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Insights Daily Current Events, 14 September 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 14 September 2015


Paper 3 Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers

‘Aerobic’ rice cultivation reduces water usage

In recent days, a new form of rice cultivation called aerobic rice cultivation is gaining momentum among rice researchers and farmers. Scientists have said that this approach of rice cultivation called aerobic rice cultivation reduces water use in rice production and increases the water use efficiency.

What is aerobic rice cultivation?

“growing rice plant as irrigated crop like cultivating maize and wheat in aerobic condition, where oxygen is plenty in soil.”

Suitable areas for aerobic rice cultivation:

  • The suitable areas for aerobic rice cultivation includes irrigated lowlands, where rainfall is insufficient to sustain rice production, delta regions where there is delay in water release from reservoir, irrigated system of rice cultivation, where pumping from deep bore well has become so expensive and favourable upland system has access to supplementary irrigation.
  • Accordingly, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, parts of Bihar, Odisha, Karnataka, and eastern Uttar Pradesh are the projected area where there is uneven distribution and frequent occurrence of soil moisture limitation.

Other details:

  • In aerobic rice cultivation, rice is cultivated as direct sown in non-puddle aerobic soil under supplementary irrigation and fertiliser with suitable high yielding rice varieties.
  • aerobic rice cultivation needs suitable rice varieties having the characteristics of both upland and high yielding lowland varieties to get good yield under the new unconventional system of cultivation.
  • National Rice Research Institute (NRRI), Cuttack, situated in Odisha, has developed rice varieties suitable for aerobic rice cultivation and so far six varieties were released suitable for this system which gives higher average yield compared to upland high yielding varieties.


  • Throughout the growing season, aerobic rice field is kept under unsaturated condition and field is irrigated by surface or sprinkler system to keep soil wet. Therefore, water productivity is reported to be higher in aerobic rice and utilises 3,000 to 3,500 litres of water to produce 1 kg of rice compared to rice raised under transplanted flooded system.
  • This system also involves mechanised way of sowing with no puddling, transplanting and no need of frequent irrigation, which reduce labour usage more than 50%, compared to irrigated rice.
  • The early-maturing varieties used in aerobic rice cultivation are with good seedling vigour, responsive to high input and tolerate flooding.
  • The yield of aerobic rice is comparable with transplanted rice and it has been reported from several countries. In environmental point of view, emission of methane is lower substantially in aerobic rice.


  • Constrains in aerobic rice cultivation is increased weed growth, poor crop stand, crop lodging, high percentage of panicle sterility and root-knot nematode infestation.
  • high weed infestation is the major constraint for aerobic rice and cost involved in weed control is higher.
  • And also, due to high infiltration rate of water and imbalanced availability of nitrogen makes the aerobic soil further ailing for micronutrients (iron and zinc) and rise in nematode population. Therefore, efficient nutrient management techniques along with integrated weed management are researchable areas for successful aerobic rice cultivation and research is in progress.
  • Poorly managed field may cause partial to complete failure of crop, which might happen due to weeds and micronutrient non-availability.

Conventional method:

conventional method of rice cultivation utilises 5,000 litres of water for producing one kg of rice than its actual requirement of 3,000 litres. About 2,000 litres is lost due to flooding and seepage losses. Further, decline in water table necessitates the need for improved water-use efficiency and water productivity in agriculture, particularly in rice cultivation.

Sources: The Hindu.


Paper 1 Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Satyabhama who reinvented Mohiniyattam passes away

Kalamandalam Satyabhama, a pioneer who accorded Mohiniyattam a well-knit structure for the first time, died recently at Ottappalam, Kerala.

  • She was known for her experimental reforms in Mohiniyattam.
  • She helped make the traditional art form popular among dance buffs in the state.
  • She has received several awards including the state government’s Nritha Natya Puraskaram and Padmashree.

Mohiniyattam: quick facts

  • Mohiniyattam is it is one of the eight Indian classical dance forms recognized by the Sangeet Natak Akademi. The word Mohini means a maiden who steals the heart of the onlooker.
  • It is perfomed by women.
  • The dance movements are graceful and the costumes are sober and attractive.
  • Mohiniattam follows the Hastha Lakshanadeepika, a textbook for Mudras.
  • Mohiniyattam involves delicate footsteps and subtle expressions.
  • The vocal music for Mohiniattam is classical Carnatic.
  • The basic dance steps of Mohiniattam are the Adavus – Taganam, Jaganam, Dhaganam and Sammisram.
  • Mohiniattam maintains a realistic makeup and simple dressing.
  • The entire technique in Mohiniyattam is of a graceful, gliding movement of the body, a circular use of the torso and a revolving in the half-bent position with the toe and heel used in a flowing rhythmic structure.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.


Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

Irdai to make listing a must for large insurers

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) is all set to make it mandatory for large life insurance companies to list within a specific period. So far, most of the companies have not shown interest in going to public, even after completing 10 years of operations.

  • According to Irdai norms, a company has to be in the insurance business for 10 years to be eligible to list on the equity market. The regulator considers the financial performance, capital structure after offer and solvency margin, among other factors, to give its approval.
  • Private-sector life insurance companies with assets under management (AUMs) of more than Rs 60,000 crore will be the first ones that will have to list.

About IRDAI:

  • Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) is an autonomous apex statutory body which regulates and develops the insurance industry in India.
  • It was constituted by an act of parliament called Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999.
  • The IRDA Act allows private players to enter the insurance sector in India.

Sources: BS, irdai.

Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

FSSAI proposes norms for nutraceuticals, ayurvedic products

Aiming to check mis-labelling of ‘health supplements’, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has come out with gazetted regulations proposing to ban the sale of such products as ‘medicines’.

  • FSSAI has also framed regulations for products based on ayurveda, sidhha, unani and other traditional health systems.
  • FSSAI has proposed to fix the permissible limits of various ingredients used in the products, which are based on traditional health systems.
  • Under the new norms proposed by the authority, companies can not claim that their nutraceuticals and health supplement products are for therapeutic and curative purposes.
  • FSSAI has also proposed the maximum usage levels for cow’s milk, buffalo’s milk, camel’s milk, ghee, curd, butter, honey, gold, gold foil, silver, pearl in ayurveda, siddha and unani ingredients based products.
  • The limit has been fixed as maximum usage levels per day for use as a health or food supplements which are based on ayurveda, siddha and unani.
  • FSSAI said that the benefits of speciality foods containing ingredients based on ayurveda, unani and siddha and other traditional health systems of India, should be shown by science based evidence.

About 60-70% supplements in the nutraceuticals market, which has potential to grow to USD 12.2 billion in the next five years, are fake and such unregistered and unapproved products should be recalled. India accounts for 1.5% of the global nutraceuticals market.

About FSSAi:

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been established under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which consolidates various acts & orders that have hitherto handled food related issues in various Ministries and Departments.

  • It was created for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
  • Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the Administrative Ministry for the implementation of FSSAI.
  • The Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) are appointed by Government of India.
  • The Chairperson is in the rank of Secretary to Government of India.

Important functions performed by the authority:

  • Framing of Regulations to lay down the Standards and guidelines in relation to articles of food and specifying appropriate system of enforcing various standards thus notified.
  • Laying down mechanisms and guidelines for accreditation of certification bodies engaged in certification of food safety management system for food businesses.
  • Laying down procedure and guidelines for accreditation of laboratories and notification of the accredited laboratories.
  • To provide scientific advice and technical support to Central Government and State Governments in the matters of framing the policy and rules in areas which have a direct or indirect bearing of food safety and nutrition .
  • Collect and collate data regarding food consumption, incidence and prevalence of biological risk, contaminants in food, residues of various, contaminants in foods products, identification of emerging risks and introduction of rapid alert system.
  • Creating an information network across the country so that the public, consumers, Panchayats etc receive rapid, reliable and objective information about food safety and issues of concern.
  • Provide training programmes for persons who are involved or intend to get involved in food businesses.

Sources: BS, fssai.