Assam tea growers may take AI route


Assam tea growers may take AI route to recovery

       WHY IN NEWS?  

Drones can address shortage of workers as well as spray hazardous pesticides with precision

GS 3:Agriculture


For PRELIMS you need to understand which drones are used for agriculture purpose ? Do they reduce manpower at the fields?

For MAINS you have to look for pros and cons of Artificial Intelligence.


Embracing technology: A drone spraying pesticide at the Maijan tea estate in Dibrugarh

The leaves in your cup of tea could soon be plucked by a pair of robot-assisted hands.

Who is doing it ?

Assam Company India Limited (ACIL), which has depended on labourers for 180 years.

India’s oldest tea company has begun the process of deploying artificial intelligence (AI) to help take the industry to a sustainable future from its ‘past perfect’ present state.

Investing in robotic drones for precision treatment of a diseased tea bush and implanting molecular markers in leaves to develop traits for mass production will not lead to retrenchment.


The “embrace” of cutting-edge technology in the labour-intensive industry is aimed more at dealing with a shortage of farmhands and ensuring a scenario where workers find it more remunerative to return to the plantations, said officials of the 180-year-old company.


There are challenges in replicating the AI, deployed in farming in developed nations, for use in the tea sector, industry officials said.

Such markers control the genes of a plant for developing resistance to pests and diseases, improving the quality and quantity of the yield.

Types of drones used:

“For tea plantations, we are working on two types of dronesone that analyses plant health, soil conditions and other natural factors and the other that sprays fertilizers or targets pests from 6-8 ft with precision so that other bushes are not affected.

       IASbhai Windup: 

“We are looking at technology for taking care of cancer and tuberculosis-causing jobs such as spraying of fertilizers and pesticides but not as a replacement of the workers who would be absorbed in other jobs!



Sexual crimes against boys


Activists flag under-reporting of sexual crimes against boys

       WHY IN NEWS?  

‘2.8% of crimes against children mention boys’ in the report by NCRB.

GS 1:Social sector bills:POCSO


For PRELIMS you need to understand features of POCSO ACT

For MAINS you have to integrate some points from this topic in your Social Issues notes.


Only 2.8% of all the instances of sexual crimes against children in 2017 were reported to be committed against boys, indicating that most cases remain undisclosed.

Who released the data ?

National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB)

About NCRB:

  • NCRB was set-up in 1986 to function as a repository of information on crime and criminals so as to assist the investigators in linking crime to the perpetrators based on the recommendations of the Tandon Committee to the National Police Commission (1977-1981) and the MHA’s Task force (1985).


NCRB was entrusted with the responsibility for monitoring, coordinating and implementing the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) project in the year 2009. The project connects 15000+ police stations and 6000 higher offices of police in the country.


  • On 21st August 2017, NCRB launched National Digital Police Portal. It allows search for a criminal / suspect on the CCTNS database.
  • (https://digitalpolice.gov.in/). Citizen Services Mobile App consisting of the 9 services was launched by the Bureau during its 33rd Inception Day celebrations on 11th March 2018. These services include SoS, Complaint Registration, Locate PS, View FIR, Citizen Tip, etc.
  • National Database of Sexual Offenders (NDSO) and share it with the States/UTs on regular basis. NCRB has also been designated as the Central Nodal Agency to manage technical and operational functions of the NCRB also deals with associated work of Cyber Crime Prevention against Women & Children (CCPWC) through this portal.
  • Online Cyber-Crime Reporting Portal’ through which any citizen can lodge a complaint or upload a video clip as an evidence of crime related to child pornography, rape/gang rape.
  • Vahan Samanvay (online matching for Stolen/Recovered vehicles) and Talash (matching of missing persons and dead bodies). The Bureau received the Special Jury Award for ‘Vahan Samanvay’ in FICCI Smart Policing Award 2018.
  • In addition, NCRB also maintains Counterfeit Currency Information and Management System (FICN) and Integrated Monitoring on Terrorism (iMoT) applications.

NCRB also compiles and publishes National Crime Statistics i.e. Crime in India, Accidental Deaths & Suicides and also Prison Statistics and fingerprint data.

The report, published earlier this month, recorded 33,549 crimes committed against girls under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in 2017, and 956 against boys.

Larger social issue

Activists say that while reporting of sexual crimes against both boys and girls has always been low, the minimal reporting in cases involving boys is a reflection of a larger social problem.

A survey commissioned by the Centre on child abuse in 2007 showed that of a total of 12,447 children in 13 States surveyed for the report, 53.22% had faced one or more forms of sexual abuse.

Of these, 52.94% were boys and 47.06% were girls. It also showed that across genders, only 5.69% of the survivors reported the crime to the local police.

But the NCRB report shows that only 1.02% of the total 17,780 aggravated penetrative sexual assault cases against children were those where boys were brutalised.

       IASbhai Windup: 

“The NCRB data reflects a larger societal problem where sexual violence is considered to be a very gendered crime — especially where children are concerned. Parents need to acknowledge that boys are vulnerable, create a congenial atmosphere for boys to disclose abuse and provide them a protective environment like they do for girls,” 



Use of green crackers


How green are Deepavali crackers?

       WHY IN NEWS?  

After the Supreme Court’s intervention, is the version that has hit the shelves less polluting? How has the market valued at ₹1,800 crore reacted and what do manufacturers and traders say about the research and legal clarity?

GS 3:AQI:Air pollution


For PRELIMS you need to understand how the air quality parameters are used to check the PM(particulate matter)level.

For MAINS you have to look for pros and cons of Air pollution on children, youth and old age men and women .


The whole storyline of green cracker is here:


What are green crackers?

So when did it start?

  • Traditionally, firecrackers have been made with barium nitrate, antimony and a range of metals that, over the years, have been linked to respiratory diseases and even cancer.

When Supreme court banned it?

  • These were the factors that guided the Supreme Court when it decided to ban fireworks. The ban last October came on the basis of a petition filed in 2015.

Who started the first research ?

  • Months before the ban, a group of research institutes of the CSIR had begun work on ‘green crackers,’ namely fireworks without barium nitrate.

Who came up with a substitute?

  • The mainstay of the cracker manufacturing process, barium nitrate lends itself to making explosives that are effective and convenient. The Nagpur-based NEERI eventually hit upon formulations that substituted barium nitrate with potassium nitrate and zeolite.

When green crackers cracked the news?

  • The ‘green’ versions of the ‘flower pot’, one of the most popular fireworks, has a mixture of water and lime that is chemically stored in the cracker. When lit, the effulgence also triggers water and the makers claim that the moisture wets the dust-and-smoke particles.

What did NEERI claim?

  • NEERI claims that tests in its laboratories have seen a reduction of nearly 30% in particulate matter (PM) and also reduced a release of sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions.
  • Green sparklers use 32% potassium nitrate, 40% aluminium powder, 11% aluminium chips, and 17% “proprietary additives” to reduce particulate matter PM10 and PM2.5 to 30%.
  • Similarly, a new formulation of a ‘bomb’ named ‘SWAS’ (or safe water releaser) uses 72% of a “proprietary additive”, 16% potassium nitrate oxidiser, 9% aluminium powder, and 3% sulphur to reduce PM10 and PM2.5. On its website, NEERI claims that green crackers when exploded also emit similar levels of sound (100-10dBA) associated with traditional crackers.

How did the idea of safe crackers spread all over INDIA?

  • NEERI has signed agreements with 230 companies to manufacture and make them available for sale. This was also preceded by setting up demonstrations in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu, where about 90% of India’s crackers are manufactured.

What about supplies?

  • Firecracker manufacturers are still nervous about how acceptable the green crackers will be in the market; several say they have not yet adopted it.
  • The ban on crackers since last year has meant a shortage of unskilled labour — the mainstay of the industry — and several manufacturers got the legal go-ahead to make the crackers only in May.
  • The manufacturers said this did not give them enough time to make and supply crackers across the country for Deepavali.
  • Fireworks manufacturers were also hopeful of legal clarity on a sub-category of green crackers called “improved crackers”. 

How big is this cracker market?

  • The size of the cracker market is reportedly valued at around ₹1,800 crore and is expected to take a severe hit this year. Those who deal with crackers say that 2019 is a transition year and that by next year, supply chains will adapt better to ensure that green crackers are available more easily.

Are green crackers less polluting? What could it be like this year?

  • Green cracker manufacturers claim that particulate matter pollution will be reduced by 30% if these crackers are used. However, these numbers have been computed in a laboratory setting and not been verified in real world conditions.
  • Because green crackers are not available in sufficient numbers this year, any reduction in smoke levels cannot entirely be attributable to the improvements in crackers themselves.


       IASbhai Windup: 

This version continues to use barium nitrate but in extremely reduced amounts; when its explodes, harmful chemicals do not spray as much as earlier into the air. These improved formulations, as they are categorised, are preferred by manufacturers because barium is a tested workhorse. The Supreme Court is yet to take a decision on whether to allow them. Market reports suggest that consumers are not finding it easy to buy crackers. Retailers say stocks are low and there is only a limited selection of firecrackers available.



Illegal structures cannot be rebuilt: SC


Illegal structures cannot be rebuilt: SC

       WHY IN NEWS?  

The Supreme Court has directed the Maharashtra authorities to get all cities where population is 50 lakh or more to be geo-mapped to easily track and control illegal constructions in them.

GS 2:Governance


For PRELIMS you need to understand what is geo-mapping?

For MAINS you have to dive in deeper consequences of illegal construction.



The SC held that order for re-erection of illegal structures will cause unplanned constructionG.Moorthy/ File photo

The Supreme Court has directed the Maharashtra authorities to get all cities where population is 50 lakh or more to be geo-mapped to easily track and control illegal constructions in them.

“We direct that all the cities in Maharashtra where the population is 50 lakhs or more the municipal authorities will get geomapping done not only of the municipal areas but also of areas 10 km from the outer boundary. This can be done by satellite, drones or vehicles. Once one has the whole city geomapped, it would be easy to control illegal constructions,” the Court said.

What is geo-mapping ?

  • Geomapping is defined as a method of land and sub surface surveying using GPS that presents a detailed view of a site and the surrounding area including roads, buildings, mountains, rivers, estuaries and pipelines. The ability to precisely locate sewer and water utilities is essential in trenchless technology as it provides a useful representation of the site conditions below and above ground before plans and designs are finalized, and equipment and machinery is moved to location.


No sympathy’?

  • “Cities and towns must be well planned and illegal structures must be demolished.
  • Rule of law comprises not only of the principles of natural justice but also provides that the procedure prescribed by law must be followed.
  • Rule of law also envisages that illegal constructions which are constructed in violation of law must be demolished and there can be no sympathy towards those who violate law,” the Court said.

What about pre-existing structures?

  • The court also held that municipal corporations should not permit an illegal structure to be re-built because it had violated the procedure in demolishing the pre-existing illegal building.

       IASbhai Windup: 

“If a structure is an illegal structure, even though it has been demolished illegally, such a structure should not be permitted to come up again.



Indian Ocean Rim Association


Indian Ocean Rim to get boost with UAE, Bangladesh at helm

       WHY IN NEWS?  

Association’s ministerial meet to be held in UAE on Nov. 7



For PRELIMS you need to understand why IOR, members, features and their theme of recent meeting.

For MAINS you have to make a note on maritime security . considering IOR. 


All about IORA:

The Indian Ocean Rim Association is an inter-governmental organisation which was established on 7 March 1997.


The vision for IORA originated during a visit by late President Nelson Mandela of South Africa to India in 1995, where he said:

This sentiment and rationale underpinned the Indian Ocean Rim Initiative in March 1995.

The Indian Ocean

As the third largest ocean woven together by trade routes, commands control of major sea-lanes carrying half of the world’s container ships, one third of the world’s bulk cargo traffic and two thirds of the world’s oil shipments, the Indian Ocean remains an important lifeline to international trade and transport.

Home to nearly 2.7 billion people, Member States whose shores are washed by the ocean are rich in cultural diversity and richness in languages, religions, traditions, arts and cuisines.

The Structure

IORA’s apex body is the Council of Foreign Ministers (COM) which meets annually.The Republic of South Africa will assume the role for 2017-2019, followed by the United Arab Emirates.  


IORA remains committed to build and expand understanding and mutually beneficial cooperation through a consensus based evolutionary and non-intrusive approach in the rapid changing environment faced by the region.

Member Nations:

Today, IORA is a dynamic organisation of 22 Member States and 9 Dialogue Partners, with an ever-growing momentum for mutually beneficial regional cooperation through a consensus-based, evolutionary and non-intrusive approach.

Upcoming Meeting:

The upcoming Indian Ocean Rim Association ministerial meeting in Abu Dhabi will be keenly watched as India continues to promote its official policy of “coordination, cooperation and partnership” in the regional maritime domain.

Importance of meeting:

The meeting is important as two of India’s important partners, the United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh, will take charge as the new chair and vice-chair of one of the largest regional maritime organisations for the duration of 2019-21.


The 19th IORA Council of Ministers meeting will be held on November 7 in Abu Dhabi with the theme of “Promoting a Shared Destiny and Path to Prosperity in the Indian Ocean”. Along with the outgoing chair South Africa, Bangladesh and the UAE are expected to form the new troika of the regional organisation.

       IASbhai Windup: 

This is especially significant for Bangladesh as the ministerial will pave the way for Dhaka to play a leading role in IOR for four years from 2019 to 2023 as the country is expected to succeed the UAE and become the next chair. The developments are expected to be studied carefully in New Delhi where officials are aiming to use the maritime domain as a “connector”. Officials said that Indian policy takes into consideration that IOR is not an India-run maritime domain and that is reflected in the government’s SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) programme, which aims to turn the region more inclusive.



Nanammal dies at 99


Yoga exponent, teacher Nanammal dies at 99

       WHY IN NEWS?  

The nonagenarian was awarded the Padma Shri in 2018



File photo of President Ram Nath Kovind conferring Padma Shri on V. Nanammal in New Delhi.

  • Yoga exponent and Padma Shri recipient Nanammal died at her home here on Saturday.
  • She was 99.Nanammal learnt yoga from her father at a very young age.
  • Nanammal had trained thousands of students over the years, and had groomed more than 600 yoga instructors, including 36 from her own family. Along with her son V. Balakrishnan, she had been running the Ozone Yoga Centre in the city’s Ganapathy locality since 1971.
  • She was conferred the Padma Shri in 2018, which she said was a recognition of her efforts to make people lead a healthy life.
  • A recipient of 150 awards, six national level gold medals and the Yoga Ratna award of the government of Karnataka, she had steadfastly shunned all forms of allopathic medicine.


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