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Insights Daily Current Events, February 15, 2014

February 15, 2014


National News-

At 263.20 million tonnes this year, foodgrain production touches a record high

  • Record production of rice, wheat, oilseeds and cotton has contributed to the overall rise in foodgrain output this crop year.
  • As per the second advance estimate put out by Union Agriculture Ministry, 263.20 million tonnes of foodgrain has been produced this year, 3.91 million tonnes more than the 259.29 million tonnes produced in 2011-12, making it the highest ever foodgrain production the country has seen.
  • Record production of rice, wheat, oilseeds and cotton has contributed to the overall rise in foodgrain output this crop year (2013-14).
  • Last year’s production, hit by delayed onset of monsoon, was 257.13 million tonnes.
  • The second advance estimate put out by Union Agriculture Ministryshows rice output at 106.19 million tonnes, as against 105.24 million tonnes produced in 2012-13, and wheat at 95.60 million tonnes compared to 93.51 million tonnes last year.
  • With a new thrust on pulses production through adoption of “pulses villages,” the output this year has gone up to 19.77 million tonnes compared to 18.34 million tonnes last year.
  • Coarse cereal production too increased by 1.5 million tonnes to 41.64 million tonnes.
  • The total oilseeds production this year is expected to be 329.83 lakh tonnes as against 309.43 lakh tonnes last year.
  • Production of rapeseed and mustard is likely to be an all-time high at 82.51 lakh tonnes, compared to 80.29 lakh tonnes last year.
  • Sugarcane output is expected to be 3459.23 lakh tonnes as compared to 3412.00 lakh tonnes last year.

Nirbhaya Keralam Surakshita Keralam- (Fearless Kerala, Secure Kerala)

  • A programme by government-civil society initiative to tackle crimes against women and children
  • It is a continuation of the Union Government’s much touted ‘Nirbhaya’ programme
  • As part of the programme, the state Home Department will form ‘Nirbhaya’ women volunteer groups at panchayat levels.
  • The ‘Nirbhaya’ volunteers will be selected with the support of groups like ‘Kudumbasree’, a women-oriented social organization; ‘Janasree’, a rural development programme for economically weak and socially backward people and various NGOs and other pro-women organizations.
  • Volunteers will be provided training under the state police and equipped with mobile phones and other gadgets
  • The volunteers will visit the house where women are staying alone in their respective localities and keep constant contact with them. They will also take special care of widows and old people who lead a lonely life.
  • The ‘Nirbhaya’ volunteers will help people get the support of police during emergencies.

International News-

Volcano Mount Kelud erupts-

  • Kelud is a volcano located in East Java on Java in Indonesia. Like many Indonesian volcanoes and others on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Kelud is known for large explosive eruptions throughout its history.
  • Kelud erupted on February 13, 2014
  • The eruption sent volcanic ash covering an area of about 500 kilometers in diameter
  • Ash fall occurred in large portion of Java island, from Malang to the east, as well as Central Java and Yogyakarta


Volcanic eruption- Volcanic eruptions arise through three main mechanisms:

There are two types of eruptions in terms of activity, explosive eruptions and effusive eruptions. Explosive eruptions are characterized by gas-driven explosions that propel magma and tephra. Effusive eruptions, meanwhile, are characterized by the outpouring of lava without significant explosive eruption.

On the one extreme there are effusive Hawaiian eruptions, which are characterized by lava fountains and fluid lava flows, which are typically not very dangerous. On the other extreme, Plinian eruptions are large, violent, and highly dangerous explosive events.

The Volcanic Explosivity Index (commonly shortened VEI) is a scale, from 0 to 8, for measuring the strength of eruptions


India and China on Boundary Issue

  • Both agreed that a strong and expanding India-China partnership bodies well for peace and stability in the region and the world.
  • Stressed the need for continuing the momentum of high-level exchanges and enhancing people-to-people ties.
  • Agreed to encourage the holding of regular dialogues between the two Governments on all bilateral issues, including on counter-terrorism, disarmament & international security and maritime affairs on schedule.
  • The discussions were also held on a framework for a resolution of the Boundary Issue which is the second part of the 3-step process earlier agreed to by both side. The 3-step process involves agreements on principles, a framework and, finally, a boundary line. The 3-step process will be based on the Agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question.
  • Both sides also emphasized on continued maintenance of peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas.
  • The Special Representatives also elaborated on possible additional confidence building measures, including the early implementation of the Border Defense Cooperation Agreement signed in October 2013.
  • Both the sides also agreed to have an early meeting in 2014 of the Annual Defense Dialogue.
  • The discussions also focused on regional and international issues of mutual interest including cooperation in the East Asia Summit process as well as developments in West Asia and Afghanistan. They agreed to expand India-China consultations on such subjects.


 China to build world’s longest underwater tunnel

  • China plans to build the world’s longest underwater tunnel beneath the Bohai Sea by 2026, connecting the port cities of Dalian in Liaoning province and Yantai in Shandong province.
  • The blueprint of the ambitious project is expected to be submitted to the State Council of the People’s Republic of China in April 2014.
  • If approved, work could be expected to begin by 2015 or 2016.
  •  123-km underwater tunnel will cost around 220 billion yuan ($36 billion).
  • The length of the tunnel will be more than the combined length of the world’s two longest underwater tunnels – Japan’s Seikan Tunnel and the Channel Tunnel between Britain and France.
  • Using the tunnel, it will take only 40 minutes to travel from Dalian to Yantai.
  •  At the moment it is a 1,400-km drive and it takes eight hours by ferry.
  • The draft plan has two chapters discussing the potential dangers in the project and the emergency plan.
  • Flooding is the biggest safety risk during tunnel construction.