Current Affairs -16 March 2023
News Crux Summit, Seminars & Conferences
On March 15, 2023, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare inaugurated the 5-day cultural program "AgriUnifest" in Bengaluru.
- The event was organized by Bangalore Agricultural University in collaboration with ICAR and had participation from over 2500 talented students from 60 State Agricultural Universities/Deemed Universities/Central Universities.
- The objective of the All India Inter Agricultural University Youth Festival is to integrate Indian agriculture by connecting various Indian cultures, nurturing the talents of the youth of agricultural universities, and appreciating Indian cultural diversity.
- The minister emphasized the importance of utilizing the energy of India's young population and technology in agriculture to bring transparency and eliminate middlemen.
- He also highlighted the success of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme and the Khelo India program to encourage young talent in sports.
Current News Ecology & Environment
A report released on March 16, 2023, has revealed that the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, situated in Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, is currently experiencing a concerning coral breach due to the invasive seaweed species Kappaphycus alvarezii.
- 20 years ago, the intentional introduction of Kappaphycus alvarezii for commercial cultivation took place in Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu.
- Currently, 750 farmers in 18 villages of Ramanathapuram engage in seaweed farming, primarily Kappaphycus.
- Kappaphycus grows rapidly and seeks out live corals to thrive on, unlike native seaweeds that typically grow on dead corals.
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed Kappaphycus as one of the world's 100 most invasive species.
- The Indian government has allocated INR 600 crore to increase seaweed production to 11.85 million tonnes by 2025, which could exacerbate the invasive seaweed problem in the Gulf of Mannar.
- The government's plan to set up a seaweed park in Tamil Nadu could lead to further spread of Kappaphycus.
Current News Science & Technology
On March 7, 2023, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) conducted a successful controlled re-entry of its decommissioned satellite, Megha-Tropiques-1 (MT1).
Megha-Tropiques-1 (MT1) satellite, launched jointly by ISRO and the French space agency, CNES, on October 12, 2011, was designed for tropical weather and climate studies.
- Exceeding Mission Life: Despite exceeding its three-year mission life, MT1 continued to provide valuable data services for over a decade, supporting regional and global climate models until 2021.
- Space Debris Mitigation: In line with the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (UN/IADC) space debris mitigation guidelines, ISRO identified an uninhabited area in the Pacific Ocean between 5°S to 14°S latitude and 119°W to 100°W longitude as the targeted re-entry zone for MT1.
- Significance:The successful controlled re-entry of MT1 has made a significant contribution to the mitigation of space debris risks, as well as to ensuring the safe operations of future space missions.
News Crux Defence/Military Exercises
Exercise Sea Dragon 23
On March 14, 2023, a P8I aircraft of the Indian Navy arrived at Guam, USA, to participate in the third edition of Exercise Sea Dragon 23, conducted by the US Navy. "
- The exercise aims to achieve high levels of synergy and coordination between friendly navies, based on their shared values and commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific.
- It also aims to stress on coordinated anti-submarine warfare among participating countries, with the complexity and scope of the exercises increasing steadily over the past years to include advanced ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) drills.
- Exercise Sea Dragon 23 is a coordinated multi-lateral ASW exercise for Long Range MR ASW aircraft (Medium Range).
- Participating aircraft from India, the US, Japan, Canada, and South Korea will be tested for their capabilities in tracking simulated and live underwater targets while sharing mutual expertise.
- The Exercise will enhance the capabilities of the participating countries in ASW operations, helping to ensure maritime security in the region.
Current News Ecology & Environment
International Day of Action for Rivers
On March 14, 2023, the 26th Anniversary of the International Day of Action for Rivers was celebrated by communities around the world.
- The aim of the day is to raise voices in unison against destructive water development projects, reclaim the health of watersheds, and demand the equitable and sustainable management of rivers.
- The event was organized in India by the Centre for Research and Advocacy (CRA) Manipur.
- The day was dedicated to solidarity, with diverse communities coming together to raise their voices in support of clean and flowing water.
- It highlighted the importance of freshwater ecosystems, and the need for everyone to have a say in decisions that affect their water and their lives.
- It also highlighted the importance of being a protector and voice for rivers, which are central to our lives and the survival of life on earth.
- Despite their importance, freshwater ecosystems are the most threatened in the world, with freshwater species experiencing an 83% decline since 1970, twice the rate experienced within terrestrial or marine ecosystems.
- Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, over 50 direct actions were registered across 23 countries/nation-states, with hundreds more joining in via social media and digital outreach.
- The International Day of Action Against Dams and For Rivers, Water and Lifewas adopted in March 1997, and representatives from 20 countries decided that the International Day of Action for Rivers would take place on March 14.