1)Vertical Farming :-

  • Vertical farming as a component of urban agriculture is the practice of cultivating plant life within a skyscraper greenhouse or on vertically inclined surfaces. A common version of vertical farming uses techniques similar to glass houses, where natural sunlight can be augmented with artificial lighting and metal reflectors.
  • Ecologist Dickson Despommier argues that vertical farming is legitimate for environmental reasons. He claims that the cultivation of plant life within skyscrapers will produce less embedded energy and toxicity than plant life produced on natural landscapes. He moreover claims that natural landscapes are too toxic for natural, agricultural production, despite the ecological and environmental costs of extracting materials to build skyscrapers for the simple purpose of agricultural production.
  • Criticism :-
    • Opponents question the potential profitability of vertical farming. A detailed cost analysis of start-up costs, operation costs, and revenue has not been done. The extra cost of lighting, heating, and powering the vertical farm may negate any of the cost benefits received by the decrease in transportation expense
    • During the growing season, the sun shines on a vertical surface at an extreme angle such that much less light is available to crops than when they are planted on flat land. Therefore, supplemental light, would be required in order to obtain economically viable yields. Few believe that power demands of vertical farming will be too expensive and noncompetitive with traditional farms using only free natural light
  •  Relevance in India :-
    • Land is a a scarce commodity in India.
    • Indian farmers are small and marginal farmers , save few.
    • In a land of huge population and limited geography ,India needs to adopt to vertical farming  given it is viable.This will solve issue of small land holdings and feeding 1.2 billion mouths and ensuring food security
  • News related Item :-
    • Antony John, a progressive farmer at Sakthikulangara in Kerala, harvesting vegetables from his vertical garden set up on the terrace of his house
    • Antony uses Bio-char* and compost tea as recipe with soil being constituting only 5% of the total frame where plants are grown
    • Kerala, is known for its acidic soil and hence not suitable for agriculture, however Antony’s unique method of vertical farming can be a solution to the problem

*Bio-char :-

  • Biochar is charcoal used as a soil amendment. Like most charcoal, biochar is made from biomass via pyrolysis{(Pyrolysis is a thermochemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen (or any halogen)}. Biochar is under investigation as an approach to carbon sequestration to produce negative carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Biochar is found in soils around the world as a result of vegetation fires and historic soil management practices. Intensive study of biochar-rich dark earths in the Amazon (terra preta), has led to a wider appreciation of biochar’s unique properties as a soil enhancer.Biochar can be an important tool to increase food security and cropland diversity in areas with severely depleted soils, scarce organic resources, and inadequate water and chemical fertilizer supplies.Biochar also improves water quality and quantity by increasing soil retention of nutrients and agrochemicals for plant and crop utilization. More nutrients stay in the soil instead of leaching into groundwater and causing pollution.
  • It also reduces Acidity of soil as well.

 

2)Red – Sanders  a.k.a Red Sandalwood :-

Prelude- Red-sanders has been in news since past few months. What important from UPSC perspective is red-sanders itself, not the news related to it, which is , of course  has little/no value as long as UPSC preparation is concerned..

  • Red sanders biologically known as – Pterocarpus santalinus (no necessary to remember) occurs in Southern Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests
  • It prefers lateritic and gravelly soil and cannot tolerate water logging
  • Red Sanders has a highly restrictive distribution in the South Eastern portion of Indian peninsula to which it is endemic
  • The Palakonda and Seshachalam hill ranges of Cuddapah-Chittoor districts of the State of Andhra Pradesh are its principal geographical range.
  • Use of red-sanders:- Red Sanders is said to be used in the making of oriental musical instruments like Shamisen, Koto and Erhu . It has a wide significance in religious practices and hence it has been smuggled at a large scale.
  • Recently smugglers and police conflict led to death of many smugglers. Given its endemic nature , it must be protected , while at the same time the commercial farming of red sanders can be promoted to meet  the commercial needs.But due to its high incubation period , commercial farming is not viable at a personal economic activity , hence govt must take proactive action to increase the no. of red sanders trees in the wild through afforestation.

 

3) Terrorism, Internet and  Anti -Radicalization Measures :-

  • Youth and especially adolescence is a wonderful yet a dangerous age to be in .Most have an impressionist mind at this age.Teens are extremely  susceptible  to radicalization at this age.
  • Given the terrorist propaganda and abundance of radicalizing literature availability over internet, recruiters for ISIS or any other terror organization are just a click away.
  • The terrorist and their recruiting agencies are as close as they have ever been in the history ,  to the teens of various countries  , even their propaganda is so strong that a mature reasoning mind even falls prey for their antics.
  • It is in this context that Govt has adopted Anti-radicalizing measures :-
    • Create positive  Internet content
    • Counter radicalization messages and its online promotion
    • Penalizing the radicalizers
    • Counseling the youth
    • Making parents involvement more robust in this manner

 

Note:-This is a bigger debate indeed, and we are contemplating to write an essay for this topic as  topic like this needs holistic analysis and only an essay could do justice to such topic.The Essay section will soon be updated with this issue.


 

4)Buffer Stock for Pulses :-

  • Hoarding has been a major issue where the hoarders artificially create a supply -demand mismatch . Recently Govt raids across states led release of huge amount of pulses.
  • To offset any artificial manipulation of supply-demand mismatch Govt has come up with Buffer Stock proposal for Pulses where in it will create a buffer of 3.5 Lakh ton of pulses by utilizing the recently created  price stabilization fund (Rs-500 cr )

5) BrahMos missile test-fired from Indian Navy’s stealth destroyer INS Kochi, hits target:-

  • The BrahMos (Hindi: brahmos, Russian: Брамос) is a short range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land. It is a joint venture between the Russian Federation’s NPO Mashinostroeyenia and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) who have together formed BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited.It is based on the Russian P-800 Oniks cruise missile and other similar sea-skimming Russian cruise missile technology.
  • The name BrahMos is a portmanteau formed from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.
  • It is the world’s fastest cruise missile in operation.  A hypersonic version of the missile, BrahMos-II, is also presently under development with speed of Mach 7 to boost aerial fast strike capability.

 

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  • Darknet

    Definition:

    Darknet, also known as dark web or darknet market, refers to the part of the internet that is not indexed or accessible through traditional search engines. It is a network of private and encrypted websites that cannot be accessed through regular web browsers and requires special software and configuration to access.

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