Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 13 August 2023

India's first Agricultural Data Exchange (ADeX)

GS Paper - 3 (Economy)

The government of Telangana, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) launched India's first Agricultural Data Exchange (ADeX) in Hyderabad. The Telangana government also launched the Agriculture Data Management Framework (ADMF) - a framework for facilitating consent-based responsible data sharing.

More about Exchange

  • Developed as a digital public infrastructure (DPI) for the agriculture sector, ADeX is an open-sourceopen-standard, and interoperable public good.
  • The software platform facilitates a secure, standards-based exchange of data between agricultural data users (agri application developers) and agricultural data providers (government agencies, private companies, NGOs, universities, etc.).
  • ADMF is applicable to all government departments dealing with agricultural activities, as well as, all agriculture information users and providers. The framework provides a grievance redressal mechanism.
  • Both ADeX and ADMF provide the right platform to ensure fair and efficient usage of agricultural data by the industry and startups and provide a big boost to the data economy specifically in the agriculture sector.
  • These initiatives help Telangana lead the country in using innovation and technology to drive food systems transformation and improve the livelihoods of farmers."
  • Data and digital ecosystems are critical for responsible innovation in the agriculture sector.
  • The agriculture data exchange and the agriculture data management framework highlight the power of multi-stakeholder communities and collective action in addressing complex challenges in the agriculture sector.


Katchatheevu island a political issue

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

Ahead of Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremsinghe’s visit to New Delhi, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin wrote to PM Modi requesting him to retrieve the island. The transfer of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka, by the Union government, without the state government’s consent, has deprived Tamil Nadu fishermen’s rights and adversely impacted their livelihoods.

Where is the island of Katchatheevu?

  • Katchatheevu is a 285-acre uninhabited speck in the Palk Strait, between India and Sri Lanka.
  • It is no more than 1.6 km in length and slightly over 300 m wide at its broadest point.
  • It lies northeast of Rameswaram, about 33 km from the Indian coast. It is about 62 km southwest of Jaffna, at the northern tip of Sri Lanka, and 24 km away from the inhabited Delft Island, belonging to Sri Lanka.
  • The only structure on the island is an early 20th century Catholic shrine – St Anthony’s church. During an annual festival, Christian priests from both India and Sri Lanka conduct the service, with devotees from both India and Sri Lanka making the pilgrimage.
  • This year, 2,500 Indians made the journey to Katchatheevu from Rameswaram for the festival.
  • Katchatheevu is not suited for permanent settlement as there is no source of drinking water on the island.

What is the island’s history?

  • The island is relatively new in the geological timescale, being the product of a 14-century volcanic eruption.
  • In the early medieval period, it was controlled by the Jaffna kingdom of Sri Lanka. In the 17th century, control passed to the Ramnad zamindari based out of Ramanathapuram, about 55 km northwest of Rameswaram.
  • It became part of the Madras Presidency during the British Raj. But in 1921, both India and Sri Lanka, at the time British colonies, claimed Katchatheevu in order to determine fishing boundaries.
  • A survey marked Katchatheevu in Sri Lanka, but a British delegation from India challenged this, citing ownership of the island by the Ramnad kingdom.

What is the agreement now?

  • In 1974, Indira Gandhi made attempts to settle the maritime border between India and Sri Lanka, once and for all.
  • As a part of this settlement, known as the ‘Indo-Sri Lankan Maritime agreement’, Indira Gandhi ‘ceded’ Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka.
  • At the time, she thought the island had little strategic value and that ceasing India’s claim over the island would deepen its ties with its southern neighbour.
  • Moreover, as per the agreement, Indian fishermen were still allowed to access Katchatheevu “hitherto”. Unfortunately, the issue of fishing rights was not ironed out by the agreement.
  • Sri Lanka interpreted Indian fishermens’ right to access Katchatheevu to be limited to “rest, drying nets and for visit to the Catholic shrine without visa”.
  • Another agreement in 1976, during the period of Emergency in India, barred either country from fishing in the other’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
  • Again, Katchatheevu lay right at the edge of the EEZs of either country, retaining a degree of uncertainty with regards to fishing rights.


Fifth Force of Nature discovered

GS Paper - 3 (Science and Technology)

Scientists at the Fermilab situated near Chicago have claimed to have discovered a new force or the fifth force of nature. If proven, this may be the beginning of a new revolution in physics and could prove to be the most significant discovery after Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

What is the Fifth Force of Nature?

  • The entire universe is governed by four forcesgravityelectromagnetismthe weak force, and the strong force. Now, scientists claim to have found a new force or the fifth force.

How was the Fifth Force of Nature discovered?

  • In an experiment called ‘g-2’ or ‘g minus 2’ at Fermilab, the researchers accelerated sub-atomic particles called muons through a 50-meter diameter ring and circulated these particles 1,000 times at near light speed and found that these particles did not behave the way they should.
  • Their behaviour cannot be explained by the current theory called the Standard Model because these particles were under the influence of a new force.
  • Muons are electron-like sub-atomic particles that orbit atoms, but they are 200 times bigger.
  • In the experiment, they were made to wobble using superconducting magnets. But they wobbled faster than predicted by the Standard Model. This might be caused by a new force or the fifth force.
  • The scientists at Europe’s Large Hadron Collider are also trying to find flaws in the Standard Model.
  • Dr. Mitesh Patel from Imperial College London is one of those thousands of scientists who are working at the LHC, trying to find experimental results showing the flaws in the Standard Model.
  • The measuring behaviour that does not comply with the Standard Model is the holy grail of particle physics and it may trigger a revolution that may begin a new understanding of physics.

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