Govt. suspended LPG subsidy transfer scheme and hiked cylinder quota

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) increased the quota of subsidized domestic LPG cylinders to 12 from 9 annually per household.

  • The Union Government also suspended the direct transfer of LPG subsidy into the consumers’ bank accounts linked to Aadhaar unique identity numbers. Thus, consumers will continue to pay only the subsidized price to their LPG distributors and in turn the public sector oil marketing company will get the subsidy from the Government.
  • The increased subsidy cap will be effective from February 1. Though, for the current fiscal (2013-14) the total number of subsidized cylinders available for each household will be restricted to 11, as there are only two more months left.
  • The increase in cap of cylinders will mean that LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) will be available at a subsidized rate for 97 % of its total consumer base of 140 million.
  • The increases quoto will add another Rs 5,000 crore to the burgeoning subsidy burden on petroleum products, expected to be Rs 141,000 crore this financial year.

Note: In September 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that that Aadhaar cards or Unique Identification number (UID) could not be made mandatory for people to get services or benefits under Government schemes viz. LPG subsidy, transfer benefits, food security, vehicle registration, scholarships, marriage registration, salaries and provident fund, etc, and nobody should be deprived of any such facilities for want of the card. It also rejected the review petition filed by the government on this issue.

Butterfly Bacteria Study revealed certain surprises about Metamorphosis

Scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder sequenced the bacteria of the red postman butterfly to learn more about the insect’s three major stages of life. The new study that has sequenced internal bacteria makeup of a butterfly has revealed some surprise discoveries about metamorphosis. It has shown that the internal microbial make-up of the red postman butterfly changed dramatically from caterpillar to pupa to adult. This is the first time researchers have ever sequenced the entire microbiome of a butterfly. 

  • The red postman is a tropical butterfly found commonly in Central and South America. Scientific name: Heliconius erato.
  • Objective of study: To help the agriculture industry understands why butterflies and caterpillars can be damaging to crops. 
Why the red postman butterfly chose by scientists to study bacteria?

Typically, butterflies feed on nectar and have very short lifespan. However, the red postman butterflies can extract nutrients from the pollen and greatly extend its life. They feed on pollen, known to be rich in amino acids.

 

As per the study

  • The red postman’s internal bacteria split in half upon transitioning from caterpillar to chrysalis. Also known as the pupil stage, the internal bacteria then doubled again when it went from the chrysalis into butterfly adulthood.
  • In other words, the microbial community simplified and reorganized itself during the transition from caterpillar to pupa. The diversity double after the adult butterflies had emerged and began going about their business of feeding.
  • Butterflies are ‘microbial habitats’ for bacteria. Butterflies are ecologically and scientifically important, and their transformation from caterpillar to chrysalis to winged adult is one of the most remarkable phenomena of the natural world.

Objective of the study: The communities of bacteria inhabiting other insects have been shown to affect host nutrition, digestion, detoxification and defense from predators, parasites and pathogens.