Daily Current Affairs 20 February 2024- Top News Of The Day

Nakul Dhawan Avatar
Daily Current Affairs 20 February 2024- Top News Of The Day

1. Farmers Reject Center’s Crop Diversification Proposal Amid Demands for MSP Guarantee

Topic: GS3 – Agriculture – MSP
Regarding crop diversification, agricultural procurement methods, and their effects on Punjab’s and India’s economies, this topic is pertinent to both the Prelims and Mains. These topics are associated with agriculture and its function in the economy.

– In the fourth round of negotiations with farmers who were protesting, the Centre put forth a plan for Punjab’s crop diversification.
– In line with this proposal, five-year contracts for the purchase of five crops—tur, urad, masur, maize, and cotton—at minimum support prices (MSP) would be made available by government-sponsored cooperatives.
– Farmers rejected the proposal despite its innovative nature, and the “Dilli Chalo” protest march is scheduled to continue.

More about the news:Reasons for Pushing Crop Diversification:

  • Due to Punjab’s heavy reliance on the cultivation of wheat and rice, there are worries about groundwater depletion and water usage.
  • In order to minimize water use and slow down environmental deterioration, the plan seeks to diversify crop production.
  • Still, compared to the state’s rice and wheat fields, the area planted with the proposed crops is still much smaller.

Challenges in Crop Diversification:

  • Crop diversification attempts in the past have not been very successful, with declines observed in the areas planted to maize and cotton.
  • The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) has drawn attention to issues like market prices and disposal methods that still exist despite the rise in pulse cultivation.

Procurement Patterns and Challenges:

  • The main procurement organizations are the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), the Food Corporation of India (FCI), and the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED).
  • Punjab’s procurement of cotton has increased slightly, but it is still low when compared to other states.
  • Similar difficulties have been encountered by NAFED’s pulse procurement, such as stock disposal below MSP and fluctuations in market prices.

Recommendations for Addressing Challenges:

  • To improve nutrition without affecting market prices, the CACP recommends looking into alternative disposal mechanisms, such as providing pulses to households in aspirational districts.
  • Furthermore, resolving issues with stock disposal is essential to avoiding market disruptions and guaranteeing farmers receive fair prices.


  • Even though the Center’s proposal was rejected, it is still critical to address issues with crop diversification and procurement procedures.
  • Working together, farmers, government organizations, and other interested parties must create sustainable solutions and advance balanced farming methods in Punjab and elsewhere.

How to improve crop diversification in India?
India must choose crops and cultivars that can adapt to a variety of conditions and farmer preferences.

a) In order to support the crops and varieties among rural livelihoods, India must create appropriate policies for skill development.
b) Further crop diversification should be studied by research organizations like ICAR. 
c) Other than rice and wheat, the government should purchase crops at a Minimum Support Price..  
d) Lower agricultural emissions by using technology to monitor fertilizer application, handle livestock more wisely, and use more productive farming methods.

PYQ: What obstacles does crop diversification face today? In what ways can emerging technologies help diversify crop production? (15 minutes, 250 words) (UPSC GS-3 2021 CSE (M))
Practice Question: Analyze the opportunities and difficulties surrounding the Centre’s proposed crop diversification initiative in Punjab, which was discussed during recent negotiations with farmers who were staging protests. (10 m / 150 words)

2. “Indian Researchers Uncover Link Between La Nina Events and Air Quality Anomalies”

Topic: GS1 – Geography
In light of La Nina events and their effects on weather patterns and air quality, this topic is pertinent for both the preliminary exam and the main exam.

– La Nina events and air quality in India may be related, according to a recent study by Indian scientists from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology and the National Institute of Advanced Studies.
– La Nina, which is defined by the eastern Pacific Ocean cooling, is thought to have had an impact on the winter 2022 air quality in Indian cities, suggesting that climate change may have an indirect effect on air pollution.

More about the news:Impact on Air Quality:

  • Factors Affecting Air Quality: Temperature, moisture content, wind direction, and speed are just a few of the meteorological factors that the study highlights as having an impact on air quality. These elements are essential for capturing pollutants in the atmosphere and moving them around the globe.
  • Deviation from Normal Patterns: The winter of 2022 saw a notable departure from the norm for air quality, in contrast to prior years. While cities in western and southern India, like Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Chennai, reported worse-than-usual air quality, northern Indian cities, like Delhi, experienced cleaner air.

Anomalous Behaviour and Wind Circulation:

  • Shift in Wind Direction: A shift in the direction of the wind was a major factor in the unusual behavior. During the winter of 2022, winds blew from north to south instead of the usual northwesterly direction, which avoided Delhi and moved pollutants to the south.
  • Extended La Nina Effect: Unusual air circulation was caused by the three-year-long La Nina event, which altered wind patterns over India. A high sensitivity to La Nina events was indicated by computer models that compared observed changes to La Nina conditions.

Uncertainties and Further Research:

  • Future Implications: Although the study emphasizes how La Nina affects air quality, questions about El Nino’s effects and the combined effect of La Nina events still need to be answered.
  • To fully understand the intricate relationships between air pollution and climate phenomena, more research is required.


  • The study comes to the conclusion that the unusual trends in air quality during the winter of 2022 were largely caused by changes in wind patterns brought on by La Nina events.
  • It does, however, recognize that local weather factors unrelated to La Nina might have had an impact on pollutant concentrations.
  • The results underscore the complex interplay between climate variability and air quality, underscoring the necessity of thorough investigation and legislative actions to tackle the issue of air pollution in India.

About La Nina
– La Nina means “The Little Girl” in Spanish. It’s called El Viejo, anti-El Nino, or simply “a cold event” in some places.
– La Nina events are times when the sea surface temperature in the east-central Equatorial Pacific falls below average.
– It can be identified by the sea surface temperature falling by more than 0.9°C for at least five seasons lasting three months each.
– When the water temperature in the Eastern Pacific drops noticeably below average, a strong area of high pressure forms over the Eastern Equatorial Pacific, causing a La Nina event.

The Conditions of La Nina.
– La Nina is caused by cooler-than-normal seas that build up in the tropical Pacific, which is the section of the Pacific Ocean between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
– La Nina is characterized by lower-than-normal air pressure over the western Pacific. These low-pressure areas are the cause of the increased rainfall.
– Above-average rainfall totals have also been connected to La Nina events in southeast and northern Africa and Brazil.
– However, strong La Nina events are associated with devastating floods in northern Australia.
– Another characteristic of La Nina is higher-than-normal pressure over the central and eastern Pacific.
– That region experiences fewer clouds and rain as a result.
– The US Gulf Coast, the southern South American pampas region, and the tropical west coast of South America have all reported drier-than-normal weather.

PYQ: Which of the following statements about the “Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD),” which is occasionally mentioned in the news when predicting the Indian monsoon, is/are true? (2017)
1) The difference in sea surface temperature between the tropical Western Indian Ocean and the tropical Eastern Pacific Ocean is what defines the IOD phenomenon.
2) The impact of an El Nino on the monsoon can be influenced by the IOD phenomenon. 

Select the correct answer using the code given below: 
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2 

Ans: (b)
Practice Question: Talk about the ramifications of the latest research by Indian scientists that links anomalies in India’s air quality to La Nina events. Consider how important it is to comprehend this connection for the nation’s public health and environmental management policies. (15 m/250 words)

3. Odysseus: A Private Lunar Mission Aims for Moon Landing, Ushering in a New Age of Space Travel

Topic: GS3 – Science & Technology – Developing New technology- Space
In the context of comprehending the dynamics of space exploration, including the involvement of private companies such as Intuitive Machines, this topic is pertinent for both Prelims and Mains.

– An ambitious attempt to set foot on the Moon was marked by the launch of a robotic lunar lander into space.
– If successful, it is expected to land on February 22, making it the first American spacecraft to do so since Apollo 17’s moon landing in 1972.
– After three failed attempts by different entities to reach the Moon’s surface, the spacecraft, named Odysseus, is the first private attempt to do so.

More about the news:Naming Inspiration:

  • The name “Odysseus” for the spacecraft comes from a competition among staff members of Intuitive Machines, the Houston-based company leading the mission.
  • The name’s proposer, engineer Mario Romero, compared it to Greek mythology’s epic journey of Odysseus.
  • Romero compared the difficulties, disappointments, and delays of the lunar mission to Odysseus’s grueling journey across the wine-dark sea, where he finally emerged victorious and made his way back home after a ten-year odyssey.

Significance of the Mission:

  • Significant ramifications for space exploration resulted from Odysseus’s successful landing, especially with regard to cost-effectiveness and larger lunar exploration initiatives.
  • The mission is a joint venture between NASA and private enterprises under the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, with the goal of increasing lunar exploration capabilities.
  • The mission’s principal customer is NASA, and among its payloads are a radio receiver and a stereo camera.
  • Increased cooperation and exploration opportunities may result from private companies’ successful lunar missions, which have been completed at a lower cost than traditional NASA missions.

Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) Program:

  • Rather than NASA building and running its own moon landers, Odysseus is a part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program (CLPS), which aims to use commercial enterprises to send experiments to the Moon.
  • The cost-effectiveness of the CLPS program continues to be a motivating factor despite the inherent risks connected with commercial space endeavors, including the expectation that half of the missions may fail.
  • Experts emphasized that the program is a viable and promising route for lunar exploration because, even in the event of mission failures, the cost savings over conventional missions are substantial.


  • The successful launch of Odysseus signifies a noteworthy achievement in the partnership between commercial enterprises and NASA, providing the possibility of financial benefits as well as increased prospects for lunar exploration and scientific study.

About Intuitive Machines
– Houston, Texas serves as the corporate home of American business Intuitive Machines.
– Tim Crain, Kam Ghaffarian, and Stephen Altemus founded it in 2013.
– Full-service space exploration provider Intuitive Machines offers extreme lunar mobility, lunar data services, and lunar access, among other things.
– The most frequently awarded commercial lunar program by NASA is Intuitive Machines.
– The company is planning three missions to place commercial and NASA payloads in orbit and on the moon.

PYQ: Consider the following statements: (2016) 
The Mangalyaan launched by ISRO

1) is also called the Mars Orbiter Mission
2) made India, after the United States, the second nation with a spacecraft orbiting Mars.
3) made India the only nation to successfully launch a spacecraft into orbit around Mars on its first try.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? 
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (c)
Practice Question: Talk about the National Quantum Mission’s (NQM) importance in light of India’s technological achievements. Emphasize its goals, possible effects on economic expansion, and its contribution to India’s global standing in the field of quantum technologies. Additionally, describe the cooperative strategy that startups, industry, and academia are using to implement NQM. (15 m/250 words)

4. Court instructs Central government to use the definition of “forest” as found in a dictionary.

Topic: GS2 – Judiciary, GS3 – Environment and Ecology.
Critical for UPSC as it involves judicial scrutiny of environmental policies, impact on forest conservation, and legal interpretation.

– In opposition to the 2023 Forest Conservation Act amendments, the Supreme Court orders the government to uphold a broad definition of “forest,” encompassing 1.97 lakh sq km of undeclared forest lands.

Additional information on this news:

  • For the time being, the government is required by the Supreme Court to uphold the “broad and all-encompassing” definition of the term “forest.”
  • 1.97 lakh square km of unreported forest lands falling under the definition of “forest” are included in the order.
  • The directive is in response to petitions that contested the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980’s 2023 amendments, which were said to have narrowed the definition of “forest.”
  • Declared forests and lands designated as forests in “government records” after 1980 were divided into different categories by the amended Act.
  • The government has been ordered by the court to return to the “dictionary meaning” of the term “forest,” as per its 1996 ruling, until the States and Union Territories combine their records of lands classified as “forest.”
  • The guidelines in the T.N. Godavarman Thirumulpad case should be followed while this consolidation is taking place.
  • By March 31, the Union government must give the States and Union Territories instructions on how to turn in detailed records of their identified forest lands.
  • By April 15, the Environment Ministry must post these records on its website.
  • The court claims that the top court must give its final approval before “zoos or safaris” can be established.

Amendments to the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 – in 2023
In 2023, the Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 experienced notable modifications. Here is a rundown of the main modifications:

Inclusion: Lands designated as forests in official government records as of October 25, 1980, are now covered by the Act.
Exclusion: The Act no longer applies to land that was converted to a non-forest use before December 12, 1996. Furthermore, there are particular exceptions for:
– For national security projects, land should be located within 100 km of India’s border.
– Small roadside amenities.
– Public roads leading to a habitation.

Activities requiring permission:
– the removal of forest reserves.
– using forest land for uses other than forests.
– granting private entities ownership of forest land.
– removing naturally occurring trees in order to replant them.

– The central government’s influence over decisions about forest conservation is strengthened by the amendments.

Other noteworthy changes:
– A revision to the definition of “forest” may exclude some previously protected forest categories.
– The Act now acknowledges the recording of forests by the community, which may open the door for additional protective measures.

Concerns and criticisms:
– Concerns have been raised by activists and environmentalists that the amendments will weaken the protection of forests by:
-Making it easier to divert forest land for development projects.
– decreasing openness and involvement of the public in decision-making.
– possibly having an effect on ecological balance and biodiversity.
PYQ: Consider the following statements: (2019) 
1. Residents of forested areas are entitled to cut down any bamboo that grows there, according to a recent amendment to the Indian Forest Act, 1927.
Bamboo is classified as a minor forest produce under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
Ownership of small amounts of forest produce is permitted for forest dwellers by the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forests Rights) Act, 2006.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
[A] 1 and 2 only
[B] 2 and 3 only
[C] 3 only
[D] 1, 2 and 3 

Answer: B
Practice Question: Analyse the 2023 modifications to the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 critically, taking into account how they might affect India’s efforts to conserve its forests. (10 m / 150 words)

5. Satyendra Nath Bose revolutionised physics a century ago.

Topic: GS3 – Science and Technology
UPSC relevance: Understanding fundamental physics requires knowledge of Bose’s quantum contributions, Planck’s law derivation, and quantum statistics.

– This article delves into Satyendra Nath Bose’s significant 1924 discovery in quantum theory, his work on Planck’s law of black-body radiation, and his unravelling of photon behaviour equations.


  • A key piece of the puzzle of quantum physics was introduced in 1924 by Satyendra Nath Bose, a lecturer at Dhaka University, during the turbulent emergence of quantum theory.
  • Bose’s groundbreaking work on photon behaviour was initially rejected by a journal, but Albert Einstein saw it and translated and submitted the paper, which launched Bose’s important contribution to quantum theory.

Early Years and Friendship with Meghnad Saha:

  • Bose, who was born in Calcutta in 1894, was gifted mathematically from an early age.
  • Teaching at Rajabazar Science College, Bose and Meghnad Saha immersed themselves in the rapidly developing field of quantum physics, translating English translations of Einstein’s general relativity papers.

Challenge of New Physics:

  • The challenge to classical understanding posed by Einstein’s theory of relativity ushered in a revolutionary era for physics.
  • After relocating to Dhaka University, Bose began teaching Planck’s law of black-body radiation, a subject he found difficult to adequately explain.

Planck’s Law and Quantum Mechanics:

  • The idea of quantized energy was first introduced by Max Planck’s law, which was derived incorrectly in 1900.
  • By removing classical physics from the equation and demonstrating that Planck’s law is a statistical characteristic of photons, Bose made a significant contribution to the development of quantum statistics.

Bose’s Derivation and Quantum Statistics:

  • Bose’s approach proved that Planck’s formula applied to the energy distribution of radiation quanta, based on findings from Compton and Einstein.
  • Paul Dirac later clarified that Bose’s paper, which showed that the total number of photons is not conserved, laid the groundwork for quantum statistics.

Legacy and Conclusion:

  • Even though Bose published little, his work was seminal, and Paul Dirac went on to formalise Bose’s statistics into two categories for fundamental particles: bosons and fermions.
  • Bose’s impact on quantum theory is compared to a bright comet that only once in a lifetime made a lasting impression.

PYQ: Talk about Prof. Satyendra Nath Bose’s “Bose-Einstein Statistics” work and demonstrate how it transformed physics. (150 words, 10 seconds) (CSE (M) GS-3, UPSSC 2018)

6. Why are conflicts between people and wildlife in Kerala getting worse?

Topic: GS3 – Environment – Conservations
essential to UPSC because it assesses applicants on environmental concerns, conservation tactics, and the socioeconomic effects of conflicts between people and wildlife.

– The paper addresses the growing human-animal conflict in Kerala, India, which it attributes to factors such as habitat loss and population growth. It also suggests some solutions, one of which is the creation of Eco Sensitive Zones.

More details on this story: The extent of animal-human conflict in Kerala

  • Nearly 30% of Kerala’s land is covered in forests, which causes agricultural plantations and human settlements to be located close to wildlife habitats.
  • Human-animal conflict incidents have sharply increased; since 2015, over 600 people have died in these incidents.
  • According to a State Forest Department study, there were 1,004 areas with conflict and over 48,000 instances of crop damage between 2013–14 and 2018–19.

Causes of Increase in Human-Wildlife Conflict:

  • increased farming close to areas used by wildlife, alterations to crop rotation, and nocturnal human movement.
  • Elephant and tiger populations are increasing as a result of conservation efforts.
  • Plant biodiversity is impacted by invasive species, monoculture, and habitat loss and fragmentation.

Proposed Solutions and Challenges:

  • Elephant-proof trenches and solar fences work well when kept up, but they are frequently destroyed or broken.
  • To keep animals off of agricultural areas, the forest department suggests installing power fences and implementing an eco-restoration strategy.
  • Drone-based early warning systems are recommended, but they are not frequently used.

Connection to Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) Norm:

  • One suggestion to lessen conflicts between humans and wildlife is the Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) norm.
  • Owing to a lack of land and a high population density, the Kerala Legislative Assembly advocates for exemption from ESZ.
  • challenges with implementation because of human proximity to wildlife habitats.


  • In conclusion, there is a serious conflict between humans and animals in Kerala, mostly involving elephants, wild boars, and other animals.
  • Physical barriers, eco-restoration, and early warning systems are some of the suggested remedies; however, problems with species-specific concerns and human interference still exist.
  • The proposed solution, the ESZ norm, presents implementation challenges in a state with a high population density and limited land supply.
Practice Question: In light of socioeconomic considerations and the significance of Eco Sensitive Zones, how can effective conservation strategies reduce conflict between humans and animals in Kerala? (10 m / 150 words)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *