Prelim Snippets- 10.02.2020

1. Arsenic-Resistance Rice

  • Recently, the researchers have developed and commercialised a rice variety that is resistant to arsenic.
  • West Bengal is among the States with the highest concentration of arsenic in groundwater, across seven districts having higher arsenic levels than permissible limits.
  • The new rice variety, Muktoshri also called IET 21845 was developed jointly by the Rice Research Station at Chinsurah under West Bengal’s Agriculture Department and the National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow.
  • A gazette notification for the commercial use of Muktoshri was issued by West Bengal last year.
  • The seeds available for cultivation came after successful trials in both the wet season and the dry season in different blocks of the State.
  • The trials were done in areas with arsenic contamination in groundwater
  • This variety absorbs very less amount of arsenic from soil and water than the other varieties of rice.
Impacts of Arsenic:
  • According to the World Health Organization, long-term exposure to arsenic, mainly through drinking water and food, can lead to poisoning.
  • Skin lesions and skin cancer are the most characteristic effects.

2.Basmati Rice

Why in News?
  • Scientists have recently mapped the complete genome of two basmati rice varieties.
  • Basmati is a variety of long, slender-grained aromatic rice which is traditionally from the Indian subcontinent. As of 2018-19, India exported to 65% of the overseas basmati rice market, while Pakistan accounted for the remainder.
  • The researchers focused on two basmati rice varieties: Basmati 334 from Pakistan, known to be drought tolerant and resistant to rice-killing bacterial blight, and Dom Sufid from Iran, aromatic long-grain rice.
  • In 2016, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) registered Basmati Rice as a product with Geographical Indication (GI).
  • According to the Indian Government agency APEDA, a rice variety is eligible to be notified as Basmati if it has a minimum average precooked milled rice length of 6.61 mm and average precooked milled rice breadth of up to 2 mm, among other parameters.
  • The recent findings also show that basmati rice is a hybrid of two other rice groups.
  • Most genetic material in basmati comes from japonica —a rice group found in East Asia — followed by the rice group aus found in Bangladesh.

3.No more ban on Mask, Gloves

Why in news?
  • The government has recently removed surgical masks and gloves from the list of banned export items.
  • Last month, the government put a ban on exports of all kinds of personnel protecting equipment, including clothing and masks, used to protect people from airborne particles amidst outbreak of novel coronavirus.
  • In its latest notification, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has items such as surgical masks and all gloves except NBR gloves are allowed freely for export.
About Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT)
  • It is agency of Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • It is responsible for administering laws regarding foreign trade and foreign investment in India and for execution of India’s import and export Policies.
  • It provides a complete searchable database of all exporters and importers of India.

4. Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

Why in News?
  • Recently, rejuvenation camp for captive elephants was inaugurated inside the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR).
  • Mudumalai Tiger Reserve is located in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu state at the tri-junction of three states, viz, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • It is a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (1st Biosphere Reserve in India) along with Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary(Kerala) in the West, Bandipur National Park (Karnataka) in the North, Mukurthi National Park and Silent Valley in the South.
  • The name Mudumalai means “the ancient hill range”. Indeed, it is as old as 65 million years when Western Ghats were formed.
  • Flora of the Reserve includes tall grasses, commonly referred to as ‘Elephant Grass’, Bamboo of the giant variety, valuable timber species like Teak, Rosewood, etc.
  • Fauna includes flagship Species such as the Tiger and Asian Elephant. Other species includes the Indian Gaur, Spotted Deer, Common Langur, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Wild Dog, and Jungle Cat among others.
  • Reserve has got a wide variety of more than 260 species of birds. 8% of bird species found in India are recorded in Mudumalai. This includes rare birds like Malabar grey hornbill, Malabar pied hornbill, Malabar laughing thrush among others.

5. Pangolins

Why in news?
  • Recently, the Scientists investigating the animal origins of the novel coronavirus said pangolins could be responsible for the spread of the virus to humans in China.
About Pangolin:
  • There are a total of eight pangolin species across Africa and Asia.
  • They are listed under threatened in IUCN red list. It has the highest protection under CITES. The international trade of Pangolins has been banned.
  • According to the latest report released by TRAFFIC, Pangolin is the most trafficked mammal in the world.
  • Though hunted for its meat across the north-eastern States and in central India, it is in huge demand for its scales in China.
  • The Indian Pangolin, is now critically endangered and disappearing fast.
Share Socially