Current Affairs - December, 2019

Current Affairs December, 2019 section is updated daily with latest Current Affairs and Current Events of December, 2019 for UPSC, IAS/PCS, Banking / IBPS, SSC, Railways, CLAT, NDA/CDS, UPPSC, RPSC, BPSC, MPPSC, TNPSC, MPSC, KPSC and other competition exams.

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Facts Box: Illegal farming of Bt Brinjal

Two laboratories confirmed illegal Bt brinjal cultivation in Haryana recently. The samples have also been sent by the Haryana Government to National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR).

Bt Brinjal

In India, Brinjal is grown in around 550,000 hectares. India is the second largest producer of Brinjal after China. However, the most common problem faced in brinjal cultivation is attack from pests and insects. In order to avoid this problem, cry1Ac gene that possess insecticidal protein was injected into brinjal crop. The genes were sourced from soil bacterium. These genetically modified brinjals called Bt Brinjals were approved by Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) in 2009. But was turned down by the then Environment Ministry in 2010.

Commercial cultivation of Bt brinjal is in use in countries like Bangladesh.

Reasons to use Brinjal

The Bt Brinjal will bring down the use of pesticides and the costs will go down. Also, use of Bt Brinjal will increase the yield. This in turn will increase the earnings of farmers improving food security of the country.

Why was it turned down by the ministry?

The impact on human health with the use of Bt Brinjal is not clear. Also, approving Bt Brinjal will open the gates for other Genetically modified food crops, especially mustard.

BPCL’s LPG bottling plant inaugurated in Odisha

The Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) has set up the new state-of-the-art LPG Bottling Plant at Village Barkani in Bolangir district of Odisha. The LPG bottling plant with an annual capacity of filling 42 lakh cylinders has been developed by state-run BPCL.

About BPCL’s LPG Bottling Plant

The LPG bottling plant has been established at an expenditure of Rs. 103 crore rupees and has capacity of manufacturing 42 lakh cylinders annually. It will benefit residents of 14 western Odisha districts.

LPG consumers in Odisha have grown up from 20 lakh 22 thousand in 2014 to 88 lakh 1 thousand in 2019, which is an increase of customer base by 335.71% during the five year period. BPCL which has 21 lakh, 59 thousand customers, in Odisha who consume about 78 lakh cylinders in a year, estimated that this consumption is expected to increase to 105 lakh cylinders by end of 2020.

About Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL)

It is a Maharatna oil and gas company, that function under the control of Government of India. The PSU (public sector undertaking) was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. BPCL operates India’s two large refineries located in Kochi and Mumbai. It India’s 2nd largest downstream oil company and is ranked 275th on Fortune list of world’s biggest corporations as of 2019.

Way Ahead

Odisha will soon have seven LPG bottling plants with two more plants coming up at Bhubaneswar and Rayagada. While current bottling capacity of existing 4 plants is 2 crore 80 lakh cylinders annually, the bottling capacity will increase to 4 crore 6 lakh cylinders annually once all 7 plants start production.