Current Affairs 2nd February, 2019


Topics Covered

1. Physical Geography – Oceans - Climate

2. Conservation of the Environment

Ocean Mixing and Climate

<p><strong>SF Fig. 2.9.</strong> In this model of the Global Conveyor Belt, warmer ocean surface currents (in red) and colder bottom currents (in dark blue) are interconnected. This is a very simplified model of global ocean circulation.</p><br />

What to read?

Prelims and Mains – Ocean mixing and Climate relation, About Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, Highlights of the Study

A new international science team measured temperature, saltiness and the speed of ocean currents throughout the North Atlantic to try to better understand the conveyor belt. The preliminary results after hundreds of measurements in 21 months found that engine was several hundreds of miles east of where they figured.

Ocean Mixing

Mixing in the ocean occurs on several scales, the smallest scale being molecular. If a layer of warm, salty water lies above a layer of colder, fresher water, the heat and salt will tend to diffuse (spread out) downwards to make a single layer with intermediate temperature and salinity values. However, because heat diffuses faster than salt, the process can lead to local instabilities in the density structure which cause mixing within a layer many meters thick. The best-known example of this process, known as salt fingering, occurs where very salty water from the Mediterranean outflow mixes into the North Atlantic.

Most mixing, however, takes place on larger scales in response to forcing by the wind (in the upper layers), by tides (particularly close to shore or in confined areas or those with rough topography), or by currents. Mixing by winds and tides often results in a surface mixed layer having homogeneous temperature and salinity. This layer may be separated from the water below it by a jump in temperature or salinity, known as a thermocline or pycnocline, respectively.

Flow in the ocean is not smooth but turbulent, and this increases mixing at the edge of currents by causing eddies to form. Such turbulent mixing can often be seen in rivers immediately downstream of bridges, where the fast water flow is affected by the bridge piers.

Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation

It is a giant ocean conveyor belt that moves water from Greenland south to beyond the tip of Africa and into the Indian Ocean.

The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is the zonally-integrated component of surface and deep currents in the Atlantic Ocean. It is characterized by a northward flow of warm, salty water in the upper layers of the Atlantic, and a southward flow of colder, deep waters that are part of the thermohaline circulation.

These "limbs" are linked by regions of overturning in the Nordic and Labrador Seas and the Southern Ocean. The AMOC is an important component of the Earth’s climate system, and is a result of both atmospheric and thermohaline drivers

AMOC and Climate

Image result for atlantic meridional overturning circulation

The net northward heat transport in the Atlantic is unique among global oceans, and is responsible for the relative warmth of the Northern Hemisphere.

AMOC carries up to 25% of the northward global atmosphere-ocean heat transport in the northern hemisphere. This is generally thought to ameliorate the climate of Northwest Europe, although this effect is the subject of debate.

As well as acting as a heat pump and high-latitude heat sink. AMOC is the largest carbon sink in the Northern Hemisphere, sequestering 0.7 PgC/year. This sequestration has significant implications for evolution of anthropogenic global warming - especially with respect to the recent and projected future decline in AMOC vigour.

Highlights of the study relating to support future decline in AMOC

  • The area where warm water turns over in the North Atlantic is considered to be the engine of the conveyor belt. Scientists thought it was in the Labrador Sea west of Greenland.

  • The preliminary results after hundreds of measurements in 21 months found that engine was several hundreds of miles east of where they figured, puts it east of Greenland, closer to Scotland.

  • It could change forecasts of one of the worst-case global warming scenarios still considered unlikely this century, in which the mixing stops and climate chaos ensues


Topics Covered

1. Governmental Intervention in safeguarding the vulnerable sections of the society

New panel on welfare of Nomadic communities

Image result for New panel on welfare of Nomadic communities

What to read?

Prelims – About the panel, Related Commissions

The Centre will form a welfare panel for nomadic, semi-nomadic and de-notified communities.

More on detail about the panel

  • A committee will be set up under NITI Aayog to complete the task of identifying de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic communities, especially as they move from place to place in search of a livelihood. The committee will follow up on the work of the Renke Commission and the Idate Commission.

  • A Welfare Development Board will also be set up under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to design and implement programmes for these hard-to-reach communities

Related Commissions

1. National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes

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  • The National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNSNT) is a national commission set under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, to study various developmental aspects of denotified and nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes in India

  • The Commission was first was set up on 22 November 2003 and reconstituted on 16  the earlier commission could not make much headway for a number of reasons. Mr. Balkrishna Sidram Renke was the Chairman of the Commission.

  • Idate Commission - The commission was constituted in January 2015 for a three-year temporary term, following which it had to submit its report identifying these communities state-wise, assessing their development status, and recommending ways to uplift them. The commission has studied the earlier report of Renke Commission.

  • PAPER – 2 and 3

    Topics Covered

    1. Schemes/ Policies

    2. Agriculture

    Rashtriya Gokul Mission

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    What to read?

    Prelims – About the mission and Department of Animal Health and Husbandry

    Union Finance Minister has allotted Rs. 750 crore to the Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM) under revised estimates for the financial year 2018-19.

    The RGM was launched in December 2014 on an outlay of Rs. 500 crore (2014-15 to 2016-2017) for developing and conserving indigenous breeds through selective breeding and genetically upgrading ‘nondescript’ bovine population.

    More on RGM

    • Ministry/Department : Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare

    • Aim is conservation and development of indigenous breeds in a focused and scientific manner.


    • It is a project under National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development.

    • The objectives of this mission includes Conservation of indigenous breeds and their development to improve their genetic makeup, enhancing the milk productivity and distribution of disease free high genetic merit bulls for natural service.

    • Rashtriya Gokul Mission is being implemented through “State Implementing Agencies (SIA) viz Livestock Development Boards.

    • Scheme is implemented on 100% grant-in-aid basis and throughout the country.

    It includes:

    • Establishment of Integrated Indigenous cattle centres “Gokul Gram”.

    • Establishment of Breeder’s societies “Gopalan Sangh”.

    • Award to Farmers “Gopal Ratna” and Breeders’ societies “Kamadhenu”.

    • Assistance to institution which are repositories of best germplasm.

    Related Schemes

    Image result for National Programme for Bovine Breeding

    1. National Programme for Bovine Breeding

    • To arrange quality Artificial Insemination services at farmers' doorstep

    • To bring all breeding cows under organized breeding through Artificial Insemination or natural service using germplasm of high genetic merits

    • To conserve, develop and proliferate selected indigenous bovine breeds of high socio-economic importance

    • To provide quality breeding inputs in breeding tracts of important indigenous breeds so as to prevent the breeds from deterioration and extinction

    2. National Programme for Dairy Development

    • To create and strengthen infrastructure for production of quality milk including cold chain infrastructure linking the farmer to the consumer

    • To create and strengthen infrastructure for procurement, processing and marketing of milk and milk products

    • To create training infrastructure for training of dairy farmers

    • To strengthen dairy cooperative societies/Producers Companies at village level

    • To increase milk production by providing technical input services like cattle-feed, and mineral mixture etc

    • To assist in rehabilitation of potentially viable milk federations/unions;

    PAPER – 3

    Topics Covered

    1. Indian Economy

    Budget 2019-20

    What to read?

    Prelims and Mains – Highlights of the Budget

    Interim Budget 2019-20 was presented in Parliament  by the Union Minister for Finance. Besides having a major Scheme for the farmers, it provides tax sops and sets the Developmental Agenda for the years to come.

    Summary of the Budget

    • A New Deal for 12 Crore Small and Marginal farmers with direct income support,

    • A path breaking Pension initiative for 10 Crore unorganized sector workers,

    • Exempting income up to Rs 5 lakhs from Income Tax,

    • Reforms in stamp duty,

    • Highest ever budgetary allocation of Rs 3 lakh crore for Defence,

    • Record allocation of funds at Rs 58,166 crore for North Eastern Areas,

    • A new AIIMS for Haryana,

    • Single window clearance for Indian film makers at par with foreigners and

    • Higher budgetary allocations for Education, Health, Infrastructure and for the welfare of weaker sections including Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes,

    • A Separate Department of Fisheries for welfare of 1.5 crore fisherman are some of the major highlights of the Interim Budget 2019- 20.

    Major Schemes announced

    1. Pradhan Mantri KIsan SAmman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) - to extend direct income support at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per year to farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares is announced.

    Image result for Budget 2019-20

    2. Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog - to upscale sustainable genetic upgradation of cow resources and to enhance production and productivity of cows has also been announced.

    3. A Welfare Development Board to frame special strategies for the benefit of the hard-to-reach De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic communities will be set up under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

    4. A National Artificial Intelligence Portal will also be developed soon as a part of the National Programme on 'Artificial Intelligence'.

    5. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion will now be renamed as the Department for Promotion of Industries and Internal Trade

    Enhanced allocations for major Schemes

    1. Rs.60,000 crores for MGNREGA for Budget Estimates 2019-20

    2. Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) is being allocated Rs.19,000 crore in BE 2019-20 as against Rs.15,500 crore in RE 2018-19

    3. By March, 2019, all households will be provided with electricity connection. Till now, 143 crore LED bulbs have been provided in a mission mode which has resulted in saving of Rs.50,000 crore for the poor and middle class.

    4. The world’s largest healthcare programme, Ayushman Bharat, to provide medical treatment to nearly 50 crore people in the country, around 10 lakh patients have already benefited through free treatment for medical treatment which would have otherwise cost them Rs. 3,000 crore.


    PAPER – 2 and 3

    Topics Covered

    1. Schemes

    2. Renewable Energy

    3. Infrastructure

    Vision 2030 to push start EVs

    Image result for Vision 2030 to push start EVs

    What to read?

    Prelims and Mains – Governmental efforts in Indigenisation of Electric Vehicles through FAME

    The government’s commitment for a ‘Clean & Green’ India through proposals in the interim budget such as measures to reduce the use of fossil fuel in a phased manner by 2030 is expected to ensure faster adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and environment friendly mass transportation in the country.

    Vision 2030 – Electric Mobility

    • The emphasis laid on electric mobility in the ‘2030 Vision’ is aimed at increasing energy security, reducing oil import dependence and reducing vehicular pollution.

    • The government’s focus on the use of clean energy in the transportation sector will help India tackle the issue of climate change.

    Related scheme – FAME II

    Image result for fame india phase 2

    • In order to promote manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicle technology and to ensure sustainable growth of the same, Department of Heavy Industry is implementing FAME-India Scheme- Phase-I [Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India] from 1st April 2015. The scheme, which was initially upto 31st April 2017, has been extended upto 31st March, 2019.

    • The Phase-II of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME-India) Scheme proposes to give a push to electric vehicles (EVs) in public transport and seeks to encourage adoption of EVs by way of market creation and demand aggregation.

    • The draft scheme envisages the holistic growth of EV industry, including providing for charging infrastructure, research and development of EV technologies and push towards greater indigenization.