02 June 2023 – Current Affairs
Daily Current Capsules
02 June 2023
Theme – Environment/GSIII
Desiccation-tolerant vascular plant species
What’s the NEWS
- India’s biodiversity hotspot, the Western Ghats, is home to 62 Desiccation-Tolerant Vascular Plant Species which could have applications in agriculture, particularly in areas with scarcity of water.
Desiccation-tolerant vascular (DT) plants
- Desiccation-tolerant vascular (DT) plants are able to withstand extreme dehydration, losing up to 95% of their water content, and they revive themselves once water is available again.
- This unique ability allows them to survive in harsh, arid environments that would be uninhabitable for most other plants.
- DT plants have been studied for their possible applications in agriculture, particularly in areas with limited water resources. In tropical regions, they are the predominant occupants of rock outcrops.
- DT plants can tolerate dehydration could lead to the development of crops that are more drought-resistant and require less water
- In the inventory of 62 species, 16 are Indian endemic, and 12 are exclusive to the Western Ghats outcrops, highlighting WG’s importance as a global DT hotspot.
- In addition to rock outcrops, tree trunks in the partially shaded forests were also found to be crucial habitats for DT species, as per the study.
- The Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri mountain range
- It is parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula, traversing the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
- These mountains cover an area of around 140,000 km² in a 1,600 km long stretch that is interrupted only by the 30 km Palghat Gap at around 11°N.
- It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the 36 biodiversity hotspots in the world
- The Western Ghats are older than the Himalayas.
- They influence Indian monsoon weather patterns by intercepting the rain-laden monsoon winds that sweep in from the southwest during late summer.
- The range runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain called the Western Coastal Plains along the Arabian Sea.
- The range starts near south of the Tapti river and runs approximately 1,600 km through the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu ending at Marunthuvazh Malai, Swamithope near the southern tip of India.
- The Western Ghats block the southwest monsoon winds from reaching the Deccan Plateau.
- The area is one of the world’s ten “hottest biodiversity hotspots.
Theme – Government Initiatives
ATL Tinkerpreneur 2023
What’s the NEWS
- Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog has opened registration for ‘ATL Tinkerpreneur 2023’- a flagship summer boot camp under AIM’s Atal Tinkering Labs program.
Know! about ATL Tinkerpreneur
- ATL Tinkerpreneur is a 7-week-long virtual summer boot camp in June and July that equips students with key digital skills and frameworks to create their own online venture by the end of the boot camp.
- The last edition of the boot camp witnessed 5000+ team innovations, the top 100 of them got internship & funding opportunities from the Indian School of Business.
- The boot camp is open to students from all schools (ATLs and non-ATLs).
- Students will receive certificates, internships, and other attractive opportunities. The last date for registration is 5th June 2023.
- The Bootcamp shall start from 8th June and shall last till 24th July. The students can submit their entries by the 6th of August.
Theme – International Organisations
Universal Postal Union (UPU)
What’s the NEWS
- The Union Cabinet chaired by the has approved to establish a Regional Office of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in New Delhi, India
- The approval enables India to play active role at multilateral organizations in postal sector with emphasis on South-South and Triangular cooperation.
- India will provide a Field Project Expert, staff and office set up for UPU’s regional office.
- The initiative would help expanding India’s diplomatic footprint and strengthen relations with other countries, specially in Asia-Pacific region and will enhance India’s presence at the global postal forums.
The Universal Postal Union (UPU)
- UPU was established by the Treaty of Bern of 1874,is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to the worldwide postal system.
- The UPU contains four bodies consisting of the Congress, the Council of Administration (CA), the Postal Operations Council (POC) and the International Bureau (IB).
- It also oversees the Telematics and Express Mail Service (EMS) cooperatives.
- Each member agrees to the same terms for conducting international postal duties.
- The UPU’s headquarters are located in Bern, Switzerland.
Theme – Science and Technology
GI-YSRI Conference (Global Indian Young Scientists Research & Innovation)
What’s the NEWS
- The All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) and Vijnana Bharati is jointly organising a ground breaking event, GI-YSRI Conference (Global Indian Young Scientists Research & Innovation)
GI-YSRI Conference objective
- The primary objective of the Conference is to introduce GIST to heads of agencies, showcase ongoing collaborations and partnerships, identify new opportunities for collaborations, and emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion in promoting science and technology.
- GIST aimed to develop a model and platform for open and thoughtful deliberations and scientific dialogues on key national and international topics, ensuring that no individual or group is left behind.
- The GIST Meet and GI-YSRI Conference, provides a unique platform for global Indian scientists and technocrats to contribute to science and technology advancement
- AIIA has collaborated with Global Indian Scientists and Technocrats Forum (GIST) happening at National Agricultural Science Complex as a co-host.
Global Indian Scientists & Technocrats Forum (GIST)
- It is a visionary organization that was formed to become a key platform to bring together scientists and technocrats from the Indian diaspora from across the world, who are maestros in their fields.
- GIST forum was born under the patronage of Vijnana Bharati, the largest science movement of India.
- The GIST forum is the largest repository of the Indian Scientists and Technocrats from the world over with their respective domain knowledge to enable exploration of suitable engagement opportunities.
- Swadeshi Science Movement was started in Indian Institute of Science- (Bengaluru) by a few eminent scientists under the guidance of Prof. K I Vasu.
- This movement gradually gained momentum and emerged as an organization with national presence. In 1991(Oct 20-21) at the Nagpur meet, it was decided, to launch the Swadeshi Science Movement at all India Level and named it as Vijnana Bharati.
- Vijnana Bharati has units in 22 states across the country and contacts in 4 states.
- It is working in 11 different areas through autonomous institutions, independent organizations & also as project entities.
Theme – Agriculture and Allied Activity
World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector
What’s the NEWS
- The Union Cabinet approved the constitution and empowerment of an Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) for facilitation of the “World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector” by convergence of various schemes of
- Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare
- Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and
- Ministry of Food Processing Industries.
- In order to ensure time bound and uniform implementation of the Plan in a professional manner, Ministry of Cooperation will implement a pilot project in at least 10 selected Districts of different States/ UTs in the country.
- An Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) will be constituted under the Chairmanship of Minister of Cooperation, with Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Minister of Food Processing Industries and Secretaries concerned as members to modify guidelines/ implementation methodologies of the schemes by creation of infrastructure such as godowns, etc. for Agriculture and Allied purposes, at selected ‘viable’ Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS).
- The Plan would be implemented by utilizing the available outlays provided under the identified schemes of the respective Ministries.
Following schemes have been identified for convergence under the Plan:
(a) Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare:
- Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF),
- Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure Scheme (AMI),
- Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH),
- Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM)
(b) Ministry of Food Processing Industries:
- Pradhan Mantri Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme (PMFME),
- Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY)
(c) Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution:
- Allocation of food grains under the National Food Security Act,
- Procurement operations at Minimum Support Price
- The plan is multi-pronged – it aims to address not just the shortage of agricultural storage infrastructure in the country by facilitating establishment of godowns at the level of PACS, but would also enable PACS to undertake various other activities, viz:
- Functioning as Procurement centres for State Agencies/ Food Corporation of India (FCI);
- Serving as Fair Price Shops (FPS);
- Setting up custom hiring centers;
- Setting up common processing units, including assaying, sorting, grading units for agricultural produce, etc.
- Further, creation of decentralized storage capacity at the local level would reduce food grain wastage and strengthening food security of the country.
- By providing various options to the farmers, it would prevent distress sale of crops, thus enabling the farmers to realise better prices for their produce.
- It would hugely reduce the cost incurred in transportation of food grains to procurement centres and again transporting the stocks back from warehouses to FPS.
- Through ‘whole-of-Government’ approach, the Plan would strengthen PACS by enabling them to diversify their business activities, thus enhancing the incomes of the farmer members as well.
Theme – Space Awareness
What’s the NEWS
- China sent three astronauts to its Tiangong space station including a civilian scientist, a first for the country.
- The liftoff has come as China pursues plans for a manned mission to the Moon by 2030.
- The Shenzhou-16 crew lifted off atop a Long March 2F rocket.
- The launch took place from the Jiquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China.
- China is spending billions of dollars on its military-run space programme and trying to catch up with the US and Russia.
- The Tiangong is a crown jewel of China’s space programme, landed robotic rovers on Mars and the Moon.
- It has also made China the third country to put humans in orbit.
- The mission is the first to the Tiangong space station since it entered its “application and development” stage
- Once it reaches the orbit the Shenzhou-16 will dock at Tiangong space station’s Tianhe core module before the crew meet three colleagues from the previous manned Shenzhou-15 flight, who have been at the space station for six months and will return to Earth in the coming days.
Theme – Defence
Successful training launch of Agni-1 ballistic missile
What’s the NEWS
- A successful training launch of a Medium-Range Ballistic Missile, Agni-1 was carried out by the Strategic Forces Command from APJ Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha on June 01, 2023.