Daily Current Affairs (MCQ) | Date 22.12.21

Daily Current Affairs (MCQ) | Date 22.12.21

Daily Current Affairs (MCQ) | Date 22.12.21

Q1. With the Government of India and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research paying attention to coloured cotton research in recent years, there could be a commercial release in 2021. Consider the following statements in this regard

1. Naturally coloured and organically grown cotton will reduce environmental pollution
2. India lacks naturally occurring coloured cotton

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer : a

Why is the Question ?

Coloured cotton from India on the cusp of a commercial release in 2021
1. As colour dyes pollute more water bodies and damage the environment, the search for fabric that is naturally coloured and can be grown organically (as cotton uses a lot of pesticides) has gained momentum.

2. India has been the home to naturally occurring coloured cotton. The research and commercial release of these varieties had been hampered in the past due to the fear of these varieties contaminating the white cotton.
3. With the Government of India and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research paying attention to coloured cotton research in recent years, there could be a commercial release in 2021.
4. The promise of the release of naturally coloured cotton from India could help reduce the environmental pollution caused by dyes.
5. The University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Dharwad, and the ICAR-Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), Nagpur, have been engaged in sustained research and developed varieties of naturally coloured cotton.
6. India is no stranger to coloured cotton and naturally coloured dark brown cotton grown in Bengal, yellow-green in the Garo hills, and light pink in peninsular India. The desi cotton grown in the Gollaprolu region of Andhra has a characteristic light pink colour and is known as yerra pathi (red cotton).

Q2. The year 2023 will be observed as the International Year of Millets, following India’s proposal to the Food and Agriculture Organisation. Consider the following statements in this regard

1. Millets are climate-smart crops that are drought resistant, growing in areas with low rainfall and infertile soil.

2. India is the largest producer of millets in the world.
3. Millets allow people with diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels more easily.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. 1, 2 and 3

Answer : d

Why is the Question ?

India’s millets policy: is it headed in the right direction?
1. Despite the Green Revolution, which favoured rice and wheat, millets in India have survived, thanks to cultural traditions, but came to be known as “coarse grains.”
2. The year 2023 will be observed as the International Year of Millets, following India’s proposal to the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
3. Today, millets are returning to farms and fields as a result of national and state-level initiatives. Termed as Nutri-cereals, millets are finding favour among farmers for being climatesmart crops that are drought resistant, growing in areas with low rainfall and infertile soil.
4. Millets are found in diverse parts of the world and are the earliest family of cereals cultivated by humans. What is exciting about them is their genetic diversity. They have a huge potential for meeting our food needs in the future.

5. But the erasure of traditional methods of farming by modern systems of biological classification has resulted in the marginalisation of tribals.
6. In the drylands, monocultures have driven farmers to bankruptcy. There is a need to go back to our culture of multi, mixed and intercropping as it provides insurance against monsoonal failure and also enables sustainable livelihoods.
Millets are suitable for harsh, hot and dry environments. They can grow in arid regions, requiring only 350-400 mm of annual rainfall. Some varieties of pearl millet survive at temperatures up to 46 degrees Celsius. Besides, they require minimal inputs.
In order to ensure that soil health is retained, we should focus on growing less extractive crops like millets. They are good for holding water and adding a lot of organic matter for soil health revival.
Millet production in India
In the past six decades, India has witnessed a decrease in the area under millets. However, the productivity (yield in kg/ha) of these crops has gone up due to the adoption of high-yielding varieties and improved production technologies.
Among the states, during 2017-18, the maximum area under millets was in Rajasthan, followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka.
The main reasons behind the decline are low remuneration, lack of input subsidies and price incentives, subsidised supply of fine cereals through the public distribution system (PDS) and change in consumer preferences. These factors led to a shift from the production of millets (jowar in particular) to soybean, maize, cotton, sugarcane and sunflower.

India’s millet mission
India is the largest producer of millets in the world. The Centre declared 2018 as the year of millets. The country launched a campaign to promote these Nutri-cereals across India.
The Government of India’s Millet Mission comes under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM), launched in October 2007. NFSM-Coarse Cereals is divided into two parts and one of them is the sub-mission on Nutri cereals to be implemented in 202 districts of 14 states. Before this, millets were being promoted under INSIMP (Nutritional Security through Intensive Millets Promotion) during 2011-12 to 2013-14.
Currently, millets are being promoted through technology dissemination, quality seeds through millet seed hubs, awareness generation, minimum support price and inclusion in PDS. But millets are still expensive. In the villages, minor millets are vanishing due to the predominance of ragi (finger millet). The focus is on ragi as it is economically viable, increases soil fertility and can be intercropped.
Health Benefits
Millet is rich in niacin, which helps your body manage more than 400 enzyme reactions. Niacin is also important for healthy skin and organ function. In fact, it’s such an important compound that it’s often added to processed foods to enrich them.
Millet, especially the darker varieties, is also an excellent source of beta-carotene. This natural pigment acts as both an antioxidant and as a precursor to vitamin A, helping your body fight off free radicals and supporting the health of your eyes.

Millet also provides other health benefits, including:
Control Blood Sugar
Millet is low in simple carbohydrates and higher in complex carbohydrates, making it a low-glycemic index (GI) food. This means millet takes longer to digest than standard wheat flour. Low-GI foods can help keep your blood sugar from spiking after eating, which allows people with diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels more easily.
Improve Digestive Health
Millet is rich in dietary fibre, both soluble and insoluble. The insoluble fibre in millet is known as a “prebiotic,” which means it supports good bacteria in your digestive system. This type of fibre is also important for adding bulk to stools, which helps keep you regular and reduces your risk of colon cancer.
Protect Your Heart
The soluble fibre in millet can help reduce the amount of “bad” cholesterol in your blood—a risk factor for atherosclerosis. Soluble fibre turns into a gel in your stomach and absorbs cholesterol, allowing it to be safely carried out of your system.

Some studies show that millet can also raise your “good” cholesterol levels and lower triglycerides. Because cholesterol is such a big risk factor for heart disease, eating millet regularly may help keep your heart healthier.

Q3. The National Hydrogen Energy Road Map (NHERM) is a program in India initiated by the National Hydrogen Energy Board (NHEB) approved in 2006 for bridging the technological gaps in different areas of hydrogen energy, including its production, storage, transportation and delivery, applications, safety, codes and standards and capacity building for the period up to 2020. Consider the following statements in this regard

1. Currently, hydrogen is being produced for non-energy applications
2. 48 % of the hydrogen produced in India currently is from the electrolysis of water, which is also known as green hydrogen

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer : a

Why is the Question ?

National hydrogen energy road map
1. The National Hydrogen Energy Road Map (NHERM) is a program in India initiated by the National Hydrogen Energy Board (NHEB) approved in 2006 for bridging the technological gaps in different areas of hydrogen energy, including its production, storage, transportation and delivery, applications, safety, codes and standards and capacity building for the period up to 2020.
2. The program is under the direction of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
3. The project aims to reduce India’s dependence on the import of petroleum products, promote the use of diverse, domestic, and sustainable new and renewable energy sources;
4. To provide electricity to remote, far‐flung, rural and other electricity deficient areas and promote the use of hydrogen as a fuel for transport and power generation;
5. To reduce carbon emissions from energy production and consumption,
6. To increase the reliability and efficiency of electricity generation;
7. To generate 1000 MW electricity using fuel cells by 2020 and 1 Million vehicles running on Hydrogen based IC Engines and fuel cells by 2020.

Hydrogen energy in India
Currently, hydrogen is being produced for non-energy applications. This includes petroleum refineries and fertiliser Industries predominantly.
GoI Reports on hydrogen energy
The ministry of New and renewable energy submitted its report titled” hydrogen energy and fuel cells in India -a way forward”.
The key findings of the report are as follows:
1. 48 % of the hydrogen produced in India currently is from natural gas.
2. 30% is produced from oil, 10% from coal and 4% from the electrolysis of water.
Hydrogen in transportation:
1. The NTPC, a Public Sector Unit operating under the Ministry of Power, invites a global expression of interest to provide Electric buses and electric cars.
2. These vehicles run on electricity produced from hydrogen fuel cells. This project was the first of its kind in the country.
3. Hydrogen gas is also widely used for spacecraft preparation other than internal combustion engines.
4. Hydrogen gas is one of the lightest elements. Therefore, it rises in the atmosphere and is rarely found in its pure form. It is a zero-emission fuel when burnt with oxygen.

Q4. Peatlands cover less than 3% of the earth’s land surface area but pack twice as much carbon as the world's forest. These carbon sinks are very poorly mapped and are getting rapidly converted for other land uses. Consider the following statements in this regard

1. Peatlands are composed of completely decomposed organic matter
2. Conserving peatlands is an important part of the naturebased solutions to climate change

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer : b

Why is the Question ?

Peatlands are crucial carbon sinks but they are not on the map
1. Peatlands cover less than 3% of the earth’s land surface area but pack twice as much carbon as the world's forest.
2. These carbon sinks are very poorly mapped and are getting rapidly converted for other land uses.
3. At the CoP25 to the Climate Change Convention underway in Madrid, Spain, the international community raised the issue of conserving peatlands as an important part of the nature-based solutions to climate change.

Peatland
Imagine semi-decayed plant material accumulating for thousands of years under water-logged conditions. This thick and condensed layer of soil that packs a large amount of organic carbon is called peat. The decomposition of organic matter is hampered by water saturation – which is the same as if you put fish or vegetables in acid water – because the water keeps out the oxygen.
When this carbon-rich soil is deprived of water and gets exposed to air, it decomposes rapidly and releases all the carbon back into the atmosphere, adding to the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change.
So, protecting peatlands becomes a nature-based solution to reduce the effect of or mitigate climate change. This ecosystem also helps in climate change adaptation by controlling floods, improving water availability by holding and releasing water, purifying water, and providing habitat for a variety of biodiversity.
Draining and clearing peatlands to make them suitable for agriculture and other development activities has been the main threat to the ecosystem. Drained peatlands are also vulnerable to long-lasting fires, which can multiply emissions and also release toxic haze. For instance, fire in the carbon-rich peatlands of Indonesia this year emitted double the carbon of Amazon fires.

Q5. Consider the following statements about ocean acidification

1. Coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs, mangroves and lagoons will become vulnerable due to the effects of ocean acidification

2. A large fraction of carbon released by Human being is absorbed by oceans

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer : c

Why is the Question ?

Satellites help track ocean acidification in the Bay of Bengal Scientists are exploring the use of satellites to track ocean acidification in the Greater Caribbean, the Amazon Plume and the Bay of Bengal. Under a European Space Agency funded project, researchers at IISER-Kolkata are merging satellite data and on-ground observations to monitor the health of the coastal Bay of Bengal in the Sundarbans delta.
Experts warn that many fragile coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs, mangroves and lagoons will become vulnerable and reel from the effects of ocean acidification due to change in coastal water carbonate chemistry, leading to loss of biodiversity and impacting fisheries.
Since the beginning of the industrial revolution (which took place from the 18th to 19th centuries), humans have released approximately 500 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels, cement production and land-use changes. About 30 %of this carbon dioxide has been taken up (or absorbed) by the oceans. As the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide, it leads to a change in marine carbonate chemistry, resulting in a decrease of seawater pH (decrease in alkalinity and increase in acidity) and carbonate ion concentration, a situation which is commonly called ‘ocean acidification.

Sundarbans, one of the most biologically rich ecosystems, also serves as the spawning ground of rich coastal fisheries of the Bay of Bengal. Ocean acidification can severely alter the availability of food resources (e.g. plankton) required for coastal fish populations to thrive. This can ultimately lead to a crash of coastal fisheries and livelihood in the region.