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Daily Current affairs 7 JUly 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair






Farmers in western U.P. grapple with ‘zero budget’ farming



Is seawater the ultimate answer?



Jaipur makes it to UNESCO World Heritage Site list



A register in Nagaland



Kharnak nomads- Pashmina wool

06 (Mag)



1. Farmers in western U.P. grapple with ‘zero budget’ farming (The Hindu, Page 07)     


Mains: GS Paper III - Economy





This year’s budget document and the Economic Survey 2018-19 focussed on adoption of ‘Zero Budget Natural Farming’ (ZBNF) in order to double the farmers’ income by the end of 2022. In this regard, let us understand various aspects of ZBNF.


What is ZBNF?

It is a set of farming methods, and also a grassroots peasant movement, which has spread to various states in India. It has attained wide success in southern India, especially the southern Indian state of Karnataka where it first evolved.  The agricultural practices under ZBNF was put forward by Mr Subhash Palekar.

The word ‘budget’ refers to credit and expenses, thus the phrase 'Zero Budget' means without using any credit, and without spending any money on purchased inputs. 'Natural farming' means farming with Nature and without chemicals. 


The four pillars of ZNBF

Jivamrita/jeevamrutha: It is a fermented microbial culture prepared using cow dung and urine. It provides nutrients to the soil, but most importantly, acts as a catalytic agent that promotes the activity of microorganisms in the soil, as well as increases earthworm activity;

Bijamrita/beejamrutha: Protection of the young roots from various diseases through cow dung and urine.

Mulching: Conservation of the soil moisture by covering the top layer of the soil with dried biomass, organic manure etc. This would also enhance fertility of the soil.

Moisture: It challenges the basic notion that plants need more amount of water and instead focuses on conservation of soil moisture and promoting less irrigation.

Other important pillars are- Intercropping, Rain water harvesting, Revival of the soils through earthworms etc.



Reduce the input costs which have been responsible for present agrarian distress.

Reduce the dependence of the farmers on the credit which has been responsible for the debt trap.

Enhancement in the soil fertility.

Optimum utilisation of water and reduce water consumption (85%)

Promote diversification of the agriculture- towards other crops and towards livestock rearing. This can also lead to reduction in the risks and enhance non-farm income.

Enhance the farmers’ income in the long term.



Low awareness among the farmers.

Lower yield in comparison to usage of chemical fertilisers

Fragmented landholdings can make ZBNF unviable in India. ( 83% of the farmers- small and marginal)


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2. Is seawater the ultimate answer? (The Hindu, Page 14)     


Mains: GS Paper III Science & technology




A 2018 United Nations study says there are now almost 16,000 desalination plants operating in 177 countries, producing a volume of freshwater equivalent to almost half the average flow over the Niagara Falls. 

The study says unconventional water resources, such as those resulting from desalination, are key to support Sustainable Development Goal 6 (to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all), but for that innovation in brine management and disposal is required: seawater desalination can extend water supplies beyond what is available from the hydrological cycle.


Does desalination realistically help in harnessing potable water from the sea? 

  • Desalination is obtaining freshwater from salt water. A desalination plant pumps in salty or brackish water, filters separate the salt from the water, and the salty water is returned to the sea. Fresh water is sent to households.

  • Seawater has Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) — a measure of salinity — close to 35,000 parts per million (ppm), or equivalent to 35 g of salt per one litre/kg of water. An effective network of RO plants reduces this down to about 200500 ppm. There are about 18,000 desalination plants in the world across 150 countries and nearly half of Israel’s water is sourced through desalination.

  • Chennai has two desalination plants and each supplies 100 million litres a day (MLD); together they meet little under a fourth of the city’s water requirement of 830 MLD.

  • In Nov 2018, Gujarat government announced plans of setting up a 100 MLD RO plant at the Jodiya coast in Jamnagar district. This would go a long way in ‘solving’ the water availability problems in the drought-prone Saurashtra region.


Challenges and opportunities of Desalination

  • Brine production and high-energy consumption are key downsides of desalination. 

  • Disposal of toxic brine is both costly and associated with negative environmental impacts. 

  • On a more positive note, many desalination plants are in areas with plenty of sunshine where solar power can provide a more sustainable energy solution. 

  • Brine Pollution - Because RO plants convert seawater to fresh water, the major environmental challenge they pose is the deposition of brine (highly concentrated salt water) along the shores. 

  • Hyper salinity along the shore affects plankton, which is the main food for several of these fish species.


Economic opportunities associated with brine, such as commercial salt, metal recovery and the use of brine in fish production systems 


Are the costs prohibitive?


On an average, it costs about ₹ 900 crore to build a 100 MLD plant and, as the Chennai experience has shown, about fi ve years for a plant to be set up.


To remove the salt required, there has to be a source of electricity, either a power plant or a diesel or battery source. Estimates

have put this at about 4 units of electricity per 1,000 litres of water. Therefore, each of the Chennai plants needs about 400,000 units of electricity. It is estimated that it cost ₹3 to produce 100 litres of potable water.


Post treatment of water - Most RO plants, put the water through a ‘post-treatment’ process whereby salts are added to make TDS around 300 mg/l. Several of the home RO systems that are common in affluent Indian homes, too employ posttreatment

and add salts to water.


Alternative Technologies – 


Low temperature thermal desalination (LTTD) technique for instance which works on the principle that water in the ocean 1,000 or 2,000 feet below is about 4o C to 8o C colder than surface water. So, salty surface water is collected in a tank and subject to high pressure (via an external power source). This pressured water vapourises and this is trapped in tubes or a chamber. Cold water

plumbed from the ocean depths is passed over these tubes and the vapour condenses into fresh water and the resulting salt diverted away. The National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), a research organisation based in Chennai, has been

working on this technology for decades. In 2005, it set up a 100,000 litre a day plant in Kavaratti, Lakshwadeep islands and this has been providing water to about 10,000 residents.


While Low temperature thermal desalination (LTTD) is great in theory, there is no guarantee yet that it will be commercially viable.


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3. Jaipur makes it to UNESCO World Heritage Site list (The Hindu Page 20)   


Prelims : Art & Culture

Mains: GS Paper I –history & Culture


World Heritage Site - UNESCO


Jaipur makes it to UNESCO World Heritage Site list


Jaipur has entered the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It was among the seven sites worldwide to have made it to the list. It will boost tourism, benefit the local economy and help to improve the infrastructure.


The decision was taken by the World Heritage Committee at the UNESCO’s 43rd session under way at Baku, Azerbaijan. The committee, comprising representatives of 21 State Parties to the World Heritage Convention, examined the Walled City’s nomination.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites had inspected the city in 2018. The International Council on Monuments and Sites is a professional association that works for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places around the world. It is headquartered in Paris; and was founded in 1965 in Warsaw as a result of the Venice Charter of 1964, and offers advice to UNESCO on World Heritage Sites. 

Jaipur was founded in 1727 by the Kachwaha Rajput ruler of Amber, Sawai Jai Singh II. 

Other such sites are 

  • Historic City of Ahmadabad

  • Fatehpur Sikri


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4. A register in Nagaland (The Hindu Page 14)   


Mains: GS II – Polity & Governance


Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN)


Context: The Nagaland government is initiating an exercise to prepare a master list of all indigenous inhabitants of the State. This list, called the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN), is seen as a localised version of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) that Assam began updating four years ago and is scheduled to complete by July 31.

What is RIIN? How will it be prepared?

Civil society groups in Nagaland have often conducted house-to-house surveys for listing non-Naga and IBIs (Illegal Bangladeshi Immigrants). The RIIN will be the first official master list of Nagaland’s indigenous inhabitants. Its objective, as stated in the Nagaland government’s June 29 notification, is to prevent people from acquiring fake indigenous inhabitants’ certificates. The list will be based on an extensive survey besides digging into official records of indigenous residents from villages and urban wards. The entire process under the supervision of the district administration would be completed within 60 days from the start on July 10. The notification also said designated teams of surveyors would be formed within a week from the date of its publication. These team comprising sub-divisional officers, block development officers, school headmasters and other nominated members, would visit every village and ward to make the list. Apart from Nagaland’s Chief Secretary and Home Commissioner, nodal officers of the rank of a Secretary will monitor the implementation without involvement in the adjudication process. The nodal officers are required to submit monthly updates to a permanent committee set up under the Home Department.

What are the steps of this exercise?

The survey teams have been tasked with noting each family’s original residence, current residence and documents such as Aaadhar. Hard copies of the provisional list thus prepared will be provided to all villages and wards, and published on government websites by September 11. Claims and objections — a page taken from the NRC book — will be entertained till October 30. Based on official records and evidence produced, a district’s Deputy Commissioner will adjudicate on the claims and objections from respondents. The deadline for this process is December 10. Post-verification, the RIIN will be finalised and hard copies placed in all villages and wards while electronic copies will be stored in the State Data Centre. Everyone figuring in RIIN will be issued a bar-coded and numbered Indigenous Inhabitant Certificate (IIC). The process will be dovetailed with the online system of Inner Line Permit (ILP). No IIC will be issued after RIIN is finalised except to babies born to indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland.

What is this permit?

The ILP is a temporary travel document an Indian citizen has to possess to enter ‘protected’ areas of the Northeast. The Central government issues the ILP under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, which restricted the entry of ‘British subjects’ or Indians into these areas primarily to protect the British interest in tea and oil. The restriction continued for ‘Citizens of India’ after Independence to protect tribal cultures in the north-eastern region and to regulate movement to certain areas near the international border. Apart from the entire State of Nagaland barring its commercial hub Dimapur, the ILP is applicable in Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram.

Who is an indigenous inhabitant?

Nagaland has 16 recognised tribes — Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Dimasa Kachari, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Kuki, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sumi, Yimchungrü and Zeliang. The Kachari and Kuki are non-Naga tribes while the Zeliang comprises two Naga communities — Zeme and Liangmai. Entry in RIIN is virtually guaranteed for people belonging to these communities.

 Others such as the Gurkhas living in Nagaland prior to statehood (on December 1, 1963) have been recognised as indigenous. But the definition of ‘indigenous inhabitant’ has been elusive because of issues beyond the tribal-non-tribal divide. 


  • There have been concerns over Nagas from other areas such as Manipur getting jobs by claiming to be indigenous besides IBIs (Illegal Bangladeshi Immigrants) “taking over” large swathes of agricultural lands.

  •  Another worry is the Naga custom of adopting new communities such as Sumiya – children of Muslim men and Sumi Naga women – who own cultivable land. Organisations such as the Naga Students’ Federation have called for accommodating ‘Nagas by blood and not by adoption’. Some political parties have asked whether or not the “adopted non-Nagas” will be given indigenous rights. 



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5.  Kharnak nomads- Pashmina wool  (The Hindu Magazine ,Page 06)   


Prelims : Culture

Mains: GS I –History & Culture 


Positive discrimination - Reservation


Kharnak nomads


The Changthang Plateau is a remote region in the Indian Himalayas, inhabited by a nomadic community called Kharnak. They are one of the four major Changpa tribes that collectively produce over 80% of India’s Pashmina wool. Crafts for the Kharnak is about making things which are useful for the nomadic life around animals using their wool. 

As of 2001, the Changpa were classified as a Scheduled Tribe.

Members of the Changpa tribe are the traditional producers of the Pashmina wool in the Ladakh region. Changpa tribes are nomadic people who rear sheep for meat and Pashmina goats for wool in the Changthang plateau of the Kashmir.


Pashmina wool (‘soft gold’ in Kashmiri) is a type of extremely fine cashmere wool. It is obtained by shearing fleece of four distinct breeds of the Cashmere goat. These include:

1. Changthangi or Changra - Kashmir Pashmina goat found in Changthang Plateau in Kashmir region

2. The Malra found in Kargil area in Kashmir region

3. The Chegu from Himachal Pradesh 

4. Chyangara Pashmina from Nepal


Due to the very low diameter of the cashmere fibre, the Pashmina is entirely hand processed. All the steps such as combing, spinning, weaving and finishing are entirely carried out by hand by specialized craft persons to products such as shawls, wraps, throws, scarves, stoles etc. Pashmina mufflers, stoles, and shawls are all part of the modern middle class wardrobe these days.

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amar anand - 09 Jul 2019

Aj bht accha explain kiya sir thank u