Tuesday, 21st February 2023

Table of contents

1   Editorial of the day

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Rise of AgriTech in India - Edukemy Current Affairs

2   Daily Current Affairs

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Sealed cover jurisprudence post Adani case

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Avian Influenza - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Explainable Artificial Intelligence

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Pangolins - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Election Symbols - Edukemy Current Affairs

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GST Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT)

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Rare Disease - Edukemy Current Affairs

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India's Carbon Credit Trading Plan Under Paris Agreement

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Volatiles - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Japanese Archipelago - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Lavani Folk dance - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Underwater Noise Emissions (UNE)

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Polluter Pays Principle - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Indigenous livestock species Registered

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Editorial of the day

Rise of AgriTech in India - Edukemy Current Affairs


Exam View:  Agri-Tech, Drone, Digital Agriculture Mission (DAM) Initiative, AgriStack, Unified Farmer Service Platform (UFSP), Role of Technology in Agrarian Changes, Agricultural Marketing, Growth & Development

In News:  The use of technology in the agriculture sector has risen significantly, with several novel applications in aerial seeding, pesticide spraying and remote data collection for research.

Transformative technological solutions are increasing in the agricultural sector, leading to the rise of over 1,300 start-ups aimed at addressing the untapped potential of the agri-tech space. Up until 2021, India received investments of over USD 1.6 billion in agri-tech, being the third highest globally.

Role of Technology in Agriculture:

  • Role Agri-Start-ups: Agri tech start-ups can contribute to agrarian changes by improving Farming Techniques, Increasing Efficiency, Access to Finance etc.
  • Role of Drones: Drone has several applications in aerial seeding, pesticide spraying and remote data collection for research.

  • Agricultural Machinery: Modern agricultural machinery such as tractors, harvesters, and seed drills have enabled farmers to increase their efficiency and reduce labour costs.
  • Precision Agriculture: Technology such as GPS, drones, and sensors are being used to monitor crops, soil, and weather conditions. This allows farmers to make data-driven decisions and optimize resource management such as water and fertilizer usage.
  • Food Processing and Preservation: Technology has reduced food waste and ensured that crops can be stored and transported more efficiently.
  • Market Penetration: The internet and e-commerce have made it possible for farmers to connect with buyers and sell their products directly, bypassing middlemen and increasing profits.

Issue with Agri-Tech in India

  • Small Land Holdings: Most farmers in India have small and fragmented land holdings, making it difficult to adopt large-scale mechanization solutions, which are more cost-effective.
  • Issue with Basic Infrastructure: Limited availability of basic infrastructure, such as electricity and internet connectivity, can hamper the adoption and effectiveness of agri-tech solutions.
  • Digital Literacy: Despite India's strides in digitalization, many farmers lack digital literacy and access to technology, making it challenging to adopt agri-tech solutions.
  • High Upfront Costs: Many agri-tech solutions require significant upfront investment, which can be a significant barrier for small-scale farmers who may not have the resources to invest.
  • Market Access Issue: Challenges accessing markets to sell their produce due to a lack of market linkages and limited market information.
  • Regulation of Drones: Privacy is a major concern that looms over the trajectory of this sector since aerial vehicles come equipped with sophisticated sensors and cameras.

 

The government should encourage farmers to adopt modern technology in farming. This can be done by providing subsidies and financial incentives for purchasing and using modern equipment and techniques and Agricultural research should focus on the needs and priorities of farmers.

Scientists should work closely with farmers to develop technology and practices that are suitable for local conditions.

Keywords: General Studies – 3, Indian Economy and Agriculture
Daily Current Affairs

Sealed cover jurisprudence post Adani case


In News: The Supreme Court will form an expert committee to review regulatory mechanisms in light of the Adani-Hindenburg case. It also rejected the government’s sealed cover containing “suggestions” for the committee for the sake of transparency.

About:

  • Sealed cover jurisprudence is a practice used by the Supreme Court and sometimes the lower courts, of asking for or accepting information from government agencies in sealed envelopes that can only be accessed by the judges.
  • Rule 7 of Order XIII of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013 provides that the Chief Justice or the court can, through a judicial order, direct any document to be kept confidential in a sealed cover if publication of the records is “considered to be not in the interest of the public”.
  • Section 123 of the Evidence Act of 1872 provides that the government should give prior permission to a person who wants to give evidence “derived from unpublished official records relating to any affairs of state”.
  • In the P. Velumani case verdict of May 2022, Supreme Court criticised the Madras High Court’s decision to permit a report to remain “shrouded in sealed cover” when the State had not even claimed any specific privilege.
  • The court admonished the Bihar government for attempting to give information in sealed cover in the Muzaffarpur shelter case.

Concerns regarding the sealed cover jurisprudence:

  • It undermines transparency and accountability in the Judiciary.
  • It can impair the credibility of the judges.
  • It erodes public confidence in the ‘open court’ principle of justice administration.
  • It creates discriminating access to justice as petitioners are unable to defend themselves against the unknown.
  • It encourages state’s interference as passing on materials in a sealed cover to the court compels judges to accept the state’s version, that too, in cases in which the government’s narrative is under challenge.
    • Principles of natural justice are taken away by the state.
  • It restricts the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 as it impedes the flow of information thereby restricting freedom of speech and expression. 

Short Selling

  • Short selling occurs when an investor borrows a security and sells it on the open market, planning to buy it back later for less money. Short sellers bet on, and profit from, a drop in a security's price. This can be contrasted with long investors who want the price to go up.

 

Source: 

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/adani-issue-sc-pils-over-setting-up-experts-panel-to-strengthen-regulatory-mechanisms/article66520027.ece

Keywords: GS Paper-2: Judiciary, GS Paper-3: Indian Economy
Daily Current Affairs

Avian Influenza - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Recently, Bass Rock, an island off the coast of North Berwick, Scotland witnessed spread of avian influenza (H5N1) or bird flu.

Avian Influenza:

  • Avian influenza, also known as bird flu, is a viral infection that primarily circulate among birds and can infect many species of birds, including domesticated poultry.
  • The disease can be transmitted through direct contact with infected birds or their droppings, or through contaminated water, feed, or equipment.
  • The disease can also spread to humans and cause severe respiratory illness and, in some cases, death.
  • Symptoms of avian influenza in humans include fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches, and can progress to severe respiratory illness, pneumonia, and death.
  • Since 2003, there have been several outbreaks of HPAI in poultry and humans, causing significant economic losses and public health concerns.

Types of Avian Influenza:

  • Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI): It usually causes mild or no symptoms in birds and poses a low risk to humans.
  • Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI): It can cause severe disease and high mortality rates in birds and humans

Challenges of Avian Influenza:

  • The high mutation rate of avian influenza viruses makes it difficult to develop effective vaccines
  • The disease can easily spread through bird populations and from birds to humans
  • Poor biosecurity practices in poultry farms can contribute to the spread of avian influenza viruses.

Importance of Environmental Surveillance:

  • Wastewater-based epidemiology or pathogen surveillance provides real-time information on health and community exposure to pathogens.
  • Environmental surveillance offers an excellent tool for monitoring the spread of avian influenza viruses.
  • Avian influenza viruses have been isolated from unconcentrated water in lakes in the US, Canada, and China.
  • Avian influenza viruses can remain viable for extended periods in surface water and carcasses, suggesting that lakes and wetlands can act as environmental reservoirs.

Virus Surveillance:

  • Currently, virus surveillance is reactive and relies on sampling dead birds.
  • Environmental surveillance would be a non-invasive tool that can obtain both host and viral genetic material.
  • It should be complemented with environmental surveillance for effective carcass collection and testing, and better biosecurity on poultry farms.

Way ahead:

  • Active and passive year-round surveillance network under One Health is needed to monitor the spread of avian influenza viruses.
  • In this regard, environmental surveillance is important for enhancing information on the prevalence and diversity of avian influenza viruses in free-ranging domestic flocks or under confinement conditions.
  • Steps such as improved biosecurity measures and vaccine development can go a long way in mitigating the risks posed by avian influenza viruses.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/2023-02-19/th_delhi/articleG7MAT5IL1-2125561.ece

 

Keywords: General Studies – 3 Science and Technology, Health
Daily Current Affairs

Explainable Artificial Intelligence


In News:

Responsible AI in the Military Domain (REAIM) 2023 was held at the World Forum, The Hague, the Netherlands on 15 and 16 February 2023 to involve various stakeholders to forge a common understanding of the opportunities, dilemmas and vulnerabilities associated with military AI.

About:

  • Bias in the AI-powered weapon system: Despite the possible use to make the army decide fast and be more efficient in a war-zone, such systems pose serious risks and dangers for civilians as the same technology used to save a particular group could also be used to target it.
    • These so-called intelligent systems could also be biassed.
  • Explainable AI (XAI) is the solution: To remove bias from AI systems, researchers have resorted to ‘explainability’.
    • Explainable AI seeks to address lack of information around how decisions are made.
  • XAI program aims to create a suite of machine learning techniques that:
    • Produce more explainable models, while maintaining a high level of learning performance (prediction accuracy); and
    • Enable human users to understand, appropriately trust, and effectively manage the emerging generation of artificially intelligent partners.
  • New machine-learning systems will have the ability to explain their rationale, characterise their strengths and weaknesses, and convey an understanding of how they will behave in the future.

 

Source:

https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/reaim-2023-worlds-first-global-summit-on-responsible-ai-in-the-military-kicks-off-in-the-netherlands/article66516769.ece

 

Keywords: GS Paper-3: Science and Technology-developments and their applications
Daily Current Affairs

Pangolins - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: As many as 1,203 pangolins were poached for illegal wildlife trade in India from 2018-2022, according to an analysis by TRAFFIC, a global wildlife conservation non-profit, and World Wide Fund for Nature-India.

About Pangolins:

  • Pangolins are nocturnal, toothless mammals that dig burrows and feed on ants and termites.
  • The IUCN List of Threatened Species provides the status of the two species found in India:
    • the Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) is ‘Endangered’
    • the Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) is ‘Critically Endangered’
  • Protection status: In India, they are protected by the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 that prohibits its hunting, trade or any other form of utilisation. 
    • The commercial trade of pangolins was also banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in 2017.
  • They play a vital role in ecosystem management.
    • They Aerate and add moisture to the soil as well as help in succession of plant communities through burrowing.
    • They also keep in check the population of certain insects they prey on. 
    • The burrows made by pangolins also get utilised as shelters by other species within their ecosystem.
  • Trafficking: Despite their ecosystem services, they are traded for their demand across the world, mostly in Asia, where their scales are considered to be medicinal and their meat a delicacy. 
    • They are one of the most trafficked mammals in the world.

 

Source:

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/over-1-200-pangolins-trafficked-in-india-in-5-years-report-87774

 

Keywords: GS Paper-3: Conservation of Species
Daily Current Affairs

Election Symbols - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News:

The Election Commission of India (ECI) ordered that the Eknath Shinde camp of the Shiv Sena will retain the official name and the ‘bow and arrow’ symbol of the party.

About:

The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 empowers the ECI to recognise political parties and allot symbols.

  • Under Paragraph 15 of the Order, the ECI is the only authority to decide issues on a dispute or a merger. The Supreme Court upheld its validity in Sadiq Ali and another vs. ECI in 1971.
  • Recognised parties: On the question of a split in a political party outside the legislature, when the Commission is satisfied, that there are rival sections of a recognised political party each of whom claims to be that party, the Commission may decide that one such rival section or group or none of such rival sections or groups is that recognised political party and the decision of the Commission shall be binding on all such rival sections or groups.
    • ECI examines the party’s constitution and its list of office-bearers submitted when the party was united. It identifies the apex committees in the organisation and finds out how many office-bearers, members or delegates support the rival claimants. For the legislative wing, the party goes by the number of MPs and MLAs in the rival camps.
    • However, it introduced a new rule post-1997, under which the splinter group, other than the group that got the symbol, had to register itself as a separate party, and could lay claim to national or state party status only on the basis of its performance in state or central elections after registration.
  • Registered but unrecognised parties: For splits in these, the ECI usually advises the warring factions to resolve their differences internally or to approach the court.
  • The first case to be decided under the 1968 Order was the first split in the Indian National Congress in 1969.
  • Before 1968, the EC issued notifications and executive orders under the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.

 

Source:

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-politics/shinde-led-fraction-gets-bow-arrow-symbol-election-commission-8451872/

 

Keywords: GS Paper-2: Constitutional bodies
Daily Current Affairs

GST Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT)


In News: Recently, the GST Council has reached a broad consensus on the constitution of the GST Appellate Tribunal.

Context:

  • The GST Council is a constitutional body that was established under the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.
  • It is a federal body that consists of the Union Finance Minister (who serves as the chairperson), the Finance Ministers of all the States, and Union Territories with legislatures.
  • It recommends tax rates and thresholds for goods and services under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime as well as any changes or modifications to the GST laws and procedures.
  • The Appellate Tribunal is expected to resolve the rising number of disputes under the indirect tax regime, which are clogging High Courts and other judicial fora.

Key Points: GST Appellate Tribunal

  • It is also governed by the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (CGST Act) and the rules framed under it.
  • The Appellate Tribunal has the power to regulate its own procedure and practice by framing rules in this regard.
  • It is set up by the Central Government in consultation with the State Governments and Union Territories.
  • It is headed by a National President who is assisted by a National Bench comprising of Vice-Presidents.

Functions:

  • It will hear appeals against orders passed by the Appellate Authority or Revisional Authority under the GST laws.
  • Decide on the admissibility of the appeal and its merits after hearing both parties and will pass appropriate orders to dispose of the appeal within a specified time frame.

Composition:

  • Each GSTAT bench consists of one judicial member and one technical member.
  • The judicial member must have been a judge of a High Court or is currently a member of the Indian Legal Service and has served as a Group A officer for at least three years.
  • The technical member must have served as a member of the Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise) for at least three years.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/2023-02-19/th_delhi/articleGD5AT6351-2125471.ece

 

Keywords: General Studies – 3 Indian Economy
Daily Current Affairs

Rare Disease - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Recently, High Court of Delhi directed centre to release funds to AIIMS to ensure continued treatment of children suffering from rare diseases.

Context:

  • AIIMS, Delhi is recognised as a “centre of excellence” for treating rare diseases and is the nodal centre of the Consortium of Centres of Excellence under the National Policy for Rare Diseases, 2021.
  • Diagnosis of rare diseases often takes an average of 5-7 years, and patients see an average of 8 doctors before receiving an accurate diagnosis.
  • Due to the rarity of these diseases, the cost of treatment in most cases is exorbitant which many people cannot afford.

Key points:

  • Rare diseases are disorders that affect a small percentage of the population and are often chronic, degenerative, and life-threatening.
  • There is no universal definition of a rare disease, but they are generally defined as conditions that affect fewer than 1 in 2,000 people.
  • There are over 7,000 rare diseases identified
  • Major types:
    • Genetic rare diseases: caused by genetic mutations or variations.
    • Acquired rare diseases: caused by infections, allergies, environmental factors, or other causes.
    • Undiagnosed rare diseases: rare conditions for which there is no known cause or cure.
  • Nearly 400 million people worldwide are affected by rare diseases with nearly 75% of rare diseases affected are children, while 30% of patients die before the age of 5.
  • Examples includes: Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Gaucher disease, Huntington's disease, Cystic fibrosis, Sickle cell anemia, Niemann-Pick disease etc,.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/2023-02-19/th_delhi/articleGOKAT5UQ6-2125483.ece

 

Keywords: Daily CA
Daily Current Affairs

India's Carbon Credit Trading Plan Under Paris Agreement


In News: Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) finalized the activities for carbon credit trading under Article 6.2 mechanism.

Context:

  • India has previously set up National Designated Authority for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement
  • NDAIAPA is mandated to take decisions on the type of projects that may take part in international carbon markets under Article 6 mechanisms.
  • Article 6 focuses on carbon trading through bilateral/cooperative approaches and international market mechanisms.

Key Points:

Parameters

Components

GHG Mitigation Activities

  • Renewable energy with storage (only stored component)
  • Solar thermal power
  • Off-shore wind
  • Green Hydrogen
  • Compressed bio-gas
  • Emerging mobility solutions like fuel cells
  • High-end technology for energy efficiency
  • Sustainable Aviation Fuel
  • Best available technologies for process improvement in hard-to-abate sectors
  • Tidal energy, Ocean Thermal Energy, Ocean Salt Gradient Energy, Ocean Wave Energy, and Ocean Current Energy
  • High Voltage Direct Current Transmission in conjunction with the renewable energy projects

Alternate Materials

  • Green Ammonia
  • Removal Activities:
  • Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage

Importance:

  • The finalized list of activities will facilitate the adoption/transfer of emerging technologies.
  • The activities will initially be for the first three years and may be updated/revised by NADAIPA to mobilize international finance in India.

 

https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1900216#:~:text=India%20has%20notified%20the%20National,market%20under%20Article%206%20mechanisms

 

Keywords: General Studies – 3 Environment and Ecology
Daily Current Affairs

Volatiles - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? New research suggests that some of the well-known volatiles may have come from beyond inner solar system.

About:

  • Volatiles are elements or compounds that change from solid or liquid state into vapour at relatively low temperatures.
  • The most common volatiles are carbon dioxide, nitrogen, ammonia, hydrogen, methane, sulphur dioxide and water.
  • Such as zinc, a volatile, has come from asteroids originating in the outer Solar System beyond the asteroid belt.
  • Without contribution of outer Solar System material, the Earth would have had fewer concentrations of volatiles, making the planet drier and potentially unable to nourish and sustain life.
  • Material with a high concentration of zinc and other volatile constituents is also likely to be rich in water, giving clues about the origin of Earth’s water.
  • In a recent study, the researchers examined meteorites from the inner Solar System, known as non-carbonaceous meteorites, and from the outer Solar System, known as carbonaceous meteorites.
  • While the Earth only incorporated about ten percent of its mass from carbonaceous bodies, this material supplied about half of Earth’s zinc.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/what-are-volatiles/article66511493.ece

 

Keywords: General Studies –3 Science & Technology
Daily Current Affairs

Japanese Archipelago - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? The Japanese archipelago, that lies just off the coast of Eurasia, now has 14,125 islands, which is double from 6,852, the official figure of 1987.

About:

  • It extends over 3,000 km from the Sea of Okhotskin the northeast to the East China and Philippine Seas in the southwest along the Pacific Ocean coast of the Eurasian continent.
  • It consists of three island arcs from north to south: the North-eastern and Southwestern Japan Arcs, and the Ryukyu Island Arc.
  • Survey selected only those islands with Circumference of 100 meters or greater.
  • The five main islands, from north to south, are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa. Honshu is the largest and referred to as the Japanese mainland.
  • The reason behind the increase in the number of islands may be tectonic plate movement.

 

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/science-technology/the-japanese-archipelago-now-has-double-the-islands-from-1987-here-is-why-87776

 

Keywords: General Studies –1 Physical Geography
Daily Current Affairs

Lavani Folk dance - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? Recently, Several Senior performers of Lavani have called for ban on vulgar performances, in the name of Lavani.

About:

  • Lavani is a traditional folk-art form of Maharashtra in which women dancers wearing nine-yard-long sarees in bright colours, make-up, and ghunghroos perform on dholak beats on a stage before a live audience.
  • The word Lavani comes from ‘lavanya’ or beauty.
  • It attained popularity in the Peshwa era in the 18th century.
  • Traditionally, performances were held in front of kings or lords, and for the entertainment of tired soldiers resting during breaks in fighting.
  • There are several types of Lavani:
    • Most popular is the Shringarik (erotic) kind.

 

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-culture/lavani-maharashtra-folk-dance-controversy-8447367/

 

Keywords: General Studies –1 History, Art & Culture
Daily Current Affairs

Underwater Noise Emissions (UNE)


Why in news? The rising man-made (anthropogenic) underwater noise emissions (UNE) from ships in the Indian waters are posing a threat to the life of marine mammals.

About:

  • The UNE or underwater sound pressure levels in the Indian waters are 102-115 decibels, relative to one microPascal (dB re 1Pa).
  • The East Coast level (10 dB re 1Pa) is slightly higher than that of the West.
  • There is an increase by a significant value of about 20 dB re 1Pa.
  • Continuous shipping movement is identified to be a major contributor to the increase in the global ocean noise level, according to a new study titled “Measuring Underwater Noise Levels Radiated by Ships in Indian Waters” at the Visakhapatnam Port (for the East) and Goa’s Mormugao port (for the West).
  • The main form of energy for multiple behavioural activities of marine mammals, which include mating, communal interaction, feeding, cluster cohesion and foraging, is based on sound.

 

    • However, the sound that radiates from ships, on a long-term basis, affects them and results in internal injuries, loss of hearing ability, change in behavioural responses, masking, and stress.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/2023-02-19/th_delhi/articleG7MAT60FB-2125508.ece

 

Keywords: General Studies –3 Environment
Daily Current Affairs

Polluter Pays Principle - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? Recently, NGT has imposed penalty, based on polluter pays principle, on Delhi government for gaps in management of solid and liquid waste.

About:

  • The ‘polluter pays’ principle is the commonly accepted practice that those who produce pollution should bear the costs of managing it to prevent damage to human health or the environment.
    • For instance, a factory that produces a potentially poisonous substance as a by-product of its activities is usually held responsible for its safe disposal.
  • First reference of the principle appeared in 1972 in the OECD Guiding Principles Concerning International Economic Aspects of Environmental Policies.
  • Rio Earth Summit of 1992 for the first time, explicitly enshrined the Polluter Pays Principle.

 

https://www.e-ir.info/2023/02/14/the-polluter-pays-principle-and-the-energy-transition/

 

Keywords: General Studies –3 Environment
Daily Current Affairs

Indigenous livestock species Registered


Why in news? The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has registered 10 new breeds of livestock species.

About:

  • The registration was done by ICAR-National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR).
  • This has taken the total number of indigenous breeds to 212.
  • The 10 new breeds includes:
    • Kathani cattle (Maharashtra), Sanchori cattle (Rajasthan) and Masilum cattle (Meghalaya);
    • Purnathadi buffalo (Maharashtra)
    • Sojat goat (Rajasthan), Karauli goat (Rajasthan) and Gujari goat (Rajasthan)
    • Banda pig (Jharkhand), Manipuri Black pig (Manipur) and Wak Chambil pig (Meghalaya).
  • Since 2010, this is the third highest increase in registration of indigenous breeds, after 15 new breeds in 2018-19 and 13 new breeds in 2019-20 were recorded.

 

https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/icar-adds-28-animal-breeds-to-indigenous-list/article66517361.ece#:~:text=The%20Poda%20Thurpu%20of%20Telangana,animal%20breeds%20that%20have%20been

 

Keywords: General Studies –3 Economics of Animal-Rearing, Agricultural Marketing
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