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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Impact of attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facility

18th September

Why in news ?

Houthis, a rebel Shia group of Yemen that is backed by Iran, bombed the Abqaiq plant as well as the Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia using drones.

Impact of the attack:

  • Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company, had to suspend the production of almost 6 million barrels per day (about 6 per cent of global oil supply).
  • It had to restrict the use of 2 mbd of spare capacity.
  • This is the largest-ever disruption in crude oil production in Saudi Arabia.

Concerns for India:

  • Saudi supplies 10 per cent of global world supply and is the world’s largest crude oil exporter.
  • India imports 80% of the oil it consumes, which means there are multiple ways in which the country will be impacted by this disruption. With this attack, Oil prices may go up.
  • India is already trying to make up for the loss of supply from Iran after US-imposed sanctions. After Iraq, Saudi Arabia is India’s second-largest supplier of crude oil.
  • Besides, the global supply has been volatile because of disruptions in some of the other big suppliers such as Venezuela, Libya and Nigeria.
  • Supply constraints and rising oil prices would mean that the rupee will weaken further against the dollar — that’s because, as the dollar prices of crude oil rise, India would need to buy more dollars for the same amount of oil, thus depreciating the value of the rupee vis-à-vis the dollar.
  • Rising oil prices will worsen the Indian government’s fiscal balance.
  • Higher crude oil prices would also lead to higher domestic oil prices, which, in turn, will further depress the demand for all things, especially those that use oil as the primary input — say, cars.
  • This dip in consumption demand, which is already under strain as the recent growth slowdown has shown, would likely mean lower economic activity and consequently lower revenues for the government.

 


 

Banni Grasslands :

About :

The ‘Banni Grasslands’ in Kutch, Gujarat, span over 2,600 square kilometres.

  • These grasslands are home to a pastoral community called the
  • In the 1960s, the government wanted to protect this region from salinity ingress from the Rann of Kutch.
  • So it dropped millions of seeds of an exotic species called Prosopis Juliflora from helicopters.
  • Since then, ‘Prosopis Juliflora’ has overtaken the native grasses in the area.
  • The locals call this tree ‘Ganda (Crazy) Babool’ because it does not let anything else grow.
  • The problem of salinity has also multiplied several times, and the Maldharis are faced with a perpetual fodder crisis.
  • Often called Asia’s finest natural grassland, it now resembles a shrubby forest.
  • The area under the ‘Prosopis Juliflora’ was only 6% till 1997 but it increased to 54% in 2015.
  • Generally, this area gets about 400 millimetres of rainfall.
  • But for the last 2 years, there has been hardly any rain, and the region is facing a drought-like situation.
  • Because this tree sucks up all the water from the soil, it is also leading to land degradation and desertification.
  • Gujarat has lost more than 50% of its area to desertification.
  • To restore the Banni grassland, a non-profit, ‘Sahajeevan’ is working along with the local communities.

 

Facts for Prelims:

Survey of India:

Survey of India (SoI) will for the first time rely on drones to map the country.

About SoI:

It is the National Survey and Mapping Organization of the country under the Department of Science & Technology.

It is the oldest scientific department of the govt. of India set up in 1767.

 

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