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ARTICLES

ARTICLES

ARTICLES

The government says it wants to double farm income by 2022 through the transformation of Indian agriculture. However, the political discourse continues to focus perversely on farm loan waivers. Even though agriculture contributes about 15% to India’s gross domestic product, a majority of the population directly or indirectly depends on the sector for livelihood. Farm loan waiver It might make political sense in the short run—farmers are a sizeable and powerful vote base—but, as experience shows, it is unlikely to help the agriculture sector in the long run. In fact, loan waivers can lea... Read More...

  Apr 01, 2017   General Category

On March 10, Shashi Tharoor, MP, introduced the Anti-Discrimination and Equality Bill 2016 (ADE Bill) in the Lok Sabha. As a Private Member’s Bill, however, this will not be enacted unless the government takes ownership of this Bill. There are at least three reasons why it should do so: The Bill’s symmetric protection, its experiential understanding of discrimination as a lived reality, and its proportionate regulation of the private sector. Bill’s symmetry That discrimination is rife in India is not in doubt. Women, Dalits, religious and sexual minorities, people fro... Read More...

  Mar 30, 2017   General Category

Biotech-KISAN is a new programme that empowers farmers, especially women farmers. Cash crops and horticulture can be a major source of income but the vagaries of climate, disease and market often prevent this. Farmers are eager to use scientific tools that can mitigate these factors. The Scheme is for farmers, developed by and with farmers, it empowers women, impacts locally, connects globally, is Pan-India, has a hub-and spoke model and stimulates entrepreneurship and innovation in farmers. Biotech-KISAN is: For Farmers: The Biotech-KISAN is a Farmer centric scheme launched by of the Department of Biotechnology, where ... Read More...

  Mar 28, 2017   General Category

India’s ties with China are seemingly becoming more complicated by the day. Despite the dialogue held recently at the strategic level, the continuing stalemate over both the proposal at the UN to designate JeM Chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist and India’s entry into the NSG are visibly deepening suspicions that may snowball into other areas where the two countries entertain misgivings about each other. Other critical issues are: China’s Belt and Road Initiative, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor CPEC, and Read More...

  Mar 27, 2017   General Category

Water wars in urban India is not new, they go back to Harappa. Harsud was a town and municipality in Khandwa in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Although the town was more than 700 years old, it submerged under the waters of the Indira Sagar dam in July 2004. The town was relocated to Chhanera (New Harsud) after the old town was submerged in the waters of Indira Sagar Dam. Indus people According to historian DD Kosambi, the Indus people managed water by damming the small branches of rivers. Aryan Aryan people shattered this dam sy... Read More...

  Mar 26, 2017   General Category

The latest edition of the State of the World’s Forests (SOFO) report explores the relationship between agriculture and forestry for a food-secure future. As part of commitment to the SDGs, countries are committed to end hunger by 2030 by ensuring sustainable food production. Making agriculture sustainable is essential for future food production in the face of climate change. Food production and the role of forests While agriculture can feed the world’s population, it is responsible for deforestation globally. The report says that forests support sustainable agriculture by stabilising soils and climate, regula... Read More...

  Mar 25, 2016   General Category

Human Genome Project, an international collaboration that successfully determined, stored, and rendered publicly available the sequences of almost all the genetic content of the chromosomes of the human organism, otherwise known as the human genome. The Human Genome Project (HGP), which operated from 1990 to 2003, provided researchers with basic information about the sequences of the three billion chemical base pairs that make up human genomic DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). The Human Genome Project was further intended to improve the technologies needed to interpret and analyse genomic sequences, to identify all the genes encoded in huma... Read More...

  Mar 24, 2017   General Category

In recent decades, India has enjoyed economic and demographic conditions that ordinarily would lead to rising female labour-force participation rates. Economic growth has been high, averaging 6-7% in the 1990s and 2000s; fertility has fallen substantially; and female education has risen dramatically, albeit from a low level. In other regions, including Latin America and the Middle East and North Africa, similar trends have led to large increases in female participation. Yet National Sample Survey (NSS) data for India show that labour force participation rates of women aged 25-54 (including primary and subsidiary status) have stagnated at about 2... Read More...

  Mar 23, 2017   General Category

What is XDR-TB? XDR-TB, an abbreviation for extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), is a form of TB which is resistant to at least four of the core anti-TB drugs. Multidrug-resistance (MDR-TB) and XDR-TB both take substantially longer to treat than ordinary (drug-susceptible) TB, and require the use of second-line anti-TB drugs, which are more expensive and have more side-effects than the first-line drugs used for drug-susceptible TB. How do people get XDR-TB? People may get XDR-TB in one of two ways. It may develop in a patient who is receiving treatment for active TB, when anti-TB drugs are misused or m... Read More...

  Mar 22, 2017   General Category

Coral Reef Systems Reef Properties 1. Reefs are found in circumtropical shallow waters along the shores of islands and continents. 2. Reefs live in nutrient poor waters. 3. Reef substrate is composed of calcium carbonate from living and dead scleractinian corals. 4. These corals have a symbiotic relationship with a single-celled algae known as zooxanthallae. Zooxanthallae 1. Zooxanthallae live symbiotically within coral polyp tissue. 2. They assist coral in nutrient production through photosynthetic activities. 3. Corals receive coloration ... Read More...

  Mar 21, 2017   General Category

  Pakistan is planning to declare the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region also known as the Northern Areas as its fifth Province, a move that may raise concerns in India as it borders the disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. A committee headed by Advisor of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, Sartaj Aziz had proposed giving the status of a Province to Gilgit-Baltistan. Constitutional amendment would be made to change the status of the region, through which the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes. India opposes the CPEC precisely because it passes through areas that it considers part of its territory. Jammu and Kashmir ... Read More...

  Mar 20, 2017   General Category

Coalbed methane is a form of natural gas extracted from coal beds. The term refers to methane adsorbed into the solid matrix of the coal. It is called 'sweet gas' because of its lack of hydrogen sulphide. The presence of this gas is well known from its occurrence in underground coal mining, where it presents a serious safety risk. The methane is usually held in place by water pressure. Methane, CH4, is a naturally occurring gas; it is the major component (95 percent) of natural gas. It can be produced in a variety of ways. For example, methane is produced during the natural... Read More...

  Mar 18, 2017   General Category

The idea of a universal basic income (UBI) has been gaining ground globally. While Switzerland held a referendum on it last year (it was voted down), Finland introduced it earlier this year. What is UBI? Universal Basic Income is a radical and compelling paradigm shift in thinking about both social justice and a productive economy. It could be to the twenty first century what civil and political rights were to the twentieth. It is premised on the idea that a just society needs to guarantee to each individual a minimum income which they can count on, and which provides the necessary material foundation for a life ... Read More...

  Mar 17, 2017   General Category

On 24 November, the apex court ordered a ban on the sale (not the use) of firecrackers in Delhi and NCR. The verdict, though, sounded tentative—the Court took more than a year to act on a petition by two toddlers demanding a ban on crackers before the Dussehra and Diwali season in 2015, in contrast to its proactive support for the odd-even policy despite its tenability being doubted. The Delhi government, for its part, also now seems to acknowledge the relative ineffectiveness of the odd-even car rationing policy, though keeping this option open if pollution threatens to choke the city again. ... Read More...

  Mar 16, 2017   General Category

Waste-to-energy plants could sustainably dispose of municipal solid waste, while generating electricity. Management of solid waste or garbage has three elements: Segregation of biodegradable or wet waste from dry waste at source. Once segregation is achieved, municipal governments can use wet waste to produce compost and biogas in biomethanation plants. The dry waste, after removing recyclable elements, should go to waste-to-energy plants: This will reduce the volume of waste that remains to be sent to landfills. Read More...

  Mar 15, 2017   General Category

In the Union Budget 2015-16, government sponsored micro insurance was launched for the disadvantaged sections of the society. Eligibility: Available to people in age group 18 to 70 years with bank account. Premium:  Rs.12 per annum. Payment Mode: The premium will be directly auto-debited by the bank from the subscribers account. This is the only mode available. Risk Coverage:  For accidental death and full disability - Rs.2 Lakh and for partial disability – Rs.1 Lakh. Eligibility: Any person having a bank account and Aadhaar number l... Read More...

  Mar 13, 2017   General Category

Published by: World Wide Fund for Nature WILDLIFE Based on a study conducted in 2007, the following percentage of India’s wildlife is threatened with extinction: Mammals-41% Birds-7% Reptiles-46% Amphibians-57% Freshwater Fish-70% Four of the 386 species of mammals evaluated are already extinct FORESTS India aims for 33% forest cover but currently has only 21.3% of forest and tree cover. This makes it one of the countries with the lowest per capita availability of forests in the world. 25% of ... Read More...

  Mar 11, 2017   General Category

Solar and Wind power tariffs have hit new lows in India. Tariffs for solar power have hitherto ranged from Rs3.9 per kWh to Rs5.9 per kWh. Recently, this has further gone below the sub Rs3/unit mark. Wind power has also followed suit as cost has come down to Rs3.46/unit. Reasons for cost reduction: Transparent auction mechanism Auction of contracts to develop the world’s largest solar power plant of 750 MW capacity in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh have pushed the solar power tariffs to a record low of Rs2.97 per kWh. India has set a target of generating 60GW of wind power by 2022, up from 28,700.44 MW at the end of December. The ... Read More...

  Mar 10, 2017   General Category

In the ever-expanding universe of Indo-US cooperation, perhaps the brightest and most alluring star is the deepening partnership between the Indian and US navies. Consider two recent pronouncements: Admiral Harry Harris, the commander of the Hawaii-based Pacific Command (Pacom), revealed, that both navies are engaged in “sharing...information regarding Chinese maritime movement in the Indian Ocean,” especially submarines. Reliance Defence and Engineering Ltd announced that it had won a contract to service ships of the US Seventh Fleet. ... Read More...

  Mar 09, 2017   General Category

The Government of India has taken a pioneering initiative for conserving its national animal, the tiger, by launching the ‘Project Tiger’ in 1973. From 9 tiger reserves since its formative years, the Project Tiger coverage has increased to 47 at present, spread out in 18 of our tiger range states. This amounts to around 2.08% of the geographical area of our country. The tiger reserves are constituted on a core/buffer strategy. The core areas have the legal status of a national park or a sanctuary, whereas the buffer or peripheral areas are a mix of fores... Read More...

  Mar 08, 2017   General Category