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Current Affairs 29th September 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Current Affairs 29th September 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Pink Bollworm

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.

Current Affairs 29th September 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam_4.1

  • Features:
    • 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.
  • Impact:
    • 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.

About Cotton

  • 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”.

Current Affairs 28th September 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

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.

Current Affairs 29th September 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam_5.1

  • 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:
    • Institutions
    • Human capital and research
    • Infrastructure
    • 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.

More on News

  • 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.

Airport Codes

  • Definition: Airport codes are unique identifiers assigned to each airport.
  • Background:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Aim:
    • 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.
  • Functions:
    • 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


M.S. Swaminathan

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.

Current Affairs 29th September 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam_6.1

  • 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.

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