Saffron harvest festival
GS Paper: 1 – Culture
Prelims exam: Saffron harvest festival
Mains exam: Harvest festival in India
Why in News
The tourism department has invited students and local farmers to join the saffron festival organised in Ladoo area to highlight the whole process of saffron cultivation.
About Saffron harvest festival
- It is a three day festival which is celebrated in Jammu and Kashmir.
- The festival is celebrated in ‘Pampore region’ which is commonly known as ‘Saffron bowl of Kashmir’ and is the main contributor to saffron production.
- Around the first century BCE, Central Asian immigrants are thought to have introduced saffron cultivation to Kashmir.
- It has been associated to traditional Kashmiri cuisine and represents the rich cultural heritage of the region.
- The purpose of this celebration is to assist saffron growers in marketing their crop.
- The dried stigmas of the saffron plant, which resemble threaded flower parts, are used to create saffron spice.
- Saffron is cultivated and harvested in the Karewa (highlands) of Jammu and Kashmir.
- The word “bahukam” is used to describe saffron in ancient Sanskrit literature.
- Saffron corms (seeds) are grown in India in the months of June and July and at some places in August and September.
- In October, it begins to bloom.
How Kashmir saffron is unique from other saffron varieties?
- It is the only variety of saffron that is grown between 1,600 and 1,800 metres above mean sea level.
- Its stigmas are larger and thicker, naturally deep crimson in colour, very aromatic, and processed without the use of chemicals.
- Additionally, it contains significant amounts of picrocrocin (bitterness), safranal (flavour), and crocin (colouring strength).
- Lachha, Mongra, and Guchhi saffrons are the three varieties of saffron that are found in Kashmir.
- Saffron from Kashmir is a widely used spice. Additionally, it helps in revitalizing health.
- It is utilised in cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.
- GI Tag
- GI tag has been given to the saffron of Kashmir which will result in more prominence in the export market thereby would boost exports and would help the farmers to get best remunerative price for economic sustainability.
GS PAPER 1 : Art & Culture
Prelims Exam: Tribes in states
Mains Exam : In your opinion, upto what extent Tribes played an important role in uprooting the British ?
Why in News ?
The Prime Minister called for preparing a road map to develop Mangarh Dham in Rajasthan’s Banswara district as a tribal destination with a prominent identity at the global level.
As part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the government has initiated several steps to celebrate unsung tribal heroes of the freedom struggle. These include declaring 15th November (birth anniversary of tribal freedom fighter Birsa Munda) as ‘Janjatiya Gaurav Divas’, setting up tribal museums across the country etc to recognise the contribution of tribal people to society and increase awareness about their sacrifices in the freedom struggle. In yet another step in this direction, the Prime Minister attended a public programme – ‘Mangarh Dham ki Gaurav Gatha’ at Mangarh Hill, Banswara, Rajasthan, to pay homage to the sacrifices of the unsung tribal heroes and martyrs of the freedom struggle.
- Mangarh Dham is known for the massacre of tribals by the British Indian Army in 1913.
- This place is widely referred to as Adivasi Jallianwala.
- About 1,500 Bhil tribals and forest dwellers were killed at Mangarh on November 17, 1913, when the British Indian Army opened fire on the protesters.
- The people were gathered to demand abolition of the bonded labor system and relaxation in heavy agricultural taxes imposed by the rulers of princely states.
- The tribals in the southern Rajasthan region were led by social reformer Govind Guru.
About Bhils Tribal group
- The word Bhil is derived from “Veel”, which means “bow” in the Dravidian language.
- The Bhil tribe is called “Dhanush Purush of India” because they are highly adept at learning Dhanush.
- Bhils are a group of tribal Indians scattered throughout India from Gujarat in the west to Tripura in the Far East.
- As of 2013, they were the largest tribal group in India with the majority living in the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
- Bhils have a rich and unique culture. The Bhilala subdivision is known for its Pithora painting.
- Ghoomar is a traditional folk dance of the Bhil tribe.
- Ghoomar is the symbol of femininity.
- The young women take art in this dance and declare that they are stepping into women’s shoes.
TWO FINGER TEST
GS PAPER 2 : Governance & Polity
Prelims Exam: Committee related to this
Mains Exam : If rape survivor failed in two finger test then Up to what extent this Judgement will change the prejudgement of society about rape survivor ?
Why in News ?
The Supreme Court declared that any person conducting the invasive ‘two-finger’ or ‘three-finger’ vaginal test on rape or sexual assault survivors will be found guilty of misconduct.
What is a Two-Finger Test?
- The ‘two-finger test’ or ‘per Vaginal’ is a regressive procedure that involves the insertion of two fingers into a person’s vagina to gauge the laxity of vaginal muscles, thereby determining her ‘virginity’.
- Doctors also check how habituated the woman who has been raped is to sexual intercourse and her sexual history.
The justices made the comments inarestora-tive orderupholding the conviction and sentencing of a man for the rape and murder of a minor girl in Jharkhand in 2004, who had been subjected to a “two-finger test” by a hospital medical board.
The Indian Evidence act
In terms of Section 53A in the Indian Evidence Act, the evidence of a victim’s character or her previous sexual experience with any person shall not be relevant to the issue of consent or the quality of consent in the prosecution of sexual offenses.
About Indian Evidence Act:
Supreme Court Views
This is not the first time that the“two-finger test” has come under scrutiny.
- The Justice JS Verma committee,setup after the 2012 gangrape incident in Delhi,had recommended its banning.
- In2013, the SC had called the test out for its violation of privacy.
- The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013 stipulates that a victim’s character or her previous sexual experience should not be relevant to the issue or the quality of consent in the prosecution of sexual offences.
Is it Scientific?
Invasive trees in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve
Gs Paper: 3- Environment
Prelims exam: Senna spectabilis, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR)
Why in News
An invasive species, Senna spectabilis, an exotic tree, has taken over between 800 hectares and 1,200 hectares of the buffer zones of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR).
What are Invasive species?
An invasive species is an introduced organism that becomes overpopulated and harms its new environment. Invasive species adversely affect habitats and bioregions, causing ecological, environmental, and economic damage.
About Senna spectabilis
- Senna spectabilis is a plant species that is indigenous to South and Central America and belongs to the subfamily Caesalpinioideae of the legume family (Fabaceae).
- They are often grown as an ornamental in front yards, parks, gardens, buildings etc. due to their bright yellow flowers that bloom during the summer months.
- These trees prefer to grow in moist deciduous forests. They are also known as golden wonder tree, American cassia, popcorn tree, Cassia excelsa, golden shower tree or Archibald’s cassia.
- Senna spectabilis is a shrub that can grow anywhere from 15 to 20 ft in height. These trees are pollinated by bees and have a very fast growth rate.
About Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR)
- It is located in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu state, at the tri-junction of three states, viz, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
- Mudumalai Tiger Reserve has a common boundary with Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala) on the West, Bandipur Tiger Reserve (Karnataka) on the North, and the Nilgiris North Division on the South and East and Gudalur Forest Division on the South West, together forming a large conservation landscape for flagship species such as Tiger and Asian Elephant.
The Climate is moderate. In December or the first few days of January, it experiences cold weather, while in March and April, it experiences hot weather.
Flora and Fauna
- Important plant and animal life can be found here, including the tall grasses known as Elephant Grass, bamboo of giant variety, and timber species like teak and rosewood.
- There are numerous species of endemic flora. Tigers, elephants, Indian Gaur, Panther, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Common Langur, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Wild Dog, Mongoose, Jungle Cat, Hyena, can be found in this reserved area.
- MTR has a wide variety of more than 260 species of birds.
- Eight per cent of bird species found in India have been recorded in Mudumalai.
How Invasive species are affecting the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve?
- The species has become highly invasive in the Sigur plateau in both the core and buffer zones of the MTR, affecting local biodiversity, crowding out native species and limiting food availability for wildlife.
- The allelochemicals produced by this plant adversely affect the germination and growth of the native species.
- Grasses and herbs get completely wiped out and herbivores are deprived of their forage.
- The foliaged tree arrests the growth of other indigenous tree and grass species and causes food shortage for the wildlife population, especially herbivores.
Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)
GS Paper: 3- Economy
Prelims exam: Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)
Why in News
According to the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) survey, India’s manufacturing production growth and new orders eased to four-month lows in October, but a surge in new jobs and subdued price pressures kept producers optimistic about future prospects.
About Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)
- PMI is an Indicator of business activity in both the manufacturing and service sectors.
- It is a survey-based measurement that inquires about changes in respondents’ perceptions of various important business variables from the previous month.
- A composite index is created after it is separately calculated for the manufacturing and services sectors.
- PMI is published by IHS Markit which is based on responses to questionnaires sent to purchasing managers in a panel of about 400 manufacturers.
- The seasonally adjusted PMI was slightly higher at 55.3, compared with September’s 55.1, indicating a stronger improvement in the manufacturing sector’s health.
- Consumer goods emerged as the brightest area of the manufacturing sector. Firms in this segment signalled the fastest increases in output, overall sales and exports.
- A two-year high in business activity indicates that manufacturing employment growth was probably among the best since March 2005.
- The rate of cost inflation as a whole was the second-lowest in two years, which encouraged producers to limit output price increases, which grew at the slowest pace since February.
- The PMI is often made public at the beginning of the month, much before most of the official data on industrial output, manufacturing and GDP growth becomes available.
- As a result, it is regarded as a reliable leading indicator of economic activity.
- The manufacturing growth measured by the PMI is regarded by economists as a reliable indication of industrial output, for which official numbers are given later.
- The index is used by central banks of many countries to assist them decide on interest rates.