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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 3rd June 2022

  • IASbaba
  • June 4, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


GM Cotton Seed

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science – Biotechnology
  • Mains – GS 3 (Bio-technology and issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights)

In News: Illegal variety occupies about a fifth of GM cotton seed market

  • A flourishing illegal trade in a new unapproved herbicide-tolerant variety has come to occupy nearly a fifth of the genetically modified (GM) cotton seeds market in India.
  • Farmers’ organizations say since the unapproved seeds help them in weed management and cut costs, they would continue to use it.
  • The illegal seed manufacturers claim the presence of herbicide trait (HTBt) in the seeds they sell are capable of controlling pink bollworm.
  • Bayer-Mahyco has submitted the application for the approval for HTBt cotton last year, the regulator (GEAC) is yet to take a call.

Why HTBt?

  • Since its introduction two decades ago, Bt cotton has led to a dramatic rise in India’s cotton yield and thereby, production but over the last two-three years, the yield has come down marginally.
  • Since the introduction of Bollgard-I, which was the country’s first GM crop approved for commercialisation in 2002, followed by Bollgard II, a pest-resistant variety which protects the crop from bollworm, in 2006, the GEAC has not approved any new varieties.

  • HTBt plants allow farmers to spray herbicides to get rid of weeds without harming the plants
  • Cotton production in the 2021-22 crop years (July-June) declined 5% to 34 million bales (MB) from its peak of 35.9 MB in 2013-14.

What should be done?

  • Since the illegal seeds contain unknown and unapproved traits, these could contaminate regular seeds, thereby putting legitimate seed growers at risk
  • The government should facilitate faster approval of newly-developed seeds so that farmers get access to quality seeds and thereby, reduce the labour cost

Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee

  • GEAC is India’s top biotech regulatory agency and a statutory organization under the Environment Protection Act, 1986
  • It functions under Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
  • It is responsible for appraisal of activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants in research and industrial production from the environmental angle.
  • The committee is also responsible for appraisal of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered (GE) organisms and products into the environment including experimental field trials.
  • GEAC is chaired by the Special Secretary/Additional Secretary of MoEF & CC and co-chaired by a representative from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q.1) The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee is constituted under the (2015)

  1. Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
  2. Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999
  3. Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
  4. Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972

Source: Financial Express 


Agri Land Price Index (ALPI)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs & Agriculture
  • Mains – GS 2 (Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation; Important Aspects of Governance)

In News: IIM-Ahmedabad launches agri land price index

  • The index is aimed at removing uncertainty in the agricultural land valuation.
  • The index, a prelude to a nationwide gauge to monitor farm land prices, was developed for 107 districts of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, benchmarking land prices for rural and semi-urban areas.
  • It would be reliable source in terms of benchmarking land prices and help in conversion of agricultural land into real estate or for industrial use.
  • The index would help the government in adopting more scientific measures for providing compensation for land acquisition besides helping financial institutions in underwriting of loan and insurance contracts.
  • It would also ensure visibility in movement of agricultural land prices across the country.
  • The factors identified for determining the agricultural land price include irrigation facilities, distance to nearest town or airport and proximity to international airport.

Findings

  • Agriculture land in Karnataka is the most expensive followed by Telangana
  • Average agricultural land prices in Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, are reported at Rs 0.93 crore, Rs 0.81 crore and Rs 0.77 crore per acre, respectively, while prices in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are Rs 0.58 crore, Rs 0.49 crore and Rs 0.47 crore, respectively.

Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q.1) Global Financial Stability Report’ is prepared by the (2016)

  1. European Central Bank
  2. International Monetary Fund
  3. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
  4. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

Source: Financial Express


Sologamy

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 1 (Salient features of Indian Society)

In News: A 24-year-old Vadodara woman announced that she would marry herself in what she described as an “act of self-love”.

  • The wedding, being seen as one of the first instances of self-marriage or “sologamy” in the country

What is sologamy or ‘self-marriage’?

  • Sologamy is the act of marrying oneself in a public ceremony, also referred to as self-marriage or autogamy.
  • While such a marriage has no legal sanction or status, the symbolic ceremony is used by many as an act to emphasize their self-love and independence.

When did the trend begin?

  • It can be traced back to Linda Baker, a dental hygienist from the US, who married herself in 1993
  • It is widely considered the first publicized act of self-marriage
  • A sologamy divorce was also reported last year when a Brazilian model, announced she was ending her solo-marriage after just 90 days as she had fallen in love with someone else.

Source: Indian Express


Eublepharis Pictusy

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environemnt – New Species discovery 

In News: Gecko found in Andhra, Odisha turns out to be a new species

  • Researchers had initially identified the specimen as an East Indian Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis hardwickii).
  • A phylogenetic study and morphological comparisons have distinguished it as a new species – Eublepharis pictus, which appears to be common in the forests of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

  • The gecko genus Eublepharis now has 7 species
  • The new species differs from all members of the genus Eublepharis except for E hardwickii
  • Geographically the two species appear to be separated by the Brahmani River

What are Geckos?

  • Geckos are reptiles and are found on all the continents except Antarctica.
  • These colorful lizards have adapted to habitats from rainforests, to deserts, to cold mountain slopes.
  • Over a long period of time, geckos have developed special physical features to help them survive and avoid predators.
  • Most geckos are nocturnal; day geckos are active during the day and nibble on insects, fruits, and flower nectar.
  • Most geckos make noises such as chirping, barking, and clicking when they are defending their territory or attracting a mate.
  • There are many species of geckos. Depending on the species, their endangered status can range from least concern to critically endangered.

Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q.1) With reference to India’s biodiversity, Ceylon frogmouth, Coppersmith barbet, Gray-chinned minivet and White-throated redstart are (2020)

  1. Birds
  2. Primates
  3. Reptiles
  4. Amphibians

Source: Indian Express


The World’s Largest Plant

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs – Environment
  • Mains – GS 3 (Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation)

Syllabus

  • Prelims – Geography; Environment
  • Mains – GS 1 (Salient features of World’s Physical Geography); GS 3 (Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation)

In News: The world’s largest plant has recently been discovered off the West Coast of Australia: a seagrass 180 km in length.

  • The ribbon weed, or Posidonia australis, has been discovered in Shark Bay by a group of researchers
  • These researchers have also found that the plant is 4,500 years old, is sterile, has double the number of chromosomes than other similar plants, and has managed to survive the volatile atmosphere of the shallow Shark Bay.

Plant’s Size

  • The ribbon weed covers an area of 20,000 hectares. The next on the podium, the second largest plant, is the clonal colony of a quaking Aspen tree in Utah, which covers 43.6 hectares. The largest tree in India, the Great Banyan in Howrah’s Botanical Garden, covers 1.41 hectares.
  • The existence of the seagrass was known, that it is one single plant was not.

  • Researchers sampled seagrass shoots from across Shark Bay’s variable environments and generated a ‘fingerprint’ using 18,000 genetic markers – the result was sampled seagrass shoots from across Shark Bay’s variable environments and generated a ‘fingerprint’ using 18,000 genetic markers – just one plant has expanded over 180km in Shark Bay, making it the largest known plant on earth.

How did it grow, and survive for, so long?

  • Sometime in the Harappan era, a plant took root in the Shark Bay. Then it kept spreading through its rhizomes
  • Ribbon weed rhizomes can usually grow to around 35cm per year, which is how the scientists arrived at its lifespan of 4,5000 years.
  • The researchers found that the ribbon weed cannot spread its seeds, something that helps plants overcome environmental threats.
  • The ribbon weed has managed to survive environmental threats – a part of the reason may be that it is a polyploid – instead of taking half-half genome from both parents, it took 100 per cent
  • This ribbon weed has twice the number of chromosomes other plants of the same variety have.
  • Polyploid plants often reside in places with extreme environmental conditions, are often sterile, but can continue to grow if left undisturbed, and this giant seagrass has done just that

Seagrass

  • These are flowering plants that grow submerged in shallow marine waters like bays and lagoons.
  • These have tiny flowers and strap-like or oval leaves.
  • Sea grasses evolved from terrestrial plants that colonised the ocean 70-100 million years ago
  • Like terrestrial plants, seagrasses also require sunlight for photosynthesis from which these manufacture their own food and release oxygen

Reproduction:

  • Sexual Reproduction Method: The pollen from the flower of the male plant is transferred to the ovary of the female flower through this method.
  • Asexual Reproduction Method: Seagrasses can also reproduce asexually by branching off at their rhizomes

Significance:

  • Seagrasses are considered ‘Ecosystem Engineers’ as they are known for providing many ecosystem services and are also called ‘the lungs of the sea’ as they release oxygen into the water through photosynthesis.
  • Sequesters up to 11% of the organic carbon buried in the ocean even though they occupy only 0.1% of the ocean floor and absorb 83 million tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere annually.
  • Seagrasses can capture carbon from the atmosphere up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests.
  • Help maintain water quality by trapping fine sediments and suspended particles in the water column and increase water clarity.
  • Filter nutrients released from land-based industries before they reach sensitive habitats like coral reefs.
  • Prevent soil erosion as the extensive vertical and horizontal root systems of seagrasses stabilise the sea bottom.
  • Provide food as well as habitat for fishes, octopuses, shrimp, blue crabs, oysters, etc.
  • Endangered marine organisms like dugong (Sea Cow), green turtle, etc, graze directly on seagrass leaves.
  • Protect juvenile and small adult fish from large predators and also protect worms, crabs, starfishes, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, etc, from strong currents.
  • Provide ideal nursery sites for important commercial marine life like squids and cuttlefish.

Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q.1) Consider the following pairs (2014)

Wetlands:          Confluence of rivers

  1. Harike Wetlands:        Confluence of Beas and Satluj/Sutlej
  2. Keoladeo Ghana National Park:        Confluence of Banas and Chambal
  3. Kolleru Lake:        Confluence of Musi and Krishna

Which of the above pairs is/are correctly matched?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Source: Indian Express


Wrongful Prosecution

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Important Aspects of Governance, Transparency and Accountability)

Context: Need of law to compensate those implicated in false cases

Wrongful Prosecution

  • It refers to the cases where the accused was not guilty of the offence, and the police and/or prosecution engaged in some form of misconduct in investigating and/or prosecuting the person.

Key Points

  • India has no effective statutory/legal Mechanism for wrongful prosecutions due to police and prosecutorial misconduct which has resulted in a pandemic of false cases.
  • It has not only destroyed the social fabric of the nation but also affected the over-burdened judiciary with alarming pendency of over 40 million cases.

Reasons why a person should be compensated?

  • Physical discomfort of being in jail because of wrongful prosecution
  • A case in India ordinarily takes six to eight years to conclude meanwhile the accused has to undergo financial, social and emotional burden of being involved in a crime, which was falsely accused of or maliciously prosecuted
  • Social stigma and mental trauma that not only a person, but also their family and children undergo

Judicial Pronouncement About Wrongful Prosecution:

  • Earlier in May, 2017 the Delhi High Court in the case of Babloo Chauhan vs. State Govt. of NCT of Delhi, expressed grave concern about the state of innocent persons being wrongfully prosecuted.
  • In scientist Nambi Narayanan’s case (he was acquitted 24 years after Kerala police arrested him in a fabricated spy case), the Supreme Court gave him ₹50 lakh as compensation (in 2018).

What needs to be done?

  • Implementing the recommendations of the Law Commission of India – 277th Report – Recommended amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), to give compensation in cases of miscarriage of justice resulting in wrongful prosecution of persons.
  • Steps in moderation – more professional scrutiny by the senior officers of enforcement agencies like advising the overenthusiastic officers on the professional lines of investigation; the prosecutors, as they are neither with the police nor with the investigating agencies, can point out to the enforcement agencies that they are wrong; that their case is not strong, so they should not ask for custody.
  • Set a standard which can be laid down by legislation for determining compensation

Source: The Hindu


China and Pacific Islands Nations

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Geography (MAP)
  • Mains – GS 2 (Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests)

Context: China’s growing footprint in the Pacific Islands

  • The Foreign Minister of China, is currently on an eight-day visit to ten Pacific Island Countries (PICs), and has co-hosted with Fiji the Second China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers Meeting
  • During the meeting, China’s effort to push through a comprehensive framework deal failed to gain consensus among the PICs.
  • Though this has raised regional concerns about China’s growing footprint in the Pacific islands, it has also been seen as a demonstration of China’s limitations in the region.

What is the strategic significance of the PICs?

  • The Pacific Island Countries are a cluster of 14 states which are located largely in the tropical zone of the Pacific Ocean
  • They include Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
  • They are divided on the basis of physical and human geography into three distinct parts — Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia.
  • Though they are some of the smallest and least populated states, they have some of the largest Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) in the world.
  • Large EEZs translate into huge economic potential due to the possibility of utilising the wealth of fisheries, energy, minerals and other marine resources present in such zones.
  • Hence, they prefer to be identified as Big Ocean States, rather than Small Island States.
  • The major powers of the colonial era competed with each other to gain control over these strategic territories.
  • The Pacific islands also acted as one of the major theatres of conflict during the Second World War between imperial Japan and the U.S
  • The 14 PICs, bound together by shared economic and security concerns, account for as many number of votes in the United Nations, and act as a potential vote bank for major powers to mobilise international opinion.

What does China seek to achieve from the PICs and how?

  • The PICs lie in the natural line of expansion of China’s maritime interest and naval power.
  • The PICs are located geo strategically in what is referred to by China as its ‘Far Seas’, the control of which will make China an effective Blue Water capable Navy — an essential prerequisite for becoming a superpower.
  • At a time when the Quad has emerged as a major force in the Indo-Pacific vis-à-vis China, the need to influence the PICs have become an even more pressing matter for China.
  • The Taiwan factor plays a major role in China’s Pacific calculus – Wooing the PICs away from the West and Taiwan will therefore make the goal of Taiwan’s reunification easier for China.
  • A zero-sum game has been underway in the past few decades in the Pacific between China and Taiwan in terms of gaining diplomatic recognition.

What are the implications of China’s latest move?

  • China has increasingly started talking about security cooperation in addition to its economic diplomacy towards the PICs.
  • Recently, China signed a security deal with the Solomon Islands, which raised regional concerns.
  • The recent documents rejected by PICs gives a broad proposal about co-operation in the political, security, economic and strategic areas and outlines the more specific details of co-operation in the identified areas.

The intensification of China’s diplomacy towards the Pacific Islands have made the powers who have traditionally controlled the regional dynamics like the U.S. and Australia more cautious.

The U.S. has started revisiting its diplomatic priority for the region ever since the China-Solomon Islands deal.

Australia has sent its new Foreign Secretary to the islands for revitalising ties, with promises of due priority and assistance to the PICs

Source: The Hindu


Baba’s Explainer – EU ban on Russia’s Oil

EU ban on Russia’s Oil

Syllabus

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • GS-3: Cyber Security

Context: As part of the sixth package of sanctions since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the European Union member states on May 30 reached an agreement to ban 90% of Russian crude oil imports by the end of the year. The partial embargo, worked out following extended negotiations in Brussels, exempts pipeline oil in order to bypass Hungary’s objections to the ban.

Read Complete Details on EU ban on Russia’s Oil


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) With references to Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, consider the following statements

  1. It is a statutory organization established under Biodiversity Act, 2002
  2. It functions under Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare
  3. It is also responsible for appraisal of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered (GE) organisms and products into the environment

Choose the incorrect statements:

  1. 1, 2 and 3
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 only
  4. 1 and 2

Q.2) Eublepharis hardwickii and Eublepharis pictus, recently in news is related to?

  1. Newly Pitcher Plant species discovered in Western Ghats
  2. Gecko species found in India
  3. Newly discovered snake species of Arunachal Pradesh
  4. Newly discovered spider species in Eastern Ghats

Q.3) With reference to Sea Grasses, consider the following statements

  1. These are flowering plants that grow submerged in shallow marine waters
  2. They can reproduce both sexually and asexually
  3. Seagrasses can capture carbon from the atmosphere faster than tropical rainforests

Choose the correct statements:

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ‘3rd JUNE 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 2nd JUNE 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – c

Q.2) – b

Q.3) – d

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