Current Affairs – November 2016

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Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia receives 2016 Sumitra Charat Ram Award

Noted flautist Pandit Hari Prasad Chourasia (78) was conferred 2016 Sumitra Charat Ram Award for lifetime achievement in the field of Indian classical music.

The prestigious award bestowed upon him by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung at a function held in New Delhi.

About Pandit Hari Prasad Chourasia

  • Chaurasia had started learning vocal music at the tender age of 15 from his neighbour Pandit Rajaram.
  • Later, he had switched over to playing the classical flute under the tutelage of Pandit Bholanath Prasanna of Varanasi. He plays in the North Indian tradition.
  • He joined the All India Radio (AIR), Cuttack, Odisha in 1957 and worked as a composer and performer.
  • Awards and Honours: Sangeet Natak Academy (1984), Padma Bhushan (1992), Yash Bharati Sanman (1994), Padma Vibhushan (2000), Dinanath Mangeshkar Award (2000) etc.

About Sumitra Charat Ram Award

  • The prestigious award has been named after Sumitra Charat Ram who had played a key role in revival of the performing arts traditions, specially kathak and Hindustani music in north India.
  • It is bestowed upon individuals who have excelled in field of Indian classical dance and music or other disciplines of Indian art and culture, including theatre during last 15 years.
  • The award carries a purse, citation, shawl and a silver plaque. The past recipients include Pt Birju Maharaj (kathak), Kishori Amonkar (Hindustani vocal), Mayadhar Raut (Odissi), Pt Jasraj (Hindustani vocal) and Kumudini Lakhia (kathak).

Note: Sumitra Charat Ram was also the founder of Shiram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, one of the country’s premier institutions of performing arts.

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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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COP22 adopts Marrakech Action Proclamation

The COP22 to the UNFCC, 12th session of COP of Parties to Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12), and first session of COP of Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1) were held in Marrakech, Morocco.

Nearly 200 nations attending the COP22 to the UNFCC have adopted Marrakech Action Proclamation for Our Climate and Sustainable Development.

The 11-day meeting concluded with all participating member nations collectively reaffirming their commitment to climate action under Paris Agreement adopted in November 2015.

Key Features of Proclamation

  • It is urgent duty of countries to respond global warming which is warming the climate at an alarming and unprecedented rate.
  • It is necessary for rapid entry into force of the Paris Agreement with its ambitious goals, its inclusive nature and its reflection of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities.
  • Countries affirm their commitment to full implementation of the Paris Agreement which also reflects respective capabilities in light of different national circumstances of countries.
  • The nations demanded solidarity with those countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
  • It highlighted the need to support efforts aimed at enhancing their adaptive capacity, to strengthen resilience and to reduce vulnerability of most vulnerable countries.
  • The countries called for an increase in the volume, flow and access to finance for climate projects, alongside improved capacity and technology.
  • Developed Country Parties, reaffirm our $100 billion mobilisation goal.
  • The nations, who are parties to Kyoto Protocol (which does not include the US) should ratify of the Doha Amendment, with its focus on pre-2020 action.
  • Called for urgently raising ambition and strengthening cooperation among the countries to close the gap between current emissions trajectories.
  • Strengthen and support efforts to eradicate poverty, ensure food security and to take stringent action to deal with climate change challenges in agriculture.

Significance

The adaptation of Marrakech Action Proclamation sends out a strong signal to the world on climate action and shift towards a new era of implementation and action on climate and sustainable development.

India has welcomed Marrakesh Action Proclamation as most of its demands including the issue of providing finance to developing nations to tackle climate change has been incorporated.

Doha Amendments to the Kyoto Protocol

  • Doha Amendments to the Kyoto Protocol was made at Doha climate conference in 2012.
  • It was made for extending the obligation of the developed countries under Kyoto Protocol to make targeted cuts in their greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions by 2020.
  • The Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997 had initially assigned GHGs emission cut targets to the developed countries only till 2012.

Why Doha Amendments are important?

  • Developing countries are putting pressure on developed countries not to ignore their commitments under Kyoto Protocol which ends in 2020 and after which Paris Agreement come into existence.
  • Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, Paris Agreement is not legally-binding and it does not assign any emission cut targets on any country.
  • Under Paris Agreement, every country decides for itself the actions that it wants to take to fight climate change.

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