Places in News 2017

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Tamil Nadu gets world’s first salt-tolerant plant garden

The world’s first Genetic Garden of Halophytes (naturally occurring salt-tolerant plants) was inaugurated at the coastal town of Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu.

The first of its kind garden in the world was inaugurated by Mauritius President Ameenah Gurib Fakim through video-conferencing.

Key Facts

  • The garden has been set up by M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) founded by eminent agriculture scientist Prof M S Swaminathan, father of Indian Green Revolution.
  • It will have over 1,600 species belonging to 550 genera and 117 families of Halophytes plants.
  • Initially it will comprise halophytes occurring along the coasts of India including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

What are Halophytes?

Halophytes are salt-tolerant or salt-resistant plants. They can thrive and complete their life cycles in soils or waters containing high salt concentrations. They constitute two per cent of terrestrial plant species.

Significance

Halophytes plants are important in the context of increasing salinisation of land especially due sea level rise because of climate change and global warming. In recent times, alarming rise in the sea level has prompted agriculture scientists to call for the cultivation of saline-tolerant crops in light danger of sea intrusion. In future, anticipatory research of these plants could reap rich rewards to mitigate impact of climate change as they can provide food for people, fodder for livestock, bio fuel and also can be used for ornamental purposes.

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Delhi’s air quality very poor: SAFAR

According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) national capital New Delhi’s air quality was recorded in the ‘very poor’ category.

The average (24-hour rolling) of PM2.5 and PM10, suspended respirable pollutants, were recorded as 120.8 and 248 micrograms per cubic metre as against safe limits of 60 and 100.

The poor air quality may lead to respiratory problems, irritation to eyes and skin, blurring of vision and headache.

The major reasons for the poor air quality may due to the favourable cold weather conditions coupled with very light wind, vehicular pollution and farm fires in neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana.

What is System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR)?

  • SAFAR was introduced by Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) for greater metropolitan cities of India to provide location specific information on air quality in near real time.
  • It was developed by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune along with India Meteorological Department (IMD) and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF).
  • The main objective of SAFAR project is to increase awareness among general public regarding the air quality.
  • The purpose awareness for general public is to take appropriate mitigation measures and systematic action for betterment of air quality and related health issues.

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Telangana Government creates 21 new districts

Telangana Government in its the biggest administrative reform has created 21 new districts. With this reorganisation, the total number of districts in the State went up to 31 from 10.

The 21 new districts are: Siddipet, Jayashankar, Jangaon, Jagtial, Yadadri, Warangal (Rural), Peddapally, Sangareddy, Kamareddy, Mancheriyal, Kothagudem, Vikarabad, Rajanna, Asifabad, Suryapet, Wanaparthy, Nirmal, Mahabubabad, Nagarkurnool, Jogulamba and Malkajgiri.

Earlier 10 districts are: Hyderabad, Mahabubnagar, Ranga Reddy,  Karimnagar, Medak, Adilabad, Warangal, Nizamabad, Khammam and Nalgonda.

Background

Earlier, Telangana government had decided to issue an ordinace to amend some provisions of the Telangana District (Formation) Act, 1974 to abridge the process for increasing the number of districts in state beyond 27. Besides, formation of new districts it also has called for reconstitution of revenue divisions and other administrative units along with the new districts.

Why new districts were formed?

  • Telangana came into existence as the 29th State of India on June 2, 2014 after it was carved out of Andhra Pradesh. Since then it was having 10 districts.
  • With this administrative reform, each district on average will have a population of two lakhs to four lakhs except in Hyderabad where the population will be little more
  • Through small districts, state government seek to deliver people-centric welfare schemes and governance to all citizens in the state with greater focus. This system has been adopted based on governance models of Scandinavian countries.

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