Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Current Environmental Scenario of the World

The world environment has been facing the worst phase of climatic turmoil since its evolution. It is deteriorating day by day and is also affecting the million flora and fauna’s lives, including the humans. Yet we have no concerns for saving our planet.

A recent report developed by a group of researchers showed that the glacier that used to be huge as mountains are now shrinking faster at an alarming rate. And by few years ahead, they believe that the human race will be able to see land in the extreme northern continent. This is going to create havoc by raising the ocean level and flooding many megacities, as most of them are located near the coast. 

Since few years, the phenomenon of global warming has slowed down, which has led to mend in the mind of many layman that we are no more polluting the environment to that extent as we did before. But alas! Here’s an eye-opener for them. The earth’s surface is mostly covered with water. The ocean acts as an excellent carbon sink as carbon dioxide has higher affinity towards water molecules, hence gets trapped by the water and gets converted to carbonic acid. May be due to this reason, the global warming effect is less observed, but nowhere we have reduced the intensity of the pollution. Due to higher concentration of CO2 in water, this has resulted in low oxygen availability in ocean water causing death of aquatic animals as well as plants. This will not only affect these living organisms, but also the livelihood of those individuals who depend on fishing. This has also resulted in increased algal bloom in many reasons of the world. Recently, this problem has become prominent in the Mediterranean ocean, where the algal bloom can also be seen from the satellite images and is rapidly spreading towards Indian Ocean.

Every individual has a role to play in saving his/her planet. No govt. or organization can do this on their own. Environmental protection needs to be a collaborative effort.

Friday, 1 April 2016


Effect of climate change.

Sushree Shailani Suman

 1- Perishing green plants: Is global warming the cause?
Global warming is a growing concern worldwide with climate change being the most talked subject. Its effects are well known on plants and the photosynthetic process. The increased concentration of heat-trapping greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) has accelerated global warming in manifold and led to extreme events such as cyclonic storms, typhoons, drought, unseasonal rainfall, and heat waves.
2- How do plants deal with global warming?
The most surprising fact about CO2 is its ability to increase the rate of photosynthesis in green plants, particularly the C3 plants. Through photosynthesis, green plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and subsequently convert it into organic products (like carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, etc.) and byproducts (like oxygen). This process has been considered as a source of carbon dioxide sequestration. 
Elevated atmospheric CO2 levels lead to temperature rise with a concomitant increase in the rate of transpiration by the green plants. However, if the plant responds by stomatal closure, the rate of transpiration may decrease. This does not allow excess CO2 to enter the plant and results in an increased survival rate during water scarcity. The advantages are time bound. This also has several adverse effects on the photosynthetic process as absorption of less CO2 means stunted growth. Closed stomata for a longer duration may lead to starvation in plants. Due to less partial pressure of CO2, the stomata will be left open, resulting in rapid water loss along with CO2 intake. Subsequently, the plants wither, wilt and die, which may have huge social implications.
The decomposition of organic matter in the soil is also stimulated by the increased CO2 levels to be easily made available for the plants’ absorption, which in turn increases the rate of photosynthesis and carbon fixation.
Apart from the above-mentioned facts, the enhanced level of CO2 is also marked by increased plant growth that might sound good to the farmers. Conversely, the weeds surrounding the vegetation tend to grow at a faster rate in such environmental conditions.
But such responses by the photosynthetic plants are dependent on diverse environmental factors such as availability of water, moisture content of the soil, nutrient content, atmospheric temperature, and variable CO2 concentration, etc. Responses may be negative or positive depending on the exact nature of changes and the factors that initially limited the growth and rate of photosynthesis.


Green revolution and its loopholes

Sushree Shailani Suman

1- Green Revolution for Mass: The advanced Mexican agricultural technology introduced by Norman Borlaug made a way out for the evolutionary technology in India, which was initiated as a trial project by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan in the northern states of India, especially Punjab and Haryana. The technology received various approbations from the scientific circles: “Green revolution describes the spectacular increase that took place during 1967–1978, and is continuing in the production of food grains in India”- was cited by J.G. Harrar.

2- Advancements: Green revolution proved to be a track changer in the traditional farming techniques (introduction of tractors, thrashers, harvesters; use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, for instant increase in the yield, etc.) as well as replacing the traditional seeds with high yielding varieties or seeds with genetic superiority.

3- Prolonged Loopholes: Apart from the advantages, green revolution proved to be a bane in disguise for the farmers. It has over burdened them with the increasing costs of chemical fertilizers, pesticides as well as other chemicals. The technology aimed at increasing the production of only the staple cereal crops, like rice and wheat, that too only in the north Indian states. The technology was not well implemented or did not give a proceeding result in many parts of the country.

The genetically superior seeds demanded more water, fertilizers and other accessory chemicals, for their growth and development. The overuse of these chemical ingredients has led to the detoriation and deformation in the chemistry and structure of the soil. The natural soil microbiotas are kept aloof of the soil organic carbon content, which is their nutrition source. The unavailability of the soil carbon leads to a decrease in the concentration of the beneficial soil microbiota that plays an important role in maintaining the structure of the soil. Due to this, the soil particles are left apart and they become compact and lose the water holding capacity.

The depletion in the soil organic carbon leads to the decrease in the soil’s buffering capacity that in turn affects the pH level of the soil. Lowering in the pH level affects various parameters like the unavailability of phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, which in turn affects the physiology of the plants; stunted growth of the plants, decreased root biomass and length, etc. whereas high pH level leads to a decrease in the availability of micronutrients like copper, zinc, boron, etc., which also affects the overall growth and developmental process of the plant. Decrease in the buffering capacity also leads to an increase in the thatch layer, which in turn aggravates the pathogenic population in the soil. In order to kill these pathogens, it is needed to use chemicals that, on the contrary, kill the beneficial organisms in the soil too.

Apart from these drawbacks, the technology of green revolution has neither proved to be a long-term solution, nor has it ensured food security for the rising population of our country.


Thursday, 14 January 2016

Female Foeticide a matter of shame

Female foeticide is the elimination of girl child after sex determination test from the womb. Girl child is killed before birth just to fulfill the wishes of old members in the family of getting boy baby first. All the process gone under familial pressure especially by husband or in-laws. General reason behind abortion becomes unplanned pregnancy however female foeticide becomes planned by the families. People believe that boys are the key to continue their family lineage however they do not understand the most simple thing that girls are reasons to give birth to new entity in the world not boys. People in the Indian society are used to of giving birth to the child continuously until they get boy baby by killing all the girl baby earlier to the boy. Daughters are given less respect and priority than sons in Indian society from the ancient time. They did not have same access like boys in the areas of education, healthcare, nutrition, play, etc.

The frequency of female foeticide in India is assumed to be an estimation derived from its high birth sex ratio, that is the ratio of boys to girls at birth. The natural ratio is assumed to be between 103 to 107, and any number above it is considered as suggestive of female foeticide. According to the decennial Indian census, the sex ratio in the 0 to 6 age group in India has risen from 102.4 males per 100 females in 1961, to 104.2 in 1980, to 107.5 in 2001, to 108.9 in 2011.
Over the past decade, Odisha has witnessed a drastic reduction in the sex ratio of children within the age-group 0-6 years, according to the Population Foundation of India. The  child sex ratio, according to the 2001 census, stands at 950 girls to 1,000 boys in Orissa. This is a significant decline from 1991, when the ratio was 967 girls per 1,000 boys.In 2011 941 in 1000 boys.
 The Indian government has passed Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT) in 1994 to ban and punish prenatal sex screening and female foeticide. It is currently illegal in India to determine or disclose sex of the foetus to anyone. However, there are concerns that PCPNDT Act has been poorly enforced by authorities.

Females not only face inequality in this culture, they are even denied the right to be born. Why do so many families selectively abort baby daughters? In a word: economics. Aborting female fetuses is both practical and socially acceptable in India. Female foeticide is driven by many factors, but primarily by the prospect of having to pay a dowry to the future bridegroom of a daughter. While sons offer security to their families in old age and can perform the rites for the souls of deceased parents and ancestors, daughters are perceived as a social and economic burden. Prenatal sex detection technologies have been misused, allowing the selective abortions of female offspring to proliferate. Legally, however, female feticide is a penal offence. Although female infanticide has long been committed in India, foeticide is a relatively new practice, emerging concurrently with the advent of technological advancements in prenatal sex determination on a large scale in the 1990s. While abortion is legal in India, it is a crime to abort a pregnancy solely because the fetus is female. Strict laws and penalties are in place for violators. These laws, however, have not stemmed the tide of this abhorrent practice.

The advancement of ultrasound technology in India came in 1979 however its spread was slow. But became widespread in 2000s. It is estimated that since 1990s, more than 10 million of female foetuses have been aborted because of being girl. We can see that female foeticide has been practiced through the history and cultural background. Earlier, people believed that male babies are superior as they would provide manual labor as well as lead the family lineage in future. Son is considered as family asset however a daughter is a liability.

In order to control the population and stop female foeticide, Government of India made various rules and regulations against female foeticide and trend of abortions after sex determination tests. Killing of a baby girl through abortion has been an offense all through the country. Doctors found performing sex determination tests and abortions especially for killing girl baby would be guilty and lose their license. Awareness about the importance of girl child in the society is major weapon to get relief from the female foeticide.Recent awareness programmes like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, or Save girls campaign, etc have been made regarding girl’s rights.

Anuradha Mohanty
ExecutiveDirector ,PECUC 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015


In the context of the market culture, and the interest management lifestyle, the very purpose of marriage as an institution, has been decoded. It is also supported by many progressive judgments by the apex court. Time has come to put every unregistered marriage under lens. Trafficking of women and children has been projected with multifaceted dimensions. In order to combat with it, every individual irrespective of their role and capacity should be extra alert towards the manifestations of human emotions and should analyze the reality from the legal point of view for effective protection. No custom is mandatory. No ritual is unbeatable. No violence is tolerable. A victim is vulnerable not because he or she is poor, uneducated or illiterate, but because he or she is not alert, sensitive, and realistic at a certain point of time or under certain circumstances. So he or she is cheated and is trapped in the whirlpool of trafficking. He or she is either missed or is returned to home from where there are multiple possibilities of being re-trafficked or lands up in a rehabilitation center where he or she is simply reduced to living lass. Every case of trafficking is a matter of concern for each of us. Who knows tomorrow either you or your children or any of your relatives will not be a victim of it?
                 Trafficking is the second largest profitable trade and is next to drugs. What is most important to think about is whether we need individuals at the cost of money or vice-versa? How long we can afford the latter?

Awaiting comments

Minakshi Panda.

(The writer is One of the Directors in the Board of Management of PECUC)

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Is Literacy a way out of Poverty?

Is Literacy a way out of Poverty? 

Ms. Anuradha Mohanty

Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It unlocks the door to learning throughout life, and is essential for the development and health, and opens the way for democratic participation and active citizenship. Acquiring literacy is an empowering process, enabling millions to enjoy access to knowledge and information which broadens horizons, increases opportunities and creating alternatives for building a better life. - Kofi Annan  

The theme of International Literacy Day 2015 is Literacy and Sustainable Societies. In spite of persistent illiteracy, adult literacy rates have increased in all regions over the past two decades. Globally, the adult literacy rate was 76% in 1990, 82% in 2000 and 84% in 2011. Globally, the illiterate population fell from 881 million in 1990 to 774 million in 2011. Nevertheless, 743 million adults are still expected to lack basic literacy skills in 2015, mainly in South and West Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

A close correlation has been observed between a country’s literacy rates and national wealth (measured by GDP per capita). In addition, a trend can also be observed with increased literacy rates and a decrease in the share of the population living in poverty.

The 15th official census in India was calculated in the year 2011. In a country like India, literacy is the main foundation for social and economic growth. In 1947, the literacy rate was just 12%. Over the years, 2011 census, literacy rate reached 74.04%. The numbers of children who do not get education especially in the rural areas are still high. Today, the female literacy level according to the Literacy Rate 2011 census is 65.46% where the male literacy rate is over 80%.

All over the world, women account for almost two-thirds (496 million) of the illiterate adults worldwide. There are 187 million Indian women who are still illiterate. Indian women account for one of every four illiterate adults worldwide. With 287 million illiterate adults, India accounts for 36.7% of the world’s illiterate population — by far the largest share of any nation.

The Population of Odisha according to the 2011 census stands at about 41 million. The literacy rate in the state is about 73%. The literacy rate in the state has seen an upward trend from the last census in 2001 63.8% and is about 73% (as per Census 2011). Male literacy stands at 81.59 percent while female literacy is at 64.01 percent. As per Statistics of School Education (2010-2011), the Gross Enrollment ratio for elementary education was 114.1 which reduced to 42.1 in classes IXth and Xth. In case of girls, the situation worsens as per 100 boys enrolled in classes IXth and Xth, only 86 girls enroll in the same classes. The other major factor is the high numbers of dropouts. The overall dropout rate declined from 63.5 percent in 2005-06 to 51.0 percent in 2010-11. But, the dropout rates for STs and SCs are still higher. Still, a long distance has to be covered to do away with the various regional, social, and gender disparities and provide an equal opportunity to all to have a literate and educated community. This is important as education is an imperative indicator which influences other development indicators including health, income, nutritional status, and family welfare amongst others.

Executive Director
People’s Cultural Centre [PECUC]