27TH OCTOBER CURRENT AFFAIRS

1. Kisan Suryodaya Yojana

News: PM has launched the ‘Kisan Suryodaya Yojana’ aimed at providing day-time electricity to farmers in the State of Gujarat for irrigation and farming purposes.

Kisan Suryodaya Yojana

  • Under the scheme, farmers will be able to avail power supply from 5am to 9pm for irrigation purposes.
  • Around 234 transmission lines are to be installed under the scheme. Each line is to carry the power of 66 KW. They are to be erected to a total length of 3,490 km.
  • Dahod, Patan, Mahisagar, Panchmahal, Chhota Udepur, Kheda, Tapi, Valsad, Anand and Gir-Somnath have been included under the Scheme for 2020-21. The remaining districts will be covered in a phase-wise manner by 2022-23.

Significance of this scheme:

  • It would help in the expansion of micro irrigationin the state. Micro irrigation is defined as the frequent application of small quantities of water directly above and below the soil surface; usually as discrete drops, continuous drops or tiny streams through emitters placed along a water delivery line.
  • It would complement irrigation projects of the State- Sujalam Sufalamand SAUNI (Saurashtra-Narmada Avtaran Irrigation) yojana. It would complement central government initiatives like neem coating urea, Soil Health Cards, KUSUM Yojana, etc.
  • India has now reached5th position in the world in the last few years in solar power and is advancing fast. Further, it has given the world the plan of ‘One Sun, One World, One Grid’. On the Kisan Suryodaya scheme, the PM emphasised that farmers should save water and adopt the mantra ‘per drop, more crop’.

Ropeway Project on Mount Girnar:

  • The 2.3 km- long ropeway project is being touted as the longest temple ropeway in Asia. Mount Girnar has Gorakhnath peak, Guru Dattatreya peak anda Jain temple. It is the fourth ropeway in Gujarat along with Banaskantha, Pavagadh and Satpura.
  • It will give a boost to adventure activities as well as tourismin the state. Sites like Shivarajpur beach which has got blue flag certification and Statue of Unity, provides a lot of employment opportunities to the locals.

2. Dairy Production in Indus Valley Civilization

News: A new study has shown that dairy products were being produced by the Harappans as far back as 2500 BCE.

Details:

  • By analysing residues on ancient pots, researchers show the earliest direct evidence of dairy product processing, thus throwing fresh light on the rural economy of the civilization. The studies were carried out on 59 shards of pottery from Kotada Bhadli, a small archaeological site in present-day Gujarat.
  • The team used molecular analysis techniques to study the residues from ancient pottery.
  • Pots are porous. The pot preserves the molecules of food such as fats and proteins. Using techniques like C16 and C18 analysis we can identify the source of lipids. Traces were seen in cooking vessels indicating that milk may have been boiled and consumed.

Significance of discovery:

  • When we talk about Harappans, we always refer to the metropolitan cities and the big towns. But we have no idea of the parallel economy — agro-pastoral or rural.
  • We know they had great urban planning, trading systems, jewellery making. But we don’t have any idea how the common masters were living during the Harappan times, their lifestyle and how they were contributing in the larger network.

Note: 2020 marks 100 years of discovery of Indus Valley Civilisation.

3. Superconductivity at room temperature

News: A study has shown that a new material super conducts at 15 degrees Celsius but at extremely high pressure.

What is Superconductivity?

  • A superconductor is a material, such as a pure metal like aluminium or lead, that when cooled to ultra-low temperatures allows electricity to move through it with absolutely zero resistance.
  • Kamerlingh Onnes was the first scientist who figured out exactly how superconductor works in 1911.
  • Simply put, superconductivity occurs when two electrons bind together at low temperatures. They form the building block of superconductors, the Cooper pair. This holds true even for a potential superconductor like lead when it is above a certain temperature.

How it is achieved at room temperature?

  • The superconductor was formed by squeezing carbon, hydrogen and sulfur between the tips of two diamonds and hitting the material with laser light to induce chemical reactions.
  • At a pressure about 2.6 million times that of Earth’s atmosphere, and temperatures below about 15° C, the electrical resistance vanished. However, the new material’s superconducting superpowers appear only at extremely high pressures, limiting its practical usefulness.

Significance:

  • All superconductors previously discovered had to be cooled, many of them to very low temperatures, making them impractical for most uses. But, the recently discovered superconductor can operates at room temperature- the material is superconducting below temperatures of about 15° Celsius.

What are Superconductors?

  • Superconductors are materials that address this problem by allowing energy to flow efficiently through them without generating unwanted heat. They have great potential and many cost-effective applications.
  • They operate magnetically levitated trains, generate magnetic fields for MRI machines and recently have been used to build quantum computers, though a fully operating one does not yet exist.

Concerns:

  • They have an essential problem when it comes to other practical applications: They operate at ultra-low temperatures. There are no room-temperature superconductors. That “room-temperature” part is what scientists have been working on for more than a century.
  • The amount of energy needed to cool a material down to its superconducting state is too expensive for daily applications.

4. Ramsar Sites

News: Recently, Kabartal Wetland (Bihar) and Asan Conservation Reserve (Uttrakhand) have been designated as Ramsar sites, making them ‘Wetlands of International Importance’. Earlier in 2020, India designated 10 more wetlands as a Ramsar site, taking the total number from 27 to 37. With 2 more inclusions, the total number of Ramsar sites in India is 39, the highest in South Asia.

About Kabartal Wetland:

  • Also known as Kanwar Jheel, it covers 2,620 hectares of the Indo-Gangetic plains in the Begusarai district of Bihar. It acts as a vital flood buffer for the region besides providing livelihood opportunities to local communities.
  • Significant biodiversity is present, with 165 plant species and 394 animal species recorded, including 221 bird species. It is also a valuable site for fish biodiversity with over 50 species documented.
  • It is an important stopover along the Central Asian Flyway, with 58 migratory waterbirds using it to rest and refuel.
  • Five critically endangered species in habit the site, including three vultures – the red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and Indian vulture (Gyps indicus) – and two waterbirds, the sociable lapwing (Vanellus gregarius) and Baer’s pochard (Aythya baeri).
  • Major threats to the Site include water management activities such as drainage, water abstraction, damming and canalization.

About Asan Conservation Reserve:

  • ACR is a 444-hectare stretch of the Asan River running down to its confluence with the Yamuna River in Dehradun district of Uttarakhand. It is Uttarakhand’s first Ramsar Site.
  • The damming of the River by the Asan Barrage in 1967resulted in siltation above the dam wall, which helped to create some of the Site’s bird-friendly habitats.
  • These habitats support 330 species of birds including the critically endangered red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus)white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and Baer’s pochard (Aythya baeri).
  • Other non-avian species present include 49 fish species, one of these being the endangered Putitora mahseer (Tor putitora). Fish use the site for feeding, migration and spawning.

Ramsar Site

  • Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty adopted in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar, on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea. It came into force for India on 1st February, 1982. Those wetlands which are of international importance are declared as Ramsar sites.
  • The Convention’s mission is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.
  • The Montreux Record is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference. It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List.
  • At present, two wetlands of India are in Montreux Record: Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan) and Loktak Lake (Manipur). Chilika Lake (Odisha) was placed in the record but later removed from it.