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AUGUST 2, 2017

Water conservation scheme a big success

  • The Rajasthan government’s flagship water conservation programme – Jal Swavalamban Abhiyan (JSA) – has turned out to be a success in Pratapgarh district, where the groundwater table has increased, green agricultural fields have expanded and no tankers with drinking water had to be sent to as many as 94 villages this year.
  • The JSA works have also led to an increase by 10% to 15% in the soybean crop area and 15% to 20% in the wheat crop area.

Groundwater table

  • The groundwater table in Pratapgarh has registered an increase by 0.30 metres. Besides, only 18% of the handpumps in the district dried up this year against 24% in the previous year.
  • Structures such as anicuts, staggered trenches and mud walls were put up with people’s participation during the implementation of JSA.

Rising temperatures drive up farmer suicides in India: U.S. study

  • Climate change may have led to over 59,000 farmer suicides over the last 30 years in India, argues a research report from the University of California, Berkeley in US.
  • Even a 1°C increase in temperature above 20° C in a single day during the crop growing season results in about 70 suicides on average.
  • An increase in rainfall by 1 cm during the growing season leads to a decrease of about 0.8 deaths per 100,000, thus lowering the suicide rate by 7% on average
  • Comparing the yields to growing season temperature for 13 States, the author found that States where the yields are more affected by high temperatures are also the States which report higher suicide rates.
  • Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh not only show severe suicide responses to temperature but crop yield is also more negatively affected by higher temperature.
  • India’s average temperature is expected to increase by 3°C by 2050.

Court questions alchometer reading

  • Observing that an error in alchometer or any electronic or electrical device cannot be ruled out, a Delhi court has reduced the two-day jail term of a man in a drunk driving case till rising of the court.
    • A metropolitan magistrate court had sentenced Vikas Srivastava to two days in jail after he was caught driving his vehicle under the influence of alcohol. When tested by a breath analyser, the alcohol content in his blood was found to be 68.8 mg per 100 ml of blood, over twice the permissible limit. Special Judge Lokesh Kumar Sharma said:” in an electronic or electrical device as no manufacturer can claim 100% accuracy in the results.”

Decontrol will now be faster: ICRA

  • The government’s recent decision to allow public sector oil marketing companies (OMC) to increase the price of subsidised LPG by Rs. 4 per month instead of two rupees a month earlier will hasten the price deregulation process, rating agency ICRA said on Tuesday.
  • “In ICRA’s view, the steeper monthly hike is aimed at achieving the deregulation in subsidised LPG prices in a shorter time frame,” an agency release said. Now the LPG prices can be deregulated in around two years. OMCs would gain from the marginal savings on interest burden due to lower under-recoveries.


Poor rain hits aquatic life in the Tungabhadra

  • The Tungabhadra river in Hosapete has run dry. This has not only threatened aquatic life but also cattle and other animals and birds, for which it was a prime source of drinking water.

River Tungabhadra is a tributary of River Krishna.