Arctic Region and Arctic Council

The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth.

8 Jul, 2020


About Brahmaputra River: The Brahmaputra called Yarlung

3 Jul, 2020
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    Current Affairs – 28th March 2022

    1.    RUBBER CROP

    • News: Riding on a plantation wave that is sweeping Northeast India, the rubber nurseries in Kerala are getting the best out of their grow bags after a decade-long lull.
    • About the Rubber Crop:
      • Natural rubber for commercial production is available from Manihot glaziovii (cera rubber), Ficus elastica (India rubber), Castiolla elastica (Panama rubber), Parthenium argenatum (Guayul), Taraxacum koksaghyz and Hevea brasiliensis (Para rubber) and among them, Hevea brasiliensis is the most important commercial source of natural rubber.
      • It is native of Brazil and was introduced in Asia in 1876.
      • Rubber tree belongs to the natural order Euphorbiaceae. This tree is sturdy, tall and quick growing. It has a well developed tap root and laterals.
      • Flowers are unisexual, small and fragrant.
      • The regions lying within 100 latitude on either side of the Equator is highly suitable for rubber cultivation.
      • It requires a temperature ranging from 200 to 300 C with a well distributed rainfall of 200-250 cm over the year.
      • It comes up in plains and also in slopes of mountainous regions ranging from 300-800 m above sea level.
      • This specific climate is available only in Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, which constitute the traditional area.
      • It thrives well in deep well drained acidic soils of red lateritic loams or clayey loams with a pH varying from 4.5 to 6.0.


    • News: The Delhi High Court said the employees of a government security establishment cannot be deprived of their fundamental and legal rights just because they work in an intelligence and security organisation.
    • The difference between Fundamental and Legal rights:
      • The legal rights are protected by an ordinary law, but they can be altered or taken away be the legislature by changing that law. Fundamental Rights are protected and Guaranteed by the Constitution and they cannot be taken away by an ordinary law enacted by the legislature.
      • If a legal right of a person is violated, he can move to an ordinary court, but if a fundamental right is violated the Constitution provides that the affected person may move to High court or Supreme Court. Here we should note that the Rights to Property was a fundamental right before 1978.
        • The Constitution (Forty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1978, taken away the Right to property (Article 31) as a Fundamental Right and was made a legal right under new Article 300 A.
      • An ordinary right generally imposes a corresponding duty on another individual (and, state in some cases) but a fundamental right is a right which an individual possess against the state.
      • Fundamental rights are protected against invasion by the executive, legislature and the judiciary. All fundamental rights are limitations on legislative power. Laws and executive actions which abridge or are in conflict with such rights are void and ineffective.
      • Our constitution guarantees the right to move the Supreme Court for the enforcement of fundamental rights. Thus the remedy itself is a fundamental right. This distinguishes it from other rights.
      • The Supreme Court is the guardian of fundamental rights.
      • Further, all constitution rights not fundamental rights e.g. right not to be subjected to taxation without authority of law (art. 265), right to property (art. 300a), and freedom of trade (art. 301). A fundamental right cannot be waived. An ordinary legal right can be waived by an individual.


    • News: The United States will supply LNG of at least 50 bcm to the EU until 2030. This is to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian energy exports and thus neutralise Kremlin’s influence on Europe.
    • About Liquefied Natural Gas:
      • Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is natural gas (predominantly methane, CH4, with some mixture of ethane, C2H6) that has been cooled down to liquid form for ease and safety of non-pressurized storage or transport.
      • It takes up about 1/600th the volume of natural gas in the gaseous state (at standard conditions for temperature and pressure).
      • LNG is odorless, colorless, non-toxic and non-corrosive. Hazards include flammability after vaporization into a gaseous state, freezing and asphyxia.


    • News: A collaboration between two premier research and educational institutions in Thiruvananthapuram has shed light on India’s “space economy”, the contours of which have remained largely vague even as the country’s space programme grew by leaps and bounds.
    • Details:
      • The estimated size, as a percentage of the GDP, has slipped from 0.26% in 2011-12 to 0.19% in 2020-21, they found.
      • They also noticed a decline in the budget for space-related activities, leading to a reduction in the size of the economy in the last two years
    • About India’s Space Programmes:
      • The space research activities were initiated in India during the early 1960’s, when applications using satellites were in experimental stages even in the United States. With the live transmission of Tokyo Olympic Games across the Pacific by the American Satellite ‘Syncom-3’ demonstrating the power of communication satellites, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, the founding father of Indian space programme, quickly recognized the benefits of space technologies for India.
      • As a first step, the Department of Atomic Energy formed the INCOSPAR (Indian National Committee for Space Research) under the leadership of Dr. Sarabhai and Dr. Ramanathan in 1962. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was later formed on August 15, 1969.
      • The prime objective of ISRO is to develop space technology and its application to various national needs. It is one of the six largest space agencies in the world.
      • The Department of Space (DOS) and the Space Commission were set up in 1972 and ISRO was brought under DOS on June 1, 1972.
      • Two major operational systems have been established – the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) for telecommunication, television broadcasting, and meteorological services and the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS) for monitoring and management of natural resources and Disaster Management Support.


    • News: The free trade agreement between India and the UAE is likely to come into effect from May 1 this year, under which domestic exporters of as many as 6,090 goods from sectors such as textiles, agriculture, dry fruits, gem and jewellery would get duty-free access to the UAE market, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.
    • About Free Trade Agreement:
      • A free trade agreement (FTA) or treaty is an agreement according to international law to form a free-trade area between the cooperating states. There are two types of trade agreements – bilateral and multilateral.
      • Bilateral trade agreements occur when two countries agree to loosen trade restrictions between the two of them, generally to expand business opportunities.
      • Multilateral trade agreements are agreements among three or more countries, and are the most difficult to negotiate and agree.
      • FTAs, a form of trade pacts, determine the tariffs and duties that countries impose on imports and exports with the goal of reducing or eliminating trade barriers, thus encouraging international trade.
      • Such agreements usually “center on a chapter providing for preferential tariff treatment”, but they also often “include clauses on trade facilitation and rule-making in areas such as investment, intellectual property, government procurement, technical standards and sanitary and phytosanitary issues”.
      • The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT 1994) originally defined free-trade agreements to include only trade in goods.
      • An agreement with a similar purpose, i.e., to enhance liberalization of trade in services, is named under Article V of the General Agreement on Trade in Service (GATS) as an “economic integration agreement”.


    • News: It is better to engage Myanmar rather than “isolate” the country, said Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary Admiral Jayanath Colombage (retired), explaining Colombo’s decision to invite Myanmar military administration’s Foreign Minister to the fifth Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit this week.
    • About BIMSTEC:
      • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation of seven South Asian and Southeast Asian nations, housing 1.73 billion people and having a combined gross domestic product of $3.8 trillion (2021).
      • The BIMSTEC member states – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand – are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.
      • Fourteen priority sectors of cooperation have been identified and several BIMSTEC centres have been established to focus on those sectors.
      • A BIMSTEC free trade agreement is under negotiation (c. 2018), also referred to as the mini SAARC.
      • The permanent secretariat is in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
      • The BIMSTEC uses the alphabetical order for the Chairmanship.
      • The Chairmanship of the BIMSTEC has been taken in rotation commencing with Bangladesh (1997–1999).