Essential Facts (Prelims) – September 10 & 11 , 2019


Tamil Nadu ranks lowest in coverage of iodised salt

Category: GS 2 (Health)

  • Tamil Nadu has the lowest consumption of iodised salt despite being the third biggest producer of salt in the country, according to a first-of-its-kind national survey to measure the coverage of iodised salt.
  • The study shows that 76.3% of Indian households consumed adequately iodised salt, which is salt with at least 15 parts per million of iodine.
  • The survey was conducted by Nutrition International in collaboration with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and the Indian Coalition for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD).
  • The survey tested the iodine content in samples of cooking salt from households to estimate the coverage of iodised salt.
  • Iodine is a vital micro-nutrient for optimal mental and physical development of human beings.
  • Deficiency of iodine can result in a range of disabilities and disorders such as goitre, hypothyroidism, cretinism, abortion, still births, mental retardation and psychomotor defects.
  • Children born in iodine deficient areas may have up to 13.5 IQ points less than those born in iodine sufficient areas.
  • Rajasthan, which is the second largest producer of salt, also figured among the five worst covered States.
  • Gujarat produces 71% of salt in the country, followed by Rajasthan at 17% and Tamil Nadu at 11%. The rest of the country accounts for a mere 1% of salt produced.
  • India made fortification of salt with iodine mandatory for direct human consumption in 1992. This was relaxed in 2000 and then reimposed in 2005. In 2011, the SC, too, mandated universal iodisation for the control of iodine deficiencies.
  • 13 out of 36 States have already achieved Universal Salt Iodisation.

India to restore more degraded land

Category: Geography

  • India has raised by 10% the area of degraded land that the country has agreed to restore by 2030.
  • India faces a severe problem of land degradation, or soil becoming unfit for cultivation. About 29%, or about 96.4 million hectares, of its land is considered degraded.
  • This January, India became part of the “Bonn Challenge”, a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.
  • At the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP) 2015 in Paris, India joined the voluntary Bonn Challenge and pledged to bring into restoration 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020, and an additional 8 million hectares by 2030.

Registration of steel and iron imports, a must

Category: Economy

  • In a bid to clamp down on the dumping of iron and steel imports, and also the over-and under-invoicing of these products, the government has removed these items from the ‘free’ category and has made it mandatory for importers to apply in advance for a registration of their import.
  • The new system will come into effect from November 1. This comes at a time when India has been at the receiving end of large amounts of steel dumping due to the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China.
  • The import of 284 item lines under the steel and iron category has been re-designated from ‘free’ to ‘free subject to compulsory registration under Steel Import Monitoring System’.
  • This Steel Import Monitoring System (SIMS) will require the importer to submit advance information on an online portal for the import of the items mentioned in the notification and obtain an automatic registration number.
  • This number can be obtained by paying a minimum fee of ₹500 and maximum of ₹1 lakh, depending on the value of the imports.
  • Indian imports of steel and iron had contracted 31% in 2016-17, the financial year before U.S. imposed higher import duties on steel.

Two new species of ginger discovered in Nagaland

Category: Ecology

  • Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have discovered two new species of Zingiber, commonly referred to as ginger, in Nagaland.
  • While Zingiber perenense has been discovered from the Peren district of Nagaland, Zingiber dimapurense was found in the Dimapur district of the State.
  • Of the two species, Zingiber dimapurense is taller in size, with leafy shoots measuring 90-120 cm high, whereas the leafy shoots of Zingiber perenense reach up to 70 cm in height.

Kashmir apples to escape lockdown via Central route

Category: Agriculture

  • Kashmir’s famed apple is battling to get exported outside the State this year.
  • Kashmir produced 20 lakh metric tonnes of apple in 2018, contributing 73% to the total apple production in the country.