Current Affairs 29th September 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam
Context: North India’s cotton production is under threat again due to pink bollworm infestations in Rajasthan and Haryana.
About the Pink Bollworm
- The pink bollworm is a moth that is a major pest of cotton.
- Scientific name: Pectinophora gossypiella.
- The pink bollworm is native to Asia, but has become an invasive species in most of the world’s cotton-growing regions.
- The pink bollworm is a small, grayish-brown moth with a wingspan of about 1 inch.
- The larvae are white caterpillars with pink bands on their backs.
- The larval stage is the destructive and identifiable stage.
- The larvae can grow up to 1/2 inch long.
- The larvae bore into cotton bolls and feed on the seeds, destroying the cotton and reducing the yield and quality (yield losses can be as high as 50%).
- It can also reduce the quality of cotton by staining the lint and making it more difficult to process.
- It has also been observed to attack hibiscus, okra, and hollyhock plants.
- Cotton crops produce a soft, fluffy, staple fibre that is widely used in the textile industry.
- Conditions required for cultivation:
- Temperature: Between 21-30°C.
- Rainfall: Around 50-100cm.
- Soil Type: Well-drained black cotton soil (Regur Soil) (E.g., Soil of Deccan Plateau).
- Cotton is a water intensive crop that requires almost 75 lakh liters of water per hectare.
- Four cultivated species of cotton:
- Gossypium hirsutum: It is upland cotton native to Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
- Gossypium barbadense: A tropical South American cotton with extra-long staples.
- Gossypium arboreum: Tree cotton native to India and Pakistan.
- Gossypium herbaceum: Levant cotton, native to southern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
- Leading cotton producing countries: China>India>United Sates>Brazil>Pakistan.
- Cotton Production in India:
- Cotton is one of the most important cash and fibre crops in India.
- It is a Kharif crop that is sown from June to July and harvested from October to January.
- Top Cotton Producing States: Gujarat > Maharashtra > Telangana > Andhra Pradesh > Rajasthan.
- Cotton is also one of the largest contributors to India’s net foreign exchange by way of exports. Due to its economic importance in India, it is also termed as “White-Gold”.
Tera Hertz Range
Context: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation paper to facilitate demand generation in Tera Hertz Range.
About the Tera Hertz Range (THR)
- The terahertz range (THR) is a region of the electromagnetic spectrum that lies between microwaves and infrared light.
- It has frequencies between 0.1 and 10 THz, or wavelengths between 3 mm and 30 μm.
- THR has some unique properties that make it useful for a wide range of applications.
- Penetration: It can penetrate many materials that are opaque to other types of radiation.
- Safety: It is non-ionizing, meaning that it does not damage DNA.
- Sensitivity: THR is also very sensitive to the chemical composition of materials, which makes it useful for spectroscopy and imaging.
- Potential applications of THR: Security screening, medical imaging, detecting food contamination and adulteration, industrial inspection, and high-speed wireless communication etc.
- However, the Terahertz technology is still in its early stages of development.
Understanding the Electromagnetic Spectrum (EM Spectrum)
- The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of all types of electromagnetic radiation.
- It includes radio waves, microwaves, infrared light, visible light, ultraviolet light, X-rays, & gamma rays.
- Properties of EM Spectrum:
- Electromagnetic radiation is transverse in nature.
- All electromagnetic radiation travels at the speed of light in a vacuum.
- But different types of electromagnetic radiation have different frequencies and wavelengths.
- Electromagnetic radiation can be reflected, refracted, and diffracted.
Global Innovation Index 2023
Context: Global Innovation Index 2023 rankings have been released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Global Innovation Index (GII)
- GII tracks the most innovative economies in the world, ranking the innovation performance of around 132 economies while highlighting innovation strengths and weaknesses.
- Parameters for computing the GII include:
- Human capital and research
- Market sophistication
- Business sophistication
- Knowledge and technology outputs
- Create outputs
- It is published annually by WIPO.
Key Highlights of GII 2023
- India’s Rank:
- India ranked 40th out of 132 economies in the GlI 2023.
- In 2015, India stood at 81st spot and has been rising in the past eight years.
- Within central and southern Asia, India continues to lead and maintains its 40th position overall.
- India leads the lower middle-income group, performing strongly in every innovation pillar except for Infrastructure.
- India owes its success to factors like policy-driven innovation in areas like electric vehicles, biotechnology, nanotechnology, space, and alternative energy sources and implementation of Atal Innovation Mission.
- Top five innovative Countries: Switzerland>Sweden>United Sates> UK> Singapore.
- Other Highlights:
- India is among the 21 economies that outperformed for a 13th consecutive year on innovation relative to level of development along with Republic of Moldova and Vietnam.
- India, Iran, Philippines, Turkiye, Vietnam and Indonesia are among the economies within the GII top 65 that climbed fastest in the ranking in last 10 years.
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
- WIPO is a global forum for intellectual property policy, services, information and cooperation.
- It is an agency of the United Nations, with 193 member states.
- Aim: Development of a balanced and effective international IP system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.
- WIPO Madate: WIPO Convention that which established WIPO in 1967.
- Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
Airport Codes by IATA and ICAO
Context: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has assigned a distinct three-letter code, ‘DXN,’ to the forthcoming Noida International Airport (NIA) in Jewar.
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- DXN for Noida International Airport: The D in DXN signifies Delhi (national capital), and N stands for Noida (presence in the Western UP area) and X, signifies connectivity within India and the world.
- Definition: Airport codes are unique identifiers assigned to each airport.
- Airport coding first began in the 1930s.
- At the time, airlines and pilots chose their own two letter codes to identify destinations.
- However, by the 1940s, as the number of airports grew, a system of three letter codes was devised and standardised in the 1960s by the International Air Transport Association.
- Types: There are two main types of airport codes:
- IATA (International Air Transport Association):
- These are three-letter codes used to refer to the majority of commercial airports worldwide.
- These codes are used for passenger facing operations — on tickets, boarding passes, signages, etc.
- ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization):
- The less common four-digit codes are assigned by the ICAO.
- They are used by industry professionals such as pilots, air traffic controllers, planners, etc.
- Example: For the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, the IATA code is DEL whereas the ICAO code is VIDP.
- IATA (International Air Transport Association):
- Process: Factors that determine the IATA code for any airport:
- How the airport wishes to identify itself: City names, airport names, and location names are some common bases for codes.
- The availability of said code: The codes are meaningful only because they are unique. This means that no two airports can have the same IATA codes.
- Common conventions, depending on the country: For instance, in India, a convention is followed where military airports extended for civilian traffic are assigned codes beginning with ‘IX’.
- Consequently, the Ranchi airport is IXR, Agartala’s airport is IXA etc.
- Similarly, in the US, all codes starting with N are reserved for the US Navy.
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
- It was founded in Havana, Cuba, on 19 April 1945.
- It is the successor to the International Air Traffic Association founded in the Hague in 1919.
- Inter-airline cooperation in promoting safe, reliable, secure and economical air services.
- Supports many areas of aviation activity and help formulate industry policy on critical aviation issues, including environmental concerns.
- Headquarters: Montreal, Canada
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- It is a United Nations agency.
- It was established in 1947 by the Convention on International Civil Aviation (1944) known as Chicago Convention.
- Air Navigation Capacity and Efficiency: Upgrading the air navigation and aerodrome infrastructure and developing new procedures to optimize aviation system performance.
- Security and Facilitation: Enhance global civil aviation security and facilitation.
- Economic Development of Air Transport: Foster the development of a sound and economically-viable civil aviation system.
- Environmental Protection: Minimize the adverse environmental effects of civil aviation activities.
- Headquarters: Montreal, Canada
Context: M S Swaminathan, the father of India’s Green Revolution and a renowned Indian agricultural scientist, recently passed away.
M.S. Swaminathan (1925-2023)
- Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan popularly called as M S Swaminathan was a renowned agricultural scientist and geneticist.
- Awards Received by Him:
- First Recipient of World Food Prize (1987)
- Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan
- H K Firodia Award
- Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award
- Indira Gandhi Prize
- Ramon Magsaysay Award (1971)
- Albert Einstein World Science Award (1986)
- First Recipient of World Agriculture Prize (2018), instituted by the Indian Council of Food and Agriculture.
- First foreigner to receive the Golden Heart Presidential Award of Philippines.
- The M S Swaminathan Award:
- Biennial award constituted by Retired Indian Council of Agricultural Research Employees Association and Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd. for honoring M.S. Swaminathan.
- Instituted in 2004 to recognise lifetime contributions of eminent persons who have made outstanding contributions to food security and sustainability of agriculture in India.
- The award carries a Cash prize of Rs.2 lakhs, a Medal, and a Citation.
- The award is open, irrespective of his/her nationality.
- Swaminathan Commission:
- In 2004, Swaminathan was appointed as chair of the National Commission on Farmers, to look into farmer distress amid alarming suicide cases.
- The commission suggested Minimum Selling Price to be at least 50% more than the weighted average cost of production.
Role of M.S. Swaminathan in Green Revolution
- Father of India’s Green Revolution: M S Swaminathan was a pivotal figure in the development of India’s Green Revolution.
- Green Revolution: A period of scientific agricultural advancement in the mid-1960s that involved growing high-yielding variety seeds, adequate irrigation facilities and fertilisers to Indian farmers in regions of Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.
- High-Yielding Varieties of Crops:
- Produced using a combination of traditional breeding steps and biotechnology, which includes genetic diversity.
- Short-straw or dwarf varieties of crops like rice and wheat which formed the basis of India’s Green Revolution were spearheaded by M S Swaminathan.
- HYVs grown during the Green Revolution: IR8 (variety of rice), Kalyan Sona and Sonalika (varieties of wheat).
- Yield Gap: It is the difference between the potential or maximum achievable yield of a crop and the actual realised yield for a given area.
- During the Green Revolution, M S Swaminathan focused on increasing productivity from existing farmlands using HYVs in order to tackle the threat of famine.
- Cytogenetics: It is study of chromosomes (DNA-carrying structures) and how they related to hereditary characteristics and traits.
- Identifying traits such as resistance to diseases, drought, and pests in crops are applications of cytogenetics.
- Hexaploid Wheat (Triticum Aestivum): It contains six sets of chromosomes.
- It is among the most widely cultivated cereal crops across the world and is also called “bread wheat”.
- MS Swaminathan is associated with research on the cytogenetics of hexaploid wheat.
- Carbon Fixation: It is the process by which crops capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into organic compounds like sugars and starches through photosynthesis.
- Grass species either use C3 or C4 classes of photosynthetic pathway for carbon fixation.
- Research on the C4 rice plant was started under Dr. Swaminathan when he was the Director General of International Rice Research Institute.