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27th October Current Affairs

Cyclones getting fiercer

(GS-I: Geography)

In News:

Recently cyclonic storm Sitrang made an early landfall in Bangladesh causing a surprise among meteorologists.

Cyclone Sitrang:

Cyclone Sitrang rapidly doubling its pace and making an early landfall in Bangladesh has been termed as ‘unusual’ by meteorologists.

Westerly winds might have played a role in the quickening of the cyclone system, which ultimately led to less destruction in West Bengal, India.

Changing characters of cyclones in India and how they are damaging more now:

Affected regions: An NDMI study found Cyclones affect 11 of India’s 36 states and Union territories.

There are 96 districts along the coasts officially declared cyclone-prone.

More prone states: the Bay of Bengal is the theatre to more cyclones than the Arabian Sea.

Odisha endured the most cyclones (20) more recently (2006-20) followed by West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.

Death: According to NDMI Study, Cyclones accounted for 48% of India’s overall human life loss due to climate-related disasters, followed by heat waves (26 per cent), 18 per cent due to floods and 8 per cent due to cold waves.

Odisha had the highest toll.

Effect of climate change: Due to the increase in sea surface temperature and ocean heat content, the intensity of cyclones is increasing along Indian coasts.

Frequency is rising in the Arabian Sea and reducing in the Bay of Bengal, overall.

More severe cyclones: During 2000-2018, the frequency of severe cyclones has been increasing at the rate of 1 event per decade.

GM Mustard

(GS-III: Science & Technology: Awareness in the fields of Biotechnology)

In News:

The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change recommended the “environmental release” of the transgenic hybrid mustard DMH-11 for seed production and conduct of field demonstration studies with respect to its effects, if any, on honey bees and other pollinating insects.

Dhara Mustard Hybrid (DMH-11):

Dhara Mustard Hybrid- 11( DMH- 11), was developed by Deepak Pental of Delhi University, through transgenic technology, in 2002. DMH – 11 was created through transgenic technology, primarily involving the Bar, Barnase and Barstar gene systems.

DMH-11 by crossing a popular Indian mustard variety ‘Varuna’ (the barnase line) with an East European ‘Early Heera-2’ mutant (barstar).

DMH-11 is claimed to have shown an average 28% yield increase over Varuna in contained field trials carried out by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

Cleared by GEAC, what next?

The GEAC had cleared the proposal in 2017, but the Environment Ministry vetoed (refused) it and suggested that the GEAC hold more studies on the GM crop.

Now on October 18, GEAC allowed the environmental release of two varieties of genetically engineered mustard.

So that it can be used for developing new parental lines and hybrids under the supervision of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR).

Field demonstration studies on the effect of GE mustard on honey bees and other pollinators were also permitted.

Now the Union government will take the final call on whether to allow it for commercial cultivation.

Commercial use of DMH-11 will be subject to the Seed Act and related rules and regulations.

Colonialism and Decolonization

(GS-I: History of the world, Colonization, Decolonization)

To colonize is to settle in, and take control of, land outside your own borders. E.g. the British colonized India for over 200 years. Colonization was motivated by economics. European powers sought to expand their markets and acquire raw materials overseas.

What is Decolonization?

Decolonization is a process by which colonies become independent of the colonizing country. Decolonization occurred in response to independence movements in colonized territories when European powers determined that the benefits of maintaining colonies were not worth the costs.

Difference between Colonialism and Imperialism:

Colonialism: The term colony comes from the Latin word colonus, meaning farmer. The practice of colonialism usually involved the transfer of population to a new territory, where the arrivals lived as permanent settlers while maintaining political allegiance to their country of origin.

Imperialism: On the other hand, ‘Imperialism’ comes from the Latin term imperium, meaning to command.  Thus, the term imperialism implies that one country exercises power over another, whether through settlement, sovereignty, or indirect mechanisms of control.

Colonisation was experienced differently across regions, classes and castes. That is a prime reason why de-colonisation remains so elusive.

Colonial Legacy in India:

English:

Removal of English is a big draw among political parties which promise to exorcise India’s mind, body and soul from the ghost of colonialism.

Majoritarian nationalism has picked up English as a de-colonisation plank.

Jotibarao Phule’s appreciation of English education was grounded in its potential to wipe out discrimination against the lower castes.

Public Policy:

Colonial public policy assumed that average citizens are docile and ignorant, and that it is the state’s job to enlighten — and not just serve — them.

It has become a lot louder in the digital age, without making much of an impact on the everyday reality of the citizenry.

Conclusion:

Colonised societies suffered similar consequences, such as the drainage of wealth and the emergence of a state apparatus that the common people found difficult to identify with. Their fear of the state and the state’s distrust of the citizen ought to be the prime agenda for anyone pursuing de-colonisation.

Bombay Dyeing, Wadias barred from the securities market for 2 yrs

In News:

Recently SEBI has barred textile producer Bombay Dyeing and its promoters from accessing the security market for two years for misrepresentation of the financial statements of the company.

Details:

Securities are financial instruments issued to raise funds. The primary function of the securities markets is to enable to flow of capital from those that have it to those that need it. E.g. stocks, Bonds, Shares etc.

Securities and Exchange Board of India:

It was established on April 12, 1992, in accordance with the provisions of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992.

Its basic function is to protect the interests of investors in securities and to promote and regulate the securities market.

Structure: consists of a Chairman and several other whole time and part-time members.

There exists Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) constituted to protect the interest of entities that feel aggrieved by SEBI’s decision.

It has the same powers as vested in a civil court.

Further, if any person feels aggrieved by SAT’s decision or order can appeal to the Supreme Court.

Sandalwood cultivation

In News:

Sandalwood spike diseases which hitherto were confined mainly to forest areas, started spreading to commercial areas.

Sandalwood spike diseases:

Cause: The disease is caused by phytoplasma — bacterial parasites of plant tissues — which are transmitted by insect vectors.

Origin: the disease was first reported in Kodagu in 1899.

Symptoms: The sandalwood trees dry up once affected by SSD. Leaves turn thin and yellow and no new leaves will sprout. Within four years, the tree dies.

Treatment: As of now, no cure exists for the disease. Hence, the infected tree has to be cut to reduce the spread of the disease.

Concerns: Every year about 1% to 5% of sandalwood trees are lost due to the disease.

It could potentially wipe out the entire natural Sandalwood population if measures are not taken to prevent its spread.

Measures needed: A study conducted by the Institute of Wood Science and Technology(IWST), Bangalore and Pune-based National Centre for Cell Sciences has recommended

accreditation of commercial production of sandalwood seedlings through testing to ensure that the plants are free from SSD.

It has also called for a paradigm shift in policies handling sandalwood seedlings.