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November 11, 2019
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12 November Current Affairs

Lightning Strikes

In News:

As per IMD, With 9 lakh lightning strikes between April 1 and July 31 this year, Odisha recorded the highest number of lightning strikes in the country, while Jammu and Kashmir recorded the least with about 20,000 strikes.

Significance:

This is the first time the weather monitoring body has released the data on total lightening strikes across the country. The date for the months of April till July was compiled by IMD’s Climate Resilient Observing Systems Promotion Council (CROSPC).

The report was prepared as part of a three-year study period under Lightning Resilient India campaign.

Key findings:

Most number of deaths due to lightning strikes were reported from Uttar Pradesh.

The highest intensity lightning strikes were observed in Chhotanagpur plateau in East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand. The area also received the maximum number of strikes for a district.

The number of lightning days (number of days when lightning strikes happened) across India has been increasing every month. July witnessed the highest number of lightning days, especially in the latter half due to the onset of monsoon.

About lightning:

It is a very rapid — and massive — discharge of electricity in the atmosphere, some of which is directed towards the Earth’s surface.

These discharges are generated in giant moisture-bearing clouds that are 10-12 km tall.

How does it strike?

The base of these clouds typically lies within 1-2 km of the Earth’s surface, while their top is 12-13 km away. Temperatures towards the top of these clouds are in the range of minus 35 to minus 45 degrees Celsius.

As water vapour moves upward in the cloud, the falling temperature causes it to condense. Heat is generated in the process, which pushes the molecules of water further up.

As they move to temperatures below zero degrees celsius, the water droplets change into small ice crystals. They continue to move up, gathering mass — until they are so heavy that they start to fall to Earth.

This leads to a system in which, simultaneously, smaller ice crystals are moving up and bigger crystals are coming down.

Collisions follow, and trigger the release of electrons — a process that is very similar to the generation of sparks of electricity. As the moving free electrons cause more collisions and more electrons, a chain reaction ensues.

This process results in a situation in which the top layer of the cloud gets positively charged, while the middle layer is negatively charged. The electrical potential difference between the two layers is huge — of the order of a billion to 10 billion volts. In very little time, a massive current, of the order of 100,000 to a million amperes, starts to flow between the layers.

An enormous amount of heat is produced, and this leads to the heating of the air column between the two layers of the cloud. This heat gives the air column a reddish appearance during lightning. As the heated air column expands, it produces shock waves that result in thunder.

Ayodhya verdict

In News:

A bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi delivered the Ayodhya verdict alongside CJI designate S.A. Bobde, and Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S.A. Nazeer. The verdict was unanimous.

About Issue:

At the centre of the issue is the belief among sections of Hindus that the Babri Masjid, named after Mughal emperor Babur, was built in Ayodhya after destroying a Ram Temple that marked the birthplace of the deity.

The Hindu parties wanted the land to themselves, contending that Lord Ram was born at a spot on which later the central dome of the mosque was built. The Muslim parties, however, contended that the mosque was constructed in 1528 by Mir Baqi, a commander of Babur’s army, without demolishing any place of worship and since the land rights had not been transferred to any other party, the space was rightfully theirs.

The verdict:

The Hindus would get the entire disputed 2.77 acres in Ayodhya where the demolished Babri Masjid once stood.

Possession of disputed 2.77 acre land will remain with Central government receiver.

The Muslims will get alternate five acres of land either in the surplus 67 acres acquired in and around the disputed structure by the central government or any other “prominent” place.

A trust will be formed in 3 months to build a temple on the disputed land. The court held that the Nirmohi Akhara is not the shebait or devotee of the deity Ram Lalla but will get to be a member of the Trust.

What is Article 142, invoked by SC to give land for a mosque?

The Supreme Court, implicitly referring to the demolition of the Babri Masjid at the disputed site, said that it was invoking Article 142 “to ensure that a wrong committed must be remedied”.

Article 142(1) states that “The Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it, and any decree so passed or order so made shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India in such manner as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament and, until provision in that behalf is so made, in such manner as the President may by order prescribe”.

This was the first time that the court invoked this power in a case involving a civil dispute over an immovable property, involving private parties.

Who are the travellers quoted in Ayodhya judgment?

In its judgment, the Supreme Court relied in part on centuries-old travelogues, gazetteers and books to provide an account of the faith and belief that the Hindus placed in the Janmasthan. The travelogues that the court took note of included, among others, those by the European travellers Joseph Tieffenthaler, William Finch, and Montgomery Martin – these being written before the building of the grill-brick wall in front of the mosque during British rule.

Tieffenthaler was an 18th-century missionary who travelled in India for 27 years, and wrote his travelogue titled “Description Historique et Geographique De l’Inde”. In India, he was commissioned at the famous observatory of Sawai Jai Singh, the Raja of Jaipur, and was later attached at the Jesuit College in Agra which was built with the patronage of Akbar.

William Finch’s account has been recorded in the 1921 book ‘Early Travels in India (1583-1619)’ by the historiographer Sir William Foster.

Originally from Dublin in Ireland, Martin was an Anglo-Irish author and civil servant. He practised medicine in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka), East Africa and Australia. Martin then went on to work in Kolkata where helped found the paper ‘Bengal Herald’. He wrote the three-volume work ‘History, Antiquities, Topography and Statistics of Eastern India’.

What is adverse possession, the Muslim claim SC rejected?

One of the questions before the Supreme Court was whether the Sunni Wakf Board had acquired the title of the disputed land by adverse possession.

Adverse possession is hostile possession of a property – which has to be continuous, uninterrupted and peaceful.

The Muslim side had claimed that the mosque was built 400 years ago by Babar – and that even if it is assumed that it was built on the land where a temple earlier existed, Muslims, by virtue of their long exclusive and continuous possession – beginning from the time the mosque was built, and up to the time the mosque was desecrated – they had perfected their title by adverse possession. This argument has now been rejected by the Supreme Court.

Fall Armyworm (FAW)

In News:

Proper precaution and timely management by the state agriculture department and awareness among farmers have succeeded in thwarting an attack by the Fall Armyworm (FAW) on maize crop in Odisha.

Background:

Odisha produces over 7 lakh tonnes maize every year. The coverage of maize has increased to 2.40 lakh hectares in 2019-20 from 2.28 lakh ha a year ago.

What is FAW?

It is a native of the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Americas.

First detected in the African continent in 2016. Since then, it has spread to other countries such as China, Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

The pest can attack at least 80 types of crops including bajra, jawar, ragi, paddy, wheat and vegetables.

In India: It was reported in India for the first-time in Karnataka. Within a span of only six months, almost 50 per cent of the country, including Mizoram, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal, has reported FAW infestations.

What makes FAW dangerous?

It is the polyphagous (ability to feed on different kinds of food) nature of the caterpillar and the ability of the adult moth to fly more than 100 km per night.

Given its ability to feed on multiple crops — nearly 80 different crops ranging from maize to sugarcane — FAW can attack multiple crops.

Similarly, it can spread across large tracts of land as it can fly over large distances. This explains the quick spread of the pest across India.

How FAW affects output?

Till date, India has reported FAW infestation on maize, sorghum (jowar) and sugarcane crops. Maize has been the worst affected as most maize-growing states in southern India have been affected by the pest.

FAW infestation and drought has led to a shortfall of nearly 5 lakh tonnes in output, prompting the central government to allow import of maize under concessional duty. Maize is the third most important cereal crop grown in the country and the infestation, if not checked in time, can wreck havoc.

Shilpostav- 2019

In News:

Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment visited the “Shilpostav- 2019” to encourage the artisans at Dilli Haat, INA, in New Delhi. It began on 1st November and will continue till 15th November 2019.

About:

Shilpostav- 2019 is the annual fair of artisans from across the country, belonging to the weaker sections of the society.

It is organized by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

The artisans assisted by the Apex corporations of the Ministry Social Justice and Empowerment i.e. National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation (NBCFDC), National Scheduled Caste Finance & Development Corporation (NSFDC), National Handicapped Finance & Development Corporation (NHFDC), National Safai Karamchari Finance & Development Corporation (NSKFDC) and National Trust are displaying and selling their products.

The range of products in this fair include dress materials, leather, cane & bamboo products, hand embroidery, bead products, block printing, wooden toys, handloom etc.

5th Global Exhibition on Services (GES)

In News:

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry launched the curtain raiser of 5th Global Exhibition on Services (GES) which will be held in Bengaluru from 26th – 28th November 2019.

About:

Four editions of GES have already been held.

The event is organised by Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry in partnership with Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Highlights of GES 2019:

Focus on increasing ‘trade in services’

Showcasing 12 Champion Services Sectors

Over 500 participants from 100 countries

Release of Report on Services Sectors

Avenues for partnerships through B2B, B2G, G2G meetings

Food Festivals, Cultural Evenings, Networking Dinners

In GES 2019 SEPC is also looking to promote eSports. The eSports industry is expected to grow rapidly and in 2017 worldwide revenue generated in eSports market amounted to USD 655 million.

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