Current Affairs 13th March, 2019

PAPER – 1

Topics Covered

1. Art and Culture

GI Tag for Thirubhuvanam silk sarees

What to read?

Prelims – About GI tag

Mains – Uniqueness of Thirubhuvanam Silk Sarees

The Thirubhuvanam Silk Handloom Weavers’ Cooperative Production and Sale Society has been accorded Geographical Indication (GI) tag for its silk sarees.

GI tag

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  • A particular item has originated from a particular region only.

  • For example: Kanchipuram Silk Saree, Alphanso Mango, Nagpur Orange, Kolhapuri Chappal, Bikaneri Bhujia, Agra Petha

  • So outsiders cannot sell other variety of teas with title/label “Darjeeling”, else they can be punished.

Provisions in this regard

  • GI is covered as element of intellectual property rights (IPRs) under Paris Convention for Protection of Industrial Property.

  • At international level, GI is governed by WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

  • In India, Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection Act), 1999 governs it.

Why is GI-tag important?

  • When a product is given GI status, its price increases in international market (because consumers in first world prefer such “exotic” items)

  • It boosts exports.

  • It can boost tourism.

  • The poor farmers/artisans from the given region have to face less competition from fake guys selling bogus products.

  • It indirectly leads to sustainable Development.

Thribhuvanam Silk Sarees

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  • The Thirubhuvanam silk saree, known for its intricate border and pallu designs, measures about 18 feet in length and 4 feet in breadth with one side border.

  • The speciality of the saree is that filature silk is used for both warp and weft resulting in high quality, shining, uniformity and lustre. Known as a traditional wedding saree of medium weight with motifs, body and border woven in the same single warp, its pallu is woven continuously on the loom.

  • The weaving technique used in the making of the saree is called porai ilupu, which distinguishes it from the pitni work of Kancheepuram silk saree.

  • Another uniqueness of the silk saree is its visiri madippu — a pattern of folding that looks like a hand-held palm fan.

  • Further, the technique of weaving by frequently changing of warp yarns and maintaining the tension of warp naturally gives sufficient stiffness to the saree and has better drapability.


PAPER – 2

Topics Covered

1. Governance

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre

What to read?

Prelims – About BARC

Dr. A.K. Mohanty, distinguished Scientist and Director, physics group of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Director, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata took over as Director, BARC.

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre

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  • The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is India's premier nuclear research facility headquartered in Trombay, Mumbai, Maharashtra.

  • BARC is a multi-disciplinary research centre with extensive infrastructure for advanced research and development covering the entire spectrum of nuclear science, engineering and related areas.

  • BARC's core mandate is to sustain peaceful applications of nuclear energy, primarily for power generation

  • It also conducts research in spent fuel processing, and safe disposal of nuclear waste. Its other research focus areas are applications for isotopes in industries, medicine, agriculture, etc. BARC operates a number of research reactors across the country

  • The Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay (AEET) was established by the government of India in 1954 to consolidate all the research and development activity for nuclear reactors and technology under the AEET.

  • As a result, all the scientists and engineers engaged in the fields of reactor design and development, instrumentation, metallurgy and material science etc. were transferred with their respective programmes from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) to AEET, with TIFR retaining its original focus for fundamental research in the sciences. After the demise of Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha in 1966, AEET was renamed Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.


PAPER – 1 AND PAPER – 3

Topics Covered

1. Geography

2. Conservation of Environment

India’s biodiversity-rich zones - ‘Hotspots’ of human impacts

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What to read?

Mains – About the Findings of the Study and What Could India do for reducing the threat on species in Bio diversity rich zones?

Human impacts on species occur across 84% of the earth’s surface, finds a study published on March 13 in PLOS Biology , an international journal dedicated to biological science.

Findings of the study

Using sources, including the recently-updated Human Footprint data, they found that a staggering 1,237 species are impacted by threats in more than 90% of their habitat

Hotspots

  • Southeast Asian tropical forests — including India’s biodiversity-rich Western Ghats, Himalaya and the north-east — also fall in this category; India ranks 16th in such human impacts, with 35 species impacted on average.


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  • Malaysia ranks first among the countries with the highest number of impacted species (125).

  • The average number of species impacted in the South Western Ghats montane rainforests is 60 and in the Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests, 53.

  • The maps show that roads and croplands are extensive in India and conversion of habitat for such activities could be a main threat

  • Cool spots

  • Cool-spots could be the result of protection or because of intact habitat that has not been cleared yet

  • Identifying such areas could aid conservation and development planning for countries.

  • Indian Roadways – Area of Concern

    • With India having the world’s second largest road network, It really need to plan for development that keeps wildlife conservation as a primary goal in biodiversity-rich areas.

    • If wildlife-friendly cropping patterns lead to conservation of wildlife, that would be a victory too.

    • For instance, agricultural crops such as pulses have supported the conservation of the critically endangered great Indian bustard.


    PAPER – 3

    Topics Covered

    1. Conservation of Environment – Pollution

    2. Science and Technology

    Black soot transformed into a boon for water purification

    Image result for Black soot transformed into a boon for water purification

    What to read?

    Prelims – Black Carbon Soot

    Mains – Effective treatment of Waste water

    A group of Indian scientists have come up with a new process which promises to help utilize black carbon soot, which is a major air pollutant, for treating industrial waste containing highly poisonous organic dyes.

    Black Carbon Soot

    • Soot includes the fine black particles, chiefly composed of carbon, produced by incomplete combustion of coal, oil, wood, or other fuels.

    • Soot can consist of acids, chemicals, metals, soils, and dust.

    • It is emitted from gas and diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and other processes that involve burning of fossil fuel. It is known to be highly carcinogenic.

    Organic Dyes

    • Organic dyes, in turn, are an important component of industrial waste and are generally non-biodegradable and deadly.

    • They enter water bodies and make them not only unfit for human consumption but also highly poisonous.

    What has scientists transformed?

    • The scientists have converted black soot into graphene nanosheets.

    Image result for graphene nanosheets

    • They utilized the nanosheets to remove organic dyes such as crystal violet, rhodamine B, and methylene blue from industrial waste.

    Advantages of the innovation

    • Treatment of waste water with organic dyes has remained a major challenge. The available methods are generally costly and cumbersome.

    • Black soot is available everywhere and even a lay person can convert it into graphene nanosheets at home.

    • The scientists tested the sustainability and the suitability of the overall process by using the treated water for growing wheat.


    PAPER – 3

    Topics Covered

    1. Science and Technology

    Indian Ocean exploration mission makes first broadcast

    Image result for Indian Ocean exploration mission makes first broadcast

    What to read?

    Prelims – About the Indian Ocean Mission

    Mains – Significance of the Mission

    A British-led scientific mission to document changes taking place beneath the Indian Ocean broadcast its first live, television-quality video images from a two-person submersible.

    • The first transmission came from 60 meters down (200 feet).

    • Previous deep sea live streams cataloguing the world's oceans have been via fibre optic cable today's broadcast used cutting edge wireless technology, sending video optically through the waves.

    Significance of the Mission

    Image result for Indian Ocean exploration mission makes first broadcast

    • The Nekton Mission, run by ocean research institute Nekton, will shed light on the impact global warming is having deep below the surface of one of the world's least explored areas.

    It will gather data and gain much-needed understanding of the Indian Ocean's ecosystem and to see if any new species are lurking there.