- Deep freezer and Light Commercial Air Conditioners (LCAC) are major energy guzzlers in commercial space.