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PIB 9th November 2020

Contents

  1. Saffron
  2. Commission for Air Quality Management(CAQM).
  3. Energy Conservation (EC) Act , 2001
  4. A-Sat Missile

SAFFRON

Focus:  GS 3; Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

Why in News?

Saffron bowl of India extends to the North East

About Saffron

  • The Saffron is a  derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “saffron crocus”.

Above image of Saffron crocus, Crocus Sativus, with its vivid crimson stigmas and styles

  • The vivid crimson stigma and styles, called threads, are collected and dried for use mainly as a seasoning and coloring agent in food.
  • The Saffron has long been the world’s most costly spice by weight, although some doubts remain on its origin, it is believed that saffron originated in Iran.
  • However, Greece and Mesopotamia have also been suggested as the possible region of origin of this plant.
  • Harold McGee states that it was domesticated in or near Greece during the Bronze Age. C.sativus is possibly a triploid form of crocus cartwrightianus, which is also known as “Wild Saffron”.
  • The Saffron cultivation is believed to have been introduced in Kashmir by Central Asian immigrants around the 1st Century BCE.
  • It has been associated with traditional Kashmiri cuisine and represents the rich cultural heritage of the region.
  • In ancient Sanskrit literature, saffron is referred to as ‘Bahukam’.
  • It is cultivated and harvested in the Karewa (highlands) of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Iran is the largest producer of saffron and India is a close competitor.
  • The India’s saffron consumption is estimated at 20 tonnes a year, half of which is met by leading producers are Iran, Spain and China.
  • It has longer and thicker stigmas, natural deep-red colour, high aroma, bitter flavour, chemical-free processing.
  • It also has a high quantity of crocin (coloring strength), safranal (flavour) and picrocrocin (bitterness).
  • The saffron recently got GI Tag , With the GI tag, Kashmir saffron would gain more prominence in the export market.
  • The Pampore Saffron Heritage of Kashmir is one of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) recognised sites in India.
  • The GIAHS recognised sites are traditional agricultural systems that represent models of sustainable agricultural production.
  • The other two sites in India are Kuttanad Below Sea Level Farming of Kerala and Koraput Traditional Agriculture of Odisha.
  • The Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR-IHBT) and the Government of Himachal Pradesh, have jointly decided to increase the production of the two spices namely, Saffron and Heeng (asafoetida).
  • Under this plan, IHBT will be introducing new varieties of saffron and heeng from the exporting countries and will be standardized under Indian conditions.
  • The IHBT is the only laboratory of the Council of scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Himachal Pradesh.
  • The introduction of IHBT developed crops of heeng and saffron is expected to reduce the import of these spices.

Uses of Saffron

  • The Saffron is used as a flavoring and coloring agent in milk and milk sweets.
  • It is used as a seasoning agent in cheese, mayonnaise, meat, etc.
  • They are used as a flavoring and seasoning agent in the Mughlai cuisine.
  • In Ayurveda, it is used for healing arthritis, infertility, liver enlargement and fever.
  • It is commercially used in perfumes and cosmetics.

The Major Saffron Production states in India

  • The Major production states are Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.
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Above attached images shows major saffron producing states in India.

  • It is locally known as Kesar in Hindi, Kong in Kashmiri, Jafran in Bengali, Zafran in Punjabi, Keshar in Gujarati, Zafran in Urdu, Asra, Aruna, Asrika, Kunkuma in Sanskrit.

The Ideal Conditions for Saffron Cultivation

  • For commercial saffron production the basic requirement is fertile soil. Climate is the second big factor. It demands a good photoperiod and a dry soil with light moisture.
  • Soil is one of the basic requirements in saffron cultivation. It can be grown in loamy, sandy or calcareous soil. Gravelly soil is also friendly for saffron farming, but a heavy, clayey soil is not suitable for farming.
  • The Saffron prefers acidic soil, it grows well when pH of soil is around 5.5 to 8.5.
  • The Saffron requires less water, the soil must not be completely dry but just a little moist. 

The Climate for Saffron Cultivation

  • The cultivation of saffron is mainly found in both sunken and dry areas with an elevation of 1500 to 2500 meters above sea level.
  • It needs Photoperiod (day length or the period of daily illumination received by an organism) of 12 hours, which gives a lot of benefits, and also makes the flowering process sluggish.

Season for Saffron Farming

  • In India, saffron Corms are cultivated during the months of June and July and at some places in August and September.
  • It starts flowering in October.
  • It needs extreme heat and dryness in summer and extreme cold during winter.
  • Maximum growth takes place during winters, Such weather is common in parts of Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

Planting Material for Saffron Farming

  • Saffron cultivation is done through corms that are underground compressed stems.
  • There are three varieties of saffron cultivated in India, especially in Kashmir and they are:-
  1. Aquilla Saffron
  2. Creme Saffron
  3. Lacha Saffron

Extra Info

About Geographical Indication (GI) Tag

  • Geographical Indications of Goods are defined as that aspect of industrial property which refer to the geographical indication referring to a country or to a place situated therein as being the country or place of origin of that product.
  • Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to the fact of its origin in that defined geographical locality, region or country.
  • Under Articles 1 (2) and 10 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, geographical indications are covered as an element of IPRs.
  • They are also covered under Articles 22 to 24 of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, which was part of the Agreements concluding the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations.
  • India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection)Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15th September 2003.
GI(Geographical Indicator) Tags – Civilsdaily

About Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

  • The Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) was started by the FAO in 2002 to safeguard and support the world’s agricultural heritage systems.
  • The GIAHS are outstanding landscapes of aesthetic beauty that combine agricultural biodiversity, resilient ecosystems and a valuable cultural heritage.
  • The  3 recognized GIAHS sites in India
  1. Kuttanad below Sea Level Farming System of Kerala.
  2. Koraput Traditional Agriculture of Odisha.
  3. Pampore Saffron Heritage of Kashmir.
A Complete list of Global Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) Sites in  India

COMMISSION  FOR AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT (CAQM).

Focus:  GS 3;Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Why in News?

The members of Commission for Air Quality Management(CAQM)in National Capital Region and adjoining Areas met and reviewed the air quality scenario in the region, actions taken by various agencies so far and further steps to be taken for improving the air quality.

About Air Pollution and its Severe concern in India

  • The Air pollution in India is estimated to kill 1.5 million people every year, it is the 5th largest killer in India.
  • According to air quality data compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Delhi is the world’s most polluted city.
  • According to the WHO, India has the world’s highest death rate from chronic respiratory diseases and asthma.
Air pollution crisis in India : Important Topics for UPSC Exams | IAS EXAM  PORTAL - India's Largest Community for UPSC Exam Aspirants.

Above attached image about LANCET study on air pollution and the risks that India posses and world too

  • The Air pollution also impacts the environment through reduced visibility, acid rain, and formation of ozone at tropospheric level.
  • The Delhi NCR region is affected by Severe Stubble burning, Un planned construction, plus have effect of withdrawing’s of monsoon i.e, no proper air circulation etc.,

About Commission for Air Quality Management(CAQM)

  • The central government has notified an Ordinance to constitute a Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Adjoining Areas.
Pollution In Delhi: 44 Joint Teams To Check Air Pollution In National  Capital

Above image attached on delhi view during severe air pollution.

  • The Overarching Body of CAQM will supersede all existing bodies, including the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), as well as state governments in matters of air pollution mitigation.
  • The Abolition of EPCA through the Ordinance, the Centre has dissolved the Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) for the NCR. 
  • Only the National Green Tribunal (NGT) not civil courts ,  is authorised to hear cases where the Commission is involved.

The Composition of the new Commission

  • The Commission will be headed by a full-time chairperson who has been a Secretary to the Government of India, or Chief Secretary to a State government.
  • The chairperson will hold the post for 3 years or until he or she attains the age of 70 years.
  • It will have members from several Ministries as well as representatives from the stakeholder States.
  • It will have experts from the CPCB, Indian Space Reasearch Organization (ISRO) and civil society.
  • The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) recently formed to monitor and manage air quality of the national capital region and adjoining areas, has identified 10 urgent measures to curb air pollution in the NCR region.

1.       Minimize use of personalized transport to the extent possible

2.       Restrict travel unless absolutely essential

3.       Encourage work from home

4.       Strict enforcement of laws and rules regarding dust control measures including at construction sites

5.       Strict enforcement to prevent burning of municipal solid waste and biomass

6.       Intensify water sprinkling particularly in dust prone areas

7.       Use of anti-smog guns at pollution hotspots specially at construction sites

8.       Strict implementation of extant rules, Courts and Tribunal orders regarding stubble burning and use of fire crackers

9.       Seek co-operation from civil society and public spirited citizens to report air pollution incidents on the Sameer App

10.     Encourage coal using industries in NCR to minimize the use of coal in the coming months.

Advantage’s of CAQM

  • The effective Mechanism to tackle the Pollution , the permanent Commission envisages a multi-sectoral, public participatory, multi-state dynamic body for combating pollution and with statutory status the body can deal with pollution successful.
  • It will now be binding on state governments to follow the directions of the Commission regarding air quality management. It will also have powers to restrict the setting up of industries in vulnerable areas, and will be able to conduct site inspections of industrial units for effective management of air pollution.
  • The penalty for non-compliance shall be imprisonment upto 5 years or fine upto Rs 1 crore, or both.
  • The Centre seeks to relieve the Supreme Court from having to constantly monitor pollution levels through various pollution related cases.

Drawback’s of CAQM

  • It has been criticized that ordinance was passed with no consultation with states and other stakeholders
  • It is don’t know whether a top-down implementation approach through CAQM (without third-party monitoring and citizen-driven enforcement) will work.
  • There is also the lack of a time-bound commitment to clean the air pollution.
  • The Commission has a large number of members from the central government, which has not gone down well with the states, on the other hand, States will have just one member each.

Way Forward

  • The recent commission setup i.e, CAQM is good move, it alone cannot clean the air. Its success will depend on how it tackles different interest groups, outlines a time-bound commitment to achieving the set standards and ensures adequate personnel and funds for pollution control bodies.
  • The Legal and regulatory changes to tackle public issues like air pollution, need a democratic conceptualization i.e, from the bottom to top approach for better implementation.
  • The government should undertake a thorough review of the various laws and institutions in order to look at their efficacy and utility.
  • It must have detailed consultation with all relevant stakeholders, especially those outside Delhi, which includes farmers’ groups and small scale industries and the public at large.

ENERGY CONSERVATION (EC) ACT , 2001

Focus:  GS 3;Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Why in News?

Ministry of Power mandates all DISCOMs to comply Energy Conservation (EC) Act , 2001

About Energy Conservation Act 2001

  • The Bureau of Energy Efficiency is an agency of the Government of India, under the Ministry of Power created in March 2002 under the provisions of the nation’s 2001 Energy Conservation Act.
  •  The agency’s function is to develop programs which will increase the conservation and efficient use of energy in India.
  • The government has proposed to make it mandatory for certain appliances in India to have ratings by the BEE starting in January 2010.
  •  The mission of Bureau of Energy Efficiency is to “institutionalize” energy efficiency services, enable delivery mechanisms in the country and provide leadership to energy efficiency in all sectors of the country. The primary objective would be to reduce energy intensity in the economy.
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Above image of BEE and Energy Conservation Act 2001 details.

The broad objectives of BEE are as under follows

  • To exert leadership and provide policy recommendation and direction to national energy conservation and efficiency efforts and programs.
  • To coordinate energy efficiency and conservation policies and programs and take it to the stakeholders.
  • To establish systems and procedures to measure, monitor and verify energy efficiency results in individual sectors as well as at a macro level.
  • To leverage multi-lateral and bi-lateral and private sector support in implementation of Energy Conservation Act and efficient use of energy and its conservation programs.
  • To demonstrate delivery of energy efficiency services as mandated in the EC bill through private-public partnerships.
  • To interpret, plan and manage energy conservation programs as envisaged in the Energy Conservation Act.

Objectives

  • To Provide a policy recommendation and direction to national energy conservation activities.
  • Coordinate policies and programmes on efficient use of energy with shareholders.
  • Establish systems and procedures to verify, measure and monitor Energy Efficiency (EE) improvements.
  • Leverage multilateral, bilateral and private sector support to implement the EC Act ’01.
  • Demonstrate EE delivery systems through public-private partnerships.
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Above images of BEE Portfolio and list of appliances for Mandatory and Voluntary Star Ratings.


A-SAT MISSILE

Focus:  GS 3;Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Why in News?

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh Unveils A-Sat Missile Model in DRDO Bhawan.

About A-Sat Missile

  • The Anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) are space weapons designed to incapacitate or destroy satellites for strategic military purposes, several nations possess operational ASAT systems.
  • Although no ASAT system has yet been utilized in warfare, a few nations have shot down their own satellites to demonstrate their ASAT capabilities in a show of force
  • Only the United States, Russia, China, and India have demonstrated this capability successfully.
  • The roles include a defensive measure against an adversary’s space-based nuclear and weapons, a force multiplier for a nuclear first strike, a countermeasure against an adversary’s anti-ballistic missile defense (ABM), an asymmetric counter to a technologically superior adversary, and a counter-value weapon. 
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What is Mission Shakti?

Above images about A-SAT missile demonstration and India tested A-SAT as part of Mission Shakti in 2019.

Big achievement for India

  • In USA, it is often called that success in ASAT mission is equivalent to hitting a bullet with another bullet.
  • It requires very advanced capabilities in both space and missile technologies for achieving success in an ASAT mission.
  • A satellite travels at an amazing speed of 28 times that of the speed of sound, on a predictable path destroying such a satellite, using ballistic missile is an important milestone for any country space security.
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