Current Affair – May 25, 2021

Maratha Military Architecture

  • The Maharashtra government has submitted a tentative “serial” nomination seeking the World Heritage Site tag for 14 forts from the era of 17th century Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on the theme of Maratha Military Architecture in Maharashtra.
  • The serial nomination was forwarded by the Archaeological Survey of India to UNESCO through the Ministry of Culture. UNESCO has accepted the nomination in Tentative Lists of its World Heritage Site.
  • According to the World Heritage Convention’s operational guidelines, a tentative list is an “inventory” of properties a country believes deserves to be a World Heritage Site. After UNESCO includes a property in the Tentative List, that country has to be prepare a nomination document that will be considered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.


  • World Heritage Site is a location with an “outstanding universal value”.
  • This signifies “cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity”.

The 14 Forts in Maharashtra’s proposal

Raigad FortOriginally called Rairi, it is built on a large wedge of a hill in the Sahyadris, separated from the main range by a ravine. The capital fort of the Maratha Empire, it was rebuilt for the coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Rajgad FortHill fort in Pune district, capital of the Maratha Empire under Chhatrapati Shivaji for almost 26 years, before the capital moved to the Raigad Fort.
Shivneri FortNear Junnar in Pune district. Shivaji’s birthplace , it consists of 7 gates. It is an example of Bahamani/ Nizamshahi architecture providing a backdrop to narrative of guerrilla warfare.
Torna FortFort in Pune district, captured by Shivaji in 1646, when he was 16, and marked the beginning of the Maratha empire.
LohagadClose to Lonavala, it overlooks one of the most picturesque valleys and is believed to have been built in the 14th century. It is an example of Maratha hill fort architecture until Peshwa period.
Salher FortOne of the highest forts in the Sahyadris, located in Dolhari range of Nashik. The fort witnessed a key battle in 1672 between Marathas and Mughals.
Mulher FortIn Nashik; one of three forts situated on a hill, flanked by Mora to the east and Hatgad to the west. The surrender of Mulher ended the third Maratha War.
Rangana FortIn Kolhapur, bordering Sindhudurg. Aurangzeb tried to conquer it along with Bhudargad and Samangad in his Deccan campaign, did not succeed.
AnkaiTankai FortsIn Nashil district, Ankai and Tankai are separate forts on adjacent hills, with a common fortification wall.
Kasa FortPopularly known as Padmadurg, built on a rocky island off coast of Murud, and provided a base for naval military operations.
Sindhudurg FortBuilt by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1668, This sea fort is considered a masterpiece in military defence..
Alibag FortPopularly known as Kulaba Fort, it was chosen as one of the forts to be modelled as a naval base by Chhatrapati Shivaji.
SuvarnadurgBuilt on an island, it was repaired and strengthened by Shivaji Maharaj in 1660.
Khanderi FortKhanderi, officially named as Kanhoji Angre Island in 1998, is 20 km south of Mumbai. Built in 1679, Khanderi Fort was the site of many battles between Shivaji Maharaj’s forces and the navy of the Siddhis.
Source: Indian Express

Invasive white flies

  • The first invasive whitefly reported was from Kerala in 1995. It has now spread across the country.
  • A study has now detailed the damage caused by the pest. It extracted genomic DNA from individual adult white flies and explained in detail about eight invasive species found in India.


  • Most of these whitefly species are native to the Caribbean is lands or Central America [or both]. It is difficult to pin point how they entered our country. Most probably a nymph or baby insect may have come along with imported plants. Nowadays with globalisation, it is also possible that tourists may have brought the insect along with plants.

·   The first reported invasive spiralling whitefly Aleurodicusdispersus is now distributed throughout India except Jammu & Kashmir.

  • The rugose spiralling whitefly which was reported in Pollachi, Tamil Nadu in 2016 has now spread throughout the country including the islands of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep. Approximately 1.35 lakh hectares of coconut and oil palm in India are affected by the rugose spiralling whitefly.

Reason behind spread

  • The host range of all of the invasive whiteflies was increasing due to their polyphagous nature (ability to feed on va- rious kinds of food) and prolific breeding.
  • Aleurodicus dispersus and Aleurodicus rugioperculatus have been reported on over 320 and 40 plant species, respectively.

Other invasive white flies were also found to expand their host range on valuable plants species, especially coconut, banana, mango, sapota, guava, cashew, oil palm, and ornamental plants such as bottle palm, false bird of paradise, butterfly palm and important medicinal plants.


  • White flies are difficult to control by using synthetic insecticides, and hence currently naturally occurring insect predators, parasitoids and entomopathogenic fungi (fungi that can kill insets) are being used. They are not just environmentally friendly but also economically feasible.
  • Entomopathogenic fungi specific to white flies are isolated, purified, grown in the lab or mass-produced and applied into the white fly infested field in combination with the release of lab reared potential predators and parasitoids,
  • Continuous monitoring of the occurrence of invasive species, their host plants and geo graphical expansion is needed, and if required, import of potential natural enemies for bio control programmes can also be carried out.
Source: The Hindu

Naming of cyclones

  • Whenever a cyclone hits a country, the first thing that strikes the minds of most are what these names mean.
  • Tauktae cyclone was named by Myanmar, means “gecko” — a highly vocal lizard — in Burmese dialect.
  • Yaas has been named by Oman. Yaas refers to a tree that has a good fragrance and in English; the word is similar to Jasmine.

How are the cyclones named?

  • In 2000, a group of nations called WMO/ESCAP (World Meteorological Organisation/United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific), which comprised Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand, decided to start naming cyclones in the region. After each country sent in suggestions, the WMO/ESCAP Panel on Tropical Cyclones (PTC) finalised the list.
  • The WMO/ESCAP expanded to include five more countries in 2018 — Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

The list of 169 cyclone names released by IMD in April 2020 were provided by these countries — 13 suggestions from each of the 13 countries.

Why is it important to name cyclones?

  • Adopting names for cyclones makes it easier for people to remember, as opposed to numbers and technical terms.
  • It also helps the scientific community, the media, disaster managers etc.
  • With a name, it is easy to identify individual cyclones, create awareness of its development, rapidly disseminate warnings to increased community preparedness and remove confusion where there are multiple cyclonic systems over a region.

What are the guidelines to adopt names of cyclones?

While picking names for cyclones, here are some of the rules that countries need to follow. If these guidelines are following, the name is accepted by the panel on tropical cyclones (PTC) that finalises the selection:

  • The proposed name should be neutral to (a) politics and political figures (b) religious believes, (c) cultures and (d) gender
    • Name should be chosen in such a way that it does not hurt the sentiments of any group of population over the globe
    • It should not be very rude and cruel in nature
    • It should be short, easy to pronounce and should not be offensive to any member

o    The maximum length of the name will be eight letters

  • The proposed name should be provided with its pronunciation and voice over

o    The names of tropical cyclones over the north Indian Ocean will not be repeated. Once used, it will cease to be used again. Thus, the name should be new.

What cyclone names has India suggested?

  • The 13 names in the recent list that have been suggested by India include: Gati, Tej, Murasu, Aag, Vyom, Jhar (pronounced Jhor), Probaho, Neer, Prabhanjan, Ghurni, Ambud, Jaladhi and Vega.
  • Some of the names picked by India were suggested by the general public. An IMD committee is formed to finalise the names before sending it to the PTC.

Here is the complete list of 169 names. The first cyclone name which will be chosen will be the one in the first row of the first column — Nisarga by Bangladesh. Next, India’s choice, Gati, will be chosen, and so on.

Source: Indian Express

Organic products export

  • In a boost to exports of organic products, a consignment of value added products of organically certified gluten free jackfruit powder &retort packed jackfruit cubes were exported to Germany from Bengaluru.
  • This has been processed in the APE jackfruit DA assisted pack house owned by Phalada Agro Research Foundations (PARF), Bengaluru.
  • APEDA registered PARF represents a group of 1500 farmers with a wide coverage of around 12,000 acres farms. These farmers grow Medicinal and aromatic herbs, coconut, jackfruit, mango puree products, spices and Coffee.

· PARF facilitates the certification process as per National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP), European Union, National Organic Programme (the United States) standards to their small farmers groups. Processing unit of PARF has been certified by APEDA under its accredited Organic Certification.

National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP)

. Under the NPOP, organic products are grown under a system of agriculture without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides with an environmentally and socially responsible approach.

  • This method of farming works at grass root level preserving the reproductive and regenerative capacity of the soil, good plant nutrition, and sound soil management, produces nutritious food rich in vitality which has resistance to diseases.
  • APEDA is currently implementing the NPOP, which involves the accreditation of certification bodies, standards for organic production, promotion of organic farming and marketing etc.
  • In 2020-21, India produced around 3.49 million tonne of certified organic products which includes all varieties of food products namely oil seeds, sugarcane, cereals, millets, cotton, pulses, aromatic &medicinal plants, tea, coffee, fruits, spices, dry fruits, vegetables, processed foods etc.
  • Madhya Pradesh has covered largest area under organic certification followed by Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Odisha, Sikkim and Uttar Pradesh. In 2020-21, the total volume of organic products export was 8.88 lakh metric tonne and the export realization was around Rs 7,078 crores (1040 million USD).
Source: PIB

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