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Insights Daily Current Events, 15 February 2016

Insights Daily Current Events, 15 February 2016



Paper 1 Topic: geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

Antarctica influencing weather in tropics

Scientists at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement West Antarctic Radiation Experiment (AWARE) project are coming to grips with how weather in Antarctica is influencing climate as far away as the tropics. The study examines the physics of the clouds over Antarctica.

  • The project gains importance as it studies the skies above Antarctica for answers to questions such as how climate change and associated atmospheric physics are affecting Antarctica and how the ripple effects of these phenomena are being felt thousands of miles away in the mid latitudes and the tropics.
  • The project by the United States is located at Mc Murdo station in Antarctica.

Details of the project:

  • The temperature gradient between the equator and the poles essentially drives the atmospheric circulation in the southern hemisphere in the form of three north-south systems: the polar cell, the mid-latitude Ferrel cell and the tropical Hadley cell. These cells are dynamically linked together.
  • The project will observe how climate change affects the polar region as it has been determined that when the polar region warms, the location of the boundary between the polar and Ferrel cells will change, along with the strength of circulation in both cells.
  • This in turn will influence the strength of tropical circulation on the other side of the Ferrel cell. These linkages between polar regions and mid- and tropical latitudes are known as teleconnections.
  • During the study, scientists have observed that a change in Antarctic cloud properties that led to a warming of Antarctica weakened the Southern Hemisphere Ferrel cell, and allowed the Hadley Cell on the other side to strengthen, which in turn resulted in more rainfall due to increased latent heat release over Southern Hemisphere tropical regions.
  • An expanding Hadley cell is generally expected to result from a globally warming atmosphere, so the Antarctic warming from cloud property change is a positive feedback on a warming climate.

Another important feature being studied is the winds that traverse in the form of storm tracks across Antarctica’s atmosphere and their effect on Antarctica’s climate. However, one established trend due to global warming is the slight southward shift of the storms and the intrusion of warm air which led to the breaking away of a large ice-shelf. Also, the frequency of warm and moist air intrusions over West Antarctica generated by storms in the Ross and western Amundsen Seas, is a hypothesis under study by AWARE.

Antarctica acts as a global heat sink. Near the equator the Sun is highest in the sky and insolation (solar radiation reaching the surface) is larger than thermal radiation loss to space. At the South Pole during winter there is no insolation and the Antarctic continent loses energy to space. Energy and warmth transported over the Antarctic continent by global circulation patterns is lost to space by radiative cooling.

sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Land reforms in India.

States want amendments in tenancy laws with prospective effect

A group of states constituted sometime ago to look for measures to enhance investment in agriculture and reforms in land leasing have recommended that any move to amend tenancy laws should only be with prospective effect to protect the rights of existing tenants.

  • This comes at a time when the centre is moving forward to prepare a model land leasing Bill to legalise tenancy.
  • Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal, Manipur, Punjab and Tripura were part of the group.

Important recommendations made by the group:

  • The proposed model Land Lease Act should be framed by as early as 2016-end.
  • The model Act should also entitle and facilitate tenants including sharecroppers with access to bank credit, crop insurance, disaster relief and other public support system.
  • Increase the level of refinance for co-operatives from 40% to 60%.
  • Issue tax-free bonds such as the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development to fund irrigation projects.
  • A technical group on crop insurance and credit flow to agriculture suggested that 10 million new farmers be brought under the credit ambit in the next three years so that all farmers get covered.
  • Few states have also asked the Centre to launch a Pradhan Mantri Kisan Dhan Yojana to enable farmers to access the crop loans in the Jan Dhan account based on scale of finance and increase the share of agriculture in the priority sector lending from 18% to 25%.

On organic farming, the group comprising Sikkim, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Goa, Kerala, Andaman & Nicobar, Dadra & Nagar Haveli suggested creation of a National Institute for Research and Centre of Excellence in states and export subsidy for organic products.


APMC reforms have been stuck for ages for want of states’ participation. And hence, now it is clear that states’ advice is significant because actual ground work on changing the land leasing Acts will have to be done by the states as land is a state subject. The Centre can at best urge the states to amend their land leasing laws and legalise tenancy, something which it has failed to do with the model Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act.

sources: bs.


Paper 3 Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

Panel suggests more freedom for India Inc

A panel constituted to suggest amendments in the Companies Act, 2013 has submitted its report to the government.

  • The panel was headed by corporate affairs secretary Tapan Ray.

Major recommendations:

  • A firm to be called associate company only when the parent firm owns 20 per cent of voting power in it.
  • Insider trading and forward dealing provisions to be removed from the Act as Sebi regulations already exist.
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of India’s regulatory powers to be taken away; National Financial Reporting Authority would be formed.
  • Independent directors should not have any pecuniary relationship – where it is getting material benefits – with the company.
  • Small frauds of less than Rs 10 lakh not to be considered under harsh provisions.
  • Private placement process to be simplified, doing away with separate offer letter, making valuation details public.
  • Incorporation process to be made easier, allowing greater flexibility to companies.
  • Self-declarations to replace affidavits from subscribers to memorandum and first directors.
  • Managerial remuneration to need only shareholders’ approval. No need for government approval.

sources: bs.


Paper 3 Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

Import of duty-free capital goods for power sector banned

To support domestic manufacturing, the government has barred duty-free import of capital goods for power generation and transmission projects under the Export Promotion Capital Goods Scheme.

  • The EPCG scheme allows zero-duty import of capital goods on the condition that goods produced be exported worth six times of the duty saved under the scheme in six years.


  • The impact of this ban is minimal on domestic producers because they do not export much to comply with the obligation under the EPCG scheme.
  • Small capital goods producers have hailed the move. This decision will have a positive impact on the indigenous power equipment industry. In the past few years, the domestic power equipment capacity was underutilised as cheap imports flooded the market and orders shrank.
  • This order would provide small producers the much-needed level playing field. This would also encourage ‘Make in India’.

The EPCG scheme was launched by the government in the early 1990s with an aim to allow exporters to import machinery and equipment at affordable prices to facilitate production of quality products for the export market.

sources: bs.