Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020 is an initiative to dilute major articles from leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Hence we choose articles on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC PRELIMS 2020.

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain.– Vivian Greene

HIGHLIGHT INFO:

ORANGE COLOUR: Important for Prelims.

RED COLOUR: Important for Mains.

BLACK COLOUR: Must Read !

BLUE COLOUR : Important Links/Survey.

PINK COLOUR: Reports/Themes/Summits.

22nd Sep Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020

Medicanes

      HEADLINES:

Human-induced climate change could increase ‘Medicanes’, say experts

      WHY IN NEWS:

Greece is being impacted by a so-called Medicane (MEDIterranean hurriCANE), bringing high winds and waves and torrential rain and the risk of flooding.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 : Geography

      ISSUE: 

Extra tropical storm ‘Ianos’ slammed into Greece recently, killing three people

MEDICANES

  • Extra tropical storms in the Mediterranean Sea are known as ‘Medicanes’ or ‘Mediterranean Hurricanes’.
  • These could become more frequent due to human-induced climate change.
  • The wind speeds reached upto 100 kilometres per hour (km / hr).

LA-NINA AND MEDICANES

  • “The Mediterranean is a generally dry, evaporative sea and cyclonic storms don’t grow as much rain and can be hard to detect.
  • They can occur anytime of the year but tend to peak during fall /winter months.
  • This year is a mild La Niña, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
  • La Niña is the cooling phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, as opposed to the warming El Niño phase.

It is characterised by the unusual cooling of the central and east-central equatorial Pacific Ocean. 

  • A La Niña produces more rain in the central eastern part, where most of the Mediterranean cyclones develop.
  • The slopes and the convection rising from sea waters can combine to spin off these cyclonic storms that become a Medicane if the 10-minute average wind speeds are greater than 99 km / hr.
  • La Niña tends to reduce the land falling hurricanes but the La Niña is mild and this hurricane season is very active.

DIFFERENCES FROM HURRICANES

  • SIZE : Medicanes are smaller, with a diameter usually less than 400 km
  • DURATION : shorter than hurricanes, 24 to 48h
  • INTENSITY : the most severe Medicanes can reach the strength of a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir Simpson scale ( wind speeds of 119-153 km/h (for 1-minute maximum sustained winds)).

SIMILARITIES WITH HURRICANES

Strong winds spinning around a core and torrential rainfall 

  • EYE : an area of rather clear sky and calm wind, which can be seen on satellite imageries
  • DEEP CONVECTION : area where clouds have considerable vertical extent and associated to thunderstorms and very heavy rainfall

GENESIS – 2 STEPS

Upper cold air triggers the deep convection

  • Convection activity releases heat which transforms the phenomenon into a warm-core system, characteristic of a hurricane

ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS TO DEVELOP

  • WEAK WIND SHEAR : Small difference in between low level and upper level winds.
  • RAINFALL : Needed for the convection to maintain its activity – thunderstorms and heavy rainfall.
  • Unlike with tropical cyclones, there is no formal naming procedure for medicanes.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Medicanes occur more in colder waters than tropical cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons.
  • The cores of these storms are also cold, as compared to the warm cores of tropical cyclones.
  • Warmer cores tend to carry more moisture (hence rainfall), are bigger in size and have swifter winds.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | 22nd Sep Current Affairs News Analysis

MSPs for 6 rabi crops fixed

      HEADLINES:

MSPs for 6 rabi crops fixed, hikes lower than last year

      WHY IN NEWS:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the increase in the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for all mandated Rabi crops for marketing season 2021-22.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Agriculture

      ISSUE: 

The highest increase in MSP has been for lentil (masur), according to the statement.

MSP HIKE

  • The increase in MSP for Rabi Crops for marketing season 2021-22 is in line with the principle of fixing the MSPs at a level of at least 1.5 times of the All-India weighted average Cost of Production as announced in Union Budget 2018-19.

The wheat MSP has seen an increase of just 2.6 per cent  the lowest increase in 11 years.

  • The MSPs for the other crops — barley, gram, lentil (masur), rapeseed and mustard, and safflower — too have seen a lower hike compared to last year.
  • This increase in MSP is in line with the recommendations of Swaminathan Commission.
  • In percentage terms, the increase in wheat MSP is the lowest in 11 years.

MSP

  • In 2009-10, wheat MSP was hiked by only 1.85 per cent—Rs 1,100 per quintal in 2009-10 against Rs 1,080 in 2008-09.
  • The MSP for gram has been increased to Rs 5,100 per quintal—Rs 225 or 4.62 per cent higher than last year.

Last year, it was hiked by Rs 255 per quintal or 5.52 per cent.

  • Rapeseed and mustard MSP has been hiked to Rs 4,650 per quintal in 2020-21, which is Rs 225 or 5.08 per cent higher than in 2019-20.
  • In percentage terms, the hike is marginally lower than last year’s increase of 5.36 per cent.
  • MSP for safflower has been increased to Rs 5,327 per quintal—hiked by Rs 112 or 2.15 per cent over last year. It was hiked by Rs 270 or 5.46 per cent in last year.
  • The MSP for barley has seen an increase of Rs 75 (4.92 per cent) from Rs 1,525 per quintal in 2019-20 to Rs 1,600 in 2020-21.

CALCULATION OF MSP

  • A2: Under this, MSP is set 50% higher than the amount farmers spend on farming including spending on seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, and labour.
  • A2+FL: It includes A2 plus an assigned value of unpaid family labour.
  • C2: Under C2, the estimated land rent and the cost of interest on the money taken for farming are added on top of A2+FL.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The government follows the second method (A2 + FL ) to calculate MSP .
  • The expected returns to farmers over their cost of production are estimated to be highest in case of Wheat (106%) followed by rapeseed & mustard (93%), gram and lentil (78%).
  • For barley, return to farmers over their cost of production is estimated at 65% and for safflower, it is 50%.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | 22nd Sep Current Affairs News Analysis

 Cyanobacteria

      HEADLINES:

Bacteria behind deaths of 330 Botswana elephants

      WHY IN NEWS:

‘They had consumed poisoned water’

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Biology

      ISSUE: 

Toxins in water produced by cyanobacteria killed more than 300 elephants in Botswana this yea

 The carcass of one of the many elephants which have died mysteriously in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. | Photo Credit: AFP

  • Cyanobacteria are microscopic organisms common in water and sometimes found in soil.
  • Not all produce toxins but scientists say toxic ones are occurring more frequently as climate change drives up global temperatures.

WHY NOT OTHER ANIMALS?

  • The latest tests have detected cyanobacterial neurotoxins to be the cause of deaths.
  • These are bacteria found in water.
  • However we have many questions still to be answered such as why the elephants only and why that area only?

CLIMATE CHANGE

  • Some cyanobacterial blooms can harm people and animals and scientists are concerned about their potential impact as climate change leads to warmer water temperatures, which many cyanobacteria prefer.

Southern Africa’s temperatures are rising at twice the global average – IPCC

CYANOBACTERIA

  • Cyanobacteria are aquatic and photosynthetic, that is, they live in the water, and can manufacture their own food.
  • Because they are bacteria, they are quite small and usually unicellular, though they often grow in colonies large enough to see.

They have the distinction of being the oldest known fossils, more than 3.5 billion years old, in fact! 

  • It may surprise you then to know that the cyanobacteria are still around; they are one of the largest and most important groups of bacteria on earth.
  • They are also important providers of nitrogen fertilizer in the cultivation of rice and beans.
  • The cyanobacteria have also been tremendously important in shaping the course of evolution and ecological change throughout earth’s history.

CONTRIBUTIONS TO ECOSYSTEM

  • The oxygen atmosphere that we depend on was generated by numerous cyanobacteria during the Archaean and Proterozoic Eras.
  • The other great contribution of the cyanobacteria is the origin of plants.

The chloroplast with which plants make food for themselves is actually a cyanobacterium living within the plant’s cells.

  • Sometime in the late Proterozoic, or in the early Cambrian, cyanobacteria began to take up residence within certain eukaryote cells, making food for the eukaryote host in return for a home.

This event is known as endosymbiosis, and is also the origin of the eukaryotic mitochondrion.

  • Because they are photosynthetic and aquatic, cyanobacteria are often called “blue-green algae“.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • This name is convenient for talking about organisms in the water that make their own food, but does not reflect any relationship between the cyanobacteria and other organisms called algae.
  • Cyanobacteria are relatives of the bacteria, not eukaryotes, and it is only the chloroplast in eukaryotic algae to which the cyanobacteria are related.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | 22nd Sep Current Affairs News Analysis

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