Daily Current Affairs: 4th December 2021

Topics covered

  1. Cyclones
  2. Private Members Bill
  3. Poshan or Nutrition Tracker
  4. Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights’ Authority (PPV&FRA)
  5. Facts for Prelims

1. Cyclones

Context : Cyclone Jawad has formed in the Bay of Bengal and is expected to reach Paradip, on the Odisha coast, by Sunday with winds expected to touch 90 kmph as well as heavy rains in Odisha, West Bengal, and north Andhra Pradesh over the weekend.

About Tropical Cyclones

  • Tropical cyclones are violent storms that originate over oceans in tropical areas and move over to the coastal areas bringing about large scale destruction due to violent winds (squalls), very heavy rainfall (torrential rainfall) and storm surge.
  • They are irregular wind movements involving closed circulation of air around a low pressure center. This closed air circulation (whirling motion) is a result of rapid upward movement of hot air which is subjected to Coriolis force. The low pressure at the center is responsible for the wind speeds.

Condition favourable for tropical cyclone formation

  1. Large sea surface with temperature higher than 27° C
  2. Presence of the Coriolis force enough to create a cyclonic vortex
  3. Small variations in the vertical wind speed
  4. A pre-existing weak low-pressure area or low-level-cyclonic circulation
  5. Upper divergence above the sea level system

Reasons for less cyclones originating in Arabian Sea compared to Bay of Bengal

  • Most of Indian coasts lie in tropical region. Tropical cyclones need a temperature of around 25-27 degree Celsius. Greater the temperature over sea, more powerful is cyclone.
  • The Arabian Sea is relatively cooler than this temperature range, which the Bay of Bengal offers. This is why Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal face more cyclones than Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
  • Greater frequency of Bay of Bengal cyclones and more strength to them come from a foreign source as well. Neighbouring Pacific Ocean seas are more prone to cyclones. Typhoons originating in near Philippines, China, Thailand and Malaysia enter the Andaman Sea of Bay of Bengal after they weaken in their native regions.
  • Most of the cyclones in the Arabian Sea are local. They collapse a little after making landfall as there is no back-up supply. Recent Ockhi cyclone was one of the exceptions that remained strong for some time even after hitting Maharashtra and Gujarat coasts.
  • Also, the hills along the eastern coasts are not high enough to stop cyclones making much inroad into the coastal states. The Western Ghats run almost the entire distance of the western coasts preventing the cyclonic storms to go in the hinterland.

Cyclone Warning System

  • The cyclone warnings are issued to state government officials in four stages. The First Stage warning known as “PRE CYCLONE WATCH” issued 72 hours in advance contains early warning about the development of a cyclonic disturbance in the north Indian Ocean, its likely intensification into a tropical cyclone and the coastal belt likely to experience adverse weather. This early warning bulletin is issued by the Director General of Meteorology himself and is addressed to the Cabinet Secretary and other senior officers of the Government of India including the Chief Secretaries of concerned maritime states.
  • The Second Stage warning known as “CYCLONE ALERT” is issued at least 48 hrs. in advance of the expected commencement of adverse weather over the coastal areas. It contains information on the location and intensity of the storm likely direction of its movement, intensification, coastal districts likely to experience adverse weather and advice to fishermen, general public, media and disaster managers. This is issued by the concerned ACWCs/CWCs and CWD at HQ.
  • The Third Stage warning known as “CYCLONE WARNING” issued at least 24 hours in advance of the expected commencement of adverse weather over the coastal areas. Landfall point is forecast at this stage. These warnings are issued by ACWCs/CWCs/and CWD at HQ at 3 hourly interval giving the latest position of cyclone and its intensity, likely point and time of landfall, associated heavy rainfall, strong wind and storm surge alongwith their impact and advice to general public, media, fishermen and disaster managers.
  • The Fourth Stage of warning known as “POST LANDFALL OUTLOOK” is issued by the concerned ACWCs/CWCs/and CWD at HQ at least 12 hours in advance of expected time of landfall. It gives likely direction of movement of the cyclone after its landfall and adverse weather likely to be experienced in the interior areas.

Colour Code

Different colour codes as mentioned below are being used since post monsoon season of 2006 the different stages of the cyclone warning bulletins as desired by the National Disaster Management.

Stage of warningColour code
Cyclone AlertYellow.
Cyclone WarningOrange.
Post landfall out lookRed.

How Cyclones are Named

  • Each Tropical Cyclone basin in the world has its own rotating list of names.
  • Worldwide there are six regional specialised meteorological centres (RSMCs) and five regional Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWCs) mandated for issuing advisories and naming of tropical cyclones.
  • India Meteorological Department is one of the six RSMCs to provide tropical cyclone and storm surge advisories to 13 member countries under WMO/ESCAP Panel including Bangladesh, India, Iran, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
  • RSMC, New Delhi is also mandated to name the Tropical Cyclones developing over the north Indian Ocean (NIO) including the Bay of Bengal (BoB) and the Arabian Sea (AS).
  • For cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea, the naming system was agreed by eight member countries of a group called WMO/ESCAP and took effect in 2004. These countries submitted eight names each, which are arranged in an 8×8 table
  • During WMO/ESCAP PTC 45th Session held at Muscat, Oman in September, 2018 it was decided to prepare a fresh list of names of tropical cyclones including representation from five new member countries, viz., Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen (Total 13 member countries).
  • The current list has a total of 169 names including 13 names each from 13 WMO/ESCAP member countries. It is arranged in a coloumn format
  • The first cyclone after the list was adopted was given the name in the first row of the first column
  • Subsequent cyclones are being named sequentially, column-wise, with each cyclone given the name immediately below that of the previous cyclone.
  • Once the bottom of the column is reached, the sequence moves to the top of the next column.

Rotation of Name

  • The lists for storms is not rotated in Arabian sea and Bay of Bengal however in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific basins are, however, rotated. Exception are made in certain cases — if a storm causes excessive death and destruction, its name is considered for retirement and is not repeated; it is replaced with another name.

2 . Private Members Bill

Context : Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Friday moved a private member’s Bill in the Lok Sabha seeking to establish permanent Benches of High Courts in State capitals.

About the news

  • In Kerala, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Goa, Uttarakhand, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Chhattisgarh, the State High Court is situated outside the capital city.
  • The private member’s Bill was moved in the Lok Sabha after a gap of nearly two years. The private member’s business had been pushed back mainly due to curtailed hours under COVID-19 protocol, disruptions due to Opposition protest. His “Establishment of permanent benches of high courts at state capitals Bill” had been pending since 2019.

About Private Members Bill

  • A Member of Parliament (MP) who is not a Minister in the Union Cabinet is called a Private Member. Bills introduced by such members are called Private Member’s Bills.
  • A Private Members Bill can be introduced in either the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. Bills introduced by ministers are called Government Bills.
  • There are no restrictions as to what a Private Members Bill should be about. The scope of a Private Members Bill is same as that of a Government Bill. These bills can deal with any issue and can also be a Constitutional Amendment Bill.
  • Unlike a Government Bill, a Private Members Bill is not discussed by the Council of Ministers internally.
  • The member has to provide a one-month notice along with a copy of the ‘Statement of Object and Reasons’. Through the statement, the member is required to elaborate on the bill.
  • In case there are multiple Private Members Bill being proposed at the same time, a ballot system is used to determine the sequence of bills for introduction.
  • There is also a Parliamentary Committee on Private Member’s Bills and Resolutions that goes through all Private Members Bill . The committee classifies these Bills based on their urgency and importance, which in turn, determines which would be discussed first.
  • A successful passing of PMB is perceived by many as incompetence on part of the government and intrusion into the respective ministry’s domain.
  • Governments in the past have also at times cut short the path of PMBs. If such a bill is seen getting support in Parliament, the government requests the MP to withdraw it and promises to introduce it as a Government Bill instead. The member who had tabled The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 was requested by the government to withdraw it.

3. Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights’ Act,2001 (PPV&FRA)

Context: Two years after PepsiCo India provoked outrage by suing nine Gujarati farmers for allegedly infringing patent rights by growing its registered potato variety, the company’s registration has been revoked by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights’ Authority (PPV&FRA).

About the issue

  • The FL-2027 variety of potatoes, used in Lays potato chips, came to the limelight in April 2019.
  • Introduced to India in 2009, the potato was grown by about 12,000 farmers with whom the company had an exclusive contract to sell seeds and buy back their produce.
  • In 2016, the company registered the variety under the PPV&FR Act, 2001.
  • Alleging that farmers who were not part of its “collaborative farming programme” were also growing and selling this variety in Gujarat, PepsiCo filed rights infringement cases under the Act against nine farmers in the state, including a ₹4.2 crore lawsuit against four small farmers.

Background of PPV&FRA, 2001

  • In order to provide for the establishment of an effective system for protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new varieties of plants it has been considered necessary to recognize and protect the rights of the farmers in respect of their contribution made at any time in conserving, improving and making available plant genetic resources for the development of the new plant varieties.
  • To accelerate agricultural development, it is necessary to protect plants breeders’ rights to stimulate investment for research and development for the development of new plant varieties.
  • Such protection is likely to facilitate the growth of the seed industry which will ensure the availability of high quality seeds and planting material to the farmers.
  • India having ratified the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of the Intellectual Property Rights has to make provision for giving effect to Agreement.
  • To give effect to the aforesaid objectives the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001 has been enacted in India.

Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001

  • The legislation recognizes the contributions of both commercial plant breeders and farmers in plant breeding activity and also provides to implement TRIPs in a way that supports the specific socio-economic interests of all the stakeholders including private, public sectors and research institutions, as well as resource-constrained farmers.
  • Indian legislation is not only in conformity with International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), 1978, but also have sufficient provisions to protect the interests of public sector breeding institutions and the farmers.
  • Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority has been established for the purposes of this Act,

Objectives of the PPV & FR Act, 2001

  1. To establish an effective system for the protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new varieties of plants.
  2. To recognize and protect the rights of farmers in respect of their contributions made at any time in conserving, improving and making available plant genetic resources for the development of new plant varieties.
  3. To accelerate agricultural development in the country, protect plant breeders’ rights; stimulate investment for research and development both in public & private sector for the development new of plant varieties.
  4. Facilitate the growth of seed industry in the country which will ensure the availability of high quality seeds and planting material to the farmers.

Rights under the Act

  1. Breeders’ Rights : 
    • Breeders will have exclusive rights to produce, sell, market, distribute, import or export the protected variety.
    • Breeder can appoint agent/ licensee and may exercise for civil remedy in case of infringement of rights.
  2. Researchers’ Rights : 
    • Researcher can use any of the registered variety under the Act for conducting experiment or research.
    • This includes the use of a variety as an initial source of variety for the purpose of developing another variety but repeated use needs prior permission of the registered breeder.
  3. Farmers’ Rights
    • A farmer who has evolved or developed a new variety is entitled for registration and protection in like manner as a breeder of a variety;
    • Farmers variety can also be registered as an extant variety;
    • A farmer can save, use, sow, re-sow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001 in the same manner as he was entitled before the coming into force of this Act provided farmer shall not be entitled to sell branded seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001;
    • Farmers are eligible for recognition and rewards for the conservation of Plant Genetic Resources of land races and wild relatives of economic plants;
    • There is also a provision for compensation to the farmers for non-performance of variety under Section 39 (2) of the Act, 2001 and
    • Farmer shall not be liable to pay any fee in any proceeding before the Authority or Registrar or the Tribunal or the High Court under the Act.

Implementation of the Act

  • To implement the provisions of the Act the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare established the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority on 11″ November, 2005.
  • The Chairperson is the Chief Executive of the Authority.
  • Besides the Chairperson, the Authority has 15 members, as notified by the Government of India (GOI).
  • Eight of them are ex-officio members representing various Departments/ Ministries, three from SAUs and the State Governments, one representative each for farmers, tribal organization, seed industry and women organization associated with agricultural activities are nominated by the Central Government.
  • The Registrar General is the ex-officio Member Secretary of the Authority.

Registration of varieties

  • A variety is eligible for registration under the Act if it essentially fulfills the criteria of Distinctiveness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS).
  • The Central Government issues notification in official Gazettes specifying the genera and species for the purpose of registration of varieties.
  • So far, the Central Government has notified 157 crop species for the purpose of registration. 
  • The PPV&FR Authority has developed “Guidelines for the Conduct of Species Specific Distinctiveness, Uniformity and Stability” tests or “Specific Guidelines” for individual crop species.

The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV)

  • The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) is an intergovernmental organization with headquarters in Geneva (Switzerland).
  • UPOV was established by the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. The Convention was adopted in Paris in 1961 and it was revised in 1972, 1978 and 1991.
  • UPOV’s mission is to provide and promote an effective system of plant variety protection, with the aim of encouraging the development of new varieties of plants, for the benefit of society
  •  India has stood steadfast in not joining UPOV. This is because the plant breeder rights it prescribes severely limit farmers’ freedoms. 
  • While India is not a member of UPOV or any of its conventions there appear to moves within the PPV&FR Authority to slowly move to UPOV standards.

4 . Poshan or Nutrition Tracker

Context: The Ministry of Women and Child Development has spent over ₹1,000 crore on its Poshan or Nutrition Tracker, which records real-time data on malnourished and ‘severe acute malnourished’ children in each anganwadi. But four years since its launch, the Government is yet to make the data public.

About Poshan Tracker

  • The Poshan Tracker, known as the ICDS-CAS (Integrated Child Development Services-Common Application Software) in its earlier avatar, was set up with the aim of tracking and improving various services delivered at anganwadis and to ensure nutritional management of beneficiaries.
  • This real-time monitoring system is one of the key pillars of Poshan Abhiyan or Nutrition Mission approved by the Union Cabinet in November 2017 with a financial outlay of ₹9,000 crore for three years.

About POSHAN Abhiyan

  • The Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment (POSHAN Abhiyaan), or the National Nutrition Mission, is the Government of India’s flagship programme to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
  • Launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2018, the POSHAN Abhiyaan directs the attention of the country towards the problem of malnutrition and addresses it in a mission-mode.
  •  It aims to reduce child stunting, underweight and low birth weight by 2 percentage points per annum and anaemia among children (and young females) by 3 percentage points per annum.
  • It is based on 4 pillars
    • Ensuring access to quality services across the continuum of care to every woman and child; particularly during the first 1000 days of the child’s life.
    • Ensuring convergence of multiple programs and schemes: ICDS, PMMVY, NHM (with its sub components such as JSY, MCP card, Anaemia Mukt Bharat, RBSK, IDCF, HBNC, HBYC, Take Home Rations), Swachh Bharat Mission, National Drinking water Mission, NRLM etc.
    • Leveraging technology (ICDS-CAS) to empower the frontline worker with near real time information to ensure prompt and preventive action; rather than reactive one.
    • Jan Andolan: Engaging the community in this Mission to ensure that it transcends the contours of being a mere Government programme into a peoples’ movement inducing large scale behaviour change with the ownership of the efforts being vested in the community rather than government delivery mechanisms.

5 . Facts for Prelims

Cyclone Jawad

  • A deep depression in the Bay of Bengal intensified into cyclonic storm Jawad on Friday and is likely to make landfall near Puri in Odisha.
  • Saudi Arabia has given the cyclone its name ‘Jawad’.
  • The meaning ‘Jawad’ is liberal or merciful.
  • The carries significance as this cyclonic storm will not be as severe as the previous ones.

Lesser floricans

  • Lesser florican, taxonomically classified as Sypheotides indicus, is a small and slender bird species belonging to the bustard group, found in tall grasslands, for which Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has launched a recovery programme.
  • The endangered bird is observed in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and some other regions during the monsoon season, when it breeds and later disappears with its chicks to unknown places.
  • The bird is listed as “critically endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species and its population has been identified as “decreasing”.
  • A survey by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in 2017-18 estimated the population of these birds to be around just 240 males and an equal number of females.

Maritime Theatre Command (MTC) 

  • The dictionary meaning of a theatre of war is “the entire land, sea and air areas that is or may become involved directly in war operations”.
  • CDS in a media interaction had announced his plans of merging the Western and Eastern Command and it was then called `Peninsular Command’, however, since then the name has been changed to the Maritime Theatre Command.
  • The MTC structure is proposed to integrate the assets of Indian Navy, Army, IAF and Coast Guard to achieve the goals detailed out in the Joint Forces Doctrine of 2017.
  • The Commander-in-Chief (CINC) of MTC is to report to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee headed by the CDS.
  • Now, the role of Navy Chief when the operational role has been re-aligned shall mainly be focused on ‘Raise, Train and Sustain’ the Naval assets.
  • The Command Headquarter of MTC is planned to be at Karwar i.e. C-in-C shall be positioned at the existing INS Kadamba Naval base there.
  • “The aim here is to synergize the three-component viz. naval, air and ground forces to form a Netcentric Warfare model so as to gain an advantage over the adversary using a flexible force structure to match the varied geographic domains.
  • MTC shall compose of Army’s amphibious brigades which are already centered on coastal areas of Port Blair and Thiruvananthapuram. The other component are the IAF units and the Coast Guard
  • The IAF provides the maritime coverage for Indian Navy using the Jaguars based at Jamnagar, with Su-30MKIs and Tejas based at Thanjavur.
  • India currently has 19 military commands with 17 of them service-oriented. While both the Army and the Air Force have seven commands each, the Navy has three.
  • India also has a Tri-Service Command — Andaman and Nicobar Command — besides the Strategic Forces Command (SFC), which looks after the country’s nuclear stockpile.
  • The aim is to bring all the 17 individual commands into four or five unified or theatre commands. It might also have two more functional commands for training and logistics.
  • The rationale being this will help in better planning and military response and also bring down cost.

Chocolate-bordered Flitter

  • New Butterfly species found in Sikkim’s Dzongu, the ‘land of butterflies’.
  • The new species of butterfly, now named the Chocolate-bordered Flitter, also carries the scientific name Zographetus dzonguensis, after Dzongu in north Sikkim, the place where it was discovered.
  • Its closest relatives are Zographetus pangi in Guangdong, and Zographetus hainanensis in Hainan, both in southeastern China.
  • The physical appearance of the species differ slightly and the internal structures of the males also differ slightly. 

 International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA)

  • The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) has been established on April 27, 2020 under the International Financial Services Centres Authority Act, 2019.
  • It is headquartered at GIFT City, Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
  • The IFSCA is a unified authority for the development and regulation of financial products, financial services and financial institutions in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in India.
  • At present, the GIFT IFSC is the maiden international financial services centre in India.
  • Prior to the establishment of IFSCA, the domestic financial regulators, namely, RBI, SEBI, PFRDA and IRDAI regulated the business in IFSC.
  • As the dynamic nature of business in the IFSCs requires a high degree of inter-regulatory coordination within the financial sector, the IFSCA has been established as a unified regulator with a holistic vision in order to promote ease of doing business in IFSC and provide world class regulatory environment.
  • The main objective of the IFSCA is to develop a strong global connect and focus on the needs of the Indian economy as well as to serve as an international financial platform for the entire region and the global economy as a whole.

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