PIB Analysis : 25th and 26th June

PIB Analysis for UPSC CSE

  1. Gravel Geometry
  2. Ancient marine algae
  3. Indian Agri Exports Summary
  4. Colour Blindness
  5. Torpedo Decoy System

1 . Gravel Geometry

Context : Researchers from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Dehradun, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, have traced the paleoclimatic history of the Indus River in Ladakh Himalaya with the help of geometric data from overlapping gravels of channel fills.

About the Research

  • Researchers studied the discharge during periods in which the river experienced an increase in land elevation, due to the deposition of sediment) and its incision.
  • River Terraces are ubiquitous in mountains that nourish and help sustain past, present, and future human societies.
  • These terraces are part of valley-wide aggradations, which has been studied extensively in Himalaya to understand the processes driving such a periodic increase in river valley land elevation and incision.
  • Scientists are still debating whether wetter climate intervals with increased rainfall and glacial melting promote river aggradation through increased discharge and enhanced sediment load, or instead, is it during drier conditions when aggradation occurs through increased sediment to water ratio.
  • The researchers studied the discharge during periods of established river aggradation and incision of the Indus River, Ladakh Himalaya over late Quaternary (the current and most recent of the three periods in the geologic time scale).
  • They used geometric data from overlapping gravels of channel fills to calculate paleodischarges during net river aggradation at 47–23 ka (thousand years),and preserved slack water deposits (SWDs) at 14–10 ka to constrain paleodischarges that occurred during net river incision.

Key Findings

  • They observed that the aggradation in the Himalayan rivers occurred in glacial-interglacial transient warm climatic conditions (33–21 ka and 17–14 ka) when the sediment budget in the rivers increased just after the glacial events.
  • Their study published in the journal Geomorphology shows that aggradation took place in the Indus River when sediment to water ratio was higher during MIS-3 (Marine isotope stages (MIS), marine oxygen-isotope stages, are alternating warm and cool periods in the Earth’s paleoclimate, deduced from oxygen isotope data reflecting changes in temperature derived from data from deep-sea core samples) and incision initiated when sediment to water ratio reduced during post-glacial climatically wet phase (early Holocene).

2 . Ancient marine algae

Context : A study of a microscopic ancient marine algae (Coccolithophores) led by the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) has found that there is a decrease in the concentration of oceanic calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the Southern Indian ocean. This decrease in CaCOis attributed to the increase in the concentration of another single-celled algae known as diatoms. This, in turn, will affect the growth and skeleton structure of coccolithophores, with potential significance for the world ocean ecosystem.

About Coccolithophores

  • Coccolithophores are single-celled algae living in the upper layers of the world’s oceans.
  • They have been playing a key role in marine ecosystems and the global carbon cycle for millions of years.
  • Coccolithophores calcify marine phytoplankton that produces up to 40% of open ocean calcium carbonate and responsible for 20% of the global net marine primary productivity.
  • Coccolithophores build exoskeletons from individual CaCO3 plates consisting of chalk and seashells building the tiny plates on their exterior. Though carbon dioxide is produced during the formation of these plates, coccolithophores help in removing it from the atmosphere and ocean by consuming it during photosynthesis. At equilibrium, coccolithophores absorb more carbon dioxide than they produce, which is beneficial for the ocean ecosystem.

Key Observations of the Finding

  • NCPOR, the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), and the Goa University revealed that abundance and diversity enrichment of coccolithophores in the southern Indian Ocean is highly dependent on time and influenced by various environmental factors such as silicate concentrations, calcium carbonate concentration, diatom abundance, light intensity and availability of macro and possibly micronutrient concentrations.
  • The research team’s analysis revealed that the reduction of coccolithophore diversity in the early summer and late summer periods is due to an increase in the presence of diatom algae, which occurs after sea ice breakdown with climate change and ocean acidification, and increases the silicate concentration in the waters of the Southern Ocean.
  • The scientists also analyzed the maximum coccolithophore diversity during mid-summer in the Subtropical Zone (STZ) and Sub-Antarctic Zone (SAZ), which is controlled by elevated silicate, low temperature, and low salinity conditions.
  • Scientists found that the biogeographic boundaries of coccolithophores in the southern Indian Ocean are highly variable, controlled by environmental factors in early and mid-austral summer, and grazing pressure in late austral summer. Also, physical forcing may play an important role in the transport of coccoliths and coccospheres at high latitudes, indicating that the southward extension of coccolithophores is important and may occur for short periods during hot summer.
  • The results of the study point to climate change as a major reason for the altered coccolithophore calcification rate. Different environmental factors and the ability of the species to adapt to those environmental changes would ultimately determine the future coccolithophore calcite production. These investigations are important for future intervention to bring positive changes in the marine ecosystem and global carbon cycle.

3 . Indian Agri Exports Summary

Overview of Agri Exports

  • India is the second highest agriculture producer in the world and world leader in many significant agriculture categories. It has competitive advantage over other countries in agriculture as its diverse agro-climatic conditions created diverse crop portfolio potential; two main cropping seasons (Kharif and Rabi) and relatively low cost of labour and manufacturing.
  • However, given the Competitive edge, India is only ranked 11th globally in terms of agriculture exports.
  • Despite India’s global advantage in terms of hectares of arable land, it significantly lags smaller countries in export $ per hectare, driven amongst other things by (a) Lower yields and farm productivity (b) Low focus on value addition, allowing it to be captured by others such as Vietnam (c) Larger domestic market.
  • India’s processed exports have been steadily improving, but still has a higher global share of raw commodities than processed goods.
  • India’s agricultural exports have been volatile for the last 10 years, but have flattened more recently.
  • Due to effect of fall in global prices and back to back drought during 2014, 2015 and 2016, exports dropped by 10% CAGR Recent growth rates show that agri-food production is rising faster than growth in domestic demand, and volume of surplus for export is witnessing accelerated growth. This offer scope and opportunity for capturing overseas markets to earn foreign exchange and enable producers to earn higher prices for farm produce.
  • India’s top 50 commodities and agriculture products make up 75% of its total exports
  • India exports 70% of its agriculture value to 20 countries; opportunity to export more to Europe and the Americas.
  • While India imports over $20B in agriculture products, it still maintains a significant trade surplus of $18B.

4 . Colour Blindness

Context : The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued a notification for amendment  to the FORM 1 and FORM 1A of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989 for enabling the  Citizens with mild to medium colour blindness in obtaining the Driving License. The GSR 401 (E) dated 24th June 2020 is a social and facilitative regulation published by the Ministry. From now onwards Citizens with mild or medium colour blindness to also obtain Driving License now

About Color Blindness

  • Color blindness occurs when you are unable to see colors in a normal way. It is also known as color deficiency. Color blindness often happens when someone cannot distinguish between certain colors. This usually happens between greens and reds, and occasionally blues.
  • In the retina, there are two types of cells that detect light. They are called rods and cones. Rods detect only light and dark and are very sensitive to low light levels. Cone cells detect color and are concentrated near the center of your vision. There are three types of cones that see color: red, green and blue. The brain uses input from these cone cells to determine our color perception.
  • Color blindness can happen when one or more of the color cone cells are absent, not working, or detect a different color than normal. Severe color blindness occurs when all three cone cells are absent. Mild color blindness happens when all three cone cells are present but one cone cell does not work right. It detects a different color than normal.

5 . Torpedo Decoy System

About the Torpedo Decoy System

  • Anti – Submarine Warfare capability of the Indian Navy has received a major boost  today with the conclusion of a contract for Advanced Torpedo Decoy System Maareech capable of being fired from all frontline warships.
  • Maareech Advanced Torpedo Defence System (ATDS) is a torpedo detection and countermeasure system used by the Indian Navy. The system offers a complete solution to detect and locate an incoming torpedo and to apply countermeasures to protect naval platform against torpedo attack. 
  • It is an anti-torpedo system with towed and expendable decoys. The system is capable of detecting, confusing, diverting and decoying the incoming torpedoes. The decoy helps in exhausting the energy of the torpedo by running the later through long and ineffective course and prevents them from homing in to the targeted platform with its advanced counter-measure capabilities
  • Design & Development of this anti-torpedo decoy system has been undertaken indigenously DRDO labs (NSTL and NPOL). Bharat Electronics Limited, a Defence PSU, would undertake the production of this decoy system.
  • The prototype of this system installed onboard a nominated naval platform had successfully completed all user evaluation trials and demonstrated the features as per the Naval Staff Qualification Requirements. 
  • This induction not only stands testimony to the joint resolve of the Indian Navy and DRDO towards indigenous development of Defence technology, but has also given a major fillip to the Government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and the country’s resolve to become ‘Atmanirbhar’ in niche technology.

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