Facts in News

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    Defence

    AUSINDEX 

    Syllabus :GS 3/Defence

    In Context

    • Indian Navy Task Group comprising IN Ships Shivalik and Kadmatt will participate in the 4th edition of AUSINDEX from 06 to 10 Sep 21.  

    About 

    • It is a bilateral naval exercise between the Indian Navy and the Australian Navy.
    • The first-ever Bilateral Maritime Exercise, AUSINDEX 15, was conducted in Visakhapatnam (the Bay of Bengal) in September 2015.
    • AUSINDEX has grown in complexity over the years and the 3rd edition of the exercise, held in 2019 in the Bay of Bengal, included anti-submarine drills for the first time.
    • In the Fourth Edition, AUSINDEX  includes complex surface, sub-surface and air operations between ships, submarines, helicopters and Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft of the participating Navies.

    Significance

    • The exercise will provide an opportunity for both navies to further bolster interoperability, gain from best practices and develop a common understanding of procedures for Maritime Security Operations.
    • It aims to further consolidate shared commitment to regional and global security challenges promoting peace, security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

     

    Source: TH

     

    Biodiversity and Environment

    Manda Buffalo

    Syllabus: GS 3/Biodiversity and Environment

    In News 

    • The National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) has recognised the Manda buffalo as the 19th unique breed of buffaloes found in India.

    More in News 

    • This buffalo germ-plasm was first identified through a detailed survey conducted by the Animal Resource Development (ARD) Department of Odisha in collaboration with Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT).
    • With Manda buffalo recognised by NBAGR, it will be incumbent upon both Centre and State governments to devise a strategy for the conservation of these buffaloes. 
      • Four breeds of cattle — Binjharpuri, Motu, Ghumusari and Khariar — and two breeds of buffalo — Chilika and Kalahandi — and one breed of sheep, Kendrapada, have already received NBAGR recognition.

    About Manda buffalo 

    •  Manda buffaloes are native to Odisha and have ash grey and grey coat colour with copper colour hairs
    • The lower part of their legs up to the elbow is light-coloured with copper-colour hair at the knee. Some animals are silver-white in colour. These sturdy buffaloes are small-sized.
    • They are found in the Eastern Ghats and plateau of the Koraput region of Odisha.
    • The Manda are resistant to parasitic infections, less prone to diseases and can live, produce and reproduce at low or nil input systems.
    • Manda buffaloes mature at around 3 years and drop the first calf at around 4 years. 
      • Every 1.5 to 2 years they give birth to a calf for the whole life of around 20 years.

                                                                Image Courtesy: TH

    Utility

    •  The small, sturdy buffaloes are used for ploughing in their native habitat of the Koraput, Malkangiri and Nabarangpur districts.
    • There are around 1,00,000 buffaloes of this breed in the native tract mostly contributing to the family nutrition of households and assisting in all the agricultural operations in the undulated hilly terrain for generations.
    • The average milk yield of these buffaloes is 2 to 2.5 litres in single milking with more than eight percent fat. However, a few of those yield up to four litres.

     

    Source: TH

     

    Science & Technology

    Hycean Worlds

    Syllabus:GS 3/Space

    In News 

    • Recently, astronomers identified a new class of exoplanets called Hycean worlds from the words hydrogen and ocean.

    About 

    • The habitable zone of these exoplanets revolves around Sun-like stars, which are more numerous and observable than Earth-like planets. 
      • Hyceans are basically water worlds with hydrogen-rich atmospheres. 
      • There may also be different kinds of Hyceans, including “dark” and “cold.
    • They are up to 2.6 times the diameter of Earth, with temperatures up to 200 degrees C (about 400 degrees F) and thick hydrogen atmospheres. 
      • This places them somewhere between Earth and giant planets like Neptune or Uranus.
    • These planets, unlike most mini-Neptunes, may have solid surfaces, like Earth.
      • Many of the known Hycean candidates are larger and hotter than Earth, but still would be able to host large oceans

    Relevance 

    • Hycean world can be optimal candidates in the search for exoplanetary habitability and may be abundant in the exoplanet population.
      • The habitable zone is the region around a star where temperatures would be suitable for liquid water on the surface of a rocky planet.

    Exoplanet

    • An exoplanet is any planet beyond our solar system. More than 4,400 planets have been discovered outside our solar system.
    • Most orbit other stars, but free-floating exoplanets, called rogue planets, orbit the galactic centre and are untethered to any star.

     

    Source: TH

     

    Agriculture

    National Farmers Database

    Syllabus: GS3/Agriculture

    In News

    • The Centre has created a National Farmers’ Database with records of 5.5 crore farmers, which it hopes to increase to 8 crore farmers by December by linking it to State land record databases.

    About

    • The database has been created by taking data from existing national schemes such as PM-KISAN, soil health cards and the insurance scheme PM Fasal Bima Yojna.
    • Earlier, the Central government had proposed an Agristack initiative to create a digital database that focuses on farmers and the agricultural sector.

    Need 

    • Farmers’ database is key to advances in digital agriculture. Agriculture has to be linked with digital technology, scientific research and knowledge.
    • This could be used “for targeted service delivery with higher efficiency and in a focussed and time-bound manner” and that it was the core for the proposed Agristack digital agriculture ecosystem.

    Concerns

    • Activists have raised privacy and consent concerns about using farmers’ data in such a way.

    Source: TH