The Junior Age

Month: February 2024

Farmers’ Protest Explained: Understanding the Reasons Behind the Movement

Why Are Farmers Protesting?

Recently, the farmers once again launched a massive protest and a march to the national capital, New Delhi. Previously, in 2020-21, the farmers had protested against certain farming laws. Thousands of protesters began gathering at New Delhi’s borders, especially at Singhu Border for the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march. Most of these protesters are a part of two large organised unions, Kisan Mazdoor Morcha and the Samyukta Kisan Morcha and are mostly from Punjab and Haryana. The protesting farmers started marching towards Delhi. However, they were stopped and blocked by the government authorities.

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The Demands Of The Farmers

The main demand of the protesting farmers is that a law should be enacted which will guarantee a minimum support price (“MSP”) for all crops. The government already provides MSP on certain agricultural produce but the farmers want a law that guarantees it. The government usually announces support prices for more than 20 crops each year to set a benchmark, but state agencies buy only rice and wheat at the support level, benefiting only a small percentage of farmers who raise those crops. Further, currently MSP is announced for only 23 crops.

Some of the other demands include the implementation of the Swaminathan Committee. report, loan waivers, and a pension of Rs. 10,000 per month for every farmer above 60. years of age.

After the 2020-21 farmer protests, the Government had promised to consider demands of the farmers especially on MSP. However, these unions claim that no action has been taken by the Government.

Present Status Of The Protest

As on the date of printing this issue, farmers are still protesting and are not satisfied by the offers made by the government.

What Is Swaminathan Committee?

In 2004, the then Prime Minister Man- mohan Singh had constituted a com- mission under the chairmanship of famous agricultural scientist Dr. M.S. Swaminathan to study the problems of farmers. The committee submitted six reports to the government from December 2004 to October 2006.

The 2020-21 Protests

In 2020, three new farm laws were passed in India. These laws were – The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act. 

The government had said these new laws will help strengthen the basic farm sector infrastructure through greater private investments. However, the farmers were worried that these laws made MSP irrelevant. This means that they were concerned that they would not be assured a minimum price for their produce. The farmers protested against the three laws at Delhi borders, leading to their repeal in 2021.

Word Check

The MSP is the price at which the government buys farmers’ crops so they can be sure to get paid for their produce. When market prices drop below the MSP, this price serves as a safety net for farmers, guaranteeing they get paid fairly for their crops.

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One In Five Migratory Species Are Threatened With Extinction

Every year billions of animals migrate across continents and national borders to feed and breed. Migratory species play an essential role in maintaining the world’s ecosystems, and provide vital benefits, by pollinating plants, transporting key nutrients, preying on pests, and helping to store carbon.

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The United Nations (“UN”) has published a report titled State of the World’s Migratory Species (“Report”), the first ever report on migrating animals. The Report was launched at the UN wildlife conservation conference in Samarkand. Uzbekistan. The Report focuses on 1,889 species covered by the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (“Convention”) and on more than 3,000 migratory species not covered by the Convention.

The Report states that more than one in five migratory species listed under the Convention are threatened with extinction. This means they are facing the possibility of complete disappearance. While some migratory species listed under the Convention are improving, 44% are showing population decline.

The Alarming Numbers: 

According to the Report:

40% of the 158 mammals listed under the Convention are threatened across the globe.

97% of the fish species (like sharks, sturgeons, and rays) listed under the Convention, are threatened with extinction.

3/4 species are affected by habitat loss.

399 species out of the 3,000 migratory species not covered by the Convention are threatened or near threatened with extinction.

The extinction risk is growing for migratory species globally including the species not listed under Convention. The Report has stated that human activities like hunting, fishing, noise pollution, light pollution, use of pesticides, destruction of habitat especially for agriculture are some of the most important causes for this threat. Construction of roads, railways and fences also disrupt migration routes. Another big reason for the threat to the migratory animals is climate change caused by humans.

Some Good News

Only 14 species listed under the Convention have recorded an improvement in conservation status. These include blue and humpback whales, white-tailed sea eagle and the black-faced spoonbill!

Way Forward

The Report states that things can be changed if countries work together. The Report has made the following recommendations:

  • Countries should work towards meeting their commitments to tackle climate change,
  • Increase actions to identify, protect, connect, and effectively manage important sites for migratory species;
  • Reducing plastic, light, and noise pollution;
  • Reducing the use of pesticides;
  • Tackle illegal hunting and fishing;
  • Take more efforts to restore the ecosystem, and
  • Find more key sites and routes that migratory species use.

Word Check 

At certain times of the year, many mammals, fishes, birds, and other animals move from one place to another. This is called migration. Migration is an important part of the life cycle of animals.

Can you name some migratory animals?

Also can you think of more reasons why animals migrate?

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The Iconic Journey Of The Olympic Torch

What Is the Olympic Flame?

Before every edition of the Olympic Games, a flame is kindled by rays of the sun during a ceremony held in the ancient ruins of Olympia, Greece under the authority of the International Olympic Committee. This flame is known as the Olympic Flame. The Olympic Flame is usually lit at Olympia a few months before the opening of the Olympic Games. Starting the ceremony at Olympia celebrates the link between the Ancient Olympic Games and the Modern Olympic Games.

From Olympia, the flame is usually carried for a number of weeks until it reaches the host city, mainly on foot by runners, but also using other forms of transport.

For the Paris Olympics, the ceremonial lighting ceremony is scheduled on April 16 in Olympia, Greece. Over 11 days, 600 torchbearers in Greece will carry the flame 500 km across 41 municipalities.

The torch is passed from one torchbearer to the next until it reaches the cauldron at the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium. The flame announces the Olympic Games and spreads a message of peace of peace and friendship between the people. The Torch relay ends at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

Olympia was where the Ancient Olympic Games were held.

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The Arrival Of The Flame In France

For the Paris Olympics, the flame will travel from Greece to France by boat. The Olympic flame arriving in the host country symbolises the advent of the spirit of the Games. Before lighting the cauldron at the opening ceremony, the flame is carried by a multitude of torchbearers throughout the host country and into the host city.

For the Paris Olympics, the flame will arrive in Marseille in France on May 8. The flame will arrive from Athens, Greece, after travelling by sea on board the full-rigged ship Belem.

The flame will then travel across various French territories for 68 days. 10,000 torchbearers will carry the flame across the 64 territories of France until July 26, when the Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony is scheduled to take place on the River Seine.

When And Where Did The Tradition Of The Olympic Torch Relay Begin?

The Olympic Flame first became a tradition of the Modern Olympic Games, when an Olympic Flame was lit and remained burning at the entrance to the Olympic stadium throughout the Amsterdam 1928 Olympic Games.

However, the Olympic Torch Relay was started for the first time at the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games. The torch relay has opened the Olympic ceremonies ever since.

Let The Games Begin

The Torch relay ends at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The final runner (or sometimes runners) enters the stadium and lights the cauldron with the Olympic Flame. The Games can then begin!

The Paralympic Flame And Torch Relay

Shortly after the Olympic Flame is extinguished during the closing ceremony for the Olympic Games, the Flame for the Paralympic Games is lit in Stoke Mandeville (in England). Stoke Mandeville is the historic birthplace of Paralympic sport. For the Paris Paralympic Games, the flame after being lit in Stoke Mandeville will cross the sea like its Olympic twin. However, this time the flame will travel via the Channel Tunnel, marking the start of a legendary relay.

From August 25 to August 28, 2024, around 1,000 forerunners will carry the Paralympic Flame to around 50 cities throughout France.

Fun Facts

The current Summer and Winter Olympics torches that carry the Olympic Flame and are designed to withstand wind and rain. They are also uniquely designed to include special elements of the host country and spirit of the Games.

When two torches meet and one already-lit torch lights the flame of the other it’s called a “Kiss“.

Sometimes the Olympic torch can go out. Although, it’s really rare that this happens due to a malfunctioning burner or extreme wind. Just in case, there’s always a “mother flame” carried in specially designed miner’s lanterns that they can use to relight the torch.

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Bharat Ratna 2024: India’s Highest Civilian Honor Award

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that former prime ministers P.V. Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh, and scientist Dr. M.S. Swaminathan will be conferred with the Bharat Ratna. Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award in India. PV. Narasimha Rao was the Indian prime minister from 1991 to 1996 and is known to be the man who started the economic liberalisation of India. Chaudhary Charan Singh, a well known champion of workers and farmers’ rights, briefly served as the Indian prime minister in 1979. Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, a renowned scientist, is known as the architect of India’s green revolution. 

Usually, three Bharat Ratna awards are given in a year. However, this year, the government has named five people for Bharat Ratna, including veteran leader LK. Advani and former Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur. This is the highest number of Bharat Ratna awards given in a single year.

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Word Check

Economic liberalisation means the process of easing the rules and regulations with respect to trade policies by the government of a country. This is done in many ways like by removing trade restrictions and permitting more foreign investment in certain sectors, based on specific conditions.

The Green Revolution introduced new methods and technology for growing, harvesting, and processing crops in India in the 1960s. This led to an increase in agricultural production in India and greatly reduced food shortages.

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India Shines At 66th Annual Grammy Awards

India’s Big Win At The Grammy Awards

Indian musicians Shankar Mahadevan and Zakir Hussain’s fusion band ‘Shakti’ has won the prestigious Grammy award for ‘Best Global Music Album’, for their latest album ‘This Moment’. The album ‘This Moment’ features eight songs crafted by musical prodigies like John McLaughlin (guitar, guitar synth), Zakir Hussain (tabla), Shankar Mahadevan (vocalist), Selvaganesh Vinayakram (percussionist) and Ganesh Rajagopalan (violinist).

The album ‘This Moment’ was created during the Covid-19 pandemic by exchanging audio files over the internet and discussing them through a WhatsApp group!

Zakir Hussain picked the Grammy award for the ‘Best Global Music Performance’ for his contribution to the track ‘Pashto’ alongside Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer, featuring Rakesh Chaurasia. He also won the award for ‘Best Contemporary Instrumental Album’ for ‘As We Speak’.

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All About The Grammy Awards

The Grammy Awards, sometimes just called the Grammys, are a massive awards show for the music industry. The Grammy Awards are annually presented in the US by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (“NARAS”).

To be eligible for a Grammy from NARAS, the recording or music video must be released in the US between October 1 of the previous year and midnight September 30 of the given Grammy year.

The awards cover lots of different kinds of music, from pop to rap and hip-hop. This year was the 66th Grammy Awards, and it had 94 different categories in total.

Did You Know?

Grammy is short for gramophone, an old-fashioned kind of music player.

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